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More to Love than Destiny

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“Can you… stop standing so close?”

With his lips stretched into a smile, it was hard to murmur the words. But there were at least twenty cameras trained their way, and Namjoon knew that he couldn’t lay the pretenses down for now.

“We’re taking photos,” The man beside Namjoon grumbles, as if that wasn’t already glaringly obvious. “They’re asking us to stand close together, please suck it up for a while, your highness.”

If they weren’t right in front of the public eye, the sarcastic remark would have earned him a nasty glare from Namjoon himself. However, Jungkook’s own lips were curved into a charming smile, and he isn’t even sparing Namjoon a glance. Instead, he winks flirtily at the crowd that has gathered, a litany of sighs echoing from the people that were absolutely smitten by those doe eyes.

Whatever.

“Mr. Kim, Mr. Jeon, please step up into the podium!” One of the photographers requests, and both Jungkook and Namjoon are then led by their assistants to step up to that platform. It was quite a small block, and Namjoon and Jungkook were again forced to stand closer than they already were.

Worse, Namjoon even feels Jungkook wrapping an arm around his waist.

“What are you doing?” Namjoon hisses silently, the cameras flashing a thousand times brighter at the unexpected contact.

Using this to his advantage, Jungkook dares to turn to Namjoon with his own charming smile. The crowd squealing at this cutesy interaction, unaware that Namjoon and Jungkook were both seething on the inside.

“I’m about to fall off,” Jungkook murmurs into his ear, which Namjoon knows probably looked sweet in front of everyone else. “You don’t have to be so repulsed, hyung-nim, it’ll be over in a minute.”

Namjoon does his best to control his huff, and instead focuses on the people gathered around here today to see them, a crowd of around two hundred to three hundred people. Today was an exclusive book signing event—one that could only be attended through a lottery system—preceded by an interview right at the heart of Gangnam, to commemorate the third installment of Namjoon’s poem book. For now, he decides to focus on that.

He tunes Jungkook out as much as he can, trying to ignore the way his own cheeks reddened at how close this man was beside him. He could feel the younger man’s breath right against the side of his face, his nimble fingers gently squeezing his waist, and despite the fact that he’s wearing a suit similar to Jungkook’s except in color, Namjoon could feel the warmth radiating from his touch.

“Sir, you can step down now. It’s time for the interviews.”

Namjoon hastily steps down, forcing Jungkook to drop his hand. In an attempt not to seem affected, Jungkook follows his hyung not a footstep too far. Together, they’re led towards their seats. A turquoise couch fit for two, where the gentlemen of the hour sit side by side facing the crowd.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a pleasure to have everyone here today.” A female host, Jeongyeon, comes up to the stage in a tight royal blue peplum dress, taking the seat opposite from Namjoon and Jungkook. “Today, we are here with the Seoul Times Best Selling Author and Poet, Mr. Kim Namjoon, along with world renowned illustrator and artist, Mr. Jeon Jungkook!”

Easily, Jungkook and Namjoon fall into their roles as the crowd cheers and applauses. They’ve rehearsed this quite a few times already, both Jungkook and Namjoon are already aware of the questions that the host would be asking beforehand. It’s easy for them to answer her, while still looking spontaneous. They both fall into a familiar camaraderie, their hostility momentarily forgotten as they exchange answers to the host’s questions.

All in the script.

Jungkook and Namjoon, an unlikely duo that were formed out of the oddest circumstances. When Namjoon pursued his dream of being an author, and had his first book of poems published, he thought he would have ventured into this alone. Which was fine, that was the original plan.

But then his publisher decided to be quite an innovator. About a year after he published his first book that surprisingly gathered quite a dedicated audience, Namjoon was then introduced to an illustrator slash artist. Jeon Jungkook.

His publisher thought it would be brilliant to have Namjoon’s poems be graphically interpreted, and they managed to find a newly graduated student of the fine arts who had that freshness they were looking for to illustrate a number of poems in Namjoon’s top selling book.

