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Starving (& Other Artistic Mediums)

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Namjoon and Yoongi met in the winter of their junior year of university, depending on who you ask. Yoongi says it was mid-November, the week before the worst snowstorm Seoul had seen for the past decade in Professor Mun’s Art and the British Empire: 1600-1997 when Namjoon tapped Yoongi on the shoulder and asked him to borrow a pencil. Namjoon says it was early October when he bumped into Yoongi and scattered his newspaper clippings for his mixed media class with Professor Choi, who was notorious for being a major bitch—so Yoongi wan’t exactly thrilled about getting his material soaked by the early snow, thus he treated Namjoon rudely (as Namjoon recalled it). 

Yoongi tells him that that doesn’t count as a first meeting. Namjoon says that they actually didn’t properly introduce themselves until Christmas anyways. And Yoongi agrees with that. 

So Namjoon and Yoongi met in the winter of their junior year of university. At a Christmas party Yoongi’s housemates were throwing, the theme being more centered around a four week break and free booze than the birth of the Messiah. 

Yoongi was originally going to dip out early and hang out in the public library just to escape the chaos that was bound to take place, but a forty minute vomiting session in their tiny house’s single bath changed his mind. So he was laying in his bed with his headphones pressed so deeply into his ear canals that he was positive he was drawing blood. He had his barf bucket at the ready at the side of his bed that shook with the force of the stereo system’s bass. 

That’s where Namjoon found him. 

“This room is occupied. Please don’t have sex on top of me. I might puke on you.” Yoongi kept his eyes shut, hoping that what ever freshman drunkenly stumbled into his room politely stumbled back out. 

“I’m…I’m not—wait what? Don’t puke on me!” 

It took all of Yoongi’s strength to peel his earbuds out and crack open one eye to behold…the biggest mess he’d ever seen in his entire life. “Holy shit Mortitia Addams just walked into my room.” 

The guy snorted, staggered a little, and caught himself on Yoongi’s dresser. “M’not Mortitia Addams.” 

“Hate to break it to you kid, but Halloween was over two months ago.” 

“‘M twenty. ‘M not a kid.” 

“You’re drunk. Now shoo-shoo I’m trying to die in peace.” Yoongi closed his eyes and moved to put his earbuds back in when a wave of nausea hit him. 

There was a crash (definitely the kid stumbling into the box of ceramic pots Yoongi had sitting on the middle of his rug) before a grunt and Yoongi found his bed dipping to the side. 

“S’rry,” the kid breathed into Yoongi’s face, breath stale and body smelling like beer and cherry lipgloss. 

“Good god. I’m not kidding kid, I will throw up on you. Hand me my bucket.” 

A couple minutes later found Yoongi sitting crossed legged on his bed, bucket safely tucked into his lap, across from the human disaster who introduced himself as Kim Namjoon. He was apparently a third year sculpting major and in Yoongi’s Art and the British Empire: 1600-1997 class to fulfill a humanities requirement. 

He chewed nervously at his black fingernails—what Yoongi had initially thought was nail polish, but upon closer inspection was actually charcoal. His eyeliner had smeared onto his cheekbones and his bleak attire wasn’t doing him any favors by keeping people from thinking he was still going through his scene phase. 

“So what’s up with you? Weren’t enjoying the party?” Yoongi spit into the bucket. It felt like pre-vomit drool. The kind that was super stringy, but wetter than regular drool. That was a thing, right? Yoongi needed to talk about this with his pre-med major housemate. Kyungsoo would know. 

Namjoon dropped his hand. “Not really.” He sounded like he had sobered up some. Probably from the fear of getting puked on. “I got a phone call from my mom…” 

“What? Can’t go home for Christmas? Your parents are going to Hawaii and you’re not invited? Or they’re taking away your monthly allowance until you change your major to something more respectable?” 

“She’s leaving my dad.” 

Goddamn it Min Yoongi. 

“Ah…fuck.” Yoongi froze, “‘M sorry man. That blows.” 

Namjoon bobbed his head in a lazy, distracted nod then he went back to chewing his nails. 

“So why’re you sick?” Namjoon asked after a while. His lips had turned a little black from the charcoal and Yoongi found himself thinking about baby soft pinks and smokey grays he could add to his next project. 

“I’d like to blame it on Sungyeol’s god awful leftover japchae, but it probably had to do something with eating paint.” 

Namjoon jerked forward. “You ate paint? What the fuck? Why?” 

Yoongi shrugged. “It said it was washing machine safe.” 

“Yeah washing machine safe! Not safe for human consumption!” 

Yoongi shrugged again like eyyy what are you gonna do. “Tomato, to-mah-to.” 

“So you’re an artist?” Namjoon asked after a few more minutes of silence between them (well, relative silence, Yoongi was finding an endless supply of drool to spit in his bucket). “Or just some idiot who eats paint?” 

“First of all, fuck you—” spits “—and I’m actually a painting major. Acrylics mostly.” 

Namjoon’s eyes seemed to light up. With awe or trepidation Yoongi wasn’t quite sure. “That’s rad.” Ah. Neat. So awe. “I’ve always really been into watercolor, but I’m just not—” he made some kind of motion with his arms “—ya know?” 

Yoongi nodded even though, no, he didn’t know. 

“Goddamn! That’s hella neat! I actually haven’t really talked to a painting major. Us sculptors really kind of stick to our own kind, ya know? And the painters have a bit of a reputation of being snobs—no offense I mean! Not you!—so I never really got to like communicate and like collab—holy shit it’d be wicked if we could collaborate! Do you want to? We could probably come up with something for the Spring Exhibit. I mean we have our final pieces to worry about too, but imagine what we could do if—”

Without saying a word, and barely moving at all, Yoongi tipped his head forward and very neatly lost his stomach in his bucket. And from then on a tentative friendship was born. 

They move in together nearly three years later. And it’s not like that. 

They both graduate on time in the spring of their senior year and had loosely kept in though following their collaboration of the Spring Exhibit. Yoongi gave Namjoon a small portrait of cherry blossoms done in watercolor that he’d wrapped in so much newspaper and instructed Namjoon not to open until he was alone unless he had a death wish. It was the brightest thing he’d ever painted of his own free will, but the soft petal pinks of the cherry blossoms reminded him of Namjoon’s hair color at the time (#FFB7C5). Namjoon gave Yoongi a gray statuette of a hand loosely gripping a paint brush that Yoongi told him he lost the first day he brought it home, but it actually sat safely on top of his desk. 

Namjoon went back for his Masters the following fall and Yoongi moved out of his house and began renting a small studio apartment in downtown Seoul that doubled as his work space. They met up every once and a while for coffee even though Yoongi always complained of the taste and Namjoon preferred tea. 

It was Namjoon’s idea. But Yoongi would say it was his. 

Namjoon was going strong through his second year of his Master’s degree (strong as in he was neck deep in deadlines and his body hadn’t seen his bed in over a week) and Yoongi was on the cusp of becoming the stereotypical “starving artist”. 

They were meeting for coffee at some remodeled café (“—if I see one more coffee shop that looks like it crawled off of the set of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I am setting myself on fire,” Yoongi said as Namjoon opened the door for him.) when Namjoon brought it up in the middle of Yoongi complaining about his neighbor’s atrocious taste in music (“It’s just Red Velvet’s Rookie on repeat…I’m not exaggerating.”). 

“Do you want to move in together?” 

“Do you want to propose first?” Yoongi replied without missing a beat. “Give me diamond ring first and I’ll think about it.” He blew bubbles into his iced coffee. The lady a few tables over glared at him. 

“I’m serious Yoongi. I know you can’t afford your place anymore—” Yoongi hissed, pushing his coffee away from him. “—and my roommate is fucking driving me crazy. Like—I’m a fucking sculptor okay? So if I’m saying I’ve seen way too many tits and pussies to last me a dozen lifetimes then it’s gotta be excessive, okay?” Namjoon knocked his knuckles against his coffee cup saucer with his wild gesturing. Yoongi always hated the fact that Namjoon talked with his hands, it was fucking dangerous. 

