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House Rules

By @Master_King_Queen

House: Namjin

House: Namjin

Joon didn’t want to eat much on his plate, but he only did because Kookie was watching like always. If he stopped for just a moment, the youngest would ask the infamous question: “Are you gonna finish that?” Even if Joon didn’t want to finish it, he wouldn’t give him that satisfaction.

There was a pounding from the staircase where the only missing link in their 7-looped chain came charging down and to the table. “Rock, paper, scissors. Right now. First to lose. Let’s go,” Jin demanded.

Joon looked up at him. “For wha—?” He couldn’t even get his words out before Jin was shouting: “Rock, paper, scissors!” and all six of them—even Joon—went “Shoot!”

Out of their six hands, only one had lost. “Dammit,” Joon cursed, looking up at his older friend who seemed indifferent to who lost in the end. “What was that for, anyway?”

“I need to go by some new suits,” he said, sitting down in the empty chair at the table. “I need you to come with me.”


“Because someone needs to tell me if I look terrible!” He phrased it as if it was obvious. Jin reached over and took the boiled egg off of Joon’s plate and into his own mouth. Joon, in his head, actually thanked him for it. At least it wasn’t Kookie, he thought. “That’s what mirrors are for, Jin,” Yoongi noted, Joon corroborating her statement with a sharp look at Jin. “Mirrors don’t have the ability to judge how cute I would be closing a case in a suit!” Jin argued back.

Joon wanted to argue back, but he knew it was impossible to argue with Jin on anything, because he brought no actual evidence and therefore, it wasn’t even an argument but a ridiculous conversation. “Fine,” he gave in, grabbing his plate and moving it to the kitchen.

Jin locked the car and tossed the keys backward, hearing them jangle as Joon struggled to catch them and hold them in his hands. They crossed the street and stood outside a white-bricked building with black, cursive letters stamped on the front: G. Durgan Top. “I’ve never been to this one,” Joon realized.

“Well, there’s no reason for you to need a suit.” Joon’s head snapped towards Jin as he left him on the street, walking through the glass door. Joon followed suit—pun intended—a new smell of wood and men’s cologne replacing the old scent of trash and gasoline. Joon liked the old scent better, Jin liked the new one; these were their differences. The room once vacant and brown was now full and burgundy, more like a glass of wine being filled. This was Jin’s first time being in their new location, and he could feel the fresh touch in places Joon simply could not. Already he was going through the store, glancing at the models and honing in on the suits on their racks; ignited by the question of which one would fit him better.

“Hello, welcome to G. Durgan Top.” A man in a suit obviously more expensive than the ones in them their store glided—not stepped—towards Joon and locked his fingers, placing them in front of him. He didn’t even reach out a hand. “How may I help you today?”

Before Joon could get a word out, Jin was by his side, speaking to the man. He told him exactly what size, what waist cut, what shoulder length, what color, what pant size, and every other piece of information that the man could possibly need to find Jin a suit. “Jin, they are physically only going to have one suit available with all of those requirements.”

“Actually,” the man turned to Joon as if he was clearly in the wrong. “we have six.” Jin gasped, glancing at Joon before following the man to the dressing rooms.

“Are you ready?”

Joon stared at his phone, legs crossed and waiting patiently on the red couch sat right outside the dressing room. He heard Jin’s call and replied with, “Shouldn’t I be asking if you’re ready?”

Jin ignored his comment and came out, Joon looked up quickly and hiding his phone. The suit Jin walked out with was plaid, the flaps of his jacket pinched at the bottom by a standard black button on the grey suit. The tie was—


Jin’s calm and collected pose he had been holding relaxed as he looked up. “What? Why?”

“I don’t know, you look too official.”

“I’m a lawyer.”

“Yes, but you’re also Jin.”

The sharp-looking man rolled his eyes and turned back into the dressing room.