When Namjoon first saw Jungkook’s interpretation of his words, he swore that if he could have fallen in love with an art piece, this would be it. The idea of having his poems illustrated originally sounded absurd to Namjoon, but seeing Jungkook’s works back then made his breath hitch, and made him believe that maybe his publisher was right. Maybe art and literature could work well together.

It’s been more than four years since then.

When Jungkook and Namjoon first met, it was more of a shy exchange of admiration. Jungkook was more than in awe of Namjoon’s work and had admitted to the author himself that he religiously bought several copies of Namjoon’s book to give out to his friends and family, because let’s be honest, Namjoon’s poems were absolutely splendid and magnificently written.

And Namjoon had blushed and stuttered out about how he thought that Jungkook was the more talented one. For his young age, the young man perfectly captured the essence of his poems, from the colors to the style, Jungkook had done his words absolute justice.

Honestly, they both don’t know how they drifted off to this.

This being Namjoon looking at Jungkook with nothing but disdain, with Jungkook making it his life mission to bring the gray hairs out of Namjoon’s head, and with the two of them constantly gyrating on each other’s nerves. From the looks of awestruck and high regard during the time they first met, the two men could now barely stand looking at each other before finding the need to spew some hostility into the air.

(Actually, that might be a little lie. Namjoon knows how this happened, at least he knew his own fault for it.)

It’s really nothing personal, nothing about Jungkook’s attitude or his craft. It’s more of what conspired between them, and how Namjoon became a little uncomfortable with that.

Namjoon’s poems were inherently romantic, he will admit that. They mostly center on one topic that Namjoon has never denied being a gigantic believer of…

Soulmates.

Every person in this world has a tattoo of their soulmate’s birth flower right from the moment they were born. It could literally be anywhere in one’s body, hidden or exposed. Namjoon had a black inked tattoo of a tiger flower on his left wrist. It’s so small that it could mostly be obscured by a wristwatch, hiding the fact that it’s still left uncolored.

Because the moment a person’s tattoo directly touches their soulmate’s ink, color will then begin to fill those lines. The flower, quite literally, comes into full bloom. 

But then again, those inks literally need to touch. If Namjoon’s tattoo was on his left wrist, and his soulmate’s would be on his right asscheek, then he’d probably have to touch his soulmate's ass for them to confirm that their souls are indeed bound for life.

“Namjoon-ssi,” Jeongyeon directs her attention to the author after asking Jungkook a question. If the script would be running correctly, Namjoon knows what the next question would be. For you, what is the meaning of soulmates?

To his complete surprise though, the host smirks, nothing hostile, just a little mischievous. “You’ve always been asked what you think of soulmates, seeing as that is the central theme of your published books,”

Namjoon’s eyes momentarily glance towards his manager from the side of the stage, and he could already see her tutting, probably annoyed with the fact that the host went off the grid. A wildcard.

“But I’m just curious, Mr. Kim Namjoon, what do you think soulmates are not?”

Despite the fact that the question was spontaneous, thrown into the open without any forewarning, Namjoon could already feel the answer gathering at the tip of his tongue. It’s almost instantaneous, and even he himself is quite surprised with how ready he was to answer.

Namjoon momentarily takes a deep breath before picking up the microphone in front of him. He could feel Jungkook staring at the side of his head as he gathered his thoughts into one coherent answer.

“Well, isn’t that an interesting question,” Namjoon chuckles, before sighing. “If you’ve read my book, especially this latest one, I think I’ve actually realized a lot about soulmates. At least for someone who hasn’t met his.”

The crowd smiles at him, and Namjoon feels slightly encouraged.

“At the beginning, when I published my first book, I thought soulmates were everything, you know. Someone meant to complete you, someone meant to fulfill you.” Namjoon says. “But then you grow up and realize that... that’s pretty fucking stupid, isn’t it?”

The crowd giggles, and Namjoon’s manager turns her glare towards him. He ignores her.

