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T(h)orn

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Namjoon was lucky. Extremely lucky. He knew it. And most of the time, he was perfectly fine with it. While life wasn’t a sweet, golden dream, he was happy. Who wouldn’t be? He had been blessed, graced with the two most perfect boyfriends to have ever roamed this earth. He was so, so in love. It was a bit blinding sometimes, a bit overwhelming, how in love he was. How in love they were.

So yeah, most of the time, Namjoon was okay. Fine. Great, even. He went through his day and then came home to his loves. Or sometimes he'd be the first one to come home and would wait with open arms for his lovers to come home.

Some days, Jeongguk had late classes, which led him to come home even later thanks to his obsession of always ending his day by exercising. And as much as Namjoon loved his muscly bunny of a boyfriend, sometimes it sucked because he just wanted a hug! But he had to wait because Jeongguk came home late and there was no way in hell freshly showered Joon would hug a sweaty gym rat. Love had a limit and it was where Namjoon drew his.

Not like anyone felt bad about it, anyway. It actually led to what could only be described as the cutest scenes ever. Jeongguk whining, pouting and going to shower as fast as he could. But 'as fast as he could' was never really that fast, because Jeongguk… Well, Jeongguk was Jeongguk. Jeongguk was very strict about hygiene and, as much as he could pout, he would never rush a shower and his skincare routine for a hug. If there was food, then maybe he would consider it, but Namjoon's hugs weren't that appealing yet. Yet. He was working on it.

So Jeongguk would lock himself up in the bathroom and Namjoon would laugh until his boyfriend's grumbles got swallowed by his speakers and — quite awful, if Namjoon might add — music. And okay, maybe Namjoon sometimes considered interrupting his boyfriend's shower for a quick kiss because he was helplessly in love, but he rarely had to.

Because yeah.

Boyfriends.

And Seokjin rarely came home too late. It happened, sometimes, that Seokjin came home last, after Namjoon had scrubbed the day off his skin and had curled up comfortably on their too old couch. But never after Jeongguk had emerged from the bathroom. Even on the day he came home the latest, Namjoon never had to wait long. It was often a matter of minutes before the front door opened again. The pattern rarely changed. Never changed. Seokjin liked steady, liked simple, liked familiar.

A long, worn out sigh followed by a few seconds of silence during which Namjoon's heart would clench painfully — he never liked it when Seokjin had to work overtime, it left him tense and stressed and sad and Namjoon hated it. Then shuffling. Namjoon never moved to meet Seokjin in the entrance. He knew the man needed these few moments of calm, of nothing. Needed some alone time, just a bit, to let the fog left by the awful day lighten a bit. Namjoon always waited.

Then hurried footsteps. And that was when Namjoon moved. Not a lot. Just a bit. Enough. Readjusted his position on the couch. Straightened up, spread his legs a bit, opened his arms. Just enough for Seokjin to collapse in them.

Namjoon hated it when Seokjin was stressed and feeling bad. He really did. But oh did he love the way Seokjin went soft and limp between his fingers when he finally got home. He was pliant and clingy and Namjoon swore he once caught him purring.

These days were usually take-out days. Seokjin most of the time enjoyed cooking and worked on getting dinner ready with an easy smile. It helped him relax and no one opposed to it because, well, his food was god sent. Some days, though, it was harder. He was too drained, too exhausted to want to focus on cooking. He could. He knew he could. They all did. But none of them wanted him to. So take-out it was. Not that Namjoon and Jeongguk couldn’t cook! They were— okay. Jeongguk was good. Namjoon was— surviving.

So yeah, they could cook instead of Seokjin, but none of them had the heart to leave the older man on his own while they got something plain ready to eat. So they ordered. They weren’t extremely rich, but living together in the same flat, with one full time salary, a part time job and Namjoon’s scholarship, they could afford a few of these lazy nights.

They were the best. Jeongguk always seemed to have some weird instinct, an alarm in the back of his head going off when one of his boyfriends didn’t feel well. He was perfect and Namjoon loved him even more during these nights. He got out of the bathroom swallowed in one of his — actually, either Namjoon’s or Seokjin’s — way too big sweaters. Namjoon used to think he wore shorts under them. Turned out— he didn’t. The day Namjoon found out really fucked him up. He could never forget the vision that Jeongguk was, straddling Seokjin’s lap, fingers curled in Namjoon’s shirt as Seokjin taunted him, teased him for wearing nothing but almost non-existent boxer briefs on hyung’s lap. That had been… a good night.

But he was digressing. Soft nights. The best nights. Jeongguk met them in the living-room and didn’t need to ask. Never. Didn’t even look at Namjoon for some kind of confirmation. He just seemed to feel it. He bent down and pressed the softest kiss on Seokjin’s head. As much as a brat as he could be, Jeongguk was probably the softest and the most delicate out of the three. He just had that thing about him.

Then he pulled back and smiled and pulled out his phone. No words needed to be said. Most of the times, during these nights, almost no words were exchanged. Just sweet nothings whispered when the sun disappeared and the thick night settled over their small apartment. Jeongguk would order, he always knew what to order, always knew what they would like to eat. He was always in charge of ordering. He had insisted, quite vehemently, for it to go this way. He didn’t have a lot of money and, according to him, didn’t have that much to offer — which was utter bullshit, by the way — so he wanted to at least do that.

Namjoon and Seokjin let him. Of course, they did. How could they not? How could anyone in their right mind say no to Jeon Jeongguk? Not them. Seeing his adorable smile light up his entire face when Namjoon and Seokjin dramatically moaned around the food was enough for Namjoon to die happy.

It wasn’t all Jeongguk did though. Namjoon didn’t really know why, but when someone, either Seokjin or Namjoon, had a bad day or didn’t feel good, Jeongguk rushed to help, trying to do everything. Quite literally. And well, they let him. Because they knew it made him happy, made him feel good to be helpful. And because they knew they made it up for him in the end.

So they let Jeongguk order the food. They let him pull the couch into a bed, even though they were still on it — “Don’t worry, hyung, I got it!”. And he did. Oddly enough he did. Smoothly managing the maneuver before running off to fetch blankets, comforters, pillows and plushies. “They’re for you hyung!”

Sure, bunny.

They didn’t have to wait long for the food to get there usually, but it was often long enough to pull Seokjin out of his own head. Not fully but a bit. Enough to realize he was still in his work clothes and still smelled like medicine and chemicals. There were whines and pouts and protests but nine times out of ten, Seokjin managed to get out of Namjoon’s arms to take a shower and change.

That was maybe the only part of those nights Namjoon didn’t quite like — apart for the ‘Seokjin is way too sad, this entire world is doing it wrong and I will overthrow the system!’ part, obviously. Being left alone, waiting while Seokjin showered and Jeongguk ran through the apartment to get everything ready— who even needed so many candles?

But Namjoon swallowed down his pout and put up with it because he knew it was worth it. It always was. Because Seokjin would get out of the shower softer than ever with the best cuddles. Because the food would be delicious and Jeongguk always knew how to pick the right show, the right movie or the right dumb video while they ate. Jeongguk knew how to put the blankets at the perfect place around Namjoon and Seokjin.

And of course, he knew perfectly how to fall into Namjoon’s and Seokjin’s arms and fuck, his giggles were music to their ears.

The video playing on Namjoon’s laptop — why was it always his? — only stayed interesting as long as they had food. But once their stomachs were full. Once the containers were moved over to discard later, then it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. Because Seokjin was finally relaxed, sinking back in the pillow, bringing Namjoon down with him. Because Seokjin was finally smiling — often but not always though. And it was fine. He didn’t have to smile. He was here and it was enough.

