Chapter 1: Reunion
Hey, Namjoon, let’s break up.
Namjoon reaches for his blanket in search of warmth but comes up empty. It’s only when he opens his eyes that he realizes he’s not on his bed. Strange. Did he not make it home last night?
After taking a moment to just let his brain slowly wake up, he opens his eyes slowly to see he did make it home last night. He just didn’t make it into bed. Namjoon groans as he picks himself off his bedroom floor, only a few feet away from his bed. The pounding headache is enough to remind him of the wild time he had last night and all he wants is for the world to swallow him whole.
Curse Jimin and Taehyung for making him go out during a weekday. He can still see the two of them grinning at him mischievously as they
dragged him out of the office to celebrate Jimin’s birthday. He had told the two of them that he wasn’t going to drink a lot since they had to work the next day, yet here he is now, asleep on the floor half naked with a raging hangover.
He promises himself he’ll never trusts his brothers again as he rolls into his bed, feeling the softness of the mattress luring him in. Yes, he will have some words with them later, but now all Namjoon wants is the sweet comfort of sleep. It’s not long before he’s lulled back to sleep by the sounds of the passing cars outside his apartment.
When his alarm finally goes off at 6AM, it’s way too soon for Namjoon. He groans as he rolls to the other side of his bed to turn off his forsaken alarm. The shrill ring is enough to cause his headache to start again, he debates whether he wants to call in or not.
He decides against it; they’re in the middle of the month and need to finish next month’s issue before the deadline. Publishing will have his head if they don't finish on time, and he’s had enough of them for awhile. If he has to hear Byul Yi’s angry voice through the receiver of his office phone one more time, he might just walk out on them.
Not that he ever could, but he surely wishes.
Before he gets out of bed, he grabs his phone to text Jimin. Taehyung is probably still asleep, and he sure doesn’t want to be the one to wake the man up before his alarm goes off.
Namjoon: Bring me a recovery drink.
The reply is immediate and annoyed.
Jimin: why do I have to do it? You have a PA for a reason.
Namjoon rolls his eyes as he quickly types up a response.
Namjoon: because you’re the one who decided to get your editor drunk last night and if you even want me to consider an interview with Agust D, I suggest you do as I say.
He knows the mention of Agust D will be enough to spur Jimin to action, so he leaves it be, placing the phone on his nightstand for the moment. His fingers brush against a cold metallic chain. Namjoon immediately grabs the piece of jewelry and puts it around his neck, the ring hanging on the chain cold to his skin. At least drunk Namjoon had been rational enough to take it off before bed.
It’s not hard for him to get ready for work. He takes a quick shower to get rid of the sweaty feeling from last night and changes into a clean suit. Nothing too over the top, he doesn’t care to impress anyone. Breakfast is skipped because he knows Jimin will probably bring him something with his drink. His younger brother always chastises him about eating well, but maybe Namjoon likes the attention he gets when Jimin feeds him.
By 8:00, he’s rolling into the Kim Publishing office parking lot, leaving his Audi in the hands of the valet. Work doesn’t start until 9, but Namjoon likes to be the first one in the office. He has to set a good example as one of the future heads of the company. Or so he tells himself.
His department is on the third floor, and he opts to take the stairs over the elevator. He has to do his cardio somehow. Surprisingly, he’s not the first one in the office. When he opens the door, his brother, Kim Taehyung is beaming brightly at him.
“Good morning chief, how are you feeling?” He sing-songs and that’s enough to make Namjoon remember the headache he has.
“Fuck you Tae,” he groans, opting to ignore Taehyung in favor of making his way to his office, hoping Taehyung will leave him alone. Sadly, he’s not that lucky.
“Wait, since you’re here,” Taehyung rambles as he follows Namjoon to his office, not put off when the older man tries to slam the door in his face. “We should discuss January’s issues.”
“It’s the middle of October,” Namjoon groans, shrugging off his suit coat and slinking into his seat.
“Yes,” Taehyung continues enthusiastically, sitting on the other side of Namjoon’s desk to conduct a proper meeting before the work day even starts. “But January is one of our biggest issues of the year and we need to book interviews and photo shoots.”
Namjoon sighs, knowing he won’t win against Taehyung and knowing the younger man has a reason. The quicker they figure out the logistics for the issues, the faster they could pump out content. Publishing will be more than thrilled if they finish before the deadline for once.
“What’s the theme again,” he asks offhandedly, letting himself get settled as Taehyung tells him the plan.
“It’s Reinventing the New Idol through Queerness,” Taehyung says proudly and Namjoon hums along. He remembers now. It’s the issue his department is most excited about as its a chance to shine light to a community that hasn’t always been well received in the past. But now with more and more public figures being comfortable enough to be open with their sexuality, it was a great opportunity for their magazine.
“Do we have any ideas on who we will interview? On what we want for the fashion and beauty pages? Queer models?” Namjoon spitballs and Taehyung nods.
“I know Jimin is getting in contact with queer models we’ve worked with in the past for this issue, and I’m bringing in a gay fashion designer to clothe them. As for interviews, I think we should see if hopekook would interview with us.”
Namjoon looks up from setting up his laptop on his desk. “Hopekook?”
Taehyung rolls his eyes, seemingly used to Namjoon’s obliviousness to famous celebrity relationships and ship names. While Namjoon was in the entertainment industry, it didn’t mean he wanted to know everything about them.
“You know, J-Hope and Jungkook? Literally Korea’s It Couple right now?”
“Ah,” Namjoon mutters. J-Hope is a rapper who had grown popular once Agust D took him under his label, and Jungkook is Agust D’s younger brother who started his career as an idol trainee before moving to MYG Records. They had come out as a couple a year ago, despite Korea’s views at the time. It was their relationship that started the shift in views, leading to many other celebrities becoming open about their same sex partners.
If J-Hope and Jungkook interview with them, they will be one of the most sold magazines that month. It’s a good proposition, and Namjoon can’t deny that. It would make Marketing’s job a lot easier as well.
“Sounds great, I’ll ask PR if they have their contact info and I’ll contact them myself. Anything else?”
Taehyung nods, eager to continue, but at that moment, Jimin decides to come barreling through the door.
“Hyung, I have your drink!” He holds up the plastic bag in his hand proudly, and Namjoon can’t help but smile. Seeing Jimin was enough to brighten his day, even if he caused him immense suffering this morning.
“Thank you Jimin,” Namjoon tells him as Jimin hands him the bag. Namjoon was right, Jimin did bring him food too. Besides the drink there’s a couple of store bought kimbap at the bottom of the bag.
“What are you two talking about?” Jimin asks, taking the other seat next to Taehyung. Namjoon doesn’t reply in favor of opening the hangover drink and chugging it in one sitting.
Taehyung’s the one to answer instead. “We’re discussing January’s issue.”
This makes Jimin’s eyes go wide. “Did you mention Agust D yet?”
“Agust D?” Namjoon acts surprised but it’s no surprise at all. Jimin’s had a crush on the rapper ever since his underground days, and he always looks for a reason to get him to work with Kim Daily.
“Hyung,” Jimin whines, “please please please you promised me Agust D and he’d be perfect for this issue. As the only openly pansexual artist do you know how impactful-“
“Okay Okay,” Namjoon concedes before Jimin Can go on a rant about Agust D he doesn’t want to hear. “I’ll get his contact info and see if he wants to do an exclusive with us.”
Jimin shouts in happiness, the smile not going to leave his face for the rest of the day. “Thank you hyung!!”
Namjoon just waves off his excitement. “Yeah, you’re welcome. Now will you two get out of my office. I want some peace before everyone else gets here.”
His two brothers quickly scramble out of their seats and mutter a “yes chief!” before leaving him alone. The silence is deafening after having the two energetic men in his office, but that’s fine with Namjoon. Peace is always welcome.
He decides to eat the kimbap Jimin brought him as he lets the hangover drink do his work. Absentmindedly he plays with the ring around his neck and hopes the day will go smoothly. Boy, would he be proven wrong.
Did you even love me?
That’s the first thing Jin notices as he walks out of Seoul station. Luckily, there’s a small newspaper vendor selling umbrellas and he buys one before venturing off into the city.
He hasn’t been back to Seoul in the past six years and he’s a little nervous. The city doesn’t feel like his home anymore. It’s a stranger to him, much like the people in it. Gloomily he wonders if he’ll ever be able to call this place home again, but he shakes that thought as quickly as it comes. Jin isn’t here to feel sad or nostalgic; he’s here for business.
Quickly, he flags the nearest taxi, thankful when the taxi driver takes care of his luggage for him. He doesn’t want to have a conversation, too tired and jet lagged from his flight to be polite. Therefore he was thankful when his taxi driver only asked for his address and left it at that. Perhaps he didn’t look Korean enough anymore or maybe the taxi driver isn’t one for idle chit chat. Either way Jin thanks his blessings for having such an indifferent driver.
The drive to his new apartment isn’t long, at the most fifteen minutes. Jin pays the driver and takes his luggage out of the car, quickly rushing into the building. He doesn’t have time to settle in, sadly, he’s expected at his new job in about an hour.
He’s talked to the landlord on the phone before coming, so flagging her for the keys is easy. She smiles politely at him and welcomes him to his new apartment. Jin just gives her a courteous nod and takes the keys out of her hands. His apartment is on the third floor and he decides to take the elevator. Carrying two suitcases full of his belongings up the stairs doesn’t sound like the best idea.
Soon, he’s settled into the empty apartment. There’s not much in it besides the bare necessities; the rest will come in as the week progresses. Not that Jin really cares, he wasn’t sure how much time he would be spending here anyway.
After a quick freshening up, he’s off again, this time to his new job. The Kim Publishing building isn’t far, so he decides to walk. The day may be cold and rainy, but Jin’s mood matches the weather so he doesn’t mind it. Plus, seeing the city while walking is always better than through a car window. That’s what he loves so much about New York, he didn’t need a car to get anywhere. The city was always bustling with people walking to their locations.
Seoul was like that too, but it wasn’t New York. It could never be New York.
Jin soon finds himself in front of Kim Publishing. For a second he falters, hand pausing as it reaches for the door handle. Is this really a good idea?
The short answer is no. This is the worst idea he has had in awhile, but it is all out of his hands. He can’t run away this time, as much as he wants to. Therefore he sighs and opens the door, walking in to see the receptionist smiling brightly at him.
“Good morning,” she chimes and Jin wonders how she can be so happy so early in the morning.
“Good morning, I’m a new employee. My name is Kim Seokjin and I was told to see Mr. Kim Beom Seok,” he remarks to the receptionist and she hums as she confirms this information on her computer. Once she is able to verify Jin isn’t lying, she asks for his ID. Jin gives it to her and let’s her input information into her computer while he looks around.
He has only been in the Kim Publishing building once before and it wasn’t a happy occasion. The last time he was here he broke someone’s heart. Jin tries not to be too deep in memories long forgotten, because it will not do him any good.
Instead he focuses on trying to look forward to his new job. He has been personally scouted by Kim Publishing to work on their famous fashion and lifestyle magazine, Kim Daily, or KD for short. While it had started as a daily online publication, they moved it into a monthly magazine that gave all the information on trends of beauty, fashion, and pop culture. The department had recently lost their print journalist and were looking for a new one.
That’s where Jin comes in. He has worked with Vogue in New York, working closely with Anna Wintour to make the magazine possible. The heads of Kim Publishing have been hounding him for ages to come to South Korea, but it was only now that Jin decided to accept. Perhaps he’s tired of running away from his past, or maybe it has to do with Kim Beom Seok and his constant demanding. He’s not sure, but either way, he’s back in South Korea, for better or worse.
The receptionist calls his name, and he turns to see her smiling once again. He tries to match her cheery expression but he knows what is to come, and he’s not quite ready for it.
“Mr. Kim is expecting you, I’ll have one of the guards escort you to meeting room 305 where you will be meeting him. Have a nice day, Mr. Kim.” She smiles politely at him once more and gestures toward the man who is waiting for him. Jin gathers himself and follows the man to the escalators.
He watched the guard press the three and tries to calm his growing nerves. Kim Beom Seok is an enigma and he doesn’t know what to expect...well besides Kim Namjoon. Kim Namjoon is his younger brother and the editor in chief of KD magazine. He is in charge of making sure the magazine happens, every detail, no matter how small, runs through him.
Jin knows he will be meeting Kim Namjoon today and he’s mentally preparing himself for it. The last time they saw each other things hadn’t ended well, but that is all in the past. Or so he hopes. He knows Kim Namjoon won’t be happy to see him - who would be happy to see the man who broke their heart and left the country right after - but it’s beyond the two of them. KD needs a new print journalist, and Jin is the only one who can do the job.
He just hopes Namjoon won’t be too mad.
The elevator talks to signal their arrival and the guard ushers him down the hall until they reach meeting room 305. Kim Beom Seok is already waiting for him at the door. He gives Jin his conniving smile that Jin hates so much, and motions for him to enter the room. For a second, Jin wonders if it’s too late to back out, but he knows he has no choice. Beom Seok would never let him leave, and he knows it.
“Good morning, Mr. Kim, I hope your journey to Seoul went well,” he greets as if he actually cares about Jin. It’s all formalities at the end of the day and Jin can do nothing but follow along.
“It was fine, nothing I’m not used to,” Jin responds causing Beom Seok to let out a dry laugh.
“My apologies, I forgot you traveled a lot for Vogue. And speaking of, we are more than excited to have you on our team, Anna Wintour must have been saddened to see you go.”
“Anna is happy as long as I am, she can handle Vogue without me. If anything she’s thrilled I’m doing charity work.” Jin can’t help the sass that comes out of his lips and he wonders if he’s fucked up. Instead, Beom Seok lets out a somewhat genuine laugh that has the hairs on Jin’s arm raising. His laugh is one of the ugliest sounds Jin has ever heard.
“Same old Jin, huh? Can’t say I missed it,” Beom Seok remarks and Jin tries not to roll his eyes.
“I could say the same about you, Mr. Kim.” He sticks with formalities even if Beom Seok used his first name; he doesn’t want to give the man any illusion of closeness.
“Of course,” Beom Seok muses for a second, eyes filled with twisted mirth, “as much I enjoy our little reunion. I think it’s time to get to business. Shall we call in your new boss?”
It’s meant to get a reaction out of Jin and maybe if he were the same person he was six years ago it would have. Now, the pain he felt in the past is locked away and all he does is give the man a curt nod, acting as nonchalant as possible. Beom Seok doesn’t expect that reaction by the way his eyes widen. Good, Jin doesn’t want to give him the satisfaction.
It doesn’t take long for Beom Seok to regain his composure, and shrug like he’s bored. He reaches for the phone in the conference room, dialing an extension and then puts it to his ear.
“Namjoon, your new print journalist has arrived,” he says into the receiver. There’s a pause as the other man speaks and Beom Seok just laughs at whatever he says. “No worries, I haven’t scared him off yet. He and I are getting along fine. You’re going to love him.”
Jin’s heart drops a little, because he knows that Namjoon will definitely not love him. All he can do is sit nervously and wait for what is to come.
I’m moving to New York.
After he receives the call, Namjoon puts his phone down and reaches for his suit jacket resting on the back of his chair. He figures he should make a great first impression with their new print journalist. They have been waiting eagerly for the newest addition to their team to arrive, and Namjoon can’t help but feel the excitement running inside him.
After their last print journalist left, he and Taehyung had been working together to fill in the spot until a replacement could be found. It was a lot of work, but not just any person could be trusted. It was a huge responsibility, it required lots of time and commitment that not just anyone was willing to do. Between planning out the ideas for the magazine, to conducting interviews, and so forth, the work of a print journalist was never complete.
That’s why when his older brother told him they found a suitable replacement, Namjoon couldn’t help but be happy. Apparently the new addition to their team has worked for Vogue and helped with many of the international publications of the magazine. They have years of experience in this field, and Namjoon cannot wait to work with them.
He’s already halfway out of his chair when there’s a knock on his door. Namjoon looks up in time to see Jimin’s curious face peering through the crack of the open door.
