There’s a taste to the sadness that rises only at this hour of night. Right along the back of his tongue. Namjoon’s been trying to put it down into words (something like cough medicine, but sweeter, thicker) but he’s already strung out with lack of sleep as it is. He’d love to go back to sleep. But apparently that isn’t an option either.
His hand is covered in pen ink smears.
He’d woken up with a slamming pulse about an hour ago and has been crouched over his notepad ever since, sitting on the edge of the bed, working on this stupid song by the light of his phone.
There’s the sound of rustling sheets as the mattress dips and shifts. Namjoon cringes guiltily.
“Hyung.” Jimin’s voice is soft and sleepy, and Namjoon knows he’s faking it. Knows that Jimin’s probably been awake and worried ever since Namjoon got up. An arm snakes around his waist beneath his shirt, soft hand to his stomach. “Come back to bed. You okay?”
“Had a nightmare. Sorry to wake you.”
“It’s alright.” A pair of lips brush Namjoon’s bare shoulder, warmth blooming where he’s chilled. “I was awake.”
“You’re always awake.”
“Am not. I was sleeping when you came in, but—” a shift, a body pressing closer to Namjoon’s, against his back, spooning from behind. “I always seem to notice when you’re gone. Even asleep. I can feel the bed get cold.”
Jimin’s hair is all tufty and mussed, like a baby chick. He smells of shampoo, peach scrub, must have showered before he went to bed, before Namjoon got home and passed out for twenty minutes, only to wake bolt upright with some gruesome nightmare smeared on the backs of his eyelids.
It has been a long fucking week. Longer even, because he hasn’t seen Jimin in a few days.
“Sorry,” says Namjoon again, as Jimin scatters kisses over his shoulder, light showers.
“Mm. No sorry. What’s keeping you up, buttercup? You need to go back to the studio?”
Namjoon’s mouth twitches. “Pretty sure there’s a text on my phone threatening to break up with me if I didn’t come home.”
“How strange.” Jimin’s lips turns downward against his skin, nuzzling in pout. “Phone must have been hacked by a spy.”
“Or possessed. By a demon. A demon who misses his boyfriend.”
“Sorry.” Now it’s Jimin’s turn. A bit cowed.
“Don’t be. I think I was starting to go stir crazy in there anyhow.” Namjoon reaches back, cups his hand around the curve of Jimin’s calf, fingers teasing the soft hair there.
“C’mere.” Jimin scoots backwards on the bed, pats the space next to him. “What are you working on?”
Namjoon twiddles his pen in his fingers before he tosses it aside, stretches out next to Jimin with a groan and a yawn, leaning against the headboard of their bed. “Lyrics. Stuck on this damn bridge.”
“Can I see?”
Namjoon nods, and Jimin scoots again, half seated on the bed but mostly just on Namjoon’s lap, in defiance of the expansive space around them. He takes Namjoon’s notebook with careful hands, like he’s touching glass. Namjoon closes his eyes, leans in to nose at Jimin’s hair and breathe him in. He’s been staring at the notebook for hours now. He doesn’t want to look a second more.
He loves music so much. It’s his life. But music is also exhausting. Constantly feeling like he has to open a vein, rip out stitches, expose some wet and bleeding part of himself to the whole world just to make a song work, to make it real. It’s an exaggeration of things, he knows it. He’s not intentionally putting himself in a bad place just to make art. But sometimes he wishes it were easier. He wishes everything he wrote didn’t feel like carefully removing more and more protective layers around him. Making himself more vulnerable to the world and all its hurt.
When Jimin hums, the clear tone of his voice is rougher than usual, more breath than sound. Tired. He sings through the first few measures on the page, skips ahead to the marked chorus.
Namjoon nudges his face against Jimin’s jaw, chases the sound, feels his voice reverberate against his skin, all quiet and delicate. Jimin leans into him in turn. Sings with more confidence the second time around.
“It’s pretty,” he whispers. “And sad. This part, here,” he hums another line, goosebumps erupt on the back of Namjoon’s neck, like Jimin’s touching him, “I like the octaves.”