And Jeongguk was finally settled too. The overflowing energy had finally left his body and had only left a soft, pliant boy. It was during those times that Namjoon really noticed how much younger he was than them. Not by a lot, only a few years, but still young enough for something warm and intense to pinch at Namjoon’s chest. The way Jeongguk would curl into the tightest ball, his favorite plushy that no one ever mentioned tucked in his arms, made Namjoon want to protect him forever. The way his fists — that look so very little when he was like that — curled in the fabric of Jin’s or Namjoon’s clothes just because he could, just so he could feel them, hold them…

Namjoon was so in love. And Namjoon loved these nights. Loved the way Seokjin would turn around ever so slightly to whisper how much he loved him. Loved the feeling of his boyfriend’s arms around him. Loved the delicate shadows the dumb candles casted on Jeongguk’s sleeping face. He always fell asleep first. Always so easy. Always so relaxed when he was with them. Namjoon loved him.

“I love him so much…”

It always happened. The words always seemed to find their way out. Always a bit too loud in the quiet atmosphere, but always so right. Sometimes it was Seokjin, sometimes it was Namjoon. It didn’t really matter. The words were so true and so intense anyway, so potent. They didn’t even need to be said. It was so obvious. But it felt good. To hear them. To say them. So they didn’t hold back. Didn’t want to. Didn’t need to. Never.

As odd as it was, and maybe as unbalanced as it could seem, Namjoon and Seokjin never felt closer than when they were looking down at Jeongguk, feeling their mutual love for the boy. The baby. Their baby. It wasn’t unbalanced though. Namjoon knew it. Because it was during these moments that Namjoon really felt how much he loved Seokjin. How much he meant to him.

There was nothing more beautiful, more ethereal and more perfect than Kim Seokjin looking at his boyfriend with love pouring out of his eyes. Namjoon could spend hours like that, looking at his face. Remembering how he fell in love the first time, and how he kept falling in love every day. Deeper. Stronger.

And when Seokjin looked back at him, and when the adoration in his eyes didn’t waver, didn’t fade, Namjoon knew he wasn’t alone. Knew how strong what they had was. Namjoon would never lose faith. Never. He could never doubt them. He loved them too much.

 

✻✾✻

 

Wrong. He was wrong. Namjoon was so so wrong. Nothing was perfect. Nothing was ever perfect. Not when it involved him. He had too many flaws for everything not to get fucked up. He always messed things up. What was wrong with him?

Namjoon’s arms tightened around himself and he took a deep breath. Tried to. Almost choked. Sobbed. Shut up.

Today was awful. Bad. A bad day. And Namjoon didn’t know what to do. He was panicking.

Loud laughter erupted beside him and he physically flinched, shrinking into his seat. The bus jolted a bit before slowing down to a stop. Namjoon tried to get his breathing under control. Failed. Someone accidentally elbowed him in the stomach and he jumped to his feet, taking advantage of the bus’ stillness to move on the other side. Less people. A bit. He curled up in a corner, wrapping his fingers around the pole so he didn’t fall over.

Too loud. People were too loud. He bit down on his lips. He didn’t know what to do.

The day had started as usual. When he woke up this morning, Namjoon couldn’t have suspected how much of a fiasco the day could’ve been. He woke up to Jeongguk whining softly in his ears. When he opened his eyes, it was to the marvelous spectacle of his Kookie being fucked softly from behind by Seokjin. The man looked gorgeous, arms secured around Jeongguk’s tummy as he rocked his hips slowly.

“Oh look at that, you woke him up baby… Hi Joonie,” Seokjin smiled, leaning over to press a kiss to Namjoon’s forehead. Namjoon smiled, his eyes fluttering shut a moment. They opened quickly though when he felt something tickle his chest. His smile widened.

The motion had pressed Jeongguk forward and the boy was struggling not rutting against Namjoon’s thigh, where his cock was trapped. It took less than a second for Namjoon’s mind to adjust and for him to move. He rolled onto his back and brought Jeongguk with him. He was rewarded by the softest gasp and the most melodic moan as he nudged a leg between the boy’s legs. Seokjin followed easily and soon, Jeongguk was sandwiched between the two of them, gasping and moaning mindlessly, shaking, unable to choose between pushing back against Jin’s cock or forward against Joon’s thigh.

That familiar warmness spread through Namjoon’s body and he let himself be pulled under the heavy haze of submission. He let the softest whine slip past his lips when Jeongguk found a new angle, his own hip pressing down on Namjoon’s hardening cock.

“Baby boy,” Namjoon gasped, quickly forgetting what he was about to say. A wave of pleasured washed over him and he went limp on the bed, Jeongguk’s weight making him slip under so much faster.

“Oh, sweetheart,” Seokjin’s raspy voice echoed in the room, easily covering Jeongguk’s and Namjoon’s pathetic noises. “You look so cute like that, still sleepy and already fucked out. You’re so perfect… Do you want hyung to fuck you too?”

Seokjin’s words crashed down on him like a bulldozer and Namjoon whimpered, hips stuttering. His arms came up to wrap around Jeongguk, needed something to hold.

“Hyung,” he managed, voice slurred and needy. “Hyung more!”

Yeah, it had been a great way to wake up. Jeongguk had fallen back asleep as soon as he had come, letting Seokjin pound into him until he finished. That had been adorable, but Namjoon had barely registered it, too focused on his pulsing cock, aching for relief. He almost sobbed when Jin put his mouth on him. Or maybe he did. Or was it when he came? He couldn’t remember.

It had felt so good.

“I need to go to work, sweetheart, remember to wake and don’t be late. Hyung loves you,” Seokjin had said before slipping out of the room, letting Namjoon fall back asleep for a few more moments of sleep.

Namjoon had smiled at that.

And then, Namjoon had been late. Stress had started to build.

 


 

Namjoon couldn’t breathe well. It was hard. He stumbled and his knees hit the concrete of the ground. He curled a bit on himself before hurrying to stand up and move away. He had almost missed his stop. He couldn’t multitask. Couldn’t deal with loud people, anxiety and be careful about what he had to do. So he had to let go and now… Now anxiety was fucking everywhere. Rising from his stomach, bubbling, boiling, up, up… It had reached his head and now Namjoon couldn’t think. Could barely keep it together. It hurt. He felt it close around his lungs and he coughed. Choked. Gagged. Stumbled, crouched.

In. Out. In. Out. Come on, Namjoon. Come on please, get it together!

He didn’t puke. His legs gave out under him and he lost his balance. The back of his head hit the cold stones of the wall behind him. He was in a back alley, he noticed through a window of clarity. How did he get here? Fuck. Why was he such a mess?

Namjoon inhaled sharply, swallowing down the tears he felt rising in his eyes. Trying to tame the frantic sobs he knew wanted to come out. No. He couldn’t have a breakdown here. He just couldn’t.

Or could he? It was so tempting… Just collapse here, curl into a ball and cry himself to sleep until the world forgot about him. Until he forgot about the world. Until he forgot about himself.

A series of images washed over his head and suddenly, he felt like he was drowning. It was too much. Just too much.

“Sunbaenim, why aren’t you going in?”

“There’s no one, we’ll come back later. The professor must be getting lunch or something…”

“Uh, okay— wait! No, look, there’s someone! We can—”

“Shh, stop, come back! That’s a weirdo, I don’t want his help…”

“What, but he’s nice?”

“Fuck that, he’s just— he’s so weird. He talks to the fucking plants in the labs and I fucking saw him apologize to one of his cultures once! He’s a whole weirdo… Wonder how he managed to get two boyfriends…”

“Two? That’s… ew.”

The voices seemed to lower. Start hushing. Namjoon didn’t know if it had happened or if his brain was trying to protect him. It was too late anyway. And he heard. He heard everything. And remembered.

