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you can hear it in the silence

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Yoongi is standing in aisle ten, staring soullessly at the instant ramen when the absurdity of his situation hits him and he fucking loses it, right there in the middle of his local grocery.

And he’s lucky, really, that it’s four in the morning on a Tuesday and there’s nobody else except the grave-shift stockers to witness his bout of hysterics in the pasta aisle.

“Are you okay?”

Yoongi stands up from the crouch he’s in, struggling in vain to reign in his laughter, the reply, “I’m just fine,” on the tip of his tongue when he looks at the person talking to him and promptly bursts into peals of laughter.

Of fucking course he’s beautiful. It would be his luck that there would be exactly one other customer in this store at four in the fucking morning nice enough to come and see if the man in aisle ten was okay. And he’s not laughing at that, not really, because there isn’t anything inherently funny about a stranger asking him if he’s okay.

No, he’s laughing at the sheer irony of his situation.

“I’m fine,” he finally manages to gasp, clutching at his stomach with one hand and reaching out with the other to steady himself against the shelves.

“Are you sure?” asks the stranger, a warm smile stretching his face as he watches Yoongi struggle to pull himself together.

“Yeah, no, I’m good,” Yoongi says, grabbing a ramen packet at random and shoving it in the basket he’d dropped by his feet. “Please, continue with your shopping.”

“I mean,” the stranger hesitates, looks like he’s about to follow Yoongi down the pasta aisle. “If you’re sure.”

“I’m good,” Yoongi says before turning around and walking swiftly to the other side of the store, like that will keep him from seeing the beautiful man again.

It would be his luck that he’d be happened upon by a stranger who is a solid ten in looks, in the middle of aisle ten of his local grocery, in one of his worst moments of his life to date.

Just when he thought his luck couldn’t get any worse.

 

This is the situation:

Yoongi has been doing fine. Sure, he’s had writer’s block for three days now, and hasn’t left his house in five, but yeah, he’s fine.

But by day five his need for food is becoming desperate, and yet he still hesitates to grab his keys and drive the two minutes to the store because.

Because the last time he went to the store in normal daylight hours he was unlucky enough to run right into his ex from seven months ago. And it wouldn’t be a big deal, it really wouldn’t, if Jimin hadn’t broken up with him by dating Taehyung.

As much as he’s fine now, as often as he tells Seokjin ‘stop worrying about me, I’m fine,’ he’s still not ready to run into Jimin in any setting. Because it still hurts. It’s not something he’s just over. He can’t just move on when the man he’d been in love with for the last three years up and decides that Yoongi isn’t good enough anymore, that he needs someone more exciting than Yoongi.

Which is why Yoongi had needed to take a moment to quietly have a panic attack in the freezer aisle after ducking around a corner to avoid Jimin, who was nonchalantly grabbing milk from the dairy fridges. His chest tightening, breathing speeding up, heart rate doubling as his palms break out in a cold sweat.

 It’s not an experience he’s willing to have again.

So Yoongi waits until the ungodly hour of four in the fucking morning before he leaves his house in search of food, all in an effort to eliminate any possibility of seeing Jimin—or heaven forbid, Jimin and Taehyung—while he’s there.

But he’s fine.

His plan works, for the most part, except that he forgets what happened the last time he was at the store at four in the morning.

“Oh, it’s you again!”

Yoongi stiffens and closes his eyes, sure that if he ignores him he’ll go away.

“I’m glad I ran into you again,” the stranger continues, and Yoongi grits his teeth and turns around, fully intent on walking away.

Except he’d somehow forgotten—and he honestly doesn’t know how he’d managed to forget about the single most beautiful man he’s ever seen—that looking into the face of this stranger is practically a death sentence. So instead of walking away, Yoongi stares blankly back at him, a bit overwhelmed by the upswept black hair that leaves his warm eyes and sharp cheekbones on full display.

“Hi,” he says.

The man chuckles, a happy sound, and smiles again, nearly blinding Yoongi. “I’m Hoseok,” he says brightly, like it isn’t four in the morning on a Sunday.

“Yoongi,” he practically grunts. Then, despite his despair at having to do his shopping at this time of day, he asks, “Why are you here so early in the morning?”

Hoseok blinks at him, then says, “I go in to work really early in the morning, and I like to do my shopping before work. Plus, it’s nice and quiet at this time of the morning.”

Yoongi blinks at him slowly. “You are voluntarily awake at four in the morning?”

“I mean,” Hoseok starts, leaning on the handle of his shopping cart. “I’ve always been a morning person? So, it’s not that bad I guess.” He shrugs. “What about you? What brings you here so early?”

And Yoongi suddenly remembers why he’s there at four in the morning, at how fucking psychotic he is, and he can’t keep from laughing out loud. Again.

At least this time it’s in aisle three. Not that being surrounded by toothpaste instead of ramen makes this situation better in any way.

Hoseok, for his part, looks torn between laughing with Yoongi and running away, which results in his face forming an odd combination of furrowed eyebrows and a tentative smile.

“I’m sorry,” says Yoongi, collecting himself with effort. “It’s been a long week.”

“I can relate,” Hoseok says, chuckling and running his hands through his hair.

“I’m avoiding my ex,” Yoongi says, coming clean. Because really, how much more pathetic can he look anyway. “I ran into him a week and a half ago when I was here doing my shopping, and I can’t deal with seeing him yet.”

Hoseok hums and grabs some toothpaste off the shelf before beginning to move down the aisle. And Yoongi is ninety percent sure that he’s gone and freaked out Hoseok for good now, until Hoseok asks, “Why don’t you just go to a different grocery?” with a jerk of his head for Yoongi to follow.

Yoongi will go to his grave denying the way he tripped over himself in his haste to follow after Hoseok.

“I would,” Yoongi says, keeping pace with Hoseok as he walks the aisles. “Except this one is so close to my house.” He shrugs, snagging a loaf of bread off the shelf and dropping it into his basket. “Plus, it’s twenty-four hours, so why change stores if I can just come at a time when I know he won’t be awake?”

Hoseok laughs, full and loud, and Yoongi feels his breath catch in his throat at the pure and happy sound of it. “You’re a little crazy, you know that?”

Yoongi groans as Hoseok pauses in the cereal aisle and stares at the options. Neither of them acknowledge the employees, clearly eavesdropping, stocking the shelves around them. “I know, but I really don’t want to see him again when I’m not prepared for it.”

“It’s okay,” Hoseok says, dropping four boxes of captain crunch into his cart. “It’s kinda cute.”

“How much cereal do you need?” Yoongi asks, before the last part of Hoseok’s sentence sinks into his brain.

Is Hoseok hitting on him?

He looks over at Hoseok, who is smiling at him brightly. “Cute?” he asks, still not totally sure that he heard Hoseok correctly.

“Yeah, cute,” Hoseok says, still smiling. “And I really like Captain Crunch. Plus, it’s on sale, so.”

“Oh,” says Yoongi, the pinnacle of eloquence. He’s so taken aback at the similarity, at how much the warmth rushing through his veins feels eerily familiar to the way he felt back when—

“So, do you have an early morning job too?” Hoseok asks, changing the subject as they leave the cereal aisle.

Yoongi sings silent praises to whatever deity is watching over him that Hoseok has changed the subject. “Nah, I’m a writer, so I work from home.”

Hoseok bounces excitedly. “Like, books and things?”

“Yeah,” Yoongi says, with a wry twist of his lips. “Books and things.”

“Have you published anything?” Hoseok asks, still moving around in excitement like he’s too happy to contain it all, his excess happiness bleeding out into his movements. “Have I read any of your books?”

Yoongi doesn’t know why books are such an exciting topic of conversation for Hoseok, but he does know that the odds of Hoseok actually liking anything he’s written is pretty slim. Not when he can’t even get publishers to like what he writes. Never mind the fact that he hasn’t been able to write anything in the last eight months that wasn’t utter shit. 

“Um, that’s unlikely,” is what he settles on saying, instead of everything else spinning through his head.

“I’m sure whatever you write is great!” Hoseok says, beaming first at him, and then down at the fresh produce in front of them.

“It’s nice of you to say that,” Yoongi says, trying to muster up sincerity because it is nice, even if it’s not necessarily true.

Hoseok drops his produce into the cart and eyes Yoongi from the corner of his eye, like he knows what Yoongi is thinking, and Yoongi is sure that he’s going to call him on it.

“You done with your shopping?” Hoseok asks instead, turning to walk toward the self-checkout.

“Yeah,” Yoongi says nonchalantly. He’s been done with his shopping pretty much since Hoseok ran into him, but Hoseok doesn’t need to know that. Not when Yoongi can barely come to terms with the fact that he followed Hoseok around the grocery for twenty minutes longer than he actually needed to just so that he could keep talking to him.

Nobody ever needs to know that, actually.

“I’ll see you around?” Hoseok asks, scanning his items at the scanner next to Yoongi’s.

“Yeah,” Yoongi says softly, grabbing his bags and preparing to leave. “I’ll see you around.”

He returns the smile and wave Hoseok gives him with his own, and walks into the pre-dawn light.

He refuses to feel regret over not asking for Hoseok’s number. He’s not even over his last relationship, anyway.

At least that’s what he keeps telling himself.

***

The first time Yoongi met Jimin he knew.

It happened while he was scanning the reference books in the library, looking for the specific book that the less-than-helpful librarian had sworn was there, when he pulls a book off the shelf the same moment someone on the other side of the shelf does the same.

It’s like the kind of hallmark romance movie trash he gags at every Christmas, the way his eyes meet with the stranger on the other side of the shelf through the narrow space the book in his hands had occupied and his breath leaves him in a rush of awe because is this what it feels like to be in love at first sight?

He can’t stop staring.

“Hi,” he whispers breathlessly after a moment, unsure as to how long he’s been staring into the warm brown eyes of the boy in the other aisle, but he knows that he’s already hopelessly lost in them; he’d be happy to spend the rest of his life lost in those eyes, which is insane.

The beautiful, kohl-lined eyes disappear from view, and Yoongi experiences a sudden aching loss somewhere in the middle of his ribs.

“Hi,” says a light, soft voice just behind him.

Yoongi whirls around and nearly drops the book in his hands. “What the fuck,” he whisper-shouts. This is a library and he’s not a monster.

If he thought he was in trouble because he couldn’t tear his gaze away from warm eyes, he doesn’t know what it means when he realizes that he’ll never be able to tear himself away from the stunning smile of the boy in front of him.

“I’m Jimin,” the boy says, laughing softly at Yoongi’s surprise and edging closer to Yoongi to pluck the book out of his numb hands. “The Astronomy of Hearts?” Jimin asks, raising an eyebrow.

“It’s for a thing I’m writing,” Yoongi says vaguely.

“Why don’t you tell me all about it over dinner?” Jimin says coyly, fingertips lingering on the inside of Yoongi’s wrist as he steps closer to return the book to the shelf.

Yoongi shivers at the proximity, at the way Jimin’s chin brushes against his shoulder as Yoongi is pressed back into the shelf when Jimin leans against him to slot the book back in its place.

“I’d love to,” Yoongi says, almost without thinking. He can’t understand how somebody so small can have the magnetism of a black hole because Yoongi is useless to fight the pull toward Jimin. He doesn’t want to, he wants to fall into the endless depths of Jimin until he finds the center of his being and make his home there, next to Jimin’s beating heart.

“Let’s go,” Jimin says, tangling their fingers together and leading him out of the quiet library and into the warm spring day.

It doesn’t take Yoongi more than a second to know that he’ll follow Jimin across the universe.

***

Each day gets better than the last. That’s the way it’s been for the last eight months as he’s struggled to write, to shrug off the weight of not feeling like he’s good enough when he knows that at one point he was.

It’s a slow process that bleeds from one day to the next, each breath in and another out, but it’s a process that keeps moving, healing by degrees into something whole and unbroken with the relentless march of time.

 

Yoongi is standing in the middle of aisle five and wondering why baking powder is on the top shelf.

