Actions

Work Header

found in love

Chapter Text

i’m nervous [21:32]

[21:34] it’s gonna be okay

[21:35] i’ll be there too you know ;)

aish [21:35]

can we meet up before? [21:36]

just the two of us?? ;( [21:36]

[21:36] kkkk

[21:37] sorry

[21:37] we’re taking off in a minute

[21:38] i’ll see you soon

ok [21:38]

have a safe flight [21:39]

[21:39] ok :)

<3 [21:40]

wait [21:42]

how am i supposed to meet you? [21:42]

should i hug you? [21:43]

like, what should i do? [21:43]

joon? [21:44]

oh right [21:45]

well fuck [21:46]

 

“Attention all passengers. Do not leave your luggage unattended. If you see bags without …”

“Namjoon-ah!”

It was easy to notice him, probably due to the height and big black sunglasses, but Seokjin liked to think it was because of the dimples. These dimples were impossible to miss – and impossible to not miss, god, he wanted to kiss him.

It’s been almost a month since Seokjin saw them in real life, not through awkward selfies or morning facetime sessions, and while it was nothing compared to all the years he had to wait to get to this moment, he still had his weaknesses.

Namjoon caught his voice instantly, eyes finding him in the crowd, loud and happy “Seokjin-ssi!” escaping his mouth, and how old are they, again? Because he was grinning like a puppy, not 44 years old man, clumsily pushing through people, hurrying to get closer, and maybe that’s what made Seokjin fall for him all over again. Maybe that’s what he was always looking for.

The tall, clumsy and dimpled stopped next to him, Seokjin pushed down his mask, eyes shining as they looked at each other properly, and if only he could kiss him, right here, in front of all young and old Koreans around them, reminding that they are entering the land of freedom. If only…

“Woah, you’re so handsome.”

Two pairs of eyes were staring at him, one with curiosity, other – with uncovered awe. It was easy to recognize which one belonged to Jungkook, polite smile and tilt of the head reminding of professional posture of his father. He was reserved and quiet at the first glance, just like Namjoon always described him; next to him, Taehyung was like a volcano, red hair and shining eyes, every emotion so clear on his face it was hard to even turn away, instantly captivated with purity of the boy’s features.

Seokjin couldn’t find in himself even a bit of complaint for Taehyung’s open stare – he only smiled and nodded, pride shimmering inside (he still got it!), “Thank you.” In a moment Namjoon confirmed his guesses, introducing the boys respectively, exchange of bows immediately following:

 “Nice to meet you, Seokjin-ssi.”

“Thank you for having us, Seokjin-ssi!”

Even their clothes looked like they were picked up on different continents, the dark, loose concept of the younger one contrasting with soft colored and stylish shirt of his boyfriend. They looked comically fit together, too self-aware to touch but keeping as close to each other as possible.

“It’s my pleasure.” He bowed in return, feeling three gazes now, all soaked with attention, and habitually pushing the thought away, smile only growing wider. “So, how was…”

“Wait, you are… Oh my god, you are Kim Seokjin, I mean, the Kim Seokjin, right?” Taehyung’s eyebrows suddenly jumped up.

Oh, here we go...

He couldn’t stop a quick glance from darting Namjoon’s way – the man only shrugged, content smile not leaving his face even for a second – and turned to the boys again with amused chuckle. “Yes, I am the Kim Seokjin, one and only, you can’t find anyone like me anywhere else.”

“No, but I mean ‘The Most Beautiful Moment’, ‘Wide Awake’, ‘I am the One’, oh, I loved it so much!” Taehyung looked like he will start jumping right there, fidgeting on the place with excitement, eyes wide and adoring as he turned to his boyfriend. “Jungkook-ah, you remember?”

The boy scoffed with amusement, “Of course,” looking at brimming Taehyung with his own adoration, before quickly turning to Seokjin, a glimpse of guilt appearing in his eyes, “but it was great! Really! I’m sorry if it sounded rude, I just… We watched ‘I am the One’ three times, so it was the question that was funny, not…”

“It’s okay, Jungkook-ah,” Seokjin couldn’t stop a wide grin from spreading all over his face, barely hidden laughter making his voice tremble, as he reached out to pat the boy on the shoulder, “you don’t look like a person that would offend a stranger.”

Namjoon next to him let out a cough, poorly hiding shy laughter behind the palm. Adorable. Why he was always so adorable.

“And yes, that’s me.” He turned to Taehyung again – but the boy already shifted his attention, curious gaze studying green hills in the distance, now barely recognizable in the fog.

Also, about that…

“Why are you, guys, dressed so lightly?” Seokjin scanned their outfits once again: shorts, shirts, dark blue jacket on Jungkook’s waist, yup, first time in San Francisco.

As soon as he turned to Namjoon, accusation and silent question written all over his face, the man shook his head. “I told them. But they’re not kids,” he sent a pointed look the boys’ way, emphasizing last words with bemused expression, “so I left them alone.”

“But it’s sunny, look!” Taehyung pointed outside, where bright morning sky was streaked with thin clouds. Two men quickly exchanged amused looks.

“I hope you at least packed some warm clothes,” Seokjin said with quirk of an eyebrow, the boys hesitantly nodding, clearly not realizing yet what’s with all the fuss. “Good, then we have to hurry, I parked outside and quite far from the entrance. Here, let me help you.”

He automatically reached out for the biggest suitcase, too big for a 5-day vacation – but Namjoon quickly caught his hand. “It’s okay, Seokjin-ssi, thank you.” Their eyes met for a second, and Seokjin had to bite his own cheek to not let out a teasing remark, only smile tugging at the corner of his lips.

“Okay.”

But with the way the man chuckled, he knew the remark was heard all the same.

They went through the crowd of all ages and nationalities, Seokjin immediately catching t-shirts and loose-fitting hats of the first-time tourists, oh, what a surprise was waiting for them outside. It was mid-August, and while warmer, lighted up sunny days were appearing more and more often, Karl the Fog was lingering in the doorway, bidding goodbyes and leaving promises to come back soon all over the San Francisco Bay Area. Despite the sunny weather, as Taehyung accurately noted, chill breeze was blowing over the city since very morning, promising a thick cloud of fog before noon.

Seokjin was thinking through the possibility of leaving the walk to the beach for another time, when a string of beeps came from his right side, attracting attention just in time to see Namjoon’s smirk directed at the phone in hand.

Oh right, the messages.

It was too late to talk about it now, so all Seokjin could do is throw a quick glance at the couple a few feet in front of them – Taehyung was excitedly pointing at the glass installation on the roof, Jungkook was excitedly listening – and scrunch his nose at Namjoon, who was now looking back with fondness. Yes, he doesn’t want to mess up with the boys’ first impression, and what about it.

Namjoon chuckled and turned to look at his son as well, a visual cue for Seokjin to follow the gaze, yearning for an open expression of affection smoldering inside. They couldn’t yet, not here, not now – but he wanted so badly, and a sudden feeling pierced through him again, reminding of the time years ago, when he was being hidden like…

Long, cool fingers brushed against his wrist, traced invisible lines over his palm before sliding between Seokjin’s own and gently squeezing. Namjoon was smiling at him with warmth and love, not even bothering to look around, dimples, these seductive, wonderful, so fucking adorable dimples shining like Seokjin’s own stars.

He was always so, so weak for this smile, guts tightening at the sight, heart purring in his chest, and Namjoon, sweet and lovely Namjoon, was still oblivious.

Just like he often was.

Oh, I’m sorry!

Their hands darted from each other.

“Dad, come on,” Jungkook said in Korean, more tiredness than accusation in the voice, before turning to the owner of the backpack his father accidentally pushed and slightly bowing, the girl looking more confused than irritated. “Excuse us, he’s always like that.

It’s true.” Namjoon sent her a sheepish smile, the girl already waving dismissively and murmuring words of acceptance with a small smile of her own.

Everything Jungkook had to tell was written in his eyes. “I’m serious, dad, you have to be careful, what if something will… Wait, what the fuck.”

"Kim Jungkook!"

Seokjin chuckled, throwing the hood over his head.

They finally left the building, and cold wind rushed to embrace them, smell of the ocean Seokjin was so used to already seeping through exhaust fumes. Now his previous words finally reached the kids’ ears, young couple almost jumping with every step and silently asking to hurry as they were going through parking lot, rumbling of Namjoon’s suitcase following them from behind.

“Now, second, let me think how to fit all of your luggage in.”

They finally stopped next to his black Hyundai, Jungkook quietly shivering, Taehyung almost pouting next to him, “Can we think about it inside, Seokjin-ssi?”

“Taehyung-ah.” There was a hint of discontent in Namjoon’s voice, lips pursed, but Seokjin only laughed, patting the boy on the shoulder.

“Sorry, of course, you’re right,” he moved to open the car, not forgetting to add a teasing, “it’s still sunny though, isn’t it?”

The boys didn’t even react properly, only bowed with stumbling thanks and hurried to get into the vehicle, leaving all bags behind. Jungkook peeked out from the almost closed door though, stuttering out a high-pitched “Do you need help?” and disappearing as soon as Seokjin shook his head, unable to stop himself from laughing.

It was very cold indeed, he felt it too, but seeing the boys’ genuine surprise and frustration was amusing enough to keep him outside.

“Sorry, usually they are much more polite.” Apologetic smile appeared on Namjoon’s lips, Seokjin’s laughter dying away as he moved to pick up Jungkook’s backpack and Taehyung’s bag from the ground.

“They are very polite, don’t worry.” Seokjin looked back as soon as he straightened up, his own smile growing wider and softer as their gazes met, lingering for much, much longer than they had to before finally parting. “Now, let’s try to fit it all in. Didn’t know yours will be that big.”

“Love that phrase.”

He just had to use that voice, huh, that breathy, hoarse, sex voice in front of the children (okay, technically they were adults, but come on), hadn’t he? Even if they couldn’t hear – he made sure to say it low enough – Seokjin still felt a rush of warmth, fucking reflex or something.

It’s not that he was weak for any reference to sex after a month of containment, he was a grown man after all.

It’s that he was weak for any reference to sex with Namjoon, because, god, was it in the top 3 of the best experiences of his life, and no, not now, Seokjin-ah, get yourself together.

“Don’t hear it that often?”

He couldn’t just let it slide, right?

But Namjoon only let out a husky laughter, pushing his own hoodie down, revealing dark hair, still messy after the flight, and nodded, “No, not as often as I’d like to.” They lingered behind the car, eyes shining with something more than just warmth, taking each other in slowly and thoroughly, until Seokjin felt breathless from just a stare.

“We’ll work on it, don’t worry.” His voice was now low and breathy as well, heart picking up the pace, muscles of his stomach tensing for a second before Seokjin turned away. “So, how’s your first impression of joyful and sunny California?”

The boys inside whined in unison as a gust of cold wind rushed into the car as soon as he opened the trunk.

“Actually, it’s not my first time here.” The flame of Taehyung’s hair fidgeted, the young man turning to watch the suitcase being placed inside. Seokjin demonstratively bent over to send him a skeptical look through the opening, Taehyung quickly catching the gaze and giggling in response. “No, I mean not here, in San Francisco, but in California. My family wanted to send me to high school in Riverside, so I went there for two summers to study English.”

“And you never heard of our ‘beautiful’ summers?”

Taehyung shrugged, warmth of the car bringing back his vigorous grin. “I heard it’s cold in here, but I always thought it’s cold in terms of California weather, not, like, the usual scale.”

“Well, now you know.” Seokjin sent him a wink, checked if everything was in place, and closed the trunk, Namjoon already standing next to the front door, waiting for him.

Seokjin just couldn’t let the chance slip away, smirk making its way on his face, “Wanna drive?”

Namjoon’s annoyed but fond expression was priceless, eyes rolling, but lips unable to hide a smile. Seokjin could tease him for the rest of his life – and that’s exactly what he was planning on doing.

“One day I’ll pass the test and get that license, just for you.”

They finally settled on their places, vibration going through the car as Seokjin turned the engine on, grin still present on his face. “Yeah? I’m flattered.”

“Yeah,” Namjoon shifted on the seat next to him, joking confidence in his voice, “and then I’ll drive you all over the Bay.”

“I’ll be eagerly waiting.” He leaned back on the seat, voice almost laughing, hands habitually lying on the steering wheel, tingling sensation spreading under skin. It was always so comfortable to be next to Namjoon, to exchange whatever small remarks they had, to express love in quiet voices and small smiles, to…

Wait, did they just flirt in front of his son?

Seokjin blinked a few times, trying to understand if they should try to do something about it, and looked at the man, hoping he’ll understand the implications – but Namjoon was staring at the sky, blissed smile on his face. And which one of them was going to come out in the next 48 hours, again?

But Namjoon looked so careless, so boyish and happy Seokjin couldn’t even be mad at him for not thinking about what was to come, instead quietly scoffing and throwing a quick glance at the mirror. The couple in the back were holding hands and staring outside as well, not a hint of big realization on their faces. 

Seokjin sighed with relief – overthinking was his superpower – and shifted attention to the car again, “So, Taehyung-ah, tell me more about Riverside,” slowly driving out of the parking lot.

 

It took them 50 minutes to reach the house, clear weather and minimal traffic allowing to slip into the city before noon. The fog was kindly waiting around the shore for them to enter the Sunset District before making first steps of its own.

After seeing the immense mass of cloudy blanket for the first time, Taehyung let out a sound of pure awe, clapping at his boyfriend’s knee and pointing at the ocean, “Look, look, woah, Jungkook-ah, it’s so beautiful, you got the camera, right?”, the boy only nodding in return, immersed in his own quiet fascination. But it didn’t last long, and soon their attention jumped to the hills, parks and San Francisco itself, so by the time the car stopped at Seokjin’s driveway, they barely paid a heed to the white haze crawling through the neighborhood.

“And you live with that all the time?” Taehyung pointed at the end of the street that was disappearing in thick cotton-like fog, disbelief and almost horror in the eyes as he turned to the local resident, Seokjin letting out a short laughter in return.

“Usually I’m at the restaurant, it’s on the sunnier side, but yeah, Karl is here pretty much all the time.” He shrugged and hurried to the back of the car, Kim family already waiting for him there, fidgeting in cold.

“Ah, right, Namjoon-hyung talked about the restaurant.” Taehyung followed him, their conversation easily flowing throughout the whole ride.

Seokjin didn’t get to know Jungkook enough, except for all the similarities he had with his father, but he definitely liked Taehyung, all the times he heard “oh, everyone adores him” from Namjoon making more and more sense. There was something about the boy’s smile and manners, his open heart and genuine admiration of the world around him that made Seokjin’s own heart warmer.

They could definitely get along - but Jungkook was a completely different story, the one that's been making him nervous from the beginning. Even now he wasn’t smiling, wasn’t looking at others, more focused on his own bare ankles and attempts to stand still than the conversation around.

“Jungkook-ah, can you help me with the suitcase?”

The boy looked up, polite smile and a quick nod, immediately moving forward to support the luggage and carefully put it on the ground, Namjoon behind him frowning in surprise.

Quiet, well-mannered young man who just preferred to keep his emotions to himself, Seokjin understood it perfectly, he really did – but… No matter how much Taehyung liked him, if Jungkook will be the one to not accept Seokjin, everything’s gonna be so bad, and so he wished to receive a smile, just one genuine smile.

“I will take the bag too, thank you, Seokjin-ssi.”

But Jungkook kept giving him an empty mask of respect, so loved in Korean houses but almost frustrating in Seokjin’s own.

The man smiled himself then, albeit joyless “Sure,” and handed the bag over, their eyes meeting for a second before Jungkook turned away to look for his boyfriend. Taehyung was already squatting next to a tiny alpaca figurine on the stairs and murmuring something. It was a cute thing indeed.

“Hey,” a gentle touch to his elbow, an even more gentle note to Namjoon’s voice, eyes looking at him with concern, “you okay?”

Oh. He got upset enough to let it slip out?

Not that Seokjin had anything to hide from Namjoon, but opening his true worries in front of two boys that barely knew him was not the kind of behavior he could allow himself as an actor. Well, ex-actor, but you know, some things get into your head for good, especially when you spend almost 30 years on them.

“Yeah, it’s okay.” He smiled shortly and closed the trunk, knowing perfectly that Namjoon didn’t buy it, but also knowing himself that it’s not the time to get through this conversation again. “I’ll help you to the door, come on.”

Namjoon must’ve been tired of this already, but Seokjin just couldn’t help himself, not when it was coming back to his family. “He’s a very sweet boy, he’ll love you”, “you don’t have to worry, it’s gonna be okay”, “I will not leave you in any case”, “I will be there too, you know ;)” – Namjoon was repeating over and over again, but his own words were still ringing in Seokjin’s mind.

“I love my wife, I love my children, I love my life.” 

Through all these years he carried the memory of the glimmering eyes and honest, pleading voice. He was coming back to it once a week, once a month, once every half a year, to wonder if Namjoon told his wife, if their relationships cracked because of him, if Seokjin ruined the life of the nicest, kindest person he ever known by letting him stay back then.

He knew that, technically, none of it was his fault, that Namjoon was a grown man and relationships with his wife were his responsibility, not Seokjin’s, so even if they did break up because of what happened, he was not the one to forcibly push Namjoon into this direction. Namjoon took the first step on his own – but still, lying at night, alone or with somebody, looking at New York from an airplane, noticing couples kissing in the dark corners of the bars, he was thinking about it, fear that their meeting could bring pain to Namjoon clawing his own heart.

And now all of it was coming back to him, anxiety that Jungkook might not like him, might refuse to accept him following everywhere since the three of them bought tickets. Namjoon was joking that in the worst case they’ll be able to sell their story on how homosexuality ruins families and maybe even get a paycheck from some conservatives – but Seokjin wasn’t laughing.

As much as he was sure that Namjoon is the person he wants to spend the rest of his days with, Seokjin didn’t know if he’d be able to forgive himself for taking him away from his son. And that doesn’t even cover the fact that he’ll have to meet Sangmi as well…

He turned off the engine and sighed, placing forehead on the wheel. Garage was quiet and dull, as unwelcoming as always, the only difference is barely distinguishable voices from above. He has to do something about it, bare walls and depressing silence meeting him every day – but it’s been only six months since he moved in, he’ll get there.

Usually, Seokjin didn’t stay here for long, hurrying to get to the kitchen, or bedroom, or bathroom – but now it was perfect for splashing in his own pool of dumb thoughts, yay. He knew he has to go back there, show the boys his confidence and charms, work for that good impression, just like with producers and cameramen – but for now Seokjin suddenly felt tired, staring at his own knees. Why can’t everything work out on its own? Why can’t Jungkook just like him?

Well, somehow he managed to stay in this field for more than half of his life, surely he’ll figure out how to play with the boy’s mask. It won’t be hard, he still has time, just focus on the task and stop stressing out about the possibility of your partner’s heart being broken, that’s all.

“What’s wrong?”

Seokjin startled and quickly turned around, Namjoon already closing the door with his back, concernment clear in the features. Of course, he would come, of course. Fondness was quick to spread all over Seokjin’s mind, pushing out all other thoughts, smile involuntarily appearing on his lips.

“Nothing, just nervous.”

“Is this about Jungkookie?” His voice was so honest, so genuinely worried, Seokjin didn’t know what to do with all the affection bubbling inside as he moved, Namjoon waiting for him next to the door.

As soon as he came close enough, the man caught his hand, tugging even closer, looking attentively in the eyes. “Don’t worry so much, he’s just quiet and keeps to himself. But he likes you.”

“Yeah, sure,” Seokjin automatically dismissed, hands wrapping around the other’s waist for a loose hug, Namjoon’s fingers already rubbing circles around his neck.

“Alright, Kook doesn’t show much, but Taehyung definitely likes you, which is already a big plus, and oh, look, I like you too, so what does everything else matter?”

Namjoon was grinning, showing off his dimples again like Seokjin wasn’t already melting into him, too deprived of intimate contact to resist, his own smile growing wider. “You like me?”

“Yeah.”

Seokjin hummed, nose gently bumping into his. “You sure?”

“Oh, I’m so very sure,” Namjoon’s lips finally came forward to press against his, still mumbling quietly, “so, so sure.”

There always was something exhilarating about kissing Namjoon. Maybe it was because of the original circumstances, maybe because they were still seeing each other quite rarely, maybe because it was as close to love as Seokjin ever got, but it always felt special, it always felt like something worth waiting – one month, eleven years, or whole life.

Seokjin knew his lips were pretty, mom’s friends not forgetting to mention while praising his face, stylists complimenting when they were in a good mood, some weird journalist writing an article about them instead of spending time on something meaningful – but what was it worth without a person he loves to kiss them? No one, ever, touched him the way Namjoon did, kissed not only with reverence, not only with lust, but with caress and honesty, putting all feelings into every movement.

It became an unwritten rule: Seokjin was allowed to lose himself – just for a second, just for a second that was already turning into minutes – to forget about everything else when Namjoon’s lips were on his skin. What does everything else matter indeed.

“Sure you want to show up in front of your son with a boner?” But Seokjin couldn’t stop himself from teasing, whispering into the man's mouth with a smirk, touches already too intimate, kisses too deep for them to stay quiet.

Namjoon chuckled, “I’m too old for this,” but acknowledged the warning, fingers shamefully hurrying to get out from under Seokjin’s blazer, lips moving to kiss his cheek instead. The man only hummed – half delighted, half amused – and pulled back to properly squint at him.

“Are you doubting my abilities?”

“Yours? Never. Rather mine.” Namjoon was already so used to his never-ending habit of turning everything into a challenge, Seokjin couldn’t even be frustrated at being robbed of a chance to prove that he can do it, only huffed and shifted into a proper hug.

They stood like this for a couple more minutes, silently bathing in each other’s presence, echoes of the past not allowing to break apart as easy as it should be by now. He could feel Namjoon’s nose slowly rubbing above his ear, warm air touching the earlobe with every exhale, so sweet, so tender, it was more intimate than any kiss. Seokjin sighed with content, nuzzling into the other’s shoulder on his own.

“I missed you.”

Namjoon was smelling of airplane freshener and his cologne – musky mixture of pine woods and citrus notes – the memories of which Seokjin carefully but unintentionally kept in the back of his mind. He was never a fan on heavy scents, but Namjoon’s was harmonizing with his own favorites – fresh and flowery – in such pleasing manner he couldn’t get enough of it.

“Not for long,” smirk was clear in the low voice, “I’ll annoy the hell out of you.”

Seokjin couldn’t keep a smile, pressing closer into his partner for a second, images quickly taking over his mind, nudging the heart to beat faster against Namjoon’s chest.

“Can’t wait.”

 

Seokjin’s house wasn’t particularly big, at least not from the outside, rather a small thing that, surprisingly, managed to fight for its own piece of lawn in fully packed Sunset District. Inside it looked more spacious, Seokjin always putting his soul into making things pretty and comfortable. When Namjoon came for the first time, his habit of paying attention to details showed off itself in full force, making Seokjin’s ears red and heart warm. It was a very special evening indeed.

Sometimes, of course, he did miss the apartment he left in Seoul, the one that was taking up an entire floor and was designed by an artist whose name Seokjin forgot long time ago. It had enormous windows from two sides of the building, separate room for home cinema, and a painting he received as a gift on his 40th birthday that costed a fortune – he figured after seeing results of the auction – but in reality was a weird depiction of a bottle of Sprite.

He liked his old place, its aesthetical lines and views of the city, in a way only single person can appreciate – even if Seokjin wasn’t single all the time, probably even less than he’d like to. There was something in walking around the huge, lonely rooms in search of a way to entertain oneself, something you eventually get used to – peace, quiet. He held parties sometimes, it was part of his job after all, but always preferred to leave the apartment for a night out rather than bring the night in.

He liked his old apartment most of the time, except for a couple of days after one of his work trips to New York, when he hated every inch of it – but overall it was quite nice.

When he was looking for a new place, though, Seokjin decided to change everything completely. He didn’t want center of the city, didn’t want big, didn’t want apartment. He wanted his peace and quiet – but warm and cozy, with a fireplace (so what if it’s electrical?), a dog (he was already looking through shelters) and, preferably, someone to share it with (Universe always had a soft spot for him).

And so, he found it – or rather, his manager contacted a real estate agent, and she found it, but whatever – a small latte-colored house near the Golden Gate Park, almost twenty minutes from the beach, with two floors, big kitchen and, yes, an electric fireplace in the living room. The latter got Taehyung’s attention immediately, the boy cooing at the glowing coal for long enough to make his boyfriend giggle.

“Alright, this one will be your room.”

After a quick lunch in the form of ramyeon – of course, covered with Seokjin’s special dressing and thin sliced pork, in addition to a whole bunch of pickled vegetables – and a couple of yawns from the youngsters, they finished the house trip in the guest bedroom. Seokjin never paid special attention to decorating the room, sure that it won’t be used for a long time, so the walls were still covered with flowery patterns, resembling the bedsheets of two single beds, and curtains still looked like they were brought from the 20th century.

Seokjin involuntarily scrunched his nose at the dull colors all over the room – yup, definitely needs to do something about it – and turned to the couple, Taehyung already sprawling on one of the beds and blissfully sniffing.

“Thank you, Seokjin-ssi.” Jungkook, as attentive as he was, lingered next to a small painting of the Golden Gate Bridge, studying it with quiet curiosity before turning to the owner of the house.

Taehyung immediately followed, “Yes, thank you for everything,” raising himself on the bed to give Seokjin a wide smile. His red hair was messy, veil of tiredness seeping through the bright face, fingers already rubbing squinted eyes – the boy looked like a child.

Seokjin gave him a warm smile of endearment, “And, again, it’s my pleasure, now rest, we have big plans for the evening,” nodded at Jungkook who was already unpacking his bags and moved to the door.

Yeah, the plans were big indeed.

But before he went out into the hallway, going deeper into the thoughts of how Namjoon is going to “deal with it”, a serious voice stopped him.

“But where will dad sleep? I hope we didn’t take his place.” Jungkook looked genuinely concerned, knitted eyebrows and pursed lips, looking at the beds with uncertainty before turning to the man.

Nervous chuckle managed to escape Seokjin’s lips despite him begging for it not to.

“No, no, don’t worry about it,” he tried to sound as confident and calm as possible, damn, he was good at acting, “the couch downstairs is okay, so, I’ll be sleeping there.”

“Oh,” but Jungkook’s frown only grew deeper, gaze darting to the bed he’d taken, “I can go there, it must be better …”

“Kookie.” There was a warning in Taehyung’s voice, unspoken wish to, maybe, talk things through before deciding on leaving his boyfriend in the company of another person. Jungkook turned to him with raised eyebrows and an answer – also unspoken but clearly seen in the serious eyes.

Before it grew into something more, though, Seokjin quickly meddled in. “It’s okay, I’m your host, Jungkook-ah, don’t worry about it,” with a reassuring smile and a wink, “also, I’m sure you two will prefer each other’s company more.”

Quiet giggle and another “Kookie”, this time soft and delightful, reached him through the already closing gap. Seokjin smirked, eyes darting to the door of his own bedroom, before moving downstairs – in search of his own source of delight.

Namjoon was still busy though, leaning on the counter with one hand, the other pressing phone to his ear, blank eyes staring at the thin veil outside. The sun was slowly going through its routine, reaching higher and growing warmer, making the fog dissipate under bright rays. The mist was still surrounding the house, but shapes of the park trees were already peeking over its fences.

Yes, they definitely weren’t ready,” Namjoon let out a polite chuckle, muffled laughter coming out of the phone.

Seokjin lingered in the doorway for a few seconds, taking the sight in: a cup of unfinished coffee on the table, quietly rumbling dishwasher, black hoodie Jungkook left on one of the chairs, and Namjoon’s back outlined by the grey light from outside. He was so used to empty rooms, meeting him every day after work, not bothered even by the noises of the park; he was so used to solitude he barely ever noticed it, automatically finding a way to entertain himself – or just sit in an armchair, enjoying the silence. He was used to being the only living soul in the house.

The difference between yesterday and today was slowly getting Seokjin, and it was not only about a bunch of kids running around – yes, technically Namjoon was younger than him as well, so take that – but rather about the warm, steady presence.

He was used to quiet peace of the house – but instead of ruining it, the low voice and fingers absentmindedly tapping at the counter were gently blending in, bringing solace and some kind of completeness. Like a crucial piece of the puzzle has been finally found, taking its place in the middle of a huge picture, bringing sense into every other line – the only piece that ever mattered.

“No, no, don’t worry about me, Mr. Losa, I’m used to this, this, uh,” Namjoon accidentally stumbled, letting out a noise of surprise in response to warm pressure on his shoulder, “this kind of weather. I’ll be there on Friday for sure.”

Without even pausing, he threw a quick glance at Seokjin, silent question in bright eyes, but the man only shook his head and smiled, cheek still pressed to his shoulder – nothing, just wanted to make sure you’re really here, just hope I can see you like that every day. And, probably, some part of the answer was written somewhere in his features anyway, because smile tugged at Namjoon’s lips as well.

“I haven’t asked yet,” his eyes turned back to the window, hands replacing the phone from one to another, “but I’ll tell him you invited, yes, personally, of course,” to let the one closer to Seokjin move behind, palm blindly finding his waist and gently squeezing. The voice on the other side was loudly and excitedly talking.

They stood like this for a couple of minutes – Namjoon still talking, or rather listening, Seokjin still pressing wide grin into his shoulder, knuckles rubbing lines against the small of his back – sharing the quiet joy of closeness, before Seokjin stepped away, as carefully and quietly as before. He could feel the other’s gaze following him to the shelf with books and further, to the doorway, where Seokjin lingered to send a wink back and go out into the living room.

Namjoon had his own plans to deal with right now, Seokjin had his own.

By the time the man followed him – still focused on his phone but going straight to the couch without a pause – Seokjin was already deep in his thoughts, studying the list of recipes from his favorite book. He decided long time ago that he’ll be the one to cook today and at home, even if lately he preferred to practice in the restaurant, tasting ingredients and testing equipment while polishing his cooking skills.

Of course, clients were receiving their food from professional cooks, not the owner – Seokjin’s cooking art was usually distributed between the workers. No one complained. According to Benjamin, he was too soft with them – but the clients were satisfied, Seokjin didn’t have time to make friends outside of work, and spending time in the restaurant was actually fun that way, so it was a win anyway.

“What do you think about marinated crabs?”

Despite his eyes still fixed on the phone, fingers quickly typing something, grimace of disgust immediately appeared on Namjoon’s face. “You are cruel.”

“Yeah, sometimes,” Seokjin shrugged, small smirk appearing on his lips, and turned back to the book. He wasn’t actually going to make Namjoon suffer, neither his mind – at the sight of tiny pincers he held close to his heart – nor his stomach. There was a huge photo of grilled pork on the page instead.

“Are you free on Friday?”

Seokjin hummed, words tearing through the images of the recipe, and nodded – a bit too slowly for such a simple question. “Yeah, I have the whole week reserved for you, why?”

“Want to come to the lunch with me? Mr. Losa asked about you – personally.” There was a hint of joking seriousness in the voice. Seokjin snorted quietly and finally turned to him, head leaning backwards to lie on the back of the couch. Namjoon threw a quick glance at his neck. Seokjn bit his lip to not smile too widely. Still got it.

“Will he be teasing me again?”

“Maybe.” It was Namjoon’s turn to snort and shift, placing elbow on the back, fidgeting to turn his whole body properly. “He just thinks you could afford a better place.” His knee was pressing against Seokjin’s thigh – the man sighed with exaggerated tiredness, palm automatically coming to lie on it.

“So what if I could, I like it here.” He pouted slightly at the end of the sentence, closing eyes when cool fingertips ran over his temple.

For a few seconds Namjoon was just quietly tracing the lines of his face, thumb caressing cheeks, gently removing hair from his forehead, lingering to rub at one of the eyebrows – Seokjin giggled then and shook his head, brushing the hand off. It was a signal for Namjoon to come back to the matter at hand. “You don’t want to come?”

“Who said so?” Seokjin squinted at him, a sort of challenge seeping into the smirk. “I will gladly tease him back, Ben promised to start learning Korean three months ago.”

