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The Still Point (Of The Turning World)

Chapter Text

I. 

 

Winter brings with it a bitter cold. The nights are frightening and the days not any safer, not when they are barely offered a shelter from it. 

Yoongi remembers his younger years, days where he'd spend waiting by his window, knowing that it was finally going to snow. His mother would tell him, would take one look at the sky and announce to their small household that it was going to be snowing this afternoon.

And so Yoongi had always waited. He's learned to wait from a very young age, in this life.

He doesn't wait for the snow now, though, because he knows the winter will always come with snow, and snow will always bring with it the harshest, most bitter cold Yoongi will ever experience. He doesn't know how much longer he can hold out.

How much longer they can hold out.

Yoongi tears his gaze away from the small window. There is a crack in the wood, it's not going to serve them for much long, but this is the most that they can do, for now. For what they have. 

Hoseok shifts on the bed, and Yoongi is instantly beside him. He takes Hoseok's hand gingerly in his, makes sure not to jostle him too much. He is sick. Has been sick for a very long time, now. Yoongi worries about him whenever he so much as just thinks about Hoseok.

It is very hard not to worry over someone whom you've loved your entire life. Hoseok, whom Yoongi will gladly go to war for. Hoseok, the very same Hoseok from the life before this. From all the lives before this one. Yoongi looks at him and he sees not the previous version of him he's once held in his arms, but the young boy he'd first met at the market so many years ago. 

"How are you?" Yoongi asks, knowing immediately that the question may as well just be an insult to the sick boy. There is hurt and there is pain in this little cabin of theirs. There is the looming knowledge of what is to come, too, and it is something Yoongi will not acknowledge, not today. Not tomorrow. 

Hoseok is here with him, his usually warm hand cold in Yoongi's. It doesn't matter, does it? So long as they have each other now, the rest of the world, for all Yoongi is concerned for, can burn to the ground. Yoongi even supposes that the entire village can catch fire and he won't even so much as bat an eye—it will mean more warmth from the winter. More colour in Hoseok's cheeks. It will mean warm hands clasping onto warm hands. 

"Cold," Hoseok murmurs, though he grips as tightly as he can to Yoongi's hand. Yoongi looks at their clasped hands. He realises a little bit too late that he's been holding his breath. Only then does he let it out in one long sigh when Hoseok opens his eyes to look at Yoongi, a ghost of a smile playing across his lips.

This isn't happening, Yoongi thinks, clutching onto Hoseok's hand. This isn't how it's supposed to go. They have—they have experienced much worse, together. They have pulled each other through a collapsed barricade just to find safety elsewhere. They have managed to survive a drought. Poverty. 

That was then, and this is now. Because here they are, huddled together for warmth, Hoseok's lips chapped and blue. 

He is still the most beautiful thing Yoongi has ever laid eyes on. Will ever lay eyes on, it will never change, that much he knows is true. 

"Just a few more weeks," Yoongi brings their joined hands to his mouth, allows himself to press a soft kiss to the back of Hoseok's cold hand. He has gotten so thin, too. Yoongi is afraid of what it means—afraid of what the village healer had told them the start of the winter, that if he does not get better soon, then there is no other hope for him.

For them, because where Hoseok goes, Yoongi will follow. 

"Hold out for a little while longer," Yoongi hears a crack in his voice. Notices that the smile on Hoseok's face is gone, now. He hears ragged breathing, not entirely sure if it is coming from him or Hoseok, or perhaps it is just the howling of the wind against their blown-in shutters. This sad, pathetic excuse of a house they have huddled themselves into. 

They have seen better days, Yoongi can attest to that. But Hoseok will not remember them. Will probably never remember them, but that is okay. That is why Yoongi is here, why they will always get to this point in time, no matter where they are. No matter the kind of life they are living. 

"What if I can't?" Hoseok's voice is too frail, now. His cheeks are hallow, and his hair like string, falling across his forehead. Yoongi sweeps a few of the strands away from his face. Come the spring, they will cut Hoseok's hair. Enjoy better, warmer mornings. Watch as the flowers bloom again, and the trees sway in the wind with colour. Spring will come, and spring will go, and before they’ll even know it, summer will be upon them.

Yoongi says it again and again, a mantra of reassurance, a promise for Hoseok that he will know of another spring, and be able to bathe in the rays of the warm sun come the summer. And they will get through the cold autumn and harsh winter again, just like how they will in this one. 

Hoseok listens to him the entire time, that same smile on his face. He is sick, they both know it, but when he smiles, it still manages to brighten his face. Still gives him a little bit of colour.

Just a little bit more, Yoongi wants to plead. Day in and day out, until night falls over them, and the covers are ripped so carelessly again the morning, Yoongi has kept his hands clasped together in a silent prayer. He has never believed in a divine deity, in a god. But just this once, Yoongi prays. 

And he prays, and he prays, and prays so much that he forgets to be quiet about it, because if there truly is a god, then the chances of him hearing Yoongi will be far greater if Yoongi actually said the words out loud, right? Yoongi likes to think so. 

Hoseok sleeps right through it, every morning asking Yoongi why the dark circles under his eyes are much, much worse, now. 

"I love you," for the first time in a very long while, Hoseok smiles with all the strength that he has left in him. Eyes bright, lips pulled wide. If Yoongi stares at him long enough, he'll start to think that everything is alright, that there is no sickness that hangs around Hoseok like a malevolent ghost. But then Hoseok coughs, violent and loud, and Yoongi is brought back to the here and the now. 

He doesn't address the cough, because Hoseok is still smiling, and Hoseok never likes it when they talk about his sickness. About the never ending cough and the chills that run straight through his nerves and his blood, now. 

Yoongi cards his fingers through Hoseok's hair—so long it's gotten that Yoongi is afraid of cutting it come the spring. 

"The sun can rise, and it can set, but I will still love you come morning," Hoseok continues, fingers wrapping loosely around Yoongi's wrist. He is very weak, now. Yoongi bites on his bottom lip, afraid that if he doesn't try to distract himself with pain, he'll start to cry. And that will upset Hoseok, he knows. "Come every evening." 

"Hoseok," the whisper is the loudest thing that has ever bounced across the four walls of their small space. Hoseok is still smiling, like there is no worry in the world that can affect him, that can bring him down. Yoongi kisses him then, brushing his lips against Hoseok’s. He cups his hand on Hoseok's cheek, savours the warmth that this, at least, brings them.

It is a fire that starts from Hoseok and then spreads to Yoongi, from the top of their heads, to the tip of their toes, flowing through every nerve ending and vein. 

"I love you just as much." Yoongi tells him once they've pulled away. He misses Hoseok almost immediately, the ache that Hoseok's kiss has left him a painful throb inside of Yoongi. 

A deep inhale of breath that is quickly followed by a shaky exhale. Yoongi curls  against Hoseok, letting their foreheads press together. Hoseok smiles at him, still, and Yoongi—Yoongi finally returns his smile. It is a painful one, but he thinks that if Hoseok can smile against the entire world, then Yoongi can smile back at the one person he hasn't stopped loving for—for as long as he can remember. 

Because Yoongi doesn't know how this started, or how this will end, but he knows this simple fact: he knows that there is a love between them that is much fiercer than the burning sun. There is that love then, and there is that love now, and surely there will be that same love the next time. 

They fall asleep like this.

Hands interlaced between them, and their foreheads brought close together. They keep each other warm under two layers of wool blankets. In the morning, Yoongi wakes up, and Hoseok stirs long enough to ask Yoongi to bring the blinds down, because it is too bright, the sun too harsh. 

It is the only thing Hoseok says the entire morning, and come the afternoon, he is gone. 

Yoongi kneels by his side. There is blood on his robe, on his feet—he had dropped a glass when he'd realised it, maybe a little too late, and had come sprinting for Hoseok, stepping on a dangerously sharp shard of glass on his way over to his bedside. 

There is no warmth left in Hoseok's hand, or a smile that so often ghosts across Hoseok's feature when he is asleep. Yoongi holds onto his hand, as tightly as he can, now, because Hoseok can't complain. Because Hoseok will no longer mind. 

Yoongi holds onto Hoseok's hand and he doesn't let go for a very long time. The tears burn hotly against Yoongi's cheek. He can cry all he wants now, too. Hoseok will not mind. He can't, not anymore. 

There is a beast that howls inside of Yoongi, threatening to break free from his rib cage, from inside of him. It howls in the night, and lays curled against the corner in the morning. It is a miserable creature that bares no passing resemblance to what Yoongi had once been. To what Yoongi should be. 

And so the tears come as they always do, as they always will, just like how the winter is over, because the cold does not last forever. Spring brings with it wild flowers and blossoms. They grow right over Hoseok's grave. Yoongi could not bare to bury him too far from where he is—because wherever Hoseok goes, Yoongi will follow.

There is no need to even lay flowers on his grave, not when it's adorned with flowers, from when Hoseok had sprinkled seeds the past year. The past spring. Here is the fruit of all of that. They bloom pink and blue, and yellow and red, and they are beautiful. Hoseok isn't around to see it, but Yoongi thinks he would have been very happy about them.

They sway in the wind, and they laugh in the afternoon. Yoongi can almost hear Hoseok's laughter amongst the soft tinkling laughter of the many different flowers. If he closes his eyes and thinks hard enough, he can even picture Hoseok out crouched amongst the flowers, fingers softly brushing against each of their petals, and the smile on his face calm, like there is nowhere else he would rather be than here, tending to his garden. 

Warm wind blows against Yoongi's cheeks. It feels like a lover's caress. He opens his eyes and sees the flowerbeds. It is just the flowers swaying in the wind.

Yoongi sits himself down on the ground, draws his legs close to his chest, and laments the fact that Hoseok had not made it in time to see his flowers bloom. 

But that is okay, the wind seems to whisper to him. It's fine if he hadn't.

Yoongi is here, after all.

And so—and so Yoongi will spend the rest of his life tending after the flowers that Hoseok has so carefully planted. 

During the first autumn since Hoseok's death, Yoongi kneels down around the flower bed. They have started their hibernation, now. He rakes his fingers across the dirt, doesn't care that it had rained last night, and that this entire patch of ground is muddy. Dirty. Yoongi doesn't care. 

He's already lost Hoseok, there is nothing left for him to truly care about. 

"I'm sorry," Yoongi whispers these simple words. There are grey clouds looming ahead. Either a sign of an impending snow or just rain. Yoongi draws in a ragged breath. He inhales cold air. Good, Yoongi thinks. Let the cold run through his bones, and in his veins as they had in Hoseok's. "I'm sorry, love. I don't know when I'll be able to follow you.”

And this much Yoongi knows, because this is how it always is between them, in all their lives. Yoongi left alone.

Thunder rolls, and Yoongi shivers.

"I'll tend to your garden.” Yoongi is clawing at the ground, his tears coming in earnest. It is not easy, losing Hoseok. Never easy, no matter how many times Yoongi has to lose him. 

The rain falls yet Yoongi does not budge, just stays knelt on the ground, amongst the closed buds of Hoseok's flowers, on top of his grave. Soon, he is soaked, and shivering from the cold. 

A small price to pay, smiles Yoongi rather ruefully, for the death of a lover. 

Yoongi stays out the entire afternoon, all through the late evening. In the rain, and in the cold. It is a small price to pay, indeed, the cold. 

"You would have loved them. They would have made you so happy, Hoseok." carefully, Yoongi raises himself from off the ground. His robes are stained, and he's shivering, violently, now, his teeth chattering. "I-I promise, I'll take care of them. Anything for you."

 

 

It is only much, much later that Yoongi realises that there is something terribly wrong. And it doesn't come to him after a particularly uplifting experience, either, or an eye-opening sequence. No, it comes to him in the middle of the night. Because—

Because Yoongi dreams sometimes. His memory isn't the best, he is only human, of course. And so he dreams—he dreams about this life, about all that he has done, sometimes. And other times, he also dreams about his previous life. He remembers the both of them in the life before this, remembers how Hoseok had laughed with his entire body, every single cell inside of him joyous and coming alive. 

That much has not changed.

But Yoongi also dreams about the day that he had lost Hoseok, too. How it had been a bloody, messy affair. How Yoongi had been left with his hands pressed against Hoseok's side, trying to stop the blood from flowing. Of course it had been useless—the blood on his hands, and the blood that had soaked right through his uniform already confirmed his greatest fear. 

Hoseok had died in his arms again in that dream. 

Cold sweat breaks out across his forehead, and down the length of his neck. The winter is over and summer is here, yet again. So many summers have passed after Hoseok. Summers Yoongi is sure Hoseok would have enjoyed to his best. And yet, Yoongi is still cold, waking up a shivering mess, because in his dream, Hoseok had looked far older than he had been when he'd died that one winter so many years ago. 

And Yoongi thinks, he thinks about the life before that. Before the war, and the battle, he thinks. It is the same every time, of course, and Yoongi has always chalked it up to coincidence, not even thinking about it until today, until this life, because he had lost Hoseok so young. 

Younger than the last. So much younger, even. Yoongi tears the blanket off of him and runs out to the garden. It is still early in the morning—or late in the night for anyone to actually be out, but here Yoongi is, knelt amongst the flowers and on Hoseok's grave. Here he is, desperately trying to make sense, because it's not possible. This—this isn't a trend, what they have. It is a cycle, again and again. 

Rebirth. 

There is no trend, Yoongi thinks viciously, of Hoseok dying before him again and again. Of Hoseok dying younger and younger, with each new life they both step into.

"Hoseok," it is not uncommon for Yoongi to call to him, for Yoongi to speak into the air. He can feel the soft petals of a flower tickling at the exposed skin of his calves. Yoongi closes his eyes. "Hoseok, why did you have to go so early? You don't remember, but we used to—we used to grow old, you and me, love." 

The wind is not a very good listener. The gods have never listened, either, but it's never to them that he's talking to—not even to the sun that Hoseok's always longed for, or the warmth of the breezy summer wind. Yoongi does not speak to any of them. He calls out to Hoseok, wishing that just once Hoseok will hear. 

Or maybe—maybe Hoseok hears, just never responds. It is enough for Yoongi to keep going. 

"You don't remember," a helpless cry of pain, so raw, even after all the years that have passed, Yoongi's voice cracking on every syllable. "You can't remember, but that, that's always been alright, because I always do." 

There is a silence that falls around the world, the stars blanking out of the sky, and the moon hiding behind thick clouds and mist. There is a silence that accompanies Yoongi's hurt. A silence that can never rival the piercing scream that threatens to crack Yoongi's skull.

This silence is cold, but what else is new? Ever since Hoseok had gone, all Yoongi has ever felt is cold. 

Yoongi can't even rake his fingers across the dirt, lest he disturb the flowers. Instead, he just plucks one out from the ground, walking back into the empty house with nothing but a hallow vortex inside of him. All it is good for is taking all the warmth around Yoongi. It is no wonder all Yoongi feels is cold. 

The flower lays on Hoseok's side of the bed, a white peony against the white sheets of the bed. 

"It's impossible." it can't be anything else but his desperate need and want to be with Hoseok again, painful, harsh memories brought to the surface by dreams. Nightmares. Yoongi is too afraid to fall asleep and so he stays up for the rest of the night, staring at the single flower.

Morning sunshine cascades through the open window and Yoongi blinks bleary eyes at the sudden brightness. He has been awake the entire night. Nothing has changed. 

The flower is still on top of the pillow, unmoved. It has stayed, at least. 

Perhaps it is the wishful thinking of a broken heart, or of a man who has been met with lost again and again, but Yoongi refuses to believe it. There is no relation at all, Hoseok dying younger this time around compared to the last.

That winter had been cold. Hoseok had not been strong enough. Nothing more.

Before the morning has any time to settle, Yoongi scurries out of bed, taking the single flower with him. He emerges out of the house, a complete state of disarray, and makes his way to Hoseok's grave. There is just a small enough space in the midst of all the flowers for Yoongi to kneel on. As if the flowers have given him space, knowing exactly how Yoongi's grief is one that will follow him for the rest of this life. 

Or kill him.

Yoongi lays the flower on that small, circular patch. Sun light cascades right down the tree branches and onto the small patch. Onto Hoseok's flower.  

A smile passes across Yoongi's features for the briefest of moments. 

There is still a sun that hangs in the sky, but that has never been Yoongi's sun. 

Yoongi's sun has set a long time ago. 

 

II.

 

There is a significant memory practically etched onto Yoongi's brain. It is not an event or something that has already transpired—it is more of a face, a picture of somebody on his mind. It takes him a little while longer than usual to draw a name from it, the only thing he can really see is dark hair and a flash of a smile. A glint of happy in somebody's eyes. That's it. Other than that, Yoongi has no idea. 

He is sixteen years old when he wakes up in the middle of the night, fingers clutching tightly at the sheets, and his face pale. He is sixteen years old when he remembers the boy in his dreams, the boy with the smile and the eyes. If Yoongi closes his eyes and focuses long enough to remember, he thinks he can even hear the first few notes of a song.

But it is not really a song. It is the sound of somebody's laughter. It is the sound of his laughter.

Yoongi lowers himself back down onto the bed, a strange little feeling in the middle of his chest now, like knots that have been so dangerously tangled are loose, giving him enough room to breathe.

With the memory of Hoseok fully surfaced from his mind, Yoongi starts to feel dread. This has never happened before—him, remembering Hoseok halfway into his teenage years. It's usually much, much sooner, Yoongi picturing out a boy not any older than he is in his mind, and Hoseok's name floating around his head, waiting for Yoongi to snatch it out of the air, and hold it close and against his heart. To remember, always.

That next morning, when his mother asks him just why he looks like he's just seen a ghost, Yoongi doesn't respond.

How does he tell his mother that he's finally remembered Hoseok again? She doesn't know who he is, of course, nobody ever does. Nobody except for Yoongi.

 

 

The years do not exactly fly past him—when you feel like you are missing a part of you, a limb, of sorts, then there is really no escape from how painful time can truly be, is there? 

And that's exactly what Yoongi feels, like he's missing a vital part of him. A phantom limb. Remembering who Hoseok really is at sixteen years old had been the start—the start of Yoongi actively seeking him out again every chance he could have gotten, peering into windows of small and quiet shops. 

Yoongi's life does not stop just because he is without Hoseok, no because that is not how things go. Yoongi has work to do, he is a son of his parents, after all, and so he functions as effectively as he can. He goes to school, tries to do his best but he just isn't going to get very far with his maths this time around, is he?

He graduates high school without much of an event. It is expected of him, is it not, to graduate, given the times they live in, now. How fortunate is he that he has managed to earn himself a diploma when so many other people can't say the same thing. 

This time around, Yoongi is born to affluent parents. 

When his parents suggest they send him abroad for university, Yoongi doesn't decline it, because what if the reason he hasn't found Hoseok in this life is because he's simply not in their town? So Yoongi takes that opportunity, packs the little that he has into a single suitcase, and bids his parents goodbye. They will see him again after a couple of years, when he's faring much better against the harsh tides of the ocean. 

University—it passes without any significant events, either, and Yoongi has to wonder about that. Is this really where he should be, at school? He has seen no trace of Hoseok anywhere, and usually.

Usually, it isn't as difficult as this, though Yoongi will admit that there have been instances where he hadn't found Hoseok until later in life. But that's not going to happen now, is it, because Yoongi already has a feeling they don't have that much left to them.

Yoongi is in his twenties now and he remembers the last time he had been with Hoseok, clear as day. Remembers how he had died so, so early. It keeps Yoongi up at night, that type of pain. He doesn't sleep very well, but maybe that's because there is a part of him that aches for Hoseok. That wants to find him while they've still got time.

And Yoongi is not supposed to believe in what he had discovered the last time—that maybe, just maybe, they both have less and less years between the two of them. Yoongi is not supposed to believe in that, yet here he is, back at his hometown right after university. Offers of a job shrugged off his shoulders because nothing had been there for him, except, of course. Education. But other than that, Yoongi had found nothing and nobody.

For a split second, Yoongi allows himself time to think of the possibility of Hoseok not being in this life. Is that possible? Yoongi casts a glance up at the sky, as if imploring whatever god is up there to answer him. Yoongi never gets an answer, but that is nothing new. Nobody ever answers Yoongi, anyway.

His parents welcome him back with open arms and proud smiles. They have missed their only son, and Yoongi has missed them, as well. These are not the same pair of parents that he had grown up with the last time. Nothing is ever the same except for him and Hoseok.

Though it does beg the question that if he and Hoseok exists, then perhaps there is somebody else like them. Perhaps. But memories are a funny thing, and this whole entire situation is funny. No explanation at all except for the burning inside of Yoongi to find Hoseok, to be close to him.

Is it nostalgia that has him going back to Hoseok, again and again? Yoongi doesn't think so—that is an insult to everything they have done, everything they have been together. He shakes the thought out of his head. Useless now to think of that when he's too far along this current life.

And yet the years pass and Yoongi is still alone. He meets people, as he always does, and it is only when he is invited into the house of a friend—someone who has been out of the country for a very long time, who Yoongi has only met briefly through his parents so long ago—that Yoongi feels it, that strange rush of familiarity and panic.

He casts a sweeping glance around the house—it is a simple one, unassuming at best. Yoongi has no idea why he had even allowed himself to follow this near stranger, but his father had mentioned that the two of them would hit it off. Graduates of medicine, ready to make a difference. For their country, their fathers had said, a look of pride so evident in their eyes. 

"Do you live alone?" Yoongi asks, shuffling out of his shoes.

A shadow is cast against Jiho's face, the sudden sadness that has taken over his entire form enough to knock Yoongi out of the window. "Now I do.” his friend finally says, walking over to a cabinet.

Yoongi can see frames just beneath the frosted glass. He pads over to where Jiho is, breath held. 

There are a couple of frames spread out, pictures of people looking far too serious for the camera captured and kept inside ornate glass frames. Except for one—a frame pushed to the very back, the design of it simple enough. Yoongi reaches past Jiho to grab at it, careful not to knock any of the other frames out of the cabinet.

There is a boy smiling up at the camera. Dark hair, bright eyes, and his smile big enough that Yoongi can assume he had just gotten caught mid-laugh. His fingers tighten around the frame, his voice when he asks Jiho who the boy is cracking. 

"That's my cousin," Jiho says, voice strained. He doesn't try to take the frame out of Yoongi's hand, but the way he looks at it makes Yoongi think that his cousin is no longer in the picture. In this current picture. "I used to live with him."

"What happened?" Yoongi asks, still staring intently at the photo. It is Hoseok, there is no doubt about it. Not the dimples, or the hair that he's so carelessly styled for the photo could deny it. This is Hoseok. This is Yoongi's Hoseok. 

Jiho gestures for Yoongi to take a seat, tells him he'll be back with tea, and when Yoongi does as he's told, the frame held tight in his hand the entire time, Jiho doesn't question it. Perhaps he's already heard from Yoongi's mother how much of an oddity Yoongi is, sometimes. Perhaps. 

The whole entire time, Yoongi is just looking at the photo, unable to tear his eyes away. He doesn't have to ask Jiho for the name of the boy in the photo, because Yoongi already knows. He also knows that the photo is quite old, maybe a good three, or five years ago. Hoseok surely looks that age in it, so caught up in a smile that he'd forgotten to actually look at the camera.

Yoongi's heart melts for it, for him.

Jiho comes back with tea, setting it in front of Yoongi, who gingerly picks up the cup out of respect. He doesn't want to drink tea, not when he's got so many questions about the boy in the photograph. Not when he wants to know so desperately just where Hoseok is. Just what he'd been doing in this life. 

"Your cousin?" Yoongi tries to school his expression, his tone. There is no need for Jiho to think of his interest as anything but polite, though Yoongi is starting to think he sounds more rushed than ever. 

"He's no longer here.” Jiho offers it like an explanation, as if laying it down by Yoongi's feet is enough to stave off Yoongi's interest and desire to know. It isn't, and Yoongi can see the pain that it causes Jiho to talk, the stiff shoulders, the furrow in his brows, but Yoongi still wants to know. Needs to know. Had it been a falling out, is Hoseok permanently out of his life because of a misunderstanding, or a mistake? 

The actual answer comes as a shock, though, something Yoongi thinks he is not ready to hear today, tomorrow, or even ten years down the line, because Jiho could be kidding. He could be lying. But he isn't, and Yoongi can see it in his downcast eyes, and the painful expression on his face, so troubled with the passing of a loved one, the grief he bears all too heavy on his shoulders.

"He's passed, Hoseok hyung," Jiho continues, looking down at the frame still in Yoongi's hands. "Just two years ago."

Yoongi is still wound tight, like any second now he will snap and break himself in half. He doesn't, he won't, not here, not now. 

Where had Yoongi been two years ago? It doesn't matter, because he hadn't been with Hoseok. He bites down, hard, on his bottom lip, and makes to stand, nearly knocking his cup of tea off the table.

Jiho follows him, surprised. "Hyung, where are you going?" 

Yoongi gathers his coat, his bag, slips back into his shoes. He looks over his shoulder at Jiho, makes a show of glancing down at his watch, and then motions towards the door. "I'm sorry, Jiho, I just remembered I had an errand to run.” 

Jiho doesn't seem to be too disturbed or unsettled by it. Instead, he just nods his head and opens the door for Yoongi. He even sees him out. 

And when Yoongi leaves with the frame still in his hands, Jiho doesn't notice, because there are tears in the corners of his eyes and if Yoongi doesn't leave now then he'll be crying with him over a virtual stranger. Strangers to each other, except Yoongi has known Hoseok all of his life. 

There are no goodbyes to be said, no I'll see you soon, nothing. The latch on the door catches, and it clicks shut. Yoongi is left standing outside in the cold. Has it always been winter, or is this the first day? Yoongi's coat is too thin, his hands shivering, and his bones rattling against the cold. 

Yoongi is cold all over again.

He looks up at the sky, at the overcast clouds, and the streams of grey above him. He looks at the frame still in his hands—Hoseok, with the bright eyes and an even brighter smile. A finger traces across Hoseok's outline, the smallest smile on Yoongi's face, because this is a connection in itself, meeting Jiho. Hoseok's cousin this time around.

It is a connection made too late. 

"I'm sorry." are the only words Yoongi mutters that entire afternoon, because there is not much to be said over a lover who has died way before him this time around. A lover whom he was supposed to meet and be with. There is nothing to be said about that, and Yoongi.

Well, he supposes his tears will be enough, for now. 

 

 

The inscription on the grave tells Yoongi that it truly has been two yeas since his passing. 

Twenty-eight, this time around.

Yoongi bends down to lower the flowers on Hoseok's grave. It is a proper one, now, not just something Yoongi had dug up himself. There are no flowers gathered around it, just dried leaves frozen in the cold. 

He sits himself down in front of it, lights a single stick of incense, and places it carefully into the small, round jar. 

The day trickles by behind Yoongi, the sun swaying in the sun until it sets complete into the dark horizon. Yoongi is supposed to be at the hospital, but instead, he is here. He sweeps his fingers across the grave, dusting away blades of grass and ash. 

Yoongi does not talk the entire time he is there, just stares at the grave, at Hoseok's name inscribed on it. For the first time, Yoongi is at a complete loss of words. 

The tears that stream down his cheeks are angry. They are a mixture of grief and anger, of desperation, because who would have expected this? What kind of joke has the world set out for them that Yoongi had been unable to meet Hoseok in this life? It is a cruel joke that Yoongi does not want to stick around for, not when he can hear the bitter laugh in his ears. It is not Hoseok's voice, because Hoseok's laughter is the first few notes against a piano. Melodic, soothing. Hoseok's laughter has always been Yoongi's favourite song.

When Yoongi drops by his parents house late that evening, his mother greets him at the door. Relieved to have seen her son again. She questions his current state—he is drenched to the bone after the rain. He smells like burnt incense and flowers. Yoongi looks worse for wear, and yet his mother still tugs him into the house he has grown up in, sits him down, and takes care of him. 

She asks just where he'd been and Yoongi answers, voice small, quiet, and vulnerable, "I was visiting a friend." 

There is hurt and there is pain, and then there is loss. Yoongi knows of each of them.

He also knows of love—even without truly knowing Hoseok in this life, Yoongi still knows of it, because there is no other explanation for how he suddenly feels so lost. Like a part of him has just died, something he can no longer recover. No other explanation besides a love so strong, it transcends centuries and spans out across the globe. 

There is no word for this feeling, though, a pain so great Yoongi would rather die. 

Grief, some people may call it. A broken heart, a few others may want to say. 

Empty, is what Yoongi thinks. 

Empty is what it is.

Empty is what he is, now. 

 

 

Yoongi keeps the photograph of Hoseok. He discards the frame--it would only cut him. Leave his hands split and open, and hurt. He keeps the photo on him all the time. 

Hoseok may no longer be here, and Yoongi may have not met him, not this time around, but he will keep Hoseok with him, always. 

And the flowers—the flowers on his grave is something Yoongi always comes back to, as well. There are no flowers sprouting out of the ground. Hoseok has not planted them this time around. But that is alright.

Yoongi had made a promise before—that he would care for the flowers as he had cared for Hoseok.

So he sets a bundle of white peonies around Hoseok's grave, sweeps his fingers over it, dusting away cut grass and ash from the incense. 

"I'm here," the corners of Yoongi's mouth tug up into a smile. His hand is shaking when he draws it away. To stop the shaking, Yoongi clenches his hand into a fist. "I know I'm late, I'm sorry.” 

Hoseok doesn't say anything, because dead men tell no tales. 

But the wind—it blows warm and comforting, and familiar. Yoongi's eyes flutter to a close and he takes a deep breath. 

Inhales. 

I'm here, now.

Exhales.

III.

 

The sound of breaking glass jostles Yoongi out of his sleep. He forgets just where he is and turns to roll on his side, only to fall right off the couch. He muffles a curse under his breath and slowly makes his way back up, already feeling like this just isn’t the right way to start the day—he’d fallen asleep on the couch, studying into the early hours of the morning for an introduction to a class he doesn’t even like. 

Namjoon would be proud.

And speaking of Namjoon—

“Sorry, sorry,” Namjoon apologises. Yoongi hears the other boy shuffling around in the kitchen, and not for the umpteenth time already, Yoongi wishes they’d bought plastic versions of their kitchenware and cutlery.  “I dropped a mug, but it’s—oh, shit.” 

Yoongi makes his way into the kitchen, already dreading the mess. When he sees that Namjoon had dropped not one of their ugly mugs but Yoongi’s favourite one, he sighs. Long and regretful and painful, and Namjoon just smiles ruefully at him, like it’s all in a day’s work.

“Remind me again why I took you in as a roommate,” Yoongi kicks at a particularly large piece of shard, and then slinks back out of the kitchen without so much as hearing a reply from Namjoon, who just laughs, nervous and all. 

There is no explanation for Namjoon being his roommate aside from the fact that they’ve come a long way, the both of them. Namjoon’s a pain in the ass on most days, but he’s also a good friend (good friends who break Yoongi’s favourite mugs, okay, so perhaps Yoongi should start gathering better friends, but for now, he has Namjoon, and things can most definitely get worse, so they settle on this odd little arrangement of theirs.). 

