Taehyung doesn't know how this will end but he remembers how it began--a corner of a dorm floor, one pillow and two blankets and Namjoon's feet shoved up against the backs of his calves.
His memory is unclear. It was before 4am; Taehyung had woken up and then checked his phone. It was the only luminescence in the pitch-black windowless room, and it had been the only thing keeping him from stepping on Yoongi's face as he tiptoed out of the dorm to find the bathroom and piss.
On his way back to his nest he'd kicked Seokjin in the head, accidentally, oh so accidentally, for that incident with the laundry the week before. It was a total accident, except for how he'd done it again just for the satisfaction. Seokjin had just groaned and rolled over.
But after he'd turned the light off, things became hazy again. A breath of warm air and a head on his pillow--trying to find his place again in the blankets with Hoseok stealing them all--swallowing the urge to laugh in his throat, like butterflies, when Hoseok had suddenly startled him by whispering,
"Gah," Taehyung said, slipping on the covers and falling to his knees. "Fuck, you scared me. I thought everyone was asleep."
"Where are you?"
Hoseok had reached up, feeling in the darkness until he'd managed to poke Taehyung in the nose. From there it had been easy to figure out where Taehyung's bed had gone, and to feel around with his hands until he was on his own mattress. Or their mattress. Whatever.
"Why aren't you sleeping?" Taehyung had asked, when he was finally settled again.
Hoseok had waited a long time before answering.
"Sometimes I don't sleep," he said. The note of familiar laughter was missing from his voice. Taehyung frowned.
"Don't tell the others, okay? It's not a big deal. I don't want them to worry."
"Taehyung." Hoseok's voice had sounded so resigned that Taehyung had shut his mouth, letting his words fade into nothingness. He had wanted to help, but he didn't know how.
And then--hands, somehow. Holding hands, fingers linking in the darkness. And that was normal but the way Hoseok reached out for him was not; neither was the way Taehyung had gone willingly, curving himself to fit familiar-smell skin.
And even that; even that could have been explained away until Hoseok had yawned tiredly, rubbing his nose near the back of Taehyung's hairline, pressing a kiss to the skin. Their joined hands had been pressed against Taehyung's stomach and Taehyung had known he was standing next to an abyss even as Hoseok murmured softly for him to go back to sleep.
Hoseok smiles wider than anyone that Taehyung has ever known, and that fact alone had made him suspicious when Taehyung first met him. They'd been friendly enough--it was impossible not to be friendly with Jung Hoseok--but Taehyung had kept a slight distance until he was certain Hoseok was genuine.
Anyone who smiled that wide had to be hiding something--motives, fears, a dead body.
Hoseok laughs when Taehyung tells him these things later. They're sitting on the floor in their prep room, waiting for the second rehearsal of today's outdoor concert. Taehyung has his head pillowed on his sweatshirt, which is in Hoseok's lap, but he's not sleeping. He's watching Hoseok talk to everyone else from upside down, because his face looks weird that way.
"Stop," Hoseok says, looking down and poking Taehyung in the cheek. "You're looking up my nostrils or something, aren't you."
"No," Taehyung says. He's looking at Hoseok's chin. His Adam's apple bobs when he talks. This is still strangely fascinating to Taehyung. He rubs at his own throat without thinking. He's also keeping track of Hoseok's under-eye circles, but Hoseok doesn't need to know that.
"Then what are you looking at, kitty?" Hoseok flicks Taehyung in the forehead, smiling when Taehyung makes a wounded expression.
"The ceiling," Taehyung says. "And your stupid-ass face. And Jimin's nostrils."
"Hey." Jimin frowns down at them. He's pacing back and forth, bored and restless.
Hoseok grins. "It's just your nose," he says. "Be happy you didn't walk too close to Taehyung in those shorts. Then he would have gotten an eyeful--"
"Augh," Taehyung says, curling up onto his side so Jimin doesn't get any ideas and try to stick his dick in Taehyung's face. Namjoon did that once, and Taehyung is still scarred. He will never try to use the bathroom first ever, ever again. "Augh."
Jimin laughs, attempting to do exactly that while Taehyung curls into a ball and doesn't look up.
Hoseok pokes him in the cheek again after Jimin has wandered off to go bother Yoongi.
