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What I Did On My Summer Vacation, by Kim Namjoon, Age 18 1/2

Chapter Text

Namjoon stumbles down from the stage, blinking, and lifts his sunglasses to rub at his eyes. Sunglasses indoors may seem kind of stupid, but god, stage lighting is a bitch and Namjoon is not prepared to blind himself over a rap battle, no matter how satisfying it is to tear his opponents apart.

 

"Water, Rapmon?" a bartender, vaguely familiar with his dyed pink hair and broad shouldered build, offers him a sealed bottle, and Namjoon accepts it, gulping half of it in seconds.

 

He loves performing. He loves this feeling, the tingle in his fingers and the stone heavy weight in his stomach, a combination of adrenaline high and anxious that makes his brain move fast, picking the right word, the right phrase, while paying attention to a dozen other things. He feels alive. He feels wired, and he has to restrain himself from bouncing, from grinning wildly, from grabbing the nearest person and word vomiting a thousand word essay about every facet of how he just fucking destroyed Shiwu and every decision he'd made to get that outcome.

 

It wouldn't fit his image though, and Namjoon loves battling too much to hand out a free target like enthusiasm to anyone in this club.

 

Maybe he, as Kim Namjoon, could tell someone, though. Just not as Rap Monster, not as cool, composed, badass battle rapper Rap Mon.

 

That's fine, though. There are worse things than celebrating privately.

 

He chugs the rest of the water bottle and hands it back to the bartender, accepts congratulatory back slaps and shoulder pats, and slips out the back door into the alley to catch his breath.

 

It's not cold outside so much as it was sweltering inside, but the contrast makes him shiver all the same, and he leans his head back against the cold brick exterior of the Cherry Bar, straightens his hoodie and looks up at the cloudy night sky.

 

Fuck, his heart is still going like anything, and if he takes off his sunglasses, his cheeks would be warm and red behind the concealing lenses.

 

"Hey! Rap Monster!"

 

Namjoon recognises the voice. It's Shiwu, his last opponent. He'd put up a decent fight, rather than just rolling over at Namjoon, and he'd had some bars. Not as good a flow as Namjoon, his jokes weren't as cutting, and the crowd had slowly but surely turned on him in favour of Rap Monster, but he wasn't bad.

 

As such, Namjoon's face isn't quite as cold when he turns to face him. Shiwu is tall, an inch or so bigger than Namjoon, with wide shoulders and thick legs, more rhino than Namjoon's giraffe, and he doesn't look nearly as pleased to see him. He isn't alone, either, four other guys backing him up in dark blue jackets that look like they were bought at the same discount uniform store. Namjoon didn't know that Shiwu was in a gang.

 

"Shiwu," Namjoon says, nodding to him. He hopes this isn't going to end nasty. Sometimes things do, in the community. It turns into diss tracks and side picking and months of awkwardness until one side capitulates, by violence or social shame, and things simmer back down. Namjoon's got three beefs going already, diss tracks back and forth on soundcloud and carefully laid out lines of who can go to which club. He feels like a barbeque chef sometimes. He hopes that Shiwu isn't going to make it four. There are only so many ways to say 'well, sorry I hurt your feelings by being better at rapping than you are', no matter how fun it is to put a new beat together. Social shame is Namjoon's preferred weapon, but Shiwu's friends make him think that maybe the other rapper's bars were less polished because he prefers punching his critics.

 

"Did you have fun in there?" Shiwu half-growls, and Namjoon smiles. He can't help it. That stupid half-growl had given him the ammunition he'd needed in his first response, and from the way one of the jacket guys- a man with cherry red hair and a brilliant smile- conceals a laugh, he's not the only one remembering his comparison to a pomeranian. "Shut up, J!"

 

The red-headed guy raises his hands innocently, despite the baseball bat he has slung over one shoulder, and Namjoon takes his hands out of his pockets.

 

"Did you not have fun in there?" Namjoon asks, "You got some good hits, man. You almost had me in the second round."

 

That's a lie. Namjoon is much, much better than Shiwu. Namjoon is also much, much less armed than Shiwu, though, so he's willing to lie.

 

"Being embarrassed? Humiliated by some punk kid who blew in on the last sweet potato truck?" Shiwu says, muscling into Namjoon's space. "No. No I didn't."

 

"So, what's the plan? Going to get your friends to beat me up?" Namjoon feels his stomach sink, his brain kick in so hard he's amazed that Shiwu can't feel his brain shuttling through scenarios.

 

He wants one where he doesn't go to hospital.

 

He's not coming up with many options.

 

"Yeah, yeah I am. You didn't know who you were dealing with, huh? Thought I was just another wannabe with smoke up his ass, not a real gangster," Shiwu says, and Namjoon raises an eyebrow.

 

Ah.

 

Got it.

 

"But you can't fight me yourself?"

 

"What?"

 

"I mean, I get it. Did you get someone else to write your bars for you, too?" Namjoon points over Shiwu's shoulder, at the redhead who laughed. "That guy, maybe? He seems pretty intelligent."

 

"Are you saying I was biting?"

 

"I'm saying if you can't fight me without help..." Namjoon shrugs.

 

"I don't need help!" Shiwu bites out. "Guys, back off. This one's mine."

 

"Boss, are you sure?" Redhead asks, and Shiwu snarls again.

 

"I'm sure! This is a matter between men! What kind of leader can't take down one skinny streak of country kid!"

 

Another one of the gang members, this one a little older, wearing a crew cut, speaks up, "he's got a point, guys. Boss can handle this on his own."

 

Namjoon steps out into the alley properly, and hopes for the best.

 

"You got a weapon, Monster?" Shiwu asks, and Namjoon shrugs.

 

Of course he doesn't. He's a law abiding citizen. Why would he carry a weapon?

 

"I don't need one," Namjoon says, as if carrying a knife makes you a weakling, rather than terrifying. Shiwu flushes, and passes his knife, a wicked, curved thing with a blade at least six centimetres long, over to the crew cut guy, stepping up.

 

This is Namjoon's only chance. See, when Namjoon was about ten, his father realised that his only son was a really tall nerd who wore glasses and liked correcting people, and he taught him how to throw a punch.

 

Just one punch, but with a hell of a lot of force behind it. Punch hard enough that you can get away, Namjoon's dad had said, pushing up his own glasses, because if they hit you first, you're going to drop. It wasn't said meanly, it was just a fact. Namjoon doesn't deal with pain well, and he was never going to be a fighter.

 

But hell, he can throw a damn good punch.

 

"Are we going to fight?" Namjoon asks, triple checking. He doesn't want to fight.

 

"Yeah, what, are you scar-" Shiwu begins to taunt him, and Namjoon punches him.

 

He puts his entire body weight behind it, launches like he's punching through Shiwu's jaw, not into it, and watches him drop.

 

Namjoon has a few weird skills people don't often think about: he has a weird double jointed thumb on his left hand that he can turn almost entirely backward, he can recite the English alphabet backwards, he knows up to the 85th digit of pi, and he can throw a punch hard enough to knock out a horse.

 

Shiwu hits the ground, and Namjoon shakes out his hand casually, trying to ignore the pain.

 

"Fuck!" Redheaded guy bleats, grabbing his baseball bat, and Namjoon looks at the rest of the gang.

 

"Are you guys up next?" he says, as if throwing another punch won't put him in a cast. His wrist is twinging, his fingers hurt, and his knuckles are already starting to swell.

 

The crew cut guy snorts. "What a loser. Can't even take a single punch."

 

Another guy, with a mohawk, crouches next to Shiwu.

 

"What kind of leader can't take down one skinny streak of country kid," he repeats, in fairly heavy satoori. "Dick. Half of us are country kids."

 

The redheaded guy beams at Namjoon, and it feels a bit like being hit with a brick. A brick of condensed sunshine. Nobody should look that happy in a skeezy Seoul back alley.

 

"Hey, you're Rap Monster, right?"

 

"...Yeah."

 

"You're really cool, man! I've been listening to you for ages!" He practically bounces over Shiwu, slinging an arm around Namjoon's shoulders. "You got a crew?"

 

Namjoon shakes his head slowly.

 

"Well, we can fix that," crew cut guy says darkly. Namjoon gets the feeling that most of the things crew cut guy says come out darkly. "Monster, huh?"

 

"Rap Monster," Namjoon corrects, and crew cut guys nods slowly.

 

"Monster Crew. That's dope," Mohawk guy says, standing up. "What do you wanna do, boss?"

 

"Boss?" Namjoon blinks, but he knows that if he shows weakness now, these hyenas are going to eat him. "Yeah. Right. Let's go get something to drink. I should get to know you, right?"

 

"Right!" Redheaded guy says, and crew cut opens the door for Namjoon, shoulders set against the heat and noise of the bar.

 

"Rap Monster, come up! Hikkoki, come up!" The MC shouts from on stage, mohawk guy grins at him.

 

Namjoon adjusts his sunglasses, and steps back inside.

 

0-0-0

 

Namjoon's day job is about as far away from his nightlife as he can manage. He acts as differently as he can, too, dresses differently, keeps the two portions of his life as separate as possible.

 

Rap Monster wears leather and chains and gels his hair up like a mohawk, is never seen without his sunglasses and his chin set stubbornly.

 

Kim Namjoon wears chunky glasses and warm cardigans and styles his hair over his face, is never seen without his worn leather messenger bag and a far away look in his eyes.

 

Nobody's recognised him yet. It's working. And he knows it's working, because he's seen more than one of his competitors come in, served them, and had them walk away none the wiser.

 

Namjoon works part time at a little local district library, barely funded and barely visited. He lives in constant worry that he'll come into work one day and the library will be closed, leaving him unemployed.

 

It's a nice little place, one story tall, made of dark brown brick and squatted in a slightly overgrown park that few people care about. They get about ten visitors a day, and they only have one real librarian- a Chinese woman who insists on using her Western name, Irene- and one part timer- Namjoon.

 

He cleans the library, vacuums the carpet and polishes the windows, covers the new books in sticky back plastic and adds them to the catalogue, shelves the returns and answers queries about where the bathrooms are and what the wifi password is.

 

And he has absolutely tonnes of free time to write in. As long as he is available for queries, and the chore sheet gets ticked off, Namjoon's time is his own, and he spends it working on his real job- music.

 

He writes couplets, he writes verses, he practices difficult rhymes and moving his tongue in ways that feel almost unnatural, timing himself for syllables per second. He watches youtube videos on cadence and flow, listens to other rappers spit- off the dome, on cyphers, challenges, battles and songs all offer different things for him to learn, and Irene doesn't care as long as nobody complains.

 

Nobody complains.

 

They have like, six regulars. There are the two kids who come after school for two hours, reading manwha until their salary worker dad picks them up. There's the reading circle made up of three aunties on their eighth re-read of Eat, Pray, Love. There's the guy with his ancient laptop that won't even turn on unless it's plugged in, who sits with his headphones in and writes all day.

Namjoon doesn't really know any of them, beyond what you learn people watching. The kids love import comics, reading Spider-man and Naruto and playing quietly among the beanbags of the children's section. The reading circle don't really care about Eat, Pray, Love. They're here to gossip, and if what Namjoon has heard about Sung Ji Soo is correct, he does /not/ want to cross her nephew. As for the computer guy, well, Namjoon knows he's the kind of guy who uses the same tea bag for three cups of tea, and when he takes out his earbuds, sometimes Namjoon hears hip hop beats come through them.

 

It's not much, and he doesn't get paid much, but he likes it.

 

Today, when he ushers laptop guy out and locks up, just after 9PM (he's meant to get the patrons out by 8:45, but laptop guy isn't hurting anyone. He just wants the wifi, and he doesn't care if Namjoon vacuums around him), Namjoon is still stuck on the weird events of the night before. He bikes to the station, takes the train back to his shitty little studio apartment, there’s new graffiti on the wall of his building, but the big, stylised ‘RM’ is way cooler than the previous shitty tags that they’d had, so he just shrugs as he locks his bike to the stair railing and heads upstairs, considering if he’s going to head out to Massive or not. The battle tournament they have on Thursdays is pretty big- there are a lot of big names in the scene there, producers and rappers alike, and the prize money is better than the stuff offered at the Cherry Bar (and considering performing at Cherry makes up 75% of Namjoon’s rent money, that’s nothing to sniff at). On the other hand, Massive is established as K-Krue’s, and he and Namjoon have beef. Nothing crazy, just enough to make Namjoon tentative about pushing in when he hasn’t got anyone backing him up.

 

If this was Ilsan, Namjoon would just call some friends, make a party of it, head in with Zico and Iron at his back and he and K-Krue would both posture from their respective corners, maybe make some pointed rhymes in one of the roundtable cyphers later that night, but in Seoul...

 

Namjoon sighs, pulling off his beanie and scrubbing a hand over his hair. He loves hip hop, but sometimes he feels like he should have pursued a less stressful genre. Like jazz. Jazz surely didn’t have as many gangs associated with it? If only he’d learned how to play the saxophone.

 

His phone buzzes with a text from a number labelled ‘HOBI HOBI HOPE’, and Namjoon frowns. He doesn’t recognise the name or number, but it’s definitely a registered contact.

 

HOBI HOBI HOPE (21:53)

HEY HEY HEY YOU GOING TO MASSIVE?

Namjoon (21:54)

Not likely.

HOBI HOBI HOPE (21:54)

AWW WHY NOT? YOU’D SMOKE EM THE

CROWD IS LOWWWWW

Namjoon (21:54)

K-Krues crew is there though, right? I know

that I’d smoke them, Massive is all amateurs

last 2 months

HOBI HOBI HOPE (21:55)

LOL THAT’S HOW LONG

YOU AND KRUE BEEN FEUDING HUH

Namjoon (21:55)

Yeah. So, is his crew there?

HOBI HOBI HOPE (21:56)

YEAH, SO? SO IS YOURS.

 

Namjoon frowns, down at his phone, and a second later a selca comes through, the three dudes from last night, budged close together- red headed guy is throwing up a V, clearly the photo taker, while mohawk and crew cut roll their eyes. He can’t help a little laugh coming out, and the three are clearly inside Massive- Namjoon recognises the American hip hop posters behind them, the big blown up Marshall Mathers LP album cover that means they scored one of the good boothes, and shrugs.


He does really want to go to Massive, and the three of them seemed pretty intimidated by Rap Monster. He can play gang leader for one night. It’s worth it for the cool 800,000 won he can walk away with if he wins the battle circuit tonight. According to SNS, the prize pool has been building since Namjoon had walked out of the club three months ago, and there’s a pretty choice microphone up for grabs too. It’ll be hard choice, which one he wants to walk away with, but Namjoon knows that he needs the money more than the equipment.

 

He gels his hair up, ices out, and swaps Namjoon for Rap Monster.

 

0-0-0

 

Walking into Massive feels good. The bouncer looks surprised to see him, but he stamps Namjoon’s wrist, dramatic gothic M pressed under his charcoal hoodie, and Namjoon nods to him, amiable, as he hands over his cover charge. Inside, things are pretty dead. There are a pair of rappers on stage, spitting with no flow, and the sound guy is drooping behind the board, hoodie up to obscure his face and no doubt closed eyes. In one corner, he can see K-Krue, the five guys he runs with, a couple of cute girls all sitting around a table. There’s a new kid tangled up with them, young enough that Namjoon kind of wants to ask why he’s out so late on a school night, but Namjoon drifts his gaze over them, meeting K-Krue’s eyes as the other rapper sits up in his chair, not that Krue can tell through Namjoon’s sunglasses.

 

“Yo yo! Hey, Rap Monster!” There are arms around his shoulders all of sudden, but Namjoon waits for Krue to look away first.

 

He does, and Namjoon smiles, turning to the enthusiastic redhead, who is no longer wearing one of the stupid uniform jackets, but a jersey over a hoodie instead.

 

“Hobi,” Namjoon says, nodding slightly. He assumes that’s him, anyway. Last night is a blur of free drinks and mohawk guy declaring them best friends five-ever, but he’s pretty sure redheaded guy was the one texting him early.

 

“You want a drink, Rap Mon?” Hobi asks, steering them towards a booth where Mohawk and Crewcut are lounging like slightly drunk lions.

 

“I don’t drink before I perform,” Namjoon says, shaking his head and taking a seat in the middle of the booth, where he and Krue can stare at each other more easily.

 

“Water it is! Jiho, get the man some water!” He says to crewcut, who jumps to his feet and heads for the bar. “So, what’s the plan?”

 

Namjoon thinks for a moment, and the current battle comes to an anticlimactic end, the crowd barely even looking toward the stage.

 

Crewcut - Jiho- comes back with Namjoon’s water, and he drains it, crushing the bottle and dropping it on the booth table, He smiles at Krue, who smiles back.

 

“Fucking destroy them,” he answers, and heads for the stage.

Chapter Text

Namjoon has never had this much money in his life.

Having Hoseok, Jiho and Hyunmoo to back him up has made him a little more daring, a little more willing to cross lines that had previously been drawn, and from the way his rivals back down, having a crew was the only thing he was missing to make him someone who shouldn't be messed with.

So he's gone out to a few clubs he wouldn't usually hit up, ran a few lines that really hurt, rather than just cut a little- less afraid of backlash from sour opponents- and now he's sitting at his table, Hoseok sitting on the futon, texting someone, while Namjoon counts his money.

Usually he's struggling, but not so badly he can't manage. Right now, he's thriving. He's got rent set aside, bills set aside, food set aside and he still has money. He's got enough for the soundboard he's been drooling over for the last six months. He's got enough for an actual night out, to take someone on a date or buy some videogames or...

He's never seen so many thousands flashing through his fingers.

Across from him, Hoseok sits up and fishes in his denim jacket, pulling out another thick roll of notes, bound in an elastic band, and throws it over to Namjoon.

"Oh, before I forget!" the redhead says brightly, "Your cut, boss man."

"My cut?" Namjoon asks, picking up the notes. It's the same as what he's counting now, he thinks.

Around the same thickness, and a quick swipe of his thumb reveals the denominations.

"Yeah. You solved some problems for us, remember?" Hoseok smiles again, "I ran them past you on Wednesday?"

Namjoon remembers. Simple problems, little logic puzzles. A doesn't get on with B, but B has to work with C, and C can't go anywhere without A, how do you organise the shifts- that kind of thing.

Originally, Hoseok had just been complaining about it, unsure how to solve the conundrums that were coming up, splayed over Namjoon's futon like he belonged there while Namjoon hunched over the table matching stems together for his latest track.

Hoseok is muttering to himself, matching profiles together and pulling them apart again, groaning and cursing at the fourteen people he can’t figure out how to put together.

Namjoon loves logic puzzles. He loves getting to stretch his brain in weird ways, actually thinking rather than just memorising, and the answer is so obvious it's killing him seeing Hoseok struggle.

It’s just like that old maths problem- you have a hen, corn, and a fox, and you need to get them across a river. You have a boat, but it can only carry two at a time. If you leave the fox with the hen, he’ll eat her. If you leave the hen with the corn, she’ll eat it. How do you get all three across the river?

"Put Park Siwoo with Kim Siwoo, and have Bing Bing on errands," Namjoon says, giving up on finding a bass synth that works with his snare. Hoseok looks up from his current paper, blinking, and then back down at the roster.

"That...that could work!"

Namjoon sighs, pushing his computer away, and makes a beckoning hand for half of Hoseok's papers. "Alright, what's next?"

Hoseok looks ready to cry with relief, and it takes Namjoon ten minutes to separate his knotty problems into neat schedules.

Back in the present, Hoseok makes jazz hands. He looks far too comfortable here, in Namjoon's shitty little apartment, just chilling and watching cartoons while Namjoon does his finances. He looks at home, red hair splayed across Namjoon's pillow,

"You did the work, RapMon-ssi, you get the money. Congratulations!"

There’s something weird about hearing Hoseok be so formal, but he can’t really place it. Namjoon flicks over the notes again. "This is way too much for rostering problems," he says, but counts it into his stack of bills.

Fuck.

That is a healthy looking stack of money.

"It wasn't just rostering problems," Hoseok says, shaking a finger, "there were other problems too. Like that route you planned, crossing back over the river through the backswitch? That was smart thinking."

Namjoon's done a little research on Shiwu's old gang, the Black Tooth gang- it's a dumb name, and they do dumb little stunts, nothing more than playing at crime, really. They do a lot of graffiti, shake down thieves and gangs operating on their turf, and sell a little weed.

It's nothing violent. It's nothing Namjoon has a problem with. He's done his share of weed, as a teenage boy, and he had tried to get into tagging before he realised having the grace of three hour old horse and running from the cops regularly did not go together.

So he doesn't mind solving the problems Hoseok brings him. He kind of likes it, honestly. It's hard to get any kind of challenge outside the scene- his life is bland and boring during the day, his most challenging problem being 'how do I tell Laptop Guy that he's not technically allowed to use the staff hot water heater for his tea?', and Hoseok looks so relieved when Namjoon decides to put down his headphones and turn his brain to a problem.

"What are you going to spend it on?" Hoseok asks, and Namjoon grins, standing up and grabbing his jacket. Hoseok scrambles after him, pulling on his sneakers and trailing Namjoon out into the city, hands stuffed deep in the pockets of his denim jacket.

"Where are we going?" Hoseok asks, after they've hopped a train into the city centre. Namjoon just shrugs, leading them through crowds of shoppers, away from the main thoroughfare. The billboards are all showing pictures of the same person- it must be some idol's birthday, Namjoon guesses, making his way to the old second hand music shop he frequents when money falls into his lap.
It's half underground, concealed behind basement stairs and a minimart, but it's the best place in the city for weird old technology. They head down the narrow stairwell, and Namjoon notices that the same artist who hit his place has tagged the entrance to V's, too. The big RM is there, all in shades of grey, but he's taken more liberties with the letters this time, little horns poking up off the R, a devil tail swishing off the M.

"Oh, hey!" Hoseok grins, all sunshine again, "You know V's? I love this place!" He leans in, not quite whispering in Namjoon's ear, "We own this place. I'll get you a bargain." The door opens without a sound, the bell removed years ago, and they look out on old crunchy grey-blue carpet and ranks of discount shelving stacked with old technology.

The owner isn't in, but his kid, a tall, spacey guy a couple of years younger than Namjoon, called Taehyung, is. When he sees Namjoon, he grins, looking away from the computer he has hooked up to an old CRT monitor on the counter to wave. When he sees Hoseok, half a step behind Namjoon's shoulder, his grin goes even wider, making his mouth look rectangular and strange.

"Kim Namjoon-ssi! Hobi-hyung!" Taehyung carols out, putting down his controller and looking over the glass front counter.

"Hey, Tae!" Hoseok says, leaning in and doing a weird little five step handshake that makes Namjoon feel kind of out of place. "You've met RapMon, huh?"

"RapMon?" Taehyung blinks, "You mean Namjoon-ssi? Yeah, he's a good customer." He turns to Namjoon, still smiling warmly, "How's that condenser treating you?"

"It's great," Namjoon says, grinning at the thought of his last gadget. "I'm gonna go-" He jerks his thumb over his shoulder toward the shelves. Namjoon loves old music gear. There's something so fun about pedals and compressors, filtering sounds through manual means rather than just using software. He doesn't usually have the opportunity or the funds to lash out on equipment, but when he does, V's is the place to go.

The whole store smells like static and old electronics, with countless beige boxes wrapped in plastic, weird little accessories and pop culture pieces from the persocom age all stacked up in the basement store. Taehyung slaps an anti static band on each of them from a bin by the counter, and Namjoon goes to roam, leaving Hoseok to play ancient videogames with Taehyung. For a while he just browses, fingers running over stacks of floppy discs and stacked motherboards, audio cards and weird one use auxiliaries, and turns a corner to smack right into another customer.

He's smaller than Namjoon, hidden in a big black hoodies that swallows his upper body, a black mask over his face, pale hair flattened under a snapback like he's hiding, but Namjoon recognises him anyway.

Laptop Guy.

Maybe he's here to finally upgrade his dinosaur of a laptop?

"Ah, sorry about that," Namjoon says, looking at the random computer components now scattered on the carpeted floor. The store is quiet, except for the muffled sounds of Taehyung and Hoseok at the counter. There's a good selection of parts- not cutting edge, but close in the places where it was important, bare bones in places where it wasn't. Namjoon crouches and helps Laptop Guy collect his sound card and motherboard and graphics card, ignoring the way that Laptop Guy is staring at him, clearly trying to place him.

"Oh." He says eventually, as he stacks the fan intake back into his arms, "You're the librarian, aren't you?"

Namjoon nods, feeling his neck flush pink.

Laptop Guy nods back, and turns and walks off with all his components, heading for the case section.
What a great social interaction.

Namjoon shakes his head and continues towards the mixing boards. He's here for a reason, not to stalk his patrons, even if he is curious as to why Laptop Guy, who has approximately two hundred won to his name, is spending hundreds of thousands on a new desktop rig- is able to spend hundreds of thousands on a new desktop rig.

As he reaches the mixing boards, he feels tension mount in his stomach. What if somebody's already bought the board he wants? He asked Taehyung to put a reserve on it, but they only last three weeks and it's been almost four now. Somebody else could have spotted the same diamond he did, and already have his mixing board-

It's still there. Square, with six buttons along each side, ready to be programmed with up to thirty six stems- Namjoon has been having the producer version of wet dreams about this mixing board since last month, when he'd spotted it while browsing. It's wrapped in plastic to stop dust, with three little pink flags attached to it- holds, put on by Taehyung. His first hold-, the two week hold Taehyung had put on for him when he first spotted it. The second hold, which had just elapsed on Monday, and...

Somebody else had it on hold, Namjoon realised, with a sinking stomach.

"Hey, Rapmon!" Hoseok called, coming round the corner with Taehyung, an arm around his shoulders, "Did you find your thing?"

"It's on hold for someone," Namjoon says, trying not to sound sad. Hoseok is spending enough time around him to be in a strange intersection between Namjoon and Rap Monster- Namjoon's got sunglasses on, but they're shoved up so he can see in the dim lighting of the shop, and he's wearing a pastel pink hoodie with his heavy boots, hair only vaguely styled up with last night's product, rather than cemented into place- and he's not sure how much emotion he should show, how many feelings he can have.

Hoseok looks up at the soundboard, then turns to Taehyung, gaze icy. He looks scary again, the way he had when Namjoon had first met him in the alleyway, when he'd thought that the friendly redhead was probably going to send him to hospital.

"What's up with that, Tae? Why has someone else got RapMon's mixer on hold?"

Taehyung's smile looks a little greasy, a little nervous, and he reaches over to take the board down. Hoseok's arm around Namjoon's shoulders has fallen to be an arm around his waist, but Namjoon can't be bothered moving away. It's nice. His arm is warm and strong, and it's been a long time since anyone has touched Namjoon in any kind of friendly way that wasn't just a slap on the back on his way off stage.

"It must be a mistake, Hobi-hyung. Let me double check the system."

"Good idea," Hoseok says, and they all gravitate back to the counter. "Hey, Rapmon-"

"You can just call me Namjoon, you know," Namjoon says, looking at the videogame pause screen. There are pink, wriggly things bouncing up and down on a pile of earth, brandishing bazookas at each other. It's weird. It's exactly the kind of game he would have guessed Taehyung would play.

"Namjoon-ssi?" Hoseok tries, and frowns. "Namjoon-hyung?" He frowns again. That sounds even stranger.

"We're the same age, right?" Namjoon asks. He's pretty sure they are.

"Namjoon-ah, then," Hoseok says, and his smile is smaller, warm and pleased with itself.

"Hoseok-ah." Namjoon replies, feeling his face heat up a little.

"Taehyung!" Taehyung joins in brightly, "I've found the flag. You really worried me there for a second, but it's for you, Namjoon-ssi. Didn't you check the marker?"

Namjoon shakes his head. He didn't even think to, but now, yeah, he can see that the little Kim Na-Ju on the flag, the same as the other two.

"I put it on on Monday, when you didn't come back for the board."

"But I thought you could only put two holds on an item in a row?"

"Shh. Don't tell anyone," Taehyung says, and winks. Namjoon laughs a little, and pulls out his wallet.

"Well, I can buy it now, at least, so the hold wasn't a waste."

He passes the money across the counter, and Taehyung counts it out on the glass.

"It's all there," Namjoon says. He knows it is. He checked ten times.

"Mm, you overcounted," Taehyung says, and passes half the notes back.

"No I didn't," Namjoon says slowly, but Hoseok leans in and claps Taehyung on the shoulder.

"You're a good boy, Taehyungie. I'll remember this."

Namjoon picks up his new board with careful hands, and thinks that this is what it is to fall in love. It's beautiful.

0-0-0

Hoseok decamps with a new set of solved problems a little after lunch, heading out to do whatever it is that he does when Namjoon is at work. He leaves Namjoon with a hug, a hair ruffle, and a bright 'Look after yourself, Namjoon-ah!' as he heads out the door.

It's been a while since he picked up a shift at work, too busy solving Hoseok's logic puzzles and pushing into the Seoul underground with his new back up, but Irene has left him a polite message asking him to close tonight, and Mondays tend to be pretty dead until eleven, when Cherry runs its top line battlers, so Namjoon isn't exactly busy.

He gets changed, puts away his sunglasses and fluffs out his hair- he should dye it again soon, if he wants to stay blond- before heading for the library.

At the library, everything is the same. Laptop Guy is in a corner, typing rapidly to the soft sounds of Dr. Dre leaking through his earphones, and the two kids are running in circles around a bean bag, grinning widely. Standard, really.

Namjoon kind of wants to go over and make conversation with Laptop Guy, talk about the cool components at V's, maybe bring up the computer he's making, the music he's listening to. Laptop Guy has good taste, and Namjoon isn't really a nervous person- he should be able to go over and chat, but he looks so intense. He's typing so quickly, fingers rattling on the keys, and Namjoon doesn't want to interrupt him.

His shift is quiet, and he spends a good amount of it shooting cypher texts with Zico, building each other up and knocking them down, and it leaves him bubbling to go home and play with the new mixing board, maybe put together some of the bars he's been working on and throw it on soundcloud.
He's got a decent following, and it's been a while since he's posted.

He ushers Laptop Guy out as he locks up, and heads over to the bike rack.

"Hey!"

He turns, because that's what you do when people yell 'hey!' at you, and immediately regrets it.

"Hey, Rap Monster!"

He's getting cornered in alleys a lot, this month. Somehow he feels like this one isn't going to end as well as the last time.

"You think you can come to Daebak-ah without anything coming to you? Think you're tough because you got a baby crew?" The lead one barks, bouncing a crowbar in his hand.

"Ah. I think you have me confused with someone else," Namjoon demurs, getting ready to run.

"I think you have me confused with a fucking idiot!" Crowbar barks, lifting the weapon as his two cronies step in close to Namjoon, grabbing his arms before he can try and bolt.

Something hits him in the face, and everything goes black.

He comes round a few seconds later, which on the one hand is good because otherwise he would be dealing with brain damage, but on the other hand is bad because it means he can feel someone putting handcuffs on his wrists and a bag on his head, rough hands picking him up and shuttling him into a van, and Namjoon has to try very hard not to hyperventilate.

Gangs. Why the hell did he get mixed up with gangs?

They drive for a while, and at the very least, Namjoon can compliment their taste in music, because they've got a solid playlist on, the bass vibrating in his headwound as it bleeds into the bag on his head. After about eight songs, they stop the van, and push Namjoon out, dropping him onto concrete.
They tie him down while he's still confused, strapping him to a chair, and he can feel another body, warm and small, pressed back to back with him. There's a heavy, solid thud- a punch connecting, and the sound of someone spitting- Namjoon’ chair partner, he assumes, but the other person doesn’t make a sound.

Namjoon tilts his head back, trying to stop the blood from running into his eye, and one of the men takes the bag off his head.

He can see light hair in his peripheral vision, the curve of a pale cheek marked with an angry bruise, but not much else.

"Well, well. Two birds, one fucking stone, huh?" says the chatty guy with the crowbar, and Namjoon feels his hands tighten in their handcuffs. He's really starting to dislike this guy. "Rap Monster and Jimin, all tied up with nowhere to go."

"I have plenty of places to go," Namjoon says, like an idiot with a concussion, "but you've tied me to this chair, which is kind of blocking those plans."

The guy behind him- Jimin?- lets out a laugh, high and bell like.

"Tiny, punch him," the chatty guy says, and the tall guy steps forward and throws a punch that snaps Namjoon's head to the side.

Jimin stops laughing.

"There's more where that comes from, Rap Monster." Chatty says, and circles around to crouch in front of Jimin instead. "Hey, Jimin. How's your day going?"

Jimin doesn't say anything, and the gang member edges closer, running a hand over his hair, close enough that Namjoon feels it on the back of his head too.. "Come on, Chimmy Chim," Chatty coos, "I know you can talk. You begged just last night, remember?"

Namjoon's stomach turns cold and heavy, and he rattles his handcuffs.

What the fuck? What the actual fuck? How is this a situation that he's in? He should have listened to his parents and studied medicine. He feels like there are way less kidnappings in medicine.

(In three months, he will look back on that thought and laugh)

Either way, while before he was panicking and trying to come up with a way to get himself out, he's now scheming how he's going to get himself and Jimin out.

It's making the scenarios even more unlikely, but Namjoon isn't willing to consider leaving someone alone with people like these ones.

"Aw, Jae, look at Rap Monster. He's gone all cold and boring," Tiny says, and the third guy comes over and stares at him.

"Man, are we sure he's the same dude we picked up? He looked like a kitten before, and now he's kind of a bad-ass."

He pokes Namjoon's cheek, and Namjoon just stares at him.

"He doesn't like being ignored," Chatty says, circling back to Namjoon. "Isn't that right? Rap Monster, as if. More like Baby Monster. Well, you fucked with the wrong crew, Baby Mon." he says, sneering, and Namjoon sees several scenarios drop into possibility.

They hit him again, not just once, but many times, and Namjoon's not sure how long passes because everything hurts. Everything hurts. Tiny works his torso like a boxing bag. Chatty enjoys pulling his head back by the hair and sneering in his face, pulling at his mouth and nose, scratching at his face. The third guy is watching Jimin, who stays silent.

"Sorry, who are you?" Namjoon asks politely, when they decide to take a break. There’s blood in his mouth, and he spits it onto the floor next to him, hoping to hit Tiny’s shiny white Jordans, but he misses.

"What?" Chatty blinks.

"No, it's just. I've fucked with a lot of no name crews lately, and I can't remember all of them." He continues, and Jimin's shoulders shake against his. "So, you know. Who are you?"

Chatty slowly goes red with rage, face flooding, and Namjoon leans back in his seat, crossing his ankles and grinning.

He's in control here. As long as everyone thinks he's in control, he's in control.

"Don't be shy. Introduce yourselves," he says, nodding to Chatty as if he's giving permission to speak.

"Park Jimin," Jimin says from behind him. "Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too," Namjoon says, nodding. "You?"

Tiny blinks. "Uh. Kim Saehong?"

"Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too?" Saehong questions, as Chatty begins to actually shake with anger.

"Jeon Jaehui," says the third guy, and Namjoon nods to him pleasantly, like they're at a party rather than a torture session in a dirty mechanic's shop.

"Stop it! Stop playing along with him!" Chatty bursts out, and Saehong and Jaehui both look slightly ashamed.

"Some people have no manners," Namjoon says to Jimin, and Jimin lets out another little giggle.

"Oh, you're going to learn about manners! You'll learn all about it when we cut out your tongue and post it to your shitty crew!" Chatty sneers, leaning in over Namjoon and clenching a hand in his hair.

"That's rude, too," Namjoon says. "Surely you know that."

Chatty is in front of Jimin again, dropping his crowbar on the ground as he leans over to pull Namjoon's head back, Saehong approaching with a sharp pair of secateurs, and Namjoon is honestly considering begging, because this was not what he was expecting.

Things have gone off book, but there’s still a chance, if Namjoon’s willing to push himself beyond his comfort zone. They’re threatening to cut off his tongue, though, so he’s very willing to push himself out of his comfort zone. Jaehui leans in to hold his mouth open, but he's not sure anymore, Namjoon's personalised himself, he's a little too gentle, holds his mouth with his fingers too near to Namjoon's teeth, and Namjoon bites down as hard as he can.

Jaehui howls as blood fills Namjoon's mouth, and Saehong drops the secateurs, rushing for his friend. At the same time, Jimin moves. Namjoon can't see him, but he feels Jimin's hair brushing against his neck, like he's leaning back and down to lift his legs high, and there are horrid, wet, choking sounds coming from Chatty.

"What's wrong?" Jimin coos, "I thought you wanted me to participate?"

There's another sound, a crack, and something heavy falls to the floor. Namjoon isn’t sure, but he thinks that Jimin might have just killed a guy with his thighs like Black Widow.

Namjoon spits out Jaehui's finger, and grins at the two remaining gang members.

They run.

Namjoon breathes heavily for a moment, and there’s just the sound of blood hitting the floor. After a moment, there’s a metallic noise, and he feels Jimin move behind him.

“I never got your name, during those introductions,” Jimin says, sounding a little nervous.

“Rap Monster,” Namjoon says, mouth numb. “Or Kim Namjoon. Whatever.”

“Namjoon…” Jimin sounds like he’s trying the shape of it out in his mouth. Jimin’s warmth moves away entirely, the other captive standing up, and he can hear his footsteps before he sees him.

His first thought is that this kid is adorable. Which is slightly weird, considering he just heard Jimin murder a man, but he is. He’s got puffy cheeks and a sweet smile and his blond hair floats around his face like its been recently styled, and the blood trailing from his full lips looks practically aesthetic, not like a real injury. His shirt’s been ripped, but Namjoon can tell that it used to be expensive, and his actually lethal thighs are wrapped in leather. Namjoon wonders if Jimin got kidnapped coming off work too, and if so, what he does for work, because he looks ready to go clubbing.

“Just sit tight,” Jimin says, crouching in front of him and reaching for his cuffs, “I’ll have you out of there in a second, okay?”

His smile is cute too. God, Namjoon hopes he isn’t blushing. That would be too fucked up, even for him.

0-0-0

Jimin was prepared to be nice to Rap Monster no matter what face he had. After all, if Rap Monster hadn’t got that asshole worked up enough to actually close distance, he would have been waiting to escape for a lot longer. That, combined with the way that his fellow prisoner had tensed at the very suggestion that one of the two bit thugs who’d managed to catch him (and wasn’t that a fucking shame, getting caught by these bozos) had so much as touched Jimin inappropriately, made Jimin immediately fond of the other man. He knew that Rap Monster was taller than him, from the prickle of the short hairs on his neck against Jimin’s head when they were back to back. He knew that he had a nice voice, deep and commanding in a way that made Jimin really want to hurry up and break out, just to see what that voice would sound like cracking in bed. Kind, deep voice, tall- it was enough to get on with, even if he had an unfortunate face and was wearing one of those try hard fur coats- it tickled at Jimin’s arms through his thin silky shirt, and with a name like ‘Rap Monster’, it wasn’t really a surprise.

What was a surprise was what Rap Monster- Kim Namjoon- actually looks like, when Jimin finishes picking his cuffs and comes round to let his unfortunate partner out of bondage.

Oh no. He’s cute.

He’s really cute, Jimin thinks. Kim Namjoon has silvery hair that’s sweaty and falling in his eyes, an interesting face and big lips and tan skin, and he looks awfully pretty under his forming bruises. He’s not wearing a try hard fur coat- he’s wearing a fuzzy cardigan that gives him sweater paws. Sweater paws! Jimin’s not even going to have to concentrate on Kim Namjoon’s personality to find him sexy when he kisses him to say thank you. In fact, Jimin’s finding it difficult to convince himself to break Rap Monster out of his handcuffs, rather than just leading him by the chain to the nearest motel and never letting him out of bed again.

He ponders the idea for a moment, but then his very weak conscience says that maybe he shouldn’t do that. He’s pretty sure his mother told him that kidnapping was wrong. Several times.

“So, Namjoon-ah- I can call you Namjoon, right? We got tortured together. We’re there, relationship wise?” Jimin checks, rubbing the circulation back into Rap Monster’s wrists. His skin is soft, and while its bruised, his fluffy cardigan, and the long sleeved shirt he’s wearing under it, has cushioned the cuffs from breaking the skin. Jimin wasn’t quite so lucky, but he’s distracted watching pink flush up Rap Monster’s cheeks, wondering how far down the blush goes. It’s a turn around from his authoritative voice earlier, the way he’d commanded the situation while cuffed to a chair.

“Yeah, you can call me Namjoon. I can call you Jimin?” he checks, and Jimin grins, helping him up.and catching him as he stumbles a little.

“You can call me whatever you like. But sure, Jimin works.” He leans up and kisses Namjoon, right over the bruise on his cheek. “So, where are we going now?”

Namjoon looks confused, and Jimin runs a hand over the goose egg on his head, tutting at the drying blood.

“Have you got a doctor we can go to?” Jimin prods. If he’s got a gang big enough to get him on the radar of the Bloody Fives, he must be pretty well established. In which case, the innocent act is very cute and all, but it’s going to get annoying quick.

“A doctor...Uh, the hospital?” Namjoon supplies, and Jimin shakes his head.

“No, no. Okay, have you got a right hand we can go to? Someone who can solve the problem?”
Namjoon frowns a little. “Hoseok? Hoseok knows about stuff.”

“Right! Let’s call Hoseok, and see if he can help.” Jimin’s starting to get the feeling that the innocent act isn’t entirely an act. Which, again, still very attractive, still making Jimin think about tying him to a bed and fucking him til his cute deep voice breaks, but still not helpful.

Namjoon and Jimin make their stumbling way over to the table next to the abandoned van, where Namjoon’s jacket had been abandoned, and he sits quietly while Jimin goes through the pockets, coming up with his phone. Now that he’s not under immediate pressure, Namjoon doesn’t seem to be thinking too well- is it his first concussion? So Jimin gets him to direct him to the right number, and calls Hoseok who knows about stuff, putting the phone on speaker as he starts to clean the scene.
Kerosene on the chairs, blood stained shirts and cardigan into it to help fuel the flame, and hey, Namjoon’s got a nice body too. Sweet. He follows instructions well, too, but Jimin’s not sure if that’s natural or just the head injury. Nice, either way.

Hoseok picks up.

“Rap Mon?”

“Oh...hey, Hoseok-ah,” Namjoon doesn’t quite slur, and Jimin pats his naked shoulder in reassurance.

“Hey, Hoseok-ssi,” Jimin says, “do you have a doctor? Me and Namjoonie here just got out of a bit of a scrape, and he’s not at his best.”

“I’m always at my best. I’m perfect. Look at me, do I look...scraped?” Namjoon says, pouting. Jimin wants to buy him an ice cream and tell him he’s pretty until he stops pouting. Maybe a thank you kiss and dropping him off at the taxi rank isn’t on the cards for this one, he thinks, patting Namjoon’s cheek.

“He’s got a concussion, and some bruising. We had a rough evening.”

“You had a rougher evening,” Namjoon says, suddenly focussing, eyes dark and hot as he looks Jimin over, head to toe. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Jimin says, feeling heat in his cheeks. “Look, Hoseok-ssi, can you give me a drop off point? We both need some medical care.”

“I expect I’ll get the full story then?” Hoseok says, and rattles off an address.

“Ooh, you’re in with Park Shimoon?” Jimin asks, throwing something at Namjoon. “Put this on. Anyway, I thought you were a little classier than that.”

“Who?” Namjoon asks, blinking, as Jimin sets fire to the mechanic’s store.

“The head of your gang?”

“I’m the head of my gang,” Namjoon says.

“What happened to Park?”

“Shiwu?” Namjoon clarifies, and Jimin nods, taking the opportunity to cop a feel as he helps Namjoon out of the shop and onto the streets, heading toward Hoseok’s designated drop off point.

He’s got a good butt, too. Skinny, and without much padding, but Jimin can get behind that (hopefully soon, once the concussion is dealt with).

“I punched him.” Namjoon says, “and now its mine,” and Jimin smiles brightly.

That’s exactly how he feels about property, too! It’s always nice when morals align in a relationship.

Jimin had dressed them both in coveralls to hide all the blood and bruises, so it was a pair of drunken looking mechanics with very delicate facial structures who turn up at the little basement store he’d been directed to. They’re let in by a man with a mohawk and a scowl, and Jimin gets to meet the illustrious Hoseok, Jimin can tell within moments of meeting, is a very dangerous man. Mainly because Hoseok actually recognises Jimin, and there are not a lot of people in the world who can recognise Park Jimin.

“Well. Fuck.” Hoseok says, because if you know who Park Jimin is, you know there isn’t much point in trying to make him do anything he doesn’t want to do.

“It’s too late,” Jimin proclaims, putting Namjoon down in a chair and letting the seedy underground doctor at him, “I’ve already decided I’m joining your gang. Do I need to buy a matching jacket or something? Do we have a secret handshake?”

“The only thing we’re getting is matching migraines,” mohawk guy says, “is Rap Mon just a walking bad luck storm?”

“God of Destruction, actually,” Namjoon says around the doctor’s hands as he patches up the bruises and cuts.

“Be careful, okay?” Jimin says to the doctor, sweetly. “Namjoon-ah has had a very difficult evening. Be nice to him.”

The doctor goes pale and nods.