“Okay,” Jin said, coming out a second time. This suit was black, the tie a patterned shade of grey streaked over a white shirt, pressed clearly. Jin’s hands fell into his pockets, drawing Joon’s attention down to—

“Absolutely not,” Joon said, standing this time.

“Why?” Jin seemed desperate now, and it was only the second one. Joon grabbed his arm gently and spun him around. “That’s why.” He gestured to Jin’s butt. “It’s too tight.”

“What? No it’s not.” Jin tried to turn his head to see over his shoulder at his backside. “It’s just the correct ratio of lift and comfort.”

“No, it looks like you’re trying to seduce your clients,” Joon let Jin go and gestured for him to go back and change, Jin giving him an ugly look before turning on his heel quickly and going.

Jin sighed as he got back into the dressing room, unbuttoning his jacket and feeling a pressure lift off of him. He checked the time on his phone and realized he needed to get back soon so they could walk the dogs.

Jin watched the four other suits on the hangers, hoping that eventually three of them would disintegrate and the one that fit and looked the best would remain. Life didn’t work like that, so he made his best guess.

Walking back out, Jin’s new suit was fully black, black tie as well, black shoes, and a white shirt. His shoulder fit in it—which was already a plus—the butt was fine, and the waist was slim. Jin looked up, waiting for Joon’s judgment…and felt a waning impatience as Joon was still scrolling on his phone. Jin tore his shoe off of his left foot and chucked it at Joon’s head, hitting Joon in the shoulder. He looked up then. “Hey!”

“Do you like the suit or not!?”

Joon got over it quickly, focusing. He nodded. “Yeah it looks good.”

Jin sighed, unbuttoning and relaxing. “Great, let’s go.”

A trip by the house and they were back out again with two more passengers.

Joon, Jin, Jimin, and Kookie walked through the park, ice cream and leashes in hand. They had left all animals at home except for Juggy and PipPip, Yoongi asking if they could walk her while she was at work.

The park was nice, all year around. They had just remodeled it a few months ago, making it larger. Originally there was supposed to be another food market next to the park’s grounds, but a local petition changed that into the park’s new fountain and playground. The seven of them didn’t mind, it never really affected them. Now they walked the stone path through the hectic part of the park where concerts would play, picnics were held, and children would run around with footballs, soccer balls, and frisbees. Jin got hit by their frisbees once, making a great story to be had at the dinner table.

“Give me some,” a sunglasses-wearing, shorts-wearing, chill-induced Joon said, taking a bite of Jin’s cookies and cream ice cream.

Jin grimaced. “You’re a heathen for eating ice cream,” he commented.

Joon’s expression changed to one of confusion, the two stopping their walk and collapsing on a bench that overlooked the rolling park’s hills. They could see Kookie and Jimin from there, running around and playing with the giant Juggy and petite PipPip. “A heathen for eating ice cream?”

“Yes, because you do not eat ice cream, you lick it, Gosh.” Jin took most things Joon did as a sin of some sort.

“…That’s dumb.”

“No, you’re dumb.”

“If I’m dumb, you’re dumb.”

“That doesn’t even make any—”

Joon cut Jin off by yelling, causing his older, black-haired friend to almost drop his ice cream cone. Joon caught the attention of a long-haired women walking her own dog, although she wasn’t doing such a great job as she paused her walk to stare at a certain someone with orange hair chasing after a dog maybe twice his size.

“Hey!” Joon called again, just so she was sure he was talking to her. Jimin looked up as well, her eyes no longer on him. “Keep it walking Chewbacca!” The woman looked ready to yell back—Jimin ready to do the same—but Kookie ended up the one looking ready to speak first.

“Kookie!” Jin called, Kookie turning to him. “Don’t even think about talking to her, she is clearly not interested in you!”

The woman looked at Kookie, Kookie looked at Jimin, and Jimin looked at Joon and Jin, both found embarrassed. The women seemed to be worse off though, taking the hint and walking away.

