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beautiful people (with beautiful problems)

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These things happen, Yoongi thinks to himself rather bitterly.

He’d repeated the same thing over and over again to his older brother, to his mother, several years back when he’d come home with a new cut on his cheek or with a bruise that had started to turn ugly. He’d say it again and again until they stopped asking, until Yoongi shut the door to his room, because nobody has to know that he’s not really one to handle situations all that well, especially when it came to what he truly wanted to do and where he wanted to do it.

On the stage—a grand stage. With all the lights on him. Yoongi never imagines the crowd, though. In all his dreams, he just sees himself on a stage, mic held tightly in his hand. But the crowd—there’s never a crowd, is how it always is.

Not tonight, though. Not whenever Namjoon invites him to play.

Because Namjoon is too well known, too talented. For someone his age to have achieved so much, Yoongi can only wonder.

It doesn’t end well, though, and it’s when Yoongi finally straightens up and wipes the back of his hand against his mouth that he thinks back to all those years he’d tried to pacify his parents, his older brother. All those years of lying to them had come to bite him in the ass tonight, because here he is again, a little beaten, a lot bruised up, and stuck outside in the cold, all because he’d said the wrong thing to somebody and refused to take it back.

Namjoon will call him an idiot in the morning but for now, Yoongi will just roll his eyes and worry on his bottom lip, because he can do this. He’s been in worse situations, really. This is nothing.

Or so he thinks, until he realises that he’s stuck outside in the cold, with a flimsy sweatshirt on and his knuckles burning.

“Fuck,” Yoongi curses, heading towards the door, and almost reaching for it when it opens all of a sudden, someone else stepping out, one hand fumbling around in his coat pocket for something—a wallet, keys, Yoongi’s not sure.

When the box catches the neon light from the bar’s own sign, Yoongi notices that it’s a pack of cigarettes.

The boy doesn’t even notice him, not until Yoongi takes a step back.

It’s only when the other boy looks up that Yoongi sees his face—shrouded in darkness and illuminated only by the neon red and green of the sign.

Yoongi thinks he’ll recognise that face anywhere, though. There’s probably not a single person in this country that won’t.

So Yoongi double takes, squinting into the darkness, because there’s no way that someone of his calibre is here.

“Hey,” comes the voice from across him, and Yoongi hasn’t seen a lot of movies, but this is a voice that’s familiar. One that he’s heard, perhaps on the t.v or on the radio. Either way, Yoongi’s sure that the boy has had works in both. “Are you okay—“ and then he stops a few steps away from Yoongi, fingers tightening around his box of cigarettes when he notices Yoongi’s face.

Yoongi isn’t sure what he looks like right now. Perhaps just the slightest bit tossed around, maybe. Messy hair. A split lip—he can actually feel that now, the sting on his upper lip and the incessant burning sensation on his cheek, like someone had just punched him really hard and cut it.

And that’s exactly what happened, but knowing Yoongi, nothing of the sort will be mentioned to anyone once morning comes.

“You don’t look too good,” the boy follows, trying to lean in close to get a better look at Yoongi. “Do you need any help?”

Yoongi looks at him.

In this dark autumn night, in the back alley of a bar that Yoongi’s just performed at, not even an hour ago, is a near stranger asking him if he’s okay, a twinge of worry lacing his voice.

Instead of answering his question, Yoongi just ducks his head and murmurs, “Can I bum a cigarette?”

It takes the other boy by surprise for a few seconds, but he nods and passes Yoongi the box and the lighter.

“You sure you’re okay?” he doesn’t stop trying, does he? And perhaps—perhaps, if Yoongi were to answer him, then that would be it. The end of the conversation.

But Yoongi doesn’t. He shakes his head, though, which should be enough, and then walks around him to get to the door, fingers wrapping around the cool metal handle. It’s so cold it almost stings.

With one last final look over his shoulder, Yoongi says, “Thanks for the cigarette.”

These things happen , is what Yoongi really wants to say, but he supposes that someone like Jung Hoseok won’t really care for that, so he stops himself and pushes against the door, stepping back into the bar and leaving him behind, because these things are just supposed to happen.

 

 

Yoongi ducks out of the event earlier than expected, but Namjoon follows him out, hurrying behind him because Yoongi’s been ignoring him for practically half the night. Right after his set had been over, Yoongi had disappeared to god know’s what and came back out with a fresh new bruise on his face and maybe two or three more people on his blacklist.

Namjoon finally catches up to him, hand reaching out to grab at Yoongi to pull him back. To hold him still for just a few seconds because Yoongi hasn’t talked to him at all and to be quite honest, Yoongi still doesn’t have any plans on talking.

But Namjoon is relentless, he’ll give him that.

“Hyung,” Namjoon starts, grip tightening around Yoongi’s wrist. “What’s going on with you?”

“Nothing,” Yoongi says, with more malice in his voice than anything. A part of him tells him that Namjoon doesn’t deserve this but another part of him drowns that voice out, telling him that all he deserves right now is some quiet. A time for himself. “Everything’s peachy. I just want to go home,”

“You killed it out there,” Namjoon surprises Yoongi by saying this, the sad little smile on his face anything but pleased with his performance. “In more ways than one, huh?” and this time it’s a jab at his face, at how roughed up and tossed around Yoongi seems, now.

This doesn’t always happen, Yoongi wants to explain himself. But it happens, and there’s nothing he can do about it because some weak-willed piece of shit in this industry can’t handle a simple criticism or two.

“Will you just let me go home now?” Yoongi is tired. He sounds tired. He looks tired. It’s as if all the weight has doubled on his shoulders. It’s a miracle how he’s still standing under all of it, how he’s still managing. “Thanks for tonight but—I just have to go, yeah?”

Namjoon doesn’t stop him this time, though, but right before Yoongi turns around, he hears his friend say, “How badly hurt are you?”

This keeps Yoongi frozen in his place, hands still tucked into the pockets of his hoodie.

“I’m fine, Joon,” Yoongi murmurs, flashing a hint of a smile if only to ease Namjoon’s worry. If only to convince the both of them. “Hey, y’know I met that actor outside earlier. Jung Hoseok, yeah? Who would’ve thought he’d be here,”

At that, Namjoon’s eyes widen, his face breaking off into a surprised grin as he shakes his head and laughs, almost breathlessly, “You met Hoseokie? That’s great,”

Oh, so they’re friends.

But that shouldn’t be a surprise anymore, given just who Namjoon is. What Namjoon can do.

So Yoongi just shrugs his shoulders and offers one last smile. “Guess I did.”

It’s the last thing he says before he turns around and leaves Namjoon, who waits until Yoongi’s rounded the corner before he goes back into the club.

Namjoon is a good friend, Yoongi thinks. Too good.

Sometimes, Yoongi wonders if he’s even half the friend that Namjoon is to him. Perhaps he isn’t, but he tries.

Tonight’s just not one of those days where he tries particularly hard.

But god, does Yoongi try. It’s all he can ever do, really.

 

 

A series of knocks against his door is what wakes Yoongi up one misty Thursday morning. Grumbling under his breath, Yoongi slowly makes his way towards the door, the wooden floor cold against his bare feet.

Seokjin’s face is the first thing Yoongi sees when he blinks against the light a couple of times, waiting until his groggy, sleepy eyes have adjusted. He cranes his head up, ever so slightly, and then yawns.

“Why are you here?” is all Yoongi says, but he takes a step back, anyway, to allow Seokjin to enter, the older boy shuffling out of his shoes and his jacket. Seokjin raises the paper bag of takeaway and grins at Yoongi, as if that’s enough of an explanation for showing up uninvited to Yoongi’s little apartment.

“Coffee?” Seokjin says, voice warm. Warmer than Yoongi has felt since autumn has settled in.

Yoongi looks at him for a long time, eyes now fully adjusting to the bright lights of his apartment. It registers then that behind the smile on Seokjin’s face is a look of worry so clear in his eyes. With a sigh, Yoongi nods his head and offers the slightest of smiles.

“Always, hyung,”

And so that’s how they shuffle along for the morning, Seokjin sitting Yoongi down and telling him that he can do it—he’d stopped by the bakery a few blocks away from Yoongi’s apartment for breakfast, saying, “I haven’t seen you in a while. No texts, no calls, no nothing, Yoongi. So I decided to invite myself in,”

At that, Yoongi grins at him, a little amused. “As you always do,” because Seokjin’s never really one to wait for an invitation. He shows up whenever Yoongi needs him—even if Yoongi doesn’t realise it himself. Like now.

“Namjoon and I were talking,” Seokjin continues, passing Yoongi his own cup of coffee and setting the box of scones and bagels down in front of him. “About what happened the other night,”

Yoongi takes his first careful sip of coffee. “I met his friend, that actor guy,”

Seokjin sighs, a little frustrated now. But only slightly. “That’s not what I mean—although it’s great you met him. I think Namjoon was meaning to introduce you two eventually—“ here he cuts himself off, cheeks tinging pink all of a sudden. Before Yoongi can even ask what that’s about, Seokjin takes a quick and hearty gulp of his coffee, nose scrunching up as he finishes because it’d been too hot, too bitter.

“I know what you mean,” this time, Yoongi beats Seokjin to it. He settles into the corner of his well worn couch and yawns, still a little bit sleepy. A little bit groggy. “It’s nothing, hyung, these—“

“These things happen, you say that all the time, Yoongi,” and here Seokjin leans in, a gentle hand reaching out to brush against Yoongi’s cheek.

Yoongi flinches at the contact, because it still stings.

“Who was it this time?” Seokjin has that hard tone in his voice that tells Yoongi he’ll be doing something as soon as he’s out the door. Hell, maybe even here in Yoongi’s own living room.

“Hyung, drop it,” Yoongi wraps his hands around his coffee, revelling in the warmth that seeps through the flimsy paper cup. “It’s not like I just stood there. If you get him in trouble, you get me in trouble. It’s fine, this isn’t the first time,”

“Exactly,” Seokjin says, shoulders going rigid. “It’s not the first time. Maybe you should stop performing in those bars, have you ever thought of that?”

Yoongi shakes his head immediately, because if he doesn’t perform there, then where is he supposed to perform? They really don’t call it the underground for nothing. Some people can manage to crawl their way out of the underground while the others have to make do.

Yoongi is making do.

“I know how it works, Yoongi,” Seokjin sounds resigned this time, like he finally realises there’s no getting through to Yoongi.

But of course Yoongi understands. There’s several other options, of course—it’s not only the dive-bars or clubs that he’s got access to. There are concerts, collaborations, so much more. But it just so happens that the ones he frequents are also the ones where he finds most trouble in.

“Right, you do,” Yoongi leaves the conversation at that, effectively ending it when he reaches for a bagel and asks just why Seokjin had decided to drop by so fucking early in the morning when he could have come at noon, for lunch. Or even better, dinner.

“Was just making sure you were still alive.” Seokjin laughs that big laugh of his, all too amused, now. Worry from earlier rolls off his shoulders so easily, Yoongi is almost jealous of it.

Yoongi rolls his eyes at that but Seokjin’s always had such a contagious laugh, and before he can even stop himself, he laughs with him, quiet and surprised.

He feels less tired, now. Yoongi smiles at that, heart a little lighter, and hands a little warmer.

 

 

Somehow, Namjoon effectively drags Yoongi out of the house the next weekend, this time with a promise of drinks, and only drinks. Seokjin and Taehyung are present, and Yoongi doesn’t have the heart to tell them no, so he agrees.

Besides, it’s been a while since he’s seen Taehyung.

Since the boy’s own career had started, he’d gotten quite busy. Which is something Yoongi can only be proud of, because Taehyung—he deserves it, believes Yoongi. He deserves it all.

Which is why, when Taehyung bounds up to him outside of the club, arms open wide and his smile brighter than the flashing neon signs above their heads, Yoongi laughs, allowing Taehyung to engulf him in a hug.

It is warm, as Taehyung always is.

He hugs the younger boy back, giving that perfectly styled hair of his a little pat.

“Look at you,” Yoongi says, patting Taehyung’s shoulder. “Last time I saw you, you couldn’t even pay for coffee,”

Taehyung rolls his eyes but he laughs, anyway, because that’s partly true, and partly just Yoongi’s own harmless little jab.

“You still look like you get into more fights than you can handle,” Taehyung counters with a devious little smile that makes both Namjoon and Seokjin wince, because they’d danced around that issue for weeks, tiptoeing around the room, afraid of stepping on glass. On breaking something that’s already in pretty bad shape. Yoongi.

But Yoongi doesn’t mind, instead, he just waves Taehyung off and tells him that he’s going to be paying for tonight, with that mouth of his.

Behind him, he can almost feel the other two sighing in relief.

No matter how hard things may get—no matter how stuck Yoongi may be on a song, on a melody, on a fucking beat, he’ll always have these people to lean back on. Always have them to thank.

Inside, the club is packed, but with Seokjin’s own influence, they’re ushered into one of the private areas, roped off and a little bit further away from the rest of the crowd. Yoongi can see some familiar faces—a few idols here and there, that popular t.v show host on that one morning show tucked into the corner.

The night goes off without a hitch, Taehyung sticking true to his promise of buying for all of them. It’s been a while since they’d all seen each other, since they’d all gathered like this. Namjoon is always busy with his company, and Seokjin with his various businesses, and Yoongi—Yoongi is just busy trying to make it.

Taehyung, on the other hand, is doing great. Finally doing what he loves best. And they couldn’t be any prouder, really. Yoongi can’t be any prouder of him.

So they spend the night like this—in the company of friends, with music that’s far too loud, and drinks that never seem to stop. At one point, Taehyung gets up on his seat and almost falls onto the table, but Seokjin pulls him back with a laugh that he disguises as something amusing, even if Yoongi can see that all the older boy wants to do is push him  out of their booth and into the dance floor, but then that would mean practically feeding Taehyung to the sharks, so he sits him back down, while Namjoon disappears for a little while to say hi to a couple of other friends in the table across from them.

Some singers he’d previously worked with, a few years back, who’d asked if it was okay they stole Namjoon for five minutes. Seokjin had practically pushed him away while Yoongi kept his eyes locked on Taehyung, who was speaking animatedly, still, arms moving around wildly, an almost mystified smile on his face when he proclaims, “We should all do group costumes for Halloween. Next week,”

Yoongi shuts the idea down immediately, because he already thinks he’s got a gig for halloween, and also, there’s no way he’s dressing up as whatever Taehyung is coming up with.

Seokjin likes it, though, because he leans in close and nods his head.

That’s when Namjoon returns, a little red in the face—the alcohol, Yoongi suspects—and an easy little smile on his face. “Someone said halloween?”

It’s hard to talk with all the noise, so Taehyung motions to his phone, and yells, “I’ll text you guys later.”

Yoongi is already starting to regret it, but for now, he just lets the alcohol settle warmly inside of him, tilting his head back against the cushions, eyes closing. For now, Yoongi lets himself drown in the flashing pink and green and blue lights, the sound of chatter all around them, with music that bounces across the room.

He’s never particularly liked clubs—not the noise, not the people, not the copious amount of drinks. But sometimes—sometimes, Yoongi will allow himself to let loose. Allow himself to completely get lost in the feel of it all.

This isn’t one of those times, but Yoongi can pretend.

It’s a good night, after all, even if he knows he’s got an early start tomorrow morning. And with Namjoon of all people, too—but Namjoon isn’t worried at all, and Yoongi isn’t. They both already know they’re going to be late, anyway, so they brush it off for later, much like how the hangover will come much, much later, when Yoongi wakes up with a stiff neck and a headache at half-past seven, his phone blaring just over his head, with a couple missed calls from Namjoon and a text that simply says he’ll be a few minutes late. They can meet for lunch.

That’s not a problem, not for Yoongi. Not at all.

 

 

Once, Yoongi had heard that your first encounter with someone will be what dictates your further meetings. Your friendship, if ever.

Yoongi remembers his first encounter with him—

In the back of an alley, dim and cold, Yoongi with a split lip and bruised knuckles, a little shaken up, but mostly just cold and annoyed.

The second encounter. Well, the second encounter goes a little like this—

Yoongi sprawled on the floor of Namjoon’s studio, a mirror raised high up to get a better look at his face, at the sting on his cheek that he knows is going to bruise. They’d almost broken his nose this time, too, but Yoongi had ducked away just in time to avoid that.

Good, because a bruised cheek is easier to hide than a broken nose.

God, sometimes, Yoongi hates them. He can drag their name in the mud—paint the walls with blood. He can ruin their careers, but instead, he doesn’t, because he knows it’ll bite him right in the ass after. So he just fights his own battles, pissing unlikely people left and right with a diss track that does just that—diss. Some people can’t handle it pretty well.

But then again, nobody’s ever called the underground pretty.

After a few minutes of examining his face, Yoongi gives up, throwing the mirror to the edge of the couch as he climbs on top of it.

Namjoon’s still working quietly, his back faced to him. Yoongi hadn’t even wanted to come, but Namjoon had insisted—told him he wanted him to listen to a song he’d recently been working on. Figure out a trick he’s had a hard time with for the past couple of weeks. Yoongi had heard the song an hour ago but he’s still here, and Namjoon hasn’t kicked him out, yet.

When he’d seen the look on Yoongi’s face and the too-large sweatshirt that Yoongi’s practically swimming in, he’d known. Had figured it all out. So Namjoon continues to work, fingers tapping idly on the surface of the table as Yoongi slowly falls asleep behind him, breathing ragged for a few minutes before it turns calm and easy, Yoongi slipping right into the calmness of sleep.

When Yoongi opens his eyes again, it’s to a dark room. There’s no light except for the soft glow of Namjoon’s computer. It’s too quiet—and then Yoongi hears it, a song that filters through the speakers. Yoongi doesn’t recognise it, but he suspects that it’s one of the songs Namjoon’s currently working on. A collaboration, by the sounds of it.

Yoongi falls asleep again, too tired. His fingers curled into a fist beside him.

The next time Yoongi wakes up, it’s to an almost blinding light.

His head is heavy. He feels absolutely groggy. But he manages to push himself up on the couch, a yawn cutting across his question when he notices someone that is definitely not Namjoon sitting on his chair, legs crossed, and scrolling down his phone.

The shock of dark hair doesn’t register for a few seconds until the other boy looks up from his phone, eyes wide, and a look of complete surprise on his face when he realises that Yoongi’s woken up. He stands up immediately, and Yoongi follows his movement, a little dizzy at how fast he’s moving.

Yoongi looks up at him—at Jung Hoseok, the same actor who’s starred in all the hit dramas. Who’s made a name for himself for—for god knows when. All Yoongi knows is that he’s famous.

And that he’s here in Namjoon’s studio, looking as pale as a ghost and too worried over a stranger like Yoongi.

Over someone like Yoongi.

“Where’s Namjoon?” Yoongi breaks the silence, voice gruffer than he’d expected. Still sleep logged and heavy.

“He’s—he’s out. He said he’ll be back with dinner but to just let you sleep,” there’s a few seconds of silence, the two of them scrutinising each other. Yoongi gives up after a while, throwing himself back against the corner of the couch.

Jung Hoseok doesn’t move at all. If anything, he just stands there in the middle of the room.

“Listen,” Yoongi is surprised that he’s still talking, because they’ve never really talked. Yoongi doesn’t know him, and he doesn’t know Yoongi. They just have a mutual friend. “I noticed—your face earlier. And can I just—“ here he fumbles around, phone slipping onto the table behind him. He ducks down to grab at something on the floor, Yoongi just blinking up at the space he’d once occupied. When the boy comes back up, it’s to show Yoongi a paper bag of god knows what. “I didn’t really know what to get, but here,”

And to Yoongi’s own surprise, he sits himself down right next to him, the paper bag heavy on his lap.

Curiosity gets the better of him and Yoongi leans in to check what’s inside.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Yoongi’s voice is light. Airy. Like he can’t quite believe he’s staring down into a paper bag full of medical gauze and tape and bandages and cotton swabs, and an ointment. “Did you really?” he’s more surprised than anything.