“What’s up?” Namjoon asks, closing his laptop and straightening his chair before he leaves. He likes to keep his workspace as tidy as possible.
“Are you going somewhere?” Jimin asks, too curious for his own good. The rest of the staff know that there will be a new addition to their team soon, and all of them have been waiting for Namjoon to give them notice. It’s nice that they are curious, but Namjoon doesn’t have time for it now.
“I have a meeting with Beom Seok,” is all he says to Jimin and that’s enough for Jimin. The younger man scrunches his face in disgust that he quickly tries to mask, but Namjoon sees it. Beom Seok and Jimin never quite got along after Jimin’s mother married their father. His older brother could be cruel, so he understands why Jimin loathes him so much.
“Okay, then I’ll come back later when you’re back,” Jimin says and he’s going back to his workspace. Namjoon waits before Jimin is gone to walk out of his office. The rest of the staff is diligently working on their assigned tasks, but look up as soon as Namjoon walks out. They probably expect some sort of announcement so he clears his throat.
“I have a meeting with the Director, Please continue working diligently while I am gone.”
Hums of affirmation ring through the office, and Namjoon can’t help but smile. He loves his team, they’re one of the best departments in the company if anyone asked him. He couldn’t help but always feel proud of the work they do.
He leaves them to their job and walks the short distance to meeting room 305. The room is made entirely of glass, but the blinds are pulled down so Namjoon cannot see into the room. It seems Beom Seok wants to keep their new print journalist a secret until the very end. His brother was always one for mystery and surprise and it often caused Namjoon unnecessary trouble. He just didn’t know how much trouble he was about to be in.
One knock on the door is enough for Beom Seok to call him in and he opens the door, a greeting already on his lips. The greeting falls flat the second he catches a glimpse of who is in the room with Beom Seok. It’s like the whole world stops and he’s transported back six years ago when he was being left alone by the love of his life.
Jin is still as beautiful as he was back then, maybe even more so. The six years they were apart had done him justice and he looks like he is glowing. Namjoon hopes his appearance lives up to that, he doesn’t want the other man to think his departure affected him as much as it did.
Namjoon doesn’t have any words to say and it seems neither does Jin. He’s looking down, trying his best not to let his eyes meet Namjoon’s and for good reason. Jin probably doesn’t want him to see the guilt in his eyes or doesn’t want to see the sadness in Namjoon’s. They stay silent for a minute, shock fading as Beom Seok clears his throat.
“Namjoon, come in, I’d like you to meet your new print journalist.”
It’s then that Namjoon realizes that he’s been standing at the door this whole time and with a nod he slithers into the room. He decides not to sit at the table; he doesn’t want to be eye level with Jin. He doesn’t know how to act, should he pretend that he doesn’t know Jin? Is Jin going to pretend they never had anything?
At the end of the day, their personal past doesn’t matter here. This is strictly business no matter how twisted it all seems. Therefore, Namjoon tries to repress his conflicting emotions and nods politely.
“Yes, welcome. I’m Kim Namjoon, the editor-in-chief of Kim Daily magazine. It’s nice to meet you.” It’s definitely not nice to meet him, and it’s definitely not their first time meeting. Those words sound funny to Namjoon’s ears, but he ignores it. At the table Jin nods and stands up to politely greet Namjoon with a slight bow. Thankfully they aren’t western and they do not have to greet each other with an obligatory handshake. Physical contact with him would be too painful for Namjoon.
“It’s nice to meet you Mr. Kim. I’m Kim Seokjin, I will be under you from today onward. I will do my best to serve KD and continue uplifting it’s reputation.”
It’s now that Namjoon remembers that their new print journalist worked for Vogue meaning that Kim Seokjin was the one who worked for Vogue. Funny how he had never heard of Kim Seokjin’s name in Vogue, but then again he had never paid close attention to the magazine itself. Hell, the only name he vaguely remembers is Anna Wintour and that’s because Jimin would never shut up about wanting to go to the Met Gala.
Still, he’s realizing that Kim Seokjin, the man who had left him heartbroken and abandoned, had left him for what, to work for Vogue? He tries to keep a neural expression on his face as Beom Seok rambles on about working together well or blah blah, who knows. He’s too busy with his muddled thoughts, and at a quick glance at Seokjin, he hasn’t heard anything Beom Seok said either.
The speech ends too soon and Beom Seok is announcing his departure. He has a meeting in twenty minutes and he needs to get ready. With one final word of encouragement, he’s off, leaving Namjoon and Seokjin alone in the room.
It’s Namjoon who speaks first, and he can’t help the way his voice comes out harsher than it should.
“What the hell, Jin?” He hisses at the other man, who seems to be unfazed currently. This fuels the anger in Namjoon, because, did he truly mean nothing to the older man?
“For the record, this isn’t my doing,” Jin tries to explain, voice stable as he talks, “this is all Beom Seok’s doing.”
Namjoon rolls his eyes. “You didn’t have to accept his offer, not when you worked for fucking Vogue of all places.”
Jin sighs like he’s talking to a child who won’t go to sleep even though it’s past their bedtime. “I have my reasons, but your brother was very insistent and I couldn’t say no.”
Something about the way Jin keeps mentioning Beom Seok makes the other man angry.
“What? Are you Beom Seok’s bitch now then?” He asks knowing it’s cruel, but he doesn’t care. That manages to illicit a reaction out of Jin, his eyes going dark as he tries to control his anger.
“You know nothing about me Namjoon,” he growls and Namjoon knows he’s hit a sore spot. He can’t himself from continuing this fight, six years of pent up rage on the line.
“That’s right. I don’t know anything about you, when I thought I did you left me.” The words are more personal and carry a heavy sting to them; he can tell that Jin is affected by the way his hands clenched in anger. It shouldn’t be so satisfying to Namjoon to get a reaction out of Jin, but it’s what he needs. Call it therapeutic in a sense.
“That’s all in the past,” Jin manages to say but how is it in the past if they never got closure?
“Really? Then are you just going to pretend like nothing happened? Like you didn’t leave me alone and heartbroken? Are you really that cruel, Jin?” Namjoon spits out. He doesn’t know what he expects from his past lover, but this coldness is not it. All he wants is a little closure, is that too much to ask for.
Jin lets out a tired sigh, seemingly more bored with this situation than anything else. All it does is fuels Namjoon’s growing rage and it takes every ounce of him not to yell; they can’t cause a scene in the office. He has to remember some of his professionalism.
“Yes.” Is Jin’s quick reply and it causes Namjoon to let out a deranged snort. He should have known better, he should have expected this from Jin.
“Fine,” Namjoon decides, if Jin wants to leave it in the past, then he can. That doesn’t mean Namjoon will forgive him for it. “Then I’m going to pretend like what we had wasn’t real. From now on you and I are strangers, is that what you want?”
He sees Jin pause as he tries to get his words out. There’s a slight quiver in his lip, but Namjoon chooses to ignore it. He will not feel sorry for what Jin wants to sow, all he will do is go along with it. Finally, he gets the answer he needs, not the one he wants.
“Let’s be strangers,” Jin agrees and if only those words could get rid of six years of pain. All it does is quell Namjoon’s anger for awhile; this conversation is far from over. For now, he would live with what he has.
“Strangers then,” he manages to say, proud of how calm and collected he sounds, “well Mr. Kim, shall we introduce you to the rest of the team?”
You’re heartless, Jin.
They walk without speaking, the only sound is the thumping of their feet on the ground. Jin knows he could have handled that conversation better, but he doesn’t want to reminisce about the past. The past six years have been enough for him. Secretly, he knows Namjoon deserves answers, but Jin thinks the truth is better kept to himself, that way only Jin will take the fall.
Jin should be excited about meeting the rest of the team, but he’s inwardly terrified. He doesn’t know how Namjoon is going to introduce him, how the man is going to treat him once they start working together. Would he be cruel? Indifferent?
It’s enough to have Jin shivering, blaming it on the slight breeze in the office. He wishes he could erase the past six years, but he can’t. All he can do is live with his decisions now. He’s been doing it for this long, this will be nothing.
Or so he tells himself.
They make it to the department a little too quickly for Jin’s liking. He’s not mentally prepared yet. Of course, Namjoon doesn’t give him any more time before he’s opening the door a little more forcefully than necessary. As they walk in, all eyes are immediately on him. Most are curious, wondering who this strange new person is, but two are more shocked than anything.
This is not the reunion he wanted to have with Jimin and Taehyung, but it’s honestly the one he deserves. He can see emotions quickly running through their face, Taehyung’s quickly turning to one close to anger while Jimin’s is a little more sympathetic.
The younger man had always been more empathetic, always willing to see both sides of the story. Granted, he was the only one who knew Jin’s side of things. Jimin had been the only one Jin could trust with his secret, and from the looks of it, he kept it well.
“As you may know,” Namjoon addresses the room of curious employees, “after we lost our precious print journalist, we were in search of a new one. The director took it upon himself personally to find us our replacement.”
He motions to Jin politely, a thin smile gracing his face. “This is Kim Seokjin, our new print journalist. He’s previously worked with Vogue and the likes of Anna Wintour. Please give him your warmest welcome.”
There’s a pause and then the room is filled with polite applause and warm welcomes. Jin can only smile and bow in greeting to express his gratitude. He knows Namjoon expects him to speak, so he clears his throat.
“Thank you for the warm welcome. I am honored to be working with such an amazing team. I’ve heard great things from the director. Let’s work well together.” it’s quite a generic statement, but it’s enough for the rest of the team. Once the glamour of having a new teammate is over, they immediately get back to work. They’re in the middle of October and the November deadline is slowly approaching. None of them have time to waste.
Jin is sort of glad that they’re busy, He doesn’t want to get into the formalities of welcome parties because he’s not honestly sure if he’s truly welcomed. If anything, he has come to forcefully intrude into a rather peaceful environment like a parasite. Soon, they’ll all slowly start to hate Jin. At least he hopes; he can’t get attached. Not this time.
Once everyone is back to doing their jobs, Namjoon motions for him to follow the man into his office. The office is spacious, decorated minimally with a few personal items. He has a couple of photos with his younger brothers on his desk, and a few succulents perched near the window. It’s such a Namjoon thing to do that Jin can’t help but smile. At least he hasn’t changed much.
They sit, Namjoon in his chair of authority and Jin on the other side of the desk. It’s silent for a moment until Namjoon sighs and his business face reappears. There’s only so much he can do at this point, Jin knows, and it seems that he has relented to his fate much like Jin has.
“I suppose we should talk about your responsibilities and expectations.” He says dryly, not bothering to look at Jin as he speaks. It’s very formal, very foreign, and very uncomfortable. The two of them would rather be anywhere but here, inside Namjoon’s office, pretending like they never had anything. Yet, it’s what Jin does best. He just nods.
“I suppose we should.”
They don’t spend a long time discussing; it’s mostly Namjoon telling him what is expected of him and what he should not do. He lays down the rules and his responsibilities efficiently and effectively because Jin doesn’t have any questions even by the end of it when Namjoon asks. The other man shrugs and picks up his phone to quickly dial an extension.
“Jimin,” he says into the receiver, “would you be so kind as to show our new print journalist to his office.” He hangs up.
There’s shuffling from the outside of the office and soon the door is opening to reveal Jimin’s bright smile.
“Follow me, Mr. Kim.” Jin doesn’t wait for Namjoon to say anything to him, deciding it's best to leave the man in his office. He follows Jimin out and the younger man leads him to an office adjacent to Namjoon’s. It’s empty, save for the bare necessities, as the last print journalist had taken all of their stuff with them. So impersonal and yet Jin likes it. Don’t get attached, that’s what he keeps telling himself.
“This is your new office,” Jimin says politely, but as soon as they walk in and he closes the door, the formalities are dropped.
“What are you doing here Jin?” He asks. It’s more of a curious question than an accusing one and he’s grateful for Jimin at moments like this.
“It’s all your older brother’s fault,” he sighs, running his hand through his hair in frustration as he takes another look at his office. It’s smaller than Namjoon’s but it’ll do.
Jimin grimaces at the mention of his older brother. Jin can't blame him; Beom Seok has never been kind to the stepson of the Kim family. He is cruel and heartless, through and through.
“Beom Seok?” Jimin manages, face filled with disgust, “what did he do?”
Jin sighs again, deciding he wants to sit down so he takes a seat in his new office chair. It’s comfy.
“He gave me no choice Jimin, it was either this or-“ he doesn’t need to finish the sentence because Jimin already knows. His eyes flash in understanding and empathy, and Jin wishes it could be simpler. Sadly, reality is crueler than anything else.
“He’s an asshole,” Jimin spits, “I can’t believe he made you choose. And is even forcing you to work with Namjoon, how cruel can he get?” It’s sympathy and Jin wants nothing of it. He did this to himself, not Beom Seok.
“It’s fine Jimin, I can handle Namjoon.,” he waves the other man off nonchalantly but Jimin sees through his blasé facade.
“You still love him.” It’s not a question, it’s a statement. Jin tries not to let his heart pound in his chest in fear of Jimin hearing him. He can feel the way his eyes are starting to form tears and he quickly blinks them away. Love? Yeah, the feelings he has for Namjoon are strong, they’ve never faded, and yet is it really love if he left him so easily? The thought terrifies Jin, knowing that he can’t be happy with someone he wants.
Still he knows Jimin wants an answer and all he can do is choke out, “I never stopped loving him.”
It’s enough for Jimin. He nods solemnly and excuses himself, telling Jin that he will be his person of interest if he has any questions. Jin watches as the younger materializes out of the door, and the moment he leaves, Jin lets his body relax. He places his head on the desk for a moment, overwhelmed by his tragic reunion with Namjoon and jet lag. Briefly, he remembers that he hasn’t slept in the past 24 hours and that fatigue is catching up to him. He wonders if he’ll be able to get through the day.
Silently, he wishes the world would swallow him whole. At least it would take away his pain.
I wish I was crueler than you think.
It’s annoying how well Jin seems to be getting along with everyone in the office even though it’s only his first day. He can see everything from the confines of his office, when he doesn’t have the blinds down, and right now he can see Jin talking to one of the journalists. He doesn’t know exactly what they’re talking about, but by the way she’s starting to giggle it’s at least friendly.
He’s annoyed. It’s quite obvious by the way he keeps tapping his fingertips on his desk. Namjoon wouldn’t really notice it if it weren’t for Jimin. The other man clears his throat, breaking Namjoon’s concentration from Jin. Perhaps it’s for the better; he doesn’t really care what Jin does. If he wants to flirt with one of his employees, so be it. As long as it doesn’t affect either of their work, he’ll ignore it.
“Sorry, you were saying?” Namjoon asks as he has no idea what Jimin has been talking about. They’re currently in a meeting to discuss the beauty portion of the magazine for December’s issue. Neither of them have been able to agree on a theme and Jimin’s has had almost enough of Namjoon.
His younger brother just rolls his eyes and repeats what he said in annoyance. “I said, my team and I are currently stuck between two ideas. We can focus on celebrity skin care as people will be wanting to try new products for the new year or we can focus on fashion week makeup looks considering one of them is in November of this year.”
“When exactly is fashion week?” Namjoon asks, not really too interested in the conversation. Fashion week didn’t interest him too much.
“It starts the second week of November in New York and ends the second week of December in Paris.” Jimin states off the top of his head. Namjoon doesn’t know how he and Taehyung have all these fashion dates memorized, but he’s not complaining. That’s why the two of them are the magazine’s beauty and fashion editors respectively. Namjoon would be lost without them.
He thinks about it for a moment, weighing the pros and cons of each idea. Finally he just shakes his head at fashion week.
“We won’t make the deadline if we focus on fashion week. We can have one of the online editors write an article after the fact.”
Jimin nods. “We could do a feature for the website. They’re having a couple of Korean models walk the runway this year.”
Namjoon hums, glad that they finally came to an agreement. It’s one less thing he has to worry about. And speaking of worries, his biggest worry is still flirting with the same editor. Does he have no shame? Namjoon doesn’t realize he’s staring again until Jimin clears his throat.
