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Backstage (We Shine Brighter)

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Hoseok met Yoongi backstage, covered in sweat and high on adrenaline. There were endless faces there, all unfamiliar and fleeting, and Hoseok knew he’d never really know any of them. None of them would ever really know him. It was all just a blur of flashing lights and blinding spots, screaming voices that weren’t for him and rushed costume changes in joint dressing rooms where no one said anything that mattered.

At a young twenty years, Hoseok had found himself in a way he didn’t think he ever would through his anxiety riddled teenage years. Life wasn’t perfect, no, not by any means, but he was dancing and that was better than any alternative.

Albeit, he was a backup dancer, and auditions were rough, and he blended into the background, just another face to make someone else look better. It didn’t matter if he was handsome too, or if he were talented too, because that wasn’t in his job description.

Luckily, he had a job to describe though. And the job was steady, working on tour with an outbreak idol group, three guys around his age with voices to rival angels and faces to make girls weak. Park Jimin, Jeon Jungkook, and Kim Seokjin, the makeup of J-cubed, three men who didn’t even really know Jung Hoseok existed, but to whom he owed his life, really. He’d only ever spoken to one of them, Jimin, he’d been kind, telling the backup dancers they’d done well, and then he smiled at Hoseok and told him he had done especially well. Then he was gone and back to being the idol everyone adored.

And Hoseok was back in the background, a smile on his face and sweat dripping from his bangs. The audience was a screaming blur that night, as they always were. It was impossible to make out faces or to differentiate between voices. He could hardly even hear Seokjin—Jin, to the fans—singing. His legs moved along to the song, to the rhythm and his hands sliced through the air and his muscles burned in the best way.

And then, like clockwork, he was ushered backstage for the costume change, into something nondescript and probably not prime dancing wear and that was where he first saw Min Yoongi, among the faces and makeup brushes and pieces of clothing.

His eyes were inquisitive and sharp and he stared right at Hoseok, unwavering. In his hands, he held a small piece of paper, stark and white against his black clothing. Hoseok stared back with a question in his eyes and the other male looked away, scanning the mass of people.

Hoseok was back on stage after only a moment, no time to catch his breath or use the bathroom (he had peed in a water bottle once when changing, but his body had adjusted and he no longer really felt the urge while preforming).

“You good?” another dancer asked him as they lined up.

“Yeah,” he breathed.

The next song was fast paced, too, but sometimes Jeon Jungkook would break off and do something that wasn’t choreographed. That night, he looked into the faces of the backup dancers and pulled Hoseok to the front, urging him to go on, alone, while the others stood still.

Hoseok did.

He did and it was invigorating, the way the audience got quieter with curiosity and then louder when they saw the way his body moved. Jeon Jungkook cheered Hoseok on with his mic, and even though Hoseok knew the boy was younger than he was, the validation felt good. It felt like someone important had just told him everything he’d worked for was worth it.

He looked into a camera that was connected to the big screen, the one that even the people in the farthest back seats could see and he smirked, a gesture far too confident for a measly backup dancer. But he did it. He smirked and thrust his hips forward in a way that rivaled even Park Jimin. Seokjin laughed in amusement into his mic and Jungkook clapped as the other backup dancers pulled him back into line.

Hoseok didn’t know how long he’d been in the spotlight, but it felt like years. The rest of the concert was a blur. He half hoped when the three idols wrapped up and thanked the backup dancers as they always did, that they would thank Hoseok specifically, but they didn’t.

He wasn’t disappointed.

Backstage again was less hectic once the concert was over. It was the idols who got fussed over, who got cool towels and water bottles from assistants and managers and whoever else. The backup dancers were left to their own devices, free to go change and go back to the hotel, or hook up with someone in a storage closet, or go out and party in an unfamiliar city with unfamiliar people.

Hoseok preferred to go to his hotel himself (on most occasions), pass out on the bed and sleep as late as he could manage before mooching off the complimentary breakfast the next morning. If he wasn’t too tired, he’d call his mom or his sister, assure them he was okay.

However, that night was different. He was heading to the dressing room, his jacket slung off over his shoulder and his shirt sticking to his chest, when a hand touched his damp shoulder with a hesitance that wasn’t usually reserved for him.

He turned and met those same inquisitive eyes from before.

“You were good out there,” the man said in a raised, raspy, voice, over the rest of the voices.

“Oh,” Hoseok said. “Thank you.”

“How long have you been dancing?”

“Since I was a kid!” Hoseok yelled back, as the voices around them rose. Hoseok looked beyond the man in front of him to see Kim Seokjin pushing through people, a determined look on his handsome face.

“I work for someone!” the man said, thrusting out the piece of paper he’d been holding earlier. “He’s basically making me be his bitch, but who am I to complain? He has other things to tend to, I guess, whatever. Take this.”

Hoseok took the paper and looked down at it.

Kim Namjoon
Bangtan Entertainment

Contact information followed, brief and to the point on the plain white card. “He wanted to make the cards fucking gold and I was like, dude, no fucking way, no one cares, just use a plain card,” the man said and shook his head, his black hair dusting over his eyes. He was small, but not necessarily that small, height wise, only an inch or so shorter than Hoseok. But he was skinny and didn’t match his deep, raspy voice, and Hoseok had to lean down and forward to hear him.

“Are you Kim Namjoon?” Hoseok shouted.

“No,” he answered and then glanced over Hoseok’s shoulder. Hoseok turned and followed his gaze to see Kim Seokjin in another man’s face, his voice dipped to a low growl, and his shoulders wide and intimidating. Hoseok had never seen him that way. “Fuck,” the man in front of Hoseok muttered. “Look, you’re really talented, okay? You should call that number. You shouldn’t just be backup.”

“Wait, do you even know my name?” Hoseok asked as the other started to move away, towards what seemed to be an argument.

“No. But you can tell Namjoon when you call.”

“Who are you?”

“Doesn’t matter. Name’s Yoongi, but doesn’t matter,” he said with another head shake. “See you around.”

Hoseok watched him retreat, watched people swallow him up and watched him pull a man away from Kim Seokjin and off into some dark hallway, away from drama. Kim Seokjin turned on his heel with a huff and headed towards his own personal dressing room. He brushed past Hoseok on the way, and gave him what might have been considered a dirty look.

Hoseok ignored it and instead, tucked the little card into his pocket and went to change. In the dressing rooms, he peeled off his sweaty clothes and changed into something else before grabbing his bag and heading out.

The hotel was nice, but he didn’t have one of the fancy rooms, it was just one of the normal ones, but it was plenty and he fell back on the bed as soon as he arrived and took the little card out of his bag, where he had put it after changing.

“Bangtan Entertainment,” Hoseok read aloud to himself. A label. Hoseok knew what that meant. It meant trainees and long winters in a dorm with people he didn’t know. He’d managed to bypass that, it wasn’t something he wanted, never was. He wouldn’t have been able to handle the pressure. Instead he went to straightforward auditions for performances as a backup dancer and eventually landed a spot on tour with J-cubed, which was more than he ever could have asked for.

Asking for more would be dangerous.

But he kept the card anyway.

Maybe because he was intrigued as to whom had gotten Kim Seokjin so riled up. Or maybe he just wanted another shot at being in the spotlight. Or maybe he wanted to know more about those inquisitive eyes.

