Actions

Work Header

tiptoe through our shiny city

Chapter Text

I.

There is always a different side of the world that Yoongi sees whenever he looks through the magnifier of his camera. Whenever he brings it up to his eye, and concentrates, one finger already hovering over the shutter, ready and waiting.

It is early in the morning, yet being in Japan, early might as well just be synonymous to rush hour traffic, because that is exactly where Yoongi finds himself, right in the middle of a busy street, the flashing lights of billboards all over his head, and the sound of traffic ever present in his ears, a constant buzz that he can’t seem to shake off. But still, Yoongi lifts his camera, looks, and—

And he’s pulled roughly back by fingers that grip too tightly onto his arm, and a hiss to his ear, profanity that he doesn’t pick up on because he hears more than one person yelling, and gasping, and then all of a sudden he sees Hoseok, the boy’s grip on his arm still tight, and a look of total worry on his face.

Yoongi lowers the camera, slowly looking around him. He’s back on the sidewalk now, the buzzing sound in his ears finally settling down. Just a little ways over, he sees the bright flash of green from the traffic light, and to his side, the sound of whispering—he doesn’t pick anything up, his Japanese shoddy, at best, but it’s not them that has Yoongi worried, it’s Hoseok, who’s finally dropped his hold on Yoongi’s hand, sighing at him, because—

“You almost walked into traffic,” Hoseok says, looking over his shoulder to prove his point right. Nobody is crossing, the streets devoid of any pedestrians but the cars that speed by. Cars that almost hit Yoongi, because he’d been so distracted with capturing the early morning crowd that he’d stepped right off the sidewalk, and almost right into the middle of traffic. “Hyung, you should be more careful.”

“Right,” Yoongi lets the camera hang from around his neck. He glances up at Hoseok, a little bit guilty now that Hoseok’s frowning, the furrowing of his brow a sure sign of worry and fear, a terrible mix, especially since it’s still early in the morning. Since this is technically their first day in Japan. “Sorry, was it that bad?”

The smile that he manages to pull onto his face works, because Hoseok eventually softens up and lets out one last long, suffering sigh, before he shakes his head. Hoseok cracks a smile as well, and looks up when he hears the chatter of activity around them, the light turning red once more, and the rest of the pedestrians around them side-stepping them as they make their way across the street.

This time, when they cross the street, Hoseok has his hand around Yoongi’s wrist, tugging him along beside him. Yoongi doesn’t try to take any more photos, thinks that he can reserve that for the rest of the trip, because almost walking into traffic on the very first morning is enough of a scare, he thinks. They’ll be here for an entire week and Yoongi already thinks that he’s exceeded his life-threatening almost-accidents quota for the rest of the trip.

Hoseok drags him all the way to the entrance of a park, where a few early morning workers are cutting through, with their suits, and their dresses, and their briefcases. Following right behind them are a string of students, still yawning and rubbing at their eyes, sleepy. It is the first morning of the week, and just like clockwork, the entire city wakes up right before the sun even has time to settle in the sky.

Without even saying anything, Yoongi brings his camera back up to his face, and takes Hoseok’s picture. Hoseok, who’s busy flipping through a travel guide Seokjin had stuffed into their hands the day before they were set to travel. Hoseok eventually gives up on it with a scrunch of his face, the book stuffed back into his bag. Yoongi captures the exact second Hoseok realises Yoongi’s taking his photos, and first it starts off with shock, and then that scrunched up look on his face again, a mixture of fake offence and even faker annoyance that soon morphs into a full smile that breaks across his face, because Yoongi doesn’t stop, his smile from behind the camera one to match Hoseok’s.

“I’ll send this to the others,” Yoongi says, ushering for Hoseok to start walking.

Hoseok glares at him with no inflection at all, and then rolls his eyes. “You’re making fun of me now,” and before Yoongi can even stop him, or anticipate, Hoseok starts towards him, hands already reaching out for the camera. He manages to steal it away from Yoongi’s grip, and right after that is a battle with the strap that Yoongi doesn’t let go of.

They are a terrible, messy sight to the rest of the passerby who avoid them in a full circle, trying not to glance at the weird young men who are making far too much noise for early in the morning. Too much noise for a quiet park that has yet to fully wake up, unlike the people of the city.

“Fine, fine, fine,” Yoongi lets go of the strap and Hoseok jumps a few steps back at his triumph, camera now in his hand. “Don’t—“ but it’s too late, Hoseok’s already taking photos, a little careless with the shutter, and hand too shaky, Yoongi’s sure that most of these photos are coming out blurry, if they’re even visible at all.

“Come on, hyung,” Hoseok snickers, walking ahead of Yoongi and backwards so he can face him, his smile and tone turning playful.

Yoongi can only glare at him. Can only hope that this at least is something Hoseok will capture on film, despite the shaky hands, and the blurry everything else, because god , he’s terrible at photos, terrible at even taking photos using his goddamn phone. There are no high hopes for an actual camera.

“Make it look candid, at least.” Yoongi says with a lazy wave of his hand, waving Hoseok away from him and ahead.

At that, Hoseok breaks out into laughter, head tossed back, and his laugh tripping past his lips loud, booming, and big. He’s shaking his head, camera now forgotten as he laughs, full on fucking laughs at Yoongi, sentences jumbled because he’s mumbling so much, unable to get anything out.

Yoongi catches up to him, stopping right beside him so he can push at Hoseok playfully. It sends the younger boy stumbling a few steps to the side, and Yoongi would have worried about the camera, but he knows Hoseok knows how important it is to him, can see it in the way that Hoseok’s fingers are tightening around the edges, holding onto it, and making sure it doesn’t break, because this is the only camera Yoongi’s brought for the trip, because it had been Hoseok himself who’d persuaded him that they really don’t need three different lenses for this trip, just the one Yoongi’s always favoured, the good one that hangs heavy in his bag.

“You’re impossible,” Hoseok laughs, a little out of breath. He jogs right up next to Yoongi, his smile still bright, and laughter still trickling past his lips, albeit a little weaker, now, like he’s all spent up barking out a storm of a laugh from earlier. From Yoongi wanting fake candid photos for the trip. “But, sure. Don’t look at the camera—I know what to do.”

Experience will have Hoseok knowing exactly what to do, Yoongi, on more than one occasion, insisting he take a good photo, at least, because Yoongi’s barely the type to take photos of himself, or pose, so on the rare times that he is ready, he makes sure not to make it look like he is. Hoseok knows this all too well, too.

Hoseok raises the camera back up to his eye, and motions for Yoongi to start walking again, “And try not to pout too much. Candid, you said.”

Yoongi flicks him off for that comment, but he starts walking, anyway, and hears the sound of the shutter clicking from ahead of him, Hoseok all too eager to take his fake-candid photos.

And the day may have started with Yoongi almost walking into an actual accident, but at least they’re turning it around, not fifteen minutes after that. Eventually, though, with Hoseok still insistent on taking photos, Yoongi breaks character, and shakes his head, exasperated.

Hoseok captures that—captures the small smile that sneaks its way into Yoongi’s face. Hoseok also insists on taking a photo with Yoongi, arm swinging around Yoongi’s shoulder, and pulling him close to his side.

Yoongi indulges him in this one photo, looks up at the camera, hoping to god that this time, Hoseok at least takes a decent one of the both of them—the view finder looks like it’s in place, both their faces in the shot.

A squeeze on his shoulder tells him that Hoseok’s just about ready to take the photo. Before he does, Hoseok tilts his head towards Yoongi’s, and Yoongi looks right at him just as the first shot clicks, sees the bright smile on Hoseok’s face, his eyes alight. For the second one, Yoongi turns his gaze back to the camera, and smiles, maybe not as wide as Hoseok’s, or as bright, because that is impossible, really, trying to rival Hoseok’s smile. Yoongi doesn’t even bother, but he does smile his own little smile, a grin that stretches across his lips, and crinkles at the corners of his eyes as he looks up at the camera, hearing at least five clicks, the shutter going off, and Hoseok having far too much fun taking too many photos on their first morning.

Yoongi doesn’t mind, though. He even looks forward to it, going through each of the photos later.

“You ready?” Hoseok asks, once Yoongi’s extracted himself from his hold. He passes the camera back to Yoongi, who takes it gingerly in his hands, inspects it quickly, a once over, before he stuffs it back into his bag.

Hoseok’s response to that is one of his blinding smiles. “Fuck yeah, I am.”

Yeah. Yoongi has a feeling this is going to be a good trip—a messy one, yes, but also one of the best. He’s got a good feeling about this.

Their first stop is at a ramen shop that Hoseok had spent nights pouring over, simply because it’s one of those types. The types that have divisions per customer. The types that would make eating alone less awkward—a better experience, and Yoongi had grumbled about how they would even do that when every possible meal they’ll even think about having in this country, they’ll be eating together.

“It’s part of the experience.” Hoseok had just said with a wave of his hand, and that had been that.

The restaurant is a small one, with a narrow walkway and dim lighting. Hoseok is practically jumping right beside Yoongi, all too excited for food, for noodles—excited to eat alone, borders and all. Yoongi can only roll his eyes as he tries his best to read the menu in whatever broken English and even more messed up Japanese that he knows.

They manage to order exactly what they want—or, Yoongi can only hope, they’re not very good at either languages, see—and soon enough, they’re both ushered inside, Hoseok pointing at the corner most row.

Yoongi slides into the last booth, waits for Hoseok to do the same on his left side, and sighs, because they’re here, all because Hoseok’s read one too many food blogs. Yoongi can’t say he minds, though, because this had been the premise of the trip—the both of them can choose whatever they want to do, and the other will have no choice but to go along with it.

But, Yoongi also thinks that there’s no going along with it , not when he knows he’s going to enjoy it, anyway. Because there is never a dull time with Hoseok. Maybe a few minutes of quiet, but that is all he ever gets, sometimes, especially after the almost-disaster from this morning.

“Look, hyung,” Hoseok knocks on the barrier separating his and Yoongi’s table, and Yoongi groans, refusing to play along. “I mean, I can bring this down, if you mind,”

Yoongi leans back against his chair to look at Hoseok. He quirks an eyebrow up, the smile on his face exasperated, now. “Then it’ll be just like any other ramen place, then,”

“Good point,” Hoseok splits his chopsticks apart, and makes a pleased little noise when his ramen is slipped from the little window that opens just in front of them. Hoseok tries to keep up conversation after that, but he gets distracted anyway when he starts to eat, and Yoongi doesn’t blame him for that, either, not when the ramen is good—better, really, than what he’s had back at home. Infinitely better, too, compared to the instant ramen that had claimed to taste exactly like the real thing.

There is quiet on Hoseok’s side of the booth, and Yoongi, with half a bowl left, decides that to hell with the experience. They’ve had more than enough time to be eating this in the confined spaces of their little cubicle.

“Hoseok?” Yoongi calls, fingers giving the string connecting their blinds together an experimental tug. It doesn’t budge.

And because there isn’t a reply from Hoseok, Yoongi gives the string a harsher tug, this time, he brings the blinds separating their tables down, and Hoseok—

Hoseok jumps in his seat, yelping out, surprised.

Yoongi can only watch as Hoseok almost, almost spills the rest of his hot broth onto his jeans. Can only watch as Hoseok stands up abruptly, chair toppling behind him. Can only watch as realisation dawns on Hoseok’s face, as it registers that the noise had come from Yoongi tugging on the string and the little blinds between them falling.

The only thing Yoongi can offer is a sheepish little smile that he hopes is enough to make up for almost freaking Hoseok out so much, he’d nearly spilled on his jeans. Burned himself. “Erm, thank god there wasn’t much soup to spill?”

Hoseok sets the bowl back on the table and glares rather pointedly at Yoongi, before he drags his chair back to him, and sits himself down. He doesn’t sulk as much, or glare for as long, either. Instead, Hoseok just pulls Yoongi’s half-empty bowl of ramen to his side, and starts to eat.

“Sure, do that, then,” Yoongi says, setting his chopsticks down.

The only thing Hoseok offers as a sign at all that he’d heard is a shrug of his shoulders, and a smile that reflects in his eyes.

“Could’ve given me a warning,” Hoseok finally says, after he’s pushed both bowls away from him and set his chopsticks down. He loops his scarf around his neck, waits for Yoongi to do the same before he gestures towards the door.

Yoongi follows after him, his scarf hanging loosely on his shoulders, and the small smile that had crept its way onto his face when Hoseok reacted a little bit too dramatically over the noise now a full-blown grin that Yoongi can’t help at all, because it had been funny, and, god, “ The look on your face, you should’ve seen it—“

“Shut up, shut up,” Hoseok groans beside him, lazily bumping his shoulder against Yoongi’s. “The soup was hot, I could’ve spilled it on myself.”

And Yoongi doesn’t see it but he can hear it, the pout in Hoseok’s tone, the furrowed brows. Can feel it in the way Hoseok slips an arm around his middle, and drags him closer to his side.

“Don’t be dramatic,” Yoongi says it with a scoff, but he indulges Hoseok all the same, hand squeezing reassuringly at Hoseok’s arm, and his smile softer, much quieter now that Yoongi looks less like he’s ready to just cackle in Hoseok’s face. “You’re fine. The food was good. You got your ramen experience. Happy?”

Hoseok leans against him. Doesn’t say anything for a while until they finally step into the subway. Doesn’t say anything until he squeezes himself into a seat, the small look of triumph on his face at that enough to have Yoongi roll his eyes at him.

Tightening his grip around the pole, Yoongi is careful not to bump into anyone when the train stops abruptly, when a dozen more people rush into their cart.

“Yeah,” Hoseok says, looking up from Yoongi.

At the sight of Hoseok’s smile, Yoongi feels something drop in the pit of his stomach, ears suddenly feeling warm. But then—but then he snaps out of it when an older woman bumps into him.

“I’m happy.” Hoseok’s grin is bright, light dancing in his eyes.

Good, is all Yoongi can think, smiling down at him, despite the elbow that digs into his lower back. Good. Yoongi’s happy, too.

The cold bites at Yoongi’s cheeks, tinting the tops of his cheeks a light pink. He tucks his hands into his coat pocket and trudges on, the night weighing heavy just ahead of them.

Hoseok looks better, though, after the fiasco from the ramen place. Much more rested now and fed. In better spirits, too, which is always a shock to Yoongi, especially given the busy day they’ve had. A busy day filled to the brim of the both of them just dodging one accident after another.

“It’s getting late,” Yoongi yawns, slowing down to match Hoseok’s steps.

Hoseok crosses his arms, an obvious effort to keep the cold at bay. “One last stop,” is all Hoseok says, pointing to a gilded entrance to a park just ahead of them.

They’re so near, but it’s also getting pretty late, the streets nearly devoid of anyone else. Tourists don’t stay out too late in this part of the city, and tourists most definitely don’t go trudging along a dimly lit path in the park, all because they want so desperately to see the cherry blossoms.

“And then we sleep,” at that, Yoongi cracks a smile, just a small tiny one that graces his face at the thought of sleep. And while the timezone isn’t even a problem for them, Yoongi is still tired from a full day of travelling and running around, a full day of the both of them just looking up, and stepping into one store after another, always pointing, taking photos—successfully playing tourists, because that had also been part of the plan.

