It’s not uncommon for Namjoon to wake up to the sound of his ringtone blaring from his nightstand, jolting him from sleep into the waking world in the most obnoxious way possible.
It is almost guaranteed that the caller will be Jung Hoseok, who loves nothing more than to sound grossly chipper and screech in his best friend’s ear about what a glorious day it is, even when it’s pouring with rain, and how Namjoon is wasting it by being a lazy ass and sleeping his life away.
It kinda comes with the package of having a polar opposite slash personal trainer as your best friend. Jung Hoseok is a morning person, he has schedules, he is upbeat and he has absolutely zero inhibitions when it comes to overstepping boundaries, especially when it comes to Namjoon. He thinks he’s doing a service by waking Namjoon up almost every damn morning.
There have been countless times that Namjoon has tried to rebuff this information, but Hoseok isn’t hearing it. So Namjoon’s used to the wake up calls, he doesn’t like them, but he stomachs them.
(There’s probably worse things than waking up to Hoseok’s voice. Though he’ll never ever admit this out loud.)
When the phone goes off this time, Namjoon’s so used to it that he can just roll to the side, fumble for the phone, swipe the screen and press it to his ear, all with his eyes closed. It’s an art form.
‘I hate you,’ Namjoon says by way of greeting. His voice is groggy, mouth tastes like shit and he remembers now that he went out for drinks the night before.
‘Welcome to the land of the living,’ Hoseok says, dryly in response. Namjoon’s sleep-fuzzy brain processes the words two seconds slower than he would normally. ‘It’s three in the afternoon and I know it’s your day off but—’
‘Wait wait wait,’ Namjoon cuts in, sitting up. ‘Three? Is it three?’
‘In the afternoon. Yes. Twelve past, if you wanna get specific.’
‘Shit,’ Namjoon throws the covers off, phone pressed into his shoulder. ‘I’ve got a tattoo appointment, fuck.’
It’s at four. He’s had it booked for a month or so now, circled on the calendar in his kitchen that Hoseok bought him like five times.
‘I know,’ Hoseok says. ‘I figured you’d sleep in. So you want me to swing around to your place and pick your dumbass up?’
‘Please,’ Namjoon says, sheepishly. Hoseok hums into the phone.
‘Why you’re so adamant on going to the devil spawn’s parlour of all things is honestly beyond me,’ he tells Namjoon. ‘I’m sure there’s other tattoo parlours run by people with less potential for evil.’
‘Leave Kook alone,’ Namjoon sighs, even though he knows Hoseok will do nothing of the sort. There’s history, he supposes it’s to be expected. ‘Also there’s not a huge surplus of tattoo parlours that cater to people like us. So even if I was as petty and bitter as you I’d have to go to Kook.’
Namjoon pulls the curtains open in time for a gust of wind to rattle against the window frame. It could always be a coincidence, but by the way Hoseok huffs on the end of the line, Namjoon can’t help but grin.
‘I’m not petty and bitter,’ Hoseok says and Namjoon can see him standing there, hand held to his chest in insult. ‘My reasons are valid. And besides you could forgo the tattoo in general. What are you getting this time? A phoenix? What does that even mean, Joon-ah?’
‘A phoenix is most commonly associated with the idea of rebirth—’
‘Wait, no, stop,’ Hoseok groans and Namjoon grins, toeing at a pile of clothes on the ground locating a cleanish looking pair of jeans. ‘I don’t need a huge rundown on it, I know what a phoenix is.’
‘Good to know,’ Namjoon says. ‘I’m gonna hang up now, I need to get changed.’
‘Just put me on speaker, I want to lecture you.’
If it were anyone else, Namjoon would’ve hung up, even after doing him a favour, but this is Hoseok and Namjoon cannot say no to him. He puts the phone on speaker without a second thought and goes in hunt for a clean shirt, letting Hoseok’s reprimands wash over him.
There are a number of things Namjoon would do for Hoseok, he’s pretty sure Yoongi, being the patronising shit that he is, keeps a list somewhere. He calls Namjoon whipped a lot and Namjoon rebuts by saying that he is in no way as bad as Yoongi is for Taehyung.
‘That doesn’t count,’ Yoongi told him, though his face flushed pink. ‘We’re engaged. You’ve been pining after Hoseok since high school.’
Namjoon hadn’t been able to deny it, he’s always been a terrible liar. He did, however, manage to tell Yoongi to shut up and cut off his laughter with a mouthful of pillow. Small wins and all.
He’s not sure if ‘pining’ is the right word for it though. He’s not suffering because of Hoseok, (well, okay, there’s some suffering but that stems from the fact that Hoseok’s a morning person and has no capacity to lower his voice, ever). Nothing to do with the flutter Namjoon gets in his chest when Hoseok smiles at him and how Namjoon would drop almost everything in a heartbeat for Hoseok. That’s not suffering.
‘Namjoon, are you listening?’ Hoseok asks and Namjoon grunts, grinning despite himself. ‘You know a grunt doesn’t count for anything, I could literally ask you anything right now and you’d agree to it.’
‘I’m listening, Hoseok,’ Namjoon says. ‘I’m just wondering if you should maybe get on the road, if you wanna get here in time and all. Can’t you tell me what I’m doing wrong with my life in the car ride or something?’
‘You are absolutely right,’ Hoseok says and Namjoon snorts, shaking his head. ‘Be ready in fifteen.’
It’s a five minute drive to Namjoon’s apartment, and Namjoon would poke fun at the additional ten minutes if not for the fact that Hoseok barges into the apartment with two steaming cups of coffee. He hands one to Namjoon and smiles into his own drink, winks because that’s what Hoseok does. Namjoon pretends his heart doesn’t stutter.
‘What would you do without me?’ Hoseok asks, smiling big and bright and Namjoon really shouldn’t stare too long. As much as he wants to kick himself for sounding so damn cheesy, it gets hard to look away.
He takes a sip of his drink, smothering any need for words as he fumbles for his keys on the kitchen counter, ushers Hoseok out the door.
‘I’d rather not think about it,’ Namjoon says and Hoseok doesn’t notice the way Namjoon looks at him, how his eyes soften and how he loses his words as he watches laughter curve Hoseok’s lips.
Hoseok doesn’t notice that Namjoon looks at him like he’s the human embodiment of sunshine.
Namjoon thought that after three times of being under the needle wielded by one Jeon Jungkook that he’d be used to the sharp, insistent stabbing that he willingly subjected himself to. But even after all this time, the pain has him gritting his teeth, glaring daggers into the wall in front of him and willing his brain to think of anything other than Jeon Jungkook and his damn needle.
He’s fast losing patience, wondering just how much he wants this damn phoenix tattoo. He’s simultaneously cursing the skin on his chest for rejecting the ink for the eighth time now and the freak storm that made him this way not four years past.
‘Shit fuck,’ Namjoon hisses through his teeth. Jungkook looks up, swiping excess ink from Namjoon’s skin and levelling him with an apologetic smile.
‘Sorry, hyung,’ Jungkook says and even in pain, Namjoon can’t find it within himself to be mad at that face.
‘It’s not your fault.’
Except it kind of is. Jungkook’s using a special needle of his own invention, designed especially for Namjoon and other people like him who have a special masochistic desire to illustrate themselves. It’s stronger, packs a bigger punch, but that’s not really Kook’s fault. It has to be that way if he wants the ink to go in.
But still, it’s stupid. The whole nature of his “freaky powers” (Yoongi’s term, not Namjoon’s) means that Namjoon, Hoseok and hundreds upon thousands of others have developed a literal thick skin, meaning injecting ink beneath the layers of his skin is a lot harder than it would’ve been before his “freaky powers” developed. Even with Jungkook’s needle, the skin is constantly rejecting the ink, meaning Jungkook has to go over and over and over the same damn spot and god is it infuriating.
This whole freak jump in evolution is so damn stupid. Hoseok likes to call it the ‘superhero effect.’ Says they’ve been upgraded so they can now be thrown against buildings by super villains and giant freak-show monsters and not die (Namjoon feels like he’d probably die.) But the “upgrade” is more an inconvenience than anything.
Namjoon’s power isn’t even anything strength based, so even if there were a collection of super-powered villains to face, (and there have been a few, to be fair, he’s met a couple too, nice people once you get past the homicidal tendencies) he wouldn’t be out there fighting them.
To top it all off, he never uses his ability, unlike Hoseok, who’s barely made an attempt at controlling it. So really all these side effects should fuck off so he might get his tattoo in peace.
‘It really doesn’t wanna hold,’ Jungkook mutters and Namjoon can’t help but force out a sigh. Jungkook’s brow is knit in a frown, eyebrow piercings flashing under the overhead light. The kid’s barely twenty-one but he’s almost covered in tattoos, Namjoon wonders if he had this much trouble getting his. Then again, considering Jungkook, he probably got his own through over means.
In want of a distraction, Namjoon lets his eyes stray from Jungkook to the couch on the other side of the room where Hoseok is sprawled out, taking up twice as much space as he needs.
Hoseok’s not really seated on the couch so much as he’s propped up against it, upside down, legs dangling in the air whilst his head hangs inches above the floor. He’s got a book in his hands, one on tattoo designs and he’s flicking through it idly as all the blood rushes to his head, turning his face magenta.
‘Joon-ah,’ Hoseok says, eyes flicking up to meet Namjoon’s stare. ‘What would you think about me getting a tattoo like this?’
He turns the book and Namjoon has to squint to see the illustration on the page. It’s a chest tattoo, a scene of a monochrome cityscape illuminated by a bolt of lightening, splitting straight through down the middle. Dark storm clouds are set heavy above the skyscrapers and Namjoon has to keep from rolling his eyes.
‘Dude,’ Namjoon says, trying to keep his voice from sounding too strained. ‘A storm tattoo? That would be like if I decided to get a brain tattooed somewhere on me.’
‘Nuh-uh,’ Hoseok says because he is a literal child, the date on his birth certificate be damned. ‘This is different. Brain’s look weird as shit, no-one gets brains tattooed on them.’
‘I’ve tattooed a brain on someone before,’ Jungkook says and Hoseok’s eyes narrow into slits.
‘I didn’t ask you, brat.’
Jungkook makes an indigent sound. He turns to Namjoon and pouts.
‘Hoseok, come on,’ Namjoon sighs. ‘Manners.’
This is what he gets for getting Hoseok to sit in with him. He guesses it’s to be expected. With everyone else, Hoseok is the picture of politeness, all manners and courtesy, the kinda guy mother’s would kill to have as sons.
Jungkook is a special exception however. He tends to be with their friend group, considering he’s an ex-villain who had a special interest in them for some reason (Namjoon thinks he was lonely) and tried to kill them on a multiple occasions. It’s all in the past now that Jungkook’s taken up a respectable job running an illegal tattoo parlour, so he’s only slightly breaking the law. He’s also promised not to kill or seriously maim people anymore. Pinky swore it.
But still, there are some grievances.
‘You can’t ask me to be nice to someone who’s tried to kill me, Namjoon,’ Hoseok had said, Taehyung and Yoongi nodding in agreement behind him. ‘If you wanna keep him as your little brother project and have him follow you around like some infatuated puppy, that’s fine, but he still tried to kill us like seven times.’
‘Three times!’ Namjoon retorted, having felt an almost maternal urge to pull Jungkook to his chest and shield him from the verbal slander. ‘And he didn’t know better!’
He’s steadily getting used to the eye rolls, but whatever. Fact is, Hoseok should be more understanding.
‘Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, you can’t take me anywhere,’ Hoseok readjusts himself on the couch, moving so he’s sitting upright. ‘Whatever. I’m still right. A tattoo with a city lit up by lightening would look freaking sick. Storms are awesome.’
‘You used to be scared of storms,’ Namjoon reminds him.
‘Before I could bend them to my whim,’ Hoseok says, going so far as to pair his blinding grin with a wink. Namjoon promptly turns away, blaming the redness in his cheeks on the pain from Jungkook’s damn needle.
Hoseok’s affinity with the weather is based solely on the fact that he now has the ability to control it. Where he used to bemoan rainy weather and complain for hours on end about the unfairness of it all, he now revels, dragging Namjoon outside to dance in the puddles and scream musical numbers because Jung Hoseok is all about theatrics. It’s a slow process getting used to the fact that Hoseok’s moods alter the weather, but they’re getting there.
‘Your tolerance for pain is ridiculously low, Hobi, you’d scream the entire time.’
‘If you came and held my hand it would be fine.’ Namjoon grits his teeth. He can see Hoseok grinning in the corner of his eye, rising to his feet and making his way over to the bench Namjoon’s propped up on. He kneels down, points at where the needle is working away at his skin. Jungkook’s gotta be almost done, but Namjoon can’t look down and confirm. It always freaks him out.
‘Is it sore?’ Hoseok asks as Namjoon bats his finger away, giggling like a pre-schooler.
‘Yes,’ Jungkook corrects. His eyes flick up, a small apologetic smile gracing his features. ‘You wouldn’t be sweating if you weren’t, hyung. Or gritting your teeth. If you ain’t sore, I’d assume you have some intense pain tolerance ability.’
‘Aw,’ Hoseok coos, getting way too close to Namjoon’s face which is entirely unfair because Namjoon can’t recoil in this position, the utter bastard. ‘Is little baby Joonie hurting? Do you need me to kiss it better?’
He puckers his lips, making to lean over and plant a kiss on the phoenix’s head, just under Namjoon’s collar bone. Namjoon cusses, recoiling despite himself and luckily Jungkook has removed the needle from the situation, preventing any painful accidents. But still, the sudden lurch on what feels like the worst case of sunburn in his life, isn’t pleasant. Namjoon hisses through his teeth, swatting Hoseok away, muttering, ‘Germs, Hoseok, fucking infections.’
Hoseok pulls away, cackling to himself. A tiny part of Namjoon wants to smack him.
‘You’re no fun,’ Hoseok says. He gets to his feet, stretches the kinks from his neck. ‘I’m gonna go get us ice cream. Ice cream makes everything better, even the sting of rejection.’
Namjoon rolls his eyes. ‘Don’t be melodramatic.’
‘You wound me,’ Hoseok says, grinning. He turns on his tail and heads towards the door. ‘I’ll get you strawberry. Be right back.’
