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Over Me, Not Over Me

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Seokjin would never tell Namjoon he had missed him, but Namjoon could hear in his voice that he was looking forward to Namjoon’s return to Seoul after living abroad for seven years.

“When does the job start?”

“Not until July, so I have a whole month to do nothing.”

“You’ll have to come over and use the pool. The only people who live in this complex are ancient, and they never use it.”

“Definitely.”

“Jungkook will be happy to see you, too,” Seokjin said with a laugh.

Seokjin used to tease Jungkook mercilessly about his crush on Namjoon. But it never bothered Namjoon. It was actually pretty flattering, since Namjoon wasn’t exactly popular or breaking a lot of hearts. Not when he was the nerdy kid who skipped a grade.

Jungkook was a cute kid. He had been about to turn 15 when Namjoon left for Australia, in that awkward teenage phase, hadn’t hit his growth spurt yet. Namjoon never wanted to lead him on, but he didn’t want Seokjin’s teasing to get to Jungkook either. So he pretended like he didn’t notice and tried to treat Jungkook like he would any younger friend.

But sometimes he thought maybe that just exacerbated the crush.

It had been such a long time, though. Namjoon hoped it wouldn’t make Jungkook feel awkward, especially if Seokjin was still teasing him about it.

“Oh, yeah? How’s he doing?”

“Good. Starting his senior year of college soon. He’s really busy, so I don’t see him much.”

“Shit, is he that old already?”

“Shh,” Seokjin said. “I don’t like thinking about it.”

Of course, Namjoon ignored Seokjin.

“If Jungkook is a senior in college, that means you’re almost 30, hyung.”

“I’m hanging up on you.”

“Don’t worry. You don’t look a day over 29.”

“Oh, eat a dick. I still get carded at bars.”

Namjoon knew that was a lie, but mostly because Seokjin was so attractive, no one had ever bothered to card him at a bar in his entire life.

“All right, I have to go anyway,” Namjoon said. “See you in a few days, bro.”

“See ya.”

Namjoon looked around the flat that had been his home for the last seven years. He rented it furnished, so nothing was really his. He’d sent a fex boxes of his books and papers ahead to his parents’ place so it was mostly empty of him. But he’d still miss it, the cupboard door with the broken hinges, the tiny shower, but most of all the quiet and the way the birds would wake him up in the morning and how he could listen to the wind.

Namjoon’s parents picked him up from the airport. His first few days back in Seoul he spent reacquainting himself with them, getting used to how crowded the city was and hearing his native tongue spoken all around him. He slipped into English so much at first that a shop clerk actually thought he was a tourist.

But he let himself bask in the comforts of home-cooked meals, his mom doing his laundry even when he tried to convince her that he was a fully capable grown man, going for walks with his parents’ dog, enjoying a few days of peace before he had to find an apartment and get on with his new life.

He couldn’t stay with them forever.

The first time he saw Seokjin was when Seokjin tagged along to one of Namjoon’s apartment viewings, because Seokjin had finally been able to get away from work. The real estate agent was flustered by Seokjin, and it started to come back to Namjoon what it was like being best friends with someone so handsome.

The apartment was more than he wanted to spend, and when he asked if she could show him more another day, she actually asked if Seokjin would be available as well.

“I’m not even interested in women, and I feel like I should be offended,” Namjoon said after the showing was over.

“It’s not your fault I’m stunning.”

“I can’t stand you.”

Seokjin just shrugged.

“So are you free now? Come hang out. It’s hot and Jungkook said the pool was empty earlier and Hoseok’s coming over in like an hour.”

“I don’t have trunks with me.”

“I have plenty of spares.”

Namjoon wrinkled his nose.

“Yeah, but that means they’ve touched your balls. I don’t want to wear something that touched your balls.”

“You’re a child.”

They had a brief staring match.

“Fine I’ll wear your ball shorts,” Namjoon said.

“Please keep calling them that.”

Seokjin’s family had a lot of money—new wealth, not generational—and they lived in a nice, gated apartment complex. Once Seokjin could afford it, he got an apartment in the same place to be close to them, a fact which Namjoon knew all their mutual friends gave him shit for.

“Want a roommate?” Namjoon asked, when he set foot inside.

“You couldn’t afford what I would charge you.”

“No friend discount?”

“Yes, but the slob fee would cancel it out.”

“I’m not a slob!”

“Namjoon-ssi.”

“Oh, just give me your ball shorts and let’s go to the pool.”

They changed into trunks, grabbed a couple towels, and headed out to the pool.

It was practically empty. A couple of older women were reading in lounge chairs, and an older man was floating on his back in the pool. The only other person there wasn’t an old man at all.

He was young, lounging on one of the deck chairs, fully reclined, wearing nothing but a pair of short swim trunks and a bucket hat covering his face. One of his knees was bent, showing off his thick, muscular thighs, and he the whole aura he was giving off was—strong. His chest was sculpted and his arms weren’t even flexing but you could tell they were toned.

Namjoon’s stomach flipped.

Seokjin aside, Namjoon never did well around hot people. They made them feel horribly inadequate and awkward in his body.

So when Seokjin started making a beeline for the lounging man, Namjoon almost shouted at him to stop.

