Namjoon rests at the top of the stairs, pulling up his t-shirt so he can wipe away the sweat on his brow. There's a kink in his neck that he thinks is from all the heavy lifting, or maybe he just didn't sleep very well last night. Either way he pushes his arms above his head and groans when he hears his back click.
He almost regrets sending Yoongi and Seokjin away-- almost.
You'd think Namjoon was an 18-year-old starting out on his own for the first time at university or something, if their fussing had been anything to go by.
Yoongi was insistent on delivering some kind of speech to Namjoon, that apparently required an awkward hand on his shoulder as he grumbled something about only being a phone call away and how if he changed his mind he could still come home. He even ended the encounter by saying, "we're proud of you Joon-ah, " which sounded dangerously like " we're proud of you, my boy. " He half expected Yoongi to stuff a few wons into his hand for his first food shop.
Seokjin preoccupied himself by fussing over the arrangement of Namjoon's cupboards whilst Yoongi inspected Namjoon's flatpack furniture.
"You guys know you're not my parents, right?" Namjoon asked, "Like, genuinely."
" Ah, don't be such an ungrateful little brat." Seokjin swatted him with the tea towel. He'd bought it for him because Namjoon owns, like, no kitchen utensils. He put it down and dug through the freezer bag. "Now would you like these frozen meals Yoongi-chi cooked for you on the top or bottom freezer shelf?"
"I told you not to bring those." Namjoon scowled, wiggling out of Yoongi's grip, "I can take care of myself. "
"We know you can, Joon-ah. We're just used to taking care of you." Yoongi urged, "Also I'm concerned if we don't leave you at least a few cooked meals you might have an iron deficiency by the next time we see you."
"Yoongi-chi is right, these meals have vegetables in them. Do you know what that is, Joon-ah? Vegetables, they're what the flavouring in your instant noodle packs are vaguely based off."
" Vaguely." Yoongi echoed.
Namjoon sighed, ran a hand over his face. "Hyungs, I know what a vegetable is."
"Name at least 5."
He'd managed to get them out the way, eventually. He argued that he wanted to unpack by himself and that he could manage the last few boxes sitting in the lobby of the apartment complex, that he'd rather they came back to see his apartment when he'd fully settled in. He also really didn't want either of their input on how to decorate his new apartment, especially since Seokjin had somehow convinced Yoongi that Mario bed sheets were totally appropriate for their matrimonial bed.
So eventually he managed to push them back down the stairs and wave them off as they drove away, ignoring the way Yoongi looked a little teary because "hyung, you own the studio I work at. I'll see you on Monday." but in all fairness Namjoon can't remember the last time he'd been this far away from Yoongi.
In 27 years of life, 16 years of adulting , Namjoon had never lived by himself. Yoongi had been his first college roommate and they didn't get along, to begin with, but neither of them really had any other close friends. So come second year it made sense to live together again and again, until it got to the point Namjoon struggled to picture a living room without Yoongi's book left open on the coffee table or his orange scented hand cream lying on the bathroom sink.
Seokjin had slipped in easy enough when they decided to find a third flatmate, after they'd both finally landed their first jobs working as runners for music studios. He seemed clean, liked the same takeout places as the two of them and came with a free Wii U and Playstation 4 for the living room. And was incredibly invested in Yoongi’s idea for a start-up entertainment company that supported underground artists. Or maybe he was just very interested in Yoongi with cash to spare. Either way he was probably the most ideal candidate they were ever going to find.
Yoongi and Seokjin falling in love wasn't necessarily a part of the plan, but it did mean once they'd decided things were official, they could make it work, that they were able to turn Yoongi's old bedroom to a home studio when they moved rooms. The room which became the start-up studio for their now ever growing entertainment business. So Namjoon guesses he’s happy they fell in love, even if it meant tossing and turning in his bed at night with a pillow stuffed over his ears to drown out-- noises.
As they got older and their jobs got more serious, they were even able to move again to an even bigger apartment.
And then somewhere along the line, Namjoon, Yoongi and Seokjin wasn't really that anymore-- Namjoon could tell, as he'd slip out of the shower to see the two of then cuddled on the sofa, doing something incredibly domestic like arguing over whether or not Netflix was an expense they needed, that it was very much Yoongi and Seokjin now.
And Namjoon needed to stand on his own two feet and let them be that.
So when the tenancy lease came to its usual yearly end for their last apartment, Namjoon had announced he was going to find his own place deeper in the city. It had been met with hesitant glances and so he waxed some shit about wanting to be closer to the studio for work, wanted to stretch his legs, whatever that meant- he doesn't really know, just knows an ex boyfriend used it once to breakup with him- and when Yoongi anxiously asked if they'd done something, made Namjoon feel pushed out, he quickly reassured it wasn't like that. Because it wasn't, Namjoon just knew that it was time to move on.
And if moving on meant somehow stumbling through being alone for maybe the first time in, well, his entire life. Well, he's ready to give it his best shot. After all, he's an ambivert, living alone should suit his needs just fine. He has totally got this.
"I'll be fine living by myself, hyungs." Namjoon had once said over his shoulder as he chopped vegetables, Yoongi and Seokjin watching him from the dining table and side eyeing each other. "I'm dyspraxic not a hurricane." He said, as he pushed his elbow out and it knocked over a jar of kimchi which immediately smashed.
But! That's not a reflection on Namjoon's resilience and capability to exist as a single, functioning adult. He knows what a tax rebate is. He'll be fine... maybe.
He tries not to wallow in his own self induced loneliness and hikes the box full of " Bonsai Books Nonsense" under his shoulder and leaves it in the doorway of his apartment amongst his other unopened boxes.
He walks back down the flight of stairs and takes up another box, this one labeled "Really Ugly Cardigans'' in Yoongi's scrappy handwriting, which he picks up with a huff. It's actually a lot heavier than it looks and Namjoon wonders how many hideous cardigans he owns.
By the time he's at the top of his stairs his neck spasming and his arms ache. He also realises he'd shut the door behind him, like an idiot, which means he has to shift the entire weight of the box onto his right forearm so he can dig for the keys in his left pocket.
Big mistake, as he shifts the box almost slips, so he quickly shoves his right knee underneath and, well, Namjoon doesn't have a great relationship with gravity so he loses balance and finds himself stumbling backwards, dangerously close to the stairs.
It's at this moment the apartment’s door opposite of him creeks open and a man in his early 20's slips out. He has long blond hair scraped back in a ponytail to reveal a dark undercut, swirling his keys around on a delicate tattooed finger, scattered markings decorate his hand and blooms into a full sleeve of beautiful drawings up to his shoulder. He has exercise shorts on and a hoodie, airpods in, most likely on his way out to the gym.
He spots Namjoon and Namjoon thinks wow, he has really pretty eyes, and then thinks, holy shit I'm about to die embarrassingly in front of my hot stranger. What a terrible, rude first introduction .
"Holy shit," the neighbour gasps and springs into action, quickly skidding forward to grab a hold of Namjoon's shirt and away from the stairs. He manoeuvres the box out of Namjoon's grip and slides it onto the floor as Namjoon yelps and stumbles forward into him.
They end up crashing onto the ground, a muddle of limbs and groaning. As Namjoon sits up, he realises he's caged the poor strangers face between his thighs.
"Oh, oh my god. " He stammers, stumbling and slipping to get himself back up. "Fuck, I am so sorry ."
"Wow, thighs." The stranger breathes and then he shakes his head to clear it. "Sorry! I meant- god, I'm sorry-"
"Why are you sorry," Namjoon breathes, "you just saved my life."
"Yeah, and then I nearly broke your neck anyways." The stranger grumbles "are you okay?"
"Yeah" Namjoon manages to get out. Their faces are so close at this angle and Namjoon has to remind himself that this is a boy he doesn't know and not to get weird too fast. He stamps down the sound of wedding bells that goes off in the corner of his mind, and instead asks, "Are you okay?"
"M'fine, really." The stranger insists with a lopsided grin. His eyes fall to the discarded box and he frowns. "Was that delicate?"
"Just jumpers." Namjoon mutters and then adds quickly: "A lot of them, it's uh. Heavy. I'm not stupidly weak, I just own a lot of jumpers."
"Hideous cardigans, apparently." Neighbour quips. "And are you okay, nothing broken?"
"Just my pride." Namjoon grumbles but still accepts the hand held out for him. He winces as he's drawn to his feet, the twinge in the back of his neck returning.