“For me, soulmates are like two puzzle pieces, with rough corners and dips, along with some overflowing crescents,” Namjoon tries to give them the picture, ever poetic. “Both of you are inherently flawed, there will be some places where you will lack, and some points where you’re too much. And that’s fine.”

He pauses.

“Because for me, soulmates aren’t meant to complete you, I learnt that over the years. You’re both two puzzle pieces, already a whole and a complete piece as you are.” 

Namjoon silently thinks of all his friends and family in the past five years, and how he had to watch most of them crumble and make up, only to fall apart again because they thought soulmates were everything. 

“Soulmates were destined to bring you happiness, but they aren’t meant to be the one to fulfil you. You can do that on your own. You’re just meant to be connected, because two puzzle pieces feel less lonelier than a single one. But never will your soulmate completely change you or mould you into a whole new puzzle piece. Having your soulmate just means that you… you get to have someone by your side, and hopefully, they’d stay with you for the rest of your life.”

Namjoon sighs and he sees most of the crowd smiling softly at him. From the corner of his eyes, he could also see Jungkook staring intently at his face, eyes looking alarmingly serious, and Namjoon thinks that if they were alone, he would have asked the younger man what the hell was he looking at.

“So you no longer stand by those poems you’ve written in your first two books?” Jeongyeon asks, genuinely curious.

Sometimes, thinking about the words he’d crafted for his first publications had Namjoon cringing. Of course he holds them with pride, because they are his babies and he’s worked so hard for them. But at the same time, he couldn’t help but scoff at how idealistic he once was. How clouded his vision was when it came to the notion of soulmates and love.

“I prefer the term, uhm, I’ve learnt better now.” Namjoon humbly admits, chuckling lightly. He feels a little conscious, not just because of the hundreds of eyes on him, but because Jungkook’s stare is still unwavering against the side of his face. “Things change, plans change, and people change. I’ve learnt things from the past five years that somehow shifted the way I perceive soulmates, and that’s okay. It’s a part of life.”

The host smiles warmly at him, and Namjoon thinks he can forgive her for momentarily deterring their script.

“I think that’s a wonderful self reflection, thank you, Namjoon-ssi.” She remarks, but then she just had to open her mouth again. “Well, we all hope you meet your soulmate soon. They’ve been the recipient of such lovely poems, they’re already pretty lucky as they are.”

For some people, that comment might be deemed offensive—talking about soulmates people ought to meet. But Namjoon has become immune to that since, technically speaking, his primary income is centered on the idea of soul bonds. A part of his pride he had to shed.

The world knows that he’s still soulmate less, and it’s almost embarrassing how much he talks about it without knowing who is actually destined for him. Sometimes, he feels pathetic. But then his publisher said that that was what gave his books the allure. The naivety, the dreaminess, the rose tinted glasses—it was all just encoded in literature anyways, it gave people a momentary escape to the times when they too have ought to meet their fated one. Or, in most of the teenager’s cases, something to dream of as they wait for their destiny.

Namjoon tries not to stiffen, his jaw suddenly tightening. Just because he’s already used to it though, doesn’t mean it’s a comfortable topic for him. They can talk about him all they want, but Namjoon would like for his soulmate to be excluded in whatever narrative they’re trying to come up with. 

Sensing his discomfort, Jungkook easily takes over. He reaches out for the mic before a dead air could settle in. It was at these moments where Namjoon finds himself both annoyed and thankful for one Jeon Jungkook. 

“I object, I think hyung here is luckier, because even if he doesn’t know them yet, he’s already made the most out of his soulmate.” Jungkook tries to insert himself with a plactating smile. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think they’re both lucky indeed. Namjoon hyung has written such beautiful words about them already, but at the same time, they’re hyung’s muse. With or without their physical presence, Namjoonie hyung has made most of their existence already. It’s a lovely give and take, don’t you think?”

Namjoon forces a chuckle at that, along with the rest of the crowd. His own eyes may be twinkling, but Namjoon’s seething internally. This. This was exactly what drove Namjoon and Jungkook away from each other.

