Yoongi looks up at the towering cruise ship and wonders if it’s actually bigger than his shitty apartment building.
At his side, Taehyung bounces excitedly. “Do you think they’ll have a pool, hyung?”
“I have no idea.”
“More importantly,” Taehyung says as he drapes himself across Yoongi’s shoulder, “do you think they’ll have a hot lifeguard?”
Yoongi cringes. “Please don’t fuck while I’m in the room.” Please god, never again.
“Aw, come on, hyung, where’s the fun in that?” Taehyung grins before he suddenly perks up and squints at something. “Hey, is that-” He starts laughing. “Oh my god, it is.”
Whenever Taehyung laughs like that it makes Yoongi nervous, because it usually means something’s about to get broken, and that something usually belongs to Yoongi. “What?”
“Don’t look now, but it’s your archenemy, the Rap Monster.”
Yoongi groans. Just what he needed—a run-in with the condescending whiz kid from hell. “Jesus christ, Taehyung, that name is lame enough without you adding ‘archenemy’ before it.”
“But your rivalry is so epic, it needs words like ‘archenemy.’”
“No, it needs you to shut up.”
“What it needs is for you two to relieve some of that tension.” Taehyung waggles his brows. “Are you gonna fuck him?”
“What?” Yoongi snorts. “You really think I’m gonna get it on with Kim Namjoon? Of all the rappers in the underground, you pick him? He’d probably make me call him Rap Monster in bed.” Yoongi holds that this is invariably true. (He adamantly does not think about the way Rap Mon handles a microphone or how stage lights glint off his tanned skin when he’s drenched in sweat. He might not like the guy, but he’s queer as a 3,000 won note and has functioning eyes, thank you very much.)
“Oh, Rap Monster oppa!” Yoongi watches, unamused and somewhat horrified, as Taehyung begins moaning exaggeratedly and pulling o-faces. They’re in public, for christ’s sake. He knows Taehyung has an exhibitionist streak (it’s impossible to be friends with the guy and not be aware), but now people are giving both of them weird looks, and Yoongi loves the kid to death but he will not sacrifice his dignity for him like this when he has to share a boat with these people for the next two weeks. Just as he’s about to hiss at Taehyung to stop if he wants his anime collection to remain unscathed, a shadow falls over him. Of course it does. He can already feel some cosmic power laughing at both his misfortune and his height.
“Did you say my name?”
And there he is in all his smarmy, self-important glory: Kim Namjoon, Rap Monster, and Actual Bane of Yoongi’s Existence–speak of the devil.
Okay, so maybe Yoongi’s never actually talked to the guy face-to-face before, but Yoongi trusts his gut, and Kim Namjoon makes his stomach do flips.
Taehyung, true to character, takes it in stride. “Wow, you actually heard that!” Apparently he feels no shame that what Rap Mon heard was Taehyung moaning and calling him oppa. “I’m Taehyung. I love your mixtape, by the way.”
Rap Mon ducks his head and grins shyly. “Oh, wow, that’s pretty cool that you’ve heard it. And, uh,”—he winces slightly—“just call me Namjoon? Please?”
Yoongi stares in disbelief as Namjoon plays self-consciously with the overly long sleeves of his shirt. Fucking sweater paws. On a six-foot manchild. Yoongi’s suddenly forcibly reminded of the fact that Namjoon is younger than him, his dimpled cheeks and crinkled eyes making him look less like a rap prodigy and more like a schoolboy. Where the hell does he get off being on top of the underground rap game while also looking like some wholesome valedictorian that both girls and their parents fawn over? Yoongi’s heard the guy rap about beating pussy and slipping panties to the side (and hadn’t that been an interesting night of translating on Naver); he shouldn’t be falling for this nice guy façade. He squints at Namjoon a little, looking his long frame up and down. Maybe he can find the nefarious secrets to his utter dickishness in his perfectly coiffed hair-
He’s snapped out of his thoughts when he hears Taehyung mention his name.
“Yoongi hyung’s working on his mixtape now.”
Yoongi curses internally. Why did Taehyung have to bring that damn thing up? Lately, “working on his mixtape” has consisted of laying down track after track until the sun rose the next morning, and then deleting everything once he saw it in the light of day. Just hearing about it sets him on edge, making him shift his feet and roll his shoulders.
“Really?” Namjoon has an odd glint in his eye and it ratchets Yoongi’s tension up another notch. If he has to listen to Mr. Genius, darling of the underground and school halls alike, mock him for the one thing he takes pride in, he’s going to somehow find the strength and agility to reach Kim Namjoon’s inflated head and bring it crashing down on this pier.
“Yeah, you know how it is,” he says, trying to feign a nonchalance he doesn’t feel. “Always working on the next thing.” He wonders if Namjoon can see how tightly his fists are clenched at his sides.
“How long have you been working on this one? It feels like forever since the last one.”
This is everything Yoongi had feared it would be. God, even when he takes a vacation, finally lets Taehyung’s too-sweet parents treat him to this trip he definitely doesn’t deserve, it’s like he can never escape from the criticism that’s always haunted him. Lazy, good-for-nothing, disappointment. He has to leave or he’s going to say something he’s really going to regret, something that might make Namjoon look at him with disgust, or worse—pity.
“Oh, I’ve just been sitting on my ass doing nothing, obviously.” Yoongi smiles sarcastically. “You know what, why don't I go work on it now? Just for you, your highness.” He bows in an exaggerated manner before turning to Taehyung and muttering, “I’ll see you when you’re done fanboying over your oppa.”
He turns on his heel and gets the hell out of there.
He can vaguely hear Taehyung’s frantic apologies behind him before he’s pulled aside.
“Jesus, hyung, what was that?”
Yoongi hates how shaky his voice sounds when he answers, “Listen, Taehyung, I know you want to be friends with everyone, and that’s great. But please never force me to be in the same room with Kim Namjoon ever again.”
“We weren’t in a room, hyung, we’re on a pier.”
Yoongi groans and stops walking to sit down heavily on a bench. “You know what I mean.”
“I know.” Taehyung sits down next to him. “I don’t really get what he said to piss you off, though.”
“It’s the constant harping about the mixtape. ‘When’s it coming out? What’s taking so long? What the hell is he doing?’” He makes a frustrated noise and runs his hands through his hair. “This is the best I’ve got, okay? I’m trying, I know people say I’m lazy, but I’m doing the best-”
“Hey,” Taehyung cuts him off before he can really pick up steam. “I know. And I think Namjoon hyung knows that too.” Yoongi scoffs. “No, I’m serious! Who do you think could actually understand the pressure you’re under better than the other most successful underground rapper right now?” He pauses for a moment before adding, “Other than me, of course.”
Yoongi scoffs, but feels a genuine smile begin to spread across his face. “Of course.”
“Anyway, I don’t think he was judging you. It seemed more like he was excited, honestly.”
“Sure.” Yoongi still doubts that Namjoon was anything other than mocking, but he can feel himself calming down. Shame begins to curl in his gut; he doesn’t usually lose his cool like this, but Namjoon seems to have a talent for getting under his skin and making him say shit he normally wouldn't. He hesitates for a moment before patting Taehyung’s shoulder. “Thanks, sunshine.”
Taehyung grabs his arm and pulls him in for a hug. There’s an understanding between the two of them when it comes to skinship: namely, Yoongi is terrible at asking for affection when he needs it, and Taehyung is overflowing with affection all the time. It generally culminates in moments like this, with Taehyung’s oversize clothing threatening to swallow Yoongi when he lets himself melt into his friend’s arms. It’s usually Yoongi taking care of Taehyung physically, buying snacks and fixing whatever Taehyung manages to break; but Taehyung’s the one who knows how to somehow bring the warmth and comfort of Daegu into their tiny Seoul apartment just by wrapping his arms around Yoongi and blocking out the sirens and car alarms and Yoongi’s own thoughts.
Yoongi feels a rush of affection for his friend, and he ruffles his hair (even though it’s ridiculously far up) and silently promises to pay him back for this. “Thank you.”
They both know he’s thanking Taehyung for more than just this moment.
People with Yoongi’s complexion really aren’t made for long periods in the sun, he thinks as he lies on a lounge chair on the deck of the ship. After they had dropped their luggage off in the room, Taehyung insisted on going to the pool to scope out any potential hot lifeguards. An hour ago, Yoongi had been grateful to soak up some of the sun’s warmth after too many nights spent bathed in the ghostly light of his computer screen, but now he’s sitting in a slowly gathering pool of his own sweat and swears he can feel the sun trying to deep fry him from 150 million kilometers away. He looks up when Taehyung drops down into the chair next to him with a despondent look on his face. “No dice?”
“Hyung,” Taehyung moans dramatically, “how am I supposed to have amazing sex with hot lifeguards if I can’t even find a hot lifeguard?”
“Oh no.” Yoongi fans himself with a magazine he’d found on a bench. “How will you survive?”
“I won’t.” Taehyung flips over onto his stomach to find a more comfortable complaining position. “I’m going to die from hot lifeguard deprivation. My dick is going to shrivel up and—” He stops dead and perks up at something at the other end of the deck. “Oh, hello. Never mind, the hot lifeguard is gonna have to find someone else to fulfill his fantasies.”