“Yeah, he’s like, way too tall and he’s weird and he got two boyfriends? One is almost a child, that’s creepy, and the other could be a fucking model, how the fuck did he get with that ugly dude? No one wants to date a skeleton, that’s just— yeah dude, he’s weird as fuck. I saw them all together once. He was so weird, acting all childish and all. Wonder how the two bear with him… Anyway let’s go before that dude hears us.”

Namjoon could still feel the earbuds in his ears even though he remembered very clearly ripping them out. He felt sick to his stomach. The words were crawling under his skin, reaching every cell of his body until none of them was left untouched. He was vibrating with restless energy. The words were fucking with his head. So ugly, so mean, so… so…

So true. So right. Fuck. Fuck they were so right.

One stray sob slipped past Namjoon’s control and he slammed a hand on his mouth. Fuck, that dude was so right. He was a creep, a weirdo and he didn’t, didn’t, didn’t deserve his boyfriends at all. Dull pain exploded in his right leg and Namjoon winced, trying to readjust his position. His body was so… inadequate. Too long, too noodly. Was it even a thing? Probably not. Didn’t matter.

He felt dirty. Nasty and dirty and undeserving. He didn’t know what to do. So he did the only thing he could think of in that kind of situation. He stood up, ignored the pain in his cramping limbs and the odd wetness he could feel on his left asscheek and walked. Walked until he finally entered a familiar neighborhood. He felt like everyone was looking at him. Watching him. Staring. Judging. Laughing. Mocking.

He was awful. Awful.

He stumbled over the first step of way too long stairs and muffled a new sob, doing his best to lift his feet high enough. One step at a time, he dragged his aching, shaking body up and to the door he knew all too well.

He knocked. Once. He knew it was enough. Shuffling, weird arguing noises, a laugh. Too loud but familiar. Warm. Safe.

The door opened.

Namjoon crumbled.

 

✻✾✻

 

Some days were bad days. Really bad days. Some days, it wasn’t Seokjin who came home needed comfort. Some days, it was Namjoon. Because university sucked and it was way too hard and the pressure was too heavy and Namjoon’s professors just didn’t seem to understand that he couldn’t spend his life in the library to read all the books about microbiology and experiment in the labs and help the undergrad students at the same time. They didn’t understand and Namjoon didn’t know how to explain. Didn’t want to, maybe.

That was one of his most annoying flaws. His communication problems. He was so scared of being a burden, so scared of imposing he could never really get what he needed to say out of his system. It was always choked out sounds, apologies and tensed smiles. And breakdowns. So many breakdowns.

With time, Namjoon had learned to hold back. Learned to control these breakdowns long enough to be able to finish the day okay. Ish. To finish the day okay-ish.

It wasn’t such a good solution though. It actually only made things worse. Because stress and anxiety just built and built and built without him having any way to let them out. At the end of those days, he often felt like he was going to explode. Before, it was awful and Namjoon would find himself stuck in his dorm, curled in a ball, clutching desperately at his books as he tried to get everything done without crying. And then crying. Hard and bad until he fell asleep, exhausted. Drained.

Now, though… Now it was different. Because now Namjoon had Seokjin and Jeongguk. He wasn’t alone and they were here, and they were perfect. They were so, so perfect. And understanding. They understood immediately what situation he was in. And they had a solution. Of course, they did.

It came from Jeongguk. Young, small and perfect Jeongguk. Innocent, bright and wide-eyed Jeongguk. Love of his life Jeongguk. One night, he had taken a hold of Namjoon’s hand and had led him to the couch. For some reasons, it was already spread as a bed and Namjoon had felt fondness spread through his chest realizing the boy had been occupying it before. The plushies half hidden under a comforter made him smile for the first time in long, painfully long hours.

Jeongguk had sat him down while Seokjin busied himself in the kitchen, pretending — badly — that he wasn’t listening. Jeongguk had spoken. Soft and slow. Delicate, careful. Never stopped touching Namjoon’s body. It was making his head buzz in a very comfortable way. He just wanted to sink and let go and just— stop thinking.

So, he did. He sank. He slipped. Everything became a bit fuzzier around the edge. Namjoon remembered that time weirdly. Like it could be clear, he could remember it perfectly but he just— didn’t want to. It was an odd experience. But so, so relaxing. Namjoon remembered smiles and soft touches and loving words and cartoons and laughter and soup. He didn’t like the soup part.

After that, it happened again. There were more talks, more discussions, and they came to the conclusion that maybe it wasn’t ideal, but it was a solution. It was a way. It was working.

Namjoon never really questioned how Jeongguk knew so much about little space, about slipping. How he managed to help him let go, how he even figured it was the right solution. What Namjoon needed.

He just took it. Accepted it, what Jeongguk was handing him. It felt good, not to think. It felt amazing. So he just did. Let himself have it. For once, he let himself have something nice.

Namjoon was quite conflicted about these nights. He didn’t know whether he liked them or not. They were nice. Soft and Namjoon felt safe and taken care of in the best way. The problem was that they always followed his worst days. The most stressful ones. And Namjoon really, really didn’t like them. He had talked to Seokjin and Jeongguk once — mostly Jeongguk though — about that. He evoked the idea of maybe trying to be little on a normal night. To have a really, fully good day.

Seokjin had stayed mostly quiet during the conversation. He had simply sat here, an arm looped around Namjoon’s waist. Comforting. A gentle reminder that he was here.

Jeongguk had tried to help. A bit. Namjoon was a bit tired that day, his focus wasn’t the best, so he didn’t really remember well but Jeongguk kept on stuttering, fidgeting and Namjoon didn’t understand why. Didn’t really think about it either. Or maybe he did? It was all a bit blurry, it was things Namjoon didn’t really like to remember. Not that the conversation didn’t go well. Jeongguk did his best trying to explain that maybe it wouldn’t be so easy. That it depended, but some people needed a trigger to be able to let go enough to slip in little space. He hadn’t dwelled on it much . Maybe because he saw the way Namjoon’s face fell when he heard these words.

So, he had stopped, gave a few encouraging words, and they tried. Namjoon felt weird. A bit too self-conscious. It was awkward and Namjoon didn’t really like the way Jeongguk and Seokjin suddenly treated him. Seokjin more than Jeongguk. It was weird and maybe it was because somewhere inside, Namjoon had a bit of an inferiority complex, but he felt looked down upon. They had explained to him that it was how they usually took care of him when he was little.

It had been a failure. They had tried more times after that. Never really succeeded and Namjoon came to the conclusion that Jeongguk was right. Maybe he couldn’t slip just like that. Maybe he needed something bad to be able to slip. It saddened him when he realized it but maybe it was better this way? He didn’t know.

It was how it was. There was nothing to be done about it. Namjoon had eventually accepted it and the nights tucked in his boyfriends’ arms were just as good. They were good. So good.

 

✻✾✻

 

“Oh my god, Joonie,” Hoseok rushed to hold Namjoon steady. It didn’t help much and their knees still hit the floor. Namjoon was struggling keeping his tears at bay. It was hard not to have a breakdown.

But he couldn’t just let go. Hoseok and Yoongi — who he could see rushing to the door too — deserved an explanation. Namjoon didn’t want to make them panic. It was too late for that, though. He could see it in Hoseok’s eyes, on Hoseok’s face. His worries were written all over him. Namjoon felt guilt fill his chest, scalding and icy cold at the same time. He always did everything wrong, did he?

“Hyung,” he gasped out. He didn’t really know who he was talking to. Maybe Yoongi who always knew how to calm him down, bring him back to earth with his strong words and intense voice. Maybe Hoseok, who was always so warm and so loving when it came to that kind of situation. Maybe both. Maybe anyone.

Namjoon felt so small and vulnerable, here, on the threshold of his best friends’ door. He was at a loss. But they knew what to do. They always knew what to do.