“Maybe he did.” Fingers came back, this time to brush through his hair with just tips, grin spreading on Namjoon’s lips.

Seokjin only scoffed and shifted to sit upright again, gaze coming back to the book, leaving the palm to lie on the couch behind his neck. “Please, Joon, it’s like you don’t know him.”

“You’re coming then?”

“Yes,” he placed a palm on Namjoon’s thigh, squeezing for a second, eyes already skimming through the list of meat stews, “can’t leave you alone to them wolves.”

“You just don’t want to entertain the boys.” Despite the joking words, there was content and a hint of gratefulness in his voice. Seokjin only hummed in half-agreement – yeah, he kind of didn’t know what to do with a couple of teenagers on his own. “Where are they, by the way?”

“Passed out.” He leafed through the book in search of something to catch his attention. “Poor kids aren’t used to switching countries. Stir-fry or grill for chicken?”

Short hum. “Grill.”

Alright, that cut the options. Seokjin went back to the pages coded “BBQ”, one palm still lying on the other’s thigh, thumb absentmindedly stroking through jeans. It wasn’t really comfortable to balance the book on his knees and turn pages with one hand – but not enough to make him break the contact.

After a few seconds though another hand gripped his, Namjoon leaning forward to drop the phone on the coffee table and turn attention to his partner. It was a well-established fact that Seokjin was the clingy one, always yearning for warmth, always too lazy to let the other go – but it didn’t mean that Namjoon couldn’t be the clingy one either. At least sometimes. At least after a long flight.

“Can I annoy you for a bit?”

Seokjin couldn’t contain a chuckle – though he tried, he tried very hard – when that huge pile of limbs and softness fidgeted closer to nuzzle at his shoulder, an arm entwining around his to hold the palm while the other creeped its way on Seokjin’s thigh.

“You better go to sleep as well.” He squeezed the other’s fingers where they were holding each other. Namjoon huffed, still pressed to his shoulder, sound coming out muffled and rather cute than displeased.

“Don’t like to sleep on big beds on my own. Reminds me of hotels.”

“Oh right, you prefer small beds – according to your size.”

Namjoon immediately looked up, squinting at him with cautious suspicion – Seokjin laughed again, unable to stop endearment from bursting outside. The man looked sleepy and innocent, feeling of loss so typical for jet lag clinging to his face. He looked like a confused puppy, unable to process the words properly and just silently asking for an explanation.

“I meant that you’re too big.” Seokjin pressed a quick kiss to his lips before giving a confused look of his own, “You were so collected two minutes ago.”

“Got tired of being collected.”

As soon as he received the answer, Namjoon pressed himself against his partner once again, inconspicuously snuggling closer and almost knocking over the book on the way – Seokjin managed to catch it in the last second.

“Finished with work?”

“Finished with work.”

He hummed, trying to focus both on the beef marinade and Namjoon’s fingers tracing slow lines towards his inner thigh with vague intention. Warm breath on the collar of his shirt soon turned into lazy kisses – soft, long pressure, skin to skin. Seokjin swallowed. It was getting harder to maintain attention on both.

“Do you mind?” Namjoon slightly shifted, placing the chin on his shoulder – Seokjin could feel the gaze studying his face, catching it from the corner of his eye, still trying to get through the list of ingredients.

“Kind of, yeah, I’m trying to read.”

Tiny “oh” escaped Namjoon’s mouth after a second, exhale of the sound reaching the other’s ear – Seokjin scrunched from the tickling – and the palm quickly disappeared from his thigh, awkwardly lingering in the air before coming back to its owner’s side. Namjoon himself backed away as well, as soon as the words got properly processed, lost gaze darting to the side.

“Sorry.”

Something squeezed Seokjin’s heart, god, he was such a teenager sometimes.

They both had their insecurities, but Namjoon’s lack of experience in relationships and overall innocence were making it even harder, especially outside of bedroom. He was confident and well-established adult – but when it came to feelings, he was starting to mumble, and when it came to signs, he clearly needed guidance, and maybe that was one of the things Seokjin was so fond of. He was always attentive, always popular, always wanted to be there for the people he cared about, and having a 44 years old to explain the subtleties of love felt like something he was gaining experience for all his life.

“Don’t overthink. Come on,” he pressed a smiling kiss to Namjoon’s cheek, fingers squeezing his where they were still intertwined, “let’s get you into bed.” He spent a few more seconds, though, distracting the man with his lips until the frown and hesitance were nowhere to be seen.

Namjoon was soon sent to shower while Seokjin himself lingered in the kitchen to leave pork bones to soak and quickly mix marinade for the main dish. But it took him some time to find a compromise between the recipe and his own experience, changing things and tasting on the way, so by the time he entered the bedroom, the man was already sprawled on the sheets, long limbs taking up all the space.

“You sure you don’t like big beds?” Seokjin couldn’t stop himself from teasing, halting next to the footboard only to run his fingers against a still warm hill – the ankle twitched in attempt to escape, quiet groan quickly following.

“It smells like you.”

Namjoon’s voice was low and sleepy, muffled by the pillow he was hugging – the one snitched from Seokjin’s side of the bed – head quickly turning to face the owner. Seokjin only chuckled, hiding shy grin in the insides of the wardrobe, searching for the pair of home pants a bit longer than usual.

“It’s my bed, it's supposed to smell like me.”

“Not for long.”

The voice was still lazy, tiredness covering Namjoon up to the top of his head – but the unspoken promise made Seokjin’s breath hitch a bit all the same. He didn’t reply, focusing on changing his pants and taking the shirt off instead, definitely not thinking about the heavy scent of sex that was always lingering for days even after Namjoon’s departure. That the two of them were always leaving in the curves of bedsheets and each other’s skin.

“What you decided to make?”

Seokjin hummed, chewing on his lips for a few moments while pulling a thin blanket from under the other’s ankles, Namjoon slowly rolling over at the motion. “Chicken barbeque for later, and stew with pork bones for now. You think it’s okay?”

“They were staying over for the last few days. In my place. Eating food I was cooking.” The man squinted up at him pointedly, lying on his back to catch the soft material Seokjin thrown over him. “They, thank you, would be happy to finish the remnants of your soup from last week.”

“That’s… reassuring.” He chuckled, meeting Namjoon’s eyes for a second, the man smiling back at him. “You do realize it’s my duty to teach you cooking?”

Namjoon took a few seconds to think about it, getting comfortable under the blanket, eyes sleepily shutting down. “I’ll be happy to be your student. Not sure if the rest of my life will be enough though.”

“Don’t worry,” Seokjin smirked, leaning on the headboard, Namjoon’s hand groping over the blanket, “I’ll be happy to explain the difference between red pepper and paprika next to your deathbed.”

Namjoon snorted, “Sounds perfect,” words coming out in a mumble, hand finally finding Seokjin’s palm and settling with content over it. His partner didn’t say anything, only watched with fond smile as his eyelids drooped down, features relaxing as consciousness started to slip away, before reaching out for the laptop on the bedtable.

Soon enough Namjoon drifted off into his post-flight nap, quiet hums and frequent turnings accompanying it as usual; even Seokjin’s simple caress – thumb slowly rubbing his fingers while gaze was fixed on the tables and numbers – did little to soothe his rest. The body had a hard time adjusting to the new time zone, mind kept trying to kick him out of the nap. Usually with a loud inhale or mild startle, Namjoon was coming back to reality, if only for a few moments, hazed eyes mindlessly scanning for familiar presence, grip on the pillow and Seokjin’s palm tightening – before automatically relaxing again.

The cycle was repeating itself over and over, until it was time for Seokjin to slip away, with a quick peck on the back of Namjoon’s head.

 

“Feeling better?”

Taehyung only groaned in reply – that was enough though, his appearance already spoke for itself – and entered the kitchen. Bright red hair was now sticking to the left side of his head in a peculiar manner, betraying the way pillow was pressed to his face some minutes ago.

Not a trace of his wide smile now, only half-open eyes and pouting lips searching for any source of water. Long tanned legs were showing off from under the shorts – Taehyung apparently had no prejudice against showing up almost in underwear in front of almost a stranger. Unlike Seokjin, who spent too much time tiptoeing all over the bedroom in search of something good-looking but casual enough for the evening.

“Can I help you?” he offered after a few minutes of silent staring at Seokjin’s manipulations.

Namjoon warned him about the boy’s habits, but Seokjin found the long silence awkward nevertheless.

“No, it’s… Well, if you want to.”

Taehyung shrugged, taking a step closer, “Kookie is still asleep,” as if it explained everything, voice still cracking with sleepiness.

Hard to tell what he expected to change, but the next couple of minutes were spent in silence as well, Seokjin carefully measuring seasoning ingredients and throwing glances at the boy blankly staring at the boiling cabbage. The weather outside was already much better, warm and sunny, like the morning sights were coming from another dimension. Taehyung didn’t seem to notice though, focused solely on the task at hand – or so it seemed.

“Seokjin-ssi, how did you and hyung meet?”

The man spilled almost half a spoon more of fish sauce into the tiny bowl – both the raised voice and the question were sudden enough to startle him. “Didn’t he, I thought he told you?”

“No, I don’t think so.” Taehyung sent him a curious look before hurrying back to the stove, where water started to hiss under the cover’s edges.

Perfect timing. Helping the boy and replacing the cabbage with potatoes gave Seokjin a few seconds he so much needed to collect himself and find a proper answer.

“It was a long time ago,” he finally started, gaze fixed on the green leaves flowing in cold water, mind focused on the memories, god, has it been more than 10 years already? “We got stuck in one hotel in New York thanks to work. Met at the bar, then coffee shop, then dinner, and then stuck together for some reason. It all went on from there, you know.” Fell into the dumbest and longest crush only to be found again eleven years later.

He smirked at the sad-looking cabbage, pushing lush leaves into one bowl. It looked like this one was too small anyway, better find-

“For how long have you two been together then?”

-something bigger, wait.

“What do you mean?” Seokjin turned to the guest, keeping the posture calm while everything was swirling in panic inside. Does he know? Why does he know? Is he supposed to know?

“I mean, you are… dating, right? I’m not sure if that’s what it is. Maybe, there’s another word for it when you get older, this one sounds a bit,” Taehyung’s thoughts trailed off with a short hum, fingers coming to tap at his lips. He kept staring at the pot – now filled with potatoes – for a few seconds more before coming to some conclusion in his head and turning to the man again, this time with quiet and welcoming expectation.

Seokjin still had no idea what to say. He didn’t like being caught off guard like that, mask of calm confidence barely keeping emotions at bay, but his mind just couldn’t comprehend properly. He still had no fucking idea.

“Why do you think we are… dating?”

Fuck, now his ears got red. He could feel the blood warming up at the tips, it was so annoying, so embarrassing.

“Angels told me,” oh, okay, “also, couldn’t fall asleep and heard steps coming to your bedroom.” Seokjin exhaled with quiet relief – alright, this one is possible to explain. “And with all due respect, Seokjin-ssi, but you aren’t really subtle about it.”

He looked up with a silent question, only to meet a warm smile on the boy’s face, his usual cheerfulness slowly seeping back. It looked like he had his answer prepared beforehand – unlike Seokjin himself.

“You look at each other, like, all the time, and you don’t notice how often you touch. Also Namjoon-ssi is nice and friendly, but even he would get frustrated at the amount of teasing – he gets all flustered and giggly instead. As I said, you are pretty obvious. Also, you spent too much time in the garage for a simple checking…”

“Okay, I got it.” His face was red now as well, crimson quickly blooming on the cheeks. The sight was truly comical – a 46 years old famous South Korean actor blushing in front of 21 years old boy. What a headline it would be.

They were quiet for almost a minute, Seokjin digesting the information, Taehyung respectfully not pushing and only humming something under his breath while poking potatoes with a fork.

“Do I really tease him too much?”

“For my taste.” Taehyung shrugged, sending a wide grin immediately after. “But hyung is also kind of cute when he’s happy, so I guess that’s understandable.”

“God, he was supposed to tell you after dinner.” Palm came up to cover his eyebrows, eyes shutting in quiet despair. It wasn’t that bad, but Seokjin still felt guilty somehow – even though the reason Taehyung found out wasn’t solely on him.

“Jungkookie doesn’t know if that’s what you mean, Jin-ssi. He’s good at reading others, but when it comes to his father,” the boy shrugged without finishing the sentence. “Don’t think he sees Namjoon-ssi as potential partner for other people.”

Seokjin swallowed and slowly opened his eyes. Well, it was good, right? It was good. It was... good?

He was quiet for some time, busying himself with the meal preparation – it was time to remove potatoes from the boiling water anyway, meat still gurgling in another pot. Taehyung didn’t interrupt him, watching the elder’s hands just as quietly, clearly fascinated by quick and confident movements over still steaming vegetables.

“Five months. Technically.” Seokjin paused to rub at the patch of half burnt skin on his forefinger before going back to peeling, most of attention focused rather on his mind than hands.

Was it okay for him to talk about their relationships so freely?

Even though everyone but Namjoon’s family (“yes, of course he is, Taehyung is like a second son to me… god, it doesn’t count as incest for them, right?”) were aware. They weren’t particularly subtle about it indeed, but why would they have to be? It’s not that they wanted it to be public – holding hands in the park or a couple of stolen kisses on the beach was enough – but were never hiding or denying, and now Seokjin felt a bit lost.

How much could he share? How much should he share? If the boundaries were still there with Taehyung, then where exactly they lay?

Until Namjoon’s “official” announcement it still felt like an affair, at least in this house, at least for today. It had that sour taste of being something wrong. He didn’t like it, not right now, not back then, when Namjoon agreed that it might be better for all of them to get together for “the talk”.

It was Seokjin’s idea to wait. Jungkook was practically living with Taehyung full-time anyway, there was no need in hiding their night-time English lessons or long lazy morning talks about nothing, so Namjoon easily agreed to wait for the summer vacation. For the proper meeting and personal talk. For Seokjin to become a real person, man, his partner in Jungkook’s eyes, not a stranger from another continent, not a work acquaintance, not a ghost from the past. Seokjin wanted to be a part of this, from beginning to end, meeting Namjoon’s family head-on while holding his hand.

It might’ve been silly – holding onto the bitter wishes of the past, making a fuss only to beat the insecurities that were already pointless, because Namjoon was here, Namjoon came back, Namjoon chose him – but it still was important. The wall between him and Namjoon’s family was still there, and it was important for him to see it breaking with his own eyes, help it crumble with his own hands – or it would stay in his mind for the rest of his life, daunting shadow over their future.

But Namjoon had to be there with him for it to become empowering rather than nerve-wrecking. He didn’t know Taehyung enough to figure out where to step in this conversation, which bumps were hard enough, and which would pull him under water in an instant.

And so, he decided that three words were enough, at least for now, shifting his focus back to the meal instead. For a few seconds Taehyung looked like he wanted to ask something again – but decided against it as well. Instead, as soon as the proper tasks were done, he turned to the window.

The sky was clear, spilling bright blue up to the horizon, where it was touching its darker reflection somewhere behind the vague mist. Sun was shining up in the sky, unperturbed by its late appearance, slowly rolling over azure blanket.

It was around four.

“Can we go to the beach today? The weather is so pretty now!” Taehyung tipped his head to look at the host with vibrating excitement of a child. Apparently, he was fully back to his usual attitude.

“Sure – if Kim family will wake up soon enough.” Seokjin nodded in the direction of the stairs, small smile on his lips. He was still in the midst of his thoughts, politeness hiding him without hesitance. “The fog will be back in a few hours.”

“You know, I’m a Kim as well, Seokjin-ssi,” the boy dropped with a smirk, already following the man’s nod and hurrying to get upstairs.

“Yeah, me too… Looks like I needed to make Kim-chi instead,” he replied automatically, the joke already brewing in his mind for too long to miss the chance. Quiet snort came back to him.

“I always thought these puns were a part of your media image.”

Something soft peeked through Taehyung’s amused notes – but Seokjin’s head snapped up nevertheless, mind brought back into present moment in an instant. “How dare you compare my talent with cheap tricks for attention?”

He turned around, hazel eyes flaming with indignation, chopsticks readily pointing at the door – but a loud giggle was already coming from the top of the stairs, “Sorry, Mr. Kim” breaking the languid peace of the house.

Seokjin only sighed, something similar to “kids” echoing through the sound, and turned to the stove. This time the corner of his lips rose a bit higher, wrinkles forming around the eyes. “Media image,” he huffed once again after a few seconds, fishing a piece of scallion out of the broth.

Soon enough the pork ribs and vegetables were finally together, lazily bathing in the milky liquid. Rich aromas were floating in the air, nutty notes of perilla leaves freshly chapped under Seokjin’s hands making his smile warmer. Rice cooker was quietly humming on the other side of the kitchen.

Sometimes, back in the day, when Seokjin was bored or deep in thoughts over his place in the grand scheme of things, he’d go to Naver or any other social media that’d catch his eyes at the moment. He’d search for articles with his name, comments, people that were rather fans of his works, and people that rather hated most of them. He saw a lot, read a lot, felt – a lot during these moments.

But right now he caught himself thinking of people that felt bad for him. “Such a nice, well-mannered man”, “all his youth under cameras”, “never even had a chance to be” – what? Seokjin never knew. But he never worried as well, smirking rather softly at such words. It was nice of others to take their time to care about him, but he was okay. Really, he was okay.

Until he realized that he wasn’t anymore. That he doesn’t want to be there, in the middle of Seoul, with a bunch of invitations to private parties and posters to sign.

Until he realized it’s the time to move on. Find that something he, supposedly, never had. Normal life? As much as it could be now.

His parents always wanted him to get married and settle down nearby. Bring children (and grandchildren) into their already too quiet house, hand in hand with a beautiful wife. They used to hint about it a lot – and were ecstatic when he finally brought Kyungmi eight years ago. They thought marriage was near. She was the only one to appear on their doorstep.

What a shame.

The flow of Seokjin’s thoughts lingered there for a moment: on the image of blue dress and short dark hair. She cut them right before moving out. He liked them long better – but it didn’t matter anymore.

“You promised you’ll think about it. You promised we, you and me, will grow into something more. I can’t wait, Jin-ah, I want family, I want home, not a place for you to come back to for a few hours. It’s a bird cage, Jin. I can’t wait anymore.”

What a shame.

Media were spreading rumors about his supposed fiancée for months, but well, was it the first time?

He liked being in some kind of stable relationships – but could never offer any stability himself. Korea, Japan, France, movies, ads, festivals, actresses, managers, security guards, bars, parties, hotel rooms. He was everywhere, with everyone, all at once, his attention span encircling the whole planet.

Maybe, that’s why Namjoon caught him in a matter of days without even trying. Showed the way to find meaning in every step, allowed to breathe through honest conversations, tied him up to the present moment – without even trying.

What they had, then and there, couldn’t wait for later – because there was no later.

Was only Namjoon, with his sad eyes and shy giggles, big hands and open heart, billions of stories and one ring that mattered more than all of them put together. The most real person Seokjin had ever met.

 

“Hello, Mr. Kim, I hope it’s okay that we slept for so long.”

You slept for so long – I’ve been up for over an hour.”

Seokjin only smirked, watching the younger couple quietly bicker, words hastily turning into light tickles and elbowing. Jungkook looked much more self-conscious than his boyfriend. He was already fully dressed, loose dark t-shirt hanging off his shoulders, toes sticking from under pajama pants; his hair wasn’t perfect – but was diligently combed at least, traces of sleepiness only lingering in the corners of his eyes.

Apparently, they were heading towards bathroom – weight of red-haired and brightly grinning 21 years old on his shoulders wasn’t troubling Jungkook in the slightest – when Seokjin caught them, hand still lying on the railing.

“It’s nothing, Jungkook-ah.” As soon as the boys’ attention returned to him – only partially, their fingers still pinching (or holding?) each other – Seokjin pouted. “And I told you, call me Seokjin.” He was going to use his potential to the fullest, wasn’t he?

Taehyung only glanced at him with understanding before hiding a giggle of amusement in the younger’s neck. Jungkook, on the other hand, stayed as calm as ever. “Of course, Seokjin-ssi, sorry, I’ll try to remember this time.”

For a moment Seokjin considered banging his head against the wall.

“The dinner is ready – try not to eat too much, or you won’t be able to fall asleep later.” He suppressed a sigh and instead pushed another polite smile out. “I’m going to wake Namjoon up.”

“Okay!”

“Thank you, Mr. Kim.”

The host waited for them to close the bathroom door (yes, Taehyung followed his boyfriend inside as well) before allowing his shoulders to drop down, blank gaze scratching the door for a second longer. Okay, Taehyung likes him, it’s already something. The rest needs more hard work, that’s all.

He let the sigh out and moved towards the door on the other side of the hallway.

“Hey, you still asleep?”

Stillness of the room barely changed since he left it – almost an hour ago indeed. The pile of dark blue material and caramel tanned limbs fidgeted at the sound of his voice, the mop of dark hair turning. That way Namjoon’s face was even seen from the doorway, eyes still closed, brows knitted, displaying just how unhappy he was about being awake – but lips moved around the word all the same.

“Yes.”

Seokjin chuckled, stepping closer to the bedside, fondness rushing over him without any warning. “How are you talking to me then?” It felt a bit like talking to a child, conversation without much sense, kept just for the sake of love shared in between words. He squatted, lowering himself next to Namjoon, just to get closer to the other’s face, puffy and cute.

“Maybe, you are just a dream?” The voice was still groggy, thick with sleep and dehydration but sensible enough to reveal the truth: despite the quiet complaint – both in words and pouty lips – Namjoon had been awake for some time already.

Seokjin immediately huffed, first reaction to take the words as a mindless, half-joking compliment (that it probably was). He even had a vague plan to reply with something as cheesy and witty, leaning forward to rest elbows on the mattress and smirking – but then an odd, deeper feeling took over him.

Namjoon’s face was right in front of him, eyes lazily squinting from the pillow, glistening with a mixture of amusement and affection, probably reflecting Seokjin’s own. He looked relaxed, open, almost vulnerable, like it was his home already. Like he trusted Seokjin with everything. Dark hair was messed from uneasy nap, bangs falling on the forehead – Seokjin carefully pushed them back.

It was a simple action, a short movement, but something changed in the air. Namjoon’s hand moved, too slow to actually catch the wrist – but Seokjin wasn’t planning on taking it away. Long fingers grazed against his cheek before moving down, to playfully tap on the wing of the nose. Namjoon immediately scrunched at the touch. Something inside Seokjin pinched in response.

“Not a dream,” he added with gentle affection, watching Namjoon blinking through the double meaning, fingers holding Seokjin’s wrist gripping tighter, pulling somewhere forward.

“Not a dream,” the man confirmed with soft chuckle, filled with happiness rather that any sort of amusement. “Come here.”

“What, now?”

“Yes.”

“But the boys…”

“...can wait a minute longer.”

“Just a minute?”

They both giggled, Seokjin easily following the other’s hand despite the hushed protests. He was the clingy one after all, “The food is almost ready,” murmur already sliding down Namjoon’s collarbone.

The man only hummed, closing his eyes again, unperturbed by the weight pinning him down. Seokjin didn’t bother with looking for a proper position, just climbed on top of him, knees to waist, chest to chest, elbows caging Namjoon’s shoulders. Palms came to hold his waist in response, finishing the intricate composition of limbs and bodies.

It was warm. It was nice. It was comfortable. They could have a minute indeed, only…

“Joonie.”

“I’m not doing anything.”

“You… Namjoon-ah!”

Seokjin almost shoot up – the joint in his lower back let out a weird sound, barely noticeable pain skipping past him in a familiar manner – catching the other’s hands and guiding them back up. Blood was boiling on the tips of his ears, embarrassment clashing with a wave of arousal, god, why he had to be so sensitive there.

It’s not like other people don’t enjoy some butt stimulation, but at least they have other places to focus on: neck, chest, ears, or – like Namjoon – a particular spot right under hipbone. So many body parts to choose, why then he had to get an additional bunch of nerves in the ass? It was a source of all kinds of comments – from cooing to straight up offensive – but he couldn’t do anything about it. If only he had a chance to choose…

Although Namjoon liked it, so maybe he’d decide not to change anyway.

Even now he was grinning like a cat that got the cream, not a trace of innocence or guilt in his features, thumbs rubbing circles into Seokjin’s waist.

“You think this is funny?” Seokjin pursed his lips in half-pout, joking frown creasing his forehead. Of course, Namjoon wouldn’t laugh at him, they both knew it well enough – but Seokjin still fidgeted like he was planning to get up, if only to play along. Reaction was immediate.

“I think it’s amazing. I think you are the most amazing person in the world.”

And this man was 44? Seokjin huffed, allowing Namjoon’s hands to catch his wrists and pull back down, pout faltering under pressure of fondness. “You allow them to touch your ass once – and they flood you with compliments.”

Their fingers mindlessly groped for each other, entwining in the air, Seokjin’s arms gently pushing down, Namjoon’s – as gently pushing up for balance. Similarly, the gazes were holding onto each other in the tightest embrace, unable to untangle, unable to tear apart. Skin was warm, movements slow and unfocused, soaked with exhilaration and intimacy. Time was barely reaching the other side of the bed, dragging over the sheets. The rest of the world barely existed.

Namjoon smirked up at him, sweeter than honey, warmer than sun, eyes glimmering in the dimmed light of the room. “I think they are just weak for you.” His voice was still low but not with sleepiness now – only desire to not disturb their closeness. “I think they’d flood you with compliments anyway.”

“Yeah?” His heart skipped a beat. It wasn’t a dream?

“Yeah.”

“You think so?”

“I just know it,” Namjoon gently pulled him down, “Trust me,” in a whisper already as their smiles finally met, physically pressing against each other.

He was weak. He was so fucking weak for him.

“Seokjin-ssi?”

They almost jumped up at loud knock on the door, quiet creak revealing Taehyung’s curiosity. While Seokjin was unable to come up with anything but a nervous giggle, pushing his face into the pillow next to Namjoon’s head, the palms on his waist stilled. Namjoon blinked at the ceiling for a few moments before hurrying to lift his head and look at the door from behind Seokjin’s shoulders, a hint of tightness to his voice.

“Taehyung, you can’t come in without permission, it’s not your…”

“It’s okay, it’s okay.” The owner of the house came back to his senses pretty quickly, although muffled chuckles were still reaching him through absurdity of the situation.

He turned back, where Taehyung was already fiercely pouting at the prospect of receiving a fatherly lecture, grumpy gaze boring into Namjoon. The boy quickly caught up with the situation though, seeing Namjoon obediently going quiet under Seokjin’s voice, and sent a wide grin the latter’s way.

“What did you want, Taehyungie?”

“We are hungry, and the stew smells delicious, and can you hurry up please?” He let out everything in succession, eyebrows rising in expression of innocent plea – before the effect was ruined as soon as he finished the speech. “Figured you might be busy, so you know, just a reminder.”

His childish grin turned into a smug smirk too fast for Seokjin’s taste – but could he blame the boy? Absolutely not. If Seokjin was in his position, he’d probably tease himself to death.

It didn’t stop him from pursing his lips though – you can’t encourage kids for being naughty, can you? – and giving Taehyung a look of disapproval, accompanied by “Alright, we’re coming.”

The signs went straight past him.

“Okay!”

The intruder only lingered for long enough to watch them untangle, before disappearing with a bright chuckle.

“That was too easy even for him,” Namjoon mumbled as soon as the door closed, sitting up and thoughtfully scratching through hair. Seokjin allowed himself to relish in the sight of confused Namjoon – not so rare but always so cute – for a bit longer before giving him a helping hand, both literally and figuratively.

“He already figured everything out.”

“Huh?” The man looked up at him with a look of hesitant surprise, accepting the hand and standing up easier – but not letting go yet. “How do you know?”

“I can read minds. And he can read minds. We read each other’s thoughts and,” surprise quickly turned into suspicion, so Seokjin interrupted himself with a ‘no sense of humor’ sigh and added, “he told me.”

Namjoon’s narrow eyes cleared up in an instant. “Oh. Okay, that makes much more sense.”

“Than?”

“Than your superpowers.”

Seokjin didn’t refuse himself the pleasure of offended pouting the other’s way. “You don’t believe in my powers?”

Fuck, was he really teasing him too much?

“I do.” But then, what else could make Namjoon smirk with such endearment, arms entwining like vines around his waist, pulling Seokjin into another hug. “But I think you could have something cooler than mind-reading, such a cliché.”

The man scoffed, rolling his eyes – only Namjoon could call his fantasies banal and still say it with warmth and adoration – hands finding their place on his shoulders. Seokjin had no choice but to smile back, taking the bait.

“Yeah? Which would be better then?”

They were supposed to hurry up, to get down, save Jungkook from suspicion and Taehyung – from hungry frustration, but well, at least, they were standing now? Though still glued to each other, one hug readily transforming into another.

“First, you could charm the hell out of anybody.”

“That’s a superpower?”

“Obviously. You’re like the biggest distraction. Ever. No one would be able to defeat you.”

Seokjin hummed in quiet approval, heart tearing up between shyness and affection, beating feverishly to catch up with both while Namjoon, deaf to its struggles, kept going.

“Then, you could be like a joy-spreader. Wherever you appear, people would smile and…”

“They’d laugh at me?” He tried to sound as offended as possibly with his voice trembling, revealing the feelings stubbornly kept at bay. They both knew he was joking, but Namjoon hurried to reassure him nevertheless, shaking his head so sharply he almost knocked Seokjin’s head off his shoulder.

“No, they’d be happy. Imagine how cool it’d be – to make everything brighter with just your presence?”

“Yeah, it’d be very cool.” He already had no defensive mechanisms left to fight the force of shyness, just accepting and pushing his flaming face deeper into Namjoon’s neck.

“Also, there’s that thing…”

“Joon.”

“…where you can turn into someone else. I saw your movies, I think…”

“Joon!”

“…it would also be, huh?”

He finally reacted – only after Seokjin, desperate for the compliments to stop and let him breathe, bit his shoulder through t-shirt, quickly but rather painlessly. For a few more seconds Seokjin kept silently squeezing the man in his arms, waiting for his heart to calm down. Turned out it still wasn’t enough, cause as soon as he raised his voice, it became too obvious that feelings were still overwhelming, pulling at the vocal cords, trembling on the edges of the statement. “You’re impossible.”

Namjoon took a moment to think it through, hands traveling up and down the other’s back, before replying cautiously, “Is it good?

Seokjin giggled, closing eyes for a second, “Yeah,” before raising his head to catch Namjoon’s look and hold it for a heartbeat longer, hoping that his eyes show enough to explain without words. “Yeah, it’s pretty fucking awesome.”

It took less than a second for Namjoon’s lips to spread into a wide grin. “Good,” he planted a kiss in the corner of Seokjin’s mouth, “I’ll try to be as impossible as possible for you then.”

“You’re too cheesy for your own good.”

This time they both giggled, shared sound physically pulling their lips together. It would be easy to spend an eternity like this, attached to each other, both in hearts and in bodies; just stay in this one room for the rest of their lives, drinking each other’s feelings, filling up through each other’s gazes, getting high on the touches. It would be easy, but-

“You know, Taehyung may come back any second.”

Almost immediately a loud, exasperated sigh left Namjoon’s lips, the man still not pulling back, only pouting under his partner’s gaze – which was definitely a sight to see. “Then let him see? You have no idea how much of their snuggles I’ve seen over the years – including the ones not meant for public.”

Seokjin cooed with a hint of sympathy, “Poor Joonie,” and patted him on the head before finally breaking the hug – otherwise they’d be stuck here till the end of the day. “But the boys still need to eat.”

 

Turned out the boys didn’t need anything after all.

By the time the couple came down, Namjoon’s sulkiness notably shrinking at the notes of food in the air, the youngsters were politely sitting at the table. If not for the barely heard chewing noises and oily lips, the other two might’ve even felt guilty.

“Boys.” A hint of accusation skimmed through the word, Namjoon coming to lean on the opposite side of the table – specifically to give them a look of disapproval.

