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Golden Boy

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"I brought your new partner in today.”

“They found one? Is it Seokjin?”

“No, it’s not Seokjin.”

Namjoon took his phone out of his pocket, the universal symbol of “I’m done talking to you now,” especially in the hot glare of late morning sun when he couldn’t see his phone anyway. If USA Volleyball had failed to get Seokjin on board, then they’d probably have to pick up some witless kid off a beach in California who thought he could play, and even after all the scrambling, last second saves, late night debates, and conference calls, his career really was over. After four consecutive Olympic golds, he’d rather retire than get silver.

“He’s a great guy. He’s really good. Sure he’s not Yoongi, but he’ll get there. A fresh teammate might make you even better!”

Namjoon looked up from his phone to get a good look at the coach. He’d seen that look during too many near-miss matches. Definitely nerves.

“Bullshit. You’re worried.”

Coach looked guilty. “I’m nervous you won’t give him a chance.”

“I have to, don’t I? I’m not just going to give up and retire because Seokjin won’t be my partner. I’m only twenty-eight. After this Olympics, I’ll probably have at least one games left, and maybe as many as four-plus world championships. I’ll take the fucking kid if I have to take the fucking kid, but if I stop winning golds, I’m not keeping him past Rio.”

His coach nodded, sighing. “At least try to be nice. He’s a big fan of yours. They say he’s good. We’ll be ready.”

“A fan? Fucking great.”

The new teammate sat in the sand by the net looking like a stereotypical beach bro in garish red board shorts and bro tank. He turned and Namjoon saw huge, round eyes and delicately angular lips. Even with broad shoulders and strong jaw, he looked way, way too young to be a top player. The kid dropped the water bottle in the sand as he stood up, wiping his mouth off with the back of his left hand as he reached out with his right. “Hey! I’m Jungkook. Great to meet you.” He sounded a little out of breath, grinning eagerly, the handshake slightly fumbled.

“Sure. Hm. How old are you?”

Jungkook turned a little red, looked like he wanted to say something, but cut himself off, one hand sweeping back through his messy black hair. “I’m eighteen.”

“You’re kidding.” A full decade younger, and Namjoon wasn’t even old by beach volleyball standards. “And you’re my new teammate?”

“That’s what they told me,” Jungkook said, glancing at Coach.

Namjoon reeled. He turned to Coach. “I’m the best they have, right? Is there someone I don’t know about?”

“Nope. You’re the top guy.”

“And instead of Seokjin, I get this?”

“H-hey—”

“Do they even fucking want a medal this year? If they don’t have Seokjin either, what the fuck do they expect to get?”

“At least wait till you see me play,” Jungkook said, voice small. Namjoon glanced at him and saw a look of timid admiration under the teenage masculine bravado, laidback stance, hands in his pockets, but earnest under his bangs. He put a cap on the increasingly hysteric protests. What a cute kid.

Coach whacked Namjoon’s forehead. “Let’s get started.”

Namjoon wanted to leave.

Young as he was, the kid knew the ropes. He knew how to signal, he could move around the court, he could jump high enough to block, and could actually coordinate all those things together to play a fairly decent game, but he was not Namjoon, and he certainly wasn’t Yoongi.

At his fifth dive and miss, Namjoon called a break. “I gotta eat.”

“Really, Namjoon? We’ve only been at this an hour. Your last tournament before the games is coming up fast, and you haven’t been practicing enough.”

“Not my fault. I need a team to practice.”

“You have one. So practice.”

Namjoon gave his coach a long, slow glare. The kid sat unhappily in the sand, eyebrows furrowed together, long arms thick and veiny with too much muscle for someone with such a cute face.

Coach snorted. “Fine, but I’m making you two get lunch together. You need to get to know each other real fast if you want to be an effective team for the next tournament rolls.”

Namjoon considered finding a new coach. Kid looked a little spooked. Namjoon motioned for him to follow but didn’t wait. Jungkook caught up halfway to his car.

“I’m a mess. Just nerves. Sorry.”

“Nerves lose championships. Did you drive here yourself?”

“Yeah. My car’s over there.” He pointed to the middle of the lot. “I figured we’d carpool to lunch? Save gas?”

Namjoon shrugged. “Makes sense. They let kids like you drive?”

Jungkook gave him a confused look like he hoped he was kidding. “I’ve been driving for three years now.”

“Oh. Three. That’s quite a long while. I’ve only been driving for over a decade.”

Jungkook frowned and got in the car. Nerves or not, he carried himself with such easy confidence that Namjoon felt a little defensive. “Could you stop pointing out how young I am?” He probably meant it to sound threatening, but it just sounded self-conscious and nervous.

“Sorry. I’m just…you’re eighteen? Seriously? How long have you been playing this?”

“Since I was eight? I live on a beach, and my whole family played all the time. And then I got better than all of them and started doing training.”

“And now you’re here. Wow. You must be like a prodigy or something.”

Jungkook snorted. “Yeah, something like that.”

“Ever been in an international competition?”

“I’ve done tournaments and stuff.”

“Are you even professional yet?”

“I guess technically I am as of this month.”

Namjoon could practically hear the gurgle of the universal toilet as the past fifteen years of his life disappeared into its wet abyss. He braked right at the exit to the parking lot and put his head down on the steering wheel.

“I’m sorry?” Jungkook said, his voice a little high.

“Not your fault. I’m sorry I’m being such a dick about this. I’ve been really fucking worried for the past four months that I’ll never be a medal contender again, and I was banking on having Seokjin—you know Seokjin Kim, right?”

Jungkook nodded. “He was on the silver team from the last Olympics. Got bronze at the last world championships before retiring.”

“Exactly. Everyone knows him. We would have made a great team, but he wants to start a family or some shit. So I’m just…you know. I’m worried. And you have to admit, you don’t have the most impressive résumé in the world.”

Jungkook looked away. Coach beeped from behind them. Namjoon took his foot off the brake and rolled out.

“Didn’t you win your first Olympic gold in Athens when you were sixteen? Why is my age such a big deal?”

Oh that’s what was going on. Fucking management. They’d handed him the prodigy so he could train him because he’d been the prodigy once himself. They didn’t give a shit about his career. They were putting all their faith in little Kookie to lead the US into the next era of beach volleyball, and Namjoon would just be expected to tie him over until he retired and they could find someone to put with Jungkook that would last.

“That was completely different. Yoongi and I slipped in during an odd year when all the top teams had just retired in a wave or gotten caught for doping. We had minimal competition, and a huge run of luck. Nobody else kept it together. It’s different now. There are so many intensely dangerous teams out there, and people know better than to be thrown off by how young and short we are. Yoongi and I had to, like, double our skill after those first games, or we wouldn’t have been able to keep up.”

“How is he? I saw all the stuff on the news about the car wreck. It looked bad.”

“His head’s okay, thank god, but he still isn’t walking. They’re not sure his right leg will ever function properly again, and they told him he better stop playing volleyball if he doesn’t want to re-break anything and maybe end up in a wheelchair.”

“Fuck,” Jungkook murmured, quiet distress in his voice. He looked genuinely a little scared—the best reaction Namjoon had gotten in months. He’d gotten sick of the cop out, disinterested “oh, I’m so sorry,” real fast, as if it was him who was suffering.

“Could happen to anyone,” Namjoon murmured quietly, and Jungkook nodded. Neither talked for a few blocks.

“Subway?”

“Sure.”

Jungkook ate, understandably, like a teenager. Namjoon watched him devour a whole foot-long sandwich stuffed with everything Namjoon would never imagine combining. He followed up with two bags of chips and a cookie, practically inhaling them.

“You’ve got hollow legs,” Namjoon remarked.

Jungkook really laughed for the first time that Namjoon had seen, and it aged him reassuringly, crinkling his cheeks and drawing out his nose, making him look less like a child. “That’s something my grandmother would say.”

“Fuck. You’re not gonna start making old jokes about me, are you?”

“Might as well if you’re not gonna let up about me being eighteen.”

“Oh god, I’m too young for this.” Namjoon rubbed his hands down his face. “I’m twenty-eight! I’m in the prime of my career. I’m not old.”

Jungkook went back to making that worried puppy face that made him look about twelve. “I’m sorry.”

“You’re fine.”

They went back to practice and did sprints and then threw balls around. Jungkook did well when Coach joked around with him and completely mediocre otherwise. Namjoon sat down in the sand and let Coach pelt him with balls. “Get up, asshole. I’m not done with you yet.”

“I’m not the one that needs help,” he snapped and turned to point at Jungkook only to see him doing back handsprings along the edge of the court. After the swooping sense of awe passed, Namjoon felt very old. “The fuck are you doing?” he asked.

Jungkook hesitated, like he’d expected a different reaction. “Blowing off steam. Trying to focus.”

“That is one flashy and wasteful relaxing mechanism. It’ll draw way too much attention to you in competitions if we lose, and it tires you out.”

“I’m not tired at all,” he protested. Oh right. Fucking teenagers don’t get tired. “It works, and it’s fun.”

“It’s showing off.”

“Just because you can’t do it.”

Namjoon got right up off the sand and got in his face. Jungkook stood a little taller than Yoongi had, but he backed off faster, eyebrows scrunched together and shoulders curling in, hurt and defensive but trying to looked pissed off. Coach smacked him hard on the back. “Don’t bully him! Jesus, Namjoon, it’s like you don’t want this team to work at all.”

“The fuck do you even mean? Am I supposed to treat him differently than Yoongi?”

“Yes! He’s not the same person.”

“If he can’t handle me, why’s he insulting me? Why’s he on my team?”

“It’s day one! Stop panicking!”

Namjoon laid down in the sand. “I will become Yoongi. Yoongi and I are one. I am a one-man team. See? Look at me being lazy and jelly-like down here on the sand.”

“Channel Yoongi all you want, but don’t pick up his bad habits!”

Jungkook snorted weakly behind him, and Namjoon looked up and saw him with his arms tight over his chest, hair hanging down in his eyes, shifting from heel to heel. He felt bad, and he hated it. It should not have to be his job to coddle and babysit the next prodigy at the expense of his own game.

“Are we at least training with good teams?” Namjoon whined.

“Yes. Kim and Jung.”

“Thank god.”

“Whoa, really?” Jungkook asked softly, eyes wide. He looked a little star-struck. It occurred to Namjoon that Jungkook, an aspiring player, was probably a huge fan of all of them.

“You’re not going to ask me for an autograph, are you?” he asked.

“N-no! We’re on the same team. Wouldn’t that be weird?”

“Yeah. Definitely weird. Are you going to ask Taehyung and Hoseok for autographs?”

He hesitated. “No?”

“You sure? I won’t judge.”

“You totally will,” Jungkook muttered, hunching further.

“You’re right. I will.”

Coach spiked a ball right into his chest.

 

They’d put Jungkook up in an apartment complex a short walk away from the beach, just a few blocks down from Namjoon’s small house. He saw him skateboarding down the sidewalk towards the beach as he drove past on his way to Yoongi’s the next day. He looked relaxed, a volleyball in his backpack, flat bill on his head, just another crazy millennial looking to plow down pedestrians. Namjoon scoffed.

As usual, he tripped over Yoongi’s walker trying to get close enough to piss him off by fucking with his hair. “Karma, bitch,” Yoongi said as Namjoon nearly toppled right over his chair. “Ladies and gentleman, the gold medal klutz, Namjoon Kim. Give him a hand.”

Namjoon steadied himself on the walker. Yoongi looked as impassive as ever, staring him down. He needed a haircut, his famous blond hair nearly black. He been dying it ever since right before their second Olympics.

“How’s the leg?”

“Weak as fuck. I can feel the muscles melting away as more time passes. Physical therapy starts next week, and I’ll finally be able to use the bitch again. Kind of. Did you bring me any stickers this time?”

Namjoon pulled a pack of funky-looking geometric-patterned stickers out of his backpack and handed them to Yoongi.

“Fuck yes. A whole pack? Hot damn, these are perfect for details.” He pulled himself forward in the chair and brought the walker closer. It was already completely covered in stickers, big ones meant for laptops and instrument cases: an apple logo, a Life is Good sticker, the Grand Theft Auto logo, some stuff about the Olympics and volleyball. Yoongi started peppering it with the little stickers.

“You’re a grandpa, Yoongi.”

“I always was,” he answered, “I just have the accessories to match now.”

“They gave me some eighteen-year-old kid to be my new teammate.”

Yoongi froze mid-sticker, and then collapsed dramatically backwards into his chair. “Fuck. There goes my legacy.”

“We were sixteen when we won our first gold.”

“I was seventeen, maybe even eighteen. And we got fuckin lucky. How is he?”

“Decent? He can play a bit? Not medal standard—not by any stretch. I don’t even know if we’d be able to get through the last tournament at this point, and they’re only a couple months away. I talked to the guys that chose him, and they said he plays like any medal winner, but I can’t see it. We can’t train him fast enough. It’ll be a miracle if we even scrape into Rio. It’s already a miracle that they’re giving us a shot without you.”

“Maybe he learns fast? Prodigy or some shit.”

“He’s a kid, Yoongi! Even if we get his game in gear, he’s not mentally prepared for competition. He does backflips when he’s nervous just playing with me and Coach. Literal backflips up and down the sidelines.”

“Whoa. Cool.”

“Not cool. Terrifying. He’s gonna crash and burn on game day.”

“Shall I remind you what your coping mechanisms are?”

“Yoongi, please—”

“The final match of our first Olympics. Eyes of the world on the two of us and, what was it, fucking Denmark or something? Some team that ordinarily wouldn’t have a fucking chance except for how dead the competition was that year. We’re down to match point in the first set, tied, and what do you do during time out? You give me the longest, gayest, grossest hug in the history of the sport.”

“Affection calms me down, okay? It’s been twelve years, and you’re still giving me shit.”

“You’ve done it so much it’s our gimmick! If you ask me, you could use some backflips on the sidelines! It’s a more intimidating, crowd-pleasing image than “the huggers.” You gonna hug the kid when you get jittery?”

“No. I’d get arrested.”

“Get a fucking teddy bear or something then, because you’ll lose if you can’t get rid of those nerves.” He stuck a hexagon right at the top of one handle. “I like these.”

Yoongi was always the unflappably calm, self-assured, confident teammate, so capable that it looked like he could predict the game, like he floated when he jumped. He’d never wanted to see Yoongi be in a position to get excited about stickers. Long, thick scars led up under Yoongi’s shorts where the doctors had screwed his femur together after the wreck. He had matching scars above his pelvis and a reconstructed knee.

Yoongi finished putting the last sticker on and stood, gripping the sides of the walker. “I gotta switch out my laundry.”

“I’ll do it.”

“Nope. I need to get up every once and a while.” He headed off, his right foot dragging on the ground.

“Didn’t they give you crutches?”

“The walker is real handy when I’m trying to reach something low in the fridge in a way crutches definitely would not be. This is better. More support. Imagine trying to get on and off a toilet with crutches versus with a walker.”

Namjoon snorted and followed him to the laundry room. He used to hate doing laundry. He’d take all his laundry with them to tournaments to get laundry services at the hotel. “What are you going to do after you heal?”

“I don’t know. I’m making my mom go home, for one. I never realized how important time away from her was for our relationship. I think we both kind of hate each other right now.” He switched out the laundry as Namjoon examined the large case of medals and trophies a room away. “Other than that? I don’t know. Be a coach? Re-learn how to drive? I’ve got to get over the trauma. I feel like I’m about to have a heart attack every time mom drives us to the grocery store.”

Namjoon met him halfway out the laundry room door and wrapped his arms around Yoongi’s waist, hooking his head over his shoulder and squeezing tight, the bar of the walker caught between them. Yoongi sighed.

“What’s up, Namjoon?”

“Just nerves.”

Yoongi let go of the walker and wrapped his arms around Namjoon’s shoulders, letting Namjoon hold his weight fully, knowing he’d never drop him, back into the no-communication zone they’d had for years, almost able to read each other’s thoughts. “I miss you.”

“I miss me too.”

 

“You’re my phone background,” Jungkook admitted to Taehyung almost immediately, and Namjoon rubbed a hand harshly down his face, sighing. Taehyung just looked thrilled.

“Bro! Let me see!” They hunched over the phone. “With the big trophy! I love that photo! That was my computer background for a while.”

Hoseok and Taehyung were a riot to practice with, loud and weird, poking at Namjoon and the coaches, jumping all over Jungkook. Taehyung was twenty-seven, and Hoseok was twenty-eight, and their chemistry was legendary. They did drills and exercises together, competition pushing both teams harder. Jungkook beat them all at everything, his physical skill alone outstripping the rest of them, and Namjoon allowed himself a moment of hope. Then they scrimmaged, and the bronze medalists pounded them into the sand.

Taehyung and Hoseok looked dangerously, quietly pleased.

“Dude. We have a chance at gold,” Taehyung murmured quietly. Jungkook had the nerve to seem kind of confused, like he couldn’t believe they just lost, like they ever had a chance against Hoseok and Taehyung’s flawless teamwork when Namjoon couldn’t even figure out how to appropriately greet Jungkook in the mornings.

“Diggers switch it up,” Coach yelled. “Taehyung and Jungkook vs. Namjoon and Hoseok.”

Namjoon sighed in relief. Hoseok was ever-so-slightly easier to work with. He really needed a consolation win. The minute Jungkook got over to Taehyung’s side of the net, Taehyung pulled him in with an arm around his neck and whispered something in his ear. Jungkook grinned and nodded. Taehyung went to the front, Jungkook to the back. Namjoon waited by the net while Hoseok got into position behind him. Taehyung grinned and wiggled his eyebrows at him through the net. Jungkook served.

Jungkook was always, at every turn, exactly where he needed to be, aggressive, technique so flawless it was like he’d been animated. Namjoon understood for the first time why people thought he was a prodigy. He could watch Jungkook play for days. Taehyung synced up with Jungkook in a way that Namjoon just didn’t, and it made a world of difference. When they won the first set he did a backflip in the sand, and Taehyung fell over he was so impressed. Namjoon walked over to Coach.

“Is it just me? Is the problem me? I’m the variable that’s not working here?”

“Evidence suggests that, yes.”

He and Hoseok barely scraped a win in the next set, but Namjoon hardly counted it, because Taehyung and Jungkook had been very distracted inventing their own team dance—some sort of weird shimmying, hopping thing. Jungkook really lit up like a firecracker, something sparkly in the way he played the game, and Namjoon wondered where all that raw skill went when it was just them.

They started the third set, Taehyung and Jungkook loud and excited, Hoseok giggling and challenging, Namjoon solid, annoyed determination. They traded first place throughout the set until Taehyung and Jungkook pulled ahead by one point towards the end. Taehyung gave Jungkook a look over his shoulder, his hands behind his back, and turned around with a dangerously sunny smile on his face. The ball came over the net right at him. He hit right to Hoseok, who set it up, and Namjoon jumped up to slam it into the empty half of the court.

Jungkook appeared out of nowhere, as if in slow motion, and slammed it right past his wrist. Hoseok dove, but was nowhere near close enough. They lost. Jungkook did a front-flip, landing in a power pose in the dirt. He and Taehyung screamed in unison. Namjoon refused to shake hands with either of them. Hoseok tried to get Jungkook to teach him how to do flips. The coaches had no choice but to send them all out to lunch so nobody would break their neck on the sand.

 

Practices proceeded for a few weeks, and Jungkook got better. They went out to eat together almost every night, which was expensive with Namjoon paying most of the time, but he felt uncomfortable with inviting a kid into his house, even one who was of age, so they stayed out most of the time. He tried to keep conversation afloat, but ten years made a huge difference, and Jungkook often trailed off and just stared at him with the blank, distancing stare of a smitten fan, which was a little flattering, and a little terrifying.

Jungkook played like he’d been playing for two decades, but if he made one mistake he spiraled into more, and Namjoon didn’t know how to beat it out of him because he didn’t feel like he knew him at all. They slowly got used to how the other played, Namjoon like a war general and Jungkook like he wanted to prove something, cocky and risky. Sometimes their game synced up and sometimes it didn’t.

When it did work, playing with Jungkook felt like volleyball in a way he’d forgotten to think about volleyball, all laughter and fire and shit-talking cheerfully across the sand like the earliest days when he and Yoongi still hadn’t really started believing that they were the best in the world, and the game was still a game. Jungkook spiked it right down into the sand behind Taehyung and turned around, fist-pumping, and Namjoon whacked him in the shoulder, yelling and grinning just like he’d used to do with Yoongi.

They won the game in two sets, and Namjoon let himself believe, for just a moment, that they’d be ready for the next tournament. Practice turned from work to play. Every day brought more skill from Jungkook and more fun banter and playful competition.

He could see why the federation was betting on Jungkook. He played the game with nothing short of love. Namjoon was almost jealous.

“I think I’m having fun,” he told Yoongi honestly. “He’s weird but fun. I’m still scared to death, obviously, but I definitely don’t mind having him around anymore. He’s making me play differently, and I can’t tell if that’s good or bad.”

Yoongi raised an eyebrow at him. “He’s more fun than me?”

“Neither of us are fun anymore. And I have no idea if he’s more fun than you, because he’s not old enough to take out to the bar yet.”

“Fair.”

One water break Namjoon looked at Jungkook and asked, “Ready for gold?”

“Ready for anything. Gold would be awesome.”

Such good sportsmanship, a true golden rookie. Namjoon smiled. “No pressure, but I use anything less than gold for drink coasters.”

Jungkook blinked and stared blankly at the sand. “Why?”

“Because if I don’t get gold, I know I fucked up, and that doesn’t sit well with me.”

“But it’s the spirit of the game, isn’t it? The competition? That’s unsportsmanlike. They’re still mementos from the tournament. Tournaments are still fun, right? They don’t, like, get less fun and less important after you’ve been playing for a while, right?”

Really, so cute. What an idealistic player. Namjoon was definitely jealous. “They do, actually, because you have to hold up your own standards, and competition seems more and more threatening, especially if you need the money. It’s more about reputation for me now.”

Jungkook’s eyes went adorably wide, and Namjoon suddenly remembered what the sport felt like at his age, every moment intensely exciting. He imagined he’d have felt pretty appalled if someone had told him at that point that the sport would stop being fun. Jungkook shook his head. “I can’t imagine. Why do you play then?”

“Because it’s my sport. Why do you?”

Jungkook looked him right in the eyes and shrugged carelessly. “I love it. It’s just what I do.”

Well obviously. Namjoon sighed, aggravated with himself, but not sure why. “Do you want to come meet Yoongi? He told me to come by after physical therapy today.”

“Yeah! Will he be okay with that?”

“He wants to meet you.”

They found Yoongi hobbling out of the kitchen on crutches wearing pajamas. “Fuck. Why are you here?”

“Gee, thanks, teammate. I brought your replacement.”

Yoongi was quiet, looking at Jungkook, who looked back with careful eyes and a tentative smile, filling the hallway like something bright and warm. “Hey kid,” Yoongi said softly, “Welcome to the family.”

After that, Jungkook went to Yoongi’s house more often than Namjoon.

 

Namjoon forgot to worry about the tournament until it was only a month away. He’d been too busy enjoying practice, getting to know Jungkook’s quiet maturity and childishly playful habits, like how he’d spend one hour powering uncomplainingly through a grueling practice, and the next playing in the sand.

Jungkook still wasn’t used to him. He’d expected the fan-shy stammering and wide-eyed glances to stop eventually. They got worse. Namjoon had to worry that the distance he’d been keeping between them because of his own discomfort with teenagers was beginning to damage their teamwork.

“Only a month away. Fuck.”

“Don’t think you two are ready, Namjoon?” Coach said.

“I know we’re not.”

“We’ve been doing so well though,” Jungkook said.

“Yeah, we play okay, but our teamwork is still hit or miss, and you still completely lose control of your game when you make a mistake and freak out. It took Yoongi and me years to get through both those issues. You have a month.”

Jungkook gulped. “Okay. Let’s get back to practicing then.”

“I have a better idea. Let’s go to my house and play video games.”

Coach laughed like a barking dog. “You crazy kids. Okay. I’ll leave you to it.”

Jungkook jaw dropped. “What?” he stammered.

“We need to be friends, not just teammates.”

Jungkook looked strange off the beach, all long limbs and timid smiles. He stared around Namjoon’s small house like it was a museum. When he accepted a drink, Namjoon noticed his hands were shaking. “Why are you always so shy around me?”

Jungkook turned red and settled on Namjoon’s couch like it might break. “Just a big fan, I guess.” He couldn’t look him in the face until he absolutely crushed him in Mario Kart.

“Fucking millennial,” Namjoon muttered. “Beat me in my own house.”

“You’re technically a millennial too, bro.”

“Not even technically. I’m very much a millennial. I’m addicted to Netflix just like everyone else.”

He looked much more natural here spread out on a couch with a PlayStation controller between his hands than he looked doing backflips in the sand. Namjoon found his eyes wandering along Jungkook’s profile, strong jaw, collarbones just visible above his shirt, black studs dotting his ears. He looked like such a teenager with his toothy smirk and messy hair, but after he shook off his nerves, his charisma was disarming, sweet and commanding. He was exactly the kind of guy Namjoon would have had the worst kind of crush on when he was younger.

“I’m curious about what the media will make of you,” Namjoon said.

Jungkook got a very caught-in-the-headlights look on his face. “The media?”

“They’re either going to give you shit for being a poor choice as my partner, or they’re going to love your personality and romanticize the crap out of me choosing you to replace Yoongi, even though it wasn’t my idea. The other countries will hate us. We pulled a lot of strings to get me back in the game with a new partner this late. No doubt people will be saying that we’re cheating. The Americans will just make it a sappy story about how tragic it is that I lost Yoongi and how heartwarming it is that I’m here anyway. Media loves a good sob story.”

Jungkook fiddled with his remote a little. “And just when I’d started to get over my nerves, you’ve gotta bring this shit up.”

“Don’t worry. Nobody will even know you exist until we’re in Rio, but it all depends on how this tournament goes. Don’t sweat it.”

“You keep saying things like you’re trying to take the pressure off and then tell me that this next tournament is the most important thing that I’ve ever done in my life, and it's freaking me out.”

“I don’t think sugarcoating it would help you either.”

“It might though. I play better when I can downplay the situation in my head.”

Namjoon sighed. “I’m just as worried about myself as I am about you. I’ve been completely out of my mind ever since Yoongi got put on the sidelines. I have no idea how I’m going to react to this next tournament, but there’s no way it’ll be good.”

Jungkook hesitated, and then said softly, “Well. If you ever need to give me one of your famous stress hugs, I give you consent.”

Namjoon ignored how appealing the thought of hugging Jungkook’s solid chest was and snickered. “And you do backflips all over the fucking court if you have to.”

 

They hung out every day after that, went grocery shopping together, ate together, played video games, and sometimes Namjoon got him to talk about himself. Jungkook was not shy about inappropriate jokes, loved anything with whiskey in it, and could fill hours playing with small objects like tennis balls and paper clips without even realizing it. He could sing beautifully, sing in a way that made Namjoon want to curl up with his head in his lap.

“You’re one of those obnoxious people who can do anything and make the rest of us look bad, aren’t you?”

“I won an art contest last year in high school, and I can dance.”

“Fuck you.”

Jungkook giggled. He had a habit of lounging, and right now he was stretched out over an entire couch, looking so comfortable that Namjoon kind of wanted to lie on top of him.

Later, he walked into the very weird scene of Yoongi sitting on the couch, and Jungkook lying with his chest across Yoongi’s legs, fiddling with his phone. Yoongi had his computer on Jungkook’s back.

“Are you two fucking cuddling? Doesn’t that hurt your leg?”

“I said I needed a computer table,” Yoongi said, “And Jungkook was happy to help.”

“It’s really warm,” Jungkook said, his eyes never leaving his phone.

“You two should be a team,” Namjoon said. “I’ll just sit lonely over here all by myself.” Jungkook threw the remote at him. It hit his leg and dropped onto the carpet. Jungkook giggled anyway.

“Jealous?” Yoongi asked, and Jungkook gave him a cute side-eye from behind his phone, daring him to say no.

Namjoon was jealous of both of them. Yoongi never turned into a cuddly teddy bear like that for Namjoon, and an uncomfortable part of him wanted Jungkook across his lap.

 

Three weeks before the tournament, Jungkook showed up for practice late.

“Not cool, dude,” Coach said, “But that’s the first time you’ve ever gotten here late, so I’m gonna let it slide.”

But Jungkook moved like he his whole body hurt.

He looked completely lost on the court and didn’t talk much. For a while into practice, he did pretty well, not meeting anyone’s eyes, but slamming into the ball with flawless precision whenever it came towards him. Namjoon gave him a pat on the back after one particularly well-aimed spike, and he smiled a little.

Halfway through the match, he served into the net, not unusual, and Namjoon caught it and threw it back. It thumped into Jungkook’s chest and dropped to the sand. Jungkook looked down at it like he didn’t recognize it.

“You okay, dude?”

“I’m fine.”

“What’s up?”

“Couldn’t sleep last night. I’m running on empty. Sorry.”

Coach sauntered over. “You two okay to keep going? Time is money.”

Jungkook game tanked. Thirty stupid-mistake riddled minutes later, Jungkook didn’t even try to dive for the ball, and Namjoon ended practice. “C’mon. We’re going to Yoongi’s.” Jungkook wouldn’t quite look him in the face.

“I’m sorry. I’d rather go home.”

“Wanna have dinner at your place or mine?”

“I’m sorry. I can’t tonight.”

They let him go. Namjoon went and complained to Yoongi.

“That’s odd. He seems really cheerful all the time when he’s here.”

“That’s because he’s a fan, and he loves you, and he’s totally star-struck.”

Yoongi casually tried to bite off a hangnail. “I mean who wouldn’t be totally star-struck. It’s me. Doesn’t explain what his problem is. Besides, he’s more star-struck around you. The kid shuts down when you’re around—starts stammering, gets nice, all that jazz. I keep thinking he might have a crush on you.”

A fizzy bubble of excitement rose in his chest, and he cringed. The kid was eighteen. He should be worried, not happy.

“Have you talked to him about his bad attitude?”

“No. I tried to bring him over here so you would though.”

“That’s not my job, Namjoon. This is affecting your team, not mine. I’m not involved. Go talk feelings on your own.”

“You know I’m a heartless bear that doesn’t do that shit.”

Yoongi looked indignant. “If you’re a heartless bear, what does that make me? Bigfoot?”

“Chupacabra.”

“Oh that’s just insulting. Leave my home before I perform the next great miracle and start to walk just so I can kick you out.”

“How’s physical therapy going?”

“Good. And by good I mean agonizing and horrible.”

Namjoon nodded. “Glad to hear it.”

 

The quirky energy that Jungkook brought to the game became very conspicuous in its absence, as did his skill.

“Where’d your technique go?” Namjoon asked, bouncing the ball from arm to arm as he watched Jungkook bend over his knees in the sand, one hand over his nose.

“It…I don’t know. I’m sorry.”

“Why do you keep apologizing? I’m the one that just slammed you in the face with the ball. I just want to know why you tried to block with your head and not your hands. Any good player knows that hands are where it’s at.”

Jungkook chuckled weakly.

“Jungkook, what’s going on?”

He checked his hand for blood again and shook his head. “I’m not gonna talk about it right now.”

“Jungkook, if your problems hurt your playing, I want to know what’s going on so I can help.”

Jungkook looked like he was about to start apologizing again, so Namjoon put his hands on his shoulders and said, “Fuck it, I’m worried about you.”

Jungkook looked up in surprise. “Really?”

“Oh don’t sound so shocked. I’m not that much of an asshole.”

“I’m sorr—”

“It’s okay. Stop apologizing.”

“Am I going to blow your chances of making it to the Olympics?”

Namjoon blinked and took his hands off Jungkook’s shoulders. “Well. I hope not. Probably not. Unless you really show the federation that you’re not ready, which I don’t think you will. There aren’t a lot of teams that would be able to replace me. Us. We’re already pretty much guaranteed a slot since I’m a defending medalist, and Yoongi and I already got us through most of the preliminary tournaments before his wreck.”

“That’s what I thought. Why do you always look so nervous then?”

Namjoon huffed. “Is this what all the moping around has been about? Is this it?”

“No. You didn’t answer my question.”

Namjoon fidgeted. “Well honestly, it’s partly me wanting a flawless reputation. I haven’t gotten below silver in any tournament in eight years. The US really does have the option of replacing us if we under-perform. I don’t want them to have that option, because I can’t imagine not going to Rio, and I don’t want to be forced to retire if it starts to look like I can’t win without Yoongi.”

“No pressure or anything,” Jungkook said.

Namjoon snorted. “Yeah. No pressure. If you blow it, I might just become a hermit, but no big deal. Don’t sweat it.”

Jungkook raised an eyebrow.

“I’m serious though. You’re good. You’re really really good. I doubt it's possible for you to do poorly enough to fuck us over unless you do it on purpose. But the more you worry, the worse you’ll do, and I don’t want your concern over my reputation to be the thing that ends up screwing us over, so I’m telling you not to care about me. I can take whatever comes. This is your first competition, so it’s about you.”

Jungkook looked down the beach towards the water, sunset glowing on his face. “Thanks. That’s not what’s bothering me though. Well, it is, but that’s always been something I’ve been nervous about. Recently it's been something else.”

“You’re finally gonna tell me?”

“It’s stupid. My, um, my boyfriend broke up with me.”

Namjoon almost said, “Wow, that is stupid,” but thought better of it, especially since the news that Jungkook had had a boyfriend, but now didn’t, felt like a remarkably positive occurrence.

“Uhh, was it that bad?”

“He blamed it on me.”

“Was it your fault?”

Jungkook turned further away, so Namjoon didn’t see his face when he said “I don’t want to talk about it. It was kind of justified.”

“I didn’t know you had a boyfriend.”

Jungkook looked up, frightened. “Is that okay? I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t know if you’d be uncomfortable with that. I swear I’m mostly straight. I’m sorry. I just really didn’t want it to come up.” He looked like he expected to get hit with the volleyball again.

“No, Jungkook, it’s okay. I’m gay too. Don’t tell coach.”

Jungkook visibly jolted. His eyes flickered between Namjoon’s, a little wild. “Wait, you’re…you’re gay?”

“Yeah. Don’t tell coach though. He’s awkward about that. He doesn’t think he’s homophobic, but he’d definitely get weird if he knew.”

“You too?” he asked.

That better not be hope in his voice. That can of worms needed to stay closed. “Yeah. Me too.”

“Oh.” Namjoon really hoped they hadn’t just laid a whole new level of tension on their relationship, but by the strangely happy, stunned look on Jungkook’s face, it definitely did. “Does anyone know?”

“Yoongi knows. He figured it out after about eight years when he barged into my room and found someone from the men’s Olympic gymnastics team there.”

“Whoa. A gymnast? Damn.”

Namjoon laughed. “Serious veteran advice though. Don’t ever come out publically. You’re just another player until you do that, and then after that there’s always an asterisks by your name and you’re defined by your sex life, not your gameplay. People will start asking about it in interviews. You become an icon more than an athlete. Don’t handicap yourself like that.”

Namjoon could’ve sworn he saw a piece of Jungkook’s soul die, idealism taking a tumble down the hill of real life. “Oh.”

“So your boyfriend left you. Do you want to talk about it?”

“No. I’ll probably get over it.”

“How long will that take?”

“I have no idea. He was great, but that was a rough breakup. I’m more worried about…coming to terms with some of the things he said to me. That might be more of an issue.”

“Fuck. Okay. Well, get it out of your volleyball playing.”

Jungkook looked close to panicking. He covered it up by checking his nose one more time. “Sure it’s not bleeding?”

“I’m sure. You’re not getting out of this practice that easy.”

 

“We have an idea.” Taehyung sat right down on Namjoon’s legs in the sand to pin him down.

“Oh god. That’s never good.”

“We’re going to take Yoongi on an adventure.”

“That’s a terrible idea. He’s delicate.”

“We wouldn’t make him do anything too weird. We’re just going to take him on an adventure and end up at Coach’s house.”

“An adventure?” Namjoon imagined himself carrying Yoongi through the woods while he punched and complained.

“Yeah. Not much. We’ll just hang out on the beach for a while.”

Namjoon breathed a sigh of relief. “Ok. We can do that. Jungkook, you coming?”

Jungkook turned around from where he was setting balls back and forth with Coach, eyes wide and worried like they often were when Namjoon addressed him. The ball hit him in the head. “Coming to what?”

“We’re going to get Yoongi out of the house a bit and take him to the beach or something, just hang out for a day. You should be there.”

Jungkook’s face cleared. “That’s awesome. Sure.”

Yoongi complained anyway, especially when they got out of the car and had to face the sand. Namjoon picked him up, bridal style, as gentle as possible on the right leg, and marched him quickly down towards where Taehyung and Hoseok were spreading a blanket out on the sand. His spine nearly gave out under the weight. “I packed food! I’m like a mom or something!” Taehyung yelled.

“You’re adorable. Move the fuck over so I can put this fucking sandbag down. I’m about to fucking drop him he’s so heavy—oh god, move.”

Yoongi had flopped back over his arm, staring backwards at the sand and groaning quietly in his throat.

“Fuckin’ diva,” Namjoon said as he carefully lowered Yoongi onto the blanket. Taehyung was already tearing his clothes off, eyes fixed on the ocean.

“Do backflips,” Yoongi told Jungkook, who was sitting hunched over looking distracted and wistful. “I’ve heard a lot about those.”

Jungkook smiled, suddenly cheerful. How did Yoongi do that? “Can you take a picture of me with the sunset in the background when I do the flips?” Jungkook asked, handing his phone to Namjoon.

“Why?”

He shrugged. “I think it’ll look good.” Jungkook got into position and did a whole gymnastics routine in the sand, aerials and twists included. Hoseok whistled and clapped. Taehyung sat down hard in the water with his mouth hanging open. Namjoon got a good photo of him mid-flip, silhouetted against the sunset.

“Sure you’re in the right sport?” Yoongi asked, as Jungkook walked back over and gave him a back hug.

“Yeah. I’m sure. Gymnastics looks painful.”

He settled in behind Yoongi, his arms around his waist, and Yoongi laid back like he was in a recliner, bafflingly affectionate. Namjoon knew he was pouting and didn’t even try to stop. “I’ve really missed the beach,” Yoongi said and closed his eyes, the salty wind scattering his fluffy, blond-tipped hair across his forehead. Namjoon’s heart hurt a bit. Jungkook hummed and nuzzled his nose into Yoongi’s scalp. Yoongi looked like he was fighting a smile.

Fuck it. They were too fucking cute. Namjoon got up and went down to help Hoseok pelt Taehyung with handfuls of wet sand as he wiggled in the shallow waves.

Yoongi reclined against Jungkook’s chest. Jungkook’s cheek rested against the side of his head as he talked. Yoongi played with the fingers on one of Jungkook’s hands and nodded along to the conversation, occasionally commenting. It was very unusual. Yoongi spoke in a language of clever jokes, complaining, and flippant remarks. He only really talked with the evident sincerity with which he talked to Jungkook when he had something serious to say.

By the time they came up on the sand, Yoongi and Jungkook were both smiling and cheerful, Jungkook’s arms wrapped around Yoongi’s chest as he hugged him.

“Wow,” Hoseok said, “I’ve never known you to be such a teddy bear, Yoongi. What’s going on?”

“He’s my legacy. I’m gonna mentor him till he’s better than I was, and he’s going to take care of me in my old age.”

“Hey, that’s my job,” Namjoon said.

“Find your own mentee.”

“I did. It’s him.”

“Now, now, gentlemen, no need to fight over me,” Jungkook giggled.

Taehyung flung open a cooler and shrieked “Food!” at the top of his voice.

“Me first. I’m the MVP,” Yoongi said. Taehyung cheerfully handed him a couple slices of cold pizza wrapped in tinfoil.

“Oh fuck yes. This is fucking amazing.” He sat up out of Jungkook’s arms and began roughly devouring it.

“Oldest to youngest,” Taehyung said cheerfully and handed Namjoon a couple slices. Jungkook sighed through his nose and dove for the cooler, nearly knocking Yoongi over. Yoongi watched with disinterest as Taehyung and Jungkook wrestled in the sand.

“Well isn’t this just beautifully homoerotic,” Hoseok snickered. Jungkook had Taehyung pinned under him, sitting on his back with his arms twisted behind him. Taehyung struggled to keep his head up, spitting sand everywhere.

“No pizza for you!” he yelled.

Jungkook tightened his grip, giggling, and his arms flexed where they held Taehyung down, thighs tight around Taehyung’s hips. Namjoon raised his eyebrows. “Someone take a picture for blackmail.” Hoseok snickered and pulled out his phone.

Taehyung let out a long, low, pained moan and writhed helplessly in the sand. Jungkook leaned down to talk shit into his ear, and Taehyung’s moans turned to choking gasps as Jungkook pressed harder on his arms. It was entirely too suggestive, not to mention sexy as fuck, and he had no doubt he was the only person who saw it that way. He slid his eyes over to Yoongi with his best “what the fuck is my life” look. Yoongi just laughed at him.

“I have seen way too much porn not to know where this is going,” Namjoon said.

Taehyung turned his face quickly towards Jungkook’s, who yelled loudly and got off fast, his hand over his mouth. “He bit my lip! You bitch!”

“Creepy AF, you pedophile,” Hoseok yelled. “He’s only eighteen!”

“That’s old enough,” Taehyung said, eyebrows wiggling. He sat up slowly, stretching his arms out, and noticed that Jungkook had just casually grabbed a slice of pizza and was walking away down the sand.

“My pizza!” he yelled and tackled Jungkook from behind. The pizza went flying. Jungkook and Taehyung hit the beach with the sound of a punching bag slamming into a gym floor.

Taehyung retrieved the sandy pizza and ate it, skipping back to the blanket like Jungkook wasn’t still lying on the sand groaning and wheezing. Yoongi retrieved another slice of pizza. “Kookie, come over here. I’ll feed you.”

Jungkook rolled weakly back over to the blanket and let Yoongi feed him the cold pizza. “Your turn,” Yoongi said, handing Namjoon a second slice.

Namjoon scooted up. “Here comes the airplane. Open wide. Wooshhhhhhhhhhhh.”

Jungkook refused to open his mouth. Namjoon made loud, dramatic crashing noises as he smashed the pizza into Jungkook’s face. Tomato sauce went everywhere. Jungkook pouted, and Yoongi cooed and wiped his face off with a napkin.

“I am jealous of your lips,” Yoongi said, “Those fuckers are soft as shit.” Jungkook blushed, smiling shyly.

Taehyung jumped to attention. “They’re not as nice as mine. Good for eatin’ pussy.”

“Good for suckin dick,” Hoseok retorted, and cackled with Taehyung tried to smack him with a pizza.

Namjoon wished they wouldn’t have this conversation. He didn’t need to notice how nice his teammates lips were. Like he hadn’t already.

“I’d think lips would be more important for eating someone out though,” Taehyung said, as if this was actually a conversation they were having.

“Taehyung, baby, have you ever gotten a good blowjob? Lips are so important.”

“It’s partly about the visual though,” Yoongi said.

Taehyung shook his head. “I’m not talking about whether you think you’d rather the person who eats you out have nice lips or the person that sucks you off, because I doubt any one of us knows what it feels like to be eaten out—” Namjoon did not correct him. “—I’m talking about giving. Would nice lips help you out more with eating someone out or sucking them off? Personally, I’d say pussy, but I guess I don’t actually know. Has anyone here ever done both? No judgment to anyone that has. Sex happens and it's awesome no matter what.”

“No matter what?” Yoongi said. “I beg to differ. I was with this one girl at the end of high school who didn’t realize that she could actually be active in bed and help out instead of just lying there and making me to all the work like I was giving her a massage or something. Didn’t even bother talking or making noise or whatever. It was like she was asleep. Really disconcerting.”

“Gross. That sucks, dude, and nice conversational diversion tactics, but I will not be distracted by slightly off-topic answers. Has anyone here ever done both?”

Namjoon appreciated Yoongi for trying.

Jungkook tentatively raised a hand. So much for not coming out.

“WHAT? THE BABY? JESUS CHRIST YOU KINKY BASTARD,” Taehyung screamed.

Jungkook put his hand down fast. “Since when was gay sex kinky? What happened to no judgment?”

“Sorry, sorry. So you have nice lips. You can answer that question. Are they better for girls or guys?”

Namjoon accidentally imagined Jungkook’s lips stretched around a dick and immediately felt horribly dirty.

“Girls, I think,” Jungkook muttered.

“Guys,” Namjoon said, “You can do more shit with your lips on guys, and you can eat them out too. Best of both worlds.”

“Blegh. I wouldn’t say that,” Taehyung said, “Eating ass does not sound enjoyable. Have you done that, Namjoon?”

“I’ve done everything.” Might as well support poor, flustered Jungkook.

“Well okay then. Guess I should have expected that, since you’re a self-proclaimed, very proud slut. Would you agree that lips are more useful with guys, Jungkook?”

Jungkook was back to fiddling with the pizza in his hands, blushing and not meeting anyone’s eyes. “That’s not. I’ve never eaten... Um. I don’t know.”

“This is a weird conversation,” Yoongi said, “Can we move on?”

Taehyung pouted. “That was a fun conversation. I learned many interesting things. Especially about Namjoon.”

“Don’t spread it around,” Namjoon said.

Taehyung nodded seriously. “Change of subject then. What are you going to do after you win your first Olympic gold, Jungkook? Get a better apartment? Tear around the country to every tournament? Go to college?”

Jungkook muttered “Finish high school,” into his pizza.

There was a beat of silence in which Namjoon felt the world tilt under him a little. Jesus Christ this kid was still a child. “You’re going to be nineteen this fall!” Taehyung yelled. “Finish high school? What the fuck?”

“I took this semester off to train. I still have half my senior year left.”

“Are you telling me,” Yoongi said, “That the first thing the federation did when they found out I was injured was pull a kid out of high school to try to replace me?”

Jungkook shrugged. “Yeah, probably.”

“I’m legitimately insulted.”

Namjoon expected Jungkook to ball up under the remark like he always did, withdraw and get defensive, look hurt and unhappy for several minutes, and mentally beat himself up. “You were on your way out anyway, grandpa,” Jungkook snickered, and then giggled and let Yoongi beat him with his crutches.

It occurred to Namjoon that the only person that make Jungkook uncomfortable was him. He got along fine with Yoongi. Namjoon walked down to the water on his own to try to wash the implications out of his head.

After a couple hours they headed up the beach to Coach’s house. Jungkook carried Yoongi like it was nothing, arms tight under his back and his legs, clutched high up against his chest so Yoongi could hook his arms around his shoulders and help out. Yoongi somehow still looked in-control and bored as shit. Namjoon wished he was that composed.

Coach’s house had a pool. As soon as Jungkook put Yoongi down on a deck chair, he whipped his shirt off and dove in. Namjoon settled in beside Yoongi and watched Jungkook, blurry through the ripples down at the bottom of the pool, while the other two unloaded the beer. He came up, his hair doing that magical and always unexpected thing where it got flat and completely changed the way he looked, the chlorine-blue of the underwater lights highlighting his neck and his cheeks and the curve of his lips.

Taehyung offered them both a drink. Namjoon grabbed one immediately. “Can’t. Still on painkillers,” Yoongi said.

“Yay! I’m not the only one!” Jungkook said, pushing his hair up off his forehead, his white smile reflecting the blue of the pool, dizzyingly gorgeous. Namjoon took another drink.

“You know you could totally drink, right?” Taehyung said. “It’s like college. Our purpose is to corrupt you.”

Jungkook grinned. “I’m DD for Namjoon tonight, but you can bet I’m taking you up on that later.” Namjoon toasted. Jungkook breathed in deep, filling his lungs, and drifted into an easy float on top of the water, eyes closing. His pretty face was astoundingly dissonant with the way water washed through the valleys in his abs.

Yoongi nudged him with his foot. “He’s a decade younger than you, bro.”

“What?”

Yoongi snorted and shook his head. “Nothing. Don’t ever get too drunk around him though. You might do something stupid.”

“Yoongi, what? I’m not…what?”

“I have known you entirely too long not to know the way you look at things you want.”

“Gross. He’s fuckin’ eighteen. I’m getting in the goddamn pool.”

“Take me with you.”

Namjoon helped him up off the chair, and they did an odd three-legged walk over to the pool, Yoongi’s arm over his shoulders. The stairs posed an issue. Jungkook solved it by stomping over, picking up a protesting Yoongi, and carrying him down into the water. “No, my Yoongi,” Namjoon whined, climbing quickly in after them. “Give him back.”

Jungkook walked out to the middle of the pool, trailing Yoongi with him, and Namjoon followed. “Mine. Give him back.”

“No,” Jungkook said, getting the same face he always got when he argued with the coach. Namjoon grabbed Yoongi around the chest and started wrestling him from Jungkook.

Yoongi just snickered as they pulled him back and forth, laying his head back in the water. Hoseok said, “Cutting in,” and took Yoongi away to where Taehyung was trying to get comfortable on a pool float. They spent the rest of the evening playing keep-away with the snickering, unhelpful Yoongi.

Hoseok was the one who made the rule, “Every five minutes we keep Yoongi away from Namjoon, he has to drink another beer.” At first it was easy, and then he got distracted by Marco Polo, by Taehyung singing loudly to the radio, by Jungkook swimming between his feet and trying to take him down, and the more drunk he got, the harder it became to catch Yoongi. By the end of the evening, Namjoon lay sprawled out on a deck chair with Taehyung bumping two glass bottles into his hand. “It’s been over ten minutes.”

“Fuck off. I’m fucking….boycotting this game. Keep Yoongi.”

“Holy fuck he’s slurring so bad,” Taehyung giggled, and Namjoon took his arm off his eyes for a minute to stare him down. Yoongi sat down next to his leg, rearranging his crutches and smirking.

“That was a great fucking evening, but I’m heading out. My dear mother just drove all the way here to tell me to go home, so I have no choice but to get in the car with her, like I’m fifteen or something.”

“That blows.”

“Looks like the parties breaking up anyway.” He glanced around to make sure no one was close and then leaned in close to Namjoon. “Kookie’s driving you home, huh? And you’re smashed. Right after I warned you too. Don’t do anything stupid.”

Somewhere in his brain, he understood that he was supposed to agree, but the rest of his brain was stubbornly insisting that Yoongi should mind his own fucking business. “But I’m stupid though. I do stupid shit. Let me do my stupid shit.”

“Your bad press if you fuck the high-schooler. Not mine.”

Jungkook walked up swinging his car keys. “Ready to go?”

Namjoon considered the question carefully, the words “fuck the high-schooler” on a loop in his head. “…Sure.”

“Selfie first,” he said, turning his phone with Namjoon prone and clearly intoxicated in the background, his wild smile up front, Taehyung’s crazy face poking into the corner, Yoongi smirking at Namjoon.

“That better not end up anywhere,” Namjoon groaned.

“No way. I’m posting that everywhere,” Jungkook said. “I like making my mom nervous.”

Namjoon got up slowly, took two steps, and lurched abruptly into a table. It fell over with a loud crash. He lay on the ground surrounded by overturned chairs, and Yoongi clutched his crutches for dear life as he laughed. Jungkook smirked. “Maybe you should have put more effort into catching Yoongi.”

“This is weird. It’s like gravity keeps propositioning itself.”

“Repositioning?”

“…Yeah, that.”

He stared up at Jungkook, who looked taller when Namjoon’s head was filled with alcohol, broader, his features sharper, darker. Alcohol had always made him feel young.

“Let’s go,” Jungkook said, and helped him up off the deck.

Namjoon made it all the way to the car and leaned heavily against the side, his head down on the roof.

“You have no coordination left, dude. How many beers did you drink?”

“More than I meant to.”

“Don’t throw up in my car.”

“They don’t call me the god of destruction for nothing. I’m gonna take a piss in the gutter.”

“Coach’s house is right here! Use his bathroom.”

“Can’t fuckin’ wait.”

“Oh man, he’s gonna be so pissed.”

Namjoon snorted. “Yeah he is.” He got around to the back of the car and clumsily yanked his dick out of his pants, leaned against the low trunk, and let go. The neighborhood was a perfect grid of palm trees and beachy cottage-like houses, driveways dotted with Honda Civics and family SUV’s. A dog barked in the distance. The glow of the city turned the sky a deep black-orange. Humming streetlights and white picket fences as far as the eye could see, and his piss splashing noisily into the gutter. He couldn’t help but grin.

“This shit is so fucking American,” he said, voice loud in the quiet neighborhood. “I could get arrested right now, but this aesthetic is so fucking California Nuclear, like American Dream Gone Bad and all that,” his bladder was nearly, blissfully empty. “I want Lana Del Rey to just ride down the street on a bicycle and serenade us. I feel kind of like a teenager and kind of like an idiot. Wait, holy fuck, which car is Yoongi’s mom in?”

Jungkook snickered. “Don’t worry. She’s in the car in front of us. You’re not pissing in full view of her windshield right now. I think the car you’re facing is Taehyung’s.”

Namjoon bent doubled in relief, heaving in a few deep breathes. He tucked his dick back in and stumbled around to the shotgun seat. “Just go, dude. That was a close call. I ain’t hangin’ around.”

“Ok, partner. I won’t tell Yoongi you nearly gave his mother a peep show.”

“Honestly he’d probably laugh his head off. She’s no dainty old lady. That woman’s got bite. She’d probably insult my dick and then bring it up at every public function for the next ten years. I’d rather deal with an angry Yoongi than Ms. Min any day.”

Jungkook chuckled and hit the turn signals, the soft clicking in the quiet car lulling Namjoon’s eyes closed. When he opened them again, they were quite a few blocks away, the suburbs turning into small shopping complexes and apartments, traffic lights smeared bright across the smudgy windshield.

“Dude,” he stopped a moment to try and remember what he had been about to say. Something about hugging, something about the way Jungkook looked at him, something pressing hard against the back of his throat about wanting to kiss... soft hair and large eyes. Something about… “Wash your fucking windshield.”

“You are really slurring. You doing okay over there?”

Namjoon groaned. “Those last few beers are just hitting me. I’ve got the spins pretty bad. My thoughts feel heavy. I’m weightlifting my thoughts.”

“You’re a philosophical drunk.”

“You think I don’t know that? I’ve been thought-lifting for, like, fifteen years.”

“No, no. Just. You know. Pointing it out.”

Namjoon hummed weakly and closed his eyes again, opening them only when Jungkook started physically pulling him out of the car. He lurched out onto the driveway and just barely maintained his footing, looping an arm over Jungkook’s shoulder and clutching for support. “Can’t. Fuck. Can’t walk straight.”

“I got you,” Jungkook said, and he did, one arm around Namjoon’s waist and the other holding the hand over his shoulder. Namjoon felt free to close his eyes and just let Jungkook lead. He fumbled in Namjoon’s pockets for a bit before Namjoon realized he was probably looking for the keys, and blindly stretched way up, smacking his hand into the gutter before he managed to grab the spare key tucked up there.

Jungkook’s fingertips brushed gently against the skin of his stomach exposed above his low-slung jeans. An electric shudder raced through him. Jungkook’s palm flattened against his stomach, steadying.

“Sorry,” he whispered.

Namjoon opened his eyes and was almost surprised to see his own front door in front of him and not Jungkook everywhere. He turned his head to the side and found Jungkook’s gorgeous eyes, his flushed cheeks. He slowly brought the key down from the gutter and held it up until Jungkook tore his eyes away from Namjoon’s face to look at it.