“He’s still bringing girls over?”

“Even if I had time to go home and sleep in my own bed, I wouldn’t.” 

So they found a place together. A modest two bedroom in a pretty decent apartment building in downtown Seoul. It had it’s own washer. One bath. A balcony. Close enough to the university for Namjoon to walk and close enough to the crafts store Yoongi worked at so he only had to take one bus. 

They fell into a routine seamlessly. Namjoon was the first one up (always). He took all the hot water and left the apartment by eight am. Yoongi woke up for his shift by eleven and cursed Namjoon for using all the hot water. They both come home by nine where they raid their fridge for something edible and Yoongi would retreat into his room to do some painting. Namjoon might join him to study, but usually he fell asleep on the couch. 

They don’t talk much. Yoongi not really much of a chatter box to begin with and Namjoon being way too exhausted most nights to even manage a proper greeting. Their friendship ends up being at a stand still. It benefitted from the close exposure—Yoongi was the first of the two to start walking around half naked, Namjoon quickly followed suit—but it didn't get any deeper. Neither of them worried about it. It was a roommate situation. They didn’t have to become best friends. Sure Yoongi was fond of Namjoon and he knew Namjoon worshiped the hell out of his acrylic stained ass. But neither of them felt like their world needed to revolve around the other. They would be roommates until Yoongi’s career picked up or until Namjoon graduated and got accepted to join that gallery in Normandy Yoongi knew he’d been eyeing. Or until Namjoon got a girlfriend or boyfriend (by the grace of god) or Yoongi killed himself by tripping over one more goddamn sock Namjoon forgot to put away. 

So yeah. It was just a thing. Not a Thing. But a thing. For convenience. 

“You still live by that drug store?” Kyungsoo asked him one night over a plate of jajangmyeon. “I heard there was a robbery last week.”

“Nah, I’m near the university now.” Yoongi shoveled in a mouthful, leaning forward so he didn't spill on his sweater. It was all black. But still. He wasn't an animal. 

“Oh? When did that happen?” Kyungsoo slid him a napkin. 

“Couple months ago,” Yoongi said around another bite of noodles, “Namjoon and I found a two-bedroom that’s close enough to where we both need to be.” 

“Namjoon?” Kyungsoo’s big doe eyes blinked once. Yoongi had always found himself drawing his eyes when he was at a loss for ideas. Very expressive. “Kim Namjoon? The sculptor kid?” 

“He’s twenty-two now, not a kid, but sure. I guess, the sculptor kid.” 

“I didn’t know you two were close.” Kyungsoo’s food now laid in front of him, forgotten. 

Yoongi shrugged. “We’re not really. Just helping each other out with rent. It’s not gonna be a permanent thing.” 

It became a permanent thing the next year in August. But neither of them knew it was going to become a permanent thing. To them it just looked like a temporary thing. A slightly permanent, temporary thing. 

It started with Yoongi coming home from meeting with an art director who was interested in hiring Yoongi to assist him with his exhibit’s design based solely on Yoongi’s “look”. It sounded like bullshit but Yoongi wasn’t about to pass up this miracle dressed suspiciously like his Big Break. 

He came home to all the lights on, the kitchen faucet running, all the windows that could be opened opened, and Namjoon throwing clay at a tarp he’d hung onto their living room wall with painter’s tape. 

The wine Yoongi had purchased eight months ago (to celebrate precisely what had happened to him today) laid on its side, empty, next to a equally empty plastic cup that Yoongi normally kept his brushes in. Craning his neck a bit he found the brushes that used to sit in it spilled off to the side. 

Yoongi had seen this behavior once before. Right before Namjoon’s dissertation he had gone bat shit crazy and turned on all their facets saying that he needed the “white noise” to calm him down. Then Yoongi had watched him pitch clay against their kitchen wall for the next three hours until he’d managed to calm down enough to talk to Yoongi. 

“You been drinking?” Yoongi called, shucking his coat and scarf, tossing them onto the back of the sofa. It had been a good garage sale steal. Even if it smelled like SunChips

“Yeah, sorry I opened your wine.” Namjoon threw another lump. Smack.

“It’s all good. Wasn’t my favorite to begin with.” 

Smack

“You building something else tonight?” 

Smack.

“Or just your alcohol tolerance?” 

Smack. 

Smack.

Smack. 

“My sister…” 

Yoongi held himself completely still. A touchy subject. Namjoon was usually tight lipped about his family. Yoongi knew his parents were spirited and that Namjoon’s older sister was a bit of a troublemaker, but that was it. 

“My sister ran away a year ago, remember that?” Yoongi remembered a night that Namjoon had been on the phone with his mom for three hours before packing a bag and taking the train home for the weekend. But he didn’t remember being told anything about his sister. He nodded along. 

“Anyways. My parents found out where she is.” 

Yoongi waited a bit before he realized Namjoon wasn’t going to say anything first. “That’s good. Right?” 

Namjoon shrugged. 

Smack.

“I guess. She’s in jail.” 

Shit.

Smack.

“Shit.” 

“Yeah.” 

Smack.

“So…?” 

“So. She had a baby.” 

Fuck.

Smack.

“Fuck.” 

“Yeah.” 

Yoongi sat down on their sofa. The rip in it’s seam has grown bigger since the last time he’d sat in it and the stuffing was spilling out of it like fluffy clouds. He picked at it with his fingers. 

“So…?” 

“So. My mom doesn't want it. And like hell my dad is going to keep it. So they’re giving it to foster care.” 

“Jesus Christ. How old is it?” 

“He’s fucking seven months old. He’s not even a fucking year old yet. And he’s already been separated from his mom. And he’s never gonna meet his grandparents. He’s never gonna have to sit through a shitty Christmas dinner with them. He’s never gonna know who is dad is. He’s never gonna know who I am.” 

Smack. The corner of the tarp sinks and the next clump Namjoon throws hits the wall leaving an ugly brown stain. 

“Is that why you’re upset?” Yoongi pulled his legs up onto the couch. He worked his fingers into the holes on his jeans leaving the couch be. 

“I’m not upset I’m just—” Namjoon dragged his filthy hands throw his hair leaving clumps of clay in the strands. It’s bright green right now. Fresh green. Grass green. #7CFC00 Green. “…pensive,” he finished.

Yoongi snorted. 

“I just…” Namjoon made a helpless noise that Yoongi felt in his gut. “Just want to do what’s best, ya know? The right thing.” He collapsed to the floor then, rolling the clay in his hands absently, gaze fixed out the window, but not really looking. 

And Yoongi knew by then. Knew what Namjoon’s dilemma was in perfect clarity. He wasn’t stupid. So he did the only thing he could think of. He tried not to dwell on it too deeply (he made sure he didn’t, ‘cause he was afraid he would back out). 

“So do it.” 

The clay fell out of Namjoon’s hands and he looked over his shoulder to meet Yoongi’s gaze. He couldn't say what made him do it. Even after knowing Namjoon for nearly four years he still didn’t actually know him. He owed Namjoon no debts. But this kid… 

“Do what?” 

Yoongi settled into the couch. Settled into this life, really. This new responsibility he wasn't about to abandon him with.  “Do the right thing.” 

His name is Jeongguk and he’s a quiet baby. 

Maybe too quiet. It’s a common occurrence for Yoongi to stumble out of his room (head aching from all the paint fumes he’s inhaled), and to knock on Namjoon’s bedroom door and ask him about the baby only to hear a quiet “shit” followed by a much quieter “Jeongguk?”. These episodes usually end with Yoongi and Namjoon on their hands and knees looking around their apartment for the missing baby. 

Yoongi is actually astonished they haven’t gotten Jeongguk taken away from them yet. 