During their first year of working together, they were fine. Namjoon treated him like a true dongsaeng, and Jungkook followed his hyung around with starry eyes. Things only began to shift when things like these began to happen.

When Jungkook began seeing right through him.

It started with Jungkook’s artwork. Namjoon doesn’t know why, but the young artist depicted perfectly not what he was just blatantly showing through his literature… but also of the things he was desperately trying to hide.

The sadness, the longing, the desperation.

With the increasing amount of time Jungkook spent with him, and with the extensive amount of scrutiny and analysis Jungkook dedicated to his books, the younger man managed to see right through him.

Blue undertones, blurry corners, dark shadings.

Namjoon grew frustrated. Why was Jungkook so good at this? He tried to live with it at first, thinking it’s all just artistic interpretation. But then Jungkook began acting differently around him. He began to treat his hyung more… cautiously. 

He started acting as if Namjoon was fragile and so close to breaking apart, and Namjoon detested that because he kept on proclaiming that love was happy, that self love is equally important, and that soulmates may not be everything but they do bring a certain fulfilment to his fragmented soul. Most importantly, Namjoon continuously reiterated that life doesn’t start or end with soulmates.

He showed the world that he was happy even as he waited for year after year after year for nothing. And Namjoon hated the fact that Jungkook knew that he was a fucking hypocrite.

Namjoon soon became defensive. He shut Jungkook off completely.

“I agree,” The host grins, before her eyes turn mirthful again. “Or maybe Namjoon-ssi has already met them. Maybe it’s you, Jungkook-ssi.”

Now this was familiar ground for Namjoon. Despite the fact that it’s been an ongoing joke for the past four years now, Namjoon was more adept to play around the topic when people teased them for being soulmates.

After all, his tattoo that was literally photographed a million times by now was a tiger flower. The birth flower of people born on the first of September. Jungkook’s birthday.

Technically, Namjoon knows that there are at least a million people born on the same day holding the same birth flower to their name. But the people simply adored the real life fairytale back then (or even until now), of Jungkook and Namjoon  supposedly being soulmates. 

Of the author and his artist ultimately being destined for each other.

How romantic.

Namjoon almost wanted to barf.

“Oh no,” Namjoon regains his tongue, chuckling with Jungkook as if they were lifelong friends who held deep secrets. “Jungkookie and I have known each other for four years now. And you all know that mine is still glaringly monochrome.”

Truth be told, what the world knows is that Namjoon was still soulmate less. But they didn’t really know about Jungkook. Hell, Namjoon himself had no idea if the young boy’s tattoo was already shaded in colorful hues. He never bothered to ask too, it isn’t considered polite.

But just like the rest of the world, Namjoon simply assumed that his silence meant that he had already met his fated one. Jungkook’s tattoo was hidden, no one has ever seen it before, and none of them pried because that was one of Jungkook’s hard limits. He never entertained questions about his own soulmate and soulmate mark. His own manager even made sure that none of these interviewers would cross that line at all costs.

Besides, Jungkook was alright with the idea of selling the ‘he and Namjoon could be soulmates’ story. Namjoon figured that Jungkook was only actively doing his part in their marketing.

“But you never know, right?” The host insists, almost dreamily, because this is what they’re selling. The crowd coos with her, lightly squealing at the possibility of such a romantic outcome. “Maybe it’ll be the two of you in the end.”

Namjoon wants to scoff, to roll his eyes and grit out that never in a million fucking years. But then he catches his manager’s eyes, subtly reminding him of their PR, along with Jungkook’s achingly fake grin by his side, and he knows what he has to do.

“Maybe, maybe not.” He grins cheekily, dimples on display as he winks at the crowd, making more than half of them swoon. “After all, I’m already very lucky, right?”

The crowd and the host giggled. Both Namjoon and Jungkook share a meaningful—but fake—look that Namjoon knew hundreds of articles would try to interpret before they even step out of this building.

Soon enough, the interview ends. They finally proceed to the book signing, and while the queue is long and Namjoon knows he’ll have to sit there for hours until his jaw was basically hurting from smiling all day... it’s better than being reminded of that colorless mark on his wrist, along with that frustratingly gaping hole right in the middle of his chest.