Yoongi doesn't even bother looking up. “I’m sure he’s devastated.”
Taehyung is too busy checking out whatever poor guy has caught his attention to pay attention to Yoongi’s commentary. “Hyung,” he whines. “Look at his face. Look at his arms. Look at his ass.”
“Yeah, that’s great, Tae,” Yoongi starts, but suddenly his arm is about ripped out of its socket as Taehyung grabs him and drags him over to where the boy is. Damn Kim Taehyung and his overly sociable personality.
He finds himself face to face with a boy about his height. His arms, Yoongi has to admit, are truly something to behold.
“Hi, I’m Taehyung!” He’s already enthusiastically shaking the boy’s hand. To the boy’s credit, he takes it in stride. “What’s your name, beautiful?”
Yoongi almost groans at his friend’s forwardness. He sounds like a fuckboy at a frat party.
Luckily for Taehyung, Buns of Steel seems to be into fuckboys and responds with a radiant smile. “I’m Jimin.”
“Are you here with anyone?” God, could Taehyung be any more obvious?
“Actually, I came with a friend.” Jimin smiles and okay, anyone with a cheeky grin like that will hang just fine with Taehyung. “But you seem like much better company.”
At the mention of a friend, Yoongi clears his throat. He knows that Taehyung is thirsty and the guy is undeniably gorgeous, but really now. Years of friendship, and now at the first sight of a hot guy he doesn’t even get an introduction?
“Oh, sorry, hyung.” Taehyung doesn’t seem all that remorseful, the little shit. “This is my roommate and honorary grandfather, Yoongi.”
In Yoongi’s opinion, honorary grandfathers shouldn’t have to deal with walking in on their honorary grandsons fucking in communal spaces. He smiles beatifically. “He seems cool now, but wait until he’s crying to you about Fullmetal Alchemist at three in the morning.”
Yoongi sees murder in Taehyung’s eyes, and honestly, he fully admits that he would have deserved whatever Taehyung dished out because he doesn’t think he’s ever seen an ass like Jimin’s outside of porn and Taehyung has been loudly complaining about how long it's been since he last got laid for months; but as he’s bracing himself for a hit, Jimin’s face lights up.
“You like FMA?”
“Oh my god, yes,” Tae gushes before stopping short and looking at Jimin appraisingly. “Wait, 03 or Brotherhood?”
Jimin groans. “You can’t actually expect me to pick, can you? I mean, they’re both so amazing in different ways-”
“Yes, exactly!” Taehyung has relaxed again and is bouncing on the balls of his feet. “That’s what I always say!”
Oh god, Yoongi’s actually made it worse. There are hearts in Taehyung’s eyes and fuck, Yoongi wonders if he'd better move his bedding to the hallway; he has the sneaking suspicion that Jimin is a screamer.
“You mentioned you came with a friend?” Yoongi butts in. Maybe they’ll be someone for Yoongi to commiserate with while their friends are fucking all over the damn boat.
“Hm?” Jimin seems to take a few seconds to process Yoongi’s words because he’s too busy returning Taehyung’s disgustingly infatuated gaze. “Oh yeah! Actually, I think he’s headed over here now. Thank god, he went to get drinks forever ago.”
Yoongi scans the crowd for anyone moving in their direction, but most people seem to be lounging or lethargically milling about, except Namjoon—
Who is headed straight for them with a drink in each hand.
He hopes that cosmic power gets a hernia from all that laughing.
All of Namjoon’s focus seems to be on keeping the drinks from spilling as he navigates the ship deck. When he finally reaches them and hands Jimin his drink, it’s as though a huge burden has been lifted from him rather than a fizzy fruity drink with a little umbrella poking out the top. However, he tenses right back up when he realizes who Jimin is talking to.
If Taehyung notices the awkwardness, he does an admirable job of not showing it. “Namjoon hyung! It’s great to see you again so soon! Jiminie and I were just talking about you.”
Namjoon, for once, seems at a complete loss for words, not even a single “uh” or “well” managing to escape as he looks at Taehyung and Jimin with a dumbfounded expression. He turns to Yoongi and questioningly mouths, “Jiminie?”
Yoongi shrugs uncomfortably. “Don’t ask me, I was here for the whole thing and I’m still not entirely sure what the fuck just happened.”
Namjoon nods. “Fair enough.”
A painful silence settles over the two of them while Jimin and Taehyung pick up their conversation, prattling on as though they’re the only two people on the boat. After several minutes of fidgeting and examining the exquisite grain of the wood of the deck, Yoongi can’t take it anymore.
“Listen, about earlier-”
As soon as Yoongi starts speaking, it’s as though he’s opened the floodgates.
“No, Suga sunbaenim, I should be apologizing, I didn’t even realize how what I was saying could be misconstrued, I should’ve thought more before I spoke, god, I always do that, I’m so sorry-”
Yoongi holds up his hands as if to physically stop the onslaught of words. “Whoa there, kid, it’s fine.” He squints. “And did you seriously just call me sunbaenim?”
Christ, but the kid is awkward, standing there with his weirdly endearing sweater paws and cautious smile. Yoongi decides to take mercy on him. “You know, we should probably try to get along now.” Namjoon looks confused. “Since it seems like those two”—He nods at Taehyung and Jimin.—“are going to be getting very well acquainted over the next couple of weeks.”
“Right.” Namjoon grimaces. “Man, do you think they’ll do it in our room? Jimin is so damn loud-”
Yoongi barks out a laugh. “Yeah, I had a feeling.” Namjoon smiles tentatively at him and Yoongi decides to bite the bullet and hold out his hand. “Truce?”
Namjoon takes it. His hand is large and warm, his skin surprisingly soft. “Truce.”
Damn Kim Taehyung and damn Park Jimin and damn their inability to keep their hands off each other, Yoongi thinks exasperatedly. They barely waited for Yoongi to get out the door before they shut it behind him with a chipper “thanks, hyung!”
It’s only been a few days since the two had met, and already they’re sexiling him. Yoongi had thought that maybe Jimin was going to be a respectable young man, one who could rein Taehyung in when he got mischievous; but on the second night of their acquaintance, Yoongi had been rudely awoken at two in the morning by the two of them jumping on his bed in lifejackets screaming about the boat sinking, nearly giving him a heart attack. Apparently, it had been Jimin’s idea.
Yoongi grumbles under his breath about fuckin’ roommates learning some goddamn respect while jamming his headphones into his ears and stalking off (if Taehyung were there, he’d call it The Wrath Waddle because Taehyung is a disrespectful brat, but he’s too busy doing god knows what with Jimin and honestly Yoongi is just praying they don’t do it on his bed.)
He’s so preoccupied with getting his music playing that he almost runs into probably the only other person awake at this ungodly hour.
“Ah, man, sorry about-” Yoongi tugs an earbud out and looks up to apologize only to be met with the frozen, deer-in-the-headlights expression of one Kim Namjoon. “Oh, hey.”
“Hey.” Namjoon awkwardly rubs his hands against the sides of his thighs. “What’re you doing out and about so late?”
Yoongi snorts. “I’ll give you three guesses.”
Namjoon winces in sympathy. “Yeah, Jimin’s kind of—intense about that stuff.”
“You mean he’s like the goddamn Energizer bunny when it comes to sex? Yeah, I’ve noticed.”
Yoongi’s answer seems to startle Namjoon out of his awkwardness, a loud laugh bubbling up before he bites his lip and ducks his head. “Yeah, that’s another way to put it.”
“Is he your roommate back home too?”
“Yeah, we’ve been living together for a little over a year now.”
Yoongi mulls over his next words, trying to find a way to make them less harsh in light of their freshly-formed truce. "No offense"—off to a great start, Min, nice work—"but how do you deal with...all that?" He waves his hand in a gesture that he hopes translates to the incessant, extremely loud fucking.
"Ah." Namjoon seems to be facing the same struggle Yoongi did, jutting his chin out as he searched for the right words so he doesn't inadvertently diss his friend and roommate. Finally, he admits, "It's kind of a pain in the ass, honestly. But," he adds hastily, "he more than makes up for it, you know?"
"How so?" It's not that Yoongi thinks Jimin's an asshole or anything; he just hasn't seen him interact much with Namjoon since Taehyung caught him by the dick and dragged him under.
Namjoon shrugs. "He's my number one hype man."
"Well, he's definitely got the energy for it."
Namjoon laughs again and it's so bright and warm, so unexpectedly childish from someone who dwarfs Yoongi in so many ways. "That's kind of helpful for me, though." When Yoongi raises his eyebrows at that, Namjoon sputters, "Not like that, just—sometimes when you're writing, it's easy to kind of get stuck in your own head, you know? And Jimin—Jimin's really good at knowing when you need to be pulled back out again."
Yoongi's about to ask if they're talking about the same Jimin—Park Jimin, the guy who's been happily fucking Yoongi's best friend six ways to Sunday in Yoongi's room—when he stops short at the thought of Taehyung.
Plenty of people are dismissive of Taehyung. Plenty of people look at him and Yoongi and assume things about how they fit together (or rather, how they don't). Yoongi's lost count of how many times someone's made a snide remark, commented He must drive you crazy, huh? with a knowing smile that makes Yoongi want to snap back that they really don't know anything at all, that Taehyung is actually the one who keeps him sane.