“Oh. Okay.” He grabbed the key and shuffled them both forward. Namjoon wanted the warm hand back on his skin, low on his stomach, right above…

Namjoon flicked the living room light on. Game controllers still littered the couch from where Jungkook had completely obliterated Namjoon and Yoongi in Mario Kart earlier that day.

“Should I go?” Jungkook asked.

“Could you make sure I get into bed without falling over and smashing my brains out first?

“Yeah, sure.”

“I have to piss again. Bathroom.”

“Right.”

Namjoon somehow managed to piss mostly in the toilet, and then stumbled out to find Jungkook leaning against the wall, texting. “Could you get me some water?”

Jungkook looked up quickly, entirely too alert for Namjoon’s current state of mind. He just wanted to lie down and sleep for a year. “Yeah, sure.” He put his phone in his pocket and marched off towards the kitchen. Namjoon stumbled into his room and managed to get his shirt and swim trunks off before Jungkook walked in and squeaked.

“Oh right. This is, like, weird,” Namjoon chuckled and pulled a pair of boxers on. “Sorry about that. I’m decent. Kind of.”

Jungkook took his hand tentatively off his eyes and then handed Namjoon his water. Even in the low light with all his senses muddled and spinning, he could see the bright red in Jungkook’s cheeks and the way his eyes roamed down Namjoon’s bare chest. Even though he’d been shirtless all evening, the tension felt different.

He drank the entire glass, head spinning and stomach protesting, and Jungkook took the glass and walked off to refill it. Namjoon collapsed back against the mattress and closed his eyes.

“Okay, you’ve got water,” Jungkook’s voice brought him back, “And there’s aspirin and a trashcan. I can… I guess I can stay if you really need it. Are you going to be okay?”

Namjoon tugged him down onto the bed, wrapping his arms around him and squeezing, Jungkook’s hair soft against his neck. “Are either of us going to be okay? Are we a team yet?” Jungkook tensed up, crushed up against Namjoon’s chest, palms tentatively flattening out, fingers brushing softly over his ribs. “Are we the best team in the world, Jungkook?”

“N-no, we’re not,” he said, voice shaky. His breath came hot and fast across Namjoon’s shoulder.

“I know. It’s fucking scary.”

“We’re at least good enough to win this tournament coming up, right?”

Namjoon sighed, the alcohol warping his expectations into something rather nightmarish that involved missing every single serve and bombing out in two quick sets of utter humiliation. “We should be, I think. Maybe.”

Jungkook pulled his head away from Namjoon’s chest looking ruffled, his hair all over his forehead. “I’m trying Namjoon. I promise I’m trying.”

Namjoon hugged him tighter. “It’s not you, Jungkook. You’re a fantastic player. Like, Olympic level. You’re doing good. It’s the teamwork that isn’t…Olympic level yet. We’re supposed to get that over time, but we don’t have time, so it’s kinda whatever happens happens at this point, you know? We’ll go there and play our best game and be the best team we can be, and hopefully we’ll have progressed far enough by that point that the US federation will give us a chance. It’s not a giant tournament anyway. The competition won’t be that challenging.”

“Oh. That doesn’t sound so bad then,” Jungkook said weakly.

“We’re gonna be okay,” Namjoon said, rubbing circles between Jungkook’s shoulders absently. The room felt dark and heavily quiet, and his limbs felt so heavy he wondered how he wasn’t crushing Jungkook. He was strong though. Those muscles, the ones he could feel through the thin fabric of his shirt, warm and hard. He could handle it.

“I should go home,” Jungkook said quietly.

“No,” Namjoon said, “You’re so cuddly.”

Jungkook laughed softly, hands curling gently against his chest. For a moment, everything was warm and quiet, Jungkook’s breath tickling over his skin, the scent of chlorine coming off his hair. Then he sat up, easily shrugging off Namjoon’s heavy arms, which flopped down beside him on the bed.

“Now I’m cold.”

“Pull your blankets up or something.”

“My arms are too heavy. I can’t move them.”

Jungkook threw the blankets up over him. “You gonna be okay here alone?”

“Oh please. I’d need at least six more beers before you should be worried. You can go home if you’re not gonna cuddle.”

Namjoon didn’t have his eyes open to see, but he heard him murmur something and then the front door opened and closed. His slight disappointment lasted only until he fell asleep.

Chapter Text

They didn’t see much of Cincinnati when they got there, just the inside of a taxi, and then hotel rooms, and then another taxi, and then they arrived at the tournament arena. Moment of truth. Here they cemented their reputation as the new team, for better or worse. Either the US got excited, or mocked them relentlessly for hiring a kid.

Jungkook had been almost silent since the moment Namjoon had met him to take him to the airport until now, earphones in, head down, brooding. Namjoon would have tried to get him to relax before he thought himself into a rut, but he’d been doing the same thing.

They had two days of pool play before the brackets began. Unsurprisingly, Namjoon felt eyes from all over the arena directed at their team as they set up for their first match. He was, after all, the reigning gold medalist at the first tournament he’d shown up for in months, and there were plenty of American teams here hoping to sneak in and become contenders for Rio.

Jungkook posture stayed carefully relaxed, blasé. He looked like he belonged there. Namjoon knew him well enough to know he was putting up a front.

“Need to do some backflips?” Namjoon asked.

He shook his head. “Way too flashy.”

“What did I tell you? People are watching you at these things.”

“This is not the first tournament I’ve been to, you know. I’ve been doing these same things for years.”

Of course. How else would he have gained enough skill and experience for the federation to put him with Namjoon. “Right. I’m an idiot.”

Jungkook snorted. “You’ve seen me play, right?”

Namjoon smiled. “That’s the spirit. Let’s kick some ass.”

They destroyed the first Canadian team they went up against, but honestly, most teams would have been able to. Nevertheless, it was a good morale booster for Jungkook, and Namjoon got a lot out of watching him play to the crowd, subtle masculine power in the way he tore around the sand, fierce energy revving the audience up to screaming. After the match, they met coach and Seokjin, of all people, at the edge of the stands.

“You really think showing your face here is a good idea after you turned me down?” Namjoon said, advancing threateningly.

Seokjin put his hands over his face and started slinking away, giggling.

“And for what? Your wife?”

“She’s pregnant!” Seokjin said, “I’m gonna be a dad!” Namjoon could only watch him grin and bounce up and down for a few seconds before he gave up on anger and pulled him in for a hug instead.

“Congrats, man. That’s awesome. Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl yet?”

Seokjin shook his head. “We’ll know soon. Great game, by the way. Who’s your teammate?”

“Jungkook Jeon.”

“Oh I’ve heard of you!” Seokjin said, looking every bit as excited to meet Jungkook as Jungkook looked meeting him. “You’re the awesome new guy that everyone keeps talking about!”

“Seokjin Kim. Wow,” he sounded a little breathless, eyes very wide, “Nice to meet you. What about people talking about me?”

“People say that its perfect that Namjoon was the one to finally pick you up, because he started super young too. It’s a perfect match.”

Jungkook glanced at Namjoon nervously as he said “Really? Namjoon didn’t think so.”

Seokjin gave him a very stern look, putting his hands protectively on Jungkook’s shoulders. “Rude, Namjoon. This guy is awesome. He’s been the buzz for years. Did you think you were too good for him or something?”

“Uh.”

Seokjin shook his head and turned back to Jungkook. “Don’t worry about him. He’s hopeless, and he never pays attention.”

“You’re an asshole,” Namjoon said.

Seokjin didn’t even look at him. He said “Come meet my wife!” and then led Jungkook away before Namjoon could remind them that he and Jungkook had another match in a half hour and needed to prepare.

“Let him go,” Coach said, “He’s young. He doesn’t need to keep warmed up in the same way you do, and hanging out with Seokjin will keep his nerves down. Some media person wants to talk to you, by the way, you and Jungkook.”

“Can we do it later?”

Coach sighed. “If you want to, but he’ll keep bugging me.”

“Suck it up.”

Jungkook had fans by the next time they made it out on the court. Maybe more people had looked him up when they saw that Namjoon’s teammate suddenly wasn’t Yoongi, but people definitely knew who he was. They cheered when he stepped out on the court, and he smiled brightly and waved up at the stands, holding up his phone and taking a picture of the crowd.

They won their first set easily, but halfway into the next set, the other team threw a fit about Jungkook needing a footfall on a serve. The ref asked Jungkook if he had stepped on the line, and Jungkook very honestly said he had no idea. The other team screamed. Jungkook looked like a deer caught in the headlights. The ref switched the points, giving the other team a three-point lead.

Jungkook re-served right into the net. Four-point lead. The other team shrieked, and Namjoon turned to find Jungkook looking furious with himself.

“No big deal,” he said, offering Jungkook a casual high five. “They know it's weird as fuck that they’re ahead. We got this.”

They started serving at Jungkook. Jungkook expected it and remained on alert, eyeing empty spaces in the court out of the corner of his eye, primed to run in whichever direction he needed to. Though they closed the gap to a two-point deficit, they lost the set. Jungkook stood on the sidelines, glaring at the sand and jumping up and down, shaking his hands out.

“Backflips?” Namjoon asked.

“Need a hug?” Jungkook responded.

“For this? Nah. I’m not worried. We barely lost that last set.”

“Then I’m not worried either.”

“You look worried. Do backflips if you need to.”

Jungkook shook his head again, eyes trained on the opposing team across the court. “I’m good.”

Game point for the first two sets is twenty-one, but for the third set, game point is at fifteen. If both teams reach game point at the same time, the other team must score twice in a row to win, so if one team is at fifteen in the third set, and the other gets fifteen, the first team must score sixteen, and then seventeen to cinch the win. They went to twenty-one again in the final set, a full ten points and a final time-out longer than they should have before they managed a harrowing win.

Jungkook looked disoriented and wild-eyed as they left the court. Namjoon took a few seconds to breath in relief, and by the time he looked up, the distressed and distracted Jungkook had gotten pulled into a conversation with a short man holding a camera and a notebook.

“Hi. Who are you?” Namjoon said.

“Namjoon,” Jungkook whined, sounding tired and unhappy, “This guy says he’s, uh…”

“I’m a writer for a North-Eastern beach volleyball magazine. Your coach said you’d be free to do an interview with me. I’m afraid I’m on a very tight schedule, so would you mind doing it now, just quickly?”

Namjoon got warning bells. Most journalists were much more accommodating and direct, but if this guy had an agenda, refusing him might just give him ammunition. Namjoon looked questioningly at Jungkook, who just shrugged.

“Yeah, we can do that. We’re on a tight schedule too, though, so we might have to leave fairly soon.” A lie, but they needed a way out.

“Let’s sit down somewhere.”

They shuffled into a small seating area indoors, the standard coffee table and old chairs under florescent lights with a sad old plant in the corner.

“So Jungkook, the magazine has been following your story for a couple years now. Do you remember Lindsay?”

Namjoon worried he wouldn’t, but Jungkook sat up straighter with a little bit of a smile. “She’s the blonde woman with the volleyball tattooed on her arm, right?”

The journalist looked a little disappointed. “Yup, that’s her.”

“She’s great! Yeah, I’ve done three interviews with her. She was the first person who ever interviewed me.”

“Great! Yeah, she’s written some great articles about you. We’ve never gotten to interview you before, Namjoon. It’s good to finally get a word in.”

Subtle jab at how aloof Namjoon was known for being. “Thanks. You too.”

“We’ll start with you then.” He placed his phone, ominously recording, down on the coffee table and popped his notebook open. “What is working with a new partner like after twelve years with Yoongi Min?”

Heavy already. “It’s, well, it’s different, obviously. Yoongi’s been with me since the beginning, so I got very used to his style and working with him, so getting a new partner meant learning to play the game a little differently. It’s been a good switch up, I think.”

“Jungkook, in your previous interviews you mentioned being a big fan of Namjoon, even considering him a personal idol of yours. What’s it like to work with him now?”

Jungkook flushed red again, eyes flicking nervously to Namjoon and then away. Namjoon wondered if he’d started blushing too. He’d begun picking at the hem of his shorts. “It’s, um, it’s nerve wracking? It’s a lot of pressure.”

“Is the pressure too much to handle sometimes?”

He shrugged. “I have bad days sometimes where I can’t stop tripping over myself, but they’re getting rarer.”

That was a yes if he’d ever heard one, which only made him feel guilty.

“So you’ve had to show Namjoon your backflip routine?” the journalist said.

“More than once. Yes.”

“Will you show off those backflips for us at some point in this tournament?”

“Oh man, I hope I don’t have to.”

“Namjoon, back to you for a minute. This young man has quite the reputation for being a fire-cracker on the court and a real team player even though he’s fairly inexperienced, while Yoongi has been described as focused and unflappable if a bit short-tempered. Which have you preferred? Yoongi or Jungkook?”

Namjoon laughed. “It is entirely too early to say.”

“Well do you wish Yoongi were still your partner?”

“Of course I do. I wish he could walk too.” Namjoon hoped the way Jungkook’s knee stopped twitching meant that he’d begun to feel the tension and not that he took that personally. “Jungkook is excellent, but I never wanted Yoongi to retire like that.”

“Well, Jungkook, I’m sure you understand how tragic that was, but surely you have to see it as opportunity.”

Namjoon wanted to smack him.

“Not at all,” Jungkook said, still cheerful, but now a little confused. “I was always going to end up on a top team. Namjoon is a great partner, but I would have had the opportunity one way or another. I’d much rather see Yoongi back on the court than get to the Olympics four years earlier than I expected to.”

And now the interviewer could spin him into a cocky shit if he wanted to.

“You’ve met Yoongi?”

“We’re close friends.”

“How does he feel about you replacing him?”

“He calls me his legacy.”

“But he’s not here supporting you both today, I noticed.”

“Because he can’t walk,” Jungkook said as Namjoon said “He’s fucking injured you piece of shit.” Jungkook jumped, glancing at Namjoon in alarm.

There was a tense moment of silence.

“Let’s change the subject. I understand why that would be touchy for you.”

Namjoon sat back to fill his lungs so he could gather the air to sustain the bitching this guy was about to get. Jungkook’s bare foot tapped gently against the outside of his own foot, soothing, and Namjoon’s indignation deflated down to a simmering boil. He let the air out slowly.

“I’ve heard a lot about hopes for you two in Rio?”

“Yes.”

“But one of the qualifications is that you must have competed in at least twelve FIVB volleyball tournaments in the past year. Once this tournament is over, you will have been in one, not twelve.”

“Yoongi and I completed eleven before the accident.”

“But this is a different team than that one.”

“The federation has already spoken with the Olympic committee and gotten us cleared to compete, should the US decide to send us, defined as the same team with one player replaced due to injury.”

“Ah yes, should the US decide to send you. Has it occurred to you that that’s cheating? Bending the rules of qualification to keep you in the games this year?”

“The Olympic committee certainly didn’t see it that way.”

“Is it fair then? Some people are saying the Committee ignored the rules to push you through only because your face is money, regardless of who your teammate is, or if you have any real chance at winning. Would it be fair for the US to send you when your absence from these games could, instead, be an opportunity to let other, more established US teams in the door?”

Namjoon figured it wasn’t appropriate to respond with ‘I don’t give a shit about other teams,’ so he said, “That’ll be up to the US federation to determine.”

“Jungkook, what do you think?”

Jungkook looked like he’d never considered how fair it was, and that his first instinct was to think it wasn’t fair at all, eyes wide, eyebrows drawn together, his lips pursed. “I think, if they send us in, it’ll be because they think we’ll have the best chance at representing the US. And that’s an opportunity I’m happy I have.”

“That’s idealistic, because that was a pretty rocky performance out there from you, kid. Most people think you have no chance of saving Namjoon’s medal, and if they choose this team, people are going to get very angry.”

Jungkook swallowed heavily.

“Namjoon, do you think this team is currently ready for the Olympics?”

“No, but it will be.”

The journalist raised his eyebrows.

“This is a terribly constructed interview. I’m sure you’ve gotten exactly what you wanted, but it sucked.”

“Thanks,” asshole journalist said, “That’ll really help you out when I write it.”

“Write what you want, fucker.”

“Can’t keep your temper without Yoongi around?”

“Yoongi’s the one with the fucking temper!”

“Let’s go,” Jungkook said quietly, standing.

Namjoon followed him out, seething.

“Where’s the fucking coach,” Namjoon snarled. Jungkook silently led him back up into the stands.

“How’d it go?” coach asked.

“How did you fucking clear that guy? Do you have no fucking judgment? Such an asshole. We’re gonna be big time villains by the time Rio rolls around, I can already tell.”

“Yeah, we already knew that. He was that bad, huh?”

Jungkook nodded slowly.

Namjoon realized that that magazine had probably been one of Jungkook’s biggest media allies before this. If they’d interviewed him more than once the betrayal had to hurt. He pulled Jungkook down onto the bench and wrapped an arm around his shoulders. Jungkook leaned tentatively into his side, oddly tense. “We’re not cheating are we?”

“Not if the Olympics committee says we’re not.” Lots of people would disagree.

 

The next day, they lost two sets to one in their first game.

“I’m sorry,” Jungkook said afterwards.

“Sometimes you lose,” Namjoon said, “It’s just pool play. Don’t worry about it.”

“I can’t…focus.”

“Is it about the interview yesterday?”

“It’s about you.”

“What?”

“Nothing. Forget it.”

“You sure?”

“I’m not talking about it right now. We have one more game in a half hour, and I’m trying to get my head in the right place.”

“You’ll be fine.”

“I’m not fine.”

“You’re better than that team, Jungkook. You could beat them on your own on a good day. You’ve gotta get out of your head. What’s the problem?”

“Nothing. Let’s just play.”

The opposing team got an ace on the first serve. It hit the top of the net, changed course, and Jungkook dove but couldn’t save it. They never recovered.

At the beginning of the next set, Namjoon put a hand on Jungkook’s back as he panted. “Backflips?”

Jungkook shook his head. He was shaking miserably.

“Will it matter if we lose?”

“I’ll be honest. Everything matters, because the main thing we’re trying to do here is prove that we’re consistent winners. Losing to teams like this does not look good.”

“Fuck. Now I’m more nervous.”

Maybe he should have lied. “You can do it, Jungkook,” he laughed a little, “You’re really good at this. You know that. Stop panicking.”

“Okay. Okay. I can do this.”

“Yeah, you can. We’ve beat Hoseok and Taehyung before, and they’re Olympians. These guys have never gotten anywhere. You’re really good at this.”

They started well, and then halfway through, Jungkook dove for a ball and it popped right back up and smacked Namjoon in the face. Namjoon snickered and dropped the ball on Jungkook’s head where he lay, sighing, with his face in the sand.

Someone in the audience yelled “Get off the court, rookie!” and threw a Coke cup out of the stands.

“Fuckin’…” Namjoon helped Jungkook up off the sand, took one look at his burning face, and pulled him in for a quick hug. “Unnecessary.”

The asshole didn’t let up. Jungkook struggled, knocking balls wild and spiking out of bounds. Namjoon wanted to smack the shit out of the guy in the stands.

Namjoon called a timeout early in the second set. “Stop listening to him. Seriously.”

Jungkook nodded. “He doesn’t know shit,” he said miserably.

They lost. Badly. The last time Namjoon had lost like that, he’d been drunk, and his opponents had been a team of Brazilians, the current world champions. The other, far inferior team was beside themselves, because really, that was ridiculous. Jungkook shook hands with them like it was the last thing he ever wanted to do, and then walked quickly off the court. Namjoon followed.

“Jungkook, what the fuck was that? You can’t let assholes get into your head like that. There’ll be one at every game.”

Jungkook didn’t look at him. “I know. It’s not normally a problem.”

They walked into an empty dressing room, and Jungkook threw his bag down on a bench and headed towards the bathroom.

“Wait a minute. Get back here. We need to talk.”

Jungkook sighed sharply through his nose and turned around. “Do we? I suck. I’m just some kid that can’t handle all the fucking pressure. Being on your team was a terrible idea. They should send someone else to Rio. Everyone knows it, and it's my fault.” His voice shook a little.

“Prove them wrong! You can’t let shit like that get in your head. Geez, you’re such a kid.”

“I’m not! Stop calling me that! I hate it when you call me that!”

“Stop acting like you’ve never been in a tournament before! I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with someone who can’t keep it together.”

Jungkook ran both his hands through his hair, shutting his eyes. “This is not me! I wouldn’t have this problem, but it’s, like, it’s you! You’re fucking Namjoon, and I’ve, I don’t know, I’ve looked up to you my whole life, and now your next gold medal depends on if I can get my shit together, and I fucking can’t because I’m so worried that I’ll screw up. It’s fucking frustrating. Every time I fuck up in front of you I panic. You—your career is so important to me.”

“So it is me? This is my fault?”

“No! It’s me! Please!” Jungkook folded in on himself, flinching. “I just I feel like nothing next to you.”

Namjoon hadn’t meant it like that. He’d meant to confirm that it was their faulty relationship, not imply that Jungkook was blaming him. Jungkook looked like he was about to cry. Namjoon ached to hold him.

“I’m sorry,” Jungkook said miserably.

“No. Please don’t be.”

Jungkook looked younger when he was angry. He looked better when he smiled, older and self-assured, cheerful and beautiful. Namjoon stepped forward, one hand cupping the side of Jungkook’s face, maybe to reassure him, and Jungkook’s wide, wet eyes met his, his hands came up and gripped his shirt. Something clicked. Namjoon kissed him.

Their lips met for one long, frozen second, fizzling with mounting adrenaline, and then Jungkook gasped quietly and tensed, lips parting, hands sliding up Namjoon’s back till they met his shoulder blades. His head tilted back, lips sweet and soft even as his strong arms squeezed the air from Namjoon’s lungs, trembling. Jungkook quick breathes felt like panic and he kept pressing up closer, from his chest all way down to his thighs, to where his shoulders molded tight inside Namjoon’s, crushing in like he wished Namjoon would envelop him.

Namjoon felt the rush of addiction setting in as clearly as if he’d drunk it, sweet and deliciously forbidden. Jungkook hung on for dear life, gripping Namjoon’s jersey as his hand slid into his hair, the other around his waist, tongue deep and demanding. He moaned quick and quiet against Namjoon’s tongue, gasping between kisses. Namjoon felt sand in his soft hair, all that hard muscle beneath his thin shirt that made him forget he was still eighteen, legal, but barely. Eighteen. Still in high school. If someone walked in right now—

He froze up. Jungkook pulled away, holding his breath, lips red, and they stared at each other. Jungkook looked so young. He let go quickly and stepped towards the door.

“Namjoon,” Jungkook breathed as Namjoon slipped out of his arms, the room tilting wildly. Jungkook grabbed the back of his shirt and stumbled into him, his arms circling him as he clung on, his head against the back of Namjoon’s shoulder. “Please, please, please don’t just leave me here after that.” His voice shook.

Namjoon’s wanted to go curl up in bed and hide. He wanted to turn around and kiss Jungkook till he couldn’t think anymore. He would have just brushed it off as a reflex reaction, since his knee-jerk response was nearly always affection or flirting, except for the way his heart was pounding and his lips felt numb.

He turned, got one look at Jungkook’s wild expression, demanding and desperately hopeful, and lurched forward, but stopped himself, just knocking their foreheads together. “I don’t know why I did that. I shouldn’t have done that.”

Jungkook gripped tighter. “Don’t say that. Please don’t.”

“You’re my teammate, and we’re having a big enough struggle with our dynamic anyway. You’re eighteen!

“I think we both wanted that, so maybe that’s why. You wanted that, right? That wasn’t just me?”

Namjoon backed off again, just enough distance to look Jungkook in the face. “You’ve got a crush on me, right? Big fan crush? How young were you when you started to?”

Jungkook shied abruptly away, backing up a few steps and reaching for his bag.

“Fuck. How long, Jungkook?”

Jungkook gave him a side-eye. “You’re the one who kissed me. I never wanted you to know about—Never mind. I’m not saying anything.”

“This is the real reason why you trip up so much around me, isn’t it?”

Jungkook brushed past him and left him there alone in the locker room with a horrible craving for soft lips and Jungkook’s skin under his hands.

 

Coach got them started warming up before the first match of the tournament the next day, pacing back and forth beside them. “What’s up with you two today? You’re so quiet.”

Neither of them answered.

“Okay. Well. I hate to lay this on you, but the pressure is up. You two haven’t been doing too well. There are three US teams that are currently in better standings than you. The federation is looking for consistency, so in order to keep your spot in Rio, you can’t lose another match. You absolutely have to win this thing.”

Namjoon glanced nervously at Jungkook. Who was stretching out his quads with an exercise band and not looking at Namjoon. If Jungkook lost them any matches today, Namjoon would have no one to blame but himself for screwing with his head.

Namjoon had slept poorly and dreamed of Jungkook flat out refusing to play because he wanted to sit down and talk things out instead. Jungkook showed no signs of talking about anything though, or even really talking. He gave Namjoon none of his usual nervous under-the-lashes glances as they walked towards their first match, shoulders squared, chin up, the subtle edge of a grin pulling at his lips and crinkling the corners of his eyes.

Namjoon took a few deep breaths, jumping up and down and shaking his hands nervously. That gold medal had never felt so ready to slip away.

“Need a hug, granddad?” Jungkook said, and Namjoon jumped a little. Jungkook was smirking at him.

“Fuck no. We got this.”

Jungkook nodded.

They lost the first set, but they were so close all the way up that they had to play to twenty-five points instead of twenty-one before anyone won the match point.

As they left the court, someone in the audience yelled “You’re in the wrong league! Go back to high school!”

“I’ll be right back,” Jungkook said, and walked back towards the net. Namjoon took a long sip of water and watched Jungkook do a line of back-handsprings in the sand. The crowd cheered.

They won the next set, and by the final fifteen points, Jungkook was serving aces and making spectacular diving saves all over the court.

“Which fucking elixir did you drink?” Namjoon asked.

“Your mom’s pussy.”

“Fuck. Bet that was traumatizing.”

Jungkook laughed, then scored the winning point, one quick snap of his arm and the ball sailed into the back corner, right out of reach of their opponent’s diving fingers.

Coach met them, cackling with glee, as they left the court. “Namjoon, they’re going to start calling you the weak link. You were off your game today. Kookie, where did that come from?”

“I said fuck the trophy and just had fun.”

“Wow. Good run. I don’t appreciate the “fuck the trophy” part, but hey, if it works for you, I’ll take it.”

As they prepared for the next match, Jungkook slid over next to him on the bench looking smug.

“What?”

“You gonna be okay for this game? Got your shit together?”

“Oh shut up. I’ve been doing fine.”

“You’ve been doing okay,” Jungkook giggled. “You don’t fuck up as bad as I do, but you’re not doing well. Something, uh, bothering you?”

“Yup.”

Jungkook nodded, looking sympathetic, then patted him harshly on the back. “Get over it. Don’t make me lose my first professional tournament. I want gold”

Namjoon stared in disbelief at his back. He looked terribly pleased with himself. Namjoon got flashbacks of Yoongi calling him an idiot and goading him out of his funks back when they first started out.

“Oh fuck off,” he muttered, and Jungkook giggled and gave him a smile over his shoulder. “What’s gotten into you?”

“Just had a good day yesterday.”

Losing two matches and then the confusing shit in the locker room? Was just kissing him a good day? Was it the fact that Namjoon kissed him first? Namjoon felt a horrible happy warmth in his chest. The fucking eighteen-year-old was giving him butterflies.

In their next match, Namjoon stumbled in the second set, tripping over his feet and letting the ball glance off his arm and out of bounds. Jungkook snickered and said, “Need a cane?” and after that, Namjoon didn’t even care about the other team anymore. It was all about who could play the game better.

After they won and went on to the quarter finals, the coach pulled them aside.

“You ignored our strategy.”

Namjoon and Jungkook looked sheepishly at each other. “We improvised.”

“I know. I saw you. I know what you were doing. Just know that competing against each other will get you a loss against teams better than that one. Take that attitude and use it on the other team. And follow my strategy.”

“Yeah, okay.”

During the quarter-final match the next day, the crowd finally grudgingly got on their side, the boos mostly drowned out by cheers. It would be hard not to, with Jungkook dancing whenever he fought particularly hard for a point. He flashed smiles that could capture any young woman’s attention, hair swept sweaty off his face, breathing heavily in the sun.

Oh yeah, and the twelve-year reigning Olympic champion was on the court too.

On the match point of their second set, someone called Jungkook a fuckboy, and Namjoon turned around to see Jungkook laugh out loud, and then serve an ace for match point, ball crashing right between the two opponents as they tried to figure out who’s ball it was. They’d be in play for the semifinals in the afternoon.

Jungkook was still mystifyingly quiet off the court, but his eyes stayed on Namjoon longer than they usually did, hesitant and hopeful. Sometimes he nudged Namjoon with his shoulder or his toe, just to get his attention for a moment. “What?”

Jungkook smiled. “Nothing.”

“We’re not out of the woods yet, and they still might not choose us.”

Jungkook shrugged. “I’m having fun. I know I’m getting into the Olympics sometime. Doesn’t have to be this year.”

“Jungkook, what the fuck are—”

He snickered. “I’m kidding, bro. I know it's important to you. We’re playing awesome. Don’t get freaked out.”

“Look who’s talking!”

“I’m feeling good about the last two matches.”

“Two—” he huffed, “You don’t know that yet.”

“You are not handling this the right way. Cheer up.”

“I don’t think you care enough. Let me raise the stakes for you a little. If we get selected, I will dye my hair blond that day and keep it like that until after Rio.”

“Whoa, what?” Jungkook sat up straighter, eyes bugging. “You will? You’d do that?”

“Well, I was thinking about doing it anyway for Yoongi since he used to do that for big competitions before he went blonde all the time.”

Jungkook smiled. “That’s awesome. Do it.”

“If we get selected. Step up your game.”

They won the semi-finals match easily, but the finals match got tense, mostly because Namjoon had begun to taste Olympic gold, and after they lost the second set, Namjoon swallowed his reservations and spent the entire break hugging Jungkook tightly as they talked strategy. Jungkook giggled and hugged back, which Yoongi had never done, preferring to stand stoically and grumble as he tried to get to his water bottle around Namjoon’s head.

When the tournament ended, they stood on top of the podium, and could only hope the committee selecting the teams would overlook their inconsistency in the face of their flashy wins and Namjoon’s record. “You keep that,” Namjoon said, handing him the trophy, “This one is definitely yours.”

Jungkook made Namjoon take a picture of him with his beautiful, soft lips pressed to the top. His mouth went dry.

“Time to hit the bar?” Coach asked.

“We should stay in to get drunk. Jungkook’s eighteen.”

“Oh right. Well we can’t drink here then. Too risky, especially while we’re still trying to get you both into Rio. We’ll have to wait to get home.”

Jungkook shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got plenty of people at home I need to call anyway, Yoongi included. Go get drunk. I’ll be fine.”

 

Namjoon figured out that going out was the wrong decision about two hours too late—after Seokjin and his wife had gone home, and after coach’s stories had stopped making any sense. He sat at the bar as Coach rambled beside him and imagined Jungkook quietly alone in his hotel room with the TV on and his phone in his hands. He should go back there with a case of beer and get fucking wasted with Jungkook and the trophy. Maybe kiss him again.

Dangerous thoughts to be having about a teammate. An endearing, talented, sexy, incredibly young teammate. He had no idea where they stood now that the competition was over.

He and Yoongi had filled their first trophy with beer and played drinking games. With Jungkook, he was thinking more along the line of body shots.

“Welp,” Coach said, and Namjoon sat up a little straighter, “We’ve got a plane to catch tomorrow, so I’m walking back to the hotel. Coming with?”

“I’m gonna get another drink.”

“Really? Alone?”

“I’m thinking about things.”

“Don’t hurt yourself.”

As soon as coach left, he turned walked another two blocks down the street into a gay bar, found the hottest guy who looked like he wouldn’t give a shit come morning, and took him back to the hotel. As they snuck quietly into his room, Namjoon realized he was more interested in hiding from Jungkook than hiding from Coach. He abandoned that train of thought before he started considering why.

After the stranger fell asleep in his bed, and Namjoon had thrown the nasty washcloth in the trashcan along with his condom, he lay awake for a while and hoped Jungkook had been too asleep to hear anything. Though he had done this a thousand times before, and he and Jungkook were by no means obligated to each other, he felt weirdly guilty.

 

“Oh shit! Sorry, I thought this was someone else’s room.” That was Jungkook’s voice. “I’m sorry.”

Namjoon fought to fall back asleep.

“It’s not my room. I was just leaving. You’re probably in the right place. Can you move?”

Namjoon brain blared in alarm, and he sat up and rolled off the bed.

“It’s someone…what?”

“This is not my room. I’m leaving. The guy you’re looking for is probably here. Please move.”

“Skipping out on me?” Namjoon said sleepily, pulling a pair of boxers on.

The guy turned around. He was definitely hot, just not the sort of hot Namjoon usually went for. He looked young, twenty-four at the oldest. He raised an eyebrow. Drunk Namjoon had weird taste.

“I’m leaving. I think this kid’s looking for you. You’re not getting my number.”

“I don’t want your number. Have a nice day. Jungkook, what are you doing here? It’s 7:30.”

Jungkook quietly held up his phone, eyes straying up and down Namjoon’s body. He hoped he didn’t have too many hickeys. “The plane got rescheduled to leave an hour later. I thought you’d already be up because we were supposed to leave pretty soon, so I was going to come tell you since you didn’t answer Coach’s text.”

“Oh. Well. I usually get up ten minutes before I have to leave, so thanks. I’ll reset my alarm.”

“It smells like sex in here.”

“There’s a reason for that.”

Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed. He stood quietly for a moment, looking lost and hurt. “Okay,” he murmured, “I’m gonna go.”

“I’ll see you in, like, an hour, I guess.”

“Yeah.” He left.

Namjoon swore softly and flopped back on the bed.

 

They didn’t really talk again for a week. Practice went back to being awkward, and Jungkook went back to struggling around Namjoon, except now Namjoon knew why. Jungkook looked at his lips a lot. He never came over to play games anymore.

It didn’t help that he kept staying awake at night wondering what Jungkook was doing, if he was asleep yet, if he was thinking about him.

Yoongi was beginning to walk more. He could make it from the living room into the kitchen and back again without too much pain and was trying to convince his mother that that meant she could go home. “You’d take care of me, right Namjoon?” he asked, his face in the fridge one room away.

“Of course I would.”

“Jungkook could help. You two could come live here. Sleepovers every night.”

“Jungkook’s gone back to being weird with me.”

“Was he ever not weird with you?”

Namjoon sighed. “During the tournament for a couple days he was really, like, comfortable around me. That’s why we won all those games. I was being weird, but he was fine.”

“Why? What happened?”

“Nothing happened.”

“Why were you being weird with him then?”

“No reason.”

“Namjoon.” Yoongi limp-stomped back into the room and leaned over the back of the couch. “What. Did. You. Do.”

“Ugh. I kissed him! Okay? I did that thing you told me not to do!”

Yoongi gaped for a full ten seconds before shrieking, “For crying out loud, he’s eighteen! Don’t play with his emotions! You could get arrested!”

“He’s legal”

“’Legal’ is a very low bar!”

“He’s—ugh.” Namjoon put his face in his hands. “Are we really going into this?”

“You just told me you kissed your new eighteen-year-old teammate. He’s still in high school! I want to know exactly why you thought that was a good idea before I bring him in for damage control.”

“Damage control? Fuck you!”

“I did not,” he stuck a finger in Namjoon’s face, “Slog through thirteen years of growth, training, medals, losses, getting wasted at 2 a.m., and dealing with dumb coaches with you to watch you bomb out of the Olympics because you couldn’t keep your dick out of a high-schooler. Why. Did. You. Kiss. Him.”

“I wanted to. He was there, and I felt like I had to.”

Yoongi’s eyes narrowed dangerously. “What?”

“I don’t know? He was upset. I kissed him without thinking about it. I wanna do it again.”

“You are twenty-eight, Namjoon. Control your fucking impulses.”

“Oh shut up. Jungkook makes me remember why I love playing volleyball, or why I used to. And he’s just…he’s Jungkook. He’s strong and hot, but super cute. I know he’s young, and it's weird. I’m not just trying to get laid, Yoongi. I’ve been fighting this for weeks. He’s perfect.”

“How did he react?”

“I think,” he took a deep breath, “I think he’s had a crush on me for years.”

“Yup.”

“So he was really into it.”

Yoongi came around the couch and sat down. “He told me he liked you. I was hoping he’d get over that. Think of it this way. He’s going to the Olympics with his idol who he’s obsessed with romantically. His wildest dreams have come true. But you were so mean at first. You’re a dick. Why’s he gone back to being weird?”

“He caught some random guy leaving my room a couple nights later.”

Yoongi gaped at him. “You fucker.”

“Why? It’s awkward, but I do that a lot. I was drunk, and it didn’t seem like a big deal.”

“I’m betting he took it as a very obvious sign that either he isn’t special in any kind of way to you, are you’d rather have other people.”

“I know.”

“Fuck you. Fix it. That poor kid.”

“How?”

“I don’t know,” Yoongi said, throwing his hands up off the couch and nearly falling over. “I’m not your life coach. Tell him you’re sorry and it’ll never happen again and he needs to find someone his own age.”

“I want it to happen again.”

“Namjoon, just,” he walked back into the kitchen, “Don’t fuck your life up over this.”

 

Coach called off their next practice early. “Jungkook, if you keep playing like this, I hope we don’t go to Rio. What happened to Cincinnati, huh? I want to train that guy. What happened to him?”

Jungkook just pulled his snapback forward over his face, grabbed his stuff and stomped off. Namjoon followed.

“Jungkook we need to fix this.”

Jungkook deflated a little, angry shoulders slumping. “I know.”

“My place or yours?”

He stopped and considered, staring out at the ocean, obviously avoiding things for a few more moments. “Yours. Mine’s a mess. Now?”

“Now would be good.”

He took a deep sigh, and then nodded. “I’ll meet you there.”

Jungkook showed up in regular clothes—which was always jarring—just a white t-shirt and ripped-up jeans, a beanie on his head. He looked painfully juvenile with his legs pulled up on the couch.

“I’ll start,” Namjoon said as soon as Jungkook settled, “I’m sorry.”

Jungkook looked immediately on edge. “Sorry about what part of it?”

“For hooking up with some guy before I worked shit out with you, I guess.”

Jungkook relaxed. “It’s okay. Not my business. Do what you want.”

“It was stupid.”

“I can handle it.”

“You haven’t been.”

Jungkook was silent. Then he grabbed a pillow and smashed his face into it, groaning. Namjoon snorted. “You okay there, dude?”

His eyes appeared above the edge of the pillow, his hat knocked awkwardly askew on his head. So unfairly adorable. “No offense,” he said, “But I wish I wasn’t on your team. It’s bad for my health. And my career. I’m kind of a huge fan. I couldn’t keep it together for a while when they put me with you because I was so nervous.”

“Has it been better or worse than you expected?”

“Immeasurably worse. I lost weight for a few weeks after we teamed up. I couldn’t sleep. I could barely move around you. I was so star-struck. I don’t know how I spoke to you. I feel like I’ve constantly looked like an idiot since we met.”

“I’m sorry,” Namjoon murmured, “You’re a great player. You deserve better.”

“You kissed me, so it was all kind of worth it.”

Namjoon tried not to smile. He couldn’t let them do this. “You’re really in deep aren’t you?”

Jungkook nodded shyly.

“How long have you liked me? Will you tell me?”

He frowned. “It’s embarrassing. Would you kiss me again?”

“I shouldn’t.”

“I’m too young?”

“It’s risky for both our careers, mostly because you’re too young.”

“That’s valid,” Jungkook said, defeated.

Namjoon let it hang there for a moment, that awkward “what if,” that their relationship stood on, tipping slowly back towards the safe and unsatisfying edge. Namjoon lost the fight. He pushed it the other way. “I want to though.”

Jungkook stared at him for a moment with those wide eyes. “You do?”

“Yeah.”

He waited. Jungkook fidgeted. “Namjoon, I’ve,” he stared hard at the corner of the coffee table, “I’ve wanted this for years. You’re my ideal. I watched all your tournaments, all your interviews. I was—am—so attracted to you. I know it's shallow and embarrassing, but I’ve been obsessed with you my whole life, and you have no idea how it felt when you kissed me. I’m… fuck. I’m sorry if I’m creepy. Just, please don’t mess with me. If you’re just using me, I’ll…”

“I’ll admit, that’s kind of creepy,” Namjoon said, and Jungkook bit his lip and clutched at the pillow, head down, “And also flattering. I could tell you wanted me the moment we met. I’ve met enough fans to tell. It doesn’t even register now. I just didn’t expect you to be so...” He didn’t know how to not sound weird. “Compelling? You feel, to me, like what the game felt like when I was your age. You’re perfect. I just can’t keep my eyes off you. I hate that you’re so young. Kissing you was stupid, but I kissed you because I want you anyway, and I’d do it again.”

Jungkook stared down at his hands. “Can I kiss you now?” he said, voice cracking around a whisper.

“If you want to.”

He gulped, crawled forward, and settled over Namjoon’s lap. Namjoon grabbed him by the hips to keep him there. Jungkook breathed fast and shallow, eyes locked with Namjoon’s, wide and scared, and then he kissed him, rushing like he expected Namjoon to end it at any moment.

Namjoon pulled him closer, till Jungkook had to brace his arms against the couch, thick thighs spread wide around Namjoon’s. Jungkook nipped gently at his lip, soft and sweet, tongue nudging gently into his mouth, wet, hot, and easy. Namjoon’s stomach turned from nerves, from how dirty it felt to have a kid in his lap. But he didn’t feel like a kid. He felt like Jungkook, solid, manly, heavy over his legs, smelling like sunscreen and sea wind.

“You’re better at this than I expected,” Namjoon said.

“Lots of practice,” he grunted, and then licked deeply into Namjoon’s mouth again, his hands cradling Namjoon’s jaw. Namjoon decided to get him talking, to slow things down, so he pulled back and mouthed down Jungkook’s neck. Jungkook collapsed against his chest with a gasp, one hand weakly clutching Namjoon’s hair, a ragdoll in his arms.

“Practice?” he asked.

“Had that boyfriend for two years.”

Jungkook writhed when Namjoon sucked hard right under his jaw, his whole body tensing and twitching. “Would you have cheated on him with me?”

“Yes,” Jungkook gasped, burying his face in Namjoon’s neck, and Namjoon shuddered. “He knew it. That’s why…”

Namjoon stopped sucking under his ear. “Wait, did he break up with you because of me?”

Jungkook backed up a foot, eyebrows drawn together. “Can we, um, talk about that later?”

“Did he?”

Jungkook gulped. “Yes.”

A deep, possessive part of Namjoon roared to life, wildly pleased. Jungkook looked so scared, so Namjoon kissed him again, feeling those beautiful lips against his own, heady and delicate. “I’m sorry.”

“It was my fault. I put you first and him second, and he could tell. It wasn’t fair to him. He was right to break up with me, and I expected it.”

Namjoon rubbed his back soothingly. He could feel Jungkook’s hands shaking against his shoulders and tried to slow the kiss down even further, calming him. It didn’t work. Calming back rubs turned into Jungkook’s shirt coming off and Namjoon lying over him along the couch, lips around his nipple. Jungkook panted under him, eyes closed, hands in Namjoon’s hair.

“How long?” Namjoon asked.

“I don’t want to tell you,” Jungkook whined, “It’ll make me sound even younger.”

“How long, kid. I won’t kiss you again until you tell me.”

Jungkook took a deep breath, staring at the ceiling, his hands tight on Namjoon’s shoulders. “I’ve been your fan since I was six. I figured out I liked you when I was eleven during the world championships after your second Olympics.”

“Shit. Had you even realized you liked men at that point?”

“No! I was so fucking scared!”

Namjoon sucked one of Jungkook’s earrings into his mouth, and Jungkook’s whole body rolled under him, tight, firm muscles and miles of impossibly flawless, hairless skin. He was used to bodies with a decade more hormones in them: wider muscles, more hair, rougher skin. Something about the softness made his mouth water, even as he cringed away.

“You’re gorgeous,” Namjoon murmured right in his ear, and Jungkook’s breath hitched. His eyes squeezed shut.

He pulled off his own shirt, and Jungkook wasted no time running his hands hungrily all over his body, thumbs tracing under his pecs, fingertips trailing along his abs, through the thin trail of hair down his stomach, palms running over his biceps. “You look a little glazed over there, Jungkook.”

Jungkook moaned, his hips twitching against Namjoon’s thigh. Namjoon laughed a little breathlessly. Jungkook, flushed and sweaty, stared up through hooded eyelids, intoxicating. He reacted wildly to every touch and Namjoon’s elbows felt weak.

He reached down between Jungkook’s hips and popped the button on his skinny jeans, sliding the zipper down. Jungkook gasped, hips jerking, and his eyes nearly rolled back in his head. “Oh fuck! Thank god. Ugh. That had started hurting.”

Namjoon lay gently back on top of him, and Jungkook’s hips immediately started twitching against his thigh. He sat up a little, bracing his thigh harder against the couch. “Do it. Chase it, baby.”

Jungkook’s hands snuck down to grasp his thigh as his hips rolled fast and easy, moaning shamelessly. Namjoon dropped his face to Jungkook’s neck again, right under his ear, and sucked hard. Jungkook’s hips stuttered. His hands squeezed Namjoon’s thigh. “You know, I’m trying not to leave marks, but it's hard to stop when you react like that.”

“Oh god. Fuck, Namjoon.”

Namjoon flicked his thumb over Jungkook’s nipple, eyes wide on the way Jungkook twisted under him, chest heaving. Jungkook’s eyes opened slowly, and he stared right up into Namjoon’s face. His breathing picked up and his hips rolled even more frantically against his thigh. Something hot and pleased rose in Namjoon’s chest.

“If you think my thigh is that good, just imagine my dick in you.” Dangerous. They shouldn’t have sex. They shouldn’t go there. They shouldn’t even do this.

Jungkook moaned helplessly. “I do. All the time. Please. Please, right now. I want that.”

Namjoon shook his head, but it was hard. “Not today. Maybe later.”

Jungkook whined in frustration, his hands pawing at the top of Namjoon’s leg. Namjoon reached down to where his hips were working against him, and pulled the elastic of his underwear down under the head of his cock, not touching yet. Jungkook’s hips jerked as his cock met the air, and the occasional brush against Namjoon’s pants. His cheeks lit up bright red as Namjoon looked down between them. He slowed down a little, one arm up over his face.

“Don’t be shy, cutie,” Namjoon laughed and reached down to press his thumb to the slit. His pace faltered and got jerky and shaky.

“Please,” he whimpered, so Namjoon spit into his hand and wrapped it around Jungkook’s dick, stroking hard and fast. Jungkook body tightened, and then he moaned high and quick and came messily over himself. Namjoon stroked him through it till he was a limp, sated mess all over the couch, and then sat up, unzipped his own jeans, and pulled his own dick out.

“You’re clean, right?”

“What?” Jungkook murmured. “Yeah?”

Namjoon swiped some cum off his stomach and used it to slick the way for his hand on his own cock, incredibly hard from watching Jungkook come apart.

Jungkook stared in amazement.

“Fuck, Namjoon,” he murmured.

“Can I come on you?”

“Please,” he whispered, and Namjoon’s head swam with arousal. He leaned forward, working himself steadily. Jungkook reached up, hands shaking, and put them on either side of Namjoon’s face, thumbs running over his cheeks. “I’m in heaven. Fuck,” he murmured.

Namjoon tried to tell him that was corny as shit, but just then the aching tension in his gut burst, and he came all over Jungkook’s stomach with a soft moan.

He had no place to lie but right down in the mess, so he got up immediately afterwards. “Do not move,” he said, pointing at the wet mess on Jungkook’s flat stomach, filling in the divots of his abs. “I’ll be right back.”

He came back with paper towels because he wasn’t willing to mess anything else up that badly. Jungkook had jizz over both his hands and all the way up his chest towards his throat.

“Did you rub it around?”

He ducked his head, embarrassed. “I like it.”

“Freaky. The hem of your boxers is a mess.”

Jungkook stood and stripped everything off, wiping down while Namjoon stared open-mouthed at his gorgeous little ass, and then pulled just the jeans on and zipped up.

“Just jeans? Isn’t that fucking uncomfortable?”

“I can handle it.”

“You do you, I guess.” He tugged Jungkook back down onto the couch and pulled them chest to chest, his arms wrapped around him. Jungkook snuggled happily in under his chin.

“Is this a thing now?”

Namjoon hesitated. “Can we try to keep it to a minimum? At least until we know how our dynamic is going to be affected and what we need to do for Rio. You’re still really young, and I’m scared. I’m sorry.”

“Honestly, it’d be kind of creepy if my age didn’t put you off.”

“Are we good then? Are you going to start playing like you did at the tournament?”

“Is beach volleyball the only thing you ever talk about?”

That bothered Namjoon more than it should have. “I—yes. Pretty much. Yes, it is.”

Jungkook hummed and stroked a hand softly down Namjoon’s side. He giggled.

“What?”

“I still can’t believe I’m with you.”

 

“We’ll be hearing from the federation about Rio within the week,” Coach said, and Taehyung lay back in the sand groaning.

“What if we don’t get in?”

“Then you go to the next world championships and make them regret it. Jungkook, since you’ve been doing so well for the past few weeks in practice, I told them that you’ve fixed whatever problems you’ve been having. So don’t get into another slump. Inconsistency is not something that looks good on a team.”

“They know I’ve never been inconsistent before, Coach. Just blame it on me getting a new teammate or something.”

Namjoon had trouble paying attention. Summer was coming on hot, and Jungkook had gotten into a habit of going shirtless for practice, strong shoulders growing slowly tanner, freckles popping up, more and more dotting his shoulders every day, a couple sneaking onto his cheeks and temples, across his nose.

He’d been sticking to Namjoon’s plan of keeping sex to a minimum, but Namjoon suspected he liked to tease, going shirtless, doing unnecessary stretches when they hung out, and generally being an adorable little shit till Namjoon had no choice but to pull him close and hold him tight, lips pressed together.

“I think you four are the obvious choice,” Coach said at a joint practice with Taehyung and Hoseok, “but there are at least two other teams in contention, so I wouldn’t count anything out yet.”

“You ready to dye your hair blond?” Jungkook asked with a smirk.

“Hell yeah.”

As they left the beach, Taehyung said, “I have an idea.”

“Shit.”

“It’s a good one, I promise. Let’s go do something crazy, expensive, and fun before we have to buckle down for Rio training.”

“Okay. I’m listening. Like what?”

“Road trip or theme park maybe?”

“I’m nearly thirty, and neither of those sound particularly fun.”

“Oh,” Jungkook said, face falling. Fuck.

“Well everything else I thought up involved drinking, and Jungkook is too young for that.”

“There’s a cool campground about an hour and a half away. We could go get drunk out there.”

And so that weekend they ended up sitting around a campfire with two crappy tents set up behind them—the kind you buy at Walmart and return after one use—a case of beer, and a bottle of whiskey. Jungkook looked tantalizing leaning heavily across Taehyung’s lap, his hair in a beanie, face bright in the firelight.

Taehyung had gotten him intensely drunk by forcing the whiskey into his hand at every opportunity, the kind of drunk that made him look like his body was made of clay, heavy and soft. His eyes sagged towards closed, a lazy smile on his face.

“Let’s go for a hike,” Hoseok said.

Taehyung immediately stood, throwing Jungkook off. “Ohmygod yes.”

Jungkook tried to stand up and ended up lying down again, groaning. “I’m so fucking smashed.”

Taehyung cackled. “Shouldn’t have taken that last shot, baby boy.”

Jungkook floundered up to his feet, bottle of whiskey in hand. Namjoon rushed up to steady him so he didn’t fall in the fire, and then they followed Taehyung off through the quiet campsite towards the hiking trail.

Taehyung almost walked into a grill, giggling. They had to stop while Jungkook and Taehyung both tried and failed to climb a tree. Namjoon dimly wondered if the other scattered tents in the camp hated the fuck out of them, four loud men clamoring around, wasted, in the dead of night.

“Guys, I wanna get back and sleep soon,” he said.

“Okay, grandpa. We’ll get you back before bedtime,” Jungkook slurred. They found the path.

“Let’s make it up to the waterfall and then turn back.”

“That’s, like, a mile. There are bears. This is a terrible idea,” Namjoon said.

“Pussy!” Jungkook yelled, and then crashed into a bush and fell over.

“You okay?”

“Fuuuuuck, that bush had claws. Fuckin’ hurt.” He rolled over and tried to use the whiskey bottle to help himself stand. Namjoon snatched it from him and helped him instead. “Am I bleeding?”

“I can’t tell. It’s too dark.”

“Okay. Let’s keep going.”

“You might be bleeding!”

“Adventure! I gotta take a picture somewhere along here.” He stumbled off down the path, missed a step, and fell hard on his face. Namjoon heard his arms smack the rocks and flinched.

“Whoa,” Taehyung said. “Tumbling tricks. You okay down there?” He got down on the ground where Jungkook giggled and rolled over. “You okay, big shot? You okay, you drunk fuck?”

“That fucking hurt so fucking bad. Fuck. My head is, like, ringing.”

“You should not do this trail right now. You’re going to walk off a cliff of something.”

“Drink up, Namjoon. You need to be drunker.”

Namjoon took a reluctant gulp of whiskey. He hadn’t done anything this spontaneous and stupid in nearly five years when he and Yoongi had gotten wasted and explored a murky duck pond in a tiny paddle boat in the middle of the night with a high wind for four hours. It had taken them both a week to recover.

Taehyung practically hauled Jungkook down the path, Hoseok giggling and kicking trees as he walked past. They began to climb a rocky incline, and Jungkook managed to trip up the rocks, face-plant, and then roll down a little way, thumping down on his back.

For a moment, there was silence, and then a gasped, “Ow.”

“That’s it. I’m taking you back.”

“No! I’m having—” he hiccupped loudly, “I’m having fun! Don’t be a buzz kill.”

“As your teammate, it’s my job to make sure you don’t fucking break a leg before Rio. I will honestly kill you.”

“’As my teammate,’ ugh. Everything is about fucking volleyball with you. You gonna, like, help me out as just a friend or something?”

“Everything in my life is volleyball, stupid. And okay. As your fucking friend, I’m gonna take you back because you’re a drunk child, and you’re going to hurt yourself.” He looked up at Taehyung and Hoseok. “You two should go back too. This is an awful idea.”

“We’re gonna keep going for a bit. Have fun babysitting!”

There was just enough moonlight to see Jungkook glowering at all of them. Namjoon yanked him up off the path and led him back the way they came, hands tight on his upper arms to steer him around big rocks. They could see the dim light of the camp when Jungkook tripped over something again and dropped like a sand-bag onto the path.

“Jungkook?” He didn’t move. “Oh fuck, Jungkook. Oh my god.”

“I’m fine,” he grumbled, “Everything hurts more now that I’m not having fun.”

Namjoon collapsed on the path beside him. “Oh god, Jungkook, don’t fucking scare me like that.”

Jungkook sat up slowly, and then sighed and fell sideways back onto the path. “I don’t wanna go back! You can’t make me! I’m not a kid!”

Namjoon leaned close in and kissed him gently. Jungkook’s anger melted against the dirty path. He rolled over. Namjoon could feel a smile on his lips that tasted like whiskey, cheap beer, and cool night air. He opened up immediately, tongue teasing sloppy and forceful along his lips. Namjoon hadn’t allowed himself much of this in the past few weeks, but it was every bit as addicting as it had been the first time, pulling him in like a band around his chest, magnets on his arms, the simple desire to hold Jungkook as close as he could get him, an almost paternal need to protect him paired with aching desire.

