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The Longest Week of Min Yoongi's Life

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Seven. Seven times was asking either nothing at all, or way too much. It all depended on the circumstances. Sure, if you met your soulmate in school, going to class every day, it would take you a little over a week to know. For the red string of fate connecting you to your soulmate to become visible. If you worked together, if you went to the same gym, maybe even if you happened to frequent the same grocery store. Then you were lucky.

But what about the soulmates that lived nowhere near each other? If you were out of town, if just by chance, you came across your soulmate on the subway or in an airport—you’d never know. Because you’d see them the one time, and once wasn’t enough. Even if life was so serendipitous as to have you two cross paths again for a happenstance of a second or third time, it still wasn’t enough, and you’d be none the wiser to having just walked past the love of your life. It had to be seven encounters.

Yoongi thought it was unfair. Of course, maybe he just thought that way because he was bitter. He’d gotten through school, all the way up to his PhD, without meeting his soulmate—all of those classes, all of the TAing undergrads, all of the neighbors he’d had from the various places he lived—no one had been his soulmate.

He’d gotten over it, really—there was more to life than just a romantic partner, and so as the years went by he stopped concerning himself with trying to find that person (having to go on seven dates with someone “just to be sure” was becoming a huge pain) and instead focused on his career. It paid off in the end, and for the past few of years he’d been working as an adjunct professor at perhaps one of the most prestigious schools for music in the country. Now, with a full-term position available—one that would mean taking on students for research, that would lead to a tenured track, the exact next step Yoongi wanted to take—he had applied, and it would only be a matter of time before they made their decision.

He didn’t want to be cocky and assume he would automatically be picked for the job, but he had been at the university for over three years now—he had proven his worth time and time again. He knew he wasn’t technically owed anything, but it felt right, that the university would want him in the position after he’d paid his dues as an adjunct.

“Dr. Lee told me today that they’ve narrowed it down to me and one other candidate,” Yoongi said, trying to hold back his excitement as he told his best friends, Seokjin and Jungkook.

“So you basically have it in the bag,” Jin said, standing at the kitchen island, pouring out wine for each of them. His red string stretched over the island, out to living room, to where Jungkook was sitting on the couch.

“As much as I want to think that, I don’t want to assume just yet,” Yoongi said, sitting in the armchair next to the couch, taking the glass Jin offered him as he walked over. “I mean, this other candidate could be amazing. I’ve only been a professor for three years, it’s fully possible that this person could have a lot more experience than me.”

“But they know you, hyung,” Jungkook said, one hand holding a glass, the other Seokjin’s hand, the red string now just about an inch of thread connecting their wrists. “Even if you don’t have as much experience, they know how hardworking and talented you are, that’s got to count for something.”

“I hope it does,” Yoongi muttered, taking a sip of his wine. “I already did my interview process, so now it’s the other candidate’s turn. There’s nothing more I can do besides wait.”

“I know how you are, so I know you’ve already thought about this. Will you stay at the university even if you don’t get the new position?” Jin asked.

Yoongi’s lips turned to a pout, and he studied the dark red contents of his glass, swirling it a bit. “I don’t think so. To go into work every day, to be colleagues with the people who decided I wasn’t good enough…I could get a position elsewhere, where I’d be more valued.”

“Nowhere too far away though, right?” Jungkook asked, his eyes a little wide with concern as he looked between Yoongi and his boyfriend.

Yoongi smiled. “Hopefully not.” He huffed a laugh, shrugging. “Hopefully I’ll just get this job and won’t have to worry about it.”

“I bet you will,” Jin said, adding with teasing dramatics, “The other candidate will pale in comparison to you.”

“Maybe,” Yoongi muttered.

 

~

 

Yoongi had just dismissed a class from the lecture hall, gathering all of his things before starting down the hallway, his next class on a different floor. Tuesdays were busy, class-filled days, and so he only had about fifteen minutes until his next lecture.

He was so focused on where he was going, his mind running over what he needed to cover in the next class period, that he nearly rushed right past his boss, Dr. Lee, the head of the music department. And he was accompanied by someone.

“Ah, Yoongi. In a hurry?” Dr. Lee asked, and Yoongi stopped in front of him and the stranger.

“Kind of. I have a few minutes before my lecture,” Yoongi said, checking his watch. “What can do for you?”

“Oh, I’m just showing off our department. This is Dr. Kim Namjoon, he’s applying for the full-term position,” Dr. Lee said. “Namjoon, this is Dr. Min Yoongi.”

For the first time, Yoongi really took in the guy next to his boss. This was his competition? Not an older, experienced professor, but—a kid. How was this guy even old enough to have his doctorate? Despite being young, he did have the academic look about him—smartly dressed, fashionable glasses, and he was very tall, confident in the way he stood. He had bright eyes and a nice smile as he offered his hand for Yoongi to shake.

“Oh, the other candidate?” Yoongi said as he took his hand. It was probably too frank, but he couldn’t help himself. If he knew who Namjoon was, then Namjoon deserved to know who he was.

“Yes, that’s true. You are both being considered for the position,” Dr. Lee said in a friendly enough tone that Yoongi didn’t have to worry that he’d crossed a line.

“All the same, it’s nice to meet you,” Namjoon said, shaking Yoongi’s hand. “I’m really just grateful to have the opportunity to shadow at this university—the music department is known throughout the country.”

“We set a high caliber,” Yoongi agreed, but then furrowed his brow, looking from Namjoon to Dr. Lee, then back to Namjoon. He tried to keep his voice polite. “Did you say ‘shadow’?”

“When I invited Namjoon to come to the campus for the interview, he asked to shadow the department—sit in on a few classes, meet some of the students and professors,” Dr. Lee explained, adding with a laugh, “And I’m never one to turn down the opportunity to brag about the department. So you’ll probably be seeing Namjoon around this week.”

“Oh,” Yoongi said, forcing a smile. He was always bad at that. “Great.”

It was only in the beat of silence among them that Yoongi realized that, for whatever reason, he was still grasping Namjoon’s hand. He furrowed his brow, suddenly feeling weird—it was a matter of a second, maybe even fractions of a second. It probably went unnoticed by the other two, but for some reason—it took conscious effort for Yoongi to be able to let go of Namjoon’s hand. Once he did, he looked down at his hand, wondering why it felt reluctant—sluggish. Maybe it was still too early in his busy day; his body was still waking up. Maybe he needed another cup of coffee.

Even if only seconds had passed, the silence felt like it was starting to stretch into awkwardness, so Yoongi sniffed a laugh, turning his hand over to check his watch, covering his own ass so it didn’t look strange when he was just staring at his own hand. “Well, I really should get to my next class. I’m a stickler about tardiness so the kids will give me hell if I’m the one late.”

That got a hearty laugh out of Dr. Lee, and Namjoon chuckled as well. They muttered their goodbyes as Yoongi parted from them, and his feet dragged as he went to the stairs—he definitely needed more coffee.

 

~

 

“Can you believe it? I thought we’re supposed to be this incredibly prestigious university, and my competition looks like he just defended his thesis yesterday!” Yoongi was saying, once again at Jin and Jungkook’s place. When he told them over text that he met the other candidate, they invited him over, curious to hear the details in person.

“Maybe it was a damn good thesis,” Jin said with a teasing grin, and Yoongi huffed indignantly.

“Maybe he just looks young? He could be your age, hyung,” Jungkook tried.

“He probably is, or close to it, but still. I thought my competition was going to be more… different than me. I’d get that, because they might be trying to fill the role with someone that has something that I don’t. But Namjoon and I are in the same place in our careers…He’d be an exact replacement of me.” Yoongi couldn’t help the hint of pain in his voice. How insulting it would be, for them to replace him with Namjoon. It would be a major shot to his confidence—what would he be missing that his young, just as inexperienced competition had?

“Then you probably have the better chance, since you’ve already worked with them this long,” Jin said, reaching out to give Yoongi’s hand a comforting squeeze. “It’s probably just protocol to interview a couple of people, I’m sure you’re their first choice.”

“I dunno. He’s sticking around the whole week because he asked to shadow. He’s being a kiss ass, talking about how just the opportunity to be shown around is amazing enough,” Yoongi all but scowled, rolling his eyes. “And of course Dr. Lee loves it. Meanwhile I’m too busy getting actual work done to suck up like that.”

“If he’s around all week, when are they making their final decision?” Jungkook asked.

“My guess is right before he leaves, so they can tell him in person either way,” Yoongi said, looking between his friends. “All I know is, with Kim Namjoon lurking around the department, it’s going to be the longest week of my life.”

Chapter Text

Yoongi considered himself lucky when he went the whole morning without seeing Namjoon. Surely it was the stress of the potential promotion, and of this young professor getting in the way of that, but Yoongi was annoyed at how much Namjoon was occupying his mind. He couldn’t get his face out of his mind—his confidence, his smile, that handshake. On the drive to work, he anticipated seeing Namjoon again right away, imagining scenarios of exchanges of remarks, where Yoongi would come out as the witty, smarter one, perhaps with his boss there to witness it. He wanted to prove himself, that he was worthy to be at this school, in this new position. He couldn’t let Namjoon’s charms get in the way of that.

But when he went to the breakroom to get his morning coffee, Namjoon nor Dr. Lee were there, just a few of his other colleagues instead. He was as friendly towards them as he could be without caffeine yet in his system.

“Have you guys met Dr. Kim yet?” he found himself asking, not really sure why he’d bring it up. Maybe it was rude to put his colleagues on the spot like that, since they knew Yoongi too was after the job. But he couldn’t seem to resist, and he kept his tone casual about it. He took a sip of the hot coffee. “Guess he’s sticking around this week.”

“He’s sitting in on my lecture this afternoon,” Dr. Jeong said, stirring creamer into her coffee. “I look forward to meeting him. I remember attending the orchestra he conducted a couple years ago, it was stunning. Quite an experimental composition.”

Yoongi raised his brows. “He’s a conductor?”

“You don’t remember? I think it was right around when you started working here, or maybe it was a few months before,” another professor chimed in, “a few of us went to see it. I believe it was part of his dissertation, and it was getting a lot of talk in the community.”

“Come to think of it, his name did seem familiar,” Yoongi muttered, his mug at his lips. He lowered it after taking another sip. “I definitely didn’t go, though—I would have remembered him.” He wasn’t sure why he felt so confident about that—a face was easy enough to forget after a couple years, wasn’t it? But the idea of Namjoon on a stage, in front of a barrage of instruments, hands raised, leading the music they rang out—Yoongi couldn’t imagine forgetting that.

“Definitely,” the professor agreed.

“You should look up the performance,” Dr. Jeong said. “Pretty sure it’s online, and it’s worth listening to.”

Yoongi nodded in agreement, then looked at his watch. He tilted his head and gave a friendly smile. “Ah, it’ll have to wait until after class.”

 

~

 

It was after lecture, after lingering in the classroom long enough to watch the orchestral performance on his phone, that Yoongi then found himself storming to the biology department. He surprised himself with how easily he could find the small, practically closet of a prep room Seokjin was working in.

Jin had gotten his master’s degree in biology at this university, and afterwards managed to land the job he had now, as the lab coordinator for the department. Half the job was organizing schedules to figure out the best times to hold and fill up lab sessions, and the other half was physically preparing for the labs—making solutions, keeping inventory, making sure equipment was working. It left Seokjin tucked away in his prep room all semester, away from students. After years of being a TA, including the debacle he and Jungkook had to go through, he said it was exactly where he wanted to be.

“I don’t stand a chance, hyung, he’s some sort of musical genius,” Yoongi said, forgoing a more proper greeting.

“How many times do I have to tell you that you shouldn’t just waltz into my prep room? There are some potentially dangerous chemicals in here,” Jin returned, focused on the Erlenmeyer flask in front of him, unbothered by Yoongi’s entrance.

Yoongi arched a brow. “You’re literally making sugar water.”

“The freshmen have to learn about concentration gradients and semipermeable membranes somehow, and sugar water is about the cheapest and safest way for them to do so,” Jin returned. Once he was done pouring a measured amount of sugar into the flask, he stopped his tasks to look at Yoongi. “Now what were you saying?”

