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without warning (you shook me up)

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Namjoon has not experienced a crisis of this magnitude since he was thirteen years old, and he figured out the right search keywords to find softcore gay porn online. It was a busy couple of months, full of introspection, grappling with identity, and masturbation.

He pretty much has the identity part down now. Sometimes, if he gets too stoned, he starts questioning the very concept of sexual orientation and wonders if he would have the same concept of his own sexual orientation if he existed in a culture without outside influence on his perception of it, but. Yoongi usually just tells him that he’d be just as gay in every possible universe, and Namjoon is willing to believe that.

So he doesn’t have that to worry about this time. Instead, he just has the introspection and masturbation. Introspection because he has to debate the ethical implications of being this horny for a man he barely knows (but knows enough for it to be weird), and because he’s not sure what to do about the whole situation. Masturbation because...well, because Kim Taehyung keeps existing.

He’s known of Taehyung for as long as he’s been friends with Jimin. When they first got to know each other, Namjoon assumed Jimin was dating him from how often they were together, but Jimin just laughed at the idea.

“No, we’re just friends. But he’s my backup husband for sure, if I’m not married by the time I’m like forty,” Jimin said brightly when Namjoon asked once. He seemed to think the sentence he said was normal, and Namjoon didn’t want to burst his bubble, so he just nodded.

Whenever they do something as a group, Hoseok will say, “Bring Taehyung along, if you want,” but Jimin always says something about Taehyung’s schedule being weird. So even though Namjoon knows that he’s an art student, his favorite color is purple, and that Jimin was gearing up to marry him, he hadn’t actually met Kim Taehyung. Until last Saturday, when Namjoon suddenly very much met Kim Taehyung.

It was Hoseok’s idea to go to the movie showing, and the rest of them agreed easily, willing to brave the August heat in exchange for a nice time. It’s nice, the little movie showings they put on under the bridge by the Han River every summer, the crowd spread on picnic blankets to watch. Namjoon’s always thought it was romantic; he’s only ever been with his friends, but it gave him a warm feeling, the soft lighting, the sound of the water over the movie.

They packed up a blanket to lay out, Yoongi bringing an extra one for himself (because “I’m very delicate, Namjoon-ah,”), and filled a backpack as a makeshift picnic basket with snacks and beers.

“Aren’t we waiting for Jimin?” Namjoon asked as they finished packing their stuff up, Yoongi walking over to put his shoes on.

“Nah. He’s meeting us with Taehyung,” Hoseok told him, following Yoongi’s suit.

“Oh,” Namjoon said, and didn’t think much of it. He met people all the time. Well, not all the time, but regularly enough. It seemed unremarkable.

(It was not unremarkable.)

Namjoon’s first clue that this would be a problem was when Taehyung, the boy Namjoon assumed was Taehyung from the way he was clutching Jimin’s arm, had his whole entire legs out. Rationally, Namjoon knew that it was summer, and all of them were wearing shorts, but Taehyung’s were particularly...short. Namjoon was an adult, an extremely mature adult pursuing a master’s degree, but the deep reptile part of his brain was immediately distracted.

The second clue came when Jimin waved the three of them over, and Taehyung smiled brightly. Oh no, he thought. It was the kind of smile that made Namjoon want to ask Taehyung if he could do anything for him, anything at all. He suddenly understood that old-timey thing where men put their coats down over puddles on the ground for women to walk on.

(And really, Namjoon should have known this was going to be a real problem when his number two thought ever about Kim Taehyung was three lines of mistranslation away from “step on me.” But he digresses.)

The smile happened and the legs happened and as they kept walking toward Jimin and Taehyung, Namjoon felt sweatier than he usually did, which was already pretty sweaty.

“Hi!” Taehyung called to them when they were close, weaving around other groups of people walking closer to the projection screen. “I’m Taehyung.”

His voice was cute. There was a freckle on his nose. Namjoon felt overwhelmed.

“You literally just dripped sweat on me,” Hoseok said in disgust to Namjoon, before any of the rest of them got a chance to respond to Taehyung.

“You know how he is,” Yoongi said calmly, seemingly unfazed. Hoseok still looked upset, holding out the arm that Namjoon supposedly sweat on in disgust. Great. Fantastic.

“I’m Namjoon,” he said weakly to Taehyung, embarrassed.

Taehyung just smiled at him. “Cool.”

“His middle-school classmates used to call him Sweat-joon,” Yoongi told Hoseok.

“I know, hyung, stop telling me stories about Namjoon like you were there,” Hoseok said.

Namjoon wanted to fling himself into the river.

“I’m leaving now,” Namjoon told everyone. “You all have fun without me.”

“Stop being sensitive,” Hoseok said. “I’m the one with your bodily fluids on me.”

“Aren’t you used to that?” Jimin asked, an innocent expression on his face.

“You hook up with someone one time,” Hoseok said, a familiar exasperated tone in his voice. “It was three years ago, Jimin-ah.”

“I’m not sure how you got through the encounter, since you’re this disgusted over his sweat,” Yoongi commented mildly.

The problem with flinging himself into the river was that eventually he’d have to come back out. And then he’d just be embarrassed and wet. Errantly, Namjoon wished that he could just dissolve in there like a sugar cube, become one with the Earth, and not ever have to deal with his friends ever again. That seemed nice.

“Seriously, bye,” Namjoon said, moving to walk away, but Jimin grabbed him by the arm, pulling Taehyung along inadvertently.

“I brought you watermelon, hyung, you can’t leave.”

“Oh,” Namjoon said, pausing. “Really? That’s nice.” He had mentioned it in a text, off-hand, but he hadn’t expected Jimin to actually bring it.

Jimin nodded, looking pleased with himself. “Of course, I’m an angel.”

“Yeah,” Namjoon agreed with a sigh. “Yeah, you are.”

“He’s a demon and we all know it,” Yoongi said.

Hoseok cut off Jimin’s inevitable pout and whine, ushering them forward and saying, “Come on, let’s get good seats so we can tell Jin-hyung and Jungkookie where we are.”

“Oh, are they still coming?” Yoongi asked, looking flustered at the sound of their names. Well, flustered for Yoongi, which was still pretty neutral. Namjoon wasn’t actually not sure if it was perceptible to normal human eyes, or just Namjoon and Hoseok’s finely-tuned Yoongi Vision, but maybe the little smile Namjoon and Hoseok gave each other at the sight of it didn’t help matters.

Taehyung and Namjoon were tasked with spreading out the blanket while Hoseok and Jimin went off to find Seokjin and Jungkook, who, Jimin learned via text, were too concerned with bickering to wander through the crowd toward them. Yoongi stood there, not bothering to offer to help, holding his personal blanket in his arms.