 

He’s managed to go a whole ten days without needing to go to the store, something that he keeps telling himself like it’s a fucking achievement instead of what it really is, which is now some kind of desperate attempt to both avoid Jimin and not run into Hoseok too soon after their conversation the last time he was here.

He’s pathetic, is what he is. He manages to further prove this to himself by reaching for the baking powder only to have his fingertips just barely graze the can, managing to push it back farther onto the shelf.

He snarls in frustration and curses Namjoon, Seokjin, and their blissfully domestic life.

“Here,” comes a voice, along with a nicely shaped hand with even nicer shaped fingers appearing in his peripheral vision and reaching up to snag the can of baking powder off the top shelf. “Let me get that for you.”

Yoongi blinks slowly at the can being offered to him in the palm of a very nice hand with slender fingers. Feeling like he’s slowly shifting his gaze to stare down the barrel of a gun, Yoongi follows the hand to a delicate wrist, up a forearm corded with muscle, past a nicely curved bicep and shoulder, along the smooth length of a neck, and into the face of Hoseok.

Of fucking course.

“Thanks,” he manages to croak out, taking the baking powder from Hoseok with numb fingers.

“Looked like you could use the help,” Hoseok says with a cheeky smile.

Yoongi sputters. “We’re the same height, you asshole.”

Hoseok narrows his eyes playfully. “I’m pretty sure I’ve got an inch on you.”

“Like fuck you do,” Yoongi spits, trying not to sound defensive.

“I’m pretty sure being able to reach the baking powder proves I’m right,” Hoseok says, very much looking like he’s about to burst into laughter.

Yoongi opens his mouth, a curse on the tip of his tongue that just, fizzles away because Hoseok is looking at him with bright eyes and an amused smile, and if Yoongi gets a little lost in his eyes well, nobody needs to know that.

“What do you need this for anyway?” Hoseok continues, placing the baking powder into Yoongi’s open palm. “Baking something?”

“It’s my friend’s birthday this weekend,” Yoongi explains, not sure what it is about Hoseok that makes him feel like talking, but here he is, in the baking aisle, saying way more than he means to.

He blames Hoseok’s easy smile.

“Are you making them a cake?” Hoseok asks, starting down the aisle, Yoongi falling into step beside him.

“Yeah, and I know fuck all about baking,” Yoongi says, hand waving beside him as they walk. “But his boyfriend is too busy saving lives to make it —that asshole—so I have to.”

Hoseok breaks out into laughter, and well, shit. It’s the most beautiful sound Yoongi’s ever heard, like a clear stream flowing downhill in the summer. “The nerve of some people,” Hoseok says, still chuckling. He reaches up and grabs olive oil off the shelf as they pass by.

“So anyway, Namjoon can’t cook for shit—last time he tried he nearly broke Seokjin’s oven and made him cry actual tears—and yeah, I’m buying baking powder.” They walk in silence for a moment, Hoseok smiling to himself, before Yoongi continues. “You wouldn’t happen to know anything about making a cake, would you?”

And it’s like Hoseok was waiting for Yoongi to ask, turning a supernova smile on him. “I love baking, actually.”

Of course he does. “Of course you do.”

“I could help you, if you want,” Hoseok says softly, pausing in the middle of the candy aisle and turning to face Yoongi.

Yoongi’s first reaction is to laugh. Of course, this would happen when he’s surrounded by starbursts and skittles as sweet as the man in front of him. “I would like that,” he manages to choke out before Hoseok gets the wrong idea. “Very much,” he continues, not sure why he’s still talking but knowing that the only thing that’s going to stop him from saying exactly how much he likes Hoseok, is Hoseok saying something.

“Great,” Hoseok says, smiling again and continuing down the aisle.

Yoongi quirks an eyebrow as Hoseok shoves four bags of starbursts into his basket. Hoseok pretends he doesn’t see the look Yoongi gives him.

Yoongi thinks that if he keeps looking at those smiles without warning he’s going to go blind before he’s thirty. It’s like looking into a thousand suns every time Hoseok smiles at him.

“So, uh,” Yoongi starts, feeling so unsure of how to go about this. “The party is this Saturday.”

Hoseok narrows his eyes slightly. “Yoongi, that’s in two days.”

“Look, I can just buy a pre-made cake,” he says, making to turn around and head towards the bakery.

Hoseok rushes around to cut him off. “No, it’s fine, that’s plenty of time. I have time tomorrow afternoon to help you make this cake.”

Yoongi makes a big show of thinking that over, trying to look like he’s sorting out his schedule when in reality he hasn’t had anything to do but make this cake for the last week. “That should work for me.”

Hoseok fishes his phone out of his pocket. “Here, give me your number so that I can get your address later.”

Yoongi silently takes his phone, shuffling his basket on his arm so that his hands are free to enter his information into the phone.

“I can’t believe it took me offering to help you bake a cake for you to give me your number,” Hoseok says, out of the blue.

Yoongi almost drops Hoseok’s phone.

He doesn’t, but he does gape at Hoseok in surprise. “Well, now you have it,” he says, finally recovering and handing Hoseok’s phone to him.

“Thanks,” Hoseok says, taking it back. “I’ll text you.”

“Okay,” Yoongi says, before turning around and booking it out of the store, nearly forgetting to pay for his food in his haste to leave the store before he explodes out of his skin.

He wonders if Hoseok likes him as much as he thinks he might like Hoseok.

***

Yoongi spends the first month after Jimin leaves replaying the entirety of their three-year relationship, wondering where he went wrong and at what point did he stop being enough for Jimin?

He spends hours staring at the white of his ceiling in a daze, lost in the past, replaying everything.

It’s like this that he realizes the inconsistencies in the first few months of their dating. How Jimin was in turns secretive and evasive at times, his phone locked and password protected always. How Jimin would often go radio silent for a day or two, which never bothered Yoongi before because they were just dating, they weren’t anything serious yet and Yoongi was too smitten to worry about it. Jimin was allowed his secrets, and once Yoongi finally worked up enough nerve to ask him, officially, to be his, there weren’t any secrets and Jimin was open and loving and wonderful.

Yoongi wonders what secrets Jimin had been keeping from him, wonders if maybe—

Yoongi shuts down that train of thought and—

***

Yoongi spends most of Friday in a panic. Knowing Hoseok is coming over makes him realize he hasn’t properly cleaned in a month, that everything is cluttered and there are balled up pages from his notebook scattered everywhere like his unoriginal thoughts.

So naturally, he spends most of Friday panicking about the state of his house, and only actually cleans in the hour before Hoseok said he’d come over. There isn’t a lot to clean, really. Mugs scattered about and clutter here and there around his house that he hastily scoops up and throws away. He does a final sweep through the living room, eyes stalling over his writing desk—situated innocently in front of the curved windows overlooking the garden—that’s covered in dust and papers from various projects that he hasn’t touched in eight months and maybe…

He thinks about the top drawer, about what’s in the drawer, and turns away from the desk. Not today. He’s not ready to face that. Not yet.

The doorbell rings, startling him from his dread over the contents of that drawer, and he nearly falls flat on his face when he tries to cross over to the door too quickly.

“Ow, fuck,” he says, pulling open the door as he shakes out his foot. He stubbed it on the table in his haste to get to the door.

“Hello to you too,” Hoseok says, smiling.

Yoongi wonders if he’s ever not smiling.

“Shit, sorry,” Yoongi says, stepping aside to let Hoseok in. “I stubbed my toe.”

“Nice place,” Hoseok says as he steps out of his shoes, sweeping his eyes around Yoongi’s small but nice house. It’s just him here, now that Jimin is, well.

“Thanks,” Yoongi shrugs, leading Hoseok into the kitchen. “I think I have all the ingredients here,” he says, gesturing to the assembled ingredients on the counter.

“So, how do you want to bake it?” Hoseok asks.

Yoongi stares at him blankly. “The normal way?”

Hoseok, for the first time in recent memory, doesn’t smile as he looks at Yoongi and sighs. “Oh boy. Okay, do you have cake rounds?”

“What the fuck are cake rounds,” Yoongi gripes, disliking the way he has no idea what’s happening.

Hoseok pinches the bridge of his nose. “What the fuck, Yoongi, how were you planning to bake a cake?”

“If Namjoon wasn’t such a human disaster I wouldn’t have to,” he seethes. “I’m not the one to blame, here.”

“Okay, okay,” Hoseok says, holding out his hands. “Cake rounds are like, shallow round pans that make the cakes perfectly round. Do you have any of those?”

Yoongi opens his mouth to say, “of fucking course not,” but pauses before he can actually say anything, a memory surfacing from months ago. Wordlessly, he points to the cupboard to the right of the oven, trying not to make it obvious how bad his hands are currently shaking.

“Down here?” Hoseok asks, crouching down and pointing to the same cupboard Yoongi is still pointing at and opening it to peer inside when Yoongi nods.

Laughter echoes around him, old and faint in the air of his house, and he struggles to remember that breathing is a thing that has to happen. Breathe, Yoongi.

Hoseok’s triumphant shout makes its way to him, odd and distorted, and maybe he can’t breathe because he’s underwater and sinking.

“Yoongi?” Hoseok asks, face suddenly swimming in his field of vision and it’s not Jimin, it’s not him and it’s Hoseok asking him if he’s okay, saying, “You’re really pale, Yoongi, breathe” and cupping his face between his warm hands and holding him steady, anchoring him to the present.

Hoseok is here, Jimin is gone, it’s Hoseok.

He takes a breath, then another.

“Good,” Hoseok is saying, a look of relief on his face as Yoongi forces air in and out of his lungs in a motion that should be automatic and thoughtless but feels more like rolling a boulder uphill.

“Sorry,” Yoongi apologizes, once he has his breathing back to a regular, automatic rhythm.

“For what?” Hoseok asks gently.

“I uh,” Yoongi pauses, not sure how much he wants to divulge in this moment. But Hoseok’s hands are still on him, resting on either side of his neck, just beneath his jaw, and he feels safe here with Hoseok. “I remembered that Jimin made a cake a while ago for something and it’s been a long time since I thought about things like that, I guess,” he exhales, closing his eyes and focusing on the way Hoseok’s pointer finger is rubbing a soft line against the back of his neck.

“Who is Jimin?” Hoseok asks, voice low and quiet.

“He’s, um, my ex,” Yoongi says, fighting to keep his voice steady. “He used to live with me until,” he stops, throat closed against finishing that sentence, like if it remains unsaid it won’t be true.

“Until?” Hoseok prompts gently.

Yoongi opens his eyes, his breathing catching in his chest for a completely different reason this time, held captive by the warm pools of brown he’s staring into.

“Until he left me to be with someone else,” Yoongi sighs, the confession leaving him easier than he thought it would. And as he says it, he feels a weight slide away from him, realizing that this is the first time he’s acknowledged what happened out loud, to another person. “He cheated on me and left me for them.”

Hoseok’s gaze never wavers, his finger never stops tracing patterns into the back of Yoongi’s neck. “I’m sorry, Yoongi,” he says, sincerity ringing through in his tone. His thumbs brush along the line of his jaw.

“Yeah, well, it’s done now.” He doesn’t pull away, too lost in Hoseok’s eyes, the way his fingers trace patterns into his jaw, neck.

“We have a cake to bake,” Hoseok whispers, pulling away slightly at first, then completely when Yoongi nods in agreement.

Yoongi breathes in deeply, re-centers, shakes off the nearness of Hoseok, and tries not to think about the lingering burn of his hands against his skin as he goes over to help Hoseok make the damn cake.

 

Yoongi doesn’t know exactly how it started, but he knows how it ends.

One second he was helping Hoseok measure out more powdered sugar for the not-quite-thick-enough frosting—cake baking in the oven—and the next he’s covered in powdered sugar, the contents of the measuring cup suspiciously covering him instead of being in the mixing bowl where they should be.