“Namjoon. He’s composed for and conducted a whole fucking orchestra before, as part of his dissertation. Age isn’t the thing that makes us different, it’s our skill set. I’m just a pianist, Jin, how am I supposed to compete with that?”

“Aren’t you one of the best pianists in the country?”

“That’s subjective,” Yoongi muttered.

Jin smirked, reaching up to a shelf to grab another flask. “And you’re a lyricist too, right? You’ve produced like a whole album, that was your dissertation, right?”

“Maybe,” Yoongi muttered again, poking at a granular of sugar that had fallen onto the black countertop.

“Stop touching my workbench,” Jin said, lightly slapping his hand. He then sighed, shaking his head. “Look, Yoongs, I get it. This promotion is stressing you out, and it’s one of the sucky times in life where you are being pretty directly compared to someone else. But please try to remember that just because this Namjoon guy has done good work, it doesn’t detract or negate all the work you’ve done. You’re the one who’s already here—you clearly are talented or that wouldn’t be the case.”

Yoongi drew in a deep breath, giving a nod as he exhaled. “Right. You’re…you’re right.” He huffed a weak laugh, rubbing at his neck. “I don’t know how I’m going to get through this week without going insane.”

Seokjin gave a sympathetic smile, then shrugged. “Just try to keep to yourself. It’s what I do.”

“Yeah well I don’t have a closet full of chemicals to hide away to,” Yoongi teased.

“Speaking of which, I have to make like, at least another dozen liters of this stuff, so unless you want to start measuring out sugar for me, I’m gonna have to kick you out.”

“Alright, alright, I’m going,” Yoongi said, giving a more genuine laugh this time as he raised his hands in surrender, backing up towards the door.

“Kookie’s picking up food on his way home tonight, if you want to come over we can talk more then,” Jin offered.

“I’ll think about it,” Yoongi said, turning on his heel and giving a final wave before starting down the hall and back to the music department, where he should have been grading papers.

 

~

 

Yoongi had been lucky in the morning when it came to avoiding Namjoon, but his luck ran out at lunch time. Having brought food from home, he went to the breakroom to get his dish out of the fridge. His plan was to microwave it and duck away to his office, to catch up on grading while eating before his next lecture.

That plan was quickly derailed when he stepped into the breakroom to find Namjoon sitting at one of the tables with two professors. Yoongi was frustrated when he met Namjoon’s gaze, because he knew it would make it harder to get out of conversation. He tried giving a nod of acknowledgement and lowering his head, to indicate in a polite way that he wasn’t up for talking. If only it worked.

“Hi Dr. Min,” Namjoon said, all smiles and charm.

It annoyed Yoongi.

He gave another nod, opening the fridge. “Dr. Kim.”

He was relieved when it didn’t go further than that, and as he shuffled over to the microwave to heat up his food, the two professors struck up conversation with Namjoon again.

“So, Namjoon, do you have a significant other back home? Someone missing you while you’re here shadowing for the week?” Dr. Jeong asked.

Namjoon gave an awkward but somehow still charming laugh, shaking his head. “No, nothing like that,” he said, lifting his wrist up to show what was already clear—that there was clearly no red string visible.

“I didn’t want to assume, you never know these days,” Dr. Jeong said with a friendly laugh.

“Ah, yeah. No, I am still single. Still holding out hope for the soulmate thing, I guess,” he said, and he almost seemed to be blushing, looking down into his cup of coffee.

Yoongi didn’t even realize that he scoffed audibly.

“Not a romantic, Dr. Min?” Namjoon said, his tone still friendly, if not even hinting at teasing.

Yoongi narrowed his eyes. He knew it was clear that his wrist was blank too, he knew he was becoming a grumpy old man about his lack of a soulmate, and he saw no reason not to own up to that. “Guess you could say I’m married to my music instead.”

Namjoon blew out a breath. “Been there. It’s a pretty one-sided relationship, though. A whole lot of giving with little in return.”

The microwave beeped, and Yoongi opened the door to stir up the rice and vegetables, closing it and setting it for another half minute before turning back to Namjoon. “I dunno if I agree with that.”

Namjoon shrugged. “Well, still. I like to hope that there’s something more out there. Don’t you?”

Yoongi hummed, leaning against the counter, tapping his fingers mindlessly. “I think I would have stumbled across it by now if I was going to. If it hasn’t happened yet, what good are my chances, realistically?”

“Goodness, Yoongi-ssi, I didn’t realize you were 85 years old,” Namjoon said, earning soft, suppressed laughs from the two professors. When Yoongi narrowed his eyes at him, he gave a shit-eating grin. “I’m just saying, we may be doctors, but we’re still young. There’re many years ahead of us to meet our soulmates.”

The microwave beeped again, but Yoongi still stayed leaning against the counter, glaring at Namjoon. And Namjoon just grinned at him in that way he could. Confident. Charming. Maybe even cute.

But he wasn’t cute, he was a pain in Yoongi’s ass. The last thing Yoongi liked talking about was the chance of meeting his soulmate, because it’d taken him years to get over the fact that he never had, to accept the chances that he never would. Everyone who encouraged him to hold out hope didn’t understand how painful that was for him.

He was too shy, too introverted. It took him ages to open up to anyone enough to want to see them multiple times, let alone seven, so unless he was meeting his soulmate out of obligation, like for school or work, he knew it wasn’t going to happen. And someone telling him otherwise was a waste of breath, in his opinion. They were empty words, because no one really knew for sure. It was his choice not to hold onto hope, to let go, and anyone who made him feel wrong for doing so was pretty quickly another person added to his shit list.

But he kept his cool, as he should. He did what he could to stay polite, with his fellow colleagues in the room, just trying to have an amicable conversation. He turned around to get his food out of the microwave and said plainly, if not with a hint of sarcasm, “I admire your optimism, Namjoon-ssi. Maybe one day I’ll try excising some myself. For now, though, I have papers to grade.”

Namjoon didn’t seem to pick up on any animosity on Yoongi’s part, giving a soft chuckle in response. His eyes followed Yoongi as he started out the door. “Fair enough.”

Yoongi opened the door, about to storm off to his office, and suddenly, abruptly his feet stopped. He stared at his hand splayed on the door that pushed it open, and for some reason, he didn’t move.

“Everything okay, Yoongi?” Dr. Jeong asked. “Did you forget something?”

He glanced back at them, and when his eyes met Namjoon’s, he quickly turned back around, finally fully pushing open the door. He cleared his throat. “No, I—I think I’m good.”

With that, he went out the to the hall, and he tried not to question why he wanted so badly to look back again.

 

 

Chapter Text

Yoongi always arrived early to prepare for his class. At most a handful of students would already be there waiting, perhaps because their previous class had just ended, located in the same or nearby hall. He certainly didn’t expect for Namjoon be there, and alone at that.

As Yoongi scowled at his unexpected presence, Namjoon only seemed to brighten at his arrival.

“Dr. Lee suggested I sit in on your class today,” he said.

“Why, to take notes for when you replace me?” Yoongi said, quiet enough so only the two of them could hear his remark. In a way he was glad to have Namjoon alone, finally able to express how he really felt about him being there, without having to feign politeness for the sake of his boss or colleagues.

He felt less great about it when Namjoon’s face fell, his expression drastically changing from friendly and bright to confused and maybe even concerned. It almost made Yoongi feel guilty for his harsh words.

“Oh, Yoongi-ssi, I—I was under the impression it was an entirely new position. I wasn’t aware it would be a replacement.”

Yoongi sighed. Maybe there was good reason to be polite after all. He focused on setting out the papers he had removed from his bag onto the front desk as he spoke, “Ah, you’re right, Namjoon-ssi, don’t worry. Just my competitiveness jumping out.”

He looked up in time to see Namjoon nod, his smile already back. Yoongi was mad at how it made him feel better.

“I see. Well, truth is, I asked Dr. Lee specifically if I could fit this course onto my shadowing schedule. At the time, I didn’t realize you taught it, but ah—I still have a lot to learn about lyricism,” Namjoon said, his smile a little wider as he nervously rubbed at the back of his neck.

Yoongi arched a curious brow. “Have you written lyrics before? Thought you were more in the classical genre.”

“I’ve dabbled,” Namjoon said, giving a dismissal wave of his hand. “I doubt they’re any good.”

Yoongi studied him for a minute, smirking before saying, “Why does that sound like something you’d say and then end up showing me some that are incredible?”

Namjoon gave a shy laugh, shaking his head. “I dunno about that, especially compared to your stuff—”

Yoongi’s brows raised in surprised, and he hoped he wasn’t blushing. “You—checked out my stuff?”

The younger only seemed to grow shyer, giving a shrug. “When I found out it was you who taught the course, I got curious, so—yeah. Hope that’s okay.”

“It’s—it’s fine. I mean, I watched your orchestral performance. Dr. Jeong suggested it.”

“Oh gosh, what did you think?” Namjoon said, and—yep, he was definitely blushing.

Yoongi couldn’t help smiling, and he shook his head. “It was—impressive. Very—”

“Experimental, I know,” Joon said, in a tired tone that told Yoongi he was used to such feedback. He knew the feeling, of making a decided choice, trying to create a certain style, and somehow, usually by the people who didn’t get it, you were put into a box, given a singular label that you hadn’t even necessarily intended, all so that they could think they understand.

Yoongi narrowed his eyes before giving a shrug. “I was going to say organic, actually. A lot of times more classical stuff can turn out rigid, but yours hit in a different way. It told a really vulnerable story, I think.”

Namjoon blinked, and Yoongi wondered if he was actually stunned at the compliment. Or maybe just that someone seemed to understand. “I—yeah, that’s what I hoped to convey, I’m…glad it came across.”

Yoongi gave another shrug, never great at compliments—giving or receiving them. He rubbed his neck before checking his watch and gesturing towards a corner of the room, “Yeah, well—umm, I don’t think any student sits there, if you want to—cause class is, uh, about to start.”

“Oh, right,” Namjoon said, glancing around, and perhaps they both for the first time became aware of just how many students could now watch their private conversation at the front of the room. With his cheeks a bit red, Namjoon flashed a final shy smile before awkwardly stepping over to sit at the free desk.

Yoongi cleared his throat before stepping over to the computer and turned on the projector, starting to address the room as he pulled up the slides for his lecture.

 

~

 

“And remember, essays are due next Thursday,” Yoongi called out as his students were leaving the lecture hall. He noticed Namjoon waiting, slowly walking back to the front of the class once most the students were gone.

“Great class,” he greeted.

Yoongi clicked his tongue. “Now Namjoon-ssi, sucking up to me won’t get you a better grade,” he teased, earning a whole-hearted laugh from Namjoon.

“Seriously though, it was good stuff. I bet the kids love this class,” the younger returned, stepping over to the piano that was to the left of the computer and podium, sitting down on the bench. Yoongi would use it sometimes during class, for demonstration, but it hadn’t been touched yet today.

He scrunched his nose, as he walked over to it too. “Well, I give them a lot of work, but I like to think it’s all interesting material.”

“I’m sure,” Namjoon said, giving Yoongi a bright smile before scooting to one side piano bench. He laid his hands onto the keys and starting playing the beginning notes to a piece, soft and slow, calming. He glanced up at Yoongi. “Know this one?”

“An Einaudi piece, I’m familiar,” Yoongi muttered.

“You can play it?”

Yoongi furrowed his brow. “Think so.”

Namjoon, still playing the slow beginning notes over and over, tilted his head in a gesture of invitation. “Come on, then.”

“It’s a solo piece.”

“It doesn’t have to be. Or would you rather we play Chopsticks?” Namjoon said, giving a laugh when Yoongi rolled his eyes, and then he gave the tilting head gesture again. “Come on. I play this part down on these chords, you take up the melody as I stick to my part.”

Yoongi chewed on his lip, considering as Namjoon kept playing, patient for him to join when ready. He thought about protesting, about making a remark that Namjoon probably had somewhere better to be, with someone more important to suck up to. He thought about letting him down gently, saying he had another class to get to right away, even though he didn’t. But his brain was also already ticking, thinking about what Namjoon was asking for his role in the piece, and Yoongi was beginning to see how it could fall together into a nice duet. And it was impossible for Yoongi to resist a chance at the piano.