Namjoon whips his head to the man, looking sheepish as Jimin smiles smugly. It’s annoying.
“Care to talk about it?” Jimin inquires. Their meeting is formally over, but they have another ten minutes slotted. Leave it to Jimin to try and use this time to get information out of him.
“There’s nothing to talk about,” Namjoon replies cooly, and given the scoff Jimin doesn’t even try to hide, he doesn’t believe Namjoon.
“Sure, your ex comes out of nowhere and suddenly is working for your company and there’s nothing to talk about?” It’s blunt and it stings a little, but Namjoon doesn’t show any sign of it to Jimin. He’s supposed to not care; they’re strangers after all.
“There is nothing,” he says again, “what Jin and I had is in the past. We are going to have a strictly professional relationship from now on.”
It’s honestly not the answer Jimin was looking for but it’s the only answer he’s going to receive. After waiting to see if Namjoon will say more, he just sighs and stands up from his seat.
“Then we’ll go with the skincare for December’s issue,” they’re in professional mode again, “I’ll have the online editors know that we will be running a story for fashion week on the website. Thanks so much for your help.”
The meeting is done, and Jimin wastes no time in leaving. He doesn’t have anything else to say to Namjoon and they’re nearing the deadline. There’s no time to waste. Namjoon is grateful for this deadline for once in his life; it means he doesn’t have to tell Jimin anything.
It’s annoying how slow the rest of the day goes, but eventually it hits 5PM and most of the workers are rolling out of the office. He overhears that some of them have plans with their significant other today, turns out it’s the fourteenth of the month. Somehow, South Korea always has a couples holiday on the fourteenth of each month. He wonders how couples don’t get tired of these constant ploys by capitalism, but maybe he’s just bitter. At one point in his life he was there with them.
Now, all he could do was let them have their fun, but he still wishes for the touch of a lover or just the company at this point. Which is how he ends up at the supermarket twenty minutes after he leaves the office, contemplating which bottle of wine he wants to buy.
October 14 is Wine Day for couples, and Namjoon is taking advantage of this to get it at a cheap price. He’s in between a light rosé and a dry red wine. Eventually he settles for the red wine, it’s good for his heart anyway.
When he goes to check out, the cashier is all smiles and asks if he’s going to celebrate with his significant other. Namjoon decides to lie to her because it’s easier than admitting he’s all alone.
The conversation is short and sweet, soon he’s walking out of the supermarket ₩10,000 poorer, but heart rich with what is about to come. And in the grand scheme of things, 10,000 won is a small price to pay for a little bit of happiness. He’ll take wine over romance any day. He makes the trek to his apartment in contentedness, hangover from this morning long forgotten
His apartment building isn’t far from the office and on days like this he is grateful. It doesn’t take him long to make it back home. He takes the elevator this time, too tired to even bother with the stairs. Namjoon reaches the third floor quickly.
The apartment next to him has the door slightly open and Namjoon vaguely recalls the landlady mentioning that they would have a new tenant. He wonders if he should be a good neighbor and greet the new tenant - he does have wine to offer after all.
However, before he can make a decision, the door is opening wider to reveal the new tenant as they walk out of their apartment. His expression immediately goes blank.
Jin stares back at him, expression filled with guarded surprise. What a coincidence that they would be living next to each other, Namjoon thinks bitterly. It’s like the world is not in his favor today.
“What are you doing outside of my apartment?” Jin asks pointedly and Namjoon can’t help but let out an annoyed chuckle.
“I live next door. I was going to greet my new neighbor but it seems like that’s not necessary.” He doesn’t let Jin say anything else. His keys in hand, he quickly opens the door to his apartment and slams it shut, probably too loudly. He does look like a brat but he honestly doesn’t care.
The world must be a sadistic bastard. It’s bad enough he has to see Jin at work, but now he’s forced to see him when he comes home too?
It’s annoying, no it’s infuriating.
Chapter 2: Stalemate
Hello~ I come bearing the second chapter of this fic. <3 I hope it's not too slow, and I promise chapter 3 will have more drama.
When I started writing this fic, I didn't think it would be more than 3 chapters, but now I'm reevaluating everything haha. I hope it doesn't turn too too long.
I really hope you enjoy and comments are appreciated <3
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
How much do you love me?
If only it were a dream.
Namjoon half expects to wake up one of these days in a cold sweat to find out he’s been dreaming the whole time. However, dreams never come true that easily.
It’s been a week since Jin came back into his life, and it’s been the worst week of his life. Granted, he hasn’t seen much of Jin because they’re in the middle of their busiest time of the month, but knowing he’s here is enough to keep Namjoon on edge.
They’ve had a few sparing conversations and Namjoon had to remind himself to be polite and professional. Seeing as how coldly and indifferent Jin had been treating him, it’s been easy. On the surface, they look like normal colleagues trying to test the waters. Only Jimin and Taehyung know the truth.
It’s quite annoying but Namjoon treats it as an extended dream, hoping that it will soon come to an end. At the end of the day, it’s all wishful thinking, but Namjoon can have hope, right?
Hope, he soon realizes, is just another form of wishful thinking. It seems plausible, but at the end of the day, they can’t live in their dreams.
Namjoon is realizing this the more he has to work with Jin. As the department’s print journalist, he is one step below Namjoon meaning that he is technically in charge when Namjoon is away. This also means they are expected to work closely together once Jin settles in. Namjoon is not looking forward to this.
Now that Jin has been here for a week and he’s finally getting the hang of working for Kim Daily, they will be working together soon enough. It has already begun with the two of them required to attend daily meetings with the other heads of departments and the director. Today is Jin’s first time in one of the meetings, and Namjoon knows he should prepare the man. He honestly doesn’t want to, but professionalism comes first.
That’s why with a heavy heart he picks up the phone in his room and dials Jin’s extension. His office might be next door, but he’ll be damned if he has to walk over there.
The phone doesn’t ring for long, he knows that Jin is in his office.
“KD department, this is Jin speaking.” His voice is familiar and foreign at the same time. Namjoon tries to suppress the memories that come with it.
“Come to my office thirty minutes before the meeting, we need to discuss a few things.” He doesn’t bother announcing himself because he knows Jin can figure it out. There’s barely time for Jin to give him an affirmative answer before Namjoon is hanging up the phone. It couldn’t hurt him to have been a little nicer, but he’s not in the mood. They’ll be meeting in about thirty minutes and it’s thirty minutes too soon. He hopes his PA will arrive with his coffee soon.
It’s as if he’s conjured the man through sheer willpower, because as soon as he thinks it, Seungcheol is knocking on his door, coffee in hand.
“Morning, Mr. Kim,” he greets cheerily as he walks in and Namjoon wonders how the younger generation has such energy so early in the morning. He says that, yet he’s only thirty. It’s the years of heartbreak that have him feeling old.
“Morning Seungcheol,” Namjoon greets, practically ripping the coffee out of his PA’s hands when he gets close enough.
“Bad day already, sir?” Seungcheol laughs, not at all perturbed by Namjoon’s actions; he’s used to the way the office gets especially during deadline period. It’s ruthless, nobody is safe.
“Mhmm,” Namjoon says after a sip of his coffee, “Byeol Yi’s been pressuring me to finish the magazine even though the deadline is in two days. If I have to hear her voice one more time, I might jump out of this window.”
Seungcheol laughs, it’s light and airy, and what Namjoon needs at 8 in the morning.
“I’m sure she’s just as stressed as you, sir. Nobody is safe during deadline period.”
“You got that right,” he muses, taking another sip of the golden nectar. He knows Seungcheol is waiting for his tasks of the day, so Namjoon quickly drinks more of it.
“Here,” Namjoon says, taking the folder he has laying on his desk and handing it to his PA. “This needs to be done by the end of the day. The first three things are essential, but if you don’t get to the bottom of the list, I won’t be mad. Don’t stay late, you can do it tomorrow.”
Seungcheol takes the folder out of his hand and nods. “Of course, I’ll make sure to get as much done as I can.” Namjoon can’t help but smile. Seungcheol is a good personal assistant, always reliable and responsible. He knows the young man will do great at whatever he decides to do in the future. It’s nice to have younger adults in the office full of hopes and dreams. It reminds Namjoon of his youth, of the days he wishes he could bring back.
He doesn’t linger on that thought; Seungcheol bows in goodbye and leaves his office. Namjoon has about another twenty minutes before he has to meet with Jin, and he decides to take this time to finish his coffee. If he’s going to be forced to be in his ex’s presence, he wants to be highly caffeinated. Non-coffee Namjoon is not a sight to be seen; he chuckles. It’s almost like coffee is a personality trait at this point.
The twenty minutes come by too soon, and Jin is knocking at his door. Namjoon looks up from his laptop to motion Jin in. The door opens and closes behind him, Jin hovering at the entrance. It’s not long before the man is walking towards Namjoon’s desk and sitting down. Namjoon doesn’t look at him for a second, pretending to be busy on his laptop.
“You wanted to see me,” Jin asks, and finally Namjoon looks up. He clears his throat and closes the laptop. It’s time to get to business.
“Yes, we need to go over a few things before the meeting at 9.” Namjoon starts, straightening himself up in his chair so he’s oozing more authority. It’s honestly a cheap power play, but let him live.
“Shoot.” Is all Jin says, and Namjoon realizes that he’s going to have to be the one to talk through most of this meeting.
“First, you will now be meeting almost daily with the heads of department as part of your job expectations. We get together to discuss what is happening in our departments, how smoothly work is going, and if we have any problems that need to be fixed.”
Jin nods along, and Namjoon continues his spiel.
“Secondly, when we are in those meetings we are a cohesive unit. You need to realize that the other departments are your enemies, you should always defer to me before you speak. Business and personal don’t belong together, so if you’re friendly with anyone from a different department, forget about it in the meeting room. Each department is looking out for their best interests, therefore we must look out for each other.”
At this Jin raises an eyebrow, but Namjoon ignores him. This is all business, after all.
“And thirdly, we always stick to our numbers and deadlines. Publishing and sales will try to have a say, but in the end, we get to decide when we finish the final product and how many we want to sell of each. They can only try to persuade us. For sales, aim higher not lower, we can sell out, and we usually always do. We’re the biggest money maker in this company, so we have priority. Same goes for publishing, don’t feel bad about asking for extensions. We don’t want to do it every issue, but sometimes it’s needed, doesn’t matter how much Byeol Yi yells at us.”
He pauses to let Jin soak it all in, knowing its a lot of information at once. The departments don’t hate each other persay, but they’re always at each other’s throats. It’s best that Jin learns this now instead of finding out the hard way. No, he’s not looking out for him, he’s looking out for his department. Jin Just happens to be a part of it now.
Jin shakes his head, but Namjoon gets another thought.
“Oh right, one last thing. Under no circumstances do you cave into Byeol Yi’s demands.”
Jin nods and Namjoon hopes he’s ready.
“We need it by the end of today.”
Namjoon can’t help but sigh, knowing he can’t do anything but try to convince her otherwise.
“That’s impossible Byeol Yi, we can’t have the final product done so soon. Give us till the end of tomorrow.” The rest of the heads are having a great time watching Namjoon and Byeol Yi go at it, like they haven’t been in this situation before. He wants to roll his eyes, but he remembers he has to be professional.
From the head of the conference table, Beom Seok is watching them closely. He knows better than to get between Namjoon and Byeol Yi when they argue, but he can see he’s enjoying it. His brother is sadistic, of that Namjoon is sure.
“I need it by the end of the day so I can send it to my people tomorrow.” Byeol Yi lays down the ultimatum, hands crossed on her chest to show her authority. She was a powerful woman who did not cower in the face of anyone, even Beom Seok himself, and it often caused Namjoon a lot of trouble.
“I can’t.” He says. She tries not to roll her eyes as she elaborates.
“We’re having issues with printing and we need to give them extra time to get the issues out. I can’t wait a day longer.” There it is: a problem Namjoon doesn’t want to deal with. He remembers the advice he gave to Jin more than thirty minutes ago and knows that he’s going to have to break that. He can’t risk printing not getting the issues to the public in time. It’ll put their reputation at stake.
From the corner of his eye he can see Jin staring at him, waiting for Namjoon to make the final call. It seems he’s taking Namjoon’s advice seriously and won’t say anything without going through Namjoon first. With a heavy heart he decides to relent.
“Tomorrow, first thing in the morning. I’ll have a couple of my people stay late to finish it, but no sooner.” It’s a compromise. If Byeol Yi wants to fight it, she’ll look like she’s being too demanding. Therefore, she just nods and lets it be.
“Tomorrow morning I’ll be expecting that email,” is the last thing she says before sitting back down. Namjoon nods, knowing he doesn’t want to start another argument with her. Byeol Yi is a menace, but a great worker. He knows KD wouldn’t be the same without her.
The rest of the meeting drones on, Namjoon not really paying attention to anything that doesn’t concern him. He asked Jin to take notes of the important stuff so Jin can start to get used to these meetings. He’s currently avidly paying attention, jotting things down as others talk. Namjoon doesn’t want to admit it, but Jin’s a great worker. The man knows what he is doing, that’s for sure.
It’s disappointing that, maybe, Namjoon would have liked him if they didn’t have a history. Maybe in another life they could be friends.
The meeting ends soon enough and everyone is leaving to go back to their departments. Byeol Yi makes sure to give him a pointed stare and to remind him of the deadline as they walk out; it’s as if she expects Namjoon to forget the minutes he leaves.
Jin eyes him curiously, and Namjoon knows there’s a question lingering there.
“Okay,” he says in defeat, “we sometimes cave into Byeol Yi’s demands.”
The quick laugh that Jin lets out seems spiteful to Namjoon, but he can’t say he hasn’t missed that sound. Then it’s gone again as soon as it came, and Jin is composing himself once again. After all, they’re not on friendly terms.
He ends up telling the team, as soon as they get back from the meeting, the bad news. There’s lots of groans and complaining while Namjoon explains why he couldn’t push the deadline further. Luckily, they’re used to working under pressure and eventually give in to his demands, or more like Byeol Yi’s demands.
Namjoon tries not to grimace as he goes over to Seungcheol, knowing he had told the younger man to not stay late. However, that was before he was forced to compromise. Seungcheol is working at his desk, happily typing away as Namjoon approaches him. He looks up as his boss stops beside him.
“Let me guess, you want me to stay late?” He’s asking with a smile on his face and Namjoon can’t help but give him a sympathetic look.
“Sorry Cheol,” he apologized profusely, “My hands are tied at this point. We need it done by tomorrow morning.”
Seungcheol waves him off. “It’s no big deal, sir. I can stay as long as need be. I’ll just tell Jeonghan I’ll be home late tonight.”
Ah yes, Jeonghan. Namjoon had forgotten about Seungcheol’s significant other and now he feels worse. He hates that he has to keep Seungcheol from spending time with loved ones, or any of his employees for that matter. That’s why he is always adamant about pushing the deadline as far back as possible. It keeps them from staying late in the office.
He apologizes once again to Seungcheol before retreating to his office, hoping he’ll have some peace. Naturally, seconds after he’s sitting at his desk there’s a knocking at his door. He wants to scream: is it too much to ask for a little bit of peace?
Jin opens the door, but only pops his head like he’s in a hurry. It seems like the world doesn’t want him to have peace or to be rid of Jin for even a second.
“What is it?” Namjoon asks, voice strained and full of exhaustion. He doesn’t really care if Jin hears it, maybe it will make the man leave him alone faster.
“I’m just letting you know that I can stay late to help with the deadline.” It’s a nice offer, but not one that Namjoon wants to take at the moment.
“That’s fine, Seungcheol and a few others are staying already. We don’t want to overwork you your first week here, you will have enough work in the coming weeks,” Namjoon expresses politely. It is a valid reason, but it’s not the reason Namjoon doesn’t want him to work. He’s tired of seeing Jin at the office; he doesn’t want to see him anymore than he has to.
Jin looks like he’s about to protest, but then he seems to decide against it. Instead he just nods and excuses himself, leaving Namjoon alone in his office once again.
