The last of the bright colours in the sky die down and with it the awe in Jimin’s eyes and the ugly green roiling in Namjoon’s stomach begin to fade. They have barely begun, achieved so much more than they could have thought but the fact remains that their haters by far outnumber those who like them and coming from a small label that can do nothing to fend off the malicious attacks, the words they say cling to Namjoon like an anchor pulling down his soul.
Jimin looks starstruck and in love, infatuated with the cries of a crowd they had barely heard, bestowed by the colours of the fireworks in the sky. There is a smile on his face. Unabashed. Unafraid. Unmoving. So fierce that Namjoon can do little but return it.
Yeah, he thinks. It will be them one day. Their time would come, he would make sure of it.
“Hyung, come on, let’s get back to the others.” Jimin calls out, already making his way through the crowd, leaving Namjoon to fend off the onslaught of people to keep up with the lithe boy.
There is a weird buzz in the air and he can’t seem to shake it off as he does another headcount, a habit he had picked up from his managers, something big is about to happen the air seems to say and there is nothing you can do to avoid it .
Namjoon tries to brush it off and begins guiding them towards the parking lot. Their schedule is brutal, dance practice even more so. His thighs and shoulders still ache from training a few hours ago. And though there isn’t much he can do to lessen the burden they are fated to bear, he can make sure their health doesn’t suffer too much because of it.
And that means more times than not playing the mother hen and forcing them to sleep even when they didn’t want to.
Or at least he tries to.
Managing a group of teenage boys is honestly the hardest thing Namjoon has ever had to do, harder than any test or song he had ever written and as if the world hears how much he wants to just lay down and give up for the night a soft, shrill cry pierces the air and all of them come to a screeching halt.
It’s starting, the wind whispers gleefully in his ear. His skin buzzes and he watches with unease as Taehyung points in a certain direction.
“It’s coming from there!” He breaks into a run before Namjoon can stop him. Not that there is any stopping the force that is a determined Kim Taehyung but Namjoon often likes to do things he knows he can’t accomplish just to humble himself. Arguing with the boys just happens to be the fastest way to knock him off the pedestal his fans frequently put him on
He sighs and follows after him, looking back to see if all six mops of hair are accounted for.
Taehyung stops and Namjoon runs right into him which somehow ends in all seven of them on the ground; four groaning in pain and three dying of laughter.
But that does nothing to pause the escapade Taehyung is on and Namjoon finds himself running after the second-youngest once again, mumbling under his breath about taking a page from America’s parenting guidebook and buying a leash for the hyperactive teenager.
They hit the tree line and have to physically fight the bushes to get to the other side and are met with fireworks once again lighting up the sky. Which is weird since Namjoon is sure the show had ended but he doesn’t get to think about that because Taehyung is still running and somehow they have ended up within the concert hall, something they sure as hell don’t have tickets for and if they get arrested Sejin might just abandon them in jail instead of taking them home.
Namjoon is extremely out of breath once he does catch up with the boy, hissing about clearances and legalities to a very uninterested Taehyung. They stand in front of a very fancy, very expensive looking dressing room and before Namjoon can drag the idiot back and lecture him even more he flings the door open to reveal seven pairs of familiar eyes staring back.
“What the fuck?” It’s Yoongi who says it. Yoongi, who has blond hair that reaches the nape of his neck and muscles Namjoon only associates with Jin. Yoongi who despite looking exactly like himself, looks nothing like the mint-haired-beanie clad one behind him.
“Sejin-hyung!” Someone else yells and soon enough a frazzled much older looking Sejin appears from somewhere deeper within the room.
There is a moment of complete silence as all fifteen of them try to process exactly what they are seeing. Namjoon’s brain is the first to catch up and he hurries to push Taehyung behind him, hands shaking as he glares at the people in front of him, brain working overtime to find a way to get the boys out of there unscathed.
“I didn’t think the stalkers could get any worse but I’ll admit this is a new fucking low. How much money did you spend on plastic surgeries? The doctor must have magic hands, the results really are immaculate.”
Namjoon doesn’t pay any attention to Yoongi and keeps his eyes fixed on Sejin as he calls for security.
“That’s bold of you to say considering you look like old geezers instead of us. Even a plastic surgeon couldn’t save you from those wrinkles could he.“ Yoongi drawls trying to step out from behind him.
“Hyung.” He hisses, keeping him from going after the other Yoongi’s throat.
“Oh look, the fakes even copied our attitude.” Other yoongi continues, ignoring the looks Sejin and other Namjoon send his way.
