Seokjin stares down at the latest edition of their magazine he has sitting on his desk, and sighs. He isn’t happy with it, to put things nicely. The lighting in the photograph on the cover is wrong, and one of the fonts do not match any of the others.
Have to do all of this myself, he thinks, clicking around on his computer until he pulls up a blank email document. He adds almost every single one of his employees to the recipient box, and then moves the magazine out of his way so that he can start typing a short greeting that he hopes conveys his irritation. He attaches a few documents of what the magazine should look like to the bottom, and then demands that the changes be made by the end of the work day so that they can still meet their deadline.
He doesn’t CC Yoongi. Figures that if it becomes an issue, he can just talk to him about it later.
He starts getting replies back only minutes after the email has been sent. A bunch of yes sir s, and on it, sir s, and thank you for your feedback, sir s. Things that he likes to hear, good ego-boosts. Pleased with himself, he exits out of the email server and moves on to his next task for the day.
He has a meeting with a representative from South Korea later on in the afternoon, and he needs to prepare for it. It’s nothing too major; they’re just discussing a sponsorship, but he always likes to be prepared. Rumor has it that this particular representative is a hardass, and often doesn’t like to involve himself or his company in American affairs.
Valid, Seokjin thinks, but they can’t afford to lose this specific sponsor. Not when the last one backed out because of aesthetic choices.
He and Yoongi had spent all of last night preparing presentation slides for the meeting, which he now begins perfecting, triple checking all of their numbers and stats to make sure they’re all correct.
He’s halfway through slide number twenty seven when a knock sounds on the door, and before Seokjin can even react it’s opening and someone is stepping into his office.
When he looks up, he finds Yoongi. He smiles. “Hey. Did anyone say anything to you about the email I just sent out? Because we may need to talk about some things, it wasn’t looking all that great.”
Yoongi is the COO of the American branch of their company, but Seokjin had been the COO of the Korean branch and helps Yoongi out a lot now that he’s here, so he sort of has just as much leverage and power in the office. Or at least Seokjin likes to pretend he does. Yoongi humors him because he’s Yoongi and really couldn’t care either way, and also because Seokjin thinks he doesn’t like being in charge all that much.
“Mm, no,” Yoongi hums, and then shuts the door behind him. Which is odd, for Yoongi at least, because usually he just steps in, grunts something at Seokjin, and then leaves. “Listen, Seokjin-hyung. We need to talk.”
Ah. That’s why the door has been shut. Seokjin sighs and leans back against his chair, folding his hands across his lap.
“Remember when I told you that you couldn’t go to Japan last month, because your Visa hadn’t been approved yet?” Yoongi begins. Seokjin nods because he does remember being told to trash his plane ticket and stay at home. They were going to send Chaeyoung instead, but they never would’ve made the deal if she had gone in his place.
So, he ignored Yoongi, and went.
“Yes,” Seokjin says, confused. “And what about it?”
Yoongi looks unimpressed. He groans and runs a hand down his face. “Your immigration lawyer just called me, hyung. He said he’s been trying to get ahold of you for the past two hours.”
Seokjin glances down at his phone. There have been ten missed phone calls from an unknown number. He didn’t even think of answering a single one of them, because who answers phone calls from unknown numbers anymore?
“He isn’t on the list.”
“Well maybe you should put him on the list,” Yoongi suggests, clearly agitated, “-so that I don’t have to talk to him and then deliver the news that you’re being deported.”
“I- what?!” Seokjin says, sitting up fast enough it has his head spinning. Is Yoongi being serious? “What are you talking about? Deported?”
“Yes,” Yoongi nods. He doesn’t look nearly as unhappy and confused as Seokjin feels, just bored and maybe even a little bit annoyed. “They’re giving you 48 hours to pack up your shit and then they’re shipping you back to South Korea.”
South Korea. Seokjin gulps. He can’t fucking go back to South Korea.
“Yoongi,” Seokjin pleads, “-no, come on. You told them no, right?”
“You can’t just tell the fucking government no, hyung,” Yoongi tells him. “They will quite literally drag you out of the country if you don’t voluntarily leave.”
“This must be a mistake,” Seokjin mumbles. They can’t do that, can they? He was out of the country for less than 72 hours! Most of his time was spent on an American airline anyway!
He won’t dare run his hands through his gelled hair, but he comes close to it. “Who will go to-”
“California? I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.” Yoongi still looks unimpressed, like he really couldn’t care less about what happens with Seokjin, but Seokjin knows he’s secretly freaking out on the inside, too. He hates dealing with the important stuff by himself.
“Well, there has to be some way we can appeal this,” Seokjin offers. He starts racking his brain, trying to come up with any kind of solution that will get him out of this mess, but he only comes up empty.
“Hyung, you can’t appeal this,” Yoongi says. “The guy said you can come back in a year, reapply for your Visa, but you have to go back to South Korea for now.”
Seokjin sighs. He’s only been here for six months, he has no clue how the American government works or what its laws on immigration are past what his lawyer has told him, but he knows that what Yoongi is saying is the truth. There’s no getting out of this, unless he wants to do something entirely illegal.
He’s not above breaking the law; he just doesn’t know how.
“Fine,” he finally concedes, nodding. “Fine, whatever. I can just work from Korea-”
“You can’t. We’re an American company. You’re going to have to go back to the Korean branch for the time being.”
Seokjin’s blood runs cold. He can’t do that. He doesn’t want to go back to South Korea at all, but he especially doesn’t want to go back to the Korean branch of the company. Not after what happened.
“I’ll figure something out.” He stands up from his chair and begins pacing, his mind running a million miles a minute. “Listen, I can’t go to California this weekend. They won’t let me get on the plane, I think.”
Seokjin glances down at Yoongi and finds him staring up at him, almost as if asking why are you still talking about this? Seokjin doesn’t know. Fuck, this is a nightmare.
“So someone else has to go. But you can’t, because you have to stay here,” Seokjin pauses, “-Namjoon! Namjoon will go.”
“Oh, hyung, he can’t, we’ve got-”
“He’s your best friend, he listens to everything you say. You can just tell him exactly what I say and it’ll be like I’m there! Oh, see? We’re figuring things out, it’ll be fine.”
Yoongi doesn’t look convinced. “He can’t-”
Seokjin ignores him. “And I- I’ll work something out! It’ll be fine, okay? Don’t worry.”
“I’m not worried,” Yoongi tells him. “You’re going back to South Korea, and I’ll see you in a year.”
Seokjin ignores him, again. He picks up his phone from his desk and stuffs it into his back pocket. “I’m going to go tell Namjoon about this weekend.”
“He really can’t-”
Seokjin shuts his own door on Yoongi.
He finds Namjoon in his cubicle, approximately five yards away from his own office. The younger man is leaning back in his chair, his headphones on, and he’s listening to what Seokjin hopes is a musical piece for their magazine.
He and Namjoon have never gotten along. Namjoon is Yoongi’s best friend, but the way the office is split, Seokjin is technically his primary boss. Namjoon doesn’t take to criticism very well. Neither does Seokjin, and because they’re both incredibly stubborn, they often butt heads.
Still, Seokjin can’t think of anyone else more qualified to go to California this weekend. He taps on the side of Namjoon’s cubicle.
“Wha-” Namjoon starts, throwing his headphones off and onto his desk. He leans forward and then glances at Seokjin, before glaring up at him. “Yes?”
“I’m about to offer you the opportunity of a lifetime, Kim Namjoon.” Namjoon squints at him. “Don’t look at me like that.” Seokjin crosses his arms and leans against the unstable cubicle wall. He watches as Namjoon’s glare morphs into what he can only assume is an expression of panic. Seokjin hasn’t got the slightest clue as to why.
“Yes?” Namjoon repeats, folding his hands on top of his desk. Seokjin glances around the tiny area; it’s messy, but more of an organized mess than anything else. Nothing like Seokjin’s clean, pristine office.
“You’re going to California this weekend,” Seokjin tells him, “-to meet with that producer.”
Namjoon stares at him. Seokjin decides to elaborate.
“To talk about interviewing different people in his company? For the Inside-Look portion of our next issue? I distinctly remember CC’ing you on the email.”
Namjoon shakes his head. “You did not. You never CC me on any emails.”
This may be true, Seokjin thinks. Come to think of it, he can’t remember CC’ing Namjoon on any emails lately. If he has something to say to the man, he usually just has his assistant run it over on a sticky note.
“Well,” Seokjin begins, “-you’re going to L.A. anyway. You leave tomorrow morning.”
Namjoon is up and out of his seat in less than a second. “You said you had an offer. Which means that I get a choice.”
Seokjin hums. But really, when does anyone is this office get a choice? “You’re the only option.”
Namjoon is not all that much taller than him, but he looms over him anyways. Seokjin doesn’t think he’s trying to be intimidating, but he still shrinks backwards, cowering against the wall.
“I can’t go.”