Namjoon ran his fingers lightly over Jungkook’s jaw. “Come back with me.”

“Fine.”

They walked back through the campsite with Jungkook clinging to Namjoon’s arm, his head jostling against his shoulder, very unsteady on his feet.

“It’s so, like, zen around here, or some shit,” Jungkook muttered, “Like super calm.”

“It’s peaceful. I love places like this,” Namjoon said. Early summer cicadas buzzed in the trees, the air was just shy of uncomfortably warm, and wind brushed through the trees. Every little way throughout the camp, small lights glowed downwards from waist height, so they could see the path, but it didn’t damage their view of the stars. “I prefer the beach, but places like this get to me too,” he murmured. They walked on in silence.

Just a few paces from the campsite, Jungkook pulled roughly away from his grip and yanked the cover off a trash can before throwing up violently into it, completely wrecking the tranquil mood.

Namjoon sighed and came up to rub his back. Jungkook retched one more time, panted for a few moments, and then sat down hard on the ground, rubbing a shaking hand across his mouth, and then along his jeans, wiping it off.

“Gross. Eugh. God, I feel awful. My face hurts.”

Namjoon sat down next to him and pulled him carefully against his chest. “Happens to the best of us. You’ll survive.”

“I’m so fucking sorry,” he groaned. “If bears come along right now, we’re gonna die.”

Namjoon kissed the top of his head. “It’s okay. I’m here. I’ll take care of you.” As Yoongi always said, you know you’ve got it bad for someone when you actually want to take care of them after they’ve just made a drunken idiot of themselves and then proceed to flush it out of their system the hard way.

Bit of a complicated way of expressing it, but Namjoon felt that. He would stay awake with Jungkook all night if he had to. “Jungkook, those are some pretty nasty scrapes on your arm—and bruises.”

Jungkook stared blankly down at the thick red scratches on his arm. “Where the fuck did that come from?”

“Bushes with claws. It’s staining your white shirt up here.”

“Fuck.” His head rolled back on Namjoon’s shoulder, and Namjoon could finally see his face now that they were below the level of the lights.

“Oh god, Jungkook. You look like I’ve been beating you.”

“Why?”

“I think your face hit a rock or something. Your cheek is swelling. That’s going to be one intense bruise tomorrow.”

“Whoa. Badass?”

Namjoon snorted. “I guess. If you’re into that. Are you sure you’re okay? You’re completely covered with dirt. What else hurts?”

“Not my arms. Can’t feel those scratches.” He shifted with difficulty, groaning and breathing harshly. “Knees fucking hurt. Elbow hurts. Spot on my back.”

“Fuck. Jungkook.”

“My toe!” He laughed weakly and then leaned heavily against Namjoon’s shoulder, his warm breath pulsing fast and hot over the top of Namjoon’s collar.

“Do you still feel bad?”

“Yeah.”

A half hour and one more session of gagging later, he pulled him the last ten meters into their campsite and their own trashcan so he could sit him at edge of the picnic table bench and run for the first aid kit. He came back to Jungkook with his head down on one arm, legs limp where they’d been resting on the ground.

“Sit up, kid. You can’t sleep yet.”

Jungkook smiled a little. “I like it when you call me kid.”

“Yeah? I thought it bothered you.”

“It’s very, I don’t know, you. And, like, me. It’s very us, you know?”

“You need to sleep.” He rubbed antiseptic wipes along the cuts in his arms, hoping that would clean him up enough. He had another scrape across the side of his neck, and a couple on his cheek. The bruises made him anxious. Every time he looked at them, he’d get a little thrill of nerves up his arms and his teeth clenched. Jungkook blinked sleepily at him and tried to cooperate. Every time his eyes opened after he’d nearly drifted off, he’d focus in on Namjoon’s face, and his sickly expression melted into a bashful smile.

“I feel like I’m taking care of my little brother or something,” Namjoon said as he carefully patted a large Band-Aid across Jungkook’s cheek.

Jungkook wrinkled his nose. “Don’t say it like that. We make out and stuff.”

Namjoon kissed his forehead. “You gonna throw up again?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Stay here.” Namjoon cleaned up the campsite and put the first aid kit away. He went in their tent and zipped their sleeping bags together, then brought Jungkook his toothbrush. “You need this,” he said, “And this,” handing him a water bottle. Jungkook groaned and brushed his teeth right there on the bench, spitting into the dirt.

“I need to take a piss.”

“Me too. Bathroom’s a long way off.”

“But hey look,” Jungkook said weakly, “The woods is right there.”

“I think they could fine us for that.”

“They’ll never know. I’m not walking to the bathroom. The woods is as far as I’ll go.”

So they both ended up pissing in the woods, Jungkook leaning heavily against a tree. As soon as he was finished, he threw up on top of it.

“You’re a fucking mess. Hold on. Let me get the water and wet wipes. I’m making you brush your teeth again.”

By the time they were finally ready to get into their tent and sleep, Hoseok and Taehyung came back, much soberer.

“What’d we miss?” Taehyung asked, eyeing the way Jungkook had his full weight leaning against Namjoon on the picnic bench, his eyes closed.

“Jungkook threw up three times, and the hike beat him up really bad.”

“Ah,” Taehyung said, nodding, “How’s he doing?”

“Much better. We’re gonna sleep now. I’m borrowing the small cooler in case he needs to throw up again.”

“Gross. Okay.”

Jungkook was dead to the world.

“C’mon, kid,” Namjoon said, forcibly shouldering Jungkook off the bench and to his feet. Jungkook moaned sleepily, and his knees folded. Namjoon swore and shook him until he got his feet under him and opened his eyes. He did the adorable thing again where he made eye contact with Namjoon and smiled, which would have been sweet if not for the way his eye had swollen shut a little. He tipped forward into Namjoon’s shoulder and nestled his head in there. “We’re going to walk now, so you need to wake up for the next fifteen seconds. Oh, and Taehyung and Hoseok got back.”

Jungkook opened his eyes again and found Taehyung and Hoseok. “Oh hey...You’re looking at me weird. What’s up?”

Namjoon glanced back to see Hoseok’s eyebrows up under his hairline, and Taehyung with the most hilariously blank suspicious expression on his face. Namjoon sighed. “Goodnight guys.”

“Night, you two. Feel better, Jungkook.”

“Uh-huh.”

Jungkook grinned again when he saw the zipped-together sleeping bags. Namjoon helped him peel his pants off, then dropped his own pants and crawled in, pulling Jungkook in front of him and wrapping himself around his back, cradling him in his arms. He felt so perfect.

“The ground is super uncomfortable,” Jungkook muttered.

“You’re going to be so sore tomorrow,” Namjoon snickered.

Jungkook passed out without another word.

 

He would have loved to sleep off the hangover, but the campsite woke up around eight in the morning with sun glaring through the bright green tent. He could hear Hoseok making weird noises and banging things around outside as Taehyung yelled, “Where the fuck did we put the coffee?”

Jungkook slept on like a dead dog. Namjoon closed his eyes, one arm still slung across Jungkook’s chest, though he’s shifted onto his back during the night, and Namjoon on his stomach beside him, kind of propped up against his side. It was uncomfortably warm in the sleeping bag. He tried to go back to sleep, but the smell of frying bacon kept trying to nudge him awake. The tent unzipped with a ripping sound like the worst alarm.

“Breakfast! Get—whoa, Hoseok, come see this.”

Namjoon propped himself up slowly, glaring down Jungkook’s dead body towards Taehyung in the doorway. Jungkook groaned quietly and rolled away from Namjoon towards the open edge of the sleeping bag, curling himself up into the pillow. Namjoon threw the bag off both of them and advanced threateningly towards Taehyung just as Hoseok popped his head in the door.

“Oh god, a bear! Bear in the campsite!” Hoseok shrieked and raced away as Namjoon crawled out and came after them.

“They were cuddling! I swear!” Taehyung yelled, booking it towards the bathrooms. Hoseok waved a bacon fork around, yelling and running in circles around the picnic table. Namjoon chased Taehyung out into the road and nearly ran over a young mother taking her toddler to the bathroom. It was then that Namjoon realized he was still in his boxers.

She snorted at him. “No bear then?”

“Um. No.”

Hoseok cackled from behind the picnic table.

“Don’t let that bacon burn,” he said and stomped back into his own tent, where Jungkook hadn’t moved, and zipped it up so he could change.

He was entirely too tall for the tent. He had to sit down to pull his pants on.

“If you two don’t get out here, you’re going to miss the bacon,” Taehyung called.

Namjoon rolled Jungkook gently onto his back and gently kissed his sweaty forehead. One cheek was brutally black and blue, with the red edges of a new bruise, the large Band-Aid hiding the worst of it. Purple-grey mottled its way up onto his forehead and across his nose. Yoongi jumped into his mind—Yoongi lying unconscious and bloody in a hospital bed, his face a deepening mask of purple bruises. He blinked rapidly, throat closing, and shook Jungkook’s shoulder a little. “Jungkook, wake up.”

“Guuh, no.”

“How you feeling?” he asked, his heart slowing down.

“Gross.”

“Yeah. You look nasty.”

Jungkook’s eyes cracked slowly open, and Namjoon watched the way his eyelashes shadowed his eyes from the filtered green sunlight. He smiled softly at Namjoon. “My head hurts.”

“Yeah?”

“And my stomach. And my face. What the fuck?”

Namjoon laughed. “You fell on your face a bunch last night.” He poked the Band-Aid gently. Jungkook flinched a little, scrunching his nose and eyebrows, and then hissed in pain.

“Ah! Oh god, that hurts. I feel sick.”

“Get dressed. You need to eat. I’m gonna go get bacon.” He backed out of the tent.

“How’s he doing?” Taehyung said.

“He looks like he lost a bad fight. Coach is going to be real concerned.”

Jungkook emerged a few minutes later, hunched over and slow, wearing basketball shorts and another white t-shirt. “What the fuck with the Band-Aids on my arms?” Jungkook said.

“Do you seriously have memory loss?”

“Not much. I was half-asleep for most of what happened last night. These scratches are, like, a foot long. Why did you put tiny fucking Band-Aid’s on them?”

Taehyung and Hoseok snickered.

“I covered the worst spots. I was drunk last night too.”

“Look at my knees,” Jungkook said. They were rather blue.

“Look at your face,” Namjoon responded, opening the camera on his phone. Jungkook took it and his mouth fell open.

“Holy fuck! I look awesome! Selfie time.”

Namjoon huffed, quietly disagreeing.

Taehyung giggled and handed him a plate of food. “You lost a fight with a hiking trail. How do you feel?”

“’Lost a fight with a hiking trail.’ That’s gonna be the caption. Are there bruises on my back too?” he asked, turning around and pulling his shirt up.

“Yup. All over the left side. Jeez, kid.”

“My feet look pretty bad.” He sat down in front of his plate and stared at it for a minute. “I can’t eat that.”

“Do it anyway,” Taehyung said, “This house does not tolerate weak sauce.”

“What?”

“You show weakness, we disown you. Eat your food.”

Jungkook took one hesitant bite of eggs fried in bacon grease and groaned loudly, putting his fork down and turning away from the table, his elbows propped up on his knees.

“Do we have, like, crackers? Or bread or something?”

“Pretzels,” Hoseok, holding up a bag of Snyder’s.

“Perfect. Eat these.”

Jungkook snatched the bag, still hunched over his lap, ripped it open, and shoved a handful in his face. Namjoon and Taehyung split the rest of his food.

“So what were you two doing cuddling this morning?” Hoseok asked with a large smirk.

Jungkook gave Namjoon a side-eye and shoved more pretzels into his mouth. Namjoon shrugged. “Seemed like a good idea last night.”

“Yeah. No judging,” Taehyung said to Hoseok. “I woke up with your leg on me.”

“I wasn’t hugging you though!”

“It’s happened more than once before.”

“I move around a lot when I sleep.”

“It’s cute what you guys did with the sleeping bags though.”

“Thanks,” Namjoon said drily.

“I’m gonna go to the bathroom for a while,” Jungkook said.

“For a while? What’re you gonna do in there?”

“Wash off, brush my teeth, take a piss, figure out what my worst injuries are. Maybe freak out over all the terrifying bugs.”

Hoseok shuddered. “I’ve been pissing in the woods since I got here. The bugs are awful.”

“You know there are more bugs in the woods than in that bathroom, right?”

Hoseok looked like a spooked pony.

When Jungkook trudged back into camp nearly forty-five minutes later, they’d packed most of the camp up and washed the dishes. “You skipped out on all the chores. Maybe you should drive back.”

“Don’t make me do that. I have bruises on the palms of my hands.”

“Fuck. Now that takes some effort.” Taehyung said.

He moved like he was worried every movement would hurt him, slightly hunched, arms crossed over his chest, expression tight. He kept trying to help load the truck and having to stop walking and put the bags down, crouching on the ground for a few seconds until Namjoon walked up and grabbed his bag for him. “Nooo, I got it, Namjoon. I just feel sick. Give it back.”

“Go sit down. You’re not okay.”

Jungkook stood and went and found something else to carry. Namjoon grabbed the box of cooking equipment right out of his hands and carried it the rest of the way for him.

“You don’t have to fucking baby me. It’s my fucking fault I’m this beat up. I want to help. It feels better than sitting still.”

It had nothing to do with babying him and everything to do with the way seeing Jungkook in pain made his chest physically ache, but he wasn’t about to tell him that. Instead he walked up and wrapped his arms gently around Jungkook’s back, holding him close against him. Jungkook sagged, laying his face carefully on Namjoon’s shoulder, his own hands clutching at Namjoon’s shirt. Namjoon pushed one hand into his hair and scratched soothingly. Jungkook took a deep breath. “This sucks.”

Taehyung walked past, staring at them and looking very confused. “You two got really close really fast,” he said.

“He’s a hugger,” Jungkook said in a pathetically defeated voice. “I’m gonna get in the truck and go to sleep.”

Namjoon let him go. On the other side of camp, Taehyung grabbed him by the pant leg. “Hey, bro, you know the kid’s got a massive crush on you, right?”

Namjoon could feel his face turning red. “Um. How’d you know?”

Taehyung snorted. “Well, he’s never exactly been subtle, always staring at you like he does, gets quiet when you’re around. He can be a real asshole when you’re not listening, but I doubt you’ve ever seen that. You keep acting like his dad. Or his boyfriend.”

“Whoa. One or the other, dude, but not both.”

“Seriously. Don’t mess with him like that.”

“I’m not!”

Taehyung gave him a look.

“We’ve, um, talked it out. So it’s good.”

Taehyung sighed. “Bad judgment, dude.”

On the way back, Namjoon sat in the front and let Taehyung sit in the back and take care of Jungkook, who spent the entire ride wrapped up in a hoody, leaning on the window, curled up as tight as he could get in the narrow car-seat.

Namjoon got off at Jungkook’s apartment with him, said goodbye to the guys, and then helped him carry his bags inside. “Are you still hungover?”

Jungkook shook his head. “No, but everything hurts.”

“You should lie down or something. Maybe see a doctor? I’m gonna stay here with you.”

Jungkook actually rolled his eyes. “I’m fine, Namjoon. They’re bruises. They’ll hurt for a few days, and that’ll suck, but I can still function. I heal faster than you, you know, grandpa.”

“This is not because I think you’re too young to take care of yourself.”

“Yeah? What is it then?”

“I’m fucking worried about you. You look like—” he rubbed a hand through his hair, “Fuck, Jungkook, you look like Yoongi after the car wreck. It’s that bad. You think you’re sore now? Wait till tomorrow.” Jungkook gulped and sat slowly down on the couch. He had to angle one side of his back away from leaning on the cushions.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. It’s not your fault.”

“I drank too much and acted like an idiot.”

“We all did. It just scares me that you got this hurt.”

“It’s not that bad. Honestly. I’ll be fine. I’m still in high school. I’ve seen very stupid people do very stupid things. I’ve seen much worse.”

Namjoon sat down next to him and pulled him carefully into his lap. Jungkook immediately snuggled in like he always did, fitting his body in tightly against him. “Let me take care of you,” he murmured. “It’ll make me feel better.”

“Okay.” He relaxed and let Namjoon hold his whole weight. “I should hurt myself more often if it makes you act this sweet.”

“Please don’t do that. I’ll let Yoongi’s mom take care of you next time.”

“Oh god. Never mind.”

Jungkook finally fell asleep balled up awkwardly in his lap. He really was entirely too big to fit comfortably. His breath brushed gently over Namjoon’s neck in a way he hoped didn’t become too much to handle. It was hard to get turned on when Jungkook looked so painfully young, his hands curled up high on his chest, cradled between his body and Namjoon’s. He was always stunned by how fast Jungkook could turn from a carelessly masculine teenager in tan boots and a snapback to something so delicately precious and soft that he felt breakable. He had such sharp and careless fire to him when he wasn’t smiling shyly and clinging to Namjoon’s shirt.

Ten years. When he’d been Jungkook’s age, Jungkook had been in third grade, probably learning about fractions or some shit. His arm fell slowly asleep. Jungkook had liked him for six years. Six years ago Namjoon had already won two Olympic golds and several world championships. Back at the campsite Taehyung told him not to mess with Jungkook’s crush. He’d felt awkward enough about it that he’d put himself at a distance for the whole ride. Jungkook was so invested. Namjoon felt terrible about how addicted he was to someone who was barely legal. The media would have a field day if they knew. The federation would probably disown him.

Jungkook had a Sharpie shopping list fading on his wrist, purple on his skin like the rest of the bruises he’d gotten by being an idiot. Namjoon felt abruptly sick.

He carefully laid Jungkook down on the couch and inched out from under his legs. Jungkook murmured quietly. Namjoon left him there with a pillow under his head and went into the kitchen, wondering if he should put in the effort to make soup and probably destroy half Jungkook’s small kitchen. Take-out sounded like a better idea. He ordered Chinese and then borrowed Jungkook’s house key and left to go get it.

When he came back, Jungkook was no longer on the couch. As soon as the door closed, Jungkook stumbled out of the bathroom, leaning on the wall, his arms cradled against his chest. “Where’d you go?”

“I got food. Are you okay?”

“Maybe I should go to the ER and get some better painkiller.”

“That shit’s expensive. You got health insurance?”

“I’m still on my parent’s plan.”

So young.

“You want me to take you?”

Jungkook frowned. “Nah. I hate the ER. It kind of doesn’t seem worth it. Ugh. I’d have to call my mom so she knows what the insurance company is talking about. Never mind. I’ll stay in horrible pain. I can fucking handle it.”

“What’s wrong with calling your mom?”

“She’ll tell me to come home.”

Namjoon raised an eyebrow. “Come get some lo mein and egg rolls.”

They sank back into the fake comfortable friendship phase of watching TV sprawled on opposite ends of the couch. Jungkook ate slowly, cheap wooden chopsticks held awkwardly in his bruised hand. At one point, he put them down completely and just stared at the food for a minute, taking deep breaths like he was mentally prepping himself to dive back in.

“Doing okay there, kid?”

“I feel terrible. And don’t call me that,” he whined.

“You like it.”

“No I don’t.”

“Last night you told me you do.”

And just like that, shy, bashful Jungkook was back, soft and pleased. Namjoon sighed. “What would your mother say if she knew her son kept seducing a twenty-eight-year-old man?”

“Ugh,” Jungkook said, cringing, “I’m not—don’t say it like that. I’m not trying to seduce you at all. Kind of the opposite. The only thing I try to do is try not to make you hate me for fucking up your career.”

“Your mother would hate me, wouldn’t she?”

“Stop. Just stop thinking about it like that.”

“Is your daddy gonna come after me with a shotgun?”

“Gross, Namjoon.”

“How old is he?”

“Forty-three. Why?”

“Fifteen years older than me. That’s not bad. Would it be weird if I dated him?”

“Namjoon, what?”

“You know it would be less weird if I dated him than if I dated you, right?”

Jungkook stared into his food.

“I’m just making sure you know this is weird. Have you always had a thing for older men?”

“Just smack me in the face,” Jungkook snapped, glaring, “Right in the bruises. Much more straight-forward.”

Namjoon chucked his half-eaten egg roll back down on his plate. “I’m so serious right now, Jungkook. This is massively risky, and it’s adorable how you get so fluffy and happy when I kiss you, but I want you to think about it this way. You need to know where I’m coming from. Taehyung and Hoseok know you have a massive crush on me, and so does Yoongi. If Hoseok can figure something like that out, then anyone fucking can. If we get caught—and the fact that I have to use the word ‘caught’ here should set off enough warning bells—both of our careers are probably shot.”

“Is that all you care about?”

“Is the sport to which I have dedicated my entire life, which is a decade longer than yours, the only thing I care about? Is the profession that I depend on, and through which I am connected to every fucking human I know the only thing I care about? You’re coming out of high school, Jungkook. You can identify yourself as “teenager,” or “student,” if you’re really self aware. Maybe you identify yourself as a damn good beach volleyball player, but that’s not all you are. You’re a son, a student, a teenager, a millennial, a volleyball player, you play video games, you have the internet, you have friends from tons of different places. I am only a professional beach volleyball player. That’s my only identity. If you take volleyball away from me, I have literally nothing, no fall-back career options, no friends, not even family. I haven’t talked to my mother since the London games. My family is Yoongi, and he’s volleyball. Is my career all I fucking care about? Yes! That’s all I am! That’s all I’ll ever have a chance to be!”

Jungkook face was mostly hidden by his hood, but Namjoon could see the way his eyebrows flickered as they tried not to scrunch together against the bruise.

“You don’t know it yet, but that’s what’s going to happen to you too, unless we fuck it up for both of us. But you can recover, go to college, start your career in a few years when people have forgotten the name of that kid that Namjoon Kim was banging, the borderline pedophile. You could be a volleyball player for the rest of your life. And me? After the media stops having fun shitting on me for being a creep, and federation decides the bad publicity is not worth having me around, after my international reputation is destroyed, maybe I’ll hide in my mom’s basement until I go completely fucking bat-shit crazy from regret and shame. That’s what I’m scared of.”

Jungkook barely made it to the bathroom before he threw up. Namjoon could see him half collapsed over the toilet. He took a deep, shuddering breath when he finished, and it came back out in helpless sobs, one hand hovering protectively over his bruised face. Namjoon felt his throat close up again, his heart clench in his chest, every instinct telling him to pull Jungkook into his arms and make the pain stop somehow. He cautiously walked into the bathroom. Jungkook cowered against the bathtub, hiding himself in his hoody and sobbing.

“I’m so sorry,” he choked out, “I hate this. I don’t fucking cry. I never fucking cry. I hate this.”

Namjoon sat down beside him. “I’m sorry. You just need to know why I’m so freaked out about this, but I want you. I’m not blaming you. I’m so sorry that we have to deal with all this shit. I wish we didn’t.”

Jungkook tentatively reached for his hand. Namjoon held it. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, “It hurts when you’re unhappy. My first teammate nearly dies, and then I get you, and you’re so amazing, and I worry about you constantly. You don’t deserve all this shit just because I’m fucking old.”

“It feels like I’ve known you for years, but I know you’ve only known me for a couple months. We have to stop. I’m not worth it.”

“I’m not sure about that.”

Jungkook gave him a watery little smile that melted into heartbreak. “I will not be what ruins your career, Namjoon,” he whispered, “I’d never survive that. I care about you way too much,” He took a deep, steadying breath, “I hate this, but we’re going to stop and just be awesome teammates. I can settle for that. It’s already more than I ever thought I’d have.” His voice cracked and he dropped his head back into his arms.

Jungkook’s hand felt so heavy in Namjoon’s. He squeezed it a little. Jungkook gasped in pain.

“Oh fuck. Bruises. I’m sorry.”

Jungkook just shook his head and squeezed back.

Namjoon reached forwards and flushed the Chinese food vomit down the toilet, and then they sat there on the floor of the bathroom for a long time, not even leaning on each other, just holding hands.

“I have to go home,” Namjoon said eventually, “But call me if you need anything. I’m here for you.”

Jungkook nodded. Namjoon gave his hand one last kiss before he went and watched Jungkook pull it, shaking, to his lips.

Chapter Text

He had offered to be there for anything Jungkook needed, but he didn’t honestly expect Jungkook to want to see him again until he absolutely had to. He went to bed early and lay awake thinking “Good job, dude. Self control. Cut that off before it got away from us. Did you really want a relationship with a fan anyway? Sounds messy.”

But it had been Jungkook who decided to end it, who’d cried and said he cared more about Namjoon’s career than his own desires. Beautiful, smart, talented beyond belief, and so selfless. And would it really be so bad for Namjoon to just let himself have something good for once? How much love had he missed out on while he protected his career and his friends fell in love and got married?

A two-year relationship. Jungkook, at eighteen, had more experience with dating than he did. It took him a while to get to sleep, sharp regret and longing chewing at him. He could usually talk himself out of shit like that. It wasn’t working.

He hadn’t actually expected to be woken by a phone call late at night.

“Jungkook? What’s up?”

His voice came quietly from the other end of the line, unusually deep and dragging. “I caved and walked to the hospital, and they drugged me up and gave me a prescription. I don’t think I should walk home. Can you come get me?”

Namjoon rubbed a hand over his eyes. His bed felt like it was sucking him back in. He’d just managed to get to sleep despite lying awake for two hours wishing he had Jungkook’s weight and warmth beside him like last night in the tent. “I’ll be there soon.”

“Thanks,” Jungkook murmured, and hung up.

Jungkook looked like death in the harsh light of the waiting room, baggy pants and sandals, his black hoody pulled up, slouched low in chair, his swollen eyes and the small curves of his lips lit up by his phone.

“Hey, kid.”

He stood up slowly, his eyes tracking up to Namjoon’s, low under his lashes. “Sorry for waking you.”

“I don’t mind. You ready to go?”

Jungkook looked at his plaid flannel pants. “Did you bother changing before you came down here?”

“Nope. Didn’t put on shoes either. Let’s go.”

In the car, he asked, “What made you finally go to the hospital?”

It took Jungkook a minute to focus, shifting in his seat to keep himself awake. “I took a shower, and I think it was the most painful thing I’ve ever done. Fucking water pressure. I’m gonna have to take baths or something till this goes away.”

Namjoon snorted and pulled into CVS. “You’re slurring really bad, you know. Those drugs must be something else. I hope they’re open.”

“It’s only, like, 11:30. I think this is a twenty-four hour one anyway.”

“It’s so late.”

Jungkook blinked at him blankly. “11:30 isn’t late.”

“Yeah it is.”

Jungkook snorted, fumbling with the door. “I’m lucky if I sleep before 2 a.m. most nights.”

“I’m so old,” Namjoon muttered as he got out. Jungkook smiled and ran a heavy hand through Namjoon’s hair.

“Got any gray in here?”

“Oh, come on. Not yet.”

“Look at this,” Jungkook said, like a drunken man remembering something, “They replaced the Band-Aids on my arm, and they had Finding Nemo ones in the drawer, so I asked them to use those.” He pulled up his sleeve to show his arm covered in large cartoon fish.

It was so cute that Namjoon had to physically fight himself not to grab his arm and kiss all over the Band-Aids. Instead he gently held Jungkook’s arm and made a weird squealing-growling noise in his throat. Jungkook giggled and nearly fell asleep standing up. Namjoon shoved him through the CVS door and walked off the find the toothpaste.

So many brands. How did the market support so many fucking brands of toothpaste? What did people do before toothpaste? Was this a shampoo type thing? Did the use of toothpaste perpetuate the need of toothpaste and would people’s teeth be fine if they never started using it in the first place? Probably not. The historical stereotype was that everyone was missing teeth and people died of cavities. Probably good to have toothpaste around.

He stood in front of the wall of toothpaste for five whole minutes before finally grabbing a box and walking back to the pharmacy. Jungkook was just getting the pill bottles from the lady behind the counter. He’d evidently gotten comfortable as he waited, because his chin was still down on the counter as he signed the receipt with his arms stretched out in front of him. She leaned close and said something. He froze, then laughed and waved his hands like he was saying no. She looked doubtful. They had a quick and quiet conversation, and then he took the pill bottles and turned to find Namjoon.

“What were you two talking about?”

He yawned. “Heh. It’s kind of funny, actually. She—wait, we can’t go down this aisle.”

“Why not?”

“It’s the tampon aisle,” he whined, looking uncomfortable.

Namjoon grabbed him by the arm, carefully above the bruises, and steered him down the aisle. “If you can walk down aisles with condoms and toilet paper, you can walk down an aisle with tampons.”

Jungkook stared blankly at the tampons as Namjoon dragged him past. “Pretty boxes. You seriously shouldn’t be manhandling me in here though. That women will call the cops or something.”

“Wait, what?”

“She thought I was in an abusive relationship. With you, I think.”

Namjoon dropped Jungkook’s arm real fast and put some distance between them.

“I told her no, you’re just my volleyball partner, and I went hiking drunk, but I’m not sure she believed me.”

Namjoon paid for his toothpaste, twitchy and suspicious, staring around. The woman from the pharmacy rang him up, and he didn’t know if he should be smiley and polite or just tired and distracted, like he really felt, so he probably just looked really weird. She stared him dead in the eye with thinly veiled hostility. When he turned around, Jungkook was curled up on the floor, eyes closed. “Get up.” He nudged him with a foot. “You can’t sleep on the floor of CVS.”

“Watch me. They drugged me up too good,” Jungkook muttered.

“I will tell coach everything.”

Jungkook got up fast.

“Tell him it was a bear or something,” he said as he staggered towards the door.

“No way. If he hears the story from me, I’ll say you were trying to roll down the side of a mountain or something. There’s no way I’m making you look good.”

Jungkook whacked him petulantly with one floppy, sweatered arm, and then hissed in pain, rolling up his sleeve to check the bruising.

As they got in the car, Namjoon thought he saw the employee watching them out the window. He got out of there as fast as he could.

Helping Jungkook get ready for bed reminded him of the night they spent playing Yoongi keep-away. Jungkook had taken care of him in much the same way, and they’d ended up cuddling in his bed. Maybe Jungkook remembered too, because when he sat down on the bed, he wrapped himself casually around one of Namjoon’s legs, his nose buried in Namjoon’s hip.

“Hey kid,” he said softly, “We’re not doing that anymore.”

Jungkook looked up into his face, messy hair everywhere, eyes blinking slowly. “I know. Please stay.”

“We’re not doing this anymore,” Namjoon repeated.

Jungkook’s hands tightened on his leg, staring upwards with something like desperation, but he nodded, gave Namjoon’s side one last heartfelt snuggle, and then reluctantly let go and laid down.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” Namjoon murmured. “Goodnight.”

Jungkook just nodded. He looked like he would break down if he opened his mouth, but he was asleep before Namjoon slowly left the room.

 

Practice was impossible for Jungkook. He couldn’t hit the ball without flinching. Instead, he tugged off his shirt and laid down in the sand. “You’re going to get Nemo Band-Aid tan lines,” Namjoon said, kicking sand over his back.

“Up you get,” Coach said, “Run down to the pier and back, and then give me two-hundred air squats.”

“What? That’s two miles!”

“So I expect you back in under fifteen minutes. Go.”

Jungkook got all the way back, looking suspiciously drowsy, did something like fifty air squats, then sat down in the sand when Coach wasn’t looking and fell asleep.

“Kookie! Get the fuck up and practice!” Coach yelled.

“He’s on narcotics. Give him a break,” Namjoon laughed.

“There are no breaks in beach volleyball!”

“There are, actually,” Jungkook groaned, “Sometimes several per set,” but he stood up and went back to air squats. When he finished he didn’t go report back to Coach, just laid down and took another impromptu nap in the sand.

“He’s like a kitten,” Coach said, “You know how kittens go from really active to dead asleep in the span of about a minute? And they do it a lot?”

He wanted to pull kitten Jungkook in for a hug so he could tell him he did well. Instead he gave him a fist bump and fucked with his hair a little. “Good push, kid.”

Jungkook smoothed his hair back down with a smile. “Thanks. Napping champion right here. And don’t call me that.”

“Kiddo,” Namjoon said.

“Ah, fuck off.”

Namjoon drove him home since he was still on pain meds, conscious of the way Jungkook stared at him from where he slouched against the car seat. “What?” he asked at a red light.

Jungkook started to say something and then shook his head. “I’m still really drugged up.”

“How long are you gonna keep yourself drugged up?”

“Till it stops hurting so much, obviously.”

They got out of the car and headed up to eat dinner together, like they always did.

Jungkook’s apartment looked like it had been made to be a beach hotel in the sixties, faded pastel railings on the balconies and paint cracking off the stairs. He had some weird neighbors: a man with a huge, dirty beard who was always smoking cigarettes in a plastic chair out by his front door on the second story, two middle-aged Latina women yelling at each other from the doorway down into the parking lot. Namjoon knew enough Spanish to recognize a grocery list. He’d seen a woman who must have been nearly sixty with three children in tow just the other day, all of them carrying Hooters take-out boxes.

Jungkook unlocked his door and turned the knob awkwardly, his fingers gripping in odd places to avoid most of the bruises. Once inside, he stripped off his beach clothes like Namjoon wasn’t behind him and pulled on some random pair of sweatpants off the couch. “Can you make me food, Namjoon?”

Namjoon worked his brain past Jungkook’s thighs, “Uhh, can I? Probably not, actually.”

Jungkook pouted.

“You have no idea how bad I am at cooking, do you? Haven’t you noticed that we always eat take-out at my house? I will find a way to break your stove and then burn everything.”

Jungkook sighed and stretched, still shirtless, and walked into the kitchen. Namjoon followed and leaned on the doorframe, watching Jungkook move lazily around, grabbing vegetables. The Nemo Band-Aids did nothing to diminish the way he could see the firm lines of muscle in his arms shift under his skin. How did a teenager get such powerful shoulders? “I’m gonna make stir fry.”

“That—oh god. I might just jizz everywhere.” For more reasons than one.

Jungkook flashed him a beautiful grin.

“Can you at least help cut the vegetables.”

“I can’t even do that.”

“How do you feed yourself?”

“Yoongi fed me for years.”

“Ah.”

He turned around and got to work. Namjoon sat down on the kitchen counter and hoped he wasn’t drooling.

He’d been staring blankly at the muscles shifting in Jungkook’s bare shoulders when Jungkook turned around and asked him a question.

“What?”

“I asked if you want peanuts in this.”

“Sure.”

“Cool.” He stretched up to reach a can of peanuts high up in a cabinet, sweat-pants low on his hips. Namjoon could almost feel that warm, silky skin in the palms of his hands, the little bit of give under his fingers. Blood trickled out of his brain and down into his dick. He left the room and came back with some random white t-shirt he’d found on the floor of his room.

“Jungkook, put the spatula down.”

Jungkook did. “What?”

Namjoon pulled the t-shirt roughly down over his head and shoulders. “Arms. Get your arms through the holes.”

Jungkook giggled, fighting to find the arm holes. “Namjoon, what?” The collar was still stuck on the top of his head. Namjoon pulled that down. “Ah! Bruises. Caref—ah-h, fuck!”

Namjoon yanked his hands off and let Jungkook find the arm holes himself. Jungkook giggled, just his head poking out with his arms tied in the shirt. Looking a little breathless and red. “What was that about?”

“Just wear a shirt. For my health.”

“Oh. Okay, sorry.” Jungkook flashed his abs one more time with a smirk and then went back to dinner.

Namjoon washed the dishes for him afterwards. Jungkook came in and said, “I just took my pain meds, so don’t mind if I’m passed out on the couch when you finish.

“Do your thing. Pass out if you need to.”

He wasn’t asleep ten minutes later. He was shirtless again, fiddling with Instagram filters on a selfie with all his bruises, lying down in the beach sand.

Namjoon joined him.

“Food Network?” Jungkook asked.

“Sounds good.”

Jungkook dropped the remote between them, his hands limp across his stomach. Namjoon got tired of watching people make delicious food that he would never eat and casually pulled one of Jungkook’s arms out of his lap to inspect the cuts.

“When are you going to replace the Nemo Band-Aids?” he asked, running his thumb nail along the edge of one. “These got sandy at practice.”

Jungkook nose crinkled. He shifted uncomfortably, “That feels weird. I probably won’t replace them. They’ll fall off in a day or so, and I’ll just let it be.”

“What about the one on your face? Why doesn’t that one have fish on it?”

Jungkook shrugged. “Didn’t want Nemo on my face. Figured that was a bit…um…”

Namjoon stopped running his thumb over a bruise near the inside of an elbow. “Does that hurt? I’ll stop.”

“It doesn’t hurt. Keep going if you want,” he murmured.

Namjoon turned his arm over gently, searching for all the bruises. He had a harsh one along the outside edge of his palm and several small ones dotting his fingers, a dark grey one along the knuckles on the back of his hand, then small dots travelling up his arm. Namjoon followed them like a constellation with his fingers.

“Does it hurt?” he asked again, thumb pressing gently into one half hidden between a Band-Aid, the raised line of a scratch right beside it.

“N-not much. Don’t worry about it.”

Namjoon sighed. There were so many little bruises. “How did you even manage this?” he asked. “It really does look like you went through a blender.” Jungkook’s skin felt so soft under his fingers, even as hard and muscular he was. He’d allow himself this small reason to touch Jungkook. It was innocent enough. He and Yoongi touched more than this.

But there were so many bruises. Namjoon counted all of them on just one arm, including the little ones that were barely the size of a dime, tapping gently against each of them and tracing down the scratch marks where the bush had gotten him. “Twenty-one bruises on this arm, Jungkook. Do you bruise easy or something?”

“Yeah,” Jungkook whispered. Namjoon looked at him sharply. He had his head tilted back against the back of his couch, neck tense, eyes narrowed and glazed. His legs shifted restlessly on the coffee table.

“Is this turning you on?”

“No?” Jungkook tried, voice squeaky, breath coming fast. “That would be weird. I’m not into that.”

Namjoon very deliberately pressed his thumb into a large bruise along the inside of his wrist. Jungkook gasped, tensing like he wanted to pull away, but his fingers gripped Namjoon’s hand weakly, trying to keep him there.

Namjoon found another bruise and pressed again.

“Oh fuck,” Jungkook moaned, his whole body twisting. His other hand covered his face. Fuck that was hot. Every fucking time he thought he had this under control, Jungkook had to get sexier. Namjoon reluctantly let go of his arm and he took it slowly back, cradling it against his chest. “I’m sorry,” he whined.

Namjoon swallowed. “Kinky.”

Jungkook pulled in on himself.

“I’m going to go home now,” Namjoon said quietly, “Because it looks like you have stuff to take care of that I can’t help you with.” He remembered Jungkook rutting frantically against his thigh and shivered a little. “As much as I’d like to.”

“We’re terrible at this whole staying off each other thing,” Jungkook said.

“Yeah.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be. I’m not judging.”

“It’s weird.”

“Trust me, you’re fine. I’ve seen much much weirder.”

Namjoon drove home. He refused to lay down and jack off imagining Jungkook still on his couch in his sweat pants, skin slick, lips parted, those breathy moans filling the quiet apartment, one hand wrapped around his cock, and the other pressed against the bruises on his arm, eyes closed, whispering Namjoon’s name.

He refused to do that. They’d agreed not to.

He went to sleep uncomfortably half hard.

 

In the morning, Namjoon woke up to a text from coach that read, "You’re going to Rio." In the car on the way to the same salon Yoongi always went to, he started getting texts from Jungkook. He shut his phone off. Plenty of time to celebrate with Jungkook later, but this was for Yoongi.

He looked really weird with blond hair, slicked back, the sides shaved short, but not bad weird. The lady that did the dye job certainly seemed to like him with blond hair, smiling proudly behind him in the mirror. He looked powerful. He thought that maybe he pulled blond off even better than Yoongi.

As usual, he walked right into Yoongi’s house without knocking, and to his surprise, the first person he saw was Jungkook slouching on the living room couch, jaw hanging as he stared at Namjoon’s hair. Then Yoongi appeared around the corner, took one look at his hair, and wordlessly wrapped him in the tightest hug he’d ever felt, and maybe the first hug Yoongi had ever initiated. When they finally broke apart after a couple soundless minutes that were no doubt very awkward for Jungkook, Yoongi’s eyes were a little teary. Namjoon hugged him again for good measure, but Yoongi turned growly and shrugged him off.

“Ok, Mr. Hugs, let me go get my phone. I need to take a picture of this.”

“Did he know you were going to do that?” Jungkook asked.

“Nah. Didn’t bother letting him in on that plan.”

Jungkook squeezed his couch cushion and giggled happily. “You’re both gross.”

Yoongi reappeared and took a selfie with him. Jungkook limped over, grinning, and Yoongi took a picture of the new team. Jungkook followed suit with his phone. “Still blond and black hair though,” Yoongi said, “Keeping my legacy alive. You gotta keep up with that shit till the games are over. Gold medal hair, that is.”

Jungkook jumped up and down, hands in his pockets, grinning wildly. “Namjoon, we’re fucking going to Rio! I’m going to the Olympics!” Namjoon bumped their foreheads together, a replacement for kissing him senseless.

“Your first of many games, kid.”

“Many with you?” Jungkook asked, hands scratching at Namjoon’s chest, trying to get a grip on the front of his shirt.

Namjoon wanted him so much. “Yeah,” he whispered. They didn’t kiss, but Namjoon held Jungkook’s waist, and Jungkook pressed his lips to the collar of Namjoon’s black t-shirt. They stayed there for a moment, wrapped tight together, clinging, hovering in the implications of more.

“Just fucking make out already,” Yoongi said. He stood ten feet away, leaning against the kitchen island and looking absolutely disgusted.

Jungkook stepped away immediately, eyes on the ground, hands shoved back in the pocket of his hoody, weakly laughing it off. Yoongi zeroed in on Namjoon and narrowed his eyes with undeniable threat.

Namjoon gave him a little head shake and hoped he understood not to press the issue.

Jungkook FaceTimed his mom to tell her the good news, and after getting through the inevitable screaming and worrying about the massive bruises all over Jungkook’s face, he made Namjoon and Yoongi jump on screen and say hello. She shrieked and dropped the phone. “Namjoon Kim and Yoongi Min. Oh my god. It’s so nice to meet you! I’m just such a fan. Kookie, I’m so proud! We’ve all been fans of you forever. The whole family.” She looked a lot like him, and incredibly young to have an eighteen-year-old son.

“Mom, you’re babbling.”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Has Jungkook told you that he’s had a poster of you two on his wall since your first Olympics? We got it for him for his seventh birthday!”

“Mom!”

Namjoon felt increasingly awkward about having let someone with such an attainable, young, and attractive mother rub off on his thigh.

“You’re household heroes! Oh man, I had such a crush on you when I was younger. Jungkook’s dad would get so jealous.”

“Oh, did you?” Namjoon said.

“I meant Yoongi, but damn, you’ve grown up handsome too,” she said.

Jungkook threw his phone into his lap. Yoongi picked it up to turn the phone back around. “I can see where Jungkook gets his looks from,” Yoongi said with a smirk.

“Well not his father, certainly,” she said.

“Oh god, I don’t want to hear this,” Jungkook muttered, pulling his hood down over his ears.

Yoongi ignored him. “So are you ever going to come down here to visit Kookie?”

“I’d love to see your face up close and in person,” Namjoon added, and Jungkook turned slowly with simmering wrath in his eyes.

“I’m sure you would. I bet I could arrange a weekend down there on my own.”

“No Jungkook needed,” Yoongi agreed, leering, “Just us.”

“That sounds lovely.”

“Mom!”

“Relax, sweetie. Let your mother have some fun.”

“Can I just borrow your phone and your mom and go back in my room for a while?” Yoongi asked.

Jungkook lunged, but Namjoon was prepared, getting Jungkook in an arm-lock.

He flailed for a moment and then choked and stiffened up. “Ah! Namjoon! Bruises!”

Namjoon dropped him immediately. “Fuck. You okay? I forgot about all of those.”

“All of those? All of what? How many bruises, Jungkook?”

“They’re all really small,” he said, voice shaky. His face was flushing, and Namjoon could see a little bit of the panic and shame from the night before on his face. He flinched away from Namjoon’s hands.

“I’m sorry,” Namjoon said again.

“He breaks everything he touches,” Yoongi said.

“Don’t say things like that to his mom!” Namjoon said, “I’m not gonna break him! She’s gonna, like, sue me or something.”

“Nah,” she said, “My kid’s tough.”

“He’s got a tough mama, huh?” Yoongi said gruffly, tone suggestive. Jungkook cuffed him in the back of the head hard and then bent double over his hand, hissing in pain.

“Ice? Do you need ice?”

“No,” Jungkook growled, “I need my pain meds. I didn’t take them this morning.”

“Why the hell not?” Yoongi yelped.

“Had to drive here!”

“Take you fucking meds now! Stay here. I’ll go get them.”

By the time Namjoon came back with the pills and a glass of water, Jungkook had the phone back, and he was just glaring at the screen from behind his knees where he was balled up in his hood. Yoongi had one hand over his back, talking to Jungkook’s mom about how well-prepared the Olympics team would be to face whatever horrors Rio had to throw at him. “He’ll be fine. Namjoon and I will both be there. We’ve got a whole staff. We’ll have good water and a nice hotel. Don’t worry.”

Jungkook took the pills angrily from Namjoon, swallowed them, and grabbed the water. He spilled it on himself a little. Yoongi snickered as Namjoon tried to fix the situation without laughing too hard.

“Goodbye, be safe, I love you!” Jungkook’s mom managed to squeak in before Jungkook hung up.

“That was an unqualified disaster,” Yoongi snickered. He had the good grace to let Jungkook whack him with a couch cushion for a while, because he deserved it.

“Fucking flirting with my fucking mother. Who’s the disaster, Yoongi? She’s way too old for you.”

“How old is she, forty-five?”

“…Forty.”

“Oh damn. She’s well within my age limit.”

“Fuck off!”

“That’s only eleven years. That’s like the difference between you and me! I’m only a year older than Namjoon, you know. If you can fuck him, I can fuck her.”

“That means you fucking can’t,” Jungkook snapped, standing up and kicking over the coffee table as he left. Something glass smashed on the ground and Jungkook didn’t even flinch.

Yoongi snorted. “Boys are too overprotective of their mothers. Mothers can defend themselves if they want to be defended. His mom has had sex more times than he can even comprehend, and he can’t even stand it when she flirts with people.”

Namjoon watched him disappear down the hallway towards the bathroom. “Yoongi, just because you have a weird as fuck relationship with your mother doesn’t mean that the rest of the male population shouldn’t get defensive when someone treats the woman that raised them like any girl on the street.”

“Okay. Fair.”

“I think the last thing you said about your age difference is what actually set him off. I’m going to go see if he’s okay.”

As soon as Namjoon caught up to Jungkook in the half-light of the hallway, he turned around and slammed his hands into Namjoon’s chest. “Do not flirt with my mom. What the fuck is wrong with you?”

“We were all having fun teasing you! Calm down!”

“Do not flirt with my mom. Do not do it. Don’t.”

“Did you get jealous?”

Jungkook “Yes! Okay? If you so intent on not avoiding this, fucking yes! You’re freaked out about flirting with me, but you’ll flirt with her, and it’s fine. I don’t like feeling threatened by my own mother.”

“Threatened? Slow down. We’re not doing this. Remember? Why would you feel threatened?”

“Are you just fucking with me now?” Jungkook shouted. “It hurts!”

“No yelling in the house!” Yoongi yelled from the living room. Jungkook ignored him.

“I flirt with fucking everyone, so if you’re going to feel hurt every time I flirt with anyone from here on out, it’s gonna be a problem.”

“You know how I feel! I’ve been borderline in love with you for seven years. You want me to get over that just because it’s suddenly convenient? I’m trying, Namjoon! I’m trying for you! Don’t make it harder.”

Namjoon dimly heard Yoongi mutter, “Fuck,” from the living room.

The though of Jungkook getting over him left something nasty twisting in his chest. He pushed. “We’re stopping, right? Do you expect me to be celibate for a decade and wait for you? Please tell me, because now that we’re going to Rio, I’ve gotta actually decide whether to keep sexting this gymnast guy or not, or things will be really awkward once we get there, and I don’t want that.”

Jungkook looked a little horrified.

“Welcome to the real me, Jungkook, not the one in your poster. I’m a hopeless slut. You’re going to have to fucking get used to it.”

“You trying to set a record? Let’s see how many times in one day you can make me cry because I’m a pathetic child. The record is six. I already cried twice this morning, and it ain’t even noon. I don’t even cry about shit! I’ve never cried much. Do you even care about me at all?”

Did he? He got up in the morning worrying about whether Jungkook was okay. He’d been drinking more and bringing people home less. He’d let this whirlpool get away from him. Agreeing to stop hadn’t slowed down the spiraling attraction, every day looping him deeper into Jungkook’s casual smirk, his loping run, the way his thighs looked in ripped-up skinny jeans, the edge of his white teeth under his top lip when he talked, the way he cheeks puffed up when he smiled.

Something in him told him not to cooperate, to make this difficult. A few minutes ago they’d been celebrating Rio and Namjoon had just wanted to kiss Jungkook’s happy smile. Getting Rio for Jungkook already felt like stepping onto the podium. “I care,” he whispered against Jungkook’s mouth, his hands rubbing soothingly down Jungkook’s sides. “So much.”

Jungkook clung to him. “I hate you,” he sobbed, but kissed him fiercely. “Stop getting my hopes up. Stop messing with me.”

His lips were every bit as addicting as they always were, candy sweet and firm, demanding even as he hung on like he would fall. “I want you,” Namjoon murmured, and trailed heavy kisses up the side of his face, pressing along the bruise.

Jungkook gasped through his tears. “Selfish.”

“I know.”

Jungkook’s hands found the hem of Namjoon’s shirt and traveled slowly up his chest inside the fabric, moaning softly. Namjoon had a little bit of extra height on Jungkook with his shoes on, and he used it, shouldering him into the wall and tipping his head back. His hands trailed along Jungkook’s back until he found the bruise along his lower ribs. Jungkook shuddered, his head knocking against the wall.

“Namjoon, we can’t do this,” he whispered.

“I know.”

They didn’t stop, kissing hungrily, hands roaming, trying to get closer and closer, until Jungkook’s hips were twitching against Namjoon’s thigh again, his teeth on Namjoon’s lips.

Yoongi’s mom opened the door of the room beside them and walked out. Jungkook immediately jerked his face away from Namjoon’s, facing away and falling as far back against the wall as he could. His hands slid out of Namjoon’s shirt and jammed back into his hoody pockets. She gave them a judging glare that was uncannily like her son’s.

“Namjoon,” she said, “I thought I taught you better.”

“You what?”

She shook her head, sighing. “I understand wanting younger men, believe me. I’ve had a struggle since all Yoongi’s friends started turning twenty-five, you included. But going for it? Ballsy. You have to at least treat him well.”

“Uh. You’ve what?”

“Mom!” Yoongi shouted from the living room, “Please don’t flirt with my friends.”

“Suck it up, bitch!” Jungkook shouted.

“Nose out of my life, Yoongi!” His mom yelled.

Yoongi limped tiredly into the hallway. “Out of my house, Mom.”

They got to bickering. Jungkook’s drugs had evidently started taking effect, because when Namjoon looked back down he was falling asleep against the wall.

“We’re going home,” he said, pulling Jungkook past Yoongi and his mother. Jungkook went quietly. In the car he curled up and stared out the window. Namjoon felt like he was driving his moody son home from detention. “I’m sorry,” he said.

“You’re not.”

“I don’t think flirting with your mom was that bad. We were all fucking with you.”

“Yeah, and I got shoved in the ‘kid’ box while you all enjoyed riling me up. I don’t like feeling defensive and angry, and I don’t fucking like it when people have fun making me feel like that. I’m not going to blow it off and laugh at it like it’s a joke when it fucking bothers me.”

“I’m not gonna treat you like your emotions are made of glass.”

“I don’t want you to. They’re not. But whatever the fuck is going on between us is seriously wrecking my life. Don’t mess with that. We decided what we’re doing. Fucking leave it alone so I can figure myself out.”

“I don’t want to.”

“We have to though. I’m so scared of what I’ll do to your career. Just stop.”

“I’ve never let myself have what I wanted before because I’ve never wanted anything this badly that wasn’t a volleyball trophy. I’m in the mood to self-destruct, so fuck it; I want you.”

“Don’t…self-destruct.”

“I know we shouldn’t, but I’m halfway between saying fuck it and risking my entire career, or pushing you away by being an asshole and stressing you out with how risky this is, but what I really can’t do is ignore it and assume it’ll go away. It won’t. Not soon enough, at least. Give it a couple years, and maybe, but not overnight.”

“I’m not worth it.”

“You might be.”

Jungkook murmured “I’m not,” but Namjoon could hear him smiling.

“You’re not? You’re funny, interesting, strong, adorable, kind, talented, thoughtful. Every time I see you, I feel excited. You’re making me love volleyball again. You’re not worth it?”

“I’m eighteen.”

“You’re already worth it. For someone who’s been borderline in love with me for seven years, you seem remarkably invested in pushing me away.”

“We’re both a mess. This isn’t good for us.”

“It isn’t good for us to avoid it either. Way too late for that. I’m not letting you go that easy.”

Jungkook didn’t say anything, but Namjoon felt two fingers tighten in his belt loop. There was silence for a while, and when Namjoon next looked over, he was asleep against the window.

Jungkook showed no surprise that they ended up at Namjoon’s house instead of Jungkook’s, just collapsed onto the couch. He caught Namjoon’s leg and dragged him closer, blinking up sleepily. “I love you blond,” he said, voice slurring and rough with sleep, Namjoon’s stomach fizzled. “I can’t stop staring at you.”

Namjoon got down next to the couch to get closer to Jungkook’s sleepy face, his round, dark eyes, bangs hanging off his forehead, brushing lightly along the dark bruises. His odd, puffy cheeks, spotted with acne scars, were curved just slightly, doll-like. “Jesus Christ, you’re so young,” he murmured hopelessly. “This really is some serious Lolita shit.”

Jungkook rolled his eyes at him, but ran a hand so gently over Namjoon’s hair, lips twitching upwards a little. “I’m not twelve, damn it,” he whined, “Are you going to get on this couch and cuddle me or not?

Namjoon crammed his way onto the couch, which was too small for two full-grown men, sandwiched behind Jungkook’s back along the cushions. He wrapped an arm around his chest, the other under the throw pillow beneath their heads. Jungkook hummed happily, wiggling against him a little, his fingertips tracing lightly up Namjoon’s forearm. “Wake me for dinner,” he murmured, and then fell dead asleep.

Namjoon figured they’d reached a point of no return here. Any distance he tried to put between them from this point on would just be rude after breaking down Jungkook’s valiant attempt at keeping their relationship professional and platonic. It was a small triumph, but a dangerous one. Jungkook had pushed his fingers between Namjoon’s before he fell asleep, and now he didn’t have a hand to brush Jungkook’s hair out of his mouth and nose. Worth it. He’d been missing this, he realized, just having someone curled up in his arms, better that it was this wonderful boy.

 

He woke up to something tugging gently at his arm. He opened his eyes. The apartment was significantly darker than before. Golden streaks of sunset glowed on the dark walls. “Namjoon,” Jungkook croaked.

“Hm?”

“You’re breathing o-on my neck. It’s getting uncomfortable.”

Namjoon noticed how stiff Jungkook was, muscles locked tight from his neck all the way to his hips, hands clutching Namjoon’s arm bracingly to his chest. When Namjoon pulled his hand away though, he let go easily. Namjoon processed all this sluggishly, and then leaned forward and nipped the back of Jungkook’s neck. Jungkook groaned between gritted teeth before he could stop himself. Namjoon found his nipple through his hoody and rubbed gentle circles over it. Jungkook gasped and moved his arms up and out of the way, hips twitching.