Yoongi doesn’t know him at all—nothing except for his name, and Yoongi doubts that the actor even knows who he is.

“I grabbed everything that looked useful,” the smile that he flashes Yoongi is bashful, a little shy with just the slightest twinge of embarrassment. “I don’t know if you remember me—from the bar a few weeks back,”

Yoongi could have rolled his eyes at that but he doesn’t. As if he could just forget about meeting Jung Hoseok. The Jung Hoseok. As if. But he plays along, anyway, because his throat is dry, like something’s suddenly lodged down there, and even if he does want to say something else, he finds that he can’t. Not really. Not at this sudden show of kindness—to a total fucking stranger who just happens to have passed out on Namjoon’s couch.

“Are you okay?” his voice is much kinder, the look in his eyes soft. Perhaps it’s the bright lights in Namjoon’s studio, or it’s the soft, soft melody that filters through the speakers up above their heads, but Yoongi suddenly feels light.

The response to that question is the same one Yoongi has for everyone else that’s asked. He ignores it completely to rifle through the paper bag. “Thanks,” Yoongi starts, teeth worrying on his bottom lip.

But to his complete and utter surprise, Jung Hoseok takes the paper bag away from him and laughs, like that’s a silly little thing Yoongi’s doing, holding on to it. “Right, so you’re not gonna answer me this time, either. That’s cool. But would you let me help you, though?”

And Yoongi doesn’t know why, but he nods slowly, almost like he’s unaware of it.

The smile that comes his way is so bright, Yoongi almost doesn’t see it completely.

But then—

But then he feels it, the first gentle touch of a cotton swab against his cheek. The ointment stings on the cut but Jung Hoseok’s voice is gentle as he murmurs that it’s supposed to sting, or else it won’t be effective.

Yoongi wants to ask him who taught him that, but instead, he just sits on that little rebuttal and waits it out, clearly ignoring the fact that he’s got Korea’s top actor practically sitting on his lap, the other boy leaning so close to him that Yoongi is careful to even breathe.

It’s quiet for a little while, Hoseok having moved on from Yoongi’s cheek to the underside of his jaw, one finger resting lightly on his chin to help Yoongi tilt it up.

After, Hoseok disposes of the used cotton swabs and puts aside the rest of the paper bag. As it is, there was no need to make use of all of those things. Yoongi can only breathe a sigh of relief—last night’s row hadn’t been so bad, he thinks. He’s had worse.

It’s Hoseok who breaks the silence between them, when he finally settles in beside Yoongi on the couch, his buzzing phone on the table forgotten, for now. “Why do I always find you like this?”

The question catches Yoongi completely by surprise, he almost flinches. Almost.

“This is only the second time,” Yoongi says, his tone a little bit more cutting than usual. Something he immediately regrets when Jung Hoseok pushes on with the same kind look in his eyes and a smile that’s quiet, that’s small, definitely not too bright. A smile that’s more human than anything Yoongi’s ever seen.

“I think once is enough, for these kinds of things, yeah?”

And for the first time since they’ve met, Yoongi actually cracks a smile.

“Maybe,” Yoongi finally agrees, the same amused smile playing across his lips, because Jung Hoseok—he’s a bit of a character, isn’t he? “Maybe.”

“We never formally met,” and here comes the introductions, however odd the sequence of events may be, it’s still led them here. There’s no extension of a hand, no stiff formalities. Nothing of that sort. Not when Jung Hoseok had just dabbed at Yoongi’s cuts and bruises, bought him his very own first aide kit. Nope. “I’m Hoseok,”

“I know that,” Yoongi’s tongue is faster than his brain, and he ducks away as soon as he says that, but if Jung Hoseok himself doesn’t mind, then Yoongi thinks that he shouldn’t—and it’s obvious that he doesn’t, because he laughs at that, pleasantly surprised.

“Min Yoongi,” Yoongi’s long since figured out that hearing his name coming out from someone else’s mouth is strange. Probably the strangest thing ever, he thinks. “Surprised? Yeah, I know you, too,”

Yoongi actually laughs at that, more a bark of surprise than anything, but a laugh nonetheless.

“Jung Hoseok, huh,” Yoongi tests it out. Not once has he ever thought that something like this would happen. That not only would he meet one of the country’s top actors, but that he’d actually be stuck in a room with him. No cameras, nobody else, no nothing.

“Hoseok,” he’s corrected almost immediately. “Just Hoseok is fine,” and this time, when Hoseok lifts his gaze up to look at Yoongi, it’s to a wry smile that Yoongi thinks he can pinpoint quite well. He knows that look. That’s a look that he sees in the mirror a lot—wry. Tired. But Hoseok’s eyes are anything but tired. They’re still so alight with a life that Yoongi can’t quite imagine.

“Okay, Hoseok,” Yoongi tries it again for the second time. He gets up from the couch, pulling on the sleeves of his hoodie. “Thanks a lot for today, but I think I have to go.”

Hoseok doesn’t follow him out the door, instead, Hoseok just strides to the other side of the room to get the paper bag of medical supplies. He passes it to Yoongi, and briefly, their fingers brush.

“Although I really hope you won’t have a need for this anymore.” Hoseok sounds too hopeful about that. Yoongi can’t help but grimace, but he accepts the paper bag, anyway, because it’s the least he can do.

The door to Namjoon’s studio clicks shut behind him, leaving Hoseok inside. He’s probably going to wait for Namjoon—and Yoongi sort of feels sorry for leaving all of a sudden, but he thinks he’s extended his welcome. Besides, the plan was only one song. Yoongi’s practically slept the entire afternoon away.

And it’s only when Yoongi steps inside the elevators that he realises that for someone who’s been dubbed time and time again as Korea’s sweetheart, Jung Hoseok’s got a pretty sad smile.

 

 

So perhaps first encounters don’t often dictate how things should run its course, because Yoongi’s first encounter with one Jung Hoseok had been cold, distant—with Yoongi feeling more sore and aching than anything. His second encounter had been the complete opposite.

The third encounter is a little bit weirder, though, because it’s nearly eleven in the evening when he stumbles onto Hoseok, or, at least, what appears to be a scene with him, because Yoongi’s all the way across the street when, hoodie up and unbearably large scarf wrapped around his neck covering nearly half his face, he notices Hoseok.

Hoseok, who isn’t trying too hard to cover up the fact that he’s Jung Hoseok.

Yoongi realises a little bit too late that there are paparazzi just a few steps away from him, camera raised up to his eye as the man ignores all the other passerby on this quiet street to photograph Hoseok, who, Yoongi now notices, isn't exactly alone.

He doesn’t exactly have a name for her, but Yoongi recognises her in all the big gatherings. She’s much, much older—not even an actress or a model, but perhaps a director. A producer. She’s leaning in too close to Hoseok, a smile on her face as she reaches a hand towards him, and Yoongi doesn’t know if it’s the stiffness in Hoseok’s shoulder or how he’s suddenly so pale that spurs him on but—

But it doesn’t matter, because Yoongi is already crossing the street, nearly avoiding what could have been a collision with a car as he barely has time to register the road. It’s late, there’s not a lot of people, but there’s a paparazzi trailing after Hoseok and someone Yoongi suspects is unwelcome company.

So he steps in, even if he does feel like a fucking idiot right after.

Hoseok is surprised to see Yoongi, eyebrows raised in confusion for only a second before recognition registers on his face, and—

And his face brightens up. It really does at the sight of Yoongi.

“Hoseok?” Yoongi tries, still a few steps away from them. He doesn’t know the woman but Hoseok sure does, although—although the unease that’s so evident on his face, in his posture and body language tells Yoongi otherwise.

Before the woman can even get her hands on Hoseok—or on the current situation—Hoseok is already ducking out of her sight after a final bow that she misses because he’s away from her and right next to Yoongi in the next second.

Yoongi can almost hear the who that the woman mouths as she watches the both of them but that doesn’t matter, because as soon as Hoseok falls into step beside Yoongi, he relaxes, shoulders slumping.

Hoseok sighs, sounding more relieved than Yoongi’s ever heard him.

“Are you okay?”

It’s a sudden question, one Yoongi asks without any forewarning, without any thinking, none at all. And it suddenly feels strange, being the one to ask that question.

When Hoseok looks at him, holds his gaze for a moment longer than necessary, and finally gives his head a minute shake, Yoongi feels absolutely awful, because here is Yoongi, someone Hoseok’s found at his worse on more than one occasion, always refusing to answer such a simple question.

And here is Hoseok, someone Yoongi’s literally just stumbled on, so relieved of his sudden arrival that all Yoongi can see on his face is a crooked little smile that answers Yoongi’s question without Hoseok even saying anything more.

But Hoseok still tells him, anyway.

“No—I mean, yes. I’m okay, now,” Hoseok’s breathing is measured, the colour slowly seeping back into his face. Before Yoongi can even ask him just what’s happened—or perhaps he’d been meaning to nod at that sentiment and then just walk off—Hoseok’s grabbing at his wrist, fingers loosely wrapping around Yoongi’s wrist as he drags him off down the street.

Yoongi hears the first click of the camera then.

It sounds so close.

Hoseok doesn’t let go of Yoongi until they’ve reached his car.

“Let me drive you home,” Hoseok tells him, a small smile on his face as he waits for Yoongi to nod.

And Yoongi nods, slipping into the car right after Hoseok.

Nobody bothers with the radio, or with smalltalk—Hoseok doesn’t even ask what Yoongi had been doing in this part of town, and Yoongi doesn’t necessarily ask Hoseok just what he’d walked into.

Yoongi doesn’t have to ask because Hoseok fills him in with no problem.

“A director I used to work for,” Hoseok murmurs, fingers drumming idly on the steering wheel as he waits for the light to turn green. “It was just—it was getting weird. We had drinks and that’s fine, it’s just the usual. But then—“

And here Hoseok stops just as the light turns red, mouth pressed into a thin line.

Yoongi almost feels too small in this car, Hoseok’s fingers going pale as his grip around the wheel tightens. Yoongi doesn’t push it, though. Because he understands that there are some things you can say out loud to other people, and then there are things you can say out loud to yourself.

Most of the time—most of the time, what Yoongi is faced with are things that he can’t even say out loud.

Hoseok is different, though, is what Yoongi finds out.

Hoseok, who takes in a deep breaths in a clear effort to relax himself. Hoseok, who’s still looking a bit shaken but not too badly anymore. Hoseok, who takes a quick detour for coffee, turning towards Yoongi for a second to smile at him, that same award winning smile that he’s flashed to the camera countless of times. Yoongi doesn’t follow his work but he’s seen Hoseok’s face on magazines. On t.v. Everywhere, really.

“I owe you coffee after that,” Hoseok says, passing an iced cappuccino to Yoongi, who murmurs his thanks under his breath.

They stay in the parking lot of the twenty-four hour cafe for what seems like hours, but really is only a few minutes.

Hoseok doesn’t finish explaining and Yoongi doesn’t push for it. Instead, Hoseok just looks at him, biting down on his straw, a look on his face that Yoongi can’t quite read.

“You didn’t have to,” Hoseok starts, voice suddenly quiet. “But you did, yeah? Thanks for getting me out of that.”

There’s a lump in Yoongi’s throat that he tries to wash down with too-sweet coffee (a little voice in his head tells him that if Hoseok wants to buy him coffee, then he should get him the right kind. Next time, Yoongi shocks himself into thinking.

Next time.).

“It’s okay,” Yoongi says, trying to wave it away. Really, no big deal. It’s the least Yoongi can do—Hoseok had looked uncomfortable, completely out of place. Yoongi would have been a monster to just leave him behind. “Don’t mind it.”

But Hoseok does mind, because he smiles at Yoongi again, too bright for midnight. Too bright for this cold autumn night.

Yoongi learns to accept the smile, though, because he smiles back, eyes downcast and his hold around his iced coffee tightening.

“You’re something else, Yoongi,” Hoseok says, as if he’s just thinking out loud. There’s a light in his eyes that brightens up his whole face. Yoongi doesn’t know what to make of it, so—

So he rolls his eyes and tells Hoseok his coffee’s too sweet.

“I’ll make up for it next time,” Hoseok easily counters, smile turning playful.

There it is again.

Next time.

Yoongi won’t admit it out loud, but he sort of likes the way it sounds. Likes how easy Hoseok’s making it.

“Next time.” Yoongi agrees, leaning back into his seat.

Next time is a good a time as any, Yoongi thinks.

 

 

Yoongi is woken up by the sound of somebody else calling his name. By warm hands gently shaking him awake.

When Yoongi comes to, he blinks against the orange light that streams in through the window. Taehyung’s face registers and he closes his eyes again, thinking that this may as well just be a fever dream, because as far as Yoongi’s aware, it’s too early in the morning for Kim Taehyung to be knocking down his door. To show up like this.

Besides, nobody else has his passcode.

There’s just no way this isn’t a dream—

Which is exactly what Yoongi repeats again and again until Taehyung pinches his cheek.

“Hyung, wake up,” Taehyung’s practically straddling him, now. Legs on either side of Yoongi and his hands cupping Yoongi’s cheek almost comically. He looks a bit frenzied, excited and nervous about something. “You gotta see this,”

Yoongi bolts up then, nearly knocking his forehead against Taehyung’s.

While he saves them both from the excruciating headache, Taehyung still topples over, falling off the bed and onto the floor. He lands with a loud thud that Yoongi’s downstairs neighbour is definitely going to hear.

“What are you doing in my apartment?” Yoongi backs up into the headboard, voice still scratchy and heavy with sleep. It’s still so surreal to have Taehyung here when the last time he’d seen the boy it had been in the back of Seokjin’s car, passed out. They’d suspected alcohol poisoning, but nobody really gets that by drinking wine, do they?

Probably not, because Taehyung’s still here.

“I broke in,” Taehyung says easily, picking himself up from the floor. He flashes Yoongi a grin. “Just kidding. Namjoon hyung gave me your code, and here I am,”

Taehyung must have read the question on Yoongi’s face because he immediately adds, “You haven’t seen the news, have you?”

Yoongi tries to rub the sleep from his eyes, scooting over to the other side of his bed so Taehyung can join him. The younger boy climbs onto his bed, legs immediately propping up on top of Yoongi’s as he lifts his phone up for the both of them to see, Taehyung still scrolling through a news site.

“Look at what’s trending on Naver,” Taehyung says, finally passing Yoongi the phone.

Yoongi squints at the screen.

It must be sleep making his head foggy. Or his eyes are just getting bleary. Or—Or maybe, he’s still asleep, and this is all a dream, because there’s really just no way in hell for him to be trending on fucking Naver of all places. There’s only one photo, and it’s the one from last night, of Hoseok and Yoongi talking on the street.

The headline simply reads, Unlikely friendship? Actor Jung Hoseok spotted with rapper Min Yoongi.

Yoongi can almost feel the headache coming before it even hits him.

He plops back down on top of Taehyung, head hitting Taehyung’s chest a little harder than he’d braced himself for because Taehyung wheezes, breath coming out harsh as Yoongi positions himself into something more comfortable. He elbows Taehyung in the gut in  the process, which really doesn’t help the younger boy’s breathing. Not by a long shot.

“What is that?” Yoongi asks, throwing the phone back to Taehyung, because he can’t bring himself to read the comments. Is it that strange, for the both of them to be seen together?

“It’s an article about you and Hoseokie hyung,” Taehyung hums, phone discarded somewhere off to the side. He throws an arm around Yoongi’s middle, cuddling in closer to him.

Maybe the real reason Taehyung had broken into his apartment was so he could cling to Yoongi. He won’t put that pass Taehyung, if Yoongi were being honest.

“No offence, hyung, but that’s a really weird article,” Taehyung murmurs, voice so close to Yoongi’s ear. Taehyung’s hair tickles at Yoongi’s cheek, and Yoongi groans, turning his face to the other side.

“It is,” Yoongi agrees, arm slung over his eyes.

The windows in this room are too big, the curtains not thick enough. It’s too fucking bright that even with his eyes closed and an arm over his eyes, he can still see it—the brightness of the day.

“I don’t see why that’s news,” an afterthought that Yoongi adds.

Taehyung hums beside him, his nod slow. Lazy. “Shouldn’t be, but you know anything you do is news, right?”

“Not for me,” Yoongi almost barks that out. But he doesn’t. His voice is still tired, still sleepy.

“I’ve seen the way people look at you, hyung,” Taehyung shifts beside Yoongi, but he doesn’t let go. He stays right next to his side, a comfortable warmth. “You’re hot shit,”

Taehyung laughs as soon as he says that, a lot surprised and only a little bit embarrassed. Yoongi almost elbows him again, and this time in the chest. But he stops himself to groan.

“Shut up, Tae. You broke into my house,” at that, Taehyung just tightens his hold around Yoongi’s middle and shakes his head.

“Nope, you invited me in. That’s why I’m in your bed,” Yoongi can hear the smile in Taehyung’s own voice. He sounds too comfortable, too at ease for Yoongi to kick him out. Yoongi doesn’t think he has the heart to, not with Taehyung. Not with anyone, now that he thinks about it. “About what I said earlier. I didn’t mean it weird in the weird way, I just—“

Yoongi pinches Taehyung’s side before he can even continue, but Taehyung is a soldier, he truly is, because he continues, anyway, and says, “—Just surprised, I guess? Didn’t think you’d like Hoseokie hyung,”

“I don’t like him,” Yoongi immediately says, lowering his arm from his eyes. His room is still too bright, but Taehyung is a comforting presence beside him. “I just ran into him.”

In the back of Yoongi’s mind, he thinks about what Hoseok had said last night— Next time .

“Sure,” Taehyung sounds like he really doesn’t believe it, but that doesn’t matter. The truth’s still the truth even if nobody believes in it. Even if Taehyung would rather spend the rest of the morning teasing Yoongi about a run in with the paparazzi than actually getting coffee. “Whatever you say, hyung.”

And because Yoongi doesn’t have the heart to kick Taehyung out of his house, he does the next best thing—

He shoves Taehyung off of the bed for the second time that morning, his laugh filling the entire room as Taehyung groans.

Right, now that— that’s not a bad start to his morning, not at all.

 

 

“Is anything wrong?” the question comes in the form of Namjoon throwing one of Yoongi’s smaller pillows at his back. There’s no apology, no explanation. Namjoon just lifts his head up to get a better look at Yoongi, who stiffens in front of his laptop, turning around slowly to cock an eyebrow at Namjoon, who, for the record, had just invited himself in. “You’re too quiet.”

“You’re bored,” Yoongi muses, shutting his laptop off. A soft melody floats across the room, passing Yoongi by once before it settles around Namjoon, who sits up with a calm little smile on his face. “You invited yourself here. I told you I was working,”

“Actually,” here, Namjoon tries to toe the line. Here, his voice takes a dip. Yoongi’s head is a little bit too heavy, a little bit too crowded. There’s a hook in his song that he can’t quite get. A mixtape that he’s always wanted to release—the second one this time. He needs two more songs, but nothing’s working.

Perhaps Yoongi should just give up at this point—the thought is sudden. Like cold water suddenly splashing on him. Ice cold. Yoongi snaps out of it immediately, tuning back in to what Namjoon’s been saying all along.

“I had something important to ask,” Namjoon tries again, squinting at Yoongi to make sure he’s even listening. “Are you paying attention?”

Yoongi shakes his head. Catches himself, and then nods. “Yeah—you said. Important. Something important, yeah?”

“Right, about that—“ here Namjoon motions to Yoongi’s abandoned work behind him. He gestures vaguely—at the music, at Yoongi’s cramped studio. “I thought about something. Well—actually, it didn’t just come to me. I’ve been thinking about this,”

Before Namjoon can even continue, Yoongi raises a hand up as if to tell him to stop, stop right now. Namjoon does.

“Buy me dinner,” Yoongi says, almost teasing if he hadn’t been so hungry. But he is, and if this is something big, or an actual favour that Kim Namjoon himself needs to ask him for, then Yoongi may as well get something good to eat.

