The airport was hellish.
He's supposed to be used to it, this kind of love that crushes and shrieks and shoves and crowds closer and closer. They've talked about it, just the seven of them, none of them like it of course. But firmly, knowing it's an unwhole truth they were choosing to believe rather than believing, they decided it's a kind of love, and the discomfort is just a byproduct they had to deal with. That's the whole point of being an idol after all, right? To foster more love. So much of what they did every day was to create more love for their group, to whip it up into a frenzy, so if fans got overzealous at the airport, they had to decide it was just a sign of their job well done.
The first time, he'd repeated the thought over and over as he was jostled down the long airport corridors, willing himself not to flinch when a girl with long hair clobbers herself into their manager's arm or when phones get shoved in his face, a mass of bodies quickening pace to stay close. But as the fans increased he hid more and more. The masks and hats and oversized hoodies were a poor barrier though, and his body twinged helplessly with the needless terror, barely controlled until it spilled over at the first private moment alone.
It's cold here on the bathroom floor, seeping in through his clothes the longer he sits. He can hear Namjoon asking about him, deep voice muffled from the other side of the bathroom door. His stupid heart rises in hope even as shame sears through him. Yoongi who can't do what everyone else can do. Weak Yoongi, Yoongi who can't shut up about being sad, can't shut up about his feelings. And even as he tells himself, you're the only one who says that, he knows it's true.
Taehyung tells Namjoon, “I think he went to the bathroom, I dunno it's been a while, maybe he snuck off for a nap.”
“We're done here anyway,” Seokjin grins, flicking Jungkook in the ear to get him to move from his lap. “We're going out. Apparently there's some famous arcade around, wanna come?”
Wiping at his tear-swollen eyes, Yoongi hopes Namjoon will say yes even as he silently begs him to say no.
“Nah, nah I think I'll just work on some songs,” he hears Namjoon say, and it overwhelms him. He knows it's for him and he hates it; Namjoon deserves to have at least one afternoon to relax, but here he is, adding to Namjoon's worries. More sobs wrack through his body and he buries his face in his palms, curling more into the cold glass door of the hotel shower.
They all file out of the hotel room, noisy as usual, and it goes quiet for a minute, long enough for Yoongi to wonder if maybe Namjoon actually went to his own room like he said.
A quiet knock at the door. He wants to answer but knows how pathetic his voice will sound. Another knock, immediately followed by Namjoon's low voice, “Hyung?”
He can't say anything, but Namjoon hears the sniffle and cracks the door wide enough to peek in. “Ah, hyung,” he murmurs, and Yoongi's sure he sounds disappointed.
“I'm sorry,” he whispers, turning his face away. “I'm sorry I'm like this. You should've just gone with them Joon, I'm not... I'm never gonna get better.”
They've had this conversation so many times before, and he's sorry for that too. Namjoon crouches beside him on the floor, a warm, hesitant hand on Yoongi's shoulder. “That's not true, you get better all the time. It's just hard to see when you're in it.”
“It's not true,” Yoongi tries to say but it comes out as an incoherent warble. Embarrassed, he buries his face in the arm of his big hoodie.
“Yoongi,” he whispers. “We've known each other for eight years. It is true. Look, you know I wouldn't just say it. Hell, I can't afford to even, as leader. If I thought you were getting worse, it'd be bad for the group, I'd tell you you have to get more help.”
Namjoon sits beside him on the cold floor and slides their fingers together. “But, that's without taking into consideration how much I care about you, as Namjoon.”
“I'm sorry you have to care about someone so stupid,” he cries. The words spoken ache through his bones, hating how true they feel, how he can never trust Namjoon's reassurances that they're not, because of course he has to say that.
Too damn wise for his young years, Namjoon instead says nothing. He just sits close and lets the poisonous words leave Yoongi, combing his thin fingers through Yoongi's soft black hair.
“I'm not what I'm supposed to be, Joon. And it's so stupid, my stupid fucking brain just-! In crowds like that I'm not even scared that anything bad is gonna happen, I'm just scared and it's so stupid,” he sobs.
