Falling in love, romance, matters of the heart – when you fall in love, on some biochemical level you know there is a chance it won’t work out. It’s ingrained in us that if you take such an enormous risk on someone with your heart that it might not pay off. I gamble all my chips and I might actually lose everything.
“All I’m saying is that I don’t want to sort of fall in love with fifty different people. I’d rather find one person and fall completely, deeply in over my head.
So much of their career is about being loud that sometimes when they get home, everyone just goes their own way, each person just separates from the whole and migrate to different parts of their apartment and it’s kind of nice?
He usually changes out of his clothes if they smell bad because dance practices are kind of hellish, but this is not one of those times, so he sinks into the loveseat and sinks into it, hoping that it will devour him. He just wants to pass out into blissful numbness. He shuts his eyes, almost drifting off immediately.
Then, he feels the seat on his right sink, and he’s painfully aware of life again.
He’s about to snap, about to push this fucking invader off his sofa, dammit, when he turns and looks at who it is.
It’s Namjoon, and the adrenaline just fades.
Namjoon is sitting there, at the very edge, none of his body touching Jin’s, purposely making sure their skin doesn’t touch. And Jin relaxes into the animal comfort of being close to someone without touching them. He gets it. He’s feeling a bit overwhelmed too, and his skin feels itchy and strangely alive, and if anyone touches him, he’s afraid his skin will vibrate or tingle with phantom electricity. He sinks his head into the backing even further, without a single noise.
But then again, he’s awake. So he opens his eyes and looks at the boy next to him.
Namjoon has headphones in, and he’s biting his lower lip in concentration, softly mouthing words. And Jin watches at the way the other boy’s hand twitches as if he’s about to write something down. Someone has turned off the main lights, keeping only the faint golden kitchen lights on, and Namjoon’s face is glowing. And Jin can’t stop looking.
Namjoon’s eyes curve perfectly when they’re closed, like little wings. His skin, now makeup free, has little marks, acne scars faded over time. He has this little scar near his jawline, on his cheek, a nick from a ring or paper, and the scar has healed white in his dark skin. Jin looks away, mouth suddenly dry.
He’s used to being attracted to people, don’t get him wrong. Usually, though, they were somewhere along the line of his favourite k-drama actress, not Namjoon. And Jin isn’t ready to open that particular can of worms, so he closes his eyes again, and he drifts off like that.
No, you don’t understand,
it’s not that i don’t try, it's
that i try so fucking hard to be
Worth your time, to be funny
and smart and pretty and deserving
of your love, but
despite every attempt
i’m still not enough
If Jin was a princess, then the kitchen was his domain. No one entered without his express permission, because it was Jin’s . You wouldn’t cross a border without the proper permission and documents, and it was the same in Bangtan’s dorm.
Jin had already made lunch, but he didn’t want to leave yet, so he decided to cut some vegetables for the next meal. Always be prepared, and all that.
The ginger was easy. The kimchi was perfectly fermented. But then Jin gets to the onions, and that’s when everything goes to shit.
Onions make people cry. Everyone knows this, he even knows that the tears cleanse your eyes of toxins and all that but he has this perfect excuse to cry, so he does.
One teardrop splats onto the cutting board, and the waterworks start.
It’s not like he’s sad or whatever, but he’s tired and the dance moves are hard and he just wants to not be here. And he should be over this because he’s been a part of Bangtan for years, but the raw disappointment in himself never fades away.
Okay, yes, logically, he’s crying because someone posted a video about all of his flaws, insulted him. But he’s okay with that, he knows people like that will hate him no matter what he does, but it’s not about him, not really. It’s just that they’d insulted Bangtan as well, and to top it off, his mother.
And he couldn’t stand that, but he can’t get angry, or he’ll explode. So he settles on upset, and if the knife comes down harder than necessary, it’s no one’s business but his one.
Everyone walks around the kitchen, almost like they can sense he’s about to burst, and they don’t approach, and Jin is selfishly angry about that because he wants to scream at someone, eviscerate someone and yank out their bones with his bare fingers and he’s red hot with rage.
Some people turn anger into motivation. Jin is not one of those people.
He doesn’t even realise when the knife slips and cuts his soft palm, not until he realises that the onions are stained red with blood and that the gritty knife is burning into him, and then he drops the knife and he back away slowly, bleeding hand cradled against his chest, and then Jeongguk walks past and he sees . And Jin is filled with shame, because he’s not supposed to be like this.
“Oh shit, hyung, what happened, why are you bleeding-oh my fucking GOD Yoongi-hyung please get over here!” And Jeongguk keeps screaming and screeching but Jin has gone cold and all he feels is the blood drip drip dripping out and Jeongguk manages to make him sit on the floor and he really needs to sweep the place, doesn’t he? There’s dust everywhere and if Jin so much as sees a cockroach he’s going to lose his shit-
“Brat, I was recording! How many times have I told you-” Yoongi stops speaking and Jin just stares at the blood and watches as it beads up. It’s mesmerizing.
“-hyung. Jin-hyung. Look at me.” It’s Yoongi, speaking to him in a soft, tender voice. He’s on the floor next to him. Jin looks at him and realizes that he looks scared. “Okay, hyung, we’re going to go to call the doctor, okay? But for now, I’m going to bandage your hand.” He gently opens the medical box and Jin marvels at that. He wasn’t aware that Yoongi knew that they even had a first aid box, much less knew how to use it.
“Sorry.” It falls out of his mouth, soft and strained. He’s scaring everyone. Jin must look like a right mess, dewy tears sticky on his face, eyes red and nose pink. He’s sniffling. “So sorry.”
Yoongi, of course, gets what he’s saying and hums. “Nothing to apologise for. It happens.” Jin says nothing else, just answers Dr Bong’s questions. She rebandages the cut and leaves, and Jin is still on the kitchen floor. And he’s so damn embarrassed.
The fucking onions. He gets up quickly, quieting a scream when he uses his injured right hand like an idiot, and he sees the onions, blood tinged, and he opens the trash can and dumps them in with a satisfying thud. He can’t stop staring at them, the stupid fucking onions.
“What happened to your hand?” It’s Namjoon, and he’s staring at the bandages, and Jin doesn’t say anything, and then Namjoon takes his hand and looks at it with those lean eyes, and Jin can almost see him run different theories in his head, if the way his mouth twists up is any inclination at all.
“Ah, it was nothing. I was cutting onions and I got distracted. The doctor said not to worry about it.” He keeps making these awkward hand gestures, trying to bat away what he really felt because he doesn’t want Namjoon to know.
Which is foolish, because Namjoon knows almost everything about him. Namjoon looks at him and Jin suddenly realizes that he saw the fucking video too, that he understands, and Jin wilts. Namjoon lets go of his hand before staring Jin dead in the eyes.
“It’s okay to break hyung.” And he fucking makes Jin sit at the sofa, their sofa, and forces him to watch yet another Studio Ghibli film and relax, and Jin can’t break free, doesn’t really want to get up.
