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Persona (Who the hell am I?)

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Kim Seokjin was tired. He had single handedly built his father's empire twice the size it was when he got it. After studying abroad, he had entered the business at the ripe age of 20. And after eight years, he was the CEO of the Kim Enterprise and had a reputation he had tried hard to built. Basically, he had every right to be tired.


Seokjin still remembers the day he had landed in Seoul, his father had just grabbed him by the shoulders, hugs weren't common in their household, and told him that,''Seokjin, your dad has upheld the name of the Kim family for years and now its your turn. Power and ability to command people are the reason we are where we are." His stern eyes had emphasized every word of his. Seokjin had nodded and tried not to let his discomfort show."Don't turn soft, my son. The market is cruel and merciless, it does not need your gentleness. The moment you step into your office, leave out whatever life you have lived till then. You are not Jin there, the Jin your mother smothered and your friends laughed with, but you are Kim Seokjin, son of Kim Changmin and heir of the empire your great grandfather built."


If you asked Jin, he would have told you that it was all very dramatic, to give such a speech to the young chaebol who had returned to the home soil after years of living abroad . But he also couldn't deny the way the chill had traveled down his spine when he had first entered his office and looked at the skyline of the Seoul from the glass window of his office, reserved only for those that could reach the height Seokjin was standing on. He had merely sighed, accepting his new life with a heavy heart, knowing he was incapable of escaping it and could feel all the responsibility landing on his shoulders like a thick blanket. He was a sensible young man, he saw no point in posturing against the odds when he knew he couldn't fight them.


The conditions turned worse when his father stopped coming to the building as soon as Jin started. It was his father's way of letting Jin grow up early, and handing him the reigns completely. Jin, embarrassed to say, in his early years had struggled a lot. Don't get him wrong, he was amazing at signing deals and wooing sellers, his ample charm, eloquent speech, commendable manners and, last but not the least, his gorgeous face helped him a lot. It was the monotony and the indifference of handling the business that shook him. How he had to fire whoever was lagging, no matter how severe their circumstances were and how much they needed the job. It was like his father had said, power and command, that's what killed him. His incapability to do exactly that and ignore everything in that made his knees shake, and his body, unconsciously, want to bow in apology. The harshness of money hungry people that he had to deal with, the number of gold diggers and suck ups that were ready to bend at Jin's beck but were as untrustworthy as thieves. Jin knew what was coming ahead of him, he knew it his whole life. The moment he was born, and his mother had refused to conceive another child to conserve her figure, he knew it all. But the exact reality still caught him by surprise and left him staggering. It took him months of mental breakdowns, his father's angry hands and words, and bulks of monetary and emotional failures, for him to realize that the world he was living in was mean and worked precisely for one purpose only; to squander anyone and everyone to reach the top of the power ladder. That money controlled everything, Jin was truly surprised but yes everything, in the world.


So Jin hardened. He took his father's advice and scolded his past self for not listening to his father earlier. Left his hobbies, a few friends, scattered lovers, and his old self. He became the perfect heir of the kingdom, just like his dad had demanded.


But eight years, being something he knew he was not, hardening himself because of a life he no longer wanted to live and has only taken a toll on him, has left him feeling empty. He does not recognize the man he sees in the mirror everyday, he does not know whose voice is that he talks in. He is so tired of living in this mindless limbo that he just wanted an escape. A relief of fresh air, anything, anything that would remind him of who he was. Or what made Seokjin smile and feel so confident in his own skin. The mask was waning and Jin's ability to keep it in place was slowly diminishing as well. He needed a place to be who he was, now that he had the luxury to and knew his way around this world, no matter how many bruises he had to wear like a pride to get there, now was the time he could find a place to rest his aching heart and body.
And he had found such a place, more or less. Jin was currently, lounging in his office. It was late around midnight and his eyes had started blurring the papers in front of him. Rubbing his eyes, and leaning back on his chair, Jin groaned when he heard his spine crack. Shit, he was tired.


Jin breathed in and out, looking at the bright lights lining the ceiling of his office. His office was a lavish place, full of plush black leather sofas, sleek steel lamps and coat hanger, the polished white floor complimenting the furniture made up of dark wood. Jin had been pleased by the interior designing when he had first entered and the expensive carpet that was spread under the coffee table in front of the sofas had made his aesthetics rejoice. The glass window and the way it allowed the sunlight to play in every corner of his room had made him love this place. But it did not take him much time, before he started hating everything in his office. He hated the book case, where now when Jin has allowed himself to think he would prefer to put his comics and books instead of his business files, fruitful researches conducted on marketing and books teaching him all about success and mind games, that currently decorated it. The plants in the corners, angered Jin, their artificial liveliness and never ending green only urged him to throw the pot straight through his window. The glass window, the magnanimous, glass window, reflected the reality of his life back at him. The thick protective glass made him feel isolated and away from the rest of the world, locked in a place where he could see everyone, the twinkling lights of the life, but never live or touch it.


The outspread of heap of papers on his table, the opened pen and its drying ink roused a brand new anxiety in his stomach. He had to get so much work done, but he could no longer concentrate. The light shinning of his table made him squint. He grabbed is phone, once he realized he really could get no work done, so why not waste his time like he did everything else, lavishly and royally?


Checking up on the app he had downloaded a week ago, was becoming a habit. A habit which you knew what the results where going to be like but couldn't help but try. Maybe he was hopeful, or maybe he was just desperate.


With his eyebrows scrunched, he went through the new people, the app had found for him. He tried a few but it was always the same exhausting chore that he seemed to have added in his life since he found out about this app. It worked on simple algorithm. At first, it asked you a couple, okay a lot of, personal questions about your interests, asked you to make a profile and matched you with people of similar personalities. Except, instead of simply chatting with people, it did something similar to 20 questions, it only allowed you to talk to each other through questions. Based on some research about how asking and answering questions helped form more stable and stronger bonds. After a particular number of questions, it allowed the people to talk only through chats, then it allowed options for pictures and then voice notes and finally allowed you to video call and what not. It was all about slow progress of getting to know people and their different aspects, and avoiding superficial relations.


It had caught Jin's attention once he had read about this app in an article, talking about its rising success among youngsters and professional adults likewise. Jin, to be honest, was not on this app to find his true love or someone to date, he was just lured in by the idea of having something real. The only relations he had right now, where with his parents, distant aunt and uncles he had to please, his subordinates, a couple of business friends he talked to during functions he had to attended and his secretary, Min Yoongi. He knew he and Yoongi could be closer but he had kept it professional for the past five years. And now, he found himself regretting the lost time because Yoongi was shifting to the states and was resigning as soon as he had found him a proper substitute.


Jin's attention was dragged to the phone in his hand, as it vibrated, indicating the app had found him a match. The person was named, Ally. She instantly texted him.


''You look hot from your shoulders. So wanna meet for a fuck?''


''Urm.. no.''


Chat disconnected.


Jin was regretting posting a picture of his naked shoulders and his back in his attempts to keep his real identity hidden. Obviously, it could not be known that Kim Seokjin of Kim Enterprise was hunting for profound relations on an app. Pathetic, right? He could imagine the disgrace. Face palming at his own luck, he looked at another message from yet another match.


"Are you rich enough to be my sugar daddy?"


"...."


Chat disconnected.


Jin didn't want to answer that because, yes technically he was rich enough, but no, he was not interested in being anyone's sugar daddy (A/N oh boy). Trust people, to take an app meant for intimacy and making it cheap. Humans disgusted Jin.


Another match. Jin was ready to give up for the day. But he thought he would give it a try. The person and his compatibility was only based on one question they had given exact same answer to. Among 150, one question. RM, that was the guy's name.


'What do you want to do the most in life?'


'To live freely.'


Two words, two answers, and two people. Jin's phone blinked, coincidentally, the guy had also decided to give it a chance and asked Jin something other than sex, money, and what kind of romantic dates Jin could take them on. Jin was really, really, done with this app.


Jin clicked on the guy's question, it read. ''Do you think reality exists irrespective of humans?''


Hmm.. the question made Jin stop, and think.


He would've usually passed such a question, he just wanted to have fun not question life and its purposes. He could not bother with it when he already had to deal with the real world enough as it was. But the late hours, the dimmed lights and the loneliness that seemed to reign his office alongside him, made Jin depressed that he decided to entertain the question.


Having seen money buy whatever truth or reality people believed in, Jin knew how easy it is to make something real that was not. He has seen humans mould their own realities.
''No, reality is whatever you make it be. If it ever existed out there, it did before humans decided to take it in their hands.''


Now the guy could not reply anything, it was Jin's turn to ask a question. Jin pondered for a few minutes but decided to repeat the guy's question, curious to know how he would answer it. Jin listened the low rattling of the air conditioner in the room until he received a reply.


"You reply is really interesting, to be honest. Better than many I have received on this app not gonna lie." Jin smiled, pleased to know someone else was as annoyed by people on this app as he was. "And obviously, I think the same. We, humans, are unable to experience the true reality, unfiltered. No matter how much we debate the objectivity of our knowledge and ideas, it is undeniably a materialistic world and we can only know as much as we can see and comprehend it, which again is an incredibly subjective thing. So I believe that the only reality that exists, does inside our minds and how we interpret the outside world and everything in it. And whatever people say 'reality' is, it is only the consensus of our subjective realities. There is no way out of the cave, Plato was wrong. But again, ask me the same thing another day and I might call whatever I just said a bull.''

If Jin was being honest, it took him two reads to understand the text fully. But once he did, even he could admit that the words had a certain wisdom to them. So the guy believed in a subjective reality that existed in everyone's mind, a different reality for everyone, and whatever version of reality everyone seemed to think existed outside, was only what everyone's subjective realities agreed that it did. Quite brilliant, Jin found himself actually interested. It was such a basic thing but the way the guy, RM, answered it, sparked an interest in Jin. The only problem was that he absolutely did not understand the last sentence except the name of the guy, Plato, that he knew to be a philosopher.
Feeling out of place Jin simply stared at the screen. The raven head boy bit into the scabs around his nails and waited for the guy's next question. Jin feared that maybe RM was just a gaint nerd. Nothing against it, just Jin wanted something with someone carefree and light. He clicked on the guy's profile and found the cutest, and the tallest, guy he has ever seen. RM was wearing a blue shirt and was smiling down at his white cute dog in a park. Jin was so stunned by the guy's smile and his dimple that Jin did not even click on the chat for a minute, even though RM had already texted him.


And when he did, the question shocked and eased him at the same time.


''So what is your dream job?''


Such an easy question, but a question that was closer to Jin that he wanted to discover through this app. The idiosyncratic Jin, the real Jin, the one who laughed and blushed and God, it was so hard to remember the Jin he was so long ago.


Jin found himself gripping the phone and leaning on the table. He planted his elbows firmly as he eagerly typed his reply. In the most humble tone, possible through the text, Jin told RM how he had always wanted to be a chef. When Jin was living in Australia, he had a chef there, courtesy of his father, but the chef, Jason, had been such a sweet old man and treated Jin like his own son. Jin had learned to cook from him and when he had retired, as Jason's son had started earning enough to support him, Jin had missed him a lot. But instead of demanding for another cook, Jin had taken up cooking, the way Jason had taught him. And whenever he stumbled, he called Jason, who specialized in Asian dishes. Soon, it became one his favourite things in the world. He had always wanted to have a restaurant of his own. He could have chains of restaurant but never one where he could work as a chef and watch people eat his food.


He shared about Jason and his dream job to RM. He was cautious of how much he could tell RM without giving away his real identity. Jin's mood, now lighter, lost in the memories and daydreams of doing what he loved to do, found it easier to ask RM another question.


''What is the name of your dog?''


''Monniee," came RM's reply in a heartbeat, ''He is the most adorable dog ever. He is so fluffy and warm, and loves me so much. He is an American Eskimo Breed. He is intelligent, protective and makes the cutest faces when he wants his dinner. Whenever I am working...'' The reply went on, and Jin found his smile getting bigger with each word.
RM had ended the text with lots of love emojis, making Jin laugh at the sentiment and how excited he was to talk about his dog. Jin found himself, opening RM's profile picture again. Cute. The dog but also his owner.


''Do you have any pets?''


''Yup, two sugar gliders.'' Jin paused and out of nowhere, almost on an instinct, asked the actual question. The real question. The question that would decide whether RM could be the one Jin was searching for. He had liked him till now, better than anyone he had chatted on this app for the past week, hell past years, leaving a few people out. He sounded humble and smart. Jin rethought of their common answer, and something in him told him he could trust the guy with his real self.


So he took a deep breath and typed,'' How does Moses makes his coffee?'' and waited.


RM's bubble kept popping and vanishing. Jin's heart was already in his mouth. His knuckles turned white where he gripped his phone. If this guy was not what Jin believed him to be, Jin would throw his phone away and lose all hope of ever finding someone who could accept the real him. Maybe he was being dramatic, but Jin was tired of resisting the alluring pull of hopelessness.


His mobile screen lighted with a reply and Jin drew his face closer to read, ''Sugar gliders are cute and unique. I would love to see them once we unlock the picture mode." Oh, he was already planning of talking after tonight. Jin felt warm but read on, "And as for the question, I kept thinking of an answer but something tells its still not going to be what I say,so."


Then he asked his turn in question, "So Jin, tell me exactly how does Moses makes his coffee?"


Jin scooted his chair closer to his table, already laughing at his answer as he typed,"Hebrews it." Jin added a long series of laughing emojis and banged his hands on the table with the ferocity he was laughing with. His banging left the papers askew, he casted them a look and send RM his question.


Wanting to know his response Jin asked,''So did you laugh?" And quickly, started to clean his mess. Feeling lighter after the laugh and a good chat now. Putting all of his paper's in a file and his pen in its holder, Jin picked up his phone to see RM's reply. Like Jin it was also full of laughing emojis and said, "More than I had meant to, and now my pajamas have coffee stain on them. And I blame you."


And Jin couldn't believe he had gotten lucky enough to find a guy who liked his humor. Jin had a terrible habit of making dad/ajusshi jokes and they have been building up inside of him for so long, almost wanting to burst out. His mind kept providing him with these jokes on every inappropriate situation. He couldn't wait to the funny dorky guy that lived inside of him and who he loved dearly. With RM, hopefully.


Jin smiled and looked around in his office. The yellow lights that were stinging his eyes before, now seemed to be casting a soft glow all over the room. He looked back at the still-pending-but-almost-done work on his table and decided he could complete it early in the morning. He just wanted to go home right now, have a nice bath, get in his bed and maybe talk to RM. After RM's question about his favourite fruit and Jin's reply "Strawberry".


Jin thought back to RM's previous answer and asked,"Why are you drinking coffee so late?"


Namjoon's reply was instant,"I am starting a job tomorrow, so was just preparing myself for that."


Jin looked at the clock and wanted to ask how drinking coffee at midnight was him preparing for the job? But couldn't until he got his turn. The system of the app was freaking annoying if you asked Jin. Bad marketing. The customer was unhappy and wanted to talk to the cute guy without any hurdles.


Jin got up, waiting for RM to ask his question, and moved towards the coat stand. Unrolling the sleeves of his light grey shirt, he took his blazer off the hanger and draped it over his shoulders.


What company or place RM was joining? What was his job? Did he like it? Was it something he loved? The questions kept brimming up in his mind. Shaking his head at how eager he suddenly was, Jin grabbed a few files to read in the car and his phone, and padded out of his office. Sliding out of the door, he walked the lonely corridors of his office. Everyone had already left and were safe in their homes right now. The burden surely does lie on the head that wears the crown, because what wouldn't Jin give to leave his office with everyone else around 6-7 p.m.


He opened his phone with a thumb print to see RM's question, walking towards the elevator. "Thinking about the job really made me nervous, could you ask me one of your jokes again?"


Aww, Jin almost melted and excitedly bounced into the elevator and then giggled at his behaviour. It's not like anyone was here to see him act stupid. Jin tapped the button to ground floor and scratched his head, trying to think of a joke to RM's taste.


Biting his lips, he typed the one he remembered reading a few months back. He had tried it at Yoongi with a straight face only to get an even straighter face in return.


"What do you call a super articulate dinosaur?"


The elevator landed with a flop, and Jin stepped out. His brisk walk with the case in his hand, bumping his leg with every step, made him look every bit of a prince articles always talked about. The expanse of his building's entrance, always made him feel empowered. The high ceiling, cascading escalators, the colorful abstract paintings and marble statues of famous artists from all over the world, the tiles his mother specifically chose, and their company's name written grandly right in the middle, making a statement. Jin knew it was done with the intention so that anyone who entered the company could not help but gaze upon it. To know that who exactly owned this huge building.


Jin waited for the automatic door to open and then stepped outside. The cold wind stole his breath for a moment and made him Jin rub his nose. Jin looked around, shooting the guards and the valet a glance. The valet, hurriedly, asked for his car, which should have been here if Jin had not forgotten to ask for it. To busy talking to RM.
Who by the way had replied with, "Thesausrus...yay I knew this one."


Jin smiled softly, but quickly hid it. Jin heard his car approach, with a hard look in his eyes, Jin crossed the distance between the door and his rich black Mercedes. His driver saluted him and opened the door to his car. Jin did not even bother to nod and got in. He unbuttoned his coat as soon as he settled down, putting his case by his foot. And turned back to his chat with RM.


"Jin, what would you steal if you could steal one thing without getting caught?"


The question puzzled Jin. Being born rich and having his needs catered to whenever he wanted, Jin didn't ever feel a need in him to steal. People stole things, they wanted to have but couldn't have. Things they were envious of other people having. But if it came to envy, Jin was familiar with that deadly sin. Jin remembered feeling envious of children walking happily with their parents after school, whenever he would drive past them in his car, his driver taking him home. He would feel envious whenever he was reminded of how Jason was happy and in love with his job. He felt envious when he would see kids dance in the middle of the street, laughing, as the circle of people around them, clapped them on. He felt envious of the fact that his model friend, Taehyung, got to travel so much and wear whatever he wanted as Jin's wardrobe was limited to various but boring suits which Jin, mostly, wanted to set fire to. He felt jealous of Yoongi being excited to go home. He never told Jin why but Jin knew it was surely because of his lover.


Jin could go on and on about the things he wanted to steal from the people, he saw all around him. But he knew he was not selfish enough to, but he still couldn't stop himself from craving all of these things bitterly. "I wouldn't...I don't think so I would be able to steal anything from anyone. Thinking how they would be deprived of it because of me, would kill me." Jin laughed at his own lackings, this was getting serious again. RM surely had a way of turning conversation around with every question. It was as if his need for something real kept making him come back to such questions. And Jin, he simply obliged. Revealing everything that made him whoever he was. "Maybe because sometimes all that I want steal is either love, freedom, art or... simply life. I want to steal their lives sometimes."


Jin put his phone away after writing that and looked out of his window. The passing city lights, raced over his face, as some lucky ones reflected the water in his eyes. Maybe he said too much, maybe he would be judged as someone ugly and ungrateful. Maybe Jin would lose whatever joy he found had found with RM the same night.


Jin feared to see how RM would respond to Jin's text. Jin feared it as if the moment he asked his next question, RM would reply to his previous one and it would crush all of Jin's staggering hope with it.


So Jin decided to turn the light inside his car on and read through some his papers for tomorrow. The streets kept slipping away as Jin turned page after page. His guilt for skipping work, gnawed at him to work more efficiently now.


Jin lost track of time , until the driver parked his car and turned the engine off. Jin feeling the car stop, finally looked up from his paper, and gazed out, startled to find that they were already in the parking lot of his apartment building. Jin glanced at the papers in his lap and decided to finish the last two lines before getting out.


His penthouse was in one the most luxurious buildings in South Korea. His penthouse had white, grey and lime green walls. The scattered plush sofas and white coffee table added a touch to the living room which opened to the kitchen on his left and and stairs on his right. The stair led to the whole floor, which was Jin's bedroom, closet and bathroom. The apartment also had a balcony in the front with its own small swimming pool and wicker chairs in the corner.


Jin loosened his tie as he took his shoes off at the door. Dragging his lazy feet inside, Jin groaned loudly. He couldn't stop from a yawn sneaking way out of him and stretched his whole body.


Fuck, he was tired. He was always tired. Jin rushed in, eager to change his clothes and get rid of his stiff suit.