Jimin's really good at knowing when you need to be pulled back out again.
Maybe, Yoongi reasons, Taehyung and Jimin fit together so well for a reason.
"It sounds like Jimin's pretty good for you then," Yoongi finally settles on saying.
"Yeah." The corners of Namjoon's mouth tilt up in a small smile, and Yoongi wonders if he looks that stupidly fond when he talks about Taehyung. Christ, he hopes not. No wonder the kid walks all over him.
Wait, that makes him Namjoon in this equation, doesn't it?
It's best not to think too hard on that, Yoongi figures, so he coughs awkwardly to snap Namjoon out of whatever gooey friendship reverie he'd been lost in. "I think I'm gonna-" Yoongi waves his hands in a manner that he hopes communicates go anywhere but here.
"Yeah! Yeah, of course." Namjoon bobs his head in an agreeable manner. "Uh, if you want, you can come to our room. Since it's not like Jimin's probably gonna come back anyway."
"Ah, you know, I was just planning to take a walk around-"
Before Yoongi can even finish his sentence, Namjoon's already backtracking. "Right, of course, I didn't mean to force you or make you uncomf-"
"No, no," Yoongi tries desperately to stop the torrent of words. "It's not you." As the words leave his mouth, he realizes they’re not just for Namjoon’s sake; the idea of being in the same room as Namjoon doesn't immediately make his skin crawl or vitriol rise in the back of his throat.
Namjoon giggles, a little strained with anxiety but surprisingly genuine. "Are you seriously giving me an 'it's not you, it's me' talk right now?"
Yoongi can feel himself turning red to the tips of his ears. "I just wanted to take a goddamn walk," he mutters defensively, shoving his hands in his pockets and maybe-possibly-okay-definitely pouting a little bit.
"Right." Namjoon doesn't tease any more, but a smile still lingers on his face. It makes warmth curl in Yoongi's gut, and he can't tell anymore if it's the familiar irritation he's come to associate with Namjoon or something else he doesn't want to think about too hard right now. "I'll let you go on your way, then."
"I appreciate it," Yoongi replies, but there's no sting to his words and the ground underneath him feels a little too shaky for his liking in a way that has nothing to do with being on a boat. "I, uh—I'll see you around, yeah?"
"Right." Namjoon gives him a little wave that feels a little too formal to fit—whatever the hell this is. Reluctant coexistence? Tolerance? An exercise in self-control of Yoongi's sharp tongue? "You have a nice walk, then."
"Yeah, you have a nice...night...." Yoongi trails off as Namjoon turns to leave. He definitely doesn't watch him go. Even if he does, it's just because someone's gotta make sure the clumsy kid doesn't trip and fall over the edge of the boat or something.
Yoongi is lying on his bed avoiding the sun when Taehyung barges into their room with Jimin in tow. They’ve been inseparable for the past week in ways Yoongi doesn’t really want to think too hard about. He glances up at the pair, who look at each other for several awkward seconds, seeming to have a silent argument before Jimin rolls his eyes and turns to face Yoongi with his sweetest smile.
Yoongi groans and lets his head fall back against his pillow. “What do you want?”
“Well, hyung,” Jimin begins, and his voice is practically dripping honey. They must need a big favor. “Taetae and I are really hoping to catch up on One Piece tonight. We know how much you love your sleep, and we’ll probably be up pretty late watching, so-”
Taehyung interrupts, “You should move in with Namjoon hyung.”
That’s enough to get Yoongi’s attention. He’s used to Taehyung having wild ideas (it had taken Yoongi weeks to convince him that no, the city pigeons on the windowsill could not be trained as messenger pigeons, now let the damn thing out of the apartment before it shits on one of our beds), but suggesting out of the blue that Yoongi pack up and move in with Namjoon of all people might take the cake. He sits up slowly, fixing the two of them with a glare. Jimin is pretending to look the tiniest bit sorry. Taehyung doesn't even bother pretending, looking brashly unapologetic. “Sorry, I’m gonna need you to run that by me again.”
Taehyung cheerfully sets off around the room, picking up Yoongi’s belongings. “You should move out.” He haphazardly balls up a combination of Yoongi’s clean and dirty clothing into a wrinkled mass that he shoves into Yoongi’s suitcase with a satisfied nod. “There, you’re practically done. All you need is your laptop-”
Yoongi doesn’t think he’s ever jumped out of bed so fast. He snatches his laptop up off the desk, clutching it tightly to his chest and glaring at Taehyung. “Don’t touch my fucking laptop.”
Taehyung only beams in response. Of course he'd known that would get Yoongi out of bed. Sometimes it worries Yoongi just how much his roommate knows about him, but then he remembers how much he knows about Taehyung (some of which he’d never wanted to know).
“Wonderful!” Taehyung claps his hands. “And you’re already out of bed, so you can help me move your bags.” As he passes Yoongi his luggage, he leans down and whispers, “You’re welcome, by the way. Go. Follow your bliss. Expand your horizons. Get that monster dick.”
Yoongi scowls. “And what does Namjoon think of all this?”
“He’s fine with it,” Jimin pipes up. “He seemed kind of excited, actually.”
Yoongi squints at him. Jimin smiles sweetly back.
“Fine,” Yoongi sighs. Practically before he’s finished saying that one paltry syllable, Jimin whoops loudly and high fives Taehyung so hard it makes Yoongi’s hand sting in sympathy.
At the end of the day, Yoongi figures, there’s really very little use in trying to argue with the force of nature that is Kim Taehyung when he’s thirsting after Park Jimin’s dick. Factor in his self-appointed position as matchmaker, and Yoongi honestly doesn’t know why he tried to resist in the first place. It looks like he has a new roommate, whether he likes it or not.
After Yoongi has dragged out packing up his shit from his and Taehyung’s room as long as humanly possible (sending wounded looks toward Taehyung the entire time he trudged around the room and petulantly threw his belongings in his suitcase with exaggerated sighs), he hauls everything to his new room. He wonders if he and Namjoon have reached a point where he can whine at him to help him unpack.
It turns out that no matter what point they’ve reached, it’s irrelevant anyway, because Namjoon isn’t anywhere to be found when Yoongi kicks the door open, hands too busy with bags to deal with door handles. Yoongi spends the remainder of the day doing what he’d planned to do in his own room: sitting on his bed, pretending to work on a song when really he’s staring blankly at his screen, clicking between various websites and trying to rot his brain with memes and anime before his thoughts can drown him with the whispered fears that always tug at the corners of his mind. Not today, crushing terror of failure, not to-fucking-day.
The day trickles by uneventfully, and by the time nighttime rolls around, Yoongi has essentially given up on seeing Namjoon before he passes out in the same position he’s been sitting in all day.
He’s almost asleep in his new bed when he hears Namjoon cursing outside their door and scrabbling at the lock. He waits for three minutes before he heaves a deep sigh and drags himself out of bed to let in his bumbling roommate. As soon as the door opens, the stringent smell of alcohol rolls into the room and makes Yoongi wrinkle his nose. Apparently someone’s been taking advantage of the ship’s bar.
A small part of him wonders if Namjoon had thought he’d need to be liquored up to handle Yoongi, and he feels a twinge of guilt in his chest for unsettling Namjoon quite that much. Hell, had he scared him? He rolls his shoulders uncomfortably in an attempt to banish the thought, and then turns and walks back into the room. As he passes by the nightstand, he snags a water bottle off the top and almost tosses it to Namjoon before remembering that wouldn’t be a good idea even if Namjoon were sober. He waits for Namjoon to stagger to his bed before holding the water bottle out to him. “Here.”
Namjoon’s torso sways a bit even though he’s sitting. “Whassis?”
Yoongi bites his lip and fights the urge to laugh. “It’s water. You know, to take the edge off the bitch of a hangover you’re going to have tomorrow morning.”
Namjoon scoffs. “I don’t”—he hiccups—“get hangovers.”
Yoongi raises his eyebrows. “I think you’ll be singing a different tune tomorrow.”
“I’m not a singer,” Namjoon mutters as he falls back onto the bed and curls up on top of the comforter in the way that only a horribly sleep-deprived or terrifically inebriated person can. “’m a rapper. Rap Monster. Tha’s me.” He rolls over and squints at Yoongi. “And you’re Suga. Is it ‘cause you’re supposed to be sweet? ‘Cause no offense, but going by our past conversations, that’s kind of false advertising—”
“Hey!” Yoongi thinks he’s plenty sweet, thanks. “It’s because I was the shooting guard on my basketball team.”
“Oh. Huh. That’s pretty cool, actually.”
“Hell of a lot cooler than Rap Monster, at least,” Yoongi fires back, still bitter about Namjoon’s unwanted commentary on his stage name. Namjoon attempts to sit up in protest, but just ends up bouncing violently and almost falling off the bed. Yoongi holds back a snort and feels a tiny bit bad. “But, you know, your music. It’s not bad. Pretty cool.” He hastily adds, “Even with a name like Rap Monster.”