"You need to learn to stand up for yourself," he says, ignoring his own words as he brushes Taehyung's hair away from his face. Taehyung leans into the touch. He likes it when Hoseok takes care of him. "You only get shit from all the hyungs because Jungkookie refuses to take it."
Taehyung can feel himself pouting. He's not Jungkook. He's tired of people telling him to be like Jungkook because he isn't. Taehyung takes his revenge in other ways.
"I always get them back later," Taehyung says, looking up at Hoseok. His face is kind of in a weird position, since he's sort of in Hoseok's crotch, but his sweatshirt is in between them so Taehyung figures it's okay. "You know that."
"I know. I'm sworn to secrecy, remember?"
"You can't keep a secret to save your life." Taehyung grins, moving in sharp and swift to tickle Hoseok's exposed sides. Hoseok yelps, twisting to try and grab Taehyung's hands. "That's why I only tell you after I've done it."
Hoseok's eyes are tiny crescents, sharp like the moon when then look down at him. Taehyung's hands are pinned and this position is awkward but neither of them can stop laughing. Hoseok has to twist his mouth to keep himself from smiling.
"A regular James Bond," Hoseok says solemnly. Taehyung yelps in outrage, squirming a hand away to try and slap Hoseok in the face.
"Hey," Seokjin says. "Hey. Hey. Lovebirds. Guys. HOSEOK AND TAEHYUNG."
"Ah?" Taehyung looks up. Everyone else is standing around them, grinning like idiots.
"Ten minutes until the next run-through," Seokjin says, shaking his head at them. Hoseok just laughs, standing and then helping Taehyung up with a hand.
"Try and keep your head away from Hoseok's dick while we're on stage, okay kid?" Namjoon throws an arm around Taehyung's neck and pats him companionably, as though Taehyun is a small puppy.
Taehyung gives Namjoon his biggest, brightest smile.
"I'm going to piss in your ramen," he says, and behind him he can hear Yoogi and Jungkook bursting into laughter.
"You know," Hoseok says thoughtfully, when they're piling back in the van at 1am to drive back to Seoul. "I actually managed to get some sleep last night."
"Oh?" Taehyung yawns. Sleep is good. He approves of sleep. Jungkook is already asleep in the back right corner of the van, and Taehyung plans on joining him very soon. Technically Jungkook should be in the middle seat, but right now Taehyung doesn't care. Jungkook will make a decent pillow. He sleeps like the dead.
"Yeah," Hoseok says, eyeing Taehyung thoughtfully before he climbs into the center seats with Namjoon and Yoongi. Seokjin and Manager are in the front, because Seokjin won the last sleepy game of kai-bai-bo with Namjoon on the way to their van.
"Well, that's good," Taehyung says, already settling in. He pillows someone's unwashed jersey on Jungkook's head. It smells rank, but it will do.
"What are you two talking about?" Yoongi snaps, only to be interrupted by a huge yawn of his own. "Shut up and go to sleep. We have to be up in five hours."
"Nothing," Taehyung and Hoseok mumble, accidentally in unison, like an echo of an echo.
Sometimes Taehyung thinks that Hoseok doesn't like him so much as he likes having someone around who will dance with him and laugh at his jokes and link fingers with him when they're sitting next to each other. Like Taehyung is just a convenient peg for a certain sort of hole--he isn't the first friend that Hoseok has ever doted on, and Taehyung is under no impression that he'll be the last.
Taehyung isn't sure he minds, though, because he thinks he might also have a Hoseok-shaped hole somewhere inside. Hoseok doesn't mind when Taehyung wants to cling on to him or fall asleep on his shoulder or stay up until 3am talking about things that only the two of them find interesting. He make Taehyung laugh when he's feeling moody, and Taehyung is the best at cheering Hoseok up on the rare occasions when his smile starts to falter.
They're not a matched pair, but it's better than anything else Taehyung's ever had. Hoseok doesn't tell him he's strange and awkward, even when Taehyung knows he is. Hoseok just grins and plays along, like Taehyung is the most hilarious person he's ever met. It makes Taehyung feel warm inside.
Taehyung will take it, even if he knows that eventually Hoseok will move on.
"Taehyung. Taehyunggggggg. Taehyunggie!" Taehyung blinks. Someone is shaking him awake in the darkness of their bedroom. Hoseok.
"Movie night. Yah?" Hoseok whispers, so soft it's barely audible. Taehyung nods, sitting up and rolling out of bed. He follows Hoseok blearily to the couch in the main room and then looks at the clock. 2:45am. They need to be at the studio at six.