“You should be calling him hyung,” Hoseok says, watching the doctor work. “He’s older than you. We both are.”

“Hoseok-hyung, then,” Jimin says, “and Joonie-hyung.”

“Namjoon-hyung,” Hoseok corrects.

“That’s what I said. Joonie-hyung.” Jimin says, setting his chin on his hands and watching Namjoon bite his lip to stave off the pain of having his ribs wrapped.

Man, his ribs need wrapping? Jimin’s going to have to wait at least six to eight weeks before he can tap that as hard as he wants to. He pouts a little, and slides close to Namjoon.

“You don’t mind if I join your crew, do you, Joonie-hyung?”

Namjoon blinks hard, recently sedated, and cups Jimin’s cheek with one large palm. His hands are soft, even covered in band-aids, and Jimin leans into the touch.

“You don’t have to go anywhere or do anything you don’t want to, Jimin-ah,” he says.

It would be a super sweet sentiment, if Park Jimin wasn’t that most feared contract killer in East Asia.

People don’t make Jimin go anywhere or do anything he doesn’t want to do anyway. They couldn’t if they tried.

He decides to take it in the spirit it’s meant, and presses a soft kiss to Namjoon’s palm.

“Then I’ll stay right here with you,” he says sweetly, and Namjoon smiles dopily, falling unconscious on him. He turns to the rest of Rap Monster’s crew, smiling. “You heard the man. I’m in.”

Chapter Text

Namjoon gives himself a day to recover from everything. He stays in his pyjamas, he lays around in bed, he watches Running Man, and he carefully does not think about the fact that it was his gang ties that got him in this situation.

Three bruised ribs, a concussion, a cracked molar and Park Jimin. That's what he gets out of his stay at the Bloody Fives- a name that made Hoseok's cheerful face completely drain of colour- and none of them have given him a break in the harsh light of day. The concussion has faded a little- he doesn't feel drunk anymore, his head just aches- and his ribs protest when he does anything but lounge on his bed, unmoving. The site where his tooth was until recently is tender, and Jimin is in the kitchenette, humming to himself and making tea for Namjoon.

"Here you are, hyung," Jimin says, bringing over the mug and setting it on the coffee table. Namjoon's bed is also his couch, a futon he picked up cheaply the first week he was in Seoul, and Jimin perches on the edge, petting him gently. He starts by running his fingers through Namjoon’s hair, but they wander to trace his bruises, the bandaid on his temple, the line of his lower lip. "How are you feeling?"

He wants to make a wordless grumble and retreat under his blankets, but that's not the kind of person he wants Jimin to think he is, so Namjoon smiles wryly instead and props himself up on his elbows.

"I've been better," he says, accepting the tea.

Jimin's hands are rougher than he would have thought, with calluses in strange places, but they feel nice against his skin, and he touches Namjoon softly, like he's worried he's going to break.

"You'll heal," Jimin says, nodding decisively, and Namjoon moves over on the futon to make space for Jimin to join him, if he wants to. "What episode are you watching?"

"The one with the desert island," Namjoon says, as Jimin climbs into his nest of blankets, pressing up against him- he's all muscle, apart from the chubby cheeks, and he puts off heat like a radiator. Namjoon can’t help going limp against him, and Jimin arranges them so that Namjoon’s head is on his chest, legs tangled together.

"Ooh, I like this one. The guest is cute," Jimin nods, and Namjoon lets himself relax. He's at home. The door's locked. Even if someone did bust in with a crowbar, he has Jimin, and from Hoseok's hissed explanation last night, apparently that's like cuddling up with a tank. A tank that has, for some unknown reason, decided he likes playing with Namjoon's hair.

He's safe.

God, he needs to find a way to get out of this. This isn't the life he wanted. It's not the life his parents wanted. He needs to get out. He drifts off to vague thoughts about faking his death and moving to Busan.

When he wakes up later, Jimin has rearranged them so Namjoon is lying across his lap, Jimin sitting up. Jimin's small hands are tracing his features gently as something plays on TV in the background. He's not watching it, though, but is instead holding a staring contest with Hoseok, who is sitting on Namjoon's chair, which he's turned backwards like he's a cool teacher, arms propped on the back rest. Namjoon’s eyes are only barely open- they haven’t noticed he’s awake yet.

"You know we don't do anything like your line of work, right?" Hoseok says, smiling at Jimin. There’s something dark about the way his lips purse, more threatening than a scowl would be.

"Yeah, I know. You're small time. Some drugs, some protection, a little thieving." Jimin shrugs, running a finger along the slope of Namjoon's jaw. “I want to kiss him. He sleeps so cutely.”

Namjoon has never been so glad that he doesn’t really blush much. It would be a hell of a way to show he’s been eavesdropping.

"Is that why you’re wasting your time here?" Hoseok asks bluntly, and Jimin smiles.

"I wouldn’t call that a waste. Why are you wasting your time here?"

"I'm not," Hoseok says, "this is where I want to be."

"Same," Jimin says, "look at us. Two deadly weapons, exactly where they want to be."

Namjoon thinks maybe he should wake up properly now, because this isn't the kind of conversation he wants to listen in on. Deadly weapon? Maybe Jimin would count, but Hoseok is a member of a shitty little street gang, and he’s not even the leader.

He scrunches his face up, like Jimin touching his nose disturbed him, and yawns a little, blinking his eyes open.Jimin is smiling at him, and he brushes the hair off Namjoon's forehead.

"Hey, hyungie. Hoseok-hyung came by to check on you, we were about to wake you up. Did you sleep well?"

Namjoon turns awkwardly to look at Hoseok, who smiles and waves.

"Yeah. Those sedatives are no joke," he says, letting Jimin help him sit up. "Hey, Hoseok-ah."

"Hi, Namjoon-ah," Hoseok replies, and moves his chair closer to the futon, "I just wanted to check if you're going out tonight."

"Tonight... is Tuesday, right?" Namjoon frowns, pressing at his forehead. He feels a lot better for his nap, can feel the little gears in his brain beginning to turn properly again. He needs to go out tonight, he realises, from the look on Hoseok's face. It's a show of strength. Sure, Rap Monster got kidnapped, Rap Monster got tortured, but Rap Monster escaped, he fucked up the guys who caught him. He's bigger and badder than all the competition.

Fuck.

"Yeah," Hoseok agrees, nodding.

"So, Daebak-ah." Namjoon nods back, and Hoseok's eyes are warm and approving.

"Daebak-ah? Isn't that the Fives' home territory?" Jimin asks, and Namjoon nods. He swivels, sets his socked feet on the ground and hopes that nobody notices that they're novelty- Ryan patterned, even.

"We need to make a statement," Namjoon says, standing up and heading over to his closet. "This is the easiest way."

"No, the easiest way would be burning down all their other holdings like we did the mechanic's," Jimin says, sitting up properly as Namjoon trades his pyjamas for something a little more intimidating, and begins to pick through the little bowl full of jewelry he keeps on the kitchen counter.

"That would be wrong," Namjoon says, picking out a couple of chains.

"Torture is wrong, and they did that." Jimin sounds like this is his checkmate argument, and Namjoon shakes his head.

"Two wrongs don't make a right."

"I'm not saying we only burn down two of their holdings. But they fucked with us- we should fuck with them!"

"Jimin, th-this is kindergarten level basic morality, you know that, right?" Namjoon turns to look at him, slightly worried, but Jimin just stares back at him blankly.

After a moment, he pouts, crossing his arms, and Namjoon grabs his hair gel, turning back to the mirror.

"He kind of has a point," Hoseok says, "we do need to do something, or everyone's going to think they can just kidnap our leader with no repercussions."

"We're going to do something," Namjoon says, and realises, as he says it, that he means it.

He has a plan.

Hopefully it will go a little better than his last plan.

0-0-0

"Hey, Rap Mon-ssi!" Taehyung waves at him from his place in line for Daebak-ah, where he's hanging out with the rest of Namjoon's crew. Namjoon nods to him, greets the others with slapped hands and a half hug. "You look good tonight! I didn't know we had to get dressed up!"

"Hey, Taehyung-ah," Namjoon replies, straightening his jacket- he knows he looks fancy. He's gone for a crisp white suit, the double layers of the waistcoat and blazer hiding the lines of the bandages- and walking past them towards the bouncer. Hoseok jerks his head to the rest of them, and they follow, ignoring the dark looks from the other people standing in line.

The bouncer looks him up and down, and Namjoon does the same from behind dark lenses.

"Sir, you can't jump the line."

"Oh, it's fine," Namjoon says. This is about power, and control. He has both. The bouncer doesn't know it yet, but he will. "This is our club."

"Uh, no, sir, it's not."

"Hey, Jimin," Namjoon asks, putting his hands in his pockets and leaning back a little, casual.

"Yeah, hyung?" Jimin purrs, leaning over his shoulder and resting his chin on Namjoon's neck, tucked into him, daring someone to comment.

"Do you remember the name of that nice young man we met last night? The one with the bad talking habit?"

"Kim Jae-Eun, hyung."

 

Namjoon hasn’t heard chatty’s name before, but it fits him.

"Yeah, Kim Jae-Eun," he looks at the bouncer, who obviously recognises the name, "You know Kim Jae-Eun?"

"Yeah," the bouncer says slowly, "Kim Jae-Eun-ssi owns-"

Another man, in the same dark security clothes, comes over and whispers something in his ear.

"-owned the club," the bouncer corrects himself, and this time, he looks at them with something a little like fear in his eyes.

Jimin smiles angelically from Namjoon's left, and Hoseok blinks lazily at them from his right.

"Not anymore," Namjoon says, and the bouncer looks at him again. "I'm Rap Monster. I think you've heard of me."

The bouncer steps aside.

Namjoon smiles, and hands him a couple of bills. "For your trouble. I appreciate someone who does his job well."

The bouncer nods, a little pale, and Namjoon steps into the club.

"That was a good move," Hoseok says, leaning over to whisper in his ear, "people are going to talk about that."

Namjoon nods, and tries not to breathe too deeply. He's been standing up for less than two hours, and he already wants to go back to bed. He's here to put up a face, though, so that nobody else ties him to a chair and threatens to cut out his tongue.

Hoseok leads the way to the best table in the place, big enough to seat a dozen, with a little 'reserved' sign sitting on it. Jimin leans over and takes the sign, passing to Taehyung, and gestures from Namjoon to slide in.

Namjoon slides into the booth and leans back, undoing his jacket and resting his arms on top of the booth.

"Are you drinking tonight?" Hoseok asks, as if Namjoon isn't on heavy painkillers. It's all a show, and Namjoon knows the part he needs to play.

This is the opposite of getting out of the gang lifestyle, but he has a role to play and a scenario to follow, and Namjoon knows himself well enough to know that following the scenario will end up with the best result.

"I don't drink when I perform," Namjoon answers, and Jiho jumps up to get him water instead.

"Sir, this table is reserved?" A girl in a waiter's outfit comes over, an empty tray under her arm, and Namjoon looks at Hoseok to answer.

"It was reserved, yes. But now we're here! No need to keep it reserved," Hoseok says with a sunny smile.

"No, it's reserved for Jae-Eun-oppa and his friends..."

"We're his friends," Jimin says, "ask anyone. Except Jae-Eun, because he can't talk anymore."

Her eyes widen, and she moves away from the table, back towards the bar.

Namjoon is antsy. The performers tonight are actually pretty good- he's always liked Daebak-ah, it's shame that the beef he'd had with Verro had kept him out of the club for so long- and he's never been the kind of person to sit at the back of a venue and drink, ignoring the music. He pats Jimin on the knee, but rather than moving, he just turns in toward Namjoon, a hand coming up to rest on top of Namjoon's, holding it on his knee.

"What's up, hyung?"

He flicks his gaze past Jimin, to the empty microphone that the last rapper is offering out, and bites his lip. He doesn't want to be rude, and Jimin is fast becoming a good friend, but there's hip hop. Hip hop, right over there. Waiting.

Hoseok laughs fondly.

"Let Rap Mon go. They're about to start battling."

"But-" Jimin frowns, twirling a finger in his hair, "aren't we going to hang out?"

"Later, come on, let him go," Hoseok says, and Namjoon smiles at Jimin when he finally twists enough to let Namjoon past- he doesn’t move enough to that Namjoon can pass easily, their lips almost brushing together, limbs sliding against each other, and Jimin looks smug when Namjoon finally gets past him.

"Oh, man, we get to see Rap Mon-ssi rap live?" Taehyung sounds excited, flattening himself to the booth seat so Namjoon can edge past. "I'm excited! I've only heard recorded stuff before..."

The lights are bright, and Namjoon is reminded why he wears sunglasses inside so often when he steps up to the stage. The white suit makes him stick out in a crowd of hoodies and jerseys, but it’s irrelevant. He's been building bars for days, hasn't had the chance to get into a real fight since Massive, last week, and he's so excited he wants to bounce on his toes.

He doesn't, because this is a rap stage, and that's just asking to be a target, but he wants to.

Daebak-ah has a good DJ and an excellent sound guy, and as he gets called up, the music starts too.

"Rap Monster, come up!"

A beat starts, heavy and slow with mounting piano.

"Gloss, come up!"

His opponent is dressed in a dark green parka, the hood flipped up and over to hide his face, a hat underneath with the brim so low that Namjoon isn't even sure there's a face to hide. He holds the microphone upside down, tail up and amp close to his teeth, and he's bobbing along with the beat, catching where the pocket is, where he's going to drop his first verse.

"Rap Monster vs Gloss...Gloss to start..." The MC is grinning, Namjoon is stone faced as he flicks open his blazer, rests the mic against his arm. "Begin!"

 

Namjoon isn't even mad that it came to a draw.

Gloss has bars for days, can spit fire like a natural disaster and his stage presence, despite the parka and the hat, makes Namjoon completely forget that they're in a club. It's just them. Just Namjoon and Gloss.

His first verse is poetry, tangled syllables that call Namjoon a try hard, pick at his outfit and his face, ask if he got that bruise trying to fight back against his boyfriend- it's a rough start, a hard start, and Namjoon is really glad he's wearing sunglasses so Gloss can't see the smile in his eyes.

He likes it when they don’t pull their punches. It means Namjoon doesn’t have to feel bad about not pulling his.

Namjoon hits back and he hits even harder, doubling syllables, pulling his best puns, his best wordplay- he wants to impress, and if the startled bark of laughter he gets is any reflection, he does.

A battle is meant to be decisive after three rounds.

They go for six, and at the end the crowd is parted perfectly and they end on a high five.

Namjoon kind of wants to marry Gloss, even if he never takes the stupid parka off.

As they descend, both out of breath, both sweating hard, both through to the next round, Namjoon turns to try and start conversation, but his opponent has vanished into the crowd without a word.

That's fine. It's not like they bonded or anything.

Namjoon shakes his head, smoothes a hand over his head to make sure his hair is still in place, and goes back to the booth. He's got three rounds to watch before his next opponent, and he needs to sit down before his knees give out.

He feels like he needs a cigarette. He feels like he just had sex. The beat is in his bones and he wants to make more music, preferably with Gloss. His palms are tingling. He can barely repress his smile. God, he loves music so much.

Taehyung slides up, making space for him, and Namjoon sits, stealing a sip of Taehyung's coke. There’s a bitter taste to it- Taehyung is only seventeen, there shouldn’t be rum in his coke, but considering how many laws Namjoon has seen broken recently, he isn’t going to call him on a fake ID. He’s grinning brightly, and reaches over to pat Namjoon on the shoulder.

"You were great up there!" Taehyung says, eyes shining, and Hoseok looks a little pink around the ears as he watches Namjoon drink down an entire bottle of water in one go, eyes fixed on the bob of his throat, the way his skin is glowing under the neon blue and pink of the bar lighting.

Jimin is staring at him like he's edible, chewing on the straw in his drink as his eyes fix on Namjoon's neck, tracking a bead of sweat as it tickles its way down to his collar.

"Thanks," Namjoon says numbly, face still despite the grin he wants to show. No ammunition. Stay cool. He tries not to focus on the way that both Hoseok and Jimin look a single closed door from jumping him. "I think I'm gonna go sign up for cyphers."

“Good luck, Rap Mon-ssi!”

“Ah, Taehyung, just call me hyung, okay?” He pats Taehyung on the knee, smiles at Hoseok, and launches back into the crowd.

 

It's a good night. He's glad he decided to go out, even with the way his ribs are aching. Jimin and Hoseok walk him home, eventually, after he wins the second heat of the battling, and participates in a half dozen cyphers. Gloss didn't come back, and Namjoon feels kind of disappointed, even though it makes no sense. They had a single battle, no matter if it felt more important than that. He can’t go pining after every rapper he battles. He’d never have time for anything else.

Not that it’s common for anyone to be able to push him to a draw. Or to be so good.

Namjoon shakes his head. He can’t get stuck on this. He has more important things to think about.

The night is starting to lift, dawn hitting the far edge of the street, and Namjoon is leaning on Jimin a little too much. He feels like its fair trade for the fact that Jimin slid his hand into Namjoon's back pocket about half a street away from the club, and has had it glued to his ass for the last half hour.

"So, why was Joonie-hyung targeted?" Jimin asks, as they make the turn into Namjoon's street. "It takes a lot more than a little trash talk to piss of the Fives, and as you said before, you guys are harmless."

"Mostly harmless," Hoseok corrects, darting a look at Namjoon.

"No, I'm curious too," Namjoon says, taking off his sunglasses and hanging them from his open collar. It’s nice to see Hoseok without the filter, the way his expressions play so brightly across his face. "You've talked to me about routes and scheduling and petty theft- none of that ends in mutilation, right?"

"Not usually," Jimin confirms, and Hoseok sighs, sticking his hands in his pockets. The bright smile that’s been on his face all night drops a little, making him serious.

"Look, there's a little more going on than I may have let on earlier. Mainly because I thought it would be Shiwu's problem."

"Why isn't it his problem anymore?" Namjoon asked, opening his front door and ushering Hoseok and Jimin in. Jimin finally lets go of his ass, falling onto the futon and getting comfortable, and Hoseok takes a seat on the other end of the couch, leaving the centre free for Namjoon.

"He died a week ago," Jimin says, and blinks at Namjoon's obvious surprise. "You didn't know? He fell into a coma a while ago, following severe cranial damage, and passed away gently in his sleep last Friday. He's survived by his parents, one sister, and a cat." Namjoon sits between them, putting his head in his hands. “Or that’s what the paper said, at least.”

"I was going to break that a little more gently," Hoseok says, looking awkward. He scratches at his ear, "But yeah. He died in hospital. Complications."

"From one punch?" Namjoon asks, putting his head in his hands, "How could that happen from one punch?"

"That's...actually a good question, hyung," Jimin says, as Hoseok rests a hand on the back of Namjoon's neck soothingly. "One punch isn't enough to kill a man. Unless you're really, really dangerous." He frowns for a second. "I wonder if I could kill a man with one punch?"

"Probably," Hoseok says, nodding. "But Namjoon-ah, I don't think you could. You throw a good punch, but you have the muscle strength of an over cooked piece of pasta."

"I've...never been so glad to be insulted," Namjoon says, hiccuping. Hoseok’s hand is moving rhythmically, massaging the join between his neck and his shoulder, and Namjoon kind of wants to melt into it. There are still important questions to answer, though, and he’s still not sure where he and Hoseok stand (unlike Jimin, who has made his stance on Namjoon very, very clear), so he doesn’t. "But what actually happened, then?"

Hoseok shrugs, but Jimin hums thoughtfully. "It's a good cover. It's the kind of thing I'd use. Low level gang banger, dies from street fight complications? The police aren't going to look twice."

"But what's the motive? And what does it have to do with the Fives? And with me?" Namjoon asks, and there's a knock on the door.

They all freeze, and Hoseok's hand goes to his back, his waistband under his jacket.

Is he carrying a gun?

That's illegal- he can't do that, is Namjoon's first thought, which is stupid, because Hoseok is in a gang. Namjoon is in a gang. Everybody in this room, currently, is in a gang. Carrying a gun is not that far out of line.

"Jimin," Hoseok says, and Jimin nods, standing up. They form a wall between Namjoon and the door, and Hoseok pulls a flick knife out from under his jacket.

For some reason, this is more okay than carrying a gun to Namjoon's brain.

Hoseok goes to open the door, holding up three fingers and counting down. Namjoon slips his sunglasses back on, as if smoked glass is going to help him in this situation.

3.

Jimin somehow pulls a gun out of his skin tight leather pants, and Namjoon starts panicking again.

2.

There's a sinister click from the pistol, and Jimin nods silently to Hoseok.

1.

The door opens, and Jimin is holding a gun on a sixteen year old.

"O-Oh god," the kid says, eyes wide. He's got a backpack on his shoulder, and is carrying a large plastic bag under his arm. "I-I..."

"What do you want, kid?" Jimin asks, not dropping the pistol.

"I-I'm looking for Rap Monster?" the kid's eyes are locked on the gun, and Namjoon can't blame him. His eyes are refusing to focus on anything else, either.

"Get in here," Hoseok says coldly, closing the door behind him, and the kid swallows hard, dropping his plastic bag in the entryway. “What’s your name?”

“Jeon Jungkook,” the kid says, swallowing hard. “I’m, uh, I-”
“Jimin, put the gun away, please,” Namjoon says, far more calmly than he feels. “Hoseok, if you could bring our guest a seat?”

Hoseok nods, and pulls Namjoon’s solitary chair away from the table and over in front of the futon for the kid, who sits like his knees have given out.

Jimin pouts again, but the gun disappears like magic, and he drops onto the couch next to Namjoon, putting an arm around his shoulders.

“So. You wanted to meet Rap Monster.” Namjoon spreads his hands. “Congratulations. Now, why did you want to meet me?”

“I want to join your gang,” Jungkook says, and he’s pale, but his jaw is set, determined.

“Kid, go home. Your parents will be wondering why you’re out so late,” Hoseok says, and there’s something caring in his tone, rather than just disdain, like he actually cares if Jungkook gets home safe.

“My parents have no idea where I am, and haven’t since I was thirteen,” Jungkook replies, sitting up in his chair. “Look, I’m not coming to you empty handed. I did my research.”

“Oh?” Namjoon asks, steepling his hands in front of his face. “Impress me.”

Jungkook’s jaw gets even tighter. “Fine. I will. You took over this gang, previously under the command of Park Shiwu, and although they are no longer under his name, they’re still trading as the Black Teeth, which makes no sense.”

Namjoon shrugs. “You want me to rename them? Is that really my top priority right now?”

“No- I mean, I guess not. I’m just saying, it’s weird,” Jungkook says, finding his feet again. “I used to run with K-Krue, you know, until I saw you at Massive.”

Namjoon looks him up and down. He does look vaguely familiar- the kid that had been running drinks for K-Krue, he remembers- and he nods.

“And I saw you rap, and man, the stories that are coming out about your people- nobody’s been caught since you took over. Nobody’s even been seen. Is it true you pulled that job in the noraebang?” Jungkook leans in, and Namjoon raises an eyebrow, turning to Hoseok.

“Problem eight, last Thursday,” he murmurs, and Namjoon nods. That had been challenging, taking Namjoon almost twenty minutes to work through. It was a combination of timing, trustworthiness, and a really extensive security network, but Namjoon had figured it out eventually.

Namjoon nods, and turns back to Jungkook.

“That’s really cool?” Jungkook sighs, face going a little sour. “Look, I’ve been dealing with shit like this since I was thirteen, and I don’t want to work with anyone but you. So I brought you some stuff, things to show that I can be useful-” he sighs again, “but if you’re going to be another dick who treats me like a child just because I can’t get a driver’s licence, I’ll see myself out.”

He stands up, and Namjoon raises a hand.

“Look. You are a kid- hey, no, don’t get angry-” Namjoon interrupts, when Jungkook goes to pick up his bag, “it’s just a fact. You’re a kid, and it means that people don’t take you seriously. I’m pretty new at this, as you know, and…” Namjoon takes off his sunglasses, dropping them on the table. “People don’t want to take me seriously either.”

Jungkook pauses.

“So, sit back down, Jeon Jungkook-ssi. Talk to me about what you can bring to the table, and I’ll talk to you about what I can offer you in return.”

Jungkook sits back down.

“You can just call me Jungkook,” he says, picking up the plastic bag and pulling a handful of paper files out of it, spreading them over the coffee table.

“Then you can call me Namjoon,” Namjoon says, offering him a smile. Pink dusts over Jungkook’s cheeks, and he starts organising the files, not looking at Namjoon.

“Hyung,” Jimin adds, leaning forward, “You can call him Namjoon-hyung.”

“Namjoon-hyung,” Jungkook says, and nods. “Well, let’s get started…”

0-0-0

Namjoon’s head is buzzing by the time they send Jungkook away. He can’t quite put all the information together in a way that fits. They’re missing too much, too many files had been put in because Jungkook thought they looked important, rather than because they were actually key, and Namjoon doesn’t have the background to know how all the little social figures fit together to make up the bigger picture. Hoseok and Jimin both look solemn, though, so he thinks that there’s more to it than what he’s seeing.

“He’s a good spy,” Jimin says casually, once Jungkook is on his way, given the address to V’s and a message to relay to Taehyung. “We could use that.”

“If somebody else isn’t already using it against us,” Hoseok replies, and Namjoon hums.

His head hurts. He wants to go to sleep.

“He meant what he said,” Namjoon says, pinching the bridge of his nose and rubbing, “I could tell. He’s got no poker face- everything he felt showed in his eyes.”

“Unless that’s what he wanted you to think,” Hoseok says, and then bursts into laughter. “Oh, oh, I never thought I’d get the chance to say that in real life! Namjoon-ah, you’ve made my life so much more interesting.”

Namjoon smiles back at him and stands up, stripping off his jacket and draping it over the back of the chair that’s still sitting in the middle of the floor.

“It’s enough to get an idea of the scene, at least, from inside what- three different gangs?” Jimin asks, pawing through the files, “K-Krue, Verro, and Supaa’s guys are all going to be cursing Jungkook in the morning.”

“I’m glad we have him somewhere safe, then,” Namjoon says. “But right now, I really need to rest.”

Hosoek nods. “You should get some sleep, Namjoon-ah. I’ll come by tomorrow with Jungkook and Taehyung, and we can start putting this together.”

“Taehyung?”

“He’s our information guy,” Hoseok explains. “He knows everything about everyone. It’ll be good to see how this lines up with what he already has.”

Namjoon nods, and goes back to staring at the buttons of his shirt and hoping they’ll unbutton themselves.

“Do you need help with your ribs, hyung?” Jimin asks, moving over to him. Hoseok follows, standing behind Namjoon so he’s bracketed between the two men. “We can help you, can’t we, Hoseok-hyung?”

“Of course,” Hoseok smiles, reaching out to untuck Namjoon’s shirt, touching lightly. “We can’t have you hurting yourself more.”

In front of him, Jimin has done the same job, gently pulling his red shirt from his white pants, fingers gentle as they undo the buttons, hands careful as they push the shirt back along his shoulders. Hoseok has his arms, clever fingers working to undo his cuffs, taking the shirt and settling it over the jacket on the chair.

“Let me know if he’s moving too fast,” Jimin says, jerking his head at Hoseok, who laughs.

“Me? You’re the one who’s touching his bare chest!”

“I don’t hear hyung complaining,” Jimin replies, sticking out his tongue, and Namjoon reddens.

“No, uh. It’s okay,” he says, and Hosoek presses himself up against Namjoon’s back.

Jimin trails his hands down Namjoon’s sides, running over the bandages with a frown. “We need to re-wrap these,” he says absently, as his hands come to rest on Namjoon’s belt loops, pressing them chest to chest.

Namjoon kind of wants to lean down and kiss him, but at the same time, there’s an air of fragility to this scene, with the faint buzz of his kitchen’s light, Hoseok’s breath on his neck and Jimin’s strong hands pulling him close. He feels like if he moves, the soap bubble of the mood will break.

“You should take off his belt,” Hoseok says helpfully over Namjoon’s shoulder, “he can’t sleep in skinny jeans.”

“Good point, Hoseok-hyung,” Jimin agrees, and Namjoon’s eyes close on reflex as his belt slithers loose of his belt loops, his fly undone in quick, smooth movements. “And what are you doing to help, hm?”

“I’m supervising,” Hoseok says, and presses his lips to the join between Namjoon’s shoulder and neck. “Do you know where the doctor left the first aid stuff, Namjoon-ah?”

Namjoon swallows, and points toward the kitchen. “On the table?”

They move as a unit, somehow, Hoseok and Jimin balancing him between them, moving with grace, like dancers- Jimin’s hands don’t leave his belt loops, pulling his hips in the direction he wants Namjoon to move, and Hoseok just noses at his neck, hands skating along his sides, soft over bruised skin.

“Should he sit down?” Jimin asks, finally pulling away to look at the first-aid supplies, and Namjoon shivers, suddenly cold.

“No, I’ll brace him,” Hoseok says, arms twining around Namjoon’s waist and pulling him back against him. “You’ll stay with him tonight, won’t you?”

“Of course,” Jimin says, and shoots Namjoon an almost shy smile. “If you don’t mind, hyung?”

Namjoon shakes his head. His mouth is dry, and he’s not even sure if he can talk. The fluorescent over the stove is gilding Jimin’s face in harsh yellow, but the softness in his eyes is unmistakable as he unrolls bandages.

“Hold still,” Hoseok advises him, as they unclip his bandages, slowly unrolling them from around his ribs. For a moment, the freedom is beautiful, the lack of pressure makes him relax, and then the injuries start to scream again, and Namjoon freezes, tensing against Hoseok. “It’s okay,” the redhead soothes, rubbing a circle over his hip bone, and Namjoon isn’t sure when Hoseok’s hand got under his waistband, but the distraction is nice.

Jimin bends down in front of him, fingers covered in medicinal cream that he dabs over the worst of the bruising, and Namjoon hisses.

“Nearly done,” Jimin says, and leans in to press an open mouthed kiss to Namjoon’s stomach, just above his navel, “you’re doing really well, hyung.”

It’s warm, suddenly, and Namjoon wants to move. He doesn’t know how he wants to move, if he wants to sway forward towards Jimin’s sure hands, where he’s wrapping new bandages around his torso, or back into Hoseok’s strong grip, or away from both of them, to lock himself in the bathroom until he can breathe again, and he isn’t confused. Jimin puts a fastener into the end of the bandage, runs his fingers along the neat white lines, and leans in to press another kiss to his skin, this time just under his collarbone, close enough to share breath with Hoseok.

“There. All better.”

Namjoon swallows heavily, and Hoseok laughs lightly in his ear.

“I think Namjoon-ah needs to rest now, Jimin.”

“I know,” Jimin says, with a slight whine. “Rest and recovery for Joonie-hyung.”

“At least for now,” Hoseok promises, and Namjoon shivers, leaning back into his grip. His knees slip apart a little bit, and Jimin takes advantage, slipping between his legs and leaning up to kiss him properly.

Jimin kisses like he lives- directly, to the point, and far more harshly than you would think, looking at him. His lips are soft, plush against Namjoon’s, but his hands grip Namjoon’s jaw, tilting him down into Jimin’s grip, and within a second, his tongue is tracing the seam between Namjoon’s lips. Hoseok’s grip on Namjoon’s hips tightens, and his mouth falls open on a gasp- half interested, half pained- and Jimin doesn’t waste time. One hand slides back to play with Namjoon’s hair, while the other stays on his jaw, and Jimin is biting at his lip gently, running his tongue along the inside edge of Namjoon’s teeth, swirling into his mouth without hesitation as Namjoon lets out a low whimper. His hands have caught on Jimin’s shoulders, pulling him in closer, as close as he can get, but Jimin still has his torso angled away, refusing to press into his neat new bandages.

Jimin pulls away, looking smug, lips red. “Rest and relaxation, hyung. You should put on some pyjamas.”

“Right,” Namjoon agrees, still staring at Jimin’s lips.

“Hey,” Hoseok says, “Me too.”

He tugs at Namjoon’s hip, turning him, and reaches up to cradle his cheek, leaning in for his own kiss.

Hoseok doesn’t kiss like Jimin. He doesn’t push the way Jimin does- it doesn’t feel like he’s trying to eat Namjoon. Instead, he moves with purpose, still smiling, and their teeth kind of clack together a little bit, and Namjoon can’t help letting out a little laugh. Hoseok pulls back and smiles at him, using the hand on his cheek to tilt Namjoon’s head a little differently, and dips back in. This time, it’s just lips on lips, and Namjoon pushes into it, raising a hand to rest on Hoseok’s back, pulling him in a little more. He tastes like the beer he was drinking earlier, and his lips aren’t as pillowy as Jimin’s, but they’re soft like he uses chapstick regularly, and he hums happily as he pushes into Namjoon’s mouth, only pulling away when Namjoon’s hands begin to open and close on his back, twitchy and wanting.

“Rest and relaxation,” Hoseok agrees, resting his forehead against Namjoon’s. “Look after him, hey?”

“Of course,” Jimin agrees, and Namjoon sits back against the kitchen counter, slightly dazed. “Come on, hyung. Let’s go to bed.”

Namjoon nods, still stunned.

Hoseok kisses him again, runs a thumb over his cheek on his way out the door. “I’ll see you tomorrow!”

“Right. Yes, tomorrow,” Namjoon says, struggling into the oversized tee-shirt Jimin presents him with. “Sounds good.”

“You seem a little flustered, hyung,” Jimin says, grinning, and Namjoon shakes his head, sitting on the futon. It’s not like it’s his first time kissing someone. It is his first time kissing two someones at the same time, but the principle seems pretty similar. He can probably extrapolate and figure out his next move, if he’s given time to process it. He peels his pants away, leaving him in boxers and the tee-shirt, and watches Jimin lick his lips at the sight of his legs. He doesn’t think he’s going to have time to process it.

“No. No, I’m fine.” Namjoon says, turning off the overhead lights and locking the front door. He waters the plant next to the sink, and checks his windows are closed.

He is not fine.

“I know what I’m doing,” he explains, as Jimin slides into bed next to him in a stolen Kanye shirt, legs bare.

He does not know what he’s doing. Jimin wraps an arm around him, snuggling in, head pressed between Namjoon’s shoulders, a leg over his hip like he’s a jetpack on Namjoon’s back. Namjoon turns off the light next to the futon.

Hopefully, Namjoon can figure it out before anyone asks him any more questions.

Chapter Text

They end up going to Taehyung at the shop, rather than having him come to them. The air is crisp, just on the tail end of winter, and when they arrive, the shop is closed despite the stated opening hours.

"I really should have guessed this place was a front," Namjoon says, hands in his pockets, as Taehyung opens the door for them. "Your hours are so weird, and you never sell anything."

"That's not true," Taehyung says cheerfully, guiding them toward the counter, where Namjoon can see Jungkook, dressed in the same clothes he was yesterday.

"Oh?"

"I sold a mixing board just last week!" Taehyung says with a wink, and Namjoon smiles back at him.

Jimin hops up on the counter, kicking his heels against the glass, and Namjoon leans against it next to him. Hoseok looks up from a pile of papers- more of Jungkook's contributions, Namjoon assumes- and looks Namjoon up and down, sneakers to beanie, a warmth in his eyes that makes Namjoon look away.

He knows how he looks- Hoseok's open mouthed kisses were a lot more deadly in the light of day than he had thought, and there's a row of red love bites marching from Namjoon's ear down to his collarbone.

Jimin had practically pouted when they woke up, pressed his fingers into the bruises like he could make them his, and had leaned in towards Namjoon's neck with a wicked light in his eyes.

There are a few more bruises, hid a little more effectually beneath Namjoon's high necked shirt.

Namjoon swallows, and looks away from Hoseok, hand going up to adjust his sunglasses.

This isn't the time for these sorts of thoughts.

"Good morning," he says, nodding to Jungkook, who smiles back at him.

"Morning, hyung." He sounds pleased with himself, and Taehyung practically bounces up next to him to sit cross legged on the counter, picking up a file.

"Morning, Namjoon-ah," Hoseok says lightly, smiling, and Namjoon feels his face heat up. "Well, that's all five of us. Taehyungie, this is your field. Brief us."

"Ooh, exciting," Taehyung says, settling his hands on his knees and sitting up straight. "So, the state of affairs, as of this morning."
He clears his throat, waiting for everyone to look at him, and then starts.

"First of all, everyone's noticed Rap Mon-hyung's power move from last night. Lines have already been redrawn," Taehyung says, tapping the space bar on a nearby laptop- it looks like it should be uselessly old, about six centimetres thick and covered in years of typing grime, but it comes to life quickly, illuminating a map of Soeul covered in little colourful lines. "And everyone's just kind of accepted that everything that belonged to the Fives now belongs to the Teeth."

"The Teeth..." Jungkook's nose wrinkles, "I still don't like that."

"Neither do I," Namjoon agrees, "but it's not our top priority."

"Anyway!" Taehyung interjects, pointing at the laptop screen, "We've doubled our territory overnight. People are talking about our bulletproof leader, how nothing keeps him down, but we've drawn a lot of extra attention, too."

"What kind of attention?" Hoseok asks, leaning in- he puts his hand on Namjoon's hip, casually, to steady himself, and Namjoon freezes. It’s warm, and the way his hand curves over the edge of his waistband, fingers resting on the skin under his shirt is intensely distracting. He swallows, and tunes back into Taehyung’s explanation.

"The kind that's been talking about how Rap Monster must have got 'it', whatever 'it' is, from Shiwu when he smoked him," Taehyung says. "There's rattling on a bunch of boards. Apparently it's open season on the Teeth, and everyone's got rifles ready." He fires a fake bullet from his index finger at Namjoon, who just shakes his head.

“They can try,” Namjoon says, pushing his sunglasses up a little higher, and Jimin grins in the corner of his vision.

"We were talking earlier," Jungkook volunteers, opening one of the files on the counter, "about what Shiwu must have had, why it made him such a target-"

"You've got to be pretty dangerous to get a contract out on you," Taehyung says, "and we found one from about a month ago for Shiwu, on the usual board."

"Hm, let me see," Jimin asks, and Jungkook passes a file over. "Ooh. Ooh, that's a lot of money. How did I miss this?"

He looks honestly let down at missing the opportunity to murder a man, and Namjoon frowns.

"It got snapped up within about two minutes by a user called LDK," Taehyung explains, "but we haven't been able to trace it further."

"Why not?" Namjoon asks, crossing his arms.

"We would need a hacker," Taehyung says, gesturing helplessly. "I did as much as I can with google and eight years of experience programming my neopets home page, but the dark web needs a bit more than that."

Namjoon nods slowly. Honestly, he'd kind of assumed that Taehyung was good at technology because he worked at V's. Which was pretty silly, thinking back on it, because Namjoon spent three years working part time in a make-up store in high school and still isn't sure what primer is.

"So that's it. No movement," Hoseok shrugs, arranging his papers into a pile. "And we're going to be targeted until whoever it is either realises we don't have what he's after, or we're all dead."

"Look on the bright side," Taehyung says, offering a smile that Hoseok instinctively returns.

They wait for a second, expecting the bright side.

"Oh, no, I don't have a positive to this situation," Taehyung shakes his head, smile disappearing. "I just think we should try and stay cheerful."

"Taehyungie, you know how you always wonder why you don't get to be part of the important leadership decisions?" Hoseok says, pinching the bridge of his nose, "This is why."

"No," Namjoon says slowly, "he's got a point. We're not just going to roll over and die."

He hasn't even published his first mix-tape yet. He hasn’t even had sex yet. He hasn’t even bought a dog yet. He has goals to meet, and being killed in a back alley over something a wannabe rapper did is not going to fit that schedule.

"So, where do we get a hacker?" Namjoon asks, crossing his arms.

Jungkook nods, but Jimin hums.

"It won't be easy. There are a lot of keyboard cowboys out there- all talk, no action- but the good guys usually aren't even known to the outside."

"I know one guy," Hoseok says slowly, "we used to partner together, a few years ago, but he disappeared, wiped all his accounts and submerged."

"If you have a name, I can work my own kind of magic," Taehyung says, wiggling his fingers. "Everyone talks to somebody, and that somebody always talks to me. No matter how good this guy is, he can't avoid me forever."

Hoseok shakes his head. "He burned everything. We used single characters to talk to each other, and he used 'Yoo', but that's all I have. I don't think that was even his initial."

Taehyung's determined face drops a little, but he still nods.

"I'll find him. It just might take a while."

"In the meantime," Namjoon interrupts, "we should follow up on the hospital lead with Shiwu."

"And someone should pick you up after work," Jimin puts in. "If you're a target like this, you shouldn't be going anywhere alone."

Namjoon frowns, but he has a point. It is a weak point, and an escort might be a good idea. It doesn't sit easy with him, though. He's a grown man, he can look after himself.

"Me or Hoseok," Jimin continues, and Jungkook crosses his arms.

"Or me, hyung," he says, staring at Jimin. "I can help too."

"Look, kid-" Hoseok starts to say, and Namjoon crosses his arms too. Now they're all standing around with crossed arms, and it feels silly, so Namjoon stuffs his hands in his pockets instead.

"I'm not actually a little girl, you know," Namjoon says, "I can look after myself."

Maybe that's a bad example. His sister is technically a little girl, and Namjoon is still very afraid of her, even knowing she's all the way in Ilsan.

"You got kidnapped like two days ago," Hoseok says, not looking up from the counter.

"And I rescued myself, didn't I?"

"Actually-" Jimin goes to start, and Namjoon turns, lowering his sunglasses to stare at him.

"I rescued you too, Jimin, don't even try and argue that," Namjoon snaps, and Jimin nods, lifting his hands in surrender. "I know I don't know as much as all of you, but I'm not stupid, and I'm not careless. Don't be so thoughtless to me. I'm still your leader."

There's a moment of silence, where Namjoon looks at each of them, jaw set.

"Ah, sorry," Hoseok says, rubbing the back of his neck. "You're right, of course."

"Sorry, hyung," Jungkook says, and Jimin nods.

"I'm not apologising," Taehyung says, "I think you're scary."

"I'm not scary, Taehyung." Namjoon shakes his head, letting out a low laugh, "I'm just a guy. A guy who's in a little over his head, but just a guy, nonetheless."

"You've been in the scene for a month and you've already taken over two gangs, lead to a guy's death, and recruited one of the most independent, feared contract killers in the business," Taehyung says, "you've got a series of terrifying nicknames, including 'The God Of Destruction', 'The Bulletproof Man', and 'Monster'. The Teeth have expanded their territory five fold since you came to power, and now Jeon Jungkook wants to work for you too."

Namjoon blinks.

"Wait, what's so special about Jeon Jungkook?" Jimin asks, leaning down from his perch on the counter to examine the younger boy, who bares his teeth at him.

Taehyung sighs. "Jeon Jungkook. The Golden Maknae? Whoever he works for thrives, whoever he leaves crashes and burns? Acclaimed fighter, crack shot, first person to break an S33-12A digital safe in less than twenty minutes? He's worked his way through eight different gangs, and they've all died without him, once he moved on."

"Ah, hyung," Jungkook tugs at his hair, "Please don't go on..."

"Doesn't anyone listen to me? I write reports for you guys!" Taehyung wails, "This is why my job is so hard!"

Namjoon turns to look at Jungkook, who is obviously uncomfortable with the attention. He thinks back to the night before, the fierce look on Jungkook's face as he turned to leave Namjoon's studio.

"And they still don't take you seriously?"

"Nobody takes me seriously," Jungkook says coldly, "until I leave."

Namjoon thinks for a moment, and a solution appears. "Jungkook can walk me home," he declares, looking from Hoseok to Jimin and back. "Has anyone got a problem with that?"

"Me," Jimin says, raising a hand. "I do. How am I meant to seduce you if I don't get to romantically carry your books for you?"

"I left you alone in a bed with him and you didn't seduce him?" Hoseok asks, shaking his head, "That's like...easy mode. He was already half-seduced, Jiminie."

"He's injured!" Jimin yelps defensively, "I can't just-"

"Okay!" Namjoon says loudly, "So nobody has a problem with that. Taehyung, you're on finding the hacker. Hoseok, I expect that we continue with business as usual. We don't want to look weak right now. Jimin...I don't really have any instructions for you. Don't kill anyone, I guess?"

"Well, that's my Wednesday plans cancelled," Jimin says sadly.

"Jungkook, you're with me. I'll show you where I work and where to pick me up, okay?" Namjoon continues, ignoring that disturbing statement.

Jungkook nods, looking serious.

"Okay," Taehyung nods. "Everybody be safe! Drop by if you want to play a game or something." He hops off the counter and walks Namjoon and Jungkook to the door, unlocking it with careful hands.

"Do be careful, okay? They might be calling you bulletproof, but you're actually full of blood, okay?"

Namjoon smiles. He can't help it. He's always liked Taehyung and the weird, counterclockwise way his brain works.

"I'll be careful," he says, and Jungkook nods.

"I'll look after him," Jungkook promises, and Taehyung nods- and then he leans in and presses a kiss to Namjoon's lips.

His brain stutters, and before he can react to anything beyond - soft, nice, tastes kind of like butterscotch syrup- Taehyung has pulled away, and is kissing Jungkook, who looks slightly less surprised than Namjoon.

Again, it's just a small kiss- comfort, not seduction, although the sight is more than distracting, the way their lips slot together so easily- and Taehyung pulls away with a smile.