Apparently he hadn’t added that quickly enough, because Namjoon is looking up at him with vaguely starry eyes. “You think I’m cool?”
Yoongi shifts uncomfortably on the bed. It feels as though the already unsteady scales of their rapport just tipped in a way he hadn’t anticipated, leaving him scrabbling for a handhold. “No, I said your music isn’t totally offensive to my ears.”
Namjoon scrambles up onto his knees to shove his face obnoxiously close to Yoongi’s. Yoongi tries not to choke on the heavy smell of vodka. Jesus. “You like my music.”
Yoongi gives up. “Yeah, I like your music. Especially that one, ‘Joke’. That one was...really not bad.”
Namjoon perks up like a dog promised a walk. “You liked it? Because I kind of wrote it for you.”
Yoongi’s eyebrows jump up to his hairline.
Namjoon seems to somehow perceive Yoongi’s surprise through his drunken haze. “Not the lyrics, but the speed and the rhythm, you know? Like when you just spit it out so fast but so on point and clean and—” He makes an enthusiastic noise and gestures wildly with his hands, threatening to spill water on his bed. Yoongi decides to take it as a compliment. “I wanted to be like that.”
Yoongi feels a hot flush rise in his cheeks at the praise. “Ah. Thank you?”
“Your lyrics are always saying something, you know? And you know when to make the audience think and when to just come right out and fuckin’ say it, right? And man, that one line you had where you talked about taking men and women to Hong Kong with your tongue, dude, that was such a great metaphor for your rapping prowess."
Yoongi snorts. "It wasn't a fucking metaphor, Namjoon."
Namjoon freezes in the motion of taking a swig from the water bottle. The abrupt stop sloshes water over his shirt. Sexy. “What do you mean?"
“What the hell do you think it means? Do I really have to explain this to you?"
“I mean, it sounds like you're talking about going down on men, but-"
“But what, Namjoon?"
"But I thought you liked girls? I mean, I've seen you around with girls before-"
Yoongi groans. "Jesus christ, kid, have you never heard of bisexuality?"
"Oh my god, Namjoon, are you serious?"
Namjoon's eyes widen. "You can...you can like...both?"
Yoongi rolls his eyes. "You can like any and all." Despite himself, Yoongi can feel a smile creep unbidden across his face, astounded at the fact that an actual genius could miss something so basic about himself.
"Oh my god, hyung." Namjoon’s enthusiasm is palpable as he kicks his feet and bounces on the mattress like a child on Christmas morning. “Oh my god, this changes everything.”
Yoongi tries to ignore the flush of warmth in his chest at being called hyung. "Stop bouncing on the bed, Namjoon, you're going to break the springs or your skull or both."
Namjoon settles down, but he still looks vaguely like he’s been hit over the head.
Yoongi sighs. “Let’s just go to sleep, yeah?” The words come out softer than he’d thought they would and he’s suddenly struck by the thought that this gentleness he keeps surprising himself with—he would’ve killed for something like this when he was in Namjoon’s shoes. “You’re gonna need all the rest you can get once that hangover kicks in.”
Namjoon nods, but Yoongi can tell he isn’t really listening.
At his name, Namjoon finally seems to snap out of his thoughts. “What? Oh, yeah, sure.” He kicks his shoes off and burrows under the covers still fully dressed. Yoongi tries not to judge too harshly.
“Good night, Namjoon.”
A quiet hum is all the response he gets as he reaches over to turn out the light.
When Yoongi wakes up the next morning, Namjoon is still cocooned in his blankets. Yoongi can’t help but feel pity for him; he doesn’t look small, exactly—he doesn’t think it’s possible for Kim Namjoon to look small—but he looks vulnerable with his hair sticking up at different angles and the blankets pulled up halfway over his sleep-swollen face. Yoongi decides to let him sleep off his hangover and heads out to see if Taehyung can stop sucking Jimin’s face (or worse) for long enough to go get something to eat.
Of course, when he asks Taehyung about getting something to eat, he gets a far too-detailed answer about Jimin’s ass, because it’s Taehyung, and Yoongi really should have known better.
He ends up spending the day walking around the town they’ve docked at, lugging his camera with him. It’s peaceful in a way his life hasn’t been in a long time. Taking pictures, there’s no pressure; he would never give up music, but he can’t help but appreciate this time away from work, time to breathe and think.
By the time he returns to the ship, he’s exhausted but relaxed in a way he hasn’t been in months. His mind is humming with the beginnings of ideas, something that feels almost like inspiration, and his fingers itch for his computer to begin working again. When he enters the room, Namjoon is already climbing in bed, freshly showered and not looking too much worse for wear considering the condition he’d been in last night.
“Hey,” Yoongi greets him. “How’s the head?”
Namjoon shrugs. “I told you, I don’t really get hangovers.”
Yoongi shakes his head in disbelief and laughs. “Of course the golden boy doesn’t get hangovers.”
Without alcohol in his system, Namjoon doesn’t seem to know quite how to respond to Yoongi. “Sorry?” He attempts.
Yoongi snorts. “Don’t apologize, it’s not your fault you’re perfect.” As the words pass his lips, Yoongi realizes they don’t carry the same bitterness they used to.
Namjoon thinks for a moment. “Am I still perfect if I’m—you know.” He looks apprehensive, fidgeting with the blankets.
“Queer?” Yoongi offers as he settles into bed and powers up his laptop.
Namjoon doesn’t quite flinch, but there’s a clear tension to the line of his shoulders, the jut of his jaw. “Yeah. That.”
“I mean, I don’t think it’s a problem, but I might be a little biased.” Yoongi plugs his headphones into his computer but hesitates before putting them over his head. “I’m gonna work for a bit, is that-?”
“Yeah, of course!” Namjoon picks at a loose thread in the comforter for a couple seconds before he asks, “Do you mind if I look?”
“What?” Apprehension floods Yoongi; the idea of showing his work to anyone before he’s had the chance to pore over every millisecond of it and beat it into exactly the form he wants sets off alarms in his brain. “Why would you want to do that?”
Namjoon’s hands fly up between them and he actually leans back a bit, reminiscent of someone dealing with a bucking mustang, but it seems like it’s intended less to calm Yoongi and more to shield Namjoon. “Sorry! Sorry, I just thought maybe I could help or something-”
His defensive tone immediately takes Yoongi’s anxiety down a notch and replaces his combativeness with—fuck, is that remorse? Christ, how can Namjoon set him so off-balance with just a few words?
Namjoon’s still rambling, apology after apology stumbling over each other as if racing each other to get out of his mouth the fastest. “I understand it’s really personal, and I didn’t mean to-”
“No, it’s fine.” Yoongi’s words make Namjoon grind to a halt, even though his brow is still knit with worry. “You just surprised me is all.”
“Ah.” Namjoon rocks slightly in his place like he’s trying to put himself at ease. “So do you just want me to fuck off and leave you alone, or-”
“You can help if you want.” Wait, what? Yoongi hadn’t given those words permission to leave his mouth, and he’s just as taken by surprise as Namjoon appears to be. “I mean, if you want to.”
“Well.” Namjoon blinks, taken aback for a moment before a wide, pleased smile breaks over his face. “I wouldn’t have offered if I didn’t want to.”
Yoongi bites down on the words that rise in the back of his mind—plenty of people don’t mean jack shit when they offer help, plenty of people just want the warm fuzzies of going through the motions of being a decent person without ever actually following through—in favor of shrugging and saying, “Yeah, all right.”
Despite his nonchalant words, anxiety hums in his chest as Namjoon walks over to Yoongi’s bed and perches himself cautiously on the edge of the mattress. “Is this all right, hyung?”
“I don’t know how you’re planning to see the screen from there, but whatever floats your boat, I guess.”
Namjoon pouts. “I didn’t want to just sit on top of you or something-”
“You’d better not sit on top of me, anyway.”
Namjoon huffs. “You know what I meant.”
“I don’t know, it sounded like you were going to sit on top of me.”
“Hyung.” Namjoon’s voice is dangerously close to a whine and it makes Yoongi crack a smile. “Stop that.”
Yoongi shrugs. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Fine, then.” Namjoon turns and aggressively flops against the headboard next to Yoongi only to yelp, “Fuck!” and jackknife off the bed, looking down at where he’d been seated with a wounded expression.
Yoongi raises an eyebrow at him. “What the actual fuck?”
“Your bed bit me,” Namjoon pouts.
Yoongi stares at him. “I repeat: what the actual fuck?”
Instead of answering, Namjoon jabs a finger in the direction of the bed like he’s pointing out a criminal in a lineup. Yoongi follows the gesture and sees his phone charger buried in the impression Namjoon’s ass had left in the puffy comforter.
He picks it up with a smirk and holds it out in front of Namjoon. “It bit me,” he mimics.
“It hurt, hyung.” Namjoon grumbles. “Try jamming a plug up your ass and see how it feels.”
Yoongi almost chokes on his laughter. “A plug,” he wheezes, “up my ass.”
Yoongi can pinpoint the exact moment the implications of what he said dawns on Namjoon—his jaw drops open and his eyes bulge and his face turns hilariously, beautifully red.
“That,” Namjoon sputters, “is not what I meant.”