"You don't seem okay." The neighbour frowns, "do you need help with the rest of your boxes?"
"Oh, no. I've already been a pain as it is, uh, thanks-"
"You're not being a pain, you're in pain. I can help, got nothing better to do." Namjoon gapes around his words as the neighbour scoops up the box and heaves it over his shoulder, like it's nothing.
He stalls for a moment before trying to fish his keys out with sweaty hands, knowing he's gone bright red as the neighbour waits patiently for his slippery fingers to get the keys in the door. "Sorry." Namjoon grumbles as he finally jiggles the lock and gets the door open, "I'm, uh, getting used to the keys."
"It's okay." The neighbour hums, he shifts the box. "Am I okay to, uh, take it in, or?"
"Oh, yes of course. Uh, after you?" Namjoon jumps to the side and the stranger smirks a little, a toothy grin bitten between his teeth as he walks into Namjoon's apartment.
"Want it anywhere in particular?"
"Uh, no, just. Dump it anywhere." Namjoon manages to stammer out as he tries not to let his eyes linger too long on the smooth, toned skin that peaks from underneath Hot Neighbours running shorts. "Thanks again."
"I've hardly done anything." Hot Neighbour shrugs, "Are the rest of the boxes downstairs?"
"Ah there's a few boxes left, but if you're busy--"
"I was only going for a run, exercise is exercise." Neighbour grins, "Never skip leg day but arm day gotta get its rep too, you know?"
Namjoon's eyes swoop back over his body. "I think, I think you've got both pretty covered."
Hot Neighbour laughs and Namjoon feels his skin catching fire again, half his mind shouting we got hot neighbour to laugh and the other voice muttering that was so cringy. The second voice sounds strangely like Yoongi.
"I'm Jeon Jungkook, by the way." Hot neighbour- Jungkook- introduces himself. He holds out his hand and Namjoon grips it, appreciates that he's kind enough to mention how sweaty his palms are.
"Hi," Namjoon says automatically, realises he hasn't actually told Hot Neighbour his name and quickly adds, "Namjoon, 94?"
"Then hyung is, uh, hyung is good."
"Well then, Namjoon-hyung! Jungkook, at your service." He stands a little straighter, salutes with the tips of his fingers and skips back towards the door and Namjoon's at a loss to do little more than stumble after him.
There's something about the name as well which tugs at something deep in his memory, the combination of bambi eyes and Jungkook but he can't quite piece all together. He tries not to get too bogged down about it and instead trots after him back down the stairs.
"So, new to Seoul?" Jungkook asks as he picks up one of the boxes Seokjin labeled "heavy shit" with so little effort it makes Seokjin look like a liar. Namjoon is really trying hard not to watch Jungkook's muscles flex again but, to reiterate, it's really fucking hard .
"Uh, not really. I lived on the outskirts of Gangnam for a while, but new to the area." He says.
"Oh! That's cool." Jungkook says conversationally, "I did wonder, I feel like I've seen your face around here."
"Yeah, it's weird." Namjoon echoes back. "I feel like I've seen your face before, too"
"Maybe I just have one of those faces."
"No, I'd remember a face like yours." Namjoon says and then immediately regrets it when he sees Jungkook's eyebrows shoot up.
"Why? Because you think I'm pretty or because you think I look like I'm up to no good?"
"Maybe a little bit of both." Namjoon finds himself saying and, dear god, who is he? Namjoon can't remember the last time he flirted with someone this well, maybe when Yoongi had his elderly aunt around that one time last New Year, she seemed pretty charmed.
There's a small flush creeping up Jungkook's neck and it blooms on his cheeks. If Namjoon hadn't just witnessed Jungkook basically bench press a box of encyclopedia he'd say it was down to exertion. But no, Namjoon is pretty sure he's flirting, with a really cute guy, and it's working . He can't wait to FaceTime Seokjin and Yoongi later to tell them about it.
"Are there anymore?" Jungkook asks as he plants another box down in the middle of Namjoon's living room.
"Nope, all set. I really can't thank you enough for helping me, and you know, practically saving my life and all."
"Well, it wouldn't be very neighbourly of me to let you fall to your death on your first day." Jungkook grins, "we wait at least a week of screamo music at 3am every night before we get to that point."
" Very true. I would’ve probably blown my back out if I'd carried them all up by myself."
"Yeah, there's better ways to do that." Jungkook huffs out more nervous giggles, like he's a little unsure about the fact he just made a sex joke and Namjoon can't tell if he's impressed by the pun or endeared by the bashfullness. Either way it sends this weird twinge through him that translates to: dear god this kid is cute.
"Well, I can't let you do all this heavy lifting for me without at least offering you some tea or something." Namjoon says.
"Sounds good." Jungkook agrees, still looking a little flustered, "There's just one more box at the bottom of the stairs. I'll go grab it."
Jungkook jogs out the room and Namjoon watches him go, trying his best to stop staring at his ass but apparently his neighbour is some sort of hunk and Namjoon has been single for a while, okay? Let him live.
"This is the last one!" Jungkook chirps as he enters the apartment again. He cranes his neck to read the label. "Where would you like me to put your box full of, uh, furry memorabilia?"
"Fuck sakes," Namjoon mutters, "just-- anywhere. Please ignore the labels, my flatmate- ex-flatmates think they're hilarious. It'll have my kaus figures in it." He calls out from the kitchen and then reflects on whether collecting figurines is any better than being a furry.
"I'm not judging!" Jungkook calls as he flops down onto the sofa "I've put it next to the tower of boxes entitled " physical evidence that namjoon really did used to be cute" and "photos to use if he dies young for his funeral--" actually, that last label is quite morbid."
"My hyungs have a dark sense of humour." Namjoon grumbles. He finishes pouring the hot water into the mugs and walks back out into the living area, dodging the boxes in his wake.
He wants to come across as cool, sexy, maybe a little mysterious to try and match Jungkook's oozing sex appeal (okay, maybe not oozing, since oozing isn't really a sexy word. Dripping sex appeal, that's better). Namjoon realises that this could be a totally fresh start for him, a chance to shed the dorky exterior and be reborn as a hot, mysterious butterfly-- or whatever it was that Seokjin's self help books used to say.
He thinks about all of that, as his foot collides with a stray box and he loses balance. Jungkook shoots back up to save the tea in his hands as it slips over the sides of the mug and spills. Namjoon wonkily trips into one of the towers of vicariously placed boxes and one falls over and spills out onto the floor.
"Shit, sorry." Namjoon flushes again as Jungkook pries the mugs from his hands and then squats down. "No, you don't have to do that."
"No, it's fine. Let me help." He insists as he starts to gather up the contents. It all seems to be old photo albums, the sort of stuff Namjoon's never really bothered to flick through but his parents had thrusted at him when he decided to get his own place. He thinks this might be the first time any of them have seen daylight since he moved in with Yoongi.
One’s fallen open and Jungkook picks it up with interest. "Oh!" He gasps, "You were a cute baby, is this you?"
"Please, don't look." Namjoon whines, "I can't believe I have a cute boy around and my baby photos have still found their way out of the box even without my eomma present." Namjoon mutters.
"You think I'm cute?" Jungkook grins, and then turns the next page. "Huh."
"I recognise this living room." Jungkook frowns, "I'm sure I've.... been there before."
"I mean, it'll probably be my eomma's." Namjoon grumbles, "I don't, it was pretty standard living room I guess-"
"Wait." Jungkook interrupts, eyes blown wide.
He spins the album around and his finger pokes over the cheek of a little boy. Who has big brown eyes and wild dark hair. The toddler has their hair in too little bunches, their cheeks decorated with little star stickers that glitter in the flash light of the film camera. The toddler is giggling with their arms thrown out, one of which is caught under the frames of 8-year-old Namjoon's glasses, as he presses a kiss to their forehead.
"That's me ." Jungkook declares.
"No it isn't." Namjoon frowns, "that's me."
"No, I mean the baby. I'm the baby." Jungkook sits back down on the sofa next to Namjoon and begins to flick through. He lands on another page where Namjoon is older, probably around about 14. He's got a basketball wedged under his shoulder and is dressed in an incredibly ugly tracksuit. His arm is looped around a boy with a bowl cut and big brown eyes. The boy looks up at Namjoon, smiling a little shyly.
"Wait," Jungkook pauses, "Namjoon.... Namjoon..." he mutters to himself, then he perks up. "As in Kim Namjoon?"