"I'll tell Hobi-hyung when I have something about a hacker, okay?"

Namjoon nods, and Taehyung locks them out.

"You know, this isn't typical gang leadership structure," Jungkook says.

"I wouldn't know," Namjoon replies, hunching down in his jacket and heading back up the stairs, away from V's.

"I mean, I like it. I'm just saying, not typical." He shoots Namjoon a look through his eyelashes, and smile curling the edges of his mouth. "Do I get to kiss you, too?"

"Wait until you've been in with me for more than a day, and ask again. Kids these days, honestly..." Namjoon says, ignoring the way his face is heating up. Jungkook grins, biting his bottom lip, and edges in to walk pressed up next to him.

"I'll do that, hyung." Jungkook says, "but seriously, we need to do something about the name."

0-0-0

Jungkook walks him home from work for the next few weeks, picking him up at the end of his shift with a snack and a smile- boba, crepes, chicken skewers, kimbap- never passing the bike rack at the edge of the little park around the library.

"Why don't you come to the door?" Namjoon asks, after the first few times Jungkook meets him.

"You like to keep this separate, don't you?" Jungkook asks back, licking custard from his fingers, "I'm respecting that. And the weather's nice out here, anyway."

The weather is getting nicer, winter turning to spring and bringing longer days with it. Now, Jungkook picks him up while pink and orange stain the sky, and Jungkook holds his hand when they walk home together. He keeps shooting Namjoon heated, promising looks through his eyelashes, smiling as they wheel Namjoon’s bike back along the street toward the station. He presses a kiss to Namjoon’s cheek at his door, but he never presses for more; which Namjoon appreciates on the one hand, because Jungkook is sixteen and he doesn’t want to corrupt a minor, and frustrates him on the other, because as the weather warms up, Jungkook takes to wearing tight white t-shirts that outline his muscles infuriatingly well.

Taehyung still hasn't heard anything about the 'Yoo', and he's starting to look a little wilted when everyone meets up to watch Namjoon throw himself head first into the nearest rap opportunity. Hoseok keeps bringing him problems, and Namjoon keeps solving them. Jimin spends a lot of time checking how well Namjoon's ribs are healing, and Namjoon is pretty sure he's keeping a countdown until he can trip Namjoon into bed without feeling guilty.

When it comes down to it, Namjoon doesn't really need to keep working at the library- the gig money he’s getting is actually good, and the problem money that Hoseok gives him is even better- but he likes it. It's calm, soothing, completely removed from the problems that Rap Monster has.

So, to avoid his problems, he's sitting at the computer, listening to a producer on youtube talk about the quality of different hi-hats. For the first time in months, Irene, the actual librarian, stops by. He quickly clicks over to the library catalogue, and makes a thoughtful noise, like he's really considering their biography section.

"You know, your boyfriend doesn't have to wait outside for you. He can come in. It's cold outside, you shouldn't make him wait there," she scolds, and Namjoon's eyes widen.

"He's not my boyfriend," he says quickly, "he's just a friend. He just got a job near here, and our shifts are almost the same, so he walks me home."

He's over explaining. One of the first rules of lying is not to over explain, and Namjoon's already broken it. He hopes she doesn’t press anymore, because he doesn’t want to have to ‘reveal’ his underage boyfriend to avoid actually revealing his gang activities. He feels his cheeks heat up a little, and goes back to staring intently at the catalogue.

"Hm. If you say so," Irene says with a shrug, "I bet that Green Tea-ssi over there will be happy to hear that," she smiles, nodding toward Laptop Guy, who hurriedly turns back to his computer, pretending he isn't listening in.

Namjoon laughs awkwardly, and Irene heads back to her office. They won't talk about something other than work for another few months. It's how their relationship works.

Things are quiet for a few hours. The aunties come in to talk about the fire state of Song Mi-Eun and his son's new girlfriend, and Laptop Guy does whatever it is he does all day, and Namjoon actually writes a proper song, rather than just battle bars.

He's thinking about what kind of beat he wants under it- he's leaning towards something kind of eighties, old fashioned synth pop with a hard beat under it- when the door opens, and six guys in hoodies ooze into the library.

Namjoon doesn't sit up immediately- it would give him away- but he certainly flicks his eyes in their direction as they disappear into the shelves.

The men are wearing black hoodies, beat up and nondescript in the most conspicuous way, but Namjoon recognises the way they walk. It's the way Hoseok walks, the way Taehyung walks, like they're dangerous, like this is their library and their street and their town and you better not get in their way. One of them has a badly concealed knife, Namjoon can see the handle sticking out of his boot. Then he sees the face of the leader, and he recognises him.

K-Krue.

At least the kids aren't here today, Namjoon thinks. At least it's just Laptop Guy, the aunties safely tucked away in the reading room. Laptop Guy is quiet and out of the way, too, in the corner by the window near the reference desk, where he can steal the staff hot water heater without going too far.

Namjoon turns to check the room, to make sure there aren't any other patrons, and notices that Laptop Guy is packing up quickly, trying not to look hurried and failing.

Namjoon looks over at the shelves, and comes to a sudden realisation.

The guys- the dangerous looking, definitely gang associated guys?- they aren't paying him any attention. They're casually circling through cooking books, trailing into biographies, surrounding Laptop Guy as he wraps his cables and lifts his messenger bag onto his shoulder.

He doesn't know what Laptop Guy has done.

He doesn't know why these guys want him, they might have a good reason, he doesn't know, but...

This is Namjoon's library, that's his awkward hot computer guy, and he's not just going to let some assholes take him.

He straightens his cardigan and picks up a book from the return table, the Marvel Illustrated Encyclopaedia, from the kids yesterday. He walks over to Laptop Guy, and rests the book on the table, still holding the bottom edge. If someone comes at them suddenly, it’ll make a good weapon.

"Uh, excuse me?"

"Sorry, I don't-" Laptop Guy's voice is still nice, still smooth and deep and it feels more familiar than the last time he heard it. Namjoon doesn't pause to think about it. There's no time.

"Sorry, patron-ssi, but if you could come with me? You said you had some questions about your library card renewal, right? We'll need to take a new photo." He says smoothly, talking over Laptop Guy, who pauses, eyes widening.

"Right. Of course, the library card," Laptop Guy says woodenly, standing up and following Namjoon over to the little staff room behind his desk.

There's a back door in the office, and if they can just pass it off as normal business, the gang members will probably lurk out here and wait for Laptop Guy's return, rather than forcing their way into a civilian situation. Namjoon doesn't frown as he lets Laptop Guy into the office. The people in the library don't seem to have recognised him, at least.

He's not sure how he feels about that. A pair of chunky glasses and a cardigan should not make him look this different.

"Fuck," Laptop Guy says, running a hand through his hair. It's freshly dyed, a pale blue colour that makes him look approachable, despite the stiff set of his face. "Fuck, fuck, fuck. Shit. Why did you get involved here?"

"What?" Namjoon blinks, and Laptop Guy slams his hand into the wall over Namjoon's shoulder. He has to reach up to do so, with their height difference, but it's still appropriately dramatic.

"What did you think you were doing?! You've made yourself a target for some nasty people, Kim Namjoon!"

He's reading off Namjoon's name tag. Namjoon's slightly insulted that he has to. Laptop Guy's been coming here for a solid five months, and he doesn't know Namjoon's name?

"I think I'll be okay," Namjoon says, edging away from Laptop Guy. "More importantly, how did you get mixed up with them?"

"I...I owe some money," Laptop Guy says, "but it's fine. I'm dealing with it."

Namjoon peeks through the blinds, to where K-Krue and his boys are now poking at Laptop Guy's abandoned tea cup. "How much do you owe?"

Laptop Guy names a sum, and Namjoon sucks in a deep breath.

"They're not just going to forget about that much money," he says, already discarding his first idea of sneaking Laptop Guy out the back.

"I know," he replies, clutching at the strap of his bag, "Believe it or not, I didn't exactly plan on putting myself in debt to a loan shark! But it’s fine! I’m handling it!”

"I don't think you are," Namjoon says, and turns back to the blue haired man. "Look. If I can make this go away, can you promise you won’t get weird about it?"

"What are you going to do?" Laptop Guy asks, frowning, and Namjoon takes a deep breath.

Things fall into place.

"It's fine. I have a plan. Just follow my lead."

Namjoon takes off his glasses and ruffles his hair up, slicks it back with water from the tap. He drops his cardigan over the break room couch, and rolls up his sleeves a little.

"You got sunglasses on you?"

Laptop Guy nods, and pulls a pair of cheap, red framed wayfarers from his bag. They're not ideal, but they'll work in a pinch.

"What's your name?"

"Yoongi," Laptop Guy says, and Namjoon nods.

"Now. Yoongi-ssi, play along, okay? No matter how weird it gets."

"Hey, you look… really familiar, are you sure we don’t know each other?" Yoongi frowns at him, as he slides the sunglasses in place, and Namjoon offers him one last smile before grabbing him by the collar and dragging him back into the main library room.

K-Krue startles in his chair, but Namjoon doesn't even stop, dragging Yoongi through the front door and storming over to the picnic area. He pushes the older man down, dropping him in the dust, and stands over him, arms crossed.

"You think you can just run away from me?" he growls, aware of the startled look on Yoongi's face, the gathering audience of K-Krue's toughs, and puts a foot, still clad in a pastel pink sneaker, over Yoongi's chest. "Yout think you can owe me money and just walk away without paying, huh?"

"Ah-" Yoongi's eyes widen, watching the circle form around them.

"Did I say you can speak?" Namjoon hisses roughly, and Yoongi swallows hard, "I didn't ask for your opinion."

"S-sorry!"

Yoongi is not a good actor. Namjoon hopes it passes as fear, rather than wooden confusion.

"This piece of shit got you too, Rap Monster?" asks K-Krue, from behind him, and Namjoon whirls around, wet hair falling into his face. He pushes it back, adjusts his loaned sunglasses, and glares.

"K-Krue."

They nod to each other, dogs in a junkyard, and K-Krue saunters up next to him.

"What's he owe you?" Namjoon asks, and K-Krue names a figure. "Well, fuck. You got taken for a ride, didn't you?"

K-Krue laughs harshly. "And he's got nothing to pay it back with, either. What did you even spend it on, huh? Booze? Girls?" He looks Yoongi up and down, and sneers. "Boys?"

"What are you going to do about it?" Namjoon asks casually, pretending to put more weight on Yoongi's chest.

"Break his legs. We aren't getting anything back from the little fucker, are we?" K-Krue laughs harshly, and kicks Yoongi's leg.

Namjoon makes a show of looking Yoongi up and down.

"I have a better idea. He's a weedy little shit, but he can still work. I need a stand in over at Yellow Tears," he names one of their new places, knows that K-Krue will take it as sign that Namjoon is still pushing, still expanding and desperately short on manpower- "and he can manage that. I'll buy his debt from you for, hm. A quarter of the cost?"

"What if I want the whole thing back?" K-Krue asks, eyes dark.

"Good luck with that," Namjoon laughs, sticking his hands in his pockets. "You can get some of your money back from me, or none of it back from him."

There's a moment where K-Krue thinks it over, and Namjoon looks down at Yoongi.

He's staying quiet, watching Namjoon with intent, and Namjoon wants to smile at him, wants to be soft- he likes being Kim Namjoon, and he's pretty tired of being Rap Monster at the moment- but he can't.

"Done," K-Krue says, and Namjoon pulls a roll of bills out of his pocket. It's his latest pay out from Hoseok, more than he really needs to give K-Krue, but the power move of just throwing a roll of cash at the other rapper is worth it.

"Now, get the fuck out of my town," Namjoon says, all friendliness gone, and K-Krue puffs up like an insulted cat.

"We're going, aren't we, boys?" K-Krue says, and strolls out, followed by his crew.

Namjoon immediately takes his foot off Yoongi's chest, and crouches down to offer him a hand up.

"Sorry about that," he says, taking off the sunglasses and scratching at his cheek. "I couldn't think of another way out, there."

Yoongi blinks, and looks down at his entirely intact knee caps.

"...I owe you so much money now," he says slowly.

"Ah, well. We'll figure something out," Namjoon says, flapping a hand. "I'm not going to break your knees if you can't pay up, at least."

"I can't pay up," Yoongi says, accepting Namjoon's hand up. "But, uh. I can work, I guess? Rap Monster?"

Namjoon shrugs. "I prefer Namjoon, usually. I'm not really sure what I was thinking when I came up with that name."

"Namjoon," Yoongi says, hitching his bag up on his shoulder. "It's nice to meet you. And I know the feeling. Gloss isn't exactly hard core either."

Namjoon's eyes widen, and he looks at Yoongi again.

Pale jaw. Heavy parka. Wicked grin.

"We should collaborate some time!" Namjoon says quickly, before his brain can stop him. "Please!" He yelps and covers his mouth, realising what he just said, and Yoongi laughs.

"I'm pretty sure I owe you more than a collaboration," Yoongi says slowly, "but we'll see."

"Don't feel like you have to," Namjoon says, scratching at the back of his head, "I mean, we need to talk about the money thing, but I'm not going to force you to make music with me or anything."

"Oh good. My librarian is a mob boss with morals," Yoongi says dryly. "So, where are we going?"

"Ah. Inside, first. I need to pretend I'm sick so I can leave early," Namjoon says, "but then, I think maybe I should take you to somebody who knows what's going on."

"I think that's a good idea." Yoongi agrees, and he’s still talking slowly, like he's talking to a crazy person, and Namjoon flushes, practically running back into the library.

0-0-0

Okay, so Yoongi needs to re-evaluate his daydreams, apparently.

He's spent a while thinking about the cute blond librarian with the glasses. It's not really responsible, considering Yoongi's situation, but he's hot, and he's the person Yoongi sees most regularly, other than the sleepy eyed teenage girl who works at the minimart he shops at, and he's not prepared to be that creepy.

So he thinks about the librarian instead. He wears these chunky tortoiseshell glasses that make his eyes look really big and dark, and these big fluffy jumpers and cardigans that make him look soft and huggable, and Yoongi has seen him blush more than once- he's the perfect non-threatening cute boy to obsess over between his problems. He likes thinking about how he’d blush if Yoongi flirted with him, what it would be like to steal a kiss. He seems like such a nervous, sweet boy. The kind of person Yoongi would have to be careful not to overwhelm. He has a whole other category of daydreams about overwhelming him, but he keeps those for when he’s alone at home with the door locked.

Except apparently Yoongi is even rustier at reading people than he had thought.

Apparently, cute non-threatening librarian guy looks like a badass outside the fluffy jumpers, and without his glasses his face looks less kissable and more intimidating, and he's on first name terms with the guy that Yoongi owes far, far too much money too.

He'd thought he was being smart, borrowing lots of small amounts of money from lots of different people, rather than a lot from one, but no. All those different people worked for the same person. This is why he hates real life. Online, he would have been able to track that back, would have known K-Krue's reputation, would have avoided his lures.

Fuck real life.

His enforced hiatus from the internet is the worst thing that's happened to him since he came to Seoul, and that's saying something, because Seoul has been nothing but shit since he and J-Hope stopped running together.

It's not too much longer, now, until he can come back. All that money has been invested carefully, and he's got plans that are just waiting to come to fruition. Kaos is going to regret ever even touching Yoongi's firewalls. But, for now, he’s stuck solidly in meat space and his worryingly capable cute librarian is pulling him through the streets, brow furrowed in concentration.

Yoongi, who hasn’t touched another human being in almost a year, is trying not to get overwhelmed by the fact that they’re practically holding hands, but it isn’t going too well. Namjoon’s hand is warm and soft, and his grip is solid, keeping Yoongi close despite the crowds.

“So, where do you live?” Namjoon asks, looking over his shoulder, and Yoongi shrugs.

“I’m staying in a motel right now.”

“They’ve probably already hit it, I hope you didn’t have anything too important there,” Namjoon says, and Yoongi freezes.

“My rigs,” he whispers. “Fuck. No, okay, we need to go-”

Namjoon squeezes his hand and gets close, leaning down to look him in the eyes. “It’s okay. Come on, let’s go see what’s happened.”

Yoongi nods, hands numb, and begins to push his way through the crowd in the opposite direction, heading for the shitty rent-by-the-week motel he’s been in for the last six months.

If his farming rig is down, it means that all the effort he’s put in is going to be for nothing. If his harvesting rig is down, it’s manageable, but if the farming rig has been ruined, he’s got nothing. He’s got less than nothing, because he’ll have lost all his progress, and will still owe Namjoon hundreds of thousands of won.

Fuck. These troglodytes better have not fucked with his systems.

Namjoon looks slightly unnerved at how bad an area Yoongi is staying in, which is kind of sweet. He thinks it’s kind of sweet. Rap Monster seemed like a decent guy, during their battle, and Yoongi just hopes he hasn’t accidentally sold his soul to a human smuggler or something. He drags Namjoon to his motel, thunders up four sets of stairs, and stares at his closed door with trepidation.

“I’m sure it’ll be fine?” Namjoon doesn’t quite ask, and Yoongi nods, swallowing hard. He has to know, either way, and he might as well do it with Namjoon at his side, looking cute and approachable.

He unlocks the door, pushes it open with tentative fingers, and lets out a sigh of relief.

The entire place is trashed- the bed’s been torn open, the mattress literally knived, and his five outfits are torn to shreds on the ground, but his wardrobe is still upright.

“Hey, you’re tall. Reach up on top of the wardrobe and get down the suitcases, would you?” He asks Namjoon, who nods, a little pale at the destruction that’s been done to Yoongi’s room. “Don’t look so worried,” Yoongi drawls, “It’s just stuff. If those suitcases are okay, I don’t care if they set my shoes on fire.”

“They set your shoes on fire?” Namjoon asks, on tip toes and reaching over the wardrobe top.

“Yeah. Petty, really,” he says, watching Namjoon’s ass as he pulls the suitcases down. “What does that even accomplish, you know?”

“It’s meant to piss you off, I think,” Namjoon says, slightly out of breath as he swings the suitcase down onto the floor. “These are heavy...what’s in them?”

“My life’s work,” Yoongi says, unzipping the bag to check on the frankenstein computer within. It’s still there, still humming along, and he sighs in relief. “Thank fuck. Okay, do you have somewhere I can keep these?”

“Computer parts? Sure,” Namjoon shrugs, pulling down the second suitcase. “You’ve been there before, even. V’s?”

Yoongi nods, checking the other computer. Both rigs are fine, completely intact, and he looks up at Namjoon intently.

“Look. I want to make some things clear before this goes any further.”

Namjoon nods, taking a seat on the ruined bed, and Yoongi stands in front of him, hands in his parka pockets. It’s difficult to feel threatened, because Namjoon looks as harmless as a puppy, but he focuses on the intent set on his face when he talked with K-Krue, the sneer that had looked as natural as his current cute puzzled look.

“I owe you a lot of money, and I’m willing to honour that debt. I’m going to be making a lot of money very soon, and I’ll be able to pay you back.”

It’s far simpler to say it like that, rather than explaining that a shitty American hacker has locked Yoongi out of all of his systems and created a cascading system failure virus that bites him as soon as he puts a toe online. That Yoongi has spent the last eight months living on instant ramyeon and building sock puppets to let him get back in the game, collecting every tiny hint of information and online presence he can, that the entire time he’s been sitting in the corner of the library, he’s been coding until his hands ache, all to destroy Kaos.

“Making a lot of money soon?” Namjoon frowns, “Yoongi-ssi, what are you doing?”

“Crime,” Yoongi says, “duh. I got locked out of my accounts, and it’s taking a little creative programming to get back in.”

“Creative programming…” Namjoon goes quiet for a second, and when he looks up at Yoongi, there’s a thoughtful look in his eyes. Yoongi doesn’t trust it. It’s the same look that was in his eyes right before he pulled that stunt with K-Krue. “You’re a hacker?”

“Yeah,” Yoongi shrugs, “not that it matter right now. A hacker who can’t go online is like a thief with his hands cut off. Useless.”

“But are you good, usually?” Namjoon asks, leaning forward, and Yoongi nods.

“I’m the best.”

“Hey, Yoongi-ssi,” Namjoon grins lazily, and Yoongi can’t help smiling back. It’s that kind of smile, warm and inviting. “I think I’ve found a way you can pay me back.”

“Oh, so the collaboration isn’t enough now?” Yoongi asks, as Namjoon gets up and helps him roll the suitcases into the corridor. Yoongi locks up behind them while Namjoon leans against the wall, watching him close up.

“No! I mean, yes! A collaboration would be-” Namjoon goes pink, and Yoongi grins widely, not caring that his gums show, making him look all of ten years old.

“Hey. Let me know if I’ve read this wrong, okay?” He says, and puts a hand on the wall next to Namjoon’s head, bracing against him. He puts his other hand on Namjoon’s chin, brushing his thumb over his lip with intent. Namjoon’s mouth is soft, and as Yoongi closes the gap between them, he sees his eyes ease closed.

Namjoon’s mouth is just as soft against Yoongi’s mouth as it was against his thumb, and he slumps into the kiss easily, a hand coming up to curl around the back of Yoongi’s neck. He kisses like somebody once told him he used too much tongue, all restrained movements and careful presses of his lips, but when Yoongi bites at his lip, he practically falls apart against him, hips lifting against Yoongi’s in an aborted thrust. Yoongi grins into the kiss, bites again, and enjoys the sound of Namjoon trying not to whimper too loudly. He’s cute. He’s just as cute as all of Yoongi’s daydreams suggested he would be, and Yoongi takes his time mapping the inside of his mouth, finding out what makes Namjoon wriggle and whine, what makes his hands tighten on Yoongi’s waist, what makes him forget his manners and lunge against Yoongi’s mouth.

“So?” Yoongi asks, finally pulling away. “I didn’t read it wrong, did I?”

“No,’ Namjoon says, looking away and over Yoongi’s shoulder. His eyes widen a little, and his grip on Yoongi’s waist tightens. “No, you didn’t read it wrong.”

“Which you should be very grateful for,” says a light voice from behind Yoongi, “because otherwise I would have to stab you for taking advantage of Joonie-hyung.”

He looks over his shoulder, and a man with blond hair and a cherubic smile waves a knife at him.

“As it is, I’m just wondering where we’re going to find a bed big enough to fit six people at once.”

Namjoon groans and hides his face in Yoongi’s shoulder.

Chapter Text

“I’m starting to think you don’t know any other people,” Taehyung says, when he sees Namjoon, Yoongi, and Jimin approaching the counter. V’s is technically open, but Taehyung hasn’t bothered turning on the lights, and he’s lying on the counter reading an issue of Best Eleven from 1997.  “Or maybe...you just really like me.”

 

“I really like you,” Namjoon agrees, ruffling Taehyung’s hair and hopping up to sit on the counter next to him. “Can you close up?”

 

Taehyung sighs heavily, but sits up. “I guess. Are we having another meeting? I still haven’t found anything on Yoo.”

 

Yoongi leans against the counter next to Namjoon. He hasn’t said much since Jimin turned up, but he isn’t letting either of his suitcases out of arm’s reach. Namjoon wants to say something, but isn’t sure what. He’s got so many questions, and only about a quarter of them are relevant- his brain keeps coming back to the fact that this is Gloss , that he could, just for example, turn and ask him about his music, or talk about how he’d seen Yoongi listening to This Unruly Mess I’ve Made last week, and what are his thoughts on Ryan Lewis’ beats- but he needs to focus. He stays silent instead, watching Taehyung as he finally hops down and wanders over to the aisles.

 

“We’re closed now! Get out, please!” he yells, and nobody emerges from the aisles. He turns to Namjoon and grins. “Done.”

 

“Hobi should be here soon,” Namjoon says, looking down at his phone. He didn’t explain much, just that he’d met someone he thinks could be helpful, before fielding a worried call from Jungkook, who had turned up at the library and found no Namjoon waiting. They’re both on their way over now, and Namjoon taps on the counter, thinking.

 

“Taehyung, do you have a computer that Yoongi can use?”

 

“I have my laptop,” Yoongi says, shaking his head at Taehyung. “Anything unsecured’ll be burned as soon as I log on. Kaos is a thorough asshole. Loud, American, and really fucking annoying, but thorough.”

 

“Kaos?” Namjoon asks. It’s not the first time Yoongi has mentioned the name, but Namjoon had been thoroughly distracted last time. Mainly by Yoongi’s mouth.

 

It’s still very distracting, and Namjoon can’t help staring as Yoongi plugs his laptop in and turns it on, biting his lip like he’s not sure it’ll work. He’s got a nice mouth- it tilts up in the middle so he looks like he’s smirking all the time, and Namjoon can still remember the firm pressure of his lips, the way he’d had to stoop to even connect with Yoongi’s mouth- and his eyes are narrowed in lazy focus as the computer boots up.

 

“I’d ask you for your wifi password, but I’ve already scooped it. Your security is just sad,” he says, shaking his head at Taehyung, who shrugs.

 

“If you’re hacking a basement wifi network that belongs to a gang, you’re probably desperate enough that I’m okay letting you have the wifi,” he says.

 

“Kaos is the asshole who burned all my profiles last year,” Yoongi explains, clicking through a few windows and pulling up a terminal, which he types into rapidly. “He was pissed because I burned all his shit back in high school, and apparently he decided to sit on all that anger for two years writing a virus that would give me wet dreams if it were aimed at anyone other than me.”

 

Namjoon nods slowly, coming over to look over Yoongi’s shoulder.

 

“Burned?” Jimin asks, straightening his jacket as he circles round to Yoongi’s other side. “What does that mean?”

 

“Uh, it’s like. Okay, you’re- what are you?”

 

“I kill people for money,” Jimin says.

 

Yoongi pauses, and Namjoon sighs. He’s starting to give up on Jimin and the idea of subtlety. He’s so genuine, tries so hard, it’s almost like he doesn’t understand the idea of a filter.

 

“Right, so, imagine you come home from a job, and your apartment is gone. All your contacts don’t answer your calls, and when you go to see them in person, they don’t recognise you. Every bolt hole, even the ones you have under eighteen levels of security, that you haven’t touched in years- they’re all gone. Your broker pretends he doesn’t know you. Your face, your name, none of them exist, and all your cards won’t work. Your weapons have been replaced with plastic replicas so good you don’t even realise until you try to stab a guy and poke him instead. That’s what being burned is.”

 

Jimin nods, and Yoongi looks up from his typing.

 

“Of course, it depends how good you are, as to how well you can burn someone. In high school, I was a cocky little shit, and I only half did the job. That’s how Kaos traced it back to me.”

 

“So what are you doing now?” Namjoon asks, nudging the conversation back on track.

 

“I’m logging into an account that I managed to back-configure from a Flickr ID abandoned by some kid in Busan like five years ago. From that, I’ve managed to cobble together a full online identity, and I’ve used that to mine some of my old data out from under Kaos’ nose.” Yoongi explains, clicking through windows almost too quickly for Namjoon to see. “I’ve been doing this every day for the last eight months, and I’ve almost got everything back. In the next four hours, Kaos should experience his own violent meltdown, and I’ll be back where I belong.” He darts a look up at Namjoon, “And I should be able to pay you back.”

 

“I said it’s fine,” Namjoon shakes his head, “look, honestly, it’s a bit of a coup that I ran into you. See, we could really use some computer work.”

 

“I’m guessing you don’t mean that you’re having trouble hooking up a Smart TV,” Yoongi says, and Namjoon smiles.

 

“I mean, I am,” Taehyung says, returning from the front of the shop with Jungkook and Hoseok, “but I don’t think we should use our favour up on that. Google will help me eventually.”

 

“Eventually?” Jungkook asks, crossing the floor to do a quick visual check of Namjoon, who turns to let him see that he’s completely uninjured. Jungkook looks reassured at that, but stands near him, so that there’s now a huddle around Yoongi’s laptop as Hoseok comes to join them.

 

“She’s a sultry minx who keeps her secrets,” Taehyung says wisely. “Do we get introductions now, hyung?”

 

“Right,” Namjoon nods. “Everyone, this is Yoongi-”

 

“Yoongi-hyung,” Yoongi corrects him, “I’m older than you.”

 

“Oh! Sorry! Right, Yoongi-hyung,” Namjoon says, scratching one cheek. “I helped him out with a little situation earlier, and he’s agreed to help us out in return.”

 

“A little situation?” Hoseok asks, and does his own visual check of Namjoon, coming close to cup his cheek. “Are you okay?”

 

“Fine. He owed some money to K-Krue. I sorted it out.”

 

Yoongi nods, going back to his typing, and Hoseok hums.

 

“So, how much does he owe us?”

 

“Enough that I’m here,” Yoongi says, crossing his arms, “so what do you need a hacker for?”

 

“He owes us thirty three million won,” Taehyung says, and both Namjoon and Yoongi whip around to stare at him.. “This is my job,” he reminds them, “I find things out. People talk to me. Why do you look surprised?”

 

“Thirty three million?” Hoseok blinks, “That’s… a lot of money.”

 

“I know,” Yoongi says grimly, “but I’m good for it, I swear. As soon as I get my accounts back, I can get you fifty percent. I figure that’s enough to show I can get the rest. Until I do, I can work for you.”

 

“You keep saying how we need a hacker,” Namjoon says, looking at Hoseok, “I found us a hacker.”

 

Hoseok pulls a face like smelled something nasty, and looks over Yoongi’s shoulder at the laptop screen.

 

“I’d be more comfortable if it was someone we knew.”

 

“I know Yoongi well enough-”

 

“Hyung, kid, honestly!”

 

“Yoongi-hyung,” Namjoon corrects himself, “he’s not going to mess with us. He’s a good guy.”

 

“Are you saying that because he’s the dude from the club that you wanted so badly you almost went to your knees on stage for?” Jimin asks, and Namjoon splutters.

 

“Dude from the club? Wanted? What? No. I don’t know what you’re talking about, Jimin. You’re crazy. On my knees? I would never-” He swallows hard, turning to Jimin, “How do we know you’re not the one with a crush on him, huh?”

 

Jimin just shakes his head, and Namjoon tries very hard to ignore Jungkook’s muffled snickering. Yoongi’s smile has turned up on one side, and he looks very pleased with himself.

 

“I just wish we could get in contact with my guy,” Hoseok says, crossing his arms. He completely ignores Namjoon’s distress, focussing instead on the way Yoongi is smirking as he clicks through another portal. “we don’t know anything about this dude. I want a guarantee, you know?”

 

Yoongi turns to look at Hoseok, lips pursed. “What’s your guy’s name? If he’s any good, I know him, and I can get you your guarantee.”

 

“I- uh.” Hoseok stops suddenly, face falling.

 

“Well?”

 

“Hobi-hyung doesn’t have a name for him,” Taehyung says sourly. He’s clearly still bitter that he couldn’t find the mysterious ‘Yoo’, “I’m not even sure if he’s real, or just some kind of torture device hyung is using to make sure I don’t get cocky about my information gathering skills.”

 

“He’s real,” Hoseok says, leaning over and pinching Taehyung under the chin hard enough to make him squirm. “Don’t disrespect me, Taehyungie. If I want to torture you, I’ll torture you. I don’t need to lie.”

 

“If you don’t have a name, I don’t see how I’m meant to get you your guarantee,” Yoongi says, leaning back and crossing his arms right back at Hoseok.

 

“You said you’re a hacker, right? If you can find him, I’d call that a skill test,” Namjoon suggests, looking from Yoongi to Hoseok and back. “That’s fair, right?”

 

Yoongi huffs out a sigh. “Yeah, Namjoon-ah. I’d call that fair.”

 

“Sure,” Hoseok shrugs, and pulls over a chair to sit next to Yoongi. “I can give you some other details, and you can impress me enough that I don’t decide to break your kneecaps for taking advantage of Namjoon-ah’s giving nature.”

 

“Oh, no, don’t worry, I checked with Joonie-hyung. He wasn’t taking advantage,” Jimin says, grinning, and Namjoon swats him. “He wanted it.”

 

“...I meant by getting Namjoon-ah to pay off his debtors,” Hoseok says slowly, turning to look at Jimin. “What did you mean?”

 

“So! Finding Hoseok-ah’s hacker friend!” Namjoon says, clapping his hands together. “Let’s do that, shall we?”

 

Hoseok lets out his information in little dribbles. There’s a forum that he and his friend used, but all their threads are deleted. Yoongi knows it, pilots the site quickly and within a few seconds, they’re looking at a tangle of nested windows, the back end of a fairly complex site. There’s an anonymous IRC client they used, but it auto-deleted the logs every two minutes. Yoongi looks grudgingly impressed, even admits that he has used the same client, and he recommends it for its security. The same thing happens at every place Hoseok mentions- Yoongi knows it, Yoongi used to use it, until they’re left standing staring as Hoseok looks at Yoongi with mounting irritation. It’s been almost an hour, and everyone else has lost interest. Taehyung and Jungkook have turned on Taehyung’s old computer, loading up the same fighting game Taehyung had played with Hoseok last time. Namjoon is splitting his attention three ways- to his phone, where he’s trying to finish an article he was reading earlier, to Jimin, who is entertaining himself by whispering dirty things in Namjoon’s ear and seeing how hard he can make him blush, and to the two bickering boys by the laptop.

He hums thoughtfully, and Jimin decides that he’s not paying enough attention to his portion of that split- he leans in and says something softly, then licks down the edge of Namjoon’s ear, biting his ear lobe.

Nobody can hear the full sentence, thankfully, but Namjoon goes pink and drops his phone, turning back to Hoseok and Yoongi and Jimin pouts.

 

“Melcafe.” Hoseok grinds out. He doesn’t know how many more locations he even has for Yoongi to check, but he’s going to have him look everywhere . Life without Yoo on hand has been shitty, and he finally has a source to track him down, even if that source is infuriating and likes staring at him with dark eyes, dismissing his every suggestion within a few seconds.

 

“Too secure. I use it for encrypted mail.” Yoongi responds, not even bothering to type the address.

 

“Gexon.”

 

“That’s a dark web currency trading client, Hoseok. ...And I’ve already hacked it. Your friend’s ID has been scorched, if it ever existed.”

 

“Fuck! Okay, how about AGUST?”

 

Yoongi startles, turning to look at Hoseok properly.

 

“Sorry, what?”

 

Hoseok grins. “You don’t know AGUST? And you call yourself a hacker? It’s the most secure information trading hub online. I think they’re on release Gamma?”

 

The smug look has disappeared from Yoongi’s face, and he’s staring at Hoseok like he thinks he’s about to reveal his true face, Scooby Doo villain style.

 

“The site went down for a while. They’re on Delta now,” Yoongi says slowly, “but more importantly, how did you get access?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“AGUST is a very secure hub, it’s true. And that’s because only one person can give out access codes to it. The developer is a paranoid son of a bitch who personally verifies every member. So. How did you get access?”

 

“My friend gave it to me,” Hoseok says, squinting at Yoongi, “he never said it was special beyond being super secure.”

 

Yoongi laughs, cradling his head in his hands. His shoulders actually shake, and he pushes away from his laptop so he doesn’t accidentally hit any keys as he giggles. It’s a nice sound, light and airy despite his deep register, and Hoseok starts to redden.

 

“What’s so funny, asshole?”

 

“Oh, no, you’re gonna find this fucking hilarious too, trust me.” He looks up, still grinning. “Your friend. You met him on a board two years ago. He lived in Daegu, but moved to Soeul not long after you started talking. Your screen name was J-Hope, and he gave you the AGUST codes in January of last year. Am I right?”

 

“What the fuck-” Hoseok startles, frowning at Yoongi. “I thought you said you couldn’t find anything?”

 

“I can’t!” Yoongi laughs, “Because your friend got fucking burned! He got burned last year, and couldn’t contact you anymore because he was a paranoid bastard who routed everything online and he didn’t even have your real phone number!”

 

Hoseok pauses, and looks at Yoongi again.

 

“Oh, holy shit. Holy shit, we’re both so dumb.”

 

Namjoon frowns, leaning down to pick up his phone, and comes back over to them. “What is it?”

 

Hoseok is still laughing, and throws an arm around Yoongi’s shoulders, pulling him into an awkward, incredibly tight sideways hug. “Namjoon-ah, meet my friend Yoo-hyung.”

 

“Yo,” Yoongi waves. “Most people online call me Suga, but Hope is a special case.”

 

Namjoon frowns. “Wait. Did you just spend an hour threatening Yoongi to find himself?”

 

“It’s a slightly aggressive form of meditation, but I’ll forgive him. He’s my favourite dongsaeng, after all…” Yoongi shrugs, and Hoseok beams, ruffling Yoongi’s fluffy hair.

 

“So, can we actually get to work now?” Namjoon checks, raising an eyebrow at the pair, and Hoseok looks a little abashed, rubbing at the back of his neck.

 

“Right, right. Of course. Taehyungie, Jungkookie, come back over here, would you?”

 

The younger pair pause their game and come round to the table, and Jimin settles himself next to Namjoon again, all of them coming round to see the screen.

 

“So, what do you need?” Yoongi asks. He looks a lot more relaxed suddenly, and Namjoon wants to ask about the names- Hope, Suga, AGUST- and whatever story goes along with them, but he knows that he has to keep his priorities straight.

 

His first priority has to be figuring out what Shiwu had that means everyone is now after Namjoon.

 

His second priority is getting out of this business alive.

 

After that...Honestly, his third priority is convincing Yoongi to collaborate with him.

 

“The patient records for Park Shimoon,” Hoseok says, leaning over Yoongi’s shoulder, absently pressing his cheek against Yoongi’s affectionately as the hacker began to rapidly navigate on his laptop. “He was hospitalised a few months ago in the Severance Hospital, and died the day after he was checked in.”

 

“Sounds pretty clear cut, but sure.” Yoongi says, and is suddenly inside a bunch of directories, bringing up Shiwu’s file. “Here.”

 

“Let me see,” Namjoon says, leaning over Yoongi’s other shoulder.

 

“Park Shimoon, age twenty six, no known allergies, hospitalised for cranial trauma. Cause of death…” Hoseok trails off, head tilting to the side.

 

“What’s a subarachnoid hematoma, leading to;.. suprasellar cisternal heamorrhage?” Jungkook asks, reading along the profile..

 

“A bleed in the brain in the spongy layer under the skull, usually caused by heavy trauma, which then leads to brain compression and an eventual persistent vegetative state,” Namjoon replies, reading ahead. Everyone turns to look at him, and he frowns, looking up from the file. “What?”

 

“...Nothing. Go on,” Hoseok says, and Namjoon hums thoughtfully.

 

“It’s a weird cause of death, though. Usually a persistent vegetative state is, well, persistent. You don’t just...die.”

 

“Unless somebody helps you,” Jimin says. “If somebody’s in a coma, killing them is easy. Doctors don’t pay that much attention to coma patients.”

 

“It’s concerning that you know that,” Taehyung tells him, and Jimin shrugs.

 

“Well, I’ve got good news, and I’ve got bad news,” Yoongi says, after a little more typing. “I’m going to give you the bad news first.”

 

“What if we want the good news?” Taehyung asks.

 

“Tough shit. Unfortunately, it looks like Severance hasn’t completely digitised all their records yet, so I can’t read the notes by the attending doctor.”

 

“And the good news?” Namjoon asks mildly, thumb coming up to play with his lip as he thinks. They need this information.

 

“If they aren’t digitally accessible, they aren’t digitally tamperable. Wherever those records are, unless someone has physically gone in and fucked with them, they’re pristine.”

 

“So we need a way into the hospital, something that will seem natural...” Namjoon thinks aloud, and Jimin perks up.

 

“I could break Jungkook’s leg!”

 

“That’s a terrible idea,” Namjoon says, eyes focussed on the middle distance, “that’s barely an emergency trip. We need to get to the offices. That means a longer stay, or some kind of faked reason to be in the administration area.”

 

“I could make it a complex fracture?” Jimin suggest, and Namjoon shakes his head.

 

“No, no.” He blinks, coming out of whatever zone he’s fallen into, and looks up at Jungkook, who has gone pale. “Also, that’s wrong. Jungkook-ah, we wouldn’t do that. You’re safe with us.”

 

“So, getting in to the administration area…” Yoongi taps on his trackpad a few times, bringing up another set of directories. “I can fake some new hires, get you in that way?”

 

“I can help with that,” Taehyung volunteers, “I know a few guys in Severance’s hiring department who can smooth it all over.”

 

“So, who goes in?” Hoseok asks, and Namjoon hums.

 

“We need at least three people. One social, one technical, and one to actually do the work. If we then have someone who can do the heavy work if something goes wrong on standby, then we should manage. Two people standing by would be better, especially if we then have a third party off site to direct…”

 

“Assign us then, leader-ssi,” Hoseok says, a gentle smile on his face, and Namjoon blinks, suddenly realising that everyone is watching him.

 

“Ah, I mean, it’s just a thought. I know you have more experience than me, Hoseok-ah.” He covers his face with one hand, the other coming up to wave their attention away. “We’ll go with what you think is good.”

 

“I think that you’ve come up with a good plan,” Hoseok says, slapping him on the shoulder. “Tell us who’s going where.”

 

“Hm. Well, Taehyung should be social guy. He knows everyone, and people like him-”

 

“Aw, I like you too, hyung!”

 

“Which then puts Yoongi in place as the technical guy, as the only one of us who knows anything about computers,” Namjoon says, and Yoongi nods. “Jungkook should be our heavy lifter.”

 

Everyone, even their youngest, looks surprised at that, but Namjoon just looks at Jungkook, meeting his eyes. It’s not often that any of them sees Namjoon without glasses of some kind, and without the glass, Namjoon’s gaze feels heavy.

 

“Are you sure?” Hoseok asks, and Namjoon nods.

 

“Jungkook won’t let me down. He’s good at what he does.”

 

“I promise I won’t, hyung,” Jungkook says fiercely, and Namjoon just smiles.

 

“He’s sixteen, though. Won’t that seem fishy?” Hoseok prods, and Taehyung laughs.

 

“Adding age is easy with makeup. I know it’s not your specialty, hyung, but I can have Kook-ah looking like a real grown up with ten minutes and a concealer palette.”

 

“You have a lot of unexpected talents, don’t you, Tae?” Namjoon asks, and Taehyung just smiles mysteriously. “Anyway, we need Jimin standing by with Hoseok, and I’ll be on site but far away, in case you need anything.”

 

“It’s not what I would have done,” Hoseok says slowly, “but I can see your logic.”

 

Namjoon’s logic pops into his head on a wave of inspiration, fully formed and without explanation, so he’s glad that somebody else can see it, at least.

 

0-0-0

 

Jungkook is entirely unsure about this. He doesn’t want to admit it to Namjoon-hyung, because he’s putting a lot of trust in him, but he’s never considered himself a good actor, and this is a literal life and death role.

 

“Your name is Moon Jongkook,” Taehyung explains, as he smudges flesh toned cream over his face, adding bits of shade and light with different pink and yellow colours. He’s pushed Jungkook’s hair to the side, and he already feels like he looks older. At least he isn’t wearing a wig. Yoongi looks strange with dark hair- still handsome, but kind of delicate, like he should be modelling for a magazine. They’re all sitting around in a van that Hoseok had turned up, adding the last bits of their disguises- Taehyung has gelled his hair up, revealing his forehead, and Jimin’s wavy hair has been straightened into a shiny bowl cut that makes him look deceptively cute. Hoseok’s red hair is slicked back, and he’s wearing a beret over the top like some kind of pretentious hipster, and Jungkook is trying not to make direct eye contact with Namjoon, who has pastel purple one-day dye in his hair, because it is physically painful to see him look this hot without touching him.

 

“I know, hyung, I read your profile,” Jungkook says, knee bouncing nervously.

 

“You read my profile?” Taehyung asks, and his lip wobbles. “You really are the golden maknae. Nobody reads my profiles.”

 

“Your profile was eighty pages long,” Yoongi says, looking up from where he’s tying his tie- a blue and green jungle pattern with little Donkey Kongs on it. He needs to blend with the IT department, and apparently that meant a pair of Namjoon’s chunky fashion glasses and some nerdy merchandise.

 

“You need backstory! Character motivation! What really drives Park Jae-Kwang, you know?” Taehyung says, clawing at the air.

 

“Is it...getting into their internal security system so Jungkook-ah can Mission Impossible his way to the file room?” Yoongi asks, face blank, and Taehyung sighs, shaking his head.

 

“What if someone asks about your personal life? What are you going to do?”

 

“The same thing I do when people ask about my personal life normally,” Yoongi says.

 

“What’s that?”

 

Yoongi gestures for him to try, and Taehyung props his chin on a finger.

 

“So, Yoongi-hyung, where are you from?”

 

“You don’t get to know that about me.” Yoongi says, and Taehyung blinks.

 

“It’s true, he says that all the time,” Hoseok says cheerfully, “it’s one of his favourite phrases! That, and ‘go away, Hobi, I’m trying to sleep’. Oh, and ‘If you wake me up, I’m going to kill you’.”

 

“They’re useful phrases,” Yoongi agrees, clipping a pen protector to his pocket. “Look, Taehyung. I know my name. Everything else, I can just roll with.”

 

In the background, Namjoon winces. Jungkook gets the feeling that maybe Yoongi isn’t quite as good an improviser as he thinks, but as long as it can pass as ‘awkward nerd who hasn’t left his Naruto themed basement bedroom since high school’, it should be fine.