Once she left, Joon and Jin turned back to each other, and Jin went on with, “Like I was saying, what does that even mean?”

Knock knock.

“Come in,” Jin said, watching the door carefully as he put his pillowcase on. Joon walked in, already in his sleepwear. “You don’t have to knock, it’s our room now.”

“Yeah, I know,” Joon looked around as if he hadn’t been in this room with Jimin before. But it looked different since Jin and Yoongi moved in; it seemed darker. “I’m just not used to it.”

Jin finished making his bed. Originally, he had the bed on the left where Yoongi had the one on the right, but before Joon could petition for the left bed, Jin had moved all of his navy-blue sheets to the other bed before Joon had come up, wanting to be closer to the window. “No sheets?”

“Nah.” Joon let his body fall onto the naked bed closest to the door, hinges creaking. The sheets were just a plain white. “Yoongi took my place downstairs, and neither of us really care that much.” Jin could fully understand that, lying down on his own bed.

“You staying up?” Jin asked and Joon shook his head, both of them getting under the covers. “Okay, goodnight.” Jin turned off the lamp and then it was dark. Joon straightened his back, it popping in response as he sighed, falling quickly into slumber. Jin took a little longer to get there, things buzzing around in his head before he could truly rest.

And then it came.

That first jab, that first drop of ink on the page; the beginning.

Joon began to snore. It was a simple thing, many people did it. That quick inhalation of air creating an elongated snort in the throat, a gargle even. Humans found it natural, society found it natural…Jin did not.

No, he found it weird. The same way he found hamburgers weird. The same way he found chalk weird. It was just enough weird to him to make him want to say something…but it was late. They were comfortable…or they were supposed to be.

But Jin didn’t feel comfortable with Joon…not right now…not anymore.

So, he just turned on his side towards the window, away from Jin, and he let it go.

~A week later~

Jin stared at himself in the mirror, the humidity of his shower making him feel grosser somehow after it. There was nothing like that naked feeling after stepping out of the shower. Sure, he had woken up after hours of comatose and there was no doubt that there was rawness in that, but the erosion of the body that water made seemed more intense. As he looked at himself, he became paler, the strikes in his face lesser but somehow still there, lingering like something deeper than a cut or bag. Jin couldn’t tell if he looked worse after a shower…or better.

Maybe it’s not the shower at all, he thought, something else coming to mind that could cause him to spend a good minute in the bathroom contemplating his looks rather than getting ready for work. Someone else…

Joon’s heart was sensitive, even though it had those strong ribs to guard it against pain. It could never be assumed what his heart might make him do in a flurry of emotions. But not everyone sees that; Jin always saw that…

…Jin sees it in a different way now.

His sensitive heart pounded violently when he heard the shower go off, knowing surely what would happen next. They say humans can’t see the future, but if it was obvious enough, couldn’t he?

Jin picked up the toothpaste, seeing that Joon had used all of it…again.

Joon gave up looking for his green shirt, turning his head to Jin’s bed. Low and behold, there it was.

Even after they were in the room getting ready together, neither of them said a word. It wasn’t out of not knowing what to say but knowing exactly what they wanted to say and not knowing how to say it. That had become a continuous issue for them over the past week, and neither wanted to admit it.

Finally, Joon decided to speak up, putting on his necklace. “Hey Joon, have you seen my green shirt?” As hard as he tried to hide the bitter tone in his voice, it was there and Jin heard it. Staring at the green shirt he had moved off of Joon’s bed so he could fix the sheets, Jin replied with, “I don’t know, where’s the toothpaste?”

Joon’s sensitive heart couldn’t help but flinch then. Joon’s tone was bitter, but Jin’s was acidic; he was always better at that.

“Then why don’t you just switch back with me?”

Yoongi clearly had no problem with her new roommates, nor did her new roommates have a problem with her. Nor did Jimin have a problem with Kookie. But Jin and Joon, clearly, had a problem. It wasn’t just affecting them anymore.