Namjoon watches him leave, flinching when Jungkook returns to his work, muttering a small, ‘almost done.’ There’s a blush creeping to the tips of Namjoon’s ears and he can’t quite meet Jungkook’s eyes. He’s used to Hoseok’s flirting, really, he can deal, but when other people are thrown into the equation, people who know of his predicament with feelings, it becomes twenty times more embarrassing.
Jungkook finishes up, wiping away the excess ink and all the blood still seeping out of him. The tattoo isn’t finished, but it’s been two hours and Namjoon’s pain tolerance is waning. They’ll finish up the details in a week, once Namjoon’s had time to recover.
‘So…’ Jungkook says as he gently swabs the wounds with vaseline. Namjoon shoots him a look. He does not like that tone.
‘Nothing, hyung,’ Jungkook replies and Namjoon will defend to the death Jungkook’s goodness now that he’s been rehabilitated, ask anyone, but the way he bats his eyelashes and pouts is all faux innocence.
‘Spit it out.’
‘Does he seriously not know?’ Namjoon regrets prying immediately, mouth snapping closed as he averts his gaze. ‘I mean, I know you said he doesn’t, but it’s so obvious.’
‘I’m not obvious,’ Namjoon mumbles.
‘I’ve hung out with you guys before. The amount of times you’ve freaked out over something he says to you is second only to the amount of times he accuses me of plotting to kill something. Nothing is more obvious than that.’
‘Honestly, hyung, it’s no joke. Kinda sad, too. Are you sad, hyung?’
Part of the reason Namjoon refuses to believe that Jungkook is pure evil is the genuine concern in his voice when he asks how Namjoon is. The others like to call Namjoon naive, trusting in people too easy, but the fact of the matter is, you can not look at the puppy dog eyes of Jeon Jungkook and say that he is a villain, hellbent on world destruction.
He almost wishes Hoseok were here to bare witness to it. Then he thinks about the line of conversation and supposes he can spend another year or so trying to prove Jungkook’s innocence without the support of this blatant display of empathy. Empathy with a side-helping of cheek, but empathy nonetheless.
‘I’m not sad,’ Namjoon says.
‘But you’re pining.’
‘I’m not pining,’ Namjoon snaps. He hates that word. ‘Jesus, you’re worse than Yoongi.’
‘Nine out of ten experts agree,’ Jungkook shrugs, the corner of his mouth quirking in a wry grin as he applies plastic wrap to cover the tattoo. Namjoon hasn’t even looked at the design yet. ‘You should tell him how you feel.’
‘No,’ Namjoon says, shaking his head. ‘No no no. He doesn’t feel the same way. Trust me on that.’
‘How do you know if you haven’t asked?’
‘Because he goes on dates every other week. He has a new fling all the time. And he flirts with everyone and he enjoys it. And it’s fine. It’s something I’m okay with. Honestly.’
It really is okay. Namjoon’s used to going out to bars and watching Hoseok climb into someone’s lap, or stick his tongue down someone’s throat, or leave with somebody in tow. He’ll wink at Namjoon like he’s in on it and Namjoon will give him a thumbs up. He’s seen it all and yeah, it’s not great, but he doesn’t go home and listen to sad love songs and cry into his pillow.
In the bars they frequent, Yoongi always gives him these looks like he’s delicate and in need of pity and Taehyung might come over and press a kiss on his cheek all sloppy drunk and apologetic and it’s fine. It’s not painless, but he’s not gonna lose his best friend over some unsolicited confession.
‘But you want him to be with you, yeah?’ Jungkook asks and Namjoon stills, trying to school his expression into one of disinterest.
‘It’s never gonna happen.’
‘You could always—’
‘It’s never going to happen,’ Namjoon repeats, steel in his voice. ‘What’s the point dwelling on it?’
Jungkook hands him his shirt, and Namjoon tries to avoid that look in his eye, the one of pity but also confusion as he gingerly pulls it over his head. When his head pokes out, there’s a determined set to the line of Jungkook’s mouth and both their eyes flick to the door in time to see Hoseok barge in, two tubs of ice cream in one hand and a slip of paper in the other.
‘Joon-ah,’ Hoseok says, grinning ear to ear and not waiting for a response as he sets the ice cream down on the couch’s arm rest. ‘Guess who got a number from the cute boy at the ice-cream parlour?’
He waggles the little paper and Namjoon’s face falls. He’s used to this. Barely even stings anymore, a fizzle of jealousy and then it’s gone. It’s fine.
‘What’s the matter?’ Hoseok asks, when it takes a second longer for Namjoon to school his expression into one of elation. In the corner of his eye, it looks like Jungkook might say something. Namjoon cuts him off.
‘It’s nothing, dude,’ Namjoon says. ‘Just a bit achy after the tattoo, you know? Makes me slow. That’s great you got his number.’
Hoseok beams and Namjoon pretends his heart doesn’t skip a beat. He pulls out the cash he owes Jungkook from his wallet and hands it over, unable to meet Jungkook’s eye seeing as though the tattooist is glaring daggers at Hoseok. Namjoon wants to reprimand him, but before he gets the chance, Hoseok’s hissing through his teeth, making a small sound of pain.
‘What?’ Namjoon says, turning to face him. His eyes sweep over Hoseok’s body, assessing for damage, but aside from the crinkle in his brow, he seems okay.
‘Ah, it’s nothing, Joon-ah,’ Hoseok says. His eyes seem far off.
‘Nothing ice cream won’t fix?’ Namjoon asks, trying for a smile and when Hoseok’s eyes refocus on Namjoon’s face, the grin he gets in return is blinding.
‘Have fun, hyung,’ Jungkook says, grinning big and Namjoon’s about to ask him about the sudden lift in his mood when Hoseok grabs his wrist and tugs him outside, barely giving Namjoon enough time to retrieve their ice creams and say a hasty ‘thanks!’
Namjoon doesn’t question why Hoseok screws up the little paper slip and tosses it into the bin, though in hindsight, he probably should’ve.
The next morning, Namjoon wakes up to his phone going off at five o’clock in the morning.
His first instinct is to panic, because it’s not light out and why the fuck would anyone be calling him when it’s not light out unless some terrible awful had occurred. Namjoon scrambles for his phone, almost drops it, blinks blearily at the screen as he tries to clear sleep from his eyes.
‘Hello?’ He doesn’t get the chance to look at the screen properly, doesn’t know who to expect, but when he hears that voice, he could kick himself for being surprised.
‘Hey Joonie.’ Hoseok’s voice. Of course it’s fucking Hoseok.
‘I’m actually gonna murder you,’ Namjoon says, dropping back down to his mattress and seriously contemplating throwing his phone out the window. ‘Do you have any idea what time it is?’
‘Ten past five in the morning.’ Hoseok’s voice is sickly sweet. Bastard and his good mood…
‘’S too early for this shit,’ Namjoon whines. ‘I’ve told you a hundred times, I don’t care if I’m gonna die ten years younger ‘cause I’m a lazy fuck, if you’re calling me about going for a morning run with you, you can forget it.’
‘I wasn’t going to ask you to go for a run,’ Hoseok says. ‘I mean, if you wanted to, we could. Whatever you want. But I wanted to show you something.’
‘Can’t it wait for like six hours?’
‘’Fraid not, babe.’
Pet names. One of Namjoon’s many many weaknesses. If Namjoon rolls over and buries his face in his pillow to grin like an idiot that’s his own damn business. The sting of his new tattoo be damned.
‘So I’m gonna swing round…’ Hoseok says.
‘Jesus. Hoseok, are you drunk? Because if you’re drunk, you’re gonna lose all rights to lecture me for my life choices. You know what? Scratch that, it’s five in the morning. You’ve lost them anyway.’
‘Joonie, c’mon,’ Hoseok whines, and pet names are a weakness but that nickname isn’t much better. ‘I promise it’s gonna be really super cool okay? Like the coolest. I want you to see it with me. It’ll be fun.’
‘Fuck you,’ Namjoon says, pushing the covers off of him. Hoseok makes an excited noise.
‘I’ll be there in fifteen,’ he says and hangs up.
Namjoon hates everything.
Hoseok bought coffee again, it’s a small plus for getting up at ass o’clock in the morning. He lets himself in, holding the two cups carefully and Namjoon watches him from the coffee table, groggy and sleep-deprived. He almost scalds his tongue in an attempt to wake himself up with much needed caffeine.
‘Aren’t you cold?’ Namjoon asks. Hoseok’s dressed in nothing more than a tank top that Namjoon knows he likes because it shows off his arms and the tightest pair of jeans he owns. Namjoon does not pay much attention to this fact, because he is a good friend who doesn’t check out his best friend’s ass no matter how nice said ass is.
‘No,’ Hoseok says. His teeth chatter.
‘Idiot,’ Namjoon says. ‘Wait here. I’m gonna get you a hoodie.’
‘I’m fine,’ Hoseok insists, pouting as Namjoon gets to his feet.
‘Don’t worry, it’ll be a clean one. I’m not that gross.’
‘That’s not—’ Namjoon doesn’t hear the rest, already halfway to his room, where he digs out a hoodie from his closet. He chucks it at Hoseok, who with a small sigh tugs it over his head.
The hoodie’s big on Namjoon, so it swamps Hoseok, fingers barely poking out of the sleeves. He’s still pouting, eyes downcast like a child who’s about to break into a full-blown tantrum at any moment.
‘What’s wrong?’ Namjoon asks.
‘I liked that outfit,’ Hoseok says petulantly. Namjoon runs a hand down his face. It’s too fucking early for this.
‘Seok-ah, no-one’s gonna be up to see you at this hour. And even if there are any sporty morning perverts you wanna show off for, you look cute, it’s fine.’
Hoseok brightens considerably at that, the tips of his fingers fiddling with his sleeves. ‘I look cute?’
‘Fucking adorable,’ Namjoon says and pays no mind to the little pleased noise Hoseok makes. ‘Now are we going or not? You dragged me out of bed for this.’
‘Right, right, let’s go!’ There’s a skip in his step as he grabs his coffee and leads Namjoon out the door. Namjoon shakes his head.
‘Fucking morning people.’
If it weren’t for the coffee, Namjoon would’ve slept on the car ride to their destination. Hoseok, in what must be some form of apology for getting him up early, plays the radio station Namjoon DJ’s for in the car and even refrains from rapping along to all the songs they play in a cheesy manner. It’s his favourite pastime if he’s gunning to piss Namjoon off, this morning it’s obviously not his goal.
It’s a fifteen minute drive, the roads aren’t too busy this time of day. Namjoon has no idea where they are, only that they’re going uphill, slightly faster than a snail’s crawl. Hoseok pulls into a rocky carpark, doesn’t quite look like it should be a parking lot, but Hoseok isn’t fussed so Namjoon doesn’t comment.
‘Just in time,’ Hoseok says, grinning at Namjoon until he tentatively smiles back.
Hoseok kicks the door open, Namjoon follows suit, grabbing their cooling coffees and watching as Hoseok leaps into the trailer of his truck. He pats the space beside him, and Namjoon carefully manoeuvres himself into the trailer, somehow managing to keep both himself and the coffees intact. There’s a blanket folded in the corner, Hoseok pulls it out and throws it over both their legs, shuffling closer to Namjoon and Namjoon’s brain totally doesn’t short-circuit at the proximity. He is a grown man, he can deal with this.
‘What are we doing here, Hoseok?’ Namjoon’s never been here before. It’s damn high up, over-looking the city, where sunlight is starting to ebb it’s way into the sky, colouring it pink.
‘Watching the sunrise,’ Hoseok says. Namjoon groans.
‘You woke me up to watch the sunrise?’
‘Well, yeah,’ Hoseok shrugs. ‘I thought it might come in handy.’
‘Come in handy?’
‘For writing songs and stuff.’ Namjoon has to close his mouth when Hoseok turns to face him, eyes wide with something that almost looks vulnerable, which isn’t Hoseok at all. ‘You said you thought your songs were becoming repetitive in content or something. So I just thought…’
He waves a hand at the horizon, Namjoon blinks.
‘Oh,’ Namjoon says, very intelligently. ‘That makes sense. That’s, ah… that’s actually really cool. Thoughtful of you.’
Touching would’ve been a better word, Namjoon didn’t even know Hoseok paid attention to his ramblings about music-making, those complaints were normally reserved for Yoongi. Obviously, he’d taken something on board.
Hoseok beams, shuffles closer, lifts his leg so it’s resting on top of Namjoon’s. It’s not something Hoseok’s ever done before, but it’s not too out of character. So Namjoon can deal with the slight flush of his cheeks that he’ll blame on the temperature if Hoseok asks and the slight increase in his heart rate. Hoseok probably doesn’t even notice he’s done it.
They watch the sun rise above the horizon in relative silence. There’s birdsong over head, the sound of the city coming to life way down below where cars and people are indistinguishable specks. Namjoon feels more than hears Hoseok’s breathing, the slow drawn inhale and the release of the exhale, sagging his shoulders.
Out of the corner of his eye he can see the light coming up to bounce off of Hoseok’s cheekbones. Dyes his face golden and catches in the glint of his eyes and his teeth when his lips pull away to smile at the sight in front of him.
‘You are so whipped,’ Yoongi had told him, once upon a time. ‘Fucking doomed, man.’
Namjoon couldn’t agree with him more.
He feels Hoseok’s eyes glide over to him, knows he’s been caught in the act and he waits for the teasing to begin, for the flirtatious comments that don’t actually mean anything. He braces himself for it and everything.
‘How are you so pretty?’ Hoseok asks, leaning in close to Namjoon’s face, pressing a finger into where one of his dimples would be if Namjoon were smiling. But he’s not smiling. He’s blushing, eyes wide and mouth drawn into a tight thin line. This is a new line of flirting. Namjoon saw his face in Hoseok’s car, puffy and splotched red from the cold, he’s nowhere close to looking ‘pretty’ right now.
‘Genetics?’ Namjoon says. Hoseok hums in acknowledgement.
‘The whole world should write a thank you card to your parents. Dear Mr and Mrs Kim, thank you for banging twenty four years ago and gracing us with one Kim Namjoon.’