“So you’re Namjoon,” Taehyung said as he smoothed out some creases from the side of the blanket.

“I am,” Namjoon said, almost in a questioning tone. He didn’t know why. He wished Yoongi wasn’t here, not for the sake of being alone with Taehyung as much as the sake of not having anyone around to witness him embarrassing himself.

“I’ve heard a lot about you,” Taehyung offered as an explanation.

“Oh. Probably all about as good as your heard earlier, huh?” Namjoon asked with a grimace.

“No, no, not nearly as good,” Taehyung told him with a big smile. “Just your deep dark secrets, mostly.”

“Sure. I guess I should know better than to trust Jimin,” Namjoon said with a smile. It felt friendly, and maybe even competent. He was doing great, he thought.

“Jiminnie says you’re really smart.”

Namjoon didn’t know how to reply to that. “Um. I’m...fine,” he answered.

Yoongi snorted. “Half a dissertation written but he doesn’t know how to take a compliment.” Yoongi, apparently, decided that the blanket was smooth enough, because he started arranging his other blanket as a cushion before plopping down on top of it.

Taehyung laughed, followed Yoongi’s lead and took a seat. Namjoon, embarrassed, went to sit down on Yoongi’s other side, but Yoongi gave him a look, nudged his head the other way. At the same time, Seokjin and Jungkook’s loud voices came lilting toward them, and Namjoon looked down at Yoongi in understanding. He nodded, went to sit on the other side, which left him next to Taehyung instead. The jury was out on whether or not Yoongi would ever get over the embarrassing crush phase of this thing with Seokjin and Jungkook and actually speak to them about it, but Namjoon was willing to do a lot to encourage him in the right direction. As a result, though, this is what he got — Taehyung smiling up at him as he tried to arrange his awkwardly long, probably-sweaty legs next to him, all while trying not to stare at his inner thighs.

But to Namjoon’s surprise, it went without disaster. He managed to keep his legs and his sweat to himself, and only looked at the skin revealed by Taehyung’s shorts riding up as he sat cross-legged once. Okay, twice, but Taehyung only saw him once. Namjoon thought that was really admirable, since he could almost see the outline of Taehyung’s dick with the way he was sitting. He thought he was being really brave and strong about this whole thing.

He didn’t have to worry about small talk, his usual downfall in making any connection with another human being, because soon Seokjin and Jungkook were there, and their argument took over the group as Jimin agreed with Jungkook and Hoseok wound Seokjin up by changing sides every thirty seconds. Taehyung laughed along, and Namjoon was devastated to learn that he had a cute laugh. But of course he did, everything about him was attractive. Namjoon thought that even if he had some secret hidden gnarled scar on his back or something, he would find it attractive.

He was fucked. He was absolutely fucked. He sat there and half-listened to his friends but mostly considered the fact that he had not experienced a crush this sudden since high school, when an extremely handsome boy from cram school touched his hand as he offered Namjoon a pen and smiled so warmly that Namjoon thought he might die on the spot. Namjoon knew he was fucked.

What he didn’t realize, however, was that things could get worse.

“Here, hyung,” Jimin said to him, turning around to grab the little cooler he and Taehyung brought. He fished out a ziploc bag with pretty little slices of watermelon, and handed one to Namjoon. “For you.”

“Thank you, Jimin-ah,” Namjoon said with a smile, and Jimin preened, as he was wont to do.

“Don’t the rest of us get some?” Taehyung asked. The way he was sitting was distracting, legs criss-crossed, shirt just barely riding up as he leaned back on his hands, looking illuminated in the dusky sunset.

You fucking baboon, you cannot start writing poetry about this boy, Namjoon scolded himself as he took a bite of the watermelon slice.

“You don’t,” Jimin said easily. “You ate half of it while I was cutting it.”

Taehyung smiled sweetly, leaned behind Namjoon to press a kiss to Jimin’s cheek. Jimin laughed. “Stop, Tae. I’m not giving you watermelon.”

Namjoon wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do with himself exactly, while Taehyung kissed Jimin around him, so he awkwardly ate another bite and tried to keep the rest of his body still. He looked at Hoseok with some mild panic, and Hoseok just shrugged.

“Jimin, you never let the rest of us kiss you,” Hoseok said with a laugh in his voice, and Namjoon felt grateful for the diversion.

“To be fair, you’ve never asked,” Jimin told him.

“Is that all it took?” Hoseok asked with a smirk. “That’s good information to have.”

“This is getting gross,” Yoongi said, looking around at them with a grimace.

“That’s rich,” Hoseok muttered, and Yoongi turned to glower at him with an impressive and terrifying speed.

“Namjoon-ah, hand me a slice of watermelon,” Seokjin said, and Namjoon was happy to have something to do with his hands. Eventually, they all settled down, quiet as the movie started. Jungkook made them come the night Kimi No Na Wa was playing, even though they all knew he’d cry.

Namjoon was too distracted to watch, really; distracted with the noise of people walking by, with watching out of the corner of his eye as Yoongi reached out his hand for Jungkook to hold, and with the way Taehyung was glowing gold in his periphery. The sun has set now, but the light of the screen seemed to catch on him and Namjoon was really, really trying not to write song lyrics about a boy he just met. It was just distracting.

Maybe Taehyung realized he was distracted, maybe that’s why he caught Namjoon’s eye. In an act that seemed to be casual, but unbeknownst to Namjoon would change the entire course of human history, Taehyung leaned toward him and whispered, “Hey, hyung, can I have a bite of your watermelon?”

Namjoon, who had just grabbed the last slice from the little cooler, looked down at it in his hand. He blinked. “Uh, sure,” he answered, reaching his hand out a little. It was a little overly familiar, but Namjoon got the vibe that Taehyung was just a little overly familiar as a person. Namjoon was fine with that, since getting to familiar in the first place was sometimes a struggle with him and new people.

Except all friendly feelings immediately disappeared as Taehyung leaned forward, unhinged his jaw like a beautiful, sexy snake, and chomped down on the watermelon down to the rind. Namjoon felt his jaw drop open, and figured he should be embarrassed about that, but — but how could his jaw possibly not have dropped? How could there be any other reaction to that?

Taehyung leaned back to his spot, and Namjoon could swear he was smirking around his full mouthful.

Namjoon was fucked. Namjoon was unbelievably, indisputably, insurmountably fucked. Fuck.