They both go on trips all the time for work, for family, for business and family, that when they do go out by themselves, it is almost too hard to enjoy it. Now, though, Yoongi is finding himself easing into the trip. Easing right next to Hoseok, who thrums with energy, and buzzes with a quiet sense of enjoyment, of anticipation and excitement, always, because they’re waking up to a new city, a new country. To a whole new experience.

Hoseok is big on that, experience.

Yoongi supposes that he is, too.

They see the reflection of the moon right on the lake’s surface to their side, and Yoongi takes his time looking at it, stopping so abruptly that Hoseok doesn’t even notice it until he’s a few dozen steps ahead of him already. The younger boy calls for him, but Yoongi just shakes his head and stares at the lake, because it’s beautiful—how the lights from the city is reflected on the dark water. How the moon looks even clearer on its surface than it does when Yoongi glances up at the sky.

Things are funny this way, the same way it’s funny how when they finally do make it to the sectioned part of the park with all the cherry blossoms, they find nothing. And sure, Yoongi hadn’t expected anything grand. He’s seen cherry blossoms, they have them nearly everywhere back home during its season. What Yoongi hadn’t been expecting, though, is the pure absence of them—except.

Except for the petals strewn all over the ground, faded and wilted. The only indication that tells them it is over, the season has come and gone, and Yoongi and Hoseok has missed it.

Unexpectedly, Hoseok bends down to scoop a few petals into his hand. He raises it up to Yoongi, a tiny little gesture of consolation, almost, and Yoongi plucks at a single petal, letting it fall into his own cupped hand.

Hoseok smiles at him, quiet, now. It reflects the silence that wraps around the park. Reflects the quiet that is the city, getting ready for bed. It also reflects the quiet, gentle light from the moon, the only thing that shines even brighter than the city lights, blinking in and out of focus.

“Sorry, it looks like we missed it,” Hoseok looks over his shoulder a little wistfully. Watches the rows upon rows of cherry blossoms, all dried up, the petals shaken off their tired branches. They are making way for warmer weather, now.

“I should’ve checked,” this is Yoongi’s fault. He’d just expected—he’d expected for them to still be hanging around, falling in perfect time with the rest of their trip. But they don’t wait for anybody. Nothing ever does, Yoongi shouldn’t have expected the opposite of these trees, these flowers.

“We saw some before we left, didn’t we?” Hoseok tries to coax the smile out of Yoongi, sprinkling more of the fallen petals into his cupped palms.

Yoongi remembers that, a few weeks before they had to leave for Japan. Remembers how they’d just driven past it. How Yoongi had said, literally in passing, how they should stop by and see the cherry blossoms when they finally visit. How Hoseok had beamed at him, agreed right on the spot, and said that it would be beautiful, really.

And it kind of is, Yoongi can still see the remnants of the trees. Can imagine how they would have looked, framing either side of the road. Endless rows of pinks and whites, so soft. So pretty.

“Sorry, Hoseokie,” Yoongi apologises, finally looking up from his palm—it’s almost spilling of all the petals Hoseok had managed to pluck from the ground. Yoongi can’t help but smile, a little tired and a lot thankful. “We missed it.”

Hoseok throws a few more petals, this time at his face, laughter bubbling out of him. It sounds like the sound of water trickling down from a creak. It sounds—nice, more muted. Yoongi knows of this laughter, too. Knows of the quiet smile that doesn’t look as large-as-life as it usually does. Dimmer, more intimate. Something reserved for just the two of them.

Yoongi thinks he has a full catalogue of all of Hoseok’s smiles and all of Hoseok’s laughs. It’s part of the package, really—he’s learned how to secretly file each one way, something he keeps to himself, because you don’t get to be best friends with Jung Hoseok without knowing this. Without being able to pick up on just the slightest change in his mood—and Yoongi prides himself in that, too. Yoongi knows Hoseok—He knows him enough that Yoongi can tell that Hoseok doesn’t look as bummed out. Tired from the trip, yes, but not angry at the missed opportunity. If anything, Hoseok looks more at ease.

“Nah, this is nice, too,” and here Hoseok closes his fingers over Yoongi’s palm. Together, they hold onto the only pieces of spring they could find. The only pieces of spring they have with them. “We can always come back next year, yeah?”

Hoseok still has his hand cupped around Yoongi’s. It is warm, and soft, and Yoongi knows of this, too, the feel of Hoseok’s hand on his. It isn’t weird at all, but Yoongi—Yoongi almost has to force himself to meet Hoseok’s eyes this time, because there is something, a shift, almost, in the axis. The wind blows just the slightest bit colder past them, and not for the first time, Yoongi is thankful he’d pulled a scarf on that morning. He gets too cold far too easily, is the problem with him.

Hoseok is warm, though. Warm hands. Warm smile. Warm eyes.

“You’re right.” Yoongi agrees, stepping away from Hoseok, hand slipping out of Hoseok’s hold. He does so just so he can walk back to the edge of the lake, where he bends down, hand stretched out as he lets each individual petal fall into the water. It stays afloat. Follows the gentle current that the late evening air has set for it.

Yoongi smiles, contented.

This is okay. He doesn’t need to see the cherry blossoms—they’ll bloom again next year. They’ll bloom again everywhere else in the world.

Okay. Yoongi is okay.

Behind him, Hoseok hums a song, fun and playful, and Yoongi smiles at him over his shoulder.

Yoongi is more than okay.

“We’ll be back,” Hoseok says, helping Yoongi back up. “Me and you, we’ll be back.”

And Yoongi supposes that Hoseok is, too. That he is more than okay, if the light in his eyes and the glitter in his smile is anything to go by.

The place that they’ve found for their short stay is a small and humble one, because one of their self-imposed rules had been for them to try and travel on a budget. Or, at least, try not to break the bank, anyway.

Yoongi all but kicks the door open, cautiously stepping back into their room after a full day of being gone. It’s exactly how they’d left it, bags strewn all over the floor, a few thin coats hung on the backs of chairs, and Yoongi’s bed an unmade mess, Yoongi having all but jumped into it the second they’d checked into their new place.

“This place really isn’t much,” Hoseok say after a careful survey of the room—a quick turn was all it took. Because, really, it isn’t much, but it’s home for the next few days, and Yoongi will take it, really. Honestly.

“You said we should try and travel on a budget,” Yoongi turns to his side on the bed to look at Hoseok, who sits on the edge of his as he shrugs out of his coat, and pulls his scarf off. “I mean, we could find a better one.”

It isn’t hard to do, given what exactly they can afford. But, Yoongi supposes that this is a good way of travelling, too—something new for the both of them. Besides, it’s not like they’re here for the view; granted, there isn’t one, but still . Case in point.

“Nah,” Hoseok says with a little shake of his head. The smile that he flashes Yoongi is a tired one, all the things they’ve done throughout the day finally bogging him down and making him yawn. It is still a smile, though, a relieved one, almost—and perhaps it is because they’re finally back, finally able to roll into bed, and close their eyes after a full day’s worth of travelling, but Yoongi can also see hints and traces of something else in Hoseok’s smile. “This is good, hyung. I like it.”

Hoseok holds Yoongi’s gaze for a few moments too long, that same tired smile on his face, and Yoongi—he doesn’t look away. Looks at Hoseok with an odd smile on his face, because they’ve really done it this time, haven’t they? Booked flights on impulse and left work and family, and the rest of their friends back home just so they can travel.

“This was a good idea,” when Hoseok says this, Yoongi has a feeling he isn’t talking about the room anymore.

“Yeah?” Yoongi hums under his breath. He flips over to his back this time, eyes dragging away from Hoseok to stare up at the ceiling. Aside from their slow and even breathing, the only thing Yoongi can hear is the low hum of the air-conditioning. The little hostel is tucked away into the farthest corner down the street that Yoongi can hardly hear the traffic anymore.

“The trip, I mean,” Yoongi hears him shuffling around on his bed, probably kicking his jeans off. His socks. And then slipping under his blanket. Yoongi realises a little belatedly that they’ll have to take turns showering later—if either of them can even find the strength to roll out of bed and drag themselves into the shower. Yoongi doubts that, he really does. “I know this is just the first day, but this is really nice.”

Hoseok sounds so genuine, voice going all too soft and tender, that Yoongi lifts his head up to look at him, a funny little look on his own face when he finds that Hoseok’s flipping through the camera Yoongi had just flung onto the little counter by the corner.

Any other day, Yoongi would have wrestled the camera out of Hoseok’s hands. But today, he is tired, and so, so sleepy, he can’t help but yawn. And yawn. And yawn again, this time making Hoseok look up from the camera with a snicker, eyebrow raised.

“Let me see,” Yoongi complains anyway, hand reaching out for the camera.

“Sleep, hyung,” Hoseok says, setting the camera down on the bedside table. He reaches over to flip his side of the lights off, leaving Yoongi staring into a room illuminated by the single lamp off to his side. “You look like you’re ready to pass out.”

The same can be said for Hoseok, but Yoongi doesn’t have the energy to even argue that anymore, so he just groans, pulling his blanket up over his shoulders.

“What do we have planned tomorrow?” Yoongi murmurs, voice already heavy with sleep that has yet to come.

“Anything,” Hoseok tries to stifle his yawn on the back of his hand. Now he’s starting to sound as tired as Yoongi feels. “Wherever you wanna go.”

That sounds like a good plan.

A very good plan, Yoongi thinks, eyes slowly fluttering to a close.

There is quiet for a few moments, the only thing Yoongi is aware of is the sound of his own breathing, steady and calm. Yoongi’s eyes droop to a close, and the rest of the world starts to go dark as he slowly slips into sleep.

He’s almost completely gone when he hears it, Hoseok mumbling from the other side of the room, voice sounding so far away when he says, “Good night.”

It is the last thing Yoongi hears and the only thing he needs to sleep with a ghost of a smile on his face.

The morning comes, and the morning goes, the both of them sleeping right through their alarms.

Yoongi eventually wakes up, groggy and eyes still heavy with sleep, a little after twelve.

Hoseok wakes up soon after when Yoongi throws one of his spare pillows at his head, grumbling about missing half the day just because they’d overslept.

“Does this mean what I think it means,” Hoseok turns to grab for the pillow Yoongi had thrown, hugging it close to his chest. He snuggles closer to it, eyes still closed, and voice still thick with sleep. “We’re not going to Fuji-Q, are we?”

Yoongi wants to laugh at that, he really does, because Hoseok hates rides, and heights, and anything that may end up with him up in the air and over, or terribly scared out of his own mind.

“No,” although that would’ve been a good way to spend the day, but it’s too late, now, and there’s just no way Yoongi’s going to willingly step into Fuji-Q. For starters, there are too many people. And second, there are too many children running around and crying. Yoongi really can’t add Hoseok into that mix, because then there’ll be children and Hoseok running around and crying. “But we can get lunch.”

Hoseok considerably brightens up at that, rolling out of his bed and onto his feet, movements sharp for someone who’d just woken up. Before he hops into the bathroom, he throws the pillow back at Yoongi, who can only groan when it hits him square in the face.

Yoongi deserves that, he knows. Karma is always quick around these parts of the world.

The apology comes a little bit too late, a little bit too short, the bathroom door already shutting to a close. Yoongi just waves it off, knows that he’d started it this morning, and flops back down onto the bed, pillow pressed over his face. If he suffocates before Hoseok’s out of the shower, then good, Yoongi thinks, at least it’ll be on Hoseok.

(But Yoongi doesn’t accidentally suffocate with a pillow, and Hoseok eventually gets out of the shower, and Yoongi—Yoongi slowly makes his way to the door, not at all inclined to start the day at a rush, refusing, even, to step into the bathroom until Hoseok gives him the shove that he needs, towel thrown over to him as an after-thought as Hoseok fills the room with laughter.

It is a good mix with the one p.m sunshine.

Yoongi actually likes listening to it, thinks that Hoseok’s got such a good laugh, it almost sounds like a song. Almost.)

The thing with Hoseok is, he’s always been easy to be around with. Since the first day they’d met, Hoseok had been comfortable, likeable, Hoseok had been everything Yoongi never really saw himself becoming. With the bright smile, and the eyes that seemed to tell a story every single time, and the laugh—because the way Hoseok laughs is a phenomenon on it’s own.

And Yoongi’s never really the type to pick favourites, because he’s got friends. He loves his friends. Fuck, he thinks of them as his brothers, even, after all they’ve been through. After everything, really. But Yoongi also can’t deny the fact that Hoseok is special—that there is never a dull moment between the two of them. That Yoongi could suggest they jump out a speeding car and Hoseok, with a little bit of hesitation and a lot of screaming, would probably agree to.

They’d always been close, the two of them. Every time Yoongi looks back on an event, a particular memory, anything significant, really, he sees Hoseok with him. Always. Hoseok has always been a constant in Yoongi’s life, and he’s thankful. Always, always, always so thankful for the boy with the bright smile and the pretty eyes, for the boy who’s able to pull Yoongi back up on his feet, even with scraped and wobbling knees.

Yoongi sits outside of a cafe, hand dangling off the edge of the table as he flicks his cigarette. He watches Hoseok, the younger boy walking across the street, dodging an assortment of people as he walks over to the food cart, hands motioning wildly above his head as he tells the man what he wants with his limited Japanese. Even from Yoongi’s seat, he sees the man hand Hoseok the food with a smile that is not at all surprising, because Hoseok has that effect on people.

Easy.

The best, really, but Yoongi will never say that out loud. Especially not to Hoseok’s face.

So when Hoseok comes trudging back to their table, smile light and easy, and hands heavy with two boxes of takoyaki , Yoongi can only shake his head in a way that suggests the utmost fond. Because that is not a question, either—Yoongi is fond of Hoseok. Jimin still teases him about it, how obvious it is. How simple it is to read Yoongi sometimes, but Yoongi always digresses.

It is normal to be fond of your friends the same way Yoongi is fond of a lot of things.

(And if these are just things he associates with Hoseok then nobody really has to know. Yoongi is just very fond of traveling and photography, and the sound of Hoseok’s laughter, that’s all there really is.

Really.)

“Here,” Hoseok doesn’t wait for Yoongi to respond, offering a piece of takoyaki to Yoongi. The only thing Hoseok does is tap on Yoongi’s knee, and Yoongi opens his mouth, cigarette and coffee discarded in the mean time to indulge Hoseok of his intense need to sample every single street food.

This is the fifth thing they’ve tried since they’d made their way out of their hostel, and Yoongi is full.

Through a mouthful of takoyaki , Yoongi says, “It’s not like we don’t have tako—“

Hoseok offers another piece up to him and like the idiot that he is, Yoongi accepts it, cheeks now full. Too full that he isn’t able to finish his own sentence or react when Hoseok tells him that there’s a fireworks show later.

“Keep chewing if you wanna go see,” Hoseok laughs, loud and cheery, the same way he usually does whenever he finds something all too amusing.

Yoongi glares at him through his mouthful of food, continuing to chew because there’s no way out of this.

Besides, fireworks don’t sound too bad, now that he thinks about it. They’ve seen a lot of the city in the morning but they haven’t really been out to see much of it in the evening, except for all the times they’d managed to get lost from their hostel to the nearest convenience store.

“Fine,” Yoongi finally says, after a long sip of his coffee. “But I get to choose where we’re having dinner.”