“Hey, grab his ankles!  We can throw him in before he wakes up,” Seokjin called over his shoulder.

The man startled at the sound of Seokjin’s voice, and the hat fell off his face as he sat up.

Holy shit.

Namjoon knew that face. Or a younger, rounder version of it.

This was Jungkook? This was the kid who Namjoon walked to the bus stop every day after school because he was so small he constantly got picked on?  

“Oh hey, Namjoon-hyung,” Jungkook was saying, smiling.

His eyes were the same, but the wide-eyed innocence was gone. Replacing it was a warmth, a sparkle.

Namjoon’s mouth went totally dry.

“Hi. Jungkook?”

Jungkook laughed.

“It’s been awhile.”

“He finally hit puberty last year,” Seokjin said.

“Oh, fuck off,” Jungkook said, going for a punch that Seokjin instinctively blocked.

Of course that led to a quick scuffle that ended up with Jungkook throwing Seokjin in the pool and Namjoon uncomfortably aroused by how easily Jungkook was able to manhandle a grown man.

“I wanted to do some laps anyway,” Seokjin huffed after he surfaced.

“I’m sure you did, hyung,” Jungkook called back with a snort.

Seokjin scowled back, but he did start swimming, which left Namjoon alone with Jungkook.

It’s just Jungkook, Namjoon told himself. So what if he’s hot? He slept in Iron Man pajamas when he was 13 and pouted when Seokjin’s parents let Seokjin choose pizza toppings whenever Namjoon slept over.

“So, do you live here?” Namjoon asked, settling down into the chair beside Jungkook.

“No. I have an apartment with a couple friends near campus.”

“Cool.”

“Yeah.”

“So art school, right?”

“Yep.”

“I don’t know anything about art school, do you have a major or a concentration?”

“Yeah, a major. Mine’s digital arts, with a focus on animation.”

“Oh wow. That’s really cool. Do you want to make animated films?”

“Probably not. A lot of media companies use animation and special effects in ads, so there’s actually a lot of work outside of the film industry.”

“Oh, I didn’t think of that,” Namjoon said, ears burning. 

“I can do digital editing and video editing, so it’s a pretty versatile degree.”

“That’s great,” Namjoon said dumbly. “Do you like it?”

“I do.”

Jungkook’s phone buzzed with an incoming text message. Jungkook read it and his face broke into a smile.

“I have to get going.”

“Oh, sure,” Namjoon said. It was probably a text from a boyfriend, or maybe a girlfriend. Other than the crush on him, Namjoon didn’t really know Jungkook’s preferences. A lot happened during adolescence.

Jungkook pulled on a t-shirt, slipped into his sandals, grabbed his towel, and made to leave. But then he paused and looked over at Namjoon.

“I’ll see you around, hyung,” he said softly.

“See you,” Namjoon replied.

And then Jungkook took off.

Namjoon couldn’t stop feeling like he just got punched in the gut. But of course Jungkook wouldn’t be interested in talking to his older brother’s friend who he hadn’t seen in years. Jungkook had grown up, finished high school, went to college, had a whole adult life that Namjoon didn’t know anything about.

So what if he used to have a school boy crush on Namjoon? Of course he would be over it by now.

That was good—great.

So why did it feel like he just got rejected?

* * * *

“It’s for charity,” Hoseok insisted as he grabbed Namjoon’s arm and dragged him through the parking lot. “You promised you’d help.”

“I’m not an artist.”

“You don’t have to be an artist, the mural is gigantic and the outline is all done. It’s like color by number at this point.”

Namjoon had seen Hoseok twice since he got back. The second time, they went out for a beer and Namjoon had gotten a little tipsy. So when Hoseok started telling him about the youth center where he volunteered—teaching dance classes—Namjoon had been doing a lot of nodding and smiling. Somehow he ended up agreeing to help with some kind of “lock-in” at the center where they were spending the night painting a mural until was done so they could surprise the kids.

Namjoon really wasn’t great around paint or art projects in general, but Hoseok was enthusiastic, desperate for help, and it was for a good cause.

And when Namjoon saw the outline of the mural, he was stunned. It was massive, taking up an entire section of two story cinder block wall. The whole wall was painted blue, and it was full of outlined sea creatures—fish and turtles and dolphins and anemones.

“Wow.”

“I know, right?” Hoseok said. “The kids voted on the theme. Jungkookie did most of it.”

“Jungkook?”

“Seokjin’s little brother?”

“No, no, I know Jungkook. I just—I didn’t know he was so good.”

“Oh yeah, he’s great! He helps me with dance classes sometimes here, too. The kids love him.”

Of course he was. Of course they did. Seokjin and his family had always been really generous with their time and money. Jungkook had been raised well.   

“I have to stay by the front door awhile longer to check other volunteers in and wait for a paint delivery. Will you be okay? Everyone’s nice. Just ask where they need you.”

“Yeah, sure,” Namjoon said.

Namjoon spotted Jungkook, who was coming in from a back room, carrying a long ladder up on his shoulder like he was some kind of hot fireman. Namjoon tried not to stare.

“Namjoon-hyung?” Jungkook called.

Namjoon tried to will away his blush and dragged himself over, even though his feet felt rooted in place.

“Hoseok,” Namjoon offered by way of explanation.

