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bento boy

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It’s been another long morning – especially considering it’s only eight in the morning and Jimin’s already been working for four hours.

He’s not sick of his job, no, he wouldn’t give this up for anything. He’s definitely tired of the early wake up calls because someone didn’t do their job last night. Mistakes are made, that’s perfectly fine, but with so many different groups working under and for the company, Jimin’s found that there’s more than enough people making one rare mistake to keep him busy every single day.

The apartment is somewhat quiet when Jimin gently cracks open the front door, stepping over the threshold. He can hear children’s television programs playing from the main room, which means Jihyun’s up at least. There’s no loud crashes or sounds of a body hitting the floor, so Jimin figures it’s safe to assume Namjoon’s not awake yet.

He drops his satchel on the hallstand by the door – he’ll be heading out again later, no need to unpack just yet. Wandering out, he pokes his head into the main room, wiggling his fingers at Jihyun when his younger brother notices him in the doorway. Jihyun doesn’t uncurl from his blanket cocoon on the couch, but does smile wide in Jimin’s direction – more than enough to make the weight on Jimin’s shoulders lighten just a little.

He’s surprised when he looks up, though, to find Namjoon puttering around the kitchen, digging something out of the refrigerator before adding it to the pile of something on the island bench.

The entire apartment was designed to be open-plan, and yet Namjoon doesn’t notice Jimin until he’s leaning on the same bench and watching Namjoon confusedly.

“Shi- woah,” Namjoon corrects hastily, tumbling back a little in surprise and managing to drop a single-serve carton of banana milk on the floor. “I thought you went to work?”

Jimin shrugs, straightening up. He’s still shorter than Namjoon, so it doesn’t make much difference in having to look up, but it’s the thought that counts. “It’s all done for the morning, I’ve just got that one meeting this afternoon left.”

Namjoon nods like he understands, reaching down to scoop up the milk. “So you’ll be home then?”

“More or less. You heading out?” Jimin asks, nodding towards Namjoon’s clothes – outside clothes, a grey sweater and a pair of jeans, not that usual get up of sweat pants and three-day-old hoodies.

Namjoon licks his lips. “Just to the studio, maybe get something done before Yoongi turns up later.”

“So this…” Jimin leads, gesturing at the pile of relatively healthy foods on his bench top.

“I wanted to make Jihyun lunch,” Namjoon explains – and that surprises Jimin more than it should. The day care Jihyun attends provides an option for meals prepared there, which Jihyun seemed to enjoy eating.

Namjoon seems to catch onto Jimin’s confusion. “I thought it might be nice,” he says softly, shrugging. “I had a spare bento box, so I was going to make it all cute and stuff.”

Jimin blinks. “You know how to make bento boxes?”

At this, Namjoon smiles. “I used to make them for Yoongi during hell week when he still attended uni, a friend taught me a few tricks.” He nods sagely, waving at the food – his choice of ingredients. “He was a food major, so he helped me figure out what was healthy and what kind of benefits some of the fresh produce had.”

Jimin shakes his head in disbelief, standing back just to watch. Namjoon turns away, opening a box sitting next to the coffee machine. Bringing it back to the island, he presents the interior for Jimin’s inspection. “See?”

“No?” Jimin says, ever so slightly more confused than a few seconds ago. It seems Namjoon’s made a large ball of seaweed in the box, with two smaller balls at the top. “Is there rice inside it?”

Namjoon nods. “Yeah. Just watch, you’ll see.”

He pulls the chopping board closer, and begins to clumsily slice away at a small block of cheese, managing to produce a few rough circles without too much trouble. Jimin’s tense – he can faintly remember the story of Namjoon setting the home-ec room on fire in high school, and being banned from ever taking another food class. Today would be just fine without having to deal with his apartment burning to the ground, thanks.

He’s hacking away at the cheese still – cutting out a pair of rounded triangles. Jimin’s not sure he should trust Namjoon’s word, especially when he layers the cheese on the seaweed-covered rice balls with care – it’s a bear, Jimin can see that now, but why does it look like it’s screaming?

