The tension between Namjoon and Hoseok had been growing like a wild plant for days. No.. Scratch that - it had been growing like a wild plant for years and required so much energy that it was doing nothing but draining them. It was on the verge of sucking the life out of all the vegetation around it, and time just didn’t seem to want to stop dragging the process out. Until one day, when a flower bursted and blossomed in an explosion.
Just like a wild plant, it started when a seed fell to the ground at its destined place.
Namjoon never talked about his feelings unless someone (read: Jin) put him in a chair, yelled at him as if he was a child and explained that “You need to fucking tell us what’s going on in that head of yours, we won’t know if you don’t!”. It wasn’t impossible to tell when Namjoon was going through something, but it was far from easy. However, Hoseok was great at reading people. Especially the members. Especially Namjoon - the guy kept so much inside Hoseok could practically sense the pent up frustrations and repressed feelings radiating from his body heat.
Kim Namjoon was a complicated person, hard to read for a lot of people except for when it came to one thing - because it certainly did not take a rocket scientist to figure out when Namjoon was mad.
Years ago, when Hoseok kissed Taehyung for a variety show, Namjoon refused to look at them afterwards. He didn’t sit next to them, didn’t talk to them, didn’t acknowledge Hoseok’s existence until over a week had passed. When confronted about it, Namjoon lied - Hoseok knows this because he can always tell when someone's lying - and said he could never look the person who took Taehyung’s innocence in the eye. After talking to Jimin about it, Hoseok started to suspect Namjoon was homophobic and couldn’t get the sight of two guys kissing out of his head. It was a simple explanation. One that made sense.
But that didn’t mean Hoseok just shrugged it off and carried on with his life.
No, this explanation angered Hoseok to no end because he’d been in a relationship with a guy before and even though the members didn’t know about it at the time he still felt personally attacked.
Then Jimin suddenly came out and Namjoon was his biggest supporter, leaving a confused Hoseok at the sidelines wondering why Namjoon had been so weird about the kiss with Taehyung if he wasn’t homophobic in the first place.
Fast forward a few years to 2019 and Jungkook and Jimin were dating. When Hoseok asked Namjoon what he thought about it, he’d said that it was fine as long as they were careful - he was confirmed not to be homophobic when they kissed in front of him and he smiled and clutched his chest like his heart couldn’t take the cuteness of it.
For some reason, even though all those years had passed Hoseok never forgot how cold Namjoon had been to him and Taehyung after their kiss. If someone you truly love abruptly stops engaging with you and starts pretending like you don’t exist it leaves a wound in your soul and the pain just won’t go away completely even when everything is back to normal. It’s in the back of your head. Buzzing like a swarm of bees, constantly reminding you that this person claims to love you but why did they hurt you like that? How could they? So, sometimes Hoseok still thought about it; it was notably on his mind when he was sitting in Taehyung’s lap when all the members were drunk and Namjoon was staring at them like he wanted to kick them both out of the house.
“Taehyungie, remember how I was your first kiss?” The room fell silent at his teasing tone. Jin cheered at the memory while Jimin laughed at how Taehyung was blushing. “Why don’t you kiss me again and show me how you’ve improved?” Hoseok had asked, obviously too drunk for his own good, and Taehyung did show him while the other members were laughing and applauding them - except for Namjoon who excused himself to go to the bathroom. He didn’t speak to either of them the next day despite knowing the kiss meant nothing.
It was crystal clear to Hoseok after that: Namjoon had feelings for either him or Taehyung.
(It was also clear he had a bad habit of giving people the silent treatment).
Taehyung was cancelled out of the equation rather quickly because after studying Namjoon’s behaviour and mood religiously after Taehyung’s occasional hookups he found that he remained stable and completely unaffected by Taehyung’s lovers. Hoseok wasn’t sure what to do with that information. What do you do when one of your closest friends has feelings for you but you’re not sure how you, yourself, feel about them?
See, Hoseok was the type of person to get crushes on people very easily. Whenever he got to know someone new he started crushing on them, but it always faded quickly.
Hoseok had been crushing on Namjoon when they first met.
Then it faded away like his crushes always did - or so he thought.