++

Suddenly, Taehyung’s schedule wasn’t quite so weird. Suddenly, Taehyung was accompanying Jimin to Namjoon’s apartment every other day, just around ambiently in the space, like that was allowed.

One night, Namjoon slipped his headphones off and stumbled into his living room at one in the morning wearing a pair of Yoongi’s old basketball shorts and a weird crop top that Hoseok bought for himself but ended up not wanting anymore (Namjoon was supposed to do laundry tonight, but he got kind of wrapped up in research.) Nothing about this was abnormal — Namjoon stayed up late all the time, and was frequently behind on laundry. It's why he claimed ownership of so much of Yoongi and Hoseok's clothing in the first place.

No, the abnormal part was that when he blearily stepped in to the living room, he found himself faced with the sight of Kim Taehyung on his couch, looking beautiful and ephemeral. And here was Namjoon, hair mussed, headphones around his neck, wearing embarrassing clothes that didn’t even belong to him. He just wanted water. He just wanted to get a glass of water.

“Look, Joon-ah’s alive,” Hoseok says with a laugh. Honestly, Namjoon hadn’t even noticed that he or Jimin were there, but he sees them now. Right. That makes sense. Taehyung wouldn’t be here by himself.

“Uh,” Namjoon manages. Eloquent. Fantastic. “Hey.”

“Are we keeping you up?” Jimin asks. Namjoon loves Jimin. Sometimes he wonders how one small man can be so sweet, and then Yoongi tells Namjoon that he’s been duped. He doesn’t care.

“No, he’s working. Right?” Hoseok asks Namjoon. It has the tone of someone who knows Namjoon very well, but also the tone of someone who wants Jimin to stay a little longer.

Namjoon nods, would have nodded even if it wasn’t true. “Yeah.”

“What are you working on?” Taehyung asks. Namjoon hates when Taehyung speaks to him. Okay, no, he doesn’t, and he feels terrible every time he jokingly thinks so — it’s not Taehyung’s fault he’s so overwhelmingly attractive. It’s not Taehyung’s fault that Namjoon keeps jerking off because he ate a big bite of watermelon. He doesn’t hate when Taehyung speaks to him, because Taehyung is infuriatingly nice and curious and easy to talk to. He does, however, hate that it turns him into the same brand of idiot who looked at that handsome boy in cram school, the one who touched his hand and smiled warmly, and immediately spilled an entire bottle of juice onto his own lap.

“If you’re going to make him talk about his dissertation, go to the kitchen with it. I live with his dissertation,” Hoseok says with a long-suffering look. Namjoon gives him a sheepish smile, an apology that he means as much as Hoseok meant the insult, which is to say, not much.

“Okay,” Taehyung says with a grin, gets up from the couch and then he’s right next to Namjoon, standing there like he’s just a regular human person and not a conjuration of every horrible gay fantasy Namjoon’s ever had. Taehyung’s mere existence is proof that there’s no god, or if there is, that she’s vengeful. He keeps walking toward the kitchen, looks back over his shoulder toward Namjoon with a smile that’s almost teasing, and the sheer force of it pulls Namjoon toward him, following him like a dog on a leash, or like Namjoon’s orbit path has been fundamentally disrupted.

Taehyung opens their fridge, rifles for a moment before he pulls out a beer. Namjoon glances toward the living room and sees evidence that Jimin and Taehyung have been here long enough that it’s kind of embarrassing that Namjoon didn’t realize they were here, a scattering of empty beer cans sitting on the coffee table. Namjoon gets his water, the only reason he ever came out here in the first place, and as he sips it, Taehyung says, “Cute shirt.”

Namjoon chokes. Of course he does. He chokes and manages to swallow most of his sip, manages to avoid spraying water all over the kitchen, but he still coughs on it, sputtering embarrassingly, cheeks hot. “It’s Hoseok’s,” he manages. Why would he say that? God, this is a bloodbath.

Taehyung just hums, takes a sip of his beer. “It looks cute on you.” Taehyung’s eyes flick down to the fairly sizeable portion of his torso that is on display, and Namjoon wants to sink into the earth.

“I don’t really wear stuff like this, uh, usually,” Namjoon explains. “Laundry day. You know?”

“You should,” Taehyung tells him casually.

Namjoon does not know what to say to that. He thinks maybe that Taehyung is joking? He settles on, “Ah.” He nods, and then takes a (successful) sip of water.

“Your dissertation,” Taehyung reminds him, and Namjoon nods again. Right. Yes. There was a reason why he was talking to Taehyung, besides just wanting to humiliate himself.

“My dissertation!” Namjoon replies, louder than he means to. Taehyung seems unfazed. “Yeah. It’s for my Master’s. Uh, I’m writing about sort of — it’s comparative literature, so I mean, I’m comparing. But I’m looking and novels and romantic songs, and sort of the widespread metafiction of popular music.”

Taehyung nods, looking genuinely interested. And that’s the part of talking to Taehyung that Namjoon hates most, that Taehyung never laughs or looks bored when Namjoon speaks. It’s horribly kind, and Namjoon always leaves feeling so worked up about it. “That’s really interesting.”

“Is it?” Namjoon asks. He’s been writing it for eight months, and everyone else in his life (including himself) has grown completely tired of the subject.

“Yeah,” Taehyung says with a smile. “I think that’s really cool. What does metafiction mean?”

Namjoon blinks. “You want to hear about literature theory?”

“Sure. I like learning,” Taehyung tells him, looking amused at Namjoon. “Why shouldn’t I?”

“No, um. No reason,” Namjoon says. “The thing about metafiction is that it can be used as a literary tool in all these really fascinating ways.” Namjoon glances up at Taehyung, who still looks interested, and Namjoon takes it as a sign to continue. So he does. He talks, explains his dissertation and why he decided to focus on the concept of using literature as its own literary device, of the cliche of acknowledging cliches, and Taehyung just stands there, nods, looks attentive. Namjoon is the most attracted to him he’s ever been, he thinks, except that he can’t masturbate to the concept of a beautiful boy thinking he’s interesting the way he can masturbate to the image of Taehyung deepthroating a slice of watermelon, so. Jury’s out, he supposes.

He talks until he gets tired of hearing himself talk, and then he kind of peters out, smiles sheepishly. “Sorry. I get kind of intense about this stuff.”

“I like when people are intense about stuff,” Taehyung tells him with a smile. “I’m always intense about stuff.”

“Cool,” Namjoon says, stupidly. He takes a drink of water to try to distance himself from the stupidity of it.