It hurt him sometimes, the dark of his apartment. And how familiar Jin was to its pull. He had days when he didn't want to turn the lights on. Those days he wanted to become one with the darkness, and stop existing. He often thought if he died in this dark, in this high department, how long would it take for someone to find his body. He knew technically someone would end up checking up on him if he skipped office, but without that, would anyone bother crossing the doors of this apartment. It felt like he was locked in this island that he had made for himself. A king's lovely palace, where if he were to die, only his bones would be found by the curious visitors who happened to stumble upon.
He turned the lig

hts on, and like a swish of a wand, willed these thoughts away. He knew how hard it was to survive his mind when it got scary like this.
He quickly changed into some comfy clothes after a quick shower, forgoing all his plans of having a nice bath in his Jacuzzi. He applied some creams, following his daily skin care routine. And finally got into the bed and dared to open the chat and asked RM.


"What countries have you visited?"


"Thank god, you replied." RM said."You were gone for so long that I felt I had upset you. And holy shit that answer ripped me apart, RJ. But fuck, if I don't relate to it as well." Jin's heart raced, feeling weird knowing that RM had probably felt what he had in his life. But could he really have felt how Jin did? "And to answer your question, I have been to USA for my degree and Japan on a visit visa, that's all I have traveled. And a few cities here in Korea and Jeju Island on a college trip. But I have always wanted to travel across Europe. It seemed to have a chance that lures I believe artist or romantic in."


Jin wondered why did he felt this strange need in him, to find this tall guy as soon as possible, track his IP or whatever, and take him to Paris first thing tomorrow. Fuck his meetings, fuck his duties. If RM wanted to visit Europe, Jin would take him there now. Jin also wondered about RM being either a romantic or an artist, or both. Both of these ideas, made him mind swirl and he could see the elements of the rumored daydreams that ruined sleep of the teenagers.


Jin decided to ignore whatever idiocies his sleep-deprived mind was conjuring and instead asked, "Favourite season?"


His stomach growled as he got comfy under his blanket. Shit, he forgot to have some midnight snack he had promised himself. But his body now in bed, after the whole day, manipulated his brain and stomach into forgetting that he hasn't eaten anything after a few bites he had during the tea time.


But soon he received RM's reply and he didn't need anything else as an distraction. Jin spent the whole night talking to RM, compelled by his need to know more about him. And RM never disappointed, he kept being more and more interesting to Jin and Jin's questions never stopped. He did somehow make time to ask RM to sleep, he had job tomorrow, but RM seemed as reluctant as Jin. The boys had formed this bubble for themselves in their lives, where only they existed and this feeling of euphoria of finally having someone who understood and shared their loneliness. The joy he felt talking to RM, Jin knew was mutual. RM's every question resonated the same feeling with which Jin replied.


Jin felt his heart smile after ages when he finally put his phone down to charge, watching the morning peak through the night's fingers. The boys had talked so much over the night that they had ended up unlocking the chat option within a day and had laughed over the texts. Both groaning how glad they were to finally talk without any resistances.
Needless to say,sleep came easy to Jin, as he drew two letters on his bedspread beside his pillow right before closing his eyes.


RM.


****

Chapter Text

Kim Namjoon's life had been more or less of a wreck since he came back Korea. He had indulged in being a TA at a college. Biggest regret of his life because the teacher never came and Namjoon ended up teaching more than half of the semester and soon he could feel his mind and body rejecting whatever doses of life he kept forcing his body on to survive/


Downloading the app had been a way to get Jungkook, one of his students in college who had taken a liking to him, out of his hair. Jungkook had barged in his office, bouncing about and asking Namjoon to try the app he had made for his semester work. And that it was a solid app and will help Namjoon feel less lonely.


Namjoon had been shell-shocked, surprised that the kid knew about his constant alienation from everything and everyone here. Namjoon -sitting on a chair by his window in his room, as a book half open lied on the table in front of him and the warm air twirled above his cup of green tea- had smiled at his phone as he downloaded the stupid app.


He had talked to a few people there. Not a foreigner to internet friendships, Namjoon wound his way through. In the end, he had only been able to make one good friend on the app, Jimin. He was an aspiring dancer. He hated mangoes, liked soft shirts, and apparently had the sweetest boyfriend in the world, who he kept calling Suga. Namjoon horribly adored him and according to their pact, made a routine out of sending him pictures of Monie daily.


Soon meeting Jimin for coffees and lamenting about his life in Korea also became another routine. Jimin had tried his best to console him, asked him to make abrupt changes to add spontaneity to his life. Namjoon would barely heed his words, until Jimin got tired of him and took him bicycling along the Han river, knowing it would calm Namjoon.
Namjoon was really grateful for Jimin. He really was, because one day when he got too done with a student misbehaving and ended up walking out of the class, then college and resigning the next day, Jimin was there for him with a new job offer.


Namjoon had drilled him repeatedly, asking him how did he know about a job of such a scale and why recommend it to him. Jimin had kept shush about the first question and assured Namjoon about the second one that Jimin couldn't think of anyone better than Namjoon for the job.


Two weeks into the job, as Namjoon waited in a club, munching on crackers at their table, Namjoon could agree. Because the job did seem daunting but at the same time made exactly for someone like Namjoon. Maybe that was why he had been able to get a hand of it all within a week. Or maybe it was just because Min Yoongi was a damn good teacher. Literally if you asked Namjoon he would tell you that it was the later.


*


Namjoon remembered when he had first entered the Kim Enterprise for the interview. He had silently cursed at Jimin, slowly taking in the majestic building and the interior assembled with only one purpose; to stupefy anyone who stumbled in. Namjoon, once he had regained his sense, had asked the receptionist where he could go for the interview for the job which Min Yoongi was conducting. The receptionist told him the directions to follow once he reached the top floor, appearing tired and monotonous as if she had done this a thousand times and maybe she had. It was an amazing job, perfect working hours and incredible income, a lot of people would want to try for such a job . Namjoon had bowed thanking the receptionist and walked towards the elevator, following the gilded walls. The noise of his own shoes against the floor uneased him. Namjoon had to keep reminding himself, reflecting on the grandeur of the building, that he was a summa cum laude from an Ivy League and he had every right to apply for this job. Wiping his clammy hands against his pant, Namjoon clicked on the button, and waited for the elevator to arrive.


He twisted his neck to look around him. The building was really nice, and the way people criss-crossed all over the first floor made it look professional and highly maintained. Like a routined dance choreography with a lot of back dancers that Jimin had shown him once. Namjoon was so lost in his own thoughts and mildly disgusted by the ostentatious surrounding that he almost screamed when he heard the clamour around him. It wasn't that loud, but in the silent and professional air that the building had, it felt like blasphemy. A tension seemed to be there, electric, making everyone's hair on their necks sand. Namjoon looked around for the source and suddenly the noise silenced to that of death and everyone seemed to have stilled in their positions. He could not understand why did everyone looked as alarmed as the army soldiers did when they are being inspected by their commander, but then someone entered from the front gate and Namjoon immediately knew why.


Because Kim Seokjin was now making his way inside the building. Obviously Namjoon had searched about who he might be working under, but nothing would have prepared him for the air the man held. Namjoon had seen articles over articles complimenting the man's face, his clipped mannered speech and tremendous abilities that made KE one of the top companies of Korea. But like Namjoon said, nothing would have prepared him for the sight which Kim Seokjin was as he entered the building. A few men followed him, but Seokjin looked indifferent to their presence. Everyone, who he passed by, bowed to him and Seokjin crossed the expanse of white marbled tiles with every bit of a grace that Namjoon thought Kings would've possessed. Namjoon half expected to see a cloak behind him, caressing the floor, in his wake. His walk was so confident and his face... Namjoon really would have like to breathe but his face. Black sunglasses hid his eyes, but the arrogance of his pursed pouty lips, the aristocratic raise of his chin and nose,  the stiffness of his crisp tailored suit, spoke enough for him.


Seokjin looked exactly as unattainable and haughty, if not as young, as any silver spoon Namjoon had imagined and seen in Kdarmas. If not more handsome, if you asked Namjoon's opinion. 


Namjoon, flabbergasted to find Seokjin moving towards him, backed in the elevator's door. Kim Seokjin and his entourage stopped a little to Namjoon's left, and clicked on the elevator in front of Nmajoon's. Namjoon, now knew why everyone had stopped breathing when Seokjin was about to enter, there was something about the man's aura that commanded attention and best behaviour. And Namjoon hated that it affected him too. He closed his hand in a fist, his resume crunching under the pressure,, as his eyes followed the men in front of him, watching them file into the elevator. Seokjin's men entered first and then Seokjin did, standing in front of them to make a statement, who had the right to be at the front. If Namjoon had not been so stunned by the fact that Seokjin was now facing him- his eyes locked with Namjoon's- maybe he would've heard his own elevator opening up. Maybe then he would have paid attention because now his body falling without the previous support of the doors, maybe then he wouldn't have tripped into the elevator instead of walking in like a normal human being, maybe then he wouldn't have to flail around desperately trying to hold something. Maybe then he wouldn't have embarrassed himself in front of the CEO of the company, he had come to for an interview.


Namjoon, quickly grappling for whatever self-respect could be found in such dire situations, recovered himself from the almost fall and entered the lift with as much of a dignity as he could muster, which by the way was not much. Namjoon cursed his stupid clumsy body as he smoothed the lapels of his blue suit and looked up to find, none other than Kim Seokjin himself, staring at him with a smirk on his face. Namjoon surprised, looked behind him in the empty elevator as if to assure that it was him Seokjin was smirking at. When he found no one behind him, he turned back to find Seokjin's smirk bigger as the door closed on his face, just like curtains did on the actors during the ending scene in the plays he used to watch in between his college. Ending the moment for the audience and leaving the rest up to them.


The moment his elevator started moving, Namjoon launched himself against the mirror and started banging his head against it. Why? Why is he like this? Why is his life so embarrassing? Why can't he spend one day without making a fool out of himself?


Namjoon lifted his hands to gently tap his cheeks, letting the warmth seep in. He closed his eyes for a moment, breathing in and out, before he lifted his head to look at his reflection in the mirror. Namjoon looked at his hollow eyes, his hands nestling his blush which he soon raised to smooth his hair down, which the incident had ruffled a bit.


The music in the elevator did little to calm him, but he was enough to cheer his own self up. And it somehow went like this, ''You know what, Namjoon, its not like its the first time you have found yourself in a compromising, ground opening, i-am-literally-seconds-away-from-killing-myself situation before. On the contrary, you are quiet used to it. So what if now u have another one on the list, its another freaking Tuesday for you. You are a connoisseur at this point when it comes to awkward moments. So what if you tripped in front of the boss of the company you are here to interview for? So what if he was seconds away from laughing at you ass?''  The speech was really not working the way it was supposed, so Namjoon just groaned and tried again.


Its not like Namjoon had a lot of hope for this job anyway. To be honest, he knew it was a little out of his league (he could imagine just how high the starting pay would be). But for now he is here, and the least he could do is give it a fair shot.


No regrets, yeah? 

Namjoon nodded at his reflection and waited for the swoop in his stomach that he is used to when the lift stops. And when it did, Namjoon walked a long the circular wall, moving right to the PR department and entering a room where all the interviewees seemed to have lounged.


Namjoon found a seat for himself, after grabbing a water bottle from the table-full of refreshments of different sorts for the anxious appliers.


Namjoon didn't think much about Min Yoongi when he first met him except intimidating as fuck just like his boss. But as far as assholes in his position go, Min Yoongi wasn't looking that bad except extremely tired and seconds away from genocide.


"So why do you need this job?" he asked, staring at his resuming. Eyes scanning the page full of details that Namjoon seemed fit enough to make him look like an asset.
"Should I say something that will please you or be honest?" Namjoon asked, willing his hands to stop fucking shaking for a bit. It did not matter if he got this job or not, what did was that he came out of Yoongi's office feeling satisfied. He had seen that almost everyone here was over qualified, and what he heard from a kind friend sitting next to him -Jongin, who was a nervous talker- that this has been going on for a month. And no one had pleased Min Yoongi enough for the job.


So, fuck it, Namjoon said to his rapidly beating heart. Fuck it.


When Min Yoongi stopped and chose to stare at Namjoon instead of his resume, looking unimpressed by the second. Fuck it, Namjoon told everything inside of him that made him scared.


"Yes please be honest," he said sarcastically but then after a pause,"because surprisingly I am also tired of hearing all the flowery shit people come in here prepared with." Yoongi massaged his temples, and for a moment he did not look as intimidating as before.


"I actually was.. bored." Yoongi rose his eye brow and Namjoon stuttered on before he could think anything bad."Don't get me wrong. It's just... after coming here nothing has challenged me. Motivated me. And just you know, want to grab life by the neck. I did a TA job in this college that paid enough but, something was missing. And then, I got to know of this job and for the first time I was scared and shi- it pleased me. It pleased me to realize that something could make me feel so out of it, and everything here kept that feeling alive in me. So yeah I need this job because it makes my blood race."


Yoongi looked at him with a blank face, "You do realize that we are not going to be organizing sports competitions here every day right? Its a stressing job that goes on and on and the paper work kills you. This is not a place to get your endorphins pumping, what we do, what you are going to do if you get selected, is handle all the affairs that your boss asks you to. You are going to have to sacrifice your sleeping hours, your social gatherings, sometimes your self-respect, your own morals and the point of views you cherish here. This is a serious job," he paused to look at Namjoon's resume for his name,"Kim Namjoon, not a play ground."


Namjoon knew he should be feeling admonished, and his ears were surely heating up, he just couldn't fight the smile on his."Exactly, yes that's what I am saying. I didn't mean it in that way. What I meant was, i am usually good at something I am excited to do. A challenge that I want to reach, a puzzle I want to solve. It's the mental challenge this job right now seems to be providing me that I am concerned with. I was sitting outside and the anxious energy among all the appliers, instead of pressuring me, motivated me. Look, I know how jobs work. I was a consultant analyst at one job in states and finance accountant in another. I know how jobs work. And I want this job, I want it. Because I don't know what I would do without it." Namjoon's life in Korea had been deteriorating his mental health by seconds. He could not stop comparing his life here then it was in America. The nostalgia choked him and if job could give him a chance to like his life here then he was really not exaggerating its importance.

Yoongi said nothing instead kept asking him rapid fire questions about his qualifications, and weirdly about whether he was good with children or not. Namjoon had answered, that he was not the one to play with them only because he didn't know how to, but he was always soft with them. And weirdly very good at taming them, maybe they felt threatened by his physique and general awkwardness.

"Everyone who has applied wants this job, Mr. Namjoon, what makes you be any different?" Yoongi asked, closing his resume and leaning on his chair.


Namjoon looked at him and thought of everything that could've made him different from all the appliers and came up empty. The few months have not been kind to Namjoon. He had been shaken to his core, and all of his songs bled sadness. "Nothing to be honest, except that right now I am sitting here and they aren't. Right now, I have a chance at what they all want. And to be honest, the fact that you have not thrown me out yet, like people before me, that differentiates me from all those people. Because, with all due respect, Min Yoongi-ssi if you did not think I was any different from others that I have seen leave your office within first 5 minutes of entering it, I would not be sitting here."
Yoongi gave him a contemplating look at his cockiness, which made Namjoon feel awkward, but said nothing. Namjoon did not know where all this confidence was coming from, but now that he was here, he could not just fuck it. He had meant what he had said, and saying it made him realize how much he would like this job. Which was weird because he came in ready to lose and now he wanted to fight with every ounce in him to not lose.


"How were you like in your previous jobs?" Yoongi crossed his fingers in front of him. His black shirt stretched as he moved, the intensity behind his eyes made Namjoon want to curl into himself. He felt Yoongi could see his every flaw, his every shortcoming, and was basing his opinion on those rather his strengths.


"I-I was," Namjoon's hesitance caught up to him. He hated Min Yoongi for killing his chill. Don't fuck it up, don't fuck it up, was his new mantra now. Namjoon cleared his throat, "I was, it feels weird to say, but excellent. My bosses were really happy with me. Actually, I was close to a promotion before I had to come to Korea."


"The companies you were working in were quite prestigious and a promotion in what, ten weeks of working there, would've been a dream come true."


"It was." Namjoon smiled.


"Then why come back to Korea?"


"My mother," Namjoon paused. His memory of receiving his family's call that made him pack his bags as still fresh in his mind ."My mother was really sick. And I am the only son so I had to come back here and support my parents. She died eight months ago, so yeah, been in a weird dump since then." Namjoon had never given such an honest interview, but it looked like Yoongi wanted nothing else to make a judgement.

Yoongi shot him a sympathetic look but did not say anything else, which Namjoon appreciated. He still sometimes woke up with stupid need in him to go and hug his mother. Her scent, her home made food, tortured him. Everything about his mother made him want to just run and cry against her chest instead his own in his dark room. In those moments, Namjoon was not going to lie, when he woke up with a tattered memory of her mother's hand in his hair, he blamed himself for not returning to Korea before. Or well, leaving at all. Only if he wasn't so selfish with his dreams.


"You also mentioned that you dabble with music?"


"Yeah," Namjoon said good bye to the memories of her mother for now and welcomed the familiar warmth that his music filled him up with,"Yeah, I compose a little."


"Something I might have heard?"


"Urm..." Namjoon scratched his neck. He always felt weird revealing who he was in the music industry. He did not know what would benefit him, if Yoongi knew about him or not? But Namjoon wished that Yoongi had no interest in Billboard charting rappers," Rap...monster? Ever heard of him?"


Namjoon could not describe the silence that coated the air between them after that, even if he tried. Yoongi raised his head slightly, and looked at Namjoon as if he was waiting for him to start laughing.


Namjoon did not laugh. Instead said, "I am... kinda him?" Feeling awkward under Yoongi's laser focused gaze.


Maybe he hated Rap Monster? Namjoon knows many people do. Maybe he despised his pronunciations, his flow, maybe he thought his content was baseless. Fuck, Namjoon was really going to lose his job now. Why did he mention his alias? He should've told him something, maybe the songs he had composed for other artists. But even then he could not have kept his identity hidden. 


"Shut up," Yoongi said. Namjoon jumped in his chair, and scrutinized Yoongi's expressions, hoping for a clue that showed him what he was thinking. "You've got to be kidding me? The faceless extraordinaire billboard charting rapper and composer is sitting in front of me."


When Namjoon said nothing, Yoongi's incredulous look dissolved into a surprised chuckle and something about his posture changed. He looked...at ease now if not at awe. And when he spoke again, his eyes were bright and a soft smile on his lips. It looked like he was talking to a friend rather playing his role as someone who makes interviewees pee their pants. "Omg, I can't believe I have Rap Monster here applying for this job. What are you doing in Korea, dude? Oh right you told me. And you have not made any songs for an year too, was it because of..." He moved his fingers as if talking gesturing towards Namjoon's return to Korea and maybe his mother's death.


"Yeah." Namjoon mumbled looking at his fingers in his lap. Yoongi knowing and liking his music and his rap, humbled him to a point he felt like he could not lift his head.


"Sick, man," Yoongi said from the other side of the table. The room was really spacious and carpeted. But it still looked too vacant, like someone was leeching memories away from it, bit by bit. Maybe it was Yoongi's office. "I know its extremely unprofessional, but man, can you rap a few verses for me?"


Namjoon used to post his songs on internet during college until an agency got a hold of him and wanted to release his songs. Namjoon knew it was a good company. But Namjoon had never wanted to make a career out of music, he liked it just as a hobby. An escape. He wanted to keep loving music without making it seem like a job, plus he loved accounts and business too much. Maybe that is why he had asked his company to keep his identity hidden and to use an alias instead. And in an year, he was one of the top artists on various charts.


Namjoon considered the request for a moment, but then decided it was not like rapping in this room would let anyone know about his identity."Sure."


Namjoon skidded his chair back, opened his legs a bit and bent his body forward. And then Namjoon started spitting, not fire, but something slow and hurtful.


He tried keeping the memories away, as they swirled around his head in space. All monotone colors. All the things he had previously been associating himself with.


White, black and greys. All his. All him.


"Wow," Yoongi uttered. "I-I was not expecting that." Namjoon knew that. He resumed the poise of his posture he had maintained before rapping. "This one, I haven't heard it before."


"Yeah because it isn't out yet," Namjoon smirked, watching Yoongi reign in his excitement and keep his poker face on. "Mono, my next album." Yoongi nodded profusely. Damn, this was the first time Namjoon was interacting with someone who might be his fan and it was exceptionally amusing for him. He always had a hard time keeping spoilers to himself.


