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Hoseok is there for their first concert, standing in the front row because the place is more or less empty. Just Hoseok and some people from their school -  people who find Kim Seokjin handsome or are there to get drunk off their asses, not caring about the music.

Hoseok is there to support his friend, nursing a beer bottle he isn’t old enough for.

“They’re better than I expected,” Namjoon says from where he’s standing next to him, arms crossed over his chest. He seems to be deep in thought when Hoseok looks at him.

“What’d you even expect?” Hoseok asks with a slight smile, jerks his head in the direction of the stage. A small platform in the corner of the trashy joint they’re at, where the singer is weeping off key, the kid behind the drums looks as if he was just stolen from daycare centre, where Seokjin doesn’t do much else than stands tall and pretty with his bass slung over his shoulder.

Yoongi, standing in the utmost right corner, is the only one making this shit work. The only person making it less crappy, maybe bearable to the ear once you ignore the singer’s high pitched screaming.

So Hoseok finds it difficult to imagine what Namjoon had expected.

“Hyung is good,” he simply offers in explanation, eyes glued to Yoongi. Hoseok finds himself agreeing quietly, heart beating one with the rhythm.

 

--

 

The group blows up pretty quickly after Namjoon suggests making fliers and giving them out at the school entrance, which results in an impressive number of people at their fifth show.

“Hobi, didn’t I tell you,” Yoongi says now, leaning against the wall in the hole that booked them, a proper concert that actually pays. A first one to ever do so, all of them used to playing for free at anonymous venues no one gave two shits about.

But now Yoongi is smiling, glowing under the weak yellow light in the bar as he plays with the zipper of his jacket. The amount of people in the room make chatting at a normal volume impossible, every table on the floor taken.

So many people, but Hoseok is only looking at one person. His black hair falling lightly against his forehead, eyes rimmed with eyeliner, pale skin appearing even paler.

He can’t help but smile, reaches out to brush excess makeup from Yoongi’s cheek where it got smudged, but ends up just hovering above it.

“Got something,” he says and motions to his own cheek. Yoongi’s mouth forms into an o, hand going for the spot Hoseok showed.

His eyes curve beautifully when he smiles and thanks him, Hoseok’s chest growing awfully warm. “How does it feel, hyung?” he asks instead, to distract himself from the pleasant curve of Yoongi’s mouth, eyes all gentle around the corners.

“How what feels?”

“Making it big,” and Yoongi laughs, hits Hoseok’s chest with his knuckles. They must look dumb, standing by the entrance and laughing, but Hoseok wouldn’t have it any other way. Yoongi shakes his head and hits him again, for good measure.

His fingers linger for a fleeting moment and Hoseok can’t help but notice how warm they are.

“Look at you, bullshitting.”

“You like hearing it, though,” he says and nudges Yoongi’s shoulder with his own.

The smile Yoongi’s lips stretch into keeps Hoseok warm for the rest of the night.

 

--

 

Yoongi’s graduation is the first one Hoseok attends, wearing a suit even though Yoongi tells him it’s not gonna be anything fancy. Seeing Yoongi standing up that stage in the same old ugly uniform, but with a big smile gracing his lips, is better than anything he could’ve imagined.

“Loser,” is the first thing he hears after the ceremony, fingers wrapping around his waist from the behind as he stands by the tables filled with food. “Told ya not to dress up.”

Hoseok laughs as he turns around in Yoongi’s grip, smile widening even further at the sight of Yoongi looking so cheerful, careless. His eyebags are much lighter than before the finals, face worry free and a normal colour again, healthy. Happy.

“It’s hyung’s graduation, gotta look nice.”

“You always look good,” Yoongi says, eyes instantly dropping to the floor, his grip loosening. Hoseok laughs again, feeling a blush spread from the ears in. Yoongi’s cheeks are dusted pink when he removes his hands from Hoseok’s waist and takes a step back. “I’m glad you came.”

“Wouldn’t miss it.” If Yoongi’s cheeks turn a colour darker or if he looks at Hoseok with an especially fond look in his eye, no one mentions it.

Later, when they’re mixed with the crowd and surrounded by their friends, several drinks in their system, Hoseok looks at Yoongi.

He looks at Yoongi, only to find him already staring.

The smile they share over the crowd is oddly intimate, smaller than the usual ones, but brighter. Brighter, and reserved for only the two of them.

Hoseok feels unexplainably happy when he wakes up in the morning.

 

--

 

Their singer gets replaced the same summer, just before their popularity goes through the roof. The new guy - Taehyung - has a voice so deep and clear Yoongi tells him he’s in before the auditions even end.

“You must really like him,” Hoseok comments later, leaning against the wall outside the club the band has become a regular at.

Yoongi is standing next to him, their shoulders pressed together, his long fingers rolling a cigarette. Delicately, quickly, perfectly.

Hoseok stares, mesmerised by the simple action.

“He’s - Hoseok-ah, you were there. Not only a good voice, but the control.. It’s just.. fucking outstanding, yea? Think we’re gonna get better?” And seeing Yoongi so excited he can’t stop smiling is doing something to his heart, causes his own lips to form into a smile.

“Yeah, no. He’s a good choice.”

“Gonna need to change the name, too. Goddamn.. ForLorn .. Who the fuck thought this was a good name.”

“Your seventeen emo ass did, hyung,” Hoseok tells him with a laugh. Yoongi glares at him, but then he breaks out into a brilliant smile, all wide and gummy, before he chokes out a laugh and bends with the force of it.

Hoseok gets shoved away and told to fuck off, but the curve of Yoongi’s eyes is telling him something else altogether.

“Why the capitalised letters, even,” Yoongi says after they calm down, rubbing at his forehead with his free hand. “Shoulda just called it helpless .”

Hoseok hums and says, “It would be a better name.” The glare Yoongi sends his way nearly causes him to choke on the cigarette between his teeth. “You’re gonna come up with something good.”

“Thanks, Hoseok-ah.”

He’s halfway back in the club when Yoongi mutters something.

He can’t be sure, but he thinks Yoongi says, “As long as I have your support.”

 

--

 

Seokjin’s place is a mess when Hoseok gets there.

Couches in the living room have been pushed to the side, an impromptu dance floor created in the middle. Hoseok recognises a few faces even in the bad lighting, mostly Seokjin and Yoongi’s old classmates.

“Hyung! Here you are!” he hears just as he’s about to move, looking around until he spots Taehyung stumbling from the kitchen, wide eyes and an even wider smile.

“Here I am,” he manages to say, eyes stuck to the glistening fishbowl in Taehyung’s hands, a goldfish floating inside bright blue water.

“Yoongi-hyung is looking for you,” Taehyung says and points to the kitchen, disappears as quickly as he appeared, Hoseok looking after him in confusion.

Yoongi is sitting on the counter in the kitchen, a beer bottle in his hand. His profile is shining blue, black hair nearly reaching his eyes. Hoseok notices him playing with the strands of his torn jeans, eyes a little distant, but face relaxed.

As soon as Hoseok calls his name, he looks up, lips immediately stretching into a smile. He reaches for Hoseok’s arm and pulls him closer.

“Hoseokie,” he says, syllables soft on his tongue, even softer in Hoseok’s ear. “You came.”

“You know it,” Hoseok says as he steps closer, forced to look up at Yoongi. “Always.”

“The tour starts in two months,” Yoongi tells him, words quiet in comparison to the loud music blasting from the living room.

“It feels too soon.”

“It does,” Yoongi agrees with a hum. “It’s only six months, though. And - and after.. You can come with us, next year.”

The invitation hangs heavy between them, as open and forward as it gets. They’ve talked about it often in the past months, touring somehow always coming up in their conversation, no matter what.

Always ended up talking about Yoongi’s departure in a couple of months. About their shitty van and the even shittier technician they only hired because he was the only one available.

Always ended with Hoseok complaining about missing out. About not being a part of this - a part of them , when he’s always been right there.

Never says it explicitly, but he’s most worried about spending so much time away from Yoongi, who he’s been with most of his days ever since entering high school.

“You can come with,” Seokjin said one evening a few weeks ago, all of them trashed in the basement of his house, chill music keeping them company.

“No,” Yoongi said before Hoseok could get a word out, moving his head from where it rested on Hoseok’s shoulder. “No way. It’s his last year.”

The tension between them could be felt even through the heavy layer of smoke and the blurriness of alcohol, especially when Yoongi added, “He won’t fuck it up.”

And Hoseok didn’t argue, because it was his last year. His parents didn’t demand much, gave him a free hand when it came to his future, but they expected him to finish high school.

But now the invite is there. Yoongi telling him he can join them, next year, if he wants.

So he nods and smiles, says, “Of course.”

 

--

 

Things shift after the tour. Phoning once a month turns to once every three months. Yoongi sounds more tired every time his voice filters through the line, and the words to exchange run short.

At one point they just stop.

Hoseok applies to a university in Seoul and moves in with Namjoon, who offers him not only a bed, but a solution. The first months it’s hard, especially because he doesn’t have his best friend by his side.

But time passes by and feelings fade.

 

--

 

“Ahh, hyung, you’re good!”

Mirrors in the dance studio are fogged up, condensation collecting at the upper line until the drops get too big and heavy, spilling over, running down the shiny surface, leaving traces in their wake.

Hoseok can barely see his form, but it doesn’t matter, because he feels the music with every cell of his body. Breath erratic, heart pumping one with the beat, every muscle moving accordingly.

Jimin is standing in the corner with a water bottle in his hands, eyes trained on him. Hoseok feels hot under the focused stare, hot with the knowledge that he’s being watched.

After the melody rings out, leaving only his breath caught in between four walls, Jimin walks to him, small palms quickly finding his waist, chin resting on his shoulder.

Their eyes meet in the mirror as Jimin says, “Hyung’s no joke.”

He feels beads of sweat collecting on his forehead and on his low back, but Jimin only presses closer as if he’s not bothered by it at all. Hoseok smiles, reaches back to card his fingers through Jimin’s soft hair.

“Ahh, Jiminie, you’re too nice,” but fire is already coiling in the pit of his stomach, as always when Jimin offers sweet compliments.

They run through the choreo again, and Hoseok goes full out. Knows they won’t be back for a few weeks, with Christmas holidays just around the corner, so even a few strained muscles won’t be a problem.

The way Jimin looks at him through the mirror causes his lips to stretch into a smirk, throw his head back to expose his neck as he thrusts his hips in sync with the beat.

Later, when they’re taking a shower, Jimin pushes him against the tiled wall, pressing so close Hoseok can feel his erection against his leg, hot and heavy.

“And you claimed you were shit.”

“Not as good as you,” Hoseok says as soft lips trace his collarbones, kiss up his neck, lick and bite at his earlobe until he moans brokenly.

“No one’s hips do this, though,” Jimin mutters as he grinds forward, their dicks brushing together. “Only yours, Hobi.”

 

--

 

On his twenty-second birthday there’s a letter waiting for him back at home. His sister passes it to him over the kitchen table, clock on the wall showing just after eleven in the evening.

“How was the journey?” she asks him, fingers tapping against the table as she stirs her tea.

“You know. Long,” he mutters, flipping the letter in his hands, searching for the return address, but there is none. “Shitty. Fucking trains.”

He isn’t expecting a letter, having told Jimin they would celebrate once he got back, Namjoon having already congratulated him at the station back in Seoul.

“Mum was asking whether you were inviting someone. Told her no.”

“Yeah,” Hoseok says, still staring at the black letters on the envelope, something about them oddly familiar. “Yeah, no one’s coming.”

She pours him more tea, silence around them pleasant. He looks up and waves the letter around. “When did this come?”

“This morning. Why?”

“Dunno who it’s from,” which makes her laugh, stirring another spoon of sugar into her cup.

“Opening it would help.”

“Yeah,” Hoseok says, staring at his own name on the white paper. He eventually pushes it to the end of the table and focuses on his tea instead. “How’s Hyungwon? And Hyelin-noona?”

“Good, they’re good. Hyelin said she’d stop by tomorrow evening. Said she has something for you.”

Hoseok wiggles his eyebrows and says, “More presents.” Jiwoo laughs and covers her mouth, eyes curving into crescents. It reminds him of Jimin.

“Hoseok-ah,” she says as she stands up to walk to the fridge, her slippers loud against the tiles, “I know it’s customary to give gifts on the day of the celebration, but.” A red envelope shines in between her bony fingers, covered in glitter and stickers.

It’s her work, Hoseok realises when she slides back into the chair and pushes it over the table, right in front of him.

He stares at it for a moment, fingers running over the edges, glitter rough against his skin. When he looks up to meet her eye he notices she looks a little unsure, nervous even.

“Thank you,” he says, which makes her laugh.

“Don’t - don’t thank me too fast. I didn’t know whether..” She clears her throat, fingers drumming against the table. “I feel it’s right to give it to you today. So - so there’s no need to pretend.”

The warnings all seem pointless until he tears open the envelope, finding two tickets lying in it.

Two tickets with Gloss written on top in big font, five faces printed on the side, Yoongi’s barely recognisable with hair bleached white.

A laugh slips his lips, makes him slam a hand over his mouth.