Taehyung leans back against the countertop, looking entirely effortless in his fashionably baggy clothes, put-together despite his tousled hair and sort of general sleepily ethereal vibe. “This is maybe a weird question, but,” Taehyung starts, looking him over. Namjoon anticipates; he thinks Taehyung could literally tell him he was a real-life vampire and ask to suck Namjoon’s blood, and Namjoon wouldn’t think it was that weird. It would make a lot more sense than this current reality, really.

“Can I use you for a photography project?”

Oh. That’s stunningly normal, actually. That's something that a normal human would ask another normal human. Namjoon is a little relieved and a little disappointed. “Use me how?” Namjoon asks.

“Sorry,” Taehyung says with an incredibly endearing smile. “Not use, that’s a bad way to put it. I mean, would you model for me?”

“I am...not a model,” Namjoon says, which is a stupid thing to say. He just rambled about graduate-level comparative literature for ten minutes — he’s pretty sure models don’t even know people like him exist.

“You have excellent proportions,” Taehyung tells him in a way that manages to be sweetly innocent despite the fact that he’s looking at Namjoon’s stomach again. Namjoon would like very much to change but also to only wear this stupid bad outfit for the rest of eternity.

“Thanks? I think?” Namjoon says.

Taehyung just smiles. “You’re welcome! So are you free on Sunday?”

++

Taehyung had texted Namjoon his address, because Taehyung, Kim Taehyung, of masturbatory fantasy fame, had his phone number now. He had told Namjoon to “wear whatever” because he was going to “style him” once he was “there” (that didn’t need quotation marks, but Namjoon put them there in his head anyway, because the concept of Taehyung existing in one temporal location stressed him out immensely), but Namjoon still changed clothes four times before he left the house.

“You look sweaty again,” Hoseok told him.

“He’s nervous about Taehyung,” Yoongi said.

Hoseok snorted. “Why? Taehyung’s a goofball.”

“He’s the most beautiful man I have ever met in my life,” Namjoon said in a slow, empty voice. “And I am going to make an utter fool of myself.”

“You’ve already made a fool of yourself a few times,” Yoongi pointed out. “He seems fine with that.”

Namjoon nodded solemnly, but he wasn’t satisfied with that. “That won’t matter in the end.”

“Namjoon-ah, you need to manifest positive thoughts. Put what you want out into the world. You can’t stomp around like an upset little muppet, you’re setting yourself up for failure,” Hoseok said. It almost sounded wise, but it was Hoseok, so.

“Okay. So if I just walk around thinking and talking about how much I would like him to choke me, you think it’ll manifest?”

Hoseok grimaced. Yoongi gave him a curious look, asking, “Like with his hands or with his dick? Because I didn’t really peg you for being into either.”

“Ha, peg,” Hoseok commented. Yoongi high-fived him without looking.

“I don’t know,” Namjoon said sadly. “Either. Both? I’m going to die.”

Hoseok and Yoongi sent him off with a clap to his back, and now Namjoon is just walking loose through the world toward the dorm address Taehyung sent him, trying to project the “choke me” energy he wants to see in his own life.

Namjoon loves the summer, but he resents any season that he can’t dress properly in — he needs to be wearing at least three layers to feel comfortable as a human being. Today he’s gone with the Yoongi method and worn jeans despite the heat, because at least then he can cling to some semblance of comfort. Although, first, he has to suffer through a twenty-minute commute across campus in sweltering heat, so. He supposes he can’t really bring the word “comfort” into this. It’s fine. He wore a black t-shirt so his sweat wouldn’t show.

Hoseok fussed over him and tucked his t-shirt in before he left, said, “There’s my handsome boy made of legs,” in the same voice he uses to coo at dogs. Namjoon was choosing to take it as a bolster to his confidence.

He gets let into the dorm building by a squirrelly-looking first-year, and makes his way up to Taehyung’s room. When he knocks, there’s the sound of a distant clatter, and then, “Coming!”

Taehyung opens the door wearing a big smile, a pair of boxer-briefs, and not much else. “Hi!”

Namjoon wonders if he can manifest away his fucking imminent erection. Or better yet, if he can manifest himself out of existence. He realizes, belatedly, that he has not replied to Taehyung even a little bit, and he stutters out a panicked “Hello,” too loud for their proximity.

Taehyung, as usual, acts like Namjoon is a normal human being, despite all evidence to the contrary. Namjoon’s thinking of ditching his “Taehyung is an ethereal fairy from the deep mythical woods” theory in favor of a new, bold theory, that Taehyung is a benevolent, sexy alien from outer space who hasn’t yet mastered normal social interaction well enough to know that Namjoon is fucking horrible at it.

“Come on in,” Taehyung says, and Namjoon really wishes he would stop saying the word come. He glances down traitorously, unable to stop himself, and notices that Taehyung has a tattoo on his thigh, black and white cartoony outlines of people with motion lines around them, holding up a red heart. Namjoon recognizes it as famous, even if he doesn’t know the artist.

“Cool tattoo,” he says, in a shockingly competent moment.

“Thanks,” Taehyung says earnestly. “It’s Keith Haring. I’m thinking of getting a Basquiat tattoo on the other thigh.”

Namjoon doesn't know who that is, and moreso, can barely focus on the words. Mostly, it's just startling to hear Taehyung say the word thigh, to even acknowledge that he has thighs. Offensive, even.

“Seriously, come in, I’m not wearing clothes,” Taehyung says with a laugh, and Namjoon surges forward in a moment of panic, nodding furiously, closing the door behind him.

“Why, um. Why aren’t you wearing clothes, exactly?” Namjoon asks.

“It’s for the piece!” Taehyung says, sounding pleased about it. He walks over to a very complicated tripod set-up that’s holding an expensive-looking camera aloft, camera aimed downward for an aerial view of Taehyung’s empty bed, currently. Looking around, Namjoon is met with the sight of what he knows from experience are the remains of a dozen forgotten projects. Half-painted canvases, half-hung frames leaned up against walls. Taehyung’s bed is half-made to match, but it’s half-made in a way that looks purposeful, so Namjoon supposes it’s for the art. The...piece, Taehyung called it.

“Right. And what is...the piece?” Namjoon asks. Maybe he was supposed to ask before right now, but in his opinion, it wouldn’t have mattered much. He was going to show up and model for Taehyung even if his photography assignment was to capture the expression of someone who’s had bad clarinet music blasted in their ear for eighteen hours straight. That was fine. Whatever. At least he would get to look at Taehyung's freckles while it happened.

“So!” Taehyung starts, clapping his hands together excitedly. “My assignment was to modernize a famous portrait. I chose the Vitruvian man.”