Hoseok doesn’t object to that at all, just leans back on his chair, popping one more piece of takoyaki into his mouth. He looks pleased. Happy, even, and just at ease.

The whole trip is doing the both of them good, Yoongi can see it in the way that Hoseok’s shoulders have eased, in his smile. Can see it in the glittering of his eyes. How easy it is to make Hoseok happy—just take him on a trip, get him as far away from home and every little problem that it holds.

When Hoseok opens his mouth wide, Yoongi lifts the camera up to his face. Presses on the shutter, and captures the exact moment Hoseok almost chokes, so surprised that he nearly tumbles off of his chair in shock.

Yoongi sets his camera down immediately after, guilt already heavy because Hoseok sounds like he’s miserable, the rest of his food forgotten as he takes the glass Yoongi offers him with a guilty little smile that he hopes will be enough to make up for nearly killing Hoseok.

After Hoseok calms down, Yoongi finally lowers the camera down, eyes still trained on him. Expectant.

It is only when Hoseok mumbles, “My life flashed before my eyes.” that Yoongi throws his head back in laughter, loud and large, and all too much, because Hoseok is laughing with him, albeit weakly, given the little scare he’d almost given himself.

Yoongi continues to laugh, too loud for him, too bright, and too much, that it surprises even Hoseok, whose laughter turns into a soft smile.

“I haven’t heard you laugh like that in a long time, hyung,” Hoseok’s voice is as quiet as his smile, hand already reaching out across the table for Yoongi’s.

Yoongi watches as Hoseok wraps his fingers around his hand. Smiles as softly, as brightly as Hoseok when his laughter finally dwindles down and Hoseok squeezes on his hand, warm and nice, and familiar.

All too familiar.

“It’s nice, hyung.” Hoseok says, hand still holding onto Yoongi’s, fingers clasping tight. “I like it. You should laugh like that more often. I’d love to hear it.”

Yoongi doesn’t say anything, the words stuck in his throat as he feels his heart squeeze. But he does smile, and it is as tender a smile that he can manage, a smile that he hopes will say everything that he needs to say, that Hoseok is his best friend, and that Yoongi has all the reasons to laugh loud, and big, and too much with him. For him.

The very first thing Yoongi thinks of when they step out at eight in the evening is that perhaps the fireworks can wait when it isn’t so cold anymore. The second thing Yoongi thinks of is that it can’t, because he catches the look on Hoseok’s face—a mixture of quiet anticipation and wonder, eyes lit up like lamps. There is no way Yoongi’s going to pull him away from that, not when he’d nearly killed Hoseok with a takoyaki earlier in the day.

So they make their way through the winding streets of the city, looking up at the big screens and billboards, and stepping into their train with hushed voices, because it is evening already and everyone else is subdued, earphones in, and eyes glued to their phones. Nobody is talking except for the two boys huddled in the corner, Yoongi and Hoseok scrolling through the map and mumbling under their breaths, trying to locate the nearest exit leading to the riverside.

“You sure it’s tonight?” Yoongi looks over his shoulder, making sure Hoseok’s following closely behind him. The last thing he wants is to lose Hoseok at the train station. It’s crowded enough as is.

Hoseok falls into step beside him, shoulder brushing against Yoongi’s whenever they’re pushed too close to each other, the crowd rushing towards them.

“‘Course, hyung,” Hoseok’s grin is bright and almost too playful, Yoongi’s worried Hoseok’s got something else planned for tonight, but then Hoseok clamps his hand around Yoongi’s arm and pulls him alongside him, leading the way out of the station with hurried steps, and hushed apologies under his breath as Hoseok shoulders his way to the top of the stairs, Yoongi right behind him and looking much worst than when they’d first stepped out of the train cart.

They make their way to the park with little time to spare, Hoseok’s grip on Yoongi’s hand still tight as he nearly stumbles on the flat pavement.

Yoongi pulls him back up, steadies him, and then sighs, because it’s dark, it’s cold, and there isn’t really anybody else on this side of the river waiting for the fireworks. Although, Yoongi can see a couple of lights a little ways to the side, and then a few more right across the river.

“Here,” looking over his shoulder, Yoongi sees Hoseok carefully lay his scarf down on the grass. It’s not quite a mat but it is big enough for the both of them, so with a shrug of his shoulders, Yoongi lowers himself down right next to Hoseok, their knees knocking together as they try to get comfortable, shifting around and trying to get the perfect spot for the show.

Soon, the rest of the crowd trickles in, a few people hanging around to the side, and some lower down the river bank. There are flickering lights all the way across the river and the soft sound of music from speakers that must have been set up somewhere to the back.

It might be getting chilly but Yoongi finds that he doesn’t mind as much anymore, not when he has Hoseok beside him, shoulder pressed against his, and his smile one of excitement and anticipation as he looks up at the dark night sky, devoid of anything except for the occasional twinkling of a star or the flashing lights of a passing airplane.

“When do you think it’s gonna start?” Hoseok asks, looking over to Yoongi. They’re both sitting so close together that every little shift has their knees and elbows knocking together.

When Yoongi turns his head to look at Hoseok, he finds that there is practically no distance left between them. It takes him a second to register, eyes blinking a little bit unseeingly, before Yoongi leans back, a funny little look on his face when he sees just how close Hoseok is, and how he can literally count the specks of brown that dot around Hoseok’s eyes.

Too close.

There is no need for Yoongi to answer that because it starts as soon as he tries to open his mouth. So he just smiles at Hoseok and then points up at the sky, because it’s finally starting, and god, if they aren’t the prettiest fireworks Yoongi’s ever seen.

It is practically an explosion of colours up in the sky—blues and reds, and yellows and greens, and a combination of everything in between. The sky is illuminated and bright for the few minutes that the fireworks are on, everyone around them laughing to themselves as they watch in pure wonder and amazement as the lights sprinkle all over the lake, its reflection just as beautiful as the painting against the canvas that is the sky.

Beside him, Yoongi feels Hoseok shift closer. Until—until Hoseok leans against him, head pillowed on Yoongi’s shoulder. Yoongi doesn’t even have to look down to know that Hoseok’s smiling, a soft and comfortable one, because he can feel it in the way that Hoseok’s shoulders have relaxed. Can hear it when Hoseok laughs, amused and—and happy, because it’s a pretty, pretty light show, and Yoongi can’t even disagree, because it is.

“It’s beautiful,” Hoseok says, voice breathy and caught halfway in between a laugh, and Yoongi—

Yoongi actually tears his gaze from the sky to look at Hoseok beside him. Sees the bursting of lights reflected in his eyes. The smile that stretches across his face, bright and beautiful.

“Yeah,” Yoongi hears himself say, still looking at Hoseok with a faint, faint smile that tugs on the corner of his lips. “It is.”

Sometimes, Yoongi looks at Hoseok and he wonders.

He wonders if Hoseok looks at him the same way, and it isn’t odd or anything, Yoongi promises, it’s just—well, he just wonders , is all.

Hoseok is great. He really is. And he’s got nice hands to hold on to, on the occasion that Hoseok grabs his hand first to pull him along, fingers slipping into the spaces between Yoongi’s. They’re warm. Always so warm.

And Hoseok’s got a smile that does a funny little thing to Yoongi’s heart. To the knots that tangle in the pit of his stomach. Hoseok always makes him feel like that, but not once has Yoongi ever acknowledged it.

There is no name to it, not really, except, perhaps, friendship.

Because Hoseok is his best friend, and isn’t it natural for best friends to be able to make each other happy?

There is no wondering about that, though—because Hoseok does make Yoongi happy. It is evident in the way that he smiles, and laughs, in the way that his shoulders shake as he almost doubles over himself, laughter bursting out of him. In the way that his eyes light up, as bright as the stars that hang from the sky, whenever Hoseok so much as—

Whenever Hoseok so much as leans into him and talks, and moves his hands, and laughs, and asks if Yoongi’s okay, if he needs anything. Whenever Hoseok so much as turns to his side so he can look at Yoongi, and whisper his good night, soft and heavy with sleep.

That makes Yoongi wonder, too, but then he sees Hoseok’s smile halfway into sleep, and Yoongi doesn’t have to wonder if Hoseok is happy or if he’s getting enough sleep, because he can see.

Yoongi also doesn’t have to wonder what it would feel like to hold Hoseok’s hand, because he knows.

What Yoongi does wonder about is what all of this means—if the tightening of his heart is anything he should worry about, or how, whenever Hoseok catches him off guard, he feels the whole entire world shake, if only for a second.

Yoongi wonders if it really means anything at all.

Hoseok wakes up with a fever the next morning, shivering and pale, and voice weak from the restless night.

They’d spent the last few days jumping in and out of the hot springs, and running around the quiet town, beers in one hand, and hair still wet and sticking to their foreheads. It had been particularly cold the previous night, and Hoseok—Hoseok had fallen asleep with one of the windows cracked open.

He’s a shivering mess, now, and Yoongi finds himself pressing a hand over Hoseok’s forehead, mouth downturned as he watches Hoseok shiver involuntarily, fingers clutching weakly onto his blanket.

The only good thing about this is that they’re back at the hotel and not at the hot springs inn anymore, so at least they’re closer to the city. Closer to the hospital, if anything happens. The thought alone has Yoongi worrying on his bottom lip, the back of his hand still pressed to Hoseok’s forehead, like he’s waiting for a miracle. Waiting for Hoseok to cool back down and sit up from his bed, smile as bright as the afternoon sunshine outside, and tell Yoongi that he’s okay, it’d only just been a scare.

But Hoseok doesn’t, he just groans when Yoongi asks if he’s okay and if he needs anything.

“You sure?” Yoongi asks, voice low. “I’ll go grab something for you, anyway.”

Food. Soup. Something warm. Medicine to take. Maybe just an over the counter one that’ll help with the cold.

Yoongi cards his fingers through Hoseok’s hair, sweeping stray strands out of his face, and brushing it back. Hoseok sighs at the touch, the first trace of a smile curving over his lips, and Yoongi can’t help it, he smiles back down at him, just a small one, and for now, it is more than enough.

Hoseok turns his head to the side, searching for Yoongi’s warmth.

“I’m gonna step out for a bit,” Yoongi murmurs, fingers still carding through Hoseok’s hair, smoothing it back. “I’ll be back quickly, yeah?”

Worry weighs heavily on Yoongi’s shoulder the very second that he pushes himself off of Hoseok’s bed.

This shouldn’t have happened, and perhaps it is their own fault for being too restless—dipping in and out of the hot water and then running back out into the breezy evening air. It had been their fault, and if they’d been more careful then this wouldn’t have happened, but it’s just a little bit too late, now, and Hoseok’s already sniffling from the colds, and shivering from the fever. Burning up, too.

With one last look over his shoulder, Yoongi steps out of the room, phone already pressed to his ear the second that the door closes to make a call to one Kim Seokjin, whose tone starts off surprised and happy to hear from Yoongi of all people—and while he’s in the middle of a trip, too, but it soon takes a turn to worried when Yoongi tells him that Hoseok’s gotten sick, and god, they’re in a different country, how is Yoongi supposed to buy medicine and take care of him here.

But Seokjin gentles him through it, tells him that they sell ice packs and fever packs everywhere, because it’s a fever and not the plague, so Hoseok will be fine. Seokjin repeats it, voice turning fond, almost, when he says, “He’ll be fine, Yoongi. Just get him an ice pack, lots of water, food, and let him rest. He’ll be fine by the morning.”

Right before Yoongi grumbles out his thanks, right before he clicks end on the call, Seokjin adds. “Don’t worry too much. He’s got you, yeah? He’ll be okay.”

Yeah, Hoseok does—and Hoseok will.

So Yoongi smiles, because he’s just overreacting, and thanks Seokjin for his help, voice a little bit too strained when he says, “Thanks, hyung. I mean it.”

Seokjin hears it, anyway, and that’s all that matters for now.

Yoongi is back right as Hoseok is stirring awake, voice still scratchy with sleep and heavy from his cold.

He blinks up at Yoongi blearily, his smile tugging at the corners of his lips when Yoongi finally takes the few short steps needed to cross all the way back to Hoseok’s bed. Yoongi drops the plastic bag of extra food and drinks to sit right next to Hoseok, fingers combing through his soft, soft hair.

Yoongi revels in this moment, if only for a few short seconds. If only for a few tired beats of his heart. Hoseok is still smiling at him, as quiet as the six p.m sunset, and Yoongi looks at him with a smile he knows has nothing against the sun, even if the sun is sick with the cold. Yoongi never has anything against the sun that is Hoseok’s smile.

“Sorry,” Hoseok says, turning his head to the side, searching for the warmth that Yoongi’s hand provides.

“For what?” Yoongi frowns, fingers stilling in Hoseok’s hair.

“For getting sick,” Hoseok closes his eyes again, and for a second, Yoongi wonders if he’s fallen asleep. If he’s passed out from the fever. But then he sighs, long and heavy, and Yoongi understands.

“No,” Yoongi glides his fingers down Hoseok’s cheek. Feels him out. He isn’t as hot anymore, not quite burning. But he’s still pale, lips still chapped.

They have a flight to catch in less than two days.

“It’s not your fault,” Yoongi smooths back Hoseok’s hair so he can press the ice pack against his forehead.

Underneath him, Hoseok winces at the sudden cold, but then eases into it, the feeling turning comfortable. A much needed welcome after nearly a full day of alternating between burning up and downright shivering, curled up under two different blankets.

“It sucks,” Hoseok’s pouting now, fingers clutching tightly onto the blanket.

Yoongi just laughs at him like it’s the silliest thing he’s heard, head shaking when he pinches Hoseok’s cheek and says, “Don’t be stupid. You’ll get better just in time, yeah?”

It takes a little bit more convincing than that, Hoseok now whining weakly about missing the last two days of their trip. About ruining it. How Yoongi should just go out by himself because it’s fine, it really is, and he doesn’t want to be a burden, doesn’t want to keep Yoongi stuck in this dingy little hotel room. Hoseok talks on and on, like he has all the time in the world, and Yoongi—

Well, Yoongi thinks that if they hadn’t decided to go completely on a whim and try not to use their credit cards for this entire trip, then they wouldn’t have spent the night at one of the cheaper hot springs, with windows that cracked open in the middle of the night, and Hoseok wouldn’t have gotten sick.

If they’d found themselves a better hotel. If they both hadn’t been so thick in the head. If they just gave in—but no, Hoseok had suggested it jokingly the first time, the both of them going on this trip and trying to limit their resources, their funds. It had been a mistake, now that they’re here. Now that Yoongi’s got a cold and shivering Hoseok, whining on and on, and on and on, about how the trip is basically ruined.

Yoongi can only pinch his other cheek this time, eyes rolling. “Don’t be fucking dramatic,” but there is no inflection in the way that he says it, no bite at all. He smiles right after, soft and small, and Hoseok finally shuts up, teeth biting down on his lower lip as he lifts his head up to look at Yoongi, still looming by his bedside. “We had a good trip. You’re sick now, but you’ll get better. Besides, the trip’s not over yet, is it?”

It isn’t.

They’ve got one more other stop before they’re supposed to go back home.

