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can't remember forgetting you

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Sometimes, most of the time, Hoseok hates having such a good memory. Then again, it's one of the basic requirements of being Namjoon's best friend–you need to remember all the things he forgets. Like how the first time they met, it was at a bus stop near Hoseok's dance academy, where Hoseok approached an almost-crying, fifteen-year-old Namjoon who admitted to have overslept on his bus and didn't have enough money to go back home.

"Totally did not happen," denies Namjoon when Hoseok brings it up during lunch. Namjoon never changes the way he eats hotdogs–it's always messy and leaves the sides of his mouth smeared with mustard. Hoseok mindlessly dabs Namjoon's face with his napkin. "I never cry."

Hoseok dips his fries into his ice cream. "You also never paid me back," he adds, ignoring Namjoon's retort.

Namjoon snorts. "It was a long time ago," he reasons.

"Is that you admitting that it happened?" Hoseok smirks. Namjoon grumbles in reply. Hoseok laughs triumphantly. "You know, for someone in the top 1% of South Korea, you're really easy to trick," compliments Hoseok.

"I'm only like this with you," Namjoon replies easily.

There's a lot of truth to that–Namjoon has always been more observant with others, more careful. But maybe it's the way Namjoon has gotten so comfortable with Hoseok that in the end makes him overlooked; invisible, almost. Like now, when Namjoon fails to see the way Hoseok stops laughing, his breath caught in his throat at the distant interpretation that something about him is special for Namjoon.

 

*

 

It's not that Hoseok wants to be forgetful, he just hates how much details his mind retains. He hates going grocery shopping and getting one too many Melona ice cream because he remembers Namjoon craving for it since last week. He also finds it pathetic that he's learned the hacks and user manuals of all the electronics in their dorm just because Namjoon continuously sets things into destruction. Like this morning, when Namjoon whines about his laptop not being able to connect to their Wi-Fi.

"Remind me again who's the one majoring in IT?" mocks Hoseok after he's done tinkering with Namjoon's wireless LAN settings–which he almost always forgets to turn on. It isn't on by default because, in Namjoon's words, people can hack into your laptop if you accidentally connect to a public network.

"Computer science does not equal tech support," Namjoon replies, as usual, the same old speech that Hoseok still finds cute.

"It also does not equal tech-illiterate," retorts Hoseok, no poison in his words because he could never hurt Namjoon–he could never have the heart. He hands Namjoon his laptop back. "Here. Good as new and connected to the Internet."

Namjoon grins as he takes the laptop from Hoseok. "My hero," he says in mock-admiration, already walking out of Hoseok's room. Hoseok tries not to let his rapid heartbeat show in his face. "What would I do without you?" he adds without looking.

Hoseok waits until Namjoon closes the door to throw himself on the bed, hoping that there would never be a time when Namjoon is without him.

 

*

 

If Hoseok tries hard enough, maybe he can still list all the Namjoon moments in his life–namely all the things Namjoon broke, and he helped fix. Maybe he can remember how many times he's talked people out of beating Namjoon to death for saying a word too blunt. He can probably tell you all the times he's picked Namjoon up from the bar where he's passed out from drinking too much, and what he did for each and every hangover Namjoon suffered from the next morning. He also, most likely, knows all the text messages Namjoon sent to Seokjin that are actually his words.

"He's asking where I'm going tomorrow," Namjoon tells Hoseok. Hoseok pretends that listening to this doesn't hurt. "What do I say?"

In all honesty, between the two of them, Namjoon is the one better with words. But maybe it's the way Hoseok is always there for Namjoon that in the end makes him spoiled, asking for help even when he doesn't have to. Or maybe Seokjin matters enough for Namjoon to ask for Hoseok's opinion.

"Well," Hoseok says, pressing his knife a little too hard on the chopping board. It's probably best if he stops cooking while having this conversation. But Namjoon is hungry, so Hoseok continues cooking, not forgetting to look up and offer Namjoon a teasing smile. "Where are you going tomorrow?"

They're having dinner. It's their finals-are-done celebration and the plan was that they're going to cook together. Hoseok's had the date marked on his phone. He's bought the ingredients for their cheese fried rice, refilled the first aid kit to make sure they have enough bandages for Namjoon's trip to the kitchen tomorrow. Tomorrow.

"I don't think I have anything," replies Namjoon.

Of course Namjoon forgets, Hoseok chuckles to himself. It's only Hoseok's job to remember. It's also Hoseok's job to fix things up, and right now he's fixing Namjoon up with Seokjin because that's what Namjoon wants.

"Tell him that, then," Hoseok says, missing the tomato he's trying to chop, instead giving his own finger a cut. He grins to hide the pain, both the sting on his hand and the painful knot in his chest. "And that you're having dinner with him tomorrow."

Namjoon looks like he's about to ask if that's too bold, but maybe Namjoon has learned not to question what Hoseok tells him, considering Hoseok has devised the right plans for him in the entire seven years they've been friends. Hoseok watches as Namjoon anxiously waits for Seokjin's reply, and again grins at Namjoon when he cheers about his dinner with Seokjin tomorrow. Something hurts–maybe his hand is bleeding again.