Namjoon nods blankly. Taehyung looks at him. “You know, Leonardo Da Vinci. He looks like this.” Taehyung stands with his arms outstretched and his legs spread. Namjoon does not look at his dick, and he’s very proud of himself for that.

“Right. I know of him. Sure. Wait,” Namjoon pauses, a sudden burst of panic rushing forth. “Isn’t he naked? Am I going to — naked?”

Taehyung laughs. “No. I was hoping for shirtless if you’re okay with that, but not naked.”

“You were explaining why you weren’t wearing clothes,” Namjoon points out, suddenly stressed at the possibilities.

“Yes. So in the Vitruvian man, it’s two men laid over top one another, right? It’s kind of this anatomical study, of like, human architecture.” Taehyung is talking with his hands, looking eager and happy, and Namjoon is horrified that he can continue to look so attractive in new, dynamic ways. He never thought he was attracted to men speaking about art specifically, but maybe it’s just the passion. “But I don’t care so much about that. I mean, it was this super modern idea when he made it, but now it’s just a naked guy in a circle. So my thought was that to modernize it, I would make it about emotion. Instead of the anatomy of one man it’s the anatomy of two men, together.”

Two men, together. Namjoon feels himself going pink, warm even though the dorm building is air conditioned. “Still haven’t gotten to the explanation of why you’re not wearing pants.”

“I didn’t want it to be nude, mostly because — well, I didn’t have anyone to get nude with,” Taehyung says with a laugh. “But I wanted a nod to the original. And, in my head at least, it’s this anatomy of a love scene, where you’re sort of half-undone. You know? So I thought I should be mostly undressed, with the other person more dressed than me.”

Objectively, Namjoon thinks the idea sounds cool. Subjectively, he now understands that the “piece” is going to be the two of them stacked together like gay lincoln logs under the view of a camera, and that sure is...a lot. He nods, though, completely and entirely unwilling to make the excited smile on Taehyung’s face disappear.

So, with a sense of resigned horny dread, Namjoon manages a smile and asks, “Where do you want me?”

 

Namjoon spends about five minutes on the bed while Taehyung fiddles with his camera, connecting it to his computer screen so he can see through the viewfinder, angling and re-angling and composing the shot he wants. The delicate tripod arrangement seems to be holding up okay, but Namjoon is slightly concerned.

“Okay,” Taehyung says. He has a remote in his hand, clicks a few shots, and Namjoon sees them pop up on the computer screen in his peripheral view. Taehyung looks at them, adjusts a couple more things, and says, “I’m gonna...get in there.”

“Sure,” Namjoon says weakly. It’s a strange mix of emotions, because as much as he would very much like Taehyung on top of him, he hadn’t quite imagined it like this.

But in the end, Namjoon doesn’t have enough time to prepare himself for Taehyung’s arrival to get truly anxious about it. He just kind of clambers onto Namjoon like a sexy monkey, and then...there he is. His weight against Namjoon’s, smiling down at him in a “ha, this sure is a funny coincidence” sort of way, which Namjoon thinks is just horrible. He’s almost in kissing distance, and it’s wholly overwhelming.

“Hi,” Taehyung says quietly.

“Hi,” Namjoon says back, voice in a near-whisper.

Namjoon is lying with his arms and legs extended, spread eagle on Taehyung’s bed, and Taehyung is tucked neatly between his legs. “I’m gonna try a few poses, I’m not sure how I want myself yet. You ready?”

Namjoon nods. Tries not to stare at the way Taehyung’s hair is falling in his eyes prettily. Taehyung smiles, near-blinding this close up, and Namjoon feels what’s left of his brain ooze gently out of his ears.

The camera clicks. A few times, actually, and then Taehyung repositions himself, spreads his arms and rests his head on Namjoon’s bare chest, and Namjoon feels his eyelashes flutter closed. A few more clicks of the camera, and then Taehyung is back to looking at him, propped up on his elbows, face close. His smile is still there, but softer, just twitching at the edge of his lips. His arms are bracketed on either side of Namjoon’s head, and their bodies are still pressed together, skin of their bare chests warm where they’re touching.

“You can say no,” Taehyung says quietly, quiet for no good reason at all. “But could I kiss you?”

Namjoon was not hard just a moment ago, but embarrassingly, that might be enough to get him there. He is suddenly so very aware of all the ways he is genetically identical to a monkey.

“For the picture? Or for —” And he stops, because he doesn’t know how to end that sentence, really.

Taehyung is still almost-smirking, looks down at his lips then back up. “A little for the picture. But mostly for me.”

For him. For him. “Can it be for me too?”

“I was really hoping it would be for you too, yeah,” Taehyung says, voice so low he’s practically just breathing the words. He leans in, and Namjoon leans up, and their teeth clack together. Taehyung pulls back with a giggle. Namjoon feels himself go red.

“You look so cute when you’re embarrassed,” Taehyung tells him.

“That’s great to hear, because I’m almost always embarrassed,” Namjoon says back.

Taehyung’s smiling big and real, now. “So that’s why you always look cute.”

Namjoon makes a noise between a whimper and a groan. Just a sort of half-formed animal noise. Taehyung giggles again.

“Can we kiss?” Namjoon asks. He thinks it would be better if his mouth was occupied.

“Yeah. Hold still, will you?” Taehyung asks.

And then, in the literal blink of Namjoon’s eye, it’s happening. He would say without warning, but there was actually an awful lot of warning. Still, it takes him by surprise, because — because how could any one human being anticipate such a thing? Taehyung kisses like he does everything else: sweet, playful, overwhelming. He nips at Namjoon’s lower lip and Namjoon thinks that emotionally, metaphorically, he’s about to take off like a goddamn rocket ship.

“I’m going to die,” Namjoon says out loud with his human mouth.

Taehyung doesn’t seem to have much reaction, just starts kissing down from Namjoon’s lips to his jaw, quick kisses with teeth along the line of his perpetually nervous-looking chin. “Please don’t,” Taehyung says in a breath. “Or at least let me suck your dick first.”

Namjoon groans, and it’s only a little bit about the way Taehyung is kissing at his pulse point. “Who are you? Are you human? Are you a human man?”

“No one’s sure,” Taehyung says, picking his head up to look at Namjoon with a conspiratory eyebrow wiggle. “But did you know I have no gag reflex?”

“You know, I actually did,” Namjoon mutters weakly. “From the watermelon.”

“It wasn’t elegant, but it got the job done, right?” Taehyung asks brightly.

“What job did you want done exactly?” Namjoon asks. The ooze of his brain is on the floor, mocking him, but joke’s on the brain ooze because nothing this good has ever happened to him when he was thinking clearly.