So he doesn’t, and he falls asleep against Namjoon's shoulder. It’s surprisingly easy, too easy, and that’s when Jin realizes something is wrong.
The interviewer leans forward. “So who’s your celebrity crush?”
Jin smiles and blurts out without any hesitation. “Rap Monster!” And Namjoon pulls him in for a hug, and Jin doesn’t even notice the tightness on Namjoon’s face.
Nor does he realise that Hoseok and Jimin are making hearts around the two of them.
It’s another day after dance practice, and Jin feels sore in places he didn’t know existed. He’s slumped over on his sofa, and he feels warm hands on his cheeks. They’re calloused and the pads of the fingers trace the edges of his eyes.
He knows exactly who it is. He doesn’t dare open his eyes, because he knows it’ll end if he does. He falls asleep like that, warm hands cupping his face.
The camera is rolling for a live video. Taehyung is at the piano, playing the wedding song.
Jeongguk stands close to him, watching Taehyung play before he smiles mischievously.
“Please welcome, Kim Seokjin and…” And Jin laughs because it’s so fucking funny.
But then Jeongguk looks Namjoon who’s laying on the sofa, playing on his phone. He looks at Namjoon .
He has a dream. He seems to be fighting in a battle, and he sees the blurry figures of Taehyung and Jimin, fighting in the distance, but he keeps moving forward with some unknown panic, and he keeps running even when his chest hurts. And he stops all of a sudden and looks down.
And on the floor lays Namjoon, blood seeping everywhere, face bruised purple, eyes closed. Namjoon isn’t breathing, his chest is barely rising, and the sky shatters like glass. Namjoon isn’t supposed to be like this, he’s supposed to be there. Jin whispers, and Jin knows by dream logic that he’s sobbing, holding Namjoon’s chest near his ear. He’s screaming and sobbing, begging him to stay, to be okay, but Namjoon’s eyes stay closed.
He’s screaming when he wakes up, and Yoongi falls to the floor in panic.
“Why should I have to kiss him? I didn’t lose! Why am I getting the punishment!”
The camera zooms in as Jin keeps laughing.
“You have to make the ‘Muah’ sound!” And Jin is dying.
“You have to get closer! Get close!”
He’s holding onto Namjoon’s shoulder really tightly, and he can see Namjoon close his eyes, going pale, running his tongue over the bottom of his teeth.
“Hurry up! Three, two-” And it’s a quick press of his lips touching the smooth skin near his eyes, and he bolts off camera.
But if he had stayed, he would’ve seen the blush on Namjoon’s face.
He’s dancing in the studio, and he catches Namjoon’s eyes. Right before Namjoon turns away, Jin can see something hungry in his eyes. Beyond that though, there is something pained and wild.
Jin puts extra effort into dancing that day, and he sees Namjoon’s red face in the mirror when his shirt rides up when he stretches.
Jimin calls out to him, and then he forgets about this for a while. Then, nightfall comes, and Jin remembers this and flushes deeply. What was going on with him?
Jimin fiddles with his phone and Jin and Namjoon pose as the filters give them little ears.
“Right now, you two are husband and wife.”
Namjoon looks at him, and Jin looks back. “Eh???”
“And Seokjin-hyung is the girl.”
Namjoon and Jimin start laughing, surprised, and Jin just smiles smugly, not really understanding.
It’s late, and Namjoon is sitting in the armchair, and even though Jin knows he’s watching the movie with the rest of them, he sees his pained face in the periphery. Namjoon screws up his mouth repeatedly and jolts back into the real world every now and then.
Jin wonders what he’s thinking about. The two-seater sofa feels too large all of a sudden.
The camera is slightly blurry, and the light falls on his face, a circle of light over his eyes. His sombrero is tilted upwards. Namjoon smiles at the camera.
“To Jin.” He smiles, almost bashfully.
“I’m proud that we have such a handsome member like you. Thank you for making us laugh always.” He pauses.
“I’m not sure if you can see this. If you can see this…” He stops and smiles cheekily. “Please don’t slap me in the face.”
The camera turns to the left, and Jin is giggling, smiling with all his teeth.
The k-dramas make falling in love so fucking pretty, with all the flowers and sweet smiles and soft music and Jin feels cheated because he gets absolutely none of that, not really. He’s just cooking Yachae Kalguksu for Namjoon and it just hits him in the face.
Oh shit. And he just knows, knows in that split second that Kim Namjoon means more to him than life itself, and that all he wants in life is to be by him.
He sinks to the floor like a dying whale. Oh. Oh. Oh nonononononono . He’s fucking mental, obviously idiots like him would figure it out last, god did everyone else know about this? He shoves his hand in front of his mouth to muffle his shrieks, and his chest hurts of all of a sudden, and he nearly blacks out when he hits his head on the edge of the countertop and there’s this awful tightness in his chest-
There is no one else in the apartment at the moment, he realises. Everyone was elsewhere.
He begins to shake silently. He can’t feel his hands.
The sob rips from this throat like an injured animal, and the tears fall. He paws at his face, trying to wipe them away, force them back into his tear ducts. No, not now, shoo, go back in!
He knows Taehyung will be back soon, and he can’t stand this, can’t stand to fall apart in front of him, so he reaches for the countertop and pulls himself upward, clipping his head again, and his fingers wince and tremble from exertion. He was shivering in the heat. Stumbling forward, one step forward at a time, left right left right until he gets to the restrooms and shut the door, hears the click of the lock.
And then he can fall apart. He pulls of his shirt and pants before jumping into the tub, sitting on the floor as he turns on the pipe and he’s blasted in the face with cold water, and Jin feels like he’s going to drown there, and maybe he should, because he couldn’t fall in love, he was Kim fucking Seokjin, he broke hearts, he would not be heartbroken.
His nails rake into his shoulders, drawing bloody gashes and he wails in pain, hoping to get it out of him, he doesn’t want to feel this way, doesn’t want to taint his relationship with Namjoon.
It’s not even that they’re two men, it’s that it’s him, he didn’t think he would do this, didn’t think he could fall so fast and so hard for someone who deserved more than him, more than him . He leans his head on the cold porcelain and his eyes are red and they fucking sting. He sits there until his skin is frigid and he can’t feel the warmth of affection. He pulls himself out of the tub and looks at himself, looks at the bloodied marks and he has to leave, he has to escape. He has to run before he dug himself any deeper, god, before Namjoon found out that he wanted him, before Namjoon understood that Jin wanted more .
God, how pathetic was he? A panic attack of all things.
You know it all
You’re my best friend
The morning will come again
No darkness, no season is eternal
Hoseok gets lots of action figures and Hot Wheels cars, and he places each one of them reverently on his shelves like they’re the Queen’s jewels instead of dinky little plastic and metal figures and automobiles. Jin thinks it’s ridiculously cute, so he doesn’t say anything but pinches Hoseok’s cheeks sometimes just to let the boy know that he’s adorable.