“Relax, kid,” Namjoon murmured sleepily, “You’re gonna get really bad knots in your back.”

Jungkook went limp all at once, heaving in a deep breath. Namjoon pushed his hand up into Jungkook’s hoody, along his burning hot skin. He stiffened up again unconsciously, and Namjoon smirked against the back of his neck, fingers roaming all over the sharply defined muscles. It had been quite a while since he’d played with anyone like this.

“You’re not wearing a shirt,” he murmured finally. Jungkook shook his head. “Wearing any underwear under these?” he asked, skirting his fingers low over the soft skin below the loose elastic on his sweat pants, between the creases of his hips. Jungkook nearly choked, writhing. “Nope. Cute.” He ran one finger from under Jungkook’s navel all the way up to the hollow of his throat, then traveled very gradually back down, finding all the hot spots that made his gasps shuddery.

He stayed for a long while tracing the V of his hips and dragging his fingers through his happy trail. Jungkook whimpered, “Namjoon, please.”

“Please what? You want something?”

Jungkook growled at him, which was adorable.

He sat up and pushed Jungkook onto his back. He was flushed, his eyebrows screwed up like he was in pain, pink lips wide open as he panted. Namjoon found a bruise along the bottom of his ribs and pressed down experimentally. Jungkook’s gasped, squirming, but his back arched further into it, and his hand flew to Namjoon’s, holding it there. “Fuck,” he murmured.

“I’m curious,” Namjoon said, pulling his thumb off and watching his face screw up in frustration, “Did you know you liked this?”

He shook his head. “Used to like it when Ji—when my ex scratched me. Didn’t think there was more to it than that.”

Namjoon leaned down and kissed him. Jungkook arched up, one long, pale expanse of skin against the dark brown of his couch. He thumbed over a dusky pink nipple again, and Jungkook whined and threw an arm over his face. Namjoon bit gently at a bruise on his jaw. “Fuck, stop teasing,” he whispered.

“I wanna drive you crazy.”

“You’ve been doing that for years.”

“You get off on thinking about me sometimes, right?”

Jungkook gritted his teeth and stayed silent. Namjoon smirked and sucked gently under his ear, remembering the way he’d fallen to pieces every time he touched his neck the last time. Sure enough, he gasped and grabbed Namjoon’s carefully styled blond hair, fingers digging into his scalp. “You’re enjoying this way too much,” he gritted out.

“M-hm.” He sat up and pulled his shirt off, loving the way Jungkook’s eyes whipped down his body. He reached out slowly like he wasn’t sure he was allowed to touch and rubbed shaking hands down over his stomach and to his belt. Namjoon wasn’t sure how he’d gone without this for even a couple days.

“Will you fuck me this time?”

“Yeah. When was the last time you took a shower?”

“This morning?”

“Cool. I’ll eat you out some time, okay?”

“U-uh, why?”

Namjoon snickered. “It feels so good. You’ll love it.”

Jungkook squirmed uncomfortably. Namjoon pulled his hoody the rest of the way off, not being careful with the bruises, because he doubted Jungkook cared. Jungkook shook his hair out of his eyes and then pulled Namjoon tight on top of him, kissing him deep and hard. “Bedroom?” he gritted out.

“Yeah.” He got up, pulling his belt from the loops. Jungkook led the way.

“It’s kind of a mess in here.”

“I never fold my laundry.”

“I can tell.”

Jungkook dropped his sweat pants and flopped down on the bed, one hand slowly pumping his dick as he watched Namjoon undress. Namjoon grabbed lube and a condom and dropped them down beside the pillow. “God, you’re pretty,” he murmured as he sank down on top of Jungkook and pressed gently down to feel the way their lips gave gently, so soft against each other.

Jungkook was fully hard, but Namjoon was only halfway there, so Jungkook rolled them over and scooted down his body, shy under his lashes, and took the head of his dick in his mouth. That view, as much as anything else, had all the blood rushing straight south out of his head. It was by no means the best blowjob he’d ever gotten, but Jungkook moaned quietly around him, snug between his legs, eyes drifting closed, those pretty lips stretched wide.

Namjoon gripped his soft black hair and pulled gently. Jungkook opened his eyes, looked up at his face, and moaned quietly, dipping lower on Namjoon’s cock, silky heat swallowing him up and pumping pleasure up his spine.

It felt good, but it would never be enough to get him off, so he coaxed Jungkook. “Come up here so I can finger you.”

Jungkook grinned and crawled up, dropping his hips down to brush their dicks together. Namjoon popped the lube open and sat up against the headboard, pulling his legs out from under Jungkook. “Lie on your back.” Jungkook did, looking a little reluctant and shy, his legs hooked over Namjoon’s thighs. Namjoon wasted no time lubing up his fingers and pushing one in.

Jungkook was alarmingly tight. He gasped quietly, and Namjoon carefully pulled his finger most of the way out and pushed back in slowly. “Holy fuck, you’re so tight. How often do you do this?”

“Like, never?” Jungkook said, voice shaking, blinking up at the ceiling.

“You’re not a virgin are you?”

“No! I bottomed for the ex a couple times.”

“You can use his name, you know. I’m not going to get jealous.”

Jungkook shook his head. “Just…move. Please.”

Namjoon thrust his finger in and out a little faster, the other hand wandering slowly over his thigh, feeling the soft skin. He found a bruise and pressed on it. Jungkook’s head arched back and he pushed into Namjoon’s hands, abs flexing. “God, Namjoon.”

“You’re beautiful,” Namjoon said, adding another finger. Jungkook’s eyes squeezed shut, a surprised moan leaving his lips.

“I know,” he said, grinning, and then Namjoon found his prostate and he grabbed the sheets by his head. “Fuck! Fuck, oh god, Ha-ahhh!” he trailed off into desperate panting.

“You’re so fucking responsive. It’s ridiculous,” Namjoon said, “I should fuck younger guys more often.”

“As long as they’re me,” Jungkook growled, tightening down on the fingers inside him. Namjoon chuckled breathlessly and twitched his fingers up into his sweet spot. Jungkook’s hips jumped, his muscles fluttering. He kept one finger pressed up to that spot and scissored the other outwards. “Fuck,” Jungkook whimpered, hands tightening in the sheets.

“You have a dirty little mouth when you’re turned on. You know that?”

“I have a dirty little mouth when I’m not turned on too,” Jungkook snapped back, voice breathy, “Get used to it.”

And if Namjoon thought Jungkook’s lips were addicting, it was nothing like the noises Jungkook made, the way he could spear him on two fingers and play him like a piano. Quick, sharp strokes against his prostate had him keening and jerking, while deep and even grinding made him moan low and go boneless against the sheets. Stretching him before he was ready left him breathless and arching.

Namjoon added a third finger, and he whimpered helplessly, twisting on the sheets, his legs sliding restlessly on Namjoon’s thighs like he’d like to pull his knees together but knew he shouldn’t. “Good boy,” he murmured teasingly.

Jungkook’s eyes slid open, dark and dangerous. He drew in a shuddering breath. “I’m so close,” he whispered. “Please make me come.”

Namjoon snorted. “No way. What do I do with myself after that?”

“I can come twice.”

“Fuck,” Namjoon breathed, and put all recent research to good effect, twisting deep and pressing up hard against his prostate, fingers circling as he pumped. Jungkook body rolled down onto his fingers, mouth wide open around frantic cries, his eyes squeezed shut.

“Touch me, Namjoon! Please! Oh fuck…”

“Come on my fingers or wait for my dick, kid.”

Jungkook whined, body struggling. “I can’t. I’ve never…” Namjoon kept his fingers moving in constant fast circles, building and building, never letting up. He reached up to the bruise on his ribs with his free hand and massaged his thumb into it.

Jungkook’s voice broke on a sob, arching hard into it, and he came in thick pulses across his stomach.

“Christ,” he whispered, working him slowly through it, stroking his side soothingly. Jungkook shook around his fingers for a few moments and then brought his knees awkwardly together and tried to twist away. Namjoon made it difficult, fighting to keep his fingers circling his prostate, playing with the overstimulation to watch him tremble and whimper, until Jungkook pulled himself up the bed and off his fingers.

Namjoon sat back a minute, breathing a little heavily. Jungkook was a limp, sticky puddle across the bed, legs still sprawled across Namjoon’s, his eyes shut tight, chest heaving, skin shining with sweat.

“You’re seriously amazing,” he murmured.

Jungkook hummed weakly.

“Look at me?” Namjoon asked, crawling down the bed towards his face. Jungkook’s eyes cracked open. Namjoon smoothed his sweaty bangs back and kissed his forehead. “I’m gonna clean you up. Just relax for a minute.”

“Kay.”

Namjoon grabbed the tissues and wiped him off. “You good?”

Jungkook shook his head, so Namjoon stretched out next to him, pulling Jungkook’s knees up over his thigh and just holding him close for a bit, pressing their foreheads together. Jungkook grabbed his arm and hung on tight. “Hottest fucking thing I’ve ever seen,” Namjoon murmured against his lips. Jungkook huffed a little and smiled softly, nuzzling into his forehead.

“Still want you to fuck me.”

“I’m gonna give you a few minutes first.”

“Yeah. Please.” Jungkook kissed him hard, with much more intensity than Namjoon was prepared for.

“That good, huh?”

“I’ve never come like that before.”

Namjoon smiled against his lips and spent the next fifteen minutes practicing every bit of kissing technique he’d picked up in the past fifteen years. Jungkook melted in his arms, and eventually spread his thighs in invitation. Namjoon added lube and dipped three fingers back down into him, stroking slow and easy and watching him quickly get hard again. “Wish I had your stamina.”

“It’s pretty useful,” he hesitated, “My ex and I used to go four or five rounds a day when we felt like it.”

“Fuck. He must have really hated losing you.”

“Ugh. Don’t talk about him right now. I’m gonna get soft and spend the rest of the evening watching Disney with a carton of ice cream.”

“Wouldn’t that be tragic,” Namjoon said, adding another finger just to get a last little stretch in. Jungkook’s jaw went slack, face beautifully peaceful as he enjoyed it. “How do you want to do this. Hands and knees, on your back, riding me…?”

“I wanna be able to see you.”

“Okay. I’m guessing you want me in control?”

“Yes, please.”

Namjoon kissed the tip of his nose. “So polite. No refusing that then.” He sat up between Jungkook’s legs and pulled a condom on. Jungkook still looked a little glazed, but he reached behind him and grabbed the footboard of the bed to brace himself, eyes wide and focused on where Namjoon was slicking himself up.

“You’re big,” he murmured.

“I’m not bad,” he said, “We’re both pretty well off, but it’s nothing ridiculous. Don’t worry. I won’t hurt you.”

“You’re just bigger than what I’m used to,” Jungkook said, “And I like it when it hurts a little.”

Namjoon lined up, eyeing Jungkook for an okay. Jungkook took a deep breath and then nodded. He pressed slowly in. Jungkook’s eyes went very wide, arms flexing against the footboard. He was incredibly tight. Namjoon breathed out a low moan, eyes squeezing shut as more and more of that heat swallowed him up. Jungkook fought to stay relaxed, muscles tightening and releasing again. Namjoon just stopped and let him adjust every half inch or so.

“Talk to me, Jungkook. How you doing?”

“It’s so much! Oh god, Namjoon.”

“Does it hurt?”

“Yeah. Don’t stop. I want more.”

Namjoon swore and pressed the rest of the way in. Jungkook gripped the footboard, panting.

“Don’t your hands hurt? The bruises.”

“Yeah, they hurt,” he gasped.

Namjoon dropped to his elbows over his body, sheathed in wonderful heat. “Baby, you feel so good.”

“Yeah, I do.”

Namjoon chuckled and kissed the bruise along the edge of his jaw. “What’re we gonna do when these disappear?”

“Hickeys, obviously.”

“Right, right. Do you want me to move?”

“I’ve wanted that for years. Do it.”

Namjoon shuddered. “It’s weird how much that turns me on, isn’t it?”

“Just don’t think about me jacking off while thinking of you in a high school bathroom at the beginning of freshman year. During your last Olympics.”

“Fuck.”

“I said don’t think about it.”

“I have my dick in you right now. Let’s not think about you at age fourteen.”

Jungkook snickered. “Haven’t graduated yet.”

“Are you trying to get me to pull out?”

“No!” Jungkook yelled, grabbing his shoulders. Namjoon pulled out and thrust quickly back in. Jungkook jumped and squeaked, hands clutching tightly.

“I’m gonna start now.”

“Okay,” he whispered.

Namjoon started sliding in and out, slow at first. Jungkook dissolved into breathless moaning immediately, a litany of swears and Namjoon’s name in the edges of his whimpers. Namjoon shivered through the pleasure pulsing on and off his dick.

“You’re so good, so good to me,” Jungkook said, fingernails digging into Namjoon’s shoulders.

That reminded him. He clawed slowly, harshly down Jungkook’s sides, digging in like he wanted blood. Jungkook screamed. Namjoon sat up a little in surprise, hips slowing a bit. Jungkook blinked wide-eyed up at the ceiling, panting. “Whoa,” he murmured. “I got super close for a second there.”

“I kinda want to see if you’d like it if I spanked you.”

Jungkook bit his lip. “No way. Not now. I can only handle so much masochistic self-discovery in one day.”

“Fair,” Namjoon said, and latched his lips onto his neck, sucking right under his jaw. Jungkook's hands went limp on Namjoon’s shoulders, flopping uselessly and then falling off. He stopped trying to match pace and push back against Namjoon. “You really are a kitten,” Namjoon said, “You just stop functioning when I get at your neck.”

“You gotta touch me.”

“I am though,” Namjoon snickered, cradling Jungkook’s head in hands as he placed a line of kisses along his jaw. Jungkook’s arms lay uselessly over head. He tried to push back to match his thrusts using legs that weren’t working properly. He gave up, ragdoll-like as always in Namjoon’s arms, one arm hiding his face, embarrassed. “Cutie,” Namjoon murmured.

He moaned throatily, bucking a bit, and Namjoon figured out what he wanted. He reached down to press one of his legs up and back, pistoning in at a better angle. It took a couple tries, but he slid right along Jungkook’s sweet spot. He sobbed into his elbow, body arching spastically. Namjoon entertained the possibility that it had been half a decade since he’d fucked anyone this inexperienced. Having an arsenal of techniques and the confidence to use them was turning out to be really fun with someone so pornographically responsive.

He looped his arms around Jungkook’s back and rotated them both upright, scooting back till he was sitting against the headboard with Jungkook straddling his lap, still impaled on his dick and barely able to support himself. His knees slipped further apart, and Namjoon shivered as he got deeper. Jungkook moaned graphically, arms braced on either side Namjoon’s head, head thrown back and abdomen shivering with tension.

“Ride me, cutie,” Namjoon said.

Jungkook whimpered and sat up straighter, getting his shaking knees under himself and rising slowly upwards before sinking quickly back down and rotating in small circles for a minute. “Just take what you want,” Namjoon said, rubbing soothingly up and down his rock solid thighs. Jungkook started trying to establish a pace, sweat dripping down his chest. He got the angle right and threw his head back, working his hips down hard and fast.

“Beautiful, baby,” Namjoon murmured, and Jungkook tipped his head slowly forward, cradling Namjoon’s head in his hands and staring into his eyes. His breath quickened even further. Namjoon gathered him in close and kissed him with every ounce of care and affection that he could manage with his orgasm tensing in his balls.

Against the backdrop of the sweet kiss, Namjoon clawed his fingernails down Jungkook’s back. He shuddered, whimpering into his mouth, and tensed around Namjoon’s cock, forcing himself down faster. “P-please, Namjoon, please.”

Namjoon wrapped a hand around his cock and dug his teeth into his shoulder at the same time. Jungkook shouted right in his ear and locked up. Namjoon felt wet warmth hit his stomach. He gripped Jungkook’s hips and worked them in slow circles as he came down, and then right as Jungkook went boneless, he tipped him backwards onto the bed, surging over him and thrusting hard, deep, and fast. Jungkook yelled high in his throat and gripped his hair, thrashing.

Namjoon finally came, buried to the hilt and caging Jungkook against the mattress, hands finally letting go of his hips. He balanced there for a second, his head down on Jungkook’s shoulder, and then pulled out with a nasty squelch and rolled to the side.

Jungkook looked completely dead for the second time, and not ready to move or do anything useful, so Namjoon closed his eyes and didn’t open them again until Jungkook shook him awake. “…Namjoon. Get up, bro, this shit is drying on me, and you still have the gross-ass condom on. We’ve been asleep for more than an hour.”

“Oh god, that’s really unsanitary,” Namjoon moaned.

“Shower time,” Jungkook agreed, sitting up like he was totally fine and hadn’t just gotten the shit fucked out of him. Namjoon stumbled sleepily after him, pulling the gross condom off and tossing it in the trashcan. Jungkook climbed into the shower before the water warmed up, and stood there, stiff, shivering, and yelping until it warmed up.

“Just wait till it’s warm?”

“Why would I do that when I can prove how tough I am?”

“Really wish I had your stamina,” Namjoon grumbled, climbing in beside him.

“Wish I had your endurance. Damn, you held out.”

“Was it better or worse than your fantasies?”

Jungkook shook his head. “So much better. I loved that. I had no idea sex could feel like that. You’ve ruined me for anyone my age, because no one knows what they’re doing.”

“Good thing you don’t need anyone your age now.”

Jungkook looked up anxiously. “Do you mean that? Are you really keeping me?”

Namjoon kissed him. “It’ll be harder than you think. We can’t kiss or hold hands in public. You can’t tell anyone about it. And I’m freaking out about you being so young, but you should be freaking out about me being so old. It’s going to be really hard for us to see things eye to eye.”

“I want it.”

“Okay. Let’s do this then. Let’s start out this relationship with an Olympic gold. How about that?”

Jungkook pressed his body closer, foreheads knocking together. “Yeah. I’m all yours, Namjoon.”

 

---

 

“Do you call him Daddy when he fucks you?” Yoongi asked, leaning over the aisle between the airport seats.  

Jungkook jumped. “No! Shh!”

Yoongi snickered. As the only living humans in the know about Jungkook and Namjoon’s relationship, Yoongi and his mother loved to tease.

“It seems appropriate,” she said, looking up from her James Patterson novel.

“God, no,” Namjoon said, snorting, “No need to make this weirder than it already is.”

Jungkook curled up defensively in his seat. “It’s not that weird. I’m only ten years younger.”

“Yes, more than half your age,” Yoongi said, “Ten years doesn’t matter so much when you’re forty, but it matters a hell of a lot when you’re eighteen.”

“I know. Shut up.”

“Have you ever heard of the rule of half plus seven?” Ms. Min said, “A man wants a woman who is half his age plus seven years. When a boy is fourteen, that’s seven plus seven, or another fourteen-year old. When he’s twenty, that’s ten plus seven, or seventeen. When he’s twenty-eight, like Namjoon, it’s, twenty-one at the lowest. When he’s fifty, it’s thirty-two. When he’s eighty, it’s forty-seven. That’s what the lower limit of acceptable usually is.”

“I’m not a woman,” Jungkook muttered.

“Intentionally miss my point if you want to.”

“And what’s the age rule for cougars?” Namjoon asked.

“Oh, we don’t have a rule like that,” she said, “We just go for any man with abs, good hair, and a pretty smile.”

Namjoon wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. She gave him finger guns.

“Gross,” Jungkook muttered.

“That rule applies to you too, you know,” Namjoon told him. He wrinkled his nose.

“Mom, if you start showing up to family functions with a man who is my age or younger, I will beat him with my cane, and you won’t be able to stop me.”

She snorted. “Any man who can’t defend himself against someone like you isn’t worth my time.”

Yoongi’s jaw set, eyes narrowing, and Namjoon almost grabbed Jungkook and ran, but Coach came back with a giant pretzel and neutralized the tension. “Hey guys. They’ve got pretzels down the hallway a bit.”

“I want one,” Ms. Min said, and walked quickly away, one short but very commanding middle-aged woman in a sea of international travelers.

“Your mother is a scary woman,” Namjoon said.

“No she isn’t.”

“She is though,” Jungkook said.

Yoongi didn’t argue it further, and Namjoon sank further down in the hard seat and tapped his phone against his knee. Airports were always a great place to get stupid little assignments done, like updating Twitter or reading the next chapter of The Sun Also Rises, but LAX was exhausting and an overwhelming rush of bright, white angles and the muted sound of large spaces. By the time they’d gotten to the gate, he hadn’t wanted to do much of anything.

Jungkook was putting a filter on an Instagram photo of himself on the beach mid-backflip. He wrote something about Rio in the tags.

“You are always on Instagram. Why are you always on Instagram?”

Jungkook got a sly smile. “I’m kind of Instafamous.”

“No you’re not.”

“I am. I have a few hundred thousand followers.”

“No you don’t.”

Jungkook showed him the number. Almost half a million.

“How?”

“Beach Volleyball is, like, a cultural thing. I just put an aesthetic to it. And I’m hot, young and multi-talented, which helps. More to the point, I’ve more than doubled my follower count since I started posting pictures with you and Yoongi with the Olympics coming up.”

Namjoon stared at the account for a moment. He could see at least three pictures that he’d taken himself. “You’re not getting any money from this, are you?”

Jungkook laughed. “You wanna get compensation for helping me get famous, huh?” He shook his head. “You know I’m sponsored, but not like you. I need this Instagram account to make me more valuable for marketing.”

Wow. Smart. “Why didn’t you tell me almost half a million people were seeing the pictures you take of me?”

“It wasn’t a big deal until recently. With the Olympics coming up, more and more people are following. I probably should have told you sooner. Sorry.”

“Let me see.”

He saw himself in the background of a bunch of selfies, in some cool shots of him practicing in the sand, and in a few casual shots of him, Jungkook, and Yoongi. One was of Namjoon re-dyeing his hair the day before. Another one was Yoongi pretending to smack him with his cane.

Namjoon demanded to see the ugliest and most incriminating photos, but Jungkook was looking, alarmed, at some guy just getting to the gate, some teenager on his phone that Namjoon would never have given a second glance.  But he and Jungkook were giving each other the very obvious awkward wave of two people didn’t know if they should greet or ignore each other.

The other guy made the decision and came over. “Hey, Jungkook. Same flight, huh?” He had a wide smile that turned his eyes into little slits. Namjoon knew that struggle of not being able to see whenever he was happy. He felt immediate kinship.

“Yeah. You’ve got early training too?”

The guy nodded, eyes flickering around the rest of the group. Jungkook took the hint. “This is Jimin, guys. He’s a fencer at Stanford, and he’s gonna be competing too.”

Yoongi gave Jungkook one of his significant, knowing looks that Namjoon knew from many wordless conversations in loud bars about that jackass over by the pool tables causing problems. Namjoon tried to ask him what the fuck he was trying to say, but Yoongi looked back at his phone, and Jimin gave a double thumbs up. His carry-on luggage tipped onto the floor. He ignored it. “Min and Kim. I remember them raving over you guys at the last two Olympics. Nice to meet you.”

“Last three Olympics,” Namjoon corrected.

“I was too young to pay attention to anything before Beijing.”

“Shit. Are you eighteen too?”

Jimin giggled a little, the big smile coming back. “Twenty. Jungkook’s still the baby.”

Jungkook scowled.

“How do you two know each other?” Namjoon asked.

They both started talking at once, paused, made eye contact, and then Jimin let Jungkook explain. “We met a couple years ago through someone making a YouTube documentary about teenage Olympic hopefuls. We don’t see each other very often these days though.”

Jimin looked a little dissatisfied, but he nodded. “Before school let out for the summer, we saw each other all the time.” He smoothed his hair back off his forehead in one graceful swoop. Namjoon wondered if teenagers were usually this carelessly attractive, and he just hadn’t noticed, or if it was just Jungkook and his friends. “I’ve gotta call my coach, so I’ll see you all later,” Jimin said, gave them a cheery wave, picked up his luggage, and headed off.

“Cute kid,” Namjoon said.

“’Cute kid,’” Yoongi scoffed. “How condescending. He’s older than your boyfriend, you know.”

“My boyfriend’s a cute kid too.”

Jungkook glared at them both, unsure of who was offending him and how.

They were split up on the plane. Yoongi and his mom had a seat together, but Jungkook and Namjoon got seats a whole section of the plane apart for the whole goddamn fourteen-hour flight. When Namjoon reached his aisle seat, he found Jimin already settling into the seat by the window. “Oh hey! Jimin, right?”

Jimin looked strangely alarmed. “Are we sitting together?”

“Yeah, looks like it.”

Jimin blinked for a moment and then broke into another giggly, blinding smile. “Wow! What are the odds? Well, at least I know my seatmate now. Cool. Is there enough space for your bag up there? Mine’s kind of big.”

“I’m just shoving my backpack under the seat. Don’t worry about it.”

He settled in. Jimin was much smaller in the neighboring seat, swallowed up by the zip-up hoodie and sweatpants combination that seemed to be Jungkook’s uniform.

“So what’re you going to do for fourteen hours?” Jimin asked.

“Sleep? Read? I’ve got, like, five books, but I don’t think they’re gonna help me.”

“Not gonna take advantage of in-flight entertainment? I can’t wait for take-off so I can check out what movies they have.”

“Can’t wait to see what the airplane food is like this time.”

Jimin snickered. “Gross. Oh well. I’ll eat it all anyway.”

They chatted all the way through the safety precautions lecture, getting glares from a flight attendant, and then Jimin started playing peekaboo with the child in the seats in front of them, both of them giggling infectiously. It had been at least five years since Namjoon had considered himself young enough to do that without being creepy, since he had never had kids of his own. Jimin and the child were too cute though.

Dinner was a couple hours into the flight, and it was nasty.

“This meat looks like dog food,” Namjoon said, “I’m not sure I won’t get sick if I eat it.”

Jimin’s looked up from his half-empty tray. “I’ve had worse,” he said, giggling. His hair kept falling in his eyes. Even though he was very easy to talk to, much easier than Jungkook had been, the eight-year gap had them stammering every few minutes, and Namjoon was running out of energy. After food, Jimin finally checked out the movies, and Namjoon got out his pillow and prepared to sleep over Jimin’s rather hilarious muttered commentary on the airline’s movie choices.

“Hey, Namjoon.” Jungkook walked up and immediately ran his hand along the side of his Namjoon’s hair. Namjoon blinked his eyes closed for just a second, enjoying it. “Jimin?” Jungkook yelped.

“Hey.”

Jungkook stood there for a moment, one hand still on Namjoon’s head, then dropped it quickly to his side. “Namjoon, I think you have my earphones.”

Namjoon did, in fact, have his earphones. He took them out of his pocket and handed them over, expecting Jungkook to leave, but Jungkook stood there for a moment, looking at Jimin, and then turned and handed Namjoon his plane ticket. “Go sit in my seat for a bit so I can sit here.”

“What? I want to sleep.”

“Please? I’ll be back up in a bit.”

Namjoon glanced at Jimin, who looked just as confused, and then stood up with a huge sigh. Jungkook looked very apologetic. Namjoon bumped his fist gently into Jungkook’s stomach to reassure him that it was actually fine, and then checked the ticket for his seat number and walked off. One last glance back showed Jungkook sitting quickly down in his seat, and Jimin looking harshly closed off, no congenial smile, just a blankly hostile glare, his cheap plane headphones halfway off his ears. Tense.

Jungkook’s seatmate, a woman closer to his own age, sat up as he sat down, surprised and intrigued. Either she thought he was super hot, or that he’d kidnapped Jungkook and was taking his place, or she recognized him. He smiled politely and shut his eyes the minute he sat down, head lolling against the side of his seat, arms crossed over his chest, and let the roaring of the plane lull him into an uncomfortable stupor.

Jungkook woke Namjoon up with his eyes red and swollen with tears, scowling hard enough to make his cheeks puff out adorably. “What the fuck? What’s going on?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Jungkook muttered.

“What did that fucker say to you?”

“Thanks for being so protective, Dad, but it’s my fault, so don’t worry about it.”

Namjoon returned to his seat, resolved to kick the crap out of Jimin for making Jungkook cry, but found him curled up against the window, his pillow over his face, shaking with sobs. He stared for a moment, then turned to the person sitting across the aisle and mouthed “What happened?”

The guy’s mouth dropped open. “Ah, duh-um, I-uh-I don’t know. He was talking to some guy, and then they both cried and then one left—Holy fuck, it’s Namjoon Kim.”

Namjoon turned around and stomped back up to Jungkook’s seat, where he was stubbornly trying to sleep on the crappy little airline pillow instead of compromising his dignity with a neck pillow. Such a teenager.

“What the fuck did you do to him?”

“Go sit down and sleep, Namjoon!”

“I’m not sure I can sleep next to someone who’s balling their eyes out. It’s uncomfortable.”

“I need some backflips,” Jungkook muttered.

“I’m gonna need a hug here pretty soon. That kid’s so nice! What’re you making him cry for?”

The woman sitting next to Jungkook looked like she was watching a tennis match. Jungkook glared daggers at him, which was not an unfamiliar look, but it seemed rather unwarranted.

“I don’t want to tell you.”

“Oh you don’t. Why not?”

“Go fucking sleep. The flight attendant is going to get on your ass here in a minute.”

“Fair,” Namjoon said, “I’ve been checking out hers since we got on the plane,” because his first method of dealing with angry Jungkook was to make him jealous. It never helped anything. Jungkook whacked him with his stupid pillow until he left. Jimin had stopped crying by the time he got back, and was now trying to sleep, his pretty face swollen and red.

And so the rest of the fourteen-hour flight passed with Namjoon leaning away from Jimin in his seat, trying to sleep, and Jimin crunched up against the window the blanket hiding his face, and neither of them moved. When the flight was over, Jimin left him wordlessly. Jungkook refused to say anything else about it.

 

Ralph Lauren had always loved Namjoon and Yoongi, at least during game time. They’d modeled the new Olympics uniforms since their second Olympics, and this year was different only in that they had Jungkook now. He was a natural, sitting patiently in the makeup chair making shy small talk with the stylists.

He looked beautiful in makeup, the rough edges to his skin smoothed over, subtle black at the edges of his eyes, lips soft pink. Namjoon tried not to spend too much time staring, wondering if this is what heaven looked like, reality glossed over to perfection, every detail Photoshop-perfect. He would have felt creepy, but Jungkook kept looking up at Namjoon’s face with wide eyes, lips slightly parted, and once Namjoon caught his chest filling when he looked away, like he’d forgotten to breath.

Namjoon and Yoongi were historically two of their most difficult models, so Carol, the stylist who was an old veteran at dealing with them, ignored Namjoon completely and flirted shamelessly with Jungkook.

“Honey, how old are you?” Namjoon asked.

“Shut up,” she said, and then went back to talking to the smirking Jungkook.

The actual photo-shoot was nerve-wracking. Usually he and Yoongi acted like idiots while the photographer tried to get good photos, but Jungkook was actually into it, smoldering at the camera and posing. Fucking Instafamous asshole. Namjoon, flustered and scowling, acted professional for once instead of being difficult.

“Yeah, you look cute now,” Namjoon said after the photographer complimented Jungkook’s expression for the eighth time, “But I keep seeing you pressing against that hickey on your hip like you can’t wait for me to get at it.”

Jungkook flushed and stammered. Namjoon got several compliments over the next few minutes while the photographer asked Jungkook where his composure went. He felt a little too proud of himself.

The Olympic village left a lot to be desired, but there were beds, and they had the good luck of a functional bathroom. Namjoon collapsed on the bed and closed his eyes. Jungkook slipped into the bathroom to shower. After a short, strange dream involving the Chinese gymnastics team hiring him as a mercenary, he heard Jungkook come loudly out of the bathroom. He laid very still, like he might go back to sleep if he played dead. Jungkook shuffled around for a while, muttering to himself and giggling quietly, as he slipped towards unconsciousness.

“Namjoon, am I sexy yet?” Jungkook asked, and a weight settled heavily over his hips.

“Hmmmphrrg.”

Jungkook giggled softly and kneaded his hands into Namjoon’s chest like a happy cat. Namjoon cracked his eyes open. Jungkook sat smiling above him wearing the stripy Ralph Lauren sweater for the opening ceremony, wet hair pushed off his forehead, his wide, toothy smile on his face. With the makeup washed off, he looked soft, just smudges of black left around his eyes. Namjoon ran his hands slowly up Jungkook’s bare thighs until he ran into a tiny pair of red briefs.

“Baby,” Namjoon murmured, voice rough and slow. Even to his own ears, he sounded like sex. Jungkook’s eyes closed. “I’m sleeping here.”

“Take care of me first,” he demanded, pulling insistently on the hem of Namjoon’s shirt. Namjoon helped him shimmy it off, and then laid still for a minute, arms over his head, eyes closed, his head sinking back towards sleep, and enjoyed Jungkook’s warm touch over his chest. “Namjoon,” Jungkook whined, and laid down on top of him, one long, warm stretch of high-quality sweater fabric. He’d gotten a lot braver over the past couple months, turning into a demanding little shit in bed, always driving Namjoon crazy with want. Namjoon hummed and wrapped his arms tightly around him, nuzzling his temple.

“You’re a teddy bear,” he muttered.

“Wake up. Kiss me.”

Namjoon sucked gently on his neck to feel him go boneless and breathless, then finally propped him back up on top of him and slid his hands up against his cherry red briefs, his palm against his dick. Jungkook sighed and pushed his hips into it.

“We don’t want to mess up this sweater,” Namjoon murmured, but then he pressed his thumb into where he knew a hickey sat right under the hem of his boxers on the right side, and Jungkook moaned and crumpled over him, arms braced unsteadily on the bed. His hips froze where they’d been working against Namjoon’s hand. His eyes squeezed shut and his mouth fell open.

“Pretty thing.”

Jungkook smiled through his gasps and sat back up. He pulled the sweater off. “Where’d you get these?” Namjoon said, snapping the band of his briefs gently against the head of his dick.

“Online,” Jungkook gritted out. “Touch me.”

“So demanding today.”

Jungkook just waited, shifting in small circles on Namjoon’s crotch. Namjoon sighed and conceded, pulling the briefs lower so he could jerk him off slowly. Jungkook grinned, pleased with himself.

“You wake me up, sit on me, and then insist that I get you off,” Namjoon said, “Rude.”

“You don’t mind,” Jungkook said, “You love making me feel good.”

“Maybe I love sleeping more.”

Jungkook rocked gently on top of his hardening dick. “Doesn’t feel like it.”

“How about this,” Namjoon said, sitting up. Jungkook fell back, startled, thumping against the mattress between Namjoon’s legs, “You woke me up, so you owe me. I get to do whatever I want to you now.”

Jungkook grinned. “I’m up for that.”

“I’m gonna eat you out.”

Jungkook’s smile dropped off his face immediately. He’d been shirking that for two months. “Why?”

“You just said it. I like making you feel good.”

He pouted, beautiful lips pursed in a frown, and his eyebrows drawing down angrily. Adorable. Namjoon snickered and massaged the hickeys fading inside his thighs. Jungkook’s eyelashes fluttered. “Please? It feels awesome. Don’t knock it before you try it.”

“Will I have to do it to you?”

“I mean, it’d be nice, but no. I won’t ask you to if you don’t want to.”

Jungkook squirmed on the bed.

“You woke me up for this.”

“Fine.”

“Turn over. Hands and knees.”

Jungkook scowled, but he struggled out of Namjoon’s lap and turned over, pushing himself up. “Good boy.”

“Fuck off.”

Namjoon didn’t give him enough time to feel uncomfortable. He ducked right down and licked a stripe across Jungkook’s hole. Jungkook choked, thighs tensing. Namjoon licked over the spot for a minute, pressing with his lips and listening to Jungkook’s breaths slowly quickening.  

He circled carefully with his tongue, flicking figure-eights over his skin, tongue catching on the rough edge of his hole. He tasted like soap. Jungkook panted. “Holy fuck! Nnrng, oh my god.”

“That was fast,” Namjoon murmured. He pushed gently, tongue pointed, and Jungkook whimpered. Time for teeth. He nipped gently at the rim, and Jungkook’s elbows folded under him, keening frantically.

“Oh god. Oh fuck. Ha! Ha.”

Namjoon smiled. “Told you you’d like—”

“Fuck, Namjoon, don’t stop!”

Namjoon, startled, quickly slid his tongue back over his hole and sucked, and Jungkook moaned breathily, twisting in the sheets.

“Good boy,” Namjoon murmured again, lips brushing over skin, and Jungkook whimpered. “Don’t touch yourself. I’m getting lube.”

“Okay.”

Jungkook sat up to wait, flicking his hair out of his eyes, knees spread and his dick hard against his stomach, his skin flushed all the way down his chest. Namjoon leaned against the dresser for a minute, staring. Jungkook’s gaze was unmistakably sultry, even with his doe eyes and princess lips. He felt a rush of gratitude that Jungkook didn’t act like many eighteen-year-olds during sex, shy and flustered. He might have had a problem.

“Wish I had a camera,” Namjoon said.

Jungkook smirked like he couldn’t help it. He spread his knees further, stretching his arms behind his head and arching his back, miles of smooth, hairless skin, statuesque muscles. Namjoon stomped the few steps back to the bed and shoved him forward onto the blankets. “Little shit.”

Jungkook stretched like a cat, ass in the air, arms out in front of himself, then propped his head on his palm and turned back to look at him. “Don’t you have something to do back there?”

Namjoon glared and pushed a slick finger into him. He groaned and let his head and arm flop back onto the bed. “Like that, baby?”

“I love you in me,” he moaned, and Namjoon’s dick ached for it.

Namjoon’s fingers and tongue worked Jungkook open against the sheets in a rush, and then he rolled one bright green Rio condom on, one of the huge handful he’d picked up around the Olympic village, and Jungkook clawed at the top of the mattress for a handhold.

Jungkook came first, as usual, and Namjoon rode it out deep in him, fucking him till he was sobbing and gasping with overstimulation, his teeth around a blanket. When he couldn’t stand to listen to Jungkook whimpering anymore, he pulled out and jerked off over his back. Jungkook murmured in disappointment and laid very still, eyes closed.

Namjoon cleaned him off, finishing it with a harsh slap to his ass. Jungkook yelped. “Roll over. I gotta get your front.”

Jungkook turned slowly, eyes glazed. “Bro. Hit me again.”

“No. Moment’s over. Next time.”

Jungkook rolled over slowly and nearly fell off the narrow bed. Namjoon caught him, then picked him up and swung him from one bed to the other and continued to get all the nastiness off his stomach. It devolved into Namjoon sucking dark hickeys into his thighs and listening to him make tiny breathless gasps above him.

“Beautiful.”

“You are too. You look so good in eye makeup. Don’t ever shower. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy,” Jungkook breathed.

“Yeah?”

“I’m in fucking Rio, at the Olympics. I’ve got Ralph Lauren Polo merchandise that I can take home and wear to make people jealous, as stupid and preppy as it is, and Namjoon Kim is sucking on my thighs. Life doesn’t get better than this. It’s all my dreams at once.”

Namjoon kissed the crease of his hip gently, fingers pinching at the fresh bruises. Jungkook was already half hard again. “What’s the best sexual fantasy you’ve ever had about me,” he asked.

Jungkook opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling for a minute. “Damn, putting me on the spot here, Namjoon. I’m not even sure I want you to know that.”

“Tell me.”

“Well, it used to be that I’d meet you at a tournament. I used to look for you at every tournament I went to. You were never there. And then we’d hit it off, and you’d take me back to your hotel room and make me ride you.”

“Just that?”

“Well, with details.” He was bright red again, one hand on his forehead, nervously smoothing his hair down. “And then sometimes I’d imagine what would happen afterwards. We’d see each other at other tournaments, and I’d be your dirty secret.”

“Did you ever imagine me as your boyfriend?”

Jungkook’s eyes closed. “Yes,” he whispered, “But not often. It hurt. I wanted it so bad.”

And Namjoon abandoned the hickeys and kissed passionately up Jungkook’s body. He laid down right on top of him, snuggling him into the sheets, lips at his temple. “You’re a precious little shit, you know that? You’re so incredible, and then you say shit like that, and my chest gets all full of hot air for a few seconds, and it makes me want to squeeze the crap out of you.”

Jungkook snickered and poked his dimples. “Cheesy fuck. Jeez, I love you blond.” They stared into each other’s eyes until Namjoon got flustered and lowered his lips to Jungkook’s neck. “My best fantasy now,” Jungkook murmured, “is you tying me up, with a blindfold and a gag, maybe ear plugs, and taking care of me while I can’t do anything but take it.”

Namjoon shivered. He sat up a little, eyebrows up. “I’ve done stuff like that before. Do you want that?”

Jungkook shook his head, face almost guilty. “No. It scares me. I think I’d panic. But it gets me off faster than anything else.”

Namjoon tried to remember how old he was when he’d worked out his last remaining squeamishness over his own kinks. Not counting his current panic over having sex with a kid, it had been fairly recent, and he’d never had to wonder why he liked being hurt or controlled. “We’ll take it slow. You’re doing good.”

“Thanks,” Jungkook said. When they cuddled afterwards, Namjoon pretended to ignore the way Jungkook’s thighs squeezed around Namjoon’s, testing the bruises, eyebrows furrowing and teeth gritted as he figured out how to feel it the most.

 

Ralph Lauren had five-hundred and fifty-two athletes to choose from in order to find the most attractive. Ryan Lochte was one of the most attractive, successful Americans, and Jungkook got picked up barely a week after they knew they were going to Rio. Fucking angelic, Instafamous bastard.

And apparently, so was Jimin, standing right inside the door in his blazer, looking entirely too young and awkward to be there. Jungkook gave him a half-aborted wave, and his face fell from indifferent to disheartened. Jungkook’s hand thumped softly against Namjoon’s thigh, nervous. Namjoon squeezed his wrist quickly, glancing around to make sure nobody was looking. No one but Jimin, but Jimin was focused more closely on their boat shoes.

“Why are there so many Asians?” Lochte asked, ten minutes into the shoot.

None of the Asians had any idea how to respond to that.

“And why are you all so tall? Well, some of you,” he qualified, looking across Jimin’s head towards Jungkook and Namjoon. Jungkook snorted, and Jimin whacked him in the stomach and advanced threateningly. Jungkook giggled and backed up.

They messed around like ten-year-olds for the rest of the shoot, driving the photographer up the wall. Jungkook would not stop poking Jimin into a frenzy, flicking the back of his neck when he didn’t expect it, squeezing his sides. He was very ticklish. Jimin stepped on his feet, grabbed his cheeks, swore vividly, and used fencing attacks with his finger to poke him viciously in the ribs. It was like watching puppies wrestling.

They tried to keep it together, but just couldn’t. The other athletes looked annoyed, and Namjoon couldn’t stop snickering. He and Yoongi used to get into this shit before news specials all the time. Eventually, Namjoon grabbed them both by the back of the neck and forced them into position. Jimin yanked out of his hold with a heavy glare, and Namjoon wondered where the sweet boy from the plane had gone.

When the shoot ended, Jungkook followed Jimin off to the edge of the room, leaving Namjoon to deal with babysitting jokes from the other athletes. From a distance, he saw Jimin’s hands come up reflexively to Jungkook’s waist when he came close, saw his eyes flicker down to his lips, saw him saying something, eyes wide and smile sweet, and suddenly Namjoon understood what he’d been missing.

Lochte didn’t even notice when he left mid-story.

“Jungkook, could you go get the car?”

Jungkook flinched away from Jimin, whose hands dropped quickly. Jungkook nodded, not meeting his eyes, and walked out towards the parking lot.

“Hey Jimin, before you go, maybe you’ll answer this question for me, since Jungkook won’t. You’re the ex-boyfriend, right?”

“Well aren’t you a genius.”

The staff came over and cleared them out. Out in the parking lot, Namjoon cornered Jimin still waiting for his ride. “You’re still into him?”

“I still fucking love him. More than you do. I’m pathetic, but whatever. You win.”

He looked crushed, anger fading into heartbreak at the downturn of his lips, the scrunch of his eyebrows. Namjoon snorted, “Why’d you break up with him then?”

“He loved you! He wouldn’t spend time with me. He stopped kissing me. He wouldn’t talk or pay attention, and whenever he mentioned you, he wouldn’t even look at me. It hurt, and I wanted space until he got over it. But you’re actually dating him? What? You’re, like, thirty, and you still agreed to date him, and I’m just over here.” He flailed his arms helplessly.

“You’re twenty, right?”

“Yeah,” he whined.

“You’ll get over it.”

Jimin whirled around like he wanted to hit him. Namjoon didn’t flinch. “Take me seriously, asshole!”

“No?” Namjoon tried.

Jungkook pulled up to the curb and rolled the passenger side window down. “Get in, loser.”

Jimin asked “Why not?” voice shaking.

“You’re really young. And not me.”

Jimin leaned in the passenger side window and snapped, “You’re too young for him. And he’s an asshole,” and then stormed away into the parking lot. Jungkook squeaked in confusion and got out of the car to follow him. Jimin shoved him when he caught up, and Namjoon slid into the passenger seat of the car and waited. When he finally glanced back in the mirror, Jimin had latched onto Jungkook’s front, hands clutching his back, head buried in his shoulder. Jungkook stood stiffly with his arms around Jimin’s neck.

Lochte appeared at his open window. “Hey. I looked up and you were gone. Why are you sitting out here?”

“My driver wandered off,” Namjoon said, indicating the touching scene forty feet away in the parking lot.

Lochte glanced up and then snorted. “What’s going on over there.”

“I don’t fucking know. They dated or something.”

Lochte’s eyebrows raised. “Whoa, okay. Kids. What happened? Did he ask a different chick to prom? Glad we don’t have to deal with that kind of shit anymore, right?”

“Here I am dealing with it anyway,” Namjoon said, “I’ve been left alone in a hot car. At least he cracked the window.”

Lochte snorted again and gave him a wave, then headed out.

In the rearview mirror, Namjoon watched a car pull up beside Jimin and Jungkook, and Jimin peeled himself slowly away, crying into his sleeve, and got in the car. Jungkook watched them pull away, looking very lost in his Ralph Lauren, and then headed back to the car and climbed into the driver’s seat. He sat very still, staring at the wheel.

“Can you turn on the AC? It’s hot in here.”

“Shut up.”

Well okay then.

Jungkook glared out the windshield and jerked the key in the ignition. They pulled out.

“So that’s the ex.”

“What the fuck did you say to him?”

“Why the fuck wouldn’t you tell me who he was?”

Jungkook pursed his lips and ripped through traffic. He didn’t talk until they’d gotten back to the Olympic village.

“Do you even give a shit about this?” Jungkook asked when they left the car, and Namjoon stopped to take a picture of the tall buildings.

“Should I?”

“You just made Jimin cry!” Jungkook yelled. “Why?”

“Calm the fuck down. I didn’t say anything, I just told him I didn’t take him seriously.”

“That’s so condescending! I was in love with him! I miss him! Why the hell wouldn’t he be a threat?”

Namjoon rolled his eyes. “A threat? I hadn’t even considered that. Are you telling me to question your fidelity, Kookie?”

“If it means you’re going to stop treating this like it’s stupid, then yes.”

“It is stupid! You’re both barely adults. I’m not worried about you cheating on me, even with him.”

“Th-that’s not—That’s no reason to be a jealous bitch. Why the hell did you make him cry?”

“Why would I be jealous? You’re literally obsessed with me.” Jungkook froze right before the front door of the building. “Fuck, that came out sounding really bad,” Namjoon said. “That was rude. I didn’t mean it like—”

“Here’s the fucking car key. I don’t wanna see your fucking face till practice tomorrow.”

“Jesus Christ, Jungkook.”

Jungkook disappeared into the lobby. Namjoon gave him a two-minute lead and then followed him up. Back in the room, Jungkook had already changed back in street clothes, and sat morosely on the end of the bed.

“Kookie, I’m sorry.”

“You’re not as great as I thought you were, you know. Please stop acting like I’m still such a sucker that I’d date you no matter how poorly you treat me.”

That hurt. Jungkook always knew how to hurt him. Namjoon didn’t know what to say. He sat down across from Jungkook at the end of his own bed. “I didn’t know I was. I’m sorry. But why didn’t you tell me who he was?”

Jungkook shrugged. “I didn’t want you to confront him. That failed.”

“I wouldn’t have, but you didn’t tell me on your own, so I went to him after I caught on. Didn’t expect him to act like that.”

“You literally stole his boyfriend, you homewrecker. Why shouldn’t he act like that? He loved me.”

“Did he? Really? At age twenty?”

“Are you telling me that people at age twenty aren’t capable of love?”

“Capable, sure, but does it happen very often? Your brain literally can’t fully fathom your own sense of self until you’re twenty-five because it hasn’t finished developing yet. You haven’t finished growing up. Not really. And how long had you both known each other? Two to three years at most? You didn’t know him well enough.”

“Don’t tell me I didn’t love him,” Jungkook said softly, “You don’t know. If you think he couldn’t love me, do you think I can’t love you?”

The silence hung between them until Namjoon had to look away.

“What makes you the expert anyway? Have you ever even loved someone? Ever had a boyfriend before me?”

Namjoon chuckled softly. “Low blow, Kookie. Way to make me feel old and unlovable.”

“Yeah, well, you kind of are. I’m going to go find a gym.”

Namjoon felt sick.

Jungkook didn’t come back till late at night, and Namjoon sat leaning against the end of the bed, beer bottle never more than a foot from his mouth. Jungkook showered and climbed into his own bed without saying a word. Namjoon finished his beer, eyes tracing drowsily over the patterns that the city lights made on the ceiling through the curtains, and then climbed into bed behind Jungkook.

Jungkook sighed and shuffled forward to make room. “Why are you drunk?”

“I handle my problems like an adult: poorly,” Namjoon said, pressing himself tightly up against Jungkook’s back, one arm looped around his chest. Jungkook smelled like shampoo. He hugged him close. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. Jungkook’s hand settled over Namjoon’s.

“Joon?”

Namjoon kissed the back of his neck softly. “Yeah?”

Jungkook sighed and squeezed his hand. “Never mind.”

Chapter Text

Taehyung and Hoseok hadn’t made it to the games, the tentative third-best team in the nation, so the spot had gone to Gibb and Patterson, another old veteran with a new teammate. Training wasn’t nearly as fun as it had been the year before with Yoongi, Taehyung, and Hoseok there. On the first day, the women’s teams, Gibb, and Patterson welcomed Namjoon with a good-natured slap on the back, offered condolences about Yoongi, and then went completely silent when confronted with Jungkook. “Um. Hey kid. Welcome to the big leagues.”

Jungkook had just snorted, “Thanks.”

A few days later, Jungkook had squarely beaten them all at least once. They’d stopped making smart remarks about training wheels. He hadn’t hit a bad streak since his injuries in June, and played like he didn’t know screwing up was possible. Patterson had the wildest personality Namjoon had ever faced on a volleyball court, and even though Jungkook subdued himself around him, he never lost that aura of playful ease and confidence. But the morning after the Jimin incident, their gameplay became clinical and focused. Jungkook wouldn’t look at him.

They went out to dinner with the other teams, Jungkook reluctant and silent, but Namjoon dragged him along because he was the only one who had bothered to learn a little Portuguese, enough to get them to a table and help everyone pick out something to order in their thick American accents. He and the waiter stumbled through the process together. After everyone finished congratulating themselves for having such an awesome young rookie, and they’d gotten one tipsy coach to stop trying to speak Portuguese too, Jungkook became irrelevant, except to relay further orders to the timid waiter.

Jungkook sat politely and listened to everyone talk about bills and children, friends getting married, the music they listened to when they were kids. Jungkook had a little input when they talked about famous matches, even ones before he was born. But then the conversation moved on to past Olympics, the venues and adventures. When Namjoon remembered to check on him after nearly twenty minutes of silence, he had fallen asleep against the booth, his phone in his hand.

“You should take the kid home.”

“Don’t call him that. He hates it.”

“Kid better get used to it,” Patterson snorted, ugly faux-hawk bouncing. Jungkook’s eyes slid open like a snake’s, brow tightening in a way that was somehow intimidating on his sleepy, beautiful, young face.

“Ready to go back to the room, kid?” Namjoon asked affectionately, and Patterson snickered stupidly. Jungkook gave Namjoon a long, betrayed glare while Namjoon almost smacked himself in the face for being so stupid.

“Sure. Let’s head out.”

“Wait. We’re going to need help with the bill,” Faux-hawk guy said.

“It’s numbers,” Jungkook snapped, “Just tip high.”

“You’re not supposed to tip here,” Namjoon said as they walked into the parking lot.

“They don’t know that.”

Jungkook slouched in the passenger seat as Namjoon started the car. “I’ve been texting Jimin.”

Namjoon didn’t pull out of the parking space. “Why?”

“I wanted to apologize. He didn’t want to see me.”

“Are you still texting him now?”

“Yeah. I apologized anyway. He—” Jungkook cut off and kicked distractedly at the underside of the dashboard. Namjoon waited patiently for Jungkook to continue until he sniffed quietly and curled up against the window. They pulled out. Jungkook didn’t speak again for another slow quarter-mile through the city. “He said he doesn’t care if I apologize. He assumed I’d feel like shit because I should. It doesn’t change how I treated him.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I feel terrible saying this, but I miss him. This is so hard.”

Back in the hotel room, Namjoon pulled him close as soon as the door shut, closing the widening distance he’d felt all day, one hand on the back of his neck, the other sliding over his back. He kissed him slowly, pouring all the assurances and apology he couldn’t voice into his arms and lips.

For a long, scary second, Jungkook didn’t respond, hands in his jacket pockets and mouth still, but then his arms wrapped arms tightly around Namjoon’s neck, and he let out the smallest, most desperate moan, soft in his throat, barely audible. Namjoon doubted he’d even noticed. They fell asleep without even changing, tucked against each other on the narrow hotel bed.

 

Jungkook made it down to complimentary breakfast the next day, which was unusual, but they’d woken up together and quietly showered together, conceding to cram themselves into the small space if it meant a few more minutes close together before they had to spend the entire day without so much as looking at each other for too long.

The rest of the volleyball crew had already arrived. Someone had brought her husband and children. Faux-hawk Patterson greeted Jungkook by yelling, “How’d you sleep, kid?” Jungkook stoically ignored him. While Gibb told some story about his fortieth birthday party, Jungkook stared wistfully at a rowdy group of young American swimmers.

“Sorry about this,” Namjoon said. “We’ll leave as soon as Yoongi gets here.”

Jungkook smiled and waved him off. “I don’t mind. The kids are cute. I like being around everyone.”

Past Jungkook, a few tables away, a very animated Asian kid with blond hair ran up to the swimmer’s table dragging Jimin by the hand, all smiles. They sat down there, and the table quickly went from a little loud to completely obnoxious, all the kids shrieking and doubling over with laughter as the blond guy talked.

“Who’s that?” Namjoon asked before he could stop himself.

“Jackson Wang,” Jungkook said miserably. “He’s a fencer at Stanford too. He was the one that picked Jimin up the other day.”

“Do you know him?”

“Not well. He’s always been pretty close with Jimin but I only hung out with him a few times. He’s amazing.” Jungkook wasn’t even trying to save face anymore, just putting his head down on the table. “I hope he dates him,” Jungkook said, voice high and crackly. “Jackson is a huge step up from me. He deserves it.”