‘Dude, come on,’ Namjoon whines. ‘On a list of things you don’t talk to your friends about, parents having sex is like top three easily.’
Hoseok laughs, still pressed up against Namjoon. When his laughter fades out, his head falls onto Namjoon’s shoulders, and the proximity is almost unbearable in how good it feels. Namjoon feels guilty in an instant. Hoseok’s touchy by nature, this is nothing more than platonic to him. Namjoon is a terrible friend.
‘This is nice,’ Hoseok says. ‘We should do things like this more often.’
Namjoon nods stiffly in agreement, hoping Hoseok can’t pick up on the kick in his heart rate.
‘Do you ever think,’ Yoongi had asked Namjoon one night, about six months ago. ‘About how one day, you’re gonna have to stand there and give him away?’
He’d said this after asking Namjoon to be his best man for his wedding. Hoseok was passed out on the couch, Taehyung had made it to the bed before doing the same, leaving Namjoon and Yoongi to collapse on the spare couch, picking at the cold slices of pizza they’d ordered to celebrate.
Namjoon says Hoseok is his best friend, and it’s true, but the fact is, without sounding juvenile, Yoongi is just as much his best friend.
Granted, Namjoon would not do as many things for Yoongi as he would for Hoseok and their brand of ‘affection’ is almost entirely comprised of insults unlike the ratio Namjoon has with Hoseok. But they’ve known each other since they were six and look out for each other, and put up with each other’s bullshit. Namjoon is Yoongi’s best man for his wedding even though Hoseok would’ve been a way better choice. Namjoon was the one who forced Yoongi to go talk to Taehyung back when he was sixteen and Yoongi was even more emotionally stunted than he is now, thus starting their high school romance that is admittedly really cute.
In Yoongi’s defence, he’d been a bit drunk, his tact even more lacking than usual, but the blow had still hit Namjoon hard in the gut, like a baseball bat right under his ribs.
‘I’m not his dad, hyung,’ Namjoon had snapped. ‘I don’t give him away. And that entire idea is some sexist concept of women being property to exchange with other men. It wouldn’t apply to him even if I was his father because he’s a guy so—’
‘You know what I mean, Joon-ah,’ Yoongi said, voice soft and Namjoon shut his mouth because he did know what Yoongi meant, and he wasn’t thrilled about it.
‘You’re his best friend,’ Yoongi said. ‘He’ll meet someone and fall in love and you’ll be his best man because of course it’ll be you and you’ll have to watch that happen.’
‘Maybe I’ll meet someone.’ He blamed the alcohol for the hard edge to his tone. ‘Maybe I’ll meet someone and get over the crush. Have you ever thought of that?’
‘If you’re calling years of pining a crush, you’re even more deluded than I thought.’
‘What is this meant to accomplish exactly?’ Namjoon asked. ‘Why are you asking this?’
‘I worry about you. You’re in deep, Joon-ah, I want to be sure you’re alright.’
‘I’d tell you if I wasn’t alright, hyung. If the time comes and I’m all stupid and heart broken because of anything Hoseok related, I’ll tell you all about it and you’re free to get me drunk and let me cry into your lap like a child.’
‘Gross,’ Yoongi had said, nose crinkling. ‘But good, I’ll hold you to that.’
Turns out when Hoseok says ‘we should do things like this more often’ he means almost every day of the week. Namjoon would be lying if he said he wasn’t starting to get suspicious, though he’s not too sure what exactly he’s suspicious of.
Saturday was the morning they watched the sunrise together. Sunday they had a marathon of action movies and had even watched a horror which ended with Hoseok cowering behind Namjoon the entire time. Monday they both had work, but Hoseok sent Namjoon close to fifty texts in between meetings with his gym-rat clients. Tuesday, Hoseok insisted they go out for lunch together. Wednesday Hoseok brought lunch to him and insisted he be allowed to see Namjoon’s yet to be complete phoenix tattoo. He’d made a comment about Namjoon looking good shirtless which had sounded fake coming from a guy with six pack abs.
It’s common for the two of them to talk everyday, with Hoseok’s wake up calls and all, but to see each other too? It’s like they’re back in high school, sharing almost every class and catching the same bus home each night. Except Hoseok’s more giggly. And touchy. And Namjoon’s not sure if he’s overthinking things like he always does, but all these displays tend to be more than simply platonic.
But he doesn’t know for sure, and for the time being will remain suspicious.
Thursday evening, Namjoon finds Hoseok outside his work building, waiting for him in the same tight-fitting pants he’d worn on their Saturday morning excursion and a different tank top that he likes because it also shows off his arms.
Namjoon had received word of this fifteen minutes before the end of his shift, during a break for advertisements. The text had been to the point and hadn’t left much room for argument. It had also included two kiss emojis at the end of the message. Namjoon’s words had been choked when he went back on air.
‘Guess where we’re going,’ Hoseok says, when Namjoon emerges from the building. His cheeks, thankfully, have returned to their regular colouring.
‘Not home?’ Namjoon says, trying to keep the edge of hope from his voice. He’s exhausted, could use a night in to recuperate.
‘Nope!’ Hoseok says. He slings an arm around Namjoon’s neck and leads him over to the car. ‘We’re going to that club opening you were talking about on your show. It sounded sick, plus it’s totally your thing.’
‘You were listening to me on the radio?’ Namjoon says as Hoseok opens the door to his truck for him. ‘You do that?’
‘Lately, yeah! I mean, when I’m not with a client or anything. Your voice is nice.’
Namjoon frowns, climbing into the car as Hoseok jogs around the other side to climb into the driver’s seat. It’s not like Hoseok never praises him or anything, it’s just that, there tends to be a healthy ratio of insult to praise. About ten insults to every praise. And that’s being generous.
It’s too early for the show, so the two of them wind up heading to a cheap barbecue place that Hoseok tries to pay for. Namjoon promptly tells him to fuck off.
‘I’m older, I should pay!’
‘By like, seven months, dickhead. We’re the same age and you shouted lunch yesterday.’
Hoseok had then bargained to split it, but Namjoon wasn’t hearing any of that. He simply told Hoseok to sit down and Hoseok had done so, pouting, but without further argument.
For the first forty-five minutes, the dinner could pass for uneventful. But as they’re finishing off their food, Hoseok leans across and swipes excess sauce off the corner of Namjoon’s lip with his thumb, then lifts said thumb into his mouth and licks it. This is all whilst holding Namjoon’s gaze the entire time. He even quirks an eyebrow as if it’s all some challenge.
‘You’re being weird,’ Namjoon tells him, through the part of him that’s barely holding off from falling into a mental breakdown. There’s some things you just don’t do whilst making direct eye contact with people. That’s the kinda stunt Taehyung would pull, and even then, only with Yoongi.
‘Oh?’ Hoseok blinks at him innocently. The twinkle in his eye is a dead giveaway that shows he knows exactly what he’s done.
Even though he’s full, Namjoon shoves an extra bit of meat into his mouth, taking his time chewing so he doesn’t have to play into whatever Hoseok’s trying to pull. He should call Yoongi at some point and talk to him about it. Get him to ask if Hoseok’s mentioned anything about fucking with him or something. But then he runs the risk of being lectured about reading too much into things as a result of his “pining.” Those are never good times.
But honestly. Namjoon’s just sitting here, taking his time with his chewing and he’s like, ninety percent sure Hoseok bit his lip and who even does that? Bites their damn lip as they look at their best friend. It’s total freaking sacrilege and should also be illegal. Hoseok should be given a fine for acting weird and being attractive simultaneously.
Whatever’s happening, it’s slowly driving Namjoon crazy.
Hoseok’s already buzzed by the time they head to the club, humming to the songs on the radio and insisting Namjoon join in. They’re stuck in the slow crawl of traffic but it doesn’t put a damper on his mood. Hoseok insists that this works better, that when they arrive, they’ll be fashionably late and can make their grand entrance.
‘Have you done your make-up?’ Namjoon says, adjusting his glasses to peer at Hoseok’s unblemished cheek. There’s a smudge of eyeliner under his eyes. Namjoon can’t believe this. ‘Of course. It figures you get yourself dolled up when we go out whilst I look like trash. Are you just using me as a wingman to make you look even better?’
‘What? No,’ Hoseok says, frowning. Outside a sudden wind picks up, rattles against the truck door. ‘That’s stupid, who the hell could compare to you anyway?’
‘You? Constantly? And come out the victor, pretty much every time?’
‘Don’t talk about yourself like that.’ The wind picks up again, a whistle of a thing. Pedestrians outside sway and almost lose their footing. ‘You look great. You always do.’
‘Are you kidding?’ Namjoon says. ‘You’re getting all angry over something I’ve said how many times? Seriously what is up with you?’
Suddenly Hoseok slams on the brakes. He turns and plants his hands on either side of Namjoon’s face, pulling him in so there’s only mere centimetres separating them.
‘Listen to me,’ Hoseok says, voice deadly serious. ‘You are perfect and the most beautiful person ever and anyone who doesn’t see that is stupid and I hate them on principal.’
Namjoon can feel his face steadily growing redder. His heart thumping like a war drum in his chest. ‘Okay.’
‘Good.’ Hoseok beams. The wind dies off. Cars are honking behind them. ‘Now, tell me who the most gorgeous and perfect boy in the world is?’
‘You?’ It just kinda slips out.
‘Wrong answer,’ Hoseok gives his cheek a light tap. ‘Come on, Joonie.’
Namjoon heaves a sigh. ‘I am.’
‘Hoseok, come on. There’s traffic.’
‘What are you, Namjoon?’
Hoseok’s face is so close to him, closer than it’s ever been. Namjoon can see the slight bump of acne scars under Hoseok’s make up, or where he’s missed a spot whilst blending, he can feel Hoseok’s breath on his face, smell the mint from the gum he’s been chewing. They’re close enough that all Namjoon would have to do is press forward a little, not even an inch, let his eyes flutter closed and then—
‘Fuck,’ Namjoon says, voice far too strangled. ‘Fine. I’m the most gorgeous and perfect boy in the world or whatever.’
‘Good boy,’ Hoseok says, patting his cheek fondly as something stirs in Namjoon’s gut. He refuses to put a name to it. To make matters worse, Hoseok plants a chaste peck on Namjoon’s forehead before turning back to the wheel and driving those scarce metres forward.
Namjoon’s pretty sure he’s achieved something of a miracle by not spontaneously combusting on the spot.
‘You’re not going to dance with me, are you?’ Hoseok says over the sound of the club’s music a few hours later. He’s leaned across the booth’s table, sweat streaming down his brow. He’s practically glowing under the flashing lights of the club, bright as ever.
‘You know I can’t dance for shit, Seok-ah,’ Namjoon replies. ‘Can’t I just watch you dance from here?’
Hoseok pouts, paying no heed to his dance partner, who’s been waiting impatiently for five minutes or so now. She’s tapping her foot, lips pursed as she makes a show of heaving her shoulders dramatically. Namjoon kinda feels sorry for her, but then another girl comes up to her and holds out her hand for a dance and she’s off again, levelling Hoseok with a scathing look that he can’t see.
‘That’s what you’ve been doing for the past half an hour,’ Hoseok whines. And yeah, maybe Namjoon’s being antisocial, but he figures he’s still here, in the club, rather than pleading for Hoseok to let him go home. He’s even drinking at Hoseok’s insistence, despite having work tomorrow. Dancing is perhaps his one limit in this entire situation.
(Mainly because if he has to be pressed up against Hoseok with him acting the way he has been acting, dancing the way he’s prone to dancing, something will happen that Namjoon will hate himself for for the rest of time.)
‘I can’t help it,’ Namjoon shrugs. ‘You’re a good dancer, I like watching you.’
‘You do?’ Hoseok asks, blinking.
‘Of course. This shouldn’t be news to you. You’re the best dancer I know, Seok-ah, you look incredible out there.’
The alcohol’s made his tongue a bit looser. He’s not drunk, but he can definitely feel the tingle of booze in his veins. He’s almost proud of himself for not going off on a tangent about how pretty Hoseok looks. It’s something Yoongi would hear about and never let him live down. Lectures abound.
Hoseok simply hums, a small smile playing at his lips. He slips into the seat beside Namjoon, ushering Namjoon further into the booth. It’s a first, that Hoseok would blow off dancing or the chance of getting laid to sit in a booth with Namjoon. That might be a bit steep, if Namjoon’s in a mood, Hoseok will stay with him and talk him up to people in the hopes Namjoon will get laid. That, or he’ll try cheer Namjoon up on his own.
But Namjoon isn’t in a mood now. He’s tired, but not sad or pissy and honestly he’s just confused. He’s really starting to wonder if something is up. If he’s not just more susceptible to all of Hoseok’s antics than usual.
And so to be sure, he decides to test it.
‘There’s a guy checking you out over there,’ Namjoon says, cocking his head towards the bar. The guy’s tall, slightly muscular with hair dyed a light shade of something that’s hard to discern in the flashing lights. He’s got a nice smile and sharp eyes that have been on Hoseok for some time now. He’s exactly Hoseok’s type.
Hoseok looks over, meets the man’s gaze who wastes no time winking at him and Namjoon can’t help but roll his eyes. Hoseok, however, doesn’t rise to the bait. Instead, he offers a polite smile and turns back to Namjoon.
‘Not interested,’ he says.
‘You’re kidding me,’ Namjoon dead pans. ‘Seok-ah, you have described in detail to me the guys and girls of your wet dreams. He fits the bill.’
‘Tastes change, maybe if he had tattoos or something.’
‘I mean he could have tattoos,’ Namjoon shrugs. ‘Don’t tell me you’re developing a taste for punks or some shit, Hobi.’
‘Nah. I think I’m more feeling the geeky types. But like, geeky with button-ups and glasses and then they take off their shirt and it’s like, boom, tattoos.’
Unconsciously, Namjoon’s hand strays to the collar of his button-up shirt, smoothing it down. This is the first time he’s heard of this description, which doesn’t at all match the guy Hoseok got with the week before.
Namjoon jumps when he feels Hoseok’s foot nudge against his leg. It grazes slowly up the inside of his calf and then back down again. This goes on for about a minute, Namjoon’s too disorientated to comment on it.