He turns slowly to look at Hoseok—who looks about five seconds away from hysterical laughter—and, very calmly, says, “You’re dead,” right before dipping his finger in the waiting chocolate frosting and smearing it across Hoseok’s cheek.

“Hey,” says Hoseok, flicking more sugar at him. “That was an accident.”

“Accident my ass,” Yoongi retorts, grabbing a handful of powdered sugar to throw at Hoseok. His kitchen is going to be a mess, but he doesn’t care in the moment, more concerned with getting the sugar to stick to the frosting he’s already smeared across Hoseok’s perfect cheekbone.

There’s more frosting, a lot on Hoseok, more on Yoongi. Hoseok has some smeared across both cheeks, a smudge on his neck. Yoongi can feel the smears Hoseok made against his skin, can feel the lines of chocolate and sugar covering him and laughs, feeling lighter than he has in weeks and not even caring that they’re both a disaster.

“You’ve got some on your nose, Yoongi,” Hoseok giggles, pointing at Yoongi as he goes a bit cross-eyed to try and spot the frosting.

He reaches up and wipes at his nose, trying to rub the chocolate away. “Did I get it?” He asks, not sure why it matters when there’s literally frosting all over both of them.

“Not quite,” Hoseok says, stepping closer and reaching for Yoongi. “You’ve got a bit, just here,” he whispers, leaning in so, so slowly, giving Yoongi plenty of time before he presses a warm, soft kiss to the skin of his cheek.

Yoongi does a poor job of hiding the shiver that works through him. “Anywhere else?” he breathes, his hands coming up to rest on Hoseok’s hips. He’s probably getting frosting all over Hoseok’s shirt. He doesn’t really care.

“Yeah,” Hoseok says, moving closer still. “Here,” he says, placing a gentle kiss to Yoongi’s forehead.

“Here.” A kiss lands on his other cheek.

Yoongi’s eyes drift shut with a flutter.

“Here.” The tip of his nose.

Hoseok hovers, lips centimeters away from Yoongi’s, so that when he whispers, “Here,” for the last time, Yoongi feels their lips brush with the movement.

There’s a second that feels like eternity before Hoseok presses their lips together so, so gently.

Yoongi sighs into the kiss, lips parting slightly under Hoseok’s so that he can press closer and mold their lips together like he’s wanted to since he met him, really.

Hoseok tastes like chocolate. Yoongi wants more.

Hoseok reaches up to cup his jaw with his hands, fingers sinking into Yoongi’s hair, and Yoongi tilts his head while biting at Hoseok’s bottom lip, and pleads for more.

Hoseok breathes in sharply through his nose and backs Yoongi into the counter, pressing into him as he dips his tongue into Yoongi’s mouth, sliding around Yoongi’s tongue to lick against the roof of his mouth.

Yoongi moans at the sensation, and Hoseok presses closer, one hand moving down to the small of his back to hold Yoongi flush against him.

Yoongi reaches up with a hand and tugs at the strands of Hoseok’s hair, and he can feel the purr that Hoseok makes in his throat at the sensation. Yoongi doesn’t know how long they stand there, Hoseok pressing him into the counter, but it’s not long enough.

He doesn’t know very much at all, really, but he has the feeling that he could spend hours like this with Hoseok kissing him breathless and it wouldn’t be enough.

The oven timer goes off.

Yoongi takes a breath.

 

The cake is fine, when they take it out. It’s not like, amazing, but it’s good enough, and Hoseok agrees to come to the party with him, so the cake doesn’t really matter.

Yoongi doesn’t know how it starts, exactly, but he knows how it ends.

 

 

“The first thing you should know,” Yoongi says as they get out of his car to walk up the front steps of Seokjin’s cozy brownstone. “Is that my friends are assholes.”

Hoseok laughs so hard he almost drops the cake they’d made yesterday on the doorstep.

“You laugh, but they are,” Yoongi mutters, ringing the doorbell.

Seokjin flings open the door, a broad grin plastered across his handsome face.

“Woah,” says Hoseok, struck by Seokjin’s blinding facial symmetry.

“Yoongi,” Seokjin says warmly. “And you’ve brought a friend!”

“I’m Hoseok,” he says, trying to shift the cake in his hands so he can shake Seokjin’s hand.

“Please, come in,” Seokjin says, stepping aside to let them in. “How do you know Yoongi?”

This was a mistake. It was a mistake to bring Hoseok to this den of beautiful wolves. Seokjin is dangerous and Yoongi can’t believe he forgot this one, crucial detail.

“We met at the grocery,” Hoseok says, looking over to smile fondly at Yoongi. “I helped him get some ingredients for this cake, didn’t I, Yoongi?” The smirk he throws at Yoongi is playful and teasing and makes him scowl in response.

Seokjin looks at Yoongi, waiting for a response, but he’s silent, too busy burning on a pyre of his own making. He shoves past Seokjin into the apartment and starts stepping out of his shoes.

“Is Yoongi here?” Namjoon cries, tripping over his foot as he skids around the corner into the hallway.

“Such a fuckin’ disaster,” Yoongi mutters as Namjoon pulls himself together enough to crush Yoongi into a hug.

“Hey,” Namjoon says, releasing him and pulling him further into their apartment. “I need to tell you something.”

Yoongi looks back, sees that Seokjin is still chatting casually with Hoseok. “Yeah, what’s up?”

“I swear, I didn’t know,” Namjoon begins as he leads Yoongi into the kitchen, voice low. “But Jimin told me today that he was coming tonight.”

Yoongi’s mouth dries up and he breaks into a cold sweat. “What.”

“I’m so sorry, Yoongi,” Namjoon says, grimacing.

“It’s okay,” Yoongi lies. “It’s fine.”

“What’s fine?” Seokjin asks, joining them in the kitchen and setting the cake Hoseok must have passed off to him on the counter.

“Jimin’s coming,” Namjoon says.

Yoongi catches the way Seokjin’s eyes widen, almost comically, before he closes his own eyes and focuses on making his breathing as even and steady as possible. He feels a familiar hand press into the small of his back.

“You going to be okay?” Hoseok asks.

Yoongi opens his eyes, Hoseok’s touch helping him re-center and steady himself. “Yeah, I’ll be okay.” He ignores the way Seokjin raises his eyebrows, gaze flicking between Hoseok’s hand on his waist and Yoongi.

Yoongi subtly flips him off behind Hoseok’s back.

“Let’s go sit down, yeah?” Hoseok says, turning and leading him into the living room.

Yoongi half expects Seokjin and Namjoon to follow them, but he’s not surprised when they don’t.

What he doesn’t see is Seokjin snagging the back of Namjoon’s collar to keep him from following.

“Are you really going to be okay?” Hoseok asks once they’re seated comfortably on the couch.

“I promise, I’m fine,” Yoongi says. And it isn’t quite true. The sting of Jimin’s betrayal is going to linger for a long time, keeping his feelings of inadequacy company, but he isn’t heartbroken anymore. “I’m not heartbroken, not anymore,” he says, so that Hoseok knows.

Because it’s important that he tells Hoseok this. That he makes it clear that whatever it is between them—this new and fragile thing that he thinks could heal him for good, erase the sting and the hurt still lingering—is more than just a rebound.

So, he steels himself, turns to face Hoseok, and says, “You aren’t a rebound, Hoseok.”

The smile that stretches across Hoseok’s face is warm, slow, and so, so soft. “I didn’t think I was,” he replies, reaching out and resting a hand on Yoongi’s knee.

“Good,” Yoongi says, returning his smile and smiling in relief. “Just, stay close to me tonight?” he asks, trying not to sound as pathetic as he feels.

“Of course,” Hoseok says, slinging an arm around him and pulling him in until Yoongi is tucked against his side.

Yoongi spends a moment wondering if it should be this easy, how naturally he and Hoseok have fallen together, how just one kiss was enough for Yoongi to know that he doesn’t want to let go of Hoseok so easily. He wonders if Hoseok will get bored of him too, and he has to take another moment to breathe, pushing aside the feeling that it’s too good to be true, that Hoseok will get scared at some point and run away.

One day at a time.

He rests his head against Hoseok’s shoulder as the doorbell rings, idly watching as Namjoon nearly trips over himself again as he skids down the polished wood floors of the hallway in his haste to get to the door, Hoseok’s hand tracing soft patterns into his arm.

From where they’re both seated on Seokjin’s plush couch, the front door is right in their line of sight. Yoongi tries not to tense in anticipation as Namjoon pulls the door open, not wanting to see Jimin but knowing that it’s been eight months and he can’t hide forever.

It’s not Jimin.

Excited screeching fills the room as Jackson, Mark and BamBam spill into the room, all talking at once and taking turns hugging Namjoon enthusiastically as Yugyeom and Jeongguk slip in after them.

Yugyeom lingers by the door, but Jeongguk makes a beeline straight for Yoongi. “I haven’t seen you in forever,” he says in greeting, sitting down on the other side of Yoongi.

“How’s it going, kid?” he asks fondly, leaning over to hug him briefly.

Jeongguk shrugs. “Not bad. About the same.”

“You still dating that one chick?” Yoongi asks, settling back against Hoseok. “Yoona?”

Jeongguk coughs and tries to hide a blush. “Uh, no. I’m, uh, dating someone else now.”

Yoongi raises an eyebrow, but doesn’t get a chance to ask who because Jeongguk turns on the offensive, asking, “What about you, Yoongi?”

This little shit.

“I, uh,” he flounders, unsure what to say with Hoseok right beside him. Jeongguk looks like he’s about two seconds away from laughing gleefully, aware of the situation he’s put Yoongi in somehow.

Cocky, punk-ass motherfucker.

Yoongi looks at Hoseok, silently hoping for help. He doesn’t dare define what they are when they’ve only barely kissed.

“Yeah, Yoongi,” Hoseok says, biting back laughter. “You dating anyone?”

Well, fuck them, then. “Fuck you,” Yoongi says in the face of Hoseok’s laughter, smiling slightly to soften his words.

“And you,” he says, rounding on Jeongguk. “Fuck you, too.”

Jeongguk has the gall to laugh at him. “Man, I’ve missed you.”

“Hoseok,” Yoongi says, waving lazily at Jeongguk. “This little shit is Jeongguk. We used to work together.”

“Well, nice to meet you,” Hoseok says, stretching out a hand to shake with Jeongguk. “Where did you two used to work?” Hoseok asks, this time addressing Yoongi.

“We used to work at a car wash together,” Jeongguk supplies. “Well, I still work there. Me and Taehyung.” Jeongguk’s eyes widen slightly and his jaw clicks shut. “Shit, sorry bro,” he apologizes, looking at Yoongi in concern.

“It’s okay,” Yoongi says automatically, and even if it isn’t, it’s not as bad as it used to be.

Fuck, Yoongi managed to forget that small detail. Hoseok gives him a questioning look when he feels Yoongi tense at the mention of Taehyung. The second he found out what Jimin had done he walked away from his job at the carwash, not giving notice, just leaving because the thought of working with the kid his boyfriend chose over him?

Yoongi may be pathetic, but he’s not a masochist.

He’s saved from saying anything in response as Yugyeom finally joins them, settling himself on the other side of Jeongguk where there isn’t really room for another person, but Yugyeom doesn’t seem to mind, sitting halfway in Jeongguk’s lap and slinging an arm around—

Oh. Yoongi gives Jeongguk a pointed look. “Dating someone else now, huh?”

Jeongguk smiles sheepishly and buries his face in Yugyeom’s shoulder.

“‘Sup, Yoongi,” Yugyeom nods. “Long time no see, huh?”

“Something like that,” Yoongi shrugs, trying to play off how reclusive he’s been in the last few months. He hasn’t bothered to find another job, electing to live off the trust fund his parents provided him with and attempt to write something worthwhile.

It’s a miracle he’s found Hoseok, actually.

Their attention is pulled to the center of the room, where Jackson and Mark have already lined up a row of shots and are now dragging Jaebum and Jinyoung away from Seokjin to do a round with them and Namjoon.