“Messed up,” was the last thing Namjoon managed to say before he dissolved into a mess of sobs and coughs. He was cold. So cold.

“Come here, Joonie. Come in. Let’s get you safe and warm, okay?”

Namjoon could only nod. Yeah. It sounded good.

 


 

His chest felt cold. Cold and hard. Breathing was… not. He couldn’t breathe. Maybe a bit.

A harsh cough made him double over and he gasped, flinching when sharp pain spread through his ribs. A sob threatened to come out. He curled in tighter on himself. Hurt.

Namjoon wanted to disappear. His thoughts couldn’t stop. A storm inside his too small head, hitting against the walls, bouncing off each other, always louder, louder, louder.

He whimpered. The sound scratched against his hoarse throat and he bit down on his tongue.

“Namjoonie, baby, please talk to us. What happened?”

Yoongi had been trying to get him to open up for so long, Namjoon had grown numb to his voice. Deep down, somewhere, he knew what he was doing wasn’t fair. He knew he shouldn’t be such an unhelpful burden to his friends, but his head couldn’t seem to get it. It was too much information for him to process. Everything was too much. The sole idea of speaking made him reel back in pain. Everything hurt too much.

He gave a non-committal whine, sniffled and heard Yoongi sigh. Guilt flared inside him like a raging fire. Tears welled up in his eyes and he pushed on his shaky arms to rise up.

Hands immediately found him, holding him steady and reassuring words brushed his ears.

“’m so’y,” Namjoon managed to let out, voice hoarse and raw before his throat gave up on him and another coughing fit took over, shaking his body.

“Shh, it’s okay, Joonie. You have nothing to apologize for, hyung is sorry, I shouldn’t have rushed you. It’s okay, just rest up, okay? Do you want another blanket?”

Namjoon blinked hazily. Oh, right. He hadn’t even noticed he had been bundled up in a thick blanket. It made the tiniest warmth bloom inside of him. He smiled. Tried to. A wobbly lift of his lips. Barely there, but it was a try. Through the dizzying fog blurring his sight, Namjoon caught a glimpse of Yoongi’s face.

Smiling. Big, gummy. Bright. Happy. Endeared. Relieved. Great. That was great. Namjoon snuggled deeper into the blanket, humming softly. Doing this didn’t hurt. He wanted Yoongi to understand he was happy, grateful for him and what he was doing.

“That’s it, Joonie bear, rest up, okay? We’ll talk later.”

“Did he tell you anything?” Another voice joined Yoongi’s in the room and Namjoon felt a tad bit warmer.

“No, I don’t think he can talk. And I think he’s sick too, so that doesn’t help. It's probably just a cold, but you know how it can be… But he’ll be alright. Right Joonie? Here, do you think you can drink this for me?” Yoongi asked, voice soft and caring as he lifted a warm mug to Namjoon’s quivering lips.

Delicately, so that he didn’t rush his body, he sat up a bit straighter and opened his lips. The warm liquid was like pure magic against his abused throat. Namjoon drank slowly. He could hear Hoseok and Yoongi talk faintly in the background. He didn’t really pay attention until…

“It can’t be just a cold. Something has to have happened. Maybe Jeonggukie and Seokjin-hyung know. Did you manage to call them?”

Namjoon’s entire body tensed before he could fully process the words. No. No. They couldn’t know. They couldn’t come here. They couldn’t see him. He couldn’t see them. He didn’t deserve to see them. And if they saw him, they would— surely they would notice. How weird, how out of place he was when it came to them. They would notice how ugly he was and how much of a burden and how bothersome and— fuck. They couldn’t come here. They couldn’t know.

The tears he had tried his best to hold back so far broke the dam and poured freely down his cheeks and into his drink. The sweet taste became salty and bitter. Namjoon shuddered.

“Yeah, they’re on—”

“No,” Namjoon opposed weakly. His hands were shaking around the cup. He was scared he was going to drop it. “They can’t— they can’t— they can’t come—”

Speaking was easier. Maybe it was the drink. Maybe it was the urge to get the words out, to explain. Maybe it was the terror curling deep down in his stomach. They couldn’t come. They couldn’t come.

“Joonie, angel, shh, calm down please,” Hoseok rushed to soothe him, sitting on his left and taking him in his arms while Yoongi hurried to settle on his right side. “What’s wrong? Please. Please talk to us.”

“Can’t— They can’t come— cos they’ll see and— and— and I can’t be with them and force— and force them to pretend. They— ‘m love them so much, and they— they deserve— not— I’m so— ‘m so sorry…”

Namjoon had expected to finish in a loud cry before starting to sob frantically but all that managed to come out was a miserable whimper before his voice died and he was left sniffling, tears streaming down his face. He felt gross.

“Oh, baby…”

And nothing more. Hands, arms curled around his body and Namjoon let himself melt into the embrace. No more words were spoken. They always knew that during these times, no words could ever help and silence was the solution. Namjoon didn’t want to argue. Didn’t want to think. He let himself go in their arms, muttering small apologies here and there.

 


 

Namjoon’s head felt heavy. And hurting. It was like someone had used speakers to scream right into his ears a few hours ago and that the sound was still bouncing around. He grunted. He cracked an eye open. What time was it?

It all came rushing to him before he could start and ask himself more questions. Like an avalanche, it crashed down on him and suddenly, he couldn’t breathe. He gasped, jolting upward, a hand flying to grab his chest. He tried to inhale as much as possible but he was wheezing and coughing and gagging too much.

He could hear voices all around him but his poor brain just couldn’t understand. Words. Who. Too much. It was all too much.

A sob crawled its way up his throat and Namjoon tried to swallow it down but he couldn’t, he couldn’t and he couldn’t and it hurt. It hurt too much. Too much.

And then nothing.

Something wrapped around his throat, curled, tightened, and Namjoon’s head blanked. Whited out. Everything disappeared.

Slowly, the grip weakened, though the touch didn’t disappear, and air slowly filled his lungs again. Oh.

He felt his eyes flutter shut — were they even open in the first place? — and his muscles relaxed. He went limp against the couch. Hoseok’s and Yoongi’s couch. He could remember. The touch followed him and slowly, Namjoon took notice of the warm and solid weight around him. Like people were pressed flush against his body. It felt good. Grounding. Perfect. They were perfect.

Oh.

Alarms went off in his head and Namjoon’s eyes snapped open. If his body had had the chance, he would’ve jumped to his feet and away from the couch but he couldn’t. He could only tense and wish to disappear.

They were here.

“Baby boy, please, calm down,” Seokjin whispered against his ears and Namjoon wanted nothing but to melt against him. Into him. Melt and drown in him and take take take take.

He couldn’t though. He just couldn’t. He couldn’t take what he didn’t deserve.

“’m sorry,” he mumbled. He felt someone move on his other side, press closer. Delicate fingers but long and strong fingers pressed into his thigh. Gentle and quiet. Jeongguk. Namjoon wanted to sob.

“It’s okay, sweets. You’re okay. You’re home and you’re safe. You’re good,” Jeongguk’s gentler voice peeped in, just as warm and comforting as Seokjin’s. Namjoon felt trapped. Home.

Fuck. They weren’t at Yoongi’s and Hoseok’s anymore. They had brought him home. Namjoon wanted to cry. Or throw up. He could almost taste the bile in the back of his throat. Anxiety was curling low in his stomach and slowly crawling its way through his entire body. Namjoon knew he was shaking and probably looked like a mad man but he couldn’t bring himself to stop.

“’m sorry, ‘m sorry I shou’d— shou’n’t be here— ‘m sorry ‘m here, I’m sorry hyung… Messed up. I messed up ‘m sorry.”

