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“Well, you know what they say,” Kim Seokjin starts once again, not deterred by Namjoon’s slowly growing annoyance. He is like that, he has always been like that, ever since Namjoon met him back in middle school and he first grabbed him with his claws, by the throat.

Namjoon rolls his eyes with a sigh, knowing well enough where this is going. He is gonna lose, okay, that’s a possibility, but he is not going down without putting a fight – even if just to leave this with at least some pride.

“No,” Namjoon answers.

“They say that you can find love when you just turn the corner. And that you won’t know until you try. So go to the Singles Dinner.”

“And you know what else they say?”

“What.”

“That Kim Seokjin is annoying and he sticks his nose where he shouldn’t.”

“Well, it’s good that you know,” Seokjin lifts his head with the sort of self-assurance and confidence that Namjoon will never achieve, even in million years. Seokjin is a pure power, has always been a strong shoulder that helped him whenever he had a problem. It’s both impressive and scary, and Namjoon loves him with all of his heart.

“Please, leave me alone, I don’t want to go there, I will literally just cry in the corner, I’m not joking.” Okay, maybe Namjoon’s pride is not worth all that much, but he is not even embarrassed to admit it. All he wants is a peaceful life, surrounded by his friends and family – he doesn’t want to worry anymore, he is past that; he has a good life, he, mostly, accepted the events from the past, he has a good job and nice neighbors, and, most importantly, his son gives him joy and hope and makes him see the world through his innocent heart. He has nothing to complain about, and yet, here Seokjin is, looking at him with—with worry.

“Listen, Joon, it has been four years, you can’t just stay alone until you die.”

“I’m not alone,” Namjoon groans. “I have Minsoo, and you, and Yoongi.”

Seokjin sighs, tired. Namjoon kind of understands, they have been through this exact same scenario way more than they should. Seokjin has been trying to get him to date again for years now and Namjoon never budged.

“I know you probably don’t want to think about it yet, but, one day, Minsoo is gonna be all grown up and he will move out and have his own life, and he will visit you as often as you visit your parents. That’s just the charm of parenting. And Yoongi and I don’t even live with you, you will be all alone in your apartment and then you will cry yourself to sleep every single night because you always put yourself second instead of letting yourself be happy.”

“That’s harsh even for you, hyung,” Namjoon says, turning around from where he was stirring noodles on the pan. Seokjin is leaning over the breakfast bar, watching him with hawk-like eyes, and Namjoon feels like the man is taking him apart with his stare. “What.”

“When was the last time you thought of what you want and need? Do you think that I don’t know that you watch all these romantic comedies because you crave affection?”

“I get all the love and affection from my son, thank you very much.”

“I meant romantic love and you know it. You can’t just- You can’t do this all alone, you are constantly tired and lonely, and you make us all worried.”

“Well,” Namjoon clicks his tongue, face blank. “I’m sorry.”

Seokjin shakes his head and comes closer to hug Namjoon’s back. Namjoon kind of wants to cry when his friend lays his head on his shoulder and puts his hand over Namjoon’s heart. He knows people around him just want to help him, but that he can’t just get past this, past the constant nagging in his head telling him to stop sharing his problems with them. So he stays silent about them more often than not and pretends to be okay, but there really are days when he would rather stay in bed and forget about the world outside of his covers.

But then, when his second alarm turns on and Minsoo comes to his bed and cuddles up to him, he gets reminded that he is not alone and has so many reasons to just push through and get his shit together. So he kisses Minsoo’s head and gets up to get them both ready for the day.

Raising up a kid on his own wasn’t something he thought he would be doing, although, probably no one does. When Minsoo’s mother died, Namjoon thought he would never be even remotely okay, he expected to fuck up everything within the first week. He knew close to nothing about children, barely enough to not get his son killed too soon, and both his and his wife’s parents lived in a completely different part of the country, too far to constantly come to them whenever problems had arisen. His mother in law stayed with them for the first two weeks after the accident and tried to get him to move in with them in Daegu. She would probably move to Seoul herself if not for the fact that her husband has a company there. Namjoon thinks that the only reason she was placated enough to leave was the fact that her son was close by to her grandchild – she would probably never let Namjoon be on his own like that if Yoongi wasn’t in an apartment just down the hall.

