|I'll see you in a few weeks! — that was what Seokjin had signed off with in that stupid email invite he sent two months ago. To Seokjin's credit, he'd requested everyone to block off their late November to early December about three months prior so nobody would be able to decline his once in a lifetime request to make time out of their busy schedule to meet up before work swallowed him whole. He gave everyone a date and a place and options in advance, in case one of them had developed food allergies more than a decade after they'd all headed off into several different career paths. He even set up a group chat so that no one would ever use 'But I didn't see the email!' as an excuse, because Seokjin was a controlling asshole as much as he was a stickler for making sure everything was in order and that he wouldn't get a headache just trying to reach five different people. But still — how the hell was Yoongi supposed to know he had to prepare for more than just a reunion between college friends? How the hell was he supposed to know that he had to be geared up for some weird, twisted kind of battle? When he blindly clicked the 'yes' in the invite, he'd signed himself up for... two, three hours of socialization, max. Four, if he was feeling generous, but then he would have to drag Seokjin to hell with him and have Seokjin drop him off in Wangsimini. That was it. Anything other than that was over and above minimum expectations. If Seokjin ever asked him to buy a cake because that was the easiest thing to lug around in the train station on his way to Dangsan, he would charge Seokjin the full amount, plus service. In itself, that was already too much to ask.|
So really, expecting him to go through each and every single email address in the list of attendees is probably the most ridiculous thing ever. No, actually, scratch that — expecting him to do more than just grunt in recognition when Namjoon walks into the room, undead and looking like he'd just sprinted all the way from Ilsan because he forgot they had a thing today, has to be the most ridiculous thing imaginable.
Yeah. Like the guy'd ever forget, mumbles a voice in his head. And it's kind of true — Namjoon remembers the tiniest of details, the silliest of things. That time back in elementary when Yoongi stuck bubblegum to his nose and attempted to blow bigass bubbles, or Yoongi's passing mention back in senior year of high school about hating soy milk because, "It's all or nothing. You either go whole milk or non-fat. What the hell is soy even supposed to be?", or Yoongi's preferred ice cream places and tteokbokki stalls and his unexplainable hatred for almonds in cookies — Namjoon has—had all those memorized like the back of his hand. From time to time, he'd forget when to take his vitamins, or completely miss eleven in the morning and chug down coffee as soon as he can for fear of making his migraine worsen, but things about other people, involving other people? Namjoon would sooner get caught sneaking adult comics into Seokjin's check out basket on Amazon than forget.
Yoongi forgot about his twenty-first birthday and it was Namjoon who'd told Jackson to ask Seokjin to bake cake for him. Strawberry shortcake, because Yoongi wasn't such a big fan of sweet things. And it was for the same reason that all of them — upon Namjoon's suggestion, Yoongi found out five years and three bottles of soju after — gave Yoongi print-outs of single-stemmed roses as part of the coming-of-age tradition. It was sweet, but not overly dramatic. Thoughtful, and also cheap as fuck. Yoongi still has the bouquet kept somewhere in his moving boxes, and he'd probably put it on display if half the color hadn't faded out yet.
It's been years, though. Colors fade. People change. That's the only way to keep up. And if there's a universal truth Yoongi knows about Namjoon, it's this — that Namjoon hates being left behind. So he'll do everything in his capacity to catch up, at the very least. And while he might not let people know how upset he is, the same feeling with bloom inside him, eat him up little by little, and then spit him out looking like—like the mess that he is right now — hair slightly tousled, lopsided grin hanging loosely from the corners of his mouth, eyes crinkled at the corners where a peculiar glint shines.
Yoongi gulps down hard. Namjoon hasn't changed one bit.
He probably hasn't, either.
"For starters, you can say 'hi'," Seokjin murmurs in his ear as soon as Namjoon looks away, instead shifting his focus on Jackson who hasn't stopped calling his name and trying to manhandle him into a more comfortable hug. Out of a corner of Yoongi's eye, he can see Hoseok inching closer, arms hanging awkwardly in his sides, but as soon as Hoseok pulls Namjoon close for a hug the unease dissipates. It's so ridiculously reminiscent of when they were all still in university, worrying only about submitting assignments and passing exams and nursing a hangover after big org parties. And it's even crazier how, years after, Yoongi still gets that clawing sensation in his chest, rivalled only by the thick taste of acid on his tongue. "Or, hmm, how about, 'Man, you look like shit. Still glad you could come, though. What's up—'"
"Did you get soju? Because I want soju."
"—with you— Yoongi, it's just a 'hi'."
"Doesn't matter. Still not soju." Yoongi shrugs and cracks his neck, then pushes himself off of his seat. Drops his eyes to his shoes for a bit — he should get new ones, probably, but this pair's gonna last him a couple more weeks so he can put off buying a new pair 'til the weekend — so he can breathe a bit easier, then resurfaces to meet Seokjin's gaze head on. He can feel his throat growing tight and dry and really, this isn't anything water can't fix, but if he can numb himself in five minutes or less and con his brain into loosening a little then why the hell not, right? Maybe then he'll be able to actually say something, tell Namjoon what Seokjin has just said and subtly get back at the guy by twisting his elbow in Namjoon's side (though it won't be enough). Maybe after taking a few shots, he'll feel comfortable enough to just laugh at everything and brush off the dull ache in his chest that's been living there for years. Alcohol makes almost everything a lot easier; and then the following day, infinitely worse. The few glorious hours of numbness are almost always worth it, though. "I'm gonna get us two bottles. Or three. Yeah, probably three. I wanna see Hoseok get shit-faced again. It's the funniest thing—"
"He came here for everyone, Yoongi, not just you," Seokjin says now, mouth still curled up at the corners, but Yoongi can very well see the way Seokjin's cheeks shake, or the quiver of his lips, can hear the strain in his voice when Seokjin ends with a low hum. It curls at Yoongi's nape and makes him shiver all over. It's probably hunger talking, or the airconditioning, or the fact that he's been limiting his coffee intake to just one cup instead of three recently, but he knows better than to lie — to Seokjin who knows him better than he does half the time, to Namjoon who hasn't stopped shooting him glances every five seconds, to himself. "Don't be an asshole."
I'm not, Yoongi wants to argue, but he knows better than to make that claim when everybody knows he's the one who stopped writing first. And honestly, Seokjin is right — this reunion, this event, this thing isn't for him. Sure, Seokjin had scheduled the dinner on a Tuesday instead of a Friday because Yoongi hated Tuesdays more than not being able to sleep in on weekends and he'd already made it a habit already to appear at the doorstep of Seokjin's office building nine Tuesdays out of ten, but the truth remains — if Yoongi were taken out of the email thread and the chat group of five, Namjoon still would have shown up.
And if Yoongi had spotted Namjoon's name in the list, he'd still have gone to the dinner, anyway. He'd just be three hours late.
So Yoongi rolls his eyes, slumps back in his seat, sits up straight when Seokjin elbows him in his side, then asks the waitress for three bottles of soju, please and thank you. When Namjoon settles right beside him at the dinner table instead of Hoseok, he reaches for his glass of water and takes a huge, huge gulp.
"It's been a while," he hears Namjoon whisper. It could've been directed at anyone. It doesn't have to be him, and yet—
"Mhmm," he hums, then sets his glass down on table. The soju's taking too long. This is going to be a long night. "A long, long while."
You're up, yunsias! :D