“You know, Joon-ah,” Yoongi drawls, “Just because I like guys doesn’t mean-”
“Oh god.” Namjoon covers his face with his hands. “Please stop. Please, god-”
“I mean,” Yoongi pushes forward over Namjoon’s protests, “you’d probably like that, wouldn’t you?”
Namjoon’s mouth shuts so fast his teeth click loudly, and the sudden shift from easy banter to tense silence makes Yoongi realize that’s he’s probably just taken this way too fucking far.
“Fuck, Namjoon,” he mutters, sitting up stiffly and scratching the back of his neck. “Sorry, that was too much-”
“No, it’s fine.” Namjoon manages to keep his face straight, but his voice cracks on the last word.
“So.” Yoongi swallows, grasping at straws, trying to figure out how the situation had unraveled so quickly and how to salvage it.
“Music?” Namjoon tries.
Gratitude that he and Namjoon share the same avoidance techniques washes over Yoongi. “Yeah, music.”
Namjoon settles back onto the bed (but only after a thorough patdown to ensure there weren’t any more threats to his ass lurking in the covers).
“So what’re you working on?”
Yoongi sighs and tugs the cord to his headphones out of his laptop’s audio jack. “Same thing I’ve been working on for weeks with not much progress.”
Namjoon grimaces in sympathy. “That sucks, hyung, I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have to apologize, it’s not like you’re tying my hands up and keeping me from writing or anything.” Yoongi runs a hand through his hair. “It’s just my dumbass brain not cooperating with me.”
“Brains are uncooperative little bastards,” Namjoon agrees. “It’s like they have a mind of their own.”
Yoongi surprises himself by giggling at Namjoon’s (painfully lame) joke as he opens up his project. What the hell?
“So what’ve you got so far?” Namjoon peers at Yoongi’s screen with interest.
“Not a lot,” Yoongi admits. “It’s a lot of tidbits and snippets that don’t really fit together.”
“Not yet, that is,” Namjoon adds.
Yoongi snorts. “Right.” He cracks his knuckles. “Let me prove to you just how misplaced your optimism is.”
Yoongi cuts Namjoon off by clicking “play” with a little more vitriol than it probably strictly calls for. Music bursts forth from his laptop speakers and Yoongi’s hands reflexively clench up in anxiety. God, just listening to this is making his skin crawl. After about forty seconds, the music stops abruptly and Namjoon turns to look at him with a puzzled expression.
“That’s just-” Yoongi shifts awkwardly, adjusting the pillows behind him both to hide how his shoulders have tensed up and to give him something to focus on other than Namjoon’s gaze. “That’s as far as that bit goes, it’s not really a cohesive piece yet.”
Namjoon bobs his head agreeably. “That’s cool, the melody really grabs your attention right away.”
It’s small, it’s such a small thing, just a crumb of praise, but it still makes Yoongi blink and bite his lip before mumbling, “Thanks,” and quickly clicking to the next half-finished portion.
As he clicks through each of the small pieces of his project, Yoongi realizes it’s easier than he’d expected, sitting there and showing his music to Namjoon; or at least as easy as Yoongi imagines baring his soul like this could ever be.
Still, no matter how chill Namjoon is, no matter how many times he nods and says, “Yeah, that’s cool,” no matter how much reassurance he’s given, hearing the incompleteness of his own music, all the gaps where Yoongi knows something is missing but he doesn’t know what, fills him with—god, is it shame? Piece after infuriating piece, unfinished, lacking in every way, piling up. Hearing it all at once like this, how disjointed and imperfect it is, sends Yoongi’s head buzzing with a million unwanted thoughts.
Yoongi can feel the familiar thrum rising in his chest, the frustration and the dread and the self-loathing coalescing into a physical sensation that bubbles up like a scream in his throat. He takes a deep breath to keep it at bay, and then exhales slowly as if controlling his breathing is somehow going to give him control over his life.
“Hey.” Namjoon’s soft voice almost makes Yoongi jump out of his skin, he’s so lost in thought. “Maybe that one part from earlier—you could use it as a motif? I think it’d kind of help these two bits meld together.”
Yoongi shakes his head, pursing his lips. “Nah, it’s a nice thought, but the rhythm would have to be more syncopated-” He breaks off as an echo of a melody plays through his mind and he suddenly sits up ramrod straight, making Namjoon start. “Which I actually have something similar to.”
“What?” Namjoon leans back over Yoongi’s shoulder as Yoongi pulls out his phone and begins typing frantically.
“That part you were talking about is essentially a bastardized version of a little thing I came up with a few months ago but never actually used. I don’t have it with me, though, it’s back at my place on my desktop.”
“So how’re you gonna get it?”
“I’m texting my friend to tell him to let himself into the apartment and upload the file somewhere I can get access to it.” Yoongi frowns as the little yellow 1 next to his message stubbornly refuses to disappear. “He’s probably asleep though.” He slumps back against the headboard, crossing his arms and pouting. “Fuckin’ Hoseok and his goddamn regular sleep schedule.”
“Oh, man, he actually sleeps at”—Namjoon checks his phone—”four in the morning. The audacity of some people.”
“I know, right? Who needs that much sleep, anyway, that’s just being greedy.”
Namjoon snorts loudly and tries to cover his grin with his hand. The fact that Namjoon thinks he’s funny enough to laugh at sends a rush of warmth through Yoongi.
“So what’re you gonna do now, hyung?”
Yoongi shrugs. “Can’t really do much until Hoseok sends us that bit, so may as well sleep.”
“What happened to people who sleep at 4 a.m. being greedy?”
Yoongi unlocks his phone screen and shoves it in Namjoon’s face. “It’s 4:03, actually.”
“Clearly that changes everything.”
“I’m glad you understand the nuances of these matters,” Yoongi sniffs. “Now get out of my bed, I’m fuckin’ tired.”
“Demanding,” Namjoon comments, but swings his legs over the edge of the mattress and stands up, stretching with a groan before walking over to his own bed.
As Namjoon pulls back his covers, his back turned, Yoongi licks his lips and ventures, “By the way, thanks, Joon-ah.”
Namjoon lies down and burrows into the covers, smushing his face against his pillows so his words come out muffled. “It’s the least I could do.”
“What do you mean?”
“After you helped me with all the—all that stuff.”
“That’s not—” Yoongi shifts, the mattress creaking uneasily beneath him. “You don’t have to thank me for that. That’s just being a decent person.”
The blanket pile that is Namjoon rises and falls in a motion that’s probably a shrug underneath all the layers. “Well, no one else has really talked about it before.”
Yoongi frowns. “What about Jimin?”
“You’ve already heard my spiel on why Jimin’s great.” Namjoon rolls over onto his back and stares at the ceiling with a furrowed brow as if it holds the answers to the meaning of life. “But I guess it’s different, you know? To really have it spelled out by someone who’s...the same way.”
Yoongi nods. “Yeah, I get that.”
A quiet falls between them and Yoongi realizes with a jolt that it’s not painful. It’s not as comfortable as it is with Taehyung, not yet; but Yoongi can feel how the edges of his own silence could fit easily with Namjoon’s, maybe someday, with a little sanding at the corners.
He’s too fucking tired to deal with this right now (or maybe ever).
He punches his pillow and settles into his bed. “You mind if I turn out the light?”
“Hm? Oh yeah, sure.”
“Good night, Joon-ah. Try not to think about it too hard, yeah?”
“Yeah. Good night, hyung.”
The light clicks off and the room is silent save for the soft sound of their breathing.
The quiet lasts for about two minutes.
“Do your parents know, hyung?”
“What do you mean, kind of?”
“I mean they've walked in on me sucking a guy's face before, but I only brought girls home after that so they'd get off my back. So. I’m not really sure what's going on there, to be honest."
“What's your type, hyung?"
“What the—why do you need to know that?"
“I don't know, man, I’m just wondering, no need to get defensive-"
“Well, it's none of your fucking business."
"God fucking—fine. Fine. Whatever. I like tall guys. Kind of muscular. Facial hair. And it doesn't hurt if they're a little older. There, are you satisfied?"
"How much older are we talking, hyung? Are you like, into daddy stuff?"
"Oh my god, we're not talking about this."
"So is that a yes?"
"Shut the fuck up and go to sleep, Namjoon."
“I will fucking smother you in your sleep, you insolent brat."
"So is the facial hair negotiable?"
"Namjoon, it's all negotiable. That's why types are kind of stupid."
"You're stupid and your questions are stupid too. If you only have stupid questions left, go the fuck to sleep."
"Have you ever been in love with a guy, Yoongi?"
"How was it?"
"It fucking sucked."
"Because he wasn't..."
“Wasn't what, hyung?"
"He wasn't interested. It's not like it was his fault or anything. He wasn't a bad guy. He's - we're still friends. He's great, really."
“Kind of the same as what I’ve had with girls before.”
“I mean, there's really not that big of a difference between gay unrequited love and straight unrequited love. It all sucks."
“I’m sure you'll find someone, hyung."
“I mean, the idea of soulmates is empirically and objectively ridiculous-"
"Namjoon, I think you're trying to be helpful, but this isn't really the way to go about it."
“What I'm trying to say is that there isn't just one person in the world for you. You don't just get one shot. You know?"