“You’re serious,” Namjoon says, disbelief colouring his voice.

Yoongi sends him a crooked smile that is enough to say that he clearly isn’t. He leans back into his chair, legs crossed, and waiting. “Might as well, right?”

With a little sigh and a smile that Yoongi can only file away as fond on Namjoon’s face, the younger boy nods. “You’re a piece of shit, you know that? But yeah, sure. Dinner.”

 

 

Dinner comes in the form of Namjoon ordering two boxes of pizza as well as running to the corner store for a six-pack. Yoongi doesn’t oppose it.

They’re sat on the floor, knees practically knocking together as Yoongi scoots over, trying to reach for a can of beer.

It’s only after two cans of beer and an entire box of pizza that Yoongi turns to Namjoon, the silence between them bridged with a few short words, “So, what did you wanna tell me?”

Namjoon comes right out and says it. As easily as it is to comment on the weather, on how it had drizzled lightly when he’d ran out for the beer. He says it as plain as day. “I think we should work together,”

Yoongi doesn’t take it so easily, though. He almost chokes on his beer.

“This—this is what you thought was so important to say,” Yoongi snickers, at a lost because they’re not strangers to collaborations. They’ve both helped each other time and time again. Yoongi remembers giving Namjoon a few useful nudges in a couple of his songs—and Namjoon with his. Why he’s suddenly making this such a big deal is beyond Yoongi. “I mean—sure, I guess. It’s no big deal, wouldn’t be the first time, right?”

“That’s not what I meant,” Namjoon says, voice resolute. He sounds a little bit firmer now, like he’s more serious than the situation even calls for. “Hyung—work together. My—my label,”

Yoongi blinks at him, this time now genuinely surprised. He’s taken so off guard that the next thing he says is completely unwarranted, an innocent statement that sounds almost sharp when Yoongi says, “Work for you, then,”

Namjoon turns pale at that, slice of pizza dropping back into the box. He shakes his head, looking absolutely mortified. “No—no, hyung. Not for me. I mean—you’ll be part of the company,” and then, after a second that seems too long, too heavy, Namjoon adds, all the while trying to get Yoongi to look him in the eyes. “Work with me. Join me.”

See, there’s a reason why Yoongi isn’t signed to any label. Why he’s turned down the few that have offered. Why he gets into fights after shows and why he doesn’t play as often anymore. To say that he’s holding back would be an insult—or, it would sound like an insult, but there are some days where Yoongi doubts himself. Doubts the fire that burns inside of him. Perhaps he’s not cut out for this, perhaps he’s just a one trick pony who can’t do anything without Namjoon, or Seokjin, or his other friends—perhaps the only good thing about Yoongi is his friends, the people he surrounds himself with.

Because they’re all big in the industry—

Namjoon, who runs his own company. Had started as a one-man agency but soon delved even further than that, catering to a few hip hop and contemporary artists, now.

Seokjin, who practically runs half of Seoul city. Seokjin, who gets what he wants, whenever he wants it. A successful entrepreneur who’s practically got the media eating right out of his palm. And that makes sense, doesn’t it, since his family practically owns the country’s biggest news website.

And then there’s Taehyung—god, Taehyung, who had started by stumbling along, scraping his elbows and his knees, who’d tried his hand at everything before he’d found his calling behind the lens of a camera, who’s more gifted in the arts than Yoongi ever will be. Renowned, well-known. Respected. Taehyung.

Yoongi’s got friends in all the high places, and perhaps, if there was ever a flaw in all of this, then it’d simply be who his friends are.

A part of him knows that Namjoon is genuine. They’ve worked together long enough for Namjoon to know what kind of music Yoongi makes, what kind of music Yoongi wants. And Yoongi’s known Namjoon long enough to know that he means this, that there’s no malice at all. It’s not pity, it’s nothing like that. It’s a mutual respect the same mutual respect that’s only served to strengthen their friendship.

Yoongi’s heart gives a little squeeze, and he grimaces, because Namjoon is looking at him like he’s expecting an answer, waiting for Yoongi.

“You want to sign me,” Yoongi says, the words tasting funny on his tongue. They don’t sound right. Yoongi feels like an impostor, just saying that. “Joon—I don’t know,”

Namjoon visibly deflates, obviously not expecting this answer. But where there had been an uncertain look in his eyes, there is only a frown, now. And that is soon replaced with a smile that is more patient than Yoongi can ever hope for.

“Think about it, okay?” Namjoon picks up the slice he’d dropped earlier. His smile is kind, patient. It’s everything that Namjoon is, in that little smile of his.

Yoongi tries to return it, he really does, but he can’t. Instead, Yoongi just takes a long swig of his beer, relishing in how bitter it is.

“Okay,” Yoongi finally says, after the song suddenly stutters to a halt. He gets up to put something else on. “Thank you.”

The thanks is whispered, almost too quiet, but he knows Namjoon hears it, because the younger boy hums under his breath, a happy little tune that finally has Yoongi smiling, if only a slight one.

 

 

Taehyung’s chatter is a constant on this cold winter afternoon. Taehyung, who had ambushed Yoongi outside of his studio, who had literally whisked him away to one of his favourite cafes, for coffee that he claims he owes Yoongi.

The cafe is busier than Yoongi had expected, but Taehyung distracts him from the long line with talk about his current project—black and white photography that’s to be displayed around Valentine’s Day. He doesn’t tell Yoongi the theme, though, and Yoongi gives up after Taehyung buys an entire box of brownies, something he claims they’ll need for the ride.

What ride, Yoongi doesn’t even know, because for one, the ride back to Yoongi’s apartment isn’t even that long—probably twenty minutes, tops, and that definitely doesn’t warrant any brownies. But Yoongi’s long since found out that he’ll lose any battle over pastry, so he’s stopped trying a long time ago.

Which is exactly why he doesn’t try today at all, just watches as Taehyung pays for the enormous box, a contented little smile on his face that reminds Yoongi all too well of Seokjin whenever someone mentions getting take-out for dinner.

It’s when they’re just about to step out of the cafe that they bump into him—

Hoseok, with a cap pulled down low over his eyes and a mask over his mouth that obscures half his face.

But the eyes—

Yoongi thinks he’ll recognise Hoseok’s eyes easily. There’s a twinkle in them that he hasn’t seen in everyone else’s.

Taehyung is the first to react, eyes growing wide as he leans in close to Hoseok to whisper, “Is this who I think it is?”

Hoseok pulls his mask down, revealing a smile that’s practically too bright on this dreary afternoon.

“Tae,” Hoseok says, wrapping an arm around Taehyung’s shoulders, bringing him in close for a hug. “How come I never see you?”

“How come we never see you?” Taehyung counters, the grin on his face matching the intensity of Hoseok’s.

Hoseok grimaces at that, not bothering that with a response because they both can hear how Taehyung’s just whining, pouting for a show. He turns to Yoongi, then, unexpectedly, and Yoongi almost recoils, but then Hoseok smiles, soft, quiet, and gentle, and Yoongi breathes out.

Easy.

His heart gives another squeeze, but this time, it’s warm.

“Hey, didn’t we agree on coffee?” Hoseok pouts at the steaming cup of coffee already in Yoongi’s hand.

“Next time,” Yoongi says, voice low, because people are starting to notice, cameras out and already taking photos. “You sure you wanna buy your coffee here?”

Hoseok notices the commotion then, the gravity of the situation suddenly dawning upon him, because now that people have noticed, there’s only one way this can go—and neither of them want that, not now, at least, even if Hoseok seems the type to say hi to all of his fans. Yoongi’s never actually seen him out in public with a fan, but he’s sure Hoseok won’t pass up that opportunity.

“Yeah, maybe not here,” Hoseok glances over his shoulder, seeing the crowd right outside of the cafe slowly forming. “I think we should go,”

Taehyung looks from Yoongi to Hoseok, and then, without even saying anything else, or commenting, starts to lead the way, easily shouldering through the crowd.

Yoongi pushes Hoseok gently, guiding him through all of the people whose whispers have started to get louder. It’s cold outside—colder than Yoongi’s ever realised, but that’s really not the issue when all of a sudden, somebody yells out Hoseok’s name, loud and clear, and Hoseok winces.

“We can take the car,” Taehyung says, as soon as they manage to cross the street.

Yoongi doesn’t even realise he’s had a hand on the small of Hoseok’s back the whole time until they reach Taehyung’s car, Taehyung looking at him with an odd little expression on his face, holding Yoongi’s eyes before they all slip into the warmth of the car.

They drive away without any other incident, flashes following after them for a second before they’re engulfed in the mid-afternoon traffic.

In the backseat, Hoseok lets out a long and heavy sigh.

“I’m really sorry about that,” he murmurs, and through the rearview mirror, Yoongi can see that he’s frowning, a furrow in his brows. “Ruined your afternoon?”

“Yeah,” Taehyung says easily, his grin playful, as is his tone. “So I guess you owe us another one, huh?”

Hoseok brightens up at that, his laughter tumbling past his lips and spilling over his hands and filling the entirety of the car with the melodic sound of his laugh—

And Yoongi suddenly pulls himself back, blinking back into focus, because he hadn’t just thought Hoseok’s laugh was beautiful. No, no, no, no, that’s definitely not what had happened.

“Here,” Yoongi passes Hoseok the pink box filled with brownies.

Hoseok accepts it, his laugh suddenly cut short, and Yoongi won’t admit it out loud, but he sort of feels sorry he did that—stopped Hoseok from laughing.

But Hoseok’s laugh is soon replaced with a chuckle at the sight of the box full of brownies.

Taehyung takes a sharp turn then, which almost sends the entire box tipping over but Hoseok holds on to it right as Taehyung tells him not to ruin the brownies, or else .

That catches Yoongi completely off guard because he laughs, surprising even himself. It’s a short and quiet laugh but it gets Taehyung’s attention, the younger boy looking at him for so long, Yoongi’s afraid they’re going to miss the next green light.

But Taehyung rips his gaze away from Yoongi right as the light turns green, and with Hoseok all too busy with his brownie in the backseat, only Yoongi hears Taehyung when he says, “Guess you and Hoseok hyung have gotten really close.”

It’s not a question. Not even Taehyung commenting on whatever the situation is. No, it’s simply Taehyung pointing out the obvious.

Yoongi nods at that, looking out at the foggy window, the lights from the city dancing across his eyes. He thinks about how Hoseok had looked that first night they’d met—how Yoongi had thought of him differently. About Hoseok helping him out in Namjoon’s studio. That time that made all the headlines. And he thinks about now, when Yoongi looks up at the rearview mirror the same time that Hoseok looks into it.

Their eyes lock, and somebody holds it—maybe it’s the both of them, refusing to look away, because they look at each other for what seems like minutes, when Yoongi’s pretty sure it had really only been one real long moment.

They look at each other in the rearview mirror and then—

And then Hoseok smiles, and Yoongi feels his heart give out.

Yoongi smiles back.

“Yeah,” Yoongi finally says, fiddling with the music. “Maybe we have.”

 

 

There’s another gig this time, only Yoongi’s not performing. Tonight, he watches with Seokjin in the audience as Namjoon practically tears the stage into two. It’s not always that Namjoon performs in these small stages—not even always that he still holds concerts. It’s been a while since the last one, Yoongi thinks.

Which is exactly why they’re here, all of them this time, with Taehyung softly swaying to the hypnotic beat, Namjoon starting with a slower song. One that sounds sombre, almost sad. Yoongi remembers when this song was still in the early stages—remembers downing more shots than he could handle just because Namjoon was struggling, asking him to drink, and drink, and drink, because this is a song that he needs to get out of his system.

And out of his system the song goes—the song tears at Yoongi’s heart. Namjoon is vulnerable on stage and the audience is quiet, taking it all in. How raw Namjoon sounds, voice rasping right after the second chorus. He almost breaks, too, and from his spot, Yoongi can see him tightening his fingers around the mic, eyes still closed.

It’s really been a long and winding road, but Namjoon’s finally gotten it out of his system, to say the least.

Yoongi smiles.

Up on the stage, Namjoon smiles, too.

 

 

People crowd around Namjoon as soon as his stage is over, asking for photos, for autographs. This had been a surprise performance, more or less. Not a lot of people have come—the regulars in these kinds of shows. Yoongi’s kind of shows. But there’s still a swarm of people, although—

Although this is much better than being swarmed in a coffee shop, though, because some of these people, Yoongi has known for years.

He spots a few of them walking over to Namjoon, the look of gleeful surprise so clear on their faces. Yoongi waves at them once before he turns back to his friends.

Seokjin comes back with a beer for the both of them, Taehyung refusing one with a little scowl.

“He was great, wasn’t he?” Seokjin asks, tapping his bottle with Yoongi’s.

“Sure was,” this time, it’s a voice that Yoongi’s heard all too many times in the span of—of a few short weeks. They all turn around to see Hoseok stopping just in front of their little circle.

Yoongi notices two other people behind him, the taller one a little bit skittish as he peers over Hoseok’s shoulder to look at the three of them, while the smaller one—

He offers a friendly smile to them, eyes crinkling in the sides.

Taehyung is the first to smile back.

“I know you,” Taehyung says, pointing to the shorter one with shocking blonde hair. “We worked together in a photoshoot before, remember? Park Jimin,”

Yoongi doesn’t recognise the two of them at all, but if they’re hanging around with Hoseok, then Yoongi can only assume they’re somebody in the industry.

Seokjin passes Hoseok the beer Taehyung had abandoned and Hoseok takes it with a scrunch of his nose, though his eyes remain amused.

“Namjoon mentioned he was going to perform here,” Hoseok takes a swig of the beer, a funny little look on his face as he recounts. “Okay, maybe he’s mentioned it more than once,”

“Probably just his way of saying he missed you,” Seokjin says, voice teasing. Playful.

Hoseok laughs. “I doubt it,”

But they all know that it’s the truth. Namjoon sometimes shows he cares in odd ways. But they know. They’ll always know, the same way Yoongi’s friends will know when it comes to him.

“By the way,” Hoseok says, voice rising, like he’s suddenly remembered something he’d forgotten. “This is Jeongguk,” he gestures to the other boy—tall, dark leather jacket, and a shy smile that Yoongi has to admit is endearing. Almost.

Jeongguk is polite to them for the rest of the night, although he does warm up to Taehyung easily.

Everyone warms up to Taehyung easily.

Halfway through the night, with Namjoon finally tearing himself away from all his adoring fans and old friends, it’s Taehyung’s turn to disappear, pulling with him the two new friends he’d made—although Jimin probably doesn’t really count as a new friend, with how familiar the two of them already are.

Namjoon watches the three of them disappear into the crowd for the next artist’s performance with a funny look on his face, something that Seokjin just shrugs his shoulders at.

“Tae made friends,” is all Yoongi says, and that is enough to get a laugh from everybody else, who shake their heads in astonishment.

Taehyung is special—he’s got a warmth that surrounds him. That draws everyone towards him. It’s all too easy to be his friend.

It’s really the only explanation why none of them ever mind whenever he decides to break into their house, demanding for breakfast instead of it being the other way around.

With Hoseok’s announcement that it’s Namjoon’s turn to buy all the drinks, the night passes them by in a flash, and before Yoongi even knows it, he’s already stumbling away from their little corner, coat pulled tighter around him as he navigates his way through the crowd, mind a little hazy, and eye sight blurring. Reds and greens and blues dancing in front of him until he manages to step back out, the cold winter night air practically biting at his cheeks.

Yoongi braves the cold, however much he dislikes it, to fumble around his pockets for a box of cigarettes he knows he’d slipped in there earlier. For a box of cigarettes that he’s sure—he’s sure, and yet he doesn’t find it.

“D’you need one?” comes Hoseok’s voice all of a sudden.

How clearly Yoongi hears it, how easily he can make it out.

Hoseok is beside him the next time Yoongi looks away from his own hand, still clutching at the only thing he’d found in his pockets—a lighter.

They smoke in silence for a little while, and it’s the kind of quiet where no words are needed to be traded every other second. It’s the kind of comfortable quiet that’s so rare in a world that’s always loud. Always talking. When all everyone wants to do is get into your head, this is a quiet that Yoongi welcomes. That Yoongi loves.

They’re tucked away in the corner of the street, away from the nearly-deserted road. Compared to everyone else who’d ducked out for a quick cigarette, the both of them had stayed here much, much longer.

And it probably hasn’t really even been that long, but it sure has been long enough for Yoongi to start feeling cold. To start getting bothered by it.

Hoseok looks up at him the same time that Yoongi does.

“You wanna go back inside?” Hoseok asks, voice quiet, and a little rough. He sounds sick, now that Yoongi notices it. Now that the music and the noise has died down.

“You okay?” Yoongi counters, peering into Hoseok’s face. “You don’t sound too good,”

Hoseok puts out his cigarette with the heel of his shoe. He offers Yoongi a rueful smile and shrugs, “A cold, I guess,”

“Jesus, Hoseok, and you’re out here when it’s practically freezing,” Yoongi sounds more worried than he ever has, because Hoseok doesn’t look too good, but that could really only be because of the poor lighting in this area (and in the back of his mind, Yoongi thinks that perhaps they really should stop coming to these places. They’re not the best, but the people—when Yoongi’s careful enough to avoid trouble, the people here aren’t all that bad.)

“Let’s go,” Yoongi steps closer towards Hoseok, who doesn’t seem all too bent out of shape for someone who’s been standing around in the cold.

But Hoseok doesn’t move, instead, Hoseok just reaches across the space between them, fingers touching Yoongi’s elbow gently, hesitation in his eyes, and a question on the tip of his tongue.

“Namjoon’s going to kill me if he finds out about this,” Hoseok just shakes his head, though, and snickers. Yoongi raises an eyebrow. “What, now?”

“Don’t worry,” Hoseok says, hand dropping back to his side. “I’ll be fine, yeah? It’s just—it’s just a cold,”

And Yoongi—

Yoongi doesn’t know what’s gotten into him. Why he’d suddenly felt the sudden need to rush Hoseok back inside, where it’s warm and there’s more people who can look after him. His actual friends and definitely not Yoongi, who really had only brought more trouble than he’s worth whenever they’d ran into each other.

“I was thinking,” they still haven’t moved, even if all Yoongi wants is to get them both back inside. Hoseok sure is stubborn, for someone who reads off a script for a living. Perhaps art doesn’t imitate real life in Hoseok’s case.

“Mmm,” Yoongi hums, humouring Hoseok for the mean time. He’s finally relaxed, shoulders slacking. If Hoseok’s not too worried of getting sick, then why should Yoongi, although—

Although Yoongi is still worried, he really is, but if Hoseok’s going to be stubborn about it, then he might as well stay with him here than leave him out in the cold by himself.

“You should let me listen to some of your songs,” the words rush out of Hoseok’s mouth, and for the first time since Yoongi’s met him, he hears the faintest trace of uncertainty. Feels just how nervous Hoseok is, even saying those words out loud. “If that—if that’s okay, I mean. If it’s cool, but I guess it probably isn’t. Hah—forget it, okay, I just—“

And before Hoseok can babble even further, before he can find an excuse that’ll truly get him out of this, Yoongi cuts him off and says, “Okay.”

Hoseok stutters to a stop, eyes going wide at Yoongi’s own response.

How someone could just bring that up and be surprised that it’s even going to happen is beyond Yoongi, but—but this is something he’ll keep to himself. The look on Hoseok’s face, the smile that curves on his lips and brightens up his eyes—it’s cute. It really is.

A part of Yoongi knows that it’s wrong for him to think so—that it’s unfair, because Hoseok. Hoseok is Namjoon’s friend. He’s Seokjin’s friend and Taehyung’s friend—he’s all of their friend, but most of all, Hoseok’s face is plastered on dozens of billboards downtown, that camera-ready smile of his often seen on subway platforms and stations. Because the thing is, Hoseok is a person who’s everywhere.