Hobi, of course, scowls petulantly, because Jung Hoseok is an angry baby who secretly never grew out of being a sensitively funny person, and Jin loves him for that. Because it was hard to have constants in their life, but Jung Hoseok would always be that one person who just stayed. Who could’ve left, almost left, but stayed nonetheless.
He tells him as much when he lays on the sofa, Hobi laying on the floor. Everyone else is out or asleep in their rooms, so it seems like it’s only Hoseok and Jin who are alive.
“Tell me about your mother, hyung,” Hobi asks lazily, clearly seeing through his attempt at diverting the conversation, Jeolla accent soft on his tongue. Jin moves around and settles for a bit before continuing.
“She wants me to come home for a while since we’ve all been so busy? She sounds excited about it, and Seokjung-hyeong is coming with Misun and baby Sohye. I’m thinking of staying for two days, maybe dinner and then leaving the afternoon of the third day.” He’s wringing his hands, he realises, so he stops, but now it feels wrong, so he starts doing it again.
“Then what’s wrong? We don’t have anything on those days beyond dance practice, and you’ve already got the movements down. So why are you worrying?” Hoseok bites absentmindedly on his nails, and Jin bats his hand down. It’s a bad habit.
“I just…I don’t know if this is a good time, that’s all.” That’s a weird statement, he thinks immediately after he says it. How strange for everything to have changed, now that he was in love.
“You sound like a suburban mom refusing a cruise trip, hyung,” Hoseok says, half laughing. Jin just feels insulted.
“I do not! I just…you know…” And Hoseok just gives him a look, and he wilts.
“I’m being dumb, aren’t I?” And Hobi sees the very real trace of insecurity there and hums for a moment before replying.
“I think you’re worrying over the things that might happen instead of just jumping at the chance to spend time with your family.” They both fall silent after that because they’re both afraid of what might happen if he leaves. The air is heavy with many unsaid things. Hoseok rolls over and looks him in the eye.
“We’re adults, hyung. We do need you, but we won’t die without you if you take off for two days. Yoongi-hyung and I can hold down the fort and make sure everyone eats.” Hoseok says this with an air of resolute finality, and Jin doesn’t say a word.
How can he possibly explain that he was running away?
Because, if you could love someone, and keep loving them, without being loved back . . . then that love had to be real. It hurt too much to be anything else. -Sarah Cross
I’m so tired of love songs, tired of love songs
Tired of love songs, tired of love
Just wanna go home, wanna go home
Wanna go home, whoa
~ I’m so tired , Troye Sivan and Lauv,
Come next Friday, he has a backpack with some extra pair of clothes and other necessities. He’s standing at the doorway, just leaning in at the threshold, like he’s afraid to leave. Which is untrue, by the way, because Kim Seokjin doesn’t get afraid.
In any case, he’s said goodbye to everyone else, but now he’s kind of just waiting, and he didn’t even realize that he was waiting for a person till Namjoon trudged out of his studio like some sort of gormless creature of the night.
Namjoon is standing next to him, out of his room for the first time in days. His lips are cracked and he has dark circles under his eyes. His hair is unwashed and greasy and he has a cluster of acne at his hairline. If they were younger, Jin would drag him to the tub, still clothes, and rubs shampoo roughly into his scalp and envelop him in a towel until all the grey misery Namjoon held was corralled away for another day.
If they were younger. Now it might be strange, now that Jin has an urge to suck his dick.
“Have a safe trip Jin, deuleo-gaseyo ,” says Namjoon, leaning back against the wall, eyes closed. Jin takes this opportunity to burn the image of his face to memory.
“I will. Take care of yourself Joonie. Make sure the babies all eat. You know how Jimin gets…” Namjoon’s eyes are open again, and he nods not so much in agreement as in solidarity. Park Jimin was a dangerous topic.
Jin should be leaving now because he doesn’t know how traffic will be, and while Gwacheon is literally 25 minutes away on good days, he’s meeting his family in Yongin at this rented cottage. But he doesn’t, and Namjoon’s watching him, eyes hooded, before he grabs Jin’s hands and casually holds them.
It’s a bit odd but it’s comforting, the way Namjoons fingers trace the lines on his hand, going around Jin’s scar. Namjoon traces his pulse point at his wrist, and Jin’s breath hitches for a second. Namjoon lets go and murmurs something about having fun. Jin says something similar back, and he walks out their apartment into the car section in a fugue state.
He sees his car. It isn’t flashy or powerful, but it’s the car he bought with his first few paychecks before they got famous. Jimin and Jeongguk tease him about it, calling it a rust bucket in an almost fond way. They’d ask him about his refusal to buy another car, and he would shrug. He didn’t really know why, but it didn’t seem to matter very much in the grand scale of things anyhow, because everyone piles into his car when they have to go somewhere, not in any of the sleeker models they now own. He thinks about the car, because thinking about anything else would hurt too much.
He slips into the driver’s side and starts the car, and it’s smooth as butter when he pulls out. He’s wearing a baseball cap and his glasses so people won't recognise him, and this is a surprisingly good disguise.
He’s driving and not thinking because that means he has to think about what happened at the doorway, and he’s not ready to agonise over that. So he focuses on the mechanics of driving, moving the stick and pressing the brakes, singing along to English songs he can barely pronounce.
He’s almost at Yongin, and he doesn’t want to ruin anyone’s mood, didn’t want to admit that he was a coward. He files it away for later, because this is the first time he’s going to see everyone in a while, and he has to admit that he is really excited.
He pulls into the city and smiles. He loves this place - they used to vacation here sometimes, back when his dad worked his desk job. They’d carefully gather vacation days and the moment summer started, they’d hit off to the city for a week or two and forget everything else about their lives and just breathe again. For a moment, he wants to press against the window and stare at everything, as he did as a child, but he doesn’t. Because lots of things have changed now, and besides, he’s the driver and he’s not getting into another car accident. The first one was terrifying enough.
He’s exhausted because traffic has been a bit horrible, but then he pulls out of the main city road into a side alley leading to the cottage and wanders for a bit before finally reaching the house. He drives into a dirt road past the house, just in case someone saw him getting out of his car. He walks back and knocks on the door. He hears footsteps thudding and the click of the latch. The door opens to reveal a pretty woman, shorter than Jin, and she pulls him in.
"Anyoung haseyo , Eomma,” He whispers as she hugs him tightly. God, he’s missed this. He's missed her , and he wants her to make it better .
“ Anyoung haseyo , Jinnie,” She replies softly. He kisses her head and they both walk into the main room of the house.
His brother and father are chatting casually as Misun sits against the other wall, on the other side, playing with baby Sohye.
“ Anyoung haseyo , kajok . I’m sorry for arriving late.” He pays his respects to his father and elder brother before sitting next to Misun, carefully taking baby Sohye from her.