Whatever the reason, he kept the card and he thought he might even call the number on it.

~~~

Bangtan:

“No, I don’t think I’ll have time to see you,” Hoseok said into his cell phone as he hurried down the Seoul streets, eager to catch the bus that would take him to the building on that little piece of paper.

“It’s been weeks!” his sister whined into the phone. “Mom is grilling me about you constantly. I don’t have very much time off work!”

“I’ll try and see you tomorrow, I promise,” Hoseok said. “Tell mom I’m fine.”

Dawon huffed. “Ever since that stupid video you haven’t been around.” And then she hung up and it stung, but Hoseok couldn’t let it faze him. He had to catch the bus.

Only a few days passed after meeting the man named Yoongi before Hoseok called the number. The label, Bangtan, liked him. Saw his potential, apparently. They’d been looking for new rising stars and the person he spoke to on the phone told him that Kim Namjoon would very much like to speak to him in person. “Nothing formal,” they said. “Nothing final, just a meeting, a discussion. Can you do that? Do you have time off?”

He didn’t really have time, but he made some by cutting off time with his family. It was shitty, but it needed to be done, he told himself. Besides, it was only a few days break in the tour before their big Seoul concert and Hoseok wanted to spend the time doing what he wanted. And what he wanted was to go speak to the elusive Kim Namjoon.

Miraculously, he got to the bus just before it took off and slunk to the back, breathless, and sat down with a thud. A girl a few rows up looked back at him and then forward. Then back again. Forward. Back.

Hoseok waved awkwardly and she smiled. “You look familiar!” she said and stood up to sit closer to him.

“Oh?”

“You look like that dancer from the J-cubed concert in Tokyo,” she said.

Hoseok knew people talked about his dance, about the way he’d been so overtly sexual with only his eyes, the way his body moved unlike the other dancers, in a way that was better. But he hadn’t been recognized, not really. He wasn’t in makeup and his hair wasn’t done, but he supposed he still looked like himself up on that stage.

“Um. Yeah, that’s me,” he said unsurely.

The girl squealed and held out her phone, asking hurriedly for a picture.

No pictures with fans. The boys don’t get to take pictures and neither do any of you. We don’t need anything leaking or circling on the web,” the managers told them once.

However, “Okay, sure,” Hoseok agreed and gave a big smile while she hit the camera button and the picture took. He looked a little bit nervous in the picture and a piece of his brown hair was sticking up in the back, but his smile looked nice and the girl looked excited. It was a cute picture.

“Thank you!” she exclaimed. “You’re a super duper good dancer!” she continued and then she leaned in like she was about to divulge a secret. “Way better than even Jeon Jungkook and Park Jimin and Kim Seokjin, I think.” Then she giggled and stood. “This is my stop, it was nice to meet you Mister Jung!”

“Hoseok!” he corrected and she nodded, bounding off the bus.

The few other passengers gave him questioning looks the rest of the ride, but he didn’t mind and when he got off, he found himself at a big, sleek building with tall windows and blinding white metal.

He walked inside and looked around, suddenly unsure of where he was meant to go. They hadn’t told him over the phone and the building was very daunting. Everything about it screamed success and importance.

“Dude, you look like you’re about to piss your pants,” a voice said and Hoseok darted his eyes to the side to see a familiar face.

“Yoongi?”

“That’s Yoongi hyung to you,” he said. “Namjoon, the fucking creep, looked you up. I’m a year older than you.”

“Oh,” Hoseok said nervously. “Alright, then. Yoongi hyung. Where am I supposed to go?”

“Come with me,” he said and turned around. Hoseok scurried after him until they reached an elevator. Yoongi pressed the up button with a long finger and then tapped his foot while they waited.

“Are you an intern?” Hoseok asked.

Yoongi scoffed. “Fucking no,” he said, looking at Hoseok from the corner of his eye. He was wearing a giant grey hooded sweatshirt and black skinny jeans. He didn’t look like an intern. “I’m like you. Or maybe, anyway. Depends I guess.”

The elevator arrived and Yoongi stepped in first, Hoseok after him and Yoongi hit the button for the fifth floor. “Depends on what?” Hoseok asked when the doors slid closed.

Yoongi looked him up and down, his eyes careful. It didn’t seem like he was judging Hoseok, just like he was assessing him. “Depends on what you want, I guess.”

“Where are you from?” Hoseok blurted out, his filter failing him.

“Daegu.”

“Daegu?”

“Mhm.”

“Your accent sounded different, I was just wondering,” Hoseok explained.

“So, Namjoon is going to seem intimidating at first, but he’s really not, at all. He’s determined though, I’ll tell you that,” Yoongi said, changing the subject. “And yeah, he’s young. Younger than me, same age as you, and I was hesitant about that at first, but it doesn’t matter really. His father did this shit. He broke off, started his own thing, different from the normal trainee stuff.”

“You’re a dancer?” Hoseok asked. Yoongi didn’t look like a dancer, specifically. He could have been, but his body wasn’t like the body of someone who’d been dancing for years and years.

“Hell no,” Yoongi answered as the doors slid open again. “Namjoon is my friend, more than just the guy who runs the label I’m signed to. So, I promise he will be lenient. Just be yourself. Talk to him.”

“So…he looked me up? What does that mean?” Hoseok asked when they started walking down a hall.

“Means that I know your name is Jung Hoseok, but Namjoon didn’t say much else. I mean, I saw you dance that night, and you were good, but my opinion doesn’t make a difference.”

“Oh, right, I never did tell you my name…” Hoseok said thoughtfully and Yoongi chuckled. “I feel kind of like I’m going in blind. And I don’t even know what I’m going in to.”

Yoongi shrugged, like it wasn’t his problem and then picked up his pace until he reached a door at the end of the hall. It was heavy wood, shiny and important looking and the letters “KNJ” were bolted to the door in metal. Yoongi knocked twice, and glanced at Hoseok from the corner of his eyes, seemingly appraising. Hoseok looked down at himself, his black dress pants and white button up, because he’d wanted to look nice, professional. Yoongi looked unimpressed though, and smirked slightly to himself before knocking again.

“Namjoon!” he called, kicking the door with his foot. “I don’t know where the fuck he is,” Yoongi muttered apologetically to Hoseok. “Like if my songs weren’t coming out in a week I would not still be here.” Hoseok was about to ask Yoongi if he sang, but Yoongi opened the door without waiting for an answer and poked his head inside.

“I can come back another time,” Hoseok said, but he knew that was a lie. If he left here today with nothing, he wouldn’t have time to come back. He’d be back to practicing and then off to another unfamiliar place for the tour and once the tour was over he supposed he would be back to auditions or something.

“Just go inside, I’ll go find him,” Yoongi said and pushed the door open the rest of the way. The older man turned to walk away, but Hoseok felt his hand shoot out and grab Yoongi’s wrist. Yoongi jerked away, almost like he’d been burned, and glared back at Hoseok. He hadn’t been mean before, but the look on his face right then was mean. Hoseok knew he had a habit of touching people when he shouldn’t, and he didn’t know Yoongi. He shouldn’t have grabbed him.

“Sorry,” Hoseok mumbled. “I just…”

“Are you scared or some shit? Don’t be,” Yoongi said shortly, arms folded so Hoseok couldn’t grab him again.

“No I just…what is this?”

“Just talk to Namjoon when he gets here. He’ll be here in a second.” And then Yoongi walked off down the hall. Hoseok watched him go, watched the way he kept his arms folded over his chest. Once, Yoongi turned around and met Hoseok’s gaze, but he broke it quickly and slipped back into the elevator.

With no other option, Hoseok walked into the room in front of him. It was clearly an office, but it was wide and open and glass shelves lined one wall and figurines sat on the shelves, row after row of them. The desk was set up with a large computer monitor and there was a microphone in the corner. The desk was dark wood and in front of it were two chairs, made with similar wood, but with plush maroon cushions to sit on. There was also a bean bag in the back of the room.

The person who worked in the office was clearly professional, but also young. Serious, but not too serious.

Hoseok plopped down in one of the chairs and folded his hands in his lap while he waited. Always impatient though, he picked up a photo frame that sat on the desk and turned it around so he could see the picture inside it. Several faces stared back at him, all young and smiling. On the left, Hoseok recognized Yoongi, although his hair was a little bit shorter and he was a little bit less skinny and his hair was a shade lighter. In the middle was a face that Hoseok thought maybe might have been the man Yoongi had dragged away from Kim Seokjin at that concert. He had a weird hairstyle, something unfortunate done in younger years, Hoseok supposed, and dimples that made him look sweet, happy. Yoongi had his arm around the guy in the middle in a friendly, comfortable way.

The man on the right was wearing a ball cap, so his face was slightly shadowed, and he was leaning towards the guy in the middle. His eyes sparkled, even under the cap, and Hoseok leaned closer to get a better look at him and his mouth fell open. It was Kim Seokjin.

“What the heck,” Hoseok muttered, looking closer still. There was no doubt about it, that was who it was. Although, it wasn’t like Hoseok knew the idol insanely well, and he was allowed to have friends, but it was odd. Odd to see him so much younger with two people who Hoseok had just met and who he had seemed pretty angry with at the concert.

“He’s been waiting in there forever Namjoon, he’s probably died by now,” Hoseok heard Yoongi say and he jumped and quickly replaced the photo on the desk.

“Don’t be dramatic, I’m going, I’m going,” another voice said just before someone stepped through the door and closed the door behind him. The new face was tall, had hair that was tinged purple, and Hoseok recognized his dimples from the photo on the desk. “Hi,” he said, holding his hand out, “I’m Kim Namjoon.”

“Jung Hoseok,” Hoseok introduced himself and shook Kim Namjoon’s hand.

“You can just call me Namjoon, I mean ‘Mister’ would be weird since we’re probably the same age,” Namjoon said. “Sorry I wasn’t able to speak to you in person at the Tokyo concert, my head was in other places.”

“That’s okay…” Hoseok said as Namjoon went around to sit behind his desk. He half tripped on nothing along the way, but tried to play it off before he sunk into the black swivel chair behind the desk.

“Yoongi wasn’t too mean, was he?”

“Oh,” Hoseok shook his head. “No, he was fine.”

“I shouldn’t have made him go talk to you, I represent him, or rather Bangtan represents him. He’s not someone who is supposed to find other talents, but the system is still not perfect, I’m working on it,” Namjoon rambled.

“So how come I’m here?”

“Because you’re talented,” Namjoon said and cocked his head to the side. “You know you’re talented.”

“Yeah, but is this a label. Don’t trainees have to try out? And I’m twenty, I’m too old to be a trainee,” Hoseok said.

“I don’t do things like that,” Namjoon said. “No trainees, no making kids practice for endless hours every day and stay away from home. I know you’re older than a trainee, but you’re not too old to start out. Your dancing is too good for you to just be backup, you know?”

Hoseok knew. But he also knew that no one else had ever really told him that before, other than family. Even then, it had just been encouragement, Hoseok knew they didn’t really want him becoming someone super famous. He wasn’t sure he wanted it either, not until he’d been in the spotlight. Having a taste made him crave more.

“So…what? What do you do?”

“My father used to run Bangtan, but it was mostly actors and things like that that he represented. He passed away last year and I took over. It hasn’t been easy, especially when everyone is older than me and thinks I don’t know shit about what I’m doing. But I know exactly what I’m doing and what I want to do,” Namjoon explained. “I changed things, after he passed. I wanted to be in the industry, initially, but I didn’t like the whole…stigma behind it. The way everything is handled?

“Anyway, so I decided that I wanted to find kids like you, and me, I guess, that were a little bit older, already established in what they were good at, for the most part, and help them make something of themselves.”

“Like Yoongi?” Hoseok asked.

Namjoon smiled, all dimples and optimism. “Sort of. Yoongi and I were really close growing up, we met at a concert when we were kids and kept in touch. He’s a rapper, started out underground, like I did, and when I started all this, I offered to represent him, help him get more exposure. It’s slow going, but he’s releasing a mixtape in a week and I think that once that’s out there, we will start releasing other music, for real. It’s just that he won’t decide on a stage name, which is giving me a headache.” Namjoon laughed deeply and shrugged.

“You want to represent me?”

“I’d like to, yes, I can tell potential when I see it. We have staff, other people. You’d probably have manager that was under me that would help you out with everything. I plan for Yoongi to officially debut in a month or so, on TV, we already have a slot, and another few people I have signed are going to also. You might have to wait, though, if you want to accept,” Namjoon said.

“The lady on the phone said this was just a talk, nothing official,” Hoseok said nervously.

“Well you don’t have to decide right now, you can have a few days to think about it, of course.”

“I don’t sing or rap,” Hoseok pointed out.

“You can always learn. And if that’s not something you want, then I can always help you get better gigs dancing.” That was a weird way to put it, Hoseok thought. How was working on tour with J-cubed, one of the best new groups out there, internationally, not just in Korea, not a good gig? “If you did decide on more, though, rap might be better. I already have a few singers. But if singing was what you really wanted, then that would be fine. A couple of the other kids, they’re a bit younger, eighteen and nineteen, and they get along really well, so I might propose that they become a group…

“But I’m thinking out loud. This isn’t like a fake thing, you can look up Bangtan, we’re legit. We have dance studios downstairs, big and open space, and recording studios. Luckily, my dad was transitioning from actors to musicians so it wasn’t too hard of a leap,” Namjoon paused and looked at Hoseok expectantly.

“I will have to think about it…” Hoseok said finally.

“Of course, it’s completely up to you. I’ll have someone call you in a day or two, or you can call sooner if you decide. I know this seems weird, like out of the blue, but I’d actually noticed you a few months back, dancing in the background in the J-cubed concerts. You have a look, you know? Something special,” Namjoon said and nodded to himself.

“Thanks…”

“Really, please consider.”

“I will,” Hoseok promised. “Thank you, for seeing potential in me.”

Namjoon nodded and they said their goodbyes, Namjoon walked Hoseok to the door and led him back down the hall to the elevator. Hoseok wanted to ask him how he knew Kim Seokjin, but it didn’t seem appropriate, so he kept his mouth shut and got back in the elevator without any other words except another ‘have a nice day’.

On the ride down, Hoseok took his cell phone out and looked up ‘Bangtan Entertainment’ again. He’d done it once, and some of the things Namjoon had said seemed familiar, but he had kept his internet stalking to a minimum. As he scrolled, he found that Namjoon was actually pretty legit, that there was already an idol out there that Hoseok had heard plenty from, Kim Taehyung, who was doing very well. Sure, he wasn’t J-cubed level famous, but J-cubed came from a bigger label and they were a group, not a single act. Still, this Taehyung kid, who seemed to go by the stage name ‘V’ had a loyal fan base and an album out.

Not bad.

Hoseok continued looking, and on Bangtan’s website, he found a link to a social media account, which he clicked on. It brought him to a page that was titled ‘Gloss’ and in the description for profile was ‘bangtan’. Hoseok looked at the photos and smiled slightly when he saw Yoongi’s face. He was on a stage, maybe preforming at some underground gathering. He looked rough, but not in a bad way. In a way that would make for a good persona.

There was a recent post on his profile that said, “No fucking way I’m debuting as Gloss by the way. Guess you’ll have to wait and see what I decide on.” Hoseok somehow saw through his bullshit, he bet that even Yoongi didn’t know what he was going to debut as yet.

Hoseok also wondered if he was going to need a stage name.

“Are you on my profile?” Hoseok squeaked in surprise and nearly dropped his phone. He was still in the elevator and it looked like he missed the first floor because they were going back up. Yoongi was next to him again with his brows furrowed.

“Um. Yes, sorry,” Hoseok said.

Yoongi shrugged. “It’s a public profile, you’re allowed to be on it. Ignore the ‘Gloss’ thing it’s fucking embarrassing, I’m changing it as soon as the mixtape thing comes out.”

“I didn’t know you were even remotely famous,” Hoseok said dumbly. “But I’m usually too busy to pay attention to that kind of thing. I’m actually into the underground scene, but…you know…busy.”

“I get it,” Yoongi said. “Anyway, so you think you’re going to take the offer? Join our cult?”

“Cult?” Hoseok asked, his eyes wide.

Yoongi snickered. “It’s a joke.”

“Oh, right…um, I don’t know. I’m going to sleep on it.”

“You should accept,” Yoongi said seriously. “It’s good here.”

Hoseok looked at him and nodded. “I’m going to sleep on it,” he repeated. Yoongi bit him bottom lip and looked Hoseok up and down slowly. Hoseok shifted his feet.

Did he just check me out?

“Alright. Don’t think too hard. You look like an over thinker.”

“Hobi…” Dawon was sitting at her kitchen table with a frown on her face.

As soon as Hoseok left Bangtan, he went to Dawon’s apartment in the city. She was a fashion consultant at a high end store, and she worked until evening, but Hosoek had a key and he let himself in. After turning the lights on, he released Mickey from his cage and gave him a little hug before letting him run off. He missed his dog, but he couldn’t very well keep him while on the tour, and so Dawon got to have him.

It took Dawon a little while to finally get home, and when she did, she was elated to see Hoseok. “I thought you would go off and I wouldn’t get to see you for months!” she’d exclaimed.

She ordered them food and when it came, they sat at the little table in the kitchen and ate. Being with Dawon reminded Hoseok of his childhood. The years when the world was still innocent and he was still oblivious. The years before he began to understand things about himself that he thought maybe he would have been better off not knowing. The years before his palms would sweat and his head would spin.

*

“Hobi…” Dawon repeated and he looked up to meet her eyes. “Why are you so quiet?”

“I…a label wants to represent me,” Hoseok said unsurely. “Bangtan Entertainment.”

“A label?” Dawon questioned.

“Yeah, noona, I really think they’re legit.”

“Mom won’t like it. Neither will Dad. And honestly, I don’t like the idea of it either. They want to what? Make you an idol?” Dawon asked incredulously. “You’re already being pushed nearly to your limit. You’re thin, Hobi. Are you eating properly? Drinking enough water?”

“Yes! I’m not too thin!” Hoseok protested and pinched the roundness of his cheeks. “I’m not being pushed, either, I like what I do.”

“Then why do you want to change things?”

“Because, they told me I have more potential. That I could go do better than backup. And they’re right,” Hoseok said. “And I’m tired of not getting to make decisions for myself. I’m pushed around, not treated like a real person. No one pays me any attention!” Hoseok knew he sounded like a whiny brat. The backup gig wasn’t that bad, he was exaggerating.

“And you don’t think they’ll micromanage you there? Control everything you do?”

“I met another guy signed there, he said they do things different. They don’t do that.”

Dawon looked down at her half eaten plate of food and set down her chopsticks. “Ultimately, it’s your choice. If that’s what you want to do, do it. I’m not going to be the one to hold you back, because you are talented. But if you are going to become an idol or something, it’s not going to be easy, you’ve been near the industry, you know how it is.”

“I just…if it doesn’t work out I can always find something else, another backup gig, but I feel like I need to give it a chance, noona. This is once in a lifetime, you know?” Hoseok said. “They want me. They noticed me.”

“You’re hard to miss, kiddo,” she said and patted his hand before standing up. “Now finish your food, you are too skinny.”

Hoseok rolled his eyes and continued to eat, thinking about Bangtan and the sleek building and the prospect of a maybe private dance studio and a stadium full of people just for him. That would be a ways away, he knew, but maybe not. He’d checked the online video of himself dancing at the Tokyo J-cubed concert and the views kept rising. People kept commenting, wanting to know who he was, why they hadn’t seen him before.

The photo the girl had taken with him earlier that day was also circulating and people in the comments of the video were linking her post. She’d named him, said he was sweet, said he needed more recognition. His social media profiles also had more followers, but he didn’t check them very often, so he wasn’t sure exactly what people were saying on them.

“The guy you said you met? Was he nice? If you decide to go in, I would feel better knowing you had a friend,” Dawon said and Hoseok shrugged.

“I’m not sure. He was…blunt,” Hoseok said. “Like small and dangerous.” Hoseok chuckled to himself and shoved more food into his mouth.

“You know,” Dawon said, her tone slightly more serious. “Even if this label is more lenient, there are things you’ll have to hide about yourself. There always will be, I guess, everyone has secrets, but…”

“But?”

“Nothing, never mind,” Dawon said. “Are you staying at a hotel while you’re here?”

“Yeah.”

“Stay here tonight,” she said. “I’ll make the guest bed for you. Mickey misses you.”

Hoseok grinned and finished the last of his food. He and Dawon stayed up watching movies that night, and Hoseok didn’t really have much time to ‘sleep on it’, but he was fairly certain he’d made his decision already anyway.

*

“Dude what the fuck, they’re here and you’re late,” another of the backup dancers hissed to Hoseok when he walked into the locker room and their current practice studio. Hoseok glared back at the other, not remembering his name. He’d stayed up too late and took too long saying goodbye to Dawon, and when he got to the practice studio, he was almost a half hour late.

“Who’s here?” Hoseok grunted.

“Who do you think?”

“J one, two, and three?”

“Duh.”

Hoseok sighed. It didn’t matter, really, he planned on talking to one of the managers and telling them he was going to leave. As soon as he did that, he was going to call Bangtan and tell them he was going to accept their offer.

Hoseok joined the rest of the dancers in the mirrored practice room and leaned against the wall. Only a moment later, the doors opened and Park Jimin came in with his boyish smile. “Hey,” he said and everyone gave an overenthusiastic ‘hello’ in return. “There is something that the managers want to talk about, so until then, everyone can relax,” Jimin said. His eyes scanned them and then paused on Hoseok before he looked away.

Another minute passed before Jeon Jungkook and Kim Seokjin came into the room. Seokjin looked annoyed to have to be there and Jungkook was talking to him animatedly. “Hyung, you’re shirt tore, it’s not the end of the world,” Jungkook said.

“Where are the assistants?” Seokjin asked. “I asked for coffee and it’s been twenty minutes.”

Jungkook rolled his eyes at Jimin, who shrugged.

It wasn’t uncommon knowledge among the crew that Seokjin was a hothead. Of course, it wasn’t a fact the public knew, the public thought he was a perfect man. Kind and loving and beautiful, everything that a girl would want. And maybe he was kind, but Hoseok mostly saw the side of him that wasn’t.

But then there was that photo of him with Namjoon and Yoongi. Weird.

Hoseok sighed and rubbed his eyes with a yawn. He was ready to get the day over with. Ready to go back to his hotel room and call Bangtan. Start the next chapter and all that.

“Alright everyone, listen up,” a manager walked in and got right to the point. She was older, dressed in a suit and Hoseok didn’t recognize her, but there were so many of them it was hard to keep track. “We have the Seoul concert in a few days, and that’s the main event. It’s the biggest concert, has the most attendees and we can’t afford any flukes or fuck-ups.”

Hoseok flinched at her harsh tone. “Why are we here?” Seokjin asked shortly.

“To remind them of their place,” the manager said bluntly and Seokjin raised an eyebrow.

“We owe them a lot,” Jungkook said. “I don’t think they need—”

He was cut off when the manager continued talking. “You are all backup dancers,” she said. “The boys are what the fans come to see. When people start talking about a backup dancer, there’s a problem.” Hoseok felt like his heart was going to drop out of his ass. They were talking about him. Shit.

“Look I—” Jungkook tried again, but the manager held up her hand and he stopped. He must have realized what was going on, too.

“Jung Hoseok,” the manager said, looking down at a clipboard in her hands. Hoseok imagined it had a bunch of names listed there. People that had fucked up, somehow. And his name was underlined in red.

“Yes?” he asked, stepping forward cautiously.

“No more of what you pulled in Tokyo,” the manager said. “No more photos with people on the streets.”

“It wasn’t his fault!” Jungkook protested. “I pulled him out, I initiated it.”

“Shut up,” Seokjin hissed and pulled Jungkook back against the wall.

“Know your place,” the manager said and Hoseok swallowed thickly.

“I’m a good dancer,” Hoseok croaked. “I like dancing. I’m not ashamed about what I did, or for taking a picture with that girl. She was nice and it made her smile.”

The manager glared back and the room was dead silent for a long time. “Do you want this job?”

“No,” Hoseok answered instantly. “No, I don’t, because I’ll have you know someone approached me and told me I can do better than backup.” The manager’s mouth fell open. Hoseok felt suddenly angry, and he knew when he got angry he couldn’t shut up. He didn’t know when to shut up. “This is shit. I can do better than this, and excuse me if I wanted to make a girl smile on a bus because she wanted a picture. It was harmless. And do you really want to piss me off? Because I have plenty of stories I could tell about this whole experience. About how much of a dick Kim Seokjin is, about how Park Jimin looks at Jeon Jungkook for just a little too long. About how we practice for days and days and about that one time that one guy passed out and no one took him to the hospital and made him keep working when he woke up.”

“You are treading on a very fine line,” the manager said between gritted teeth.

“I’m done,” Hoseok said decidedly. “Next time you see me, I’ll be with Bangtan and I won’t be putting up with all…this.” He knew he shouldn’t be so confident. There was no telling what would really happen, but he was feeling a rush.

He pushed through the other dancers and past the three idols and stormed down the hallway to the locker room where he threw his things in his bag hurriedly. There was nowhere for him to go. The hotel was paid for through the gig, so he couldn’t go there. Hopefully Dawon would let him stay with her for a little while until he figured things out.

His breath came out erratically as he left the locker room and headed out. A firm hand on his shoulder stopped him though, and he turned around to face Seokjin, who, surprisingly, didn’t look that pissed off. Just…sad?

“What do you want?” Hoseok asked.

“Bangtan?”

“What about it?”

Seokjin turned and looked behind him, but they were alone. “Not everything that glitters is gold, kid,” Seokjin said.

“I’m taking a risk, and besides, I don’t trust your advice. You’re perfect, you’ve had everything you’ve ever wanted.”

“Not true,” Seokjin hissed. “And don’t…don’t say anything to anyone about Jimin and Jungkook or I swear I will find you and shut you up myself. They’re kids. They—”

“I’m not going to say anything about them, are you fucking kidding me? I’m not a terrible person! I don’t give two shits if they’re gay or whatever they are,” Hoseok said. “I just want to go. Let me go.”

“I’m not trying to stop you. I’m just…saying that you should be careful. This industry isn’t made for kind people who take pictures on buses.”

“I don’t want advice from you. Goodbye. I hope to never see you,” Hoseok muttered and turned around.

“Well you’re going to see me if you take the offer, whether you like it or not. We’ll be in the same circle!”

Hoseok ignored him. He ignored the feeling is his heart pounding in his chest, his sweating palms, and his sharp breaths.

When he got outside, everything was carrying on like normal. Cars whizzing down the street, people with shopping bags, and men in suits talking seriously into their cell phones. Hoseok’s throat felt dry and he felt like he needed to sit down, but there wasn’t anywhere to sit. He counted to ten slowly, taking a deep breath with each number, and when he felt calm again, he pried his cell phone out of his back pocket and dialed a number with shaking hands.

“Bangtan Entertainment,” a voice greeted.

“Hi,” Hoseok said. “This is Jung Hoseok. Can I speak to Kim Namjoon?”

“Oh yes, of course, let me transfer you to him,” the secretary said sweetly. Her voice was such a contrast to that of the manager back inside the building he still stood in front of. There was a large possibility that Hoseok was going to throw up in the middle of the sidewalk.

“Hello?” Namjoon’s deep voice sounded in Hoseok’s ear.

“Yes,” he gasped out. “It’s Hoseok.”

“Oh! Hey, I didn’t expect to hear from you already.”

“I accept. I accept the offer,” Hoseok said hurriedly.

“Really? Are you totally sure?”

“Yes, completely.”

Namjoon was quiet for a second. Two seconds. Three. “I’m really glad to hear that.”

*

A day before Hoseok was supposed to go back to the Bangtan building, Yoongi released his mixtape. It was ten tracks long, all poignant lyrics and thrumming beats. Hoseok listened to it all in one sitting as soon as it finished downloading, while he sat and ate chips on Dawon’s couch.

He listened to Yoongi rap about his past, about depression, about himself. It was raw, real, and conveyed things that Hoseok resonated with, somehow. It felt passionate, like how Hoseok felt when he danced.

If Bangtan had helped Yoongi to create those songs, then Hoseok knew he had made the right decision.

Yoongi’s voice was still new, but Hoseok felt like, when he listened to the song, that Yoongi was someone he had known forever, even though they weren’t eve n really friends. He felt the way Yoongi’s tongue curled around the syllables, the way he left Hoseok feeling breathless after listening.

The man was talented.

Hoseok told him as much, going to the direct messages on Yoongi’s twitter and sending him a congratulation.

jhoseok: congrats on the mixtape. it is very good :)

agustddtsuga: Thanks. Congrats on accepting and joining Bangtan.

jhoseok: so what is ‘Agust D’?

agustddtsuga: Maybe I’ll tell you one day.

jhoseok: I look forward to it

augstddtsuga: Which song is your favorite?

jhoseok: hmmm that’s a hard one, they were all amazing hyung

agustddtsuga: They’re alright.

jhoseok: no you’re so talented I can’t stop listening to it.

jhoseok: people are talking about it a lot, you’re gonna be the next big thing.

agustddtsuga: I don’t know about that, but thank you.

It was hopeful, to see the way Yoongi was succeeding. Maybe Hoseok would do the same.

“What have you been listening to all day?” Dawon asked Hoseok that evening.

“Nothing, noona,” Hoseok said. “Just music.”

But it wasn’t just music. Not by a long shot. Yoongi’s voice was haunting, and Hoseok wanted to hear it all the time. It was just an appreciation, of course, for another artist. Hoseok didn’t know Yoongi and Yoongi didn’t know him. They would probably never really know each other, they would just be passing acquaintances. Yoongi would get famous, and Hoseok would, too, eventually, he hoped. Busy was what they would be and so they would just be two guys under the same label who smiled at each other if they ever happened to be in the same room.

“I hope this all works out for you, Hobi,” Dawon said.

“It will.”

And he believed it wholeheartedly.

*

There was something different about the Bangtan building when Hoseok arrived to meet with Kim Namjoon again. Everyone seemed a little bit tensed up, not necessarily in a negative way, just like they were making sure to be on their best behavior or something. Hoseok saw it in the overly happy smile the secretary gave him and in the way other people milling around jumped to attention whenever someone walked into their space.

Hoseok wasn’t naïve enough to think it was because of him, though. He thought, perhaps, it was for Yoongi, for his new step up in the ranks, so to speak, but when Hoseok arrived on the floor of Namjoon’s office, he came to realize it was not for Yoongi at all. It was for Kim Taehyung.  

The idol was standing in Namjoon’s office looking at all the figurines Namjoon had lined up on the shelves while Namjoon spoke quietly to him. “What time is it?” Namjoon asked.

“Past noon,” Kim Taehyung answered. His voice was as deep as it was when he sang and his side profile was handsome. He was dressed in a button up shirt with a floral print and wide dress pants. “Why?”

“I’m meeting with someone in a—” Namjoon cut off when he turned around and spotted Hoseok in the doorway. “Oh! There he is, come on it.”

Hoseok felt his face flush at being caught snooping, but he came in anyway and smiled slightly at Kim Taehyung. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt,” Hoseok mumbled.

“No I was actually hoping to introduce you to Tae,” Namjoon said. “My father actually signed him when he was seventeen, but he stuck around even when other labels gave him better offers.”

“You get more attention at a smaller label, anyway,” Kim Taehyung said and smiled at Hoseok. “I saw your video, the one of you dancing at that concert. Good stuff.”

“Oh, thank you,” Hoseok said. “Thanks to J-cubed for that opportunity, but…I kind of rage quit there a few days ago…”

Kim Taehyung laughed. “I’ve met those guys, they’re fine, but kind of caught in their own heads, you know? That’s not to say that I’ve never been self-centered, or that fame doesn’t change you, but Namjoon helps me keep my head on straight. Or well…it’s still a little bit lopsided, but he does his best.” The idol took a deep breath and pursed his lips. “Anyway, I should let you two talk, I wanted to go say hello to Yoongi anyway.”

“He’s in The Lab,” Namjoon said and Kim Taehyung nodded knowingly before giving Hoseok another small smile and leaving the room.

“The Lab?” Hoseok asked curiously before taking a seat in one of the chairs.

“Yoongi named his studio,” Namjoon explained. “The Genius Lab, he calls it.” Hoseok laughed out loud, and slapped a hand over his mouth. “No, laugh, it’s fucking hilarious. Yoongi has an ego to rival Kim Seokjin sometimes.”

They talked after that, about a lot of things. Namjoon explained to Hoseok the contract he’d worked up, they talked about how Hoseok had quit, about Yoongi’s mixtape, about Hoseok’s dancing, about how things would change.

“Do you live in Seoul?” Namjoon asked him at one point.

“No, well, not really. I’m staying with my sister right now. I don’t have my own place,” Hoseok explained.

“Money won’t come instantly,” Namjoon said. “It will come, but, of course, not until you start putting out content. However, I might be able to set you up with a place, it’s only fair. It won’t be a dorm with a bunch of other guys though. Yoongi and I live together, roommates, and the building used to be partially owned by my father. I’ll look into getting you a place there.”

“Wow, that would be amazing, thank you,” Hoseok said.

“You can take the contract home and look over it again before you sign it. I mean, it’s nothing bad, I went over it all. Just confidentiality between us, and any other artists, to an extent, blah, blah, blah.” Namjoon slid the stack of papers across to Hoseok. It didn’t matter, really, what the contract said. Hoseok was going to sign it anyway. And so, he picked up a pen from the desk.

“I don’t need to look over it again,” he said and scribbled his name at the bottom of the contract. He was young, a little bit reckless, and a lot desperate. Namjoon raised his eyebrows as Hoseok pushed the contract back to him and then he nodded.

“Alright,” he said slowly. “Welcome to Bangtan, Jung Hoseok.”

A breath left Hoseok’s body, quick and sharp and he nodded. Those words sounded a lot like a new start, one he didn’t even know he wanted. “Thank you.”

“Want me to show you the dance studio downstairs? You won’t have a recording studio yet, I’m thinking you should rap, but ultimately I want you to decide.”

“Yeah, yes, I’d like to see the studios,” Hoseok said, all too eager and Namjoon nodded and stood.

As soon as he saw the studio, he knew he’d made the right decision. “It’s basically all yours, to be honest,” Namjoon had said, but Hoseok hardly heard him. He was entranced with the bright studio, the mirrored walls and the sleek white speakers in the corner. The way his shoes were somehow silent against the white floor and the lights shined bright. He was in Heaven.

“Can I stay here, for a little while?” Hoseok asked.

“Oh, sure. I’ve got to go coordinate some things with Taehyung. He’s supposed to have a new single out soon, so I’m going to help him smooth out the rough edges. Feel free to use the space. We can start getting things going tomorrow or the day after, I’ll have some people assigned to you, we can get you a new social media profile going. It’ll be great!”

Then Namjoon was gone and Hoseok was alone in the studio.

He kicked off his shoes and pulled off his socks, he preferred to dance barefoot anyway, and took off the jacket he was wearing. He’s dressed more casually that day, since everyone else in the building did, and he was grateful for that. After plugging his phone into the speakers in the corner and picking a song, he moved back to the middle of the room and stood facing the mirrors. His reflection stared back and he wondered if when he looked at himself years from then, if he would look the same? How would he change after everything? How would the promise of fame alter him?

Heavy notes of music floated through the studio, loud and echoing in the wide space. Hoseok closed his eyes and felt his feet move, careful at first. Exploratory. He didn’t need a set choreography to dance. The moves just came to him, one after another, in quick succession, guiding him along to the music.

Dance was Hoseok’s home. Always had been and always would be. Everything else could go to shit, and he could still dance.

Dancing left him breathless and Hoseok was certain he was in love with dancing, certain he would never love anything else more.

“Damn.”

Hoseok’s eyes opened and he followed through with the move he was on before meeting the eyes watching him through the mirror. The music continued to play through the speakers, loud and pounding like he was at some kind of one-man house party. The room shook with the bass and Hoseok’s blood pulsed through his body at the same rhythm.

“You made that up on the spot?” Yoongi asked. He leaned against the door frame, and hands shoved in the pockets of his black sweat pants. His dark hair was fluffy and messy in an intentional way and he had his head tilted to the side with a kind of curiosity.

“Yeah,” Hoseok answered. “Sorry, I hope my music wasn’t too loud.”

“Nah, the room is soundproof, couldn’t hear anything ‘till I opened the door. Namjoon said you were down here and I didn’t want to sit around while he talked to Taehyung. Love the kid, but he gives me a headache if I stay around him too long,” Yoongi explained and stepped into the room. “I hate it in here, too, to be honest. I can’t stand the mirrors.”

Hoseok glanced behind him at their reflections. Yoongi had no reason to hate a mirror, Hoseok thought. He had that whole mysterious thing going for him and his dark hair and light skin made him glow, somehow. His eyes were sharp like his jawline and at the same time, his face was cute. His cheeks were a little bit round and his nose was like a little button and his lips looked soft.

Hoseok looked away.

“Are you going to dance on your debut stage?” Hoseok asked.

“Why? You going to teach me in less than a month how to move my body in a way that isn’t a complete mess?” Yoongi asked and reached down to unplug Hoseok’s phone from the speakers. The silence was glaring and Hoseok wished the music was back on, but Yoongi sat down on the floor cross legged and started scrolling through Hoseok’s phone, which wasn’t password protected. Reading his mind, Yoongi said, “You’re gonna need to put a passcode on this. You don’t have the luxury of having privacy anymore.”

“Noted,” Hoseok said and sat down too, a few feet away from the other. “And if you wanted, I could teach you to dance, I think I could do it. It isn’t that hard.”

“I was kidding, I don’t need to dance. That’s not my image, you know? But thanks,” Yoongi said.

“You have sex?” Hoseok blurted out and, to his surprise, Yoongi didn’t seem all that taken aback by the question. He just curiously looked up at Hoseok over Hoseok’s cell phone and raised an eyebrow. “I mean…”

“Yes? I have had sex.”

“I just meant, like, dance is kind of like that, sometimes. But also not. I mean, people who haven’t had sex can still dance. It’s just that, it comes to you, when you need it to. You just go with it, go with what feels good. It was a bad analogy, ignore me,” Hoseok rambled.

“You’re kind of hard to ignore,” Yoongi mumbled. Then, “I’m flattered that my mixtape is at the top of your recently played list.”

Hoseok groaned and reached out to snatch his phone back and Yoongi mock-pouted. “It’s good, I like it, don’t judge me.”

“I’m not, it’s my music, I want people to like it,” Yoongi said and leaned back on his palms. “So, Namjoon kind of wants us to be friends, I think.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, he thinks I’m antisocial and don’t vibe well with people or some shit and he hopes you’ll rub off on me. At the same time, I think he wants me to help you out with the whole music, non-dancing aspect of whatever you decide to do,” Yoongi explained. “And he isn’t wrong, I’m antisocial as hell.”

“You’re making friendship sound like some kind of contract.”

Yoongi’s face got serious. “It is, in this world. Welcome to it.”

“So…you don’t actually want to be my friend?” Hoseok asked. “Because, if you don’t, I don’t. If you do, then I would be happy to help you be less…antisocial.”

Yoongi smiled, wider than he had before and Hoseok felt a tug at his heart. “I don’t know. Does friendship work like that? Can I ask to be your friend?”

“Of course, hyung,” Hoseok assured him. “You have to start somewhere.”

“Alright, friends then?” Yoongi asked.

“Friends,” Hoseok confirmed with a shy smile that Yoongi mirrored. “So, how soon will I need to make up a stage name?”

“You don’t have to have a stage name,” Yoongi said thoughtfully. “But something short and sweet is always better, like ‘Taehyung’ doesn’t have the same ring to it that ‘V’ does and ‘Yoongi’ doesn’t have the same ring as ‘Augst D’.”

“I was thinking of some things, but I don’t know if it’s too early for that.”

“It’s never too early. What’d you have in mind?” Yoongi sat up again and looked at Hoseok expectantly.

“Um. J-Hope,” Hoseok said.

Yoongi stared back at him. “Are you trying to get sued for copyright by J-cubed?” Yoongi deadpanned.

“Oh,” Hoseok chuckled. “I didn’t think of that.”

“Actually,” Yoongi paused and scratched his head thoughtfully. “It might be good. Like, it’ll create discourse, you know? People will talk, your name will get out there, you should do it. Fuck J-cubed and their pretty boy asses.” Yoongi said and laughed brightly. Hoseok wondered if he was really saying ‘fuck Kim Seokjin’, but he didn’t ask.

“Alright. Then I will.”

“Good, my alias is still better though,” Yoongi said with a smirk.

“Yah, it’s not that good, I don’t even know what the fuck it means,” Hoseok said.

“Oh, you can curse, I thought you were like, a prim and perfect specimen,” Yoongi said.

Hoseok made a face. “Specimen? That’s weird.”

Yoongi shrugged and stood up, stretching his arms over his head. “I’m going to get going, I’ll see you later?” Yoongi asked.

“Oh, yeah, sure,” Hoseok agreed and stood too. “I guess you’re debuting soon.”

“Yeah, and you’ll be releasing videos online, probably dance stuff. Maybe we can meet up and I can help you with music stuff sometime.”

“Hey,” Hoseok said. “What other stage names were you considering? Just, I’m curious.”

Yoongi hesitated before answering. He blinked several times and rubbed his eye with the back of his hand and Hoseok noticed an eyelash on his cheek when he dropped his hand back to his side. “Suga,” Yoongi finally said.

“Why?”

Yoongi smirked again. “Because I’m so sweet, obviously,” he said. “Don’t you think?”

*

Everything moved fast after that.

Kim Taehyung was right, a smaller label meant that Hoseok got a lot of attention, especially from Namjoon, even though he was apparently The Boss. He helped Hoseok make a new social media profile, which got popular fast when Namjoon tweeted about it, mentioning and linking Hoseok’s Tokyo stunt. Yoongi also retweeted Hoseok’s first tweet, which was basically just him introducing himself, but it was a kind, small gesture and even if Namjoon had made Yoongi do it, he was still grateful.

Additionally, Namjoon also gave Hoseok a little office on the seventh floor, which was also where Yoongi’s studio was. Hoseok called it an office, because it was smaller than Yoongi’s studio and Namjoon’s office and there wasn’t any recording equipment in it, yet. Yet, because Namjoon assured him that there would be.

Most of Hoseok’s time at the Bangtan building was spent in the dance studio downstairs. Some of the other people who worked there helped him record videos of himself dancing and Namjoon told him they would be posting one soon, a few days before Yoongi’s debut stage.

Hoseok was still living with Dawon, for the time being, Namjoon said he was still figuring things out with the new apartment. “Someone is moving out soon, and as soon as they do, the place is yours,” he’d told Hoseok.

It was early morning, the day one of Hoseok’s dance videos was supposed to go up, and he was awakened by a rough shake to his shoulders. “Dude, Hoseok, dear brother, wake the fuck up,” Dawon’s voice said in his ear and he groaned and rolled onto his stomach and buried his face into his pillow. There was a loud sound blasting in his ears too, a persistent ringing tone. “Hobi!”

“What?” Hoseok groaned back.

“Your alarm has been going off for ten minutes and I can’t turn it off because you have a passcode on your phone now!” Dawon said. “I don’t have to be at work today, it’s Saturday and you are very much pissing me off right now.”

Hoseok took another deep breath and pushed himself up on his elbows. He’d never slept through his alarm before, in fact, he usually woke up before it went off, but it had been a long few weeks and the night before he and Yoongi had stayed late at Bangtan discussing music.

“Sorry,” Hoseok muttered and turned off the alarm.

“Why do you have an alarm set anyway?”

“I have to go to the studio. One of my videos is going up at noon!” Hoseok sat up and rubbed his eyes. “Are you going to watch it, noona?”

Dawon rolled her eyes and sat on the edge of the bed. “Of course I’m going to watch it,” she said. “But, are you going to tell Mom and Dad about everything? Because, they don’t know. It has been nearly a month and…they keep asking me things.”

“Then tell them,” Hoseok said and pushed the covers off and walked to the little dresser where his few clothes were stashed.

You tell them,” Dawon said. “It’s your new thing. I mean, fuck, they don’t even know you quit on J-cubed. You’re lucky they don’t know anything about celebrities or read gossip, because people are talking about you. Why’d you choose J-Hope as a stage name? People think you’re making fun of J-cubed.”

“That’s what I was hoping they would think, no pun intended. The name is more than just that though, you know? I’m not trying to be petty. Besides, Yoongi hyung told me it was a good idea.”

“Right, okay, because he’s such a genius,” Dawon mumbled. Hoseok had mentioned Yoongi several times to Dawon, but nothing in too much detail. They were friends, they got along, and Hoseok liked Yoongi’s professionalism, but also the goofy jokes he made with a serious expression on his face. Not to mention how passionate he was about music, it rivaled Hoseok’s passion for dance.

“He is a genius, actually, or at least, he’ll tell you he is,” Hoseok said and found some clothes that he hadn’t worn too many times yet. He really needed more clothes, but he wasn’t exactly loaded with cash. Yoongi was getting paid after he debuted, and maybe even already, because he released one song, a single, that was growing in popularity by the day. Hoseok knew that his videos online would make him some money if enough people watched, but still, he was not loaded.

“Just fucking call Mom and Dad,” Dawon said and stood up and left Hoseok there to get dressed. Hoseok watched her go, wondering what had her so wound up. She was a curser, sure, but he was fairly certain she’d said the f-word in every sentence, or close to it. It was probably just because it was early on a Saturday.

As it seemed, early on a Saturday didn’t sit well with a lot of people, because when Hoseok arrived at Bangtan, he found Namjoon scurrying around like a mad man. “Sorry, Jung, I can’t stop to talk, your video will be up at noon still, promise, but I have to talk to people and get thing organized for Yoongi’s debut stage!” Namjoon called as he ran down the hall past Hoseok, who had been trying to go greet Namjoon in his office.

After that, Hoseok headed to his own office, where he found Yoongi asleep at the desk in front of the computer monitor. “Hyung,” Hoseok said, confused as to why Yoongi was in his office.

“I’m awake,” Yoongi mumbled. “I’m awake.”

“Why are you in here?” Hoseok asked.

“Hiding from Joon. He’s insane,” Yoongi answered and sat up straight in Hoseok’s chair. There was, luckily, another chair, but it wasn’t as nice and Hoseok dragged it over and sat down. “Also…I wanted to see your video when it goes up, so I was waiting for you.”

“Wow, you do like me,” Hoseok teased.

“You’re nice to look at,” Yoongi mumbled lowly, his face turned away, and Hoseok wondered if he’d even heard him right. Before he could ask, Yoongi spoke again, “Are you coming to see my debut stage?”

“Can I?”

“Fucking Namjoon didn’t ask you yet? God, I ask one thing of him. Yes, you can, you should. Let people see you, but not too much, because it is my thing, after all,” Yoongi explained with a Cheshire grin.

“Okay, well, I’ll go then. Text me details?” Hoseok suggested.

“Don’t have your number. You don’t have mine, either.”

“Oh,” Hoseok said. “Give it to me.”

“I see what you did there,” Yoongi said, in reference to one of his songs by the same name. Hoseok groaned under breath since he hadn’t meant to make a joke. At the same time he pulled his phone out and handed it to Yoongi so the elder could put his number in. He did, his fingers moving fast over the screen before he sent a text to himself and saved Hoseok’s number, too.

“Well,” Hoseok said, “You’re officially my best friend now.”

Yoongi scoffed. “Oh please, as if you don’t have all the friends back home or whatever.”

“Not really, I kind of lost contact with all of them when I started my whole dancing crusade. You and Namjoon are the closest things I’ve got to friends, and you had to ask to be my friend,” Hoseok said, letting his tone tilt up at the last remark to show he was only joking. “And Namjoon is like, just the guy who signed me.”

“No, Namjoon is a friend. He’s the greatest friend. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without him,” Yoongi said. Hoseok wanted to tell that that wasn’t true, that Yoongi would have been able to make something of himself even without Namjoon, but he kept his mouth shut for once. Yoongi continued speaking while Hoseok powered up the computer, since it was nearing noon. “Still, I don’t know if Namjoon is my best friend. My old best friend turned out to be a colossal jerk, and sometimes Namjoon does get busy and isn’t there all the time, you know?”

“So you’re saying you have an open slot for a best friend?” Hoseok asked with a small smile.

“Maybe,” Yoongi answered.

Hoseok logged into the computer and went to Bangtan’s website, where the video would be uploaded. It would also go up on other platforms, but Bangtan was bookmarked, so Hoseok went there first. “Who was your first best friend?” Hoseok asked casually as he clicked.

Yoongi scooted his chair a little bit closer to the desk, a little bit closer to Hoseok and propped his elbows on the wood surface. “Um. He was from Anyang, but his dad is some CEO and my father and his father went to school together. They’re business partners. As in, still are and—”

“So your dad is a CEO too?”

“Mhm,” Yoongi answered noncommittally. “Anyway, so that’s how we met, even though we’re from different places. He’s a year older, but we grew up together you know? And then Namjoon came into the picture and they hit it off and I was like ‘great my two friends get along’ and shit. I don’t know the whole story, but…they had a falling out, and Seokjin did some things that made me realize that I couldn’t be his friend anymore. So, I’m not.”

“Seokjin…Kim Seokjin?”

“Yes.”

“I saw the photo on Namjoon’s desk, but, I didn’t realize he was your childhood best friend, holy shit,” Hoseok muttered.

“Yeah, well, don’t tell anyone,” Yoongi responded. “I don’t want people knowing about my past. I may have grown up with money, but that’s about it.” Yoongi was quiet while the page on the computer screen loaded. It was like he was waiting for Hoseok to ask more questions, questions that Yoongi clearly did not want to answer. “Your parents are cool with this?” Yoongi asked finally, trying to get the attention off himself.

“They don’t know yet,” Hoseok admitted.

“What the fuck, why?” Yoongi asked.

“I haven’t talked to them lately, my sister keeps nagging me to tell them.”

“She’s right, you should, before it ruins your relationship with them. You clearly have a good relationship with them, now, so don’t ruin that,” Yoongi said firmly.

Hoseok opened his mouth to respond, but then Yoongi was leaning close and grabbing the mouse from Hoseok so he could click on the video that had just appeared on the timeline. Their hands brushed slightly and Hoseok was, uncharacteristically, the one who jerked his hand away. Yoongi didn’t notice and leaned back again as the video started playing.

Hoseok forced his focus off his friend and to the screen. The video was only about four minutes long, just him and the bright white dance studio (and the out of view camera people). Not to be pretentious, but Hoseok knew he looked good. He knew that if anyone said otherwise, they were wrong. But his gut was still twisted up and he was still nervous, watching the video. The views went up, up, up as they sat there, even after the video had ended. Hoseok tried to go down to the comment section, but Yoongi placed his hand over Hoseok’s.

“Don’t ever read the comments,” Yoongi said softly and Hoseok met his eyes. He shook his head. “Sure, most of them are good, but you’ll see one bad one and you’ll never get it out of your head. Trust me.”

Hoseok already had seen bad comments, from the Tokyo concert. And Yoongi was right, they were stuck in the back of his mind.

“Okay,” Hoseok relented.

“If I weren’t completely confident in my abilities, I would be worried about you stealing all the spotlight,” Yoongi admitted after the video played again.

“I can’t rap,” Hoseok pointed out.

“You’ve never tried?”

“I mean…I guess in the shower?” Hoseok offered and Yoongi stared at him for a beat too long before he started laughing. It started out small and then he was somehow shaking with it.

“Oh my god, I can imagine,” Yoongi said through his laughter and Hoseok blushed. “You’re loud about it too, I bet,” he added and if Hoseok’s face wasn’t already red, it was after that.

“Don’t make fun of me.”

“I’m not, I do it too,” he admitted. “Albeit, I’m probably better.”

“You underestimate my shower singing abilities,” Hoseok challenged.

“Well, I find it easier to practice alone. Record yourself next time. It’s one thing to preform to a crowd, but in front of one person is awkward and I’ll get secondhand embarrassment, so please refrain from going at it now,” Yoongi said. “But, I’ll help you with song writing, if you want, sometime. If I’m not too busy after debut.”

“Alright…I’ll record myself in the shower?” Hoseok offered lamely.

“You don’t have to be in the shower, Hobi, just…where ever you feel comfortable,” Yoongi said and stood up. “Also, call your fucking parents.”

*

Growing up, Hoseok had been a people person, although his sister would tell him that it was because he had a desperate need for attention. And she wasn’t wrong. He had plenty of friends in school, people were drawn to him. At the end of the day though, he was never sure if he was being himself around those people or if he was putting on an act to appease them. Thus, when it came down to it, Dawon was probably his best friend.

Dawon and his parents were the only people he knew he was being himself around. Even still, there were things he kept from them, and he hated himself for it, sometimes. He didn’t hate himself for the things he was keeping, he hated himself for keeping the things a secret to begin with. He was sure his parents would be understanding, and Dawon even more so.

But he didn’t tell them everything, which meant that he felt even guiltier about keeping the fact that he was signed to label (even he couldn’t believe it) from them.

When he got back to Dawon’s apartment that evening, she was sitting on the couch watching TV and texting on her phone with Mickey curled up next to her. “Hey noona,” Hoseok greeted.

“Did you know V tweeted about you?” Dawon asked. “It’s been on the fucking news. You’re on the news,” Dawon said.

“Really? I didn’t know he did that,” Hoseok said. “That was nice of him.”

“I think your video is going, you know, viral?” Daown raised an eyebrow. “Not that the Tokyo one didn’t. You know, Mom and Dad watch the news.”

Hoseok cursed. “I’m going to call them,” he assured her. “Yoongi hyung already gave me a talk about it, don’t worry.”

He sat down on the couch next to his sister. “Is Yoongi your new best friend? I’m offended.” Dawon leaned over to look at Hoseok’s phone screen. He had a text.

Min Yoongi (maybe best friend):

6:19 I saw you leaving, lucky you getting to leave early.

6:20 Don’t get used to it.

6:30 Also, call your parents.

Hoseok:

7:07 maybe best friend?

Min Yoongi (maybe best friend):

7:10 Yeah I don’t want to fill the slot if someone better comes along.

Hoseok:

7:11 im the best though

Min Yoongi (maybe best friend):

7:14 Sure you are

7:15 :)

7:16 Never tell anyone I sent you a smiley face.

“Stop texting your friend,” Dawon said. “I’m not going to leave you alone, ever, until you call our parents about all this. You don’t need to be nervous, you’re their favorite.”

Hoseok glared, but exited out of his conversation with Yoongi and begrudgingly dialed his parents’ home phone number. It rang and rang and he was about to hang up and tell Dawon they hadn’t answered, when he heard his mother’s sing-song voice through the phone.

“Hoseok!” she exclaimed. “I haven’t heard from you in ages, where are you?”

“Seoul,” Hoseok squeaked in response.

“Really? I thought that boy band you were dancing backup for had left the country for tour again?” his mother asked.

“They did, um, I’m with Dawon,” Hoseok said and Dawon punched his shoulder.

Tell them,” she hissed.

Hoseok glared back. “Look, um, I quit that backup dancer thing,” Hoseok said quickly. “Have you ever heard of Bangtan? It’s a label, like for musicians and stuff. They saw my dancing and they signed me. I’m…I guess going to be an idol? Or try to be. There another guy there, he’s really nice and he’s helping me and also, have you ever heard of V? He’s signed with Bangtan. He’s really good.”

The line was silent and Dawon was looking down at her hands. Hoseok thought back to high school, senior year. He had been sitting at the kitchen table, and they were waiting for Dawon, because she was supposed to come for dinner that night, and Hoseok wanted to tell them something.

He’d started a rant that was really more of a ramble.

Hey, you know that dance class I’m in at school? Yeah, it’s really cool, really fun, and there is this other guy in there, and…well I’m a better dancer than he is, and I’ve been helping him out, and I think that he’s improving a lot and, actually, I kind of think that I—” And then Dawon burst into the house and Hoseok clamped his mouth shut. Nothing became of dance-class boy and Hoseok didn’t tell.

“I haven’t heard of Bangtan or anyone called V,” Hoseok’s mother said eventually. “But, is this what you want to do?”

“I think so, yes,” Hoseok answered.

“Well, you know your father and I will always support you,” his mother said. “Unless of course you murder someone, then I’m afraid we will need to disown you.”

Hoseok laughed out loud. “I promise not murder anyone.”

“Alright then. I hope this Bangtan is good to you.”

“Me too,” Hoseok breathed.