Finally, he sat down, scooting next to Namjoon on the bench. He raised his hands to hover over the keys, waiting for the right timing, and when it came, he let his fingers fly over the keys, remembering the piano version of the piece he’d watched and taught himself to play a few years earlier. It wasn’t the most well-known piece, so in a way, Yoongi wondered over how it was possible that it was what Namjoon had chose to play. He really loved the piece, and he wondered if Namjoon did too—was it possible their taste in music was quite similar?

“Yes,” Namjoon whispered excitedly when Yoongi had picked up the melody and started playing, his hands still moving to keep the constant earlier notes ringing out in a steady pattern.

Yoongi couldn’t help but smile too as they kept playing—it sounded great as a duet. There reached a point where Yoongi needed to move to the keys between Namjoon’s hands, and the younger nodded for him to go ahead. Yoongi reached his hand over Namjoon’s, and his hand and one of Joon’s moved in pattern together, back and forth over the keys. At one point when reaching over, Yoongi’s fingertips brushed over Joon’s hand before landing on the proper keys.

It must have startled him, and he fell out of rhythm as Yoongi moved to keep playing on his side of the piano.

“Fuck, keep going,” Namjoon muttered, and Yoongi did as the younger waited for the right time, and he was able to jump back in.

It was their only mess up, and they finished the rest of the song, each of their hands still resting against the keys as the piano’s final notes rang out.

“You were right,” Yoongi said after a beat, slouching his shoulders and returning his hands to his lap. “It makes a good duet. You play the piano often?”

Namjoon nodded, lightly hitting a couple keys before pulling his hands off the piano too. “It was the first instrument I learned. It’s a good foundation, to then branch off and learn other instruments from there.”

“Or you just end up sticking to the one,” Yoongi muttered.

“Keeping a narrower focus only means you have more time to hone in the skills for it. Which is why I gave you the harder part,” Namjoon said, nudging Yoongi’s arm and giving one of those dangerously charming smiles.

Yoongi huffed, returning a faint smile before dropping his eyes back to the piano keys. In the silence, he wasn’t sure where to go from here. He wasn’t even entirely sure what had just happened. Why they had played music together, why Namjoon would smile so much at him. Did it mean Namjoon liked him, or was he just trying to be in good graces with everyone at the university, for if he got the job? And more than that, Yoongi wondered why he liked it. The smiles, the attention from Namjoon. He normally wasn’t won over easily by anyone, and he certainly hadn’t wanted to be by Namjoon, of all people, the single person who was most in the way of his chances at achieving what he so badly wanted to. So then why his heart was beating faster than it should be, just from playing the piano? None of it made sense to Yoongi.

Finally, he just rubbed the back of his neck, saying, “Ah, I—I’m supposed to be having office hours. I better get over there, in case any of the students need something from me.”

“Of course,” Namjoon said, waiting for Yoongi to scoot off of the piano bench before he did the same. “I’m sure there’s somewhere else I’m supposed to be here soon too.”

“Right…well, I guess I’ll see you around, Namjoon-ssi,” Yoongi said when they reached the hallway, ready to go their separate ways.

“Alright,” Namjoon said softly, a smaller smile on his lips, but his eyes had this—sparkle. Yoongi wasn’t sure how to feel about it. “Thanks again for letting me sit in on your class, Yoongi-ssi.”

The older gave a hum, and started to turn away from him. “Sure thing. Just remember, essay’s due Thursday.”

He heard Namjoon’s laugh in response, but he refused to let himself turn around again to get another glimpse of his smile.

 

~

 

Seokjin and Jungkook were good friends, always making sure to have Yoongi over for dinner at least once a week, and tonight was that day of the week. But Yoongi wasn’t in a talkative mood.

“Everything okay Yoongi-chi? You’re awfully quiet,” Seokjin asked once they were all sitting at the table eating.

Yoongi poked at the rice on his plate, and he said the only thing that occupied his mind, “Namjoon sat in on my class today.”

He could practically feel the two soulmates share a glance with each other, even if he remained focus on the food in front of him.

“That must have been hard on you. I know you were hoping to lie low,” Jin said.

“Hopefully that’s the only time you’ll have to accommodate him, hyung,” Jungkook chimed in.

Yoongi shook his head, still staring at the table. “That’s the thing, though, it…it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t mind.”

Another pause.

“Oh?” Jin tried prompting him.

He just shrugged though, because he didn’t really have an explanation for how it went, or why he couldn’t get it out of his head all day. Why he couldn’t get Namjoon out of his head all day. “Yeah. He’s not so bad.” He paused, and when it seemed like the conversation wasn’t going to change, he decided to add, “It’s kind of almost a shame, that he’s my competition. In another circumstance, I think…maybe we’d really get along.”

“I…I’m sorry to hear that, Yoongi, it must be tough,” Jin said.

Yoongi took in a breath, shaking his head to try to snap out of it. He looked up at his friends and waved his hand. “It’s no big deal. He’ll be out of here early next week anyway. It doesn’t matter.” This time he had to watch the two exchange a look of concern with each other, and he was both touched and annoyed that his friends new him so well. Well enough to realize what Yoongi admitted was a big deal for him, despite what he claimed. But he didn’t want to act like it was, so he spoke up before either of them to could continue the topic, “Enough about my shit, how’re you guys?”

Luckily his friends also knew him well enough to know when it was best to drop things. Seokjin gave a nod to Jungkook, and the youngest started talking about his day at work. Yoongi did his best to listen and contribute to the conversation as much as he could. But the whole time, that song he and Namjoon had played, still echoed through his mind.

 

 

Chapter Text

Yoongi didn’t run into Namjoon throughout the day. He stayed in his office for a while, catching up on grading and updating some slides for lectures, and he went to teach the few classes he had that day. He didn’t bump into Namjoon in the hall, didn’t see him in the breakroom—it wasn’t that hard to believe, with as large as the music department was, but still. Maybe Yoongi had gotten used to seeing him, because his absence was felt.

It was downpouring rain by the time Yoongi left his office for the day. He had checked the weather that morning, and knew to bring an umbrella. He walked across campus to the faculty parking lot underneath the umbrella, eyes trained on the sidewalk to avoid puddles. Once he was close enough, he started obnoxiously clicking the unlock button on his key multiple times to watch his car lights flash and the horn give a light beep to tell him it was already unlocked.

He was nearly to his car when he noticed him. Standing in the rain, drenched with no umbrella, staring into a car that Yoongi assumed to be his own, parked in the next row up. All day, he hadn’t crossed paths with him, but now there he was, out in the rain, right before Yoongi was about to leave campus.

“Namjoon-ssi?” he called out over the rainfall.

When the younger turned to look at him, he was a bit pitiful. His wet hair was messed down against his forehead, water droplets rolling down his skin. His eyes looked tired and defeated and his lips were downturned, maybe even a little pouty. He just stared at Yoongi.

The older shifted on his feet. “What are you…doing?”

The question seemed to break Namjoon out of his haze, shaking his head, droplets flinging from his hair. “My car key’s battery died. It won’t unlock.” As if he had to prove it to Yoongi, he lifted up his key, pressing the button over and over, but unlike Yoongi’s car, no lights or sounds responded to it.

“Oh.” The thrum of rain against Yoongi’s umbrella felt loud, or maybe it was the blood rushing in his ears. “Why didn’t you call someone for help?”

“Phone’s dead too. Was gonna charge it in the car.”

“Oh.” Yoongi shifted again, glancing back to the buildings of campus. “Why didn’t you go back inside? Find someone to help, a phone to borrow.”

Namjoon sighed audibly, which meant it was loud, if Yoongi could hear it over the rain. He looked down at his feet. “That’s my plan. I just wanted to sulk a bit first.”

“Seems like a bad idea—you’re absolutely drenched now, and it’s cold, you could get sick,” Yoongi said, his voice flat. More unamused than concerned.

Namjoon gave his try at a smile, and shrugged. “Maybe it’ll make someone take pity on me—you know, increase my chances of getting help.”

Yoongi hummed indignantly at that smile. The dimples. He blamed the dimples. “Yeah, well, it worked. Come on, let’s go get your stupid key a new battery.”

The younger’s eyes blew wide, like he really wasn’t expecting Yoongi to help. “You’re sure?”

“Yeah, got nothing better to do anyway,” he returned, stepping over to his car and opening the driver’s door.

Namjoon stepped over to his car too, opening the passenger side but then hesitating. “Oh.”

“What?”

“I—I’m soaked. I’ll ruin your seat.”

Yoongi looked at him from over the top of the car. As much as he wanted to just say he didn’t care, Namjoon was soaked. And if the seat got wet, not only would it be a pain for his car—Joon wouldn’t be able to get properly dry. Yoongi groaned. How did Namjoon always manage to make his life more complicated?

“Umm, give me a second,” Yoongi said, closing his umbrella and getting into the driver seat, but on his knees to reach into the backseats of the car, pulling his dufflebag up to the front. “Alright, get in here already.”

Namjoon still hesitated, but with Yoongi unzipping the duffle to pull out a towel, he seemed to understand and finally committed to the action, sitting down and shutting the door, the sound of rainfall dulling immediately.

Yoongi threw the towel at Joon’s chest. “It’s my gym stuff, but it works.” He rolled his eyes when Namjoon gave him a skeptical look. “It’s clean, chill. I was gonna go later today.”

With the confirmation, Namjoon started using the towel, first to wipe at his face and hair. Meanwhile Yoongi started the car, turning on the heat, but it would take a minute or two before the air blowing through the vents would get warm.

About to put the car into drive, Yoongi paused when Namjoon grabbed the duffle bag, pulling out his oversized white tee. The younger was oblivious to Yoongi’s scrunched-nose stare of confusion, but then Yoongi couldn’t help but actually sputter when Namjoon suddenly pulled his shirt off.

“Wh-what are you doing?” he asked, immediately blinking away and definitely not noticing the span of Namjoon’s back as he leaned forward to grab the towel again.

“My shirt was soaked, this one is dry and supposedly clean—what do you think I’m doing?” he teased as he dried off his torso. He even had the audacity to smirk at Yoongi as he added, “Good thing you seem to like wearing oversized clothes.”

Yoongi narrowed his eyes into a glare as Namjoon pulled on his shirt. “What are you implying?”

“That you’re small,” Namjoon said, giving a laugh when Yoongi only narrowed his eyes more.

“You want to get your car key fixed or not,” Yoongi said, finally putting the car in drive and pulling away, almost as if he was afraid the proposal would make him change his mind and really leave to get help from someone else.

“We could put it off til tomorrow if you really want. I could crash at your place,” Namjoon said, equally as teasing to where Yoongi knew he wasn’t serious. With the towel draped over his lap, Yoongi could tell by his fidgeting that he was changing into his basketball shorts too.

“Yeah yeah, just search up an autoshop already,” Yoongi said, handing the boy his phone.

Namjoon took it, typing in what he needed to, but this time when he spoke, it was less teasing and more pensive. “I wonder how that works, with like soulmates, and the seven times, you know? Like if you fall asleep together. I mean, you’re not conscious, so when you wake up is it the next encounter? But you technically haven’t left each other, so maybe it’s not a new one?”

Yoongi stared ahead at the rain-splattered windshield, the wipers hitting rhythmically back and forth across the glass. He adjusted his grip on the steering wheel. “Why are you asking me about soulmate stuff?”

He stole a quick glance to see Namjoon picking at the towel, giving a shrug.

“Dunno, just something I think about sometimes. Do you not?”

“I mean, yeah, I guess I do.”

They fell into a silence, only the overly loud voice of the GPS announcing directions and the continuous pummel of rain to fill the car with noise.

“Yoongi-ssi…how many times have we met?” Namjoon asked quietly.

Yoongi suddenly felt all too aware of the feeling of his heart beating against his ribs. “Dunno. Four or five, I think.”

“Not seven.”

“No.”

It was a thought that Yoongi had refused to entertain. If it skirted across his mind, he shut it down. If he thought it was an explanation for why he thought about Namjoon so much, why the other day at the piano had such an impact of him, he told himself he was being absurd. They were fleeting thoughts, glimmers of hope for something that he had resigned away a long time ago, and so he didn’t entertain them. They were foolish, and they were an easy way to get hurt.