Namjoon’s mom visited often that first month, but lost her interest once she figured Namjoon and Yoongi were well enough on their own. Yoongi’s parents still didn’t know a thing. 

They had come up with ground rules after the first week. Just precautions and such. Namjoon typed it up on his laptop and printed it out, it’s hanging on the inside of their glasses cupboard. The list contains things like: They will not use Jeongguk as a part of any of their projects, Namjoon will be in charge of waking him up, Yoongi will be responsible for putting him to bed, they’ll alternate doing baths and changing diapers. They’re only allowed to use four curse words a day. Six if it’s a particularly bad day and they both need to spend at least two hours with Jeongguk together. 

“Does he like the carrots?” Namjoon calls from the other side of the apartment. He’s in the living room, which has been transformed into a plastic tarp jungle. Yoongi helped him tape everything up earlier to keep the clay from Namjoon’s latest project from getting on any of their furniture. It’s a commission for a small art exhibit that run by a friend of a friend. It’s due in a week and Namjoon is cutting it kind of close, but when is he not? 

Yoongi wipes the orange goop off of Jeongguk’s chubby cheeks with his thumb. “More than the peas for sure. But half of it is still ending up on his shirt.” 

“Good. The peas made his shit smell weird.” 

Yoongi rolls his eyes, sticking another spoonful in Jeongguk’s mouth. “He’s a baby. All his shit smells weird.” 

“Nah man, I’m telling you. The peas made it whack.” 

“At least he doesn’t smell like burnt clay all the time,” Yoongi calls, pulling the spoon away from Jeongguk’s tiny baby hands. 

“Or paint fumes,” Namjoon throws back. And then more quietly, “Or cigarette smoke.” 

Yoongi freezes. Jeongguk cranes his neck to reach the spoon Yoongi holds in front of his mouth, stagnant. 

“I thought you said you were quitting.” 

Yoongi lets out the breath he was holding as a laugh. “Damn Joon, call me out.” 

“You told me you were quitting.” 

“And I will.” 

“When?” 

Yoongi drops the spoon, and lets it smacked the high chair’s tray with a wet clank. He pushes his chair back. “When I do.” 

“Hyung…” Namjoon rises to his feet, wiping his hands on his the front of his jeans. 

“Don’t hyung me. I’m quitting alright?” Yoongi steps around the kitchen table, and makes to slip past the living room and into his bedroom. “Get off my ass!” 

“You said that three months ago!” Namjoon grabs Yoongi’s arm halting his progress, “It’s not good for you and—” 

Yoongi shakes him off. “I fucking know okay? Quit babying me alright? That’s why we got Jeongguk, isn’t it?” 

“What the fuck does that mean?” Namjoon reaches for his arm again, but before Yoongi can knock his hand away Jeongguk lets out a shrill wail. It’s always astonishing how one second he can be perfectly content and the next he’s a flushed mess of tears and snot, but that’s babies Yoongi supposes. 

“Shit,” Yoongi swears, moving to scoop Jeongguk up in his arms. He lets him press his grubby face into the neck of his sweater. Yoongi rocks him back and forth, bouncing him every other beat or so and whispers into his ears. 

“Shhh, shhh, it’s okay. It’s okay. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It’s okay.” 

He quiets down in seconds and starts to wriggle in Yoongi’s arms until Yoongi sets him back into his highchair pouring some Cheerios onto his tray. Yoongi avoids Namjoon’s eyes. 

“Hyung…” Namjoon begins, but leaves unfinished. 

He doesn’t say anything else. 

If Yoongi is being completely honest deep down (deep, deep, deep down) he thinks fatherhood suits him. Sure it’s a little premature, but hey nothing turns out perfectly. Yoongi is an artist, he knows this shit. 

He’s sketching in Namjoon’s room on his bed with Jeongguk dozing in between his legs, chubby cheeks pressing against Yoongi’s bare thigh and leaving a thick trail of drool. Yoongi’s sketch pad rests on the back of Jeongguk’s head and rises and falls with Jeongguk’s breathing. He’s drawing Namjoon’s hands. Mostly from memory, but every once and a while he’ll look over to where Namjoon is sleeping on the bed beside him. He’s filthy from having just got back from his friend’s studio where he was helping her with a project. He’s covered in soot and half baked clay, his hair (a bleached out yellow, #FFEFBD) is in disarray across his pillow, one shoe on one shoe off, jeans low on his hips showing Yoongi a pair of scarlet boxers that look suspiciously similar to a pair he owns. 

His pointer finger is grasped tightly in one of Jeongguk’s miniature fists and Yoongi stares, transfixed, by their stark differences. Jeongguk’s perfect, baby soft, milky skin is a sharp contrast against Namjoon’s tanned, leathered, calloused, and scarred sculptor hands. 

Yoongi finds himself softly daydreaming about the day Jeongguk’s hands will get bigger. Will he have scars like Namjoon? Will his fingernails be constantly chipped to the quick like Namjoon’s? Will he find bits of paint speckled across his body like Yoongi (behind his ears, inside his knees, between his toes)? Or will they remain white and soft and untouched? 

Yoongi sets his sketch aside and slumps into the pillows, burrowing into a comfortable position. 

He wants to be around to find out. 

Yoongi holds his mug out for Namjoon to refill with soju the patch on his arm catching the light of the ceilings lamps. Jeongguk is finally asleep in what used to be Namjoon’s old room. He’s two now and every article, book, and magazine cover Namjoon has read is telling him about the importance of autonomy for growing children. So goodbye Yoongi’s solitude. Hello Namjoon’s snoring. And sleep-talking. And midnight artistic inspirations. (Namjoon will argue that Yoongi is just as bad with his insomnia, which…of course.)  

It makes sense to move Jeongguk into Namjoon’s room. Yoongi’s has the biggest window in the house which he uses to air out the paint fumes in his room and he isn't about to start living in Namjoon’s old space; the closet smells like mud. 

This is the third night they put Jeongguk to bed in his own room and he still hasn’t taken very well to it. But it’s still an improvement. Instead of a sixty-minute tantrum Jeongguk tuckered himself out at the half-hour mark. It’s truly a time for celebration. Thus the soju. 

“He called me Papa today,” Yoongi comments, lifting the paint stained mug to his lips, some of the soju spills out of the side and dribbles onto his jacket. He’s not the most prim drunk, but he’s leagues ahead of Namjoon. 

“Yeah?” Namjoon takes a gulp straight from the bottle. “You down with that?” 

Yoongi shrugs, “It’s better than fucking Daddy.” 

Namjoon chokes, alcohol spraying out of his mouth in a thin mist. Yoongi wipes his glasses clean. 

“Fuck you,” Namjoon coughs. 

Yoongi just smirks, finishing his mug and gesturing for another. He squirms a bit, rubbing his bare ankles against the softness of Namjoon’s sweater before settling his legs in his lap. His pale legs look positively sickly in the dim light of the living room (they need to replace one of the bulbs) and his feet are tinted a bit blue either from the sub-zero temperatures of their apartment or maybe his latest chalk piece. Namjoon had been complaining about chalk dust getting into his tea earlier this morning. 

“Quit wiggling,” Namjoon grunts, his mouth missing the lip of the bottle and it spills down his neck. 

Yoongi touches his toe to Namjoon’s throat. “Quit being gross.” 

Namjoon bats the foot away. “Impossible.” He sets the empty bottle down and reaches for another. 

“He doesn’t seem to talk a lot. Shouldn't toddlers be more…chatty?” 

Namjoon shrugs, popping the bottle open. “He’s shy.” 

Yoongi grumbles, irritated that his point isn't coming across. “Should we try talking to him more? Should we send him to daycare? He needs friends.” 

Namjoon takes a large gulp, the column working to get it dow, the rose tattoo on the side of his neck on full view. Yoongi had drawn the sketch for him as a birthday present, then Namjoon’s friend Zico had tattooed it for him. Jeongguk likes coloring it in with magic marker when Namjoon is dozing or distracted. 