Joon slouched in his chair, conscious of Yoongi’s words, Jin’s cooking, Kookie and Hobi’s conversation, but it appeared as if he was daydreaming. He shook his head. “No, it’s not in the rules,” Joon responded, distracted by the sizzle of meat in the kitchen as Jin cooked.

“Yeah, but you guys are miserable.”

Joon shrugged at Yoongi, uncaring. “It’s the rules,” was all he had to say. What he was trying to communicate was that the reason roommates were final was because everyone here needed some personal time with everyone else, and roommates were the most effective way to accomplish that. But Joon also knew what Yoongi was getting at: If it wasn’t working, it wasn’t working…but he had such a hard time believing that.

Joon’s thoughts were making him crazy so he stood up, stretched, and walked into the kitchen. He looked at all the things going on at once: The waffles, the omelet, the sausage. Jin was rushing to and fro but with intense skill, side-stepping over to the stove and then moon-walking back to the counter. He was doing fine…but Joon wasn’t too sure.

He reached over toward the bowl of batter remaining to be poured into the waffle maker, tipping it just to see how much was left—how much he could do—to where the bowl’s base was too close to the edge and—

The bowl took its last breath as it spun over the edge and crashed onto the floor, batter splattering over Joon’s feet for the second time since they had moved in. Jin turned quickly, staring Joon down with a sinister look, but a look Joon had seen before and gotten used to, unfortunately.

“Joon what the hell!?”

All was quiet, the five others turned to the kitchen and watched the confrontation. Joon was just trying to help, Jin knew this…but neither cared.

“You sure about those rules, Joon?” Yoongi asked, sarcastic in the worst of times as much as the best. “Because it’s starting to affect the house too.”

But they weren’t in the house anymore, now they were in the real world; outside; at work.

Joon and Jin were two boats floating in the water, recognizing each other…but unable to decide their fate. No, the water did that. So now they were floating, Jin lowering court sentences and Joon lowering backs, Jin raising stakes and Joon raising stamina, Jin saving stories…Joon killing time.

He used to kill time with Jin, and Jin used to save stories with Joon. They thought a lot alike, or as different as two people so in sync could think. And that made life easier, easier for both of them to handle.

Jin wanted to tell Joon this.

Joon wanted to tell Jin this.

Even sitting in their offices, apart, they would rather be together.

“Okay! I know it’s only the first day, but we’re going to assign groups for the mid-year project now.” The groans began. “Groan all you want, it’s still happening. At least you won’t be alone in it.”

Jack leaned over and whispered to Daneel. “Dude, if she doesn’t pair me with Jin, I’m literally going to fail.” The two friends turned and looked over at the long-haired, quiet boy in the back, stretching as he prepared for his partners so he could study them, work with them, better them.

Daneel shook her head, turning back to Jack and saying, “Nah. You want Joon for sure.” Daneel turned his chin to the left where on the other side of the classroom sat a boy too tall for his age and too smart for his class. His head was in a book before class started, but once it did, he was already jotting down notes for himself. His glasses nearly fell off his face, but he caught them.

Unable to talk anymore, their teacher began to probe the class once more. “Okay, do you all want to choose or—?”

“Choose!” Someone in the front called, and the others muttered in agreement. As soon as the teacher’s head went up for a nod, the room went into hysteria.

“I want Jin!”

“I want Joon!”

“No, I want Joon!”

“How come you get Jin?!”

“Okay, us three will get Jin, and you guys can have Joon.”

“What about us!? That’s not fair!”

“Quiet!” The teacher snapped, and they fell silent; the heat lowering. “Okay, since we’ve proven we can’t be mature adults…I will pick the groups.”

But they were already aware of each other, and the teacher saw that. The moment their names flew through the air so loosely, so angrily, was when they came to attention, came to the attention of each other. Jin’s gaze set upon Joon’s, the two watching each other steadily. But there wasn’t any hostility or competition there; if anything, it was admiration.