“Please, don’t,” Seokjin says when Namjoon stays silent. “I know you don’t want us to worry, but we love you and to expect us to not care is just ridiculous. One day, something happens and none of use, Yoongi nor I, will be around to help you. Especially now that Yoongi is working on the new album for that new group, and my own career at the company is picking up and I am going on business trips every now and then. The thought of you being all alone is just heart-wrenching.”

Namjoon’s heart feels like it’s being eaten alive by guilt, but it’s not that he wants them to worry. He really doesn’t, but there is not much he can do. Except-

“So what? You want me to find someone just so they can be my nanny?”

Seokjin’s grip tightens sharply for a second, a small punishment that isn’t all that unwelcome. “No, you dumb duck. I want you to find someone who will love you and who you will love, and that you can find support in each other, someone who will make your days a thousand times better just by thinking of their smile waiting for you at the end of the day.”

“Thanks, hyu—“

“And also so you can finally get laid because you are way too stressed out.”

Namjoon jabs his elbow under Seokjin’s ribs. Hard.

 

 

 

 

Two weeks later finds Namjoon going to the Singles Dinner slash Party slash Whatever anyway, but it’s not because Seokjin’s convincing tone and arguments got through to his head. It’s mostly because he just wanted to have some peace. He knows that if he didn’t go, Seokjin would one hundred percent pester him until his ears would wilt away like flowers at the end of Summer. Definitely not something he would recommend to anyone, whether a friend or an enemy.

The place doesn’t look half-bad; it’s elegant and very adult-like, and Namjoon feels a little out of place. He never went to places like this — even when his wife still lived, they preferred to go to hole-in-the-wall bars or to just drink with friends at home. She was very down to Earth. Maybe it was something she picked from her older brother or maybe it was always just her. High class restaurants or hotel lounges made her uncomfortable.

Perhaps it’s a good start. A new place, a new kind of people. He won’t get reminded of her too much and he might even try to enjoy himself. He doesn’t need to set his mindset to search for a romantic partner, that’s what Seokjin said when Namjoon stopped before the entrance.

“If you just open to new people at all, if you just let yourself have a good time, then that’s enough for me. You know hyung loves you, right?”

And Namjoon stood there like an idiot, unable to make an eye contact with him until Jin didn’t start laughing as if he just saw something ridiculous.

“Ah, this hyung isn’t that bad, is he now? Wasn’t there a certain feeling to it?”

Seokjin cupped his own face as if he was a little kid trying to win their parents over by being cute. He looked content by his own actions, too, which squeezed a fond smile out of Namjoon’s soul.

“Please, stop, Minsoo is gonna learn from you how to be sleezy.”

“Huh, but he is not here, Joonie-bear,” Seokjin cooed at him and went to pinch Namjoon’s cheeks, but Namjoon swatted his hands away, embarrassed.

“Whatever,” he mumbled under his breath. “I’m going inside, please, pretend that you don’t know me.”

It has been half an hour since they entered and Jin gave him the space Namjoon needs. Or that he thought he needed until people started approaching him. It’s not that he gets annoyed by them or anything like that – it’s mostly because he is uncertain of what to say and what to do. For these past years, people he has been talking with were mostly his family and friends and other parents, and now it feels as if he lost the ability to make small talks with strangers that are very possibly interested in him.

They are mostly people in their twenties, people around Namjoon’s age. He should be able to find an interesting topic of conversation and make it fun and not boring, but he doesn’t know what to talk with them about. It seems as if they had a totally different lifestyle and Namjoon is not sure how to connect with them.

It’s either finishing university, or their internship, or travelling, or being carefree and enjoying their life one day at a time.