“Ah, right. He said he was recruiting this week. Cool. Thanks for agreeing to help.”

“I’m happy to,” Namjoon said. “The mural is awesome. I just hope I don’t screw anything up. I’m not really an artist.”

“You’ll be fine. I mean, sure most of the volunteers are fine arts majors from my university.”

“Way to make me feel bad,” Namjoon huffed.

Jungkook smirked as he waved over another man.

“So this is Taehyung,” Jungkook said. “Taehyung, this is Namjoon-hyung. Can you set him up with an easy section? Somewhere he can’t do too much damage.”

“Hey!” Namjoon protested. “I’m not that bad!”

Jungkook grinned at him.

“I’m just teasing, hyung.” He turned to Taehyung. “No but seriously, put down drop cloths.”

Namjoon sputtered as Jungkook took the ladder further down the wall.

“So, how do you know Kook?” Taehyung asked.

Namjoon realized he was staring at Jungkook’s retreating figure.

“Oh, um, I’m friends with his brother.”

“Ah, cool.”

“And I know Hoseok.”

“So why haven’t I met you before?”

“I’ve been living abroad. But I moved back for a job that starts in a few weeks.”

It was actually 19 days, and Namjoon still hadn’t found a place to live. A commute all the way from his parents’ house was going to kill him.

“Well, welcome back,” Taehyung said warmly. “How do you feel about crabs?”

“Actually, I love crabs,” Namjoon said. He always had. He had even gotten a crab tattoo when he was in Australia.

“Perfect,” Taehyung said brightly.

Taehyung pointed to an outline of a crab on the wall.

“Red goes inside everywhere except the eyes,” Taehyung explained, his eyes dancing.

“I can handle this. I’m really not as much of an awkward disaster as Jungkook implied.”

Taehyung grinned.

“Well, no pressure, but the crab is important. I know for a fact it’s Jungkook’s favorite.”

“It is?”

“Yep. Here, I’ll get you a brush.”

“Thanks.”

Namjoon painted for a while, being very careful to stay inside the lines. A few people came up and chatted with him, asked him who he was, thanked him for volunteering. Hoseok had been right, they were all really nice. Hoseok came over eventually and started working on a turtle. Namjoon didn’t see much of Jungkook, who was taking care of the higher up parts of the mural from the ladder.

A couple of hours into the evening, Seokjin arrived with his arms loaded with pizza boxes.  

“Break time everyone!” Jungkook called from his ladder.   

He climbed down the ladder quickly. When he was three rungs from the bottom, he hopped down gracefully. He was immediately intercepted by Taehyung, who gestured up to what Jungkook had been working on and then threw his arms around him.

Taehyung nuzzled his face in Jungkook’s neck until Jungkook swatted him away.

Namjoon turned back toward the pizza, trying to ignore the sound of Jungkook’s laughter.

“It looks good,” Seokjin said. “You guys are like a quarter of the way done.”

When Namjoon had been up close to the wall, it had felt like they’d covered a lot of surface, but as he looked from further away, he could see that Seokjin was right.

“We really are going to be here all night, aren’t we?”

“Yep!”

“Are you staying?” Namjoon asked.

“Of course he’s staying,” Hoseok said brightly, slinging his arm around Seokjin’s shoulders.

“Yes, I’m staying,” Seokjin said through gritted teeth.

“You don’t sound thrilled.”

“I’m here under duress.”

Hoseok was grinning at Seokjin.

“Do I want to know?” Namjoon asked.

“Jungkook threatened to tell mom and dad about all the times I snuck out growing up.”

Namjoon burst out laughing.

“What?”

“You’re still afraid of your parents. It’s cute, hyung.”

“I’m not afraid of them. I just want them to think I’m perfect.”

“I’m sure they don’t think that,” Hoseok said.

“Oh, who asked you,” Seokjin huffed.

Namjoon and Seokjin were given the sand next, which involved sponges and four different colors of paint. It was intimidating at first, but the effect looked pretty cool in the end.

Everyone was starting to droop around midnight, but by then they were definitely well over half done, so Namjoon and Seokjin went on a coffee run.  

Another hour of painting seashells and Namjoon’s arm was tired, his neck was stiff, and he didn’t want to see another paintbrush as long has he lived.

He took a bathroom break, and he he got back, he realized that other people were starting to pull away from the wall as well. They were pretty much done with everything that could be reached from the ground. There were two smaller ladders occupied by two women who Namjoon had learned were both art students specializing in graphic art, and then Jungkook on the tallest ladder.

With nothing left to do without another ladder, they started doing some clean up and watched the art students paint.

Well, Namjoon was mostly watching Jungkook.

He was painting a dolphin, quick and confident with his brush, when all of the sudden he cursed loudly.

“Shit!”

There was a blob of gray paint starting to run down the wall in the path of a clown fish.

“I’ll toss up a rag!” Taehyung called.

But Jungkook shook his head and whipped his white t-shirt off, right there up on the ladder, using it to stop the drip and clean up all evidence of a mistake.

Namjoon’s brain short-circuited.

“Well this is interesting,” Seokjin said beside him.

Namjoon dropped the paintbrush he was supposed to be rinsing out into the bucket at his feet.