~~~

Him:

Hoseok had been to concerts before, obviously. He had been both on the stage, and in the audience, but he hadn’t ever really been to a concert that was streamed live on television like the one he was currently at. The one in which Yoongi would be preforming in and Hoseok would be seen at. Already had been seen at. On their way in, Namjoon had been talking on his cell phone, and several fans had come up and asked for a picture with Hoseok.

He obliged and pushed through people to get back to Namjoon. “Alright. You’ll be in the sectioned off part in the front, if you want. Or you can watch from backstage,” Namjoon said. “Which would you rather do?”

“I think I want to be in the audience,” Hoseok decided.

“Alright. Taehyung is here too, he’s already down there. The seats there are nicer, for celebrities. You might be on camera if they pan to the audience.”

“That’s fine,” Hoseok said.

He’d dressed nicer, but when he got to Bangtan, Namjoon fussed and told him to go to wardrobe and change. Hoseok had stared back and Namjoon sighed and told him to go to the first floor and ask the secretary to call a woman named Eun Ji.

She dressed him in a white button up and black dress pants and a black suit jacket with ombre sparkly things on it. Hoseok had worn things for backup before that were unlike his usual attire, but the outfit he had on wasn’t meant for backup. It was meant for him, to make him look good, not to make anyone else look good.

“Okay, I’m really sorry for being so frantic, this means as much to me as it does to Yoongi…” Namjoon said with a small sigh. He pulled aside an assistant of some sort. “Can you take him to the seat reserved for Jung Hoseok?”

She nodded politely. Hoseok was about to ask where Yoongi was, he wanted to wish him luck, but then someone approached Namjoon. They had blonde hair, stark and platinum, and Hoseok started to walk away.

“Not even going to say hello?”

Hoseok turned back around and gaped.

“I didn’t—I didn’t realize it was you!” Hoseok said.

Yoongi grinned and ran his hands through his newly blonde hair. “Yeah, well, what’s the saying? Blondes have more fun?”

“Oh god, never repeat that,” Namjoon muttered.

“Are you going to be watching?” Yoongi asked.

“Of course,” Hoseok answered.

His friend looked him up and down, similar to the way he had on the elevator that one time, and even before that, that night in Tokyo. “You look good, I dig the choker,” Yoongi said and Hoseok touched the thin piece of black fabric that he’d forgotten he’d had on.

“I like your hair. And, everything else. You look good too,” Hoseok said awkwardly and Yoongi smiled. “You look like a ten for sure.”

“I am a ten,” Yoongi said. “Thanks for noticing. If my ass weren’t so small I’d be a twelve.”

“Wow, great Seokjin impression, hyung,” Namjoon said. “No offense, but hurry up with the pleasantries, you need to finish getting ready and Hoseok needs to get to his seat before all the fans get here and he’s bombarded. People know his face, or…more his body which is probably worse.” Namjoon wondered away to go talk to someone who looked important.

“Well, good luck, I know you’ll do great,” Hoseok said.

Yoongi glanced behind him and chewed on his bottom lip. “Thanks, Hobi,” he said. “I’ll try and find you after.”

Hoseok nodded and Yoongi walked past him, and, Hoseok, who had no self-control, darted back and slapped Yoongi on the ass. Yoongi froze in place for two seconds before continuing to walk, casting a small smirk over his shoulder.

“Twelve,” Hoseok mouthed. Yoongi looked away.

It was probably not a good thing to have done, right there in front of everyone, but Hoseok didn’t really care all that much, and he didn’t have time to worry about it because he was taken to his seat and the show started. Kim Taehyung smiled at Hoseok when he sat down and mumbled something about how cool Hoseok’s video was.

“Thanks,” Hoseok answered as he looked up at the stage. He was only half listening to what the guy up there was saying, since it wasn’t Yoongi. Yoongi wasn’t the only one that was going to preform that evening, but he was the only one Hoseok cared anything about, in all honesty.

“Did you know Park Jimin and Jeon Jungkook are here?” Taehyung asked.

Hoseok jolted and looked at Taehyung. “They are?”

Taehyung nodded and turned around and pointed behind them, not even discreetly. Sure enough, a few rows back were the men in question. They were both dressed in nice suits and they made quite the pair. Kim Seokjin was not with them.

Hoseok stared for too long and Jungkook’s eyes met his, but instead of looking angry he broke into a grin and waved before tapping Jimin’s arm and pointing to Hoseok.

“Hey!” he called across the rows of seats. His voice was muffled in the loud space, but Hoseok waved back.

“Looks like they don’t hate you, after all,” Taehyung said thoughtfully.

“No, that’s just Seokjin.”

“Oh, he’s hot though,” Taehyung said, almost to himself. It was so nonchalant that Hoseok just nodded dumbly in response.

As the show went on, Hoseok picked at the skin around his nails until Yoongi’s name was announced. The stage got darker and people cheered in the audience. Maybe they’d been cheering the whole time, but they sounded louder all of a sudden.

Then he was up there, his face stern and confident and his hand clutching a microphone. Those eyes that had made Hoseok feel something, even the first time he saw them, scanned the audience and then stopped on Hoseok. At least, it seemed that way. Yoongi smiled.

“Are you ready?” he shouted into the mic.

The screams around Hoseok were deafening and he vaguely registered that a camera was on him and he probably looked completely star-struck, but he didn’t care. He just watched Yoongi.

If his songs had been good through headphones, they were astounding to witness live. Yoongi didn’t miss a word or a beat. He didn’t need to dance, Hoseok could see that. He moved across the stage while he rapped and his brows furrowed and the emotion from the songs, the anger, the drive, it all came through. Not only was Yoongi good at what he did, he was passionate about it to no end.

Perhaps even to a fault.

“…Min Yoongi is dead already…

…Nobody knows me well…

…I don’t give a shit, I don’t give a fuck…”

The energy of the stage was something strange. The things Yoongi was saying were serious, real, not something machine pumped out like a lot of the music in the industry. But the way the audience reacted was the same as if he were singing some age-old, cheesy love song. Hoseok didn’t know if that was a good thing or not.

He didn’t know where he started or ended, or how he would ever be able to go up on a stage and do what Yoongi was doing. He didn’t know if Yoongi was really the man on stage, or if that was just Agust D. Did Yoongi know? Where did Yoongi end and Agust D begin?

“Wow,” Hoseok breathed.

Yoongi was done, standing in the middle of the stage with his hands to his sides and sweat dripping from his blonde bangs.

Then he was gone, off the stage, and Hoseok found himself taking out his phone and sending out a tweet, because he needed Yoongi to know right then what he thought.

@junghope
@agustddtsuga
was amazing

The rest of the show went on, and when the cameras were far away from Hoseok, he slunk out of chair, earning him a suspicious glance from Kim Taehyung, and he made his way through the crowd until he was backstage again. It was even more hectic, since they were live, and it took Hoseok a while, but he finally spotted Yoongi across the space. An assistant of some sort was blotting his face with a towel and he looked uncomfortable with the action, but when their eyes met, he broke into a smile.

They both crossed the room at the same time and met somewhere in the middle. “Amazing huh?” Yoongi asked.

“You know it was, don’t be a dick,” Hoseok said and nudged his shoulder. “Your lyrics are…really something.”

“I wrote a line about giving head, but I figured that was too much,” Yoongi said with a slight laugh. “Maybe another time.” He glanced around the busy space and stepped slightly closer to Hoseok so someone could pass by him. “You’ll be up on a stage soon, too.”

“What do we do after this?” Hoseok asked. “Are there after parties?”

“Yeah, but I’m not going to them. Not my scene. If you want, we can go see your new apartment. The other resident just moved out, but you’ll probably have to wait a little bit to move in, but we can go see it. Namjoon will go to the parties for me.”

“How’re we supposed to get out of here?” Hoseok asked, touching the choker around his neck. It felt too tight, too hot.

Yoongi reached up and found the clasp of the jewelry and he deftly undid it and it fell to the floor soundlessly. “I know all the back exits,” Yoongi said. Then he scrunched up his nose. “I swear that wasn’t an innuendo, come on.”

Hoseok let Yoongi drag him through dark hallways until they burst outside into the cool night air around the back of the venue. The wind swirled around them, through Yoongi’s blonde hair and chilling Hoseok through his jacket. “Do you think, years from now, you’ll look back on tonight?” Hoseok asked.

“No,” Yoongi answered without hesitation. “This was nothing.”

What wasn’t nothing was the way Yoongi’s eyes sparkled in the cab ride to his building, or the way his eyelids fluttered like he was sleepy. What wasn’t nothing was the city lights around them and the oblivious cab driver, humming along to one of J-cubed’s songs on the radio. There was a certain surreal nature to the whole night. Like something was changing. It had been Yoongi’s night, and while he seemed calm, collected, Hoseok felt like he was bursting at the seams.

“You know,” Yoongi said, “You’ll be my neighbor soon, so I’m going to have to ask that you don’t bring girls home. I like my privacy. Although, I’m sure Namjoon will say the same.”

The cab pulled up to the side of the street and Hoseok tossed him some cash before they got out and walked into the apartment building. “Alright, I won’t bring any girls home. Or boys.”

“Or boys,” Yoongi agreed.

And that was it. He didn’t comment on it.

He just brought Hoseok to his floor and pointed out the apartment that would be Hoseok’s before bringing him into his (and Namjoon’s).

They stayed up late, talking. Hoseok found that he spoke more, but that Yoongi listened to it all. He listened to Hoseok’s fears, the dreams he had. He listened when Hoseok rambled about how dance was his first love, how he didn’t think he’d ever find another thing he would love more.

“Piano was mine,” Yoongi said softly. “My first love, I mean.”

“You sound sad about it,” Hoseok answered as he tucked his legs under himself on the couch.

“It didn’t judge, the piano,” Yoongi said. “But it also didn’t stop me from judging myself. It’s still there though, in the corner of my mind.”

That night, Yoongi took the ‘maybe’ part out of his contact name in Hoseok’s phone. He didn’t say anything about it, he just requested Hoseok’s phone and did it. That night, Hoseok felt safe, happy, and hopeful. He felt like there was a life for him, in this new world he’d been taken into. One that he’d been close to before, but that was just out of reach. Like now, he could reach it, it was right there, and it looked like Min Yoongi and a stage surrounded by cameras and fans.

Before Hoseok left to go back to Dawon’s, Yoongi spoke again. He looked close to falling asleep and the atmosphere in the apartment was heady. “Truth or truth?” Yoongi asked.

“Huh?”

“Truth or truth,” he repeated and let his eyelids flutter closed. Hoseok was standing by the door, ready to go, and Yoongi was still on the couch. “It’s like truth or dare…but just with truth.”

“Okay…” Hoseok said with a small smile. “Truth.”

“Are you afraid of what’s going to happen next? Like, that you might not recognize yourself after?”

“Are you afraid of that?” Hoseok asked.

“I just think that there’s always a price, and I haven’t paid mine yet. Seokjin paid his when he left Namjoon and me behind, but…I’m still waiting for what I’ll have to give up.”

“Maybe you won’t have to give up anything,” Hoseok said softly.

“I will, eventually,” Yoongi responded. He turned his head away from Hoseok and didn’t say goodbye before Hoseok left the apartment, but when Hoseok got home, he had a text from Yoongi.

Min Yoongi (best friend):

3:17 Thanks, for tonight.

Hoseok:

3:21 anytime, hyung

3:23 seriously

~~~

Four Months Later:

Fame was not all butterflies and rainbows and things handed to him on a silver platter. It was long nights and early mornings full of practicing and preparing and interviews on TV that went by so fast that Hoseok could hardly comprehend what had happened. It was figuring out how to do things with his voice that he’d never done before and putting that to use.

But it was also moving into an apartment of his own, a few doors down from Yoongi. It was sneaking out of his office and into Yoongi’s to ask him a question. It was seeing the view count of his videos go up, and watching Yoongi get the recognition he deserved. It was taking pictures with fans when he was recognized on the streets, and releasing his first rough track, which somehow, people seemed to like.

Namjoon had decided that they were going to do things different with Hoseok in the sense that he wasn’t going to have a debut stage like Yoongi did. “You already have a following thanks to your dance, people already know who you are, in more places than just here. People from all over the world like your dance. Thus, people like the track you put out. One Verse has been played more times in the first week online than Yoongi’s first single was in its first week.” That wasn’t a fact Hoseok passed on to his friend.

There was something more to Yoongi, though, than just him being Hoseok’s friend. Taehyung had voiced it, once when they’d been in the dance studio. Taehyung was practicing moves for an upcoming performance and Hoseok was goofing off, for the most part, while Yoongi sat in a swivel chair in the background and watched.

“You and Yoongi hyung get along really well,” Taehyung commented while he took a break for water. “It’s good that he opens up to you, he doesn’t do that with many people.”

“I mean, we’re friends,” Hoseok said in return.

Taehyung just grinned and took a sip of his water. “You look at each other too long to just be friends,” he stated plainly and then walked away.

Hoseok basically proved Taehyung’s point by looking over at Yoongi who met his eyes instantly and waved sarcastically.

It wasn’t like they’d known each other forever, but Hoseok supposed people ‘dated’ before they’d known each other forever. And that was the problem, Hoseok liked Yoongi. He liked him as more than a friend and that was something he couldn’t do. He couldn’t ask Yoongi on a date, because if they went out, people would see them. He couldn’t hold Yoongi’s hand or kiss him in public.

So he didn’t tell Yoongi he liked him or anything, and maybe it was because he figured Yoongi wouldn’t like him in return. But it was mostly because they couldn’t.

One night, Hoseok joined Dawon for dinner, but while she was in the kitchen, he was on the phone with Yoongi in the living room.

“Did you hear what Jeon Jungkook said about you?” Yoongi asked and Hoseok laid back.

“No, I try to steer clear of anything and everything J-cubed,” Hoseok answered.

Yoongi made a noise of disapproval in the back of his throat. There was another noise in the background, some kind of clang, and Yoongi shouted, “You better not have broken the showerhead again!” Then he returned, “Do you want to know what he said? I need to rant about it.”

“Hit me,” Hoseok said.

“He said, ‘I knew I saw potential in him when I pulled him out on the stage’,” Yoongi said. “Like he can just take credit for everything you’ve done. That’s such bullshit. J-cubed didn’t do shit for you. You did everything for you. Ya know? Like, I got myself here, too, Namjoon just helped, but it was still me. It was still you. I hate them.”

“Yeah, they’re kind of annoying,” Hoseok agreed. “But I’m not going to be bitter about it forever.”

“You’re too nice,” Yoongi said. “Drop the J-Hope persona for a second and be pissed.”

“Fine, yes, J-cubed are shitheads,” Hoseok said and Yoongi scoffed.

“I’m completely convinced,” he said sarcastically. “Anyway, are you home right now, Namjoon is being annoying I rather hang out with you.”

“No I’m with my sister,” Hoseok said.

Yoongi whined. “I have a thing on the radio tomorrow, I needed your moral support!”

“Sorry hyung,” Hoseok said. “I’m sure you’ll do fine.”

“I swear if they ask me some shit like, ‘oh what’s your ideal type in a girl’ I’m going to stab a pencil in my eye.”

“Don’t do that, you have pretty eyes,” Hoseok retorted just as Dawon walked in the room with a spoon in her hand and a raised eyebrow.

“I mean, I don’t have an ideal type in girls or in men, and they act like I haven’t rapped about it. But rapping about it and being it are two totally different things,” Yoongi sighed. “I’m tired, but it’s worth it when I get to go up on a stage. Which isn’t happening soon enough.”

“I’m sorry, hyung,” Hoseok said quietly.

“I wish you were here right now,” Yoongi said suddenly, rushed. “I wish that a lot, when you aren’t around.”

“Hobi, are you going to eat?” Dawon asked impatiently.

“Yes, noona, hold on,” Hoseok answered.

“No, no, go eat. I’ll see you later.” And then, before Hoseok could protest, Yoongi hung up on him.

Days passed before Hoseok properly saw Yoongi again, and even then it was only fleeting glances in hallways. Namjoon was busy preparing things, this and that, and he was on Hoseok’s ass to write songs, but in a subtle way. “Things aren’t pumped out here. Writing your own songs is the way to go.”

Hoseok sweated out his frustration in the dance studio, he met with assistants and managers and people who helped get his image out there. He even did his first live broadcast out to fans.

One night, Yoongi came into his office and sat behind him while Hoseok wrote a song. He said nothing, just sat, and when he left, Hoseok checked social media and found that Yoongi had taken a photo of him from behind and posted it. It was hard to tell that it was Hoseok, exactly, but it clearly wasn’t Yoongi, either.

The picture raked up likes. People commented, guessing that it was Hoseok, and wondering if the two of them were close. If they would be collaborating. If Hoseok would be releasing another song. If, if, if.

And then, more weeks of frustrating nights. More glances with Yoongi that Hoseok wanted to be more. Even one afternoon when he found Yoongi outside in the back of the Bangtan building, smoking. “That’s bad for you,” Hoseok said.

“I know,” Yoongi said and took a drag.

“I didn’t know you smoked.”

“I don’t,” Yoongi said with a wink. “Not usually.”

“Why now?”

Yoongi took a shuddering breath. “I start shooting for my music video tomorrow. I don’t know if I mentioned it before or not, I guess I have a lot on my mind, ya know?”

“I know,” Hoseok said.

“Anyway, I got a call from my father earlier, too. He was mad because he said I’m ‘making him look bad’ and I told him ‘you’ve basically disowned me, hardly anyone even knows I’m your son at this point’ and he said some other things and…” Yoongi shook his head and took another long drag. He blew the smoke back out steadily and then tossed the cigarette down on the ground and scuffed it into the cement with the toe of his shoe. “Then I looked at the comments,” he added darkly.

“Whatever they said—”

“I used to make myself puke,” Yoongi said with a cough. “When I was a teenager.” Hoseok looked down at the smashed cigarette. Yoongi’s breathing was harsh and he wasn’t looking at Hoseok, instead keeping his gaze on the dumpster a few feet away. “No one gave a shit. My brother caught me doing it and no one gave a shit. S-Seokjin and Namjoon were the only ones who cared, and then Seokjin stopped caring and Namjoon…cares, but sometimes it feels like he’s busy…and I’m not resentful, I owe him so much…” He squeezed his eyes closed. “One bad comment and it just all floods back.”

Hoseok placed a hand on Yoongi’s back and the older man crumpled. Hoseok caught in and pulled him close, looking around, but they were alone. “It’s okay, Yoongi,” Hoseok said and held him close while Yoongi fisted the fabric of Hoseok’s shirt. He wasn’t crying, but he was breathing in the way that suggested he was about to. “I…” Hoseok hesitated. “I care.”

Yoongi looked up and met his eyes and then stepped back again. “Fuck,” he muttered. “I’m sorry, I…I’ll…”

“It’s okay,” Hoseok assured him and reached out with an open palm. Yoongi took his hand carefully, like he thought it would bite him. Hoseok knew his hand was a little bit sweaty, but Yoongi didn’t seem to notice. His hand was cold, fingers long and calloused. Hoseok gave the hand a squeeze and Yoongi swallowed noticeably.

“I know you’ve been having a hard time with the music stuff,” Yoongi said, his hand still intertwined with Hoseok’s. “I’ll try and come by sometime in the next few days and we can talk about it.”

He released Hoseok’s hand and turned to go back inside. “Hyung,” Hoseok said quickly. “Yoongi.” Yoongi stopped, and glanced at Hoseok from the corner of his eyes. “Yoongi, I…”

“Me too,” Yoongi said, even though Hoseok hadn’t said it. Hadn’t finished the thought. “Me too.”

*

The next few days were devoid of anything Yoongi, because he was busy shooting his music video. Sometimes, Hoseok thought he heard him getting home, but it was too late to go ask him how he was. He didn’t text, either, he only sent one picture, himself, blonde hair messy and eyebrows dark against his pale skin. No caption, just the picture, a smile on his face. Hoseok responded with a thumbs up emoji.

He couldn’t stop thinking about the moment behind the building, either. He couldn’t stop thinking about Yoongi’s hand in his, or the way he seemed so vulnerable. But he also couldn’t stop thinking about other things about Yoongi, that he shouldn’t have been thinking about. It showed in his dancing, which Namjoon pegged as “real fucking sexual, but I guess not in a bad way”.

Hoseok thought about Yoongi’s lips a lot, especially when he smirked, which he did often. He thought about the way Yoongi moved on the stage and the rasp to his voice. He thought about when Yoongi complained and he whined, an up tilt to his tone.

He thought about it enough that he dreamed about Yoongi in a way that one friend should not be dreaming about another. In the dream, Hoseok wasn’t sure where they were, exactly, it was dark all around, but they seemed to be on a bed. Yoongi writhed on the sheets under Hoseok. He gripped at the comforter and then at Hoseok’s skin and breathed Hoseok’s name. His skin was warm and Hoseok went in to kiss him, to taste every inch of his body. Yoongi’s hands pulled Hoseok’s closer, closer. “Fuck,” he said in Hoseok’s ear, his breath hot. “Fuck me.”

Hoseok woke up hard, in a cold sweat and tried to will it away with a shower, but that didn’t help, and so he came with Yoongi’s name on his lips while the shower water turned cold.

His face flushed red the next day when Yoongi came into his office with coffee and offered to help him later. He could hardly look at him the entire afternoon. Yoongi either didn’t notice, or pretended not to, and it evidently didn’t bother him that Hoseok was being weird, because he came back the next night too.

“I can’t do it!” Hoseok said loudly, banging his fists on the desk in front of him hard enough to make Yoongi flinch. They’d been sitting there in the studio for hours, Yoongi trying to teach Hoseok things about his own voice that he didn’t understand, and helping Hoseok edit songs he’d written.

“What?” Yoongi asked.

“I’m not like you,” Hoseok muttered and leaned back in his chair. “I’m a dancer, hyung, not…this.”

“I’ve heard your voice,” Yoongi said, rolling his own chair closer to Hoseok’s. “You sound amazing, Hobi. Your voice is unique, it’s you.”

Hoseok sighed and pushed the pencil he was holding across the desk in frustration. It clattered to the floor somewhere. “I’m not good enough. I’m not cut out for this. You already have it, you already have the fans, people like your music, the things you say. I don’t have anything to say.”

“Hobi,” Yoongi said firmly. It made Hoseok look up and meet his eyes. Yoongi’s hand reached out, careful, and he grabbed Hoseok’s. “You have things to say. You say things when you dance, it’s…indescribable. Now you just have to figure out how to put that onto paper.”

“That’s what I can’t do,” Hoseok said in annoyance. “I knew I wasn’t cut out for this. I’m not tough like you, I’m not a natural like you.  People don’t even like me, you know that? People say horrible things. Like, ‘no wonder he was a backup dancer, I don’t want to look at him’. It fucking hurts, hyung. I know you said not to read the comments, but I already had. I already saw.”

“Those people are idiots. You’re beautiful.”

The way Yoongi stated it made it impossible to argue. It was a statement, pure fact. And that thing between them, the lingering glances and small touches, it wasn’t a figment of Hoseok’s imagination. It was there, and Hoseok couldn’t hide from it anymore.

“You shouldn’t even be helping me,” Hoseok said softly. “We’re going to be competing with each other, for fans, for fame. We can’t…be friends. We shouldn’t be friends.”

“Fuck that,” Yoongi said. “I’m not going to be your fucking rival. And, I know, okay? I know it hurts to hear what people say about you. Like, you have to have this perfect image. Well, you don’t. Not here, not with me.”

Hoseok licked his bottom lip and felt Yoongi’s hands shift in his. Yoongi was watching him, gauging him for a reaction, and Hoseok didn’t know what reaction Yoongi wanted. His pink lips were sealed closed, a slightly angry line and there was a slight flush to his cheeks.

“You have nothing to worry about,” Hoseok said. “Everyone thinks you’re attractive.”

“Everyone?” Yoongi raised an eyebrow. “I think that’s a bit of a stretch.” He leaned back in his chair again, a smirk on his face, but Hoseok shook his head.

“It’s not,” he said.

“You think I’m attractive?”

“You think I am?” Hoseok shot back.

“Said I did,” Yoongi’s face sobered.

Hoseok watched him, not breaking eye contact for several agonizing seconds. He knew they shouldn’t, knew they couldn’t, but he wanted it anyway. They were the only ones in the studio, the door was closed, locked, leaving them in their own little universe. Yoongi was only an arms distance away, but not close enough.

He’d never been close enough, because Hoseok didn’t want to be Yoongi’s friend, he wanted to be more than that.

“Hoseok,” Yoongi said, the accent that he tried to mask coming through.

Hoseok leaned forward, slow, trying to initiate it, show Yoongi what he wanted. Yoongi stayed in place, his expression unwavering. But then, Hoseok placed a hand on Yoongi’s knee and finally, Yoongi sat up straight in his chair and looked at Hoseok’s hand before meeting his eyes again. “We don’t have to have a perfect image with each other,” Hoseok said. He said it not thinking about their careers, or their future. He said it thinking about just the two of them and no one else. About the way Yoongi opened up to him, and the way Hoseok missed Yoongi when he wasn’t around.

He said it thinking he was only Jung Hoseok and Yoongi was only Min Yoongi and they weren’t J-Hope and Agust D and that they could just date or something, they could just tell each other how they felt, because it was clearly more.

“No, we don’t,” Yoongi agreed and he leaned closer, closer, to Hoseok until they were nose to nose, two pairs of brown eyes locked.

Hoseok wasn’t sure if he made the final move forward, or if it were Yoongi, or both of them, but somehow their lips met. Hoseok curled a hand around the back of Yoongi’s neck, keeping his touch light, in case Yoongi decided he didn’t want it. But Yoongi didn’t pull back, not at all. He pressed further into Hoseok’s touch and when Hoseok parted his lips and brushed his tongue across the seam of Yoongi’s, Yoongi opened for him and let him in.

Their mouths molded and unmolded together while their tongues met, and Hoseok explored Yoongi’s mouth. He tasted like coffee and something sweet that Hoseok couldn’t place and when Hoseok breathed in through his nose, he smelled the faintest hint of vanilla tinged with smoke.

It was Yoongi who broke the kiss first, taking in a sharp breath and checking Hoseok’s expressing before diving back in, rougher, and taking his turn to curl his tongue against the roof of Hoseok’s mouth. One of Yoongi’s hands found its way to Hoseok’s waist, and it gripped the fabric of his shirt tightly. Hoseok tugged Yoongi closer until Yoongi lifted himself off his chair, without breaking the kiss, and situated himself in Hoseok’s lap. The chair threatened to turn, but Hoseok planted his feet on the ground to keep them steady and leaned back.

Yoongi broke off from his lips again and kissed his jaw softly, his lips feather light against Hoseok’s skin. He wanted that everywhere. He wanted Yoongi everywhere. “Yoongi…” Hoseok breathed his name like a prayer and brought their mouths back together.

Yoongi moaned into Hoseok’s mouth, raspy like his voice, and Hoseok moved his hands from Yoongi’s neck to his waist, to his back and Yoongi’s went to Hoseok’s shoulders. He had a firm grip and his hips hovered, until Hoseok pushed them down so Yoongi was settled completely.

Another break came and Yoongi’s breath hitched when Hoseok moved his hands a little bit lower. “Okay?” Hoseok asked.

“Yes,” Yoongi said instantly. “Yes.”

A second after, Hoseok mouthed up Yoongi’s neck. His skin was soft and smooth and Hoseok wanted to ruin it. He wanted to leave marks across the expanse, use his teeth and suck. But he couldn’t, he knew he couldn’t, so he held back, instead tasting Yoongi’s skin with his tongue until he got to his ear, where he bit down only slightly, enough to make Yoongi whimper, and then he tugged on Yoongi’s silver earring to elicit the sound again.

“Yoongi,” Hoseok said helplessly. He slipped a hand under Yoongi’s shirt and Yoongi shivered. “I don’t want to be friends.”

Yoongi laughed, then and leaned back to look at Hoseok. “What do you want?”

“I like you,” Hoseok stated and Yoongi smoothed his hands across Hoseok’s shoulders before kissing him again softly.

“Yeah, I should hope you do, considering I’m in your lap,” Yoongi said after that. “I kinda like you too.”

“Just ‘kinda’?” Hoseok asked and moved his thumb back and forth against Yoongi’s skin.

“I like you enough that if we were living another life, I’d let you take me out,” Yoongi said. “But, we’re living this life and—”

A voice outside the door cut Yoongi off and he clamped his mouth shut quickly. He didn’t move off Hoseok’s lap, though, just kept his eyes trained on the door. Hoseok took the opportunity to kiss Yoongi’s neck again and pull the collar of his shirt aside to kiss his shoulder. “Soundproof,” Hoseok reminded him after a moment.

“We can’t…what? Date?” Yoongi finally said. “Not if we want to make it anywhere as idols.”

“So then how come we just made out?” Hoseok asked and Yoongi scoffed and slid off Hoseok’s lap and back into his own chair.

He ran his hands over his face and sighed loudly. “Because I’ve been attracted to you this whole fucking time,” Yoongi said. “Because even Taehyung can see it, and the entire time I was out filming the music video, I wanted you to be there and I don’t even fucking know why.”

“You have a crush on me,” Hoseok said teasingly and pulled Yoongi’s chair closer again. “I have a crush on you, too.”

“You’re a dork, we’re grown ass men, we shouldn’t have crushes on each other,” Yoongi said, but he pressed his lips back to Hoseok’s another time. Kissing Yoongi wasn’t awkward like lots of first kisses were. It was easy and it felt like they’d been doing it for ages, but in a way that never got old.

Hoseok had kissed enough people, men and women, to know that kissing Yoongi was different. He’d kissed girls in school, and he’d been nervous. He’d kissed men while touring, had one night stands that he wasn’t proud of, and those kisses were pointless, without much feeling. Kissing Yoongi was fireworks and Hoseok didn’t want this night in his office to be their only one.

“We can go out, people will just think we’re friends,” Hoseok said. “Plus, it’s late. No one will recognize us. Just…can we…try?”

“Namjoon is going to fucking kill us,” Yoongi said. “Not because we like each other, or whatever…”

“But because if anyone found out, it would ruin us?” Hoseok asked.

“Yeah, and even though we rely on him, he relies on us.” Yoongi sighed and Hoseok cupped his cheek with his palm and brushed his thumb across his cheekbone. “Seokjin wanted fame and he chose that over Namjoon. I don’t want to choose fame over anything, but…”

“You don’t have to,” Hoseok said and Yoongi pouted, a sure invitation for Hoseok to kiss it away, which he did. “You should know,” Hoseok continued. “That I make a very good date. I’m very fun and I never run out of things to talk about. Besides, I’m not asking you to be my boyfriend, I’m just asking…”

Hoseok didn’t know what he was asking for. He didn’t even know how they’d gotten to this point. The terrible person inside him was close to suggesting they just fuck and forget about it, but that wasn’t even the point. The point was that Hoseok liked Yoongi and he wanted to do more than fuck him. He wanted to talk to him and figure him out.

Yoongi stood up, abruptly and Hoseok blinked up at him, worried that it was all screwed. That Yoongi would leave the room and never speak to him again and they would just be two people signed to the same label who saw each other only on occasion.

“Fine,” Yoongi said, though.

“Huh, ‘fine’? Fine what?” Hoseok asked.

“Fine, as in, fine, take me out or whatever. Mister ‘I’m very fun and I never run out of things to talk about’,” Yoongi said. “I’m hungry, we can go get something to eat.”

Hoseok jumped up with a grin and nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, yes, okay,” he said and Yoongi smiled at him as he opened the door and they started off down the hallway.

The building was pretty dead at that time in the evening, but when they got to the lobby, Namjoon was leaning over the front desk, talking to the secretary and he looked up and met their giddy eyes curiously. “Hey,” he said and they both froze as if caught. “Where’re you guys headed?”

“To get food,” Yoongi said quickly. “Then probably go home. Hobi’s head might explode if he has to look at song lyrics anymore tonight.”

“Oh, alright, be discreet if you can,” Namjoon advised.

Yoongi nodded and they walked out, but Hoseok could feel Namjoon’s eyes on their backs. “Hey,” Hoseok said while they walked. Yoongi had picked a direction, and Hoseok figured he had a place in mind. “Can I ask something about Taehyung?”

“Yeah, he’s not straight either,” Yoongi said before Hoseok could ask. “I don’t know what exactly he is, but he isn’t very subtle about his fanboy crush on J-cubed.”

“Does Namjoon know?”

“Yes, but Taehyung has been V long enough for Namjoon to know he wouldn’t fuck it up.”

Eventually they made their way to a little restaurant on a corner that wasn’t very busy. No one recognized them on the walk there, but it was late and most people on the streets were eager to get home and distracted with their own lives.

The owners of the restaurant didn’t seemed fazed by their presence, either, but a young couple sitting a few tables away from them whispered to each other and pointed, but Yoongi acted like it didn’t bother him so Hoseok did the same. He slid into the little booth next to Yoongi, a bold move, but Yoongi smiled and didn’t protest.

“I can move to the other side,” Hoseok said.

“No, our backs are to the rest of the place, so it’s better,” Yoongi said decidedly.

The rest of the night was them sitting next to each other and talking. Yoongi laughed when Hoseok told him stories about growing up in Gwangju and dancing and his dog and about the drama he was watching even though he didn’t have time. Hoseok nearly choked on his food at Yoongi’s humor, and he listened intently when Yoongi talked about Namjoon and Seokjin and about brief things about growing up with his love for rapping.

They stayed at the restaurant until closing, when they were kicked out and forced to head back to their apartment building. Hoseok wanted to take Yoongi’s hand, but he didn’t. However, when they got into the elevator on their way up to their respective apartments, Yoongi reached out and brushed his hand against Hoseok’s until their fingers wound together. At Hoseok’s door, Yoongi told Hoseok he had fun. “We should do it again sometime,” he said with a hint of sarcasm in his tone.

“Why do you say it like that?” Hoseok asked.

“I don’t know. I haven’t ever gone on an actual date before, I don’t think, so it was weird, but in a good way. But I can’t come in, Namjoon is home and, you know, he’s probably wondering where the hell we’ve been,” Yoongi explained. “But, I’d like to do it again.”

“But you’re going to be busy, right? So will I,” Hoseok said.

Yoongi nodded. “We can try though, if you want.”

Hoseok nodded. “People sneak around all the time,” he said and Yoongi rolled his eyes. “And if we end up figuring out that we can’t make it work, then you’re still my friend.”

“I thought you didn’t want to be friends?”

“That only applies if we can’t be more,” Hoseok said firmly. Yoongi nodded in understanding then looked behind him, down the hall, a silent message that he needed to go.

Before he could, Hoseok pulled him close and pressed their lips back together another time, to end the night. Yoongi’s hands threaded through Hoseok’s hair and his nails scraped lightly against his scalp as Hoseok darted his tongue across Yoongi’s lips and in his mouth. He tasted vaguely like the food they’d eaten, but Hoseok didn’t even really care.

He did care when Yoongi pulled away, his lips wet and shiny. “Alright, fuck, I’ve gotta go,” Yoongi said.

Hoseok chuckled and forced his hands off Yoongi’s waist, where they’d settled. “Okay. Goodnight,” Hoseok said and Yoongi repeated the sentiments.

When he disappeared into his apartment, Hoseok wondered where exactly they were supposed to go from there. What they were going to do. In the back of his mind, a voice was telling him he’d set them down a path of disaster. But his lips tingled and he could close his eyes and still feel Yoongi next to him. It didn’t seem like a disaster at all. It seemed like he was getting everything, all at once, and it was beyond compare.

*

It was all stolen glances and fleeting touches after their date. It was long afternoons in the dance studio with Yoongi in the door way watching before hurrying off to whatever meeting he had to go to. It was nights in either Hoseok’s office or Yoongi’s studio talking about music and recording snippets of tracks yet to be made before their hands got greedy.

It was kisses in a storage closet Yoongi found on the third floor that no one really used for anything. It was grabbing lunch when they could, but never having as much time as they wanted. It was phone calls in the night time when Namjoon was sound asleep and text messages throughout the day. It was missing each other when they weren’t together.

It was the beginning of it, the part where everything is supposed to be new and exciting.

It was weeks of not enough touch, of wanting more.

“I’m going on a mini tour thing with Taehyung,” Yoongi blurted out one night. They were in his studio, and there was more space and a full length couch, which they were seated on and Hoseok had one hand up Yoongi’s shirt.

“What? When?” Hoseok asked and leaned back, but Yoongi pulled him closer again.

“In two weeks. Tae is going back on tour, mostly just in Asia, but I’m going to be opening for him in Korea. So I’m not leaving the country, but I’ll still be away,” he explained. “I’ll miss you.” Yoongi kissed Hoseok’s neck, gentle pecks that became opened mouthed, but nothing that would leave a mark.

“How long will you be gone?”

“I don’t know for sure yet. The first show is here in Seoul. A month maybe?” Hoseok frowned and pulled Yoongi into his lap so Yoongi straddled his thighs. “You know, we’ve been at this for enough time for you not to be worried that I’m going to do anything with anyone else,” Yoongi said with a kiss to the corner of Hoseok’s mouth.

We haven’t even done anything,” Hoseok said quietly. And it was true. In the past weeks, almost two months, they’d been busy, too busy for anything other than kissing. Once, they’d come close to something more, in the storage closet. In the heat of the moment, Hoseok had pushed his hips up against Yoongi’s and the moan he got in response was enough for them to end up with their pants undone and their hands down the other’s. But it was only through their underwear for a moment because Yoongi’s phone had gone off with a message from Namjoon and he hurriedly apologized and left.

“I know,” Yoongi said. “I want to, though.”

“Me too.”

Yoongi pursed his lips in thought. “After the Seoul concert, you should come to my hotel. Everyone here will be busy and Namjoon is going to be worrying about Taehyung. We’ll have privacy.”

“Well great, now I’m going to be freaking out about it for the next two weeks,” Hoseok muttered.

Yoongi smirked. “Well, Namjoon has already left for the night, and no one should bother us here,” he said. “We can’t…you know, fuck, but that’s not our only option. Plus I think my couch is a lot classier than that storage closet.”

“Nothing happened in the storage closet,” Hoseok reminded him. “I had to go jerk off in the bathroom.”

“Sexy,” Yoongi joked and Hoseok pinched him in the side. “Only if you want. Or we can wait. Or we can not do anything at all. I know it’s not hot to plan it, but—”

“But that’s what we have to do,” Hoseok finished. “And I want. I want really fucking bad.”

“Okay,” Yoongi breathed and Hoseok captured his lips so they could keep kissing.

His mind spun, though, as he thought about the prospect of Yoongi leaving for however long. He knew what it was like to travel around to different places. He’d hooked up with people whose names he didn’t know. Yoongi had mentioned before how he had been with people when he was an underground rapper with Namjoon. “It was never good, not really,” he’d said while Hoseok shoved ramen into his mouth and listened. “It was always just guys who wanted to fuck another guy but were straight again the next morning. Or girls who just wanted a story to tell their friends.”

But then, Yoongi ground his hips down and forward against Hoseok’s crotch and reached down to move Hoseok’s hand from his waist to his ass. Hoseok got the memo and put both hands there and helped Yoongi rock forward while he moved from his mouth to his neck. The collar of Yoongi’s shirt was low and loose and Hoseok pulled on it until he deemed a spot okay to mark. It was far enough down on Yoongi’s chest that most of his clothes would cover it. So Hoseok sucked at the skin there and Yoongi threw his head back and sighed.

At the same time, Yoongi slipped one of his hands up Hoseok’s shirt until it was bunched around his armpits and he just pulled his mouth away from Yoongi’s skin and yanked the shirt over his head. “Jesus fuck,” Yoongi muttered. “Thank fuck for dancing.”

Hoseok laughed, but it died in his throat when Yoongi pushed Hoseok back so he was leaning fully against the back of the couch and started kissing the planes of his abs and the skin above the waistband of his sweatpants. Yoongi had to be able to tell he was getting hard, but then again, that seemed to be what Yoongi wanted. His tongue dragged across Hoseok’s skin until he got to his neck and Hoseok pulled Yoongi’s mouth back to his and moved his hand to roll one of Yoongi’s nipples between his thumb and finger.

“The door is locked right?” Hoseok asked and Yoongi nodded quickly. “Mmm good,” Hoseok said and yanked the neckline of Yoongi’s shirt down again so he could get more skin and take Yoongi’s nipple into his mouth. Yoongi made a low sound from deep in his throat and then whimpered slightly.

Hoseok arched his hips up into Yoongi’s at the sound and Yoongi instantly reacted by fumbling with the waistband of Hoseok’s sweats, causing the elastic to snap back and Hoseok to hiss between his teeth. “Fuck, sorry, just…fuck, get them off,” Yoongi said. “I want to see you.”

“You too,” Hoseok said and unclasped Yoongi’s too-tight skinny jeans. The elder sighed when they came undone and Hosoek looked up to see his gaze. “You often go without underwear?”

“All the time, except that time in the storage closet, but those pants were more revealing,” Yoongi said and grinned.

Hoseok grunted in response and pulled the jeans down Yoongi’s thighs until Yoongi had to stand to get them off the rest of the way. He ended up jumping on one foot trying to yank them off and Hoseok giggled. “You’re so cute,” he said and Yoongi glared back before climbing back onto Hoseok’s lap. His shirt was long enough to cover him, but Hoseok still got an eyeful.

“Is my dick up to your standards?” Yoongi asked.

Hoseok answered my wrapping his fingers around Yoongi’s length and darting his thumb over the head. Yoongi breathed out and his eyes fluttered closed. “You’re so…” Hoseok trailed off. Yoongi was everything. He couldn’t pick one word to describe him.

Yoongi bucked his hips up into Hoseok’s fist and then slipped his hand under the waistband of Hoseok’s sweats and wet his lips when he got a hold on him. With his free hand, Hoseok pushed his sweats and boxers down at the same time and they stuck around his thighs. Yoongi made another sound that was almost distress and Hoseok moved his hand up and down Yoongi’s dick a little bit faster.

“I want you in my mouth,” Yoongi said. “Can I?”

Hoseok stopped moving as Yoongi slid to the floor between his legs, pushing them apart after taking his sweatpants and boxers the rest of the way off. “Y-yeah, you can,” Hoseok said with a nod.

Yoongi didn’t hesitate further before gripping Hoseok’s thighs and pulling him forward on the couch and grabbed the base of his dick before running his tongue from base to tip and pausing to lick the precum beading there. Yoongi moaned in satisfaction before taking the head in his mouth and swirling his tongue around before he sucked, the sound lewd in the quiet room.

Hoseok cursed under his breath and gripped the edge of the couch with one hand, and brushed his other hand through Yoongi’s coarse blonde hair. But then Yoongi’s mouth left his dick and moved to his thigh, where he started to nibble at the skin there, hesitant at first, but then he got bolder, sucking and biting and surely leaving behind a mark that would last.

“Yoongi,” Hoseok said with a groan.

The flat of Yoongi’s tongue licked over the new mark and then he lifted Hoseok’s legs and hooked them over his shoulders where they bent at the knee. “Don’t fucking squeeze my head off,” Yoongi said.

“Then put my head in your mouth,” Hoseok retorted and Yoongi grinned wickedly.

He blew a gust of cold air over Hoseok’s dick, causing him to twitch and Yoongi’s lips to purse. Hoseok breathed in, and finally, Yoongi stretched his lips around him and went down, down, until Hoseok felt himself against the back of Yoongi’s throat.

“Fuck, baby,” Hoseok moaned and threw his head back as his thighs jerked and Yoongi pressed his hands into Hoseok’s hips and relaxed his throat to take Hoseok deeper still. “Do you not have a—shit—gag reflex?”

Yoongi hummed, the vibrations felt amazing, and his nose pressed against Hoseok’s pelvic bone at the same time that his tongue managed to somehow brush against his balls. The sound as Yoongi raised back up and bobbed his head was delightfully obscene and Hoseok tightened his grip in Yoongi’s hair.

The pace quickened after a moment, Yoongi’s hands gripped Hoseok’s ass, and his eyes opened to meet Hoseok’s. Yoongi’s lips were red and wet and his eyes were watering in the corners and when he pulled off to take a breath, he traced a vein with his tongue and peppered kisses up and down until Hoseok dug his heels into Yoongi’s still clothed back and Yoongi took him in his mouth again, scraping lightly with his teeth in a way that felt just right.

“Ah, yes, yes, Yoongi,” Hoseok mumbled with a tug to his hair.

Yoongi could still only moan in response, but Hoseok’s hips jerked up, but instead of seeming annoyed, Yoongi took it all and swallowed around him, a tear escaping the corner of his eye and rolling down his cheek. Hoseok opened his mouth to ask if Yoongi was okay, but their eyes met again and Yoongi’s eyes glimmered.

“Fuck, I’m…fuck,” Hoseok gasped loudly as Yoongi started paying more attention to the head and using his hand to jerk what wasn’t in his mouth.

“You can come in my mouth,” Yoongi said, his bottom lip still against Hoseok. “If you want.”

Hoseok nodded and Yoongi’s lips quirked up before wrapping back around him. His tongue worked his magic, digging roughly into the slit and swirling and making it wet and Hoseok moaned loudly as Yoongi took him deep one last time, moments before Hoseok came, his eyes screwed shut and his hand still gripping Yoongi’s hair, guiding him up and down as he rode it out.

Yoongi pulled off with a loud pop and licked his lips like he’d just eaten a fucking popsicle or something. “What the hell, fuck,” Hoseok said with a deep breath. “That was the best blowjob I’ve ever had in my life.”

“Thanks,” Yoongi said. “You have a nice dick worthy of blowing.”

“Get back up here,” Hoseok said and Yoongi did, his lips latching back onto Hoseok’s.

Hoseok could taste himself in Yoongi’s mouth, but it was hotter than it was gross and with one hand he grabbed Yoongi’s ass and with the other, he started to jerk Yoongi off. Yoongi tugged Hoseok’s bottom lip before letting out a string of breathy little gasps as Hoseok spit into his palm and kept working Yoongi’s cock in his hand and kneading the flesh of his ass.

“Liked when—ah—when you called me baby,” Yoongi said suddenly, his head buried in Hoseok’s shoulder.

“Oh,” Hoseok said. “Oh.” Yoongi bit down on Hoseok’s bare shoulder, and if Hoseok gave a shit he would have told Yoongi to be more careful, that it was a place that people might see, but he didn’t give a shit. Yoongi made little sounds into his skin that were completely unlike his usual self. “Be loud,” Hoseok said. “Be loud, baby, it’s…it’s fucking sexy.”

Yoongi moved his mouth to Hoseok’s ear, licking along the outside of it and then reached behind himself and guided Hoseok’s hand closer to his entrance. “Touch me there,” Yoongi said, almost pleaded. His voice hitched when Hoseok spread around the wetness at the tip of Yoongi’s dick on the head. “Please touch me there,” Yoongi said again. “N-not inside, but…please.”

Hoseok nodded, but brought his fingers to Yoongi’s lips, letting him take them in his mouth and slick them with spit before putting them back where Yoongi wanted them.

It was filthy as hell, the way Hoseok was completely naked and Yoongi was half clothed, the sounds they were both making, Yoongi’s swollen pink lips, and the track of a tear down his cheek.

Hoseok pressed his middle finger against Yoongi’s rim, not going inside because that wouldn’t feel good without lube, but just circling the area with enough pressure to make Yoongi’s hips start to stutter and his eyes start to close and his hands start to tighten their grip on Hoseok’s shoulder.

“Baby,” Hoseok breathed. “So perfect.”

“Hobi,” Yoongi keened as Hoseok pressed his finger inside just the tiniest bit, not enough for it to hurt, but enough for Yoongi to feel it. “Fuck, fucking fuck,” Yoongi cursed. “Coming, Hobi, co—” His voice broke off as he twitched in Hoseok’s grasp a spilt second before he came over Hoseok’s hand and on his chest and stomach. Yoongi bit down into Hoseok’s shoulder again, harder, muffling what might have been a shout, until his body stopped jerking and rocking and Hoseok removed his hand.

“That just made waiting two weeks even harder,” Hoseok said and Yoongi laughed breathlessly.

Harder?” Yoongi asked.

“Shut up,” Hoseok laughed and kissed Yoongi another time, slower, with a smile. By the time they separated, Hoseok was very aware of the fact that he was still naked and covered in things that he could not leave the room covered in.

“Sorry I nutted all over you,” Yoongi muttered and Hoseok laughed so loud he was certain even the sound proof room wouldn’t come through for him.

“I literally don’t give a shit. It was hot,” Hoseok said.

“I think I have, uh, tissues or some shit somewhere,” Yoongi said. He got up with a grunt and awkwardly went over to the desk and pulled it open before finding a little travel sized pack of tissues and tossing them at Hoseok before taking one out to use on himself, even though Hoseok was the one who was all gross.

“Thanks, so romantic,” Hoseok said and Yoongi jumped back into his jeans.

“Sorry, I don’t know if I’m all that good at romantic.”

“I don’t know if I am, either,” Hoseok admitted.

“I can bring candles and shit to the hotel,” Yoongi said with a teasing smirk as he looked up and down Hoseok’s body, still naked. Then, he wrapped a hand around Hoseok’s neck and kissed there, pausing at the Adam’s apple before making his way back to Hoseok’s lips, then to his jaw again. “You’re like the sun,” Yoongi said quietly. “You make me feel really…warm.”

Hoseok tilted his head up so Yoongi could keep kissing him. “You are sweet,” Hoseok murmured. Yoongi’s hand that wasn’t on Hoseok’s neck curled around his waist. “A honey boy,” Hoseok said.

“You’re disgusting,” Yoongi said, but when he leaned back to meet Hoseok’s eyes, he didn’t look irritated. He looked fond. “I really don’t want to fuck this up,” he said.

“You won’t. We won’t,” Hoseok assured him. “But, uh, I should probably get dressed.”

Yoongi sighed in mock dissatisfaction. “You should just go around naked all the time.”

“Yeah, sure, that’ll be good for my career.”

“It would be,” Yoongi said seriously, reaching out to squeeze Hoseok’s ass when he stood up. “When your first album comes out, make the cover a picture of you naked.”

“I’d get banned.”

“If that didn’t get banned we could always release a video of us making out.”

“Don’t joke,” Hoseok said, his facial expression falling as he stepped back into his pants. “I know not everyone would be terrible…but a lot of people would be. We’d be torn apart and scrutinized.”

“I know. Trust me, I know. I won’t joke,” Yoongi said and curled up onto the couch. “Come sit.”

Hoseok joined him back on the couch and surprisingly, Yoongi curled his arms around Hoseok until he lay back against the arm of the couch and Yoongi could rest his head on Hoseok’s chest. It was drastically different from the man who had once jerked away from Hoseok’s touch.

It was a version of Yoongi who wanted more, who wanted someone to trust. Hoseok wanted the same.

“Can we sleep here? I wanna sleep,” Yoongi said distantly.

“Sleep, I’ll wake you up in an hour,” Hoseok said.

“Mmm,” Yoongi said, hooking a leg around Hoseok and closing his eyes.

Hoseok wished he could sleep, too, but his body was thrumming with nerves. I really, really don’t want to fuck this up. Please don’t let this get fucked up.

~~~

Two Weeks Later:

“Mom wants to know when you’re going to be on TV next,” Dawon said.

“Uh, I don’t know off the top of my head right now,” Hoseok said. “I think I’m going to be on one of those idol game show things soon, Namjoon mentioned it, it’s for new up and comers, but I can’t remember the exact day.”

“Alright, well let me know when you figure it out,” Dawon said.

They were talking over the phone, because Hoseok was in the cab on the way to Yoongi’s hotel. He hadn’t been able to go to the concert, but Yoongi assured him that wasn’t the point. “You know how I preform on stage, I’m not upset that you can’t be there.” Hoseok was kind of freaking out, a little bit, and so he called Dawon to take his mind off everything and because it’d been too long since they talked.

“I will, noona,” he assured her.

“So that Yoongi guy you’re friends with is Agust D, right?” Dawon asked, because of fucking course Yoongi was going to come up in conversation.

“Yeah.”

“You should introduce me to him. He’s cool.”

Hoseok chuckled. “He’s busy, you know, I can’t just introduce you.”

“Well then what the fuck is the point of you being famous if you can’t introduce me to other famous people?” Dawon asked sarcastically. “Anyway, tell your friend that your sister said he’s cool and that I like his scandalous lines. Especially the ‘tongue technology’ thing. From a creative standpoint, not a sexual one. Don’t tell him I have a crush on him. I don’t. Anyway.”

“Yeah. Anyway,” Hoseok repeated and Dawon giggled slightly.

“What’re you doing tonight?”

“Um…” Going to meet Yoongi at his hotel where we are probably going to have sex. “Nothing, just staying in I guess.”

“Exciting stuff? No wild celebrity parties to go to?”

The cab began to slow and the driver turned around and pointed out the window. They were there. “No, but I have to go. The show I’m watching just came back on. I’ll talk to you later,” Hoseok said quickly and hung up after they said their goodbyes and then quickly paying the driver before pulling his mask over his lower face and his cap down on his head, just in case.

Hoseok:

1:13 im here

Min Yoongi <3:

1:14 Thank fuck I was starting to think you got held up

1:15 I’m on the fourth floor

1:15 Room 4-18

Hoseok:

1:16 okay

1:16 fuck im

1:17 nervous?

Min Yoongi <3:

1:18 You’ve already seen my dick.

1:19 And touched my butt.

Hoseok:

1:20 yeah but

1:20 idk nvr mind I want this

Min Yoongi <3:

1:21 Me too. I want you inside me.

1:22 So hurry up and get here.

As Hoseok rode up the elevator, he got another text, one that he figured was something Yoongi wanted to say in person, but wasn’t sure he’d be able to.

Min Yoongi <3:

1:25 I don’t understand it, I miss you so fucking much when I’m not with you and it fucking scares the shit out of me I don’t know how I’m going to deal with this tour and it’s not even that far away please hurry up.

When the elevator arrived at Yoongi’s floor, Hoseok practically sprinted down the hall, the backpack he’d brought (with spare clothes, condoms, and lube, because he didn’t know what Yoongi did or didn’t have) bouncing against his back. His steps made thuds against the carpeted hallway and when he stopped at Yoongi’s door, he knocked and caught his breath before Yoongi opened the door and pulled him inside.

“I heard you running down the hallway,” Yoongi said. “Really subtle.”

“Sorry,” Hoseok said and Yoongi shook his head.

“It’s fine. Namjoon and Taehyung are on different floors. No one on this floor will even care. What’s with the backpack?” Yoongi asked as Hoseok shrugged it off and kicked off his sneakers.

“It’s, you know, supplies.”

“For what? The zombie apocalypse?” Yoongi joked and fell back onto the bed, back against the pillows.

“Yes, that’s it hyung,” Hoseok said and crawled on the bed too, his nerves suddenly leaving him now that he was with Yoongi. “I would hate for you to be a zombie.”

“If I ever became a zombie, put me out of my misery,” Yoongi said dramatically as he unzipped the backpack. “Yes, yes, condoms are very important in the zombie apocalypse.”

“Asshole,” Hoseok said.

“I brought stuff too,” Yoongi said shyly. “Except when I bought lube, I accidentally got cherry flavored and it tastes like cough syrup, so thank you for bringing regular.”

“What, how’d you know I had a cough syrup kink?” Hoseok teased and Yoongi groaned in annoyance.

“I saw on the room service menu that they have this chocolate cake and I want some, so later we’re getting some and you’re going to share it with me,” Yoongi announced. “Unless you want vanilla, they have that too.”

“I’ll think about it,” Hoseok said.

“No you won’t,” Yoongi countered. “I can already see your brain working and you’re not thinking about cake.”

“I’m thinking about you,” Hoseok said.

The jovial expression fell from Yoongi’s face before he kissed Hoseok, light as a feather and pulled back. “If we do this,” Yoongi said. “We’re really doing it.”

Hoseok thought of the way Yoongi was around most people. He didn’t like to be touched, he didn’t like to talk. But with Hoseok, he was the opposite. He was himself, completely. He was comfortable and Hoseok found himself craving more and more of Yoongi, the same way he craved dance.

“We are,” Hoseok agreed.

Hoseok wouldn’t forget the way Yoongi looked in the lamplight in the hotel room. The way his blonde hair made him look a little bit tanner and made his eyebrows stand out. The way his hands raked down Hoseok’s back. The way their mouths explored, Yoongi on top kissing down Hoseok’s stomach and then flipped, Hoseok gripping Yoongi’s thighs and kissing between them. He wouldn’t forget Yoongi’s sarcastic comments, his unabashed way of asking for what he wanted. He wouldn’t forget how their eyes kept meeting, over and over.

He wouldn’t forget Yoongi’s hand curled in his when he pushed inside him.

“Holy shit,” Hoseok breathed against Yoongi’s neck when he bottomed out. He could feel Yoongi’s muscles shifting and relaxing around his cock and Yoongi’s legs spread, but moving as he tried to figure out the best position. One of Yoongi’s hands curled around Hoseok’s neck as he brought him down for an open mouthed kiss.

“Are you going to move?” Yoongi croaked.

“You’re good?” Hoseok asked.

“Fucking yes I’m good,” Yoongi said, clutching Hoseok’s shoulder tighter. “I’m real fucking good. You’re good,” he continued.

Hoseok breathed out before moving his hips back and forth slowly, at first, and Yoongi decided on hooking his legs over Hoseok’s shoulder. Hoseok grabbed the back of Yoongi’s knee and forced his legs just that much farther apart before pulling out until just the tip was still inside Yoongi. Yoongi’s mouth opened, probably ready to say something else sarcastic, but Hoseok pushed back inside roughly and whatever words Yoongi had been about to say died on his lips with a little yelp.