“You don’t have to accept them. I just - I saw they were coming. Got them just in case, because-,”

“It’s good, noona,” he says, blinks the pain away, swallows the disappointment he thought he was done with. Forgive and forget, but it seems like he’s only ever forgotten, still more than a little bitter about the entire deal. “I’ll go,” he tells her, because it was never just Yoongi’s fault.

Both of them let it come this far, and Hoseok isn’t about to deny the opportunity to go see Gloss’ concert now that they’re famous.

The date of the concert is only a week away, which makes him laugh again. “So soon?”

“Yeah, I bought them months ago. They sold out in a blink of an eye.”

Hoseok finds himself smiling when he looks up, something warm spreading through his chest. Warm and pleasant, almost like hope.

“Wanna go with me?”

“If you’re willing to take me.”

 

--

 

The venue is one of the biggest the city has, a proper thing with actual security. Hoseok feels odd connecting concert craziness with a shitty local band he used to hang out with.

Weird to imagine Min Yoongi standing up that big stage with another four people, all of them good enough for the world scene, their music known and popular amongst general audiences now.

Jiwoo has taken his arm and is now leading him through the crowd, towards the stage. Hoseok recognises some faces they pass, but it’s been too long to greet them casually, long enough for their ties to be broken entirely.

(He wonders if it’s the same with him and Yoongi.)

They don’t stop until they reach the security fence right in front of the stage, and Hoseok laughs looking at it.

“Funny,” he says as he points at the stage, turning around in attempt to walk away, but Jiwoo grabs his arm and pulls him back.

“This is our spot, Hoseok,” she tells him, smiles while he blinks at her in confusion. He demands to see the tickets again, because there’s no way they’re in the first row at a concert like this one.

But the numbers say they’re at the right spot. Hoseok only laughs while Jiwoo holds his hand, her grip grounding and more than a little reassuring.

Hoseok falls into a trance when the lights dim. The concerts starts with a song he’s never heard before, but it sounds familiar, carrying that vibe Yoongi has always been going for.

He can’t yell along with the crowd, so he busies himself with listening to the lyrics. Feels a little nostalgic, the longing in the words loud and obvious even though he’s hearing it for the first time.

Seokjin’s voice filters through the arena after the song rings out, screams only getting louder, cheers not dying out even after he clears his throat, becoming louder still after he thanks the crowd.

“We came back! It’s been a while.. Three years?” Hoseok sees him turn to the side, Taehyung’s raised hand showing two fingers. “Two, Taehyung-ah says. After so long it felt right to do something special, right?” The crowd goes crazy, people all around Hoseok screaming ‘yes’ at the top of their lungs.

Hoseok finds himself yelling along.

Seokjin laughs, goes as far to wink and send a flying kiss at the screaming crowd, something he used to do even when they were teenagers, just kids getting drunk in shady places. “Told Yoongi-yah we were gonna play some of the old songs for you.”

A screech comes from somewhere behind Seokjin, loud and dramatic, causing the crowd to erupt in laughter. Hoseok sees Yoongi walking to the front of the stage, his light hair long and fluffy, shining almost like a halo around his head.

He’s wearing a worn leather jacket, one that Hoseok remembers well from years ago. It seems almost as if no time has passed, as if they’re still just two friends with wild dreams.

“Long story short,” Yoongi says once he reaches Seokjin, stealing the microphone from him with a grimace, “I lost a bet.” Hoseok represses the shiver Yoongi’s deep voice sends down his spine, laughing along.

“This next song is old,” Seokjin says, Taehyung leaning closer to his microphone stand to whisper, “From the times before Taehyungie.”

“That’s right,” Seokjin confirms, shooting finger guns in Taehyung’s direction. Hoseok can’t stop laughing, finding the entire exchange way too funny. “Yoongi wrote it in a garage of an old friend,” which sends a shiver down Hoseok’s back.

He still remembers the cold winter night, just after Yoongi’s seventeenth birthday. Huddled together on a small couch pushed to the corner, just the two of them, a blanket, and Yoongi’s notebook.

He can almost hear Yoongi’s soft murmurs as he was writing, can still remember the feeling of Yoongi’s dark roots under his fingers. The comfort of being together, warm despite the freezing temperatures outside.

Up on the stage, Yoongi is looking at the crowd, something gentle about his eyes. Vulnerable.

“I wanna dedicate this song to Hobi,” he says, and Hoseok’s hearts stops. “Wherever he is, whatever he’s doing, I-,” and his voice cracks, the lump in Hoseok’s throat only growing.

“Talk about embarrassing,” Seokjin mutters, saving the moment. Yoongi laughs with the crowd, flips Seokjin off before he gets back to his guitar. “Without further ado - here’s With You .”

Hoseok gets lost in the sensation. Lost in the familiar sounds, in the roughness of Yoongi’s voice, in the smoothness of Taehyung’s that wasn’t always there.

He listens, and sings, and screams, memories floating all around him. Only realises he’s crying when the song ends, all that’s left a bitter aftertaste.

Songs that follow are mostly newer, but Hoseok recognises a good half of them, enjoys the ones he hears for the first time. Jiwoo is singing along the entire time, and Hoseok wonders if she’s bought all of their records, if she keeps up with them over the radio.

The final song comes too fast, the crowd obviously disappointed when Taehyung thanks them for coming and announces the legendary Pranking Me that Hoseok has heard several times over the last year, because it was being played on every radio station across the country.

It was everywhere, but Hoseok doesn’t realise the iconic guitar solo at the end means getting to see Yoongi perform it on the stage. Doesn’t realise it until Yoongi is inching closer and closer to the centre of the stage, only metres away from Hoseok.

Yoongi’s body loses the usual stiffness when he plays, easily bending with his guitar.

It’s something Hoseok has always admired - how fully he commits to it, concentrates on the melody, becomes one with the music. He wonders if the feeling is similar to what he feels when dancing.

Yoongi drops to his knees, fingers flying over the strings as he throws his head back, hair shining gold under the bright lights.

Hoseok is mesmerised, incapable of taking his eyes off Yoongi’s long neck soaked with sweat, his bangs drenched and sticking to his forehead.

Then Yoongi blinks open, locks his eyes with Hoseok’s, and promptly fucks up.

 

--

 

Yoongi catches him at home two days later.

“Hey, loser,” he says as he sneaks up soundlessly, Hoseok nearly falling into the trash can along with the bags he throws into it.

Yoongi looks good, Hoseok realises as soon as he turns around, having a hard time believing they’re not just a couple of best friends they used to be, with Yoongi wearing the same leather jacket and the always present grin.

He points at Yoongi’s face and sighs. “Stop. Nearly gave me a heart attack,” but he only gets a laugh in return.

“Didn’t know you were coming to the concert.”

“Uh. Yea..” Hoseok clears his throat, rubs at the back of his neck. “Noona got me tickets for my birthday. Wasn’t planned.”

Yoongi is leaning against the fence, not saying anything. Hoseok considers apologising for taking him unprepared, causing him to mess up, but then changes his mind.

“How was it?” Yoongi asks and looks up, biting his lip. Hoseok just stares for a moment, surprised by how nervous he seems.

“Good,” he says. Laughs, “Really great, hyung.”

The smile Yoongi flashes is brighter than the sun, touches even the deepest parts of Hoseok’s heart and does something to the bitterness there.

Not as angry anymore, just glad they’re talking. Content with Yoongi here.

He scratches at his scalp, looking at the ground. “Uh, do you - do you maybe wanna come in?”

“Sure,” Yoongi says, that small smile back. Reminding him of years ago, the smiles Yoongi seemed to reserve for him and him only. “Yes, Hoseokie, I’d love to.”

And the nickname -

- something so intimate Hoseok forgets to breathe.

Mickey’s barking brings him out of the transe, getting him to move to the house, Yoongi following close behind. In the kitchen he prepares fresh ginseng tea, places a box of almond cookies on the table.

Yoongi is already sipping on his tea by the time Hoseok sits down. “Some proper shit,” he says with a groan, Hoseok unable to repress the laugh that hits him.

“Don’t tell me they deprive you of the fresh stuff.”

“Been mostly spending my days in different tin cans,” Yoongi says with a frown, “planes, vans, fucking busses. Not much time for real things.”

When their eyes meet over the table, it feels as if they’re not talking about tea anymore.

Hoseok stirs his spoon and takes a cautious sip. “But - hey, how you’ve been?”

“Same old,” Hoseok says before he can think about it. Before he can consider that they haven’t really spoken in more than a year, that Yoongi doesn’t know as much as he used to. “Studying performing arts.”

“Really?” and the excitement in Yoongi’s voice makes him smile, big and wide.

“Yeah. Been - been working really hard, you know?”

“Of course, Hoseokie. Always been so hardworking. The best at what you set your mind to.” The blush that spreads to his cheeks and then down his neck is unavoidable. He presses the back of his hand against his face, cold and pleasant in contrast to his overheated skin.

“There’s a showcase at the end of the semester and we still have a long way to go.”

A smile and, “I’d love to come see you dance, one day.”

Hoseok brews another round afterwards. Black tea instead of ginseng, Yoongi saying he can’t have too much of it. They talk about the changes in their lives, then move on to the most inane things, mentioning the good old days in passing.

There’s an itch that won’t stop until he asks.

So he leans back in the chair, ruffles his hair, and says, “How come you played here?”

There’s no hesitation or awkwardness, just Yoongi taking another sip of tea, smiling as he meets Hoseok’s eye.

“It’s where it all started.” A pause, Yoongi averting his eyes, playing with the tablecloth. “It’s where my heart is.”

Just after three Yoongi gets up and says he needs to leave. “We have a meeting scheduled. Seokjin won’t get off my ass if I don’t show,” so Hoseok walks him to the entrance, then to the fence, but the conversation is still going.

Yoongi laughs when Hoseok points it out. “I don’t think there’s ever been enough time, when it comes to you,” he says, then clears his throat and looks somewhere in the distance. “Did you get my letter?”

“What letter?” Hoseok asks, crosses his arms over his chest.

“Just - sent you something, a week ago,” and Hoseok remembers the letter Jiwoo gave to him the night he got back.

Remembers pushing it somewhere on the bookshelf in his room, never opening it.

“I think I got it,” he says now, Yoongi nodding and walking backwards down the street, that tiny smile back on his face.

“Don’t feel pressured by it, Hoseokie. It’s a lot, but - don’t be pressured, yeah?”

He tells him, Okay, hyung, I won’t , just before Yoongi disappears behind the corner with a single wave.

 

(Later, with New Order’s record playing in the background and a beer bottle keeping him company, he opens the letter. His stomach twists, heartbeat loud in his ears.

Happy birthday, Hoseokie , it says. There’s a key taped to the paper, on it written an address with big black letters.

Yoongi wasn’t lying. It’s a lot.

Can you hear me deep inside, the singer’s deep voice rings around the room, from these feelings I can’t hide.

Hoseok stares at the letter until the record needle reaches the end, scratchy sounds quiet in comparison to his loud thoughts.)

 

--

 

Once back in Seoul, Hoseok buys a map at one of the info points in Incheon and asks the lady behind the register for help.

“It should be somewhere in this area,” she tells him, circling her pen somewhere south of the river, marking an x as she adds, “My guess would be here.” He thanks her with a wide smile, jumping on the first bus to get him to the area.

It’s his day off, no classes or practice, and after weeks of mulling it over he’s finally decided to see where the address leads to. What exactly is it that the key opens.

It’s sunny outside, air warm and dry. Hoseok puts on a snapback to shield him from the brightness, buying a water bottle at a convenience store he spots after getting off the bus. It takes him another forty minutes to get to the street written on the key, number 137 still far from where he’s standing.

For a short moment he considers giving up. Turning around, joining Namjoon at one of those card games he always plays on Wednesdays with a few of his classmates.

But curiosity gets the better of him.

Jittery legs push him forward despite the nervousness in his stomach. So close to seeing what it’s all about, no giving up now.

The sun is setting by the time he reaches the number that has by now burned to the inside of his eyelids. Oranges and reds are filtering from behind tall buildings, peeking out from between tree branches, casting shadows onto grey streets.

It looks pretty. Promising. Hopeful, even, and Hoseok realises he’s expecting something.

He stands there and looks at the setting sun until it slowly disappears, left behind only pink sky and warm concrete. With nothing else holding him back, he flips the key in his sweaty palm, takes one last look at the colourful clouds, and climbs the short flight of stairs to get to the front door.

The key easily slides in, no resistance whatsoever. It unlocks on the first try, letting him into the building.

Mailboxes cover one of the walls, and Hoseok’s eyes stop on the one marked with ‘Min’, slender black letters pretty and familiar, bringing a smile onto his lips despite the nervousness. Apartment number 7.

In no time he’s facing the door with the exact same number, silver bright against the dark surface. With a deep breath he pushes the key inside and turns it, not giving himself an option to back down.

It clicks, door giving in when he pushes at it.

“Hello?” comes a voice, highly suspicious, Yoongi soon coming into Hoseok’s view in a pair of sweats and an oversized shirt, a pan in his hands.