He closes his eyes for a second, taking a deep breath to calm his growing nerves. Byeol Yi really had to go ruin his day. Now he has to stay until probably midnight to finish the magazine. He would send everyone else home around 9PM if they were still working on it and he’d stay until midnight. Namjoon makes a mental note to ask Seungcheol to buy him a coffee during his lunch break so he can survive all night.
His phone rings, breaking Namjoon out of his spells, and he groans.
He answers the phone, not bothering to see who is on the other line.
“Give me some good news,” is the first thing he says.
Kihyun laughs into the receiver. “It’s one of those days huh?”
Namjoon lets out a sigh of relief, if Kihyun is calling him that means that there is some good news. He works with networking and is in charge of helping them book interviews with celebrities. He wonders what interview he had been able to pull off now.
“You could say it’s been a day,” Namjoon mutters.
“I heard Byeol Yi gave you an ultimatum at the meeting earlier,” Kihyun lets out an airy laugh; he finds the situation amusing since it doesn’t affect him. The other man has never been on the receiving end of Byeol Yi’s wrath, and Namjoon kind of wishes he had. He knows that then Kihyun would be a little more sympathetic with him.
“Yeah, well neither of us had a choice, but now I’m probably gonna end up staying until midnight.” He rubs his temples. “So what’s up? I know you didn’t call me to gossip, have any good news?”
Kihyun hums happily. “As a matter of fact, I do.”
This causes Namjoon to sit up straight in his chair, his past worries forgotten. Good news is what he needs at the moment.
“What is it?”
“Well,” Kihyun drags out for dramatic effect and Namjoon wants to tell him to hurry up. He doesn’t, knowing Kihyun will make him wait longer if he does. “I was able to get an interview with Agust D and J Hope and Jungkook.”
“Kihyun, I could kiss you right now,” Namjoon exclaimed into the receiver and the other man just laughs.
“I’m sure Hyunwoo would be happy to hear that.” Hyunwoo, Kihyun’s husband was a nice man, but he didn’t want to get on his bad side. The man was built like a lumberjack, and Namjoon couldn’t compete.
“I would never,” Namjoon laughs too, giddy with excitement, “so how did you manage to convince them so easily?”
“Believe it or not, Yoongi and I are close friends,” Kihyun explains and at this Namjoon raises his eyebrow even though the other man won’t be able to see it. It’s surprising that Kihyun is on a first name basis with Agust D.
“Oh?” Namjoon asks, purely curious at this point.
“Yeah, we met in high school and when he graduated he went underground.” There’s a pause and Namjoon knows something is coming. No, he doesn’t need any bad news right now. “But there is a catch.”
Namjoon groans. “There’s always a catch. What is it?”
“Yoongi says he wants to work exclusively with Jimin, says he liked the piece he did with Heize and thinks only Jimin can capture his story effectively.”
That’s it? Namjoon lets out a sigh of relief; he can do that. “That’s fine, but he’ll need a couple assistants. We can arrange that, let him know we will be waiting for his availability to set up an interview.”
Kihyun hums in confirmation. “Sounds good, don’t let Byeol Yi bully you too much.” Before Namjoon can get in another word, the other man is hanging up the phone on his end.
Namjoon takes a moment to soak it all in. Did they really get Agust D to agree to an interview for their January issue? He lets out a little victory dance in his chair, too excited to notice that Taehyung and Jimin are watching him from the glass.
He looks to see them laughing at him, but he’s too happy to care. Instead, he motions for them to come. They scurry into his office, too curious for their own good.
“Sounds like you got some good news boss,” Taehyung is the one to speak and Jimin just follows after him.
“I did in fact,” Namjoon says, he feels like teasing them, “see I just got off the phone with Kihyun.”
At the mention of Kihyun both their eyes light up. They know what that means. Namjoon pauses for dramatic effect, pretending to be more interested in his fingernails then their conversation. Jimin is the first one to cave.
“Tell us already, hyung,” he whines and it’s hard for Namjoon to say no to his younger brother.
“Well, Kihyun says we’re a go for the Hopekook interview, and,” he pauses again, can see Jimin tense in his seat, “and Agust D agreed to do the interview as long as Jimin is the one to conduct it.”
The happy scream Jimin lets out is enough for Namjoon to forget that he has to stay late.
There’s not enough words to describe my love for you, my little moon.
Reality is their worst enemy.
Namjoon has been ignoring him since he started. Jin knows that it’s fault and he can’t expect Namjoon to like him, but it still hurts him a little inside. He knows he shouldn’t be trying to get close to Namjoon in the first place,
And he’s not actively trying, but it’s part of their job to work together. They can’t ignore each other forever.
He sighs in his desk chair, looking at the clock to see its almost 5. Jin and most of the other workers will be leaving the office soon, only leaving those who are working on finishing the magazine behind. Despite his best efforts to be a Good Samaritan, Namjoon has decided that he doesn’t want Jin to stay late. He gave Jin such a lame excuse, but he was able to see right through it. Perhaps it was for the better, he shouldn’t burn out too quickly.
Five o’clock comes by quickly, and Jin packs his laptop into the backpack he always carries with him. When he walks out of his office, he sees Seungcheol, Namjoon’s PA, looking a little worse for wear.
“You Okay?” He asks him, causing the other man to jump back in fright. It seems he was zoned out.
“Ah, Mr. Kim, I’m fine. Just a little tired didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.” He lets out a small smile and Jin wonders how the youth are still able to smile despite the building pressure they face.
Jin thinks for a moment. “I’m leaving for the day, but I can drop by the convenience store and get some coffee before I go home?” It’s a simple offer, nothing outrageous, but Seungcheol is refusing adamantly like he had offered to give him a million dollars.
“It’s okay, I will live. I don’t want you to go out of your way for me.”
Jin shrugs, showing him that it’s not a big deal. Now that Seungcheol has told him no out of politeness, he wants to do it even more. Even if he can’t stay to help them, at least he can help them in some form.
“It’s okay, I’ll get something for everyone who’s staying. I feel bad that I won’t be staying, it’s the least I can do.”
Seungcheol looks like he’s going to refuse again, but Jin doesn’t let him. He’s already walking out of the door. The convenience store isn’t far from their office. There’s a few around the office, so he decides to walk there. Jin takes the time to enjoy the cool fall breeze. It’s not extremely cold yet, and he relishes that. He forgot how much he missed Korean seasons.
The convenience store worker greets him with a tired welcome, and Jin goes about finding the items he’s going to buy. He knows that five people will be staying late, therefore, he grabs five coffees. They’re americanos, hopefully everyone will like them. He passes the packaged food aisle and considers it for a moment. In the end, he settles on getting some packaged kimbap for them to eat later. Who knows how long they will be working and they’ll need their energy to stay up.
A few minutes later, he’s gently dropping his food on the cashiers counter. The young man rings him up slowly, obviously tired from work, and Jin doesn’t complain. He’s probably has had to deal with nasty customers and Jin won’t be one of them. As soon as he’s done ringing up and giving him the total, Jin is putting his black card into the chip reader. The transaction takes less than a minute.
He’s out of the convenience store and walking back to the office in no time, bag of goodies in hand. It doesn’t take him long to walk to the elevator and take it to the third floor. In no time he’s walking out of the elevator and running straight into someone’s chest.
They quickly place a hand on his upper waist to keep him from falling. Jin looks up to see Namjoon, looking at him, eyes wide. As soon as they both realize who it is, they’re breaking apart as quickly as possible. Jin tries to hide the redness in his face; he definitely doesn’t need Namjoon to see it, how much he misses his old lover’s touch.
“What are you still doing here?” Namjoon asks, his voice sounding a bit accusatory, almost like Jin isn’t supposed to be there even though he works there.
Jin holds the plastic bag in front of Namjoon, he figures that he’ll just give it to him and be on his way. It’s not like it matters who receives it as long as everyone gets their coffee and food at the end of it. Plus, he needs to leave so he can sort out his feelings. It’s been a long week, and all he wants to do is process alone.
“Give this to Seungcheol,” he says, voice a little more demanding than it should have been. Before Namjoon can respond, probably with some snarky remark, Jin is turning on his heels and walking back into the elevator. He’s shaking when the doors are closed and he’s trying to press the button for the ground floor. Maybe coming back to Seoul wasn’t his best idea, but it’s too late to back out.
Reality truly is more terrifying than dreams.
The next day he’s a little bit more composed; he went home and took a relaxing bath to calm his nerves and slept early. Jin felt a little bad because he knew the others were working late, but he blamed it on Namjoon’s refusal more than anything. He only hopes they all got enough rest last night.
That’s why he’s surprised when he comes into the office, and the atmosphere has changed completely. For the entire week he’s been working there, they have all been like soulless creatures trying to end their suffering. Now it’s like a switch has been flipped.
When Jin opens the door to the department he sees twenty odd bright faces turn to him with a smile. It’s shocking almost, like a reverse horror movie and he wonders if he’s in the right department. These definitely aren’t the people he met a week ago.
“Good morning, sir!” It’s Seungcheol who greets him with more enthusiasm than he had yesterday and this Jin finds a little more believable. There’s something about Seungcheol that radiates positive energy wherever he goes, no matter how tired the younger man looks.
“Good morning Seungcheol,” Jin greets, looking around the office for another take, “everyone seems to be cheery this morning.”
Seungcheol lets out a hearty laugh. “The deadline period is over, just give us another three weeks.”
Jin accepts this explanation without a second thought, remembering the early days he spent in Vogue before he was used to the late nights and busy schedules. It is all a part of their job and they sign up for it the second they sell their soul to a magazine. Kind of morbid, but that’s business, baby.
Jimin and Taehyung are the next to greet him, both with conniving smiles on their faces that has Jin questioning them. While Jimin has been nice to him since he started working here, Taehyung has been a little more reserved especially given he and Namjoon’s history. Therefore, the smile on his face cannot bode well.
“Morning, sir,” they greet simultaneously and if Jin didn’t know they weren’t technically related, he would have assumed they were twins or something by how in sync they sound.
Jin raises an eyebrow, expression guarded for what is to come. “Good morning, what’s up?”
Jimin giggles and he definitely doesn’t like the sound of that. “Why do you think something is up?”
Taehyung matches Jimin’s giggle with a chuckle of his own, “nothing is up, hyung.” And that's when Jin realizes that something is indeed up, because Taehyung has not once referred to him as hyung when he returned.
He sees that they are hiding something behind their back and is not quick enough to move before he hears a loud pop, and roars of surprise ringing through the office. The confetti sticks to his clothes, and he might be mad if he isn’t so surprised by the whole situation. He’s baffled, unable to get out words, but luckily Jimin does it for him.
“We never got a chance to formally welcome you to the KD family,” Jimin explains and it all clicks in Jin’s head. They had been in the middle of the busiest part of their monthly season, and weren’t able to give him the warmest of welcomes. Jin had not minded, he honestly didn’t need to have a fuss made over him. It seems, though, that Jimin and Taehyung have other plans.
“Don’t you think it’s a little too late?” Jin tries to protest, “the novelty has worn off.”
Taehyung and Jimin adamantly shake their heads. It’s cute, like two kids trying to convince their parents that they are actually in the right.
“It’s never too late for a welcome party,” Taehyung sing-songs, “Plus Beom Seok says that we can put it on the department costs~ so you can’t say no.”
Ah the catch, there’s always a catch. Leave it to Beom Seok to find ways to make Jin’s life more miserable than it already is. He knows that Jin is not a big fan of social events, and he purposely had this welcome party planned so he would be forced to mingle. It’s all an elaborate scheme to remind Jin of his place, he’s sure of it.
However, there’s really not much he can say only accept it. He’ll look like an asshole if he declines, and he doesn’t want to cause animosity in the office. And, well maybe he can forget about his introvertedness for just a night. Might as well make the best of a crappy situation so he sighs in defeat.
“All right, you win,” he relents and the whole office seems to break out into cheers. It is a good way to celebrate the completion of another issue, so maybe it’s for the better. He just hopes the day will go smoothly until then. Of course, reality always finds a way to make his life miserable.
It’s only a couple of hours into their work day, and Jin seems to be having a good day. He wouldn’t mind it if all his days were like this, but naturally that moment of peace doesn’t last long. If there is one thing he is coming to realize from his week working at KD, is that none of them can predict the spontaneity that is the KD department.
He’s drinking iced coffee he brought this morning when his office door is forcefully pushed opened to reveal, Taehyung and Jimin followed by a disgruntled Namjoon. Jin has had Jimin and Taehyung in his office, but he’s never had Namjoon. It’s a surprise to him and he doesn’t know how to react.
“Can I help you, gentlemen?” he settles for. It’s a neutral response, and he hopes it doesn’t show the irritation he’s beginning to feel inside. So much for his peace.
“Actually yes,” Taehyung is the one to speak even as Namjoon tries to protest. Jimin shushes him so his brother can speak.
“Do you know how to use a DSLR?”
Jin rolls his eyes, of course he knows how to use a DSLR and he tells Taehyung just that. The huge smile that appears on his face is enough to have Jin regretting his choice, and by the look on Namjoon’s face, he seems to be regretting it too.
That’s how he ends up in Namjoon’s car ten minutes later with the DSLR in his lap. Turns out that Namjoon had forgotten about an interview he had booked in advanced until Byeol Yi called him this morning to remind him. The person they’re going to interview is a famous singer and actress and just happens to be Byeol Yi’s significant other.
Jin has met Solar before, so he’s excited about this shoot and interview. He can tell that Namjoon is not excited to be working with Jin by the way his hands are curled tensely around the steering wheel. The drive to Gangnam is silent, and Jin doesn’t know what to do except look out the window to see the city he left six years ago. Not much had changed, and Jin is thankful to have some consistency in his life.
The car ride is awkward, to say the least, and Jin cursed Jimin and Taehyung for roping him into this. It turns out everyone else is busy with other assignments and they offered up Jin like a sacrificial lamb. Namjoon had tried to stop them by the looks of it, but the two younger men were wild and out of control. Leave it to them to make the exes work together more than they already are. It’s quite unsettling.
Part of him knows that this formal animosity can be avoided if he just tells Namjoon the truth, but it’s not a decision for Jin to make. He made his choice when he left for New York six years ago, and he will have to live with it, even if it breaks his heart to see Namjoon act so cold towards him.
Seoul traffic can be horrible and today is one of those days. Namjoon taps impatiently on the steering wheel as he waits for the light to turn green. There are cars in front of him and they’re moving at the slowest pace possible. Their appointment with Solar is in thirty minutes and they still have to set up in the coffee shop. Jin hopes they will have enough time.
He notices that Namjoon has an interesting habit when he is nervous or under stress. The man tends to grip at the chain around his neck that holds a simple ring. Jin wonders if the ring had belonged to his late mother; a memorabilia of the past. Namjoon had never talked much of his mother when they were together, but Jin knew that he loved her so much.
Traffic finally starts to move and they are able to move some meters before they’re stopping again. It’s frustrating, and Jin can only watch Namjoon get more and more frustrated. They aren’t too far from the meeting point, but with this traffic they won’t make it on time. That’s how Jin gets a bright idea.
“Namjoon, I’m getting out of the car,” Jin tells him and the other man looks at him in bewilderment.
“What do you mean?” he asks, but Jin is already grabbing the camera and other equipment from the backseat.
“Jin, what are you--” Jin is already opening the door to the car despite Namjoon’s growing protests.
“I’ll meet you at the cafe once you get out of traffic. Don’t take too long.” He’s climbing out of the car as the traffic light turns green, so he’s rushing out. Namjoon tries to protest once more, but Jin is closing the door on him. He quickly gets out of the street before the cars can honk at him.
It’s a wild idea, sure, but they don’t have time to waste. He can walk faster than Namjoon can drive and park his car, therefore, he can make their appointment on time. He doesn’t want to keep Solar waiting.