“What’s interesting?” he asked, clearing his throat.

“The tables have turned.”

“What tables?”

“You wanting to bone my little brother. It used to be the other way around.”

Namjoon gaped like one of the fish on the wall.

“I don’t! That’s ridiculous.”

“Uh huh.”

“I’ve known him since he was a kid,” Namjoon said weakly.

“He’s 22.”

“So?”

Seokjin shrugged. Namjoon’s mind was turning over on the words “used to.” So Jungkook really was totally over Namjoon. Of course he was. Jungkook really hadn’t given any indication that he was interested anymore. It was Namjoon who was making a fool of himself, staring at Jungkook, blushing when he talked to him.

“I don’t mind,” Seokjin said.

“What?”

“If you two want to hook up. I don’t mind.”

“That’s—really?”

“I mean, I don’t want to see it, but I’d rather him bone you than some creep.”

“Has he?”

“What?”

“Boned creeps.”

“I don’t know! I don’t ask. It was just a general statement. There are a lot of creepy dudes in this world.”

“That’s true,” Namjoon said. “He’s probably not interested in me anyway.”

Jungkook had looked pretty close to Taehyung in a probably-more-than-friends kind of way.

But Seokjin didn’t confirm or deny it. Hoseok came over shouting about a dance party to help the painters stay awake, which effectively ended any further conversation.

* * * *

The next time Namjoon saw Jungkook was at happy hour on Friday. Hoseok had invited Namjoon and promised to “drag Yoongi out of his cave.”

Namjoon still hadn’t found time to see Yoongi since he’d gotten back in town, so he couldn’t say no after Hoseok told him that Jungkook was coming, too.

When Namjoon got to the bar, Hoseok and Yoongi were already there.

“So you are alive,” Namjoon said as Yoongi got up to give him a hug. “I was starting to worry Hoseok was making it up.”

“I texted you yesterday.”

“That was like a week ago.”

“Was it really?”

Yoongi scrubbed a hand over his face. He looked exhausted.

“What are you working on?” Namjoon asked.

“EP for a new rapper. She’s super talented, great vocalist, too. But she’s openly a lesbian, which means it has to be perfect so no one can use her music as a reason to trash her, you know?”

Namjoon nodded in understanding.

“That’s awesome, though.”

“It’s why I do what I do,” Yoongi said flatly.

But the small smile on his face betrayed the casual way he spoke. He took a lot of pride in his work.

Namjoon asked him a little more about the album. As he was listening, he glanced out the window and saw Jungkook heading toward the bar. Accompanying him was a beautiful woman who was laughing at something he said.

“Is there something more interesting outside?” Yoongi asked.

“Oh, sorry. Jungkook’s here.”

Yoongi gave Namjoon a look, but if he had a question, he didn’t get to ask, because Jungkook and the woman were heading their way.

“This is Jieun,” Jungkook said, introducing her to Namjoon.

Everyone else seemed to know her—even cave-dwelling Yoongi who never left his studio.

“Nice to meet you,” Namjoon said politely.

“I’ve heard a lot about you,” she said warmly.

No one offered an explanation of how she was connected to the group of friends. And that’s when it hit Namjoon that he was the one who was the outsider. He grew up with Seokjin and Jungkook and had met Hoseok and Yoongi in high school. But he was their friend now mostly through texting and Twitter, and the occasional Facetime call from Hoseok and Seokjin, or email from Yoongi. They had been able to pick up right where they left off, but Namjoon wasn’t really part of their daily lives. They didn’t really know each other as adults.

He offered to go get another round of drinks, needing to get up for a minute to clear his head.

“Oh, hey, is Taehyung coming?” he asked Jungkook before he went up to the bar.

Jungkook looked confused for a second and then shook his head. So maybe Taehyung wasn’t his boyfriend. Maybe Jungkook was bi and not gay, and Jieun was actually his girlfriend.

Namjoon felt awkward asking any of his friends what the deal was.

He felt awkward about everything.

He tried to give himself a pep talk as he went up to the bar. It didn’t matter if he hadn’t been a part of their day-to-day lives. He was here now and things would unfold organically. He just had to be patient and let things be.

It took two trips to get five drinks back to the table, but he was feeling better as he sat back down.

“So, Namjoon-hyung,” Jungkook said. “Jieun’s uncle owns a couple apartment buildings and one of them is in the area you’re looking in.”

“Oh really?” He turned to Jieun as Jungkook went back to whatever he was arguing with Hoseok and Yoongi about. “Did Jungkook tell you I’m having a hard time finding a place?”

“He did. I can give you my uncle’s contact info if that would help?”

“That would be amazing. Thank you so much.”

“Well, Jungkook vouched for you.”

“He’d better. I’ve known him practically his whole life.”

“So you’re Seokjin’s friend?”

“Since primary school.”

“It’s great that you’re still friends.”

Jungkook asked Jieun a question then, which drew her back into the conversation with the others.

So Namjoon sat back and watched the way Jungkook and Jieun interacted, trying to read their body language. Jungkook focused on her when she spoke, got her a napkin when her drink splashed after the table got bumped.

Eventually Hoseok seemed to notice that Namjoon wasn’t part of the conversation, so he moved his chair closer. He looked like he was about to ask Namjoon something when Jungkook looked pointedly at Yoongi and asked,

“Wait. Did you see the proofs I sent?”

