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you can't hold my hand and bruise it too

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yoongi and namjoon’s relationship is a fine balance of tip-toeing around set boundaries. even after all this time, namjoon still doesn’t know where to stick his foot in and where to sit back and watch out. every interaction is some sort of Challenge, and more often than not yoongi refuses to associate with him for days at a time as a result. the only reason yoongi keeps himself from not kicking the other male out of his life entirely is because he’s, admittedly, kind of attractive in a shitty dorky way that he wished he wasn’t into, and also the kid is a genius.

it doesn’t make their conversations any less painful. in fact, it probably makes all of them worse, because yoongi can’t stop looking at namjoon’s stupid dimple when he does anything that makes it show, and even if keeping him around is a little dangerous for yoongi’s identity, he can’t find it in himself to muster up anything aside from surface-level concern (and that’s a stretch).

they hang out at least some part of three weeks of the month, whether it’s over coffees or textbooks or both, and generally their overlapping squads are there as well, but sometimes it’s just them.

those times are the worst, specifically because namjoon’s scent isn’t cloyed by two other alphas and betas, and has the space to firmly wrap itself around yoongi, effortlessly, and every time that happens yoongi thinks he could die. both die happy and die in general. yoongi generally occupies himself with trying not to think about how fucking good namjoon smells (like cinnamon and sandalwood and something that he can’t really put his nose on), and only pretends to get things done, provided that they’re doing something outside of talking.

---

one day, he slips.

yoongi feels like shit. yoongi looks like shit. completely feverish—face flushed and skin covered in a film of sweat, and then he shifts in his seat across the room from namjoon and oh. Okay. um. not good.

he swears under his breath, and swiftly stands up, unhurried façade betrayed by the way his legs wobble beneath him. he chokes out a "piss break", jets out of the room so fucking quick it looks like he's gonna fall straight over, and namjoon isn't sure if he should leave him alone or follow behind, even though he isn't too sure why.

yoongi had always smelled peculiar to him, a little off, but he hadn't concerned himself with it, especially considering how closed off his hyung tended to be anyway. which is fine, and he doesn't press it when yoongi comes back ten minutes later looking a little wrecked, a little more than frustrated, and smelling more and more like burning butterscotch.

he leaves a little while after, claiming he came down with a fever, and namjoon doesn't push it because it doesn't seem weird. relatively speaking.

---

a week later and he thinks he understands.

"yoongi. i think i figured it out."

"what." 'the fuck are you talking about' is implied but doesn't come out of yoongi’s mouth, the single syllable hanging stale in the air as he resumes eating.

"you're an omega, aren't you?"

it takes a lot for yoongi not to leap up and cover namjoon's mouth from across the table. a whole lot because his lip quivers a little when he raises an eyebrow, and it might've given him away. maybe. "did you sleep last night? we all know you say actual stupid shit without your beauty rest."

"nononono. i thought about this. a lot. and the other week you smelled really sweet, and it's usually the time of month where you're about to start avoiding me for a week, and that's weird in itself but i always let it go because you're a freak, and—what the hell why did you hit me?" the kick to namjoon's shin under the table was definitely well deserved, and yoongi's feeling pretty threatened right now so that's justification enough. namjoon’s knee hitting the underside of the table jostles the trays and his cola in its cup, the liquid almost sloshing out of the container. yoongi doesn’t give a fuck.

rubbing his leg, namjoon continues. "so anyway? i was saying that you smell too sweet to be a beta, but i'm still not sure."

which doesn't sound good at all because suddenly namjoon is sitting next to yoongi in the booth and pressing his nose into the junction between his neck and shoulder, and it tickles, but also namjoon is close enough for his alpha musk to really, really hit yoongi right in the nose and it nearly makes him slump right into the younger's touch.

nearly, but yoongi is a man with morals, and he steels himself for the onslaught of instinctual needs.

“you’re stupid.” but he’s not stupid about this, he’s spot fucking on, and yoongi’s voice doesn’t come out right so it doesn’t matter anyway. namjoon just takes another inhale before pulling back and over to his own bench, looking a little amazed and a lot of smug. yoongi could punch him in the face, probably would if he weren’t so mad. like, who gave kim namjoon the right to be right and attractive and authoritative when yoongi deserves all of that instead.

“and i think you’re lying. it’s ok if you’re an omega, i won’t judge, hyung.” which is more than likely true, it is namjoon after all, but yoongi doesn’t need pity and shoots a nasty glare across the booth instead.

“you can keep it, okay?” he spits, and tosses a couple of bills on the table. “the change too. thanks. don’t talk to me for a couple of days.”

he almost adds an ‘or ever’, but it wouldn’t be true.

long after yoongi’s left and flopped onto his bed for a long eternity of mulling does namjoon send him a cluster of messages.