"Did you sleep?" Taehyung yawns, throwing himself onto the couch and burrowing under a sweatshirt that's almost as big as he is.
"No," Hoseok says, his smile dropping for a moment. When Taehyung looks at him closely, he can see the dark circles. "But it's okay. If you're here maybe I'll get some sleep."
"You should just come sleep with me in my bunk," Taehyung says, yawning again. He watches through half-closed eyelids as Hoseok finds something on TV and then puts it on at low volume. He doesn't know why Hoseok persists in this 'movie night' thing, when they both know it's just that Hoseok can't sleep and somehow Taehyung makes it better.
"Yeah," Hoseok says, snorting softly. "Okay."
"I'd never be respected as a hyung again." Hoseok wriggles behind Taehyung on the couch, sliding behind him with practiced ease. They fit together well this way. Taehyung wishes they could do this every night, even if he knows that's kind of strange. Being around Hoseok is just...comforting. He doesn't know why.
"No one respects you as a hyung anyway." Taehyung pauses. "Hyung."
"Brat," Hoseok mumbles, into Taehyung's hair. He slides his hand under Taehyung's T-shirt and pinches the skin of Taehyung's stomach, hard.
"Ow!" Taehyung starts snickering into Hoseok's pillow. "Don't." He reaches behind him and slaps his hand around lazily, getting in a few hits before Hoseok easily has him subdued again. Taehyung doesn't mind. He's not trying that hard anyway.
Taehyung's shirt is still pushed up and when Hoseok settles back down again, their clasped hands are pressed against the skin of Taehyung's stomach. The warmth makes something break and curl and sing inside Taehyung's chest. He falls asleep dreaming of hummingbirds.
Taehyung blinks himself away only to see Namjoon lifting the sweatshirt from over Taehyung's head and peering at both of them in confusion. Taehyung frowns, tugging the sweatshirt back down. It's too early.
"Fuck off," he mumbles, through the sweatshirt.
Taehyung can practically hear Namjoon rolling his eyes. "Gay," he mutters.
Taehyung opens his eyes again, frowning deeper.
"Shut up, dickhead." He sits up, grabbing the closest thing to hand--a stuffed toy from a fan that's been left on the couch. He lobs it at Namjoon's head, scoring a direct hit.
Namjoon rolls his eyes and turns around, heading into the kitchen.
Taehyung scrubs a hand over his face, and then carefully slips out from underneath Hoseok's arm. He's still snoring, so Taehyung thinks he's gotten away with it.
"Hyung couldn't sleep," Taehyung says, by way of explanation. He feels like some explanation is probably needed for why he and Hoseok are snuggling on the couch together. Especially from the way Namjoon had looked at them, like it was wrong or something. "Sometimes he can't sleep, and then he comes and gets me and we sleep out here. He says he doesn't know why but having me around makes it better."
Namjoon pauses, looking over his shoulder as he rummages through the refrigerator. "He can't sleep? What do you mean, he can't sleep? He's like the energizer bunny."
Taehyung shrugs. "I don't know. Maybe he needs help turning off."
"Hmm," Namjoon says, setting the milk down on the counter-top. "You're the only one he talks to, you know." He's frowning absentmindedly. "He acts like everything is always okay unless he's around you. I'm in the studio with him four days a week, and he never once said he hasn't been sleeping."
"Well." Taehyung stares at the ground.
"How long have you guys been doing that?"
"I don't know." Taehyung wants to look anywhere but Namjoon's face. He settles on their electric kettle, shoved on the kitchen counter next to six boxes of ramen and a package of curry. "Since Busan, maybe. That festival. I think."
"That was almost three months ago." Namjoon's frown deepens.
"I guess." Taehyung tries to think back. Was it really three months ago? Time flows so strangely around them. He doesn't even know what day of the week it is.
"Whatever. It doesn't matter." Namjoon looks tired too, under the bare light of their fluorescent kitchen bulb. "I should have noticed. You shouldn't have to do that. I'll talk to him about going to see the doctor."
"It's okay," Taehyung says. "I don't mind."
Taehyung suddenly feels guilty for spilling Hoseok's secret. His hyungs probably have enough to worry about it. Namjoon, especially. He's a natural leader but he's also in a strange position with Yoongi and Seokjin being his hyungs. They're all companionable about it most of the time, but Taehyung knows that that kind of balancing act can't be easy.