‘Why don’t we ever talk about your love life, Joon-ah?’ Hoseok says. If the club were quieter, he might’ve whispered into Namjoon’s ear. Regardless he still leans into Namjoon’s space, all conspiring like. ‘Who you’re into?’
‘I don’t know. You’ve always tended to dominate in that department.’
‘Not the only department I’d dominate in.’
Namjoon lets out a groan. ‘You need to stop.’
‘Oh come on, you left yourself wide open to that one.’ A slow smile creeps across Hoseok’s face and Namjoon glares.
‘If you make one comment about my legs, or my ass, or something, I swear…’
‘Don’t have to, babe,’ Hoseok says, grinning over the lip of his drink. ‘The thought’s already there now.’
Namjoon purses his lips, refusing to think of it out of spite. This proves easier said than done. Damn Jung Hoseok.
‘Finish your drink and we can leave if you want,’ Hoseok says. ‘I’m kinda danced out anyway. We could just chill and watch something at your place.’
The atmosphere really is starting to get draining, and Namjoon isn’t opposed to crawling up in front of the TV and falling asleep until his shift at work tomorrow. He nods and Hoseok leads him out of the club, Namjoon even manages to avoid thinking too hard on how Hoseok links their fingers together. Though he won’t deny, he does like the feeling.
Hoseok only had a drink, downed with a decent amount of water and the dinner beforehand, plus dancing for a couple hours straight. He’s alright to drive them home.
Once they’re at the apartment, Hoseok suggests they stay up to watch something, but Namjoon calls it quits for the night, exhaustion hitting him hard.
‘Oh,’ Hoseok says, and he shuffles awkwardly from foot to foot, in the way he does when he wants to say something but isn’t sure if he should.
‘What’s up?’ Namjoon says.
‘It’s nothing,’ Hoseok replies. ‘I’m getting tired too, probably best to head back to mine.’
He still seems dejected. Namjoon rubs the nape of his neck.
‘You know if you’re tired you could stay here?’ It wouldn’t be the first time Hoseok has after a night out. Even if there’s only so much distance between them. If he’s tired, it’s safer this way.
Hoseok brightens at this suggestion. He beams and then goes about babbling, pulling out sheets and pillows from the cupboard they’re stored in and making up the couch. Namjoon grabs him a spare duvet and chucks it to him when Hoseok talks about making them breakfast in the morning.
‘Sounds good,’ Namjoon says. Man, he’s tired. ‘I’m gonna crash, I’ll see you in the morning.’
‘Night babe,’ Hoseok says off handedly, grinning at him as he disappears into his bedroom.
Namjoon doesn’t fall asleep grinning with his face buried in the pillow.
There have been a number of times when Namjoon has thought about being woken up to a living, breathing Hoseok in bed with him, rather than over the phone or, in some cases, from the doorway where he pelts things at Namjoon until he gets a pillow thrown at him in return.
It’s not a super common thought, but it happens enough that when Namjoon does wake up to an arm wrapped around his middle, he assumes that he’s dreaming.
Namjoon makes a vague grunt. Hoseok readjusts himself, breath fanning out on Namjoon’s cheek.
‘You should fuck me.’
Namjoon bolts upright, doesn’t pay any heed to his surroundings and collides headfirst with Hoseok. For a moment he swears he sees stars. Next to him, Hoseok is cradling his own head in his hands, groaning.
Namjoon doesn’t know when the fuck Hoseok climbed into bed with him.
‘Excuse me?’ Namjoon must’ve heard wrong. Still half-asleep, yeah, that makes sense. God, his head is killing him.
‘Or I could fuck you?’ Hoseok says and Namjoon’s heart drops into his stomach. ‘Sorry, I assumed since you were taller you’d want to fuck me, but that’s kinda generalising and I know you hate that. You’re kinda soft so maybe you would wanna bottom? Okay, sorry I’m generalising again—’
Namjoon has never been more mortified in his life. Scrambling out of bed, he’s racking his brains, trying to work out where the fuck this is all coming from. Ten years of friendship and not once has Hoseok shown any interest in him and then one week and now Hoseok wants to fuck him? This is not something you casually ask your best friend any old morning. Something is up.
In his head, he hears Taehyung asking him if he’s walked into any portals leading to alternate realities lately. Namjoon doesn’t think so, but in the world they live in, it’s hard to rule out that possibility. All of this…stuff doesn’t fit in Namjoon’s version of reality. Hoseok must be fucking with him. That would explain it, right?
‘I could just blow you instead?’ Hoseok says. ‘Or you could blow me? Y’know take it slow. Also hand jobs. Do you know how great hand jobs are, Joonie?’
‘What the fuck?’ Namjoon chokes out. Hoseok lets out a jittery laugh, too nervous to be joking.
‘What’s a hand job between best friends?’ Hoseok shrugs, smile self-conscious now. Embarrassed. He frowns then and says, to redeem himself, ‘You can’t tell me you haven’t thought about it.’
Namjoon’s cheeks flare red. He is not dignifying that with a response.
‘Joonie, come back to bed!’ Hoseok whines and Namjoon shakes his head, darting for the closet and pulling out something decent enough for work. He changes quickly, darting out of the bedroom and into the living room with Hoseok struggling out of the covers behind him, screeching as he always does. Namjoon gets on pants and a shirt, grabs his wallet and that’ll have to do for now.
‘Joonie!’ Hoseok says, standing in the bedroom door threshold.
‘I’m off to work!’ Namjoon calls, slamming the door behind him.
It drizzles on the walk to work that morning.
Despite the light fall of rain this morning, the weather had cleared exponentially when Namjoon had poked his head outside during his lunch break. Namjoon sighed in relief, knowing that meant Hoseok had recovered from whatever mood he was in this morning and Namjoon bolting out the door with barely so much as a good bye hadn’t had a traumatising effect on him.
It’s not like Namjoon is a saint. He’s thought about… stuff with Hoseok before. Pretty much everyone in his immediate circle of friends would vouch to say that Namjoon isn’t exactly pure. However, the suddenness of Hoseok’s proposal had been a complete shock to the system. Something hadn’t felt right. And regardless, Namjoon wasn’t interested in having sex with Hoseok as a friends with benefits like deal because he’s watched enough romantic comedies to know how that ends.
Better to let Hoseok down gently with that proposal. Or to bolt out of the room, all but screaming and have a mental breakdown in a cafe before his shift started.
Namjoon isn’t exactly known for his tact.
Despite the clear in weather, by the time Namjoon finishes up work for the day, the clouds have greyed over. A couple drops of rain catch Namjoon, one on the shoulder another on the cheek. A moment later, it’s as if the clouds have decided to release all hell, water buckets down and in the time it takes for Namjoon to rush for cover, he’s drenched.
‘Shit,’ Namjoon mutters, wringing out his shirt to no avail. Groaning, he begins the trek back to his apartment, thanking every known deity that it’s not too far.
He’s about to walk in the door to his apartment block when his phone vibrates in his pocket, he pulls it out to find Yoongi calling him.
‘Hyung?’ Yoongi rarely calls him, hates his cellphone with a burning passion and it’s ability to allow people to contact him whenever they deem fit. The fact that he’s calling, paired with the sudden change in weather that screams Hoseok, is more than a little concerning.
‘We’re having a situation,’ Yoongi says, in a drawling voice that is too casual for anything too serious. But then again, this is the same guy who looked bored sitting in hospital with Namjoon after the latter had his stomach pumped due to bad decisions involving clubs and copious amounts of alcohol that would have killed anyone who didn’t have super-freak organs.
‘Is it Hoseok?’ Namjoon asks.
Yoongi makes a noise that sounds vaguely affirmative. ‘Funny you should know that.’
‘What do you mean funny? The sky was clear fifteen minutes ago and now it’s pissing down. Generally this means something’s up with Hoseok.’
‘Right, the freaky powers thing,’ Yoongi says distractedly. He pauses, to look outside Namjoon thinks based on his next words. ‘Ah yes. That is indeed a freakish storm. Huh. Didn’t notice what with all the yelling.’
‘Yelling?’ Namjoon’s voice comes out strained, head swimming with the possibilities. Hoseok’s been acting strange, but there hasn’t been any yelling.
Sure enough, when he strains he hears something in the background. The tinny connection doesn’t make it sound quite human and the rain doesn’t help matters either, but Namjoon thinks he can hear something akin to a voice. ‘Hyung, what’s going on?’
Yoongi makes a noise like he’s clearing his throat and Namjoon braces himself for the absolute worst, when something rustles on the other end of the line. Yoongi swears and then Namjoon allows himself to wallow in even more confusion for two entire seconds before—
‘Hyung!’ Taehyung’s voice screeches in his ear. ‘Hoseok-hyung’s been possessed by a fucking demon so we had to tie him down to a chair and he keeps saying weird stuff and making these horrible noises and I don’t know what to do and neither does Yoongi-hyung oh my god, I swear his head’s gonna start spinning or he’ll froth and he’ll kill us all, help please.’
There is far too much in that sentence for Namjoon to dissect and if even a portion of it is true then there really is only one course of action.
Namjoon’s ears are still ringing when he mumbles a few assuring words and hangs up the phone, grabs an umbrella that proves to be useless as he bolts to Yoongi and Taehyung’s apartment two blocks away.
Despite not having any supernatural abilities, Taehyung is the one in their group of friends that happens to be obsessed with any and all things magical. He is more enthused about magic, more knowledgeable due to this enthusiasm and yet so much more wary around it. If he’s panicked about Hoseok, it means something magic is at play. Or he’s a paranoid mess again after watching too many conspiracy theories. Really it’s fair game.
He’s soaked to the bone by the time he bolts up the stairs and knocks on the door. When it opens, he’s greeted by Yoongi’s signature displeased look, nose scrunched up, brow knitted, narrowed eyes sweeping over Namjoon’s form.
‘You’re wet,’ Yoongi says to him.
‘Stellar observation, right there,’ Namjoon replies. ‘Can I come in?’
‘You’ll soak the carpet.’
Namjoon grits his teeth. ‘Hyung—’
Taehyung’s voice cuts him off, Namjoon hears a crash and a series of footsteps, Yoongi hissing in displeasure when Taehyung yanks the door all the way open, looking more dishevelled than usual, which is saying something, because Namjoon’s known Taehyung since he was fourteen, when his school uniform had always been covered in some form of paint and or glitter.
Taehyung grabs Namjoon by the arm, tugs him into the apartment, past Yoongi who dodges him to avoid becoming soaked.
‘Is Hoseok okay?’ Namjoon says and Taehyung simply folds his lips.
‘You have to promise you won’t freak out,’ Taehyung says, and that does nothing to prevent Namjoon from freaking out.
‘What’s happened?’ Taehyung hesitates in front of the door to the living room, his body barring Namjoon from crashing inside.
‘Okay so,’ Taehyung says. ‘Hyung was acting strange, like really strange and then he got very loud and there was the sound of thunder outside and I panicked because he was really very angry and I kinda maybe tackled him and sorta possibly tied him to a chair.’
‘You did what?’ Namjoon says. Taehyung winces, pushes the door open which deters Namjoon’s anger long enough to spot Hoseok on the other side of the room.
‘You’re here.’ It comes out half a sigh. Breathy and light and above all, strange. It’s the kinda tone Hoseok would use when he was hungover and sleepy and Namjoon would bring him a coffee. Hoseok would spend the next twenty minutes flicking between complaining and cooing in that tone. A mocking edge to the words because they only existed as a joke.
Namjoon is pretty sure the tone now is a result of Hoseok being strapped to a chair. It goes without saying that if anyone was going to take mercy on Hoseok in this state and let him go, it would undoubtedly be Namjoon.
‘Joonie, I’m sorry for this morning,’ Hoseok says, bottom lip wobbling. ‘You were just so cute and I thought since things had been going so well—’
‘Stop,’ Namjoon splutters, and Hoseok’s mouth promptly closes, though he still looks on the verge of tears. He wants to ask what he means by ‘things going well’ but Yoongi is standing right behind him and Namjoon can hear him sniggering and he is not ready for another round of mortification today. His heart can only handle so much.
Taehyung stands in the corner of the room, as far from Hoseok as he can get. He’s armed with a wooden spoon that he holds out in front of him like a weapon. As if Hoseok might pull a Houdini and escape from his crude confines made of duct tape, rope and…Namjoon seriously doesn’t want to know why Taehyung and Yoongi are in possession of fucking handcuffs.
‘I thought you said he was frothing,’ Namjoon says. ‘And that his head was spinning.’
‘I said that was about to happen,’ Taehyung says, voice shaky. ‘And look, okay I know he seems fine now, hyung, but up until you arrived he was screaming bloody murder—’
‘Because you tied him to a chair.’
‘Before that!’ Taehyung says defensively. ‘He was getting heated and going on about you and like, he talks about you, but this was weird and I panicked.’
‘Obviously.’ Namjoon turns to Yoongi who’s leaning against the threshold, glaring at the puddle forming at Namjoon’s feet. ‘And you let this happen?’
‘Well I mean, it was suspicious, Namjoon,’ Yoongi says and, as an after thought, he scoffs. ‘Also it’s fuckin’ hilarious. Look at him. Fucking golden. I should get the camera.’
‘Hoseok is not possessed by a fucking demon.’ Unless the demon happens to be a puppy, because that’s what he looks like, bottom lip jutting out in a pout, eyes round and pleading.
‘They’re being mean, Joonie,’ Hoseok says, voice a whine and if he had access to his hands, he might’ve tried that aegyo stunt he pulls where he beats his hands into the ground like a child in mid-tantrum. Even Namjoon, in all his crushing glory, is not fond of the display.
‘We’re not untying you until we find an exorcist,’ Taehyung tells Hoseok, very seriously.
‘Taehyung,’ Namjoon starts, but Taehyung shakes his head.
‘My house, my rules, hyung.’
Namjoon heaves a sigh. ‘This is karma for me not letting you harbour small animals in my apartment, isn’t it?’
‘This is for safety,’ Taehyung insists, but there’s a teensy bit of guilt in his eyes as he says it.
Namjoon turns to Hoseok, wondering if Taehyung would pounce on him if Namjoon ignored him and went about setting him free anyway. Probably, and Yoongi would likely encourage the whole shit show too. Best not risk it.
