Malta was a blessing for him, Namjoon concedes. Both for the team - because god knows they needed the rest and the prospect of a free trip to a Mediterranean country with free accommodation and everything, minus, of course the staff and camera crew and the aspect that as much as this is a rest this is more of for your fans who wants to see you all in a Mediterranean getaway and less of a the company decided to send you for a trip because y'all deserve it, after raising this small company up your shoulders - and boy, how broad your shoulders are;
Not that Namjoon hates the staff and crew who also works hard - chasing them , assisting them at every street and corner, assisting on what they need (if desperate enough and or needed for the situation); but it's actually nice to take a trip with the members, all seven of them, just bros on a trip.
Bros on a trip. Namjoon smiles at the thought as he spins around in his swivel chair, as he now sits comfortably inside the premises of his studio, rkive.
You're such a nerd, he still hears Hoseok say when he broke the decision of the studio name change to him first. He also remembers the smile Hoseok gave him on the decision. He looks like he wanted to squish his cheeks, as if with a cute child.
Hoseok held his hand instead.
Ah, yes one of also the main blessings the trip gave him : Hoseok. Namjoon feels a little giddy remembering their small scene at the bench, the way Hoseok tells him everything he feels, voice all small and quiet. The smile he gets when he takes his hand. A confirmation. That whatever they are approaching is a yes on both ends.
See that's the thing. The whatever they are approaching, Namjoon thinks as he hops off the chair, deciding to reach for the tomato lamp Hoseok gave him for his birthday, and holding it, Nakto as he names it.
Hello, Nakto. He sits on the floor, placing the lamp on his lap.
The whatever seems to be easily definable to Hoseok's standards. A relationship, he says, two days after they returned to Malta. Not that Namjoon was pushing it in that direction, and also not saying that isn't the direction he wanted to take - he, most of all wants to be Hoseok's friend first. Someone he can rely on, lean on, talk to without the pretense of keeping up a wall to some extent. But he isn't also denying his undying affection for the guy.
He's Jung Hoseok, Namjoon thinks as holds Nakto, and tries to find the on switch. Who wouldn't want to be with him?
So when Hoseok barges in to his studio two days after, just when he was finished finalizing the tracks for Mono, when he was feeling lighter now that that is out and just ready for release, the feeling of accomplishment of creating and finishing something- Hoseok barges in his studio, looking all relaxed and beautiful, in his shirt and jeans, the beanie he gave him sitting atop of his head. A perfect fit. Shuts the door behind him, and sits on the floor of now newly renamed rkive.
"Joon-ah, congratulations!" Hoseok says when he finally sat down on the floor, then fixing his beanie - Namjoon remembers noticing the rings adorning Hoseok's fingers, beautifully emphasizing them even more (see the thing IS, Namjoon defends to almost anyone aka Yoongi and Seokjin, his hyungs who never since the Malta trip now tease him more than ever, it's not a kink! EVERYTHING about Jung Hoseok is beautiful and he can appreciate art in any form!).
He also remembers the small "thanks, hope-ah" that he replies as he sits on the floor as well, beside Hoseok, basically in front of that shelf of figurines.
It was silent for a while, until Hoseok lays his head on his shoulder. "Joon," he starts and Namjoon listens.
"We should define this, at least." Hoseok continues. This is the part of the backstory or flashback that Namjoon remembers vividly, because of his response - which is actually totally not eloquent of him. At all.
"Uhm," he starts, great job Kim Namjoon, "if you ah, want to be uh-"
"This is a relationship right?" Hoseok interrupts him.
"If- if you want it to be?"
This makes Hoseok raise his head from his shoulder, move his body so now he's sitting in front of Namjoon, face to face. Namjoon looks down, feeling shy. Also embarassed.
"Trust me, Jinnie, if there's someone who has balls to label whatever they have and officially ask them to be boyfriends, i'm sure the dice is totally not on joon-ah"
"Your faith in me is apalling, Yoongi-hyung."
"I tell Seokjin I love him eversince the beginning. You can't even tell Hoseok he looks pretty."