“You’ll be fine,” Yoongi repeats it again, but this time he hears Seokjin’s voice, calm and reassuring in his head. “Just get some sleep now, and by tomorrow you’ll be better.”

Hoseok’s reply comes much later, because he’s sulking, one hand pressed to his cheek from when Yoongi had pinched too hard.

“Will you—“ and he bites down on his own words, tripping over each and everyone one of them when Yoongi turns to look at him expectantly, ready to give him whatever he needs. Water. Food. Juice. Another ice pack. Anything he wants. “Brush my hair until I fall asleep?”

Oh , thinks Yoongi, blinking down at Hoseok.

Oh , he thinks again, when he sees the faintest trace of a blush on the tops of his cheeks.

Oh , it hits him, then, what Hoseok had meant, and oh , the smile that settles on Yoongi’s face, surprised but at the same time—at the same time pleased, because he’ll do that for Hoseok, too.

“Yeah, sure,” Yoongi says quite easily and without missing a beat at all. He says it so quickly that even Hoseok is surprised, the younger boy just staring at him, wondering if he’d heard the right thing.

Yoongi sees it then, the sunset at nearly seven in the evening, Hoseok’s eyes as bright as the lights that twinkle outside, and his smile as warm as the sunrise earlier that evening. Hoseok is all the pretty colours of the fireworks they’d witnessed just a few nights ago. Hoseok is all the beautiful lights in this city, and all the beautiful lights in the sky.

But this is something Yoongi keeps to himself, because there is really only so much that he already does for Hoseok. Nobody needs to know about everything else that passes through his mind. Nobody needs to know how much time Yoongi spends just wondering about him, about Hoseok, about—about everything else, really.

So with barely another word, because there is no need to say anything now, Yoongi fixes Hoseok’s pillows, and then—and then he brushes through his hair, fingers sliding through the silky strands. It earns him a smile from Hoseok, tired and still sick, the boy already closing his eyes, his good night coming out in a whisper when Yoongi smooths his hair back, and brushes the few stray strands out of his face and away from his eyes.

“Thanks, hyung.” Is the last thing Hoseok says before he finally gives in to sleep, bones tired and heavy, and his body still bogged down by the fever. Still weak.

“Anything, Hoseokie.”

Yoongi doesn’t know how late he’s stayed up to brush Hoseok’s hair, or how it hadn’t occurred to him to stop when he’d noticed Hoseok had finally fallen asleep. Yoongi doesn’t know—the only thing he is aware of is curling right above the blankets and next to Hoseok, fingers still caught in Hoseok’s hair, sleep catching up to him hours after he’d walked back into the room.

When Yoongi wakes up, it is to a heavy weight right on top of him. He blinks his sleepy eyes awake, the room a flood of light and colours when it finally registers just what’s happening.

Hoseok, right on top of him, and grinning. Bright and with the intensity of at least ten more suns as big and as powerful as the one they have right now. Or, more. Always more, whenever it comes to Hoseok.

“Good morning to you,” Yoongi manages to say, his voice still scratchy from the few hours of sleep he’d gotten.

“Morning,” Hoseok beams, bright and beautiful. He tugs on Yoongi’s hair, eyes turning soft, if only for a split of a moment that’s gone all too soon, Yoongi isn’t even quite sure he’d noticed it. But then Hoseok slips his fingers through Yoongi’s hair, and cards right through the tufts and mess of his bedhead, and he laughs, sounding much, much better than he had just the other day.

“Feeling better?” Yoongi yawns, one hand resting on Hoseok’s hip, almost instinctively.

Hoseok doesn’t mind, not in the slightest, because this is normal, this is them easing back into how they usually are. And if Hoseok had found Yoongi curled up on the same bed as him, then Yoongi’s pretty sure it hadn’t caused anything, not one single string of panic pulling at his nerves, because they’ve fallen asleep on the same bed several times already, too. This is hardly anything to blink their eyes at.

“Yeah,” there it is again, that smile that can most certainly blind. It’s getting so fucking bright, Yoongi almost tells himself to look away. But there is no looking away when the sun himself is smiling down at you like this, heavy on top of you, but with hands so warm, you don’t quite mind all that much. “Much better.”

Yoongi finds himself not minding at all, really, whenever it comes to Hoseok.

“Good,” and before Hoseok can say anything else, Yoongi pushes the younger boy off of him, Hoseok falling with a loud thud onto the floor. “Now, it’s my turn to sleep. Get food, or something.”

There’s a groan from Hoseok as he picks himself up off the floor, a complaint already right at the tip of his tongue before he decides against it and just sighs, that same over-dramatic way that he’d sighed yesterday when he lamented the loss of the entire trip. “Okay, but only because it’s you.”

Hoseok doesn’t see it, the pleased little smile that graces Yoongi’s features, because he’s tugged the blanket right over his head, but it’s okay. It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay—a mantra that Yoongi repeats over and over again, because his heart is doing the thing again, the squeezing, the knots in his stomach tightening, and oh , that’s just weird, but Yoongi—Yoongi is far too sleepy to be thinking too hard about it, especially at this time in the morning, so he lets it go.

With the sun setting outside of their hotel room, and the evening finally settling in, Yoongi finds himself with his back pressed against a number of fluffy pillows, knees knocking against Hoseok’s as the younger boy passes him a can of beer.

Yoongi takes a few careful sips from it, because they do have an early flight tomorrow. He doesn’t want to miss it just because they’d both overslept.

“Here, look at this,” Hoseok’s flipping through the camera now, stopping at a few beautiful shots of the scenery. Of the fireworks a couple of nights ago. Of Yoongi nearly slipping on the wet floor just outside of the springs. There’s a couple more of food, of all the drinks they’d indulged in. “This is nice.” Hoseok stops at a photo of the both of them, taken at an odd angle, Yoongi a blur of motion, and Hoseok smiling brightly up at the camera.

“Give me that,” Yoongi grumbles, grabbing for the camera. The beers are forgotten for a few moments as they go through the photos together, stopping at a few interesting ones. Not surprising to either of them, there’s far too many photos of all the food that Hoseok had insisted they tried. There’s also a few photos from when they’d gone to see the puppet show, and the historical drama that played around with water and fountains. Now, that was beautiful, Yoongi recalls with a small smile.

The next photo has the both of them nearly doubled over with laughter, because this time it’s one of Hoseok nearly getting trampled right in the middle of a crossing street. He looks absolutely miserable, one hand reaching out for Yoongi, who had just raised an eyebrow and continued to walk—and also take his photo.

Yoongi remembers the day all too fondly, and he laughs out loud now, too, way too loud and way too big, shoulders shaking, and tears starting to pool at the corner of his eyes.

Hoseok is a shaking mess beside him as well, though he does try to snatch the camera away from Yoongi, probably to look for an embarrassing photo of him. Yoongi only holds onto the camera even tighter, refusing to give it away, because it’s hilarious, Hoseok looks absolutely miserable, and—

And then Hoseok jams his finger on a button, and they’re on another photo, this one of the both of them, and Yoongi remembers it, too.

During their first day. When he’d almost walked right into the busy morning rush hour of the city.

His laughter dwindles to a stop as he looks down at it, thumb stroking at the screen, because here are the both of them, Hoseok’s arm around Yoongi’s, pulling him tight to his side, and smiling as bright as the early morning sun that had shown right in their faces at that exact moment. Yoongi’s smile is dimmer compared to Hoseok, but that’s never a surprise. It is hard to outshine Hoseok.

Yoongi’s long since accepted that any other smile right next to Hoseok’s will always be dimmer, because there is just no contesting the strength and the warmth of the sun.

“Huh,” Hoseok leans against Yoongi, their heads brought close together as they both look down at the camera, staring at one of the first few photos they’d ever taken during the start of their trip. They look good—well rested, relieved, like they’d finally.

Like they’d finally left everything that didn’t matter behind, and in a way they did. Work, and the stress of family, and every other thing that’s managed to fit itself in the crevice of the heavy load that’s suddenly thrusted into their arms.

In a way, they did leave everything that never really mattered behind.

Looking at Hoseok now, Yoongi thinks that Hoseok is one of the few things left that truly matters.

So, Yoongi smiles, Hoseok easily smiling back at him, although Hoseok’s smile is a little dimmer now, quieter, even. Where most of his other smiles resemble that of the sun shining bright and warm outside of your window, this smile is almost reminiscent of the way the sun barely manages to peek through the heavy grey clouds whenever it drizzles. Whenever rainy days come pouring.

Hoseok taps a finger on the screen, the look in his eyes turning tender and soft, and Yoongi almost loses himself as he stares into them, but then—but then he pulls himself back, takes a deep breath, and he remembers that this is Hoseok, and he is Yoongi, and they are friends off on another one of their travels—

And that is all there is, because that is all they ever are, and Yoongi.

Yoongi—he doesn’t really mind, not really. Yoongi barely even knows what he wants, so just to have this—Hoseok beside him, willing to take on the world together, it is enough. It will always be more than enough.

Before he sets the camera aside to pick up his beer, Yoongi lets out a sigh that sounds all too fond, and turns his head towards Hoseok, and like this, with how Hoseok’s leaning into him, already turned to look at him, they’re suddenly so close. All of a sudden.

But all Yoongi has to do is take a deep breath. Exhale. Inhale one more time, and exhale, and this time, when he smiles, it is just that little bit brighter than usual, a smile bordering on special as he slings an arm around Hoseok, fingers folding over his shoulders. As Yoongi says, voice nearly a whisper. “Thank you.”

Hoseok knocks their foreheads together, his laughter bubbling out of him and wrapping around them both.  “Sure, hyung. Anything for you.”

It feels like all Yoongi’s done was blink, and now he’s here, eyes wide open and in an airplane yet again. He’d fallen asleep the first few hours of the trip, but he’s awake now, blinking around the dimmed cabin. It’s quiet, too quiet, the way planes usually are when the rest of the passengers are all passed out, Hoseok included.

Hoseok, who’s got his head against Yoongi’s shoulder, arms crossed over his chest as he sleeps, tired from running around the airport just trying to get to their gate. Tired from the late night they’d spent together running down busy streets, the lights absolutely blinding as they stepped out from a small bar tucked into a corner.

It had been a foolish decision to go, but a part of Yoongi knew they needed to go—and Hoseok, too, because the last thing he wanted to do on his last day in Tokyo was to spend it in bed. Not again, not after the fever that had nearly made him too delirious to function.

So they went out. Had more than a few drinks. Passed out, and—and then they woke up, hair a mess, clothes still strewn around their room.

The rest of their trip to the airport was a blur, the last thing Yoongi remembers was closing his eyes to the sound of traffic rushing past his ears. Now, he’s here, camera held in his hands once again.

Yoongi starts to flip through the photos, thumb pressing on the screen whenever it’s one of Hoseok caught off guard, or doubling up in laughter. The candid ones that Yoongi had taken of him, the several candid ones that Yoongi will keep for a very long time, because Hoseok looks like he’s enjoying every single second of it, in every one of the photos. He looks more at ease, like there is nowhere he’d rather be.

It shows in one particular photo, Hoseok looking up from a cup of coffee raised to his lips, eyes bright, and eyebrows raised. He’s smiling, but it’s not the grin that is so often plastered on his face. It is a quiet one, a smile that almost feels like the sunset after a busy and tiring day. It is beautiful.

Hoseok is.

Beside him, Hoseok stirs, but he doesn’t wake, and it is only when Hoseok murmurs something so low under his breath that Yoongi notices that his blanket has slipped off his shoulders and pooled around his lap.

Yoongi reaches over Hoseok to tug the blanket up to his chin, a small smile on his face as he does so, as he leans back into his own seat after, Hoseok still leaning against him, hair sticking out from under his beanie, and his mouth slack from sleep.

The rest of the flight, Yoongi spends it trying not to move too much, afraid that he’ll end up jostling Hoseok awake. So Yoongi stays still, occasionally going through the camera to look at their photos, to look as Hoseok plucks a sock puppet from a table, the laughter bursting out of him when he turns to look at Yoongi.

And if there is anything else that Yoongi does on the plane to Bali, then it is wonder. But he tries not to wonder too much, or too loud—Hoseok might hear, and the last thing Yoongi wants Hoseok to hear is how Yoongi’s heart hammers right behind his ribcage whenever Hoseok so much as leans into his space, his smile one that Yoongi can never hope to rival—

Although, Yoongi does think that there is nobody who can rival Hoseok’s smile. It is very hard to beat the sun at his own game, isn’t it?

II.

The wind whips Hoseok’s laughter away, but still, Yoongi hears him clearly. He hears it in the way Hoseok throws his head back in laughter. Hears it in how he’s got his arms spread, palms up and open, turned towards the sky, like he is ready for any and all sunshine to fall. For stars to start shooting from across the sky and right into his hands.

Hoseok always looks like he’s ready to start catching shooting stars. Yoongi smiles at that, lifting his head up as he watches him. As Hoseok runs towards the shoreline, barefooted, and his smile as bright as the ten a.m sunshine that beats down on him, making him glow. Turning his skin golden, absolutely fucking golden.

Yoongi watches him the entire time, his book set aside so he can follow Hoseok, who’s ankle-deep in the water, bent down to scoop sea water in his hands. Watches as the water slips from between the spaces of his fingers. As Hoseok laughs again, amused, happy, warm, and so goddamn beautiful, Yoongi almost forgets where they are, because they might be in one of the world’s most beautiful beach, but Hoseok makes it nearly impossible to pay attention to everything else simply because he is the only sharp and vivid thing in a world perpetually caught in a motion blur.

“Hyung,” Hoseok calls, looking over his shoulder to gesture at Yoongi. He reaches his hand out, like Yoongi is just a few inches away from him, so easily can he grab at his wrist and pull him in. But Yoongi is sprawled on the sand, content on just watching Hoseok. So content that he refuses to budge at all, mouth turned downwards as he shakes his head.

Yoongi is fine enough as it is here, under the shade of one of those obnoxiously large umbrellas they prop up everywhere on the beach.

Hoseok is relentless, though, refusing no for an answer. He calls, and he calls, and he calls, until Yoongi finally huffs and rolls his eyes, because Hoseok’s resorted to his full name, and people are fucking staring at the two annoying foreigners making a scene right in the middle of the beach. Right in the middle of a perfectly good day.

So Yoongi gets up, dusts his shorts of sand, and kicks his sandals off, because he knows where this is going, what’s about to happen.

When Hoseok’s fingers latch around his wrist and pull him right into the water next to him, Yoongi isn’t surprised. What does surprise him, though, is how cool the water is. How clear it is—crystal blue and clear, the sun glittering and dancing right on the surface. It’s almost so beautiful Yoongi can almost convince himself that Hoseok’s not standing so close to him, hair sticking to his forehead, and smile even brighter than before, wide. Like there is no other place he’d rather be.

And this is a good contrast to where they had been just a few days ago—from the last remaining cool weather that Tokyo had to offer, to the perpetual summer that is Indonesia.

Hoseok loves it, of course. Loves how easily he can strip off jackets and coats and scarves, and long sleeves for cotton shirts that flow against the wind. For shorts and sandals, and slippers, and his bucket hats, and the sunglasses that he’s always so, so fond of wearing.