Namjoon really doubted they’d date, not with the way Jackson leaned towards Katie Ledecky, smile warm and enthusiastic, and Jimin’s eyes tracked sideways towards the oblivious Jungkook. Clearly, they had other priorities. “Jesus, Kookie, don’t put yourself down like that,” Namjoon said, rubbing his back in a way that hopefully came off as a totally bro thing to do. “You took a huge step up too. Just sayin.”

Jungkook chuckled and sat up, shrugging Namjoon’s arm off. “Bitch.”

“You love me.”

Jungkook gave him an odd side-eye. “I thought I was too young for that.”

The sick worry slammed into his stomach again. “Really? You’re gonna bring that up at the breakfast table?”

“I’m going back upstairs,” Jungkook muttered, and left his breakfast half eaten.

“Is he okay?” the mother across the table said over a lap-full of children.

“I honestly don’t know.”

He and Yoongi went up to the room to get him. He lay on his back, his earphones in, long legs hanging off the bed.

“We’ve got an interview, Jungkook. Let’s go.”

He sat up. “Shit, Yoongi, did you walk all the way up here? I’m sorry.”

“Yup. All the way up fifteen flights of stairs, and I’m damn proud of myself.”

“Shut up. We took the elevator.”

Jungkook dragged himself up off the bed, shoved his feet into his boots, and stumbled towards the door. Namjoon caught him around the waist on the way out and kissed his temple, trying to shove an unspoken apology in with some comfort and affection, and Jungkook sagged in his arms, his hands still in his pockets. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Yoongi look away.

“Interview for NBC. Those are always fun. Cheer up and enjoy it.”

Jungkook gently pressed his lips to Namjoon’s, slow and needy, the kind of kiss he left on Namjoon’s lips in the early mornings before Namjoon was fully awake, like he didn’t care that Yoongi was in the room. Heart threatening to burst, Namjoon took Jungkook’s face in his hands and kissed him again. Yoongi poked noisily at some instant coffee packages.

“Sorry Yoongi. Let’s go.”

They held hands between their knees the entire way there, hoping the driver didn’t see. It didn’t really matter, because Namjoon very openly held Yoongi’s hand on his other side as he tensed wildly at every quick turn through the busy city.

“Just close your eyes.”

“I can’t.”

“You’re gonna have a heart attack. Does this happen every time you get in a car now?”

“Not when Mom drives. Mom, can you drive next time?”

His mom grumbled from the front seat, a cheap romance novel open in front of her face.

“Yoongi, you’re crushing my fingers.”

“Sorry,” Yoongi snapped, but took his hand out of Namjoon’s at the next light and gripped his wrist instead. By the time they got out of the car, he was shaky and breathing hard, so Jungkook carried him on his back all the way up to the studio, a teenager with a thirty-year-old man on his back standing in the elevator with a bunch of men in suits. And everyone knew who they were. Someone took a picture.

These media people really needed to stop putting makeup on Jungkook. Even just the subtle, natural stuff made him look entirely too fuckable.

“You’re one of our biggest stories of the games, obviously,” some man in business casual told them. “We’ve got the girl’s gymnastics team, we’ve got Michael Phelps, we’ve got Katie Ledecky, and then we’ve got you three.”

They’d been an NBC staple every Olympics since they arrived, one of those great American athletes that people recognized before, during, and after the Olympics. Yoongi had hit national news when he retired. He was about to do it again.

“We’re planning a special on you two for a few days after the games begin, so we’ll be doing a few interviews for the cameras now, just a camera on you answering questions. We’ll come by and take some footage of practice and training to add to some stuff from your last tournament—” Jungkook flinched, remembering the one and only tournament they’d been in, “and then you’ll be back here during the actual games for an interview or two, depending on how you do, of course, but we’re expecting medals, right boys?”

They’d done Jungkook’s hair. It held stiffly in place off his forehead as he nodded, carefree and windswept, and Namjoon couldn’t possibly focus on the interview with that much of Jungkook’s face showing, his intense eyebrows, the subtle black around his eyes making him ageless.

“We’ll start with Yoongi and Namjoon.”

Jungkook stood back behind the cameras, rubbing his hands over jeans, his outfit a carefully irreverent counterpart to Namjoon’s and Yoongi’s button-ups and slacks. He could tell which angle they were going for. Where Jungkook’s hair was carefully young, Namjoon’s was slicked back and elegant. He’d had just enough input to stop them from turning him into a businessman.

The lights were too bright. At the Beijing games, they’d been the young little shits defending their championships. During the London games, their interview had gone viral, because no matter how hard they tried, Namjoon and Yoongi couldn’t stop making stupid jokes and breaking down laughing. They aired it anyway. As near as Namjoon could tell, they were just as famous for their goofy, cocky, un-champion-like personalities as they were for their medals.

They talked a little about the past, their lasting friendship, and the best games they’d ever played.

They made Yoongi explain the car wreck. In his usual dry style, “I went through a green light and some drunk guy ran a red twenty miles over the speed limit.” He shrugged. “And now my career is over.”

They asked something completely unanswerable, like “How did it affect you?”

Yoongi had never been good at sincerity. He said something close to “It sucks,” with a few more words.

And how had it affected Namjoon? He didn’t know. “Playing feels different now,” but he could just as easily have said “living feels different now,” or “I don’t feel like I understand anything anymore.” He could have said “I got Jungkook,” but that would have been entirely inappropriate.

They talked about the near miss, how Namjoon had almost had to sit out the Olympics because of the difficulty of finding a new teammate. They got to throw Seokjin under the bus for retiring, talk about the possibility of the Brazilians finally beating them on home turf with three of the four top players retired and Hoseok and Taehyung absent for the games.

Then they brought Jungkook in, looking very young even with his makeup, some sort of designer t-shirt hanging loose off his frame, gauges visible under his hair. He slouched in the chair.

“So Jungkook, how are the Olympics so far?”

And there were those white teeth as Jungkook grinned. “So cool. I think I’m dreaming half the time. They put us in the uniform for the opening ceremony earlier this week. It was surreal. I look real good in it.”

“I don’t doubt it,” The interviewer said.

They asked a lot of questions, what it was like being historically some of the youngest players in the game, how they hit it off as a team, the turnaround in the middle of the last tournament when they went from horrible to good.

They got Jungkook alone to talk about joining the big leagues. “You’re well cited as having idolized Namjoon before teaming up with him. What was it like being thrown onto his team so suddenly?”

“Terrifying. He’s standing over there watching me. Can you make him leave the room?”

“What the hell, Kookie? I’m just gonna see it when it airs anyway.”

“I can’t talk about you while you’re here!”

Some young intern escorted him out so the interview could continue. Yoongi joined him in the hall a couple minutes later. “He’s adorable,” he said quietly. “What’s wrong with him?”

“You mean all the sulking?”

“He’s not happy.”

Namjoon shrugged. “He’s too young, for one. He’s got no one but grown adults to hang out with. He’s in fucking Rio de Janeiro, and instead of exploring the city in his spare time he’s holed up in a hotel room with me. We can all see the rest of his generation being idiots all over the Olympic village. He’s lonely. And on top of that, he’s having issues with his ex. You know, Jimin, the guy from the airport.”

“Yeah I know. He told me,” Yoongi said, “Sorry.”

“He told you about him and not me?”

“Remember this happened back when he was still scared to talk to you. I’ve known about Jimin for months.”

And that was something else to bother him on top of Jungkook saying “Do you think I can’t love you?” in the hotel room, the way the awful, unexamined possibility of “no, you can’t,” kept rearing in his head. Jungkook had been texting Jimin. He wasn’t worried. Why would he be worried? When Jungkook looked at him when they were alone he saw—not love. That was stupid. He was a fan. Wasn’t it just infatuation? “I don’t know, Yoongi. Something’s wrong.”

“You know, Namjoon, I think you’ve forgotten what it feels like to be eighteen.”

“When I was eighteen I didn’t know what it felt like to be eighteen,” Namjoon said. “I was already what I still am now, only happier, less in the spotlight.”

As they did Yoongi’s interview thirty minutes later, Namjoon sat in one folding canvas seat, a little caught up in the glamour, and watched Jungkook lounge on the couch with the young intern. She recognized him from Instagram. He leaned one arm against the back of the couch and shifted closer to her, letting her slide in front of his arm to see his phone. Namjoon smirked. He loved watching Jungkook flirt.

That was probably weird. Should he be jealous? Would any normal boyfriend be jealous? Jungkook was so devoted. There was no way he’d have any reason to worry about him flirting with someone else. But the way Jimin looked at Jungkook. Of course Jimin had loved him, really loved him like people were only supposed to in novels and movies, he’d have to. Anyone would. What had ever given him reason to doubt that?

Jungkook was so young. He had so much time to give up on Namjoon-old, boring, volleyball obsessed, moody, condescending Namjoon. He had so much time to fall in love with someone better. Namjoon left the room, hands shaking, and hid in the men’s restroom until Yoongi found him and let him pull him in for a long, crushing hug.

 

“Why did you want me?” Namjoon asked as he dried his hair after all-day practice and a very satisfying shower. Jungkook looked up from Instagram, face glowing against the hotel pillow. “You said since you were eleven? Why?”

Jungkook searched the ceiling for an answer. “You play volleyball really well. You always sounded super smart in interviews. You didn’t take shit from anyone, but you did adorable stuff like hug Yoongi and grin, and you have dimples.” He smiled. “I mean, come on. You’re the beach volleyball legend Namjoon Kim. Everyone in my class knew your name. I wasn’t the only one with a crush whenever the Olympics rolled around. Me and all the girls in the class.”

“Lucky you,” Namjoon murmured, chest aching. “You beat them all. You win.”

Jungkook snickered happily and kicked his long legs out. “I win.”

“Am I worth it?”

“Worth…what?”

“Worth the obsession, I guess. Do I live up to the hype?”

“Well,” he dropped his phone on his chest and bit his lip.

“A few days ago you said I’m not as great as you thought I was.”

He huffed uncomfortably. “Okay, fine. No. You didn’t live up to the hype, but I put you on a fucking pedestal. No one could live up to that. I’m glad you didn’t, actually. I’d feel so insecure in this relationship if you were every bit as superhuman as I made you out to be.”

“So was I worth the obsession or not?”

“Yes? Where is this coming from, Namjoon?”

Namjoon didn’t know how to tell him that he’d suddenly considered the possibility that Jungkook might find someone better and leave him. It sounded both arrogant and paranoid in his head, and also possessive.

“If this is about how down I’ve been recently, I just,” he picked at the comforter and let Namjoon worry quietly. “You were right about this being hard. I didn’t realize. I’m missing having people my age around. I hate that I can’t hug you in public. Sometimes I really don’t think you take me seriously.”

“Sometimes I don’t. I’m sorry. I should.”

“It’s okay. I know you worry about this shit all the time. It’s hard, but it's worth it, I think. What about you? How’s having a barely legal baby for a boyfriend?”

“Ugh. That’s…Please don’t say it like that.”

Jungkook laughed softly and picked his phone back up. “Am I worth it, Namjoon?”

“Yes,” he lurched across the aisle between their beds and climbed over him, caging his smiley face between his forearms, legs tangled together. “You’re so worth it, baby.” He kissed the corner of his lips gently, right where it curved at the edge of his smile. “So worth it,” he murmured, and rolled his hips gently down.

“Thanks, Daddy,” Jungkook said with a snicker.

“You can sleep alone,” Namjoon said, and left him there giggling on the covers, climbing into bed and facing the wall.

“No, Namjoon, come back.”

“Hell no. I’m so uncomfortable.”

Jungkook climbed in behind him, wiggling up against Namjoon’s back, nose in his hair and an arm tight across his chest. “I get to be the big spoon?”

“Go away,” Namjoon said, but his fingers laced between Jungkook’s, holding him there, curled up warm and strong against his back.

 

No amount of rehearsal or rationalization ever prepared anyone for the opening ceremony. Stepping out into the stadium amidst a sea of other Americans in uniform and walking through humanity’s greatest incarnation of glory and cooperation had always been Namjoon’s favorite career moments. He didn’t bother describing it to Jungkook at all. “I don’t want to give you any expectations. Just enjoy it.”

Jungkook’s shier side came out in full force the minute they walked into the prep room with the rest of Team USA, all five-hundred-plus athletes, minus the ones already competing. Namjoon had missed Shy Jungkook a little, the way his eyes got even bigger and shinier, how he stopped moving and just kept very still like a spooked deer, the way his voice got softer. They found a bathroom shortly into the preparation, and as soon as they were in and Namjoon was sure it was empty, he pinned a very surprised Jungkook to the door and kissed him breathless.

“Sorry. Had to get that out of my system,” he murmured when they broke apart. Jungkook flushed beautifully.

“I miss the hats,” Namjoon said when they were back in their seats. “We had these stupid little hats in the London Olympics. Yoongi and I rocked those hats. And the Beijing hats were even better. I hated the Athens hats.”

“You looked damn sexy in all of them, but you’re right. The Beijing hats were the best.” Jungkook flipped through the photos saved in his phone till he got to a couple grainy shots of Namjoon wearing the white hat from the Beijing Olympics and sighed happily. “I’ve had these shots saved since I was fourteen.”

“Wow. Wait, that was four years after we even wore those.”

“Yeah, but I was ten when you wore those, and I didn’t care. By the time the London Olympics rolled around, I cared what you looked like. Did some research. Maybe jacked it to some photos of you. You know how it is.”

Namjoon ruffled his hair affectionately, and he squawked in panic and tried to fix it with his phone camera.

“Just wait till I mess up your blond masterpiece.”

It had taken a full hour for Namjoon to figure out how he was supposed to style it, and that was after getting it re-dyed the day before. “Don’t you fucking do it. I’m not kidding.”

Jungkook giggled.

“Do you know how much I fucking hate it that Ryan Lochte bleached his hair?” Namjoon said.

Jungkook grunted. Not the reaction he’d been looking for. Jungkook was staring distractedly across the room towards where Jimin sat by himself in the corner, phone in hand, eyes flickering across the crowd and betraying that he’d only opened his phone to look busy and not just really lonely.

“Where’s his friend, the other Asian with the bleached hair?”

“Jackson? He’s on the Hong Kong team, not the American team.”

“Really? Does that mean they’ll be fighting each other?”

“I think they might have been fighting each other anyway, but yeah.”

“I hope Jimin kicks that kid’s ass.”

Jungkook seemed understandably confused. “I thought you didn’t like him.”

“I don’t hate him. He’s a nice kid. I just don’t like him either for many complicated reasons that you can probably guess.”

“Yeah, yeah. He looks like he’s not having any fun. Where did his other friends go?”

“He looks just like how you’ve looked for days.”

“It’s the opening ceremony! He should be able to enjoy himself.”

“It’s the Olympics! So should you! And I think he was making friends with swimmers. A lot of swimmers miss the ceremony every year because their events start early.”

Jimin’s gaze fell on them, and Namjoon saw his head jerk away at the same time that he felt Jungkook completely reorient his entire body on the bench next to him.

“Are you still talking to him?”

Jungkook tossed his phone from hand to hand and frowned. “A little.” He dropped it, swore, and went chasing after it under the bench.

They lined up to go out, lost somewhere in the depths of the crowd of identical blazers. Gibb nudged Namjoon with an elbow. “This is a change. You and Yoongi are supposed to be so high energy right now. I don’t think I’ve seen you smile yet tonight. The kid actually just seems angry.” Jungkook stood a few feet away, crossed arms and pissed-off expression betraying to Namjoon how nervous he was.

“You okay?” He asked, shortly before they went out.

“We’re going to be lost in the crowd, right? No cameras are ever going to find us, right?”

“How the hell do you think you got all those pictures of me in uniform on your phone, huh? I’m Namjoon Kim. We’re one of the big dramas of the year, remember? They’ll be looking specifically for us.”

Jungkook gulped and slunk a little behind his shoulder.

“You’ll be fine. You’re hotter than me anyway. You’ve got nothing to worry about.”

Jungkook let his hand slip softly into Namjoon’s palm for just a moment and squeezed it. “You’re right. I’m Instafamous. I’ll be fine.”

Even lining up the back, they could hear the audience over the music. “We’ll be heading out in just a minute,” Namjoon said, craning over the crowd to watch the door getting closer.

“I’ll be right back.” He disappeared.

“Jungkook, what? Hey!”

Which left him suddenly very alone smashed up in between some runners, a weightlifter, and some more generic athletic body types that he couldn’t identify, although he expected that the very good looking young man in front of him, arms bulging even under his blazer, was a gymnast. He felt suddenly very lost in the crowd. Yoongi had always been better at striking up conversation and making them seem less aloof.

The gymnast looked at him, then kind of slid up next to him with a “Hey, hottie, nice to meet you.”

Namjoon laughed. “I see one of your seniors ratted me out?”

The guy shrugged. “He’s sorry he couldn’t make it to the games this year. He was going to come watch, maybe hang out, but he figured you’d still want, um, company.”

“I’ll have the thank him. I’m not available this year though. I’m sorry.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Found another fuckbuddy? You can have more than one, you know.”

“I have a boyfriend, actually.”

“Really! Well, I’m disappointed, but good for you. Is he cute?”

“Yeah, he is.”

“Is he Yoongi?”

Of course he’d think so, the two notorious bachelors of the Olympics. “No. Definitely not. He’s just a guy.”

The gymnast looked a little disappointed, but politely said goodbye and went back to the group at the same moment Jungkook arrived with Jimin in tow. “Kookie, what?”

“I’m sorry. He just looked so lonely.”

Jimin barely glanced at Namjoon under his eyelashes, and then glued his eyes back on the crowd in front of him, arms tight over his chest. Jungkook nudged him. “Olympics opening ceremony, Chim-chim. Fuckin’ enjoy it.”

Namjoon fought back an ugly sneer, lips twitching. Chim-chim. Christ. But Jimin’s face softened a little, sadly, and he looked shyly up at Jungkook, who rubbed his neck and shifted around awkwardly.

The US athletes walked out into the stadium, one shockingly long parade of Ralph Lauren out under the spotlights. The sheer amount of color dazzled them. Namjoon could hardly see. He got lost in the achingly familiar roar, like walking through the halls of the gods.

Jungkook glowed, walking agape beside him. He reached absently for Namjoon’s arm. Namjoon subtly slid out of reach. Not in public. Not even here. Jungkook glanced at him apologetically, and Namjoon ruffled his hair again. A couple minutes later, he looked back over, and Jungkook had his arm around Jimin’s shoulders instead, Jimin’s arm around his waist. His chest felt achingly empty.

He slipped away to talk to some older runners he’d met at previous Olympics and didn’t see either of them again till they caught him mid-interview with someone from NBC. “Selfie for Instagram,” Jungkook said when he got a break. He hadn’t let go of Jimin’s shoulders. Jimin hung on like a barnacle, breathlessly happy. Namjoon fucked up his hair too just to watch him flinch away, glaring. They scampered off again, still clinging. Namjoon somehow found Yoongi near the front of the audience, gesturing towards Jimin and Jungkook and making a face of disgusted confusion. Namjoon shrugged helplessly.

After the ceremony, Jungkook and Jimin located him again having a casual conversation with Phelps, Lochte, and a couple other swimmers. They both stammered to a halt, comically shocked.

“Oh hey. Guys, this is my new teammate, Jungkook.”

“Nice to meet you,” Shy Jungkook murmured, disentangling himself from Jimin to shake hands, and then looping his arm right back around him, crushing Jimin into his side. He hadn’t seen Jungkook look so completely happy in days. Namjoon had never thought to associate hollow unhappiness with the opening ceremony before, but he felt it now.

“And this is Jimin Park, fencer.”

“Oh, I’ve heard some of the kids talking about you and some guy from Hong Kong,” Phelps said. “Nice to meet you.”

“Yeah. Wow. You too.”

“We should go soon?” Jungkook said quietly.

“Probably. Yeah, you’re right. Let’s get out of here.”

“Wait, don’t you want to meet Jackson first?” Jimin asked.

Namjoon lost them for another few minutes, and by the time they met up again in the empty back corridor, Jackson had joined them. Jungkook’s arm clutched tight around Jimin, nearly possessive, his face in Jimin’s hair. Jackson looked like an excited five-year-old. “Whoa! Hey, Namjoon, so nice to meet y—Um.”

Namjoon grabbed Jungkook by the chin and dropped a gentle kiss on his lips, lingering and heady, a kiss like post-sex promises, the kind he gave when Jungkook was sleepy, dead weight in his arms, the kind he accompanied with sweet nothings and the trail of his fingers soft over new bruises. Jungkook didn’t even blink when Jimin ducked quickly out from under his arm, just let it drop softly onto Namjoon’s elbow. He stared up into Namjoon’s face for a long moment, lips parted, eyes glassy.

“Sorry, Jackson. Didn’t mean to cut you off like that. It’s nice to meet you too.” He swung Jungkook’s narrow waist into the crook of his left arm, tight against his hip, to offer his right hand. Jackson shook it tentatively.

“Should we go home?”

“Namjoon…?” Jungkook asked, voice small.

“First game tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” he sighed, blushing hard, “Let’s go. I’ll um, I’ll see you…around…Jimin?”

Jimin stared Namjoon in the face for the first time that evening, jaw clenched. His eyes filled with tears before he jerked around and walked away. Jackson followed.

They made it to the car before Jungkook said anything. “Why’d you do that?”

“I missed you.”

“Bullshit. We were in public. That was for Jimin. Why? I could have, like, actually started fixing that friendship, and then you fucking shoved it in his face like you felt challenged, which is shitty. Were you jealous?”

“Yes.”

“Why? You said you don’t fucking take him seriously! You were the one that walked off and left us.”

“Jungkook, that was the Olympics opening ceremony, the first one I’ve ever been to without Yoongi, the first one I’ve been to with you, and I wasn’t about to stand around and watch you and your ex hang all over each other. That really fucking hur—”

“You pull the Yoongi card every time you don’t want your emotions to be your own fault.”

Namjoon missed the turn and pulled over onto a dark side street, mounds of trash piling out of the dumpster in front of them. The street lamp flickered. Jungkook’s knee bounced beside him, tense and waiting. The car remained painfully silent. “Can you pull up a map?” Namjoon asked, nearly a whisper, “I think I missed the turn.”

Back on the highway, Jungkook said, “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.”

“It’s not. That was really uncalled for. And I’m sorry for hanging out with Jimin over you. I shouldn’t have.”

“Really, it’s fine. I don’t want to be possessive. You can hang out with Jimin if it makes you happy. I trust you. Just don’t hang all over him like that.”

“You make me happier than he does.”

“Really,” he said, low and sarcastic.

“Namjoon.”

Walking into the hotel room felt like coming into warmth out of a snow storm, a sanctuary of privacy, no eyes of the world, no window in except what Jungkook chose to post on Instagram. Namjoon tossed his blazer on top of his luggage and collapsed onto his bed. Jungkook took off both the blazer and sweater and wasn’t wearing anything underneath. Namjoon let himself stare.

“Come here,” he murmured, and Jungkook crawled on top of him and pulled a hand through his stiff hair, breaking it down. Namjoon wrapped his arms around him, fingers petting absently at his soft skin.

“I wanna ride you,” Jungkook murmured around lingering kisses. It felt like an apology.

“Well, baby, I’m not going to stop you.”

Jungkook pulled the rest of their clothes off and ducked down, nipped at his navel, traced the veins between his hips with warm fingers. Namjoon always felt proud when he looked down between his body and Jungkook’s and saw a scene that would make any porn director drool: Fitness model bodies, one hardened and well trained, sun-worn and manly, and the other young and smooth, still somehow soft, innocent and sexy and so so perfect. Maybe he was a pervert for loving the contrast.

Jungkook’s kisses were overwhelming against his skin, bites gentle at the crook of his elbow, along the V of his hips, his navel, mouth travelling and leaving sensitive trails shivering behind him. Namjoon felt entirely on the wrong end, that it should be him with his mouth all over Jungkook’s skin, covering him with as much love as he could pack into every kiss, not the other way around. He couldn’t stop him though, not when he felt like wax melting under Jungkook’s warm hands.

He stayed at it until Namjoon felt smothered, panting and twitching under Jungkook’s sweltering heat. He pressed up against Jungkook’s mouth against his chest, jerked when his fingers ran slowly up the underside of his thigh where it almost tickled.

“You’re shaking,” Jungkook said softly against his sternum as his fingers mapped his abs with a touch so gentle it felt like feathers, every brush like an electric shock down to his dick telling him to get harder and harder.

“Jungkook, baby, please.”

Jungkook crawled up his body to reach for the lube on the window sill, kneeling over his chest, dick just within reach of his mouth if Namjoon brought a hand up to guide it down. He grabbed Jungkook’s ass and held him there, sucked a hickey into his thigh. Jungkook shivered and stayed, dripped lube onto his fingers and reached back to finger himself lazily, smooth chest arching over Namjoon, and he felt himself go a little hazy at the view. He pressed against the bruises on his hip bones and listened to him whimper, dick twitching towards his stomach.

“How the hell did I get this lucky?” he murmured.

“Not you,” Jungkook said, “I’ve worked so hard for this. Became a goddamn pro player just to get closer to you.”

“No,” Namjoon breathed.

“No,” Jungkook agreed. “I became a pro player because I—ah!” He found a good spot inside himself, back arching further, chest and stomach heaving with his breath, thighs shaking around Namjoon’s head. “I bec-came a pro p-player because I love volleyball,” His voice got higher, more desperate, “You’re attract-tive because you’re so good at volleyball. I worked hard because I w-wanted to be good enough to meet you. All for you, Joonie.” Namjoon massaged his thumbs into the bruises encouragingly, hiding his smile in the blooming red of another mark, and Jungkook moaned desperately. Lube dripped down his fingers and onto Namjoon’s chest, warm and wet.

He shuffled awkwardly backwards, lube leaving a trail of drips down the dip between his pecs and across his abs until it smeared over his dick. Right as Jungkook carefully lowered himself over Namjoon’s cock, Namjoon jolted. “Kookie, you forgot—oh god. You forgot the condom. Fuck!”

“Mine,” Jungkook murmured.

“Yours?” Namjoon gasped, hips jerking shallowly into Jungkook’s steady frame before he could stop himself, just skin against slick skin, hot, soft, and wet, new texture everywhere, hugging and soaking him.

“My Joonie, my….auughhh, feels so good.” Jungkook started bouncing. He threw his head back. Namjoon’s hands dug into Jungkook’s solid thighs, eyes flickering up Jungkook’s perfect body and then down between his legs, under where his dick slapped against his stomach, to where his balls met Namjoon’s skin, to where his dick, shiny and naked, slid in and out of view.

“We should, god, fuck, fuck! Condom, Jungkook.”

“Would you call me a slut if I asked you to?” Jungkook said, breathlessly.

Namjoon felt like the room was tilting, like he might slide right off the bed if he didn’t hang on tight enough. “I—fuck Kookie. I don’t want to.”

“Would you call me your baby?”

“Yeah. Condom.”

Jungkook stayed low, rising in short, quick bursts up off him, keeping mostly tight around Namjoon, little swivels of his hips pulling Namjoon’s dick side to side, pressing him against different spots inside him. Namjoon couldn’t bring himself to stop Jungkook now.

“Would you—uuugh. Call me something really stupid if I asked you to?”

“Kookie, what do you want me to call you?”

Jungkook flashed a toothy grin up at him, marred a little by the pleasured twist to his eyebrows, the frantic gasp of his breath. His jaw kept locking and then snapping back open when he found a good angle. “Wasn’t thinking of anything specific. Call me something weird, something cute.”

Namjoon had something ready, something he always had to stop himself from saying when Jungkook did something especially endearing. “Bunny.”

“Ah! Fuck!” Jungkook collapsed on top of Namjoon, hips still working. “Bunny. Fuck.”

“Baby bun.”

“Fuck. I like that,” Jungkook whined, “That’s so weird. Can’t you just call me a slut?”

“Slut bunny.”

Jungkook rolled his hips frantically, trying to get the angle right. “Never mind. Doesn’t turn me on as much as I thought it would.”

“Bunny suits you.”

“God damn it,” Jungkook whispered, propped himself upright again, and slowed down, eyes shut tight in concentration, elongating his strokes so Namjoon drew slowly back and forth across his sweet spot. Namjoon ran his hands slowly up Jungkook’s chest, over his tensing abs, Jungkook moaned quietly and leaned into where his fingers pinched his nipples. “Joon.”

“Bunny.” He could imagine Jungkook wearing playboy bunny ears, bouncing along with him. “Gonna dress you up like one,” he growled, and Jungkook nodded.

“Put me in a collar or something.”

Namjoon’s hands gripped even tighter at his waist and he groaned through gritted teeth.

Minutes of constant, hot, rhythmic pressure rolled by, tight, slick heat, unusually wet and intense, and Namjoon hadn’t had sex without a condom since one stupid night when he was about Jungkook’s age. He’d never been close enough with anyone, never trusted anyone else enough to do this.

“Hah-ah-hnng. Gonna…Namjoon.”

“Me too, bunny.”

“Do it.”

“Fuck, you’re still…Jungkook! In you?”

Jungkook just moaned brokenly and bounced faster, hands braced on Namjoon’s stomach. Namjoon reached for his hips, intending to pull him off, but Jungkook grabbed his arms and held them down against the sheets. Namjoon bucked up, pleasure intensifying into a searing ache. He felt the moment it flipped into too much, when the pleasure whipped through his body and slide got grossly wetter, the sounds obscene, slick and velvet.

Jungkook never stopped moving, just gasped and dropped his mouth open, eyes screwing shut, hips stuttering, whines getting higher and faster. Globs of white dripped out of him and over Namjoon’s balls as he rose and fell, and his whole body shook with aftershocks, eyes rolling back in his head.

Jungkook came onto Namjoon’s stomach, one small puddle of heat dripping down into his belly button and making him shudder. Jungkook collapsed happily on top of him, right down in the mess.

“You are so fucking kinky, baby. You like this stuff, don’t you?” He shifted his hips, pulling his softening cock out about an inch, slick, wet, and obscene, and Jungkook moaned loud in his throat, tensing like he was trying to keep him in. “Damn, babe. I remember you rubbing this shit all over yourself the first time I came on you.”

Jungkook buried his face in Namjoon’s shoulder and panted, face burning against his neck. Namjoon reached down and pushed his cheeks apart to slide ever so slowly out. Jungkook squirmed the whole way, hands gripping Namjoon’s shoulders, pressing against his neck, legs squeezing his hips.

“Kinda want to go again,” he whispered after they laid still for a long while, long enough for Namjoon to drift a little, not towards sleep, but away from Rio, away from how late the evening was, lost in how intense Jungkook’s weight felt in his arms, how perfect it felt.

“I’ll finger you in the shower.”

“Okay.”

It took a long time, but Namjoon worked him up slowly under the hot water, carefully fingering all his own jizz out of Jungkook’s ass while he leaned face-first against the wall, spine arched, legs spread. He moaned quietly when he forgot to catch himself, when Namjoon found his prostate with two circling fingers or reached around and stroked him, firm and slow, and kissed trails of water off his back. Jungkook finally came, sighing, and Namjoon held him upright under the water and watched all the white streaks wash down the drain.

 

“And the first set goes to Kim and Jeon in their opening game,” Jungkook said, smirking. “We got this.”

“Don’t get cocky.”

“Cocky is how I work.”

Namjoon couldn’t deny that. Jungkook played best when he was working the crowd up. As usual, the audience booed the Americans. Worse than usual, in fact, since Brazil was the other traditional beach volleyball favorite, and they were playing on Brazilian turf. Jungkook didn’t seem to care. Their third-rate opponents were milking it for all it was worth.

They smashed them with a quick end to the second set, five points in the lead when Namjoon served and Jungkook slammed down the returning ball like it was a joke. NBC came over for an interview. Namjoon shrugged. Jungkook glowed. In the stands, Yoongi bounced up and down and waved his cane in the air.

One more match that afternoon against the Netherlands. “Are they a threat?” Namjoon asked Jungkook, testing.

Jungkook nodded. “Not the biggest, but we should definitely take them seriously.”

“Good boy.”

Jungkook attempted to not look pleased with himself while Coach bounced up and started the breakdown analysis of their gameplay. “Not your strongest performance, but it didn’t have to be. Solid win. Setting yourself up nicely here. Any wins are good wins while you’re in the pool, and not all losses are bad losses. Don’t wear yourselves out. Netherlands are going to be a little more difficult.”

“Can I leave for a couple hours?” Jungkook asked. “I’d like to watch some other stuff.”

“What? Of course not. You’ve gotta stay warmed up.”

Jungkook slumped.

“Hold on a minute, Coach. It’s pool play. We’ve had a great morning and six hours before our next match. Let him go watch some other stuff. It’s his first Olympics.”

“Namjooooon…” Coach whined.

“You’re worse than the teenager. Jungkook, go ahead. Were you going to go watch swimming?”

Jungkook shook his head.

“Gymnastics?”

“Um, fencing.”

Namjoon stared him down. “You know, Coach is right. You should really stay here and watch the rest of the pool.”

He gave Namjoon a sarcastic salute and walked off.

“Don’t get run down by fans or paparazzi!”

“What was that all about?” Coach asked, eyes glued to Jungkook’s back. “Any particular reason why he shouldn’t go see fencing?”

“There’s this guy…Don’t worry about it, Coach. I’m a bitter asshole that doesn’t like him having friends that aren’t me.”

Coach guffawed. “Let the kid socialize. Don’t be such a helicopter dad. He can’t be hanging around your wrinkly old grandpa ass all the time.”

He flinched. “Jesus Christ, Coach. How old are you, then? Fifty? You’re a fucking fossil!”

Yoongi poked him in the back with his cane. “Yeah, Namjoon. Mitts off the baby.”

“Shut the fuck up.”

“You know,” Coach said, halfway through the next game, “I wish Jungkook was here to analyze these teams with us. He’s the only one that hasn’t seen these people play before—”

“I doubt that. He watches all the tournaments like it’s a religion. Boy’s obsessed.”

“—But I’m glad he’s out having fun. I feel bad keeping him so cooped up with us old geezers. He needs to find himself a girlfriend.”

“Huh,” Namjoon prepared himself for another harrowing conversation. “Yeah. Bet he’d like that. Stop calling me old. I’m twenty-eight. I’ve got another decade in this sport.”

“I give you seven years, and that’s stretching it.”

“I’m sticking with ten. Just because you couldn’t make it all the way through doesn’t mean I can’t.”

“Most people would be more than happy with a thirteen-year career like yours. You’ve been wildly successful. You’ve got enough sponsors to stay secure for a long while yet and probably a future in commentating or coaching. People thought you’d retire after the last games. You could retire now. Sure, Jungkook would have to find a new teammate, but it’s almost better that he does that now when he’s still fresh, you know? You’ll start holding him back before too long. I think his career is going to be even better than yours.”

Dead weight on Jungkook’s career, huh? Is that what he was? Old enough that he could be used as a stepping stone for Jungkook into an even better career but too old? No room for improvement but plenty of room to fall. He wasn’t even that old, he’d just been around for thirteen years. His career couldn’t really be fading, could it? “Are you telling me to retire? Do you want me to freak out before the Netherlands match? I don’t want to quit now. I’m not going to leave Jungkook yet.”

“I’m just saying. He might do better if he gets a new team early in his career.”

Namjoon closed his mouth, staring listlessly out at the game, just some blurry white ball bouncing erratically back and forth across a blurry court. Yoongi nudged Namjoon’s back with a leg, a reassuring hand in his hair. “He’s not on his way out yet, Coach. Gibb is playing this year, and he’s forty.”

“He’s real old though, and he didn’t start as young. You’re going to get injured at some point, Namjoon. This sport is hell for shoulders and knees, and you’ve been working yours forever now.”

Jungkook finally turned back up a couple hours later, perfectly casual in jeans and a t-shirt. “Dude! People just asked me for autographs! It was awesome!” He sat down, still grinning, thigh pressed up tight against Namjoon’s. “Good match. Jennings and Ross are killing it. I hope they get the medals.”

“How was fencing?”

“Ji-um-America won his match. So did Hong Kong. They might go head-to-head at some point.”

“Good for America. I hope he medals.”

Jungkook’s eyes narrowed. “Do you?”

Namjoon’s throat tightened a little. “Of course.”

Coach lurched out from behind Namjoon’s shoulder. “How the girls looking?” He wiggled his eyebrows.

“They were in full body suits with masks.”

“What about when they took the masks off?”

“Well, coach, I was a little more concerned with how scary and impressive they were waving swords around than how hot their sweaty faces were.”

“You’re no fun.”

“Most of them were too old for me anyway.”

“How old is too old?” Coach asked. “I wanna know what that kids define as ‘too old’ these days.”

Jungkook stammered. “Over—um—over, well, jeez. Um.”

Namjoon turned slowly, expectantly towards him, waiting.

“Over, um,” his voice got quieter and quieter, “t-twenty-five?”

Coach whistled. “Damn, kid! You like them cougars. I figured you’d say twenty at most. You’d like a woman a whole seven years older than you?”

Jungkook’s cheeks flushed red so fast that Namjoon watched it like an animation. “Depends on the woman, I guess”

“No no no. Rule of thumb, Kookie,” Coach said. “If you ever find a woman who’s a whole seven years older than you, or even, like, four, who still wants your dick, she’s a creepy cougar, and you should not trust her intentions. I speak from experience.”

“You wouldn’t give the same advice to a girl about men.”

“Hell yeah I would. You’re eighteen. No one older than twenty-two should want eighteen-year-olds. It’s creepy. People older than that have moved on with their lives. They don’t want emotional connections with eighteen-year-olds. No offense, but you’re still basically a child. If they want you, the only thing that could possibly be interesting to them is your innocence or your body.”

Nerves fizzled up out of Namjoon’s stomach and into his throat. He couldn’t look at either of them.

Jungkook’s line of sight was well over the heads of the players, face burning red, chewing on his lip. Namjoon felt Yoongi’s leg nudge his back again. Coach started a long-winded cautionary tale about dating a much older woman when he was in his twenties, and Jungkook’s fingers snuck tentatively around Namjoon’s wrist, forming a loose bracelet, his palm brushing soft and warm against his pulse. Namjoon tuned Coach out.

When they finally got up to play, the Netherlands beat them in the first set.

“This doesn’t make sense,” Jungkook murmured.

“I’m sorry. I’m not focused.”

Jungkook stared at the sand for a second, then looked up at Namjoon, eyes wide. “It’s—” he cleared his throat cautiously, as if he was trying to say something important but didn’t know how, “It’s the Olympics. It doesn’t get more important than this. We can talk about whatever later. Please focus.”

The Olympics. He’d gotten too comfortable. Jungkook, Jimin, their fucking age gap, and Coach needed to wait. When did any of that shit become more important than volleyball? It was only an annoyance. So what if he was a worthless boyfriend? He was supposed to be at least a damn good teammate. Namjoon rubbed his face in his hands. “Oh how the tables have turned.”

Jungkook laughed nervously. “I’m not gonna carry you, old man. These guys are really good. It’s not too weird that we lost the set. Two more to go. We’ll win.”

“Yeah,” Namjoon said, “And don’t call me that.”

They won the second set with a particularly long volley, back and forth every few seconds, Jungkook tumbling through the sand and Namjoon trying not to slam into the net. Jungkook set up right over Namjoon as he tried to scramble back into position, a risky, uncoordinated, ultimately embarrassing mess, but the other team didn’t expect it, and it scored them the winning point.

They won the third set without trouble, but Namjoon still felt shaken.

Back in the hotel, Jungkook pinned him down as he leaned against the wall, lying back against his chest and stealing Namjoon’s book. “Moby Dick? Really? Boring AF.”

“It’s interesting, you unintelligent jock.”

Jungkook giggled and then tossed it casually across the room.

“Hey!”

“Let’s talk.”

“I appreciate how you’ve decided to have this conversation not facing each other.”

Jungkook fiddled with Namjoon’s hand. “We never get good talking to happen when we can see each other’s faces.”

“’Get good talking.’”

“Not everyone is as smart as you, Joonie. Let me fuck up my grammar.”

Namjoon gave them a few more moments, the dimming daylight casting shadows around the room, Jungkook’s warm fingers around his, his face in his hair, still damp from the shower and smelling like Namjoon’s shampoo.

“What’s bothering you, Namjoon?”

That he didn’t feel like enough? That the age difference made him feel perverted sometimes? That coach said he should retire?

“Jimin?” he answered.

“What about him,” Jungkook sighed, “Does it bother you when I talk to him? Or when I hang out with him?”

That’s not what the conversation needed to be about. Too late to turn it around. "Yeah.”

“Why? It’s not like he could ever be competition for someone as mature and sexy as you, right? Because we’re too young to be serious about anything.”

Namjoon took a deep breath so he wouldn’t rise to the bait. “You sound bitter. You know if you start by antagonizing me right out of the gate it decreases the likeliness of us getting anywhere with this conversation.”

Jungkook’s picked awkwardly at his fingers. “Sorry.”

Namjoon kissed the top of his head in acceptance. “It’s not Jimin. Not really. I trust you.”

Jungkook had laced their fingers together, thumb tracing over the side of Namjoon’s hand. He was quiet for a while. “Thanks, I guess. But then why does it bother you?”

Because when Jimin was around, Namjoon wasn’t good enough. He was so obviously not good enough. Jungkook wouldn’t have to hide Jimin, wouldn’t have stupid misunderstanding with him, wouldn’t sit in silence for hours at a time because they didn’t know what to talk about. His throat closed up. Jungkook was still waiting. “I just…”

Why was Jungkook still with him? Why had he fallen for him in the first place? Namjoon was supposed to be Jungkook’s big, strong, stoic champion, the guy he’d seen on TV all his life. He wasn’t supposed to be the man no one had ever loved, the old man, unsure of his worth as soon as Jungkook’s young, beautiful ex rolled around. Jungkook’s image of him had already started to fail. What would happen when none of that was left?

He could lose Jungkook. He could really lose him. His gripped Jungkook’s fingers.  

“Namjoon,” Jungkook sighed. He sounded tired.

He should say something. He should just say something.

Jungkook tilted his head back awkwardly against Namjoon’s shoulder and stared up at his face. “What am I doing wrong? Is Coach right about the age problem? Am I enough for you?”

“Baby, you’re perfect.” He brushed his lips against Jungkook’s, and they caught sweetly and urgently on his, soft and dry. He felt too tired, too unsure. Even if they had the conversation now, he wouldn’t be sure what to say. What he thought he liked about Jungkook was precisely what Coach said he couldn’t: the way he talked, the way he acted, the things he said, the little mannerisms that made him so fucking cute all the time, the way he handled himself.

At the same time, maybe it was just that he was eighteen that made him so endearing. Namjoon had never had a relationship with someone his own age. Jungkook could be frighteningly childish, selfish, and bad at handling arguments. Did he put up with it because the sex was fucking amazing?

And Jungkook should be looking for someone as young and wild as himself. The only thing Namjoon gave him was gratification for his obsession and really good sex. That was it. Namjoon’s throat closed up. If that’s what it was, if that’s what they figured out at the end of this conversation, if he really was too old for the beautiful young prodigy in his arms, he didn’t know if he’d be able to keep his mind in the right place for the rest of the games.

“We’re not going to hash this out now. We’re going to make it through the games and then, when we have time and no distractions, we’ll work this out.”

Jungkook squirmed impatiently. “That’s not going to be for another week.”

“We’ve gotta put this on hold, Jungkook. The games take priority.”

He pouted. “But this shit is really bothering me. You’re redirecting the conversation away from taking responsibility again.”

“I am.” I’m scared. “We’ll deal with it later.”

Jungkook sighed. “Fine. Volleyball. I’m at the Olympics. I can’t fuck up your career. All the personal shit can wait.”

Namjoon smiled against his temple and slid a hand under his shirt. Jungkook immediately straightened out, head back against Namjoon’s shoulder, chest pressing up against his hand. “Fuck you,” he murmured, but with a smile. “Can’t stay mad at you when you touch me.”

“Don’t be mad at me,” Namjoon murmured, and grabbed the lube, and it felt so dirty, pushing the problem away like this. Something in his brain screamed at him to stop and fix things, but his cold rationality, the piece of him that had kept him sane all these years, had kept him at the top, had kept him fed and happy, told him to shove it off. His gameplay needed a focused mind. Nothing else could take priority.

Some nights he made Jungkook work for it, refused to cooperate until Jungkook was driving him crazy. Some nights he laid back and let Jungkook take the lead, get them both off himself just to see how worked up Jungkook could get himself before Namjoon jumped in. Some nights he would tease till Jungkook was sobbing and swearing, writhing and pulling his hair. But some nights Namjoon took him apart right from the beginning, wrapped him up in his arms and left him sighing and boneless under his mouth, fingers intense inside him, over his dick, across his back, around his thighs, murmuring praise into his skin. He couldn’t imagine doing anything but that now, Jungkook completely limp, sighing softly with every brush across his chest.

“Bunny,” he murmured, and Jungkook’s flush burned darker in his cheeks, lips parting, eyebrows tightening. He lifted his hips a little and pulled his sweatpants off.  “Baby,” Namjoon said, deep and affectionate.

Jungkook opened his eyes, glazed and half-lidded, face inches away. He smirked a little. “Daddy.”

Namjoon’s hand froze on the base of Jungkook’s dick, but Jungkook was already tensing under his touch, eyes slipping closed. Maybe somewhere deep in Namjoon’s gut, he really fucking liked that. Something made his dick pulse, made him suck in a quick breath, but his chest clenched. If this had been some other boy, some young, pretty tease with a nice ass and a soft voice, someone like Jimin maybe, he would have really liked that. But this was Jungkook, angelic and powerful and so, so scary. That was not what he wanted to be for him. “Please don’t.”

“You don’t want me to call you Daddy?”

“No.”

“Doesn’t it fit?”

“I fucking hope not,” Namjoon said, pressing his lips to Jungkook’s again, hand sliding easy over his dick and feeling Jungkook shudder against him with that first slow slide.

“Not even when you—Christ. Joonie. Not even when you pamper me like this?”

Namjoon nipped lightly at his lips. “I’m your boyfriend, not your daddy. I’m doing this because I feel like it, not because we’ve decided we owe it to each other. We both need to make this about you sometimes.”

Jungkook giggled. “I don’t get it. Why?”

Because otherwise Jungkook might feel like Namjoon was only in this for himself, that he kept Jungkook around for easy sex in exchange for his attention. He needed to say, somehow, that his heart was in this, not just his dick. “That’s tied up in the conversation we’re not having.”

Jungkook hummed, arching gently as Namjoon brushed one finger down towards his entrance. “I’ll complain later.”

“Good idea.”

“I hear diffusing arguments with sex is an unhealthy relationship habit,” Jungkook sighed.

“I’ve heard that too.” He pushed in.

 

They didn’t exactly breeze through pool play. It was the Olympics, after all. Brazil gave them some trouble, winning the match in third set after a very close game, but for the Olympics, they breezed.

And Namjoon didn’t remember a lot of it, laser focus giving way to the heavy silence of tension in the hotel room after evening practice. Namjoon spent a couple evenings in the stands around the pool with Yoongi watching the races from right down in the front seats where they could smile and wave when the camera found them. Jungkook stopped coming after the first evening when some Brazilian reporter trapped them in a narrow hallway and demanded to know how they would stomach the guilt of cheating the Brazilian people out of gold medal on home turf if they won.

Namjoon couldn’t understand what the people in the stands screamed in Portuguese, but he could tell by the way Jungkook’s jaw tensed when he served, the way he didn’t shriek and rile up the crowd anymore, that he’d caught on to the way the hostility rose as it became more and more clear that Jungkook deserved to be there just as much as Yoongi had.

“For a while, I thought they liked us,” Jungkook said wryly.

“The US does,” Namjoon said, “Did you see the way that woman cried after you signed her shirt yesterday?”

Jungkook smiled happily, so of course Namjoon had to ruin it. “It’s not that they liked us. It’s that they didn’t take us seriously as a threat. They thought we were a handicap to the American team, and they don’t like that we’re proving them wrong.”

Jungkook’s head dropped a little. Namjoon patted him awkwardly on the shoulder and headed to the shower. Jungkook must have made an Instagram post while he was in there, because when he got out, he was curled up around his phone, smiling in that sweet, bashful way he did when he was getting a major ego boost.

“You’re going to be even more famous than I am.”

“What?”

“Never mind.” He found his nice jeans under a pile of dirty cloths, smell-checked them, and then pulled them on.

“Are you going somewhere?”

Namjoon looked up. “The whole beach crew is going to go watch the US women’s team play volleyball tonight, remember? Aren’t you coming?”

Jungkook pouted. “Aren’t we staying in tonight? Just us?”

“We just scored second in the pool. I would have thought we’d be going to the bar if we weren’t doing this.”

Jungkook glanced down at his phone again, scowl deepening. Namjoon slowly pulled a shirt on, waiting for him to speak.

“There’s a big fencing final tonight,” Jungkook said, and there was bite in the tightness of his tone. “I’m going there.”

“Ah,” Namjoon said delicately. “Well, have fun. Cheer for Team USA for me. And maybe Hong Kong.”

Jungkook scowled and ignored him all the way through changing, and Namjoon left, mystified, with him still sitting there on the bed, phone in hand.

Watching the volleyball game was both intensely fun and miserable—fun because of Yoongi screaming to his left, miserable because of his teammate’s children whining to his right, miserable because Coach pre-gamed. Late in the evening during a break, he remembered to open Instagram, hidden on the second page of a set of apps where Jungkook wouldn’t find out he’d downloaded it, and saw two new pictures.

One was of Namjoon in the hotel room fixing his hair, but ten minutes ago Jungkook had posted a selfie with Jackson, the gold medalist of tonight’s fencing event, and the bronze medalist, Jimin. Jackson dominated the image, medal close to the camera covering half his face. In the background, Jimin and Jungkook’s heads knocked together, Jimin’s eye smile making his face glow, leaning against the biggest, sweetest smile Namjoon had ever seen on Jungkook’s face. He pursed his lips and handed it to Yoongi.

“They look cute together,” Yoongi said.

“Yeah,” Namjoon said, and it broke on a half-whisper.

“Rude of him,” Yoongi said, “Does he know you can see this?”

“I mean, it’s on the Internet. I can see it.”

“He doesn’t know you have Instagram though. You’re sneaky.”

Namjoon’s shoulders squared defensively. “I’m not snooping. If he knew I’d gotten Instagram just to follow his account he’d tease me.”

“Sometimes I think it would help your case if you acted a little more attached.”

“Or it might put him off. I worry he’s only with me for the thrill, for the image he has of me as a fan. You know what they say about me, cold, self-assured, intelligent asshole. If I come off as clingy or lonely, I’ll lose the appeal.”

Yoongi sighed through his nose and stared down at the picture. “This seems a little mean. Don’t you think? He’s too careless.”

And that was changing the subject instead of denying it. Yoongi knew Jungkook better than Namjoon did sometimes. He’d tell Namjoon if he knew there was no way Jungkook was only with him for that. “It’s like he’s doing it on purpose,” Namjoon muttered.

Yoongi shook his head. “This is Jungkook we’re talking about. I just don’t think he understands what he’s doing. He’s young and stupid.”

“He’s also mad at me for how I treated Jimin, and worried about our relationship, but I won’t let us talk about it until after the games are over.”

Yoongi stared him down for a minute. “I mean, smart. You two are playing really well. Don’t mess it up. But in any other circumstance that’d be a dick move.”

Namjoon nodded. The game picked back up, and Yoongi went back to screaming. Namjoon sat quietly on the bench, phone in hand. He’d known Jungkook for how many months? Five? Barely any. Not nearly enough. Still, he knew Jungkook had a petty streak, like when he insisted on playing Namjoon in Smash when he was in a bad mood just so he could cheer himself up by humiliating the fuck out of him. He’d rub the bruises along his hips in public where Namjoon could see him if he thought Namjoon wasn’t paying enough attention to him. He gave the meanest cold shoulder on evenings after Coach and Namjoon ganged up on him, cooking dinner for himself only and spending the entire night on the Internet, not sparing him a glance. Normally, Namjoon could just scoff and ignore it.

How far would he go if something really bothered him?

The next post down on his page was a selfie in the hotel room after the match, Jungkook sweaty and throwing a peace sign at the camera, Namjoon lying on the opposite bed in the background, headphones in his ears, only half turned towards the camera, aloof. He looked so proud of himself. What a lucky fan, playing on Namjoon’s team, taking selfies in his hotel room, sleeping in his bed at night. Sometimes Jungkook still looked smitten when Namjoon spoke, like he might start drooling. Sometimes he still looked scared when Namjoon called him out at practice. Namjoon had started feeling scared too, and it wasn’t just about getting caught anymore.

 

“We’re not gonna lose our first game in the actual tournament, right?” Jungkook said, grabbing Namjoon’s shoulders and shaking him slightly.

Namjoon raised an eyebrow. “We won the first set by ten points. We lost this set by two. Calm down.”

“You’re totally tripping up.”

“It was a bad set. Calm. You don’t even need backflips over this. Everything is chill.”

Jungkook rested his hands on his hips and huffed out a deep breath. “We smashed this team in pool play! What’s going on?”

“Bad set,” Namjoon said slowly, nerves sinking into his stomach. “That’s it. Seriously, stop freaking out.”

Jungkook glared down at him for a moment, and then Namjoon could see the click as his face cleared. “Yeah, okay. Let’s just go win this thing.”

Early in the set, one of Namjoon’s desperate fingertips hits flew to the other side of the court, outside the line, and Jungkook yelped, ducked under the net, and bumped it back towards him. Namjoon spiked it straight down into empty sand. Ah, the beautiful advantages of beach volleyball rules. Had he botched the hit six inches more to the right, they would have lost the point. The other team challenged the next point and lost, which should have been obvious. Namjoon had seen it in-bounds from the other side of the net. They flew into a snit and never recovered.  

“And that’s what happens when you let your emotions cloud your gameplay,” Coach said after they won the set by eleven points. The opposing team grabbed their stuff and stomped out after the most insincere handshakes Namjoon had felt in a couple years.

“How do you do that?” Namjoon asked Jungkook in the dressing room. “You were freaking out, and then you fixed it. I’d kill to be able to do that.”

Jungkook giggled. “I just said ‘fuck it’ and played like I didn’t care if I lost. You know, just to have fun.”

“Ah, the young man’s solution. ‘Fuck it.’ Is that your personal philosophy?”

“No, but it’s yours. That’s how you deal with me, right?” Jungkook said.

Namjoon chuckled.

“Hot, young kid takes the place of your lifetime partner and threatens to ruin your career: fuck it.”

Namjoon’s chest stung uncomfortably. “It doesn’t sound right when you say it that way.”

“Hot, young kid promises to let you go so he doesn’t wreck your career, but you still have a boner: fuck it.”

Namjoon dropped his gym bag on the floor and buried his head in his hands.

“Hot, young boyfriend asks you some awkward questions about your feelings, but you don’t feel like answering: fuck it.”

“Stop,” he said, and cringed at the way his voice rattled pitifully.

Jungkook was silent. Namjoon finally looked up at him and saw him standing very still by the lockers, hands clutched nervously over his chest, eyebrows tight with worry. “I’m sorry,” he murmured. He almost looked scared. “I shouldn’t have…I’m sorry.”

Namjoon held his arm out, just wanting Jungkook to walk in close enough for him to wrap an arm around his hips and snuggle into his tummy, but Jungkook dropped to his knees on the floor to put his whole body in Namjoon’s arms. “I love—” Jungkook stammered, and left just enough of a pause for Namjoon’s blood to flash hot with confusing hope, “—your hugs.”

Jungkook pulled away, eyes shifty, face burning red.