“He’s starting school in a year or two. He’ll get friends then,” Namjoon says when he’s finished. He motions for Yoongi’s mug and begins to fill it up. 

“You want our son to be an outcast. I bet this is part of your secret agenda to get him to become a tortured artist like you.” 

“Jesus Christ. You’re drunk,” Namjoon laughs, reaching again for Yoongi’s cup this time to take it away. 

Yoongi jerks it out of his reach and drains it in one gulp. 

“It’s cute. How much you care about him.” Namjoon says after a moment. 

“To be honest I thought I was gonna be a fuck up at first,” Yoongi slumps deeper into the couch. It smells like feet and baby wipes. Namjoon tucks Yoongi’s legs under his arm and rubs the bone of his ankle with his thumb. His callouses catch on Yoongi’s skin, tickling him lightly. 

“‘Cause of your parents?” Namjoon guesses. 

“Yeah.” 

“I think you’re doing alright.” 

Yoongi jerks his head up, catching Namjoon’s gaze. Holding it. “Thanks.” 

“Suddenly not so talkative are you?” The side of Namjoon’s mouth stretches into a smirk and Yoongi's dizzy mind tries to focus on his dimple to ground himself. 

“…Yeah.”

Then it hits Yoongi like some kind of lightning strike. The idea tastes like electricity. It crackles in his blood and sings to him. It’s the best fucking idea. Literally the best idea he’s ever had. 

He pulls himself up and yanks Namjoon’s collar, dragging him down and presses his mouth against Namjoon’s. 

It’s too hard. Yoongi can feel Namjoon’s teeth press against his own softened only by the plushness of their lips. Their noses collide and his eyes are closed so tightly that he can see little galaxies exploding in the inky blackness of his vision. His glasses pinch painfully against the bridge of his nose, but he ignores them for now. 

He breathes hard out through his nose and then goes in again, dipping his chin and pressing harder against Namjoon. He opens his mouth and slips his tongue in between the space of Namjoon’s teeth. 

It’s disgusting and wet and sloppy, but Yoongi can’t be bothered. And it seems neither can Namjoon. 

He grips the bones of Yoongi’s hips and presses him into the couch cushions, slotting a knee between Yoongi’s legs. Yoongi doesn't think twice before grinding against the heavy denim of Namjoon’s pants. 

Namjoon chokes into Yoongi’s mouth and Yoongi takes advantage of the distraction to peel Namjoon’s sweater off his torso. Namjoon complies easily and begins to take off Yoongi’s jacket as well.

“What the fuck are we doing?” Namjoon mouths against Yoongi’s sternum and Yoongi hisses at the touch, dragging his nails through Namjoon’s cracked bleached hair. 

“Shut up,” Yoongi rubs against Namjoon’s leg again, and licks a stripe up Namjoon’s neck across his rose to his hairline. It’s fucking disgusting. It’s fucking amazing. 

“This is so gay. Oh my god—” Yoongi cants his hips up in a stunning display of athleticism, successfully getting Namjoon to shut up with some dick touching. 

“Shut up, you are gay.” Yoongi manages to unhook Namjoon’s belt buckle and slide it from its loops, it falls with a clank to the floor. 

“I’m—I don’t know—bisexual or something—fuck—quit licking my ear!” Namjoon yelps once Yoongi begins tonguing at Namjoon’s earlobe. 

Yoongi pulls back. “What if I lick something else?” Without preamble he begins rolling Namjoon’s jeans off his legs. 

“Jesus fuuuck,” Namjoon groans, but makes no move to stop Yoongi, even helps him by shimmying a little faster. “That wasn’t even sexy, that was just gross.” 

“Moan any louder and you’ll wake the baby,” Yoongi hisses. He pushes Namjoon back against the couch and slides in between his legs. 

Nothing makes Yoongi feel more aged than remembering the last time he sucked dick was his junior year in university—almost right after meeting Namjoon. He rests on the backs of his feet and slides Namjoon’s boxers down his thighs without preface. 

Yoongi has seen Namjoon’s dick before—they share a bathroom, it’d be weird if he’d never seen it before—but not like this. It curves against Namjoon’s stomach, blushing and dripping with precome. 

Yoongi snorts, nuzzling the side of his mouth against it. “Eager?” 

“If you’re gonna tease, I’m gonna leave!” Namjoon rakes his fingers through Yoongi’s hair, seemingly very set on staying. 

“Don’t be ridiculous, you’d never get anywhere with your pants around your ankles.” Yoongi licks a stripe up its length. He feels Namjoon’s tummy go taught and his legs quiver as they represses the urge to wrap themselves around Yoongi. 

Namjoon throws his hand into his mouth and bites at the flesh between his pointer finger and thumb. 

“Good god Joons. When was the last time you had your dick touched?” Yoongi licks another trail, this one down to his balls, carefully laving at the delicate skin. 

“You don’t wanna know,” Namjoon moans around his fingers, a line of drool runs down the corner of his mouth and Yoongi has to physically restrain himself from licking it. To distract himself he fit the head of Namjoon’s cock in his mouth and tongues the slit until he sees tears form in the corners of Namjoon’s eyes. Only then does he begin to bob his head down, feeling the slide of Namjoon’s dick against the flatness of his tongue. He takes a deep breath when it hits the back of his throat and lifts his head, dragging his tongue against the vein on the underside of Namjoon’s cock. 

“Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, Jesus, Mary, Buddha, shit, shit—” Namjoon’s chanting is a little ego boosting and Yoongi is drunk enough to get a little hard from it.  “Okay so—ehg—this is kind of embarrassing, but—”

Yoongi pops off his cock with a wet noise and levels Namjoon with a glare. “Joon, I have your dick in my mouth. We’re past that.” 

“Shut up, don’t stop,” Namjoon gasps, “Oh my gosh, don’t stop Yoongi. I’m gonna—I’m gonna—”

“If you say you're coming…” Yoongi fits Namjoon’s cock back into his mouth and moves down until it hit his throat again. He chokes a little on it, far out of practice. 

“I’m coming. Shit, dude, I’m actually gonna come. If you don't want spunk in your mouth you better fucking move!” Namjoon whines, pulling Yoongi’s head off his cock. 

“Wow, talk dirty to me,” Yoongi deadpans. He finishes Namjoon off with his hand, licking a stripe onto his palm and twisting his fist up and down Namjoon’s dick in tight, hard strokes. 

The groan Namjoon lets out is on the same pitch as the one he makes when he wake up from his alarm in the morning, but it’s so much more…it’s a like a revelation. It’s like he’s waking from a fog. His spine arches off the couch and he comes hard enough to splash his come onto Yoongi’s cheek where it dribbles down his neck. 

“Holy shit,” Namjoon gasps, chest heaving. He pulls his hands up to cover his eyes and he groans again—this one is less sexy and more embarrassing. 

“I can finish up in the bathroom if you want a moment,” Yoongi says after a moment, unimpressed. “Were you like this after every orgasm you got in college?” 

“Shut up! It’s been like a fuck ton of years since I’ve come that hard.” 

Yoongi gives a goofy grin that he’s going to blame on the alcohol. “Thanks sweetie.” 

“Uhg, you look like the fucking cat that ate the canary,” Namjoon pushes Yoongi’s cheek, getting some of his own spunk on his hand and tries to wipe it in Yoongi’s hair. 

“Ew, you shit!” Yoongi ducks away. 

“Here let me help you.” Namjoon waves his hand at Yoongi from where he’s crumpled on the couch like some kind of damsel in distress. 

“No thanks. You’ve already killed my boner.” Yoongi makes to move away, but Namjoon—in a startling suave move—grabs Yoongi’s arms and tugs him down until he lies on top of him. 