"Okay, okay." Yoongi said, after snapping out of whatever fanboy haze he had been in. He looked at Namjoon, then at his resume, then at Namjoon. Taking his resume in his hand, "Hell, you have an IQ like that, no wonder life here bored you." Namjoon just shrugged not knowing what to say more. "Okay, that's fine." Yoongi talked to himself, his eyes still glued at the flimsy paper.


"Okay, Namjoon," He looked away from the paper and pinned Namjoon with a look. And Namjoon instinctively knew whatever he said next was going to be meaningful. "To be honest, you are kind of perfect when it comes to your resume. The recommendations from your previous companies are excellent as well, and your songs give an insight to your character as well. If, I am assuming, they are honest,"


"They are. They are." Namjoon said with a shaky voice. Maybe he is the most honest in his songs. Maybe he is a beast pretending to be human everywhere else, but in his songs he takes his mask off, to let whatever rotten is inside of him, breathe.


"Okay. Alright." He finally looked up at Namjoon, a smile on his face. Namjoon realized Yoongi looked really nice when he was smiling instead of glaring at whatever poor soul ended up being his victim. "So I have shortlisted a few people. I have a few doubts about them, not their credentials, just related to the job they might have to do." Yoongi made it sound like it was more than just being a secretary. "So I am inviting them to spend a day here with me. I will see how they act in the working environment and how quick they can learn, because I really have a short time for this. " Namjoon nodded at everything Yoongi said, trying to keep his heart away from his throat. "So when do you think can you come in, Namjoon. I will be needing just a day with you from 9 to 6 p.m. If you are fine with it?"


What? What? Okay but what?


"Fine?" Namjoon choked on the word, "Yeah I am super fine. I am, urm-" Yoongi chuckled at Namjoon's inability to form any words and simply told him that he would message him and he could reply Yoongi the day he was free. Every day, Namjoon was free every day, if it got him this job.

Namjoon shook Yoongi's hand enthusiastically and dropped the cup on Yoongi's side, which thank God was empty, in the process. And then apologized his way out of the office, as Yoongi repeatedly told him that it was okay and he will contact him soon.


*


Namjoon cringed at the memory, sitting in a booth he had reserved for Yoongi, himself, and Yoongi's friend that was also visiting them. Yoongi was at the bar right now ordering drinks. Namjoon looked at the outline of his friend, yes he could call Yoongi that now, reflecting red, hot pink and green lights of the club. The music in the club was good, Namjoon really appreciated the DJ here. All and all, the place was amazing. Yoongi had said that one of his friends visited this place frequently, the one who was going to meet them in a while, and this was how Yoongi knew of the place. And this was also the place where he had met this friend of his and from then on, loved coming here.


Namjoon and Yoongi's friendship was young but still spending days in the same office, did allow them to get used to one another. Plus, once they started talking about music it never ended.


Namjoon had visited Yoongi like he had asked him to for the trial. He had been the last one among all the other people Yoongi had short listed. Yoongi had welcomed him and showed him around the place. Where he would be working, where Jin would be. Yoongi told him, their boss did not like the hustle, he preferred the work done effectively and quietly. Like every other boss, was punctual and appreciated nothing else. And if his requirements were not met, he did not hesitate to show people the door. It had angered Namjoon a bit but he had been more scared. Because Yoongi did not look like he was kidding. Now Namjoon could understand why Yoongi had been so cautious hiring people.It was because of the precarious nature of their boss.

The boys had spent that day working on different schedules and filing through work that Namjoon would have to sought for Seokjin later on if he got the job. The thing with both of them though, was that they were too head strong. And that resulted in a conflict between them related to a company and its market value and whether they should invest in it or not. Namjoon that insisted that they shouldn't. Yoongi told him to just get the work done. Namjoon had started to but he couldn't ignore his gut feeling. So he had prepared a report instead of doing what Yoongi had told him and showed it to him, telling him why he was wrong. Yoongi had only given him an angry look and told him to get back to the work and ignore this topic for now. Yoongi was particularly scary when he was working so he had done exactly what Yoongi had asked. At the end of the day, Yoongi had told Namjoon that he could join them in a month and that he had been selected for the job. Yoongi had merely smiled and had patted his back when Namjoon had been busy spluttering various buts.


In a nutshell, Yoongi had messed up intentionally to see if Namjoon would speak up. He had told Namjoon that he needed someone to stand up to their boss if he did something wrong irrespective of how scary it was. And Namjoon was only the who had qualified, plus, Yoongi told him he had expected that and he was never wrong. He already had a hunch that Namjoon was perfect for the job.


The month had passed by in a blur. Jimin had told him that he was leaving soon with his boyfriend to the states. Namjoon had tried spending as much time with him as he could.


And for the past two weeks, Namjoon had started his job with Yoongi. In a few days, Yoongi had taught Namjoon all he needed to know. And today, it had been Yoongi's official last day at his job. Namjoon had caught up rather quickly, being experienced as he was, but he still felt unprepared. Yoongi had assured him that he could ask him if he got stuck and Yoongi was leaving a file for everything in the computer in his office.


Namjoon was pulled out of his reverie when a message popped up on his phone. Namjoon clicked it open to read.


' What did the mermaid wear to math class?


An algae-bra.'


Namjoon snorted and then giggled in his hand. Fuck, Rj was so fucking unexpected.


So another thing had happened since he had joined his job at the Kim Enterprise. RJ.


Namjoon smiled thinking about the guy. After replying, Namjoon scrolled up to their previous day's chat.


''okay so wat if an alein caught me in teh middle of teh street and shouted yes or no ..and iw ould panic and he would put a gun and say ye sor no and i shout yes an d he shoots me and i recoil back teh the same moment he was shouting yes or no minute sago thi time i say no and i lapse forward 2000 yrs where i am standing on burning ashes of earth or i htink its earth but it has twenty mooon and i ma rainbow colored and have tail tooo????and a horse faced turtle called me mom???and the only alnusge i speak is "hisss hisss" of a nsake and peopel are talking on other languages and consider me a freark and my child looks at me betrayed and shouts or growls and betrayed walks backk..''


Namjoon laughed again at the text. RJ had texted this to him in the middle of the night. Making a lot of typos and generally ranting about made up scenarios. Namjoon could not even tell him that it was ridiculous because he was also so fucking hooked.


"Wait, why did turtle call you mom? and Omg what is with the alien only asking yes or no?" Namjoon had played along.


"ikr. but listen. it doesn't end ther e because i am being excuted all of a sudden and no one saves me and the more i shout help teh more i hiss and people think i am a traitor and the moment a


black faced ghoul


puts 13 faced sword on my head and swings it i close my eyes an dwake up in a nursery


crying. i am 2 year old but i have my thoughts and i feel my self leaking my pamper


it is so annoying i cry and cuz i cant speak and someone picks me u and shushhes me and passes me to someone who is my dad and as i look up and i find


ITS THE SAME ALIEN WHO KIDNAPPED ME AND HE JUST LOOKS TA ME smirks and says "yes or no?''


Namjoon engrossed could only say, "Oh my God, this is getting more weird and interesting as fuck at the same time pls continue."


"I can't think of anything else, you continue."


" Ugh okay so what if the real story is that your real dad when you were born got caught up in an accident where he flew to other planets by wishing on a dandelion from a magical place that government wants to know but your dad wont tell and in doing so your dad changed himself entirely and
and the only language he could speak is "yes or no."


and your mother is a time travelling alien that your dad met on one of his adventures. And your mother can only be appear when you are asked a question 'yes or no' she takes you away. She belongs to the snake people and when you get to know this you run out of your home.tiny baby you


and are led into a forest and there a snake curls his tail around your neck and you feel becoming unconscious...."


The boys had literally talked about this weird enchanting made up place whole night and of absolutely nothing else. He freaking loved RJ if he was being honest. It was the earliest he had been able to say that about anyone. But he had talked so much with RJ, that he could say that RJ hands down knew him the most. Almost as much as Jimin did and it had taken him months.


Life had been so much lighter with his new job and RJ's daily shenanigans. He knew RJ was hiding something, his real identity to be honest. He avoided certain topics, gave half-assed answers to others and Namjoon, he could take a hint. Namjoon did not take it personally, he was also used to hiding about being Rap Monster and it was not something evil, it just, he didn't think people needed to know that. Plus, he knew who RJ reallwas, his fears his dreams his quirky personality, so knowing his real name was not that important. And it was not that RJ was some old guy faking as a 28yr old to talk Namjoon. Namjoon meant given RJ's profile picture...


"So, what are you doing?" Yoongi asked, as he sat in front of him. And Namjoon quickly shut RJ's profile picture down. Embarrassed that he was caught staring at it. Yoongi looked at him weird, but Namjoon only shrugged and picked up his drink from the tray.


As his last day in the office, Yoongi had asked Namjoon to a night out. Apparently, Yoongi had been gotten a job in abroad to produce music that what all the rush had been about.


Namjoon had been thrilled to know that Yoongi himself was a rapper, and his own alias was AGUST D. Namjoon had not heard of him because Yoongi only did underground scenes and when he did hear Yoongi, Namjoon had to admit that the boy would beat him as soon as he broke into the industry. Namjoon was maybe a genius in real life but Yoongi was a genius when it came to music. No wonder he was leaving his job to pursue it.


"What d you think the lady on our left is? Straight, bi or gay?" Yoongi asked, and Namjoon found himself choking. He didn't think Yoongi was a homophobe, but the look on his face executed no disgust. He actually looked serious watching someone on their left.


Namjoon looked that way too and found a girl in yellow dress, talking to a girl in black jeans and shirt. They had a few centimeters between them, leaving no space for anyone else. They could be friends or something more, Namjoon found ti hard to tell on the first look.


Namjoon looked back at Yoongi and realized that he was not objecting them, he was just curious.


Before Namjoon could reply, "Oh look, my boyfriend is here," Namjoon raised his head and then his world halted and he choked for the second time that night.


Boyfriend? Had he heard Yoongi right?


Namjoon waited as Yoongi up stood from his chair and opened his arm to a boy who lunged at him. Yoongi smiled as the boy hugged him and gave him a small peck.


Namjoon was happy to see Yoongi happy and somehow was happier that Jimin was also here now with them.


WAIT?? WHAT the HELL WAS JIMIN doing here? And with Yoongi? And why was Yoongi kissing him on the cheek as he greeted him?


Wait? "Oh my fucking God, you are dating Jimin?" He said to Yoongi and then he turned to Jimin and said, "Omg, you little shit why did you not tell me you were dating Yoongi hyung?"


"Hi, Namjoon-ah," Jimin said, giving him a shy wave from the other side of the booth. 


"Well, you know now, so don't make a fuss." Yoongi said at the same time. Unbelievable. The audacity.


Namjoon ignored them both as he connected dots inside his mind. Jimin is the friend that was frequent here. Yoongi met Jimin here. Yoongi is the boyfriend Jimin is going to states with. Jimin suggested him the job that Yoongi now hired him for.


"Wait," Namjoon raised his hand. And before he could say a word, Yoongi interrupted, "No you got the job totally because of your own skills. Jimin had only asked me if his friend could apply. He had told me nothing else, until a few weeks ago I told him who I had actually hired. So relax, Jimin knew that you would want to get the job fair and square." Jimin nodded at that as Namjoon loosened his body and his grip on the glass. "Moreover, I am not that unprofessional. As much as I love Jimin I still have to hire someone capable."


Namjoon pondered over for a second and agreed that Yoongi was anything but unprofessional. Jimin coddled Namjoon for a while, asking him to forgive him for not telling him soon. Namjoon pouted for a while but forgave him, realizing that his friend was leaving him in a week and he could always annoy him later. Right now he would rather enjoy the company of his friends.


"So yeah... the scholarship is really good. And the institute is one of the best in the world and they are asking to teach me, and if I am good enough they would sponsor me in various shows. Fuck this is huge..." Jimin story slowly led to him panicking about starting his life in America and his career booming. Yoongi kissed his forehead and pushed a shot towards him. Which Jimin downed like water, and other three, till he was getting up to buy some more.


Namjoon looked at Yoongi, for the first time as someone suitable for his friend. Jimin was extremely dear to him and he would not let anyone hurt a hair on his head.


"Well she is definitely not straight," Yoongi's voice made him look to his left and noticed the girls kissing each other now. Namjoon was surprised that they were doing it so openly given it was Korea. But he remembered how easily Jimin had kissed Yoongi and as he looked around he realized the club was rather chill about sexual orientation. He could see boys grinding on each other, a straight couple flirting on the other end, and Namjoon realized why his friends were regular at this place. It seemed to be an open accepting place, plus the music was really good. It made even someone like Namjoon want to dance as well.


Namjoon turned his gaze to look at Yoongi who was playing with his drink, moving the liquid around watching colors twinkle. "Why are you moving as well?" Yoongi lifted his head to look at him, "I mean you had a job here, what made you uproot as well, just because Jimin scored a scholarship in America?"


"Same reason you came here," Yoongi replied smiling,"Your home was here and mine is with..." He looked at the bar where Jimin was waiting for the drinks. Feeling Yoongi's gaze on him, Jimin turned around and a smile bloomed on his face. He waved and Yoongi half-heartedly waved back. The smile on their faces felt to personal for Namjoon to keep looking at, so he looked away at his phone, thinking about RJ all of a sudden. "And, I had been ignoring the company who kept asking me to join them for too long. Work is great but I could not deny my love for music anymore. And..." his voice grew smaller as he scratched his neck and said, "I have been planning to propose Jimin and it won't happen unless we leave Korea."


Namjoon felt his mouth open, and not close again. He had known that Jimin and his boyfriend were serious but he didn't think it was this serious. "I really hope he says yes." Yoongi's voice hopeful to a point that it hurt Namjoon. "And he is coming, so don't you dare mention a word to him." But when he looked at them, now that Jimin was finally back with the drinks and chattering Yoongi's ears off, as he teased Jimin with a smile on his face until Jimin was whining. He realized maybe they did deserve to be together forever. And what he knew about them he could imagine happy, married like they were right now in front of him.


"So, Yoongi," Yoongi shifted his attention away from Jimin and Namjoon smirked. He shot him a look that warned him not to mention anything he had just told him and ruin his surprise. But Namjoon only grinned, "I didn't that you loved Jimin so much," Yoongi's glare increased in intensity and Namjoon almost laughed at this. Jimin also paid attention to what Namjoon was saying, "that you let him call you 'Suga'?"


Yoongi opened his mouth to retort until he realized what he had just said. And quickly groaned and hid his face in his hands. Jimin cackled at that and started calling him various versions of Suga, enjoying the fact that Yoongi was the one getting teased now. Namjoon joined him in on the teasing and realized he had nothing to worry about. Yoongi was amazing for Jimin, because instead of skinning him alive for making jokes at his expense, he just let him be only if it let Jimin laugh the way it did.


***


Soon they were walking down the footpath. Huddled together to ignore the August chill in the air and their summer clothes unprepared. The street lights drew long shadows on the road, as cars passed by them, racing towards whatever places they were eager to reach. Soon he let Yoongi and Jimin walk a little ahead of him, talking to each other and Namjoon busied himself reading the names of the stores he passed by. 


Yoongi had received a call from their boss, asking him for a drink apparently as he had missed Yoongi's last day and he was just getting free from the work just now. It was quite late to go home from work, but Namjoon had been more puzzled by Yoongi's expression.


Yoongi, for the first time, had looked sad to be leaving Korea or his job at the Kim Enterprise.


For the past weeks, he had been talking of their boss as an annoying child but Yoongi's smile told him that Yoongi couldn't help but be fond of the CEO for some reason. Namjoon had yet to meet their boss because usually Yoongi handled his affairs, but from coming Monday though it looked like it would be solely Namjoon's job.


Namjoon counted his footsteps against the cobbled floor as he thought of his boss. Kim Seokjin was a vicious monster, if you asked anyone in the office, except Yoongi.

Namjoon had talked to a few people (and a guy in PR department, Hoseok, had even become his friend) during lunch in cafeteria. They all said he was merciless, worked them like robots, had no respect for anyone's dignity and expected no mistakes. He was even critical of his workers asking him for sick leaves. And every six months, he did a survey and sacked whoever he thought was lacking. Because apparently he paid them too well, and people were literally ready to kill to get a job in Kim Enterprise. So everyone there worked their best if they wanted to keep their jobs. Last week, Namjoon had seen Seokjin, peaking through the glass door, throw a bunch of papers at the girl. He didn't even shout, he just stood there looking at the girl, until she picked up the papers, crying to herself and ran out of the door. Namjoon had side stepped, wanted to go after her, but he had been too shocked to do so. Next day, he found out she had left the job and was nowhere to be found.


Yoongi had judged the cause of Namjoon's consternation, and with a hand on his shoulder told him, "Look I know, he may seem like an asshole, well he is an asshole," they both knew who he was talking about, "but there is more to him, okay. Take care of him after me, yeah? He is not the easiest person, but he sure is the most precious. Which you obviously will get to know, if you get lucky enough. And if not he will the biggest ass ever," Yoongi had chuckled sharing a joke that Namjoon didn't understand. "But still take care of him for me, he needs that."


Namjoon really respected Yoongi and the way he rushed at ass's hour to have a few drinks with Seokjin told him that their bond was really strong. And yes, Namjoon also trusted Yoongi's opinion but as he waved Yoongi and Jimin goodbye with a promise that they will meet for a dinner after the couple returned from visiting their parents, Namjoon couldn't help but admit that despite Yoongi's judgement he hated his boss.


That Kim Seokjin was everything he thought was wrong with the world. A capitalist who instead of helping people with money, treated his workers like trash in his greed to grow, the mountain of money he was standing on, larger. He loathed arrogant rich assholes like him.


His phone ringed and the bitterness in Namjoon's mouth turned into a cotton candy at RJ's message, asking when he would get home because RJ couldn't wait to talk to him.

 

Thank God, world had people like RJ in the world, sweet and caring to balance out the cruel and brutal ones like Kim Seokjin.

***

 

 

Chapter Text

Seokjin doesn't really mean do it, seriously he doesn't. But happiness doesn't come easy to him these days.

A fair would be least of the places one should be sad at. But Jin can't help it.


The bubbles in the air are iridescent under the sunlight and the weather seems to be perfect for ice creams. He looks at children laughing and running away from their exasperated but fond parents. Balloons and lively chatter rose like smoke and surrounded Jin. The twinkle in everyone's eyes and the general fervour was as foreign to Jin as was his own face in the mirror every morning.


He tilted his head back on the wooden bench he was sitting at and sighed. The sun was high but the breeze was soothing to his burning skin. Jin closed his eyes and let the orange fill his vision. He concentrated on the sounds around him. A couple walking by as the girl complained, friends at his right paying for the tickets and bickering about some video game, and the screams that resonated throughout the fair once as people enjoyed the rides.


He was tired. He was tired of being this transparent. Everything passing through him as if he didn't exist. As if he had no right on the world, and the world, too, had forsaken him.


Everything was diluted when it came to him, smothered and dull. He was walking through the fogs of grey and the colors of life here, that he had hoped he would leech in, were only yelling at him that he was an outsider.


Jin loved amusement parks, parties and fairs. Well, Jin used to.


It was like one of those many facts about Jin that surprised him now. Did he really used to be like these people that he sees around him? Bouncing from one joy of life to another?


What a life it seems!


He had come here on a whim. He was returning from a meeting that ended early and the lights, the many many lights, had pulled him in. And something about their magic made him to be amidst it. So he had asked his driver to take him where the lights were. He really should be careful what he wishes for, especially now he has the ability to make it come true.


Because it felt worse than it should have. Being in the fair felt like Jin was locked in a glass box, screaming even though no one could hear him. Jin was like the dark sky among the many stars at night. Reflecting all that is pretty and bright by providing a contrast.


This was sickening.


Jin got up angrily, patting his thighs and started walking away from the fair and its many many star-like lights.


He was not some fucking sad loser. He could not be one. He could not even afford to be one.


This was truly sickening.


***


It was freaking pathetic that Jin was that grossly happy because of RM.


Literally, that guy did nothing but he had brought inexplicable shine into Jin's life. His mornings were less tiresome as they started with RM's messages. The job was less likely to make Jin suicidal as Jin spend half of the time waiting for lunchtime where he could text RM and other half, wanting to get home so they could continue their conversations.