 

“Well, in that case, are we all ready?” Taehyung asks, and Namjoon stands up, stooped so he doesn’t hit his head on the van roof.

 

“We’re ready. Thank you for your hard work, Taehyung. You’ve done a great job.”

 

Taehyung’s ears go a little red- Jungkook can understand. Namjoon’s undivided attention can feel a little much, sometimes, like he’s looking straight past your eyes into your brain, and he thinks you’re cool anyway. Also, he always ducks down and gets his face right up in your face, and it’s a lot of really nice face to have so close to your own.

 

“So, just to refresh. Yoongi-hyung, you’re going in first. You have half an hour to get situated in I.T. and start routing things the way we want. Then, Taehyung enters, and starts fishing for the location. Jimin, Hoseok and myself then go to the emergency department and get situated, ready in case something goes wrong. Jungkook, you follow once we’ve confirmed the location and its security, and secure the files. Extraction is in reverse order- Jungkook first, then us three to cover him. Taehyung, you’ve somehow already managed to get yourself a half day on your roster, so you’re out next.”

 

“I have a dentist’s appointment,” Taehyung says virtuously, “HR were very understanding.”

 

“Finally, Yoongi, you pull out at your earliest convenience, as soon as it isn’t suspicious.”

 

“I can’t believe you’re actually making me work a full day of hospital I.T. support,” Yoongi grumbles, picking up his briefcase. “You owe me one, okay?”

 

“Actually, you owe him one hundred and fifty thousand,” Hoseok corrects him, and Yoongi rolls his eyes.

 

“Yeah, yeah. In I go. Wish me luck.” He hops out of the van and walks the block to the hospital, holding his shoulders straight as he joins the stream of workers going in.

 

Jungkook keeps going over his profile, watches as Taehyung leaves, joining another group of workers, who greet him like an old friend. He’s almost biting his nails by the time Namjoon looks down at his watch and nods, ushering Hoseok and Jimin ahead of him as they leave the van. He pauses by Jungkook, puts a hand on his shoulder and leans down to talk into his ear.

 

“You’ve got this, Jungkook-ah. Or, wait, you’re twenty four, aren’t you, Jongkook-ssi ?” he grins, wicked and soft, “I should be calling you hyung, huh?”

 

Jungkook can’t help it, he laughs.

 

“I believe in you. You won’t let me down.”

 

He squeezes Jungkook’s shoulder again, leans in and kisses him on the edge of his mouth where it meets his chin.

 

“You should ask me again, you know. When this is over. That question you asked me, when you first came here.”

 

Jungkook swallows, and offers Namjoon a nervous smile.

 

“You’ve finally come up with a better name for us?”

 

Namjoon laughs, and jumps out of the van. As he closes the door behind himself, Jungkook can hear Jimin asking why he took so long, Namjoon waving him off.

 

Jungkook waits.

 

After a while, he gets a text from an unknown number. It’s a single word (SEAGULL), and he deletes it as soon as he reads it, grabbing his blazer from the back of his seat and hopping out of the van.

 

He has an ID badge clipped to his belt, and he flashes it at the guard on his way in- if he’s getting stopped, this will be the first place it could happen. Once he’s past the security on the outside, confidence and the occasional bit of Yoongi’s technological wizardry will carry him the rest of the way.

 

The guard nods to him, and he joins another worker as he heads for the changing rooms.

 

They hang their jackets in companionable silence, Jungkook putting a briefcase in his locker, the other man leaving a backpack behind, and they slide on white coats almost in unison. The other doctor is taller than Jungkook, with soft looking brown hair and wide shoulders, and he shoots Jungkook a friendly, heart stoppingly handsome smile as he heads in the opposite direction to him, toward the emergency room.

 

Jungkook takes a deep breath, and flips his ID badge, clipping it to his coat pocket this time. In his ear, he hears dead air finally lift away, leaving Namjoon’s voice.

 

“We just got a room now, Kook-ah. Cough if you can hear me. This whole area has a faraday cage because of the testing devices nearby, so I’m not sure if it’s getting through.”

 

Jungkook coughs, and Namjoon hums approvingly.

 

“Good job. Okay, you need to make your way to the fourth floor. There’s a pathology lab there, if anyone asks why you’re going there.”

 

Jungkook walks with purpose, not slowing or looking around- half the key to getting into somewhere you aren’t meant to be is to pretend you know where you’re going, especially in a workplace as big as this one. Nobody here would know every face, so body language is going to be key.

 

When he steps into the lift, though, someone calls for him to hold it, and he doesn’t have time to hit the door close button. It’s the other doctor from the changing room- his ID badge reads Choi Syun-Ki- and his face is still friendly.

 

“Sorry about that,” Syun-Ki says, smiling, “it’s my first day. I got a little turned around…”

 

“Oh, it’s fine,” Jungkook says, smiling back. “Mine as well, actually.”

 

“What luck!” Syun-ki says, and bows a little, “It’s so nice to meet you!”

 

“You too. I’m Je- uh, Moon Jongkook,” Jungkook says, and tries not to show any reaction to his fuck up. First goddamn obstacle, and he’s already messing up.

 

“Did you study abroad?” Syun-Ki asks, and Jungkook nods.

 

“America- is it that obvious?”

 

“You almost introduced yourself Western style,” Syun-Ki laughs, “so, yeah, pretty obvious!”

 

Jungkook laughs with him, and the lift stops on the fourth floor.

 

“I’ll see you around,” he excuses himself, and steps out. Thankfully, Syun-Ki doesn’t follow him, and he follows Namjoon’s quiet directions to a small lobby, where he can see Taehyung talking with a group of workers, all of them focussed on whatever story he’s telling.

 

“Third room on the right. Swipe your card- it won’t work, but it’ll bounce up in the system, and Yoongi will give you access, so swipe it again,” Namjoon instructs him, and Jungkook walks across the reception area like he knows where he’s going.

 

He swipes the card, expecting it to reject, but a green light comes up. He freezes for a second, and coughs.

 

“The door isn’t opening?” Namjoon asks, “Did you swipe it twice?”

 

Jungkook coughs again, and lets himself into the room.

 

There are large, standing file cabinets stretching for several rows, about six feet tall, and the lights are off. He flicks the switch on, does a quick scan for other people, and hisses into the radio in his sleeve.

 

“The room was already open, hyung. Did Yoongi do something else?”

 

There’s a moment of quiet from Namjoon’s end of the line, and then a low, intent voice. “No. No, he didn’t. I think something’s wrong here, Jungkook. Get out.”

 

“The file is in this room, hyung,” Jungkook hisses back, already heading for the cabinets. “I’m too close to just leave it.”

 

“No, Jungkook. Pull back. We’ll find another way.”

 

“What’s his patient ID? They’re labelled by number.”

 

“Jungkook…” Namjoon sighs. “Oh six twelve twenty thirteen.”

 

Jungkook can feel his makeup sweating off with nerves as he trips his fingers along the filing cabinet drawers. There’s a minute of silence as he looks for the file, and then Namjoon makes a distressed noise.

 

“Jungkook, pull out! Yoongi says there’s someone else coming your way!”

 

“I’ve almost got it-” Jungkook mutters, pulling out the file. He doesn’t have time to photograph it and replace it, like they’d originally planned, but he has time to untuck his shirt and shove the file up there, quickly stuffing the cloth back into place. “Got it. I’m going out-” he closes the cabinet, turns to leave, and the door opens under his hand as somebody else enters the room.

 

It’s Syun-Ki, and his eyes widen as he sees Jungkook.

 

“Ah! Jongkook-ssi! We keep running into each other, it seems.”

 

“It makes sense,” Jungkook says with numb lips, “we’re both new, after all. Of course we’re going to all the same places.”

 

“There’s no reason for him to be in that room,” Namjoon warns him, and Jungkook tries to smile pleasantly. He’s not sure how successful it is, and he slips past Syun-Ki.

 

“Well, it’s all yours,” Jungkook says, “I need to go see to my rounds.”

 

“Of course,” Syun-Ki says, dipping his head graciously, and Jungkook walks over to the lift, hitting the call button. “I hope we run into each other again!”

 

Jungkook steps into the lift and lets out a sigh of relief as the doors close behind him.

 

Mission accomplished.

 

0-0-0

 

“I’ve got this pain, you see,” Jimin tells the doctor, “right in the butt.”

 

“Park Jimin-ssi, I’d prefer to talk about the results we got when we took your weight-”

 

“Irrelevant,” Jimin says, rolling his eyes. “I’m a professional athlete, my weight is fine. I just look skinny.”

 

“Even so, orthorexia is a real problem for a lot of athletes. What sport do you-”

 

“So, about this pain in my butt,” Jimin continues, talking over the doctor, and Namjoon feels Hoseok’s shoulders shaking with silent laughter from where they’re pressed together in the waiting room, the very picture of concerned friends.

 

Namjoon has a laptop open on his lap, where Yoongi is mirroring his screen, letting Namjoon track the cameras and listen to Yoongi’s text based bitching about stupid computer users at the same time, and he sees Jungkook get out of the elevator on the ground floor.

 

“To your right,” he murmurs, “through the clinic doors. We’re sitting at your...three o’clock, entering emergency.”

 

Sure enough, a moment later Jungkook comes in, picking up a chart from the nurse’s desk and flipping through it casually. He walks over to Namjoon and his two idiots, and pats their current struggling doctor on the shoulder.

 

“Hey, do you want me to take this one?”

 

The doctor frowns, and Jimin decides to help persuade him to leave.

 

“Finally! Doctor, I have this horrible pain in my ass. It’s kind of red, and it’s got a weird shape to it-”

 

Hoseok stops laughing, and starts pouting instead.

 

“Oh, that does sound serious,” Jungkook says, and the other doctor leaves without much more encouragement. “If you would like to come with me to exam room three?”

 

“Thank you, doctor!” Jimin says, standing up and pretending to limp, “Can my boyfriend and his cousin come with me? He’s a sweet boy, but he’s too simple to leave on his own without supervision.”

 

He pats Hoseok’s cheek, and Hoseok aims a sweet, simple smile at him that promises a great deal of pain in his future.

 

“Sure,” Jungkook says, sounding a little choked, and the four of them slide into an examination room.

 

“Jungkook, are you okay?” Namjoon asks, as soon as the door closes. “What happened up there?”

 

Jungkook shrugs, taking a seat on the examination table next to Jimin.

 

“There was another new guy. He said he was meant to go into the file room, I let him in, I left.”

 

“This seems fishy,” Hoseok says, turning a chair around and sitting in it backwards, chin propped up on one hand.

 

Namjoon who takes a seat on the other chair, looks down at the laptop screen. “Yoongi says that this guy isn’t in the system. He’s not a new hire here, not even surface level like you and him.”

 

“The file room door was open when I got there, too,” Jungkook says, frowning. “I swiped my card and it opened straight away.”

 

“That’s weird,” Jimin says, “but if that other dude already hacked it, that would make sense, right?”

 

“I guess?” Jungkook shrugs, “but why would you hack the door, go downstairs, get in a lift, not get off on the right floor, then circle around back to the file room? It makes no sense.”

 

“Unless he had something else he had to do first that couldn’t wait,” Hoseok suggests. “What did he look like, anyway? We should all get his face, just in case.”

 

“Yoongi’s pulled a still for us,” Namjoon says, and turns the laptop around.

 

“Ooh, he’s cute,” Hoseok comments, and Jimin’s eyes narrow.

 

“Kim Seokjin. That son of a bitch. What’s he doing in Seoul?”

 

“You know him?” Namjoon asks.

 

“Know him?” Jimin crosses his arms, “we’re competitors.”

 

“...In the murdering people for money business?” Jungkook asks, and Jimin nods.

 

“I mean, he does a lot more of the conning people into a moment of weakness and then stabbing them kind of business, while I’m more of a tackle to the ground and use my hands kind of guy-”

 

“It’s the respectful way to do it,” Hoseok agrees, and Namjoon is concerned.

 

“But what’s he doing here?” Namjoon asks, tapping his hand on the desk. “Why here, why now?”

 

“Well, we did say that Shiwu’s death was strange,” Jimin says with a shrug. “He’s probably doing clean up on the job. Follow up to make sure nobody’s noticed that it was weird.”

 

Jungkook swallows.

 

“So. Is now a good time to mention that he’s not going to be able to do that clean up?”

 

“Why not?” Namjoon asks, “There’s no sign you were there, is there?”

 

“Ah. Well. I was a bit hurried, so…” he edges a manila file out from under his crisp blue shirt, and offers Namjoon an awkward smile. “Maybe...one sign?”

 

Namjoon puts his laptop on the desk and cradles his head in his hands. Jimin leans over to look at the chat from Yoongi.

 

“Yoongi wants us to know that we’re all fucked except him, and he’s going to stay in the hospital I.T. support business forever rather than ever getting mixed up in crime again.”


Chapter Text

Namjoon gives himself five seconds to panic. He  takes a shallow breath, holds it, and lets himself spiral.

What is he going to do? A contract killer on the loose, someone Jimin considers 'competition', and them sitting with a file that that same killer wants.

Five seconds. He presses the heels of his hands to his eyes, pushing his sunglasses up and out of the way, and drags in another breath.

"Namjoon-ah?" Hoseok sounds tentative, puts a hand on Namjoon's shoulder and no doubt feels it shaking. "Are you okay?"

Two seconds.

"I'm really sorry, hyung," Jungkook sounds on the edge of tears, and Namjoon takes a breath.

Right. Time to fix the problem.

"Don't apologise, Jungkook-ah," Namjoon says, settling his sunglasses back in place. "You got the file. That's a good thing. Maybe it wasn't our ideal extraction, but we have it nonetheless."

Jungkook smiles nervously, and Namjoon nods to him, trying to be reassuring.

"Jimin-ah, this Kim Seokjin guy, what's he like?"

"Smart. Really smart, and very polite about stealing other people's jobs," Jimin says, "I know he does a lot of conman style work, but it's not like we sit down and swap stories. Sorry, Joonie-hyung."

He looks disappointed in himself that he doesn't know more, tugging at a strand of smooth blond hair with nervous fingers.

"Yoongi is still in the systems, which gives us an advantage," Namjoon says slowly. "Jimin, will he recognise you?"

"Yeah, we’ve met." Jimin nods, “but I did have black hair back then, so he might not recognise me from a distance.”

"Hoseok-ah?" Namjoon brings a hand up to his mouth, starts absently running his thumb over his lip as he thinks. There are a lot of moving parts to this, a lot of players who could all do something unpredictable, and Namjoon can see different scenarios spiralling out into the future.

He needs to limit Kim Seokjin's options.

"What do you need?" Hoseok asks, already at his side.

"We need a distraction. Something that will make Kim Seokjin want to go a certain way, but won't disturb the running of the hospital."

"We could organise a power outage," Jungkook suggests, but Namjoon is already shaking his head.

"This is a hospital, Jungkook-ah. A power outage will kill people," Namjoon explains, "I'm not doing that."

"Namjoon-ah, you know we might have to, right?" Hoseok says gently. "Somebody might have to die today, and I'd rather it wasn't one of us."

"That's not an acceptable scenario," Namjoon says, shaking his head, "let me think. I'll figure this out."

"Right..." Hoseok sighs, and Namjoon puts his face in his hands, blocking out the room.

Namjoon's goals are as follows:

A) Retrieve his entire crew from the hospital without anyone dying

B) Find out what Kim Seokjin wanted to do with the file

C) Collaborate with Yoongi- no, brain, goddammit, now is not the time

C) Figure out what Shiwu had that was worth killing for

To achieve B, A becomes more difficult, but without B, C will not be possible.

It's always the same puzzle- the chicken, the grain, the fox, and the boat.

Namjoon looks up.

Things are still falling into place- he's got six possible scenarios, but they all start the same way.

"Okay. Jungkook, take off your coat and wash your face. You need to look young again."

Jungkook nods, and slides off his doctor's coat, passing it to Jimin. He hasn't said anything since he apologised, and Namjoon is absently worrying about that with the very small part of his brain that isn't scheming.

"Jimin, you and I are going to go find Kim Seokjin-"

"No." Jimin says immediately, shaking his head. "You aren't going anywhere near Kim Seokjin, hyung."

"What do you mean?" Namjoon raises an eyebrow, and Jimin looks to Hoseok.

"Hyung, help me out here. Look at him-" he points to Namjoon, "and think."

Hoseok looks Namjoon over, and grimaces.

"No, Namjoonie, he's got a point."

"Oh?"

"Kim Seokjin kind of has a reputation," Hoseok says, "Regarding handsome men."

"A reputation?"

"He's. Hm." Hoseok pauses, trying to figure out how to phrase it. "He seduces someone, gets them in trouble, and leaves."

"What's the problem, though?" Namjoon asks, "It's not like he's going to go for me. I mean, look at me." He gestures to the stupid clothes Taehyung had insisted he wear, with its light wash skinny jeans- Taehyung had insisted he wear them properly, too, so the waistband actually sits at his waist rather than his butt, which is weird- and a brightly coloured hoodie. He feel like he looks young, and he doesn’t like it.

Jimin, Hoseok and Jungkook all make meaningful eye contact, and Namjoon feels like he's missing something.

"Hyung, you couldn't be more his type if you were specially grown in a lab specifically to cater to Kim Seokjin's tastes," Jimin says dryly. "Especially dressed like this-" He points to Namjoon's harmless college punk disguise, with its smudged black eyeliner and oversized varsity jacket.

"It's not like I picked it-" he doesn't mean to sound sulky, but he knows that he does. They’re getting off track, and his brain is still whirring, still trying to fit his goals and his surroundings together in a way that will work.

"Namjoon-ah. It's not an insult. We're saying you look too hot to put out for someone who targets hot people," Hoseok says, and Namjoon blinks, taken aback.

"I-" he blinks again. "Hm. That's..."

"Please don't tell me you didn't know," Jimin looks ready to beg, "That's too ridiculous. You must have known. You saw the look on Tae's face when you came out wearing those jeans, right?"

"He looked pleased?"

"He looked smug. Smug, because he made you look even hotter than normal."

"You noticed that the nurse at the admission desk was really friendly, right?" Hoseok checks, and Namjoon shrugs helplessly.

"I thought she was just nice?" Namjoon says, and Hoseok pats him on the shoulder again.

"Yeah, we definitely can't let you near Kim Seokjin."

"No…” Namjoon thinks for a second, and a new plan crystallises, “that's why you definitely should," he says, finally getting his feet back under him. Namjoon never liked having to change his plans on the fly, but he could work with this. "I said we need a distraction, right?"

"Right," Hoseok says, looking unhappy.

Namjoon spreads his arms. "Here I am. Being distracting."

"It'll work," Hoseok says, crossing his arms. "But I don't like it. And, uh, make sure you take off your sunglasses. You look softer."

"Softer? I'll look blinder," Namjoon says, shaking his head, "I didn't bring my normal glasses with me."

 

“He might notice the earpiece in them,” Jungkook says, frowning.

"Look, just trust us. The sunglasses make you look hardcore and handsome, but without, you're cute." Hoseok says, leaning in and pinching Namjoon’s cheek. “Cute will work for you here.”

 

“Cute always works for you,” Jimin adds, leaning in and smacking a kiss against Namjoon’s other cheek.

"So I flirt with a hitman and buy him some terrible hospital coffee while unable to see. I'm sure it'll be fine." Namjoon pokes his own cheek, where Hoseok had grabbed him, frowning. "Flirting, though. I'm not good at that."

"Yes you are," Jungkook and Jimin say in chorus, and Jungkook looks away, ears going red.

"Apparently I'm learning a lot about myself today," Namjoon says mildly, and Hoseok laughs. "Alright, let me explain what you're all going to be doing while I distract Kim Seokjin."

0-0-0

Step one is to engineer a meet-cute.

Yoongi tracks Kim Seokjin through the cameras, offering 'helpful' tips for Namjoon that come straight out of romance movies, and Namjoon lurks by the stairs in the lobby, pretending to be busy on his laptop while he reads Yoongi's commentary about how Love Actually is actually a masterpiece of modern cinema.

The lobby he's waiting in is on the other side of the building to the emergency department, but is handily close to the electricity and water control, and Yoongi is sure that Seokjin is on his way to pick up whatever leech he'd left there to open the file room door. All Namjoon needs to do is keep Seokjin away from the front lobby, where Hoseok, his boyfriend Jimin, and Jimin's annoying little brother Jungkook are on their way home from a specialist appointment.

Apparently Jungkook has been having very embarrassing problems regarding bowel control, Namjoon reads as Yoongi puts their alibi into the files- not that Yoongi is sour about being stuck in the IT department when he's meant to be at lunch or anything.

At that point, Yoongi's files all minimise from Namjoon's laptop, leaving his looking at a paused videogame screen, a single instant message popping up that reads '2:15?". Namjoon stands up, a half-full cup of coffee in one hand, laptop balanced precariously on top, pretending to still be absorbed by his laptop, and turns blindly to the right, walking quickly.

After a second, he bounces off someone's chest, dropping his computer and spilling coffee all over them. As the computer hits the ground, the screen cracks, and his keyboard shatters, spilling keys all over a pair of shiny work shoes, and Namjoon winces, expecting himself to follow the computer to the ground. Before he can, however, a strong arm catches around his waist, another coming up under his shoulders, and he instead finds himself in a dramatic dip, staring up at the most beautiful person he's ever seen in his life.

Kim Seokjin is startling on camera, but in real life, he's overwhelming.

He looks like he's been lovingly carved out of marble and brought to life by a wizard.

He could be a model, but he would have to work alone because he'd make the other models look ugly.

He's- he's saying something. His lips are moving. They're really nice lips, too, and Namjoon can't help staring. He should probably pay attention to the words coming out of his mouth, not just the mouth in question.

He blinks, and tunes back in.

"-feeling alright?" Seokjin asks, brow crinkling photogenically.

"I'm- yeah, I'm okay-" Namjoon squeaks, and Seokjin pulls him back up and onto his feet. Namjoon's hands come to rest on his shoulders, and Seokjin still has his hands on Namjoon's waist.

"You seem a little out of sorts," Seokjin says, "and I'm afraid I'm wearing your coffee."

"Oh no!" Namjoon says, eyes widening, "I'm so sorry, Doctor..."

"Kim," Seokjin replies, "Please, let me buy you a replacement."

"It's my own fault," Namjoon waves him off, bending down to scrabble at the remnants of his laptop. He has been instructed, quite thoroughly, about how he needs to bend over from the hips, rather than crouching down to retrieve his laptop, and he hears an audible swallow from Seokjin as he does so. "I should have been watching where I was going, but I was just so busy thinking about my course, we’re working on...Oh, it doesn't matter," he stands up and tucks a stray hair behind his ear, smiling sheepishly at Seokjin.

God, he feels stupid. This had better work, or he’s going to punch Jimin. ‘Go for cute and shy intellectual,’ he’d said, ‘everyone loves a cute and shy intellectual Namjoon’.

"No, no," Seokjin says, "I'd love to hear more."

"Well, I mean..." Namjoon bites his lower lip and blinks rapidly at Seokjin. "If that cup of coffee is still on the table, I’d love to bore you about my thesis?"

"No, it's on my shirt, actually," Seokjin says, and laughs. It's croaky and weird, high in his throat, but still charming in its own way, so Namjoon laughs back. He’d laugh anyway, because people love it when you laugh at their jokes, but it’s easier that Seokjin is charming. He lets the supposed Dr. Kim guide him to the cafe, a hand on Namjoon’s back, properly sitting at his waist like a gentleman.

Step two is to keep Kim Seokjin distracted for at least ten minutes, while Yoongi pulls all his creepers out of the IT system, and Jungkook leaves the hospital with Hoseok.

Seokjin and Namjoon sit down with their coffee, and Namjoon smiles at him, trying to will a cute blush to his face.

It won't work- he goes kind of red and blotchy at best, but apparently blushes are charming, so he's going to do his best.

"So, what were you so engaged in?" Seokjin asks, leaning his chin on his hand.

"Ah, a game..." Namjoon scratches his cheek and looks away toward the large, two story windows that spill light over the cafe and lobby. It’s a nice cafe, for a hospital, with table cloths on the tables, and fresh flowers trying to dispel the ever present antiseptic smell. The coffee is terrible, but Namjoon persists in drinking it, keeping his mouth busy so he can’t fuck up talking to Seokjin.

He's never been good at dating;  he’s awkward rather than charming, too intense about the things he loves and not interested in the things he doesn't, and there's an extra layer of pressure knowing that the man sitting across from him is an actual murderer, and if he knows who Namjoon is, he'll probably decide to kill him even without an agreed contract. The money for Rap Monster is enough to make it worth it, even without a patron lined up.

"Oh, I love games!" Seokjin's eyes practically sparkle, "I've actually just finished my current, what were you playing?"

Namjoon looks desperately for something, anything to suggest a name, and Yoongi's stupid tie floats into his head. "Donkey Kong."

"You like Mario?"

"...Yep," Namjoon nods. "Love it. Them. Those games, with Mario."

Namjoon wants to die. He can't pretend to be cute. He's not good at being cute, and he's not good at talking to people, and he wants to go hide under his blankets forever.

“I love Mario!” Seokjin says, leaning in, “Who’s your favourite character?”

“Donkey Kong,” Namjoon says, and Seokjin laughs again. Namjoon joins him, then takes a quick sip of his coffee to cover his awkwardness.

Five more minutes.

He can pretend he's interested in the incredibly pretty and charming man sitting across from him for five minutes, right?

"So, what do you do?" Seokjin asks.

"I'm a student. Or, I'm going to be a student again. I'm enrolling this year," Namjoon answer, relieved. This kind of conversation he can do. Mindless small talk is mindless, after all, and leaves him plenty of brain to think about what's happening to everyone else.

In one minute, Hoseok, Jimin and Jungkook are going to cross this lobby, and Seokjin cannot notice them.

Namjoon leans in and puts his hand on Seokjin's, not quite casually. Seokjin doesn't move his hand, and Namjoon takes it as a sign to smile.

Seokjin grins, and his eyes go all happy and squinched mostly shut. It’s very charming, in a very calculated way that makes Namjoon think that Seokjin practices his disarming smile in the mirror.

"I'm sorry," he says, "I don't think I caught your name?"

"I'm Namjoon."

"That suits you," Seokjin says gracefully, "Namjoon the soon-to-be student."

"Dr. Kim, the...doctor. Hm. That's anticlimactic," Namjoon says, frowning a little. He stick his bottom lip out, and watches Seokjin stare at it. Maybe Jimin was on to something with that tip, at least- ‘Keep bringing attention to your mouth. It’s a great mouth, he’ll completely forget to pay attention to anything you fuck up as long as you keep touching your mouth.’

"Dr. Kim, the surgeon," Seokjin corrects him.

"Oh, wow! What kind of surgeon are you?" Namjoon asks, and notices Hoseok's rainbow striped sweater pushing through the lobby crowd, one hand wrapped around Jungkook's wrist as he plays sullen teenager.

"Heart surgeon," Seokjin says, "I do a great job with people's hearts. Maybe you should let me look after yours?"

Namjoon raises an eyebrow at him incredulously. Does he really think that line is going to work? Seriously?

From the way Seokjin is looking at him expectantly, it appears he does.

Namjoon forces a laugh and quickly raises his coffee cup, taking another sip.

Hoseok and Jungkook slip out the front door, and Namjoon relaxes a little.

They make awkward conversation for another minute or so, before Seokjin smiles at him sharply.

"So, how much are they paying you for this?"

"Uh, I'm sorry?"

"Hyun-ah. How much is he paying you to seduce me?" Seokjin asks, and Namjoon feels heat flood his face.

Oh, there's the charming blush he was trying to bring up before.

"I-I, uh, what?"

Seokjin sighs, and uses his hand on Namjoon's hand to pull him partially across the table, close enough to whisper. However, as he does so, the picture window next to them shatters, a shot ringing out.

Namjoon throws himself over the table, on top of Seokjin- it's easier than trying to pull out of his grip, and he's not going to sit still and let himself get shot, but within a second they're rolled over, Seokjin on top of him, the hand he had on Namjoon's switching to catch both his wrists harshly, pinning him to the floor.

Fuck. Fuck, this is exactly why Hoseok and Jimin did not want Namjoon involved. Kim Seokjin was meant to work alone- since when did he have a sniper?

How did he even communicate to that sniper to get into the right position? Namjoon has been watching him the whole time, and he hadn’t made any out of context comments or touched anything suspiciously. What’s his signal?

Namjoon's brain is going a mile a minute as Seokjin leans down, close enough they’re sharing breath, and another bullet scuffs over his head. The table is blocking them almost entirely, but the shooter is still taking calculated shots at Namjoon, barely missing his partner.

"You think you're the first person to try and use my reputation against me?" Seokjin hisses, "I saw your sniper get into place minutes ago. Now, I was willing to humour you, because you are very cute, but not so cute that I want to get shot. You’re like an eight. Nobody under a nine is worth a bullet wound."

"My sniper?" Namjoon asks, "This isn't my sniper! This is your sniper-"

"He's not my sniper!" Seokjin says, "He's yours!"

They both blink, and Seokjin eases up his grip on Namjoon's wrists. In the background, their forgotten coffee drips from the table to the ground, and there's the faint sound of approaching sirens.

"...He must be somebody's sniper," Namjoon says slowly. "Have you got any enemies?"

"Plenty," Seokjin replies, "you?"

"Also plenty. Could you let me up, now?" Namjoon shakes his wrists in Seokjin’s hold, raising an eyebrow at him.

The people around them have all run, leaving them mostly alone in the middle of the cafe. Seokjin eases his grip on Namjoon's wrists, and Namjoon props himself up on his elbows. Seokjin is straddling him, still mostly leaned over to avoid popping up above the cover the table gives them.

"So, is he trying to kill me or you?"

"Why don't you stick your head up," Namjoon suggests, "if he shoots you, we'll know."

"Ooh, you're kind of mean," Seokjin smiles, and it’s a little silly looking, a little less perfect than the one he'd used earlier. Namjoon feels his face heat up again- it's less perfect, but a lot more likeable. "I like it."

Namjoon frowns, looking around at the cafe. There are some other toppled tables, knocked over when the other customers left, and the floors have spilled food and dishes scattered over the tile.

Ah. Of course.

He wiggles out from under Seokjin, reaching for the tablecloth on the table next to them, and pulls it down in a clatter of cutlery.

"So, why would they be shooting you?" Seokjin asks, "I don't want to be rude, but usually a honey pot isn't exactly in a position to make enemies that last."

"A honey pot?" Namjoon frowns, knotting  the tablecloth and throwing it out toward another table, catching around the leg.

"You know-" Seokjin nods at the length of Namjoon's body, "someone who...seduces. For crime purposes. Blackmail and such."

"I don't... seduce," Namjoon says, biting his lip as he pulls the now roped table over with a crash. He begins to army crawl from his current cover to the next table and Seokjin follows, moving just as awkwardly.

"Well, clearly you don't have any training. I assumed they picked you because of your looks," Seokjin comments, "but if you don't work in this business, then why would a sniper target you?"

"My looks? No, never mind. They could be after me because I do work in this business," Namjoon says, doing the same trick to the next table over. "Just not in the...seduction sector."

"What do you do, then?" Seokjin asks, eyes sharp. "You aren't in my area, I'm sure I'd recognise a face like yours if I'd ever seen it before-"

He blows a kiss at Namjoon, who focuses on throwing the knotted table cloth again.

"I do a lot of different things," Namjoon says, pulling down another table and crawling over. He doesn't want to be specific. Just because he can't see Seokjin's weapons doesn't mean they aren't there, and now that he's dropped his 'pleasant, easy going doctor' facade, Namjoon can see he's dangerous. He doesn't move like Hoseok or Jimin, far less fluid and self-assured, but there's a similar look in his eyes, like he's ready to go through anyone who stands in his way. They're more than halfway across the cafe floor now. If he can knock over one more table, they'll be able to crawl out of the sniper's view angle, which is the first problem solved.

"I can be a lot of different things," Seokjin says, wiggling his eyebrows, and laughs again. Namjoon groans.

"That's- that's so bad. Why would you say that?"

"It's funny! I have a great sense of humour," Seokjin objects, as Namjoon knocks over the last table. "You don't think it's funny?"

Namjoon finishes crawling out of the way, finally standing up and brushing down his jeans. "Ah..."

Seokjin looks genuinely sad that Namjoon doesn't like his shitty come on, and Namjoon looks away.

"Well, I should probably go kill that guy," Seokjin says, like  date reluctant to say goodbye at Namjoon's door, and Namjoon frowns.

"We still don't know which one of us he's targeting. Killing him is a waste of information." Namjoon goes to push up glasses that he isn't wearing, and scowls.

"I don't have any other ideas," Seokjin shrugs, taking off his coffee stained jacket. Underneath he's wearing a black turtleneck, and he goes from cute and unthreatening doctor to possible assassin so fast it makes Namjoon's head spin.

"If I did, would you listen to me?" Namjoon blurts out. He doesn't know why. By all rights, Seokjin is probably more than willing to kill Namjoon and skip into the sunset, but Namjoon has learned to trust his gut, and his gut is saying that Kim Seokjin is too important, too useful, to just let go.

Seokjin looks him up and down, and Namjoon pulls his sunglasses out of the inside pocket of his jacket, slipping them on. He feels more settled almost immediately, ideas falling into place.

"Right. So, the hospital is being evacuated."

"I'd hope so," Seokjin says, at the same time Jungkook- his voice coming through the ear piece attached to the arm of his sunglasses- replies "Yes. Eighty percent complete, and the police are less than five minutes away, hyung."

"Have you got..." Namjoon licks his lips. Code names seem so stupid, but he doesn't exactly trust Seokjin, "Suga?"

"He's on the other line," Jungkook says. "Jimin and Hoseok are both lurking near the front entrance, and they have earpieces. Tell me what you need, hyung."

"Good boy," Namjoon practically purrs, grinning, and he absently notices that Seokjin's ears go red. "Seokjin-ssi is going to assist, so-"

"Please, you can call me hyung," Seokjin says, "I feel like we have a bond. You spilled coffee on me, I straddled you… it’s a whole relationship.You already know my name, huh?"

"Of course," Namjoon says, "....Seokjin-hyung. I came here for a reason, after all."

"And what was that reason?" Seokjin asks innocently, and Namjoon just stares. Surely he doesn't think Namjoon is that stupid. Surely.

"Let's find out who that sniper was after, and talk about that later. "

"Sure," Seokjin shrugs. "For now, let's say I'm at your disposal." He grins at Namjoon and winks. "Use me wisely."

"Why is everyone so flirty? Is there something in the water in Seoul?" Namjoon hisses under his breath, and Jungkook laughs in his ear.

"Yoongi-hyung says he's going to give Seokjin's fake card master access. He doesn't care if Seokjin gets caught, after all- that’s what he's typed, I'm not putting words in his mouth."

Namjoon hums, thinking, and looks over the lobby. There's the smashed window, the overturned cafe, and a staircase leading up to the next floor. At the reception desk, there's a computer, and Namjoon moves over to it, hitting the space bar a few times.

"Tell Suga I have computer access, and I want the cameras."

"Ooh, you have a hacker," Seokjin comments, hanging over Namjoon's shoulder as the computer screen lights up, and the computer begins to navigate itself.

A text box pops up, and it types 'Actually, I have a Namjoon. There's a difference', and Namjoon rolls his eyes. In all honesty, he has a hacker- he has Yoongi by the wallet, and the hacker is well aware of what would happen if he tried to weasel out of his debts- not much, because Namjoon is soft, and Hoseok, who is usually the hard hand for him, made Yoongi a friendship bracelet last week, but Yoongi kindly pretends that they are very scary and he would never walk out on them.

Maybe Yoongi does have a Namjoon.

 

CCTV footage flickers up on the computer, and Namjoon pages through them quickly, nothing entrances and exits.

 

“Are you any good at climbing?” Namjoon asks, and Seokjin shakes his head, leaning in.

 

“I’m an actor and a gunman, not an acrobat.”

 

A few more scenarios disappear from the schematic in Namjoon’s head.

 

“Jimin, I need you to go to the fire hydrant in the park between this building and the office tower on the East side,” Namjoon says, “Hoseok, you escort Suga back to our extraction point. If they are targeting me, they’ll have your faces too, and we can’t risk our hacker.”

 

“They’ve confirmed,” Jungkook says after a moment, “Yoongi is going to pull out- he can’t. His department is being evacuated to a secure zone. You’re alone in the systems, hyung.”

 

“That’s fine,” Namjoon says, cycling the cameras again, “Jungkook, I need you to make a few calls- we need a pizza, a window washer, and two dog walkers. Seokjin-hyung, I have a very important job for you.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“I need you to figure out which floor our sniper is on,” Namjoon explains, and smiles.

 

0-0-0

 

Seokjin stands in the middle of the lobby, hitting an overturned soup tureen with a wooden spoon.

 

“Come get me, sniper,” he calls, and hits the tureen again. “No response, Namjoon-ah! He’s below the eighth floor. Moving into seventh floor territory.”

 

He takes a step forward, and skips back as a bullet hits the ground an inch from his foot.

 

“Seventh floor!”

 

“Perfect,” Namjoon says, and nods to himself. “ That should be enough time. Jimin, set off the hydrant.”

 

Outside, a plume of pressurised water rises into the air.

 

“Seokjin-hyung, we need to leave now,” Namjoon says, standing up from the chair behind the reception desk, “we’ve got a two minute window,” he explains, jogging across the lobby with complete confidence, as if he hasn’t just seen Seokjin almost get shot.

 

The older man looks a little startled, but he follows Namjoon as soon as the shots don’t start again.

 

They leave the building easily, falling into the crowd, and Namjoon flips up the hood on his hoodie, tying his varsity jacket around his waist to change his silhouette and colours.

 

Seokjin puts an arm around his waist, smiling.

 

“Don’t think you’re leaving that easily, Namjoon-ah. I want an explanation.”

 

He tilts his head to one side.

 

“Maybe a dinner date, too. I haven’t decided yet.”

 

“I want you to take your hands off my Namjoonie-hyung,” says a familiar voice from nearby, and Namjoon turns to see Jimin, a heavy wrench slung over one shoulder and dripping wet. He’s smiling, but it’s not a nice smile, although it gentles as soon as his eyes come to rest on Namjoon.

 

“Park Jimin?” Seokjin sounds incredulous. “What are you doing here? I thought you got out of the game to follow some crazy new kid on the scene.”

 

“You should know better than to trust your ears,” Jimin scoffs, “do you think I’d drop out for some random guy?”

 

Namjoon wiggles his way out of Seokjin’s grip and takes a step away, out of grabbing distance.

 

“Is the target secured?” he interrupts, sick of the power play. He kind of wants to say something sarcastic, along the lines of ‘now now, girls, you’re both pretty’, but both these men could kill him, and he doesn’t want to antagonise them. He’s still not really sure why Jimin decided to follow him home after the kidnapping thing, and he doesn’t want to chance scaring him away. Seokjin is even less certain, and Namjoon is very attached to being alive.

 

Jungkook replies, Jimin and Seokjin still staring at each other like feuding cats. “Hobi-hyung has him tied up and back at the van. That move with the pizza guy was genius- how did you figure that out?”

 

“Oh, you know,” Namjoon says, shaking his head, “it’s obvious when you think about it.”

 

“Maybe in hindsight, yeah,” Jungkook sighs, “but I never would have come up with that.”

 

“You’ve got time to learn,” Namjoon says, “you’re only sixteen.”

 

“Thanks, hyung.” Jungkook says, and Namjoon can practically see the flush on his face, the smile that reveals his front teeth, the way he ducks his head whenever Namjoon praises him.

 

“Any time,” Namjoon says, smiling, and turns back to the two hitmen. “So, do you want to find out who this guy was working for?”

 

“You have him?” Seokjin blinks, turning away from Jimin. “That was fast.”

 

“Thank you,” Namjoon says, “we’re going to question him now, so if you want to learn anything, you should come with us.”

 

“Joonie-hyung,” Jimin doesn’t quite whine, but he seems unhappy with the idea of Seokjin’s presence.

 

“We made a deal, Jimin,” Namjoon says, sticking his hands in his pockets and heading towards the van, “I don’t break deals.”

 

“That’s very admirable. What do you do again?” Seokjin asks, trotting to catch up with Namjoon and then matching his stride. Jimin, shorter than either of them, has to almost jog to keep up, and pouts because of it.

 

“I’m a rapper,” Namjoon decides to answer, because it’s the truth. His gang involvement is like a kind of forced, life or death hobby, not his life.

 

“He’s very good,” Jimin says darkly, as if Seokjin is going to deny it.

 

“Well, we certainly have rapport,” Seokjin puns, and Namjoon hides his face in his hands. “Rapport, rapper? Get it?” He’s laughing at his own joke again, and Namjoon desperately tries not to find it cute. “Because we get on?”

 

“We get it,” Jimin says, “but it’s not funny.”

 

“I think it’s funny,” Seokjin says, “I’m incredibly funny. It’s not my fault you don’t have a sense of humour, Jiminie.”

 

“I have a sense of humour,” Jimin says, “that’s why I don’t laugh at your jokes.”

 

“Show some respect for your hyung!” Seokjin tells him off, as they arrive at the van and Namjoon lets them in. “I’m hilarious and incredibly handsome. They’re my two charm points,” he says, hopping into the van. “Hey, Hoseok.”

 

“Hey, Seokjin-hyung,” Hoseok says, waving, from where he’s leaning over a tall, raw boned foreigner, knife in hand.

 

“Do you know everybody?” Namjoon asks, a little bewildered, and Taehyung pops up from next to Yoongi.

 

“No, I know everybody. Hobi-hyung knows everyone in the Seoul scene, that’s all.”

 

“Oh, that’s all,” Namjoon repeats, running a hand through his hair. “Well, do you know who this guy is?” he asks, pointing at the tied up sniper.

 

“Nah,” Taehyung says helpfully. “I don’t think he even speaks Korean.”

 

“Who goes to another country without knowing the language,” Hoseok says, crossing his arms, “all my best threats are being completely wasted on him.”

 

“Let me try,” Namjoon says, crouching in front of the tied up man. “Hey, guy,” he says in English. It’s been a little while since he’s used the language for anything but rap emphasis, but its still pretty easy to bring to his mind. “Who hired you?”

 

“I’m not telling you anything,” the sniper replies in an English accent.

 

“That’s sad,” Namjoon shakes his head, “can you at least settle something for me?”

 

“...Maybe. Are you going to let me go?”

 

“Sure, if you can answer three questions for me.”

 

The sniper looks tentative, and Namjoon lowers his sunglasses, looking him in the eyes.

 

“They aren’t about your identity, or your employer. I promise.”

 

“...Fine.” The sniper says, looking away. “Ask away, but I won’t answer if I don’t want to.”

 

“That sounds fair,” Namjoon nods, and rests his hands on his knees, “Were you here for me?”

 

“No, the other guy. As soon as he was leaving the building, I was meant to take him out.”

 

Namjoon nods, and translates for the others. Seokjin’s face goes cold, brow furrowing. He goes to open his mouth, and Namjoon holds up a hand, stopping him. Then, he turns back to the sniper.

 

“Do you know who he is?”

 

“No. Just a guy,” the sniper shrugs. “It’s all the same to me, man. As long as I’m getting paid.”

 

“Do you know the name Park Shimoon?”

 

“No. That’s a Korean name, right? Is it that the guy?” he nods towards Seokjin, and Namjoon shakes his head.

 

He turns back to the rest, who are waiting, eyes expectant. He translates the conversation, and Seokjin frowns.

 

“Why would he be after me?”

 

“Specifically, after you once you finished what you were doing in that hospital,” Namjoon clarifies, and Seokjin frowns even more. “So, what were you doing?”

 

“What were you doing?” he asks back, crossing his arms, “and who are you, anyway?”

 

“Oh, right,” Namjoon smiles sheepishly, running a hand over the back of his head. “I’m Kim Namjoon, but some people call me Rap Monster. This is my crew.”

 

“Well,” Seokjin blinks, and looks Namjoon over again, “I have to admit, I did not expect that.”

 

“Are we going to have a problem?” Namjoon asks, and Seokjin nods.

 

“Well, just the one.” Seokjin says slowly, putting his hands in his pockets.

 

“Oh?” He eases back, towards Jimin and Hoseok, who have both gone tense, ready for a fight.

 

“I’m trying to figure out if I should take you out for dinner, or make you something. I’m an excellent chef, after all, and a lot of people are impressed by a man who can cook.”

 

“...We’re kind of in the middle of something,” Namjoon says, pointing at their hostage, who is starting to squirm, “is now really the time?”

 

“You asked if I had a problem!” Seokjin says, pouting. “That’s a problem!”

 

“To be fair, he has a point,” Jimin says, nodding, “I would find that quite the issue.”

 

“It’s not!” Namjoon says, throwing his hands up, “the sniper, that’s an issue. The fact that I’m being hunted down for random crimes my predecessor committed, that’s an issue. Take out or home cooked meal for a theoretical date? That’s not a problem!”

 

“Yeah,” Hoseok agrees, “Namjoon prefers a quiet night in, anyway. Rookie mistake, Seokjin-ssi.”

 

“Please, call me hyung,” Seokjin says politely, and Hoseok nods.