He didn’t know what he was saying. He felt gone. Sobs wracked through his body and he crumbled. Forward, back into the couch. He didn’t know. Arms were there, catching him. The weight around his throat — Seokjin’s hands, Namjoon knew — hadn’t moved yet. It tightened ever so slightly but it wasn’t enough this time to calm his frantic sobbing. Namjoon thrashed, needed distance. Needed to breathe.

He tore his body away, pulled and pulled until he finally freed himself. He stumbled off the couch, trying not to collapse and turned to face them. He had to calm down, to explain and to leave. He had to be rational and face—

Namjoon’s heart stopped for a second and time itself seemed to freeze altogether. He blinked at them. Seokjin and Jeongguk. Jeongguk and Seokjin. Looking at him. Seokjin’s face, twitching with relentless energy, worried and antsy not to be able to do anything.

Jeongguk’s face. Terrified and so opened. Eyes glassed over with unshed tears, lips bitten raw and bleeding in one spot. Hair a mess and scratching marks on his neck.

Jeongguk’s face.

Namjoon’s world crumbled.

 

✻✾✻

 

Jeongguk never had bad days. Jeongguk was perfect and always here for them and always happy. Jeongguk was buzzing with too much energy. Jeongguk was good and glowing. Jeongguk was perfect.

Was what Jeongguk had always tried to sell them and what Seokjin and Namjoon had never bought. No one was always happy. No one had to be strong all the time. No human could be so devoid of negative emotions. And Jeongguk was human. So, so human in so many beautiful ways. The purest human being Namjoon ever got to know.

And sometimes, he had bad days.

Seokjin and Namjoon took a long time figuring the pattern. Figuring the solution too. Namjoon wasn’t sure they even had the solution.

It usually went like this.

It started by quiet. Too much quiet. Jeongguk coming home with the slightest slouch in his shoulders, the smallest smile on his lips and only a few, whispered words. Hushed. And then the night settled, they settled, and other ‘symptoms’ appeared. He started to avoid them. Not too much, just a bit. Deflecting the questions coming his way, not being as touchy as he could usually be. Not dozing off.

As odd as it could seem, it was maybe the thing that threw Namjoon off the most. Jeongguk didn’t have the best attention span when it came to movies. Not after a long day, at least. So it wasn’t surprising, it was even anticipated, when Jeongguk doze off next to them, against them, in the middle of a movie. It was adorable.

So, when Jeongguk stayed awake throughout the entire movie Jin had picked, Namjoon knew something was off. And that feeling making his stomach churn ever so slightly just got confirmed when Jeongguk asked — asked — to use their spare bedroom because he had to study.

Now, Jeongguk was a smart kid and he took college seriously. Namjoon wouldn’t say he was lazy in any way. But he had to be honest, and Jeongguk wasn’t one to study at night. Not when he had the possibility to cuddle — and have awesome sex — with his boyfriends. It wasn’t strange for one of them to ask to use the spare room. Namjoon tended to do it when he had readings to do, or just felt like having his own space. Seokjin used it when his insomnia got too bad and he got too restless. He had the tendency to get a bit too pent up and as much as Namjoon and Jeongguk loved to be fucked awake, they didn’t appreciate being waken up at three in the morning by Seokjin cuddling them a bit too passionately.

But Jeongguk almost never used the spare room. He did sometimes when he had a project to work on, though it never happened during the night. Or when they were fighting and he felt sulky. And petty. And bad about himself. But he never asked. He just huffed, pouted and locked himself up in it. Namjoon spent the next few hours worrying sick, first on the couch and then in the bed while Seokjin took out Jeongguk’s secret favorite plushies and put them on the bed until finally, Jeongguk joined them in the middle of the night.

Namjoon was never awake for that part of the fight, but he knew Seokjin was, and it made him smile when he woke up to his baby boyfriend laying in between them, his pretty lips parted around the ear of his plushy (most of the time it was toothless), curled up and held snugly by Jin. Despite his tear-stained cheeks, Namjoon couldn’t help but fall in love all over again. There was a profusion of apologies and sobs after that and it often led to messy make up sex — though it was more comfort sex than make up sex, no one being actually mad.

The point was: Jeongguk never asked to use the room, and never stayed too long in it. Unless…

Unless it was very bad.

The first time it happened, Namjoon didn’t really notice how bad it was. Yes, he picked up on the odd behavior of the boy. Yes, it worried him. But he didn’t think it would be that bad. He fell asleep quite easily, drooling generously on Seokjin’s sleeping shirt. The realization struck him when he woke up. He hadn’t moved. His position hadn’t changed. And that was worrisome in itself.

It meant Kookie didn’t come back. Meant he stayed in the spare room, alone, all night. And that wasn’t good. He felt worse when he sat up and took in Seokjin’s frame. Seokjin’s very much awake frame. He laid stiff, fingers twitching, eyes boring holes into the door. Closed door. Unmoving door. It was obvious in the way he moved, or didn’t move, didn’t react, that he hadn’t slept.

“Hyung…”

“He didn’t come back,” Seokjin muttered, voice hoarse and rough. Something in Namjoon almost shattered. He moved so that he was straddling his boyfriend, pressing a kiss to his forehead.

“It’ll be fine, we’ll figure it out. It’s probably nothing. Let’s go find him, okay?”

Except Jeongguk hadn’t been here. The spare room had been left opened, cleaned like no one had slept in it. It didn’t sit well in Namjoon’s chest. It was way too early for Jeongguk to have left for college. Or to be awake at all.

“Hyung, what’s going on?”

“I don’t know, baby. But I’ll figure it out. We’ll figure it out. Come on, let’s shower.”

Namjoon had never felt less enthusiastic about a shower with Seokjin than he had this day. The whole day passed in slow motion. Namjoon could barely take any notes in class. All he could think was Jeongguk and Seokjin. Seokjin who was probably in the same state as him. And Jeongguk… he didn’t know what Jeongguk could be doing and fuck if it wasn’t messing with his head.

Namjoon was so worried he almost burst in tears when Jeongguk slipped in their apartment that night. It was way too late for him to not be home already and Seokjin had been pacing for twenty minutes already.  But Namjoon stayed frozen, sobs held tight in his throat, when he saw Jeongguk’s state.

His complexion was pale and uneven, his smile was weak and strained, his entire body seemed to be fidgeting. He almost fell over when he tried to take off his shoes and he laughed.

It wasn’t the small, soft giggles he usually let out when he did something clumsy. It was loud and awkward and out of place. Namjoon’s stomach churned. Jeongguk came in, waved and tried to start a normal conversation. As if everything was normal. As if Seokjin and Namjoon hadn’t been worried sick since they woke up this morning — longer for Seokjin who didn’t actually sleep. As if Seokjin wasn’t currently shaking. As if Namjoon wasn’t struggling breathing because of the rush of emotions inside him.

“What’s wrong with you?” Jeongguk laughed. Mocked almost. And it was the last straw. Namjoon knew it. Could feel the moment the dam broke and in a second, Seokjin was on Jeongguk.

He didn’t touch him, would never try to harm anyone. His presence was enough to have Jeongguk visibly shrink, his smile wobbling and wavering. It stayed there and Namjoon shuddered.

Namjoon knew he should’ve done something. Held Seokjin back, tried to calm the situation. He didn’t though. Couldn’t. And regretted it. Because things never turned well when Seokjin was angry. And things were already too off for it not to turn awful.

And it did. Seokjin started speaking, low and threatening. And then louder. And louder, and louder. Until he was screaming, Jeongguk backed up against the wall, frame shivering, eyes wide. Glossy.

Namjoon noticed too late. That something inside Jeongguk, something frail and fragile, was on the verge of breaking. He was too busy focusing on Seokjin, being shocked by his behavior.

Seokjin had never behaved like this before. Namjoon saw him angry before. Saw him upset. But it was always cold and quiet and almost never toward them. And it was never anything Namjoon and Jeongguk couldn’t coax him out of.