Jin had told RM more about his life than he had anticipated. It had..it had been the easiest thing to do. RM was sweet, caring and had a way around words that made Jin feel like he was not the only one at the brink, that he had someone who cared and related to Jin's misery. It had felt awkward in the start for him to realize, that he could be whatever he wanted to be, that RM would not know him more than he willingly told about himself. It made him feel like a hero, or some villain, that had been finally given a mask and they could be whoever they wanted to be. Jin realized he could finally be creative about defining who he was again.


(Self was always meant to be a creative process anyways. Jin didn't know why he had gotten it so messed up.)


Jin, in the end, had decided to be just himself. He did not lie much, he could not, RM was really too sweet to be lied to. But being that useless funny idiot he once was, was getting harder as each day passed. It reminded Jin of the absolute fact that he was not that guy anymore. That no matter what, he had left whatever parts of him that used to define him, somewhere on a beach side and the tides had taken them away.


But he persisted on and graciously, RM was happy to accept whatever part of his self Jin decided to show that day. To be.


It was such a relieving thing to just be again.


So Jin found it easier and easier to talk. About this, about that, about everything Kim Seokjin could never bother with. And it was not only Jin who couldn't keep his mouth shut. RM was also as exuberant as Jin. He would get daily rants about sociopolitical issues, about why mint chocolate deserved rights, or why animes should replace every other show on the television. It was colorful and bright.

Talking to RM was exactly just that, colorful and bright.


Jin knew RM loved KAWS, he knew that he was 25, had gotten his degree from an Ivy League and apparently had less reservations with sharing his identity than Jin. He enjoyed his new job, he missed his friends that left the country, he found a nice coffee shop near his working place, his favourite author was releasing a new book and that he hated his boss.


RM would casually slip in the indecencies he heard about his boss every day. He also mentioned how rude his boss was but never told Jin who the boss actually was. Jin had tried asking, just out of curiosity, just out of pettiness to see if he could get whoever the man was replaced, accidentally of course, but RM wouldn't budge.


So, Jin let him be. 


Jin's own life was not so good this week. His father was getting crankier with age. He had given Jin a twenty-five minute lecture because he had changed their usual food in the cafeteria to something more delicious and nutritious. Actually, he had gotten the idea while talking to RM and listening to him complain how bland his own cafeteria's food was. Jin didn't know why he had not thought of that before given his love for tasty food and absence of one at his own company but he was happy that he finally had.

Jin's dad didn't share his sentiments though. So as he had rattled on, Jin knew he was not going to change a thing. Instead he just daydreamed about RM's new picture he had sent in the morning. The dimples - the dimples were killing him.


Other than that, Yoongi had left him in the hands of some stranger who Jin had not bothered meeting yet. He conveyed his messages through the phone. Limited whatever the role his previous secretary used to play, simply because he was grumpy and could not bother socializing with a stranger or being the welcoming yet professional boss that he should be. He hated that Yoongi had left him, he was one of the oldest friends/acquaintances he had, and he was taking it all out on his new secretary without meaning to.


The new secretary, Kim Namjoon, to his credits, did get the work done. Jin knew he should be guiding him along and Yoongi could have taught him only so much in the time he had, but he was reluctant. He will, he will, just right now he would rather not accept the fact that Yoongi was no longer in his life. The compatibility Jin had developed with Yoongi was one of the reasons he was where he was. It had been insanely easy to work with him and now Jin felt incredibly alone handling all the business himself. Even though he had barely talked to the guy when he was here, there had been an understanding. A trust between them.


Jin didn't think he could have that with anyone again in his workplace, especially the Kim Namjoon.


Jin shuffled the files on his desk, more aggressively than he needed too, but he was annoyed and about to murder his new secretary. He had been on a conference call with a head of a MNC in Canada, and he could not find the file related to it on his desk. He had especially insisted on a call to Namjoon that the file needed to be on his table in the morning. He had started the conference meeting on his laptop as soon as he got to the office, his first mistake, because he hadn't had the time to check the file himself before hand. So used to Yoongi's competence, he had assumed it would be there and that had been his second mistake.


Half way through the call, Jin found himself fumbling through the files on his desk only to find it nowhere. Panic bubbled inside Jin's chest, as he faked his calm in front of the buyers and at the same time, behind the camera, searched for the file. But it was not where it was supposed to be. Thank God for the professionalism that was ingrained in him and the obsession with which he had pondered over the figures and percentages of potential benefit (which the deal would bring for both parties) that he had memorized them by heart. It made it easier for him to pretend that every thing was fine and that he was not as unprepared as he seemed.


The meeting had gone okay, but he knew he barely had made an impression. The Canadians were skeptical about the deal and Jin was starting to sweat a bit. Damn, he had it all prepared in the file; made elaborate charts and put alluring statistics that on any other day would have gotten him the deal. Luckily, Jin had been charming enough to secure himself another meeting, through which he could probably redeem himself. (AND WOULD HAVE THE FILE NEAR HIM).


As soon as the call had ended, Jin had dialed Namjoon's number and had yelled, "Get in my god damn room this second!"


Jin was fuming when he heard a knock on his door, "Enter." He felt shaky after his almost failure and could feel his body practically quacking with anger.


For fuck's sake what had Yoongi left him with? As soon as the door opened and Jin heard someone pad in, Jin exploded.


"What kind of an incompetent imbecile are you? I particularly told you that the file should be on my desk by 8 in the morning." Jin said pinching his nose, with his eyes closed. He knew he was losing his temper slowly. He had been so close to losing the deal. "So why the fuck, " Jin said enunciating every word and opening his eyes to stare at the source of his headache in front of him, "was the file not on my fucking table? I almost lost a freaking deal because of your stupidity."


Jin knew he shouldn't be yelling, but man was he angry. Unable to register anything he continued on, staring at files in front of him and the blurry man in front him. His anger always made him unaware of his surroundings, he got stupid and made mistakes. Maybe that is why he can not see the person in front of him, only his own insecurities and blames he wants to paint the other in.


The colors are red, orange and black. They seep in and out of his eyes and Jin can swear, he can hear someone yell things in his voice that even he doesn't recognize.


"I specifically told you, my good for nothing secretary, that I need that file for an important conference call-"


"But-but it's here,sir," he heard the guy in front of him say as he toppled the already scattered files, "I did what you asked me to."


"Oh really? Then why is there no file on the right side of my table."


Jin finally thinks he can look at the guy without screaming murder. The guy in front of him is well-built and tall. He is wearing glasses and a grey suit. But all Jin can see in front of him is an insolent worker who caused him to stumble through a meeting which he hadn't done in years. Which he had worked hard not to ever after his initial mistakes and his dad's even fiercer punishments. The guy pulls a file out and thrusts it in front of Jin "You are not even listening to me, sir, it is right here."


Jin looked at the file in his hand, and his anger fires out. The file was literally on the table the whole time. Jin shoots him a look, and something about guy's bowed head and hair seems familiar but Jin ignores and shouts,"Right.Side.Of.My.Table. Does that look like a freaking right side to you? That's where I keep my important files. You put it on the left top corner of my desk, that's where I keep my daily reports."


Jin closed his eyes and breathed in. He rubbed his hands all over his face. Trying to calm his heart down. The file was there on the table the whole damn time. Jin had fucked up, he had almost fucked up and the file was right there. What would have his father said if he had-?


No, he could not think about that right now. He needed to prepare for the next meeting. His father would already know about the fact that he needed to conduct another meeting, that was bad at is. He could not let him know that it was because of his negligence and inability to monitor his Sisyphean secretary.


"You only told me to...to put it on your table, sir. You never specified." Jin heard Namjoon say helplessly and recalled the call in the morning. His secretary might have been right, Jin did not remember mentioning where he needed to put the file. He sighed into his hands.


He could hear the guy breathing loudly in front of him and realized he could not deal with Namjoon above everything else. What had even Yoongi dragged in? He was half tempted to call Yoongi and give him an earful.


"Okay, I might have forgotten, so are you telling me Yoongi-ssi never told you that too?" The silence that followed, told Jin everything that he needed to know. He huffed and opened his mouth to say, "Leave, Kim Namjoon-ssi. You have done enough."


Removing his hand from his face, he got up and started arranging the files on his table. Concentrating on the task to calm his anger down, until he realized that Namjoon was still in the room. What now?


Jin lifted his head to let Namjoon know that he could kindly fuck off but stopped as soon as his eyes met Namjoon's.


And Jin swears his heart stopped for a second.


The same round face, the same parted hair, the absence of a full blown smile is obvious but the dimples. Jin could not forget those damn dimples.

How had Jin not realize it before?


Fuck. Jin stumbled from where he was standing and fell on his chair. How could he have not realize that it was RM who was standing in front of him? Jin stared at RM- no, Namjoon, no RM- who was lost in his own thoughts. His hands clenched in fists, his jaw tensed, his back prideful and his eyes watery.


Shit, Jin felt his own hands trembling and tried his best to hide it. It's been so long that Jin has been this scared. His heart raced and he felt his breath quicken up.


Rm was here. RM was in front of him. Jin could have not thought in thousand years that he would meet RM, especially like this. He had daydreamed, sure, but never hoped, knowing that he could not afford letting RM know who he really was.

And now, RM, the guy that Jin was using to find himself again was in front of him as his secretary.

Fuck, Jin had screamed at RM, his secretary that Yoongi had hired. The one he had been ordering around for a whole week.


Jin's brain felt overloaded and he couldn't help but look at Namjoon in horror.


Did he know that Jin was RJ? Jin felt all the residues of the anger leaving his body and cold dread filling in instead.


RM looked at him, his eyes angry and cheeks flaming, his expression screaming how tortured he felt. He closed his eyes to breathe in for a second, and when he opened Jin could see nothing as Namjoon had bowed his body in half and was muttering through his gritty teeth, "I am sorry, sir. It won't happen again and I will try my best to compensate for my mistake."


Jin's stomach revolted and he felt his own body cringe. He could see that it killed RM to do this, and somehow it was worse because it was Jin who had caused this misery. Jin couldn't accept that it was him who had made his new sweet kind friend, bow in front of him, after insulting and shouting at him like an asshole.


The bile rose in his throat as he tried his best to not panic as long as RM was in the room. Thank God because before he could do that Namjoon straightened up and left the room himself.


As soon as the door closed, Jin banged his head against the table and cursed loudly.


Fuck, he had been such an ass to Namjoon. He had already been so hard on him the last whole week, and during the break time, later that day, RM texted him telling him how he had fucked up with his boss and now he was sad, Jin did not have any strength in him to open the message and reply. Which somehow made him feel worse.


He was really the worst man alive. He made an angel like RM sad. Jin knew the guy was clumsy. He had told RJ a couple of times how he always forgot inconsequential things because sometimes his mind was multi-tasking. That sometimes he got so lost in his thoughts, pondering over the complexities of life that he ended up making mistakes.
RJ had assured RM that there was nothing wrong with making a little mistakes and now Jin had abused Namjoon for the same reason. Honestly, it wasn't even that big of a mistake. It was Seokjin's mistake more than it was Namjoon's and he had taken it all out on him like a jerk he was.


He really was a moron to his subordinates.


But really what in the hell RM was even doing here?


Jin took Namjoon's resume out, the one Yoongi had given him. Jin had only heard Yoongi tell him about the guy's experiences and his capabilities and had just rolled along, trusting Yoongi, without sparing the guy a look.


And now, he saw it all clearly. The information matched from what he knew of RM and the one on Namjoon's resume.


Namjoon. Kim Namjoon. RM was Kim Namjoon and the guy was basically phenomenal. Jin looked at everything in Namjoon's file and looking at the reports from the week ago, Jin could see that the speed he had adapted with was amazing as well. The accuracy of his reports was excellent, he had done everything Jin had hurdled towards him throughout the week without any further instructions and he had carried them all out without any complaints, well to Jin, he had complained a lot to RJ though.


All in all, RM was extraordinarily good and avoiding all of his weeks' hard work, Jin had trashed him for his tiny mistake today.


No wonder, RM hated his boss that much.


***


Namjoon didn't know why RJ was not replying but assuming the guy was probably busy, Namjoon left him series of texts ranting and telling him about what had happened in the morning.


Namjoon's whole day had been a pain. And now as his off-time approached Namjoon was thankful that he could go back home, forget his bosses insults and his own stupidity  (because yes, Yoongi had told him that the file needed to be on the goddamn right side) and just maybe talk to RJ as he hid under his blanket.


He was working on the last of his spreadsheets for today when he heard a knock on his door. Surprised, Namjoon looked up to find Kim Seokjin on his door.


His blood started boiling at the sight of his cold-hearted boss.To be honest, Namjoon was a proud man and he refused to take anyone's shit. He refused to bow and refused to let anyone insult him. And to have Seokjin in front of him, who had humiliated Namjoon and called him names, was extremely infuriating.

He tried not to scowl and he awkwardly stood up to greet him.


"No need, keep sitting, Namjoon-ssi." Namjoon heard Jin say and couldn't help but notice how authoritative his tone was. As if he would rather be anywhere than here with Namjoon.


Namjoon scoffed as if he wanted Jin in his room.


He simply nodded in reply and sat back down. It was not like this man deserved his respect. "Why are you here Seokjin-ssi? Did you need anything from me?" Namjoon really really tried not to sound passive aggressive but damn he couldn't help it. "You could have called like you have been doing for the past week?" He smiled through his gritted teeth because to be honest, as impulsive as Namjoon was, he was not a quitter. He knew the job had its etiquette no matter how much he hated it, he had follow them. Because at the end of the day, he had been at fault too. Oh and how Namjoon hated that Jin had an axe over his head like this.


Jin's eyebrow twitched in reaction to Namjoon's tone but didn't say anything. Instead he just walked in, like he owned the freaking room, which he did but it was still Namjoon's and sat in front of him. He looked around the room indifferently, but Namjoon was ready to bet, that in one look he had taken notice of everything in the room.


After surveying the room, he turned to look at Namjoon passively with his posture stiff but legs crossed. He then proceeded to rest his hands on top of his knees and Namjoon felt that this was it. He was getting fired. He would be jobless again and Yoongi would hate him forever.


He tried keeping his sigh in and looked somewhere behind Seokjin instead.


"Look, sir, I really wanted to apologize for the morning. I promise it won't happen again." Damn, Namjoon, but he needed to send his pay to his father back in Ilsan. Yes he had money, but he had also not released any music for a year and been jobless for so long, he could not lose such an amazing job where he could actually use his degree.


Seokjin really wanted his secretary to look over the accounts, in addition to being just his secretary and managing his things. Which was a plus, because Namjoon would have hated getting a snobby boss's frappuccinos and tailored suits. Jin did not require anything like that from him, except everything that was work related. Maybe that is why he got as angry as he did.


"No, it's okay, mistakes happen." Jin said shaking his hand in an awkward gesture which Namjoon understood as dismissive. Wow, this guy could not even take an apology.
Hell with him, Namjoon had tried.

After that, Namjoon sat straighter. If he was going to be fired, he was. He could not do anything more than what he had and that was it.


Seokjin kept in his seat motionless, sometimes looking over at Namjoon's desk, his walls or just his face. To be honest, he was eerily looking at Namjoon's face too much and it was making Namjoon uncomfortable. He shifted between wanting to do his almost finished work and not ignoring the CEO.


What did he want?


"I'll ask again, can I help you with anything, Seokjin-ssi?" Namjoon's face contorted saying those words, trying his best not to let Seokjin get on his nerves.


But every time he looked at Seokjin it reminded him of the insults, his face heated up in humiliation.


Jin cleared his throat, his expressions still a little confused. He leaned ahead, crossing his hands over table to look at Namjoon and conspicuously played with cuff links of his suit. Namjoon also left whatever he was doing to stare back.


Namjoon looked at Jin calmly. Jin did nothing to evade his eyes at first or give in and Namjoon found himself in a staring conquest. Which by any cost, he was not going to lose but after a while, Seokjin started looking a little bit....flustered? Which was a rare look on his boss and confused Namjoon. He was always stoic and collected, maybe it was something else because Seokjin suddenly broke the eye contact to cough in his fist.


"So, do you know who I am?" Seokjin finally asked after some time. He looked unsure phrasing the question but ended it with a determined look.


Who is what? What was he saying?


"Urm.. yes sir, a bit?" What was even happening?


"Okay, who am I?" Jin asked confidently, apparently back in his zone and no more hesitant. He sat back on his chair, and decided to look at Namjoon in a way that said that yes, he was the CEO of a billion won company. And yes, when he asked you something, you answered no matter how weird the question was.


He was wearing a white coat with a black shirt underneath and the light from Namjoon's windows painted Jin more of like a model posing, then his boss interrogating him.


"You are Kim Seokjin?" Namjoon does not know why he posed it as a question. Seokjin gestured for him to go on, so Namjoon did."You are CEO of the Kim Enterprise. You are my boss, and responsible for making K.E. appear among the top ten richest companies of Korea. You got your degree with flying colors from a prestigious institute in Australia-"


What was this? Did he really want Namjoon to recount all of his many achievements. Was this some kind of power play? Showing Namoon how strong Seokjin really was? If that was the case then his boss really was disgusting.


Namjoon told whatever he had been able to gather about the CEO before he joined the company and stopped half way. Unable to stop himself, he paused midway and asked, "I really don't what you want me to say, sir," Namjoon said giving up.


Seokjin sighed, "So that's it, that's all you know about me?"


"Well, I could tell you what some magazine tabloids gossip about you if you want, or that you have been entitled as world wide handsome," Seokjin's eyes widened at that,"but I am sure that's what you are asking, other than that, yes sir, that is it."


"Okay, okay." Seokjin said looking a bit perplexed as he stared out of Namjoon's window.


Call Namjoon weird or whatever but he thinks, there was an ulterior motive to all of this.


"Okay, Kim Namjoon-ssi, have a good day." Seokjin said, giving Namjoon one lingering look and shooting something that was probably meant to be a smile but looked more like a grimace and left.


What the hell? Namjoon thought watching his boss walk out his office. So was he fired or not?


**


"I am so done of him. He really called me all of those things."


Maybe...he was just angry and said them but didn't actually mean it??


"What boss doesn't meant it when he calls his subordinate a good for nothing or an incompetent imbecile or stupid or freaking GOD KNOWS WHAT."


.... okay point...


"And why are you defending him??"


I AM NOT!! I just don't want you to feel bad :(


"I know. I am sorry for being a debbie downer today. I am just embarrassed and angry at my own stupidity. For even giving a jerk like a chance to insult me."


No no, I am sure... the boss is at the fault too and...might be feeling guilty.


"What? Him? Never. If he was really guilty he wouldn't be arrogant enough to get all bossy and come to my office just to SHOWOFF HIS ACHIEVEMENTS. LITERALLY IF embarrassing me was not enough THE GUY WANTED ME TO ACCOLADE HIM TOO."


accolade!? omg.


"what?"


nothing, maybe the guy wanted something else and you are just painting him in such a light because you are angry.


"Ugh... well he did look like he had something else bothering him, or he wanted me to say, than just have me praise him. But you are right, or well maybe right, perceptual expectancy IS a thing after all."


ahahah obviously you would bring psychology in the conversation.


"What?? don't attack me!!"


I am not. I love your brain and its spontaneity.


"Okay...now you are just making me blush."


Ha cute.


"Shut up. Jokes aside, man, I really hope I am not fired."


NO WHY WOULD YOU BE FIRED??


"CUZ MY BOSS FIRES ANYONE WHO MAKES ANY MISTAKe!!!!"


he does?


"yeah, well that's what I heard, plus saw too."


You saw it too?


"yeah, what about it?"


Nothing. Nothing, but I am SURE you won't be fired. Your a man of amazing capabilities and if your boss doesn't recognize that, then he really is an idiot.


"I hope so. Thanks, RJ. I am feeling real better after talking to you. And now as I munch on my enchiladas and playing Taylor's SHAKE IT OFF, the day couldn't have ended better."


hahaha GO, TAYLOR. I just got home and after banging my head on the wall multiple times decided to take a bath.


"You JUST GOT HOME? Your working hours are messed up."


I know. But you gotta do what you gotta do. *sighs*

"Okay stop with that and tell me why were u banging your head."


UGH BECAUSE I AM AN IDIOT.

"What did you today? I am sure it's better than my situation."


I am not really sure it is.


"RJ!!!"


Okay.. I just maybe.. somehow..idiotically said bad things to someone I REALLY CARE ABOUT WITHOUT KNOWING IT.