“Aren’t you supposed to be in class?” Namjoon grabs a scarf hanging off of the couch and turns to look at Yoongi, still dressed in an oversized sweater and his boxers. Nothing else, like he has nowhere to go but here, like he has nothing to do but this—just lounge around the apartment and yell at Namjoon for breaking things he apparently values. “It’s almost eleven.” 

A glance at the large clock hanging above their television has Yoongi blanching, because Namjoon is right about this one thing. 

“Fuck,” is all Yoongi manages to say before he’s rushing back into his room, the door banging to a close. He hears Namjoon’s laughter again, this time more amused than sorry, and Yoongi—well, Yoongi will get him back for this, one day. 

When he steps out of his room ten minutes later, it’s to find the entire apartment empty. A quick check on his phone tells him that Namjoon had left minutes before him, and Yoongi doesn’t even know if he should feel betrayed at that or thankful. He pushes the thought out of his mind and instead just makes his way down the too-long spiral steps. With his feet finally hitting pavement, Yoongi starts to run—well, as much of a run as he can manage, anyway.

With nearly three minutes left before the start of class, Yoongi finds himself slipping into a seat, bag strewn on the floor just by his feet, and his breathing hard. He must look like a total fucking idiot, someone who’s yelled at a cab in the hopes of trying to hail it. Someone who cares a little bit too much about this intro class.

Yoongi doesn’t—he doesn’t care about this class, or the class after it. It’s just that, well, this is a good school, and it’s the least he can do for his parents, isn’t it? Thoughts like this always send him into a spin, a certain sense of de ja vu. It is de ja vu, in one aspect—because Yoongi is pretty sure this has happened already, him thinking the same exact thoughts. When his parents had shipped him off to study abroad so many years ago, in his last life, he had nodded. Said that it would only be the least he could do for them. And here he is again, in school, hit with the strongest sense of de ja vu. 

Perhaps Yoongi hasn’t changed very much compared to the last time. Perhaps people never really do change, but—but Yoongi can feel it, a certain shift inside of him. Nobody is ever really the same, but then again, nobody is ever as changed as they want to be. 

Class starts and Yoongi spends the next hour tapping his pen on the side of his notebook. The girl beside him glares at him a couple of times, probably finding his annoying habit of making the minutest of noise too goddamn much. Yoongi doesn’t care, this is how he’s learned to focus. Pen tapping, foot jostling, basically just his mind on one subject, and everything else about him doing something else. 

Thankfully, class ends sooner than expected. It also ends with a quiz, too, and Yoongi’s more than prepared for it—he’d stayed up all night just for this one class, just for an introductory course. God, he’s starting to sound a lot like Namjoon. Won’t his mother be happy about that, though, Yoongi learning something from his mess of a roommate? Maybe. 

“So, how’d it go?” Namjoon asks, twirling a cigarette between his fingers. 

They’re standing just outside of the deli. Namjoon frequents this place too much that the lady behind the register knows him by name. She offers Yoongi a polite smile when he buys his own pack, and Namjoon—well, Namjoon just grins at him, easy. Lazy. Like the rest of the day could come at him and he would have no worries, not one at all. 

“Fuck all,” Yoongi breathes out a long stream of smoke, passes the lighter to Namjoon, and sighs again. “There was a quiz, but it was fine, I guess.” 

Yoongi glances around the street, bustling with colour and with the chatter of dozens of people going either way. This feels so much more different, now. The time, the place, the people. Yoongi wonders if any of them are like him, if they look at one thing and compare it to another, something far more easier, simpler, that had existed in an earlier time. With a shake of his head, Yoongi dismisses the thoughts. 

It does nobody any good to think too much of this.

Namjoon wouldn’t know, but perhaps this is just one of the subjects that Yoongi can hold over his head. 

“Hey, so remember when you said you were looking for a job?” Namjoon finally lights his own cigarette. Takes a deep breath, holds it in, and then exhales it after a few moments. “I didn’t find you a job, but I found a job for me.” 

Yoongi raises an eyebrow at that. “You don’t even need a job,”

“You don’t, either, but you’re still looking for one,” a shrug of his shoulders, another puff of his cigarette.

He has a point, Yoongi will admit—but not out loud, never out loud.

“Anyway, I found a job at that cafe you really like—the one a couple blocks down from the brownstone,” Namjoon says brownstone like it’s supposed to mean anything other than their over-priced apartment. Right. Brownstone. 

“What the fuck,” Yoongi furrows his brows. Narrows his gaze on Namjoon, because surely he couldn’t have heard it right. “A cafe—you, as a barista?” 

It takes Namjoon all of three very slow seconds to process the insult underlying Yoongi’s words, and he rolls his eyes. Yoongi just laughs at him, can’t quite hold it in, because the thought of Namjoon working behind the bar, taking people’s coffee orders. Making them. It’s hilarious, especially given how he’d just broken a fucking mug earlier this morning. 

“Good luck,” Yoongi finally manages to say, squeezing on Namjoon’s shoulder. “I’ll ask Jin if he wants to bet on how long you’ll last.” 

Namjoon groans. “Don’t be fucking petty,” he bumps their shoulders together, harder than he’d intended because Yoongi almost stumbles onto the ground. Namjoon grabs him by the elbow and straightens him back up. 

“Exhibit A,” Yoongi announces, snickering at Namjoon who can only grumble about ungrateful friends. 

And it may have been a rough couple of days—couple of weeks, months, fuck, it’s been a rough decade for him, if he’s being completely honest—but Yoongi manages to smile. It looks more like a smirk than anything and it results in more grumbling from Namjoon than what Yoongi could have expected, but, whatever. Namjoon takes it, and Yoongi—well, Yoongi just allows himself another laugh, because, christ, the thought of Namjoon being a barista.

If that isn’t the funniest joke he’s heard in this century.

 

 

Times are easier, now, Yoongi can say that much.

Technology makes everything a little bit more interesting, too. 

And Yoongi is so, so tempted to take advantage of it. Just a quick search on social media, about the boy with the dark hair and the bright eyes, and the warm smile that has Yoongi feeling like he’s at the top of the world. He can do that, but at the same time, he doesn’t. Because that’s not fair, and Yoongi—he thinks they have time. 

He is twenty three, now, so wherever Hoseok is, he must be twenty two. They have time. 

They have time. 

It is a mantra that Yoongi repeats again and again, until he falls asleep, until he wakes up. Until he starts to believe it for what it really is—a broken saying only to reassure a broken man. 

But he has a good feeling about him, this time around. He does. 

And he can chalk it up to so many things distracting him—to modern technology, to classes, to life so far away from where he had grown up in again and again, because Yoongi is no longer in Korea at this point, and he doesn’t mind, because these things are supposed to work itself out.

They’re supposed to.

But on nights where his body is bogged down with wear, and his mind addled with the alcohol Namjoon had just so carelessly passed into his waiting hands, Yoongi can’t help but think of how much of a possibility it is that he is in the wrong place. Maybe—maybe he’s supposed to go back to Korea.

But where? 

And without much of a destination that he can think might connect him and Hoseok, Yoongi has stayed put. He just needs to be more patient, he knows. Elementary, high school, they’d all gone by without a hint or a trace of Hoseok.

There are fears, of course, late into the night, when all he does is count sheep to pass the time, that Hoseok—that Hoseok isn’t around anymore. Yoongi doesn’t allow himself to dwell on those thoughts very much, because they never do him any good. 

Because, more often than not, Namjoon notices. Come the next morning, with the circles under his eyes too dark, and his colour absolutely pallid, the pale skin looking sickly. Namjoon always notices.

He’s a good friend. 

So much of a good friend that Yoongi answers his call at nine in the morning. On a Sunday. 

“What the fuck do you want?” Yoongi grumbles into the phone, rolling over to the other side of the bed. His room is dark, the blinds too thick. He likes it this way.

In the background of the call, Yoongi can hear the sound of soft, tinkling music.

“It’s so slow today,” Namjoon complains. Yoongi hears a shift, as if Namjoon had just moved his phone to the other ear. He hears the sound of paper cups clattering, too, like the idiot had just dropped an entire pile of them. 

Judging by Namjoon’s bitten back curse, that’s exactly what had happened.

“You should come by,” there is a grin in his invitation, Namjoon all too willing to drag Yoongi into his place of work at an early Sunday morning. “I’ll get you coffee. A free cheesecake, whatever you want.”

The offer of cheesecake is too much to pass, and while Yoongi would rather spend his Sunday in bed, there are better, sweeter things that call for him—like free coffee and cheesecake. And if Namjoon ends up getting fired today, then at least Yoongi can say he was a witness to the entirely messy ordeal (see also: Namjoon working. His job. Namjoon. That’s it. He’s the messy ordeal).

Another text from Namjoon stops Yoongi just a couple of steps from the cafe’s door. A quick check on it tells him that it’s just Namjoon badgering him to get a move on, that there’s literally nobody else in this goddamn cafe except for, like, three people, and if Yoongi could be so kind to relieve him of this, then that’d be great, thanks.

Yoongi rolls his eyes at the text because it’s only like Namjoon to be too fucking dramatic over being bored like this. 

Foregoing smoking another cigarette, because he’s pretty sure Namjoon’s only going to flood him with even more text messages, Yoongi pushes through the door. He hears the soft tinkling of the chimes that hang just over it. It smells a lot like cinnamon and ground coffee—like any normal coffee shop.

He spots Namjoon behind the bar, raises his hand, and Yoongi is about to make his way towards him when he spots a flash of nearly orange hair by the end of the counter, someone waiting for his drink. A boy, tapping his fingers against the wooden surface of the bar, an earphone dangling from his shoulder. 

Namjoon slides his drink to him, and from where Yoongi’s standing, he can almost make out a smile, his thank you uttered low. 

And then—and then he turns around, and Yoongi is still stuck by the door, just watching him, because there is no denying it, no other way around this. 

He has orange hair now, but Yoongi can make out those eyes anywhere. That same bright smile, and eyes that seem to hold all the secrets of the universe, eyes that have always looked at Yoongi with a certain type of fondness, knowing goddamn well he’s got the entire world in one hand, and Yoongi’s in the other.

“Hyung,” Namjoon calls from behind the bar, his voice enough to jostle Yoongi out of his trance.

But it’s not nearly enough to stop Yoongi from nearly colliding with Hoseok, the boy’s book bag almost sliding off of his shoulder as he tries to steady himself, tries to save his fresh coffee.

The apology comes rushing out of Hoseok, “Sorry, sorry, I should’ve been more careful,” and had this been somebody else, Yoongi would have nodded and agreed, but this is Hoseok, and all Yoongi can do is shake his head and try not to meet his eyes.

Yoongi can’t meet his eyes, not now. 

So instead, he gathers the one notebook Hoseok had let go of, and passes it back to him, careful not to brush his fingers against Hoseok’s, or look at him for too long. Yoongi is bad at that—at looking away, but he tries.

He’s trying his fucking hardest right now. 

“Are you okay?” this is the same voice from so many years ago. From so many lifetimes ago. 

Somehow, Yoongi manages to get out a nearly strangled sounding, “Yeah, don’t worry.” 

Yoongi takes a step back, giving Hoseok room to pass, but he doesn’t, instead, he pauses, as if he’s contemplating, and very carefully, like he’s wary of his own words, asks, “Have we met before?” 

Don’t look up, don’t look up, don’t even fucking look at him, don’t—

Yoongi fails. So startled by he at the question that his gaze just snaps up at Hoseok. It can’t be—that he remembers? Hoseok has never remembered, not once. He’s stunned into silence, though. Doesn’t have an answer for him, no words for this particular moment, or for the look on Hoseok’s face.

Don’t—

And yet here Yoongi is, looking up at him, and feeling like the very earth he’s standing on has just cracked. Like he is but a small row boat against the raging ocean. He looks up at Hoseok and Yoongi feels. He feels so strongly—guilt, shame, and pain.

Hoseok, who he hadn’t even lain eyes on the previous time. Hoseok, who had left before meeting Yoongi. Hoseok—this is Hoseok, now. Orange hair. Bright eyes. The same smile that can tip Yoongi over the edge, push him right down into a deep chasm. Hoseok can do that, and all Yoongi will have to say is thank you. 

Very slowly, like he’s in a trance, Yoongi shakes his head. “No, I don’t think so,” it is a lie, a fucking big one, but it is all he can say.

Recognition does not register on Hoseok’s face. He might just be curious, or polite—Manhattan is a very diverse place, after all. 

Yoongi opens his mouth to say something else, perhaps an I miss you, or an I’m sorry, but he stops himself because he’s not allowed to say that. Hoseok doesn’t even know who he is. For all he cares, he may just well be some nut-job hanging around in the cafe. 

So Yoongi swallows down the words, feels them lodge in the base of his throat, and shuts his mouth. There will be nothing else he can say to Hoseok today, as much as he wants to—it is hard, Yoongi will admit. Hoseok doesn’t look any older than Yoongi is, and that’s how it always has been between them. How it will always be, Yoongi supposes.

His fingernails press into his skin. Breaks skin on contact, and Yoongi doesn’t even realise he’s clutching so tightly, fingers curled up into a fist, until it starts to hurt. Or that he’s nearly close to tears until Hoseok. Orange hair. Bright eyes. Warm smile. Hoseok. Until Hoseok fishes for a single napkin and passes it to Yoongi, a look of worry clouding his face.

“Are you—are you okay?” he asks him. 

Yoongi takes the napkin. Pretends that he hadn’t just almost cried because Hoseok is here, and Yoongi has spent countless nights tossing and turning over the idea, the what if, but not anymore. Hoseok is here, and he is alive, and he is real. Yoongi is not too late or even in the wrong country. Wrong state. Yoongi had been so afraid.

He shakes his head. 

There is still hurt and pain, and grief so deep the last time that Yoongi can still feel it clawing at him from the inside. It is his grief, still, and the monster is only silenced now that he’s seen Hoseok again. Proof that he is alive this time around and that Yoongi—Yoongi had been on the right path, all along. 

Grief slowly starts to make its exit, quiet. It takes pain with it, but leaves behind little traces of their mutual friend, regret. 

“Allergy season,” and Yoongi isn’t lying. They are fresh into autumn. Hoseok buys it, looking a little bit relieved. Good. Yoongi doesn’t want him to look anything less when he looks at Yoongi. And that, at least, is the truth. 

Before Hoseok nods his goodbye at Yoongi, he passes him another napkin, says, “Just in case.” he smiles, then, softly, and Yoongi.

Yoongi takes that smile. Catalogues it. Tucks the smile into a pocket and says, “Thank you.” 

It is more than just for the napkin. It is for being alive the same time as Yoongi this time. 

It is for all the things Yoongi has failed to tell him the last time. 

Thank you for being alive, Yoongi wants to say, but he can’t. He doesn’t. So instead, he just offers a small smile of his own, as much as he can muster, Hoseok’s smile widening.

And for now, it is enough. 

The sun is still hanging in the sky, and the flowers may be dozing off to sleep now, but Hoseok is alive, and so is Yoongi.

 

 

(And a little bit later, with Hoseok out of the cafe, with only Yoongi and Namjoon left, Namjoon calls to him.

Asks just what the fuck had happened for Yoongi to look like he’s just seen a ghost.

That sounds all too familiar. Yoongi chokes back on his laugh. Wipes at his eyes—his cheeks are wet and he’s crying, in front of Namjoon, of all people. He swallows past all the things he couldn’t have said to Hoseok, and shakes his head. 

The tears are warm. They’re almost warm enough to burn right through Yoongi’s skin. 

If they decide to, he will let them.

Finally, with coffee in his hands and a worried Namjoon looking at him, and quiet sat between them, Yoongi says, 

“I guess I just remembered something.” 

Namjoon stares at him long and hard. 

This is the first time he’s seen Yoongi cry—the first not counting that one time when they were younger. When Yoongi had fallen off the side of their porch playing with him and the neighbourhood kids. When Yoongi had sprained his ankle and had almost broken his leg. Yoongi had cried, then. But after that—after that, this is the first.

Namjoon reaches across the table, closes his hand around Yoongi’s, and gives it a gentle, reassuring squeeze. “Don’t fucking worry me like that again.”)

 

 

Nothing changes between them, of course. They have been Yoongi and Namjoon ever since Yoongi can remember—four, five, early into his childhood, when Namjoon had still been so easily pushed around. 

Namjoon is hardly the type to walk on eggshells around someone. Yoongi doesn’t expect him to, and Namjoon doesn’t. 

It comes as no surprise, even, when Namjoon drags him out of the house one Friday evening, declaring that they’re about to go get some drinks. It’s been a while, the both of them. University is a fucking bore, Yoongi will admit that much, and it has been quite some time since they’ve gone out. Actually gone out, not just reserved themselves into the quiet of their home, with cans of beer a plenty and stacks of pizza boxes practically towering over them. 

Not healthy, but nobody’s complaining. 

(Except, maybe Yoongi’s liver. But nobody’s ever listened to their liver, so that definitely doesn’t count for anything.). 

So they go out for drinks at a club that’s too loud for Yoongi’s liking, but not loud enough for Namjoon who buys all the drinks, passes them all to Yoongi when a group of girls offers to buy them some more. A part of Yoongi wonders if this is how Namjoon makes up for Yoongi suddenly crying in front of him—with alcohol that burns down his throat.

Alcohol that Yoongi can never chase fast enough, because it always leaves him behind in the dust, with scraped knees, and dirty palms.

Tonight is no different, Namjoon practically hauling him back up the stairs of their place—their brownstone, because that’s what it is, and calling it anything else, Namjoon had once proclaimed in his rather drunk state, would be an insult to this great institution (as if either one of them had paid for it.). 

Namjoon throws Yoongi onto the couch, stumbling against the coffee table as soon as he’s let go. Yoongi manages to raise his head and squint in the darkness, just to see if Namjoon’s broken anything else—any other favourite mugs or plates, or the goddamn television set they have.

Nothing, all is good, all is accounted for. 

Before sleep takes Yoongi, before alcohol pulls him too deep into the dark, he hears the shuffling of footsteps, the soft padding of them against carpet. Feels Namjoon brushing at his hair. 

“You’re a real work of art, hyung.” Namjoon says, brushing sweat-matted hair out of Yoongi’s eyes, away from his face. Namjoon sounds almost fond of him, like the years they’ve spent building towards this friendship actually means more than what he shows. 

Of course, Yoongi’s always known that. Of course. 

He leans into Namjoon’s touch, eyes fluttering to a close. Anything else and Yoongi might just end up with changing the carpet—he feels like he’s about to throw up if he moves anymore, his head like it’s about to crack. 

“Sure I am, Namjoonie.” Yoongi all but slurs, content at the touch, at Namjoon still brushing through his hair, as if to lull him further into sleep, to help him along the way. 

 Yoongi falls asleep like that—with Namjoon still brushing at his hair. With the memory of Hoseok from a week ago playing across his mind. Orange hair. Bright eyes. Warm smile. The same goddamn smile Yoongi’s always found himself breathless at. He falls asleep to that and the alcohol making everything a little bit easier. It is what hard liquor does, make everything feel like it is much, much easier than it really is. The same goes for the night.

When the moon tugs the curtains down, and evening falls on the entire city, Yoongi thinks that everything can so easily be hidden in the dark, between the stars and the moon and the clouds, and all of the hurt that he carries with him.

“G’night.” Namjoon’s voice, one last time before Yoongi is overrun by sleep so comforting, so sweet. 

That night, Yoongi dreams about a boy with orange hair and a smile as warm as the eight a.m sunshine. Yoongi dreams about Hoseok for the first time in a very long time. 

He also sleeps throughout the entire night. 

And come the next morning, when he wakes up to the smell of coffee and store bought sandwiches, it’s with a small, curious smile on his face. 

 

 

Yoongi declines a job at the cafe because he doesn’t need it, and also because he thinks Hoseok frequents that cafe. And Yoongi—he’s not exactly avoiding him. This is a large city. Too many people. The chances of Yoongi bumping into Hoseok again in fucking New York City are slim, but what are the chances of someone living through so many generations, of someone being old enough to have lived through the first great war, to have fought in the second? What are the chances of someone like that existing—slim, and yet Yoongi is here.

Hoseok is, too.

There is a desire in him to search for Hoseok again. To reach out to him. To be in his presence. Yoongi is twenty-three, now. Hoseok must be just a year younger. They have time. 

They have time.

Yoongi will wait—he’s never really moved along his own pace. He’s always followed Hoseok’s. It comes with the knowledge of everything else before them, the knowledge that everything will fall into place as they should, in due time.

He holds out on that. 

Declines Namjoon’s third offer of working at the bar—it’s laid back, relax. The other bartender is pretty cute, too, and seems to always be looking for Yoongi whenever he’s not around. 

“Nah, I’m good,” Yoongi tells Namjoon one afternoon. He’s hanging around at the cafe again, not for the free cheesecake or coffee this time, but just because it’s been a full week and he hasn’t even talked properly with Namjoon. School and work getting in between them.

Namjoon sends him away with a roll of his eyes and a packed muffin in a paper bag, which Yoongi takes gratefully. He steps outside to smoke, is about to light it, too, when he sees Hoseok step off the bus from across the street. 

Hoseok crosses the street like an idiot—like someone born and raised in this city would. He crosses the street without a care for traffic and other civilians. Yoongi holds his breath the entire time, eyes locked on him, and his heart skipping too many beats, Yoongi should have it checked later. 

But Hoseok makes it through, a small smile on his face when he looks up to see the cafe. 

Yoongi takes a quick step away from the door, ducking his head.

Hoseok doesn’t notice him from the other day, doesn’t even look his way, but good god, does Yoongi see him. 

“He’s a fucking idiot.” Yoongi says this out loud, an almost amused smile on his face as he lights his cigarette. An idiot who crosses the street without much care, who smiles at the faintest whiff of vanilla and cinnamon, and coffee. 

Hoseok doesn’t step out as soon as he’d collected his coffee—he stays in the cafe a little bit longer than usual, and Yoongi, well. Yoongi just starts his short walk down to the neighbourhood deli, feeling considerably lighter, now.

Because—

Because there is time between them and it is more than enough to reassure Yoongi that he can wait. 

 

 

The more Yoongi writes, the more he’s unable to decipher just exactly what he’s written. It’s been an hour, at least, since Yoongi had slipped out of the apartment—it’s a brownstone, hyung, come on, work with me here, Namjoon had said so many times already Yoongi thinks he’s got the tone of his voice and pitch practically memorised.—and decided that a quick trip to the park would help freshen his mind. A breath of fresh air, or at least, this city’s version of fresh air, anyway.

And so Yoongi is here, sprawled right under a large tree, his scarf a made-to-do picnic blanket, for now. There’s a couple of benches just across of him, but it’s a good day. Autumn has always been Yoongi’s favourite season. When the trees all flare up with colour before they all eventually burn out and scatter on the ground. When the air blows a little bit colder. When everything starts to look just that bit more colourful, one final show before the grey of winter threatens to cloud over everything else. 

He stretches out on his makeshift little afternoon picnic, pen rolling to his side, and his notebook discarded. It’s a battered notebook now, something Yoongi has kept all throughout his life. This life, anyway. 

There’s an entire chapter there filled with question marks. Yoongi is still not convinced that he’s losing more years with Hoseok with every cycle. He is not convinced. Perhaps—perhaps Yoongi is just holding on tight to hope. Steadfast. 

There is time, he repeats to himself again. 

It sounds a lot like his mother’s voice. A distant memory of his childhood, when he’d complained about his older brother going away for college and leaving him alone. 

“There is time, love,” his mother had said, brushing her soft fingers through his hair. “There will be a time for you to leave. But for now, you have to stay.” 

He can almost hear her voice again with the rustling of the leaves and the gentle breath of the wind that brushes across his cheeks, ruffles at his hair. It tugs a small smile on his lips. He misses her, he truly does—but this is Yoongi’s time to be away from her, and she understands.

But still, it won’t hurt if he calls her tonight. He really should, it’s been a while. 

Yoongi is so lost in his own thoughts that he doesn’t even notice a shadow hovering over him, or feel the tugging on his sleeves. He props himself up on his elbows to check just what the commotion is all about when a ball of fur hops onto Yoongi’s stomach, the dog’s tiny little paws pressing painfully against Yoongi’s gut. 

“Oh my god,” and this is a voice Yoongi will recognise anywhere. With a hand gingerly placed on the dog’s back, trying to at least keep it at bay, his owner still running to catch up after it, Yoongi raises himself up to sit. 

Hoseok stops just in front of him, hands on his knees, and his chest heaving. Out of breath from running after the dog, most likely. He’s slightly red in the face, too, and terribly apologetic. When he catches a glimpse of Yoongi’s face, his mouth drops into a little o and he brightens up, if only considerably from the familiar face.

“Hey,” Hoseok starts, bending down to grab at the too hyper active dog. It’s so tiny, Yoongi’s now seeing it—cradled against Hoseok’s chest. He even thinks the puppy might fit on his open palms. Maybe.

Yoongi looks up at him. Orange hair. Bright eyes. And Yoongi allows him to catch his breath, Hoseok a little bit unsteady on his feet from all the running. 

“I—I know you,” Hoseok starts, lowering the dog now, leash fastened around his neck and the hold secure in Hoseok’s hand. 

“Erm,” Yoongi doesn’t know what to say about that, because Hoseok is right, in a way. He knows Yoongi from the cafe, a few weeks ago, maybe, but also, he knows Yoongi from way before that, though Yoongi doubts he remembers. Hoseok never really remembers, does he? “Cafe, yeah?” 

And whatever god is watching over him should give him an award for how he’s able to keep his voice even and steady, for how he’s not breaking into tears at being so fucking overwhelmed by Hoseok’s presence, of Hoseok being here, just an arm’s length away. 

Hoseok nods his head, the connection made instantly. Right. Of course, the cafe. Nowhere else—just the little cafe off the corner of Spring Street. 

“Oh, right, yeah,” he apologises, the corners of his mouth upturned as he looks at the dog in question—it’s nosing against Yoongi’s notebook, trampling his muddy little paws all over Yoongi’s oversized scarf. “Holy shit, oh my god, that’s—wow, I’m sorry. Mickey—shit, Mickey, get off,” a gentle tug on the leash does him no good, and Yoongi, a little bit sorry now for Hoseok, decides to just pick up the dog, positioning him carefully on top of his knee. 

He likes it, small nose nuzzling into the soft material of Yoongi’s jeans. Well, there’s that. The dog likes his jeans enough to stay still for a couple of seconds. 

“I’m so sorry about your blanket,” Hoseok apologises, looking mortified. 

Yoongi dismisses it with a wave, shrugging his shoulders when he says, “Don’t worry about it.”

But Hoseok still looks worried, unable to look away from the muddy stain. 

“I mean, this is pretty old, so I don’t really care,” and it’s not old—it’s not even a blanket or a mat. It’s one of Namjoon’s oversized scarves, and Yoongi will have to make a stop at the laundromat before the apartment today, won’t he? 

“Sorry about my dog,” another apology from the owner who looks too bothered compared to the tiny puppy sitting on Yoongi’s lap and looking too comfortable to even be moved. Hoseok doesn’t try, so instead, Yoongi just gestures towards the cleaner part of the makeshift picnic blanket, and tells him to sit down, if he wants. He looks tired, out of breath, still. Hoseok does so, legs crossing underneath him. He also tries to call to his dog—Mickey. Mickey.— but it’s no use, the stubborn little thing not budging at all from Yoongi. 

“Sorry,” Yoongi apologises now, hand stilling from rubbing at the puppy’s head. 

“Hey,” a look of shocked realisation passes on Hoseok’s face and for a second, Yoongi’s heart stops, worried that he’s caught on to something, or that something has gone very, very wrong. But then Hoseok’s shoulders relaxes and he laughs, embarrassed. “I just realised. I’m Hoseok,”

An introduction. 

An introduction that has Yoongi staring at his outstretched hands for a second too long that Hoseok is about to draw away, assuming Yoongi’s disinterest, looking a little bit down, too. 

Yoongi is only caught off guard for a second but he quickly grabs for Hoseok’s hand. He grips it long enough to feel the warmth of his skin against his. A short handshake that has Hoseok’s face brightening up again because apparently, this stranger doesn’t just stare at complete distaste at people introducing themselves. Apparently. 

And this is a dance they’ve danced to before—different songs, different melodies, different ballrooms, but this is a dance Yoongi is quite familiar with. Introductions. The start. He offers a smile of his own, one that genuinely reaches his eyes, because it is impossible to stop himself from smiling when Hoseok is looking at him like this. Orange hair. Bright eyes. And—and a warm smile that has Yoongi’s chest feeling tight, the several knots inside of him all tangled up again. 

“Min Yoongi,” and it’s not supposed to mean anything to Hoseok, but Yoongi catches it, the sudden shift on his face again, his brows furrowing, like someone struggling to remember something. 

Yoongi drops his hand and goes back to scratching at the puppy’s head. He doesn’t stare at Hoseok too much, afraid that if Hoseok looks into his eyes, he’ll know—he’ll hear the old brag of Yoongi’s heart against his ribcage, beating familiarity and closeness just at the sight of Hoseok. 

An I know, I know ringing loud and true. 

“I feel like we’ve met before,” Hoseok purses his lips, as if in deep thought, and then, realising just what exactly his words had sounded like, laughs nervously, hands raised in the air. “I don’t mean that like some sleazy pick up line or anything, no, just—did we, I mean,” he’s stumbling over his words, face turning pink, and Yoongi will admit that he looks cute like that, flustered. “We haven’t met before, right?”

There is always something new about Hoseok in every cycle, something Yoongi does not know. And it makes sense—this is a new life, after all. They are both new people. 

But if there’s one thing that stays the same then it’s his laugh and his smile and how he’s able to wrap around Yoongi like the warmth of the early summer sun, shining golden and bright, and beautiful. 

How Hoseok is still summer, again and again, even if he is born a child of the winter. He is summer in his laugh and his smile and the cozy look in his eyes when he gazes at something with soft, soft fond. He has always been summer, even in the dead of winter. 

Yoongi smiles, because at least that has never changed. 

And it is difficult, of course it is, for Yoongi to look at Hoseok every single time after the slate has been wiped clean. They are strangers yet again and Yoongi may know of Hoseok’s name, may know of his face, but he doesn’t know him, exactly, and so it is a beginning, a start. For the both of them. 

Wash, rinse, repeat. 

Yoongi doesn’t mind. 

“No,” Yoongi tells him, meeting Hoseok’s curious gaze with his own. “Not before the cafe, we haven’t.” 

Oh, but the dances they’ve danced, and the songs they’ve sung, and all the sunsets and sunrises they’ve seen together. 

It is difficult to put all of those memories aside. To tuck them back into a drawer. But Yoongi does, because he doesn’t need access to them, now. Not when Hoseok is here again, not when today marks a new start. 

Hoseok smiles at him, soft and gentle, and Yoongi pretends like his heart isn’t racing a mile a minute and the both of them—the both of them spend a quiet autumn afternoon at the park, amusing themselves with the playful little puppy that bounces up to Yoongi one second, and Hoseok the next. 