“I wanted,” Taehyung says, leaning down to kiss him between thoughts, “to seduce you.”

“You were — to seduce me?” Namjoon sputters in disbelief.

“You’re tall,” Taehyung says, kisses Namjoon, “and pretty,” another kiss, to the corner of his lips, “and your dimples are so cute,” his cheek, “and you look so fucking good in a tank top.” He makes his way back to tug gently at Namjoon’s earlobe with his teeth, and Namjoon gasps at the feeling. “And you’re so smart,” Taehyung says in a quiet voice there. “I love listening to you talk.”

“Fuck,” Namjoon manages. He’s definitely hard now, and he has no idea whether it’s from the kissing or the compliments. Honestly, it’s probably better if he doesn’t know. “Taehyung, that’s so —”

“So what?” Taehyung asks, pulls back and looks down at him curiously.

“So honest,” Namjoon says.

Taehyung smiles. “That’s a nice thing to get called.”

Namjoon figures it’s his turn, that after all those nice things he owes Taehyung some back. Except where Taehyung could just say them out loud, all easy and normal like a human being, Namjoon stutters, face red. “You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever met.”

“Wow,” Taehyung says, low and drawn-out, looking at him with big eyes.

“I have fantasized about you sucking my dick like a dozen times.”

Taehyung’s smiling again, all pleased and sincere and entirely inhuman. “Oh, cool.”

“I guess?” Namjoon says, feeling slightly incredulous about this whole interaction.

“I think it’s cool,” Taehyung says easily.

I think you’re perfect, Namjoon doesn’t say, because brain-ooze or not he’s still got limits.

“Can I suck your dick now?” Taehyung asks him.

“Yes please,” Namjoon gets out in a squeaky voice. Taehyung laughs.

“What if you die, though?” Taehyung asks, and for the first time, his voice goes teasing.

“Great way to go,” Namjoon says as Taehyung moves to bite at Namjoon’s collarbone. “Fucking truly excellent way to go.”

Taehyung keeps laughing against Namjoon’s skin, his breath puffing warm. He kisses across Namjoon’s collarbones, not on a downward trajectory as much as he seems to not want to miss anything. It’s overwhelmingly sweet, really, the way Taehyung takes his time. It’s not what he expected from this dorm room blowjob, but then, nothing about Taehyung is anything Namjoon expected. Everything with Taehyung turns out different than Namjoon thought — he’s all misdirection, like a human magic trick. And there is something entirely magical about the way he looks up at Namjoon with sparks in his eyes as he kisses down lower on Namjoon’s chest.

“You’re so hot,” Taehyung says. “I feel like you probably know, but also, you seem kind of unaware of yourself. So I thought I’d tell you.”

Namjoon smiles, flustered. “Thank you.” In truth, while he does find it difficult to comprehend his own appearance, he’s gotten enough compliments from his friends to know he is, in fact, decent-looking. (Well, “decent-looking” is what Seokjin called him, when pressed, but he thinks maybe Seokjin was just being petty on that particular occasion since Jungkook had spent ten drunken minutes being weird about Namjoon’s chest and thighs.)

But it gets him thinking, because a lot of stupid things get him thinking, even at times when, say, the most attractive person who has ever been on top of Namjoon is kissing down his ribcage. Thinking about how strange it is to be attracted to other people, when they’re all just this weird amalgamation of tools that help them live. How weird it is to even have an appearance, and for it to be important in your life. “Do you ever wish you were a ghost?” He asks. And admittedly, maybe he was overconfident when he thought he could handle this situation. Brain-ooze. You know.

But Taehyung just pauses for a moment, looking up at him again. “Not really. Do you?”

“Sorry,” Namjoon says, back to that familiar feeling of humiliation that he gets around any beautiful person.

“No, I was curious,” Taehyung says. He’s not kissing Namjoon’s torso anymore, but his hands (big hands, Namjoon thinks, and then goes back to wondering about the cross-section of evolution and human psychology that makes him attracted to big hands) are stroking over Namjoon’s skin while he talks. “Tell me about your ghost wishes.”

“I was just thinking about how I wished I didn’t have a physical form,” Namjoon says. “I think it’s really inconvenient most of the time, you know, sleeping, eating, main-maintaining it,” he stutters as Taehyung’s fingers move down to the button of his jeans.

“Oh, no, I love all those things,” Taehyung says sincerely. He unbuttons and unzips Namjoon’s jeans, sits up so that he can help Namjoon pull them down. “If you were a ghost, you couldn’t feel warm from sitting in the sun. I don’t think I could live without that.”

Namjoon shuffles his legs awkwardly until his jeans can fall off, and then they’re both in their underwear. “I’m willing to give up sun warmth for not ever having to worry about my hair ever again.”

“We have different priorities, then,” Taehyung says with a warm smile. He lays back down, straddled over Namjoon’s lap. “Do you think ghosts could have orgasms?”

Namjoon frowns. He looks up at Taehyung’s faced, propped prettily above his own. “I don’t see how that would be possible.”

Taehyung nods like he’s thinking it over. “How would any of it be possible? I mean, ghosts are just like, leftover human energy right? Our souls and stuff. Why couldn’t that have an orgasm?”

“I...don’t know,” Namjoon admits quietly.

“If I can still have orgasms, I’ll join the ghost club,” Taehyung says. He leans down and kisses Namjoon, holding his jaw steady as he does. It’s an incredibly good kiss, an intoxicatingly good kiss, and he kind of never wants it to end. When it does end, though, Taehyung looks down at him with his pretty eyes, and says, “One time I read a book where the main character fell in love with a ghost, and it was so sad, and it’s been my biggest fear for years.”

And Namjoon is startled into a laugh that’s way too loud for how close Taehyung’s face is, because, because — because this is so good. “Your biggest fear?”

Taehyung looks amused, but he sits up, puts on some mock-offense with his arms crossed. Except, when he sits up, he’s sat against Namjoon’s hard dick, making Namjoon groan weakly. “Yeah, my biggest fear,” Taehyung continues like nothing happened. He rocks himself back, grinding down on Namjoon’s lap, and Namjoon reaches out to hold onto something, anything. He lands on Taehyung’s thigh, and that’s — fine.

“Nothing more practical?” Namjoon asks in a weak voice. “I don’t know, spiders or something?”

“Spiders,” Taehyung starts, rocking down again. Namjoon grips his thigh, bites his lip, and Taehyung seems to lose track of what he’s saying for a moment. “Spiders are important for the ecosystem, and they're good little friends.” His voice is a little strained when he rocks down again, which is comforting to Namjoon.

