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Casual Friends

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“It’s a real pity we always meet in these uncomfortable situations, Kim Namjoon”.

Detective Kim Namjoon straightened his posture, startled by the words whispered in his ear. “Kim Seokjin,” he said, turning to the head perched on his right shoulder, “it’s good to see you. What brings you in the city? Weren’t you on some sort of international book tour?”

“Oh, I see you’ve been keeping tabs on me,” an amused grin spread on the newcomer’s face, “isn’t that sweet of you.”

Namjoon responded with a half-annoyed eye roll. “Get off me, Jin, this is a press conference for a homicide case. Definitely not the occasion to reacquaint ourselves.”

A devilish sparkle lighted Seokjin’s eyes up, “So you’re telling me you wouldn’t mind taking me out for lunch after this is over? To reacquaint ourselves, as you put it…”

“Yeah, ok,” agreed Namjoon a bit reluctantly to cut the conversation short. This case had really been a headache for weeks, but the investigations had finally come to an end the previous day. All that was left were the press conference to broadcast the last details to the media and huge stacks of paperwork, which the detective was planning to get through that afternoon. However, it seemed Seokjin had to slip in his life once again to disrupt his day. After months of being M.I.A.  “Now, Jin. Shut up and go find a sit among the journalists, you can’t stay here.”

The man cast a playful look at the detective, but swiftly got away and went to stand in the back of the conference room. Once there, he took a little notebook out of his pocket and started taking some notes with a Hello Kitty pencil. Classic Kim Seokjin, Namjoon thought with a hint of fondness before turning his attention once again to the chief of police speaking.

 

 

“So, can you now tell me why you’re here?” Namjoon said while taking his chair out. They had come to a café just down the street from the police station, a familiar place to both. It wasn’t too crowded that day and the sky was clear, so Jin had led them to a little table on the terrace.

Said man, who was already sat and consulting the little menu, scoffed. “I don’t get the reason of your impatience, Joon. Have a sit and choose what to eat, lunch is on me today.” Tilting the chair, he spread his arms as if he was the café owner. “We have all the time of the world to chat about anything you want.”

“Quit the theatrics, Jin. I have plans for this afternoon, you better not keep me for too long.” Namjoon finally sat, unbuttoning his suit jacket for more comfort. He hated the posh suits he had to wear for public job events, they made him feel and look like a prick.

“Oh my, Joon,” the man in front of him laughed, “you didn’t sound so displeased to see me before at the conference room, when I first approached you.” He languidly smiled, “what a change of attitude, I wonder what brought it up…”

Bone-deep tiredness pervaded Namjoon’s body, that’s what made him grumpy and insufferable. He relaxed a bit in his chair. “I’m sorry, Jin. These past weeks have not been the best in terms of stress level.” Leaning back in the seat, he continued, “I just want to get it over with, go through all the paperwork on my desk before dinner and possibly get a couple of days off. The fact that you and your attitude got here right now just put you in my line of fire.”

Seokjin stared at him for a couple of seconds too many, his eyes taking in the detective’s exhausted features. He reached for the other man, leaving his hand on the tablecloth, and exhaled deeply. “You look tired as hell, Joon.” It sounded like a matter-of-fact statement, no deeper feeling behind the words. No usual flirty undertone.

“No shit, Sherlock,” snorted the other. Unfolding his arms, he also put his hand on the table, right next to Jin’s. “Let’s order and eat. Maybe some food in your stomach will make you talk about your sudden visit, when you should be across the globe promoting your book. I’ve got a feeling you’re not here for our usual encounters.”

A wink, a smirk. A finger grazing the other’s hand.

“Now you’re talking, detective. And please, don’t order anything too expensive… The last-minute plane ticket I had to buy to come here almost drained my bank account.”

 

 

Later that night, the two were sitting across each other at the counter table in Namjoon’s downtown flat. A couple of cold beer bottles sat in little pools of condensation in front of them, some chips in a bowl to the side. Nothing fancy, Namjoon hadn’t had the time to go grocery shopping during the week.

After lunch at the café, he had spent the following hours deep in paperwork, while Seokjin lounged around in his office. Well, “lounged” wasn’t the most accurate term – he was making a fool of himself, sliding wall to wall on a stolen desk chair and commenting out loud the decorating choices for every workstation. He really was being a nuisance, but Namjoon was too focused on finishing his work in time for dinner to care.