Namjoon was often on Hoseok’s mind after his realization. He found himself staring at their leader and noticed things he hadn’t in the years of knowing and living with him. How had he not detected Namjoon’s lingering gaze or touch before and when had it all started? It was all he could think of nowadays. When he woke up early in the morning and they ate breakfast together, all he could think of in his dazed and newly awakened mind was that Namjoon looked so cute and beautiful sitting there sipping at his tea sweetened with honey. Even when they were busy on tour he felt himself focus on Namjoon most of the time - it was similar to binge watching a show after years of ignoring it and just wanting more, more, more.
That’s how he found himself staring at Namjoon’s lips one late night.
“It feels like something’s missing, doesn’t it?” Namjoon had just let him listen to one of his new songs. Hoseok thought it was his best one yet. The melody and the lyrics ripped your chest open and forced you to look at all of your repressed feelings and thoughts - it was an awful experience in the sense that you had to stare at all the things you’ve tried to hide for so long, but it was amazing and breathtaking and Namjoon was looking at the computer screen and he was so handsome and cute and-
“No, it sounds so good. It’s beautiful.” Hoseok hadn’t meant to whisper. It seemed to surprise Namjoon, because he looked towards Hoseok - he even turned his whole chair around - and now it was silent. Even the air was in a cautious state. Namjoon was wearing a peach-colored t-shirt. It brought out his golden skin and enhanced his black hair perfectly. He blinked three times in a row after realizing Hoseok was gawking at his lips.
“You think so?” Namjoon asked in a hushed tone, getting a nod in response.
“I do.” Hoseok couldn’t contain himself. It felt like nothing could stop him at that moment. Namjoon, a guy who obviously had feelings for him, was in front of him. They were alone and he was beautiful and he loved him; what could go wrong in that scenario?
Hoseok reached out and brushed his thumb over Namjoon’s soft cheek, paid particular attention to the spot where a dimple appears whenever he smiles and carefully placed his other hand on Namjoon’s thick thigh so he could slowly start to lean in.
Namjoon looked shocked for a second before he, too, started leaning in. Their lips were so close and Hoseok was about to pass out because Namjoon smelled so good up close and then- Then! Namjoon abruptly pressed his toes on the floor and rolled backwards in his chair - accidentally pulling a cord with a wheel so the screen turned black - and stood up with such force that the chair almost fell behind him.
“Jimin’s birthday’s coming up! Exciting, isn’t it?” Just like that - a few words and a voice crack later - he was out of the room and had closed the door so fast a figurine on the shelf fell. Hoseok sighed and bumped his forehead onto the desk. He knew he hadn’t misunderstood Namjoon - he knew for sure he was into Hoseok. So why didn’t he do anything when Hoseok gave him the most obvious chance in history? They had been so close! So close after so many years, yet Namjoon changed his mind one second before they were about to kiss.
Hoseok came to the conclusion that Namjoon was an idiot.
They didn’t talk at all the following four days. The other members took notice of how manifestly they avoided each other but didn’t ask about it. Hoseok felt exasperated. Namjoon was tiptoeing around him constantly; he’d even stopped leaving his socks in random places because it always made Hoseok nag and he didn’t want to upset him in any way. It was subtle behaviour but Hoseok noticed. He noticed everything Namjoon did as to not upset him or get too close in his personal space.
Then Namjoon did the one thing that always ticked Hoseok off. They’d been going through a completely new choreography - a very serious matter, they were idols and needed to move perfectly and in sync - but Namjoon hadn’t been paying attention. His mind had been God knows where and he messed up every other step and move, always behind and always doing something wrong.
Shit really hit the fan after their dance teacher told Hoseok to stay and teach Namjoon the details and they’d been alone in the practice room with foggy mirrors for nearly two hours straight after everyone else had left.
“No, Namjoon-ah. It goes like bam! Bam bam bam!” Hoseok did the move with ease, put his foot forward, then backwards and turned around, jumped, moved mesmerizingly and landed on the floor in a way that resembled a tiger being as light as a feather. (It was obviously as difficult as it sounded).
“Look, I’ve tried a million times but I’m not gonna be able to do shit right now because I’m exhausted!” Namjoon’s face was glistening with sweat and he wiped it with both of his hands which made half of his stomach visible for a moment before the shirt lowered back into place. He wiped his wet hands on his pants. “I don’t know what kind of endless source of energy you have, but me? I need a break.” Hoseok pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and index finger and closed his eyes.