“Okay, Seokjin and Namjoon will be in a group together.” The room was holding their breath, knowing the sort of advantage the team would have with Joon’s brain and Jin’s ambition; they could get an A all on their own. But no, their group needed two more members…and everyone in that room wanted to be those two. The teacher paused before saying, “And the two joining their group will be—”

But who cared what she was saying, other than the entire room, except for those two. Joon and Jin flinched as the room freaked again, watching each other cautiously as if they were communicating this far away. But no, it really wasn’t until they sat down beside each other to work on that project, their project, when they said:

“Hi Jin.”

“Hey Namjoon.”

…that Jin and Joon’s bond really began.

Needless to say, they passed.

It was night again, another day had passed, and they had never been so happy and sad at the same time. One day closer to them being apart, but also one more day in the room that was so thick with hostility it could kill them in their sleep. They weren’t even in the room yet, both Jin and Joon refusing to step into the death trap. All seven of them sat down on the couch, squished shoulder to shoulder. They often did this because they didn’t mind the proximity when it wasn’t constant, that is. But for Jin and Joon it was constant now, that proximity, and the last thing they needed was to be shoulder to shoulder with anyone.

Bloop bloop!

Jin dug into his pocket, shoving Jimin a little over as he did, and dug out his phone. He unlocked it with just a look and checked his messages. He tried not to show surprise when he read the name attached to it, side glancing Joon sat directly next to him, his face fixed on the T.V. screen in a way so obviously zoned out. Jin realized Joon had texted him for a reason and stopped looking, checking the message. He hadn’t even seen Joon pull out his pho—

“Can we talk? Or text rather? Tap me if yes and do nothing if no.”

Jin did nothing…at first. He was so used to ignoring everything Joon did and said that the defiance was natural at this point. But then he thought about it, and he did want to talk. So Jin moved his finger, needing only to go a centimeter before connecting with Joon’s forearm. The hairs on it seemed to stand erect. Sudden movement and Jin moved away quickly, realizing Joon was going to text something. Jin patiently waited for it.

Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap.

Joon was so eager for conversation with Jin that he had to keep going back and correct his typos and rephrasing his message:

“How are you?”

“Is everything okay?”

But Joon knew it wasn’t, so he erased it.

“How is it going?”

“Is this too close?”

“Should I move away?”

“Want to talk out loud?”

“Want to go back to the room?”

But he knew the answer to that already. Joon knew the answers to all of these questions:



He knew.

“It’s going awful.”

“You’re too close.”

“Move away.”

“I’d rather not talk at all.”

“I hate that room.”

So Joon just jumped to the question he really wanted to ask:

“Do you hate me?”

Jin’s head bowed to look at the message, watching it like an abstract piece of artwork, expecting it to shift and make sense eventually. It didn’t, Jin didn’t understand what the words meant.


He did many things.


It referred to himself, he was aware of that much.


Jin hated things too.


Namjoon. He began to understand it now.

But the answer still wasn’t coming to him.

Jin wanted to say, “Goodnight,” but he was afraid there would be no response…so he didn’t.

They both lied down in their separate beds, seemingly farther and farther away every night. Joon thought Jin was moving the bed, Jin thought Joon was moving them; abstractly, they were both moving themselves farther apart.

The light went off, and the tension began. This hadn’t been a place for sleep or peace in a while. Joon risked it and turned the light back on, unable to bear the choke of sleep before his question was answered: “You never responded.”

One of Jin’s eyes was closed as the other looked confusingly at Joon in the other bed. “To what?”

“You know what,” the wide-eyed man replied bitterly, almost on Jin’s acidic level. “Do you hate me or not?”

Jin stuttered before saying, “Do you?”

Joon couldn’t answer, and that was exactly why he asked him. “…I don’t think so.” He swallowed, realizing that it was getting harder and harder. “I don’t want to, either.”