“And why is that?” Seokjin is not used to people telling him no. Especially not when they’re given the chance to go on a business trip, for free, to further their career. Usually Namjoon jumps on everything. He and Seokjin may not always get along, but Seokjin can’t deny he’s a decent employee. He still thinks Yoongi gives him way too much leeway, and it sucks because they’re best friends, but Seokjin doesn’t think Namjoon’s awful.
“I have to go to a wedding.”
Seokjin scoffs. A wedding. Maybe if someone was dying, but a wedding? No, there’s no way Namjoon’s skipping out on this important trip for a wedding.
Perhaps he is awful for even suggesting it.
“Well, I guess you’ll just have to send them a fruit basket, or something,” Seokjin doesn’t really know what you send newlyweds, if he’s being honest, “-because you’re not going.”
“But Yoongi is going too!”
“Then he can FaceTime you during the ceremony!”
“Our best friends are getting married-”
Seokjin pauses, and it’s like a light bulb goes off in his head.
Marriage? Marriage. Marriage-
Marriage. Oh god, it’s brilliant.
“Namjoon,” Seokjin says, very quietly. The taller man stops talking and peers down at him, eyebrow quirked. “You’re gay, right?”
Seokjin waves him off. “Right. But you’d date a man?”
Namjoon sighs. “Yes, that is what bisexual means.”
Seokjin grins. Perfect indeed.
“Come with me,” he says, grabbing Namjoon’s wrist. “We’re going to see Yoongi.”
“Why?” Namjoon asks. He resists, digging his heels into the ground and shaking free of Seokjin’s grip. Seokjin turns around to find him crossing his arms, almost like he’s a toddler throwing a tantrum. He isn’t impressed, that’s for sure.
“Just come with me.”
“Tell me why, first.”
Seokjin groans. He looks across the cubicles; everyone is staring at them. He lowers his voice so that just Namjoon can hear him. “You won’t have to go to California anymore if you come with me.”
Namjoon pauses. “Fine.”
Seokjin grabs his wrist again and begins pulling him down the hallway. Yoongi’s left his office by now, evident by how his door is standing wide open, so he drags Namjoon all the way down to Yoongi’s side of the floor. When he gets to the other’s office he throws the door open and shoves Namjoon in, before shutting the door quietly behind himself and taking a deep breath. He runs a hand down his dress shirt, smoothing it out in an attempt to compose himself, and then looks up.
Yoongi is staring at him. Namjoon is seething at the floor. Seokjin puts on his brightest, most in-your-face smile.
“Hyung,” Yoongi says hesitantly, almost as if he’s afraid he’s going to disturb Seokjin; like he’s a feral animal, or something equally as offensive, “-I told you he couldn’t go.”
“Well, he’s not. I’ll get someone else to go,” Seokjin explains. “Maybe that nice girl who runs copies for us a lot?”
“The one that you said we should fire, like, last week?”
Yoongi snorts. “Sure, I’ll send her an email.” He turns towards his computer and starts clicking around on it. “Shouldn’t you head home and start packing up?”
“Fuck you,” Seokjin drawls out. He glances at Namjoon, who’s still glaring at the ugly carpet they have installed in their offices. “Anyway, the joke's on you, because now I won’t have to.”
“Hm? And why’s that?”
“Because,” Seokjin bites his lip. Here goes nothing. “Namjoon and I are getting married.”
Something crashes to the ground. Seokjin looks over at Namjoon and finds that he’s knocked a vase over in his attempt to push off of the shelf he was leaning on. Dramatic, he thinks, totally not necessary.
“Oh for fuck’s sake, Namjoon!” Yoongi exclaims, throwing his hands up. “That was from South Africa!”
“We’re getting what?” Namjoon asks, completely ignoring the fact that his big ass body has just knocked a very expensive vase onto the floor.
“Married,” Seokjin says again, like it’s nothing. Because it isn’t. “We’ll have a quick shotgun wedding, and get divorced in like a year.”
“And why would I do that?” Namjoon looks confused more than anything else, and Seokjin realizes he’s forgotten to explain the situation to him. He turns to Yoongi, finding him just as perplexed.
“He’s getting deported,” Yoongi says, the same time Seokjin mutters- “I’m getting deported.”
Namjoon looks between them, before shaking his head frantically. “No. No. That’s illegal.”
“He’s right, hyung,” Yoongi says. “He’ll go to jail and I’m pretty sure you’ll never be allowed back in the country.”
Yes, Seokjin knows this. It’s kind of common sense. It’s true for most countries and their immigration laws. And yet-
“Then I guess we’ll just have to be really convincing, honey,” he glares at Namjoon, “-we’re getting married.”
“The fuck we are!” Namjoon throws his hands up, and Seokjin thinks, again, dramatic. “We’re not getting married. Sorry, guess you’ll just have to go back to Korea.”
Seokjin knows that he can’t hold the wedding over Namjoon’s head. He probably already got the time off approved, and even if he hasn’t yet, Yoongi would never let him miss it just because Seokjin said so.
No, Seokjin needs something else. Another source of motivation, something to dangle in front of Namjoon so that he agrees to this. Something he’s been wanting for awhile.
“I’ll promote you to Executive Manager of the office.”
Namjoon freezes halfway to the door. He turns around slowly, glaring at Seokjin. “That’s Richard’s job.”
“I fucking hate Richard,” Seokjin admits. “I’ve been wanting to fire him for a couple of months now anyway.”
“Well, Yoongi would need to sign off on it too.”
“You think he wouldn’t? You two are attached at the hip,” Seokjin rolls his eyes. He turns to Yoongi, gestures at him lazily, and watches as the younger shrugs. “See? He doesn’t mind.”
“No, I mind,” Yoongi cuts in. “I still think this is a bad idea.”
“Well, no one asked you anyway.”
Yoongi glares at him. Seokjin glares right back. He will get his way.
“I’ll promote you and in a year when all of this is sorted out we can get a divorce. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
“Except I have to marry you,” Namjoon growls. He looks like he’s at least considering it, though.
“And why is that a bad thing? I don’t see anyone else lined up to date you!”
Yoongi snorts. Namjoon picks up a pen from Yoongi’s desk and flips it at Seokjin, though it lands threateningly two feet away. Seokjin rolls his eyes.
“Do you know what the office calls you?”
Seokjin sighs. He can only imagine. “No, I don’t.”
“The evil stepmother.”
“That makes no sense!” Seokjin protests. “Numbers have been flourishing since I joined-”
“Because you’re a hardass! You’re mean! You don’t let anyone take a break!”
“I have a good work ethic-”
“One of the secretaries has a voodoo doll of you!”
Seokjin pauses. “Now that’s just hurtful,” he says. “Tell me who, I’ll have her fired-”
“We’ve all used it.”
Seokjin groans. Truly, he doesn’t understand why Namjoon is so bothered by this. He thinks he’s certainly getting the short end of the stick; Namjoon is insufferable most of the time . “In any other circumstances this would make me want to give the ring back, but I don’t care what you say, Kim Namjoon. We’re getting married.”
“I’m allergic to weddings.”
“You’re going to one this weekend.”
“I’ll be wearing a mask.”
Seokjin turns to Yoongi, pleading with his eyes. Yoongi shrugs.
“I’m telling you, this is a bad idea.”
“It’s not,” Seokjin argues. “It’s a fantastic idea.”
“Well, I don’t care,” Namjoon says. He starts walking towards the door again. “I don’t care what job you offer me, or how much of a pay increase you promise. I’m not doing it.”
Seokjin screams, but only in his head. He’s desperate. This is his only chance. He starts thinking about other things that Namjoon might want, or if there’s anyone else in the office that would be willing to do this for him; although he’s pretty sure everyone else in the office is either straight, or a girl. He could pretend to be straight, but that kind of disgusts him a little. There’s Yoongi-
“I’ll get you contacts.”
“What?” Namjoon says. “I already have contacts-”
“No, dumbass. Contacts. You want to produce music, right? I have contacts.”
Namjoon whips around, and instead of looking elated like Seokjin had been expecting, he looks pissed.
“Don’t joke about that,” Namjoon tells him.
“No, I’m being serious,” Seokjin says. “Swear on my life. You’re always talking about making music, or whatever. So if you help me with this, I’ll get you those contacts, and do whatever I need to do to get you on a label.”
Despite popular belief, Seokjin listens to his employees. He’s walked in on many conversations between Yoongi and Namjoon, where the latter had been talking about a song he’d produced on his computer, or something of the sort. He knows that Namjoon doesn’t want to work at the company for the rest of his life. He wants to make music.
And Seokjin can make that happen for him. If Namjoon marries him.
Namjoon bites his lip. He glances at Yoongi, and Yoongi shrugs, because that’s apparently all he’s good for. Though Seokjin knows that Yoongi is well aware of how much power he holds in the music industry.
He may be tainted in South Korea, but his name alone will get him just about anything in the west.
“You’re not lying?”