"Uh, I mean.." Namjoon flounders, "Yeah, but there's a lot of Kim Namjoon's out there in the world, probably-"
" Kim Namjoon ." Jungkook repeats, "that was the name of the guy who used to babysit me."
Namjoon blinks and peers over Jungkook's shoulder, trying to get his thoughts in order. Because yeah, sure, Namjoon did used to babysit when he was a teenager. The older noona's always used to think Namjoon was very mature and sensible for his age, sure they wouldn't ever leave him alone with an oven or anything but they thought him trustworthy enough to drop their kids off with him for a few hours so they could go to the movies, or out to dinner with husbands and friends. He often found himself with a toddler or a dweeby kid sitting in front of him as he'd do his homework, keeping half an eye out to make sure they ate their microwaved topokki.
And yeah, okay, now that he thinks about it he remembers one of the kids he used to watch might have been called Jungkook, but that kid was a scrawny little 8 year old with a snotty nose and chipped nail varnish that he used to apply himself. He wasn't a hunky, sharp jawed dude who was ever going to grow up to get jacked, with his big, kind bambi eyes--
The same eyes that stare back at him now.
"No way." Jungkook grins, taking his silence as an answer, "It is you. Joonie-hyung!"
"Ah, yeah. I guess so." Namjoon stammers, "You grew up....well."
"Man, I cannot believe it's you ." Jungkook bristles with excitement. "I was obsessed with you."
"Were you?" Namjoon squeaks.
"Yeah, totally!" Jungkook nods with enthusiasm. "I had the biggest crush on you, hyung. I used to think you were so cool. You were everything I wanted to be and more. I just- you made music, you were so tall, you were so popular with all the noona's, you did squats --"
"I- I'm not really sure how any of that made me cool. Wait, did you say crush-"
"Do you still make music?" Jungkook continues excitedly, "please say you still make music. Ranchranda, right?" Jungkook collapses back into the sofa, giddy laughter spilling from his lips. "Man, I used to show everyone your MySpace account."
"Please tell me you didn't really."
"When you left for uni, my eomma used to tell me off for playing your music too loud." Jungkook continues, as if he doesn't realise he's a bulldozer heading straight for Namjoon's last standing leg of dignity. "She used to be like 'Jungkook-ah, turn that racket off. You don't even know what an anarchist state is--" "
"Please don't tell me you played my anti-establishment music to your eomma."
"-- And when I was little, I used to tell all the girls in the playground that you were my boyfriend when you'd come and pick me up from school. Because they all thought you were handsome and I was jealous. They'd be like 'he can't be, because you're a boy.' and I'd say, ' exactly, and he still likes me more than any of you. So suck it.' I didn't know what 'suck it' meant but one time a teacher heard me say it and I had to stay in at playtime--" Jungkook stops. "Hyung? Sorry, am I being weird? You look all red."
"It's-it's exertion," Namjoon splutters, downs a large sip of his now cold tea. "I can't believe you... remember all that."
"I still have this drawing I made. It's me in a tuxedo and you in a wedding dress because I was so certain I'd marry you. Is that weird?"
"I mean, primary school kids do strange things-"
"I think I was 11, actually." Jungkook ponders, "It wasn't very good, I'm much better at drawing now." He sparks up again. "Oh! Maybe you could come over sometime and I can show you my art work."
"Yeah, that would be... nice." Namjoon says weakly, still trying to process the last hour of his life.
"Ah, I'm being so forward and weird." Jungkook groans into his hand, "I'm so embarrassing, please excuse me hyung."
"No, you're not at all!" Namjoon insists, "I just... didn't know you looked up to me that much. I'm just embarrassed."
"There's no reason to be, of course I was infatuated with you. I mean- look at you ."
Namjoon raises his eyebrows. "What, so you'd- you think you could feel the same about... Adult Namjoon?"
"I mean," Jungkook shrugs, smiles shyly. "I bet you're just as cool as you were. You were always so grown up, hyung. I think I could’ve spent my entire life tripping after you if you'd let me."
Namjoon thinks his heart is beating so fast, he's afraid it might stop.
"But! I'm so excited to get to know you now- that is, if you still want too. I bet you're a real accomplished adult now. Like I can't imagine how far your music has gone."
Namjoon stiffens. Accomplished adult-- his eyes involuntarily dart to the " how to change a lightbulb" instructions Yoongi had left for him and he quickly snatches it off the coffee table and snatches it into his pocket.
Oh god. Jungkook probably thinks he's some kind of hot-shot adult. And yeah, sure, career wise he's done pretty good for himself. It helps that Yoongi is now the producer at work and Namjoon technically has shares in an ever growing entertainment company-- but he also still doesn't know how to properly work an oven. He forgets to turn lights off, he's planning on living off instant ramen for at least a fortnight and sometimes when he leaves for work he has to turn around and walk back home for 20 minutes because he doesn't trust himself to have locked the door.
Work Namjoon and Namjoon-Namjoon are two very different people.
"Ah, I mean. I'm a producer now for JinHit--"
"Oh my god, as in the idol company?" Jungkook squeals, "I hear the head producer is secretly dating the owner but I don't know if that's true. I like to believe so, it's always good to hear people like me are successful, if you.... get what I mean."
Namjoon nods slowly. "Yeah... I do. And, uh, if it helps... they are. I used to, uh, live with them actually.... Yoongi-hyung and Seokjin-hyung were helping me move in, actually."
Jungkook gasps. "You lived with them??" And then, "Your boyfriend was Suga " followed by, "Does- does that make you RM?"
"Wow a lot to unpack there. Uh, well. For a start, me and Yoongi-hyung-- suga-hyung?-- We never dated." He places his mug back down on the coffee table. "We were best friends, but never. Uh, yeah."
"God, don't tell 16-year-old Jungkook that, he was heartbroken. " Jungkook snorts. "All the noona's used to come over to my eomma's house and gossip about the fact that you'd run off to the city and were moving in with your older boy friend. And then they'd waggle their eyebrows in a way that they think I didn't know what they meant. But I did."
"Ah, Yoongi-hyung is only a year older, but yes let's keep the rumour alive that he's ancient. But no, always been Yoongi-hyung and Seokjin-hyung."
"But... You are RM?"
Namjoon nods tightly and Jungkook's smile blossoms.
"Wow," he breathes, "still so cool."
Namjoon smiles, fighting a grimace. "I'm really not."
Jungkook looks down at his watch and sighs. "Are you kidding ? You're like, a world famous Producer and recording artist. Like, you and Suga-min single handedly revived the independent company market-" Jungkook takes a breath, holds out his hands. "Okay, I need to calm down. I'm being weird, so weird. I swear most people think I'm kinda cool."
"Yeah," Namjoon grumbles, as he observes the tattoo marked I'd rather be dead than cool-- a testimony to how genuinely cool Jungkook grew up to be.
"Man, I got work in a minute. This sucks, I've been having so much fun talking to you hyung." His eyes grow even wider. "Can we, can we catch up again soon?"
And Namjoon nods despite himself. Jungkook lights up.
"Ah, hyung! I'm so happy we're neighbours. I've always wanted you back in my life again! Oh! Why don't I cook dinner for you one night, and then I can show you my art work? And then another night you can cook dinner for me."
Namjoon tries not to flinch at the mention of cooking. Oh dear god, he's a fraud. Jungkook thinks he's a capable adult when really he's afraid of the fucking stove -- "Sounds good, Kook."
"Well, I'll leave you to it. It's... so nice to see you again hyung, really."
"Yeah, you too Kook." Namjoon manages to get out.
"I'm really glad I get to know you, again."
Dear god, he's in trouble. There's a reason Namjoon so feverishly uses a persona to record under, and that's mainly because RM and Kim Namjoon are two very different people. Whilst "Suga'' is more of a privacy thing for Yoongi (and not a problem for Seokjin at all, hence why his start-up company is called JinHit ) Namjoon does it to divert disappointment. It means he can shed the expectations to be a certain way- cool, independent, strong -- like a winter coat. Every night he shrugs it off, puts it in the wardrobe and doesn't need to fish it out till the next morning.
And now, in front of someone he so desperately wants to impress, it's like he's got the coat on and it's 30 degrees celsius outside and his air conditioning is broken. He's wearing the RM coat, and he looks fucking ridiculous doing it. Because underneath is Kim Namjoon, sweating, and obviously an imposter.
"We have a situation." Namjoon declares.