“We were hungry,” his son immediately attempted to explain, “and you were busy,” while his boyfriend pouted, letting out a disapproving huff of his own.

“We only grabbed a spoon!”

“It’s delicious, Jin-ssi.”

The cook only smiled at that, detaching himself from the conversation and just quietly filling the bowls. Taehyung’s knowledge and endless teasing hints were making it that much harder to stay the same, making everything even more awkward.

Seokjin kept reminding himself to not look at Namjoon, to stay mindful, to behave like a friend. Thoughts were swirling in his head once again, keeping him busy enough to not be interested in joining the talk – that already shifted to the evening’s plans anyway.

“Yes, I think we can spend some time on the beach today – and leave the center for tomorrow. Maybe, even stop by ‘Wings’, what do you think, Jin-ssi?”

“Of course, yes, I think it’s good too.” Caught by the sudden question, he didn’t think again – and looked straight at Namjoon, immediately meeting his eyes. It was a trifle, a habit, nothing serious – and yet Taehyung cleared his throat, sound equally amused as cautious.

Right.

Seokjin couldn’t stop the corners of his lips from turning down, eyes coming back to his hands. It was okay. They were doing nothing bad. He was not rejected by the boys. It was okay – but surprisingly draining at the same time.

He was quiet (or at least less loud than usual) for the rest of the dinner, mostly keeping his gaze on the table apart from a couple of jokes that were too lame even for his own taste. Eventually, Namjoon even bumped his foot with his own, silently questioning – but Seokjin only gave him an unfocused look and short smile. It was okay.

It was okay, it was okay, it was okay.

He was such a teenager himself.

“Jin, what’s wrong?”

Next chance for them to stay alone came only half an hour later, Seokjin refusing to accept more glances from Jungkook and deliberately avoiding his father in the bedroom. In result, Namjoon was sent to change into his clothes only after cleaning up the kitchen – by his own will – giving Seokjin enough time to dress up and escape into the living room.

But even that was not enough for the boys, the two of them still pursuing one another all over the second floor under the pretext of using bathroom and bedroom at the same time. Namjoon even gave them a loud “Hurry up” – before hurrying downstairs on his own.

“Nothing, it’s nothing.” Seokjin even smirked to emphasize the carefulness of the words, tearing palms away from his elbows to show up as confident as ever. How mature, Kim Seokjin, how honest.

But Namjoon’s frown only went deeper at that. “Are you serious, or are you trying to convince me?”

For a newbie in relationships Namjoon was pretty damn good at reading others’ intentions. Is that what marriage teaches you?

“I don’t know, it’s,” he stumbled, gaze clinging onto the fingers anxiously fumbling with the sleeve. He couldn’t even properly hide it – but what? What was making him nervous – if it was supposed to be okay?

“Jin-ah,” and he automatically moved towards the gentle voice. It was embarrassing, it was embarrassing.

He was so weak for him it was embarrassing – and what if it doesn’t work out again?

He was so used to loneliness before, but how he’s supposed to get used to the lack of “good night”s waking him up in the morning and random photos of pretty trees from the streets of Seoul? Namjoon just had to wreck him all over, second time, second time, and give no hope. Hide from his family like something embarrassing – second time – and...

He had no idea where all of this was coming from, because never, not a single time did Namjoon hint that their relationships were something undesirable – but the feeling was choking Seokjin from inside. “It’s harder than I thought,” was all he could put into words, wrapping arms around Namjoon’s neck.

Palms came to rub his back in wide, soothing strokes. “What do you mean?”

“Hiding. Pretending. I don’t like how it feels, it’s so hard.” The words came out muffled, getting lost in the folds of Namjoon’s sweatshirt. He was talking so quietly it was easy to miss the words – if only they weren’t standing this close.

“But we aren’t hiding, Jinnie.”

Seokjin scoffed, confused frown hiding in knitted brows, and moved away just enough to look him in the eyes. Namjoon looked back with an equally confused gaze, only his features were much softer, soaked with affection. So he did mean it, the only question was, “What do you mean? Of course, we are.”

He even chuckled joylessly, trying to read the other’s thoughts from his face – unfortunately, it was barely working out. Namjoon only slowly shook his head, eyes still fixed on Seokjin’s, and raised a hand to squeeze the other’s neck – with proper amount of tenderness and reassurance.

“No, baby, there’s nothing to hide. You are my lover, my boyfriend, call it whatever you like. We are together – and we are just waiting for a good time to tell my son, but it doesn’t change anything. And if it makes you uncomfortable, we will tell him right now. Are you okay with that?”

Seokjin swallowed through sudden tightness in the chest, gaze darting to the stairs where rustle of clothes and rushed steps were growing louder with every passing second. It had to happen, right? It had to. That’s what he wanted. That’s what they needed to do.

His stomach was still tight, both nerves and Namjoon’s earnest words tying knots out of his guts, when he nodded with a stutter, “Okay,” and exhaled into the lips that came to peck him.

“Okay.” Namjoon nodded too, turning to the stairs as well, hand finding Seokjin’s palm and squeezing – a bit too harsh to count it as gentle. His nerves weren’t silent either.

“Wait, let’s, let’s sit.”

Seokjin couldn’t remember last time he allowed his voice to be so weak openly (not counting countless times he was failing in the bedroom). Heart was pounding heavily in his chest, air coming in and out with notable hitches. It was okay. He tightened his grip on Namjoon’s hand, fingers frantically looking for a way to entwine. It was okay.

“It’s not like we are going to tell him that Santa isn’t real.” Namjoon let out a chuckle, a bit more strangled than usual, staring at his own thumb rubbing circles into Seokjin’s.

“What do you mean Santa isn’t real?”

It was weak, he knew, but still tried to give his voice as much surprise and amusement as possible. It was easy to pretend. It was easy to play – if only for the sake of Namjoon’s cackle and warm gaze.

It was harder to be honest – because you never know what you'll get in return.

Their eyes met, smirks faltering to give way for smaller affectionate smiles. Silent exchange of thoughts and feelings. I am sure about that. I want to be with you. I love you.

Something deep but familiar was glistening through Namjoon’s eyes, the warmth and love meant only for him, only for Seokjin; something he couldn’t name but would never allow himself to lose.

He wanted to repeat, once again, this time for Namjoon, not for himself, that it’s gonna be okay – but steps finally reached the first floor. Cheerful voice broke through the intimate silence.

“Sorry, we are almost ready, Jungkookie is just a bit… oh.”

Taehyung stopped in his tracks right at the bottom of the stairs, assessing gaze flickering over the couple. Understanding smirk tugged at the corner of his lips in less than a second. “I see. I’m gonna bring him.”

“I’m here, here, hyung, it’s not my fault the camera was so deep.”

Seokjin took a deep breath as soon as Jungkook’s legs appeared in his line of vision, back automatically straightening up, hand squeezing Namjoon tighter. Weird thought ran through him: Namjoon didn’t tell how Jungkook reacted when they told him Santa isn’t real.

The man next to him fidgeted as well, clearing his throat before calling, “Kookie, come here, I, um, we want to talk to you. To both of you.”

Taehyung grinned at this and nodded, readily taking off in the direction of the only armchair and jumping in with a satisfied sigh, leaving his boyfriend behind. Just like him, Jungkook studied the room for a couple of seconds, cautious gaze lingering on the couple but barely touching the entwined hands as if too shy to stare.

He didn’t say anything, only followed the older one, ignoring empty space next to Seokjin in favor of the back of Taehyung’s seating, leaning in right above the mop of bright red hair.

Awkward silence followed him as well, settling in more comfortably in the middle of the room. Namjoon was clearly looking for words, a hint of anxiousness in his deep frown, while Seokjin was almost frozen. He sat there, straight back and blank face, eyes fixed on a spot right above Taehyung’s shoulder. The room was silent, but the pounding heart and loud thoughts were mixing into his own personal cacophony.

What will he do if Jungkook decides that he’s not a good fit for his father? What if they all end up in an argument? They had to wait, Seokjin could make himself more likeable, it would be better, god, what had he done, what had he done.

As if hearing his thoughts – or maybe for his own reassurance – Namjoon moved his wrist a bit, trying to adjust in Seokjin’s steel grip.

“Jungkook, Taehyung, you know that back in April I was here for work – and accidentally met Seokjin. You also know that we already knew each other, from long time ago.” Namjoon’s voice was deep, words flowing out in slow, thoughtful patterns – not like when he was nervous, but when he cared about what he was saying. The boys watched him curiously, only Taehyung’s gaze kept slipping into Seokjin’s direction, a hint of warm smile in the corners of hazel eyes.

He might’ve been a child sometimes – but definitely the smart and honest one.

“What you don’t know is that we are not just friends. We’re boyfriends?”

“Partners.” Seokjin smirked a bit, gaze finally leaving the armchair to rest on Namjoon’s face, hesitant eyes looking for an answer on his own. It was happening. Namjoon was here. It was okay. He gently squeezed his hand again. Partners. Yes, he liked how that sounds.

“Yes, yes, that’s better,” Namjoon smiled at him too before turning back to the couple, “we are partners.”

“I think it’s cute. Don’t you think, oh no, he doesn’t think it’s cute.”

In the span of 5 seconds Taehyung managed to turn around twice and change his expression thrice – from joy to hesitance to small reassuring smile. Jungkook was quiet. Confused frown lingered on his face, gaze slowly moving between the elders and their clasped hands.

“So, does it mean you’re gay?”

Everyone turned to him. Namjoon blinked in surprise, like he didn’t expect the question (though he probably should’ve), and hummed, uncertain frown making its way on his face as well. His eyes automatically turned to look for his partner – but even Seokjin couldn’t help him here. He only smiled, putting as much reassurance as he could through the lump in his throat.

“I guess so?” But Namjoon still managed to read something, why else would he keep looking back at him? “I mean, I was never not gay, like, fully, you know that,” Jungkook nodded as if in response to particular memory, “but if you mean, um, officially, then yes, yes, of course.”

The boy hummed at that – Seokjin turned just in time to catch a quick glance of his – and nodded with a shrug. “Okay, um, congratulations? I’m, I’m happy for you, dad. And, of course, you too, Mr. Kim,” the boy quickly added, awkwardness being seemingly their family’s trait. Luckily, Taehyung was always there to help him out.

“Yes! Congratulations, that’s so cool! We are like a family now. Gay family. Wow, I didn’t think about it before.” He was looking between all three of them with a wide grin, hand finding Jungkook’s sleeve to tug in excitement.

It looked like he was the only one in the mood for celebration.

Namjoon’s gaze was unfocused, mind somewhere still in his thoughts, though a small smile was supporting the younger’s excitement. His son’s face was reflecting the same pattern, hand mindlessly taking a hold of Taehyung’s – only for the boy to pull it back in order to sit properly again.

And Seokjin, well, Seokjin did feel relief, soft smile responding to cheerful words, but something heavy was still pressing on his chest. It didn’t look like he imagined, and even though many things in his life didn’t, that particular case was not so easy to let go of.

Namjoon was telling dozens, hundreds of times that Jungkook is shy and keeps to himself – “but he’s a very active boy, he likes to joke around and laugh a lot; when you’ll get to know him, it’s like another person.” But something wasn’t right. Something wasn’t clicking. They only knew each other one day, obviously, there was no reason for him to open up – but it wasn’t only that. There was a hint of unknown hostility Seokjin couldn’t properly place or explain to himself.

Had he done something wrong?

“Are we gonna go now?” Taehyung suddenly asked, turning around to look at the window behind Jungkook’s back like the fog might decide to come back any second (which it actually could).

“Yeah, I think…”

“No, Joon-ah.” Seokjin gently tugged at the hand, shaking his head, eyes searching for his as soon as Namjoon moved to stand up. It took the man a few confused moments before “Oh” finally left his mouth, gaze moving back to the boys.

Of course he’d forget.

Their hands, already sweaty from the nerves and tight grip, lost initial pleasure of holding each other – so he pulled the palm out of Seokjin’s grip to wrap around his shoulders. Unconscious reminder of the other’s presence.

Suddenly, Seokjin felt an urge to move to him, onto him, hide face in Namjoon’s neck and not deal with it, not deal with anything. Instead, he only fidgeted to get comfortable in the embrace, allowing himself only to press against the other’s body a bit firmer than needed, and turned to the boys as well, hands awkwardly landing on Namjoon’s thigh.

“Right, boys, it’s important too. We, me and Seokjin, talked about the situation and decided it’ll be better for me to move here. I’ll leave the apartment to you, so, Taehyungie, you can move in, and…”

“Wait, what are you talking about?” Jungkook’s wide eyes were staring back at his father with disbelief. “Dad, you can’t just move to another country.”

“I’ve been doing it all my life.” Namjoon grinned, clearly oblivious of the strained tone of his son – unlike Seokjin whose smile faltered.

Something wasn't right.

“That’s not what I mean, what about your job?”

“I have a client here, he’d been asking me to move for a while. And I can always come back to online…”

“No, no, dad.” Almost a plea appeared in the boy’s voice, now even Taehyung turning to look at him with concern.

“Kookie, it’s okay, what’s wrong?” But the youngest didn’t even look at him, eyes fixed on the couple. Seokjin unconsciously gripped Namjoon tighter, fuck, it was really happening.

“Dad, you can’t, you, you barely know each other!”

Finally, Namjoon seemed to sense something, whether through his partner’s grip or clear protest in his son’s voice. He fidgeted, now straightening up on his own, steel notes reverberating through his voice, “We know each other enough, Jungkook.” Seokjin felt the grip on his shoulder tightening, bringing closer.

The action brought the boy’s attention, and for a fleeting moment his and Seokjin’s eyes met.

There was fear. Jungkook quickly turned away, pursing his lips and putting visible efforts into swallowing whatever else he wanted to say – but Seokjin saw, and had no idea what to do about it.

“Okay. I mean, alright, of course, you know better. I’ll wait outside.” He left so quickly, frame tense and eyes down, that even Taehyung needed a couple of seconds before shooting after him.

Deafening silence fell on them.

“Oh god.”

“Everything’s fine.”

“No, it’s not, and you know that.”

Namjoon conveniently pulled him closer, catching hands that were ready to land on his face.

Fuck, it really happened, it was bad, it was so bad, and they didn’t even know why, and what if-

“Trust me.” He placed his own hands on Seokjin’s face instead, bringing attention, pulling at his gaze. “It’s okay.”

“It’s not okay, Joon.” He couldn’t do anything about the despair seeping into his everything. Tiny voice at the back of his head was reminding that everything was okay indeed. That nothing was ruined, it just didn’t go as planned – but there’s a way out of this.

But the voice was barely heard through his pounding heart. Because now Seokjin was scared too. Because no one expected this from Jungkook, no one understood what happened, no one knew what’s wrong (“with you” another, louder and uglier voice added).

He’d gladly latch onto any chance to fix things – but they didn’t even know what needed to be fixed.

“It’s bad.”

“It’s not.” Namjoon patiently repeated again, thumbs brushing his cheeks. “It doesn’t change anything. He’s just a boy, and it wasn’t something he expected. Give him time.”

“But…”

“We will live together,” he pointed the statement with a quick peck on Seokjin’s eyebrow, “everything’s settled already. It’s okay. Unless, of course, something changed your mind?”

Namjoon leaned back to look him in the eyes properly – but Seokjin blinked and looked away, tongue coming to swipe nervously over his lips. He wanted, of course, he wanted, the nagging feeling in his chest only reminding how much he actually wanted for the two of them to be together.

But if it had to happen against Jungkook’s will…

“I don’t know, Joon, I don’t like it. Maybe, it’s better to wait?”

Something flashed through Namjoon’s eyes, corners of his lips turning down – and Seokjin immediately regretted saying anything.

“We spent eleven years apart. I guess, a few more months won’t change anything indeed.” He smiled again with reassurance – but it was obvious just how much upset was pushed behind it. Seokjin felt his heart sinking down, just enough to poke at his guts.

“Joon, I’m not taking my word back, you know that, right?” He got a hold of Namjoon’s hand, palms already slipping down his face. “We just need to figure it out first, that’s all.”

“Yes, yes, of course, I understand.” The man smiled again – but it turned out awkward, eyes betraying the lack of focus.

Fuck.

Seokjin sighed and leaned forward, to press his brow against Namjoon’s shoulder, hands still holding his. The initial panic already settled in – they were working on the problem, they were going to solve it – leaving the heaviness behind. It didn’t go smoothly. It didn’t go perfectly. The wall was still there.

Palm lay on his back, thumb drawing soothing lines. Seokjin closed his eyes.

“It’s gonna be okay.”

 

The rest of the evening went as smoothly as it’d begun – that is, roughly and with countless bumps. Seokjin kept trying to lift the mood, splattering jokes and loud laughter here and there, openly ignoring the restrained reaction, at least from the Kim family. Taehyung was generously chuckling and overall helping him in making the trip less painful – but kept strolling away to awe at new sights, leaving all three of them in quiet awkwardness.

Namjoon was smiling when needed, even laughing and joking on his own from time to time – but hiding back inside his head quickly after. His thoughts were wrapped around something Seokjin couldn’t see, though it wasn’t hard to guess. Despite the calm and confident façade, Namjoon was prone to overthinking just as much as Seokjin. Birds of a feather flock together, huh?

And Jungkook, well, his behavior barely changed since morning. He was keeping his quiet, polite attitude, nodding and smiling when needed. The rest of the time, though, he was repeating his father, blank gaze staring at the ground or looking for something in the distance – until Taehyung was appearing in his line of sight again, softening tense features.

Overall, it was quiet and unpleasant stroll, at least for the majority of them – judging by the amount of photos Taehyung was taking, he was pretty much satisfied.

“Ah, the sunset is so pretty, can we stay a little longer?”

“No, Taehyung-ah,” Seokjin tugged him up the street – the boy kept turning around, to the beach and colorful skyline that were still peeking through the buildings. “The fog will be back soon, you won’t see anything anyway.”

“But it’s not fair! Why it has to cover the prettiest sights?”

Taehyung threw another last look at the shoreline and turned in the direction of the house, sulky pout on his lips. Seokjin only chuckled, protected from its effects by his own experience, and lead him to the store the other two entered minutes ago. Jungkook was looking for some special milk, Namjoon decided to buy a cup of coffee (undeterred by his partner’s unpleased gazes).

They both came out soon enough, together, shared frown on their faces confirming that some kind of discussion was inevitable. Seokjin kept the sigh to himself and smiled cheerfully, pointing at the bag in the elder’s hands.

“What’s this? Did they pack you with coffee?”

The joke was lame, he knew it – but Namjoon granted him with a gracious chuckle anyway, taking a sip of his drink before answering with a shrug. “Stuff. Cake for the evening, strawberries, tablets for dishwasher.”

“Dishwasher?” Seokjin gave him a look of obvious confusion, an old thought scratching at the back of his mind.

“Yeah, I noticed you were running out of them.”

Oh, right… Wait, did he tell Namjoon about it?

In the meantime Taehyung got interested in something else entirely, struggling to get a glance of the insides of the bag before giving up and asking “What kind of cake?” as innocently as possible.

“Chocolate.”

While the boy let out a sound of excitement, clearly happy with the choice, Namjoon turned to look at his partner with a hint of question. And Seokjin was already smiling softly back at him, overcome with a sudden rush of affection, feeling more like a boy gifted with his favorite sweets than a man that could buy one for each of them. But, to disperse any doubts entirely, he closed his eyes for a second in expression of delight, nose scrunching and hum leaving his smiling lips.

He was happy with the choice as well.

“Thank you, Namjoon-ah, now, let’s hurry to, uh,” he stumbled unintentionally, mind trying to catch up with the sudden smell of coffee and soft pressure on his left cheek. Someone next to him let out a cooing sound, most likely Taehyung.

Seokjin blinked.

Namjoon was looking at him with a wide grin, probably satisfied with the effects. Whatever was bugging his mind before managed to hide or disappear entirely, affection and light amusement looking at Seokjin through his eyes.

“What were you saying?”

“We need to, um, to get home,” fuck, he could feel his cheeks warming up, why couldn’t everyone just turn away, “soon, to get the cake.”

“I agree. Jungkookie?” Taehyung, not hiding his excitement, turned to look for his boyfriend.

While they were having a conversation next to the store entrance, Jungkook went a few yards up the street, lurking into the stores and windows with childish curiosity. As soon as his boyfriend’s voice reached him, though, he looked back to wave at them – before hurrying to get further away.

“Hey, it’s not a competition, it’s, hey, wait, Jungkook-ah!”

By the time the elder couple reached the house, quietly bickering about the weather – or rather it was Seokjin trying to reclaim his dignity by circling around Namjoon and beckoning him into making predictions about tomorrow (after checking all reliable sources himself, of course) while Namjoon was watching him with a fond smile and quietly sipping on his coffee, but who needs details – the boys were already sprawling on the stairs and trying to catch their breaths.

 

Apparently, the intense jog (“you cheated, Jungkook-ah, it’s not fair!”) lifted the youngest’s mood. For the rest of the evening he was slightly louder than before, even laughing at a couple of Seokjin’s puns and helping to clean the kitchen after their second dinner. His hesitant “good night” coming from the doorway even made Namjoon smile, the man sending him off with a “night” of his own, accompanied by Seokjin’s wink and “Have fun”.

He wasn’t sure if it wasn’t too early for such jokes, but Jungkook didn’t say anything, only turned away with a hint of shyness and disappeared. The couple exchanged amused looks behind his back.

“Maybe, he’s come to the terms on his own?”

Seokjin shrugged as if Namjoon could see him, climbing under the blanket while his partner was still dealing with the suitcase. Apparently, he didn’t think it through and packed the pajama first (to not forget it later) and now had to rummage through everything else to find his favorite t-shirt. The whole situation was too amusing for Seokjin to offer help – the man would refuse anyway, always so stubborn to deal with his forgetfulness on his own – so he just settled with watching Namjoon’s bare back from the bed.

It was a glorious sight to study anyway.

“Maybe – but it’s still better to talk. Did you switch workout?”

“Yeah, decided to work on my shoulders.” Namjoon only threw a quick glance behind to make sure he understood the question right, before going back to the task at hand – flexing muscles on the way by pure accident, surely. Seokjin only smirked at that. Not like he had anything against.

“Want to compete with me?”

The man audibly chuckled, finally placing the books (god, Seokjin hoped he had enough space to fit this part at least) back into the suitcase and turning to the bed. Yes, that side was even better.

Apparently, some of the thoughts got reflected on Seokjin’s face, because instead of pulling the long-lost shirt on, Namjoon dropped it on the footboard, smile turning into a smug grin in a matter of seconds. “Want to impress you,” he murmured, crawling over the bed to take his place next to Seokjin, or rather above him, hand tugging the blanket down.

Not like Seokjin cared about keeping it at place.

He only fidgeted, allowing the other’s palm to slide further down his waist, getting comfortable under attentive gaze, squinting and grinning back himself. “You are doing a pretty decent job at it.”

“Yeah?” Namjoon smirked – ah, too smug, Seokjin will have to tease him in the morning for that one, just for the sake of equality – and planted a kiss on Seokjin’s neck, the other’s arms pulling him closer in encouragement. “Are you impressed?”

“Every time.”

His voice was going lower, deeper, eyes shutting under continuous caress of lips on his neck and hands on his chest. Jungkook could wait. Everything could wait. Namjoon was here, firm and soft, rough and gentle, nibbles seeping through the flow of kisses, making Seokjin gasp.

He missed it. He missed it so fucking much.

They were already half-way into undressing Seokjin, the man giggling at Namjoon’s curses directed at the buttons on his pajama, when a knock came from the other side of the door.

This time Taehyung didn’t come in, didn’t even call out, only, after a few seconds the couple spent in a silent dialogue of gazes, knocked again.

“Coming.” In the end, Namjoon was the one to give up, pushing himself off the bed (and Seokjin) and reaching out for already forgotten t-shirt.

“Namjoon-ssi, can I talk to you?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“I mean, here.”

“…Okay.”

And just like that, Seokjin was left alone, heated kisses quickly cooling down on his skin. He looked around the room for a few more seconds, mind clearing up from the fog of intimacy, and buttoned the shirt up again. It looked like the night will be shorter for the two of them.

“What happened?”

As soon as the door closed again, Namjoon not caring about the knock despite the late hour, Seokjin looked up. Three minutes was enough to set him on edge. The man’s thoughtful face didn’t soothe him either.

“They got into a fight. I guess.”

“What?” Seokjin straightened up in a moment. And Namjoon was speaking about it so calmly! “Why?”

“Not sure. But Tae calls Kookie an idiot when they’re fresh from a quarrel.”

Despite Seokjin’s obvious worry, the man only shrugged, climbing back into bed from the other side. Apparently, his intentions had time to cool down as well.

“Joon, I don’t think- I’ll go check up on him.” But before he could do as much as lift the blanket, a palm caught his thigh – the closest part Namjoon could reach.

“Don’t stress out, it happens. I already helped him to settle downstairs.”

Under the firm, calm gaze Seokjin’s mind settled as well, body leaning back on the headboard – but the frown refused to leave, barely hiding the darker thoughts.

“Often?” he finally asked, voice as tense as his insides.

Seokjin didn’t like it, Seokjin didn’t like it at all – unlike Namjoon who shrugged light-heartedly and turned around to reach for the book he prepared before, something about Chinese sculptures. Seokjin flipped through it before but didn’t find anything for his taste. His and Namjoon’s were quite different after all.

“Sometimes. They used to bicker a lot for about a year after becoming ‘official’,” he quoted in the air with one hand. “Then everything kind of settled – but sometimes,” he finished the sentence with a shrug, eyes already skimming through pages. “Taehyung tends to be dramatic.”

The man had obviously no intention to fall asleep.

It was all that Americano, Seokjin absentmindedly noted. And the plane. Damn plane.

They sat in silence for a while – only Namjoon’s fingers fumbling with the corner of the book – even though Seokjin felt like his thoughts should have at least some kind of physical representation. How, otherwise, would they be so loud in his own head?

Eventually – after staring at his laps and imagining Jungkook saying that he will never accept Seokjin for the fourth time – he let out a sigh and turned on the side, away from Namjoon. The light of the lamp was soft enough to not distract him, but his own anxious face could easily distract Namjoon.

It didn’t work as well as he expected, because Namjoon did get distracted – at least enough to fidget closer.

The palm returned to his side again, fingers gently squeezing his waist through the blanket, its soothing weight setting some of Seokjin’s anxiety at peace. Low murmur reached him, “Don’t overthink, it happens,” thumb stroking through layers of material.

Seokjin only sighed again, too entangled in his own thoughts to try and explain them. Instead, he shifted on the bed, maybe not as graciously as he planned, maybe accidentally slipping off the pillow, but stubbornly crawling backwards until his back pushed into the other’s side. Until Namjoon’s hand was close enough to pull it further onto his stomach, to cradle with his own like the most precious possession.

Fond chuckle came from behind. “I’m here,” he clumsily squeezed Seokjin’s hand in return, “I’m not going anywhere.”

 

By the time Seokjin woke up, with sharp inhale and stinging eyes – a reminder that sleep doesn’t count as sleep when you’re all wired up to begin with – the room was drowning in heavy blue of the dawn. There was barely enough light to distinguish the forms and shapes in the corners. Boogeyman could be hiding anywhere – but the true scares were already under skull.

It was hot. Not as much in the room as under blanket, long limbs curling over Seokjin’s body. Did that wake him up?

As much as Seokjin loved his partner, it wasn’t that easy to get used to his weight again. Especially when it was on his elbow.

He huffed, turning into better position, pushed a leg from under the blanket to get some kind of ventilation, and closed his eyes again. It should’ve been no more than 6AM, for goodness sake, of course he wasn’t going to actually get up.

But the thing with the sleep is that it rarely obeys. Mister Sandman left his house already.

For a few long minutes Seokjin kept struggling to fall asleep again, tossing and turning, flipping the pillow up and down, counting Namjoon’s exhales, and crawling a few inches away from him (but safe enough from the edge of the bed). Nothing helped.

His head was heavy, body sore from lack of sleep, eyelids still threatening to drop any moment – only to be annoyingly ready to open seconds later.

Seokjin pushed his face into the pillow and quietly whined. Stupid heat. Stupid blanket. Stupid…

He exhaled, sound rustling through thin material, and turned his head. No, Namjoon wasn’t stupid. Namjoon was cute, lips slightly parted, shoulders rising with every inhale, hair sticking to the forehead in chaotic patterns.

Seokjin watched him for some time, frustration silently settling down, something deeper taking its place – before daring to reach out.

Namjoon was always a deep sleeper – as long as he could share space with someone else, cold sheets being the only obstacle between him and the kingdom of sleep. Seokjin knew it very well, countless attempts to wake up the man – be that for a jog or his own unintended boner – finishing with “baby” and blind movements in the direction of the sound. He never claimed it wasn’t endearing, just, sometimes, not the result he wanted.

But now, for some reason, he wanted to be delicate, long fingers stroking Namjoon’s cheek almost tenderly. It was so familiar, so similar to that one night long time ago, when all he could do was stare at Namjoon’s serene face, tearing up between knowledge that the man needs more rest and craving for these eyes to look at him again – once more, just once more.

He could even feel the ache again, deep pointed flame in the middle of his chest.

35 years old Kim Seokjin wouldn’t dare to imagine that he’ll be able to look at this face again – even if part of him wanted to believe so badly.

He swallowed, lump in the throat growing wider, already whole palm pressing against soft cheek, thumb carefully stroking over invisible wrinkles.

Seokjin was head over heels for him, always, since the very beginning. Managers and stylists were teasing him every single day till the end of New-York schedules, rumors about “hot, dimpled, married friend” spreading like fire among the crew. He had to use his entire arsenal, from charms to joking threats to pouting, to keep his dignity intact – even if the truth was too obvious to hide. As well as the bruised lips. And a hickey on his chest. Thank god no one had to check his thighs.

He let out another sigh, room swallowing it without a hitch.

Maybe, Jungkook was right? Maybe, they were too caught up in all the can’s, that every can’t was too much to bear?

But it was more than that. It wasn’t simple frustration from lack of intimacy and closeness. It was desire to refill all vessels of the hearts, all cells of the memories. For every night spent apart reclaim a morning pressed into each other.

He sighed again, unable to stop the sound that was almost annoying to his own ears already, and flipped himself on the back, hand falling off Namjoon’s cheek to rest on his own shoulder. Seokjin blinked through the darkness; someone was playing with contrast and brightness, room getting lighter but still unbearably grey.

Time was slowly rolling over him, thoughts flowing through the same passages again, and again, and again. He was in some kind of trance – when the sound of steps reached him. Muffled knock against the stairs. Hushed whisper, another one, both silencing in an instant. A couple of seconds – and barely distinguishable clink of a door lock.

Seokjin closed his eyes. At least they were okay. Maybe, it was not the heat that woke him up in the first place.

Whether it was a nap that came to him after all, or thoughts just swallowed him for longer than before, but when Seokjin opened his eyes again, the room was notably lighter. Not brighter – fog was lazily swaying behind the window – but lighter, shape of the lamp under ceiling familiar and clear.

Namjoon managed to turn on the stomach, closer to Seokjin again, his shoulder now pressing against his, sharing warmth. He’ll be very convenient in the winter, won’t he?

Seokjin chuckled at the thought, fond gaze stroking Namjoon’s hair – the man managed to, also, turn away from him. Quiet sniffing was still echoing through the room.

Yeah, it will be the warmest winter of his life. It will be.

 

Seokjin wasn’t really sure why he got out of bed so early, but he needed to do something. He couldn’t stay there, slowly digested by his own thoughts – sleep was nowhere to be seen once again.

The house was morning-like, grey and quiet, just like Seokjin was used to – though after warm sheets it felt much colder than usual. He didn’t really bother with staying quiet in the bedroom, making sure instead that Namjoon has a warm pillow to snuggle into. But as soon as he pulled an already-his hoodie on and stepped out into the hallway, every rustle suddenly grew in volume.

He almost crawled down, carefully listening to every sound behind. But there was no need for it – everything stayed the same. Even muffled snoring from the guest bedroom.