"Taehyunggie, it's not your job."
"I said I don't mind it." Taehyung frowns at Namjoon. "He's fine. Just let me take care of him. I know what I'm doing."
Namjoon gives him an odd look for a few moments, and then reaches down and ruffles his hair. Taehyung ducks out of the way, but Namjoon still gets a few pats in.
"I didn't mean it," Namjoon says. He half-smiles at Taehyung. "You know that, right?"
"Didn't mean what?" It's too early for this. Taehyung starts pulling out his own bowl of leftovers from last night. He'll just heat it up and put some kimchi on top. It will be fine.
"The gay thing."
"What?" Taehyung looks up. Namjoon is staring at him with that odd expression again. Taehyung has no idea what he's on about. "Yeah, hyung. I know. Whatever. It's fine."
Namjoon nods slowly. "Riiiight."
Taehyung mirrors him, nodding his head in a parody of Namjoon. "Riiiight. Hyung, why are you being so weird this morning?"
Namjoon coughs loudly, and then shakes his head, shrugging his shoulders at the same time. He reaches up into the cupboards and pulls out one of several boxes of cereal. He doesn't even bother to look at the box before dumping a large pile of it into a bowl. Taehyung is waiting for his rice to warm up.
"So! uh," Namjoon says, when the silence becomes awkward. "...Just keep taking care of him, I guess. You seem to know how to do that better than we do."
"However that works," Namjoon finishes, turning away. "However that works." He says it softly, under his breath, like he can't believe he's saying that out loud.
The microwave dings, and Taehyung pulls his rice out and starts adding kimchi to the leftover fried rice. Namjoon is already sitting down at the table, and behind him he can hear Yoongi's sleepy yawn as he and Jimin stumble into the kitchen. Jimin is complaining in a pitiful voice about how Namjoon always eats all of his cereal.
However that works, what the fuck, Taehyung thinks, as he shoves a fork in his bowl and leans up against the counter-top to eat. How it works is that Taehyung and Hoseok sleep in the same bed and then Hoseok actually sleeps.
Taehyung doesn't understand what the big deal is.
Seokjin corners him later, after Taehyung has yawned one too many times during their exciting day of practice, practice, and more practice.
"Taehyunggie," Seokjin says, folding his long body down onto the floor. He sits next to Taehyung, leaning his back up against the mirror, and sucks on his water bottle for a minute.
"What," Taehyung says, after he's finished gulping half of his current water bottle down. He just gets so thirsty. Jimin says it's because Taehyung is finally getting into shape. Taehyung has his doubts.
"Are you sleeping okay?" Seokjin peers at him closely. "You kept yawning. Are you tired?"
Taehyung blinks at him.
"Of course I'm tired," he says eventually. "Aren't you tired? We're all tired. We're idols. That's how this works."
Seokjin rolls his eyes. "More than normal," he says, punching Taehyung's shoulder lightly. "You don't always yawn this much."
"Hoseok couldn't sleep," Taehyung mumbles, looking away. He doesn't know why he's suddenly feeling shy about this. He and Hoseok have been doing this for months, and it really does work. Hoseok can always fall asleep when Taehyung is next to him.
"I know," Seokjin says. "Namjoon told me."
"Then...why are you asking?" Taehyung doesn't understand his hyungs sometimes.
"You can't always take care of him at the expense of yourself," Seokjin says, and he's giving Taehyung a look that's serious, but kind. "Sometimes people have to work out their problems on their own."
"But then he won't be able to sleep." Taehyung frowns.
"Maybe he will. Or maybe he won't, and he'll go the managers and they'll give him something for it. Or maybe the problem will fix itself on its own." Seokjin shoulder-bumps him. "You shouldn't be worrying yourself over the problems of your hyungs. That's our job."
"But Namjoon said..."
"I know what Namjoon said," Seokjin says, sighing and tipping his head back against the wall. "And I agree with him. Sort of. I just...I just also think you should take care of yourself first."
Taehyung licks his lips. The idea of leaving Hoseok alone--of letting him sit silently in the darkness--feels utterly and completely wrong. It makes something hurt inside his chest. He doesn't care if staying up with Hoseok makes him tired. It's worth it. Taehyung is certain of this.