“I wouldn’t lie about that,” Seokjin reassures Namjoon. “Look, it’s simple. You just have to stay married to me for however long it takes to get my citizenship. I don’t think it’ll take long, I came over here on good terms.”
“Until you left the country,” Yoongi pipes up, unhelpfully.
“Shut up, Yoongi,” Seokjin mutters. He redirects his attention back to Namjoon. “And then we can get divorced, say it didn’t work out, and go on with our lives. And I’ll help you get your dream job, or whatever.”
Namjoon sighs. He’s crumbling, Seokjin can see it. He grins; he always gets his way.
“And I can still go to the wedding this weekend?”
“Of course,” Seokjin says, like he’s doing him a great service by allowing him to go. “I’ll even pay for the flight.”
“We already have the tickets.”
“Well, that’s a shame. I could’ve used the miles.”
Namjoon rolls his eyes. “Fine.”
“Yoongi, shut up,” Seokjin says, holding a hand out to stop the other from speaking. He does not need Namjoon to change his mind right now. “No takesies backsies.”
“I cannot believe you just said that,” Yoongi says. “Oh my god, both of you, get out of my office.”
“We should probably get going anyway,” Seokjin shoos Namjoon towards the door. “We have places to be.”
“What? Why? Where are we going?”
“Can’t it fucking wait?” Namjoon asks. He leaves Yoongi’s office, Seokjin trailing right behind him. “Like, until after this weekend?”
“By the time you get back, I’ll already be on a plane back to South Korea,” Seokjin explains. He shoves Namjoon towards his cubicle. “Grab your things.”
Namjoon glares at him. Seokjin goes to get his jacket.
Immigration Services is a lot more packed than Seokjin had imagined it to be, especially for a Wednesday afternoon. The line is wrapped around the inside of the building when they walk in, backed all the way up to the door.
But they don’t have time for that. Seokjin grabs Namjoon’s wrist and tugs him forward, weaving them around the clumps of people until he gets to the front of the line. A woman is about to step up, but before she can Seokjin throws an apologetic smile her way and cuts in front.
“Hello,” he says to the person behind the counter. “I’d like to file a fiance form.”
“Right,” the man drawls out. He picks up the folder Seokjin sets down on the counter and flips through it. “There’s a line, you know.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not really...with them, you know?”
“Oh my god,” Namjoon mutters, from where he’s standing behind him. Seokjin ignores him.
“I see,” the man says. He looks annoyed, and like he’s out to get Seokjin, which would just be the icing on the metaphorical cake that is this disaster day because everyone seems to be out to get Seokjin right now. Especially the people clearly glaring at him and whispering behind his back, whom Namjoon keeps trying to apologize to. Seokjin wishes he’d just shut up. “Follow me.”
Seokjin flashes him a grin and then begins walking towards the door that leads to the back. The man opens it and both he and Namjoon walk through, before being led back to an office positioned down the hall a bit. The man knocks on the door, and when he gets a response he twists the doorknob open and waves them in.
“This couple,” he says, in a way that makes Seokjin’s skin crawl, “-would like to file a fiance form.”
“Oh!” the woman behind the desk says, sounding enthusiastic about it. She takes the folder from the man’s hands and then gestures for Seokjin and Namjoon to take a seat. “Please, have a seat.”
The man closes the door once both Seokjin and Namjoon are sitting. The woman flips through Seokjin’s folder, the office plunged into silence for a few awkward moments. Even when she’s done reading through the folder the lady still doesn’t speak, instead turning to her computer and typing something out on it. All Seokjin can do is sit and wait in quiet anticipation, staring at the ugly wall decor hanging above her desk.
“Well,” the woman says after what feels like an eternity. She shuffles the forms from the folder together and then sets them down, before folding her hands together and resting them on top. “You do realize this is illegal, correct?”
“I’m sorry?” Seokjin says immediately, eyebrows shooting up to what he thinks is probably his hairline. Christ, he didn’t think they were that transparent.
“Mr. Kim, you’re being deported,” the woman says, “-so it seems a bit suspicious to me that you’ve decided to file this form now.”
Seokjin laughs, nervously. “Oh my, I wasn’t even aware! Is that what all of those missed calls were about this morning?”
The lady doesn’t look convinced. Seokjin doesn’t blame her but again, he’s desperate.
“What a coincidence! Ma'am, I truly do apologize, but that’s not what this is.”
“Hm,” the woman hums. Her name tag reads Joan Hilford. “Well in that case, congratulations.”
Seokjin doesn’t know what to do with his hands. So, he reaches across the chair and grabs Namjoon’s. Perhaps it will make them seem a bit more convincing.
“But you do realize this is not a normal engagement, correct? We’ll have to be involved.”
“Oh, absolutely,” Seokjin says, like he knows anything about what she’s talking about. “That’s why we’re here! To make it official.”
“I’m sure,” Ms. Hilford mutters.
Namjoon’s hand twitches in Seokjin’s hold. Seokjin pinches his pinky with his nails, gritting out a smile.
“So tell me, Mr. Kim and, well, Mr. Kim,” Ms. Hilford begins, “-how did this relationship start? Give me the details.”
“Well,” Seokjin says, clearing his throat. Acting has always been a passion of his. “We met through our job.”
“And what’s that?”
“We work for a magazine company,” Seokjin grins. “When I arrived earlier this year, Namjoon was the first person that caught my eye. I thought he was beautiful.”
Namjoon’s hand twitches again. Seokjin squeezes it, and not gently either.
“Romantic,” Ms. Hilford says, voice void of any kind of emotion. “When did you begin dating?”
“Around three months ago, give or take a few days,” Seokjin tells her. Her eyebrows shoot up, clearly surprised, and Seokjin nervously chuckles. “I know, I know. It seems a bit quick for an engagement, but sometimes you just know, you know? Namjoon’s the one.”
Namjoon clears his throat, and Ms. Hilford turns to him.
“Anything you’d like to add, Mr. Kim?”
“I’m the only person that can get through to Seokjin,” he says, and Seokjin scowls. True, but not worth mentioning, he thinks.
Namjoon’s the only person in the office that has ever gotten Seokjin to do something he said he’d never do, aside from Yoongi, and that’s only because Yoongi is technically in charge. It had to do with an interview, and Seokjin tends to block it from his memory. It’s not something he wants other people knowing, either.
“I see.” Ms. Hilford notes it down on a pad of paper.
“Beneath all of that...tough facade, he’s really just a sweetheart,” Namjoon grins, but Seokjin can tell that it isn’t genuine. He tries his best to hide his frown. “He sings in his office when he thinks no one is around to hear him. And he’s constantly stealing cookies from the break room.”
“I do not-”
“Interesting,” Ms. Hilford cuts him off. Seokjin leans back in his chair, pouting. “And what about your home life? Do you live together?”
“No,” they both say at the same time, rushing out the reply. Seokjin thinks they may have been too quick with their answer, so he bites his lip and tries to come up with some kind of an explanation; Namjoon beats him to it.
“Seokjin is stuck in his ways. He has the soul of an 80-year-old woman. He didn’t want to move in with me until we were engaged. I suppose that’s why I proposed so fast. It was getting annoying having to travel to his place, thirty minutes across town, just for sex.”
“Oh my god,” Seokjin mumbles. He can feel his face burning. Ms. Hilford doesn’t even look fazed.
“So you plan to move in together soon?”
“Oh, absolutely,” Namjoon says. “Seokjin lives in a penthouse apartment. It’s huge, I’m almost as excited to move in as I am to marry him.”
Seokjin doesn’t know why Namjoon knows about his apartment, but he supposes it has something to do with Yoongi. Curse him, he thinks. Fucking small little terrible gremlin.
Ms. Hilford nods. She stares at them for a few seconds, not moving, until she claps her hands together and begins typing on her computer again.
“I’m going to need statements from your family and friends. They’re going to need to come in for a personal interview. If their statements do not match up with yours, Seokjin, you’ll be deported, and Namjoon, you’ll be jailed. Understood?”
“Oh, well,” Seokjin begins, “-that won’t work. My parents are in South Korea, and we don’t talk, and I’m an only child.”
“Well seeing as how I just moved here-”
Ms. Hilford turns towards Namjoon. “And you?”
“I- yes? Yes, I have family and friends.”
“Perfect. I need them here tomorrow, by noon.”
Tomorrow?! Noon?! Fucking noon?! There’s no way, there’s absolutely no way-
“They live in-” Namjoon starts. Seokjin cuts him off.
“Are you telling me you can’t, Mr. Kims?” Ms. Hilford whips around in her horribly annoying spinning chair again. “So shall I just send for security now?”
“No! No, we can, I was just saying that-”
Think, Seokjin, think!
“We can’t, because we won’t actually be here tomorrow,” he glances at Namjoon. “Namjoon’s best friend is getting married this weekend, and we’ll be in attendance.”
“I see,” Ms. Hilford looks even more skeptical now.