So Yoongi tries to keep that thought to himself, because he’s pretty sure he’s not the first person who’s thought of Jung Hoseok as cute, and just.

Well, Yoongi returns the smile, although it’s not much. Not as bright, or as beautiful as Hoseok’s, because who is he kidding? He can’t rival that—not when Hoseok smiles with his heart so clearly on his sleeve, so genuine and warm that Yoongi almost forgets it’s a little past one in the morning and they’re both out in the freezing cold in the middle of December.

But Yoongi’s smile is enough, because Hoseok lets out a relieved sigh, shaking his head, still in surprise. “Wow, I really didn’t think you’d agree to that, but—thanks, Yoongi. I’d really like that.”

Yoongi bumps their shoulder good-naturedly, because it’s strange, how things have turned out this way. How one chance encounter had led to them being friends. Close, Yoongi hears it in his mind—hears Taehyung’s voice pointing it out plainly, like he’s merely just stating a fact. Odd, is what Yoongi thinks it is, but Hoseok isn’t too bad, he really isn’t—he’s got a cute smile and eyes that light up whenever he laughs, and—

And Hoseok’s got warm hands, because when he laughs one more time in an effort to shake the last traces of the nerves off of his shoulders, he clutches onto Yoongi, fingers locking around his wrist and dragging Yoongi along with him as they walk back down the street.

It’s nearly four in the morning when it hits Yoongi rather belatedly that the only reason he’d answered all too quickly earlier, when he’d said okay was because he doesn’t really mind having Hoseok in the studio. Not in the slightest, now that Yoongi thinks about it.

Yoongi even thinks it’ll feel like a breath of fresh air.

 

 

Having someone new in his studio is always—it’s always jarring. He hasn’t had anyone new in a long time—just the usual visitors, Namjoon, mostly. And Taehyung, too, Yoongi supposes—the boy is always so eager to whisk him away, distract him too much and then tug him away from his work.

“It’s not much,” Yoongi says, gesturing to his studio. It really isn’t—he’s got his set up tucked away into the corner, a couch for when he can’t drag his ass back home, and then a few books stacked one on top of the other by the door. It’s mostly Namjoon’s doing, something he said would help Yoongi if he was ever stuck—Yoongi’s only really picked three books out of that pile, but so far, Namjoon had been right, so he’s kept it there, barely touched, but always at the back of his mind.

It’s a little bit late already, Hoseok stopping by right after a script reading for his upcoming movie. Yoongi’s heard talks about it being the biggest movie of the year, and watching the leading man in the movie carefully making his way into Yoongi’s studio, careful not to tip any of his figurines as he touches a finger on their little heads, Yoongi finds that a little hard to belief.

But the thing with Hoseok, Yoongi’s learned, is that he’s good at playing his roles. Yoongi isn’t sure what kind of role Hoseok is playing now, but it definitely isn’t the same role he slips into for the cameras. For the fans. He’s quieter. Keeps more to himself, until—

Until he sends one figurine toppling to the carpeted floor, and Yoongi sighs.

“Didn’t you say you were a fan?” Yoongi’s voice takes on a teasing lilt. He swipes the figurine from the floor, placing it gently back on top of the counter, before he turns to Hoseok, an eyebrow raised.

Hoseok laughs. Short and amused. “I wanted to hear some new songs. Insider information, or something of the sort,”

Yoongi shakes his head, because Hoseok’s unbelievable, he really is, but he humours him. Yoongi finds himself humouring Hoseok a lot, but it’s not like he minds. Hoseok always laughs, and Yoongi always gets a smile out of it.

“Like I said, it’s not going to be much,” he’s scrolling down his phone when Hoseok joins him on the couch, the younger boy sitting far too close for a couch that can definitely accommodate Kim Namjoon and his height. But then again—it’s not like Yoongi minds. It’s cold outside, and the heater in his studio has always been a little bit broken, and Hoseok—he exudes this kind of warmth. It makes sense, in Yoongi’s head.

“That’s what all the greats always say,” Hoseok teases, peering into Yoongi’s phone.

He keeps a lot of his songs on his phone—sometimes it’s the first recording, and sometimes it’s the finished product. For this one particular song, it’s merely just the first recording, because he hasn’t gotten the feel for it yet. Still unsure of whether he should change the hook or stick with it, or do something with the second verse to make it catchier, to give it a bit more appeal.

Yoongi says as much to Hoseok, who listens intently at him, lips pursed, and his fingers splayed on top of Yoongi’s knee. He curls his fingers over Yoongi’s knee, and—and Yoongi almost jumps, but then Hoseok leans back, a little surprised, and Yoongi shakes his head.

Hoseok tries to apologise, says he hadn’t even noticed, and Yoongi just rolls his eyes at him in a rather good natured way because it gets a smile from Hoseok, and says that it’s fine, whatever. Yoongi understands that Hoseok is one of those people—a little bit like Taehyung.

And ever since Yoongi’s little scare, Hoseok’s been keeping his hands to himself, crossing them over his chest, or scratching down his own leg, like he can’t help it—that is, until Yoongi plays him the first song, and he gets so engrossed in listening to it that he completely forgets how Yoongi had basically jumped out of his skin the last time he touched him.

This time, Hoseok presses his shoulder against Yoongi’s, their heads practically drawn so close together that when Yoongi even glances up, the only thing he can see is Hoseok’s freshly-dyed brown hair.

This—this sudden closeness. How Hoseok can just move into Yoongi’s space so easily. It’s—this isn’t jarring at all, not unlike how it is when new people come into his studio. No, this time, Yoongi finds it.

Well, he finds it odd, on one hand, but he also finds it completely easy on the other. How easy is it for Hoseok to just ask to listen to some of his new songs. How easy it is for Hoseok to lean into Yoongi like this. How easy it is for Hoseok to spend a few long moments in complete silence after the song’s finished.

The only thing Yoongi can hear for a few seconds is the sound of their breathing, Hoseok’s even, and Yoongi a little sharp, waiting.

Yoongi can’t help it. He’s the first to break the silence. “Well?”

“Well,” Hoseok rolls the word right off his tongue, gaze levelling with Yoongi’s.

“How was it?” Yoongi’s never really asked anyone except Namjoon about an unfinished song. Sure, Seokjin has heard some of his songs—some beats Yoongi didn’t even know how to use. Taehyung, too, but he’d—he’d never really asked them if they liked it.

The smile that breaks across Hoseok’s face is unlike anything Yoongi’s ever seen, and Yoongi thinks that he’s seen a lot of Hoseok’s smile. But this one—this is different. It’s different in a good way. In a kind way, because Hoseok’s smile is bright, but it’s not too bright, not the kind of smile that has Yoongi squinting. It’s a gentle smile that squeezes at Yoongi’s heart.

And there it is again, the strangest sensation of a warmth spreading across Yoongi’s chest. Something blossoming. His heart—a metronome ticking just a beat faster. Yoongi ignores it. Forces himself not to look away from Hoseok’s smile, and god —god.

“It’s beautiful, is what it is,” Hoseok finally says, swiping Yoongi’s phone out of his hands so he can play the song again.

It’s a slow song—the intro almost an echo of a previous song Yoongi had worked on. But this—this is a song that Yoongi’s always wanted to say, but he just. Well, he’s never really had the right words for it. Or the right beat. He’s never really known how to string everything together to make a song. Until—

Until a few weeks ago, when he’d found himself on the floor of Namjoon’s studio, wincing as Hoseok dabbed at the bruise on his cheek, face so impossibly close to Yoongi that Yoongi remembers thinking that he could count just how many lashes clung to Hoseok’s eyes. What a strange thing to think about someone helping you, but Yoongi’s never really been anything but a little bit odd, so perhaps.

“Really?” Yoongi hears himself ask, smiling up at Hoseok, a little uncertain.

Hoseok squeezes on Yoongi’s knee reassuringly and nods. “It sounds absolutely real.”

That night, Yoongi learns another thing about Hoseok.

He learns that it’s almost impossible to look away when Hoseok’s smiling.

 

 

After that first visit, Hoseok coming by is no longer a surprise. Rather, it’s almost like they’ve fallen into a pattern. A routine, of sorts.

Some scenes for Hoseok’s movie films right around this area, and it’s easy. Too easy, even, for him to stop by right after filming ends. Some nights he doesn’t make it—when they film well into the morning. But most nights, he does, bringing with him takeout or coffee, or beer.

Yoongi had told him after the third time that he doesn’t really have to bring anything, to which Hoseok just rolled his eyes, because he’s got to eat, right?

And it’s subtle, how Hoseok nudges Yoongi into taking care of himself better, because Yoongi has some bad habits. He either sleeps the entire day or not at all—either eats three full meals or skips out for hours on end.

Hoseok finds out about it when he asks if Yoongi’s eaten, and Yoongi’s only reply was that he doesn’t really remember. After that, Hoseok’s taken it upon himself to bring dinner. Or a midnight snack, or sometimes—sometimes breakfast at three in the morning, sandwiches or noodles or some leftovers from filming.

The only thing Yoongi can really offer Hoseok is a small smile that he hopes is enough. A smile that can easily say that he understands—he really does, and that he’s thankful. He thinks Hoseok gets it, though, because everything comes so easily for Hoseok—

Which is exactly why they’re sat on the floor of Yoongi’s studio at two in the morning, a blanket drawn over their shoulders as Hoseok fills Yoongi in about filming today, about what had happened.

Hoseok’s sprawled on the floor now when he suddenly asks, voice as quiet as a whisper, “Can I ask you about the night we first met?”

Yoongi is caught by surprise.

There’s no malice on Hoseok’s face, though—just genuine curiosity tinged with worry.

Yoongi breathes out. “What about it?”

Vaguely, Hoseok gestures with his hand. “How did that happen? How do—how does that happen to you?”

These things happen , Yoongi thinks. Yoongi wants to say. And he remembers—he remembers how bitterly he’d looked at Hoseok. How easily he’d pegged him to be like everyone else. But god, had Yoongi been wrong. Because Hoseok is here in his studio, genuinely concerned. He doesn’t bite his tongue, or sit on what he wants to say, holding back because he thinks it’ll hurt too much. No, Hoseok is the type to dive head-first into the ocean.

So instead of giving Hoseok the same spiel he gives practically everyone, Yoongi just shrugs his shoulders and says that there are some people you just don’t get along with. Some people who can’t take criticism, and instead of responding to a diss with a diss of their own, they try to take it into their own hands. This is why the underground is a terrifying place to be in—you either get out alive or not.

But nobody ever leaves without a scratch.

“Maybe some people are just unforgiving,” Yoongi says, so quiet he wonders if Hoseok hears him.

But, oh, Hoseok does hear him.

Hoseok, who looks up at Yoongi, absolutely horrified. The colour drained from his face and a heavy look in his eyes that Yoongi doesn’t want to see, especially because he’s the cause of it. Hoseok doesn’t even look worried—he looks absolutely sad , and that’s new. That’s fucking new, for someone to be sad for Yoongi.

With Yoongi.

It’s so new, Yoongi does’t know what to do.

Hoseok blinks up at Yoongi, his mouth parted open, and Yoongi is afraid—he’s afraid Hoseok’s going to start crying or something of that sort, because that’s what his mother had done so many years back when Yoongi had tried to explain to her that these fights are normal, this is how the big city kids play.

She hadn’t understood then.

It’s clear that Hoseok doesn’t, either.

“Yoongi,” Hoseok starts, brows furrowed, and like—like he’s just been kicked. Like Yoongi’s just kicked him, and how can Yoongi even forgive himself? He should’ve gone to the normal answer, not given Hoseok this sob story. Because Hoseok—

Hoseok cares, is what’s different about him. And Yoongi, well, he almost hates that Hoseok can care so much for someone like him.

“Hey, don’t give me that look,” Yoongi offers a smile. This time, Yoongi tries harder to smile.

Hoseok’s still refused to get up from the floor, so Yoongi just sighs and pinches his cheek.

“It’s okay. Don’t worry, yeah?” Yoongi doesn’t let go until Hoseok nods, swatting his hand away. “I’m fine,”

It takes Hoseok a couple more moments to find his voice. He still looks down—but at least he doesn’t look like a kicked puppy anymore. If anything, Hoseok just looks sad. And worried.  He’s still so worried. Still cares so much.

Perhaps you can’t fault people who care. Perhaps the fault lies in the people who can’t.

Closing his eyes, Yoongi lets out one long, tired breath.

“Come here,” Yoongi murmurs, patting on his lap.

Hoseok understands immediately, without anything needed to be said. Not even a question. Hoseok scoots closer to Yoongi, laying his head down on Yoongi’s lap.

This is a good view, Yoongi thinks, looking down at Hoseok.

Hoseok, with the wet eyes and the moist lips—he looks like he’s just cried, but Yoongi honestly doubts it. He hadn’t seen a single tear, although—

Although Hoseok had looked like he was close to crying. Just a hard line in his jaw and his lips pressed tightly together.

Yoongi doesn’t know what’s gotten into him, but he starts to comb through Hoseok’s hair, brushing it back gently.

Hoseok’s eyes flutter to a close, and Yoongi—

He finally smiles down at him, completely at ease. A gentle kind of happy that’s come after a hurricane round of worry.

“Y’know,” Hoseok’s voice sounds far away. He sounds sleepy. He’s still got his eyes closed, too, which is good, because Yoongi can feel his face heating up, the gravity of the situation finally hitting him—Hoseok, on the brink of sleep on his lap. On his lap. And Yoongi brushing through his hair, and god , what would happen if someone saw them like this?

Unlikely friendship. Right.

“I think I’ll always worry,” Hoseok turns his head over to the side, eyes still close. His eyelashes are so long, Yoongi thinks they’re almost touching the tops of his cheeks. “Do you mind?”

Yoongi tugs gently on Hoseok’s hair. There’s still product from hair and makeup that clings to his fingers, making them just the slightest bit sticky.

With a smile on Yoongi’s face that Hoseok can’t quite see, he says, “Yeah, I do.”

Hoseok yawns. “Too bad, then.”

But there’s a smile on Hoseok’s face when he falls asleep. Yoongi can tell. Hoseok’s even breathing has slowed, his mouth going slack, and the worry wiped completely off his face as sleep finally takes him.

Yoongi sits completely still, fingers still combing through Hoseok’s hair, because it’s the least that he can do for someone who’s worried about him.

For someone who’ll continue to worry about him.

Yoongi doesn’t know what to do with that, but perhaps it’s a question for the light of day, not for three in the morning. Definitely.

So, Yoongi leans his head back into the couch, his heavy eyes falling to a close, and he sleeps.

Sometimes, sleep is the best answer.

 

 

In the morning, Yoongi wakes Hoseok up to coffee and some donuts from the bakery a few blocks down. It’s still early—thirty minutes past seven. They’ve slept for only a handful of hours, and on the floor, nonetheless, but it’s something.

“I didn’t know how early your schedule started, so,” Yoongi gestures to the coffee and the donuts.

Hoseok blinks sleepily at him. “It starts in the afternoon,”

“Right,” Yoongi says, taking a sip of his coffee. “Well, you should sleep on an actual bed,”

“Your floor’s pretty nice,” Hoseok sounds tired. Looks tired, too, hair a mess, and the circles under his eyes more prominent. Bright seven a.m sunshine filters through Yoongi’s window. It hits Hoseok right in the face. He squints. “Nobody ever wakes me up with coffee at home,”

Yoongi passes him a donut. “Or a donut?”

“Or a donut,” Hoseok laughs, and it’s—

It’s nice, listening to Hoseok’s laugh first thing in the morning. Yoongi thinks he’ll like more days like this. Perhaps not spent on the floor, with a crick in his neck and the feeling on his right leg gone after a night of supporting Hoseok’s head, but—but this.

This being—

Lazy sunshine brightening the room up, the smell of coffee wafting around Yoongi’s studio, and the same slow, sweet melody Namjoon had said he’d loved floating through the speakers, making Yoongi smile.

Hoseok is smiling, too, even if he’s rubbing at the back of his neck, wincing.

“About last night,” Yoongi starts, after they’d cleaned up the blankets and the discarded pillows. After Hoseok had wiped the powdered sugar from his hands off of Yoongi’s jeans—Yoongi had only looked up at him, a horrified look in his face that had made Hoseok absolutely cackle.

“Nope,” Hoseok stops him before he can even continue. “I meant it,”

Yoongi just shakes his head, running his fingers through his hair. “If it’s worth anything then—thanks, I guess,”

“Of course it’s worth something, Yoongi,” Hoseok says, almost too quickly. “It’s worth a damn lot.”

And then—

And then there it is, a click that Yoongi can almost hear in the back of his mind.

A warmth that wraps around his heart.

Yoongi wraps his fingers around the door knob, leading the way out. He walks with Hoseok to the elevator, right down to the garage.

It’s almost like Hoseok doesn’t want to leave, not yet, anyway, and a part of Yoongi does want him to stay, but Hoseok—

Hoseok is filming a goddamn movie, and Yoongi can’t keep him holed up in his studio. So he lets Hoseok go, but not before Yoongi calls out to him one last time, “Namjoon asked me to join him. To work with him.”

“What did you tell him?” Hoseok asks, fingers loosening around the wheel.

Yoongi smiles at Hoseok. “I think I’ll tell him I want in.”

Hoseok’s answering smile is so fucking bright, it outshines the sun. But Yoongi doesn’t look away. He thinks he never really wants to. Not now, not ever.

“We have to celebrate, then. I’ll call you later, yeah?”

Yoongi nods.

Yeah.

That sounds like a great plan.

 

 

To say that Namjoon is ecstatic about Yoongi’s decision is an understatement, because Namjoon—

Namjoon squeezes Yoongi in a hug so tight, Yoongi’s afraid the boy’s going to crush a bone or two.

But Yoongi hugs him back, anyway, a rueful smile on his face when they finally part.

Namjoon is practically beaming at him, his excitement barely contained. “Wow—I—wow, this is news, hyung,”

“Why is it always a shock to people when they get exactly what they’re asking for?” Yoongi muses, thinking back to when Hoseok had asked Yoongi if he could listen to some of his songs. To the ones Yoongi hasn’t even released to the general public yet—or to anyone, for that matter.

“It’s always going to be a surprise,” Namjoon laughs, head thrown back. “Everyone likes a good surprise.”

And Yoongi wasn’t really sure if he liked surprises all that much, but that soon changes when the sun pulls down the curtains for the day and evening starts to roll in. When Namjoon drags him to Seokjin’s place for dinner, just the three of them, he’d said, noticing the look of shock on Yoongi’s face—and it’s not a surprise, not yet, anyway, that is, until Yoongi walks in through Seokjin’s impossibly large doors and finds not just Seokjin and Taehyung, but Hoseok as well, bickering with Taehyung on the living room floor and trying to fight for the remote control.

Hoseok looks up at Yoongi the same time Yoongi stops a few steps away from him, and for a moment that Yoongi swears stretched on forever, time stops still—just for the both of them, everything else suddenly quiet. Traffic outside pauses. The rain stops falling, but what doesn’t stop is Yoongi’s heart. It beats calmly, now. But stronger. Oh, is it stronger.

The spell is broken when Seokjin sets a plate down on the table.

This time, with the rest of the world drowning in colour again, and the song from a music show filling the room with some catchy pop song that has Taehyung humming along, Yoongi smiles at Hoseok, offering him a hand.

Hoseok wraps his fingers around Yoongi’s, and it’s warm—so warm. Hoseok’s always so warm, like he’s wired to be warm, no matter what.

Yoongi pulls Hoseok up on his feet, hands still clasped together until Yoongi realises just how long it’s been already and he drops Hoseok’s hand.