 

“Seokjin-hyung,” Hoseok corrects himself, “So we can table this discussion and go back to the matter at hand.”

 

“He did ask if I had any problems,” Seokjin mutters, crossing his arms.

 

Namjoon shuts his eyes, just for a second.

 

This is not how he thought today was going to go.

 

Taehyung puts a reassuring hand on his shoulder, and he takes a deep breath.

 

“Right. Okay. Let’s do this.” Namjoon opens his eyes and looks at the file that Jungkook is holding out for him. They've done a lot to get access to Park Shimoon's medical record. “I want to know what I supposedly have that’s worth killing for.”

Chapter Text

The file is deceptively thin- there are five sheets in there at most- but it's deceptively heavy in Namjoon's hand as he opens it.

There's a polaroid clipped to the top sheet, and it's startling to see Shiwu's face again. He's loomed large in Namjoon's life for the past three months, but before that they'd only really ran into each other in clubs.

They were passing acquaintances at best, Shiwu usually watching Namjoon's battles up until the night he'd finally worked up the courage to challenge him.

It's a barely familiar face- heavy brows, strong cheekbones and a narrow jaw. His hair is a little over long, and his nose is clearly broken, bruised up enough to give him two black eyes.

"You did that, you know." Hoseok says, nodding at the damage in the picture, "it's impressive, really. You look so noodly, but you hit like a hangover."

"Can I see?" Jungkook asks, "I don't think I've ever seen the guy."

Namjoon shrugs, pulling the photo off the page and passing it to Jimin, who has his hand outstretched, expecting the blond to pass the photo over to Jungkook.

"Wow, Joonie-hyung, you really fucked him up," Jimin says, looking at the bruising. "You've got strong hands, huh? Good to know."

He eyes Namjoon's hands, and Namjoon suddenly feels kind of naked. He coughs awkwardly, looking back at the file. Hopefully the rest of the papers are going to be more useful than the photo- he doesn't need a photo of a dead man. Especially not one he feels responsible for. His head is buzzing, and his hands shake as he pulls the first page out of the file. He reads it, once, and then again when it doesn’t sink in.

The first page is typical medical information- Shiwu had a penicillin allergy, was one hundred and seventy seven centimetres tall, and weighed seventy five kilograms.

The next page has a heart shaped post it note stuck to it.

"Omelas, W52," Namjoon reads aloud. “I don’t think this is hospital standard.”

"Oh no, that was me. Those were his last words," Seokjin says, hanging over his shoulder. "I always write them down, just in case it’s something that should be passed along, but I guess I forgot to take them with me last time."

"Something that should be passed along?" Jungkook asks, finally getting the photo from Jimin, "Like what?"

"Deathbed confession of a secret love child, where the will is hidden, that he's always truly loved his wife's brother, not his wife, that kind of thing," Seokjin says, shrugging. "I'm usually a doctor or a priest, so I hear a lot of last words." He picks up the post it note, sticking it to the end of his finger and pretending to blow it to Namjoon as a kiss.

"So do I," Jimin says, "but they're usually like, oh god, oh god, please let me go, or hrrk, my throat, I can't breathe- that kind of thing."

"Omelas..." Namjoon repeats, snatching the post it note back. His brows knit as he tries to concentrate, but his stomach is turning over on itself, and there’s sweat pouring down his face. It makes no sense, he’s fine now. He’s safe. Why is his body freaking out? "Taehyungie, do you know an Omelas?"

"It sounds familiar," Taehyung says, looking away from the road for a moment. "I think it's a place? Give me half an hour, I'll find it."

"I’ll do you one better. It’s Omelas Motel," Yoongi answers immediately, "you were there with me last week, Namjoon-ah. Don't you remember? I've been renting a room there for almost two months."

He does, vaguely. The rush to get Yoongi's computers was just that- a rush- but he does kind of remember a green neon sign over the door. OMELAS.

"So that would make W52 a room number," Namjoon says, thinking aloud. "Hm. Maybe he hid it there? Whatever 'it' is?"

"That seems logical," Seokjin agrees, "What's 'it'?"

"No idea, but it's made me very unpopular with a lot of people," Namjoon says, running his thumb over his mouth as he thinks. "Was this why you were in the hospital?"

"Partially," Seokjin says, "but partially, I thought I'd be able to adjust the record by computer after the job, and then I found out it was all manually maintained."

"It's ridiculous," Yoongi agrees, "Join the twenty first century."

"Thoughtless," Seokjin shakes his head. "I'm a busy man, I can't just be going into hospitals to doctor their records."

He grins, wiggling his eyebrows. "Doctor their records? In a hospital? Get it?"

Namjoon sighs, and Jimin actually groans.

"Can we kick him out of the van?" Jungkook asks, "We don't need him anymore, do we?"

Namjoon looks at Seokjin, who pouts at him theatrically. It's a pale invitation of his charming, charismatic smile from when he was pretending to be a doctor, but Namjoon likes it more for its lack of polish. He likes seeing Seokjin less than perfect.

"No, we don't," he says, "but I don't want to be responsible for his death, either."

"His death?" Jimin asks, frowning a little.

"My death?" Seokjin asks, eyes widening, and Namjoon turns to look at him.

"Well, yeah. If whoever it is who's after me for whatever it is is now after you too- and the sniper suggests they are- then you're a target. Your name and face are going to be plastered all over the internet."

"I can confirm that," Yoongi says, spinning his laptop around so that everyone can see. There's a surprisingly photogenic picture of Seokjin sliding into their van. "People are calling you hot car door guy, and also bidding for your death."

"I'm flattered, I guess?" Seokjin frowns, "but that just means I should wash the dye out of my hair and take a holiday in Saipan. Why should I stick with you?"

Namjoon looks at Seokjin sharply, scanning him from head to toe. It takes him a moment, but it falls into a place eventually.

It’s always the same puzzle.

"Because you're bored."

Seokjin blinks.

"This is the first time you've actually been challenged in a long time, and you like the way that listening to me makes you feel. I'm more interesting than conning old men so their widows get to live happily ever after. You want to actually have to try to succeed."

Namjoon smiles, and pushes a hand through his hair, combing it back. His fingers come away purple with dye, and he rubs them on the van seat. The texture is distracting, but he pushes onward. This is too important to mess up.

"You're petty, too. You want whoever hired that sniper to regret their choices."

"That seems harsh, but I can't deny it," Seokjin agrees slowly, and crosses his arms. "Have you got anything else?"

"You can't cook me dinner if you're in Saipan."

"Well, you've got me there," Seokjin says, "I guess I'm on the team. Do we have a cool name, or like, matching tattoos?"

Hoseok laughs. "Jiminie asked the same question. What do you guys think gangs do?"

"Mostly coordinated dancing," Seokjin admits, "and threatening finger snaps."

"We're still working on the cool name," Jungkook admits, and Namjoon nods. "Hyung will come up with something eventually."

"It's not at the top of my priorities, Jungkook-ah," Namjoon says, grabbing onto the above door handle as Taehyung swings into a parking spot behind one of their clubs. It’s a small joint with a monochrome theme, popular with the younger set- Wings. Namjoon is sure he can remember more if he tries, but everything is taking its time coming into focus right now, and he has other priorities.

"Okay," Hoseok nods. "We need to get to Omelas, but first-" he turns to the tied up sniper and smiles brightly, "I'll just drop this one off. Jiho can watch him until we get home."

"You make it sound like babysitting," Taehyung says and shakes his head, watching as Hoseok opens the door and pulls the tied up man out of the van, heading for the back door to Wings.

"So, Namjoonie-ah," Yoongi props his head on his hand, "what's the plan?"

Namjoon hums to himself, thinking.

Considering how desperate the sniper's employer was to get rid of Seokjin- sniping is not a subtle murder technique- and the way both he and Namjoon are wanted men, he feels like they should move sooner rather than later. Something balks, though- the plan isn’t falling into place as it should.

They're all exhausted from adrenaline, it's almost nightfall, and Namjoon really just wants to have a hug and sit down for a few hours. He needs to figure out which benefit outweighs which drawback in this situation. Follow through quickly, or follow through thoroughly.

The fact that it's taking him so long to process the benefits and drawbacks is honestly already giving him his answer.

As he tries to think- it feels like wading through mud, he feels stupid- he realises that he's frowning, and sits up. He tries to sluggishly pulls scenarios out of the air, and Hoseok lets himself back in.

The redhead claps, still smiling.

"So! What's the plan, Namjoon-ah?"

Namjoon closes his eyes and pushes. There has to be a solution, some idea that will solve the problem.

Right now, the only plan that's materialising goes like this:

1) Get blanket

2) Obtain hugs from six (6) attractive men who keep telling him he's pretty

3) Watch Hello Counselor until he falls asleep

4) Maybe some take out?

It's not the plan he needs right now.

He tries again.

1) Find flat surface

2) Lie on one of the six (6) attractive men who keep telling him he's pretty

3) Obtain pats until he falls asleep

4) Jin can cook? Test this hypothesis with kimchi fried rice.

He shakes his head, rubbing at his temples.

"I've got it, just give me a minute," he bites out. Again. Come on, again! Before he can think about it, he realises that he’s no longer rubbing his temples soothingly, but sinking his fingernails into the skin.

"Namjoon-hyung, are you okay?" Jimin asks, coming over to put a hand on his shoulder. Namjoon can't help it. He immediately leans into the touch, letting out a small, sad noise.

"I'm fine," he says.

"Is that a really bad lie?" Jimin asks, and Namjoon nods weakly. "I thought so. Hobi-hyung, I think somebody needs to take Namjoon-hyung home." Jimin is running his hands through Namjoon's hair softly, nails just scratching along his scalp, and Namjoon is suddenly exhausted. He leans into the touch, hides his head in Jimin's torso. "Maybe we all need to take Joonie-hyung home, actually."

"Is he okay?" Seokjin asks, pushing past Jimin and touching Namjoon's forehead like he's checking for a fever. "I don't think he's sick..."

"How would you know?" Taehyung asks, and Seokjin shrugs.

"I pretend to be a doctor a lot. I pick things up."

"I think it's just stress," Hoseok says, putting a warm hand on Namjoon's shoulder. "A stress crash. He's never been shot at before, and he's been under a lot of pressure."

Namjoon feels like he's hearing all this from underwater. He kind of wants to object, because he's not weak, he's not collapsing just because...someone...shot at him.

Holy shit, somebody tried to shoot him.

Somebody tried to kill him today.

"Oh no. Oh, Namjoon-ah, it's okay, don't cry-" Hoseok's warm hands are cupping his face now, lips pressed to his cheeks, his forehead, the little space between his eyebrows before his nose starts.

Jimin is still rubbing his back in little circles, and Seokjin joins in, drawing a spiral at the base of his thumb with his own thumb.

"It's okay," Hoseok whispers, "I won't let anything happen to you, no matter what. And if someone tried..." Hoseok trails off darkly.

"We won't let anything happen to you," Jimin corrects him, and Namjoon sniffles.

"I'm just- I'm really tired," he says, trying not to cry, "A-and I don't know what to do, I can't think-" and suddenly Yoongi is there, pushing past the others and pulling him into a proper hug.

He smells kind of like mint candy, and a little musty, like somebody who's been living out of a suitcase for a long time, but his hands are cool, and he presses one to Namjoon's neck, helping him hide his face in Yoongi's shoulder.

"You can cry," he says, "it's fine. These idiots have been out in the action too much. Honestly, who comforts a crying person with vengeance threats? It's okay, Joon-ah. I'll take care of everything, okay? You just rest."

Namjoon nods into Yoongi's shoulder, lip wobbling, and Yoongi pats him slowly.

"As for the rest of you," Yoongi says, "this is the plan-"

"Joonie-hyung makes the plans," Jimin protests, “who put you in charge?” and Yoongi sighs, obviously frustrated.

"I said, this is the plan." His voice is much colder, but he's still softly sifting through Namjoon's hair, stroking along the length of his spine gently. "Hobi, find us a place to stay. I know you have something ready. Taehyung..."

Namjoon tunes it out. He still needs a plan. Why isn't his brain working?

(Because people are trying to kill him)

Where's the scenario?

(the scenario is that people are trying to kill him, with guns)

1) Hide in Yoongi's shoulder forever

2) ???

3) Maybe icecream later? Provided it can somehow be brought to Yoongi's shoulder?

 

The van stops again, and there are more hands on him, pulling him up and away from Yoongi's shoulder (traitors). There's an arm around his shoulders from one side (at almost his height, so it isn't Jimin or Yoongi, part of his sluggish brain analyses), another around his waist from the other side, and he's basically being carried as he stumbles out of the van.

"He's surprisingly heavy," says Jungkook, sounding slightly strained, "how is he this heavy when he's made of straws held together with blue-tack?"

"Sad people are always heavy," Taehyung offers wisely, "it's all the emotions." His hand begins rubbing circles on Namjoon's lower back, slipping under his stupid disguise jacket to rest against skin.

He wants his own clothes.

He's guided into a large living room, dark and smelling faintly of dust and lemon scented floor polish.

He wants his own apartment, with his own couch and his own life.

"Aw, Joonie-ah," that's Hoseok again, and he lets the redhead guide him down onto a couch, lets him arrange his limbs so he's curled up, mostly in Hoseok's lap but partially splayed over Jungkook, who is running tentative hands up and down his denim covered calves. "It'll be okay."

Namjoon burrows closer, and Hoseok shushes him, pressing a kiss to the top of Namjoon's head.

"Should we get him to bed?" Jungkook asks softly, as a third person drops onto the couch.

"No, that's not the priority here," Yoongi says. "Just let him relax. He needs to feel safe. God, it's been a long time since any of you were around a civilian after their first fight, huh?"

"It wasn't his first fight," Hoseok denies, "he got kidnapped about a month ago, and he seemed to bounce back just fine!"

"Hobi. Darling Seokie. Fucking idiot Hoseok. That's called repression," Yoongi says, and Namjoon can practically hear him rolling his eyes.

There's a moment of quiet, where Hoseok strokes his forehead, Jungkook pets his legs, and Yoongi runs an appreciative hand along his side, slow and repetitive. Then, there's the sound of soft, socked feet on the floor.

"I made some tea? Do you think he wants tea?" Jimin sounds unsure of himself, "I put honey in it, and it's not too hot..."

"He's crying again..." Jungkook sounds like someone just punched him, and Namjoon sniffles, hiding his face in Hoseok's colourful jumper. "What do we do?"

"Let me," Yoongi says roughly, and they shift around on the couch. Namjoon keeps his eyes closed. He doesn't want to deal with it.

Yoongi helps get him upright, gets Namjoon to lift his arms so that Yoongi can take off his jacket, leaving him in a hoodie and jeans. Then, Yoongi puts Namjoon between himself and Hoseok, and after a few minutes, Namjoon opens his eyes. The pressure is calming, and he's not sure why, but he feels almost ready to look at the world again.

"There you are," Yoongi says softly, and reaches out to rub the tears away from his eyes. "How are you feeling?"

Namjoon shrugs. Everyone is looking at him, arrayed around the couch. Jimin sits on the coffee table in front of him, a mug in his hands, and the giant sectional is holding everyone else except for Seokjin, but Namjoon can hear clattering from another room.

"I'm fine," he says, and Jimin pushes the mug at him.

"I made you tea."

Namjoon's lip wobbles, but he accepts the cup. The tea is sweet, and a little oversteeped, but in this case it really is the thought that counts.

He drinks the whole thing, and opens his mouth like he's going to say something, but Hoseok speaks first.

"We're taking tonight off. We'll deal with all this- Shiwu, Omelas, Seokjin, all of it- tomorrow."

"In the meantime," Jungkook says, "Taehyung is insisting that we should watch Shrek. Apparently, it's the most soothing movie in the world, according to scientists from Oxford University."

"That's...definitely a lie," Namjoon says, blinking, and Jungkook smiles, shrugging.

"We didn't want to fight. He's a hair puller."

"It's true," Taehyung says, “I have no morals and no mortal laws govern me.”

"We've ordered chicken and beer," Yoongi adds, "so all we have to do is eat and rest. How does that sound?"

Namjoon sees a scenario fall into place, creaky and slow:

1) Lie on couch (done)

2) Obtain pats from variety of attractive men who keep telling him he's pretty (in progress, and he kind of butts his head at Hoseok's hand, which starts the petting motion again)

3) Watch dumb movie (in progress, unsure if necessary to meet goal)

4) Eat chicken

5) Recover

He nods.

"Good," Yoongi says, poking his nose and smiling at him. Yoongi has a sweet smile for such a caustic person, Namjoon finds himself thinking, heat rising in his face. "All you have to do is relax. Can you do that for me?"

Namjoon nods.

"Good boy," Yoongi says, ruffling Namjoon's hair, "you've been looking after us. Let us look after you, now."

Namjoon nods again, and smiles. It's a little shaky, but from the way Yoongi smiles back, it passes muster. He lets his plans drop out of his head, rests his cheek against Hoseok's shoulder, and watches Taehyung and Jungkook try and get the DVD player working.

A few minutes later- he's not sure how many, he isn't paying attention. He isn't meant to pay attention, it isn't his job to pay attention right now, and fuck, it's such a relief- Seokjin comes out of the kitchen with a bowl of popcorn and jug of cold tea, and he takes the seat sitting in front of Namjoon, long legs splayed out on the floor.

"So. This is not typical post misson de-briefing behaviour," Seokjin says, "I hope you know that."

Namjoon shrugs, and threads his fingers through Seokjin's hair, petting him softly. There's something in his hair, some kind of product or spray that makes it rough, but it's an interesting texture, so he persists.

"I'm not complaining! I'm just saying. Not typical." He darts a look up at Yoongi and Hoseok. "Do we get to swap at some point? Are there designated cuddling shifts? I'd like to volunteer."

 

0-0-0

 

Namjoon wakes up feeling kind of floppy and rested, fully prepared for whatever the day may bring. This is unusual and slightly alarming, and wakes him up even faster. He blinks, sitting up, and finds that he's lying curled between Yoongi and Jimin on a massive leather sectional couch, one hand flopped over the side, the other around Jimin's waist. They're kind of spooned together, Yoongi behind Namjoon behind Jimin, with Jungkook flopped over their legs, lying on his back with his mouth open, snoring.

He blinks, letting his brain start up, and is suddenly hit by embarrassment. God, what a mess. He's meant to be in charge here, and he spent a good forty minutes non-verbal and crying on his crew. Fuck. That’s the kind of behaviour that doesn’t just get you devastated in the battle scene. It’s the kind of behaviour that makes you run away with your tail between your legs, hoping nobody posts it on SNS. Namjoon has spent a very long time living his life according to what gets him the results he wants, and being embarrassed in front of the six criminals he’s apparently picked up is very definitely not a result he wants.

He ignores the way his muscles feel wrung out like he’s had a full body massage, and the way the motor in his brain is purring like it just got serviced.

What does his body know about what’s good for him, anyway?

Namjoon slides out from between Yoongi and Jimin, getting to his feet, and pads through a large archway into what he's fairly certain is the kitchen. He's right- inside, Seokjin and Taehyung are organising a bare bones breakfast- rice, kimchi, gim, and some side dishes that look straight from a convenience store. Namjoon leans against the archway and crosses his arms. No. Too aggressive. He puts his hands in the kangaroo pocket on his hoodie instead, and clears his throat.

"Namjoon-hyung!" Taehyung practically bounces over to him, kissing him with surprising force, enough to lean him backwards so that Taehyung's hands on his back are the only thing stopping him from toppling over. He tastes like cooking scraps- little bits of bacon and seaweed salad tasted for done-ness- and tea, but before Namjoon can process properly, he's pulling away again, leaning his forehead against Namjoon's and staring at him eye to eye. "How are you feeling?"

Namjoon blinks, and Taehyung hugs him. "Much better, thanks?"

He doesn't mean for it to be a question, but there's something about Taehyung's honest affection that always throws him off.

"You guys are cute, for a bunch of no good gangsters," Seokjin says from in front of the stove, and Namjoon frowns. "Again, not a criticism. Do I get a good morning kiss too?"

"I already gave you a good morning kiss," Taehyung says, and Seokjin laughs, taking the rice off the stove.

"I meant from Namjoon-ah," he turns and winks at Namjoon, "How about it?" Namjoon isn't really paying attention to Seokjin's words- his face is far more interesting, and not just because he's pretty. Yesterday, Seokjin had very dark brown hair, almost on the edge of black. Now, it's a soft caramel, half a shade darker than Taehyung's. His face shape looks subtly different, too, with a slightly softer jaw and less heavy brows.

“Ah, it was a disguise,” he thinks aloud, “for the cameras, right? In case someone was trying to connect Dr. Choi with your alias from the first time.”

“I thought I introduced myself to you as Kim,” Seokjin says, beginning to dish out food.

“Yeah, but you introduced yourself to Jungkook as Choi. I assume that was the specific cover ID for the burn,” Namjoon replies, taking a seat and accepting the cup of tea that Taehyung passes him. “You used Kim to me because you knew I already knew who you were, and you wanted to test my reaction.”

Seokjin stares at him, and Taehyung beams, ruffling Namjoon’s hair. It’s kind of stiff from the wash out dye- he needs a shower- but Taehyung doesn’t seem bothered. “Namjoonie-hyung is very smart, you know. It’s how he picked up the nickname ‘Sexy Brain’.”

“Sexy Brain?” Namjoon asks weakly. “When did that start?”

“About two weeks ago, after you solved that problem with the diamond embargo,” Hoseok says from the archway. “Morning, Joon-ah. Morning, Taehyungie.”

He comes over and presses a kiss to Namjoon’s forehead like it’s normal, then swoops in and does the same to Taehyung in exchange for a cup of tea.

“That’s ridiculous,” Namjoon says, shaking his head.

“That’s accurate,” Seokjin says, nodding. “You’re smart as well as pretty. That’s a dangerous combination, you know.”

Namjoon just shakes his head again. “Who has the file?”

“I do,” Hoseok says, passing over the papers, “but don’t you want to wait until after we eat?”

Namjoon frowns, flipping the file open again. It processes easily, and he flicks from page to page. “Hm. I need to think about this. There’s a shower room here, right?”

“Just through those doors,” Seokjin says, pointing down the hallway.

“I’ll be back. Don’t let Jimin bother Seokjin too much, okay, Hoseok-ah?”

“Maybe I’ll bother him,” Seokjin says, “you don’t know.”

Namjoon doesn’t reply, just hums thoughtfully. He stands up, still looking at the file, and promptly trips over Seokjin’s backpack as he tries to leave the room without stopping his reading.

“You okay?” Hoseok checks, but Namjoon is already standing up, flipping to the next page.

“No. No, we can’t. We’d need more people,” he murmurs to himself, wandering out of the room.

From the corridor, there’s the sound of a distracted Namjoon hitting a wall.

“Well. Let’s hope he doesn’t die on his way to the shower,” Seokjin says.

“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Hoseok says, and they hear a crashing noise from deeper in the house. “...Taehyungie, you packed the first aid kit, right?”

“Of course! I even re-stocked the novelty Sailor Moon bandaids. We’re prepared for anything,” Taehyung says, nodding.

There’s an even louder crash.

“...I might go get it now, just in case.” Taehyung says, putting down his mug.

Chapter Text

Namjoon finishes drying his hair and stares at his reflection in the mirror. He's washed the purple out, but it's gone a funny silver colour rather than reverting to blond, and he's not sure how he feels about it. He doesn't look tired, at least, he thinks, poking at his cheeks and seeing how the skin moves. He's looked tired, lately, probably because of the stress, but today he actually looks like himself.

His shower has given him time to think, to pull together the many different trains of thought that had been going in different directions, and he feels kind of settled, heavy in his bones. He knows what he's doing, now. He knows how to solve not just his own problem, but Seokjin's too. Yoongi's as well, if the hacker will let him.

It's always the same puzzle, after all.

Boat, chicken, grain, fox.

He nods, straightening up, and ties his towel around his hips properly.

"Hey, Joonie-hyung?"

Jimin's knocking on the door, and Namjoon turns away from the mirror.

"Do you want to pass me your clothes- there's a washing machine and dryer here, and you probably don't want to put dirty stuff back on," Jimin explains through the wall, and Namjoon opens the door.

"Hey, Jiminie." Namjoon smiles, and realises that Jimin is looking him over- not with an appreciative eye, like normal, but an assessing one. He's checking Namjoon for injuries, focussing on the fading bruises on his ribs, the scrape on his leg from toppling onto the cafe floor, the rising bruise on his elbow from falling into the bathtub earlier. “Is something wrong?”

"I wanted to apologise to you," Jimin says, face serious. He looks tired, Namjoon realises. Not tired like he looks bad, just tired like he's spent all night watching over everyone else- a little purple around the eyes, a little tight around the mouth.

"You don't need to apologise," Namjoon says, waving a hand, and Jimin frowns, "I should apologise to you, really. You were depending on me, and I-"

"You shouldn't apologise!" Jimin interrupts, stepping into his space, and raising a hand, "Don't apologise for that, okay? I should have realised. I've spent a lot of time figuring out how you have to be while doing this kind of work. You have to be a little meaner, a little lighter, like nothing matters, but it does matter, and it does hurt, and sometimes you need to cry!"

Namjoon blinks, and Jimin steps in even closer, putting his hands over Namjoon's ribs gently, stroking along fading yellow and green. "I thought you were tough, the way I'm tough. That you were pretending to care the way I pretend not to care. But you're not, you actually care. You really do want Taehyung to be comfortable being weird around us, and you want to hold Yoongi’s hand and go along with his stupid soft boyfriend fantasies, and you want me to stop making jokes about killing people, because you really think killing people is wrong!"

"Of course it's wrong- you don't think killing people is wrong?"

"Of course I do! But I ignore it! Because that's what you do! You don't care!" Jimin snaps, "You can't care like that and do this job and still function. You make a shell around yourself, like a lobster, or a crab, or.... something."

"Yeah, I think I've figured that one out on my own, now." Namjoon says, letting out a little laugh. It's sour, not amused, but Jimin just looks more frustrated, like Namjoon is missing something.

"That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying, it's good."

"It's good?"

"It's good that you care. It's good that you care, because I can care about you, and you can care about everyone else," he explains, "I don't like it. Being that person. Being mean. I'd forgotten that."

"It's good that I care?" Namjoon repeats back, and Jimin nods furiously. He's gone a little pink in the face, his eyes suspiciously shiny, and Namjoon lets go of his towel with one hand to touch Jimin's face, tilting it up. "Why is this upsetting you so much, then?"

"People used to describe me as sweet, you know," Jimin says, "The nicest person they knew. A kind person. I don't think I've been that person in a while, hyung."

Namjoon thinks back to all the times Jimin has absently threatened to kill people. People he knows. People who are meant to be his friends.

"Well." He pauses, "...You're still sweet? Kind of?"

Jimin laughs and leans forward, pressing his head into Namjoon's chest. "I'm just saying. It's good that you care. I want to care again."

Namjoon stands in the steamy bathroom, dripping on the tile, one hand cupping Jimin's cheek, and thinks for a moment.

"Take it slowly, Jiminie-ah. It's good that you've recognised you want to change, but, you know, I like you how you are."

"You do?" Jimin's voice is small, unsure, and Namjoon pulls him into a hug, not caring that he's getting the other man's shirt damp. Jimin needs a hug, and as he said earlier, there's a dryer somewhere in this house.

"Yeah, shell and all." Namjoon promises.

"Even though I'm a crab person?" Jimin asks, lips pressed to Namjoon's collar bone. Since he's there, he decides to give it a nibble, and laughs when Namjoon jumps.

"I love crabs," Namjoon says, and Jimin hiccups out a laugh.

"Nobody loves crabs," Jimin scoffs, and Namjoon cups his face with both hands, tilting it up so they're looking eye to eye, pressed close together.

"I really love crabs," he says sincerely. "Take me to a beach sometime."

"Is that a date suggestion?" Jimin asks, a tentative smile on his face, and Namjoon grins.

"Yeah, sure. As long as you don't mind five tag-a-longs." Namjoon nods in the direction of the living room, and Jimin pouts.

"Can't we ditch them?"

"Are you prepared to deal with Jungkook's crying face?"

"...You know, yesterday, I would have said yes, but... I guess I would feel kind of bad." Jimin admits, and Namjoon has to kiss him for that. He has to.

For all his epiphanies about emotions, Jimin still kisses like he's fighting. He kisses hard, practically mashing their faces together, and his hands immediately drift down from their soft brushing against Namjoon's ribs to grab his ass with no hesitation.

It's not that it isn't a good kiss- it's a great kiss, it's a really great kiss- but it's overwhelming, and Namjoon finds himself pressed back against the vanity, Jimin between his legs and sucking bruises onto his neck before he can really process what's happening.

Jimin's hands are everywhere, sliding up his legs and under the edge of the towel, running down his neck and turning his jaw to one side so Jimin can really get a good bruise going despite Namjoon's squirming. They're scratching marks into his shoulders, feeling out the shape of his faint muscles and pulling him closer, even as Namjoon anchors himself with his hands on Jimin's hips. He's a small guy, and Namjoon's hands feel big, thumbs resting over the spurs of his hip bones while his fingers reach the back pockets of his jeans.

"This is fine, right?" Jimin asks, pulling back for a moment. His lips are red, his hair is floating up around his face like a halo, scrunched by Namjoon's hands, and his eyes are dark and intent. "We're good here, right?"

Namjoon nods, but then winces as Jimin leans into him, putting pressure on his bruised ribs.

Jimin pulls back.

"That was not a ‘fine’ noise."

"No, no, I'm good," Namjoon says, "come back, we're fine-"

"You're still injured," Jimin frowns, doing the opposite of coming back and instead taking a step back, leaving Namjoon pressed open against the vanity, lips tingling and limbs loose. He’s eighteen, and half a dozen really hot people have been flirting with him relentlessly. There’s only so much his right hand can do for him at this point, and Jimin had been firm and warm against him in all the right ways, mouth slick and hot, and Namjoon wants so much it hurts. Jimin is busy looking at him with the same evaluating eye from earlier, though, snapped out of the mood by Namjoon’s unconscious whine.

 

Damn his stupid mouth and its stupid noises.

"Not as injured as I was?" Namjoon tries, reaching out to hook onto Jimin's belt loops. Jimin looks unimpressed, and Namjoon tries sticking his bottom lip out, the way Jimin had suggested to seduce Seokjin earlier.

"You sure?" Jimin asks, tentatively stepping back in, and Namjoon nods. This time, Jimin's hands are more gentle, one tilting his face down so that Jimin can press him into an open mouthed kiss, the other tracing a line along his collarbone, down his chest to his waist.

Namjoon then immediately ruins it by letting out a pained hiss when Jimin presses that hand to his side, over the bruising.

"...That was on purpose," he lies as Jimin pulls away again, and Jimin laughs, leaning in to kiss him sweetly.

"Namjoonie-hyung, when you're actually fine, I'm going to absolutely fucking wreck you. You're not going to walk straight for a week," he promises darkly, and bites Namjoon's lower lip. Namjoon whines again, leaning into the kiss, but Jimin just laughs at him.

Then he pulls back and taps Namjoon's nose.

"That's a promise. But until then, you're going to have to be patient."

"I can't believe that those assholes are still ruining my life, four weeks beyond the grave," Namjoon complains, and Jimin laughs, grabbing Namjoon's folded clothes from the vanity next to him.

"I'm going to go put these through the laundry. Come out when you're more...put together."

He winks, grinning, and leaves.

Namjoon blinks, and lets out a deep breath.

Right.

He slips off the counter and reties the towel knot, which has become suspiciously loose from Jimin's wandering hands, and quickly checks the mirror.

Oh good. He looks very composed and professional, with his swollen lips, reddened lips, and slightly glazed eyes.

Namjoon splashes some cold water on his face, takes a deep breath, and thinks unsexy thoughts.



Jungkook is waiting in the hallway, holding a black hoodie. He's still in clothes from yesterday- a white tee-shirt and jeans, the same thing he wears every day- and when he sees Namjoon, he goes a little pink, shoving the hoodie at him.

"While your stuff's washing," he explains, falling into step with Namjoon as he heads back to the kitchen, "I thought you might want to have something, at least."

"Thanks, Kook-ah," Namjoon smiles, slipping the hoodie on.

Jungkook hit his growth spurt early, so he's about the same height as Namjoon, with broader shoulders, and Namjoon is relieved to only be half naked, rather than completely naked. The hoodie smells like Jungkook- eau de teenage boy trying really hard to be a grown up, which is sixty percent axe, twenty percent sweat, and twenty percent cheap cologne that smells like pine scented car freshener- which Namjoon doesn't hate.

"Everyone's waiting for you," Jungkook says, "Seokjin-"

"Seokjin-hyung," Namjoon corrects.

"Yeah, sure. Anyway, he said you have a plan?"

"I do," Namjoon agrees, as they enter the kitchen, and he looks over at the table. All five seats are already occupied, and he leans against the counter instead. "I'd go so far as to say I think it's a good plan, even."

Yoongi, who is sitting nearest to him, scoots his chair out slightly, looking over at Namjoon. "Do you want to sit down?"

Namjoon hitches his towel up- it keeps slipping, and he is sorely tempted to find his wet jeans and put them on, comfort be damned. "I'm fine, thanks."

Yoongi shrugs, but doesn't push his chair back in, angling his lap towards Namjoon like that's a satisfactory solution to the lack of chairs. Namjoon pointedly ignores it, and then ignores Yoongi’s resulting sulky expression.

"What did you figure out from the file?" Hoseok asks, and Namjoon sticks his hands in his hoodie pocket. "Anything good?"

"Oh, plenty." He grins, and he knows it's not a very pleasant expression, "I can see why they were so desperate to keep it out of Seokjin's hands."

"It's just a medical file, though?" Seokjin shrugs, eating a piece of gim. "Unless they're worried about his blood pressure, I don't see what the big deal is."

"It's even less important that his blood pressure," Namjoon says, pulling a piece of paper from the file and dropping it on the table, in between the rice and the eggs.

"...His next of kin?" Hoseok blinks, "what's so impressive?"

"No, look," Namjoon says, leaning over and stabbing the next line down. "His home address."

"It looks familiar," Yoongi says, tapping his fingers on the table, "but I don't know it off hand."

"Taehyungie?" Hoseok turns to Tae, who leans over to look at it.

"Give me five minutes, I'll get it-"

"It's opposite the Omelas hotel," Namjoon continues, and Taehyung pouts.

"Why doesn't anyone ever give me the time to answer your questions? Why do you ask, if you don't want me to answer?"

"Sorry, Tae," Namjoon says, patting him on the shoulder. "But! Back to the point. I would say that this address is directly opposite room W52. If Seokjin hadn't left that post-it, admittedly, it would have taken me longer to figure out-"

"Not much longer," Jungkook says loyally, and Namjoon pats his shoulder too.

"But considering you were meant to be killed for looking at this file, I think we've found the pressure point."

"So what do we do?" Yoongi asks, tilting his head to one side.

"First, he should eat something," Seokjin says, "breakfast is still the most important meal of the day, no matter how damp and cute you are. Excitability will only take you so far. Kimbap will take you further."

"Are you writing slogans?" Jimin asks, shaking his head, "I’m not impressed."

 

“Nice to meet you, not impressed. I’m Seokjin.”

 

“You’re impossible.”

"No, I'm Seokjin," Seokjin says, and Jimin actually groans and puts his head on the table.

"Anyway," Namjoon raises his voice slightly, and Jimin looks up, a couple of grains of rice stuck to his forehead. "We need to get access to that room, and we need to get access to that apartment. We're going to split into three teams, as well as Yoongi- the hotel, the apartment, and an off-site emergency team who will go to whichever group needs help."

"Where are you going?" Jungkook asks.

"The hotel. I get the feeling it's not going to be as simple as it sounds.” Namjoon runs a hand over his mouth, “me and Seokjin. Taehyung, Hoseok, you have the house. Jimin, Jungkook, you’re our emergency response. Yoongi, you’ll be offsite running support.”

 

“You don’t want me at the hotel with you?” Jungkook asks, brow wrinkling. “What if someone actually attacks you?”

 

“I’ll have Seokjin,” Namjoon says, shrugging, and tries not to let Jungkook’s face get to him. He looks crestfallen, so disappointed at the idea that he won’t be with Namjoon.

 

“Why Seokjin?” Hoseok asks, looking up at Namjoon expectantly. He’d clearly been expecting a different split, too.

 

“He’s good at lying to people,” Namjoon explains, “and we’re going to have to talk ourselves into that specific room. Our other talker is Taehyung, after all, and I don’t want him in that hotel when he can be doing his information gathering thing in Shiwu’s place.”

 

“I’ll be able to find more in a permanent residence than a motel,” Taehyung agrees, nodding.

“I think you just want to take me to a motel. My beauty has driven you mad,” Seokjin says, around an entire triangle kimbap. It’s impressive he managed to fit it in his mouth in the first place, let alone that he can talk around it. Namjoon is both impressed and horrified by his mouth capacity.

 

“If you touch him without his permission, I’ll chop off all your fingers,” Jimin says cheerfully, then frowns. “I mean. I’ll be angry at you.”

 

Seokjin nods slowly, and Namjoon clears his throat. “Yoongi will be coordinating us all over communications, so be aware of that. He’ll be passing my commands on, so listen to him like you would listen to me.”

 

“I have so much power,” Yoongi says, smiling. “Dance, my puppets.”

 

Namjoon eyes him nervously, but he’s pretty sure it’s a joke. Sure enough that he can continue.

 

“Communication is going to be key here. If you find anything, you tell Yoongi. I don’t care how small or meaningless you think it is, I want to know.”

 

“Any questions?”

 

Taehyung raises his hand.

 

“Yes?”

 

“Why is your hair different? And where are your pants? Is this a Namjoon only pantsless party, or can anyone join?”

 

“Okay, no questions. good to know. We’re going to leave in an hour,” Namjoon says, “so make sure you’re ready to go.”

 

He makes eye contact with Jungkook, jerking his head toward the hallway, and the younger teenager follows him out.

 

Namjoon takes his time getting settled against the wall, arranging himself so that his creaking ribs don’t ache, and after a moment, he looks over at Jungkook, who is standing still, hands in his pockets and staring at the floor.

 

“You clearly wanted to say something in there,” Namjoon says slowly. “So, I think you should say it now.”

 

“I just want to know why you’re taking Seokjin with you,” Jungkook says. He doesn’t look up. “What if something happens, and you get attacked?”

 

“Then I’ll be with a professional hitman for the two minutes it will take you and Jimin to bust in the place, James Bond style. I think I’ll be okay.” Namjoon says, ,and raises an eyebrow. “That isn’t your real question, though, is it?”

 

Jungkook takes a deep breath, and finally meets Namjoon’s eyes. “I’m sorry! I fucked it up yesterday, and you got hurt, and then you freaked out, and it’s all my fault!”

 

Namjoon blinks.

 

“Kookie, what are you talking about?”

 

“If I’d been faster, and taken the picture of the file, you wouldn’t have had to distract Seokjin, and you wouldn’t have been shot at,” Jungkook explains miserably, shoulders hunched, and Namjoon stands up properly, coming over to put a hand on his shoulder.

 

“Jungkook, look at me.”

 

It takes a moment, but he listens, looking over at Namjoon with his mouth pressed together hard, trying to stop his lips from wobbling.

 

“You did a great job yesterday.”

 

“But-”

 

“I’m serious. You got the file. That was the priority goal, Jungkook,” Namjoon shakes him slightly, “You got the file, you got out, you coordinated a complex scheme with a lot of moving parts-”

 

“It was kind of hard to make the pizza arrive at exactly the right time, I guess,” Jungkook says, and Namjoon nods encouragingly.

 

“You did an excellent job. I’m glad you’re with me.” Namjoon says again, leaning in so Jungkook has to look him in the face, “Now, as for why I’m going with Seokjin...There’s a reason. I haven’t just gone mad.”

 

“I don’t understand, though. Isn’t he with us, now? You guys talked yesterday. He agreed to stick with you.”

 

Namjoon sighs, taking a seat on the staircase, and Jungkook sits next to him.

 

“My reasoning yesterday was terrible,” Namjoon admits, folding his hands together. “I was exhausted, and stressed, and no matter how it seemed from the inside, that argument made no sense to anyone but me. Just because I delivered it with a confident tone doesn’t make it real. Think about what I said.”

 

“You said that he wanted a challenge, right? And that he was petty. And, uh-”

 

“That he could take me out if he helped,” Namjoon nods, and Jungkook scratches at his neck awkwardly. “Now, think about it. If he wants a challenge, he’s had plenty of opportunities to go for one. He likes his lifestyle. He likes the easy cons and the long stretches of holiday, or he would have joined up with a gang a long time ago.”

 

“What about the petty thing?”

 

“Nobody is willing to kill themselves just because they’re petty,” Namjoon says, shaking his head. “And he had a point, too. He dyes his hair, goes overseas for six months and gets a tan, and by the time he gets back, this will all be sorted out, one way or another.”

 

“What about getting to date you?”

 

Namjoon laughs a little, “While it’s true, I don’t think he’s going to throw himself into the path of a bullet just for the chance to wine and dine a random guy. It’s a cute idea, but real life doesn’t work like that.”

 

“It did for us,” Jungkook murmurs, a little too soft for Namjoon to pick out.

 

“Sorry, what?”

 

“Nothing, hyung! But, if you don’t trust him, why are you going with him? Shouldn’t we cut him out completely?”

 

Namjoon sighs, lifting his hands so they’re palm up, balancing like scales. “Because, if he actually does want to join us, I’m not willing to throw him away by not trusting him. But I don’t trust him with anyone else.”

 

“You trust him with you?”

 

“To a certain extent,” Namjoon admits, “he thinks I’m interesting. That’s enough that he isn’t going to just kill me for no reason and run away to Thailand, and that’s not a guarantee I have for any of the rest of you.”

 

“So you’re going to put yourself in harm’s way?” Jungkook’s eyes widen, and he sits up straight, “Hyung, that’s ridiculous! You can’t do that!”

 

“It’s the best way for us to get what we need to get,” Namjoon says with a shrug. “And I have you and Jimin looking after me, right?”

 

“Right!” Jungkook nods fiercely.

 

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I really want to be wearing pants for my next important conversation,” Namjoon says, and stands up.

 

Jungkook laughs, and points down the hallway, toward the bathroom. “The laundry’s just round the corner, hyung. Although I have to admit, important conversations without pants is definitely another unconventional bonus to working for you.”

 

“Brat,” Namjoon rolls his eyes and smacks Jungkook on the shoulder, “are you going to stop being weird, now?”

 

“Yeah, hyung. I get it now. I’ll make sure you’re safe, even from a distance.” Jungkook nods, determined, and Namjoon smiles, leaning down to press a kiss to his forehead.

 

“Good.”

 

The return of Namjoon’s pants is a small victory, but a victory nonetheless, and he appreciates them all the more for their brief absence. He doesn’t bother with the varsity jacket, keeping Jungkook’s borrowed hoodie, which he zips up against the wind as he takes a seat in the van, picking the one next to Yoongi, who smiles and adjusts himself so Namjoon can lean against him comfortably. He pulls out his phone, already deep in thought. There are a lot of things to keep track of today, multiple timelines and more people than he’s used to, and the stakes are high. He’s rested, though, feels centred and confident in a way he didn’t last time, and he nods, settling into his brain to figure out the plan in full.

 

“So, let’s talk backstory,” Seokjin says, dropping onto the seat next to Namjoon in the van and putting an arm around his shoulders. “I’m thinking boyfriends- long term, and just starting to get serious. I’m frustrated, because you keep putting your career first- you source alpacas and llamas for petting zoos, and you’re always in Peru- but you’ve secretly been carrying an engagement ring for months, just waiting for the chance to pop the question. This mid-day stay in a cheesy motel is all part of an elaborate role play scenario you’ve agreed to to try and recapture my heart, but little do you know that actually I’m planning on asking you to marry me after we’ve had our saucy little scene- I say saucy because it definitely involves food play. I’m a professional chef, after all, I own my own restaurant and it’s very stressful, but it’s worth it when I see the shining faces of my happy customers.”

 

“What?” Namjoon looks up from his phone.

 

“Our backstory? For the mission? Come on, Namjoon-ah, pay attention.”

 

“We’re not doing that,” Namjoon says immediately, and Seokjin pouts, leaning into him. “Can’t we just book a room because we’re travelling or something?”

 

“It won’t work without a proper backstory, Joon-ah. It’s like you don’t even care. This is why I think you’re seeing some farmer boy in Cusco, you know. I can’t believe you’d betray me, Odengie, and Eomuk like this.”

 

“Who are Odengie and Eomuk?” Namjoon asks, head spinning with plan components. If Yoongi can hack the reception desk at the same time Seokjin throws a fit, they should be able to pull the right key, but in the case he can’t, their next back-up is to plant a leech that will rip the RFID for room W52, and scan it straight to their phone. If there’s nothing strange about Shiwu’s apartment, then Taehyung and Hoseok can just toss the place- that’s a twenty minute job, and meet them at the motel.

 

“Our expensive naked cats, Namjoon-ah, pay attention. I’m sculpting a reality here.”

 

“I like this one,” Taehyung says from the driver’s seat, “We’re keeping him. I appreciate someone who can appreciate a good background profile.”