“And my only friend that lives here will be there too. So really, it won’t work, I’m so sorry,” Namjoon says.
“And where is this wedding taking place?”
Seokjin clamps his mouth together shut. Fuck, he never even thought to ask.
“Ha-” Seokjin sits up and glares at Namjoon. “Hawaii?!”
Namjoon ignores him. “It’s where my family is from, Ms. Hilford. We’ll be there until Sunday.”
“Monday, then,” Ms. Hilford turns to her computer again. “I don’t care, they can all come back on the plane with you, but I need them here by noon on Monday for me to file your legal forms.”
Seokjin sobers up quickly. “Yes, of course. We’ll make it happen.”
“And I’ll remind you again that if you’re lying, I have every right to throw you, Namjoon, in prison, and to ship you back to South Korea forever, Seokjin.”
Seokjin gulps. He nods, trying to seem nonchalant about it. “No reason to do that. We’re very much in love.”
Namjoon gags a little, and Seokjin kicks his ankle.
“I’m sure you are,” Ms. Hilford says, voice monotone again. “I’ll clear you to fly, Mr. Kim. And I will see you both on Monday.”
Seokjin nods. He waits for other instructions, perhaps they need to sign something, but nothing comes. Ms. Hilford tears her eyes away from her desktop and glares at them.
“You may leave my office now.”
“Right, right,” Seokjin says. He drops Namjoon’s hand as he stands from the chair, brushing himself off. “Thank you again.”
He and Namjoon walk out of the building in silence. Once they’ve gotten down the steps, and are headed to catch a cab, Namjoon’s punches Seokjin on the shoulder.
“Ow!” Seokjin hollers, gripping his bicep. “What the fuck was that for?”
“Oh, you’re mad about that?” Seokjin yells. “You said I was an 80-year-old woman!”
People are staring at them. Seokjin ignores them.
“You are!” Namjoon tells him. “And really? You had to mention the wedding?”
“Well, did you have any other ideas?!” Seokjin hisses. He knows that Namjoon didn’t, because if he did, he would’ve said something. Namjoon fumbles over his words, and Seokjin smirks. “See! I saved us in there!”
“I can’t believe you dragged me into this.”
“At least you’re not getting dragged to some stranger’s wedding in Hawaii,” Seokjin says, “-since when did you live in Hawaii?!”
“Since I was little!” Namjoon yells. “You’re the one that suggested it anyways! Now I have to drag you along and pretend we’re in love in front of my family and friends!”
“Well, they’re the only people that are gonna be able to save our asses, so you better smile and play along, sweetheart!”
Namjoon groans. He waves a cab over, and when it pulls up, passive aggressively opens the door for Seokjin. “You are literally the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Namjoon groans again. Seokjin scoots all the way over to the other side once he’s in the cab.
“I don’t know why you’re so mad about this,” Seokjin says, “-you’re getting the better deal anyway. You get to go to the wedding, you get a promotion, I’m helping you start your music career.”
“With a possible jail sentence looming over my head, yes, it’s perfect! Thank you, Kim Seokjin, however will I repay you?”
Seokjin smacks him on his chest.
The cab driver glances at them through his rear view mirror. He asks them where they’re headed, hesitantly.
“The Chords building” they both yell at the same time. The driver doesn’t ask them anymore questions after that. Seokjin slumps down in his seat and sighs, crossing his arms so that he can pout.
Should’ve seeked asylum in Canada, he thinks.
Seokjin knows that Yoongi does not like mornings. He’s never grumpy, really, but he’s always very quiet until he can drown himself in enough coffee to keep him awake for the day.
He’s had, at least to Seokjin’s knowledge, three grande cold brews from Starbucks. It should be enough to keep him up for weeks, so Seokjin doesn’t really know why he’s being glared at so passionately.
“What?” he finally snaps. He, on the other hand, is grumpy. It’s six thirty in the morning, and there are too many people milling about for him to feel even remotely comfortable.
He’s always hated airports. Today especially, it seems.
“Why are you here?” Yoongi finally grumbles, his voice low and raspy. He sips at his drink, and then glares at Namjoon, but the younger has his headphones on and is dutifully ignoring the both of them.
“Because,” Seokjin huffs out. “The USCIS lady said that our friends and family needed to come in and testify today, or whatever, so we told her we would be out of town at the wedding all weekend.”
Yoongi pops off the straw, and then sighs. “You didn’t have to come.”
And Seokjin thought about it. He thought about staying at home, and then dealing with it all when Namjoon got back. Thought about creating a storyline and sending it to Namjoon through email so that his people back home could learn their scripts and be prepared come Monday afternoon. Thought about it a lot, actually, because Hawaii and weddings sound nothing short of a nightmare to him.
But in the end, he decided that this would just be easier. He has more control over the situation if he’s present, anyway. And plus, the government’s probably got his entire apartment complex bugged by now.
“Well, I’m here now,” he says, ignoring the irritated look on Yoongi’s face. They’re supposed to be friends. “So just play along, please.”
Yoongi doesn’t say anything for a few moments. He stares at Seokjin, as if he’s assessing the situation. Then, very slowly, he says, “-so you expect me to lie to everyone too?”
“Yes,” Seokjin nods, because it isn’t even a question. If Yoongi isn’t on board, then no one can be on board. “Yes, Yoongi, you have too.”
“Hm,” Yoongi muses. He finishes off the rest of his drink, before tossing the cup in a trashcan a few feet away. “How do you suspect you’re going to pull this off, hyung?”
“We’ll come up with a story,” Seokjin says, because he’s been thinking about it all night and is nothing if not creative. “It doesn’t have to be complicated. We can just tell everyone that we decided not to say anything because I’m Namjoon’s boss.”
“That’s such a cliche,” Yoongi snorts. “No one is going to believe that.” He stands up from his chair and takes his wallet out of his backpack. “I’m going to get another coffee. Want anything?”
Seokjin scowls. “No,” and then- “I hope you shit yourself from excess caffeine intake.”
“Whatever, hyung,” Yoongi grunts, and then he’s walking off, and Seokjin’s left to stew by himself in his uncomfortable airport chair.
They end up being squished into a row smack dab in the middle of the plane, in line with the emergency exit doors so that Namjoon can have more leg room. Seokjin hasn’t flown economy in years; he grumbles the entire time they’re boarding the flight, and then even more so when he’s thrown down into the middle seat.
Yoongi takes the window seat. He puts on his headphones before any of them even have their seatbelts on.
The flight from JFK to Honolulu is eleven hours long. Seokjin assumes that Namjoon’s family lives on the island, but when he asks, Namjoon says-
“No, my dad is picking us up and then flying us to Kauai.”
-and he blanches.
“What?” he spits out, eyes wild. “Your dad?”
“Well, my step dad, but yes,” Namjoon tells him, his eyebrows drawn in. He kicks his legs out and then fastens his seatbelt across his torso.
“Your dad can fly planes?” Seokjin asks, bewildered. He, admittedly, knows very little about Namjoon’s home life. These next eleven hours are going to be very important.
Namjoon nods. A flight attendant walks by to see if they’re settled in okay, and he gives her a thumbs up.
“He’s an aerial archaeologist,” he says, “-and he has his pilot's license.”
“And they just let him fly in and out of an international airport whenever he feels like it?” Seokjin buckles his own seat belt together, and then bends down to pick up his neck pillow. He’s not planning on sleeping much, but he doesn’t want his neck to get stiff while he sits and does, essentially, nothing for half a day.
“He works for the University of Hawaii, so they let him use their airstrip whenever he wants,” Namjoon explains to him. He pulls something out of his backpack and sets it on his lap. Seokjin is about to ask him more about his dad, but then he sees that the thing on Namjoon’s lap is actually a binder and-
“What the hell is that?”
“Questions,” Namjoon says. He pulls out a pen and then flips the binder open. Seokjin scans down the front page, reading words like favorite color and allergies. He looks back up at Namjoon, horrified, and glares.
“Are we playing twenty one questions or something?”
“Look,” Namjoon begins. He turns to Seokjin and sighs. “My life is on the line here, too. I don’t really want to go to jail. So yeah, we’re going to play a really long game of twenty one questions, and hopefully by the end of the flight we’ll be able to convince my entire family that we’re in love.”
Seokjin gags at the word love. It’s what he wanted, sure, but hearing the word said out loud in this context is cringe-worthy.
“So you had to bring a binder?”
“I came up with all of these questions last night, and didn’t want to forget them,” Namjoon says. He rolls his eyes and then begins scanning down the list of questions. He stops on one, before he starts writing something down. “Question number thirteen: how are we in the mornings? Me: normal, fine. Seokjin-ssi: grumpy, a general nuisance.”
“No,” Seokjin spits out. He bats Namjoon’s pen away. “Don’t call me Seokjin-ssi. That’s a dead giveaway. Just call me hyung.”