Hoseok can’t help the laugh that bubbles from his mouth.

“Hoseok-ah,” and the softness is back. Despite not having seen each other in months, Yoongi seems glad he’s there. Surprised, but happy. “Didn’t think you’d come.”

Hoseok bites his lip and raises the key in his hand.

“Wanted to see where it lead.”

“Home,” Yoongi says, just standing there with cheeks dusted pink, lips curved upwards. “It leads home.”

When Hoseok nearly chokes, Yoongi shakes his head, saying, “Only if you want. Only - only then.”

 

(A cup of tea later, Hoseok brings it up again.

“I live with Joon-ah,” he says, pouting a little. “We split rent. I,” he tries to explain, but his voice gets stuck somewhere in his throat. Yoongi simply nods. All of it so unexpected, so sudden, after barely speaking in the last couple of years.

“Of course, yeah, I know.”

“Sorry.”

Hours pass with the two of them just sitting on the small couch, pressed together under a thick blanket. In a way it feels like the old days, like Yoongi and Hoseok before they hit their 20s, before they became adults. Before the world went crazy for Yoongi.

Back when they were just teenagers, dreaming of making it big and moving to the capital, getting a flat together. Hoseok still remembers the excitement running through his veins when they talked about living together, even though they were only kids with dumb ideas.

But Yoongi gave him the key to his apartment, keeping the promise he made all those years ago.

“You could still come sometimes,” gets whispered into his ear, the warmth shared between them almost too much. Intense but incredibly fulfilling, something Hoseok missed without even realising. “After school, I mean. Drop by.”

Hoseok smiles and nods.

“Sure, hyung. I’d love that,” and Yoongi’s eyes are sparkling when their eyes meet.)

 

--

 

Namjoon buys a small television for their apartment just before the summer starts, saying it’s time for them to update their hole.

Hoseok questions the purchase, but only a short month later he finds himself glued to the screen for a documentary about Gloss, their success, and latest tour.

Seeing Yoongi on the screen, playing his guitar and jumping around, causes something. It can’t compare to the sensation of being at their concert, Yoongi in front of him in flesh in bone, but there’s something entirely different about watching him on television, answering questions his fans are curious about. He looks cool, small smiles thrown at the camera mesmerising.

That evening at the dance practice Hoseok dances until his muscles hurt, dances until everyone but Jimin leaves.

Jimin, who remains leaning against one of the mirrors, watching him move to the rhythm of the music, thrust when the heavy bass hits, shake with exhaustion.

The small studio is left in silence after the song ends, filled only with his panting and Jimin’s light steps. He places his cold hands on Hoseok’s neck, massaging the muscles.

“I’m worried hyung’s going too hard.”

“Nah, Jiminie,” he mutters, places a hand onto Jimin’s waist and pulls him closer, half grinding against him. “Nah, Jiminie, hyung needs it hard.” He follows Jimin’s tongue as it swipes over those full lips, pink and bitten raw.

“Yeah?” Jimin asks, fingers soft against his jaw. Barely there, touch so light Hoseok wants to tell him to give it to him harder, but it’s all a part of his game.

So teasing. So cocky.

Jimin’s lips are parted and Hoseok is tempted to lean forward, to give in, but instead he lets his hand slip lower and squeeze Jimin’s ass, bringing their bodies closer together.

“Yeah. Can you do that, Jiminie?”

“Sure, Hobi,” comes right away, Jimin leaning closer to kiss a trail over his jaw, making him tilt his head backwards. “Anything for you.”

Hoseok can finally breathe in when Jimin presses him against the wall in the shower.

 

(When Jimin asks what’s got him riled up, he tells him it’s the stress.

He doesn’t mention a certain guy who’s been driving him a little crazy for years.)

 

--

 

Hoseok offers to make jjigae one evening, after Yoongi tells him he hasn’t had it in years.

“Still remember the one your mum made before I left for tour,” he says, washing the vegetables and passing them to Hoseok, who snorts.

“Hyung, that was years ago.”

“Yeah, and I can still taste it.” Which Hoseok calls bullshit, but it doesn’t really matter, because they’re in Yoongi’s kitchen making dinner, and it feels awfully similar to their teenage days.

“Almost like when we were seventeen,” Hoseok mutters while cutting the meat, Yoongi laughing next to him.

“Except we’re old now.”

“You’re old.” Yoongi huffs and tells him to fuck off. “And famous,” he adds, Yoongi flipping him off with a loud laugh.

Something slow is playing in the background, filling the space between them. It feels entirely too homey and comfortable, Hoseok almost wishing he got to experience this every day, that it could stay like this forever.

But it can’t, he reminds himself. Because they’re friends, and Yoongi is a celebrity with a skyrocketing career.

“Hey, Hoseok-ah?”

When he looks up, Yoongi is leaning against the counter with his arms crossed, eyes unfocused. “Have you, like - no pressure, or anything, but - have you listened to our newer stuff?”

Hoseok stares as Yoongi rubs the back of his neck, long fingers carding through his blond hair, now dark at the roots. He stares as Yoongi chuckles and repeats the movement, fingers eventually stopping on his neck, massaging the muscles there.

“Some of it, yeah,” he tells Yoongi, throwing chopped vegetables into the pan. “Noona has pretty much all of your records and we - well, we sometimes listen to them together.”

“Oh.”

And the blush that spreads over Yoongi’s cheeks is familiar. The gnawing on the inside of his cheek, the nervousness of his fingers, the constant humming.

“I really like them,” he says, not looking away when Yoongi glances up with wide eyes, mouth formed into a soft o. “I love them. All I Know and Opposites are really great. And deep.”

He laughs and turns back to the stove, stirring the stew. “I actually - hearing All These Spaces at the concert was a first. It really touched me, like - the longing? That ache and the need.. It - well, you can really feel it, you know?”

“You think so?” Yoongi asks, his voice soft and barely audible with the music on.

Hoseok jerks a nod and says, “The author did a brilliant job.”

“I wrote it,” and when Hoseok looks up he looks honest, almost scared. There’s something vulnerable about the curve of his eyebrows, something unusual about his smile. “It’s mine, in its entirety.”

“Your baby, huh, hyung?” Hoseok asks with a slight smile, then laughs. “How - how you used to call them, back then.”

Back then, years ago, and he isn’t certain Yoongi even remembers.

But then Yoongi laughs, says, “My baby, yea, shit,” and the neck rubbing is back, along with the nervous aura Hoseok can’t figure out.

Before he has a chance to ask, Yoongi changes the subject and asks him about school instead, the topic entirely forgotten by the time their dinner is done.

 

--

 

Hoseok receives an envelope in early autumn, thick and heavy. Instead of discarding it somewhere in the flat, where it would inevitably get lost under a pile of shit, he opens it right after getting home. Plops himself on the sofa, takes the small letter opener from the shelf, and tears the paper in one smooth move.

It was nice seeing you at the concert back in February , it says, no greeting, no anything. Could sound rude, if it weren’t Yoongi. Made me realise it’s not the same without you there.

His fingers smooth over the folds of the envelope, pulling out a ticket.

Gloss written in deep blue this time, Yoongi’s smiling face squeezed in between Seokjin and Jeongguk. The ticket is pitch black, their names written in white, painful on the eyes. The concert is in the middle of November, in Beijing.

As he spreads the envelope and actually looks into it, he finds another ticket. A plane ticket, this time, for Beijing. Departure a week before the concert. Hoseok’s heart gets stuck in his throat.

A bunch of questions and doubts, worries about where to sleep. About all of this being too much, Yoongi paying for everything, treating him to expensive things that he shouldn’t have to.

But then his eyes skitter over the text at the bottom that reads, It’s up to you, but I’d love to meet you there , and his decision is made already.

 

(Had been made for him a long long time ago, he thinks later.

Years ago, when his heart blindly decided to follow this boy to the end of the world, if necessary. Fate giving him answers to all the possible decisions of the future, when it had the two of them meet again.

When it had Yoongi swing by Hoseok’s house and smile the smile brighter than the sun, warmer than a hot summer’s day.)

 

--

 

Hoseok phones Yoongi’s company from the phone booth across the street from the university, almost gets hung up on when he tells the woman that he has a message for Min Yoongi.

“It’s from Jung Hoseok,” he says quickly, sighs into the plastic handle of the phone. “He’ll - he’ll know. Tell him I’m in, please. That I’m board with the plan.”

There’s silence on the other side, causes Hoseok to pick nervously at the fliers taped to the inside of the booth, glass barely bare and clean at this point.

A sigh, then, “Message received. Anything else, Hoseok-ssi?”

“Just that,” he says, but quickly adds his address, says that hyung can find him there, if he wants to.

 

--

 

Yoongi stops by a week later with a warm smile and hands full of takeout.

“I got food,” he says in a way of greeting when Hoseok opens the door, too stunned to do anything but stare. “Uh, should I not have swung by unannounced? Are you busy? Ah, Hoseokie, I’m-,”

“Is fine,” and Hoseok is already pulling him inside, letting the door close shut behind them. The place is a mess, but Hoseok tells himself it would’ve been a mess in any case, with exams just around the corner. “What’d you get me?”

“Sweet pork,” Yoongi says as he pulls the container from the plastic bag, placing it on the table in front of Hoseok. “I remembered it being your favourite back in high school, but.”

And it hangs between them, that unsaid sentiment.

Unsaid regrets, like I wish we kept in touch , or I used to have all of your favourites down to exact detail .

But Hoseok just smiles, reaches over the table to touch Yoongi’s hand in reassurance. He lets his fingers barely brush against Yoongi’s knuckles, quickly pulling back because it seems like too much.

Too much, yet not enough at all.

He tells himself to calm down. To appreciate what he has, to not be so greedy. Always wanting more and more, always have wanted so much, even with everything Yoongi offered him.

It was never enough, but he has Yoongi again, which is enough in itself.

Should be enough, but his heart aches for more.

His heart that beats all the faster when Yoongi laughs at a stupid joke, leans closer to feed him a piece of peking duck that he bought for himself.

His heart that nearly stops when their eyes lock over the table, Yoongi’s chopsticks still resting on his lips.

Yoongi says, “You’ve got a little something,” and motions to his own face. After Hoseok rubs at his cheek he just shakes his head, leans even closer, calloused thumb brushing just under Hoseok’s bottom lip. “There.”

There, says Yoongi.

There, says Hoseok’s heart, as if finally proving to him it’s all Yoongi’s fault.

Yoongi’s fault for his quick heartbeat, increased sexual desire these past couple of weeks. His fault Hoseok can’t sleep, instead thinking about long fingers and how they run over guitar strings, unable to forget the intense look in Yoongi’s eye at the concert.

Soft touches and even softer words that they shared in the old garage at his parents’ place. Yoongi writing lyrics with Hoseok pressed to his side, idly running his fingers over every part of Yoongi he could reach and afford to touch.

The trip they went on just before Yoongi graduated, something Hoseok is always going to connect with Yoongi, comfort, and warmth.

But now he barks a laugh, strained at the edges. Yoongi retrieves back to his side of the table, laughing softly. Hoseok can’t bring himself to meet his eye, cheeks burning up.

Silence stretches on, only distant sounds of neighbours filling the space between them, the clinging of utensils.

“Hyung?”

Yoongi hums, his lips stained red when Hoseok looks up. It’s a little distracting. “I - I knew I said I would go,” and there’s something like doubt climbing onto Yoongi’s face, maybe disappointment. “I still wanna go, but.”

“What.”

“One week in Beijing, I don’t think I can afford it.”

“It’s taken care of,” Yoongi mutters, slurping on his noodles. “Hyung took care of it, Hosekie. Don’t worry.”

He should. Should worry, and feel guilty, maybe offer Yoongi to pay half of it, but when Yoongi looks at him with that soft look in his eye and the slight smile on his lips, there is nothing he can say against it.

Nothing to say against it because it seems to mean a lot to Yoongi. As if having Hoseok there is important, expensive or not.

“Spending too much on me,” he says still, because the itch at the back of his thoughts won’t stop. The tiny part of him screaming it’s too much, it’s not enough, it’s all at once .

“We could, like, if - if it makes you feel better - share a room.”

“Oh,” is what comes out of Hoseok’s mouth, but he’s nodding right after, saying, “Sure. Like the old times.”

 

--

 

Two days before the flight Hoseok stops by the studio. No practice scheduled, but he knows Jimin is there, sweating his ass off, working until stress evaporates through every pore of his body.

“Looking good,” he mutters from where he’s standing by the entrance, arms crossed. Jimin visibly flinches, but then he throws his head back, laughs while pressing a hand to his mouth.

“When did knocking go out of fashion,” he says and bends down to stretch. He looks at Hoseok from between his legs, and smiles a little. “Me or the choreo?”

“Both. But mostly you, Jiminie, you know how it is.”

Ten minutes and a shower later, Jimin joins him on the floor of the studio, their backs pressed against the mirror. Jimin takes his hand and squeezes it, fingers warm and strong, grip reassuring.

“You good? Been kinda - off, lately.”

“Yeah,” Hoseok says, laughing once he realises what a shitty answer it is. He sighs, that chilliness of October air somehow weighing him down, the promise of snow in the following weeks reminding him it’s almost time to go. “Just - China.”