It’s customary that after every book signing, everyone on Jungkook and Namjoon’s staff gets treated to a well deserved dinner.

They’re just a small team, no more than ten people including Namjoon and Jungkook and their respective managers. A hefty and delicious dinner, all thanks to their company card, keeps everyone’s team spirit burning bright.

The K-BBQ house they chose managed to sit everyone in one long table. Namjoon and Jungkook sit across each other, as per their manager’s orders, with both their managers sitting right beside them.

Jihyo takes her seat on Namjoon’s right, and Seokjin takes his own right in front of her, beside Jungkook. They’re literally a wall, because no other person in the team besides Jihyo and Seokjin are aware of the fact that these two gentlemen were so close to shoving a knife down each other’s throat.

“Would you stop acting like children?” Jihyo hisses, widening her eyes at both Namjoon and Jungkook. Seokjin tuts from the other side, while both Jungkook and Namjoon huff.

“It’s him who’s acting like a child!” Jungkook accuses the author with a pointed finger, trying to keep his voice low so as not to alert their team of their stupid rivalry. “He already took the biggest piece from the last batch, now he’s hogging all the cheese.”

To add salt to the injury, Namjoon’s licks his chopsticks before picking up a thick slab of meat and dipping it down to the big bowl of melted cheese before Jungkook could get some. The younger man glares at him, Namjoon knows he won’t touch anything that’s been tainted with Namjoon’s spit. Even if that meant waiting for another ten minutes for the new cheese block to melt.

“Namjoon-ah,” Seokjin sighs, eyeing them both disdainfully. “Can we all just have one peaceful dinner, please?”

“S’not my fault,” Namjoon insists. “Jungkook carelessly threw the meat earlier, and look, there are oil stains on my suit, hyung! He’s the one being a brat.”

Jungkook couldn’t even deny that, because he did, in fact, purposely splash the oil just to piss off the annoying author. He glares at Namjoon for that.

“You’re both being brats.” Seokjin replies snarkily, before asking Jihyo to hand him a full glass of beer because these two are giving him a headache. “Stop it, please. Let us eat in peace.”

“He started it—”

“Oh shut up, you’re the one who’s—”

“That’s it!” Jihyo slams her glass, startling even the person on her right. She offers them a placating smile before turning back to the two menaces with a furious glare. “I don’t fucking care who started it, but I’m ending it right now. The two of you, stop being childish and eat your fucking food.”

The two men shut up easily. It was in these moments that they’re reminded that despite being the smallest out of the four of them, Jihyo was undoubtedly the scariest. With big, brown eyes that had a gaze more terrifying than Medusa’s.

“Fine. I’m sorry.”

“Sorry, Jihyo-ah.”

Just like that, the two boys divert their eyes from each other. Namjoon silently orders another batch of meat and a block of cheese, melting it himself before sliding it over to Jungkook without a word. Jungkook also took the liberty of obtaining wet wipes from god knows where, sliding it back to Namjoon without looking him in the eye.

Seokjin snickers at them.

“And by the way, just for pissing me off,” Jihyo says as she takes a sip of her soju. “Jungkook-ah, you’re driving Namjoon home tonight.”

Both men’s eyes snap towards her, mouths already open to start protesting. They are, however, unable to say a single word as Jihyo fixates them both with a glare even more thunderous than Zeus’ lightning bolt.

They both huff silently, already accepting their fate.

Later on during the night, as their entire team part ways and only Namjoon, Jungkook, Jihyo, and Seokjin are left, Namjoon turns to his manager with a sorrowful look in his eyes.

“I’m sorry for the way I acted tonight.”

Jihyo only rolls her own eyes. “I don’t think you should be apologizing to me, you know.”

Namjoon’s jaw clenches stubbornly, and Jihyo could only sigh tiredly.

“When will you two get out of this phase? You both used to work so well together,” Jihyo murmurs, more to herself because she knows Namjoon won’t answer her anyways. “You gonna be okay?”