The only thing confirming Namjoon’s words was the back of the couch pushed as far back as possible, probably to make it more comfortable for lying. Electric fireplace was still on, which would be a good reason for Seokjin to complain every other day – but for now he was grateful, stepping into comfortable warmth, with a glimpse of lighted up coals, instead of dull and unwelcoming room.

Seokjin liked his house, he really did – but on the foggy mornings it was hard to stay positive about it. He absently considered thermostat, for the umpteenth time this month – and lost the thought in between tea leaves once again. 

He had to almost dance through the kitchen, keeping himself warm, while making a cup of jasmine tea. It was pointless to turn on the heater – the first proper sunrays will remind that it’s actually summer. Or he was just a bit too lazy for it.

Namjoon, apparently, provided Taehyung with the thin “living room blanket” Seokjin was keeping there for warmer cuddles. It was now lying in the armchair, neatly folded and left to rest – perfect for a slow morning (and Seokjin’s was definitely stretching out for too long).

He spent some time, staring at the fireplace and slowly sipping on his tea – but none of that had enough soothing effect on him, so pretty soon he grabbed a book instead. It was the one Namjoon recommended him some time ago, a Russian novel translated into English: he was diligently working on his language skills even if the second chapter still wasn’t finished. He liked the plot, but character names were too hard to keep up with.

It took him a while to start actually reading instead of skimming through the same passage five times in a row, but by the time the morning started for the rest of the house, he was doing a decent job at it. Which all went to waste, when steps on the second floor turned out to be much lighter and quicker than Namjoon’s usual morning shuffling.

“G-good morning, Mister Kim.”

Jungkook even stuttered for a second, confusion and surprise clear in his whole frame, tensed and frozen at the base of the stairs. He clearly didn’t expect to see anyone else already awake.

Seokjin smiled, as calmly and honestly as he could, “Good morning, Jungkook-ah,” fingers nervously sliding against the edge of the cover.

There was an awkward moment of silence, the likes of which Seokjin hated the most. The one that was growing in awkwardness with every passing second.

“Didn’t know you’ll be up so early,” he said finally, struggling for the easiness that allowed him to start dialogue with practically any kind of people at bars and parties. Why on Earth flirting with strangers was easier than finding a common ground with teenagers?

“Yeah, I, um, I was going for a jog.”

“In the park?”

“No, down to the beach.”

“It’s foggy out there.”

“Yeah, I saw.”

“Better be careful near the road.”

Jungkook hummed in forced agreement, fidgeting on the place. His eyes kept darting in the direction of the door – and Seokjin almost wanted to set him free, painfully uncomfortable himself. Instead, he sighed and closed the book with a thud, loud enough to bring the other’s attention back to him.

“Jungkook, I think we need to talk.”

He didn’t move for a few moments, only gaze slowly shifting to the couch, frown seeping through his features – and then nodded.

“Yeah, hyung thinks so too.”

He still didn’t move though, eyes slowly losing focus, fingers playing with the edge of the sleeve. He looked like a boy now, the one that he was, not some force Seokjin had to conquer but a boy, lost in thoughts he was too nervous to let out.

“Do you… want to go out first?” the man reminded, as gently as possible, when Jungkook didn’t move for a dozen of seconds.

The voice seemed to snap him out of something, Jungkook blinking in almost surprise before stepping closer, “No, it’s okay,” shyness from zoning out making his movements clumsier. He was in such a hurry to take place on the couch that, apparently, forgot about the back of it and almost fell instead of confidently leaning backwards.

Seokjin did his best to not smile too widely – the boy was already flustered on his own – thinking about countless times Namjoon was bumping into furniture all over the house. The two of them shared so much more than just the last name.

There was another hitch, air hanging low and heavy, silence stretching out for too long. They were so clearly uncomfortable with each other, it was physically pressing on Seokjin’s shoulders. He tried to remember any joke to break the ice, but all of them seemed too forced, too awkward on their own – so the silence kept going. Until Jungkook raised his voice first.

“Why him?”

The man frowned, tilting his head in confusion – but Jungkook kept his gaze on his laps, glued to fingers folding and tugging loose material of his track pants. Seokjin automatically followed his fingers for a few moments too, frown deepening, mind rummaging through the layers of the question.

“What do you mean?”

“Why my father? He is not that handsome, he’s not that rich, he is kind of smart – but then he’s also kind of dumb.” Tiny soft smile tugged at his lips – the one mirrored by Seokjin – before his face turned serious again. “And you are, well, you are Kim Seokjin. Worldwide handsome,” the man winced at familiar title, hasn’t heard it in a while, “relatively famous…”

“Thanks.”

“Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” they both knew it was truth anyway.

Jungkook cleared his throat, still uneasy about the words, fingers now entwining in a nervous lock.

“I meant that you are, um, different from him, so, so why would you want to be with him?”

Everything mixed under skin, swirling in the middle of his chest – anger, frustration, confusion, disbelief, but most of all bitterness, clawing at his throat. Seokjin took a deep breath before carefully choosing the words.

“Do you think I can only like someone rich and breathtakingly beautiful?”

Was he not good enough for Namjoon? Was Namjoon not good enough for him? Did he give any reason to doubt his feelings? To think they aren’t real? And if only Jungkook was the only one to give him this tone of hesitance.

The boy finally looked up at that, if only for a second, to throw a quick glance his way – and go back to studying his laps. Seokjin, in turn, was now staring at the coffee table, trying to put the pieces together, trying to understand why

“That’s not what I meant, I’m sorry if I explained it poorly, I just- How do you know you won’t get tired of this? I’m sorry if it sounds offensive, because I respect you, Mr. Kim, and I don’t want to offend you, I don’t – but I think you are used to different life.” He took a pause to give Seokjin a chance to protest. He didn’t. “And I don’t think my father can give it to you.”

For a 19-year-old he was pretty smart.

But then again, he was Kim Namjoon’s son, so was it really surprising?

Seokjin sighed, fingers coming to rub his forehead as if asking for the answer to materialize in his head. How could he explain what was wrong before – and what was so right now?

“You are right, Jungkook-ah, and I’m not mad at you. I am used to different life – but that doesn’t mean I liked it.” He fidgeted first, and then just leaned forward on his knees, catching Jungkook’s surprised glance. For some reason he didn’t feel like sitting with straight shoulders and confident gaze anymore. They were supposed to talk like equals.

“I got away for a reason. It was not the life I wanted anymore.”

“But how can you know that this is what you want?” Jungkook moved forward as well, as if they were trying to understand each other’s minds through space.

Seokjin took a few moments of silence – and then smirked, half-sad, half-enamored.

“I feel that.”

But that was clearly not enough for the boy, Jungkook quickly leaning back again, almost disappointment on his face.

He kept chewing his lips, fingers drumming against his thigh – but this time his gaze was fixed on something else entirely, the window, or rather his own thoughts, eyes absently staring at the frame. He appeared to be deep in his own mind, quiet for long enough for Seokjin to settle back in the armchair again, feeling like a student trying to pass an important exam. Only he graduated 20 years ago, but none of the questions were ever that hard.

“Do you love him?”

Looks like retake is inevitable.

He almost gave up to temptation to whine, or scold the boy for inappropriate question – but then again, it was natural for him to want to know. The problem was: they didn’t go that far yet.

Eleven years ago the words slipped off his tongue so easily – but now they were bearing a much deeper note of responsibility. Commitment. Shared future. Love.

There was not a single doubt in him that he did love Namjoon, his childish giggles and long gazes at the sky, his morning grumpiness that was for everyone but Seokjin, his habit of biting lips without noticing, even his hot breath that was waking Seokjin up every morning. He loved him a lot, to say the least, but saying the words out loud? It felt serious. It felt special.

After squandering the words throughout the youth, he realized that there was a limit, a certain weight to the seemingly simple words. And if he says them now, he won’t be able to repeat them later. With someone else. If… if.

Even just a thought pinched him from inside – it had to work out, it had to work out – but with every passing year he believed in forever less and less. He wanted to be tied to Namjoon so badly – but too many cut strings were already dragging after him.

“It’s not that simple, Jungkook-ah.”

“I think that is, there are only two options.”

“It’s much more than that, it’s not… Such confessions need time.”

“But it’s been enough time for him to move in?”

“You don’t understand.”

“Because I’m too young?”

God, he should’ve waited for Namjoon.

Seokjin had nothing to answer, perfectly understanding the other’s anger. It annoyed him as well, the fact that the only argument he had is Jungkook not being old enough – despite the boy proving already how perceptive he is.

But why he wouldn’t accept then, that his father knows what he’s doing? Why kept questioning things that were already decided – not in a fleeting moment but after long and proper discussions? Why couldn’t he trust them? Believe in them?

Seokjin covered his face, small desperate exhale escaping his lips. He was well-aware that Jungkook can see his expression of weakness, but couldn’t be bothered enough to do something about it. Sometimes he had to let his inner actor down.

“I know he loves you,” after a few moments a low, almost sad voice said. Jungkook decided to open up too. Equals, huh? “Or at least that’s what he feels right now.”

Seokjin’s heart suddenly reminded of its existence, beating loud and clear against his ribs. Namjoon never told him either – maybe because he was waiting for something, or maybe because he was scared as well.

So, why would Jungkook have such a thought? It was silly… right?

But something was telling him that it wasn’t. That, actually, Seokjin knew it already, saw in everyday texts and affectionate smiles, felt in morning hugs and gentle kisses.

There were no doubts in him that Namjoon loves him too – but then why Jungkook’s words were boiling on his cheeks?

The boy didn’t pay attention to fluster on his face and nervous gaze darting his way, thoughtfully staring at the window instead. Clouds of mist were lazily rolling over outside. The morning was only waking up, even if inside the living room it felt like eternity is not so far away.

“Dad has a big brain – but he follows his heart much too easily. He was ready to propose after two months of dating.” What? Whom? “Mom laughed it off – and he waited for two more years.” Oh, right. “Did he tell you that?”

“Yes.”

Jungkook glanced his way, not even hiding his surprise – but what could he say, Namjoon loved to talk about his family. Always, but especially back in the day when it was full and complete, not having much thought about Seokjin’s ache.

“Well, then you should understand. He falls quickly and deeply, and while I’m sure you are a good person and have feelings for him as well – what will be after? In a year, two years, five years?”

Five seconds of tense silence.

“It’s not about you personally, Seokjin-ssi. It’s about you taking him away 12 hours after I got to know you. It’s about him being ready to leave his home six months into relationships. It’s about two credit cards and five keys he lost the first month we moved out. It’s about him eating noodles and coffee and wearing the same clothes until grandma came to check up on us and stayed for a week. It’s about him spending nights in the living room instead of bedroom, because…”

“…because he hates to sleep alone.”

Jungkook breathed out sharply at the interruption, coming down the force fueling his speech.

“Right.”

Seokjin wasn’t looking at him either, suddenly feeling sore in the throat.

They never really talked about the divorce and its aftermath – Namjon overall was never keen on talking about Yoonja, and Seokjin, for some reason, assumed it all went smoothly. He knew Namjoon and Jungkook moved out as soon as the elder found a place, leaving apartment to the woman. Sangmi was already studying in Daegu and stayed away from the family’s break-up, deciding on neutrality. Taehyung was often keeping them company (as Seokjin understood from the amount of times Namjoon was mentioning him), soothing the couple’s struggles, but Jungkook had to go to therapist a few times nevertheless.

Namjoon mentioned his mother a couple of times (who still doesn’t know her son is gay, god, Seokjin, it’s a trap all the way), but Seokjin always assumed she was helping her grandson rather than him.

They had to talk about it, they had to talk about it, fuck, they had to talk about it, even if right now all Seokjin wanted was to climb back under blankets and nuzzle into Namjoon, if only to give his sleep a little bit more peace.

“Hyung thinks I shouldn’t be so defensive. He thinks I should trust in love and let go – but it’s not that simple. It was not my fault, I know and I’m not taking it on myself,” he said in an almost lesson-learned manner, “but what I can take is a promise to be there for him. We are together, he used to say, and that’s all that matters. We are together – but, well, not anymore, right?”

Jungkook let out a joyless chuckle before humming in response to the question – and suddenly standing up, startling the other.

“I don’t blame you, Seokjin-ssi, neither of you, just wanted to make sure you know that. I understand that you made this decision not in a minute. That you love each other and want to be together as well. It’s just that I love my father too. And I will miss him.”

With that, Jungkook bowed politely and left the room, sound of the closing door following closely behind. First patches of sunlight were piercing through the fog outside. The morning was speeding up – only Seokjin kept still, words swirling like dust in the air around him.

Chapter Text

“Where have you been?”

Namjoon didn’t even turn when the door opened, only kept rubbing his eyes in the middle of a yawn. One of the first sunrays was playing at his bare feet, toes curling on the still cool rug. He looked almost like a child, shoulders shivering from morning air, face soaked with sleepiness, all stretched limbs and sharp angles, only muscles showing off his true age.

How could anyone ever hurt him?

“Downstairs.” While the man was still groggily blinking at the window, Seokjin quickly climbed into bed from the other side, clumsily crawling over blankets to get to him. “Missed me?”

Namjoon hummed with approval – directed either at the question, or at the arms looping around his waist, Seokjin’s chin promptly finding its place on his shoulder. He had to spread his thighs a bit too widely to fit Namjoon in between, but he gladly took the challenge. His yoga classes couldn’t go to waste after all.

Namjoon’s body instantly relaxed into the touch, leaning backwards to press closer, hand finding Seokjin’s knee and squeezing gently, fingers slipping to stroke underneath.

It was always so easy to fit together.

“Is that my hoodie?” Namjoon asked with surprised curiosity, hand tugging at the grey material, after a few seconds they spent taking each other’s presence in.

Seokjin immediately scoffed with joking offense, pouting a bit even if the other couldn’t see – he could hear it in his voice very well. “It’s mine.”

“Don’t think I signed any papers on changing the owner?”

“You left it here, that’s official enough.”

“I forgot it.”

“Same thing.”

Namjoon let out a chuckle, skipping a moment to press a kiss to the side of his partner’s head. “Okay, okay, I’m glad you like it.”

“Yeah. Not that much of your clothes get my appreciation.” Seokjin smirked almost smugly, shifting a bit to let Namjoon turn with an offended “hey!” and a giggle of his own.

“What is this? Are you attacking me? Just like that?”

“Not you,” he tried to restrain himself – but it was impossible not to smile with endearment of his whole heart when Namjoon was looking so childishly sulky, “only some of your clothes.”

“You know nothing about true fashion.” The man objected with such confident, matter-of-factly tone that Seokjin decided to forget about all the fashion shows he had to attend and all the different styles he had to try in an instant. All of them. If only to look at Namjoon with innocent eyes and a tilt of the head, “Yeah I guess so,” before moving forward to kiss those pouting lips.

He didn’t need the memories anyway. Just little moments of his big happiness.

“Do you really think it’s bad though?” Namjoon mumbled a couple of minutes later, not really breaking the kiss but moving an inch away to look Seokjin in the eyes.

“What?” But it was a bit too quick for Seokjin to catch up, slightly dazed eyes and fingers drawing lines on the side of the man’s thigh, thoughts climbing over every day of the last month he spent without these touches.

“My style.”

He took another second to clear the mind from much too longed intimacy (they were supposed to talk about something, weren’t they?) – and then melted into a soft smirk. There was a hint of worry in Namjoon’s eyes, and to think that he might took it seriously? Such a teen.

“No, I do not.” Seokjin pecked his lips again, sweet sound dying away between their bodies. “It suits you well. Just sometimes wish I could see a little bit of you,” he pointedly pinched the other’s thigh, “under all the layers.”

All the remnants of tension left Namjoon’s body with a chuckle, wide grin finding its way on his lips, making these annoyingly cute, illegally pretty dimples appear right in front of Seokjin (the nerve!).

“You can always see a bit of me,” this time Namjoon was the one to break the speech with a quick peck, “all of me,” another, soft warmth in the corner of Seokjin’s lips, “just make sure to schedule an appointment.”

The audacity! Seokjin gasped with full force of 5 years of degree in acting, 3 years of courses and 20 years of professional work. The audience reacted with a muffled giggle. That will do.

“I want to talk to the manager!”

“He’s busy.”

“What?”

“He’s getting laid.”

“At workplace? Sir, you need to check your employees before hiring.”

“Nah, I’m good.”

This time Seokjin was the one to giggle, giving up to the gentle push on his shoulder, too pointed to count it as a simple nuzzle.

Getting laid, huh?

Folds of the blanket were a bit too uncomfortable under his back, but with almost purring hums coming from the stretched hem of his hoodie Seokjin could forget about it for the time being. They were supposed to talk about something? Maybe, it could wait for later.

“Wait, are we doing it?”

He propped himself up on an elbow, rising an eyebrow at Namjoon, who just turned on the bed fully, to half-kneel between his legs. The hoodie was already pushed to Seokjin’s chest by the greedy hands, more and more kisses lingering on the skin.

The question seemed to strike Namjoon dumb, mind a bit too focused on what was happening already. Only after a couple of seconds he straightened up to look at Seokjin with an almost sulky suspicion, like a kid that was asked for his favorite candy, “Yeah, I’m all up for it,” hand gently squeezing his waist.

“Oh, already?” Seokjin almost cooed with a soft smirk, knee brushing against the man’s hip. “What about the boys though?”

“What about them? They don’t have to join.” But, seeing no reluctance from the other side, Namjoon visibly relaxed, palm grazed against the knee, shamelessly gliding down towards thigh. “Did you lock the door?”

“Not sure.”

Namjoon gave him a quick look of disapproval, unfazed by Seokjin’s innocent eyes and pouting lips, before hurrying to get off the bed.

The door was not locked – another exchange of expressive looks while Namjoon was quietly closing it again. So that’s how it feels to be on the receiving end of his lectures?

“I can’t get used to other people in my house,” Seokjin said in an almost defensive manner, shifting to lean on the headboard and demonstratively crossing arms on his chest, lips still forming a pout. Not only Namjoon was allowed to be childish sometimes, wasn’t he?

It’s not like Namjoon was actually accusing him of anything – but sometimes he just wanted to justify himself under that gaze. Was it a little bit too self-conscious? Maybe. But did he ever claim to be perfect? Well, to be honest…

Seokjin even parted his lips, probably, to remind that he is only a flawed mortal being – and only then noticed that Namjoon wasn’t smiling. The words seemed to hit something inside him as a more serious expression hardened the soft angles of his besotted features.

Seokjin’s heart tightened.

Right. They needed to talk about something.

“You know, I didn’t mean that, like, I don’t want to, or something, right?”

“It’s okay.”

Namjoon found his way back quickly, with an odd air of determination climbing between the other’s legs. Getting closer to Seokjin who was still unfocused and frowning at himself, because he could find a better way to say it, he could.

“Hey.”

As soon as Namjoon called him, though, palms gently squeezing his knees, Seokjin snapped out of it, raising his head and finding the man right in front of him. Namjoon was looking straight at him with a soft, deep expression that, maybe, wasn’t so deep after all, because it was all here, and at the same time something Seokjin could never reach the bottom of.

“It’s okay. If you need more time, it’s okay. I’ll talk to Benjamin, we’ll figure something out. You’ll get used to me, I promise.”

“No, no, it’s not about that.”

He sighed, gaze trailing to the side for a second, helping Seokjin to gather his thoughts together – before coming back to his partner’s attentive eyes. His shoulders slumped a bit, hands relaxing their grip on his own elbows – and almost tentatively landing on Namjoon’s shoulders.

“What if Jungkook isn’t ready? He’s just a boy.”

“He’s nineteen, when will he be ready?” Namjoon objected with a gentle push to the words.

“Maybe, in,” Seokjin swallowed nervously, not even thinking the answer through, “in a couple of years?”

“Years? Baby, I’m not gonna wait years, not again,” he even fidgeted, eager to deliver his determination fully – before stumbling in the middle of the sentence with a hesitant, "unless, of course, that’s what you want. I mean, I can, but, Jin, it’s not- We have to discuss it again if you, if that’s what you’re saying, because years is not the same, it’s…”

“No, no, it’s not, it’s, fuck.”

Namjoon was looking at him with wide, confused eyes, clearly dumbfounded with the words – and could anyone blame him? He was supposed to move in by the end of the year max, and now, god, what was happening now?

Seokjin exhaled with surrender and pushed away from the headboard, to send the hands travelling further round Namjoon’s neck, to let the forehead meet the crook of his neck. One thing was still clear for him in this madhouse.

“I want to live with you.”

The muscles under his forehead relaxed in an instant, quiet but relieved breath escaping Namjoon’s mouth – and Seokjin felt guilt pinching at his guts from inside. He got so lost even Namjoon wasn’t sure in his wishes?

As if to prove himself further, Seokjin pressed closer, hiding face in the corner between Namjoon’s neck and his own elbow, mumbling down into his chest, “I want to fall asleep to you muttering quotes to yourself. I want to wake up because you’re so close I can’t feel anything else but you. I want to bicker over what sort of coffee is better in the middle of a store. I want you to be here. Everywhere.”

“Why then you can’t let go of everything else?”

At some point of his speech Namjoon’s hands found their way on his back, the final touch of proper hug. Seokjin allowed himself to enjoy to the fullest, to melt into it just for a second – before moving away, just enough to look Namjoon in the eyes.

He wanted to say right away, but lump rose in his throat. Realization dawned on him as his gaze cradled Namjoon’s face, affection in the other’s eyes still making his own heart grow like a balloon inside.

Jungkook said his dad was not as handsome?

God, what did he know.

“I’m afraid you’ll be mad at me,” he almost whispered finally, eyes widening in shock in front of him – but he didn’t finish. “All this time, these years, I was thinking. Sometimes. That if, if you told her, what happened? What if I hurt your family beyond repair. What if,” he blinked a couple of time, no, he wasn’t going to cry, he wasn’t – but emotions were still poking at the strings of his heart, “what if you despise me, what if you wish we’d never met.” Unable to hold it anymore, he casted his gaze down, the ever-loving affection in Namjoon’s eyes making him almost guilty for such words. “You always said your family comes first, and now your son doesn’t want to accept me, so what, what will be in two years? Five years? What if we get into a fight, and you’ll have that thought, that regret, what if you’ll realize it wasn’t worth it – but it’ll be too late, and then…”

Palm squeezed the back of his neck, breaking the speech that was almost a slur already, bringing Seokjin back, closer. He took a deep, steadying breath, unaware of the tightness in his throat up until this moment, blinking through veil even if the tears weren’t there.

So, that’s what it was, huh?

He closed his eyes, allowing himself to relax into the hug, to nuzzle into familiar scent and pretend like the scary things weren’t there. Like nothing could get him here.

Maybe, 5 years olds know more about life than he thought.

“I have never had any regrets. Ever.” And Seokjin breathed out, wrapping arms around his neck even tighter, something warm and airy spreading through his muscles. Namjoon only squeezed his waist in return, fingers thoughtlessly grazing through hair at the back of his head. “I never told her, but I talked to Jungkook – and I, I never felt sorry. I felt like I have to, like I’m a bad husband, bad father, I have to feel sorry. Guilty? Yes, sometimes. But never sorry. I just couldn’t. I was happy.” The palm coaxed him into raising his head, heart stuttering at Namjoon’s fond smile. “You made me happy.” He pressed a kiss to Seokjin’s brow, brief and tender. “You always make me happy.”

“You know it’s not gonna last forever, right?” Seokjin let out a chuckle, soaked with the tidal wave of feelings, glowing eyes following every motion.

“Well, it’s gonna change. Maybe, we’ll get used to each other,” with an emphasized carefulness Namjoon pushed a lost hair off his forehead, “maybe, you’ll have to wear earplugs to not hear my mumbling. Maybe, we’ll start buying different packs of coffee. Maybe, we’ll grow old and boring, but isn’t it happiness too?” Namjoon smiled a bit wider, so sure about everything, so open Seokjin couldn’t help but feel guilty for every doubts that ever crossed his mind.

“I don’t need butterflies every time I see you to know what feels right.”

“Hey, I’m gonna be breathtakingly handsome even in 20 years, you’ll see.” It slipped off his tongue so easily, god, it really was that easy?

Namjoon chuckled, with something softer and deeper than amusement, “Can’t wait,” and pressed another kiss to Seokjin’s cheek.

Was it that easy?

“Jungkook thinks it’s not gonna work out.” He looked up with an almost pained question in the eyes. “What if it doesn’t work out, Joonie? What will you do?”

“Okay, first of all, Kook still hasn’t come to the terms with what happened,” Namjoon objected immediately, even shaking his head with defiance, “of course, he thinks it’s too early to talk about feelings. But if that’s your worry, then you forget about Losa. Even if I’ll become such an intolerable, arrogant, selfish, ugly copy of myself that you won’t be able to tolerate me anymore,” at that Seokjin pinched him with a huff, not having any regret at the other’s wince, “I will still have my job. I’ll find a place, I’ll figure something out. I’m not as helpless as you and Kookie might think.”

“That’s not really what I meant,” though knowing that Namjoon did include that possibility in his plans was somehow soothing – at least Seokjin was not the only thing to tie him up here, in case… In case of nothing.

He frowned though, looking for better words – something that wouldn’t sound like a reprimand, something that didn’t include reminders of Namjoon’s feelings for his ex-wife. But if that was something they needed to avoid, it’d become a subject of another conversation entirely. One Seokjin didn’t want to think of right now.

In the end, he just muttered casually (as it was possible after almost a whole minute of thinking), “Jungkook told me about your breakup.”

“He told you? When?”

“We had a talk downstairs, just now.”

“I see.”

How did Namjoon manage to pull off such a casual tone himself? It was almost unfair!

“Did he tell you I was heartbroken and couldn’t get over Yoonja not being there?”

Seokjin blinked, feeling oddly embarrassed. Namjoon was looking at him with an almost tired expression like he already knew the answer but didn’t want to hear.

“Yeah. Well… Yes.”

Yes, Namjoon definitely knew the answer, why else would he groan and push his face against Seokjin’s shoulder?

They were quiet for a few moments, Seokjin awkwardly stroking the other’s back and trying to decipher the undistinguishable mutter. Sounded like “Can’t believe it”. Not really helpful.

“Okay, so,” he suddenly straightened up, startling Seokjin, hands falling down on his waist, “it’s obviously not true.”

Obviously. Seokjin frowned, looking him in the face, searching for any sign of tension all the while keeping his own kind and understanding.

“Look, Joonie, it’s okay. I’m not mad or anything.” He even pulled a smile meant to be coaxing and reassuring, because honestly, it’s not a big deal, ‘obviously’ Namjoon had had deep feelings for his wife. “You don’t need to…”

“No, no, no.” But the man shook his head so fervently, a couple of strands on top of his head swayed a little. Cute. “Really, it’s not true. Of course, 20 years of marriage is not something you brush off that easily – but it’s not like you can really miss a person that hurt your son. And, I don’t know, I was used to living without her anyway, with all the trips, you know.”

He squeezed Seokjin’s waist with a hint, mindless smile making its way on the man’s face – yeah, Namjoon was travelling a lot, that much he knew, but then what was it all about? Jungkook wouldn’t lie to him, right? He sounded so sad, and earnest, and, “What about the cards, and keys, and the, the bed, and your mother.” He blinked trying to grasp, though the answer was already forming itself in response.

Namjoon sighed and looked to the side, hand coming to scratch the back of his neck, features turning into uneasy expression. “Well, yeah, it’s true, but, uh, it wasn’t easy still. I mean, I had a 16 years old fixed on the idea that he ruined his parents’ love and no place of my own.” Seokjin caught his quick gaze and nodded shortly – yes, he remembered, Yoonja took the apartment for maintenance, that much Namjoon told him. “We had to move out as quickly as possible, Jungkook was getting quieter day by day, and she just wasn’t talking to him, like he wasn’t there, and it was just the worst. I don’t know how else to describe, it was the worst days of my life.”

He chuckled quietly as if trying to keep the mood lighter even with the eyes blankly staring at Seokjin’s shoulder. Something was slowly squeezing Seokjin from inside.

“So, yeah, there was a lot going on, and I couldn’t keep track of everything, and Jungkook was still quiet, and I couldn’t leave him, obviously, so I had to look for clients online, but it wasn’t enough, and, you know, I was all over the place.”

Namjoon smiled almost sheepishly as if trying to apologize – hey, I’m not always able to handle things, I can be weak too, would you still love me? Whatever was clinging onto Seokjin’s insides reached his throat, messing with every intake of air. He blinked again, wanted to say something, maybe the words that were on his mind for too long already – but couldn’t push them past the lump in his throat, and the moment was lost, and Namjoon had already kept going.

“Then things started to get better. Taehyung needed some time for himself, like, he was always close with our family, with Yoonja too, it wasn’t easy – but then he started coming over more often. Then Sangmi came for a few days, and it was really… It helped us a lot, me and Kookie. Like everything was a bit more normal again. And,” he chuckled again, this time with a hint of genuine lightness, “I think she called my mom. Probably with something like, dad needs help, SOS, cause she came in 2 days after Sangmi left, with two bags of groceries and a backpack of clothes.”

“Your mom sounds fun.”

Namjoon smiled, a bit more warm, a bit more present, and nodded, finally looking up at Seokjin again. “Yeah, she has a heart of adventurer. She used to take me and dad on the trips, so by 3rd grade I saw all the corners of Korea. She even travelled with me for work, but after dad got a stroke she didn’t have much space for going and gave it all into, um, into the family, ah, anyway, sorry, it’s just,” he awkwardly quieted down, clearly flustered about the sudden trail of thoughts.

Seokjin only smiled, deciding to leave the long and clear explanation of why Namjoon can talk about his pre-Seokjin life whenever and for however long for later, and tilted his head. “Hope one day I’ll get to meet her. Maybe, not as your partner, but…”

“No, I don’t, I don’t think you have to worry about that.” Namjoon straightened his back for a moment – they were, indeed, sitting for a bit too long – before settling closer to Seokjin again, palms sliding further to his back. “We had a talk about my, uh, my preferences not being the same. She was surprised, but after Jungkook it was easier to accept, I guess, so… yeah, I think it’s gonna be okay. I’ll talk to her when we’ll be back.”

“Okay.”

Why it was making him so warm and in love, aish, why he had to be so in love?

“Okay.”

They sat quietly, Namjoon thinking about something, gaze caressing Seokjin’s face so openly he felt his neck starting to prickle, too quickly for his own taste – god, will he ever get used to his partner’s attentiveness?

“So,” he cleared his throat, “Jungkook.”

“Right, Jungkook.” Namjoon snapped out of it with a blink, throughtful frown finding its way back to his face. “Jungkook, well, he was stuck in this idea for pretty long, that somehow it was all his fault, and that I was in pain, that I needed Yoonja and not him, and maybe he didn’t even have to come out, you know, it was hard for him too.”

Seokjin nodded, trying to imagine the pain. Even though Namjoon was talking more or less casually – because it was all in past tense, it was past tense – the words themselves were still terrifying.

“I didn’t figure out at first, Kookie is not the one to speak up about his feelings as you probably noticed. But then one night we had a talk with Tae while he was asleep, and he suddenly broke down,” too caught up in his memories, Namjoon even raised hands mindlessly, to show the tears running down the boy’s cheeks, “started apologizing, saying it’s his fault, and he’ll always be there for Kook, but they don’t know how to help me, and they never wanted it to go that way, and, you know, it was a mess.” He let out a nervous cackle.

Seokjin’s heart was aching. Either for the two little boys thrown into the whirlpool of rejection and fear, or his own lover that had to give his all to pull them out without anything to lean on himself. He quietly fidgeted closer, while Namjoon was still looking for the words to continue.

For some reasons that could probably be explained by scientists, he suddenly felt cold, goosebumps running down his arms, and the only source of warmth was the man in front of him.

“You know it’s all fine now, right?” Namjoon chuckled softly, after a few seconds of Seokjin silently tightening the hold of his arms around the other’s neck, snuggling right into him. He didn’t stop him, though, only, after Seokjin finally settled on the distance between their bodies that was acceptable for his shivering heart, wrapped arms around him, almost pulling the man on his laps, lips smiling against his ear.