Namjoon whipped his head over to look at Yoongi.

“Jungkookie is doing the artwork for the album I was telling you about,” Yoongi explained.

“Oh that’s great,” Namjoon said, looking at Jungkook. “I can’t wait to buy this when it comes out.”

Yoongi and Jungkook started going back and forth, and then Hoseok and Jieun started asking Namjoon about Australia, and the rest of the evening flew by.

He went with Yoongi over to his studio afterward so he could listen to the album.

“You ever write songs anymore?” Yoongi asked as he clicked around on his computer, pulling up the right files.

“Not really.”

“You were really good with lyrics.”

“I wrote poems.”

“Well, if you ever feel like writing ‘poems’ again, let me know.”

Then, in a total non sequitur.

“So, Jungkook got hot.”

“What?” Namjoon sputtered.

“You were staring at him the whole time we were at the bar.”

“No I wa—I’m being way too obvious, aren’t I?”

“A little.”

“He also got cool,” Namjoon said miserably. “And competent and is doing all this great stuff with his art. Ugh.”

Seokjin or Hoseok would have laughed at him, but Yoongi didn’t.

“Jungkookie’s always been cool,” he said instead.  

And the thing was, Yoongi was right. Jungkook had always been cool, always drawing and creating, being himself, never trying to fit in just so he wouldn’t get picked on. All of those things had turned him into the kind of person that Namjoon really liked.

Namjoon was so screwed.

* * * *

Jieun’s uncle did end up having an apartment available in a place near Namjoon’s work and in his price range. On top of it all, he seemed like a really nice guy. Namjoon was so grateful to Jieun he was afraid he was being obnoxious in thanking her.

Namjoon’s mom and sister helped him pick out furniture and the stuff he would never think to buy himself, like an oven mitt and hand towels and a rack that hung over his bedroom door so he could hang up his coats.

He recruited everyone else to help move his things. He didn’t think he had that much stuff, but his mom kept dragging out boxes of his old junk that she “didn’t want in her house anymore,” so he ended up having to rent a truck even though he was having IKEA deliver the furniture.

Seokjin and Jungkook provided most of the muscle. Yoongi and Hoseok avoided the heavy lifting and assembled Namjoon’s bookshelves and sofa instead.

It didn’t take too long before everything was in and assembled, and Namjoon was surrounded by stacks of boxes that he hadn’t bothered to label and was already dreading unpacking.

Everyone else had left except Jungkook, who was sitting on Namjoon’s newly assembled sofa sipping one of the beers that Namjoon gotten for everyone as a thanks for helping.

Namjoon flopped down on the sofa beside him.

“Thanks for all your help today.”

“It was a good workout.”

Namjoon was biting back a suggestive comment about how Jungkook had barely broken a sweat, not that he had noticed.

“Yeah,” he agreed. “Though I didn’t really carry all that much.”

Jungkook drained the rest of his beer.

“I should go,” Jungkook said.

“I guess it’s getting kind of late, isn’t it?” Namjoon replied.

Jungkook got up and set his empty bottle down on the kitchen counter. Namjoon stood up to see him out, but Jungkook paused in the kitchen doorway. Namjoon watched him take a deep breath. He squared his shoulders as he walked back out into the living room toward Namjoon.

“Namjoon-hyung?”

“Yeah.”

“I’m not dating Taehyung.”

“Okay, that’s—okay.”

“Or Jieun.”

Jungkook took a step into Namjoon’s space.

“Why are you telling me?”

“Because I wanted you to know that I’m available,” Jungkook said.

It was his eyes that said everything. His eyes were intense, deep like a pool that Namjoon could drown in.

Namjoon crashed his lips into Jungkook’s.

And Jungkook didn’t kiss him back.

Namjoon stepped away quickly, his face burning.

“I’m sorry. I’m so—you weren’t telling me that because you wanted—”

“No, I wanted,” Jungkook said, grabbing a fistful of Namjoon’s shirt. “I wanted. I was just—surprised.”

He stepped back in Namjoon’s space, and they kissed each other this time. Namjoon parted his lips almost immediately, and the kiss got filthy fast.

Namjoon wrapped his arms around Jungkook’s waist. It was like his hands had a life of the their own, he slid them under Jungkook’s shirt, resting his palm on the flat of his back, feeling his warm, smooth skin.

He traced his fingers under the waistband of Jungkook’s underwear. Jungkook’s hips thrust forward a little when he did, and Namjoon’s hindbrain kicked in.

He started tugging at Jungkook’s t-shirt.

“Get this off, get this off.”

“Okay, yeah,” Jungkook said.

He fumbled with the hem, so Namjoon moved to help. He grabbed and yanked up so hard he heard a small ripping noise.

“Hey! I liked that t-shirt!” Jungkook said, once it was off.

“I’ll buy you a new one if you let me suck your cock.”

“Oh,” Jungkook exhaled. “Okay, yes that seems totally and completely fair.”

Namjoon kissed him again, licking into his mouth, letting his hands touch Jungkook’s bare chest. He was so solid. Namjoon wanted to touch every inch of him. His fingers started to roam, tracing Jungkook’s skin lightly, while Jungkook looked down like he was trying to figure out the pattern. Namjoon flicked Jungkook’s nipple with his thumb.