But now. Now it wasn’t just him—he wasn’t even the one who brought it up. Namjoon…Namjoon felt something too. Something that was enough for him to think those foolish thoughts too. Did that mean something? Or were they both just fools?

Yoongi didn’t look over at Namjoon—he couldn’t. He stared into the rain, the headlights of his car leading him through the street on the already dark evening. He didn’t have to look to feel Namjoon’s presence. He didn’t have to see when he moved one hand off the steering wheel, and cautiously, hesitantly, reached over the consol. His fingertips bumped against the back of Namjoon’s hand, warmer than he expected after the boy had been out in the rain for so long. Namjoon turned his hand over, and Yoongi’s fingertips spread from his palm to interlock with his fingers.

It was a flit of excitement at the touch, it was a spark in his gut, it was a warmth in his chest. The air escaped Yoongi’s lips in a flutter that matched his heartbeat.

And he knew. He was about to make a really stupid decision.

He slowed down the car, turning into an empty parking lot, and he put the car in park before looking at Namjoon, who seemed thoroughly confused at his sudden action.

“We should have sex,” Yoongi declared.

It was Namjoon’s turned to sputter. Eyes wide with question, but a hint of a smile on his lips, and still holding Yoongi’s hand, he managed, “We should?”

Yoongi let go of his hand to unbuckle his seat belt. “Yes. Now is our best chance to.”

“What makes you say that?” Namjoon said, still confused, but also definitely amused.

“Because we still don’t know yet. We gotta take advantage of this small window of time,” Yoongi said, and in this unusual moment of boldness, he swiftly climbed out of the driver’s seat, settling his knees on either side of Namjoon, resting his hands on the seat on either side of his shoulders. “Think about it. If the string shows up, then great, we might as well have been fucking anyway. If it doesn’t, we’ll be too disappointed to fuck.”

“We’ll be disappointed?” Namjoon said coyly, giving a smirk. His hands were still at his sides, but Yoongi could have sworn he noticed them twitch, start to move as if he wanted to grab his waist.

“I mean—I just mean, it’ll kill the mood and then it’s disappointing that we passed up a chance of getting laid,” Yoongi corrected, maybe too defensively. He then shrugged, starting to shift to get off the younger, muttering, “Unless you don’t want to, then we can just go get your stupid key fixed…”

But, finally, Namjoon’s hands went to his sides, firmly pulling him back into place above him, and Yoongi liked that. That Namjoon firmly wanted him there, on top of him. “Hey, wait a second. What makes you think I don’t want to?”

Yoongi arched a skeptical brow at the younger. “You…don’t think it’s a bad idea?”

With a smirk on his lips, Namjoon gave a shrug. “I guess you make a convincing argument. Not that I needed convincing to want to sleep with you.”

Yoongi studied Namjoon’s face for a moment, shifting focus between his eyes and lips. He felt Namjoon’s hand smooth up his waist to his chest, then to cupping his cheek, and he sucked in a breath at the younger’s gentler touch.

Even if Namjoon’s eyes were patient, if he looked content to stare into Yoongi’s eyes for a long time, the older decided he wasn’t as patient. No, he was quite hungry for more.

His hands fell from the car seat down to Namjoon’s shoulders, shifting up to his neck and jawline as Yoongi dipped down, tasting the younger’s lips. He took in a sharp breath as Namjoon immediately kissed him back, wrapping his arms around Yoongi to pull him closer. He was eager to lick into Namjoon’s mouth as he pressed against his chest, shifting to tilt his head and deepen the kiss, already wanting to be surrounded, utterly consumed, by everything Namjoon.

Even though there was the electricity running through Yoongi’s veins—his hands were practically trembling from how good the kiss felt—the way they were arranged was actually a pretty uncomfortable, on a pragmatic level. One of Yoongi’s knees was digging into the seat belt, and the other was practically slipping into the crevice between the seat and the door.

He broke their kiss, and just as quickly as he had crawled into Namjoon’s lap, he was out of it again. “We’re dignified adults with PhDs. We’re not going to have sex in my car.”

“Mmhmm…” Namjoon said with a hint of teasing skepticism.

“Mostly because I don’t have any lube in here,” Yoongi muttered as he buckled his seat belt and put the car in drive.

“There it is,” Namjoon said with a soft laugh.

 

~

 

The rest of the drive back to Yoongi’s place was quiet, not in an awkward way, but rather filled with tension. All Yoongi wanted to do was touch Namjoon, and in this newfound closeness, he didn’t feel like he was crossing a line when he laid a hand onto the younger’s thigh. Namjoon placed his hand on Yoongi’s, for a while just smoothing his thumb back and forth across his knuckles, but eventually tucking his hand under to take hold of it. At a stop light, Namjoon raised Yoongi’s hand up to his lips, pressing a kiss to his knuckles, and Yoongi felt tingles run through his spine over the touch. He was able to catch Joon’s gaze for a moment before the light turned, and he looked at Yoongi with such want but also such care, pressing another kiss to the back of his hand before letting them drop back to his lap.

“We’re almost there,” Yoongi muttered.

His heart was racing as he parked the car and they walked up to his place, by now the rain just a soft sprinkle from the sky, barely wetting their hair. Namjoon seemed patient, giving Yoongi space as he fumbled with his keys to unlock the door.

Once they got inside, Yoongi flipped on the lights, slipped out of his shoes and tossed his keys onto the table before turning to Namjoon, and maybe it was only a little infuriating that once he was chest-to-chest with the younger, he had to get on his tip toes to wrap his arms around his neck and pull him into another kiss.

He could feel Namjoon resist smiling into the kiss, wrapping his arms around Yoongi’s lower back, even lifting him up off his feet for a slight moment as they moved from the front door to the couch in the living room, fumbling and still kissing the whole time. Yoongi noticed Joon’s hair was still damp as he ran his hands through it, and he thought about how the younger was already down to shorts and a tee that would be easy to pull off, while he was still dressed professionally from his day at work.

Smoothing his hands to Namjoon’s chest, he had to lightly push against him to break away from their kiss.

“I’ll, uh…I’ll be right back, okay?”

Namjoon’s eyes were warm as they studied Yoongi’s, and he thumbed at Yoongi’s jawline for a moment, where his hand was resting at his neck. “Okay.”

Yoongi gave a shy smile at the younger’s soft voice, and he couldn’t resist leaning in for an extra kiss before he stood up and walked to his bedroom.

He stood in front his full-length mirror, his head tilted with thought as he stared at himself. Hair already messy from the rain and their fumbling, and his cheeks flushed, he figured that part was okay. It was just his clothes that were the problem. They were too stuffy, too restrictive.

First, he pulled off the sweater that he had over his light blue button up shirt. He then undid a few of the buttons, until his collarbones were showing, the shirt looking much looser. He undid the ones on the sleeves as well, letting his hands become enveloped by them.

It was better, but…Yoongi chewed on his lip, considering. He knew full well the man on his couch was waiting, ready to fuck, and so he figured he had nothing to lose. He unbuttoned his black pants, pulling them off completely, and when he saw the way his blue button up came to rest just above his mid-thighs, he decided to stay bold, and ditched his underwear too. Still chewing on his lip, he turned from side to side, looking over his shoulder—sure, his legs were pretty pale, his knees knobby and a bit pink, but that was okay—really, he didn’t look half bad.

He took a deep breath in a feeble attempt to steady his racing heart, and he told himself to take slow steps as he returned to the living room.

“Joon-ah,” Yoongi said, his voice small. He felt his cheeks flush even more, realizing it was the first time he was dropping formalities with the younger. He couldn’t help but chew at his lip, feeling warmer and warmer the longer Namjoon stared at him. He extended a sleeve-clad hand towards him. “Come to bed?”

“Wow,” Namjoon breathed, standing up and striding over to Yoongi, blatantly looking him up and down in awe. “You’re…lovely.”

Yoongi felt like his cheeks grew about ten times warmer, and he snatched Namjoon’s wrist, pulling him to the bedroom. As they walked towards the bed, he felt Namjoon’s fingertips grab the hem of his shirt, starting to pull it upward until Yoongi spun around, teasingly slapping his hand away. “No sneak peeks.”

Namjoon chuckled, flashing that damn charming, beautiful smile that got Yoongi into this mess in the first place. He brought his hands up to hold Yoongi’s face, leaning down and bumping their noses together as he said, “Sorry, the temptation was just too much.”

Yoongi gave an indignant hum before kissing Namjoon again. He liked how it already felt familiar, how he felt like he could steal as many kisses from him as he wanted, and Namjoon would always be content to give them.

More than content to give them, Yoongi quickly learned, as Namjoon leaned down more, shifting to press hot kisses to his jawline and then down his neck. Yoongi sighed, his fingers threading through Namjoon’s hair to keep him there against his skin, and he shivered at the feeling of the younger’s teeth and tongue. He couldn’t hold back the soft gasp of a moan when Joon sucked a spot just above his collarbone, squirming a bit, grabbing and tugging at a fistful of the stupid shirt Namjoon was still wearing.

The younger understood the cue, pulling away enough to quickly pull the shirt off, dropping it to the floor, and Yoongi had little shame in taking in the expanse of his chest. He dragged his fingertips down Joon’s skin, enjoying the goosebumps that formed, and then he stepped into his space, pressing kisses and dragging his lips over Joon’s pecs as his hands smoothed down his stomach.

Namjoon gave a low hum in response, one hand staying tangled in Yoongi’s hair, the other lightly trailing down Yoongi’s nape until his fingers hit the collar of his shirt, smoothing down one of his shoulders to push it away. His hums turned into a moan when Yoongi’s hand dropped lower than his stomach, palming at the bulge in the loose shorts he was wearing.

“Ah, hyung,” he breathed, gripping Yoongi’s bicep, his shirt now completely askew, hanging off the crook of his elbow.

Yoongi drew in a breath, smirking against Joon’s skin. He liked having Namjoon call him that. He pressed a final kiss to his skin before licking his lips, braving himself to look up and meet Joon’s eyes. His voice was soft, as if he barely had the guts to say it, “Would you like hyung to ride you?”

Namjoon seemed to suppress a gasp, surging forward to kiss Yoongi messily, then just barely pulling away, their noses still touching as he said in a raspy voice, “God, yeah.”

Yoongi indulged in kissing him a bit more, licking into his mouth, biting his bottom lip, and as much as he didn’t want to ever pull away, he did, playfully pushing at Joon’s chest. “Get comfortable on the bed, I just gotta grab the stuff.”

“’Kay,” Namjoon said, a faint but excited smile on his lips, and he stepped away from Yoongi to go to his bed while the older went to his drawers to dig out lube and a condom.

When he turned back, he saw Joon had discarded the shorts, and was lying in the bed, pillows propped up against the headboard so he could lean back against it comfortably. His eyes were on Yoongi, and he didn’t grow shy when he caught him staring; he remained confident, content to watch the older. It made Yoongi’s cheeks warm, and it also made his steps over to the younger quicker.

He was relieved to be enveloped in Namjoon’s arms again, crawling onto his lap, straddling his waist like he had done in the car, but this was much more comfortable. He dropped the items to their side so he could cup Joon’s cheeks, enjoying his new found height on the younger, leaning down and kissing him more, his hips naturally rolling in subtle movements. Namjoon hummed into the kiss, his hands working to undo the last few buttons of Yoongi’s shirt, then pushing it back to expose his stomach, tucking his hands underneath to smooth over Yoongi’s ass.

Yoongi let out a soft gasp at the touch, the way Joon’s grip was somehow gentle and firm at the same time.

“Joon-ah,” he breathed as Namjoon pressed kisses to his neck.

“Hmm?”

Yoongi’s hand patted at their side until he grabbed onto the condom, and then he scooted down, resting more on Joon’s thighs. He dragged his fingertips playfully across the younger’s stomach before finally wrapping his hand around his cock, giving loose, lazy strokes that had Joon sighing with pleasure.