Jimin hums as if that explains everything, fingers moving from Hoseok’s hand to his thigh, squeezing the muscle. It feels nice, strain left behind by a stressful week slowly disappearing.

Jimin is good like that, the best at making him relax, getting rid of the knots in his shoulders and worries at the back of his head.

“On Monday, yea?”

“Yeah. Hyung’s supposed to meet me there.”

“And?” Hoseok sighs.

“And I’m all, just. Fucking vibrating,” he tells him with a weak huff. Jimin hums again, fingers even rougher against his jeans.

“Can feel it.” Hoseok watches him as he gets to his knees and moves to sit by Hoseok’s feet, both palms pressed heavily against his legs now. “Can hyung turn for me?”

“On my stomach?”

“Yea, best for back and shoulders.” And so he does, cement cold against his chest even through two layers of clothes, but Jimin soon straddles his hips from behind, bringing along some additional heat. “These are no joke,” he says as his fingers work on Hoseok’s neck, rough and so so good.

“Been stressed.”

“I can tell. But hyung - gotta take it easy.”

“Yeah,” he tells the floor, dust raising when he huffs. “Yeah, Jiminie, hyung is trying.”

He thinks about Jimin’s soft hands, his kind eyes. And how he wouldn’t have made it this far, if it weren’t for him. Holding his hand through the entire process, pushing him harder, and further, encouraging him to try new things, to get out there.

Helping him with various issues, such as the deep rooted Yoongi problem that Hoseok refuses to name.

Jimin had tried, more than once, but it always ended in a fight. Jimin apologising eventually, because Hoseok has always been a little too stubborn. Too afraid of the answer, maybe, Jimin hitting the sore spot head on.

“He obviously means a lot to you,” he said, one of those days after practice, where instead of chilling they went even harder in the shower or back at Jimin’s dorm. Always ended with Hoseok moaning Jimin’s name as he gave him what he needed the most.

Release.

He gave Hoseok what he needed, but kept increasing the pressure afterwards, telling him to, “Just ask.”

Hoseok never did that, of course. Isn’t going to do it, because they’re friends, best friends who found each other again, and it’s too soon to destroy it.

“Always gonna be too soon,” Jimin says now, when Hoseok tells him just that. “But who says it has to be destroyed.”

“Ah, Jiminie,” and he gets jabbed especially hard in the stomach, making him groan. Jimin just laughs and tell him to not be an idiot.

 

(Well after two am, when Hoseok finally gets up from Jimin’s bed to leave, Jimin sighs and rolls onto his back, arms braced behind his head.

“No matter what,” he says, cheeks red and hair disheveled, “know that I’m always here for you.”

Something about it rubs Hoseok the wrong way, but he can’t pinpoint it.)

 

--

 

Yoongi waits for him at the exit, just as he promised, but he’s not alone. Hoseok feels dumb for not expecting security to come with, two buff guys standing at his sides, moving with him. Yoongi is barely recognisable in his oversized hoodie, a padded jacket thrown on top, face covered by a face mask. As soon as he spots Hoseok he relaxes his arms, eyes curving into crescents.

“Hoseokie,” comes softly, so pleasant after his flight filled with screaming children and loud old men. Cold fingers graze along his knuckles, eventually finding his wrist and wrapping around it, tugging.

“Have you waited long?” he feels the need of asking, dragging his suitcase behind him, muscles tired after a long day of travelling.

“Nah, don’t worry about it.”

So he doesn’t. Listens to Yoongi go on and on about the practice they had earlier in the day, about Seokjin’s injury that seems to be getting worse. “The first concert is tomorrow and his wrist isn’t getting any better. It’s.. Like, the more he moves it, the more it hurts?”

“He should rest. You all should rest, working too hard all the time.” When Yoongi looks at him his eyes glisten with something odd, ends of his lips curving up as he blinks quickly.

The lighting on the back seats of the SUV is weak, but he sees Yoongi fiddling with his fingers as he smiles to himself.

“You shouldn’t worry about me.”

“I do, though. I worry, hyung, especially when seeing you so tired.” Or not seeing him at all, for weeks straight, his mind supplies. Unable to meet because of Yoongi’s schedule, a bunch of talk shows, some weird comedy shit, concerts spaced only days apart.

Travels the globe in the time it takes Hoseok to master a choreo.

“I’m gonna rest now,” Yoongi says, reaching forward to squeeze his arm. “All about that, now that you’re here. Resting.”

“And eating,” Hoseok adds with a cheeky smile, Yoongi snorting laughter.

“And eating.”

They start by ordering room service as soon as they get to the hotel, Hoseok too tired to go anywhere but the bed. He falls onto the soft covers with a groan, Yoongi’s laughter soft in the distance.

“I could sleep for a decade,” he moans, pressing his cheek against the pillow. When he blinks his eyes open, Yoongi is right there, sitting on the bed next to him, looking down with a slight smile.

So attentive it sends something warm to Hoseok’s head, awfully aware of Yoongi’s hand placed just by his head, mesmerised by the shadows Yoongi’s eyelashes cast on his cheeks.

“Sleep all you want. Nothing’s gonna stop you.”

Which is true, but Hoseok doesn’t want to waste a single moment he gets to spend with Yoongi. Would rather stay up and talk, or just stare through the window.

Doesn’t really matter, as long as they’re together.

And it’s a dangerous thought, something that reminds him of Jimin’s words, forcing him to close his eyes before staring at Yoongi gets too much. Before his smooth skin invites him to reach out, and touch, and run his fingertips against the warm cheeks, see if they are as silky as he remembers them being.

A shiver runs down his back, Yoongi shifting on the bed. “Are you cold?” he asks and Hoseok shakes his head. There’s pressure on his legs a moment later, on his torso. A blanket laid down on top of him, warm and heavy, followed by a soft touch against his jaw.

“Wake me up when the food’s here,” he slurs, cheek squished against the pillow. The material is soft and smells clean, pleasant to the nose. He registers fingers in his hair, moans softly once they’re gone.

“Sure. Don’t you worry, Hoseokie.”

 

(The lights are off when he wakes up. Soft snoring is coming from the other bed, Hoseok making out a form in the dark, thanks to the weak light of the city that shines through the windows. Yoongi looks tiny, legs pulled to his chest, arms folded by his head.

There’s a trolley full of food by the wardrobe, plates loaded with meat and pasta and shrimp, all of what Hoseok wanted to eat.

His stomach grumbles now, but he ignores it. Stares at Yoongi instead, at his relaxed shoulders, the soft curve of his parted mouth.

He looks at Yoongi until he falls asleep.)

 

--

 

The morning after the first concert, Hoseok wakes up first. He knows Yoongi came back in early morning hours, so he stays in bed, stares at the rising sun dancing on Yoongi’s face, the pout his mouth forms into when sun rays land on his eyelids.

He moves to draw the curtains, as quiet as possible not to wake him, and heads for the shower.

Yoongi is still snoring softly when he gets back to the room, a towel wrapped around his waist.

There’s a moan just as he’s about to dress, causing his grip on the towel to tighten as he slowly turns to Yoongi, who’s blinking open, eyes swollen.

“Morning,” Hoseok says with a small smile, one that soon mirrors on Yoongi’s face as he grunts in reply. “How was the concert?”

“Good,” Yoongi says, voice rough and low. He raises his arms over his head and stretches over the entire length of the bed with a loud moan. “‘S good.”

“Slept well?” which only gets him another grunt in reply, Yoongi’s eyes closed when he looks at him again. Hoseok drops the towel to the ground by the armchair, quickly pulls on his boxers, followed by a pair of washed out jeans and a black sweater.

“Got toned up,” Yoongi says, eyes still closed when Hoseok turns around.

He laughs at the realisation that he was being watched, ignores the heat that climbs up his neck and reaches all the way to his cheeks.

“Yeah,” he mutters, points at himself awkwardly. “Dance, remember?”

“Look good,” comes next, causing Hoseok to clear his throat.

“Thanks, hyung. Thanks.”

Snores continue by the time Hoseok is back from the bathroom and he wonders if Yoongi was ever truly awake at all.

 

--

 

Yoongi invites Hoseok to the soundcheck, all of it reminding him of the good old days.

Almost identical with Seokjin walking around with his bass guitar thrown over his shoulder, telling bad jokes to anyone willing to listen. Taehyung lying on the ground by the drums, fingers thrumming against the bass drum or fucking with the cymbal, screaming into the microphone resting on his chest whenever he is told to sing. His hand gets slapped off the drums every few seconds by a very annoyed Jeongguk, which is all the same as a few years ago, except that Jeongguk has grown a little.

A lot, Hoseok realises when Jeongguk jumps from his stool and embraces him into a tight hug with a wide smile on his face. Arms long and buff, stronger than he remembers.

Hoseok leans back, holds him by the shoulders as he takes a proper look.

“Where’s my dongsaeng disappeared to?” he asks no one in particular, Jeongguk scrunching his nose in that cute manner of his, expression suddenly making him look fifteen again.

“Hoseok-ah!” Seokjin yells from the stage, quickly running to the edge and jumping off it, pushing Yoongi out of the way in the process, who curses at him and flips him off. “Yoongi told us you were at the concert. Why didn’t you come say hi?”

“Didn’t - it’s been a while, hyung,” he says, attacked by two more hugs from Seokjin and Taehyung. It’s followed by a cough, Hoseok realising it’s the other guitarist of the band, who he hasn’t met yet.

“Hyung, this is Donghyuk-hyung,” Jeongguk introduces, Hoseok bowing to the guy. “He’s your year.”

“Oh,” slips Hoseok’s lips, quickly forming into a wide smile. “Hello, it’s good to finally meet you.”

“Likewise,” Donghyuk says, a lazy smile on his face. He laughs and looks at Yoongi. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

Which Hoseok is about to question, but Yoongi tells them it’s time for work and pushes them back on the stage, cheeks slightly pink.

“Don’t feel obliged to stay,” he tells Hoseok as soon as the others are far enough, fingers playing with the earpiece hanging around his neck. “You can do what you want, if this gets boring.”

“You know I’ve always loved this,” Hoseok reassures, reaches forward and squeezes Yoongi’s arm. “Seeing you guys do the magic.” A pause, a shy giggle, and, “You, all professional.”

When their eyes meet, Yoongi’s are sparkling with something else, something Hoseok can’t figure out. Been seeing it much more frequently lately, but doesn’t understand what it is, what causes it.

“O - okay,” Yoongi bites out, jerks a nod. “If you say so.”

 

(Hoseok barely takes his eyes off Yoongi in the next hour, catches him smiling to himself more than a few times, usually after their eyes meet, after Hoseok offers him a little wave or a wink.

It’s odd, he tells himself.

Odd that the lights aren’t on yet, yet Yoongi’s face seems redder than before.)

 

--

 

Being backstage after so many years is a little shocking.

Taehyung is doing lines on the small coffee table in the middle of the room, kneeling in front of it to be able to sniff properly. No one says anything - no one seems to mind it. Jeongguk is lying on the couch, fucking with the record player in the corner, switching the plate every few minutes. By his feet, Seokjin is rolling a cigarette and drinking wine straight from the bottle. Donghyuk is doing his makeup by the mirror wall, conversing with their manager.

That leaves Hoseok and Yoongi sitting on the sofa on the other side of the coffee table, Yoongi kicking Taehyung in the head every once in a while, telling him he’s got enough.

“Do you still do it?” he finds himself asking, head lulled back. Yoongi has one leg folded under his ass, body turned to Hoseok, one arm resting over the backrest. He rubs at his neck.

“Not often. Fucks with my head.” Yoongi smiles softly, looks at his own lap, fingers tracing the seams of his dark jeans. “Y’know how we’d.. We’d thought we were invincible?”

Hoseok laughs and hums, Yoongi shaking his head, that smile still present. “Funny how things change, huh.”

Hoseok is reminded of late nights after gigs, when Yoongi would sometimes get a good deal from a guy Namjoon knew. Get a good deal, and pay for it all, saying Hoseok deserved it anyway, because they were in this together.

“This wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for you,” Yoongi would often say, share the pills with Hoseok in shady restrooms of even shadier places. Always hit hard, especially when combined with a couple of drinks that Seokjin would sometimes buy for them.

Always hard, and heavy, but rarely bad. Hoseok remembers most nights being good, and fun, and safe. Real chill, with music blasting loud, with Yoongi’s body hot against his.

Usually good, until it wasn’t.

One night ended with Hoseok throwing up behind the club, then collapsing. Crying when he came to it, seeing all sorts of shit that made everything else unimportant. Bad enough to outshine the good trips, bad enough for him to never try it again.

Even worse because Yoongi wasn’t there. And Hoseok has never told him, didn’t want to him to worry. Made Seokjin promise he wouldn’t say anything either, a pinky promise that seems so dumb years later.

Now, Yoongi says, “Quit it, Tae. Try another and I’m kicking you out,” which must mean something, must be a legit threat, because Taehyung gets to his feet and mutters he’s gonna go chill it outside.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m going,” says Seokjin, before Yoongi can even open his mouth, and follows him outside.