 

 

"Hey," Namjoon is doing that exact thing Yoongi hate. He’s hovering over Yoongi's bed, a look in his eyes that screams he hasn't slept a wink at all the other night, and the smile on his face hardly apologetic when he successfully rouses Yoongi from sleep. "Tell me something.” 

Yoongi cracks an eye open, sees that Namjoon has no intention at all to leave him alone, and groans out his discomfort. He tries to swipe at Namjoon, mumble something along the lines of fuck off or I'm going to push you into a life-sized blender, but it's useless, Namjoon's not budging at all, and so Yoongi forces himself to wake up if only for the excruciating five seconds that Namjoon needs. 

"What the fuck do you need?" it probably would sound much more threatening if Yoongi isn't so bogged down by sleep, if he's not half-murmuring his words, and not yawning every other five syllables. 

The bed dips by his feet, Namjoon finally sitting down now that Yoongi's awake. At least he waits for that—but everything else, no such luck. 

Namjoon doesn't say anything for a few moments and Yoongi is about to literally kick him off the bed when Namjoon clears his throat, swallows past a yawn, and continues, "I read something interesting today. Or, tonight, if you want to be more specific.”

Yoongi squints at him. Tries to tell him that this is nowhere near okay and that if Namjoon even so much as values his life then he'll leave because Yoongi has no qualms about poisoning his milk. All the milk, Yoongi doesn't care. It’s just Namjoon who scarfs down all the cereal, anyway. 

"But it's also past three, so I guess...This morning?" Namjoon pauses, fingers tapping incessantly against Yoongi's knee. Yoongi stirs, far too tired now that he's just only sort of awake to do anything but grumble at Namjoon. 

"What is it?" Yoongi asks, voice sleep heavy and thick. "Get on with it.” 

"Listen," Namjoon repeats, voice excited. Like he's got the best story to tell, like the only person who deserves to hear it is Yoongi. Like he's just broken through the space time continuum. That. And for his sake, Yoongi hopes he's just broken through the natural laws of physics and managed to alter time and space as they know it, if not, then there's going to be a lot of shredding to do tomorrow. 

"There's this interesting myth," Namjoon is talking too loudly for three in the morning, but Yoongi supposes that that's exactly what a caffeine rush does to you. "Well, not exactly a myth. Of sorts, anyway. Plato, from The Symposium. It's interesting, really. Greek mythology, about people being born with four arms, four legs, and a head with two faces.” 

“That sounds like a,” Yoongi pauses. Yawns. Shifts around on the bed some more until he finally has the energy to lift his head up to look at Namjoon. Hopefully stare him down enough to run him out of the room. “Like a goddamn nightmare.” which is exactly what Yoongi thinks he’s having, because Namjoon is still talking, hands gesticulating in the air wildly. 

“No, it’s pretty interesting. It’s two people,” and Namjoon is about to say something else, Yoongi just knows, but then he stops. Takes a sharp inhale, and then reaches over the other side of the bed to grab at something. Yoongi can’t see from this angle—and his eyes are half closed again, sleep coming so easily to him, now. 

“Hold on,” Namjoon scoots over farther up the bed until he’s literally just inches away from Yoongi’s head, the confused scowl on his face hilarious if it were anything but three in the fucking morning. “This is my scarf. What happened?”

Like a child that’s just realised his parents had eaten all their Halloween candy. 

Yoongi blinks at the scarf—at the obvious grass strains and the paw prints, all muddy and messy on one corner of it. 

“That’s not a scarf,” Yoongi squints at the scarf. Yep, that’s the same exact scarf he’d laid out in the park just yesterday. “That’s a blanket.”

A sound between a whine and a groan rips out of Namjoon’s throat. “This is my scarf,” 

“Sure,” Yoongi turns to his side, tugging on his blanket. He tugs hard enough to knock Namjoon off the bed, an assured little smile on his face. Namjoon doesn’t catch it, the younger boy far too busy with his ruined scarf. “It’s yours so you should go wash it.” 

“What were you even doing?” Namjoon pushes himself off of the floor, and Yoongi can’t see him, his back turned, but he’s pretty sure Namjoon’s doing something completely unnecessary—like cradling the scarf, a fucking scarf, for fuck’s sake. 

Yoongi just burrows even deeper under his blanket, tugging it completely over his head. He should have done this the very second Namjoon had stormed into his room. 

“Good night, Joon,” Yoongi is sleepy enough that the familiar childhood nickname slips out of him without any second thought. 

“Fine,” Namjoon stops his quiet seething and instead just sighs. “You owe me a new one.” 

Sure, Yoongi thinks, but doesn’t say, because he’s halfway back into sleep again. So fucking tired from all the nights he’s hardly slept. From all the nights he’s spent just staring at his ceiling, tossing and turning. 

He hears Namjoon walking towards the door, and if Yoongi wasn’t so sleepy, he would have heard Namjoon’s quiet, good night, hyung. 

The door clicks to a shut and Yoongi lets out a soft sigh, sleep wrapping around him as quickly as Namjoon had woken him up—woken him up just to tell him about creatures with four arms and four legs and two faces, and that’s absurd.

It’s a nightmare, but then again, so are Namjoon’s reading preferences.

 

 

When Yoongi walks into the cafe, the last thing he expects to see is Hoseok sat all the way in the corner, surrounded by dozens of coloured paper and other art supplies Yoongi can’t quite pick up from where he’s standing. 

The bell hanging just above the door chimes at Yoongi’s arrival and Namjoon raises his head from behind the bar to grin at him, his hi, hyung swallowed up by the whistling of the blender behind him. 

Namjoon notices just where Yoongi’s eyes are trained and his grin turns into a playful little smirk when Yoongi finally steps up to the counter. “So,” Namjoon starts, turning quickly to look at Hoseok and then back at Yoongi. “Tell me something about that.” 

That sounds an awful lot like what Namjoon had just yelled into his ear a few nights ago. Yoongi cringes at the mere memory of it and insists that he get an iced latte, now, or else he’s going to have to speak to a manager.

Namjoon just snorts out a laugh and rolls his eyes. “Sure, but you said you’d wait for me to clock out before we went to dinner with Jin hyung, and there are no other tables here but that one, so.” 

And that so hangs in the air between them, so annoying Yoongi wishes he were able to just snip it away with a pair of scissors. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. He’s stuck with an annoying friend for a roommate (and, Yoongi dreads, a companion throughout his adulthood. How fucking charming, stuck with Kim Namjoon) and an irritating barista. What more can Yoongi ask for, really? 

“Do you know him?” Namjoon asks, jiggling Yoongi’s ice filled cup in front of his face. He’s having too much fun just fucking around with Yoongi’s drink. Great. “I know him, he’s nice.” 

Yoongi rolls his eyes. Of course he is. Of course Yoongi knows. “Sure, we met at the park,” probably the wrong thing to say, given how Namjoon had all but thrown a fit over his scandalised scarf, but it’s out and Namjoon catches on to it so quick Yoongi doesn’t even have time to backtrack or take anything back anymore. 

Not that he wants to.

Yoongi’s not quite prone to lying. He’s realised after so many years and so many lives and so many eras that the best way to approach things is through the truth—quick and hard and sharp. 

“Is that why my scarf—“ Namjoon’s mouth hangs open like a fish and Yoongi shrugs a shoulder, innocent a gesture enough before he swipes at his finished cup of iced coffee in Namjoon’s hand. He doesn’t even give Namjoon time to finish that one sentence because already Yoongi is walking away from the counter.

Yoongi stops a few tables away from Hoseok, surveying the entire cafe—Namjoon had been right. There’s no other table available. And it’s not like he can just pull out a chair or anything and ask if he can sit with a complete stranger—although Seokjin may say otherwise. Always good for meeting new people. Right. If he was Seokjin then that’d be great, but he’s not, so Yoongi settles with this—hoping to god that someone stands up just to give him their chair. 

Nobody does, but Yoongi doesn’t even have to wait for long because Hoseok spots him, a look of complete familiarity now evident on his face as he waves Yoongi over to his table.

Yoongi really is never one to deny Hoseok of anything. He’s not very good at that. So he makes his way over to Hoseok’s table, crowded with not a dozen sheets of coloured paper but maybe even more. Two dozen. Three. Yoongi can’t count, there’s too much. He’s got a pair of scissors and a large plastic tub by his feet, too. What that’s for, Yoongi’s not too sure. 

But he thinks he’ll find out soon, Hoseok already gesturing for the empty chair just across from him.

“Yoongi, hey, it’s you again,” Hoseok greets. 

Orange hair. Bright eyes. Warm smile.

Check. Check. Check. 

Yoongi plops down on the offered seat, lowers his bag to the floor, careful not to knock Hoseok’s little plastic bin aside, and then sets his coffee on the table. He returns the warm smile with his own. 

His smiles are less shaky now around Hoseok. He’s not stumbling over his words all that much. He’s not—he’s not nervous, or at least, that’s what Yoongi thinks, anyway. But it’s very hard not to be nervous in front of Hoseok. 

And it’s stupid, honestly, for Yoongi to feel like a fifth grader with a massive crush on a sixth grader. It’s absolutely stupid and Yoongi has lived enough lives with Hoseok to know that there is no need to feel like this. But Yoongi does, anyway. Butterflies in his stomach. They’re a familiar sensation, an old friend that Yoongi’s quite missed.

They’re back, knocking against his insides, butterfly wings fluttering. 

“Hi,” is what Yoongi starts with, because that’s always a good place to start. "Sorry, there was nowhere else to sit.”

"I think we need to stop apologising to each other," Hoseok is worrying on his lower lip. Concentrating, Yoongi thinks. Hoseok grabs a yellow sheet of paper—origami paper, Yoongi notices—and starts to work around it, adept hands easily folding through the bright yellow piece of paper until he gets what he wants. The furrow in his brows is lifted and Hoseok smiles again, more triumphant this time when he sets the small, yellow paper crane on the palm of his hand. "Besides, Mickey likes you enough and he doesn't really warm up to others all that much.” 

Yoongi's eyes are transfixed on the paper crane that sits on Hoseok's hand. It's an odd thing to do at a cafe, but then again, Yoongi doesn't quite know what constitutes as odd when it comes to Hoseok, so instead he just stares at it, blinking at the paper crane like he's trying to make sense of it.

This is the answer to Yoongi's quiet question—about all the different coloured paper strewn across Hoseok's table. About the plastic bin by his feet. About the look of mild concentration on his face. 

"That's a paper crane," Yoongi observes. A rather dumb observation because it very well can't be a fucking duck, can it? 

"Yep," Hoseok grins, setting the yellow crane down on the table. He reaches for his coffee, takes a quick sip from it, and makes a face. "It's not hot anymore. Do you think Namjoonie would give me a free refill?"

Yoongi thinks Hoseok can ask for the moon and the stars and somehow, someway, the universe will find a way to deliver. 

"I can ask for you," Yoongi offers, rather lamely. He feels the telltale spikes of a blush, his face suddenly warm. "I know Namjoon.” 

"Oh, right, he talks about you," 

Yoongi is about to walk towards the bar when he's stopped by what Hoseok had just said. He lowers himself back down on the chair, a grimace on his face, now. "Why?" 

"Never said your name, really, but he grumbles about this one hyung, and I don't know, I just assumed. Maybe," the smile on Hoseok's face is completely sheepish. A little between amused and sorry, if ever his assumption is wrong.

It's not. 

 "Maybe," Yoongi says instead of actually confirming it, if only to tease Hoseok.

And it's worth it just to see Hoseok’s eyes widening for a second, his mouth popping open into a small o of worry. 

Hoseok doesn't apologise to him, though Yoongi is pretty sure he's damn close to. Instead, Yoongi just diverts the topic back to the paper crane, because although it isn't exactly odd, it is a curious thing. 

"What're you doing?" Yoongi asks, tapping the wing of the first paper crane gently, cautious enough is he that he doesn't want to rumple it. Ruin it. 

"Paper cranes," Hoseok explains, pushing away his stale coffee. He grabs for the red paper now, and very slowly starts to fold it. "Look, it's really easy, I can teach you," 

Yoongi really needs to stop blanking out in front of Hoseok, but he can't help it. Can't help how he’s so fucking enthralled by the boy, catching on to every word he says, everything he does. Yoongi is as charmed as anyone can be. 

Or maybe he just has a crush on Hoseok. 

That's another curious thing, isn't it, Yoongi crushing on Hoseok given their history. Given all that he remembers.

Fuck all that he remembers. All that he knows, all the hurt that Yoongi had to fight tooth and nail through. That was then, and this is now, and all that matters to Yoongi is the present, that Hoseok is here with him. 

It's all that really matters, now that he's got him. 

Now that. Now that the world is a little bit kinder, a little bit easier (brought about by modern technology, who would've thought?). 

They've got time, after all. 

"Okay, but let me get you fresh coffee, at least," and Yoongi definitely has a crush on Hoseok. It's okay, it's fine, Yoongi doesn't mind. He welcomes it; the nerves and the butterflies, and his gut feeling starting to kick in. He welcomes them again like old friends who've come a long, long way just to see him again.

Hoseok's smile is too bright for this cafe. It's too bright for five in the afternoon—the sun is just about to set, the soft orange glow cascading through the large glass windows. But perhaps the sun is beginning to set earlier now because of Hoseok. Because of Hoseok's smile. 

"Thanks," Hoseok sets the red paper crane down and makes to do with his third while he waits for Yoongi who successfully manages to annoy Namjoon enough to give him that free cup of coffee. 

"Please, I wouldn't want to interrupt," Namjoon says with all the contempt he can muster. He watches as Yoongi plucks the freshly brewed cup of coffee from his hands and then sighs. "Right, now aren't you at least a little bit thankful I took this job?"

"You can shove those beans right up--" 

"I was fucking joking, jesus christ, don't get me fired," 

And with that, Yoongi makes his way back to the table, an extra bounce in his step. 

"Hey, you did it," Hoseok beams, carefully pushing aside a few of the paper cranes. He's managed to fold four more during the time Yoongi had been away. "Thanks." 

Yoongi nods. Grabs for the yellow paper crane and very carefully sits it on top of his palm. It's a simple paper crane, something Yoongi had done when he was much, much younger during art class. 

Hoseok passes him a piece of blue origami paper that Yoongi takes, eyes trained on Hoseok when the boy starts to fold, showing Yoongi exactly where he should begin, which corners to tuck first. 

"See, it's easy," Hoseok says, presenting his paper crane.

Yoongi's is less of a crane and more like a deceased bird. 

Hoseok laughs. 

Yoongi smiles, wry. 

"You'll get the hang of it," and instead of discarding Yoongi's failed attempt, Hoseok plucks it out of his hand and sets it amidst all his other finished ones. 

"That's ugly," Yoongi isn't even going to beat around the bush. It is ugly. "I could try again—“

Hoseok cuts him off. "No, no, this is fine. I'll count this one into my little pile," here Hoseok starts to drop the paper cranes into his little plastic bin. 

"How many are you making?" and it's probably a stupid question, if the look on Hoseok's face is anything to go by, but—but then a second passes and Hoseok is  back to staring a little bit too fondly at the lone yellow crane left in the middle of the table. 

"A thousand, that's how it works," Hoseok says, picking the yellow crane up and instead of dropping it into the bin with everything else—with Yoongi's ugly excuse of a folded paper crane, even=-he pushes it back to Yoongi. "And then you get a wish. You know about that one legend, right?" 

And there is a brightness in his face and a light in his eyes that Yoongi will probably never forget, because this is Hoseok, now, and he's as beautiful as he was before. Even more so, Yoongi thinks—though that can hardly be possible, given that Hoseok has always been the single most beautiful thing Yoongi's ever laid eyes on. 

This might be one of those rare exceptions, though. One Yoongi can gladly accept. 

"Yeah," Yoongi finally nods his head. Drops his gaze from Hoseok's face to look at the paper crane again. 

"You can have that," and before Yoongi even knows what's happening, Hoseok is already packing his things, art supplies slipping back into his bag. He doesn't make a move to get up yet, though. Like he's waiting for Yoongi to say something. Anything, maybe. "That doesn't have my number or anything, I swear—not being sleazy.”

It is Yoongi's turn to laugh. Loud, surprised, caught off guard. He shakes his head in amusement and waits for his laughter to subside. When it does, he reaches towards the yellow crane. Picks it up carefully by its head. 

"Unfortunately," 

And. 

And an oh is what he hears from Hoseok, the boy suddenly red in the face.

It is too late to take that back now, though, and even with Yoongi's cheeks burning up, he still sticks with it. 

"Hold on," Hoseok lowers his bag down, fishes into his coat pockets for his phone, and then holds it up with a nervous little grin when he finally finds it. 

"I mean," Yoongi takes Hoseok's phone, anyway, wraps his fingers around it. "I didn't mean that like that, like—fuck, what I'm trying to say is, if you don't want to, then--" 

"I'm hearing a sorry there," Hoseok scrunches up his nose. "And it's okay. I kinda," a little bit of vague gesturing here, Hoseok's cheeks now a dusty pink. "I was kinda just coming around to actually asking you for it.” 

And there is another oh here, this time from Yoongi who passes his phone back to Hoseok, who in turn smiles at him, shyer, now. 

"Would you mind if I texted?" Hoseok asks. 

There are very few things Yoongi will mind when it comes to Hoseok, and Hoseok actually reaching out to him. Wanting to talk to him. It doesn't even make the cut of things Yoongi actually minds—far from it, even.

"No," Yoongi returns his smile. Hopes to god he doesn't look like a goddamn idiot like this. Like he's floundering around for the words he want to say, trying to gather enough to make it work. To get his thoughts across. But instead, he's faced with a road block the size of one Jung Hoseok. And Yoongi. 

He doesn't really mind. 

"I don't mind." 

Hoseok slips his phone back into his pocket, grabs for his bag, and says, "Okay, great, I was hoping for that." 

And if Namjoon overhears Yoongi's quiet I'll see you and sees Hoseok beaming at Yoongi, then he doesn't say anything, just hangs back by the counter. Waits for Hoseok to walk out the door before he makes his way to Yoongi's newly vacated table. 

"You look happy," Namjoon comments rather offhandedly.

Yoongi snaps out of it, tucks the yellow crane into a safe pocket in his bag, careful not to crumple it, bend it, tear it, and stands too fast he almost knocks his head against Namjoon's. 

"I look hungry," Yoongi corrects, staring pointedly at the door. "Let's go.”

Namjoon snickers behind him, amused. "Whatever you say." 

 

 

Dinner with Namjoon and Seokjin don't go exactly as planned, and Yoongi is only saying that because there is never a plan whenever the three of them are involved. As in, they had just stood around for what seemed to Yoongi as too long a time for three people who are supposed to go to dinner should. 

In the end, Seokjin had just dragged a bickering Yoongi and Namjoon to one of his favourite sushi places. None of them had disagreed and so here they are, having a nice and quiet dinner.

Or, Yoongi wishes, anyway, because it's never a quiet affair, Namjoon and Seokjin. Throw Yoongi into the mix and it's only a matter of time before they all end up back at the brownstone, tripping over books Namjoon had left on the floor, and fighting over who gets to sleep on the bed—and this is stupid because it's a brownstone, there's more than enough rooms for a guest like Seokjin, but then again, the older boy always makes the same argument. That the bed in the guest bedroom just isn't as good as the beds Yoongi and Namjoon have. 

But, that isn't until a few hours from now. 

Now, it's just sushi and easy, light conversation.

Until, of course, Namjoon brings up the little exchange he'd seen right before they'd left. Right before Hoseok had left. 

"Who?" Seokjin asks, tapping his chopsticks impatiently against the side of Yoongi's plate. 

Yoongi doesn't even bother to reply. Instead, he just leans across the table to take one of Namjoon's sashimi slices. 

"NYU, I think?" Namjoon briefly throws Yoongi a dirty look before he turns to Seokjin again. "Either that or Parsons. I think he's in Fine Arts," 

"How'd you know that?" Yoongi finally breaks his own silence with a question he hadn't had the time to turn over and think. 

"He comes to the cafe a lot," Namjoon takes a piece of sushi from Yoongi's plate. He levels Yoongi with a stare that plain as day just says, we're even, now. "Draws sometimes. Origami, too.” 

At the mention of origami, Yoongi's heart all but skips a beat. Well, it makes sense now, doesn't it, for Hoseok to be so good at the art of Origami—if he's a student of the arts then it's not so much as a surprise now as it is to be expected, for him to easily pick it up. 

"What's his name again?" and Yoongi doesn't like how all the attention is suddenly back on him, how even Seokjin's curious, now, the older boy's eyes bright. 

It's the type of bright that Yoongi can't quite put his finger on. A mix between curiosity and the want to just tease Yoongi. Perhaps it is both, he's known Seokjin long enough to know how he is, what he's like. 

"Hoseok," Yoongi says, throwing a rather pointed look at Namjoon. "And that's it. Topic close. Moving on.” 

Dinner is always something they do on Fridays, no matter how busy they get. College isn't exactly easy. It's demanding. It comes with a lot of work. But this, their small circle of three, is always a good reminder that there is always time to step away from how hectic the world is and just. Well, enjoy the time spent with good company.

And Yoongi is thankful for the both of them. 

Yoongi being—well, being how he is, it’s not uncommon for him to find friends along the way. But this, with Seokjin and Namjoon. It is a rare and special thing that Yoongi thinks he will remember for a long, long time.

So the topic shifts. From Yoongi to Namjoon and how surprisingly well he is doing at his job. 

“Not that I was expecting you to fail,” Seokjin snickers behind his cup. “But knowing you.” and here he mentions a few of the times Namjoon has been anything but careful with fine china and anything and everything breakable. 

“He broke my favourite mug,” Yoongi says with a little sniffle. It was his favourite mug for a reason and Namjoon had.

Namjoon had just dropped it. Exhibit A. 

“Also broke three dishes trying to wash them that one time,” Seokjin adds. 

At Seokjin’s place, Namjoon insisting he wash the dishes, it was the least he could do. Exhibit B. 

“Okay, fine,” Namjoon rolls his eyes. “Both of you are assholes and I’m not paying for anything tonight.” 

But he still pays for it, anyway. Nobody forces him, Seokjin and Yoongi more than ready to foot the bill themselves. Namjoon takes it before it even hits the table and that’s that. 

Outside, with Seokjin a couple of steps away from the both of them—he claims the smoke bothers him but Yoongi is pretty sure that’s a lie. Seokjin’s smoked before, albeit it was a bad habit he had tried to hide. Probably trying to kill, now, if the twitching of his fingers is anything to go by. 

“My mom’s visiting next weekend,” Seokjin mentions once they’ve tripped into a bar. It’s a quiet one. Too quiet for a Friday but they’re not complaining. This is how they like things to be. No writhing bodies, the bass thrumming against their ears, and no pulsating lights. Just—just a quiet place for them to drink. And drink. And drink some more. 

“You guys should come over,” Seokjin buys the first round of drinks. They have a system, see. Namjoon usually covers dinner. Seokjin most of the drinks after. And Yoongi—well, Yoongi is the one who always ends up calling a pizza place well past midnight, waiting on the stoop for the delivery because he’s got friends too drunk too function. 

Or, in the cases where Yoongi is the friend who’s too drunk to function—then his credit card. 

Namjoon downs his first drink, the cup clattering against the glass surface of the table. “Sure.” he waves a waiter over for their second rounds, gesturing for both Seokjin and Yoongi to get theirs over with already because there’s a lot of drinks to be had tonight and not nearly enough time, given how Namjoon is still expected to come into work at ten on the dot tomorrow. “After work is fine, yeah,” 

Yoongi nods his head, though a little bit distracted now with his phone buzzing in his pocket. He makes to grab for it, but is distracted briefly by Seokjin talking, again—about his mother and everything that she expects him to do with her while she’s back in the city. 

“It’s not like I don’t have classes,” Seokjin reaches for his second shot—they’re taking it easy tonight, Namjoon had said. Because there is still work for some of them. Why they’re doing shots, Yoongi has no idea. 

If this is Namjoon’s definition of taking it easy then Yoongi’s pretty sure the boy won’t be able to wake up on time for work tomorrow. 

The thought alone makes him snicker. 

“Skip class, your professor loves you,” there is a slur in Namjoon’s voice, the alcohol slowly creeping its way up and around him. 

And Yoongi has no idea how they’ve managed to get from their first round to their fifth so quickly, but he doesn’t care. It’s been a stressful week—demanding professors who all seem to hate Yoongi, papers that need to be written, and a research that needs to be conducted. Not that he’s making any progress on anything. 

His phone buzzes again and this time, Yoongi quickly ducks out of the conversation to check it. He also manages to somehow pass his own drink to Namjoon, who downs his own and then Yoongi’s, with no complain at all. Nothing. 

Seeing Hoseok’s name flash on Yoongi’s screen is something new, of sorts. 

They’ve never really had phones before, per se. Or, at least, the type of phones that they have now, so it catches him by surprise. He can’t help but smile at that because—because this is new and—and it’s nice, it really is. 

Hoseok’s sent him a flurry of emojis and one short hi that’s followed a few minutes after with a photo of Yoongi’s less than presentable paper crane. It sits in the middle of what Yoongi can only assume as a hundred, maybe. There’s too many but he’s easily able to identify his own handiwork. Easy to see a terribly folded crane in the middle of all of Hoseok’s neatly folded ones. Nearly perfect ones. 

A short it’s part of the family now is all that Hoseok captions the photo, and Yoongi’s heart can’t help but swell at that, all of a sudden the drumming of his heart sounding a lot like Hoseok’s name, again and again. 

As for Yoongi’s reply—it comes much, much later into the night. Or early in the morning, if one was being technical. 

It comes after he’s tucked Namjoon into bed. In the guest bedroom, because Seokjin’s won the argument tonight. It comes after he slurs out his good night to Seokjin, waving the older boy off when Yoongi steps into his own room. Hears the door click shut. It comes when Yoongi finally, finally sets the yellow paper crane Hoseok had first folded in front of Yoongi from early that afternoon on top of his bedside drawer. 

It comes in the form of another photo, of Hoseok’s one lone paper crane just underneath the lamp, a simple text of this one’s home the last thing he sends before his head hits the pillow and sleep overtakes him. 

 

 

There are no new texts from Hoseok until the next Wednesday when the boy asks if he’s up for another round of Origami.

Yoongi isn’t even ashamed to say that he’d replied within seconds of getting the text. 

And Yoongi gets better at it—much, much better than his first attempt, anyway. And soon the Origami folding sessions turn into playing catch up at a cafe, and even that eventually turns into dinner. 

Nothing happens. Just conversation, just two people talking. It’s all they ever do and Yoongi doesn’t mind in the least. He thinks he can listen to Hoseok talk about all the different colours of blue, all the colours his brave, young heart can want, for an entire day. Or maybe two, three. Maybe more. 

It’s when Yoongi stumbles back home after coffee with Hoseok that Namjoon turns to him, a spatula in hand, and asks if there’s some sort of advancement he needs to hear about. 

There’s nothing. 

“Are you guys dating?” Namjoon asks, turning back to the meal at hand—scrambled eggs. That’s it, that’s what Namjoon’s having for dinner. Great. Yoongi is even more relieved now, to have opted to eat out. 

“No,” Yoongi says, hanging his scarf on the rack right by the door. Off goes his coat, too, and his shoes. “And why do you care?”

“No reason,” Namjoon tilts the contents of the pan into a bowl, turns the stove off, and admires his handiwork with a pleased smile. “Are you guys still doing the—erm, what was it. Origami thing? Your hands.” 

Quite observant, Namjoon is. On days that Yoongi doesn’t need him to be, god. 

But he isn’t wrong. Yoongi’s hands are littered with paper cuts, from all the folding, from the dozens of paper cranes he’s managed to do with Hoseok over the course of their short few weeks together. 

“I told you he was nice,” Namjoon plops himself down onto the couch, scoops a spoonful of egg into his mouth, chews, swallows, and then continues. “But I’m still curious about one thing,” 

Yoongi props open one of the larger windows on the first floor. Throws a leg out and lets it dangle—and even if he falls, it’s not such a long way down. He’ll survive with barely a sprain. 

“What is it?” Yoongi asks, attention divided as he tries to light a cigarette. It’s starting to get cold. 

Namjoon makes a show of shivering, though Yoongi is pretty sure the thick sweater he’s got on will be enough for the next ten minutes. 

“You were kind of crying when you saw him that first time.” Namjoon’s voice is quieter, now. Softer, like he doesn’t want to rattle Yoongi too much.

Yoongi remembers the look on Namjoon’s face, then. The feel of his hand around his, warm. Squeezing. It had trembled just the slightest bit. A friend worried over his friend. Instead of annoyance, or a simple shrug that could easily clear the current topic, Yoongi says, “It was allergies, Joonie.”

At the familiar nickname, Namjoon scrunches up his nose and mumbles something under his breath about revoking Yoongi’s right to use that name. 

“Never,” Yoongi laughs, flicking his cigarette out of the window. His socked feet are starting to get a little bit too chilly. It is eight in the evening already and they are halfway through autumn. It’s only natural the nights grow longer.

He pulls the window closed, checks on his phone for any messages, and smiles, because there’s one from Hoseok. Just a photo of himself and Mickey, the small dog asleep on his chest. 

They’re seeing the end of autumn and feeling the first few puffs of cold winter air. It’s going to be turning colder, soon. 

And Yoongi, well, Yoongi thinks he’ll be fine. He’s warm enough as it is, now. 

 

 

With Seokjin’s mother visiting, both Yoongi and Namjoon are roped into playing the role of being the good friends that they are, which gives Yoongi barely enough time for class and the usual cup of coffee with Hoseok in the afternoon.

So he skips out on coffee for a few days, explains to Hoseok. Talks to him, of course, and Hoseok understands, says that it’s okay and there’s far too many more opportunities for coffee anyway, especially with the shifting seasons. 

It takes him exactly a week later before he sees Hoseok again, and this time, it’s nothing they’ve planned. He sees Hoseok in SoHo, the younger boy walking down a street unhurriedly, though his pink cheeks suggest that he’s feeling a tad bit colder than usual. 

Yoongi stops him with a small hi and a smile that he hopes is alright, is okay. A smile that doesn’t make him look too daft.

Hoseok is caught by surprise, nearly stumbling on the even ground. Yoongi steadies him with a hand around his wrist, pulling Hoseok a few steps away from the bike rack he’d almost collided with. 

“Sometimes, I think this city’s too big,” Hoseok says, in lieu of a greeting. “But then I run into you, and think otherwise. That, or we both just live around the neighbourhood.” 

When Hoseok laughs, it’s refreshing and warm enough that Yoongi thinks he could do with a lighter coat. 

He hasn’t realised how much he’s missed hearing Hoseok’s laugh until today. That, or Yoongi is always, always missing a part of Hoseok and being with him again only amplifies just what exactly he’d had to live without. 

It’s been a week, god, and here Yoongi is, worried. But—but he’s resigned himself to thinking that whatever this may be between them, he’ll let it run its course. Let it flow how it should. However Hoseok would like for it to be, because Yoongi is just content being with him. Being around him. Hearing him laugh and smile and—and god, he’s still got his hand around Hoseok’s wrist, he realises too late. 