And it’s not that bad, really. It really wouldn’t be that bad.

Talking with people with whom he is not familiar with is difficult and takes a lot of energy from him.

On one hand, he is happy for the opportunity—just a little—and he tries to make the most of it. He remembers how he used to like talking with people. When he was still in school, producing music with Yoongi and writing for his blog, he took inspiration from other people’s lives—who they loved, and how much they loved, how they lived, and what happened in their pasts, and what are their hopes for the future. He used to write so much at that time, and now all he does is read and edit other people’s works for his job as an editor. It’s not a bad job—he gets to do this at home, so he doesn’t miss anything important in his son’s life. But he always thought that he would be a lyricist or a book author. And yet, ever since his wife died, he stopped what he most loved doing, unable to create anymore.

On the other hand, talking with these people makes him feel like he is less than he actually is. Because, when the topic of their conversation changes to Namjoon, and he reveals that he has a son, people suddenly say “ah”.

“Ah” comes inevitably, usually followed by an awkward stare, and Namjoon is left to thinking “but what does that ah mean?” because it’s a sort of things that could be either of these following options:

“Ah, I thought you are a free soul like me.”

“Ah, that’s an uncomfortable topic for me.”

“Ah, so you are a parent. Are you gonna talk only about your child and be a boring adult?”

And there is certainly more of the ahs, but they all mean the same thing.

“Ah, I’m not interested anymore.”

It could also mean “Ah, that’s great”, but Namjoon came to realize that it probably doesn’t because as soon as it comes up, people try to talk for a moment longer as to not look weird before ending the conversation and then vanishing into thin air.

But Namjoon isn’t embarrassed of having a son, nor of being a single parent. He has been strong for his kid and he is proud of how Minsoo is such a sweet and loving boy full of life. And if anyone has any problem with him being a parent, then they are not worth Namjoon’s time, not even a single thought.

So when he hears a cheerful “hi” from behind, he instantly says “Hi, I have a son, so I just wanted to get it out there just in case.”

When he turns around, there is no smile on the guy’s face as Namjoon thought there would be, judging from the tone of his greeting. Instead, the man looks a little taken aback, like he isn’t sure whether Namjoon said it to him or to someone else.

“Uh…” Namjoon says, suddenly feeling very stupid about his outburst. “Hi, sorry, oh my god…”

The man slowly regains his precious cool and shakes his head, embarrassed all on his own as well. Although, Namjoon is not sure why the man would feel like this.

“Sorry,” Namjoon apologizes again, feeling dumb. “It’s just most people here end the conversation as soon as my son comes up. I just wanted to save myself some time.”

“Oh, yeah,” the guy says. “No problem, people are just dicks, no offense taken,” he laughs suddenly, very loudly, but there is nothing in the tone of it that would suggest he is laughing because he finds it funny.

Namjoon is floored.

“Oh. Uh. Do I have something on my face?” the guy asks, bashful, and Namjoon realizes he has been staring.

No one can blame him for this, though. The guy has one of the prettiest smiles Namjoon has ever seen, and he can’t help but be in awe at how it has a shape of a heart. He wonders if it’s like that because the guy’s actual heart is so pretty it has to manifest itself to the outside world.

If the man isn’t the nicest person in the world, Namjoon is seriously gonna get disappointed and sue him for the false advertisement.

“No, sorry, not at all, I’m just being awkward as always,” Namjoon says and hopes it isn’t too obvious that he lied. Well, maybe not lied, he is pretty awkward when it comes to new people (and friends as well, to be perfectly honest). Half-truths aren’t half-lies. At least that’s what Namjoon tells himself—they are still better than outwardly making a fool of himself by saying that the man is so beautiful, Namjoon is ready to cry over this.