“Let me help.” His eyelids are heavy and Yoongi tries not to squirm when he feels Namjoon’s hot breath against his lips. He can feel Namjoon’s dick against his thigh and he locks his eyes on Namjoon’s mouth to ground himself. 

“Okay,” Yoongi whispers. Breaths more like, his response is barely audible and a little shaky.  

“Okay?” Namjoon’s eyes glitter in the most enchanting post orgasm bliss that Yoongi is never going to fucking get out of his head.  

“Yeah. Okay. Don’t make me regret this.” Yoongi digs his finger into the soft flesh above Namjoon’s clavicle. 

“We both know we’re going to regret this,” Namjoon says and before Yoongi can reply, Namjoon closes his lips over Yoongi’s and he’s pulled under. 

Yoongi tosses the house keys onto the kitchen table where Jeongguk is sitting with Namjoon’s fingers in his mouth.

“Namjoon I thought we said that you wouldn’t use any part of Jeongguk’s anatomy for your sculptures,” he opens the fridge and pulls out the sippy cup that holds the rest of Jeongguk’s grape juice, he pops the lid and downs it in one swallow. “I think we agreed it was “inhumane” and “nasty”? Plus, I thought his baby teeth didn’t fall out until he was at least five. You’re two years too early.”  

“He ate some of my clay. It’s stuck to his teeth,” Namjoon replies without looking up. 

Jeongguk, ever the good sport, sits quietly with his hands folded demurely in his lap. His mouth is wide enough open that every once and while he yawns and Namjoon has lean away from the blast of hot air.  

“You need an extra hand?” Yoongi slips his phone out of his back pocket and swipes on the flashlight, shining it into the back of Jeongguk’s mouth. There’s clay patched onto his back molars like gum and Namjoon tries scraping it off with his nail. 

“Can’t you use like…a tool?” Yoongi ruffles Jeongguk’s hair a little and the kid blinks owlishly up at him before yawning so hard a tear slips out of the corner of his eye. His tongue squirms a bit and licks the knuckle of Namjoon’s pointer finger, but Namjoon doesn't react at all. Probably didn't even notice. Namjoon gets that way when he’s working on a project. Completely absorbed in his work, almost alarmingly so.  

“Like what?” Namjoon growls, getting a minuscule amount of clay off a tooth and wiping it on Jeongguk’s otter shirt. 

“Don’t you have any fancy sculptor shit laying around here? You already treat our house like a trash heap anyways.” Yoongi steps back and begins searching the living room for anything to assist them. 

“No. I took all my shit to my studio because someone kept complaining about tripping over my tools when he was on one of his one in the morning fridge raids.” Another chunk is lodged free and Jeongguk holds up the corner of his shirt for Namjoon to wipe it on. 

“If I’m not allowed to bitch about how long your showers are then you’re not allowed to bitch about my snacking habits,” Yoongi kicks over a stack of magazines on accident and curses under his breath. 

“First of all—” Namjoon grunts and flicks another piece of clay off his finger, aiming for the sink, but definitely missing “—you do bitch about how long my showers are. And secondly, it’s called self care.” 

“It’s called our heating bill is a couple more digits longer than it needs to be,” Yoongi sticks his head under the coffee table and spots a screw driver that Namjoon had used last week for a project. He had started it at home, but had ultimately moved it to his studio when it got away from him with the help of Yoongi and Jeongguk (re: Yoongi) over the weekend. 

“Then shower with me and we won’t have that problem anymore,” Namjoon mumbles underneath his breath. 

“What?!” Yoongi slams his head against the bottom of the table, “Ow! Fuck!” He crawls out from underneath, screw driver in hand and squints up at Namjoon. “What’d you just say?” 

“Nothing,” Namjoon scowls. 

Yoongi hesitates. It’s been a couple weeks, a month almost. And they still haven’t talked about it. As far as Yoongi knew they weren't going to talk about it. He’d woken up the morning after to a passed-the-fuck-out Namjoon and went about the rest of his day (the rest of his week actually) as if he was walking on egg shells. Neither of them have brought it up. Yoongi gets the impression that it was a one time thing. 

Yoongi walk up to Namjoon’s side and passes him the screwdriver after he wipes it a bit with his sweater, “Here try this.” 

Jeongguk is undaunted by the size of the tool entering his mouth and Yoongi supposes that’s just a testament of their (terrible?) parenting. 

With the help of a sharp tool, the clay is scraped out of Jeongguk’s mouth in no time and Yoongi takes him to the bathroom to brush his teeth and change his shirt while Namjoon cleans the mess he’s made on the kitchen table. 

“Are we eating out?” Namjoon asks wiping the table with a damp paper towel.

“No,” Yoongi calls from the bathroom pulling Jeongguk’s shirt over his head. Little tuffs of his hair stick up crackling with static and he stares up at Yoongi, wide-eyed. Yoongi passes him one of his bath toys, a plastic dinosaur, and Jeongguk takes it delicately, holding it gently with two hands. “We were gonna reheat the leftovers remember?” 

“Ah—I, actually—”

“Namjoon I swear to fu—” Yoongi sneaks a look at Jeongguk sitting on his training potty, watching Yoongi smear toothpaste on Jeongguk’s race car toothbrush. “—ducking god, if you ate our leftovers already!” 

“I threw them out actually,” Namjoon says, voice full of shame. Yoongi hears the trash bin lid open and then slam shut. “I thought they were bad! Haven’t we have them since Wednesday?” 

Yoongi hears Namjoon walk up to the bathroom doorway, but ignores him in favor of tapping Jeongguk’s chin, instructing him to open his mouth. Jeongguk dutifully obeys and allows Yoongi to start brushing his teeth. 

“We got them Friday. They were fine,” Yoongi rolls the toothbrush over Jeongguk’s back molars careful of how deep he’s pushing. 

“Well we can just eat out then,” Namjoon shrugs, unconcerned. 

Yoongi resists the urge to roll his eyes. “We always eat out. Jeongguk can’t survive off of jajangmyeon.” 

Another shrug. “I did. In college.” 

This time Yoongi does roll his eyes. “You’re not really a glowing example of health Joons.” 

“Fuck you grandpa.” 

“You’ve already used all five today.”

“Duck you grandpa.” 

Yoongi wipes his smile off on the sleeve of his sweater, careful to not let Namjoon see it. 

“Fine let’s go grocery shopping then. We’ll make something tonight,” Namjoon concedes. 

Yoongi takes the tooth brush out of Jeongguk’s foamy mouth and instructs the kid to spit in the sink. Namjoon lifts him up by his armpits and they watch as the spit dribbles down Jeongguk’s chin before landing in the sink. 

“You mean I’ll make something tonight. You can barely fucking set a table let alone actually cook.” 

“Five.” 

“Duck you.” This time Yoongi laughs without hiding it at all. 

Yoongi wakes up because of Namjoon. Which isn’t odd in and of himself. He often finds himself either being kicked or startled awake by a loud enough snore. Sharing a bed with a guy as chaotic as Namjoon for sure has it’s drawbacks. But it isn’t all bad, Namjoon usually runs hot and Yoongi can squeeze his freezing toes in between Namjoon’s calves. 

This time it’s the absence of Namjoon that wakes Yoongi. He flings his arm across the bed, searching for Namjoon in the covers before he sees the light running out from underneath their bedroom door. He lies still for a moment and listens for it. Yeah. There it is. Running water. 

He checks the clock (two in the morning) and groans. Could be worse

He kicks the covers off his legs and shuffles out of the bedroom, situating his sweatpants higher on his hips as he pads into the living room. He passes by the bathroom and sees both the sink and the bathtub on. A quick peek into Jeongguk’s room reveals the kid fast asleep. 

Yoongi finds Namjoon on the couch facing their living room window. His knees are tucked under his chin and his arms are weaved in-between his legs in an intricate knot. His fuzzy bed head catches the lights of the city, the reds and greens bleeding into his bright turquoise hair. 