“So instead you’ve landed on — ah, on accidentally falling in love with a ghost.”

“We could never truly be together, hyung,” Taehyung says, as if this explains it all.

Namjoon, despite everything — his erection, the hard grip he has on Taehyung’s tattooed thigh, the little gasp Taehyung does when he moves — laughs again. “I really like you, Taehyung-ah.”

“I really like you too,” Taehyung says. “We’re gonna have to stop talking when I suck you off.”

The idea actually makes Namjoon a little sad, and he almost considers saying they should do something else. But, his base instincts remind him, his idiot lizard brain has thought of literally nothing besides Taehyung’s lips around his cock for the past two weeks. He needs this, if only just to refresh his thoughts. “I guess I’m okay with that.”

Taehyung practically launches himself off of Namjoon’s lap, shimmying himself downward, and Namjoon thinks it’s the first time that anything Taehyung’s done has been out of desperation. “You feel really strongly about this,” Namjoon notes.

Taehyung looks at him seriously. “Yes. I do.”

Namjoon nods. “Godspeed.”

Taehyung gets Namjoon’s underwear off, and he wastes no more time before he has the shaft of Namjoon’s dick in his hand (big hand, his lizard brain supplies) and the tip at his parted lips.

“Oh, wow,” Namjoon murmurs. Taehyung just gives him a smirky little laugh, and then he closes his lips around the head of Namjoon’s dick. “Oh,” Namjoon repeats, voice shaky. “Wow.”

As it turns out, there was a reason why Taehyung was so enthusiastic — he’s fucking good at this. Namjoon has given head a good handful of times in his life, but he instantly worries that nothing he’s ever done has been as good as this. Taehyung pushes his head down further, far enough that Namjoon feels a little concerned, but then he remembers — no gag reflex. Right.

Taehyung pulls back up, tongue licking at the underside of Namjoon’s cock, and Namjoon lets out a breathy half-groan, fingers itching to grab onto something again. He settles for the sheets below him, but Taehyung reaches out and grabs Namjoon’s hand, moves it into his own hair instead.

“Oh,” Namjoon breathes, and Taehyung hums in approval when Namjoon grabs hold. And, fuck, okay, well — he’ll keep doing that, then. Taehyung pushes himself down again, until he’s got all of Namjoon in his mouth, and when he swallows, Namjoon whimpers. “Taehyung-ah,” he mutters, tightens his hold in Taehyung’s hair.

They go on like that for what’s probably only ten minutes, maybe fifteen, but feels long enough for Namjoon to have died at least sixteen deaths. Sure, it’s been a while for Namjoon, but this is — this is a lot. Taehyung works him up until he’s shaking from it, body tense, and Namjoon looks down to see Taehyung’s eyes dark, watering at the corners.

“Fuck,” Namjoon says in a gasp. “You’re so — this is — fuck.”

Taehyung doesn’t pause, just keeps his rhythm steady, keeps groaning around him when Namjoon pulls his hair hard enough. It’s all horrifically, startlingly arousing, and maybe it’s because the whole experience has been so much, so full-body shocking, that his orgasm almost sneaks up on him.

He realizes, though, that he’s about to burst apart at the seams, and manages to say in a rush, “I’m gonna come,” gives Taehyung just enough time to pull off of him with a wet noise. Just enough time for Taehyung to pull off but not enough time for him to move much, and so Namjoon’s come hits Taehyung’s cheek, dripping down to his lips.

Taehyung blinks, eyelashes wet from his eyes watering, lips pink, Namjoon’s come on his face and Namjoon thinks that his entire heart falls clear out of his body to join his brain on the floor, leaving him numb and dumb. “You look…” Namjoon says, and Taehyung’s tongue peeks out from between his lips, licking them. “Fuck.”

“Who’s that artist?” Namjoon asks in a low voice as Taehyung crawls his way back up to face-level with Namjoon. “With — the paint.”

Taehyung smirks, and Namjoon didn’t think it was possible, but he gets hotter. “Jackson Pollock?”

“No idea,” Namjoon replies. Taehyung leans over, wipes his cheek with his top sheet, which is disgusting in a thrilling kind of way.

“Here,” Taehyung says, leans bodily over Namjoon to grab for his phone on the floor. He types, fingers tapping, then shows Namjoon. “Jackson Pollock.”

Namjoon looks at the paint-splattered canvases in the image search and nods. “Yeah. That’s the one.”

Taehyung giggles, settles next to Namjoon. “That’s kind of...hm.”

“What?” Namjoon asks, his anxiety impulses waking up from his orgasm and flashing said the wrong thing????? at him.

“That’s really gross, but in a cute way,” Taehyung tells him.

“Oh. Okay. I’ll take that.”

“Good, because I wasn’t complaining,” Taehyung says. He leans over to kiss him, and his mouth tastes gross, like come, like Namjoon, but it’s still good. His erection is pressed into Namjoon’s hip, and Namjoon is overcome with the need to address that.

“I want to get you off,” Namjoon says, looking at Taehyung seriously.

“Cool,” Taehyung replies easily, smiling at the edge of his lips.

“How would you like me to do that?” Namjoon asks. The choice seems like too much for him to make. “Only, I really shouldn’t suck you off, because anything compared to what just happened would be an embarrassment.”

“Oh, I disagree, but we can work on blowjob confidence another time,” Taehyung tells him sweetly, patting his cheek. He lets his thumb rest on Namjoon’s lower lip, hums. “Especially since you have the prettiest goddamn lips, and I think it would really be a shame if you never sucked my dick with them.”

“Another time,” Namjoon repeats quietly, puts a question mark at the end of it. “As in, you wanna do this again?”

“As in, I sure would like to take you out on a date sometime, Namjoon-hyung,” Taehyung says with a giggle. “And then afterward, I want you to fuck me into oblivion.”

Namjoon blinks. “Yes. That sounds nice.”

“Great. First, though, I’ve really been hard for a while, can you just — anything is fine —”

Namjoon becomes aware of the way Taehyung has been rutting against him slowly, and feels bad. “Oh, right! Sorry. Yeah. Take your underwear off?”

When he does, spread out naked next to Namjoon, Namjoon has to take a moment to fully grasp the situation.

“What?” Taehyung asks, a frown in his voice.

“I’m so gay,” Namjoon says.

Taehyung laughs, like he isn’t a beautiful sculpture of a man, like everything about him isn’t pretty in an awe-inspiring kind of way. Even his dick is pretty. Namjoon wants to cry.