“What you need is to get this move right! What happened to being hardworking and pushing yourself just a bit more?” Namjoon groaned, frustrated that his own words were being used against him.
“I’m too tired for this.” Hoseok crossed his arms.
“Why are you the only one complaining about being tired? Don’t you think the rest of us are, too?” Namjoon looked like he was on the verge of crying but it was true; all of them were having a hard time. “I don’t care if you’re tired! I care about us looking good on stage!”
“I care about that too, but why can’t we just continue tomorrow?” For some reason, that was the last thing Hoseok could take.
“You’re always procrastinating no matter what it’s about. Even when it comes to your own health! Do you remember how fucking stupid you were to wait for months before getting help when you realized you were depressed-“
“Hoseok, with all due respect please shut up.” Namjoon crouched, put a hand in his hair and sighed.
“God, I hate this.” Hoseok looked up at the lights in the ceiling to keep his eyes from watering, his words referring to meaningless fighting. His heart was stinging; he couldn’t remember the last fight they’d had - it certainly hadn’t been this heated back then. Maybe it was different now because of all of the tension that had been growing between them.
Everything they felt around each other was magnified.
“You can’t compare that to dancing and you know it. Right now, you’re the one being unreasonable. I get that you’re stressed out, but I’m exhausted and so are you so we should really just stop this because I won’t get this right tonight.”
“You’re always running away.” Their eyes met again.
“What do you mean?” Hoseok bit the inside of his cheek.
“When things get hard you just drop it and ignore it until it can’t be ignored.” A look of realization covered Namjoon’s face.
“Is this about-“
“You know what this is about.” Hoseok’s voice cut short. This was the first time they were talking about that almost-kiss and his swelling lungs and throat were infected by overwhelming anxiety.
“Being realistic and running away are two very different things. I just know when something’s not worth the risk.”
It was irritating how calm Namjoon was; he was so sure he was right but his words hurt Hoseok so deeply.
“No, you’re just a coward.” Now it was Hoseok’s turn to leave.
To be completely honest with himself, Hoseok had been laying in his bed unable to fall asleep because he was hoping to hear knocks on his and Jimin’s door. When he actually heard the three knocks he’d wished for and the door opened a sense of relief washed over him because that meant it would soon be over. They’d talk and get things out of their systems and then it would be fine.
“Hobi?” Namjoon’s sharp whisper traveled to his ears in the dark. He turned around and saw Namjoon motioning for him to follow. A few seconds later he’d left the warm comfort of his bed and was instead sitting on Namjoon’s. They were holding hands. “I’m sorry for today. I should’ve focused during practice but instead you had to exhaust yourself for me. I’m sorry.” All of a sudden he felt a hand run through his hair and then the same hand on the skin of his neck. It took him by such surprise that he could no longer avoid his burning gaze. “And for what happened at my studio - I’m sorry.” Hoseok gulped. “You’re right. I was a coward. Truth is, I’ve been wanting to kiss you for so long.”
“Why didn’t you?”
Namjoon didn’t seem to find a good enough excuse and stayed silent, looking for the right words but for once his head was empty. Hoseok knew Namjoon had a second bad habit: overthinking. So instead of watching him suffer, he put a hand on his chest where his heart was.
“You know I like you, right?” Namjoon grinned happily, looking all cute and soft and blushing slightly.
“I like you too, but you already knew that.” He carefully pushed Hoseok backwards until his back hit the soft surface of the duvet. His arms supported his body as he hovered above him, letting Hoseok wrap his own arms securely around his back.
Namjoon’s face got closer and closer. The plant had grown and a flower bursted, exploded like a firework celebrating life. Their lips met hungrily, eagerly. They’d both been waiting. It felt like they’d been waiting for not only this lifetime or the ones before, but throughout all of time. And now they were finally exactly where they were supposed to be.
Hoseok was out of breath by the time Namjoon nuzzled his neck and let a hand travel down his torso.
“Joon, I love you even though you’re an idiot.” The man snickered and kissed his neck.
“I love you too.”
“Your soul picks who you love
And your heart seals the deal.
How little a choice we have
Over such things when
Your heart knows what it wants
And your soul knows when it’s real.”
- N.R Hart