“You’re the ones that copied us, how are we the fakes? We can’t even afford the fifteenth pack of ramen we usually need, how are we going to get plastic surgery?” Taehyung pokes his head out from behind him ducking back when he is done and squirming to get closer to Namjoon.
Namjoon wants to strangle the kid but he doesn’t because turning his back to the others seems like a horrible idea and because Sejin has stopped and all of them are looking at them as if seeing them in a new light.
“Hey Jimin-ah.” The other Taehyung says, his tone filled with fickle ease in a way Namjoon only hears when he is coaxing out a confession from one of them.
“What?” The black-haired-not-his Jimin asks.
“Not you. Baby Jimin.”
Namjoon tenses and puffs out his chest standing taller than he already is when Jimin whimpers quietly behind him.
“Don’t talk to them.” He snaps reaching behind him to link his fingers with Jimin’s, hoping it would be enough.
“I’m just trying to verify something Namjoon hy…ung?” he purses his lips thinking over his words and Namjoon feels something twist in his gut at the exceedingly familiar gesture “Anyway just one question.”
Namjoon nods hesitantly hoping it would give him a little more time to figure out something, anything.
“Where is the heart-shaped mole on Yoongi hyung’s body?”
“On his right butt cheek just above his butt dimple.” Jimin answers automatically and Namjoon doesn’t have to turn around to see the wide eyed looks of shock that accompany the answer, after all, they are mirrored almost perfectly on the faces in front of him.
“And the scar from your bite on me?” Taehyung asks not even a little phased.
“Left inner thigh,” Jimin whispers breathlessly.
“Thank you Jimin-ah.” Taehyung beams and settles back down, having proven his point.
“You’re- you’re really us.” Other Jungkook says. Clad in a black tee-shirt with an entire sleeve of tattoos on display and if Namjoon’s eyes aren’t deceiving him a piercing above his eyebrow.
Sejin sighs but stops the team of security guards he had just ordered. “Come in. I have no idea what the fuck is happening but we can’t let this get out.”
Namjoon nods curtly and steps forward leading them to the corner furthest from the others. His heart feels as if it is going to beat out of his chest, legs tremble from the bizzarity of the situation.
“That isn’t something the fans would know.” Other Namjoon says finally standing up. Namjoon flinches at the sheer difference in presence between them but he refuses to back down for the sake of the six behind him.
“Pd-nim says to do whatever we want as long as it doesn’t reach the ears of gossip channels and to spend as much money as I want to find out if magic exists and if it does how we can use it during concerts.” Sejin says rolling his eyes, he cracks his neck, eyes coming to land on Namjoon.
“We need to get all fourteen of you back to the dorm before anyone spots you. The rest we can figure out later.”
He throws a bunch of jackets towards them along with a few other items. “Wear these and keep your faces covered. I’ll get a staff bus prepared for you.” And with that he is gone.
They huddle in two separate corners and every once in a while Namjoon sees one of them looking over at them.
His glare softens when he sees Jungkook rocking back and forth as he fights his need to sleep and tries to remain a part of the conversation but fails miserably.
“Go to sleep Jungkook-ah. I doubt anything substantial is about to happen till morning. I promise I’ll tell you everything when you wake up.”
Jungkook pouts and tries to argue but a single look from Namjoon is enough to get the youngest to settle down against Hoseok and close his eyes. They wait for his breathing to even out before promptly going back to freaking out about their current situation.
“All right you seven head to your cars. Try not to act suspicious please.” Sejin pleads looking at the older version of them. “And you put on your masks, you’re going to be travelling in one van with me.”
Namjoon nods which seems to be good enough for him because he begins to usher the other seven out before telling them to follow.
Seokjin bends down in front of Yoongi, groaning in the most exaggerated way possible when he gently transfers Jungkook to his back.
“Stop being dramatic hyung, you’ll wake him up.” He says a little amused by his antics, a little soft at his attempt to lessen the tension in the air.
Seokjin snorts as he adjusts his grip on the youngest. “I fucking wish a little noise would wake this brat up. It would make mornings a lot easier.”
“I can take him to the car.” Sejin says, extending his arms out towards Seokjin which makes Namjoon panic and slap it away and stand between the manager and his members “That’s- that’s okay. We can take care of him ourselves. We don’t need anyone.”
He avoids Sejin’s gaze, feeling guilty about the unprompted attack. But the elder doesn’t say anything, just sighs and asks them to follow quietly.
He keeps his head down as they make their way through what he had rightly guessed was a concert hall. The van is nothing special and Namjoon gets them all settled in before climbing in himself, keeping the sleeping youngest safely tucked between himself and Hoseok.
Taehyung and Jimin doze off some half an hour into the drive, curled around each other and half falling into Yoongi’s lap. The eldest two look as exhausted as he feels but their eyes are alert and hands securely laced with each other.