"I'll make sure to take care of myself," he tells Seokjin, with a big, bright smile. It's a lie, but Seokjin doesn't need to know that. Taehyung knows that Seokjin is just trying to help. But Namjoon was right -- no one can take care of Hoseok like Taehyung can.
The problem is that apparently no one gave Hoseok that memo, because the next time Taehyung wakes up in the middle of the night and stumbles out of bed to piss, he runs into Hoseok slumped on their couch again.
"Why didn't you wake me up?" Taehyung says, punching Hoseok in the arm. "You're such an idiot. You could have been asleep this whole time."
Hoseok shakes his head. "It's not your problem," he says, with a tight smile. "Just go back to bed, Seokjin is right, Taehyunggie. I never should have asked in the first place."
"Seokjin is--I'm going to strangle him," Taehyung says flatly, marching off to the bathroom. He takes care of business and washes his hands and then he sits down next to Hoseok on the couch, glaring angrily at the TV. "Seokjin needs to know when to keep his stupid hyung face out of things."
"He's looking out for you," Hoseok says, brushing Taehyung's hair out of his face. Taehyung knows his hair is a mess. His bangs are getting too long, and when they aren't styled they hang over his eyes like a pinkish curtain.
He lets Hoseok push his hair back, so it's all piled up on his head. Taehyung hadn't bothered with a shower, so his hair is still full of product and hairspray and god knows what else. The pompadour stays, and Hoseok grins at his masterpiece before returning to the topic. "Seokjin is doing exactly what a good hyung should do."
"What about Namjoon?"
"Namjoon is just..you know how he is," Hoseok says, shrugging one shoulder as he turns back to the TV. "He's decisive. He's a good leader. But he's pretty hands off. He doesn't like dealing with problems unless he has to."
"You're not a problem." Taehyung tucks his chin into Hoseok's shoulder. His nose brushes against Hoseok's neck. He smells nice, like deodorant and something else Taehyung can't place. Taehyung probably smells awful. "You smell good, too. Do I smell bad?"
Hoseok snickers. "No, he says, turning his head to smile at Taehyung. "You just smell normal. Like a guy."
"But that's what you smell like." Taehyung nuzzles Hoseok's neck again. "But then you also smell like oceans and sea salt and stuff."
"Oh." Taehyung pouts for a moment, and then smiles his best adorable dongsaeng smile. "I want to smell like oceans and shit. Can I borrow some?"
Hoseok is shaking with silent laughter. "You could always just use cologne," he points out. "We have all those fan gifts. And you even don't need to shave yet."
"Ugh, but that stuff is so strong. Every time Namjoon puts it on it's like he scares away every girl within a 10 mile radius."
"I don't think it's just the cologne." Hoseok is laughing openly now, and Taehyun grins. His stomach is filled with butterflies again. Watching Hoseok laugh from this close should be weird, but it isn't.
Hoseok's so handsome, anyway. He has such long eyelashes and a pretty mouth and perfect skin. Even if Taehyung still thinks that kissing him in front of a room full of people was the most mortifying experience of his life...well, he can still appreciate that Hoseok is good-looking. At least it hadn't been someone else. That would have been even weirder.
"So what," Taehyung says, poking Hoseok in the side and abruptly curtailing that train of thought. He doesn't need to think about kissing Hoseok right now. "You don't think our ~fearless leader~ is the ladykiller he seems to think he is?"
"Taehyung, do you even know how many times--" Hoseok suddenly snaps his mouth shut. "Ah, I shouldn't tell you about that. You're too young."
"I am not too young!" Taehyung delivers a swift punch to Hoseok's stomach, and while Hoseok is both laughing and gasping for breath, presses his advantage to climb on top, like a monkey. "I am not too young. Yoongi was telling everyone the other day about how his girlfriend used to go down on him, and she did this thing with her tongue--"
"He did?" Hoseok blinks. "Wait, where the hell was I? What tongue thing?"
"I don't know," Taehyung says. He can feel himself scrunching his nose up. "He tried to show us, but he just looked really stupid. You should have seen Jungkook's face, though. I thought he was going to keel over."
"Yoongi," Hoseok sighs, shaking his head. "We should probably just tape his mouth shut. You know half the time he's just talking shit, right?"