Yoongi takes a closer look around the room, realizing that quite a few more people have filtered in since he started talking to Jeongguk. He spots Youngjae on the other side of the room, chatting easily with Hwasa and Wheein.

Hoseok taps his shoulder gently, pulling his attention back to their couch where Jeongguk and Yugyeom have been pulled into conversation with Seokjin and BamBam.

“You want a drink?” Hoseok asks, shifting to get up. The doorbell rings, barely audible underneath the chatter of the room and the music someone started playing through Namjoon’s incredible sound system.

Yoongi nods. “Yeah, nothing too strong, please.”

Hoseok brushes a hand through Yoongi’s hair in acknowledgement as he stands up and makes his way to the kitchen.

Yoongi settles back into the couch, then jolts upright in shock a second later, wishing he could call Hoseok back to him, but the room is too loud and he’s too frozen to get up and follow Hoseok into the kitchen.

He can’t look away as Jimin and Taehyung step into the apartment. Neither of them have seen him yet, too busy greeting Namjoon and the other people in the room, but it’s only a matter of time before they see him.

His heart pounds hard enough that the sound of blood rushing through his body is the only thing he can hear, his neck breaking out into a cold sweat for the second time that night. He fights past the tightness in his chest, focusing on dragging air into his lungs one labored breath at a time.

The world slows to a crawl as he watches Jimin’s eyes scan the room, widening slightly when his gaze lands on Yoongi.

Fuck.

He quickly looks away, searching desperately for Hoseok, not wanting to have to face this alone. He spots Hoseok standing in the archway leading to the kitchen, his back to Yoongi as he chats with Moonbyul.

He wonders if pulling out his phone to text Hoseok a quick 911 is too pathetic. It probably is. It doesn’t matter anyway, since Jimin reaches him before his fingers can so much as twitch in the direction of his pocket.

“Yoongi,” Jimin says, eyes soft, just like he did all those months ago, and Yoongi…

Just like that, Yoongi is seven months in the past, watching as his boyfriend of three years presses a gasping Taehyung up against a wall in the abandoned office of the car wash. Jeongguk had asked him to close up for him that night; he wasn’t supposed to be there.

But he was.

He just stood there, in the door to the office, and watched as Jimin shattered his heart into tiny, slivered pieces with each mark he sucked into Taehyung’s neck. He doesn’t know how long he stood there, watching Jimin drag gasps and moans out of Taehyung just like he does for Yoongi. Did. Just like he did.

He watches, completely numb, as Taehyung’s head lolls back into the wall and his eyelids flutter in pleasure as Jimin grinds into him.  

Yoongi watches as Taehyung’s eyes drift open and flick to his, widening when he realizes who’s standing there, keys to the shop grasped loosely in his fingers, staring at Taehyung as he’s ravished by his boyfriend.

“Oh, fuck,” Taehyung whispers, and Yoongi is disgusted by the way Jimin laughs smugly into Taehyung’s neck before pulling back and taking in Taehyung’s wide eyes, staring fixedly at Yoongi.

Jimin turns around, so slowly like he already knows, and Yoongi watches as Jimin slowly raises his gaze until he’s staring at Yoongi, meeting his gaze without flinching.

The only thing Yoongi can think about is the slow, easy sex they’d had that morning, the way Jimin had pulled him close and whispered countless ‘I love you’s against his neck, his hair, his lips until he was a goopy mess beneath Jimin.

“Yoongi,” Jimin says, quietly.

Yoongi stares at him and realizes he doesn’t know who Jimin is anymore. He’s certainly not who Yoongi thought he was. So, he takes a breath, chest expanding against the empty nothingness between his ribs, and says, “Get your shit out of my house by tomorrow morning or I’m burning it. Leave your keys on the counter.”

Without looking back, Yoongi walks away, the keys to the office slipping between limp fingers to clatter harshly against the ground in the silence.

He’d gotten in his car and driven straight to Seokjin’s, curling up on the very couch he’s sitting on now and not daring to move for an entire day, tears slipping silently from the corners of his eyes as he processes losing the person he thought he’d love forever.

But that was months ago, and he doesn’t have the luxury of doing that now, so.

Yoongi stands up abruptly, walking past Jimin without saying a word and nearly running into Hoseok in his effort to get away.

“You okay?” Hoseok asks, trying to balance two drinks and steady Yoongi who is, admittedly, quite unsteady.

He’s not.

“No,” says Yoongi, taking one of the drinks from Hoseok’s hand and draining it, moving into the kitchen to pour a generous amount of vodka into his cup, only to down that just as quickly.

“Tell me what happened,” Hoseok says, hand grasping the bottle in Yoongi’s hand and keeping him from pouring out more.

“Jimin tried to talk to me,” Yoongi says, leaning against the counter.

“He’s here?” Hoseok asks, moving closer to Yoongi to avoid getting bowled over by Mark and Jackson, who seem to be re-arranging Seokjin’s kitchen to set up a game of beer pong.

Yoongi nods and takes a deep breath, trying to loosen the tightness in his chest.

Hoseok opens his mouth to say something, but he’s cut off by a screech in living room and the music changing from soft acoustic to something deep and thrumming.

“Dance party!” BamBam yells, and Yoongi watches through the archway of the kitchen as the living room goes from a place of chattering to a dance floor, Jeongguk and Yugyeom two of the first people dancing, the both of them long legs and sinuous bodies that are so unfair, what the fuck.

“Yoongi, dance with me,” says Hoseok, taking one of Yoongi’s hands in his and beginning to move in the direction of the living room.

“Hoseok, Jimin is in there,” Yoongi hisses, dragging his feet.

Hoseok turns and walks backwards through the crowded space. “You’re here with me,” Hoseok says, a mischievous grin flashing across his lips. “And I want to dance.”

Yoongi doesn’t have much to say to that, and pretty soon he doesn’t know what he would say, too busy trying to keep up with Hoseok as he rolls and moves to the beat. He’s not much for dancing, doesn’t do it often and even less often in public, but he can’t really see past the look of contentment on Hoseok’s face as he loses himself in the music, so he finds that he doesn’t mind it terribly.

Especially when Hoseok snags him by the waist and pulls him in closer, guiding Yoongi’s body along to the happy beat of the music, and pretty soon all thought of Jimin is pushed to the far corners of his mind as he dances through several songs with Hoseok. He would have thought that with most of the people here dancing in the living room it would be hard to breathe, but with Hoseok pressed against him Yoongi finds that the tightness in his chest is gone, replaced with an easy warmth.

“Water?” Hoseok asks, when they’re both a little sweaty and a lot out of breath.

“Fuck, yeah,” Yoongi says, slipping his hand into Hoseok’s as they make their way free of the crowd.

When they walk into the kitchen it’s to find Seokjin and Namjoon hunched over the cake Yoongi and Hoseok had brought, half of it gone and chocolate covered forks dangling from their hands.

“Fucking unbelievable,” Yoongi half shouts as Namjoon reaches up to wipe away a smear of chocolate from the corner of Seokjin’s mouth. “This is the last time I’ll make you a cake, you ungrateful assholes.”

“What?” asks Namjoon, mouth half full of cake. “It’s my birthday cake. I’m grateful.”

“You could have at least told me so I could help you eat it,” Yoongi mutters sullenly as Hoseok hands him a glass of water.

Wordlessly, Seokjin holds out two forks and moves closer to Namjoon, making room for the two of them around the island.

“How are you enjoying the party, Hoseok?” Seokjin asks, polite as always.

Hoseok smiles around a bite of cake. “You guys know a lot of really cool people,” Hoseok says, as the other end of the kitchen erupts in cheers when Jackson lands the ping pong ball into Jaebum’s last cup.

“Rest in pieces, bitch,” Jackson shouts over the music.

“Yeah, the coolest,” Yoongi deadpans, as Mark manages to spill most of his drink over himself and Jackson as they execute a poor imitation of a celebratory chest bump.

“So, this is where everyone is hiding,” Jeongguk says, slipping into the space between Hoseok and Namjoon, grabbing another fork and digging into the cake.

“Hey,” Seokjin snaps, batting Jeongguk’s fork away with his own. “Who said you could have some, you punk?”

Jeongguk manages to snag a piece anyway and shovels it into his mouth before Seokjin can react. “Who are you, my dad?” he goads, around a mouthful of cake. “You’re old enough to be, ugh.”

Seokjin turns to Hoseok. “Can you believe this kid?”

Yoongi reaches around Hoseok to slap Jeongguk upside the head. “Brat.”

“You wanna fight, Seokjin?” Jeongguk asks, a playful glint in his eye as he snags another bite of cake.

“You don’t stand a chance, punk,” Seokjin says, letting his fork clatter to the marble countertop of the island.

“Should I be worried?” Hoseok asks under his breath, leaning close to Yoongi to say it.

Yoongi eyes the two of them, now sizing each other up behind Namjoon’s back, the latter happily digging into his cake and ignoring them both.

“Nah,” he finally says, watching as Seokjin uses the sheer breadth of his shoulders to corner Jeongguk against the counters. “This happens more than you’d think.”

“Joonie!” Seokjin screeches, as Jeongguk pinches his nipples to get away. “Help me!”

Namjoon looks up from his cake, frowns at Jeongguk and Seokjin, before returning to the cake. “Sorry Jin, you’re on your own.”

Seokjin collapses theatrically against the counter and screeches, “Betrayed! By my own boyfriend!” while Jeongguk laughs gleefully and resumes digging at the cake.

Namjoon snickers into the cake, shooting a “Sorry, babe,” over his shoulder.

And Yoongi. Yoongi shares an amused smile with Hoseok and thinks that despite Jimin’s presence here, this is the happiest he’s been in months, laughter bubbling up from the warmth in his chest.

“What’s going on in here?” asks an all too familiar voice as Jimin and Taehyung step through the arch to the kitchen.

Speak of the devil, and all that jazz.

“Hey, Tae,” Jeongguk greets, a smile still lingering on his face.

Taehyung wastes no time in rushing Jeongguk, wrestling him into a headlock to ruffle his hair.

Yoongi presses a bit closer to Hoseok to get as far away from Taehyung as possible.

As much as Jimin is the one who actually cheated, it’s not like Taehyung didn’t know exactly what he was doing.

Hoseok shifts so that his free hand comes around to grip the counter on the other side of Yoongi, giving him a physical barrier from Jimin and pressing Yoongi closer to his side. Yoongi shoots him a grateful look and takes another bite of cake, but it tastes a bit like ash on his tongue.

“Just putting Jeongguk in his place,” Seokjin says, having recovered from his one-man drama and returned to his spot around the cake next to Namjoon, answering Jimin when nobody else does.

Seokjin has always been the best of them.

Yoongi wants to ask Namjoon why he even invited Jimin, but he supposes that even in a breakup as nasty as his and Jimin’s had been, when you’ve been friends as long as they have you don’t pick sides.

Well, at least not obviously. It’s not like Namjoon or Seokjin are going out of their way to talk to Jimin.

“Oh, cake!” Taehyung screeches over the sound of BamBam jumping on the kitchen table at the other end of the room amid cheers to dance to the music. He releases Jeongguk from his headlock and squeezes between Hoseok and Jeongguk to dig at the cake.

Yoongi curses Seokjin for his manners as Jimin comes to stand between himself and Seokjin.

Yoongi presses closer to Hoseok, who moves his hand from the counter to wrap possessively around Yoongi’s waist.

“This isn’t how I wanted you to meet my friends,” Yoongi says, leaning in close to Hoseok so that he can talk in his ear.

Or, rather, this isn’t how he wanted Hoseok to meet Jimin and Taehyung. Actually, he didn’t want Hoseok to meet them at all, ideally.

Hoseok looks at him, an easy smile spreading across his face as he leans in to press a quick kiss against his temple. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Who’s your friend, Yoongi?” Jimin asks, forking a bite of cake into his mouth—really, how many forks does Seokjin have?—and poking Yoongi in the arm to get his attention.