“Hello my little joka ,“ He says to his niece, who burbles something incoherent in response. He turns to his sister-in-law. “Hello, hyeongsu-nim .” His sister-in-law hits him lightly on the leg before pouting.
“Brat, stop being so damn formal. I literally grew up in the house next to yours.” Seokjung-hyeong looks up at her and frowns at her language, and Misun just sticks her tongue out, and giggles. She blows him a kiss, and he pantomimes catching it.
Jin wants to cry. Namjoon would catch his kisses too.
“True, but it annoys you so much.” He picks up Sohye and blows a raspberry on her soft tummy, and she giggles loudly before babbling something, her hands moving in an exaggerated fashion. She’s adorable. Sohye looks a lot like her father, chubby cheeks with dimples, but she’s loud and full of expression like her mother. Jin secretly thinks her eyes look like his, and he resembles his mother, so he pretends that they have their own little club.
“How have you been, doryeonnim ?” Misun smiles softly as she asks. “Did you let everyone know that you’ve arrived safely?” He hasn’t, so he quickly pulls out his phone and sends a quick message. Sohye tries to paw at his phone, so he sends everyone a quick selfie with her. The messages flood in, lots of thumbs ups and cooing at how cute Sohye was. He lets them know that he’ll message them later, and he shuts off his phone, much to Sohye’s protests.
“I’m…okay. I’m a bit worried that they won't eat without me, but Hobi assured me that he’ll make sure everyone eats and sleeps and stuff like that. It’s kind of dumb of me to worry, considering they’re all adults and stuff.” His mouth is kind of dry, and he’s repeated stuff twice so far. He hasn’t even mentioned the whole being in love thing, and he’s already nervous.
She raises her eyebrows. “Hobi? That’s the cute one with a happy smile and badass raps, right?” Jin nods, and she continues. “I think he’s my bias, honestly, so adorable, yet so hot. I’d tap that.” Jin chokes.
“Misun! You can’t say stuff like that!”
“Oh, now he’s all casual! Who’s the hypocrite now?”
“Besides, I’m supposed to be your bias, dammit! I’m your brother-in-law!”
“Which is exactly why you can’t be my bias! I know too much! I have lots of stories from your brother!” She looks at her husband, tilting her head in mock seriousness, and Seokjung-hyeong just winks and smiles, and Jin gags.
“I need eye bleach.” More like a bottle of whiskey. How was he supposed to forget if the two of them kept reminding him of love?
“Ha! Suck it, loser!” Misun cheers wildly, whacking him in the face.
“ Eomma , Misun is bullying me!”
“Misun! Seokjin! Stop fighting and help me set the food on the table.” Misun instantly hands Sohye to her husband, and the two of them enter the kitchen.
His Eomma has made lots of food, and Jin’s left eye starts twitching, and he’s almost dying when everyone finally sits down at the table. His father begins eating, and all of them pick up their chopsticks.
"Jal meokgesseumnida , Eomma,” Jin manages to say before he dives in. His mother made his favourite Naengmyun, and he quickly shovels in the cold noodles and nearly dies in the process, his brother hitting his back to force them out of his throat, yelling at him all the while.
“ Namdongsaeng , you idiot, slow down!” Jin shoves more noodles in and puffs his cheeks out like a chipmunk, staring at his brother.
“Don’t do that, it’s creepy!” The entire dinner goes in this fashion, and once the soju is broken out Jin began regaling Sohye with stories of her parent’s antics.
“Sohye, your parents are actual idiots. One time, your father ran out in the rain because he wanted to see your mother. That’s actually kind of sweet until you realize that your mother was on vacation with her family for another month, so he just sat out on her doorstep like a loser.” Seokjung just chokes as Misun turned to him and began interrogating him.
“Yeobo , you never told me about this!”
“That’s because he was too busy convincing you to date him, he wasn’t going to tell you about his weird stalking,” Jin retorts.
“It wasn’t stalking!” His brother hisses while his wife continues to pester. His Eomma just smiles serenely into her rice and radish soup, while their father laughs softly.
He sees his father and mother holding hands under the table, quietly. Not calling any attention to it, just being themselves. Jin knows all about his brother’s love story, because he was there, but he knows almost nothing about his parents. No one wants to know about their parents' love story, not really, but now Jin is curious. How can you love someone you married out of necessity?
How can you look at someone like that at all? Like they’ve hung the moon just for you? Aren’t you scared that they’ll know that they can destroy you, crush you like an ant? Aren’t you frightened of the power they have? Aren’t you petrified?
Feel like I'm always apologizing for feeling
Like I'm out of my mind when I'm doing just fine
And my exes will say that I'm hard to deal with
And I admit it, it's true
~ Anxiety , by Julia Michaels and Selena Gomez
Everyone eventually retires into their bedrooms, and Jin is left alone. He paces in his nightclothes before dialing Taehyung.
“Yah. This is Taehyung.” He sounds tired, and Jin wonders if they’re doing alright without him.
“Taehyung-ah, it’s Jin-hyung. How is everything over there?”
“Jin-hyung! We’re okay. Hobi-hyung was totally into making sure we all ate, so I know he’s like your secret agent. You can't fool me, hyung!” Taehyung shouts enthusiastically and Jin laughs softly. “How are things there, hyung? Do you have more pictures of Sohye? I want to see my joka too, y' know?” Jin can physically hear his pout on the other end.
“I’ll send them to you in the morning, okay? In any case… how is Namjoon?” He freezes. Dammit, he was supposed to ask that subtly.
“Oh Ho hyung! Is someone concerned for our illustrious leader? Do tell? Is there any juicy gossip? Why the concern for Namjoon-hyung, specifically?” Jin flushes at the implications, and then flushes even harder when he realizes that he shouldn’t enjoy said implications this much.
“Nothing like that, you pervert! He just looked really bad when I left, so I wanted to know if he was okay now…” He’d looked like hell warmed over, and Jin still wanted to jump him. What did that say about his standards? He forces himself to listen to Taehyung’s response.
“He’s okay hyung. Yoongi-hyung forced him to shower and made sure he ate food and stuff. He’s asleep on the couch right now. I can even get a picture!” He hears Taehyung’s feet hitting the floor and shriek of one disturbed Park Jimin, and then he has a new photo from Tae.
He clicks it open. Namjoon’s passed out on his stomach, his face still visible. He’s drooling and his face looks dead. But at the very least, he was sleeping.
“Doesn’t hyung look great! Sleeping beauty! Maybe someone should kiss him and wake him up! A certain wide shouldered person, eh?”
“Taehyung-ah!” Jin chokes out. He hears Taehyung giggle before yawning on the other side. He sees the moon light on the floor and realises how late it is.
“Hey…are you tired? You should go to sleep...”
“I am hyung, I just wanted to talk to for a bit. It's been a long day here, without you. I miss you a lot, even though I know you're close by. You have to send me the pictures, okay? Don't forget. Annyeonghi gaseyo , hyung.”