His hands are settled lightly on Taehyung's hips. Taehyung has his arms around Hoseok's neck for balance. This should probably also be weird, Taehyung realizes belatedly. He's definitely sitting in Hoseok's lap, in a very lap-sitting sort of way. In a very...face-to-face sort of way.
"What were you going to say about Namjoon?" Taehyung presses, to distract himself from the way he suddenly feels like his world has turned upside down and inside out.
"Namjoonnie does not have good luck with girls," Hoseok tells him, his eyes shining with amusement. "He always manages to do something idiotic. One time he accidentally pulled this girl's skirt down when he was trying to help her with her coat. Another time he tried to act all mature by telling this one girl that everything was okay, because he'd brought protection."
"Oh my god." Taehyung can't stop laughing. He claps a hand over his mouth to stay quiet.
"She thought he was calling her a slut, and she slapped him so hard his face was bruised for days."
"He said that was from Seokjin accidentally hitting his head during practice!"
"They faked it. Namjoon didn't want anyone to know."
"Oh my god." Taehyung buries his head in Hoseok's shoulder to muffle the laughter that's pouring out of his chest.
"Yeah," Hoseok says, looking up at the ceiling. "So Namjoon's kind of a pabo when it comes to girls."
"So much for his image." Taehyung leans back, his laughter now safety under control. Hoseok looks prettier than usual in the low light coming from their Super Mario Brothers plastic lamp. The red incandescence highlights his mouth and cheekbones in a way that's extremely distracting.
"Your face is distracting," Taehyung says, before he can think better of it. He pokes Hoseok in the nose. "But okay, so Namjoon is absolute shit at girls. What about you?"
Hoseok gives him a bewildered, if rather indulgent look. "Taehyunggie, we never talk about this kind of stuff. Do you like one of the other trainees? I heard a rumor that Jihyun thinks you're cute, you know."
"I just want to know," Taehyung says. He bites his lip. "It's not because of that." He feels like he's going to throw up, but in a good way. He feels like he does when he's 30 seconds from stepping on stage, and his heart is racing from the adrenaline.
"Uh," Hoseok says. "I mean. I had a few girlfriends in high school. But I was never really around that much, so it didn't work out."
"Are you still a virgin?"
"I just want to know." Taehyung repeats, makes a face at Hoseok. He sticks out his tongue and scrunches his nose up.
"You're such a little brat," Hoseok says, cuffing him on the back of the head. "Fine. Yes."
"Yes, you're still a virgin?"
"Why don't you say it a little louder, I don't think the ahjumma downstairs at the convenience store can hear you," Hoseok says dryly.
"Oh." Taehyung gets really loud sometimes. He never means to. It just...happens. "Sorry."
Hoseok shakes his head. "It's 3am," he says, trying to extricate himself from underneath Taehyung. Taehyung clings like a koala and doesn't move. "You should just go back to bed. I'll be fine out here. I promise."
Hoseok freezes. He blinks in surprise at Taehyung, and stops trying to wiggle his way out of Taehyung's grasping clutches.
"What, you mean besides you?" Hoseok says, smirking at him.
"I meant for real," Taehyung mutters. His face is burning. He doesn't even know why he said that. It's so stupid. Why would Hoseok even do something like that? Taehyung is so stupid.
"Hey, our romantic and beautiful kiss wasn't real enough for you? I'm hurt." Hoseok mock-pouts, sticking his lower lip out.
Taehyung flicks Hoseok on the nose, ignoring Hoseok's stupid face. He does it again and again until finally Hoseok gives up and sighs. He rubs a hand over his face in silent acquiescence.
"Fine," Hoseok says quietly, looking straight at Taehyung, trying to gauge his reaction. "Yeah. I have. It's why I didn't care about doing it on camera."
"Oh." Taehyung licks his lips.
"But why are you so interested? I thought you were going to throw up on me. You hated it. It was hilarious."
"Shut up," Taehyung mumbles. "It was weird, okay? Everyone was there and there were cameras and you were wearing lipstick and Jungkook's nose was like in my ear." Taehyung had felt like he was going to throw up afterwards. It was just--everyone had been laughing so much. Jimin had been practically rolling on the floor. He'd known it was funny, but he'd also felt like his insides had been pulled out and twisted around. He can't remember the last time he'd felt that embarrassed.
"You can't tell anyone." Hoseok says, bringing him back to the present.