“Oh god,” Jungkook groaned.

“You like that?”

“My nipples are—”

Namjoon leaned down to lick, which caused Jungkook to take a stumbling step back.

“Sensitive,” he finished.

Jungkook kept backing up, pulling Namjoon with him, until he was leaning against the side of Namjoon’s new sofa.

Jungkook kissed Namjoon hard and needy. Namjoon almost toppled them both over onto the sofa, but Jungkook steadied him. He was shorter than Namjoon by a few centimeters, but he was stronger, steadier, and Namjoon found it unbearably hot.

Namjoon pressed his body against Jungkook, desperate to touch him everywhere, wanting to suck him off, but also to do anything, everything. Then he felt Jungkook’s hardness against him, and he had to taste.

He got down on his knees and didn’t waste any time pulling Jungkook’s sweatpants and underwear down in one motion. Jungkook stepped out of them, kicking them aside. And then Jungkook’s cock was right there, right in front of his face, and Namjoon just—he wanted to make it good. He wanted to make Jungkook feel good, wanted to know what he liked, what he didn’t, what would make him come undone.

He licked Jungkook’s dick to get it slick. And then he put his mouth around the head and slid his lips all the way down to the base. With his mouth full, he looked up at Jungkook’s face.

Jungkook was looking down at him with his mouth forming a small “o.”

Namjoon started to move, bobbing his head, pulling almost all the way off, swirling his tongue around the head, and then going back down.

“Namjoon,” Jungkook groaned.

Jungkook seemed to like that, being buried deep in Namjoon’s throat. He also seemed to like it when Namjoon used his tongue. Namjoon catalogued those reactions and then got a rhythm going, reveling in the noises Jungkook was making, in the way his hand was squeezing Namjoon’s shoulder, digging his nails in a little, in the way he let out a little gasp of breath when Namjoon made just a little more suction.

He never minded giving head before, but he was enjoying himself, liked the feeling of Jungkook filling his mouth, liked the way he reacted. He was almost disappointed when he felt Jungkook tap him on the shoulder.

“Hyung,” he panted. “Hyung, I’m going to—”

Namjoon gave his head a soft shake, trying to convey that he wanted to be right where he was.

He sucked just a little harder, and then Jungkook’s whole body tensed. He grabbed the back of Namjoon’s head with his hand and started to come with a deep groan. Namjoon relaxed his mouth, easing up on the suction so he could breathe and swallow.

He kept sucking gently until Jungkook’s cock started to go soft and Jungkook pulled back, leaning on the sofa for balance as he panted.

“Hyung,” Jungkook said, sounding awestruck.

Namjoon sat back on his heels and smiled up at him. Jungkook looked debauched, flushed, a little wrecked. And Namjoon was uncomfortably hard. He couldn’t help it when he started to palm himself over his jeans.

“No, no. Don’t do that,” Jungkook said when he noticed.

“But I—”

“Sit,” Jungkook said, looking a little wild-eyed as he pointed at the sofa. “No pants.”

“Okay, yeah,” Namjoon said, as he unzipped his jeans and pulled them down. Jungkook helped push down his underwear, and Namjoon let himself be guided to the sofa.  

Jungkook settled on the floor between Namjoon’s legs, putting his hands on Namjoon’s thighs, spreading his legs even wider, stroking the skin softly with his thumbs. He looked up at Namjoon with eyes were wide, pupils blown, and Namjoon’s breath caught in his throat.   

Jungkook worked his hands in closer to where Namjoon was aching to be touched. Jungkook leaned forward, his breath warm on Namjoon’s sensitive skin. But Jungkook bypassed Namjoon’s dick all together, instead running his tongue up and down the seam of Namjoon’s ball sack, pressing right on his perineum. Namjoon jolted.

“Oh fuck.”

Jungkook put a hand on Namjoon’s thigh to anchor him in place, and then he kept licking, gently tracing around Namjoon’s balls with his tongue. He pulled one into his mouth, holding it in the wet heat of his mouth while he continued licking around it.

Namjoon made a noise that sounded like his soul was leaving his body. He certainly felt like he was floating up to a different plane of existence.

There was no way Jungkook could have known that he liked having his balls played with.

Namjoon looked down at Jungkook, who moved onto the other side, licking slowly, carefully, but with just the right amount of pressure.

Namjoon couldn’t stop the noises coming out of his throat. His dick was hard against his abdomen, neglected, but not, because he felt so good with the attention on his balls. He was floating in this middle space—on edge, wanting to come, but also wanting the pleasure Jungkook was building in him to never end.

The need to come finally won out.

He reached for his dick, but Jungkook batted his hand away.

“Jungkook,” Namjoon whimpered, his voice broken.

Jungkook growled in response.

He huffed as he interrupted the attention he was giving to Namjoon’s balls and licked his hand, before wrapping it around Namjoon’s cock.

A stream of curse words started tumbling out of Namjoon’s mouth as Jungkook went back to tonguing around his balls while he jerked him off.

Namjoon was so stimulated his brain went totally offline. All he could hear was blood rushing in his ears, his whole body going warm and taut as he tipped over the edge, coming hard, shooting onto his chest and stomach.