 

After a few minutes, he parks the van, letting Yoongi out at an internet cafe. They can hear the sounds of obsessive gamers from the street, a wash of mountain dew and doritos on the air, and Yoongi’s face sours.

 

“Wow, Joon-ah. You take me to all the best places. First a hospital I.T. job, now this? All of my wildest dreams are coming true,” he says apathetically, hopping out of the van and picking up his shoulder bag.

 

“I’ll make it up to you,” Namjoon promises, and Yoongi just sighs.

 

“When this is over, I’m sleeping for a week, and the only person who’s allowed to interrupt me is Namjoon with a tray of breakfast wearing the fuzzy kitten sweater,” he says darkly.

 

“Fuzzy kitten sweater?” Seokjin sounds delighted, and Namjoon coughs.

 

“We’re on a schedule here, Yoongi-hyung,” he says through gritted teeth, and Yoongi sighs again.

 

“You were so much cuter before you were my boss,” he grumbles, and turns to amble toward the internet cafe.

 

“I-I don’t know what he’s talking about,” Namjoon says, turning back to the group, who are all staring at him with suspiciously shiny eyes. “Anyway. We should go.”

 

“To be fair,” Taehyung says, “it is a very cute sweater.”

 

“How do you know that?” Namjoon squeaks, as the car pulls back onto the street.

 

“I’m an information broker, hyung! I know everything, remember? How does everyone keep forgetting?”

 

“Can you broker me some photos of this ‘fuzzy kitten sweater’?” Jimin asks, and Taehyung nods.

 

“My rates are high but fair,” he says airily, and Namjoon groans.

 

“Look. Can we please stay on track? This is going to be a dangerous task, and I’d really like it if we could accomplish it without being shot at this time.”

 

“That seems fair,” Hoseok says, “but it’s just a little horseplay to calm down before things get serious, Namjoon-ah. We know this is important, but you can’t be one hundred percent all the time, you know?”

 

“...Yeah, I know,” Namjoon nods, and Taehyung parks the van again.

 

“Alright, everybody out! It’s six blocks to the motel, and I don’t want anyone tracking things back to my dad’s van.”

 

“Six blocks?” Jimin almost shrieks, “Taehyung, it’s raining!”

 

“You won’t melt,” Taehyung says, jumping out of the driver’s side and putting up an umbrella, “I checked.”

 

“Alright, it looks like our comms are up. Remember, no using Suga’s real name over the air, okay?” Namjoon confirms, sliding a pair of glasses on. They aren’t sunglasses, but he feels more confident anyway, settled in his skin as he steps out into the rain. “Suga?”

 

“You’re coming in loud and clear,” Yoongi confirms. “Everybody check in.”

 

One by one, they all check their microphones and earpieces- even Seokjin, who is using a spare that Hoseok happened to have- and Yoongi gives them the all clear.

 

“Right,” Namjoon says, straightening up and running a hand over his hair. “Let’s do this.”

 

Taehyung and Hoseok split off early- they’re going to go around the block and approach from the other side, just in case somebody marks them or their target, and Seokjin pulls Namjoon close, sticking his hand in Namjoon’s back pocket.

 

“Are you really insisting we go with the boyfriend story?” Namjoon asks softly, and Seokjin leans over and kisses his temple.

 

“Do you have a better reason for two young guys to be booking a motel room in the middle of the day with no luggage?”

Namjoon shrugs. He’s got a point.

 

The Omelas Motel is a small, green painted building with the name written in cursive neon above the door. Several stories tall, the lobby sticks out onto the street a little, and its battered and old looking, definitely not the nicest place to stay. Seokjin leads the way, opening the door for Namjoon and catching round the waist again once he’s stepped through.

 

Behind the desk, a bored looking young woman is watching something on her computer intently, and Seokjin clears his throat, leaning over the counter.

 

“Hello,” he smiles, and she looks up.

 

“Oh, hi. Are you checking in?” she asks, and Seokjin runs a hand through his hair, offering her a charming smile.

 

“We are, yes. One queen, please,” he says, and shoots a heated look over his shoulder at Namjoon who waves awkwardly.

 

It’s not that he doesn’t like Seokjin, or thinks he’s unattractive. He just can’t act anything other than tough.

 

“Queen, queen. Right, okay, let me just find that for you,” she says, and starts typing.

 

“Distract her for two minutes,” Yoongi hisses in Namjoon’s ear, “I’m in, I’m just making her pick the right room. God, she’s a drama addict- looks like she’s done three seasons just today? Do something romantic, she’ll melt.”

 

Seokjin, who is clearly hearing the same message, looks at Namjoon, who is pretending to look at his phone.

 

“Can’t you concentrate on me for one hour, Joon-ah!” Seokjin throws his hands in the air, and Namjoon blinks in confusion.

 

“Uh. Baby?” Namjoon says stiltedly. Romantic. Dramatic. This is not his forte. “I don’t know what you’re talking about-”

 

“If you even still want this!” he cries, “After what I saw yesterday- how you were at the party!”

 

He turns around dramatically, shoulders shaking, and Namjoon knows he’s brought up tears, somehow. Namjoon is equally sure he looks horrified, but not because he’s acting.

 

“Baby,” Namjoon says loudly, “I can explain.”

 

Seokjin shoots him a look over his shoulder, and Namjoon sighs internally. He knows he can make Seokjin’s day, with just a little effort.

 

The pause is awkward, and Namjoon swallows.

 

“Distraction, Namjoon-ah,” Yoongi reminds him, and Namjoon takes a deep breath, running a hand over his mouth.

 

“Just because I spend all my time in Peru on my alpaca sourcing job, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you! You know Carlos is just a business partner to me!” Namjoon whips off his glasses and grabs Seokjin, turning him so they’re facing each other, staring at him intently. “You’re the only one I love, hyung! I’ve supported your dream of running your own-”

 

“Japanese fusion restaurant-” Seokjin fills in for him, clearly delighted that Namjoon is playing along.

 

“-Japanese fusion restaurant for so many years! You have to know you’re it for me!”

 

The girl behind the desk is watching them, mouth open.

 

“Oh, Joonie!” Seokjin says, clutching at Namjoon’s borrowed hoodie, and Namjoon twists them, dipping him dramatically and looking him in the eyes.

 

“I love you, Seokjin-hyung. I’ll never go to Cusco again, if that’s what you want.”

 

“But your llama import business!” Seokjin gasps.

 

“Fuck my llama import business,” Namjoon says fiercely, and kisses him.

 

The clerk is applauding.

 

“...Great job, guys. I’ve hacked the system,” Yoongi says in their ears. “Guys? Guys, you can stop distracting now.”

 

Namjoon is a little distracted.

 

“Uh, excuse me, sirs?” asks the clerk, “Sorry, sirs- uh, I have your room?”

 

“Oh,” Seokjin says, pushing Namjoon’s face away for a moment. “Thanks! Where are we?”

 

Namjoon helps him back up from the dip, and Seokjin accepts their room key.

 

“Ah, W52,” she says, eyes still shining, “And, oh, congratulations! I’m so glad you made up!”

 

“Me too,” Seokjin says, sounding incredibly sincere as he grabs Namjoon’s ass. “If you’ll excuse us, we have to go make up a little more.”

 

He winks at her, and she blushes, looking down at her computer.

 

“Thanks,” Namjoon adds quickly, and lets Seokjin pull him away by the wrist, running up the stairs like they’re in a hurry.

 

Which they are, but not for the reason she thinks.

 

The rooms of the Omelas Motel are laid out in four directions, each aligning with a letter- N, E, W, and S- and room 52 is on the fifth floor. The building is old enough that there’s only an emergency goods elevator, so they run up the stairs instead, and Seokjin is grinning the entire time, even as they start to lose steam at around the third level, going from a run to a measured jog.

 

By the fifth floor, Namjoon thinks that his enemies don’t really need a sniper. They just need whatever Namjoon needs to be on the tenth floor. He’ll die on his own, no bullets required.

 

“Finally!” Seokjin says, pushing the door open. He’s still pulling Namjoon along, and when they get near their room, he pushes him up against the wall, bracketing his head with both hands. “Play along, huh? Just in case there’s someone watching-”

 

“There is someone watching,” Yoongi says sourly, and Seokjin’s grin is practically sparkling as he leans in to kiss Namjoon again.

 

“You know how I said the hospital job was terrible?” Yoongi says, as Seokjin thoroughly examines Namjoon’s mouth, making his knees wobble and forcing him to hold onto his ridiculously broad shoulders to hold himself up, “I was wrong. This is worse. I hate you, and everything you stand for.”

 

“Was that directed at me?” Namjoon asks breathlessly, as Seokjin pulls away to cup his cheek, and Namjoon finds one of his hands threading through Seokjin’s soft caramel hair, pulling him back in. His lips are soft, and he kisses like he took lessons, thorough and perfect, not too much tongue, not too aggressive.

 

Namjoon kind of wants to make him stop being so perfect.

 

“You, Seokjin, God, the Universe. I’m not picky.” Yoongi says, and Namjoon nods, kissing along Seokjin’s jaw and biting at the join between his neck and his jaw. It’s a very nice jaw, and his skin is soft, smelling faintly of roses - some kind of moisturiser, maybe? Or a sunscreen, perhaps?

 

“I think that’s enough for the cameras,” he whispers into Seokjin’s ear, and pulls away, taking the room key out of his unresisting hand.

 

“Oh, that’s not fair,” Seokjin pouts, as he unlocks the door, “you’re mean. Again, I like it, but still mean.”

 

“I never claimed to be fair,” Namjoon says, turning to smile at Seokjin. “I said that I was challenging.”

 

“Please stop flirting. This is the third level of hell. There’s a fourteen year old grinding LoL and shouting slurs on my left, some lovelorn soul is watching porn with no headphones on my right, and I’m watching someone else make out with Namjoon,” Yoongi says, “I’d say what did I do to deserve this, but I know-”

 

He cuts out suddenly, as Namjoon steps into the room.

 

“...Suga?” he calls softly, but there’s just static from his ear piece. “Seokjin, do you still have him?”

 

“Seokjin-hyung,” Seokjin corrects him from the hallway, where he’s looking around for other people. “And yes. He’s not happy with me, though. Maybe you should take my earpiece and reassure him I haven’t killed you?”

 

Namjoon steps back into the hallway, and his ear fizzles back into life.

 

“-and if you’ve done anything, Kim, I’m going to donate all your money to Amnesty International and subscribe you to eight hundred bestiality porn sites under your real name, and then forward them to your mother,” Yoongi is saying darkly.

 

“I’m here, Suga,” Namjoon says, and there’s a relieved sigh.

 

“What happened? You went dark.”

 

“It happened as soon as I stepped in the room. Is there something that could do that?”

 

“A faraday cage,” Yoongi says immediately, “but they aren’t standard on a motel room.”

 

“Well, we did know that something was going to be weird,” Namjoon replies. “I’m going to go back in. I’ll get Seokjin to relay what I find. Hyung, stay in the corridor, okay?”

 

“Okay, but I warn you, if this door closes, I’m making knock knock jokes until you let me in,” Seokjin says, crossing his arms and leaning against the wallpaper.

 

“Oh no,” Namjoon says dryly, stepping back into the room, “anything but that.”

 

He looks out over room W52, and really, really hopes he hasn’t missed anything important.

 

Chapter Text

The motel room is fairly small, and pretty standard, honestly. There are no glowing signs saying ‘secret special item’ anywhere, or beams of light illuminating suspicious treasure chests. There's the double bed in the middle of the room, dressed in shades of pale green, a desk, a small TV mounted on the wall, and a wardrobe. A door to the left leads into a tiny shower room tiled in the same unsettling hospital green colour. It's completely average, and Namjoon looks over it rapidly, looking for anything that stands out.

"Anything from the other team?" he calls back to Seokjin, opening the wardrobe door. There's a small safe, the right size for passports or a wallet, but the door is open and when Namjoon runs his fingers over it, there's nothing suspicious.

"Apparently the flat has already been tossed," Seokjin says, "but Taehyung is convinced that the other people missed something. He says it's sloppy work." He tilts his head to one side, "Not in exactly those words, but I don't really understand his metaphor."

"Not many people do," Namjoon says, running his hands down the wooden panels of the wardrobe walls, checking for hidden compartments.

Nothing.

He moves over to the desk.

"Hoseok says to tell you that Taehyung is absorbed in a chess game that was left out? He thinks there's something to it. He says it doesn't make sense."

There's nothing in the drawer, no hidden papers or items taped to the bottom of the desk, and Namjoon moves over to the window.

"Hoseok says he's appalled by Shiwu's kitchen. Nobody's come by to clean it out and it's totally gross- oh, apparently I wasn't meant to pass that on."

At the window, he can see the flat over the street, the dark shapes moving around- Hoseok and Taehyung. It’s still raining, painting the whole sky a pale grey that almost hurts to look at without sunglasses, and there are fewer people on the street, only the ones who really have to be outside braving the weather. He absently wonders how Jimin and Jungkook are doing, stuck waiting outside so that they can respond quickly if either team calls for help.

"What can they see from the window?" Namjoon asks, and hears Seokjin repeat the question.

"A hot guy, apparently," Seokjin passes back, and Namjoon hides his face in one hand, flipping off the window with the other. "Ah, but seriously. Hoseok says that from the living room, you can see the edge of the curtain rod, and your face, and not much more."

"What if I move?" Namjoon asks, and suits words to actions, taking a few steps back.

"The TV," Seokjin reports, "but he'd prefer if it was you. He's asked me to wink and do fingerguns at you, just so you know."

Namjoon nods, and moves over to the TV. Turning it on, it displays a pay per view screen, and he quickly turns it back off. There are no interesting objects plugged into any of the ports on the back, and all the cords are plain black. Nothing.

This whole room is incredibly, disappointingly, normal.

"Nothing?" Seokjin asks, and Namjoon hums, turning to the bed. It's the last place to look, other than the bathroom.

The bedspread is a geometric pattern, all random squares of different shades of green and blue, and Namjoon hums thoughtfully, looking at it carefully.

There are seven squares on each side, patterned dark and light, with the occasional square in a different shade to add what the designer had probably thought of as 'texture', but really just makes it uglier.

"Where are the pieces?"

"What pieces?"

"The chess pieces, the ones in the game that doesn't make sense. Where are they?" Namjoon asks.

Seokjin repeats the pieces, and Namjoon matches them to the different coloured squares- it's a reflection of the bedspread. He tells Seokjin as much, and the assassin peers around the doorframe, clearly curious.

"Why would he do that, though?" Seokjin asks, "It's kind of weird, isn't it?"

"Kind of," Namjoon agrees, tapping his lip as he thinks. "I feel like I'm forgetting something. Ask Hoseok is there's anything about chess that Shiwu used to talk about."

"He says no." Seokjin reports, after a few seconds, "I get the feeling Hoseok thinks he wasn't much of an intellectual."

"There was something," Namjoon frowns, sitting on the bed, which squeaks. "I have a good memory for these things, I know there was something."

"Well, when did you last talk to him?" Seokjin asks, and Namjoon taps his fingers on his knees. "Did he mention it then?"

"The last time I talked to him, I punched him out and took over his criminal enterprises," Namjoon muses, "we didn't really talk about our gaming hobbies."

"And before that?"

"We battled," Namjoon says, and frowns, "I beat him on the third verse."

"You rap?"

"My name is Rap Monster, Seokjin. Of course I rap." Namjoon shakes his head, and Seokjin shrugs.

"I didn't want to assume anything. Maybe you're a good present giver." He grins. "Get it? Wrap Monster?"

"...I'm trying to think, Seokjin-hyung, please don't."

"Don't what? Be incredibly charming and cute? Sorry, it's not really an on/off thing. This baby only has one speed, and it's really handsome."

Namjoon ignores him, thinking back to the night he'd beaten Shiwu.

Everyone has preferences when they’re rapping. Particular lines, disses and references they like working into their verses. Namjoon likes metaphors, particularly comparing his opponents to old stories, and Shiwu had his own style, too. It was simple, mostly repeating rhymes, but he’d had a few allusions he kept coming back to.

What had Shiwu said in his second verse? Namjoon hums the beat, a driving, Kanye-light sort of thing that had worked well with Namjoon's doubled syllable pattern, but had thrown Shiwu off a little.

"How did it start?" He half sings under his breath, trying to call up the phrase, "I've broken your bones, I've broken a- No." He hums again, starts again. It was a good verse, it had stuck in Namjoon's head even after the battle, and he's pretty sure he can recall the whole thing.

"I'm breaking your bones, I've broken your home

I'm declaring your death, a king on a throne

I'm taking your concept and squashing it, bottom it

I'm riding my horse to your coffin and dropping it

they call me blank they mean blanco i'm whiting it out

See? I've already forgotten it

Call me white king, cos I made the first move

Call me white king, I think you're the worst, dude- Seokjin! Where's the white king on the board?"

"Uh," Seokjin repeats the question, "E...5. Does that help?"

"Yes!" Namjoon says, dropping to the floor and looking under the bed. It's dark, and he fumbles his phone out of his pocket, turning on the light to illuminate the shadows.

Sure enough, there's a small, dark package taped up to the bed base, directly under the square that would be E5. He rips it down, pulls it close with nervous fingers, and rolls over and up to his feet, letting out a sigh of relief.

"We're out of here," He tells Seokjin, who lets out his own sigh of relief, pushing off from where he's leaning on the corridor wall.

"Thank God. It was starting to get a little stressful over here," he admits, "I'm surprised it was so easy."

"Me too, honestly," Namjoon says, stuffing the package up under his hoodie and hugging himself around the waist. "I'm not sure it's a good thing."

"Me either," Seokjin admits, putting his hand on the small of Namjoon's back as they move back into the stairwell. "I've learned, in my line of work, that when something that is meant to be difficult is easy instead, it means somebody else wants you to do. Usually so they can frame you."

"Suga-hyung?" Namjoon asks, "Is there anything happening?"

"It's all pretty clear here, Joon-ah," Yoongi says, and Namjoon lets out a little sigh of relief as they go downstairs, passing a pair of exhausted looking foreigners with a lot of luggage, struggling to get onto the third floor. "If anything, I'd say it's a little too easy. The cameras in that place route like they were made to loop easily, and that clerk's computer might as well have a welcome mat out the front."

"That's...also troubling," Namjoon murmurs, as they step back into the lobby.

The clerk is distracted by another pair booking a room- two foreigners in cheap, flashy looking black suits. They have matching shaved heads and tattooed knuckles, but the clerk is smiling at them despite their obvious criminal looks.

"Welcome back, sirs! Your usual room was booked out today, but I've put you next door, in W54."

"Booked out?" The man on the left asks, and his voice is soft and raspy, almost sweet.

"Unusual," the man on the right says, and his voice is deeper and lisps a little. "I thought we made this reservation standing?"

"You did," the clerk agrees, tucking a strand of dark hair behind her ear. "I'm not sure what happened there, Kishimoto-ssi. The room should be vacant tomorrow, though, and I can organise you to be transferred back in, if you would like."

"Yes, thank you," the man on the left says, smiling sweetly.

Seokjin's hand on Namjoon's back is urgent, practically pushing him across the floor as the walk out, and when the door shuts behind them, he lets out a relieved sound, pulling Namjoon out of view of the door.

"A standing reservation for that room? What are the chances?" Namjoon hisses. "Suga-hyung, pull Taehyung and Hoseok out. If these guys are in the room next door, they'll be able to see the shadows moving in the flat window."

"I'd say the chances are good that we've been framed," Seokjin says grimly, hustling them down the street to a Starbucks that Jimin and Jungkook are lounging outside of, concealed beneath an umbrella. "The only question is what we're being framed for."

"Not really. With the way everyone's acting, when they think that I have this," Namjoon pats his stomach, over the package, "I'd say that having me die in a gang conflict, leaving this thing in the wind, would only be an advantage to whoever it is that actually wants it. Set me up to die, pick this up off my corpse, and go on your way, up one...whatever... but without the attention."

"What even is it?" Yoongi asks over the earpieces, "Have you looked yet?"

"No, not yet. We need cover for that. Where are Hobi and Tae?" he asks, taking a seat between Jimin and Jungkook, who both immediately look at him to check he's not injured.

"They're pulling out now," Yoongi says, "but it sounds like they ran into a little trouble..."

"Do they need Jimin?" Namjoon asks, sitting up, but Yoongi makes a negative noise.

"It sounds like Hobi took care of it, I just wanted to keep you up to date. You better pick me up before you do anymore weird shit, Joon-ah. You guys keep running into dead spots, and my heart can only take so much stress, here."

"Yeah, we will," Namjoon promises. A little trouble? What kind of trouble? He knows he's going to worry until he sees Hoseok and Taehyung himself, but he has to put it out of his head. Right now, they need to withdraw, and he has to trust that they can look after themselves.

Of all the teams, Taehyung and Hoseok are the best prepared for this kind of thing, after all. They were working together before they even knew Namjoon's name, and Hoseok is kind of a secret badass. He doesn't need to worry about them.

"Let's pull back to our third site," Namjoon says, nodding, and Jimin sighs heavily, standing up. He’s damp, despite the umbrella, and clearly isn’t looking forward to walking anywhere in the rain.

They follow Namjoon toward the train station, Jimin and Jungkook still holding their coffee. It's wet, and grey, and miserable, and Namjoon is worrying, but underneath, he feels kind of...triumphant?

He's won at something. He's succeeded, where nobody expected him to.

They get on the train, and at the next stop, Yoongi hops on, heading over and sitting down next to them.

"So?"

"You want me to open it now?" Namjoon asks, "On a public train in downtown Seoul?"

"Yeah, of course. Public transit spaces are usually more secure than actual secure rooms. Nobody pays attention." Yoongi explains, and Namjoon nods. “If nobody’s managed to follow you here-”

 

“They haven’t,” Seokjin and Jimin chorus, and then give each other a displeased look.

 

“I would have noticed them,” Seokjin continues.

 

“Then nobody is going to find us,” Yoongi continues, “we’re actually moving enough to throw off most traces, and bystanders are too polite to even make eye contact, let alone spy.”

"I guess sooner is better than later, right?" Namjoon says, taking the package out from under his hoodie. It's wrapped in black plastic that feels like a bin bag, and seems to be mostly padding, squishing under his hands.

"I'm dying with anticipation," Seokjin says, and Jimin grins, straightening up.

"Hi, dying with anticipation," he says, "I'm Jimin."

Seokjin sighs, tilting his head on one side. "I will admit. I probably deserved that."

Under the black plastic, there's bubble wrap. Under the bubble wrap, more black plastic, then more bubble wrap, then waxed paper, a layer of those little silica packets, and finally, a sandwich bag, with a flash drive in it.

"Is that it?" Jungkook asks, tilting his head on one side. "It's just a flash drive?"

"Well, it could be anything," Namjoon rationalises, but he feels kind of disappointed too. It's a cheap little black plastic flash drive, bought from any random tech store. He could put it down on his desk and lose it in a sea of exact copies. There’s a little crown on it, drawn in white out, but otherwise, it’s exactly like any other flash drive.

"Do you want to see?" Yoongi asks, patting his shoulder bag. His giant dinosaur of a secure laptop must be inside it, and although Namjoon has never seen it unplugged for a wall, theoretically it should work on a train.

"I do," Namjoon allows, "but I think we should wait for Hoseok and Taehyungie."

"Why?" Jimin asks, leaning over Namjoon's shoulder to look at the flash drive.

"Because Hoseok's friend got killed for this information, and Taehyung will probably take a single look at whatever file it is and be able to tell us what colour shirt the original author is wearing right now, and what their current annual income is."

"Is there a reason not to wait, though?" Seokjin asks, frowning.

"Right," Namjoon says, "that's probably a better question."

If they don't look at it right now, there's always the chance that they'll lose the drive, one way or another. Every minute they have it, they're a target, and Yoongi is ready and waiting, laptop sitting on his lap, fingers tapping on the closed top. Maybe Hoseok and Taehyung would make a difference, and looking at the drive will bring heat down on them even more quickly. On the other hand, the more they know, the better, and Yoongi's laptop is the most secure system in Korea, if not the entire planet. They're moving in a random pattern, difficult to track, and Namjoon needs to know what this thing is if he's going to find a way to make it work for him. If he’s going to use this as leverage to get out of the game.

 

(He does still want to get out of the game, right?)

He passes the drive to Yoongi, who nods solemnly, turning on the computer.

Namjoon, for all his surreptitious spying, back when he just thought of Yoongi as Laptop Guy, has never actually seen his computer properly.

The casing is pretty old, a silvery grey colour covered in a bunch of old vinyl stickers that have almost entirely faded away. Almost- Namjoon can still make out some ramyeon bowl stickers, a Chance the Rapper '3', and some old, cheap anime stickers that are being used to cover up a scratch in the laptop plastic. Despite that, it turns on pretty quickly, and the screen lights up with an unfamiliar dark grey interface, neither Windows nor Mac. Yoongi plugs in the flashdrive, and a window pops up.

"Last chance to wait," Yoongi says, finger hovering over the space bar.

"No. Go ahead," Namjoon says with a serious nod, and Yoongi opens it.

There's a list of about sixty names of various origins. They're in a mix of Hangul, Chinese and latin characters, and Namjoon kind of recognises all of them, but doesn't really know where from. Each one of them is a folder, and Yoongi clicks on the first name. Another window pops up, this one with a bunch of random number and letters in it. Namjoon's not sure what he's looking at, but its complex, and when he looks away to Yoongi, the hacker's face is grey.

"Namjoon..." He swallows, and closes the window, pulls out the flash drive and presses it at him with a shaking hand. Namjoon’s frowning immediately, takes the drive from Yoongi- he hasn’t seen Yoongi this shaken before, not even when he was being threatened with broken knees by K-Krue. "Namjoon, that thing is..."

"Is..?" Namjoon trails off, hoping for an answer, but Yoongi just shakes his head, closing the laptop with trembling hands. "Yoongi, what is it?"

Jimin, who has been leaning over his shoulder, hums.

"Correct me if I read it wrong, but aren't those account withdrawal worms?"

"Yeah. Yeah, they are," Yoongi says, and he runs a hand over his hair, "and good ones. I don't know who gave them to your guy, or where he got that information, but there have to be at least six hundred specialist worms on that drive."

"Worms?" Namjoon presses, tucking the flash drive into his pocket.

"They're like a specialised virus," Yoongi explains, "A leech is kind of worm, for example."

"Computer terms are kind of gross," Seokjin observes, wrinkling his nose.

"Essentially, they're scoopers. A worm is programmed to get past a particular security network, and collect a particular piece of information. They're single use, because they're tailored."

"And who are these worms tailored to?"

"...Well, from what I could see?" Yoongi says, wincing, "...The entire East Asian underworld. All the big names, all the strong players. You've got worms for bank details, for personal information, everything. If you decided to, with that flash drive...You could rule the world. The underground part, anyway."

Namjoon sucks in a breath.

"Well. Fuck."

He lifts his hands to steeple in front of his face, and thinks.

This is more than he'd been expecting. This is more than anybody had been expecting, he thinks, looking round at the pale faces surrounding him. Suddenly, the people in the train carriage are potential threats- they're carrying hundreds of millions on them, and the possibility to get more through blackmail or negotiation- whoever has the flash drive has the current underground power pyramid in the palm of their hands.

Originally, Namjoon had been planning to use whatever power he had to make everyone leave him alone. However, this is a bit too much power to just push away.

It's not that he wants to stay involved, it's just...

It's a puzzle.

"I want Tae and Hobi-ah to look at this," Namjoon says, running his hands over his face and sitting up, "I don't know enough to know how to proceed from here."

"You throw that flash drive in a storm drain, move to Busan and become a fisherman, that's what you do," Yoongi says, closing his laptop and putting it away. "We can get a picturesque cottage by the sea, I’ll make indie games and be an international darling, it'll be great."

"You'd hate it there," Jimin says, shaking his head, "what you want to do is smash that flash drive, move to Tokyo and teach Korean at a cram school. I'll get a job dancing at a club and we can live the big city life together."

"These are not good plans," Namjoon replies, "and you're both very strange people."

"This isn't our forte," Jungkook shrugs, "it's yours. So whatever you decide, hyung- I'll go along with it."

"Ah, Jungkookie is so cute," Seokjin coos, leaning in and pinching his cheek. "Personally I think you should take over the underworld and let us live as kept boys, but as the kid says, I'll go along with whatever you decide."

He winks at Namjoon, smiling gently, and there's a feeling in Namjoon's chest, like a hook under his ribs, pulling up. It makes his chest feel like it's caving in, and his lips is wobbling as he looks from face to face at all the people around him. They really do want to be here, with him. Even though it's dangerous.

The train beeps, announcing their stop, and they get out.

"Wait, where are we going?" Jungkook asks, as he notices the familiar neighbourhood.

"My place," Namjoon explains, sticking his hands in his pockets and aiming a close-mouthed smile at him. "I know it's not exactly safe, but I need a plan, and this is where I think best."

He shrugs, and Jimin loops an arm around his waist.

"If it's what you need, we'll make sure you're safe, Joonie-hyung," he says fiercely, leaning up to press a kiss to Namjoon's jaw.

"Good idea," Yoongi agrees, and presses a kiss to Namjoon's jaw on the other side. "And you have power outlets, so I'm happy to go there."

"Careful, or we'll leave you in a...wait, what's another horror I.T. situation?" Seokjin ponders, "we'll put you in a primary school computer lab."

"I would rather jump onto the tracks," Yoongi says sincerely, as they troop down the station stairs and onto the street. "Fucking watch me, Jin-hyung."

"Jin?" Seokjin's nose wrinkles, "Are we at a nickname place in our relationship?"

"We're probably all going to die in the next forty eight hours," Yoongi says, "so yeah, I think we're there."

Seokjin nods thoughtfully. "You know, I kind of like it. I guess you can call me that."

"I was going to."

"Oi, show some respect to your elders!" Seokjin slaps the back of Yoongi's head as they turn the corner onto Namjoon's street, and Namjoon sighs with relief. There are two familiar figures hanging around outside his apartment building- one with flaming red hair, the other a soft caramel. Hoseok. Taehyung.

"Hey, Hobi-ah!" Namjoon calls, waving an arm, and Hoseok spins, worry easing of his face as he sees that nobody is injured.

"Joon-ah! You're okay!"

Namjoon trots ahead a few steps, not quite comfortable with opening his arms for a hug. He comes to a stop about a pace away, smiling, instead.

"Yoongi-hyung said you had some trouble?"

"Nothing I can't handle," Hoseok says, and pulls Namjoon into a hug.




“Taehyung, what’s in the box?” Jungkook asks. Taehyung is carefully cradling a box to himself, draped with a soft piece of cloth.

 

“My new children,” Taehyung says loftily, “I have not yet decided their names, but I’m sure they’ll come as I get to know them. Anyway, stop paying attention to me, did anyone know that Hobi-Hyung is secretly a ninja?” Taehyung asks conversationally, as Jungkook performs the same careful injury check on him that he had done to Namjoon. “I saw him kill a man with a juicer. And not like, an electric one. A manual juicer. My eyes have been opened.”

 

The box makes a small squeaking noise, but nobody seems to notice.

 

Hoseok, who is busy crushing Namjoon’s head into his shoulder, does not deny these claims. This is slightly concerning, but Namjoon is too busy being relieved that he’s there to complain about how he got there.

 

“Hobi-ah, we found out what they think I have,” he says, and Hoseok pulls back, ducking his head to catch Namjoon’s eyes.

 

“You all look like death- is it that bad?” he asks, offering a tentative smile.

 

Namjoon tells him.

 

“Ah. Okay. Yeah, that’s pretty bad,” Hoseok admits, blinking. “Maybe we go inside, now?” He darts a suspicious look up and down Namjoon’s street. “Like, right now?”

 

Namjoon’s apartment is very crowded, with seven people in it. His futon holds two comfortably, three if their close, or apparently, four, if one of them is willing to sit on another’s lap. As it is, Jimin, Hoseok and Jungkook are packed together, with Taehyung on Jungkook’s lap, while Seokjin sits in on Namjoon’s kitchen chair and Yoongi sits on the floor next to the power point, laptop open and typing rapidly. Taehyung’s ‘children’ box is sitting on the table, and Namjoon is both incredibly curious and does not want to know what it contains. He feels like that about a lot of things to do with Tae. Namjoon hops onto his kitchen counter, and for once is glad that his apartment is small. He can keep an eye on them all this way- he needs to keep an eye on them all. At this point, the information he has is worth so much that snatching any one of his crew would be an easy pressure point. It’s the sort of plan that he would discard as immoral, but he knows that most other people in his position don’t bother to do things the hard way, even when the easy way involves blood and screaming.

 

“So, I’m going to lead with the good news this time,” Yoongi says. “The good news is, you have the collective balls of the entire Korean underworld in a vice. If you tell them jump, they will ask how high. You could ask for anything, and they’ll provide.”

 

“I’m not sure that’s really good news, Yoongi-hyung,” Jungkook says. He’s half hiding behind Taehyung at this point, just his eyes and fringe poking out from behind the other teenager’s shoulder, and Taehyung pats his knee soothingly.

 

“It’s better than the bad news,” Yoongi says grimly, and spins his laptop around so they can see the screen.

 

“What is that?” Namjoon asks, and Jimin sucks in an incredulous breath.

 

“That’s a bounty bidding page for your head,” he explains. “And...I don’t think I’ve ever seen a number that high before.”

 

“That’s retirement money,” Seokjin agrees, and shrinks when everyone turns glares on him. “I’m just saying! I’m not going to take it!”

 

“He’s right, though,” Yoongi says, “It looks like a bunch of people have gotten together to announce they want you dead, and they’re willing to put the funds behind it.”

 

“Do you know what we’re going to do?” Taehyung asks, and Namjoon lets out a deep breath, running a hand through his hair.

 

“There’s… a lot to think about.”

 

“Break it down, then,” Hoseok suggests. “What’s the goal? How do we accomplish it?”

 

Namjoon looks up from the floor, trailing over their expectant faces.

 

What’s the goal?

 

He thinks it might have changed, recently. He doesn’t want to leave any of them, even if it means dealing with everything else.

 

The world of crime is just a scaled up version of the battle scene. Namjoon knows the battle scene. You have to look tough, and you have to act like nobody can step to you. That way, nobody is even prepared to try, and they never find the weak spots.

 

So. How does he accomplish that reputation in the world of crime?

 

It’s the same puzzle.

 

Chicken, grain, fox, boat.

 

He looks over to Yoongi and smiles.

 

“Do you have their names?” Namjoon asks, hopping down from the counter and coming over to Yoongi. “The names of the people who are putting out the bounty?”

 

“Yeah, they hid their path and all, but honestly, compared to me, their cyber security guys are shit,” Yoongi says, pulling up a few profiles- names, photographs… it was probably some kind of social security record- and showing them to Namjoon.

 

Namjoon nods, and pulls the flash drive out of his pocket, handing it to Yoongi.

 

“I want you to burn them,” he says, and Yoongi fumbles the drive, dropping it to the tile. It bounces once, and Namjoon holds his breath for a second, sure it’s going to break, but Yoongi’s luck is apparently better than Namjoon’s, because it’s fine.

 

“What?”

 

“Take all their money, destroy their networks, and make a post on that forum,” Namjoon says, pointing at the bounty tally, which is still climbing, even as he speaks, “saying that I’ll do the same to anyone else who tries anything with my crew.”

 

“Namjoon-ah, this is asking for people to target you, you know that?” Yoongi asks, and Namjoon just smiles.

 

“No, hyung, this is showing what happens when people try to target me. Once you’ve done that, I want you to contact the ten biggest names on our list, and set up a meeting. Tonight. The Cherry Bar. Hobi, can you clear it?”

 

“Of course,” Hoseok says, phone already in hand, “I’ll only be a moment.”

 

“Everyone else,” Namjoon says, standing up from where he’s squatted next to Yoongi, “you’re going to have very particular roles to play tonight. Make sure you listen closely.”

 

“Do they have backstories?” Seokjin asks, and Taehyung nods.

 

“...Sure. For you guys, sure,” Namjoon says, and he can’t help the fond smile from cracking onto his face.

 

Behind him, Yoongi is setting off a bomb in half a dozen high secure systems, and the rattle of his keyboard is loud in the small room.

 

“It’s done,” Yoongi says, looking up from his computer. “I hope you know what you’re doing, Joon-ah.”

 

So does Namjoon.

Chapter Text

The plan is simple, because the puzzle is simple.

Dangerous, to the point being deadly, but simple, nonetheless.

Namjoon knows this game, and he knows the facade he needs to show, so while Yoongi finishes stealing the equivalent of eighty million American dollars, he gets changed, finds his sunglasses- his proper sunglasses, the ones he always wears when he hits the scene- and slicks back his hair.

"Hey," Taehyung says cheerfully, "it's been a while, Rap Mon-hyung! So stylish!"

"Tae-ah, you know I'm still the same person when I'm not wearing sunglasses, right?" Namjoon checks, and Taehyung shakes his head, looking him over. Namjoon straightens up under his gaze, tugging at his shirt so it falls properly, and Taehyung smiles, looking a little wistful.

"No, you're a very different person. I like you both, but you're far less touchable right now."

Namjoon isn't sure how he's supposed to react to that, so he just frowns and puts it aside for now. There are enough things for him to worry about, without including Taehyung's words. He's not the only one dressed up, after all. Seokjin and Yoongi are in matching suits. Taehyung, Hoseok and Jimin are in matching black as well, slacks and vests rather than suits- the separation between the two groups is important, Namjoon insists, and they go along with it with only minimal complaining from Hoseok about sourcing six tailored suits in less than three hours.

They tried putting Jungkook in a suit, too, but he looked like he was about twelve, so he's instead he's in ripped jeans and a jersey, a fitted blazer over the top like he's at least trying to fit in. They're all dressed up and down like that- a careful combination of formal and street wear that Namjoon picks to fit his image. Too well presented for the street gangs, too modern and street for the old fashioned groups- he's aiming to irritate everyone.

"It's done," Yoongi says, putting his laptop aside. He's still sitting on the floor, but Hobi had insisted on making him sit on a cushion so he wouldn't get dust on his pants, and he wobbles slightly when he stands up. He's been working on Namjoon's projects for several hours, only interrupted by the delivery of the suits, and he had been barely paying attention to anything other than his computer even when he was ostensibly not on it. "And, Namjoon-ah? Getting to do that? We're even for the hospital thing."

"What about the internet cafe?" Namjoon asks, sticking his hands in his pockets and rocking back on his heels.

Yoongi looks back at the screen, the torrent of text flowing past as his worms do what they're designed to do.

"...I'll let you know after we finish stage two."

Namjoon can't help smiling, and offers Yoongi a hand up off the ground.

"Hoseok-ah, where are we?"

"I've got...like, eighty percent of what you asked for," Hoseok hums, looking up from a set of papers, "Taehyung-ie is sourcing the last few things."

"I'm calling in a lot of favours, hyungie," Taehyung says, covering the end of his phone and looking toward Namjoon,"I hope it's worth it. Ah! Hello, Minho-hyung, thank you for taking my call-"

“Well, if it doesn’t work, we’re probably all dead,” Jimin says helpfully, “so don’t worry about it, Tae-Tae.”

Taehyung, who is now deep in his phone call, shoots Jimin a pout, but the blond doesn’t react, busy trying to figure out how far he can stretch in his suit pants without anything splitting.

Seokjin is testing how many knives he can hide in a blazer, and Yoongi has ambled over to the kitchenette, where half a pan of kimchi fried rice is sitting on the hob. It turns out that Seokjin had been telling the truth about being a good cook. A great cook, even, and Namjoon, despite his nervous stomach, had still eaten more than his fair share of the food, encouraged by Seokjin’s smile.

It’s hard to think about the fact that everybody in this flat could be dead in less than twelve hours, and it all comes down to Namjoon and his ability to act.

He paces a little, heavy boots loud on the tile, until Hoseok shoots him the stink eye. He takes a seat on the futon.

“So, what do we do for the next few hours?” Seokjin asks, and Namjoon shrugs. It really is a waiting game, at this point. He just has to make sure his own stupid brain doesn’t throw him into a tailspin again.

“Whatever you want to,” Namjoon says. “As Jimin pointed out, these could be your last few hours. What do you want to do?”

Jungkook clears his throat, and Namjoon looks up from where he’s staring at his own hands, resting on his knees.

“Yeah, Kook-ah?”

“Do you really think we’re going to die?”

“No,” Namjoon answers immediately. “It’s a good plan. It’s going to work.”

“But?”

“But people like to think of the worst possible scenario,” Namjoon shrugs, looking over at where Yoongi, their ace in the hole, is leaned over the stove like a goblin, eating fried rice fast enough that he’s almost choking. “which is death, in this case. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

“Hm.” Jungkook frowns. “I trust you, though, hyung. If you say we’ll be fine, I believe it. There's a reason I came to you, you know. Back when I was deciding my next role."

Nobody really talks much after that, and they sit in tense, but not uncomfortable silence, watching Yoongi scavenge, until Hoseok's phone rings.

"That'll be Jiho," he says, and then a few minutes later- "everything's ready, Namjoon-ah."

Namjoon nods, and stands up slowly. It's a simple puzzle. It's a simple situation. He can do this.

"You all know your roles?" he confirms, and received a chorus of nods and yeses. "Alright. Let's do this, huh?"

"I feel like now would be a good time for some kind of team shout out," Taehyung says, "if we had a cool team name, I mean."

"He's working on it," Jungkook says, "he's got other priorities right now."

Namjoon, who had opened his mouth to say exactly that, blinks.

"Thanks, Jungkookie. Anyway, I'm not going to get cheesy, but I would like to say that I am very glad to know all of you."

He looks over them, left to right. It's interesting- they're such different personalities, such different types of people, but they all fit together, and even Seokjin, who's only been involved for a couple of days, is now an important part of Namjoon. They're all there, when he thinks about the future, even absently. He thinks about waking up next to Jimin, about Hoseok standing close to him on the train while they talk about ‘puzzles’, and Yoongi's silent companionship when they're both working, legs pressed against each other. Taehyung's confidence that Namjoon understands what he's saying, and Jungkook walking him home from work. Seokjin's disappointment when he looked in Namjoon's cupboards and realised they were 85% instant ramen.

It's strange how his opinion has changed so much in such a short time. First, it was convenient to have Hosoek around. Then, he was scared to try and leave. Now, he's more of the opinion that anyone who tries to make him leave is the one who should be scared.

He doesn't say any of that, because he's said he isn't going to be cheesy, but he makes eye contact, no sunglasses, and tries to impress that feeling on them. That he wants to be here. That he wants them here, too.

Hoseok's mouth goes a little wobbly, and Namjoon smiles, putting his shades on.

"Alright. Well. I've said enough. Let's go."

"Oh, goddammit, stop being tough! Everyone get in here and give Joon-ah a hug," Hoseok demands, practically flying across the floor to latch onto Namjoon's shirt. "We're happy to know you too, you giant dork."

"I'm your boss, don't talk to me like that," Namjoon says mildly, trying not to tear up as Hoseok squeezes him. He's never really been a skinship kind of guy, and his family isn't really one for constant hugging- he's never been touched as much as he has been in the last few months. It's... nice.

"You're our leader," Jimin corrects him, leeching onto his other side, "And you are a giant dork."

"It's okay," Taehyung says, "we like you like this."

"It's pretty cute, honestly," Yoongi agrees, "I don't think I could imagine a 'boss' in the fuzzy kitten sweater."

"I'm still very interested in this fuzzy kitten sweater," Seokjin says, "after we all don't die tonight, can we get a modelling session?"

"Is that what you want?" Namjoon asks, slightly muffled by other bodies. "I feel like maybe you all deserve something nice, after tonight."

"I want to go to the beach," Jimin says immediately.

"I'm standing by the fuzzy kitten sweater." Soekjin says, "and whatever other cute things I can dig up from the volcano you call a closet." He points at Namjoon's wardrobe, which is, admittedly, best described as 'violently erupting'.

"Breakfast in bed," Yoongi says dreamily. "Cute pyjamas. Cuddling. No interruptions, no explosions."

"I want to take you shopping," Taehyung says, and Namjoon looks at him, slightly puzzled. As Seokjin just pointed out, he’s hardly lacking in clothes. "because, hyung, you're very handsome and you dress like a homeless Ken doll sometimes- it really kills my vibe. Ooh. We could get couple shirts... Septuple shirts?"

"That's...kind of rude, but if that's what you want, I guess?" Namjoon says. To be fair, other than Yoongi, Taehyung is the one who has seen him dressed normally the most, back when he was just a regular customer at V's. And maybe, occasionally, Namjoon likes to try experimental looks, but he's not a bad dresser. Is he? He's pretty sure he isn't.

"We're going dancing," Hoseok declares, "at a real club, not a rap club."

"A rap club is a real club-" Namjoon tries to object, because he's not really that into traditional clubbing, but Hoseok narrows his eyes at him from about two inches away. At this distance, his stink eye is even more effective.

"No," Hoseok says, "a real club. You'll understand when we go."

"I'll ask later," Jungkook says, when Namjoon looks at him. "I don't really know what to ask for right now."

That's clearly a lie, from the way Jungkook is chewing on his lip nervously, but Namjoon decides against pressing him. There's enough pressure on them right now. Jungkook can have his secret.

