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on love in the public eye

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"You actually like it when we mess with you on stage, don't you?"

Namjoon blinks at the question. He looks up, dropping the towel he'd been using to pat at his face over his shoulder. They'd just finished a concert and were resting for a bit in the dressing room, still taking their time to settle from their adrenaline rush. Jin, Yoongi and Hobi had left earlier to take a shower, and he was left to wait with Jimin, Jungkook, and Taehyung.

"What?" he asks, one eyebrow raised.

"You like it when we give you attention, hyung," Jungkook points out, resting his weight on Namjoon's side as they both sit on the couch. Jimin, sitting on the arm rest on Namjoon's other side, hums his agreement at him. "That's why you don't complain, right? Whenever we touch your face or tease you?"

"ARMY likes it," Namjoon answers with a shrug, leaning back. He blinks slowly, reminiscent of a cat in comfort when he finds Taehyung standing over him from behind the couch. "You see it, right Tae?"

"Mm, that's true," Taehyung agrees, expression serious (as it often is, recently) while he gently runs a hand through Namjoon's hair. It's a familiar gesture, something his members do whenever they're in just the right amount of distracted, and it's nice. It reminds him of family, of being loved, and he likes it. He probably doesn't say that as much as he should, though.

Does he have to? They've been together for 5 years and a little more; surely, they can read him well enough by now.

"But you like it too, personally," Jimin gently insists, hand warm as he rubs at Namjoon's nape using the towel he'd left hanging there. "Right, hyung?"

"Does it have to be said? I figured you know me well enough to see that on your own," Namjoon says, implicit in his agreement with Jimin's observation. He grins when Jimin starts to play with left earlobe, not bothering to bat him away as he does just playfully poke him in the side. "Yah, what're you doing?"

"Aish, why do you have to be so tall," grumbles Jimin, a joking kind of annoyed as he lightly pinches at Namjoon's cheek. "You're so cute, it doesn't fit you."

"What're you saying to your hyung!" Namjoon yells, laughing when Jungkook joins in by pinching at his right cheek. "Hey!"

"You're very tall, but your aura is small," Taehyung says, grinning his boxy grin as he cups both of his hands over Namjoon's cheeks, before pushing his palms in until his face is kind of squished in his hold. "The contrast makes you even cuter, you know?"

"I have eaten at least 1,095 more bowls of rice than you," Namjoon says, wrinkling his nose at all of them.

"We just think it's nice, that ARMY is so happy at seeing you so loved," Jimin says, smiling widely enough that they can all see his eye smile. "It makes us happy too, you know? You work so hard, and you do so much for us; it's only fair that you get that much love."

"Ah, what's in the water," Namjoon mumbles, lips pursed and cheeks hot (and probably pink) as he sinks further and further into the couch, curling into himself out of embarrassment. "You're all being weird, stop it, seriously."

"Every time I see them, my heart becomes dangerous," Taehyung sings, seeming a non sequitur up until he starts lightly pinching at Namjoon's cheek. Namjoon makes a tiny, squawk-like sound at the pinch, giving Taehyung a betrayed look (but not quite stopping him anyway).

"Every time I see them, it gets more dangerous," Jimin sings, following after Taehyung as he pokes at one dimple.

"Oh baby no, hey," Jungkook sings, grinning as Namjoon gives a low groan and hides his face in his hands, slumping over until he has his head resting on Jimin's lap. "It's too dangerous to be in this world..."

"Those dimples are illegal," they sing at once, laughing when Namjoon makes a high-pitched whining noise from behind his hands.

"Maybe we should document this for ARMY," Taehyung offers, getting him a slap on the hand from Namjoon.

"Yah! Enough! I'm leaving," Namjoon says, the tips of his ears pink as he abruptly stands from the couch.

"Hyung, nooo," Jimin whines, wrapping his arms around Namjoon's waist and effectively holding him in place. For a small guy, he's actually pretty strong when he puts his mind to it. "We're just having fun, don't go!"

"Aish, you brats," Namjoon huffs, letting himself be pulled back until he's on the couch again, squeezed right in between Jungkook and Jimin, with Taehyung laughing at the back. It's one of the striking differences between him and Jin when it comes to interacting with their younger members; where Jin wouldn't hesitate to get physical with them, Namjoon would often choose to let himself be pulled around because he knows how damaging his power can actually be.

It's probably why their younger members like teasing him best, honestly.

"I love you, hyung," Jimin says with a grin, all while practically cuddled up to his side. He can already feel how much ARMY would love the sight of it, him snuggly fit right in between everyone else, and it's not too hard to predict the spam of purple hearts and screaming gifs that would follow.

"Maybe you should take a picture," he suggests to Jungkook, all while leaning back into Jimin. "ARMY would love it, I think."

"Maybe we shouldn't," Taehyung says, contradicting his own suggestion earlier as he gives Namjoon a seeming mysterious smile. Namjoon makes a face at him, lips pursed and nose wrinkled in confusion.

"Mm, maybe not," Jungkook agrees, a content smile on his face as he too rests his weight on Namjoon. "I think I'd like to keep this to ourselves. Just for us."

Namjoon feels his face heat at that. If it were for ARMY, he'd feel a little less embarrassed to be showered with so much affection; there was an excuse, after all. Like this, with none of them documenting it, it just feels...intimate.

It just feels too real.

"Aish," Namjoon huffs, struggling to hold in his embarrassment as he feels Taehyung wrapping his arms over his shoulders. "You guys are too much."

They all share a grin, as if in on some secret that Namjoon isn't privy to.

"We're just enough," Jungkook sing-songs, closing his eyes as he rests his head on Namjoon's shoulder.

"We love you just enough, hyung."