Jungkook stroked him through it, still giving gentle, kitten licks to his balls until Namjoon started shivering with overstimulation.

As he came back into himself, Namjoon was panting with exertion, even though Jungkook had done all the work.

“Fuck,” he said. “Fuck, Jungkook. That was—fuck.”

Jungkook sat back on his heels and looked up at Namjoon, biting his lip, looking absolutely devastating.

“I’ve never heard you curse so much.”

“I’ve never had my brain sucked out through my balls before.”

Jungkook grinned and then rocked back on his heels, standing easily. He looked around for his underwear and sweatpants and put them back on.

“How do you have the energy to move?”

Jungkook shrugged.

“I have to pee,” he replied.

Namjoon closed his eyes and nodded, still feeling lazy and content. He opened them again when Jungkook returned from the bathroom.

“Are you okay?” Jungkook asked.

Namjoon nodded.

“I’m great. Never going to look at this couch the same again, though.”

Jungkook snorted. He picked his shirt up off the floor where Namjoon had tossed it, inspected it for the rip, which was just a small tear at the neckline. He put it on and then shoved his hands in his pockets.

“Well, I should, um, I’ll—”

“You can stay.”

Now that he was coherent again and the edge was off, Namjoon was already thinking about another round, slower, preferably in a bed. He wanted to take Jungkook apart, too, learn just how sensitive Jungkook’s nipples were. But Jungkook was fidgeting, looking a little confused.

“No, I have to—um, class tomorrow, some stuff to do—I’m just gonna go.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay,” Namjoon said, scrambling around for his jeans to throw on. “Do you have your phone?”

“Yeah, I grabbed it from your charger. Thanks.”

“Sure,” Namjoon said.

Namjoon felt awkward, standing in the middle of his unpacked apartment, watching helplessly as Jungkook put on his shoes by the door.

“You don’t—” Namjoon started.

Jungkook paused and looked at him with such an innocent expression, Namjoon’s heart broke a little.

“Don’t what, hyung?”

“Regret it,” Namjoon whispered.

“No,” Jungkook answered quickly. “Not at all. I swear. I just, I have to go.”

“Okay,” Namjoon said, but he didn’t quite believe it.

After Jungkook left he went on autopilot. Cleaning up the beer bottles, consolidating the remaining pizza the others left behind into one box. He could have started to unpack, but he couldn’t focus enough to put anything away. He found sheets for his bed and put them on and then laid down with his laptop.

As he scrolled through Netflix, trying to find something that would distract him, he kept thinking about Jungkook’s behavior. He seemed into what they were doing, seemed experienced, seemed into Namjoon. He was the one who told Namjoon he was available, had given Namjoon the opening, which was a bold move for someone three years younger.

Namjoon couldn’t figure out what happened.

Maybe Jungkook was always awkward post-sex, maybe he really did have class the next day that he was worried about.

But Namjoon still felt unsettled by it.

He was grateful when his phone rang, until he saw it was Seokjin who was calling him.

He answered hesitantly, half expecting to hear an angry “what did you do to my little brother,” but it didn’t come.

“Pool party this weekend. For your last days of unemployment. You have no choice in the matter.”

“Okay,” Namjoon agreed.

“Saturday at 3. I’m cooking. Bring your own trunks.”

“That’s a given,” Namjoon said.

He wanted to ask who was invited, if the list included Jungkook, but Seokjin launched into a story about something his sugar gliders did, and Namjoon let the question go.

* * * *

The pool party was in full swing when Namjoon arrived that Saturday. He had been dragging his feet a little because he was worried about running into Jungkook. But he reasoned that the party was for him, and if Jungkook didn’t want to see him then he didn’t have to show up.

Yoongi, Hoseok, and Jieun were there, along with Jimin, who had been on a tour when Namjoon first got back to Seoul, and a couple other people that Namjoon was still vaguely in touch with from school.

Jungkook was nowhere to be found.

So Namjoon caught up with Jimin for a while, and then offered to help Seokjin, who was over at the grill in a little area set off from the pool.  

Seokjin looked at him horrified.

“Are you a better cook than you were in high school?”

“Um.”

“You really want to help?”

“Yes.”

“I left the lettuce and kimchi inside.”

“I can get that,” Namjoon said.

“The kimchi is in a green container in the fridge. Not the red one, the red one has nabak kimchi and I’m saving that.”

“I’m sure I can figure it out.”

Seokjin looked at him like he wasn’t sure he could.

But Namjoon assured him that he hadn’t forgotten what kimchi looked like after living abroad and headed back to Seokjin’s apartment.

Jungkook was in Seokjin’s kitchen.

“Hi,” Namjoon said.

“Um, hi,” Jungkook replied, eyes darting toward the doorway like he was contemplating escape.

“Your brother asked me to get the kimchi,” Namjoon said. “So.”

“Ah.”

Namjoon shook his head. He didn’t want it to be like this, to be awkward. He was Seokjin’s best friend. Jungkook was going to be in his life either way.

“Can we talk?” Namjoon asked.

Jungkook sighed.

“Please?” Namjoon continued. “I feel like I fucked up or made things weird, and that’s not what I wanted at all. I just don’t know what happened. And I won’t know unless you tell me.”