"Good night, Namjoon."
“So remind me again what exactly is going on?” Yoongi says from where he’s curled up in a tiny ball under his covers, watching Namjoon haphazardly stuff his belongings in an overnight bag.
"It's just an overnight stay in a hotel that's included in the fees for the cruise," Namjoon explains as he grabs an entire bundle of black clothing from the floor (Yoongi can see at least three different sleeves and two different types of fabric in the jumble) and stuffs it into his duffel bag.
Yoongi groans and pulls his knees up closer to him, shoving his hands between his thighs for comfort. "Why though? If it's just a hotel-"
"But it's not just a hotel," Namjoon interrupts.
Yoongi squints. "This sounds like the beginning of a horror movie. I don't wanna die, Joon-ah, I finally figured that song out-"
"It's not haunted! It's just a really, really old palace that they converted into a hotel as kind of a tourist attraction."
"Yeah, no, that sounds even more like the beginning of a horror movie, fuck that."
"But it's really cool!" Namjoon's given up on packing and is kneeling on the mattress, bouncing up and down eagerly. It's kind of adorable, or at least as adorable as a six-foot manchild can be (Yoongi doesn't really want to think about if he finds it adorable). "It has all this history, and there's a tour around the square and the grounds and they have all these artifacts and murals and-"
"What is this, a school field trip?"
"This is so much cooler than a school field trip, hyung," Namjoon whines, flopping down on his front and resting his chin in his hands so he can fix Yoongi with a calculating look. "Don't you like photography?"
Yoongi narrows his eyes at Namjoon. "What does that have to do with anything?" And when did Namjoon get so perceptive as to know about Yoongi's hobbies?
"I mean, if it's an old-ass palace, there'll probably be lots of cool things to take pictures of."
Curiosity gets the better of him and Yoongi reluctantly asks, "What kinds of things?"
"Like super old shit!" From anyone else, the words would be derogatory; from Namjoon, they come with another enthusiastic mattress bounce and a dreamy gleam in his eye. "Like really old art and documents and, hell, even furniture-"
Yoongi snorts. "Furniture?"
"Yeah, you know, old furniture."
"What does the age of the furniture have to do with anything?"
"It gives it class. Prestige."
A giggle bubbles up unbidden in Yoongi's chest. "I can't believe you're trying to convince me of how great this thing is by talking about furniture."
"I don't know, hyung, you seem like the kind of guy to get a lot of enjoyment out of assembling an Ikea shelf or something."
"What does that even mean?"
"Because you're methodical, you know? And kind of a perfectionist."
Okay, Namjoon is definitely more perceptive than Yoongi had thought. Either that, or he's just paying more attention to Yoongi, which he doesn't want to dwell on too much. Yoongi almost replies Not to mention I’m good with my hands, but he’s not entirely sure where that path will lead, so he sticks with a safer alternative. "Psychoanalysis by Ikea assembly," he says drily in an attempt to lighten the mood.
"Is it psychoanalysis if I'm right?" Namjoon fires back.
"Who the hell said you were right?"
"Well, I'm at least more right than Freud."
"That's not really saying anything, though. That's like saying you're more right than those people who thought everything orbited the Earth."
Namjoon laughs. "Okay, point." He rolls over on his back and sighs happily at the ceiling. "It's gonna be so great, hyung. They even have this whole tour set up where they teach us about the history of the palace-"
"If you're this excited, shouldn't you finish packing?" Yoongi says pointedly, cutting Namjoon off from rambling and distracting himself from the warmth suffusing his chest at the little geek-out session.
Namjoon pouts. "Well, shouldn't you start?"
Yoongi shrugs. "A pair of jeans, a black shirt, and a change of underwear. Toiletry bag. It's not complicated." He leans over the edge of the bed and swipes up said clothing items from the floor, folding them quickly and tossing them in a stack toward his bag. "See? Now all I need are toiletries, which are already in a bag in the bathroom anyway."
Namjoon looks forlornly at his own sloppy duffel bag and heaves an overdramatic sigh. "It doesn't technically need to be folded."
Yoongi looks at him in disbelief. "How can you even tell what you packed?"
"Judging just by mass, it feels about right."
"What, are you using the Force to feel out your boxers?"
"I'm just using common sense," Namjoon protests.
"Common sense says to fold your goddamn laundry."
"No, common sense says that's a waste of time and I have enough clothes here anyway."
Yoongi groans. "In the time you've been fighting against folding your clothes, you could've already folded your clothes."
"But it's the principle of the matter, hyung."
A retort is on the tip of Yoongi's tongue, but he's cut off by his phone vibrating angrily somewhere in the blankets. He rolls around on the bed for a bit, trying to find where the hell it is in the covers before finally pulling it out from its fluffy prison. After scanning the new message, he looks up at Namjoon. "You wanna meet the happy couple for drinks at the bar?"
Namjoon wrinkles his nose. "Drinks isn't code for a foursome, right?"
"Oh, jesus. You don't think they would, do you?"
Their eyes meet and there’s an immediate agreement: yeah, they actually would.
“You’d better text them just to be sure,” Namjoon says.
“Yeah, you’re right.” Yoongi taps out a response and squints at Jimin’s reply. “Should I be worried that he can send back a text with every single alcohol-related emoji within ten seconds?”
“Nah, man, he’s tiny but he can drink me under the table. Taehyung too, probably.”
“That doesn’t actually mean a lot.” Yoongi can feel the corners of his mouth quirk up in an involuntary smile when Namjoon laughs. He looks down as his phone buzzes with another notification. “All right, they’re getting impatient, so you’d better hurry.”
“Hmm.” Namjoon picks up his duffel bag with a thoughtful expression. “Feels good, mass-wise.”
“Jesus christ,” Yoongi mutters under his breath. “I’m not letting you use my toothpaste if you forgot it.”
“I’ll breathe in your face.”
“I’ll break your face.”
“How’re you gonna reach it?”
Yoongi glares. “I’m gonna be the bigger person here”—Namjoon gives an ugly snort and Yoongi deliberately raises his voice—”and say let’s go meet the nasty couple at the bar instead of criticizing things our friends can’t change about themselves.”
Namjoon is no longer smirking mischievously and instead is looking at Yoongi with an expression somewhere between dumbfounded and pleased. It’s making Yoongi intensely uncomfortable. He shifts uneasily on his elbows. “What?”
“You called me your—” Namjoon shakes his head, looking down and biting his lip. “You know what, never mind. You’re right, we should head out to meet them.”
Yoongi examines Namjoon’s face. “You’re acting weird, Joon-ah.”
“I’m not acting weird, I’ve never acted weird a day in my life.”
“Well, that’s definitely not true, remember when you-”
“Drinks!” Namjoon cuts in. “With friends.” The look he’s giving Yoongi is surprisingly fond considering he just cut him off in the middle of a sentence.
“Yeah, okay, drinks with friends,” Yoongi mumbles. “You weirdo.” He shoves his arms out in front of himself, sticking them up in the air in Namjoon’s general direction. “Now help me up.”
“Sure thing, hyung.” The soft smile doesn’t leave his face until his attempt to lever Yoongi up off the bed goes about as well as a rando trying to unsheathe Excalibur. “Fuck, okay, that didn’t go as planned.”
Yoongi groans, “Come on, Joon-ah, don’t tell me those arm muscles are just for show.” Wait, shit, that was too much-
But instead of freezing up, Namjoon just whines, “They’re not, you’re heavier than you look.”
“I am not,” Yoongi squawks. “Get your noodle arms in gear and lift me, Joon-ah.”
“Hyung, you’re gonna throw out my back.”
“You need to go to a gym, christ-”
“Oh, like you’re one to talk.”
“Well, I must be decently built if you’re having this much trouble just helping me off the goddamn bed-”
“Maybe you should do some of the work, then.”
“If I wanted to do the work, I wouldn’t have asked for your help, would I?”
“Oh my god, just get up-”
Yoongi finally gives up and sits up on his own, griping the entire time, “What good are you to me as a dongsaeng if you can’t even lift me?”
“I’ll buy you a drink when we get to the bar,” Namjoon offers.
“Okay,” Yoongi admits, “maybe you have some use, then.”
“Some use? I helped you figure out that song-”
“Okay, two uses.” Yoongi wrinkles his nose. “Although I should subtract one for your snoring. And another for your noodle arms.”
“You think my noodle arms are nice to look at,” Namjoon say smugly.
Heat climbs in Yoongi’s cheeks. “I said no such thing.”
“You definitely did.”
“I definitely did not. I refuse to listen to this slander, I’m leaving.” Yoongi turns toward the door, partly to shut Namjoon up and partly to hide the furious blush he can feel spreading across his face and down his neck.
“Okay, okay, wait up, I’m coming!” Namjoon hustles after Yoongi. “My noodle ass has still gotta pay for your drink.”
“Then hurry your noodle ass up, Joon-ah.”
“My noodle ass is moving as fast as it can.”
They continue bickering as they make their way to the ship’s bar, where Jimin and Taehyung are already waiting, trading sips from each other’s drinks and staring at each other like goddamn newlyweds.