This was so different. Because it wasn’t angry and petty Seokjin. This was worried sick and irrational Seokjin. One that Namjoon didn’t know.

So Namjoon didn’t see. Didn’t notice. How Jeongguk had started to shake ever so slightly. How he had been trying to disappear into the wall. How his arms had went around his stomach, protective almost. He was like a scared animal.

He was scared. Now that Namjoon could think about it, it had been obvious, how utterly terrified Jeongguk had been at that time. But Namjoon didn’t see and Seokjin was too blinded by his own feelings to notice. So when Jeongguk broke down and fell off the edge, no one was here to hold him back.

The panic attack hit so quick and so hard no one could do anything. Seokjin froze, the room falling dead quiet as Jeongguk fell to his knees. And then a loud gasp echoed and apologies. So much apologies. Rushed, tumbling out of his mouth like he was vomiting them. Barely articulated, not intelligible in the least expect for the “sorry”s squeezed here and there.

For a minute, way too long, way too painful minute, no one did anything. Seokjin and Namjoon were too frozen to do anything but watch Jeongguk curl on the floor, clenching his chest, barely breathing as he kept on apologizing. And finally, Namjoon moved.

He was familiar with panic attacks. He had a few when he was younger and his best friend was Min Yoongi, someone whose body was way too small to contain that much anxiety. He had gotten used helping Yoongi through his rough moments. He knew everyone was different, but he could at least try. So, as softly as he could, he pushed Seokjin on the side and dropped to his knees.

Jeongguk seemed to be fighting with himself as he pressed his hands to Namjoon’s chest. His eyes were wild, he looked lost, not knowing if he wanted to pull him closer or pushed him away. So Namjoon made the choice for him, curling his arms around his back and bringing him closer. Jeongguk felt so small in his arms, so delicate Namjoon felt his heart break a little.

He went so easily when Namjoon pulled him in, clambering to fit himself in his lap, closer and closer. Namjoon had to work a bit to rearrange them so he could support his boyfriend’s weight. He felt a hand on his back. Seokjin. It made him feel a bit better, knowing Seokjin had come back to his senses too.

Jeongguk’s panic attacks were particularly hard to deal with. In that moment, Namjoon got the impression he didn’t know his boyfriend at all, having no idea what could calm him. He tried his best. It wasn’t enough, he knew it, but it helped a bit. Enough for Jeongguk to be able to guide him a bit. Which was how Namjoon had found himself lying over a shaking Jeongguk in the entrance of their apartment, almost crushing him.

Apparently, it grounded him and helped him see through the haze of panic surrounding his head. In the back of his head, Namjoon wondered how many panic attacks Jeongguk had to deal with to figure it out but he decided he didn’t really want to know the answer. He stopped thinking, holding Jeongguk’s hand tighter.

That night had been rough. One of the rougher they ever had to deal with. Jeongguk had gone nonverbal and Namjoon could see it wasn’t of his own volition. Panic had laid in the back of his eyes for the entire night and he didn’t relax until he finally fell asleep, which took a while. A long while. Not even warm tea or hot chocolate managed to help him. Namjoon suspected it was partly because they hadn’t been able to explain themselves. But they couldn’t do anything about it. Jeongguk couldn’t talk. The only sounds he made were small, aborted whimpers that no one could explain. Seokjin and Namjoon could only hold him tighter and reassure him. Or try to, at least.

Time passed. It happened again. It got better. Seokjin and Namjoon got better at reading the clues, got better at talking Jeongguk out of this mood enough to be able to hold him until he got better. Good enough to fall asleep with them.

But Jeongguk never actually explained. Namjoon’s theory was that he didn’t know how to explain. Didn’t understand himself. Because he did tell them about his day. They never figured what triggered these episodes. Because maybe there wasn’t one. Maybe Jeongguk just had something inside him that kept building and building until it was too much.

Namjoon decided that he would find what exactly was wrong and heal it. He swore and promised to himself. To Seokjin too. But he never actually managed it. And he was left helpless, holding Jeongguk every time he crumbled in their arms, helpless as he watched his face get miserable.

 

✻✾✻

 

“I’m sorry!” Namjoon gasped out, suddenly frantic as he reached for Jeongguk. His voice felt small and broken but he couldn’t care less about it.

Jeongguk jumped at his sudden outburst, immediately moving to catch Namjoon’s shaking form. Namjoon felt too big, inadequate as he clambered on Jeongguk’s lap. He clumsily wiped the tears away from his face, guilt hot in his throat.

He did the same thing. He ran away and worried them. He put them in the same position Kookie did that one time. He should’ve called them. Should’ve explained why they were better off without him and—

“Don’t say that,” came Seokjin’s voice, cutting through his thoughts. He sounded just as broken as them. “Don’t say that. We need you. We need you so bad. Please. I love you so much. Don’t disappear on us. Please, don’t leave.”

His sentence ended on a loud sob and Namjoon felt like his heart had been crushed. Oh no. Oh no. He didn’t even care that his head was so messed up he didn’t notice he was thinking out loud. He blindly reached for his boyfriends.

“I— but I’m— I’m weird,” he let out, unable to hold anything in, all his walls having collapsed a long time ago. “I’m a weirdo and I’m fucked up and being three is weird and you deserve better!”

“Who said that?” Jeongguk asked and Namjoon felt himself grow smaller when he saw how dark Jeongguk’s eyes are turned. “Who dared tell my gorgeous, marvelous, amazing boyfriend that he was anything but perfect? I’ll kill them hyung, I fucking promise. I’ll—”

Namjoon couldn’t hold it in. He sobbed. Loud and unrestrained. Something lifted off his chest. He couldn’t name the feeling that suddenly took over him. It was warm and strong but also cold and way too tight. Did it make sense? It felt like it was wrapping around Namjoon and slowly crushing him. He gasped.

“love you,” he whimpered. “But— but—”

“No buts, please, no buts,” Seokjin begged, begged and then— kiss.

Someone kissed him and his mind blanked so fast Namjoon couldn’t tell who was kissing him. It didn’t matter because suddenly it stopped and someone else was kissing him and he melted. He felt himself go. It was like he was floating, mind trapped between reality and his dream world.

The fear was still there though. Fears. Anchoring him, leaving him cold and shaking. He didn’t know what to do. Even as warmth surrounded him, even as more hands reached for him, strong and grounding, he couldn’t help the panic to spread in his body. Strong and unwavering because— he didn’t know. He didn’t know how but they were wrong. They were wrong and they didn’t see things like him. Like they were.

He was ugly and flawed. Way too flawed. Too tall and too clumsy. He had too much baggage. He didn’t deserve them and they deserved better and suddenly, Namjoon felt too big for his own skin. He gasped. They needed to understand. He wanted them to understand now, while he was ready to leave, and not in a few days, once hope would’ve bloomed inside him again. It would hurt too much.

“Please,” he sobbed.

“It’s okay. I’ll make you understand, baby. I’ll be here.”

“I love you, hyung. Please, let me love you.”

His boyfriends’ voices twirled and mended into one, everywhere, so strong. He didn’t know who was talking anymore. Didn’t know exactly what they were saying. It was all so much. Everything was a blur. He wanted to cry and scream and rip his hair out but also to curl in a ball and disappear until everyone forgot about him. He was so overwhelmed.

He could feel his breathing get more and more labored, but he couldn’t bring himself to do anything about it. He felt lost and confused and lost— Lost. So lost. Lost in this world too big for him, lost in his body that didn’t fit him. Lost in his thoughts, in his head that seemed to be working against him. The world was spinning. Was he spinning? Falling. He was falling. Too much. Too much.

Panic seized his throat and he felt his body tense, so much it started to hurt. Fuck.