“It's okay," Namjoon whispers, leaning forward to repeat the words with a kiss to the top of his head. He nuzzles his nose into his hair and kisses a little harder like maybe Yoongi didn't feel the first one. It's to no avail, Yoongi won't show his face and the tears won't stop. "But you know it- it's not you, it's anxiety. You're doing all you can but, anxiety isn't something you can outsmart or, or crush to death once and for all.”
He wails at the awful, frustrating truth. “I know,” he pouts in a tear cracked voice. “I know, Joon.”
“I know you know,” he says softly, fingers still playing in his hair. He sighs with worry, back to combing his fingers through Yoongi's hair since words and kisses aren't helping. “Want me to sit on you?”
It was a thing they did when Yoongi got like this, the smothering weight an odd comfort. He nods, finally sitting up and letting Namjoon see his face.
“Hyung,” he breathes, sad at the blotchy, swollen state of Yoongi's face. “Come here.”
He let Namjoon pick him up from under his armpits and lay him out on the bathroom floor. It doen't matter, no one has used it yet, and the fancy hotel is immaculate. Laying on his back, he lets Namjoon lay heavy on top of him, long legs kneeling along side his waist so Yoongi has room enough to breathe, just enough.
It's a broad, crushing weight, and Yoongi sometimes wonders if it helps so much because it forces him to focus on his breathing, chest struggling just a bit to rise against Namjoon's. But then again, maybe it helps because it's Namjoon, warm and distant Namjoon who understands even when he doesn't, who listens even if he doesn't hear everything said, who smells like coconut soap and sweat and cotton.
“It was really bad this time, huh. At the airport, I mean.” Namjoon's voice is nestled right beside his ear, and he presses the softest kiss to the sensitive skin of neck.
Yoongi nods and stares up at the ceiling, unseeing. “The damn route out to the vans is just so long at this airport and there's just... always more fans but, you know how narrow that hall is and they just- I know nothing bad is gonna happen but everyone just got so close and Jimin tripped and it's not like I was worried he would get trampled to death or anything but it was just so loud, so many voices and I just, it just- just-” he exhales hard in frustration, never quite able to find what exactly is the damn problem. Just him, he supposes, he's the problem.
“I know. I know, hyung.” He says it so soft, and it's unfair; Namjoon knows how soothing he can make his voice can be. He kisses him again below his ear, fumbles around to cup his big, delicate hand around the other side of Yoongi's wet face and shakes with the tiny tremors of Yoongi's silent sobs.
“Don't do that,” he whispers. “Don't 'I know, hyung' me. It only makes it better for this time, but it's never gonna stop. I'm trapped, Joon. Trapped by this fucking dream that I didn't even want but I want, and it just, comes with this shit and there's nothing I can even do but be grateful because I don't even deserve it. It's not this hard for anyone else, like come on, I'm just god damn k-pop idol and I can't even be that?! What the fuck is wrong with me, Joon, I'm that weak?”
He rages and wails beneath Namjoon's body, slapping Namjoon's hand away but it's gently replaced every time until Yoongi finally gives in with a feeble “I hate being how I am, Joon.” Petulant and desperate, knowing that even saying the pathetic truth out loud won't ease it. Knowing that as bratty and honest as he allows himself to get, Namjoon will hold him and murmur soft against his skin.
Small beneath him, Yoongi cries and finally wraps his arms around Namjoon. “Joon do you ever- you're just gonna say no.” He pauses, considering whether he should bother saying it anyway. “Do you ever wish you could leave me? Honestly. Do you feel trapped?”
Namjoon hums on top of him, really considers the question instead of rushing to placate him. It makes Yoongi feel a little better, even as it fills him with fear.
The thinking goes long, Yoongi's tears quieting in growing anticipation for the answer. Surely Namjoon wouldn't break up with me now, not now when I'm crying on the bathroom floor, surely, right?