" No we don't, you're handling this fine." Yoongi soothes over the phone, " Now, set it to 40 degree heat and a delicate spin. It might make a funny noise but that's fine, Joon-ah. "
"I don't mean the washing machine." Namjoon scowls, and then says, "What do I do with the nob that's only got weird symbols on it?"
" Just don't touch it if you don't know what it does ." Yoongi instructs. " I thought you called me because you needed help at the laundromat."
"Yes- I did- but that's not just why I called." Namjoon hisses. He collapses down into one of the benches and watches as the machine gurgles to life, starts spinning. "I need... advice."
" Advice?" Yoongi snorts. " Did you read my instructions on how to change a lightbulb?"
" It's nothing to do with that." Namjoon shifts. "I've got... okay, so there's this neighbour."
" Mhm ."
"And I have to avoid him until one of us moves out."
" What? Why? What did he do? Do you need us to come down? I can pack a mean swing and you don't want to find out how hard Seokjin-ah can kick, Joon. I'll go wake him up, he'll have my balls for waking him up so late but if you need us to come down and beat the shit out--"
" Woah, woah! Not like that all, " Namjoon hisses, "The opposite... he's... lovely."
" You want me to commit murder because he's lovely?"
"His name is Jungkook-ah, and by some freak coincidence I used to babysit him when we were kids-"
" Sorry, hang on, pause... you were trusted to look after children?"
Namjoon rolls his eyes, " Hyung-"
" Babies, like human babies? Not plants or something."
"Why would they be plants ?"
" You always refer to your bonsais as your babies, and they all have names. It's not that big of a stretch, Joon-ah. "
Namjoon sighs. "No, hyung. He's a real person."
" I'm still confused about where this is going ."
"He- he used to idolise me." Namjoon explains, "he thought I was so great, he may even have had feelings for me... And now, he's- he's gorgeous. And I don't fucking know what happened to that shy kid with a stammer and a lisp but he seems to have turned into this, this idol but he's still so sweet and sensitive." Namjoon toys with the zipper of his hoodie, squeezes his eyes shut. "And... I think he still likes me, or he could."
" Wow.. you're right, that's dreadful." Yoongi deadpans. " Don't move, I've already called the police, they're on their way to save you from such a nightmare. "
"You don't get it." Namjoon snips, "I'm not like you and Seokjin-hyung. I'm- I'm not good at this. I'm a shit adult and I can hardly stand on my own two feet at 27 and that's humiliating. And he used to think the world of me, there aren't many people who think of me like that. I don't want to ruin that."
" That's not true, Joon-ah." Yoongi says gently, " None of that. Who wouldn't want you?"
"I didn't learn to tie my shoelaces until I was 18, I just..." he pinches his brow, feels strangely close to tears. "He seems so sweet and like he's got his life together. You know? I mean he has to have to be able to afford to live here, and he wants to cook for each other and I can't- I don't want to embarrass myself. Like I had a breakdown because I couldn't find my glasses this morning, right? I was so late, I looked everywhere and then I moved my book and they were under my book. I'm not together, I'm disorganised and I don't want him to see how much of a disaster I am."
"So what, you're going to run from being happy just in case you trip up on the way there?" Yoongi sighs, "that's so silly, especially if he seems really into you and you like him, but i guess if you think you're not ready, then...at least tell me you let him down gently."
" Ah, yeah. That's the, uh, other thing. I haven't actually... said no yet?"
" What. "
"That's why I'm hiding," Namjoon grumbles, "I don't know... how to tell him we can't get to know each other because i'm too much of a disaster and ashamed without humiliating myself. Because he seemed so worried about overwhelming me with enthusiasm. So, like, I want him to know that's not the case-"
" Is this why you're doing your washing at 1am? Are you- are you avoiding him??"
"Most residents use the laundromat because it's attached to the apartment complex and is free for residence--"
" I'm going to bed." Yoongi sighs, exasperated. " Before Seokjin-hyung finds out I'm still up working and chews me out for it. It was easier to get away with when you were around, he couldn't hide both our bodies after all, but murdering me for staying up to late he could probably get away with. "
"Yeah, hyung. Sorry, get some rest."
" Please go to bed after you're done there, Joon-ah. And then please consider how silly you're being."
"Yeah, yeah." Namjoon mutters. "Are we still on for dinner next week?"
" We're looking forward to it. Did you manage to get that shelf up by yourself?"
"....Yes." Namjoon lies.
" Proud of you, hyung is so proud!"
"Go to bed, hyung. Before Seokjin-hyung has your balls for it, or whatever it is you said."
" Ah, he's already had those tonight actually-"
Namjoon quickly turns his phone off and gags, throws it into the empty washing basket like it burns.
Namjoon stops scowling at his phone and looks up to see Jungkook- the one person he was really hoping not to see.
He'd managed to go a solid week without bumping into him.
His avoidance tactics had been simple: leave half an hour earlier than he needed to for work to make sure there was no chance of bumping into him on his morning jog, do two more laps around the street every time he came back from work to avoid a similar fate. If he heard Jungkook's door open then he'd turn the tv down and duck. Not that he had windows, but just in case.
He knows he's being ridiculous, but still. Namjoon doesn't really go on many dates and so he's not used to this "having to turn someone down" business, especially when he doesn't actually want to turn said person down.
Jungkook is dressed very differently from the day before. He's got a sweater vest on over a long sleeved white top, a black denim jacket frown over the top. Namjoon wants to take back every mean thing he's said about Yoongi's sweater vests because, actually, maybe he was on to something. Loose fitting black trousers that are nipped in at his tiny waist, his hair is loose and falling around his jaw in pretty blond waves. Around the corner of his eyes there's a smudge of eyeliner.
He's so fucking gorgeous that Namjoon can't really tell what's louder- the whirl of the washing machine or his pounding heart.
"Hey Kook-ah." Namjoon squeaks, "what- what brings you here?"
Jungkook gives the basket of washing under his arm a little shake, smiles.
"What brings you here at this time of night, hyung?" Jungkook asks and then he frowns. "You haven't been out at work all this time, right?"
"What? No, no." Namjoon assures, "I, uh. Just forgot to do laundry."
"Ah, forgive me if I overstepped. I just remember-" Jungkook stops himself, "Ah, ignore me. You don't need to hear me get all gushy over you again."
"No, no! Don't say that, I'm sorry if I've given the impression that I'm not interested." Namjoon says, even though that's exactly what he intended to do. "What were you going to say?"
Jungkook scuffs his foot against the floor. "Ah, just that when you'd started rapping underground.. I remember you'd used to baby sit me the night after, or like. Not really babysit, just watch over me because i could take care of myself at that point-"
"Babysit." Namjoon confirms and Jungkook pouts. It's fucking adorable.
" when you'd be paid to keep me company- "
"That sounds even weirder." Namjoon grins. Jungkook reaches into the basket and swats him with a sock.
"My point is, I just remember you'd sneak out to attend the gigs, and then always do your homework on time. You'd look so tired but you'd still wrestle me into a chair, force me down and say "Jungkook-ah, we have to do maths now. " He scrunches his nose. "I always hated maths."
"I just can't believe you remember so much." Namjoon says honestly.
Jungkook shrugs. "What can I say? You left an impression for sure. Can I sit?"
Namjoon nods and scoots over. Jungkook stuffs his washing into the machine next to his, effortlessly flicking the various switches like he's done it thousands of times before- which he probably has.
Namjoon tries very hard not to stare at his ass as he bends over to load the machine. "So, uh, why are you here so late?" Namjoon looks pointedly at the ceiling. Man, they should really get someone to come and fill in all these cracks. Shit, no, not like that --
"Oh, I just finished work." Jungkook chirps, "So thought I'd do a few chores before heading to bed." He sits himself down next to Namjoon, thighs touching.
"Ah, and what is it you do?"
Jungkook chews a little nervously on the inside of his cheek. "Promise you won't think any less of me?"
Namjoon nods vigorously. Oh god, his pretty, lovely neighbour is a sex worker. Oh god, Namjoon can't picture him doing anything like that, he's in coulettes, he must not think about that--
"I'm a pro-gamer." Jungkook squeaks out and, oh, okay. That's not where Namjoon thought this was going. "I stream for a living, hence the makeup and outfit so late at night." He sticks his leg up and giggles, "matched with the comfy trousers."
"That's so cool." Namjoon nods.
"It's alright I guess." Jungkook shrugs, "make enough to put food on the table, go to conferences and stuff. Yeah, it's alright."