(There’s a moment where his wires cross and he thinks about Taehyung fucking him until he sobs, and that’s certainly an idea, but — not here, not now.)

“Namjoon-hyung,” Taehyung says, voice quiet. “Please.”

“Sorry, I was — uh, well mostly I was thinking about you fucking me, but — sorry,” Namjoon says, and then he grows up, spits in his hand and reaches down to jerk Taehyung off.

“No need to apologize for that,” Taehyung tells him, eyes closed, mouth falling open in a sharp inhale. Namjoon leans over, kisses Taehyung’s neck roughly, spurred on after Taehyung nods his head when Namjoon bites at his skin. He tries to do as much as he can, tries to be everywhere — mouth on Taehyung’s neck, his thumb on Taehyung’s nipple, his other hand moving firm and spit-slick on Taehyung’s cock. It seems to be getting the job done, anyway, from the way Taehyung keeps gasping, bringing his hand up to grip onto Namjoon’s shoulder.

On a whim, Namjoon moves his free hand from Taehyung’s nipple up to his hair and tugs, as hard as he’s emotionally able to without feeling kind of bad. Taehyung gives an honest-to-god moan, a low raspy sound, and Namjoon pulls back, looks at him with wide eyes.

“I — like that,” Taehyung says between breaths.

“Yeah, I...I got that,” Namjoon mutters.

Taehyung’s hips tip forward, fuck into Namjoon’s slowing hand, and Namjoon remembers himself, strokes Taehyung harder, quicker. He keeps his other hand gripped in Taehyung’s hair, pulls a little bit more, experimental. It makes Taehyung whimper, and Namjoon is filled with a single-minded purpose to make that noise keep happening.

“What else do you like?” Namjoon asks, curious and eager to please.

“How much time do you have?” Taehyung asks with a breathy little laugh. “Mostly normal stuff. Just, ah, you know. Sometimes it's good when it hurts.”

Namjoon doesn’t respond, just keeps stroking Taehyung, enjoying the way Taehyung’s eyes keep closing like he can’t help it. He thinks Taehyung’s getting close, judging from the way he keeps shuddering toward Namjoon, and this deserves his full attention.

“More,” Taehyung tells him softly, voice low, and Namjoon isn’t sure what he’s asking for more of, so he gives Taehyung all of it. Kisses him again, strokes him faster, tugs at his hair harder, and Taehyung cries out against Namjoon’s mouth, trembles hard in his hands, and he’s coming.

Namjoon slows, strokes him through it until Taehyung pulls away, and loosens his grip until he’s just petting Taehyung’s hair gently, hoping he didn’t hurt him.

“Thanks,” Taehyung whispers, flopping onto his back with his eyes closed, looking spent.

Namjoon nods, lies down with his face against Taehyung’s chest. He kisses Taehyung’s shoulder errantly, and Taehyung hums. They’re quiet, resting in their own idyllic little glow for a moment, and then Namjoon can’t help himself. He’s so bad at keeping quiet.

“Mostly normal,” he says.

“Hm?”

“You said mostly normal.”

“Well,” Taehyung says quietly with a breath. “Depends on your definitions of normal, I guess.”

“Society,” Namjoon comments. He has an actual point, but he can’t quite reach it right now. ‘Society’ seems to work well enough though, because Taehyung nods.

“You really wanna know my weird sex stuff?” Taehyung asks.

“I really do. Is that weird?”

“It’s kinda weird, but I’m into it,” Taehyung says. “I think feet are pretty. People think that one’s weird.”

“Oh, that’s not that weird,” Namjoon tells him.

“I also think I might have a thing for like, collars? Leashes? I dunno, I haven’t thought too hard about it yet.”

Namjoon hums. “Interesting. I want you to choke me.”

“Consider it done,” Taehyung says conversationally.

“I like you,” Namjoon says with a content sigh.

Taehyung laughs quietly. “You said that already.”

“I wanted to say it again.”

“I really like that.”

Quiet again for a moment, and Namjoon spreads himself out, rests an arm across Taehyung’s body. “Hey, that date you wanted to go on.”

“Yeah?”

“Are you free for that right now?”

Taehyung smiles, slow to spread across his face, and Namjoon can’t help but smile back. “Let me check my schedule.” He mimes looking at a watch, and Namjoon laughs. “Yeah, turns out I’m super duper free.”

“Great,” Namjoon says, propping himself up. There’s something about Taehyung, so easy and comfortable and calm, that makes Namjoon feel a little less on edge. A little less like everything he’s saying is the wrong thing. Maybe it’s just his very recent orgasm, but then, that’s never made that much of a difference before. Maybe it’s because Namjoon’s already tried his damndest to do everything wrong, and Taehyung’s just looked at him and smiled. Regardless, it’s a free kind of feeling, not currently being weighed down by the fear that he’ll do something to scare Taehyung off.

He thinks about Taehyung liking the warmth from the sun. He thinks about what their date should be. “Can I show you my squirrels?”

Taehyung looks amused. “What is that a euphemism for?”

“No, they’re real squirrels. There’s this little patch of grass by our apartment, and I befriended the squirrels who visit. They’re cool.”

“Oh. Cool. Yeah, let’s go see your squirrels, hyung.”

They clean up together, put themselves back in working human order, and when they walk out of the cool air conditioning into the hot, humid afternoon, Taehyung grabs his hand like it’s no big deal at all.

“So you like squirrels,” Taehyung says, sounding just as genuinely interested as he did when he was asking Namjoon about his dissertation.

“I like most little animals,” Namjoon says. “Cats and dogs hate me, so I go for the little ones. Frogs are my favorite.”

“I love frogs,” Taehyung says happily.

Namjoon turns to smile at him, feeling giddy in the sunlight. “Wow,” he says. Taehyung giggles back at him, and the two of them stare at each other like idiots for just a moment, until someone rushes by them hurriedly and jostles them a little.

But that’s fine — everything’s fine. They go to Namjoon’s patch of grass, and the squirrels come out when Namjoon procures some peanuts that he bought at a convenience store on the way, and Taehyung looks at him like this is completely normal, and Namjoon texts his group chat with Yoongi and Hoseok “i’m in love”, and Taehyung keeps holding his hand.

(Yoongi texts him back that love is a scam, and Hoseok tells him not to be bitter just because he won’t tell Seokjin and Jungkook how he feels; Namjoon ignores their texts and goes home with Taehyung again, the two of them eating messy take-out on Taehyung’s floor and then having messy sex on his bed. He’s probably not in love, really, but he's always had trouble telling. The point is, the real point is, he's happy.)