“Annyeonghi gaseyo , Taehyungie. I miss you loads as well.” The call ends, and Jin flops on his bed. He lays there annoyed as his mind keeps whirring uncomfortably, and eventually, he goes to sit outside on the porch.
He leans on a pillar and closes his eyes for a moment. He hears someone walking up to him, someone behind him. He sees long brown hair swinging back and forth before anything else.
“Mind if I keep you company?” It’s Mihun.
“No...it’s fine. Why aren’t you asleep?”
“Chronic insomnia, among other things.” They sit in companionable silence for a while before she turns to him and asks him a question that makes his blood run cold.
“Are you hurting yourself, Jinnie?” Jin gapes at her, startled.
“What are those red welts on your arm, then?” And Misun looks at him knowingly, and then Jin knows that she knows.
“It’s…it isn’t what you think it is…” Fuck, it’s exactly what she thinks it is.
“You know that you can talk to me right? If you can’t tell your friends or your family, you can tell me.”
“You’re my family, too.” He’s diverting. He doesn't want to talk to anyone about this, much less Misun.
“Yeah yeah. But I’ll understand. If you want to talk.”
Jin doesn’t say anything, and she sighed softly, as if about to release a great burden.
“I tried to kill myself after Jia was born.” What the? Misun did what? He turns to her, alarmed.
“No one knows except for your brother. I had...postpartum depression. Taking care of Sohye was so hard and I was so lonely and I was upset all the time. Sohye wouldn’t stop crying and I just shut down and stopped sleeping and one day I woke up at midnight and thought, ‘Maybe I should just jump’. I opened the glass door and walked out to the balcony and got on a step stool and I was about to jump. I was ready for it to stop hurting.” Misun stares at the floor, unable to meet his eyes, face tense with loss.
“But you’re still here...so you didn’t jump. How did…” He’s curious, and he hates himself for that.
“Sohye started crying, and your brother is a deep sleeper, and he wasn’t stirring. I stepped down and shut the glass door and walked to her, and after I fed her, the urge had passed. I didn’t tell your brother for the longest time, not until I was completely well again, and he was...well he was devastated, to put it shortly.” She brushed her long brown hair out with her hands. “What I’m saying is that while I might not understand entirely, I can relate enough. So talk to me, tell me what’s wrong, because there is nothing in the world that would make me not love you, little brother.”
Jin hugs his knees. She sounds so earnest in her offer, had basically bared her soul to him. He needed to repay her, and he had to tell someone .
“I’m in love with a friend.” He almost laughs at how generic that statement is. She is silent for a few moments before quietly asking, “Isn’t love a great thing?”
“Not if the person deserves better?”
“Jinnie, who’s this person? They must be Buddha or Jesus or a saint if they deserve better than you.”
“It’s....it’s a guy.” He winces, waiting for her reaction. He knows she’s okay with homosexuality, but sometimes people changed their mind when it was immediate family, and he has no clue how she’ll react.
“Oh....is is Hoseok? I’m sorry for saying he’s my bias then.” Misun says, somberly. Jin nearly starts crying in relief.
“It’s not Hoseok, Noona. Don’t worry.” She smiles softly, grinning.
“Who is it?”
“Namjoon.” She made a soft, pained noise.
“What?” His voice is raised.
“Nothing! It’s just...really obvious, now that I realise it…” Misun looks at him apologetically. “But you’re wrong, you know.”
“About what? For loving him?”
“No, idiot. For thinking you’re not good enough for him. Namjoon would be blessed to have you,” She says with an air of conviction before pulling him in for a hug, and he buries his face in her shoulders.
You asked me
if I believed in love
at first sight.
And I said no.
And that wasn’t a lie
because I’d been in love
without even knowing
for my entire life.
“Pingeeee! Pingueeeee!” Sohye shrieks and Jin tries to take her away from the exhibit. His family had left her with him, and Jin had made the regrettable mistake of introducing Sohye to the aquatic birds.
The rest of his family had gone on a ‘safari’ tour to see the wild animals, and when they’d realized Sohye was too young to go with them, he’s offered to stay behind. He takes a seat on a bench nearby, holding her under the armpits so she can still clap every time one dives underneath the water. His arms get tired after a while, so he seats her on his lap with one arm cradling her. She looks up at him, staring at him in disappointment. She opens her mouth to complain, but Jin’s already fallen for that once, so he hastily presses the bottle’s nipple against her open mouth, and thankfully, she takes it.
Everland was large and bustling and grimy, and Jin loves it. Sohye drinks the milk slowly, and he begins to relax, making sure to keep his head tilted downwards as to avoid recognition. He knows there’s a news crew in the park, hell, practically expected it from the moment he bought the tickets and saw the worker’s eyes widen calculatingly. He’d grabbed the ticket as quickly as he could and bolted, but he tenses every time he so much as sees a camera or phone.
He could wear the face mask sitting in his pocket, but Sohye started screaming every time he did, and he figured a screaming baby drew more attention than his face.
He wonders about the headlines. ‘Jin’s love child ’? But on a more serious note, Misun would kill him if Sohye ended up on the news. He looked at the baby in question. Her eyes were drooping slowly, and she pushed the bottle away and snuggled into his hoodie. He picked her up and rested her head on his shoulder. She usually fell asleep better this way anyway.
His phone rings. Great, someone is calling him. He accepts the call and places at his ear, bouncing Sohye up and down as she whimpers and sobs at the disruption. Fucking universe.
“Jin-hyung, it’s Yoongi.” The voice on the other side sounds dead and minorly annoyed, so basically, Yoongi’s default. Jin continues to bounce Sohye on his lap.
“Yeah? What’s up?” He tries not to sound too annoyed, but it’s Yoongi, so he doesn’t try too hard.
“Nothing much. I just wanted to let you know about some important schedule changes for the upcoming week.” Jin makes a noise of agreement, like go on , and Yoongi updates him extensively.
“So that’s it. Enjoy your trip hyung, and I guess I’ll see you tomorrow-”
“Wait!” Yoongi makes a soft, confused noise on the other end.
“Is everything okay? Back at home?” Damn. When did the apartment become more of a home than anywhere else? Yoongi is silent on the other side.
“I guess…we’re okay. Hoseok is really making sure everyone eats, and I know you put him up to it. Nothing is wrong, but it’s weird without you here. Like the kitchen is empty and no one cleans up their shit, so I’ve been yelling at that brats to pick up their crap.” Jin is silent.
“Thanks Yoongi. How is Namjoon? Tae said he slept yesterday…”
“Uh. About that. He slept for three hours before waking up and running off to the studio. He’s recording something, and he hasn’t come out in a while. When Jeongguk went to get him, he told him that he was busy, and to leave him alone.”
“Oh…I thought…” He thought Namjoon would be okay, and he’s not, and he can’t pretend is heart doesn’t sink.
“He’s okay, don’t get me wrong. He’s been eating everything we set outside his door. It’s just that even when he does come out, he hides in that pile of boxes he has.”