Still taking care of them all as if they’re his little brothers, warming Hoseok’s heart.

Jeongguk continues messing with the record player, eventually puts on Joy Division and hums, finally leaving it alone. Then he turns around and sits up, pointing at Hoseok.

“Hyung, wanna hit?”

“Nah,” he tells him, shakes his head. There are fingers at the back of his neck, gentle, careful, and he realises Yoongi giving him a massage. As he used to do, before it all fell apart.

“Suit yourself. Donghyuk-hyung?”

“Sure, why not,” Donghyuk says and plops down next to Jeongguk, picking up the wine bottle Seokjin left behind.

Yoongi is looking at Hoseok when he turns his head, fingers falling to a halt on his neck before they pick up again. Yoongi lips are curved upwards, eyes warm and kinda intense, easy to get lost in.

Hoseok can’t tell where he’s looking at, but it’s definitely not his eyes.

“Yoongi-hyung?” Jeongguk’s voice comes from the distance.

“Maybe later,” Yoongi mutters, his breath fanning over Hoseok’s lips.

“Maybe later,” Hoseok repeats, not sure why.

 

--

 

Hoseok doesn’t get an actual shout-out this time, but just before Vigilante Yoongi taps the microphone and says, “To someone who’s been by my side this entire time - thank you. Thank you for giving me hope.”

And Hoseok isn’t as close to the stage as he was back in February, the venue much bigger, security tighter, but.

But the words are in Korean, almost as if not meant for the crowd.

He wonders if the light in Yoongi’s eyes and the smile on his lips is indeed meant for him.

 

(Donghyuk thanks the crowd in Chinese, people around him going nuts. Hoseok just smiles, unable to look at anyone but Yoongi.)

 

--

 

Back at the hotel, Yoongi cracks open a window, leans over it, and lights a cigarette.

It’s a peaceful night, cars below providing a pleasant hum to the otherwise silent city.

Hoseok joins him by the window, presses close until their shoulders are touching, that nice sort of pressure. Reassuring, and grounding, something he suspects Yoongi might need after a big concert and hours of partying.

The adrenalin must be wearing off now, because his eyes are distant. Still soft at the corners, but empty, eyebags a little heavier.

“T’was good having you here,” it comes eventually, followed by a hum.

“Thank you for inviting me,” he says, makes Yoongi huff.

“Hoseokie - I.. This entire thing? A fucking selfish move.” Hoseok doesn’t move, stares straight ahead, at the dark city stretching all around them.

“Why?”

“I,” Yoongi starts, then shakes his head, taking another drag. Grey smoke twirls around his nose, slowly disappearing into the night. “I needed you here, Hoseok.”

Words get stuck in his throat when Yoongi turns to him, looking so open and vulnerable it sends something unpleasant down his neck. Without realising his hand touches Yoongi’s arm, travelling from his bicep downwards, to his elbow, then his wrist, eventually covering Yoongi’s hand, skin cold against Hoseok’s.

He’s staring at their hands instead of Yoongi, the intensity and rawness of the moment almost unbearable. The desperation in Yoongi’s eyes isn’t something he shows often, so Hoseok isn’t sure how to approach this.

After all it has been years since they were as open, as honest when it comes to pain.

“Yoongi,” Hoseok whispers, words still too loud in the darkness of early morning hours, “There’s nothing wrong with needing someone.”

The way Yoongi looks at him, lips parted as if there’s something ready at the tip of his tongue, Hoseok can’t help the nervousness that settles deep in his bones. Fingers jittery, even when they’re placed right on top of Yoongi’s.

It seems like he might say something, but then he looks away, crushes the cigarette against the window pan, and drops it into the darkness.

Gone in a blink of an eye, just like Hoseok’s chance to do something.

“Come on,” Yoongi says, Hoseok suddenly feeling a little dizzy. “Let’s get inside before you catch a cold.”

 

(Yoongi’s the one who catches a cold in the end, sniffing and coughing the next morning, barely capable of getting out of bed.

He tells the manager to fuck off when he comes to the room for a check up and says, “Thank god you don’t have concerts for a while.”

Hoseok feeds him crackers and pours him fresh tea, wiping his forehead free of sweat.

During the night Yoongi gets delirious due to the fever. At least that’s what Hoseok tells himself, “I love you,” slipping Yoongi’s lips all too easily.)

 

--

 

The night before his flight back to Incheon, they decide to go out.

“Only fair I show you proper places around here. Try some real food, not that hotel shit,” Yoongi says as he tugs Hoseok down the street by his jacket.

Hoseok only laughs, throwing his head back, hair secured by a thick beanie.

“You were the one who said food in the hotel was good.” Yoongi shrugs, shoots him a cocky grin.

“Good, sure, but nothing in comparison.”

They slow down at street trucks, stands filling every empty spot, steam raising from the pots filled with food, noodles and cakes and rice everywhere Hoseok looks. Yoongi keeps tugging at his jacket, doesn’t stop until they reach a stand by a small square.

He points at the place with a big smile. “ This is the proper shit.”

The smile that the lady offers to Yoongi when he approaches her is a wide one. Hoseok furrows his eyebrows when she laughs, a little mad with himself for never taking the time to learn the language properly.

After placing their orders, they sit down at one of the tables, Yoongi looking relaxed. Content, lips curved into a permanent smile.

Hoseok can’t help but mirror it.

“Wrap up, hyung,” he tells him, tugs at the scarf around his neck, tightening it. He pushes it into Yoongi’s padded jacket and zips it to the top. “Enough of being sick.”

And he didn’t think Yoongi could look more beautiful under those colourful street signs all around them, but when Yoongi smiles wider, eyes curving, Hoseok feels warmer than hundred suns.

Cheeks pink from the cold, tip of his nose almost red, but skin glowing under the lights, bright and healthy.

“Thank you, Hoseok-ah,” he says, and Hoseok finds himself saying, “Always,” for the nth time.

Always, his heart beats. Always, when it comes to Yoongi.

 

--

 

They take another portion of wonton to go, even though Hoseok feels like he won’t be able to eat for another week.

“So, does this beat it?”

“Oh, yeah,” Hoseok says with a laugh, “definitely.”

Which isn’t a surprise, not with the old lady having years of practice, not with the local ingredients, perhaps even freshly picked from her own garden.

It’s not a surprise with Yoongi looking like there’s nowhere else in the world he’d rather be, with his soft smile turning Hoseok’s insides to mush.

Funny how he loves spending time with Yoongi so much it’s starting to hurt. How every good thing brings bitter-sweet emotions, because Yoongi is right there, but not the way Hoseok would like him.

Not fully, because his heart aches for more.

He shakes his hair out of his eyes, along with the unnecessary thoughts.

It’s too late to be thinking about that, couldn’t have a more inconvenient timing with him leaving in less than a day, with the rest of Gloss’ tour still long ahead of them.

Hoseok wonders when they will get to see each other next.

“I kinda wanna just - chill. Get a beer, maybe some soju. Smoke while listening to shitty Japanese songs we used to listen to,” Yoongi says around a laugh, bumps his shoulder with Hoseok’s. “D’you remember those? Fucking nasty.”

“Crazy lyrics, never forgetting those,” Hoseok says, but the first image that plops into his head is Yoongi trashed off his mind, lying half naked on the balcony leading from Jiwoo’s room, resembling a dead jellyfish.

He can’t remember what year it was, or what they were on, but he knows this dumb affection he’s feeling right now must’ve started way before that. Because even then, with a trashy Japanese record playing on Jiwoo’s fancy record player and Yoongi’s mouth full of nonsense, he couldn’t stop smiling.

He laughs now, runs a hand through his hair. “Never forgetting you throwing up over the fence. Right onto mum’s veggy garden.” And Yoongi is laughing too, shaking his head, eyes having taken a form of crescents again.

Looks truly happy, Hoseok thinks. Much more rested with the fever gone, eyebags lighter, cheeks full of colour.

“Happy days ruined by some puke, huh.”

“Some? Hyung, you drowned the crops,” which causes Yoongi to nearly choke from laughing so hard, tears collecting in the corners of his eyes. One runs down his cheek and Hoseok brushes it away with his thumb, quickly looking to the ground after their eyes meet, ears burning up.

Air smells of car exhaust and cotton candy, a weird mix that makes Hoseok nostalgic. Maybe it’s the memories of the past, or Yoongi pressed warmly to his side.

“Wanna get drunk?”

So sudden and absurd Hoseok can’t help but laugh, Yoongi’s face serious when he looks at him.

“You serious?”

“As serious as they get.”

Which ends with the two of them buying a couple of bottles of soju at a store at the corner, wandering the barely lit streets, no one but sketchy people around. Yet Hoseok couldn’t feel safer, finds himself realising he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in that moment, that there’s no one else he’d rather be spending time with.

But then he thinks it’s always been like that, ever since he and Yoongi met. Ever since that first time they talked, when Yoongi called him a loser, then offered him a chewing gum and asked him if he wanted to get bingsu after class.

Doesn’t remember ever wanting to go home. Ever being sick of Yoongi’s presence or his slightly slurred words, his voice. His unusual manner of speaking, the soft syllables slipping his pouty lips.

Back in the hotel room they sit down by the windows, uncapping the first bottle. They don’t bother with cups, because they never did. Drinking straight from the bottle, which used to be a safe spot for Hoseok, to drink as much as he was capable of without getting shit from the others.

Always been a bit of a light-weight, but Yoongi never seemed to mind.

Never pressured him into anything, kept doing his own thing. Always invited Hoseok to come along, but never forced.

Supportive, and including, but never overwhelming. A perfect safe spot. A perfect safe person.

Hoseok takes a swig from the bottle to drown the heavy thoughts, too heavy for five in the morning, too dark when the sun is about to rise.

Yoongi cracks the window when he lights a cigarette, profile shining bright as he looks outside. Hoseok isn’t affected by the sight of the bright city below, of the high skyscrapers and modern buildings, of the odd panel boards that promote brands he’s never heard of before.

The only thing that matters Yoongi’s smooth skin, high cheeks, small nose. A little too entrancing with blue light that shines on him from across the street.

He busies himself with rolling a cigarette, something to occupy his hands as well as his mind. “Didn’t you quit?” Yoongi asks him. He shakes his head.

“Less frequent, though. A strain for my already thin wallet.” Yoongi hums. “Joon-ah buys tobacco for himself, lets me have some from time to time.” Another hum. “Jimin tells me it’s bad for me, though,” Hoseok adds with a small smile, shakes his head. “It’s true, y’know, either dancer’s or smoker’s lungs. You can’t have both.” He licks the paper, rolls it together, and plops it between his teeth.

“Jimin?” Yoongi asks, eyebrows furrowed when Hoseok looks up.

“Uh, yeah. We - dance together.” Yoongi lets out a soft, “Oh,” then simply nods and leans closer, grabbing Hoseok by the back of his neck.

A fire goes off in between them, held in Yoongi’s fingers. A fire goes off in Hoseok’s heart, having Yoongi’s face so close, his fingers burning the back of his neck. He manages to breathe in once he realises what’s happening, smoke burning the back of his throat. “Thanks,” he mutters.

“Why don’t you quit?” Yoongi says, back to staring through the window.

“Can’t. Too used to it, don’t think I could live without it,” he tells him, their eyes meeting through the smoke, Yoongi’s burning brighter than the fire at the tip of his cigarette.

“Yeah,” he says, something intense about his glare. “Yeah,” he says when he takes another drag, leaning closer to the window, but eyes still glued to Hoseok.

After a few quick blinks he seems to get himself out of it, just huffs and looks away.

Eventually they turn on the radio and let a random jazz station buzz in the background. Yoongi tells him about his wildest experiences from the tour. Mentions a few incidents with the fans, one time Taehyung fucked a girl right before the show and was nearly late for the concert.

Yoongi waves his cigarette around as Hoseok rolls on the floor from laughing so hard. “‘Cos he had to wipe jizz off his pants. Can you fucking believe that?”

And Hoseok tells him no, even though he can see it clearly in his mind. Can imagine Taehyung’s lazy smile, his chill aura, the positive mentality of everything always being okay.

“What about orgies,” Hoseok asks, wiggling his eyebrows. The alcohol in his veins must’ve finally reached his brain, because he can feel his tongue tying loose, muscles heavy, eyes hazy. “Ever got those - fucking classy - groupies come, and then..” More eyebrow wiggling, which makes Yoongi laugh and shake his head.

“No. Fuck no, ew.”

“Ew why,” he mutters, sits up to reach for the bottle again. Alcohol is cold against his tongue, strong against his throat.

“Just - completely different tastes. Also I’m never getting down with the four of them.”

“Oh,” Hoseok says, realises the problem and nods.

“Yeah.” Yoongi finishes his cigarette and extinguishes it in the ashtray placed between them, full by now. He blows the smoke through his nose and laughs, rubbing at his neck. “Taehyung’s way too nasty. Jeongguk-ah would be under a question mark, but Seokjin would fucking kill me.”

“Seokjin-hyung? What? Why?” Hoseok has his own answer to his question, his own explanation that his mind kindly supplies, but it can’t be what Yoongi is implying.