“Well,” he says, the blinding smile returning to his face. “That’s fine by me, don’t worry. I’m Jung Hoseok, by the way,” he introduces himself, reaching out with his hand for Namjoon to take it. He doesn’t mean to, but he stares at it for a moment and wonders at how the man’s fingers can look as beautiful as the man himself. Maybe the whole world is out to get him. Maybe he really should have stayed home today and hide and never come out ever again.

He takes Hoseok’s hand in his own at last, suddenly aware of his staring once Hoseok’s hand starts falling back to his side. He smiles, embarrassed at how rude he probably seems. “Kim Namjoon.”

They look at each other with small smiles on their faces.

“So,” Hoseok says.

“So,” Namjoon repeats.

“You came here with a friend?”

“Yeah, he kind of dragged me here and then disappeared,” Namjoon says and looks around, hoping that maybe this time he will finally see Seokjin somewhere, but he is still in no luck.

“Uhhh, that’s harsh,” Hoseok laughs. “Well, then there is both of us, I’ve been ditched as well. Although, I was the one that dragged Jeongguk to this place, kind of against his will. Ha,” Hoseok exclaims in a sudden thought. “I wonder if he is still around or if he just went home.”

Namjoon doesn’t know what to say to that. Should he try and console him or just ignore this part? “Sorry,” he says at last, but Hoseok just shrugs as if he didn’t truly care about this. “So you wanted to come here?”

“Yeah, it’s actually organized by my other good friends. They met each other through speed dating and now they think that they could work wonders with other single people. And I thought hey, why not, I’m single, and if it helped them, maybe I should give it a try as well. And since they didn’t like the rushed format of speed dating, they just decided on a dinner party—it seemed fun at that time.”

“Your friends seem like lots of fun themselves.”

“Yeah, they are,” Hoseok says with a fond look in his eyes. “I met Jimin first; we befriended each other when we were both still in middle school when we met each other in between dance classes—“

“Oh, you dance?” Namjoon says in wonder and Hoseok smiles proudly.

“Yeah, I started with hip-hop back then and Jimin did contemporary dance, but once we met each other, we now kind of dabble in a lot of styles now. We’ve both been teaching dance classes for the last few years.”

“Wow, that’s really great!” Namjoon would lie if he said he wasn’t impressed. He never learned, so he is not that good—he makes a small note in his head to never dance near Hoseok. That is if they ever actually become friends and decide to hang out. “You are teaching here in this place?” Namjoon asks, waving his hand around at what is obviously a dance studio decorated to fit the occasion better.

“I love to dance, so getting this job was amazing, yeah.  And, well, it is the studio. Jimin and Taehyung have this terrifying skill that is making other people eat from their hands. The owner loves them, so she didn’t have anything against letting them do this.”

Namjoon is fascinated with Hoseok, to say the least. Even just listening to the man talk about what he loves to do the most and about his close friends, he seems like someone with a heart the size of an elephant—way too big to fit his body the way it does. Namjoon finds himself drinking the words in like it’s the nectar of the gods or something, and he should feel embarrassed by this, but he really isn’t. Hoseok seems to be happy that Namjoon wants to listen to him, asking Hoseok more and more questions about his experiences as a dance teacher.

“I mostly just teach kids, so I don’t have that many stories about my adult students. Besides, kids are the most gratifying to work with if I am being honest. Uh, but maybe not the part where I have to deal with some of their parents.”

Namjoon cringes a bit, the expression barely there, but Hoseok notices it anyway with how he stops talking almost immediately.

“Sorry,” Namjoon says, pity heard in his voice, and Hoseok relaxes a bit. “I get what you mean, most of the parents of my son’s classmates are hard to deal with. It’s a problem even between other parents as well, honestly. I have a few friends, but I generally try to avoid staying for too long after the teacher’s meetings as to not have to listen to some of their passive aggressive bullshit. And most of them gives me crap for being a single parent, a single father at that.”

“Oh,” Hoseok gasps.