"what?? why?? how can you not know."


I dont know!! Because I was angry, scared, and BECAUSE I AM AN IDIOT.


"It sucks, man. I always hate when I end up being an ass to the people I love. But it is okay. You can always apologize and make it up to them."


I don't think they like me very much right now.


"HOW CAN SOMEONE NOT LIKE YOU?? YOU ARE AMAZING.."


yeah... you would actually be surprised.


"what?"


nothing. but you are right. I will make it up to them. I have to.


"YUP YOU DO THAT RJ1!"


hey, RM!


"yeah?"


Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off?


"omg."


He’s all right now. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHA


"I-"


****

Chapter Text

The following week Jin could not help but look at Namjoon. Jin did not know what fascination he found in it, in the way Namjoon furrowed his eyebrows as he pondered over his files, or the way he muttered to himself walking from corridor to his office, all Jin knew was that he couldn't look away.


Jin would feel like a freak if he was not so helpless. The more he talked to RM, the harder it got to stay away from Namjoon.


Namjoon was a kind fellow. He was also a vicious one.


He was polite and one could draw out the sweetest smiles from him. He was also hungry.


Jin got to know hell lot about Namjoon in the past week.


Call it his obsession or his weakness. But Jin came to find something in Namjoon's face, the colossal of his being, that he hadn't every where.


He had tittered here and there his whole life. He had been a derivsh passing by roads, cities and grievances without life touching him. And meeting Namjoon felt like his life was about to spindle out of his closely clasped fist and Jin would have no control over it The Jin would just smile as the shift of Namjoon's slightest expression would from now on write his fate.


He was being unbelievable but this need felt like the biggest truth right now.


He was entranced by Namjoon. He knew universe might answer why but his heart was blinded.


Namjoon would stutter around the office and Jin would hold his breath, locked in his glass castle, looking out, hiding within.


He would look at the files left by Namjoon, he would listen to Namjoon's voice and have this insane urge in him to wreck himself.


And when his control reached a limit, which was embarrassingly quick, he started inviting Namjoon in his office for the most menials of tasks.


Once in his office, Jin would guide him, look at him, or just make one lined rudimentary comments about the work to him.

*


Jin called him over once again and as Namjoon busied himself with whatever task Jin had appointed him, Jin pretended to do his own thing, while secretly stealing glances at him like a teenage boy.His nose was really smooth, and damn was Namjoon attractive. What Jin had not noticed in his first encounter, he noticed now.

It made him so happy that now he could spend time with RM, even if it happened to be in his office. The more he had talked to RM the more he had wanted to meet him and now the desire only grew.


Namjoon had this calm and professional air to him, he wore is glasses sometimes and Jin felt like his heart would set on fire whenever he talked to him.


It was so stupid how easily flustered it was making Jin.


"Sir," Namjoon said, his voice low and throaty, "SIR!"


Jin snapped out of the zone he entered where he looked at Namjoon and got lost writing mental poetries about him to realize that Namjoon had been calling him.


"Yes, yes, I do think whatever you said was brilliant."


Namjoon looked at him with blatant confusion, posing the files in his hands as he asked, "Which one the first or the second one?"


Shit. Had Namjoon asked Jin something? That he absolutely forgot to listen because he was busy wondering in what way his facial muscles needed to flex in order for those dimples to reappear.


"Urm, which one do you like the best and why?" Jin saved his face by directing the question towards Namjoon.


Namjoon stopped for a minute and looked back at the file in his hands. He scanned the pages once again, his fingers caressing the paper, his bottom lip stuck between his teeth. Jin again wondered why such small details about Namjoon distracted him. But he guessed it was just because he was curious or because he terribly liked Namjoon which he wouldn't dare admit with the fear of scaring him away.


Namjoon lifted his eyes to meet Jin's, his gaze sharp and mouth set."I believe the first proposal is excellent but has some holes as it does not consider the companies reputation in the market and their product quality, and second one needs work, but it is purely genius if we worked on it."

Jin tapped his finger on his lips, wondering and wondering.


Not about the work because now that Namjoon mentioned it, Jin also remembered preferring the second proposal that they were going to send to H.M electronics, but he wondered about how Namjoon could be like this, when RM literally was screaming and crying splayed over his bed full of pop corns watching Your Lie in April last night.


"Okay, second one it is. Write some suggestions if you have any and pass it over."


"Okay," Namjoon cleared his throat and collected his things. The blue pen he seemed to be always playing with, his phone with its screen cracked and the files he had brought.
He gave Jin one last nod before he got up to leave. Jin's hands quivered where they rested on the table and the unease settled over his heart like a dust. His mouth moving on it's own, he yelled, "Stop!"


Namjoon paused in the middle of the room and turned towards Jin. "Yes?"


Shit. Jin hadn't thought that far. He had seen Namjoon walking away and just screamed at him to stop.


Jin thought over some excuse that would allow him to let Namjoon stay with him a little longer, a cheeky comment that could make him laugh, some words of encouragement, anything but he realized he had no guts in him to say them.


Namjoon left him so disarmed he could not even say a word.


"Nothing, just nothing. You can leave." Jin said, turning away and sighing. He couldn't even look at Namjoon leave. He heard the door close and allowed himself to admit that maybe he really was gone for Namjoon.


And it was thwarting his ability to work like the sole heir to Kim Enterprise.


Every morning he saw Namjoon, he wanted to ask him if he watched the new episode of Brooklyn 99 only to realize that Namjoon was his secretary not his friend. Jin's smile would fall from his face slowly, and he would simply walk away.


Jin would eat his food and find out that it was difficult to eat and text Namjoon at the same time. Soon he couldn't help but mull over how easy it would be if he just invited Namjoon over and they could simply chat and eat.


All these possibilities were ruining his life. He could simply let Namjoon know who he was and have him in all aspects of his life rather than only virtual. When Jin had befriended RM he hadn't thought of living this two-faced life. RJ on one end and Seokjin on the other. Talking to RM was supposed to be his escape not something that agonized him.


He wanted Namjoon. He wanted him in his life and Jin couldn't help it. And it hurt Jin.


Especially when Namjoon was hell bent on hating him.


***


''You want to know what my boss has started doing now?"


Jin really did not want to know. No seriously, every time Namjoon talked about his boss, Jin felt his cheeks flame and desperation rise in him. Namjoon was so wrong about his intentions and Jin hated that he couldn't even defend himself. But he still asked, "what?"


"So instead of making my life hell by calling me every five minute, he has decided to invite me over to his office every five minute. No seriously, sometimes its about literally nothing and I cant even concentrate on my work like this. I swear he is out there to destroy my life."


Jin- Jin couldn't even say anything in reply to that.


No, Namjoon, I am not trying to make your life difficult I just really really want to see you and talk to you all the time. I am foolish not cruel.


"But hey, now he is teaching me stuff and I don't have to call Yoongi for every small thing. So yay I guess."


Oh so, that's how Namjoon was doing everything on it's own.


"Well silver linings, I guess." Jin sighed after typing that. He really was exhausted of this whole charade.


"Yeah, hey did you see the link I sent you? The intro of D&D? Why do I feel like you have not? You haven't even watched it and I wanted you to watch the whole, okay at least a few episodes of Critical Role."


Jin hadn't. So he closed the conversation to watch it and let Namjoon know what he thought about the game he was obsessed with.


***


"Anything I can help you with, sir?" Namjoon poked his head through Jin's door.


And Jin's hands stopped on top of his keyboard and naturally a smiled bloomed his whole face.


Namjoon looked taken back, and Jin realized he was supposed to be Namjoon's boss not friend. He controlled his expressions and cleared his throat to call Namjoon inside.
Namjoon looked tired sauntering in for the fifth time this morning, and guilt gnawed at Jin's inside. He really was tiring Namjoon out because of his selfishness.


He stood up from his chair, pushing it back and putting a hand on his tie to stop it from swinging and appearing as classy as he could.


He walked towards the white sofa set in his office with a glass table over a grey rug in between them which was now full of various takeouts. From fancy restaurants to Jin's favourite noodle shop.


Jin.. Jin had panicked and ordered everything. He knew what Namjoon liked to eat and he had ordered everything, wanting to share lunch with him. Wanting to listen to what blog he had read last night that had ruined his sleep, and what would Jin need to do to have Namjoon smile at him.


To have him stay, to be close to him and listen to him talk until Jin's ears bled, which they wouldn't because when Namjoon talked, flowers fell from his lips for Jin.


And now Namjoon was standing all aloof and awkward on the door. Jin ignored him because otherwise he would just walk towards him and-


Jin refused to be that forward, the RJ in him was asking him to start flirting because god damn it Namjoon was getting hotter by seconds and Jin felt familiar enough with him to take a step forward.


He sat down on the white plush sofa, holding back a groan. God, he does not even remember the days when he did not make sound effects getting up or sitting down. But his potential mate was in front of him and Jin had to be on his best behaviour.


Jin coughed in hope of catching Namjoon's attention and motioned towards the food. Should he say something? Should he invite? But wasn't it obvious? Obvious, that Jin ordered this much food for Namjoon and him.


So thinking he had done enough, because he found out that suddenly he was incapable of looking at Namjoon or making an eye contact, too flustered. What kind of move was it? Ordering this much food? Namjoon would think he is a freak, was it too soon?


Jin felt embarrassed by his own actions and remembering that Namjoon still did not like him much. Maybe he should not order him around, just gently prod him to eat with him? Yeah, that's good. And he has already done it.


Now he can be nice and caring boss wanting to eat with his secretary WITHOUT ordering around. It felt uncomfortable digging into the food when Namjoon stood in the corner of his office awkwardly. But Jin had promised he would not direct Namjoon anymore so he slurped his own noodles, which right now felt damp and cold rather tasty.

Why is Namjoon not joining him?


Does he really hate him enough to not even eat with him?


Jin side-eyed him as he drank his coke alone through the straw. Man, it was really getting stifling and the silence in the room except the noise of Jin eating was slowly killing his own hunger.


Getting frustrated, Jin shot Namjoon a look. Hoping the idiot would move and join Jin or reject him cold-bloodedly, anything other than simply ignoring him.


Namjoon was shifting on his feet, his hands cracking his fingers, and his jaw tensed. His eyes seemed to be shooting daggers at Jin without even saying a word.


What? Why is he angry now? What did Jin do?


Jin was surprised, he thought he had been polite. He had called him for food and not even said a word to him except it was Namjoon who was being rude refusing food from his boss directly.


"What?" Jin couldn't help but ask. Tossing his noddles back on the table, and turning towards Namjoon.


Fuck food, he had to sought whatever he had done to offend Namjoon now.


"I could ask you the same, sir," Namjoon said bitingly, "Can you please let me know why have you asked me to come to your office during my lunch time?" It really did feel like he had a lot to say and he was cutting his sentence in half.


Was Namjoon being difficult on purpose now? Purposely ignoring Jin's offer to have a lunch with him because he would rather not?


Was this his own form of rebellion against Jin? Jin knew he hated his guts but he did not think Namjoon would retaliate, especially this pettily.


His own arrogance shot inches. Yes, he held Namjoon dear but ignoring his request was too much for him.


"Oh, why do you think I would do that?" He said equally sarcastically, "Maybe I thought it was an efficient use of your time, watching me eat than something actually productive?" His eyebrows raised haughtily.


He huffed ignoring the red in Namjoon's eyes and looked away. Why did Namjoon make everything so difficult for him? Why was he so much under Jin's skin that it got such an easy rise out of him?


He looked back at Namjoon who now had directed his gaze at the donuts Jin had ordered from Namjoon's favourite shop. Knowing that RM craved one when he was stressed, and Namjoon had done so much work for Jin today, he wanted to treat him to show his thanks.


Jin calmed his anger down, to look at Namjoon. "Eat if you want to, don't stand there and stare like that." Playing at the situation with his casual frankness and ease.

Namjoon's eyes moved from the freshly baked and appetizing donuts to Jin's and if Jin had hoped they would fill with delight at the prospect of having his favourite treat, it had the exact opposite effect.


Namjoon's postured stiffened, his cheeks flamed. And everything in Jin quivered. The hate with which Namjoon looked at him, stunned Jin in his spot.


His arrogance of being the boss vanished and he felt like a boy who had made his lover/best friend angry without knowing how. He quickly stood up and was about to take a step forward, longing to remove the fury from Namjoon's posture and to appease him.


But Namjoon bit his bottom lip until it bled, and jutted his chin out.


It hurt Jin knowing that Namjoon felt to a point that he had to keep his pride intact at the same time not be rude towards Jin. He knew he wanted to bombard Jin with insults because he felt offended but couldn't because Jin was his boss. And Namjoon was nothing if not professional.


But why? What had Jin done?


He had tried being as casual with him as he would be with RM? He had been avoiding all the authoritative tones he knew he used on his subordinates, hell he had even invited for a lunch which he hadn't even done with Yoongi despite his ex-secretary working for him for five years.


"Sir, with all due respect, I really need to get my work done, because the lunch is almost over now. If you would allow me my leave, I would like to get back to my office." Namjoon said, looking at Jin's shoes, not even thinking Jin worthy enough of an eye contact. Jin's heart pierced. His hand raised towards Namjoon and hung there. He shifted, searching Namjoon's face, yearning that Namjoon would look at him. So Jin could just apologise for whatever stupidity he had done and just have Namjoon- not- not look like he did.


It was a sickening replay of their first interaction, if not worst.


"Namjoon?" He said as softly as he could, without letting his own fears crack through his voice.


"Yes, sir," Still looking on the ground. Defiant but strong.


"Can't you really stand-" Jin cleared his throat opting for another question,"Would you really prefer to return to your office rather than-" eating with me.
But Jin is unable to even complete the sentence because Namjoon is shaking his head vehemently, "Yes, please, can I?"


If Namjoon asked like that, Jin realized there was nothing in this world that he wouldn't do for him.


"Okay, okay." Namjoon didn't even wait for more, as he rushed towards Jin's door.


He pulled at it, but it refused to budge. Namjoon struggled for a moment, his movements getting violent with every try that the door did not give way.
Jin saw it and was shocked to see a tear fall from Namjoon's bent head. Was he-?


What? Jin moved forward unable to stay away from obviously distressed Namjoon, wanting to help him in whatever way he can.


"You are trying at the wrong door, you are supposed to push-" Jin walked behind Namjoon, his hand above Namjoon's own pale ones, "wait let me-"


"No!" Namjoon whisper-shouted. "I can do it on my own. I don't need your help." He turned his head to look at Jin with his watered and enraged eyes.


And Jin found that this close, looking at Namjoon like this, was really how he would die.


His hand stopped above Namjoon's and moved towards his face, wanting to cup his cheek and wipe his tears away. But Namjoon gave him no chance to do so, as he turned his face away, and tried opening the other door, the one that wasn't locked, making Jin stumble a few steps backward, and running out of his office.


After his fuck up, Jin rushed for his phone. Waiting for RM's stream of messages, wanting to know what he had done to hurt Namjoon.


Why was Jin so bad at treating the one person that mattered to him, that gave him his new freedom to be who he is, kindly? Why could Namjoon not like him as Jin as he did with RJ?


Was Jin really that abhorrent that spending a few minutes with Jin made Namjoon want to rush out the way it did? To reject his kindness, his help?
But RM never texted him.


Jin waited and waited. The office hours ended, Namjoon returned his home. But he received no text.


Jin's own mind started unraveling, his self hate worsened.

And he realized he could live with Namjoon hating him as Kim Seokjin, only if he still got him as RM.


Maybe Namjoon had realized they were the same person and was disgusted by who Jin really was and decided he wanted nothing to do with RJ as well?
But Jin had not done anything-


Well he also thinks he has not done anything offending to hurt Namjoon like he has today. Fuck.


He started pulling at his hair. He really was at his wit's ends thinking the events of today over and over again.


And now he was sitting alone in his office, his self-appointed prison. Where his solitude sang songs around him, reminding him that this was what his life was without Namjoon or RM.


This was how he was a month ago, and it hurt coming back to it.


He opened his and RM's old chats. The only light in his dark office. The evening blue glow lighted his office into something writers wrote about when they wanted to make a magical place seem haunting. He had not even bothered with turning the lights on except his table lamp. Waiting for RM to reply to his casual strings of text messages. He had even tried sending jokes, and cute animations, and dog videos to make him smile whenever he read his messages.


But Namjoon was no show at all.


Will he come here tomorrow with a resignation letter?


Will he even reply to RJ?


Jin slammed his head on his desk, and felt the corner of his eyes sting as helplessness and loneliness weighed his heart down.


Jin promises, he promises, he would not try to be selfish. He would not ask for Namjoon, just let him have RM.


Just let him comfort RM, tell him that Jin knew he was hurt and he could make him forget it all. That he could make him laugh like he did, that they would talk of time travel and alternate universes and morality and whatever, whatever helped Namjoon.


Please, please come back to me. And Jin felt unconsciousness lulling him, right where he was. In the middle of his office, on top of the world, alone.


Please, don't let me lose him.


Jin can't go back to who he was before RM, he hated that man. Just like Namjoon did, apparently. The thought doesn't even sting his already battered heart.


And Jin lets sleep take over him so he can stop hurting.


***


Namjoon's parents weren't that rich. His mother always suffered from one ailment or another. And his father worked a 9 to 5 measly job and his mother struggled working in the neighbourhood's famous kimchi place, cooking in the kitchen all day.


Namjoon had seen his parents work hard and their hunched backs, just to put food on their table and earn money enough to admit Namjoon into best schools. And in return Namjoon had always done his best in the academics, the reason he had never pursued music despite having tunes stuck in his head and lyrics scribbled on his hand and in the corner of his physic's book after every music class. He had tried for a scholarship in an Ivy League college and the smile on his parents face when they saw his acceptance letter always brought tears in his eyes.


Namjoon had worked 3 jobs as he tried to support himself and participated in football for being an all rounder during his college while maintaining a 4.0 gpa. He had reassured his parents that life was fine in the states and he did not want them to send him any money. He painted a happy picture where their son was learning and making something out of him that could please his parents and pay off their hard work.


There had been a moment when he was working as a waiter in a lavish restaurant and he had realized he hadn't eaten anything except a bun in the morning. He had been sleep derived, working late in a 24/7 dispensary store, and then got an hour or two sleep before he had to rush to his morning lecture. After that his football practice and some work in the library for an hour or two, then his shift here in the restaurant. He has been serving people with mouth watering food for hours but had not been able to grab anything for himself.


Soon his director asked him to go and serve some posh rich family that had come there for a dinner. Namjoon had wiped his hands and a look on his clock told him that it was ten minutes till he could return to his dorms. He nodded to his director and walked towards the family. It was easy to recognize them, their polished rolex and the most expensive gadgets in the hand of the children said it for itself. It was a family of four, the couple talked while the children looked bored out of their minds.


Namjoon smiled as he reached the table, and asked the everyone at the table what they would like for the evening. But as they ordered without even making eye contact and the scorn on the father's face said what kind of people they were.


Namjoon ignored their behaviour, simply continued on with his work so he could go and grab something before his night shift started.


But as he was getting ready to leave his director said that his previous customer was calling him back. Namjoon had wanted to ask the rich family or the couple because he had taken both of their orders at the same time but his director had moved away, busy working. Namjoon mouth apaged, had looked over to the happily chatting couple and disgruntled stiff family where the wife and husband seemed to be quarelling about something and decided it might be the later that had called him.


He could hear the father shouting something but when he reached the table they had quietened down. He had asked them if they needed something but no one replied to him. Still busy fuming over whatever had transpires, everyone kept eating and the air around them showed that obvious disagreement and hate among the family members. Namjoon waited and waited, watched children a girl and boy in their teenage, gripping their utensils hard and stuffing food in their mouths. The lasagna looked warm and cheesy, the aroma made his stomach protest in hunger. Feeling eyes on him, he looked away and towards the father who was looking him with a smirk on his face. His eyes glinted with amusement, as if he could see how hungry Namjoon was. Namjoon looked down, extremely embarrassed, and wondered should he still stay here or not as the family was not responding to him. But his reverie had been cut off as the guy muttered, "If you want to eat, you can wait until we are done and eat the leftovers. Don't stand and stare like a peasant there, it is killing my appetite. Plus, I would not want a broke-fuck's envious gaze on my children's food."