“Hi,” Hoseok smiles at Yoongi. So soft, it reminds Yoongi of the sun that’s just set—the warm orange that signals the end of the day. The sky during the winter—a little bit grey and gloomy, sure, but it doesn’t make it any less beautiful. Not when Hoseok’s smile is painted with the colours of the same exact sky that spans over their horizon in these cold months. There’s a twinge of pink and purple in the tips of his smile and it’s—

It’s breathtaking. Yoongi almost forgets where they are. Who he is. He almost forgets, but then he pulls himself back, shaking his head, as if to really clear his head, and then says, “Hey,”

It’s simple enough, but it earns him a wider smile from Hoseok, and a look that Seokjin and Namjoon trade each other in the kitchen, and somehow—

Somehow, they all fit together like a puzzle on this night.

It’s a celebration, of course it is. After years of Yoongi refusing agencies left and right, he’s finally decided to settle with Namjoon. To settle down. And Yoongi knows—he knows that this has always been the answer, that the only thing that’s held him back all those years ago is a fear so crippling, it’d almost stopped him from performing. From pursuing what he truly loves. But he’s here now, and boy does a fresh new start feel so fucking beautiful.

Dinner starts when Seokjin opens a bottle of wine for himself and Namjoon whines, because this isn’t really how celebrations should start, but then Hoseok interjects that champagne is always present in these big parties, and so—

And so they all share a toast, first, Taehyung using a mug because Seokjin had misplaced most of his wine glasses. They laugh at that—at the mug and throughout the rest of dinner, and Yoongi allows himself to laugh, too, the weight off his shoulders, his mind clearer, now.

In the company of friends, Yoongi finds himself smiling. He finds himself happy.

Halfway through dinner, Hoseok passes Yoongi a piece of meat, tapping gently against Yoongi’s plate with his chopsticks.

Not exactly so subtle anymore, because Taehyung catches it, pouting up at Hoseok and asking why he never shares food with him, and that—that’s something that has Yoongi smiling, wider this time. A smile that’s more reserved—one that he means only for friends, and people who’ve truly touched his life. This is a smile so rare, Yoongi doesn’t remember the last time he’d smiled and laughed so much it had started to hurt.

Yoongi doesn’t remember feeling this happy. He thinks it’s a good feeling—the best kind of feeling.

Hoseok leans his cheek into his hand. He’s a little flushed, probably from the wine, and that’s cute, it really is, because Hoseok’s only on his third glass, and even that he’s already pushed away. So he can’t quite handle his alcohol. That’s one more thing Yoongi files in the back of his mind.

From across the table, their eyes meet, and Hoseok smiles.

There’s a smile that curves over Yoongi’s lips, too. A smile that he gladly welcomes.

That same night, Yoongi decides that he actually does like surprises. Who can resist a good surprise, right?

 

 

Nothing changes, or at least, not a long of things, anyway.

Namjoon’s hooked him up with a new studio. New equipment. Everything—except, of course, for Yoongi’s computer. There’s no need to change something that still works completely well, and while everything he’d gotten an upgrade on, this one he still keeps.

His studio’s being cleared out for the most part but Yoongi decides to leave a few things there. Decides to keep renting the room out, because it’s become a sort of home these past few years. Yoongi’s lost himself so many times in that studio—the same amount of times as he’s found himself.

There is a definite attachment there, but with the recent move, Yoongi hasn’t had Hoseok over as much. His movie’s starting to pick up some storm—they’d finished filming around the city. Last Yoongi’s seen of Hoseok, based on the countless photos that he sends to Yoongi, is the boy running towards the shoreline of the beach, arms outstretched, and his smile wide as he looks over his shoulder at the camera.

Yoongi’s just about to fall asleep when he hears a knock on his door. It’s louder at this hour—way past midnight. He waits it out, wondering if it’s just a drunk neighbour, mistaking his apartment for his. It’s happened a couple of times—and once, Yoongi had been the drunk neighbour.

There’s silence for a couple of seconds before the knocking starts again, more spaced out. Yoongi is sleepy. Tired. God, he’d spent the whole day with his manager, getting rushed to one appointment right after the other. A little voice in the back of his head tells him that opening the door for god knows what at midnight on a Wednesday is only inviting trouble into your house, but if that’s the only way to get whoever it is to leave him the fuck alone to sleep, then Yoongi will.

So Yoongi rolls out of bed and pads over to the door, the back of his hand rubbing at his eyes in a useless effort to try to rub the sleep out of them.

“Who is it?” Yoongi’s voice is scratchy. He might just be coming down with the cold.

From the other side of the door comes a voice Yoongi thinks he’ll be able to pick out in the middle of the crowd. Any crowd. “It’s me,”

It’s Hoseok. Definitely Hoseok.

Yoongi opens the door, brows knitted together as he takes Hoseok in. Hoseok, who he hasn’t seen in weeks because he’d been so busy filming. Hoseok, who communicates through videos and long text messages and endless photos of the filming site. Hoseok, who doesn’t look too good, now, hair a mess, and his sweater too thin for the cold February weather.

“You’re freezing,” Yoongi pulls Hoseok into the apartment and Hoseok almost stumbles against him, slightly shivering. “Are you sick?”

Hoseok just shakes his head. “I just got back—a few hours ago. I went to your studio,” a pause, Hoseok coughing. “I thought you’d be there,”

Yoongi had forgotten to tell Hoseok about that—that he’d stopped coming there on most days. That he’s started to really settle in in his new studio. Spent more time there just to get the feel of things. To make himself more at home, per se.

“You should’ve called,” Yoongi chides, helping Hoseok into his apartment.

Belatedly, Yoongi realises that he hasn’t really had Hoseok over, not really, anyway—the only other time they’d both been here was when Hoseok waited by the doorway for Yoongi, who’d ducked back into his room for the phone he’d forgotten.

“Phone died on the trip back home,” Hoseok offers a smile. A weak, tired little smile that pulls at Yoongi’s heart.

“You’re an idiot,” but there is no inflection in his tone. If anything, it’s quite evident how fond Yoongi sounds. Voice so gentle, even Hoseok picks up on it, because his eyes shift, from cloudy and unfocused to clear as he looks up at Yoongi who’s going through his closet for an extra duvet. For anything, really, to try and keep the both of them warm tonight.

When Yoongi finally finds a duvet and turns back around to check on Hoseok, he finds the boy already in his bed, under Yoongi’s own blanket, a pillow clutched close to his chest. He looks so, so tired, and so, so at peace there that Yoongi thinks he’s already asleep.

Yoongi confirms as much when he walks back over to his bed, careful not to make a noise. When he sits himself down on the edge of the bed, one hand reaching across the space between them to sweep Hoseok’s hair out of his eyes. Hoseok doesn’t flinch, doesn’t even react. His breathing is deep. Steady. He’s asleep.

Just like that—Jung Hoseok had literally just walked into Yoongi’s apartment and stolen his bed. His pillows. His covers. Everything.

Yoongi doesn’t mind, though. He really doesn’t.

With a sigh, Yoongi climbs into bed, careful not to wake him up. Settling into his own pillows and slipping under the same blanket Hoseok had tried to steal away from him, Yoongi closes his eyes. Or, at least, he tries to, anyway, until he feels Hoseok shift beside him, the younger boy drawing closer to him.

“Do you mind?” Hoseok asks, tired. So tired and sounding like he’s just on the verge of another cold that it worries Yoongi to no end.

Yoongi turns over to his side, hand brushing through Hoseok’s hair again. A reassuring motion that has Hoseok humming into Yoongi’s touch, eyes fluttering to a close again.

“No,” Yoongi finally says, combing Hoseok’s hair back. “Are you cold?”

Hoseok’s answer to that is to sling an arm over Yoongi’s middle, the younger boy burrowing even closer to him until there’s practically no space anymore. Hoseok manages to fit himself right next to Yoongi, head tucked under Yoongi’s chin.

For the first time since Yoongi’s met him, Hoseok’s hands are cold, his fingers splayed over Yoongi’s side.

“Cold, but okay, now.” Hoseok is so close to him. So close Yoongi is starting to worry that he’ll see right through him. Hear right through the poor little facade Yoongi’s started to put up, because there’s no denying it, not now, anyway—how Yoongi’s heart is beating that much faster, that much harder, with Hoseok so close to him, practically clinging for warmth. For anything.

“Okay?” Yoongi tries to even his own breathing. Tries not to think too loud. His hand slips under Hoseok’s head and right around his shoulder, fingers digging gently into his arm. “Are you sure?”

Hoseok’s hair is a mess of curls from his last schedule, still smelling a lot like hair product. Yoongi tries to blow it away from his face but to no avail.

“Always worrying,” Hoseok squeezes on Yoongi’s hip, like it’s the only retaliation he’s got the strength for. “I’m sleeping.”

That’s not fair, is it—Yoongi thinks, for Hoseok to point that out when he’d basically said the exact same thing to Yoongi a few months ago. How blatant he’d been. But then—but then he notices the smile on Hoseok’s face as he finally allows himself to sleep, and Yoongi.

Well, Yoongi thinks that he might—that he might know.

“G’night, Hoseokie.” Yoongi murmurs into Hoseok’s hair, his own eyes starting to get heavy, the call of sleep too loud to ignore, now.

And so they sleep, Hoseok tucked into an embrace with Yoongi, who holds him through the night, waking up every now and then when Hoseok jerks in his sleep. Waking up just to brush his fingers through Hoseok’s hair, because this always calms him down. Eases him. Always puts him back to sleep.

And in the morning, with the sun breaking through a crack in Yoongi’s black out curtain, he wakes up. He’s the first to wake up, Hoseok still fast asleep beside him, and still so, so close.

Yoongi manages to untangle himself out of Hoseok’s grasp—for someone so tired and coming down with the cold, Hoseok is surprisingly strong in his sleep.

Breakfast isn’t anything fancy because Yoongi would rather stay here and watch Hoseok tossing and turning in bed from the kitchen than run down to Seokjin’s favourite breakfast place a few couple of blocks away.

It’s been hours since Hoseok had stumbled into his apartment and yet Yoongi is still worried.

Even when Hoseok sleepily makes his way into the kitchen, hip bumping into the back of the couch on his way over to where Yoongi is pouring fresh coffee into a mug. Even when Hoseok takes the cup with his eyes still half-closed. Even when Hoseok takes the slice of toast from Yoongi’s hand and smiles his first smile of the day that Yoongi still worries.

With Hoseok sitting on top of the kitchen counter, Yoongi can only tilt his head up to look at him. His face still needs just a pinch of colour, but Hoseok’s laugh is bright and tinkling and warm , so goddamn warm, Yoongi can’t help but smile at him.

For the first time in a long time, Yoongi feels like it’s suddenly stopped raining.

And this time, when Yoongi looks at Hoseok, unable to look away, Yoongi knows.

He definitely knows.

 

 

Once, when Yoongi was a child, his mother had pulled him onto her lap, wrapped her arms around him, and whispered to him the greatest secret she’d ever unraveled from the Earth itself.

“There’s a room inside everyone,” she’d told him, her smile infectious.

Yoongi had thought that she was just kidding—that she was just trying to scare him into another one of her many stories.

It’s taken Yoongi a while.

A long while, actually, to realise just exactly what his mother had meant.

Yoongi realises that now. That there really is a room inside everyone. But unlike his mother, Yoongi thinks that there are several rooms inside a person, not just one. He thinks that there are rooms that you can just waltz right into with no problem, and then—

And then there are rooms that you need keys to. Rooms that have been double locked with a deadbolt. Rooms that are tucked away into the darkest corner of your heart that often times, you forget that it’s ever existed.

When your heart feels like an abandoned room, you forget about everything else that has tugged at its heartstrings. You forget that once, there had been a wind that had blown through these broken shutters and filled the entire room with a song so beautiful, it can still make Yoongi smile.

It had been his mother’s voice, then. Her singing him to sleep. Once.

A different wind blows this time around. And instead of simply just throwing the shutters open, they completely break it with the force. There is no gentle gust of wind, but rather, a storm. An actual hurricane. It sweeps across the room and Yoongi, too—and Yoongi can feel it, the strangest sensation of falling, and falling, and falling for what seems to be forever, until—

Until he hears it again.

A laugh.

Until he feels it again.

A warm touch to his shoulder.

The hurricane turns into something gentler, and there, in the corner of the room Yoongi had thought to be completely abandoned. To be empty—he finds a door.

There are rooms inside of people, Yoongi believes. Some rooms you can open yourself, easily enough. And then—and then there are rooms that have been locked for so long, it’s almost impossible to think that any key would just open it.

Yoongi closes his eyes and wonders if it’s possible for other people to hold the key.

 

 

Time is a funny, fickle little thing.

One minute Yoongi’s busy moving into his new studio, and then next he’s in the recording booth.

Another minute he’s working on his album, and the next thing he knows is he’s being swept away literally off his feet by Taehyung who tells him they’ve got to go shopping for the party next weekend.

Before Yoongi even knows what’s happening—before he even realises just how long it’s been, it’s already the start of spring, the flowers blooming once more, and the trees shaking off the ice and the grey and the cold to make room for all its fallen glory.

Yoongi remembers a few months ago, during Hoseok’s birthday—how it had been just a phone call with him, Hoseok away for filming once more. And a few weeks after that had been Yoongi’s own birthday, his friends surprising him at the company—and even the new ones they’d picked up along the way, Jimin and Jeongguk had come bounding up to Yoongi with presents of their own and a cake that they said Hoseok had picked out himself.

Those were good days. Very good days.

So good Yoongi wonders if it had really happened or if it had all just been a dream, because it’s been so long since Yoongi’s felt that way. So long since the house in his heart has felt warm, sunlight flowing through the gap between the curtains.

It’s also been a while since he’s last seen Hoseok, and as much as Yoongi doesn’t want to think about it, he remembers the night just a few weeks ago—how Hoseok had come to him in the rain, tired and stressed and perhaps just a little bit sick. How sharing the bed hadn’t been the issue, but how it had been Hoseok holding on to him as he slept.

But try as Yoongi might to think nothing of the situation, he still can’t help but feel—but feel a twinge, an odd stirring in his stomach of something , because it hadn’t been nothing , that night. It really hadn’t.

A hand clamps down on his shoulder, dragging Yoongi out of the mud that is his own mind and back to their reality at hand.

“How do you like this?” Taehyung shows him a jacket, way too big and way too long for Yoongi, but just right for the younger boy.

“What is this event for again?” Yoongi asks, leaning back into the couch right outside the dressing room. “And don’t you have stylists for these things?” Yoongi really can’t be assed to go around from one luxurious store to the next, looking for what Taehyung had mentioned as an outfit that will truly speak to him. Just—if Yoongi had a choice, he wouldn’t even go, but Namjoon had told him, and Yoongi, well, Yoongi had nodded, a little too distracted to really understand just what the event was. Just who were going to it.

“It’s a Christmas party,” Taehyung says, this time brandishing three different ties.

“It’s April,” is all Yoongi says, picking the tie on the left. “Do we really have to go?”

“Seokjin hyung’s new club,” Taehyung tosses Yoongi the tie he’d just picked—and Yoongi flinches, because Taehyung’s really just throwing around two-hundred dollar ties. Taehyung notices the look on his face and grins at Yoongi.

The details about the party are a bit of a blur to Yoongi. Namjoon had told him about it, sure, but Yoongi can only remember so much with barely five hours of sleep a day and more coffee than actual food in his system.

But one thing does stand out, though—Seokjin mentioned that the guest list was supposed to be quite extensive. Yoongi’s not surprised at this point, though, because Seokjin more or less runs Seoul’s nightlife.

“Just get drinks and go,” Taehyung murmurs, pulling on two different button ups for Yoongi to choose from.

With his eyes closed, Yoongi points to the one on the right.

Taehyung rolls his eyes and murmurs something about Yoongi being practically useless and how it would’ve been much better if he’d dragged Namjoon out today, and Yoongi—

Yoongi just laughs.

If there’s anything he hates more than actually showing up to events, then it’s getting dressed for them.

The one night he actually has free and he can’t even spend it how he wants.

But he supposes that’s alright, too—Seokjin’s always been there behind him through everything. What’s one more night of Yoongi showing up for five minutes, getting shit-faced in that short amount of time, and then ducking out before anyone’s even noticed he was there in the first place?

Apparently—

Apparently that’s quite hard to do, because the second Yoongi steps into the club, Seokjin spots him immediately, the older boy making a bee-line for him, fingers clamping around Yoongi’s wrist to drag him through the crowd of A-listers and B-listers and whoever else Seokjin had managed to invite.

And that doesn’t really take much, does it—All Seokjin really has to do is flash that million dollar smile of his, bat his eyes, and then drop a please , and he’s got everyone on the tip of his finger.

It’s terrifying, if Yoongi were being honest.

Taehyung and Namjoon are already at their table, the both of them easily making room for Yoongi in the booth.

Someone points a camera at them the second Yoongi sits down, and with Seokjin’s arm around him, Yoongi finds himself smiling a little bit uncertainly at the camera, not even sure just exactly what’s going on.

When Seokjin pats him on the head and tells him that it’s all good promotion, Yoongi just sighs, because maybe that’s a thing with fame he’ll never understand.

Namjoon just laughs at the whole thing, though, and Yoongi suspects he’s already quite buzzed.

It’s not long until Jimin and Jeongguk arrive, the two boys breaking through the crowd to get to where they are at the very back of the room.

Jimin looks completely harassed, like he’s just been spun around too many times.

Jeongguk has a hand on his arm, as if to hold him steady.

“The flash was too bright,” Jimin winces, squeezing himself right next to Taehyung. He takes the glass of champagne Taehyung had abandoned for himself, downing the entire thing before he smiles that pretty little smile of his that always catches Yoongi off guard, and says, “Hi.”

Not surprising is how easily Taehyung and Namjoon’s taking a liking to him, though. To the both of them. Jimin’s charm is how effortless he can make someone like him. How easy it is to laugh and smile with him. How easy it is to drag him right to the middle of the dance floor, without a single care in the word or worry that Jimin would say no, because Jimin never says no.

At least, not to Taehyung.

Or to Jeongguk.

And Jeongguk may be quiet—too quiet for someone like Hoseok and Taehyung and Jimin and sometimes even Seokjin when he gets too excited—but Yoongi takes a liking to him, too, because of that.

He’s quiet but in the way that’s comfortable. That’s nice. The last time they’d been left alone at the table together, Yoongi hadn’t felt compelled to fill the silence between them with pointless small-talk. Jeongguk hadn’t, either.

But he’s, well—Yoongi thinks he’s a good kid. Bright eyes, a shy smile, and a sense of humour that rivals even Taehyung’s. It’s refreshing, if Yoongi can say so himself.

And god , time really is funny.

Sometimes, it feels like it’s going too fast, and other days, like the minutes can’t quite tick fast enough.

Tonight, though—tonight, the clock drags. Every second feeling like a minute, and a minute feeling like an entire hour as Yoongi sits practically off the edge of his seat, finger tracing circles on the smooth, polished table.

Perhaps time has a way of fucking you up when it knows you’re waiting for something. When it knows that all you’ve been trying to be is patient.

Time is a bitch, but maybe that’s just life in general. Maybe.

The moment time stands completely still, though, is not when Yoongi catches Jimin and Jeongguk whispering to each other from behind their booth, Jimin holding onto a new glass of champagne, and Jeongguk holding on to him. Time doesn’t quite stop when Yoongi catches Jeongguk leaning into Jimin’s space, far too close for someone who’s just got something to say in the midst of all this noise. No—time moves as it does when Jeongguk kisses Jimin, and Yoongi.

He looks away, because they’re tucked into a corner of the club, most people huddled in the centre or by the DJ booth, or chasing after drinks, after the photographers or really just trying to schmooze their way through this party.

No, time doesn’t really stop then, but it does when Yoongi sees him.

Hoseok runs his fingers through his messily styled hair—said that he’d just woken up a few hours ago, after a flight that had been delayed for three hours—wincing when Jimin says he’s ruining his hair.

Beside him, Yoongi hears Jeongguk murmur a very quiet, “But it’s already ruined,”

“Hi,” Hoseok’s smile is dazzling. Absolutely brilliant. He looks better than Yoongi even remembers—or maybe that’s just because the last time he’d seen Hoseok, it was in his own kitchen, a little bit sick and coughing. But, still. Yoongi digresses.