"Okay children," Seokjin says behind Yoongi back then, who was apparently sitting in Seokjin's lap, Seokjin's arms wrapped around his waist, his body enveloping his, Seokjin places his head on Yoongi's right shoulder, "First of all, you told me you love me after we fought, so that is way far from the beginning, Yoongichi."
"And second of all," Seokjin continues, a smirk aimed at Namjoon, "Yoongi's right. He has every reason to have low faith and expectations when it comes to your heart boner for Hoseok-ah."
"Joon, I want this to be a relationship. Do you want this to be a relationship?"
I want everything with you. "Yes. Boyfriends?" is what he says instead, and he gives himself a metaphorical pat in the back. Great job on not fucking up on that one and taking it too fast, Namjoon-ah.
Hoseok's smile that day was enough of a confirmation. Also the way they only managed to remove themselves from the floor when Yoongi barged in for a track he asked Namjoon to fix.
"Well i'll be damned," Yoongi only says as he backs away instantly, seeing their flushed faces, "congrats on making the first move Hobi-ah."
Namjoon knows, even albeit the teasing that what both Yoongi and Seokjin was teasing him about is true. Going back to this time, and breaking that (great, great, amazing) flashback of his, he knows that it was thanks to Hoseok that they're boyfriends right now.
Boyfriends, Namjoon sighs, I can call him my boyfriend now.
He can wrap his arms around Hoseok's waist if possible (aka. on private, within the company of the rest of the members, and on safer grounds because it'll be hell to deal with if publically and they both know that), and Hoseok wouldn't think it was a dare and try to shimmy away and laugh it off- no; cause Namjoon's his boyfriend now, he can place his hands on top of Namjoon's hands that enclose him, and snuggle closer.
He can tell Hoseok he's beautiful now, and pretty and amazing without being flustered and anxious, and he'll see Hoseok blush slightly and flash him a small smile, not that he doesn't tell him - oh wait, he was a coward back then. Every complement he has (and trust him, cause he has a lot - literally back then, he just sees Hoseok and it's like : alert! alert!) is covered up with a bro thing to say, on the fear that he'd project himself as coming onto Hoseok, because no, he wouldn't do that. But it doesn't stop him from trying to tell Hoseok he's well appreciated. And needed. The hard part was trying not to sound like he was in love with him or something. Yeah.
He can also, be Hoseok's confidant, a place where Hoseok can turn to when all the emotions are pouring in within him, and he needs a place to be comforted. To be listened to. A privilege Namjoon thought he wouldn't really have. A privilege nonetheless. A person who has the chance to make Hoseok feel sane and comfortable and warm. A person he can rely on. Everything feels like a faraway dream at some point -
"Boyfriend!" An exclamation booms into his studio, making him drop the lamp he's holding to the floor, and then, "oh my god, joon, is the lamp okay?"
"Uh," is the first thing he says, as he sees Hoseok rush to his side, aka. the floor, and hold the lamp he dropped (to be honest the height of the fall is not that high, but a drop is a drop), "i think so?"
Hoseok takes a look at Nakto, all crouched, not even properly sitting on the floor, "wait is it even plugged in?" He asks Namjoon.
"it is," he replies and makes sure it is. It was plugged. "hey, Hoseok-ah, sit down."
"Ah," Hoseok says, and sits on the floor with him. Tries to turn the lamp on. It doesn't. "Oh no,"
"Sorry," Namjoon apologizes instantly, "I dropped it. Sorry. I'll try to get it fixed, sorry, Hoseok."
Hoseok looks at him, as if to say, it's an accident -- it's alright.
"Joon, it's okay," Hoseok says, "I did surprise you." It's not your fault. I mean sure, some cases it just happens, but you don't easily break things.
Well, not all of them. "It was an accident," Hoseok adds, and Namjoon just descends down the spiral of thought, remembering Hoseok's words from before, from a night where Namjoon tells Hoseok one of his biggest fears. One of the reasons why he hasn't tried to make a move. Why he's scared to move.
I easily break things, he tells Hoseok a week after they made everything official, all labels in place, lying together in the bed in Namjoon's room. Tells Hoseok everytime someone walks out on him because of his lack of attention, or accidentally making the relationship fall apart. I'm scared. I don't want to break you too.