Namjoon is not sure as to how to categorize the “oh”. He starts to feel queasy and is reminded of the ahs from earlier. Did Hoseok, in the midst of the awkward first moments, forget that Namjoon has a son and now lost all his interest? No, that can’t be the case since he caught himself after complaining about his student’s parents. So what does the “oh” mean? Was that a good “oh” or a bad “oh” or a “oh, I don’t care”?

“Oh?” Namjoon asks quietly, the sudden courage surprising, but he came to like Hoseok way too much for such a short amount of time, for what feels like a moment, but has been actually an hour if the clock doesn’t lie, and it’s scary. It’s scary. He rarely makes new friends nowadays, and he doesn’t want to lose Hoseok without knowing a reason.

“I mean,” Hoseok starts, but falls silent again. There is a weird mixture of embarrassment and relief on his face, and Namjoon is confused even more than before. “I thought—I’m sorry for assuming, I just thought that, since you started this conversation with saying you have a son, I thought that you are married and didn’t want me to flirt with you.”

“You thought what.” Namjoon is shocked. “Why would I come to a Singles Party if I wasn’t single?”

“I don’t know! You tell m—I mean, now I know, okay, alright. I thought that since you were dragged here by your friend, you are here to just support him.”

Namjoon laughs because the whole misunderstanding just dawns on him, and Hoseok joins right after, bending in half and holding his stomach.

“I’m a fool alright,” Hoseok says once they calm down enough, and Namjoon just realizes what Hoseok told him a moment ago.

“Wait, hold on,” he butts in before the man can say anything else. His eyes are wide in wonder at the whole situation and he is a tad bit too shy to ask this, but: “You walked up to me to flirt?” He is not proud of how he kind of squeaks the last part, but it already happened and he can’t take it back now. Besides, the sight and sound of Hoseok chuckling because of him are rewarding enough to not regret it too much.

“Yeah, you are the most attractive person I’ve ever seen, flirting seemed like the reasonable thing to do.”

Namjoon is amazed by the easiness with which Hoseok said it, adding a shrug at the end of this like it wasn’t a big deal to tell someone he finds them attractive. What the hell?

“What the hell?” Namjoon asks out loud and instantly covers his mouth with both of his hands once he realizes what he did. “Are you serious or are you just playing with me right now?”

It’s not that Namjoon thinks he is ugly or anything like this—he likes his smile and his dimples, and he is thankful he has never had problems with his skin, it has always been pretty healthy, and he thinks that some people might find his small nose cute. But to be “the most attractive person” anyone has ever seen seems like a big exaggeration, and hearing it with his very own ears? It feels like it’s a part of some joke Namjoon doesn’t yet know about and it makes him feel insecure—something he didn’t feel since he was in high school.

“Why would I lie, though?” Hoseok asks incredulously, but he has a serious expression on his face and Namjoon wants to believe each and every word that comes out of his mouth. “I am just being shamelessly honest here, please, appreciate, it happens only once every hour. I noticed you a couple hours ago, but whenever I looked your way, there was always someone already talking to you. I thought I would never have my chance to get to know you before this thing ends or that someone would ask you out before me.”

“Well,” Namjoon says, shy and a little bit speechless. He doesn’t really know how to react to what the man said. He feels—he doesn’t even know what exactly, but it’s a lot like butterflies. He is not sure, it feels like a whole eternity since he last felt this way. “Well,” Namjoon repeats, trying to get himself together before he loses even more of his cool. “I guess you are in luck since everyone just loses their interest once they know I have a kid.”

Hoseok winces. “I thought we already established that most people are dicks.”

“I’m not that mad, if I have to be honest,” Namjoon shrugs. “I get it. They are still young and aren’t ready for something like this, and some of them probably don’t even want any kids at all, whether someone else’s or their own. It’s—It’s a difficult situation.”

“Namjoon!” someone yells from behind and Namjoon turns around to look for the perpetrator. Across the room, there is Seokjin waving excitedly in his direction and he seems to have a vice grip on someone else’s sleeve. Namjoon can’t see the owner of the shirt, though, as they are hidden behind Seokjin’s broad shoulders.