Yoongi leaned up, seemingly trying to kiss Hoseok, but when he repeated the action, pushing in hard, Yoongi’s head fell back on the pillows instead. Lying there, sweat starting to drip down his neck and wet his bangs, Yoongi looked beautiful. Beautiful in a way Hoseok wouldn’t forget. Beautiful in a way that was about more than just the sex.

But the sex was pretty fucking amazing too.

Yoongi clung to him as it got harder, faster, and the room got hotter. They breathed into each other’s mouths when things got too intense for kissing and eventually Yoongi came with a cry of Hoseok’s name and Hoseok followed after, the sight of Yoongi sated and fucked-out bringing him over the edge.

Hoseok wouldn’t forget how they kissed when it was over, or when Yoongi eventually picked up the hotel room phone and called for room service. He got dressed to retrieve their food, but as soon as he got back to the bed, he undressed again and sat shoulder-to-shoulder with Hoseok.

“What time are you leaving here tomorrow?” Hoseok asked between a bite of rich chocolate cake.

“Noon,” Yoongi said.

“I should probably go in the morning, before anyone wakes up,” Hoseok said.

“I don’t want you to have to do a walk of shame or whatever,” Yoongi muttered and dragged his finger through the icing on the cake and stuck his finger into his mouth to lick it off.

“It’s not a walk of shame, since I’m not ashamed,” Hoseok reminded him, leaning over to kiss him, tasting the chocolate in his mouth. Yoongi moaned and his fork clattered onto the tray in front of them. “Wanna go again?” Hoseok asked against Yoongi’s lips.

Yoongi pouted, and fuck Hoseok felt like he was going to lose it when Yoongi did that. “What about the cake?”

“I’m better than cake,” Hoseok said cockily and Yoongi smirked wickedly in response before grabbing the tray and swiping his finger through the icing again. Except, instead of putting it in his mouth, he dragged his finger over the skin of Hoseok’s neck before using the flat of his tongue to lick the chocolate away.

“You’re right,” Yoongi murmured. “You’re better.”

Hoseok wouldn’t forget that night, just the two of them, alone and happy in that hotel room. They kissed and touched and finished their stupid chocolate cake and then fell asleep tangled in the sheets with laughter and a promise of more.

More of what, exactly, Hoseok wasn’t sure. Maybe more of them, more nights together, more laughter and more understanding. Maybe more success, more music and more dancing. Maybe more time, because Hoseok knew they’d never have enough of it.

Whatever it was more of, Hoseok wanted it. He wanted everything, and that was something dangerous, because he wasn’t foolish enough to truly believe that he could have it all.

Yoongi would eventually be right. There’s always a price.

~~~

A Year and A Half Later:

The sound of a pencil scribbling on paper woke Hoseok up. It was early, he could tell by the way his body protested and his eyes threatened to close again. He wasn’t in his own bed, it was too stiff and a little bit lumpy and the sheets smelled like an unfamiliar detergent. Light filtered in through a wide window framed with delicate curtains. The beams of sun were warm and illuminated the figure in the bed next to him, all soft skin and gentle slopes.

“Morning babe,” Yoongi said without looking up from the notebook he was writing in. Hoseok blinked the rest of the way awake and took him in. Yoongi lay on his stomach and the sheets pooled around his waist and he was clearly still naked, as was Hoseok. His bottom lip was captured between his teeth and his dark, almost jet-black hair skimmed the top of his eyelids. He looked like something out of a dream to Hoseok, he always did. Over their months together, Yoongi had become less skinny than he had been when they met, but Hoseok supposed that was somewhat thanks to him being in a happy relationship and just being happy in general. It didn’t matter, it never would, Hoseok would always think Yoongi was beautiful.

Hoseok smoothed his hand over the skin of Yoongi’s back and stopped where the sheets started, just before the swell of his ass and Yoongi finally looked away from his notebook and smiled at Hoseok. They kissed, a quick good morning peck and Hoseok propped himself up on an elbow on his side. “What’s that?” he asked nodding towards the notebook. Subconsciously, he continued moving his hand on Yoongi’s back. He loved touching Yoongi, in any way he could.

“I got a sudden bout of inspiration,” Yoongi explained. “It’s song lyrics, you can see.” He slid the notebook closer to Hoseok and smiled.

There were two lines that Yoongi had circled furiously, and Hoseok’s eyes went to them first.

fuck the sun/

he shines brighter anyway

“That’s not about me, is it?” Hoseok asked.

“No,” Yoongi deadpanned. “It’s about the other guy I say is the sun.”

Hoseok smiled. “It’s sweet. Are you actually going to use it, though?”

“Yeah, of course,” Yoongi answered plainly. “I’ve talked about you in songs before. People hardly notice I say ‘he’ instead of ‘she’. And if they do, who cares?” Yoongi pulled the notebook back to himself and then set it on the bedside table. “I love you, I want to write songs about you.”

Even though they’d been together for over a year, it still made his stomach flutter when Yoongi told him he loved him. Hoseok had been the one to say the words first, over the phone like a dumbass one night when Yoongi was in Japan and Hoseok had finished a concert in Busan. Yoongi returned the sentiments only when they were together again.

“I love you, too,” Hoseok said.

“I know,” Yoongi said as Hoseok trailed his hand lower, smoothing over Yoongi’s ass and to his upper thigh. “Are you excited, your first full length album comes out in a few weeks.”

“Mhm,” Hoseok answered vaguely. Of course he was excited. It was what he’d been working towards for the past year. He’d released tracks, but the album was different. It was longer and had a separate disc on it of him dancing, which was pretty cool. Namjoon had expressed how proud he was when they’d seen the samples. Hoseok wasn’t sure it was better than Yoongi’s albums, but then again, he didn’t want to compare himself to Yoongi. They were both talented in their own ways.

And Yoongi was his boyfriend, not competition.

Albeit, his secret boyfriend. Because they’d gotten good at secret. Namjoon didn’t even know, or at least, if he did, he never said anything. The only person that might have had an inkling was Taehyung, but that was because Yoongi toured with him at the start and at the start they were still clumsy. But they became better at it. Better at sneaking into each other’s hotel rooms, better at knowing the exact right time to call.

Not that it was easy, since they were apart a lot of the time, but when they were together, it made it worth it. It was easier to be seen out in public together, though, because the public knew they were friends. So, it wasn’t weird for them to be seen out having lunch or dinner together, or to be seen shopping together or standing close.

“How’re you going to celebrate, when it comes out?” Yoongi asked. Hoseok met his eyes and smirked. When Yoongi’s first full length album came out, Yoongi took two days off and got a hotel room at some expensive place in Seoul and he and Hoseok spent those two days there (Hoseok told Namjoon he was staying with his sister, and no one questioned Yoongi, they probably figured he just wanted time alone).

“Actually, I wanted to do something kind of…cheesy,” Hoseok admitted.

“Yeah?” Yoongi put a hand on Hoseok’s shoulder and pushed him to his back before crawling on top of him. Yoongi was not a morning person, Hoseok knew that, but he was a morning sex person.

“I wanted to go home, to Gwangju, I haven’t gotten to go in months and months and…I wanted to go buy the album there, you know? At just some shop as some anonymous person. And…I was hoping you would come with me?” Hoseok asked.

“How would we do that?” Yoongi asked.

“I can tell my parents I’m bringing a friend and—”

“Oh, you want me to meet your parents?” Yoongi’s face got a little bit nervous.

“I…would like that? They’d never tell anyone about us, and we don’t even have to tell them about us being together. I just want you to come home with me, you know? We both have some time off when it comes out before I start my tour dates and promotion and it’s not like we have to give anyone an explanation. We can just go. We’ll be careful, hide our faces. We’ve been together for over a year and…” Hoseok trailed off and gripped Yoongi’s thighs a little bit too tight.

“I’ll go under one condition,” Yoongi said. Hoseok quirked up an eyebrow. “Is your hot sister going to be there?”

“Yah! You’re such a pervert,” Hoseok said and tried to push Yoongi off him, but Yoongi just bent down to kiss Hoseok instead.

“I’m kidding. Of course I’ll go,” Yoongi said. “Especially since when my album came out you let me fuck you against that window in that hotel room.”

“I felt like I was going to fall and die,” Hoseok muttered as Yoongi started kissing his neck. “Or like people could see.”

“We were up too high for that, and the window was too thick to break. It helped you get over your fear of heights,” Yoongi responded.

“Now my fear of heights is just triggered by your dick,” Hoseok said and Yoongi laughed.

“Speaking of dicks,” Yoongi said against Hoseok’s neck. “Can I ride yours?”

“We have to present an award tonight,” Hoseok said, but he grabbed Yoongi’s ass anyway and started rocking his hips back and forth while Yoongi kissed at Hoseok’s shoulder and chest.

They were in Hong Kong, and that night they were going to present an award at a prestigious awards show for best song by a boy group. And the kicker was that they were actually going up on the stage and presenting together. They’d collaborated on songs before, both publicly and in a way that no one knew about, but they’d never performed on a stage together. Presenting the award would be fun, even if it wasn’t performing.

They also got to share a hotel room since the hotel was so packed with all the presenters and nominees, so neither of them even had to sneak around to be together.

“So? That’s hours from now,” Yoongi said. Hoseok sighed. The heat and friction between their bodies was already getting to him and he could feel himself getting harder. Yoongi, being that he had an endless sex drive, was already almost fully hard and his pupils were dilated.

“Can you be quiet? People are up doing things in the other rooms,” Hoseok pointed out.

“I can be quiet, can you?” Yoongi returned. “I know how loud you get when I ride you.”

“Oh please,” Hoseok said, pausing to kiss Yoongi for a long moment and grinding his hips up to meet Yoongi. “You’re louder. You love it so much when I fill you up, don’t you?” Yoongi moaned in response because if Hoseok had learned anything, it was the Yoongi (and himself, too) was weak for dirty talk. “You like it when I hold you still and fuck up into you?” Yoongi bit his tongue between his teeth and then kissed and licked across Hoseok’s lower lip. “C’mon baby, tell me, do you like that?” Hoseok pushed, kneading Yoongi’s ass in his hands.

Yes,” Yoongi answered.

Hoseok looked between them and smirked. “Look at you. I haven’t even touched you and you’re already so hard for me.”

“Stop being a tease,” Yoongi whined. “Can I ride you or not?”

“Of course,” Hoseok said and Yoongi made a sound of relief before diving down to kiss Hoseok again.

When Yoongi kissed, he conveyed the things he couldn’t with words. He was great at writing the words down for songs, but sometimes they got caught in his throat when he needed to say them in real life. But he kissed like he knew exactly how to say what he needed to say. Hoseok understood.

Yoongi kissed Hoseok’s neck lightly, barely using his teeth to scrape across it in a way that wouldn’t leave anything behind. “Get the lube and condoms,” Hoseok said. “We have to use them, I’m not going to hear you complain if I come inside.”

“I’m going to take a shower anyway, but fine,” Yoongi mumbled and sat up straight to grab what they needed from the bedside table, where it was already out and waiting from the night before. “We don’t have to be at the venue until two o’clock and it’s…only nine.”

“Good, we can have more time,” Hoseok said. They always needed more time.

Yoongi nodded in agreement and went back down to suck one of Hoseok’s nipples into his mouth. Hoseok arched off the bed with a satisfied sigh. “Love you,” Yoongi murmured against his skin.

“Love you, too,” Hoseok assured Yoongi and then he grabbed the bottle of lube from where Yoongi had placed it on the bed and managed to get some out while Yoongi continued kissing his body. “Let me get you ready,” Hoseok said. Yoongi moaned against his skin and Hoseok reached around him and Yoongi fell flat over him, his face buried in Hoseok’s neck as Hoseok slid a finger inside him easily.

“Hobi…” Yoongi licked to Hoseok’s ear.

“Did you…” Hoseok trailed off, sliding in another finger as Yoongi pushed back against him. “Did you touch yourself before I woke up?”

“No,” Yoongi said.

Hoseok pushed his fingers in deeper, but purposefully avoided hitting the spot that would make Yoongi’s toes curl. “Yes you did. Were you hoping I’d wake up and see you?”

“Maybe,” Yoongi admitted. “I like when you watch me, but you weren’t waking up so I waited.”

“Brat,” Hoseok said, but he added a third finger anyway, making sure Yoongi was ready.

“That’s enough, I’m good,” Yoongi said and sat up again. He helped Hoseok roll the condom on and the slicked him up with lube. “Sometimes I just fucking want you inside me, and not even in a sexual way I just—” he broke off and met Hoseok’s eyes before situating himself over Hoseok’s dick and sinking down.

Hoseok felt his own heart pounding in his chest and his hands gripped Yoongi’s hips tight enough to leave behind red marks that might even bruise. “What—ah, yeah—what’s this mood you’re in?” Hoseok asked.

Yoongi didn’t answer right away, instead he continued sinking down until Hoseok was bottomed out and Yoongi was fully seated, his eyes rolling back blissfully in his head. Hoseok stayed flat again the mattress and Yoongi scraped his hands over his chest before bracing them down flat. “Tae thinks Namjoon started a rumor that I’m dating that girl I collaborated with a couple months ago,” Yoongi said. “I don’t read online articles and stuff, but Tae showed me and…it said an ‘inside source’ thinks something about something and I don’t know. I don’t like it.”

“Who cares? It’s a rumor,” Hoseok said and moved Yoongi’s hips back and forth.

“Namjoon is just supposed to be above that. It’s whatever. You’re right,” Yoongi muttered. “It’s funny actually, that people believe it, because I’m literally here with your dick up my ass.”

“Aish, talk dirty to me,” Hoseok said sarcastically.

“Mmm, you wish,” Yoongi smirked and raised up to grind back down. He gasped out at the feeling and repeated the action, a little bit harder. “Fuck.”

“Quiet, remember,” Hoseok reminded Yoongi, but then thrust his hips up to meet his next grind down. Yoongi bit his bottom lip and arched his back.

“Wanna go faster,” Yoongi said.

“Bounce for me then,” Hoseok said lowly.

Yoongi’s eyes darkened and he reached up to brace himself on the headboard before he started moving faster, harder. Every several bounces, he’d slow and grind and Hoseok pushed his head back into the pillows and moaned softly. He felt the muscles shifting in Yoongi’s thighs and his ass slapped against Hoseok’s body prominently, more noticeable since they weren’t making as much noise themselves. “Shit, you make me feel so good,” Yoongi said with another gasp, his body jerking slightly with pleasure.

Hoseok held his waist and pushed up, watching the point where they were joined as he slid in and out. The headboard creaked as Yoongi clutched onto it tighter. Yoongi angled himself differently and a little moan escaped his mouth. “You’re so hot,” Hoseok muttered. “The best, baby.”

Yoongi got louder and even harder his mouth falling open and a rivulet of sweat rolling down his neck. “H-Hoseok. Hobi,” Yoongi called out and Hoseok reached up and slipped two fingers into Yoongi’s mouth, quieting him. He moaned around Hoseok’s fingers as they pressed down on his tongue. One of Yoongi’s hands shifted from the headboard back to Hoseok’s chest and he slammed down especially hard.

Oh fuck, oh shit,” Hoseok gasped as Yoongi clenched around him.

“Mhmm,” Yoongi mumbled around Hoseok’s fingers and slammed down again before rocking hard.

Hoseok took his fingers from Yoongi’s mouth and reached between them to grab Yoongi’s ass and spread him apart so he could get deeper. “I’m close,” Hoseok said.

Yoongi nodded briefly in response and wrapped his fingers around himself as their movements started to get choppy, erratic and out of rhythm. It was the best part, right before the end when they would have done anything to bring themselves over the edge and everything felt amazing. Yoongi was gasping and his thighs were shaking from the exertion and Hoseok felt the sheets under him sticking to his back from sweat. His orgasm loomed over him.

“Oh my god,” Yoongi said. “Yes, yes.”

Hoseok felt his body tense a moment before Yoongi came and then he let go, both of them finding release seconds apart. Yoongi liked to ride it out, push himself, and it wasn’t until he was completely worn out did he stop moving and fall flat against Hoseok’s chest, dragging his tongue through the mess there and then closing his eyes contently.

“I really don’t want to leave this bed,” Hoseok said and Yoongi rolled off him, Hoseok slipping free, and then collapsed onto his back next to Hoseok.

“Me neither, but we have to. You need a shower.”

“Come take one with me,” Hoseok offered, but Yoongi’s eyes were closed.

“Too tired, the dick is too good,” Yoongi said with a laugh and Hoseok elbowed him in the side before sitting up.

“Fine, what kind of boyfriend are you, leaving me to shower alone?” Hoseok teased, but he kissed Yoongi once on the lips before bounding to the bathroom.

“You’re the best,” Yoongi called after him with a joking tone. “The light of my life, the source of my joy.”

He took his time in the shower and once he was done, Yoongi was fully awake and gave him another kiss before Hoseok decided to go down to the lobby and see if they were still serving breakfast. He smiled to himself on the elevator ride down and when he got to the lobby, dressed in clothes that he’d haphazardly picked up off the floor from the night before, he saw that there were fans outside the hotel, looking in and hoping to see the face of someone famous that would be attending the awards that night.

Hoseok glanced down at his joggers and long sleeved T-shirt, which, as it turned out, was actually Yoongi’s. Oh well, we could own the same shirt, he thought, and it wasn’t like the fans would be able to get a good look through the tilted glass anyway.

The breakfast bar was still open, so Hoseok looked to see what was left. Not much, mostly some fruit and the waffle maker was still up and running. He moved to make one and then considered bringing Yoongi one too. While he waited, he heard the fans outside start to scream louder (louder than they had when they noticed him, anyway) and he turned to see Kim Seokjin examining the fruit.

They’d had plenty of interaction since Hoseok had quit dancing backup for J-cubed, but for the most part, they avoided each other. Hoseok still didn’t know the exact history between Seokjin and Yoongi and Namjoon, but he knew enough to know that he wanted to be on Yoongi’s side of it all.

“Morning,” Seokjin said when he met Hoseok’s eye. “Ready for tonight?”

“It’s not like I’m nominated or anything, I’m just presenting.”

“Maybe next year you will be, though,” Seokjin offered with a small smile. He brushed his hair back, currently a light pastel pink for J-cubed’s comeback. “How’s Yoongi?”

“Why’re you asking me that?” Hoseok asked as the waffle maker behind him beeped. He turned around and took it out before it would burn.

“You’re rooming with him, aren’t you? You’re friends with him? I’m just asking,” Seokjin said with a shrug.

“He’s good,” Hoseok answered.

“Tell him I said hi,” Seokjin said quietly. “It’s been a long time since he even looked at me, so…”

“It’s probably for a good reason. He said you were a dick.”

Seokjin laughed brightly. “I was a dick,” he agreed. “But I’m trying to be better. We were kids when everything happened. Kids who wanted to make it big and would have done anything to get that. Yoongi and I probably won’t ever be friends again…I know that.” Seokjin took a bite of the apple in his hand and sighed. “Anyway, good luck with everything tonight.”

“Yeah you too,” Hoseok muttered and picked up his waffle and some fruit to bring back to the room. “I’m sure you’ll win, or whatever.”

Seokjin made a face that looked a little bit sad and then he nodded as Hoseok walked back to the elevators. The fans shrieked when they saw him and he waved awkwardly with his arms full of food.

Back up in their room, Yoongi was showered and dressed and he grabbed for Hoseok’s waffle as soon as he walked through the door. “You were gone too long,” Yoongi said and sat down on the little couch in their room.

“I was chatting with your old bestie,” Hoseok said.

“Jin?”

“Mhm.”

“What’d he say?”

“He said hi,” Hoseok said with a shrug. “You don’t think…he knows about us, do you?”

Yoongi took a bite of the waffle and chewed thoughtfully. “He knows I’m not straight,” Yoongi said. “But he isn’t either, and I have actual proof he isn’t whereas he wouldn’t be able to prove that we’re together. So, it’s not like he would say anything if he suspected.”

“Proof?”

“Like pictures of him and Namjoon and stuff,” Yoongi explained. “But really, Jin is an asshole sometimes, but he isn’t that much of an asshole, ya know? I’m not worried about him. Besides, he and his minions are probably going to win the award we’re presenting tonight and I just want to be cordial. Get it over with.”

Hoseok nodded in understanding and sat down next to Yoongi. “What happened between you, exactly? Did Namjoon not sign him or something…?”

“Namjoon’s father still ran the label then, and he offered to sign Jin, but Jin turned him down for another label, he said it would be better for him and then…he ended things with Namjoon and said he couldn’t be friends with me because it could hurt his image and he wanted…I don’t know what he wanted. I guess he chose fame over us,” Yoongi said. “It’s a cliché, really.”

Yoongi rested his head on Hoseok shoulder and tore off another piece of the waffle and offered it out to Hoseok, who took it eagerly. “He is talented, I’ll give him that, but cutting you out of his life was wrong.”

“If he hadn’t, and people knew we were associated, if people knew he was as close to Namjoon as he was…he wouldn’t have made it as far. I’ve done a good job burying my past. So has he. We all have, I guess. Agust D didn’t grow up attending fancy dinners and benefit parties. Min Yoongi did that,” Yoongi said. “Agust D was the me that snuck out to go to sleazy clubs and rap and drink and whatever else.”

Hoseok sighed and leaned his head against Yoongi’s and put his arm around his shoulders. “You shouldn’t separate yourself like that. You are who you are, and all parts of you are great.”

“Thank you,” Yoongi said softly. Hoseok hummed in response and closed his eyes. They were going to have to head out to the venue soon, and Namjoon would surely be by to remind them, or if not him, someone on one of their teams. “No,” Yoongi continued. “Thank you for…everything.”

“You don’t need to thank me.”

“I just, I never thought I would love anyone, ya know? I never thought I would be able to, that I could feel comfortable with someone. I never even thought I would love myself. But I do, now. You…you changed things for me, changed the way I see stuff,” Yoongi explained. “So, thanks for that.”

“You don’t need to thank me,” Hoseok repeated. “I just love you. I don’t need you to thank me, just love me back.”

“I do love you back.”

Hoseok kissed the top of Yoongi's head. He smelled like the hotel shampoo and waffles. He felt like home.

*

“And the award for best song by a boy group goes to…”

“…J-cubed for their hit song Lost.”

The audience cheered, other nominees clapped politely, cameras whirled around to find the three men in the crowd, and their song started playing over the entire venue. It was hard to see out into the audience, the stage lights were blindingly bright, but Hoseok managed to make out the winner’s coming up to the stage to accept their award.

Yoongi stood shoulder to shoulder with Hoseok, his red suit jacket brushing Hoseok’s navy one and his eyes bright, but calm. He was holding the award itself, ready to hand it off and Hoseok was holding the envelope with J-cubed’s name on it.

Hoseok glanced behind him at the big screen while they waited. Sometimes it still amazed him that he was here. He was someone.

“Congratulations,” Yoongi said and Hoseok jerked back around and smiled at the three men who’d finally made it on stage. Yoongi handed off the award to Seokjin and he said a soft ‘thank you’ at the same time that Hoseok handed Jimin the card with their names on it.

Yoongi and Hoseok backed up so they could take the mic and clapped cordially with smiles plastered onto their faces. “At least I’m not the shortest one up here,” Yoongi whispered in Hoseok’s ear and nodded towards Jimin. Hoseok smiled turned real.

“I want to thank Jimin and Jungkook,” Seokjin was saying. “For being amazing members of J-cubed and I also want to thank all of the people on our team, and of course our fans.”

“Original,” Yoongi said under his breath. Hoseok nudged him in the side.

“I also want to thank an old friend of mine for telling me that I had talent. He may not have had this in mind for me, but I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t been in my life. And, another old friend for telling me like it was, back then, when we were kids. I gave up a lot, to be where I am today, and that meant that those friends of mine did too. So, yeah, I want to thank them and also tell them I’m sorry,” Seokjin said, and stepped back from the mic. Jimin stepped up and started talking, but Hoseok didn’t really listen. Instead, he looked at Yoongi, who was looking at the back of Seokjin’s head.

“You okay?” Hoseok whispered. Yoongi nodded and for a spilt second, put his hand on Hoseok’s lower back before he seemed to realize that he couldn’t do that and dropped it back to his side.

When the speeches were over, Yoongi hurried backstage and Hoseok followed after him. They were supposed to go to their seats in the audience, but Yoongi was heading back towards the dressing rooms. People were fussing over J-cubed, as usual, so they didn’t pay as much mind to Yoongi or Hoseok.

“Hey, what’re you doing?” Hoseok hissed after Yoongi.

He didn’t stop until they were in an empty hallway near the wardrobe room. There, Yoongi fell back against the wall and started taking deep breaths. “Felt like I couldn’t breathe,” he said.

Hoseok quickly grabbed his hands. “Are you having a panic attack?”

“No, ‘m fine now,” Yoongi said. “I just…the whole fight was coming back to me…I’m fine.” He squeezed Hoseok’s hand in his and closed his eyes for a moment before opening them.

“I used to get panic attacks, you know that. Are you sure you’re alright?”

“Yeah, I just needed to breathe,” Yoongi assured him. “I’m not falling for Jin’s crap either, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Namjoon does. He has a weak spot for Jin, always has, always will.” Yoongi shook his head.

“We’ve gotta get back out there, are you sure you’re okay, like one-hundred percent?”

Yoongi nodded and tilted his head for a kiss. They were alone. It was okay, so Hoseok met him halfway and cupped Yoongi’s face in his hands. Yoongi held onto the lapels of Hoseok’s suit jacket and parted his lips slightly.

Hoseok thought they were safe, bulletproof, that nothing could touch them. They were careful, always, that was how it was. They’d mastered the art of sneaking around, of being together in the way that they were. He was confident.

So much so that it was risky.

Because it was only a matter of time before they got too confident and it backfired on them.

Hoseok’s hands slid down to Yoongi’s waist and his mouth moved to kiss along Yoongi’s jaw, light enough as to not to disturb his makeup, and then to the curve of Yoongi’s neck. The elder was pushed against the wall and his head was leaning back and up and his eyes were closed. He sighed slightly when Hoseok encircled his waist completely and started kissing him a little bit more roughly.

“Hobi,” Yoongi said softly. “You look so fucking good in this suit.” Hoseok chuckled against his skin and kissed behind Yoongi’s ear, eliciting a soft moan.

And then, there was something else.

“Oh.”

Hoseok froze. That had not been Yoongi. Yoongi’s voice was deep, raspy, unmistakable. And the little ‘oh’, that had been distinctly female. Hoseok felt his chest rising and falling hard, fast, and Yoongi was maybe trying to push him away, but Hoseok’s feet seemed stuck in place.

“Oh fuck. Oh fuck,” Yoongi cursed and Hoseok finally removed his head from the crook of Yoongi’s neck and looked up.

Standing a few feet away from them was a woman. Hoseok recognized her instantly as the girl who worked in the wardrobe and styling area for Bangtan. Eun Ji. He’d worked with her before, and Namjoon had even once made a side comment about her flirting with Hoseok every time she was around him. If she was, he never noticed. And anyway, he had a feeling she wouldn’t be anymore.

“I..we…” Hoseok fumbled for words and finally took a large stride backwards, away from Yoongi. Not that it made a difference, she’d already seen them pressed together, Hoseok’s mouth on Yoongi’s neck. There wasn’t any way around it.

“I-I’m sorry,” she stammered. “So sorry.” Then, before either of them could say anything or do anything, she turned around and scurried back the way she came.

“Fucking fuck, fuck, fuck,” Yoongi swore loudly. “Shit, oh my fucking god.”

Hoseok stood there silently. He didn’t know what to say.

“I don’t even…” Yoongi started, then continued in a raised voice. “I don’t even care. Who cares? Yeah, I like you, so who cares? I love you actually. Hey, I love Jung H—”

Hoseok clamped his hand over Yoongi’s mouth. “Shut up,” Hoseok hissed. “We have to go to our seats.”

He took his hand away and Yoongi’s shoulders slumped. “She won’t tell,” Yoongi said softly. “Not anyone but Namjoon.”

“Namjoon is going to kill us, isn’t he?” Hoseok asked. His body was thrumming with nerves, but he pushed them down as far as he could. He forced his hands not to shake.

“I-I don’t know. Fuck,” Yoongi looked down the hallway. “You’re right. We’ve gotta get back out there.”

“It’ll be okay,” Hoseok said, but he didn’t know if he believed it.

Somehow, they managed to force themselves back out into the audience and took their seats. Taehyung sat a few feet away and he waved, but then let his hand fall when he saw how pale and shaken up Hoseok and Yoongi looked. The rest of the show went on like that, the two of them avoiding eye contact with everyone and putting on a smile anytime the camera came near them.

When they got back to their hotel, Hoseok continuously checked his phone, half expecting some story to break about them and their ‘illicit affair’ even though it wasn’t that at all. It wasn’t illicit and it wasn’t an affair.

“Don’t run,” Yoongi said and Hoseok looked up at him.

“I-I’m not?”

“You aren’t out, not to your parents. That’s why you’re freaking out, right? That’s why you wanted me to come home with you?”

Hoseok closed his eyes and dropped his phone down on the bedside table and enveloped Yoongi in a tight embrace. “I want you to come home with me because I love you. And yes, I want my family to meet you. I’m not going to run, Yoongi. We’ll deal with this.”

Yoongi sighed into Hoseok’s chest. “Fucking Kim Seokjin. I blame him for this.”

Hoseok laughed. “Okay. I’m fine with that.”

Yoongi smiled and looked up at Hoseok. “Let’s order room service and eat ‘till our stomachs hurt.”

Hoseok pushed off his suit jacket and nodded. “Sounds good to me.”

But when Yoongi turned about, Hoseok balled his hands into fists and counted to ten, pushing the panic down farther, again.

*

Hoseok was transported back to fifth grade when he had sat in the principal’s office. He’d been called there because he and another boy had been picking on a girl. She told on them, saying they wouldn’t stop pulling her pigtails. Hoseok hadn’t been doing it the whole time, he actually had been friends with the girl, and maybe had a little bit of a crush on her, but then the other boy started the teasing, and Hoseok thought the boy had a nice smile, so he joined in.

However, the girl had come up to him on the playground. “Hobi, why’re you being mean to me?

So, he’d stopped. But the other boy hadn’t and so the girl told on both of them and he’d ended up getting reprimanded and had to sit out of recess for a week. Dawon had scolded him too, telling him not to pull girl’s pigtails and so had his mother, but Dawon had made him cry.

I just wanted to make him smile!” Hoseok protested to his sister. He remembered the way middle-school Dawon had put her hands on her hips.

Whatever, don’t be mean to anyone, brat,” she said to him sternly.

Hoseok was pretty sure the same girl ended up being his first kiss in middle school, and the boy ended up kicking him in the side once while they were playing soccer in gym.

“Babe.” Hoseok snapped out of his flashback and turned to Yoongi. “You’re zoned out.”

He looked around. He and Yoongi were sitting in Namjoon’s office, but Namjoon wasn’t there yet.  It was cold and Hoseok wished he’d brought a jacket or something. Yoongi was watching him carefully. “I was thinking about…fifth grade,” Hoseok said.

“Oh. Uh, cool?” Yoongi offered. Then, he wrapped an arm around Hoseok and rubbed his hand up and down Hoseok’s goosebump-riddled arm. “Relax,” Yoongi whispered in his ear.

Just as Hoseok felt his muscles relax, the door swung open and he tensed all over again as Namjoon sauntered in. He looked tired and he had on a blue sweatshirt with the hoodie pulled up over his brown hair. Four days had passed since the award ceremony and the incident. Hoseok had just started to think he and Yoongi were okay, that Eun Ji wasn’t going to say anything, when Yoongi knocked on his office door earlier that day. “We’re being summoned,” he said.

And there they were.

Namjoon sat down behind his desk and rubbed his hands over his eyes. When he lowered them, Hoseok noticed his eyes flicker over the photo of himself, Yoongi, and Seokjin. It was only a moment though, because then he looked up and moved his gaze between Hoseok and Yoongi.

“Was it the only time?” he asked.

Hoseok opened his mouth to respond, although he wasn’t sure what with, when Yoongi spoke first. “No. It wasn’t the first time.”

Namjoon narrowed his eyes slightly. “How long then?”

“Uh,” Yoongi looked at Hoseok. “I guess…over a year? Right?”

Hoseok stared back at Yoongi. “Sure, yeah,” he nodded.

“Shit, a year of what?” Namjoon asked. “Sex?”

“No,” Hoseok spoke up. “It’s not just sex. But, I mean, yeah…we have sex.” Namjoon rolled his eyes and Yoongi looked like he was going to laugh.

“What does that mean, then?”

“We’re like…together?” Hoseok offered.

“You remember how Seokjin told me I was emotionally constipated? Well, feel free to call him up and tell him he’s wrong, because—” Yoongi broke off for a moment. “Because I love Hoseok,” he finished.

Namjoon’s face softened for a moment before he hardened again. “I suspected,” he said after a while. “But I didn’t want to actually think that you two would…”

“Would what?” Yoongi snapped. “I’ve been with men before, so have you.”

“I know that, Yoongi,” Namjoon said. “I don’t care about that, I care about you two fucking everything up for yourselves. Eun Ji came to me and told me what she saw because she was worried too. She isn’t going to say anything.”

“What’re you going to do, then?” Yoongi challenged. “It was one slip up. We aren’t going to get caught again.”

“You’re both going to be touring soon. Hoseok has promotion to do. You two can’t be distracted during that.”

“This has never affected us before in our work,” Hoseok reminded Namjoon. “I swear that nothing bad will happen.”

“Look,” Yoongi leaned forward in his chair. “We aren’t asking for your permission or your blessing.”

Namjoon’s eyes darkened. “Don’t fuck it up. I’m not going to let you fuck it up. So, I don’t want to hear anything else about either of you together,” Namjoon said firmly. Hoseok and Yoongi just sat there. They didn’t nod or agree or promise. “Get out of my office.”

Once they were back in Yoongi’s office, Hoseok with his knees up to his chest while Yoongi twirled back and forth in his swivel chair, Hoseok broke the silence, “He’s mad, huh?”

“Oh yeah, but Namjoon is actually a giant teddy bear. He’ll be fine by tonight. And hey, maybe now I can sneak out and come to your place?” Yoongi suggested. “You know, I think Namjoon is going to move out anyway and get a new place on his own.”

“He said he doesn’t want to hear about—”

“He’s just trying to make us nervous. He’s full of shit,” Yoongi said and started clicking around on his computer. “I can come over and we can make out on the couch or whatever.”

“You still want to come to Gwangju with me? Even if Namjoon is…watching us?”

“Yes,” Yoongi answered.

When they left the building that evening, separately, each in sleek black vehicles because walking down the street alone wasn’t so easy anymore in the city, Hoseok felt a sense of dread in his stomach. They’d been caught. There was no way it was going to be as simple as ignoring Namjoon’s threats.