“Worried you would crash into the stop sign,” Yoongi excuses rather lamely, but Hoseok just grins at him, like Yoongi almost, almost holding his hand is a welcome activity. Yoongi can only hope, anyway. 

Now that they’re both walking, no actual destination in mind, just the company that they’ve both missed out on for the last week, Yoongi thinks back to what Hoseok had said. The city isn’t exactly the smallest one out there—too many people come and go. And yet here they are, bumping into each other on the street again. 

It had started in the cafe, and in the park, and—and Yoongi shouldn’t be surprised by this, by how the universe works. It is a strange and beautiful thing, the universe. How she is able to wave her hands over two people, snap her fingers, and somehow, someway, manage to have them both walk along the same street. 

That, or Yoongi is just delirious, but his history is one that leaves that possibility open. Nothing else will explain the coincidence.

Or perhaps it is all just happenstance.

Whatever it is, Yoongi is just thankful. Bumping into Hoseok is never something Yoongi would ever complain about. Never.

“Where are you off to?” Yoongi asks, noticing the paper bag, and the lack of art supplies Hoseok’s always toting around. “Is that bread?” 

It smells a lot like bread.

Hoseok offers one to Yoongi, who takes a still-warm bun out, his amusement coming out through a little snort. 

“I was at a friend’s bakery. She lets me use the ovens sometimes, when it’s not too busy,” Hoseok watches Yoongi intently as Yoongi takes his first bite out of the bun.

It’s good—sweet but not too much, or too heavy, and. “Is this red bean?” 

Hoseok nods, his grin too wide to be contained.

Yoongi smiles back at him. Shakes his head slightly in disbelief, and says, “Just what are you, Jung Hoseok?” 

Hoseok’s laughter follows them all the way from the street until they’re both warmer underground, waiting for the train. 

“Didn’t they say art students can get a little bit coo-coo?” Hoseok bumps their shoulders casually, in the familiar way that friends do.

And Yoongi supposes that they are. Friends, now. Really, friends. 

“If you’re baiting me into calling you crazy, then it’s not going to work. Namjoon’s a psych major, I’ve had practice.” Although. Although Yoongi has called Namjoon fucking crazy on more than one occasion. On all the occasions, actually. That serves as practice, right? 

Right. 

“Well, this is my line,” Hoseok points to the oncoming train cart. 

Yoongi realises a tad bit too late that he’s supposed to be on the other side of the platform, for all the other trains going downtown. Fuck. Well. 

“Hey, about the bakery, and the oven,” Yoongi is choosing his words more carefully, now. So careful that it takes him a few moments until he actually composes himself enough to continue.

By the time that he does, the subway has already stopped and there is an influx of people going in and out. He looks up, in search for Hoseok. Doesn’t see him, and for a split second Yoongi thinks Hoseok had already gone without a goodbye, or even a see you. 

But Hoseok hasn’t, he’s here, his hand clamping around Yoongi’s arm, and pulling him away from the rush hour mob. Yoongi stumbles against Hoseok’s side, the both of them standing close together. Too close.

“You’re going to miss your train,” Yoongi doesn’t shake his hand out of Hoseok’s grip nor does he step away from him. He just turns to look at Hoseok, hair tucked underneath a beanie, and—

And Hoseok looks at him, a small, curious smile on his face. Yoongi can’t quite place it, not yet. 

“You were saying something,” Hoseok says, fingers unlatching from around Yoongi’s wrist. He doesn’t make a move to rush into the subway and so the both of them just stand back, watching as the doors close, as the subway rushes past. 

It will be another three, or five, maybe, minutes until the next one. 

“Right,” Yoongi hates how he’s practically tripping over his own words, how the tell-tale blush on his cheeks is giving away how casual he wants this to go. 

Hoseok always did have a way with him, always managed to rattle Yoongi. Shake him up. And every time Yoongi is sure he’ll be better, he isn’t. Not when he has to squint sometimes when Hoseok smiles too big, too wide. Too fucking bright. Not when his heart still does somersaults whenever Hoseok so much as says his name.

“We have an oven at home,” Yoongi says, eyes darting quickly to look at the paper bag in Hoseok’s arms, and then back up at his face. “If your friend’s place isn’t available,”

“You live with Namjoon, right?”

“Yeah, but I just pretend I don’t and everything is suddenly much better.” Yoongi at least manages a grin this time and Hoseok chuckles. 

“Okay,” Hoseok says, walking back over to the front of the platform. “I’ll take you up on that offer.” 

“We have enough room,” at the brownstone, Yoongi doesn’t say, because that’s exactly what Namjoon says all the goddamn time and Yoongi would rather not, really. 

“And enough closets we can shove Namjoonie in?” Hoseok’s smile is far too nice for his choice of words.

“Right,” Yoongi says, just as the platform is suddenly filled with rushing air from the oncoming train.

Before it stops completely, and before the platform is filled with the second batch of rush-hour foot traffic, Hoseok makes a move to reach for Yoongi. But he doesn’t, stops himself before his fingers find hold of anything—of Yoongi’s elbow, his wrist, his shoulders, Yoongi doesn’t know, because Hoseok stops himself before he can actually do anything. Before Yoongi realises. 

“I’ll take you up on that offer,” Hoseok says instead, the grin that he flashes not enough of an explanation from what he was about to do. How close they had been all of a sudden again. “I’ll see you soon, yeah?”

“Bye.” Yoongi raises his hand in a small, halfhearted wave, watching as Hoseok throws him one last smile over his shoulder, eyes practically twinkling when he walks into the train cart.

Right, there’s that, however odd that had been, whatever Hoseok was trying to do. 

With a quick scan on the schedule, Yoongi hurriedly makes his way back up the stairs, legs straining to take them two at a time, because his goddamn train is across Hoseok’s platform, and he’s got barely two minutes left before its arrival.

Yoongi misses his train just by a second but that’s alright, at least he’s even with Hoseok, now. 

 

 

The sound of the front door opening alerts Yoongi of Namjoon’s arrival, the younger boy shuffling out of his coat, and kicking off his shoes by the doorway. Yoongi looks up briefly from the book he’s reading to greet Namjoon.

“Hey, what’s that smell?” Namjoon asks, lowering his bag down on the chair opposite of Yoongi. 

“The oven,” Yoongi says off handedly, flipping to the next page in his book. 

He’s spared actually explaining just exactly what’s happening when Hoseok walks out of the kitchen, an apron tied around his waist, and his face smeared with flour, a smudge of chocolate just by his cheek.

Yoongi thanks all of his lucky stars for the amount of self restraint he holds and also for the fact that Hoseok’s noticed the smudge, quickly wiping it away with the back of his hand. Yoongi had been so, so close to just walking up to him and wiping it away himself. Thank god for his lucky stars. 

“Hoseok’s here,” Namjoon points out the obvious, shooting Yoongi a rather amused look before he flashes a grin at Hoseok. “Is he burning down the kitchen?” 

“No, that’s your job.” Yoongi decides at this point that he is going nowhere with studying and chooses instead to just close his book. Sets it back on the table and joins the other two in whatever conversation Namjoon had decided to strike with Hoseok.

So much for studying. But then again, what had Yoongi expected, anyway, to be able to concentrate enough on revising when he’s got Hoseok pattering around in the kitchen. An adorable notion, but a hopeless one, nevertheless. 

They all make their way back to the kitchen, Hoseok explaining just exactly what he’s baking—a fresh batch of cupcakes, the frosting sitting on a bowl just in the middle of the counter.

The same bowl of frosting Namjoon’s already helping himself to, his spoon heaping with the thing. 

Cream cheese, Hoseok points out with a laugh, and it takes a little bit of tugging and pulling but Hoseok manages to wrestle the bowl out of Namjoon’s hand, the other boy choosing now instead to just sulk. 

“You can have whatever’s left,” Hoseok says rather good-naturedly, setting the bowl of cream cheese a little bit farther away from Namjoon.

“Is this your way of introducing me to a third roommate?” Namjoon asks, no filter at all. 

Yoongi almost falls off the kitchen counter at that. His grip around the edge of the counter tightens and he rolls his eyes. Grits his teeth before he looks up to shoot Namjoon a simpering gaze. “Sorry I forgot the two week’s notice.” 

And there is small banter to be had, but before Namjoon is able to even think about a reply to that, Hoseok announces that the first batch is done. Fresh and warm and—and smelling a lot like vanilla with the faintest hint of cinnamon. 

Namjoon insists on taking the first taste and even with Hoseok’s warning—they’re still too warm, you’re going to hurt yourself, Namjoon still doesn’t listen.

Probably no help at all, Yoongi—the only thing he’d said about the matter was, knock yourself out

So here they are now, Namjoon with a burnt tongue, throwing daggers at both Hoseok and Yoongi. 

“Not my fault.” Hoseok almost sing-songs, layering the top of the cooled muffin with cream cheese. 

Yoongi gets to taste that one, Hoseok passing it to him.

And they’re close again, the both of them—Hoseok practically working just under Yoongi’s elbow, and Yoongi not bothering to give him more space than he needs. There’s more than one counter in this kitchen (too big a kitchen for two very inept college students, actually) and yet Hoseok is here, constantly looking up at Yoongi with eyes that glitter and a smile as sweet as the cupcake.

After a little bit of coaxing, Namjoon makes his way from across the room to Yoongi, who feeds him the better cupcake. The safer one. 

“It’s what you get for being stupid,” Yoongi snickers, keeping Namjoon still as he swipes at the smear of cream on the side of his mouth. 

Namjoon just knits his brows together, scrunches up his nose, and grabs for the second finished cupcake Hoseok offers. “If you need me,” Namjoon gestures to where the living room is, where both his books and Yoongi’s are scattered on every available surface. “I’ll be nursing this hurt and betrayal.”

He walks away, grabbing two more cupcakes before he does, and Hoseok stops icing the cupcakes to laugh. “You guys are cute,” 

“Not a compliment,” Yoongi says, every ounce of bitter resentment he can squeeze out of him colouring his tone. 

“Another one?” Hoseok offers a second cupcake in response to that, and this Yoongi takes, sure that he can handle just one more. It is too sweet but—but then here is Hoseok, flour still on his face, and his hands a little bit sticky, wearing the only apron they have. A bright, blinding orange.

It matches with his hair but clashes with everything else.

But—but funny enough, it is not out of place. 

Or perhaps it is because Hoseok looks so at home here, in the brownstone. Like he just fits. 

Hoseok moving to stand in front of him and right between Yoongi’s legs, with his hand splayed casually enough on Yoongi’s knee, surprises Yoongi, still, because one second Hoseok had been icing the cupcakes, and the next here he is, offering a plain vanilla cupcake, saying something along the lines of, “If the cream cheese is too much.”

Yoongi doesn’t hear it, though, and instead of trading the one cupcake he has with Hoseok’s offered one, he reaches out his hand to wipe at the flour dusting Hoseok’s cheek. It’s—it’s intimate enough, no matter how much Yoongi tries to play if off as casual. 

Hoseok catches his hand before Yoongi can even draw back, and for a second, they are still. Quiet except for the gentle hum of whatever game Namjoon is playing in the living room—no studying to be done at all tonight for the both of them, Yoongi muses—and the sound of faraway traffic from the outside. 

“D’you still wanna trade?” Yoongi asks rather lamely, and who fucking says that when they’ve got some boy holding onto his hand, Hoseok’s own warm against Yoongi, his fingers wrapped around his own. 

“Can I try something else?” Hoseok asks, tugging on Yoongi’s hand, and Yoongi almost slides off the kitchen counter had Hoseok not steadied him with his other hand, curled against his thigh.

Yoongi nods, transfixed by the sight of Hoseok suddenly so close, eyelashes so fucking long they almost graze his cheeks whenever he so much as blinks. Yoongi leans in, his heart beating too fucking fast a second, definitely something that he should be alarmed at but for now, something he jut pushes to the back of his mind because suddenly Hoseok’s kissing him, eyes fluttering to a close, and his lips pressed against Yoongi’s.

The kiss is soft enough, a chaste pressing of their lips together that could have gone on for the next hour or two and Yoongi would still not have minded but soon enough it is over, the hand Hoseok has on Yoongi’s leg curling over his jeans, his grip around Yoongi’s hand slacking. 

Yoongi twines their fingers together, gives Hoseok’s hand a gentle squeeze, and then says, “Try that again.” 

Instead of quiet like the first time, there is Hoseok’s breathless, surprised laugh that he barks out. There is a small smile from Yoongi, his cheeks tinged pink. Hoseok steps even closer to him and Yoongi—

Yoongi drops the half-eaten cupcake he’d been holding on to the entire time back into the bowl. He curls his fingers on Hoseok’s chin, leans down, and when Hoseok smiles at him, a little bit more reassured now, Yoongi can tell, kisses him for a second time. It is longer this time, but more—more experimental, like two people learning to kiss for the first time, with how careful Yoongi is being, and how Hoseok is just following his lead. 

And god, Yoongi isn’t even aware he’s been holding his breath for half his life, waiting for this very moment. He breathes out a soft, soft sigh halfway into the kiss and all about melts into it. Hoseok tastes a lot like cream cheese and vanilla and Yoongi may not be too much a fan of sweets, but for this—for Hoseok, he is.

When they pull away, Yoongi opens his eyes to see Hoseok looking at him with a smile so soft, Yoongi’s heart actually clenches. He slides his hand down to Hoseok’s neck, thumb grazing softly against the jut of his collarbone. Hoseok lets him. Hoseok also lets him hold onto his hand, still, because truth be told.

Truth be told, Yoongi has missed this so fucking much. He was deprived of this the previous life, holding Hoseok’s hand. Deprived the single greatest wonder of the world. It somehow manages to override Yoongi’s own feelings about the kiss—or perhaps his brain has short circuited at this point. He is pretty sure he’s just staring at Hoseok dumbly, now. Shocked, even. Or both.

Definitely both. 

“So,” Hoseok says, fingers still twined with Yoongi’s. 

“So,” Namjoon says, just by the door. 

Yoongi’s hand tightens a little bit too much around Hoseok’s hand, Hoseok wincing. 

“Get out,” Yoongi says, cheeks a furious red, now. “I don’t care if you’re dying and you need the goddamn Epipen in the drawer, get out,” 

Namjoon raises his hands in surrender. “I just wanted cupcakes,” 

“Out.” Yoongi says, looking pointedly towards the door. 

“Hyung, just—“ and when Yoongi doesn’t lower his gaze at all, Namjoon backs his way out from the kitchen, mumbling something along the lines of just one goddamn cupcake, jesus. 

Yoongi looks back down at Hoseok. Sighs. Trust Namjoon to crack whatever little shell they’ve managed to fit themselves into. He slips his hand out of Hoseok’s before sliding off the counter, Hoseok’s fingers instantly curling around his waist when Yoongi finally finds his footing and balance. 

“So,” Yoongi is almost afraid that Namjoon had ruined whatever chance of something other they’d suddenly found themselves in, but then Hoseok is laughing, louder this time, so amused that he ends up clutching onto Yoongi just to steady himself from doubling over.

With his laughter subsiding and Hoseok finally coming down from that little spike, he muses, “So.” 

Yoongi can’t help if Hoseok catches him staring—with how close they’re standing, their foreheads practically pressed together, noses nudging with just the slightest shift, there isn’t anywhere else Yoongi can look at, not that he wants to look at anything else but Hoseok in front of him, so much closer than Yoongi had ever thought was possible this time around. 

Before Namjoon can even decide to creep back into the kitchen, Yoongi kisses Hoseok again, and this time around, it’s more to get a taste of his smile, his laugh. 

Hoseok breaks the kiss too soon, his smile suddenly too large, and Yoongi. Well, Yoongi’s just confirmed that Hoseok’s kisses are as soft as the look in his eyes and the smile on his face.

 

 

(That night, Yoongi spends it staring out at the empty, quiet streets, hand dangling out of the window. Smoke still clings to him even after he’s put out his last cigarette. Yoongi sees through it, though—sees clearer than he had before. 

The hours tick by like this—with the window cracked open, allowing cold air to blow into Yoongi’s room, and the sounds of the city at two in the morning filtering through the crack. 

Yoongi falls asleep shortly after three, the warmth of Hoseok’s hand around his burned into his skin. There is a ghost of a smile on his face as he sleeps, the paper crane Hoseok had folded for him that first night just inches away from his hand, as if Yoongi had spent a good few hours just holding it, looking at it. 

He had. 

In the morning—in the morning, Yoongi wakes up with his heart beating a little bit harder, although slower, like it’s finally caught up, like it’s finally, finally beating how it should. Not racing, not thundering, just—normal, because it’s realised that Hoseok is back. That Yoongi knows of the taste now, of what it feels like to be with Hoseok again.

And in the back of Yoongi’s mind, a small voice says that this is it, this is the start, truly. 

It also reminds him of the possibility of the limited time between them.

Yoongi crushes the thought. He has a good feeling about this—

Because that’s all Yoongi can do, now. Hope.)

 

 

The first time Hoseok holds Yoongi’s hand in broad daylight is when they’re both at the park, walking Hoseok’s dog. The adorable thing’s dressed out in a little sweater, tufts of hair pinned up with pink and blue clips. 

“Do you do this all the time?” Yoongi asks, eyes trained on the small dog just trotting around the park. Mickey’s even wearing little socks, too. 

And Yoongi isn’t a fan of dogs. They’re noisy and require too much attention but somehow, he doesn’t mind this one, not too much. 

“What, walk my dog?” Hoseok asks with a short chuckle.

Yoongi wants to knock Hoseok into the tree up ahead just for that comment, but instead, he just rolls his eyes. “Dress your dog like that,” 

This time, Hoseok’s chuckle transitions into full blown laughter, the both of them stopping mid-walk so that Hoseok can lean against Yoongi, their shoulders pressing together. Through the thick layers of their coats and sweaters, Yoongi is still able to feel just that certain twinge of warmth that comes with being close to Hoseok.

He likes it a lot. 

Hoseok decides then to thread their fingers together, letting it swing between them as they walk. 

Yoongi likes the feel of this, too, of his hand pressed against Hoseok’s. He’ll have to enjoy this for as long as he can because soon, it’s going to get too cold not to wear gloves. 

“But he looks cute,” Hoseok sing-songs, turning away from Yoongi to look at the dog walking a few steps ahead of them. “And my sister has an entire wardrobe for him. Dog clothes are the only care package we get from mom.” 

“The clips?” Yoongi asks, squeezing on Hoseok’s hand. 

Mickey stops walking at this point, the small dog probably too tired to keep going. They’ve been walking around the park for the better part of an hour, and Yoongi is about to ask how much stamina that small dog of his has when Hoseok leans in to kiss the edge of Yoongi’s mouth. 

Yoongi blinks at Hoseok, hoping to god he isn’t blushing again. It’s just a kiss, a simple kiss from someone Yoongi’s been with for—for as long as he can remember. And yet here Yoongi is, with butterflies in his stomach and probably a too-taken aback look on his face because Hoseok smiles sheepishly at him. 

“The clips because his hair gets in his eyes, and—“ and whatever Hoseok has to say about the brightly coloured clips he’s used for his dog is cut off when Yoongi tugs on their joint hands and pulls Hoseok closer against him, his other hand curling around Hoseok’s waist, and his lips pressed against Hoseok’s in a proper kiss. 

If Hoseok wants to say hello an hour late like this then Yoongi may as well just do it properly. 

Hoseok kisses him back, and it’s wonderful, how easy kissing Hoseok is, how much fun it is when they do it. It is a new experience all together and Yoongi welcomes it, loves how Hoseok swipes his tongue against the roof of Yoongi’s mouth, and how he presses in closer, the kiss probably too heated for two people just walking a dog in the park. 

They break away when the said dog starts to scratch at Hoseok’s leg, barking at the both of them.

Yoongi doesn’t smile all too sheepishly for Hoseok when he looks at him, though. Instead, he just smirks. “Right, cute clips.” 

Hoseok slips his hand out of Yoongi’s and before Yoongi has even a second to complain about it, he winds his arm around Yoongi’s waist, hand resting against his hip as he draws Yoongi close to his side. 

How easily they fit together like this, too.

It is not surprising, because they’ve always fit together, the both of them. The same way their fingers slot together perfectly when they hold hands. They fit. Like the stars had somehow aligned just for them—

And they have, haven’t they? Because there is no other explanation for this phenomena. 

For how Yoongi is able to find Hoseok every single time, for how he’s able to learn to love him again and again, and again and again, without so much as wavering, once. Yoongi thinks that wherever Hoseok will go, whoever he’s going to be—he’ll find him. That is the one constant truth Yoongi will carry with him wherever he goes. 

The stars have aligned themselves just for them. For Yoongi and Hoseok, Hoseok and Yoongi.

Yoongi even believes that the stars were designed for the two of them. 

“Winter break soon,” Hoseok murmurs against Yoongi’s cheek, the both of them seated on a bench now, with Mickey lazily plopped on Yoongi’s lap. “You wanna go to a museum?” 

Yoongi scrunches up his nose. “Why not next weekend?”

“I’ve got a couple of projects lined up for class,” Hoseok nuzzles his nose against the side of Yoongi’s cheek, and—that’s endearing, that is. Yoongi leans in to his touch, humming out his understanding. Okay, sure.

“Sure, wherever you wanna go,” Yoongi tries not to get too ahead of himself, but there is something about Hoseok this time around that makes everything so easy. It is both refreshing and beautiful at the same time, and now that Yoongi thinks about it, perhaps it is not something new, exactly, because Hoseok has always been a breath of fresh air. “Whatever you wanna do, Hoseok.”

“Not to get ahead of myself,” Hoseok pulls away far enough so he can look at Yoongi, fingers folded around Yoongi’s shoulder pressing gently into his coat, applying just the softest amount of pressure. “But there’s something about you.” 

And try as Yoongi might to duck away from Hoseok’s sight, to at least hide the smile that’s turned so soft into his scarf, there is no use. Hoseok sees it, like he always sees through him. Always. 

“Shut up,” Yoongi is in no way successful at squashing the smile, so he gives up on trying to hide it. “Now get the fuck up, I’m cold and you promised me coffee.” 

Yoongi tugs on Hoseok’s hand, pulling the younger boy behind him. Mickey’s energy is renewed, the small dog trotting ahead of them again as Yoongi and Hoseok hang back just a few steps behind him, hands laced together. 

“Wherever you wanna go,” amusement colours Hoseok’s tone a bright orange, the boy’s grin too big for the world, for Yoongi, especially when Hoseok turns to looks at him. “Whatever you wanna do, Yoongi.”

The only thing Yoongi can do now is tighten his grip on Hoseok’s hand, taking a quick second before anything else to thank the stars that twinkle and laugh just for them. They’re a beautiful sight, their laughter a distinct kind of song, so surely they won’t blame Yoongi if he prefers the softness in Hoseok’s smile, and the sweet, sweet sound of his laughter. 

They will not blame Yoongi of that, not in this life, and certainly not in the next.

It is a simple joy, a simple wonder—Hoseok’s smile and his laugh.

 

 

And so it goes like this, the subtle change in season, the way the temperature drops colder with each passing day, how they wear more and more layers to keep warm. Winter comes halfway through December, finding Hoseok and Yoongi on the couch pressed next to each other with a soft, thick wool blanket wrapped around their shoulders. 

It also finds Namjoon on the floor just by the coffee  table where a looming stack of pizza boxes sits in front of him.

It is cold. There is a storm forecasted for tomorrow and they’ve all decided to bundle up here, safe in the warmth of the brownstone, especially now that Seokjin’s managed to light the chimney in what feels like forever, both Yoongi and Namjoon ignoring that in favour of centralised heating. 

“I can’t believe this is the first time you’ve put this thing to use this year.” Seokjin grumbles, poking around the firewood. 

Namjoon just reaches for the large plastic bag behind him, producing the first pack of beer for the night. He sets it down on the table, among the mess of bowls of popcorn and pizza boxes, and offers one to Seokjin who plops down on the extra chair, the couch otherwise already preoccupied. 

Hoseok leans his head against Yoongi’s shoulder, a discarded book about the history of Japanese art left closed just on his side. He’s been quiet for most of the afternoon, eyes drooping, like he’s just barely fighting off sleep. 

With an arm wrapped around his shoulders, Yoongi draws him in, fits him against his side and carefully shifts them until they’re both leaning against one side of the couch, with Hoseok practically lying between Yoongi’s legs, now, and Hoseok’s head pillowed comfortably against his chest. 

“You sleepy?” Yoongi swings an arm around Hoseok’s middle, hand resting just on top of Hoseok’s, who flips his palm up so he can slip his fingers through the spaces between Yoongi’s. 

Hoseok doesn’t move too much, knows that if he does they both might just end up crashing into the coffee table. “Kinda.” he says, voice a little breathy. 

Yoongi presses a chaste, soft little kiss to the back of Hoseok’s ear, his smile hidden behind the boy’s hair. 

Orange hair. 

“You should go sleep. We’ll put the movie on low,” Yoongi assures him, throwing both Namjoon and Seokjin a pointed look. 

He gets a nod from Seokjin and a, “I’ll put the subtitles on,” from Namjoon, which is something Yoongi takes as an okay from the younger boy, too.

Hoseok shifts just the teensiest bit so he can look over his shoulder at Yoongi. Eyes half-crescents from how he’s smiling. 

Bright eyes. 

Yoongi bridges the gap between them by leaning over to kiss the closest and easiest thing he has purchase to. Hoseok’s nose. It makes him smile, albeit a little sleepily, and it is a beautiful comparison with the fireplace, Hoseok’s smile and the warmth from their slowly growing flames. 

Warm smile. 

They fit together just fine like that, Hoseok pressed against Yoongi’s chest, and Yoongi’s arms around him, chin propped on top of Hoseok’s head. They fit too good sometimes, Yoongi notices.

“I thought we were watching one of those odd international films you’ve always liked,” Seokjin comments, squinting at the screen. He sets his beer down to reach for another slice of pizza.

At this point, Yoongi’s afraid they’ve ordered too much pizza, with Hoseok now quietly dozing off on top of him, and Namjoon too focused on the beer to actually eat. 

Well, Yoongi thinks, if they get snowed in tomorrow, then at least they’ve got enough food to last them all until the afternoon. There’s that, at least. 

“No, too lazy to read subtitles,” Namjoon murmurs, discarding his empty can of beer to the side. He grabs for another one, offers this to Yoongi who just rolls his eyes at him because in this position, there is no way at all for him to even so much as juggle a can of beer and a slice of pizza on either of his hands. No chance at all.

But Yoongi doesn’t quite mind, Hoseok is a comfortable presence against him, his body warm. They are perfectly fine just like this. 

When the movie’s title flashes on the screen, Yoongi groans. “Really? The Conjuring?” 

Namjoon laughs, though at the sight of a sleeping Hoseok, lowers his voice down just a tiny bit to say, “It’s not scary, I swear. Besides, Jin hyung suggested it.” 

And it is only a good thing, then, for Hoseok to be asleep. For the weight of his academics and so many art projects and papers he’s had to squeeze into the short amount of time he was given to finally bring him down, wrapping him up in warmth and a darkness only brought about by sleep.

Seokjin gives up trying to explain himself, choosing instead to just make himself comfy on the cushioned chair, one of their extra knit blankets thrown over his shoulders. It leaves all but Namjoon on the floor, watching the movie with flickering interest, as far as Yoongi can tell.

It’s a shitty choice for a movie, something nobody is supposed to be watching in the middle of December, and yet here they are, the four of them all huddled around the living room, waiting out a potential snow storm by watching one of the worst horror movies in existence. 

Halfway through, Yoongi lifts his hand to grab one of Namjoon’s offered drinks, cracking the beer open with barely any spill getting on the blanket. His favourite blanket. And on Hoseok, too, the boy still quietly sleeping, Yoongi’s other hand clutched tight in Hoseok’s hold.

That’s cute—Yoongi’s never noticed that before, but then again, this is the first time Hoseok’s actually fallen asleep on him. 

Yoongi meets Seokjin’s gaze from across the room, and for a second, there is nothing but the sound of the flickering fire in the chimney and the howling wind outside. There is nothing, but then—then Seokjin’s gaze shifts from Yoongi to where Hoseok is, and he smiles, like he already knows. 

(And this isn’t Seokjin’s first meeting with Hoseok. Yoongi’s brought him around a couple of times, the two of them finding time between crazy schedules in college to hang out with everybody else. It’s just that, well—this is the first person Yoongi’s ever brought to the house with the intention of cuddling with.) 

Seokjin breaks eye contact to turn back to the disaster of a movie he’d chosen, and Yoongi breathes out a sigh of relief, just in time for Hoseok to stir awake, roused out of sleep by the sudden screaming from the movie (and Yoongi suspects, from Namjoon, too, the other boy nearly jumping a foot off the floor at the appearance of the demon. Or, whatever it is, Yoongi hasn’t been paying much attention.). 

“What’re we watching?” Hoseok mumbles, voice thick with sleep. He slowly lifts himself up off Yoongi, throwing him a sheepish little smile when he realises he’d practically slept on top of Yoongi for the past hour. “Sorry,” 

Yoongi just shakes his head, is about to tell Hoseok it’s alright, he can sleep some more, when Hoseok wraps an arm around his shoulders and drags him close against him, the both of them back to where they had first started, before the lights had dimmed and the movie had played. 

Yoongi doesn’t mind this, too, especially not when he feels Hoseok’s hand travel lower, this time choosing to rest on his hip, slipping under his shirt to settle his warm fingers against Yoongi’s skin. 

“Better?” Hoseok asks, nose nudging against Yoongi’s, and the faintest hint of a nervous little smile on his face, this one brought about by the type of movie they’d chosen, Yoongi is almost sure. 

And with his voice low enough that he’s sure both Seokjin and Namjoon won’t be able to hear, he whispers, “This movie’s scaring you, isn’t it?” 

Hoseok retaliates by pinching Yoongi’s side and frowning at him, though that frown loses whatever power it had carried when Hoseok all but yelps with Namjoon during the next scene.

Yoongi snickers, fingers sliding through Hoseok’s hair, and tugging hard enough until Hoseok’s looked away from the tv and back to Yoongi, until Yoongi’s sure Hoseok sees nothing else but him, with how close they are, until Hoseok’s eyes flutter to a close when Yoongi leans in for a kiss, mouth sliding against Hoseok’s, and his fingers threading through Hoseok’s hair. 

“Still scared?” Yoongi whispers, breath warm against Hoseok’s. 

Hoseok, with his eyes looking more awake than when he’d first walked into the house, with his fingers burning like fire against Yoongi’s skin. 

“Not really,” Hoseok breathes out, pressing his forehead against Yoongi’s, his fingers splaying against the small of Yoongi’s back, now. 

“Great, now if we could go back to our movie,” Seokjin waves an airy hand at the both of them, flecks of pizza crust flying everywhere. He throws an unopened can of beer at Yoongi, who flinches quick enough for the can to land harmlessly beside him.