It can’t be, yet Yoongi laughs and grimaces.

Says, “Well, fuck. I already said as much so - don’t tell anyone, but - Guk and Jin? A thing.”

Hoseok stares, unable to believe his own ears. Yoongi laughs again, sounding a bit tense now.

“A thing, as in-,”

“Seokjin fucks him good, then buys him shit. And Guk is gone for the guy, like, has been for years probably. Shit.” Yoongi pauses to take another swig, shakes his hair from his eyes. “Was such a major problem, y’know. We spent nights just - talking about it. ‘Cos you know, if it gets out.. Fucked, to the moon and back, no excuses, no take backs. Majorly fucked, all of us.”

He sniffs and scratches his forehead. “But when it came down to it I told him ‘do it’. ‘Cos it’s what really matters, right. Fuck this job. Fuck touring and being famous. We can still play in shit dumps, I told him, ‘cos the way he looks at Jeongguk-ah.. Fuck, Hoseokie, it’s just. So much, y’know.”

And Hoseok does, so he nods. He nods and says, “Yeah, hyung, I know.”

Knows the feeling, aware of the want, the need. Can feel it whenever Yoongi laughs particularly loud or offers him a smile extremely soft.

For a while, it’s silent. Hoseok is thinking it over, wondering how he’s never noticed. “How long?”

“The love?”

“Nah, like. The actual thing,” because he knows the affection could’ve been going for years, without anyone knowing. He realises everyone keeps their secrets, safely locked away until it’s time to share them, or until it gets too much, all of it exploding.

“A little over a year. Not a noticeable change, though. Apart from the occasional fucking in the studio,” which makes Hoseok laugh. Yoongi just looks at him with soft eyes, tilts the bottle again.

The sky is starting to paint orange by the time Yoongi gets up to go to the bathroom. Hoseok listens to the buzz of the cars that’s getting louder, to the flushing of the toilet.

Then there’s Yoongi’s voice again, low and soothing.

The last thing Hoseok remembers is Yoongi’s face just inches from his, smoke rising from his mouth.

 

--

 

Jimin laughs when Hoseok tells him China was nice.

“Sure, hyung. Just as nice as that smile stretched all over your face. Not at all suspicious.” Hoseok flips him off, Jimin’s laughter ringing around the studio.

Jimin drives him harder than ever, tells him he’s missed a lot and has only two days to catch up. “Is no joke, hyung, this choreo is. Fuckin’ difficult, Taemin-hyung really did his best with the hyungs over in LA.”

So Hoseok sweats his ass off, takes only two water breaks, even though Jimin tells him ten seconds aren’t harming anyone.

“Ain’t hurting, but it ain’t helping either, is it.”

The studio’s heating is usually off, so Hoseok never fails to wear an extra hoodie for practice. By the end of the night it’s discarded on his bag in the corner, the tank top soaked in sweat and clinging to his chest. Jimin’s isn’t in a much better state.

The mirrors are fogged up, studio much warmer than it was when they arrived. Jimin bends over and braces his hands on his knees when the song ends, Hoseok’s own panting loud in his ears as he leans against the wall.

“Hyung’s good.”

“Jiminie is no joke either,” Hoseok rasps out, both of them laughing at how exhausted they sound. They wrap it up for the night, deciding to shower back at Jimin’s, since it’s well after three in the morning.

“Am I gonna get any details?” he gets asked once Jimin is straddling his waist, both of them freshly showered and naked on the bed.

“What you wanna know.”

“Dunno, hyung.” His short fingers are tracing the lines of Hoseok’s chest, lightly running over his skin. He seems to be deep in thought, eyes a little distant. “Everything. Whatever you deem important.” He meets Hoseok’s eye, smiles a little. “Whatever you’re willing to give me.”

“I - I think he’s not disgusted by it.” Jimin’s eyebrows furrow, fingers now in Hoseok’s hair and scratching good.

“Like - connected to you, or-,”

“Nah, just. Generally. He knows some people who..”

“Queer, Hobi,” Jimin mutters, touch soft, his glare and words all but. “That’s the term - queer.”

“Yeah,” Hoseok says, but still avoids saying it. “He wasn’t hateful, like, at all. It’s gotta mean something, no?”

“Sure, hyung,” Jimin says, leans closer to press his lips against Hoseok’s. “Sure.”

 

--

 

Christmas rolls around, bringing along a thick blanket of snow. The last person Hoseok expects to see when he arrives home is Yoongi.

Yoongi, who is sitting in his parents’ kitchen, Jiwoo across from him.

“Hoseokie,” he says as soon as Hoseok walks through the door, hair full of melting snowflakes, wrapped into a thick coat.

“Ah, you’re here!” Jiwoo says as she turns around to face him. She stands up to put the kettle on, lips stretched into a wide smile. “I was keeping Yoongi company,” she explains, ruffles Hoseok’s hair when she passes him, and disappears down the hallway, leaving them alone.

“Hi,” Yoongi says with a soft smile, Hoseok still frozen on the spot, more than a little shocked.

“Hey,” he says back, finally takes off his coat, and throws it over an empty chair. He turns to the stove, then to Yoongi, back to the stove. He furrows his eyebrows, looking at Yoongi again. “You’re really here,” he mutters, more than a little stunned.

Yoongi’s smile remains soft even though it grows bigger, stretches wider. His eyes curve with amusement, but he only nods and says, “Yeah, I am.”

Ten minutes later they’re sitting in the backyard under the roof, shielded from the snow, thick quilts protecting them from the winter cold.

“How come you’re free?” Hoseoks asks, sipping on his tea. Yoongi is pressed against him, warm and reassuring, a calming vibe about him.

“Seokjin’s wrist kept getting worse. He could barely play in New York. Doctors said it’s best if he gives it a break and - well,” he looks at him, smiles a little, “We’re not us with one missing, so we cancelled.”

“What? The rest of the tour?”

“Yeah. We had only a few concerts left anyway. Plus we’re all afraid of fucking his hand up even further.” Hoseok hums, cup discarded on the floor. He pushes his hands under the blanket, rubbing them against his thighs. “You cold?”

“Hands, yea.”

“Give,” Yoongi says with no hesitation, reaching towards Hoseok under the blanket, touching his thigh. Hoseok finds Yoongi’s hand, their fingers brushing together.

Yoongi’s hands are warm, big and pleasant wrapped around Hoseok’s, heavy and so good. Yoongi rubs them together, massages Hoseok’s palms, runs his fingers over his knuckles. All of it makes him forget about the cold and triples the fire in his heart.

“I’m glad you’re here,” he says before he can stop himself, staring at Yoongi profile, barely lit by the street lights. His eyes are bright when he looks up, sparkling and so deep, almost holding galaxies.

Holding a lot of beautiful things, Hoseok thinks, even if not galaxies.

“Me too,” says Yoongi, eyes dropping somewhere lower. “Wasn’t - didn’t know whether you’d be home. Hoped you would.”

“Thank you for coming.”

“Thank you for being here.”

The smiles they share feel warm despite the freezing cold.

 

--

 

It’s a phone call for his birthday.

“Happy birthday, Hoseokie,” it comes, a little weak because of the distance, buzzing of the line louder than usual.

He looks at the clock in the living room, ticking off just after midnight.

“Hyung, I..” Love you , his mind supplies kindly. He clears his throat, says, “Thank you,” instead.

“Your present should be.. in a few days,” Yoongi says, the connection getting worse. Hoseok can’t make out everything he says, but he understands just fine.

“You shouldn’t have.”

“Already did.” Hoseok traces patterns on the wooden cupboard the phone stands on, chewing on his lip.

“Paris?” he asks.

“S - sorry,” Yoongi’s voice comes, a little weak. “Can you repeat that?”

“Are you in Paris?”

“No, no, London. It’s nice here, but cold, and Hoseokie-,” but the static gets louder, cutting the line eventually.

Hoseok finds himself smiling nevertheless, cheeks warm even hours after, Yoongi’s voice still loud in his ears.

 

--

 

It’s Yoongi’s apartment next, early March, just days after Yoongi’s birthday.

Hoseok checks with Gloss’ manager, who has by now remembered his name, and finds out Yoongi is flying in from Osaka on Friday.

He tells Namjoon about his plan, tells him about being kinda hesitant to just drop by.

“Yoongi-hyung, yea?” Namjoon asks, points at him with his cigarette. Hoseok shrugs and nods. “The one who gave you the key. The key to his apartment, Hoseok. D’you think he goes ‘round just, like - giving out keys to his fucking apartment to anyone who will take it?”

Hoseok kicks him to the shin, pushing his face away. Namjoon laughs and tells him he’s the worst loser in this loser hell.

“Says you,” Hoseok huffs.

“Me, who has a date with Hyejin today.”

“Unrelated.”

“Right, because we’re only talking about your boner for hyung’s guitar, sorry.”

This time Hoseok kicks him hard enough to bruise.

Yoongi isn’t in the apartment when Hoseok lets himself in, red sunset casting shadows on the walls, colours dancing on the furniture. It looks almost magical, Hoseok’s content sigh loud in the silence of the room.

By the time he puts everything away, there are keys in the front door, just a moment later Yoongi struggling to open it with a bag slung over his shoulders, looking stressed and unexpectedly defeated.

Tired.

He freezes on the spot as soon as he looks up and notices Hoseok, eyes widening as his mouth falls into a tiny o, seeming rather shocked.

Hoseok tells himself it’s the big Happy Birthday cap on his head.

For a moment they only stare at each other. Yoongi looks worn, skin pale and eyebags dark, an even starker contrast than usually. But then his lips form into the tiniest of smiles, inviting even if tired, kind even if weak.

“Hoseok-ah,” he says, finally steps in and drops the bag to the ground, shutting the door with his foot. “What - what are you doing here? I didn’t expect - I’m..” He rubs the back of his neck, nods quickly a few times. Hoseok looks at his adam’s apple bobbing. “I’m happy to see you.”

Hoseok thinks of the cake in the fridge, of the takeout on the counter. Of the record he’s bought for Yoongi, a band they both used to listen to back in high school, one that disbanded a long time ago.

He thinks about how tired Yoongi looks and how he probably wants nothing more than sleep, and suddenly nothing else matters.

His fingers pull at the elastic that’s holding the hat on his head, and pulls it off. Then he smiles and walks over to Yoongi, wrapping his arms around him.

A simple gesture, but one that feels right. He hears Yoongi exhale only a moment later, arms wrapping around his body.

“Happy birthday, hyung,” he tells him, softly.

“I’m sorry,” Yoongi says instead, makes Hoseok hug him even tighter.

“Don’t. It’s your birthday. We - we do what you want.” He takes a deep breath, says, “I can stay. We can sleep,” carefully, testing the waters. When there’s no reply he goes on, says he can leave as well, but Yoongi’s fingers find home in his hair, and tug.

Gentle, but hard enough to get his attention.

Then Yoongi leans away, smiles at him, their faces only a breath away.

“It sounds like a plan, Hoseokie. I’d like that.”

 

(The next morning, when Hoseok wakes up with the morning sun in his eyes, Yoongi’s arm is thrown over his middle, holding him close.

If Hoseok smiles and enjoys feeling Yoongi pressed against his back, no one has to know.)

 

--

 

In late April, Yoongi shows up in front of Hoseok’s university with a camcorder.

“It lasts up to three hours,” he tells Hoseok as he jumps around him with the thing practically glued to his face. Hoseok can’t stop laughing and smiling, seeing Yoongi bursting with excitement.

“Where’d you even get it?”

“Japan, last week. Got a polaroid camera too.” He moves the recorder away from his face, smiling wide. “We should go somewhere, I can tape it.”

Hoseok laughs even harder and shakes his head. There are people passing by who give them odd looks, but Hoseok can’t blame them. Not when Yoongi can’t stay still, not when they’re both laughing loud.

Not when one of them has a camera in his hands and filming the other.

“Hyung, stop,” Hoseok says and hits his shoulder, but Yoongi tells him to shut it.

“You’re meant for this Hoseok-ah, just like Ahn Sunggi, or Kim Myun-,”

“Ah, what are you saying-,”

“-Myungon, ‘cos you’re handsome.”

“Ah, hyung,” he mutters, cheeks burning up despite the cold weather outside, despite the slight drizzle of yet another April day. He wraps his coat tighter around himself and looks to the ground, attempts to hide the smile in his scarf.

The compliment causes him to smile all the way to the café, where he finally manages to steal the camcorder from Yoongi, turning it on him this time.

Yoongi just smiles, looking at the lens, then leans to the side and attempts to look Hoseok in the eye.

Hoseok refuses to look at him and keeps his eyes trained on the screen, stomach twisting at the sight of Yoongi. Blond locks poking him in the eyes, a grey beanie on his head, soft smile on his lips.

He looks fond, Hoseok realises. Fond and so affectionate it takes his breath away.

 

(Much later, when they’re walking back to Hoseok’s apartment, he secretly tapes Yoongi as he talks about the plans for their next show, all excited. Lots of hand waving and wide smiles, but what’s the most fascinating is how quickly he speaks, with that slight pout on his lips, as if he can’t wait for it.