Seokjin nodded, not trusting his voice enough to speak up, only feeling everything growing, flowing, shimmering between the two of them. Pushing only a tiny whisper out. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Namjoon’s voice was calm and stable now, almost tender against Seokjin’s heart.

“I wish I were there for you.”

He heard an exhale of a smile. “Breaking news, renowned actor and public’s favorite Kim Seokjin ran away from a film set and disappeared in the direction of Yangcheon.”

“You think I wouldn’t do it?” Seokjin even managed to tear himself away from the man’s shoulder for the sake of looking at him properly, small smile tugging at his lips.

Namjoon took a second to look over his face before meeting the eyes and shaking his head, “No,” reply now emphasized by the pause, “I’m only saying that we were living different lives. It’s pointless to regret.”

Seokjin could only sigh at that, “I know,” and move back to his shoulder, sadness now softened by his partner’s words but still present.

Of course he knew it was pointless. Nothing could be done about it, no time machine, no magic, nada. But he loved past Namjoon no less that the present, and for a bit, just for a bit, he wanted to care for him as well.

They both were processing each other’s words, or maybe just basking in intimacy, when the quiet of the house got shifted with noises. Muffled knock from downstairs transforming into steps on the stairs. They didn’t move, silently listening to Jungkook trying to pass their room as quietly as possible before opening another door. Another voice reached them through the walls, impossible to distinguish.

“I’m gonna talk to him,” and Seokjin immediately tightened his grip once again, ankles crossing behind the other’s back.

Laughter full of fondness touched his hair. “No? I’m not allowed?”

He silently shook his head.

Namjoon could tease him till the end of their days, it wouldn’t make breaking the warm shelter of their mutual comfort any more pleasant.

“Okay, okay, can we lie down then? My back is numb, if I have to be honest.”

This time Seokjin nodded, allowing Namjoon to pull him into the blanket. The other’s waist landing on his thigh might not have been the most enjoyable part, but for now it was bearable. Just like Namjoon’s elbow pressing into his ribs. Not the most comfortable cuddle they ever created, but it was all too much of a bother to settle all over again.

“Hey.”

He hummed, eyes already closed, head lolling on his own shoulder. How much time was it? Time for breakfast was somewhere near, surely. But just, just one more minute.

“So, about the moving thing?”

He hummed again, this time louder, clearer, eyes fluttering open to stare at Namjoon’s jaw.

“What’s the final conclusion? We didn’t really, uh, settle on this one.”

Didn’t they?

Seokjin kept looking at the curve of his Adam’s apple, unblinking, for a few seconds.

Didn’t he already?

“You sure Jungkook will be okay on his own?”

After a beat Namjoon nodded. “Yeah, I’m sure. I’ll talk to him, of course, but…”

“Then move in as soon as you can.”

They said the last sentences simultaneously, Seokjin letting out his own thoughts as soon as the answer reached him. There was not much else to talk about.

That was all he truly wanted.

“Really?”

That, and Namjoon’s smile revealing his dimples, and Namjoon’s eyes glimmering at his, and Namjoon’s hands pulling him closer, and maybe the whole Namjoon, from head to toes.

Yeah, Namjoon, and life with Namjoon. Nothing else needed.

“Really,” he couldn’t stop himself from a soft imitation, “don’t act like we haven’t established it already.”

They say, life is getting calmer after forties, how did he manage to find a man that was making his heart hammer with a simple kiss then?

“Yeah, but I thought,” Namjoon mumbled, the rest of the sentence getting lost between Seokjin’s lips. Smiling, of course he was smiling, how couldn’t he.

“Well, you were wrong,” Seokjin giggled, tiny pecks tickling his jaw, “that was the plan all the way.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

Namjoon was staring down at him, already pinning Seokjin to the bed, hands squeezing his shoulders through the so much unneeded hoodie between them. He slowed down now, not kissing, not touching, just looking with so much more than any kiss and any touch could deliver, smile on his lips smaller now – but that much happier.

“Is that what you really want?”

“Yes,” Seokjin nodded, his own smile betraying the feelings, “that’s what I really want,” and moved a hand from Namjoon’s back to his cheek, cupping with a gentle caress, “and I’m sorry if I made you doubt.”

“I love you.”

What?

But he didn’t have time to process the words, even so – react properly, as Namjoon pressed to him, into him, leaving no doubts about his intentions. Lips found his lips, hand found his thigh, fingertips sliding under pants, and, ah, why not leave any musings for later?

Seokjin was biting on his lips, swallowing down every gasp, as Namjoon was making his way up his chest, reviving old marks, counting every rib with his lips, pushing the hoodie higher, and higher, and

Knock.

He audibly bristled, immediately covering mouth with his palm, while Namjoon just stilled against his diaphragm.

Someone fidgeted outside and, after a second, cleared his throat.

“No, no, this isn’t funny,” Namjoon whispered fiercely, emerging from under the clothes – but Seokjin couldn’t help it, shaking with laughter against his own hand.

It’s been 24 hours and three attempts, and they still didn’t get to even start properly. It was hysterically funny.

“Can we have an ounce of privacy in this house?” Namjoon was still complaining, though notably softer, losing tension at the sight of Seokjin wiping his tears and coughing in attempt to hide cackles.

“Dad?”

“Yeah, yeah, just a second,” he replied with zero enthusiasm, probably realizing the futility of the situation as well.

Ah, well, Seokjin didn’t prepare himself properly anyway.

“How were you coping before? I mean, you know, with her. Maybe, sending them away?”

Not the wisest strategy to talk about exes in bed, but damn, they had to find a solution, hadn’t they?

Namjoon didn’t look happy with the question though, hand coming to rub the back of his neck, gaze lowering to his own feet on the floor – he was already sitting on the edge of the bed. A frown came over his face, but not an annoyed or displeased one, rather…

“Ah, you know, we didn’t really… Maybe, only when I was back after long trips, or, or for occasion, like, I don’t know, anniversary, or something, or, ah, nevermind.” By the end of his slur of a speech Namjoon’s cheeks were the color of Seokjin’s old pajama. Soft pink with blots of red strawberries.

Cute.

Seokjin smiled with endearment – such a teenager – and curled on the side to properly reach the man with his feet, toes poking at the hip to ask for attention. God, he was so flustered that couldn’t even look Seokjin in the eyes, only turned around, firmly keeping his gaze on the sheets.

So cute.

“Poor woman.” He sighed loudly, putting all of his pity into the statement. “Didn’t know what she was missing out on.”

That caught enough of Namjoon’s interest to make him look up, nervousness quickly washed away by a blank, unreadable expression. Seokjin even fidgeted in alert – what, did he say something wrong – smile already faltering on his lips when the other raised his voice.

“Say that again – and I’ll send them for breakfast to KFC.”

Oh.

Seokjin melted into soft smile.

Cute.

The woman clearly had no sense of intelligence whatsoever.

He paused for dramatic effect, tilting head, parting lips, using all of his talent and experience to catch every bit of Namjoon’s attention (and, maybe, enjoying it a bit more than needed) – before scrambling up towards the man to plant a chaste kiss on his cheek.

“KFC? Baby, I may be cruel sometimes, but your sons are not my blood enemies.”

All the tension of anticipation left Namjoon’s frame with loud exhale, smirk involuntarily tugging at his lips. “I’m too old for you to play me like that,” he muttered with a hint of endeared sulkiness, turning to kiss the corner of Seokjin’s proudly grinning lips on his own.

“Do you know how hard it is for me then?” Seokjin even raised his voice, full of offense and affection. “I’m 648 days older than you, hope you didn’t forget.”

“Oh no, how could I.”

“Right, right, do you have it written- wait, have you seen my pants?”

“Here, and of course, I’m gonna tattoo it on my arm, you don’t mind?”

“No, no, it’ll only soothe my poor old heart.”

“Good, then we have a deal?”

“Of course,” and Seokjin finally reached him at the doorway, dressed up and content, pecking Namjoon’s shoulder before pushing the door open. “Good morning, how was your jog?”

He was too happy at the moment to care about their mutual tension at the sight of Jungkook.

The boy looked up with surprise, taking a quick step back like he didn’t expect to see both of them. “Uh, morning, Mr.Kim… again.”

“Seokjin-ssi.”

“Seokjin-ssi, yes, sorry, I wanted to talk to you.”

Oh? Seokjin frowned while Namjoon looked between the two of them with similar confusion. Was there anything else?..

“What is it?” His gaze automatically darted to Namjoon – was he supposed to be a witness? – but Jungkook didn’t seem to mind. Instead of looking at his father as well, he kept his eyes on Seokjin, or rather his legs, and bowed – not really low but with emphasis.

What on earth?..

“I’m sorry if I offended you this morning, I didn’t mean to.”

“Oh no, it’s…”

“Is it true? Jungkook, what-“

“No, no, it’s not true.” Seokjin immediately stepped closer to Namjoon, standing between the two like they were supposed to fight, not get through a fatherly lecture on respect and politeness. It didn’t matter what the reason was though – seeing Namjoon agitated was always making him uneasy.

“Are you sure?” The man turned to him with concern, hand catching one of his wrists – but Seokjin nodded with reassurance.

“Yes, yes, I’m sure, I don’t even know what you’re talking about, Jungkook-ah, it’s okay.”

“Oh, are we having a morning party?” Suddenly, bathroom door opened, Taehyung (who clearly heard the whole conversation) looking at them with curiosity, toothbrush sticking out of his mouth.

“No, no, we are having a breakfast, Joon-ah, you can use the bathroom downstairs, Kookie, stop talking nonsense and go brush your teeth, I’ll be waiting at the kitchen.”

The boy only blinked at him with surprise but nodded, disappearing in the bathroom with “Hey, it’s my place” coming out shortly after. Seokjin scoffed loudly – these kids – and followed Namjoon downstairs, sun already shining brightly through the windows.

Weather promised a good day.

 

They spent the rest of the day jokingly bickering and sharing quick kisses, Seokjin only smiling with awkward warmth when Jungkook’s gaze was lingering.

Yes, he was his father’s partner. Yes, he loved him. Yes, he was sure about it more than anything else.

Jungkook wasn’t saying anything.

Namjoon was not so subtle about the whole “Kook-ah, we need to talk” thing right after breakfast. Taehyung let out a noise of surprise then, curiously looking between the Kim family while chewing on his toast. Jungkook, in turn, was not surprised at all, only sent a quick glance Seokjin’s way – the man didn’t return it, busy with dishes – and nodded.

“Did he talk to you, Jin-ssi?”

As soon as they left through the backdoor outside, Taehyung stood up with an empty plate, moving closer to Seokjin.

The other only nodded in response. It was going to be okay, right? Namjoon knows how to handle his son’s doubts and fears much better.

“Good. Oh, no, I can wash it myself!”

“It’s okay, I like to keep myself busy in the morning.” It was only partially true – but for today, at least, there were no doubts about it.

Taehyung gave him a long look, probably trying to assess if there was a joke in that one – he got used to Seokjin’s antics pretty quickly – before passing the plate. “Thank you. I’m gonna get ready then?”

“Yeah, sure, just no shorts, okay?”

“Ah, and I thought they’re good on me.”

The man huffed, breaking the frown – probably the exact outcome Taehyung was trying to achieve. He wasn’t there to witness it though, already humming something cheerfully from the stairs.

Yeah, if Kim Seokjin ever had a son, Taehyung could replace it and no one’d notice.

Namjoon came back after the longest 15 minutes, chuckling when Seokjin immediately turned to him with a searching expression. “So?” was written all over his face.

“It’s okay.” The man pecked him on the cheek before looking around, his cup of coffee – cold and untouched – still on the counter.

“Okay as in…?” Seokjin’s gaze followed him closely, frame still tense despite the exhale of relief pushed out of his lips by the man’s words.

“Okay as in we talked about past and present, and how things are different now, and if he wants to live with Taehyung, I want to live with you too, and you know, all that.” He dropped it casually, with a wave of one hand and his cup in the other.

“Did he ask if you love me?” – was what Seokjin almost asked, but it was silly, right? It was silly.

Instead, he murmured “How sweet” and pushed himself off the counter. If Namjoon said it’s okay, then there was not much else for Seokjin to add.

“Come on,” he patted the man’s thigh on the way out, “we have a long day ahead, honey.”

And the day was long indeed.

The boys had quite different tastes, so it took them a while to establish a sensible plan for the four and a half days they got to spend in San Francisco. Thankfully, the discussion took place back in Seoul – or they’d probably be stuck in the car for two hours at least, trying to figure out which turn to take.

Although the trip started quite messy anyway, as, despite the momentarily cleared sky, fog was still taking up the most of the Golden Gates viewpoints, so they had to leave it for later.

It turned out to be their luck – cause, apparently, two hours was not nearly enough for Namjoon and Taehyung to appreciate the Palace of Fine Arts to the fullest. By the end of their third hour in there Seokjin reminded his partner that they’d already visited the place for the fifth time. Like all the times prior, Namjoon muttered something like “just one more room”, pecked his cheek and disappeared (with Taehyung following closely behind), probably, for the next half an hour.

Well, at least Seokjin had a chance to talk with Jungkook about something else but his romantic relationships with his father. That is, about a giant sculpture looking like two bowls. Namjoon was too immersed in the painting of red and blue stripes, Taehyung was looking through his camera roll with serious face, so the only person left for a life-changing question was Jungkook.

And Seokjin had not lived for over 40 years to be intimidated by a 19-year-old.

“How long would it take to make noodles in this thing?”

Jungkook looked up with a flicker of surprise, clearly aware of the silent wall between them, and stayed quiet for long enough for Seokjin to feel weirdly offended.

“Do you mean ramyeon or..?”

“Yeah, let’s take regular ramyeon. I’d say one hour.”

The boy audibly bristled – before catching himself and replying with a more polite, “I don’t think so. 3 hours at least.”

“What? No, unless you like them all soggy.”

“Ew. But one hour wouldn’t be enough to even heat the water. I mean, it looks like copper, it’d need time to heat up.”

“Yeah, but with a dozen of bonfires?”

“Well, you didn’t specify that one.”

Seokjin only winked at him with a smirk and turned to poke at Namjoon again, the man already walking towards them.

Clearly, he was the winner.

Only 10 minutes later did he find out that the sculpture weren’t bowls but two giant steel plates in the shape of eights. Namjoon was ecstatic about the thing, looking around with wide eyes while walking between the plates. Seokjin, hurrying after him (losing the sight of Namjoon in an art museum meant spending another 20 minutes searching through every corner), was rather interested in the physical properties of the plates.

He was the winner, surely – but he had to collect arguments for any possible counterattack.

Thankfully, Jungkook didn’t try to win over again (that maybe disappointed Seokjin just a little)

By the time the art lovers finally stepped out of the building, all four of them were left with barely any time to grab a bit of chowder and some grilled fish at Fisherman’s Wharf before the scheduled boat trip to Jungkook’s destination – Alcatraz.

Namjoon was not that happy about the abundance of seafood on the table, which, probably, prompted him to be a bit more annoyed with the haste. Which, probably, was the reason for him to suggest (quite bluntly) that they should leave the boat trip for another day. The boat trip Seokjin reserved for them almost 3 weeks prior so that they didn’t have to search for more expensive and less pleasant options. Seokjin who likes for things to be in order.

He realized the mistake quite quickly – one of Seokjin’s “Yah, Namjoon-ah!” in the middle of the food stands was enough for Namjoon to take his words back. Which didn’t save him from a long and emotional lecture on how he has no respect for those older than him, and that next time too-kind-for-his-own-good Seokjin will leave them on their own with the city.

The speech was fast-paced and elaborate enough for both of them to know it was no more than Seokjin’s flamboyant façade. For the boys, though, it was clearly not a funny show: they looked between the other two in mild horror. Even more so, when a couple of minutes after Seokjin went back to eating, Namjoon, without a word, pulled a scarf out of his backpack and wrapped it around Seokjin’s neck – the wind was notably colder on the shore. The man replied only with a nose scrunch and a grateful smile, too busy munching on the last piece of fries.

The youngers’ eyes went so comically wide he had to cover his laughter with a cough.

They didn’t need to know how actually soft he was for Namjoon, not just yet.

The trip to Alcatraz turned out to be fun, actually – as much as a trip to a prison on as island in a cold, foggy weather could be. Even Seokjin, who was sure nothing can really impress him to the core, was ready to admit that some of the prisoners’ stories touched him deeply.

Also, he liked the birds. They were walking around, all posh and important, stomp-stomp-stomp. He spent significant amount of time walking after them, shivering from the cold winds himself and pointing the funny ones to Namjoon – the man was only smiling with unchanging endearment and pulling him further into the island.

They spent almost four hours there as well, Namjoon listening to every audio file in the guide, his son exploring every corner in person, Taehyung marveling at the sights, changing with every gust of wind, and Seokjin – trying to keep them all together when he wasn’t busy with the stories and sights himself.

And the birds. They were so funny, splashing into water next to the fishermen’s boats and looking all offended when the men weren’t throwing them anything. Maybe, he should try it too? Surely, it can’t be that difficult.

“Would you go fishing with me?” he asked on the way back, teeth stuttering slightly – even his warm clothes weren’t enough for the whole four hours.

“Sure,” Namjoon replied with not much enthusiasm (or faith in his intentions) and pulled him closer, “but let’s warm up first.”

Seokjin sniffled at that, cold nose against the other’s shoulder, but didn’t say anything, remaining still for the rest of the boat trip. He was quite warmed up here, in Namjoon’s arms, anyway.

By the time they reached the wharf again, grey dusk already draped the city – which only made it more colorful. The peers were bursting with life, lights and scents of fish, both fresh and cooked. The latter left Seokjin’s stomach rumbling. The other three were more keen on having a proper meal though, so he had to give up on his attempts to lead them into another food stall, the last, hopeful one voiced already in the car.

No one supported him again.

Well, whatever. They had a place to be anyway.

Good evening, welcome to Wings, may I- oh, Seokjin-nim, we were waiting for you.”

Chohee hopped from English to Korean in an instant. Impressive. Seokjin winked at her as a mean of appreciation – before quickly pulling an official face. The boys were watching after all.

“Good. Is everything okay?”

“Of course, Seokjin-nim, the weather is, you know,” she waved at the windows, curious eyes darting over the whole company, “people are coming to warm up with chef’s stew, hello, Namjoon-nim.”

Hi,” the man gave her a wide grin in return, “maybe, we could get four bowls too, to begin with?” He turned to Seokjin with a question, cheeks pink from warmth of the place.

The owner of it couldn’t contain a soft smile at the sight. “Of course, boys, what do you think?”

“Yes, please! Jungkookie just needs to unfreeze – but he’s excited too. Hi, I’m Taehyung.” The moment the question caught the boys’ attention Taehyung banged into the conversation with his usual cheers.

Chohee blinked – before giving up to his charms and replying with a smile, “Nice to meet you, Taehyung-ssi, my name is Chohee, I will be your waitress this evening.” She then turned to Seokjin with a polite nod. “Please, come this way, we reserved the table closer to aquarium as you wished.”

“Woah, Kookie, aquarium, look!”

They met the other two waiters on the way, each smiling with a hint of cheekiness before bowing and going back to their duties. Thankfully, Namjoon didn’t seem to notice, caught up in explaining to Taehyung equipment of the aquarium, or was brushing it off as simple politeness.

He didn’t need to know why every single staff member knows the difference between “Mr. Kim Seokjin” when Namjoon is out of town, and the “Seokjin-ssi” he turns him into. Not like Seokjin was harsh and strict beyond measure in any given day – but the distinction was there nevertheless.

God, they’ll probably be celebrating for hours after closing the restaurant when Seokjin will drop the news about them moving together.

“Is there anything you’d like to add to 4 portions of doenjang jjigae now?” Chohee lingered next to their table, all sweet and polite, only maybe just a bit more cheerful for the special guests.

“Maybe snacks? And then we’ll have time to decide on the main,” Namjoon looked over to the boys, “Kook-ah, you’re an expert here.”

“Um, yeah, just, just a second.” Surprised with sudden attention, Jungkook blinked but quickly regained himself, grabbing the menu out of Taehyung’s hand – the boy pouted in disapproval – and skimming through pages.

Silence settled over the table, only pages’ rustle and Taehyung’s murmur breaking it – it took him less than 5 seconds to shift his attention from empty hands to the big aquarium behind his back. He was currently cooing over a couple of fishes swooshing after one another. Should they tell him they’re trying to fight? Yeah, maybe next time, for now let them settle in the corners.

Seokjin squinted at the two with a knowing smirk, warmth and familiarity of the place making him almost drowsy, especially after cold hostility of the weather outside. He didn’t have a proper night rest either, so…

“Looks like you were busy today?”

Chohee decided that the silence stretched for too long. Good move. Professional. Seokjin nodded without even looking at her, eyes now following the multitude of fishes as well. When did they get so many?

“Yeah, you can say so.” Namjoon smiled at the girl, hand coming to pat his partner’s thigh that was so conveniently next to his. The man only rumbled in agreement, too lazy to engage in a proper conversation.

“Did you see something interesting? The bridges are all foggy I bet.”

“Yes, but we are just from Alcatraz…”

“It’s cool!” Taehyung popped in with a wide grin. Chohee gave him a look of endearment – poor girl still didn’t catch up with the situation.

“It is indeed, but we all smell of fish now probably, hope you don’t mind.”

“Oh no, no, don’t worry.” She even giggled politely, eyes darting to Seokjin. Good job, he nodded at her, keep it up. If clients are ready for a small talk, then so be it.

“I think I’m done here,” and Jungkook finally raised his voice then,” what about modeumjeon for us and buchujeon for dad? And banchan with rice, of course.”

Everyone nodded in agreement, including Chohee who lingered take two of the menus, and, “Oh, we were all curious about injeolmi, Namjoon-ssi, did you like it?”

Seokjin opened his eyes in an instant, heart jumping up to his throat.

“Sorry?” His partner, in turn, only tilted his head in confusion. “To be honest I didn’t have one in years.”

“Oh,” the girl’s eyes darted to Seokjin in a not so subtle expression of guilt, “sorry, I, um, I must’ve confused something, forget about it, I, the food will be ready in a few minutes.”

And like that, she disappeared, wisely avoiding her boss’s eyes.

Silence spread out for exactly 6 seconds.

“Jin-ah.”

“Do not say a word.”

“But-“

“Not a single word.”

“But-“

“No. Choose your meat.” He demonstratively slapped one of the two remaining menus in front of Namjoon. “I’m gonna choose one with Jungkook, because you two are insufferable.”

“I didn’t even say anything!”

“But you look like you want to.”

At that Taehyung only grinned, innocent expression disappearing in an instant, and obligingly followed with, “Your ears are red.”

Seokjin stilled in the middle of transferring himself to Jungkook’s side and gave his boyfriend a long, bemused look – as efficient as it was with his cheeks aflame – before delving into the card Jungkook was holding, escaping all curious gazes.

Is revealing a secret he was hiding from Namjoon for over a month – and supposed to keep for four more weeks – was enough of a reason for firing? Probably not, but for a second Seokjin felt like it. God, how did she even find out? It supposed to stay between him and Mingyu, their pastry chef, but now, apparently, “they all” knew why he was panting over rice flour for hours on end.

Good job at promoting friendly and open environment at the workplace, Seokjin-ah, reap the benefits now, don’t you?

“Do you want something from that page, Seokjin-ssi, or I can…?”

“No, no, it’s okay,” Seokjin immediately waved his hand, snapping out of his thoughts and trying to pull as careless face as possible. “Actually, maybe you could choose something for me, Jungkook-ah? I trust you. Got to check if our stew is cooked properly.”

He gave an apologetic smile all around and scrambled out of the table over the youngsters’ knees and feet. Namjoon was seeing him through, obviously, concerned frown following to the hallway, but what Seokjin could do?

He was upset, of course, he was upset. He was beating himself over these stupid rice cakes for over a month, at first carefully observing Mingyu every time he was cooking for clients before trying himself. And failing. And trying. And failing. And trying, and desserts were never his field of expertise, okay? But he wanted to make something special.

Namjoon was supposed to come back a few days after his birthday, this time to stay. Finally. At last. Of course, Seokjin wanted to meet him with something unexpected. With something good. With an open home.

Ah, whatever, he couldn’t get the texture right anyway.

Chohee started apologizing the moment she saw him – but Seokjin only chuckled dismissively, ”Aish, it’s okay, no big deal, is Yeorim-ssi at her office?” And like that, he went into the work mode, checking up on figures with their administrator, exchanging a couple of jokes with the staff, catching a glimpse of regular clients and walking over for a small talk. Yes, not official today. No, can’t stay for longer, kids already looking for me, ha-ha, no, not married, just joking. Enjoy your evening.

By the time Seokjin came back to the table his mind was already clearer, only sadness as heavy as feather on his heart.

“I know, I know, you missed me like crazy.”

He cut straight through the hint of awkwardness – it was clear why he left, it was clear why it took him so long – but when did it stop him? “Swoosh-swoosh,” he motioned at Namjoon to give him space, settling down, close and content. His bowl was the only one untouched.

“Did you see something interesting there?” Taehyung pointed at the direction of the kitchen, still chewing on a piece of meat. Seokjin only huffed, mouthful of flavored broth significantly lifting his spirit – as well as Namjoon’s palm weighing down on his thigh, keeping him from leaving again.

“Not much, only your order. Asked a friend to add a spoonful of pepper.”

“Whoa, why me?”

“For being disrespectful to elders.”

Taehyung stared at him for a couple of seconds, pouting and squinting, sharp eyes assessing credibility of the statement – and then turned to Namjoon with a silent question.

“He’s joking.”

“How do you know? You never know.” Seokjin turned to him too, with a daring look of his own – but the man only smirked back, thumb rubbing over his jeans.

“We ordered one shared portion of galbi, grill is warming up already.”

At that Seokjin had nothing to say, only pout in disappointment, accompanied by Taehyung’s laughter and Jungkook’s quiet snicker. And so, the peace was restored.

Only almost an hour later, when they were full and waiting for Chohee to come back with a bill, did Namjoon move closer. Taehyung was gazing at fishes again, Jungkook – scrolling through his phone, Seokjin – staring blankly at the table and wondering if anything’s left in the fridge for a late snack, when something firm pressed against his shoulder.

“You okay?”

“I’m always okay,” he replied automatically, without even moving his gaze, thoughts still revolving around the container with gimbap. Was it still good?

A hand caught his then, the one that was drumming against the wood of the table without much thought, and pulled to the side, closer to Namjoon, fingers gently entwining. At that Seokjin finally processed the question, turning to the man with a questioning frown of his own, because of course he was okay, why wouldn’t he be okay?

Namjoon’s face turned out to be too close to his, gaze automatically dropping to the other’s lips, a couple of inches, and… Seokjin promptly turned away, feeling a bit warm, a bit shy, and a bit anxious about all the people around them. They’ve been sharing kisses all day – but the lights were dimmed in that corner, aquarium sending blue lights to flicker across the walls, making everything more deep, more intimate.

Maybe, that’s why Namjoon’s foot pushed his under the table, fingers fidgeting to get a proper hold of his palm – but not with the kids! The two were still immersed in their worlds though, which didn’t help to calm Seokjin’s heart when warm (hot, too hot) lips pressed under his ear.

“Should I forget what she said?”

Oh. Oh, that.

“No, it’s okay, it’s okay,” he muttered, a bit too flustered, but Namjoon’s breath was burning his neck, sending shivers over his shoulders, and the kids, the kids!

“Alright,” and a chuckle went deeper into the crook of his neck (was Namjoon drunk? None of them had any alcohol in solidarity with Seokjin who had to take them home – but could he sneak it? Somehow?), “then we can talk about it later?”

“Yeah, okay.” Seokjin fidgeted, warmth growing in his body, gathering closer to the stomach, and for a second, one second, just one, one single second he tried to remember if their bathrooms were big enough to fit two people.

But it was silly, of course it was silly, he was too old for that, they both were, old and rusty. He huffed at the thought and turned – Namjoon immediately looked up with dark, glimmering eyes – to press a quick kiss to the corner of his lips. Shorthand for “later”.

“Hey, you, get off him, what are you doing, hey, leave him alone, you- bastard!”

They stilled in an instant, confusion shared through widened eyes, and turned – only for Namjoon to giggle against Seokjin’s shoulder a second later. Taehyung was pursing his lips, frowning, and looking all sulky and angry against aquarium’s glass. The same two fishes were now stubbornly trying to nip each other’s tails – and Taehyung was carefully but with concentration knocking against the glass, probably to save whoever was bitten.

Yeah, they have to figure out how to separate them, poor boys couldn’t find a girl to share. Seokjin squeezed Namjoon’s hand with a smirk – the man’s forehead still pressed against his shoulder – eyes now following the two enemies as well. Poor boys, poor boys…

In the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of Jungkook raising his head at Taehyung’s words, his boyfriend turning to give a brief look – before both of them turned different ways, smirking at whatever thoughts they shared. Yeah, okay, maybe they were not as clueless as Seokjin would like to think.

“I’m so sorry for the delay, here is the bill and that,” slightly panting and notably stressed out waitress placed a little box of takeout on the table between them, “is a present. From the staff. I, uh, we hope you’ll enjoy it.”

All four of them quickly moved their attention to the thing, looking with curiosity (and Seokjin – with a hint of shyness, what present, they didn’t warm him, unbelievable). It wasn’t big, maybe ten, fifteen inches from each side, nor was it tall. What possibly could fit there, and for what?

“Would you like to pay with cash or by card?” Chohee seemed to pull herself together, less emotional, more formal look on her face.

“Card.”

“Wait, we didn’t…”

“You can pay me back later, honey.” Seokjin didn’t even turn to look at Namjoon’s reaction, eyes still fixed on the box, only patted his thigh with a hint of dismissiveness.

Loud “cough” came from Taehyung, Jungkook stayed quiet, just like his father, who said nothing and only huffed with a lop-sided smile.

“Come on, open it, Seokjin-ssi!”

As soon as all formalities with the transaction were left behind, Chohee leaving with polite bow and a wish of good evening, Taehyung pushed the box towards Seokjin as if he was the one to receive it. The boy was so excited, almost jumping on his spot; his boyfriend wasn’t showing that much, but curious eyes and elbow leaning on the table were speaking for themselves.

They were almost making him nervous – but hey, it’s just a takeout, not Pandora box.

The moment he pulled one of the covers loud chuckle escaped his lips, quickly blooming into a full-on laughter.

“What?”

“What is it, Jin-ah?”

Unable to explain properly, he only pushed an open box – with four neatly packed pieces of injeolmi inside – and turned around. Chohee was not so far away, waving goodbye at the clients. At the sound of his laughter, though, she turned their way – and met his eyes with an awkward, almost apologetic smile.

Yeah, okay, maybe there were benefits after all.

Seokjin sent her a wink, still giggling, and turned to the rest of them, boys sharing confused looks. From their perspective, he probably gone mad.

“What does it mean?” Namjoon turned to him with similar confusion in the furrowed brows, packing the rice cakes back up.

“Just a dessert to bring home.” Seokjin smiled brightly, giddiness still hiding in tiny wrinkles around his eyes, and patted Namjoon again, this time on the head.

What else could he do if his partner was so cute when clueless?

“Come on, don’t look at me like that and hurry up – or administrator will take me hostage for the rest of the night, and you’ll have to catch three buses to get home.”

 

“Jin-ah.”

“Hm?”

“Look, I just got an email, I got to send some documents to Seoul…”

“Mm.”

“…and talk with Seattle.”

“Mm-hmm.”

“I’ll finish up quickly.”

“Mm-hmm.”

With that, Namjoon pressed a kiss to his temple and disappeared upstairs, door of the cabinet shutting with not so quiet force – muffled “sorry” barely heard through the hallway. Only then Seokjin allowed himself to sigh, fully and with discontent, and close the book he was so immersed into mere seconds ago.