His words had felt like a slap on Namjoon's face and had reminded him how far the rich world was for people like him. Someone who was struggling with his scholarship, working day and night, hiding holes in his clothes from snobbish assholes he had to study with. Hide the grim calloused layer of his hands and blame football for it.
His self-respect scattered in front of him and Namjoon had been unable to do anything. He had apologized as the couple called him, realizing that it was them in the first place that needed him. Gathering his pride and shame Namjoon completed his shift and walked back to his dorm. Knowing that he could do nothing right now, and promising that he would become rich. That he would earn money and spend it like it was garbage, that he would do it all by being repsectful and hard working. He would show jerks like that man that you could be rich and grateful.


And he had.


He had, through his music. Where he hid his grit and anger, his songs which spoke of his struggles and his shattered self-esteem. A hobby that made him pay his student loans within in first six months he had started producing his music.


Namjoon had worked and worked and he did not deserve the insults and humiliation his new boss saw fit for him.


He was in a place where he had desired, and yes the world did not know about his alias but it was because he did not let them. It did not mean they could walk over him. Yes, his wealth could not match Seokjin's but he was a self-made man not a silver spoon like him.


So he decided, he would work till his new ablum was released. Which was not that long, as Namjoon had new motivation to get it done. And then he was quitting.


He was giving up on working for such a horrible boss because Namjoon really really did not deserve this treatment.


He was not going to let go of the spine he had fought so hard for.


He was not going to bend anymore, especially not for jerks like Kim Seokjin.

***

Chapter Text

Namjoon had been 8 years old at that time. The time that existed before his mother started getting sick, the time when their family pet dog, Rocky, had died of old age. It was a golden retriever his parents had bought a few years after their marriage. Namjoon being the only child, instead of a sibling, only had Rocky to play with. He had loved him as people learn to love their favourite toys, but more. Because Rocky was real, he was Namjoon's. To care for and to play with.


Namjoon could almost even after years, still remember how soft his golden hair was, or what it was like to run around their neighborhood park chasing Rocky, his golden hair aflame under the scorching sun. Somewhere in the attic in Namjoon's home back in Ilsan, there was an album full of his childhood joys and his parent's youthful love. Rocky could be found in almost every picture: with his teeth out; eyes sparkling; tail wagging, or midair about to jump on whoever was taking his picture at that time.


Namjoon had been 8 when he had woken up without Rocky barging into his bedroom (small and old, whereas Namjoon grew up found it hard to live without feeling suffocated or needing more space for his books) and jumping onto his bed (which Namjoon also overgrew) to wake him up. Namjoon woke up, without realizing the absence of a wet muzzle nuzzling him, but soon when he had drowsily padded into the living room, the silence around the house without any welcoming barks had woken him faster than a splash of cold water in his face would have.


His parents were huddled around the corner, Namjoon remembered his mother trying to hold herself together, as his father sat cradling Rocky in his lap.
"He is just sick, Namjoon-ah, there is nothing to worry about," His mother had told Namjoon with a smile that did not reach her eyes and looked friable once they noticed Namjoon's presence in the room.


A sinking feeling had made his chest heavy, already picking up the somber atmosphere in the room without even knowing the cause, Namjoon moved to prop himself on his mother's lap and had started asking questions with a quivering voice.

His mother had tried explaining as much as she could; Rocky has been just sick same as when Namjoon gets sick; Doctor would make Rocky all okay and then Namjoon could play with him as much as he liked.


What his parents did not realize was that Namjoon was too smart for his age and was less likely to believe their lies. But he had nodded his head, wondering in silence why were his parents lying to him?


He had spent the rest of the day watching cartoons, doing his homework besides Rocky, petting his sweaty and hot fur once every five minutes and looking over his father's shoulder whenever they fed Rocky his medicines.


The house had gotten quieter after that. The laughs were few and it seemed like they were hosting death and had to act accordingly: grave and funereal.


And one day, there had been an easy, bright and quiet morning. The green grass that grew in Namjoon's backyard had never looked lusher. The weather had been pleasant, and his parents had come home without Rocky.


It had upset Namjoon so much because his parents had refused to tell him what had happened to Rocky. Namjoon had been angry at them, wondering that his parents had decided to throw Rocky away just because he was unable to be his usual gleeful self.


His parents had hugged him, their own lips quivering as they helplessly looked at each other and then at Namjoon to tell that Rocky had 'died' and because of it, he had gone someplace that he couldn't return from. That he was happy there, that he couldn't avoid it, that we all have to go there at least once and that someplace was called 'heaven'.
Namjoon had argued, he used to argue a lot, even as a child, that they were Rocky's 'heaven' and he was always happy with them, here in their house, not whatever mysterious island his parents told him about.


"Namjoon-ah," his mom had said in a soft voice caressing his greasy hair, "Sometimes, things we don't understand happen. Things we have no control over and all we can do in those moments is, - move on. Move on and realize that we, as humans, have our limits."


Namjoon, despite being sharp for his age, had not understood his mother's vagueness. Which somehow worsened his mood, and he ended up writing in his diary later that diary, where he usually wrote things that he knew he had to think over or figure out, with a scowl on his face.


It had taken Namjoon his own mother's funeral and gaze upon that tattered diary thrown in a box that lay forgotten in his cupboard, to understand what she had meant that day.


It had taken Namjoon returning back to the states, to resign, and pack his bags in order to return back to Korea permanently after his mother's death to understand that.


Namjoon had pondered over the outskirts of it, in the hard-earned life that he had lived, it was impossible not to. But it had taken the diary in his hands, as he sat alone on his bed, in his old room in Ilsan, his suitcase open and its contents sprawled in front of him as he cried curling into himself, to drive that lesson home.


So the next morning, when Namjoon came to his office, after the incident that still left red invisible slap marks on his cheek, he told himself that it was a brand new day. A new day, and that Namjoon did not have universe tied around his pinky and all he could do was move on. Trust him, he had tried hard, as hard as he could, to not let those words feel like a lie.

He moved slow and breathed like it pained him to. His joints popped with every movement, but as long as he kept moving, he told himself, it was fine.


He bent down to collect the papers that the printer gave up: black inked, warm and coarse. Namjoon is still surprised how life can punch him every once in a while and make him fall low, lower than before, reminding him that he had no escape. That life would never be infinitely okay and that every once in a while the roller coaster dipped and sucked his heart into a wormhole, which Namjoon then had to struggle hard to relieve it from.


He picked up his coffee from the brown table in the corner and moved towards his office. The bundle of papers in his arms heavy but not heavier than his feet. It was an effort taking every step, and Namjoon regretted getting out his bed in the morning. It had been a silly hope carefully wrapped in desperation that made him get up, he knew that. He did.


Why was his life so difficult sometimes?


He had seen people move seamlessly through life, when he was in the states, working hard to earn his degree. He had seen people go on causal vacations to the lost and enchanting parts of the world that Namjoon struggled to even pronounce. He had seen them whine over not being able to go on a ferry trip because their grades had dropped and their parents wanted to punish them by grounding them but ended up giving in at the end of the day. Namjoon could almost promise he had never seen those youthful rich faces ever frown or cry.

He knew life was hard for everyone in different ways, he knew that. But sometimes it felt like he was the only one struggling and hurting. That his worries were so big and apparent on his shoulders that everyone could see it.


But they couldn't, they could never see how much he tried and was tired. Maybe it was something that couldn't be seen, maybe that was why he couldn't see others struggling as well as he could see himself.

Maybe that is why when he entered his office, he stopped dead in his spot. Because there was a looming figure standing in the middle of his office, its back towards Namjoon. Shoulders broad but slouched, head bowed, arms slack by the figures side. The light from Namjoon's windows darkened his silhouette into something that looked everlastingly alone and melancholic.


The picture pierced Namjoon's heart for a moment. It reminded him of a storybook he had once read; it had talked of the Death God and his loneliness. How it toiled him to separate someone else's soul from their body (ripping it apart like one would tear blood-sucking parasite away from their body), how it pained him to leave people mourning after him (crying and cursing him for taking their loved ones away), how it made him feel isolated whenever he watched lively faces laugh, embarrassed or anxious (knowing he could never be a part of it, be part of life when he was supposed to be an end). Because his job was hard, but it was his fate. He had no choice but to be who he was. The picture in the book had been a drawing of a cloaked figure with a scythe in his hand, the Death God had stood facing the sun. As it colored him darker than black, but his back had looked strong and looked something like that of a hero to a child. So Namjoon sucked a breath and regained his composure to whisper, "Sir?"


The figure lifted its head and froze. Namjoon thought it was impossible, but he could hear the guy breath harshly for a while until he turned around in a flash.


The vulnerability on Jin's face made no sense, no sense, no sense that he should look so close to tears, or smile at him this warmly. Jin had looked surprised at first and then quickly someone who had wished their birthday when they thought that no one would remember.


Jin kept looking at him until he chuckled lowly, hesitant and choking. Then he shot a thankful glare to the skies and moved towards Namjoon. Namjoon, startled, took a step back for no reason, no reason, but Jin was breaths away and smiling at him so weakly. "You are not leaving?" He asked, cocking his head to a side.
His eyes were blown wide as hope brimmed up and swum with the joy.


Namjoon knew he should have thought the question over in his head, but Jin's, his boss's, sudden presence in his office baffled him. The question flew over in his mind and he nodded.


It was a lie because it was true that he was leaving soon. There was no reason, no excuse, why he did not say that to Jin on that spot. But Jin had given Namjoon a smile that bloomed whole of his face. His eyes scanning Namjoon's face for something, which made Namjoon clear his throat and show his obvious discomfort.


Jin looked confused for a moment, before realizing something and his smile dropped. The casual indifference that Namjoon associated with his boss took over his features like a dark cloud.


"Good," Jin said, putting his hands in the pockets of his suited pants, "I will leave you to it, Namjoon-ssi." A gesture towards the forgotten papers in Namjoon's aching arms, and he was off.


*


And that was the last time, Namjoon saw Jin over the coming week, except for a few glimpses that he could see of him from his own office and through Jin's semi-transparent glass doors.

***


This was getting dangerous - maddening dangerous - how hooked RJ was making him. Namjoon usually took ages before he would get out his relapses. He would keep descending the spiral staircase, and he would never stop. He had tried, he swore that he had tried avoiding the boy. Thinking RJ was too bright for him, Namjoon had alienated himself. He had thrown a blanket over him and hid under it as the world passed by without him acknowledging it (or the world him). He used to do that with Jimin, and it had never been a problem. Jimin's presence was a comfort, but it had no effect on him like RJ's during his bad days.


Because for one, Namjoon could not even avoid him. He was pulled by some weird thread back to RJ, and his phone. His hands clutched to the portal, a transient and untrustworthy place, where his best friend resided.


He would feel himself tripping and hold onto RJ like a lifeline and weirdly, without making it feel like he was heavy, RJ would pull him up and set him back on his feet.


Every conversation, every laugh, every secret only made him want RJ more. It was stupid, but the want was looming cotton candy around his head, making him think big, act big. Which was threatening, but RJ was a shameless flirt and Namjoon felt his heart stutter every time.


He wanted to see him. Meet him. He wanted to do it, he wanted to see how they would work in the real world, not their private virtual one. He wanted to see if RJ's carelessness would anger him or calm him. He wanted to see if he had some annoying pet peeves, he wanted to learn RJ like the back of his hand. He wanted to see if this something, something that keeps tingling Namjoon, would exist in the real world or vanish with the ease without the obscurity that the chat provided them with. Namjoon liked truth, actually he hated it, but he appreciated it nevertheless.


He wanted to see if what RJ and he had was real enough to survive everyday mundanity and conflicts that might arise between them. But to be honest, all these bigger than life explanations Namjoon kept deluding himself with, were lies because what he really wanted, really really wanted, was just to have RJ for himself. To meet him, hold him and never let go. And you could not hold a thought, so RJ had to be something tangible. For Namjoon, it was almost a need for him at this point.


***


Jung Hoseok was an easy-going and jovial person, that had been Namjoon's first perception about him when Yoongi had introduced him with a huge smile on his face.
But a few days after Yoongi's departure, Namjoon had joined Hoseok for lunch, their routine that they had maintained despite Yoongi being gone, and had found him looking forlorn.


And Namjoon had only been able to notice that because he had stood away and Hoseok had yet to notice his presence. But once Namjoon had made himself known and was thinking about asking Hoseok if he was okay, but before he could ever do that, Hoseok had totally changed his demeanor as soon as his eyes met Namjoon's, watching Namjoon take a seat in front of him in their lousy, because of the food, but clean cafeteria.


Namjoon had been shocked how quickly Hoseok had started joking around and asking Namjoon about his day. Namjoon had played along with thinking, maybe Hoseok was alright and Namjoon had interpreted it wrong. Maybe he was just bored, maybe that is why he had been staring at his food without eating it, lost in his thoughts.
But soon, as he kept talking, Namjoon had been able to recognize that he had been right in his assumption. Because as much as Hoseok tried to appear garrulous the more his shoulders had sagged.


Respecting him, Namjoon had kept his queries to himself and politely told him to excuse him as he talked to his friend on phone. On hearing this Hoseok had teased him a bit, already used to Namjoon retreating from conversations among their colleagues to smile away on his phone with RJ, but ultimately looked grateful to be not under his direct attention. Namjoon had stolen a few glances at him and realized that Hoseok spent the rest of the lunch, lost in his thoughts as he slowly and subconsciously ate his food, without taking note of the time that reached beyond them.


After that, Namjoon had been able to pick up some of his moods with a little bit of care and observation on his part. Usually, he really was as cheery as he looked, but sometimes he was tired, others bored and very rarely gloomy, still unsure at times if that was the case or not. Namjoon had deduced, Hoseok was too good at hiding what he really felt if he wanted to.


But thankfully, today he only looked fatigued and worried in a way that he did not see the need to pretend otherwise.
"Hey, Hoseok." Namjoon muttered, balancing his tray in his arm, full of now tasty yet healthy food as some weeks back, their menu had changed, as he pulled his chair his back, by hooking his foot with the chair's leg and pulling.


Hoseok returned his greeting and then rose from his seat to grab Namjoon's tray and place it on the table before Namjoon could topple it over and also fall unceremoniously after getting his foot stuck around the chair.


Namjoon smiled and thanked him, Hoseok only flashed him an amused smile in return.


"I still have no idea, how you managed to survive 20 above years of your life without killing your own self," Hoseok said smugly, adding toppings on his rice to make Bibimbap, "No offense, obviously."


"No offense, obviously," Namjoon mimicked Hoseok, contorting his face to make him look ridiculous and rolled his eyes. "I am not that bad."


Hoseok chuckled, "No, seriously, I still have my desk stained with blue ink that you dropped by accidentally  tipping my ink-pot."


"Oh my God, are you ever going to let it go. It was one time, one time." Namjoon said, raising his finger and stressing on his words, "I am getting so good at not being clumsy now-" Hoseok snorted, but Namjoon continued on, "Even if haters like you won't believe me."


"Mhmm, haters," Hoseok talked while after swallowing his food. He sipped his guava juice thoughtfully and asked Namjoon when he was done with a glint in his eyes and lips tugging upward, "I wonder how many 'not clumsy' moments would it take for Mr. Seokjin to fiiii-"


Hoseok stopped the moment Namjoon shot him a look, and suddenly food in his mouth turned sour. Namjoon munched on it for a while only to wash it away with a huge gulp of water.


Hoseok looked a little remorseful, even though Namjoon had not explicitly discussed his true opinion about their boss, Hoseok still knew that Seokjin was not to be mentioned in Namjoon's company. Hoseok did not agree with Namjoon usually when it came to their boss but never argued with him as well. So he simply offered Namjoon a smile and was happy to let him change the subject.


"So you tell, why are you looking so tired?" Namjoon had not even finished his question that his phone chimed and Hoseok groaned simultaneously.


The boys shared a look of amusement until Namjoon looked at his phone to see his notifications. He unconsciously smiled, looking at the array of messages from RJ, but turned his phone screen down and signaled Hoseok to continue the conversation.


Hoseok arched an eyebrow making Namjoon blush and concentrate on the last bits of his strawberry yogurt, that were stuck in the corner of the cup in his hand.
When he looked up, Hoseok's mirth had gone away and was replaced with the seriousness that he usually wore when he was talking about his work. "Our automobile sector, which is where major of our sales come from, is about to launch a new model soon."


Namjoon nodded because he had a vague idea about it too. He had planned a few of Seokjin's meetings related to that.


"So, PR department and our marketing department were planning different strategies. So today Park Jisoon from Marketing department and I met Seokjin to finalize a few things."


Namjoon again nodded, mainly to show that he was following Hoseok but also because he remembers them visiting Seokjin's office and staying there for hours.
"So a few minutes in with Seokjin, our two months old plans, that we worked on so carefully and conscientiously, started dismantling," Hoseok said sighing, cleaning his fingers with a tissue. Namjoon furrowed his eyebrows, "Just like that?"


Hoseok nodded, "Yup, just like that."


Namjoon's blood started simmering, "So you guys worked hard on this project for months and what? And the guy disregarded it all with a flick of his wrist?" His fingers tightened their grip on the phone.


Hoseok looked at Namjoon silently, his face betrayed nothing that would let Namjoon know whether he agreed with him or not.


After a while when he spoke, his voice was sure and a tinge bit offended, "Actually, I am thankful to Seokjin and disappointed in myself. He trusts us to give him something amazing and well planned and if we fail to provide it, it says a lot about us. More importantly, if our plan unfolded within half an hour in Seokjin's presence, it only shows how many loopholes it originally had. And he did not mean to nitpick, it is his company he cannot sell his products cheap, he needs effective management from our side. Plus, he even helped us with points and places he thinks we can work on and directed us. So now, the plan is more solid, yes it might take more time, but we have a direction. All in all, I am happy that I had shown him the plan now rather than later." Hoseok's tone was as soft and appreciative as it could be, but Namjoon still felt admonished.


Hoseok scrutinized him for a bit, while Namjoon tried his best not to hide from his gaze, but relaxed when he only smiled at him. "I won't assume what went between you and Seokjin, just like you shouldn't assume he is the same with everyone. If he treated everyone in the same way, his company wouldn't be where it is. He is intelligent and calculative, yes is a jerk a lot of the times, but he knows what he is doing. Moreover, I wouldn't be working for him if I did not respect him."


Namjoon tried not getting defensive because the last thing he needed right now was someone telling him how good Seokjin was or how he wasn't that bad. Yoongi was enough, who he was also avoiding right now for the exact purpose, with his texts asking how was Jin doing or whether they were working fine. Unable to tell him that he might be resigning soon and that they were horrible together.


Hoseok, to his credit, did not say anything else and got up to change seats and sit closer to one of his juniors to talk. Namjoon ignored the bitterness and sense of betrayal that caught in his throat and spent the next few minutes breathing in and out and repeating to himself that it was not Hoseok's mistake if he was unaware of Seokjin's douchery.


***


Namjoon was sure by now that the world hated him. No, literally, he was barely making by and shit kept happening. His life had not allowed him more than the few days of stability and he was just so so tired. So tired that it was hard for him to keep his body upright.


So yes, it was probably his mistake that he overslept, and then rushed out of his house forgetting his bag inside and realized it only when he was halfway down the stairs, and ended up missing his bus by ten minutes and that was the exact moment unseasonable early winter rain started.


And now, it was raining cats and dogs and Namjoon was waiting for a bus that was definitely stuck somewhere in traffic. And worst of all was the thought that it would give Seokjin something to hold against him.


He was tired, and wet enough to feel cold in his black suit and he wanted to curl up on the bench in the bus stand and just cry. Why was there no mercy for him?


He had done all the struggle the world expected him to, he had done it all. Why were things not starting to look nice?


He kept thinking what if he just stayed here? Stayed here in the rain and never went to his office? Never saw anyone today and just sat here watching life pass by, shivering with cold and giving in to the nothingness that erupted with his chest only to slip through his eyes?

Wasn't he too young to be feeling this empty?? His body was in its prime and he felt like dying every second.


Namjoon was so lost in his thought that he did not even notice a lavish car park right in front of him. Or hear someone calling his name.


He had read it somewhere that people liked walking in the rain because, like that, no one could ever see them cry. He had taken it for something generic, but as the world and red and green traffic lights blurred in front of his eyes, he could realize the desperation behind those words.


He could understand now what it felt like to not even have the solace of being able to even cry openly and at the same time cherish the feeling of not being terribly alone. The comfort one could get from letting their tears roll by amidst crowds of people lost in their own lives and still not be noticed or pitied.