Jungkook was looking at his feet, and he suddenly looked a lot younger, like the shy kid Namjoon remembered.

“Okay, yeah. You’re right we should—talk.”

“Okay,” Namjoon said. “Can you tell me what I did wrong?”

Jungkook closed his eyes for a few seconds and then opened them, meeting Namjoon’s gaze directly.

“You didn’t do anything wrong. That’s not—it’s more like—do you ever get exactly what you want and then you wonder if you really, I don’t know, if it was really how you wanted it?”

Namjoon felt his stomach drop. Had he been too forceful? It had really seemed like they were on the same page.

“I’m sorry if I—”

“I swear I’ll kick your ass if you finish that. I wanted it. I wanted you. I still want you. That’s not the problem here.”

“So what’s wrong?”

“I wanted to marry you,” Jungkook blurted out. “When I was a kid, you were—I used to draw you, you know?”

“Really?”

“This is so embarrassing.”

Jungkook did kind of look like he wanted to sink into the floor, and Namjoon didn’t know what to do. He put his hand on Jungkook’s shoulder.

“I still don’t think I understand,” he said.

“It’s—you’re real. And I just, I never thought you’d actually want me back. So it’s hard to keep you separate from how I used to feel about you. And—and how I used to fantasize about you.”

Namjoon knew Jungkook had a crush on him, but it was different to hear Jungkook confess it.

“But you grew up without me,” Namjoon said. He thought about the very experienced way Jungkook had gone down on him. “It’s not like you were waiting for me.”

“I know,” Jungkook replied. “I did grow up. And now here you are, and you probably still think of me as a kid.”

Namjoon put his hand under Jungkook’s chin, making sure that Jungkook was looking at him shake his head, that he could see that Namjoon was completely serious.

“I don’t. I really—you’re definitely not a kid. This is embarrassing for me to admit, too, but I’ve been making a fool out of myself drooling over you since I got back.”

“Really?”

“Oh come on, you know you’re hot. But—but I think you’re also someone I could really like. I get that it might feel weird for you, but it doesn’t for me.”

“Yeah?”

“I think it’s pretty safe to say that I have a crush on you.”

Jungkook’s eyes lit up again and he grinned. His smile quickly turned predatory and he came in closer. He pressed Namjoon against the kitchen island. Namjoon tangled his fingers in Jungkook’s hair and pulled him in for a kiss.

In spite of their position, Jungkook let Namjoon lead the kiss, let him lick into his mouth, let him tug on Jungkook’s lower lip. Namjoon was committing to memory what Jungkook liked.

It turned out he really liked having his hair pulled a little, because the second time Namjoon did it, Jungkook groaned and pushed his thigh between Namjoon’s legs.

“Want you,” Namjoon said, moving his lips to Jungkook’s neck.

“Mmm.”

“Wanna do everything with you.”

Jungkook gasped.

Then he put his hands on Namjoon’s waist and lifted Namjoon up onto the kitchen island, pressing him back until Namjoon was completely trapped. He didn’t know how Jungkook managed to make him feel small, but he liked it. He balanced his weight on his elbow and tugged at Jungkook’s shirt with his free hand to pull him down and kiss him hard.

He was so focused on Jungkook, on the way he felt, that he didn’t really think about the sound of the front door opening.

“I told you it’s in the gr—oh god, my eyes!”

Jungkook sprang back and Namjoon tried to subtly slide off the counter and back down to the floor.

Seokjin was standing at the edge of the kitchen with his hand over his eyes.

“Hi, hyung,” Jungkook said.

“Um, hi,” Namjoon said. “You can look now.”

Seokjin lowered his hand slowly.

“This is my kitchen! I make food here!”

“We weren’t doing anything!” Jungkook said.

“You were definitely doing something.”

Seokjin’s nostrils were flaring a little, but Namjoon couldn’t tell if he was really mad or just embarrassed.

“I wore your ball shorts,” Namjoon blurted out.

“What?”

“If I can wear your balls shorts, you can deal with my ass on your counter.”

Seokjin sputtered.

“I know I told you both that I didn’t care if you, whatever, but I didn’t think I’d have to see it today. In my kitchen.”

Namjoon crossed his arms defensively.

“Well I was just about to ask Jungkook out on a date, so get used it.”

“You were?” Jungkook asked.

“Well, I got distracted, but there’s a film festival at the cinema in my new neighborhood that I thought you might—”

Jungkook cut him off with another kiss, cupping Namjoon’s face in his hands. Namjoon brought his arm around Jungkook’s shoulders to hold him closer.

He heard Seokjin’s voice receding.

“Okay, I’m just going to—please don’t fuck in my kitchen. I have a spare bedro—you know what? Don’t tell me. Just clean up after yourselves. I’m going now.”

The front door closed.

Jungkook pulled back.

“He forgot his kimchi.”

“We could go take it out to him. I mean, this party is kind of for me.”

“Do you want to?” Jungkook asked, sliding his hands down the back of Namjoon’s swim trunks and giving his ass a squeeze.

“Not at all. Not even remotely.”

Jungkook smiled before kissing Namjoon again.

And they didn’t make it to the spare bedroom.