He does crouch on the ground near Hoseok’s feet, confused as to how Hoseok isn’t raging at someone to untie him this instance. Instead, he’s smiling down at Namjoon with this fond grin that Namjoon’s only ever seen when Hoseok’s drunk or high or too sleep deprived to think straight.
‘What’s he done then that’s so bad?’ Namjoon asks.
When there’s no immediate response, Namjoon turns around. Taehyung and Yoongi are still keeping their distance, exchanging a look that could mean any number of things. Namjoon won’t even try to speak that language.
‘Do you wanna talk in the kitchen, maybe?’ Yoongi says and not a lot of this stuff is making sense, but Namjoon considers Yoongi a good enough friend to know this suggestion is worth taking into account. He gets to his feet, hesitating when Hoseok makes a distressed noise behind him.
‘Joonie, don’t leave me here!’
‘I’ll just be in the kitchen, Hobi. You can see me from there, okay?’ Hoseok still looks panicked, which Namjoon can’t really fault him on considering he’s tied to a fucking chair. ‘Look, afterwards we can go to my place and order pizza or something, okay? Watch Studio Ghibli movies, but give me a moment first alright?’
‘You promise?’ Hoseok says, all tentative and far too adorable for someone who’s hands are restrained by kinky handcuffs—goddamn his stupid, gross friends.
‘Of course,’ Namjoon says, and only then can he follow Yoongi into the kitchen.
‘So what’s happened?’ he asks the pair of them, glancing at Hoseok through the ajar door. ‘It better be something good. He must be damn terrified—’
‘He came over here demanding I help write you a serenade to earn your forgiveness after he made a move on you,’ Yoongi says. He’s glowering at Namjoon, probably feels something close to betrayal about only hearing about this whole thing now. That explains the icy greeting.
Namjoon’s mouth opens. Closes. A lump forms in his throat and he swallows it. ‘He was probably joking.’
‘He wasn’t joking, Joon-ah,’ Yoongi says. ‘I’ve never seen him more serious in my fucking life, he was almost crying. He told me you two weren’t a thing, and he seems to think this entire situation is unrequited from his part, but this is Hoseok and if he’s really been pining for so long he would’ve told one of us by now because he can’t keep his damn mouth shut. So something weird’s obviously happening. Still, I humoured him for a bit, but I can only deal with so much weirdness. I have my plate full with Taehyung.’
‘Love you, babe.’
‘And that was enough to warrant tying him to a chair?’
‘No, the tantrum he threw was what warranted that.’
Namjoon feels the urge to sit down. Sadly, there are no seats in the kitchen, so he resigns himself to leaning against the bench. ‘What the fuck?’
‘Well,’ Yoongi says, and he looks way too amused for Namjoon’s liking. ‘We were discussing this serenade he was gonna make for you, which was so intensely cringeworthy, Joon-ah, it was incredible. Then, he was dropping L-bombs left and right so I was like “what the fuck why hasn’t Joon-ah told me of this shocking development.”’
‘He hasn’t said anything like that to me,’ Namjoon says, dazed. Hoseok’s saying he loves him now? He’d be lying if he said his heart didn’t swoop.
‘Well he told me,’ Yoongi says, eyes pinning Namjoon in place. ‘All about how he’d been flirting with you, telling you how pretty he thought you were, how he’d been taking you out on what basically classify as dates—’
‘I didn’t think they were dates! I thought we were hanging out, like normal—’
‘And then he told me that he’d snuck into your bed this morning and told you to fuck him, to which you shat a brick, head butted him and bolted out the door as fast as you can. I laughed my fucking ass off. Hobi got pissy.’
Namjoon wants the ground to swallow him whole. Yoongi looks fucking delighted at the mortified flush on Namjoon’s cheeks that confirms everything. Making Namjoon relive this is vengeance for not being told immediately after it had happened. Yoongi is a creature of chaos. Taehyung, for all his trepidation, is giggling into his fist.
‘So I said to him,’ Yoongi says, ‘I wasn’t laughing at him so much as I was laughing at you. Then he got really pissy and he said I didn’t deserve to be graced with your perfect and godly presence and that none of us—him included—were worthy of you. I said the only thing godly about Kim Namjoon is his ability to break everything he touches. Hoseok started screaming. Taehyung tackled him. Here we are.’
Namjoon has no idea what to say to any of that. Or if there’s anything to say to that at all. A part of him, a small part, is thankful that someone else has confirmed that something weird is going on with Hoseok and that Namjoon’s not overthinking things like he always does. The majority of him is nothing more than confused beyond belief.
There’s been a lot of strange happenings in all their lives ever since superpowers became a very real thing. Namjoon can honestly say that this is at least a top three.
‘Have you noticed the strange behaviour lately?’ Yoongi asks, pinching the bridge of his nose. ‘Aside from his proposition or whatever you wanna call it.’
‘I mean, I guess? He’s been a bit more flirty, but it’s Hoseok, not like he doesn’t do it all the time.’
‘But it’s just with you, right?’ Yoongi’s eyes flick to Hoseok, staring at them—at Namjoon—from his confines. ‘Holy shit look at him. He’s fucking besotted. Honestly I’m scared to leave you two alone in case he pounces on you. How long’s he been weird for?’
‘Um, Saturday? He called me at like five in the morning and took me to watch the sunrise with him.’
‘Weird. What happened on Friday then? You two were hanging out, right?’
‘Has he been drugged with a love potion?’ Taehyung all but moans, ever the drama queen. ‘Are those legitimate things now?’
‘Well tampering with emotions is a thing these abilities can do,’ Yoongi says. And he’s not looking at Namjoon but—
‘Oh my god,’ Namjoon says. ‘Do you think I did this?’
He looks between Yoongi and Taehyung, the former of whom is shaking his head, expression soft, and the latter who looks, well, Taehyung looks scared.
‘Namjoon-ah,’ Yoongi says, like he’s trying to reason with a child, expression almost pitying. ‘That’s not what I’m saying, emotional manipulation isn’t your power, we know you would never—’
‘Not on purpose,’ Namjoon says, and his eyes aren’t leaving Taehyung, he can see the way unease is slipping into his expression and it’s doing nothing to sate Namjoon’s own fears. ‘What if I did it on accident, like, my subconscious wanted it or something.’
‘Your subconscious wishes you didn’t have any abilities to begin with,’ Yoongi says. ‘This is not your fault.’
‘Hyung—’ Taehyung begins and the timid way he avoids Namjoon’s eyes is justified, he supposes, but it makes Namjoon want to shrink. Yoongi cuts him off.
‘Taehyung, no.’ He turns back to Namjoon, doing his best to convey every bit of conviction he has. ‘This is not your fault, Joon-ah. Your freak powers don’t work like that and there is no part of you that would wish for Hoseok to be like this against his will. You’re not obsessed or some infatuated morally-stunted weirdo, you love—’
‘Hyung!’ Namjoon chokes, he glances at Hoseok, still staring at him from his seat, all puppy-eyed and Jesus, what if he did do this? He probably could, right? ‘Don’t say it. He might hear.’
Yoongi relents with a sigh through grit teeth, some of the compassion in his eyes dwindling back to impatience. ‘You’re his best friend. You wouldn’t manipulate him like that. Whatever, or whoever’s doing this… it’s not coming from you.’
Namjoon nods his head, wanting to believe it, but that slither of doubt is still there. Taehyung won’t look at him.
‘What happened on Friday?’ Yoongi asks.
‘He called and woke me up like he always does, it was pretty late in the day, because we’d all gone drinking the night before. Then he drove me to my tattoo appointment.’
‘Oh,’ Taehyung says, clicking his fingers and Yoongi in turn deflates, realisation dawning in both their eyes as if it all makes sense now.
‘What?’ Namjoon says.
‘Well it was Jungkook, wasn’t it?’ Taehyung says. ‘He did it. Obviously.’
‘What?’ Namjoon says again. He honestly can’t believe this. ‘No. Don’t be ridiculous.’
‘Namjoon, come on—’
‘No, you come on,’ Namjoon says, pointing an accusing finger at Yoongi’s face. ‘Jungkook’s not responsible for every weird or bad thing that happens to us. He doesn’t do that shit anymore. He hasn’t for almost two years now. Besides his ability doesn’t cover any of this feelings shit.’
‘But that friend of his had something that might,’ Taehyung says. ‘He could manipulate people’s emotions. Make them happy or sad or whatever.’
‘I hate that guy,’ Yoongi says. ‘He made Taehyung hate me out of fucking nowhere, we almost broke up over that shit.’
Taehyung nods in agreement, looking sheepish. ‘You don’t hold any of that against me, right?’
‘Do I still hold you accountable for locking me out of my own house, throwing my clothing out onto the street and pawning off the matching promise rings you insisted we got for Chinese food?’ Yoongi shrugs, mouth set in a grave line. ‘Of course not, babe.’
‘Baby,’ Taehyung whines. ‘A villain had been messing with my brain space. I didn’t mean it.’
‘No, of course not,’ Yoongi drawls. ‘That’s why I totally don’t have any bitter feelings about it.’
‘Guys,’ Namjoon says, because Hoseok is still tied to a damn chair and forcing him to endure their arguments that everyone really knows is ‘foreplay’ is cruel. ‘Is this really the best time for us to have a huge discussion over Seokjin’s part in a less than awesome stage in your relationship?’
‘Seokjin!’ Yoongi says, clicking his fingers. ‘That was his name. Man, fuck that guy.’
‘I don’t think he would’ve had anything to do with it,’ Namjoon says. ‘He’s too focussed on trying to murder that Jimin kid to do anything, nowadays. Also I don’t think he and Jungkook talk much anymore.’ It had been one of the conditions on Namjoon helping Jungkook initially. No being friends with villains.
‘Jimin’s the teleporting dude, right?’ Taehyung asks and Namjoon nods. ‘Man, I hope Seokjin doesn’t turn him evil. He seemed cool.’
‘Again, we’re totally getting off topic,’ Namjoon says. ‘It probably wasn’t Seokjin, it definitely wasn’t Jungkook and Hoseok isn’t possessed by a fucking demon.’
‘Then what?’ Taehyung says. ‘Do you think someone else has come up? Maybe witches are real now and he was slipped a love potion—’
‘What if like…’ Namjoon licks his lips, glances over at Hoseok through the open door. Hoseok looks back, grins when he sees Namjoon’s looking. It feels like the floors been pulled out from under Namjoon’s feet. ‘What if it’s not some magic thing?’
‘What?’ Yoongi says, frowning. It dawns on him then, and his forehead smooths out. ‘You mean what if this is real?’
Namjoon doesn’t confirm it, but he can’t quite stamp out the glimmer of hope in his chest. He’s met with a compassionate pout from Taehyung and a pained look from Yoongi.
‘Oh, Joon-hyung…’ Taehyung says and Namjoon’s cheeks flame red.
It was a stupid thought, fleeting and hopeful and stupid. He hasn’t entertained thoughts like that since he was eighteen and Hoseok had asked him out to the school dance. It had been great for a couple hours before Hoseok started dancing with some girl who’d caught his attention.
He left with her and Hoseok recounted how he lost his virginity to Namjoon the next morning. How Namjoon had cried after is the only thing that Yoongi has declared off limits when it comes to teasing him.
Namjoon steps out of the kitchen, making for Hoseok. Of course there’s some supernatural power at play. It’d be stupid to think that any normal version of Hoseok would consider him.
‘I’m gonna untie him now.’
‘We still haven’t worked out what’s happened to him,’ Taehyung says, reaching to pull Namjoon back, only to be shucked off.
‘I’ll work it out then.’
‘Namjoon, come on,’ Yoongi says. ‘You’ll need help.’
‘Not from you guys,’ Namjoon says and he knows he’s being petty, but if he looks back and sees the sympathetic look in Yoongi or Taehyung’s eyes, he’ll punch something.
He goes into the living room and begins tugging the tape off of Hoseok’s thigh, ignoring the cooing way Hoseok says his name. Tittering to himself, he rips through the restraints and begins picking at the knot, gearing himself up for asking Taehyung to please unlock your gross handcuffs.
‘You both lost your helping privileges when you tied your friend to a fucking chair.’
19:47 I know you thought some stuff was implied
19:48 But you gotta know that Tae doesn’t actually think you’ve fucked with Hobi.
Namjoon glances at his phone and sets it down again, glancing back at the TV. It’s not his most mature move, ignoring the message, but both Yoongi and Taehyung and literally everyone who’s known Namjoon for more than one month, know how sensitive he is about this subject. So he feels within his rights to not reply straight away, or at all, like he’s done with the other messages.
Insecurities surrounding his abilities have been about since the abilities first developed. It hadn’t been something he could discuss with Hoseok, who thought his own superpowers were the coolest thing to ever happen, so the complaining had fallen unto Yoongi. He appeared disinterested, and claimed there were better things he could be doing, but still, he’d sat there and let Namjoon pillow his head in Yoongi’s lap almost every other day and fret about all his fears surrounding the issue.
‘Stop trying to be so fucking edgy, dude,’ Yoongi drawled at him once. ‘All brooding and shit, it’s boring. You don’t have the makings of a villain in you.’
‘I have a villain’s ability,’ Namjoon had hissed back, head buried under a pillow, eyes peeking out so he could level Yoongi with a glare. ‘That is the makings of a villain, I could lose control and fall onto a path of darkness.’
‘You are beyond fucking embarrassing. Can you hear yourself?’
Namjoon had made an offended noise, Yoongi had retaliated by leaning down and pulling Namjoon’s face out of his arms none-too-gently.
‘Namjoon,’ he’d said. ‘Your conscience is the size of the fucking moon. You felt bad one time when Hoseok all but fucking tackled you in a ‘hug’ because you thought you were the one taking advantage. There’s less potential for evil in you than anyone I’ve met in my entire life and yeah I’m including Taehyung in this because you saw what he did when he hated me.’
Namjoon argued that Taehyung throwing things out windows and pawning off expensive rings didn’t exactly fall under the category of “evil” but he’d been touched none the less.
So Namjoon knows Taehyung doesn’t really think that, because Yoongi would not stand for his partner thinking his best friend was a prick who’d do such a thing. But still, he’s slightly hurt and feeling sulky, which means there will be no getting help from Taehyung or Yoongi in the Hoseok situation.