 

Yoongi hyung [22:34]

Hyung I’m sorry for assuming and making you angry [22:38]

But I really thought I was onto something [22:38]

And you don’t have to tell me anything but at least talk to me again? [22:38]

 

yoongi lets them hang with the little ‘1’ until long into the afternoon of the next day, but still doesn’t reply after he’s seen them, letting namjoon stew in uneasiness. whatever that means. he doesn’t have anything to say anyway, he’ll talk to namjoon if he wants to. how presumptuous.

they see each other the following tuesday, nearly a week and a half after The Incident, and yoongi still isn’t in the mood to look namjoon in the face, let alone converse with him. he almost walks into the closest lecture hall to avoid him, actually, but there were people in there, and even though he had the tendency to be a little rude, he wasn’t that childishly petty. as an alternative, he stays as close to the wall opposite namjoon as he can without looking weird, and tries to stride right past him.

which doesn’t work because he isn’t a chameleon and namjoon really wants to apologize, apparently.

“yoongi!”

he keeps walking.

“hyung! hyung wait up,” and namjoon’s voice gets a little closer, a little wobblier. like he’s jogging to catch up to yoongi’s admittedly not very fast pace. stupid. he catches yoongi’s wrist with a hand and yoongi jostles, whirls around with narrowed eyes and a hiss.

“can you not associate with me like we’re fond of each other? because last time i checked—”

and then namjoon cuts him off, gripping his wrist a little lot tighter, and yoongi stops a noise he might’ve made by biting at his lip. “i said i was sorry. you even looked at my messages. and i wanted to see you in person so i could say it to your face, too.”

the sincerity might have meant something if yoongi wasn’t already seething. he glares the remaining centimeters up at namjoon and snarls, “i don’t need your fucking apology and I don’t need your,” he gestures with his free hand; some vague shape, “your everything. don’t fuck with me, kim namjoon. let me go.” he tries to yank his wrist out of namjoon’s grasp but it hurts, and he nearly whines. what the hell.

“even if you don’t need it i at least want to give it to you, so please take it.” he pauses, waits for yoongi to stop squirming before continuing. “hyung, i’m sorry for prying into your personal life and saying things that might have made you uncomfortable and angry at me, and even though i’m curious, i respect your decision and won’t push anymore.”

after a long pause and searching yoongi’s face for anything, namjoon drops yoongi’s wrist, ducking his head in another apology and scurrying away.

yoongi finds it a little hard to be mad at namjoon after that, outside of the nasty bruise he has around his wrist for the following week.

hoseok gives them both funny looks the next time the whole squad is together, noting the way they both seem to dance around each other a little more than usual; how yoongi stays a little closer to seokjin, and how namjoon mopes more than usual when the elder doesn’t reply to him, or (pretends to) not laugh at his jokes. jeongguk and jimin are too engrossed in taehyung to really care about their hyungs’ antics, but the gestures don’t go completely past them.

yoongi brushes them all off. hoseok can go fist himself.

a number of the following weeks find themselves full of contemplation on either side, yoongi not purposefully avoiding namjoon except during his heats, and namjoon not bothering to bother yoongi in the times that they do cross paths. it’s a little more than just ‘awkward’, and eventually hoseok is the one to cajole namjoon into ‘fixing it’, since his incessant pestering doesn’t do anything to yoongi except get him hit.

 

Hey yoongi hyung? [3:23]

You don’t have to reply to these [3:23]

Actually I’d like it if you didn’t? [3:24]

But hoseok hyung told me to fix it and I don’t think this will fix it but I’ll just say what’s been bothering me for a while [3:24]

I’ve been thinking some more in the time that we haven’t chilled and [3:29]

And I’ve been thinking about how I feel about you as my friend [3:55]

I might like you as more than that [3:59]

Like [4:00]

I want to knot you but I also want to hold your hand all the time [4:00]

You can think I’m gross and never talk to me anymore and punch me in the face [4:00]

Only one time but [4:00]

I just wanted to tell you even though I value our friendship over my penis and fuck [4:03]

I fucked up [4:03]

[4:09] uh

 

yoongi doesn’t even know what to say outside of that. namjoon could be inebriated, or sleep deprived, or something that would make him spout shit like this, but the exceedingly low probability of judgement impairment being the answer has yoongi flushing despite himself.

namjoon is plenty attractive. yoongi isn’t going to lie to himself. he’s hot and smart and considerate when he’s not being stupid as all hell, what’s not to love? but they’re friends, and yoongi was trying very hard to keep it that way to minimalize awkwardness. which worked fine when it wanted to, but this, whatever this is, comes out of the blue to fuck just about everything up.

thanks, hoseok. for making the struggle apparent. you’ll be remembered when we have to figure out who to kill off first.

 

[4:17] ill think about it??

[4:17] just dont tell me you want to knot me to my face thanks

he still finds space to be smug through all of his embarrassment.