Jin saw the twitch of Joon’s eyes and the flare of his nostrils; signs he was about to cry. Jin wasn’t used to this as he was always the first to cry.

“Stop, please,” Jin had dropped his bitterness for just a moment, able to show enough empathy to muster up the words: “Let’s go out for lunch tomorrow, yeah?”

Joon sniffed again, the liquid depression now visible on his face. He just nodded and turned back over, turning off his lamp and going back to sleep.

Jin lowered his own body into the mattress, willing himself to sleep.

So it was set.

Jin waited outside Joon’s office, the receptionist saying that he could head back there instead of waiting up front. It was way too quickly that lunch became linner, or perhaps dunch. All Jin knew was that they had gotten busy around the lunchtime—and for once it wasn’t avoidance but genuine occupancy of time—and circumstances changed.

Duck felt a dimming in the air as it approached seven o’clock, wondering how many seconds until it became dark.

Before he could think about it further, Joon’s door opened and the chiropractor walked out with his satchel in hand, everything else hidden in his pockets.

“Ready?” Joon asked.

“Shouldn’t I be asking if you’re ready?” Jin thought back to that day. It left so long ago now. He just nodded.

They had stopped by a dessert place and got slices of cake. Jin usually always chose chocolate while Joon was more of a strawberry guy.

This fact meant nothing.

They walked through the park, that endless park. It wasn’t so quiet that long ago. The afternoon made it rowdy and hot, but the later it got, the calmer the park became. It no longer felt like your friend Christine who gave you a lollipop for Valentine’s Day, but your friend Dave who wrote dark poems in his free time. Duck and Joon were words like “ambiguous” and “wander” in those poems.

They settled on a bench looking atop a hill, the hill from before. But there were no dogs or friends frolicking there anymore. The sun didn’t shine bright but was reduced to a mere outline around the gloomy clouds. It was empty.

Joon’s cake was no longer warm.

He wasn’t sure if it ever had been.

Neither of them ate or even touched the containers, the plastic sitting neatly between them as a barrier; a wall.

Sitting here in the windy, sunless, vacant park was better somehow than going back to that room they had together, and they both knew that was sad.

Jin inhaled the air and pain and exhaled the pride and tears.

Joon didn’t seem to breathe at all.

Jin scoffed. “We can’t even talk to each other,” he stated as a fact. He sniffed, head looking down at his hands. “How much longer?”

“…You know how long,” was Joon’s response, and of course, he did. But what else could they say? Joon had gotten much better at being acidic. “Two weeks Jin…” And then they looked up at each other for seemingly the first time. They wanted to say it was like the actual first time when they saw each other in class, recognized each other’s existence…

…but recognizing anything was too painful for them now. It was nothing like that first time.

“Can you make it?” Jin asked, asking because he knew his will would depend on it. Joon stared for a moment, eyes glossy. It made no sense to him that sharing a room could erode them this much, even more than water.

“…Can you?”

No one knew.

~Two weeks later~

Now it was seconds, mere seconds before the split.

Room 1: Hobi, Jin, Kookie

Room 2, their room: Joon, Yoongi

Room 3: Tae, Ji

These would be their new rooms soon, 40 seconds to be exact.

Yes, it was close to midnight, but Jin’s sheets, pillows, and personal belongings were already sitting pretty in a pile near the door, Jin staring off at the wall beside them.

Joon was up too, unable to sleep thinking about it. Both had agreed that it was better to stay awake for this moment, have Jin pack early, get out “on time.”

The others were asleep now, and Jin would most likely crash on the couch until morning came and wait for Kookie and Jimin to leave their room so he could use their bathroom.

That was how badly they wanted to be apart, counting down those 29, 28, 27 seconds until the torture would be over. But there was still time, time to ask:

“Do you believe we’ll come back from this?” Joon asked Jin.

It was Jin’s turn now to not answer, his gaze resting firmly on Joon but not communicating anything except: “What do you think.”

Midnight hit.

With a slam of the door, Jin was gone.