When Yoongi and Namjoon take stools next to them at the bar, Jimin turns and says, “It’s about time, Namjoonie. What took you so long?”
“I was in the middle of packing for the trip,” Namjoon protests.
Yoongi’s about to comment on what Namjoon’s idea of “packing” is, but Jimin just smiles fondly at Namjoon and says, “I bet you talked Yoongi hyung’s ear off about the place we’re staying.”
Namjoon says, “I wouldn’t say I talked his ear off-” at the same time Yoongi says, “Yeah, pretty much.” Namjoon fixes Yoongi with a hurt look and Yoongi hastily adds, “But in a cute way.” What the fuck, cute? “I mean, endearing.” God, is that any better?
Judging by Jimin’s smug expression, probably not. Thankfully, he doesn’t do anything beyond throwing Yoongi a knowing look before continuing the conversation as if Yoongi hadn’t just called Namjoon cute.
“I can’t wait to see how they adapted the palace,” Jimin gushes as he fishes around his drink for the maraschino cherry.
“I just hope they preserved most of it.” Namjoon’s drumming his fingers on the table to a rhythm that Yoongi recognizes with a jolt as the song they’d worked on together.
“I knew you were gonna say that,” Jimin says fondly before frowning at his drink. “This fucking cherry-”
“Here, babe,” Taehyung sticks his long fingers straight into Jimin’s glass and pulls the cherry out by the stem, which he promptly sticks between his teeth, leaving the fruit hanging out in front of him. He raises his eyebrows at Jimin in clear invitation and Jimin giggles before leaning forward and tugging the cherry off the stem and into his own mouth.
In Yoongi’s opinion, there’s far too much eyelash fluttering and lip licking involved considering the present company. “You know, that’s fuckin’ nasty that you just stuck your unwashed fingers in his drink,” he comments.
Jimin waves his hand dismissively. “He’s stuck his unwashed fingers in a lot of places.”
“Babe,” Taehyung says adoringly, a hand over his heart. Yoongi will never understand Taehyung’s definition of romance, but he supposes he doesn’t really need to. That’s more Jimin’s area.
As their friends continue making googly eyes at each other, Namjoon groans and almost lets his forehead fall on the sticky bar before realizing that might not be the best idea. “You’re both terrible and I can’t wait until you get married and move to the suburbs so I only have to see you twice a year on holidays.”
“Oh, just pull out your phone and ignore us,” Jimin fires back.
“Don’t mock my coping mechanisms,” Namjoon mutters under his breath, but he reaches for his pocket nonetheless only to frown and begin patting himself down in the manner characteristic of someone who’s lost something. After several seconds of this, he sheepishly admits, “I don’t have it.”
Jimin finally breaks away from gazing dreamily at Taehyung to look at Namjoon worriedly. “When’s the last time you had it?”
Namjoon thinks for a second. “In the room, I think.”
Yoongi snorts. “Well done.”
“Don’t laugh at me!” Namjoon protests.
“Then don’t do dumb shit like leaving your phone in your room, Joon-ah,” Yoongi counters.
Jimin and Taehyung are transfixed by their conversation, their heads whipping back and forth like they’re watching a tennis match. Suddenly, Jimin pushes his chair back from the bar and stands up. “Actually, Namjoonie,” he says brightly, “we’d better go back and grab your phone. Right now.”
Namjoon frowns. “Wait, why’re you coming too? It’s not like you’re even staying there any-”
Jimin links his arm through Namjoon’s elbow and begins marching them away. “And off we go!” He throws a glance over his shoulder at Taehyung, and the two have an intense conversation carried out in eyebrow wiggles and nose wrinkles. Yoongi is fascinated.
“You’d lose your head if it wasn’t stuck to your shoulders, Joon-ah,” Yoongi calls after them as they leave. Namjoon flips him the bird behind his back, earning him a scandalized look from a tiny woman probably three times his age and half his size.
Yoongi doesn’t realize he has a stupidly fond smile on his face until he turns to see Taehyung smirking at him.
“Joon-ah, hm?” Taehyung takes a sip of his drink and raises a brow in an almost cartoonish fashion. “When did that happen?”
“Maybe rooming together made me realize that he’s possibly not the worst person ever,” Yoongi concedes and brings his glass to his mouth so he doesn’t have to talk anymore. He’d say more (he’s pretty humble, he’s kind of sweet, he’s actually just as lost as we are, as lost as I am) but, well. Taehyung’s already smug enough as it is.
“Have you fucked yet?”
Yoongi chokes on his drink and splutters, “What the fuck, Tae?”
“Well?” Taehyung prods gleefully.
“It’s not—we’re not—no,” Yoongi insists through his coughs. Christ, he thinks there’s rum in his lungs.
“Why not?” Taehyung sounds genuinely curious, playfulness falling away as he blinks questioningly at Yoongi. “He’s right there and you guys are hitting it off great. What’s the hold up?”
“Because we—” the ready-made excuses die on Yoongi’s lips. Fuck, he can’t even say he hates him, can he? He swirls his drink, staring at the mostly melted ice cubes floating along the top. “I don’t like to do that.”
“Do what?” It’s at times like these that Taehyung’s annoyingly perceptive nature makes itself apparent—when Yoongi doesn’t want to think too hard about things, when he just wants to let them go.
“You have in the past,” Taehyung points out, settling his weight more firmly on his elbows atop the bar. Clearly he’s not gonna let Yoongi walk away from this conversation, no matter how badly he wants to.
Yoongi groans. “I didn’t tell you about that so you could use it against me.”
“How am I using it against you?” Taehyung protests. “I’m trying to help you!”
“How exactly are you helping me?”
Taehyung makes an agitated sound and sets his drink down on the bar a little too hard. “Listen,” he says exasperatedly. “This whole thing was cute for a while, but now you’re just being stubborn.”
“Hey!” Yoongi thinks he’s been pretty open-minded lately, thank you very much.
Taehyung ignores his interjection. “You know, maybe if you just got out of your own head a little, you’d stop getting in your own way.” Yoongi clenches his teeth as the words cut deep. Taehyung notices and backs off a bit, his voice lower as he says, “I’m tired of seeing you get caught up in what’s going on in your head, hyung.” He hesitates for a second before continuing, “I’ve been talking to Jimin-”
“Seems like you’ve been doing a lot more than talking,” Yoongi snipes, still smarting from Taehyung’s on-the-nose commentary on his social life.
“Our relationship is founded on more than just mindblowing sex and anime,” Taehyung says primly.
“Could’ve fooled me.”
Taehyung snorts. “Okay, but just—consider the idea that maybe, possibly, Namjoon doesn’t hate you. Maybe he never did.”
Yoongi shifts uncomfortably, turning so he doesn’t have to face Taehyung head-on. “Okay,” he concedes once he’s safely protected from Taehyung’s discerning gaze. “I could maybe, possibly buy that.”
Taehyung leans in so their shoulders touch, but doesn’t push his face into Yoongi’s. “Maybe you should start paying less attention to what’s going on up here”—he lightly flicks the side of Yoongi’s head, something only he and maybe Hoseok could get away with—”and more attention to what people are actually saying.” He steps away and shrugs. “Just a suggestion, but it might make your life easier.”
“Maybe my life is just fine the way it is,” Yoongi mutters, but they both know he’s just being ornery because Taehyung’s hit a nerve.
"You stop it," Yoongi says, wincing internally at how childish he sounds.
“Only if you stop being difficult.”
Yoongi rubs his face. “I’m not trying to be difficult.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
Yoongi hesitates, circling the rim of his glass with his fingertip. “It’s a big risk to take,” he hedges.
“Big payoff, though,” Taehyung counters.
“Yeah, but is it actually worth it?” Yoongi chews on his straw. “What if I fuck everything up?”
“‘Everything’ being...what exactly?”
Yoongi groans and buries his face in his hands. “I don’t want to talk about this.”
“Hyung,” Taehyung wheedles, dropping his chin onto Yoongi’s shoulder. “Will you at least consider talking to him about it?”
“I don’t know, Tae.”
“You’re gonna be in the palace-hotel thing tonight. He’s gonna have a big intellectual boner anyway from being around all that nerd stuff-”
“Oh my god-”
“-so you may as well take advantage of the situation while he’s all primed and ready for you,” Taehyung finishes.
“Why are you like this?” Yoongi foregoes the straw and gulps directly from his glass, steadfastly not thinking about Namjoon and boners, intellectual or otherwise. “There, I finished my drink. I’m leaving.”
“Gonna go back to your room with Joon-ah?” Taehyung teases.
“That’s none of your goddamn business,” Yoongi says gruffly. “And he’s Namjoon hyung to you.”
“Possessive,” Taehyung remarks.
Yoongi snorts. “Hardly, I just have a sense of decency.”
“Maybe you should throw it out and actually have some fun for once, hyung,” Taehyung suggests.
“I’m allergic to fun.”
“That’s not true,” Taehyung insists. “I have footage on my phone of you dancing to Ke$ha and I’m not afraid to use it to prove my case.”
Yoongi glares. “You wouldn’t dare.”
Taehyung smirks mischievously. “Hey, I bet Namjoon would love to see it-”
“Taehyung,” Yoongi whines. “Delete it.”