"Why would I tell anyone?" Taehyung blinks. He has one arm around Hoseok's waist and suddenly feels as though Hoseok's skin is burning hot through the thin layer of his cotton T-shirt. The other arm is hooked around Hoseok's neck, because he'd been going for a headlock before he got distracted and started asking stupid questions. Stupid questions that are now causing him to be extremely distracted.
"I'm just saying. Now you have real dirt on me, so don't use it." There's a smear of red along Hoseok's high cheekbones, visible even in the low light. It's so pretty that Taehyung wants to run his fingers over it. Hoseok almost never blushes.
"I wouldn't," Taehyung says. "And it...wasn't so bad." He looks down at his lap, over at the TV. Anywhere but Hoseok's face. "I just didn't like that everyone was laughing at me. It wasn't the good kind of laughter."
Hoseok nods. The next time Taehyung looks up, their eyes meet, and Hoseok looks...cautious. It's the only word Taehyung can think of to describe his expression. He doesn't think he's ever seen Hoseok look the way he does right now. Hoseok is usually an open book--a very loud, very happy open book. Right now Hoseok looks like there's something he's hiding, and he's not sure if he wants Taehyung to see.
"What was it like?" Taehyung whispers, mindful to keep his voice quiet this time. "When you were...you know."
Hoseok looks away guiltily. "Good enough that I kept doing it."
"Even when you had a girlfriend?"
"Yeah. It was, ah. A friend of mine. We used to dance together."
Taehyung thinks about that for a while. Hoseok has kissed guys. There are guys wandering around somewhere that Hoseok has kissed. Hoseok has kissed guys for real, and not just because it made good TV--
"Way to be a secret baller," he says finally.
Hoseok looks up at him in disbelief, his mouth curving into a smile.
"I can't believe you've been keeping that a secret," Taehyung says. "You're all hooking up with everyone all the time, and Namjoon can't even get a date? Damn."
Hoseok starts laughing, his stomach shaking from trying to stay as quiet as possible. Taehyung rubs his thumb along Hoseok's side and smiles. He can feels Hoseok's laughter throughout his entire body.
Taehyung leans in, closing the distance between them before he can lose his nerve. Hoseok's mouth opens in surprise, but he doesn't pull away when their lips touch. He just shifts so that one arm is around Taehyung's back, holding him in place. The other hand drifts up to trace the curve of Taehyung's jaw and then it's Taehyung's turn to suck in a surprised breath. He doesn't even know if they're kissing or if they're just sort of hanging out with their lips touching, but.
Either way, it's really nice. Hoseok's mouth is different like this. His lips are softer and warmer and they definitely don't taste like cheap lipstick.
Hoseok rubs his thumb just behind Taehyung's earlobe, and his tongue slips out to lick at Taehyung's lower lip. This time Taehyung doesn't hesitate. There's no one here but them and their dumb Mario lamp. so he lets his mouth fall open and shivers when Hoseok takes what he wants.
"You're not allowed to make fun of me this time," Taehyung says, in between kisses that make his hands tingle and his stomach burn.
"I won't," Hoseok says, biting down on Taehyung's lower lip. "I started it this time. But you can't make fun of me, either." His kisses are getting deeper and rougher and Taehyung leans into the hands on his waist and in his hair, rolling his hips down because it feels good and it seems like a good idea--
--And Hoseok freezes.
"Okay, we should stop," Hoseok murmurs, pulling away for a second just so they can catch their breath. Taehyung ignores him. Hoseok is obviously stupid, because this is a great idea. Taehyung follows Hoseok's mouth and kisses him again, pressing Hoseok back into the couch cushions. He hopes he knows what he's doing.
"I mean it," Hoseok whispers as Taehyung bites down gently on his lower lip, in a rough voice Taehyung's never heard before. He's not putting up much of a fight, kissing back in between stuttered words. His hands have somehow ended up on Taehyung's hips, underneath his T-shirt.
"Stuff like this--Taehyunnie, we shouldn't--"
"I like you a lot," Taehyung says, because everything has finally clicked in his head and now he understands what he's feeling, even if it took him a while to sort through it. "I don't care if it's a bad idea. Shut up and kiss me." Hoseok snickers. "What?"