Namjoon lifts off his chest to stare into his bloodshot eyes, stares and considers and doesn't look away. “No,” he finally answers, one word that echos off the tiled walls.
A big shaky exhale leaves Yoongi. “That's it? Why'd it take you so long,” he pouts, hiccuping a residual shivery cry.
Namjoon smiles and kisses his chin. “It feels like that sometimes, like being trapped. I think... the more you care, the more you're trapped. That's why I feel so trapped, sometimes. In myself, in all the things I care about. That's why you feel so trapped with... with Bangtan and all, because you care a lot, and it's terrifying. So yeah, sometimes, I wish I could leave everything.”
His mind is a disconnected mess rushing from blurry blobs of thought to another, staring back into Namjoon's eyes but not even seeing him. “Am I part of everything?”
“Yes.” It's not the answer he wanted to hear, and that comforts him. “But I never want to be without you.”
“Doesn't make sense,” Yoongi whispers, knowing that despite that, it's true.
Scooping Yoongi up off the floor, Namjoon nods and coaxes him up into his lap so he can lay kisses his salty cheek. “What,” he laughs, that soft airy sound.
Yoongi tries to stop pouting but he's too tired. “I still wanted to be laid on,” he grumbles.
“Well let me lay on you in the bed, the floor is cold.”
That's fine with him, enough out of crisis mode to want some basic comforts, and nothing comforts him as quickly as a big, soft bed and the rise and fall of Namjoon's chest against him.
The eight seconds it takes to walk out of the bathroom to the smooth cube of a hotel bed is enough time to make him self conscious, embarrassed again and not panicked enough to be distracted from it. He grabs Namjoon around the waist from behind and buries his face in between his shoulder blades. “I'm sorry, Joon. I'm not just saying it because, y'know, panic attacks, I'm- I'm really sorry you have to care about me with all my shit. And I know, you're gonna try to tell me I shouldn't say that or whatever and I know, but I just, I need you to know I'm really sorry.”
He didn't mean for it to happen, but fat, warm tears are rolling down his cheeks again. Namjoon sighs so hard, like he's tired, like it's too much. “Sorry,” Yoongi whispers again.
Namjoon gently unwraps Yoongi's arms from around him without a word and pulls back the blankets, untucking the sheets from under the mattress because he knows Yoongi hates it. He motions for Yoongi to climb in and follows after him, flopping onto Yoongi's back, a soothingly heavy weight.
Several minutes pass like this, Yoongi both comforted and uneasy at Namjoon's deep quietness. With a deep breath that pushes Yoongi a little more into the mattress, Namjoon finally speaks up. “Hyung the thing is I don't- I don't have to care about you, you know.”
Yoongi's heart falls to his stomach.
“I mean, it would be romantic, that kind of inevitable, consuming, et cetera et cetera love. I used to want that. I still want that sometimes because... in some ways it'd be easier? But the truth is, at some point, at several points, probably forever, loving someone is a choice. So I mean, yeah, sometimes I wish I could leave you along with everything else but, every time, I choose not to. I choose to keep caring and being in love and being trapped because I want to. So don't be sorry, I don't have to be with you. But I'll always choose to be.”
He almost sounds angry, and it's hard to tell if it's because he's a little annoyed or if it's just the way his voice sounds when he gets into one of his rambling epiphanies. “Okay?” he says, forceful like he expects an answer. Annoyed, then, and it makes Yoongi smile.
“Okay,” Yoongi says meekly into the mattress. He unearths his arm from under their weight and pats around blindly for Namjoon's arm. Finally finding it, he lifts up his face and tucks Namjoon's palm beneath it, soothed by the way it cradles his face when he lays his head back down.
Hotel rooms are always so oddly silent, sounds too muffled to be recognizable. It has become comforting to him over the years, especially since this thing with Namjoon happened a year and a half ago. So fucking nervous at first, for months, unsure if they should stop it, unable to stop it, struggling to find moments alone.