The cross walk turns green and he’s walking across the street walking as fast as he can with the equipment in his hand. The dslr is light enough, but the tripod is heavy; he tries his best not to drop it as he runs. Jin never imagined he would be doing something so crazy for his work, and he had only been there for a week. Truthfully, he doesn’t know why he’s doing this, but a voice in his head tells him that it’s for Namjoon. Not that he will ever admit it to himself.
Soon, the coffeeshop comes into sight and he’s sighing in relief. He hopes that Namjoon is closer to parking the car and will get there soon enough. Jin walks through the doors of the coffee shop, greeting the hosts as soon as he walks in. Once they realize who Jin this, they are escorting him to a private room. It seems Solar is already inside, so he’s glad that he decided to step out of the car.
“Jin,” she greets him as soon as she sees him walk into the room, “this is a surprise. What are you doing here?” The actress smiles at him kindly, and watches as he places the tripod case and DSLR on the table.
“I’m actually here to interview you with Kim Namjoon,” he says, but she must realize that from the equipment he has carried in.
“Wait you’re with KD now?” Solar asks curiously, “what happened with Vogue?”
It’s an honest question because last time they had seen each other, Jin was interviewing her for the cover of Vogue. He slightly winces, not wanting to relive the torment he has had to put up with for the past week.
“Well, I happened to get a better offer here, and it’s been a while since I’ve been home, so I took it,” he replies nonchalantly and Solar smiles at him.
“It is true, when we talked you said you hadn’t been back to Korea since you left for New York.” She lazily lounges in her seat and looks at him, eyes sparkling with curiosity. He knows that some kind of outrageous question is going to come out of her mouth, he’s used to her questions. She would do the same thing when they were working on the Vogue issue; she is a curious woman and Jin can’t fault her for that.
Solar wiggles her eyebrows at him, “anything new? Any love interests?” Jin can’t help but feel a little taken aback from the question; out of all the things she could have said, she says this. Maybe she sees the long pause or the way his cheeks flush a little, but she’s letting out a triumphant laugh.
“I knew it, that’s the real reason you came back to Korea.”
Jin quickly denies it. “No you’re wrong, it’s not!”
She rolls her eyes. “Please last time we talked, you said you would never leave New York, but now you’re back in Seoul. So who is it? That stuffy Director of Kim Publishing? Or possibly Kim Na-“
Before she can properly finish that sentence, the door is opening and Namjoon is walking in the door. Solar’s eyes lit up but Jin does his best to keep her from saying anything.
“My apologies for the delay, Miss Solar, I was stuck in traffic. I see you have met my assistant already.” Namjoon says smoothly as he bows to Solar.
Jin tries his best not to roll his eyes at the word ‘assistant’. Is that what Namjoon is reducing him to even when they’re technically almost equals in the office. Solar smiles brightly at Namjoon, and doesn’t seem to notice the tension. She does however give Jin a subtle look that he tries to ignore.
“It’s no worries, Jin and I were just catching up.” She says smoothly, her voice beautiful and velvety. This is her persona, not much different from her regular self, but more refined and classy.
Namjoon raised an eyebrow at this. “You two know each other?”
Jin clears his throat, feeling like he needs to butt into the conversation before Solar says something outrageous. “I worked with her for a Vogue exclusive.”
“Ah,” is all Namjoon says, and decides to redirect the conversation, “Well then, shall we begin?”
Solar claps her hands in excitement, “Yes, Let’s.”
They spend the next hour and a half doing a photo shoot and interviewing Solar. Jin is in charge of setting up the tripod so the camera is stable. They first start with the photo shoot. Solar had been prepared by her team before coming to the coffee shop, so they only had to worry about finding good lighting.
Jin has done this multiple times with Vogue, so he is an expert at it. It takes him no time to find the best lighting in the room and set up the camera so they can take photos. They want Solar to pose naturally, looking like an average citizen. It’s part of showing the humanity in idols and actors, while they are often seen as manufactured and fake, the reality is a little more grey than that. This issue of the magazine, they want to bring out the best and the worst in idols.
Solar smiles throughout the whole thing. She’s wearing minimal makeup and clothes she picked out herself. Her fashion is classy and chic even when stylists don’t dress her, but it’s more mellowed down. Jin still finds it beautiful.
The photo shoot ends in about twenty minutes because Solar is actually really good at this. She’s a professional; she’s done more interviews than Jin has written magazines, he’s sure of it.
Next is the interview which Namjoon handles himself. Jin is in charge of filming it so they can go back and look at it later when they are writing the article. Namjoon looks highly professional in his two piece business suit as he begins his interview with Solar. The interview itself goes smoothly. Namjoon is a great interviewer and Solar is great at feeding off other people.
Jin thinks they look good together, both refined and dignified. The way Solar laughs at Namjoon’s cheesy jokes and Namjoon smiles when she answers beautifully, is enough to have something tug in Jin’s chest. If he didn’t know Solar was dating Byeol Yi, he would think that they have perfect chemistry. He tries not to think about it as he continues to focus on recording the interview.
It’s all done in another thirty minutes. Namjoon is thanking Solar for her time while Jin is putting the equipment back in its proper cases.
“Thank you so much for your time Miss Solar,” Namjoon says and Solar giggles.
“Thank you so much for the interview, I’m so excited to be a part of this. It’s really exciting.”
“It truly is,” Namjoon comments, “I’m hoping we will get a positive reception for this issue. It is a heavy topic.”
Solar laughs again. “Can’t be as heavy as January’s issue. Byeol Yi told me about it and I’m looking forward to it.”
Jin looks up at this. He has heard vaguely of January’s issue from Jimin, but he hasn’t really been able to keep up as he’s been busy with trying to get into the groove of things. However, he’s really looking forward to it from the way Jimin has gushed about it.
“We’re hoping to start the year off with a best seller, and we’re getting a lot of celebrities who are open about their sexuality to be in the issue.” Namjoon responds cooly, and Solar smiles.
“Well if you need someone else to interview, you know where you can find me.” It’s a gracious offer and Namjoon didn’t seem to be expecting it.
“Are you sure? You aren’t.” She’s not officially out. Solar doesn’t talk much about her sexuality in the public eye, preferring to keep it all private. From what Jin knows, she and Byeol Yi’s relationship is only known to those close to them.
“No worries, I’ve discussed with Byeol Yi and we think this will be good for us. Just give me a call.”
Namjoon nods and bows once again, ready to leave. Perhaps he sees Jin struggling with the equipment because he says, “give me a minute and I’ll bring the car around.”
Jin nods dumbly as Namjoon walks past him, leaving him with a grinning Solar.
“Ooh, I get it now,” she’s saying and Jin really doesn’t know what she is getting.
“What?” He asks dumbly, causing her to roll her eyes.
“Come on, Jin,” she drawls, voice teasing, “it’s obvious you have an eye for Kim Namjoon”.
Jin looks at her in bewilderment and almost drops the equipment he is carrying. Almost. He doesn’t want to break the camera, especially when replacing them can be expensive for the company.
“I don’t know what you’re saying,” he sputters. Of course, Solar doesn’t believe him.
“Please. I noticed a tension though, so there might be some history. Perhaps old lovers?” Curse Solar and her stellar intuition. He knows that he can’t really hide it from her because she’ll smell the lie a mile away, so he sighs.
“Ex? Bad breakup?” He winces at how close she is to the truth.
“You could say that,” Jin says with a sigh, but Solar somehow still looks optimistic. She shrugs nonchalantly and takes Jin’s hands in her own, offering her best look of sincerity.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to believe in Second Chances. Don’t lose hope.” It’s simple advice but it continues to ring in Jin’s head as he walks out of the coffee shop and into Namjoon’s car. He tries not to let it consume him, but wishful thinking makes him hopeful for a minute. Could they really have a second chance or would Jin be chasing the impossible?
He knows the answer to that, but he doesn’t want to let himself believe it.
Jin is fucked, truly, absolutely fucked. He doesn’t really understand why he agreed to a welcome party this morning. It’s one of the things he hates most in the world, being the center of unwanted attention. It’s even worse now that he had Jimin and Taehyung smiling mischievously at him from the door of his office. Jin knows that his fate is sealed and not in a good way.
“Hyung~ are you ready,” Jimin sing-songs and Jin is almost going to tell him no. It can’t be five yet, the day can’t be over so quickly. A quick glance to the clock he has set on his desk, informs him that it is, in fact, pastpassed five. He can do nothing but groan internally and accept his fate, well after protesting a little more.
“You really don’t have to do this,” Jin tells them even if it’ll fall to deaf ears, “I’m fine without a welcome party.”
“It’s too late to back out,” Taehyung informs him him gleefully, “we already made reservations at the restaurant and the others are waiting for us there.” Well, let it be known that Jin tried to get out of this.
He sighs, accepting defeat. How did he expect to win against Jimin and Taehyung combined, they were honestly a forced to be reckoned with.
“Okay let me gather my things and I’ll meet you two outside the building.” They are happy enough to leave him alone as he collects his things, just glad that he has finally accepted the welcome party. Jin’s doing this more for them than for himself; he honestly couldn’t care about such social events, but he know that Jimin and Taehyung needed an excuse to drink after their hectic deadline period.
They should be grateful that Jin actually likes them.
It doesn't take long for Jin to gather his stuff. Before he leaves his office, he puts on his light coat. Seoul is starting to feel a little chilly, especially during the nighttime. Drunk Jin will be thankful for sober Jin’s foresight, he’s sure of it.
As he is leaving the office, he notices that he isn’t the only one there. He assumed Jimin and Taehyung were the last to leave with him, but it turns out Namjoon is there too.
The light in his office is still on and his door is slightly ajar, so Jin doesn’t even have to go into the room fully to see the man typing away on his computer. He doesn’t seem to notice Jin, too preoccupied with the work he’s doing. It’s times like these that Jin remembers how attractive Namjoon is, especially when he is working. Namjoon has always been a hard worker, and it’s one of the traits Jin loves about him so much.
It’s one of the reasons he fell for him in the first place, that and his caring and gentle personality.
He doesn’t realize he’s outright staring at Namjoon, until the man looks up from his laptop to lock eyes with Jin. Jin feels his cheeks turning red, and he turns away quickly but knows he should pretend he was saying goodbye or something.
“The rest of the department are going out to welcome me to the office, will you be joining us?” He doesn’t realize that he’s subtly inviting Namjoon, but it’s too late to take it back. After all, Namjoon is a part of the department and shouldn’t be excluded just because the two of them aren’t on good terms. They could just sit on opposite ends and ignore each other even if that hurts Jin.
Namjoon hums and shrugs in response, “I’m not sure. I have work to get done.” It’s not a refusal but it’s not really the answer Jin wants to hear. He pretends to not care and raises his hand to signal goodbye.
“Then, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Namjoon nods in response and says nothing else, going back to the work he was previously doing. It’s a cold response, but what does Jin expect. He feels a string of emotions bubbling up inside him and decides that maybe drinking is a great idea. So, he leaves the office to meet Jimin and Taehyung outside.
When he arrives, they’re in the middle of a heated(passionate?) conversation.
“Taehyung you don’t understand how huge this is!! And he wants me to personally interview him? I think I’m going to ascend.” Jimin is telling his brother. From context clues, Jin can assume that Jimin is talking about Agust D. The younger man has not shut up about the rapper ever since he found out that they would be interviewing him for January’s issue. It’s been a bet in the office to see how long Jimin will continue to talk about it, and many of his coworkers have tried to avoid saying Agust D’s name in fear of materializing Jimin.
It’s cute to Jin, the celebrity crush is so obvious. He just hopes that Jimin won’t freak out the day they actually have to interview him.
“Yes I understand,” Taehyung is rolling his eyes but it’s all good naturedly. There’s no way he could be or stay mad at Jimin, not even with his constant gushing over his crush. “I think you’re going to cream your pants the day you meet him.”
Jimin gasps and playfully slaps Taehyung’s shoulder. “ TAE.” The other snickers and finally notices that Jin has joined him.
“Ah hyung, you’re here. Let’s get going~” Taehyung hums and Jin lets them lead the way. He has no idea where the restaurant is located.
They have to take a taxi because it’s a bit farther than their usual places, but Taehyung says it’s one of the best kalbi places in Seoul. Jin doesn’t care, he is starting to get hungry and now appreciates that he doesn’t have to go home and cook tonight.
When they arrive, the rest of the staff are waiting with bottles of soju and beer already lining the table. It seems some of them had already started to pregame because a few bottles were empty. The meat was beginning to be cooked on the grill too. He spots Seungcheol and decides to sit near the man, knowing that he should probably not sit next to Taehyung and Jimin. Unluckily for him, they end up sitting really close to him.
“I hope we haven’t scared you off yet,” Seungcheol says as he pours soju into Jin’s shot glass. The older man downs the shot in an instant, feeling the smooth burn of the alcohol. He shakes his head after he is done. Immediately, it is filled back up by Seungcheol.
“It’s gonna take a little more than that to scare me off.” Jin replies causing Seungcheol to laugh. He really likes the other man, he’s a good worker and easy to talk to. Seungcheol has made his week a little bit more bearable and has been helping him get adjusted. They’ve developed somewhat of a friendship.
“That’s good to hear, we wouldn’t want to lose another print journalist so soon,” Seungcheol muses and it makes Jin curious.
“Why did the previous print journalist leave?” He inquires curiously. It’s another person who answers, one of the beauty editors who is known to like to talk. She’s a friendly woman, but it’s best to keep your private life secret from her.
“You didn’t hear?” She says, happily being the one to let Jin in on the gossip, “rumor has it that she tried confessing to our chief and got rejected. She was so embarrassed that she left.”
“Oh?” Is all Jin can say. He has never thought that Namjoon would have a love life outside of him. Part of him has always hoped that he was waiting for him to return; it was purely selfish, Jin knew. Six years was a long time and with their bad breakup, Namjoon had every right to date. It just pains him to think that Namjoon could replace him so easily.
The editor takes his silence as a signal to continue her tale. It’s obvious she’s having the time of her life right now. “Apparently the only reason the chief rejected her was because he is still in love with—“
She’s cut off by another voice and she has the will to look embarrassed.
“Whatever you’re talking about, it’s all baseless rumors. The previous print journalist left because she got a better offer in London, not because of something non work related.” The rest of the staff turn to the new voice. Namjoon is looking a bit disgruntled as he looks at his staff enjoying themselves. The editor quickly apologizes and takes a shot to save face. It seems nobody was expecting for Namjoon to show up, even Taehyung and Jimin looked surprised.
“You made it sir.” It’s Seungcheol who speaks to break the tension and he’s good at it. The room becomes less tense and everyone seems ready to go back to their private conversations.
“I got done early, figured I should come make sure you all didn’t get so drunk that you couldn’t come to work tomorrow.” Namjoon shrugs his coat off and looks for a place to sit. Unfortunately, the only available seat is next to Jin. They look at each other for a moment, and Jin wonders if it would seem too obvious to trade places with someone.
In the end, Namjoon ends up sitting next to Jin even if he doesn’t want to. He can see Jimin and Taehyung trying to hold back their snickers and if he knew better, they planned this. However, it seems almost impossible for the two of them to plan something like this out so he writes it off as coincidence.
Seungcheol laughs at Namjoon’s attempt at a joke and reaches to pour Namjoon a shot of soju. The older man accepts it graciously and downs it as quickly as Jin had earlier. Immediately, Seungcheol refills his glass. It seems they could all use a little drink tonight.
The night is pleasant. Much to Jin’s surprise he is actually starting to enjoy himself. Between the shots, someok, beer, meat, and good company it’s a recipe for a good evening. He even forgets that he and Namjoon have some sort of hatred for each other for the night, seeing as the other man seems to be relaxed amongst his workers. However, they don’t look at each other, engaging in separate conversations. Jin feels so close to him yet so far away at the same time.
From the way the table is set up, their shoulders are almost touching and he tries his best to not get closer. Jin would rather not feel the warmth of Namjoon’s touch, especially after he’s been drinking. He doesn’t want to do anything he regrets.