 


 

He was drowning. Couldn’t do anything, helpless as he got swallowed under yet another wave of scalding panic. It hurt. It hurt so much. Not only the panic. Everything hurt. His thoughts hurt. They were painful because of how true they were. He didn’t want to keep hurting. It wasn’t worth it. How did he stop? How did he make it stop? He needed it to stop. He couldn’t breathe. He could breathe. Too much air and not enough. His lungs were screaming. He was heaving. Help.

He needed help. Please help. Please.

“Stop.”

Stop. The voice cut right through the cotton pushed in his ears, strong and powerful. Clear.

Namjoon stopped. He didn’t know what, but he stopped.

Tight. Tighter. Something was clenching. His throat. Clenching around his throat. Breathing. Namjoon stopped breathing. He felt his entire body go lax and a pathetic whimper hissed through his teeth.

“That’s it. That’s right. That’s my good boy. Just like that, so good for me…”

The voice softened, gentle, but still firm. Still loud enough to keep Namjoon there. In that odd place, right under the surface. Where nothing existed but the words wrapping around him and the fingers around his throat.

This time, his brain whited out correctly. Progressively. Slowly, he stopped thinking until nothing, nothing was left in his head but the comfortable buzzing. The familiar dizziness. Some dark spots were dancing in front of his eyes — when did he open them? — stealing every bit of focus he might have managed to gather.

So perfectly empty.

“Hyung.”

The word was barely there. Namjoon wasn’t even sure he said it. Maybe he just articulated it. Did it matter? It was comfort and it was him. It was safe and it was familiar.

Something moved around him. More warmth. The grip around his throat didn’t lessen at any point. Namjoon reached for the hand there and weakly clung to it. Safe.

He didn’t process the situation immediately. Things came back to him one by one, not necessarily in the right order. Old memories and realizations of the current situation mixed. It was confusing. He remembered Jeongguk being upset and tears and Seokjin screaming and cuddles. He remembered Yoongi and blankets and more crying and was it a toad? He remembered his cultures and voices and Hoseok. He remembered plushies and Seokjin’s smile and insults. He remembered fear and panic and kisses—

His brain stopped for a moment, basking into the warmth memories of his boyfriends’ kisses.

Boyfriends. He remembered his boyfriends, remembered fear. Their fear this time. Remembered hot chocolate and hugs. Tight hugs. Desperate.

“I love you.”

He remembered I love you. He heard I love you. Was someone talking?

“I love you so much…”

“Hyung, Joonie-hyung, love you so much… Please, stay with me. Please, look at me?”

Someone was talking. Someones. He lifted his eyes up. Didn’t want to move his head, didn’t want to move the hand on his throat.

Jeongguk. Jeongguk was here, hovering over him. A barely awake part of Namjoon’s head analyzed the situation to try and understand their positions but he muted it. Didn’t matter. Jeongguk.

“love you.”

The words seemed right, needed. He didn’t hold them back. Something strong and intense flied over Jeongguk’s features and fuck, Namjoon wanted to kiss him. Wanted him. Loved him so much.

“Are you with me?” Jeongguk asked and Namjoon was. He was with him because he noticed. The roughness in his voice, the hesitancy around the edges, the fear deep in his eyes, the tension at the corner of his smile.

It all crashed down on him. Everything took its place— its right place and sadness, so much sadness took over Namjoon’s entire being. His body, his head, his heart. It was everywhere.

“I’m sorry,” he breathed out. He wanted to reach out for his boyfriend, kiss him and help. But he couldn’t move. Didn’t know what to do. How to make it better.

Jeongguk sighed and slouched and Namjoon blinked, taken aback. Was he— relieved? Why was he relieved? It didn’t make any sense.

“You scared me, you scared me so much!

Seokjin. It was Seokjin. Seokjin who sounded relieved too. And scared. And on the verge of tears. The hand around Namjoon’s throat started to shake and Namjoon held it tighter.

They collapsed. Namjoon gasped and exhaled roughly when he found himself with too big, muscular and way too heavy for him boyfriends laying atop of him. He didn’t say anything though. Because breathing was secondary when it came to their comfort.

“Let’s get comfortable and talk, hm?” Seokjin said, mirroring Namjoon’s thoughts perfectly. Namjoon smiled. Or tried to. It was enough. Someone kissed his forehead. He almost sobbed at how good he felt.

 


 

It took a while for them to find a good position. Firstly, because Namjoon’s limbs were jelly and he couldn’t move without falling over. Secondly, because Seokjin and Jeongguk were adamant about having Namjoon between them, snug and safe, but Namjoon didn’t feel good not having Jeongguk in between them. He didn’t know why. Jeongguk was safe and good now, but— Just but. Namjoon wanted Jeongguk in the middle and Jeongguk pouted and Namjoon pouted and Seokjin grunted.

Then, they laughed. Loud and surprising and probably a bit terrifying but something lifted off Namjoon’s chest. Fuck did it feel good. He suddenly wanted to let more out, talk, cry, anything to get more of this pressure off. So he compromised and tucked himself into Seokjin’s arms, his back to Seokjin’s chest so that he could wrap his around Jeongguk and hold him tight. Jeongguk protested for a grand total of two seconds before he melted. It made Namjoon smile. And then, they were talking.

Namjoon’s words were pouring out of his mouth without him being able to hold them back. He realized he had so much to say. So, so much. Way more than just what happened earlier — though it was a huge part. But his insecurities laid deeper. Their roots were older. He couldn’t even remember exactly when he started to feel this way but he followed the path to find out. Seokjin helped. Jeongguk helped. Whether it was with soft words or tender kisses, they helped and Namjoon spoke and spoke and spoke until he had nothing left inside him. No more spit to spare, no more words. There was still something heavy inside him. On his chest, on his stomach, but he didn’t know what to do about it.

“I’m scared,” he whispered, lips pressed against Jeongguk’s hair. The boy felt so tiny in his arms, Namjoon felt good. “I’m scared because I don’t know how to stop thinking like that. And I love you two so much. Too much maybe? Sometimes it just— it feels like I will never be able to give you everything you deserve. I’m scared of the day you realize you don’t need me. I’m scared you realize you just need each other or— or someone better. Someone who— who—”

“Hyung, please,” Jeongguk cut him off, voice wet, and it broke Namjoon’s heart.

“I’m sorry, I know— I think it’s not true but it’s— it’s hard and I’m sorry, please, don’t cry,” he begged, holding Jeongguk tighter.

“No, let him, baby,” Seokjin spoke, voice soft and careful as he himself held Namjoon closer. Namjoon didn’t know who he was talking to. “Let him cry. He needs it out. It’s okay, Kookie. We’re here, just let go. We’ve got you.”

It took some time for Namjoon to understand exactly what Seokjin meant. He watched, heart shattering, as Jeongguk started to sniffle. Guilt flared inside his chest and he bit his tongue to stop himself from saying anything stupid. He hated seeing Jeongguk upset. It hurt so much.

“Just look, baby,” Seokjin continued, and Namjoon heard, in the way his voice wavered, in the way his fingers flexed, that he didn’t like it either. “Our little doll just needs to let everything out too. You’ve been so strong, Kookie. Did so well for hyungs. Come on, let it all out. You can let go.”

At the end of Seokjin’s little speech, Jeongguk was fully sobbing, his body shaking against Namjoon’s frame, so hard Namjoon was scared he was going to break.

“You too, angel,” Seokjin continued. His voice was lower, whispered, as if only for Namjoon to hear. “You were so brave. Telling us everything. Such a courageous boy. So strong.”