"Alright? It sounds like you've got quite the career going for you."
"Ah, well, I have 5 million twitch followers-"
"5 million?" Namjoon blanches, "Jungkook-ssi, that's, that's insane ."
"I'm comfortable," he smiles bashfully. "But, it sounds pretty lame when I'm sitting next to you..."
"Don't be silly." Namjoon scowls, "I'm nowhere near what you think I am, Jungkook-ssi..."
"Hm, maybe I'd like to know what you are in the first place to make those kinds of assumptions." He sways slightly, so his shoulders brush up against Namjoon, and Namjoon has to pretend the flush is from the humidity of the laundromat and not because a slight touch almost sends him into overdrive.
"For my next door neighbour, I thought I'd see you around more." Jungkook hums and Namjoon feels a pang of guilt settle in the brackets of his chest.
"Ah, I'm sorry... just been busy." Namjoon winces.
"But you'd still be down for dinner, right?" Jungkook chirps, "Sometimes it gets so lonely living by myself, it'd be nice to have someone to come home too sometimes."
Namjoon splutters, tries to save himself by turning it into a joke: "what, like a babysitter ?"
"Funny," Jungkook snorts, but he's smiling so fondly at Namjoon that he can’t help but smile back. And then he says "Hey, hyung, are all of your shirts supposed to be pink?"
Namjoon follows his gaze to the washing machine in front of them, where his once white load continues to spin around, each spin turning more and more pink. He sees a flash of red that looks distinctively like one of his fruit themed socks (they were really cute, Yoongi had got them. They'd come in little packets to look like seeds and okay not the time --) the strawberry one, leaking colour all over his washing.
" Shit. " He dives down to try and tug at the door, but to no avail. "No, no, no, those shirts were for work. I needed them for tomorrow. I have this blue cardigan and it only looks good with a white shirt under, shit."
Jungkook kneels down beside him, reaches up and quickly presses a few buttons. The washing machine shuts off, and begins to drain. Namjoon looks up at him.
Jungkook grimaces. "Sorry, I know how to activate the emergency stop. I thought it might help."
"I'm so dumb." Namjoon groans. Yoongi had reiterated so many times about checking for stray socks and he'd still somehow missed one.
"Hey, don't panic! It's ok! Can't you wear something else?"
"Normally, yeah. But we were filming a video for a new recruitment ad and Seokjin-hyung said I had to wear the same outfit for contingency purposes.." His shoulders sag. "That was all my white tops."
Jungkook pouts momentarily and then his face lights up. "Hang on hyung."
He leaps to his feet and begins to rummage through his other basket of washing, pulls out a long sleeved white top. He holds it up flush against his chest and then crouches back down beside Namjoon. "Here, it's freshly cleaned so you can use that for the shoot tomorrow."
Namjoon frowns. "No, I couldn't-"
"You can give it back to me at the dinner we're having," Jungkook smiles, "Right?"
Namjoon takes it off of him. It's still warm from the dryer and smells of flowers. It's very soft.
"It might be a little small and stretch a little because you're well- you're chest is, you know- yeah." Jungkook scratches awkwardly at the back of his neck. "But does it help?"
"Yeah." Namjoon manages to get out, "Yeah-thanks." He finishes, very lamely.
He's so fucked .
Namjoon goes to work wearing Jungkook's top. And he tries not to think about how it smells of him.
He goes another week without seeing Jungkook.
Yoongi and Seokjin have invited themselves over for dinner, Namjoon is stressed.
"You don't need to be stressed, Joon-ah." Yoongi had frowned over his packed lunch, after he'd announced that they'd be coming over for dinner that Friday, "Hyungs can bring all the ingredients with us, and then we can just cook it together. It'll be fun... Seokjin is worried you still haven't had a vegetable since you moved out."
Namjoon had snorted, rolled his eyes. Because yeah, ok, Namjoon was still currently living off of instant cup ramen and an assortment of biscuits as supplements for dinner time meals, but he's still alive, isn't he? He doesn't need his hyungs checking up on him.
"No, you can come over to dinner on Friday, but I'm cooking for you." Namjoon declared.
Yoongi looked horrified, but Namjoon was going to stick to his guns. If his hyungs wanted to check up on him, he'll just have to show there is absolutely nothing to check up on.
The pot next to his other pot begins to whistle, which Namjoon doesn't think it's supposed to do, so he quickly abandons the onions and dives over to stop water pouring over the lid. The onions roll to the floor with a thud as they're left abandoned. He pulls the paper towel across to try and mop up the water, forgets the stove is hot, and curses when the paper towels start to smoke.
He manages to stamp out the tiny sparks by throwing the paper onto the floor and hitting it with a tea towel.
He groans into the palm of his hands. This is awful.
He straightens himself back out, takes another deep breath. No, this is okay, he can do this. He takes the tea towel and smacks it over his shoulder, going for the whole "I'm a strong, independent, domestic god " look but unfortunately forgets his own strength. The towel whips forward, smacks straight into a pot of kim-chi and knocks straight onto the ground. It smashes.
There's a knock at his door and Namjoon genuinely thinks he might cry. It can't be Seokjin and Yoongi since they're not supposed to be over until 8pm, so it's probably someone coming to check in and see if he's murdering someone. Yeah, he is, the dinner.
He tugs at his hair and groans, staggers to the door and pulls it open.
Jungkook is standing at the door, fist still raised to knock again. He looks incredibly shocked. Namjoon looks insane.
"Jungkook-ssi." Namjoon blinks. He realises the tea towel is still half resting over the left side of his head so he quickly tugs it away. "Uh, what, uh-- brings you here?"
"Uh," Jungkook says slowly. He has a package in his hand. "This got posted to my house the other day but it's got your name on it. I, uh, was actually hoping to catch you to give it to you... but I haven't seen you in, like, a week. So..." he shrugs and smiles politely but it doesn't reach his eyes. "Thought it might just be easier to come to you."
Namjoon sighs, shoulders sagging. "Oh, thank you..."
"Are, are you okay?" Jungkook asks, subtly trying to peer around Namjoon's shoulder. "I don't want to over step anymore boundaries, uh, well, literally this time... but I heard a crash?" He grimaces. "I just wanted to check you're okay!"
"I've... been better." Namjoon deflates. Sighs heavily. "My hyungs are coming over for dinner; it's a scam..."
Jungkook's eyebrows shoot up. "A scam?"
"Like, they're doing it to come check up on me. And I just," he rubs a hand over his eyes, "need to show them that I'm okay... but I am shit at cooking."
"Why didn't you order something for them?"
"Ah, I've... probably had enough takeout over these past few weeks." Namjoon says honestly. "Takeout and instant ramen is... kind of how I survive."
"Oh.... Did you, want help?" Jungkook cringes, "no, that's silly. You want space. You've been making that clear, I'm overstepping again. Enjoy your night, Namjoon-ssi."
"No, wait!" Namjoon reaches out to catch Jungkook's arm, feels all prickly and hot under his gaze. "Please come in, Kook-ah. Help would be really nice, actually..."
"More than sure, I could at least do with the company." Namjoon tries to smile reassuringly and steps aside so Jungkook can come into his apartment and takes his shoes off, heads straight to the kitchen. He groans internally to himself and shuts the door.
When he comes into the kitchen, Jungkook already has the sleeves of his sweatshirt bunched up to his elbows and a hair tie in his mouth, fiddling with putting his hair up into a bun.
"Okay! First of all, let’s clean up the glass."
Namjoon takes a minute to catch on, until he remembers the shattered kimchi jar. "Shit, I totally forgot, let me just-"
"That's okay- wait !" Jungkook sticks out his hand to stop Namjoon, who has crouched down on the floor and is picking at the pieces of glass. "Don't, hyung don't put the glass straight onto your bare palms. You could cut yourself." Jungkook leans across and takes the tea towel off of Namjoon's shoulder, dangles it in front of him. "Use this please, hyung. Or you might hurt yourself."
"Yeah, good idea." Namjoon mutters bashfully. Five minutes in and he's already made a fool of himself.
Jungkook cracks his knuckles and pears over the stove. He lifts one of the lids of the pots, face neutral. "Alright, lets get it. Okay, hyung. What is it exactly you're cooking?"
"Uh, that's supposed to be Yukgaejang..."
"Okay, do you mind if I ask why it's blue?"