Jin doesn’t remember how many shots of soju he ends up taking at the end of the night. Jimin and Taehyung had decided to challenge his competitive spirit by seeing who could drink more shots in two minutes. It really wasn’t a good idea considering they had work tomorrow, but he wasn’t going to let the other two win. If he forgot about Namjoon next to him, he was able to be himself. So that’s what he did. By the end of it, Jin was happily pronounced the winner much to Taehyung and Jimin’s displeasure.
He doesn’t expect, however, to be drunk. Somehow between all the fun and socializing he’s having, he has forgotten that alcohol makes people drunk. When he stands up at the end of the evening as they’re all about to leave, he feels himself swooning a little. Seungcheol grabs onto his arm before he can fall.
“You okay, sir?” He asks, voice laced with concern and eyebrows wrinkled in worry.
“ I‘m fine,” he tells him and let’s go of Seungcheol so that he can show he can stand on his own. It works for a minute, but as soon as he tries to walk, he can feel himself swaying. Another strong hand grabs him, but this time he doesn’t see who it is.
“Don’t worry Seungcheol, I’ll make sure he gets home.” Seungcheol nods at his savior and lets himself be taken away. He doesn’t really care who it is at the point, he trusts all of them to take him home safely. Or so he hopes. If Jin ends up on the front cover of some newspaper tomorrow, it’s his own fault, nobody else’s.
His savior leads Jin outside to their car. Whoever it is is really strong and is able to open the car door and gently place the intoxicated Jin inside. Jin lets himself sink into the car seat. In his inebriated state, it feels like the most comfortable seat in the world and soon his eyes are closing as the car pulls out of the lot.
The next thing he knows, his savior is asking for his house keys and Jin reaches into his pocket to produce them. The person takes it from him and opens the door, the light switch turning on instantly. Jin blinks and tries not to let the light mess with his current sensitivity. It’s not long before he’s lying on his bed, not really sure how he ended up there in the first place.
Next, he’s dreaming, dreaming of happier memories, dreaming of a love he wished he had not thrown away so easily. It hurts his heart because all he wants in the world is for his love to return. It’s his fault, it will always be his fault.
“Joonie,” he calls in his sleep, wishing he could take back the six years of anguish, the six years he was separated from the only person he’s ever loved romantically. If only those six years were a dream, if only he could wake up tomorrow and be back in Namjoon’s arms. Reality is always worse than dreams.
In his drunk and sleepy state, he never realizes that Namjoon is still with him when he cries out in his sleep.
If you would like to see my other none ao3 works, you can find me on twitter as @elreyoongi
Hope you enjoyed the chapter.
Chapter 3: New York
Hello, here is the long awaited chapter 3! I'm sorry for the long wait, but I promise it's worth the wait.
This chapter is currently not completely beta'd (my beta is working on it as well speak) so if you read the chapter before it's finished being edited, I'm sorry!
I hope you enjoy it <3
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Joonie, let’s get married one day.
It feels a little lonely.
Namjoon is the first one in the office like always, but this time it is a little different. After their heavy drinking last night, he knows nobody will show up on time. He should scold them, but maybe he’ll have a little leniency; he’s not sure yet.
He grips the ring around his neck and is thankful he didn’t drink much last night. After the night he went out with Jimin and Taehyung for Jimin’s birthday he’s tried not to drink that much. Namjoon can still remember the horrible hangover and the unwelcomed reunion that came with it.
If he’s going to have to deal with something like that again, he would rather be sober. Namjoon doesn’t know why he has a feeling in his gut, but he feels like something big is going to happen. He doesn’t know what it’s going to be, but it’s another reason why he decided not to drink last night.
There was also the fact that he wanted to get back at his younger brothers for getting him drunk that night. The hangover from Jimin’s birthday celebration had been killer and Namjoon is still regretting it. That’s why he made sure to keep pouring drinks into Jimin and Taehyung’s cups last night. It might be a little cruel, but they deserved it.
He doesn’t feel too sorry.
The first one to appear in the office next is Jin. He hears the door open as he has his office door and he looks up to see his ex lover walking into the office rather begrudgingly. His hair looks a little unkempt, but the rest of him is spotless. If it weren’t for his expression, it would look like he just woke up late.
However, Namjoon knows that Jin probably had way too much to drink last night. Between Jimin, Taehyung, and him, they could have run the restaurant out of business. All three of them are very competitive, and they seemed to take it a little too far last night. Not that Namjoon cared, he isn't worried about Jin as long as he does his work well at the end of the day.
Jin looks up and locks eyes with Namjoon. Namjoon raises an eyebrow in curiosity, but all Jin does is bow and greet him good morning. He then waddles to his office.
It seems like Jin doesn’t remember all of last night. Well Namjoon figures it’s for the better. He lets out a sigh and gives his ring another tug. Last night had brought back memories he didn’t want to think about but couldn’t avoid.
Joonie. It was a tug at his heartstrings to hear those words come out of his former lover’s lips.
Joonie and his little moon. It was enough to make Namjoon an emotional mess last night after he left Jin’s apartment. He hadn’t slept well, but still managed to get to work at his usual time. Seeing as Jin didn’t remember anything, it was best to keep it to himself. There was no point in reliving the past after they were finished. No point at all.
“Fuck!” He hears Jin say from the other office and a crash is heard. It seems maybe Jin isn't as put together as Namjoon had thought. He must have a pounding headache…none of them had planned for their hangovers last night.
Briefly, he feels sympathetic but then he remembers who he’s talking about. It’s Jin, the man who broke his heart, he shouldn’t feel sympathetic. So he decides to ignore Jin’s pain in favor of getting some work done.
It doesn’t last long. He can’t stop thinking about what Jin must be going through, so in the end he decides to listen to his heart rather than his brain.
“I’m going to get a coffee,” he calls to Jin as an excuse to walk out of the office. It’s not a total lie, he could use the coffee after his trouble sleeping last night, but he has other plans.
There’s a convenience store not too far from the office, so he walks there enjoying the cool fall breeze. When he enters he goes to get a coffee first, taking his time to find one for himself. He is trying to talk himself out of getting it. It’s honestly difficult, but in the end his conscience wins.
He grabs a hangover drink from the shelf before he can change his mind again. In the end, just because he and Jin didn’t end well doesn’t mean he can’t have sympathy for the man. Plus he still remembers the day Jin bought them all coffee and kimbap when they had to stay late; he considered it a repayment.
In no time he’s back in the office with his plastic bag in hand. A couple more workers have showed up, one of them being Seungcheol. He looks tired as he tries to log onto his work computer. Namjoon places the hangover drink on his desk.
Seungcheol eyes it wearily, “What’s this?”
Namjoon clears his throat and tries to think of an excuse that doesn’t sound awkward. “I need to run out to do some errands, can you give this to Jin for me?”
Seungcheol looks at him funny, because Jin’s office is not that far. Eventually he shrugs and grabs the drink.
“Oh, and don’t tell him it’s from me.” This causes his PA to become more curious but Namjoon doesn’t give him time to answer, he’s walking back out of their department to find something to do for the next ten minutes.
He ends up in one of the bathrooms and washes his face with cold water to help him wake up a little. Namjoon looks at himself and the mirror and wonders who he is and what he wants. Does he still love Jin? Or is this just residual feelings?
Whatever it is, he just hopes Seungcheol gave Jin the drink. He wants to make sure Jin is okay, even if he can’t do it outwardly. It sucks, but love is like that sometimes. He feels lonely. If only he had his love back.
The office is unusually quiet today and it’s mostly because everyone is nursing a hangover from last night. Namjoon hopes to cherish this quiet for a little bit - they are at the beginning of issue season and they’re not close to any deadlines. Of course, his brothers always have to ruin it despite their hangovers.
When he came back from ‘running errands’, his brothers were just entering the office. They had both greeted him without much energy, and Namjoon had let them be. He could use a little peace and quiet. However, it didn’t last long. Ten minutes after he walked back into his office, Taehyung and Jimin were barreling in without knocking.
“We have a problem,” Taehyung is the one to say it as Jimin just looks a little flushed next to him.
“A problem?” Namjoon asks. He puts the celebrity portfolio he was looking at back on his desk; he had an interview with someone very soon and was getting ready for it.
“You see,” Jimin continues sheepishly, cheeks a little red from being flustered, “ we might have accidentally double booked appointments .”
Jimin says it too quickly and Namjoon has trouble understanding what he is saying. Therefore, all he gives them is a puzzled look in response. Taehyung lets out a huge sigh as he tries to explain to Namjoon another way.
“We can’t go to fashion week because we’re working with some models the same week and we can’t reschedule with them.”
Oh . Well that is going to be a problem.
“You two realize how big fashion week is for us?” Namjoon inquires and they nod furiously. Fashion Week, held in New York and other cities, was an annual event that happened throughout the year. The upcoming one was at the beginning of November, about a week away. They always sent a representative to attend the event and see if they could write an article about the fashion designers and the models who attended. This year was especially big because they would be having two Korean women walking on the runway. They had to attend.
“We do, and that’s why we found a solution,” Jimin announces amd this catches Namjoon’s interest. He really wants to know what they came up with.
“Well you see,” Taehyung begins, speaking softer than usual, “we looked at everyone’s schedules and we found out that both you and Jin are free.”
“So,” Jimin continues before Namjoon can say anything, “we’ve already changed all the flight and hotel information to be under your names’ and you’ll be going to New York for a week.”
“Surprise!” Taehyung ends it. Namjoon blinks.
“You What?” He manages to spit out, too shocked to say anything else.
Jimin looks at him funny like he can’t believe Namjoon didn’t hear them the first time. “We took the liberty to—”
“Yes I know what you said,” Namjoon interrupts, “but you really did that without consulting me or Jin first?!”
“Well,” and Taehyung has the gall to look a little sheepish as he continues, “we figured you would agree since you don’t have anything special going on.”
“Plus,” Jimin is quick to add, “isn’t this a great opportunity for our editor in chief and our print journalist to get to know each other better?”
Namjoon is close to telling his brothers to get out of his office, but instead he rubs his temples to calm down. Leave it to his brothers to get him to go across the world alone with his ex. How did they think this would be a good idea? He and Jin hardly talk to each other in the office unless they have to. He believes even the other employees have noticed that they aren’t really looking to be anything but professional. There is no friendship, and Namjoon isn’t looking to change that.
“Did you two honestly think this was a good idea?” Namjoon hisses at them. Taehyung winces a little at his tone, but Jimin, to his credit, doesn’t look fazed as he stares back at Namjoon.
“We didn’t really have a choice unless you wanted to be the only magazine in Seoul to not cover Fashion Week,” Jimin tells him in a very professional tone. “Besides, it’s best to leave it in the past. You and Jin can start over again. Second chances and all that.”
Second chances? Namjoon scoffs and Jimin looks unimpressed at his callous response.
You really think I would give him a second chance after what he did? It hurts and he grabs onto his ring for support. The ring has become his comfort ever since Jin left, it’s a little bit of love he couldn’t have in the past.
“We’re not saying to get back together,” Taehyung adds, “we just want you to have some peace of mind, maybe become friends. This trip will be good for you.”
Namjoon snorts but knows he can’t really protest at this point. He’ll be civil with Jin because he has to be, not because he wants to be. It’s petty, but he has a right to be petty.
Especially after what happened six years ago, especially after that.
Should I look into a ring?
It feels really awkward.
Jin doesn’t know how he got into this situation, but he knows that it’s all Jimin and Taehyung’s fault. He stares at the plane ticket and his passport in his hand and lets out a deep sigh. It’s really too late to back out isn’t it?
They arrived at the airport early in the morning since their flight will leave around 8AM. If all goes to plan, they will be arriving at 10AM, Eastern time. The event will be taking place later in the evening so it will hopefully give them a few hours to freshen up and get rid of their jetlag.
Jin’s not looking forward to it, honestly. He left New York as quickly as he left Seoul, and there are memories best left forgotten there.
Namjoon is standing in front of him as they wait to pass through the security gate, looking straight ahead, basically anywhere but at Jin. He hasn’t said anything to Jin since they met at the airport, and Jin doesn’t have anything to say back. It’s not like either of them have much to say to each other.
Well, Jin could if he ever decides to tell Namjoon the truth. Yet, the truth is often harder to swallow than lies, and Jin has already made his bed years ago. The past should be kept in the past. Or so he keeps telling himself.
It’s not a long wait; they’re able to pass security in less than twenty minutes - it’s not peak travel season, only those with business meetings are out and about. The airport is almost empty, and it feels a little sad. Jin is used to traveling when the airports are bustling with people, sometimes it’s too packed that they can barely zoom past each other as they try to reach their gates.
Right now, it makes the experience a little more awkward, as he has nothing else to focus on but his travel companion. His travel companion who hasn’t said a word to him since they arrived.
The two men quickly check the signs to locate their gate. It’s on the other side of the terminal. Namjoon finally turns to look at him, Jin unable to hide his surprise fast enough for Namjoon not to notice. He can see some sort of emotion run through Namjoon’s eyes, but it’s gone as quickly as it had come. Namjoon clears his throat and motions his heads toward the restaurants.
The thought and sight of food is enough to remind Jin that he hasn’t eaten anything since last night, his stomach growling to indicate that it’s past his lunch time. It’s loud enough for Namjoon to hear, and the other man quirks an amused eyebrow at Jin but doesn’t say anything. Jin tries to hide his growing embarrassment as he begins to stalk toward the restaurants, knowing that even though Namjoon hadn’t said anything he was implying they get breakfast first.
Namjoon follows right behind him.
They end up at a Korean restaurant, both looking for familiarity before they’re forced into U.S. soil and lots of foreign food. Jin doesn’t mind trying other food, but there’s something about Korean food that makes his heart warm inside. Even when he was in New York for all those years, he ate and prepared a lot more Korean food than other food. It helped with his homesickness.
The two of them order their food and after that the table is silent. Namjoon is tapping away at his phone, probably sending last minute emails to people at the company or clients. He’s always working so it’s not unusual to see him walking down the hallway with his phone in his hand. Jin has seen him run into doors or objects resting in the hallway because he’s too engrossed in sending his messages. Thankfully, they’re sitting down right now.
Jin lets his mind wander as they wait for their food, knowing Namjoon will not try to start a conversation with him. He thinks of New York and all the memories he left there, how he left it as soon as Beom Seok had called for him. It’s not like he really had a choice. Beom Seok was not a force to be reckoned with, and Jin was a smart man. It had been sad to tell Anna Wintour that he was leaving, but he had no other choice. In the end, he hopes he had made the right decision. Or at least hopes Beom Seok had made it for him.
New York...New York had been his escape from the harsh reality of the Korean business world. He had felt relieved when he left, even if it meant breaking up with the one person he loved most in the world, because it meant he could be free. Well, as free as Beom Seok would ever allow him until the debt was paid.
Beom Seok was the one who had agreed to let him go in the first place, knowing Jin would be easier to handle in the future if he was given just a semblance of freedom. He didn’t expect it to last for six years. Jin wonders if Beom Seok felt generous or if there was more to it.
Either way, he wishes he could go back to that time in New York where he could miss Namjoon without having to face the reality of his former lover loathing him. He misses the days he would wake up, alone in his studio apartment and call out for Namjoon’s name, wondering if the other man missed him as much as Jin missed him. It was better than the reality of knowing how much Namjoon despised him, but...it was all Jin’s fault in the end.
He had nobody to blame but himself.
The food arrived shortly, and Namjoon finally set down his phone to pick up his chopsticks and eat. There is still no conversation between the two, and Jin wonders if it’s going to be like this the whole trip.
He really hopes it’s not.
Of course, the plane ride is as awkward as their time in the airport. Their seats end up being next to each other, something Jin had been mentally preparing himself for when they arrived at the airport and printed the tickets.
The seats are next to the window, so they’re the only two in the row, making it even more awkward as Namjoon is the only person close enough for him to talk to. Not that Jin would have a conversation with a stranger willingly. He preferred to keep to himself unless he was engaged.