 

*

 

Hoseok remembers most of the changes in his relationship with Namjoon. He notices that after Seokjin, there are new things he gets to fix–Namjoon's hair before a date, his crooked tie that one time he met Seokjin's parents, and their relationship after the occasional fights and the more frequent petty arguments they have. What Namjoon asks him to do tonight, is new, too.

"I swear Yoongi hyung is nice," Namjoon tells Hoseok as they walk to the cafe where he's supposed to meet Seokjin's college friend for a blind date. "He's just been out of the game for too long."

Hoseok only said yes because it's Namjoon who asked, and it's wired inside him to fix everything Namjoon asks him to make right. This time, it's Min Yoongi's heart. Namjoon points to a guy who wears his earphones and leans back on his chair, looking like he's sleeping. "Cute," comments Hoseok. To be fair, an adult who wears clothes two sizes too big, has fluffy messy hair, and sleeps while waiting for his date does classify as cute for Hoseok.

Namjoon frowns. "Yeah, he also sleeps a lot," he pats Hoseok on the back before he leaves. "Have fun!"

Hoseok stops and clears his mind before approaching Yoongi, making sure he remembers that Yoongi is a person and not another case of Namjoon-broke-something, and that Hoseok is here on a date, not a fix-it mission.

"Hello," Hoseok greets, offering his sunshine smile. The guy opens his eyes and blinks a couple times before looking at Hoseok and smiles. Hoseok decides that Yoongi really is cute. "I'm Hoseok."

Yoongi grunts before shaking Hoseok's hand. "Sorry," he says, "I'm Yoongi."

Fifteen minutes into the date, Hoseok gets Namjoon texting him that he's locked out of their dorm, he forgot his keys. I'll come home right now, Hoseok texts him back. Namjoon replies almost instantly. Nah, enjoy your date, I'll be at Seokjin hyung's. Hoseok always forgets that Namjoon has Seokjin, now.

What would I do without you, he remembers Namjoon said. Probably Seokjin. At least he's got an answer now.

"You okay?" Yoongi asks.

Hoseok looks up from his phone and smiles apologetically. "Yeah, sorry."

Yoongi studies his face. Hoseok hopes he doesn't look too obviously uninterested. "You know, Namjoon is a little oblivious about hidden crushes," Yoongi says suddenly. Hoseok chokes on his drink. "I'm not."

Hoseok plays with his fork instead of answering. Life would be so much easier if Namjoon has Yoongi's observation skills.

"You should say something," Yoongi states, smiling sympathetically at Hoseok. Yoongi totally deserves a better date.

"It won't change anything," is all Hoseok says, smiling back, bitter.

"That's exactly why you should try," Yoongi mutters, almost to himself. The dinner continues in silence.

 

*

 

This, Hoseok wishes he could forget. But damn his excellent memory because he most likely won't. "Seokjin hyung asked me to move in with him," Namjoon says over breakfast, one year after graduation, when Hoseok thinks he's ready for the real life. He really isn't.

Hoseok wants to think that it's a good thing. He really doesn't. "Ooh," he teases. The playful tone in his voice does not help with the fear of their upcoming separation. Hoseok hopes that Namjoon is fooled anyway. "What did you say?"

"I said I'll think about it," Namjoon muses. You should say something, Hoseok hears Yoongi's voice in his head, an advice he never took but still haunts him until now. Hoseok opens his mouth to try. Namjoon beats him to it. "But I think I'll say yes," Namjoon adds, his little dimpled smile says everything about how scared but happy he is.

Stay, Hoseok means to say, I haven't lived without you for too long, I don't want to learn how to. "That's great, Namjoon," he says instead. "I'm glad you're happy."

"I really am," Namjoon says sincerely.

I'm really not, Hoseok fails to speak up.

 

*

 

"Sure you didn't forget anything?" Hoseok asks as he lifts the last of Namjoon's things to the mover's truck, pretending that the way Seokjin fixes Namjoon's beanie does not bother him. That used to be his job.

Namjoon doesn't answer, instead giving his phone to Hoseok and asking him to take pictures of his goodbye-my-dorm poses. Hoseok tries to keep a straight face when Seokjin mocks Namjoon about being vain, and Namjoon replies that no, I'm not, that's you. He looks away when Namjoon flings one hand over Seokjin's shoulder, laughing, and Hoseok hates that he's never seen Namjoon this happy.

"I'll call you if I forget anything," Namjoon tells him when everything is loaded and he's ready to go. "You're used to fixing my stupid, anyway," he adds with a grin. It doesn't hurt. It really doesn't.

"Well," Hoseok has never had a hard time finding words before. Stay, he should have said. He settles for a hug and a couple of pats on Namjoon's back. "It's been a long ride together."

"Thanks for everything, Hoseok."

"Yeah," Don't leave. "Don't burn down Seokjin hyung's house." Don't leave me alone.

Namjoon laughs. Seokjin waves goodbye. Hoseok shuts the door behind him and slumps down to the floor of the dorm that he now shares with no one.

Funny how Namjoon manages to break everything he touches, and Hoseok manages to fix them all but one.

He's broken and still hasn't fixed himself.