This isn’t as easy as initially thought.
These particular texts from Yoongi has been sent three days after Namjoon left their apartment with Hoseok in tow. There had been a collection of texts since then, and this is the only one Namjoon is considering replying to.
This is due to the fact is that it’s been three days since Namjoon has left Yoongi and Taehyung’s apartment with Hoseok in tow.
Hoseok has not left Namjoon’s goddamn apartment since.
Namjoon has tried to coerce him, but Hoseok starts pouting and threatening to cry and Namjoon cannot deal with that so he relents. Hoseok hasn’t gone to work and barely lets Namjoon go without causing a huge scene about how they don’t appreciate him nearly as much.
‘I’m paid well and we have a good number of listeners,’ Namjoon had said upon waking up to the second day of Hoseok whining. ‘How much more could they appreciate me?’
Hoseok had promptly pulled out a list of one hundred and one things the station might do to improve his work condition that he’d written whilst Namjoon was at work the day before. He added nine as he read them out. Namjoon still went to work.
‘Hoseok,’ Namjoon had groaned when he got home and saw Hoseok cooking them dinner, looking like a (adorable) house-husband. ‘You gotta go to work.’
‘I’m calling in sick,’ Hoseok replied. ‘I haven’t since I’ve started, so they can’t complain about it. Besides, if I go to work I’ll have to wait an extra hour before getting to see you again, love.’
Which brings Namjoon to the next issue. The L-Bombs.
Hoseok keeps telling Namjoon he loves him. It is usually paired with some form of skin-ship, which is another issue that seems to be endless. When Hoseok picks him up from work, he’ll say it. When they’re sitting on the couch, he’ll say it. When Hoseok sneaks into his room, he’ll whisper it in Namjoon’s ear to wake him up (Namjoon needs to install a lock on the door or something.) There’s no end to it.
Namjoon does not say it back. If he does, he fears that Hoseok will take it as a form of encouragement and it’s already bad enough as is.
What had started off as a few “dates” that honestly could’ve passed for something platonic (shut up Yoongi) that was actually enjoyable (seriously shut up Yoongi) has turned into domestic weirdness that is barely escapable. At this rate, in a fortnight Hoseok might start acting really super obsessive and tie Namjoon to the bed frame like that lady in Misery or whatever.
His condition (this is what Namjoon’s elected to call it) is steadily getting worse.
Namjoon seriously has no idea what the fuck is going on.
Why someone would do this, is the part that’s stumping him. And he knows in every part of him that it is something supernatural. You get to a stage of dealing with super villains and what have you and it becomes a sixth sense, knowing when these things come into play. Sudden feelings this intense, from experience, come from an outer source.
Namjoon does not know why it’s happening, or how either. He has no means of knowing. There’s not really anyone for him to ask who’s an expert in these matters, unless you count the self-proclaimed expert Kim Taehyung, who Namjoon is pointedly not contacting because of certain insinuations that have yet to be forgiven.
Namjoon can hear Hoseok singing a heartfelt rendition of “What I Want To Do When I Have A Lover” from the shower.
His resolve crumbles.
20:12 Can you get Tae to look into the existence of love potions or w/e
Namjoon deflates. Hopefully that will bring up something. He sets his phone down and watches the ads on television play out. Just as his show comes back on, his phone goes off again. Another message from Yoongi.
20:15 Btw you know that Hobi is posting love declarations on every media forum he can get his hands on right?
Namjoon seriously considers stealing Hoseok's phone and throwing it out the window.
When Namjoon’s phone goes off at work, he’s hoping that it’s Yoongi with some kind of answer for whatever the fuck is going on. No such luck.
14:07 I got new socks wanna see? ;)
Namjoon glares at the winking emoticon at the end of the text for a good while. He knows for a fact that ignoring Hoseok when he’s like this will only aggravate the situation, make him more weird to deal with.
The winky emoticon leers at him.
14:17 I’m at your house you can see them then ;) ;) ;)
More winky faces. Namjoon is growing more and more concerned.
When he arrives home from work, the door is unlocked. Not terribly worrying seeing as though Hoseok had told him he was at his house, but there are a few concerns. Namjoon thought the wake up calls would be what made him regret giving Hoseok a key, turns out it’s stuff like this.
Opening the door, the first thing he sees is drops of red littering the floor. These are soon revealed to be rose petals upon closer inspection. Namjoon heaves a sigh.
‘Hoseok?’ He’s not in the living room. That would be far too easy and Namjoon’s slowly coming to terms with the fact that nothing about any of these happenings will ever be easy. He’s not in the kitchen either. Or the bathroom, and it really is wishful thinking. The rose petals are scattered in a trail, leading from the front door, into the living room, and off into Namjoon’s bedroom.
‘Hoseok?’ He calls again, this time in front of the bedroom door. No response. Namjoon presses his ear up against it, he can make out the sound of music playing, but that’s it. He’s not sure whether to be annoyed at the lack of response or concerned.
He barges into the room and the sight that greets him hits him like a freight train.
‘Hoseok!’ Namjoon says, trying to avert his gaze but it’s impossible to look away from that. ‘Jesus. No. Why?’
Hoseok’s splayed out across the bed, and yes, his socks are out on full display, knee high, thick woollen things that do look comfy, but so is almost the entirety of Hoseok’s body. His crotch is covered by rose petals, like the rest of him, along with a small amount of black lace that barely counts as underwear.
When Namjoon peeks out between the gaps in his fingers, he sees that Hoseok has the audacity to look at Namjoon like he’s the crazy one.
‘I’m trying to be romantic!’ He says this between a rose in his teeth. Namjoon has the sudden urge to cry.
‘Do you know the definition?’ Namjoon says, recoiling when Hoseok gets up from the bed, rose petals scattering at his feet. ‘Jesus, I can see…’
‘My dick, Joon-ah,’ Hoseok says heatedly. He stands with everything on full display. Even when he wasn’t acting weird, he’d never had much shame. ‘You can see my dick. Through the lacy black fuckery that I bought for—’
‘This was completely unsolicited,’ Namjoon hisses.
‘I don’t know what that word means.’
‘Okay!’ He lifts his hands in surrender. ‘Wow… It’s not like I’m totally naked.’
Namjoon resists the urge to tell Hoseok that that is completely beside the point. Instead, he tries to calm down his breathing, running a hand down his face in complete mortification. Hoseok’s fumbling around the bed, back turned to Namjoon now and Namjoon blushes when he sees Hoseok’s bare ass on full display.
He’s about to turn away himself when he catches sight of a splash of colour on Hoseok’s otherwise bare skin. He squints, frowning and the words come bubbling out without thinking.
‘When the fuck did you get a tattoo?’
Hoseok stills at that, making to turn around, but Namjoon lunges forward and puts a hand on his back, halting him.
Hoseok huffs out a sigh. ‘I don’t have a tattoo.’
‘You do,’ Namjoon says. ‘It’s right…
On his shoulder blade. A blood red heart, with a curling ribbon across the middle, cursive writing in said ribbon that has Namjoon’s jaw dropping in an instant.
It’s his name. Kim Namjoon. Tattooed into a ribbon on Hoseok’s back in cursive font.
For a few seconds, Namjoon can blow it off. He can convince himself that this must be another thing Hoseok’s gone and done since he’s been acting weird and gooey, because it’s just one more extremity isn’t it? It’s not too farfetched all things considered, he doesn’t have to jump to the worst possible conclusion. That’s such a Yoongi thing to do…
But then the tattoo moves. A flicker of movement as the heart… pulses. Namjoon blinks a couple times and works out there’s a steady rhythm and it’s moving, thumping like a real heart would.
All at once things click into place, the behaviour and the suddenness of it, the supernatural fuckery, and damn it all there’s no brushing it off any other way.
Jeon mother-fucking Jungkook is behind all of this.
In the explosion of expletives that follows, none of Hoseok’s cooing can do anything to calm Namjoon down.
Once upon a time Namjoon, Hoseok, Yoongi and Taehyung had been going about their Friday night as usual. They’d had a few drinks, Hoseok and Tae were laughing too loud, Yoongi was trying to keep them from walking into traffic and Namjoon was chuckling at the whole scene when there’d been an almighty screech that had everything rolling to an abrupt stop.
Yoongi had grabbed Taehyung’s hand and pulled him back. Hoseok had looked between them all, trying to gauge a reaction on how to proceed and Namjoon had stared ahead, watching a shadowed figure emerge from an alleyway with a briefcase and floral purse in hand. The screaming had followed behind him, a garbled call for ‘help’ and Namjoon had acted without thinking.
‘Hey,’ Namjoon had said, in spite of the instinctive self-preserving part of him telling him to run in the other direction. ‘You can’t do that.’
Namjoon has never been a superhero. He knows people think he and all the other people running around with freak powers are meant to fall into that category but Namjoon does not. So he’ll blame his lack of superheroness for his incompetence to make witty one-liners to say to the super villain that had been standing in front of him.
Jeon Jungkook, an eighteen year who possessed the ability to plant living tattoos on people that not only had an affect on them, but could very well hurt them. Covered in tattoos himself, he’d laughed at Namjoon, asked him what exactly he planned on doing to stop him and then he’d cut off Namjoon’s words before he could form more than three.
That night, Yoongi and Namjoon had learnt what barbed wire around the throat felt like. Not very fucking pleasant. The wire had only vanished when Hoseok had tackled Jungkook and struck him with lightening. Taehyung had also punched him in the face for good measure and gave Jungkook a blood nose and himself an electric shock.
After that, Jungkook developed a habit of following them around.
Most of the time, he wouldn’t do anything. He’d taunt them and try and provoke Hoseok into doing something, because he was the one with the big scary powers and something about that enthralled Jungkook to no end.
‘Little fucking sadist,’ Hoseok had said. ‘It’s like he wants me to kick his punk ass again.’
Nowadays Namjoon refers to this as Jungkook’s arch nemesis phase. That’s what he tended to call them all, his ‘arch enemies.’ Namjoon supposes if they were going to have a super villain in their lives, Jungkook wasn’t the worst they could’ve had. He tried to kill them, sure, and his tattoo-magic-shit hurt, but at least he wasn’t skilled slash component enough to actually kill them.
What they got was an adolescent punk. Black eye makeup, long fringe and no trace of colour on him that wasn’t red and a few homicidal tendencies. That was Jeon Jungkook from age seventeen to nineteen.
They’d have called the police on him, but cops always tended to be iffy with superpowers. Unless it was against a ‘normal civilian,’ in which case Yoongi probably would’ve been able to press charges had Hoseok not electrocuted Jungkook in retaliation. The cops tended to leave superpower matters to those with superpowers. Namjoon quietly thinks there should be a council or something, but he really doesn’t want to be roped into leading that.
Most of the time, Namjoon felt as though they were living within the universe of a Silver-Age comic. Elaborate and impossible traps being set for them, with no real repercussions. Well, when Seokjin was roped in to fuck with Taehyung and Yoongi’s relationship that had some real repercussions but no-one was physically hurt.
Occasionally though, there were real threats.
Jungkook has a tattoo of a gun on the inside of his left hand. The barrel goes down his index and middle finger, and in his palm is the grip. If Jungkook brings his ring and pinky finger into the centre of his palm he can complete the gun’s image. A slight press of his ring finger completes the illusion of a functional gun, which he will point at a target and use to fire tattooed bullets at people. It was more for the aesthetic than anything.
This was what he used for the second attempt at killing them. Jungkook had been in hysterics, laughing manically as he fired tattooed bullet after tattooed bullet. Namjoon had taken two to the abdomen which had been hell on earth and another to the thigh. Taehyung took one to the shoulder, Yoongi the stomach. Hoseok had been spared mostly, a couple grazes from ducking out of the way and then he’d once again shocked the ever-loving fuck out of Jungkook and the pain had vanished.
‘You’re the only one with powers?’ Jungkook had demanded. He’d been livid as he got to his feet, literal smoke rising off his form. ‘It’s getting lame.’
‘Namjoon has them too,’ Hoseok had said testily. ‘You better watch out because you really won’t like what he can do.’
Hoseok hadn’t meant anything hurtful by the words. His intention hadn’t been to portrait Namjoon as a monster, not really. But regardless, it took a week of Yoongi telling Namjoon he was a good person and Hoseok having to beg for forgiveness with the help of chocolates and gooey words, before Namjoon would speak to him again.
The one plus side of Hoseok’s words was that Taehyung and Yoongi were granted exemption from Jungkook’s incessant stalking and threats. That was the pro. The con was that all that effort went into following Namjoon twice as much, and digging for some sort of super powered reaction.
‘It’s not gonna happen,’ Namjoon had said to Yoongi, after a gruelling couple hours of being not so subtly stalked by Jeon Jungkook. ‘There’s nothing he can do to me that’ll make me bring them out. He should forget about it.’
Initially, Namjoon used his abilities accidentally, when the storm had hit and he hadn’t understood what was happening until Hoseok could inexplicably control the weather and superpowers were suddenly a thing. One month and he’d stamped them down, he never used them on anyone ever again, even for the smallest of things.
Except for that one time he did.
It was the third time that Jungkook had tried to kill them. Only Hoseok and Namjoon had been there that time. There had been words exchanged, nit-picky things and Jungkook had kept pushing until Hoseok had called thunder overhead and Jungkook had put a tattooed knife in his gut in retaliation and sent Hoseok crumbling to the ground, hacking and spluttering in agony. Namjoon had fell down beside him, frantically trying to think of what to do.
Had it been Yoongi or Taehyung, there is no doubt that Namjoon would’ve done the same thing, he knows he would have. But the fact that it was none other than Hoseok is another thing Yoongi adds to that list of ‘things Kim Namjoon would do for Jung Hoseok.’
Namjoon didn’t know the extent of Jungkook’s abilities and he still doesn’t, but Hoseok had been in pain, and Namjoon had been screaming and crying and begging for Jungkook to stop but he wouldn’t and Namjoon acted without thinking.
Brainwave manipulation. That’s his ability.
Namjoon could control people’s thoughts.