It takes another hour before the car stops in front of some of the most ridiculously priced apartment complexes in all of Korea. He gets off, still processing how rich they would have to be to get a dorm in such a place, barely noticing when Jungkook is handed to him.
Jimin and Taehyung are awake but only barely, holding onto each other and groggily rubbing their eyes.
Sejin is already making his way inside and Namjoon is quick in getting the others to follow. He knows if they had been a little more awake and a little less terrified they would be absolutely elated by their success, he still sees glimpses of it; in Yoongi’s wide eyes and Hoseok’s sharp gasps. But the reactions are muted, muffled under a blanket of anxiety and unease.
The others are sitting in the living room, having already changed out of their costumes and gotten rid of their makeup. Their eyes remain fixed on his sleeping youngest and something harsh and acrid courses through him. He stands taller, hiding him from their gaze as much as he can.
“We’ve prepared two bedrooms for you. Both have attached baths so you don’t have to worry about sharing.” Seokjin says, tilting his head towards the hallway on the right.
Namjoon swallows and walks into one of the rooms after him, carefully laying down Jungkook on the bed.
“There are towels and extra beddings in the bathroom closets and the kitchen is mostly stocked with instant foods if you’re hungry. Help yourself to it.”
Namjoon nods again counting all six heads before bowing to thank Seokjin.
“You don’t need to do that Namjoon-ah.” His voice is warm and heavy and makes Namjoon want to break down in his arms and tell him everything. But his Seokjin is behind him, scared and confused and no matter how much he wants to now isn’t the time to go weak on them.
The elder must have seen something on his face because his smile fades. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, looking a lot calmer than Namjoon would have expected him to be in his shoes.
“The room across the hall has also been set up for you. Use it as you will. “ And with that, he is gone.
“We aren’t actually going to use the other room, are we?” Jimin sounds so incredibly small, Namjoon can’t help but gather him in his arms. Not the least bit surprised when his small frame starts shuddering from the force of his quiet sobs.
Taehyung isn’t far behind and soon Namjoon has a lap of two sobbing boys.
Hoseok and Seokjin are quick to push all the extra bedding to the floor making a makeshift bed on one side of the room.
“We’ll get through whatever the fuck this is. I promise. Okay?” He waits till both of them nod before letting them crawl into bed.
He picks Jungkook up, wincing at how little he weighs and puts him down between the squirming boys.
It takes longer than he would like but he gets the other three to sleep as well, staring out of the floor length windows at the city skyline.
The enervation weighs him down, makes him tremble to his very bones as if a little more would be enough to rip him at the seams.
One, two, three, four, five, six. All there. all accounted for.
Namjoon blinks and the sky is a bit lighter.
One, two, three, four, five, six.
A bit longer and Namjoon knows it would be enough to colour it a pretty pink with a lilac blush.
One, two, three, four, five……Jimin? Oh there he is. Buried completely under Taehyung looking just as comfortable.
One, two, three, four-
He jolts awake when the door creaks open. And a guilty looking much older Jimin peaks in.
“Oh I’m sorry I didn’t mean to wake you. Just the other room was empty and I wanted to check. Okay goodbye now.”
Namjoon tries to get his brain to start processing but it seems to have given up. So he decides to look at the sun slowly filling the city of Seoul with colour.
He doesn’t know how much time passes, doesn’t know whether he was awake or asleep for most of it before there is another knock at the door.
“Breakfast is ready.” Taehyung’s familiar morning drawl calls out from beyond it.
He turns back to see Seokjin staring at him blearily.
“Mornin’ hyung.” He whispers.
“Did you sleep at all?”
Seokjin hums and shakes Yoongi and Hoseok awake.
Waking up the youngest three is a little more of a challenge but almost two years of continuous practice makes them experts at the job.
If it were up to him Namjoon would have them all locked in the room till he found a way to get them back. But the human body requires nutrition and no matter how much his anxiety yells at him, he refuses to keep them from food.
The breakfast table is filled with takeout and surrounded by seven boys that look as nervous as they feel.
The air around them is awkward, almost unbearably so. But it’s easy to distract himself, easier still when Jimin almost face plants into his eggs.
There is a familiar giggle from his side echoed by one a little more resonant across the table.
Namjoon watches out of the corner of his eyes as the older Taehyung leans his chin on his hand and watches Jimin struggle with keeping his head steady even with Namjoon holding him upright, love and adoration shining through openly.
He lets go once he is sure the other won’t just fall over and busies himself with his own food barely tasting anything as he shovels in mouthful after mouthful hoping to swallow his anxiety with it .