Yoongi doesn’t say anything at first, opting to sit on the coffee table instead. Close enough for Namjoon to see him out of his periphery, but far away enough to give Namjoon his space. The white noise drones on between them and Yoongi folds his feet into his lap, warming them with his hands. 

“You think I coulda done it?” Namjoon finally asks. His gaze doesn’t leave the window. Yoongi notices a piece of paper clutched tightly in his hand. He’s only able to read the word “congratulations” before the rest become indecipherable in Namjoon’s fist. 

“Done what Joon? Be more specific, my brain is oatmeal right now.” 

Namjoon opens his hand to reveal the paper. It’s a letter. Or more specifically, it’s a letter from the art gallery in Normandy Namjoon had slaved most of his young adult life trying to get into congratulating him on his acceptance. There is more shit about him being selected out of a thousand applicants and how happy they are to welcome him into their association. The date on it is old. Maybe a month or so after they got Jeongguk. 

“Shit Joonie,” Yoongi feels prompted to move and…what? Touch him? Hold him? He stands and rests a hand on top of Namjoon’s head, hoping it’s enough. “Why didn’t you say something?” 

Namjoon leans into the touch and it cracks Yoongi’s heart the slightest bit. “‘Cause it didn’t matter.” 

“Of course it mattered,” Yoongi pinches Namjoon’s ear lobe gently. 

“It doesn’t matter more than him,” Namjoon says and Yoongi stills at that. 

You’re right. 

Namjoon looks up at Yoongi and Yoongi forces himself to hold the gaze. It’s obvious he’s been crying; his eyes are glassy and red rimmed and his lashes are a clumped together. “Tell me I did the right thing?” His voice breaks a little on the last word. 

Yoongi curls his fingers into the hair at the back of Namjoon’s neck. “I’m so…proud of you.” Yoongi feels the lump in his throat grow and he hopes his words are enough, because he doesn’t think he can say anything else. 

Namjoon tips his head forward and Yoongi drags his hand down to the notch of his vertebrae, scratching at it with his nails. 

“‘C’mon Joonie. Let’s go to bed.” 

Yoongi holds him until he drifts off, but never manages to fall asleep himself. 

Yoongi is in a suit, so his night is already going pretty shitty. 

Anytime he has to tuck in a shirt and wear shoes that covered his toes is a bad night. Namjoon has been calling his preferred style of dress “grandpa aesthetic” for as long as they’ve known each other, but Yoongi honestly couldn’t care less. He’ll never stop wearing his socks and Birkenstocks, his jeans that were more holes than material, and his huge-ass sweaters that had dry paint cracking off on the tips of the sleeves. Until of course Seokjin hounds him into a suit whenever the event calls for it. 

He is at least successful in talking Seokjin out of making him wear a tie, spouting some bullshit about Seokjin restricting his artistic aura or whatever. Seokjin for sure sees through it. 

Yoongi leaves the apartment at seven (well, a quarter after seven) with Namjoon and Jeongguk sitting in front of the television set, enraptured in the latest Animal Planet special like zombies. 

“Bedtime is at nine!” Yoongi shrugs on a well worn cargo jacket knowing that Seokjin is gonna throw a fit when he sees it. 

Jeongguk makes no indication that he heard, but Namjoon waves the hand with the remote in it in acknowledgment. “Of course. Eight hours of sleep is mandatory for a child of his age.” On the screen a mouse is engulfed by a snake and Jeongguk and Namjoon inch forward as if possessed. 

Yoongi pauses on his way out the door, scowling at them both. “You two are disgusting.”  

“Have fun kissing ass!” Namjoon shouts before Yoongi slams the door. 

Just like Yoongi predicted, Seokjin is pissed and in full bitch mode by the time Yoongi slips into the cab. He does his best to sneak an earbud into his right ear, which is blocked from Seokjin’s line of vision, but Seokjin isn’t having any of it tonight and rips the headphones out. 

The drive to the exhibit is spent dutifully listening to Seokjin list off all the important celebrities and philanthropists he’s going to be expected to greet, which ones he’s actually expected to hold a conversation with and the ones he should just flat out stay away from. 

The cab drops them off at the front of the gallery building and Seokjin is already stressed because they’re late, but Yoongi thinks that the guests will understand. He says as much to Seokjin, but regrets it not even a second later. 

“Don’t give me this artistic expression bullshit. You’re not popular or well-liked enough for your tardiness to be overlooked, now get your ass in gear and smile with all of those pretty teeth your parents straightened out for you in middle school.” Seokjin holds the door open for him and guides him in with a hand on the small of his back, that’s more terrifying than reassuring. 

Attending exhibits and galleries should be a walk in the park by now—God knows how many Yoongi has gone to. But being just a casual attender is worlds different than being someone who’s actually in the show and expected to like…talk. 

Every once and a while, Namjoon and Yoongi will rebel in the tiniest ways and attend galleries they have no business being at just to be somewhere where they don't have to talk about their work and kiss up to the big names. They’ll take Jeongguk along sometimes, but at his age he’s much more interested in trucks and animals.

Almost a half hour into exchanging introductions and pleasantries Yoongi manages to slip away from Seokjin. He grabs a flute of champagne and slides his cell out of his front pocket, swiping it open and sending a text to Namjoon.

 

Yoongi 

you two still watching that nasty shit ?
Read 7:55

 

Namjoon

nah. we’re watching a documentary on cats
Read 7:56

 

Yoongi

cats?
Read 7:56

 

Namjoon

big cats. lions, tigers… oh my

how’s the show?
Read 7:58

Yoongi 

lost jin

n you know i hate looking at my work after im done w it

champange is good tho

*champagne
Read 7:59

Namjoon

**ditched Jin

if they have good snacks bring some home for Kooks and I
Read 8:01

 

Yoongi

finish the leftovers fist 

*first

then snacks
Read 8:01

 

Namjoon

heartless
Read 8:02 

 

Yoongi smirks and sips out of the flute again. He passes by an tray of hors d’oeuvres and snatches two of them. He pops them into his mouth in quick succession and licks the crumbs from his lips and fingers 

 

Yoongi

had something that was like those flakey crust things with that cream cheese in the middle that we had at myungsoos show 

ya know

french 
Read 8:04

 

Namjoon

ew 

no 

you know my body hates lactose
Read 8:06

 

Yoongi

more like lactose hates your body 

rip our bathroom 
Read 8:07

 

Namjoon

if you bring that up one more time I’ll have no choice but to bring up that one time
Read 8:08

. . .  

 

“Yoongi!” 

 

Yoongi

shit jin found me

talk to you later
Read 8:09

 

Namjoon

<3
Read 8:09

 

“Jesus Christ, where have you been? I thought you walked out!” Seokjin’s tone is light and joking, but his eyes are anything but. Yoongi is lucky there’s a witness present wo Seokjin can’t beat his ass. 

He looks over at the short man Seokjin has got by the arm. The way he allows himself to be yanked around by Seokjin reveals a relationship that runs deeper than business associates. The suit jacket that Seokjin has got his fingers twisted into is Armani—or what Yoongi is pretty sure is Armani. Whatever, it looks rich. Means the guy most likely is a sponsor or a philanthropist…or both. 

Please God, don’t let him be an artist. I wouldn't survive the humiliation. He looks like he’s fucking twenty-years old.

“Yoongi let me introduce you to Park Jimin.” Park Jimin extends his hand and Yoongi shakes it briskly. It’s a tiny little thing, but makes sense with the proportions of his body. It’s also baby soft, like Jeongguk’s. “We know each other from university. I was his senior by three years, but we shared some business classes together. And Jimin this is Min Yoongi, my friend and also my client. Yoongi, you should show Jimin around! He’s looking into becoming a sponsor. Talk, talk!” Seokjin flaps his hands between the two of them as he retreats, “I see someone I have to talk to before they leave. I’ll catch you both in a bit, hm?” 

And just like that they’re left alone.  