“In the castle?” Okay, wow, things really did fall apart when he was gone.
“Sure. But he’s not non-responsive, he’s talking to us, even if it is just to tell us to leave him alone.” Jin knows this is actually Namjoon before he crashes, so he still has some time to get back.
“Alright. Thanks for letting me know about all of this Yoongi. I appreciate it. Do you want anything from Everland?”
“Hell no.” Somethings will never change.
“Fine. Bye, hyung.” The call ends, and Jin holds a sobbing Sohye in his arms. She’s screaming now, and he bounces her up and down in vain.
“Are you okay, son?” Jin looks up. It’s an old lady, staring at him with an air of suspicion.
“Ah…no. My brother left his daughter with me, and she’s already full and her diaper is clean, so I don’t know what’s wrong…”
“You children! Let me look at her.” Jin hesitates for a moment before handing her Sohye, who writhes in her grasp. She sits next to him at the bench and bounces Sohye in his arms.
“Don’t be rude. What’re your names?”
“I’m Kim Seokjin, and that’s Sohye.” She nods sharply, and she throws Sohye over her shoulder before burping her. Sohye lets out a little burp, and she hands her back to Jin. Jin looks at the lady and wonder if she’s some soft of goddess in disguise.
“Thank you, Ajumeoni . I don’t know what I would’ve done if you hadn’t stepped in.”
“You can repay me by going on a date with my granddaughter. You seem nice enough, and I don’t like the boy she is with right now.” Jin’s neck nearly cracks as he turns in her direction. Wow. He’s been propositioned before, but this lady was direct.
“Uh…I apologise. I wouldn’t be a good boyfriend…I’m in love with someone already, and your granddaughter deserves someone who isn’t taken.” He doesn’t mean to tell her so much, but he has, and whoop now it’s too late. The lady huffs loudly before turning to him with slitted eyes.
“Oh, you’re in love, are you! Tell me what you think love is, then! All you youngsters, always in love, never feeling suffering.” Jin bites his tongue. She doesn’t know what she’s saying he tells himself quietly. She doesn’t know. She looks at him, and he realizes he actually has to answer.
“Love…is when you love someone so much you won’t tell them, because you’re not good enough for them. Because you’ll just hold them back. Love is...is when someone holds you when you’re upset and watches three hours of films with you and always compliments your cooking and holds your hand and sits with you even when they don’t have to, even when you’re upset. They see the good in you when you can’t see it in yourself.” He looks up at the lady. “That’s what love is, isn’t it?”
She’s quiet for a moment, contemplative. “The girl you’re in love with must be very lucky.” And he laughs sadly, and he looks down at Sohye, who’s sucking her thumb quietly, drowsily.
“I don’t know. I’m too much of a coward to tell. How will she know she’s lucky or not if I never take the chance?” She looks at him, eyebrow raised.
“Then tell her.”
“She’s intelligent and beautiful and so strong. I’m good looking at that’s it. What can I offer her?” What can he present to Namjoon that he doesn’t already have? Talent? Fame? Fortune?
“You can offer her love, and that will be enough.” He opens his mouth to refute that, but she gives him a look before continuing.
“My husband died fighting in the war. We got married right before he left. I asked him the same thing.” She takes a shuddering breath. “I asked him, ‘What can you offer me before you leave?’ and all he had to offer was his love. And I thought that it was useless, love , and I didn’t believe him at first, but when he was killed, I nearly died myself.” She smiles sadly, looking at the crowd.
“Don’t let time defeat you, Kim Seokjin. Tell her, and it will be worth it at the end.” She looks down at her watch. “I have to leave now.Tell her before you come to regret it.” She takes his hand in her wrinkled one and pats Sohye’s head before getting up and merging with the crowd, and Jin watches her back until he no longer can, dark eyes stinging, sleeping child heavy in his arms.
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.
I want to go up to them and say Stop,
don’t do it—she’s the wrong woman,
he’s the wrong man, you are going to do things
you cannot imagine you would ever do,
you are going to do bad things to children,
you are going to suffer in ways you have not heard of,
you are going to want to die.
~I Go Back to May 1937 , by Sharon Olds
His mother knocks on his bedroom door, early in the morning. He’s awake, of course, just packing some clothes back in his backpack, as well as the souvenirs he got for everyone back at home.
“ Joeun achimieyo , my adul . Did you sleep well?” She asks him kindly and sits at the edge of his bed.
“ Jal jasseoyo , Eomma? I slept okay,” He says as he zips the bag up.
“I as well. I wanted to ask you to come with me somewhere.”
“Where are we going?”
“Everyone else is going to sleep in a bit, maybe take Sohye to this neighboring park. But I would like you to come with me to this temple, on Yunhwa mountain.”
Jin…was kind of sore from all the walking of the day before. But he wasn't going to refuse spending time with his mother.
“Sure. We can take my car…how long will we be up there?”
“For a while I think, three hours? Wawoojeongsa is large. I suggest charging your phone because a friend says it’s lovely up there.” Jin nods in response.
“We’ll leave in an hour then?”
“Yes, that will be just enough time for me to make your Appa some breakfast. You ought to put your bag in your car as well, just in case.” She leaves and he does exactly that before entering the kitchen. His father is eating alone, some healthy cereal or something. Jin pours himself a bowl before sitting next to him.
“ Jal jasseoyo , Appa .”
“I slept well, my adul .” His father picks at his cereal before speaking again.
“I feel as if you and I have not had a chance to talk for a while. Is there anything you would like to talk about?” Jin takes a moment to swallow his bite of cereal and leans back a bit, thinking. He could ask something stupid, or he could take a chance and learn about something meaningful.
“How did you know that you loved Eomma?” His father pauses for a moment.
“Ah, has someone caught your eye? Who’s the lucky lady?” Jin shakes his head, almost snorting. Namjoon? Effeminate?
“Nothing like that Appa . I just wanted to know, that’s all.” His father chews before swallowing, nodding slowly.
“Our story isn’t all that dramatic. It’s not super exciting. But I’ll always be satisfied because it is ours,” He says, quietly. “Your mother and I were not in love when we married. We married out of necessity, because her mother was sick and I was in debt.”
Jin places his elbow on the countertop, resting his head on his palm. He watched his father with a thoughtful expression on his face.
“What really struck me about her was her confidence. A lot of girls before her, they were afraid to tell me exactly what they thought, and they’d act cute to impress me. Your mother never did any of that, maybe because we were married.” Jin hummed in agreement. His mother was not a shy person.
“The moment I thought, 'Hey, I love this girl’ was when she fell asleep after a long day.. We were taking a taxi home, and in the moonlight, I could see her face. She looked horrible, so tired, all these dark circles and lines. And yet, she was the most wonderful person I’d ever met. Right then, I could never leave. And it wasn’t easy sometimes, and we argued a lot. But at the end of the day, there is no one I would rather be with.” His father smiles softly.