Yoongi is pretty sure that everyone makes note of the way he violently flinches away from Jimin’s touch.

“I’m Hoseok,” Hoseok says as Yoongi fights to get air into his lungs.

“I didn’t know you were dating again, Yoongi,” Jimin says, mostly ignoring Hoseok.

Yoongi wants to yell, maybe punch Jimin in the nose and do some lasting damage in a more visible place than the damage Jimin inflicted on him all those months ago. Yoongi wants to do a lot of things in the moment, but the most important thing is getting his lungs to work again.

“Seokjin, can you get a glass—thanks,” Hoseok says, starting to ask for some water only to have Seokjin place an already full glass in front of Yoongi with a grimace of apology.

Yoongi doesn’t know what he’s apologizing for. He’s not the one who cheated on Yoongi. He is grateful, however, for the way Seokjin draws Jimin into conversation and subsequently pulls his attention away from Yoongi, who breathes a bit easier.

Hoseok takes the glass and presses it into Yoongi’s numb fingers, not letting go until he’s sure Yoongi isn’t going to drop it.

“What’s going on over here?” Yugyeom shouts, dancing his way over to their group, blissfully unaware of the tension simmering around them.

“Yugyeom,” Namjoon says, mouth half full of cake. “‘Sup man?”

“Yo, happy birthday bro,” Yugyeom says through a wide smile. “Jeongguk,” he starts, shimmying his way around the island to loop his arms around Jeongguk’s waist. “Come help me wipe the floor with Youngjae and Jinyoung. They think they can take us in beer pong.”

Jeongguk turns to smile at him fondly and nods, looking relieved to have an excuse to leave the room. “Sure, babe. Let’s kick their asses.”

Yoongi gulps down half of his water. It doesn’t help with the breathing situation, but it does help clear his head.

He’s angry.

“Hoseok, right?” Taehyung asks, forced to talk to someone else now that Jeongguk is off with Yugyeom.

Hoseok barely spares a glance toward Taehyung. “Yeah. You’re Taehyung.”

Yoongi thinks back to try and remember if he ever mentioned who Jimin cheated with, but he can’t recall ever saying anything. Hoseok must have pieced things together during his conversation with Jeongguk on the couch earlier.

Taehyung laughs, like Hoseok knowing his name is the funniest thing to happen to him tonight and says, “How’d you know?”

Yoongi is staring at Hoseok, has been since he handed him the water, so he sees it when the ever-present humor in Hoseok’s eyes evaporates and the smile disappears from his face like mist in the sun.

Apparently, there are moments when Hoseok isn’t smiling.

Yoongi knows it’s not directed at him, but he still shivers and, on the whole, isn’t prepared for what Hoseok does next.

“I know because you had a part in breaking Yoongi’s heart,” Hoseok snaps, whirling on Taehyung so fast Yoongi’s pretty sure Namjoon gets whiplash trying to track the motion. “And I’m shocked that you have the fucking nerve to stand here and pretend like you didn’t destroy another person because you were too selfish to find someone else who wasn’t already taken.”

Seokjin chokes mid-sentence with Jimin, eyes wide as he slowly turns to look at Hoseok in shock.

Namjoon is starting open-mouthed at Hoseok and Taehyung.

Yoongi sets his glass down on the island before he drops it in shock. And in the midst of everything he’s feeling—shock, hurt, anxiety, anger—he feels affection for Hoseok well up inside him, briefly overshadowing everything else.

“Who do you think you are?” Jimin says in outrage. “Don’t talk to Taehyung like that.”

Hoseok whirls around to face Jimin, fire in his eyes, but gets beaten to the punch.

“Jimin, shut the fuck up,” Yoongi hears himself saying. He doesn’t know where it’s coming from, this sudden ability to speak to Jimin without having a panic attack, but he rolls with it while he has it. He thinks it had something to do with Hoseok’s warmth at his back, with the hand still resting on his hip. “Nothing you can say will make this better for either of you. We had something special and you threw it away without a second thought.” He takes a deep breath. “You wasted a real love, and I hope you’re okay with that because I never was, but I didn’t get a choice. You made it for me, and we both have to live with that decision.”

And before Jimin can say anything, before Taehyung can wipe away the shocked and hurt expression from his face, Yoongi walks away from the island, snagging Hoseok’s hand and towing him out of the kitchen and out the front door.

He doesn’t lose it until the door clicks shut behind Hoseok.

“Shit,” Hoseok says, just barely managing to catch Yoongi as he slumps against Hoseok, legs sapped of strength. “Are you okay?”

But Yoongi is too busy shaking away from his bones to respond for a moment, too busy focusing on dragging in one breath after the last. He can smell the subtle traces of Hoseok’s cologne with every inhale, and it’s more soothing than he thought it would be.

Yoongi pulls away, feeling slightly steadier, and says, “Thank you for coming. I, uh, didn’t mean for you to meet everyone like this, but I’m glad you were here tonight.” He chuckles humorlessly. “I’m not sure I would have survived without you.”

Hoseok reaches over and tangles their fingers together. “I’m glad you brought me. I like being with you.”

Yoongi feels a tingling warmth rush through him as Hoseok leans in to press a gentle kiss to his forehead.

He feels the gentle stirrings of something new simmering between them, and he’s glad that despite everything that’s happened tonight that it’s still there, that the spark and desire he felt weeks ago when he first met Hoseok is still there.

“I like having you around,” he replies, burying his face into Hoseok’s sweater and inhaling steadily.

Hoseok smells like sun-warmed sheets and spring breezes.

 

***

In the first month after Jimin left, Yoongi could barely function. It took him two days to pull himself together enough to leave Seokjin’s and Namjoon’s brownstone and return to his own house.

When he stepped into the house he spent several minutes frozen in the entryway because the house still smelled like Jimin.

He finally gathered enough courage to step further into the house, moving slowly through the hallway and into the kitchen, making note of all the pictures of him and Jimin that he’d have to take down, of the accumulated pieces of their life together, bright and happy moments, that were now empty and hollow in the light of what Jimin had done.

It’s when he steps into the kitchen and sees the keys lying there on the counter that he realizes he’s not fine, that when he’d reassured Seokjin just an hour ago that he was going to be fine, he'd lied.

He’s not going to be fine for a long, long time.

Everything about his life is empty now. There are no words to write. All his projects that he’d been working on in between shifts at the car wash lay abandoned at his desk to collect dust. He doesn’t touch his desk or his writing laptop for months, any fleeting ideas written down in different notebooks or scraps of paper lying around his house.

Half of his closet is empty, when he finally braves a look. All Jimin’s clothes, the soft hoodies that Jimin kept just for Yoongi to steal when he got cold, the brightly patterned shirts and soft sweaters, all gone.

He can’t bear to fill in the missing space with more clothes; he just leaves it empty.

He washes the sheets to their, his, bed, twice. They still smell like Jimin.

He sleeps curled on the couch instead of a too large, too empty bed, for two months.

***

Yoongi wakes up the morning after Namjoon’s party with words streaming through his brain, and he wastes no time in rushing downstairs from his bedroom to sit at the desk he hasn’t used since Jimin left. He rustles through dust-covered papers until he finds the one he’s looking for and hunches over, scribbling words as fast as he can as they fly from his brain onto paper.

He writes for three days, only stopping for food, scattered hours of sleep, and to shower once.

He’s staring at the blinking cursor on his laptop screen, wondering where this scene needs to go next, when he absently checks the date and realizes he hasn’t talked to anyone in three days.

He stands up from his chair, every joint in his back pops and he nearly passes out. He leans on the desk and his eyes fall again to the drawer. His fingers twitch toward the drawer, and he gets as far as resting his hand on the handle before he can’t, and he jerks his hand back like he’s been burned and turns away, walking upstairs to his bedroom.

His phone is blinking with notifications, still plugged into his charger where he left it three days ago.

He has eighty-six text messages, four missed calls, and thirty-five emails.

What the fuck.

Yoongi stares numbly at his phone, scrolling through his messages and trying to understand how the fuck he has this many texts until his eyes snag on ‘can’t believe you said that to Jimin’ and he realizes that literally all of his friends are trying to figure out if he’s okay.

He supposes he did leave the party rather dramatically.

He finds Hoseok’s texts, deeming them the most important, and scrolls through a lot of ‘hope you’re doing okay!’ and ‘I haven’t heard from you in a day or two, you okay?’

He sends Hoseok a quick message, a brief ‘got caught up in writing, I’m just fine. How are you?’ before scrolling through his other messages.

It takes him longer than he’d like. He ends up engaged in a conversation with Seokjin who texts Yoongi back within seconds of Yoongi saying he’s fine, that he’s been writing. And then he has to endure a sudden barrage of new messages from Namjoon when Seokjin tells him Yoongi’s fine.

It’s exhausting, and in between messages he deletes all of his emails out of spite.

He carries his now silent phone downstairs with him, intent on making something other than cup noodles now that he’s not in a hurry to rush back to his writing.

His phone rings.

“Hello?” Yoongi asks, not bothering to check who it is as he swipes accept, intent on scrounging up something from his pantry.

“When was the last time you ate something?” Hoseok asks by way of greeting.

Yoongi pauses mid-step, halfway between his fridge and pantry. “Nothing for a while. I was just about to make food, actually.”

“Let me take you to dinner.” Yoongi doesn’t have to see him to know that he’s smiling as he says this.

“Like, a date?”

“Yes, like a date.”

Yoongi feels something warm work its way through his body like he’s just swallowed down a warm cup of tea. “Okay,” he says, too pleased to think of anything else to say. He doesn’t even think to play it cool, he’s so unbelievably happy.

“Great. See you in a few.”

Hoseok hangs up and Yoongi panics, suddenly unsure as to when he last showered. It’s probably been days.

He speeds through a shower only to realize when he’s done that he has no idea how to dress.

He hasn’t been on a date in years. He and Jimin used to have ‘date nights’ every Friday, but that usually involved movies and pizza, not actually going out in public.

He stands in front of his half-empty closet and towels off his hair, hoping that an outfit will just magically present itself.

It doesn’t, so he settles for his favorite pair of black jeans and an over-sized blue sweater that he thinks looks good with his russet brown hair.

He’s still not ready when his doorbell rings.

Hoseok greets him, like always, with a smile. “You look great, Yoongi,” Hoseok says, tripping slightly as he steps into the house.

Yoongi closes the door behind him and waves at him to sit. “I’ve got to grab my shoes, so make yourself comfortable.”

“What are you in the mood for?” Hoseok asks, shouting after him as Yoongi goes in search of his favorite pair of vans.

“Anything really,” he shouts down the hallway, stumbling into his shoes once he finds them. “I don’t remember the last time I ate something, so literally anything sounds great.” He walks back into the living room and sits next to Hoseok, who is comfortably situated on the couch.

“Do you want to go out or stay in?”

Yoongi is so tempted to say, ‘stay in’, to curl up into Hoseok and not move for a few hours, but he hasn’t left his house in three days and fresh air is probably a good idea. When he says as much to Hoseok, it gets a laugh and vigorous nodding.

“Out to eat it is,” Hoseok says, getting up and turning to pull Yoongi to his feet.

Yoongi reaches up, wrinkling his nose in annoyance as the sleeves of his sweater slip over his fingertips. He remembers why he doesn’t wear this sweater very often. He always has to push the sleeves up so that he can do things with his hands.

“What the fuck,” Hoseok swears, hands extended toward Yoongi. He’s frozen, staring at Yoongi’s sweater-covered hands. “How are you so cute?” he asks, right as Yoongi frees his hands and slips them into Hoseok’s and stands up.

“Um, thanks,” Yoongi says, feeling his cheeks heat with a blush at the unexpected compliment. He can’t remember the last time someone called him cute. “Dinner?” he asks, willing his blush to dissipate.

“Right, yeah,” Hoseok says, visibly shaking himself out of a daze. “Dinner.”