Taehyung crosses his arms. “I’ll make you a deal. If you agree to at least try to talk things over with Namjoon, I’ll delete the video off my phone.”
“This is blackmail.”
“Hey now, I never said I’d show Namjoon the video if you didn’t tell him. There’s literally no risk in the situation for you.”
Yoongi looks at him disbelievingly. “Are you hearing yourself? Since when is there no risk in confessing?”
“Oh, you know what I mean. So.” Taehyung nudges Yoongi’s shoulder with his own. “Deal or no deal, hyung?”
Yoongi stares him down for four seconds before sighing and giving in. “Deal, I guess.” When Taehyung grins at him, Yoongi adds, “But it’s not because of you, it’s because I wanna do it.”
Taehyung snorts. “I know you wanna do it, why do you think I’m pushing you so damn hard?”
“Because you’re a meddling matchmaker of a dongsaeng who can’t mind his own goddamn business?” Yoongi mutters.
“Because you deserve to have people who care about you as much as you care about them,” Taehyung says earnestly. “And I think Namjoon is the kind of guy who actually knows how to care that much.”
There’s a lump rising in Yoongi’s throat and he coughs to clear it. There’s probably a cold going around the boat or something. “I guess,” he says gruffly.
Taehyung seems to pick up on Yoongi’s discomfort and takes pity, changing the subject. “You want me to get you a blowjob or something, hyung?”
“A what?” Yoongi sputters. Okay, maybe there had been that one time when they’d been young and lonely back in Daegu, but-
Taehyung smiles sweetly. “You know, like the drink? With the Bailey’s and the Kahlua and-”
Yoongi glares. “You owe me at least three drinks after almost giving me a heart attack like that.” He points a warning finger at his Taehyung, the tip almost touching his piece of shit best friend’s nose. “And no fuckin’ blowjobs.”
“All right, all right,” Taehyung concedes. “That’s more Namjoon’s area now anyway, isn’t it?” He yelps and laughs when Yoongi takes a half-hearted swipe at him, grumbling about brats who need to learn to respect their elders. “You’re lucky he’s got DSL.”
“Kim Taehyung, I swear to christ-”
“You know what that stands for, hyung?”
“-don’t say it, don’t fucking say-”
“Dick-sucking lips,” Taehyung singsongs far too loudly, making everyone in a twenty-foot radius turn to stare at them.
Yoongi slumps down as best he can on a bar stool (it’s not easy, but he thinks he’s managed a pretty good job of it). “Why am I even friends with you?”
Taehyung grins. “Because I make things fun and keep you honest.”
Yoongi snorts. “Or you utterly ruin things.”
“Hey now, I’m trying to get you the dick you so desperately crave, hyung. The least you could do is show a little gratitude.”
“Well, let’s see if your plan is actually effective before you go around demanding thank yous.”
“Oh, I think it’ll be effective all right.” Taehyung’s attempt at a mysterious tone is ruined when he takes a long pull on his straw and produces a loud slurping noise before smacking his lips. “Anyway.” He turns to wave down the bartender and cheerily shouts, “Hello, kind madame, my friend here needs a blowjob!”
Yoongi chokes. “I hate you.”
“You love me. And also blowjobs. In any form.”
Yoongi opens his mouth to contradict Taehyung but realizes that, really, he can’t. He crosses his arms and begrudgingly replies, “You better actually be paying for this, Tae.”
“Of course I am.” Taehyung gives Yoongi an affronted look. “What kind of person do you think I am?” Yoongi wordlessly raises his eyebrows at him. “Okay, so maybe, in the past, one or two times-”
“One or two?”
“-or maybe more than that, I’m not exactly sure, I’m not an accountant, hyung.”
“What does that even have to do with-”
“Anyway, friendship is really all about forgiveness, so-”
“What about that time I wouldn’t let you pet the collarless dog at the park and you didn’t talk to me for three days?”
“Dogs change things, hyung.”
“It was probably rabid, Tae-”
“Rabidly in need of love and affection, which you so heartlessly denied it.”
“You would have died.”
“Not with the power of love on my side.”
“Oh, right, let me call up Old Yeller and tell him the little boy just didn’t love him enough—”
“Hyung!” Taehyung looks like he might actually tear up. “We don’t talk about movies where the dog dies.”
“So basically every dog movie except Air Bud.”
Taehyung sniffles. “Air Bud is our only hope.”
“Are you actually crying?”
Taehyung wraps his arms around Yoongi’s waist and buries his face in his hyung’s neck. “You made me sad, hyung, now you have to make me feel better.”
Yoongi pats the top of Taehyung’s head. “What can I do?”
“Finally suck Namjoon hyung’s dick.”
Yoongi pulls a face but doesn’t move, letting Taehyung keep his place on his shoulder. “How exactly would that make you happy?”
“Because seeing you happy makes me happy.”
Yoongi doesn’t know how exactly they got from Air Bud to dick sucking to almost-declarations-of-platonic-soulmatery, but he feels the need to pretend to sip from his empty glass and mutter, “Yeah, you too,” against the rim.
Taehyung sighs happily, nuzzling into Yoongi’s shoulder. “You’re gonna be in a palace and it’s gonna be so romantic.”
“Don’t get your hopes up.” Yoongi’s not sure if he’s addressing Taehyung or himself.
Taehyung scoffs. “Why the hell not?”
Yoongi shifts on the barstool, the uneven legs teetering on the floor. “Because he’s Kim Namjoon and I’m-” He cuts himself off, running his finger around the edge of his glass.
“You’re the guy he can’t stop mooning around after,” Taehyung finishes for him. “Go get your man, hyung.”
Yoongi isn’t sure if it’s the alcohol finally hitting him or if Taehyung is just that infectious, but something like hope perks up in his chest. “Yeah?”
Taehyung treats him with his boxy grin and yeah, that’s hope. “Fuck yeah.”
Yoongi wearily drops his overnight bag at the foot of the bed and flops down onto the mattress to lean against the headboard with a groan. Namjoon follows close behind, staggering slightly after all the walking they did to reach their room in this palace-cum-hotel.
Despite their exhaustion, Namjoon hadn’t stopped talking the entire way to the room. Even as he’s rifling through his bag, tossing rumpled clothes and tattered notebooks onto the bed in his quest for toiletries, he’s jabbering excitedly about the history of the building and its architectural significance.
“Of course, its construction during the Joseon dynasty is evident in the shift away from the style typical of Buddhist architecture. It’s really kind of genius to convert it into a hotel, since the interior was essentially destroyed when-”
“That’s really interesting and all, Namjoon,” Yoongi interrupts, eyeing a small slip of fabric that just fell out of the last frankenbunch of clothing Namjoon tossed aside. “But why are there lacy black panties in your luggage?" Jesus, he must really be exhausted to let that slip past his filter with someone other than Taehyung.
"Oh.” For the first time since the palace was in sight, Namjoon stops his encyclopedic recital of information. “How the fuck did those get in there?”
Yoongi snorts. “Have you seen the way you pack? Because I have, and I can tell you exactly how those got in there.”
Namjoon blushes. “Right.”
Yoongi raises his eyebrows. “So are you gonna explain what exactly they were doing in your bag?”
“ Ah. Yeah, those are. Not mine. I mean, I own them but-"
"You don't wear them?"
"Hyung, they wouldn't even fit me.” Namjoon pouts. “And my ass is like a pancake anyway."
"Oh, fair enough."
“You’re supposed to contradict me and tell me it isn’t.”
“I’m not a liar, Joon-ah.”
“Rude,” Namjoon huffs before looking at Yoongi thoughtfully. "They might fit you, though."
"Excuse me?" Heat rises in Yoongi’s cheeks.
“I mean. You're small and stuff-"
“What the fuck did you just say to me-"
"And like, you have really nice skin and pretty legs, so they'd look really good on you."
Yoongi can't even lie, he's flattered. Girls have never really called him handsome, but he's been told several times by guys that he's pretty and it always makes heat flare in his gut. "Pretty baby," they'd whisper in his ear sometimes, and Yoongi's cock would twitch at the compliment. He finds himself facing a similar predicament now.
"You think I'm pretty?" Yoongi ventures. Taehyung’s words pop unbidden into his mind. Consider the idea that maybe, possibly, Namjoon doesn’t hate you. Maybe he never did.
Namjoon sputters. “Well, I mean, objectively, you've got legs like Girls’ Generation-"
That's definitely a new one for Yoongi. He's not sure how he feels about it, but his dick definitely knows how it feels, if the tightness of his pants is any indication. Still, he feels the need to make a point. “If you think I’m sexy just because you think I look like a girl, you can fuck right off.”
“No! That’s not what I meant, that’s not what I meant at all-“ Namjoon scrambles to recover. “I know you’re not a girl. I know, it's just-“ Namjoon makes a frustrated noise in his throat. “You have really nice legs and I kind of really want to be between them.” His mouth snaps shut and he looks horrified. “Shit.”
Yoongi’s brain has apparently decided to give up on him. As he’s frozen, trying to process what Namjoon just said, Namjoon stumbles out of the room, curses and apologies mingling on his lips until the door slams shut behind him, leaving Yoongi alone in the room with his thoughts.