Worry coats Jihyo’s eyes for a split second, and Namjoon could only offer his friend slash manager a meager nod. “I’ll be fine, it’s not like it’s the first time.”

“Well maybe if you both stop acting like children, we all wouldn’t be here.”

“Not a chance.”

Jihyo looks like she both wanted to laugh and simultaneously smack Namjoon on the back of his head.

“Anyways Joonie, you know you have the rest of the weekend off. You won’t be required to report at the publishing house until Tuesday. Your next meeting by then would be on Thursday. I might stop by your place around lunch on Wednesday just to check up on you.” Jihyo informs him, although she knows that she would need to write this all down and send it in an email because Namjoon forgets things easily.

“Okay,” Namjoon nods nonetheless. “The next book signing wouldn’t be until Friday, right?”

“Yeah,” Jihyo says. “Although next Saturday is Mr. Min’s birthday, so don’t forget that. You know how mad he’ll be if you skip out on him.”

Just the thought of Yoongi’s anger the moment Namjoon decides to bail on a very special occasion sends shivers running up Namjoon's spine. He tried it once. He still regrets that until today.

It’s not that Yoongi’s evil. Actually, the head publisher of Daegu Doors Publishing House was very kind. Especially to Namjoon. The author considers the man as one of his dearest friends, and Namjoon is forever grateful that Yoongi believed in him five years ago, when he’s been rejected over and over again by numerous publishing houses.

But Namjoon knows better than to piss off his dearest friend. He doesn’t want to die.

“I’m going, don’t worry.” Namjoon clears his throat. “Will you be going too?”

“Yes, I am. He invited me and Nayeon.” Jihyo smiles, the thought of her soulmate and fiancé always made her so giddy. “Seokjin’s going too, I think. And Jungkook as well.”

His mood sours once again at the sound of his archenemy’s name. Great, a party with Jungkook. Exactly what Namjoon needed.

He’s unable to complain though, because Jihyo sends him off with one last reminder to stock up on eggs and milk on his fridge, and she better not come by next week with Namjoon’s cupboards only filled with cup noodles. Namjoon promises he will, but Jihyo already knows that she would need to bring groceries next week. That’s what happens when Namjoon gets so stuck up in writing.

Soon, he finds himself sitting in the front seat of Jungkook’s car. The air is stiff, neither of them looking each other in the eye as Jungkook speeds away. His Mercedes Benz was nice and clean, and smelled good too. Jungkook didn’t like using air fresheners in his car, and he preferred placing charcoal hidden below to regulate the scent. So it mostly smelled natural.

Namjoon would be jealous of his ride only if he gave two shits about cars. He was more than happy with his rented bikes.

Unable to stand the awkwardness anymore, Jungkook suddenly clears his throat. “Do you mind if I…” He points to the radio.

Namjoon almost rolls his eyes. Jungkook being polite to him was so weird. “It’s fine.” He says instead, because he doesn’t want to anger the artist. If Jungkook leaves him on the side of the street, he literally wouldn’t know how to go home.

The bicycle rental service closes at nine in the evening. It’s already near midnight.

Before he knows it, they’ve both arrived at Namjoon’s apartment building, Jungkook parking right in front of the spacious lobby. The tall tower looked intimidating on the outside, especially now that there’s barely a soul around, but Namjoon’s more than thankful to finally reach home.

Namjoon clicks off his seatbelt, but just before he gets down, he sits up, looking straight ahead at the window in front them.

“I’m sorry, by the way.” He mumbles. “I’m sorry for hogging the cheese and taking all the meat for myself.”

Jungkook neither looks surprised nor baffled at the apology. Because this was how they always were. They’d get on each other’s nerves, but right before the night ended, they’d apologize to each other. Trying to remain in good—no—an okay state, so that they could continue working with each other in harmony. Unless they both wanted their Yoongi hyung to hang them by their balls.