 

Hoseok takes him to a hole-in-the-wall type restaurant that Yoongi is initially skeptical about until he tastes their curry and wow, it’s amazing.

“Right?” Hoseok asks, eagerly digging into his own curry. “I love this place.”

“This is amazing,” Yoongi says, falling silent as he focuses on his food. He thinks Hoseok mutters ‘you’re amazing’ into his rice, but he’s not sure.

“You mentioned you’ve been writing?” Hoseok asks, once the food has taken the edge off their hunger and speech is possible again. “What about?” he asks when Yoongi nods in response to the first one.

Yoongi hesitates.

It’s not that he doesn’t want to tell Hoseok because he does, but he’s never talked about his writing with anyone. Jimin never asked, and he doesn’t like people reading his stuff before it’s ready.

But maybe…

“It’s a memoir,” he says, surprising himself.

Hoseok smiles warmly. “About what?”

Yoongi tells him.

It feels good.

 

“Do you wanna come in?” Yoongi asks when they get to his front door, not really willing to give up the first human interaction he’s had in three days.

“Sure,” says Hoseok warmly, and who is Yoongi kidding. He just wants to spend more time with Hoseok.

“Movie?” Yoongi asks as they toe out of their shoes, leading Hoseok into the living room. “I’ve got a bit of everything, so pick whatever you want.”

“You don’t care what we watch?” Hoseok asks a bit too gleefully, which should have been Yoongi’s first clue.

“No, whatever you want to watch,” Yoongi says, turning on the TV. He doesn’t give a flying fuck what they watch, he just wants a reason to curl up next to Hoseok for a few hours.

He doesn’t even look at the disc Hoseok hands to him, just puts it in the player and sits next to Hoseok on the couch.

He’s so distracted by the arm Hoseok casually throws around his shoulders that he doesn’t register that they’re watching until the opening scenes are playing out.

“Really, Hoseok?” Yoongi groans. “This is what you wanted to watch?”

Hoseok has chosen the longest movie Yoongi owns. The extended edition of Return of the King, a whopping 251 minutes of cinematic fantasy.

Hoseok shrugs. “I was feeling in the mood for some elves and hobbits,” he says, jostling Yoongi slightly with the motion of his shrug.

“Bullshit,” Yoongi says, not buying it for a second. “You wanted to spend more time with me.”

Hoseok looks over at him. “Are you complaining?”

Yoongi opens his mouth to reply, then snaps it shut because he isn’t. He doesn’t know why he’s saying anything, actually, when he had been wishing before dinner that he could curl up next to Hoseok and not move.

“That’s what I thought,” says Hoseok smugly when Yoongi fails to answer the question.

“Shut up and watch the movie,” Yoongi responds, ignoring the way things flutter and tingle inside him as Hoseok pulls him just slightly closer.

Hoseok makes it hard to watch the movie.

He’s not doing it on purpose, at least Yoongi doesn’t think so. Mostly because Yoongi doubts that Hoseok would try and distract Yoongi by breathing—or, you know, existing.

He can’t help but be hyper-aware of each breath Hoseok takes, of the way he idly taps his fingers against his knee as he watches the movie. It’s not the first time Hoseok has sat with an arm around Yoongi, but Yoongi has a suspicion that Hoseok won’t ask for anything else from him tonight. He suspects that sitting next to Yoongi is enough for Hoseok and that he won’t make any other moves.

Which sucks ass.

Because now Yoongi has to make a move. Which, he supposes, is good because he’s been mulling over ways to show Hoseok that he’s okay. That in the few weeks he’s known Hoseok he’s gotten exponentially better. The sting of Jimin’s betrayal is lessening day by day, instead of month by month.

It’s remarkable how much Hoseok’s warm smiles and bright eyes have helped him already.

He wonders what a night in Hoseok’s arms would do for him. Maybe it’s time to find out.

It’s easier than he thought it would be, to curl comfortably into Hoseok, one arm coming across to wrap around Hoseok’s waist, his head falling to rest in the hollow between shoulder and chest like it was made for his head.

His breathing stutters as Hoseok drops his arm from around his shoulders to his waist, drawing him in tighter and leaning his head against Yoongi’s.

The only reason Yoongi actually knows what’s happening is because he’s seen this movie several times, not because he’s paying attention. No, the hum and snap of tension through his body is more than enough to hold his attention captive.

He can barely breathe under the strain of being so close to Hoseok, of wanting so much more but not quite knowing how to ask.

It takes him longer than he’d freely admit to move closer to Hoseok, to shift his hand up Hoseok’s chest until he can brush his fingers along the soft skin of Hoseok’s throat. He feels it when Hoseok’s breath catches in his chest, when his fingers go from idly tracing patterns along the side of Yoongi’s waist to digging into his side, fingers pressing into his skin through his sweater.

He sits up slightly and looks up at Hoseok, eyes catching as Hoseok turns to look at him, the side of his face lit up from the television and making light dance in his eyes. He slowly, tentatively, presses his lips to Hoseok's in a soft kiss, both of them catching their breath as he pulls away to gauge Hoseok's reaction.

Yoongi doesn’t think he’s imagining the spark of tension between them, the wild, burning, simmering thing that draws them closer, draws Yoongi closer, until he’s crashing into Hoseok and melting against his lips.

And it’s hands and lips and tongues, hands finding skin and nails catching on muscles. It’s Yoongi pushing Hoseok back against the arm of the couch, shifting and moving until he’s straddling Hoseok and pressing against him.

It’s Yoongi moving on, reveling in the sounds he pulls out of Hoseok as he tugs gently on his bottom lip with his teeth. It’s hands, lips, tongues, and it’s the warmth of Hoseok’s skin against his that fills in the last fractures of his heart, stitching him back together and back to himself with nothing more than a quiet ease and a smile as bright as summer.

“Yoongi,” Hoseok pants against his mouth, lightly tilting his head to place a kiss to the skin just below Yoongi’s ear, lips brushing there when he says: “Do you want—”

“Yeah,” he whispers into the soft skin of Hoseok’s neck. “Fuck yeah I want, I—” he cuts off as he rolls his hips down against Hoseok’s, making them both groan at the friction. “I want you.”

Hoseok’s arms tighten around his back, keeping him in place as he sits up, swiveling around so that he can stand up with Yoongi wrapped around him. Yoongi doesn’t really know how Hoseok manages to navigate his darkened house while not dropping Yoongi and kissing him senseless but he does it, pressing Yoongi down into the linen sheets of his bed before he can really process the move from his living room to his bedroom a whole floor above.

He doesn’t really care because the moment his back touches the bed it’s hands removing clothes and skin pressing against skin. It’s Yoongi shimmying out of his pants as Hoseok kicks out of his own as fast as he can so he can fall back to Yoongi, lips slotting together and tongues crashing and gliding in harmony.

It’s Hoseok’s hand on his thigh, his fingers slicked and pressing into Yoongi, swallowing his moans as he works him open.

Yoongi as he thinks that it’s never felt this good before, that Hoseok’s fingers feel—right, inside of him and it’s not just because he’s arching in pleasure as Hoseok’s fingers easily reach and find his prostate. No, it’s more than that. Yoongi feels something warm and easy settle within him and it feels a lot like the beginning of something big.

Hoseok captures his attention as he scissors his fingers and pushes back in, crooking and pressing again as he moves his lips to Yoongi’s clavicle so he can hear the sounds he’s pulling from Yoongi with each flick of his wrist.

Yoongi is lost to sensation, moaning in one moment as Hoseok’s fingers withdraw, leaving him empty and wanting, only to groan deeper, louder, as he’s filled with something else.

“Oh fuck,” Hoseok sighs, “you feel amazing.” He doesn’t move, not yet. His hands roam up and down Yoongi’s sides, relaxing and soothing until Yoongi nods, until he wraps his legs around Hoseok and pulls him in and closer.

Tighter.

“It feels so good,” he says as Hoseok starts to move at a slow and even pace, “to have you in me. Feels so fucking good.”

Hoseok shudders inside him, tangles his hands in Yoongi’s hair as he messily kisses him, panting against his lips when Yoongi encourages him to move faster. He feels himself winding up tighter, the heat coiling in his stomach as the pressure builds, and it’s enough, but he knows how he wants to finish, knows how he wants this to end.

When he flips Hoseok onto his back he lets out a small sound of surprise that quickly dissolves into a moan when Yoongi sinks back down on Hoseok’s cock, the fit a little tighter, a bit deeper.

Yoongi bites his lip as he braces his hands on Hoseok’s chest and moves, drawing out the pleasure and sensations as long as he can. Hoseok’s hands flutter on his hips, gripping tighter as Yoongi shifts above him slightly and moans loudly when Hoseok’s cock brushes his prostate.

“Right there,” Yoongi pants, arching his back as Hoseok scrapes his fingers down his back. “Right there holy fuck don’t stop, feels so good.”

“Anything for you,” he pants, planting his feet and meeting Yoongi, hips slamming up as Yoongi sinks down and damn but it feels good.

Yoongi hasn’t been with anyone since Jimin, hasn’t even wanted to be, but Hoseok makes him begin to want again, and it feels like the most amazing thing he’s ever experienced.

“You’re so beautiful like this,” Hoseok says, pulling Yoongi down and flush to him, pupils dilating as he holds Yoongi’s gaze.

Yoongi whimpers—a sound he’ll be embarrassed about later—and moans as the shift in angle does wonderful, delicious, things with each drag of Hoseok’s cock inside him.

“‘M close, Yoongi,” Hoseok murmurs against his jaw, one of his hands coming between them to grasp Yoongi’s aching cock and stroke up in a smooth pull.

Yoongi doesn’t last much longer, coming between them in pearly streaks, his walls tightening and spasming around Hoseok, who follows Yoongi’s orgasm with his own a few quick thrusts later, holding Yoongi flush against him for a few long moments after as they both come down from the high.

“Holy shit,” Yoongi breathes, working a series of marks into the skin of Hoseok’s neck and marking him as his. It’s hands and lips and soft kisses, shared inhales and easy touches. He winces slightly when Hoseok pulls out, rolling Yoongi off him to take care of the condom and coming back with a washcloth from Yoongi’s ensuite bathroom to clean them both up. “Stay,” he says, when Hoseok makes to get up again after they’re both clean.

Hoseok settles back down, blindly throwing the washcloth across the room to be dealt with later and gathers Yoongi to him, an arm settling around his waist to hold him flush against him. “As long as I can,” he whispers into the nape of Yoongi’s neck.

Yoongi drifts off feeling warm and cared for, Hoseok’s heartbeat steady against his back.

 

A few hours later Yoongi wakes up, words spinning around his mind as he slips quietly out of Hoseok’s arms and downstairs to his desk, barely pausing to throw on a t-shirt and sweats before he’s opening his computer and writing, time slipping away as he gets lost in his words.

 

“Yoongi?”

He startles at his desk, spinning around in his chair to watch Hoseok stumble blearily down the last few stairs, rubbing his eyes and yawning. “Hey, Hoseok,” he says softly. “What are you doing up? It’s early.”

Hoseok grumbles something about early shifts at work and never being able to sleep past four in the morning as he plops down in Yoongi’s lap and drapes himself all over Yoongi. “Come back to bed,” he murmurs into Yoongi’s hair sleepily.

Yoongi reaches behind him and blindly fumbles his laptop closed. He’s gotten the most important words out and Hoseok is far to enticing, anyway. “When do you need to be up for work?” he asks. He’s more than happy to sleep the day away with Hoseok, but he doesn’t have a job to go to.

“‘S my day off,” Hoseok mumbles, protesting weakly when Yoongi stands up. “I don’t have to work today.”

Yoongi staggers as Hoseok drapes himself over his back, half walking half stumbling behind Yoongi as he makes his way back to his bedroom. “Do you mind if I keep you all day, then?” Yoongi asks, shrugging Hoseok off and onto the bed, only to have Hoseok reach up and pull him down on top of him and lazily pinning Yoongi to his chest.