Namjoon wasn’t so subtle about the emails he was scrolling through all the way home, seriousness replacing relaxed contentment with every passing street, so really, Seokjin should’ve seen that one coming. It was nothing special, the interpreter had clients from all over the world, and some of them needed attention at any given hour, but…

He huffed again and dropped the book back on the coffee table.

Yeah, okay, he was counting on more interesting evening, especially with the boys, tired and full, sleepily stomping into their room some fifteen minutes prior.

But it’s not like Seokjin himself had never had to stay later for a check up on financial reports while Namjoon was quietly snoring next to him, so…

He sighed again (third time, Seokjin-ah, third time, come on, get yourself together, you are forty four after all) and scrambled up. Not one of Namjoon’s “quickly” ever ended up earlier than two hours in. Would be easier to release tension (literally – his leg muscles were buzzing with all the walking gathered through the day) in the shower and get it over with.

It’s just that Namjoon was so eager to…

He caught himself mid-sigh, shook his head, and went straight to the bathroom. Next time, Jin-ah, next time.

 

Seokjin couldn’t possibly know when and why exactly he startled, but judging by the grogginess and deep darkness, it was still night. A pair of whispered curses gave a hint to his still asleep mind.

“J’n’ah?”

“Shit, sorry, I woke you up? Sorry.”

He hummed indistinctly and pushed back into the pillow, crawling away from the center of the bed to give space. Which turned out to be pointless as, a few seconds after mattress creaked under additional weight, he was pulled back to the middle.

Warm.

He hummed in agreement – to something he couldn’t consciously process but was all up for – and relaxed in the embrace.

More warm, this time in the corner of the eye.

“Sorry it took so long. Sleep.”

He muttered out a noise he couldn’t distinguish himself. Probably something between “I know you have to work late sometimes, and it’s okay, I understand” and “I don’t like to fall asleep alone when you’re here – but now you came, so let’s sleep”.

Yeah. Probably.

 

It was still warm when he woke up the next time. Both inside and out.

Seokjin swallowed through dry throat, blinked a couple of times and, with closed eyes, got down to assessing the situation.

Namjoon’s near? Check.

Pressed to the back? Check. (Did they fall asleep spooning? He couldn’t remember)

Arm across the torso? Check.

Boner against the thigh? Oh?

Seokjin blinked again, mind suddenly interested in waking up and joining the party.

It’s not like both of them didn’t have morning woods on a regular basis (thanks, testosterone, you never let down, buddy). It’s just that usually they weren’t paying much attention, except, maybe, for a couple of jokes and a couple of handjobs before going on with their days.

But now Seokjin wanted to pay attention.

It’s been almost 48 hours since Namjoon landed for fuck’s sake. They weren’t their 30 years old selves anymore – but there were things Seokjin was looking forward to (with increasing interest these past couple of days).

Proper, healthy, enjoyable sex with his partner was one of them.

Not mentioning his own cock that, apparently, had an intuition on its own, waking up even earlier than Seokjin in anticipation of something. Most likely, something good. The only problem…

“Joon-ah.”

Nothing.

“Namjoon.”

Didn’t even fidget, only breathed in deeper, exhale sending goosebumps down Seokjin’s neck. It must be a joke.

For a desperate second he considered jerking off – but no, no, he’s been doing it for the last three months. Seokjin didn’t spend a whole evening shaving and checking on the remnants of lube for nothing.

“Joon.” He elbowed him – first gently (to no avail), then with more intent.

The man fidgeted in response, erection grinding against his partner’s pants, arm tightening for a second – and stilled again, sleepy exhale on his skin.

Seokjin couldn’t remember last time he was so eagerly awake at the break of dawn. The room was milky grey, shadows still hiding in the corners – but this morning he didn’t give a fuck about them.

Kim Seokjin never gives up, right?

It was time for some dirty tricks.

“Joon-ah?” he tried again, just for a clean conscience – nothing – before fidgeting, moving his lower body an inch away from Namjoon to give space for his own hand to slide against the small of his back. It wasn’t easy to handle things from that position, blindly groping for the other’s cock – but oh, was it worth it.

As soon as he gripped it through shorts, familiar weight and shape sending blood to his own erection, Namjoon shivered and pushed closer.

“Joon-ah?” Nothing.

Alright then, now Seokjin at least knew the way, hurrying to search for the edge of thin material. Muscles of his arm were whining quietly at unusual angle – but he was blissfully ignoring.

Namjoon’s cock was warm, and smooth, and big, with slight curve to the head and vein pulsating on the downside, just as perfect as he remembered. Seokjin had never thought of himself as a person to be strongly attached to his partner’s genitals (or any other body part for that matter). But with Namjoon it was different.

Especially if it was the only thing to get a more or less coherent “Jin-ah?” out of him.

He wasn’t supposed to feel that much relief over a chance to fuck.

But then again, he wasn’t supposed to fight for it with Namjoon’s dreams either.

“Glad you figured.”

“What-” The rest of sentence got swallowed by Namjoon’s hum, thighs thrusting a bit into Seokjin’s hand that was still slowly stroking.

He waited a minute for Namjoon’s mind to fully catch up with their position – pace of his breath slowly picking up, hands leisurely roaming over Seokjin’s pajama in search of a way to get under – before pulling his own hand out of the shorts and gently squeezing the hip.

“I gotta shower first.”

“I’s not necessary.” Namjoon’s voice was deep and still croaking with sleep, thighs immediately filling up the freed space with Seokjin’s bottom, pressing into him with clear intention.

Seokjin only hummed, allowing himself to linger in the desire slowly enwrapping them both. Namjoon’s hand was already under his shirt, sliding up to find his nipples, lips pressing lazy kisses above the hem with increasing frequency, Seokjin’s own hand rubbing his thigh, encouraging to stay closer. But he still wanted more than a lazy and rather quick morning handjob (or even blowjob?).

It was the first time in months.

He wasn’t planning on going easy.

“Don’t fall asleep again.”

Namjoon whined out loud, as soon as Seokjin wriggled out of the embrace, and flipped himself on the back to look up at his partner with pleading eyes. The boner, now bulging under the blanket, and open dark gaze clinging onto Seokjin’s own were slightly ruining the effect.

“Baby, come on.”

“Thank me later.”

By the time he came back, fresh, pink and fragrant, Namjoon was already on the edge of the bed, blankly staring into the insides of the nightstand. The blanket was folded in the foot of the bed, sheets smoothed out – clumsily but neatly enough for Seokjin to smile.

He didn’t like it when the bed was messy. Namjoon knew it too.

“Jin-ah?”

“Mm?”

“You don’t have any lube?”

Seokjin frowned, locking the door – Namjoon sent a glance his way at the sound, then turned back to the cupboards, and then back to Seokjin, this time with more interest, eyes following as he walked over. He knew he had to shower first, if only for that look.

A hand sneaked under his bathrobe even before he took a proper look of the nightstand.

There were all kinds of bottles and tubes, things his stylist methodically listed for him a few weeks before leaving Seoul. “You can’t waste that skin, Seokjin-ah, promise you’ll take care of yourself, promise me.”

No wonder Namjoon got lost.

“Here.” He picked up one of the bottles, thing looking more like perfume than anything remotely related to sex. Even Namjoon frowned a bit, swirling it in his hand.

“Something new?”

“Yeah,” Seokjin swayed slightly, giving up to the hand on his thigh pulling him closer, “they say it’s all natural and stuff.”

“Well, as long as digestible.” Namjoon dropped the bottle on the bed before looking up at his partner, delightful smirk and innocent eyes on his face.

Cute.

Seokjin pushed a hand through his hair, fond smile playing on his lips, before pulling at the strands slightly and diving down, pressing to Namjoon’s lips. And more. And more.

Luckily, Namjoon had enough sense to take off his t-shirt – unlike the shorts that were now rubbing inner sides of Seokjin’s thighs, skin there sensitive on its own and after warm shower additionally.

“Joon, shorts.”

“You have to get up then.”

And he immediately objected with a loud, protesting him, too comfortable on the other’s laps to move again. Namjoon only chuckled, low, husky sound against his lips, and hummed as well – in support of his previous statement. The palms sliding over Seokjin’s thighs were clearly not a part of it, pulling him closer instead of encouraging to get up.

They were too busy warming up against each other’s skin to think through the rest of the conversation.

“Missed you,” Seokjin murmured a few minutes later, unintentionally, mindlessly, hand fisting the hair on the back of Namjoon’s head. The man replied with a stronger bite to his shoulder – Seokjin gasped, pain flaring up with pleasure – and a tug on the back of the bathrobe. It was barely holding onto Seokjin’s shoulders anyway.

“Jin-ah.”

“Mm.”

“I want to see you whole.”

“Take off your shorts then.”

“You have my word.”

They both chuckled, slightly panting already, eyes dark and glued to each other, even as Seokjin pulled back to stand up again. True to his words, Namjoon’s shorts disappeared in a matter of seconds. Just as Seokjin’s robe.

“Do you even know how unfair it is when you have a boner and refuse to wake up?”

“Yeah?” Namjoon pressed a kiss to his stomach before guiding to the covers, playful smile on his lips.

“Yeah. Because then I get one too.”

“Because of me?”

“Because of you!”

“And I’m not there to take care of it?”

“And you aren’t there to take care of it!”

He supported the complaint with a note-worthy pout, fidgeting to let Namjoon settle between his knees. Namjoon himself, in turn, had the audacity to not take the words seriously. More than that, he didn’t even try to look guilty! He was only smiling softly, hovering over Seokjin to peck his lips.

“I apologize from the bottom of my heart and will do my best to fix the inconvenience.”

No, he won’t.

But was Seokjin going to point it out? At least not now. At least not when Namjoon’s hand had already found his cock, lips – the vein pulsating under jaw, and heat already started to shimmer between their skins.

Maybe later.

He swallowed a gasp, chest tensing under wet, open kisses.

Yeah, later.

“Joonie.”

“Mm?”

“Joon.”

“Yes, baby.”

“Joon, I,” and he caught another moan on the edge of his lips, sound turning into vibration, before allowing himself to speak up again. “Joon, I want, I want to do something.”

“What do you mean?” The man almost purred, licking wide across his nipple. Seokjin shivered.

“For you, Joon, I want…” He pulled his hand away from Namjoon’s shoulder, and down, to his stomach, the furthest he could reach in their current position.

He wanted to feel. He wanted to touch. Both of them needed more time to fuel up anyway, and he was eager to help, but...

“Next time, okay?”

Namjoon moved up again, looking into the narrow, unfocused eyes, kissing into his lips again, and again, and again, until Seokjin forgot what he was asking.

“Joon-ah.”

“Next time.” He traced a path of kisses to Seokjin’s ear, whispering like a dark secret,” I want to eat you whole. I want to taste every part of you, is that okay, baby, is that okay with you?”

Oh.

Seokjin swallowed. If there was anything Namjoon was good at, that was his tongue. In all senses.

“Yeah.”

“Yeah?” The palm still playing with his cock squeezed harder. “You want that?”

Oh. Oh fuck.

Seokjin nodded, feeling just a bit dizzy, because his mind wasn’t comprehending, wasn’t grasping fully what was happening – but was gladly absorbing every bit of honey Namjoon’s voice was dripping.

He could hear a pleased smirk in Namjoon’s chuckle, teeth carefully pulling at his earlobe, thumb pressing at his nipple, lips almost touching the skin. “Next time, I promise.”

And he dropped down again, a chain of kisses trailing back to Seokjin’s chest, tongue rubbing flat against his nipple, just where he left it. All Seokjin could do then was to grab Namjoon’s neck again and let the shaky breath escape into the heavy air around them.

Namjoon wasn’t planning on going easy either.

True to his words, he didn’t skip a single part of Seokjin’s abdomen, splattering pecks or nips in patterns known only to him. By the time he finished with the stomach, muscles tense and shivering under skin, and headed south, Seokjin was barely himself anymore.

His skin was aflame, overstimulated and aching for more, heat from inside and coolness of air lashing into goosebumps, tingling on his skin. In addition to Namjoon’s mouth, his hand wasn’t leaving Seokjin’s cock – if only for caressing strokes over his hips and thighs, fingertips drawing circles on the sides before going further down between his legs, reaching perineum, balls – and back to slow, rhythmic pumping.

Seokjin was going crazy.

He could barely hear anything but the thud of his own heart, Namjoon’s murmur, and his own moans and whimpers that were growing in desperation with every passing minute.

One weirdly logical part of his brain was pointing out that that was exactly what Namjoon was aiming for, and even muttering sullenly that Seokjin gave up way too easily. The rest of his mind, though, was too deep in the layers of pleasure to care. Of pleasure of being pleased by Namjoon. His Namjoon.

“Joon-ah,” he whined, shaking his head in instinctive motion like he couldn’t control his body anymore – and gasped when lips finally reached the tip of his cock.

Namjoon wasn’t experienced, wasn’t taking deep, wasn’t trying to go further than he could. It was their inner joke, gentle teasing from both sides that Namjoon still had a long way to go, and that Seokjin will do his best to teach him well.

Because Namjoon, spending most of his life in faithful (almost) heterosexual relationships, was obviously not that good at giving blowjobs.

Which, luckily, didn’t stop him from exploring, even after a couple of not so fortunate experiences – and immediate Seokjin’s reassurances that it’s okay, just don’t get too greedy, baby, take it slow, it’s okay.

And now he was definitely following the advice, focusing more on the tongue work – fuck, where did he learn it from – and rhythm. He was, of course, still trying to take deeper, but not enough for Seokjin to feel it fully.

Which was okay.

But also kind of not – because Namjoon was eager. He was eager to take, to lap, to kiss, to trace every line with his tongue, and Seokjin could feel the shimmering heat building up down inside.

And that was not okay.

“Joon, Joon, Joonie,” he chanted again, gasping through the dearest word, shutting eyes involuntarily, only to bust them open, to not miss a single detail of Namjoon’s mouth on his cock.

At the string of words that were a bit louder, a bit more sensible than Seokjin’s slur seconds prior, the man looked up. Their eyes met, and oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck.

Seokjin let out a long moan and practically pulled Namjoon off himself, closing eyes and trying to think of the birds of Alcatraz instead of dark deep eyes of the man he loved, and the bright pink lips of the man who had never done it to anyone else.

But there was no escape as Namjoon’s voice reached him, raspy and panting, “Baby, what’s wrong?”

This time he couldn’t stop himself, hips bucking up in chase of the warmth of this mouth again – but, but…

“More, more, Joon, I don’t, I can’t, please,” he whispered frantically, eyes still closed, knees scrambling up for a silent plea.

It could be the only time they’ll be able to have sex this week. He couldn’t let himself go off, without touching Namjoon, without feeling him, without pleasure rushing through them both.

Seokjin wanted to fuck. Thoroughly. Properly. He knew how good it was, he knew how perfect they were for each other. He wanted that. He took time to clean himself fully, for fuck’s sake, he couldn’t just, he couldn’t, please, “Joonie, please.”

He wasn’t making any sense – but Namjoon still got it, purr seeping through the voice. “Don’t worry, my lord, you won’t regret.”

And something in the phrase – or the nip on the inner side of his thigh – made him jolt.

Palms began to draw soothing circles over his hips and stomach, lips came back (with Seokjin’s quiet whimper) to press a kiss to the head of his cock (with Seokjin’s shaking exhale). Every Namjoon’s motion was slowly dragging over Seokjin’s skin as if he liked torturing him into pleasure.

He was close to pleading again, forgetting about any sense of shame, when instead of going back up again, Namjoon’s pecks went further down the hilt, massaging the balls for a few long seconds – Seokjin was helplessly panting and raising his knees higher – before planting a wet kiss on the perineum, hand patting his thigh.

“Got to turn you around, baby.”

It was almost embarrassing how quickly he complied – if only embarrassment was still in his vocabulary. Thankfully, it was long forgotten instead, and Seokjin didn’t have to think twice before pushing a pillow under his hips, pressing cock with it to the stomach, and sprawling his upper body over the bed.

Opening up. Offering. Asking.

The most vulnerable position – and yet all he could think of was Namjoon’s hot chuckle on his butt.

“You’re so fucking hot when you stop thinking,” he lapped at Seokjin’s perineum, earning a shiver, “when you let your guard down,” palms smoothed over his thighs before going up, towards the cheeks, “when you feel good.”

And then he squeezed them, pulling apart, making Seokjin gasp for air. He could feel everything, every movement, every bit of pressure, drowning in sensations – but still having enough sense to reply, almost automatically.

“I’m always hot, I’m, I, fuck, Joon, f-fuck.” And the only attempt at sensible sentence failed with Namjoon’s kiss right above the rim, exhale making Seokjin squirm, anticipation and desire curling his toes.

“Yeah,” he pressed another kiss, right below, “yeah, you are.”

The only reply left in Seokjin was a low whining moan.

Namjoon didn’t hesitate to press the third kiss in between the other two, hot, wet lips on the most sensitive patch of skin. Seokjin instinctively tensed before forcing himself to relax, partially out of habit, partially – because Namjoon’s palm found the small of his back, soothingly rubbing over.

Seokjin exhaled almost with relief – before jolting up, back muscles tensing, desperate “Joon-ah” mixing into the whimper.

He did his best to not push back against the flat of Namjoon’s tongue slowly dragging against the rim, but noises were unable to be contained any longer. Perhaps, they should’ve thought about the other guests in the house – but Seokjin was too caught up in the hot, teasing, almost lazy strokes between his butt cheeks, and Namjoon, well, Namjoon probably didn’t care.

Not about the noises though.

With Seokjin’s words losing any kind of coherency and growing higher, his tongue was moving faster, rubbing, circling, pushing deeper, until Seokjin’s hips started to move against his will, rubbing his cock against the pillow.

Maybe, he thought, dizzy and out of breath, maybe it’s better to come, now, not wait, he can’t wait, maybe later, but now, he needs a release, he, now, please.

“No, no, baby, got to make you feel good, can’t get off like that.”

Namjoon’s voice wasn’t fully clear either, though at least the words made sense. Which Seokjin was able to recognize only after he nipped the side of his thigh, earning a surprised high-pitched moan in return.

“Joon-ah, Joon-ah, I’m close.”

“Do you want to come?” Namjoon leaned back then, only his hand still holding Seokjin’s trembling thigh. “If you want to, I can keep…”

“No, Joon, god, no, please, just, fuck, just fuck me, please” was the most sensible answer Seokjin could come up with at the moment. Maybe, it was a bit too harsh, but he was too desperate and out of his mind to explain more.

Thankfully, Namjoon didn’t need any more.

“Can’t refuse when you ask me like this.”

There was smugness in the words, invisible smirk on his lips as Namjoon’s palms glided over his thighs, hips, stomach, pressing just enough for Seokjin to follow, to push himself on knees and elbows. The pillow was still there though, dangerously close to the head of his cock – but none of them had enough mind to move it.

Instead, Namjoon crawled forward, palms leaving prints on the sheets next to the sides of Seokjin’s body. Seokjin himself was too immersed in the process of evening out his breath, delaying the orgasm as best he could, when soft lips pressed a kiss between his shoulders, sending a shiver down his back.

“Joon-ah,” he whined immediately – but quieter, deeper, almost a whisper, like the other’s closeness allowed him to not say more, not explain. One word was enough to put the whole world in.

At that, Namjoon only moved even closer, chest to back, pining Seokjin down, and nuzzled against his shoulder, muttering something into the skin – but Seokjin couldn’t hear, couldn’t understand, because Namjoon’s cock was right there, hot and heavy, its length pressing between his cheeks. He almost choked on the moan and, losing last bits of shame, pushed backwards, pleading “Joonie” leaving his mouth in a hurried whine.

He could feel the other’s body tensing against his, hips meeting the motion – and the both moaned at the friction that was too close to penetration.

That was enough for Namjoon to finally hurry up, leaving “Wait for me, baby” in a pointed kiss on his shoulder blade, and moved backwards. Seokjin whimpered again – this time at the cool air touching his damp back, warmed up with the other’s presence, just a quiet sound of disapproval – but the noise was cut off with another low moan.

This time the touch was firm and precise, two wet fingers sliding over his perineum towards the rim, massaging first, circling, making him quiver with desire. “Can you take them both?” – and before Namjoon even finished, Seokjin was already nodding, feverish and impatient, knees fidgeting to get comfortable, to ground him, to help relax.

“Sorry I have to keep you waiting,” soothing murmur on the small of his back, fingertips rubbing the rim already, “gotta make sure you’re ready.”

And Seokjin shook his head, mind struggling to put into words affection and reassurance – but the fingers pushed further, and the only sound leaving him was a hiss. Namjoon immediately went down, kissing and carefully nipping all over his lower body, palm disappearing in search of more lube.

It wasn’t that painful though, just more uncomfortable than if they started with one, muscles more determined to push the fingers out – but Seokjin was familiar with soothing them. Also, Namjoon found the lube quick enough, hand coming back to stroke his cock, so it wasn’t that bad. Especially when he started to whisper, “I know you can take it, you’re so good, Jin-ah, relax for me, just a bit more, yes, like that, good, good boy” reaching him through wet sounds and Seokjin’s own heavy breath.

He was weak for Namjoon’s voice, they both knew it.

He was weak for Namjoon – but that one he’d leave for himself.

“Joon!”

“Yes, I feel it too, baby, right here?”

“Yes, yes, fuck, please.”

“Not so quickly, just a bit more, here, it’ll be easier…”

“Joon, now!” But the force of the order was lost with a desperate mewl, hips jolting backward, chasing after more touches.

But Namjoon was firm, too familiar with Seokjin’s body to comply. “No, Jin-ah, just a bit more, yes, good boy, you like it?”

He nodded, quietly panting between his own forearms.

“You can take three?”

Another nod, toes curling, body shivering at the simultaneous touch to the prostate and the head of his cock. “Joonie.”

“Just a bit more, baby, here,” and he licked across the rim as soon as the fingers left Seokjin, muscles contracting, searching – “oh fuck, Joon, fuck” – readily taking in the tip of his tongue, loud moan breaking through the string of whimpers.

He could feel Namjoon’s smile against the skin, hand disappearing from his cock to pinch the butt, “You have to be a bit quiet, Jinnie.”

“Joonie, please.”

“Shh, here,” and three fingers pressed to the hole, dipping in with the tips, lube dripping all the way to the balls, “take it easy,” palm rubbing his thigh up and down, “easy, baby, don’t hurry.”

Seokjin only whimpered again, part of his brain that was still functioning acknowledging the nagging sting of the muscles that still needed time to adjust, his whole lower body tensing in urge to escape – and relaxing under caressing strokes and kisses, and tensing, and relaxing, and relaxing, and taking more, and, “Joon, fuck, Joon, please, it’s okay, I’m ready, it’s okay, I promise, I can take you, I,” he gasped in the middle of the sentence, high-pitched wet sound escaping his mouth as Namjoon reached deeper, middle finger grazing over his prostate.

This time Namjoon (thank god) didn’t object; in fact, he didn’t say anything, kisses on the hot skin of Seokjin’s back seemingly taking most of his attention. The fingers lingered for a bit, spreading wider as if to check one last time before leaving.

Seokjin only sniffled at the emptiness, breathing heavily, heartbeat echoing in his ears, pulsating in the stimulated insides, reverberating through his whole body. Just a bit, he exhaled, listening to wet familiar noises, Namjoon’s lips and hands disappearing, just a bit more.

“You ready?”

“Yes.” His voice was broken, now resting in the low dip between the moans and whimpers. He swallowed, blinking at the peachy sheets wrinkled with his own fists, shifted, pushing his knees further apart, and breathed out, loud and slow.

It was a sign to get ready, palm smoothing over the small of his back, calming and stabilizing. He inhaled deeply, held it for a moment, and exhaled again, forcing the remnants of tension out of his body. At the same time he felt pressure against the rim, breath stuttering before calming again.

On the third exhale Namjoon pushed in – and air stuck in Seokjin’s throat, low moan rumbling through his chest, echoing the one from behind.

“Oh fuck, Jin-ah, good, so good,” and something warm blossomed in his chest, odd pleasure from hearing Namjoon’s voice breaking on the edges, palm sliding on his waist to grip tighter. It wasn’t possible to put in words – but was bigger than all the touches and kisses still burning on his skin.

Sharing the moment, the pleasure, the pure connection that was always between them but now took its bare, natural form – yes, that’s what Seokjin was craving. Getting off to Namjoon’s husky, filthy voice in the speakers, sending selcas every night before falling asleep, feeling all warm and giggly every time Namjoon was getting worried at prolonged silence, every time he was missing him – it was all good, close, love and connection brimming through the ocean. But it couldn’t be compared to this.

Raw, naked, instinctive.

“Joon-ah,” he moaned and pushed backwards, the grip on his waist tightening, sound turning into pained groan – but it was good, still, it was so good.

Namjoon didn’t try to stop him this time, finally giving up on carefulness in chase of pleasure. His breath was now deep and loud as well, one hand moving towards Seokjin’s stomach to support, while the other was travelling up and down his side.

“Good, good boy,” he murmured and swayed backwards, just an inch, before pushing again, deeper. The pressure was familiar, good, what Seokjin always liked – but still overwhelming, feelings, sensations making him whimper again.

The hand on his stomach quickly found his cock, fingers wrapping around to pick up the pace, “No, no, Joonie, please,” immediately leaving Seokjin’s mouth in a feverish whisper.

He knew he won’t last long – but he wanted to get the most out of it.

In the sudden wave of pleasure he barely noticed Namjoon thrusting in again, deep but still careful, gentle. Always such a gentleman.

The thought made Seokjin chuckle, albeit heavily, eyelids drooping again. But curious “What?” followed not so long after, fingertips drawing lines from his shoulder blades to the hips.

“Nothing,” he shook his head with a weak smile, but just to make sure Namjoon won’t get nervous, “you’re cute.”

Another chuckle followed, this time from behind, all movements ceasing to stabilize Namjoon for a kiss on Seokjin’s upper arm. “You see it all the way from there?”

“I feel it, baby.” And he turned his head just enough to meet Namjoon with squinted eyes, squeezing him inside for a moment. Red cheeks, messy hair, sweat-slick temples, and dark hooded eyes. Yeah, he was cute, making Seokjin smirk with affection.

Whether it was the motion, the smile, or something in his eyes, but Namjoon’s hips instantly buckled forward, both of them shutting eyes with a shared groan. And only a few seconds later Seokjin recognized another source of pained pleasure, Namjoon’s teeth holding the skin of his arm, grounding them both.

He was almost fully inside now, the tip grazing over the prostate with the last push. It was good, the amount of pleasure easily outweighing any discomfort, making the muscles tighten – and relax to accept more. It was good.

“Joon-ah.”

He hummed, only lips pressing to the bite now, fingertips rubbing the base of Seokjin’s cock.

“Joon-ah, it’s okay, you don’t, you don’t have to be cute anymore.” Seokjin smiled a bit at his own words – and immediately choked on air, Namjoon taking the cue without a hitch.

“Like that?” And he thrusted again, deeper, faster, Seokjin’s moan stuttering with the motion.

God, it was good.

So good Seokjin’s legs started to give up in a matter of seconds, few deep thrusts being enough to make his knees buckle, whole upper body leaning down on the sheets.

“That good?”

He couldn’t do anything but nod, the most sensible though at the moment, “Good,” pushed into the mattress. Just like the rest of him, whole body losing its strength, leaning down on the sheets with every splash of heated pleasure racking through it.

Namjoon was everything but cute indeed, the pace once picked up not losing its momentum, making Seokjin dizzy. The only points of stability were sheets, fisted in his hands, and pillow rubbing his cock with every push, everything else lost in between different angles and obscene noises.

“Jin-ah,” and the thrusts faltered, buried deep inside – Seokjin moaned weakly, trying to grasp why, muscles pulsating with the need of friction – sudden touch pressing between his shoulder blades, “Jin-ah.”

He turned, following the words, or rather the voice on its own, another thrust, smaller but deeper, reminding of its owner. “Jin-ah,” and he met the whisper with a low moan, muffled with the other’s mouth.

It was outside of his abilities to stop the noises from leaving his mouth – but Namjoon swallowed all of them, pointing every thrust with another kiss to his lips.

It was more than he could take.

“Joon-ah,” another kiss to his lower lip, another thrust, another exhale, “Joon, good, close, I’m…”

“Baby, want you to come.” And he shivered from the hoarse, panting voice, another harsh thrust emphasizing the words.

But Seokjin sensed the additional meaning, whispering as best he could, “No, you, want with you, Joonie...”

“I need more time, baby,” Namjoon pecked his lips again, palm sneaking between the pillow and Seokjin’s body, “it’s okay, Jin-ah, want you to come, want you feel good.” And whatever reply Seokjin was preparing had drowned in the wave of pleasure jolting through his body, hips shaking between the pressure inside and the hot grip outside.

He was so close, heat radiating through his stomach, muscles instinctively tensing, back arching, whimpered “Joon-ah” escaping his lips.

“It’s okay, baby, feel good?”

“Good.”

“Can you come for me?”

“Joon!”

Seokjin gasped, teetering on the edge, sparkles going off behind shut eyes, not noticing the other’s weight on his back disappearing – until Namjoon’s other hand came back to his skin. Open palm slid down over his back, fingers tracing the curves of every muscle, towards the butt, and it was unfair, it was a dirty move, but he couldn’t complain, not when the firm grip of fingers mixed into the tune of pleasure.

The last note. The finishing stroke.

Seokjin pushed back – chasing the fullness, chasing the pressure, Namjoon’s hand not faltering on his cock – gasped, stilled, and came with a silent moan. He heard another moan, muffled with instant weakness of his mind and body, that quickly turned into a murmur, “Good, good, Jin-ah,” albeit strangled with Namjoon’s own grip of pleasure.

For a second Seokjin allowed himself to forget about it, catching his breath, clearing his mind, adjusting to the emptiness and lack of contact. Which was unpleasant. Which was wrong.

“Joon?” he asked weakly, listening to the noises, shifting to look back.

Namjoon was still there, a focused frown on his face, eyes shut in concentration, hand moving on his own already bare cock in sharp movements. He looked so focused, so serious, so, ah, cute Seokjin let a fond smile to slip on his lips.

“Joonie,” he called again, this time louder, softer, clearer, reaching backwards to grip Namjoon’s thigh.

That one he couldn’t ignore, bursting eyes open with surprise and confusion, “Give me a second, baby” rushing out of his mouth.

But Seokjin shook his head, denying the words, and pulled Namjoon back, closer, simultaneously pushing his own cheek into the bed and the hips – up, ignoring the tremble of weakness.

“Wha- No, Jin-ah, it’ll hurt,” though his hand followed the other’s invitation mindlessly, even releasing his own cock to stroke Seokjin’s butt and thighs again, hips buckling at the sight and sensation.

“No. Here,” and Seokjin’s hands found his, covering, squeezing his own thighs together, “wanna feel you.”

The words were a bit slurry, post-orgasmic haze stumbling over him – but Namjoon understood all the same, eyes widening for a second. He didn’t ask again though, lingering only for long enough to leave a constellation of kisses on Seokjin’s hips, pushing thighs together.

He was hard, unfocused, half-way to the peak of his own, so cute in his hurry Seokjin couldn’t help but smile, finding his leg again and squeezing in encouragement. “Come on, baby, want you to fuck me good.”

Namjoon let out a small desperate sound, pressing against Seokjin, impatient fingers smearing the tube, sheets, his own forehead with lube – he didn’t even notice, last remnants of his focus dedicated to covering himself fully.

“Yes, yes, like that, Joonie, come here,” and Seokjin kept murmuring, glimmering eyes following the actions as best he could, hand still holding his thigh tightly, muscles hard and tense under skin.

Namjoon breathed out loudly, sound strained and shaking, and pushed between his lover’s thighs, wet cock easily slipping in.

They both moaned simultaneously, Namjoon – at the tightness and friction, Seokjin – at the sudden pleasure still finding its way through already wasted body. It was an odd, unfamiliar sensation: to feel Namjoon thrusting not inside, without the nagging pressure of stretching and fleeting strokes over prostate, but still so hot, and hard, and for him, so hard for him.

Seokjin whimpered again, fingers digging into Namjoon’s leg, not allowing to leave, to stop the movements. “Joon-ah, good.”