And Yoongi—Yoongi likes the cold weather. He likes dreary greys and rain. But he also likes how the sun can bounce across the sea like this, leaving everything it touches into a glittering jewel. Likes how much Hoseok is thriving under the summer sun, skin glistening from the water, and hair tousled from the breeze.

They both look like there’s nowhere else they’d rather be. Hoseok, at the beach, and Yoongi with him.

Hoseok drops Yoongi’s hand when they’ve waded into waist-length water, and Yoongi allows himself to relax, finally, because the water feels great against his over-heated skin.

It doesn’t feel too good when Hoseok splashes salt water right into his eyes, leaving Yoongi sputtering and cursing, but he laughs, anyway. Eventually. Because Hoseok is laughing again, head thrown back, and laugh so warm, and so loud, Yoongi thinks even the sun is captivated.

He won’t be surprised if it is, because who could ever look away from Hoseok when he is like this, when he is happy, and beautiful, and radiant? Nobody, that’s who.

“I swear to god,” Yoongi starts, fingers squeezing around Hoseok’s arm after a particularly strong wave that had pushed them both off their feet. “If we drown in fucking Bali, I’m going to kill you,”

“How is that going to work?” Hoseok asks, snickering. He lets Yoongi hold onto him, though, slowly manoeuvring them both back to shallower waters.

“I’ll find a way,” Yoongi sniffs, a little indignant. “The same way Jack haunted Rose’s ass.”

“That never happened,” Hoseok says with a roll of his eyes, but his smile betrays any annoyance, and Yoongi notices it. Sees how it’s so evident in his laugh lines and his bright eyes. “For one—“

But Yoongi isn’t hearing any of it, not after another wave that jostles them both back again, this time pushing them closer back to the shore. They’re not too far off, and there’s a lot more people for it to be considered dangerous, but see, Yoongi isn’t the best swimmer, and while he loves the beach, he can say something totally otherwise about the ocean.

The sand between his toes and in his hair and between his bones is okay, he’s fine with it. A little sunburn and the gentle sea breeze—still something he’ll welcome with open arms, anytime. But the ocean, the water—he likes to look at it, sure. Thinks it’s beautiful, but actually getting into it? Actually swimming, trying to hold himself steady and upright wave after wave? Yeah, not so much.

Although—although, Yoongi does love to the ocean the most during the afternoons. Calm, breezy afternoons. Right before the sunset, when the whole world is quiet, and the ocean holds its breath, and every whisper of the wind is a promise of the golds and oranges, and purples and reds of the sunset, of every beautiful thing that the light will touch.

Hoseok reminds him a lot of that kind of sunset, though Yoongi wonders—he wonders if it’s okay, if it’s anything but normal, the way it does.

“Let’s go back,” Yoongi says, cutting his own thoughts off, because he doesn’t want to wonder, not when he’s got Hoseok here and now, not when they’re both right in the middle of the vacation of their lives. The only thing they’re allowed to do here is to enjoy and be happy. To fall in love every morning with the sunrise, and every afternoon with the sunset. To wake up loving the beach and the ocean a little bit more than the previous day.

Hoseok plops right down on the mat, getting that wet, too, but Yoongi is too tired and too languid after that little swim to even try to kick him off of it. So Yoongi just sits himself right next to Hoseok, pushing him further to the side and mumbling something about giving him room, because there’s no way he’s allowing him to hog the mat, not after Yoongi had spent a full three minutes at the market just yesterday looking for one that had the least annoying design.

Naturally, Hoseok swapped the plain black and white one with a mat that screamed a loud and bold orange and red. It hurts to even look at it sometimes, but this is what they have, and Yoongi has no choice. He’s not too keen on going back to the market—maybe tomorrow night, Hoseok’s been bugging him about going back, anyway.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

Hoseok slips his hand under Yoongi’s neck, and it’s surprising for a second, Yoongi going completely still, until he finally relaxes, letting out a sigh as he cosies closer next to Hoseok. They’re both equally wet from the water, sand clinging to their hair and everywhere else, Yoongi won’t be surprised if he wakes up a few weeks after the trip to still find sand somewhere on him.

“You wanna just stay here today?” Hoseok practically hums the question, his voice sing-song. His fingers play with the tips of Yoongi’s hair, and Yoongi can’t see it, not from how they’re both positioned, but he can feel it, Hoseok’s easy smile.

“I don’t mind.” Yoongi murmurs, sounding sleepy. Very sleepy. He can sleep under this parasol. With the soft sound of the gentle waves crashing into the shore. With the ocean breeze, whistling right next to his ear. And with the sound of Hoseok’s heart beat, even and steady.

Yoongi doesn’t mind, not at all.

They’ve rented a beautiful beach villa that is almost laughable compared to how they’d lived back in Japan. And while Yoongi doesn’t really mind where they sleep, or where they go, he really doesn’t want another episode of what had happened just a few days ago. Hoseok, falling sick to a fever. Burning up, just because of a draft that had managed to sweep into their room because of a window that refused to fully close shut. Didn’t much help that they’d spent half that day soaked in the hot springs.

But they’re in a better place, now. Better, as in—it’s fucking crazy how nice their villa is, how they’d even managed to get it in the first place, because the view. The view . The whole entire beach is their view, and Yoongi loves it.

This time, when Hoseok pulls the blinds back, and throws the windows open, there is no fear of a draft getting the worst of them, of either of them falling sick again. Nothing of that sort, because they’re in a place that Yoongi’s only ever really imagined in his wildest daydreams, and there’s nothing that can ruin that.

Except, of course, for a sunburn, which is exactly what he reminds Hoseok every other minute, the way the younger boy is so keen to just prance out of the door and run straight to the beach, forgetting to apply sunblock. Forgetting everything else, really, in favour of spending his time wading around in the water, feeling the gentle ocean everywhere around him.

Yoongi doesn’t blame him that, of course, because there are certain things one falls in love with in their lifetime.

For Yoongi, it is the sunset.

For Hoseok, it is the beach. The ocean. The sea.

“Stop tracking sand into the room,” Yoongi groans when Hoseok comes back, shaking the water out of his hair, and getting sand everywhere. He throws his towel over one of the reclining chairs outside, and instead of drying off in the bathroom, he flings himself onto Yoongi’s bed. “I’m going to end up killing you on this trip.”

“Sure,” Hoseok laughs, rolling over on his back. “But before that, let’s go to the bonfire tonight.”

Yoongi suspects it’s one of Hoseok’s desires to complete his island life bucket list, but he won’t deny him of that. Besides, they’ve only been here three—four days, thinks Yoongi. Time passes by differently here. It all feels differently. It must be the heat, the sun, the sea, and all the other tourists, because time slows down, in its own special way that sometimes a vacation causes.

But that might also be because they’ve got quite a few more days left here—the last stretch of their little getaway before they’re supposed to go back into the humdrum workings of life again.

Yoongi looks up from his phone. He’d been texting Taehyung, the younger boy pestering him for photos, refusing to stop sending emojis until Yoongi had sent a few shots of Hoseok at the beach, rolling around in the sand. Of Hoseok, still, asleep under the large canopy of their umbrella. And then a third one, this time of Yoongi himself, just sitting down outside of their rented villa, a towel over his shoulder, and a book on his lap.

“Okay,” Yoongi says, because there’s no way he’s going to say no to that. A bonfire actually sounds fun. Although Yoongi isn’t too keen on interacting with too many people, but he thinks that he won’t really mind everybody else, not when he’s got Hoseok with him. “Say hi to Tae.”

And with that, Yoongi shoves his phone into Hoseok’s face, Taehyung having tired from texting him he’d resorted to video-calling.

It catches Hoseok by surprise for all of two seconds before he dives back into the swing of things, instantly sitting up to show Taehyung around their place.

“Let’s go to the beach,” Hoseok says, smiling at the camera as he stretches his arm away from his face.

On the screen, Taehyung leans in, probably squinting to see the rest of their place in the small screen. But at the mention of the beach, he perks up, his smile turning lopsided the way it always does whenever he’s excited, whenever he’s too happy to contain it in a single little curve of his mouth.

Yoongi leans back against his bed—on the side Hoseok hadn’t soaked through, at least—and watches as Hoseok steps back out of the villa and out to the beach again to show Taehyung the place. He can hear them talking, still, Hoseok, animated as always, and Taehyung, in complete awe and wonder at the view.

And Yoongi doesn’t blame him—it’s a pretty good fucking view, he thinks, looking at Hoseok’s retreating figure.

The bonfire isn’t too far from where they’re staying, albeit the part of the beach their villa had been felt more than just a little bit secluded from everybody else, like it was their own little piece of heaven. And in a way, it is.

There’s a lot more people gathered around this time than Yoongi had seen in the morning, nursing cocktails and talking amongst each other.

Hoseok is quick on the drinks, darting towards the bar and then back to Yoongi after a few minutes, holding two beers and a smile that seems all too smug when he walks back to Yoongi, passing him his beer.

“What’s up?” Yoongi asks, looking over Hoseok’s shoulder to see if he’s missed anything. Nothing of importance—just the usual bartender and bar. Just the usual set of tourists mingling about, walking around the place. Just the usual, really.

Except—except Hoseok looks oddly pleased, now, in a way that catches Yoongi off guard. In a way that has Yoongi tightening his hold around his can of beer, waiting for Hoseok. Waiting for anything, really.

When Hoseok doesn’t come out with anything, Yoongi bites. “What’s going on?”

There’s a shift in Hoseok’s expression, almost like surprise, eyebrows raised, and he bumps Yoongi’s shoulder with his good-naturedly and says, “Nothing.”

“Why do you look—“ Yoongi stops himself because they’ve stopped walking, and a crowd’s formed right around them. He shrinks away from them, refusing to be caught right in the middle of whatever event the resort had planned for the night.

Hoseok tugs on the sleeve of his shirt, dragging him back with him until they’re a little bit farther from the crowd. Until it’s just the both of them, looking at the rest of the tourists who stared on at the lighting of the large pile of wood. Of the bonfire. Yoongi can hear excited chattering from them, and after a quick introduction from the manager, probably, music starts to filter through the speakers.

“Why do I look, what?” Hoseok asks again, an eyebrow raised. He drops his hand back to his side and waits for Yoongi, mouth pressed into a thin line.

There’s no going around it, so Yoongi doesn’t try—he just gives up with a shrug and a shake of his head, but—

But Hoseok doesn’t take it, and soon enough, his smile is back, amused, the glittering in his eyes playful, Yoongi notices.

“Why do I look happy, is that what you’re going to say?” Hoseok leans closer to Yoongi, his smile stretching across his face.

Yoongi just raises his beer to his lips, taking a more than generous sip from it.

“Maybe,” it’s a stupid question, something Yoongi should have never wondered about, because he’s so used to being around Hoseok. He’s so used to the sound of Hoseok’s laughter, wrapping around him, warm and familiar. So used to the curving of Hoseok’s smile, to the feel of his fingers wrapped around his wrist, or tugging on his arm. Used to the feel of Hoseok close to him, always. Everywhere around him. But even so, there are still times that catch Yoongi off guard.

Like now, for instance. Under the dark evening sky and several stars that twinkle more vividly in this part of the world, Hoseok smile’s is beautiful.

“Not like we’re on vacation or anything,” Hoseok tells him, taking a swig from his beer. His smile turns teasing, and Yoongi rolls his eyes, because while he’s used to Hoseok being a total and utter pain in the ass, it still doesn’t mean that Yoongi can’t scoff, or roll his eyes at him, because he can, and he will.

“That’s a good reason,” Yoongi decides to play along, raising his beer up to Hoseok in a mock cheer.

Hoseok takes a step closer to him. And then another one, and he doesn’t stop until there’s barely any space between them—and Yoongi, well, Yoongi starts to think of how easy it is to just tilt his head up and maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe , maybe , kiss Hoseok.

And—

And oh , because Yoongi’s never thought of that. Never really wondered about how that would feel, but looking at Hoseok now. At how close he is. How warm every puff of his breath is. How long his eyelashes are, practically grazing the tops of his cheeks whenever he blinks. How everything about him is something that makes Yoongi wonder, his heart beating wildly, unevenly.

It sounds a lot like Hoseok’s name, again and again, but Yoongi will not listen to it, not tonight, not when he’s known Hoseok his whole life. There will be no changing that, no ruining that, because Yoongi is used to Hoseok, to all of him, and there is no day Yoongi finds himself waking up without him, without Hoseok popping in to his office just to drag him away from his table and to lunch, or maybe for midday drinks. There is no way Yoongi will give that up just because the beach and the stars, and the wonder of Hoseok’s smile, so fucking close to him, had clouded his judgement momentarily.

“I am happy,” Hoseok finally says, one hand coming up to cup at Yoongi’s face, and this feels different than usual, but Yoongi allows himself this momentary respite, if only to lean his face into the warmth of Hoseok’s hand. “Aren’t you, hyung?”

Yoongi blinks at him. Wonders again if he can really just tilt his head up and kiss Hoseok, just to see, just to know. Just so he can stop wondering.

Slowly, Yoongi nods his head, and smiles at him, a little bit weakly. But it reaches Yoongi’s eyes, and Hoseok’s touches his heart, leaving a warm handprint everywhere around it.

“Sure I am, Hoseokie,” Yoongi looks away from Hoseok’s mouth, dragging his gaze back up to look at him, eyes locked with his. “Pretty fucking happy.”

It doesn’t hurt that much when Hoseok pulls his hand back and stuffs it into his pocket, head tilted towards the bonfire and the crowd.

From where they’re standing, a little ways from the event, Yoongi can still hear the crackling of the firewood. Can feel how hot it is.

“Good,” he hears Hoseok say, voice a little shaken.

But Yoongi must have misheard, because when Hoseok looks at him, there is no sign of unease on his face, his smile unwavering, and his eyes holding as many stars as there are in the sky. Just the usual, thinks Yoongi, following after him.

“S’mores or more beer?” Hoseok asks, shaking his empty can of beer as they walk back towards the crowd.

Yoongi doesn’t miss a beat at all when he says, “Both.”

The chatter dies down after an hour or two, several of the other guests slinking away now that the noise has died down. But they stay, Yoongi and Hoseok. They stay sitting together in front of the bonfire, legs crossed, and clutching another drink in their hands.

It is too good a night to go back home too early.

Yoongi tilts his head back to look at the sky, with the way the bonfire roars, it gives the illusion of the flames licking up at the sky, burning away the stars. Trying to compete against them.

Hoseok sticks both his hands out, fingers spread in an attempt to warm his cold hands up.

“You cold?” Yoongi asks, ready to shrug off the jacket he’d grabbed at the last minute before they’d left.

Shaking his head, Hoseok murmurs, “Nah. Just—just like it when I can feel how warm it is.”

Careful, Yoongi wants to tell him, because flames can burn.

Yoongi should know—he’s burnt himself several times standing too close to the fire. Leaving his hand over it for too long. He knows what it’s like to come out of the flames scraped and burnt, and smelling like ash and everything else that he’s left behind just to survive. Yoongi knows it all too well.

The music takes on a more upbeat note now that there aren’t that many people left, which is odd enough as it is, but Yoongi just sighs, because this might be one of their ways to draw more of the guests in. Or not, because as soon as it starts to get too loud again, a few more people leave, yawning.