"Joon," Hoseok calls out, "it's fine." Relationships are a two way thing, Namjoonie. It's not solely your fault. They also decided to take it apart.
"Sorry, Hoseok-ah. It was from you too." But it was mostly because of me, though.
"Maybe it's not really broken? It was a light fall!" Hoseok tries to shake the lamp, "This was expensive! A light drop shouldn't be able to break it easily." I won't let you be the reason alone, don't worry.
Namjoon, do you want this to work? "You can try shaking it harder, maybe it'll light up?" He tries to suggest. Hoseok smiles at him and nods.
"Is it okay if i try slapping the thing? Works sometimes!" Hoseok asks him.
He nods and watches. I want this to work. I want to be with you.
Hoseok tries to slap the lamp, on the premise that it'll probably turn on. Then we'll make this work, cause I want this too. I want this with you, Joon.
I love you.
God, did he just realize it fully?
Every emotion he has for Jung Hoseok just: love. It's what it is. Why he was scared, not for him, but for Hoseok. Because he'll love him even if they're at a distance. Every effort he made to make Hoseok feel appreciated was sure, because of everything Hoseok has put in that really deserves appreciation, but he appreciates Hoseok for what he is and what he strives for.
It isn't just appreciation though, it's also along with the craving of intimacy, of closeness, of being able to be with him, of being able to be there for him. A person Hosoek can talk to, cry to, depend on, someone he can reach out and pull closer. To lean on to. To be able to touch without the boundaries of platonic establishment. Something deeper. Something if lost, will make him hollow.
"What," he hears Hoseok stutter, and he snaps back to reality, "w-what did you just say?"
Oh my god.
He said it out loud.
"I love you." And he said it again. No hesitations. Unprompted. Unfiltered. It's just what he feels. He knows it's love: his brain is telling him that what he feels is love. And he accepts it.
It is. It's love.
I love you, Jung Hoseok. And that's it. Well-
And, Hoseok is crying. Why is he crying?
"Hoseok? Sorry- you don't have to say it back, it's uh, it's fine- "
"shut up and hold me," Hoseok orders him, tears falling. "Uh, Namjoon, what the hell!"
So he does, he takes Nakto from his hands, and sets it beside Hoseok. Hoseok decides then to place his arms around Namjoon's neck, and pull him closer, not minding that Namjoon is kind of not sitting but more of on his knees now. Hoseok leans on his chest, hiding his face from Namjoon.
"Sorry," Namjoon just says.
"Stop saying sorry," Hoseok tells him, muffled. Holds him closer, and Namjoon feels happy, and as if a weight has been lifted off him. It wasn't a rejection. So maybe he can tell Hoseok,
"Do I tell you I love you instead?" He asks, smiling. He has to ask for consent, of course. Hoseok punches him on the chest, lightly.
"Hoseok-ah," he calls. He still needs permission. Hoseok looks up at him, all teary-eyed and beautiful. Wow, he's whipped.
"Yeah?" Hoseok asks him softly. As if expecting something. Namjoon decides to kiss him on the forehead.
"I love you." He says afterwards.
And if Hoseok tells him to keep telling him that he loves him, and that he loves him in return later, in between kisses , then that's a moment for Namjoon to treasure and keep forever,
Also the fact that afterwards, after calming down, and Namjoon picks Nakto back up, and Hoseok asks him to come to his studio because clearly his studio was a more cuddle-friendly place for both of them - he plugs in the loose connector that connects the lamp to the power wire.
And to both of their surprise, Nakto lights up, brightly. Per usual.
"So it was working properly," Hoseok tells him, with a shine to his eyes.
"Yeah, working alright. It was just a scare." He says back in return.
* * *
"Okay why is it always me?" Yoongi exclaims as he, enters Hope World seeing the two of them cuddle on Hoseok's huge beanbag chair. "Is this a personal vendetta against me?" Yoongi accuses, albeit teasing.
Namjoon appears to Yoongi by hooking his head on Hoseok's right shoulder. "Possibly." He replies with a smirk.
"Or maybe a taste of your own medicine?" Hoseok supplies, smiling. "Now you feel what we feel when we see you sit on Jin-hyung's lap to cuddle."