Jin takes the window seat and Namjoon sits on the aisle seat after placing his carry on in the overhead bin. Jin had placed his carry on inside the bin already, but Namjoon slides it to the side a little more roughly than necessary to fit his in. He decides not to say anything, they’re already on bad terms. No need to start a petty argument over luggage.
Namjoon slinks into his seat and the first thing he does is pull his headphones out of his coat pocket. They’re plugged into his phone and in his ears before the flight attendants can finish their safety check. Jin turns his body so he’s facing the window, taking one last look at Korean soil before they’re up in the air.
He won’t admit it to himself, but he’ll miss it even though he hasn’t been home for that long. Jin never expected to leave Seoul this quickly, and he will miss it during the four to five days they are gone. It might not feel like home yet, but it’s his home nonetheless. Bad memories or not.
The flight attendants finish their safety check and begin the safety demonstration. Jin only half pays attention to it, having heard and seen the demonstration a thousand times before. It’s what happens when traveling frequently is part of your job description. Half the time he thinks he would be able to the flight attendants job as well as them. Not that he would want to deal with rude passengers; he commends their ability to remain calm in the face of annoyance. He wishes that were the case for them.
It’s over as soon as it started, and Jin gets comfortable in his seat without reclining it back. They’re about to take off, so the seats need to be in the upright position. He turns to look at Namjoon, but the man has his face turned away from Jin and is presumably fast asleep by the way his chest is rising and falling. He probably didn’t get a lot of sleep last night due to preparing for their flight.
Jin can feel the same level of exhaustion Namjoon must feel slowly creeping into him. He doesn’t remember what time he fell asleep last night, just remembers his alarm waking him up way to quickly for him to have had a good nights sleep.
The plane is taking off and he’s closing his eyes, the sounds of the plane killing him to sleep.
How about we go to the States for our honeymoon?
It feels a little too unbelievable.
Namjoon looks at the front desk clerk of their hotel and tries his best to calm down before he says his next words. It’s not their fault they’re in this predicament, at least Namjoon doesn’t hope so.
“What do you mean there is only one room booked?” He asks in English, thankful that he paid attention to the Friends episodes his mother used to make him watch. Of course, he took English classes in school, but Friends did help him a lot.
The front desk clerk just smiles and offers him a sympathetic look. “I’m sorry sir, but there’s only one room on the reservation.” Her voice is soft, with an accent Namjoon is unfamiliar with pushing through but not enough for Namjoon not to understand her. He’s always been fascinated by the way so many people from all over the world are able to speak English and understand each other despite the other barriers. It’s a beautiful thing, and he can’t deny that in his frustration.
He lets out a sigh. Jin, who is beside him and has listened to the whole conversation, decides to step in. His English is less accented than Namjoon’s. It’s smoother and polished from the time he spent in New York. It’s actually the first time Namjoon has heard him speak English and it leaves him just a little speechless.
“Is there anyway we can book another room?” Is all he asks, but his voice sounds almost overly friendly and it elicits a small giggle from the front desk clerk. Namjoon tries not to roll his eyes at Jin’s unintentional - or intentional - flirtatiousness. He shouldn’t be annoyed anyway; they’re nothing. They have been nothing.
Namjoon expects for the desk clerk to nod and tell them another room is available for them to book, but she shakes her head causing Namjoon’s heart to drop.
“I’m sorry, but we’re currently booked due to Fashion Week. We don’t have any other room available. We are sorry for the inconvenience.”
Namjoon wants to scream. Instead, he gives the woman a curt nod and asks for the hotel key, saying they will be alright. It definitely won’t be alright, but it’s not like Namjoon has a choice in the matter. All the other hotels will probably give them the same answer, and he’s too tired to go fighting now. He’ll suck up his pride for the time being and deal with it. It will only be for a few days. And he’ll take the couch so he doesn’t have to deal with Jin’s arguing. It’ll be a perfect plan.
He thanks the desk clerk - he was raised with manners - and takes the key. Jin follows him to the elevators as their room is located on the eighth floor. They ride up is silent and a little awkward, both of them preparing themselves for the one room.
The more that Namjoon thinks about it, it’s obvious that Taehyung and Jimin only booked one room for themselves. The two of them have been inseparable ever since Jimin’s mother married their father and did almost everything together. This included sharing a bedroom and a bed when they were younger. Taehyung must have not thought about Namjoon and Jin needed another room when he changed the booking...or he did it on purpose.
Namjoon hopes for Taehyung’s sake that it isn’t the case.
The room is close to the elevator so they thankfully don’t have a long walk after their long flight. Namjoon can feel jet lag setting in as he opens the hotel room with the key. Although he tried to sleep most of the flight, he found himself unable to. A nap would be welcomed right now.
They enter the large suite. It has a king sized bed and a couch in the room. As much as Namjoon would like to take the bed, he immediately goes for the couch. He can hear Jin protesting as he does so.
“I’ll sleep on the couch. You can have the bed,” Namjoon informs the other man who looks ready to open his mouth to protest. He just shakes his head and plops onto the couch, his body sinking into the cushions. Damn, this feels so much better than the airplane seats.
“What time do we have to leave?” Namjoon asks Jin. Jin has the entire itinerary for the trip, given to him by Jimin. It’s his job to make sure they get to all the places on time. Jin shuffles and takes the piece of paper out of his pocket.
“If we leave no later than 4:15, we’ll get to the venue on time.”
Namjoon hums and checks the time on the hotel clock. It’s currently 11:30. If he sleeps for around three hours, he’ll still have enough time to get ready for fashion week. It’ll give him enough time to iron his suit and make sure his hair looks spotless. He reaches for his phone, quickly tapping it until he sets multiple alarms to keep him from oversleeping.
“I’m going to take a nap before we leave. You should get some rest too, you don’t want to look dead while we’re at the runway show.”
Jin nods and that’s enough confirmation for Namjoon. He turns around so his back is facing Jin and gets comfortable. The last thing he hears before falling asleep is Jin’s shuffling.
They leave the hotel at exactly 4:15, flagging a taxi down at the end of the hotel. After giving the taxi driver the location, both of them relax into the seats.
Namjoon double checks to make sure there are no wrinkles in maroon, velvet suit. He was going to wear something more simple but Taehyung had insisted he had to look the part. Jin was wearing something a little similar, but it was in a lighter pink color that complimented his skin. He looked rather handsome, but Namjoon would never admit that out loud.
He doesn’t realize he has been staring at Jin until the other man turns to face him, his eyebrow raising in question. Namjoon turns away, trying to keep his face from flushing. It’s not his fault Jin is so attractive...even from an objective standpoint Namjoon can see that. There’s something about Jin that radiates beauty, something in the way that he holds himself that makes him seem almost godly. The first time Namjoon had met him, he believed Jin was a model. When he found out Jin was only a college student like him, he wondered how lucky he was to be able to be on the same level as Jin.
Of course, it wasn’t Jin’s appearance that Namjoon eventually fell in love with. The man had a personality to match his beauty, and it was hard not to become enamored by the man’s silliness and cute stubbornness. He had fallen fast and hard and that’s where he had made his first mistake.
It takes then around forty five to drive through traffic, and they both end up not speaking aside from a few comments regarding passersby they noticed or the game plan for Fashion Week. Both of them had little notepads to take notes while they watched. Namjoon had brought one of the better cameras to take photos of street fashion and some of the runway looks.
They have backstage passes to take photos behind the scenes, to document the whole process that goes into making the runway show possible. Tomorrow they would have to wake up extremely early to see all the magic happen, so they were fine with arriving later than other journalists and photographers today. After all, they had flown all the way from Seoul for this event and were still fighting off jet lag. They deserve just a little leniency.
The taxi stops a few blocks away from the venue, as they area is blocked off. The two of them get off and Namjoon pays the driver, leaving him a good tip for taking them through New York traffic as quickly as possible. They say goodbye to their driver and start their walk to the event, Namjoon readying the camera while they walk.
The two of them have their lanyards already hanging around their neck; Taehyung had acquired them before they left so they wouldn’t have any difficulties getting into the event. Everything was perfect, now all they had to do was do their job.
There’s a light tap on Namjoon’s shoulder, and he looks to see Jin motioning toward a crowd of people. Upon closer inspection he immediately recognizes who it is, Sunmi, one of Korea’s most popular female soloists. He had heard she had been invited to fashion week this year, and it would be great to have her in the magazine. The two of them walk quickly, maneuvering themselves through people in order to get closer to her as possible.
Sunmi has stopped to smile as photographers as they take pictures of her outfit. She has always been fashion forward, expressing that in her music videos and career. Namjoon is able to vary quite a few quality shots before her security team is ushering her inside the building.
“Should we stay out here a little?” Jin asks and Namjoon nods.
“The show doesn’t start for another hour and a half, let’s see if we can catch anymore celebrities before taking our seats.”
They do exactly that, spending another forty minutes waiting for celebrities to arrive and taking pictures. As the crowd starts to die down, they decide it's better to take their seats, the two of them quickly locating the area they are seated at.
It’s not at the front of the runway, but it’s close enough for Namjoon and Jin to have a good view and take pictures. There’s an opening speech by Anna Wintour, and Namjoon turns to look at Jim who is staring forward at his former boss.
Namjoon doesn’t know much about Jin’s time in New York, but the fact he was able to work with the likes of Anna Wintour, one of the best people in the business, is commendable. He must have had such an amazing life in New York; he must have forgotten completely about Namjoon. He tries not to let his thoughts get bitter as he turns his head forward as the show about to start.
They’re here for business, not to remember the past. He lets his mind forget all the memories he had with Jin as the lights turn off and the show begins.
I don’t care where we go, as long as we’re together.
It’s bad luck more than anything.
They had arrived home from the fashion show late last night, and had to wake up early the next morning. They took turns showering so they wouldn’t have to worry about it in the morning and fell asleep in the respective sleeping arrangements. The alarm went off too early for Jin’s liking.
He wanted to hit the snooze button, but Namjoon was already climbing off the couch. Jin had no choice but to take the sheets off of him and roll out of bed. The clock on his nightstand read 5:30AM. It wasn’t terribly early, but given their late night and jet lag, Jin could use a few more hours of sleep.
The man tries to forget his fatigue as he begins to get dressed for the day. Namjoon is in the bathroom, probably washing his face and brushing his teeth, so he takes the opportunity to change into another suit. It’s going to be so uncomfortable wearing this all day, but he’s thankful he’ll be able to take his suit coat off while they’re backstage.
The two quickly finish getting ready, both of them looking more stunning than yesterday. Taehyung had almost forced both of them to adopt a new wardrobe, and Jin didn’t have much complaints. He’d follow Taehyung’s fashion advice for once. At around 6:20 they’re walking out of the hotel and hailing a taxi.
The journey itself takes less time than before since they’re able to beat traffic. Jin is looking forward to seeing the models backstage, it had always been his favorite part of fashion week. When he worked for Vogue, he always volunteered to be in charge of the backstage area and make sure everything was in order. Plus, the models were amazing individuals and Jin admired their work it.
He was not expecting to have his excitement shattered when he saw who was now in charge of the backstage preparations. It must be bad luck, he supposed. Jin tries to keep a smile on his face as he’s greeted by the face of his almost ex-boyfriend, the man’s face lightening up at the sight of him.
“Jin!” He exclaims, handing his clipboard to his assistant so he can rush to Jin with his arms wide open. Jin can’t do anything but smile and give the man a hug in return. He can’t be rude, not in public. Not with his ex coworkers looking at him. The hug becomes more, and Jin remembers that the man has different customs than him. After two customary kisses on his cheek, Jacques starts to pull away. It’s a French custom called un bisou between friends. Jacques had taught him that early on.
It’s an uncommon practice for him, but he became accustomed to the man’s ways. He doesn’t realize how strange it must seem to other Koreans, doesn’t notice the way Namjoon’s eyes narrow at the friendly exchange.
“Hello, Jacques,” Jin says as soon as the two of them pull apart. Namjoon is standing next to him, his expression neutral but Jin knows there’s confusion and wonder under it.
Jacques seems to notice Namjoon next to him, only after he’s given Jin a warm welcome. He regards Namjoon for a minute, but eventually smiles and sticks out his hand.
“Where are my manners, hello, my name is Jacques Leblanc, I am in charge of the backstage area and greeting the journalist. You are?”
Namjoon takes Jacques’ hand and shakes it as is customary. It’s short, but Jin notices how both of them seem to have a tight grip on each other’s hands as they shake it. He tries not to roll his eyes. Men are so weird.
“Hello, I am Kim Namjoon if Kim Publishing,” is Namjoon’s curt reply but it doesn’t stop Jacques from keeping the conversation going. His eyes go wide as he finally makes the connection between Jin and Namjoon.
“Oh, so you’re the one who took our precious Seokjin away from us,” Jacques says offhandedly but there’s a little bit of an edge to his voice. When he found out that Jin was going back to Seoul, Jacques had not been happy and had urged him to stay. Despite the short fling that they had had, Jin had never been too attached to Jacques. He was fine with leaving the man behind and had told him from the beginning that they would never be more than friends. Yet, Jacques seems to not have gotten over it.
Namjoon seems to notice his tone, his eyes narrowing as Jacques says that, but he keeps his expression more neutral. His smile is thin as he gives Jacques a hard expression.
“Your Seokjin?” Namjoon says, his voice neutral and Jacques’ face lights up brighter than a star.
“I mean, Seokjin became part of the Vogue family. It doesn’t matter if he’s working somewhere else now, he’ll always be a part of our family. We shared so many fond memories together, didn’t we Jin?” It’s the inflection in his voice that hides a double meaning Jin immediately catches onto. Namjoon seems to too, by the way he turns his head to look at Jin.
Jin can only smile and nod. He is saved from actually replying as Jacques’ assistant calls for him.
“You’re needed on stage sir,” the assistant remarks and Jacques gives them a sympathetic smile.
“If you excuse me I must get back to work. Jin, I hope we can see each other again before you leave for Seoul. You have my number.”
Jin gives him a smile and a nod, knowing he will not be contacting Jacques before he leaves. It’s partially because he doesn’t have any free time, but he also would like to keep his past in the past. At least that part of his past.
Jin turns to look at Namjoon, his eyes hard and his mouth set in a thin line as he watches the other man leave. Jin vaguely wonders what Namjoon thinks of the man; they’re very different, something Jin held onto when he was with Jacques. All he wanted was to forget Namjoon, but now Namjoon is with him once again. Just not in the way Jin wants.
He doesn’t know why he gets the sudden urge to explain to Namjoon the nature of their relationship. Jin doesn’t owe Namjoon any answers, and yet why does he want Namjoon to know that there was nothing serious between them? It’s the part of his heart that still has feelings for Namjoon that makes him finally say something.
“You know,” Jin starts and Namjoon looks at him in surprise, his interest peaked, “Jacques was nothing more than a coworker.”
Namjoon takes a minute to process the information and scoffs, his expression turning neutral once again. Whatever there was before is gone, and Jin feels his heart drop.
“You don’t have to explain yourself, we aren’t together,” is all Namjoon says, but Jin can hear his heart beginning to crack. However, Namjoon is right. They aren’t together; and they never will be again.
It’s a terrible thought.
They stay backstage for almost 10 hours, talking to the models and taking photos of the process. Jin is excited, the jet lag already past him. He doesn’t feel tired anymore; if anything he’s energized by the aura of the models and seeing people who he once worked with.
He catches a glimpse of Anna, who comes to greet him warmly before taking off to finish some last minute preparations. She’s always busy, so the fact she made time to greet Jin at all was enough for him.
Some of the recurring models at the shows recognize him and come to greet him with warm embraces and kisses on the cheek. Seokjin smiles as he’s greeted by old friends; New York was kind to him and he’ll never forget it. He makes sure to always introduce Namjoon, who smiles kindly at all the models.
A few of them fawn over him, asking him questions that are more personal than professional. Namjoon answers all of them with a vague answer that sounds enticing to them, sometimes using the language barrier as an excuse. When this happens, Jin takes the camera from Namjoon’s arms to take pictures. They can’t both not be working, and it’s not his fault Namjoon is attractive. Of course they would want to flirt with him.