“That makes me want to vomit,” Namjoon admits, but he crosses out Seokjin-ssi and writes down hyung instead. “Hyung.”
“Don’t wear it out,” Seokjin groans. He immediately regrets it when Namjoon gives him the fakest smile he’s ever seen.
“Absolutely not.” Seokjin would rather die than have to endure pet names for an entire weekend. “Call me that again and I’ll throw you off the plane.”
“Geez, fine,” Namjoon says, but he’s laughing. “Question number twenty four: pet names? Me: anything. Hyung: demon, but only in bed.”
“I fucking hate you,” Seokjin mumbles. Namjoon’s laugh drowns him out. He assumes it’s going to be a very long flight.
They don’t actually start asking each other questions until a couple of hours into the flight. Yoongi has been asleep for at least an hour when Namjoon finally looks up from writing in his binder, and the only reason Seokjin hasn’t interrupted him is because he figured that if the younger needed him, he’d say something.
“So,” Namjoon slips his pen behind his ear and Seokjin hates it, “-what do you think are the most important things to know?”
“Who’s freaking wedding I’m going to, for one,” Seokjin tells him, because he still doesn’t know. He tried to look on Namjoon’s social media accounts last night, when he couldn’t sleep because of his anxiety, but nothing came up because Namjoon is a hermit and never posts anything. “And probably about your family. It’s going to be obvious if I don’t know what I’m walking into.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” Namjoon closes his binder and crosses one leg over the other. Seokjin is glad they got the emergency exit aisle, because otherwise Namjoon would be kicking the people in front of them. “The friends getting married are Taehyung and Jimin. They’ve been together since they were fourteen.”
“Jesus christ,” Seokjin mutters. He can’t imagine staying with someone for that long, the thought actually kind of terrifies him. “How old are they now?”
“They’re both twenty three,” Namjoon tells him. “Jimin is, ironically, a wedding planner, and Taehyung is a volcanologist.”
“I don’t know what that word means,” Seokjin says, but he doesn’t give Namjoon a chance to explain before he’s saying- “how did you all end up in Hawaii, anyway?”
“My mom and I moved here when I was ten. She’s an environmental archaeologist, and met my step dad on a dig. They got married when I was fifteen.” Seokjin wants to ask about Namjoon’s actual dad, but figures it’s probably not his place, even though it’s something a significant other should know. “I have a step brother. His name is Jungkook, he’s twenty three.”
“So how did this Jimin and Taehyung meet?” Seokjin asks. He thinks he’s got Namjoon’s family down; mom, dad, little step brother. Easy enough to remember.
“Oh, uh,” Namjoon snorts a little, “-online, actually. They’ve been playing video games together since they were little. Them and uh, Jungkook. Taehyung moved here from Korea after he graduated college because, you know, volcanology.”
“I still don’t know what that means,” Seokjin. Namjoon opens his mouth to explain again, probably, but Seokjin waves him off once more. “So you’ve always known Jimin? Is he your friend?”
“I mean, yeah. We’re all friends. His dad is my step dad’s colleague, so we’ve known him since then. He and Jungkook have always lived in Kauai.”
Seokjin nods. Okay, so, they’re all friends. Jungkook and Jimin are probably best friends, Taehyung and Jimin met the nerdy way. “Anyone else I should know about?”
“Hobi-hyung!” Namjoon exclaims. “Or, uh, Hoseok, but he’s not your hyung. He came with Taehyung, from South Korea, when Taehyung visited when he was, like, eighteen, and then he just never left.”
Hm. Seokjin wrinkles his nose. “Is he, like, weird?”
“No,” Namjoon glares at him, “-he’s my best friend.”
“Well that would’ve been nice to know,” Seokjin scoffs. “What does he do? What is he like? He’s going to hate me, isn’t he?”
“Probably,” Namjoon laughs. “He surfs, sometimes he teaches lessons. He just kind of does whatever. He lived with my parents for at least a year after I left.”
Seokjin has never had a friend like that. He looks at Namjoon, hesitantly. “Is that it?”
Namjoon shrugs. “I guess so. Everyone else you’ll meet once we’re there, it’s not really a big deal.”
“And what about Yoongi?” He nudges the sleeping form on his left. “How does he fit into all of this?”
“Last summer Jungkook, Jimin, Taehyung, and Hobi-hyung all came up to visit me for a few weeks. I don’t know, Yoongi-hyung just clicked with everyone. He and Jungkook are really close.”
So it’s just a large group of really close friends, and a tight-knit family support system. Great. Seokjin doesn’t know if he’s going to be able to pull this off. He’s generally pretty good with the whole meeting-the-parents thing, but this is a unique situation, and they’re totally blindsiding everyone with this.
“So, that’s about it,” Namjoon finishes. It’s a lot of information, and Seokjin starts mentally mapping it out to commit it to memory. “What about your family and friends?”
“Yeah,” Seokjin says, not wanting to think about it, “-you don’t need to worry about that.”
“Um, I just told you practically my entire life’s story,” Namjoon counters. He folds his arms across his chest. “It goes both ways.”
“It doesn’t,” Seokjin argues. He glares at Namjoon, and he knows he’s being unfair, kind of, but Namjoon really doesn't need to know. “I don’t talk to anyone back home, and I haven’t met a lot of people since I moved here. That’s all you, or your family, need to know.”
There’s a sense of finality to his voice that he thinks Namjoon picks up on. The younger huffs, but doesn’t ask anymore questions, and instead pulls his binder back into his lap.
“Fine, whatever,” he grumbles. “Question one: what are your thoughts on having children?”
What feels like an eternity of answering mindless questions later, they finally touch down in Honolulu. Seokjin is exhausted, and his entire body is stiff, but because of the time difference, they have an entire day ahead of them.
He realizes this as he’s walking off of the plane and finds that it’s not actually getting dark out through the windows like he thought it would be. He checks his phone, once he’s taken it off of airplane mode, and sees that it’s only one in the afternoon.
He groans, and looks at Namjoon.
“Where are we supposed to get on our next plane?”
“My dad should be waiting for us at the gate,” he says. He’s walking through the tunnel a little quicker than he normally moves, and Seokjin would be annoyed with how fast he’s going if he didn’t find it almost endearing.
Even Yoongi is smiling. Seokjin wonders what he’s gotten himself into.
The airport isn’t as crowded as Seokjin expected it to be when he walks out of the tunnel and into the gate. There aren’t that many people walking around, or waiting, so he suspects that it’ll be easy to find Namjoon’s dad.
He’s proven right when, before his feet have been on solid ground for more than thirty seconds, someone is calling their names.
Or, Namjoon and Yoongi’s names. And then-
“Who do we have here?”
“Appa!” Namjoon says, ignoring the question. He embraces his father, and then pulls away so that Yoongi can hug him, too. “It’s good to see you.”
“We missed you,” the older man tells his son. He pats at Yoongi’s head, however, and Seokjin watches, bemused, as Yoongi’s face pinches together. “Who’s your friend?”
“You know Yoongi.”
Namjoon’s father glares at him. “I meant your plus one. I didn’t know either of you were bringing one.”
“Oh, no, Abeoji,” Yoongi says and Seokjin nearly screams at the word abeoji because oh my god these people are actually close, “-he’s not mine.”
“Ah,” the man turns to Namjoon, his eyebrow raised, “-well?”
“Ah, uh,” Namjoon runs a hand through his hair. He turns and looks at Seokjin, and Seokjin jerks his head like say something, you idiot. “This is Seokjin.”
Namjoon’s father rounds on him, and Seokjin suddenly panics because he never even asked for names, what is he supposed to do? “Nice to meet you, Seokjin.”
“It’s nice to meet you too, um, Ajeossi,” Seokjin says. He hates how his voice shakes. Do better, you’re not this weak, he tells himself.
“Oh, please,” Namjoon’s father laughs, waving his hand, “-call me Sanghoon.”
“Okay,” Seokjin mumbles. He wants to say no, absolutely not, that’s so impolite but, well. He smiles weakly.
“Are you a friend, or…” Sanghoon asks then. He looks back and forth between Namjoon and Seokjin, almost like he’s confused. Seokjin freezes, and comes to the horrifying realization that oh god Namjoon hasn’t come out to his family yet fuck what are we supposed to do now I thought they knew do they not know oh my god-
Seokjin just barely understands what Namjoon says. He keeps his eyes trained on a particularly interesting stain in the dingy airport carpet, refusing to look up. It wasn’t supposed to go like this, he thinks, or maybe it was, he doesn’t know what he expected but suddenly this is entirely awkward and he wants to go home.
“Say that again?” Sanghoon doesn’t sound angry, at least, but he definitely heard what Namjoon said. “Your who?”
“My, uh,” there’s a hand on Seokjin’s waist and when he looks up he just barely holds back a glare because Namjoon is not supposed to do that, “-fiance? Seokjin-hyung is my, uh, my fiance.” Namjoon laughs a little, and it’s like nails on a chalkboard to Seokjin’s ears. “Surprise?”