“So you’re an artist?” Jimin asks from underneath his lashes, his head conked to the side. The dim ceiling lights cast a glow on Jimin’s cheekbones and Yoongi resists the urge to drain his drink. Shit

“I—yeah. I am. A painter, specifically.” 

Jimin’s eyes widen as if surprised, but Yoongi is pretty sure he’s known all along. Seokjin has a problem with oversharing…and setting his friends up. “Oh! Is any of your work here tonight?” 

Yoongi snorts into his champagne flute, “Yeah, otherwise I wouldn't be wearing a fucking suit.” 

Then Jimin, honest to God, giggles. It twinkles into the space between them and Yoongi is immediately, irrevocably enchanted. 

Jimin takes a step closer. The breeze from the open door gently tosses his hair from it’s immaculately placed golden waves. Yoongi aches to run his hand through it. Maybe it’s the artist in him, desperately wishing to touch something as gorgeous as Jimin. To trace it, capture it, recreate it. His mind is desperately trying to identify the brown of Jimin’s eyes. #6F4E37, no…#835C3B? 

“Could you maybe show it to me?” Jimin asks, voice soft, but bewitching and Yoongi knows he can’t—won’t—refuse. 

“Sure. No problem,” Yoongi holds out his elbow and Jimin graciously accepted it. 

 

Namjoon

you coming home soon?
Read 11:21

Yoongi 

nah

met someone

dont wait up

see you tomorrow
Read 12:58

Namjoon

k.
Read 12:59

 

The thing about being a celebrity is that people recognize you. The thing about barely being a celebrity is that only some people recognized you. Or they recognized that they should recognize you. 

“Are you an actor? I swear I’ve seen you in something. Maybe on a magazine. Are you a model?” 

Yoongi looks down at his ripped jeans, ratty sweater, and beaten Birkenstock sandals. He can see the paint on his knees from where they peek out from the slits in his pants and he knows he has #191970 Midnight Blue smeared against his cheekbone. 

“Uhh. Yeah something like that. Is Jeongguk ready for me to pick him up?” 

“Oh sure! Of course! Let me go get him. He’s probably playing with Tae-Tae!” The daycare worker disappears into the back door that leads to the play room and Yoongi lets some of the tension in his shoulders seep out. 

His ears perk up at the mention of Jeongguk with a playmate. Jeongguk usually keeps to himself at daycare. Content to color his own pictures and play in the sandpit by himself. Namjoon has told him that it isn’t out of the ordinary for a three year old to be shy, but Yoongi still has his reservations. 

Jeongguk comes walking out of the back room hand in hand with the daycare worker. His backpack is unzipped (like always) and a kid is busy shoving papers into it. 

The kid is a little taller than Jeongguk by a couple centimeters. His hair is a mess, standing in every direction and his face is covered in what looks to be deliberate pen markings. (Yoongi quickly checks Jeongguk’s face.) Yoongi counts more than three bandaids on the kid and all of them are Disney Princesses. 

“Say goodbye to Jeongguk Tae-Tae,” the worker beams down at the blur of a boy as she pulls Jeongguk through the gate. As soon as he safely reaches the other side Yoongi lifts him into his arms. Perhaps a little protective but the odd ball of a boy won’t stop touching Jeongguk. 

“Bye Kookie! I’ll see you tomorrow right? You’ll be back tomorrow?” The boy swivels his head to fix Yoongi with the toothiest grin ever. One of his two front teeth is missing. Or half missing. It’s chipped in off. Yoongi hopes that it’s a baby tooth. “He’s coming back tomorrow right?” 

“Uhh,” Yoongi exchanges a look with the worker, but her smile never falters. “Sure? Yeah, he’ll be back tomorrow. Thanks for playing with him.” Jeongguk hides his face in Yoongi’s neck. “He’s pretty shy.” 

“I like him! He’s funny! And he can draw really well! He drew me a picture of rabbits on the moon!”

Yoongi ruffles Jeongguk’s hair. “Yeah, he’s pretty special. We’ll see you tomorrow kid.” 

After waving a goodbye to the creepy daycare worker and pushing the door open with his hip, Yoongi tucks Jeongguk into his carseat and slides into the car. 

“How was daycare kiddo?” Yoongi asks pulling out of the lot and onto the main road. He takes a left, towards Namjoon’s studio.

“It was good,” Jeongguk answers. 

Yoongi rolls his eyes. “Just good? Anything happen in particular?” He checks the rearview mirror catching a glimpse of Jeongguk gazing out the window in his carseat, hands folded in his lap. 

“Nope,” Jeongguk replies, either refusing to cooperate or reluctant to share. 

“Who was that boy who said goodbye to you?” Yoongi tries for a nonchalant figuring it to be the best approach. 

“Oh. That was Taehyung.” 

Bingo. “He your friend?” Yoongi catches Jeongguk shrugging in the mirror. “What’s he like?” 

“He likes dinosaurs. And the orange crackers we have for snack.”
“That’s cool! You like snacks and dinosaurs too. What else is he like?” 

“He screams when he yawns.” 

“What the fu—eck? What the heck? Why?” 

Jeongguk shrugs again and starts doodling on the car window. A smiley face and then a flower. “He says it’s what his daddy does. He thinks it’s funny.” 

“Do you think it’s funny?” 

Another shrug, but this one is accompanied with a smile. So Yoongi takes that as a yes. 

“Do you want to invite him over some time?” Yoongi flicks on his blinker on and drives into Namjoon’s building’s parking garage. 

Jeongguk chews his lip on that one. “Maybe,” he finally says once Yoongi is pulled into Namjoon’s parking spot and parks the car. 

Yoongi lets Jeongguk press the button for the elevator and walk on his own to Namjoon’s flat. Yoongi shoulders the door open for them both knowing that Namjoon doesn’t have the brains to remember to lock it properly. 

“Sweetheart!” Yoongi calls, voice as dry as the brittle clay pots Namjoon has stacked in the corner of his studio. 

Namjoon starts from behind the giant clay mass that stands in the center of the room. His hair is tucked into a beanie, safe from the dirt and grime, but his face isn't as fortunate. A smear of gray runs from between his eyebrows up to the start of his hair line, there’s another mark underneath his jaw Yoongi notices as he approaches the statue. 

“This is…neat.” It looms at least seven feet tall and Yoongi unconsciously bumps Jeongguk away from it with his hip, not trusting its stability for a second. And given that its creator is Namjoon…Yoongi has every right to be judgmental. 

Jeongguk holds out one of the pictures he made during craft time for Namjoon solemnly and Namjoon beams. He plants a kiss on Jeongguk’s cheek and babbles to him about his day while he hangs the picture along with their brethren on the big wall next to the floor length window. More than a hundred pictures decorate the wall—all of them are Jeongguk’s scribbles, though a couple are Yoongi’s absentminded doodles. Tiny pictures of eyes, flowers, sailboats, birds on a stray napkin, an art show bulletin, a movie ticket. Things others might have thrown away—but not Namjoon. 

Yoongi knows that Namjoon has a tendency to collect strays. 

Once they have Jeongguk set up in the corner with some apple slices and a lump of clay Yoongi tells Namjoon about Taehyung. 

“It’s the first kid he’s really talked about,” Yoongi watches as Namjoon rips off a chunk of clay, tossing it onto the tarp at his feet. 

“Didn’t he used to talk about that Junhoe kid? Koo Junhoe, right?” Namjoon wipes his hand on his button up and goes in again. 

Yoongi rolls his eyes. “He used to come home crying about that Junhoe kid. There’s a difference Nams.” 

Namjoon colors a bit, but keeps his face neutral. “Fine. Whatever. Junhoe was a bust. What’s so great about this Taehyung?” 

Yoongi mimics the Jeongguk from earlier in the car and shrugs. “I have no idea. Just that it’d be nice if Jeongguk finally made a friend that isn’t his paternal figures or his next door neighbor’s pet poodle.” 