Hotels, though. It was easy and inevitable to come together, just the two of them. It has become Yoongi's impermanent happy place, always a different hotel room but they're always the same. White sheets without a wrinkle, neutral colored walls with nondescript artwork, a table full of recording equipment and Namjoon all around him. Too exhausted to smile but he feels like smiling as he closes his eyes and soaks it all in.
“We're just tired I think, Joon. In ten years, maybe less, it's all gonna be so different. We won't have the crowds trying to bury us, we won't have these endless schedules. We can just... have an apartment together, a dog. You can come lay on me when I have a panic attack about how I don't know how to live anymore without constantly being busy and overwhelmed,” he laughs, a mostly soundless thing struggling against Namjoon's weight.
Wincing at the stiff muscles, Namjoon finally slides off him and stretches his neck. He rolls Yoongi onto his back like a log and stares down at him. “You wanna live with me?” he grins, hovering so close that Yoongi can't look away, thumb dragging soft across Yoongi's lips. “D'you think about that a lot, hyung?” he teases. “Making me a lunch to take to work, slow dancing in the living room, raising our dog child?”
He knows Namjoon is teasing him, but he's vulnerable and too tired to bicker. He just nods, round eyes up at Namjoon. “Yeah,” he whispers. “It sounds really nice, Joon. You know, growing old together or whatever.”
Amusement still dances in Namjoon's eyes, but the big smile gives way for a more serious fondness. “It does,” he murmurs, and dips down to kiss Yoongi, slow and warm.
“Geez, hyung,” Namjoon laughs, sliding half off the bed to dig around in his backpack.
“What-” Yoongi leans up on his elbows to see but is interrupted by a fistful of mints being shoved in his mouth. “Fuck you,” he whines around the candies. “I've been crying and dry heaving for an hour, what do you expect!”
Namjoon does that loud idiot giggle that Yoongi secretly loves and pins Yoongi back down to the bed. He kisses him again, a smiley thing, taking his time to kiss the curve of his top lip and the pout of the bottom, brushing their noses together before he kisses each puffy eyelid. It's always like this when Namjoon starts, getting addicted to covering Yoongi's face in kisses, wetter and wetter as he gets in a giddy trance.
“You're like a big slobbery puppy,” Yoongi complains, batting Namjoon away and wiping his face dry.
“I'm your big slobbery puppy,” Namjoon says, face stretched in a big contented smile.
Yoongi stacks all the pillows against the headboard and sits up, pulling Namjoon in between his legs so he can squeeze him tight to his chest. They sit for a while in the muffled sounds of the hotel like they're traveling through the night in the bowels of a ship, breathing in each other's warmth.
“Do you think we'll make it to that? Thirty five, or forty?”
A chuckle reverberates through Namjoon's chest. “I mean, I'm not planning to die, so...”
Yoongi swats at his thigh. “I mean, us, we, do you think we will make it to that? Like will we really survive this whole thing? No one even knows how serious we are and, and we can't even properly date so how can we-? I don't know. Sorry, it's a stupid question, there's no way to know,” he trails off in a mutter.
Craning his neck around to look up at Yoongi, Namjoon pulls Yoongi's arms tighter around his chest, grinning at his cuddly little grumpy Yoongi. “How serious are we, hyung?”
He scowls at being teased again in his delicate state. “Real Serious,” he grumbles. “Quit making fun of me.”
“I'm not making fun of you,” Namjoon insists, and it's not fair, he's so warm and those dimples and those crinkles at the corners of his eyes make him so soft. “I just like it when you get like this. I know how I feel, and I know you like me but, I'm never quite sure how it's framed in your mind, you know?”
He sighs heavy and considers what to say. “I just... I don't like saying it out loud because it's... never enough? The words are never enough. It makes me anxious, knowing that I tried to explain it but you won't be able to feel how I actually feel, you'll just accept the words you heard as being it, but it's never totally it.”
Namjoon nods and bites gently at Yoongi's knuckles, a weird habit he's developed when he's thinking.