Namjoon is more careful, probably because he’s still not allowed to fling cans of beer at Hoseok. Probably. He passes one to Hoseok who takes it with a smile easy enough, though the blush on his cheeks tells of another story. 

Yoongi knocks his head against Hoseok’s shoulder, slinking down against his side, his legs curling underneath him, because apparently, they’ve got to finish the movie. Apparently. 

When Hoseok tiptoes his fingers against Yoongi’s side, he lifts his gaze up. Meets Hoseok’s own, and this time, it tells of a different story, of something else. 

“Later?” Hoseok says, voice so low Yoongi wouldn’t have heard it had Hoseok not pressed his lips against the corner of Yoongi’s mouth. 

“Later.” Yoongi whispers back, a smile curving on his lips.

Later.

Later, when Namjoon is curled on the edge of the couch, a blanket thrown over him. Later, with Seokjin asleep on his own chair, hugging one of the larger stuffed plushies Namjoon keeps in his room. Later, when the snow is falling and the fire dwindles weakly. Later, with the entire house asleep, leaving Yoongi and Hoseok the only ones awake, not even buzzed from the few beers they’ve had. It is a different buzz, one Yoongi realises is of the electric kind when Hoseok wraps his hand around Yoongi’s and tugs him up off the couch in the dark.

When Yoongi guides them both up to the staircase, not even bothering to be too quiet because the wind is howling, the sound of the storm enough to keep both their friends asleep and undisturbed. 

They stumble into Yoongi’s room, Hoseok barely managing to lock it before Yoongi pulls him towards the bed. The back of Yoongi’s knees hit the edge of his bed and he falls but not before he has a good enough hold on Hoseok, dragging the other boy down with him. 

Hoseok turns them over on the bed, one hand splayed against Yoongi’s hip, and the other thumbing on the jut in Yoongi’s collar bone. This is a good view, Yoongi thinks, with Hoseok hovering on top of him. 

“Later?” Hoseok teases, nosing against Yoongi’s neck. It is not long until the fleeting, light kisses that he leaves turn into hard, bruising ones that he sucks down against the base of Yoongi’s neck, leaving Yoongi breathing heavily, hand twitching into Hoseok’s hair. Fisting. 

“Now,” Yoongi says, lifting his head up to kiss him, and this kiss—this kiss is different, the pace, the way Hoseok’s tongue swipes against the bottom of Yoongi’s lips before he captures his mouth in a searing, heated kiss that has Yoongi even shorter of breath just trying to keep up. 

Hoseok kisses him like he’s fire he can’t quite get warm enough with, and so he takes, and he takes, and he presses, and he presses, until he’s had enough to keep him warm, and Yoongi does the same, teeth catching on Hoseok’s bottom lip, hand creeping up to settle on the swell of Hoseok’s ass, kneading, wanting every single layer that’s separating them both off, and quick. 

“What do you wanna do?” Yoongi manages to ask, pushing Hoseok just far enough for the both of them to start breathing again, because as much as Yoongi loves to kiss him, he also wants to feel Hoseok’s skin against his, wants every single part of him. 

“Jeans,” Hoseok tugs on Yoongi’s jeans, fingers already moving to work at the button and zipper. “Off,”

Yoongi is more than happy to oblige to that, successfully kicking his jeans off and tossing it to the side of the bed. He doesn’t need to ask the same for Hoseok, who’s already managed to work his way out of the offending material, leaving them both now in just their boxers. 

Hoseok palms against Yoongi’s erection and Yoongi doesn’t even realise how hard he is until Hoseok’s cupping him through his boxers, until he tries to press even closer, chasing after that warmth. 

“Come on,” Yoongi tugs Hoseok down for another kiss, though he doesn’t complain at all when Hoseok pushes his boxers off, when he finally, finally wraps his slim fingers around Yoongi’s cock. 

Yoongi moans halfway into the kiss, a reaction brought about by Hoseok suddenly sucking on his tongue and tightening his grip around his cock. 

A glance at Hoseok reveals a tent in his boxers as well, and Yoongi is anything but greedy, so he pushes off the bed and drags Hoseok towards him, backing them both up against the pillows and the headboard, until Yoongi manages to pull Hoseok on top of them, Hoseok’s hands gripping tightly against either side of Yoongi, and Hoseok is beautiful, like this, arousal so clear in his eyes, in the way his cheeks are flushed. 

Yoongi lifts his hips enough to grind against Hoseok. It earns him a moan, Hoseok’s fingers pressing against Yoongi’s skin, and his nails aren’t sharp enough to really hurt, but they aren’t blunt enough not to, either, but—But Yoongi doesn’t mind, this contrast between sweet and beautiful and just the slightest bit of sting from the pain. 

He doesn’t mind at all, especially now with Hoseok grinding against him, their cocks grazing against each other, and—and it’s just about enough, for now, for today, after a hectic weekend, after the freezing cold, but then Hoseok stops, his kisses travelling further down until he’s lifting himself off of Yoongi, and Yoongi is about to complain about the sudden lack of friction, about Hoseok coming back and kissing him some more when Hoseok starts to slide his lips over the head of Yoongi’s cock, mouth wet and hot.

“Hoseok—Hoseok,” Yoongi props himself up on his elbows, watching as Hoseok’s head bobs up and down, taking in Yoongi’s cock, taking him in as far as he’s able, as he can. Hoseok licks a long, wet stripe against the side of Yoongi’s cock, fingers tightening just at the base, and he knows what he’s doing, knows just how close Yoongi is, though Yoongi supposes his nearly incoherent rambling of Hoseok’s name is a good enough indication for that. 

Hoseok sucks his cheeks in as he goes down again. He doesn’t let loose, his fingers working Yoongi even closer to orgasm. 

“You’re doing so,” Yoongi tries, his grip around Hoseok’s hair tightening. “So, so good, baby,” 

Hoseok seems to smile at that, though Yoongi can’t quite tell, his senses going on overdrive with how wet Hoseok’s mouth is, how warm it is, with how Hoseok is alternating between kitten licks on the tip of Yoongi’s cock and taking him in as far as he can, making the most obscene noises as he moves up and down Yoongi’s cock. 

Yoongi is close, he can just feel it, the pressure starting to build up, his hips twitching into Hoseok’s mouth. “Hoseok,” Yoongi groans out, eyes shut to a close, his orgasm so, so near. “I’m—“ and it’s all the warning Hoseok needs, hallowing his cheeks and sucking in hard, swallowing Yoongi’s orgasm with barely any complaint, and gentling him through it after. 

“You fucking swallowed,” is the first thing out of Yoongi’s mouth when he finally calms down enough to say anything else but god, and Hoseok (and Hoseok had been cheeky enough to say that he’s not exactly wrong on both accusations). 

Hoseok sits back, a pleased little grin on his face. Yoongi doesn’t even know how possible it is for his heart to swell—definitely not a side effect from one of the best blowjobs he’s ever gotten—but it is, and he kisses Hoseok, rises up on his knees so he can bring them both even closer. 

Yoongi licks into Hoseok’s mouth, one hand splayed against the back of Hoseok’s nape. He can taste himself in Hoseok’s mouth, can hear how Hoseok is panting into the kiss when Yoongi doesn’t let up, when Yoongi kisses him even deeper, sucking on Hoseok’s tongue. 

He wraps his fingers around Hoseok’s cock, knows that the boy is near his own orgasm already with how slick he is, how flushed his cock is. Yoongi pumps him to his own orgasm, fingers tightening around the base before he slides it back up, thumb swiping at his slit, knowing full well this is where Hoseok is most sensitive. 

“Yoongi,” Hoseok warns, fingers tightening around Yoongi’s hip, nails starting to bite at Hoseok’s skin the same way Hoseok sucks another bruise against the side of Yoongi’s neck. He’s going to be littered with hickeys come tomorrow morning but Yoongi doesn’t mind, especially not with how entranced Hoseok always looks at the sight of them against Yoongi’s skin, a stark contrast, the purple bruises on his pale skin. “I’m going to come.” 

Yoongi slides his hand back down, working a little bit faster now as he brings Hoseok to orgasm, the younger boy twitching in his hold and moaning out a long string of obscenities accompanied by Yoongi’s name. 

His hand on Hoseok’s middle, Yoongi lowers him back on the bed, stepping over him with slightly shaky legs to grab for the box of wet tissues on top of the cabinet just by the door. He comes back with Hoseok’s fingers immediately wrapping around his wrists, the younger boy wanting to pull him down with him on the bed but Yoongi pushes his hand away, insisting on doing this first. “Give me a second,” Yoongi murmurs, wiping Hoseok clean. 

With the wet tissue discarded and the box kicked off to the other side of the bed, Yoongi lowers himself back down beside Hoseok. 

Hoseok swings a leg, hooks his ankle around Yoongi’s, and nuzzles his nose against the side of Yoongi’s cheek, his smile lazy and his breathing slow. 

Yoongi pulls the blanket over them. There is still the snow outside, looking a little too bad to even be considered just bad snow, now. It is a full on snow blizzard, just as the weather reports have predicted. 

Beside him, Hoseok shifts to lie on his side. Yoongi brushes the hair out of his face, lets his fingers linger briefly against his cheek, revelling in how warm it is, how beautiful Hoseok looks like this, in this dimly lit room in the middle of a snow storm. 

“We’ll have to wait the snow out,” Yoongi murmurs, hand swung across Hoseok’s middle, fingers tracing up and down the smooth skin. “And then we can go to The Met, or MoMA. You never mentioned which museum,” 

“Really wanna talk about the museum after that?” Hoseok snickers, bringing their foreheads together, his laughter muffled against Yoongi’s skin. “But sure, babe, you choose. I’ve been to both too many times,”

It takes Yoongi a little over twenty seconds to finally mumble out, under his breath, that he’s only been to The Met once during a field trip back in middle school. “I also have a feeling Namjoon’s banned himself from MoMA,” 

“Is it too late to run a background check on the both of you?” Hoseok asks, narrowing his eyes at Yoongi. 

“Too late,” Yoongi scratches his fingers down Hoseok’s side, pleased at how Hoseok is curling up against him, a soft little sigh escaping from his lips at the sudden sensation.

“Damn, guess I’m stuck,” Hoseok’s grin is of the quieter variety, now. The last time Yoongi had noticed the time, it had been past two in the morning. It must be nearly four, now. Probably. 

Yoongi just smiles at him, soft and a little bit sleepy, the high of his orgasm slowly trickling out of him. He pats Hoseok’s stomach rather playfully. “Too bad.” 

And he hears Hoseok laugh, soft and slow, and quiet, and it’s warm. With Hoseok practically wrapped around him, his laughter lulling Yoongi to sleep, that same familiar melody Yoongi’s always heard. The first song he hears the second he realises, he remembers.

Yoongi falls asleep like this, with Hoseok’s legs tangled with his, and Hoseok playing with his hair, fingers carding through his hair gently. He falls asleep to the feather light kisses that Hoseok presses on his forehead, on his cheek, on the edge of his mouth, the side of his jaw—just everywhere he has access to. Yoongi falls asleep with a smile on his face and Hoseok beside him. 

The butterflies in his stomach give him a break, just for tonight. They fall asleep with Yoongi, all suddenly a very comforting quiet. 

It is warm.

Yoongi thinks with utmost certainty that this is the best sleep he’s ever had in ages. 

 

 

(They’re woken up the next morning by a few knocks against the door and the sound of Seokjin’s voice yelling from the first floor about breakfast, quickly followed by Namjoon grumbling out his good morning and a quiet warning about the snow still on going. 

Yoongi only gets up because of how hungry he is. He shrugs into a shirt, realising a little bit later that it’s Hoseok’s. He doesn’t care. 

Hoseok joins him a few minutes later, the good morning coming in the form of a sleepy kiss that he presses to the back of Yoongi’s head. He comes around behind him, both arms winding around Yoongi’s middle.

Yoongi reaches behind him, fingers catching at Hoseok’s hair. “Ready for breakfast?” 

“In a minute,” Hoseok yawns. He buries his face in the crook of Yoongi’s neck, nose nuzzling against his skin. This is welcome, this is good. Yoongi thinks he can wake up to so many mornings like this. 

He closes his eyes, lets himself breathe in this moment. This is Hoseok he is talking about, of course Yoongi will want nothing but to wake up to all the mornings he’ll ever know like this. 

Another knock on their door, this time Seokjin. 

“I actually cooked something, so get up.” 

Yoongi grumbles.

Hoseok just lifts his head up enough that he can kiss the edge of Yoongi’s jaw, his smile perfect for ten in the morning, smack dab in the middle of one of the year’s most horrible snow storms. “Good morning, Yoongi.”

It is. It is a very good morning, thinks Yoongi fondly.)

 

 

They go to a gallery exhibition, something much smaller compared to The Met and MoMa, something neither of them have both been to. It had been per Namjoon's suggestion. The look on Hoseok's face when Namjoon had suggested it hilarious enough for Yoongi to just nod his head and agree with it, so here they are, past a few crooked alleys and the bustling crowd of winter. 

The storm hadn't been so tough—the roads cleared after a few days, Hoseok holing up with Yoongi and the others back in the brownstone, though the second they were given the okay, the subways up and running again, he'd left to attend to his sister ("I forgot we lived together, I hardly see her these days.”) and that had been that. 

Now, here they are, a good few days into winter break, walking around the gallery exhibition of an up and coming artist, although, Yoongi will beg to argue, that most artists in this city are up and coming. 

Their fingertips brush when they walk, Hoseok busily pointing out paintings he finds interesting enough. He doesn't so much as comment on the technique itself but what he thinks it means, talking about the passion that the artist had put into it. It's good, Yoongi will admit to that, but he hasn't really the foggiest idea about art. 

Except, of course, for his one quick venture into it a few decades ago. So many things have changed since then, the world itself number one on that list, but art hasn't really changed, not by much, anyway. The same medium, techniques refined over time. More people given a voice now, a platform to showcase their work. 

They stop in front of a particularly large painting occupying an entire wall. Waterfalls painted in stark white against a dark blue canvas. So dark it almost looks black. 

"What's this supposed to be?" Yoongi leans against Hoseok, feeling lazy. He'd been up all night yesterday just trying to appease Seokjin who'd almost ran himself into a panic attack of his own making, the boy suddenly stressed about the fact that the last person who'd locked up their little bookshop had been the owner. Nice little old lady that Seokjin worries over for most of the time. 

"It says tears here," Hoseok points out to the small label tacked against the wall, the title and the name of the artist right under the supposed title. 

He squints at it. 

Doesn't quite see the tears just yet.

Takes a couple of steps backwards, dragging Hoseok with him. They are standing too close for him to see the bigger picture. Now, a few steps away, Yoongi can see it. 

Tears, apparently, taking the form of countless waterfalls. It’s—well, he's not going to say it's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen, but it's somewhere on that list. 

Kind of overwhelming, if Hoseok suddenly grabbing his hand and clutching onto it tight is any indication.

"What do you think?" Yoongi asks, tugging on Hoseok's hand. 

"Like I'm about to cry," Hoseok says with no inflection at all, though Yoongi does catch him sniffling a bit. "I'm kidding." 

"No," Yoongi tugs him closer to him, until their hips are bumping, until he's got Hoseok leaning against him, their heads tilted together. "You can cry, I wont tell anybody, but you'll have to buy me dinner,"

"You're terrible," Hoseok's still staring at the painting, mouth open just the slightest bit. "I was going to buy you dinner, either way." 

Seeing Hoseok so caught up in a painting that claims to be tears—countless streams of tears falling endlessly against a blue so dark it almost looks black. It is beautiful, haunting, even, and Yoongi has never been great at this, about art (god forbid all he's ever said during the times Namjoon had dragged him to photography exhibits and the like, the only bribe Namjoon even offers the prospect of dinner and staying out and away from Yoongi's room for the next week so easily accepted, that art is neat. Neat, "Fucking neat is all you have to say?" he can hear Namjoon's voice echoing in his head now, and Yoongi grimaces.). 

“It’s—well, it's something," probably no better than neat because it disrupts Hoseok's own concentration to suddenly bark out a laugh, his surprise ringing loud and clear in the studio. With so many people around them, he chooses to muffle his laughter into Yoongi's hair, gripping onto Yoongi's hip tighter to steady himself. 

"It's something," Hoseok repeats, finally calming down enough to drag the both of them back to where the exit is. They pass by the artist along the way. Hoseok says a few more things Yoongi doesn't quite catch, all except thank you and congratulations, which is as simple as it can get for somebody like Yoongi to understand. 

Right. 

"I can't believe I almost cried in front of that painting and all you chose to say was, it's fucking something," 

"Well, it was," 

And here Yoongi remembers of a simpler time between the two of them. In a room they'd both shared a few lifetimes ago, somewhere far away from this city. Somewhere in a totally different continent, even. 

Of Hoseok showing him something he'd painted. The memory escapes Yoongi but one thing he can remember now is that it had been a splash of colour, as if Hoseok had looked into the eye of the world and saw just that—everything blending together in near perfect harmony, all the colours imaginable side by side to make what Hoseok had depicted as the city just below them, the city they could run through at night with their hands held and their laughter loud, the wind ripping it away, sending it far, far away, to a place that doesn't hear it as often. 

"You should show me one of your paintings," back in the street with everybody else, Yoongi threads his fingers with Hoseok. There is a crowd of people rushing past, in a hurry to get back home. It is cold late into the afternoon, but there is never a lack of people, a lack of pedestrians. Nothing less from this city that seems to always be alive and thrumming with energy. "I'd watch you paint, no problem." 

Hoseok studies that thought, deliberates on his answer. Their gloves make it a little bit bulkier to hold onto each others hand, but this brings with it a different kind of comfort, a warmth that's not brought about by the countless layers of clothes they're wearing. It comes from the inside, this one. 

"Next time," Hoseok promises him, seals it with a kiss that he presses on Yoongi's forehead. "Ouch, bad idea. Your forehead's cold,"

Yoongi rolls his eyes. "C'mere, then," and he pulls Hoseok down to him, bypassing his cheek, the edge of his mouth, and everywhere else to kiss him on his lips. They are burning warm enough, the both of them, for the kiss to feel anything but cold. It only feeds the fire inside of Yoongi, setting all the butterflies aflutter again.

When they pull away, Hoseok is smiling, sweet. Soft. So fucking tender, Yoongi never wants to look away. 

Dinner comes as a surprise to Yoongi, as in, Yoongi is very surprised when they walk into this quiet little restaurant to find Hoseok's sister already seated at the table, the older girl waving her hand in an enthusiastic hello at the sight of them. 

"You didn't tell me she was coming," Yoongi most certainly hisses, fingers clamping around Hoseok's arm. 

"Relax," Hoseok soothes, smiling down at Yoongi. "She wanted to meet you during Thanksgiving, but," he lets this trail off as he leads Yoongi to the booth set off to the farthest corner of the restaurant. 

"So this is Thanksgiving two-point-o?" 

"Sort of," 

Their hissed conversation is cut off when they both draw close enough for her to hear. She rises from her seat, offers a hand for Yoongi to take, and just when Yoongi is about to shake it, she wraps her small, slender fingers around his hand, tugs him towards her, and envelops him in a nearly bone crushing hug. She's got too much strength for someone as small as her. 

"Jiwoo, hi, hi, Yoongi, right?" her voice is light and sweet. She still hasn't let go of Yoongi and Yoongi thinks it too rude to rip himself away from Hoseok’s—his boyfriend's (big question mark there) sister—so he just pats her back awkwardly, shooting Hoseok a look over her shoulder.

He doesn't do anything at all to help her, just pulls a chair out and rightfully plops himself down. Big blob of help, that boy. 

"Hoseok abandoned me during the storm," Jiwoo pouts at her brother, brows knitted.

Sitting side by side like this, Yoongi can see the striking resemblance. Just have them both tilt their heads at a certain angle and bam, you've got yourselves a pair of twins. He keeps this to himself, though, and just listens to the pair of them bicker about the storm that could've killed the entire city but didn't.

"That's literally what I heard on the news," Jiwoo defends herself, pointing a fork at Hoseok. "They called it the storm of the century,"

"Literally nobody is calling it a killer storm, nobody. Yoongi," Hoseok looks to Yoongi to back him up, and just as Hoseok had helped Yoongi from the tight clutches of his sister, Yoongi returns the favour.

Which is to say, he doesn't help Hoseok at all. Just shrugs his shoulder not unlike what Hoseok had done and shoots Jiwoo a very placating smile. "I did hear that, yeah,"

"I'm not even angry that you kidnapped him," Jiwoo doesn't look angry but she is still pouting, even with the food finally set in front of them.

"I didn't kidnap him," Yoongi is quick to say, feigning innocence. "He didn't even remember you until the second day.” 

Hoseok at this point almost chokes on his juice. With his eyes watering, he tries to plead with his sister. And then back at Yoongi.

There is a misplaced kick aimed at his shin that Yoongi barely misses. He retaliates by sliding his foot down the length of Hoseok's, the small, discreet smile he hides enough to have Hoseok's cheeks pinching a certain kind of red. It's adorable, how easily he can rile him up sometimes. 

"Noona, not true," Hoseok tries again, hands coming around both of Jiwoo’s wrists as she fishes her phone out of her purse, hissing something about calling mom right this second because apparently she gave birth to a total idiot. 

"Why are you dating him?" She throws the question at Yoongi, phone set aside. 

Hoseok breathes a sigh of relief that she'd decided not to pursue that. 

"I'm not, he's just stalking me," Yoongi says this with a straight face, missing no beat at all. He blinks across the table at Jiwoo, shifts his gaze slightly to the left to look at Hoseok, and then smiles. 

He hooks his foot around Hoseok's ankle. 

Jiwoo sighs. "You're both weird, I guess it'll work out in the end," 

Yoongi and Hoseok both laugh at this, Yoongi more surprised than anything, and Hoseok—Hoseok a combination of flustered and. And happy. Giddy, even. He can't stop smiling all throughout dinner, occasionally throwing Yoongi a smile that Yoongi just wants to kiss out of his face. Hoseok glances sideways at his sister, too, whenever she makes a comment about the both of them.

Whenever Hoseok plays with Yoongi's fingers on the table. Turning it over and around, pinching it gently, just applying the least amount of pressure to do it. And Hoseok plays with Yoongi's hand the entire time he's talking about the gallery, about the couple of friends from school he'd bumped into there. He threads their fingers together when he mentions the thousand paper cranes he's trying to fold and finish hopefully by the first half of next year. Hopefully. 

When he mentions the paper cranes, he looks at Yoongi, and there is a definitely a shift, Yoongi feels it. Like the world has tilted on its own axis, the sun directly shining upon this one single moment, with the roar of the ocean deafening in Yoongi's ears. 

He locks gazes with Hoseok. Bright eyes turning so, so fucking soft, Yoongi's heart almost hurts. His fingers curl over Hoseok's, instinctively tightening his hold around Hoseok's hand. 

If Jiwoo notices this small exchange, the too-shy smiles that they both flash each other, then she doesn't make it seem too obvious. She continues with her meal, and after a while brings up another topic of conversation—Christmas. 

"We're going upstate for Christmas, though," Yoongi says, voice low. 

Jiwoo doesn't seem to hear it, the girl too busy signing the bill. She turns back to Yoongi as if he hasn't said anything at all and continues. "It's going to be a quiet affair. At mom's place. She said bring dates, if we want," 

"You don't have a date," Hoseok points out rather dryly, though he does accompany it with a laugh that's a few seconds too late, the boy still busy with trying to loop his scarf around his neck. They're about to venture out in the cold again. 

Yoongi does the same, slipping back into his coat, with his scarf hanging on his shoulders. 

"If you want to be fucking rude about it, then yeah," Jiwoo grabs at her purse, a seething glare directed at Hoseok. He is only thankful that he isn't the one at the receiving end of that look. 

Hoseok grabs for Yoongi's hand, their fingers twining together and their hands swinging between them as they walk out back into the street. Chilly air instantly blows in Yoongi's face, and he shivers. This only prompts Hoseok to throw an arm around his shoulders and bring him close to his side, and Yoongi doesn't mind. This is nice, this is, well, it helps with the cold. With the much needed warmth. 

"I'll be upstate on Christmas," Yoongi repeats, this one specifically for Jiwoo, who falters a step or two at her plans crashing and breaking just like that. "Sorry. A few days after? If you guys are still up for it," 

"That's okay," Jiwoo sounds a lot like she's just consoling herself. 

Hoseok bites back a grin and Yoongi swallows down his chuckle. They're an adorable pair of siblings, the Jungs. 

"Mom wanted to meet you but I guess she'll have to settle for this," so this is what a big sister is, thinks Yoongi as she beams at Hoseok, far too proud and pleased with herself. "She kept asking about Hoseokie's new boyfriend, so." 

Yoongi shoots Hoseok a look. Hoseok just kisses Yoongi quick, a simple peck that Jiwoo doesn't catch, too buy trying to hail a cab. 

She successfully hails one. 

Hoseok opens the door for her, gives her a grin and a peck on her cheek. 

Before she slides into the cab, she gives Yoongi one final hug, patting him fondly on his cheek. "You should let me design for you sometime. You have the frame for it—I mean, if you don't mind. Or, we can always just play dress up." and without saying anything else but bye bye, she ducks down and slides into the cab, her giggle carried away with the sudden rush of cold wind. 

They watch as the cab drives away, melts into all the other dozens of yellow cabs this city has too much of. 

Yoongi winds an arm around Hoseok's waist, fingers bunching up into the soft material of his coat. "New boyfriend?" is the first thing Yoongi says, quite amused, now.

"Probably," Hoseok murmurs, kissing the side of Yoongi's head and getting more hair than anything. "If you don't mind."

Yoongi can't even think of a single life where he'll mind that, where he'll oppose to being with Hoseok. As fucking if.

He throws an arm around Hoseok's neck, bringing him down for a kiss. Hoseok's lips are quite chapped from the cold but Yoongi's sure his aren't in the most perfect condition, but it doesn't matter, because this—this is always going to be his favourite past time, kissing Hoseok. A cure for all the bad days, for all the cold winters, for the burning summers, and for the in-betweens of spring and the fall. 

Yoongi breaks the kiss because he's grinning too big, too wide, but he doesn't draw away, just presses their foreheads together. Hoseok's got his eyes closed and both of his hands resting on either side of Yoongi's hips. This is good, this is great, Yoongi can't imagine being anywhere else but here. 

"Fuck, as if I'd mind that," Yoongi raises his hand to cup at Hoseok's cheek, gloved finger rubbing gentle circles on his skin. "Not at all, yeah?" 

Hoseok opens his eyes then. Takes a deep breath, like he's steadying himself. And then—

And then he smiles with the intensity of a thousand burning stars and Yoongi—

Yoongi thinks he hears a click in the back of his mind. Hears the sound of the ball rolling. Hears the little voice in his head tell him that perhaps Yoongi has already fallen in love with this life’s Hoseok. 

Looking at Hoseok up close, the boy leaning into Yoongi’s touch, Yoongi thinks that there has never really been a time where he had not loved Hoseok. 

Inside, trapped between his ribcage, his heart beats an I do, I do

Yoongi really does.

 

 

Namjoon is sitting out on the stoop, a mug of hot chocolate cradled in his hands. Yoongi levels him with a long gaze, foregoes his good evening and steps over him to push through the front door. 

"I made you coffee, hyung," he hears Namjoon say, voice filtering through the slim opening of the door. 

Yoongi is already making his way to the kitchen, knows full well that Namjoon has made him coffee. Namjoon is like this—he has moods, gets into them quite often, and Yoongi's learned how to respond to them. He really has. So Namjoon sitting out on their stoop, half a pack of cigarettes at his side, and hot chocolate in his hands, is no oddity. Yoongi already knows.

He knows that there's going to be dinner, untouched and uneaten, sitting on the counter. Yoongi glances at the kitchen counter—there are boxes of take out. That is dinner. There is also going to be a pot of coffee and a few packets from the hot chocolate Namjoon's brewed lying around, the flat surface of the kitchen counter messy with how Namjoon had decided to brush aside cleaning up for later. Everything is all there, as Yoongi had already assumed. 

The coffee is still hot, it hasn't been a while since Namjoon's sat himself outside. The stairs are slippery, too, with the frozen rain clinging like a thin sheet of sheen onto the steps. Careful, careful, Yoongi tells himself as he makes his way out, scarf tugged loose, and a cup of hot coffee in his hands.

Namjoon smiles at him, tired and quiet, and Yoongi sits down beside him. Careful not to slip or spill his coffee. 

There is a quiet exchange between them, Namjoon passing him a lighter. Yoongi digs around his coat, fingers closing around his own pack of cigarette. Accepting the lighter with a quiet thank you, Yoongi turns away for a second to light his own cigarette. It is going to be a long night, he knows.

Long and cold. 

They don't say anything for quite a while, Namjoon just gazing out into their quiet street. They see their neighbour pass by with their dog, the young woman lifting her head in greeting to the both of them. She has probably seen them sitting out here like this more times than she can count, Yoongi is willing to bet on that. 

After a considerable amount of time has passed, Namjoon breathes out a long and heavy sigh. And then he leans against Yoongi, shoulder pressed to his side, and his head tilted to Yoongi's. Namjoon is quieter tonight, but he isn't uneasy, or so Yoongi will like to think. Assume. 

"Hey, hyung," Namjoon says, voice sounding too far away. But Namjoon can never go too far that Yoongi can't follow, where he is out of reach. At least that is reassuring. At least. "You ever think about how you've got this connection with people?" 

Yoongi blinks. Stiffens up, because that thought is something that has run across Yoongi's mind for so many years now. Something Yoongi can't help but think about. 

But then again, Yoongi already knows the answer to that, that there are just certain people whom you create a certain connection with, and it may never be like what he has with Hoseok. How strongly Yoongi feels for him—how much stronger this will only grow in time. Yoongi isn't convinced there is anything else that will rival it. 

"Like you have a certain connection with somebody," Namjoon continues, twisting around to set his now empty mug of hot chocolate down. He lights another cigarette, taking a long, drawing breath. "Or, I don't know. Probably sounds fuckin corny to you, or something," 

Yoongi shakes his head before he can stop himself. It is nowhere near corny because Yoongi has felt that, he really has.

"Where are you getting at here?" Yoongi asks instead, curiosity getting the best of him. All their years together, Yoongi and Namjoon, the both of them, Yoongi hasn't really picked up any interesting developments in Namjoon's love life, nothing to really tip the boat over. 

Once, he'd thought—Seokjin and Namjoon. He really had, and nobody can blame Yoongi, especially when Seokjin is all soft touches and lingering gazes at Namjoon. But nothing has ever happened there and with the way things are going, with a regular at the book shoppe Seokjin's been talking more and more often about, Yoongi thinks that there might never be anything between them.

But they are good friends, the two of them. They work well as friends. Just—sometimes, Yoongi just sees the way Namjoon's gaze slides to where Seokjin is at, how soft he'll look at him, how his fingers twitch, as if he wants to reach over to hold his hand. 