"Okay," Namjoon nods. "Now, let me go. We have a plan to put into action."

They hold on a little longer, because Namjoon has fallen in with a group who aren't just criminal, but contrary as well, and then proceed to pretend that Namjoon is the one slowing them down.

It hurts his heart a little bit, how much he likes these idiots.

He can't let them down now, and he says as much, over and over again, as Taehyung drives them to The Cherry Bar.

When they walk in, Namjoon can't help but be impressed.

Hoseok has done a hell of a job with six hours and a mobile phone- it's barely recognisable, and Namjoon has spent more time at Cherry in the last six months than he has at home. Its always been more on the dive bar end of the scummy to fancy spectrum that rap clubs sit on, with cheap red velvet curtains, a sticky floor, and neon lights that only half turn on, declaring it T E RRY, rather than THE CHERRY BAR. The drinks are cheap and watered down, and it has a sum total of three staff members now that the pink haired bartender has gone backpacking across Vietnam to find himself. It’s a shame, because he was the only member of staff who could actually mix a drink even slightly competently

Now, it looks like it could compete with somewhere like Massive, or even Daebak-ah.

The floor is shiny black tile, the walls are dressed in fresh, cherry red wallpaper (Namjoon can still kind of smell the glue, under the smells of the bar), and they've installed several black vinyl booths along the walls, lit with dim, red lights that make it look like a fancy bar in downtown hell.

There's a new bar, with new, expensive looking liquor bottles on more red-lit shelves, and a fancy water feature on the wall behind it. There are large projected screens on the walls, showing smoky projections of red and black patterns. There's a DJ booth on the stage, set a little bit back and surrounded by artsy looking patterned glass. It looks like the kind of place that would get described as 'slick and trendy' in a magazine.

Namjoon kind of likes it- it’s a good look, sophisticated but not too fancy, but also kind of wants to declare it gentrification and find a new place to rap.

"Here's our table," Hoseok says, leading them across the floor to a booth that's more dais than table- it's two steps up, and lit sinisterly by lights on the underside of the table. Walking in, it's the first thing you see, and there's no avoiding it.

"Perfect. How far off are our guests?" Namjoon asks, as Yoongi slips away with his laptop. Jimin, Jungkook, Seokjin and Taehyung take seats at the table, arranging themselves to lounge arrogantly.

"About fifteen," Hoseok says. "they're arriving now, but they'll get stalled a while longer at the door."

The painting Namjoon had specified is hung on the wall opposite the door, so that when the guests enter, his back will be the first thing they see. Then, the painting. Then, the dangerous looking young men arrayed around Namjoon like a pack of lions in well tailored suits. Perfect.

Namjoon sticks his hands in his pockets, lines himself up, and pretends to ponder the art in front of him. Hoseok stands next to him, half turned to let him know when the doors open, and after a few minutes, he lets out a light cough.

That's the signal. He stands up straight, and takes a shallow breath.

Go time.

0-0-0

Min Minsoo is not a man to be trifled with. He has spent a very long time becoming a man not to be trifled with, and he was less than amused when his right hand man had come to him with the news that the King Key had finally turned up in the hands of a two bit gang leader in downtown Seoul, he had been quite displeased. He was even less pleased when he had received a summons from the same two bit gang leader- a recent civilian, his right hand had informed him.

Nevertheless, it is slightly entertaining to see his enemies- the closest thing he has to equals, nowadays- Jeong Daewung Wen Shitong, Morizawa Takeshi, Jeon Sungho, even that pain in the ass American, lining up outside a little basement club, stalled by a kid in a half hearted suit. The kid has a pinstriped jacket on over a tee-shirt and torn up jeans, and he’s chewing gum, completely unimpressed by the gathered gangsters.

"We're here for a meeting," Minsoo says, cutting past Wen, not caring that he knocks into the other man's shoulder. They've all come with a so-called assistant or two- Minho recognises a couple of very expensive contractors, a few right-hands, even a hacker on the American's side- and Minho has brought his own right hand with him as well. There's a lot of money and influence standing on this pavement, and all it would take is an ambitious little idiot with a car to destroy a good amount of the influence in Seoul.

"You have a meeting at 6:30," the teenager says- and he really is a teenager. He’s younger than Minsoo’s youngest, and is looking at them all with the kind of cool disdain that comes naturally to all teens when faced with people over twenty five. He’s chewing the gum at Minsoo, too, and he wants to tell him to spit it out. "and it's not 6:30. You’re early."

"We're punctual," Minsoo says, and snaps his fingers. His right hand, Yeongchul, tries to push the kid out of the way, but he barely rocks on his heels. He may be young, but apparently he’s stronger than he looks. He raises an eyebrow at Minsoo, and an alarm goes off on his phone, tinny and irritating.

“Now you’re punctual,” he drawls, blowing a bubble of gum at them, and steps out of the way.

It's a nice bar, at least. Fancy enough that Minsoo wouldn't be disgusted to order a drink- the kind of place his lieutenants drink in. There's soft music playing, some hip hop bullshit with enough bass to feel in the soles of his shoes, but not too loud to talk over. The bar's pretty empty, no staff or civilians- except for the boy scout pretending he's a gang leader, standing in front of them. He can’t see the kid’s face, so he can’t judge him properly, but there’s an air to him that Minsoo didn’t expect. He stands powerfully, feet not quite shoulder width apart, and he holds his shoulders straight, posture upright.

He's looking at a painting, something brightly coloured in red and purple, a man in a crown, staring down at the club. The King of Hearts, like the one off the playing cards, and the kid is staring at it, not even bothering to turn and look at his guests. The gold foil of the king's crown lines up with the top of his silvery hair, and for a moment, it looks like he's wearing a crown himself.

Minsoo blinks, and the illusion is gone. The redhead next to the civilian turns to look at them- he's in a white suit, a black shirt underneath that's open at the throat like some casual James Bond shit- and smiles brightly. He excuses himself with a murmur, disappearing to the bar, and Minsoo doesn’t bother to follow his movements. If his boss is a civilian, a leech, then he must be something even more lowly. A snail, perhaps.

"I don't think you're wondering why I called you here," the kid says, still not turning around. His voice is deep, commanding, but Minsoo isn't swayed. He's a dog playing at being a wolf. "I think you know what you're doing here."

He turns around, showing a blank face, eyes concealed by dark glasses. His hair is combed up, giving him a few extra centimetres that he doesn’t really need, and he's wearing a big, black fur coat over a smooth white button up shirt and neat dark jeans. Minsoo deals with enough young men to know that this is a kid who thinks he's dangerous. Jeon Sungho probably thinks that he is, too. Sungho’s a shitty little upstart too, after all, all tattoos and gold chains. If he hadn’t inherited his father’s business, he would have died in a street fight years ago.

"You have the key," Daewung says, face just as blank. "which I think, you think, makes you dangerous."

"It doesn't," Minsoo agrees. "You're a child- I'm sorry, I don't even know your name."

False politeness can burn more than outright hostility. That’s a lesson Minsoo learned a long time ago, but the kid doesn’t even react, face still cold.

"I'm... RM," the kid says, "you wouldn't have heard of me."

"RM," Minsoo repeats, "you're right. I wouldn't. Except that you have recently been making waves. You bankrupted the Seo, Jung, and Yun groups just today. How childish."

"They wanted to kill me," RM says, tilting his head to one side a little bit. "I don't agree with that."

"You're a boyscout," Sungho scoffs, "I could pull a gun right here and now and end this without all the useless talking. Pop a couple of shots, grab the King key, and head out to a real club."

RM sighs.

"I didn't think this would be quite so fast, but I appreciate your volunteering, Jeon Sungho." He puts his hands behind his back, and raises his voice a little bit. "Suga, Jeon Sungho-ssi has kindly volunteered."

There's some movement from the DJ booth, on stage- another young man, this one with pale blue hair, wearing a crisp black suit and one of those caps that the teenagers think are fashionable these days.

"Volunteering?" Morizawa asks delicately, and RM nods.

"As an object lesson."

One of the screens on the wall suddenly displays a web page. Online banking, to be precise. There are transactions flying at the account, a balance quickly draining. A facebook page pops up, with the faces of several young people who look like Jeon Sungho. More bank accounts. Google maps images of warehouses and businesses, being filtered through by a real expert.

Minsoo has several hackers on staff, but whoever that young man is, he's a genius. There's an art to the way he's combing through Sungho's life, pulling away all the money and power and transferring it into his boss's name.

"You fucker-" Sungho's pulling a gun, hand wild as it points at RM, but before anyone else can react, there's another young man standing next to him. He's got sunny blond hair and a delicate face, and Min Minsoo swallows.

Park Jimin has done some work for the Min group before- Minsoo has even tried to convince him to join, before, but he's fiercely independent.

How on Earth did RM get him on side?

"Manners, please, Jeon-ssi," RM says, and nobody misses the change in address. Jeon Sungho is no longer being addressed an equal. Why should he be, when RM has taken everything from him with a thirty second display? "Jimin-ssi, if you could see our guest out?"

"Of course, hyung," Park Jimin says, a note of respect in his voice, and Minsoo notices Wen pale. He'd spent a long time courting Park Jimin, Minsoo remembers. A long time, and a lot of money, and it had ended when Jimin had burnt down Wen's house and told him in no uncertain terms that he was done being polite, and he didn't want to join his 'special boy's club'.

Minsoo gets the feeling that Wen is remembering that confrontation now, as Jimin turns Jeon Sungho's arm up behind his back and marches him out of the club.

"So, now that we have that out of the way, and you know that despite my reputation and past, I'm willing to fuck you up if you try to fuck with me, we can talk properly, can't we."

It's not a question. RM takes a seat at the head of the table, and Minsoo recognises the light haired man sitting at his left, as well.

What kind of man is RM, to have Kim Seokjin and Park Jimin sitting nicely at the same table in matching suits without even a catty word?

Minsso takes a seat as well, and the other follow his example.

"So, what are your demands?" Morizawa asks. RM takes a sip from a glass of amber liquid, provided to him by his red-headed right hand.

"I don't have demands," RM says, "I have rules. There are ways that things are done, now, that I am not impressed by. They're going to stop. There are things that you have tried to do, that I am not impressed by. They are going to stop as well. If you agree, you will walk out of my bar. You will go home. You will see your wives, and kiss your children, and know that you still have the means to provide a future for them."

"And if we don't?" the American asks, and RM says something in English that Minsoo does not understand.

The American goes very pale under his tan, and nods.

"As I was saying," RM continues. "the first rule is that you do not touch my things."

"You have to know that we can't be seen simply taking direction," Jeong Daewung says, and RM raises an eyebrow. He lifts a hand, opens his mouth. "Not to say that we can't! We definitely can take direction, but we can't just do whatever you say! We'll lose face!"

"I don't care," RM says coldly. "You work for me now. You've worked for me since this morning."

Minsoo bites his tongue. The King Key gives this child almost absolute power, even if he were as email handy as Minsoo's eighty year old father. With a good hacker, he's got all their balls in a vice, and from the look on his face, he knows it.

"However, I know that you are old fashioned men," he continues, "and that you are upset because you think that I'm a civilian. What did that one call me, Hobi?"

"He called you a boyscout, RM," says the redhead, taking the glass back from his boss and setting it to the side.

"Because I'm nice, right?” he asks, and shakes his head. “I don't chop people's fingers off, or throw them in the bay for betraying me. That's weakness to you, isn't it?"

RM looks almost pitying, and taps his fingers on the glass tabletop.

"I don't need to. My people don't betray me. And people who threaten me? Well. Suga?"

The boy in the DJ booth gives a thumbs up, taking off his cap and ruffling up his hair.

"Take one tenth of their accumulated net wealth."

The screens flicker up again, and Minsoo has to sit on his hands.

He'll do something stupid, otherwise, and he's spent a very long time becoming a man that people do not consider stupid.

The world has changed, in the last twelve hours. The world changed the moment RM got involved, however it was that had happened.

"I'll let our people know," Minsoo says smoothly. "What's rule two?"

RM smiles.

The negotiations, if they can be called that, go smoothly after that. RM says what he wants, everyone agrees. Somebody does something stupid, and they all lose hundred of millions of won with a single press of Suga's keyboard.

Wen tries to shoot the hacker, and discovers that the glass around the DJ booth is bulletproof.

Everyone else discovers that Wen has been laundering his money through a popular boba chain, and that his worth has just been halved.

So, RM says what he wants, and everyone agrees.

After an hour of this, he sits back in his seat.

"We're done here. You can leave," he says, waving a hand imperiously, and they all stand up like students released by a teacher.

"Ah, one question, RM-ssi," Daewung asks.

"Fine," RM says, turning his impassive face toward the older man. Minsoo is going to have nightmares about that blank face, the bug like black lenses and the endless unrolling of his 'rules'. "Ask."

"...What should we call you? Are you still the Teeth?"

"I thought you had already decided that," RM says. "You've given me a lot of names, lately."

They all freeze. There have been a lot of names regarding the new leader of the Teeth.

Boyscout.

Monster.

Bulletproof.

Unkillable.

Civilian.

How are all those identities meant to fit one man? Even a man as cold as this one?

"I am RM. And these are my Bangtan Seonyeondan," he says, spreading his arms to indicate the boys around him. “My bulletproof boy scouts. I think you’ll find that the name suits us quite well.”

The message is clear.

We do things my way. The civilised way.

And you can't stop me.

Minsoo stands and bows politely, ninety degrees deep, in a way he hasn’t since he turned thirty.

"Thank you for your time, RM-ssi," he manages, and leaves quickly, his right hand at his side. He's sweated through his suit, and the balmy spring air is a relief on his skin.

"What exactly happened there?" Yeongchul asks, looking dazed.

"The South Korean underground is no longer a goddamn warring states kingdom. It's a fucking monarchy, now," Minsoo replies, "and we just met the king. Fuck, I need a cigarette."

He quit smoking fifteen years ago, but his fingers are itching.

"Are we going to do anything?" Yeongchul asks, "He disrespected you..."

"We can't. If we keep our heads down, and follow the rules, hopefully we'll never see him again," Minsoo says. "But if we try anything...Put out the word to everyone- and I mean everyone. RM and his Bangtan Seonyeondan are untouchable. Listen to them like you would listen to me."

"Yes, sir," Yeongchul nods, retreating and discreetly taking out his phone.

"Fuck!" Minsoo says again, and kicks a discarded can. Thirty five years of climbing the ranks. Thirty five years of blood, sweat and tears, and now he reports to an eighteen year old. "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!"

0-0-0

He waits for a couple of minutes after the last middle aged man in a suit files out the door, and then Namjoon deflates onto the table, face down on the glass.

"That was incredibly cool," Jimin says, "like, I'm kind of turned on level cool."

"Same," Seokjin agrees, from Namjoon's other side.

"You finally picked a name!" Jungkook sounds pleased, and Namjoon laughs a little. Up on stage, Yoongi is climbing out of the booth, laptop under one arm, and he quickly jumps down to join them at the table.

"Hey, Joon-ah, what do you want me to do with the money we just took?" he asks, and Namjoon shrugs, sitting up.

"I don't know. How much is it?" Namjoon asks, pulling off his sunglasses and scrubbing a hand across his face. He drops the shades on the table, swapping them for a pair of regular glasses from his jacket pocket.

Yoongi reads out the total.

Hoseok drops the sunglasses he’d just picked up, and they skitter across the table, landing next to Jungkook’s arm.

"Buy me an island," Taehyung demands, pulling at Namjoon's sleeve. "Buy me two islands!"

"I'm not buying any islands," Namjoon says. "Yoongi-hyung, can you split half across charity? UNICEF, Amnesty, that kind of thing?"

"Any preferences?" Yoongi asks, opening his laptop again and pushing at Seokjin until he edges over enough to let Yoongi into the booth too. It’s a few seconds of work to start sending ill-gotten millions to UNICEF, but he waits to check if there are any other charities Namjoon wants to pick out specifically.

"I feel like we have enough to go round," Namjoon says, and Hoseok passes him his glass again. It's just apple juice, because Namjoon doesn't drink before he performs, but it's served like whiskey, in a low glass with a few ice cubes. He drains the glass, dropping it on the table, and lets out another low sigh.

"I want to go home, now," Namjoon admits. His heart is still pounding, and he feels shaky in his bones, half a step from a panic attack.

They all slide out of the booth, and Namjoon stands on shaking legs, wobbling out from behind the table and letting Jungkook hook an arm around his waist so he doesn't fall.

"So, what do we do now? You're basically invincible," Hoseok asks, as they file into the car, and Namjoon hums thoughtfully. "I mean, we've always got problems, I'll always have puzzles for you to solve, Namjoon-ah, but what do you want to do?"

Namjoon immediately turns towards Yoongi, who has very casually taken the seat next to him and has stealthily started holding his hand. His hand is large and cool, soft against Namjoon's, and he's absently playing with his phone with his off hand.

"Yoongi-hyung, I know it's not really the time, but-"

"I've already sent you some blank beats," Yoongi says, sliding his phone away. "Take a look and get back to me. You'll want a strong feature on your first mixtape, and I guess I can help-"

He's interrupted by Namjoon throwing himself into his lap and kissing him.

It's a good way to get interrupted, and Yoongi thinks about volunteering to produce Namjoon's whole album, if this is the reaction he's going to get.

"Thank you!" Namjoon says, pulling back and staring at him with eyes that practically sparkle.

Twenty minutes ago, this man had frightened a career criminal into almost pissing himself, Yoongi can't help thinking. He’s still dressed like he’s out to intimidate the entire criminal underworld, and he’s grinning like a kid on Christmas, sitting in Yoongi’s lap and holding onto his lapels like Yoongi’s going to try and get away. He's... really damn cute.

Yoongi leans in and kisses him again.

What a charming contradiction he’s found.

0-0-0

The line for the Cherry Bar has really grown in the last six months. Where before, only real enthusiasts came out, even on prize nights, now there's a line that goes round not just one block, but trails onto a second, as well. It has more than one bouncer, now, and they actually stamp your hand on entry with a bright red pair of cherries, like something from a slot machine. There's a guestlist, and people try and bribe the bouncers to get on it.

This means that when Namjoon walks straight past the line and up to the door, wearing ripped up denim shorts and a tank top that says 'I LOVE SAIPAN' on it, his backpack slung over one shoulder, and the bouncer just wordlessly lifts the rope, there are a lot of complaints from the line. He's not even wearing shoes, a random girl complains, and Namjoon looks down at his chunky sandals. They're comfortable, and it's damn hot now, August in Seoul, so for once he's prioritised comfort over style.

It doesn't matter how Namjoon dresses here, anyway.

The club floor is busy, but he walks past that, too, to a door behind the bar. The bartender- the same pink haired, broad shouldered guy from last year, who had apparently not managed to find himself in Vietnam- nods to him as he passes, closes the door behind him as Namjoon heads upstairs to the VIP section. It’s mostly empty now, at only seven o'clock. Not many are allowed in, and fewer still are allowed past the second barrier, guarded by an eagle eyed Jiho, who grins when he’s Namjoon, stepping out of the way.

In the second section, the music is quieter, barely a background, and tall dividers keep them out of sight of the public. There are comfortable couches, a television, and a dumbwaiter connected to the bar downstairs.There are also five figures splayed over the couches- Jimin and Taehyung curled together, watching something on Taehyung's phone, while Jungkook sits on a cushion on the floor at their feet, writing in a book. There are a few pieces of scrap graph paper and a calculator on the coffee table in front of him, so Namjoon thinks he must be doing his maths homework.

It had been a hell of a battle, convincing Jungkook to go back to school, but after an endless two weeks or so of arguing, he'd capitulated on the condition that Namjoon tutors him. If he spends a lot of those tutoring sessions blinking at Namjoon with wide eyes and demanding kisses after correct answers, well, that’s between them. It gets results.

Seokjin is reading a book, and Yoongi is doing something on his computer. Namjoon knows better than to ask what it is that he’s doing, but it’s probably exciting and very illegal. In the last few months, Namjoon has learned a lot about internet politics, and most of it seems to consist of always being online and active. If Yoongi isn’t posting, isn’t making viruses and talking shit at other hackers, he might as well be dead.

Seokjin is the first one to notice his arrival, because Namjoon drops his bag on the table in front of him and falls into his lap.

“Hey, Joon-ah,” he says, closing the book and setting it aside so he can loops his arms around Namjoon’s waist. “How was university?”

“I learned some stuff,” Namjoon says with a shrug, and Hoseok laughs from behind him, where he’s collecting a tray from the dumbwaiter.

“That’s why you were texting me, begging for something to distract you, right?” Hoseok asks, leaning over Seokjin’s shoulder to kiss Namjoon hello.

“What is this? Am I a chair? Why is Hoseok getting a kiss before me?” Seokjin objects loudly, “What is this disrespect? I’m your elder- hey! Hey, stop kissing him, kiss me!”

He pokes Namjoon in the ribs until he squirms, and Hoseok breaks away.

“That’s a sabotage effort, Jin-hyung. You’re getting a penalty for that later-”

“A penalty? You line jumped! I have a Joon-ah in my lap, that means I get first attention, we agreed to this after the Spring Festival Incident-”

Namjoon kisses Seokjin before he can get more worked up- as entertaining as his slightly squeaky tirades are, it’s been a long day, and he kind of just wants to spend time with his boyfriends without a lecture.

After a few moments, he pulls back, and Seokjin pouts at him.

“Don’t think you’re forgiven, either of you,” he says darkly, and Namjoon just grins at him. “No, stop that. Don’t be all cute and tanned and summery at me, I’m angry.”

Despite his words, Seokjin’s hands have crept under Namjoon’s tank top to draw lazy circles along his ribs, and Namjoon wiggles a little, getting comfortable.

“Everyone’s so absorbed, huh?” Namjoon ponders, “I guess they don’t care about how my first day of classes was.”

“I care,” Hoseok says, darting over Seokjin’s shoulder to kiss his cheek. “Tell me all about your first day, baby.”

Namjoon shivers, and Hoseok grins wickedly.

“We are at work,” Namjoon says loudly, feeling his face heat, “we don’t say that at work, we agreed-”

“Right, right. Sorry. Tell me all about your first day, Joon-ah, I’m listening.” As Hoseok pulls back, he presses a kiss to Seokjin’s cheek as well, before coming round to sit on the coffee table, facing them.

Yoongi blinks, looking up from his laptop, and does a double take as he notices Namjoon.

“Joon-ah? When did you get here?”

“About an hour ago,” Seokjin says, “you missed out on all the hello kisses. Tragic. Don’t worry, I kindly volunteered and took yours for you.”

“Aish, for an old man, you’re such a brat,” Yoongi says, leaning over to swat Seokjin.

“No I’m not. That’s not true,” Seokjin shakes his head.

“You’re a child.”

“No I’m not.”

“Well, you’re childish-”

“No I’m not,” Seokjin interrupts, and Yoongi rolls his eyes.

“So, I missed out on hello kisses?” he says to Namjoon, who shakes his head and slips out of Seokjin’s lap, coming over to sit on the arm of Yoongi’s chair.

“I only just got here, hyung, he’s teasing you.”

“So, I didn’t miss out on hello kisses,” Yoongi says smugly, and pulls Namjoon down by the collar on his tank top, which is already starting to get stretched out.

Yoongi still kisses so sweetly, gentle but persistent, and Namjoon can’t help smiling into the kiss as Yoongi pets at his hair- it’s a little longer than when they’d met in spring, and Yoongi is a little obsessed with the way it falls over Namjoon’s forehead, the softness of the golden brown locks.

“How was your first day?” Yoongi asks, when he finally pulls back, “And also, did you actually go out in public wearing what you are right now?”

“Hyung, it’s hot outside. Everyone’s dressed like this except you.”

It’s true. Yoongi’s cold hands apparently translate to being practically heat proof, and he’s still wearing long sleeves around, casually, in the midsummer heat.

“I’m just saying, you look very biteable,” Yoongi says, and nips at Namjoon’s collarbone. “You’ve probably been breaking hearts all day without even realising.”

“He’s breaking my heart right now,” Jungkook says from the floor, “by not helping me with these stupid calculus questions. This is so irrelevant to my life, hyung. Why do I need this?”

“Because if you do all your homework and get at least eighty percent in all your subjects, Namjoon promised to finally let you do him, now you’ve finally had your birthday and it doesn’t feel like a crime,” Taehyung says, finally looking up from his phone. “Oh! Hey, Namjoonie-hyung! You look nice today.”

He tilts his head up automatically, and Namjoon leans over to kiss him.

It’s easy with Taehyung. It’s always easy with Taehyung. He’s free with his affection, and always has been, so far ahead of the rest of them that he’d already arranged their mutual emergency contacts when Namjoon was still trying to figure out if he needed to pick one out of them to date.

Taehyung moving distracts Jimin from the puppy video they had been watching, and when he notices Namjoon, his smile is heart stoppingly beautiful. He’s recently dyed his hair a kind of soft silvery brown, and it makes him look untouchable and striking, especially when pushed up and off his forehead as it is right now.

“Hyung! Hey, why are you so far away? Where’s my kiss? How was class?” He reaches out with grabby hands, and Yoongi helpfully pushes Namjoon off his lap towards the other boy.

Namjoon is so spoiled, he can’t help thinking, as he shuttles from Yoongi’s lap to Jimin’s, letting the smaller man pull him down into a bitey kiss that leaves his lips tingling and Jimin sucking a bruise onto his throat.

To have this many people who care about him this much, he’s so lucky.

“Now, tell us about your first day,” Seokjin prompts, once Jimin has decided that he’s marked Namjoon appropriately, and nobody’s going to get the heinously inaccurate idea that he isn’t taken. “Not just the highlights, tell us everything.”

Namjoon has a plan, here.

It’s a very simple plan, but it’ll get him what he wants.

Most puzzles are the same, after all- you simply need to apply the correct reasoning to get the result you want.

Namjoon wants attention.

He sees the scenario fall into place, and takes a deep breath.

“Well...”

Chapter Text

A Soft Epilogue

There's a diffuse grey light soaking through the windows, and the sound of rain is soft and soothing, drumming against the roof and bouncing off the grass outside. Yoongi is still mostly asleep, wrapped around a taller, bony body, deep within the blankets, and he nuzzles in closer, his nose to Namjoon's neck.

His boyfriend smells like sleep and Yoongi's pear scented soap from their late night shower, a little like the ocean from his trip with Jimin yesterday, and Yoongi kisses sleepily at the nape of his neck. He's starting to consider waking up, but only provisionally, and only because Namjoon is a very cute sleeper, and Yoongi wants to cuddle him while all his defenses are down, before he wakes up and starts thinking about how he's meant to act.

While there are many good things about dating the most dangerous man in Korea (supposedly, according to his enemies), Yoongi does miss how soft Namjoon used to be, back when he was still just the cute librarian Yoongi was harboring a crush on. He's a little harsher now, a lot more confident, and while it's hot, Yoongi has always liked shy boys. He had a type, and that type is exemplified by Namjoon wearing a cardigan and blushing when he meets Yoongi's eyes across the circulation desk. Now, he's pretty sure his type is dangerous and pretty, Yoongi thinks, considering the other five idiots he's fallen in love with.

Still, Yoongi thinks, snuggling in closer and pressing a few more kisses along the back of Namjoon's neck, nosing at the collar of his pyjamas (which are very soft, and decorated with some cartoon character he likes that Yoongi always forgets the name of), he likes Namjoon as he is, oversized jumpers or not. He's smart, has strong opinions about rhyme scheme, and always kisses like he's afraid Yoongi’s going to say they’re never kissing again after this one. And, when the moons align and Yoongi manages to arrange things so that Namjoon is in the right place at the right time, he's really, really cute. Yoongi squeezes around his waist, fingers brushing over Namjoon’s bare stomach where his shirt has ridden up, and dips his fingers into the crease of his hip, where the skin feels like velvet. Namjoon squirms a little in his arms, pressing back against him, and Yoongi presses a soothing kiss to a spot just behind his ear. He’s waking up, but it’s slow, syrup drenched and sweet as his eyes open hazily, hips rolling backwards against Yoongi. He lets out a breathy, comfortable sound, snuggling into Yoongi’s arms.

 

Pretty.


"Hyung?" Namjoon asks blearily, going to turn around. Yoongi doesn't let him move, though, arms locked tight around him, and he subsides after a moment of wordless grumbling, going still. "What time is it?" he mumbles, and Yoongi kisses his jaw. He presses his lips in a zig zag sort of pattern, trailing from his temple to his chin, enjoying the way Namjoon rolls his head into the touch, the way he starts rubbing his thumb over Yoongi’s hand on his hip.

"Time to relax," Yoongi says, still nuzzling at his jaw. He loves Namjoon like this, all warm and pliant in his arms. He loves Namjoon all the time, commanding or complaining or creating, but there's something about a sleepy Namjoon that makes Yoongi want to keep him forever.

Namjoon wriggles again, finally turning around so they're face to face. "Where's everyone else?"

"They said they were going out," Yoongi says, lifting his free hand to trace along Namjoon's features. The slope of his nose. The soft jut of his cheekbones. The sharp angle of his jaw. His soft, plush lips. His face is a little puffy from sleep, and Yoongi wants to kiss him.

"It's raining, where would they go-" Namjoon says around Yoongi's thumb, and he takes the opportunity to slide in a little deeper, just brushing the wetness of his mouth.

Namjoon eyelashes flutter, and he lets his lips go loose, lets Yoongi's thumb dip in properly.

"Mm, somewhere," Yoongi says, as Namjoon begins to suck his thumb slowly. He's looking Yoongi straight in the eyes, gaze dark and a little unfocussed, still half-asleep, but as Yoongi leans in, shifts the angle of his hand to press his thumb lightly over Namjoon's tongue, pressing an open mouthed kiss to Namjoon's cheek, just near his eye, he can feel Namjoon shift, his muscles tensing just a little as he leans into Yoongi's touch, gathering himself to move. "I said relax," he murmurs, and Namjoon sucks at his thumb, running his tongue over the pad.

"Just lie back," Yoongi continues. "Today's my day, remember? We aren't going anywhere."

Namjoon nods slowly, and relaxes back into the pillows, letting Yoongi roll him onto his back, following to lie on top of him, chin pressed to his chest as their legs tangle together. He pulls his thumb from Namjoon’s mouth, down his chin and along the line of his throat, over his adam’s apple, leaving a thin trail behind it.

 

“Am I just going to lie here? Is that really what you want?” Namjoon asks, raising an eyebrow, and Yoongi digs his chin into Namjoon’s chest in response, making him yelp.

 

“Brat. It’s my day, if I want to just lie here and stare at you looking pretty, that’s what I get to do, right?”

 

“Right,” Namjoon agrees slowly, and Yoongi props himself up a little higher, a leg between Namjoon’s thighs to give him balance, hands wandering to begin unbuttoning Namjoon’s shirt. “But, I’m getting some mixed signals here.” He rolls his hips up against Yoongi’s thigh, and Yoongi smiles.

 

“Go back to being sleepy and cute,” Yoongi says frankly, pushing Namjoon’s shirt open to reveal his torso. There are a few faint marks around his hips, just above his waistband, which Yoongi knows he can pin on Jimin, but otherwise, Namjoon is just acres of soft, golden skin, his tan coming back as winter fades away.

 

“I’m a person, not a porn trope,” Namjoon says, just as frankly, and Yoongi pinches his nipple harshly, which makes his hips buck up with a whine.

 

“I want to have a nice morning with my cute boyfriend,” Yoongi says, rubbing a gentle circle over the mistreated area, “why are you being difficult?”

 

“You like it when I’m difficult,” Namjoon says, melting back into the mattress. It’s nice to see Namjoon looking up at him, his chin tilted up and his silvery hair spilling on the pillow around him. It’s the sort of picture that Yoongi would take a photograph of, if he were the type.

 

“No, Jimin likes it when you’re difficult,” Yoongi corrects him, “I like it when you’re sweet.” He leans down over him, catching him in a soft kiss, just lips, no tongue, and cups Namjoon’s chin, stroking along his neck and skating across his collarbones.

 

“You like me all the time,” Namjoon murmurs, pushing up for another kiss. Yoongi is a kind and generous person, and lets his hot boyfriend kiss him again, this time taking the chance to kiss him properly, angling his chin so Yoongi can lick into his mouth deeply.

 

“Well, you’re sweet all the time,” Yoongi says, when he finally pulls back, and watches Namjoon go pink.

 

That’s cute too, the way Namjoon is so bad at taking compliments. He can deal with insults, he can deal with jokes, but an honest compliment has him whining and hiding his face in seconds, and the day that they found that out had been a beautiful day. Yoongi is honestly considering marking it on the calendar so they can repeat the experience next year. Namjoon likes it, and he doesn’t like how much he likes it, gets all wriggly and confused about the fact that he’s feeling an emotion he hasn’t pre-approved.

 

“I’m a hardcore rapper, I’m not sweet,” Namjoon says, and Yoongi leans down and bites the end of his nose, making him yelp again.

 

“You’re sweet for me,” Yoongi says, running his hands along the planes of Namjoon’s torso- firm touches that make Namjoon arch into his hands, presses into the little bruises Jimin left to make Namjoon squirm, not sure if he wants to press up into the touch or hide away from it. Yoongi makes the decision for him, leans down a little more heavily, and licks into his mouth again, nipping at his bottom lip.

 

Namjoon is starting to breathe a little more heavily, roll into the touches as he lifts his hands to slip under Yoongi’s sweatshirt and trace along the line of his waist. It all feels kind of innocent, trading kisses and touches like this- Yoongi hasn’t even reached for Namjoon’s waistband yet, but it feels right in the cocoon of the morning, the rain outside making the soft noises between them feel less startling, the warmth of the blankets keeping them wrapped together and tangled up in each other. That isn’t to say that Yoongi’s intentions are innocent, and he grinds his thigh down against Namjoon, who lets out a soft, punched out kind of noise that makes Yoongi grin down at him.

 

“Am I still just lying here looking pretty?” Namjoon checks, running his hands down Yoongi’s back, with just enough nail involved to make Yoongi shiver.

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi says, “and you’re doing great, baby. You’re the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.”

 

Namjoon actually looks away from a second, choosing to stare at the lamp on the bedside table rather than deal with the praise, and Yoongi takes advantage of that to start sucking a bruise into his throat. He’s arched over Namjoon properly now, resting most of his weight on the arm next to Namjoon’s head, the other hand under Namjoon’s ass to encourage the way his hips are rolling up into the pressure of Yoongi’s thigh.

 

“Come on, baby,” Yoongi says softly, and Namjoon’s hips stutter for a second, he bites his lip, he still looks away, and Yoongi brings his hand back up to turn his chin, making him look Yoongi in the eyes.

 

Yoongi’s a bit of a romantic, he’ll admit, and he likes seeing Namjoon’s eyes when they’re having sex. He likes seeing how what he does makes Namjoon feel, and Namjoon is starting to get into it, mouth open and eyes easing shut every so often before they spring back open to stare up at Yoongi.

 

“You like this, don’t you, gorgeous?” Yoongi asks, dipping down for another kiss. It’s an empty question- Namjoon’s hands are hard on his shoulders, almost pulling him off balance. He’s hard against Yoongi’s thigh, his hips are moving constantly now that Yoongi’s set the rhythm, and he keeps letting out soft, slightly whiny breaths- but Namjoon nods anyway, pushing up and chasing Yoongi’s mouth when he pulls away.

 

“You sound like Jin-hyung,” Namjoon says breathily, and Yoongi pinches his nipple again. This time, Namjoon’s yelp is more of a moan, and his hips buck hard enough that the headboard hits the wall.

 

“Rude. Here I am, letting you get off on my leg, and you’re bringing up other boys?” Yoongi shakes his head, and reaches down to pinch Namjoon’s other nipple, pulling his leg away when he tries to buck up against him again.

 

“He’s your boyfriend too,” Namjoon says, bottom lip sticking out (and honestly, Yoongi regrets that Jimin taught Namjoon that that was a good way to get what he wants, because it works far too well).

 

Yoongi can’t deny that he and Seokjin have similar tastes in bed- they both like dirty talk and making Namjoon embarrassed, they both like having just a little edge of control- but they come from very different places. Jin likes the power that comes from having someone under him, while Yoongi likes feeling like he’s spoiling his partner.

 

With that in mind, he leans down and sucks Namjoon’s pouting lower lip into his mouth, nibbling lightly, and grinds down hard. Namjoon startles for a second, but after a second, his hands slide down to Yoongi’s ass, encouraging the movement, and Yoongi pulls back.

 

“But right now, you’re all mine,” he whispers, and Namjoon nods so fast he almost slams his nose into Yoongi’s face. “And I have a plan.”

 

“I thought that was my job?”

 

“I’ve already told you your job,” Yoongi says, sitting up and adjusting so that he’s sitting on his knees between Namjoon’s spread legs. He catches Namjoon’s hands, presses a kiss to each palm, and then sets them up at Namjoon’s head, on the pillow. “Your job is to lie here and look pretty. Let hyung take care of you.”

 

“Hyung…”

 

Yoongi grins, and leans back down, fingers finally slipping under Namjoon’s waistband. “Don’t worry. You’re a natural, Joon-ah. Just keep your hands where they are, okay?”

 

Namjoon swallows hard, and nods.

 

“See? You’re already doing so well…” Yoongi purrs at him, pushing his pyjama pants down to tangle around his calves, unwilling to put in the extra effort to actually free Namjoon’s legs. He’s hard, because of course he is- Yoongi’s been winding him up for a while now, and he’s a teenager still, he’s not exactly a challenge.

 

Yoongi leans down over him again, kissing him deeply, and wraps a hand around him. The noise Namjoon makes into the kiss is somewhere between pleased and surprised, and his hips buck on reflex. Yoongi rides the movement, not letting Namjoon the control, and begins to kiss down his throat, sucking larger marks over the faint marks he’s already left, biting at his collarbones and licking at his chest. Yoongi trails down further, running his tongue over Namjoon’s reddened nipples, stopping to bite at the ticklish spot just under his navel and watch Namjoon squirm. He keeps his hands on the pillow though, where Yoongi pressed them, and something warm glows in Yoongi’s stomach, seeing that. He deserves a reward, really, Yoongi decides, and ducks his head to suck the head of Namjoon’s cock into his mouth.

 

Namjoon lets out a wheeze, legs tensing, and Yoongi runs his hands along his tense thighs, swallowing down a little more. It’s not a taste he cares for, or a sensation he particularly enjoys, but Namjoon’s reaction is more than worth the effort. He’s turned his face away again, hands clutching at the pillow hard enough that Yoongi can see the tendons in his forearms, can feel the tension in his legs as he tries not to thrust up, and it’s cute. This boy is so cute.

 

He pulls back, licking his lips.

 

“Wait, hyung- no, go back-”

 

“Look at me.”

 

Namjoon blinks, and swallows hard, slowly turning his head back to meet Yoongi’s eyes.

 

“I’m not doing anything,” Yoongi says, quiet and intense, “unless you’re looking at me.”

 

Namjoon nods, and Yoongi ducks back down.

 

After a while, Namjoon starts to get fidgety, hips half-thrusting, head jerking back against the pillow, biting his lip to stop any moans from escaping, and Yoongi decides that’s enough. His jaw is starting to ache a little, anyway, and this isn’t how he wants this to end today. He pulls off again, a wet sound that’s lost in the rustle of the sheets and Namjoon’s little encouraging whines, and pulls Namjoon’s legs up so they’re splayed over his lap, hips canted up.

 

“Pass me the lube, Joon-ah,” Yoongi says, and his voice is gravelly now, a little wrecked from sucking dick. Namjoon paws at the pillows, and eventually comes up with the bottle, practically throwing it at Yoongi, who can’t help laughing. “Eager-”

 

“If you make fun of me, I’m going to go find someone who won’t-” Namjoon threatens, and Yoongi uncaps the lube, slicking up a couple of fingers and leaning up to kiss Namjoon’s hipbone at the same time he runs his middle finger over Namjoon’s hole. Namjoon’s sentence trails away as he inhales reflexively, and Yoongi smiles.

 

“I wasn’t making fun of you, baby,” he says, sucking a hickey over the finger bruises on Namjoon’s hip. “It’s hot. You’re hot.”

 

“You need to shut up,” Namjoon says, covering his face with one hand and throwing the other arm wide onto the bed, clutching at the sheets as Yoongi begins to stretch him, slow and careful. “Or I’m gonna- I’m gonna-”

 

“You’re gonna?” Yoongi teases, adding a second finger. “Am I going to hear another world changing Kim Namjoon plan?”

 

Namjoon lets out a deep groan that sounds like its been wrung out of him, and Yoongi smiles, pressing a kiss just beneath his navel. Namjoon’s legs are jerking, unable to tell if they want to close or press open further, so Yoongi decides to help, sliding down so he can bite delicately at the line on the inside of his thighs, where the muscle is jumping with indecision, wanting to cant his hips up- or possibly push them back.

 

“The plan is, stop fucking around, Yoongi, or I’ll hit you with a pillow,” Namjoon says, and Yoongi looks up reluctantly from the sight in front of him to see Namjoon scowling, one hand clutched in a pillowcase, the other still hiding his eyes.

 

“I think you forgot something, baby,” Yoongi says, pulling his fingers out and wiping them on Namjoon’s pyjama bottoms, which have handily come off one leg, still tangled around his left ankle.

 

“Hey, no, don’t stop- I was joking-”

 

“I was joking…” Yoongi trails off suggestively, like he’s waiting for Namjoon to finish the sentence. He sits back on his heels and pulls Namjoon down the bed, closer. He’s got a condom handy, because apparently he joined a very appropriately named gang, and its the work of a half second to slick himself up. Namjoon is too busy complaining to notice, anyway.

 

“I was joking, hyung! Don’t stop just because I dropped an honorific during sex,” Namjoon is pouting again, and he’s dropped the arm from over his eyes, propping himself up on his elbows to meet Yoongi’s eyes. His face is still pink, more from exertion than embarrassment now, and his hair is falling in his eyes, soft and sweaty. Yoongi edges a little closer, memorises the way Namjoon’s biting at his lip.

 

“Only because you’re so cute,” he says, and watches red flood Namjoon’s face, the way he ducks his head and looks away, and Yoongi lifts Namjoon’s legs a little higher, thrusting in. Namjoon drops back onto the pillow with a low whine, still for a moment, and Yoongi takes a slow breath.

 

Fuck. Okay. He just needs a second. Yoongi swallows hard, and leans down to press a kiss to Namjoon’s knee, the closest part he can reasonably reach, and waits to feel Namjoon relax.

 

It takes a little while, listening to each other breathe, the sound of the rain drumming on the roof, before Namjoon wriggles, letting out another low, breathy noise, and Yoongi’s done this enough to know that that’s the okay. That’s the sign, and he thrusts, letting Namjoon’s choked noises guide him. God, he wishes that Namjoon wasn’t so self conscious about the sounds he makes- they’re gorgeous, Yoongi’s sure that he’d scream if he wasn’t so scared about sounding dignified- he could let the little whines that he always tries to conceal in his elbow out, the ratcheting cries that make Yoongi consider bringing a recording microphone to bed for some sampling inspiration. He’s hot, and he’s still warm and pliant, letting Yoongi bend his leg a little more than he usually could, which lets Yoongi get another angle, and this one makes Namjoon shake, reaching down to jerk himself off.

 

That’s okay, Yoongi’s a little busy trying to coordinate himself, let alone organise Namjooon, and there are worse sights than Kim Namjoon splayed out under him, lip caught between his teeth as he gets himself off, hips rolling as Yoongi moves in him. He’s got one hand on his cock, but the other is now pressed against the headboard, holding himself in place so they don’t end up knocking into the top of the bed, and the light muscle cording in his arm, the way his limbs are shaking- it’s really doing it for Yoongi.

 

“Are you close?” he asks, and he can hear his voice has dropped, deep and rumbling as he reaches down to steady Namjoon. He’s close, fuck, he’s close, so he really, really hopes that Namjoon’s almost there with him.

 

The only reply he gets is a hiccuping whine, and that’s as good as a yes, so he leans down, puts his arms on either side of Namjoon’s face, curving in a way that’s going to make him suffer tomorrow morning, and uses his fingers to pull Namjoon around, guide his face so that Yoongi can pull him into a kiss, mashing their lips together. Namjoon’s hand on his dick is rubbing up against Yoongi’s stomach, and Yoongi is too busy chasing his own release to make the kiss elegant. He wants to crawl inside Namjoon and stay there. He tastes so good, like nothing in particular, but there’s something that makes Yoongi unable to pull away. He runs his tongue over the line of his teeth, bites at his lip, and feels Namjoon tense around him, a high, pitchy whine leaking from their joined mouths as wetness splashes against Yoongi’s stomach.

 

Yoongi stops for a half second, breathing into Namjoon’s mouth, until Namjoon’s arms come round to clutch at his shoulders, and he rolls his hips up against Yoongi.

 

“C’mon, hyung, come on-”

 

Fuck, okay, with that kind of encouragement- Yoongi pulls back a little, getting a better grip as Namjoon’s nails scrape his shoulders, and stops restraining himself. Namjoon is hot, and tight, and makes cute little noises every time Yoongi nails his prostate, still sensitive from coming, and it’s an embarrassingly short period of time before Yoongi is burying his face in Namjoon’s neck with his own punched out whimper, hips still working as he comes.