Hoseok always looks good.

“Where’s the man of the hour?” Hoseok looks over his shoulder, at the crowd of people who have suddenly stopped, glasses raised to their lips halfway as they realise just who had walked in. Jung Hoseok.

That name always rings alarms. All the alarms, because wherever Hoseok goes, he draws attention. Even on days where he’s bundled up, sunglasses and a hat that hides his face in shadow, and a mask that completely obscures who he is.

Even then, people still somehow know.

“Probably kicking the DJ’s ass,” Namjoon comments, frowning at the general direction of the DJ’s booth.

Hoseok lets out a laugh, then, and god, does it sound good.

When Hoseok laughs, Yoongi is sure.

He’s sure that it sounds like a song that’s yet to be written, but a song nonetheless. A beautiful song.

Yoongi’s fingers twitch in his side and before he even knows it, he’s already slipping out of the booth to meet Hoseok halfway, Hoseok’s smile only brightening even more the closer Yoongi gets.

With a couple of steps between them, Hoseok reaches his hand out, quite expectant, and when all he’s met with are raised eyebrows and a confused look from the rest of their friends still sitting in the booth—although already quite buzzed. The good kind of buzz, Yoongi will whisper to Hoseok later—he shakes his head and says, “My present,”

“It’s April,” Yoongi deadpans, staring up at Hoseok who shrugs. “For that matter, where’s mine?”

A playful smirk plays across the curve of Hoseok’s lips, and before Yoongi even knows what’s happening, Hoseok takes hold of Yoongi’s hand, dragging him to the centre of the room, the crowd completely still as Hoseok drags Yoongi rather unwillingly to the centre of it all, the smirk replaced with a smile so beautiful, Yoongi has to remind himself to breathe.

And breathe he does, because Hoseok’s suddenly standing so close to him.

When Yoongi asks just what he’s doing, Hoseok squeezes on his hand, head thrown back in laughter. “Like you said, it’s April.”  

That doesn’t explain anything, though. Doesn’t explain why they’re in the middle of a crowd of people. Doesn’t explain why Hoseok’s suddenly expecting him to dance, but with the lights and the constant chatter and Hoseok’s own laugh drowning out the crowd all around them, and the music that blasts through the speakers, it’s nearly impossible to step away.

So Yoongi doesn’t.

It’s hard to go anywhere when just the sound of Hoseok’s own laughter is enough for Yoongi to write countless of songs about.

 

 

When Yoongi looks up, all he sees is how close Hoseok’s face is.

He tries to back away from him, maybe take a step or two, but realises that there’s nowhere to go, not when they’re literally tucked into a corner just at the end of the hallway, an alcove of sorts that keeps them both out of sight as Hoseok rummages through his pockets, trying to find something.

Yoongi can hear the faint sound of footsteps. But that’s all there is to it—nobody’s ever walked to the end of this hallway, everyone either taking a left to go back to the party or turning the other way around for the bathrooms.

Which leaves them completely secluded like this, shrouded in shadow, the lights so dim that Yoongi’s eyes are still adjusting.

Finally, Hoseok takes something out of his pocket, the smile on his face triumphant as he brandishes the small, unassuming brown pouch up at Yoongi.

“I really did get you something,” Hoseok tells him, waving it around Yoongi’s face, who can’t help but bite down on the insides of his cheeks, afraid that his smile will start spilling out, because it’s impossible keeping a straight face when Hoseok looks like he’s just discovered a whole new planet, and it had been in his coat pocket the entire time.

“It’s April,” Yoongi says, with a little smirk this time that Hoseok easily slaps away when the contents of the pouch drops in his open hand, the silver glittering as it catches the light.

“It’s April, yeah,” Hoseok repeats, the pouch tucked back into his pocket as he shows Yoongi the bracelet this time. “But I wasn’t here for your birthday, so I got you this,”

This being a silver bracelet—thin, unassuming, simple, aside from the fact that not only does it reflect the light, but it glitters. Yoongi’s about to ask why when he notices the tiny dotting of diamonds along the links, and he blanches, looking up at Hoseok, who looks wry, like he’d expected this reaction.

“I can’t accept that,” Yoongi says, taking a step back. His back hits the wall, and Hoseok just shrugs, like this was exactly how he’d foreseen the situation to go. “Hoseok, that’s—“

“It’s fine, Yoongi,” Hoseok says, waving Yoongi’s concern away. “It’s—for your birthday, yeah? The girl at the store told me this particular one gives you energy, or something of that sort,”

And when all Yoongi can do is stare at him—from the bracelet in his hands to Hoseok’s face, kind, open, and full of hope—a colourful hope that has a tight grip around Yoongi’s heart, because hope is where it all ends. Hope is what brings the hurt and the pain, and the disappointment. Hoseok’s hoping Yoongi will accept his present, while Yoongi’s heart is hoping for a completely different thing.

“It’s for you,” Hoseok tries again, this time with a pout that he knows is effective. “I don’t know what to do if you don’t want it,”

“Wear it,” Yoongi says, almost too quickly, because Hoseok looks up at him all of a sudden, a mixture of shock so clear on his face that it hurts. So, Yoongi softens the blow with a shake of his own head and a smile that he hopes will make up for the sudden outburst, because Hoseok has to understand that Yoongi can’t accept a present like this. He just can’t. “Hoseok, come on. That’s—“

“Diamonds, sure,” Hoseok laughs, but it sounds nervous. It doesn’t sound like him at all. It sounds like Hoseok hadn’t expected this —that Yoongi would be so stubborn, he wouldn’t accept it, not at all.

And it’s a last ditch effort, Yoongi knows, because Hoseok takes a tentative step towards Yoongi, the smile on his face verging on something sad and—and just that little bit hopeful. Hope that keeps them both tethered together. Hope that keeps them both apart for completely different reasons.

“You said it gives energy?” It sounds like a lie told by some jeweller to completely drive their sale home, but it’s apparently a sales pitch that Hoseok had bought, because he’s here with the bracelet, offering it as a birthday gift to Yoongi who’s far too stubborn to even accept it, until—

Until Hoseok says, “Yoongi, please,” and Yoongi’s resolve crumbles, because it’s impossible to say no to that. Impossible to deny Hoseok this one simple thing, even if all it will do to Yoongi is crush him from the inside out—hope that tangles around his heart like a vine, slowly tightening around it, because there’s nowhere to go, not in this corner, and certainly not anywhere else, not when Yoongi doesn’t want to go anywhere.

Not when he feels the stirrings of something that could definitely be more in his gut.

“Fine,” Yoongi finally says, hand reaching out to take the bracelet when Hoseok closes his fingers around it, brows furrowing. Yoongi understands just exactly what he wants to do when Hoseok shakes his head and motions for Yoongi to turn his hand over.

So Yoongi does, breath held as Hoseok pushes the sleeve of his jacket up, slim fingers gently pressing into the inside of his wrist, like Hoseok’s trying to confirm something.

Maybe to feel for himself, just how warm Yoongi’s suddenly gotten.

Or to check if his pulse has started to speed up.

Yoongi prays Hoseok doesn’t notice.

“Let me do this,” Hoseok says, clasping the bracelet around Yoongi’s wrist. He touches it once—the bracelet, fingers running along the links, the ridges, and then, before Yoongi can even pull his hand back, or admire it for himself, at a much closer angle, Hoseok’s fingers circle around his wrist, the bracelet pressing against Yoongi’s skin—and it’s cold, the silver is so, so cold compared to Hoseok’s own hand.

Because of course Hoseok is warm. He is always warm.

“Happy birthday,” Hoseok murmurs, looking up at their hands—at their hands that are almost linked together, but not quite, because Yoongi’s too much of a coward to hold onto it, because he can’t bring himself to do it, not out of fear. Not out of the fear of losing out on hope, because hope is all he’s had—all he’s held on to. If he does this now and it backfires, then that’s it, that’ll be the end of it, but god, if Hoseok doesn’t drive Yoongi up the wall with this, then Yoongi doesn’t know what will.

“I didn’t get you anything,” Yoongi says, eyes downcast. He doesn’t have it in him to look at Hoseok. Doesn’t have it in him to even pull his hand out of Hoseok’s grip, because he likes this, the both of them tethered to the same boat, floating, lost at sea, the only thing guiding them are the stars that burn even brighter, reflected against the calm, tranquil ocean.

And then Hoseok slips his hold around Yoongi’s wrist to his hand, and it’s so, so easy to rip his hand out of Hoseok’s grip, so, so easy for Yoongi to push him away and laugh it all off, but Yoongi doesn’t, instead, he slips his fingers through Hoseok’s.

Lets their fingers tangle between them, and it’s—it’s something Yoongi’s never quite felt before. How holding someone’s hand could feel like the most beautiful thing ever is beyond Yoongi, but it does, and he doesn’t even know just what it means for him to feel this happy over finally getting to hold Hoseok’s hand, but he is, and he’s happy—that is, until Hoseok squeezes on his hand, and Yoongi looks up, blinking through the dim orange lights to get a better view of Hoseok.

It’s not difficult, not when there’s hardly any space between them. Not when Yoongi can count each freckle that dots Hoseok’s eyes. Not when Yoongi is so close, he can just tilt his head up and kiss him.

Yoongi can’t describe it other than that he’s on fire—he’s in the middle of the ocean, tethered to a single lifeboat, and the waves are on fire. He closes his eyes, gathers up what’s left of the strength that had completely crumbled when Hoseok had shown him the bracelet for the first time, and kisses him.

He expects Hoseok to pull back, surprised. He expects Hoseok to sputter out in surprise, to push him away.

What Hoseok actually does is something Yoongi couldn’t quite get himself to expect. Or to even hope for, because instead of pushing him away, Hoseok kisses Yoongi back, one hand coming up to cup Yoongi’s cheek, the other still squeezing around his fingers, palms pressed together just as their lips are, and god, can Hoseok kiss like he means it.

It’s the sound of footsteps that tears Yoongi away. That has him pulling back from the kiss, one hand planted on Hoseok’s chest, gently pushing him aside. He manages to let go of Hoseok’s hand, and Yoongi doesn’t know which is more difficult, more painful: letting go of Hoseok’s hand or pushing him away after that kiss.

Because it suddenly hits Yoongi that the only reason Hoseok’s kissed him back is because he meant it. He means it—this, and Yoongi.

Yoongi looks up at him with wide eyes and a pale face, lips parted as if to find an excuse, to give him anything, to say something, whatever reason he can think of, but instead of actually talking to Hoseok, of explaining that what he’d felt was fear—fear so crippling it had clouded Yoongi’s vision completely for seconds—Yoongi just steps out of their alcove and back into the main hallway.

There are still so many people walking in and out of the party, drunk out of their minds and laughing, the looks on their faces something that the media will ultimately catch, or the photos they’ll post themselves right after this whole thing is over.

It hits Yoongi that much more, then, as he drags his gaze away from the party teeming with celebrities and all the big names in this society. As he looks at Hoseok, hurt so clear in his eyes that it almost makes Yoongi want to step back into their little corner, where everything had been safe and comfortable and familiar, where it had just been the two of them.

But Yoongi doesn’t.

He holds his ground.

“I have to go.” Yoongi murmurs, hurriedly turning away from Hoseok, because he’s suddenly sick to his stomach, face so pale, and so cold, Yoongi thinks he might just pass out here and now.

He hears Hoseok call out his name in confusion—what had been a look of gentle surprise when Hoseok had realised Yoongi was kissing him, actually kissing him, and holding on to his hand is replaced with this. With Hoseok looking like he’s just committed a terrible mistake and he doesn’t know what it is, but he’s sorry, he’s sorry, and Yoongi—

Yoongi is sorry, because he shouldn’t have done that. Not to Hoseok.

Not when Hoseok is the country’s sweetheart. Not when his face is practically everywhere. In subways and on billboards, buses, magazines. Movies and commercials. Everywhere. Hoseok is too big to commit a mistake like this—to trip on Yoongi and stay down.

Yoongi really can’t do that.

He walks right past the door, the people trying to stop him, asking where Seokjin is, or how it’s like working with Namjoon. Yoongi avoids everyone because he can, and Hoseok—

Hoseok is stopped by the same people who crowded around him, their questions lost in the haze and the noise. The little voice in Yoongi’s head that used to whisper just how stupid he is for crushing on Hoseok—for actually starting to like Hoseok in a way that friends shouldn’t cross, not like this, not exactly—is loud. Screaming. Like drums that beat against his ears and his heart.

Yoongi steals one last glance over his shoulder just to confirm. Just to see if Hoseok’s not following him.

Hoseok isn’t. He can’t follow him. He’s swallowed up by the crowd and the media and all the people Yoongi should give a shit about—for his own career, for his own advancement—but doesn’t. Instead, Yoongi gives a shit about Hoseok’s career.

Yoongi cares enough to walk away from him, because there’s no way Yoongi will be the cause of Hoseok’s own ruin, his image torn into pieces all because Yoongi had allowed the fire to completely consume him, had allowed it to burn Hoseok, too.

There is no way Yoongi will let Hoseok burn, the same way Yoongi will never let him drown.

Without another word to any of his friends, or a second glance behind him, Yoongi pushes past the large doors of Seokjin’s fancy new club.

It’s surprisingly cold on this spring evening.

Yoongi’s eyes sting but when he touches a hand to his cheek, they’re perfectly dry.

So Yoongi closes his eyes and tries not to think about how heavy his left hand suddenly is, but instead accepts that even spring will be cold.

Hoseok was really the only thing that kept him warm.

 

 

No matter how hard Yoongi runs, no matter how fast he is, Hoseok still catches up to him.

Hoseok is there at his doorstep the very next morning, looking like he hasn’t slept at all.

Yoongi’s only answered the door because Namjoon had called him non-stop the minute he’d found out Yoongi had left. And he’d found out from Hoseok, who had been worried sick with uncertainty and worry. Namjoon had told him to answer the door just fifteen minutes ago— Answer the door, hyung, or I swear to god—

And so here Yoongi is, hand closed around the door knob as he stands on the threshold between what he wants and what he can’t have.

Hoseok is the only thing that stands between it.

Hoseok, who looks warier than Yoongi’s ever seen him. Hoseok, who tries to say something, mouth opening and closing as the words don’t come, because words don’t come easy when you need it. When you’re faced with the same person who’d left you the very night before.

And what Yoongi would give to just shut the door on Hoseok who’d barely managed to say anything—that would definitely hurt less than what Hoseok actually says.

Than what Hoseok finally brings himself to ask Yoongi, voice quivering.

“Why are you upset with me?” and then, after a few beats where all Yoongi can do is stare up at him, “What did I do wrong?”

Yoongi feels like an idiot—he feels like the stupidest idiot that’s ever walked on this earth. He feels all that and he also feels a knot tightening in his gut, telling him that he should hold fast. Hold steady. Try not to let Hoseok sway him one more time. Try not to let Hoseok break his resolve—and how easy is it to be broken, especially when all Yoongi had done last night was sit on the edge of his bed, looking down at his hands—his hands that have held Hoseok’s. Hands that have finally known what Hoseok’s touch felt like. Hands that betray Yoongi now, because they’re trembling.

“You didn’t do anything wrong,” it surprise Yoongi just how calm he sounds, just how level-headed he must look. He only prays that Hoseok doesn’t notice his hands—now curled into fists, nails digging so deep into the inside of his hand that he fears they might cut. But it probably won’t hurt as much. What’s a sting to watching Hoseok break right in front of you, anyway? “I was wrong, Hoseok.”

This—

This is something that Yoongi had thought he’d never see, because it would never get this far. He’s looking up at Hoseok’s face and all Yoongi can see is hurt—a deep hurt that resonates like the cold that’s suddenly slipped in through the cracks of Yoongi’s door, through the small gap in-between his windows.

Hoseok looks at him like he’s not seeing Yoongi, like he doesn’t know him anymore, and it’s true, in part, anyway, because this isn’t what Hoseok’s known. Not who Hoseok had spent countless days with, sprawled on the floor of his beat-up studio way back then.

“I didn’t mean to do that,” Yoongi adds, fingers fiddling with the bracelet Hoseok had given him just the night before. Yoongi unclasps it rather clumsily—his hands are still shaking, still so cold. Yoongi wonders if Hoseok can see just how nervous he is, or how this is breaking him, too. “I—I’m sorry. I think you should have this back,”

But Hoseok doesn’t take it, instead, Hoseok just takes a few steps away from Yoongi, stepping completely out of his apartment.

“You don’t mean that, do you?” Hoseok looks at Yoongi with eyes that want to see, that want so clearly to understand. And if Yoongi were to close his own eyes, then he’s positive that he hears glass shattering. It rings loudly in his ears.

“You can just—just forget what happened last night, yeah?” Yoongi tries, he really tries, but he’s an idiot, and he’s stupid, and Namjoon’s definitely going to kick his ass because while Yoongi did open the door for Hoseok, he’d also done this—

Completely and utterly destroyed him, because Hoseok looks like he’s about to cry, eyes blinking back tears, his mouth pressed into a thin line, like a part of him still refuses to hear, still refuses to understand.

And how sweet—how kind, how gentle of a boy is he for Yoongi to do this to him.

Perhaps the most painful thing Yoongi will ever hear out of Hoseok’s mouth is a murmured, “I’m sorry, Yoongi,” because that was never his apology to utter. That’s Yoongi’s line—an apology after an apology because Yoongi had kissed him, had accepted his present, and Yoongi—

Yoongi will ruin him if he hadn’t left last night.

Yoongi will ruin him if he doesn’t do that.

When the door closes behind him, Yoongi finally lets out a thin and hurried breath.

This time, when Yoongi touches his fingers to his cheek, he notices that they’re wet.

Hoseok’s gone, now, and Yoongi thinks he won’t be coming back. Thinks that this is how you push someone away. You kiss them, run away from them, and then answer the door only to tell them you regretted every second of it.

This is all Yoongi’s fault, he’ll admit that. How stupid of him to allow himself to feel something for Hoseok—something warm like admiration but deeper, because Yoongi wants to do so much more than just sit across the room from Hoseok and listen to him talk.

Although now, Yoongi is sure that he doesn’t even have that option anymore. Not when Hoseok’s gone completely this time.

Yoongi’s knees hit the back of his couch and he crumbles. His fingers close around the bracelet—it’s cold. As cold as Yoongi feels, with the morning air drafting into his living room. But Yoongi holds onto it, knowing full well that this might just be the only thing he’ll have left of Hoseok.

It’s for the better, anyway—Hoseok’s got a career to work on. He doesn’t need to get tangled up with Yoongi. Doesn’t even have to worry about him.

Not anymore.

 

 

The next few days go by in a blur. Yoongi keeps to himself for the most part, holing up in his apartment. Sometimes, he takes trips to his old studio. He hasn’t been by the company in nearly a week, and he knows that Namjoon’s starting to get worried—he’d been pissed, at first, but now it’s just worry, because Yoongi hasn’t been this disconnected in so long. Because this has never happened.

It’s just that what Yoongi thinks he needs is to be alone, that’s it—that’s exactly what he’s doing.

He spends his days still working on his album. Tries to come up with a song, because he can hear one just in the back of his mind. Hears it like someone who’s gently knocking against the door to one of the rooms inside of him.

It’s the same room that’s locked. Yoongi doesn’t have the key, so what’s the point in answering that? What’s the point in walking over just to press his ear against the wooden panel to hear better?

What’s the point, is what Yoongi tells himself, but here he is, still, trying to get the words out. Pencil tapping against his notebook, eyes closed shut as he thinks, as he forces himself to think, to hear better, because there is a song, and Yoongi can hear it, he definitely can, and he’s going to write it, that much he knows.