“Come on,” Hoseok says, pushing himself off of the ground. He bends back down to pluck the can of beer out of Yoongi’s hands, setting it aside somewhere, and then back down again so he can grab both of Yoongi’s hands in his, pulling him up with him.

Yoongi stumbles, almost falling right into Hoseok, had Hoseok not straightened him back up, hands still clutching tightly around his.

“What?” Yoongi asks, looking around them. There’s not that many people left, and Hoseok doesn’t look like he’s ready to be going back home to sleep anytime soon, so, what, now.

“We should dance,” at the mention of dancing, Yoongi shakes his hands out of Hoseok’s, eyebrows shooting up in surprise as he takes a few steps away from him.

Hoseok can dance, Yoongi will give him that—okay, Yoongi will give him more than that, because Hoseok is a great dancer. Has always been in love with it since they were in middle school. Carried it all throughout high school and university, and even now, with everything else going on in his life, Hoseok still finds time.

(And there is a memory that resurfaces, now that Yoongi remembers. Now that Yoongi watches as Hoseok starts to sway his hips all too playfully, his smile wide.

Yoongi remembers when he’d asked the very same question—how Hoseok can find the time, with how busy he is.

The only answer Hoseok had ever given him was a serious look in his eyes and a very quiet, “You always find time for things you love, hyung.”

Hoseok had held his gaze for so long then that Yoongi had to look away, his stomach dropping.

That had been then.

Now—)

Now, Hoseok tries to pull Yoongi towards him, tries to get him to dance, and Yoongi refuses, because while there isn’t that much of a crowd anymore, there’s still a few more people mingling around, and Yoongi is terrible, he really is, can’t dance, can’t follow a flow, nothing , but still Hoseok insists, fingers locking around Yoongi’s wrist, and pulling on his hand, pulling Yoongi closer towards him.

“Hyung,” in the light of the bonfire, in the orange of the flames, Hoseok looks like he is home.

And with Hoseok’s fingers locked around Yoongi’s, Yoongi feels like he is, too.

So he sighs, and closes his eyes, pinches the bridge of his noise, and finally nods his head, “Fine, fine, fine .” Because there is no shaking off Hoseok when he gets like this, energy running through his veins, laughter high and beautiful, and his heart beating a mile a minute.

There is no denying him when even the flames seem to follow after his every movement, dancing with him, burning higher and brighter with every step closer towards it, though Hoseok is careful as he leads the dance, a simple little dance that has Yoongi feeling all too silly, because Hoseok’s just playing around, and Yoongi is here—Yoongi is here with his heart threatening to give out, and the butterflies in his stomach wanting nothing more than to die, because Yoongi might just be—

“See, it’s not too bad, right?” Hoseok cuts a very dangerous train of thought, and Yoongi is thankful. Hoseok squeezes on his hand, his other one resting lightly on Yoongi’s hip. “Yoongi?”

Snapping out of it, Yoongi focuses back on Hoseok. Everything else is a blur of motion behind him, the only thing Yoongi can see clearly is Hoseok. Always ever Hoseok in vivid and sharp detail, dancing with the flames, under the twinkling of a hundred stars that all seem too fond of him, way too fond.

“I’m,” Yoongi starts, the words getting caught up in his throat. But then—but then the music changes, slowing down, and as it does, so do they, Hoseok’s hand on his hip growing warm and heavy the longer it’s there. The longer Yoongi is aware of it. “I’m okay.”

Which isn’t exactly a lie, but Yoongi must have looked bothered, because Hoseok’s eyebrows are furrowed, his mouth downturned, and the look on his face asking him very simply if he’s sure, if he’s being completely honest.

“You wanted to dance,” Yoongi starts, this time tugging Hoseok along with him, because they’d stopped moving. Hoseok follows after him, nearly trips over the sand, and Yoongi laughs at that, breaking the odd spell that had fallen around them. That had been his fault. “Let’s dance, sunshine.”

At that, Hoseok laughs, amused, and—and relieved, that’s exactly what he sounds like. Nodding his head, Hoseok follows after Yoongi, moving along slowly to the soft, slow song that plays through the speakers.

Around them are a few more people following after their lead, dancing to the song. With their friends, with a child in their arms, or with—with someone special, although Yoongi is pretty sure that in this little piece of paradise, anyone you’re with is special.

Right. Special.

The fire continues to burn, and so does Hoseok. Bright and beautiful, a burst of orange and reds as he dances with Yoongi, fingers slipping into the spaces between Yoongi’s, and his smile a small one, not the usual larger-than-life smile that always threatens to blind Yoongi. This time, it is the smile that Yoongi’s found himself growing quite fond of, if only for the fact that Hoseok seems to reserve this smile for him. Small and quiet, obvious in the curving of his lips, but not as loud, not as in your face. Intimate, even. So intimate and special that Yoongi can’t quite bring himself to look at his face for too long, feeling the tops of his cheeks heating up, his blush creeping up from his neck up to his ears.

“Ask me how I feel, hyung,” Hoseok prompts him, nudging Yoongi back into full consciousness.

Yoongi easily bites into it because it’s late and because they’d spent a good amount of time dancing. Slow fucking dancing that Yoongi’s starting to lose the feeling in his legs, his head light, and the sound of the crashing waves loud in his ears.

“How do you feel?”

“Infinite,” Hoseok squeezes on Yoongi’s hand, and like this, Yoongi realises how well their fingers slot together. How nicely they fit, like two crooked puzzle pieces finally finding each other after a long time of being apart. “I feel infinite.”

And Yoongi—well, Yoongi feels happy.

Really, truly, happy.

For someone who values sleep a little bit too much compared to the normal person, Yoongi sure is up early. Too early—at the ass crack of dawn, as Namjoon liked to say whenever Yoongi managed to roll himself off the bed and land on both of his feet, still groggy but determined to stay awake at barely five in the morning.

See, the thing with Yoongi is, he likes sleep, but he also likes sunrises. He likes the gentle washing of orange against the brightening sky. Likes how soothing it is so early in the morning, when his side of the world has yet to wake up. He likes how quiet everything else is, except for the beating of his heart, a slow, steady beat that tells him he’s okay, things are fine, and that no matter what, the sunrise will still be beautiful. Today, tomorrow—the day after, and all the tomorrows that will follow.

To his surprise, Yoongi hears Hoseok follow after him. Hair messy from sleep, and voice still low and thick, a little scratchy when he calls after Yoongi, a towel thrown over his shoulder, and sunglasses pushed up the bridge of his nose.

“You headed anywhere?” Yoongi asks, eyeing Hoseok’s entire getup—he looks like he’s ready to run right into the sea, or dive right into the pool. But knowing Hoseok, it’s always going to be the first one.

“Are you?” Hoseok asks, falling into step with Yoongi. “You’re always up so early. For the sunrise, yeah?”

Yoongi squints at the sky, still lighting up. At the rest of the world slowly getting up to its feet. Finally, Yoongi nods. “Yeah, I guess,”

Hoseok laughs, then, and it’s a beautiful sound so early in the morning. A warm sound so early in the morning, Yoongi thinks it almost nudges the sun up into the sky faster. Shaking it awake, because it’s time. Hoseok is up, and so should it.

When Hoseok says, “I know a good place to watch it from.” Yoongi doesn’t think anything of it, because this is Hoseok, and Hoseok’s always known how much Yoongi’s loved the sunrise.

They’ve spent far too many sleepless nights just waiting up for the sun to rise, nursing cups of coffee in their hands while several bottles of alcohol were strewn everywhere around them, a remnant of the past night.

“Sure.” Yoongi says, smiling up at Hoseok just as the light catches in his eyes, Yoongi has to squint.

But it is only right, anyway, because Hoseok’s smiling, face bright.

Really, really bright, Yoongi almost mistakes it as the sunrise.

Somehow, someway, Hoseok manages to pull Yoongi up with him as they make the short trek up a trail that Hoseok’s claimed he’s made his way through already the first few nights when Yoongi had spent the evening just rolling around in bed, tending to a supposed sun burn that had never really happened.

“If we die, Hoseok—“ Yoongi starts, but stops because Hoseok tugs on his hand and pulls him forward the last couple of steps until they’re both back on level ground, albeit a little bit rocky, the terrain unfamiliar. Until they’re both standing on top of a cliff, overlooking the rest of the city. Overlooking the beautiful view of the beach and the ocean, and the mountains just up ahead, and the clouds that hang too low, it almost seems like Yoongi can touch them, if he just stands up on his toes. If he just reaches his hand up high enough.

A small and very quiet oh passes through his lips as Yoongi looks around—as he takes it all in, because they view is surreal, and—and trust Hoseok, really, to find the perfect spots all the time. To be able to take Yoongi’s breath away like this, as easily as the view has. As easily as the rising sun will, any second now, because Yoongi already knows it’s going to be beautiful, with how high up they are. With how ethereal the rest of the island looks from this vantage point.

“Do you like it?” Hoseok asks from behind him, voice sounding much more awake, now.

Yoongi looks over his shoulder. It takes him a few more beats to answer, because there’s a grip squeezing at his heart this time, a heavy stone just dropping in his stomach. Yoongi feels overwhelmed and it’s too much all at once—too much, but he snaps out of it. Pushed himself to, because Hoseok’s blinking down at him, waiting for an answer, smile expectant, like this is his special place, and Yoongi—

Yoongi is his special person.

Maybe, maybe, maybe. God . Maybe.

“It’s beautiful,” Yoongi says, swallowing the rest of the words that he can’t quite say. Swallowing everything about Hoseok that he wants to say—because this isn’t the time. Because there will never be a good time for it, not when Yoongi refuses to admit anything, not even to himself.

“Wait ’til you see the sunrise. Come here,” Hoseok tugs on the sleeve of Yoongi’s shirt, pulling him closer to his side, and Yoongi knows that this is more for Hoseok’s benefit than anything because they’re nearing the edge of the cliff, and Hoseok’s always been a little bit scared of heights. Okay, a lot scared of the heights, but here they are—on a cliff, overlooking the rest of the island, waiting for the sunrise. Ready for the sunrise. “It’s going to be amazing, I promise.”

So they sit, a few dozen steps away from the edge, on the rocky ground, legs folded underneath them, and shoulders pressed together. They sit just by the edge of a cliff, so close together, that Yoongi can’t help it when he yawns. Can’t help it when Hoseok throws an arm carelessly around his shoulder and pulls him even closer—until Yoongi has his head pillowed on Hoseok’s shoulder, eyes fixed on the orange sky, slowly lighting up.

And so they sit, waiting for the sunrise.

Waiting for the rest of the world to start to make sense, because there’s just no way Yoongi’s feeling something other for his best friend. No way. No way. No way.

Yet here they are. On a trip just for the both of them. Seeing the world. Getting their hands dirty. Scraping their knees. Dancing with fire. Running through lonely cities and crowded cities, the blinking lights overhead looking a lot like the stars when you’re drunk enough.

The sun rises, as it always does, day by day. It rises, and so does Yoongi, pulling Hoseok up with him. It rises, stopping until it’s high up in the sky, nestled amongst the clouds, a warm orange and yellow, the blues slowly seeping in. The water looks like it’s on fire, too, the sun’s rays reflected on the surface.

It’s then that Yoongi gets the idea, looking just over the cliff.

Hoseok says, “What did you think—“

The same time Yoongi declares, “Let’s do it.”

“Do what?” Hoseok says, squinting at Yoongi.

“Let’s jump.” Yoongi can feel the tugging of a smile on his features. Can feel his face burning up. He can feel the rest of the world burning up—everything can go up in flames and Yoongi will not care, because he has this moment now. The sun, the sky, the sea, and Hoseok. He has all of this now, and nothing else will ever matter, not after this. “Come on, Hoseokie.”

Hoseok reacts the exact same way Yoongi had expected—eyes going wide, face pale, and the sound that slips past his lips almost a shriek but not quite.

“What the fuck.”

Yoongi expected that, too.

“We’re going to be okay,” Yoongi says, taking a few steps closer the edge. He’s seen dozens of people make a running leap of faith and jump. He knows this is what this cliff is for—people jump all the time. “It’s perfectly safe. People do it all the time.”

“Hyung—“ Hoseok starts, already looking like he might faint, and Yoongi takes a step closer to him, because there’s no way he’s going to force Hoseok into doing this if it wasn’t going to be safe, but it is, and they’ll be fine, they’ll always be fine, but. “Yoongi.”

“I mean,” Yoongi looks over his shoulder at the dive. It’s not that high, not that deep. It’s safe. It’s going to be safe. And the water will be a mixture of warm and cool, from the evening and the sun. It’ll be nice. Amazing. As beautiful as the sunrise, maybe. But. “Hey, y’know what. We don’t have to.”

“Yoongi.” This time, Hoseok looks a little less shaken and more resolved. This time, when he clasps his fingers around Yoongi’s wrist, they’re not as cold, not as clammy. This time, when Yoongi looks up to meet Hoseok’s gaze, it’s to find that the younger boy is already smiling. “I’m—if you say we’ll be okay, then let’s do it.”

They will be, Yoongi is sure. They’ll be okay. They’ll always be okay. That’s why they’re here, that’s why they’re travelling. That’s why Yoongi can finally, finally tell himself that he might just be a little bit in love with Hoseok, with his best friend, and still be able to look at him like this, because they’ll be okay. They’ll always be okay.

(And there is an oh that dings in the back of Yoongi’s mind as he realises what he’d just said, as he tries the word again, turns it over and over again in his mind.

It sounds funny.

But it doesn’t sound wrong.

Yoongi just doesn’t know how to feel about it, not exactly. Not yet.)

“I’ll go first,” Yoongi shuts his own mind off to turn to Hoseok, fingers folding over Hoseok’s shoulder. He squeezes on them reassuringly. “I’ll be right there. I’ll wait for you.”

Before Yoongi steps aside, Hoseok pinches Yoongi’s cheek, more affectionate than anything, his smile cheeky. So, so cheeky, Yoongi wants to roll his eyes, but he doesn’t, because he’s long since decided that he’ll let Hoseok have this.

“Okay?” Hoseok lets go of Yoongi, watching as Yoongi nods his head, taking the necessary few steps back so he can get himself ready for the short run to start.

“Okay.” Yoongi says, smiling up at Hoseok.

Okay, Yoongi thinks, taking off into a light run towards the edge. Okay , he thinks, a smile on his face, and his eyes shut tight as he throws himself right over, that leap of faith that he’d called on giving him the extra push to do it.

Before Yoongi hits the water, he opens his eyes—sees their part of the island. The glistening sand on the beach, the ocean, glittering, crystal clear and blue, and the horizon, so far away but so, so close, Yoongi thinks he can reach it, just graze it with his fingertips.

And then he hits the water, and it is absolutely exhilarating, kicking his way back up, and breaking into the surface, gasping for air.

“Yoongi—“ he hears Hoseok’s voice from above, fainter, far away. But Yoongi hears it.

“I’m okay,” Yoongi yells back, his own voice sounding far too light, because his chest feels like it’s just expanded, heart rate finally calming down. A gentle acceptance, now. “I got you, you’ll be okay, Hoseok.”

That’s all there is to be said. All that it takes for Hoseok to make the jump himself, scream ripped away by the wind as he dives right down into the ocean, landing a few feet away from Yoongi, and causing a splash.