"Is this about Seokjin hyung?" Yoongi asks, because Namjoon is too busy trying to smoke himself out. He raises an eyebrow at Namjoon who shakes his head, though the smile on his face is wry, a mixture between relief and pain. Yoongi thinks he knows that look quite well. He’s worn it so many times, day in and day out for so many years, how can he not recognise it when it is staring at him in the eyes like this? 

"No, it was just a question," Namjoon says it like somebody who is definitely not just asking a simple question, but tonight, with the evening growing darker, and the air a distant kind of cold that grazes at their cheeks, Yoongi will let it go. "Remember that one night I discovered you trashed my favourite scarf?" 

Yoongi wants to remind him of the mug Namjoon had broken and if it makes the both of them even, but then that'll open a whole new can of worms and Yoongi isn't ready to agree to buying Namjoon one of those oddly knitted scarves he's always raving about. 

"When you woke me up for no reason at all, yeah, I remember," Yoongi flicks the ashes of his cigarette onto the lower steps, eyes trailed on the movement. On how grey specks of dust land onto the remaining flecks of white snow still left from the storm.

Namjoon waves that very thought away like he hadn't just heard it and proceeds, an intrigued smile on his face, now. "I said something about Greek mythology, right. Listen, hyung," 

"The one that sounded straight out of a nightmare?" 

“No—I mean, maybe, I don't know, but listen," Namjoon turns around to look at Yoongi, who flinches at their sudden closeness because he'd felt just the tip of Namjoon's lit cigarette graze his gloved hand. Namjoon mumbles his apology, and because there really is no other way around this, nightmares or not, Yoongi nods, giving him the go ahead to tell the story. This is Namjoon's night, after all, and it has always been Yoongi's job to sit with him and listen when he got like this. Always. 

And this is another thing Yoongi doesn't quite mind, not really. He knows Namjoon, has known him for a long enough time and Namjoon. Well, Namjoon can most likely say the same thing about Yoongi, and that settles his nerves, instills in him a sense of calmness for the rest of the night, a calmness that he knows he will bring with him over to the morning, and the afternoon, maybe. 

One last drag from his cigarette and then Namjoon starts. All the way from the top, even, from when he'd burst through Yoongi's door and shaken him awake (Yoongi had to stop him at this point just to tell him to get to the fucking point, he knows what happened, he'd woken up. Therefore.). With a quick apology that Namjoon mumbles and a small little grin that pulls at the corners of his mouth, he continues, and it is a short and quick tale, something only ancient Greek could come up with.

It is a story about how humans once walked the earth with two pairs of arms and legs, and two faces, all the while sharing one body. Namjoon talks with his hands, and when one of them almost knocks Yoongi down into the goddamn pavement, he catches at Namjoon's hand, holds it steady between both of his, and urges him to continue, again

Namjoon does—says that these humans were stronger, smarter. There was two of everything. It didn't last, of course, because this is Greek Mythology and what else can one expect but tragedy and demise? So Zeus had struck everybody down, splitting them in half and apart and casting them far away. 

"And?" Yoongi asks, squeezing on Namjoon's hand because Namjoon's started to look over Yoongi's shoulder, probably at a cat on their neighbour's porch, or somebody else walking their dog, or other, because he's momentarily distracted. "Joon, what?" 

Namjoon snaps out of it. "Right. Well, yeah, that's it. They're all split in two, condemned to spend their lives searching for their other half." 

After a few moments of silence from Yoongi, Namjoon adds, voice a little bit more teasing, now. "Still sound like a nightmare?"

No, actually, it doesn't. It almost sounds sweet. Almost—until it hits Yoongi like the shock that it is and he stills, shoulders going rigged. 

"You believe in soulmates, hyung?" Namjoon asks, wiggling his hand out of Yoongi's so he can light another cigarette. 

Yoongi, despite himself, nods, because this is one thing he will not deny. Nobody has ever asked him, except for Namjoon. "You can say that,"

"You really do?" 

A shrug, Yoongi motioning for Namjoon to pass him the lighter again. He lights his own cigarette, draws in long and hard, and lets the smoke settle inside of him for a while, doesn't breathe out until it starts to hurt. 

"Sort of, yeah. Like you said, there's that certain connection," 

Does it really explain Yoongi's predicament, though. Yoongi and Hoseok. It is unexplainable, how Yoongi is reborn a new person again and again. How he finds Hoseok, again and again. There is no explanation of that except—except it was how they were designed, how the stars have wanted for it to be, and Yoongi knows, because they sing. They have sung the same song again and again, and they will continue to sing the same song in every lifetime, for Yoongi and Hoseok, for the both of them. 

"Probably why people have started saying 'my other half', or something like that?" Namjoon blows out a thick plum of smoke and Yoongi leans back against the door. 

Probably. 

It makes sense, how it had been derived from that. 

"Probably," Yoongi agrees, stretching his legs. It's starting to get cold, but it's the kind of cold where Yoongi is still comfortable. He doesn't like the cold, isn't particularly fond of winter (all the things he has lost in the winter, Hoseok who had slipped through his fingers, so many fucking years ago), but for some odd reason, it is fond of him. It comforts Yoongi, ironically enough. He has a high tolerance for the cold. 

Namjoon is all bundled up whilst Yoongi is only wearing one of his thinner coats, his scarf loosely hanging around his neck. 

"So, soulmates," Namjoon's voice is teasing, the sideways look he casts over at Yoongi amused. 

Yoongi sees the twinkle in his eyes, knows that the mood is over, whatever Namjoon had found himself in. That the dark room is lit again, it doesn't matter if it is by the sun streaming through the large open window or by the single light bulb hanging from the ceiling, flickering weakly but awake. Awake. 

"People with four arms and legs, and two faces," Yoongi counters, patting Namjoon's knee. "Nice story, though." he hoists himself up, using Namjoon to do so, and holds his hand out for the younger boy to take. 

They stand on the stoop for a little while longer, hands back to cradling their empty mugs of hot chocolate and coffee. 

"Kind of interesting, if you think about it," Namjoon muses. 

Yoongi shrugs. "Kind of," and Yoongi isn't surprised Namjoon's even brought the subject up. He knows the boy likes to read. Knows his inclination towards philosophy and older books than to the maths and sciences. Too smart and inquisitive sometimes for his own good—and far too fucking clumsy, especially now, because—

Because Namjoon yelps, surprised, and Yoongi has to clutch tightly onto his arm and hold him steady, because he'd almost slipped. It wouldn't have been a clean fall. 

"Jesus christ," Yoongi drags Namjoon back into the house, doesn't trust either of them to be loitering around in the dark and cold for more than another minute. He hangs his coat and toes off his shoes, hears Namjoon do the same, and they both pad into the library, a flimsy excuse for the other room just directly adjacent to the living room. The walls are lined with bookcases, a heavyset desk sitting in the middle. 

They don't use this room all that often. It had come with the brownstone, as in—their parents had paid for it to be installed. It's too quiet in here, even for Yoongi. 

Most of the books are Namjoon’s, though, and the too comfortable beanbag just by the window is where Namjoon usually reads. Yoongi finds him more often than not curled up against that little nook of his. 

"Think about it, hyung," Namjoon is on his tip toes, reaching for one of the thicker books higher up on the bookcase. With the book in his hand and a particularly pleased look on his face, he makes for his nook, plopping himself down, and making himself comfortable. "It's pretty interesting, though it is a painful way of existing."

There is a glint of knowing in Namjoon's eyes and a flicker of something in his smile, but Yoongi can't quite put his finger on it, doesn't know what to call it, yet. But it looks a lot like somebody who knows a lot more than they're letting on. 

And then the look in Namjoon's eye changes and Yoongi sees someone who has taken in more hurt than ever imaginable, someone who knows what it is like to try only to fail, to run only to trip and get their knees scraped and bruised. He knows that look very well. 

But then Namjoon blinks and it's gone, and all Yoongi can see is the boy he's grown up with, hair tucked under a beanie, dimple popping out on one side of his smile because he's beaming at Yoongi. 

"Don't sleep here," Yoongi says with a little shake of his head. He had imagined it. He hadn't seen that in Namjoon's eyes. He'd just seen someone who was always too into the idea of learning and reading, of sharing everything interesting he's come across with. "You're going to catch a cold." 

"Sure, hyung," but Yoongi still drapes a blanket over Namjoon's shoulder before he leaves. 

"Think about it, yeah?" Namjoon's voice drifts all the way up to the second landing of the stairs. 

Yoongi tightens his hand around the bannister. 

Right. 

Why does Yoongi have to think about the possibility of two people set onto the Earth just to find each other when he's living that very same life? 

He doesn't need to think about it. 

A deep breath that settles over Yoongi's rattling, tired bones. They quiet, if only for a moment. 

He breathes out, climbs the remaining number of steps, and then makes his way into his room. He plucks the yellow crane from his bedside table, observes it for a moment, and then smiles. 

It is painful, Namjoon may be right about that, but then there is always Hoseok in every life and Yoongi thinks that so long as he has Hoseok, it isn't so bad. The bad doesn't really last for long, at least, it is what Yoongi wants to believe. 

He pushes aside the thoughts of missing Hoseok the last time around. Of how young they are right now, of what it could mean in the future. He files them all away, starts his quiet mantra of a new start, a new beginning. 

Yoongi will hold out on that. 

So long as he sees Hoseok then there is always, always a reason.

And it makes sense, does it not, for Hoseok to be that reason. He is a pretty good reason, always. 

 

 

(Reason comes knocking at eight in the morning, with a tray of coffee for three people and a paper bag nearly filled to the brim with breakfast bagels. Namjoon is ecstatic and Yoongi sleepily makes his way down the stairs, hair a mess, and sleep still so evident. In his eyes, in his voice, in the way he wraps himself around Hoseok after the boy’s already set everything down on the table. 

Yoongi holds Hoseok tight, face buried in his chest. 

This is his reason, this is Hoseok.

Hoseok is surprised but he holds onto Yoongi just as tight, the kisses that he presses on the top of Yoongi’s head serving enough of a wake up call. 

Yoongi pulls away but doesn’t let go, hands still wrapped around Hoseok’s middle. “G’morning,” he says far too sleepily, still. 

“Are you okay?” Hoseok asks, both of his hands cupping either side Yoongi’s face.

Yoongi smiles at him, soft and slow, like how the sun is when it slowly makes its ascent into the sky, and then he says, “I am, now.”)

 

 

The first stop Yoongi makes after Christmas with his parents upstate isn't to the brownstone he shares with Namjoon. He doesn't even really think of it, his feet taking him to streets too far from his neighbourhood. He finds himself in a cab, gives an address that isn't his, and then stumbles out of it, arriving at Hoseok's front door.

He knocks a couple of times, bag heavy in one hand, and his eyes drooping to a close. He is so tired, had hardly gotten any sleep with how busy things had gotten the past few days. Now, Yoongi is just seeking comfort, wanting to be close to Hoseok, who always, always has that uncanny way of his of slowing the entire world down.

Hoseok opens the door, surprised. The sight of Yoongi nearly falling asleep on his feet has him hurrying to usher him into the house, Hoseok's hand on the small of Yoongi's back as he leads them into the apartment. 

Yoongi faintly hears Hoseok say that his sister is out, will be out for a day or two more. His bag drops to the floor with a heavy thud. Yoongi kicks off his shoes, allows Hoseok to help him push his coat off, and then blinks at the empty apartment, eyes still so, so heavy with all the sleep that he's missed.

"You look dead on your feet," Hoseok comments, bringing Yoongi in close to him for a hug. Here, in Hoseok's arms, Yoongi allows himself a few more seconds of silence, allows to breathe in the smell of him. It’s only been a couple of days since he's last seen Hoseok but Yoongi has ached in his absence. 

And you would think that for a being like Yoongi, he would be more used to not having Hoseok around. But he isn't. Yoongi will always look for Hoseok, will always try to find him, will always, always come back to him like this—like he's missed him so fucking much. 

"Missed you," Yoongi murmurs, the first kiss he leans in for landing sloppily on the side of Hoseok’s mouth.

Hoseok tightens his hold around Yoongi. "Missed you, too. Now let's get you to a bed,"

Yoongi wants to oppose that, wants to go kicking and screaming, because he's missed Hoseok and the last thing he wants to do is sleep. He wants to kiss every inch of Hoseok, touch every part of him, run his fingers down his chest. He wants the kind of warmth that is only available to two bodies pressed together. He wants that, but Yoongi is too sleepy to even say he doesn't want to sleep, let alone suggest he wants to fuck.

Hoseok sort of gets the message, his smile amused as he drags Yoongi to the bed. "Tomorrow, babe. You have to sleep," he brings Yoongi down with him, makes sure that Yoongi's settled in the bed before he pulls the duvet up. 

The whole time, Yoongi is drifting in and out of sleep, only grounded with the knowledge that Hoseok is here with him, soft, soft fingers brushing through his hair, with the occasional kiss that he presses on Yoongi's forehead, the tip of his nose, his cheek, and on his mouth. 

"Sleep, Yoongi," Hoseok tries again because Yoongi is stubborn. 

Yoongi slips his hand under Hoseok's shirt, nails dragging lazily down Hoseok's side. "I am," Yoongi murmurs, totally not helping his own case.

"You're going to wake up later this evening and we'll have breakfast for a very, very late dinner," Hoseok assures Yoongi, and even with his voice taking the tone of an adult trying to appease a toddler, Yoongi still smiles, nods his head, and then pinches his side.

"Shut up," Yoongi is so, so close to sleep, his eyes fluttering to a close. "And let me enjoy this."

Hoseok does shut up, but he doesn't stop carding his fingers through Yoongi's hair, or humming the tune of a song Yoongi doesn't know. It's a sweet melody, something that helps lull Yoongi to sleep. 

A few minutes pass with Yoongi barely saying anything. He's nuzzled against Hoseok's side, ankle hooking around Hoseok's, and he might be asleep to someone observing from very far away, but Hoseok knows he isn't. At least, not yet. 

"Sleep," Hoseok tells him again, voice sweet. 

Yoongi just noses his way up Hoseok's neck, kissing the edge of Hoseok's jaw, and then says, not for the first time since he's walked through the front door, "Really, really fucking missed you," 

Hoseok's hand still in Yoongi's hair, his breathing slower, like he is assessing the entire thing, waiting, turning over the words he wants to say in his head. And then, and then he breaks the silence with a quiet little laugh that actually hurts Yoongi because of how tender it is, and says, "God, I love you, but you need to get some rest." 

Yoongi doesn't mean to do it, his blunt finger nails digging into Hoseok's  hip. When he realises what he's doing, Yoongi lets up, soothes over the sting by patting on it. 

"Okay." is the only thing Yoongi says. He peers up at Hoseok, vision a little blurry. God, he's dead on his feet. Or, dead in bed. 

Yoongi's response to Hoseok's little confession comes a few hours later, when all is dark and the city is quiet. It comes when Yoongi wakes Hoseok up from his sleep just to kiss every inch he has access to. Hoseok wakes up laughing, trying to stop Yoongi but it is a half-hearted effort. Hoseok gives up three seconds in and Yoongi, hovering above him, smiles. 

Hoseok is beautiful like this, with his hair fanning across the pillow, sleepy, groggy smile the first thing that greets Yoongi. 

If Hoseok listens hard enough, he might hear the song in Yoongi's heart, or the name that drums in his ears. 

Yoongi leans down, brushes his lips against Hoseok's for the briefest of seconds before he says, sounding so out of breath and just so fucking happy, more like, "I love you, too," and Yoongi will not tell anyone he's waited so fucking long to hear the same words from Hoseok. That the sight of Hoseok alone is enough to bring Yoongi to his knees, that Hoseok, no matter where he is, no matter the time and the circumstance, will always, always be the one. 

There are so many more Yoongi wants to say. A thank you for being with him now, and another I miss you. He wants to apologise to Hoseok because he'd been too late the last time around. Yoongi—Yoongi thinks he may spend his entire life this time around trying to make it up to Hoseok but that is okay, that is no problem at all, because for Hoseok, Yoongi will. 

Instead of letting everything spill like a dam that's broken, Yoongi just settles on this quiet little love they have, now. 

And Hoseok—god, Hoseok is looking at him, smiling so fucking bright it is starting to hurt, but Yoongi doesn't look away, because he's never looked away from Hoseok, not ten lives ago, and definitely not now. Hoseok wraps an arm around Yoongi, and Yoongi pillows his head against Hoseok's chest. 

He can hear the sound of Hoseok's heart beating this close. Yoongi closes his eyes again, just wants to focus on this single moment. 

"Breakfast tomorrow.” Yoongi doesn't even know what time it is right now, but he does know one thing—that they'll both wake up tomorrow to the glare of the sun filtering through the open blinds. 

Hoseok agrees to that with an okay that he presses to Yoongi's forehead in a kiss, and if he minds Yoongi falling asleep on top of him, he doesn't say anything. 

Yoongi doesn't think there's anywhere else he'd rather be than in this bed with Hoseok. His heart is full and the knot in his chest finally, finally eased. 

If Yoongi is the storm then Hoseok is the calm. Always. 

 

 

They fuck slow and sweet that next morning, hands threaded together the entire time. There is too much kissing and not enough all at once, and it is another experience all together, especially when Yoongi knocks their foreheads too hard at one point, leaving Hoseok in near tears at the pain. They laugh it off, Hoseok’s hips stilling just so he can muffle his laughter in the crook of Yoongi’s neck. 

And this is them, this is how they are—never really the type to be anything but clumsy, but they make up for it, they always will. And Yoongi’s heart may feel like it’s too fucking full, like it’s ready to spill, but he will never, never for a second stop trying to love Hoseok more and more. 

It is a truth that has followed him in all his lives and Hoseok—

Hoseok has always been Hoseok, no matter the time, the place. 

Perhaps. 

Perhaps, Hoseok is the place, for Yoongi. 

Yoongi has loved this same boy for so many lives already and yet he never grows tired of it.

“Coffee?” Hoseok tugs on Yoongi’s hand and Yoongi allows the boy to pull him back to his feet. 

“Coffee.” Yoongi agrees, slipping into a sweater that’s too large for him, the sleeves too baggy. It smells like Hoseok. 

It feels a lot like home. 

 

 

New Year's eve is always a party. Always going to be loud and thundering and a complete and utter disaster. Yoongi is never one for a party, never really comfortable in being in the middle of a room too small for too many people, but here he is, in a bar with so many people he's seen around the campus and so many more he has no idea about. 

Yoongi still can't believe he'd allowed Namjoon and Seokjin to drag him out of the comfort of the house and into this bar. Hoseok had been more than game for it, though, just nodding along and laughing when the others had suggested it (and he'd also dragged his sister and a couple of her friends, so Yoongi's own argument of going to a party not knowing anybody had been nullified and voided. Punched an entire fist right through that.). 

Which brings them back to the centre of this party, everybody with a drink in their hand and too lost already to the thrill of meeting the coming new year with a bang. Or, at least, with too many drinks and too loud music that is sure to drown everybody else's screaming. 

Hoseok fits his hands on Yoongi's hips, his smile easy, languid. A result of the alcohol. The bar is crowded enough but Yoongi doesn't mind Hoseok pressing them both together. He sways a little bit to the beat of the music, an all too different song playing in his mind. Closes his eyes, feels Hoseok move against him. 

There is an active countdown, now. Just three minutes until New Year's. 

Yoongi opens his eyes to the twinkling of lights, his vision blurring. He focuses on Hoseok, hand curling around Hoseok's arm. Yoongi squeezes. 

Two minutes. 

Hoseok kisses Yoongi, slots their lips together, and then pulls away before Yoongi can even gather the last remaining brain cells he's got to kiss him properly. Hoseok grins at him a little bit too large. Too big for life. 

One minute. 

"Glad I met you," Yoongi hears as Hoseok ducks down to kiss the side of his ear, fingers slipping into the back of Yoongi's hair and tugging gently. They've stopped swaying to the music, completely still with everybody else. The countdown starts, the voices loud. 

They've lost sight of their friends an hour ago but Yoongi thinks he can hear Namjoon's voice somewhere to his left, amidst everybody else counting down. 

Yoongi looks up at Hoseok. Cups his cheek with the palm of his hand, and smiles, because he feels the same way. "Happy new year," Yoongi says, a few seconds before it actually is because he knows it's going to be so deafeningly loud he won't even be able to hear his own thoughts.

The last thing Yoongi sees before the new year settles on them is Hoseok's smile, so, so bright. Always bright, big, and beautiful. Too beautiful for this world. Hoseok, with his bright smile. A smile that he flashes at Yoongi and, and Yoongi already knows. The way Hoseok's eyes shift, the definite change in his gaze. Yoongi already knows that this is a smile meant only for him, a smile that is able to turn the world upside down and over its own axis. 

And even with everybody else erupting in cheers all around them, all Yoongi can see is Hoseok, in this room flooded with so many people, all he can ever really focus on is Hoseok.

Hoseok curls a finger under Yoongi's chin and tilts it up for a kiss. A New Year's kiss that has Yoongi's toes curling and his breath catching because Hoseok is always, always too big for life, and he kisses Yoongi with the single intention to steal his breath away, especially when he swipes his tongue on the roof of Yoongi's mouth, and curls it over Yoongi's own. 

For the briefest of moments, the entire world goes still as Yoongi kisses Hoseok back. 

There is a fire that trails through his skin and flows through his blood and there is a fire with every press of Hoseok's lips against his, like Hoseok is the flame and Yoongi is gasoline, all too ready to burn. 

Yoongi's smile is probably too fucking big for someone who hasn't exactly drank all that much alcohol throughout the night but he doesn't care. The world has paused just for the both of them and Hoseok, Yoongi knows now, is the still-point.

Hoseok is the still-point of this ever turning world, and perhaps time has not stopped, not exactly, but looking at Hoseok, Yoongi thinks his own heart may have skipped a beat. 

"Happy new year," Hoseok has to yell it out for Yoongi to hear him over the voice of so many other people yelling out their greetings. 

A hand clamping around Yoongi's shoulder pulls him out of his little trance, popping the bubble that they'd managed to encase themselves in. He turns around to find Namjoon and Seokjin red in the face from the alcohol but with smiles so wide and infectious, Yoongi can't help but laugh, drunk not on the alcohol but on Hoseok and this certain feeling of happiness that has spiked inside of him. 

Drunk on happy. 

This is exactly what it is. 

Namjoon pulls Yoongi into a hug and Seokjin doesn't even wait, joins the both of them, his arms wrapped around Yoongi and Namjoon and Hoseok, because even Seokjin can't leave Hoseok out of this, and Yoongi thanks his lucky stars, he really does, for friends like them, for Hoseok. 

They all stumble out of the bar at a little after one. They're not far enough away from home that walking is no option—and it isn't exactly that cold anymore, they can manage. The subways are no option at all when Seokjin points out how it's going to be absolutely fucking crazy. 

They also leave Jiwoo at the bar, the older girl insisting she'll be fine. She’s got her friends, after all, and before they leave, she smothers Hoseok in a hug and waits for one from Yoongi, who's all too happy to oblige, arms wrapping around her much smaller frame, his greeting whispered close to her ear. She sets them off with one last pat to Yoongi's back. 

And it is not such a long walk—maybe about twenty, thirty minutes. They have no other choice, the traffic a nightmare. But this is their city and they are used to it. The trek back home is filled with the occasional burst of laughter from Seokjin and Namjoon almost tripping on a flat surface. 

Hoseok holds onto Yoongi's hand the entire time, stealing kisses whenever he can. 

They find themselves back at the brownstone in no time at all, Yoongi pushing Namjoon aside because he hasn't got any time for Namjoon to fumble around for his key. Seokjin snickers at that, already assigning Namjoon the couch for the night while Hoseok just ushers the other two into the house.

It is warm and cosy and quiet and Yoongi takes his time shrugging out of his coat and unwinding his scarf. 

He takes his time the very same way he takes his time with Hoseok later, when they're both in bed and the door has clicked to a close and a lock. With Hoseok, all Yoongi wants to do is take his time; to map out the plains of his body, tracing the constellation on his back. He takes his time and Hoseok lets him, kissing down the line of Yoongi's jaw, sucking a bruise on the base of his neck.

Takes his time when he prepares Hoseok, too, slick finger curling in him. Yoongi kisses the soft whimpers away because the last thing he wants to do is hurt Hoseok, and so he is gentle, taking it slow. Steady. And it starts with one, and ends with three, Hoseok breathing much easier, asking Yoongi for more, assuring him that he's ready, and god, Yoongi will never tire of Hoseok underneath him, though, of the way Hoseok's mouth pops open in pure ecstasy, eyes blown wide with want.

Hoseok tightening around him, fingernails sliding down Yoongi's back, and it is a welcome kind of sting as Yoongi starts to move, setting a pace that is easy for the both of them, for now. Slow and gentle, not wanting to move too fast. Hoseok arches his back off of the bed, latching a kiss on Yoongi's neck, and there will be so many come the next morning, but Yoongi doesn't mind, doesn't care, he wants all of them—wants whatever marks Hoseok will leave against his skin. 

"Yoongi," Hoseok breathes out, fingers threading into Yoongi's hair. “Move—faster,” he all but pants, teeth worrying on his bottom lip.

Yoongi obliges, because he can never deny Hoseok of anything, always, always the one to indulge him in whatever, whenever. So he quickens the pace, hips snapping faster, and his hand slipping between their bodies to wrap around Hoseok's cock, squeezing at the base, and then sliding back up as he pumps him to his orgasm, the long stream of Yoongi's name in between a couple of choice words swallowed up when Yoongi kisses him through it, swallowing every moan and whimper that tumbles out of Hoseok's lips. 

"You're fucking beautiful," Yoongi remarks, hand grazing the side of Hoseok's cheek as he waits for Hoseok to calm down, to even his breathing, doesn't want to move too suddenly knowing he's over stimulated now from his orgasm. 

Hoseok wraps his legs around Yoongi, dragging him down to him, mouth back against Yoongi's. He throws his arms around Yoongi's neck and kisses like it's the one goddamn thing he knows will completely wreck Yoongi and push him off the edge, tongue curling around Yoongi's before his teeth catch on Yoongi's bottom lip, the whisper that Yoongi is doing so goddamn well enough to make Yoongi come, a toe curling and shuddering one that has him digging his fingernails against Hoseok's sides, with Hoseok holding him through it, a constant hum of babe and I love you a mantra that pulls Yoongi back down to earth, back to this moment. 

He eases out of Hoseok. Sees Hoseok wince a little bit, and he grimaces at him, leaning down to press a fluttering kiss on his cheek when he's disposed of the condom and wiped themselves clean. 

"When they said start the new year with a bang," Hoseok plays with Yoongi's hair, a sort of blissful look in his eyes, and a fond, fond smile on his face. "You think they meant this?" 

Yoongi laughs, despite the terrible joke. His answer comes in the form of him kissing his way up from the base of Hoseok's neck to the edge of his mouth. "Maybe," 

"Maybe." Hoseok hums, kissing Yoongi, soft and sweet, taking his time just exploring every little crevice there is in Yoongi's mouth. He smiles halfway through it, pulls away from him, and then settles back on the bed.

They both settle into bed, Hoseok pulling the blanket up higher over their shoulders, and then throwing his arm around Yoongi's middle, fingers drumming absentmindedly down Yoongi's side. 

"Happy new year," Hoseok's smile is pressed against Yoongi's forehead, more a kiss than anything else, really. "I love you."

Yoongi curls against Hoseok in the way that he always does when he's ready for sleep. "I love you, too."

They welcome the new year like this, with each other. Close together. Together. Yoongi falls asleep with Hoseok's arm around his, and Hoseok follows a few moments later with the sound of Yoongi's even breathing pulling him in and under. 

Yoongi has a good feeling about this coming new year, he really does.

 

 

January grows even colder with each passing day. Classes are back in full swing and it makes meeting Hoseok a little bit more difficult, but not by much. They always have the end of the day for each other. It is a small city, if you think about it, for two people like them. 

It is a small city. 

A small world, when Hoseok is so, so big all on his own. 

Yoongi pushes through the door of the quaint little cafe, hears the twinkling of the wind chime hanging overhead, and nods at Namjoon from behind the counter. Namjoon, who raises his head and grins at the sight of Yoongi, his hey ringing loud enough for the rest of the cafe's patrons to hear. 

"Why are you still getting this iced?" Namjoon asks, passing Yoongi his drink as well as a muffin. He tilts his head to the farthest table in the back where Hoseok is seated, surrounded by an assortment of coloured paper. Yoongi sees a few of the paper cranes to the side of the table, and in the little plastic bin that Hoseok likes to keep them in.

"Cold versus the cold," Yoongi says, in lieu of an actual answer. Namjoon just rolls his eyes and tells him to go bother Hoseok now that they’re done.

Yoongi does just that, setting his bag on the floor and the heavy book he's been pouring over on the empty chair right next to him. Before he takes his seat, he leans down and kisses Hoseok, smiling when he pulls back. "Hi," 

"Hello," Hoseok says, eyes glittering with surprise, like they hadn't just texted each other fifteen minutes ago. 

"Can I see?" Yoongi asks. Hoseok lets his pen clatter to the table. Holds onto the small notebook he's always carrying with him, whenever, and then, with another smile from Yoongi, finally gives it up. He does it with just the hint of a pout that is easily wiped away with another kiss that Yoongi presses to his lips. So, so easy, Jung Hoseok. Sometimes. 

Yoongi flips through the most recent pages—sees a rough sketch of a busy street. Of a pair of kids sledding in the park. The last drawing is halfway done, the only thing Yoongi recognises is the human-sized paper crane, and the silhouette of a smaller boy playing pilot in it. Funny. Cute. He passes the notebook back to Hoseok with a funny little smile on his face. 

It is Hoseok's turn now, squeezing on Yoongi's hand, his smile sweet enough that it makes up for the bran muffin Namjoon had given him for free. Right, never again. 

"How many more 'til a thousand?" Yoongi takes a sip of his coffee, watching as Hoseok slides his notebook back into his bag. As Hoseok tries to arrange the tiny little mess he's left on the table. It is an assortment of colour again, only fitting for somebody like him. Yoongi can't help but smile, even when this is all they do, Yoongi is still. Well. Happy. 

Stupidly so, sometimes, but he has been through so much. Has seen pain and lived through it so many lives, again and again. He has looked into death's eyes and only managed to grow stronger. Everything else in between that, Yoongi will cherish, just like quiet afternoons like this, with Hoseok. The both of them, together. 

And it is times like this that Yoongi wants to tell Hoseok about everything. From the first time he's laid eyes on him to—to all the lives that have followed after that. How beautiful it would be if Hoseok remembered. But then again, Yoongi supposes it also being painful, and he would not wish that on Hoseok, not the kind of pain that lingers so many years after. Not the kind of pain that Yoongi still feels, halfway into his new life. No. 

This is fine, Hoseok blissfully unaware of the past. Of all their lives together. Though some days, there is a strange glint in Hoseok's eyes, the boy, upon prompting from Yoongi just what exactly's wrong, mumbling something about a faint sense of deja vu. 