Namjoon blinked and felt something wet get stuck in his eyelashes. Taking his makeshift tears for raindrops, he cleared his vision. Actually, it was cleared because someone was shaking him violently.


"Namjoon! God, where are you lost?" Seokjin shouted him, trying to be heard over the rain. And the first thing that Namjoon noticed was that his umbrella was pretty pink in color.


His hair styled and slightly wet from the mist, his lips, angry, his grip on Namjoon's arm, strong. Usually, Namjoon would have slapped him for even thinking of touching him, but he could not even put it into words how being held (balanced) and being brought back into the world of the living, felt. It overwhelmed him that his eyes started to fill up again.
"Namjoon, come on, get in the car," He looked troubled as his eyes scanned Namjoon's face with an aching softness. But why?


Namjoon was so disoriented that he finally looked behind Jin to notice a car. It is funny how he did not even think of replying Seokjin but still found himself staring back into his eyes. They were brown and the rain made it look like there were storms swirling in them, or maybe Namjoon was finally losing it.


"For fuck's sake, I know you hate me, but you are literally shivering right now," Jin babbled, his eyebrows pinched as he helplessly looked around him as if someone could help me out of this situation, still tugging Namjoon where he stood rooted in his place. And when he finally turned back to look at Namjoon there was a look of determination. His eyes bore into Namjoon's defenseless ones and he said, "Fuck it, hate me all you want." And grabbed Namjoon's hands in an iron-strong grip and yanked him with a force that unbalanced Namjoon and finally got him moving.


"Wait!" Namjoon said feebly, finally coming to his senses, but he could not even say anything before Jin was dragging him towards his car, opening his door and pushing Namjoon in, with the umbrella held over his head as Seokjin himself stood under the rain. "Listen to me," Namjoon started, but soon Seokjin closed the door in his face.

Namjoon instantly felt the change in temperature now that he was inside the car. The car was heated and the covers were so warm and cozy that Namjoo instinctively sunk into them. The door on the other side opened and the loud pitter and patter of the rain from outside made in, which was soon cut off when Seokjin settled in and told his driver to drive on.


Now that Namjoon was in the car he realized how cold he felt, he could hear his teeth chattering against each other. Namjoon wasted no time bringing his hands together, trying to rub them together and blow air in them. He tried to make his large body as small as he could to conserve heat but was failing miserably.


"Fuck," Jin cursed for the twentieth time in the previous five minutes and soon a hot packet was thrust into Namjoon's hands, Jin's own semi-cold hands touching his freezing pruned one's in the process, making Namjoon shiver. Namjoon looked at him with alert vibrant in his eyes, but Jin looked nothing but genuinely distressed. He scanned Namjoon's clothes, his pale, trembling lips, his wet hair dripping water on his face and found home in his clueless eyes.


Jin hissed before turning around, grabbing his long coat from the seat and moving closer to Namjoon to drape it all over him. Namjoon instantly felt warm, his hands already clasping the hot packet like a lifeline. Namjoon was so busy calming his body down that he only heard Jin fumbling around and then there was a piece of cloth thrown over his head.


"What the hell-" Namjoon wanted to ask, but stopped when Jin's voice cut over his to say, "Just shut up. I have no towel so my handkerchief has to keep your hair dry for now."
"Who the hell carries a handkerchief?" Namjoon grumbled, having warmed up a bit to talk or think properly, but nevertheless used one hand to grab the coat around his body and the other to rub the soft linen on his head lightly, enough that it soaked some water.


Namjoon felt awkward performing his ministrations especially when Jin was staring at him like a hawk, but he tried brushing it off and continuing on. When he was done, Namjoon took the cloth from his head and before he could return it Jin was already grabbing it back only to push a cup of coffee in his hand.


"What?" Namjoon asked, looking at the half empty, and lukewarm coffee in his hands.


"It's a coffee. Drink." Jin said like it was the most obvious thing and Namjoon was the biggest idiot in the world.


Namjoon suddenly realized who was in front of him and straightened his body a bit. Preparing for his defense unconsciously now that he had stopped shivering. His walls rising furiously after the vulnerable moment back in the rain had left them in a heap. But before he could even speak a word, or throw Seokjin's warm as hell coat back on his face, Jin said, "Sorry, okay? I am sorry." Namjoon looked at him, his jaw locked in surprise and his mouth agape. "Just... Please. Drink this goddamn coffee." He said, offering his coffee once again and his eyes pleading Namjoon.


Namjoon tried thinking why in the world would his boss who humiliated him a week ago, was now apologizing AND begging Namjoon to drink his coffee, but came up empty.
Namjoon tried searching Jin's posture, tone of his voice, his eyes, for any clue of a prank or mischief he might have devised to embarrass Namjoon, but he looked exactly as he did when he had walked up to Namjoon in the rain a few minutes ago with his pink umbrella and shouted Namjoon's name trying to drag him out of where ever he was, and that is, earnest.


"Namjoon-ah," He beseechingly looked at Namjoon, motioning towards the coffee, "Please, don't fight me over this and take this coffee. You can say whatever you want, once I am sure you are okay and warm enough."


It made no sense, no sense that Seokjin would care about him. The guy had not spared him a look in the past week. He had ignored him when he started working for him, shouted at him, made him go back and forth from his office to Jin's whole day, had embarrassed him and made him miss his own lunch. This guy was begging Namjoon to not fight him and just to drink his coffee so he could be warm.


Namjoon scoffed at the situation but still grabbed the coffee from his hands. He must be faking his kindness, Namjoon reasoned. But even as he did, he knew he was lying. Seokjin did not look like someone who was pretending to be kind. The frown that he had never seen on the faces of his young college mates was so evident on Seokjin's face that it looked jarred. Beautiful rich boys were not supposed to look like this, especially not at Namjoon but Seokjin did. And Namjoon thought it looked so genuine that it almost resembled the look Jimin would get on his face when he would worry about Namjoon. But Namjoon did not know why his boss would look at him like his best friend did, so he left it at that.


Seokjin sighed and eased back in his seat. "Thank you."


Namjoon ignored him, after a cursory glance towards his bag near Jin's bag which he might have brought with him when Namjoon had completed forgotten about it by the bus stand and spent the rest of the ride looking out of his window and ignoring Seokjin.


It was hard to do that for a number of reasons. Number one, apparently Jin loved annoying Namjoon and he thought, staring at him was the best way to do so. Namjoon had to bite his lips, seven times during the short ride, to keep his harsh imprecations to himself.


Number two, the coat he was still unwilling to let go no matter how prideful he felt, reeked of an extremely good, but expensive cologne that Namjoon realized Jin wore a lot. (He had first gotten a whiff of it, when he had helped him open the door of his office when Namjoon had gotten it stuck in his rage to leave his office a week ago and second, the next day when he had closed in on Namjoon, and asked him if he was staying, which was creepy, by the way, now that he thought back on it. Just because his boss was insanely handsome, did not mean he could not be creepy.)


Thirdly, it was when he was taking his last sip from the Styrofoam glass, did Namjoon realize that Jin's cup was half empty when he had started drinking it, which meant Jin had given him his coffee. The coffee he had been drinking. Which made him want to puke, get a little bit flustered and a lot angrier at Jin until they reached their office building.


Namjoon wasted no time and yanked the door open as soon as the car stopped. "Wait!" Seokjin yelled and his hand caught onto Namjoon's wrist, keeping him in his position.

Namjoon regarded him vilely and yanked his hand away.


Jin looked offended at first and then a little guilty as he awkwardly pulled his hand back. He directed his gaze towards the wet, closed umbrella by his seat and shoved it towards Namjoon.


"Take the umbrella at least," he said as if it made perfect sense for Namjoon to use Seokjin's only umbrella to shelter himself from the rain and leaving Seokjin uncovered in the process.


What the hell was wrong with his boss? Namjoon thought for the nth time that day.


He smiled slightly at Namjoon's confusion, a complete understanding coating his eyes, as he rested the umbrella slowly on Namjoon's lap, and moved back cautiously as one did with a wild cornered animal letting it know that you meant no harm.


Seeing Jin present himself as harmless as he could made Namjoon's brain short circuit and catch fire. But Namjoon had no time to figure it all out, but on quick judgment, decided to go along with his boss's impromptu kindness.


He gazed at the umbrella in his lap, as the water dribbled from the car's open door, drop by drop. "What about you?"


"Hunh," Seokjin did not hide his surprise that Namjoon was making an effort to talk to him.


"What about you? It's raining outside and if I use your umbrella what would you use?"


If Namjoon thought Jin could not look anymore surprised, then Jin looking at him with wide eyes and an agape mouth was something else.


"I- I did not think about that," he said, his eyes searching for something in Namjoon's eyes. And he felt a chill run through his body and blamed the wind outside. "It is okay, you can use it though. I will just try my best running as fast as I can and not get wet?"


Namjoon thought a little bit over it and said, "Stay inside." And got outside, to slam his door shut. Jin was surprised at the order and flushed a little thinking how long it had been since someone had guts to order him like this.


From his window, he could see Namjoon talking to his driver with his pink umbrella over his head. Once he was done, he nodded and made a run for the gate and so did his driver.


Jin noticed it all inquisitively, almost getting out of his car in wonder, but his hand stopped dead on the handle of his door.


"Stay inside." Namjoon's voice told him and he felt incredibly warm in his cheeks.


What? Why the hell was he actually listening to the younger boy's command?


Shocked at his own obedience, Seokjin punched his heart to calm it down. He was so lost in his thoughts that the knock on his window made him jump and scream in the alone and over-heated car. Jin gripped his chest and glared at his driver outside.

Planning to give him an earful, Jin got out of the car but stopped when he saw the pink umbrella arch over his head. He looked at the company's door and caught Namjoon's eyes through the grey of the rain over his car's roof. It felt weirdly intimate to know that Namjoon had cared enough, but Namjoon broke their contact soon and entered the building.


Jin looked at his driver and his solemn face and decided to walk towards the building. He started walking faster once he realized if he was quick enough he could catch up with Namjoon.


It was stupid, it was so stupid that Jin was practically running and jumping over the puddles, outside his company with his wet clothes and usual indifference in ditches. His driver raced with him, trying to keep up. So stupid, Jin thought as he looked at his idiotic image in the entrance mirror door, running like a child taking every puddle a personal obstacle. Namjoon was making Jin absolutely stupid and Jin couldn't help but smile at the shocked faces of his guards as they saluted him and opened the doors for him.


*


Namjoon groaned as he clicked on the button once again, changing his bag from one hand to another in urgency.


Why the hell was lift not working?


"It's out of order," A voice spoke from a few centimeters behind him, Namjoon jumped and was about to slap whoever it was in his panic until a hand shot forward to grab his wrist midair. Seokjin looked startled, but his grip on Namjoon's wrist was firm when he pulled Namjoon in riding purely on instinct from multiple self-defense classes he had taken. Namjoon gasped, finding himself so close to Seokjin's face that it was starting to look beautiful to Namjoon again. His lashes were thick and eyes hooded. A soft smirk on his lips as he said, "look," and motioned with his head.


Namjoon was. He was looking at Seokjin and his weirdly attractive Adam's apple. He was looking until he realized he was not supposed to stare back into Jin's chocolate brown eyes. Seokjin's smile grew wider when Namjoon shuffled a bit to look where he vaguely remember Jin pointing. He was confused at first, but then he saw 'Out of Order' sign tilted a little away from the elevator's door, kicked aside by someone probably.


Namjoon sighed and suddenly felt himself being pulled by Jin, his hand still locked in Seojin's grip, "Come on, follow me. You can take my elevator."


Jin let Namjoon's hand go as he clicked his own elevator open. Namjoon protested, watching Seokjin enter the elevator. Namjoon stared at the dark gray patches on his coat and realized that Jin had still ended up getting wet despite Namjoon's efforts. He huffed at the same time, Jin rolled his eyes at him, "C'mon. The door is about to close."


His eyes looked challenging, as he bit his bottom lip cheekily and stood casually in front of him with his hands inside his pockets, a perfect king in control of his perfect game, knowing full well about Namjoon's resistance and goading him for it.


"I don't bite." He said with a secret smile on his face and Namjoon was reminded of the time when he had first entered this building and how he had tripped into the elevator and seen Jin stand just like he was right now, laughing at his pathetic ass.


Namjoon said fuck it under his breath and stepped into the elevator.

***



Chapter Text

Namjoon furiously typing on his keyboard was the only noise that could be heard in his office; the work kept towering with the new release coming near. Namjoon had booked a bazillion of total appointments for Seokjin and his neck would crack every time he tried moving it.


The start of the day had been as unexpected as it could be and Namjoon had been trying his best not to ponder about it and instead vehemently let RJ know that Samwise Gamgee deserved better. That he was a pure soul who never got corrupted and carried Frodo to the Mount Doom on his back and never betrayed him. He even got to live a nice life and was an extremely underrated character. The rant went on and on until RJ accepted that Samwise was too good for the lotr world.


But to be honest, It was all mindless chatter. His mind wanted to stray away. Away to what happened in the elevator.


Namjoon shook his head, refusing to delve into anything related to his boss. Or his apologies, his kindness, and smiles. It was not like Namjoon could add any context to them, they would still leave him feeling as out of the loop as he was before he let himself overthink.


''You seem tired," Jin asked, casually leaning against the wall of the elevator, as Namjoon tried his best to settle his frayed hair down in the reflective surface of the elevator opposite to him. It was sort of a personality trait he had developed not long ago, using his time in the elevator to touch up.


He stopped in the middle to cast Jin a look. Namjoon noticed that Jin's posture may have been relaxed, but his eyes were alert. 


Namjoon thought he could try denying him to keep professionalism alive between them or he could ignore him, but then Seokjin gave him an understanding smile and Namjoon sighed.


"Yeah, was working on something the whole night," He had found the right beat. Or pieces of it, scattered all over his house, mind, and office. He had spent all night with a net in his hand, jumping up and down the hills in his house, to catch those fireflies, which would eventually give his suffering some meaning; would make his music; would make him live when he dies. To make him feel less alone as anyone who listens to his songs joins him in his solitude and choking sadness.


"Something you couldn't do some other time?" Seokjin asked, but there was no taunt in his voice.


"Yup," he turned around, finally standing face to face. It felt like the rain had washed every mask of his off and Seokjin had caught him naked standing middle of the crowd.


Namjoon pulled Jin's coat over his shoulders and thought what it meant that Seokjin refused to look away from his bare face.


Seokjin held his gaze until Namjoon's own turned away to notice the debris in the corner of the elevator. They should really clean it, there were too many scraps of the mud tucked away. Is someone responsible for cleaning the elevators? Is it someone's designated job? To wipe the floors of the elevators and keep its walls shiny? Seconds passed away and Namjoon knew that Seokjin was still looking at him.


He gasped audibly when he heard Seokjin push himself away from the wall and meet Namjoon in the middle of the elevator.


'Look at him. Raise your eyes and look at him, you idiot.' But somehow, throughout the morning, Seokjin had made Namjoon someone who could not look him in the eyes.
Maybe it was the shameful gratitude or the knowledge that Seokjin thought sanding this close to Namjoon, far closer than the appropriate formal distance, was something he was allowed to do. Making Namjoon for the 50th today wonder why? Why? Why?


"Sleep in the restroom, at the end of our floor," his voice soft, and too near.


Namjoon finally raised his eyes and realized that the warmth in Seokjin's eyes was absolutely unnecessary. "What?"


"Yoongi built this resting room on our floor," Jin said, rolling his eyes as if he could not believe Yoongi had done it or that Jin, himself, had allowed him to do so, "You can rest there for a while. Working non-stop's never safe."


Namjoon could not control as indignation caught up in his throat and made him spit, "I am perfectly capable of doing my work,"


"I know you are," he stepped closer, the tips of his shoes touching Namjoon's own, his voice stern, "I know you can work even if your body is breaking but that does not mean you have to. I care about your health- about every one of my employees' health. Rest, and when you have regained some of your energy, come back to your office and continue your work."


Namjoon noticed the pull of Seokjin's lips and watched his words fly and flutter only to land on Namjoon's shoulder like a butterfly. But Namjoon refused to give in.


He would do his work, he would not let Seokjin give him a concession no matter what.


He opened his mouth, but Seokjin hissed and raised a finger of his to rest it on Namjoon's parted lips. Exasperated, Namjoon quickly stepped back and covered his mouth with his hand. As if protecting them.


Jin looked embarrassed for a moment, but then looked away to groan in frustration and pinch the bridge of his nose. He looked at the door of the elevator and the neon red numbers increasing, "Aish, Namjoon." He looked back at him, his hands on his hips now. "Take care of yourself, okay?"


Namjoon said nothing and solely concentrated on willing the red of his cheek away. Jin could not know that, could NOT know that.


"Taking care of yourself is so important and should be the top priority. You want to know why?" Seokjin asked, his eyes had no problem finding Namjoon's own and holding onto them. Like a steel wire left whitened bracelets on your skin whenever you held it too tightly, Namjoon felt that pain of his grip on him. "Simple, because no one else will. You need to take care of yourself because no one else will."


And Namjoon snapped out of his haze and felt like he was looking at Jin for the first time.


In front of him stood a boy, a man, who had struggled majority of his adulthood away and made himself stand out unparalleled in the market. Suddenly, Namjoon could see that all those struggles might not have left him as unscathed as Namjoon would like to believe.


Seokjin's expressions were vulnerable for those few seconds, allowing Namjoon to collect whatever truth, he wanted to save for himself and then the door of the elevator opened. And Jin walked out of it, with a last, slow casting look towards Namjoon.


'Take care of yourself, because no one else would.' Namjoon thought over those words again and again. Why did they sound so relatable? As if it was not only a piece of advice that Seokjin had casually blessed him with but rather an admission. A secret that he had confessed in the humid air inside the elevator and their clothes wet from the rain, as Namjoon watched some forgotten water droplet slide down Seokjin's styled hair and fall over his eyelashes.


Because no one else will.


Namjoon really had no one right now, and he knew he could wallow for hours about that fact. This deep-rooted disconnectedness that had started young for him, and usually started young for boys like him, even before they are isolated, even before they had to leave their home and friends. It was something that maybe boys like him were born with, and that made you wonder, maybe blue was always their favourite color to draw smiley faces as a child for a reason. 

Namjoon had gone to Yoongi's room, that Seokjin had mentioned, without his will. Unable to even think or move. He felt exhausted, even though the day had only started, but the voice in his mind kept saying that a few hours of sleep would make everything better.


He had slept huddled in Jin's coat, still keeping him warm, reminding himself that he needed to return it back and that Jin's finger had been crooked when he had touched his lips. Namjoon had felt it more than he had seen it. He did not know what to do with that information.


What an unprofessional man!


Namjoon thought, glaring at Seokjin's coat hanging on the backside of the visitor's chair in front of his desk in his office and thought back to how he had woken up. To,


His phone ringing with RJ's messages and smell of the warm food sitting on the table in front of him. The room was small but cozy. It had a coffee maker in the corner, a sofa in the middle with switchboards nearby, a cupboard on the left, a table in the middle where currently the food rested and speakers in the corner. It did look like Yoongi had made this place a small haven for him.


Namjoon had gotten up and was surprised to find food on the table. He had rubbed his eyes as he sat up and Seokjin's coat pooled in his lap. He had reached for his phone as he squinted at the food, hoping to see if Hoseok had left it for him. But there were no messages on his phone except RJ's and the clock on his phone, simultaneously, let him know he had slept for three and a half hours. Feeling ashamed, Namjoon had shrugged himself awake and he had stuffed the food quickly in his mouth. Once he was done, he quickly started to gather his stuff and left for his office.


He was so going to be behind today's work and might have to overstay to complete the work, Namjoon thought to himself.


Since afternoon, Namjoon had been sitting in his chair working hard. The sun had gone down and even Hoseok had left an hour ago, who was usually the last one to leave their floor, waving his hand at Namjoon wishing him goodbye cheerily and shouting that it sucked to be the one staying late because of the work. Their floor was the one that hosted all the executives of the company who usually stayed an hour more than other workers, and still, somehow Namjoon was the only one staying this late, well except his boss.


Before Hoseok had left, Namjoon had asked him about the lunch only to find a worried Hoseok fret over remorsefully about not knowing that Namjoon had even needed lunch in the first place but also promise that he had not been the one who left food for him as he had been totally consumed by his work and had been late to the lunch himself to notice Namjoon's absence. Namjoon had told him that it was okay and not to worry as Namjoon was feeling better now. And he was.