Jin sees the way the light shines from the window on his father’s face, framing him perfectly. Jin engraves this into his memory.
“What are you going on about, old man?” His mother is smiling as she walks in. “Do you have a secret wife somewhere? What are you telling my son?”
“I’m just telling him about the moment when I realized I loved you, nae sarang ,” He says, smiling gently. His mother gives him a peck on the cheek before kissing Jin’s forehead.
“Aah, don’t listen to your father adul . I have a better story!” His mother sniffs disdainfully at their cereal, almost insulted by its presence.
“Eomma, I want you to tell me when exactly knew that you loved Appa.” His mother’s eyes glaze over as she hums, thinking.
“My moment was when I brought him to your oehalmeoni’s grave for the first time. He bent down and said to her,. ‘ Jangmo , your daughter is very strong. Thank you for raising her so well. You can rest now, I will take care of her now.’ And it was dumb but it was very sweet of him, and he looked so earnest and sincere and I knew I loved him.” His mother smiles, and his father stares at her for a moment, dumfounded.
“ Jagiya, that was three weeks after we got married.”
“I’m well aware of that.” His mother winks and Jin laughs at his father’s incredulous expression.
“Why hadn't you told me this before?”
“Ach, I wasn’t going to scare you away! You’re like a little rabbit, Dangshin , it would have made you nervous. You were already trying so hard for me, and I knew it would be okay at the end.” Those words reminded Jin of something someone had said, but he brushed it off.
“You tell me everything now, right?”
“Of course seobang , who else can I manipulate into helping me garden?”
Jin smiled into his cereal, throat suddenly thick with emotion.
Jin brushed his hair off his face, his throat hurting from trying to sing. Namjoon sat next to him, practising his rap lines.
Jin tries to sing the lines once more, but all that comes out is a wheeze. He tries again, but his throat burns, and his eyes well up in pain.
“Da jal doelgeoya, Jin-hyung.” He looks at the boy next to him, who was now looking at him.“Just try your hardest for me, and it will be okay.”
“It will be okay.”
Jin drives them to the temple, all the while worrying about his poor car. His Eomma doesn’t seem to notice this, her eyes observing the beautiful landscape around them. The mountain is green and lush, a rare piece of pure nature in South Korea.
Well. Except for the road and signs, at least. Beggars can’t be choosers. His mother stands next to him for a moment before turning to him.
“I’m going to go pray adul . Do you want to come with me or wander?” He stares at the vast landscape, filled with Buddhist relics from all over the world.
“Wander. This place is too cool not to.” She laughs softly, nodding. “When you’re done, find me at that pagoda, alright?” She says, pointing at one in the distance. They part ways, and Jin is left to his own devices.
There a thousand things to see, and his eyes kind of hurt at first. He goes in a circular route, marvelling at each section.
There are hundreds of statues, and Jin snaps pictures of the stone buddhas with yellow garlands around their necks. They’re fresh, so he wonders if the staff weaves new garlands every day.
He loves the little wall of individual disciples. It’s not really a wall, but rather individual statues stacked on and around each other. Each disciple has a different expression, and Jin shudders at the more ghastly ones.
His personal favourite is the painted mural with the two Korean women. They’re painted in a typical folk-way, so kind of soft and squishy, but the eye catching part is in the mirrors they’re holding. They each contain a white demon with bloody fangs, and the women have these awful vapid, snakey expressions that make him shiver.
There are hundred of Buddhas, all in different styles and positions and expressions, but at the end, Jin stands in front of a lake. Across from him, on the other side is a giant golden Buddha head.
Buddha’s eyes are closed deceptively as if he might open one eye to take a peek to see how many people are at Wawoojeongsa . Jin sits down on a rock and breathes in. He can feel the mud stick and he squirms.
He’s not that religious, but if Buddha attained nirvana, making one with the universe, that meant that Buddha would technically be here, as Wawoojeongsa was part of the universe.
So. He places his palms together and presses his lips together and focuses.
What was he really expecting?
He almost wants to ask something to Buddha out loud, but he’s paranoid that someone might overhear him, so he doesn’t. Besides, Buddha was a bachelor. What advice could he possibly give? He leans back on another larger rock.
He just sits there and looks up at the sky. It’s cloudy, the sun hiding, and it envelops the area with cooling shade, and the golden head goes from mischievous to something divine, like angry pissed off god looking down at mortals, about to serve justice. A very real shiver goes down his back, and then the Buddha statue blinks, eyes wide open, and he was gibbering moment of fear when his mind just goes blank.
He scrambles back, but the eyes focus on him, and the rocks that the head is resting on tremble as Buddha rises, hidden golden arms digging his way out, long ears dangling as he comes up to full height, staring down at him.
And for the first time, Jin considers the fact that Buddha wasn’t Korean or Chinese or Thai, he was Indian, and he was in a foreign country, and the statue almost looked angry, metallic face contorted into angry lines. The statue opens his mouth and only one word comes out.
Coward , it hisses. Coward . The statue lifts its right hand and a golden dragon erupts out of its molten hand, and the dragon dives down, and the last thing he can see, its jaws wide open, streaming with blood-
He wakes up with a jolt. He looks around. It’s sunny, clouds nowhere in sight, and he risks a glance at the Buddha head, once again looking vaguely sleepy and mischievous, and Jin gets up quickly, heart pounding erratically, and his temple is wet with sweat, and Jin rushes away, feeling eyes boring into him all the while.
He finds his mother at a pagoda, silently praying for something, and he waits for her to finish. His heart is still pounding, and he chooses a seat that has no view of the golden head.
“Are you alright, adul ?” His mother looks at him with worry, lips pursed. He nods quickly, and she relaxes.
“I was praying for inner knowledge because there’s always a chance he is listening,” She says as she laughs wryly as Jin helps her up. “But really, I know that anything I want, I’ll have to do myself.” She stares at the eaves with the disciples in it.
“Really, imagine though if he responded. It would be wonderful,” She says longing.
Jin says nothing. Talking to Buddha wasn’t all that great, he wants to say, but he was afraid of saying as much without divulging the entirety of his dream or situation.
“Come on Eomma, let’s go home,” He says instead. “The parking is that way.” He takes her arm and leads her there.
He pulls up to the park. Even from a distance, he can hear Sohye’s joyous shrieks as her grandfather pushes her. Misun is swinging on the larger swings, nagging her husband to push her as well, much to his chagrin.
His mother has been quiet, and he catches her glancing at him throughout the drive. She doesn’t say anything though, so neither does he.
He says goodbye at the park because everyone is going their separate ways from there. His parents are driving to Gwacheon and Misun and Seokjung are leaving to Illsan because Misun has a meeting with someone important. She winks when she tells him this, and Seokjin feels like he’s been sucker punched in the cut because he’s going to miss them all.