“Joon-ah,” Yoongi repeated, watching with a smirk as Namjoon sat with his head lying back against the headboard, eyes closed, hands gently massaging Yoongi’s thighs. They hadn’t even fucked yet and he looked in pure bliss.

“Yoongi hyung?” he mimicked Yoongi’s tone, giving a smirk as he opened his eyes to meet his gaze.

“I, umm—” Yoongi said, getting the condom out of its wrapper and smoothing it onto Joon’s cock. It was difficult to focus on what he was saying at the same time. “I’ll just—ease myself into it, okay?”

Namjoon furrowed his brow, giving Yoongi’s thigh a soft squeeze. “Yeah? You sure?”

Yoongi chewed on his lip, nodding. He’d slept with enough guys to know what he liked, and fingers aggressively prodding at him wasn’t it. As long as he was in control, he knew how to adjust himself well without any of that.

“Okay,” Namjoon said softly, and Yoongi appreciated that he didn’t try to convince him otherwise. The younger padded at the mattress until he found the lube, holding it up in offering. “You need this, I’m assuming. Or I can cover it for you…?”

“Umm,” Yoongi breathed, his eyes looking to the ceiling, but Namjoon brought his hand to his cheek, directing his gaze back to him.

“Only if you want me to, hyung,” Namjoon said, his voice still wonderfully soft. He leaned in, pressing a featherlight kiss to Yoongi’s jaw. “Whatever you want.”

His eyes fluttered closed, and his arms instinctively wrapped around Namjoon’s neck, wanting to hold him close, enjoying the warm puffs of his breath against his sensitive skin. Yoongi found his voice was only a whisper as he said, “Yeah, okay. I—I want you to.”

He could feel Namjoon smile against his neck, and the younger only pulled away to open the cap on the lube, pouring a generous amount onto his fingers. With his clean hand he bunched up the shirt Yoongi still was wearing to where his ass was more exposed, and then he reached around with his other hand, his finger slipping between his cheeks and carefully finding his hole.

The pad of his index finger gently pressed against Yoongi’s rim, circling it and covering it with lube, but never pressing in, respecting that boundary Yoongi had set.

“Mm,” Yoongi sighed, letting his head fall back, the tension in his body relaxing at the touch, and he hugged Namjoon close again. The younger returned to pressing kisses to his skin as his fingers continued to massage at Yoongi’s rim.

He gave a gasp when Joon adjusted to pressing two of his fingers at his rim, and Yoongi found himself rocking his hips subtly back and forth, getting riled up on the teasing sensation of almost letting them press inside. At the same time, he angled to where his hardened cock was grinding against Joon, a pleasing relief that had precum sticking to the younger’s skin. Namjoon gave a soft moan at the sensation, but he let Yoongi stay in control, keeping his fingers in place for Yoongi to rut against as deep or shallow as he pleased.

The older chewed on his lip in an attempt to suppress a whine, but it didn’t work.

“S’that good, hyung?” Joon murmured against his skin.

Yoongi let out another pleased sigh, smoothing his hand down Namjoon’s chest. “Yeah. Want your cock though.”

Namjoon chuckled at that, nipping at Yoongi’s collarbone. “Whenever you’re ready, baby.”

He huffed, unsure of how he felt about the term of endearment, even if he knew it made his cheeks grow red. He shifted, reaching back to hold onto the base of Joon’s cock as he lined himself up. “You annoy me, you know that?”

Joon smirked, arching a brow in question. “I do?”

“Yes,” Yoongi said indignantly, pressing the tip of his cock to his entrance. “You’re all…confident, and charming all the time. It’s annoying.”

Namjoon huffed a laugh, but was quick to suck in a breath, massaging Yoongi’s thighs as he pressed the head of Joon’s cock into himself.

“I dunno about that. But you’ve done nothing but endlessly surprise me, so maybe that makes us even,” he returned.

“Oh?” Yoongi said, rocking subtly back and forth, fucking himself with the head of Joon’s cock, dipping slightly deeper each time.

Namjoon closed his eyes, his chest rising and falling visibly, and his voice was breathy as he tried to give another laugh. He lifted his hands from Yoongi’s thighs briefly to gesture, “This was your idea, need I remind you.”

“Touché,” Yoongi hummed lightly. He was getting close to bottoming out, nearly fully adjusted to Joon’s cock. His eyes fluttered closed and he laid himself over Joon’s chest, nuzzling against the crux of his neck and shoulder to nip at his skin.

Joon’s hands tucked under the large button-up that now draped over both of them, smoothing over Yoongi’s back, tracing and massaging at his muscles. He let out a moan as Yoongi finally bottomed out, his arms tightening around Yoongi, a hand going up to his nape.

“God, hyung,” he breathed.

Yoongi let out a deep breath against Joon’s skin, lifting his head just enough to be able to whisper in his ear, “Fuck me, Joon-ah.”

Namjoon exhaled a shaky breath, but he also listened to Yoongi, still holding him close to his chest as he started thrusting into him. If at first tentative, he quickly grew confident, building up a steady rhythm, the sound of skin on skin along with their heavy breathing and soft moans filling the air. Yoongi couldn’t help but whimper as Namjoon hit the right spot, over and over at a consistent pace that was enough to drive him wild.

“Like that, please, Joon-ah,” he found himself murmuring, his breath hot against Namjoon’s neck, nosing at his jawline. “God, don’t stop, just like that baby—”

“You feel so good, hyung,” Namjoon said through his heavy breaths, holding Yoongi close, his thrusts hitting deeper, but still over and over at the perfect pace to have soft moan after moan escaping Yoongi’s lips.

One hand tangled into the younger’s hair, the other gripping his arm, trying to ground himself somehow, but it was all so much, so good, too good—

He barely even registered Joon’s hand tucking between them to wrap around his cock before everything in him tensed and then released in the most pleasurable way. His moan this time was loud and drawn out, and he heard Namjoon gasping as well.

Yoongi was trembling by the time he went lax, lying down against Joon’s chest. He closed his eyes, and he listened to Namjoon’s rapid heartbeat as he caught his breath and slowly, dizzily, came down from his high.

He was still trembling when he registered Joon’s hand lightly stroking through his hair.

“You okay? You’re shaking a lot,” Namjoon asked, his voice above a whisper but still soft enough to send tingles through Yoongi’s spine.

“Yeah, I’m—fuck, I’m real good,” Yoongi said with a soft huff of a laugh. He tried taking in and letting out a deep breath to steady himself, but he still was shivering a bit. “Don’t worry, it’s just how my body reacts to a good fuck. The rush of one of those good brain chemicals, you know.”

Namjoon gave a light chuckle, his fingertips running back and forth over Yoongi’s back, still under his shirt. “Okay, good. That’s good.”

Yoongi hummed, before furrowing his brow and lifting his head to meet the younger’s gaze. “Did you—?”

“Pretty much when you did, yeah. Guess you were too high on cloud nine to notice, huh?” Namjoon said with a warm smile. “Speaking of which, probably should, ah—”

Yoongi let out a groan of protest when Namjoon adjusted to pull himself out, staying limp against the younger’s chest as Joon fumbled to get the condom off himself. He managed to toss it to the trash bin that was near the bed, and he quickly relaxed back into the pillows, hugging onto Yoongi.

“We can shower in a few minutes,” Yoongi mumbled, knowing good and well that the sweat and cum sticking to their skin would quickly become a nuisance. For a few minutes though, he only cared about occupying Joon’s space. “And we can…get your key a new battery tomorrow. If you don’t mind staying the night, that is.”

Namjoon’s hand threaded through his hair. “I’d like that, hyung.”

Yoongi gave a hum, enjoying the attention for a moment before lifting his head, staring into Namjoon’s eyes—really staring, as if he would be able to find some kind of answer deep inside them. He wasn’t sure that he did find an answer, but he also wasn’t sure what the question was either. Maybe if they were soulmates, or maybe just about what they were doing. What they were going to do—what this meant, if anything. But he didn’t find the answer to any of those questions in Joon’s eyes—he just saw Joon. So he gave up looking for an answer, and did what he really wanted to, kissing the younger’s lips yet again.

 

Chapter Text

Yoongi’s eyes blinked open, the morning light bleeding in through his blinds, and he rolled onto his back, lifting his arm up to examine his wrist. There was nothing new about it. Still bare, still just a wrist.

“You don’t think it’s been seven times already, do you?” the voice was thick and gravelly from just having woken up.

Yoongi turned his head to look at Namjoon, lying on his stomach, arms tucked under his pillow, watching him intently with a soft dimpled smile.

Yoongi shrugged. “Dunno.”

“I haven’t even been here a whole week yet,” Namjoon said.

“And yet here you are in my bed,” Yoongi remarked, laying his hand onto Joon’s back, running his fingertips over his skin, watching the goosebumps that formed and enjoying the warmth that touching Namjoon ignited in his core.

“Your idea,” Joon said, huffing a laugh.

“It takes two,” Yoongi protested, leaning over and more into his space, pressing kisses to his nape and down his spine as he murmured, “Certainly didn’t hear you complaining.”

“Caught me there,” Namjoon said with another soft laugh, but it turned into a small gasp laced with desire as Yoongi’s hands smoothed down to his ass, massaging his cheeks.

The older smirked, noticing Joon arch his back, press subtly against his hands. “Quite the opposite of complaining, really.”

“Mmhmm,” Namjoon hummed dazedly.

Yoongi shifted, fumbling under the sheets and moving to be between Joon’s legs. He didn’t give much warning when he spread Joon’s cheeks and licked a stripe between them. He loved the breathy moan Joon gave, and when he lowered himself again to lap at his hole, he noticed the way Joon shifted, hugging his pillow tighter and burying his face into it, muffling another moan.

Yoongi smirked again, sitting up again, still massaging Joon’s ass. “Like that, Joon-ah?”

“Yeah,” he sighed.

The older gave a small chuckle as he started to lower himself again. “You’re kinda cute like this.”

“Hyung,” Namjoon whined, quickly turning into another moan as Yoongi buried his tongue into him. It only took a few moments before he felt him shiver. “Fuck.”

“That what you want?” Yoongi teased. When the younger wordlessly shifted in the bed, and suddenly lube and a condom were tossed his way, he could only chuckle.

 

~

 

Yoongi returned to the bed after tossing the condom, bringing a towel to help clean Namjoon up too. “I guess we ought to actually get your car key battery today. Maybe we can grab breakfast somewhere on the way?”

“Sure,” Joon agreed, tossing the towel to the floor after using it, then grabbing Yoongi’s wrist, tugging him onto his chest. “Just ten more minutes.”

Yoongi didn’t protest, only smiled shyly, perhaps blushing a bit, and he threaded his fingers through Joon’s hair before leaning down to kiss him. Their lips pressed together sweetly in succession a few times before Yoongi pulled away. He could feel his nerves starting to bubble up, but being bold had got him this far with Namjoon, so he braved himself once more.

“Hey…you think, even if we pass seven times and…it doesn’t show up—maybe we could still do this thing?” he said, eyes focusing on his fingers combing back Namjoon’s hair, until he was done talking. When his gaze met Namjoon’s, he wished that he had kept it on his hair instead.

Joon’s eyes were wide for a moment, and then his expression dropped, turned to something that left Yoongi’s insides feeling heavy and twisted up. He lifted his hand up to thumb at Yoongi’s jawline. “If that was all we had to worry about, I’d say yeah, fuck whether the string’s there or not. But hyung, you know it’s not the only factor here. If I don’t get this job, I have to go back home. And I live far enough away, I…I don’t think I could handle a long-distance relationship like that.”

“Oh.” For as much as he had been blushing moments ago, it was like he could feel the color draining from his face. “I…can’t believe I forgot about that part.”

“Yeah,” Joon said softly, defeatedly. He gently rubbed at Yoongi’s arm, even when the older slid off of him. “And the way you were talking earlier in the week—if I get the job, your plan is to quit, isn’t it?”

Yoongi’s brow was pinched, and he was staring ahead at nothing, at the blank wall across from the bed. He suddenly felt very distant from everything. “It was.”

“It makes sense. You earned it as a promotion, I shouldn’t have even been an option. Honestly I’ll be surprised if I get it.”

Yoongi was still staring ahead, his brow still furrowed. “But then…what happens if you don’t get it…but the string does show up?”