So instead of a sarcastic remark, Jungkook just looks ahead at the window too. He himself doesn’t look at Namjoon as he mumbles, “I’m sorry too, about your suit. I can pay for dry cleaning.”

“S’fine.” Namjoon clears his throat. “No need to worry about that.”

Jungkook nods once stiffly. “Okay.”

“See you at the next book signing then,” Namjoon finally goes to unlock the door. “And thanks for the ride.”

But to Namjoon’s surprise, the door was locked.

“Jungkook-ah, the door’s still—” Namjoon turns to look back at the artist, but the words get cut off of his own throat as he finds Jungkook’s eyes fixated sternly on him.

He flushes. “What’s the matter? Why are you looking at me like that?”

Jungkook doesn’t say anything for a while. He simply kept his unwavering stare on Namjoon’s face, until the writer was squirming.

“Jungkook-ah, what are you—”

“Did you mean what you said earlier?” Jungkook suddenly asks, and it’s nearly twelve in the morning and Namjoon’s brain is already half snoozing.

“Yes, I mean. I’m sorry. I was acting childish, and I shouldn’t have—”

“Not that,” Jungkook brushes him off. “I’m talking about what you said at the interview.”

Just like that, Namjoon’s spine stiffens. “What?”

For a moment, Jungkook looked like he wanted to backtrack. But if there is one thing Namjoon has learnt about the young artist is that his eyes never lied. Namjoon could clearly see the curiosity burning in them, and he knows that Jungkook is dying to know something.

His curiosity prevails.

“When the interviewer asked about what do you think soulmates are not,” Jungkook suddenly breaks eye contact, looking down at the gearshift instead. “Did you mean that?”

Being reminded of what transpired earlier that day, Namjoon’s jaw clenches again. He doesn’t know why, but with Jungkook, Namjoon just had the natural tendency of shutting off. As if he was always in defense mode even though the young man was only asking a question.

“Why do you wanna know?”

Jungkook rolls his eyes tiredly. “I just want to.”

As expected, the brat wouldn’t even give him a proper response at all. If Namjoon wasn’t as exhausted, he might have responded with something snarky. But again, it’s midnight, and Jungkook won’t let him get out of his car until he answers his question.

“I did.” Namjoon answers stiffly, but honest. “What’s the matter though? Why is it important to you?”

If possible, Jungkook stares longer and harder at Namjoon for that. His eyes are blank, calculating if anything. Namjoon doesn’t know what to do.

“Jungkook—”

“It’s nothing, I,” He finally mumbles before sighing. He fixates his glare at the window in front of him, before clicking on something on his side of the door, the sound of the door unlocking resounding around the car. “It’s nothing, hyung. Don’t mind me.”

As odd as it was, Namjoon is already beyond exhausted. He could let this oddity pass for now.

“Alright, good night, Jungkook.” He opens the door, and steps down.

“Good night, hyung.” Jungkook responds, but just before Namjoon could shut his door, Jungkook suddenly says, “And hyung?”

Namjoon pauses right when he’s about to swing the door close. “Yeah?”

“That’s good, you know.” He mumbles shyly, and Namjoon is suddenly thrown off the grid again. “I’m glad you see soulmates differently now. It’s… better. For you at least.”

Namjoon freezes for a moment, before his jaw locks tight again. For the nth time that day, his hackles rose up, his defenses rising at the presence of one irking Jeon Jungkook.

“Whatever. Good night, Jungkook.”

Just like that, Namjoon slams the car door, and he’s not even remotely remorseful about it. Anger suddenly spikes up in his veins because Jungkook never cared, Jungkook shouldn’t care about him. Maybe they weren’t enemies, but they weren’t friends either. Namjoon has made that clear ages ago.

So he doesn't know why Jungkook is acting like he knows Namjoon. Again.

In his angry haze, however, Namjoon completely misses the way Jungkook’s eyes trained on him until he entered the building and up the elevator. The young artist sighing tiredly, eyes unknowingly turning a little misty as the slammed door left a dent against the surface of his heart.

Jungkook drives home in silence, once again wondering where he went wrong.