Yoongi swims over to him, laughing when Hoseok breaks through the surface, the look on his face absolutely priceless, because he’s okay, he’s okay, he’s okay, Yoongi had been right— he’s okay .

Hoseok follows after Yoongi then, laughing loudly, splashing around in the water. Under the water, he finds Yoongi’s hand, clutching tightly onto it. Holding. Not letting go.

Yoongi twines their fingers together and laughs, and laughs, and laughs, because he might have said he was just a little bit in love with Hoseok, but that isn’t the case. He’s a lot in love, and that’s okay, it really is, because they’re going to be okay, flying leap of faith and all.

The neon signs flash brightly, illuminating the dark streets. There’s a lot of people out tonight, more so than usual. It is a Saturday, after all. Tourists flock these parts of the city most of the time, because this strip of bars is just like everything else they’d managed to stumble into: tourists traps. Yet, here they are, right in the middle of it all.

It had been both of their decisions, to try the clubs. The night life. They can’t come to Bali and not try it at least once, and as much as Yoongi is a fan of the beaches and the easy island life, he was more than eager to have agreed when Hoseok brought it up. It’s a good opportunity, something fun, something they can look back on. Besides, for as much as they’re tourist traps, the clubs are also quite well known to be—well, a whole different kind of hell.

And it’s been a while for the both of them. They’d gotten drinks in Japan, sure, in that tucked away pub that was too quiet for two in the morning. But this is something entirely different, and Yoongi doesn’t mind, not really, not when he knows it’s going to be fun. Going to clubs has never really been his choice for a night out, but drinks, alcohol—and Hoseok, add all of that up and you get an equation for a good time.

So that’s how Yoongi finds himself squeezing through the crowd of one of the city’s largest clubs. There’s far too many people and it’s all too fucking loud but Yoongi—Yoongi’s missed this. It reminds him a bit too much of careless nights from university, and even more reckless mornings that only led to a lot of regret. But—but this is different, now, and Hoseok’s just right behind him, a hand on the small of his back, guiding Yoongi further into the crowd as they weave their way around dozens of people dancing just to get to the bar.

“I’ll get us the first round,” is what Hoseok had said right before they’d ordered the first round, but they’re both clinking their glasses for what seems like the sixth time now and Hoseok’s still buying the drinks, waving off the bartender for their next round, and Yoongi’s head is light, very, very light, but he drinks, anyway, because he’s missed this. He really has.

Yoongi downs his drink in one shot, head thrown back, shuddering when the taste hits him. A trail of fire down his throat and acid dripping onto his stomach. So maybe he hasn’t missed that part of the deal—the mixing of different drinks, but he’s missed everything else. His ears ringing with the bass, drumming loud and almost deafening. Hoseok’s smile against the pulsing lights, red and blue and green. His own head, light, and his cheeks warm. It’s the alcohol, Yoongi knows. It’s already hit him, but he keeps going, anyway, because they haven’t got a lot of days left in Bali, and to hell if he’s going to spend the one night he’d gone clubbing perfectly sober.

Amidst the noise and the blur of colour and motion, Yoongi focuses on Hoseok. Sees Hoseok in vivid sharp detail as Hoseok tilts his head to the general direction of the dance floor, a quiet call for Yoongi to join him.

It must be the alcohol in his system, or the fact that they’re in a foreign country, just the both of them, foreign in a large group of tourists, everybody else a stranger to them, and they to the rest of the crowd, that Yoongi pushes off of his stool and heads towards Hoseok, hardly a thought in his mind.

There is never really a good time to think too much about these sort of things—never really advisable, actually, because when it calls, you either answer or you don’t.

Tonight, Yoongi answers on the first ring.

He hears Hoseok say his name, feels the warm breath that tickles just under his ear, and Yoongi almost loses it, but then the lights grow dimmer, and the song slows down, and Hoseok has an arm looped around his waist, head thrown back, and his smile too large for life. Bright enough that it illuminates this part of the club.

Hoseok touches him without much reserve, because this is how they’ve always been, how they’ll always be—open and handsy and comfortable, all too familiar with each other. They’ve done this in the past, they’ll do this now, and they’ll do it again next time. This is them, Yoongi and Hoseok, two sides of the same coin.

Yoongi hears the song filter through the speakers, through the drunken noise that fills the club. He hears the song and he thinks that it’s a very odd one to play in a club at this hour, but he goes with it, anyway, because any chance he gets to dance with Hoseok like this—Yoongi’ll take it.

“How are you doing?” Hoseok asks, head ducking down so Yoongi can hear him. The lights start to flash in Yoongi’s eyes and he squints at them, his vision going bleary. Yoongi’s fingers dig into Hoseok’s shoulder, grip tightening at the sudden change.

But the music stays the same. Yoongi can hear it from the speakers. Can hear it inside his head. In the beating of his heart. It is a clear ringing of a bell. It sounds a lot like Hoseok’s laughter.

Yoongi thinks he’s in love with that, too. He smiles up at Hoseok and shakes his head. Shakes the laughter off his shoulders, and playfully bumps their foreheads together. “Good,” and then, after a second. “Great. Really, really great. Thank you.”

Hoseok stills at that, eyes going wide, but then Yoongi brushes it aside as they move through the crowd, this time taking the lead, a simple step that Hoseok had taught him that one drunk evening after they’d trashed their midterms in college.

“Weird that they’d play a slow song,” Hoseok rubs his thumb along the side of Yoongi’s neck, and Yoongi leans in to the touch, almost smirking.

Weird. Right. Really weird.

Weird how they’re dancing along to it, too, but—but it’s not. Maybe. It’s not.

And in the back of Yoongi’s mind, he hears Jimin’s laughter, all too amused at the both of them. Oblivious , Jimin had said from out of the blue one morning when he’d watched Yoongi and Hoseok tumble out of the door, hangovers heavy.

Stupid , Namjoon had agreed with a roll of his eyes.

Yoongi had never understood what they meant, until—

Until now.

Somehow, Yoongi finds himself separated from Hoseok.

The amount of people in the club, pressing against him, making hanging around the bar a total hell, because Yoongi can hardly breathe, let alone move. So he pushes himself away from them, looking around the place for Hoseok, eyes squinted to adjust better to the blinking neon lights. His ears have started to go numb, the music just a distant sound that he hears, almost like the rushing of his own blood in his ears. Almost.

Yoongi spots Hoseok just off to the side, dancing in the middle of a large group of tourists. Spots long blonde hair and even longer legs right next to Hoseok, one hand gripping onto his shoulder. The reaction is almost instantaneous—flames licking at his insides. A fire that threatens to burn him from the inside out.

It takes him longer than he needs to, but Yoongi finally looks away—it doesn’t look like anything’s going on in that corner of the club, not when Hoseok’s just having fun. Not when this is what Hoseok loves to do—under the lights, with the alcohol running through his veins, and the energy of dozens of other people around him. This is how Hoseok thrives—what he lives for, and Yoongi knows, because Hoseok’s made sacrifices after college.

Had given up a lot just for his family.

So Yoongi lets Hoseok have this for tonight, at least, because Hoseok looks like he’s having fun. It doesn’t matter that he’s surrounded by people that had managed to drag him away from Yoongi. It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he’s having fun, dancing, meeting new people, laughing—that is all that matters.

All that will ever matter to Yoongi, if you ask him.

And that’s that, at least—that’s what Yoongi thinks, until he finds himself in the middle of the dance floor, with two people he’s never even met leaning down to ask him his name, speaking slowly, their English thick with an accent.

Yoongi can barely hear them, let alone reply to them—it’s not like they’d just been getting by with their terrible English throughout the trip or anything, really.

They’re tall—at least a head and a half taller than him. Bigger, too, and Yoongi already knows the red flags when it comes to things like this. Has had his fair share of run-ins back at home, so he knows. Can see it clear as day, even if his vision has blurred. Even if he’s lightheaded from all the drinks (and fuck Hoseok for insisting on buying every round. All the goddamn flaming shots that they’d taken in a row, god , Yoongi hates his ass sometimes.).

Yoongi shakes his head at the both of them, looking over his shoulder to see if there’s an easy way out, because this doesn’t feel right, not when he realises that they’d managed to back him up into a corner, away from the rest of the crowd, but not safe from the music, and the constant jeers from all the several drunk people, drinks sloshing around in their hands.

This might have been a bad idea, now that Yoongi’s looking up at their faces.

“Hey, we’re only here to talk,” one of the men say, reaching out to touch Yoongi, hand heavy on his elbow, fingers cold. So cold, Yoongi shudders. “What’s your name?”

Yoongi understands that part, at least—but he’s also not an idiot, so he shrugs the guy’s hold off and rolls his eyes. If they want to play this game, then fine , they can. Yoongi will.

“I need to go,” Yoongi manages to say, trying to step in between them, but failing when the other guy blocks his view, offering him a beer for his troubles, for him to hang out with them, and this is hilarious, on any given occasion, it really is, but Yoongi’s tired, and Hoseok’s somewhere in the other side of the club, having the time of his life, and Yoongi’s miserable now, he really is—accosted by two drunk guys who just don’t get the message, who refuse to get the message, god .

There’s no use repeating what he’d just said, not when they refuse to listen, so Yoongi tries to slip away again, because what’s the worse that they can do—get in his way?

Apparently, even just challenging that in his mind had been a bad idea, because they don’t just stand in his way, one of them—the one with the beer, with the messy brown hair, and the green eyes—wraps his fingers around Yoongi’s wrist, pulling him back. Pulling him closer.

“I said,” Yoongi tries to rip his hand away from them, the words coming out in a hiss that none of them can hear over the sound of the music blasting all around the club.

And instead of his own warning, Yoongi hears a scathing, “Fuck off.” that has him snapping his head up to see Hoseok pushing through the crowd, pushing through the two men, a scowl on his face, and a look in his eyes that Yoongi’s never seen before.

The man’s grip slackens, most probably from the shock, and Yoongi rips his hand out of his hold, pushing past them to get to Hoseok, his heart hammering in his chest.

Hoseok’s fingers latch tightly around Yoongi’s wrist, pulling him to his side, and try as Yoongi might to drag him away from the scene—they’re creating a scene, starting a scene. Yoongi knows, can feel the dozens of eyes that have turned away from the party to glance at them—Hoseok refuses to move, but he does loosen his hold around Yoongi’s hand, careful now not to hurt him.

Hoseok is always careful.

“Hoseok,” Yoongi tries, tugging on their joined hands. “Let’s go.”

It takes a couple more tugs, but eventually, Yoongi manages to pull Hoseok away from the two men, dragging him across the floor and right out the door. The entire time, Hoseok’s gone rigid stiff, hands clenched tightly into a fist, and Yoongi knows how much Hoseok avoids confrontation. Knows that he is never one for fights, especially not in public spaces. But Yoongi also knows that there are certain limitations to people, and tonight—tonight may have been one of the rare nights that the line had been crossed.

“You shouldn’t have stopped me,” is the first thing Hoseok says when they step out of the club, cold midnight air blowing at their faces. “What they tried to do—what they could’ve done. Hyung,” and then, after a deep exhale. “Yoongi.”

“Hoseok,” Yoongi is still quite shaken himself, although—although Yoongi thinks that nothing could have happened. He would have been able to tear himself away from that situation regardless if Hoseok had swooped in to step between them. Regardless. “It would’ve been trouble.”

What Yoongi wants to say is, it’s not worth it , but he knows Hoseok enough to know that saying that will only lead to an outburst, so he holds back.

“It was trouble,” Hoseok’s voice has gone low and rough, and it’s only now hitting Yoongi just how affected Hoseok is. A glance at Hoseok’s hand shows Yoongi that his fist is still tightly clenched, nails digging into his skin.

Very slowly, Yoongi reaches for Hoseok’s hand. Turns it over on his palm, and pries his fingers loose. Yoongi strokes his thumb over Hoseok’s palm, a little bit bruised, now, and shakes his head. “Let’s go back home.”

A sharp inhale from Hoseok, and then—and then a little nod, mouth still pressed into a hard line. But his hand has slacked in Yoongi’s hold, even if his shoulders are still rigid. Bristling with barely contained anger.

But they walk, making their way through the quiet early mornings of the city, and it is a different feeling now, walking away from the clubs and the bars, from that part of the city. It’s different when they grow closer to their resort, because it starts to get quiet, the sound dropping, except—

Except for their footsteps and the distant rolling of the waves from the beach Yoongi knows isn’t too far away.

Their entire walk back to the cottage is a quiet one, but they spend it holding hands, Hoseok clasping tightly onto Yoongi’s. Palm against palm, fingers twined together, Hoseok clutching tightly, like there is no way he’s letting go, not tonight, not after that. He doesn’t say anything, though, and Yoongi is only thankful for that small thing, because he doesn’t think he’ll hear anything, anyway, not when his heart is beating loudly behind his chest, blood rushing past his ears. Yoongi can’t quite see anything ahead of them except for this, except for his hand in Hoseok’s, except for the expanse of sky overhead, the stars burning quietly, watching. Waiting.

Listening.

The same way Yoongi listens to every inhale and exhale. To every step. To every little chirp from a bird. To the rustling of the leaves. To the blowing of the wind. Yoongi listens and he hears—

Except.

Except for all the things he wants to say, all the things he wants to hear from Hoseok. That, Yoongi is sure, he will never hear. He doesn’t mind. It’s okay.

This is okay.

Hoseok’s hand is warm on his and for the first time, Yoongi starts to feel like maybe, just maybe, Hoseok is as afraid of losing him as Yoongi is.

Maybe.

The first sigh of relief comes from Hoseok, whose shoulders visibly sag when they step back into the cottage. His brows are still knitted together, mouth pressed into a tight-lipped line. Still bristling with slight anger that simmers just a few degrees below the boiling point.

Yoongi sits down on the edge of his bed, watching as Hoseok paces in front of him, the hand that he’d held on just a few moments earlier now curled into a fist again. He’s still angry, Yoongi knows, and it’s a mixture of the alcohol, of Yoongi not wanting to push things, because the last thing Yoongi wants is for them to get into a brawl at the bar. Not during this trip, not now, not when they’ve got more pressing things to address.

“Hoseok,” Yoongi tries to call him, voice coming out small. Hoseok doesn’t hear him, but he has stopped pacing. This time, Yoongi raises his voice. It comes out sharply, but this is because of his own nerves, heart still racing, mind still spinning. “Look at me. Talk to me.”

Hoseok stops then, eyes finding Yoongi’s across the room.

It doesn’t take him very long until he crosses the small space between them to stand in front of him, one hand on Yoongi’s shoulder, fingers just barely squeezing, the pressure not enough.

“Is anything wrong? Did they—“ but Yoongi cuts Hoseok off with a shake of his head and a sigh of his own.

“It doesn’t matter,” Yoongi tells him point blank, looking up at him. “We’re back home. It’s over,”

At this, Hoseok squeezes, just the slightest bit, on Yoongi’s shoulder, and murmurs something inaudible, something Yoongi doesn’t catch.

“I said,” and Hoseok’s voice is smaller, now, almost like he’s whispering, like he doesn’t want anyone to hear. He stands over Yoongi, still, hand on his shoulder, the worry that reflects in his eyes evident. It squeezes at Yoongi’s heart. “I was so worried, hyung,”

And this is where it falls. This is where Hoseok loses his resolve.