He blinked back to Namjoon, and the boy looked exasperated. He gave a shrug, shaking his head.

“I don’t know. I guess I look for another job around here? Or at least a city closer by, or maybe I could try freelancing,” he said.

Yoongi pouted, blinking down, picking at the sheets on the bed. It wasn’t easy getting jobs in the music industry, especially not in the classical genre that Namjoon specialized in. If he didn’t get the job, his options to get another one close by would be limited. He would be foolish to give up the stable one he had back at his current home.

The older gave a weak huff. “I would have never thought that I’d start wanting you to get the job instead of me.”

“I dunno how I feel about it anymore,” Joon said with a heavy sigh. He looked over to Yoongi, being sure to cup his cheek as he said, “Of course I’d like it as a means to get to stay with you, but…waltzing into a permanent tenure track while you stay an adjunct after being there for years? It would feel weird. Unfair. If I get it, I’m half tempted to tell Dr. Lee it should be you.”

“What? No,” Yoongi said sternly. He climbed back onto Namjoon’s lap, this time sitting up, making sure the younger was looking at him. “If you get the position that means they chose you for a reason. That means you deserve it.” When Joon tried to look away from him, he placed his hand on the middle of his chest, pushing him lightly. “It’s yours if they offer it to you, I won’t take it just because you decide to turn it down like a self-righteous dumb ass.”

This time Namjoon didn’t try to look away. He stared up at Yoongi, his expression hard to discern—intense, but with a certain softness, maybe even wonder, around the edges.

“Why are you looking at me like that? I’m serious,” Yoongi said.

“That’s why I’m looking at you like that,” Namjoon whispered.

Yoongi’s eyes widened a little, and then he felt all the color rushing back to his cheeks. He scrunched up his nose, shaking his head and getting off Namjoon, standing up. “Come on, it’s been ten minutes. Let’s get food.”

It was raining again, or maybe it had never really stopped from the night before. They rushed to Yoongi’s car before getting too wet, and the older drove them to a coffee shop to get drinks and pastries. They were quieter than before, but just something about being together was nice enough, whether they were talking or not. They had sat down at a small table with comfortable arm chairs by the window, and they watched the rainfall, the people with umbrellas walking calmly, and the others without, trying to rush for cover.

“Do you think there’s a way to tell before the seven times?” Yoongi asked. “Like, do people get any hints?”

Namjoon looked to Yoongi, arching a brow. “Have you felt any hints between us?”

The older shrugged, picking off a piece of the sweet bread to pop in his mouth. “It’s easy to find things to fit your narrative. To see meaning in anything if it’s what you want.”

Joon nodded. “Fair point. I would ask my best friends, but they’ve had their string since they met in kindergarten. I doubt they’d remember.”

“Wow,” Yoongi breathed. He couldn’t even imagine what that would be like. “I dunno if my friends would have much insight either. Hasn’t been that long for them, but it’s still been a few years.”

Namjoon gave a small nod, his gaze returning out the window. “We probably only have a couple more to go anyway.”

“Yeah,” Yoongi murmured, he too looking out to watch the rain. “Probably.”

After they finished eating, they found a shop that would be able to replace Namjoon’s car key battery, and then Yoongi drove them back to the university parking lot. It was pretty sparse since it was the weekend, but luckily Joon’s car hadn’t been towed, and as if nothing had ever been wrong, it unlocked when he pressed the button.

Due to the rain, they were still sitting in Yoongi’s car when it was time for them to part, but Namjoon hesitated.

“Maybe, uh—we could hang out again tomorrow? It’s the only day I’ve had since being here that I have nothing planned,” Namjoon said with a huff of a laugh, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Oh, umm…sorry, Joon-ah, I kind of need to catch up on grading,” Yoongi said, absolutely hating saying it, and hating it even more when the younger dropped his head, nodding.

“Yeah, no, I get that,” he said, and Yoongi could tell he was trying not to show his hurt. And that hurt. A lot. He popped the car door open. “I guess I’ll, uh—maybe I’ll run into you on Monday then.”

“Yeah,” Yoongi said, trying to keep his tone light, hopeful, even if he knew he would try to avoid Namjoon come the start of the week. He was going against what his heart wanted, ached for, and it was difficult. But he knew it was for the best—it was easier to just not know, to never find out if they were soulmates, in case Joon didn’t get the job and they couldn’t be together. It would be easier to stay apart none the wiser to the possibility of the red string, rather than have it as only a painful reminder if it turned out they had to live hundreds of miles apart.

Still, he wasn’t perfect, and even if it’d hurt more later, this was still one moment. Namjoon hadn’t left yet, so he could still have him for one more minute.

When the younger made a move to step out of the car, Yoongi grabbed his wrist. “Joon-ah, wait a second.”

“Hyung?”

Yoongi leaned over, just able to reach to cup his cheeks and prompt him forward, both of them moving with such familiarity into a kiss. It was so soft. Yoongi wished the rest of his years could be filled with such softness.

His hands were still on Joon’s cheeks as he pulled away, meeting his eyes, and he couldn’t help but give a smile, even if it was pained. “Have a good day off, okay? Try to get some rest—it’s been a crazy week.”

“It has,” Namjoon breathed, relaxing a little as Yoongi thumbed at his cheekbones. “You too, yeah? Don’t work too hard.”

“Okay,” Yoongi murmured, and Namjoon leaned in for another quick, soft peck before opening the car door fully and stepping out into the rain. He waited for the younger to get into his car before he put his own into drive. It was hard to leave the parking lot, and there was only one place he felt okay with going to.

 

~

 

Yoongi wasn’t much of a crier. He hardly ever cried, and definitely only ever alone, on the rare occasion that it happened. So he didn’t cry in the car, on the drive over to Jin and Jungkook’s apartment. His heart was heavy and he carried a deep, defeated sadness in his chest, but he didn’t cry. Still, when he knocked and Jin answered the door, the older didn’t need to see tears or puffy eyes to tell that something was wrong.

“Yoongi-chi, what happened?” Jin asked, stepping out of the door way to let Yoongi in.

It dawned on him then when he couldn’t find the words to answer, that he had just seen Jin on Thursday. Yet so much had changed over the last day and a half. “A—a lot. A lot has happened.”

Seokjin successfully coaxed Yoongi into the living room and onto the couch, and before Yoongi knew it, he was spilling his guts to his best friend. He explained everything, how he found Joon with his car troubles, how they slept together, how they talked about what would happen to them. By the time he was done explaining, they were cuddling on the couch, Yoongi’s head on Jin’s chest as the older pet his hair.

“Yoongi, let me get this straight: you’re going to avoid him because you think he’s your soulmate? You realize how backwards that sounds, right?” Jin said.

Before Yoongi could answer, the door to the apartment opened, and they both looked up to find Jungkook walked through the door with a couple of shopping bags. Upon seeing them both, the younger set the bags on the table and started over to them.

“Yoongi hyung? What’s wrong?”

“He hooked up with Namjoon,” Seokjin explained.

Jungkook coughed. “What?”

Yoongi just groaned, laying his head back onto Jin’s chest, who chuckled and rubbed his back.

“I guess they both think they might be soulmates. So naturally, Yoongi is now going to avoid him and never find out,” Jin said, a snarkier tone to the last part.

“Hyung,” Yoongi whined, pulling himself off of his friend, sitting up. “Look, if he gets the job, I’ll see him again so we’ll definitely find out. Hell, we’ll probably end up in a relationship, string or not. But if he doesn’t get it, if he has to go back to where he lives now—isn’t better if we just don’t find out? I mean, you guys know better than anyone: it hurts to have the string but not be able to be together, right?”

 The two had discovered their string of fate a few years ago, when Jin was TAing a lab Jungkook was an undergrad student in. Due to the specificity of the class and Jungkook’s schedule, transferring or withdrawing wasn’t an option, and so they had to agree not to date for the rest of the semester, until the lab, and subsequently their student-teacher relationship, came to an end.

“It was awful, but distance wasn’t our problem. For me, the hardest part was seeing hyung all the time but not being able to be together,” Jungkook said, sitting behind Jin, massaging the older’s nape.

Seokjin turned, placing a kiss to Jungkook’s cheek. “It was incredibly difficult, especially the longer it went on, the more I got to know you. But it’s hard to imagine what long distance would be like—I can’t really imagine having to be far apart from JK.”

“That’s true. I don’t like the thought of it,” Jungkook muttered, pulling Jin to his chest, resting his chin on his shoulder.

“So you guys agree with me, then? I shouldn’t find out,” Yoongi said.

“No, that’s not what I said,” Jungkook returned, furrowing his brow. “I would still want to know. I love Jin—even if it would be hard, distance wouldn’t change that. But giving up before ever even finding him as my soulmate—then I would have never had the chance to love him, and that idea breaks my heart a lot more.”

Seokjin pressed another kiss to the boy’s cheek before turning to Yoongi, giving a shrug. “I agree with him, Yoongs.”

“Ugh, I don’t get it,” Yoongi said, collapsing back onto Jin, squishing him and Jungkook into in the couch’s arm.

“Do you think it’s possible that you’re using this distance thing as an excuse?” Jin said gently. “That really you’re scared to find your soulmate? Or find out that Namjoon actually isn’t yours?”

Yoongi huffed, blowing at the bangs that had fallen in his face. He refused to answer beyond that.

“I wouldn’t blame you for it,” Jin said with a soft chuckle, pushing back the younger’s hair. “I’m not about to deny that it’s scary to fall deeply, completely and unconditionally in love with someone.”

“But you knew,” Yoongi couldn’t help but protest. “There weren’t any stakes or doubt, you guys knew you were soulmates before you dated, you knew after the semester was over that you’d be able to be together. What’s so scary about that?”

Jin took in a deep breath, sharing a glance with Jungkook before speaking again. “You know, the first time Jungkook and I were together, the next morning, I woke up alone in bed. It made my heart sink to the pit of my stomach, and it only got worse when I saw the string wasn’t going to the bathroom, the shower wasn’t on. It got worse when I got up to follow it and he wasn’t in the kitchen or living room—my world was collapsing when I saw it was going out the door.”

Yoongi slowly sat up, and the two boyfriends shifted to get more comfortable too as Seokjin continued.

“I thought I had misunderstood everything. In that moment I thought it must have been too much, the time we had to stay apart had been too long and he had decided he wanted nothing to do with me. I thought he was gone, I thought that he would—that he would cut our string.” Even now, years later, just talking about it had Jin having to take a pause, getting choked up. Jungkook hugged him tighter.

Taking a breath, he continued, “I walked out the door barely dressed, on the verge of panic, and I blindly followed the string. I caught up to JK on the stairs of the apartment, and he looked surprised to see me. Apparently, I had been dead asleep, and he wanted to surprise me by making us breakfast. But I had hardly any groceries, so he was going to do a quick run to the store—he thought he’d be back before I ever woke up. God, I…I burst into the tears.”

“Hyung, you’ve…you’ve never told me about this,” Yoongi said.

“It wasn’t one of my finest moments,” Jin said with a huff of a laugh, but his smile faded again as he shrugged. “I felt so embarrassed for reacting so strongly in what had realistically only been 30 seconds apart from him. But we had gone through a lot and it was like it all finally caught up to me.”

The oldest glanced at Jungkook again, who pressed a kiss to his temple as Jin turned back to Yoongi. “I guess my point is, it’s hard—maybe impossible—to just take baby steps when falling in love. It’s also incredibly scary to take the dive, to jump and let yourself fall, whether the string is there or not. But if you try to avoid moments of vulnerability like that, if you want to hide away from potentially hard or scary times, then you’ll be giving up so much more.”

All Yoongi could do was hum indignantly, not wanting to admit that he made a convincing argument.

Jin nudged his arm. “Besides, I think you know deep down that you won’t be able to let go of him if you don’t find out for sure. You’ll always wonder, Yoongi—don’t torture yourself like that.”

Yoongi drew in a long breath and exhaled a sigh, looking away from his friends, to the floor, studying it. He didn’t want to believe what Seokjin said to be true, but it was hard to convince himself otherwise. How could he not have that question at the back of his mind, that itching doubt? Especially if he never did find his soulmate—he’d always wonder if the reason was solely because of a choice he had made.