As soon as Namjoon focussed on the intention, pushing against Jungkook’s will just so and bending, Hoseok had stopped spluttering, the tattooed image of a knife in his side fading away. He’d panted, patted at his side as if feeling around for blood, but there was none. He was fine, if not for the tears spilling down his cheeks. Namjoon had sobbed in relief.
Namjoon had looked up at Jungkook, slumped a distance away, on his knees. His head lifted slowly, as if dragged up by a puppeteer. His cheeks were red red red, lips pressed closed tight, eyes bulging in panic and it took Namjoon too long to realise that Jungkook wasn’t breathing. It took too long for him to realise that Namjoon was the one preventing him from breathing.
(It didn’t take long at all from that point, for Namjoon to realise there was a part of him that was getting satisfaction from watching Jungkook splutter.)
Jungkook gasped when Namjoon had released his grip. He coughed so hard that all the blood had drained from Namjoon’s face.
This is what he’d always been scared of. Not just hurting people, hurting people and enjoying it. Hurting people because he thought they deserved it and that he had the right to hand out justice as he deemed fit. It had gotten to his head. He had liked it.
‘Wow,’ Jungkook had said and he’d smiled, though there was no amount of faux edginess that could disguise the fear in his eyes. ‘That’s a real gift you got there.’
‘Leave him alone,’ Hoseok had hissed, voice raw like someone had taken to his throat with sandpaper. His hand had found Namjoon’s, squeezing it. Namjoon had barely felt it over the sensation of his insides constricting.
‘If he wanted me to,’ Jungkook had replied, ‘he could make me, or almost kill me again. Either or.’
He hadn’t even been trying to guilt Namjoon. It was all in awe, like it was something to be proud of.
Namjoon had never felt more disgusted with himself in his entire life.
After that, Namjoon had bailed Jungkook out of jail. Namjoon had put him up for a month, which had destroyed his social-life for said month because none of his friends wanted to be around the guy that had tried to kill them. Namjoon had had to rebuild all his closest friendships and they forgave him because they understood that he felt guilty and was trying to fix things and had to prove that he was good, as badly as he had to prove Jungkook was too.
Namjoon has looked out for Jungkook like he was his own brother. He’d tried his best to explain right from wrong and he thought Jungkook had been taking it on board. Yoongi always said Jungkook looked at him like he was his idol.
He doesn’t know why Jungkook would do something so fucking twisted to him after almost two years of trying to prove him good.
‘Hyung!’ Jungkook says, beaming as Namjoon walks through the door, tugging a dawdling Hoseok behind him. There’s a wry sort of amusement in his eyes that Namjoon sees all too clearly now, has him setting his jaw. ‘You weren’t meant to have an appointment until next week.’
Namjoon grabs Hoseok by the shoulders, spins him around and pulls down the neckline of Hoseok’s shirt to expose his shoulder blade. Hoseok giggles and leans into him, Namjoon’s too pissed off to care that he’s blushing at this.
‘What the fuck is this?’ Namjoon demands as Hoseok makes some weird cooing noise at his red cheeks. He’s not focussed on where they are, eyes on Namjoon and only Namjoon. There’s so much adoration in his eyes, like he’d trust Namjoon with anything, anything in the world.
All because of a heart tattoo with Namjoon’s name in it.
Of course, Namjoon’s got an idea on what the damn thing is. He’s only ever seen Jungkook’s powers used to inflict pain on people, namely him and his friends. All of his tattoos, the moving ones he can impose with a flick of his finger, act like the real objects they’re based on. The heart, a symbol for love, must be pumping some fucked up version of all-consuming loved up bullshit into Hoseok’s system for Namjoon.
Namjoon has no idea when or how Jungkook learned to do that.
‘Oh you found it!’ Jungkook says, and he’s grinning as if he’s delighted. Not guilty, not sheepish. Delighted. ‘Pretty neat, huh?’
‘Jungkook what the ever loving fuck did you do?’ Namjoon’s tone snaps Jungkook out of his self-congratulatory session as he falters, eyes rounding.
‘A good thing,’ Jungkook says, his brow knitting together in innocent confusion and Jesus, he probably means it. ‘The tattoo. S’got your name in it.’
‘I see that,’ Namjoon says, trying with all his might to be patient. ‘And it has some influence over Hoseok’s emotions?’
Jungkook’s still frowning at him, like Namjoon’s the one who’s lost his goddamn mind here. ‘I don’t understand why you’re angry.’
Something in Namjoon’s brain short circuits, he feels his left eye twitch and has to remove his hands from Hoseok’s shoulders, lest he unconsciously impale them with his fingers in a fit of rage.
‘Hoseok-ah,’ Namjoon says, ‘would you mind waiting outside for a moment? I promise I won’t be long.’
Hoseok blinks at him, a grin slowly spreading across his cheeks and this complete fondness in his gaze as he nods has Namjoon’s heart twisting again because it’s not real. The feeling there is not real and it’s torture. Complete torture.
‘We should go out afterwards,’ Hoseok says, ‘to the park, Joon-ah. Have a picnic.’
‘Whatever you want,’ Namjoon says softly and he can’t quite meet Hoseok’s gaze. ‘I won’t be long.’
‘Okay,’ Hoseok sing-songs and then he’s out the door. Namjoon turns back to Jungkook, running a hand down his face, going through some breathing exercises.
‘Why the fuck,’ Namjoon says, stressing the words through his teeth, ‘did you decide to put some emotional manipulating thing on my best friend’s back that has him all puppy loving over me?’
‘Because you like him, hyung!’ Jungkook says. ‘You’ve liked him forever and everyone knows it except maybe him. Now you two can be together because he likes you back, isn’t that great?'
‘Hoseok doesn’t like me like that.’
‘He was all over you when you came in here,’ Jungkook says, ‘I’ve seen all his posts online too. I bet he’s been all over you all week, hyung, just like you wanted.’
‘No,’ Namjoon says. ‘This is not what I wanted. This is all fake. It’s not real in the slightest, you’ve fabricated it into being and it’s not only fucking with me, but also with him. Which I’m not cool with, Kook.’
‘He doesn’t know the difference!’
‘Oh my god, why do I need to explain the wrongness of this to you?’
‘I weren’t brung up good.’
Jungkook sighs impatiently, though Namjoon notices under it all he does look hurt. ‘If you hate it so much, why don’t you change it?’
‘Because I don’t like altering people’s feelings or their thoughts or their anything. And if I do, I could fuck things up even more than you already have.'
‘You’re mad at me, aren’t you?’ Jungkook says, eyes round and his lip wobbles, looking like he might cry. Namjoon sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose.
‘I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.’
Jungkook looks crestfallen.
When Hoseok comes back into the room at Namjoon’s call, he skips about halfway in before hesitating. To his right, Jungkook’s leaning against the wall, eyeing Hoseok’s back in the least subtle way possible. Namjoon’s standing at the far end of the room, acting as a lure. This way Jungkook can get behind Hoseok, touch where the tattoo is and get rid of it when he’s busy being infatuated with Namjoon.
‘I have to touch them to break the connection, or else it’s painful,’ Jungkook said. ‘I mean you probably don’t care about that, so if you want I’ll do it anyway.’
‘Don’t be like that,’ Namjoon had replied. ‘I don’t want you to be in pain Kook, not even a little bit.’
Jungkook had muttered something under his breath at that. Namjoon didn’t have the time nor patience to dignify his sulking with a response.
But Hoseok has hesitated, eyeing Jungkook warily and not making his way over to Namjoon as was the plan and God Namjoon would just like something to go right so he can go home and stare at the ceiling and try forget this whole thing ever happened so he never has to get his hopes up ever again.
‘What’s going on?’ Hoseok asks. He points at Jungkook. ‘What’s he doing here?’
Jungkook snorts. ‘I fucking live here.’
‘Watch your language,’ Namjoon says. ‘There’s nothing going on, babe.’
The pet name feels strange on his tongue. It’s intended affect to calm Hoseok down works, his shoulders slump and he smiles slightly, but he still looks guarded.
‘I thought you said we were going out for a picnic.’
‘We are. We totally are.’ Namjoon opens his arms wide, wishing he wasn’t so damn awkward. ‘Why don’t you come give me a hug or something first?'
Hoseok glances at Jungkook again, who stares right back.
‘I don’t trust him,’ Hoseok says, staying right where he is. The air is thick with tension. ‘Joonie, what’s going on?’
‘Seok-ah,’ Namjoon sighs. ‘Look something’s come up. You’re not acting like yourself.’
‘What do you mean?’ Hoseok frowns. ‘Babe, I’m fine. I’ve never been better.’
‘You’re not fine. You think you’re in love with me because of some supernatural fuckery. We’re gonna try fix it.
‘I don’t need to be fixed,’ Hoseok backs up a step. He looks terrified. ‘I’m fine, Joonie, I promise. You don’t need to do anything. I just love you.’
His voice is so tiny when he says it, so full of honesty it wrenches Namjoon’s heart.
It’s not real, Namjoon tells himself. It’s a trick. A trick you’ll undo and things will go back to normal. That’s what you want. You’ll get your best friend back. That’s all you should want.
‘Hoseok, come here,’ Namjoon says, trying to put some steel in his voice. The betrayal in Hoseok’s eyes when he looks at him disarms Namjoon in an instant.
He takes a step forward and Hoseok bolts, running past Namjoon before he can react, heading for the door to the rest of the house. Jungkook’s quick to react, chasing after him, hand outstretched, but before he can get there, Hoseok slams the door shut. There’s a click. Namjoon brushes past Jungkook and reaches forward, fumbling for the handle and giving a few fruitless rattles. No give, it’s locked.
Turning from the locked door, Namjoon glances at Jungkook, shuffling from foot to foot with his eyes downcast, tattooed fists shoved in his pockets.
‘I’m surprised you didn’t gloss over his issues with you while you were at it.’
‘This wasn’t about me,’ Jungkook says miserably. ‘Look, I’ll break the connection—’
‘You’re not getting hurt because of this.’
‘No, Kook.’ Jungkook’s mouth clamps shut. Namjoon sighs and pushes forward, resting his head against the door. He can’t hear Hoseok, but he knows he’s right by the door, listening to everything. Namjoon inhales shakily, running over his options.
‘Hoseok, please come out.’
‘No!’ Namjoon folds his lips.
‘Because you think something’s wrong with me,’ Hoseok says. ‘And Jungkook’s gonna do stuff to mess with me.’
‘Liar. You’re just protecting him like you always do.’
Namjoon’s head is throbbing. There’s a voice in his head telling him to press against Hoseok’s will. To just make him come out because that’s what’s for the best. That’s what will make this all go away without anyone getting anymore hurt than they are already.
You can’t do that to him.
‘I can sever it,’ Jungkook says in a whisper. ‘It won’t even be that bad.’
Namjoon breathes out shakily. ‘Don’t lie to me.’
‘Okay, it might be bad, but I don’t care. It’s my fault, hyung, you don’t have to—’
‘I love you, Hoseok.’
Namjoon would do anything for Hoseok.
‘You’re just saying that.’
‘I’m not,’ Namjoon says, his heart feels like it’s in his stomach. There’s no coming back from this. It was either this or control him and Namjoon could never, won’t ever fall into that temptation ever again. ‘I’ve loved you for years. Everyone knows it. Yoongi, Taehyung, even Jungkook. But I never told you, because I didn’t wanna ruin anything. But I do. I really love you.’
‘You mean it?’ Hoseok says, voice slightly choked up.
‘More than anything.’
There’s a small choked off sob on the other side of the door.
‘I love you, too.’
Namjoon closes his eyes. He doesn’t. Hoseok doesn’t and Namjoon is okay with this.
‘I’m sorry, hyung,’ Jungkook says in a small voice. Namjoon ignores him.
‘If you do…’ Namjoon says, his voice cuts off a bit. The words don’t wanna come. ‘If you do, you should come out here and prove it.’
There is no warning when Hoseok bursts out of the bathroom, propelling himself into Namjoon and throwing his arms around Namjoon’s neck. It forces the pair of them backwards and Namjoon’s too busy trying to stop them from toppling completely to process the fact that Jung Hoseok is kissing him.
It’s the vibration against his lips when Hoseok giggles that does it, and suddenly every nerve ending in Namjoon’s body is snuffed sans for the ones in his lips and all he can focus on is the sensation of Hoseok’s lips on his. How good they feel, and how good Hoseok feels and for a moment, for one single moment, he can forget everything that’s happening.
Then Hoseok lets out a sharp hiss of pain. He recoils, Jungkook side-stepping out from behind him as Hoseok smashes into the bathroom door. He stays there, panting as confusion dawning in his eyes. Namjoon is left staring down at him, a hurricane of emotions tearing up his insides.
‘Hyung,’ Jungkook says, hands fumbling in the air, not sure where to go now that he’s done what he needed to do. ‘I’m so sorry.’
Namjoon shakes his head. There’s bile rising in his throat now, fear the prevailing emotion. His mouth tingles where Hoseok had kissed him.
‘Not now, Kook.’
‘I was trying to do something good for you, because you’d done so much for me.’
‘I’m really not in the mood for this.’
‘Namjoon,’ Hoseok says.
It takes every bit of willpower for Namjoon to turn at the sound of his name. Hoseok’s standing off by the door, rubbing his shoulder gingerly. His mouth has fallen open, looking like he’s been slapped and still recovering from the shock. Namjoon holds his breath.
‘You’re in love with me?’ Hoseok asks, frowning.
Namjoon has never been a good liar, so bullshitting a response wasn’t an option, even if he could come up with any words to say in the face of Hoseok’s total confusion. His eyes are burning and he feels like his heart’s been pummelled into tiny pieces.
‘Namjoon?’ Hoseok says again.
He takes a step forward and Namjoon runs.
Namjoon’s phone starts ringing at ten o’clock in the morning.
He’s already awake, doesn’t quite think he got any sleep last night. He’s sitting on the corner of his bed, facing out the window and peering through the blinds he forgot to close yesterday evening.
There’s a drizzle outside, but the weather’s been on and off all morning, can’t pick what it wants to be. But his phone is ringing, and a cursory glance over at the bedside table shows that it’s Hoseok. His throat closes up, fear prickling in every part of him.
Steeling himself, he shuffles over to the phone, hand hovering over top of an image of Hoseok’s face grinning back at him and Namjoon hates the flutter in his chest even then. Damn everything.