“Your…” Seokjin chances a look at Namjoon’s dad, finds him already staring at him, quizzically even, “-fiance. Since when?”
“Since not that long ago,” Namjoon’s voice is shaking, “-um, last weekend. And I wanted to tell you in person! So, um, yeah. That’s why I didn’t say anything.”
“Right.” His dad doesn’t sound convinced. Seokjin supposes he wouldn’t be either. “We didn’t even know you were dating, though.”
He looks disappointed, and Seokjin doesn’t really know what to do about that. He hopes it’s just because his son has kept something so significant from him, and not because Seokjin is a man. Namjoon hadn’t said anything about his family and their views on his sexual orientation, and he thinks that if it was going to be a problem, the younger would’ve told him. Or at least, he had hoped.
“It was, um, complicated,” Namjoon mumbles. He drops his hand from Seokjin’s waist. “Can we talk about it at home? You know, with mom and everyone.”
Everyone. Seokjin tenses.
“Yes, yes, of course.” Sanghoon claps Namjoon on the shoulder and the smile he gives him is a little bit reassuring. He then turns it on Seokjin, says, “-nonetheless, welcome to Hawaii, Seokjin. We’re happy to have you.”
“Thank you,” Seokjin squeaks. He hopes his face isn’t as red as it feels, knows that it most likely is, and swallows all of his pride.
Forty minutes of hell on a tiny, compact plane later, and Seokjin finds himself climbing down a set of rickety stairs to the ground of Kauai.
He feels like a baby giraffe. A baby giraffe, with broken legs, and backwards knees. His entire body hurts. He just feels lucky to be alive.
He knew that they wouldn’t be on a normal plane on the ride over from Honolulu, but he hadn’t expected the near death experience he’s just endured. He felt like they were one second away from dropping out of the air the entire trip. He will be swimming across the ocean back to Honolulu, if that’s what it takes. Namjoon’s father is very kind, but Seokjin will not be getting back in a plane with him ever again.
Namjoon must pick up on this, because after they’ve retrieved their bags from beneath the plane, he takes one look at Seokjin’s face and busts out into laughter.
“Don’t laugh at me,” Seokjin hisses. He hoists one of his bags over his shoulder, dragging the other behind him angrily. Sanghoon is walking ahead of them, talking with Yoongi, so he doesn’t try to hide his irritation. “I almost died, and you’re making fun of me?”
“That was one of the smoother rides I’ve been on with him,” Namjoon snorts. He takes pity on Seokjin and grabs the bag he’s dragging behind him, swinging it easily over his free shoulder. Seokjin tries not to read into it. “You need to get out more, hyung.”
Seokjin grimaces. “Can we drive back next time?”
“What, on the seafloor?”
“Is there not a bridge?”
“No, there’s not a bridge,” Namjoon laughs. He shakes his head, and then nods towards his dad and Yoongi, who are approaching a pick up truck. “Come on, or they’ll leave us.”
“Maybe I want them to,” Seokjin grumbles, though he follows along anyway, begrudgingly.
Turns out, Kauai is not as big as Seokjin had originally imagined. He had expected it to take hours to get from the airport to wherever Namjoon lives. Instead, they spend a few minutes throwing their bags into the back of the truck and finding seats (Yoongi takes the front, which means that Namjoon and Seokjin have to squish into the back bench despite the fact that they’re both big and Yoongi is, well, not), before heading north, traveling less than an hour until they arrive at a long gravel driveway.
Seokjin also didn’t expect Namjoon’s childhood home to look like it was from a spread out of a Homes & Gardens magazine. He knew Hawaii was a beautiful place; he’s never been before, but the photos he’s seen indicate that it really is picturesque. He just never expected Namjoon to live on some kind of resort.
Seokjin’s been surprised by a lot of things so far. He hopes it stops at this.
After waiting until both Sanghoon and Yoongi have exited the vehicle, Seokjin slaps Namjoon hard on the arm. “You never told me you lived in a beachfront mansion.”
“Ow!” Namjoon exclaims. He rubs his arm, glaring at Seokjin. “I don’t. My parents do.”
“Don’t be an ass,” Seokjin mutters, “-first your dad is a pilot, now you’re rich? Is your mom famous or something, too?”
“No,” Namjoon scoffs. He moves to open the door and get out, but Seokjin reaches over and stops his hand.
“Seriously, Namjoon. I feel like an idiot. Is there anything else-”
He doesn’t get to finish. He was going to say ‘is there anything else I’m going to be blindsided by’, because really, he’s pretty sure his face is giving everything away right now, but instead Namjoon’s door is thrown open and suddenly someone is screaming in their faces.
“YOUR DAD JUST SAID THAT YOU BROUGHT HOME A FIANCE? SINCE WHEN THE FUCK WERE YOU EVEN DATING ANYONE?”
Seokjin looks up and is met with the face of a man that looks around their age. He’s got a long face, and shaggy, dark brown hair. Seokjin thinks I hope all of Namjoon’s friends aren’t handsome like this and then-
Namjoon groans. He pushes the man out of the doorway and hops down from the truck, but the minute his feet hit the ground he wraps the other in a hug and smiles.
“Nice to see you too, Hobi-hyung.”
Oh, fuck. The best friend. Seokjin gulps and gets out on his own side.
He walks around to the back of the truck, where Yoongi and Sanghoon are unloading all of their bags. Seokjin picks his up, and then after thinking about it, decides that a loving fiance would carry their partner’s bags if they were busy. Except Namjoon has apparently packed bricks, and that’s how the younger finds Seokjin a few moments later: struggling to lift the bag amongst his own, looking, genuinely, like a nightmare of a human being.
“Oh, wow. He looks like a dream, Joon-ah.”
Seokjin drops the offending bag to look up and glare at Namjoon’s Hobi-hyung. The other laughs and holds his hands up in defense, before stepping forward and holding one out in greeting.
“I’m kidding. It’s nice to meet you, I’m Hoseok.”
Seokjin sighs. He stands, straightening his back, and then takes the outstretched hand. “Hi. I’m Seokjin.”
They shake hands, and then Hoseok pulls back and looks up at Namjoon. “His hands are soft, at least,” he says, and Namjoon snorts before shaking his head fondly and bending down to pick up his bag. Seokjin wonders what was said between them back at the truck, but neither of them address him again so he doesn’t push it. He’s about to start following behind Yoongi and Sanghoon, who are walking towards the house now, still immersed in conversation, but then Namjoon reaches down and tangles their fingers together and he falters.
“Play along,” Namjoon mumbles against his ear, suddenly very close, and then he kisses Seokjin’s cheek. Seokjin wills his blush to go away, this should be normal you guys are engaged you kiss all the time pretend pretend pretend but he can’t help it, he’s flustered. But he goes along with it, lets Namjoon pull him towards his home for show, and doesn’t let go, not even when a woman steps out of the house and bounds down the front steps towards them.
“Namjoon!” she calls, and Seokjin thinks that this is probably the mother. Most likely, because she looks almost entirely like Namjoon, dimples and all. And then, “-who is that?”
Seokjin can’t imagine his own family ever being this blunt about anything. Then again, he would never put himself in a situation like this around them, so who knows. Everyone here is just very straightforward, and Seokjin doesn’t know whether he likes it or not.
“Eomma,” Namjoon mumbles once they’re close enough, dropping Seokjin’s hand so that he can hug his mother. Seokjin stands behind them politely, a little uncomfortable, feeling like a total outsider. He is, but he’s not used to it; people usually gravitate towards him, and even if he doesn’t have many friends here yet, he always has someone to talk to, someone to make the situation a little less awkward. He folds his hands in front of him and tries not to stare as Namjoon buries his face in his mother’s neck and holds on tight. It pulls a little at Seokjin’s heart-strings; he tries to tamper down on that quickly.
“Hi, my love,” she says, and then pulls away from the hug before turning her attention on Seokjin. “Hello.”
“Oh, um,” Seokjin stands up a little straighter, “-hi. I’m Kim Seokjin, it’s nice to finally meet you. Namjoon-ah talks about you a lot.” He throws on his best smile, and hopes it look convincing.
“Well I would hope so,” his mother says, and then she breaks out into a wide grin. “Kim Seokjin. I can’t say I’ve heard that name before.”
Well, Seokjin thinks, at least Namjoon isn’t talking bad about me to his family. He’s not sure how he would’ve handled that.
“Are you a friend of my son?”
“Eomma,” Namjoon says, and both his mom and Seokjin turn their attention on him. “Um, I’m sorry for not telling you earlier, but, well.” Namjoon takes a deep breath. Seokjin honestly does feel a little bad for him. This is the third time now he’s had to do this, and he’ll likely have to do it half a dozen more times after this. “Seokjin-hyung is, uh, my fiance. We’re engaged.”