“Oh, no,” Namjoon says.

“What?” Hoseok asks, suddenly worried at Namjoon’s tone of voice.

“Uhhh.”

Seokjin gets closer and closer, dragging the person behind, and Namjoon curls up on himself in embarrassment.

“So, this is Seokjin—the friend I told you about—and it seems like he has found his new victim. Poor soul.”

Hoseok laughs at his comment, but Namjoon knows he just doesn’t understand the situation well. Seokjin is a pure force of chaos and he can’t be stopped by anything once he sets his heart to something. Terrifying.

“Namjoon!” Seokjin calls out again, just a few meters away. He beams at him and then looks to the side to take Hoseok in with his predatory eyes. “I see you have a new friend!”

“I see you found someone, too. Too bad they are so scared of you, they try to disappear behind you,” Namjoon answers, trying to change the topic of this conversation to Seokjin instead of Hoseok.

Seokjin smiles even wider. “Oh, you mean Gukkie here? He is just shy.”

“Gukkie?” Hoseok asks, surprised. “You mean Jeon Jeongguk?”

“Hyung?” There is suddenly a head popping up over Seokjin’s shoulders, a fit not many is capable of since both Seokjin and Namjoon are quite tall. The boy is cute, certainly Seokjin’s style, although Namjoon always thought his friend was leaning more towards grumpy-cute—but maybe it is just about shy, easily embarrassed guys who are way too adorable for someone as evil as Seokjin.

“Guk!” Hoseok exclaims and Jeongguk waves at him cutely, finally stepping from behind Seokjin and looks at Namjoon. “Oh, right! Guk, this is Namjoon. Namjoon, this is my friend, Jeongguk.”

“Hi,” Namjoon greets and the boy nods in his direction with a shy smile.

“And I’m Kim Seokjin,” Seokjin introduces himself, not waiting for anyone to do so. “I’m best friends with Namjoon—”

“Yoongi is my best friend,” Namjoon says just to tease him a little, and Seokjin rolls his eyes.

“Jung Hoseok,” Hoseok laughs, reaching out with his hand. “Nice to meet you!”

“Of course it is,” Seokjin says matter-of-factly and Namjoon’s eyes widen in fear that Hoseok is gonna take it the wrong way, but the man just laughs even harder, practically folding in half. Seokjin takes him in with appreciative eyes and shows thumbs up Namjoon’s way.

Namjoon smiles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Namjoon thought that his son would be already asleep once he gets back from the dinner, but once he opens the door, he is greeted with a high-pitched “Daddy!” and he is almost thrown off balance when something suddenly latches onto his legs. When he looks down, Minsoo is hugging him tightly and already looking up at him with his big eyes.

“Hey, sweetheart, why aren’t you sleeping yet?” Namjoon asks. “Did uncle Yoongi give you candies again?”

“Noooo,” Minsoo says in a totally believable tone and Namjoon chuckles, messing up his son’s hair. “I just wanted to wait for you.”

“Oh, did my baby miss me?” Namjoon sighs, kneeling to hug the boy and tickle him under his arms, smiling when Minsoo giggles.

“I’m not a baby anymore! I’m almost six!”

“Of course,” Namjoon says gravely. “Then I guess we shouldn’t buy you toys anymore since you are so big now.”

“Dad!” Minsoo yells, stepping back to look his father in the eyes with a serious expression on his face. “Uncle Jinnie says even adults buy toys!”

Namjoon shouldn’t be surprised, this sounds like Seokjin alright, and he laughs so hard he falls on his butt, sitting on the floor and being judged by his son. The whole commotion brings Yoongi to see what’s it about. He looks sleep-deprived and Namjoon feels sorry for making his friend babysit when he should just get some sleep instead.