 

Namjoon pets at the sweaty ends of his hair, soothes the scratches he’s raised on Yoongi’s back, and gives him a moment before he wriggles, uncomfortable.

 

“Hyung, you’re crushing me.”

 

“It’s my day , Joon-ah. Let me have this.” Yoongi murmurs sleepily, nuzzling deeper into his neck.

 

“Hyung, that’s not going to work all day, you know…”

 

“Yes it is,” Yoongi says, but rolls over, taking off the condom and dropping it off the side of the bed in the general direction of the waste paper basket. “I did hospital I.T. for you, Namjoonie. I get what I want.”

 

Namjoon’s shaking against him with silent laughter, and Yoongi sighs. Some people just don’t appreciate the sacrifices Yoongi makes. He shuffles up the bed, getting behind Namjoon, and blows a raspberry against the spot between his shoulder blades.

 

“Thoughtless dongsaeng. Go back to sleep. I want pancakes when we wake up next time.”

 

“You mean we’re not just napping and fucking until the others get back and complain that we haven’t even left the bed?”

 

“....I will take your suggestions on board,” Yoongi says loftily, and buries his nose in Namjoon’s hair, stroking his stomach with the arm he has looped around Namjoon’s waist. “And we can workshop it, see what we can do with this addition to the plan.”

 

“I always have the best plans,” Namjoon says smugly, snuggling down into the blankets.



Chapter Text

Jungkook falls onto the couch next to Namjoon with a determined look on his face. He’s dressed normally- a black hoodie, white tee-shirt, jeans and boots- and Namjoon hasn’t heard about anything that would make him look so troubled- he takes a quick peek at his phone, but he hasn’t got any messages from Hobi, who would usually alert him if something came up.

 

“Hyung, I’ve decided what I want.”

 

“What you want?” Namjoon blinks, and then remembers, “Oh, right. What you want. Go on?”

 

Jungkook picks up Namjoon’s left hand, weaving their fingers together, and Namjoon smiles at him reassuringly, squeezing their linked digits.

 

“I want you to take me on a date.”

 

“We go on dates all the time, Kook-ah,” Namjoon says, and Jungkook blows out a frustrated breath.

 

“No, I mean, like how you take the others on dates. Where you dress up nicely and go out and shit, not like how we hang out.”

 

It’s true that Namjoon and Jungkook have a different kind of dynamic to most of the others. There’s something about Jungkook that makes Namjoon relaxed in a way he usually only is around Hoseok. He’s not someone he worries about impressing- he feels like he’s already impressed Jungkook, and now they’re just...them. They go to the park, or get ice cream together and try each other’s flavours. They go to new movies, and play Jungkook’s videogame of the moment, and spend hours lazily making out on the couch. It’s relaxed. It’s nice. Namjoon is really, incredibly fond of Jungkook, and he thought that he’d made that clear.

 

From the worried set to Jungkook’s face, that must not have been obvious.

 

“Sure,” Namjoon agrees, nodding slowly, “you want me to take you on a serious date.”

 

“Yeah. Tonight?” Jungkook asks, looking a little concerned. He looks like he’s worried he’s asked for too much, and Namjoon wants to reassure him- maybe by telling him what Seokjin had asked for- but he feels like that would just upset him more. Jungkook wants to be treated like everyone else, and Namjoon probably would still comfort them if it were Yoongi or Seokjin looking at him like that, but it would be private, and Jungkook wouldn’t see it. He can only judge from what he sees, and he doesn’t see Namjoon comfort the others the way he does Jungkook, so Namjoon just nods.

 

“Six o’clock. Wear something nice.” He says it without thinking, but the plan is already dropping into place. Jungkook is a teenager, with a teenager’s sensibilities, and a teenager’s belief in what makes a ‘serious date’.

 

The only question is, does Namjoon want to take him out for a date that Jungkook thinks he’ll enjoy, or a date that Jungkook will actually enjoy?

 

They spend the rest of the day orbiting each other, not quite avoiding each other but not as easily together as they usually would be, and Taehyung notices, falling neatly into Namjoon’s lap as he does his literature homework.

 

“Is Jungkookie okay? I tried asking him, but he said he was busy and didn’t want to talk. Which is very untrue because he was doing his social studies homework.”

 

Jungkook despises social studies, and usually takes any distraction to avoid doing his study for the subject.

 

“I’m taking him out,” Namjoon explains, and Taehyung nods.

 

“Well, don’t be too mean. He’ll realise he likes what you have the minute he sees the menu is in French, so go gentle on him, okay?” He leans in and kisses Namjoon, just a leisurely ‘I like you, remember that’ kind of kiss that leaves Namjoon smiling, hands on Taehyung’s waist.

 

“Does that mean I shouldn’t dress too well, too?” he asks, and Taehyung laughs.

 

“Oh, no, I didn’t say that. I’ll pick out something for you,” he says, and hops off Namjoon’s lap. “And Hobi said that you need to stop daydreaming and send him the solutions for his last group of puzzles.”

 

“Right, right,” Namjoon agrees, and swaps out his books for his phone.

 

Sure enough, there’s plenty to keep him occupied until it’s time to get ready, and Taehyung has laid out a suit for him- apparently he’s to dress in black from head to toe, with his tie and shirt black on black, as well. Namjoon shrugs, getting changed and going to Taehyung for help with the tie. He can do it himself, but Taehyung gets far more joy out of it, so he stands still while Taehyung stands behind him, humming a nonsense song as he flips and adjusts and tightens the cloth into a perfect knot.

 

“Thanks, Tae.”

 

“Have fun with Jungkookie!” Taehyung replies, and heads off to bother Hoseok. When Namjoon slips on the jacket- which is embellished, with studs running up both lapels- and steps into the living room, Jungkook whirls around like he’s surprised, and his eyes go a little wide.

 

“You look nice,” Namjoon says. He does, he’s wearing a dark red button up shirt and neat black trousers, a striped tie around his neck and a small spray of white flowers pinned to his shirt like a boutonniere.

 

“Ah, you do too,” Jungkook manages, after a moment, and Namjoon smiles.

 

“We should get going, we have reservations.”

 

They don’t, really, but Namjoon has found that since becoming the head of the mob, a lot of restaurants mysteriously find reservations in his name when he wants them. They take a car to the restaurant Namjoon has in mind- a fancy French place on the waterfront, the kind that’s full of rich expats and try hard businessmen, with white tablecloths and a resident pianist- and Namjoon waits patiently as Jungkook tries to slide around the car to open Namjoon’s door the way that Seokjin does. He’s not as smooth as Seokjin, but it’s still charming, and Namjoon has to stop himself from linking their hands the way he usually would, instead slipping his arm through the crook of Jungkook’s the way he would with Taehyung. A porter opens the door for them, and Jungkook’s eyes are a little wide as they enter the restaurant. The floor is marble, the chandeliers are crystal, and all the staff are white people, imported specially from France for extra clout. It’s funny, because La Maison de la Mer is owned by Choi Si Un, one of the most traditionally Korean people Namjoon has ever met, and behind the kitchen door, Choi’s daughter rules the roost. None of their customers realise, and rave about how authentic the cuisine ism how nice it is to be at a real French restaurant.

 

Still, it’s impressive to Jungkook, and because it’s one of Seokjin’s favourite restaurants, when Namjoon mentions his name, the maitre d’ quickly finds them a table.

 

“Monsieur Kim is not joining you tonight, sir?” the maitre d’ says, guiding them to a table just far enough from the pianist that his music is audible, but not too loud to talk over.

 

“No, I have perfectly charming company here, though,” Namjoon says, pulling out Jungkook’s chair for him, and watches the younger go a little pink around the ears.

 

He picks up the menu, looks over it briefly, and puts it back down, looking a little unsure.

 

“I’ll order for both of us, shall I?” Namjoon says smoothly, and Jungkook nods.

 

Namjoon loves Jungkook, so he’s willing to do this, much the same way he’s willing to do it for Seokjin, the same way he’ll go dancing with Hoseok and Jimin will go to the aquarium with him. It’s not his favourite thing, but the company makes it worth it. Of course, usually, when he’s making himself uncomfortable, the other half of the equation is incandescent at getting spoiled, and Jungkook just looks awkward, but Namjoon soldiers on.

 

This is what Jungkook wants, tonight.

 

“You like lamb, right?”

 

Jungkook nods, and Namjoon quickly rattles off their order to a waiter, who nods and glides away toward the kitchen.

 

The piano plays, and Jungkook fiddles with his napkin.

 

“You...look really handsome tonight, hyung,” he says, after an awkward moment.

 

Namjoon feels his face heat a little, and scratches at his collar. “You look handsome too, Jungkook-ah. I hope that this is what you wanted…”

 

“It is,” Jungkook nods, “I just want to have a good night with you, you know?”

 

Namjoon smiles. God, this kid.

 

“Yeah, I want to have a good night with you too.”

 

They make conversation after that, but it’s a little stilted by the location, the hushed atmosphere and soft jazz in the background. Namjoon wants to ask about the raid Jungkook did a couple of days ago, and whether he’s finally got his head around surds, but Jungkook is treating every passing waiter like they’re judging him, and is instead muddling through an anecdote about property price that even Namjoon finds boring. How does Jungkook even have an anecdote about property price? He’s sixteen.

 

There’s wine, because it’s a French restaurant, and Namjoon watches as Jungkook takes a sip, and tries not to make a face at the taste.

 

“You don’t have to drink it,” he says, taking a sip of his own wine. It’s a nice red, to accompany the steak he’s waiting for, and he rolls it around his mouth. He doesn’t drink often, but it’s nice to have nice alcohol when he does.

 

“No, it’s, uh. It’s good,” Jungkook says, and forces himself to take another drink. His nose wrinkles a little, and Namjoon hides his smile in his hand so Jungkook doesn’t think he’s laughing at him.

 

Their food arrives, and the servings, as usual, are miniscule. Seokjin usually calls an entire meal at this restaurant his appetiser, and makes Namjoon take him out to another place afterwards. Jungkook is pretending that his navarin is more than three bites, and Namjoon’s steak is, as always, small enough that he almost feels hungrier after eating than he did before. There’s more awkward conversation, more of Jungkook pulling faces at his wine and being unsure how to eat his soup, more soft jazz piano, until eventually Namjoon settles the bill and they step into the night air.

 

“Thanks for taking me out, hyung,” Jungkook says, as they make their way back up the boardwalk toward the car park. “I, uh, I had a good time?”

 

“Jungkook,” Namjoon stops them, and takes Jungkook’s hand. The younger teenage looks on the edge of misery, his mouth tilted down and his eyes heavy as he avoids Namjoon’s gaze. “Don’t lie. That was a shitty date.”

 

“That was a really shitty date,” Jungkook admits, and Namjoon laughs lightly.

 

“Are you still hungry?”

 

“Starving. Those portions were tiny!”

 

“Doll portions, honestly,” Namjoon agrees, nodding, and Jungkook links their hands together. Namjoon feels something in his chest warm, and smiles at Jungkook. He undoes his tie, stuffing the black fabric into his pocket, and unbuttons his top button. “Do you want to go get some fried chicken and go for a walk on the beach?”

 

“That’s not really...what I was thinking, for tonight…”

 

“Yeah, but, Jungkookie?” Namjoon smiles wryly, “What you were thinking isn’t really very us. We don’t do fancy restaurants.”

 

“You do with Seokjin!” Jungkook bursts out, “And you go out to museums with Tae, and go dancing with Hobi!”

 

“Yeah, because that’s what they like doing,” Namjoon says patiently, stepping forward and linking his other hand with Jungkook’s, holding them to his chest, “Do you like any of those things?”

 

“...Not really?”

 

“What do you like?”

 

“Games, I guess? When we go on those really long walks around the neighbourhood and talk about random stuff… When we get ice cream at that one place near the train station? Just, regular stuff, I guess.”

 

“Do you think I do that with the others?”

 

Jungkook shrugs, and Namjoon steps in closer, so that they’re sharing breath.

 

“You have a part of me that nobody else has,” he says, catching Jungkook’s eyes. “And I don’t want that with anyone else. I like that we can be happy together without making a big production out of it. I like spending time with you in your way.”

 

He leans in and catches Jungkook in a kiss. He tastes like wine and lamb from Seokjin’s date night restaurant, and he smells like he stole someone else’s cologne- maybe Yoongi’s? It smells a little like pear, a little like rain- but he kisses like Jungkook, sweetly and with a little too much tongue.

 

When he pulls back, Jungkook smiles at him, and reaches up to undo his own tie. “So, uh. You said chicken and a walk on the beach?”

 

“Yeah,” Namjoon nods, and his heart is so full it almost hurts, looking at Jungkook. “I want to see if I can catch any crabs.”

 

“Joonie-hyung, it’s nine o’clock.” Jungkook protests, but he’s smiling.

 

“There are nocturnal crabs,” Namjoon says decisively, heading towards the fried chicken joint on the corner. “I mean, if crab hunting is fancy enough for your fancy date night?”

 

“I would love to watch you go crab hunting,” Jungkook says, eyes shining. “I can’t wait to see you fall over and eat an entire face full of sand.”

 

“I’m not going to fall over,” Namjoon scoffs, and Jungkook hums doubtfully. “See if I buy you ice-cream now, brat.”

 

“That’s fine, I’ll just steal half of yours,” Jungkook shrugs, and Namjoon gasps.

 

“Such disrespect! I’m your elder, you know-”

 

“Jin-hyung?” Jungkook’s eyes are wide and round with concern, “Is that you? What are you doing in Namjoon-hyung’s body?”

 

“Oh, that’s it!” Namjoon reaches out to grab him, and Jungkook runs down the boardwalk, laughing. “Come back here, you rude kid!”

 

“Catch me!” Jungkook calls back, and a sea breeze catches his hair, lifting it off his forehead.

 

For a moment, Namjoon is breathless. The air is punched out of him by the grin on Jungkook’s face, the light in his eyes, the way his hair is caught by the wind.

 

“Come on, hyung, or I’ll eat all the chicken before you even get here!”

 

Namjoon shakes his head, and runs after his boyfriend, grinning.



Chapter Text

“Hey, Joonie-hyung,” Jimin says, and pokes him in the ribs. Namjoon, who was halfway through pouring a bowl of cereal, lets out a pained noise and drops the milk. It pours onto the floor, Namjoon looks at Jimin, betrayed, and Jimin looks at the slowly emptying bottle lying on the tile. “So, we aren’t mentioning this to Jin-hyung, right?” The milk finishes pouring out, and Namjoon sighs, already heading for the mop.

 

“Just remind me to get more milk later. What did you want?”

 

“Don’t worry about it,” Jimin says, picking up the empty bottle. “It’ll wait.”




“Hey, Joonie-hyung,” Jimin says, and pokes him in the ribs. Namjoon startles- he’d been lying in the sun, shirt off and sunglasses on as he attempted to figure out how, exactly, one would get illegal diamonds past airport security- and lets out a pained hiss as his ribs protest the movement.

 

“What is it, Jiminie?”

 

“Don’t worry about it,” Jimin says, and wanders off to go do something Namjoon probably doesn’t want to think about.



“Hey, Joonie-hyung,” Jimin says, and pokes him in the ribs. Namjoon grimaces, pulling away, and shoots Jimin a reproving look. He’s dressed to impress, ready to deal with a group of upstarts who think they can ignore RM’s territory, a full suit and tie, freshly dyed hair combed up and backwards, out of his face, and there are idiots on the other side of the door. His side twinges a little, so he rubs at it with one hand, and Jimin looks disappointed.

 

“Seriously, Jimin, what is it?”

 

“It’s not important right now,” Jimin says, waving a hand, and opens the door for him.



“Hey, Joonie-hyung,” Jimin says, and leans over the couch to poke him in the ribs. Namjoon drops his book with a squeak, batting at Jimin, and Jimin grins at him like a lion spotting a lone zebra. “You’re feeling better, I see,” he coos, running his hand up Namjoon’s side, slipping under his hoodie and rubbing circles over his ribs. “No more pain?”

 

“No,” Namjoon says, picking up the book and closing it- he gets the feeling he isn’t going to get to do his introductory reading today.

 

“Oh, good,” Jimin practically purrs, and pulls his hand out from under Namjoon’s shirt. He circles round, reaches back down and grabs him by the collar, pulling him up from the couch, “because I’ve been very, very patient, Namjoon-hyung.”

 

“You have?” Namjoon asks, half-squeaking, “I mean, you have,” he agrees, as Jimin actually kicks the bedroom door open, pulling Namjoon in after him. Namjoon still finds it luxurious having an actual bed, rather than a futon, and having a separate bedroom is weird after his studio apartment, but the place that Hoseok and Taehyung sourced is significantly larger, and the bed that Jimin is backing him against is big enough for four people.

 

“Stop getting distracted,” Jimin says, and Namjoon blinks, snapping back into reality as Jimin pushes him onto the bed, following him down and straddling his hips, “now, I want to run a few things past you,” he says, voice as even like they’re discussing dinner plans, “and if you’re not interested, you say no. Understand?” He catches Namjoon’s hands in his, and presses them into the mattress above his head.

 

Namjoon nods, and Jimin grins, leaning down and letting his weight rest more heavily on Namjoon’s wrists, dipping in to kiss him. Jimin’s kisses are still overwhelming- the way he pushes into Namjoon’s space and takes, the pressure of his lips and the heat of his mouth, the way he always kisses just a little bit too hard, so Namjoon feels like he’s being eaten alive- and Namjoon feels his body go loose and pliant as Jimin licks into his mouth, bites his lower lip and worries at it lightly, just enough to tingle but without actually hurting.

 

After a while, and honestly, Namjoon isn’t sure how long that while is, too distracted by the way Jimin’s sucking at his lip, the weight on his wrists and Jimin’s closeness, the way he can smell Jimin’s orange-y cologne and feel his breath against his face, Jimin pulls away slowly.

 

“Oh, look at you,” he breathes, and leans down to catch Namjoon’s lower lip in his teeth again, nipping at him, “you’re desperate, aren’t you?”

 

“I’m eighteen,” Namjoon says, rolling his eyes, “it’s not like it’s hard to make me desperate, Jiminie.”

 

“So? I’m seventeen,” Jimin says, with a liquid shrug, “it doesn’t change the fact that you’re gorgeous, all pink and spread out under me.”

 

Namjoon feels his face heat, and looks away from Jimin so he can’t see the sincerity in his eyes. It’s a little overwhelming, and he pulls his hands out from under Jimin’s grip- he feels Jimin let him go, knows that he could have kept Namjoon still if he wanted, and oh, that’s a little exciting, somewhere in Namjoon’s stomach- and reaches up to cup Jimin’s face with one hand. Jimin tilts his cheek into the touch, and Namjoon looks up at him.

 

Jimin is beautiful; his blond hair is drifting around his face, his cheeks warm with excitement, lips red from making out, and Namjoon feels his mouth go dry. He’s overwhelming, and Namjoon wants whatever he has to offer, but he doesn’t really know what it is that Jimin’s offering.

 

Well, he knows, he’s seen porn. He had a girlfriend in highschool, too, and even if they hadn’t been serious, he’s not unexperienced. He just doesn’t really know how it works with a guy, especially a guy like Jimin, who’s eighteen different types of contradiction in a compact, terrifying container. He’s turned on, but he’s kind of scared at the same time, and he isn’t even really sure what he wants, just that he knows that he wants something, and he wants it with Jimin.

 

Namjoon’s train of thought is interrupted by a light kiss, and he blinks, looking back up at Jimin, who is looking at him with an impossibly fond smile.

 

“Hey. Pay attention, would you? I’m trying to have sex with you.”

 

“Oh, right,” Namjoon flushes, “sorry. I was just thinking.”

 

“That’s okay,” Jimin says, and leans down to kiss him again. When Namjoon is suitably distracted, he pulls back, just enough to talk. “You’ve got a cute thinking face. But I want you here with me right now, okay?”

 

“Okay,” Namjoon breathes against Jimin’s lips, hands coming up to settle on his hips. “I’m here.”

 

“Good,” Jimin says, and Namjoon’s stomach flips over. “That’s a good start, Joonie-hyung,” he coos, and Namjoon looks away, eyes catching on the lamp on the bedside table. It’s a nice lamp. “Aww, you’ve gone all pink,” Jimin coos, pressing kisses along his cheeks, where Namjoon can feel prickles of heat, “so cute.”

 

“I’m really not,” Namjoon protests half-heartedly. It’s difficult to be upset with Jimin kissing him, even if he feels a little silly being complimented like this.

 

“I think you’re cute,” Jimin says, “and you need to stop distracting me with your cute face, okay?”

 

“I’m not doing anything!”

 

“It’s natural then, nothing to be done about it,” Jimin says solemnly, as he begins to trace down Namjoon’s torso toward the hem of his shirt. “Tragic. Can I take this off?”

 

Namjoon nods, sitting up a little so Jimin can pull the hoodie off, and hears the thump of cloth hitting the floor as Jimin tosses it away in a random direction.

 

“You’ve got a cute body, too,” Jimin says, looking at his bare chest appreciatively, and Namjoon looks away again. “But back to the topic at hand.”

 

He runs a light hand up Namjoon’s torso, starting at his waistband, sliding over the lines of his stomach and chest appreciatively before coming to a stop at his throat. For a second, his hand rests in place, and Namjoon swallows hard. Jimin looks at him consideringly, and slides his hand back to trace over his collarbone as he starts talking again. “Do you remember what I said, a few weeks ago? When we were staying in that safe house, right after we picked up Jin-hyung?”

 

Namjoon has an excellent memory for these things, and he licks his lips, mouth suddenly dry. “You, ah, you said you were going to wreck me?”

 

“Is that a question?” Jimin teases, and Namjoon shakes his head. “No, don’t worry, baby-”

 

Namjoon feels his face heat again, and Jimin’s grin widens, sharklike. He runs his hands down Namjoon’s chest, pressing light but deliberate over his pectorals.

 

“Oh, you like that, don’t you?” He leans down and presses a kiss to the corner of Namjoon’s eye, “Baby. My baby, right, hyung?”

 

Namjoon nods, and Jimin rewards him with another kiss. This time, the way he bites at Namjoon’s lip makes him hiss, makes his hips buck, and Jimin does it again, runs his tongue over the nip soothingly as he begins to make his way down Namjoon’s jaw, sucking bruises up his neck like he’s making a point. They start pink, little rosettes against Namjoon’s skin, but Jimin’s not content with that, and when he finds a point on Namjoon’s throat that makes him gasp, settles to bruising him up, skating his hands along Namjoon’s ribs soothingly even as he pulls purple up on Namjoon’s neck, grinning at every sound Namjoon can’t keep in, the little cracks in his voice and the way his hips shift restlessly under Jimin.

 

“I’m going to wreck you,” Jimin says, when he finally pulls away. Namjoon is starting to get a little restless, and his hips finally roll up against Jimin, who lifts away neatly so that Namjoon doesn’t get any extra stimulation, “and I’m going to do that by edging you until you cry, and then fucking you until you come. Is that okay?”

 

Namjoon’s pretty sure his eyes have widened enough that he looks dumb, but all he can do is nod.

 

“Words, hyung,” Jimin sing-songs, grinning. He’s clearly already gotten the message, and Namjoon tries not to feel irritated at the way he’s teasing. “Oh, sorry, my mistake. I meant to say, use your words, baby.”

 

Jimin rolls the last word out of his mouth like a weapon, and Namjoon feels kind of silly about how much it effects him, the way his hips push up again, the way Jimin rides the movement easily, like he’s not even bothered. He is, he clearly is, from the pink in his face and the way his already tight jeans have gotten even tighter, but Namjoon wants him closer and Jimin seems to like being further away, in control.

 

“I- edge?” Namjoon asks, breathlessly, and Jimin reaches out to runs his hands along the lines of his hips, pressing until the skin goes white under his fingers and Namjoon gasps, bucking upwards. He pulls back after a second, runs his hands up to Namjoon’s chest to play over the light planes of muscle there, scratching faint lines that make Namjoon’s breath stutter.

 

“I’m going to finger you until you want to come,” Jimin says, smiling angelically, “and then I’m not going to let you. Over and over. Until you cry, because I’ve been imagining how pretty you’ll look with tears in your eyes since the night I met you.”

 

Namjoon’s hands have fallen from Jimin’s waist to sit on his hips, and he can feel his fingers tightening with every word Jimin says. It feels like there’s something sitting on his chest, tightening his breath and his body until he feels under pressure, like an over-filled balloon, and he doesn’t know what to do about it.

 

“Oh, but you don’t like being called pretty either, do you?” Jimin says, “When I say you’re pretty, you look away. Am I scary, baby?”

 

Namjoon tries to will moisture back into his mouth. “A little?”

 

“Too much?” Jimin asks, sitting up properly, suddenly worried, “If you don’t like it, I can stop-”

 

“I didn’t say that!” Namjoon says, all in a rush like a single word. He sits up too, following Jimin, “I, uh. I kind of…”

 

“You like it?” Jimin checks, and Namjoon nods, feeling a little miserable. It’s not like he wants to admit he likes being looked after like this. He likes that Jimin, despite how small he is, feels stronger than Namjoon. He likes the way he talks, half compliment, half tease. He likes how Jimin is paying attention to him, one hundred percent. It feels vain, and he’s never thought of himself as a selfish person, but when Jimin leans back in and whispers, “Well, baby, if you like it, I’ll let myself get carried away, then,” he feels shivers run up his spine.

 

“I...I do like it,” Namjoon admits, feeling his face heat again, and Jimin leans down to kiss along his collarbones.

 

“Well done, baby,” he says, sucking a bruise over the bone, “you’re such a shy boy, I should reward you for being straightforward.”

 

Namjoon actually lets out a whimper at that, surprising himself, and Jimin’s grin could light up the city.

 

“Do you like my plan?”

 

Namjoon nods, wordless, and Jimin leans down to kiss him again. It feels like a reward, like he’s getting kissed because he was good, because he admitted what he wanted, and the pressure in his chest lightens a little.

 

“Move up a little, Namjoonah,” Jimin says, and they shuffle up the bed until Namjoon’s head is actually on the pillows, Jimin between his legs with his hands running up and down Namjoon’s thighs like he’s trying to calm him down.

 

Namjoon doesn’t think he’s going to calm down, considering he’s about to have gay sex for the first time, it’s going to be with an assassin, and apparently, it’s going to be kind of kinky. It’s kind of a lot for a first time, to be honest, but Namjoon tends to be the kind of person who goes all the way in. Why be in a street gang when you can own every mob in South Korea? Why have one boyfriend when you can have six? Why just have gay sex for the first time when you can let your hot contract killer boyfriend have his way with you in multiple positions?

 

When Namjoon returns to the present, Jimin hasn’t moved, is still just running his hands along his thighs appreciatively, moving from knee to hip with long, smooth strokes that make Namjoon think about how nice it would feel to have Jimin touch him elsewhere, and Jimin is smiling, looking entertained as Namjoon wriggles a little.

 

“Back with me, sweetheart?”

 

They need to talk about the petnames at some point, because honestly, this is embarrassing, the way Namjoon feels like lighting up with just a few words. He nods, anyway, because now isn’t the time, and he kind of likes it. Just, a little. Kind of.

 

“Oh, good,” Jimin purrs, reaching up to flick the button on his pants open and peel them down his legs. Namjoon lifts his hips to help, tries not to flush when Jimin pulls his boxers down with his trousers. He feels really naked, and Jimin seems to realise this, pulling his own shirt off in a single fluid movement, then skimming his jeans off awkwardly. There’s no sexy way to get rid of skinny jeans, especially not the practically painted on ones that Jimin tends to wear, but he makes it fast rather than trying to be seductive, climbing back on the bed quickly and running his hands up Namjoon’s legs again, enjoying the uninterrupted skin. “You know, I didn’t realise your legs were so long,” Jimin says, leaning down to mouth at his hip bone, sucking a bruise into the skin. Namjoon thinks he might be more hickey than skin by the end of the night, and he’s not sure if he dislikes that idea or not.

 

“Really?” Namjoon asks, and Jimin laughs a little, “I’m like, eighty percent leg, Jiminie.”

 

“Well, that’s really obvious now,” Jimin agrees, skimming his hands down to Namjoon’s knees and back up again, “just, usually you wear long shirts and stuff so I don’t actually see all this leg. You’re like a model.”

 

Namjoon lets out a noise like a deflating balloon, hiding his face in his hands, and Jimin leans up.

 

“Don’t hide, sweetheart,” he says, pulling at Namjoon’s hand, “I want to see your handsome face-”

 

“Don’t say things like that,” Namjoon whines, and Jimin laughs at him. “It’s not cool, Jimin.”

 

“But it’s true. You’re handsome,” he says, pressing a kiss to Namjoon’s cheek, in between his fingers, “and you’re hot,” another kiss, as Namjoon’s hands slowly fall away, “and you’ve got great legs. I’m really looking forward to having them around my head.”

 

“Your head? I’m not that flexible,” Namjoon denies, and Jimin just smiles.

 

“We can work on that. I do yoga.”

 

“Then maybe you’re the one who should be putting your legs around my head.”

 

“Next time,” Jimin agrees, and settles back between Namjoon’s legs. “There’s lube in the drawer, baby, can you pass it to me?”

 

Namjoon reaches over blindly, not willing to look away from Jimin, who he’s only really registered is naked. He’s got abs, and his arms have definition, and Namjoon is finding it really hard to reconcile that with how cute his face is. Eventually, his fumbling produces a tube, and he passes it to Jimin, who grabs his hand and presses a kiss to the back of it.

 

“Just relax, okay?” Jimin says, as he flips the lid open and pours slick liquid into his hand, “This is meant to be fun. If you aren’t having fun, we’ll stop and go watch a movie and make out or something, okay?”

 

“Okay,” Namjoon agrees, and Jimin leans forward again, licking at one of Namjoon’s nipples as he wraps a hand around his cock without warning, and Namjoon’s hips kick up with a whine. “Oh- oh, okay-” he stutters, hands coming up to grab Jimin, one on his hip and the other knotting into his hair. This isn’t unfamiliar, even if Jimin’s hands are rougher that what he’s used to, and Namjoon can follow his rhythm, hips lifting to chase the slick slide of Jimin’s hand. He bites his lip, eyes half-closed, and rides the feeling, letting Jimin take care of him. It’s good, it feels good in that immediate, satisfying way that jerking off does, but turned up to eleven because it’s not his hand, it’s Jimin’s, it’s Jimin setting the pace and running his thumb over the head, Jimin leaning in to kiss him, wet and open mouthed. It’s so good, and Namjoon wants more, just a little more-

 

Jimin smiles into his mouth, and stops moving. His free hand comes down hard across Namjoon’s hips, holding him still, and Namjoon writhes, trying to get his feet under him so he can push up, because he just needs a little bit more, and Jimin’s hand is completely still, warm and wet and right there, but not moving. Before he can get any kind of leverage, Jimin slides his knee out, knocking Namjoon’s feet out from under him, and he lands back flat with a disappointed whine.

 

“Jimin, what- why, no, don’t do that, come on-”

 

“I said I wanted to edge you,” Jimin says, in that same sing song voice from earlier, “and you said yes.”

 

“Yeah, but that was before,” Namjoon says, wriggling again, “I changed my mind-”

 

“Did you? Or are you just being whiny now because you didn’t get to come straight away?”

 

Namjoon bites his lip, and settles back down, letting his legs go loose and open, rubbery at the knees.

 

“That’s what I thought,” Jimin says, and pulls his hand away completely, using his legs to press Namjoon’s wider, leaving him open, “that’s okay. I’ll let you come eventually. I promised, after all.”

 

He didn’t, Namjoon thinks, but he doesn’t want to bring that up now in case Jimin decides that means that he doesn’t have to get Namjoon off after all. Jimin’s opened the lube again, is drizzling it over his fingers, and Namjoon is nervous. It feels like something important, his first gay experience- and he knows that isn’t true, they’ve made out, Jimin’s just spent five minutes jacking him off, he’s had plenty of gay experiences just this evening, even if he wants to ignore giving Hoseok a blow job last week and Seokjin’s new favourite hobby of pinning him to the couch and getting Namjoon to ride his thigh until he comes in his pants. He’s not even, like, vestigially virginal, and it’s weird that he’s getting nervous, he feels like getting fingered shouldn’t throw him so much.

 

Jimin’s stopped again, is lying between his legs giving his inner thigh hickeys, and as Namjoon settles back into his bones, he looks up through his lashes, eyes bright, and bites down.

 

“Jimin!”

 

“Just checking you’re still with me, hyung,” Jimin says innocently- far too innocently for a man lying naked between another person’s spread legs- “are you still with me?”

 

Namjoon does appreciate that Jimin keeps checking in on him, but honestly, at this point, he just wants to do this and worry about it later.

 

“Are you still with me?” he says, “Did you fall asleep down there?”

 

“Oh, you think you’re cute, don’t you?” Jimin says, laughing a little, and leans down to put another bruise over Namjoon’s hip bone, slick fingers tracing up his leg to his ass, thumb smoothing over his entrance like Jimin’s trying to calm him down.

 

It’s, uh. It’s kind of weird, honestly, feeling slick down there, but Jimin’s really taking his time, stroking around his entrance, scratching lightly at his cheeks, and Namjoon is relaxing without really meaning to. It’s kind of nice, tingly, and Jimin’s fingers aren’t soft, a little scratchy from his calluses in a way that makes him want to squirm, but Jimin’s other arm is still lying across his hips, keeping him pinned, and that makes him feel heavy and boneless. Namjoon reaches down with a shaky hand, runs it through Jimin’s fringe, and Jimin looks up at him, smiles so fondly that Namjoon drops his hand away, lets Jimin’s hair hide his eyes again. God, what’s he meant to do with Jimin looking at him like that? It’s too much.

 

Just as he’s feeling that, though, Jimin decides that he’s not feeling enough, and slides his first finger into Namjoon slowly. It’s so, so slow, and Jimin’s been slowly adding lube for the last few minutes, getting Namjoon used to the feeling of being touched there, so it slides in easily, and Namjoon lets out a little noise, not quite a moan but more than a whimper, and Jimin reaches up to kiss at his chest- it’s the closest to Namjoon’s face he can get at this angle, and Namjoon wonders if he can hear his heart racing through his lips. Jimin’s finger slips a little deeper, slow but not stopping, and Namjoon shifts his hips, a little unsure. It’s not bad, it’s just a little strange, and he kind of likes the press, the sureness in Jimin’s movements, but he’s not sure if he’s really into it. Jimin keeps mouthing at his chest as he slowly, slowly stretches Namjoon, sticking to a single finger until Namjoon rolls his hips up irritably. How’s he meant to know if he likes it when Jimin’s taking so long to do anything? Right now, it’s just kind of...happening. He’s got no strong feelings, one way or the other.

 

When Jimin slides his second finger in though, he bites his lip to keep in a low groan. With two, there’s a stretch to the slide, and Jimin is being methodical, scissoring his fingers and rubbing along his walls like he’s inspecting Namjoon, and that’s kind of hot, too. After a few minutes of this, though, the stretch is smooth, his body already getting used to the intrusion, and Namjoon whines, high in his throat, and kicks his hips up, looking for more stimulation. It feels good, it feels so good, and he’s not sure when his eyes closed, when he started gripping the sheets this tightly, but it feels right. It feels like if he could get a little more pressure, maybe something a little bigger, it’d be perfect.

 

“Oh, look at you,” Jimin breathes, setting a rhythm as he fucks into Namjoon with just two fingers, watches the way Namjoon twitches under his hands, the way his eyelashes flutter against his cheek and the roundness of his mouth as he lets out intent little ‘ah’s, hips trying to circle down against Jimin’s hand and set a faster pace, a rougher pace. He’s not sure if Namjoon’s aware of it, the way he’s riding Jimin’s fingers, the noises he’s making, but he’s gorgeous. Jimin wants to frame this memory, the soft silk feeling of Namjoon around his fingers, the sight of him tossing his head from side to side as he tries to get closer, but Jimin is on a mission.  Namjoon’s almost come once. He’s got at least another three almosts in him before he gets overwrought, Jimin’s sure. He sits up a little, gets his other hand involved, jacking Namjoon leisurely in a counter-rhythm to his fingers, and Namjoon lets out a strangled noise, a hand coming up to grip Jimin’s hair. “Is that good, baby? Do you like that?”

 

Namjoon nods, flexing his hips up now that he’s not being pinned by Jimin’s arms, and manages to bite out a “Y-yes, yes, I like that, don’t- don’t stop-”

 

It’s strange how the feeling he’d been so unsure of earlier is something he wants so badly now- his hips won’t stop working down, and the pressure of Jimin’s fingers against his insides make his stomach flip over, hot and constant to the point that he’s not entirely sure which way he wants to chase, up into Jimin’s grip, or down, into his fingers.

 

“Oh my god,” Namjoon breathes, feeling himself tighten up, heat in his stomach about to spill over, and Jimin pulls back again, taking away the hand on his cock, the fingers in Namjoon going completely still.

Namjoon swallows, looking down at Jimin, who grins. He’s, uh, he’s not entirely certain he’s going to survive the evening.

 

“Hold on, baby,” Jimin says, “let me give you a moment to breathe. I know you’ve got more in you.”

 

He runs his thumb over the head of Namjoon’s cock, briskly, and inspects the pre-come that’s come away on it. “You’re doing well,” he continues, and Namjoon lets out a sound like he’s been punched. “You’re doing so well,” Jimin’s grinning, “you look so pretty like this. Are you ready for another one?”

 

Namjoon nods weakly, and Jimin’s smile turns predatory, beginning to move again.

 

He’s not sure how long it goes on, but Namjoon is sweating and dizzy and ready to kill a man if it means Jimin lets him come. He’s not sure he even has legs anymore, all he can feel is Jimin pressed up against him, the feeling of his stomach against Namjoon’s cock, his fingers in Namjoon’s ass, rubbing and pressing and fucking him without any respite, and he’s so close. He’s so, so close, and Jimin is cruel, he’s so mean, he won’t let Namjoon do anything except cling on to him and whine. Jimin’s playing with his nipples, alternating between sucking and biting, and Namjoon’s never really had sensitive nipples, but he’s on fire right now, and Jimin’s mouth is hot and wet and his tongue is too much and not enough at the same time. He carefully catches Namjoon’s nipple between his teeth, nips at it, and at the same time wraps his hand around his cock again, too loose to be anything but a tease. Even so, Namjoon bucks up into it. God, he wants something. Anything. He wants to cry, he wants it so badly.

 

“How are you doing, sweetheart?” Jimin asks, pulling away just enough to blow cool air over his chest, and Namjoon just whimpers. “Oh, perfect. That’s exactly where I want you.”

 

He pulls his fingers out, uses slippery fingers to grip Namjoon’s hips and pull him in and up so he’s basically in Jimin’s lap, and Namjoon can’t help it, he...he doesn’t want to say he panics, but there’s definitely an element of panic to the emotions that swirl through him.

 

“Come back, come back,” he slurs, crossing his ankles behind Jimin’s back and trying to pull him in closer, “I don’t- I need- Jimin, please-”

 

“Aww, baby,” Jimin coos, leaning up to kiss his chin, “you’re crying.” He is, he’s hiccuping and he’s trying to cling to Jimin but he’s not close enough, already pulling back and kneeling between Namjoon’s legs, so he catches at the sheets instead with a punched out sob.

 

He sounds pleased with himself, and Namjoon’s head is spinning, “Please, Jimin, I can’t, I want-”

 

“It’s okay, sweetheart, I’m right here,” he soothes, sliding his fingers back in and beginning to move with purpose. He spreads his fingers, catching Namjoon’s rim, and the stretch of it, the  burn of the movement is light and good and makes Namjoon’s legs tighten around him with another whine- he sounds so stupid, he hates it, but he’s beyond caring right now, he just wants to come, “What a beautiful boy you are for me, look at you taking my fingers so easily.”

 

He fucks Namjoon a little longer like that, driving out sounds that Namjoon will deny he’s possible of, and then pulls out again, and Namjoon protests, garbled and needy.

 

“It’s okay, baby,” Jimin says, and Namjoon can hear something, some kind of movement, something tearing, but he doesn’t care, he just wants Jimin’s fingers back, and he says so. “Shh, you don’t want my fingers.” He does, he really, really does. “You can have something better than that, just be patient, okay? Be good, and wait for me.”

 

Jimin hitches Namjoon’s legs a little higher, and yeah. Yeah, okay. That’s better. Jimin’s solid, and hot, and much bigger than his fingers. He moves easily, Namjoon’s stretched out and flexible and wet from however long Jimin’s been torturing him, and when he bottoms out, Namjoon gasps, air driven from his lungs. Jimin’s close again, in grabbing range, and Namjoon settles his hands on his shoulders, pulls him in with arms and legs, forcing Jimin closer.

 

“Fuck, desperate is such a good look on you,” Jimin says, sounding a little pressed himself, and his hips work back against Namjoon’s grip, thrusting back in with enough force to push him a little higher up the bed. “I’m so glad I’m the first person who gets to see you like this. I’m happy to share-”

 

He thrusts again, and lets out a low moan of his own.


“You know I am, but fuck. This is mine, I get this,” he says, and he’s falling into a rhythm, hard snaps of his hips that make Namjoon moan, and he leans down over him, a hand dropping to stroke Namjoon off at the same time.

 

It’s clumsy, and normally, it wouldn’t be enough, but Namjoon has been pushed up against that hard edge so many times he thinks he’s starting to die, the first guy to actually get killed by not coming, and it doesn’t take long for the combination of Jimin’s immaculate thrusting and loose, sloppy hand job to get him there again. He tenses up, trembling, half expecting Jimin to pull away again, bring him back down the way he has so many times already, but Jimin leans down and kisses him, wet and messy, and murmurs against his lips, “Don’t worry, baby, I told you before that I was going to edge you until you cried, and then fuck you until you come.”

 

Jimin bites Namjoon’s lip, and that’s all it takes. He’s been wound up for so long that coming almost hurts, it feels so good. He’s trembling in Jimin’s grip, letting out high, punched out noises with every thrust, digging his nails into Jimin’s shoulders as he rides out his own orgasm, fucked through it so he can’t come down properly, and he’s starting to want to push Jimin off when his hips finally stutter out of rhythm and he drops his forehead to Namjoon’s shoulder, breathing heavily.

 

After a few seconds, Namjoon pushes him off. He’s sweaty, and sticky, and he’s got cum on his stomach which is making him feel even more gross. His muscles are all loose and rubbery, and his legs don’t seem to want to close, having been held open for so long. Jimin, apparently, is a cuddler, and it takes a few pushes to get him to let go, but Namjoon really needs a couple of seconds with no body heat pressed up against him.

 

“So, that was nice, right?” Jimin asks, propping himself up on one elbow next to Namjoon.

 

“Yeah,” Namjoon says, taking a couple of breaths. He feels like a wrung out dishcloth. He really hopes sex isn’t always this extensive. It was nice, but, really, if it takes this much energy, he’s thinking once, maybe twice a week at most. If it takes this much energy, does Yoongi even have sex? He’s a very sleepy person. “It was good, Jiminie.”

 

“Do you feel wrecked?”

 

Namjoon gives him a sleepy thumbs up. He wants a shower, but he doesn’t think his legs are going to get him to the bathroom.

 

“Still up to go to the beach tomorrow? I want to see what’s so great about you and crabs.”

 

“I love crabs,” Namjoon says muzzily, turning over and burying his face in the nearest pillow. “But I’m only leaving this bed if you carry me.”

 

Jimin laughs, low and smoky, and puts an arm around Namjoon. He considers moving away- he’s cooling down, but he’s still too warm- but decides against it. Jimin really likes cuddling, after all, and Namjoon is feeling magnanimous after the hardest orgasm of his life. “We’ll talk about it tomorrow, okay, baby?”

 

“Okay…” Namjoon feels his face flush, which seems ridiculous considering what they’ve just done, but there’s something about the way Jimin says that word that makes him feel all turned around and small.

 

“God, you’re too cute. Stop it. I’m too tired for another round right now.”

 

“You’re too cute,” Namjoon says into the pillow. “I’m asleep. Stop talking to me.”

 

“Cute, cute, cute Namjoon,” Jimin sing songs, and Namjoon grabs another pillow to hit him with. “My cute baby boy!”

 

“You get one warning, Jiminie,” Namjoon says, and Jimin just laughs, all giggles and endorphins.

 

“My sweet baby boy with his cute little moans and his cute ass- ow! Joonie-hyung, what the hell?”

 

Namjoon tucks the pillow back under his arm and snuggles down into the bedding.

 

“You got one warning,” he says, and Jimin sulkily curls around him, reaching over to press a kiss to his cheek.

 

“I love you, hyung.”

 

“I love you too. Now go to sleep. You tired me out.”

 

“I told you I was going to wreck you,” Jimin says smugly, and Namjoon flips him off. “You look pretty wrecked…”

 

“I look like I’m going to sleep. If you want to sleep in this bed with me, you’ll look like you’re going to bed too.”

 

Jimin subsides, and snuggles closer, wrapping an arm around Namjoon’s waist.

 

“G’night, baby.”

 

“...Goodnight, Jiminie.”