Namjoon sits back and sighs, rubbing his arm across his forehead. The clay already there smears even more horribly and Yoongi scratches his thumb nail at it until Namjoon swats him away. “Okay, so we invite this kid over?” 

“Don’t get so excited,” Yoongi glowers, stepping around the statue and walks over to where Jeongguk is currently constructing what looks to be a bear. 

Namjoon swats Yoongi’s ass with a towel from his back pocket before he can walk too far away. “Quit being such an ass.” 

“Pull your head out of your’s,” Yoongi counters before getting comfortable on the floor with Jeongguk. The kid crawls into Yoongi’s lap and breaks his clay creation in half, giving the larger portion to Yoongi and instructs him to build a daddy bear. 

“Hurry up and finish. We’re going out to dinner, remember?” Yoongi calls, rolling a head for his daddy bear. 

“You’re not going out with Jimin tonight?” Namjoon looks over his shoulder, hiding his surprise by tugging his beanie lower to his brows. 

“We went over this,” Yoongi blows the bangs hanging in front of his eyes, “I asked him for a raincheck, told him we were going out with Jeonggukkie. He understands. Now hurry!” 

“Yeah, yeah,” Namjoon calls, already losing interest in his project as he stares at Yoongi and Jeongguk tucked away in the corner of his studio. They always did make it hard for him to focus. 

“Okay, so I get that art exhibits aren’t the most exciting thing ever, but uh it’s kind of part of your occupations. And Namjoon, you’re being honored tonight. So try to lighten up!” Seungri snaps his fingers underneath Namjoon and Yoongi’s noses, accomplishing the exactly opposite of what he was saying in his encouragement. “What’s got you two so mopey anyways? Lover’s spat?” 

Namjoon ignores the bait. “Jeongguk is at his first sleep over.” 

Seungri pauses as he opens the glass doors for the couple. “Oh that’s cute. A friend of his from daycare?” 

“Yeah, the mayor’s kid,” Yoongi growls.

“Damn! Mayor Kim’s only son? Shit guys. How’d you manage that?” Seungri looks impressed, which…is ridiculous. Jeongguk picks his friend, not Yoongi or Namjoon.

“Fuck off,” Yoongi hisses, pushing past Namjoon to stalk to the bar. 

“We’re a bit…nervous. He’s never been without at least one of us for this long before,” Namjoon says softly, watching with Seungri as Yoongi downs a glass of whisky and calls for another. 

“I’m positive that he’s more chill than the two of you right now. C’mon, greet the sponsors with me or forever be dirt poor,” Seungri says behind his smile, tugging Namjoon in the direction of sparkly evening gowns and dapper pant suits. 

“We’re not dirt poor,” Namjoon cranes his head over the crowd to try and signal Yoongi with his eyes to stop after his third glass. If Yoongi gets the message he makes no response. 

“Well you’re definitely not filthy rich. So take advice from someone who is and let’s kiss some ass,” Seungri says in one breath and in the next greets a familiar looking couple with the phoniest smile Namjoon has ever seen. “Mr. and Mrs. Hong! How is Jisoo? Studying hard in university? You remember Kim Namjoon of course. His work is being honored tonight…” 

Namjoon lets the familiar ebb and flow of the evening wash over him. He’s done this countless times. Smile, greet the person in the expensive outfit, smile again, exchange pleasantries, try not to sound like you're begging for funds, but beg for funds, and remember to smile until it’s fucking stuck to your face. 

Namjoon’s good at it. Or has gotten good at it. But Yoongi is better. Namjoon still holds to the belief he’s had since his junior year of university that Yoongi was born to be a swindler. The world is void of what should have been. 

Namjoon risks the weight of Seungri’s excellent stink eye and pulls out his phone. 

 

Namjoon 

where the fuck are you? 

have you passed out behind the bar?
Read 8:33

Yoongi

dont b dumb

im looking at your shit 

there are a lot of pple looking at it

get your ass over here
Read 8:35

 

Namjoon’s “shit” is actually the project he’s been working on for the last three months. It’s been kept under wraps for the most part. The only people who ever laid eyes on it before tonight were Yoongi, Jeongguk, and Seungri. 

Seungri and Namjoon weave their way through the gallery until they come to the room where Namjoon’s sculptor stands erect in the middle, the only thing in the room besides the tiny podium off to the side of it that reads “Starving”. 

A small collection of people are gathering around it and murmuring. 

“There he is!” A voice booms. Namjoon stops his search for Yoongi short and raises his head to address the voice. It’s Kris Wu. The gallery owner. 

“Ladies and gentlemen the star of the show!” Kris has always had a flare for the dramatics, Namjoon just wishes it didn’t include him. He loops through the crowd, careful to not bump into anyone, to join Kris by the side of his piece. 

“Namjoon why don’t you tell us a little bit about your piece here. What inspired you to make it? What do you hope it makes us feel?” 

Namjoon is lucky to have Kris’ support. He’s the main reason he’s come as far as he has, but…at the same time—Kris has no idea what he’s talking about. Namjoon doesn't create so he can talk about it later. Namjoon creates and then he lets it breathe. He lets it take a life of its own. Namjoon can’t tell someone what to think about his pieces because half the time he doesn’t even know what to think of his pieces. 

But the other half of the time…he doesn’t want to share about the process. He doesn't want to share the thoughts he had making it. He doesn't want to share…it. He wants to leave it be. Be selfish with it. And let the people who feed it its magic feed off its magic. 

“Uhh, okay. Cool. Sure.” Seungri is face-palming, but ah! There’s Yoongi! He’s standing off in the corner of the room. Glass of whisky in his hand, smirk on the corner of his mouth. He rolls his eyes softly and Namjoon feels his heart stutter. He takes a steading breath and levels his sculpture with a look. 

It’s a curious thing. An exquisite thing, but strange. The two humanoid figures are too spindly, too long and smooth to be proper humans. They’re free of their bony juts and saggy skin—too perfect. But in that perfection they’re startling and alarming. They’re not warm. 

They’re locked in a battle. But it’s more of a song or a dance than a feud. Their heads are fused into one and their arms twist together until you can’t tell where one begins and one ends. They’re locked together. Fated. But there’s a struggle. It’s a combined struggle. They struggle together to be together. A heaviness lies in between them. A sort of thirst. A hunger to remain together. They’re starved to be together. They starve for one another. 

Namjoon realizes he still hasn’t said anything yet. Seungri clears his throat. 

“Shi—shoot sorry guys. Uh, I’m not as good with my mouth as I am with my hands—” Yoongi shorts into his glass and Namjoon ignores Seungri’s second facepalm of the night. “I worked on this for the last three months. But the idea has always kind of been inside me since like…university.” Namjoon pauses, trying to organize his thoughts. “Anyways, uh, I just thought about things like destiny and fate and shit, but then those who don't experience that. Or those who only experience it for themselves, but their like…other half, doesn’t.” 

Seungri swipes his hand across his neck. No good. 

“Sorry, that probably doesn't make any sense. Um, let’s try that again. Basically, it’s two people who want to belong together, struggling to belong together.” 

A thumbs-up from Seungri. 

“I named it ‘Starving’ just ‘cause it was the strongest feeling I could think of. It’s more than longing or lust. It’s a…physical pain. A hollowness, an emptiness that consumes you. It’s…” Namjoon sneaks a look at Yoongi in the back. He’s still. The glass in his hand lies forgotten in his grip, his body is held absolutely rigid, face purposefully blank and Namjoon tries not to read into it. Tries not to think what it means. 

“It’s starving.” Namjoon finishes to the silent room. 

There’s a small collection of people who clap, but most of them remain silent as they regard the sculpture, struggling to look at it through the lens Namjoon presented them with.

Namjoon ignores the pat on the back Kris gives him and the yank to his ear Seungri punishes him with in favor of looking at Yoongi.

But he’s gone.