Namjoon felt shivers run down his spine as the praise washed over him. He curled up ever so slightly, feeling smaller in the best way. Jeongguk adjusted, winding his arms around Namjoon’s waist and properly burying his face in his chest. Slowly, Namjoon started to understand what Jin meant. Jeongguk was letting go. Slowly stopped holding back and Namjoon could feel it under his fingers: he was relaxing. It was difficult to notice under the sobs that were wracking through him, but the tension was slowly easing out of his muscles and Namjoon felt endearment warm up his heart. He smiled.

“I’m so proud of you, baby boy. You did so well. Now, it’s our turn, hm? We’re gonna take such a good care of you. I’ll do everything I can to show you how loved you are. How precious too. We can’t do this without you. You’re so important. We love you so much, it hurts that you can’t see it. But I’ll show you. How perfect and important you are. Just let hyung take care of it.”

Namjoon’s head was starting to buzz. He couldn’t think as straight anymore. He nodded slowly, his brain taking time to process all the words Seokjin was telling him. All that seemed to matter was how warm and caring he sounded. Namjoon suddenly felt so safe. So small too. Not quite Little, he wasn’t exactly there yet and probably wouldn’t go there, but he was right under. Just the perfect amount of subbiness slipping through his head to make him go limp and pliant. His brain would take a while to process that everything was true and that he deserved it, but he was willing to try. Namjoon could feel it and he couldn’t be happier.

“Hyung,” he mumbled. He had started to rock Jeongguk into his arms without even noticing. “Hyung, want…”

“What do you want, baby?”

“Want… want more… Want you, closer…”

Silence followed. Not thick and awkward, but long enough for Namjoon to think that something could be wrong.

“Do you… You want to have sex? Are you sure?” Seokjin asked, voice cracking ever so slightly.

“N-no!” Namjoon rushed to say, making Jeongguk jolt in his arms. The boy’s sobs had been reduced to soft sniffles and Namjoon knew it was only a matter of minutes before he fell asleep. He stopped a second to press a kiss to the top of his head before he focused on Jin again. “No, jus—” Talking was hard. His tongue laid heavy in his mouth and Namjoon pouted. “Jus— wanna feel you, closer and like— warm but… No clothes but also no sex?”

He wasn’t sure he was making a lot of sense. The buzzing in his head was starting to grow, heavier and lulling. Seokjin was god-sent though, so he understood immediately. He huffed, soft and endeared, and pressed a kiss to Namjoon’s neck.

“You’re perfect, baby. Of course, we can do that. It sounds amazing. We just have to make sure you stay warm and safe, okay? We don’t want you to get sicker. Do you think you can help Jeonggukie take his clothes off? I don’t think he can do it himself. Can you?”

Namjoon laughed, light and airy, as Jeongguk lifted his head up. His face was wet, red and swollen and his hair was a mess. He was adorable. But what made Namjoon’s heart melt on the spot was his eyes. Glazed over, glassy and unfocused. He looked so gone already. It looked a bit like subspace, but not quite. Namjoon was so whipped, completely entranced by the boy. So much that he barely even noticed the hint of worries in Seokjin’s voice as he mentioned his sickness. Namjoon didn’t even feel that sick, besides the faint scratch in the back of his throat. He was better now.

“Love you,” Namjoon muttered, unable to hold himself back as he pressed a kiss to Jeongguk’s pouty lips. He felt that Jeongguk was trying to return the kiss and failing in the most adorable way and Namjoon smiled. “Love you so much.”

In the end, Seokjin was the one who undressed everyone, but the smile tugging at his lips and the way his eyes sparkled made any trace of guilt vanish from Namjoon’s chest. He smiled back. And he kept smiling. As Seokjin sauntered around the room to shut the blinds — it was already so dark outside, when did it get so late? — and to turn on the fairy lights, Namjoon couldn’t stop smiling. He was so in love.

Jeongguk hummed something non intelligible against him and Namjoon almost cooed out loud when he saw the boy reach weakly for Namjoon’s green shirt laying forgotten at the foot of the bed. Namjoon noticed the goosebumps littering his pretty skin and moved so fast he was almost left dizzy. Without crushing anything with his too big hands, Namjoon moved Jeongguk around until the boy was laying back comfortably, wrapped in Namjoon’s way too big shirt.

“You two are adorable, my heart can’t take it,” Seokjin groaned as he crawled back in bed, finally getting rid of his own clothes and bringing the blanket over them. Delicately, they moved a bit so that Jeongguk was — finally — the one laying between them. He fit perfectly. Jeongguk wasn’t exactly small — far from that actually — but Seokjin was broader and Namjoon was taller and he had this habit of curling into the slightest ball when he was sleeping so yeah, as he laid, calm and content between them, he really felt tiny and Namjoon felt warm.

“I love him so much,” Namjoon breathed out. His fingers naturally found their way to Jeongguk’s hair and he started to play with them. He smiled when Jeongguk relaxed even more, subconsciously lifting his thumb to his mouth. It was an habit he had when he was very stressed and finally got to relax.  Namjoon had never questioned it. He knew there were a lot of things Jeongguk wasn’t telling them. About himself, about his life. But Namjoon didn’t want to pressure him. He trusted Jeongguk and he knew he would open to them eventually. They were boyfriends but if there were things Jeongguk wasn’t yet comfortable sharing with them, he had every right to keep them to himself.

Namjoon was worried, sometimes, that these things Jeongguk was keeping to himself were going to drain him one day, but he didn’t know what to do about it. Maybe he should talk to Seokjin. They had to communicate better.

There was one thing that really scared Namjoon about today. It was how similar his behavior had seemed to be of Jeongguk’s when he had bad days. Jeongguk who avoided them until everything was tamed down and did his best not to alarm, not to bother.

Alarms went off in Namjoon’s head and he gathered Jeongguk closer. Maybe he should’ve questioned Jeongguk’s little habits. Maybe he should be more attentive. He didn’t want Jeongguk to have a breakdown on them because they didn’t listen enough.

“Baby, stop thinking so hard,” Seokjin whispered, and Namjoon blinked. He looked up at his boyfriend and smiled weakly.

“I’m scared,” he whispered, not wanting to break the peaceful atmosphere. “I’m scared to lose you. I’m scared to lose him.”

“You won’t,” Seokjin assured him and he looked so sure of himself, so convinced of what he was saying that Namjoon found himself nodding. “We all learnt a lot from what happened today. Jeongguk too. I’m sure he’ll understand himself that he can share everything with us and that it’ll help him.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. Trust me. Trust him, too. We’ll be there for him just like he’s here for us. He’s still so young, he has a lot to learn…”

“He’s only five years youngers than you, stop being dramatic, grandpa,” Namjoon laughed, feeling good enough to lock all these thoughts in a little box to deal with tomorrow.

“Aish, you brat,” Seokjin hissed, hitting Namjoon’s arm lightly. He was smiling though. Namjoon smiled too. He leaned over Jeongguk’s body, careful so as not to hurt him, and pressed his lips to Jin’s.

Seokjin’s hand moved up his arms until it was cupping Namjoon’s face and they kissed harder. Closer. It didn’t escalate though. They stayed there, kissing, pouring all their feelings into each other. Namjoon didn’t know how much time passed.

Eventually, Seokjin fell asleep and Namjoon was in awe. He very rarely got to witness Seokjin falling asleep, but when he did, it was always a magical moment. Seokjin looked so young when he was sleeping. His features finally completely relaxed, devoid of any tension. He looked beautiful. Ethereal. Magical, almost. Namjoon lost track of time watching him, watching them.

He fell asleep at some point, lulled into slumber by Jeongguk’s delicate snores and Seokjin’s regular breathing. It didn’t change much because even as he slept, he couldn’t think about anything but them. Them. Them. Them. He loved them so much.

He was ready to fight his fears and everything that came with if it meant being able to stay with them. As long as they wanted him, he’ll be there. With them. For them.