In the hotel room, he propped open his computer on his lap and spread out over his whole bed, effectively exiling Namjoon to the other side of the room. “I’m gonna Google us.”

“No you’re not. That’s a terrible idea.”

“But Ji—um, Jackson told me someone turned you into a meme.”

Namjoon snorted. “Just what I needed.”

Jungkook’s computer keys clicked for a few seconds. “Never mind. You’re not a meme. Someone just compared you to the Michael Phelps meme that’s been going around. When on earth did you make that face?”

Namjoon got up. Someone had zoomed in on the background of the volleyball game where he sat staring at his phone looking absolutely miserable while Yoongi, beside him, was right up out of his seat, yelling and waving his cane in the air.

“Oh that’s a good picture.”

“What were you looking at?”

Namjoon hesitated, then pulled his phone out, opened Instagram, and showed Jungkook his Instagram photo. Probably a bad idea. No need to instigate this argument again, but he wanted to remind Jungkook. He heard Jungkook gulp. “You got Instagram? For my account?”

“Yeah?” He looked back towards Jungkook’s face and was surprised to see him smiling.

“Thanks.” He rubbed his neck, flustered. “That’s really sweet. I didn’t think you were interested.”

Namjoon couldn’t help but grin, and Jungkook pulled him onto the bed and kissed the tip of his nose. Namjoon squawked. Jungkook giggled and snuggled in close, tucking his head under Namjoon’s chin. “Sorry about the photo. Didn’t think you’d see it. Jackson pulled us in together, and it was just such a good photo. I had to post it. They were so excited.”

He stared at the photo on Namjoon’s screen. “This looks so much better without all the cracks my phone has.”

Namjoon pulled him closer. “Hey bunny.”

Jungkook made a noise halfway between a groan and a giggle and pulled himself closer, hips pressing against Namjoon’s thigh. “Yeah?”

“I know we’re at the Olympics, and this might not be such a good idea, but I noticed that most of your bruises disappeared. Do you want me to fix that?”

“Mm, fuck yes.”

Namjoon put Jungkook’s computer on the floor and scooted down the bed. Jungkook pulled his shirt off, and Namjoon followed the line down his chest, biting gently, down under the waistband of his pants and over his briefs. Jungkook let him pull his pants off and whined as Namjoon latched onto the inside of one thigh and sucked hard.

“Did you hear,” Jungkook said, voice gravelly, “the fan theories?”

“The what?” Namjoon said, pulling off and then going back to bite gently. Jungkook was all hard muscle, but Namjoon knew where to look, where to find just the lightest layer of softness that he could get his teeth around and grip.

Jungkook moaned brokenly, red blooming across his skin, darkening quickly. “Some people on the Internet are saying—ah!”

Namjoon sucked hard at the bite, rubbing the palm of his hand warmly across the front of Jungkook’s briefs to make him melt, like petting a cat. Jungkook swelled under his touch, hips flexing. “What are they saying, bunny?”

“Fuck.”

Namjoon snorted. “I doubt that.”

“Call me that again, please.”

“Call you ‘bunny?’” He sat up and pulled his shirt off, crawling up Jungkook’s chest to sink down heavily on top of him, grinding his dick down against Jungkook’s. “My baby bunny? With your huge brown eyes and your pretty lips? All those teeth?”

Jungkook jerked under his weight, trying to rut upwards it in quick, frustrated bursts.

“You’re certainly bouncy enough.”

“You know what’s cute?” Jungkook asked.

“What?”

“Your nose.”

Namjoon raised his eyebrows.

“Those fucking dimples.”

He couldn’t stop his smile and buried his face in Jungkook’s chest to hide them.

“How awkward you get sometimes. You’re so adorable, Namjoon. You’re so…You’re a lot of things,” Jungkook said, voice soft. Namjoon looked up to see his sweet, toothy smile, eyes closed. Namjoon pressed a thumb into the bruise on his thigh and watched it contort into a breathless gasp. He got back to work.

He had Jungkook sobbing, working him up so slowly over the next hour, and then finally letting him come while rocking himself on two fingers with Namjoon’s mouth around his cock.

“Bouncy bunny,” he murmured, low against Jungkook’s bruised thigh, and he moaned.

He swallowed Namjoon’s dick down a few minutes later, thighs clutched around Namjoon’s leg, pressing against his new bruises, small moans catching on Namjoon’s dick as he bobbed.

“I love this,” Namjoon said as Jungkook gulped down a whole glass of water and curled up on top of him. “I really love this.”

“I never told you what people are saying online.”

“What are they saying?”

“Your fangirls think you and Yoongi are dating.”

Namjoon snorted loudly. “They say that every fucking year. It made our relationship kind of weird after the first Olympics because I was still underage, and he felt a little attacked by it. Understandably.”

“But wasn’t he underage too?” Jungkook asked, maybe a little defensively.

“Well we didn’t really know about any of that until about a year after the fact, so I was seventeen at the time, and he was eighteen.”

“How did you not know?”

“The Internet wasn’t really what it is now back then. We didn’t even have YouTube yet. I may have had email. I don’t remember.”

Jungkook stayed still and silent for a minute. Nothing unusual, just comfortable cuddling, until Jungkook sat up suddenly, shrugging off Namjoon’s arm and grabbing his phone. “Jungkook?”

“I’m getting separation anxiety now. Hold on.” He opened Instagram and collapsed back onto Namjoon’s chest with a sigh. “I’m a little addicted. I’m sorry.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You never do.”

“What?”

“Nothing. You don’t want to talk about it.”

“We’re at the fucking Olympics, Jungkook. Can we win the fucking medals and then work through our emotional shit? Please? What happened to not wanting to cost me the gold, huh?”

Jungkook tensed against him. More seconds ticked by as he clutched Namjoon. His phone went black because he’d stopped scrolling. No response.

Namjoon’s stomach dropped out. He didn’t care. He didn’t fucking care about Namjoon’s career anymore. Namjoon was an old has-been on the way out, undesirable and uninteresting after you got past the medals. He’d only been a fan all along, and now he knew who Namjoon really was, and he didn’t care anymore.

“I’m sorry,” Jungkook murmured, voice high and close to cracking. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I just really want…I can’t figure this out on my own. It’s really bothering me. I’m anxious and angry and scared.”

Namjoon took a deep breath. No need to freak out. “A week. We have a week tops. Then we’ll deal with it, okay?”

“We have a day off tomorrow, right?” Jungkook said.

“Two days. Then the quarterfinals.”

“Could we deal with it then?”

“No. What if it goes poorly?”

“It’ll go poorly?”

“That’s not what I said, Jungkook. I don’t think it’ll go poorly,” he lied, “It’s not worth the risk, no matter how low the possibility is. We’re going to take the two days off to figure out our strategy for the finals and stay prepared.”

“Cool. Let’s go watch some other stuff.” Jungkook said, face flopped sadly on Namjoon’s chest.

 

On their day off, they ended up back at the beach volleyball court after practice, studying the other players. They huddled with coach and talked strategy in the stands through five of the eight matches, and then headed out to the gymnastics arena. Yoongi joined them.

“The fangirls are at it again, Yoongi.”

“Ah, but ours is a story of tragedy now, my love. We’ve only fed the fire.”

“Come sit on my lap or something so we can really give them something to talk about.”

Yoongi sat his ass right down on Namjoon’s legs and stretched out in the horribly uncomfortable plastic seats, feet across Jungkook. Namjoon startled, not sure where to put his hands. “Here you go, fangirls,” Yoongi said. “Have at it. I promise I’m still relevant.”

“Didn’t actually expect you to agree to that. I’m going to have fun reading the panicked tweets after this,” Namjoon said, and curled an arm around his waist. “You’ve gotten really thin.”

“That’s what happens when you can’t exercise.”

Namjoon ran a palm down his ribs.

“Keep petting me. That feels nice.”

“Are you drunk? You don’t have to make it weird.” He kept petting anyway, and Yoongi curled up, his face shoved into Namjoon’s neck. They had a long, weird snuggly moment while Namjoon cradled him and searched the crowd for cameras. Yoongi had never been one to cuddle, and he couldn’t help but grin and hug him closer.

Jungkook cleared his throat and took Yoongi’s legs off his lap. “I’ll, um,” he stood. “I’ll be back in a bit, I think.” Namjoon caught a look of hurt on his face before he walked off with his shoulders hunched.

“I hope he won’t forget our interview with NBC this evening,” Namjoon said.

“Aren’t you going together?”

“Did you see him just now? He’s not coming back. He’s so dramatic.”

“What set him off?”

“Me and you, somehow. I don’t get it. He’s all over Jimin all the time.”

Jungkook did remember the interview. He showed up in a taxi, only ten minutes late. They got styled up much the same way as they did before, Jungkook in Stussy merch and Namjoon in a button up and dark gray jeans, like a hot dad and his teenage son.

“Look at the tweets,” he said, and scrolled through pictures of him and Yoongi, fangirls screaming in all caps. “There’s a lot.”

Some of them pointed out Jungkook, how awkwardly third-wheel he looked in the photo, expression uncomfortable. “Jungkook knows!” The caption read. Someone else thought Jungkook was jealous because he was secretly in love with Namjoon. Jungkook flipped quickly past that one, but Namjoon got the gist. Another post yelled indignantly about how people were sexualizing Jungkook and Namjoon’s relationship, and how creepy it was.

“Yikes,” Namjoon said.

Jungkook locked his phone, sighing through his nose.

“Wish I could kiss you right now,” Namjoon said. “You always look so good in makeup.”

Jungkook softened a little, finally looking Namjoon in the eye. Namjoon nudged him gently under the chin. “Let’s go rock this interview.”

Namjoon always appreciated being treated like a top celebrity. Bob Costas on NBC was always very good at it, highlighting their accomplishments and the devotion of the crowd. Namjoon did most of the talking, pulling out all his big, impressive vocabulary. Jungkook sat very still and respectfully quiet beside him, but whenever Bob pulled him into the conversation, he held his own, charming and sweet but assertive and articulate. Namjoon felt so proud.

It was over fast. “Home now?” Jungkook said back in the dressing room, fingers tucking softly into Namjoon’s elbow.

“Yoongi and I were going to go out with Gibb and Patterson. They lost today, you know. You should come too. I heard a rumor that they’re looking to set you up with Patterson once Gibb and I retire.”

“That’s the faux-hawk guy, right? I fucking hate him. Why the fuck are they talking about you retiring?” Jungkook’s fingers tightened almost painfully on his elbow.

“You never know,” Namjoon said. “Coach keeps saying... I don’t know. Never mind. You’ll do fine no matter what.”

Jungkook scowled, then pulled his phone back out. They made it all the way to the car before Jungkook turned around. “I’m going out with some friends. I’ll be back by 11:00.”

“How about 9:00,” Namjoon said. “Just because we don’t have a match tomorrow does not mean you should fuck up your sleep schedule.”

“9:00? The clubs open at 9:00! I’ll be back by 11:00, Dad. I don’t need ten hours of sleep a night. Fuck off.”

“It was a fucking suggestion, Jungkook, not an order. I’ve been doing this for twelve years, though, so I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to take that advice. I was your age and stupid as shit once too, and I made all those mistakes.”

“Fuck you,” Jungkook said. “I’ll be back by 10:00. Whatever. I’ve finally found friends, but who cares. I’ll come back to your sleepy, moody company whenever you want me to.”

“Jungkook, what the fuck?”

Jungkook walked away.

 

Gibb and Patterson were understandably stony at dinner. Namjoon and Yoongi weren’t really of any help since they’d never been in a position lower than bronze at a major tournament, so they let the others do the work and stared out at the incredible mountainous view down to where the moonlight glittered on the ocean.

“I like this,” Yoongi said. “In fact, I’ve had a wonderful week so far. I’ve been having a great time since I got here with you two. It’s just non-stop vacation, even with the stupid leg.”

“Really? I was worried you’d hate being here and not being able to play.”

“I thought so too. But it's nice to just watch, you know? I’m not stressed. I miss playing, of course, but it's refreshing not being in the middle of it. Maybe I should go tell Patterson that since he seems a little down about retiring. It's actually really nice. Maybe I’ll coach a team here pretty soon.”

“Maybe you can coach Jungkook’s team when he has to replace me.”

Yoongi chuckled. “Do it yourself. Imagine that, though. Another new member to our family that has to get used to this craziness. Speaking of, Taehyung and Hoseok get here late tomorrow, so they can watch your final three matches.”

“Damn, that’s so overconfident. How did they know, when they bought their plane tickets, that we wouldn’t bomb out in the first round?”

“They have a lot of faith in you two. So do I. You and I were the best players in the field for a decade. And Jungkook, he might be even better.”

Yoongi left to go do shots with Gibb and Patterson, and Namjoon leaned back in the booth and stared out the window, wishing Jungkook was there to see the view, this great panorama of Rio. Namjoon felt tired to his bones, achingly old at twenty-eight, old in a way he’d gotten used to feeling over the past few months with Jungkook running circles around him, back-flipping all over the court, grinding himself to a second orgasm against Namjoon’s leg when he was too tired to continue.

Things had been so wonderful before Rio, so calm, all cuddles and smiles, and Namjoon hadn’t been that happy since his early years on the court, back when popularity was still a thrill, and the medals were still amazing.

Maybe he really was going to hold Jungkook back soon. Maybe he already was.

“I think I might retire sooner than I expect to,” Namjoon said. “I don’t know. Maybe soon. It really depends.”

“You? Retire? Depends on what?”

A lump rose in Namjoon’s throat. “On if Jungkook wants to keep me around after this. I think, if he gave me up, I’d retire.”

“Namjoon,” Yoongi breathed.

“He’s the best there is. I really think that. He’s a gold medal player, no doubt about it. If we win silver, it’ll be my fault. Downhill I go. I don’t want to continue holding him back. I’ll retire. If we win silver, I’ll retire. I’ve felt so out of my depth since you left the game.”

Yoongi looked too drunk to handle it, but he tried. “Don’t do that to Jungkook. Wasn’t he the one who was so scared to end your career?”

“I don’t know if he’ll care by the time I do retire. We’ve long since passed the point where he was obsessively invested in my career. I don’t know if there’s anything left for him in this relationship. He seems so distant. I don’t know if he’ll still want me after this. I don’t think I’d be able to keep playing if he left me. It’d be one too many blows, you know?”

“Namjoon, please stop doubting this so much. You both really care about each other.”

“Do we?”

“Don’t you?”

Namjoon thought of Jimin. He knew he’d be crushed if Jungkook figured out he had better options on the table. He wasn’t so sure Jungkook wouldn’t leave him. “I care about him. I think he still cares about me. I really want it to last. I hope it lasts.”

“Never thought I’d see you so torn up about anyone, mister heartless,” Yoongi murmured, “Especially some kid with doe eyes. He’s something special. Hold on to him.”

 

He got home at 9:00, right at his own bedtime. No Jungkook. He flopped down on the bed without changing or washing his interview makeup off, or even taking off his shoes, and opened Instagram. No new posts from Jungkook. No new texts. Quite a few emails, but he was in the habit of ignoring them. He spent almost an hour flicking through Jungkook’s Instagram, aching for him to come back.

Right on the edge of sleep in that weird place of thought where anything seems surreally less impossible, he got a text, a video from an unknown number. Sleepily, he opened it, still half dreaming.

Jungkook. Jungkook dancing in a club, Jimin’s head tipped back on his shoulder, Jungkook’s smirking mouth at his ear, Jimin’s lips wide open, his hand on Jungkook’s neck, and Jungkook’s hands low on his hips, locking them together at the waist, grinding like he meant to take him home.

Namjoon slid more and more into consciousness, hurt slamming at his throat. He sat up, the room spinning. There was no mistaking the grip Jungkook had on Jimin’s waist, the intent behind his movements. The video continued. Jungkook’s hand stroked up under Jimin’s shirt over his stomach and Namjoon saw a flash of skin, glistening in the club lights.

The unknown number had also texted him the club’s address and the words, “Come get him.”

Halfway to the club, Namjoon wondered what the fuck he thought he was doing. What exactly was he supposed to say? He trusted Jungkook, didn’t he? This was overstepping a little, but maybe Jungkook didn’t realize. He’d just go in, tell him it was too late to stay out, and take him home. They’d talk about limits later. The rationality didn’t sooth the way the hurt boiled slowly into anger. He knew Namjoon had a problem with this. And maybe he was mad, but openly flirting with his ex?

Jackson Wang was waiting for him outside.

“Oh you. Of course.”

“I’ll get you in. Let’s go.”

“You’ll get me in?” Namjoon scoffed weakly. The bouncer waved him through with raised eyebrows. He was Namjoon Kim. It had been a solid eight years since he’d had to stand in line at a club.

Jungkook and Jimin were still locked together in the middle of the dance floor, facing each other now, eyes hooded, grinding slow and filthy. Jungkook’s hands were on his ass. They looked so good together, so natural and comfortable, so sexy, so happy, and Namjoon almost turned around and walked out. There they were though, wrapped around each other in horrible, real life HD, so much worse than seeing it on a cell phone.

He ran right into Jackson, and braced himself against his shoulders, short as he was. “Fuck, Jackson. Fuck.”

“Namjoon?”

“What do I do? Shit. I’m not—” he leaned against the wall, head in his hands. “Why did you text me? Aren’t you Jimin’s friend?”

“I can’t get Jimin to date me until he gets over your boyfriend,” Jackson said in his ear, loud and resonant over the pounding bass. Namjoon looked up in surprise. “Now I’d be a dick if I did anything right now. It’s absolutely not my place to butt in, but you could. Now go over there and get your man off of mine.”

Namjoon swallowed, pretty sure he’d just been told to man up by a twenty-year-old kid, and pulled him in for a quick bro-hug. He murmured “Thanks,” and wormed his way out onto the floor, heart thundering in his chest. Jungkook looked so happy, so smiley and turned on, so invested, his eyes never leaving Jimin’s face. Their lips were inches apart. Jimin tilted his head and moved in. Jungkook, Jungkook didn’t move.

Namjoon froze only a few feet away in the crowd. Jungkook, his beautiful Jungkook with his soft black hair and huge brown eyes, let Jimin in. A moment of conflict flickered across Jungkook’s face, a tightening of the eyes, a downturn of his lips, and then his eyes slid closed and he angled his mouth into the kiss, hands wrapping around Jimin’s waist in something entirely sweeter than the way they’d been dancing. The world tunneled till it was just Jungkook and Jimin clinging to each other, lips touching tentatively, lips touching not so tentatively, hands tightening, lips pressing hard, mouths opening easily, tongues sliding wet and dirty between them, Jungkook’s hand in Jimin’s hair, controlling him.

Namjoon stepped forward and grabbed Jungkook’s shoulder. Jungkook glanced up, glaring, saw that it was Namjoon, and lurched back, hands pulling off Jimin like he was on fire. They stood still, the crowd writhing around them. Namjoon pulled out his phone and showed Jungkook the time. 10:30. Time to go.

Namjoon spared Jimin one last glance, another graceful, talented, beautiful kid with eyes only for Jungkook, guilty and terrified. What a photo perfect match. Hottest pair in the fucking club. Namjoon felt like punching a wall.

They walked past Jackson on the way out, who had both hands over his face in horror.

Namjoon sat down in the driver’s seat with no memory of walking between the club and the car. He slammed the door, and sat still in the dark, staring out the windshield, shock numbing what was probably despair and fury pulsing through his head with his heartbeat. Jungkook stood outside the passenger door for a few seconds too long before pulling it open and flopping into his seat. He smelled like sweat and whiskey.

It took a couple moments for Jungkook to notice the car wasn’t on. He took a deep, shuddering breath, and then curled up against the door, small and tight, but not so fast that Namjoon didn’t notice the hard-on wilting in the front of his jeans. “I’m sorry. Fuck, I’m so sorry.”

Namjoon’s head jerked involuntarily, a flinch of a head-shake, and Jungkook’s head dropped onto the window.

Namjoon thought he had a plan. They’d go up to the hotel room. They’d talk a little, agree to fix things after they won the tournament again. They’d sleep. It’d pass. He made it all the way up to their room without actually looking at Jungkook, just cycling his mind through “calm down, calm down, calm down.” Jungkook stood between their beds and turn to face him, makeup smudged, and everything hit him at once, just a whole mess of aching hurt and anger, denial, fear, despair, betrayal. Jungkook tucked his hands in his hoodie pockets and stared at the floor, waiting, swaying ever-so slightly.

“Why?” Namjoon spit.

“He’s Jimin. We were dancing. I’ve missed him. It got out of hand. I’m sorry.”

He needed to stick to the plan. “We shouldn’t handle this now.”

Jungkook’s face shifted immediately from worry to annoyance. He snorted in disgust, loud and exaggerated and drunk. “Your boyfriend just cheated on you with his ex, and your response is ‘later?’ Really, Namjoon?”

Namjoon couldn’t breath. He leaned up against the door so he wouldn’t tip over. What the hell happened to the kid that was so afraid to mess up around him that he’d trip over his own feet on the court? Who even was this person in front of him? “I can’t think right now,” he murmured, “You’re drunk. It’s already late, and we need to sleep. I’m just going to get angry.”

“Are you fucking kidding me, Joon? You don’t fucking care! Volleyball is your life, and I’m an accessory. I get it. Maybe I’d like it if you cared about me sometimes.”

Rage bubbled in Namjoon’s mouth. That was so, so wrong. The urge to scream choked in his throat, to roar and throw chairs and curl up and cry.

“I’m struggling, Namjoon. I’m lonely and stressed, I feel cut off and confused and useless, and you don’t want to deal with me. You won’t work this out, and it just gets worse and worse because fucking volleyball—”

“Volleyball is what we do, Jungkook.” Rational Namjoon furiously tried to stamp out all the rampant emotions. “I thought you understood that. I’m all those things too, but we have priorities here. The Olympics—the Olympics, Kookie—should come first.”

“I’m eighteen! I’m glad you have the life experience to compartmentalize all this shit, but I don’t. You told me this was going to be hard, that we wouldn’t understand each other all the time, but you won’t talk to me. Jimin gives me attention. He cares about me, and you don’t. I’m just here for when you want me.”

Namjoon heard a small groan of pain leave his own throat. His head hit the wall.

Jungkook took a deep breath, harsh in his throat. “What have I even been to you this whole time, Namjoon? Free sex from a good volleyball player because I’m so fucking obsessed that I’ll never say no? Is that all I am to you?” Namjoon felt too weak to even shake his head and just stood gaping at Jungkook. “My first priority has always been you! I get that I’m not your first priority; you’ve made that perfectly obvious, but it's your fault that everything hurts. I’m miserable and I just want you to help me and you won’t! You’re a fucking pervert but I’m still so attached and you keep taking advantage of it.” His voice broke.

Silence. Jungkook shifted uncomfortably. Namjoon leaned against the wall and tried to breath. Jungkook thought he didn’t care. Jungkook had called him a pervert. He hadn’t given him much reason to think otherwise. He deserved so much better. Everything faded out into complete shame and hopelessness, blame shifting onto himself, the fury turning heart-wrenchingly into hurt. Every personal doubt he’d had since Yoongi’s week in the hospital came flying home to roost. “Fuck, Jungkook. I’m sorry for everything. I’m sorry for dating you. I should have let you go. I should have retired. Jimin’s better. Go with him.”

“Are you fucking serious! You’re giving me up? You really don’t care?” Namjoon thought he saw the glint of a tear sliding down his cheek in the dim hotel room light. “I fucking cheated on you! Aren’t you mad? After all you’ve put me through, you’d just let me go?”

Namjoon’s sight blurred as he shook his head. He hadn’t cried since two days after Yoongi’s accident when they’d learned he’d probably never play again. He swallowed it down. “I care. I care about the motherfucking Olympic games too, but please don’t think I don’t care about you.” Jungkook kicked his luggage over. “Fuck, I’m sorry. I’d cheat on me too, if I were you.”

“Namjoon, no! What the fuck?”

“Why did you want me when we met, Jungkook? You didn’t know me. You came into this with an idea of who I was, and I’m not. I’m not that great. You’ll throw me away because I’m not good enough. I’m not fucking good enough. I wouldn’t even blame you. You’ve got so much ahead of you, and I’m on my way out. And Jimin’s so much better for you. There’s no reason for you to stay with me.”

“Namjoon—”

“You fucking cheated on me, and I don’t even blame you! It fucking hurts because I trusted you, but I don’t blame you. I’ve been so scared you only want me for the image you had of me as a fan, but I can’t be the hero you think I am. I’m not. I’m a closed-off, unhappy, self-deprecating, lonely idiot that swallows his emotions and beats himself up over nothing. Jimin’s so much better for you that I feel guilty for keeping you with me, but I don’t want to lose you. You’re the best thing that’s ever just walked into my life. I don’t want to lose you God, Jungkook, please don’t leave me, please, please please don’t leave—” He stopped, horrified. He sounded so desperate.

Jungkook stood stiffly in the middle of the room. “Hold on. Do you love me?” His voice cracked. “Do you?”

Namjoon stammered, knees weak, and fell silent. He’d never known much about love, what it felt like, what to do with it. He didn’t love Jungkook the way Seokjin loved his wife, the way he loved Yoongi. They didn’t have the years or the familiarity they needed for that, but that wasn’t what Jungkook meant. Jungkook needed to know that Namjoon felt more deeply towards him than just as a teammate and fuckbuddy, easy friend or devoted fan, that he cared if Jungkook felt the same way, cared if he stayed, and Namjoon did. He really really did. He nodded.

“You don’t just keep me around for fun? You really love me?”

“Jungkook, I’d quit volleyball for you if that’s what you needed.”

“Oh,” Wild happiness crossed Jungkook’s face, followed closely by horror and distress, “Why didn’t you say so? I though you were just possessive and jealous of Jimin, no that... I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have—I’ve fucked everything up haven’t I? Oh god, I’m so sorry.”

And that wasn’t what Namjoon needed to hear. It wasn’t exactly a return, didn’t exactly assure Namjoon that their relationship wasn’t just a poorly-fulfilled fantasy to Jungkook, that Namjoon’s love wasn’t a trophy. It wasn’t a return of devotion beyond lust and attraction. Namjoon’s felt hot tears slide down his cheeks.

Jungkook sank to his knees, hands palm up in his lap, eyes wide and scared. “I didn’t know it would matter to you. Kissing Jimin, I mean. I’m so sorry. I thought you might get pissed or jealous, but I didn’t think you would care. I didn’t think it mattered. I was angry. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Namjoon almost tore the buttons of his shirt while fighting it off. Jungkook watched, breath quickening, as Namjoon walked past him and pulled on a ratty t-shirt, one from a very early tournament with Yoongi. He grabbed his toothbrush from the bathroom and shoved it in his pocket with the car key. He knelt in front of Jungkook and took his wet cheeks gently in his hands, and even after everything, he couldn’t help himself from gently brushing his hair back from his forehead, stroking a thumb across his cheek. “Here’s what I need you to do, Jungkook. You need to get some sleep. I don’t care if you have to drug yourself to do it. Get in bed and sleep. I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Namjoon…”

“I can’t do this. I’ll just get angry. That’s not what we need. I need a night. Take some Nyquil and go to sleep. I’ll be back when you wake up.”

“Please don’t leave.” He started crying.

Namjoon shook his head. “Not an option. Get in bed and sleep. Consider it a time-out for bad behavior.”

Jungkook looked hilariously offended through his tears, but it kept him from really sobbing until after Namjoon was in the hallway, the door closed, and his broken sounds were muffled from inside the room.

Namjoon leaned against the door for a minute, listening to Jungkook sob frantically, calling his name over and over, and then he drove to Yoongi’s hotel.

His mom answered the door. “Sweetie, it’s so late. It’s after eleven. What are you doing here?”

“Who is it?” Yoongi asked sleepily.

“It’s your husband.”

“Namjoon?” Yoongi hobbled to the door. “Fuck, you don’t look good.”

Namjoon shouldered past them murmuring, “Jungkook cheated on me,” and locked himself in the bathroom for a couple minutes to let them process that.

Yoongi was waiting in bed when he came out. “So the emotionally-unstable, obsessive-fan, eighteen-year-old whom you haven’t been communicating with about your feelings cheated on you?”

“Oh shut up. He kissed Jimin. They were dancing in a club. Not keeping things very PG either. I was right there. Fuck, Yoongi, that was the worst thing I’ve ever felt. It, like, physically hurt. My hearing cut out; my vision tunneled. Yoongi, he looked so happy.”

“Are you okay?”

“I’m angry and tired and really fucking sad.”

“Sad is right,” Yoongi’s mom said, “Couldn’t even keep a teenager.”

“Fuck off,” Namjoon sighed, and buried his head in his hands. “He thought I didn’t care about him at all. I’d already been worried that he thought I only kept him around for sex, but damn. I didn’t know he was that unhappy. I was going to wait until after the games and then sort it out. But cheating on me? That was his solution? He couldn’t wait another five days?”

“Did he think you were going to find out?”

“I don’t know. He didn’t know I was there, but people know who he is. It probably would have shown up somewhere that Namjoon Kim’s teammate and a fencing medalist were making out in a crowded club. He’s drunk. I don’t know.”

Yoongi rubbed his back soothingly. “Really fucking irresponsible,” Namjoon muttered. “What the hell happened to not costing us the goddamn medals? Even if he didn’t think I was going to find out, staying out to spite me and intentionally fucking up his sleep schedule in the middle of game week is just stupid. He’s drunk, but it’s fucking stupid. Stupid kid. We’re not gonna win if we can’t keep our heads on straight. What if we break up? We can’t get over something like that. I can’t get another teammate. Not after that. Yoongi, what if I have to retire? I don’t want to retire. I don’t want to keep going without him.”

“Namjoon—”

“He didn’t say he loved me back, either. And fuck, I was half lying, but it hurt. He just started apologizing. He’s just another fan, and I’m not what he thinks I am. I’m a self-conscious workaholic that doesn’t understand relationships or emotions. I have repressed self-esteem issues, and I think too hard, and I hurt people without meaning to. I’ll be twenty-nine in September, and he’ll be nineteen, and nineteen-year-olds should be dating people who can keep up with them, and that isn’t me. He should be dating Jimin, not me.”

“Oh my god, Namjoon.”

“I can’t believe I just walked out on him. He was crying and trying to talk to me, and I just told him to go to sleep and left. I can’t believe I did that. He’s probably still wide awake and really upset.” Namjoon picked up his phone and texted “Go to sleep” at him while Yoongi rubbed his shoulders. “I’m awful. Oh my god. I shouldn’t have told him I loved him. He just needs to leave me and find someone else.”

“Namjoon,” Yoongi’s mom said, “you need to shut up and sleep too.” She was sitting up in her bed wearing an awful-looking night dress and reading. Yoongi looked a little alarmed, cautiously rubbing his shoulders where he slumped over at the edge of the bed.

“I’m so sorry for running in here and dropping this on you guys. I’ll shut up,” he said meekly.

“Ignore the witch,” Yoongi said, “Keep talking if you need to. This sounds like a huge, awful mess. Did you know your boyfriend is a vindictive little bitch?”

Namjoon sighed. “Yeah. He went too far on this one, but I really have to take the blame for refusing to talk to him when he needed it. He’s vindictive, but I’m selfish and neglectful. Jeez. He looks to me to figure things out but I have no idea what I’m doing.”

“You’re fine. You need to talk tomorrow. Now take your own advice and get some sleep.”

“Got any pills?” Namjoon asked, flicking through Jungkook’s Instagram page.

“I got some,” Yoongi’s mom said, and dug a bottle out of the night stand. “Prescription.”

“I hope Nyquil is enough to knock Jungkook out,” Namjoon said as he took one. “He’s kind of a heavyweight. I really don’t want to walk in there tomorrow and find out that he hasn’t slept, because then that’s my fault. Yoongi, I know its late and I’m annoying, but I’m stressed. Can I hug you?”

Yoongi sighed and climbed under the covers. “Yeah. Just spoon me or something, because I’ve got to sleep too.”

Namjoon snuggled up against his back, one arm around his thin chest, the other under the pillows. Yoongi hooked their legs together and held his hand. They hadn’t fallen asleep like this since Namjoon was twenty-four and they’d gotten silver at a tournament they should have had in the bag, and Yoongi drank too much and cried about losing their first coach to their rival team.

“Use a condom,” Yoongi’s mother said.

“He’s my husband,” Namjoon murmured, “I don’t have to.”

Yoongi hummed sleepily.

The light turned off, and Namjoon buried his face in Yoongi’s neck and cried until the meds knocked him out.

Chapter Text

When Namjoon was younger, really younger, before he dropped out of high school and left home and cut himself off from his childhood, he’d cared about other things. His drunk, spiteful mother had been a separate thing. School had been a separate thing, and the assholes and friendly kids in his class had both been separate things. His longing for his absent father had been a separate thing.

He figured he should write a book, Zen and the Art of Beach Volleyball, how the separateness of the world had dissolved into one whole, present to present to present, every part of life fitting effortlessly and naturally into something he was just thoughtlessly good at, the way life in the game had flowed without thought and there was nothing else to worry about, Yoongi a pied piper, the sand his Zen, nothing and no one mattering more than existing as a volleyball player.

The real secret to his success had always been the way he could let go of the world, forget the way physics tied his body, and move like he was just fulfilling a future that already existed. There was no reason to fight the game. He just moved with it and won. He’d been able to slip into that when he needed to during games over the past few months, but he could feel it now, the rest of his awareness opening up to the world, what he was missing, the pieces of his life splintering out into their own strands, needing separate attention.

The morning following the biggest betrayal Namjoon had felt since their first father-figure of a coach started teaching their rivals on the side, he stood in the parking lot and felt everything slide easily into perspective. He’d played on bright beaches under spotless skies for twenty years, and the Rio sky on a clear Sunday morning taught him the meaning of Blue. He leaned against the car door and lined up his priorities end to end in his head, and then, for the first time since Yoongi’s accident, really stopped thinking.

Jungkook was still asleep when he opened the door, curled up on top of the covers in the same clothes he’d worn the day before, eyeliner and mascara from yesterday’s interview smudged in thick, dirty streaks under his eyes, his Timbs still on his feet.

Namjoon put his toothbrush back on the sink and kicked his shoes off beside his bag. Jungkook stirred and stretched, humming out a sleepy whine. Namjoon sat down on the bed beside him and patted his chest. “Wake up, you little traitor. It’s already nine, and I brought breakfast.”

Jungkook blinked his eyes open for just a moment, eyebrows screwed down, breathing deeply in through his nose. “Oh, thank god,” he murmured, “I was worried you wouldn’t come back.”

“Of course I came back. We have medals to win.”

“Are you still mad at me?” he slurred, eyes still closed, arms slung over his head.

“Yeah. Why wouldn’t I be?”

Jungkook’s eyes opened for a couple more seconds and then closed again. “Food?”

“Yeah. Sit up here and eat.”

“Fifteen more minutes,” he said, voice rough but high, breathy.

“No way. You’ve already slept in. Get up here. It’s two bacon and egg biscuits and three hash browns from McDonald’s.”

Jungkook sat up groggily and tipped against Namjoon’s shoulder. He floundered with the bag for a minute before pulling a biscuit out and unwrapping it slowly. Namjoon held still, not wanting to push him away, but also wishing he’d back off. Jungkook got through about half of his sandwich at a snail’s pace before he picked his head up and met his eyes. “I’m sorry. Fuck, I’m so sorry. I was drunk and angry. I didn’t know what I was doing. I fucked up. Please—” He started crying again, heavy, quiet sobs.

Namjoon cradled his cheek in his hand, brushing gently. He couldn’t bring himself to kiss him though. Jimin’s lips, his tongue tangled with Jungkook’s kept coming back to mind, anger stirring back up in his chest. “You fucked up,” Namjoon murmured, “You get impulsive, vindictive, jealous, and defensive when you feel like you’re being ignored. But you know what? I already knew all of that and I ignored you anyway. I’m sorry. I should have swallowed my insecurities and talked to you.”

Jungkook leaned into Namjoon’s palm, and then started crying again, dropping his face down.

Namjoon let his hand drop back onto the comforter. “I already know your insecurities. You were worried I didn’t care about you, that you’re too young or whatever. Maybe you’re always worried I’ll ditch you as soon as something more interesting comes along, and I only keep you around because I enjoy how obsessed you are with me. Or were. Is that right?”

Jungkook nodded, shamefaced. “That makes me sound clingy and creepy. And pathetic. Fuck, I’m so pathetic.”

Namjoon didn’t know how to effectively deny that, so he didn’t, and let Jungkook sob into his half-eaten biscuit.

“Well, I know your insecurities, so it’s about time you learned mine. And then I have some questions for you.”

Jungkook nodded.

“My dad left my family when I was eleven. I don’t blame him, because Mom was an alcoholic, and she was hard to live with. I do blame him for not taking me.”

Jungkook looked confused.

“I haven’t told you about that before because I don’t think about it. It doesn’t matter anymore. When I was fifteen, I dropped out of school and left home to live with Yoongi and become a full-time volleyball player. You probably did know that. Point is, for the past thirteen years, volleyball has been such a huge part of my life that I haven’t bothered separating it out into a ‘thing.’ My life is volleyball. It just is. I know you think I put volleyball before you a lot, and you’re right; I do. I just don’t think that should bother you. You don’t know what it’s like yet to give your life to your career.”

“We’ve been over this before,” Jungkook said.

“I’m not sure you get it yet. I’d been stuck in volleyball limbo for, like, a decade, because if that was my life, I didn’t have to be disappointed about anything else, about not having a family or friends or hobbies. About not feeling safe to pursue a boyfriend. And then Yoongi almost died, and suddenly I had something that wasn’t volleyball that I had to care about. And then you came along insisting that you’re something different too, that you need something more than just volleyball.”

He shook his head. “I don’t know how to deal with it, Jungkook. Life gifts me with a beautiful, talented, hot, smart, powerful teammate who wants me more than anything, and he just happens to be too young to understand where I’m coming from, and too much like an obsessed fan for me to trust completely. I’m sorry, Jungkook, please don’t cry again. Just hear me out.

“This whole time I’ve been worried—I still am worried that you’re attracted to the volleyball legend, Namjoon Kim, and Namjoon, the kid that runs from everything and is more obsessed with the sport than even you, is eventually going to disappoint you. I feel like there’s no way for me to live up to your expectations. I’m going to retire sooner or later, and then what will I have to keep you with me, even if you stay that long? If you see how insecure I am, how locked up, you’ll lose interest. You’ll leave.”

Jungkook was shaking his head. Namjoon caught his chin in one hand to stop him.

“You kissed Jimin and proved me right on all of that. At first, I didn’t take him seriously, because what the fuck, he’s a kid. That’s my fault, because you’re a kid too, so of course you see more in him than I do. Then he scared me because I felt worthless around him. And when you kissed him right in front of me, I felt…”

He paused, hoping for words. Jungkook finally looked fully awake, staring wide-eyed and guilty past Namjoon’s elbow.

“Now, when I say I love you,” Namjoon said, chin brushing at the biscuit crumbs under Jungkook’s lip, “I think it meant something different to me than it does to you. I don’t know what love is because I’ve never felt it, but I know you have. Last night, I meant that I think you’re wonderful, and I would sacrifice my own happiness for you, and this relationship is something more to me than what I’d give to just a fan. It’s inconvenient as fuck, but I’m doing it anyway. So here’s my question, Jungkook,” he said, “With that same definition, do you love me?”

“Have you changed your mind on whether or not I can love someone?”

Namjoon sighed and put his face in his hands.

“I’m sorry. That was mean. I do love you.”

“And you’re sure it’s not infatuation? That you’re not just a fan with the ultimate prize? Do you love me or the image you’ve idolized your entire life? Is this going to last after you get just as famous as me? Would it last if I retired? Would you sacrifice as much for me as I would for you?”

“You’re fucking doubting me again,” Jungkook said, voice shaking.

“Jungkook, I watched you kiss someone else last night. Yes, I fucking doubt you.”

Jungkook curled his knees up to his chest and tried to hide the fresh bout of tears sliding down his face. “I don’t know. That’s a lot to ask all of a sudden.”

Namjoon’s throat closed up. His stomach churned. “And Jimin?”

“He’s hot, and I’m still attached! And he’s convenient. I don’t love him. I don’t think I ever did. Not like you.”

Namjoon stared at the floor while the world’s most precious idiot sobbed beside him, the neck of his t-shirt pulled up over his face. “You don’t believe me,” he said.

Namjoon shook his head. “We’ve got to go to practice soon.”

Jungkook laid down and curled into the wall. “I fucked this up. I can’t believe I fucked up this bad. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. The best thing I’ve ever had, and I fuck it up. I don’t know if I can focus. Fuck, fuck, fuck, what am I gonna do? After all this, what if I fuck your career up anyway? Oh god, Namjoon. Fuck. I’m so sorry.”

He’d told Yoongi he’d retire if he and Jungkook didn’t work out, and he still meant it, personally and professionally. He decided he’d better not panic Jungkook with that information.

Namjoon remembered the evening after the camping trip when Jungkook threw up and cried when Namjoon told him he could potentially end his career, how Jungkook had cut off the relationship himself, and Namjoon had gotten them back together anyway. Maybe that had been Jungkook trying to sacrifice his happiness for Namjoon, or maybe he’d been trying to save it, save a potential guilty conscience, settling for whatever he could get.

So even though Namjoon’s chest still ached, even though he still felt like throwing things, like walking out and slamming the door, like begging Jungkook to think harder, to figure it out, to tell him it was infatuation if that was really all it was, this was still the boy he loved, for better or worse, no matter how many mistakes he made, and every sob felt like a knife twisting in his chest. He laid down behind him, wrapped him up as tight as he could and nuzzled against the back of his head.

“You think I could find someone better than you?” Jungkook choked, “Fuck that. I don’t deserve you at all.”

“You’re wrong.”

They stayed still for a long while, Namjoon wrapped around his back, Jungkook’s sobs quieting softly.

“I’m sincerely sorry for making you cry so much over the past five months.”

He sighed shakily. “You’re too good for me, Namjoon. I chase you for seven fucking years, and then when I finally have you I—” he broke into more crying. “I let Jimin…”

Namjoon leaned in and sucked gently on his neck, right under his ear, and felt Jungkook go limp against his chest, like always, resigned satisfaction settling into his chest at the effect he always had on Jungkook’s self-control. He pulled at the skin with his teeth, and Jungkook shivered. “Namjoon?”

“Shh.”

They laid there for another few minutes. “We have a job to do, babe. We’re already ten minutes late for practice. I’ll call Coach, but you need to shower and get all the black streaks off your face. You look seriously emo right now. You can eat your food in the car.”

Jungkook nodded and stumbled into the bathroom, slouching hard.

“How did you sleep last night?” Namjoon asked before he disappeared. “You still look awful.”

“Slept like a rock. Took a ton of Nyquil, and I was still drunk. Probably not safe, but whatever.”

“Fuck,” Namjoon said, putting his face in his hands again. The bathroom door clicked shut.

 

Halfway through practice, Coach caught the ball and walked off the court. He stood over on the sidelines facing away, running his hands over his hair. “Now, Jungkook? Really? You chose to have one of your crises now? It’s like you’ve forgotten how to play again!”

Jungkook grabbed another ball out of the sand and served it over the net. It landed in a pretty good spot, but judging by the devastated look on Jungkook’s face, not anywhere near where he’d wanted to put it. It was almost as bad as the funk he’d gotten into in their first tournament and was rapidly getting worse.

Coach stomped back over and roped them into another round of exercises, sweating and cursing and looking even more panicked than Jungkook, muttering “Not now, not now,” under his breath. Jungkook stumbled around the court looking distressed and lost.

“Jungkook, you know what? Let’s talk. Let’s just talk,” Coach said when Jungkook sat down in the sand with his head in his hands.

Jungkook shook his head.

“I’m your coach, Jungkook. I don’t know what else I can do. I saw the photos with you and fencer on the Internet, and it’s really not that big a deal. You can dance with people if you want to, even guys. People will say shit, but it doesn’t matter. There’s no need for a crisis.”

Jungkook shook his head again and started crying. Coach turned to Namjoon with unfiltered horror. He’d probably never had to deal with crying. Namjoon and Yoongi certainly hadn’t, even on their worst days, even in the harrowing months of practice when it was just a shell-shocked Namjoon and no Yoongi.

Namjoon waved Coach away and knelt by Jungkook. “You’re in no state to handle this right now. Try to calm down off the court, and I’m going to go through the motions with Coach. We’ve got dinner with Hoseok and Taehyung tonight, and then we’ll fix this.”

Coach spluttered. “We’re just going to leave this?”

“Trust me, it’s not going anywhere right now. It’s not really about the fencer.”

After all the panic and worry, Namjoon felt oddly calm, kind of an “It’s all in the hands of God now” mood, the numbness of despair letting rationality do its work. No use in panicking. Whatever happened would happen, and he’d feel better about it if he didn’t care.

They went through the rest of practice with Jungkook on the bench, crunched up and shaking. Namjoon performed well, only passively concerned when Jungkook got up and left for a little while and then came back wiping the tears off his face. He kept watching his shoulders shake, a little guilty for the way it eased whatever frustrated anger was still left.

When the beach began to clear in the distance beyond the isolated practice courts, and the sun started throwing longer shadows, Namjoon came back to him. Jungkook had the same wide-eyed, nervous look about him that he’d had for the first two months of their partnership.

Please, please don’t go back to this now, Namjoon thought. He’d gotten used to Jungkook being comfortable enough to joke around, to flirt without thinking, to glare when Namjoon made a joke about his age.

In the car, Jungkook wrapped his arms around himself and curled up in the seat rather than ask Namjoon if they could turn down the air conditioner. Chest aching, Namjoon did it himself.

They showered separately, and it took longer than usual, but since they didn’t spend time talking and kissing on the bed, they got to the restaurant first. It was some crowded local place where they had relatively low chance of being recognized or even noticed. Jungkook took a few deep breathes and visibly tried to put on a face as they waited. Yoongi arrived first, gave Jungkook one cold glance, and Jungkook’s brave face fell to pieces.

“The idiots aren’t here yet?” Yoongi asked Namjoon while Jungkook put his arms over his face and leaned into the wall.

“Any minute,” Namjoon answered, shifting closer to nudge his shoulder reassuringly against Jungkook’s. Yoongi shook his head in disgust while Jungkook couldn’t see, and Namjoon glared. “Quarter-finals are tomorrow,” he said. “Stay positive.”

Yoongi swelled angrily. “This is a fucked up mess.”

“True. I’m not giving up till it’s over.”

Jungkook seemed close to a panic attack. Yoongi steeled himself and handed his cane off to Namjoon so he could pull Jungkook into his arms and give him a soothing hug. “Just because you fucked up and I’m mad doesn’t mean you’re not my prodigy anymore. I support you. You’re just such an idiot.”

Jungkook chuckled a little, and, to Namjoon’s surprise, calmed down. He was almost human by the time Taehyung and Hoseok showed up with Seokjin in tow.

“Look who we found in the hotel! We got him away from his family for a night! Let’s party for luck! What’s wrong with Jungkook?”

“He got in one of his terrible slumps today.”

“Oh fuck,” Taehyung said. The whole dinner party took on the attitude of a wake, the social calm before the funeral. “This isn’t about those photos with you and the fencing guy, right? Because that’s really not a big deal. Worse has happened to me. Remember those photos that came out last time with me and British swimmer?”

Jungkook didn’t even laugh.

“You could lose,” Hoseok said, very seriously, looking suspiciously hopeful. Understandable. If Gibb retired and Jungkook and Namjoon bombed out, Hoseok and Taehyung would suddenly become the top team in the US.

“I’d realized that, thanks,” Namjoon sighed. Jungkook looked close to panicking again and could barely speak to Hoseok and Taehyung, who hugged him with some unnecessarily obvious alarm. Jungkook got them a table with hushed, stuttered Portuguese, and they all crunched into a booth—Taehyung, Seokjin, and Yoongi on one side, Jungkook, Namjoon, and Hoseok on the other.

Yoongi, Seokjin, and Namjoon talked about late-night bar adventures after old wins. Hoseok and Taehyung blew straw wrappers across the length of the table. Jungkook laid against the corner of the booth with red cheeks and swollen eyes, completely exhausted. “I want to go home. Please,” Jungkook whispered before their food had even gotten there.

“They flew in to see us,” Namjoon said, “We’ve already ordered.”

Jungkook sagged back into the corner, pulling the collar of his sweater up over his face. Taehyung, right across the table, looked concerned.

When Jungkook didn’t touch the appetizers, Namjoon put a hand on his knee under the table, just a reassuring touch, and squeezed it gently until Jungkook stilled, face still in his sweater, but no longer crying.

They sat quietly in their own little corner. Yoongi asked him something, and Namjoon met his eyes briefly and then pointedly ignored it. Yoongi got the picture and redirected the conversation to something unconnected to volleyball so Jungkook and Namjoon could sit in a silence. The food came. Neither Namjoon or Jungkook touched it.

Namjoon’s hand moved slowly further up Jungkook’s leg, thumb rubbing gently. Jungkook held very still, eyes closed just over where he held his collar to his nose, tears absent, face unreadable. Namjoon continued soothingly rubbing his leg where the others couldn’t see, trying to pack concern and reassurance into every squeeze.

He could tell when he found the new bruises by the way Jungkook twitched just a little under his hand. He rubbed slow, firm circles against the inside of his thigh, and Jungkook tensed. Namjoon turned slightly to watch him, the way he could see him trying not to furrow his eyebrows when Namjoon found a spot that made his back arch ever-so-slightly, head knocking back against the booth.

When Namjoon pinched, Jungkook’s eyes popped open, scandalized. Namjoon raised one eyebrow in challenge, and Jungkook stared in disbelief for a moment before his eyes narrowed, much more like himself than the pitiful thing he’d just been. Namjoon smiled, then scratched across the bruises, nails digging in. Jungkook gasped hard, body filling with it. The rest of table was politely ignoring their silence, or else someone would have noticed.

Jungkook could only endure it for so long before he was practically squirming, and then he caught Namjoon’s hand and leaned in close, breath hot on Namjoon’s ear. “Joonie, the last man to kiss me was Jimin.”

Possessiveness like he’d never felt before flooded his system. Fucking asshole. He grabbed Jungkook by the jaw before he could lean back, thumb under his chin, head tilted to the side, and proceeded to forcefully re-establish his presence, tongue fucking deep between his lips. Jungkook gasped and grabbed messy fistfuls of his shirt.

“Jesus, fuck, we’re in public!” Yoongi yelped, snapping open the menu he’d kept to examine the desserts and holding it in front of the booth. Namjoon continued to wrestle Jungkook further down into the seat, one hand harshly holding his chin in place, the other low on his back, crushing him closer, and Jungkook moaned quick and startled, mouth wide open to let him in, tongue hot against his lips.

A nearly empty plastic cup smacked into the side of Namjoon’s head, and he looked up to see Yoongi fuming and Seokjin, Taehyung, and Hoseok in slack-jawed shock. Jungkook laid defiled against the seat, expression halfway between breathlessly happy and outright mocking.

“You little shit,” Namjoon said lowly, and Jungkook smiled in complete delight, but also had the good grace to look embarrassed.

Taehyung had a hand over his mouth. Seokjin looked downright offended. Hoseok just gaped. Namjoon was suddenly very very tired.

“Fucking grown-ass man can’t control himself,” Jungkook muttered.

“Me? I can’t control myself? Shut up, you little traitor!”

Jungkook’s smile faded swiftly back to shame, and Namjoon wrapped him in a headlock. “No. Stop it. Fucking forget about it, god damn it. I hate making you cry.”

Jungkook sagged under his arm with a muffled apology.

Yoongi’s was banging his head repeatedly on the table. “You two are so fucking awkward and dysfunctional and stupid in all the worst ways. Go die. Fuck off. I can’t stand it.”

“How long has this been going on?” Taehyung said weakly, voice betraying disbelief and condemnation, and Namjoon immediately regretted his slip in subtlety.

“Before the camping trip,” Namjoon said gruffly.

“Oh.”

“And you don’t think it’s weird, or…?” Hoseok said.

“It’s weird,” Namjoon said.

“Ah.” They shared a shocked look.

“You’re gay?” Seokjin squeaked. “Fuck, that explains so much! How did I not figure that out?”

Namjoon laughed and handed a fork to Jungkook. “Eat, babe. We’ve got a game tomorrow.”

Taehyung pulled Jungkook away at the end of the meal as everyone stood up and stretched, gathered take-out boxes and figured who would ride with whom. Jungkook could see them talking in the hallway to the bathroom. He’d never seen Taehyung’s face stay so serious for so long, the way he scowled and ran his hand through his hair, how he jostled Jungkook by the jacket and pouted, his arms crossed over his chest.

Taehyung finally let him go, looking troubled. On the way out to the car, Taehyung smacked Namjoon hard on the shoulder. “Ow! What?”

“Why don’t you dump him for that shit? Why are you dating him in the first place?”

“It’s not as simple as it sounds. I’m in the wrong here too.”

“He cheated on you. How are you in the wrong?”

“He kept going to Jimin when he was frustrated with me ignoring our problems. I really should have seen it coming, and I blew him off anyway. Made him think I didn’t give a shit.”

Taehyung ran a frustrated hand through his hair. “I love you both, but you’re hopeless idiots.”

“This is really hard, Taehyung. I’m really angry, but so is he. We need to figure out if we can communicate and fix things before we give up. And my career is pretty much on the line too. And the medals.”

“Your career? Pretty sure one dumb kid isn’t gonna end the great Namjoon Kim’s career.”

“I can’t switch partners again, Taehyung. Yoongi fucked me up bad enough on his own. I can’t lose another one.”

Namjoon made Jungkook drive home. “Are you going to be okay tomorrow?”

Jungkook shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“What did Taehyung have to say?”

“He wanted to be sure what we have isn’t one-sided or imbalanced, and that you weren’t abusing me. He thought maybe that was why I was so upset. I told him about Jimin.”

“Why does everyone think I’m abusing you? It’s just insulting. I’m not that much an asshole, am I?” Namjoon sighed and watched the city roll slowly past, dark corners and blinding stoplights hard on the eyes. Evidence of Olympic activity littered the billboards and window ads. When they finally pulled into the Olympic village, Jungkook had begun to look withdrawn again, staring at the ground and fidgeting with his clothes like he wanted them to hide him.

“Jungkook, stop freaking out.”

“I’m trying.”

Some cycling athlete from Europe somewhere got on the elevator with them and asked for Namjoon’s autograph. In the mirrored elevator, Namjoon could see Jungkook standing slightly behind him with a gentle, fond smile as he watched him sign her green Rio t-shirt.

“Sometimes,” Namjoon said, as they walked down the hallway towards their room, “I want to kiss you so bad that I have to walk off and find somewhere else to be.”

“Like when?”

“Like when you smile, but you try to hide it. Or when you say something stupid and then let people tease you about it because you feel like you deserve it.” He unlocked the door and walked inside. “Or when you fall asleep on the beach. Or when Yoongi and I turn around and you’re doing something stupid like trying to balance on a railing or kick a brick out of the sidewalk.”

He caught Jungkook up against the door, crowded him in with his forearms barred across his shoulders, hands cradling his head, hips leaned in against his, and kissed him gently. Jungkook’s eyes shut immediately, hands latching onto Namjoon’s shirt. “I might love you, Jungkook. Especially when you do stupid shit.”

“Even stupid shit like cheating on you?”

Namjoon stopped kissing him. “Maybe not that much.”

Jungkook hid his face in Namjoon’s shirt.

“And you’re so fucking cute. Stop that.”

“I’m not cute. Fuck you,” Jungkook said, and pouted.