“You’re-” Namjoon’s mom pauses. She looks between her son and Seokjin, one perfectly manicured eyebrow raised in question, and then says, “I do not believe that for one second.”
Both of them are rendered speechless. Seokjin looks up at Namjoon, panics, and then Namjoon runs a hand down his face and groans.
“Eomma, please,” he mutters. He grabs Seokjin’s hand again and Seokjin thinks that’s a little bit overkill but he doesn’t pull it away. “It’s...complicated. Seokjin-hyung is my boss, and we both could’ve gotten in trouble if HR found out, so we kept it a secret from everyone. Not even Yoongi-hyung knew until we showed up at the airport together.”
“I just can’t believe my baby didn’t tell me about his fiance,” Namjoon’s mother almost whines, and Seokjin realizes the situation is not as serious as he had thought. He almost sighs in relief, but stops himself, instead forcing the smile back on his face. “Will you not get in trouble now?”
“Well, no, as I’m getting promoted-”
“You’re what?!” Namjoon’s mother nearly screeches. She turns around and yells at her husband, who’s standing on the front porch, still talking with Yoongi. “Sanghoon! He got a promotion!”
“A promotion?!” Sanghoon calls back. The absolute delight that spreads across his face has Seokjin’s forced smile turning into a real one very quickly. He decides he likes Namjoon’s family, despite the initial awkwardness and discomfort at arrival. They seem like sweet, genuine people, and that’s not something Seokjin is used to.
He squeezes Namjoon’s hand. Namjoon looks down at him and smiles, and it’s not horrible.
“Don’t tell me anymore,” Namjoon’s mom says, pulling their attention back to her. She waves her hands, frantic, like she doesn’t know what to do with them. “Call my kids, tell them to come over for a late lunch slash early dinner. We’re going to have a proper discussion about this, and you two are going to tell me everything.”
Namjoon laughs. He nods, as he follows behind his mother heading back up to the house, tugging Seokjin behind him. Seokjin nudges him when they’re out of earshot and when the younger leans down he asks, “-she has more kids?”
“No,” Namjoon snorts, “she’s talking about Jimin and Taehyung.”
“Oh.” Seokjin swallows down his protests at meeting more people; he feels as if he’s met his socialization quota for the day, but he’s not going to complain.
“It’ll be fine,” Namjoon reassures him. He pulls him up the stairs at the front of his house. “They’re nice.”
Namjoon is wrong. Jimin and Taehyung are not nice.
The minute they entered the house, Namjoon’s mother had drug them up the stairs of the grand motherfucking foyer Seokjin has never seen anything like it, and then showed them their room for the weekend. It had been Namjoon’s room as a child, but was transformed into a tasteful guest bedroom when he moved away. Seokjin’s not sure why he ever thought they’d be given separate rooms, but he thinks he does a good job masking his surprise when he sees the single bed in the middle of the room. Namjoon’s mother thinks nothing of it; the minute she leaves the room, however, Namjoon claims the left side and says that if Seokjin touches him in his sleep he’ll kick him to the ground.
So much for the kind Namjoon Seokjin was slowly getting accustomed to, he thinks.
Anyway, now he’s sitting on a small couch, across from this Jimin and Taehyung, and Seokjin can genuinely say that he’s never encountered so much judgement before in his entire life. Not even the USCIS lady had been this bad, and she was downright terrifying.
“So,” the one Seokjin has come to know as Jimin says, “-you’re hyung’s fiance?”
“Um, yes,” Seokjin gulps. He should not be intimidated by these people. Jimin has bright pink hair, and Taehyung’s is blue, and they’re both very handsome and Taehyung is very tall and Jimin is not, but he should not be intimidated by them. “I am. Yes.”
“You sound in pain,” Jimin points out. I am, Seokjin wants to say, but he just sighs. “This is almost as bad as someone proposing at our reception. I feel cheated out of my own wedding.”
“Oh,” Seokjin says, and he never considered it like that. Now he feels bad. “I’m so sorry, that was never our intention, Namjoon just wanted to tell you all in person and-”
“I’m not mad,” Jimin cuts him off. He has a wicked grin on his face and Seokjin quickly shuts up. “I find this all very amusing. I think we all just assumed Namjoon was going to marry some nice girl and get a dog and have a few kids, you know, the whole American Dream thing.”
“Right.” Seokjin bites down on his cheek. Do they know the same Namjoon? He never would’ve pictured the younger as an American Dad type of guy. “Well still, I apologize. It’s not an ideal situation, I know.”
“I think what Jimin is trying to say,” Taehyung pipes up, looking at Jimin out of the corner of his eye, “-is just that no one expected this. It’s not a bad thing, we’re happy you’re here. You didn’t ruin our wedding, don’t worry.”
Seokjin smiles, if only a little. He likes Taehyung better, he decides. And the blue is cooler anyway. Jimin is a brat.
He’s rescued a few minutes later when Namjoon walks back into the living room with two beers in his grip. He hands one to Seokjin and then sits down next to him, their thighs squishing together on the tiny couch. Seokjin wasn’t planning on drinking, doesn’t really want to anyway, but thinks he needs it if he’s going to get through the rest of this night.
“Are you being mean to him, Jimin-ah?” Namjoon asks, taking a sip of his own beer. He adjusts himself on the couch, and then throws an arm on the back of it, effectively caging Seokjin in. Seokjin doesn’t think he’s aware that he’s doing it, but Seokjin is, and he blushes.
He hates how easy he fucking blushes.
“No,” Jimin scoffs. “Just saying how I think it’s convenient how you brought home a fiance on our wedding weekend.”
Namjoon rolls his eyes, and apparently he doesn’t feel as bad about it as Seokjin does.
“Makes up for the time my mom and dad caught you sucking Tae’s dick during my graduation dinner.”
Seokjin splutters, choking on the drink he’s just taken. Namjoon pats him on the back a few times and okay, maybe he is aware of the arm placement. Seokjin regroups and clears his throat and looks up at both Jimin and Taehyung, expecting them to look at least a little embarrassed, but they’re both just smirking like they’re proud.
“I suppose it does,” Jimin says, matter of fact. “Please don’t let us catch you in any sexual acts during the wedding, though. My mom’s not as cool as yours.”
Namjoon laughs, like it’s nothing. Seokjin doesn’t think it’s nothing. He’s uncomfortable, but he figures he’s just going to have to suck it up. This is what normal couples do. They joke about their sex lives. They laugh along with their friends.
He’s beginning to think that he signed up for way more than he ever expected.
Namjoon’s mother must have been cooking all day already, because before long they’re all being called into the dining room, dinner ready and spread out on their large table. It’s an array of traditional Korean foods and Seokjin nearly cries at the sight of it; he hasn’t had home cooked Korean food in so long.
He takes a seat at one end of the table, between Namjoon and Yoongi, across from Jimin. He notices that one chair is left unoccupied, and suddenly remembers the brother.
Yoongi must notice it too, because once they’re all seated and have started passing dishes around, he asks, “-where’s Jungkook?”
Namjoon’s mother perks up at the mention of her other son as she passes a bowl of gaji bokkeum to Taehyung. “He should be home any minute. He’s been at work all week long, getting his classroom ready.”
Yoongi freezes, his hand stilling midway to his mouth with rice falling from the chopsticks. “He- he got the job?”
“Yes! He didn’t tell you? He found out last week, and started meetings this past Monday.”
“No, he didn’t tell me,” Yoongi says quietly, and then he doesn’t say anything else, and Seokjin wonders what that’s all about.
He doesn’t have to wonder for long, though, because while he’s spooning out jjajangmyeon onto his plate, someone walks into the dining room and the table lights up.
“Namjoon-ah!” the voice of the newcomer calls, and Seokjin barely has any time to register what’s happening before someone is throwing themselves into Namjoon, nearly knocking their plates and water glasses over.
“Hi, Kook-ah,” Namjoon laughs, engulfing his brother in a tight hug. When they pull apart, Seokjin sees a young face with wide, round doe eyes and probably the cutest button nose ever and he suddenly understands why Namjoon facetimes the kid about three times a day. He’s adorable.
“Hyung, you’ll never believe-” Jungkook stops when he notices Seokjin. “Um. Hello?”
“Hi,” Seokjin squeaks. His chopsticks are still frozen mid-air. He glances at Namjoon, eyes probably panicky, and Namjoon takes pity on him by placing his hand on his knee and turning towards his brother.
“Jungkook-ah, why don’t you sit down?”
Seokjin doesn’t know why he had to announce it like that. It makes it seem like he’s about to announce a death, or something. He grimaces and turns back to the noodles.
“O-kay,” Jungkook drawls out. The only seat left is next to Yoongi, so Jungkook makes his way there, running his hands through the older’s hair and muttering a small hey, hyung before sitting down. Yoongi’s face turns bright red, almost embarrassingly so, and no one else seems to notice, or maybe they’re just used to it, but Seokjin sure isn’t and he’s fucking ecstatic.