“Good?”

“So good.”

God, he probably could get off just on that, just on the feeling of Namjoon’s hands holding his hips so tightly he could easily bruise him, forcing to move with him, to meet every thrust. He was pounding in, hard and fast, in a way he rarely allowed himself with penetration, even in the tightest embrace of pleasure remembering to not hurt, and just that fucking pace was making things to Seokjin.

It’s been over 10 years since he was able to get physically aroused so quickly, but still something was circling through him again, not letting go, tingling on the tips of his toes.

It was warm, and good, and Seokjin kept moaning, hiding face in the crook of his elbow, other hand digging into Namjoon’s flesh with such force it was probably leaving marks. He tightened muscles of his own thighs, just for a tease – and Namjoon moaned, curse hiding in the sound, pace stuttering to push deeper.

“Joon, Joonie, want you to come for me, Joonie, come on, baby.”

Seokjin even turned to look at him from behind his shoulder, sweet murmur coaxing Namjoon through the last thrusts, so rough and uncontrolled Seokjin felt his whole body sliding forward. As soon as Namjoon came - strangled “Jinnie” leaving him with the first drops of sperm, momentum keeping them both going, smearing all over smooth thighs - Seokjin’s knees finally gave up, crashing him down on the pillow.

It took them both a few seconds to catch their breaths, Namjoon’s heavy panting somewhere above Seokjin’s waist, hands buried in the sheets on the both sides of his ribs – before Seokjin fidgeted, restless, and looked up as much as he could from the mattress, lazy gaze only reaching the other’s arm.

“Joon-ah.”

“Yeah?”

“Kiss me.”

And Namjoon was on him in an instant, lips finding his in a greedy kiss.

“Was it good?”

“So fucking good.” Kiss. “Perfect.”

Seokjin giggled into soft lips, "Good. ‘Cause you have to fuck me like that again.”

Namjoon smirked against him, pausing between pecks to catch Seokjin’s squinted gaze. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” and he leaned forward to catch a kiss himself, until their smiles ruined its softness completely.

 

“Joon-ah.”

“Mm.”

“Joon.”

“Mm-hmm.”

“Joon, come back.”

“Just a moment, baby, I think I dropped the condom somewhere over here.”

At that Seokjin finally opened his eyes properly, pushing the pleasant languidness aside for a proper disapproving look. Namjoon, who had the audacity to leave the bed the whole 3 minutes ago and still not come back, was standing next to the footboard, a pack of tissues in hand, and furrowing down, missing out on Seokjin’s precious acting skills.

He couldn’t let it go to waste, could he?

Seokjin cleared his throat and went back to the disapproving frown the moment Namjoon’s gaze landed on his face. Still no guilt, whatsoever!

“No, it’s not- here,” Namjoon disappeared from the sight for a second before standing up with the infamous condom in hand, “it’s empty, don’t worry.”

“But what if it wasn’t?” Seokjin couldn’t stop himself from objecting, although the words were enough to make him yawn, closing eyes again and turning head on the other side. He was still too lazy to turn around.

“Baby, I know when liquids leave my body.”

“Mm, sexy.”

Namjoon snorted at the remark, finally climbing back into the bed, and patted Seokjin on the shoulder. “Roll over.”

“Hm? You’ll clean me up?”

“Just for today, special occasion.”

Seokjin smiled, sleepy and fond, and muttered “cute” before obediently turning on the back.

Namjoon didn’t question the comment, too used to the claim by now, only huffed something shy and incoherent, pulling tissues out of the box. Seokjin’s smile only grew wider, eyes opening just a bit to look up at him.

“You’re such a mess.”

“Thanks to whom?” And Namjoon smiled, just in the corner of his lips as if trying to contain it, almost proud of his achievements, while wiping Seokjin clean.

“Ah, you’re so smug.”

“Me? Never,” but the smile was already growing on his lips, turning into a smirk, thumb lingering to stroke his lover’s inner thigh.

Seokjin only hummed in disagreement, deeming himself clean enough to turn on the side, pushing the long-suffering pillow out of the way to wrap a leg around Namjoon’s knees, arm sneaking around the torso to pull him down.

It was Seokjin’s time to cuddle.

Namjoon only chuckled softly, having no objections, and reached for the nightstand to drop the stained tissues, pulled a blanket over the two of them, and finally settled as well, arms looping around Seokjin who readily pressed even closer.

It was quiet again, just like an hour ago, when they only woke up. The unperturbed morning. The blessed peace.

Seokjin even started to doze off again, promising to himself to nap only for a moment, to get up before the boys (if they were still asleep, of course, god, he was quite loud, wasn’t he?), when Namjoon called him, gentle whisper getting lost on his temple. He only fidgeted in reply, fingers tracing lines on Namjoon’s back, indicating that he’s still awake.

“So, I was thinking.” Ah, Namjoon’s biggest strength and weakness. Thinking. Seokjin hummed, a bit more cautious. “About yesterday. About the rice cakes.”

Oh. Seokjin sighed quietly and pressed closer, unable to stop a pinch of sadness.

Yeah, the cakes he wasn’t going to bake anymore.

“Did you, um, did you want to make them yourself?”

“Yes.”

Some things were better left unperturbed – but Namjoon was too curious for his own good.

“For us?”

He sighed again, relaxing the embrace, head falling back on the pillow. Well, fuck, he was sad now.

It wasn’t going to work anyway, so whatever.

“For you. For your birthday. But it wasn’t working out, so never mind. At least you got the actually tasty version yesterday. What do you think of a new pair of socks?”

He smiled, as playful as possible, trying to not let his feelings affect Namjoon as well, because then what? The two of them will be lying there, anxious and sad? No, he wasn’t going to let that happen. 

Actually, he had a couple more ideas, like a lamp out of single piece of wood or one of the books from museum. And there were always KAWS figures – Namjoon was lighting up like a Christmas tree at every mention, so no, no socks. If only for a prank?

Seokjin hummed at the thought, musing it for a second longer, when Namjoon broke into the process by pecking his hair, thoughtful “Is that what it feels like when you call me an idiot?” murmured against Seokjin’s temple.

He had an answer prepared long time ago.

“Yah, Namjoon-ah, where’s your respect for the elders?”

But Namjoon didn’t listen (shameless!) suddenly tightening the hug, pressing face into the crook of Seokjin’s neck, limbs and bodies entwined, close enough to feel each other’s heartbeat. All Seokjin could do was to hug him back, small soft smile hiding in Namjoon’s shoulder.

“We can order the shittiest pizza and spend the day playing videogames, and it’d still be the best birthday gift ever.”

Always so earnest, so romantic, Seokjin couldn’t stop himself from chuckling, palm running up and down Namjoon’s back. That was more than any confession he’d ever received.

“What’s with the videogames? Do you think it’s the only thing I’m good at?”

He said it with a joking note, but the memory still pinched something deep inside. The hotel room felt like another life entirely.

There’s a theory that every person lives their life on repeat; same arms holding him, same lips pressed to his skin, even the same smell of Namjoon enwrapping him. The moment felt a bit like dejavu. Like that past Seokjin got a chance to live fully, to live properly. To breathe.

The seemingly innocent comment striked something in Namjoon as well, fingers suddenly pushing into Seokjin’s sides, lips pressing in his neck for a second – before moving on to find Seokjin’s. To share a kiss, a silent reassurance. I’m here. It’s real. Can you believe that?

They stayed like that for a bit longer, not sleepy, just slow and thorough in exploring the intimacy all over again. They were silent, except for occasional giggle or murmur that made no sense but needed to be said, the only resemblance of a conversation being Seokjin’s explanation of his new lotion and Namjoon cutting it off with a gentle “I like it, you smell like flowers” and even more gentle kiss to the shoulder. Seokjin had half a mind to tease him as that was the point of flower oils – but then decided against it, too relaxed to raise his voice again. What did it matter if Namjoon already liked it.

In the end, Seokjin was the one to pat him on the waist, the man being still and quiet somewhere next to the top of his head for long enough to fall into a nap. Thankfully, it wasn’t the case, low hum and quick peck responding to the action.

“Rise and shine,” he whispered, the tone too peaceful for a proper call for action, “time to get up, baby.”

Another hum, too close to a muffled whine. Seokjin smiled and nuzzled Namjoon’s throat for a moment before planting a kiss and fidgeting to untangle the legs first.

Namjoon didn’t really try to stop him, pushing himself up as soon as Seokjin wriggled out of his embrace fully, no touches between them, no shared warmth. God, it was always so cold outside of their bed or just now?

Seokjin shivered and turned back to see his partner standing at the window already, yawning and rubbing his eyes. Such a mess. Such a cutie.

“Joonie?”

Namjoon hummed again, one eye squinting back at him, the other still covered with fingertips.

“Shower?”

“Together?”

Seokjin nodded, automatically yawning himself. Namjoon nodded as well and, after a moment of deep thinking, added wisely, “Gotta find pants first.”

Which turned out to be an actually wise idea, because as soon as they opened the door, Namjoon lazily hanging off Seokjin’s shoulders, they were met with two pairs of curious eyes.

“Good morning.”

“Hi, hyungs.”

“Morning, boys, are you fin-“

“Hi, just a second.”

And Seokjin closed the door again.

Three seconds of silence.

“Seokjin-ah?”

“Your son is there!”

“I noticed.”

“And you’re half-naked. I am half-naked!”

“And?”

“And it’s… I… Stop laughing!”

“Sorry.”

“This isn’t funny.”

“No, just endearing. So, you wanna go downstairs or?”

“No! Let’s, let’s just wait.”

“Mm-hmm.”

“…I was very loud?”

“Mm-hmm.”

“Fuck. I told you to stop laughing!”

“Ouch, okay, okay. How long are we going to wait then?”

“A bit more.”

“Can I kiss you?”

“Mm-hmm. Hey, not there!”

By the time Seokjin met the guests again, this time in the kitchen, he more or less accepted the situation. Yeah, maybe his partner’s son (and his beloved boyfriend) heard the aforementioned partner fucking him into bed, but it could happen to anybody, right? No need to dwell for longer.

Thankfully, the boys were polite enough to not comment on the morning’s events (or just smart enough to not tease a person willingly making a breakfast for them). They were in the middle of discussing if the weather will be good enough for a walk to the Golden Gates, when Namjoon finally joined them, shaved clean and humming something under his breath. Morning sex truly changes lives.

“Hey, dad, we forgot, when do you leave today?”

“Around four,” as he went straight to the coffee machine. “We have to be at the office at five, but…”

“…it means everyone will gather around six,” Seokjin finished, rolling his eyes at the too familiar picture.

Usually, he was the one to be late for all kinds of parties, but now he was a family man, wasn’t he? The thought made him snort at the frying eggs.

“Why would they tell to come at five then?” Taehyung’s frown was one of genuine confusion, head tilted to the side.

Namjoon only shrugged in reply while Seokjin answered, in a not so enthusiastic tone, “Because some guests prefer to show up first, and some – when everyone else had already gathered. Some want to actually discuss something – like we do – and some want to just have a couple of drinks and fun. It’s a whole another world,” one he was too familiar with, “Joon-ah, what do you want for breakfast?”

“I already had mine, thanks.”

It took him five long seconds to catch the meaning fully, soft smile gradually replaced with a flat look. He shoot a glare Namjoon’s way – who had the audacity to give him the widest grin in return, cheesy bastard – before turning around in time for a strangled noise to reach him.

Taehyung was apparently responsible for it, face hidden in Jungkook’s shoulder, his whole frame shaking with muffled laughter. Jungkook, in turn, managed to hold his composure, even if the lower lip squeezed between his teeth and trembling chin were betraying the same giggles kept inside.

But could Seokjin blame them? He turned to look at Namjoon again, the man still smug and happy with the reaction, and asked in the calmest voice possible, “When did you come up with that one?” tips of his ears already heating up.

“Just now, in the bathroom,” Namjoon even dared to tilt his head in curiosity, “do you like it?”

“I hate you.”

The bastard burst out laughing, clearly unfazed by the words Seokjin put all of himself into. “No, you love me.”

He only huffed at that and turned to the eggs that started making noises, the ones behind his back finally getting quiet.

“You’re lucky you’re cute.”

And Seokjin reveled in the tiniest part of revenge, because Namjoon wouldn’t dare to object, and being called cute in front of your 19 years old son? He didn’t have much experience, but was sure there had to be something about it he could use to dignify himself.

Apparently, Namjoon didn’t care much. Instead of replying, or at least pretending to be embarrassed, he only leaned closer to press a kiss to Seokjin’s cheek. And another one. And another.

“Ew, hyung, we’re still here!”

 

“She was flirting with you.”

“She wasn’t flirting with me.”

“She was flirting with you all evening.”

“You were right there, Joon-ah, she wasn’t flirting with me.”

Of course, Losa’s PR manager was flirting with him, but did Namjoon need that kind of information? Absolutely not, at least in Seokjin’s point of view. He wasn’t interested in the slightest, so what did it matter?

It just turned out that if you spend time alone, at the bar, in the middle of something that supposed to be a BBQ lunch but turned into a party on one of Losa’s yachts, you are automatically counted as single. Phew, who would’ve thought, right?

The fact that Namjoon kept disappearing with Losa, who was dragging him all over the place to “meet his future colleagues” wasn’t helping either. Neither at getting rid of others’ gazes, nor at fixing Seokjin’s mood.

At one point he even gave Benjamin a cold gaze of his – when the man practically teared Namjoon’s hand off his knee to pull somewhere again – but the CEO only laughed and splattered faux apologies all around. Namjoon, in turn, only smiled apologetically and left Seokjin on his own with gin tonic and Katie. Was she Katie? Yeah… probably.

Seokjin didn’t really like Losa.

Or no, he liked him as a businessman. Mr. Losa was sharp, detailed, open-minded and seemingly kind-hearted – which he, of course, wasn’t, but the illusion was making it easier to approach him.

When they were seeing each other for business, it was focused, concise, and filled with joking comments from both sides, the ones even Namjoon had troubles to translate.

But in a place like that one, well, Seokjin kind of despised him. Maybe, because Benjamin was genuinely an unpleasant person to deal with – or maybe because he knew all of his antics way too well.

Despite his age, Benjamin Losa wasn’t married, “only to work” as he was always jokingly saying about the ring on his finger. Rumors said he had an ex-wife and even a kid – but the man himself never spoke or even joked about them.

He had partners sometimes – but was mostly seen alone, as confident and brilliant as ever. He was rarely flirting – but was still catching attention of others, girls, boys, and everyone around. He wasn’t especially attractive – but there was the power of charisma in each of his gestures.

Yes, Seokjin knew him all too well, and when their eyes were meeting, he knew Benjamin could see his own past too.

Also, he apparently thought that Seokjin is playing with Namjoon so there’s that.

God, where these ideas were coming from? Had Seokjin ever done anything to doubt his love?

He only hoped Namjoon himself had never had such questions.

“Even if she was,” Seokjin promptly caught his hand, his, no, their house already seen in the dim light of sunset, “what does it matter, Joonie?”

He sent a questioning look Namjoon’s way, clear crease between the other’s eyebrows, lips pursed, seriousness making his features ever more handsome. Older, yes, but no less handsome.

Seokjin tugged at his hand – and Namjoon finally gave up, meeting his gaze for a second and chuckling, small smile lingering in the corners of his lips as he shook his head, entwining their fingers. “It doesn’t.” And, after a beat, “Can’t believe I’m the one to take you home.”

Seokjin only rolled his eyes, hiding shy smile in the gesture, and tightened his grip. “It’s not a prom party or something, Joon-ah. I can walk on my own as well.”

“But you’re walking with me.”

And there was nothing he could say to that, only close eyes for a moment, taking control of the smile still fighting its way on his lips.

They were already on the stairs leading to the door, Seokjin looking for the keys, when the words finally properly settled, allowing other thoughts to come by.

“So, did you sign everything? It’s official?”

“Yes.” Namjoon smirked, following inside. “Technically we are colleagues now.”

“Oh, so I’m sleeping with my boss?” Seokjin sent him a cheeky smile, taking off his shoes. “Or you are?”

“Whatever turns you on.” Namjoon easily slipped into the mood, winking back. God, if only they met 20 years ago, they’d probably be spending every night exhausting each other till the last drop of sweat.

Not that Seokjin didn’t plan to try.

“I’ll think about it,” though they could go with both, “first let’s...”

“Give it back, Jungkook-ah!”

They barely stepped into the living room, Seokjin’s gaze hooked with the hoodie on the back of the couch, when loud steps came from upstairs. In a moment the source of noises appeared as well, two sources, running down the stairs one after the other.

Seokjin’s mind glitched a bit, unable to process familiar voices with an unfamiliar picture – but Namjoon seemed to do it just well.

“Boys! What’s this?”

The two of them immediately jumped up in surprise, ending the joking fight over a t-shirt and hurrying to face the elders.

Jungkook was half-naked. Seokjin kept his gaze as far away from his legs as possible, but even in the corner of his eyes he could see his bare legs. Thankfully, he was wearing a t-shirt at least – unlike Taehyung, whose cloth was, apparently, the subject of the chase. He had enough shame in him to press fully against Jungkook’s back, hiding himself behind the human fence, arms wrapped around the boy’s torso – but every visible part of his body was naked.

Water was dripping from their hair, Taehyung’s red locks now the color of wine, Jungkook’s shirt sticking to his body wherever possible. It wasn’t hard to guess how they entertained themselves.

“You’re back? Oh, I mean, sorry.” Jungkook’s wide eyes darted between the couple, hands unconsciously pulling the t-shirt down.

“We thought you’ll be back at night.” Unlike his boyfriend, Taehyung didn’t seem much flustered. On the opposite, as soon as the initial shock wore off, he grinned at them like a boy proud of being naughty.

Namjoon sighed. Seokjin was still catching up.

“As you see, we are not, now get dressed, we’re having dinner soon.”

“Can we watch something then? I know a cool movie!”

“Sure, just, get dressed first, okay, Taehyung-ah?”

The boy only nodded, finally taking the t-shirt Jungkook kept pushing into his hands. Still, he managed to give Seokjin a wide grin, clearly amused with reaction, before the man turned away, allowing them to get back up in peace.

“You okay? Look like you saw a ghost.”

Apparently, Namjoon found it funny as well, following his partner to the kitchen. Seokjin only hummed in response, musing over one particular thought that, maybe, shouldn’t have entered his mind in the first place.

“I warned you, they have no shame.”

“Not the first time for you?”

Namjoon even laughed, “Oh no,” settling at the table while Seokjin went straight to the freezer.

He was able to keep his curiosity at bay for exactly a minute and a half, before turning to Namjoon so sharply the man looked up from his phone in surprise.

“Is Jungkook, like,” he pointed at the floor, trying to be both concise and polite – but Namjoon only frowned in confusion, making Seokjin huff with impatience and embarrassment, hands fumbling in the air. “I mean in sex, is he, you know,” and he showed with another gesture, clapping hands in recognizable position, cheeks heating up, god, why did he even start.

But Namjoon finally understood, letting out a loud, barking laughter and shaking his head. “They’re switching.”

“Oh, okay.” And Seokjin turned to the pot of water, mentally pleading for the conversation to be over. But…

“Why? Are you surprised?” Namjoon’s voice was still bearing traces of laughter and awoken curiosity.

“No, I just, no.” Or maybe, just a bit?

For some reason, he thought Jungkook to be the one on top, with all his similarities to his father. Also, Taehyung was a bit like Seokjin, at places, so even though he never dwelled on it for too long, he kind of automatically assumed that…

“We can try it too.”

Namjoon’s voice was so close, why it was so close, he was sitting on the other side of the kitchen seconds ago, why- Seokjin startled when lips pressed to the back of his neck, hands looping around his waist.

“What?”

“You know,” Namjoon hooked his chin over Seokjin’s shoulder, “switching.”

He swallowed, perfectly knowing that Namjoon can hear it, but still carelessly huffing immediately after. “I’m too old to change my habits.” At this point he was just mindlessly replacing chicken wings in the water.

Obviously, he thought about it. He was the one to top not only with girls (and even with them, not always) – with some guys the energy was just flowing that way too. Yes, he preferred to be the one receiving, too used to prostate stimulation helping him reach the peak, but it was not the matter of principle.

Rather, it was the matter of Namjoon.

He thought about it – but never felt the urge, the need to change. He was comfortable with the way things were between them, including in bedroom. And Namjoon himself had never stopped him when playful fingers were going further, deeper, always trusted with quiet moans of pleasure but never hinted that he’d like to switch.

That is, until now.

“Okay.” He nuzzled Seokjin’s neck, pressing hips a bit closer than needed. “Just, you know, I don’t mind. Got to try everything while we can.”

“What do you mean while we can?” Despite the trickles of arousal in his veins, Seokjin huffed, calm and loud, finally leaving the wings alone. “I’m planning to be up and going for 30 more years at least.”

Namjoon chuckled into the crook of his neck, showing no intention to move away. “What if I’ll be the first to fall then?”

“Too bad for you.” Seokjin shrugged, unfazed, Namjoon’s head shifting at the movement, cheek pressed to the shoulder. “You’ll have to watch me pleasing myself and, maybe, cry.”

Judging by the sound of his voice and the fingers hooking under Seokjin’s belt, Namjoon only got amused at the warning. “Yeah? Will I be able to help you?”

Seokjin hummed with exaggerated thoughtfulness, moving to pour the water out of the pot, Namjoon’s grip on him faltering for a moment. “Will you still be hot?”

This time he giggled out loud, murmuring “I’ll always be hot for you” into the crook of his neck, before pointing the words with a kiss. It didn’t take long to find Seokjin’s lips either.

The “cool movie” turned out to be ‘Wide Awake’, a thriller about time-traveler that kept trying to bring his friends back to life. Main actor: Kim Seok-Jin.

That same actor gave Taehyung a long, questioning look as soon as the first notes of soundtrack came from the speakers. The boy only shrugged back, “I really think it’s cool,” already munching on a grilled wing and leaning on Jungkook.

Namjoon looked between the two of them in confusion, “What’s wrong?” – for what received an opening credits long lecture about the importance of being interested in one’s partner’s life.

It was impossible to tell if he was actually serious when, ten minutes into the movie, he exclaimed, “Oh! Isn’t it you?”

Seokjin said nothing, only shook his head and placed a hand on the armrest of the couch, Namjoon finding it in a matter of seconds, eyes still fixed on the screen. There was only one armchair in the living room, and Seokjin was currently curling in it – the younger couple was impossible to tear apart.

They proved it once again when, after about 20 minutes, ended up in a meld of limbs and hoodies, Taehyung practically sprawling between Jungkook’s legs. They kept fidgeting against one another – Namjoon seemed to be deep in the movie’s plot, not paying a heed – until a hushed “not now” made all four of them still.

The way Namjoon’s lips faltered betrayed his mind’s true presence.

None of them reacted, only Seokjin squeezed the hand a bit tighter, fighting a cackle, and his partner reflected the gesture in an instant.

By the end of the movie, though, both kids dozed off. Seokjin kept glancing their way with something too close to endearment until Namjoon was distracting him with another quiet comment.

The movie plot seemed to strike something inside him indeed, the flow of “no, why did he do that” and “they must end up together, right?” not stopping even during the last scene. They even got into a heated discussion over Seokjin’s character’s father: Namjoon kept insisting that he should’ve been kinder while Seokjin himself thought that then everything would go wrong. The argument quickly died down – but Namjoon still brought Seokjin’s palm for a kiss a few seconds later, and even though Seokjin wasn’t mad, he wasn’t, it was just a movie plot, he did feel a bit lighter.

“But those two, these, here,” Namjoon pointed at one of the polaroid photos scrolling through the screen with end credits, “they are a couple, right? I mean, it’s obvious, but you saw the script.”

At that Seokjin only smiled mysteriously and nodded at their own younger couple, “Wake them up?”

 

The next day was their last full day in San Francisco. Winter semester was starting soon, the boys needed to get ready. And now not only Namjoon but Taehyung as well needed to deal with moving. They all had their lives still going, back in Seoul.

Just like Seokjin, who got a call from his yoga instructor early in the morning (oh, you can’t tomorrow, okay, yes, good for me too, what? No, no, not sleeping late, of course, I promised) and two emails from Losa sent after 2AM. One was a reminder of the monthly report they talked about yesterday, the other – a list of new meals to work on with his chef and a link at the end. Seokjin didn’t click, but the “best ideas for honey moon in California” in the link body was speaking for itself.

He scoffed and dropped the phone back on the nightstand, before rubbing his eyes and turning back to wrap around Namjoon’s frame once again.

He was so used to it already, the warmth, the smell, the heavy presence of the body next to him. Knew he’ll need to get another blanket out, to soften the drop of temperature at night after Namjoon will leave again.

Not for long, at last.

They had an agreement with Losa – Namjoon supposed to be at the meeting in Fresno on September 20th. Four weeks from now on. Only four weeks.

Seokjin sighed deeper and pushed nose into Namjoon’s hair. Pine shampoo, sweat, and a bit of Namjoon himself. Grey lines were here and there already. He smiled, a bit sad, and kissed them, one by one.

Namjoon was supposed to leave again then, to Fresno, and maybe LA. Ben mentioned Seattle a couple of times, so… But it’s okay – Seokjin traced the line of his neck with a thumb, allowing a bit more care to slip through pale light of the morning – it’s okay. As long as Namjoon is willing to come back, he will be waiting.

By the time Namjoon rubbed his eyes with a quiet groan, his partner was already dressed up for a jog. “Hey, baby, no, come back,” but Seokjin had already sent a flying kiss back to him and closed the door.

He met Jungkook stretching outside – which wasn’t surprising, he heard the boy leaving and even considered skipping another day to avoid possible awkwardness – with a bright smile and a wink. If you can’t avoid it, enjoy it.

Jungkook, in turn, looked baffled, eyes widening with surprise, before giving a nod in response. “Good morning.”

“Yeah,” Seokjin looked around while stretching his arms – the mist was holding onto the neighborhood tightly, milky smoke stretching far into both sides of the street, “pretty good.”

They spent another few minutes in silence, Seokjin slowly getting into the mood for running, breathing in deeper, listening to his body rather than Jungkook’s huffs. What was in his head, in turn, was impossible to guess – but the boy also seemed more at ease since the last time they were left alone.

The power of sports!

“Hey, Kook-ah.” The boy, just finished with the stretching and ready to set out, startled and turned back. “Where are you going?”

“To, um, for a jog?” Confusion was all over his face, frown settling as his eyebrows slowly raised up.

Seokjin demonstratively rolled his eyes, leaning down between his hips before straightening up with a content huff and stepping closer. “No, I mean, where? Want to check my route? It’s through the park. Maybe, you’ll get to use it again someday.”

Such a sweetheart, Seokjin praised himself, smiling at Jungkook’s obvious surprise. They were kind of good now, at least in official papers – not like they ever were in an actual fight or something – but they also didn’t spend time one-on-one since the dusty morning in the living room, so… There was some space for surprise at such openness, surely.

But really, Seokjin didn’t want to dwell on it for longer. Didn’t want for the two of them to always have that note of tense awkwardness in between. ‘Hey, remember you thought I don’t love your father and almost accused me of taking him away? Yeah, good times.’ No, thanks.

He even patted Jungkook on the middle – oh, the boy was hiding a lot under baggy jackets – and got a rushed, almost shy “Yeah, yeah, okay.”

Yeah, yeah, okay? These kids.

“Okay,” Seokjin chuckled and motioned in the direction of the park, “just don’t get lost.”

Jungkook muttered something at that – but Seokjin wasn’t listening already. His trainer was supposed to come in an hour, and he still had things to finish by then. Like feed his partner, who’ll probably be munching on dry cereals while he’s out.

Seokjin huffed at the image – god, they were turning into such an old couple – and returned his attention to the breath. Self-awareness, all that. Good stuff. Just don’t lose sight of Jungkook who was patiently jogging behind – at first, at least.

Without much surprise from Seokjin’s side, the pace turned out to be too slow for the boy. Seokjin even had half a mind to turn it into a competition when Jungkook passed him by with a questioning look – but then decided against it and nodded. Let the youth sprint forward, they’ll take care from behind.

You can’t brush 30 years of difference that easily anyway.

The weather promised to be good, fog quickly wearing off to clear the way for sunrays. Seokjin even smiled to himself, watching the shapes of dogs and children brightening in the sunlight, even sounds growing clearer like the fog was an actual cotton keeping everything muffled.

Jungkook was clearer now too, a dark figure jogging in distance. The boy was sometimes looking back, silently asking for directions at turns, but mostly kept to himself. Like he always did.

Seokjin smiled, just a bit, something too close to fondness in his chest. Or, maybe, just morning air.

They were already on the way back home, Jungkook getting farther and farther away, when familiar voice caught Seokjin’s attention. Or rather, familiar barking.

No, Chimmy, wait- Ah, it’s you, Jin.

Seokjin nodded with a smile, “Good morning, Julia,” before returning his attention to the dog swirling around his knees. It was the cutest creature he knew (except, maybe, for Namjoon), a golden furred, puppy-like, good boy named Chimmy.

Julia, his middle-aged sporty owner, once explained all the twists and turns of his biography, but there was too much dog-related slang involved, so Seokjin only got the gist of it. Chimmy was a not so desirable result of short-lasting love affair between golden Labrador and a mixed-breed. What was so wrong about it Seokjin didn’t understand, but, apparently, dark ears, dark tail and white spot around the nose was enough to leave him in shelter.

How stupid could people be?

Chimmy was the sweetest, smartest, prettiest dog, always polite enough to not jump too close to Seokjin, dirty paws always landing back on the ground, and even listen to his commands, although the stranger had nothing to offer except for another scratch on the side and a happy “good boy”.

Seokjin was deeply immersed in booping Chimmy’s nose as often as possible and – not so deeply – in a weather-work-oh-Namjoon-is-back talk, when Julia suddenly interrupted herself with an “Oh, hi, so you know each other?”

Who, Seokjin?

He turned around, and yes, of course he knew Jungkook, the boy fidgeting a few feet away from them. He was studying the fountain some distance away, but when the woman’s voice reached him, he nodded with polite smile and gave Seokjin an “are you coming?” look.

Oh.

Oh, right.

Seokjin smiled involuntarily and turned to the woman, palm patting between Chimmy’s ears. “Yeah, Namjoon’s family. Have to hurry up.”

She gave him an understanding smirk and nodded, “Okay, tell him I said hi,” Chimmy letting out a couple of barks when the stranger started off after the other one.

Something about Jungkook choosing to come back and wait for him, instead of hurrying to get home, kept him smiling for the rest of the way. And even then, as soon as they stepped inside, he pushed himself right into Namjoon’s lips, the man meeting them almost in the doorway.

“Oh wow.”

Seokjin giggled, pulling back to take off his snickers. “What?”

“You kissed me.”

“Yeah? I do that sometimes, never noticed?”

This time Namjoon chuckled too, infected with his partner’s giddiness, taste of coffee already sticking to Seokjin’s lips – but, after a beat, the smile turned sheepish, hand coming to rub the back of his neck. “Look…”

Seokjin huffed, every bit endeared as before, and gave him a pointed look. “What did you do?”

“Nothing, nothing, I, um, we wanted to make breakfast…”

Jungkook, who was already hiding his snickers and stubbornly ignoring everything happening under his nose, stilled for a second. Familiar reaction, Seokjin smiled, too happy even for a worry.

“Have you hurt yourself?”

“No, no.”

“Good, then show me your cooking masterpiece.”

Turned out Taehyung didn’t have much talent for cooking either.

It wasn’t that bad though.

Just that the boy (quite understandably) didn’t trust Namjoon’s experience in making egg toasts, and while the man was gathering the ingredients and toasting a piece of bread on the pan, he was scrolling through Naver. And actually found something good – only by the time the two of them finished discussing the recipe, toasts were already smoky.

They tried to fry the egg filler on the butter that was left – and that, oh so unexpectedly, turned out to have the same taste of burned bread.

The kitchen smelled the same.

