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Vanilla

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Seokjin wakes up in the dark. The duvet is thick and it smothers his face. It smells like dust and sweat and something floral, something like fake vanilla, not too sweet. The product of too many nights away from home and not enough energy to change the sheets. Pointed feather ends scratch Seokjin’s skin and he wishes he was wearing more clothes. He wishes he was under his own duvet. The mattress is too soft.

Next to him, Namjoon sighs, whining a little in his sleep. His head has lolled to one side and his breath ghosts over Seokjin’s ear and neck, warm against exposed skin. The hairs on the back of his neck prickle and stand up. He’d half forgotten about Namjoon, sprawled across half the bed with the sheets kicked away. Or maybe Seokjin had stolen the sheets. Now he’s remembered, Seokjin can’t focus on anything else. He finds himself compelled to match Joon’s breathing, taking in the way his lungs expand and contract under his ribs.

Namjoon’s ribs. His chest, that expanse of warm skin that Seokjin could spend – had spent – hours touching and stroking and kissing-

If Seokjin had ever thought about this scenario, if he’d ever been half-asleep in his bed at the dorms and entertained this idea for second, he would at least have anticipated it to come with a hangover. The sour aftertaste of cheap, strong alcohol. A cold, empty bed. Surely, this was too good to happen without consequence.

Namjoon whines again. It’s cuter than his snoring.

Maybe the feathers are more irritating than expected, but, then again, Seokjin hadn’t expected this. He’s too warm under Namjoon’s duvet and he would never have expected this.

Under Namjoon’s right collarbone, there’s a mess of dark bruises, ready to be hidden under a high collar. The duvet rustles as Seokjin rolls himself over so that he can trace the outline of the bruises at the base of Joon’s neck. Thick purple, like shadows. Crushed blackberry bruises, with the red and the blue. Namjoon’s neck had been cold and he’d smelled like flowers and fake vanilla and last night he’d gasped when Seokjin had bitten him. And again. And again.

For once, Seokjin wishes he wasn’t on break so that he could grab a microphone from the studio and record Namjoon falling apart. Sweet and pretty and is this going to happen again? Is it allowed?

Daytime TV filters up through Namjoon’s floor like obnoxious white noise. It must be later in the day than he thought. Curse these short winter days. Seokjin sweeps his hand over Namjoon’s bare chest. Either Namjoon doesn’t feel the cold or he’s too soundly asleep to care. Seokjin tugs the duvet back up to Namjoon’s neck anyway. He deserves to sleep well. He kisses Joon’s cheek to the background music of a Saturday morning talk show.

Since Namjoon’s been able to grow his hair out to a decent length, it fans out on the pillow behind his head, dark against the stark white fabric. His lips are parted, and now that Seokjin’s seen them bitten red he’s not sure he can go back to the false pink of stage makeup. There’s a time and place for everything. Seokjin wants to kiss Namjoon everywhere, anywhere, all the time.

Before today – last night – he wouldn’t have admitted it, but now Seokjin’s older and wiser and he knows things. He knows how Namjoon feels over him and on him and in him and Seokjin wants it again. And again. If Joon’s okay with that.

Outside the room, the floorboards creak, and Seokjin jerks away from Namjoon just as Namjoon’s mom knocks on the door. It’s almost reflexive.

“Namjoon?” Joon’s mom sounds just like him, and yet totally different at the same time. They use the same words. She raises one eyebrow just the same way. She knocks again, and Namjoon stirs. He’s so soft like this, waking up in the sunlight barely glowing around the edges of his blackout curtains.

“I’m awake,” Namjoon sounds more gravelly than usual. He hasn’t even opened his eyes yet.

“I’m heading to work in a minute,” Joon’s mom says, and when she turns the door handle Seokjin scrambles further under the covers to hide just how naked he is, “Can you watch the dog?”

A tiny ball of energetic white fluff charges into the room, scales the bed, and hurtles into Namjoon’s chest, “Sure, mom.” It’s a wonder he isn’t winded. The puppy wags his tail and licks Namjoon’s face until he rolls onto his front, and then he moves on to Seokjin.

Namjoon’s mom sticks her head around the door briefly to say goodbye and Seokjin’s mortified even though no one can tell he’s not wearing clothes. Except for Namjoon, but he’s not wearing clothes either.

Downstairs, the door is pulled shut, and Seokjin can hear the lock turn. He rubs his hand over Namjoon’s back, under the covers. Namjoon arches his back and stretches.

“Morning,” Namjoon groans, rubbing his face against the pillow as though it might help him wake up.

“How do you feel this morning?” Seokjin feels like he should keep it simple but that’s the only question that makes it out of his mouth. The puppy flops down on his lap, tail wagging.

“I’m good,” Namjoon turns over just enough to look Seokjin in the eye, “Did we- We had-?”

“You fucked me, Joonie,” Seokjin says, and if he ever recounts this to anyone he’s going to choke on his words, “It was nice.”

“I know, I’m just-” Joon’s cheeks are heating up, glowing red, “I’m processing. We did that?”

“We really did,” Seokjin says, and he shuffles closer to Namjoon until he can sling an arm over his waist, “Did you want to do it again?”

“Yes,” Namjoon breathes, pauses, speaks again, “But, uh. Not right now?”

The only thing Seokjin feels for a good three or four seconds is relief as it floods through his system. This wasn’t a mistake. This means something. Hopefully. This is potential for something. At the very least, it deserves a thorough discussion about intentions and boundaries over breakfast. He lets the too-soft mattress and scratchy duvet swallow him, something floral and dusty and fake vanilla and Namjoon.

“That’s fine,” Seokjin says, pulling Joon closer so his head rests on Seokjin’s chest, and the dog curls up between them, tail still thumping against Seokjin’s leg, “Anytime, Joonie. Anytime.”