“Sounds great,” he mutters, placing a haphazard kiss to Yoongi’s temple, breathing already relaxing back into the deeper rhythms of sleep.

Yoongi props himself up on an elbow and gently runs his fingers through the messy strands of Hoseok’s hair, reveling in the soft strands, before shifting to a more comfortable position in Hoseok’s arms and drifting off to sleep.

 

When he next wakes up, it’s to a bed devoid of Hoseok and the smell of pancakes filling the air. He stretches languidly in the warm morning sun, for once not upset at waking up before noon.

His stomach growls.

When he drags himself downstairs and to the kitchen, it’s to find a shirtless Hoseok standing in front of his stove, flipping pancakes like he’s being paid to do it. “Good morning,” he says, smiling brightly. “Pancakes?”

“Sure,” Yoongi mumbles as Hoseok sets a plate down in front of him at the small table. He’s not good in the mornings. He keeps meaning to tell Hoseok this, but he thinks that maybe he already knows, if the mug of coffee he places in his hands is anything to go by. Hoseok sits next to him with his own plate and happily digs in.

It takes a few minutes of eating and drinking in silence, but he slowly comes alive enough to process the fact that Hoseok just made him breakfast and—

“Are we dating?”

The question is out of his mouth before he can think about it, and in a far corner of his mind he wonders if he’ll ever be able to control himself around Hoseok.

“Uh,” Hoseok coughs, choking slightly on his coffee as he turns to look at Yoongi. “I already thought we were?” he says with a tentative smile.

“Oh,” Yoongi says, thinking back to everything they’ve done together. Nothing’s been conventional about the way things have happened with Hoseok, but maybe that’s a good thing. “Okay.”

“What I mean to say,” amends Hoseok, “is that I would very much like to date you.”

Yoongi smiles down at the remaining scraps of pancake on his plate. “I’d like that.”

Hoseok smiles warmly at him, full and content, before pushing away from the table and screeching about Yoongi doing the dishes while he showers.

Yoongi sits at the table for a second, stunned, before getting up and rinsing their plates in the sink and dropping them into the dishwasher. He’s about to do a wipe down of the counters when he realizes the opportunity in front of him.

Hoseok—the man he is now dating—is in his shower, naked and alone.

He drops the rag on the counter and bounds up the stairs, most of his clothing discarded along the way. Steam is already accumulating in the small room as he steps through the door and steps out of the last of his clothes.

Hoseok screams loudly when Yoongi steps in behind him and wraps his arms around Hoseok, placing a kiss to the back of his neck even as Hoseok jumps in terror.

Hoseok flails around in his arms to glare at him. “You scared me!”

Yoongi grins at him, finding the whole display endearing. “Let me make it up to you?” he asks, one hand coming down between them to stroke Hoseok’s soft cock teasingly, the other wrapping around to brush along his entrance. He smiles in satisfaction as Hoseok shudders and slowly starts to harden in his palm.

“Well,” says Hoseok, a bit breathlessly. “When you put it that way.”

Yoongi spins him around, pinning him to the shower wall and working a soaped-up finger into Hoseok. “Have I ever told you how good I am with my mouth?” he asks, kissing and sucking down the knobs of Hoseok’s spine. He adds a second finger, scraping and rubbing along Hoseok’s walls and curling his fingers.

“I’m starting to get an idea,” Hoseok gasps, one hand braced against the tile while the other trails down to grasp himself.

Yoongi smirks and reaches up to grab the showerhead, spraying it up and cleaning out the remaining soap gently with his fingers before replacing the showerhead. He kisses down Hoseok’s spine until he’s kneeling behind him, tongue tracing a path down his lower back until he’s spreading Hoseok apart and licking between his cheeks, tonguing at his entrance.

“What—” Hoseok gasps as Yoongi slips his tongue into him, tries again. “What are you doing?”

Yoongi presses in deeper before pulling out to reply. “I’m giving you a reason why you should be my boyfriend.”

Hoseok pounds his fist against the tiles as Yoongi delves back in. “We’re,” he pauses, moans, “already dating.” His other hand comes down to stroke himself while Yoongi works.

Yoongi curls his tongue wickedly, slips in a finger with his tongue, just to hear Hoseok moan his name. He replaces his tongue with a second finger just so he can say, “Humor me,” before scissoring his fingers and burrowing back in, licking between his spread fingers and rubbing in against his walls as Hoseok twitches around him.

He takes his time undoing Hoseok beneath the hot spray of water. He tries new patterns and motions until he finds the right ones, until he flicks his wrist just right and his fingers finally brush against the spot that has Hoseok shouting in pleasure.

Yoongi slides his free hand around Hoseok’s waist until his fingers are joining Hoseok’s around his cock, stroking up and down with easy motions that match the pace he’s set with his tongue until Hoseok is coming and spilling over their hands. Yoongi teases him with his tongue through the last spasms before pulling out and standing up, rinsing off his hands in the warm spray.

Hoseok turns and sags, the shower wall the only thing keeping him upright. He pants, breath coming quick and uneven.

“Good?” Yoongi asks, a slight ache in his jaw.

Instead of replying, Hoseok kneels on the floor and takes Yoongi’s half-hard cock into his mouth in one smooth glide, swirling his tongue around the head and sucking until he’s fully hard.

Yoongi fists his hands in Hoseok’s hair as he takes him all the way in, until Yoongi can feel the back of his throat spasming around the head of his cock.

“Fuck, Hoseok,” he gasps, the other hand thrown out to brace himself against the shower wall.

Hoseok looks up at him briefly before closing his eyes against the spray and concentrating on what he’s doing.

Yoongi doesn’t last long. Between the hot tightness of Hoseok’s mouth and the way he expertly swirls his tongue and drags it from base to tip and back down again with suction has Yoongi coming faster than he would like.

Hoseok runs his hands up Yoongi’s side as he swallows everything before pulling off, his mouth following his hands as he trails kisses up his stomach.

Yoongi tugs on his hair until he’s tasting himself on Hoseok’s tongue. “Fuck, babe, that was so good,” he says between kisses. He wraps his arms around Hoseok’s neck and pulls him closer under the spray.

“Just giving you another reason why I should be your boyfriend,” Hoseok smirks at him, before pressing another kiss to his forehead.

“I thought I was convincing you,” Yoongi murmurs, his fingers counting the bumps of Hoseok’s spine.

“Let’s face it,” Hoseok laughs. “Neither of us really need any convincing.”

Yoongi smiles, brushes the hair off Hoseok’s face, says, “I guess not,” before leaning in to capture Hoseok’s lips with his own.

 

It’s the best day Yoongi can remember having in a long time.

After they both finish cleaning up in the shower, Yoongi loans Hoseok some sweatpants and a warm sweater to wear while he changes into a similar outfit. They stumble down the stairs and onto the couch in a tangle of limbs. Yoongi fumbles for the remote, turning on the TV and restarting the movie they never finished the night previous, skipping until they’re at the part they got distracted at.

Hoseok presses himself back into the cushions, pulling Yoongi into him and draping his arm around his waist. He only drives Yoongi mildly crazy when he nuzzles and sucks at his exposed neck through most of the movie, no doubt leaving an impressive collection of marks for Yoongi to find later.

They spend the whole day watching movies tangled around each other, hands occasionally exploring and exchanging lazy kisses. At some point in the early evening they move to the kitchen to look for food and Yoongi thinks to check his phone for the first time in hours.

He walks into the kitchen, laughing at something Hoseok’s just said, only to freeze mid-step when he unlocks his phone and reads the message waiting for him.

“What is it?” asks Hoseok, coming up behind him and wrapping his arms around Yoongi’s waist, resting his chin on his shoulder.

“It’s a text from Jimin,” Yoongi says quietly, fingers trembling slightly. “He wants me to come to his birthday party this weekend. It's early too; his birthday isn't for a few weeks yet.”

“Oh,” says Hoseok, surprised. “Are you planing to go?”

Yoongi bites his lip, weighing it in his mind. No, not particularly. But then again, all of his friends will be there, and if Hoseok comes...

“Only if you come with me,” he says aloud. “I don’t want to go alone.”

“Of course I’ll come,” Hoseok says, placing a kiss to the side of his neck.

Yoongi texts an affirmative and gets an address and time in response from Jimin, almost immediately.

“It’s a good thing you like dancing,” Yoongi says, reading the address.

Hoseok makes a happy sound in the back of his throat and rolls his hips against Yoongi’s from behind, in a way that starts with Yoongi’s phone slipping through his limp fingers to drop on the carpet and ends with him gasping as Hoseok bends him over the kitchen counters and fucks him soundly, food forgotten.

It’s the best day Yoongi’s had in a long time.

 

The week flies by.

Whether it’s Yoongi’s dread at having to go to another party where he knows Jimin will be present—never mind a party where Jimin is the focus—or if it’s the way Hoseok slips seamlessly into his life and filling his days with sunshine and his nights with a hotter fire.

Both, probably.

Hoseok spends almost every night that week with him, sleeping over most nights and leaving for work from his house. It’s as Yoongi is styling his hair and getting ready for Jimin’s party that he realizes most of Hoseok’s hair products and shower items have migrated to his bathroom, along with another toothbrush next to his in the holder.

When he’s digging through his closet for his favorite pair of black jeans he realizes that Hoseok has left several pairs of jeans and sweats in the empty side of his closet, some of his favorite sweaters and hoodies hanging up on the otherwise empty side of the closet he used to share with Jimin. It feels good, to have Hoseok filling up the empty spaces in his life.

It feels right.

“Yoongi?” Hoseok calls from downstairs, having let himself into the house. “You ready to go?”

“One sec,” Yoongi shouts, finally laying his hands on his favorite jeans and struggling into them. He stumbles out of his closet still shrugging into his pale blue henley, which is why he doesn’t see what Hoseok’s wearing until too late.

“You look good,” Hoseok murmurs appreciatively as he enters Yoongi’s bedroom.

“Thanks,” Yoongi says, finally managing to get his head through the right hole. “So do yo—” He cuts himself off, mouth drying up at the sight before him.

It’s not even that Hoseok is doing anything different, it’s just the shirt he’s wearing. It’s black and white striped with a wide neck, hanging to his mid-thigh. It’s the kind of shirt that Yoongi knows is going to show a whole lot of skin once he starts dancing.

“You look great,” he finally manages to get out, voice sounding strained as Hoseok takes him into his arms and kisses him hello.

“Thanks.” Hoseok steps away and laces their fingers together. “Shall we go?”

Yoongi can’t do anything other than follow where Hoseok leads.

 

Jimin’s party is being held in the kind of place Yoongi makes a point to avoid.

It’s loud, dark, and there’s too many neon lights streaking around the room in epileptic bursts.

“I hate places like this,” Seokjin shouts to him the second he sits down in the booth, Hoseok sliding in next to him. “They’re too loud.”

“I’m going to need to be way drunker than I am now just to deal,” Yoongi says, reaching for one of the dozens of glowing shots in the middle of the table. He grabs a second one and hands it to Hoseok.

Seokjin rolls his eyes but does the same.

“What’s in these,” Hoseok asks, choking slightly from the burn as he swallows.

“I don’t even know,” Yoongi says, throwing his own shot back.

“Death, probably,” gripes Seokjin.

“Good thing we’ve got a doctor with us then,” says Jimin, sliding into the seats across from them, all eye smiles as he grabs a shot. “Yoongi, Hoseok! Glad you could make it.”

“Are you really?” Namjoon says from where he’s nestled into the corner of the booth, nursing what looks like whiskey. “Are any of us really making it, in the end?”

Seokjin rolls his eyes again. “Ignore him, he gets like this when he’s been drinking.”

Jimin shrugs it off. “You guys should come dance! That’s where everyone is anyway.”

Yoongi looks around Hoseok to survey the dance floor. Sure enough, he can see Jeongguk and Yugyeom dancing next to Taehyung and Hwasa. He can’t see Jackson and Mark, but he can hear them, so he figures they’re around there somewhere.