~~~

Gwangju:

They took a train to Gwangju.

They wore hats, sunglasses, and masks to hide their faces and each of them only had one suitcase and a backpack. Hoseok knew his parents were expecting him, but he and Yoongi actually ended up leaving early, so their arrival (especially Yoongi’s) would be a surprise. He was excited to see his parents, and he hoped that they liked Yoongi. The two of them hadn’t really talked about how Hoseok would tell his parents, but he planned on having them talk with Yoongi for a little bit before he actually told them they were dating.

Yoongi slipped his hand into Hoseok’s and looked beyond him out the window and the scenery that flew by. The only thing Hoseok could really see of him was his eyes, and Hoseok nestled his face into the fabric of Yoongi’s beanie. “I hope my album isn’t sold out,” Hoseok murmured thoughtfully.

“Uh. That would be a good thing,” Yoongi replied.

“Yeah, but I wanna buy one!” Hoseok reminded him.

“You’re cute. It’s literally your album, you shouldn’t have to buy one, but I get it. Will people in your hometown recognize you, though?” Yoongi asked curiously. “You’ve told me you were quite popular.”

“I was very popular, once I got out of my awkward middle school phase. All the girls wanted me,” Hoseok smiled under his mask and Yoongi rolled his eyes.

“I’ll have you know plenty of girls wanted me too, although, they usually met Jin then decided they wanted him more.”

“You’re much cuter than Seokjin,” Hoseok said.

Yoongi’s eyes got big and he put his hand over Hoseok’s mouth over his mask. “Shhh! He can sense when you say he isn’t the most attractive man ever.”

Hoseok laughed and pushed Yoongi’s hand away from his mouth, intertwining their fingers. Yoongi took out his phone with his free hand and pointed it out the window, where he snapped a picture. It took, blurry and artsy and he tweeted it with a satisfied smile.

@agustddtsuga
travels [image attached]

Hoseok felt, for a brief moment, like they were normal. Although, he didn’t want normal, not really. He wanted the fame, the stage, but it was nice to just sit on a train with Yoongi and hold hands.

“I’m sleepy,” Yoongi declared. “Wake me up when we’re there.”

“Okay,” Hoseok agreed and let Yoongi lean against him. The minutes passed slowly, with Yoongi’s hand on his, a little bit limp as he slipped into a light sleep, but Hoseok wasn’t complaining.

A few rows ahead of them, a girl peaked back at them and smiled slightly before looking away. No one had really given them a second glace, be it for the fact that they were clearly together, or because anyone recognized them. Hoseok paid no mind to the random girl and let his own eyes drift shut.

They opened a little while later, and luckily, they hadn’t missed their stop. As a matter of fact, they were there, and Yoongi was already awake. “So much for waking me up,” Yoongi teased as he stood.

The station in Gwangju was bustling and they pushed through the crowd with a tight grip on each other and on their suitcases. When they got out onto the street, Hoseok breathed in the air and listened to the familiar sounds of home. He remembered walking down similar streets with Dawon on the weekends, and with his friends, and with his parents. He remembered nights under the same sky, and mornings on his front porch.

“Where to?” Yoongi asked.

“The music store is down that way,” Hoseok pointed. “We can walk and then get a cab to my house.”

Yoongi agreed and they started down the street with their suitcases dragging behind them. Their shoulders bumped together, and Hoseok knew they looked a little bit silly, all covered up with their big travel things, and some people glanced at them, but he ignored it.

Yoongi looked around as they walked. He’d been to Gwangju before, Hoseok was pretty sure, when he opened for Taehyung, but not in this way. Not walking down the street out in the open with everyone else.

The air around them was a little bit chilly with the promise of winter coming, but the sun was still warm enough that they didn’t need coats. “You seem really comfortable here,” Yoongi commented when they neared the shop.

“I am, and you will be too,” Hoseok said.

It was fairly quiet in the music shop when they got there, and Hoseok nearly jumped up and down when he saw his album displayed in the window. He rushed inside, leaving his suitcase by the door and went over to the display inside. It was empty.

“They’re all gone?” Yoongi asked.

“Looks like it,” Hoseok said with a frown.

“Are you looking for J-Hope’s new album?” Hoseok looked up at a girl behind the counter. He’d always gone to the shop as a kid, but the girl didn’t look familiar. However, she was probably around his age and probably hadn’t been working there all that long.

“Yeah,” Hoseok said, trying to make his voice sound deeper, which made Yoongi snicker. “Is it gone?”

“Well yeah, but we still have the one in the display window. I can get it for you, if you want?”

“Yes! Please,” Hoseok said enthusiastically. The girl giggled and rounded the counter to go grab the album.

Yoongi wandered farther into the store, his fingers skimming over CDs and speakers and headphones. Hoseok watched him, and although he couldn’t see his lips, he could tell he was smiling ever so slightly. He picked up a pair of headphones and put them on before looked over at Hoseok and making what Hoseok assumed was a face that was supposed to be cute.

“It’s a good album, I bought it when it first came out,” the shop girl said as she returned. “Have you heard it yet?”

“Yeah, I have,” Hoseok answered. I made it.

“Bangtan Entertainment has some really good artists. I also really like Agust D.”

“Ooh, do you have any of his albums?” Hoseok asked. He could feel Yoongi glaring at the back of his head.

“Yeah, we just got an order in, I was about to restock. I’ll get you one.” She went back to the back room and came back a second later and set Yoongi’s album on top of Hoseok’s and started to ring him up. “My friend thinks that it’s J-Hope’s voice in the background of some of Agust D’s tracks,” she said.

“In which parts?” Hoseok asked. He felt Yoongi slide up behind him.

“Like, when you hear moaning,” the girl said and blushed slightly. “My friend thinks it J-Hope moaning.”

Hoseok smiled slightly under his mask. It was him moaning. Some of it was recorded in the studio, but once, Yoongi had turned his phone on (after making sure it was okay with Hoseok) while they were having sex and recorded Hoseok when he took him in his mouth. It was, to say the least, really hot.

“Do you think it’s him?” Yoongi asked, making his accent sound considerably more Seoul and less Daegu.

“I think it could be, but I don’t know. They’re cute though, J-Hope and Agust D. They should just make out already.” Hoseok choked slightly and Yoongi punched him in the back like he actually had something lodged in his throat. The shop girl laughed and put their things in a bag. She tilted her head to the side when she looked at Hoseok again. “My friend thinks some of their songs are actually about each other, but she’s insane and could find something in nothing, so I mean…”

“Who’s your favorite?” Yoongi asked and put his arm around Hoseok before leaning over the counter while Hoseok paid and took his bag.

“I’ve been a fan of Agust D longer, but I like J-Hope too. It’s hard to choose,” she admitted.

“Agust D is way hotter, though,” Yoongi said.

“Yah, you’re so annoying,” Hoseok said and the girl giggled, a soft tinkling sound.

“I don’t know, J-Hope is pretty hot too,” she said.

“He is. He’s much hotter,” Hoseok said.

“Yeah,” Yoongi nodded thoughtfully. “He’s got that dancer body and shit.”

She girl smiled and shook her head in amusement. “You guys are great,” she said. “How long have you been together?”

“Feels like forever,” Yoongi said. Hoseok felt his heart happily skip a beat.

“Well, I hope you stay together that long,” she said. “And enjoy your music. I’d better get back to stocking before my boss has my head on a stick. Have a nice day, okay?”

“You too,” Hoseok said and then took Yoongi’s hand as they left the shop after he grabbed his suitcase. They called a cab once they were outside, and it arrived quickly.

Yoongi tore of the plastic wrapping on the album as they made their way to Hoseok’s house and flipped open the album book. He smiled at the photos of Hoseok inside. Two of them, he’d taken. One of them was Hoseok, his face up close to a mic, and another was him sprawled out on the dance studio floor after a long practice, a tired smile on his face. Anyone looking at the photos would have no idea that Yoongi had taken them. But Hoseok knew. Yoongi knew.

“Hey, should we be worried that people suspect we’re together?” Hoseok whispered.

“Nah, that’s a thing,” Yoongi said. “They don’t suspect. They just want it to be that way. If only they knew, huh?”

“Hmm.”

“So, what’re you gonna tell your parents?”

“Oh,” Hoseok looked at his hands. “I was first just going to tell them you’re my friend, and then I was hoping after you talk to them…that I would explain. I don’t just want to bust in there like ‘here’s my boyfriend’ you know?”

“I have a better one, you could come in and say ‘make way, we are going to go fuck on my childhood bed’,” Yoongi said teasingly. He kept his voice low, but the driver glanced back at them anyway.

“We are most definitely not doing that,” Hoseok said. Yoongi pouted.

“Not even, like a little bit?” Yoongi asked.

“How does one fuck ‘like a little bit’?” Hoseok asked.

“I don’t know. I’m creative,” Yoongi said with a smirk.

“Shut up, oh my god, hyung,” Hoseok laughed and looked out the window as they entered his neighborhood. The houses looked familiar, some were painted different colors than they had been the last time he saw them, but for the most part it was all the same streets he’d once ridden his bike down as a kid.

“If they react badly, I’ll be there for you,” Yoongi said quietly in Hoseok’s ear and squeezed his thigh.

And then, before Hoseok could respond, they were there. The cab pulled to a stop, and Yoongi paid the driver and then they stepped out of the car with their things. Hoseok stuffed the albums into his backpack and then looked up at his childhood home. Two stories worth of memories. Good and bad, but mostly good.

“This is just how I pictured it,” Yoongi said. “We gonna go in or just admire the view.”

“Go in,” Hoseok said and started up the walk. Their suitcases thudded up the stairs to the porch and Hoseok took a deep breath before knocking. Yoongi rubbed small circles on his back for a moment.

“I’ve got it!” Hoseok heard someone shout inside. His lips quirked up, and then broke out into a full on grin when the door swung open and Dawon stood there. He didn’t know she was going to be visiting, too, but he supposed his parents would have told her that he was and she decided to join in.

“Hobi! What the fuck, you weren’t supposed to be here for two more days!” Dawon exclaimed and lunged forward to hug him. “I’m so fucking happy to see you!”

“Language!” Hoseok heard from inside the house.

“Yeah, we decided to come early,” Hoseok said and Dawon pulled back.

“We?” she asked, then glanced behind Hoseok. “Oh. Oh. Holy shit. Holy shit,” she started talking louder. “You brought Agust D here?” she shrieked.

Yoongi had pulled his mask down and he smiled a gummy smile at Dawon. “I brought Yoongi, here. I’ve talked about him before, stop acting weird.”

“Yeah, but he’s famous,” Dawon hissed.

“So am I!”

“You’re my dork kid brother, shut up,” Dawon said. “Hi, I’m Dawon, Hoseok’s much cooler sister.”

“Min Yoongi,” Yoongi said and bowed.

“Mom!” Dawon shouted into the house. “Hobi is here and he brought his famous friend!” Then she turned back to them and ushered them both inside.

Yoongi looked around curiously, but kept close to Hoseok. “It smells like something really good in here,” he commented.

“Mom is cooking,” Dawon said. “Dad’s not home yet, he will be in a few.”

“I hope I’m not intruding,” Yoongi said.

“You aren’t,” Hoseok said. “I asked you to come.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t ask them if I could come.”

“It’s fine, really, don’t worry,” Dawon said. “Hobi always does shit like this, we’re used to it.”

“Dawon, language!” Hoseok’s mother said as she came into the entryway from kitchen. She smiled big when she saw Hoseok. “Hobi, oh, it’s been too long,” she said and hugged him. “And your hair, is it lighter?”

“They keep telling him to dye it orange,” Yoongi blurted out and Hoseok’s mother turned to him with an equally warm smile. “Uh. Sorry. I’m Yoongi.”

“Yes, I heard, Dawon listens to your music, I recognize you,” Hoseok mother said. “I’m glad you’ve been a friend to my son, as well. You’re more than welcome to stay.” Yoongi smiled, and then looked a little bit surprised when Hoseok’s mother hugged him briefly. “The guest room isn’t made up, though.”

“Oh, it’s okay, we’ll share my room,” Hoseok said quickly. His mother blinked at him and then nodded. She seemed unfazed, however, Hoseok caught the way Dawon’s eyebrow quirked up.

“Come help me take your things up, then, and Dawon, go take Yoongi to the kitchen and offer him something to drink,” Hoseok’s mother said.

“Alright, I’ll get down to interrogating him on life in the spotlight, as well,” Dawon said. Yoongi turned away and wandered into the living room and when his back was to them, Dawon winked and mouthed, “He’s cute!”

Hoseok scowled at her and followed his mom upstairs. His room was as he left it and he smiled as he set down their suitcases. “Why didn’t your friend go see his family while you have time off?”

“He doesn’t really talk to them,” Hoseok said. “So I invited him here.”

“That was kind of you,” his mother commented.

“Sorry for not giving you a heads up…”

“Don’t worry about it. Your friends are our friends, sweetheart,” she touched his cheek. “We’re very proud of you, you know? Dawon and your father and I went out and bought your new album, it’s very good.”

“Did you like the song about you?”

“Very much.”

Hoseok beamed. “I missed you a lot,” he said.

His mother opened her mouth to answer, when they heard Dawon shout something downstairs, complete with another string of curse words. His mother pinched the bridge of her nose. “Your sister is going to cause me to have a heart attack,” she joked.

They went back downstairs, Hoseok first, and he heard Dawon and Yoongi talking before he got to the kitchen. “You know,” Dawon said, “Hobi talks about you so fucking much. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he has a crush on you.”

“Oh, he does,” Yoongi deadpanned in response and Dawon laughed. Hoseok looked back, but his mother didn’t seem to have heard.

“Stop talking about me,” Hoseok said when he walked into the kitchen. Yoongi sat at the table with a pliant Mickey in his arms.

Yoongi smiled up at him. “I like your sister, she rivals my cursing abilities,” Yoongi said.

“Yeah, I knew you two would get along,” Hoseok said and sat down next to Yoongi, patted his dog on the head, as his mother went to go finish up what she was cooking.

“So like, what crazy celebrity stories can you tell me?” Dawon asked Yoongi and Hoseok rolled his eyes.

“I used to be friends with Kim Seokjin,” Yoongi said casually.

“Oh my god, swoon,” Dawon said dramatically.

“I worked with him!” Hoseok said and Dawon laughed and put her hand over Hoseok’s.

“I know, I’m teasing you,” she said. “So how long can you guys stay?”

“A few days, I hope,” Hoseok answered.

“You better show me all the fun places,” Yoongi said, touching Hoseok’s arm when he spoke. “I want to be thoroughly immersed in Gwangju life.” Hoseok smiled back at him and resisted the urge to kiss him right then and there.

“Oh, fuck, I forgot to offer you something to drink!” Dawon said and stood up and rushed to the fridge,

Language!”

It went on like that until his father got home, easy banter and his mother smiling fondly at the lot of them. Yoongi was polite and he and Dawon got along perfectly and his mother commented at one point to Hoseok that his friend ‘was a very nice boy’.

When his father got home, he greeted Hoseok warmly with a big hug and told him he looked good. “I was afraid that all that fame stuff would have changed you, but you still look like my son,” he said and clapped Hoseok on the back.

“He isn’t going to get surgery on his face or something, jeez,” Dawon muttered.

Hoseok introduced Yoongi to his father, and Yoongi seemed considerably more nervous about it, but his father was kind and didn’t act like it bothered him that Yoongi was there. And so, they all sat down for dinner and ate the food Hoseok’s mother had made for them.

“So, Yoongi, where are you from?” Hoseok’s father asked.

“Daegu, sir,” Yoongi answered.

“I thought that’s where you might have been from. And you make music, too?”

“Yes,” Yoongi answered. “I have been since I was a teenager.”

“That’s good. It’s good to be passionate about something.”

Throughout dinner, Hoseok noticed Dawon eyeing him and Yoongi. She didn’t say anything, though, until dinner was over, when she suggested they all gather in the living room and watch a movie.

“You three are welcome to, but I don’t know if I can stay up,” their mother said.

Yoongi helped clear the table and Hoseok sat in one of the chairs, checking his phone. He didn’t have any messages from Namjoon, just one from Taehyung telling him and Yoongi to have fun on their trip. He had to know about them, but Hoseok always figured he did. Taehyung was very observant.

“You’re in my seat,” Yoongi said and Hoseok looked up at him.

“There are more chairs, hyung,” Hoseok said.

“We have ice cream,” Dawon called from the kitchen. Hoseok rolled his eyes at Yoongi and pulled him down into his lap. Dawon looked over at them and did a double take, but she didn’t comment. Their parents were in the living room, slightly out of view. “Want ice cream?”

“Sure. Are we watching a movie?” Hoseok asked, resting his hands on Yoongi’s thighs.

“Yeah,” Dawon pulled out two cartons of ice creams and then spoons from the silver ware drawer. “Feel free to bring your lazy asses in there when you’re done with…whatever.”

Hoseok felt his face flush, but as soon as Dawon was out of sight, Yoongi shifted around and kissed him. Hoseok leaned in to it, if only for a moment, before pulling away and lifting Yoongi off himself. “Been wanting to do that since we got here,” Yoongi whispered. “No pressure, but…are you gonna…?”

“Tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, I promise,” Hoseok said. Yoongi nodded in understanding. “Let’s go watch the movie or Dawon will flip.”

Yoongi laughed and they made their way to the living room. Hoseok’s parents were on the loveseat, his father already seemingly asleep and his mother with her nose buried in a book like she always did before bed. Dawon was on the full length couch, but she was spread out on her stomach with a carton of ice cream, almost intentionally taking up all the space, Mickey at her feet.

“Looks like you two have to take the recliner. Ya snooze ya lose,” she said and Hoseok glared at her.

The recliner was plenty of room for two people, especially since Yoongi was small, but it was…intimate. Hoseok wouldn’t mind if his parents weren’t ten feet away. Even if they knew he would feel a little bit weird about being so blatantly affectionate in front of them. But Yoongi sat down anyway and picked up the other carton of ice cream and their spoons. Hoseok sighed and squeezed in next to him and pulled the blanket off the back of the recliner to put over their legs.

Dawon started the movie and Hoseok took one of the spoons from Yoongi so he could share the ice cream. “Stop hogging it all,” Yoongi said when Hoseok tried to take the carton.

“I am not,” Hoseok hissed back and shoved another spoonful in his mouth at the same time Yoongi shifted his leg and kneed Hoseok in the crotch. “Ow, why are you so aggressive?”

“I value my ice cream,” Yoongi said with a sarcastic smile.

Eventually, they finished the carton and Hoseok’s father woke up and wished them a goodnight before heading to the master bedroom on the first floor where their parents slept. His mother gathered up their empty ice cream cartons and spoons and went to take them to the kitchen. Yoongi curled up into the recliner and Hoseok watched his eyes start to flutter closed.

“Do not fall asleep,” Hoseok hissed. “I’m not carrying you upstairs.”

“So mean,” Yoongi mumbled and turned to his side so his face was practically buried in Hoseok’s chest. Yoongi always got touchy when he was tired, and it had been a long day. “After all I’ve done for you…”

“Get a room,” Dawon said from the couch and Hoseok jerked and stared at her. She was smiling and Yoongi didn’t even move.

Their mother retuned then. “I’m heading off to bed. Don’t stay up too late,” she said. Hoseok smiled and assured her they wouldn’t and she ruffled his hair without even commenting on the way that Yoongi was curled up next to him with his eyes closed.

Once she was gone, Dawon sat up on the couch and looked over at Hoseok and Yoongi. “This movie is boring as shit,” she said.

“Yeah, I wasn’t really paying attention,” Hoseok agreed as Yoongi moved around next to him, trying to get more comfortable.

Dawon glanced behind her and they heard the door to their parents room close. “So, full disclosure, if you guys have sex tonight, I’m just gonna sleep on the couch, so please let me know.”

Yoongi started laughing and Hoseok nudged him away. “You asshole, pretending to be asleep,” Hoseok said and Yoongi just laughed harder.

“You suck ass at subtlety, Hobi. You always have,” Dawon said.

“She’s right,” Yoongi said, his voice muffled by the couch.

“I knew you liked him the second you told me about him,” Dawon said. “I am very offended you didn’t tell me you were together, but it was fun seeing your face this entire evening.”

“I’m gonna tell them tomorrow,” Hoseok said with a sigh as Yoongi shifted around again and sat back up.

“Good. You better,” Dawon said. “Not that they probably don’t suspect. Anyways, you guys are super cute, it’s disgusting, and…you know, I hope it all works out because I figure it can’t be easy.”

“It isn’t,” Hoseok admitted and looked over at Yoongi.

“We’ll be okay,” Yoongi said.

“Good. Now get out of here, I want to watch lame reality shows until the sun comes up without judgement,” Dawon said and Hoseok laughed and the two of them scrambled off the recliner and stumbled upstairs where they changed into pajamas and brushed their teeth.

Yoongi climbed into the bed first and curled up into his signature little ball. The bed was a twin, not meant for two people, but Hoseok certainly didn’t mind sleeping close to Yoongi. “I like it here,” Yoongi said as Hoseok got under the covers too. “I wish I had this when I was growing up. You’re lucky.”

“I know,” Hoseok said and kissed Yoongi chastely. “I wish you’d had it, too. But it wasn’t all perfect. Nothing ever is.”

“Yeah,” Yoongi sighed and yawned. “It’s going to be…sad when you go away for tour and stuff. And me,” Yoongi added.

“Don’t talk about that right now,” Hoseok said.

“What’d ya wanna talk about then?” Yoongi asked. He reached out and trailed a hand under Hoseok’s T-shirt. His hand was a little bit cold and Hoseok shivered at his touch, soft and exploratory.

“We are not fucking in here,” Hoseok hissed lowly. Yoongi pulled his hand out from under Hoseok’s shirt and huffed.

“Fine, spoon me then,” Yoongi muttered and turned around so his back was to Hoseok. He obliged and wrapped his arm around Yoongi and for a moment, in the dark, they laid still.

Then, though, Hoseok trailed a hand lower until he reached a little patch of skin where Yoongi’s shirt had ridden up. He rubbed his thumb across it and the slipped a finger under the waistband of Yoongi’s pajama pants. Yoongi’s breath got shallow. Hoseok smiled slightly to himself and the moved his hand to Yoongi’s back, rubbing small circles, before making his way over his hips to his leg and then back to his stomach.

“Fuck are you doing?” Yoongi whispered.

“Nothing,” Hoseok responded.

He continued moving his hand, using his nails slightly against the skin of Yoongi’s back. Yoongi liked that, he liked having his back rubbed and to be held close when he was trying to fall asleep. However, Hoseok wasn’t sure if he was actually trying to help Yoongi fall asleep or not. If he was though, it wasn’t working, because Yoongi was squirming around in front of him. When he pushed his ass out into Hoseok’s crotch, Hoseok’s breath caught in his throat and his hand instinctively went down to Yoongi’s hips again.

Touch me,” Yoongi hissed.

“I am touching you,” Hoseok whispered back. He nuzzled closer to the back of Yoongi’s neck and placed a kiss on his skin.

Yoongi moved so his face was buried in the pillow and mumbled something Hoseok couldn’t understand before reaching around and pulling Hoseok’s head closer to him. Hoseok continued kissing his neck and listening to Yoongi’s quick breaths. It wasn’t like his parents were on the same floor and Dawon was still downstairs, but Yoongi was being quiet as a mouse.

Yoongi pushed back against Hoseok again and then tightened his grip in his hair. Hoseok rutted against him, feeling himself start to harden. “Hobi,” Yoongi said, his voice getting softer.

Hoseok smiled and finally pushed Yoongi’s pants down with his boxers enough to get a hold on him. “You want me to touch you like this?” Hoseok asked, stroking lightly.

“I want you to fuck me. Or let me fuck you,” Yoongi said.

“Not tonight,” Hoseok replied. “But I will help you out.”

He picked up the pace of his strokes and Yoongi fucked into his fist, rocking back into Hoseok’s crotch. Hoseok was fairly certain Yoongi was biting down on the neck of his shirt and he continued to yank at Hoseok’s hair until he let out a small cry as his orgasm silently ripped through him. Hoseok pushed down his own pants, but before he could get himself off, Yoongi weakly crawled over him and sunk down under the covers and stayed there until Hoseok came down his throat, hands clutching the sheets.

When they woke up the next morning, Hoseok was grateful that he’d gotten up and gone to the bathroom next to his room to clean them up. Yoongi was curled up half on top of him, still sound asleep. Hoseok petted his hair and looked around his room. The walls were a pale blue and his green curtains let in the sun.

Hoseok could vaguely hear the sound of life downstairs and he figured they ought to get up before someone came and got them. “Yoongs,” Hoseok said softly. “We gotta wake up.”

Yoongi didn’t budge and Hoseok sighed and reached under his shirt and tickled his side until Yoongi started to squirm. His eyes fluttered and his face scrunched up. “What’re you—ah! Stop, stop!”

Yoongi protested and wiggled away before reaching out and tickling Hoseok in return until they were both a laughing mess. “Okay, I surrender!” Hoseok said breathlessly and pushed him up so he was sitting.

He looked down at Yoongi, hair messy and cheeks flushed and a smile stretched across his face. “God, you’re beautiful,” Yoongi said.

“You’re a big softie,” Hoseok said. Then he tilted his head and reconsidered. “I small softie.”

Yoongi grumbled, and chased Hoseok down the stairs to the kitchen, only managing to snag his shirt when he skidded to a stop in the living room. “I am not small!” Yoongi said. “If I’m small, you’re small too, ‘cause your only an inch taller than me!”

“It’s okay, you’re big in my heart,” Hoseok said and Yoongi rolled his eyes.

“Shut up with your gross flirting I’m trying to sleep,” Dawon said and Hoseok looked over to see her still half asleep on the couch. She groaned and rolled over. “Never mind. I’m awake. Are the parents making breakfast?”