Just before getting caught, Hoseok wishes he could take the tape with him. Watch it over and over again on his bad days.

Suddenly he understands why Yoongi had bought it.

Suddenly it makes sense he wanted to go somewhere and tape their adventure.

It’s a stored memory, and Hoseok wishes he could be the one to keep it.)

 

--

 

July means summer temperatures and humidity high enough to kill. A month filled with stress and tears, most days spent inside with thick books, trying to memorise as much as possible.

It means the end year concert thrown by performance majors, one that Hoseok and Jimin have been preparing for the entire semester.

“Hyung, don’t go too hard,” Jimin tells him now, gripping his wrist, their last practice of the year. “Is not like all the other times, yea? Gotta take care.”

And Hoseok knows he’s right, but there’s an itch in his bones that is driving him to do better, try harder. A nervous sort of itch, he realises when he meets his own eye in the mirror, eyebags dark and heavy.

He tells himself it’s not the performance nervousness. That they’ve been preparing for weeks, months , and there is nothing to be worried about.

But his stomach still twists at the thought of it, which doesn’t usually happen.

“Jiminie,” he mutters when the song rings out, bending forward and touching his toes to stretch. “You think - d’you think we gonna do okay?”

Jimin has the audacity to laugh in his face, eyes crinkled into beautiful crescents, cheeks full and pink. Hoseok tries to glower at him, but his lips are already curving upwards, heart full to the brim with that unexplainable fondness. “Yah, you brat,” he mutters, by now smiling wide, “stop disrespecting your hyung.” It earns him another wave of laughter, so genuine and violent it has Jimin bending in half as he covers his mouth with his hand.

“Hyung’s the best,” he tells him once he calms down, left behind only a soft smile, “but hyung can be an idiot sometimes.”

“Aish!” Hoseok mutters, lifting his foot to tug off the sneaker, Jimin’s laughter filling every inch of the small studio. He hits Jimin’s shoulder once, lightly, then drops the shoe to the floor to push his foot back into it, laughter bubbling from his mouth.

They take a short water break, Hoseok closing his eyes as he leans against the wall.

“What’s different about it?” Jimin asks, pouting.

“What?”

“About this performance? What’s different? Why’s hyung so unsure?”

“Ah,” Hoseok rubs his clammy hands against his sweats, just as damp as his shirt. He’s biting his lip, trying to figure out the answer to Jimin’s question, but nothing comes to mind. “I don’t know.”

Jimin tells him it’s gonna be okay, squeezes his arm in a reassuring manner, slapping Hoseok’s butt when it’s time to get back to it. The worried glare he’s throwing him through the mirror is gone the moment music fills their ears, replaced by a determined and professional look in Jimin’s eyes.

All focused and seductive, as it’s supposed to be. Flirting with the mirror, tongue slipping over his pink lips, hips working hard.

Hoseok forgets about it all as he gets lost in the beat, in the strong bass vibrating through his body. Every move is written in his muscles, all of it smooth and easy, worries easily forgotten.

 

(“Hyung, didn’t you say you were gonna invite him?” Jimin asks as they’re leaving the building, thick beanies on their heads to shield them from the night breeze.

The weird itch is back, answer slapping him in the face.

He’s nervous because he’s mentioned his performances to Yoongi. Because he’s been considering inviting him, for months, but with the concert only a few weeks away it suddenly seems realer. Scarier. The thought of Yoongi actually coming setting him on the edge.

“Was thinking about it.”

“So are you?”

And the air outside is cold, wind harsh against his cheekbones. Hoseok keeps looking at his feet as they walk, the used sneakers black at the edges.

“Dunno, Jimin-ah,” he says, shaking his head. “I dunno.”)

 

--

 

Weeks of sweat and stressing come down to a ten minute performance in the end, one that they perform flawlessly. Hoseok thinks he could go harder and show more, but the screaming crowd seems to disagree. There are flowers flying to the stage as soon as the song rings out, Hoseok’s ears filled with applause, screaming, and cheering, as he and Jimin bow low to the audience.

As soon as they’re backstage, Taemin attacks them with tight hugs, patting their sweaty backs and necks, whispering congratulations into their ears.

“It was even better than I envisioned it,” he tells them once he backs off, hugs replaced with an enormous smile plastered over his face. “I couldn’t take my eyes off you - shit, you truly blew me away. That flip was insane. How long did it take?”

“To get it down perfectly? Pretty long,” Hoseok says around a laugh, patting at his forehead with his wrist, blinking away the sweat running into his eyes.

“Hyung hadn’t exactly made it easy,” Jimin adds with a giggle, smiling wide and bright. Taemin only hits his chest, shaking his head.

“You were in complete sync. Easy or not, you were fantastic.”

Someone pulls him away soon enough, leaving Jimin and Hoseok alone in the corner, towels draped around their necks, water bottles in their hands.

“Jiminie,” Hoseok says, then groans, exaggeratedly throwing his head back and closing his eyes, twisting his face in fake pain. Jimin giggles and hits his shoulder, telling him to shut up. “Painfully good, that’s what you were.”

“Hyung, stop bullshitting. You didn’t even see me.”

“Are you saying hyung’s lying?” which gets him even more laughter, Jimin hiding his face behind small fingers full of rings.

Twenty minutes later they’re standing behind the building, leaning against the wall as Hoseok rolls a cigarette.

“That last part could use more polishing,” Jimin mutters as he kicks the gruble, rubbing under his nose, “but overall, it was good.”

“It was.”

“We did well.”

“We did. You worked hard.”

“So did hyung,” Jimin says, and when Hoseok looks at him he’s smiling softly, eyes shining in the weak evening light. The sun is losing its strength, slowly hiding behind tall buildings, leaving reds and oranges in its wake. Hoseok finds himself smiling back, leaning closer to bump their shoulders together.

It doesn’t take long for Namjoon to find them, Hyejin by his side, Yoongi following soon behind.

Namjoon is saying something, looking at Hoseok, but all Hoseok sees is Yoongi standing behind him, a big bouquet in his arms.

Roses, pinks and reds and yellows, coming together in a beautiful whole. And above them - the sun, smiling soft and small, shining brighter and prettier than the sky behind him.

“Hyung,” he says, throat suddenly a little dry, Yoongi looking at the ground as he approaches him. “You came.”

“‘Course, Hoseokie,” Yoongi says, voice low and sweet, and Hoseok doesn’t remember how he’s ever hesitated inviting him. Can’t quite believe Yoongi came, risked a practice to see him perform, to support him.

And Hoseok’s cheeks are heating up, lips stretching into a smile when Yoongi says, “These are for you,” and pushes the flowers into his arms.

Hoseok introduces Yoongi to Jimin, who can’t stop smiling.

“I’ve heard a lot about you, Yoongi-ssi,” he tells him with a wink, Hoseok awkwardly laughing it off as he suggests they go grab some drinks, all of it on Jimin because he’s the youngest.

There’s something unusual about Yoongi’s focused stare. About his smile that’s even softer than usually, fingers that wrap around Hoseok’s wrist easily, eyes burning bright.

There’s something exceptionally attentive about it all, but Hoseok brushes it off and enjoys the time with his friends.

 

(“Hey, Hoseokie,” Yoongi whispers into his ear in the early morning hours, pressing so close Hoseok can feel their cheeks touch, Yoongi’s fingers warm on the back of his neck. “I can’t get your performance out of my head. You’re good.”

“Thank you, hyung,” he says with a shy smile, tips of his ears burning up. Soju is strong on Yoongi’s breath, but even stronger is the fondness in his voice.

“I love it, Hoseokie.” Then softer, “I love you.”)

 

--

 

After weeks of constant practice and interviews, Yoongi does get a free afternoon in the middle of August. He shows up on Hoseok’s doorstep at just after four, hair hidden under a bucket hat, traces of exhaustion overshadowed by a wide smile.

“C’mon, let’s get food,” is what he says as soon as Hoseok opens the door.

That’s all the convincing Hoseok needs, ten minutes later changed into a pair of jeans and a tank top, snapback on his head to shield him from the still bright sunshine outside.

“How’s the practice going?”

Yoongi shrugs, a tiny smile hiding in the corners of his lips.

“Good. Busy, y’know how it is.” And so he does, the past few weeks too busy for them to see each other.

They’ve been phoning more often, Hoseok calling Gloss’ company once per day from the phone booth down the street from the apartment, Yoongi sparing at least ten minutes to talk.

Talk about the most mundane things, about whatever came to mind. Sometimes nothing at all, just hanging on the line, listening to each other breathing.

Hoseok finds it funny how used he has gotten to Yoongi’s presence. How calming it can be, even if they’re not doing anything in particular.

Like now, with Yoongi seated at the small table across from him, head hanging low as he picks at the food. His lips stained brown from the thick soy sauce, pink tongue peeking out every here and there. Sun shining bright enough to leave yellow traces on Yoongi’s face, shining gold in his hair. But his cheeks so pink, almost pinker than his lips.

When he looks back to Yoongi’s eyes he finds him staring. There’s a smirk on his lips as he tilts his head to the side, places his chopsticks on the table, and intervenes his fingers to rest his chin on top. “What,” he asks, tone cocky and teasing.

Hoseok laughs shyly, looks to his plate as Yoongi raises an eyebrow, muttering something as he shoves more noodles into his mouth.

The laugh that bubbles from Yoongi’s mouth is loud and explosive, full. There’s no holding back, no pretence, not anymore.

It feels like years ago, warm and honest, as if they can finally show themselves to each other again.

Once the food is finished and the bill is paid, Yoongi suggests watching a movie. “Been a while since I went,” he says with a shrug. “Jeongguk-ah said there’s a new film out, some - some action shit, or something.”

“It’s not scary, right?” he asks, to which Yoongi only laughs, causing a curse to slip his lips. But then Yoongi shakes his head, takes Hoseok’s wrist and tugs a little to get his attention.

“No, it’s not. Don’t worry, hyung’s got you.”

They get seats near the middle. Yoongi buys popcorn while Hoseok chooses drinks, something sweet and carbonated. Lights in the theatre are already off once they arrive, Hoseok leading Yoongi to their seats by his elbow.

It’s dark and quiet, the room filled only by quiet chatter, humming and some repressed laughter.

“I-,” Yoongi starts, stopping abruptly. He hums, refusing to look at Hoseok. His profile shines bright in the odd colours of the theatre. “I love you.”

It’s sudden and totally unexpected, making Hoseok splutter before he collects himself and breaks into a grin. All wide and easy, his chest anything but.

“I love you too, hyung,” he tells Yoongi, leaning closer to bump their shoulders together, all while staring at Yoongi’s face. His plush lips formed into the slightest of pouts, as they always seem to be, his high cheekbones, tiny nose.

Yet again he’s hit with that incredible fondness, all of it so warm he feels his lungs setting on fire, mouth running dry.

But it’s nothing in comparison to the fire in Yoongi’s eyes when he finally turns around, face drained of every emotion save his very expressive eyes, teeth nibbling on his bottom lip.

“No - listen, Hoseok-ah,” he says now, and Hoseok feels like he’s fifteen all over again, Yoongi trying to explain something overly complicated to him. Something he’ll never understand, but Yoongi is still giving it a shot, thinking so hard there’s a crease forming on his forehead, bottom lip red from biting.

There’s a hand caught on the armrest between them, Yoongi’s fingers gripping the leather. His eyes are downcast, getting lost in something. Must be, because he’s staring too hard, looking too starstruck. “I’m. I’m in love with you.”

A second. Then two, and three, and Hoseok realises he doesn’t know how long it’s been, but his heart is beating fast and faster, unsteady. He’s looking at Yoongi, but not seeing. Eyes unfocused and shaky, just like his thoughts.

Yoongi hums again, hand in between them pulled back. He leans back and away, Hoseok’s chest tightening with fear and panic. Of messing this up, of making the wrong move.

Still hasn’t said shit, he reminds himself, fingers shaky as he reaches over into Yoongi’s lap, trying to hold his wrist. “You don’t gotta,” Yoongi tells him, pain audible in his voice, but once Hoseok feels warm skin under his own, heartbeat strong against his fingers, there is no going back.

No going back when he leans closer and closer still, Yoongi’s eyes widening comically as his mouth falls open, still scooting backwards, but he has nowhere to go.

There are people around and the movie is about to start. There are people around and the theatre is packed, but all Hoseok sees are Yoongi’s soft lips, dark pink and glistening. Everything he hears is Yoongi’s breath, getting hitched in his throat, Hoseok’s name soft on his lips.

They meet halfway, Yoongi’s other hand holding the sleeve of Hoseok’s sweater now, pulling him closer. Hoseok holds his wrist to make sure this is truly happening, that Yoongi isn’t just a ghost. A fantasy, product of his imagination.

Someone groans from a few rows behind them, but Hoseok can’t bring to care. Not with Yoongi’s warm lips pressed against his, with mint strong from the chewing gum Yoongi popped in his mouth after dinner, with touches so hungry he can’t think of anything but how much he wants this.

How much he’s wanted this for years.