“Do you want to?” Hoseok asks, gesturing to the dance floor.

Yoongi is about to say no solely because he’s nowhere near as good as Hoseok—not to mention he doesn’t want to dance when he knows Jimin will be watching—but then again, Hoseok is wearing what he’s wearing and Yoongi wants to see him in action so fuck it.

“Hells yeah,” he says, nudging Hoseok out of the booth and tripping after him onto the dance floor.

“I didn’t think you’d want to,” Hoseok says, settling into the beat and pulling Yoongi close enough that they can hear each other over the music without destroying their voices. “I know if you’d be comfortable enough around Jimin yet to do so.”

Yoongi shrugs, feels the weight of Hoseok’s hands settle on his hips. “I almost didn’t, but then I realized that I’d much rather dance with you then let Jimin’s presence dictate my choices.” He pulls back far enough to see Hoseok beam at him. “Besides, you look too fuckin’ hot to not find any excuse to feel you up at some point tonight.”

Hoseok throws back his head and laughs, drawing the attention of everyone around them. “I’d be disappointed if you didn’t, honestly. It’s all for you, babe.”

He smiles, and surrenders to Hoseok’s lead, following the movement of his body with his own.

It isn’t until the DJ throws something with a Latin beat in the mix that things start to get out of control. As dangerous as he knew Hoseok could be on a dance floor, when a bachata beat gets under his skin he becomes downright deadly.

His hips are moving sinuously from side to side as he slips a leg between Yoongi’s thighs as they sway together. And the friction.

Yoongi starts to regret things about the time Hoseok spins him around in his arms and pulls him flush against his chest, his hands running down Yoongi’s hips to press them back against his own in a filthy grind that has Yoongi throwing his head back against Hoseok’s shoulder and groaning too soft to be heard over the music by anyone but Hoseok.

Hoseok takes the opportunity to bite at the exposed length of Yoongi’s neck as Yoongi finds Hoseok’s hands with his own and twines their fingers together over his hips.

Hoseok frees one of his hands, dragging his fingers up Yoongi’s stomach to tease across his chest, circling his hips and making it harder to think around the beat of the music and the sensation of Hoseok’s lips against his neck.

It’s probably a good thing that Jeongguk interrupts them by pulling Yoongi gently out of Hoseok’s hold to dance with him for a song.

“What are you doing?” Yoongi asks, protesting. Hoseok is his boyfriend, so he doesn’t like being away from him no matter how much he might need a slight breather from his hips of sin.

“As glad as I am that you have Hoseok now,” Jeongguk says in his ear, “that doesn’t mean I want to see you guys fuck in the middle of the dance floor.”

“Watch your fuckin’ language, kid,” Yoongi says.

Jeongguk rolls his eyes.

They dance for a moment, lost in the music.

“Hey, where’s Yugyeom?” Yoongi asks, looking around.

Jeongguk turns them slightly. “He’s dancing with Taehyung, see?”

Sure enough, he can see Taehyung and Yugyeom dancing easily with one another, laughing more than dancing, honestly. “I’m glad you’re with Yugyeom, he’s a good fit for you.”

“Thanks,” says Jeongguk, the flush on his cheeks from dancing deepening slightly. “I like him too.”

“Wait,” Yoongi says, doing the math quickly. “If he’s dancing with Taehyung then who’s dancing with Hoseok?” He expected Yugyeom to be dancing with Hoseok.

They both turn to find Hoseok just in time to see Jimin grinding against Hoseok, who shoves him away furiously.

“Yoongi, wait!” says Jeongguk, far too late.

Yoongi is already across the floor, his fist connecting with Jimin’s jaw satisfyingly. He doesn’t care if it’s his birthday, he’ll be damned if he lets Jimin get away with something like this, again.

“What the fuck,” Jimin hisses, a hand coming up to rub his jaw.

“Back off,” Yoongi spits, reaching blindly until he feels Hoseok’s fingers slot between his. “Stop trying to take things that aren’t yours to take.”

“What’s going on?” Taehyung asks, coming up behind Yoongi and rushing over to cradle Jimin’s face between his hands.

“We’re leaving,” says Hoseok, already turning away.

“Bye,” sputters Jeongguk, wide-eyed and worried.

They stop by the booth to grab their coats and say goodbye to Seokjin and Namjoon who—judging by the looks on their faces—have seen everything unfold and nod goodbye with understanding stretched across their faces.

“Are you okay?” Hoseok asks once they’ve hailed a cab and gotten in. “How’s your hand?”

“I’m angry,” Yoongi spits, holding out his hand for Hoseok to inspect. “I can’t believe him.”

Hoseok hums in response and runs his fingers over Yoongi’s knuckles. “I think,” he starts after a moment of silence, “that you need to talk to him.”

“About what?” Yoongi says, fighting to keep his voice low and level. “What could I possibly have to say to him?”

Hoseok purses his lips. “I think you need to hear him out, let him tell you why he did what he did. I think he doesn’t have the resolution he needs from your relationship and he’s showing it in stupid ways like grinding on your boyfriend.”

Yoongi starts to say that’s the dumbest fucking thing he’s ever heard and then pauses and really thinks about what Hoseok is saying. “What are you, a psychologist?”

Hoseok laughs wryly. “Nothing nearly so glamorous. Just trying to help.” He shrugs. “Either way, you should probably have an adult conversation, the gist of which boils down to ‘stop being inappropriate with the people I’m dating’ or something like that.”

“Thanks,” Yoongi mumbles. “I’ll text him.”

“Okay,” Hoseok says, gently wrapping his hand around Yoongi’s.

 

Later that night, after Hoseok has taken his time showing Yoongi exactly how sinful his hips are, Yoongi sends a text to Jimin, asking him to come over to talk at his earliest convenience.

It’s time he settles this, once and for all.

 

Despite having texted Jimin, it’s still unexpected when he pulls open his front door to find Jimin on his doorstep.

Not after everything that happened at his birthday party in the last week.

“May I come in?” Jimin asks, hands stuffed into the pockets of his black pea coat.

Yoongi opens the door wider and stands aside, wordlessly ushering him in and out of the cold. “I’m glad you’re here, Jimin,” Yoongi responds, once Jimin has shrugged out of his coat and stepped clear of his shoes. “We need to talk.”

“About?”

“What happened between us.”

Jimin's mouth narrows into a thin line. “I cheated on you, that’s what happened.”

Yoongi braces for the sting that usually comes with the memory, but it never comes. He thinks about Hoseok, who is quietly reading upstairs, and realizes that somewhere in between falling for Hoseok he’s gotten over Jimin's betrayal.

It feels good.

“Yes, you did,” he says frankly. “I’d like to know why you did it.”

Jimin sits on the couch and leans back, measuring his words. “You love who you love, Yoongi, I can’t help it that I happened to fall in love with Taehyung while we were dating.”

“That’s bullshit and you know it,” Yoongi seethes. “Love is a choice. You chose to love someone other than me because at some point you decided I wasn’t good enough for you anymore. Which, fine. But at least have the fuckin’ balls to tell me to my face that you’re not in love with me anymore instead of just cheating on me.” Yoongi pauses to take a breath, watching Jimin carefully.

"That's not—” Jimin starts.

“Jimin, I loved you,” Yoongi interrupts. "I probably shouldn’t say any of this, but I think you need to know so that you understand.” He walks over to his writing desk and, for the first time in nine months, opens the top drawer and pulls out the box inside.

He turns around, box in hand, and watches Jimin’s eyes widen. “I’ve had this for almost a year now,” he says. He’s proud of the way his voice doesn’t shake, of how his words remain clear and strong even though he wants to curl up with Hoseok and cry for a while at the lingering hurt this conversation is bringing up.

“Jimin, I was going to ask you to marry me. I was going to ask you, and the day before I planned to propose I found you with Taehyung.” Yoongi chokes on Taehyung’s name, fighting the emotion in order to say everything he needs to.

“Oh,” Jimin breathes, his hands coming up to fist his fingers in his hair.

“I wanted to marry you, and that wasn’t enough.” Yoongi can barely breathe now, the words practically choking him as they fall off his tongue. “Jimin, this is what you do. You did it with me and I hope you don’t do it to Taehyung because he deserves more than to be cheated on. I know now that you were with someone else when you started dating me, and whoever that was didn’t deserve it either.” He doesn’t have to look at Jimin’s face to know he’s right, but he looks anyway. “You can’t keep doing this, Jimin. At some point, you have to realize that being in love is a choice you make, and that love means choosing to love someone else even when it’s inconvenient or hard. If you don’t understand that now then you’re never going to be happy in a relationship.”

Jimin's gaze stays fixed on his hands where they've fallen back into his lap. “I didn't know,” he whispers.

“I don’t know what I did wrong in our relationship, but I needed you to know that I loved you, deeply, and someday I hope you find a love as deep as mine was for you.” He takes a deep, calming breath.

Jimin shudders, his shoulders creep up around his neck with tension and he looks up at Yoongi. “I’m sorry,” he says, voice choked with emotion and eyes glassy. “I just—I don’t know why I did it, why your love wasn’t enough. I knew how much you loved me it just—” His eyes land on the box in Yoongi’s hand. “I wish it could have been enough.”

“Me too,” Yoongi says, dropping the box on the coffee table. “I hope Taehyung is enough for you, I truly do.” He walks forward, kneels on the ground at Jimin's feet and takes his hands into his own. “I want you to be happy. I forgive you, so be happy.”

A single tear slips from the corner of Jimin's eye to streak down his cheek. “Okay.” He takes a deep breath, gently regaining control over his emotions. “Thank you, for forgiving me.”

Yoongi smiles tightly. “You’re welcome.” It isn’t easy, maybe one of the hardest things he’s ever done, but he feels lighter, too, like he’s been carrying around a weight on his back that’s suddenly gone. Yoongi thinks that maybe, just maybe, they’ll be able to be friends once again down the road.

He hopes they will.

He sits with Jimin until he’s gotten control of himself, then helps him into his coat before saying goodbye.

He thinks—as he watches Jimin walk away down the street—that his steps are a bit lighter than before, less burdened.

 

“How’d it go?” Hoseok asks, resting his chin on Yoongi’s shoulder and winding his arms around his waist from behind.

“It was good,” Yoongi says, leaning back into the warmth of Hoseok. “I feel better, more at peace.”

Hoseok presses a kiss to his temple. “Good.”

“Thank you,” Yoongi says, turning in Hoseok’s arms and winding his own around Hoseok’s neck.

Hoseok tilts his head, a bemused smile on his face. “For what?”

Yoongi shrugs, bites his lip before saying: “For making me complete.”

Hoseok leans in, presses their lips together once, twice, three times before pulling away, eyes soft. “Thanks for letting me.”

He leans back in, and Yoongi lets his eyes drift shut as Hoseok’s lips find their home between his, knowing he’s finally whole.

***

“Hey, look,” Hoseok says, pausing in the street to look in the windows of the book shop. “They’ve got your book on display!”

Yoongi peers around him to look through the glass. Sure enough, the book he’d managed to get published a year ago is sitting there. First Love, he’d called it. “That’s great, babe,” he says, thumbing the finely etched ring around Hoseok’s finger, the one that matches his own. “Let’s keep going, it’s too cold to stand out here forever.”

Hoseok laughs gently at him but lets Yoongi tow him away from the bookshop. “Have I thanked you for dedicating it to me yet?”

“Many times,” Yoongi says, smiling. He stops walking and tugs Hoseok closer by their joined hands to press a slow, sweet kiss against his lips. “But you can always say it again.”

“Mmm,” Hoseok says, rubbing their noses together. “Thank you, my dearest Yoongi.”

“Anytime,” he murmurs softly, lingering for a moment to breathe in the space between them before turning and continuing down the street, content with Hoseok beside him.

 

 

 

This book is dedicated to my second love.

Sometimes it takes a first love to teach you what true love really is.

I love you, Hobi.