But it seemed like he knew, who had left food for him. Or suspected. Because when he had entered his office, there had been a few files on his desk for him that his boss might have dropped.


Preposterous, to be honest. This is why Namjoon had not given that hypothesis a second thought (lies, he had). Namjoon was excellent at deduction, but it was simply impossible.


But was it really? Because the whole day Jin had been far away from the arrogant boss that he knew- okay, maybe a few moments where he forgot his place or was overly frank with him, but never unkind. Actually, he had been nothing but kind.


Why? Was he feeling guilty? Could people like him even feel guilty?


Namjoon moaned and rubbed his itchy eyes. When the stars disappeared from his eyes, he focused on the screen in front of him and clicked the buttons to shut it down.


Now that he had completed his work, he couldn't wait to go home, but before he could, he had to return what he had borrowed in the morning.


Namjoon got up from his seat and picked his bag up along with Jin's coat and walked out his office turning the lights off.


Namjoon padded towards Jin's room and watched yellow lights above him illuminate his pathway. It really was late; the clock on his phone said it was 8:15.


Namjoon knocked on the door of Jin's room. He thought about how once he got to his home, he should probably get back on his incomplete music, or get a few hours of sleep.

Sighing, Namjoon knocked again and when he got no reply he peeked inside, only to find Jin's face hidden in his arms on the table and unresponsive. It reminded Namjoon of the school days when his teacher would ask him to put his head down and stay silent.


Worried that Jin was sleeping in his office, Namjoon entered without permission, pushing the door open.


"Sir?"


No response. Namjoon looked around the office, unsure of his next action.


Jin stirred, and now that he was inside, Namjoon could hear him breathing loudly. Namjoon contemplated for a second about leaving him as he was but then swore silently and threw Jin's coat and his bag on the sofa near him and proceeded towards Jin.


"Sir," he called as he closed in. He moved towards Jin and stopped an arm's length away to get a look of his face. His lips were open and a sheen of sweat glistened his skin, "Jin," Namjoon raised his hand hesitantly, and watched it hover over Jin's white shirt until he dared to touch his boss.


Namjoon grasped Jin's shoulders and shook him. Fuck, he was burning up. "Jin, sir, wake up." This time Namjoon was forceful enough to make Jin groan. Alive? Good.


Namjoon wrapped his arms around Jin to raise him from his desk and to lay him back against his office chair. His head rolled but Namjoon was quick enough to cradle it in his hands and rest it gently against the chair's headrest. Jin grumbled reaching for Namjoon's hands on his face.


"Hey, boss, wake up. You are burning up," Namjoon felt like he was stating the obvious, but Jin was so out of it, that he doubted anyone would criticize him for it.


"Namjoon?" He asked, his closed eyes clenching with tension and his fingers grabbing onto Namjoon's.


"Yeah, it's me." Namjoon cussed and looked around Jin's desk to find the tissue box. Keeping the hand that Jin was holding there around his face, he used the other to grab a few tissues. "Sir, can you open your eyes?" Namjoon asked dabbing the tissue over his face.


"Huh, obviously," Jin mumbled, but still kept his eyes closed. Namjoon huffed and wiped the sweat off his face. "Sir, I think you are sick. Can you tell me where you keep your medicines? Or is there someone I can call?" Namjoon floundered, unsure. He probably should call someone, but who?


"No, no, I am fine," Jin seemed to have made his mind, as he let go of Namjoon's hand and clasped the arms of his chair with both of his hands. He shook his head and squeezed his eyes a few times, preparing and struggling to open them. Namjoon hurriedly grabbed the switch on the desk to dim the light a little bit. Jin straightened himself with gruff noises and curses in between. He was so hot that Namjoon could feel his body heat, "Jin, do have any medicines in here?"


Namjoon arched to get a look at Jin who was now hunched over his chair, his grip strong and a quiver apparent in his body, "Yes, in Yoongi's office," he said, forgetting that it was not Yoongi's office now and rather Namjoon's. "Or resting room somewhere," his voice groggy and rough.


Namjoon remembered seeing many cabinets in Yoongi's room in the morning and decided to make a run for it. But before he could, there was a hand wrapped around his wrist holding him immobile. "Don't," Jin's eyes were wide blown like a child's when you scare him, and he was using whatever measly strength, his weak body had to keep Namjoon close."Don't leave, stay." He murmured, as he fought to keep his eyes open, as they watered with every blink. His body seemed to be rocking forward, unable to keep itself upright and Namjoon decided then and there that he had to make sure that Jin was alright. After how Jin had taken care of him in the morning, that was the least Namjoon could do.


"Hey, boss, I am not going anywhere, okay?" Namjoon said in a low voice, as he loosened Jin's grip. "I am going to go and get your medicine and will be back in a minute. Okay?"
Jin looked puzzled and kept staring at him, refusing to let go yet. Namjoon smiled at him and pressed his hand reassuringly. Jin sighed at whatever he saw on Namjoon's face and rested against the chair again, "Come back quickly," he muttered, his eyes already closing and face relaxing.


Namjoon nodded and rushed out of Jin's office. He got stuck at the door again, what the hell was wrong with this door and kept pushing onto it till it opened. He threw one lasting look at Jin before leaving the office.


Once inside Yoongi's room, he started opening and closing the cabinets. Searching for medicines, shifting mugs left and right and letting his hand grazing the backside of the cupboards until he finally caught a box in the corner. Taking it out, Namjoon opened it to find a couple of medicines and syrups inside. Namjoon clutched the box in his arm and picked up a glass and filled it up to the brim with the tap water.


Exiting the room, Namjoon made his way towards the dimly lit corridor with white walls and pushed Jin's door open with his back, which luckily now, gave away easily.


For the next few minutes, Namjoon nursed Jin and felt stupid every minute of it. But for some reason, whenever he saw someone sick, it reminded him of his mum and how he had not been able to be there for her when she had been sick for years without him knowing. So albeit awkwardly, but he wanted to make sure that Jin was okay again, no matter who he was and what perceptions Namjoon held of him.


For now, it was satisfying to be able to help Jin and watch as some color returned to Jin's face as Namjoon casually sat in the chair opposite of him. Jin still had his eyes closed, but his body was not shivering and he was not hazy at all.


"Are you okay now?"


"Hmm, better," Jin muttered, slowly blinking his eyes open. His eyes found Namjoon as soon as they opened and stayed there. He gave Namjoon a hard look before he said, "Thank you."


"No-it's not-,"


"Don't tell me that. Even you have to know that you didn't have to help me," he waited for Namjoon to counter him and when he didn't, he continued on, "But you did and I want to thank you for it. Let me."


Jin had his hair, wavy from sweat, plastered on his face and his eyes still had some fever in them, but somehow for Namjoon, they were captivating enough. It's not like he had anywhere else to look. He looked tired and ready to fall over, but as seconds passed and he regained his vigor and started straightening his back and reviving his usual unyielding and stern posture.


Namjoon nodded his head, playing with his fingers, distracting himself from the tension in the room. He thought again and again about whether he should just take his leave or not? And if yes, then how? Because now that Jin was alright, Namjoon felt self-conscious being in the same room as him.


"You can leave," Jin said, which made Namjoon snap his head and look at him. Instead of harsh, his words were grateful and he had a small smile on his face as if he could read his mind.


"I-," Namjoon started, feeling nonplussed. He wanted to leave, but something held him bound.


"I can see you feeling awkward, I am alright now. See," He smiled and motioned towards his body, to prove his point, but Namjoon could see how tightly he was still holding the arms of the chair and was not as convinced as Jin's charming smile, which was turning plastic with every second, tried to make him believe. "You have already stayed over your time today." Namjoon was realizing that he might actually have no choice but to leave, so he bowed his head and thought of getting up but before he could, Jin said.
"But before you leave, I have to say something to you."


Namjoon did not know why he felt relieved that he was not being dismissed when minutes ago, he had been looking for a way out himself. Maybe because he could see Jin was lying and it still felt terrible to leave someone who was sick alone. "Yeah, sure."


Namjoon patiently waited as Jin took his time, probably collecting words inside his frenzied mind. He watched Jin look at the pen holder in front of him and stare it down, his fingers tapping on the glass covering the wood of his table. "I wanted to apologize to you."


Namjoon sucked in a breath and was about to ask him, 'For what?' but stopped, when he saw Jin raise a finger and staring at Namjoon's tie now. Namjoon felt this unsettling need in him to see if his tie was crooked or something, but Jin looked too perturbed to be thinking about Namjoon's tie. "I don't know how, but I know I have offended you. And I know this is not a nice way to apologize," he said, gripping the edges of the table and assaulting his lips, as if chewing on every word before he threw it out, "But if there was one person in this office that I trusted, it was Yoongi, and now with him gone and you angry at me- I mean, I don't think so we can work together in the desired manner, or how I did with Yoongi, if you still hate me. And I need to be able to work with you better if I aim to run this company smoothly."


Namjoon could see he meant every word he said and keeping the whole day in perspective, Namjoon realized that he could believe it. That the man in front of him might not have had anyone in this building except iron-willed Yoongi. And as Jin spoke his next words, he finally dared look Namjoon in the eyes."So I am sorry for offending you and I will try my best to avoid topics or behaviors," he said furrowing his eyebrows as if he could not understand what he had done wrong. Namjoon might have gotten angry at that, but now as the night grew darker outside and he felt marooned at the top of the world with Seokjin, Namjoon was ready to believe RJ, believe that maybe Jin really didn't know what he was doing wrong."But I will try my best to not do it if you let me know?" He said, shrugging his shoulders in a question as if Namjoon was supposed to help him it now that he had done his part.


It was the lousiest apology Namjoon had ever heard, but also the first one from the likes of Seokjin. "Look, what I am trying to say is, I will try not to hurt you and try to salvage our professional relationship for both of our sake's because I might be needing more of your help with my work and I need to know I can trust you. I know Yoongi did and that seems enough for me, but I would like to try for myself too and I hope you would meet me halfway and give me some benefit of the doubt every time you think I have done something wrong. The truth may be, or might be, the exact opposite."


Namjoon could... he could do that. Maybe he was just too drained from the last week, but he was willing to give Jin a chance or the 'benefit of the doubt' he was asking for. But at the same time, it made him rethink his decision about leaving the company. The last whole week he had been so sure of it and he did not know what this apology meant for his resignation. Maybe Jin was bullshitting? Maybe he would not even try? Namjoon was willing to see how it would go though.


"Okay, okay." Namjoon told Jin, "I am willing to meet you halfway."


And Jin looked stupidly happy at that, "You will? Great, great. You can leave now." He said, giving Namjoon a 500-watt smile and shooing him.


See, this is what Jin did. He would say rude things but act exactly the opposite. Like right now, the way he was smiling, told Namjoon that he was being friendly, but his words sounded authoritative as hell. Maybe Jin just came off like that, maybe he was genuinely trying to be nice? Namjoon was unsure, but he himself remembers being caught in situations where he might have come off as rude when he didn't simply know what he should have said or done. Maybe Jin was the same? It felt stupid to think of his poised boss as someone too flustered to know the normal etiquettes of social interactions. And Namjoon did not like feeling stupid, but maybe he could give Jin the benefit of the doubt?

Maybe?


"I will just... I also have a thing to ask."


"Yes?"


"Number 1, why are you so friendly with me? You don't know me and to be honest, half of the time I think you are mocking me when you are trying to be... I don't even know what."


"Urm..." Jin looked stumped for a bit as if he had not been expecting Namjoon to say that. To be honest, Namjoon himself was not expecting that, "I... Because, well, I used to do it with Yoongi too??"


Why did he pose it as a question? Namjoon had no idea.

"So, you used to leave food and give your coat to Yoongi too?"


Jin looked ruffled for a second and Namjoon wondered if his fever was returning. Namjoon was about to stop the interrogation when Jin started nodding his head violently and started agreeing with Namjoon.


Okay, so maybe he was overly friendly with Yoongi. To be honest, the exact nature of their relationship confused Namjoon because it did not come off as strictly boss-secretary relationship. Maybe they were friends, Jin did say he trusted Yoongi, and now he was trying to behave the same way with Namjoon but he was also confused because they were practically strangers. Made... sense?


"Okay, Number 2... Don't," Namjoon hesitated over his next words because it was not something you said to your boss, but he also realized that it was now or never. Namjoon psyched himself up to stand up for things he didn't like and said, "Don't get too close to me. I mean, physically. I mean, kindly maintain the formal distance that is usually between colleagues."


Namjoon avoided Jin's gaze for whole next 2 minutes and counted from 10 to 0 in his mind again and again. And he would have continued to do so if the silence in the room did not start to suffocate him.


Jin looked shocked and he was rubbing his hand over his mouth as if he could not believe Namjoon had said what he had. "Did I? Did I make you feel harassed or som- "


"No, no. I just am not used to boss's being that friendly. I don't think you were trying to be offensive." And Namjoon didn't, not about this at least. "I just prefer a safe distance."


"Oh.. I am sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable," Jin said plainly, his eyes still trying to figure Namjoon's statement out. Probably recollecting every moment since Namjoon's arrival that he might have overstepped his boundaries.


"No, please, don't embarrass me. Just be careful next time." And now Namjoon felt awkward opening his mouth. How could he explain it to his boss that he was bi and having men near him and the casual skinship that men of their country were causal with, was slightly different for him? That maybe it had been because of his time in the States and among strangers that left him devoid of the comfort of human touch or the discomfort of having one unwanted. Maybe he has been alone for so long that it felt weird to suddenly have someone up in his space all the time as if he belonged there.


"Okay, okay. I will keep that in mind. Thank you for sharing that with me and if I do anything... like that again... let me know." He still looked too nauseated according to Namjoon's observation, but it's not like he could take his words back now. So he dumbly nodded and squirmed in his seat, reassuring himself that what he did was the right thing to do.


The atmosphere was getting thicker with Jin's heavy thought and Namjoon's shuffling and Namjoon decided it was time for him to leave.


"Shall I take my leave now?" Namjoon asked.


Jin nodded his head and gave him a complimentary smile that left his face too soon.


Namjoon bowed and left for his suitcase, "I am leaving your coat here, thank you for letting me borrow it."


"Oh, no need." Jin looked at the coat thrown over his sofa and Namjoon wondered, would Jin have gotten sick if he had not rushed for Namjoon in the rain and given him his coat and umbrella?


Nmjoon seemed to be indulging in a different kind of moonwalk as he moved towards the door and at the same time stopped with every step.


"Are you leaving soon?" Namjoon turned around and asked abruptly. He knew he was stalling and making small talk that was absolutely unnecessary.


Jin looked up from his papers, confusion painting his face. He looked at the clock on the side of his office and shook his head. "No, I still have some work to do."


What?


"But you are sick, you should be leaving with me." Namjoon insisted.


Jin seemed perplexed at that, his forehead wrinkling as if he could not comprehend Namjoon's words. And when he did, he eased into his chair and gave Namjoon a solemn look, maybe asking him to seek an answer himself because Jin was unable to do so.


And with his tired eyes and sunken face, he looked like a General who had fought a heavy war whole day and had come to his tent in the middle of the battleground to take his armor off and tend to his wounds. Probably alone. But also like the General who knew he needed to patch up and get back on the field because he had an army waiting for him.


"Why-," Namjoon choked, "Why don't you follow your own advice?"


"What?"


"You told me to take care of myself, why aren't you doing the same?"


"I-I," Jin looked startled at that and in the end coughed up a depressing laugh and responded. "Because I can't, Namjoon."


Namjoon was ready to fight him, but Jin didn't let him, "Look, I would have. But I have this trouble with dealers and manufacturers going on and I cannot leave before I have thought of a way to solve it. I am supposed to have an answer and presentation prepared by tomorrow, so I can't."


Jin smiled slightly, "You go ahead. I will try to figure it out and leave as soon as possible."


Namjoon knew he was lying. It would take him hours in this state, as he had some idea about the riff between the manufacturers and the dealers of their automobiles, he knew it would take hours to solve.


But when Namjoon said nothing, standing like a statue by the door with his bag in his hand, Jin said, "Goodnight," and went back to focusing on his work.


Namjoon stood by the glass door for five whole minutes. He looked at the brown carpet under his feet, he looked outside the glass window and thought how tired he was. How he had a song to finish and some work he had planned to do back home. He had to reply to Jimin, ask Yoongi about his relationship with Jin and talk to RJ. Namjoon thought of food and his soft bed and walked away from that door, pulled a chair out for himself across Jin and sat down. He rested his bag casually on the chair next to him, purposely ignoring Jin and his wide eyes staring at him.


Then he turned and said, "Pass half of the files over." And opened the buttons of the jacket of his suit and loosened the knot of his tie.


"What? What are you doing?" Jin asked incredulously.


"Well, you said you have to be done by Friday and if we find a solution tonight and work on the presentation tomorrow we might actually get it done. And no offense, but the state you are in, I don't think so you would be able to produce some fruitful results alone tonight."


"Excuse you?" Jin sounded fully offended.


"Excused. Now pass the files over to me because just like you can't leave, I can't also leave you alone to work when you are sick-"


"You don't have t-"


"-I do. Plus, think of it as a 'bonding exercise' or whatever it was that you wanted us to do." Namjoon had no idea where this ease was coming with which he talked to Jin, but right now he looked so harmless that Namjoon felt a sense of responsibility towards him.


"Namjoon, look, it might take a while I can't ask that of you."


"You are not. You are not asking, just pay me for my extra hours. And don't try to change my mind, because you won't be able to and hurry up now and tell me what I need to do because I would really like to get this done and go home." Namjoon said in a single breath and with as much conviction as he could.


He knew when he went like this people were more likely to believe him. Maybe they could see his determination or something, but when he felt like this about something, he always got his way.


"Okay, okay. I will pay you extra." Good to know Jin was no exception to that.


"Okay, now can we get started," Namjoon asked, putting his game face on and shirking his fatigue away with a few twists of his neck and fingers.


"Yes, yes we can." Jin smiled at him and Namjoon knew that he had a long night ahead of him, but weirdly, it did not seem like that much of a bad idea. Maybe because the task was challenging or maybe it was because he was curious to see who Jin truly was like. Namjoon didn't know. But that's good because he also did not have time for idle things when he had to help his boss save their board meeting.


***


"Yoongi?"


"Jin? Omg at what hour are you texting me?"


"Listen to me..."


"Ugh, talk."


"If... Namjoon ever asks you about our relationship, can you please tell him that we were SUUUPPPEERRR friendly? Like me buying food for you and caring for you friendly?"


"Wtf? Why would I lie about that? You never bought food for me and as far as I remember never even smiled my way..."


"Hey..!! I warmed up to you, okay?"


"Suuuurree."


.


.


"So... will you?"


"Why do you want me to lie to Namjoon? What are you on Jin because if you are even thinking of hurting a hair on Namjoon's had, Jimin would cut your body into billion of pieces, CEO or not, and feed it to your own pets."


"Omg odeang would never? And aren't you getting bolder talking to me like that? And where are the goddamn honorifics? Have America made you lose all your respect already?"


"Not your secretary anymore. F off and answer me."


*sighs*


"Don't sigh through the texts."


"I can and I will. It's just... Obviously I won't hurt Namjoon, even a hair on his head. It's just that I want to take care of him and he won't let me so if he thinks I am like that with all of my secretaries he might let me?? Does that make sense?"


"OMG WHTA HAS GOTTEN INTO YOU? WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE O THE spoiled brat THAT i was WORKING with? 'TAke care of him' wtf? Where was all of this care when I was there with you?"


"Shut up, who's the brat now?"


.


"Now, tell me will you?"


"Only if you tell me why and send some quality soju for me from Korea."


"Wtf?"


*yawns* "Feeling real sleepy, Jin. Might sleep on you anytime."


"Oh ffs. You can yawn in text I can't sigh, what hypocrisy is that."


.


"But okay, deal."


"Good, I am so interested in someone's life for the first time that it is annoying me. Other than that, I will lie for you, but you better not f it up and lastly, were you always so expressive in texts or is it also new progress that I am unaware of like developing feelings and caring about your secretaries??"


"Bye Yoongiiiii,, it's really late in America, right? Good night? :)"


"Hey..."


"hey... Jin!!!"


"Answer me."


"Fml, good night to you too, you asshole."


":)"


"Wow, now you reply. fml."

***