They’re not all that far away. Even when he’s abroad, they’re only a phone call away. But if his face wasn’t so public, he could come home every single week and spend time with them. He wouldn’t have to hide his family, hide even in his hometown.
But he has to. And he enjoys BTS more than he can say, so he doesn’t agonise over it anymore.
His mother places a box full of food she’d cooked for him in the trunk, along with some new recipes. She walks to the front of the car and leans down, kissing his forehead.
“ Deuleo-gaseyo , adul ,” she says before kissing him again. “Send my love to the boys.” Jin nods, right before jumping out of the car and pulling her into a hug, burying his face in her neck.
“There, there Jinnie. Gwenchaneul guhyah , it won’t hurt so much all the time. Everything becomes easy with time.”
He pays his respects to everyone else and nearly cries when Misun used Sohye’s pudgy little baby hands to wave bye-bye at him. It was adorable. He pulls out of the driveway and starts his drive back to Seoul.
“I was trying to
take apart a clock
and put it back together
before it noticed.
I was trying to kiss you
and blame it on someone else.
Kissed the sidewalk
instead of you.
He reaches there after sunset, and he grabs all his things and runs up the stairs. He just wants to sleep right now, and he shoves the key in and jiggles the door open and he’s finally back. It’s not all that late, but he sees Jimin and Taehyung asleep on the sofa, shoulder to shoulder. Taehyung’s leaning his head on Jimin and Jin winces. He’s going to have such a sore neck tomorrow. He better stock some painkillers or something.
Hoseok and Yoongi are in his room, talking about lyrics. He waves to them, opening the door slightly, but doesn’t approach. He knows that they’re ‘in the zone’ or whatever. Jeongguk turns out to be watching anime (or porn) in his room, and his eyes bulge comically as Jin knocks.
“Hyung! Hyung! Did you buy me something!” He laughs and rubs the other’s head fondly before hugging him.
“Yeah, brat. I’ll give all of your gifts tomorrow, okay? Hyung is tired.” Jeongguk nods.
“D’you want to watch Free! too, hyung?” Okay, so it’s anime, and he’s tempted, but he needs to get into his pajamas and wash his face and he wants to crash.
“Maybe later. I think I’m going to sleep. Go to bed soon, alright?”
“Sure hyung,” He says as he puts his headphones back on. Jin leaves the room, about to open Namjoon’s studio, but stops. He… his face must be so tired. He should go wash his face. So he drops his stuff on his bed and does exactly that.
When all is said and done, he waits outside Namjoon’s door. His studio was empty, so that meant he had to be here, right? He tentatively knocks twice, just to get Namjoon’s attention.
The door swings open. “Look, I told everyone I didn’t want to be disturbed, so please-” He looks up to see who it is. “Jin?”
“Hey, Namjoonie. I just got back…may I come in?” Namjoon opens the door, and Jin slips inside, pretending this is normal, that he’s normal.
“What’ve you been up to?” He asks, observing the room. It’s messy, clothes everywhere, crumpled sheets of paper, figurines on the floor.
“Cut the crap hyung, I know they’ve been updating you. You know I haven’t been sleeping very much.” Namjoon is trying to look upset, but the effect is ruined by the somewhat by the manic look in his eyes that radiate this crazy brightness.
Jin just smiles at the accusation before laying down on Namjoon’s bed like a starfish, face down. The pillows and sheets smell like Namjoon, and he hides his blush carefully. He’s going to regret this so much.
“Shove over. I want to lay down as well.” So Jin scooches a bit closer to the wall, and Namjoon lays down next to him. His fingers keep twitching though, and he keeps squirming. It’s like he physically can’t stay still.
“I can’t sleep,” He says while he stares at the bright ceiling. “I’ve tried and tried, done crazy yoga poses and chugged down a lot of warm milk and tried everything.” He doesn’t mention sleeping pills.
“Tell me what’s going on in your head.” Jin turns over, cheek now resting on Namjoon’s shoulder. The muscle there is taut like a strung bow. It’s really intimate, and Jin wonders how far he can push friendship before his secret becomes apparent.
“What’s there to say? It feels like my brain is all fired up, except I’m exhausted and I feel like mush. But my mind won't shut down, even though everything hurts.” He pauses momentarily to adjust his position, and now Jin’s head is laying on his chest. "It’s like… I have this song in my head, and I just need to get it out, and I can pass out.Just need to get the words out, and it will be okay again.” He sounds so weary.
“Tell me about the song, then.” Namjoon’s chest rises and falls with each breath.
“It’s about this concept I’ve been researching. Do you know what ‘Deja vu’ is?” Jin can feel Namjoon’s voice box vibrate gently with each word.
“When you do something for the first time, yet it feels like you’ve done that before, right?”
“Right. So, my concept is about the opposite feeling, Jamais vu. It’s when you’ve done something many times, yet it creepily feels like you’re doing it for the first time.”
“That’s really creepy Joonie. Have you ever felt that before?” His voice is slightly muffled.
“Sometimes.” He doesn’t elaborate, and Jin doesn’t ask any further. Jin presses closer to Namjoon. “I don’t know how to write this though, and all my attempts sound like crap.” He laughs self-deprecatingly.
“I think it’s an interesting concept, even if it’s difficult to sing about. You can do it. You always do.” He yawns and curls up like a kitten, alarm bells ringing as Namjoon falls silent. He’s too tired to regret anything.
“Yeah?” His voice echoes in the room.
“…Okay.” And Namjoon curls up closer to him.
Jin should feel the thrill of winning, but somehow, he feels hollow. Namjoon gets up to shut off the lights before crawling next to Jin again, and he falls asleep to Namjoon’s snoring.
He wakes up at five, finding the bed empty and Namjoon laying on the floor, passed out next to a notebook full of lyrics, entirely dead to the world. Jin hesitates for a moment before he reaches down and pulls the pencil from his hand, and he slips his hand in its place, staring at the ceiling, waiting for dawn.
Terms and Glossary:
Annyeonghi gaseyo: goodbye to a person who is leaving
Anyoung haseyo: Hi, how are you?
Da jal doelgeoya: It will be alright
doryeonnim: brother in law
euleo-gaseyo: literally means ‘please enter’. A phrase that means ‘have a good day and arrive safely’
gwenchaneul guhyah: It will be okay
Hyeong: elder brother suffix
hyeongsu-nim: sister in law
Jagiya: sweetheart, a petname
Jal jasseoyo: Formal good morning, literally means did you sleep well
Jal meokgesseumnida: literally means I will eat well because of your effort, said before the meal the cook to show appreciation for the meal
Jangmo: Married man’s mother in law
Joeun achimieyo:Good Morning
Nae sarang: Literally means “ my love”
Namdongsaeng: little brother
Seobang: Formal term for husband, usually comedic in current day use
si-abeoji: father in law
Wawoojeongsa: Underrated Buddhist temple in Yongin that’s absolutely stunning.
Yeobo: husband, a pet name
Yeoboseyo: Hello, used for calls