He shook his head, scooting to the edge of the couch and standing up. “It’s just too much right now. It’s not like he’s leaving tomorrow, it’s not like I have to dramatically chase down his car to stop him or something. I’ll…I’ll think about it, and on Monday. Maybe. Maybe I’ll see him.”

Seokjin reached out to grab his hand, giving it a squeeze before letting it go. “That’s fair. It’s ultimately your call, Yoongi. You know we’ll be here for you, whatever you choose, and whatever ends up happening.”

Yoongi looked between the two, Jungkook nodding in agreement, and he gave a small smile. He really would’ve been lost without his friends all of these years. “Thanks, guys.”

He started to turn towards the door to leave, but he hesitated, turning back, and he met Kook’s gaze. “What did you do? When Jin cried?”

The youngest’s eyes went a little wide, but quickly calmed again, and he gave a small shrug. “I comforted him until he stopped, then we went to the store together. I bought him flowers.”

Yoongi smiled sadly. It was so fitting for them. Such a simple gift, a small gesture, but it said so much. Even in just the short way Jungkook described it, so much love was conveyed in his voice. Yoongi never considered himself jealous of his friends, he was never bothered or envious of their relationship, that they had found each other. But now, possibly for the first time, he wondered what it would be like. To love someone so much that something as ordinary as buying flowers meant the world. Not just to you, but to you and someone else too.

Looking down at the floor, he slowly started turn away again. His hand was already on the door knob as he said, “That’s…really sweet.”

 

~

 

Yoongi didn’t lie to Namjoon—he spent Sunday grading papers. He slept in as much as his body allowed him to, made himself a cup of coffee, and then sat down at his home desk with a pile of essays to bury his nose into, red ink pen in hand.

The truth was, he needed this. A break, a moment back in time, to the normalcy of nothing but classes and students and music. That wasn’t to say he regretted the whirlwind of Namjoon storming into his life, consuming his last few days—of course he didn’t—but he needed to pull back to clear his head. To not think about it for a while, so then when he decided to think about it again, it would be with a fresh mind, not so clouded by the whirlwind. Even if the whirlwind had been amazing.

But the truth was also that he missed Namjoon. The idea of getting to see him again on Monday made Yoongi both excited and anxious. He wasn’t sure what would happen, or what he would say—he didn’t know if Namjoon would be happy to see him, or still hurt by Yoongi’s rejection. He wouldn’t blame the younger for that. He wondered if Namjoon missed him too. Maybe it was selfish, but he wanted him to. He wanted to occupy Namjoon’s thoughts as much as Namjoon occupied his.

He wanted those thoughts to stop being laced with worry and anxiety, with what ifs and maybes. He wanted to be certain, he wanted to sure. He wanted to be brave, he wanted to be confident.

Most of all, he wanted them to be okay. He wanted everything to be okay, like it had been just the other morning. He wanted to wake up to Namjoon smiling at him again.

 

 

Chapter Text

Yoongi was in his office, his door opened just a crack, when he perked up. For the first time that day, he thought he recognized Namjoon’s voice in the hallway. He hadn’t seen the younger all day, and in some ways, he was relieved at that, because he didn’t know how to act or what to say to him. But the way Joon’s voice had Yoongi springing to his feet told him just how much he wanted to see him. Not necessarily how much he wanted to fix things or apologize or figure out how the best solution to their strange situation—but just how much he simply wanted to see him.

He huffed out a breath, shaking his head at himself as he stepped out from behind the desk to go push the door open. Peeking his head out the doorframe, sure enough, he spotted Joon’s backside, walking with a couple of professors as they had passed by.

“Namjoon,” Yoongi called out, trying to keep his voice even and calm.

The three turned their heads, and Namjoon cocked a brow at him. “Yoongi?”

“Do you, uh, have a minute? To talk?” Yoongi asked, hoping his warming cheeks weren’t noticeable. He gripped the doorframe in the pause while he waited for Namjoon to answer, half expecting a simple rejection to match the one he had given the boy on Saturday.

But Namjoon must have been kinder than he was.

“Umm, sure. I’ll be right back,” he said with a polite smile to the other two, but that smile faded as he stepped away from them and faced Yoongi. His expression was blank as he walked into the office, and that made the older nervous.  

“Here, you can sit,” Yoongi offered, gesturing to one of the chairs in front of his desk, where students would usually sit when meeting with him. He closed the door as Namjoon sat down, and then he walked to the front of his desk, leaning against it, which gave him one of those rare instances that he had height on Namjoon.

The younger sat down leaning forward, elbows on his knees, and he was rubbing at his hands, looking down at them rather than up at Yoongi. He gave a half-hearted shrug. “What’d you want to talk about, hyung?”

Yoongi breathed a small sigh, one of relief, because it was nice to hear Namjoon still call him hyung. He shifted his feet, looking down to the floor as he tried to think of what to say. “I guess…I guess I wanted to apologize, for being so…abrupt, this weekend.” He gave another sigh, this one more exasperated, and he laid his head back, looking up at the ceiling. “I guess I thought it might be better to not see each other and forget about the whole…possibility of the string, since it might not work out well for us anyway.”

“What made you change your mind?” Namjoon asked, his voice soft, small, but curious.

Yoongi huffed, tilting his head back forward, finally catching Joon’s gaze, the younger watching him with anticipating eyes. He smirked a little. “I missed you on Sunday. A lot.”

“Oh,” Namjoon said, and Yoongi swore his cheeks were redder as he leaned back into the chair, once again breaking eye contact with him.

“Is that so surprising?” Yoongi asked shyly, moving to sit down in the chair next to Namjoon.

“I—maybe not,” Joon said, turning to face Yoongi, his gaze shifting subtly between the older’s eyes and lips. It was his turn to let out a sigh, and he shifted in the seat, giving another shrug. “I guess I could apologize too. I was so quick to dismiss the idea of a long distance relationship, it’s almost no wonder you wanted to forget the whole thing.”

“Oh,” Yoongi blinked down, trying to hide his blush. He wasn’t expecting an apology from Namjoon. “So…what does that mean? What—” his voice grew softer, “what are we gonna do, Joon-ah?”

The younger gave a shy smile, and he reached over, letting his fingertips gently graze over Yoongi’s knuckles. “I think we owe it to ourselves to find out.”

“Yeah,” Yoongi breathed. He turned over his hand, watched as the pads of Joon’s fingers pressed against his, smoothing down to his palms and back up to his fingertips. What must it be like, to have a red string that would be there, connecting their hands? Maybe the thread was already there, and they just couldn’t see it, they just couldn’t tell yet.

As if reading his mind, Joon added, “I’ll have been here a whole week by tomorrow. I think that’ll be it; we should know by then.”

“And Dr. Lee is telling us their decision for the job tomorrow too.” Yoongi huffed. “Big day, I guess.”

“Maybe we should each hear about the job before we find out the…other thing. I’m supposed to meet with him in the morning anyway.”

“Me too. What time?”

“10.”

“I’m meeting him at 9:30.” Yoongi furrowed his brow. “I wonder if going first is a good or bad thing.”

“I dunno,” Namjoon said with a weak huff of a laugh. He intertwined their fingers. “What do you think? Find out about the job, then meet up and see?”

Yoongi hummed, enjoying the weight of Joon’s fingers held between his own. “Yeah. It would be kind of awkward to show up to Dr. Lee’s office with the string and have to explain who’s on the other end. Assuming, you know…”

“Yeah.”

“So much for my plan to ask you to spend the night again, then,” Yoongi said with a small smirk.

 Namjoon met Yoongi’s eyes, but just for a brief moment before ducking his head down, giving a soft laugh. “Tomorrow’s not so far away. I can come over then.”

“Right,” Yoongi agreed. Tomorrow. When everything will be known, when so many things could change. He could feel his heart beating against his rib cage.

“Yeah, well,” Namjoon’s hand pulled away from his. “I probably should get back.”

As Namjoon was starting to turn away to stand up, Yoongi, without really thinking, laid his hand onto his forearm. “Joon-ah, wait—”

He couldn’t help it. He was going to try to resist, just as he originally was going to try avoiding Namjoon. But that plan hadn’t worked. It wasn’t what he wanted, and it seemed like when it came to Namjoon, he could only act in the way that his heart truly, desperately, wanted.

Luckily it seemed that Namjoon wasn’t so eager to go either. It seemed that he was pliant and obliging to Yoongi’s touch, quickly turning back to face him. The older started to lean in closer, bringing his fingertips to trail across Joon’s jawline, their lips so close to touching, the kiss Yoongi had been yearning for ever since Joon had left his car the other day—

A knock on the door startled Yoongi so much he practically jumped out of the chair he was sitting in. His hand fell away from Namjoon’s face and he was on his feet just in time as a student of his opened the door part-way.

“Professor Min? I—sorry, am I interrupting?” the girl asked politely, giving a quick glance between Namjoon and Yoongi. “I can come back; I just had a quick question about the assignment—”

“Ah, no, Hyejin, that’s alright, come in. We were just wrapping up,” Yoongi said, his gaze falling to Namjoon, who still seemed a bit stunned from the sudden interruption.

“Right,” the younger finally managed, getting to his feet, shifting to trade places with the girl as she stepped into the office and he started out of it. He gave a warm but cheeky smile at Yoongi, the kind that reminded him of when he’d first met Namjoon. “I’ll see you later, Professor Min.”

Yoongi couldn’t help rolling his eyes. “Yes, glad we could catch up, Dr. Kim.”

Namjoon just beamed, flashing his dimples before starting to close the door behind him, and that’s when something occurred to Yoongi.

“Ah, wait, just one more thing Dr. Kim,” Yoongi called, just in time for Namjoon to still be in sight, opening the door back fully.

Yoongi grabbed a pen off his desk before stepping over to Namjoon, saying quickly, “I’ll be with you in a second, Hyejin,” before closing the door of his office. He was relieved they were alone in the hallway as he uncapped the pen and grabbed Namjoon’s hand, lifting it up to scribble into his palm.

Namjoon didn’t question it, and Yoongi only spoke once he was done, taking a step back to meet Joon’s gaze, giving a smile and a shrug. “I would have apologized yesterday, if I’d had your number.”

Namjoon glanced down at the digits before huffing a small laugh, saying quietly, “I’ll text you.”

“You better,” Yoongi smirked. He then turned on his heel, opening the door to his office again as he called back, “Thank you, Dr. Kim.”

 

~

 

Yoongi normally wasn’t one to stay up late on weekdays—getting into the office for early classes or weekly meetings, he did his best to go to bed at a decent hour. But tonight, he found he couldn’t sleep. He knew what would happen if he even tried—the moment his head would hit the pillow and he would close his eyes, his mind would wander towards the anticipation. The worry over the job, and the wonder of his and Namjoon’s fate. There was too much to mull over; he knew his brain wouldn’t be able to settle into sleep until he was utterly exhausted, and so he didn’t even attempt sleep at his usual bed time hour.

He took it as an opportunity to work on some music, pieces he’d started but had neglected due to grading and other work tasks taking the first priority. He read over old lyrics, editing them, thinking of what to add or change. He wondered if this past week with Joon would influence the outcome of what he would write. If he had never met Namjoon, would the song he was creating have been something entirely different? How could just one week have had such an influence on him?

He sighed, dropping his pen from his hand onto the desk, reaching over to grab his phone instead. Even in distraction, his brain found a way to return to Namjoon. So he figured, why try fighting it?

Yoongi got up from the desk as he clicked on Namjoon’s contact in his phone, pressing the call button and bringing the phone to his ear. It only rang a couple of times before Joon answered, his voice low and soft and warm.

“You can’t sleep either, hyung?”

Yoongi smiled into the receiver. “No. You sure you don’t want to come over?”

Namjoon’s laugh spread a warmth through Yoongi’s chest. “It’s incredibly tempting, trust me. I really think we ought to wait, though.”

“I know, I do too,” Yoongi sighed, crawling into bed. Using his foot to wrangle his blanket from the end of the bed, he managed to pull it up enough to grab it and cover himself. “Joon-ah?”