This isn’t the same song about the boy with the warm smile and the hands that seem to never be cold—this isn’t a song about that, about how the sound of his laugh is the best backtrack to anybody’s day. To Yoongi’s day. This isn’t the song about Hoseok—Yoongi’s tucked that song away, decided that it’s not for him to write. Not anymore.

The song that plays in his head is much different—it sounds haunting, hallow. It sounds raw. Yoongi has a tune, he has the beat, but the lyrics don’t come to him. Words are the hardest thing anyone will ever have to deal with, and for someone who’s career is based off stringing along words so perfectly he can sing them, Yoongi is doing a shoddy job at it.

He drops his pencil, leaves the notebook on the table, and instead just pushes everything to the back of his mind as he crawls into bed. He hasn’t slept for very long, not in the past few days, at least. He goes through his phone—a few dozen unanswered calls from worried friends. From Namjoon again just an hour ago, asking just what the hell’s happened and if Yoongi’s still alive.

Yoongi throws his arm over his eyes, the silver bracelet cold as it rests on the top of his cheeks.

This is a reminder, thinks Yoongi—a reminder of how terribly he’d fucked things up for himself before he could fuck it up for Hoseok.

With a sigh, Yoongi wonders, rather bitterly, if this is what true compromise is. And if it is, then is there a way for it to not feel like complete and utter shit.

 

 

Seokjin doesn’t grill Yoongi about it, but he does watch Yoongi from across the table with eyes that seem to carry more weight than anything Seokjin’s ever said all morning.

There is silence that hangs between them that is unfamiliar. Uncomfortable. This is the first time in such a long time that Yoongi’s felt it—because they’re never awkward together. There’s never any silence between them that needs to be filled with mindless chatter. Because Seokjin and Yoongi—

They’ve always been friends. For as long as Yoongi has been in this godforsaken city, he’s also known Seokjin. And that’s an awfully long time.

“I’m not gonna ask,” Seokjin says, chopsticks clanging against the plate. “I’m just gonna say you look like shit and that Namjoon’s getting worried you haven’t been showing up in the studios,”

Yoongi snorts at that, surprised that Seokjin’s not pressing him. Not even a little bit.

Seokjin knows Yoongi enough to know that that’s never the best way to go, and in the back of his mind, Yoongi feels—well, he feels grateful.

“I’m still working,” Yoongi puts his chopsticks down, pushing his bowl away from him. He doesn’t have the appetite to eat. Doesn’t even have it in him to pretend, just so Seokjin will stop worrying. Yoongi’s found that he really doesn’t have an appetite for anything, which is fine with him—that just means more time for him to spend on his music. “Just—just not at the studio,”

“Because,” Seokjin purses his lips, eyes narrowed dangerously at Yoongi. “Well, if you really want to be an idiot about it, then you can, but let me just tell you this,”

Seokjin taps his chopsticks against the side of Yoongi’s bowl, a funny little smile on his face—it’s so misplaced, so odd that it throws Yoongi off.

“Namjoon really wanted to introduce you to Hoseokie,”

“What do you mean by that?” but Seokjin doesn’t answer. Seokjin just leans away from the table to turn back to his meal, the crease in his eyebrows easing up, his shoulders less tense, and a quirk of a smile still hanging off his lips.

“It means whatever you want it to mean,” and just like that, Seokjin is finished. Throughout the rest of their meal, he doesn’t bring Hoseok up anymore. Doesn’t even bring anything about work up. He just talks about his family—asks about Yoongi’s, if his mother’s okay, if she still worries. Seokjin even asks him, in passing this time, if he’s still getting into those ugly fights he couldn’t quite escape before.

Yoongi shakes his head. “No, not anymore,”

Seokjin nods at that, this time the smile on his face kind, the look in his eyes warm. “That’s good. You know I just worry about you, right?”

“I do, hyung,” and then, in a voice that’s so quiet, he wonders if Seokjin can even hear him, Yoongi says, “Thank you.”

But Seokjin does hear him, because he smiles gently at Yoongi and shakes his head, and just like that—

Just like that, the comfortable silence is back. A quiet that isn’t suffocating. The kind of quiet that Yoongi enjoys best.

For the first time since Seokjin’s party—and it had been several days ago. Nearly two weeks, now—Yoongi offers up a smile. It’s not really worth much, but it’s something to show that he hears Seokjin, and he appreciates him.

And if Seokjin nudges Yoongi to the cash register, easily declaring that lunch is on him, Yoongi doesn’t mind, because he owes Seokjin a hundred thousand lunches. Or a lifetime of free lunches.

Stuck in traffic, with a ballad song floating through the speakers, Yoongi looks out at the window. Foggy. Hazy. It’s raining hard again today. Yoongi can barely make anything out, and it’s a good thing, then, for Seokjin to be so used to these streets. For traffic to be at a stand-still.

“Hyung,” Yoongi says, turning to Seokjin just as the light turns green. “I wanna go to the studio. Can you take me there?”

Seokjin taps his fingers against the steering wheel. His smile is wide when he snickers, “Of course I can, what do you think this car’s for?”

 

 

See, Yoongi’s never really been good at relationships. Sometimes, he even wonders if he’s any good at friendships.

He looks back on his life, on all the friends he’s made. On all the friends who have truly stayed. Namjoon, Seokjin, and Taehyung—they are constants. They are the always in Yoongi’s life that has him clenching his fingers and unclenching, almost immediately. Anxiously.

Because Yoongi is anxious, he really is.

He’s back in the studio, now, and he’s not working on the song about the boy who dances around in his daydreams and laughs like summer, eyes as warm as a Saturday morning right in the middle of August. He is all the ways that summer is, and it is beautiful, but this song—this song is not for him.

This is a song that Yoongi has always wanted to tell. This is a song that he’s sung to himself for years. A song that he’s whispered to his mother and to his brother. A song that they’d hummed along because they love him, no matter what, no matter whose hand he holds.

Yoongi plays the song for Namjoon, whose got one hand raised to the headphone, the other tapping to the beat on the hard wood table of the recording booth.

Namjoon, who’s been Yoongi’s oldest friend. Who’s been with him even before Yoongi had ever set foot in Seoul. Who’d held his hand when even Yoongi didn’t want to. Who’d helped him out with his first song—two scruffy teenagers that the world hasn’t brought down completely, at least, not yet.

There is no anxiety that compares to this, because not only is Namjoon his friend, but Namjoon is also his boss, technically—or partner, whatever, whatever, whatever , it doesn’t matter, not when just the thought of it has Yoongi on edge, the fire in the pit of his stomach now just a sizzle. A flicker of the forest fire that Hoseok had started, a few weeks ago.

Finally, the song ends, and Namjoon takes in a deep breath. He takes the headphones off, places it gingerly on the table, and then turns to Yoongi, the look on his face unreadable, and Yoongi hates it, because he’s supposed to know just what Namjoon is thinking. Yoongi is supposed to be able to tell just how Namjoon is feeling based on the quirk in his eyebrow, or the slight frown lines on his face. Yoongi is supposed to, but this time, he doesn’t, and it’s exactly because of that that Yoongi feels so thrown off, like he’s standing on uneven ground, and he’s the only one struggling, Namjoon standing perfectly still, and calm.

“Well,” Yoongi says, testing out the waters. If Namjoon tells him it’s terrible and there’s no way it’s going to make it into the album, then Yoongi will have to take his expert opinion on that. But then again, Namjoon could tell him it’s actually something that doesn’t suck as bad, and Yoongi—Yoongi has hope, that it’s going to be the latter. “Say something,”

There’s a faint smile on Namjoon’s face, now. Tendrils of hope tangle around Yoongi’s heart, but not in a way that constricts it. In a way that helps him breathe. Yoongi waits, still so anxious, still so worried, and Namjoon must just be fucking around with him now, because he’s still not talking, and Yoongi swears—he really swears he’s going to walk on over to where the idiot’s sat and shake him by the collar until he says something. Until—

Until Namjoon says, smile this time much brighter. “I think it’s beautiful, hyung,” Namjoon’s voice cracks near the end, and it’s only when Yoongi takes the few steps needed to stand right in front of him does he notice that Namjoon’s tearing up, sleeve wiping  at his tears.

“Joon—“ Yoongi says, reaching out immediately to help, to apologise, because this is his fault, god , what did he even do? “Are you—“

Namjoon laughs, wet and loud, and it’s—it’s something so genuine it warms Yoongi’s heart. So honest. “I’m fine, hyung. But that song—it’s absolutely fucking beautiful. How have you been hiding that from me the entire time?”

Yoongi thinks back to what he’d done to Hoseok. To how many nights he’d spent staring up at his ceiling, willing for the song to start. Looking so desperately for the key to the locked room inside of his heart. Yoongi thinks about that and he grimaces, because it didn’t even start with Hoseok. It started—it started so many years back. For as long as Yoongi can remember.

“Can I do it?” Yoongi asks, feeling so small, still feeling so uncertain. His heart is beating so fast, and hope—hope shines anew, bright yellow and blue, and all the colours that the sky is right before the storm. Pink and purple, and beautiful. Breathtaking.

“I’d be disappointed if you didn’t,” and they both know—they know how this isn’t the type of song you drop on your official debut. Not the type of song that people will accept without flinching. This is the type of song that will rock boats. That will cause hurricanes and storms, that will not only rock the boat, but will overturn it. Sink it like the fucking titanic. This is the kind of song Yoongi makes music for.

This is his song, after all.

Later, when Namjoon walks Yoongi back to his own studio, he dawdles by the door, fingers closed around the knob. He looks at Yoongi, this time with that faint smile on his face. Just the hint of it, and then says, “When are you going to talk to Hoseok?”

The question catches Yoongi off-guard. He stills, like a deer caught in the headlight.

“Preferably never,” the words taste like bile on his tongue. It’s a lie that stings. A lie that Yoongi hopes against.

A lie that Namjoon doesn’t buy, because he just shakes his head, almost fondly at him, and shrugs his shoulders. “Preferably, soon. Filming for his movie ends next week. That’s a good time, I think,”

“You don’t understand,” Yoongi murmurs, plopping down on the couch. He hears a squeak somewhere behind the pillows—probably something either Jimin or Taehyung had left when they’d visited the other day.

“Sure I do,” Namjoon says rather easily. “Friends are supposed to talk to each other, right?”

Yoongi smiles bitterly at that. Friends. Right. Yoongi’s ruined any chance of an actual friendship with Hoseok after that party. After that morning. God, especially after that morning.

“I have to go, but think about it, yeah? Hoseokie’s been worried,” Namjoon sing-songs, the door slowly closing behind him. Before it closes completely, Yoongi hears him add, voice faint, and a little bit farther away, “He said he missed you.”

The door closes with a click.

It locks.

Yoongi sighs.

Right.

 

 

The days go by agonisingly slow. Perhaps this is just how it is when you’re anticipating something, when you’re excited and nervous, and want to fling yourself off a bridge just waiting for something.

Yoongi’s album is supposed to be released in less than three weeks, and Yoongi—

Well, to say that’s he’s nervous is an understatement, because Yoongi is pretty sure he can’t even get up without his knees giving in at the thought of actually releasing an album. So many years  and all he’s ever had were mixtapes—released to the general public, accessible to anyone and everyone who’d even bothered to listen.

Yoongi remembers trying so hard just to get people interested in him. To get people to listen. That had been his first year in the industry—in the underground. Yoongi even remembers how his face used to sting, knuckles bruised and cut up after a fight that Namjoon couldn’t drag him away from. Yoongi remembers all of that and he sings about it. Writes about it. He’s opened himself up so completely on an album that he isn’t even sure is going to be a hit, but—

But he can only hope.

The company’s promotions aren’t anything to laugh about, either, especially when Yoongi’s own manager likes to keep him in check at all times, knowing exactly just how Yoongi gets sometimes. Or, most of the time.

She walks into the conference room, now, glasses pushed high above the bridge of her nose, and her hair pulled into a clean and tight bun. Yoongi’s gotten around to liking her, but she gets—well, she gets a bit intimidating sometimes, especially now as she looks down at him, lips pressed into a thin line.

“Your schedule for this afternoon,” Joohyun starts to read, finger tapping on the screen of her tablet, trying to scroll through Yoongi’s schedule for today. “You’re meeting the director to see the music video, and then—that’s it, I believe,”

It’s not much, not compared to the past few days—how Yoongi had basically been so tired, he couldn’t even sleep at home, eyes stinging with just how many hours he’d been up.

This is much more doable, though, and he nods at her instructions, listens as she tells him just how long the next meeting will be—fairly short, just some last minute touch-ups on the video, get his input, see if he really likes it. If there’s anything else that they need to do, anything else that should be taken care of, in regards to the video.

Taehyung is already in the car when Yoongi opens the door.

“What are you doing here?” Yoongi asks, stalling just by the door as he squints his eyes at Taehyung, who looks up from scrolling down his phone to smile at Yoongi.

Outside, Yoongi hears his manager clear her throat. Hears her heels tapping against the pavement.

Without even an explanation from Taehyung, Yoongi climbs into the car, the door closing behind him.

It’s only when he’s settled in his seat that Taehyung starts to explain, hands moving animatedly as he says, plain as day, “I asked Joohyun noona if I could come, and when she said not in hell, I asked Namjoon hyung,”

In the passenger’s seat up front, Yoongi can hear Joohyun sighing. Can almost see her rolling her eyes, too.

Yoongi smiles faintly at that, because it’s not unlike Taehyung to push, and push, and push, until—until he figures out he can’t get what he wants by pushing, so instead of pushing, he breaks through the wall. It’s amazing, sure, but Yoongi has to admit that it’s terrifying, too.

“And then after the meeting, you can take me out for dinner,” Taehyung grins at Yoongi, like it’s something that he’s all too happy to do—dinner with Yoongi, not sabotaging his schedule. “Maybe even shopping, we haven’t done that in a while,”

“You’re impossible,” Yoongi groans, head bumping against the window.

Taehyung just hums, a song that Yoongi’s heard a hundred different times already. It’s one of Namjoon’s old songs—when he was younger, when he was still starting out.

Catching Yoongi’s eyes, Taehyung smiles.

Yoongi smiles, too, because this—

This is the moment Yoongi realises just how far he’s gone. In a car with his manager quietly seething in the front seat, and Taehyung sitting right beside him after sneaking his way into the rest of Yoongi’s schedule.

Who knew these moments could be, so, well—could be so underwhelming. Just a normal day. Busier than most of Yoongi’s days, sure, but—but ultimately, it’s normal. Almost a routine, given everything that he’s done in the past few months.

Outside, the sun shines high up in the sky. They drive by a row of cherry blossoms, and Yoongi smiles, because this particular moment may be underwhelming, sure—Yoongi had expected his heart dropping to his stomach. The feeling of falling, and then catching himself right before he hits the ground—but at least there is one that remains a constant, and that is spring, and how this year’s spring is also a new beginning.

 

 

Dinner with Taehyung is easy. Comforting. It’s familiar—and most of all, Yoongi finds it fun. He finds himself smiling more often, laughing much louder than he’s ever laughed, and Taehyung eases him into it, because Taehyung has a way of pulling you in by the tips of your fingers.

Taehyung has a way of pushing you right into the deep end, all without the feeling of fear because you just know that someone like Taehyung won’t push you off a cliff just to see you drown.

And Yoongi—

He’s grateful, he really is, because Taehyung shows his concern in a way that is much different to everyone else. He doesn’t say it in words, not really—not unlike Namjoon, who tries to be crass about it, or like Seokjin, who’s smoother with what he wants to say, but ultimately still stumbles, because Yoongi catches him in the middle of his schemes every single time.

But Taehyung—

Taehyung is somebody Yoongi can’t quite predict. He never knows what his true intentions are, or his plans, but perhaps that’s why Yoongi finally lets himself unwind in his presence, because Taehyung isn’t the type to drag Yoongi into trouble and just leave him there. No, Taehyung would never do that—

Which is exactly what Yoongi tells himself when Taehyung asks him if they could drop by Yoongi’s old studio, “There’s some things I left there. Remember—some vinyl records, I think,” and Yoongi just nods, because there’s no possible way Taehyung could ever set Yoongi up for a trap the likes of something Seokjin and Namjoon are capable of, really, there’s no way—

Which is why, when they find themselves on the landing of Yoongi’s studio, the hallway light dim but enough to show just who’s pacing around by the door, Yoongi almost doesn’t believe it.

Taehyung backtracks immediately, one hand raised as if in apology, his smile sheepish, but not at all guilty. “Well—you know what they say,” Taehyung starts to babble, looking over Yoongi’s shoulder one last time to smile at Hoseok, who looks like a deer caught in the headlights, too, probably realising just how stupid he is that he’d actually allowed himself to get dragged into Taehyung’s schemes. Into whatever this is “Three’s a crowd, that’s right,”

To Yoongi, Taehyung says, “Hoseok hyung had nothing to do with it. Jimin dragged him here,”

And then, just as Taehyung reaches the bottom step, Yoongi sees Jimin a few steps behind him, shockingly blonde hair not difficult to miss, especially when Jimin looks up at the small gap between the floor landings to look at Yoongi, the corners of his eyes crinkling as he smiles rather sweetly up at him, up at the both of them, because Hoseok’s walked over to peer down the stairs as well, looking horrified at what’s happened.

At the sudden turn of events.

Without saying anything else, Jimin and Taehyung duck out of sight, leaving Yoongi and Hoseok out in the hallway, the silence that hangs between them so thick and hazy, Yoongi doesn’t know what to do.

Or what to say, except—

Except, and it’s only because there’s really nowhere else to go, Yoongi says, “Do you—do you wanna come in? I have coffee inside,”

Because Yoongi still stops by this studio from time to time. He comes here when he wants to get away from the noise, from the lights, and the constant chatter. He comes here to detach and forget.

Yoongi’s written several songs in this room. Hundreds, more like.

It’s been so long since Yoongi’s heard Hoseok’s voice, that the sound of it sends a shock through Yoongi. How ridiculous is it that hearing Hoseok say okay is enough to get Yoongi to look at him. To really look at him.

Hoseok meets Yoongi’s gaze, and they both hold it, neither of them wanting to look away.

Yoongi hasn’t seen Hoseok in weeks.

He looks—he looks good. Hoseok always looks good. His hair is a softer brown this time. But it’s messy, like he’s ran his fingers through it countless times. From nerves, maybe. Hoseok also looks like he’s been sleeping well, too, but other than that—

Other than that, Yoongi can’t quite say what’s been going on, or how he is, because it’s been so long since they’ve spoken.

It’s Yoongi who eventually breaks eye contact so he can push through the door of his own studio. So he can flick on the lights and lead the way. Hoseok follows behind him, standing around by the door as he waits for Yoongi who shuffles around the small room, looking for cups, and spoons, and coffee, and sugar, and cream, because Hoseok can’t take his coffee black. Hoseok has to take it sweet, with more milk than coffee most days, and Yoongi—

Yoongi’s hands are shaking. They’re shaking so hard that his grip around the first mug slips.

The mug skitters on the table, but Yoongi catches it before it falls off the edge. He breathes.

One deep breath in. One deep breath out.

“Yoongi,” when Yoongi blinks and opens his eyes to the sudden brightness of his studio, he finds Hoseok across the table, fingers wrapped around the second mug. “Will you talk to me?”

It’s like an iron fist has taken hold of Yoongi’s heart and now it’s squeezing, squeezing so tight Yoongi’s breath turns thin and sharp, because he can’t believe he did this, but at the same time, he can—

How Yoongi can watch Hoseok standing across from him, obviously hurt and pleading, waiting for him to talk is beyond him, because Yoongi, he really thought he would be better. Everything he did was because he thought it was for the better.

But now, seeing Hoseok obviously beaten down and betrayed, Yoongi is starting to realise that the better thing was just a load of bullshit that Yoongi had used as an excuse to dodge a train-wreck.