Hoseok lets himself fall, all the walls, and all the bridges crumbling as he sits down beside Yoongi, leg pressed right against Yoongi’s, their shoulders so close, and Hoseok’s hand on his lap, unclenched, fingers grasping at the air.

“I was so fucking worried.” He repeats again, sounding afraid, now, and Yoongi gets it.

He gets it—this feeling in his chest, something warm and new and different spreading, a light that starts from the tips of his toes only to slowly travel up his whole body. Yoongi gets it the same exact time he feels it—a freight train crashing right into him when Hoseok exhales, a rattling of his own breath that sounds weak, tired—scared. So scared and vulnerable, not for him, but for Yoongi.

Yoongi gets it, he really does.

“I’m okay,” Yoongi says, looking at Hoseok. He offers a smile, tries really hard, but it barely has any effect on Hoseok, not when Hoseok’s refusing to meet his eyes, staring at his own hands, palms up on his lap. “Hoseok, come on. You have to look at me. I’m okay. Nothing happened—and you know damn well nothing would have happened. They wouldn’t—“

“They would have,” Hoseok says, voice sharp. Bitter.

“I wouldn’t have let anything happen,” and then, after another beat of his heart that feels all too prolonged, Yoongi adds, “You didn’t let anything happen.”

And this is where it all comes together again, if only for a short, magical moment that is guided by the moonlight and the sound of the crashing waves against the shore. Mystical, even. Like a dream.

This is where Yoongi makes a tentative grab for Hoseok’s hand, finger tracing the lines on his palm before he slips them through the spaces between Hoseok’s fingers. Yoongi twines their fingers together, nudging Hoseok’s shoulders with his own, quietly calling for his attention. Asking Hoseok to look at him. Really look at him.

“I’m sorry,” Hoseok finally lifts his head to look up at Yoongi, and in his eyes, Yoongi sees light scattering. Sees a distant twinkling of a far away star that they’ve yet to discover, that anyone has yet to truly see. But here Yoongi is, looking at it for the first time. Knowing already that Hoseok is more than capable of housing all the wonders in the universe. Hoseok’s hands feel just that, now that Yoongi’s holding on to it—it feels like all the beautiful things in the universe, warm and soft, like he holds the answer for all the questions that have never even been asked before. “I’m sorry.”

When Yoongi offers him a second smile, Hoseok takes it with his own, just a slight tug on the corners of his lips. It is a smile, still, and much better than Hoseok refusing to look at him.

“I was scared,” Hoseok leans against Yoongi, eyes darting from Yoongi’s face to their joined hands. “I just—didn’t like what was happening, how they were treating you. And god , if something happened, I don’t think I would be able to forgive myself.”

“I’m okay,” Yoongi squeezes on Hoseok’s hand. He doesn’t think about how well their fingers slot together, though, or how he never wants to let go of Hoseok’s hand. “We’re okay, that’s all that matters, yeah?” All that will ever matter to Yoongi, really.

“You’re my best friend, hyung, and I—“ Hoseok trips over his own words. Forces himself to swallow down whatever it is he was trying to say, and then shakes his head, inhaling sharply when he lifts his head back up to meet Yoongi’s gaze. “You’re my best friend, Yoongi. I’ll always worry about you the same way I’ll always be here for you. With you.”

The warmth that spreads across Yoongi’s chest slowly makes its way into his heart, and it’s—it’s bright, all of a sudden, Hoseok so close to him. So fucking close that Yoongi can count each and every lash that clings to his eyes.

Hoseok’s hand slides to the back of Yoongi’s neck, fingers trailing down his nape, before he runs them through Yoongi’s hair, soft, careful brushing that has Yoongi feeling weak and thankful that he’s already sitting down, because he’s pretty sure if he hadn’t, his knees would have buckled already.

They’re both so close, Yoongi’s heart, surprisingly, beating steadier, calmer, like it’s finally starting to accept things as they are. Like it’s just opened its doors to the warmth that had knocked; and Yoongi isn’t quite sure where it had started or when, but all he knows is this—Hoseok is his best friend and Yoongi is in love with him, and that’s that.

That’s all there will ever be between them.

So when Hoseok brings their foreheads together, breathing even and steady, eyes fluttering close, Yoongi lets him. Doesn’t move at all, just allows himself to lean into Hoseok, their fingers tangled together between them, and Yoongi’s heart miles and miles away from Hoseok.

Hoseok pulls away first, though he keeps his fingers tangled in Yoongi’s hair. It is reassuring, the weight of Hoseok pressed close to him, the warmth of his hand still clasped in Yoongi’s.

“Good night,” Hoseok’s good night comes in the form of a kiss that he presses to Yoongi’s forehead, lips dry and a little bit chapped from Hoseok worrying at them too much. It is a surprise that has Yoongi’s heart picking up in speed, beating wildly in his chest.

It must be the alcohol, Yoongi repeats this to himself again and again, and again until Hoseok starts to pull away, hand slipping out of Yoongi’s, back straightening, and feet planted on the wooden floor.

Before Hoseok can get up to retreat to his own bed, Yoongi smooths his fingers through Hoseok’s fringe. Sighs, and then smiles at him, a smile that almost hurts. A smile that he hopes Hoseok won’t see through. “G’night, Hoseokie.”

This is how they fall asleep—

They fall asleep on separate beds, Hoseok’s good night something that he mumbles into his pillow, and Yoongi’s barely audible.

This is how Yoongi wakes up in the middle of the night, with the cool too-early morning breeze sweeping into the room.

Yoongi wakes up to find Hoseok curled up beside him, arm slung loosely around Yoongi’s waist.

Through the haze of sleep, Yoongi’s groggy mind barely makes the connection. He blinks blearily at Hoseok, chest rising and falling, sleep hanging over the younger boy heavily.

Yoongi reaches his hand out to touch Hoseok’s face, knuckles grazing down the sharp line of his jaw, before his fingers flutter over the curve of his cheeks. Yoongi smiles, all too sleepy, still and scoots over closer to Hoseok.

This is how Yoongi falls asleep a second time, tucked right next to Hoseok, who holds him throughout the rest of the night.

And just before sleep overcomes Yoongi completely, he finally understands what people had meant when they said everything is easier in the light of the moon.

Later, when the sun starts to knock, and the ocean glitters with gold and orange, Yoongi knows things will be different. But that is for later.

For now, he sleeps, the sound of Hoseok’s breathing the only thing he needs to hear to lull him into a comfortable sleep, and the fluttering of his eyelashes against the side of Yoongi’s face soothing.

They’re leaving Bali late in the afternoon tomorrow.

This is going to be the last sunset Yoongi will see, from this little corner of the world.

Yoongi pulls his knees close to his chest, wrapping his arms around them as he looks out at the beach. At the sun that sets slowly over the horizon. The sky is the colour of wild fire. Orange and red and purple and pink, and it’s crazy, Yoongi thinks, how people are always in search of the most beautiful piece of art when the sky delivers every single day.

People never really stop to look at the sky, perhaps that’s why.

Perhaps.

Hoseok joins him after a few minutes, paper bag plopping down somewhere off to their side. Dinner, Hoseok murmurs under his breath as he settles down beside Yoongi.

To say that things have changed between them after that one night isn’t exactly the truth, because things haven’t changed—well, not drastically, anyway. Just—just slightly .

Hoseok unable to look him too long in the eyes, stuttering over his own words. Something is odd about them, but Yoongi can’t quite put a finger on it, because they’d—they’d slept on the same fucking bed, god , that must have been what bothered Hoseok, but at the same time, it had been Hoseok who had joined him and not the other way around, so what .

But Yoongi doesn’t try to shake the truth out of Hoseok.

They only have a day left in this beautiful island. Yoongi wants to spend it in quiet comfort with his best friend. Just like this.

After a while, Hoseok breathes out. It sounds like a sigh of relief, and for the first time in what seems like days that have stretched on to weeks, Hoseok brushes their shoulders together, and tilts his head towards Yoongi’s.

Yoongi can hear the smile in his voice, almost too dreamy, when Hoseok says, “The sunset’s really beautiful in this part of the world,”

“It is,” Yoongi agrees, without a second thought. He cosies right up next to Hoseok, his sigh soft when he feels Hoseok tuck his head into the crook of Yoongi’s shoulder and neck. Even with Hoseok so close, the moment Yoongi sweeps a gaze to look at him, Hoseok ducks his head down, the tops of his cheeks tinged pink and orange. A reflection of the ocean and the sun.

Yoongi thinks it’s beautiful, too.

Inhale .

That Hoseok drenched in the orange glow of the sunset in this part of the world is more beautiful than any other sunset, anywhere else.

Exhale .

“You know,” Hoseok’s voice is light, conversational. But beneath it, Yoongi can hear the strain in his tone. Can feel the slight trembling of his shoulders. Something is wrong—or, something had gone wrong, because Hoseok’s so close, yet he’s not even looking at Yoongi, stumbling over his words like this. “This is where dreams go.”

A funny thing to say. Yoongi squints at the sunset, at the gentle roaring of the ocean. This side of the beach is empty, devoid of the usual tourists. This has always been Yoongi’s favourite spot for the sunset.

“To die?” Yoongi muses, finger tracing small circles over Hoseok’s exposed knee.

Hoseok tickles at that, but if he minds, he doesn’t really say it. He just lets Yoongi get away with it the same way Yoongi lets Hoseok get away with clinging to him. With barely looking at him.

The laugh that rumbles out of Hoseok sounds a lot like home, and Yoongi’s eyes flutter to a close, a smile slowly tugging on the corners of his lips.

“No, you idiot,” fond, Hoseok sounds fond. “This is where they go home.”

The sky grows darker with every passing minute, the sea breeze colder as it brushes at their cheeks.

Yoongi slowly tears his gaze away from the horizon to look at Hoseok, the same time Hoseok lifts his head up from Yoongi’s shoulder.

This is the first time Hoseok’s looked him in the eye all day, and Yoongi thinks back to the previous night, about the worry and the anger that was so clearly reflected in Hoseok’s eyes. At the tears that had started to brim at the corners. At how Hoseok had forced his eyes shut and kissed Yoongi’s forehead to hide the fact that he’d been close to tears.

The sky is more purple than orange now, the evening creeping up on the sunset. It is almost time for them to start their walk back to the cottage. For dinner. To start packing for their trip back home.

This is where dreams go, Hoseok had said, looking at the sunset. This is where they go home.

Hoseok lifts a hand up to cup at Yoongi’s face. The look in his eyes is uncertain, now. He holds his breath, lets it rattle in his chest while his heart goes a mile a minute.

This is where they go home, Yoongi repeats to himself, hand curling over Hoseok’s knee.

Evening settles around them just as their lips brush lightly, tentative and uncertain, Yoongi’s nails digging bluntly into Hoseok’s skin.

Hoseok holds Yoongi through it, though Yoongi can feel his own shoulders shake. Can feel how Hoseok’s normally warm hands are cold to the touch of his cheek.

But they kiss for the first time like this, the sun setting just in front of them, and the breeze playing the gentle song of the ocean, the waves rushing right past their ears.

The kiss is nothing more than just the pressing of their lips together, soft and light, both their hearts beating wildly, and equal looks of fear reflected in their eyes, because they might have taken a leap of faith jumping off that cliff, but this is different.

This time, Yoongi isn’t sure if Hoseok’s ready to run right after him. He isn’t even sure if the water is waiting for him down below, all Yoongi knows is that he’s falling.

Hoseok pulls away first, thumb stroking lightly over the jut of Yoongi’s cheek. His hand is cold. So, so much colder than what Yoongi is used to.

They don’t say anything when they push off from the mat and start their short walk back to the cottage.

Yoongi isn’t even sure if he wants them to talk, not when he hasn’t got anything to say about that. Not when he spends the twenty minute walk back with his arms crossed, shivering every now and again with each breeze that blows by.

Not when Hoseok walks ahead of him, shoulders rigid, and hands stuffed into his pocket.

They don’t say anything and for the first time in a long time, Yoongi wonders if they’ll be okay after this, because best friends don’t kiss each other and leave it at that, do they?

Although—although a little part of Yoongi thinks that best friends don’t kiss each other at all to begin with.

If there was one thing Yoongi had promised himself when they’d stepped foot in Bali, it was that the only thing he was allowed to do was enjoy himself. Enjoy being with Hoseok, the both of them together. To fall in love with the sunrise with every passing day and the sunset more so than the previous day. It had all been such a simple equation, and yet—

Yet Yoongi’s somehow, somehow managed to fall in love with Hoseok. Perhaps just a little bit. Perhaps a lot. Just thinking about it has Yoongi’s stomach filling with tangles and knots, and sitting right next to Hoseok on the plane, the younger boy with his head leaned against the window and dozing off, definitely not helping at all.

In his hand sits the camera that Yoongi’s held on to the whole trip. He flips through the first few photos from when they’d arrived in Bali, Hoseok looking sun-kissed and glowing not an hour after they’d ran to the beach, hair blowing in the wind, and smile brighter than the sun, the look in his eyes glittering the same way the sea glittered under the light of the sun.

Yoongi thumbs over a photo of the both of them, Hoseok holding a coconut in his hand and sipping on a straw, while Yoongi leans on him, hat pulled down low enough that it casts half his face in shadow.

It’s a good picture, Yoongi thinks, flipping through the next set.

Beside him, Hoseok stirs. Slowly starts to rise when he notices that Yoongi hasn’t slept at all, still rigid and stiff since they’d boarded the plane.

Very slowly, Hoseok takes the camera out of Yoongi’s hands. Stuffs it into his bag that he pulls from under the seat, and then leans back into his seat again. Before he turns away to sleep, he throws a blanket around Yoongi.

Hoseok doesn’t meet his eyes the entire time, though their hands brush when Hoseok pulls the blanket up to Yoongi’s shoulders and Yoongi attempts to pull it back down, the whole thing unnecessary.

They haven’t talked about the kiss, about the moment at the beach, the last sunrise they’d both shared in that little corner of the world. But Hoseok does bring up the topic of them cliff diving with a fond smile on his face, and Yoongi eases into the conversation, eyes starting to get heavy.

“It was a fun trip,” Hoseok says, pulling his blanket up to his chin. He turns to look at Yoongi briefly, his smile a ghost of his usual one. More muted than usual. Too quiet, even.

It’s Yoongi’s turn not to meet Hoseok’s gaze. Yoongi tilts his head back and closes his eyes, knows that sleep is not too far away. Knows that home isn’t, either. They’re on their way.

“Yeah,” the sound of the engine is more muted now, the rest of the world going silent, slowly fading away. But Hoseok’s presence is strong beside Yoongi. Warm. Always so warm. “Thank you.” What Yoongi doesn’t say is that there’s nobody else he would’ve gone on this trip with, but he doesn’t need to say it, the same way he doesn’t need to ask Hoseok what the kiss meant, because obviously it means nothing.

“It really was.” Hoseok murmurs, voice sounding far away and like he’s underwater.

Sleep pulls Yoongi under so quickly that he doesn’t catch the next thing Hoseok says, a quiet whisper of, “I’ll go anywhere with you, hyung.”

Perhaps it’s for the best that Yoongi doesn’t hear.