If what happened made Namjoon close off on the outside world, Yoongi has gotten it even worse. He is constantly losing sleep, whether against his will or just working until exhaustion takes an even bigger toll on him. Namjoon had Minsoo to get out of his own dark place, someone who he had to be strong for, to shake himself of any stupid thoughts. He has his son to keep himself in check for, he can’t mop around and pretend the world around him isn’t real. But Yoongi. Yoongi tries to deal with stuff by himself and it’s hard to look at, it’s not always healthy. Namjoon and Seokjin try to help however they can, but they don’t know how much of it goes through to him. Maybe there will always be a sadness inside of all of them, even in their happiest moments.

Namjoon learned how to talk of his wife without falling back into his old self—he had to, mostly for Minsoo who likes to ask about his mom from time to time. Namjoon doesn’t think the boy understand yet about the loss or about dying. He is just curious about the mother he has no conscious memories of. Sometimes, Namjoon wishes to be like this, too, to not hurt as much as he does, to think of it as if it wasn’t an actual life he has to live.

“I put water on; let’s make you some tea, you babies,” Yoongi says, smiling softly at the two of them rolling together on the floor.

It’s almost ten in the evening and Minsoo is out before the water starts boiling, sighing quietly in his sleep, sitting on his dad’s lap. Namjoon smiles at him and caresses his hair carefully as to not wake him up.

“Do you want me to put him to bed?” Yoongi asks, but Namjoon shakes his head.

“I will do this in a minute. I guess I need to hug him for a moment longer.”

Yoongi nods, knowing well that Minsoo has this way of comforting people and recharging their batteries.

“Long night?”

“Kind of weird,” Namjoon answers and Yoongi rises one of his eyebrows at him. “I don’t know. Seokjin disappeared almost immediately, so I just kind of decided to stand in the corner by myself.” Namjoon shrugs as if it wasn’t a lame behavior on his part.

Yoongi groans. “Leave it to Seokjin to be a jackass… So you didn’t talk to anyone there?”

“Ah, I mean, I did. A few people came up to me to talk for a while, but, you know.” Namjoon looks to his side, not sure if he should say anything about those people backing off after finding out about Minsoo. Probably not, he doesn’t want to worry his friend. “And I—I met someone really nice?” Namjoon doesn’t even know how to describe Hoseok well. That man is a lot to take in at once. “He is—he is gorgeous, but he thinks that I’m attractive? And  he is really passionate. You would like him, hyung, he lives with and for his dream. He loves dance, he even teaches classes. Minsoo would probably love to have him as his teacher, he is so fun and cheerful. I told him about Minsoo and he asked me so much about him, genuinely interested, and it was so refreshing, hyung.”

Yoongi has another one of his soft smiles stretching his lips over a cup filled with chamomile tea he made for the both of them, and Namjoon doesn’t know how to react to this.

“You seem to really like him, your eyes are all twinkling and shit,” Yoongi comments once Namjoon finishes his rant.

“I mean, yeah,” Namjoon blushes. “It would be nice to have someone so good as a friend.”

Yoongi furrows his eyebrows, trying to understand what Namjoon is saying. “A friend?” he asks. “I thought that—”

“Well,” Namjoon cuts in. “I’m—I don’t know. He probably doesn’t like me this way.”

“You just said that he complimented you. It surely must mean something.”

“He was probably just being kind.”

“Namjoon, please,” Yoongi murmurs, barely audible. “Don’t do this to yourself. Why can’t you let yourself have nice things in your life? You deserve to be happy.”

“I—I am happy, hyung.”

“Are you, though?”

Minsoo stirs in Namjoon’s arms and both men fall quiet until the boy finds a new position in his sleep. Namjoon kisses the boy on his head and caresses his cheek.

“You took care for him for so long, all alone—”

“You and Seokjin helped me a lot,” Namjoon says, but Yoongi just continues as if he wasn’t interrupted.

“—and it’s time for you to start caring about yourself as well. Allow yourself to be happy and to love, you deserve all that and more.”