“Thank you. Wasn’t sure about those.”
“Mm.” Jimin sets the notepad aside. “I can do a rough vocal guide in the morning? Try a few harmonies on the chorus. Give you some options to listen to, so it’s not all in your head.”
“That’d be amazing. Thank you,” Namjoon sighs, something pulling loose in him. “Your day go okay?”
“Mhm. Taught my morning class how to pirouette.”
“Are you sore at all? I know you have that audition coming up. Do you need me to stretch you—”
“Always trying to take care of everyone else,” Jimin whispers, tipping Namjoon’s chin down and pressing a kiss in the center of his forehead. “When are you gonna let someone take care of you back, huh hyung?”
He shudders an exhale, throat clicking on the words that won’t come, never, i have to take care of you, you take care of me all the time, you take care of everyone, i have to keep making music that helps people, i have to—
Namjoon could go into it, has gone into it. Jimin is a wonderful listener. But it’s a script he’s rattled off before. Same song, second verse. He can’t write music, he’s broken his creativity box somehow, and he’ll never write again, never make music again, never amount to anything, and then it’s a whole down spiral of what-ifs. All whittles down to not being enough. Fear of the uncertain is a hell of a powerful kick, no matter how many times Namjoon does well. Success, if anything, almost makes the fear greater.
Namjoon could talk about it, but Namjoon doesn’t want to talk anymore. Doesn’t want to think. Jimin doesn’t ask either, like he already knows what’s got Namjoon so haggard and worn down. It’s too easy to let Jimin pull their bodies together, to press against him, snug and tight. He peppers a line of kisses to Namjoon’s forehead. His cheeks. Smooths thumbs over Namjoon’s temples, the shell of his ears, cards a hand through his hair and scratches lightly at his scalp. It does more for tension relief than the masseuse that Namjoon sees. He feels himself melt, muscles softening like honey under the sun.
“Kiss now?” Jimin taps an index finger on his full bottom lip.
Namjoon tilts his head, smiling lazily. “Kiss now.”
Their lips meet softly, without urgency, even though it’s been days without this. Jimin pulls himself closer, straddling Namjoon’s lap, but keeping everything that’s between them unhurried and without heat. Open mouthed kisses that have no direction other than just feeling good. Something warm and deep and intimate, just for them. It makes Namjoon feel compact and pulled together, not so frayed at the edges.
Then, with one last sweet peck, Jimin rolls back over and curls against Namjoon’s side. Presses his nose to Namjoon’s neck, moves his head back and forth. It tickles a little. Mostly it’s just sweet. Namjoon sighs into the contact, pictures unraveling twine, and tries to make his limbs do the same. Sink into the mattress, into Jimin, who is tiny and compact and warm against him.
Then Jimin, still nuzzling Namjoon’s neck, says, “What do you think we’ll name our kids?”
Namjoon blinks for a moment in the darkness, utterly thrown. He’s not panicking, though. Whatever non-sequitur Jimin has just tossed at him, it’s been tossed with intention.
Let it be known that Park Jimin knows how to distract.
“I thought we were adopting? You want to change their names? We’d traumatize them.”
Jimin giggles, that quiet hiccuping sound. “I know you don’t always get to choose the name with babies. But if we do, what name would you pick?”
“Babe that’s not even—do you have a list of names?”
“No. But we have to think about these things, Joonie. It’s like that one song you like. The one you were playing in the kitchen a few weeks ago. About the one where he names his kids after the singer.”
“…Jackie and Wilson?” says Namjoon weakly.
“Exactly. We have to give this thought. Like, we can’t just name our kids Red and Velvet.”
“Oh my god.”
“And personally I’d rather die than name our child Usher, though I suppose Fifty and Cent has a nice ring to it.”
“Names would also affect the careful aesthetic I have planned. They’re going to be the best dressed kids on the block. I already have some immaculate outfits picked out.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. I’ve put so much thought into this Joonie, you have no idea. I even have Pinterest boards.”