“Hyung?”

“Can you…” Yoongi felt himself blushing. Maybe this was an odd request. Maybe it was too intimate, too big of an ask, especially when they were still waiting to know what would happen. But as much as they had done already, as close as they had become, he didn’t feel it was wrong to ask. “We’ve really only known each other a week. Can you tell me more about yourself? I…I want to know you.”

He felt as though he could hear Namjoon’s smile on the phone, and he also heard a rustling of sheets, telling him the younger was also tucking into bed.

“What would you like to know?”

Yoongi hummed in consideration. “Whatever you’d be willing to tell me.”

“Okay, well…”

Yoongi closed his eyes as he listened to Namjoon talking about his life. It turned into a comfortable conversation, a back and forth about one another’s lives—their childhoods, their friends, their passion for music. Yoongi felt wonderfully calm for the first time all evening, Joon’s voice soothing and his words interesting. Namjoon encouraged Yoongi to talk too, and even though his voice was a tired mumble, Namjoon seemed engaged and interested in what he had to say. Yoongi felt safe opening himself up completely, telling Namjoon stories and secrets about himself that he normally kept close to his chest.

He wasn’t sure at what point in the night he could barely get his voice to work anymore, to just muster enough energy to say good night to Namjoon, but once he did, sleepily hanging up and setting his phone on the nightstand, he found he could drift off with more assurance than he would have thought possible, considering all that could change within the next day.

 

 

Chapter Text

When Yoongi woke up, his heart skipped a beat, and he didn’t know whether to feel dread or hope as his brain acknowledged the reality of the day—he would know. Everything. Today was the day he would find out about the future of his career and the possible love of his life. It was exciting and terrifying and enough to make him want to shut off his phone, roll over in bed, and fall back asleep.

But he knew that wasn’t really an option, and his brain probably wouldn’t be able to drift back off to sleep anyway. So instead he sat up, got out of bed, and got ready to meet his boss in the morning.

As he ate a quick breakfast before leaving for campus, he pulled out his phone to text Namjoon. “Morning. Let me know when you’re on campus.”

He knew it was abrupt, and not all that sweet or endearing, considering their lengthy and warm conversation last night, but he could only hope that Joon would understand it was due to his anxiety. It was nerve-wracking enough on its own—the situation didn’t need addressing through sappy texts on top of that.

He pocketed his phone, already on silent, so he wouldn’t check it again until after he had the answer to the first of the two things he would learn today.

Going to work was a haze, but soon enough, Yoongi found himself outside of Dr. Lee’s office, rapping his knuckles against the door and stepping inside after being told to do so.

Dr. Lee gave him a friendly smile, asking him to close the door and take a seat, and as Yoongi did, he tried to contain his nerves. He didn’t even know anymore which answer he was rooting for, but here he was, after what felt like ages, way longer than the week it really had been, about to finally know.

“Yoongi, the rest of the committee and I were discussing how impressed we were with your interview. Not to mention your time here already, and students always seem to gain a lot from your classes.”

Yoongi nodded mindlessly. Were these compliments leading up to the offer? Or softening the blow of rejection?

Then Dr. Lee gave a smile that wasn’t one of sympathy, but one that held the excitement of sharing good news. “We’re excited to offer you the position, Yoongi.”

He blinked. Was it real? A faint smile crossed his face. He and his friends, even Namjoon, had been right after all. He’d earned this; he got it and it was well deserved. His career would be moving in the direction he’d always hoped for. “I—thank you.”

But then the smile faded as he thought of Namjoon. This meant he hadn’t gotten it; this meant he would have to go home, far away from Yoongi. It meant even if they were soulmates, even if they tried to stay in a relationship, they’d have to be physically apart.

Dr. Lee furrowed his brow. “Is something wrong? We assumed you would accept the offer.”

Yoongi blinked back to reality, quickly saying, “Oh, I do, and I’m thrilled and so grateful for the offer. It’s just, umm,” he paused, shifting in the seat. He wasn’t sure how to explain this part, or how much to divulge to his boss. “I guess it just occurred to me that, ah, Namjoon won’t be shadowing with us anymore. I guess I got used to having him around.”

Dr. Lee leaned back into his chair. “What did you think of him?”

Yoongi huffed a small smile, and he couldn’t help that his cheeks grew a little warm. “He’s brilliant. And charismatic, but also patient and understanding. The students would love him, I bet. It’s just a shame, I think he could bring so much to the department.”

“We thought so too,” Dr. Lee said. “It wasn’t an easy decision, between the two of you.”

Yoongi nodded again, staring off to the floor—he wished that was comfort, but somehow it made it worse. He almost had it. He almost got to be there, with Yoongi.

“But we’re hoping he’ll accept our other offer.”

His eyes shot back up immediately. A smile itched at his lips, but he fought it, in case he’d just misheard, or misunderstood. “Other offer?”

Dr. Lee nodded. “Yes, well, with you moving into the full-term position, your teaching regimen will change. The introductory and general education courses we usually leave for the adjuncts, while you’ll get to focus more on advanced ones. With you taking the position, we have an adjunct spot to fill. And with what Namjoon could bring to the department, I could see his career developing here nicely, much like yours.”

Yoongi could hardly believe what he was hearing. It made sense, but it seemed too perfect. Were they really so lucky?

As the news sunk in, he smiled so widely, so purely, that he had to cover his mouth, lowering his head again, this time out of embarrassment.

“Yoongi?”

“I’m sorry, it’s just,” Yoongi tried to take deep breaths to calm himself, to stop smiling like an idiot, but he couldn’t. He moved his hand to cover his whole face, unable to look at his boss as he admitted, “I think he’s my soulmate. I think Namjoon’s my soulmate.”

He blinked, finally looking up at his boss.

“You ‘think’?” Dr. Lee asked, his tone more confused than anything.

Yoongi nodded. “I haven’t seen him yet today, but he’ll have been here a week, so we think we’ll find out then. But I—I’m sure it’s him, Dr. Lee. It has to be.”

It was scary to admit out loud, because in a way, it was something he was only finally accepting and admitting to himself as well. He technically didn’t know yet, and that made it scary to make such a bold claim so confidently, but the way he felt about Namjoon was unlike anything he’d ever experienced before. The longer they had to wait to find out, the closer he’d gotten to Namjoon, the harder it became to imagine an outcome with the string not showing up—it simply didn’t make sense as a possibility to Yoongi anymore.

A concerning thought occurred to him. “That doesn’t change anything, does it? He’ll still be able to work here, right?”

Dr. Lee smiled. “Of course. There are plenty of soulmates and married couples who are colleagues—I’m quite certain you’re not alone in meeting your soulmate through work.”

“Right, that makes sense,” Yoongi said, nodding again. “That’s…good.”

Dr. Lee gave a small chuckle. “Well, he’s coming to my office so I can give him that offer. He should be here any time now—you might be able to catch him on his way.”

 

~

 

Yoongi pulled out his phone as he started down the hallway, seeing the text that Joon had left him a few minutes prior: “Just parked outside the building. I guess we can meet up after I see Dr. Lee?”

Yoongi could have texted him. He could have agreed to wait, but now that he knew, he didn’t see the need to wait anymore. He wanted to see Namjoon, immediately. He had to.

Grinning, his heart racing, in some ways still terrified but more optimistic than ever before, he pushed into the door of the stairwell, hurrying down the stairs, letting his feet fall so fast that they barely hit each step before reaching the next. He flew down them until he reached the first floor, and he took the exit that he knew would take him outside, directly to the parking lot.

The door flung open, and Yoongi was startled by how bright the sunshine was. After a cloudy morning, after a rainy three days, it seemed that the sun had finally broken through, shining so brightly that he had to bring his hand up to shield his eyes.

In doing so, his breath was taken away. Because where his hand had lifted, on his wrist just below the base of his palm, there was a red string. It was slightly taunt, tugging in the direction out towards the parking lot.

Yoongi could feel its subtle weight, its slight pulse that connected it to someone else. His eyes followed the thin red string out across the parking lot.

Due to all the rain and the sun’s sudden bright rays, the parking lot was steaming off clouds of fog from puddles in the asphalt. They became wisps in the gentle breeze, and even the puddles were bright like the sky, catching the reflection of the sun’s rays.

Amongst the wisps of fog and rays of sun, the red string was draped across the expanse of the parking lot, never drooping so low to touch the wet ground, but staying at about waist height, where the hand of its other connection was at rest after shutting the car door.

For as much as he had rushed down the stairs, Yoongi’s steps became rather slow as he crossed the parking lot. He wasn’t really sure what he was feeling, to the point where it almost felt like he was feeling nothing at all. But really, it was probably just too much, all muddied together until it was incomprehensible.

As he crossed the parking lot, his gaze darted between the string that stayed perfectly connecting the two, shrinking as he got closer and closer, and up to his eyes. To Namjoon’s eyes.

The younger didn’t try to hurry over to him, to rush to close the gap between them. Instead he was patient, and he waited for Yoongi to reach him. His expression was calm, almost indiscernible, as he watched Yoongi approach.

It was only once Yoongi was right in front of Namjoon, looking up at him, that Joon cupped his cheeks, and it was only when Joon thumbed away his tears that he realized he had started crying.

“Why are you crying, hyung?” Namjoon asked, his voice so soft, like one of the wisps that blew away delicately in the breeze.

Yoongi took in a shaky breath, closing his eyes as Namjoon leaned down, touching their foreheads together. He brought his hands up to hold Joon’s wrists, to keep them at his face. He had trouble getting his voice to work, but he managed to whisper, “I just never thought I’d find you.”

His eyes still closed, he could only hear Namjoon hum contently, in a way that told him he was smiling.

“Well, you did. You found me.”

Yoongi huffed a breath, sniffling. He moved his hands, one to find Joon’s jawline, and the other, the one with the string that connected him to Namjoon, his soulmate, moved up to his hand. Gently, he pulled it away from his face so he could connect them, palm to palm, wrist to wrist, so the string was nearly gone, maybe a millimeter in the tiny space between their skin. And Yoongi breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that even when he dropped his hand, he would still be with Namjoon, still, forever, connected to him. That was more of a relief than Yoongi had ever known.

Nuzzling their noses together, they both leaned in to one another for a kiss—it was soft and familiar, and Yoongi was too happy to keeping kissing, his smile getting in the way. He opened his eyes to see Namjoon smiling too, and they both shyly laughed at each other before wrapping themselves into a hug, to just hold each other for a moment.

“So…you already know,” Namjoon said. “About the other thing.”

“Yeah.”

“Is it…okay?”

“Oh, Joon-ah,” Yoongi breathed, pulling away so he could meet the younger’s eyes again. He brought his hand up to cup his cheek, the red string dipped between their chests. “It’s better than anything we could have anticipated.”

 

~

 

Although Namjoon was supposed to leave in the afternoon, he called his current boss and managed to get a few more days off work to stay a little longer. He checked out of his hotel and brought his suitcase to Yoongi’s, and he would stay with him until he had to go back. It would take some time, a little back and forth, before Namjoon would start his new position, and he and Yoongi had some big decisions to make, like if Joon wanted to move in right away, or if they still wanted to take things a bit slower. But these were details they could work out over time. Right now, after the long week of waiting, all they cared about was being together as soulmates.

“It’s nearly 3 in the morning, I’m canceling my classes tomorrow,” Yoongi said, flopping back down on the mattress after he’d sat up to check the time. In bed with Namjoon, both undressed and in one another’s arms, he sighed, “I’ll be a zombie if I try to teach in the morning.”

“Canceling class because you stayed up all night with a boy? What a bad influence you are,” Namjoon teased, placing kisses to Yoongi’s neck and collar bones.

“Whatever, they have an essay due later in the week, they’ll be glad to have the time off to focus on it. And it’s not like they’ll know what I was up to anyway,” Yoongi said with an indignant huff.

Namjoon smirked, his fingers delicately tucking under and lifting the red string that had been resting on Yoongi’s chest. “They might have some idea.”

Yoongi rolled his eyes, but started laughing, and so did Namjoon. They kept laughing as Yoongi teasingly wrestled Joon down, and they only stopped laughing so they could kiss.