" Blue??? " Namjoon hisses. He dumps the glass into the bin and skids over towards Jungkook. " Fuck I forgot to take the string off of the beef from the butchers, oh fucking hell --" He immediately reaches in to try and fish the blue string out, Jungkook squawks and yanks him away.
" Hot! Hyung it's hot don't touch it!" He yelps and Namjoon whines into Jungkook's shoulder.
"Don't panic," Jungkook says cooly. He spins around and plants his hands on Namjoon's shoulders. "It's okay hyung. Really." His fingers skid up and down his shoulders, his left hand finds its way to Namjoon's face so he can push away his damp bangs. "We can fix it, I promise."
"I can't serve it to them blue ."
"Okay, okay. Well, you've still got plenty of meat left over, do you have anymore kimchi?"
"There's some in the fridge."
"Why don't we scrap the gomguk and make some bulgogi instead? We can season it with the same spices and we've got kimchi to make up some of the banchan-"
"Bulgogi isn't special." Namjoon deflates, "like, anyone can serve bulgogi."
"Hyung, not to probably say something out of turn again but if you're trying to prove to your hyungs that you're okay at taking care of yourself, maybe the way to do that is start simple. Nobody's expecting you to be a 5-star chef, you know?"
"Or any kind of chef. Or not to burn water." He grumbles.
Jungkook giggles. "Hyung, you can't burn water."
"That sounds like a challenge."
"No, what I want you to do is grab some chopping boards and some bowls for me whilst I scour your fridge."
Namjoon grumbles, but does as he's told.
"You don't have much food in here," Jungkook hums, "you really weren't joking about the whole survival thing."
"Yeah, cooking isn't really my passion . "
Jungkook returns back with a small armful of ingredients. "You have some leftover eggplant that I can sauter, and I can make some kimchi cheese jeon as well. It's gonna be lit ."
Namjoon just sighs.
"Hey, hyung. C'mon, we can save this dinner. And if not, this'll be the best blue yukgaejang your hyungs have ever had... that is if they don't die of food poisoning."
Namjoon laughs at that, he nods. "Alright, Jungkook-ah. Save my dinner."
Jungkook presses a finger to his temple. "Jeon Jungkook, at your service."
"Okay! So!" Jungkook claps his hands together and begins to direct Namjoon around the kitchen. He seems to know what he's doing, or at least he looks like he does. Helping himself to the knives Namjoon has even yet to touch, gets to work on chopping up vegetables and meat, gives Namjoon small but manageable tasks. Not once is he condescending.
"You've actually got a really good arm for dicing, hyung." Jungkook encourages. He comes around and sneaks his arms so they hover underneath Namjoon's and gently pries the knife from his hands. He turns it over. "Just make sure you're actually cutting with the sharp bit.”
Namjoon huffs out a laugh. "Shit, sorry. I'm so shit at this."
Jungkook frowns. "Don't say that about yourself, hyung. You're doing good."
"I didn't just mean the cooking." Namjoon takes a deep breath. "I haven't been very friendly, have I?"
Jungkook tenses behind him, but he doesn't back away. His front still pressed up against his back. "No, I've just been really pushy. I know I am."
"You're not, at all." Namjoon sighs, "Okay, or you have been a little bit-"
"-But that's only because I've been so unresponsive and probably given crazy mixed signals." He scrunches his eyes closed. "I don't think I'm who you think I am, Jungkook."
"Oh my god," Jungkook whispers. "I knew it. You're, you're a vampire ."
"Is that not it?" Jungkook pouts, "Because I never see you outside of your apartment since you moved in, I only bumped into you at the laundromat at 1.am, you can't cook-"
" No, I'm not a vampire." Namjoon sighs, "I'm just... not cool."
"You're not cool." Jungkook repeats.
"You just-- when I moved in you seemed so, starstruck. About me being RM, and the fact used to think I was cool when we were kids... and I'm neither of those things." He deflates, "I'm- I'm not the type of guy people want to fall for, and I think that's where this was heading. But I didn't want to tell you that I'm, like, a lot of work because that's just a shitty thing to have to say out loud."
Jungkook stays silent, Namjoon spins around and realises how close their faces are, Jungkook chews on the inside of his cheek and his eyes stay trained on Namjoon's.
"You think I was starstruck because I found out you were RM?" Jungkook raises his eyebrow, "or because I used to think you were cool? Hyung that's so silly, because you are both of those things. You are RM and you are the teenage boy I idolised, and you're also my sexy neighbour who almost tripped to their death. Like, you're more than one thing, you know? The same way you're more than whatever flaws you think you have that are gonna chase me away... If you're not interested, then fine. But at least let me find out for myself if you're too much to handle or not, if you are interested, you know? Like, I like you hyung." He shrugs, looks down at his feet. "I always have ."
"Oh..." Namjoon stammers, "you've- you've made some good points."
Jungkook looks back up, eyes wide and sparkling. "Really?"
"I've been... stupid, and unfair." Namjoon grumbles, "and I still needed to give you your shirt back."
"Yes to all of those things, and that's okay! I should’ve worked out that maybe it was the whole cooking thing that was putting you off."
"No, you gave me absolutely no indication at all that was the only problem you had with us hanging out. But now ," He sneaks his arms back around Namjoon, like he's pinning him to the counter, and picks up the leeks he's already chopped up. "We can do it together. Now, let’s make your bigshot hyungs the best dinner they've ever had. And if not, I have the pizza place on speed dial."
They get another hour of peace, just enough time to construct something that looks more like a meal and less like pieces of scraps thrown together, until the doorbell rings. Namjoon takes a deep breath and abandons the table he was laying to go and get it.
"Hyungs." Namjoon greets, already feeling exhausted at the sight of them. "Hey."
"Namjoon!" Seokjin grins as he smacks him on the peck a little too hard. "I'm so happy to finally be invited into your lovely home."
"I didn't invite you..." Namjoon grumbles as Seokjin barges past. "We brought wine!" He calls.
Yoongi lingers after him, hands stuffed in his pockets. "You okay?"
"Yeah..." Namjoon says weakly, "Just, a long evening."
"Well, we're excited to be here. We've missed you." Yoongi grumbles, " I've missed you."
Namjoon's face breaks into a smile. "And I've missed you, hyung."
"It's not the same without you there," he whines, "the other day he chucked a slipper at me because he caught me rummaging through the fridge at 3am. If you were there you could have blocked the slipper."
"I changed my mind, I don't miss either of you."
Yoongi stills rustles his hair and squeezes his shoulder as he walks by.
"Something smells," Seokjin sniffs the air, "surprisingly edible."
"We did bring cash for takeout." Yoongi adds as he drops down into the sofa, "just in case."
"Your faith in me is really encouraging, hyungs."
"You've even set out the table!" Seokjin says in delight, "at least I know if I'm about to be poisoned it'll be over Namjoon's finest ikea plates."
"Did you do it all yourself?" Yoongi asks.
"No, I had a lot of help..." Just as he says it, Jungkook comes plodding out of the kitchen holding a bowl of steaming rice, hair still pulled into a messy bun and tea towel over his shoulder. Looking like a powerful, domestic god.
He freezes when he sees Seokjin and Yoongi.
"Uhhhhhh." He says intelligently.
Namjoon jumps up to stand beside him. "This is Jungkook-ssi, he, uh. He's my neighbour and very kindly came in and saved my dinner."
"I didn't save it," Jungkook flushes, "I just-- just helped."
"Trust me, you've probably done more than just save the dinner. More like our lives going by Joon's cooking." Seokjin snorts. Namjoon lobs a cushion at him.
"Jungkook...." Yoongi narrows his eyes, "Jungkook the neighbour, huh?"
"Yes, the neighbour, he's very kindly helped me out tonight."
"The neighbour. " Yoongi purses his lips, "sure. You two seem pretty friendly for neighbours?"
" Hyung-- "
"Namjoon-ssi used to babysit me, actually." Jungkook butts in, toying with a stray strand of hair nervously. "So, ah, I've kind of been butting my way in here. It's been very inappropriate of me, actually."
Namjoon frowns. "Kook-ah, that's not what's been happening at all-"
"Good on you, kid." Yoongi chuffs, "the only way to ever get this loveable himbo to let anyone in is to wedge your foot in the door and pry it open. Have you ever seen the Shining?"
"Basically you have to "it's Johnny" you're way into Namjoon's life if you ever want him to be honest, or show him Kim Namjoon is deserving of friendship."