He doesn’t pick up. Lets his hand drop to his lap.
After another four attempts at calling, Hoseok takes a hint.
Breathing out shakily, Namjoon gets to his feet, examines the phone briefly to find a voicemail waiting for him. He can’t bring himself to listen to it, feels sick with the thought of it.
There’s a number of texts waiting for him. Along with the few from Hoseok which he pointedly ignores, there’s four from Jungkook, all various forms of apologies, seven from Taehyung asking him if he’s okay and one from Yoongi demanding him to reply to someone because he’s gotten calls from not only Hoseok but also Jungkook and Yoongi refuses on principle to give advice to ‘the resident evil genius that caused this shit show.’
‘I also hope you’re not too fucked up about all this,’ has been tacked on in a seperate message, along with a sad face emoticon that Namjoon guesses is Taehyung’s doing.
10:17 Im not feeling great.
Namjoon taps out the half hearted reply, because it’s Yoongi and the one thing he hates more than anything is liars and he promised he’d say something if there ever was something to say. This results in a bombardment of texts and calls and Namjoon feels like he’s drowning so he switches the device off, shoves it in his pocket and gets up from his bed. He said he’d say something, not that he’d follow up.
An hour later, when he’s in the kitchen scrapping something together, there’s a knock on the door and Namjoon feels his chest constrict.
Maybe it’s not him. Maybe it’s Yoongi, here to make sure Namjoon isn’t curled up in the foetal position, or Jungkook here to beg forgiveness in person. Maybe luck is on his side for once.
‘Namjoon, open up,’ Hoseok’s voice calls, confirming every worst fear as his fist pounds against the door. It rattles under the weight of it. Outside Namjoon can hear the rain beat hard against the window. It’s pouring, like a storm or something. ‘I know you’re home.’
Namjoon doesn’t reply. He’s mortified to find himself crying, tears rolling down his cheeks and this is so fucking dumb. But he’s embarrassed and confused and his best friend doesn’t love him back and now he knows and everything sucks. The door rattles on it’s hinges as Hoseok knocks again.
‘I’ll stand here all day, Namjoon, you know I will. Are you seriously gonna let me stand out here? It’s freezing.’
The drop in temperature is something Namjoon had noticed, but it’s Hoseok’s own fault, he can control it for fuck’s sake, if he has such a problem—
‘If you don’t open up right now,’ Hoseok says, voice creeping into a threat. ‘I’m gonna scream this whole apartment complex down and then they’ll all know our business and how Yoongi told me you’ve been pining after me since we were sixteen.’ Namjoon’s knuckles turn white, embarrassment flaring up inside of him and quickly contorting into rage. ‘And if that doesn’t work, I’ll sing stupid cliche unrequited love songs and cause a huge scene because you have to open—’
‘That is a dick thing to do!’ Namjoon snaps, yelling even before he’s unlocking the door, throwing it open with a bang, red colouring his vision. ‘You’re such an insensitive prick, I can’t believe—’
Namjoon cuts off only when his eyes meet Hoseok’s. He sees pity in them, a hint of tears and his eyes rake down Namjoon’s cheeks, noticing the blotchiness, the tear tracks. His shoulders sag at the sight and it’s too much pity for Namjoon to bear.
‘I’m sorry,’ Hoseok says softly, and Namjoon knows it has nothing to do with the yelling. His heart feels like it’s in a vice grip. Feels like someone’s squeezing it to a bloody pulp. ‘Can I come in?’
Namjoon would do so much for Hoseok. He wants to scream.
He opens the door all the way, makes sure to step back to keep Hoseok from touching any part of him. Hoseok slips inside, eyes searching for purchase with Namjoon’s gaze but Namjoon can’t stand seeing that pity any longer. He closes the door behind Hoseok, then moves to the far end of the room, gritting his teeth when Hoseok follows him, two steps behind. It’s not enough.
Hoseok is staring at him, shuffling from foot to foot and Namjoon decides to stare at a space beside Hoseok’s head. Safer that way.
‘You never told me,’ Hoseok says, voice gentler than it’s ever been.
‘Of course I didn’t—’ Hoseok’s eyes round, Namjoon huffs out a sigh and softens the edge in his tone, ‘—tell you. You’re my best friend, idiot.’
‘You should’ve,’ Hoseok says, slightly more forceful. ‘I deserved to know.’
‘Who I like is my own damn business.’
‘But I’m your best friend, Joonie,’ Hoseok says, and Namjoon clenches his eyes shut at the nickname. Wishes away the stupid flutter in his chest. ‘And you like me.’
Namjoon runs a hand down his face, wishing he’d never opened that damn door.
‘Yes. Hoseok,’ Namjoon grits out. ‘We have established this, I like you, hell, I’m in love with you, it’s mortifying. Now let’s forget it ever happened and I’ll promise to forget how you broke into my house and sprawled out on my bed, ass naked covered in rose petals and shit.’
‘Okay I was bewitched by weird tattoo magic fuckery,’ Hoseok says, and Namjoon peeks through his fingers to see Hoseok’s face flushed red. ‘I can’t be held accountable for anything I did on that.’
‘I’m not holding you accountable for it. You didn’t mean anything you said or anything you did and that’s fine, I’m not mad at you for it.’
‘Could you not call me that?’ Namjoon says. ‘Please? It’s fucking with me. I’ve had enough of being fucked with.’
‘Because of Jungkook?’ Hoseok says. Namjoon turns away, not dignifying Hoseok with an answer. ‘You know I hate the guy, even more for that stunt he pulled. But I don’t think he was trying to fuck with you, Joon-ah. Or even me, in this case. He’s got some weird obsession with pleasing you, I think he genuinely thought he was doing a good thing. God, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… don’t be too mad at him?’
Hoseok pulls a face like he’s eaten something sour and the corner of Namjoon’s lips quirks up in a smile, before he stamps it down again. He doesn’t want Hoseok here, this isn’t fair.
Fists clenching, Namjoon backs up a couple steps, wonders if he can make a beeline for his room before Hoseok could cut him off. Probably not, chances are Namjoon would injure himself in the process.
‘Namjoon, talk to me,’ Hoseok says. ‘Please. We can’t work this out if you won’t even look at me.’
‘What’s there to work out?’ Namjoon says. ‘It’s not something we can sit down and dictate, Hoseok. It’s not something that’ll just go away because we want it to, believe me, I’ve tried.’
‘You’ve tried?’ Hoseok says.
‘Yes,’ Namjoon says, he feels cornered. ‘You think it’s great going out with you every weekend, watching you hook up with strangers and then recount it in explicit detail the next day? Because it wasn’t, Hoseok, it fucking sucked.’
‘You should’ve said something.’
‘What would that have accomplished?’
‘I…’ Hoseok says, running his shaking fingers through his hair. Hoseok’s somehow gotten closer to him as they’ve been talking, Namjoon barely notices it with all the frustration burning through him. ‘I would’ve stopped. I wouldn’t have done it. Or talked about it. I don’t know. If you were upset… we could’ve figured something out.’
‘What?’ Namjoon demands, unable to stop his voice from getting louder. ‘What could’ve been figured out, Hoseok?’
‘We could’ve tried something.’
Hoseok kisses him. Cups his hands around Namjoon’s cheeks, pulls him down and kisses him, square on the mouth. There are hornets in Namjoon’s chest, buzzing around and shaking up all his insides and it’s only when he lets his eyes flutter close, melting into the kiss, does Hoseok pull away.
Namjoon stares at him, feeling like the wind has been knocked out of him. Hurt rises up, thick in his throat, feels like he’s suffocating. ‘What the fuck was that?’
‘I wanted to see if it felt like when I kissed you before!’ Hoseok says and he looks as confused as Namjoon feels. ‘I figured we were screwed anyway considering what had happened, so fuck it.’
‘Great! So you think me having feelings for you completely fucks everything, huh? Despite everything having been fine for years.’
‘That’s not what I’m saying,’ Hoseok says. ‘You know I’m not good with words, Joon-ah.’
Namjoon wants to tear his hair out from the roots, scream his throat raw, run away again. But there’s nowhere for him to go. Hoseok’s here, in his house, in his space, kissing him just because he can, with no thought as to whether or not this hurts Namjoon. No fucking care.
‘Just leave me alone.’
‘I don’t want to.’
Hoseok pulls him in again, presses his lips firm against Namjoon’s and cuts off any protest. He’s still got his hands on Namjoon’s cheeks, licks a line across the seam of Namjoon’s mouth until it gives and then Hoseok’s tongue is colliding with his and it’s confusing and brilliant and over too quickly when Hoseok pulls away. Gasping for air as if he’s sprinted a mile.
‘Stop fucking with me,’ Namjoon chokes out. He swipes his mouth on the back of his hand. Hoseok tastes like coffee and caramel.
‘Feels the same,’ Hoseok mumbles. His lips are kiss slick, his tongue darts out to lick them.
‘Kissing you now. It feels the same as kissing you when I was under that shit.’
Namjoon pinches the bridge of his nose. There’s lingering effects of the tattoo, nothing can ever be easy. He puts distance between himself and Hoseok, he’s had enough of being kissed without warning, left wanting more. He needs to breathe.
‘We’ll call Jungkook. Tell him something’s wrong.’
‘I don’t think anything’s wrong, Namjoon,’ Hoseok says. ‘The tattoo’s gone, and you know how those things work. Once it’s gone, so do all of the effects.’
‘Well strip down. Maybe he planted another one somewhere.’
He wouldn’t. Namjoon had seen the apologetic look in Jungkook’s eyes, heard all the pleas. Jungkook wouldn’t pull a stunt like this again, getting caught would mean being cut off entirely and for whatever reason, Namjoon’s opinion means something to Jungkook.
‘Look,’ Hoseok says, frustration clear in his tone. ‘I wanna kiss you, but that does not mean I am necessarily comfortable with anything more than that.’
‘I think I like you,’ Hoseok blurts. Namjoon blinks at him. ‘That’s not any weird supernatural fuckery at play either. That’s me. It feels the same when I kiss you when I had the tattoo, sure, but I can kiss you now and then think about what I’m going to have for dinner without wondering what you’d want or if you’ve eaten, or if you’d like me more if I didn’t eat at all.’
‘Jesus,’ Namjoon says. The thought of it makes him sick.
‘Not everything’s about you anymore,’ Hoseok says, stressing the words. ‘But something’s there Namjoon. I like you.’
Namjoon doesn’t know what to do with this. His head’s swimming, slammed with a wave of dizziness, he has to go sit in the living room. Hoseok follows behind him, asking him if he’s okay or if he needs anything.
‘Five minutes of peace,’ Namjoon says.
He sinks into the couch, hyper-aware of Hoseok’s eyes tracking his every movement. But there’s not as much weight behind it now. It’s not creepy with it’s intenseness, the slight furrow in Hoseok’s brow, the way he shifts from foot to foot a couple metres back, lips parting just so. He’s just concerned.
Namjoon reaches into his pocket for his phone, feeling his heart pound against his ribs. He can still feel the tingle of where Hoseok’s lips touched his, it takes a conscious effort not to reach out and press his fingertips against them.
Flicking through his contacts, Namjoon taps out a message on his phone.
11:23 I’m gonna ask you something and I want you to know that if you’re lying there is no way in hell I’m trusting you ever again.
The reply comes almost instantly, as if Jungkook’s been waiting by his phone the entire time.
11:23 omg what??
11:24 Is there any chance at all that Hobi could still be under the affect of your tattoo thing?
11:25 theres none. i swear.
11:25 its all gone he's back to normal. pinky promise
Namjoon sets his phone down, swallowing the lump in his throat. Hoseok’s staring at him, though he’s quick to avert his gaze when Namjoon turns to meet his eyes. Nervousness is bubbling up in his chest, though something about the shyness of Hoseok sates him. He’s feeling the weight of it too.
‘So you like me?’ Namjoon says. Hoseok nods quickly.
‘No magic fuckery making you think you do?'
‘None at all.’
Namjoon nods, taking that all in. He considers pinching himself to make sure this isn’t all a dream. Decides against it when the couch sinks next to him, Hoseok leaning into his space.
‘If you kiss me again, I swear…’
‘Nah. Figure I’ve stolen enough of those from you for one day.’ He shimmies a little closer, Namjoon’s heart rate quickens as he takes in the proximity, the places where his thigh touches Hoseok’s feels heightened. He feels like a teenager again.
‘We can take it slow,’ Hoseok says. ‘No proposals for hand jobs until the third date.’
‘Sorry,’ Hoseok says. He’s not. Grinning big, he’s barely able to contain laughter at Namjoon’s mortified expression.
‘We’ll take it slow,’ Namjoon says and Hoseok nods, expression genuine, trying to look serious but he’s still far too amused with himself. Namjoon can’t help but grin too. ‘So you wanna go out tonight?’
‘Like on a date?’ Hoseok blinks at him, and for all his talk, he still gets a pretty pink blush on his cheeks at the proposal.
‘Yeah,’ Namjoon says, fondness swelling inside him. ‘Like on a date.’
Jungkook’s in the middle of gorging himself on pizza when his phone buzzes. He looks down mid-mouthful, chewing slowly as he frowns. There’s a message from an unknown number with two photos. Swiping his greasy hands on his pants, Jungkook leans back from the counter, unlocking his phone and inspecting the messages.
There’s two photos. The first is a shot of Namjoon, hiding a smile behind his hands at a restaurant that looks pretty fancy. The second is a little murky, taken on a street with two people holding hands. Jungkook squints, zooming in on the faces and with those few scarce pixels he’s able to make out that the faces belong to Namjoon and Hoseok.
‘Holy mother fuck,’ Jungkook says, he fumbles with the phone, almost dropping it in his haste to zoom out and see the text sitting with the attachments.
22:26 …thanks brat.
Jungkook vibrates in his seat, quickly changing the contact name in his phone before typing out his reply.
22:28 Youre welcome hyung!!!! :D
22:29 I am not your fucking hyung.
Jungkook grins to himself, humming contently as he shoves another pizza slice into his mouth. He can totally work on that and wear Hoseok’s resolve down.
He’s getting pretty good at this whole making friends thing.