“Then what’s this?” Namjoon asked, touching his lower lip. “Put that away.”

Jungkook shoved him lightly, enough to worm his way away from the door and into the room. “If you call me cute again, I’ll start calling you Daddy. Just warning you.”

“Please don’t tell me that’s something you’re actually into.”

Jungkook smirked, suddenly dangerously hot. “I don’t care. I kind of like it, but I don’t care if we don’t do that. I know it makes you uncomfortable.”

“I won’t call you cute.”

Jungkook flopped down on his bed and curled up, so unlike the usual disorderly sprawl he settled into. “How can I make you feel better, Jungkook? The quarter-finals match is tomorrow. If we win we go for a medal. If we lose, we’re out.”

“Will you fuck me? Make me yours again?”

“I’m not going to solve this with sex. Not again. And with a game tomorrow? No way.” He sat down beside Jungkook on the bed and bent close over him again, knocked their foreheads together and slid his fingers down Jungkook’s forearms and over his hands, tangling them together. “Do you love me, Jungkook?”

“I think so,” Jungkook whispered. “Will you still love me if we lose tomorrow?”

Namjoon snorted. “I’ve never lost an Olympics tournament match. I have no idea how I’ll feel if we lose tomorrow. I don’t think it’ll affect how I feel about you, but I can’t honestly say.”

“Oh,” Jungkook said softly. His fingers tightened around Namjoon’s, holding him there.

Namjoon couldn’t help but feel like they’d already lost. He pulled at Jungkook’s hands. “We should sleep. Let me up.”

“Maybe sometimes you should just lie to me,” Jungkook said, voice cracking into sobs. Namjoon sat there dumbly while Jungkook cried desperately below him.

Eventually, he pulled himself away, and Jungkook tried to curl up again, but Namjoon hauled him off the bed and into the bathroom to brush his teeth, unable to let him go, an arm wrapped around him at the sink while he washed the salty tracks of tears off his face, hips knocking as they brushed their teeth. Jungkook looked exhausted, all cried out and miserable.

He collapsed on the bed, and Namjoon pulled his pants and sweater off for him, then wrapped around him like a sloth. Jungkook coaxed his face up to kiss him. Namjoon could almost forget the hurt. They fell asleep nose to nose on the pillow, foreheads together, lips almost touching.

 

And he woke with Jungkook’s lips on his dick. “Oh, fuck.”

Jungkook hummed cheerfully, sucking gently as Namjoon hardened. He blinked up, brown eyes glowing in the sunrise filtering in through the window, lashes casting shadows across his nose, Namjoon’s dick lying in his open mouth. Namjoon groaned and dropped his head back on the pillow. “I could die happy right now.”

Jungkook smiled, working on Namjoon like a popsicle, gentle and unpredictable, maddeningly good. For a long time it was just tongue and lips, soft trailing fingers. “What time is it?” Namjoon asked.

“Probably nearly six a.m. by now. We were asleep by nine last night.” He sucked in earnest, almost deep-throating him all at once. Namjoon gasped and scratched his fingers across Jungkook’s scalp. Jungkook bobbed quickly, building up the pace immediately, and all the teasing had left Namjoon terribly sensitive. His muscles tightened up slowly, bowing his back, and Jungkook didn’t lighten up, sucking like he suddenly meant to get Namjoon off in minutes.

When Jungkook’s hand joined the party, Namjoon felt moans sneaking onto the ends of his breaths. His fingers locked into the sheets. Jungkook shoved his throat lower and lower with every stroke. “Babe, why today—hah, ahhhfffuck—why today of all days are you trying to deep-throat?”

Jungkook fucking giggled around his dick and choked, throat fluttering around the head of his dick, and Namjoon gripped his head and held him down muttering “You asked for it,” and started thrusting shallowly into Jungkook’s mouth, who gasped through his nose, eyes scrunched shut. He moaned encouragingly, voice vibrating around Namjoon, and Namjoon went deeper. He could see every muscle in Jungkook’s arms and shoulders tighten against the sheets, neck locking up, frantic breaths sneaking through his nose every few seconds.

“You gotta, like, loosen your throat,” Namjoon panted. He’d never managed to figure out what that fucking meant in all his years of giving blowjobs, but this was Jungkook, and if anyone could figure it out on the fly, it was him. And sure enough, after a couple more glorious seconds of choking and fluttering, Jungkook’s throat relaxed around him. Namjoon laughed breathlessly.

“You’re fucking amazing. Can I come in your mouth?” Jungkook gave him a thumbs up. After only another thirty seconds of velvety, tight glide, Namjoon tapped the back of his neck to warn him, and then came hard into his throat. Jungkook swallowed with difficulty and pulled off with tears rolling down his face.

“You okay?”

Jungkook nodded, gasping. “Wow.” His voice rattled, raw, gravelly, and wet.

“Holy fuck. Keep talking.”

“It’s my turn. Suck my dick.”

Namjoon smirked. “But it’s game day. This isn’t part of my ritual.”

“Fuck it,” Jungkook said right in his ear, and Namjoon shuddered with another aftershock. “What else could go wrong, right? Screw ritual. We’re already flying in way unprepared.”

Namjoon rolled him over and yanked his pants down to find him already hard. “You like getting your throat fucked, babe?”

“Mhm.”

“God you’re perfect. How did I get this lucky?”

“By being perfect yourself,” Jungkook sighed.

Namjoon raised his eyebrows and sucked him down, hot and hard, keeping up with the pace he’d just set on Jungkook, who seized up, gasping and mewling in that gravelly voice.

He kept it brutal enough that Jungkook blanked out, staring wide-eyed at the ceiling, jaw slack. When he had Jungkook grabbing weakly at his hair as he panted, he snaked a hand down his thick thigh and pressed hard into the bruises. Jungkook’s back arched harshly off the bed as he came with a yelp.

“That had to be under five minutes,” Namjoon said, pulling off. “Sorry I can’t deep-throat.”

Jungkook whined wordlessly, still staring at the wall with a stunned expression on his face.

“We should get ready. Can you move?”

Jungkook rolled over, got his feet on the ground, and dropped to his hands and knees on the floor.

“Stay there. I’ll get your uniform.”

 

“So what was all that about this morning?” Namjoon asked in the car.

“Early warm up,” Jungkook said. “Getting us out of our heads a little. Having fantastic orgasms to get the chemicals flowing.”

Namjoon chuckled. “I skipped my ritual shower this morning. If we lose, it’s your fault for keeping me from my shower.”

Jungkook snickered and stared out the window murmuring, “If we lose, it’s my fault already. Fuck everything.”

“If we win this game,” Jungkook said later as they warmed up, Coach standing a distance away out the doors smoking the first cigarette Namjoon had seen in his hand since Yoongi’s accident, “I have a request.”

“What is it?”

Jungkook stopped pulling on his giant rubber band and looked very seriously into Namjoon’s eyes. “Can I go talk to Jimin?”

Namjoon scowled at him.

“He’s got a match tomorrow afternoon, and he’s been freaking out. He’s texted me about fifty times, and his head isn’t on straight. I don’t want him to lose because of us.”

And that was something Namjoon understood. No grudge could make him sabotage another athlete. “Yeah. If we win, we can do that.”

Jungkook breathed a deep sigh of relief and got his phone out of his pocket.

“But I’m going with you. I don’t want you near him alone.”

“That’s fair,” Jungkook said without taking his eyes off his text. “I probably would have asked you to come along anyway. I don’t think he’s given up yet, and he brings out all my bad habits.”

“Does he really?” Namjoon asked, half sarcastic.

“I learned relationship habits from him,” Jungkook said, “and he got manipulative and petty sometimes. I picked it up to try to win arguments with him, and it kind of stuck. We never resolved arguments very fast.”

“Oh,” Namjoon said, and felt abruptly very smug. “So I’m not the only one you’ve been with that’s really bad at relationships.”

“You’re not bad at relationships, Namjoon,” Jungkook sighed, “Just because this is difficult for us doesn’t mean you’re bad at it. I know I’m bad at it. I’ve proved that pretty solidly recently. You, on the other hand, tend to do pretty well.”

“You trying to butter me up so I’ll forgive you faster?”

“Jeez,” Jungkook said, voice quiet and nervous, “Go easy on me, will you? You’re blaming yourself too much for this, and I’m trying to tell you that this is all on me.”

Namjoon shook his head. “Let me take responsibility. I pressured you into a difficult relationship and then didn’t hold up my end of the deal. What you did was shitty, but I let it get to that point by being careless. That’s my fault in this. It’s enough fault that it would be a little unfair to dump you on the spot. There’s enough at stake that we need to work through this.”

“What’s at stake?”

“Medals…” Namjoon said, and didn’t add “my career.”

Being around Coach began to bring his nerves back. The pacing, sighing, groaning, sagging, whining, and shaky assurances reminding Namjoon of all the near misses at the last tournament, the way Jungkook locked up at all the wrong moments, his own distracted state of mind, and the competition. How would he look anyone in the federation in the face if they lost? How would he handle Yoongi or Hoseok and Taehyung who had come so far to see them get the gold? If they won, they had a chance at gold. Anything less and his career might not survive the shock. Jungkook might never be given another opportunity in the spotlight.

As the match before theirs wrapped up, Namjoon found himself crouched on the ground, stomach turning.

“Hey Namjoon, watch this.”

He turned around, and Jungkook did an aerial cartwheel. “I’m awesome.”

“You are fucking crazy.”

Jungkook giggled and kicked him. “Best team in the world right? We don’t have anything to worry about. Let’s go.”

Namjoon followed him out onto the court in a daze.

And Jungkook rocked the first set. Every time Namjoon set the ball, he slammed it over the net. Every time the opponents spiked it near him, he got under it. Namjoon went on autopilot, the pure confidence wafting out of Jungkook lulling him into his Zen volleyball state, brainless and easy, something near muscle memory moving his limbs. Jungkook did a backflip just for fun when the other team called a break.

“One down, one to go,” Jungkook said when they scored the winning point.

“You’re so overconfident,” Namjoon said.

Jungkook just winked at him.

Maybe it was bad sportsmanship, the glee with which Jungkook ripped the other team to shreds during the next set. Namjoon acted as the calm base, catching everything Jungkook’s flashy energy couldn’t. He spiked the ball into the sand over the opponent’s head for the winning point and sent them on to medal contention. Yoongi shrieked in the stands, and Jungkook blew him a kiss. Coach cried. NBC requested them to the studio for an evening interview.

Namjoon stood in the sand and watched Jungkook, poor, crushingly nervous, fuck-up Jungkook who hadn’t been able to serve straight yesterday, do his victory dance for the crowd. He really was the best US player. Namjoon would never have been able to recover enough to win. In fact, Namjoon would have lost that game with Yoongi. Jungkook had carried the match. If they lost any match from here on out, it would officially be Namjoon’s fault. Jungkook had proved himself unbeatable.

And they still had a shot at gold. The next set of matches were the semi-finals, and those winners would play for gold and silver, and the losers would play for bronze. One more match before a shot at gold. He’d always been in the gold medal match. He’d always won it. If he lost it this time, he’d let Jungkook find a new teammate. He’d retire.

 

“What’s Jimin like?” Namjoon asked on their way back to the Olympic village after the interview.

Jungkook side-eyed him from the driver’s seat. “He’s a weird combination of absolutely precious and dangerously sexy. He’s vain and insecure at the same time. He laughs at everything, even when he’s hurt or mad. He’s the most hardworking person I’ve ever met. He’s a fantastic dancer.”

“I noticed that.”

“Oh shut up,” he sighed, “Why do you want to know about him?”

“I’m morbidly curious. Maybe I should stop asking though. He already sounds amazing. I’m still nervous.”

“That’s just because you haven’t heard me talk about you. Jimin broke up with me because of how much I talked about you and how insecure it made him feel. I’d say he had jealousy issues, because he does, but he had a legitimate complaint. I really always cared about you more. I really don’t think you have anything to worry about.”

“That was before you knew me though.”

Jungkook smiled. “My mind has changed a lot less than you think. You’re too hard on yourself.”

Namjoon snorted. “You don’t know me well enough yet.”

Jungkook rolled his eyes and let it go.

If Namjoon had thought Jungkook was a mess, it was nothing compared to Jimin, face red and puffy, eyes swollen, hair tangled. He didn’t even protest when Jungkook pulled Jimin into a hug, because he’d been about to do the same thing, regardless of how terribly inappropriate it would be. Jungkook tucked Jimin’s face into his shoulder and rubbed his back as he kissed his hair, murmuring to him. Namjoon stood uncomfortably behind him in the hallway.

“Stuff on the news, Kookie! So worried I screwed you up,” Jimin blubbered, muffled against Jungkook’s shirt.

Jungkook walked them back into the hotel room. Some American fencing teammate sat on the bed looking curiously at them over his laptop. His jaw dropped when Namjoon walked in. The guy looked older, which made him feel oddly reassured. He walked over and struck up an awkward conversation while Jimin and Jungkook stood in the middle of the room and whispered to each other. The teammate had been at the London games too. They talked about how much nicer the rooms had been. His and Jimin’s shower had apparently been broken until yesterday, and they’d both been having to bathe somewhere else.

Jimin looked doll-like in Jungkook’s arms, floppy and soft in his sweater, skin porcelain except for his red cheeks and lips, eyes glistening. He’d stopped crying but still clung to a very stiff Jungkook. He kept a hand moving in slow circles low on Jimin’s back, and Jimin sagged against him. They spoke quick and low to each other, and Namjoon felt like an intruder and also incredibly jealous about the ease with which they sank into passionate conversation. He wasn’t sure Jungkook had ever talked so much to him all at once like this.

Namjoon got out his phone to text Jackson: “Help. Jungkook and I are with Jimin and it’s awkward”. When he looked up, Jimin was scratching gently behind Jungkook’s ears, who swayed, eyes fluttering shut, and dropped his head onto Jimin’s shoulder. Jimin continued murmuring into his ear. Namjoon could feel his teeth grinding.

“I’m gonna go, uh, for a nice long walk,” the roommate said. “Do you want to join me?”

Namjoon shook his head. “I’d better stay here.”

The man shrugged and left. Jimin and Jungkook both shut up, turned, and watched him walk out the door, Jimin leaning around Jungkook’s shoulder, and then went right back to murmuring to each other. It was so adorable that Namjoon snorted.

The whispered conversation got more and more urgent, both of them speaking at once, Jimin’s sweater paws tugged at the front of Jungkook’s shirt. Namjoon saw a lot of the word “please” on Jimin’s lips and Jungkook shaking his head. Jimin put his hands over his face and broke down in tears again. Jungkook let him drop out of his arms and sink gracefully onto the bed, elegant like an old film star, shrinking into himself and becoming preciously small.

Jungkook looked helplessly at Namjoon, who shrugged icily.

The door opened and Jackson walked in. “Jimin?”

Jungkook looked nervously up at him. “I’m sorry. I’m not helping.”

Jackson sat down beside Jimin and did the same thing Jungkook had been doing, rubbing circles on Jimin’s lower back. “You’re okay, Jimin. Namjoon, will you forgive Jungkook for kissing this kid.”

Were they really dragging him into this? Namjoon sighed. “Yeah. I probably would too in his position. I take you seriously now, by the way. If that helps.”

Jimin laughed harshly through his tears. “He’d be better off with me.”

That hurt. “I keep telling him that.”

“Namjoon’s fine,” Jungkook muttered. “Neither of you get to decide that for me.”

Jimin whacked at Jungkook’s leg. “You’re so stubborn. Why don’t you ever listen?” He wrapped his arms around one of Jungkook’s legs and hugged, right over the bruises. Namjoon tried not to smirk when Jungkook jolted a little, and his face went carefully blank.

“You’ve got to get over this, Jimin. You have a match tomorrow,” Jackson said. Jungkook took a deep careful breath and ran a hand through Jimin’s hair.

Namjoon thought that if he had two guys that hot trying to calm him down, he’d keep crying for years just to get them to stay. “Olympics are more important,” Jungkook murmured softly with a strange strain on his voice. “If you want to talk to me about it after, I’ll be here, but you’re at the fucking Olympics, Jimin. You’re amazing. You need to focus on that.”

Jimin took a few deep breaths, squeezing Jungkook’s leg tightly, and his face cleared a little. Jackson pretended to fence with his finger until Jimin giggled and smacked his hand away, which jostled the arm he had around Jungkook’s thigh.

“Fff-Jimin.” He shoved Jimin’s hands lower. Jimin gasped and withdrew apologetically. “No, Jimin! It’s okay! I just…have some bruises right there.”

“Bruises?” Jimin asked, a finger tapping gently at his inner thigh. Namjoon bit his lip till it hurt, trying to keep the threatening sneer off his face. “Right here?”

Jungkook blushed. “Hickeys,” he murmured, and Jimin grabbed them. Jungkook yelped and jumped back.

“Hey, Namjoon,” Jimin said, and Namjoon bristled, “Have you tried this yet?” He grabbed Jungkook’s hand and twirled it into an arm lock, forcing Jungkook onto his knees. Jungkook’s moan, though choked off quiet, was unmistakable.

“No, I haven’t,” Namjoon muttered, low and angry. “I will though. Let him go now.”

He didn’t, just glared at Namjoon. Namjoon stood up, towering over Jimin. Jimin meekly released Jungkook and sat back down on the bed

Jungkook stood slowly, blushing furiously and trying to be subtle about the way he tugged the hem of his hoodie down over his crotch, not meeting anyone’s eyes.

“Sorry,” Jimin whispered, and looked like he might start crying again.

“It’s okay,” Jungkook said, so caring and soft as he sank down beside Namjoon. Jimin smiled. Namjoon fidgeted.

“Please come back? I miss you so much,” Jimin asked Jungkook, voice breaking, desperate, probably a continuation of the argument they were having earlier. Jungkook shook his head.

Namjoon said, “I have seen more crying in the past two days than I have seen in the past twelve years.”

Jungkook kicked him.

“Fuck you,” Jimin said, “I’ve lost my boyfriend. I still love him. He won’t come back, even though he should, and I’m never going to find anyone better. It really really fucking hurts.”

Jackson looked a little bitter.

“Jimin,” Namjoon said, sitting forward, “You’re an interesting, gorgeous, sweet, talented man just entering his twenties. You’ve won an Olympic medal. From what I’ve heard, and from what I’ve seen, any man, or at least most men, would be lucky to have you. I find it hard to believe that you won’t find someone even better than Jungkook. And it might sound self-serving that I think you should give it up, but you’re going to get better people to love you. Probably more than one.”

Jungkook looked indignant.

“Sorry, Kookie. It’s true.”

“I’ve treated you like shit, Jimin,” Jungkook said, “You could do a lot better. I’m sorry.”

“I love you!” Jimin said.

“That’s stupid,” Jungkook shot back, and Jimin sagged against Jackson. “We sucked for each other sometimes.”

“No we didn’t!”

“You didn’t talk to me for a week when I didn’t buy you an anniversary gift! I threw all your hair dye away when you joked around about dyeing mine in my sleep.”

“You threw out my sixty-dollar face wash on accident, and you didn’t even apologize.”

Jackson handed Jimin a tissue and began very quietly commentating his bronze medal match to cheer him up. Jimin gave him a watery smile. “You’re so good at cheering me up. You know just when I need you. How did you even know to come up here right now?”

Jackson didn’t dodge the question. “Well this time Namjoon texted me, and I figured shit was bad, so I came up.”

Jimin nodded and blew his nose. There was a long moment of silence where Jungkook looked curiously at Namjoon. Namjoon shook his head ever so slightly. Don’t ask.

“Jackson,” Jimin said, “When did you get Namjoon’s number?”

Jackson’s face was way too expressive. Maybe he was trying to look casual, but he looked very caught. “Uh. At the club the other day?”

“At the club. Hm. That’s odd.” He stared with huge, adorable eyes out from behind the tissue. “But a lot of that night was odd, like when Jungkook’s phone disappeared and then magically returned to his pocket, and how Namjoon showed up before the pictures of us got posted to Twitter even though he shouldn’t have known where we were. Jackson, honey, did you steal Namjoon’s number out of Jungkook’s phone and text Namjoon about him and me?”

Jackson’s non-answer and guilty face was answer enough.

“Why the fuck,” Jimin asked, hushed and trembling, “would you do that?”

“I, uh, thought maybe, um—I felt weird about it, but I didn’t think I was in a place to say anything?”

“You fucking nark!” Jimin’s voice squeaked wildly, eyes huge in fury. “Were you trying to sabotage me?”

“What? Fuck no!”

“Get. Out.”

“Ohmygod, Jimin. At least hear me out.”

“No! What the hell? You’re my best friend! Why the hell would you call in my ex’s boyfriend unless you want to fuck me over. And them too! Did you want them to lose too? Hong Kong isn’t even in the volleyball tournament! Why would you do that?”

“I didn’t think you were going to kiss him!” Jackson said.

Jungkook gripped Namjoon’s hand and dragged him towards the door. Jimin ignored them.

“Jimin’s really scary when he’s angry,” Jungkook said as they hurried down the hall. “None of that went the way I wanted it to. Did Jackson really text you to come get me?”

“Yeah, he did.”

“Well that’s super fucking shitty. Why the hell? How nosy is that? What an asshole.” Jungkook slammed the button for the elevator and fell silent, waiting.

Namjoon smiled. “Actually it’s pretty cute.”

“That’s what you’d think, Joonie. You’re the only one that got anything positive out of that. Well, Jackson will get something out of it too if Jimin bombs his match tomorrow.”

“Ah, I hate emotional shit,” Namjoon said. “Losing at the Olympics is perfectly possible, but if you’re dealing with drama, you’ll never know if it’s the skill that kept you from winning or just the headspace. I’m not going to deny that what Jackson did was selfish and ultimately destructive, but you don’t know why he did it.”

“Why’d he do it if he wasn’t trying to screw Jimin and me over?”

“Jimin won’t look at anyone else while he’s still hung up on you. Now Jackson couldn’t walk out there onto the dance floor and tell his best friend to stop grinding on his ex, but I definitely could, so he texted me a photo of you two and gave me the address. You should have seen his face after I saw you kiss though. He knew he fucked up. I’m sure he wouldn’t have texted me if he suspected it might get that incriminating. It’s not in his best interest to screw over the guy he wants to date.”

The elevator doors slid open, and Namjoon stepped through. Jungkook took a moment to follow. On the way down, several girls from the Netherlands volleyball team joined them. A flurry of fangirling and autograph signing kept them in the elevator, and then in the lobby, for longer than expected. Jungkook stood politely back, signing things when was was asked to.

“I hope they date,” Jungkook said when they finally got in the car, voice thin and soft. “They’d be good for each other.”

“Are you okay?”

“Letting him go is harder than it should be. I’m sorry.”

 

The semi-final the next day against Russia went over less smoothly. The pressure went up. The match would decide if they would fight for either silver or gold, or bronze or nothing.

Jungkook lost the high he’d been riding the day before and played more or less normally. Good enough, but Namjoon stopped the first set halfway through and gave him a hug. “Haven’t ever not medaled at an event this big,” Namjoon murmured in his ear.

“I know,” Jungkook said defensively into his shoulder.

“People have been so shitty about you,” Namjoon said. He figured he shouldn’t tell Jungkook about his plan to retire if they didn’t win gold now in this crucial moment. “I want us to win that gold so bad, Kookie. Imagine it: Jungkook Jeon’s international debut is a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics at the age of eighteen. You’re going to be more famous than I am.”

“Don’t psych me out, Joonie. At this point, I’d honestly be happy with bronze. It’s a miracle we’ve gotten this far.”

“We need the gold,” he couldn’t say why, “If I get anything less than gold at the first Olympics since getting a new teammate, everyone will blame it on you.”

“It’ll be my fault,” Jungkook said.

“It’s your fault that I even get to be here at all after what happened to Yoongi,” Namjoon said. “I won’t blame you at all if you win me an Olympic silver medal. I’ll be thankful. It’ll be my fault if we don’t get it. You could win it any day. I just want the gold so people will believe in you too.”

They lost the second set by a narrow margin, and Jungkook spent much of the break standing on his hands and doing backflips, which couldn’t be good for his spatial awareness. Namjoon could see the edge of a purple hickey poking above the edge of his shorts when he did handstands. There’s no way someone wasn’t going to make a blog post or two about that. Jungkook just waved him off when he commented. “If they assume anything, they’ll assume it’s Jimin.” He got out of his head a little and played like he didn’t care in the third set, completely relaxed. Namjoon managed to pull them ahead just before the end, and they scraped the win.

“Silver or gold, Namjoon!” Jungkook screamed when they finished, jumping on Namjoon and knocking him flat on his back. Namjoon made it up to the net to shake hands, coughing and wheezing, then Jungkook dragged him out to the car to go see Jimin’s match.

“I don’t want to go watch your angry ex-boyfriend attack people with a sword.”

“You’re going to do this for me though.”

“Can we go back to the fact that you cheated on me with this guy? I’m not over that, Jungkook, even if I’m not actively angry anymore, even if I can be polite to his face.”

Jungkook pursed his lips. “Do you want me to drop you here and you can walk back?”

“And get mobbed by fans? No, I’ll go to the stupid fencing match with you.”

Jackson had won his own match earlier that day, which meant that the gold medal bout was Jackson versus Jimin. Namjoon knew absolutely nothing about fencing except that two people stood in silly outfits on a long, thin strip, and waved sticks of metal at each other really quickly until lights flashed, and someone got a point, and then they started over. Jungkook got them right to the front row to watch the stick waving. He couldn’t see either of their faces, but Jimin’s posture looked familiar even in his suit, and Jackson kept jumping up and down between their desperate dashes.

“Do we know if they ever settled that argument?”

“No idea.”

Namjoon couldn’t even see the hits, but Jackson’s side flashed green twice, then Jimin’s flashed red. Jungkook kept yelping fancy French terms at him as the crowd cheered. “They’re very evenly matched,” Jungkook muttered after another two second dash and a round of flashing lights.

“I can see that,” Namjoon said, looking at the score—tied again. “Are they fighting to fifteen?”

“Yeah. Just like beach volleyball.”

Jimin looked vicious, lunging, tightness and aggression in every blow, the delicate kid from the night before completely absent. Jackson looked like he was hesitating a little. “I don’t think they resolved the fight,” Namjoon said.

Jackson pulled ahead by three points right at the very end, and Jimin ripped off his mask and ran into Jackson’s arms, already crying.

“Fuck. Never mind. What the hell?”

They stayed for the podium ceremony, Jimin and Jackson clutching each other on the gold and silver platforms, Jackson smiling radiantly and Jimin staring in awe at his medal. “They’re adorable. I hope they date forever. That’s us in two days,” Jungkook said, “Hugging on the podium. Either gold or silver.”

“Gold.”

Jungkook caught Jimin’s eye and waved from the stands, and Jimin waved gleefully back with his arm around Jackson’s waist. Jackson gave them two big thumbs up.

“Cleanly settled. How the hell did they manage to resolve that mess?” Namjoon said. “I don’t get it.”

“Jimin’s a hopeless romantic. Jackson probably said one cheesy thing about how in love he is and had him wrapped around his finger.”

Coach was irate that they’d skip the other matches for fencing. Namjoon told him to cool it. This entire tournament was a mess, and they needed to accept the unorthodox. Coach went out drinking with Yoongi.

 

The hotel room had turned completely into home. He’d stopped noticing the hotel smell, and his laundry got spread on and under every surface. When Namjoon settled on the bed and Jungkook settled between his thighs with his computer open, everything dim and quiet, it felt as comfortable as the bed at his own house. Namjoon buried his face in his neck, breathing in the sharp smell of Irish Springs. “Why do ‘men’s’ scents have to fucking hurt your nose?”

“Because men have to be abrasive in every form. Come on, Namjoon, do you live under a rock?” Jungkook’s phone started ringing, and Namjoon looked up in time to see the Skype screen before Jungkook answered it, and there was his mother on the other side of the screen, and Namjoon still had his arms around her son’s chest and his face in his neck.

“Mom!”

“Kookie!”

“We getting either the silver or the gold medal in two days!”

“What?!”

“We’ve moved on to the finals match!”

“Jungkook, is that Namjoon behind you?”

“H-hello ma’am.” He resigned himself to what was probably going to be a very awkward conversation. She could clearly see where his arms were locked around Jungkook.

“Hi.” She sounded a little dangerous.

“Mom, you have no idea how awful this week has been, but we’re gonna win a medal. And I watched Jimin win another medal today. Silver.”

“How’s that sweet boy doing?”

“I think he has a new boyfriend.”

“Aw, I’m sorry. I was hoping you’d get back together.”

Jungkook shrugged uncomfortably. “It was my fault to begin with. I’ve told you that. The guy is really great, and I’m really happy for him.”

“Are you sure? I saw those pictures of you two in a club. Had to talk your dad down from coming down there and forcing you to be more responsible.”

“Namjoon gave me shit for it. Don’t worry.”

Namjoon snorted.

“Joonie, I’m sorry you have to deal with all of this. You’re too old for this kind of drama.”

“It’s been an issue, but we’re the top team in the world. We’ll win the gold anyway. Defending gold medalist right here. We’ve still got it.”

“How’s Yoongi?” she asked.

“Doing remarkably well. We’re all surprised. Retirement is beginning to suit him.”

“Ah, retirement,” she sighed.

“You’re not old enough for retirement,” Namjoon said, taking out the familiar sleazy smirk that always came with talking to Jungkook’s mother. “You’ve got another few decades before you’re old enough for that.”

She giggled. “If Yoongi gets to retire at thirty, can’t I retire at forty? I’m jealous. Good-looking men get to have all the fun.”

“I’m sorry he’s not here. He loves talking to you. You’ll have to deal with me instead.”

“Joon, please cut it out,” Jungkook said.

“You have no room to talk after everything that’s happened this week, babe,” Namjoon muttered, lips brushing along the shell of his ear.

“Jungkook, what is going on?” she asked, motherly scowl still perfectly clear in the pixelated screen.

“Well,” Jungkook said, voice wavering a little, “You know the crush I used to have on Namjoon in high school never went away, right?”

“It didn’t?”

“No. That’s why Jimin broke up with me.”

“Oh. Huh. You two aren’t sleeping together, are you?”

“We’ve been dating for, like, two months now.”

She went very quiet.

“I’m sorry,” Namjoon whined.

“Don’t apologize,” Jungkook snapped.

Namjoon buried his face in the back of Jungkook’s shoulder.

“Jungkook, that’s like someone your father’s age dating your older brother” his mother said.

“Oh c’mon. It’s not that weird. I’m legally an adult, so as stupidly inadvisable as this may be, and potentially career-destroying for both of us, especially Namjoon, it’s been working out for the most part.”

“I’m very uncomfortable with that,” his mother said. “You’re being stupid.”

Jungkook stammered a little and then said, “To Namjoon’s credit, he fought it really hard.”

“Jungkook, it’s a fan crush,” his mother said, sighing, “What the hell do you expect him to want out of that, love and devotion? No! He wants sex!”

“Mom, he’s right here!”

Namjoon squeezed Jungkook tighter, forehead still warm on the back of Jungkook’s shoulder. “I got over the fan crush, mom. That’s not what this is. And Namjoon’s been nothing but wonderful in all of this, and I’ve been the shitty one.”

“This is ridiculous,” his mother said.

“It doesn’t actually matter what you think, Mom,” Jungkook said quietly, and then took a deep, slow breath.

“Jungkook, I’m twice your age. I still pay your insurance!”

“I just wanted you to know.”

“I’m telling your father.”

“It doesn’t matter what he thinks either.”

She sighed through her nose and settled back in her seat. As she opened her mouth, Jungkook hung up. “She assumed the lecturing pose,” Jungkook muttered, “And I don’t need that.”

“Why did you tell her? You should have waited. Like another year, at least. At least till you graduated high school. Fuck this is so weird. You’re so young.”

“Namjoon, stop thinking about it.”

“I have frequent crises about this, Jungkook. I don’t think you understand. Like every couple days I go to the bathroom just stand there with my head against the wall and question my life choices.”

Jungkook fiddled with Namjoon’s fingers. “Am I the only person not freaking out about this at all? Am I wrong? Why the hell do you stay with me?”

“Because then I walk out of the bathroom, and I look at the high-schooler that I’m dating, and I realize that it’s you, and then I feel better.”

Jungkook nuzzled against his hair. “Thank you.”

Namjoon squeezed his legs tighter on either side of Jungkook.

“This is going to get easier with time, right?” Jungkook asked.

“I hope so,” Namjoon murmured back. “People are probably going to find it weird for years though. Best not to talk about it. I’m so sorry I’m so old, Jungkook. No one should be locked down in a relationship they have to hide, especially when you’re so young.”

“Namjoon, you’re really not that old. Oh, mom’s calling me again.” He rejected the call, put his phone on do not disturb mode, and tossed it on the other bed. “No game tomorrow. Will you fuck me now?”

“How are you that casual about your mom?”

“We’ve been friends my whole life. Friends are allowed to ignore each other when they feel like they need to.”

“I’m jealous. I keep expecting my mom to call. The last time she called me was the London Olympics before the final match, and she said ‘talk to you next time,’ or something like that. And she certainly has more cause to call this year with the whole Yoongi thing and me being interviewed twice as much as I ever have been before. How are we doing online, by the way?”

“Major source of news articles. Social media darlings. The works. All my posts go viral, and it’s amazing, but a lot of the attention has gotten pointed and rabid since those pictures of me and Jimin came out. Sex?”

“Can’t distract you, can I?”

“So sex now?”

“Fuck yes,” Namjoon murmured, going for his neck as always. “Some day,” Namjoon said as Jungkook went completely limp against him, hands dropping open on his thighs, “I’m going to ask you to top me.”

“Not tonight, right?”

“No.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” he said, voice already breathy with arousal. “Speaking of, you always say you’re going to spank me, but you never do.”

“Don’t want you bruised up for the finals, but I promise when we get back to the US I’ll get you across my lap and give you what you deserve for kissing Jimin. You’re going to have to wait a little longer.”

“Yes, Daddy.”

Namjoon sighed, but didn’t stop him this time, digging his nails into Jungkook’s abs and dragging down. Jungkook arched into it. “Getting used to that, Daddy?”

“Maybe I’m just a pervert, bunny-boy, but sometimes I might actually really like that you’re only eighteen.”

And Namjoon saw the front of his jeans swell a little.

“I’m going to start using that kink more.”

“Please don’t. Morals overrule sexual leanings. I’m morally against having that as a part of our relationship. We’re dysfunctional enough as it is. I don’t want to set up a power dynamic.”

“Daddy,” he whispered, and Namjoon huffed in his ear and pushed him off.

“I’m serious. Don’t use that.”

“Can I try deep-throating you again?”

Namjoon laughed. “Do you even have to ask?” And he had him with tears running down his face within minutes, mouth stretched wide, fist down his pants.

“Your poor mother,” he moaned, “What an angel. To think her youngest son is—”

“I’m going to bite you,” Jungkook rasped. “Shut the fuck up about my mother.”

“She’s so hot though.”

Jungkook bit the inside of his thigh, and Namjoon jolted. “Fucking hell, Jungkook.”

“I warned you,” he said, and sank right back down on Namjoon’s cock. The shooting pain in his thigh seemed to spasm up his leg into his dick. It felt hot as hell, but not in a good way.

“I don’t like the pain. Fuck.”

“So don’t talk about mom.” He calmly bobbed his head back down, trying to swallow Namjoon’s dick as low as possible. Namjoon could see his body tightening, his face screwing up as he fought lower and lower, occasionally whimpering quietly in his throat, but never slowing.

“You don’t have to,” Namjoon trailed off when Jungkook rolled his balls in one hand, pinching so gently at the soft skin, and his thighs twitched. “If it hurts. You don’t have to if it hurts.”

“Joonie, you know I like it when it hurts,” he said, voice rough and raw.

“Gonna come.”

Jungkook pulled off immediately. “Really? Are you serious? I’ve never gotten you off that fast!”

“Why’d you stop?” Namjoon whined, even as he pulled Jungkook up to kiss his adorable face.

“Because you only come once a night, and then you’re out, and I need your dick in me.” He laid down on top of Namjoon and kissed gently over his face. “So inconvenient, by the way. Jimin had an even shorter refractory period than I do. That boy was a sex machine. Jackson’s going to love him.”

“Stop fucking bringing him up! If you can talk about him, I can talk about your mom.”

“I just think we need to start putting everything out in the open, no matter how uncomfortable it is,” Jungkook murmured.

“Including how much you miss sex with Jimin when I’m about to fuck you. Okay.”

Jungkook just giggled. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be trying to make you jealous.”

“Stop being so cute when I want to be mad at you. Bring your ass up here so I can rim you.”

Jungkook handed him the lube, and he fingered Jungkook open around his tongue, fast and efficient, testing the stretch around his knuckles and smirking whenever Jungkook moaned and whimpered at the same time, fists balled on the wall over the bed, thighs trembling on either side of Namjoon’s face. His dick ached from the blowjob, needy and red.

“You wanna sit on me, or should I pin you down and fuck you hard?”

Jungkook moaned brokenly and tried a shaky response. “I—I want—”

“You know what?” Namjoon said, “Never mind. I have a better idea.” He slid out from under Jungkook’s ass and sat up. “Against the wall. Why the hell not.”

“I don’t think my legs are going to hold me up,” Jungkook stammered, voice thin. He glanced worriedly over his shoulder, sweat sticking his hair to his forehead, lips spit-slicked, eyes glazed. Namjoon missed that boneless, gooey, melted feeling of getting his ass eaten.

“You’ll do fine. Look at these thick thighs.” He smacked one roughly, and Jungkook’s elbows gave out, sending him crashing into the wall. Namjoon snorted and thrust three lubed-up fingers back in his ass. “I’m going without a condom. That’s okay? Haven’t fucked anyone I don’t know about recently, have you?”

“No!”

“Not even Jimin?”

“God no! Haven’t,” he gasped when Namjoon pressed harshly down against his prostate. “Not since you. Ugh, just punish me already and get over it. Don’t keep bringing it up to guilt me.”

Namjoon smacked his ass, not hard enough to be punishing, but hard enough that Jungkook shook wildly all over, keening against the wall, hips bouncing a little as he rutted against the stack of pillows Namjoon’s head had just been lying on. That little bit of friction had to be maddening. “Don’t you deserve it, baby bunny?”

“Fuck,” Jungkook choked. “Dick. In. Now.”

Namjoon pressed Jungkook’s lower back down, flattening his front against the wall and angling his hips back towards him, back bowed prettily in a way that made his butt rounder. Jungkook’s fingers flexed against the wall, blush spreading to his back and shoulders. Namjoon put the cap of lube bottle right up inside Jungkook’s ass. He squeaked frantically, the end of it lilting up into a question. Namjoon squeezed. Lube gushed out around the cap, and Jungkook spasmed, yelping in surprise.

“Tell me if you don’t like it.”

“More. Fuck. So cold. Ugh, it’s dripping. More.”

Namjoon squeezed the bottle again, slowly, and Jungkook’s body visibly shook as more dripped out and down his thighs.

“S’gonna be so wet, bunny.”

“Please,” Jungkook said, voice wrecked, breathy, and breaking. Namjoon lined up and slid in slow and easy, lube squelching. His hips touched Jungkook’s ass, and he waited a moment for Jungkook to adjust before grabbing his hips and pulling him down, getting deeper. Jungkook sobbed. He could hear little wet noises as Jungkook’s hole flexed and tightened repeatedly on his cock. “Not gonna last long,” Jungkook whispered.

“Me either,” Namjoon said, and finally started thrusting. He’d never felt anything so completely obscene as the way lube seemed to turn his ass to velvet, the sounds sloppy and filthy in a way that had the knot of arousal in Namjoon’s gut glowing with pleasure.

Jungkook managed to get an arm off the wall and shoved a pillow between his legs, rocking against it in time with Namjoon’s thrusts, enough to give just a little bit of friction, and it probably felt just the right side of awful, horribly close to nothing. Jungkook bit the side of his hand to keep from wailing, letting it die into a loud moan in his throat, and Namjoon reached around, grabbed the bruises on his thighs, and Jungkook shot off like a canon.

“Wow,” Namjoon murmured against the skin of his back as he came down, thighs shaking more than ever, “You okay for me to keep going?”

“Sure, go,” Jungkook said, muffled against his own arm. Namjoon started thrusting again. Jungkook squirmed, trying to push back as instinct had him jerking away, everything tightening up almost unbearably.

“Relax, babe. Don’t wanna hurt you,” Namjoon panted.

Jungkook forced his muscles to relax and had to force them again, whimpering from the overstimulation. Namjoon yanked him upright against his chest, pistoning more up than forwards, and the passage tightened subtly. He slid heavily right into Jungkook’s prostate with every pass.

Jungkook just stopped breathing, head tipped back against Namjoon’s shoulder as his back bowed, hands grasping harshly at his arms, one long, throaty whine choking out of his throat. Namjoon ran one careful finger down between his legs and pressed against his perineum, slippery with stray lube. Jungkook raked in frantic breaths, hands tightening unbearably on his biceps, and Namjoon struggled to hold out, to keep going long enough to have Jungkook really in a mess, but it was too wet, too tight, and too dirty. He jammed deep and came hard into Jungkook’s already sopping wet hole.

They both collapsed onto the mattress, crunched up at the head of the bed, trembling and fucked out. Jungkook, shaking, reached down into the wet mess between his legs and slid two fingers back into his ass, hips twitching forward as he moaned. He jerked with every press, thrashing, pained, but Namjoon could see his red, rock-hard cock against his taut stomach.

“Joon, help. Fuck. Can’t find it. Help. Please!”

“Jesus Christ, kid. It’s not the end of the world.”

“Need to come. God, Namjoon, I need it. Fuck, I need it.”

Namjoon batted his knees apart and pulled his hand away before sliding his fingers back into Jungkook’s sinfully loose, girlishly wet hole, and easily found his prostate, swollen and sensitive as it was. “Make me come, Daddy! Please!”

“Tch.”

“Please!”

“I like you begging, bunny, but don’t call me that,” he said, but circled his fingers anyway, rubbing harsh, quick circles over Jungkook’s sweet spot, watching Jungkook run his fingertips lightly over his own muscles, face blissed out, beautifully narcissistic.

“You’re so gorgeous,” Namjoon said, encouraging, Jungkook moaned, eyebrows screwed tight, needy and frustrated. His hand was soaked, fingers slipping in effortlessly over his sweet spot, pressing mercilessly to watch his whole body shake. He latched his mouth onto one of his spread inner thighs and sucked hard, closing his eyes and concentrating on the slow grind of his fingers, the delicious twitch of his thigh muscles against his mouth. He pulled away to see a wet, purple hickey blooming against his pale skin and started another up higher, pressing harder. Jungkook keened.

Five hickeys later, he looked up, a little concerned about how choked and harsh his panting sounded. Tears streaked down his cheeks, body arched and tense, his fingers flicking over his own nipples. “Bunny,” Namjoon murmured, as low and sexy as he knew how to.

“More,” Jungkook gasped. Namjoon sucked his impressively hard dick into his mouth. Jungkook keened and thrashed, knees stretching further apart mouth wide open. He sucked hard, as low as he could go, his two fingers kneading faster. With the thumb of his free hand, he pressed into Jungkook’s hickeys, and Jungkook pressed back locking his thigh muscles. He whimpered and keened, sobbed, and it sounded like torture, sounded like dying, but his trembling fingers stayed on his nipples, pinching and rubbing.

By the time Jungkook locked up and came into Namjoon’s mouth, shaking hard, Namjoon’s jaw ached. “You’re okay, babe,” he said, and let Jungkook go limp on the bed, sweaty hair clinging to his face and neck, face loose and fucked out, blissful.

Namjoon sat still on the bed for a while, head spinning. Lube and his own cum coated his fingers. Jungkook looked dead. The sheets were ruined. “You’re amazing.”

“Nng.”

“Shower.”

“Mm-mm.”

“I’m not letting you fall asleep like that,” Namjoon said, “C’mon,” and pulled him to the edge of the bed, wrapping his sticky legs around his waist, arms over his shoulders, and stood, carrying him to the bathroom. Jungkook laid like a limp noodle against him, the wet, slippery mess sliding hot over his lower back. Namjoon turned on the shower, waiting for it to heat up, and put him down. Jungkook stood for a moment, blinking sleepily as his hair flattened under the spray, and then sat down gingerly on the floor. Namjoon chuckled and followed him in.

“Stay down there for a bit while I wash myself off, and then I’ll get you.”

Jungkook murmured something and closed his eyes again, head tipped back against the plastic shower wall.

Getting all the lube and cum out of his ass was a painful process. Jungkook leaned forward, legs shaking under him, and whimpered weakly at even Namjoon’s gentlest touches.

“Christ, kid, are you going to be okay tomorrow?”

“You know how I recover. I’ll be up for another round by noon,” Jungkook groaned.

“We’ve got practice at nine.”

“Fuck. Put me to sleep now.”

“That’s the plan,” Namjoon said, wiping the hotel’s heavy washcloth one more time over the inside of his thighs. Jungkook screwed his eyes shut and bit his lip.

“Hurts,” he whispered.

“I can tell.”

“I’m a mess. Sorry.”

“Don’t apologize,” Namjoon said, hugging him tightly. “I did this to you. Every time I have sex with you, I’m amazed.”

“Same,” Jungkook said emphatically, letting his knees go weak, so Namjoon had to hold him up. “Seriously, bed. Can’t keep my eyes open. Overdosed on endorphins.”

Namjoon finally got them both in bed, semi-clothed and curled up together, Jungkook on his back and Namjoon close against his side, the city lights filtering in glowing streaks through the curtains. “Silver or gold, Namjoon. We’re going to medal.”

“Gold,” Namjoon murmured. “I need gold.”

“Defend your medal. Yeah. Not gonna lose that for you,” Jungkook said, slurring and sleepy.

“Prove that Instafamous pretty-boy Jungkook Jeon can go toe to toe with champions,” Namjoon said. “We’re not going to do that with less than gold, or they’ll say I carried you, and that you dragged me down.”

“You did. I do.”

“Do you really think that?”

“No,” Jungkook murmured, and then right before he dropped off to sleep, “I think I’m better than you.”

Namjoon caught his breath, suddenly proud, and a little sad. “You might be,” he whispered after a little while, but Jungkook had already fallen asleep.

If they won gold, they had four more years at least, Yoongi and Coach in the stands, Taehyung and Hoseok on the practice courts. Hot days on the sand and warm nights with Jungkook at home. They’d have years and years and years of volleyball competitions and cuddles and dealing with the in-laws. He’d never wanted the gold so bad, the final proof that he wasn’t an anchor on Jungkook’s future.

Jungkook would never let him go. Namjoon would have to do it himself. Win the gold, win Jungkook. Win the silver, let someone better claim him, let him overtake his legacy. “Golden boy,” Namjoon whispered into Jungkook’s hair. “You’re a hard medal to keep.”

 

As Jungkook counted the missed calls from his parents the next morning and began to read the texts, Namjoon got a call from his mother. “Mom? Wow. Hi.”

Jungkook looked up from his phone, frustration and worry fading a moment into surprise.

“No, I haven’t married Yoongi yet. He’s had a lot going on this year. You’re married? To who?”

Some man with a motorcycle apparently. Namjoon rolled his eyes. “You’re not a teenager in the eighties anymore. Sorry, sorry. I’m sure he’s lovely. Have you noticed that I’ve got a match for Olympic gold for the fourth consecutive summer Olympics tomorrow? Good. I thought that must be why you called, but I had to make sure.”

Jungkook stared down at his phone dejectedly and began to type something out.

“My little tart of a teammate? No, you can’t talk to him. Don’t be so creepy. Jeez. Aren’t you married? He’s eighteen. You don’t know me that well mom. How could you possibly be sure we’re fucking from just watching NBC? And twenty-eight and eighteen is a hell of a lot better than fifty-five and eighteen. Don’t act like it’s the same thing, you cougar.”

Jungkook snorted, then climbed over onto Namjoon’s bed and took a selfie with their cheeks pressed together, Namjoon looking surprised as he continued trying to talk to his mom, Jungkook looking a little challenging. “Sending that to the family chat,” Jungkook said.

“Jungkook, I don’t particularly want to antagonize your parents. Sorry mom. Yes, I’m listening. Why the hell would I have gotten you tickets? We haven’t spoken in four years.”

He leaned forward with his elbows on his knees, pinching the bridge of his nose. He heard the iPhone camera snap and then a low giggle. “Sending that one too.”

“What’s the caption? Talking to Jungkook, mom. Don’t worry about it.”

“’Namjoon dealing with his mother,’” Jungkook said, “Do you mind if I transcribe the conversation?”

“Please don’t.”

Jungkook smiled and kept typing.

“I’m not gay, mom. Stop asking me if I have a boyfriend every time you call. I don’t have a girlfriend either, just in case you’re even interested in my love life if I’m not dating boys. I am totally okay with dying as an old spinster. Yoongi is practically my husband. We’re both straight, but my right hand still works. That’s good enough for me.”

“Not texting my parents that,” Jungkook muttered.

“Probably for the best,” Namjoon said, “Oh shit, sorry mom. I wasn’t talking about your brother’s death. I’m trying to hold two conversations at once, and that was for Jungkook. I’m sorry. I promise I’m not quite that shitty. Oh you think it’s probably for the best too? Huh. Okay. No, I haven’t gone to college yet. You know that.”

Jungkook had started muffling laughter into a pillow. “What the hell is up with your mom?” he whispered.

“Meth by this point, probably,” Namjoon whispered back. His mom heard it. “Yup,” he told Jungkook a few seconds later. “It’s meth. Mom, I’ve got to get to practice soon, so I’m leaving.”

Which cut the conversation down to only another fifteen minutes of rapid-fire, frustrating, mutual unloading of updates on the last four years of their lives and ideas about the future. “I’ll talk to you in another four years,” Namjoon said. “At Thanksgiving? That’s what you always say, and you never do. I don’t call because I don’t want to talk to you. Ow. Please don’t bring Dad into this. It was as much your fault as his. Did you ever figure out where he went? Okay. No, don’t go digging if you don’t want to. I’m not that curious.”

“You’d think,” Jungkook said after they’d said their goodbyes and hung up, “that your dad would see you win a gold medal in the Olympics once, or at least hear about it since you’re kind of famous, and try to contact you.”

“Yeah. He must really not want me if he continues to ignore me even after I win multiple gold medals and become a modern American icon.”

Jungkook stared blankly at his hands. “I’m sorry.”

“What? You’re fine. It’s true. I’ve always been a little bummed out about that. Don’t mistake my cynicism for passive-aggression. Say whatever you want about my life. It doesn’t really bother me anymore.”

Jungkook nodded, still looking fairly concerned and apologetic.

“What’s going on with your parents?”

“They’re both pretty mad, but Dad keeps turning his yelling into pretty funny jokes, so I don’t think they’re going to stay mad for long. They’ll get used to you.”

“Will they like me more if we win gold?”

Jungkook shrugged. “I have no idea. Let’s go practice.”

“How’s your ass?” Namjoon asked.

“A little sore. It’ll probably hurt. I hope I don’t get hard.”

“That’d be difficult to explain to Coach.”

Jungkook smiled sweetly, suddenly, eyes crinkling.

“What?”

“It’s just super nice to have you as a boyfriend.”

“Namjoon Kim. You got him.”

“No, it isn’t that. You’re just more comfortable than anyone else I’ve dated. There was Jimin, and then there was a girl before that. There was some guy I hooked up with, like, twice between Jimin breaking up with me and getting together with you because I was horribly horny all the time, and I knew he liked me. And none of them were comfortable, not even Jimin. I had to watch what I said around them. I dated Jimin for two years, and we knew everything about each other, and I still felt like I had to hide my kinks and my flaws from him. I don’t with you. I can say anything I want, and you’ll either accept it easily, or you’ll be willing to have an intelligent discussion about it.”

“That’s what being an adult is all about.”

Jungkook shook his head. “I think you’re wrong about that. I think you’re just really smart and sensible. And kind. And you don’t judge. You’re empathetic and humble. You’re all these nice things that I never knew when I was just a fan. It’s been really great getting to know you.”

Namjoon felt a lump in his throat and thought “Well that’s bizarre.”

Jungkook didn’t seem to need an answer though. He’d gone back to his mom’s texts. “You seem to think that I might be disappointed now that I see you as more of a human and less of an idol, but it’s been kind of the opposite. I’m relieved you’re not perfect. You’re a lonely, insecure dork. I don’t feel like a loser around you any more. The less awesome you get, the more I like you.”

Namjoon slouched back against the wall, head spinning. His mother’s nagging followed by Jungkook’s sweetness was giving him whiplash. He wasn’t quite sure if he was dreaming or not.

“Glad to hear it,” he finally managed, voice soft.

Jungkook glanced up, worried. “Was that mean? I figured I offset the insults enough, but maybe I didn’t?”

“I think I’m really relieved,” Namjoon said. “I’m not insulted or hurt though. I might be really happy.”

Jungkook abruptly sat up straighter, eyes unusually wide like he’d just realized he’d forgotten something important. He threw his phone over his shoulder. It smacked the wall, and Namjoon jumped, and then Jungkook crawled over him, pinning him to the bed and licking into his mouth. Namjoon kissed lazily back, letting him do most of the work. “Are you usually a bottom?” Jungkook asked, “You need more affection than I give you, don’t you Joonie?”

Namjoon snorted, trying to chase away the increasingly happy butterflies in his stomach, face heating up. “Why am I suddenly the bottom? Catch me off guard with a few weird compliments and a bad call from my mother, and now I’m the one that needs taking care of?  What’s up with that?”

“It’s true though, isn’t it?” Jungkook said, “I can do that.”

Namjoon wrapped his arms around Jungkook’s shoulder and crushed him down into his chest. “Stop kissing me and just cuddle for a minute,” he muttered into Jungkook’s shirt. “We have practice now. We’ll get into this later.”

He spent the rest of the day smiling.

 

Jungkook fell asleep on the beach after practice, lying on his stomach in the sand with his head in his arms. Namjoon took his phone out of his hand and put it on his back so it wouldn’t get sandy. He’d been taking pictures of Namjoon all day, an action shot of him fighting with Coach, lying on the ground in the shade drinking water, one particularly incriminating moment when they kissed in the bathroom, and Namjoon didn’t realize he’d had his phone out until the picture was already sent, a subsequent picture of Namjoon sitting on the floor with his head in his hands.

The sun set behind them, sinking behind the mountains, and Namjoon missed the California beaches where the sun would be glaring directly in their faces at this time of day, low on the water and glittering everywhere. He almost didn’t notice Jungkook wake up and wiggle around until the phone dropped off his back. He picked it up, rolled over, and took a picture of himself with his head lying on Namjoon’s thigh.

“Snapchat from Jimin,” he said.

“You have Jimin on Snapchat? Seriously?”

He showed Namjoon the picture: A very smiley Jimin with Jackson hugging him from behind, lips pressed up against his neck, eyes closed and expression blissful. “They’ll be good for each other,” Jungkook said. “More that I was.”

“That’s good. I’m happy with that,” Namjoon said, because he liked Jackson and Jimin needed a distraction to get him off Jungkook.

“I’m going to go swim.”

“You’re going to get out and get pissed off that you can’t sit down without getting sand stuck all over yourself. I know how this goes.” Jungkook shrugged and walked down towards the surf. His phone pinged beside Namjoon, and he looked down to see a return text from Jungkook’s mom. Cute. Call me, brat. He snorted.

“You’re getting me all wet,” he said later when Jungkook stood above him, wringing out his shirt right where the breeze could blow it all over Namjoon.