It had been a full day since the separation and switch of roommates and Jin and Joon hadn’t said a word to each other. They had been banking so heavily on the idea that once they weren’t sleeping together things would go back to normal, “but what if they didn’t?” was always the question floating through the back of their minds.

The day had to come where they, too, must collide, Joon downstairs waiting for breakfast to arrive from the diner when Jin came down to grab his laptop. But in seeing Joon, he slowed and waited there, deciding to sit down at the table and respond to emails. Joon didn’t judge him for it, knowing he would have done the same thing; testing the waters.

Joon reached into the cupboard up above the countertop and got a plastic cup, filling it from the sink. For some reason, he was thirsty. After the cup was empty, Joon thought about the trash can and where it was; Kookie moved it near the table so he could throw away mail. Something else in Joon made him think he could make that from the kitchen, taking the chance and—


Joon gasped, cupping his mouth as the cup hit Jin square in the eye. “Oh my god! I’m so sorry!”

Jin looked at a Joon with his one good eye and said, “You hate me!”

“No!” Joon rushed around the island and ran over to the table, trying to cradle Jin’s head. “No no no no I am so sorry!”

“Oh my god, you really hate me,” Jin overexaggerated. “You have no friends, Jin. Joon hates you.”

“Jin stop, I’m sorry. I love you sooooo much, I swear.” Joon hugged him tightly, Jin fake-crying.



They both realized at that moment what they were doing…was normal. Slowly Joon’s grip loosened and Jin looked up at him with both of his eyes. There was no resentment there, no worry or passive aggression in their looks. They were okay.

That ugly part of their friendship was over.

“Okay, but if orange can also be a color, why can’t ginger?” Jin posed, setting the plates on the table as Joon came up behind him to put down the meat, rice, and vegetables; they called it the merry-go-round system.

“Well for one, ginger is a spice and not a fruit,” Joon corrected. The front door to the house opened and Tae strolled in. “And two, what color would it even be?”

Tae pulled out one of the chairs to the table and plopped down in it, joining the conversation. “Navy green, obviously.”

Jin turned to Tae and gave him credit, giving Joon a look of triumph. “That is not a color,” Joon said to Tae.

Tae paused, thinking “…You might be right.”

As the other four came charging down the stairs, Jin piped up. “But that’s my point! Ginger would be the new name for the new color!”

“Why are you trying to further confuse people Jin!?” They finished the last plate and the others gathered around the table for dinner. Tae stretched his neck to look backward at the newcomers and smiled. “Jin and Joon are back,” he announced as if it were not obvious.

“I was so worried that you guys just disappeared!” Jimin cried, punching Jin in the shoulder and shoving Joon aside only half-violently.

“I was worried when we didn’t see you guys all day that you had killed each other,” Kookie vocalized, sitting down in his normal seat.

“So, you two are okay?” Yoongi asked as she grabbed an extra piece of chicken, all of them now in a seat.

Jin took a vicious bite of the chicken before plopping it back on his plate and banging his elbow down on the table, showing off his fingers. The friends looked closer at the golden ring suffocating Jin’s ring finger.

“Is that new?” Hobi asked.

“Yeah, so is this.” Jin grabbed Joon’s arm and lifted it up against his will, showing off the matching gold ring on his finger.

“Okay…?” was all Hobi had to say, still confused. “Is that like a promise ring?”

“Not exactly.” Joon slid the ring onto Jin’s finger without his permission, quickly looking away and putting his own on his own finger. “The idea is that we have a sense of boundary so that never happens to us again.”

“How do the rings help?” Jin posed, admiring his on the street corner.

“We can’t touch them, look at them, smell them, anything.” Joon put his right hand on his heart. “My ring will always only be mine.” Joon put Jin’s right hand to his chest. “Yours is yours.”

The two friends looked up with permanent mutual understanding, an uneven concept for two uneven people.

“…But they’ll always be ours.”

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