He sets his fork down and wipes his fingers on his trousers, hands itching with the need to do something.
“There’s coffee in the kitchen if you want some. And the milk is in the fridge.” Seokjin calls out softly from his seat on the other side.
Namjoon nods, grateful for the opening even if he couldn’t say it. He turns to his own boys. “Anyone else want one?” Raising an eyebrow when four hands are raised begrudgingly.
“Can I have some too, hyung?” Jungkook asks, looking a little more awake than he did five minutes ago.
“No coffee for toddlers.” The words are out of his mouth before he can stop himself, carved into his tongue through repetition.
He isn’t alone in the sentiment. Twelve other voices resonate with his and for a minute the room is quiet before the older Jungkook bursts out laughing, almost toppling over due to the sheer force of his wheezes.
“I’m so glad we are over that. Holy shit how did I forget the no coffee was a whole thing.” He smiles and takes a pointed sip of his coffee. “Sucks to be you kid.”
“I’m literally you!” His Jungkook accuses, bolder than Namjoon had ever seen him.
“Yes.” Jungkook’s tone is solemn. “Just older.” And the shit-eating grin is back.
Older Yoongi rolls his eyes and smacks him on the back of his head “Don’t tease the kid. Jungkook-ah if you want something to drink there’s flavoured milk in the fridge too.”
It’s his Jungkook’s turn to grin, “you still drink milk!”
“It’s good. Of course I like it. You like it too and we are the same person.”
“Yep!” Jungkook sounds gleeful. “Just older.”
Namjoon can’t help but relax at the mirth in the youngest’s voice, the possibility that the others were as anxious and scared as he is, was very real. But one look at them around the table at least confirms none of them have it as he does.
He ruffles Jungkook’s hair on the way to the kitchen and grabs a tray along with several mismatched cups to fill them from the very expensive looking coffee machine.
Jungkook is happily sipping on a pack of banana milk by the time he gets back. He hands the others their coffee and sits down with his own cup, letting the liquid pool into his vein and get rid of his headache and exhaustion.
His eyes close on their own accord, muscles easing and his brain slowing down as his forehead touches the cold table.
“Ah! Hyung! I don’t want any more.” He opens one to see Jungkook trying to stop the older Taehyung from putting more food on his plate.
“Hush of course you do. You barely ate anything. You too Jimin-ah. Eat up both of you.” Taehyung says uncaring of the two pairs of hands flailing around to stop him.
“We can’t! We’re on diets!” Jimin tries unsuccessfully to push it away, only to be rewarded with a mouth full of eggs.
“If magic can bring you all to the future. I’m sure we can find a spell to maintain weight. Besides, none of us are on any specific diets and we look fine don’t we?”
“You look amazing.” Jungkook slaps his hand over his mouth, ears reddening as he realises the words that had just slipped out.
“Awwwww baby. You like what you see?” Taehyung’s voice turns coy and inviting, eyes turning into slits as he smirks at a completely frozen Jungkook.
He stops halfway and drops his hand “Ew no you’re a baby. Nope. No. Ew. I was flirting with a baby. Ew.”
Jungkook’s eyes are blown wide as they follow Taehyung back to his seat while the older Jungkook laughs at his expense.
“We really shouldn’t,” Jimin says as he stares at the food weirdly. Something dark flickers in Taehyung’s eyes but it’s gone as soon as the older Jimin grabs him and pulls him towards him and shakes his head stopping him from something.
“Just a little Jimin-ah. please. for me?” Taehyung begs and Namjoon gets a feeling he knows something they don’t. “Please.”
Jimin relents. which isn’t really surprising since Jimin saying no to Taehyung from any universe doesn’t seem plausible.
“Just a little,” he repeats.
“Hey you guys wanna watch Run after this? Or go over our music videos?” The other Jimin asks, already heading towards the living room to set the tv up.
“Jimin-ah, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” His own voice rings in his ears, familiar yet foreign as he watches the blond Namjoon try and think of a way to deter Jimin from his antics.
“Nope. Fuck the space-time continuum, alternate universe bullshit. If anyone deserves to have an easier life because of cheat codes from the future its us. And it’s going to start with Run bts answers. And then all our music so they have to struggle less while writing.”
“I don’t think that’s-”
He hears Jimin’s shush from the other room even over the crash of something falling down. “Nope. Na uh. Jungkook-ah come help me with this thing.”
“Coming hyung!” Both answer, stopping to stare at each other, unsure what to do.
“Both of you. Any of you. Now please.”
“Well, today’s going to be interesting if anything.” Yoongi calls out and Namjoon can’t help but agree.