He smirks at Yoongi, and Yoongi catches his eye. He makes a face and Seokjin thinks everyone probably hasn’t picked up on it, judging by the reaction, which just makes it all the more hilarious. He’s suddenly very glad he came on this trip, if only to witness this masterpiece unfolding before his eyes.
Seokjin knows absolutely nothing about Jungkook but he can’t wait to ask Yoongi about him.
“So, what’s going on?” Jungkook asks then. He immediately digs into the food, stacking piles upon piles onto his plate while everyone else digs into their own. Namjoon lets him get settled before he says anything, keeping his hand on Seokjin’s knee like it’s some kind of comfort for him. That, or he’s just trying to be convincing. Seokjin’s okay with either. He’s doing just fine at acting so far.
“Your brother is getting married,” Namjoon’s mother announces for them, and Namjoon cocks an eyebrow at her like, really mom? Jungkook falters, his chopsticks slipping in his hands, but he doesn’t say anything. Just stares at Namjoon, waiting for more.
“Well,” Namjoon sighs. “Yeah, I guess. This is Seokjin-hyung, he and I are engaged.”
“You never told me about any of this,” Jungkook says. He looks like he doesn’t believe him, says, “-I don’t believe you.”
Their mother reaches over and holds out a hand, and Jungkook hi-fives it. Seokjin has never seen a family dynamic like this, he doesn’t know what to do.
“That’s what I said.”
“You would’ve told me,” Jungkook scrunches his nose up, then looks over at Yoongi. They seem to have some kind of silent conversation, eyebrows moving, until Jungkook turns back to Namjoon and frowns.
“Like I told mom, it’s complicated,” Namjoon rushes to say. He takes his hand off of Seokjin’s knee and grabs his chopsticks again. “He’s my boss, and, you know, it could get us in trouble.”
“So you kept it from your family that lives thousands of miles away?”
Seokjin cringes. It’s really dumb, their excuse is not believable in the slightest bit, they should’ve worked something else out, why the hell did they spend the entire plane ride talking about favorite foods and dogs and not this-
“It just, it’s new and-”
“If it’s new then why are you already engaged?” Jungkook grills him. He almost looks mad, like he’s been betrayed by his brother, and Seokjin doesn’t have a brother so he has no idea what something like this would feel like, but he can imagine. He glances at Namjoon and finds him with his face pinched up, calculating.
“We,” -Seokjin’s about to jump in and help, because he’s always been fairly good at storytelling- “look, guys. I’m sorry I didn’t tell any of you earlier. I didn’t say anything because it was new and I didn’t want to jinx it, and also because we had to keep it a secret at work so I thought it would be easier to just keep it a secret from everyone.
“And then suddenly it wasn’t new, and I realized I loved him, and one thing led to another and then I realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, and it was a spontaneous thing, I asked him during dinner last weekend, see, we don’t even have rings yet,” he points to his hand, then gestures towards Seokjin’s, “-and I just decided that it wasn’t anyone else’s business, it was just something for us, but I want you guys to love him too, now, and I’m sorry if you’re upset but I’m not.”
Namjoon takes a deep breath, and then he’s done. Seokjin hasn’t lifted his gaze from his very interesting plate of food but when he hears a sniffle he does, and finds that Namjoon’s mother is crying, and he doesn’t know if it’s a good thing or not but Namjoon mumbles a small “oh, eomma”, and then he’s out of his chair and walking to the other side of the table in order to hug her and it’s all just very overwhelming.
Seokjin looks to his right. Yoongi doesn’t look fazed, because he’s in on it, of course, but Jungkook’s mouth is dropped wide open, and his eyes are a little red-rimmed. Seokjin hopes he won’t cry because why the fuck would he. Their mother tearing up is bad enough.
“I’m happy for you, Joon-ah,” she says, drawing Seokjin’s attention back to that side of the table. “It’s not that I didn’t believe you, I was just surprised. I just thought… Well, that doesn’t matter now.” Seokjin wonders what she means by that. “You’re all grown up, moved away from home and everything, and if you’re happy, I’m happy.”
Namjoon nods in understanding. He hugs his mom once more, kisses her forehead, and then comes back to his seat. He takes Seokjin’s hand and laces their fingers together, before resting them on top of the table.
“I am sorry that I sprung it all on you like this, though. I wish I could’ve told you sooner, but it’s not something I feel like should be announced over a call or text, you know?”
“I would’ve been more mad at you for that,” Jungkook grumbles. Seokjin glances over and smiles at the adorably irritated look on his face.
“I figured,” Namjoon snorts. He’s doing a lot better with this than Seokjin expected him to, if he’s being honest. Usually the man isn’t this...composed.
“Sweetheart,” Namjoon’s mother begins, while dabbing at her eyes with her dinner napkin. “If you love him, then I’m sure we will too. We’re happy for you two.” She pauses, and then slowly starts to smirk. “Now, tell me about my brilliant son’s big promotion.”
Seokjin swallows the acid in his throat. He smiles, but removes his hand from Namjoon’s and goes back to his dinner, drowning out the rest of the conversation.
Despite the fact that it’s working, he’s suddenly well aware of how much of a big, cruel joke this all is.
Later that night, after they’ve had dessert and have sat and talked for awhile, and Jimin has warmed up to Seokjin a little, he and Namjoon head to bed. Yoongi heads to his room, Jungkook to his, Jimin and Taehyung back to their own house and Hoseok to the couch. The house is quiet and peaceful and it’s not late, only eight-thirty, but Seokjin is exhausted. Both mentally, and physically.
He gets ready for bed in the bathroom, while Namjoon puts his pajamas on in the room. They switch spots, and Seokjin makes himself comfortable in the bed, squished all the way to the right side. He hopes he doesn’t fall off during the night, but supposes it’d be better than his foot accidentally touching Namjoon’s hairy leg. He’s covered from head to toe, in a matching velour pajama set and fuzzy socks, and he doesn’t know how Namjoon sleeps but-
Namjoon walks out in, well, very little. A pair of shorts, and that’s it. Seokjin scowls at him and doesn’t try to hide his disgust.
“We have to sleep together, you know,” he mutters. Namjoon just rolls his eyes as he climbs into the bed, hitting the lights on the way. The room is dark, until he flips on a lamp on the bedside table.
“It’s hot,” is all he offers. He props himself up against the headboard and pulls out a book from seemingly nowhere. “Mind if I read?”
“You’re going to even if I say yes,” Seokjin sighs. He rolls over so that his back is facing the light, and it’s a little better then. He thinks he can fall asleep, even if he doesn’t have his white water sound machine and a fan blowing in his face.
A little bit of time passes. Seokjin is tired, but it usually takes him a bit of time to fall asleep. He looks around the room, admires the curtains and the rug and the throw pillows at the end of the bed. He’s slipping into unconsciousness, eyes falling shut when Namjoon, annoyingly, speaks next.
“Sorry if that was too much at dinner,” he says. He doesn’t elaborate, but Seokjin knows he’s talking about his impromptu speech. “I knew they wouldn’t back off if I didn’t do something dramatic.”
“It was good,” Seokjin yawns. It wasn’t really that dramatic, he thinks he would’ve done worse. He rolls over and looks up at Namjoon. “At least they believe us.”
Namjoon shrugs. “Jungkook doesn’t still, I think. But he’s always skeptical about everything.”
“Well, he almost cried at dinner,” Seokjin offers. He knows the red-rimmed eyes hadn’t been for nothing.
“He cries over everything,” Namjoon laughs. “It’ll be fine, though. He warms up to people quickly.”
Seokjin hums. And then, “-are he and Yoongi together?”
“Jungkook and Yoongi-hyung?” Namjoon splutters. He puts his book down and snorts. “No, why would you think that?”
Oh god, Seokjin thinks, they don’t know. It’s so obvious, at least that Yoongi is infatuated with the younger boy. But he just shrugs, because it isn’t his place.
“I don’t know,” he says. “Jungkook just fluffed Yoongi’s hair when he walked by during dinner, and if I did that Yoongi would have my hands chopped off and hung in the office as decoration.”
Namjoon snorts again. He picks his book back up and shrugs. “Everyone's a little soft for Jungkook, hyung included. Nothing’s going on there, don’t worry.”
Seokjin isn’t, but he nods anyway. He rolls back over onto his side. “Do we have to get up early?”
“Not that I know of,” Namjoon tells him. “We’re going to a club tomorrow night, though. Jimin and Taehyung didn’t want to do separate bachelor parties, but they still wanted to do something, so we’ll have to go out. Other than that, we’re just hanging out all day.”
Perfect, Seokjin thinks. He can relax and recover from the whirlwind of events that happened today.
“Well, wake me if it’s going on noon and I’m still asleep,” Seokjin tells him. He clutches a pillow under his arm and closes his eyes. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, hyung,” Namjoon chuckles. He doesn’t turn off the lamp for another thirty minutes, but by that time Seokjin is long gone.