“You do not.”
“Bet.” Jimin slips his phone off the nightstand and flicks open the app in seconds, scrolling through a myriad of pastels, pinks and blues and yellows and purples. He’s got the clothing sorted by category, by weather, by fabric type. “If we have a boy, he’s going to fucking own the color pink. Look at these overalls.”
Namjoon watches him scroll, point out various pairs of overalls in varying bright colors. Feels something ridiculously warm spill over in his chest.
“How about girls,” he croaks.
“Oh, don’t even get me started.” Jimin immediately switches over to another window. “Like, I will love and support and stan the hell out of our kid regardless of gender, but look at these adorable jumpers, Joonie.”
Jimin shows him the baby jumpers, and the most ridiculous lump rises in Namjoon’s throat.
He should not be getting choked up about this. Namjoon should not even be getting remotely emotional about this. They’re not married. They’re not even engaged. Sure, they’ve touched on the subject in so many ways. In clarified moments where they voice what they both want. That this relationship is serious. That it is going somewhere. A somewhere in the direction of marriage and kids.
Even before those conversations, Namjoon knew Jimin wanted kids. One barely had to look for it, to watch the way Jimin’s face softens when he talks to the little ones in his pre-k ballet class, the way he listens so attentively to them. The way he plays with Taehyung’s cousins at family get-togethers and whispers, God, they’re so cute. I want twelve. The way he’s always first to smile and make silly faces at the babies ogling him on the train, regardless of who’s watching. Namjoon read somewhere once that babies smile at people with pretty faces. Park Jimin is basically the infant whisperer.
So no, he’s not choked up because he’s surprised or panicking. It just makes him overwhelmed, so overwhelmed, good overwhelmed, the casual tone with which Jimin talks about someday. Someday. Like after today, after this impossible and frustrating day, there will be a tomorrow, and the day after, and the world will not be ending, and the song will get written, and it will get better, and Namjoon will move on. Jimin talks of the future—their future—not in what-ifs and maybes but definitelys. He believes in Namjoon that much. Loves Namjoon that much. It’s absolutely staggering to think about, the goodness of Jimin, the unshakeable love he gives Namjoon without hesitation.
He knows exactly how to pull Namjoon out of his head. Even on the worst days.
there’s no one else, Namjoon thinks to himself, a singular and simple truth. this is it for me. this is it.
“Are you getting emotional over the jumpers?” Jimin pops up into Namjoon’s blurred vision. “I haven’t even begun to show you the baby shoes Joon-ah. Little bows and lace. Some with bells or squeakers. This is literally just the beginning.”
Namjoon huffs, goes to wipe away tears that he can’t tell are there from emotion or yawning at this point. He is so tired. The day has been long.
“I like Hyemi,” says Namjoon, after a minute. “If we adopt a baby girl and we get to name her. Gender doesn’t matter, like you said but—”
“Hyemi,” Jimin drags out the sound of the name. “I like that.”
Jimin’s eyes are round and knowing when their gazes meet. His cheek’s all creased from where it was pushed against Namjoon’s shirt. Namjoon thumbs at the redness there. Kisses it. Kisses Jimin’s ever elusive dimple, small but mighty. Kisses Jimin’s eyelids. His brow.
“Thank you,” Namjoon breathes. Kisses Jimin’s lips again, swallowing the sweet noise Jimin makes, the smallest grace note. Jimin’s mouth is gentle and the way he touches Namjoon is gentler. His smile is slow growing and beautiful, Namjoon can feel it in their kiss like you feel the sun, always aware of the warmth, even with eyes closed.
They kiss until sleep takes over, Jimin wrapping himself around Namjoon again, covering as much ground as he can. Jimin pulls Namjoon close and keeps him there. They fit so well together—in this bed, in this home. There’s going to be a whole lot of world and all its problems waiting for Namjoon when he wakes up. Melodies to sort through and lyrics to parse out, phone calls to make. Tomorrow may be just as long and tiring as today was.
But for now, there’s this.