Yoongi is tempted, of course he is. But he will wait, sit down on this knowledge for now. He's already promised himself he'll take his time, draw this out for as long as it'll last. For as long as Hoseok will have him, will want him. Yoongi will do just that. Besides, he is content like this. 

Hoseok finishes another paper crane. "I think less than fifteen," 

This has been Hoseok's year long project. School and every other kind of obligation coming in the way from him actually completing it. 

Yoongi drags a particularly bright red to him. Starts to fold. He has gotten better at it. Practice, practice, and the strong will not to keep feeding Hoseok his deformed paper cranes will make you better. Or so Yoongi's learnt, anyway. 

"We can get them done today," is what Yoongi says, throwing a smile at Hoseok who beams back at him.

And this is the sweetest kind of company Yoongi may ever get to ask for, may ever have in his life, with Hoseok. 

They work in silence, Hoseok humming a song under his breath. The tune to a hit pop song that Yoongi can't avoid not listening to, not when it's played everywhere he goes. He scrunches his nose at Hoseok's choice of song. It only serves as encouragement to Hoseok who actually starts to sing the song under his breath and—and he's got a nice voice, Hoseok. Really nice. 

So nice Yoongi doesn't even mind the terrible song choice (or, he indulges Hoseok too much. Who knows. Namjoon is in full support of the latter. Seokjin, too, but. Whatever. Yoongi's always got nosy friends.). 

It is Yoongi who folds the last paper crane. He drops it into Hoseok's open palm, the smiles they trade each other of disbelief this time. They've worked on this together. 

"I met you around the three hundredth one, did I ever tell you?" Hoseok asks, carefully dropping the last paper crane into the plastic bin. 

Yoongi reaches across the table to hold Hoseok's hand. Runs his thumb across Hoseok's knuckles, and smiles. “Let’s go get you that wish.” 

 

 

The apartment Hoseok shares with his sister is empty, the older girl away for classes, presumably. Yoongi kicks off his shoes and lets his eyes wander across the living room. Stops for a second to stare at the large windows. How beautiful would it be come the spring, when the sun spills through the glass and into this room. 

He follows Hoseok past the living room, past the kitchen, and way past his own bedroom until they reach another landing on the first floor. There is a door to the farthest right. Yoongi already knows where it leads to, has been in the room a couple of times before. 

It is where Hoseok keeps his art and his supplies. It is not much, just barely big enough for Hoseok and his canvass. A couple of paintings are hanging on the wall, a few tubs of paint pushed against the corner. For Hoseok's work space, it is surprisingly minimal. Just plain white walls with a single stool in the middle of the room. 

But just behind it, hanging against the wall are the countless paper cranes Hoseok has already folded throughout the year. Paper cranes Yoongi has helped him make. 

They make little work of the few they'd finished in the cafe, carefully hanging them up with the rest. Each row with fifty paper cranes. It doesn't look too crowded like this, but the assortment of colour makes for a beautiful sight. 

Yoongi steps away, watching as Hoseok fastens the one thousandth paper crane with the rest. When Hoseok takes a step back, it is with a look of wonder in his face.

"Well," Yoongi says, head tilted to the wall. 

Hoseok takes a deep breath. He breathes it out with a laugh. Surprised. He turns to look at Yoongi, arm coming around Yoongi's middle, and his face tucked into the crook of Yoongi's neck. Yoongi holds onto Hoseok as he laughs, in pure disbelief at his own little masterpiece. 

"It's beautiful, babe," Yoongi can't help it. He laughs as well. And it is one of the hardest things to do, really, to stop himself from following a second after Hoseok's started to laugh.

Yoongi can't count all the times he's gotten drunk on Hoseok's laugh alone.

Too many times. 

"I didn't expect to actually finish. With school and everything," Hoseok lifts his head up to look at Yoongi.

Yoongi brushes the light orange strands of hair out of his eyes, lets his hand linger, pressed softly against Hoseok's cheek. He smiles at him. This close, Yoongi is able to count the flecks of brown in Hoseok's eyes. Each and every strand of his eyelashes. This close, Yoongi can even see the stars dancing behind Hoseok's eyes, and oh, all the worlds they hold.

All the worlds Hoseok has access to, just in the tips of his fingers. 

"Go ahead," Yoongi urges him on. Nudges his nose against Hoseok's, and then kisses him. A quick peck, a boost of courage for Hoseok, who nods his head, his thank you coming in the form of another kiss to just the bow of Yoongi's lips.

Hoseok takes a few careful steps towards the thousand paper cranes and Yoongi watches him, his breath held, because there are a thousand paper cranes hanging on the metal mesh Hoseok had propped against the wall. It truly is a sight to behold. 

Just like Hoseok, thinks Yoongi, a fond smile on his face. 

Hoseok takes a deep breath. Looks over his shoulder at Yoongi and then smiles at him, and it's the kind of smile that can power a small little village. Set a significant part of a forest on fire. It is that kind of smile.

And then—and then Hoseok's smile shifts, turns softer. Tender. His eyes calling for Yoongi. This smile is the smile Hoseok smiles for Yoongi alone, he knows it the same way he knows that come the next life, how many years that may be from now, Yoongi will still be reborn as Yoongi, and he'll still have Hoseok. Someway, somehow, he knows.

The heart knows, it really does. 

Hoseok slips his fingers into the spaces between Yoongi's, tugging him beside him.

They stand looking at the wall of a thousand paper cranes. Yoongi can pinpoint the ones he'd made the first few times, sloppy and unpracticed. Still, Hoseok's allowed them to hang up there with the rest. 

When Hoseok breathes out, Yoongi sighs. They both sound relieved. 

"What did you wish for?" Yoongi asks, leaning his head on Hoseok's shoulder.

With one last squeeze on Yoongi's hand, Hoseok drops it in favour of slinging an arm around Yoongi's waist. His hand slips underneath Yoongi's shirt, fingers splayed across Yoongi's skin.

He is warm. 

Hoseok has always been warm. Will always be warm, that Yoongi is sure of. 

"Sorry, you're not supposed to say, right?" Yoongi takes it back, teeth worrying on his bottom lip.

Hoseok shrugs his shoulders. "Dunno, but I don't mind sharing," 

And here Yoongi waits, eyes still trained on the numerous paper cranes hanging in front of them.  

"Did you wish for an endless summer break?" Yoongi asks, only halfway joking. He's listened to Hoseok talk about the summer enough to know that the boy is just waiting for it. For the sun against his skin and the wind in their hair, and sand between their toes. God, Yoongi can't wait for summer, too. 

Can't wait to spend it with Hoseok. How warm it will be, how beautiful the sunsets will look setting just behind the horizon and into the ocean. 

"Or an extra week during Spring break?" Yoongi is teasing him now. For all Hoseok is a talented student, he is also one to over indulge in breaks. Well deserved breaks. He burns himself out enough and so Yoongi is always thankful when Hoseok takes it upon himself to just push everything into a corner and allow himself enough room to breathe. A well deserved break. 

"That would've been great, hyung, now that you mentioned it," Hoseok kisses the side of Yoongi's temple. "But I just, well," here he trails off, like he's suddenly at a loss for words. His cheeks are the colour of a dusty rose, but the same soft, soft smile is on his face. 

The butterflies come alive in Yoongi's stomach. There is an ease that settles over him, though. Over the both of them. 

Yoongi waits. 

"I asked for a good life, s'all." Hoseok murmurs this quietly, so quiet that if Yoongi hadn't been pressed to his side as he is now, then he wouldn't have heard it. But Yoongi is, and Yoongi hears him. He hears him loud and clear.

Instead of saying anything, though, Yoongi just leans his head back on Hoseok's shoulder, the smile that plays across his features gentle. One that is sprinkled with a little bit of hope, because Yoongi holds fast and hard on that, hope. 

They stand together in quiet for a few more moments, just enjoying each other's company, this close together. Eyes trailed on the paper cranes. 

Hoseok had asked for a good life and Yoongi, well. Yoongi has no reason to oppose that, because life with Hoseok, albeit not always the easiest or a complete walk in the part sometimes, has always been a good life.

This time around, in this life, Yoongi has no doubts that it is going to be a good one. 

 

 

And this is how life happens—life goes on. 

Time passes them by. 

Yoongi holds on to each and every moment, wanting for time to slow down, if only for a few seconds. It does not, because the world does not work like that, Yoongi should know, now. And life may not be the easiest sometimes but it is worthwhile, every single moment of it, every single day, because it has been three years, since. Three years. 

Sometimes, Yoongi looks at where he is and wonders how he'd even gotten here. 

Sometimes, Yoongi falls asleep with nightmares that still plague him. Nightmares about Hoseok and all the times he's lost him. Nightmares about the boy he'd never even met, so many years ago. In his previous life. 

And then other times, Yoongi dreams about all their other tomorrows together, about the  several springs and summers they have, how they will never be enough, not when Hoseok is the type to walk through a thunderstorm with confidence, hands stretched out before him, ready. Not when Hoseok flits through a flower patch, a garden, with all the flowers turning their pretty, pretty little heads to look at him. Not when every time Hoseok so much as laughs, the stars join his ensemble. They are his own personal choir.

Morning comes and Yoongi is awoken by a scratching at the door. Mickey, probably wanting to be let out to walk. He turns to the other side of the bed, facing Hoseok. 

Slowly, Yoongi's eyes flutter open. Seven a.m summer sun streams through the window. They'd forgotten to pull the blinds last night. It doesn't matter, Yoongi likes waking up like this, anyway, with the sun cascading through the window and down on Hoseok, as if it's washing him in gold. 

He kisses Hoseok's cheek, fingers playing gently with his hair.

It does not take long for Hoseok to start to stir, awoken too early on this early summer morning. 

"What time is it?" Hoseok asks, nuzzling even closer to Yoongi. He curls his fingers around Yoongi's hip, noses his way up Yoongi's neck, and then presses a very lazy kiss to the underside of Yoongi's jaw. "Good morning," 

"G'morning," Yoongi greets him back, voice still heavy with sleep. Groggy.

Hoseok blinks himself awake, eyes squinting at how bright it is. He hears Mickey still scratching at the door and he laughs, a low grumble for how early it is. "Has he been doing that a while?"

"Nah, just the past six minutes, maybe," Yoongi says, smiling. 

"Maybe we should get up, walk the dog," for someone suggesting that, Hoseok looks like the last person who'd even want to roll off the bed and walk his dog. 

Yoongi probably looks the same.

So Yoongi does the only thing he knows that'll get Hoseok to sleep in for a little bit more. He leaves a trail of kisses down the side of Hoseok’s cheek, hand still idly brushing through his hair. 

Hoseok responds with little butterfly kisses that leave Yoongi laughing, because they tickle. 

It does the trick, though. Hoseok plops back down onto the bed. Swings a leg over Yoongi's, and nuzzles even closer to him, head tucked into the crook of Yoongi's neck. 

This is cosy, for Hoseok. 

Always, always cosy. 

"One more hour and then we move," Hoseok makes sure to get Yoongi's okay, and it doesn't come easily, though. It comes after a full minute of Yoongi just humming, way too sleepy to even manage an actual response. 

Finally, and only because Yoongi is actually afraid Hoseok will decide to just get up and start the day—start the weekend—he says, "Okay, okay. An hour, tops, promise." 

Another kiss, this time one Hoseok presses to the base of Yoongi's throat. 

Yoongi's fingers card through Hoseok's hair, a content smile on his face. The dog gives up trying to wake them up after five more minutes and they both fall back asleep.

They wake up a second time at twenty minutes after ten. Hoseok is the first to wake this time, pointing out the time to a groggy Yoongi.

"One hour, tops," Hoseok mimics Yoongi from earlier, his laugh a warm tinkle this morning. He swings a leg over Yoongi's torso, straddling him. He plants his hands on Yoongi's chest and leans down to kiss him, catching Yoongi's bottom lip with his teeth. 

"Last one out the room has to walk Mickey."

Before Yoongi can even realise just exactly what is at stake, Hoseok's already scrambling off the bed, his laughter ringing loud and bouncing across the entire room.

Yoongi rolls off the bed, too late. He's already slipping into a pair of pants and pulling over a shirt he knows ins't even his over his head. It doesn't matter. Hoseok's got a full wardrobe with more shirts, surely he doesn't mind Yoongi stealing one. Again, for the hundredth time ("Swear it gets lost during the wash," but Hoseok knows, and Yoongi doesn't care. Hoseok's shirts are always so much more comfortable. Softer. Yeah.). 

He takes Mickey for a walk, the small dog growing a little bit pudgier now compared to when Yoongi had first met him. He rubs Mickey behind the ear, and with a loud, "There better be breakfast when we come back." walks out of the door. 

And there is breakfast when they come back, when Mickey bounces through the living room and into the kitchen the second Yoongi removes the leash. Yoongi can smell coffee and toast and pancakes, he knows. Saturday morning breakfast. 

Hoseok has Mickey in his arms, laughing as the dog tries to lick his face. He sets Mickey back down on the floor and turns to Yoongi. Hoseok presses Yoongi against the kitchen counter, arms bracing him on either side. Yoongi tilts his head up to kiss him, a proper good morning passing between them through this one kiss.

When they pull away, Hoseok points out the freshly brewed coffee and the still warm toast and pancakes.

Yoongi smiles and thinks that it really has been a good life, so far. 

 

 

They're walking out of the restaurant when Hoseok brings it up. 

"Remember the first time we met?" 

"What about it?" Yoongi asks, squeezing on Hoseok's hand.

The next words out of Hoseok's mouth, although sounding rather speculative, are words Yoongi does not expect, especially when Hoseok says, "You looked like you were about to cry," 

Yoongi does the only thing he can do—he scoffs, shakes his head, and sputters out a, "Allergies. Bad allergies, I said so, right?" 

Right. 

The first time Yoongi had used that excuse, it hadn't sounded right. Namjoon didn't buy it. Now, three years later, Hoseok brings it back up and Yoongi uses the same excuses. It still doesn't sound as convincing. 

"Still kind of weird," Hoseok mulls over that thought, squeezing on Yoongi's hand as they turn to the next block. "Always felt like I knew you from somewhere, even before then,"

Yoongi stops walking. His heart is beating at least a mile a minute and that is definitely not healthy but so is Hoseok looking at him like this, like he's on the brink of an answer, of an idea, like he's so, so close to knowing.

And Yoongi has had this argument with himself so many fucking times already. He's tried to excuse himself out of explaining everything because—because what if Hoseok thinks him fucking insane, what if? The way Hoseok is looking at him now, though, makes Yoongi thinks otherwise. 

Maybe. 

Maybe if Yoongi starts to talk about it, little by little, somehow, someway, it's going to open that door in Hoseok's mind, allowing him access to all the memories of his previous lives. Maybe.

"I did kinda cry," Yoongi admits it now, partly because Hoseok is waiting for him, and partly because there isn't anything else he can say to deflect this line of questioning. "And you mentioned it before. Deja vu, or something like that, yeah?" 

Hoseok runs his thumb across Yoongi's knuckles. Yoongi watches as Hoseok's thumb rubs across the silver band gleaming against the pale yellow light from the street lamp shining overhead them. For a second, Yoongi breathes a sigh of relief, smiling. Hoseok smiles with him, too, and this is always the same reaction, whenever Yoongi sees the ring around his finger. Whenever Hoseok brings their clasped hands together. 

Always the same giddy little feeling, the same bright eyes, warm smiles, and full hearts. Always. 

"I just always had this feeling," Hoseok continues, stepping closer to Yoongi. He kisses Yoongi's cheek softly, playfully, even. "Like I've met you before. A long time ago, maybe," 

It is Yoongi's turn to kiss him, trying to usher them both into a different field, into different questions. He bumps their noses together, bypassing Hoseok's lips to kiss the line of his jaw. Yoongi pulls back, a little bit smug, a little bit pleased. "Maybe," Yoongi nods, still on the edge of whether he should talk or—or not. "That was years ago, babe. Don't worry about it." 

Hoseok' brows knit together in worry. "Just odd that you always felt familiar," 

Yoongi manages to pull a smile on his face, however slight this one is, because Hoseok is making it very hard for him to keep his mouth shut, because, god, Yoongi wants to tell him everything, he really does. 

"Really?" Yoongi gives in because he always, always gives in, especially when Hoseok is looking at him like that, eyes wide, and a ghost of a frown on his mouth, pulling the corners of his lips down. "What if we met before?" 

"I'd have remembered you, but then again, there's that," Hoseok fumbles around for his next words, but his hold around Yoongi's hand is still tight, their palms pressed together. "That feeling that I just couldn't shake off then. Like I knew you from somewhere,"

"Like it wasn't the first time we've met?" Yoongi's averting his gaze, choosing instead to look around them. They're near their apartment now. This one is in a much quieter part of the city, but it is not far enough for them to be too far from their favourite restaurants. Just a few minutes on foot, and a shorter few by the subway. 

"Right, something like that," they start to climb the steps of their apartment, breezing past the guard and ushering themselves into the elevator. Soon enough they stumble back into their apartment, silence following them because there is very little Yoongi can say without telling Hoseok the entire story. Very little before Hoseok will think him fucking insane.

Mickey greets them as soon as they toe off their shoes, and Hoseok is momentarily distracted, plopping himself down on the floor to play with the dog. 

Yoongi gives Mickey's head a small pat and then kisses Hoseok's forehead before he pads over to their bedroom, ready to just slip under the covers and call it a day. But Yoongi heads for the bathroom, instead, slowly shuffling out of his clothes, skin already prickling from how cold the bathroom is. 

Hoseok follows him after a couple of minutes, stepping into the bathroom quietly and slipping into the shower with Yoongi. 

"Hi," Hoseok smiles at him, the unease shrugged off his shoulders, for now. There is a growing suspicion, though, something unexplainable plaguing him. 

"You really felt that?" Yoongi runs his wet fingers through Hoseok's damp hair, tugging the boy down lower so he can kiss him. For two people playing around in the shower, they're not at all careful about slipping and cracking their heads on the bathroom tiles. 

As if. 

"Like I knew you from somewhere?" Hoseok noses his way down Yoongi's neck, one hand rubbing at Yoongi's hip. 

"Mhm," Yoongi hums, head tilted back when he feels Hoseok's hand circle around his cock. 

"Yeah," Hoseok drags his thumb lazily across the tip of Yoongi's cock. Easily kisses the moan that passes through Yoongi's lips when he does so. 

"What if we did?" Yoongi reverses their position, pins Hoseok against the wall and then very slowly, and very carefully, lowers himself down to his knees. He takes Hoseok without any warning, fingers wrapping around everything else Yoongi can’t take in. 

Hoseok's fingers slide through Yoongi's hair, tugging gently, encouraging him.

Conversation is lost in the heat of the moment, with Yoongi on his knees, cheeks hallowed as he sucks Hoseok off. The shower is warm against their backs, the smell of Hoseok's favourite shampoo wafting around the bathroom. 

Yoongi licks a long stripe up across Hoseok's cock, smirking a little bit when Hoseok's hips stutter in his grip, the boy close to his own orgasm. Hoseok tightening his hold in Yoongi's hair is all the warning Yoongi needs. He licks at the tip of Hoseok's cock and then hallows his cheeks again, taking Hoseok in as far as he can. His voice will sound a little too raw come the next morning, maybe even too fucked, but that is fine, Yoongi can take Hoseok all the way in, likes the feeling of how heavy Hoseok's dick is on his tongue, and how it’s hitting the inside of Yoongi's cheek.

Hoseok comes with an exclaim of Yoongi's name, muted only by the sound of the shower. Yoongi holds Hoseok steady, both hands gripping Hoseok's hips as the boy shakes in his orgasm. Yoongi pulls back eventually, wiping the back of his hand across his mouth for everything else he's missed—and the water helps with it, too. 

Hoseok pulls him back up, Yoongi all too pliant in his arms.

For the meantime, Hoseok forgets. It is hard to remember anything anyway when Yoongi's just given him a blowjob, when Yoongi's kissing him slowly, lazily, tongue dragging along his teeth before it curls around his tongue. 

Hoseok returns the favour, getting on his knees and sucking Yoongi off. It does not take long for Yoongi to cum, especially when Hoseok's got a finger teasing at his entrance. With Hoseok hallowing his cheeks, and dragging the underside of his tongue along the length of Yoongi. Not long at all until Yoongi is bucking up over Hoseok's body, nearly folding himself over Hoseok, fingernails leaving shallow grooves on Hoseok's shoulder. 

"You okay?" Hoseok asks, straightening up.

Yoongi kisses Hoseok, kisses him long enough for Hoseok to be able to understand Yoongi's answer without the need for words. Kisses him so long, the water is turning a little bit cold. Hoseok doesn't seem to mind. Their fingers may get pruny but it is hardly the concern, now.

And with the way Hoseok is kissing Yoongi back, with how he's trying not to smile too much to disrupt the kiss, Yoongi knows that Hoseok understands, that Hoseok knows that he's more than okay. 

 

 

It has been a while for Yoongi and Namjoon, for the both of them to find each other sitting on the stoop again. It is a warm summer night and all Namjoon had needed to do was to send a simple text to Yoongi, and they're back to old antics. They're back here, of all places.

Namjoon hasn't moved out of the brownstone and Yoongi thinks he doesn't want to—it has been home for most of their adult life, there is an attachment here. Yoongi has moved out a year ago, with Hoseok, because of the same reason—because there is an attachment, a connection. It is something neither of them fail to mention, especially now, when Namjoon passes Yoongi a cup of hot coffee for the evening. 

Yoongi wraps his fingers around it, his thank you murmured low under his breath. It has been a while, maybe a few weeks since he's last seen Namjoon. He's working on his Master’s these days. How proud his parents are. Yoongi is, too, and he feels like it is something he hardly says, something he knows Namjoon needs to hear every once in a while 

"It's been a while," Namjoon says, smiling up at Yoongi, watching as Yoongi takes his seat beside him. 

Nothing much has changed, really, ever since Yoongi had moved out. The neighbourhood is still the same. Quiet, just like how Yoongi likes it. 

And it is how they spend their first few minutes with each other, in the quiet of each other's company. It is comforting silence, companionable. 

"How have you been?" Yoongi asks after a while. After Namjoon's smoked his third cigarette in a row. He looks a little bit too tired, a little bit too worn down. From grad-school, family. From life, in general. It is always what gets in the way. "I haven't spoken to Seokjin hyung in a while," a while being relative, because nobody ever really knows just how long a while can stretch out. 

"He's fine," there is a bitter inflection in Namjoon's tone, something that catches Yoongi's attention easily. "I'm okay. Just, tired, s'all." Namjoon draws in a long drag, cheeks hallow as he holds the smoke in, as he lets it hurt. 

Yoongi places a hand on Namjoon's knee, gives it a squeeze, and says, "You can talk to me, yeah?" 

Namjoon's face clears then, and he nods. Like he's known that all along. Like he's known it all his life. "Just school, I guess. Dad still thinks I’m wasting my time. He’s fucking crazy, of course.” 

For someone with a corporate family background, it had been a surprise for Namjoon to major in Psychology. A surprise to everyone else besides Seokjin and Yoongi. Because they know, they've always known, really, that the cruel waters of investment banking was never for him. 

"You'll be fine," 

Right.

Namjoon nods his head, crushes his cigarette out on the step just beneath him. "What about you, hyung, how are you?" 

"Okay," Yoongi says, the answer coming to him quickly enough. "I've been doing well," 

Here, Namjoon smiles, the corners of his mouth tugging up, entire face brightening. "You're engaged," 

Yoongi tries to push the blush down, but there is no use. He's always been prone to them, always been weak. "Yeah. That—that connection you mentioned, a few years back," 

"You and Hoseok?" Namjoon asks, taking a careful sip of his drink. Hot chocolate, as usual. At least that hasn't changed, not by much. 

"That connection," Yoongi's staring at the ring around his finger, fixated for the moment. It's been a full month since, and it still catches Yoongi by surprise, sometimes. 

"I would think so," Namjoon snickers. "Since you're getting married." 

No actual date yet, not much planning that's been made—they're taking it slow, no use rushing a wedding. 

And Yoongi remembers their conversation like it had only been yesterday. Two faces. Four arms. Four legs. Split apart and doomed to search for their other half for the rest of their lives. Yoongi remembers.

He also remembers more than the average person, too, and he hasn't tried to use that idea to explain their condition. To make sense of the whys and the hows. Yoongi's long since stopped trying to find an explanation, he really has.

There is only one question that has been left unanswered, although with each day that passes by, Yoongi grows less and less convinced that there is actually a connection. It had been a difficult era, the last time. And the life before then—they didn't have the same luxuries as they do now. Didn't have the money, the resources. Perhaps it was just because of circumstance and nothing else. 

Yoongi doesn't think too much about it, figures that there is never any use for him to live everyday with dread, especially when he is with Hoseok. Together. Engaged, and god, just the thought of that, of referring to Hoseok as his fiancé. Who would have thought—truly. Truly a different time. 

"You ever have the feeling the world spins too fast?" Namjoon taps a finger on the side of Yoongi's knee, the look in his eyes one that Yoongi has seen. Years ago. Like Namjoon knows more than he lets on, that there may be a connection between Yoongi and Hoseok, but there is a connection between them, too, Yoongi and Namjoon. 

There is no friend greater than him, and Yoongi has lived through so many lives already. 

"And then you look at someone," Namjoon continues, leaning back. “And then everything just slows down?" 

“I get you, yeah.” The still-point of the turning world, Yoongi thinks. Sees a quick flash of Hoseok’s smile in his mind’s eye. "Are you saying you’ve finally settled down?" Yoongi raises an eyebrow at that, doubts it just the slightest bit. 

Namjoon hasn't mentioned meeting anybody for the longest time. Though Yoongi still thinks there might be something between him and Seokjin. Or, there could be, with the way they look at each other when they think Yoongi isn't aware. 

"No," Namjoon murmurs, playing with his lighter.

Yoongi lights his first cigarette for the night. He's been cutting back, not because Hoseok has asked, but Yoongi just figures it's ironic, isn't it, for him to be so worried about time and yet he continues to smoke. Fucking hilarious. 

But old habits die hard, especially the bad ones. 

"Then what?" 

The smoke Yoongi blows is thin, the drag too short. His lungs aren't complaining just yet, and it's been a full day since his last. He's made good progress. 

"Maybe it exists for some people and maybe it doesn't for others," Namjoon murmurs, thoughtful. "The same with that Greek myth,"

"You said it yourself," Yoongi squints at Namjoon through the thin layer of smoke between them. Namjoon still hasn't let up at all, still smokes like a goddamn chimney, god. "There's that connection." 

"Like I said," Namjoon puts out his cigarette. Drinks the last remnants of his coffee. "Maybe it's not like that for everybody else. Maybe some people are just lucky."

And Yoongi—he knows he is. Lucky.

Namjoon doesn't say it with bitterness, though. 

He gets up first, cup in one hand, and his other reached out to help Yoongi up. "Come on in, we can order take out." 

Yoongi follows after him.

The entire night, they don't breach the topic again, but just before Yoongi leaves, Namjoon clamps his shoulder tight and congratulates him again for the engagement. 

"You already did.” Yoongi sighs, a weary smile on his face.

"Well, I gotta, or else you'll start to consider Jin hyung for best man." Namjoon grins at him, eyes twinkling with barely suppressed amusement.

 

 

That same night, Yoongi stumbles back home. Mickey barely lifts his head from where he's plopped himself on his little bed, a weak little whine coming from the dog when Yoongi rubs the back of his ear. 

Hoseok is out by the balcony, sketching. Yoongi runs his fingers through Hoseok's hair, breathes him in, and he thinks about everything that Namjoon had said. About the world, and how it spins, and how it stops for one person. Hoseok is that one person for Yoongi.

The world has stopped spinning for now as Hoseok looks up at him, fingers curling around Yoongi's, playfully tangling them together. "Hi," he tugs on their joined hands, bringing Yoongi down on top of him. 

Yoongi fits himself on top of Hoseok, makes sure he isn't elbowing him anywhere it matters, and then finally settles, comfortable. "Missed you," 

Hoseok draws circles on Yoongi's back. "I haven't gone anywhere, babe," 

"I mean," Yoongi's lips graze against the base of Hoseok's neck, this angle making it all too easy for him to trace the plains and contours of Hoseok’s face with kisses, feel just how soft he is. But Yoongi will do that later because all he wants now is just this—To bask in this a little while longer. With Hoseok. ”I just miss you all the time, is all.”

"You're a sap," Hoseok's laughter rumbles out of him and washes over Yoongi, a warm welcome after a tiring day. "But I love you anyway, okay?” 

Yoongi kisses the line of Hoseok's jaw, lets his eyes flutter to a close. He's still reeling, his heart beating too fast. Nothing's happened, not exactly, but he's buzzing with energy, with everything he's ever wanted to say to Hoseok barely contained. Like he wants to just put them all out in the open.

But at what price? 

"About the other night," Hoseok pulls Yoongi back from the edge of sleep, he'd almost drifted off, lying here on top of Hoseok. "You said 'what if we did'. What did you mean, exactly?"

This is it, isn't it? 

Yoongi doesn't even know what's held him back so many times from telling Hoseok. 

Perhaps—perhaps the fear of losing him when he does, because who will ever believe him, really? 

Hoseok drags his fingers down Yoongi's back, lets his hand settle on the small of his back, and hums, waiting. 

"You ever think about the possibility of living through different lives?” Yoongi starts, slow and simple. This is a topic anybody could be making and definitely not Yoongi telling Hoseok about, well, about everything, because that would take all of forever and an extra day. He will settle for this, at least. "And meeting somebody from before. Or, again and again," 

"Might be possible," Hoseok hums this out, his voice sing song. His hold around Yoongi tightens, the smile on his face thoughtful. But most of all, Hoseok looks completely at ease. "You ever heard about that one story. Namjoon mentioned it, once,” 

Yoongi looks up so quickly that he almost knocks his head against Hoseok's chin. He reels back, though, and smiles sheepishly. "Yeah, I know of it," 

Hoseok clicks his tongue. Looks pleased, like Yoongi's knowledge on it is all the answer he needs. 

"You saying we're part of a retelling of that Greek myth?" Yoongi chooses to humour Hoseok. Indulge Hoseok in this, because they're so, so close to the entire precept of just about everything. 

"Dunno," Hoseok grins at him, playful, now. "But I wouldn't be surprised. I always did feel like I knew you from somewhere," he rubs soothing circles down Yoongi's back. Hums a different song under his breath, something Yoongi hasn't quite heard on the radio, not just yet. This is a good song, though, sounds a lot like how summer should sound, if it were ever a song. "All I'm saying is," 

And Hoseok sits up just a little bit straighter, dragging Yoongi up with him. Not once does his hold around Yoongi let up. Yoongi burrows even closer to Hoseok, head pressed against his chest. He likes it here best. Likes how he can hear the sound of Hoseok's heart beating against his ear. 

"All you're trying to say is—“ the smile that flits on Yoongi's face is one he can't help, because Hoseok always manages to make everything that much more enjoyable. More alive the same way he is able to give colours a whole new meaning.