“Sounds like it,” Hoseok answered.

“Oh, you boys are awake,” Hoseok’s mother came into the living room and smiled at them. Yoongi still had his hand balled around Hoseok’s T-shirt and instead of loosening his grip, it got tighter.

“Is Dad awake?” Hoseok asked.

“Is it a good idea to tell them so early?” Yoongi whispered in Hoseok’s ear.

“Yeah, we’re morning people,” Dawon whispered back. “It’s a blessing and a curse.”

“Tell us what?” Hoseok mother looked between the three of them curiously.

“Um,” Hoseok looked at Yoongi and then back to his mom.

“Dad!” Dawon shouted. “Hobi has a very important thing to say!”

There was grumbling from the kitchen and then his father emerged into the living room. Everyone just stood (and Dawon sat) there, waiting for him to talk. Yoongi was pulling on his shirt, and Hoseok reached around and pried his hand away, instead taking it in his.

“So,” Hoseok began. He decided to just go for it. Just say it. “Yoongi is…my boyfriend. I love him.”

“What?!” Dawon shrieked instantly. “I am so shocked. I had no idea! Wow! Just…wow, amazing.” Hoseok threw one of the couch pillows at her. “Seriously. It’s great,” she said, sobering. “You do know I’ve known that you were into guys too since you were like, ten, right?”

“Hobi,” his mother spoke up. He looked at her, unsure what to expect, but she had a warm smile on her face still, and she walked over to them and without hesitation, and enveloped both Hoseok and Yoongi into a hug. “I’m going to love you and be proud of you no matter what, sweetheart. Yoongi, you are a lovely young man and I hope that my son is good to you.”

“What about him being good to me?” Hoseok asked.

“I’m sure he will be.”

Yoongi laughed and when the embrace broke, he was grinning like an idiot and Hoseok figured he looked about the same. He looked over at his father, who gave a slight nod. He wasn’t smiling, not in the same way his mother was, but he walked over and patted Hoseok on the back. “You be careful,” he said. Hoseok looked at him in confusion. “You’ll never disappoint me—”

“Unless he murders someone,” Dawon interjected.

“Yes, unless you do that, but other people may not be so…tolerant. So, be careful, okay? Promise me.”

“We promise.”

“Yeah, we promise,” Yoongi repeated. “And…thank you, for…” Yoongi trailed off and held out his hands, gesturing around. “Thank you for being so welcoming to me.”

“Of course, dear,” Hoseok’s mother said.

It was so easy, the way they all fell back into their morning routines like nothing had happened. They ate breakfast and then they all got ready and went out, Yoongi and Hoseok in their masks and hats. Hoseok showed Yoongi around, Dawon trailed after them, but eventually she left them to their own devices. They held hands down the streets, no worries or concerns.

When nighttime rolled around, they all went out to eat at a nice restaurant that was usually reserved for special occasions. Hoseok didn’t think it was possible for him to fall more in love with Min Yoongi, but he was certain that he did during their trip. He loved the way Yoongi fit in with everyone else, and the way he was just himself, not worried about altering who he was or putting on a persona for cameras or fans. They were happy.

At dinner, though, Hoseok excused himself to use the restroom at one point. When he emerged, a girl was coming out of the women’s room, too, and she did a double take when she saw him. For a moment, he thought she recognized him as J-Hope, since he’d taken his mask off to eat, but she smiled wide and exclaimed, “Hobi?”

“Uh…”

“Oh, it’s been so long, you probably don’t remember me. We went to school together, you dated my best friend. I’m Kyung-Hee.”

“Oh! Yes, I remember!” Hoseok said.

“What’re you doing here? Aren’t you, you know, a big deal now?”

“I’m visiting my family,” Hoseok said.

“I thought I saw them over there,” she said and pointed out into the restaurant. “You don’t have a brother, though, who was that guy with you?”

“A friend,” Hoseok said quickly.

She nodded and repeated that it was good to see him before going back out to her seat. However, when Hoseok sat down, their eyes met again across the restaurant and he noticed her eyeing Yoongi curiously. He didn’t have much time to worry about it, though, because Yoongi started laughing at something Dawon said and Hoseok was brought back to the present, back to home, back to his parents and sister and Yoongi.

He knew it was a moment that they might not have again for a long, long time.

~~~

Tour:

“It’s so fucking loud, I can’t hear you!”

“Just text me!”

“What? Ow! I just got elbowed in the boob, Hoseokie, the things I do for you are endless!”

Hoseok laughed and took in his reflection in his dressing room mirror. His hair was styled off his forehead, bright orange and a little bit glaring, but it was what his team wanted. The fans seemed to like it, at least. He could hear the sound of the venue filling up and in less than an hour, he would be out on a stage, starting his tour.

With a deep breath, he stood and smoothed out his sequined suit jacket. He was already nervous, but the fact that his parents and Dawon were attended the concert too made it about a thousand times worse. But also kind of better.

“Are you ready to make your way to the stage?” an assistant came into the doorway and asked.

Hoseok was about to answer when his phone buzzed on the table.

Yoongi <3:

7:45 Good luck babe

7:45 You’ll do amazing

“Yeah, I’m ready,” Hoseok said.

The sound of people screaming that night echoed in his ears. He couldn’t find Dawon or his parents in the audience, but he performed with everything he had. He danced harder than he ever had and looked confidently in the camera. The lights shone down on him, hot and bright, and it felt amazing. The rush was more than anything else he’d ever felt. His heart pounded in his chest and he was fairly certain his smile never left his face.

Backstage was the same, still full of faces he didn’t really know, but they were all looking at him now. The fuss was for him, the praise was for him. The shouts for more were for him when the concert came to an end. The chants of his name were for him.

And after one final farewell, he was backstage and being offered towels and water and was being congratulated. The entire thing made him feel like he was high, floating. So much so that he didn’t see Dawon until she was in front of him. Her mouth was moving and he was nodding, but his ears were still ringing and he could hardly make out what she was saying.

And then he felt it, eyes on him.

Hoseok looked over Dawon’s head and met Yoongi’s intense gaze. His head was cocked to the side and he was smirking like he knew a secret. And maybe he did, because he wasn’t supposed to be there. He was meant to be on a plane to Japan, right then, but he was across the room, waiting.

“Sorry, I—” Hoseok muttered to Dawon and strode across the room. It all faded away and Yoongi’s smile got bigger and when Hoseok reached him he pulled him into a hug, onlookers be damned.

“Everyone is looking,” Yoongi whispered in his ear.

“Don’t care.”

“You did amazing. I saw all of it,” Yoongi said. “That white shirt you were wearing when you danced was so hot,” he added lowly and then pulled away.

“You’re supposed to be on your way to Japan…” Hoseok said.

“I’ll go tomorrow,” Yoongi said with a shrug.

“Guys,” Dawon came back over to them and pushed Hoseok’s hand gently off Yoongi’s shoulder. “People are staring.”

That’s how it started, a simple push of his hand off Yoongi’s shoulder. Of course, Dawon was only looking out for them, and at the time, Hoseok saw that. He stepped back, put space between himself and Yoongi. That amount of space would grow. One foot of distance between them would become two and two would become three. And three would become miles and miles would turn into an amount of space that was about more than just distance.

One ‘people are staring’ was enough.

Because as careful, as secretive as they were, there was no hiding the look in their eyes.

The morning after Hoseok’s concert, he went into Bangtan to talk with Namjoon about his upcoming traveling and tour dates before he left Seoul. He hadn’t expected Yoongi to be there, he thought he’d left already for Japan, but as it turned out, he’d rescheduled his flight for later that evening.

Hoseok only found out because when he got to Namjoon’s office, he heard Yoongi speaking, so he stopped, frozen in place outside the office, out of view.

“It’s just rumors, it’s bullshit,” Yoongi said.

“It’s not bullshit because the rumors are true!” Namjoon shouted in response and Hoseok flinched. “Have you not seen any of the things online?”

“No, I don’t look at that shit,” Yoongi answered. He sounded calm.

“There’s a picture of you and Hoseok on a train. A fan posted it, saying it looked like you two, not that it was you two, but people think it is. Gossip sites even have insinuated it’s the two of you. You’re holding hands,” Namjoon said angrily. Hoseok felt his stomach drop as he thought about the girl on the train who had smiled back at them.

“Our faces were so covered up it’s impossible for people to know for sure.”

“Right, well someone else took a picture of you and Hoseok at a restaurant?” Namjoon asked. “It’s low quality, but you can clearly see yourself and who I assume is Hoseok’s sister and someone who looks like Hoseok next to you. It’s not hard to put two and two together and assume that you went with Hoseok to visit his family. Not to mention all the rumors about the way Hoseok ran to you after his show. And then this morning you leak some song that you recorded without anyone’s permission? What are you doing, Min?”

What? Hoseok wondered. What song?

“I’m doing what I want to do. Isn’t that the whole point of this place? Of Bangtan?” Yoongi asked. “I’m supposed to be able to have say in my life.”

“Not like this,” Namjoon hissed. “This has to stop. The two of you are going to ruin everything.”

“You’re acting like if Seokjin asked for you back, you wouldn’t take him back,” Yoongi snapped. “You’re acting like I chose this. I fell in love with him same way you fell in love with Jin, except Hoseok isn’t Jin. He’s better.”

Hoseok couldn’t see into the room, but he could practically feel Namjoon fuming. “People have asked me for a statement,” Namjoon said. “About you and Hoseok.”

“Tell them to fuck off,” Yoongi said. “Or, hell, tell them whatever you want.”

“You’re going to California,” Namjoon said suddenly.

Hoseok felt his breath catch.

“What?”

“You sold out a show in California,” Namjoon continued. “I didn’t tell you about it because I wanted it to be a surprise.”

“California as in America’s California?”

“Yes, Yoongi,” Namjoon said. “I don’t know of any other California’s.”

“Oh my god,” Yoongi muttered. “Are you series? That’s…that’s amazing.”

Hoseok felt his back hit the wall. He saw what Namjoon was doing. He was showing Yoongi what this life, this life in the spotlight could give him. He was showing him what a life without Hoseok could give him. And as soon as he showed Yoongi, Yoongi forgot completely about Hoseok.

Namjoon was separating them.

Rather, he was trying to.

Hoseok rushed away from his office and went down to the dance studio and closed the door behind him. He fell back against the door and slid to the floor after pulling his phone out of his back pocket and going online. He found that Yoongi, had, in fact, tweeted about a new song.

@agustddtsuga
new music. the sun. [audio file attached]

Hoseok opened the file and let the song play out in the studio. He felt strange, listening to Yoongi’s voice right after hearing the conversation between him and Namjoon. It felt strange to hear the slow, almost sultry way Yoongi rapped, and the piano deep in the background.

you take me home/

but you know/

I’d never roam

In the background of the track, Hoseok could hear a breath of ‘I love you’. A reminder of a time when Yoongi hovered over him in a dimly lit room and the only thing they could see was each other.

all I ever needed/

something bloomed inside me

A tear slipped from the corner of Hoseok’s eye, not from sadness, but from some emotion that he couldn’t place.

fuck the sun/

he shines brighter anyway

And then, the song ended and because Hoseok always had a tiny bit of a self-destructive streak, he searched his own name online and found the articles Namjoon was talking about. He found the photo of himself and Yoongi at the restaurant, presumably taken by the girl he’d run into after using the bathroom. The comments on the articles were insane, and a lot of them recent, talking about the song Yoongi had just leaked.

The dance studio started to blur and Hoseok’s phone clattered to the floor. “Fuck,” he cursed and tried to slow his breathing. His heart was pounding in his chest and he felt an endless pit of dread in his stomach. It didn’t go away even after he managed to calm himself down.

Dancing didn’t make it go away, either, and when he looked at the time, he understood why.

Yoongi hadn’t come to say goodbye.

And, maybe, Hoseok loved Yoongi more than he loved dancing.

*

There was a photo online of Yoongi, Taehyung, and Kim Seokjin. Hoseok saw it on his twitter feed while he was in Shanghai. Weeks had passed since he’d last seen Yoongi in person because of their respective tour dates and promotion. They spoke on the phone as often as they could, of course, but Yoongi never mentioned anything about seeing Seokjin. But there they were, arms around each other, and smiles on their faces. Hoseok didn’t know where they were in the photo, but he knew Yoongi’s real smile from his fake one and the smile in the photo was real.

What he didn’t know was why Yoongi hadn’t mentioned the meeting to Hoseok.

He didn’t know why he was so mad about it, either.

So mad that when he went to an interview that afternoon, he felt distracted, confused and completely unlike himself.

“So, where do you get the inspiration for your music?” the interviewer asked him.

“From my life. My friends. Family,” he answered.

The interviewer laughed slightly. “Any romantic interests that inspire you?”

Hoseok blinked and then looked into the camera. He couldn’t tell if they were teasing or serious. “Yes,” he answered. “There is someone.”

That night, he called Yoongi, but on the first try, he didn’t pick up. Hoseok laid there in his hotel room staring up at the ceiling, wondering why everything felt so off. They’d been apart before. This was no different.

Hoseok called again, and Yoongi picked up. “Hey Hoseokie,” he said cheerily.

“Hi,” Hoseok answered. “Where are you?”

“In a dressing room. Me and Taehyung are going to be on some talk show, I can’t remember if I told you about it. Other idols are gonna be there too. I don’t know why Namjoon didn’t ask you to be there too, but I guess you’re busy in Shanghai,” Yoongi said.

I know why he didn’t ask me to be there, Hoseok thought. Because he doesn’t want us to be together.

“Yeah. I mean I’m just in my hotel room right now,” Hoseok said. “I, uh, saw that picture of you and Seokjin?”

Yoongi groaned. “Yeah, I ran into him. He was nice enough. I don’t know why his minions weren’t with him, though.”

“I miss you, Yoongi,” Hoseok blurted.

Yoongi was quiet for a moment. “It’s been busy. I miss you too.”

Hoseok wanted to tell Yoongi his worries, but he felt like he was over reacting. So he swallowed them down. Yoongi wouldn’t screw things up, so Hoseok wasn’t going to either. “When do you think we’ll get to see each other again?”

“I’m not sure. I’m going to California in a few days, I’m so excited. I’ll send you pictures! I wish you could come with me, especially since Namjoon is giving me several days there and I can just kind of relax, ya know?” Yoongi said. “There are a shit ton of haunted hotels there, I wish we could stay in one together.”

“No way in hell would I do that,” Hoseok said with a breathy laugh that was a tiny bit forced.

“It feeds my exhibitionist kink because I can just pretend ghosts are watching us,” Yoongi said.

“That’s so weird that I don’t even have words,” Hoseok said.

“Mhm,” Yoongi agreed. “Are you by yourself right now?”

“Is your next question ‘what are you wearing’?”

“Maybe.”

“Nothing, then, is the answer,” Hoseok said.

“Seriously?” Yoongi asked.

“Yeah.”

“Jesus fuck,” Yoongi muttered. “You should send me a picture.”

Hoseok rolled his eyes, even though Yoongi couldn’t see. “You know what I look like naked.”

“Are you touching—oh, shit,” Yoongi said. “No, yeah, I’ll be right there,” he called to someone and Hoseok closed his eyes.

“You have to go, don’t you?”

“Yeah, fuck, I’m sorry,” Yoongi said.

“It’s okay baby,” Hoseok said softly. “I love you. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Okay,” Yoongi said quickly. “I’ll talk to you later.”

That was the first time since they’d exchanged the words that Yoongi neglected to say them back.

*

One phone call cut short turned into fewer phone calls as a whole.

Yoongi didn’t send pictures when he was in California.

Hoseok forgot to respond to his texts for three days when he was performing.

They managed to get a hold of one another one night, and they talked for an hour before Hoseok fell asleep while on the phone with Yoongi. When he woke up, his phone was dead and his head hurt and he had a voicemail from Taehyung. He listened to it, to the sound of a thrumming base and a loud cheer that sounded suspiciously like Yoongi. Tae seemed to have called him by accident, and Hoseok could tell they were out partying. Hoseok hated thinking of what Yoongi and Tae were doing together, even though he hoped that deep down it wasn’t like that.

When Hoseok spoke to Namjoon, he was almost cold, or maybe a little bit regretful. Like he knew exactly what he was doing. What was going on.

Time passed slow. Slower than it ever had when Hoseok was with Yoongi. But, somehow, that slow time ended up turning into months. It happened in a way that made it hard to really comprehend. There were days that passed where Hoseok didn’t know what had happened at all. There were days that passed where he didn’t think about Yoongi at all, or about music, or about dance. There were days where he didn’t think about anything.

One morning, Hoseok woke up with a start, unsure of where he was or why he was there, only to register after a moment that he was in Tokyo. Where it all started. And he was freezing because the window was cracked open and it was cold outside.

He had a concert that night at the same venue where he’d once danced backup for J-cubed.

Hoseok picked up his phone from the bedside table and scrolled through the messages. There were a few from Dawon, she had gotten promoted and she was gushing about how much she liked her new position. There was one from his mother and another form his father.

There weren’t any from Yoongi.

There hadn’t been any messages from Yoongi for a long time.

Hoseok didn’t even know how it happened. There never was a fight, it was just a drift. One that left his heart empty.

The last message on Hoseok’s phone from Yoongi was almost laughable.

Yoongi <3:

12:47 sorry I missed your call, I’ll get back to you, I promise

Hoseok remembered the night he got the text. He’d been at some after party for something or another and he kissed some girl that might have been famous, or might not have been, in a dark hallway. It didn’t go any further than that, but he hadn’t spoken to Yoongi in so long that he almost thought it would have been fine if it had gone further.

But as soon as that thought entered his mind, he couldn’t get Yoongi out of his head and instead of that girl, he was kissing Yoongi and he saw Yoongi lying next to him in that hotel room where they first slept together, the next morning, with a content smile on his face and Hoseok’s heart clenched with the love he felt for him and he pushed the girl away and apologized and rushed off.

Besides, kissing Yoongi had ruined Hoseok for anyone else. He didn’t want any lips but Yoongi’s.

At the same time, Hoseok wasn’t sure he knew who Yoongi was anymore. How could he, when they hadn’t spoken in so long? When Gwangju was a distant memory and in all Yoongi’s interviews, his voice sounded different. No more Daegu, all Seoul. All Agust D. All idol.

Hoseok jumped when there was a sudden knock at his door.

“Yeah?” he called.

“Jung? It’s me,” Hoseok turned and looked towards the door at the sound of Namjoon’s voice. When he stood, his head spun and Hoseok realized abruptly that he might have been hungover.

Still, he went and answered the door, but really, he just swung it open and then turned away and walked back to the bed. “Dude, you’re in your underwear,” Namjoon said with a chuckle.

“I just woke up,” Hoseok muttered.

“Busy night?”

“Yeah. Why’re you here?”

“I wanted to see your concert tonight. It’s a big dome performance. Big deal,” Namjoon said and clapped Hoseok on his shoulder while Hoseok glanced around the room wearily, looking for his suitcase with his clothes in it.

“Oh. Yeah,” Hoseok nodded. “I bet you can just feel the excitement radiating off me right now.”

“What’s wrong?” Namjoon asked. “I thought you had a good time last night.”

“I got drunk off my ass, didn’t I?” Hoseok scowled and finally eyed his suitcase, throwing it open to pull out a shirt. He froze slightly when he realized the yellow shirt was not his own. How did one of Yoongi’s shirts even end up in my suitcase?

“Yeah, but hey, you had a good time, it seemed like,” Namjoon said with a shrug.

“I don’t remember much of it,” Hoseok said honestly.

“I can remind you?”

“No,” Hoseok snapped. “Look, I just want to get today over with.”

Namjoon reached out and snagged Hoseok’s arm. “What’s the matter with you?”

“It’s your fault! That’s what’s the matter with me!” Hoseok shouted. “You drove him away from me, and I don’t even know how you managed to do it. But you did.”

“I did it for your own good. Both of you. He’s happy, let him be happy.”

“I know he’s happy,” Hoseok snarled. “And it’s killing me. So get the hell out of my room, please.”

Namjoon’s jaw clenched and he nodded shortly. “Fine,” he said. “I’m telling you this as a friend. It’s better this way. Get your shit together, Jung.”

When Namjoon left and closed the door behind him, Hoseok threw Yoongi’s shirt at the door, where it got stuck on the knob, swaying and yellow. Lonely.

*

Just before Hoseok was supposed to go on stage, he got a text from his sister.

Dawon Noona:

7:49 so idk what the fuck is goin on

7:50 but you’ve been distant and I saw this and ur my brother so

7:50 felt u needed to know?

7:51 [link attached]

Curiosity got the best of Hoseok, as it usually did, and he clicked the link Dawon had sent him. It took a second to load, but eventually an article came up. Hoseok put his phone closer to his face and scrolled down. He skimmed the words, something about someone in a relationship with someone else and then stopped at a photo.

A photo of Yoongi.

He was at some kind of café, it looked like, and a girl Hoseok didn’t recognize was sitting across from him. There were two more pictures, and in the second to last one, Yoongi was kissing the girl on the cheek, dangerously close to her mouth, and in the last he was smiling. But Hoseok knew, he could tell, it wasn’t a real smile. That was the only thing that kept him intact.

He isn’t with her, Hoseok told himself, Namjoon just wants it to look like he is.

He repeated the thought when he went out on stage, when he started to sing, to rap, to dance. When he started a dance break, he thought he was distracted, but it was like all of a sudden, he was hit with a wave of…something.

“You made that up on the spot?” Yoongi asked. He leaned against the door frame, and hands shoved in the pockets of his black sweat pants. His dark hair was fluffy and messy in an intentional way and he had his head tilted to the side with a kind of curiosity.

“Yeah,” Hoseok answered. “Sorry, I hope my music wasn’t too loud.”

“Nah, the room is soundproof, couldn’t hear anything ‘till I opened the door. Namjoon said you were down here and I didn’t want to sit around while he talked to Taehyung. Love the kid, but he gives me a headache if I stay around him too long,” Yoongi explained and stepped into the room. “I hate it in here, too, to be honest. I can’t stand the mirrors.”

Panic.

He was hit with a wave of panic.

Somehow, he managed to finish the dance he was doing before he stumbled off the stage. It was supposed to be a quick costume change, but when the people from wardrobe came over to him, he shook his head violently and fell back against a wall while he tried to catch his breath.

“Are you okay?” he heard someone ask, but he wasn’t able to answer.

“Give him space!” someone else called.

“Hoseok.” His eyes clenched shut. The voice wasn’t Yoongi’s, but Hoseok pretended it was. “Hoseok, you have to breathe. In and out.”

He sucked in a sharp breath, harsh and violent before letting it out with a slight sob. “I-I can’t go back out there,” Hoseok rasped.

“Okay. Okay, you don’t have to,” Namjoon said and put a hand on Hoseok’s knee. He’d fallen to the ground, sweaty and still in his stage clothes. “Are you good?”

Hoseok shook his head. He couldn’t see Namjoon, not really. He could feel his gaze though along with the gaze of everyone else backstage.

“I need to see him,” Hoseok mumbled.

“Okay,” Namjoon said.

“W-What does that mean?”

“It means okay. Don’t think about it right now. Calm down. Breathe,” Namjoon said, but when he finally came into focus, Hoseok pushed his hand away. Nmajoon’s face changed into something like regret and he stood up, took a step back and nodded. “He’s performing in Saitama in two days,” Namjoon said quietly. “I’ll get you in.”

That night, back in his hotel room, Hoseok stared at the photos from the article Dawon sent him. He ignored her phone calls, her voicemails. She was frantic, asking him if he was okay, because as it seemed, word spread like wildfire of his concert cut short. But he didn’t call or text her back. Instead, he stared at those pictures and stared at Yoongi’s contact, considering calling, but never actually pushing the call button. He read through their old messages, watching as they started out consistent and then slowly became less and less.

When midnight came and passed, Hoseok went online and tweeted an apology for cutting things short. When he read the comments, most of them were supportive. It was the exact thing that he wanted, supportive fans, a stage, the spotlight, and yet he felt empty.

He thought he loved the fame, but he supposed he never did.

He loved dance, but then he loved Yoongi. He never fell in love with fame.

Yoongi, though, Yoongi did fall in love with it. Hoseok saw it, somehow, in videos of Yoongi’s recent concerts, in interviews, in photos with other idols. Yoongi was in love with the life he had and, at the end of the day, he had to give up Hoseok to have that life.

But Hoseok didn’t want to give up Yoongi.

*

There was something darker about Yoongi’s concerts in comparison to Hoseok’s or J-cubed’s or Taehyung’s. It was dimmer, there was more smoke, and a hint of rebellion hung in the air. Even though it was a real concert, Yoongi was a real idol, his concerts still felt like something underground. Almost dirty.

Hoseok knew Yoongi liked it that way, though, it was the whole point of Agust D. He wanted things to be rough. He wanted to create a certain atmosphere, and he accomplished it perfectly. The venue wasn’t pretty, or anything special and that meant that Yoongi’s songs could shine through. The lyrics were the most important thing. The lyrics were what people paid attention to.

That and, of course, Yoongi. They paid plenty of attention to Yoongi. To Agust D.

Hoseok knew better than anyone that it was impossible not to pay attention to Yoongi.

That was why he didn’t bother to cover up when he got to the concert, why he didn’t wear his mask or a hat or anything. He just made his way down to the floor near the stage, letting people point and whisper as he passed because he knew in a moment, they’d forget they saw him (even if he was hard to miss with his bright orange hair).

He picked a spot near the stage, but not too close, either. A spot where Yoongi might not be able to spot him right away if he looked out into the crowd. Bodies shoved against him when music started playing low and deep and the sound of cheers was deafening.

“You’re J-Hope!” someone shouted next to him.

“Yeah,” he called back.

“Wow, awesome! Are you—” they began, but were cut off when the screams got louder and Yoongi walked out onto the stage. He was dressed in a white T-shirt and black jeans and a long green jacket, his dark hair wild and those eyes of his peering out into the audience.

He rapped like Hoseok knew he would, hard and unrelenting. Yoongi always did everything to the best of his ability, pushed himself, and this performance was no different. Hoseok was fairly certain he was the only person not jumping up and down, screaming, but he was smiling. He smiled especially wide when Yoongi looked his way, but it was hard to tell if Yoongi was actually looking at him or not.

Hoseok didn’t stop smiling until, unexpectedly, Yoongi started to rap the song. The one about Hoseok. The one with the line about the sun that Hoseok had woken up to Yoongi writing. Hoseok didn’t even know Yoongi actually did that song in concert. But there he was, and the audience was going crazy around them.

Then the line left his lips, the one about the sun, and the audience screamed it too, but it was different. Yoongi changed it to have a completely different meaning and Hoseok felt like…well, he didn’t know what he felt like. He almost just felt nothing.

fuck the sun/

I don’t need him anyway

Those changed lyrics echoed in his mind until the concert ended. He managed to fight back through the crowd and make his way backstage without much trouble. People knew who he was, so they let him past. Directly backstage, though, Yoongi was nowhere to be seen, so Hoseok asked where the dressing rooms were and a woman in a headset directed him down a hallway. He hoped Yoongi hadn’t already bolted, considering it had taken Hoseok a few minutes to actually get backstage since it was so crowded.

One of the dressing room doors was cracked open and Hoseok could hear voices inside. He put his palm out flat against the door and pushed it open. The dressing room was all bright pale purple walls and plush carpet. Not Yoongi’s style at all.

“This is fucking stupid,” Hoseok heard Yoongi say and when he looked up, he saw him standing near a little desk with a mirror, a girl in front of him. It was the same girl as from the photos.

“Yeah, it is stupid, but it’s what we’re doing, apparently,” the girl said.

“Whatever, that doesn’t mean I have to do that right now, can we just—” he broke off and looked up, meeting Hoseok’s gaze.

The girl’s eyes followed Yoongi and she sighed. “I’ll give you a minute,” she muttered. “If you aren’t done in ten, I’m leaving.”

“I literally don’t give a shit,” Yoongi called after her and she scowled back at him before walking out, leaving the door cracked shut behind her. Yoongi groaned and shrugged off the jacket he’d been wearing on stage. Then, he looked back up at Hoseok. “Hey,” he said.

“Hi.”

“She’s a trainee,” Yoongi explained, gesturing towards the door the girl had left from. “Namjoon is paying her to pretend to date me. Fun.”

“Oh,” Hoseok murmured.

“If she didn’t hate me, maybe it would actually work, but she does,” Yoongi said with a shrug and leaned back against the desk. “I saw you, in the audience.”

Hoseok swallowed. “You did?”

“Mhmm,” Yoongi nodded. He was acting so calm. Hoseok just wanted to reach out and touch him. They were both drenched in sweat, but Yoongi more so. His white shirt stuck to his chest and Hoseok could see that he’d gotten thinner. But he was still attractive, still beautiful.

“It’s been…a long time since we talked,” Hoseok said, unsure of what he even came there for.

Yoongi chuckled darkly. “Yeah, it has,” he agreed. “It’s not like I didn’t try and call.”

“I tried to call, too,” Hoseok said, hearing his voice rise ever so slightly. “I called so many times.”

Yoongi raised an eyebrow and crossed his legs at the ankles. “Namjoon said you’re seeing someone. Who is she?”

Hoseok stared. “What? I-I’m not seeing anyone?” Hoseok said. “Namjoon told you that?” He took a step forward, closer to Yoongi.

“Yeah. I didn’t even realize until he said anything, but it’s fine. You’re allowed to do whatever you want, I guess. I heard about your concert cut short, though. What was that about?”

“I had a panic attack.” Yoongi’s expression softened, if only a little bit. “Namjoon lied to you, and what? You just believed him? You believed him over me?”

Yoongi stood up straight and walked over to the couch in the room, where a pack of cigarettes was sitting. He picked it up and pulled a lighter out of his pocket and lit a cigarette, bringing it to his lips and taking a long drag. “This is over, isn’t it?” he said after blowing out a puff of smoke.

“Is it?” Hoseok asked.

“I mean, you seem to be doing fine for yourself. I’m doing fine for myself. Namjoon was right, we can’t do this. We…you know, did our thing. You didn’t need to come here and see me. It was over the first time we missed a call,” Yoongi said.

The smell of smoke made Hoseok feel dizzy.

“You don’t believe any of that or you wouldn’t have done that song tonight. You wouldn’t be smoking right now. I came to see you because…because you’re all I think about,” Hoseok admitted.

Yoongi scoffed and took another drag. “You sound like Seokjin,” he muttered. “He keeps going on about Namjoon, how he wishes things were different, and I tell him that this is the way things have to be.”

“I never thought I would say it, but maybe Seokjin has the right idea. I don’t know what changed his mind, but…you don’t care about that girl, clearly. You really are going to sit here and tell me you want this to be over?” Hoseok asked. “You would have rather me not come here and we just never speak again?”

“Yes,” Yoongi said simply.

“Liar.”

He took another step closer, so when Yoongi exhaled smoke, it blew against his skin.

“You should leave, Hoseok,” Yoongi said. “You know we can’t do this.”

Liar,” Hoseok repeated, more forcefully.

“I am not a liar!” Yoongi snapped, dropping his cigarette onto the carpet and stomping on it until it went out, leaving a black smudge. “You lied as much as I did! What the hell happened to us not fucking this up, huh? You missed as many calls as I did and you can tell me whatever you want, but I’ve seen the photos of you kissing girls, Namjoon showed me. I’m not an idiot. This is over!”

“I never wanted any of those girls,” Hoseok said softly.

“Yeah, well, I’m sure they wanted you,” Yoongi said and shook his head his damp bangs swishing across his forehead.

“If it’s over then I guess you’re right, it doesn’t matter. If you really don’t care,” Hoseok said. “But that year and a half didn’t mean nothing to me.” There was a beat of silence. Yoongi didn’t speak, but he didn’t look at Hoseok either. He kept his eyes trained on the carpet where his cigarette was smashed into it, black and no longer smoking. “Yoongi. Yoongi, look at me,” Hoseok said, quieter, pleading.

He didn’t look. Hoseok stepped closer still and hesitantly reached out, placing his hand on Yoongi’s cheek. He half expected Yoongi to flinch away, like he once did, but instead, he leaned into Hoseok’s touch. His eyes fluttered closed.

But he still didn’t look.

Hoseok tilted Yoongi’s head up, towards him and when Yoongi’s eyes opened, Hoseok met them with his own, with a question. Yoongi answered not with words, but by coming closer, his lips a breath away and Hoseok closed the distance the rest of the way.

Yoongi gasped as soon as their lips met and Hoseok didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to deepen the kiss, slipping his tongue into Yoongi’s mouth and wrapping his arms around his waist, pulling them flush against each other.

The kiss was slow, at first, tentative. Still, it was the same. It was familiar. Yoongi’s lips were still Yoongi’s lips and he still tasted the same, were it not for the hint of smoke. He was still soft in the same places and rough in others and Hoseok kissed him like he had never stopped.

Yoongi was the first to pull away, but only by a centimeter and his hand was wrapped around the back of Hoseok’s neck. “More,” Yoongi breathed.

They surged back together, no longer careful in the slightest. The kiss turned desperate, like they were hungry only for each other. Their teeth clacked together and their tongues fought and suddenly, Hoseok felt the couch against the back of his knees and Yoongi broke the kiss again only to push him down so he was seated, before climbing into his lap.

Hoseok slid his hands under Yoongi’s damp shirt and raked his nails back down, which caused Yoongi to shiver under his touch. Yoongi’s lips latched onto Hoseok’s neck and he sucked violently, hard enough to leave marks. He bit down, rolling the flesh between his teeth. Hoseok hissed with pleasure and arched his back.

Yoongi gasped when Hoseok grabbed his ass, nails and all, and then Yoongi removed his mouth from Hoseok’s neck and stood without a word. Hoseok watched him look frantically around the room before his eyes landed on a bag in the corner.

“What’re you doing?” Hoseok asked.

Yoongi rummaged through the bag and pulled something out before cursing lowly and returning to the couch. Hoseok spotted the lube in Yoongi’s hand before he tossed it on the couch next to them and straddled Hoseok’s hips again.

Does he do this with other people? Hoseok wondered.

“Don’t have condoms,” Yoongi muttered. “But we’ve gone without ‘em before. I’m still clean.”

“Are you…why do you have that?”

“I like to jerk off,” Yoongi said with a shrug.

“I’m not,” Hoseok paused, “I’m not fucking you.”

Yoongi slumped in his lap. “I haven’t fucked other people. You think I have time for that shit?”

“How would I know?” Hoseok asked.

“Hobi,” Yoongi pouted. Damn him. He kissed Hoseok again, softly, and then peppered more kisses against his jaw. “I missed you inside me,” he whispered. “Please. Please.”

Hoseok moaned. “Yoongi—”

“It’s been so long. Fuck me open, please. Any way you want, just—”

“No,” Hoseok said. “You know we shouldn’t.”

Yoongi huffed and rolled off Hoseok so he was sitting next to him on the couch. His eyes were glazed over and tired. “I’m sorry,” Yoongi said. “I don’t know what to do.”

Hoseok reached over Yoongi and picked up the bottle of lube. “Is this the kind that tastes like cough syrup?” Hoseok asked.

“Your kinky ass wishes,” Yoongi replied halfheartedly.

“I don’t actually—”

“I know you don’t. It was a joke,” Yoongi said. Hoseok saw him glance towards the open door and they both wondered what would have happened if they had gone ahead and just done it. Would someone have come in? Hoseok found that he probably wouldn’t have cared.

“Is it really over?” Hoseok whispered.

Yoongi’s hand ghosted over his, an indistinct and gentle gesture that Hoseok wanted more and more of.

“I still…” Yoongi trailed off for a moment and darted his eyes to Hoseok’s face. “I still love you.”

“So, then what?”

“I leave Japan tomorrow, Hobi. I don’t know what then.”

“Meet me,” Hoseok said, shifting on the couch so he could better face Yoongi. “Tomorrow morning, meet me at my hotel. We can talk.”

The silence that followed the plea was long and Hoseok almost just got up and left, but then Yoongi nodded, slow. “I’ll try,” he said. A quick kiss to Hoseok’s cheek. “I’ll try.”

*

Yoongi didn’t show up.