Seokjin said nothing at that, only laughed and waved a hand at the couple’s guilty faces, going straight for the fridge. He had some pork and kimchi left from two days ago, that’ll do.

All three of Kims were quietly observing him cutting meat and vegetables, Jungkook joining the other two probably out of solidarity. They were cute like this, sitting in a row and just sharing curious gazes. Seokjin chuckled. Yeah, maybe he could spend a life here.

“Okay, who’s gonna watch after tofu while I’m in the shower?”

The two failed cooks exchanged hesitant gazes before looking up at him. This time Seokjin couldn’t contain a full on laughter. “Come on, you didn’t burn the kitchen, did you?”

“I’ll do it.”

He nodded at Jungkook, bright smile ever-present, and pointed at the pot. “Alright, turn it off and pull them out to drain in 5 minutes. Thanks, Kook-ah.” And, still giggling, he left to get his yoga clothes and shower, not forgetting to wink at the other two first.

By the time he came back, wet hair and smell of jasmine, Taehyung was already over his remorse, peeking over Jungkook’s shoulder. Namjoon was still seated though, a thoughtful look directed at the tofu his son was diligently cutting – Seokjin just had to flick him on the nose with an “everything’s fine” smile before turning to the boys.

It didn’t take him long to prepare a proper breakfast – tofu, fried kimchi and pork, rice, and a bit of pickled vegetables. Turned out harder to convince them to eat it on their own – his trainer supposed to show up any minute now, not the best time to stuff one’s stomach, really.

The boys, thankfully, gave up, Taehyung’s stomach rumbling with hunger – but Namjoon, guilt still in his eyebrows, promised to wait. The door ringed then, and all Seokjin had time to do was sigh and disappear from the kitchen, smell of red pepper following him to the door.

What he didn’t think through at the time was that the boys were to leave the kitchen and go through the living room upstairs. Which was okay – it distracted him for a few breaths, Taehyung’s eyes widening at the posture he was currently in, but the two of them hurried to leave anyway.

What did distract him, though, was Namjoon coming back to the kitchen after taking his laptop, and getting oddly quiet somewhere behind Seokjin’s back. He didn’t hear the click of the kitchen door either.

Seokjin’s head was somewhere around his knee at the moment, muscles of his back and legs gently aching from tension, so it was really not the time for him to think, but… His gaze darted to Yumi, his trainer, fit Japanese in her late 30s, who was gently pressing on his back and counting his breaths. She was nice, she was pretty, just a little of encouraging smile on her lips, and for a second, just for a second Seokjin wondered if she looks like Yoonja, what if there was something about her that- Yeah, okay, no, Namjoon was definitely looking at him, head tilted in a curious manner, gaze jumping to Seokjin’s turned face so quickly it was almost comical.

I’m leaving.

“Namjoon-ah.”

“I’m not here, I’m not here.”

Seokjin only huffed, unable to fight a small smile, hating the hint of relief in his shoulders but still feeling its warmth. Namjoon was looking at him. Always looking at him.

Sorry.

He promptly came back to position, but Yumi only smiled, “It’s okay. I don’t let my wife watch me either.

Oh, good. Wait-

The rest of the training went as usual, painfully long but blissfully relaxing, so when Seokjin finally entered the kitchen all he could think of was food. And shower. But first food.

Namjoon was faithfully waiting for him, open laptop and spatula in hand, face serious and concentrated on the pan (another one) and little kimchi pancakes. The smells were pretty delicious, actually.

“Working off? Good, good.” He even patted Namjoon on the waist, post-exercise hormones or something making him almost euphoric.

Everything was okay. For some reason, it was brimming through his every cell. Everything was okay.

“These wolves ate almost everything,” Namjoon muttered, too focused to even turn around, just waved in the direction of the dining table. The plate was almost empty indeed, a few pieces of tofu and lonely kimchi waiting for their fate.

Next to it, though, was a small stack of already made pancakes, a couple of sandwiches, and two cups – one with coffee, the other with jasmine tea. Seokjin swelled with fondness at the sight, unable to contain a grin while sitting down.

“You made it yourself?”

“Working off.”

Namjoon sent him a quick smile before carefully checking on the pancakes – and quietly cursing when spatula got smeared with batter. He was wearing an apron, ends tied together so tightly they were pressing into skin, underneath only pants and loose top, bare shoulders showing off to the world.

Seokjin hummed with an almost dreamy smile, chin on the palm, munching on a pancake and studying the man’s figure. Was working on his back more, huh? Maybe, Seokjin will get his own chance to stare.

“What?”

Finally, Namjoon caught his gaze while taking the last patch of pancakes off the pan, questioning frown emphasizing the word. Seokjin only gave him a sweet grin in return and shook his head, finishing up with his sandwich.

Now, he wasn’t hungry anymore. Maybe, will grab something later. Shower was still high in his list of priorities, but first...

“Where are the boys?” he asked casually, fingers drumming against the table surface, eyes fixed on Namjoon’s cup of coffee.

The man only shrugged, already deep in his email inbox. “Packing stuff and checking on the weather.”

Seokjin hummed, gaze darting to the laptop before coming back to its owner. “And what about you?”

“What about me?”

“What are you going to do?”

Namjoon finally sensed something in the innocent voice, looking up with conspicuous frown. “Check tickets, unpack things, you know, usual stuff, why?”

“Nothing,” his foot found Namjoon’s under table, “just wondering,” tilted his head slightly, waiting for the man to take a sip, “if you’re interested in a blowjob.”

Namjoon almost choke on his coffee. Good, that’s good.

“What, why, what, what did I do?”

Seokjin chuckled at the wide eyes and stuttering words – such a teenager, still – before pouting with a frown, toes traveling up Namjoon’s ankle. “Can’t I just want to make my partner feel good? Didn’t get much of your taste the other day.”

Namjoon’s brain was clearly processing, eyes automatically following when Seokjin swiped across his lips with a thumb.

Of course, there was more to it than simple desire to please Namjoon, even if it was taking the solid first place in his mind at the moment. But he also needed a second of this, a minute, ten minutes, more.

Attention. Reaction. Feeling.

They established long time ago that they were different in this aspect. Namjoon was open and talkative – but preferred to stay away from others’ gazes. Seokjin, in turn, was quiet and gentle on his own – but needed more on stage.

Gazes. Recognition. Love.

And that persona, that part of him that supposed to stay in Seoul snitched into the baggage, stuck to Seokjin’s tags, got lost between his clothes – and creeped back into his life.

He wasn’t stopping it, was always following his own desires – and now his desires wanted Namjoon.

His attention. His reactions. His feelings.

His gazes. His recognition. His love.

Seokjin dreaded the day it won’t be enough – but was absolutely sure it’ll come. And so, he was getting accustomed with clients, was going to Losa’s parties, was grabbing bits of attention wherever he could. Different life, Jungkook said, but was it really?

Yes. Yes, it was – because before it was all he got.

Now, he had much more. Now, he could choose. Now, he could turn away from everyone else and go back home, to hide in Namjoon’s arms sleepily pulling him closer and forget that the rest of the world existed.

“So, are you interested?” Seokjin raised an eyebrow, silence stretching out for too long for his taste.

“I am, I am, I mean, I, uh,” Namjoon threw a quick glance at the laptop – and promptly closed it, hurrying to stand up. “I am very interested.”

Seokjin smiled – so cute, he was always so cute – and got up as well, murmuring softly, “You get points for eagerness.”

“Can I use them?” Namjoon mindlessly followed him to the dishwasher, clumsily fumbling with the spatula in hands.

“Yes.” Seokjin took the thing, pushing his own palm into the other’s hands, turned the washer on, and looked at Namjoon with a cheeky smile, “Just remember to stay quiet,” before pulling him to the stairs.

By the time he got to the shower, lips still warm and smiling, it was almost noon – but, well, he didn’t have much plans for the day anyway.

 

“Jin-ssi!”

He startled and turned around, bright red of Taehyung’s hair flashing over the stairs, Jungkook, as always, following behind.

Funny how Seokjin was almost used to them already.

“Will you take us to the hills? And then to lunch? And then to the beach?”

He chuckled at the wide childish eyes and nodded, closing the book – Peter (Pete? Petia?) could wait. Taehyung eagerly pushed the two of them on the first place in Seokjin’s plans.

“Yes, alright, just let me check up on Joon first.”

“He’s busy,” Jungkook immediately added, exchanging amused gazes with Taehyung, “can’t find the tickets.”

“What?” Seokjin frowned – what’s funny about it? – and straightened up. The man was obediently quiet even after they finished, only rustle of clothes and occasional “Jin-ah, I’ll put it here” coming from upstairs for the last half an hour.

“It’s okay. He probably lost his password or something.” Jungkook shrugged as it was happening all the time. “It happens all the time.”

“But he’ll restore it… soon?” Seokjin wasn’t so sure anymore. Namjoon was full of surprises.

“He’ll probably have to contact Incheon and confirm everything again.” This time Taehyung was the one to shrug, god, was it really happening so often?

“And he’s still packing.”

“Or unpacking.”

“Anyway, he said we should ask you.”

“And hope you won’t be too scared to spend the day with us.”

“But we’re nice.”

“Really nice.”

“Wait, wait, let me process!”

Seokjin huffed, the couple practically giggling in front of him, even Jungkook’s grin finally showing off. Their hands were entwined somewhere behind Taehyung’s back, arms swaying one way or another in a playful manner.

They were kind of nice.

Also, what, “did he say I’ll get scared? I? Scared? Wait a second, Namjoon-ah!”

Indistinct hum came from the second floor.

“What did you tell the boys?”

Steps followed, and the man himself peeked over the stairs, confused and unsure. “What did you say?”

“What did you tell the boys?” Seokjin quirked an eyebrow – but another giggle broke through his suspicion. Namjoon, in turn, still looked as clueless as ever.

“I told them to find you and ask if you’d want to take them to the city, I’m a bit busy here, sorry,” but Seokjin already turned to the younger couple, Taehyung clearly biting his lips to not smile even wider.

“Scared, huh?”

“Maybe, that was not exactly what he said,” Jungkook retorted with the most innocent face, Taehyung nodding by his side, “but I’d say we explained the meaning perfectly.”

Seokjin gave them a long, bemused look. "Your chances of exploring San Francisco by foot are growing with every passing second.”

While the boys immediately whined, doing their best to express guilt, Namjoon’s voice turned serious, steps halting behind Seokjin. “Is everything okay?”

For a moment Seokjin wanted to complain (jokingly, of course, jokingly) that his kids have no respect, and how dare they tease him like that, and jokes are his privilege – but was it worth ruining the moment? Because Jungkook’s lips were trembling with hidden laughter, Taehyung almost hiding behind his back, probably the initiator himself, and kids are supposed to joke around, aren’t they?

“Yeah, no worries,” though he gave them a very serious glare – before leaning backwards to look up at Namjoon. “Got to work?”

“Yes, and, uh, finish up with the tickets for tomorrow.” Always so shy about his forgetfulness, always so cute.

Seokjin smirked, gaze lingering on the tiny hickey under jaw before going back up to his eyes. “Didn’t have time earlier?” and his teeth accidentally grazed over the bottom lip.

Namjoon watched him thoughtless for a couple of seconds – before huffing out something like “aish, gotta go” and stomping back to the stairs.

It was a whole chain of teasing, wasn’t it? The one Namjoon will gladly return, so very soon. 

Seokjin smirked again, softer, warmer, gaze following the man upstairs. He’ll be waiting.

“So, will you take us, Jin-ssi?”

“We’ll be nice.”

Oh, right.

He demonstratively sighed and stood up, clapping over himself in search of the keys. “I don’t really have a choice, do I?”

 

It turned out to be even easier than he imagined.

The younger couple, that were always a bit too immersed in each other, stuck to their habit. They were, indeed, nice – except for a few lewd questions from Taehyung that Seokjin quickly cut off with a loud threat to drop them both in the middle of a road – but, overall, nice.

Seokjin even found himself enjoying the trip, when Taehyung persuaded him into running into the frame while Jungkook was taking photos. It quickly turned into a chase between all three of them, where the youngest was easily outrunning them both – only to spend too much time setting the camera, enough for them to catch up and proudly stand in front of it again.

Seokjin left the couple to their games soon enough – he was too old for that much unnecessary running, even if he’d never admit it out loud. Instead, he went for an ice cream stall nearby, the shore along the Golden Gate Bridge filled with all kinds of options to rest. The boys hurried to join him in some five minutes – maybe, genuinely looking after him, but most likely just sensing that they’re in for some free sweets.

He didn’t bother with thinking about it for too long, just gave them two cones and a wild eye roll at Jungkook’s suggestion of mint chocolate.

Poor boy.

Seokjin bought him chocolate instead, maybe it’ll fix him.

They spent the rest of the day just hanging around, looking for pretty views in chase of the boys’ aesthetic pleasure (“while the most handsome man is right here, huh”). After the bridge they went for Twin Peaks, then Oakland Bay Bridge, then center of the city once again – with an obvious drop by 'Wings' – before hurrying to the beach, where Namjoon was already waiting for them.

“You survived?” He chuckled, pulling Seokjin closer for a moment, just a squeeze on the shoulder that was enough to make him smile.

“Not really. They were playing their favorite songs.”

“You said you liked them!” Taehyung immediately exclaimed with offended pout on his lips.

Jungkook behind his back bristled with amusement – but quickly added, “Better not to joke about his music taste, Seokjin-ssi.”

“Me? Joking? Never did such thing,” though he did pat Taehyung on the back, just to make sure they were clear.

The boy only nodded at him with a softer expression – and immediately pointed down the seashore. “Let’s go that way, we haven’t been there yet.”

Wasn’t it the same everywhere?

But no one objected.

The sun was already caressing the outline of dark water on the horizon. The day was slowly coming to an end. Kids and dogs were blissfully running around, happily meeting the warmth of nearing September. The fog allowed them all to have a peaceful day at last – it was now only a haze, hiding sunrays above the skyline.

Seokjin took a deep breath and pulled a blanket tighter over his shoulders. Despite the summer warmth, it was still chilly near the ocean, especially so close to twilight.

“You’re cold, Seokjin-ssi?”

Taehyung finally reached him. The boy left the other two knee-deep in water some ten minutes ago, to walk intentionally towards Seokjin – but kept straying away from his course to study some things in the sand.

The man only huffed and fidgeted under the blanket, “Not everyone is a walking oven like that one,” and nodded in the direction of his partner.

Namjoon didn’t pay him any heed – probably because he was some dozen feet away – focused solely on the sand. His small bucket was lying next to the hole he dug, water splashing between the toes as he stood still, waiting for something to appear. Most likely, another crab – but judging by the look on his face, it could’ve been a genie.

“Balancing things out?”

“Kind of.”

Taehyung flopped down next to him and only then responded with a wide grin. Was he expecting for Seokjin to give up on his thin-but-soft specifically-bought-for-beach blanket? The man frowned, clutching material – just in case the other will try to take it away (which was, actually, possible) – but Taehyung didn’t even look at him.

He straightened his legs, totally unbothered by the sand sticking to his wet feet and seeping into jeans, and leaned back on his hands. He looked like he was enjoying the moment to the fullest, soft smile and soft gaze directed at the sun, Jungkook, or the whole universe in front of him.

Seokjin decided not to bother him, only after a couple of moments went back to his own staring. The water was whispering something in clear distance, glimmering under setting sun; couples, and kids, and parents, and an old lady with a poodle were creating a nice, low murmur all around them; Namjoon was crouching in the swaying water, explaining something to his son, the two of them giggling when a sudden wave splashed over the elder’s knees. Yeah, there were things to get lost in for a moment.

“Jin-ssi?”

“Hm?”

“Can I ask you a personal question?”

“Is it related to mine or Namjoon’s sex life?”

He snickered. “No.”

“Go ahead then.”

“Why him?”

It took Seokjin less than two seconds to turn to the boy with an absolutely emotionless expression. What, again?

The question was, apparently, written all over his face as Taehyung immediately descended into a fit of laughter. “No, I don’t mean it like- god, you should’ve seen your face,” he even cut himself off with a giggle before clearing his throat again, gaze – calmer and deeper – coming back to Seokjin. “I know Kookie asked you, uh, things, but I don’t mean it… I was just curious myself. You met when, ten years ago?”

“Eleven.”

Taehyung chuckled – but obediently corrected. “Eleven. And you, um, you…”

“We fell in love, yes,” his gaze immediately darted to Namjoon’s frame against the dark blue of the ocean, “and had sex, depending what you mean.”

“Both, I guess.” Taehyung smirked again, this time softer, thoughtful eyes studying Seokjin’s face with an almost uncomfortable attentiveness, before politely turning to the horizon as well.

He was quiet for a bit, maybe thinking through the answer – or his own question – or just studying Jungkook’s sand castle. The thing was quite impressive, for sure.

“Why did you fall in love?” And before Seokjin could do as much as comprehend the absurdity of the question, hurried to explain, “I mean, you, you knew he was married, and it’s not gonna last – unless…” He gave Seokjin a questioning look – but the man only shook his head.

No, Namjoon had never gave him any promises.

“That’s what I thought. It’s just that sometimes I look at you and wonder what was it like before. How would it be if you never met again? Couldn’t you choose someone else? Was it worth it? What was so special about it?”

“You two love difficult questions.” Seokjin gave him a humorless chuckle, unseeing gaze staring at the sand.

“Yeah. Maybe, because everything’s so different when we look at you.” A note of sweet nostalgia reflected through his speech, fingers mindlessly gathering sand in the fist. “We know each other for as long as I can remember. Of course, not everyone’s like that, but,” he paused to shrug, “it’s hard to imagine falling so easily. We confessed two years after first kiss, because it was scary to admit, to,” he raised both hands to clasp them in a lock, sand splashing everywhere, “fit the feelings and friendship together. But he's always been my Jungkookie – and you, you could’ve walked away, couldn’t you?” Finally, Taehyung looked at him again, questioning and serious. “Hyung would never be yours, so why, why would you choose this?”

Seokjin was quiet for a few seconds, absent gaze studying tiny pieces of sand between his fingers.

It was such a weird question.

“I’d never have another chance for this. I could walk away – but I couldn’t unlove him, could I?”

“But was it-”

“Yes,” he cut, maybe a bit too harsh – but why so many people kept questioning his feelings? – before continuing with a calmer tone, “yes, it was strong enough, and it was special, and it was worth it.” He looked up, at the other two finally paving their ways toward them, Namjoon carefully holding something in his hands, Jungkook carrying the bucket just as gently.

“May I ask you a personal question?”

“Of course.”

“Why did you ask me this?”

“I was just curious, sorry, did I make you uncomfortable? I’m sorry.”

“No, I mean,” Seokjin frowned mindlessly, gaze searching for something over the beach, “why did you think I’d choose something else?”

“It’s obvious, isn’t it?” There was soft amusement in the boy’s voice. “Because you are a person that can choose whoever they want.”

Seokjin chuckled at that, zero joy in the sound, and gave Taehyung a quick, almost sad glance. “Why would I want anyone else?”

“Jin-ah, look!”

Namjoon came just in time for the two of them to finish the conversation, Taehyung not showing any intention to reply, only smiling with a warm look in his eyes.

Even before Namjoon opened the lock of his hands, Seokjin asked with hidden amusement, “Is it another crab?”

It was another crab.

Actually, Namjoon had already caught a dozen of these ones, all looking the same: pale, small, and fiercely harmless. Seokjin considered it his duty to point at the fact – but his partner immediately protested.

“They are not the same, look, that one has a spot behind his eyes.”

Oh yeah, there were, indeed, tiny spots Seokjin first confused with sand – and so, he sighed with compliance.

At the same time Taehyung pointed at Jungkook’s bucket, “What’s in there then?”

“Oh, you know, just-“

Splashes reached even Seokjin, the man letting out a sound – perhaps a bit too loud – of surprise and confusion. Which was nothing compared to Taehyung’s face, his whole upper body covered with cool salty water.

“Jung- Hey, no, come back here, Kook-ah, where’s your respect!”

And like that, they disappeared, shattering (or, maybe, completing) the view of the beach with loud laughter and innocent threats. The other two looked after them, still for a few seconds, fond smiles on their faces – yeah, long time ago they’d be the same – before Namjoon moved to sit down. On the other side of Seokjin. Taehyung’s place was slowly soaking with remnants of water.

“So, how are we going to name him?”

Seokjin fidgeted under blanket, snuggling closer to Namjoon’s side. He was warmer here, more peaceful, more content. The sights around them were serene enough – but that was the last piece he needed.

“What about Henry? One of my clients,” he quickly explained to Seokjin’s questioning look, before returning his attention to the creature. “Though I think it’s a girl, look how pretty she is, didn’t even pinch me- ow!”

If ‘she’ didn’t pinch him, then Seokjin for sure meant to.

“Prettier than me?” He gave Namjoon wide, innocent look and pouty lips, tilting his head in faux surprise.

The man only smirked, still rubbing the suffered thigh, and raised his other hand higher as if trying to compare. The restless and oblivious crab was tiptoeing on his palm. Seokjin was patiently waiting for the verdict.

Finally, Namjoon sighed with exaggerated sadness and shook his head. “If only your eyes were sticking out of your body.”

“At least I have great pincers,” and he wasn’t afraid to show them, pinching the other’s side until Namjoon, still laughing, caught his hands.

Henry was proudly stomping away.

“You are the prettiest, who am I to question three journal rankings?”

“And two TV shows.”

“And two TV shows,” Namjoon obediently corrected and pressed a kiss to his hair. “Are you cold, the Most Seductive Man of Korea 2015?”

Seokjin only shook his head, wondering what the fact that Namjoon was keeping up even with such silly titles of his was giving him. Probably nothing, except for a shy smile and a warm glimmer deep inside his chest.

They sat like that for a while, Namjoon’s hand on his shoulder, Seokjin’s head – on his. The boys were now trying to pull each other deeper in the water without getting wet, which was a senseless task because they both were covered in splashes already.

Is that what family feels like?

“What were you talking about?”

“Hm?”

“With Tae.”

“Oh,” Seokjin’s gaze lowered to the knees right in front of him, “nothing serious.”

“Yeah?” Namjoon’s thumb was gently rubbing his shoulder.

“Yeah. Just you.”

“Oh?” He paused. “Was it flattering at least?”

Seokjin smirked and nodded. “Yes, pretty much.”

“Okay then. Good.”

And they both giggled, pulling closer.

Only something was tugging at the edge of Seokjin’s mind, and the more attention that something was pulling, the more tension he could feel. Not his own, no, but-

“Joonie?”

“Hm?”

He finally raised his head, eyes searching for the reason behind Namjoon’s fingers fiddling with the material of his blanket and his jawline looking all set and serious. “Something’s wrong?”

“What? No, no, of course, of course, no, everything’s fine.”

Very convincing.

Seokjin shifted, pulling away only to give Namjoon a proper look of disapproval. “What’s wrong, Joonie? Did you forget to lock the door again?”

At that Namjoon chuckled, a tiny bit of his tension dying away. “No, I promise, I checked everything.”

“Good, cause I’m not in the mood for a rush.” He smiled softer, eyes still peering at Namjoon. “What is it then?”

The man kept chewing on his lips for a few more seconds, averted gaze travelling over the sand – before finding Seokjin’s again, small sigh of surrender escaping him. “This is not,” he chuckled nervously, pushing a hand through the strands, scratching the back of his head, “this is not how it supposed to be.”

Seokjin’s frown only grew deeper, head tilting in confusion – what? What supposed to be? It was slowly making him nervous as well. Namjoon was rarely showing so much, especially in public.

It was something important then, whatever ‘it’ was.

“God, it’s like I’m talking to a crush from high school.”

And Seokjin smiled – feeling, weirdly, a bit breathless at the words – and cooed, “Oh, do you have a crush on me, Joonie?”

Namjoon didn’t laugh.

“Yeah, I, actually, I think I love you.” Seokjin blinked. “No, I mean, I’m sure, I know that I love you.”

He froze, unable to do anything, to say anything, only heart suddenly clear and loud in his chest. What was that, what did he, what, what?

Namjoon caught his gaze and smiled, awkward, sheepish, cute, hand squeezing Seokjin’s shoulder ever so tightly, like it was glued.

“I know, uh, I know we don’t really say it – but I wanted to, even before we arrived, but then there was that thing with Kook, and I kind of left it for later, but this,” he let out a nervous cackle, “this is really not how it supposed to be, but I guess, I guess it is now.”

Seokjin was quiet throughout the whole mumble of a speech, trying to make his brain work, and his heart – calm the fuck down for a moment, he’s trying to focus, thank you very much. He was quiet, long enough for Namjoon’s face to start losing its affectionate shyness, hesitant frown smearing over his eyes – but even then all Seokjin could pull off was, “But you said it already.”

“Oh. Oh, right, but it was, I don’t know, it slipped off, but I wanted to make it more official. More romantic? Not sure if that one worked out though.” He chuckled at the sand, a low uncertain sound, and Seokjin frowned this time, because it was. It was chaotic, yes, but sincere and beautiful, and why would he need anything else – but Namjoon kept going.

“I wanted to make sure you know what I mean.” The hand finally let go of his shoulder in order to find his hand under the layer of blanket and squeeze, Namjoon’s eyes finding their fingers and focusing on them with a more serious, concentrated frown. “I know there’s a lot more for us to get through. It’s been a few months, and Jungkook did get a point – that is too early for, well, for all of that.”

He paused again with an awkward smile, unblinking as he was, looking for the words. Seokjin’s heart was somewhere in his throat, eyes staring at Namjoon so openly anyone else could think they were in a middle of life-changing confession. Oh, wait.

“It is too early – but with you it feels like I’m eleven years late. I couldn’t give you everything then – but now I can, and I want, and I will. If you'll let me.”

Finally, he raised his head, eyes – deep, serious, loving – finding Seokjin’s as a final touch of the delivered secret.

“When I saw you there, in that room, I couldn’t believe. When we went for that show, and you held my hand, I couldn’t believe. When you let me in, when you kissed me, when you,” Seokjin automatically squeezed his hand – Namjoon wasn’t actually going to include a blowjob in his confession, was he, “said you want to be with me,” oh, “I couldn’t believe. I couldn’t believe how lucky I am – but I knew I can’t let go. I see my life with you, Jinnie, and I will never let go, not again. I love you.”

Seokjin blinked. Took a deep breath. Collected the rest of his thoughts scattered in between the crashing waves of feelings.

“I’m sorry, Joon-ah, but I’m not ready yet, I need more time, is that okay?” was what he supposed to say.

“I love you” was what left his mouth instead – and his eyes immediately widened in realization.

Namjoon, who was observing him carefully, lovingly, with attention of a person who was content with where his heart belonged, read the expression easily, soft smirk coming to his lips. “You don’t have to reply now, Jinnie, it’s okay. I only-“

“No, I mean, I mean it,” he blurted out suddenly, all warm, and shy, and eager, and finally, finally ready. What was there to wait for? What was there to fear? Be careful about? Be patient?

What was there to hide?

“I’m not that good with words, but I, I don’t want you to let go, I don’t want to lose you, ever again. I want to be with you, I, I want to spend my life with you too,” god, why it was making so light, so empty-headed to say it out loud, “I love you, Joon, Joonie, I love you.”

At that Namjoon’s expression finally changed, smirk disappearing, only corners of his lips still turned upwards to give way to warm feelings dancing in his eyes. “Yeah?”

Seokjin swallowed, blinked again, this time to get rid of blur dots in the corners of his eyes, and nodded with a shaky chuckle. “Yeah.”

And, without another word, they kissed, frantically almost, lips searching for each other’s warm presence, for a way to express the yearning of the hearts, the mutual happiness. They didn’t even need to deepen the kiss, to go beyond simple pressure, breath to breath, skin to skin.

“Are these tears in your eyes?”

“Yeah? Maybe,” and Namjoon raised a hand to swipe across Seokjin’s cheek with a thumb, “but would you look at that?” There were clear wet traces on the pad.

Oh.

Seokjin couldn’t even pout in response, only sniffled with a giggle and scooped closer, Namjoon’s arm finding its place around his shoulders once again.

Boyfriends. Partners. Lovers. Has anything changed? Not really. But, in the grand scheme of things, Seokjin felt a bit more content, a bit more peaceful with his place.

Because Namjoon said he sees their life together. Because Namjoon’s place was right next to his.

“Joon-ah?”

“Yes?” And, to accompany the word, he pressed a kiss to Seokjin’s head, strings of love still pulling them closer.

“Can they find their way home?”

Namjoon hummed in confusion, hand squeezing his shoulder a bit tighter. He was warm too, warmer than before, hidden tension in the muscles under Seokjin’s ear, fingers a bit more restless than usual.

“The boys.”

“Oh, yeah, I think so, why?”

Seokjin rolled his eyes – such a teenager – and raised his head, lips finding Namjoon’s without further ado, teeth pulling for a mere second. Thankfully, it was enough for the man to exhale with recognition.

“Because the man I love is leaving tomorrow, and I’d like to spend some quality time with him today. On our own. Preferably, in bed.”

Namjoon had no complaints whatsoever.

 

“Can you, maybe, not leave?”

“No, sorry, I can’t.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure.”

“…We can buy you clothes here.”

He chuckled, endeared, and shook his head. “Sorry.”

“Not fair. But you’ll be back soon?”

“I’ll be back soon.”

“And then?”

“And then I’ll never leave again.”

Huff. “Liar.”

“Alright, alright – but I’ll always be back.”

“Always?”

“Yes, I promise.”

“Dad, I think we better hurry up.”

Seokjin breathed in, tightening the hold on his partner in the face of myriad noises rushing to burst their bubble.

“Okay, just a second, Jinnie?”

“Sure.” He pushed himself away from Namjoon’s shoulder, pulling a cheerful smile on. “Can’t get enough of that beauty, huh?”

Namjoon didn’t even flinch, cupping his cheek and pulling for a quick kiss. “I’ll be back soon, okay? I love you, Jin-ah.”

And his smile faltered, lips hurrying to respond, to whisper, “I love you too,” to kiss – and let go with a smaller, sincere smile. “I’ll be waiting.”

Sorry, I, I’m sorry to interrupt,” sudden unfamiliar voice entered Seokjin’s slightly dazed mind. “Are you Kim Seokjin?”

Oh right. Flight to Seoul. Koreans. Lots of Koreans.

Who?” He turned to the girl with polite but confused smile. “No, sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

She hurried to apologize – but surprised, curious gaze kept darting to his face – and left to join a company of friends. Mostly girls. Still looking their way.

Seokjin sighed and pulled his mask up. “No rumors needed,” he replied shortly to Taehyung’s confused gaze. “So, are you leaving or what?”

“Are you done or what?”

“Shameless.” Seokjin huffed, pursing lips at Taehyung’s delighted grin, feeling soft smirk against his own temple. “You know I can take back my invitation for winter holidays, right?”

The boy only gasped, while Jungkook next to him narrowed his eyes in suspicion. “You wouldn’t.”

“What makes you think so? You don’t know the depths of my cruelty,” and he imitated a Disney movie villain’s laugh.

Even Jungkook couldn’t contain an amused chuckle – before turning to Namjoon again, “Dad, you coming?”

“Yeah, yeah.” But the grip on Seokjin’s waist didn’t falter.

“Joonie, come on.” This time Seokjin was the one to remind, much softer, turning head to peck his partner’s cheek. “Text me when you can.”

“Okay.” Namjoon sighed with compliance – but lingered to give him one last kiss on the lips. “I love you.”

And Seokjin melted into a smile, chasing the kiss – so what if through mask, it didn’t make it any less pleasant – and murmuring softly.

“Love you too, Joonie.”

 

[19:12] on our seats

[19:12] everything’s fine

[19:15] kook said we’re gross

[19:16] tae said we’re cute

[19:16] i guess it’s a win?

of course [19:18]

kim seokjin never loses [19:18]

kinda miss you [19:20]

call me from Seoul? [19:21]

[19:22] it's gonna be 3AM here?

so? :( [19:22]

[19:22] kkk

[19:23] okay

have a safe flight [19:24]

[19:25] <3

[19:25] see you soon

:) [19:27]