Now, chip after chip, sip after sip, they were listening to soft music and just… soaking in the evening exhaustion. At some point Seokjin went to lay on the sofa, head on the armrest so he could look at Namjoon, still sat on a stool in the kitchen. They didn’t talk much, all that needed to be said had already been shared over lunch.

Namjoon looked mindlessly at Jin’s face, his usually striking features softened thanks to the beer, or maybe the comforting music, or maybe just being with his long-time friend after so many months. Their conversation after the press conference still played in his head. Seokjin had been mostly vague about his sudden return to the city, but Namjoon knew to read through the lines and was set on not giving much thought to the issue until his friend decided to disclose his true motives. What he actually knew was that Seokjin had landed that morning after a ten-hour fight with a hell of a jetlag.

“Come here, Joon,” a sleepy looking Jin called from the sofa. “It’s nice and comfy here. When did you get a new sofa?” He turned and nuzzled his face in the armrest.

“I don’t know… Maybe a couple of months ago? A friend found it at a yard sale. It was too good to let go. A great improvement on my previous sofa situation.” He lazily got up from the stool and went to ruffle Jin’s hair, a fond look on his face.

“It surely is. Perhaps you’d like to lay here with me?” He turned and looked up to Namjoon, who was still standing by the armrest with a hand in the other’s hair. “Don’t make me ask for it again, please. Just get down here.”

Warmth spread through Namjoon’s chest. He had really, really missed Jin’s pouty face. And Jin, too, of course. Full of fondness, he inhaled loudly before bending down and placing a soft kiss on his forehead. “I’ll be there in a sec, just you wait,” he whispered against the skin.

Thankfully, the sofa was wide enough to accommodate the two grown men. After a bit of shuffling, they managed to get in a spooning position, Namjoon holding Seokjin to his chest. They had previously changed into soft and well-worn shorts and t-shirts, so comfort was at its peak.

Humming contentedly in Jin’s nape, Namjoon started to doze off. 

“Thank you,” he heard coming from the man in his arms. “Uhm?” he mumbled. “You know… For taking me in on such a short notice. I know you prefer when I tell you beforehand if and when I’m coming around.”

Namjoon pulled him closer. “I thought we were going to cuddle and sleep? Thank me later, Jin.” Tightening his arms, he couldn’t keep a yawn in. “It’s been a long day for both.”

They rested there for a good hour, until the cd in the stereo ran out of songs. Namjoon opened his eyes, sensing the change from the soft music to silence. Stirring, he thought of the state of the kitchen, the beer bottles still on the counter, the bowl of chips abandoned half-empty.

“Jin,” he called softly, shaking his friend, “let’s get you to bed. I’ll clean up our mess and come to you after.” Seokjin had turned in his sleep, and his handsome face was pressed tightly against Namjoon’s chest.

The vibrations of Namjoon talking seemed to have woken him up because he nuzzled closer. “Just another minute…” A soft chuckle escaped his mouth. “Just another minute, Joon.”

Now fully alert, Namjoon decided to take the situation into hand. Literally. He managed to move into a sitting position and stood picking Seokjin up bridal style. “Let’s go to bed, Jinnie!”

“You – you overgrown child, let me down!” Jin struggled quite a bit in his arms, making a fuss like the overgrown child he was. In just a couple of strides Namjoon already was entering his bedroom. After putting a struggling Seokjin on the bed, he patted his pouting friend’s head. “Good boy,” he smirked, “now get yourself comfortable under the covers. I’ll be back in a minute.”

Seokjin pouted even more. “We’ll see who’s a good boy, Kim Namjoon,” he threatened grumpily while lifting the duvet and immediately diving under it.

 

 

Five minutes and a tidied-up kitchen later, Namjoon found Jin lightly snoring on his side of the bed, holding tightly on the pillow and drooling a little bit on it. He’s so cute, why is he like this?

Warmth and fondness filled him to the tip of every single hair on his head. Without being too much of a bother to his sleeping friend, Namjoon managed to get into bed and wrap his tired arms around Seokjin, who sighed softly and tightened his hold on the pillow.

He left a light kiss on Jin’s nape. “G’night, Jinnie. Sleep well,” he whispered against the soft skin. Then Namjoon closed his eyes and lost himself in peaceful dreams, both his body and mind comforted by the man in his arms.