~~~

After Tour:

“Those people over there are staring at us,” Dawon said. “Actually, I think they’re taking pictures of you.”

“So?” Hoseok retorted, staring into his coffee mug. “It doesn’t matter. I’m having breakfast with my sister, big deal.”

“Well did you ever think that maybe it bothers me?” Dawon asked. When Hoseok didn’t respond, Dawon simply rolled her eyes and opted to change the subject. “Did you hear the rumor that J-cubed is breaking up?”

“No,” Hoseok answered, uninterested.

“Well, rumor has it that Kim Seokjin is leaving. Something about him not vibing with the whole thing anymore. Like, he wants to be his own person? I don’t know. Those poor other guys though, they’re so talented. I wonder if they’ll go on as a duo or if they’ll find someone else with a J-name and just start over,” Dawon rambled. “I also heard they fired their management. Like, they’re changing things. I don’t know. It’s weird.”

“Yoongi and I are done,” Hoseok blurted out.

Dawon closed her eyes. “I know that,” she said. “I mean, it’s more obvious than when you were together. Who ended it?”

“Neither of us. Both of us? I don’t know,” Hoseok said. “I keep waiting for him to call, but he doesn’t.”

“Isn’t he back in Seoul? I mean, won’t you see him soon at Bangtan headquarters?” Dawon asked and took a sip of her coffee.

“I’m sure he’ll avoid me,” Hoseok said.

Just before Dawon could respond, a girl approached their table. Her hair was long, blonde, and she looked nervous. “Excuse me,” she said politely. “I just…I’m a very big fan and I wanted to say hi.”

Dawon smiled at her and then looked at Hoseok expectantly. “Oh,” he said, not much pep to his voice at all. “Hi.”

“I was wondering…I was wondering if I could take a picture with you?”

Hoseok looked down into his coffee and then back up to the girl. “No,” he said softly. “No, I’m sorry.”

*

The last concert in Agust D’s tour would take place in Seoul. Everyone at Bangtan was talking about it, and about Hoseok’s recent end to his tour. Everyone was proud. Hoseok just felt exhausted.

Especially when he passed by Yoongi’s studio, empty of course, and was hit with a wave of memories. Of their smiling faces and Yoongi’s laughter and his embarrassed shriek when Hoseok would say something cheesy. Of their bodies pressed together. Of music and love.

What Hoseok really just wanted to do was go dance, but he needed to stop by Namjoon’s office first. When he got there, Taehyung was lingering in the hallway.

“Hey!” he called cheerily. “Namjoon is on the phone with someone, but honestly, it’s probably about what Yoongi hyung said.”

Hoseok raised an eyebrow. “What did he say?”

“Oh, I thought you guys planned it. I mean, I knew you two were going through a rough patch, but Yoongi told me he still loved you…so? Anyway, uh, in an interview the other day he said his ‘options weren’t limited to girls’ as far as dating goes,” Taehyung explained.

“I didn’t know he said that.”

“Yeah, well, it’s not going so far as saying he likes getting dicked down, but the interviewer certainly got flustered and most people in the comments were supportive. Your name even came up. Anyway, if Namjoon gets off the phone, let me know, I’ve gotta pee,” Taehyung waved as he ran off down the hall and Hoseok crept closer to Namjoon’s office.

Sure enough, Hoseok could hear his voice.

“Are you sure?” Namjoon asked. A pause. “Okay…I know, it’s not my life, but…yes…okay, yes…you too, bye…” Then, there was a huff and the sound of Namjoon setting his phone down on his desk and Hoseok poked his head into the room.

“Can we talk?” he asked.

“You’re supposed to be relaxing,” Namjoon said. “It’s your time off.”

“I like to dance even in my time off, but I wanted to talk to you first,” Hoseok explained.

“Go ahead.”

“I know that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the things I achieved without you, but—”

Namjoon held up a hand and stood, rounding the desk so he was standing in front of Hoseok. “You could have,” he said. “You’re immensely talented. I already know what you’re going to say. You’re going to say that you aren’t sure if you can stay here, if you can keep doing this. And I understand. So, think about it. Do what you need to do, okay?”

“I just…don’t feel like myself right now?” Hoseok offered.

Namjoon nodded slightly and looked down at the floor. “Neither do I,” he admitted. “Now, go, go ahead and dance or whatever you need to do.”

Hoseok nodded and with one final muttered ‘thank you’ he left Namjoon’s office, but stopped to take a deep breath out in the hallway, and to smile. He hadn’t smiled properly in a long time. Too long.

Back in Namjoon’s office, he heard Namjoon rummage around for a moment and then he heard him sit down and pick up the landline style phone on his desk. After a moment, he spoke: “Hello? Jin? It’s me…”

As curious as Hoseok was, he didn’t snoop and instead headed down to the dance studio. It was as it always was, bright and welcoming, if not a little bit chilly. Even if Bangtan wasn’t exactly what Hoseok thought it was going to be, the dance studio was reliable.

Hoseok plugged his phone into the speakers and put his dance playlist on shuffle before going back to the center of the room. His reflection stared back at him. His dark roots were starting to come in on his faded orange hair and even he could admit that he looked thin and tired. Since finishing tour, he’d been staying with Dawon again instead of his actual apartment, even if Yoongi was still away and there wasn’t a chance of seeing him. It just felt wrong being there.

But it still felt right to dance.

So Hoseok danced.

Most of it, he made on up the spot. He danced until sweat soaked through his shirt and dripped from his bangs. The studio didn’t stay cold for long, and his body heat alone started to make the mirrors fog. Music pulsed and when a faster song came on, Hoseok had to pause to take a breath. He leaned forward hands on his knees, and shut his eyes.

When he straightened back up, he kicked off his shoes and chucked them near the speakers. There was a move he wanted to try, one that on his tour, they told him was too difficult and risky to try on stage. It was a kind of thing where he jumped and spun in the air before landing on his feet and going down to kneeling position. He’d done the move twice before, once with Yoongi watched and once to demonstrate it to the chorographers during tour.

Determined, Hoseok walked to the end of the studio and after another breath, broke into a sprint across the room before jumping. His eyes closed and he landed effortlessly before following through into a kneel. When a triumphant laugh escaped him, he almost didn’t recognize the sound.

Hoseok stood and resumed his position at the front of the room. The run went as it was supposed to, but as soon as he jumped, as soon as his body started to spin, he felt a twisted feeling in his gut. He knew something was going to go wrong, but he was already in the air. The only place to go was down, so down was where he went.

He landed on his feet, or at least he tried, but one foot twisted the wrong way and he heard himself cry out as pain shot up his left leg and he collapsed onto the white floors with a thud that echoed through the music.

He managed to roll onto his back, but his leg wouldn’t move and it hurt. It throbbed and when he glanced down at it, his ankle was bent in a very wrong way and another wave of pain shot up his entire leg.

“Shit, shit,” he cursed lowly.

His phone was too far away to reach it and he didn’t even feel like he could shout, air wasn’t going in his lungs like it should. Hoseok groaned and looked down at his leg again, feeling a wave of nausea pass over him at the sight. It was so fucked up. It was turning a weird color. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Or, wait, maybe his vision was just getting blurry.

With a dull thud, his head hit the floor again and the white studio slowly faded to black.

He’s back in Gwangju.

The TV is on and they’re playing video games, a racing game, and Yoongi is next to him. “Stop throwing banana peels at me!” Yoongi exclaims. “I’m still gonna beat you!”

Hoseok laughs, bright and loud, and looks up at Yoongi. He’s standing, literally standing, on the couch with a determined look in his eyes as he grips the controller tightly. “You’re going to fall off the couch, at this rate,” Hoseok says and nudges Yoongi, but hopped to the side and giggled.

“Oops, look like you just drove off the track!” Yoongi says with a cackle.

Hoseok put down the controller in his hands and just watches Yoongi finish the race. His car wizzes past the finish line and the little character on the screen jumps up and down. Yoongi does the same, throwing his arms up triumphantly. “In your face!” he shouts.

Mickey barks at them from the kitchen, disturbed from his sleep.

“Oh wow, I’m so sad, I can’t believe I’ve lost!” Hoseok says dramatically, but Yoongi just continues to bounce on the couch, his hair bouncing with him.

“You are your banana peels are no match for me!” Yoongi smiles, gummy and perfect and Hoseok lunges and tackles Yoongi down on the couch.

“You’re right,” Hoseok whispers and Yoongi sticks his tongue out in spite, but wraps his arms around Hoseok’s neck anyway. The music from the video games plays in the background as they kiss, laughter interrupting them every few seconds.

When Yoongi pulls away, he pushes Hoseok off and sits up to grab the controller again. “Let’s go again,” he declares. “I’m on a roll.”

Hoseok gladly picks up his controller again too, but not before leaning in to kiss Yoongi on the cheek. “I love you,” he whispers, and Yoongi shivers as he selects the next track for them to race on

When the world faded back into focus, everything was blurry and Hoseok’s head was spinning. He felt sort of like he was floating, too.

“Hey,” a voice said to his right. He turned, but things blurred even worse and Hoseok squeezed his eyes shut and opened them again. It didn’t help much. “You’re in the hospital,” the voice said. Hoseok shook his head, not understanding. “It’s Namjoon. You’re on pain meds and anesthetic. Just go back to sleep. The doctor will be in to check on you soon.”

Hoseok groaned and groped down on the bed for his leg. He couldn’t feel it and maybe he was just numb, but his drug-addled brain was making him think that his leg was gone. He could hear a beeping sound, steady, and it started to go faster.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay,” the voice, Namjoon, said. “You’re okay.”

Hoseok closed his eyes, fully intending on opening them again, but then he felt so sleepy. It all faded out again.

Yoongi pulls him into the storage closet. His hands are cold, but when Hoseok envelops them, they become warm. The door closes with a click behind them.

“Guess what,” Yoongi whispers.

“What?” Hoseok asks with a grin.

Yoongi is smiling like an idiot, but his eyes twinkle with mischief. “I put the moans in the background of one of my tracks. It’s sounds fucking awesome.”

“Are you going to let me hear?” Hoseok asks.

“Eventually,” Yoongi says with a wink. “But only when we’re alone, otherwise, you might pop a boner in public.”

“You’re so weird,” Hoseok says and dances his fingers on Yoongi’s hips.

“Although, I guess it would only be pay back for all the times you’ve caused me to pop a boner when I watch you dance,” Yoongi adds.

“That isn’t my fault,” Hoseok says with a gasp.

“Yes it is. You’re so…beautiful when you dance. It gives my dick and my heart and a boner,” Yoongi explains and Hoseok laughs so hard his stomach hurts

Real life came back again and Hoseok managed to rub his eyes and look around the room. His head still felt fuzzy and he was fairly certain he was still on the pain meds, but he was at least able to look down at his leg. It was still there. Granted, it was covered almost completely in a thick cast, but his toes poked out at the end and he smiled when they wiggled.

“Hobi?”

Hoseok blinked and slowly looked up. His vision betrayed him again, making everything fuzzy and wrong. Just barely, he was able to make out the form sitting in the chair next to his bed. Sort of small, sort of not. Strong hands. “Yoongs…?” Hoseok murmured.

“Is he awake?” Another voice cuts through the image and Hoseok’s head lulls back against the pillow.

“I don’t know. Seems like he’s still…”

If he were lucid enough to curse, he would have, as sleep pulled him under another time.

His eyes meet another pair of eyes across a room

“Fuck,” Hoseok cursed when his eyes opened again. His leg was throbbing to the pace of his heart beat, slow and excruciating.

He looked around the hospital room, but he was alone. Yoongi wasn’t there and Hoseok wondered if that had been some pain medicine induced hallucination. On the little bedside table was his cell phone and Hoseok reached out for it with a shaky hand.

The screen lit up and he squinted against it, cursing his excessive brightness setting. In his notifications, he had several missed calls. A couple were form Dawon and his parents and then there was a few from a number he didn’t recognize. There were also a slew of texts, and some twitter notifications as well as a voicemail.

The first thing Hoseok did was check the twitter notification. He didn’t know why, but that was what his thumb hit and the app opened, leading slow since he wasn’t connected to Wi-Fi. The tweet was from Yoongi. From Agust D.

Yoongi was not an avid tweeter. He tweeted a select few of times, only every now and then. When he did, it was usually about something important or noteworthy. This time was no exception.

@agustddtsuda
im sorry for cancelling my final concert but someone I care about very much is in the hospital. going 2 be with them.

@agustddtsuga
please understand.

Hoseok felt his heart clench. He scrolled down to the replies, to the comments.

@moving_on_
@agustddtsuga
heard J-hope was in the hospital? is agust d going to see him??

@cypher1234
@agustddtsuga
is jhope ok? is this about him? are all the rumors true????

And then there was one more tweet from Yoongi.

@agustddtsuga
yes. Hoseok is in the hospital. I wont comment on his condition or whats wrong. im here to see him.

Suddenly, Hoseok’s phone started to ring again and he jumped, nearly dropping it in his lap. It was the number he didn’t recognize again. Hesitantly, he accepted the call and brought the phone weakly to his hear. “Hello?”

“Jung Hoseok?”

“Yeah?”

“Hey! Hi, how are you? I hope you’re okay. I heard you were in the hospital, but no one knows why? Um, I’ve been trying to get a hold of your manager or someone, but I finally got your number. Anyway…I guess you maybe heard the rumors that…wait. Oh. It’s Park Jimin.”

“What?” Hoseok asked, confused out of his mind.

“It’s Park Jimin. From, uh, J-cubed?”

“Yeah. I know who you are,” Hoseok deadpanned.

“Jin…Seokjin hyung is leaving,” Jimin said softly, almost like he was imparting a secret. “And…your name starts with a J…”

“Are you asking me to join J-cubed?” Hoseok asked incredulously.

“Maybe? We’re under new management. I…this was a mad time to ask you. Look, I hope you’re alright and maybe call me when you can okay?”

“Okay…” Hoseok said awkwardly. The line went dead and Hoseok lowered the phone and stared at it, his heart and leg throbbing faster.

Before he could even comprehend what had just happened, the door to his room opened slowly and a doctor, white coat and all, walked in. She smiled warmly at him and for a moment, she fiddled around on a clipboard and with the heart monitor.

“How do you feel, Mister Jung?” she asked.

“Hoseok,” he said. “My…leg hurts?”

She laughed. “Yes, well, we will get some more pain medication in you soon. You messed your leg up pretty bad and your friend said you might have laid there for a while. The fact that you passed out might have been for the best,” the doctor said.

“What happened?”

“Well, it seems that your ankle broke and when you landed, one bone pushed up on another and your tibia fractured. It was a simple fracture, not a compound fracture, which is a good thing. However, it was nearly a compound fracture, so you will need to be careful for a while, hence the giant cast,” the doctor explained and gestured to Hoseok’s leg.

“Will I…be able to dance again?”

“Eventually,” she said with a small smile. “But not for a while. You’ll need to heal completely. Physical therapy might be necessary. But, yes, eventually, you will be able to dance again.” Hoseok breathed out in relief. “Your family and friends are here. I believe that your parents and sister went back to their hotel to wash up, but a friend of yours hasn’t left since he got here.”

Hoseok perked up. “Who?”

“I believe he said his name was Yoongi,” she said. “You’ll need some more pain medication soon, but I can allow him in for a few minutes if you want?”

Hoseok nodded quickly. “Yes.”

The doctor nodded and left the room. Hoseok could hear voices outside the room and then, without warning, the door opened again and he came in.

Yoongi.

His face was twisted with worry and his hair looked a little bit greasy and how long have I been out?

“Fucking shit,” Yoongi cursed. “Hobi, are you okay? I’ve been freaking out. Namjoon called and told me you were in the hospital and—”

“If this is what it took to get you to talk to me, I would have broken my leg ages ago,” Hoseok muttered.

Yoongi’s face fell and he collapsed into the bedside chair. “I…I came to the hotel? You weren’t there,” Yoongi said.

Hoseok tried to sit up straighter, but it caused a jolt of pain to go down his leg, so he gave up. “No, you didn’t!” he said instead. “I waited, you didn’t come!”

Yoongi stared and then narrowed his eyes. “You said you were at Urawa Hotel,” Yoongi said.

“No! I said I was at Ofuro!” Hoseok retorted.

Yoongi looked at him and then broke out into a smile. “No, Hobi. You said Urawa.”

“I did not!”

Yoongi was laughing, little lines crinkling up at the corners of his tired eyes. “You did too! We got confused, we were exhausted and flustered. You totally accidentally gave me the wrong hotel!”

“Then why didn’t you call me?”

“Because I thought you changed your mind!”

Hoseok took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “What the fuck happened to us, Yoongi?”

“I don’t know,” Yoongi whispered. “But…I came here because…I don’t want it to happen again. This concert, the one I was supposed to be at, I told Namjoon it was going to be my last. If doing this means I can’t be happy, then I don’t want to do it. Music…music makes me happy, but not like this. Not when I’m in love with you and can’t be with you because the twisted way this world works keeps up apart,” Yoongi said confidently, surely. “I won’t do another concert if that means we’re going to be apart and not speaking. I never wanted it to be over.”

“Park Jimin offered my Kim Seokjin’s place in J-cubed,” Hoseok blurted out.

“You gonna take it?”

“No,” Hoseok answered. “I don’t…I don’t think I want to do it either.”

“I want to tell everyone,” Yoongi said. His hand snaked out and Hoseok let him intertwine their fingers. Hoseok wanted that too. Even through the times when they weren’t speaking, he knew he would never go back and change a thing. He wouldn’t change the night they met, when Hoseok didn’t even tell Yoongi his name. He wouldn’t change the first time they kissed, or the first time they slept together. He wouldn’t change their time in Gwangju, even though people had spotted them together. He wouldn’t change the heartbreak he felt when things started to unravel. He wouldn’t change himself and he wouldn’t change Yoongi and he wouldn’t change them.

“I don’t want you to have to stop making music,” Hoseok said. “Don’t do that for me.”

“I’m not saying I have to do that. Maybe…maybe telling, maybe getting it out there will mean that we can just be ourselves? I’m not ashamed of who we are, and I know you aren’t either. So, fuck anyone who doesn’t like it, you know?” Yoongi said. “I’m tired of waking up and spending every day without you.”

“C’mere,” Hoseok said and yanked Yoongi forward. Their noses bumped together when Yoongi got close, hovering over the hospital bed. Hoseok could feel Yoongi’s breath against his lips, and there wasn’t even the slightest hint of smoke there. They maintained eye contact for a moment before Hoseok closed the gap.

It was the softest of kisses. All closed mouthed and fluttered eyelashes and their hands still held together between their bodies. Then they pulled away from each other.

Somehow, in that moment, Hoseok knew they would be okay. They would figure it out.

“Stay,” he whispered.

*

The pain medication made the next twenty-four hours (or maybe even more) very fuzzy and confusing. Hoseok recalled his parents coming in at one point, and Dawon too. The doctor checked his cast and told him that he could probably go home soon, as long as he took proper care of everything and took his medications. When he woke up every now and then, he ate gross hospital food and he had to awkwardly limp to the bathroom with the nurses help several times and his hair felt so dirty and a shower would have been really nice.

But the main thing that Hoseok remembered was that when the pain meds were wearing off, he woke up in the middle of the night and turned his head to the side to see Yoongi curled up into a little ball on the hospital bed next to him. He was sound asleep and his breath came out in short little puffs, warm against Hoseok’s arm.

Hoseok brushed a strand of hair off Yoongi’s forehead, and while he couldn’t turn to his side, he did tilt his head that way and nuzzled closer before falling back into a deep slumber.

Yoongi was still there that morning, too, except awake. “You’re going home today!” Yoongi announced.

“Home where?” Hoseok asked groggily. “What time is it?”

“The doctor said you need someone to take care of you. So, Dawon offered to let you back to her place. I’m gonna bring you, though, if that’s okay?” Yoongi asked.

Hoseok rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “It’s okay,” he said.

“Hobi,” Yoongi stated his name. Hoseok met his eyes. “I mean what I said, you know? I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but I love you and I want people to know. I want to be with you. And I’m sorry, for everything.”

“I’m sorry too,” Hoseok said almost before Yoongi could finish speaking. “And I meant what I said, too. We shouldn’t have to hide. Namjoon and Seokjin shouldn’t have to hide. Or Jungkook and Jimin or whoever else.”

“Jungkook and Jimin?” Yoongi asked with a raised eyebrow.

Hoseok shrugged. “Yeah. Maybe. I don’t know for sure. I’m not joining J-cubed though, that’s for sure. Hey, maybe we should form a duo.”

Yoongi laughed. “Yeah, I’ll change my stage name to Suga and we can put our names together and be Sope or some shit, right?” he teased.

Hoseok pinched Yoongi’s shoulder and then rested his head against it. “Let’s go home.”

~~~

Because you love me, and I love you:

The future was uncertain, but then again, it always was. It always would be.

The fans, the gossip sites, and everyone in between was going wild with the rumors (rumors that weren’t really rumors and were more like truth) of Yoongi’s visit to the hospital to see Hoseok. It got worse when photos of them were snapped leaving together. However, they didn’t feed the fire, not right away. Instead, Hoseok got situated back at Dawon’s place, and Yoongi stuck around. Dawon didn’t mind, not at all, and in the night, he heard them talking softly. He wasn’t sure what about, but Yoongi seemed content when he crawled in next to Hoseok in the bed.

A week passed, and Hoseok was able to walk a little bit, with the help of crutches, and the pain wasn’t as bad as it could have been. He and Yoongi were slumped together on the couch, watching a movie on a low volume, since Dawon was already asleep.

“Namjoon said he had lunch with Jin today,” Yoongi commented with a yawn. “I hope they work things out.”

“Me too,” Hoseok agreed, carding his hand through Yoongi’s soft hair. A few moments passed before Hoseok spoke again. “Do you want to do it?” he asked.

Yoongi sat up straighter. “Do what?”

“Tell everyone?”

Yoongi scooted closer. “Yes,” he whispered. “Now?”

“Yeah, now. If you want,” Hoseok said.

Yoongi nodded.

The television cast a blue glow across the room and onto Yoongi’s face, making his hair look like midnight and his eyes like the stars. He smelled like a summer day mixed with the detergent Hoseok’s sister always used and his hands were warm against Hoseok’s arm. Being with Yoongi was a lot like dancing. Unpredictable. Exciting. Yet, familiar and comforting.

They didn’t know for sure what they were going to do with their futures, besides the fact that they were going to do whatever they did, together. Namjoon assured them that they were still welcome at Bangtan, but they hadn’t decided for sure about going back or not. Maybe they would. Maybe they wouldn’t.

“How do we do it?” Yoongi asked.

“Picture?” Hoseok suggested.

“Like a picture of us making out?” Yoongi asked and Hoseok smiled, remembering when Yoongi had jokingly suggested something similar.

“Mmm, or maybe we should release a sex tape?” Hoseok said and Yoongi raised an eyebrow. “That was a joke. We aren’t doing that.”

“Don’t joke about sex tapes,” Yoongi said with a wink. He got out his phone, then, and went to the camera. It lit their faces up with the artificial light from the TV and the phone. Yoongi was smiling almost wickedly, but in a good way.

“Should we tell our friends first?”

“Who? Taehyung? He knows. Jin knows. Namjoon knows. Honestly, the public probably knows too. We just have to…well we don’t have to anything, I guess. But I wanna. I want to hold your hand down the street and shit,” Yoongi said.

“Me too.”

“Smile,” Yoongi said and held the phone out. It was a little bit dark and the camera made things a little bit grainy and they both looked tired with their sleepy eyes and messy hair. But they were smiling like they were the happiest people on the planet.

The first picture took and then Yoongi leaned in and pressed his lips to Hosoek’s cheek. Before the picture could take, though, Hoseok shifted so they could kiss properly. He heard the little fake shutter sound and they leaned their foreheads together for a moment that could have been an eternity.

Yoongi sent Hoseok the photos so he could post them online too. They typed out their tweets and then, pictures attached, they sent them out. Hoseok watched his and Yoongi’s tweets both appear on his timeline and then instantly start to rack up likes and retweets and comments.

His heart was pounding in his chest and Yoongi reached out to take his hand and put it over his chest. Hoseok could feel his heart, too.

Thud, thud, thud.

Hoseok clicked on his tweet to bring it up. To look at the two pictures again. Himself and Yoongi. Smiling in one picture. Kissing in the other. An explanation within itself.

“Hey,” Yoongi said softly. “Don’t read the comments.”

“I wasn’t going to,” Hoseok assured him after locking his phone and setting it down on the table. He leaned back against the couch and pulled Yoongi into his arms. “I don’t need to read any comments to know that I have everything I need. I don’t need to read any comments to know I love you.”