"Now, Jungkook-ssi, you come sit down. You've already done more than enough tonight, I'm sure. At least let Namjoon serve us." Seokjin pats the space next to him.
Jungkook stalls, "Oh no, I wouldn't want to intrude."
"Nonsense! It wouldn't be intruding at all! Now, come tell your new hyung about your exercise routine. Your arms are the size of boulders, why do you need all that muscle? Hm? How much do you press?"
Jungkook fidgets, glances anxiously at Namjoon.
"Of course you should join us, Kook-ah." Namjoon reassures, even if the idea has him on edge. "Please, go sit. You are big fans of these two, after all. I wouldn’t want to deprive your chance to meet two of your heroes."
"I mean, I’ve already met one of them” Jungkook whispers and it’s so quiet Namjoon almost misses it, drowned out by the sound of his own heartbeat. “Okay..." He smiles nervously and then sits himself down. Seokjin doesn't hesitate to present his hand out for an arm wrestling competition.
Namjoon slips into the seat next to Yoongi and thinks about how easily Jungkook fits in.
"Next time," Seokjin says loudly, about 4 glasses of wine down him and 3 servings of dinner, "you need to invite these friends of yours." He hiccups. He has an arm slung around Jungkook who giggles nervously. "I want to meet these fellow streamers of yours and their loveable boyfriend Hoseok. Show me that video of him doing a flip again!”
"Whilst you two do that, me and Joon-ah will clear up." Yoongi says and begins to gather up the dishes. Namjoon follows his lead.
Yoongi frowns as he walks into the kitchen, squinting at the window. "I think me and Seokjin-ah will have to make a move in a minute, the storm is pulling in and I don't like driving in the rain much."
"No, of course. I'm just really happy you guys had a nice time... and enjoyed the food."
"Jungkook-ah seems adamant he didn't do all the work, so I guess I should congratulate you as well on preparing such a lovely meal. Although as you already know it was totally unnecessary."
"Well, I wanted to do something nice... and I'm glad it was worth it."
Yoongi hums, "Just make sure you keep being nice to others, but also to yourself. Yeah, Joon-ah? I know you worry about all the different Namjoons and which one you can make sure people see the most, but make sure this Namjoon is happy too. I think that Jungkook wants to be happy with this Namjoon in particular."
Namjoon doesn't say anything back, but he does squeeze Yoongi's hand when he purposefully bumps them together under the sink.
Yoongi ends up having to physically separate Seokjin from Jungkook, who he, in his drunken state, has proclaimed him his " new prodigy" and promised to leave the entire company to him in his will, as long as he sends over the workout instagrams he's been following.
Seokjin kisses both of Namjoon's cheeks, Jungkook's nose and then grimances when Yoongi tries to kiss him. Which is perhaps the most disgusting "married couple" thing Namjoon has ever seen.
The upside of not living with them anymore is that he physically gets to close a door on their couple bickering and not have to keep hearing about it physically.
Once they're gone, Namjoon joins Jungkook back in the kitchen as he begins to rinse out the pans quietly. He’s gently singing to himself one of Yoongi's songs.
"Hey." Namjoon says.
"Hey." Jungkook smiles back up at him, neck craned to the point their only inches apart. They flinch away from one another as there's a loud crack of lightning outside.
"Huh, Yoongi-hyung really wasn't kidding about that storm huh." Namjoon says and Jungkook nods, ducking his delicate hands back into the soapy water.
"You really don't have to do that."
"I want to." Jungkook says, "I like being helpful. And, I'm having fun."
They smile at one another, standing elbow-to-elbow as Jungkook washes and Namjoon dries.
"We make a pretty good team?" Namjoon jokes and Jungkook grins.
"I suppose we do," Jungkook sways a little closer to Namjoon and he almost drops the glass he's drying- but he catches it so it's okay.
They clean in silence for another minute until another jolt of lightning cracks through the sky, louder than last time, and in its wake the lights inside the flat shut down with a loud click, plumitting them into darkness.
"Shit." Namjoon groans, "that's the power gone.
Jungkook fumbles for his phone in his back pocket and then pokes it straight in Namjoon's face. "Whoops, sorry hyung. It's so dark in here." He opens up kakaotalk and sighs. "According to the floor's group chat the power is out through the entire complex."
"We have a group chat for the floor?"
"Yeah, which maybe you'd know if you let me introduce people. We're a friendly bunch ya know."
Namjoon cringes. "I'm still sorry."
"Eh, I'll stop giving you shit for being silly soon." He considers. "Or at least soonish."
"You're truly a saint."
"I try." Jungkook giggles, but his smile falters. His fingers find their way into the back of Namjoon's t-shirt. "Sorry..."
"Hey, you okay?"
Jungkook fidgets. "It's really childish."
"No, please say."
"Well... I'm actually afraid of the dark." Jungkook stammers out, "I know it's really silly...but."
"I remember." Namjoon says, "you used to insist on the bulbasaur nightlight if I was babysitting you at my house, even at 13. if I remember correctly..."
Jungkook groans. "Yup, that was me."
Something in Namjoon's head flicks. “Wait, follow me."
Jungkook frowns in the dark and Namjoon curls their fingers together. "Don't worry, I'll lead the way, it's okay."
Jungkook smiles and Namjoon walks forwards, walks straight into his kitchen stall and stumbles down with a squawk.
"Take my torch." Jungkook hands him the phone.
"Oh yeah, good shout."
Namjoon guides Jungkook into the living room and gently sets him down on the sofa. "Wait here, I'll only be 30 seconds I promise."
Jungkook grumbles and reluctantly lets go of Namjoon's hand.
To his word, Namjoon wastes no time in beelining for his bedroom closet, digging around the unpacked boxes until he finds what he needs. He also picks up the box entitled " candle shit, much zen very wow." and the box of matches from his desk.
When he comes back into the living room he snatches up his blankets from the little basket beside the sofa and tips them out onto the floor.
Jungkook slides to his knees and onto the floor next to him. "What are you doin'?"
"Well, you said you didn't like the dark, right? So I thought maybe we could hang out here for a bit and- take the corner of this blanket for me- thank you... and..." Namjoon picks up the main attraction, fiddles with the little switch at the bottom and then it bursts to life. He places it in the centre of his little nest.
Jungkook's brows crease together. "Hyung, is that really..."
"The bulbasaur nightlight!" Namjoon confirms, "my eomma gave it to me when my parents moved house.. I thought it'd be cute, still works!" He gestures to it half heartedly. "Is this weird? I feel like I'm being weird."
"This is... so cute. " Jungkook gasps, "oh my god, and candles?"
"I thought we could set them around us and, and my laptop should have enough charge to play my pre-downloaded movies. Ah, what do you think? Distract you from the dark?"
Jungkook's smile grows. "Like old times?"
"Yeah Kook-ah, maybe more like new times."
They set the candles up around the edges of the blankets and the room is filled with dim amber light and the smell of pine and wild flowers.
They sit snuggled up together at the centre of the blankets, staring blankly ahead at the laptop as it plays some Japanese film about drug cartels, or something. Namjoon's not sure, he's more focused on the feel of Jungkook's hair tickling his chin as he rests his head on his shoulder, the feeling of his fingers dancing across Namjoon's lower back as they sit even closer, one blanket draped around their shoulders.
Namjoon suddenly feels that swell of bravery he hasn't felt since he packed up his things, moved to a random apartment and literally bumped into his sexy neighbour. It's like Jungkook's body heat is slowly melting his insecurities, the dim candle light burning his anxieties away until suddenly Namjoon isn't particularly worried about which Namjoon he is, just that he's here with a very sweet boy, who is willing to be this close to him.
So without overthinking it, he dips his fingers underneath Jungkook's t-shirt and starts stroking up and down his bare back.
Jungkook shivers at the touch but he doesn't take his eyes off the screen, not yet.
"This okay?" Namjoon breathes.
Jungkook's hums, "It could be better." And before Namjoon can ask what that means Jungkook has taken his hand and placed it on his bare waist. " There, better. "
"Jungkook-ah," Namjoon reads, "I-- I"
"Am I reading this right, hyung?" Jungkook flutters his eyelashes, "like- is this going where I think this is going? It's okay if it's not--"
"Can I kiss you?" Namjoon rushes to get out. Jungkook blinks in surprise. "I just, I really want to kiss you. And I want to kiss you a lot, in a lot of different places."
Jungkook's flush darkens.