By the end of the night, they’re tired. In between the behind the scenes shoot and the actual runway, Seokjin is ready to call it a night. Nonetheless, the world has other plans. As he and Namjoon are about to exit the venue, he feels a hand on his shoulder.
“Can we talk?” Jacques asks, his eyes looking too serious for Jin to say no. He turns to Namjoon, as if asking for permission. Namjoon shrugs, leaving it up to Jin.
“I’ll be outside waiting, don’t take too long.” Namjoon tells him coldly, leaving Jin with Jacques before he can let out a protest. Jin sighs, turning to give Jacques his undivided attention. Did he expect Namjoon to tell him no?
“What is it, Jacques?” He asks, and maybe his voice is a little more harsh than it needs to be. Naturally, Jacques laughs. He’s used to Jin’s snarky ways, and he’s never minded them.
“Now, haven’t you missed me?” Jacques asks, his voice teasing and Jin wants to roll his eyes. “You left in such a hurry, I didn’t even have time to say goodbye.”
Jin does let himself feel a little guilty for that. When he had heard news from Beom Seok, he had begun packing his stuff in a hurry. Despite giving Anna and Vogue a two weeks notice, he left New York without saying anything. Goodbyes were hard, and he didn’t want to relive the past.
“I’m sorry, I had to leave,” Jin tells him but it’s a crappy explanation and they both know it. Luckily, Jacques doesn’t press more. He’s always been a good friend.
They stay together in a comfortable silence, and Jin wonders if that’s all Jacques wanted to tell him. He’s saved from asking when Jacques continues a few minutes later.
“That’s him isn’t it?” Jin stills, knowing that he’s referring to Namjoon. He didn’t think Jacques remembered the story he had told them when they were both drunk and a little out of themselves. Jacques was the only person he had opened up to about his past, and it only happened because he drank too much. It was the day after that they started becoming more intimate, almost like the man wanted to help Jin take his pain away.
Jin tries not to look to surprised as he gives Jacques a curt nod. “Yes, that’s him.”
This causes a huge smile to appear on his face. “That’s great! Does that mean you two have made up?” He asks, genuinely wanting to know the outcome, but Jin shakes his head to burst his bubble.
“He doesn’t know,” Jin whispers, his voice giving out. He doesn’t want to talk about this now, especially with Jacques. The other man frowns at Jin, giving him a look of disappointment and sympathy.
“Don’t you think he has a right to know?” It’s true...Namjoon does have a right to know, but Jin isn’t ready to tell him. He’s saved from answering, due to another voice cutting in.
“Tell me what?” It's Namjoon’s voice, and Jin’s body turns so quickly to see him, his eyes wide with fear. He doesn’t know how much of the conversation he’s heard, but he looks a little annoyed as he holds his coat in his hand. Namjoon must have forgot it and came back for it, that’s the only explanation. Jin knows he wouldn’t eavesdrop on purpose; that’s not who he was as a person.
Jacques lets out a nervous laugh and pats Jin on the back, seemingly not wanting to get into what he will assume is a lover’s quarrel even when Jin has told them they’re not together.
“If you excuse me, I have some work to do.” Jacques excuses himself, giving Namjoon one last wave as a farewell before he’s disappearing into the crowd.
Namjoon crosses his arms, looking at Jin as if he’s waiting for an answer. Jin doesn’t want to give it to him. Instead, he turns his heel to start walking out of the venue.
He doesn’t expect for Namjoon to grab his arm and keep him from walking any further. Jin flares at him as he stops.
“Namjoon,” Jin’s voice has an edge to it, but the other man doesn’t flinch. He holds his ground, holding onto Jin so he won’t leave.
“Tell me what,” he repeats again, and Jin wants desperately to push him away. Why does Namjoon want to know something that vaguely concerns him? Well it concerns him a whole lot, but Namjoon doesn’t knowit.
“It’s none of your concern,” Is Jin’s airy answer, but that’s not enough to stop Namjoon.
“It is my concern, when I know you two are talking about it,” he replies as calmly as Jin had to him, but this is enough for Jin to snap.
“You listened to the whole thing,” he hisses, his voice rising as he says it, aware that there are still people around but too annoyed to care.
Namjoon blinks, not expecting Jin to react that way. Good, at least Jin caught him off guard right now.
“I didn’t hear it all, but I caught enough to know you were talking about me.”
“It’s still none of your concern, Joon.”
“Yes it is.”
There back and forth goes on for a minute, Jin trying to convince Namjoon that it’s not his problem while Namjoon insists. Something snaps inside Jin, something he hasn’t felt in a long time. It’s anger sure, but it’s pent up frustration from six years of hiding his pain. He knows he isn’t the only one who has had to suffer, but the way he’s done all of this to protect Namjoon has taken a toll on him. He snaps.
“Why do you want to fucking know?” His voice is just enough for other people to hear. Namjoon immediately takes the grip he has on Jin’s shoulder and ushers him outside, the whole time Jin is struggling in his grasp. When they are outside and free of the public eye save a few pedestrians on the sidewalk, Namjoon speaks.
“Because,” Namjoon utters, his voice shaky and full of emotion, “I can’t stand the idea of that man knowing more than me, your lover, the person you left behind Jin! Don’t you think I have a right to fucking know? It hurts me, knowing this man was there for you when I could be!”
This one Jin is the one who blinks. The two of them stare at each other, both surprised at their sudden argument and Jin replaying Namjoon’s confession in his head. He can’t help the flush that begins to cover his face.
Namjoon sighs and lets go of Jin to run his hands through his hair. It’s a frustration habit he picked up from Jimin when they were younger.
Jin finds himself wanting to push Namjoon further, wanting to know what is going inside his head. He should stop himself, stop the hope that is building in his heart before he is let down o ve again. And yet, he asks anyway.
“Did you miss me?” Jin’s voice is barely above a whisper, but Namjoon is still able to hear him. He looks to Jin, their eyes meeting and he can see all the sincerity in them. It sends chills down Jin’s spine.
“Every fucking day.”
That’s enough for Jin’s walls to begin to crumble.
I want to spend the rest of my life with you.
It feels tense. No, it is tense. The tension in the taxi is starting to suffocate Namjoon and all he wants to do is drown himself in some sort of liquor, the horrible hangover from Jimin’s party forgotten.
They didn’t say anything else after Namjoon confessed to missing Jin. Jin turned away, but Namjoon could see that his eyes were beginning to fill with tears. Deciding that maybe they shouldn’t have such a personal conversation in the middle of New York, Namjoon hailed a taxi and ushered Jin into the first one that stopped. They didn’t talk...there wasn’t much to say in the confines of a small taxi.
Their hotel comes into view after a long, thirty minute drive and Namjoon can’t help but feel relieved to have some sort of comfort. Jin exits first, and Namjoon pays the driver with the company card, sliding out of the taxi afterwards. Jin is still waiting for him outside of the hotel, his cheeks flushed from the cool fall air. He looks younger, more vulnerable than he has in the past three weeks or so they’ve been reunited. He almost looks like he did when they dated. Namjoon misses it.
Namjoon sighs and runs another hand through his hair. He knows they should talk more - the conversation left too much to be said - but all he can think of is a drink.
He raises an eyebrow at Jin, a question forming at his lips. “Want to get a drink?”
That’s how they end up at the hotel bar ten minutes later, both with a glass of whiskey in their hand. Namjoon has his body turned the lobby, watching as people enter and leave the hotel. He wonders what their lives are like, if they’re happy or if they’ve experienced heartbreak just like him. He wonders if they ever felt a love so strong that it was impossible to let go, even when the other person had.
He turns to look at Jin, who has the empty glass of whiskey in his hand. The other man is tapping the glass nervously, the clinking sound loud enough for Namjoon to hear. Namjoon chugs the rest of his drink and orders too much. They can’t get drunk, they have to get up early tomorrow to meet some appointments but Namjoon really wants to. If only to take the pain away.
It’s only after the third glass that Jin finally speaks. He’s not expecting it, zoned out as he drinks his whiskey, too busy trying to calm his nerves to pay attention to the man next to him.
“It was just a fling,” Jin says suddenly, causing Namjoon to turn to him in surprise. It takes him a moment to realize what he was talking about and when his mind realizes it’s about Jacques, he doesn’t know whether to tense up or listen.
Jin takes his silence as indication to continue. “Jacques and I had always been good friends...but one night, I was missing you too much. So I got drunk and tried to get him to sleep with me. Of course, he refused because I was drunk and took me back to his apartment. That’s how I ended up telling him my story.”
Oh. Namjoon blinks, his body inching closer to Jin subconsciously as he tries to listen to every word that comes out of his mouth. He wants to speak, but Jin shakes his head, his eyes sad but determined.
“I didn’t even remember when I woke up...I wasn’t going to tell anyone ever, let alone Jacques, but my sadness got the best of me.”
Namjoon feels his heart tug in his chest. “Tell anyone?” He asks, and although he doesn’t say exactly what it is, there’s an implication in the question. Tell anyone why you left Seoul?
Jin bites his lip and messes with the whiskey glass in his hands, swirling the ice around. He takes a deep breath to calm his nerves before speaking again.
“Tell anyone the reason for leaving Seoul.” There it is. There is the thing Namjoon has wanted to hear ever since Jin left him all those years ago. All those years of sadness, of self doubt and wondering if he wasn’t good enough for Jin were replaying in his head. Did Jin truly never love him.
“I didn’t want to leave,” Jin admits, his voice barely above a whisper but it’s loud enough for Namjoon to hear. In fact, it feels like Jin said it loudly from the way it continues to ring in his ears. There’s an anger slowly starting to bubble up, an anger Namjoon desperately tries to subdue. He can’t get angry, not now, not when Jin is finally opening up to him.
“Then why did you leave?” Namjoon asks, his voice harsher than it needs to be. Jin flinches, but he takes it with grace, setting his glass on the counter before he answers.
“I had no choice. The same way I had no choice in going back.” It’s a vague answer that has Namjoon questioning. How did Jin not have a choice? Everyone has a choice. It was his choice to come to New York. It was his choice to leave Namjoon. It was simple, right?
Jin continues, his voice shaky as he tries to explain, “I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay with you, Joonie I was serious when I told you I wanted to get married, but I couldn’t stay.”
Marriage. It flashes through Namjoon’s memory like lightning. He remembers the night after their three year anniversary, after they had shared all their day together, shared an intimate act between the two. He remembers the way Jin had lain on his chest after they were both sexed out, both blissed out and exhausted.
“Joonie,” Jin had murmured, his lips talking in Namjoon’s chest. Namjoon turned to look at his lover, his eyes fond as he watched Jin try to keep his eyes open. “Let’s get married one day.”
Namjoon had let out a small chuckle, not sure how to take the declaration. When he realized Jin was serious by the way he didn’t join in, something in Namjoon’s heart swelled with happiness.
“You really wanna get married to me?” He had asked, his voice in disbelief. Although he and Jin had been together for three years, he wasn’t sure how long it would last. Part of him had always been insecure about their relationship, wondering if Jin would ever find someone better than him. It had not happened yet, but Namjoon always held that fear inside of him.
Jin hums into his chest and begins to trail kisses down it. “Of course, I wanna get married to you, Joonie. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Namjoon’s smile is blissful and silly as he takes those words in. It makes him feel thrilled, the thought of marrying Jin and becoming a proper family. Would they have kids in the future?
“Then should I look into a ring?” Namjoon asks Jin. Jin only hums his approval, his lips slowly grazing lower as he moves the blankets out of the way for better access. He seems to be hungry again, despite his appetite being fully quenched not too long ago.
Namjoon can’t help but groan as Jin’s hand grazes over his flaccid penis, the organ beginning to revive as Jin strokes it gently. It’s not enough for Jin, he’s lowering until his mouth is hovering above it.
Jin doesn’t give him an answer, but when his mouth wraps around Namjoon’s member, that’s enough of an answer for him. They could be together forever, and Namjoon was happy.
Namjoon snaps out of it, his anger swelling up again. That had been years ago, he thought he would marry Jin, had even bought an engagement ring that he kept in his pocket at all times. And yet, Jin had left him so easily.
“And yet you found it so easy to say goodbye,” Namjoon comments harsh causing Jin to recoil back slightly. The other man nods solemnly.
“I did...I didn’t want to, but I did.”
“Why? Why did you leave Jin?”
Jin swallows, shaking his head which causes Namjoon to let his hopes fall. Of course Jin wasn’t going to tell him.
“I’m sorry, I want to tell you but I can’t. It doesn’t concern you.” Namjoon feels hurt, considering how much of his life he’d given Jin.
“It concerns me, Jin, we were dating. Fuck I even bought a ring!” It comes out before Namjoon can think twice and the other man stares at him, his eyes wide with shock. After a few minutes, his ex lover’s eyes settle on the ring around his neck, and Namjoon feels the need to cover it with his hand. It’s enough for Ji.
“Is that?” He asks quietly, the fight in his voice gone. Namjoon nods.
“It is. The day you left, I was going to propose, I was so excited. I had the perfect day planned...and then you told me you were leaving. I should have gotten rid of the ring, but I couldn’t.” Namjoon wonders if it’s the alcohol that’s making him so honest or if he’s tired of keeping all his feelings inside. Either way, it seems it’s affecting Jin as well. He sees a small tear run down Jin’s face before he wipes it away. Namjoon wants to reach over and comfort him, but he can’t. It’s not his right. He and Jin are nothing.
“You know, I’ve never stopped loving you,” Jin tells him, and Namjoon hates the way his heart aches for Jin. Hates the way he wants to reach over and embrace him. He can’t...he won’t...will he?
“Namjoon, I shouldn’t have left. I shouldn’t have left but I had no choice.” The tears are falling freely from Jin’s eyes now despite his best efforts to stop them. Namjoon can’t take it any longer, he pulls the other man close to him until they’re embracing. Jin rests his head in the crook of Namjoon’s neck.
“I know I shouldn’t have left, Joonie. I should have told you but I was so scared, so scared what you would think of me. I didn’t want to lose you but I did anyway.” He almost sounds hysterical and the bartender turns to look at them but Namjoon waves him off, motioning to the alcohol as the reason Jin is acting this way. The bartender seems to understand and leaves them alone. Namjoon is glad that they’re the only ones at the bar right now.
“Shh,” he murmurs, running his hand through Jin’s hair as an act of comfort, “I’m here, Jin.”
He knows there is much more to the story now. By the little that Jin has let out, there has to be more. Namjoon wants to ask him a million questions but knows it won’t do anything productive. He’ll comfort Jin now and get answers out of him later. He wants to know the reason Jin left him, and he won’t stop until he finds out. He promises himself that.
“Joonie,” Jin says again, almost like his name is enough to bring him comfort, “I’ve missed you so much. I can’t, I can’t live without you. And I know that I can’t possibly ever make it better, but even just being friends is enough. I want to be in your life, I don’t want us to be strangers anymore. Do you?”
Namjoon knows the answer to that before he even tells Jin. These past weeks he’s ignored Jin and pretended like there was nothing between them had taken a toll on him mentally. He was exhausted. It was only obvious that he missed Jin, not just as a lover but as a friend. They had shared so many moments together, and Namjoon missed that feeling of happiness he got when he was with Jin. Was it selfish of him to be craving his companionship again? Maybe not if Jin felt the same way.
“I miss you too,” Namjoon admits, and this causes Jin to still in his arms. Jin moves from Namjoon’s chest so he can look at Namjoon in the eyes, his own eyes full of hope.
“Can we be friends again, Joonie?” Namjoon knows that he should say. He knows that having Jin back in his life will only hurt him. However, between the alcohol and the personal conversation they just had, he can’t bring himself to say no. He wants it, he wants Jin with every fiber of his being, even if it’s just as friends.
For now. His mind tells him, but he shoves that thought deep into his subconscious. There is no point in getting his hopes up. Instead, he reaches down to move a piece of hair out of Jin’s face and gives him a small smile.
“Yes,” Namjoon finds himself saying, “let’s be friends.”
Welp....did you cry?
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