“I’m sorry,” the words are out of his mouth so quickly, Yoongi can’t quite believe it himself. “I’m sorry I left you hanging. I’m sorry—for that morning. For turning you away,”

There’s a hundred other things that Yoongi should be apologising about, but he settles with this, for now, and hopes that Hoseok hears him. “I’m sorry if you thought you did something wrong. That was—that was all my fault,”

“It’s not—I was wrong—“ Hoseok tries to say, tries to cut in, but Yoongi shakes his head and looks up from his hands. Hands that have held Hoseok’s. That have touched his face and kept him warm in the night, when the winter had drawn them both together. But these hands—these are also the same hands that have pushed Hoseok away.

“No, listen,” Yoongi’s voice turns sharp. It’s not right—he doesn’t want to hear Hoseok apologise, doesn’t want to hear Hoseok say he was wrong for anything, because it was never his fault. “I was stupid, I was—fuck, I think I was drunk. I was drunk and stupid and I didn’t mean to do that, not to you, Hoseok, I didn’t want to—“

“To be honest with me,” Hoseok cuts Yoongi off before he can finish his own sentence, steel in his voice. “Is that it?”

Yoongi’s heart stutters in his chest. The iron fist gives another squeeze. And though it’s difficult to breathe, Yoongi manages to say, “I—yeah. I haven’t been honest with you, either,”

“Then talk to me,” Hoseok’s voice cracks. Yoongi’s heart breaks, just a little bit. Piece by lonely piece. “I’m here, Yoongi. All I’ve wanted to be was here ,”

And perhaps it’s all the years that Yoongi has spent silent, spent quietly by himself that he struggles with words.

Words are powerful, he’s learned that at an early age. Words are beautiful. Words can bring a man down to his knees and raise him up the very next second. Words are all you will ever have, when the world is cold and cruel, and very few beautiful things are left.

These words are stuck in Yoongi’s throat. He struggles, trying to find the perfect way to say it. To just get it over with. It doesn’t help that Hoseok’s eyes have turned kind, but Yoongi isn’t blind—he sees the hurt right behind it. Knows that it’s his fault. That he’s done that, and it had taken the combined efforts of both their friends to get here. To finally get here.

Sometimes, the best way to say something is to say it in the easiest way possible.

So Yoongi says it. He says it as easy as he can, with words that feel so heavy on his own tongue, that weigh like a two-ton truck in his heart.

“I like you, Hoseok,” Yoongi says, fingers clenching in his side. His nails dig into the inside of his palms, but he doesn’t look away. “I really like you.” Yoongi’s throat suddenly feels dry, his chest empty.

“You’re fucking stupid,” are the first words out of Hoseok’s mouth, but there’s no inflection at all, no strength behind the words, because Hoseok doesn’t even look angry. In fact, he looks surprised, and just a little bit lost. “An idiot , god, Yoongi, you’re an idiot,”

Hoseok’s fingers close around Yoongi’s, the movement sudden. One second Hoseok had been across from him, and now Hoseok’s bridged the gap between them to hold onto Yoongi’s hand.

Yoongi notes, rather faintly, that Hoseok’s hands are cold, and trembling, and he’s nervous, heart beating wildly on his shoulder, for all to see, because Hoseok’s always been the type to wear his heart on his sleeve, and how Yoongi couldn’t have seen the truth like how he sees the sun rise every morning is beyond him, because this is the truth, Hoseok holding his hand, and squeezing.

“I’m in love with an idiot,” Hoseok says this to himself, quietly, like he doesn’t want Yoongi to hear. Like he’s saying it out loud for the first time.

And he says it so quickly, so quietly, that Yoongi starts to doubt if he’s ever heard it, but then Hoseok looks up from their joined hands and searches Yoongi’s face.

Yoongi isn’t sure what he’s searching for—not sure if he finds it when Hoseok finally smiles. A smile that Yoongi hasn’t seen in weeks, in ages—because a while is a measure of time that depends on the person who’s waiting, and Yoongi has waited so fucking long for this, he’s almost lost hope.

But he doesn’t let himself get carried away, because he’d pushed, and he’d broken, and he’d tore through so many walls just to get here. Just to get to a place where he thought Hoseok couldn’t follow.

And yet here Hoseok is again.

Hoseok’s words echo in his head— All I wanted to be was here .

Hoseok is here, now, and all Yoongi wants to do is for time to stop, so he can save this one moment in his mind, forever, maybe. Or for as long as time will allow him. For as long as his own fond memories will.

“You have to listen to me,” Yoongi squeezes on Hoseok’s hand. A part of him tells him he should let go, but perhaps it’s the stronger version inside of him that doesn’t, that tells him that he’s let go, once, before he’d even gotten how Hoseok’s hand truly felt. There is no way he’ll let go too soon, not again. “I didn’t—I didn’t leave because I didn’t accept it, none of that bullshit, yeah?”

Because Yoongi has never had issues with that. He’s always known, even before he’d been fully honest with himself. He’d known.

“I—I left because I didn’t want to be a problem,” Hoseok’s hand is warm in his, their palms pressed together, fingers twining, brushing. Yoongi can feel Hoseok around him, with him—he can feel Hoseok so close to him, and so warm, Yoongi wonders just exactly how he’d spent the days that had led to this. “A problem to you,”

“Why would you be a problem to me?” Hoseok’s eyebrows knit together, eyes narrowing, his smile falling, suddenly worried. “Yoongi—you’ve never been a problem. You’ll never be a problem,”

“Hoseok, you’ve got a career,” his voice is gentle. Soft. No matter how hard Yoongi tries, his voice still cracks. “I can’t get in the way of that. If people find out—I’ll ruin everything,”

Surprisingly, Hoseok smiles, a little more fond than Yoongi’s used to, and says, “You should think about yourself, too,”

“I think,” and where they had been floating on the same corner of the ocean, tethered to the same lifeboat, now they’re holding on to each other, fingers hooking together. Together. Together. Together. “I think you’re more important,”

It is the truth, as clear as the sky is dark, as the stars that burn behind the clouds, that keep the moon company at night. It is so clear, and yet—

And yet Yoongi has never realised it, not until tonight.

It is refreshing.

Overwhelming, how that realisation is threatening to swallow Yoongi up.

Important. That’s the word he’s been struggling with—Hoseok is important to him, and Yoongi cares about him, he’s his friend, and Yoongi—Yoongi loves him. He’s in love with Hoseok, and how important is that when he’d made the decision? How important was it that Yoongi saw himself out of the door, just so Hoseok could keep his picture perfect life, without him?

Important.

“You’re important,” Hoseok repeats the words right back to Yoongi, who stands completely still. “You’re so important, and Yoongi—this. This isn’t a decision you make by yourself. You should’ve told me sooner—“

A bitter laugh trips out of Yoongi’s mouth. He shakes his head. “Maybe. Maybe I should have,” but that meant being honest, and Yoongi has never been completely honest, not outside of a song, anyway. This is new for him. So new, it actually starts to scare him.

But there is very little to be afraid of, especially when Hoseok is holding his hand. Especially after Hoseok had said he was in love with him, in fucking love with him—with Yoongi, who’s got bruised knees and scraped elbows from running away and tripping so much. From falling so hard, so fast. From not knowing when to quit. Hoseok is in love with him and Yoongi is, too. He thinks he’s been in love with Hoseok since he can even remember.

So in love with him that the only thing that gripped so tightly around Yoongi was fear.

There is still a trace of it, but Hoseok quickly wipes it away when he lifts a hand up to caress Yoongi’s cheek. When Hoseok closes the gap between them for a kiss. A kiss so soft, so gentle, that Yoongi sighs into it. He fucking sighs, and he melts into the kiss—so unhurried this time, in the middle of his studio, lit up so bright. A complete opposite of their first kiss, when all Yoongi had felt was fear, when all he’d heard was wrong, wrong, wrong.

This time, none of it feels wrong. Not the slide of Hoseok’s lips against his. Not how Hoseok’s hand has cupped Yoongi’s cheek, thumb brushing against the jut of his jaw. Not when Yoongi’s pressed himself closer to Hoseok, wanting more, and more, because the more he kisses Hoseok, the more he can hear the song in his mind. In his heart. The more he can string the words together.

Words that he’s battled with for the longest time.

Yoongi kisses Hoseok back for all he’s worth, and he smiles, he smiles so fucking wide, they break the kiss off, but they don’t let go, not of each other, not now. Hoseok holds onto Yoongi the entire time, and Yoongi brushes his fingers across Hoseok’s damp cheeks, smiling up at him, a little stupid, a little embarrassed, and a lot fond.

“Are you sure this is okay?” Yoongi asks later, when they’re both squished on the couch, his hands playing with Hoseok’s fingers. A part of Yoongi is still—is still hanging between disbelief and reality. “What if—“

Hoseok breaks that thought off with a kiss, a reserved smile on his face. And it’s a smile that’s foreign to Yoongi—a smile that he hasn’t quite categorised, not in all the time that he’s known Hoseok. It’s a smile that’s special. Private. Too tender, Yoongi feels his heart squeeze.

“It’s okay,” Hoseok lets out a sigh of relief, head leaning against Yoongi’s shoulder. “It’s going to be okay.”

Yoongi likes the sound of that.

He tries the word out himself. Okay .

Looking at Hoseok, feeling his hand in his and wondering if it’s okay if he holds onto it forever, never let it go.

Okay .

Hoseok’s eyes flutter to a close.

Yoongi smiles, just a small, quiet smile of his own. He thinks—well, he hopes. He fucking hopes that it’ll be okay.

The word doesn’t taste too bad on his tongue. Doesn’t sound too harsh in his ears. For the first time in a long while, Yoongi believes, and he hopes.

 

 

Hauling a sleepy Hoseok down three flights of stairs is difficult enough, but finding out that neither of them have a car because their friends had basically dragged them here against their will. Well, that makes things more complicated.

Until—

Until it’s not.

Until Hoseok lets out a tired laugh. Until Hoseok tugs Yoongi close to him and says, “My apartment’s thirty minutes away, you think we can make it?”

Yoongi thinks about the long day he’s had. He thinks about all the sleepless nights he’s had the past two weeks. He thinks about his schedule tomorrow morning. More meetings, promotions, a radio guesting. Yoongi thinks about it all.

And he thinks about how the day had ended with Hoseok. How he has Hoseok next to him, now, the both of them stranded at two in the morning in downtown, just a few blocks away from the residences. Yoongi thinks about okay , and Hoseok, and how his heart turns warm and beautiful at the sight of Hoseok, at the thought of him so close, of Yoongi finally, finally allowing himself this one small moment to stay. Yoongi thinks.

And then he says, voice steady and sure, “I think we’ll make it anywhere.”

Hoseok’s answering smile is so beautiful, it hurts. It definitely hurts.

They spend their walk in quiet silence, the both of them tired, but not too tired for this. 3 A.M brings with it a cold gust of air, but they’re fine, they’ll always be fine, thinks Yoongi as they both wait for the traffic sign to turn green.

There are some cars speeding by. Some drunks tumbling around. The city isn’t exactly dead at this time of the night, but it’s not quite alive, either. They say that the only ones who are awake at three in the morning are either the drunks, the forgotten, or the lovers, and perhaps.

Perhaps that explains the rest of their walk.

Halfway through, with just a few more blocks ahead of them, Hoseok yawning into the back of his hand that it’s not too far from now, Hoseok stops, pulling on the sleeve of Yoongi’s shirt to call his attention.

When Hoseok doesn’t say anything, no prompting at all, Yoongi raises an eyebrow.

Instead of words, what Hoseok offers is his hand.

Yoongi looks around them first. Waits for a few seconds before he swallows past the lump in his throat and nods, hand reaching out to hold onto Hoseok’s, their fingers tangling, and slipping into the spaces between.

It’s a lie when people say their fingers fit perfectly together. That’s never the case, at least, not to Yoongi, but it doesn’t matter if their fingers don’t fit perfectly, what matters is that Yoongi thinks that this—this moment, the feeling of holding Hoseok’s hand—is perfect, and beautiful, and something that feels absolutely limitless.

They hold hands until they reach the intersection just across Hoseok’s building. It’s impressive—and what else can Yoongi really expect, given who Hoseok is, and what he does, and how much impact he actually has.

Yoongi slips his fingers out of Hoseok’s hold right before they cross the street.

Hoseok understands, though, because it’s starting to get bright, the lights in this part of the city much brighter, more glittering. And it makes perfect sense, too, because this is where Hoseok lives, and people are bound to be more familiar with him. His doorman, the girls behind the counter, bowing at the sight of him.

But, right before the walk signal turns green, Hoseok brushes their hands together rather briefly, and it is enough. It really is.

It is more than enough.

 

 

The window must be cracked just the tiniest bit because it’s cold when Yoongi comes to in the morning.

It’s not the cold that wakes him up, though, or the sun that slips in through the gaps of Hoseok’s curtains.

What wakes him up is Hoseok, who runs his fingers through Yoongi’s hair, slowly, softly, like he’s afraid of waking Yoongi up.

When Yoongi finally opens his eyes, it’s to find Hoseok looking at him, hair a mess, and eyes half-lidded, still so sleepy. It’s early, Yoongi knows, because his phone isn’t ringing yet, so that means he’s got time until the official start of the day.

“Don’t be a creep,” Yoongi says, voice still gruff from sleep. He rolls over to lie on his back, hearing Hoseok laugh briefly next to him.

Yoongi thinks that it’s beautiful—that it’s the best way to wake. To the sound of Hoseok’s laughter.

“Good morning to you, too,” Hoseok hums, fingers running down the side of Yoongi’s face, featherlight and warm. “You sleep okay?”

“You’re a human furnace,” Yoongi says, catching the glimpse of a pout on Hoseok’s face. And because Yoongi knows that he’s going to keep pouting until something actually happens to remedy it, Yoongi sighs and turns to face Hoseok, arm coiling around Hoseok’s middle to bring him closer.

The smile that blossoms across Hoseok’s face is beautiful. Bright. Something Yoongi won’t mind seeing everyday, maybe.

“I don’t like the cold, anyway,” slipping his hand underneath Hoseok’s shirt, Yoongi lightly grazes his fingers down Hoseok’s back, before he settles to rubbing small, calming circles on the middle of his back. Hoseok arches easily into his touch, nose brushing against Yoongi’s in a kiss that’s almost too endearing, Yoongi feels his heart grow warm. Too warm all of a sudden.

Hoseok nuzzles into the crook of Yoongi’s neck, content in his new corner, quiet as he usually is during the morning. It is the kind of quiet that can stretch out for a long, long time. The kind of quiet that Yoongi never minds, because in this silence, he can still hear Hoseok. Can still hear the song, and it’s—Yoongi wants to say it’s beautiful, but sometimes, when he looks at Hoseok, even that word is inadequate.

They don’t have much time, especially not in the mornings. It’s only a small miracle that no alarm has rung, not yet. And that nobody’s started knocking on Hoseok’s front door. Because Hoseok is still an actor, and he’s still busy, and Yoongi—well, Yoongi’s supposed to have three meetings lined up today and his manager’s going to kill him if he’s late for even a single one.

Hoseok tugs on Yoongi’s hand playfully, bringing it up to his lips so he can kiss the inside of Yoongi’s wrist, and it startles Yoongi, how tender the moment is, how his heart nearly stutters in its little birdcage.

“Is this—“ Yoongi hears Hoseok say, voice breaking off as he pushes on the sleeve of Yoongi’s sweater. Hoseok sits up all of a sudden, Yoongi’s hold around him slipping when Hoseok sits, shoulders rigid, and a look of complete and utter disbelief on his face.

Belatedly, Yoongi realises that Hoseok’s looking at his wrist.

And Yoongi wonders, if only for a split second, until he remembers.

The bracelet.

The very same bracelet that Hoseok had given him, nearly a month ago.

Yoongi follows Hoseok, sitting up as well, one hand reaching out to squeeze on Hoseok’s shoulder, because Yoongi’s starting to get worried he isn’t breathing. “Hoseok, hey, are you okay?”

Hoseok blinks, still staring down at Yoongi’s hand. At the bracelet.

“This is—“ Hoseok starts again, looking from the bracelet and then back up at Yoongi’s face. “You—“

“Still wear it, yeah,” Yoongi supplies for him, worrying that anything else will send Hoseok into an actual tailspin.

“Why?” this time, Hoseok rubs his thumb against the inside of Yoongi’s wrist. The motion is reassuring, with just the slightest bit of pressure.

Yoongi lets out a sigh, sounding more relieved than he’s ever been.

“Guess I missed you,” Lifting his head up to look at Hoseok, Yoongi smiles, squeezing on Hoseok's shoulder one more time, if only to reassure him. “I always miss you.”

“Really?” Hoseok meets Yoongi’s gaze, and this time, as Yoongi looks at Hoseok, he wonders just how possible it is for someone to hold the setting sun in his eyes. He wonders how Hoseok does it—how he has an infinite number of galaxies in his eyes, constellations mapped on the backs of his hands and everywhere on his skin. Yoongi wonders, and he wonders, and he wonders, until he comes to the realisation that the only explanation for that is because Hoseok’s magical. Absolutely universal.

“Really,” Yoongi assures him, the smile that tugs on the corner of his lips a sad one, because he’d done more harm to Hoseok than good, and still here they are. Here Hoseok is, staring disbelievingly up at Yoongi, even when Yoongi knows that there are so very few people like Hoseok, and someone like Yoongi—he’s not the type of person who deserves someone like Hoseok.

And yet here they are.

“I’m here, now,” Hoseok tells him, voice gentle. He’s holding onto Yoongi’s hand, and Yoongi starts to wonder about this, too—he wonders how holding Hoseok’s hand feels exactly like the first time he’s held it. It feels like the whole world has finally stopped, just for this single moment, just to give Yoongi something good.

“Yeah, you’re here,” Yoongi brushes their noses together in an Eskimo kiss that has Hoseok crinkling his eyes and smiling bright, brighter, and brightest.

Out-shining the very sun that hangs in the centre of the sky in this early morning. Hoseok out-shines the cluster of stars just a little ways off their known galaxy.

“Y’know, it hurt,” Hoseok’s voice drops, and a fear takes over Yoongi—afraid that Hoseok will break. “When you—when you made me leave. I missed you, too,”

And Yoongi realises far too late that he hasn’t said the two words that he should’ve said the very first time he’d seen Hoseok again. These were supposed to be the first things out of his mouth and yet, it’s taken him hours. With Hoseok holding onto his hand, their fingers tangled, and the smile on Hoseok’s face a shaky one, Yoongi finally says, “I’m sorry.”

If there’s anything Yoongi wants to do more, then it’s to run his fingers through Hoseok’s hair and tell him that none of it mattered—what he said that morning after the party. It didn’t matter because Yoongi meant nothing of it. Just lies he had to say, lies that he’d had to hold onto tightly in a fist. Lies that have crumbled the second Hoseok had turned away, hurt and betrayed.

This time, though—this time is different.

“Don’t do that to me again,” Hoseok doesn’t sound angry, or tired, Hoseok just sounds—he sounds resolute. “You’re not the only one who should be making these decisions,”

“I know,” Yoongi says, almost automatically. He lifts their joined hands together, pressing a kiss on the back of Hoseok’s hand. “I know that, now.”

And this is how they start.

They start in the middle. They start a little shaky, a little hurt, but they start, anyway, and Yoongi’s never been fond of beginnings, because that means that something had to have ended, but this particular beginning—

This particular beginning has been brought about by the end of all the running away.

“I really liked your gift, too, by the way,” Hoseok says, as a way to lighten things up. He’s got that glitter in his eyes again, his smile easier this time. Relieved. Like a weight has just been lifted off his shoulders.

“What gift?” Yoongi has to do something about that, even if he’s three months late.

Hoseok doesn’t answer him, instead, Hoseok just lifts a hand up to tangle in Yoongi’s hair as he kisses him for the very first time that morning, a quiet hello, good morning pressed against Yoongi’s lips as Hoseok breathes him in.

Yoongi’s eyes flutter to a close as he kisses him back, a smile gently curving over his lips.

Now this—

This is what a good morning is truly like.