“But I mean, you know, I- I know with our circumstances we can't properly be together but, I'm serious, thinking about the chance to someday do the whole, 'be Joon's Yoongi' thing keeps me going sometimes. A lot- a lot of the time.”
He can tell the gravity of his words hits Namjoon hard and it scares him a little. For lack of anything else to do, he buries his face in the crook of Namjoon's neck and squeezes him tight. The musing silence goes on longer than he can take. “You don't have to take it that serious, Joon! Like I said, I know we can't even properly really... do this shit right now so there's no reason to try to, fuckin'... I don't know. You know.”
“Yeah I know,” Namjoon smiles, turning Yoongi's hand to kiss his palm. With a fond smile, he cups Yoongi's broad hand against his cheek and kisses delicate at his wrist. “Are you done being crushed because I'd like to kiss the hell out of you now.”
“Good, fucking do it then so I didn't just eat 45 mints for nothing,” Yoongi grumbles, finally releasing Namjoon's weight off his body.
Namjoon does a 180 and straddles Yoongi's lap, eyes dancing all over his puffed up face. “I love being Yoongi's Joon, you know, not as a future idea but right now. What is “doing it properly”, anyway? We're doing it like us, you know? I think that's alright. I like us now,” he decides, plucking at Yoongi's bottom lip with his teeth in a slow drag.
“We're lucky, maybe. We have to take all of this so slow, in bits and pieces and it sorta... extends the excitement, you know? Like every time we get the chance to kiss it's that stupid butterflies feeling because it's been so long and we only have a little bit before we get caught. But then, we have all these years of dealing with each others' bullshit worked out too. So yeah, I think we'll make it. We're good together,” he whispers, and finally engulfs him with a deep kiss, nudging Yoongi's mouth wider.
He chuckles softly when his tongue hits the minty cold of Yoongi's mouth, wrapping himself more heavy around Yoongi because he knows he likes it. Their kisses get heated fast; they always do. So much time spent watching and wanting the other and not being able to show it, hands hungry to explore the curves of skin and bone.
“Joon,” Yoongi breathes, pulling Namjoon's shirt up over his head, biting his lip as his eyes drink in all that smooth exposed skin. “It- I know it's not enough to... explain but, thank you. For laying on me, and- and talking to me, and. Everything. Always everything.”
Smiling so bright at Yoongi's face gone shy with vulnerability, Namjoon cups his fingers around his face and kisses the corners of his eyes and nose. “It's enough,” he grins, searching his eyes to make sure Yoongi believes him before shoving up Yoongi's shirt to bury his tummy in warm, ticklish kisses.
"Joon-ah!" he yelps, trying to shove Namjoon's face away and not giggle his ass off, but he's so sensitive and half delirious and Namjoon's fingers are so tickly at his sides.
"I demand the tummy!" Namjoon declares, shoving his face back in his stomach.
"Fuck off!" Yoongi laughs until it hurts, writhing beneath Namjoon's relentless attempts to tickle him to death. Finally, a knee jabbing up into Namjoon's ear has him triumphant, laughing still as Namjoon flops back on the bed and moans in pain.
"I told you to fuck off," he grins, scrambling up on top of Namjoon and running his big hands up and down Namjoon's tan chest, tweaking his nipples just to see him jolt. "I'm too mentally... whatever to do anything," he tells Namjoon, fingers wrapping around the band of his pants anyway. "But I kinda just want you naked."
Namjoon huffs a laugh. "Okay," he murmurs, so bashful before he straightens himself up into that face he makes when he's trying to be funny. "I'm willing you give you my naked body, desired by thousands, only for you. Anything to make you happy," he sighs dramatically.
The wave of affection makes him feel so pleasantly weak, dipping down to kiss a line up Namjoon's chest. He hums, happy because Namjoon is his goofy idiot, happy because he knows it's true; Namjoon would do anything to carve out a piece of happiness for them, maybe less beautiful than dreams but infinitely more real.