There is a warmth spreading through Namjoon’s chest and he feels loved. Yoongi rarely talks about emotional stuff and it feels nice to have a heart-to-heart conversation with him when Namjoon feels more insecure than always. To be supported by his long-time friend and to hear words he needed to hear the most—Namjoon is grateful for this.

And maybe he needed someone else to say this to him, to validate his thoughts and wants.

Namjoon smiles shyly, his eyes downcast.

“He gave me his number,” he admits and Yoongi grins at him.

“Text him, then.”

“I will.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s four days later when Namjoon finally gathers enough courage to whip out his phone and start drafting a message to Hoseok. He is not sure how he should start and if he should apologize for not texting the man earlier.

He starts to wonder if Hoseok even still remembers him after Namjoon didn’t remind him of himself for such a long time or if he is mad at Namjoon for this.

If he just sends “hi”, wouldn’t it sound too dry? He deletes it and starts again, but it gets too long and he doesn’t want to sound desperate. His head falls to his desk with a dull thud, but he can’t be bothered by the pain anyway. He doesn’t even feel it, too deep in his own thoughts.

Namjoon groans. Then sighs. Then groans again. It definitely feels as if he was in high school again, trying to talk to his crush. This is awful. This is gonna be awful. So awful.

“Okay, Namjoon, you can do this. This is actually not that hard. Just say hi and apologize.”

He is still murmuring quiet words of encouragement as he tries to start writing the message again. It takes him another ten minutes of pondering until he deems the message just right and gathers enough of courage to his “send”.

 

to: Jung Hoseok

Hi, this is Namjoon! We met at the dinner a few days ago. Sorry for texting you so late.

 

He doesn’t have to wait long for the reply, it comes barely two minutes later, and Namjoon jumps in his sit when he hears the soft ping from his phone.

 

from: Jung Hoseok

I thought you would never text me! Don’t worry, the waiting was worth it. I can’t stop thinking about you.

 

Namjoon’s heart stops for a moment or two before it picks up its rhythm again. He can feel his cheeks burning. He almost dies when his phone pings again.

 

from: Jung Hoseok

Sorry, was I too forward again? If you feel uncomfortable with it, just say one word and I will tone it down. I just really like you.

 

to: Jung Hoseok

No!

 

from: Jung Hoseok

No?

 

to: Jung Hoseok

No, I mean, I’m not?? uncomfortable? I guess I’m just not used to this yet.

 

to: Jung Hoseok

Wait! You really like me? I thought you were just being nice at the dinner??

 

Namjoon’s heart beats like crazy when he waits for the reply. It takes a bit more time than the previous messages and he wonders if Hoseok decided to change his mind and ignore Namjoon. Or maybe Namjoon is just being a tad paranoid.

 

from: Jung Hoseok

Of course I like you. Have you seen yourself? I was smitten from the first sight. And when I finally had a chance to talk to you, I fell even deeper. You are honestly one of the most interesting people I know, and I like listening to your voice. I would really love it if you decided to give me a chance and let me take you out sometime? You should take Minsoo, too, it would be wonderful to finally meet him after you praised him to no end. So. What do you say?

 

Namjoon stands up when he reads the message, one hand covering his mouth, but he still manages to let out a small squeak through his fingers.

He hoped, but he was never sure if Hoseok actually wanted to meet him again. Even if the man gave him his number unprompted. This doesn’t feel real and he pinches himself to check if it is. And, yep, it hurts. Namjoon grins to himself, ecstatic. He didn’t feel this way for such a long time, he doesn’t even know what to do with himself now.

“You should text him back, Namjoon,” he says to himself gently, sitting back down. “It’s okay.”

It takes him a moment to find words, they all just swirl in his head. Words like “I think I might allow myself to like you back.” But he can’t really write it yet, it’s not the right time. But he will let himself do this—he will say these words to someone someday. And in his head, it might be to Hoseok.

 

to: Jung Hoseok

I would love to meet you again.

 

Maybe Namjoon will really be okay.