"I didn't necessarily mean like that, well, okay, I did-- but I also meant like, at a park. Or a restaurant. I want to try, I want us to try. And, and if you still like me after the cooking, and the laundry and me almost falling down the stairs then- then hopefully you'll still like me in the morning, in the harsh daylight."
Jungkook's smile softens. He rises to his knees and cups Namjoon's jaw, strokes his thumb from the bottom of Namjoon's chin to catch on his lip and back again. "Oh hyung, you're so silly. I like you, it doesn't matter where we are, because it's you. " And then he closes the distance, draws his lip back down so he can replace his thumb with the tips of his teeth.
And then they're kissing, the type that's slow and warm and gentle like the lethargic wave of candlelight in the wind. It makes Namjoon feel content but like it's not enough, his hands find their way into Jungkook's hair almost instantly so he can tug him down on top of him. Deepen the kiss.
"Hyung," Jungkook gasps giddily against his lips, "what's gotten into you? Is it the candles? The smell of forests? Does that get you going?"
" Jungkook-ah ." Namjoon groans in warning. Jungkook kisses him again, grinds his hips slowly and oh Namjoon had forgotten how good this feels. He's already trying to swallow down little sounds, he gets why Yoongi and Seokjin were always so loud now. Not that he wants to be thinking about them at all --
"You used to love nature when we were younger, always wanting to go on bike rides." Jungkook continues to tease, his voice breaking into a gasp as Namjoon bucks his hips up a little. "I would follow you anywhere, you know. Even into the forest, even if trees make you horny."
"Well now, it's not the trees, it's you ." Namjoon groans and licks into Jungkook's mouth, takes his gasp of surprises as an opportunity to pull him back down so Namjoon's on his back and Jungkook's on top, kissing into him.
"Glad we're on the same page, then." Jungkook whispers, "Now, are you going to let me take care of you, hyung?"
"S-shouldn't I take care of you?" Namjoon sputters as Jungkook's mouth works its way onto the sensitive part of his neck, the junction of his collar bone, and his knee wedges between Namjoon's thighs.
" Hyung, please," Jungkook whines, "I've wanted you so bad since I first saw you in your thotty moving outfit--"
"My moving outfit was not thotty!"
"It was a pair of dungarees and a white vest underneath, talk about twink-himbo-extraordinaire--"
"It was breezy and comfortable--"
"Hyung, I wanna get my mouth on you everywhere, " Jungkook continues, his tongue dipping to the front of Namjoon's throat and sliding down to just above his chest, "please let me?"
Namjoon swallows, throat dry. He nods and tries to pretend the way Jungkook’s eyes light up like he’s just been offered a sweet doesn’t make his heart beat faster.
Jungkook grins and his fingers find their way underneath his sweatshirt, brushing over his nipples that has him hissing at the sensation.
“I love feeling you,” Jungkook whispers, you feel so good underneath me, hyung. Like I could pull you undone just with my fingers.
“T-trust me, you probably could,” Namjoon groans and his head falls back against the blankets, “it’s been awhile.”
“Ah, good. I don’t like the idea of sharing you.” Jungkook frowns and tugs at the hem of his sweatshirt. “Off please hyung.”
“I-I don’t look like you—“
“Off hyung! C’mon, I need to see or I might die .” Jungkook whines.
Namjoon sighs, grumbles “dramatic” under his breath. Reminds himself to swallow his insecurity and awkwardly shuffles his sweatshirt off. Jungkook does the same and Namjoon doesn’t have time to come up with poetics about how angelic Jungkook’s body looks in candle light, like a sculpture, because he’s already getting pressed back down with Jungkook's fingers digging into his peck and his tongue mapping out his abdomen.
“You taste just as sweet as you look,” Jungkook whines, he begins to grind his crotch down on Namjoon’s thigh and Namjoon chokes on another groan at feeling how hard Jungkook is.
He shimmies his body down, trailing kisses in every dip and crease on Namjoon’s body. He whines and whimpers as he does it, like Namjoon is truly worth tasting.
His skin against Namjoon’s feels just as his and he finds himself digging his fingernails into the expand of Jungkook’s shoulder blades, just to feel the bite of skin, until he slips down and out of grasp.
Instead he directs Namjoon’s fingers to tangle in his hair, slowly working the buttons of Namjoon’s jeans undone as he does. “Still okay?”
Namjoon manages to nod, teeth digging into his lower lip to stop the embarrassing sounds. With that Jungkook sneaks back up, steals another distracting kiss and pulls Namjoon’s trousers down as he does. He wastes no time in taking Namjoon out and gripping a hold of him.
Namjoon whimpers into the kiss, voice low as he forgets to control his pitch and deep like the kiss Jungkook continues to work over his mouth. He strokes as he does, slow and lethargic, like they have all the time in the world.
Namjoon can’t remember the last time he was treated like this. Like he was worth taking time on, worth being the centre of the attention. RM? Maybe. But Namjoon, underneath someone who looks at him like he’s worth looking at, it’s been a really long time since that happened.
Jungkook breaks apart and kisses his nose, mouth trailing back down to his jaw again until he’s straightening up. Still working his hand over Namjoon, “Can I go down on you hyung? Please?”
“Y-yeh, whatever you want.” Namjoon stammers, as if he’s doing Jungkook a favour.
Jungkook goes back down, makes sure Namjoon’s hands follow down with him and back into his hair, and his lips hover over the tip of Namjoon’s dick.
He swallows him down slowly, taking his time to worth his mouth over every inch of Namjoon’s dick before popping off again, the sound of his mouth wet as he then sinks back down again.
Namjoon finds his hips move on his own to try and buck back into the heat, whining until he can get the feel of Jungkook back over him.
“Jungkook, fuck, baby .”
“I like that,” Jungook breathes, even that sensation is enough to send Namjoon spiralling. “I like being your baby, I like you being my baby, my sweet, hard working, baby .” His tongue licks along the underside and then his mouth comes down to suck on his balls gently, still working his hand up and down with enough pressure for it to be maddening.
Namjoon raises himself onto his elbows so he can watch, not wanting to miss a second of it as Jungkook takes him all the way again, hollowing his cheeks and taking delight in popping off and on again.
Namjoon pants, feels the telling signs of heat tightening and expanding in his abdomen, a low moan forcing its way out of his lips as he watches Jungkook’s left hand disappear into his own pants to start jacking himself off in time with his head bopping.
He knows he won’t last long, with too longer gap in between experiences and too much of Jungkook’ sweet, wet mouth. His whining grows in pitch, his hands tighten involuntarily in Jungkook’s hair and Jungkook moans so beautifully as they do.
“Jungkook, get off I’m close. ”
Jungkook climbs back up and replaces his mouth with his hand, using the slippery wetness to draw him close. “I’m gonna swallow.” He kisses the words into Namjoon’s mouth, sucks on his earlobe and then ducks back down and takes him back into his mouth. “Come down my throat.”
He sucks, hard, and Jungkook’s mouth is too hot and wet and soft for Namjoon to resist just doing that. Namjoon groans and bites into his fist, wants to tell him he doesn’t have to do that but doesn’t get the chance. It just takes a few more timely thrusts into Jungkook’s tight mouth and Namjoon is spilling down his throat with a groan, bucking his hips without much control.
“I’m sorry, fuck ” he hisses as they keep moving on their own accord, “fuck, I’m sorry, Jungkook-ah.”
Jungkook pops off and comes back up to kiss him again, swallows down the apologies. “Hey, hey enough of that, hyung. Never apologize when you’re with me.” His hand sneaks down to fondle his chest again, and then dips down back into his own trousers. “Do you mind if I-”
“Can, can I touch you?” Namjoon pants but Jungkook shakes his head, strokes himself furiously.
“No, too close, fuck you’re so hot, fuck, fuck .”
“Come on me,” Namjoon gasps, practically begging. “Come one me, please Kook-ah, mark me up.”
Jungkook whines high, pushes his trousers down and takes his dick out just in time to come, hard, right over Namjoon’s bare chest. He strokes himself through it with his head frown back, bathed in dim candle light and shadows casting markings that almost look like wings over his shoudlers. Jungkook is beautiful.
“That was sick. ” Junkook pants, collapsing right down on top of Namjoon and not seeming to care he’s just planted himself in his own cum, “high five?”
Namjoon barks out a laugh, cups Jungkook’s jaw and kisses him slow.
Jungkook is beautiful ,and he’s a dork. And Namjoon is Namjoon.
And they fit rather well together.