Namjoon holds up a finger – wait. Jimin rolls his eyes, and pulls out a chair on the opposite side of bench, at the breakfast bar. Namjoon’s got another sheet of seaweed – where he was getting this from, Jimin will never know – and is carefully using the knife to carve out shapes. Jimin’s got half a mind to reach out and take the knife away from Namjoon. He’s this close to slipping up and slicing off a finger, but Jimin restrains himself. Namjoon’s an adult, he can make his own decisions damn it.

He passes the seaweed with no life-threatening injuries, and now the shape begins to take hold as Namjoon works away at placement. What Jimin had assumed to be a large gaping white hole of a mouth becomes the muzzle, and the eyes are no longer soulless circles on its dark face.

The triangles become eyebrows, and Jimin faintly recognises the general shape of the bear’s face; he’s not sure where from, though. Perhaps one of Jihyun’s tv shows. Namjoon’s back to cutting again, this time slicing a crab stick. Jimin takes the moment to actually admire the work that Namjoon’s apparently put into the border around the bear – a mixture of bright vegetables and leafy greens, and a little container of some form of sauce, presumably for the rice.

Jimin can’t help but smile, because the effort is so Namjoon, even if he hadn’t expected anything in this direction. It’s a little dampening to know that Namjoon won’t be here forever, but JImin won’t let himself enjoy this now any less because of it.

Namjoon layers on the final touch – two circles of the crab stick – and Jimin gapes, because now he can recognise the character.

“Kumamon?” Jimin asks, shocked. It’s not perfect – there are jagged edges here and there, and some of the seaweed on the rice balls isn’t smooth – but suddenly Jimin’s incredibly jealous of his younger brother.

Namjoon laughs sheepishly. “It’s the only character I know how to make, Yoongi loves kumamon. I thought it would be cuter than just a box of vegetables.”

Namjoon’s phone beeps loudly in his pocket – an alarm – before Jimin can say anything, and now he’s equally lost for words in the aura of Namjoon’s dimpled smile.

“Jihyun!” Namjoon calls, pulling the box away from Jimin to slap a lid on top. “Turn that off, we have to get going!”

Jihyun scrambles off the couch, nearly tripping in his haste to turn the television off. Jimin fights off the scowl – he’s never been able to get Jihyun moving so quickly from his favourite tv shows, and yet here Namjoon is, walking patiently to where Jihyun vibrates excitedly by the door.

Namjoon pauses when he passes Jimin, glancing down. Jimin is staring up in wonder, he knows he is, but he really can’t help it this time. People were meant to lose admiration for their idols when they realised they aren’t just first impressions and dreamy characters – and yet Jimin wants nothing more than to actually marry Namjoon’s ass, right then and there.

Namjoon is dad material to the max. Jihyun’s bounced over to tug at Namjoon’s hand, the other hand occupied with the lunchbox and Jihyun’s preschool bag. Not to mention he looks damn fine in such simple clothes, pink hair slightly messy and rushed, a pair of dark sunglasses pushing the fringe from his eyes.

“I’d ask if you wanted to come walk with us to school, but I guess it wouldn’t be good to have the father seen spending time with the hired help, huh?”

Jimin nods blankly, as Namjoon pulls a plain black mask from his pocket and slips the loops over his ears.

“If you’re still home when I get back, maybe we could order some breakfast or something? If you haven’t already eaten,” Namjoon says, slowly being pulled down by the rambunctious child attached to his arm.

Jimin nods slowly. “I’d like that.”

Namjoon coughs. “Cool. Great. Awesome. That’s, uh, yeah, cool, I’ll see you later then?” It’s as much of a farewell as he’s getting, finally giving in to the pull on his arm as Jihyun leads him across the room.

Jimin waves, more to Jihyun than Namjoon, although he makes eye contact with his fiancé. Jihyun waves back, and promises to be good when Jimin tells him to listen to Namjoon. He’s more using the short exchange as an excuse to ignore Namjoon, though. He’s let his glasses fall over his eyes, and he’s pulling on a beanie too – identity nearly completely hidden, there’s little chance of being caught out on the street now.

“See you, Chim, I’ll be home soon!” Namjoon calls, vanishing around the corner. When the front door finally clicks shut, Jimin can’t help but slump forward on the counter, head buried in his arms. He lets out a long groan, and considers calling Taehyung – who better to share the mess of his life with than the cause of his Number One Issue right now?