“You love it when I get you wet, babe.”

Namjoon scowled and wiped seawater off his face. “Disrespectful,” he muttered.

“Sorry, Daddy. I’ll be better.”

“How do you go from babe to Daddy in two sentences?”

“Which would you rather be?” Jungkook said, kneeling down, careful not to get too much of his wet body on the sand so it didn’t stick to him.

“Babe. It’s more neutral.”

“Neutral?”

“I’d rather have an even relationship than any kind of sexy power dynamic. I don’t usually bottom, to answer your question from this morning. I’ve always tended to top, but it is nice being taken care of sometimes.”

Jungkook put a wet handprint right on the front of his shirt. “Can we go home so I can kiss you? And more importantly sit down without getting sand all over my ass?”

“Ha. Sure.”

He fucked Jungkook careful and slow that night, deep and soft with Jungkook’s legs around his waist. “More, please. It’s not enough.”

“It’ll have to be. You can’t be sore for the game tomorrow.”

Jungkook panted, boneless on the sheets, sweat running down his neck, broken moans tripping out of his mouth as Namjoon slowly, slowly pushed him to the edge. When he came, he looked almost disappointed. “Felt so good,” he murmured against Namjoon’s smile as he waited for Jungkook to come down enough for Namjoon to keep going. “Didn’t want it to stop.”

“I’m not done yet.”

“It’ll feel different,” he whined.

Namjoon angled himself away from his prostate and picked up the pace, just chasing his own orgasm as Jungkook moaned pitifully under him. He came, finally, and rolled off, a little lightheaded. Jungkook cleaned them up like a responsible young man since Namjoon didn’t have proper use of his thighs.

“Gold tomorrow,” Namjoon muttered into the pillow. Jungkook snuggled down next to him, fingers scratching Namjoon’s scalp through his blond hair. Namjoon hummed happily and smiled. He felt Jungkook poke one of his dimples. “We gotta get gold tomorrow,” he murmured.

“Gold or silver.”

“Gold,” Namjoon said, urgently.

Jungkook hesitated, fingers brushing questioningly along his jaw. “Gold,” he agreed, and then shoved himself under Namjoon’s arm, jamming into the spaces Namjoon’s body created. They’d wake up sweaty and sticky, but it felt too good, worth the sleepy discomfort in the morning.

“Alarm set?”

“Hm? Mmyeah.”

“Goodnight.”

Jungkook kissed his shoulder. “I think Mom’s warming up to you. You might want to avoid Dad for a while though.”

“Oh jeez. That’s something we need to save till we get home. Gonna stress me out.”

“You’ll survive.”

Namjoon paused to figure out something snarky to say, and didn’t wake up till the alarm the next morning, sweaty and sticky as predicted, crushed against the wall as he tried to escape Jungkook’s sprawled body heat.

 

Second Set. Brazil 10. America 8. Namjoon straightened himself and willed the Zen to come back. The stands had filled to bursting. Some comedian from Ghostbusters was wreaking havoc in the first row. Jungkook set up to serve; Namjoon gave a signal behind his back, but probably didn’t need to. Jungkook should know exactly what to do with the positions across the court.

But even with the ball going exactly where they wanted it to, Brazil was never someone to take lightly. Brazil 11. Namjoon and Jungkook had won the first set. A lost set now was losing ground. No quick, easy win for them. Even if they won, Brazil would pressure them for every point.

Namjoon swore and turned to high five Jungkook for reassurance. Jungkook just stood there, doing a weird as fuck arm wiggle and hooting. “Jesus Christ, dude. What the fuck? Are you cracking under pressure?”

Jungkook snickered. “Turn around, old man. They’re serving.”

“Bitch,” he muttered. Maybe goofing around would help Jungkook, but he felt a little distracted.

Not too distracted to score. Brazil 11. America 9. The Zen settled back like a switching the light off on the cluttered storage closet of the back of his mind. They lost the set by one point, four points past game, trading points back and forth until Brazil got one more point up past their lead at Brazil 29, America 27.

“One more set,” Jungkook said to Namjoon’s muttered “Fucking it up.”

“That was really close. The sports movie made in our legacy will want nothing less.”

“Sports movie or tragic romance?”

“Both. Isn’t the tragic romance what makes a good sports movie?”

“Hug me. I need to calm down.”

Jungkook slid easily into his arms, one casual arm around his shoulders, more than Yoongi ever gave him, but not so much that people would start thinking something of it. Jungkook’s dad probably thought something. He swallowed it down and focused more on the calm, the focus of holding another body in his arms.

“I gotta go do flips,” Jungkook said.

“Not gonna wait till after the commercial break?”

“The public is calling me.”

The Brazilians looked very displeased to see Jungkook lining up on the side of the court. The audience screamed. Some sports team, maybe the US basketball team, soccer team, some team in the first row, rose to their feet, shrieking. Jungkook smirked and launched into a long line of backflips, round-offs, and aerials. The stands burst to their feet. He gave a quick acknowledgement, a quirk of his lips and a humble wave to the crowd, and then jogged back to his water bottle.

“Flashy but humble, young and hot. You and Simone Biles are quickly turning into America’s darlings.”

Jungkook gasped. “Do you think I’ll get to meet her?”

“Tweet about it. I’m sure NBC can get you together. She’s been flirting with Zac Efron for days, right?”

“Not exactly flirting,” Jungkook said, blushing, “And I’m not exactly Zac Efron.”

Namjoon shook his head. “I’m not sure if this chatter is relaxing or distracting. Yoongi and I never did small talk during games. All business.”

“That would probably freak me out.”

“I’m still getting used to it.”

“Please focus, Joonie.”

“That’s what the hug is for.”

The game started up again. Namjoon served. America 1. Brazil 0. Looking up.

At Brazil 9, America 7, the mood of the game changed. He heard Jungkook huff in frustration over his shoulder and turned to kick sand at him. Jungkook’s eyes narrowed. His next spike slammed into the back corner of the court, sending one of the opponents tumbling head over heels after it.

“Good boy,” Namjoon murmured.

“Thanks, bro.”

The game caught fire. Jungkook moving sharp and harsh, laser focused on the match. Namjoon sank, relieved and comfortable, into his Zen. Brazil matched them at game point, then pulled ahead. They caught up. Brazil pushed ahead one point again. Brazil 17. America 16. Jungkook served. It came back over the net, and Namjoon slammed it straight down into someone’s knee. It hit the sand and rolled back for Jungkook to serve again. Tied.

Brazil returned the serve over the net. Namjoon just managed to get it up in the air. Jungkook set, Namjoon spiked. They bounced it up, slammed it back, and Jungkook got under it. Namjoon set, and Jungkook hit it towards the back of the court. Diving save. If the audience screamed, Namjoon didn’t hear it. Jungkook only barely kept the ball up on the trip back over. Namjoon set it desperately back towards the net. He spun, still on the ground, in time to see it hit the sand on the other side. One point ahead. He’d never heard a more deafening crowd.

The court sat in a sea of white noise. Jungkook stood at the back of the court, staring at the ball in his hands like a magic lamp, the extra force that entered the ball only in the best of games radiating tension across all four competitors, the extra step above the usual concentration that made the ball seem holy.

The ball floated over, bounced across the competitors, headed towards the back of the court. Jungkook bounced it up. Namjoon set. Jungkook jumped up, hand angled towards the empty half of the court, and Namjoon had time for one deep breath before the ball hit the sand, and he won his fourth Olympic gold.

Jungkook dropped on his face onto the court. Namjoon shrieked. The crowd roared. He dove on top of Jungkook. He could do it, could still be the best without Yoongi. Best team in the world. Jungkook shook against the sand with either tears or laughter.

He picked Jungkook up, and they tamped down their grins to politely shake hands with the silver medalists, and then stood together on top of the platform, Brazil in silver to their right, Italy with bronze to his left, every bit as validating as it had ever been for twelve years now.

Jungkook looked good with gold, cradling his medal, staring at it and giggling, eyes huge, hair sandy. Namjoon thought he saw some tears in those wide eyes, heard some sobs under the laughs. Someone wrapped an American flag around their shoulders, and he used it to wipe a tear off his cheek, the first tears out of too many that he’d been happy to see on Jungkook’s face.

Jungkook took an Instagram photo of them with both of them biting their medals. He’d taken another photo later in their bedroom, teeth around his medal, winking at the camera with his head on Namjoon’s bare chest, his own bare shoulders in view and Namjoon laughing under him, and sent it to his parents, who would send back fond, if exasperated, congratulations.

Jungkook was his, his cute smiles and strong shoulders, his pouting and headstrong demands, his fucked up morning hair and late night sleepy cuddles. He was his teammate still, two generations of prodigies with the same medals around their necks, a circle of gold as committing as any ring. He didn’t know if they would last, but he at least knew they could. Thirteen years of volleyball had never felt as wonderful as this.

And though they couldn’t kiss on top of the platform with the screaming spectators around, NBC clamoring for a final private interview and the bright lights bringing a piece of the Olympic flame and the energy of the opening ceremony into the arena, they could hold their medals, arms around each other, and know they had years and years yet to go.

Chapter Text

“Your mom called today,” Namjoon said, sitting on the bed and watching Jungkook check his face in the mirror as he dried his hair, an ugly green towel they’d picked up in Brazil tied around his waist.

“I hate acne. It’s gone away all summer and now the minute school starts, I start breaking out.”

“You look fine. I didn’t even notice. Did you use my shampoo again?”

“Yeah? What’s wrong with that?”

“Well, its for color-treated hair and it's kind of expensive.”

“Maybe I should dye my hair too.”

“Why? I like it black.”

Jungkook grinned playfully at him. “You’d like it purple too.”

Namjoon snorted. “Purple?”

“I didn’t know you owned leather pants.”

Namjoon stretched out his long legs on the carpet, leather clinging all the way down to his bare feet. “Before Yoongi’s accident we went out clubbing all the time.”

“Is that why you have that shirt too?”

“It’s just a white t-shirt.”

“That collar is way too wide for you to wear in public.”

“I wear it in public all the time. Anyway, I was saying something. Your mom called today.”

“You didn’t pick up, did you?” Jungkook asked, wiping some sort of acne treatment product on his face, still facing the mirror.

“I did, actually. I thought you’d talked to her since we won the medals. You actually haven’t called at all?” Jungkook looked a little uncomfortable. “She’s your mother. This is actually driving her crazy. I promised I’d make you call her tonight.”

“What?” Jungkook said, spinning around. “Tonight?”

“Yup. You have that to look forward to. Look, I know you don’t want to talk to her about the whole relationship thing. She still sounded pretty hostile on the phone, but she called me to get in touch with you. She wants to know how senior year 2.0 is going.”

“I’m the best in my weightlifting class.”

“Well, obviously,” Namjoon said. “I’m not surprised. How are you in physics?”

“Not great so far,” Jungkook muttered.

Namjoon had become a regular housewife, though he wasn’t sure if the role he filled was wife or mother. Jungkook had pretty much moved into Namjoon’s house, especially since it was close to his school, and skated off every morning after kissing Namjoon goodbye by the front door if Namjoon hadn’t gotten back in bed. Namjoon would spend a few hours in the morning attending to professional business and cleaning the house, and then go work out with coach. Sometimes Taehyung and Hoseok joined him, but they liked to sleep in and come in late, so he usually missed them.

Things had been busy, the post Olympics cool-down of interviews and nosy paparazzi keeping them on edge. They weren’t special enough to have to worry about cameramen around the house, but sometimes they’d get harassed in public, and Jungkook had people taking pictures of him in school all the time.

“Call your mom,” Namjoon said.

“What do I tell her?”

“Tell her about your life. We’ve got a new training schedule. Tell her about that. Tell her about getting a lifeguarding job. She’ll like that. You can continue to refuse to talk to her about me if you want.”

Jungkook leaned on the top of the dresser and stared at Namjoon through the mirror. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Namjoon answered gently.

“Good thing too, because I don’t know where I’d be right now if you didn’t,” Jungkook said. “Imagine what my life would be like right now if I was still pining after you and you still didn’t reciprocate. We probably wouldn’t have the medals. I still wouldn’t have any friends. I wouldn’t be over here all the time. Maybe I’d be back with Jimin. I don’t know. It would hurt.”

“I don’t believe you when you say you don’t have any friends. You just won an Olympic gold. You’re friends with fucking Simone Biles.”

“She doesn’t live here though. We text sometimes. I have friends at school but they’re basically hype men. I can’t get a serious conversation out of anyone.”

“Jungkook, are you ready? We’ve been waiting for this all week.”

Jungkook took a deep breath, eyes darting to the small pile of objects on the bed beside Namjoon.

“Yeah, I’m ready.”

“Come here.”

Jungkook shuffled over, skin still flushed from the shower, glowing and beautiful.

“Knees,” Namjoon said softly. Jungkook dropped to his knees on the carpet, fingers grasping tentatively at the bedframe in front of him. Namjoon leaned down and kissed him sweetly. “You are a thoughtful, funny, kind, talented person, and you’re going to find a lot of friends. It’s going to be difficult, but you’ll manage. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I have friends.”

“They’re all volleyball friends.”

“And maybe all your friends will be volleyball friends. You have one more year of high school. You have Yoongi, Taehyung, Hoseok, me, and Coach. You’ll have Jimin and Jackson when I feel okay letting you near them again.”

Jungkook giggled against his lips. Namjoon ran his hands down Jungkook’s neck and over his shoulders.

“You’ll find friends in school. And if they’re dumb and they don’t last, that’s okay too. It’s just high school. I really wish I’d finished high school.”

“Don’t you have a high school diploma?”

“Yeah. I taught myself what I needed to know and took the tests I needed to take, but I didn’t go to school for it, and I regret that. I’m going to blindfold you now.”

Jungkook nodded, eyes closing. Namjoon picked up the black leather mask and tied it around the back of his head. “Good boy,” he murmured, and Jungkook breathed shakily.

“C-can I touch you?”

“Of course. I’m not going to make you ask for everything, Jungkook. Do what you want.” Jungkook’s hands latched onto his calves, fingers digging into the leather. Namjoon tipped his face way up to kiss him again, and his lips parted, passive and responsive as he waited, soft when he kissed him again. Namjoon traced his jawline with his thumbs, then down his neck, and Jungkook made a soft noise into his mouth.

“You ready?”

“Yeah. I already said that.”

“Sassy.”

Namjoon pulled his hair and forced his head back further as he kissed down his throat, sucking and biting as he went. Jungkook whimpered quietly, palms sliding down his legs and swaying, unbalanced.

“I thought about getting you bunny ears,” Namjoon said, and Jungkook giggled. “Figured we probably wouldn’t get very far with sex if I couldn’t stop laughing, so I didn’t. I didn’t buy the tail either.”

“You’ll just have to imagine it then.”

“Not hard,” Namjoon said. “You really do look like one with those teeth, those big shiny eyes.”

Jungkook smiled again, delicate lips curling, and Namjoon slid his hands straight down his chest and pinched his nipples. Jungkook lurched into his hands, smile vanishing, choking back a moan. “I don’t like hurting you,” Namjoon said, even as his fingers tightened and Jungkook panted.

“Suck it up and hit me already,” Jungkook said.

Namjoon hummed and pulled him in tight and wrapped around him, kissing rough and heavy. “Don’t say it like that.”

“Please,” Jungkook said.

Namjoon pulled back. “Give me your wrists, cutie.”

Jungkook held them out and Namjoon picked up the black rope beside him on the bed and started looping it in figure-eights around Jungkook’s wrists, gentle but firm. He didn’t miss the way Jungkook’s breathing picked up. He tied it off, Jungkook’s wrists bound up tight and beautiful between them, and pulled his towel off. “Hard already?”

“Yeah,” Jungkook said, and those red cheeks weren’t flushed from just the shower anymore.

Namjoon leaned down and gave him one last kiss, completely taking control of it, nipping with teeth, fingers digging into his shoulders. “Okay. Get over my knees.” He guided Jungkook onto the bed and across his lap, stretches of warm, soft skin under his hands. He pet leisurely down Jungkook’s spine, who arched into it, across his cute little butt, and down over his thick thighs.

“Gonna punish me, Joonie?” Jungkook asked after a few minutes of teasing, of Namjoon touching happily and waiting for Jungkook to break. His voice was trembling, ribs expanding quickly under Namjoon’s hand, dick hard against his thigh.

“No,” Namjoon said. “I’m never going to use sex as a punishment. But while we’re on that subject, why would I be punishing you?”

“For kissing Jimin—”

Namjoon spanked him hard, right in the middle of one cheek. Jungkook yelped, already squirming, knees twisting on the bed, shoulders tight, little bit off pained moans slipping from his mouth. Namjoon pet softly over the red mark and Jungkook exhaled shakily, hips twitching. “My hand slipped. Sorry.”

“Oh my god,” Jungkook breathed, voice shuddering, rocking his hips back and forth on Namjoon’s leg, stuttered like he was just trying to get comfortable, “Please do that again.”

“Since you asked so nicely,” Namjoon said, and smacked him again, watched his firm ass jiggle, well on his way to half-hard. Jungkook whined and tensed, thighs drawing tight and back bending, ass up like he was presenting himself for the next one. “Wish I had that bunny tail now,” Namjoon said.

“Sh-should I be counting them?”

“I wasn’t going to make you. I’m keeping track. This is about pain for you, not being controlled, right? Do you have any other kinks I don’t know about yet?”

“No. This is good. Please do it again?” His ass arched in the air. Namjoon smacked him on the other cheek and then ran his fingers lightly over the handprint, tracing it, letting Jungkook relax as he felt him up.

“You know how stuff feels cute sometimes?” Namjoon said, “like big marbles or little fluffy animals?”

“Are you trying to tell me my butt feels cute?”

“Yup. It’s so soft and curvy.”

Jungkook ground his dick down on Namjoon’s thigh. Namjoon slapped him hard on one cheek. Jungkook’s elbows slid out from under him and he face-planted on the covers, breathing harshly, thighs trembling. “That’s four, by the way,” Namjoon said, pinching the reddest part of his ass between his fingers and letting Jungkook whimper. “You’re doing really well. Just tell me if you’d like me to stop.”

“No!”

“Okay.” There was always a point in the windup for the hit where Namjoon’s conscience kicked him and he asked himself if this was really ethically okay, getting this sweet kid naked and stretched out over his legs and spanking him, watching his skin turn red and pretty. And then his hand came down and Jungkook jolted and gasped under him, flushed and panting, ass jutting up and asking for it, dick rutting against his thigh, and he let go of the ethical dilemma and enjoyed it. “Five.”

Jungkook whined loud and high between his teeth. “Again, please. Hurry.”

“Beg for it.”

“Fuck you.”

“Not today, cutie. Doesn’t make me very inclined to give in to your requests.”

Jungkook growled. Namjoon trailed his fingertips slowly down his crack and the growl turned into a needy moan. “Please Namjoon. Again, please. I deserve it. Please hit me again. I need it. Namjoon, please!”

Namjoon slapped hard, once on each cheek, and Jungkook made some deep, inhuman noise, an odd twist between pain and relief, shocked and aroused. He squirmed weakly on Namjoon’s lap, bound wrists tugging against each other weakly, head turned to the side so Namjoon could see his parted lips, the drool pooling on the sheets, the blindfold covering his eyes. “You okay, bunny?”

“Namjoon…” he breathed.

“Jungkook?”

“So good…hurts.”

“That was six and seven. Think you can make it to ten?”

Jungkook hesitated. “Yeah.” His breathy, soft voice cracked.

“I’m going to give you a minute.”

Jungkook nodded and moaned shamelessly when Namjoon’s hand rubbed firmly over his ass, pinching and pressing, and his whole back tensed up, drawing the sculpted muscles of his shoulders tight. He let him relax for a long minute, going back to teasing until Jungkook murmured, “Ready. Please.”

“You sure? How about you tell me more about your school day instead.”

Jungkook groaned in frustration and Namjoon smiled, feeling filthy, fully clothed and mostly hard in his pants with his adorable boyfriend going crazy in his lap.

He hesitated a moment, then spanked lower, a little gentler, and trying to avoid the worst spots. “Eight.”

Jungkook gasped, “Harder.”

“Are you sure?”

“I watch you serve with that arm all the damn time, Joonie. I know what you can do with it. I don’t want any fucking love taps. Hit me.”

“I’m not slapping you like a volleyball. You need to be able to walk for the rest of the week.”

“Fucking hit me!”

Namjoon blinked for a minute, and then slapped hard enough to sting his hand. Jungkook jolted, yelled, and then cut himself off, his whole body shaking, curling in on himself and sobbing. He lost control, hips rutting frantically against Namjoon’s thigh, catching on the leather.

“That’s it. You’re done.”

“No! Please! Namjoon, one more. Please, one more. You said ten,” he broke down into sobs again. “Don’t pussy out at nine, asshole. Hit me ten times.”

He asked for it. Namjoon smacked him one more time right across one red cheek and let him jerk against his thigh for a minute, whimpering, and then gathered him up in his arms and lay back, dragging Jungkook up to lie beside him. “How are you doing?” Jungkook wiggled, trying to get his thighs around Namjoon’s leg and his arms around his neck, but Namjoon grabbed his hip in one hand and the ropes around his wrists in the other and held him still. “Answer me.”

There were traces of tears just under the blindfold. “Need to come,” he mewled. “Please.”

Namjoon was glad he had the blindfold on so he couldn’t see Namjoon’s eyes slide shut, or the way his dick swelled finally to full hardness in the front of his tight pants. “Not yet, baby. Gotta tie you up first.”

“Just hurry. Please hurry.”

Namjoon got him back with his head on the pillows, maneuvering carefully because he flinched every time his ass rubbed against the blankets, and then pulled his hands over his head and wrapped new ropes around the bonds already around his wrists, tying them to the bedframe so he had enough room to move a little, keeping his arms up but fairly loose so he could be moved. “Seriously though. How was school?”

“Frustrating,” Jungkook moaned, the word bursting out of him like he’d been dying to talk about it. “I’m shy, but I think I come off as, like, aloof? I guess? People are either suck-ups or really intent on not liking me at all.”

“That sounds rough,” Namjoon said.

“Went to my math teacher for help today, because stats is hard. She seemed really surprised, like she didn’t expect me to care.”

“You’ll win them over. I bet some of them are younger than I am. How’s your ass?”

“Hurts. Please keep going.”

“Safeword?”

“’Fencing,’ you ass. I remember it. You’re not going to be doing anything too wild after this, right?”

“No, but if your ass starts hurting too much…”

“I’m fine. If you think you can do any worse than that camping trip in the summer, you’re overestimating yourself.”

“I would never treat you like that hiking trail did.”

“Suck my dick please.”

Namjoon hummed and slid slowly down his body, lips brushing over the center-line down his abs to his dick, placed one small kiss on the head of his cock, and then went straight to sucking bruises into his thighs. They’d faded since Rio. From the day they won their medals to the day they left, they’d fucked almost every day. California was a little too busy between high school and volleyball business. He hadn’t gotten to make purple bruises in Jungkook’s skin in a while.

Namjoon had to wonder about the psychology behind blindfolds, or maybe it was the ropes, but Jungkook completely let go, sighing and humming happily, voice catching on his breaths, lips wide open, hips rolling up towards where Namjoon’s fingers traced gently around the base of his dick. He let loose on the sounds he usually kept in and let his body respond enthusiastically to every touch instead of locking it down and controlling it.

“Keep your thighs wide for me if you can,” Namjoon said, taking his hands away from where he was holding them down. They bounced a little, but stayed wide apart. “Good boy. Flexible.”

“You love it,” Jungkook hiccupped as Namjoon popped the lube open, still mouthing along the soft edge of Jungkook’s inner thighs, biting occasionally.

“Mm-hm.” He slid a dripping finger into Jungkook’s ass and he whined softly on his outward breath. Namjoon froze. “Relax a bit, babe.”

Jungkook tried to go as limp as possible, dragging deep breathes in through his nose. Namjoon started again, mouth tight against his leg, finger thrusting slowly.

“Namjoon, more.”

“I’m just stretching you for now. No need to rush this. We’ve got all evening.” He got back to work, finger crooking deep into smooth, slick heat.

He came up suddenly, stilling. “We have all evening, right? You finished your homework?”

“Yes! Oh my god, Namjoon, you’re going to bring this up now?”

“Just checking.”

“Did you…fuckin…I don’t know…remember to eat? Fuck, I’ve got nothing.”

“Do you even know what I do all day?”

“No. I do know your fitness-addict ass forgets to eat more than protein powder sometimes you cavema—Ahh!”

Namjoon took his teeth out of Jungkook’s thigh and checked for blood. “You’re good. Stop trying to break my headboard.”

Jungkook had arched wildly, arms straining against the ropes, head thrown back, torso a beautiful bridge above his spread thighs. His hips stuttered in tiny thrusts, dick bouncing slightly. “Pretty bunny,” Namjoon murmured.

“More. Harder. Fingers. Namjoon.”

“Sorry, what was that?”

“Fuck me hard on your fingers, Namjoon!” he yelled.

“Ask nicely.”

“Fuck you! You’re the one that bit me! I need it! Touch my dick or something, god, I can still feel it,” he trailed away into a desperate whine, arms taught, beautifully formed. He tried to close his thighs, maybe for friction, but Namjoon got his arms in the way, fingers sliding out completely.

“Be good, or you get nothing,” he said, and Jungkook’s legs flopped back down. Namjoon gave his shaft a few apologetic licks as he thrust two fingers into his hole. Jungkook moaned brokenly. He started in at a pace meant to relax, pressure slow and steady, systematic, layering hickeys over hickeys down his thighs in a way that must hurt so wonderfully. Jungkook went limp on the bed, breathing soft moans out every few moments and settling into it, tied up and taking what Namjoon gave him.

He made a beautiful picture in the gold late-afternoon light coming in through the curtains, soft, almost childish skin beginning to glow with sweat as he trembled, wet streaks below the black blindfold, those pretty pink lips. Namjoon worked him open slowly, enjoying the increasingly wrecked responses as he painted his inner thighs completely purple.

With three fingers in his ass, petting gentle circles on his prostate, and his lips on the edge of a purpling bruise, Jungkook shivered and tensed a little, head pressing back further against the pillow with a tiny moan. Namjoon didn’t think anything of it until white spurted from his untouched cock and he moaned again, low and happy.

Namjoon’s own dick throbbed hard in his pants. “Did you just fucking come?”

Jungkook smiled sweetly. “Yeah,” he sighed. “Knew you would tell me not to.”

Namjoon pulled his hand out and smacked Jungkook right in the middle of his bruised thigh. He made a high, distressed noise and tugged at the restraints again. “A-are you gonna punish me?”

“Yup,” Namjoon said, shoving his fingers back in and petting quickly over his prostate. Jungkook tightened, breathing quickly picking up, twitching.

“Nnrng!”

“I’m not stopping.” Tied up and helpless to the intensity, that’s what this whole thing was all about.

“Joon!” His chest heaved, loud, high moans on every heaving breath.

“Suck it up, bunny,” Namjoon said, scissoring his fingers and pressing them back down to his over-sensitive prostate to watch him squirm, trying to pull his legs together. Namjoon wrestled them down. “Nope, this is what you wanted. Hold still and take it.”

Jungkook valiantly tried to hold still, body jolting as Namjoon continued working, rolling against the sheets, desperate mewls spilling from his mouth. Namjoon gave the head of his soft, wet cock one hard suck and nearly got his head taken off by Jungkook’s thighs.

“Don’t choke me out!” he yelped after he escaped. Jungkook keened, head thrown back, legs shaking as they fell back onto the sheets. Namjoon realized he had one hand squeezing Jungkook’s bruised thigh and the other jammed mercilessly against his prostate. His dick had begun to swell again, just a little. Namjoon jostled his fingers and Jungkook’s hips jerked. “How are your wrists.”

“Sore,” Jungkook gasped, “’S fine.”

“Your hands aren’t numb?”

“Not yet. Love your fingers,” Jungkook said, cutting off into a hiss between his teeth as Namjoon’s fingers circled again, his abs shaking with strain, glistening with his cum. “Love this. Fuck, Namjoon, I can’t take more. Hurts. Everything hurts.”

“Good hurts?” Namjoon said, pulling his fingers out. Jungkook went limp on the bed, taking a minute to breath and calm down.

“Good hurts, yeah.”

“You have to relax, Jungkook. You’re going to pull something.”

“It’s a bit hard when I feel like I’m dying, but I’ll try.”

Namjoon got off the bed and started fighting the leather pants off his legs. “It was always a hard choice with these pants. Is how hot I look in them really worth the embarrassment of trying to take them off in front of my hookup while drunk? Good thing you’re blindfolded or this would be really ba—” He nearly fell over and had to sit down hard, almost right on top of Jungkook’s foot.

“You can go ahead and feel embarrassed anyway,” Jungkook snickered, his pretty pink lips curling in a way that was entirely too captivating without his eyes visible to distract from them. Namjoon threw his t-shirt down on Jungkook’s chest, careful to avoid the cum puddle on his stomach. He arched into it, desperate for any kind of contact, and Namjoon grinned.

He settled easily between Jungkook’s thighs, legs pulled around his waist, and traced gentle patterns around the hickeys, watching in amazement as Jungkook hardened fully, back arching with ever firm press.

“Pretty boy,” Namjoon crooned.

“Give me what I want, Daddy.”

Namjoon took his hands off completely. After a long moment of nothing, Jungkook grit his teeth and squeezed his thighs around Namjoon’s waist. All his breath left in a rush, “Aargh! Kookie, ow. Jungkook. Your fucking python thighs are crushing me.”

Jungkook’s legs relaxed and Namjoon checked for damage. “Okay. I think I’m good. Please don’t do that.”

“Do what, give demands?”

“Try to crush my waist!”

“Call you Daddy?”

“Don’t do that either. You know I hate that.”

“Fuck me hard, Daddy,” Jungkook moaned, throwing his head back, hips rolling towards Namjoon, just inches away from grinding against him, cum slipping over his waist, “Daddy, I need your cock.”

“I could just sit back and get myself off and leave you here,” Namjoon snapped. “You can talk to your mom later, tied to the bed and blindfolded with me holding the phone to your ear. Maybe I’ll let you grind on my thigh, but that’s all you’ll fucking deserve.”

Jungkook swallowed heavily, chewing his lower lip, hands fidgeting nervously in the ropes. “Please don’t,” he said, a soft tremble in his voice, “I’m sorry.”

Namjoon immediately felt bad. He leaned forward and kissed the center of his chest since he couldn’t reach much higher. “You’re fine, bunny. I just don’t want you calling me Daddy unless you want me to treat you like that. And I really don’t want to treat you like that. That’s not what I want to be to you.”

Jungkook nodded, taking a deep, calming breath in, his pout shaking a little.

“Jungkook, I’m sorry. Are you okay?”

He nodded. “It’s kind of intense down here. That’s all,” he said, voice rough like he was trying to force it lower, less high and desperate like he sometimes got when he was particularly fucked out and overwhelmed, “I’m trying to keep up.”

“I’m sorry,” Namjoon said, layering gentle kisses across his chest. “Do you need a minute?”

Jungkook let a sob out, “I need you in me!”

“You need a minute,” Namjoon said, and got out from under him.

Jungkook groaned in frustration. “I’m going to get soft.”

“No you won’t,” Namjoon said, and bit Jungkook’s nipple, gently, but hard enough that Jungkook’s chest twitched against his mouth. He flicked the other one and Jungkook startled, hands yanking at the ropes again. He moved, finally, to Jungkook’s mouth, lips bitten red and raw. Jungkook kissed distractedly, hips searching for friction. Namjoon almost sank his hips down and gave it to him, aching for it, but sucked gently under his jaw instead, and then harder when he felt Jungkook finally relax completely.

“Fuck me up, Namjoon,” Jungkook sighed under his lips.

He sat back, kneeling with legs wide, and pulled Jungkook’s legs around him again. “Just a moment, bunny.” He dripped lube down his cock and then indulged himself for a minute, jerking himself with one slippery hand, the wet friction heaven after so much time holding off. He pressed Jungkook’s thighs a little wider, a little further back and down, lined up, and then sank into him. Jungkook groaned like he was dying, a high noise rattling his whole chest, jaw dropping open. Namjoon shuffled forward and pushed again, getting himself absolutely as deep as he could go before stilling and waiting for Jungkook to adjust.

Another trail of cum dripped over Jungkook’s side and onto the green towel. Namjoon wrinkled his nose. “Can you feel all the cum on you?”

“Yeah, I feel that,” Jungkook gritted out.

“You like that, right?”

“Yeah.”

Namjoon rubbed and hands through it and up Jungkook’s chest, spreading it out across his skin. Jungkook shuddered under his hand, clenching around Namjoon’s dick.

“Why do you like that so much?”

“Don’t know,” Jungkook murmured. “When its yours it makes me feel claimed, or something. With mine it just feels dirty.”

“Do you ever rub it all over yourself when its just you?”

“Not really. It’s a bitch to clean up if I’m not already in the shower, and then it just washes away.”

“But you have done it before?”

Jungkook gulped. “I think it was the night after we’d decided not to be together and I was still covered in bruises from the hiking trip. You found out about my pain kink and then left me on the coach and went home. I gave myself the saddest handjob. Got it everywhere. Came again in the shower afterwards with the water pressure on my bruises.”

“Just from that?” Namjoon breathed, hands smoothing over Jungkook’s legs.

“No. I keep lube in there. Fingered myself. Fuck, I’m so glad I can’t see your face. I’d never be able to say all this to your face.”

“How do you manage to come twice every single time?” Namjoon said, and he’d abandoned the cum, just rubbing happily over Jungkook’s chest, kneading like a cat.

“I’m a growing boy with needs,” Jungkook moaned, smiling.

“Need a good dick in you every once and a while?”

“So often.”

“How did you stand it with Jimin,” Namjoon smirked, “He didn’t give you what you need.”

“Take Jimin out of this fucking bedroom, I swear to god if you keep bringing him up I will crush you with my thighs so fucking hard you’ll shit yourself all over your own bed.”

Namjoon laughed out loud. “You do it too. Should I start fucking you now?”

“Speaking of not giving me what I need,” Jungkook said.

“Fine! Whiney.” he grabbed Jungkook’s hips and started steadily thrusting, long, even strokes. Jungkook went boneless, body rocking with Namjoon’s thrusts, arms limp in ropes, chin tipped way back. His lips dropped open, sighing low and breathy. Namjoon knew if there were no blindfold his eyes would have just fluttered shut, eyebrows drawn just a little upwards, blissed and focused.

Namjoon let himself go a little, dropping his own head back and riding it out, the gold sunset low through the window, glowing off the wall and through his eyelids. He wished Jungkook could see it, the way it glowed of their skin.

“You’re so beautiful, bunny,” he murmured.

“I’ll never get tired of hearing you say that,” Jungkook murmured.

“Beautiful,” Namjoon said, smiling, “Way too young for me, but beautiful.”

Jungkook groaned, “Why do you always have to ruin the mood?”

Namjoon slid up a gear, and Jungkook started making soft noises with every thrust, little moans high in his throat. “Baby bunny,” Namjoon said, sweet and sleazy.

“Joon, harder please?”

“I don’t know, bunny, I like this pace. Maybe you should relax and enjoy it.”

Jungkook bit his lip and pulled a little on his ropes, adding resistance for Namjoon to fight through. He groaned in frustration, trying to get the leverage to bounce back against Namjoon, but he was at a bad angle, legs around Namjoon’s waist. “Fuck me harder! Do it!”

“You’re so impatient,” Namjoon said, slowing down. “We have more time than we’ve had in weeks, and you just want to rush through it.”

“Not enough! Please, I need it so much. Don’t you want to take care of me? I can’t do anything. Please, harder, that’s all I’ve wanted all day and you fucking won’t!”

Namjoon kept the slow pace. “We’ll get there eventually. Can’t you sit back and enjoy the windup?”

“I couldn’t pay attention in class today. Couldn’t stop thinking about coming home and getting fucked till I couldn’t think straight.”

“Cute. Meanwhile, I had to deal with your mother.”

“I’ll gonna fucking cry here in a minute.”

“Do whatever. You know what the safeword is.”

“Namjoon!”

He didn’t speed up, but he started punching harder, slamming in and drawing out easy. Jungkook hiccupped a little, cock bouncing against his stomach. His front teeth poked down below his curvy upper lip as he gasped.

“We really are going to have to put bunny ears on you at some point.”

“Halloween’s coming up,” Jungkook said through gasps. “I’ll dress up in some slutty bunny costume for you.”

Namjoon started speeding up, eyes on Jungkook like a work of art, sculpture that moved, moaned, turned red when he bit it and pressed into his hands. They’d planned this as something special for Jungkook to feel, but it was also something special for Namjoon to see, his boy spread out and helpless and begging for him.

He reached forward with one hand and slid two fingers past Jungkook’s lips. Jungkook latched on, sucking messily, tongue easing between them, moaning with it. Heat spiked through Namjoon’s gut, dick twitching. Jungkook’s throat worked, beautiful lips pressing, chin tilting to get a better angle. He chased Namjoon’s fingers when they pulled out a little, mewling like he needed them. Namjoon stroked his thumb soothingly along the underside of his chin. He had some nasty hickeys on his neck that would be an issue to hide for school tomorrow. Namjoon smirked.

His hips had sped up without even realizing it, chasing now, too worked up to hold back and tease. Jungkook became nonverbal, moans reaching the pitch of desperation that meant Jungkook had forgotten his dignity and gotten completely lost.

Namjoon finally pulled his hand away and went right down to give Jungkook’s dick a few slippery tugs before the spit dried. Jungkook jerked into his fist, writhing. Namjoon let go and Jungkook growled in frustration, hips still searching. Namjoon rolled his nipple between two fingers instead and he flinched with oversensitivity.

“Please,” Jungkook managed around mewling moans.

“I’m turning you over,” Namjoon said. He pulled out and Jungkook whined, legs trying to pull him back in. “Nope,” he said, and backed up. He swung Jungkook’s leg around and then maneuvered him to sitting on his knees, the rope twisting up by the headboard to let him turn over. He pulled his legs wide again, hips sitting in his lap. Namjoon gripped his ass, admiring the red marks, some raised and swollen, still covering them.

The position put pressure right on the new hickeys across his thighs. “Feel good, baby?”

“Please,” Jungkook whispered back, voice cracking, thighs twitching around Namjoon’s as he fought between the pain and arousal. Namjoon pushed back into that slick tightness. He took a moment to chill, head tipped back towards the ceiling, thumbs pressing gently into Jungkook’s ass, just to feel it give.

When he started again, he didn’t bother teasing, fucking in fast and hard at just the pace that made Jungkook fall apart. It took him a few seconds to respond, for his reaction to catch up to the intensity. He stirred sluggishly, and then locked up slowly, arms and torso tensing as his breathing picked up yet again, and then threw his head up, struggling for air, trying to rock back and match the pace. Namjoon pressed his thumbs into the red marks on his ass, and he squealed, yanking on the ropes.

“Don’t hurt your wrists.”

Jungkook yelled with aroused frustration, and Namjoon closed his eyes and punched the gas, jostling Jungkook’s bruising thighs with every thrust. Jungkook was getting close, pained cries breaking out of him as he struggled back on Namjoon’s cock, back bowed to help Namjoon get a better angle. Namjoon let go of his thighs and leaned forward and down and little.

Jungkook jolted and choked. “There! Joon! Please!” Every muscle in his body pulled in tight. Namjoon aimed straight on, chasing the tension loading in his balls.

“Found your happy spot, bunny?” he murmured.

Jungkook panted frantically and Namjoon closed his eyes and sank into it like he did with volleyball, letting his mind shut off and just feeling it, the tight, rolling heat coiling the pressure tighter, Jungkook’s body caged in under his arms.

When Jungkook came, he spasmed hard, ass clenching, body rolling, and then struggled against the sheets, legs trying to slide closed around Namjoon’s thighs. He whined, arms tight like he was trying to pull away, but he kept bouncing back on Namjoon’s cock. The tightness and fluttering muscles sent jolts of heat through Namjoon, building the tension until it snapped. He came groaning, slick white sliding out around his cock.

He leaned over Jungkook for a minute and breathed, felt the sweat cooling on his back, and then pulled out and got Jungkook’s knees back under him. Jungkook sagged, still breathing raggedly and occasionally tightening up and trembling. Namjoon got to work on the ropes around his wrists, tugging him loose and then freeing his hands. Jungkook’s arms stayed limp as Namjoon rolled him gently to the side and out of the mess, and then untied his blindfold.

“You’re covered in tears,” Namjoon said, running a thumb under his eye and coming away soaking wet.

“Water?”

Namjoon got it off the nightstand and handed it over. Jungkook unscrewed it sleepily, eyes still closed, and slowly drank most of it as Namjoon watched.

Namjoon picked up his wrists and held them gently. “These feel okay?”

“Kinda numb, actually. Hurts a bit.” Namjoon rubbed them gently, pressing kisses to each palm Jungkook finally opened his eyes and took his hands back to rub them, trying to get all the tears off his face.

“Let me know when you’re okay to shower.”

“I wanna sleep.”

“We’ve got to eat and call your mom yet this evening. And bathe and change the sheets. This mess is nasty. You just came right on this beautifully hideous towel.”

Jungkook giggled. “Sorry.” Namjoon curled around him and held him close, a hand rubbing over his chest until it trailed into something wet.

“Okay. Shower.”

“No.”

Namjoon rolled him to the edge of the bed, got out, picked him up bridal style, and carried him to the bathroom. “You’re so fucking heavy. Oh my god.”

“I’m dense,” Jungkook muttered against his shoulder, “Lots of muscles. I think I might have just dripped on your carpet.”

“That got on my leg, actually. You’re safe.”

“Oh good.” His eyes closed again.

“Don’t fall asleep on me here. I gotta get you washed up.”

He laid Jungkook gently down in the tub and then turned the shower on over him.

“Ah! Fuck! Namjoon, Oh my god!”

“I thought you liked jumping in the shower before the water warms up. I don’t know what the problem is.”

Jungkook stood up on shaky legs, curled in and shivering. “You’re an asshole.”

“Speaking of, how’s yours?”

“Same as always. Hurts. I’ll be fine by tomorrow.”

“And your butt?” Namjoon said, stepping in behind him and running both hands down over his ass, squeezing slightly. Jungkook’s eyes fluttered shut and he leaned against Namjoon’s chest.

“Feels good.”

Namjoon leaned around Jungkook to get his hair wet and then picked up his shampoo and got to work, depending on Jungkook to stay upright without help. “Do you want me to wash your hair?”

“Already washed it today,” he murmured into Namjoon’s shoulder.

“Yeah, and then you got really gross and sweaty.”

Jungkook tipped his head back. “Go ahead.”

This was one of Namjoon’s favorite parts of their life now, the after-sex showers with Jungkook pliant and sleepy, humming happily with Namjoon’s hands in his hair or rubbing soap down his body. He trapped him against the wall and massaged his arms and shoulders, hands slow and firm, working out all the stiff muscles where his arms had struggled against the ropes. Jungkook groaned into the wall as Namjoon worked down his back.

“Have you actually looked at your thighs yet?” Namjoon asked a few minutes later as he fingered his own cum gently out of Jungkook’s ass.

“Oh fuck. I don’t want to.”

“Your butt is still feverishly hot.”

“Still stings a bit. I’m going to have so much trouble not getting hard at school tomorrow. How about you? How’s your butt?” Jungkook said, giggling and reaching around Namjoon to squeeze his ass.

He giggled. “Same as always. Fine?”

“Fine is right,” Jungkook said, grinning. “You gotta let me play with this thing more.”

Namjoon moaned easily. “Anytime you want.”

“During practice tomorrow.”

“Not then.”

“You give me hickeys sometimes. Let me give you one.”

Namjoon leaned back against the wall of the shower, arms over Jungkook’s shoulders, and tilted his head to let Jungkook latch onto a sensitive spot just off-center, hands still kneading his ass. The hot water and the little points of pleasure on his body felt relaxing like a good shoulder massage, a little sensitive so soon after sex, but gentle.

Jungkook backed off and grinned at his masterpiece after a while, looked up into Namjoon’s fond expression, and then finished washing both of them off, smiling softly.

Once out of the shower, Jungkook took a little while to stare at his neck in the mirror, one leg up on the counter so he could get a good look at his thighs, covered with dark hickeys from his knees up to his dick, denser towards the top. “Holy, fuck Namjoon. How the hell do you expect me to survive school for the next two weeks? I have to change in a public locker room for gym.”

Namjoon snickered, “Did you see your neck?”

“Oh fuck,” Jungkook groaned, staring at a dark string of hickeys down the left side of his throat.

“Just make up some crazy story about getting groupies in bed with you. That’s what I always do.”

Jungkook moved stiffly in the kitchen, thighs wide in Namjoon’s old sweat pants. “You never have any good food in here.”

“I have stuff for some pretty good salads.”

“Salad isn’t food,” Jungkook said.

“You’ll change your mind in a few years when your metabolism slows down.”

“Do you have any pasta?”

“No way.”

Jungkook stared into the fridge, frustrated. “Baked chicken with broccoli on the side again, I guess.”

“How about this,” Namjoon said, standing up. “I make you the best salad you’ve ever eaten, and you call your poor mother.”

“You just fucked me within an inch of my life, Namjoon, I need something more than salad.”

“Okay, eggs and bacon. We’re having breakfast for dinner. I can make breakfast. Call your mom.”

“Should I preface the call with a picture of you in just my boxers?”

“Are these yours?” Namjoon said, startled.

“Yup.”

“No wonder they’re a little tight.”

“They really are,” Jungkook said, and then put his phone up to his ear.

The conversation started normally. “I’ve been doing fine. School’s okay. Stats is really hard.” Namjoon tuned it into background noise and got the frying pan and bacon out.

“No, they seem kind of wary of me, like they expect me to blow off my work, except my choir teacher. I really hit it off with her—ah!”

Namjoon looked up. Jungkook had just hopped up on one of the tall chairs behind the counter and had landed kind of hard. He grimaced, lowering himself gently back into the seat as Namjoon flinched sympathetically at him.

“Um. I just…touched a…coffee mug. That was too hot.”

Namjoon snorted. His Rio medal sat in the middle of the counter. He had a case for all his medals and trophies, but the new ones usually stayed out for a few weeks until he’d moved on to training for the next competition. No use in locking them away immediately and not enjoying them. They Olympic medals in particular really did work beautifully as drink coasters and now he had enough for a full set. Besides, he liked to have it within easy reach when Jungkook got in the mood to have sex wearing them.

“Making friends is hard,” Jungkook was saying, “People are either intimidated or way too excited to meet me, you know?”

“Get used to it,” Namjoon grumbled. He got some hot water started for tea. Nothing says quality aftercare like tea.

They went over the friends issue. Jungkook’s mom seemed to have quite a lot to say on the matter. Jungkook put his head down on the counter with his phone propped up against his ear and grunted in response at irregular intervals.

“Namjoon’s right here. He’s making me dinner right now.”

Namjoon turned the bacon over.

“Namjoon, mom says to make sure I eat vegetables.” He paused to listen, “And— you know what mom? Why don’t you speak to him yourself if you have so much to say?”

“No way,” Namjoon said. “We had a nice, long conversation this afternoon. I’m done for a while.”

Jungkook pouted.

“Mom, I’m not listening to this rant. If you start, I’ll hang up.”

“Let her rant,” Namjoon said. “It’ll make her feel better. I listened to it; you should too.”

Jungkook scowled heavily, and then walked to the bedroom saying, “Okay, fine. I’ll listen, but only because Namjoon told me to.”

She’d had a lot to say that afternoon while Namjoon hid from coach out behind the gym, still a little out of breath and alarmed. She’d started out worried and motherly, but once she’d been assured that Jungkook was only blowing her off and not seethingly angry, she’d gotten threatening and accusatory. Namjoon had stood in pained silence for ten minutes as she called him a predator and insisted that he release her poor son from his claws before he lost his future or got too damaged. He’d said something small and stupid, like “I know I’m too old for him and it scares me,” and promised, miserably, to have Jungkook call her. They’d talked, awkwardly, about being worried about Jungkook in his new school. He’d gone back inside and spent the rest of the workout quiet and guilty, and then went home to tie Jungkook down and hit him.

He finished the bacon, and then the eggs, and tea, and then made salad for both of them just to give himself something to do.

Jungkook came back in without his phone, eyes suspiciously red, and took his seat. “She’ll get over it,” he said. “I ended up hanging up on her but I got a few words in before that, you know, about what our relationship really is, and not the kinky sex agreement she thinks you’ve gotten me trapped in. She’s fucking treating this like I’ve signed a contract with the devil and you’re going to take my soul and leave me. She’s really mad at me. If she didn’t take me career so seriously she’d probably come get me and take me home. And you made me a salad? Really?”

“Gotta get those vegetables. She loves you. She’ll come around. I didn’t know you were in choir.”

Jungkook rubbed his hands through his hair, but his face softened at the distraction. “You hear me sing sometimes, right?”

Namjoon smiled and nodded.

“Yeah. I joined choir. I figured it might be fun.”

“Do you want me to come to your concerts?”

Jungkook wrinkled his nose. “Could you not, actually? We’re not very good. And I don’t ever want to know which of my ‘friends’ are only with me to meet you. I’m sorry.”

“I’m happy with that. I get to hear you sing here, which I love, but the less I see of your high school, the better.”

“You don’t have to be so ashamed of me all the time.”

Namjoon dropped his fork. It clattered off his plate and onto the floor.

“I’m sorry,” Jungkook said quickly, “Of course you do. Fucking age gap. People will ruin you if they know. I just…” he sighed and stared at the dark kitchen window, bruises standing out on his neck.

“I’m sorry,” Namjoon said, tossing the fork in the sink. “Should I, like, minimize that? Talking about my discomfort with the age thing? I didn’t think about how that might bother you.”

“I don’t want you to think you can’t talk about what makes you uncomfortable,” Jungkook said in a small voice.

“Kookie, I am not ashamed of you. You’re the most amazing man I’ve ever met, and I love you. I’m never ashamed of dating you. I just get scared. It’s not shame so much as fear, just because of how young you are. If you don’t want me to bring it up as much as I do, I won’t. You can’t help your age. I’m not doing anything useful by talking about it. I can’t say I won’t, but I can at least put a filter on it.”

“Then it feels like I’m willfully ignoring it, and I’m not,” Jungkook said.

“Okay, I’m taking the choice away from you. I’m gonna filter it now, whether you want me to or not. From now on, I’ll keep it in subtext as much as possible instead of openly making self-deprecating comments about it. Just please graduate this semester so I’m not dating a high-schooler anymore.”

Jungkook laughed half-heartedly.

“Besides,” Namjoon said, “I miss you when you’re gone all day.”

Jungkook smiled shyly and finally started eating. “You don’t cook for me very often,” he muttered through a mouthful of eggs.

“That’s because I suck at it.”

“This is good. You should do it more.”

“Although the insurance rewards would be wonderful if my house were to burn down, that would be massively inconvenient. So no, I won’t be picking up a cooking habit any time soon.”

“Namjoon, you’re amazing,” Jungkook giggled.

 

Namjoon loved mornings. Jungkook’s alarm rang and Namjoon put his head up and watched Jungkook scowl heavily and roll over, trying to bury his face in the pillow, finger tapping at the screen until he hit the snooze button.

“Nope,” Namjoon said, grabbing his phone from him and turning the alarm all the way off. “We’ve got a lot to do this morning.” He got up and went to the bathroom. Jungkook was still asleep when he got back, so he yanked his boxers down and started wiping bruise cream all over his thighs. “You’re going to need this.”

“Ow. Yeah. I feel that,” Jungkook said, turning his head to the side out of the pillow to look drowsily back at him. “s’fuckin surreal, dude.”

“Hm?”

“To wake up in the morning with fucking Namjoon Kim smearing goo on my ass.”

Namjoon flicked his butt in reproach and watched it jiggle. “How are your shoulders?”

“Fine. You know how fast I recover. Speaking of, are we going to have morning sex?” Jungkook said, slurring, eyes sliding closed again.

“Don’t have time for that. You wouldn’t set the alarm earlier, even though I told you you’d want to.”

Jungkook shuffled his thighs wider so Namjoon could get at all the hickeys, propping up a little on his knees, soft and cooperative and slowly falling back asleep with his ass in the air. “Does it hurt?” He asked.

“Hrm? Not…Not too bad. Feels good.” His eyes finally opened, still hooded, and he pulled his phone in front of his face and opened Instagram. “Selfie for IG?” He asked, holding his phone up, Namjoon’s hands on his bare ass in frame.

“Fuck off,” Namjoon said, snickering. He finished rubbing the cream in and slid his boxers back up his legs. “Okay, get up and get dressed.”

“Get my wrists too,” he said, holding them out. A dim network of purple-grey ringed right below his hands, a good three inches thick. Namjoon wasted a few minutes laying gentle kisses over the bruises before rubbing the cream in, and Jungkook lay like a dream in his over-sized t-shirt, eyes half-closed, sleepy smile stuck on his face.

When Namjoon finished, Jungkook rolled over, eyes back on his phone. “We have to be more careful,” he said.

“Huh? Why?”

“Posted a picture of us in that meeting a couple days ago. I was wearing one of your shirts from Beijing and people actually noticed. Mostly they just think it’s a bro thing, but we have to be a little more conscious of that.”

“I think coach is catching on,” Namjoon said. “Props to us that its taking him this long, but I was wearing one of your shirts the other day, and I saw him staring at that, and then staring at the hickey on your neck and looking really confused.”

“He’s going to find out eventually,” Jungkook said, waddling over to the dresser and stripping off his pajamas, bed hair standing wildly in every direction, “especially if we start consistently showing up to practice with matching hickeys.”

“He’s going to give us so much shit.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be making my breakfast right now?”

Namjoon got up and sauntered over to where Jungkook was just stumbling into fresh underwear, and pinned him in up against the dresser. “You’re washing all the dishes by yourself tonight you little bastard.”

“Oh, god, no, don’t make me.”

Namjoon went to the kitchen anyway. By the time Jungkook came out in his school clothes, a really casual dress code that had him in black jeans and button-up rolled to his elbows and open over a t-shirt, beanie on his bed-hair, Timbs on his feet. “How do you skateboard in those?” he asked.

“Namjoon, I can do anything. You should know that by now.”

Namjoon handed him a breakfast shake in a portable mug and kissed his forehead. “Your lunch is on the counter. I put the bruise cream in the box in case you need it.” Jungkook picked up his tin iron-man lunchbox and threw it in his backpack.

“How do your lunches even survive long enough to get eaten?”

“Not gonna lie, the sandwich is always completely smashed by the time get to lunch. One of my friends keeps teasing me for the bread you keep using, by the way.”

“Suck it up. All homemade whole-grain for you. I ain’t giving you any nasty processed shit.”

“Love you,” Jungkook said by the door.

“Love you too,” Namjoon said, walking up to give him a last hug and a kiss.

“Time to go spend a long, uncomfortable day sitting on my bruises. I’ve got weightlifting today too. I’m gonna get a lot of awkward questions.”

“What are you going to tell them?”

“That some girl went to town on my thighs yesterday? What am I supposed to tell them?”

“Hm. Make it detailed.”

“Some girl I picked up in Rio gave me a booty call, tied me down and…Namjoon please don’t turn me on when I’m about to skate to school.”

Namjoon took his thigh out from between his legs with a regretful sigh. “Have a good day, dear.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

He grabbed his skateboard and walked out, leaving a dazzling smile behind like a sunspot, and Namjoon began the daily eighty-hour wait till he came back home.