"I don't know why I expected anything else," Hoseok mumbles, in between settling Taehyung more firmly on his lap. His fingers are gripping Taehyung's hips and when Taehyung grinds down again it almost feels like--
--okay, so maybe Taehyung isn't quite as ready for this as he thought he was, but the feeling still sends a thrill up his spine. Hoseok is hard and Taehyung can feel it. He knows that Hoseok can feel him, too, and it's hot and scary and overwhelming, all at once. He doesn't think he's ready for any touching, but he still shivers in pleasure at the way it feels.
"It's my job--to take care of you," Taehyung says, tilting his head to the side and trying not to hyperventilate as Hoseok slowly, carefully, kisses his way from Taehyung's mouth to his jaw and then down his neck. "Namjoon said--he said--that I should do that. That we should do that. However it--it works out."
Hoseok pauses. "He said that?" he says, letting the tip of his tongue swipe against Taehyung's skin before nipping gently with his teeth.
"Exactly like that," Taehyung says, and then bites down on his lip to keep from moaning because oh, god, he didn't know kissing could feel like this. Or making out. Whatever they're doing. Hoseok's mouth is on his neck and Taehyung is hard and there are hands and everything is just. It's just.
"Hmm." Hoseok sounds interested, but he doesn't press the issue. He trails his mouth back up Taehyung's neck instead, capturing his mouth in a kiss that's suddenly gentle.
"This really isn't sleeping, you know," he says, once he pulls back. Taehyung blinks. He needs a moment to compose himself. His blood is still singing in his veins. He may be panting a little. Whatever.
"Yeah," Taehyung says eventually. Words escape him. He doesn't even know what he wants.
No, actually he does know what he wants. He wants to go jerk off in the shower because holy shit that just happened.
"Um," Taehyung says. Hoseok smiles, kissing him lightly on the mouth. "Too much?" he says softly, drawing his hands out from underneath Taehyung's T-shirt.
"No," Taehyung says, because it wasn't. It was just enough. "No it was good, that was good, like that should happen all the time. Maybe not all the time, because we have to practice and stuff. But like. Again. That should happen again?"
Hoseok is trying not to laugh. "Yeah," he says. "I agree. That would be cool."
"I really need to shower," Taehyung says, and it comes out way more desperate than he intends. He expects Hoseok to laugh at him, but all Hoseok does is raise an eyebrow and give him a once-over. Taehyung bites his lip. He suddenly feels their age difference keenly. Hoseok is a man, he's all experienced and stuff, and Taehyung is just a boy.
Or at least, that's how he feels right now.
"Don't make me feel stupid," he says, crawling out of Hoseok's lap and attempting to straighten himself up. He's still half-hard.
"Hey," Hoseok says, reaching out to catch his wrist. "Hey. I wasn't trying to make you feel stupid. I was just...uh." His cheeks are stained pink again. "Thinking about you in the shower. I mean, I told you..I haven't really done...that much..."
Taehyung blinks. "Oh." Oh. Right.
"Don't be sorry," Taehyung says, his blood rushing in his ears. Hoseok was thinking about him. In the shower. "It's okay. Um. You can...think all you want."
"That is a useful quality of thinking, yes. It usually happens inside your brain."
"Oh, shut up." Taehyung puts two fingers on Hoseok's forehead and shoves back, causing Hoseok to grin. "You know what I meant."
"I know," Hoseok says. He's smiling again. "Go shower. I'll be here."
"Okay, but wait, are you seriously going to--Like, out here,, on the couch?"
"Taehyunggie!" Hoseok shoves him in the direction of the bathroom. "One step at a time. Go. Shower. Maybe we'll talk about that some other time."
"Fine," Taehyung says, even though he's enjoying the deepening red flush that's spreading over Hoseok's cheeks and down his neck. Hoseok is totally going to jerk off on the couch. Taehyung isn't stupid. He knows the other guys do it sometimes, but it just feels weird to Taehyung. What if someone like, walked in? Taehyung doesn't think he could talk to Jimin or something with his hand around his dick. It would be so weird.
Taehyung pauses, hit by a sudden attack of reality.
Oh god, Hoseok is going to be jerking off on the couch while Taehyung showers. He can feel his entire face blushing.
Taehyung leans in for one last kiss, and then turns around and practically runs to the bathroom, Hoseok's fond laughter following him the whole way.
As Taehyung carefully closes the door and turns the shower on, he catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. His hair is a mess, and he's blushing and biting his lip at the same time. He ducks his head, smiling as he shucks his clothing and steps under the spray.
He and Hoseok will probably both sleep well tonight.