“—Is that I'm glad I have you," found you, sits just on the tip of Hoseok's tongue, and Yoongi nods, because he is, too. Relieved. "And if this isn't the first time, then I'm glad I found you the last time, too," 

Yoongi pushes himself up, choosing instead to straddle Hoseok. He lifts his hands to frame at Hoseok's face, the smile Hoseok smiles at him the kind of smile that still has the ability to set the well-behaved butterflies in his stomach a-flutter. 

"And if you don't find me?" Yoongi finds it much more painful to smile, because how many times has it been Yoongi who had looked for Hoseok. Perhaps not always intentionally, but he’d, for the most part, been the first to find Hoseok.

But then again, that had always been because Hoseok never really knew to look for him. 

A smile tugs on the corner of Yoongi's mouth and his gaze softens, looking at Hoseok. He presses his thumbs into his cheeks, loves how soft Hoseok is sometimes, despite his angles. 

Pretty. Really fucking pretty. 

"You'll look for me.” Hoseok leans his head into the warmth of Yoongi's hand, his smile, if it were any more possible, turning even softer. Gentler. 

"I'll look for you," Yoongi confirms, leaning in close. He nudges their noses together. Kisses the smile on Hoseok's face, and the dimples that pop out, because Hoseok's doing it again, he's smiling too hard for Yoongi to kiss him properly. Laughing when Yoongi squirms on his lap, thumbs pressing gently into his cheeks, just to keep him still. 

Hoseok finally gives in, slips both of his hands under Yoongi's shirt, and settles them on either side of Yoongi's hips. He meets Yoongi halfway for another kiss, this one undisturbed by Hoseok's too-big-for-this-world smile, and his laugh that's always, always so loud it always, always echoes inside of Yoongi. They kiss for what seems like the longest of moments, the only thing Yoongi knows being the warmth of Hoseok, and the taste of him, his lips against Yoongi's.

"I'll look for you," are the first words out of Yoongi's mouth when he pulls back from the kiss, the look in his eyes focused. There is no shred of doubt in his tone. And Hoseok may take it for whatever it means. For Yoongi playing around with him, entertaining thoughts of folly like this. Or Hoseok may take it for what it truly is—the truth. It doesn't matter. But Yoongi has never said it before, not out loud, not to Hoseok, not in any life. So he'll say it now and he'll mean it. "Always have, always will." 

 

 

It is a particularly sunny day when everything goes to hell. 

It starts out normal enough—Yoongi waking up to feather-light touches on his cheek, Hoseok still half-asleep beside him. Mickey is pattering around the foot of the bed, eager now that they've finally started to stir. 

Yoongi turns to Hoseok's side, smiles at him, and reaches out a hand to brush at Hoseok's hair. They've forgotten to close the blinds again but even with how bright it is, Yoongi still can't look away, because Hoseok is a vision in itself like this, basking in the early summer sun's glow. It is Sunday and everything is as it is—slow, lazy, and comfortably warm. 

"Good morning," Hoseok smiles, leaning forward to kiss Yoongi. 

Yoongi's fingers slip through Hoseok's hair, tangling. He holds onto him, like a boat dropping anchor in the dock, already home. This, early Sunday mornings with the dog trying to burrow a hole into their duvet is how it really should be. How home is like. 

"G'morning," Yoongi breathes out, pulling away from Hoseok. He blinks at how bright it is but can't look away. Yoongi doesn't want to. He continues to brush at Hoseok's hair, savouring the smile on Hoseok's face, like he always does every morning, because no day can start without it, Yoongi's long since learned. 

Hoseok finally gives Mickey the attention he desires, the small dog bounding up to his chest.

Yoongi sees the small crack in the door, remembers how they'd been in such a hurry last night to get to bed that they'd forgotten to shut it properly. But it doesn't matter. He likes the dog well enough. Loves him, really. He pets at Mickey's hair, bottom lip jutted out when Mickey refuses to move over to him, choosing instead to cuddle with Hoseok.

"Time to get up," Yoongi announces, making a move to do so.

Hoseok brings him back down with an amused laugh. "Are you jealous Mickey's not paying you any attention?" 

"No," Yoongi does attempt to call on the dog again but he doesn't budge, just stays burrowed in the crook of Hoseok's arms. "That's it, you're walking the dog this morning.” 

Yoongi swings his feet off the side of the bed. Looks over his shoulder to watch as Mickey settles calmly in Hoseok's arms, completely content. Before Yoongi gets up, he scratches just behind Mickey's ear, and sighs. 

He's gotten quite attached to the dog, even before they'd decided to live together. How his sister had decided to give him up to Hoseok is beyond Yoongi, but—but then again, Hoseok is an expert at the perfect puppy dog look, so perhaps that isn't much of a surprise, not really. 

"Do we have any plans today?" Yoongi pushes himself up on the counter, legs swinging as he waits for the coffee. 

Hoseok follows him soon enough, the dog right behind him. "Yeah, dinner with my mom,"

"Oh, right," Yoongi motions for Hoseok to feed the dog, Mickey already whining now that they're in the kitchen. "I almost forgot," 

"Conveniently forgot, I think," Hoseok teases, voice a sing-song as he bends down low to pour Mickey his breakfast. "If you weren't so nervous around her all the time, I'd think you actually hated her,"

"Nonsense," Yoongi shudders at the thought. That is beyond him, honestly—to hate Hoseok's mother. She is nice, lovely, kind, all the best adjectives Yoongi can even use for a single human being, he'd throw to her. She just makes him a little bit, well, uneasy, the way she's so protective over Hoseok. Makes him nervous, too, with how much attention she pays Yoongi.

That has to run in their blood, right, how easy the Jungs are a people to get along with. 

"Your mom's the best, mine, on the other hand," Yoongi rolls his eyes. Doesn't have anything against his mother except that she is too high-strung sometimes, too much of a perfectionist. "Remember when I dyed my hair that last year?" 

Hoseok nods as he pours them coffee. 

"She was close to setting up a kidnapping for me just so she could dye it back," Yoongi's hand unconsciously goes to touch his hair. Black now, just like how his mother likes it. Just like how Yoongi likes it. 

He looks over to Hoseok when he walks over with his cup of coffee. Runs his fingers through Hoseok's brown hair. How soft it stays given Hoseok's constant dyeing. 

"You looked good in orange," Yoongi says, tickling just behind Hoseok's hair. 

"Mhm," Hoseok hums, setting his cup down to step between the spaces of Yoongi's knees. Braces a hand on Yoongi's knee and slings his other around his neck, dragging Yoongi down towards him. "You called me tangerine," 

Yoongi laughs gently at that. Remembering the first time the endearment had rolled off his tongue. "Yeah, tangerine.” 

Hoseok brushes their noses together, lets his mouth graze against the corner of Yoongi's lips before he finally, finally kisses him. Slow. Sweet. He tastes like home, Yoongi thinks, threading his fingers through the back of Hoseok's hair, kissing him back just as eagerly. 

"You always look good, though," Yoongi smirks, once they've pulled apart and Hoseok's passed him his cup of coffee. "Hot, whenever."

"Don't start," Hoseok is blushing, though, like he always does whenever Yoongi starts too early. 

Yoongi is used to this, used to every one of Hoseok's little quirks and mannerisms. How Hoseok's kisses, underneath it all, tastes a lot like raw passion. A lot like home, and love, and how Hoseok's embrace always makes Yoongi feel like he is where he should be. How Hoseok is the right place, all the time. 

And, god, they're getting married. The ring on Yoongi's hand catches in the light and Hoseok's eyes trail to gaze at it, the smile on his face more of wonder than anything. He curls his fingers around Yoongi's palm, thumb dragging across Yoongi's knuckles. 

Hoseok brings it up to his mouth for a kiss and Yoongi watches him, can't quite look away, not when Hoseok is starting their Sunday morning like this—with a smile to rival the early morning sun. 

"You're a sap.” Yoongi murmurs, sounding just a tad bit too weak, his voice cracking. 

But Hoseok smiles at him, though. Hoseok, with the brown hair. The bright eyes. The warm smile. The smile he only ever has reserved for Yoongi—and Yoongi, well, Yoongi smiles back, because it is a privilege and an honour, isn't it, to love the sun like this.

It truly is. 

 

 

"We're going to be late," Hoseok tugs on Yoongi's hand, careful as they both make their way down. "And didn't you say you wanted to buy her flowers?" 

"Sure I did.” Yoongi grimaces. 

They wait for their train, a minute or two left before it actually arrives. Hoseok busies himself by turning to Yoongi. He reaches over to fix Yoongi's collar before he runs his hands down Yoongi's shirt, smoothing over the harsh lines. He smiles at his own handiwork, curls his fingers around Yoongi's, and grins too big, too excited, just as they hear the whirring of the train. 

A stop at the flower shoppe is in order and then it's to the restaurant. With Hoseok's mother. God, with Hoseok's mother, and Yoongi hasn't seen her in two months, maybe even three, and this feeling of unease he can't quite shake off of him doesn't help his nerves, either, but somehow, they manage to pick out the perfect bouquet for her. 

"You think she'll like this?" Yoongi asks, turning the arrangement of flowers around. He looks up skeptically at Hoseok, who's too busy trying to flag a taxi down, the younger boy nodding distractedly.

"Sure she will, babe," Hoseok ushers Yoongi into the cab first, slipping into the seat beside him after Yoongi. "She likes you a lot. Stop worrying." for good measure, he kisses Yoongi's cheek, and reaches for Yoongi's hand between them. Clasps it tight and onto his lap.

Hoseok is vibrating with energy. With excitement he can't quite contain. 

("What?" Hoseok had said earlier, when he'd buzzed around the apartment, already dressed an hour too early. "It's dinner with two of my favourite people, of course I'd be excited.")

"Besides," Hoseok adds, gaze never once leaving Yoongi. "Noona's coming, too,"

At that, Yoongi actually breathes out a long sigh of relief, the smile on his face a little bit less sheepish now at the thought of having Jiwoo for dinner. That balances it out enough, right? Yoongi can only hope.

"Yeah, okay," Yoongi finally gives in, shifting the bouquet on his lap to set it down beside him. He scoots closer to Hoseok, leaning his head on his shoulder. Okay, Yoongi doesn't feel too jittery. 

The drive to the restaurant is quiet, with the cabbie occasionally glancing behind them to ask just what the special occasion is. Hoseok beats Yoongi to answering, chirping out that it's dinner with the mother-in-law. Yoongi can only mutter soon under his breath, and the cabbie barks out a laugh at that, wishing the both of them well. 

They look like a good pair, he says. He also adds that Yoongi should stop fidgeting too much, because if his fiancé says that it's going to be okay, then it will be. 

"See?" Hoseok bumps their shoulders, leaning towards Yoongi to peck a kiss to the side of his head. "Everything's going to be okay. Even he thinks so,"

And Yoongi is almost convinced that it will be, until—

Until he hears the sound of tires screeching against the asphalt, a series of horns blowing all around them, and then a blinding flash of light as a speeding car blows through the red light and crashes into them.

Right into Hoseok's side of the car.

Yoongi comes in and out of consciousness every other minute. He hears the sound of stalled traffic. Of people talking over each other. The sound of the siren. From an ambulance. Remnants of the bouquet lay on the floor of the car. Yoongi barely registers anything except—except that there is a throbbing in his head. He moves his hand weakly. Feels a wet spot just by his forehead, sees blood on his hand. 

He drifts out of focus again, everything around him going blurry, except—except for Hoseok. 

And Yoongi doesn't feel anything. 

Later, the doctors will tell him that he'd gone into shock. Too shocked that his entire body had gone numb. 

But somehow, somehow, Yoongi manages to lift his head and look at Hoseok. 

There is a wetness on his cheeks again, and it is a mixture of the blood from the split wound in his forehead and his tears. Yoongi doesn't even know when he'd started to cry, but he is. His eyes glaze over Hoseok's broken form. There is a rising and falling of his chest, though, but god, he looks—he looks absolutely broken.

Yoongi doesn't even feel it when he reaches out to Hoseok and his hand catches on shattered glass from the window. He is weak, his vision a total blur. Except for Hoseok. 

Hoseok is always the exception, no matter what. 

And nobody can explain it, how Yoongi's managed to rip out of his seatbelt and crawl closer to Hoseok. The paramedics who pulls the three of them out of the wreckage will say that it had been Yoongi fighting through adrenaline, but is there even adrenaline left for someone who's involved in the same car accident? 

Yoongi's fingers. Bruised, bloody, even broken, latches onto Hoseok's, tight. He doesn't care if they'll have to physically rip him away from Hoseok, he doesn't care. 

He doesn't care. 

Times his breathing with Hoseok's, even. Hoseok's slow breathing. He's barely breathing and he'll remember it later, maybe even a full day later, when one of the paramedics say that they're losing him and fast. 

But Yoongi holds on, though. He holds on as tight as he can. Cries so hard that even Hoseok is blurred, now. 

The longest minute passes—but is it even a surprise now that whenever Yoongi wishes for the world to slow down, just a bit, all he has to do is look at Hoseok. He looks at Hoseok now. Blood running down his face, eyes closed. Arms embedded with the glass shards from the window. There's so much blood that Yoongi's jeans are soaked in them, and he knows they aren't from him, knows that his legs are still pressed close to Hoseok's. 

"Baby," Yoongi's voice is weak, the word barely coming out above a whisper. "Hoseok, please," and this is Yoongi surviving the blunt of the crash. This is Yoongi fighting tooth and nail against blacking out, against a concussion, because he can't, not now. Not ever. "Stay with me." 

Hoseok barely stirs. Yoongi tightens his grip around Hoseok's hand, and he can feel it, the hurt. The sting of the glass embedded into his hand, the wound in his head. He feels sore all of a sudden and heavy, like something is pushing against his throat, a heavy weight laid on his chest, and around his shoulders. 

Like the wrath of the ocean is pushing him down and under, drowning him. Dragging him forcefully into unconsciousness. 

Yoongi doesn't let it because Hoseok needs him now more than ever.

The paramedics manage to get to them just in time. Hauling the cabbie out, and then Hoseok and Yoongi. He hears talk about sending them both to different hospitals, judging by Hoseok's condition.

Yoongi manages to grit his teeth and look away from Hoseok enough to say no. 

They explain Yoongi's consciousness with how the impact had been all to Hoseok's side. Even the cab driver had woken up shortly after a few hours from the accident, alive. 

And Yoongi holds on to that, holds on to how he is still breathing. How Hoseok is, too, and he closes his eyes shut, letting his heart beat to the sound of the ambulance's siren going off. Loud and deafening. It is a sound Yoongi will never forget.

They rush Hoseok into the hospital, the nurses already crowding around Yoongi when he stumbles off of his own stretcher. He's to go to the E.R, he's heard. Not much to him except for shock, and they'll have to monitor him for a concussion. They're not taking Hoseok to the E.R, though, Yoongi knows. 

And they barely have enough time, but Yoongi pushes past the paramedics and the nurses, and the doctors, to get to Hoseok's side. 

Every second feels like a dragging hour, with how slow and sluggish everything suddenly is. But perhaps this is what happens when you're in shock, when you're too numb to even process exactly what's happened to you. 

Yoongi's stopped crying enough to clear his vision. It is not a pretty one that he sees, when his eyes land on Hoseok on the stretcher, barely breathing, and his face—god, his face. Tiny shards from the broken window embedded on his cheek. A broken arm, and—and he hears one of the nurses yell out a possibility for an internal bleeding. 

He leans his forehead against Hoseok's, eyes shut tight as he breathes this one slow moment in. The entire fucking city can catch fire tonight and Yoongi will not care, will not even move. The sun can even set its course to crash towards the Earth and there will be no panic from Yoongi, not when his own sun is barely breathing. Struggling to stay alive. 

There is a whisper, so soft Yoongi isn't even sure if it had come from him or somebody else, because this feels too much like an out of body experience. But then he hears it again, and it is the softest, most tender thing Yoongi will ever hear. 

Will you look for me?

Yoongi's eyes blink open then, because it had not come from him. They're starting to move the stretcher again, wheeling Hoseok into the direction of the operating room. 

"I will," Yoongi manages to choke out, eyes blinking back the tears that have started to blur his vision again. “Always." 

And just before one of the nurses wrap an arm tightly around his hand to pull him back, Yoongi hears the most painful I'm sorry

It doesn't sound like an apology, though, and as it rings in Yoongi's mind, bouncing around like an echo lost in the deepest of caverns, he thinks that it sounds a lot more like a goodbye than an apology. 

They give him something to sleep. To sedate him. To keep the pain at bay. 

Yoongi doesn't so much as fall asleep as he does black out, Hoseok's voice the last thing he hears when he loses consciousness. 

The next time he wakes up, it is to a nurse lifting his hand and examining it. She reapplies a fresh bandage to his broken arm, tells him not to flex his fingers too much.

He croaks out Hoseok's name, asks if he is okay. 

She tells him that he's still in surgery.

Yoongi asks how long he's been out.

Just over an hour. And her brows knit together, an odd expression on her face. "How are you awake? Did the pain wake you up?" 

He's all bandaged up. His forehead stitched back up. His torso is bandaged, too. He hears her explain what had happened, that he hadn't gotten the worst of it, mostly just the aftershock of the crash. A few broken ribs from when he'd presumably lurched forward forcefully, only to be brought back by his seatbelt. 

She doesn't tell him anything else and with one last final inspection of his bandages and his temperatures, and an assurance that after a scan, he's safe from concussions, she leaves, the door clicking to a close. 

Nobody tells him about Hoseok, not even Jiwoo who'd managed to squeeze her way past all the nurses and doctors to get to his bedside table, and Yoongi thinks, a little out of it, that she is only here because Hoseok is still in surgery and she has no way to get through there. 

"I told them we were family," Jiwoo’s eyes are red rimmed. She sniffles, drawing closer to Yoongi's bed. "You were each other's emergency contact. But you know that already," she reaches tentatively for Yoongi's hand and Yoongi closes his eyes. Knows that the tears will come any second, now. 

Yoongi holds onto her hand, albeit a bit weakly. He'd just been told not to exert too much effort into it. 

"But they let me in," Jiwoo continues to explain, words tripping out of her mouth. 

Finally, Yoongi turns to look at her. Offers her a smile he thinks is more pained than anything, and says, "Did you make a scene?" 

"Fuck yeah.” and then before he knows it, she's breaking down in tears, barely able to breathe as sobs rock through her small frame, her shoulders quaking. Yoongi attempts to push himself up, to draw her in close to him, but he can't. He has lost all energy to do so. 

He holds onto her hand tighter instead, not even caring if it hurts too much to clutch onto her much smaller hand. They need this, the both of them. 

Hoseok's mother joins them not much later, the poor woman looking too shocked to do anything but run her shaking hand through Yoongi's hair. 

Yoongi just closes his eyes and allows himself to lean into the warmth that she brings with her. That warmth that she presses to his forehead in the form of a kiss, her breathing harsh and her voice cracking when she says, "Thank god you're okay, Yoongi." 

And he doesn't quite catch it, the pain killers pulling him back into darkness, but he thinks he hears her mention something about his mother, that they were on their way, just an hour or so more since they're coming all the way from upstate. 

Yoongi falls asleep and he dreams—

He dreams about Hoseok holding onto his hand and smiling, he dreams about the sun swallowing them up.

Yoongi lets it. 

The next time Yoongi wakes up, it is to find Namjoon and Seokjin standing by his bedside. 

"Your parents are close," Namjoon tells him the second he sees Yoongi's eyes open. 

"God, Yoongi," Seokjin looks like he's been crying, too. Usually kept Kim Seokjin looking worse for worn than Yoongi's ever seen him. 

And Yoongi does not even believe in a god, not in this lifetime, and not in all the previous ones he can still actively recall. He has never truly believed in a god, in a supreme being. But he prays. This time, Yoongi prays. Closes his eyes tightly and prays to every single god and deity and supreme being who will listen to him, that somehow things will be different this time around, that just one of them, either one of them, will grant him this miracle. 

Tears well up in his eyes and he hears Seokjin murmuring his name. Feels Namjoon's hand hovering over his cheek before the younger boy swipes at his tears.

But still, Yoongi prays. Wishes. He bargains, even. So desperate is he now that he bargains to whoever will listen, to the stars who tell their story, again and again. Because now, Yoongi is willing to give up all of his other lives to have Hoseok back again. He wants to give it all up, this sick fucking game. He is willing to give it up so long as he can have Hoseok back in this life. 

Just make this the last, Yoongi doesn't even fucking care anymore. 

His hand is broken, he knows, but he still forces it into a clench. Namjoon tries to pry his fingers open but Yoongi doesn't let up, not by an inch. 

Whoever is in charge of this sick setup, they can have Yoongi's next life. And the life after that, and all the lives after that. Yoongi is ready to die in this one with the knowledge that he'll no longer come back the next time around, so long as it means he'll have Hoseok for a much longer time. 

"Hyung," Namjoon's voice, quiet. Soft. "You're going to ruin the stitches," and there is a stabbing pain in his hand, the cut wounds from the shard. "Please." 

"I don't care," Yoongi manages to hiss out. He would have sounded much more threatening had his voice not cracked. And he feels weak. He knows he is. But he can't be, not when Hoseok’s—

Not when Hoseok is fighting for his life in another room. 

"Hoseok would." Seokjin says, brushing Yoongi's hair out of his eyes. Seokjin opens his mouth to say something else to add to that, but he thinks against it and just shakes his head. "Just sleep, Yoongi." 

"I heard him say goodbye," Yoongi looks at the faces of his oldest friends, both on either side of his bed, the most painful, heartbroken looks on their faces. "He said goodbye." 

Through the haze and noise of it all, an I’m sorry from the soft whispering of the wind. 

All Yoongi had heard was goodbye. 

He bites on his bottom lip, hard, and hopes against everything that this is all just a nightmare, the worst fucking one he's ever had. Because today wasn't supposed to end like this. They were supposed to have dinner with Hoseok's mother. His sister. It was supposed to end with the both of them tucked into bed, with Mickey asleep by their feet, because that's how his Sundays ended. 

It had started out like any normal Sunday. Sunshine. Coffee. The dog trying to distract them both. Happy. So, so fucking happy. At home. Content. Easy, lazy Sunday mornings that would lead to a stretch of an afternoon and an evening spent cuddled close together, trading even slower, lazier kisses.

It wasn't supposed to end like this.

But it has, and Yoongi already feels like the sun has set inside of his heart. 

 

 

Hoseok doesn't make it through the night. 

A doctor tells Yoongi just that, a little past nine in the evening. She explains that while the operation had taken longer than usual, complications in the middle of it had risen. Internal bleeding. Hoseok suffering from a haemorrhage—at this point, Yoongi doesn't even want to hear anymore. He doesn't even want to hear about Hoseok not making it through, so who in their right mind would think he'd be alright listening to how he had suffered? 

The doctor leaves with one more quiet I'm sorry for your loss, we can make preparations for you to see him soon, leaving Yoongi to just avert his gaze away from her retreating figure to look out at the large windows of his room. 

Outside, there are remnants of the late sunset, the sky a brilliant clash of so many colours, the lights from the city shining just as bright. 

Yoongi is not alone when he gets the news. His parents are beside him, his mother worried sick, mascara streaking down her face, and her usually kept self—from the hair to the entire outfit, her ensemble—is more frayed than usual. Her hands shake when she reaches over to Yoongi. Stops herself from hugging him when she remembers the broken ribs. 

She settles for his hair, instead. Brushes her fingers through them like he was a child again. Her voice is soft as she whispers soothing words into his ear, her eyes bearing a pain so deep Yoongi can't bear to even look at her, not when he knows she is only aching because of him. 

His father says something along the lines of relaying the bad news to his friends, both Seokjin and Namjoon refusing to leave the hospital without anything yet. Without Yoongi. 

Before he does, he joins his wife by Yoongi's bedside. His father has never been an expressive man but he has always regarded Yoongi with patience and a gentle kindness. It applies to tonight as well. He kisses his wife's forehead before he leaves and bends down to do the same to Yoongi.

This is a hurt so deep no amount of I'm so sorry for your loss will ever make up for it. 

 

 

"We have to wheel you out, it's hospital protocol," Jiwoo insists on doing it herself, pushes away Namjoon and Seokjin, and everybody else that gets in her way. Wraps her hands around the wheelchair's handles and says, in a voice like a furious whisper, "Let me do this, at least." 

Yoongi doesn't know how much Hoseok's family hates him now. He won't put it against them if they blame him for the accident. If they tell him point-blank it would have been better for everybody if it had been Yoongi who'd died.

They don't, of course. 

And Yoongi can hear it, Hoseok's voice, his tinkling laughter bouncing around in his mind, telling Yoongi there is nothing to fear because his mother loves him, and his sister, too, and that he has been part of the family long before they've gotten engaged.

Jiwoo leans down to pry Yoongi's fingers out of the painful clench that he's had them in. Doesn't take another step until she gets Yoongi's approval that he'll relax, that he won't do it again.

"Please, Yoongi," she asks of him. "Don't do anything rash." 

This is exactly what she tells him when she locks her arm around his as they make their way back into the car. Into Seokjin's car, because Yoongi doesn't think he can handle a car ride with his own parents, or Hoseok's, because he's afraid—afraid that even after all of their reassurances, they will still look at him like he's to blame for everything.

Perhaps Yoongi is. Yoongi already feels like it's his fault. Always his fault, unable to prevent this tragedy again and again. 

The car ride back to their apartment is quiet. Yoongi leans his head against the window, staring unseeingly out at the traffic. At the rest of the world. 

It does not stop for anyone, does it? It goes on like nothing has changed, like no tragedy has just transpired. 

But everything has changed, even if Yoongi is the only one who knows. 

Hoseok is gone. 

Hoseok—with his cold and bruised hands. Hoseok, whose hands had always, always been warm, whenever they closed around Yoongi's own, or tickled down his cheek, but when Yoongi had held on to it a couple of days ago, it had felt cold. So, so cold, Yoongi thinks he might not know what warm will feel like, not after that. 

Before he had let go, he'd run his thumb across Hoseok's knuckles. Unresponsive. Admired the slim gold band around his finger—a promise ring that Yoongi had gotten him to counter the engagement ring he'd slipped around his own finger. 

It had been hell to look away, but Yoongi is positive that when he'd walked out of that room, he'd left his heart on the operating table with Hoseok.

"Do you want me to stay?" Jiwoo asks, sniffling. She helps Yoongi up the elevator. Namjoon and Seokjin wait just outside of the apartment. 

"No," Yoongi doesn't even say that he'll be okay alone. 

"Dad dropped Mickey off this morning, before your discharge," Jiwoo continues to talk, tripping over her words. Yoongi can hear the tears before they actually spill. "Mom said—mom said it would be best if you came home to Mickey, that it wasn't right to leave you alone in the apartment.” 

Seokjin and Namjoon don't insist on staying, either, but they do promise Yoongi the same, that they'll check up on him come the following few days. They'll help with whatever Yoongi needs help with. 

"Your boss knows," Seokjin explains about talking to Yoongi's boss. How all it had taken was a call from Seokjin and his affluent family to make a dent into the powerful law office that had tried to run Yoongi up the wall. Perhaps working as a paralegal while in the throes of law cool had not been such a good idea, but then again, getting into that cab hadn't been a good idea either, and yet here they are, with no possible way to fix anything. "She said you can take as long as you need."

Yoongi doesn't even bother asking about fucking law school. That shit can wait, Yoongi doesn't care. Besides, they're nearing the end of the summer. He doesn't have to worry about trivial things like that until the fall. 

But Yoongi has a feeling that he won't have it in him to worry about any of that, not by a long shot. It is difficult to, when you're already drowning in a sorrow so deep it's impossible to even start treading the waters. 

"Thank you," Yoongi's hand closes around the door knob. He doesn't need her or any of his friends to walk him into his own apartment. It's nothing against her, or her mother, or his friends, actually. It's nothing against anybody. Yoongi just wants—he just wants to throw himself into bed and curl up in the sheets that will still smell like Hoseok.

He wants to think about that Sunday evening again and again until he can persuade his subconscious to at least give him a dream with a good enough ending to his day, and not the tragedy that he'd had to face. The loss that had practically cracked the entire world in two, everything around Yoongi crashing to the ground and breaking like glass. 

Yoongi just wants to dream of a goodbye and not an apology from Hoseok. 

Jiwoo leaves him with one last worried look over her shoulder. Tells him that she'll drop by in the next days to come. That they'll all look out for him. That there is no need to worry about funeral arrangements, he doesn't need to plan any of that, doesn't need that worry and burden on his shoulders, not after this lost. 

Jiwoo is probably the only one who hasn't apologised for his loss because she's lost her brother, too. Yoongi understands that.

Seokjin and Namjoon follow after her, both boys throwing worried looks over their shoulders. Nobody says anything else, though, not even goodbye, not after what had just happened. Not after everything Yoongi has lost. 

Isn't it ironic, he thinks now as he punches the password into their apartment, how it is the greatest of tragedies and pain sometimes that can bring people the closest they can be. So fucking ironic. 

Yoongi steps into the apartment, half-lit, with afternoon sun spilling through the wide windows of their living room. 

He hears the sound of tiny paws pattering against the wooden floor boards, hears Mickey yelp out his welcome. The dog stops just by Yoongi's feet, scratching at his leg. 

"Hi, Mickey," Yoongi whispers, bending down even if he still hurt at the slightest of strains, just so he can get closer to the poor dog. "I'm sorry I was gone for a while.”

Mickey rubs his head on his hand, and then, before Yoongi can even brace himself, jumps, knocking Yoongi slightly off balance. He falls to the floor with a small thud, Mickey apologising by licking at his face weakly. 

Yoongi sits up and gathers the small ball of energy into his arms. 

The dog instantly settles once Yoongi draws him close, cradling him gently. 

“Hoseokie's not coming home today, baby." Yoongi feels the tears that streak down his cheeks. Hot, wet tears that feel a lot like a trail of fire. Yoongi won't be surprised come the next morning if he ends up with burn marks on his face. 

Mickey starts to whine, because dogs are intuitive creatures, aren't they. Smart. Mickey knows. Has probably felt something amiss when somebody else had walked through the door and picked him up a few days ago. 

Mickey completely behaves in his arms, burrowing even closer into Yoongi’s hold, like he can't help but want to press as close to Yoongi as possible. 

It has been days since Yoongi's last seen the dog. 

He remembers with another pang against his heart that Hoseok hadn't properly said goodbye to Mickey, either. 

Yoongi scratches at Mickey's head, and then at the spot behind his ears. This was where Hoseok had told him Mickey liked best. How Yoongi could befriend the dog with no issue. It's been—it's been four years since then. Yoongi shuts his eyes tight because there is no use to keeping them open, not when the entire room is spinning and his vision is blurry. 

The dog barks out weakly in Yoongi's arms and he assures him gently with a pat on his back. Worried now, probably, that Yoongi's starting to cry in earnest.

Yoongi's barely able to get the words out, his lips trembling, and his voice breaking. But he manages to choke it out, anyway, just to talk to Mickey. Hoseok's dog—their dog. 

"It's gonna be just you and me from now on, Mickey."