After a moment of hesitation Hoseok tilts his head and slides their mouths together, noses close enough to feel the warmth of Yoongi’s breath against his skin.

Yoongi tastes of mint gum, cheap beer, and ddeokbokki. He tastes familiar and like everything Hoseok’s ever wished for.

Their gasps get trapped between their lips, eventually parting with a wet smack. Someone gags from not far away, telling them to fuck off and go bang in the toilets, while another spits slurs in between curses.

Yoongi’s eyes are shining bright, making not staring rather impossible. They are curved at the corners, those pleasant crinkles he gets whenever he smiles.

And he’s smiling now, small and intimate, the most beautiful kind, cheeks dusted pink.

“Hyung, I,” he starts, fingers slowly slipping from Yoongi’s wrist.

“Yeah?” gets muttered against his lips and Hoseok nearly goes cross eyed trying to see it all, not willing to look away, not quite yet.

“I love you,” he tells him again, fingers sliding in the spaces between his.

 

(It means something completely different this time, and Yoongi squeezes his hand.

He squeezes his hand, gets up, and drags him out of the theatre.

“Wasn’t too eager to see it anyway,” he says once they’re outside, smiles on their faces.

“Why’d you suggest it?”

“I get to spend time with you,” and Hoseok thinks he could get used to this.

He could get used to this just fine.)

 

--

 

Hoseok wakes up in Yoongi’s bed.

Weak light is filtering through the windows, yellow on the walls and Yoongi’s face. His breathing is even and slow, slight snoring slipping his parted lips.

When Hoseok looks down he notices Yoongi’s hand is placed on top of his, grip weak. As he pulls it back, Yoongi stirs, sleepily blinking open.

“Mornin’,” he slurs, Hoseok feeling that warmth back in his stomach. He studies Yoongi’s face, his swollen eyes, puffy cheeks, small nose. Smooth lines and ever smoother skin, lips so full Hoseok can’t help but remember how they felt under his own.

As he looks down to Yoongi’s hand, he realises he can hold it now, and lets his fingertips gently brush over the knuckles. Yoongi hums.

“Good morning,” Hoseok finally says back, voice rough and low. He lets his fingers linger for a moment, then removes his hand and rolls to the side, staring at Yoongi’s face just centimetres away.

He notices Yoongi’s hand moving in the corner of his eye, but the warmth on his jaw still takes him unprepared. The surprise doesn’t last long, touch so pleasant he can’t help but lean into it, Yoongi’s large hand soon cupping his face.

“You’re really here,” is whispered against his lips as he closes his eyes, and he nods. Nods, and smiles, and laughs.

Because he really is there. Because this is real, and the night before wasn’t just a dream. “I’m so fucking lucky, Hoseokie.”

And Hoseok is too happy to tell him he’s luckier, so so lucky to be able to lie in his bed, to have the honour of calling him his best friend, so he just leans closer and presses a kiss to Yoongi’s nose.

For a while they simply lay there, looking into each other’s eyes, smiling softly. Their fingers brushing occasionally, to make sure it’s not a dream. Eventually Hoseok tugs at Yoongi’s wrist and sits up.

“C’mon, hyung,” he says, “let’s get coffee.”

They didn’t bother changing last night, which Hoseok regrets once he’s standing in the kitchen, a very sleepy Yoongi padding across the living room in nothing but a pair of boxers under his barely buttoned shirt.

He shouldn’t be affected, he tells himself. But the kiss has changed everything, allows him to think about the things he didn’t dare to consider before. Like the smooth skin of Yoongi’s thighs, his knees covered in bruises and old scars, many of which Hoseok still remembers screaming red and bleeding. One on the back of his thigh, from when he fell in front of Hoseok’s house and landed on a particularly large stone.

Yoongi’s soft laugh is what gets him to look back up, the amused sparkle in Yoongi’s eyes making him blush two shades darker. “I’m sorry,” he mutters, but Yoongi just laughs again and walks closer.

“It’s good,” Yoongi tells him, touching his elbow with barely any pressure, but the weight of it is there, the meaning behind it loud. “It’s fine, Hoseok-ah. I don’t mind.”

And neither does he, so he just smiles, and nods, and blushes darker still when their eyes meet, Yoongi’s curving into beautiful crescents.

As soon as the coffee pot is on the stove, heating up, Hoseok leans against the opposite counter. He looks around, appreciating the yellows and oranges dancing on the walls, the furniture.

On Yoongi’s face, slope of his nose shining in the morning light, lips a slight pout.

He tilts his head when he notices Hoseok staring, a soft hum loud in the silence of the room, the only sounds a distant buzz of the traffic, water coming to a boil. It takes him only a couple of steps to reach Hoseok’s side, resting against the counter next to him.

His hand brushes against Hoseok’s in the process, making him shiver. A whole body thing, running from head to toe, increasing the fire in his stomach.

But Yoongi pulls back, apologises under his breath. And Hoseok panics, shakes his head as he turns to Yoongi, fingers itching to touch.

“No, hyung, it’s - it’s good,” he tells him, looking at Yoongi’s large hands, bruised and calloused, but soft to the touch, which he knows now. “I. I like it,” he adds quietly, tracing Yoongi’s knuckles with barely any pressure.

So careful around each other, so afraid of everything crumbling and falling apart.

Hoseok still isn’t sure all of it is real, that it’s all gonna stay like this if he makes a move too bold.

But then Yoongi nods, hand under his fingers turning, pressing against his. Yoongi’s fingers slipping in the spaces between his, palms fitting together perfectly. Love and warmth caught between their bodies, trapped there.

“Yeah,” Yoongi mutters, humming as he leans closer. “Yeah, I like it too.”

 

(That morning Hoseok burns his tongue on too hot coffee, because he’s too busy staring at Yoongi.

He’s too busy staring at Yoongi, who’s sitting on the ground by the record player, telling Hoseok about this new song he’s writing.

Just talking, and smiling, and glowing.

Hoseok wonders if reaching out to touch his face would be too much.)

 

--

 

Next month is filled with impulsive decisions and meeting up at the weirdest possible places. It reaches its peak one night after dinner at a place down from Hoseok’s apartment, walking through the quiet streets until they reach the main bus station.

There’s a crowd of people waiting for their busses, all of them with fully packed bags, most of them sitting on the platform with a magazine or a thick book in their hands, a rare few talking in hushed voices, as if not to disturb the rest.

Long after midnight, it makes sense.

“What do you say,” Yoongi mutters as they stop in place to stare at the people walking up and down, at some sleeping on the wooden benches.

It seems as if time has stopped for the crowd. Time only a concept, when they’re all waiting for their transportation, just something to get them to their destination.

“Should we,” Hoseok says, hand brushing against Yoongi’s.

And that’s all they need. As soon as their eyes meet, the night around them slow and peaceful, Hoseok knows. He feels his lips curving into a smile, Yoongi’s stretching even wider. So, so beautiful.

They buy a couple of tickets to somewhere the man behind the counter chooses. “A random pick, ahjussi,” Yoongi tells him as he leans close to the glass separating them. It earns him an odd look from the man, but he humours them in the end.

“It’s this one,” Hoseok says and points at the bus with the red 15 printed on the side. Yoongi ushers him into the bus, lets him choose the seats.

He walks straight to the last row, slightly more intimate. Yoongi is still a celebrity, and Hoseok doesn’t want unnecessary trouble.

They’ve seen each other plenty in the last couple of weeks, Yoongi dropping by Hoseok’s flat often after practice, or Hoseok coming to the studio to check up on the group. They’ve seen each other plenty, but Hoseok can count the times they were alone on one hand.

One finger, actually.

Not greedy, he tells himself. He’s happy with how it is. With how nothing has really changed, how Yoongi is still Yoongi and Hoseok is still Hoseok and them, well.

They’re still them, only that the aching love in Hoseok’s chest is named now, and justified. And not pointless anymore, not really. Returned, in a way, even though they can’t be as forward, even though Hoseok is still careful and unsure and testing the limits.

So now, with them pressed shoulder to shoulder, bus slowly filling up, Hoseok gives it a shot.

Moves his hand just a little, back of his hand brushing against Yoongi’s.

Yoongi, who’s staring at him when he looks up, that tiny smile on his face.

“Yeah, Hoseokie,” he says, moving the hand over Hoseok’s, squeezing lightly. Barely any pressure, but it’s enough for now. It’s grounding and reassuring, and just enough to calm his thoughts, to get his heart beating faster.

Yoongi, his heart says, with every beat.

Hoseok almost laughs at himself, instead looking down at their hands, daring to take a step further, slipping his fingers between Yoongi’s.

All of it dangerous with so many people around them, people who might know Yoongi. Who probably care, but it’s fine, Hoseok thinks.

It’s fine because they seem sleepy, none of them paying attention.

It’s fine because Yoongi is smiling, happy.

 

(“Didn’t know sunsets down south were prettier,” Yoongi says, legs swinging off the cliff. Hoseok is sitting next to him, hand covering Yoongi’s on the ground between them. Yoongi’s face and the smoke rising from his cigarette are coloured a pretty orange.

“Yeah,” Hoseok hums, unable to look away as Yoongi’s lips wrap around the butt. “Yeah, really pretty today.”

And then Yoongi looks at him, catches him staring.

He catches him, must notice the blush quickly spreading all over Hoseok’s face, but he just laughs.

Laughs and laughs some more, then hits Hoseok’s shoulder.

“You’re full of bullshit,” he tells him, shaking his head. “Full of bullshit, Jung Hoseok.”

Bnd Hoseok wants to tell him no.

No, hyung. No bullshit. Only fire rooted deep and burning bright, just for you.)

 

--

 

In early November, Hoseok invites Yoongi over for the weekend, saying Namjoon isn’t going to be there.

“Got some - some shit, I dunno,” he says around the chopsticks in his mouth, staring at his bowl of ramen. He feels his cheeks heating up, unable to meet Yoongi’s eye. “He’s gone the entire weekend, is what I’m saying. So - so hyung could come, if he wants to.”

There’s no answer, just clatter of utensils and chatter all around them, some screaming in the far right corner. Hoseok looks up after a few seconds of silence, Yoongi staring at him with parted lips.

They form into the slightest of smiles when he says, “Do you want me to come?”

And Hoseok blushes darker still, looking back to his plate.

“Yeah,” he mutters. “Yeah, it’d be nice.”

The nervousness is new and unusual, not something he’s ever felt around Yoongi before, long term crush or not. He can feel the jitters in his hands, the thrumming of his heart, teeth relentlessly nibbling on his bottom lip.

“Of course,” Yoongi says with a hum, pours them another round of soju and raises his glass. “I’d love to, Hoseokie.”

And so he drops by the flat three days later, a late Friday, with a duffel bag thrown over his shoulders and hair a disheveled mess. His fingers are running through it repeatedly, even after he steps into the apartment and kicks off his boots.

“God, Jin wouldn’t stop nagging,” he says. Hoseok can’t help but smile at the slight pout of Yoongi’s lips when he speaks, at the fondness in his voice that’s there despite the annoyance seeping from his words. “Said we should practice more, that we didn’t do enough and - we’ve been going through four fucking songs the whole day, right? Jeongguk nearly snapped at him, some serious shit, Hoseok, I’m telling you,” and the glare Yoongi gives him with those words makes him laugh. Cover his mouth with one hand as he shakes his head and apologises.

They stare at each other for a second, but then Yoongi’s eyes are curving, lips shaping into the smallest of smiles.

And just like that, all the tension and frustration evaporates. Yoongi drops his bag by the entrance, following Hoseok into the living room, mumbling under his breath.

They settle on the couch, something slow playing in the background, just sitting and talking about nothing in particular. When Hoseok goes to make tea, Yoongi stands up and follows him to the kitchen.

“What?” Hoseok asks around a soft laugh, Yoongi leaning against the counter with arms crossed over his chest.

“I - I got you something. It’s nothing big, but.”

He’s looking to the floor when Hoseok turns to him, toes wiggling. Hoseok notices the unsure curve of his eyebrows, furrowed brow. Sees Yoongi biting his lips, fingers tugging at the fabric of his shirt.

The nervousness follows them back into the living room, even after Hoseok sits back on the couch and Yoongi takes the first sip of the tea, saying it’s just right.

“Better than ginseng at home?”

“Hoseok-ah, you can’t compare that. That tea - hell, that was another thing entirely.” But Hoseok thinks it might have had something with the fact that they were alone after so long, finally seeing each other again.

He thinks it might have had something to do with the warm smile on Yoongi’s face, his soft words.

Both back now that Yoongi stands up, walking to his bag. “It’s not done. Still needs polishing, but,” he says, softly, laughing as he pauses. “Just wanted you to hear it.”

There’s a cassette placed into his hands as Yoongi sits back down. It has Hoseokie scribbled in messy handwriting, Hoseok’s heart stopping as he realises what this means.

His throat is tight as he goes to insert it into the player, removing the one that’s lying inside.

Soft music spreads through the room as he clicks play, basic drums and bass guitar, a piano in the background. It’s good, much calmer than their usual songs, less guitar and more piano. He stands there, resting his forehead against the shelf, letting the music envelop him fully.

Then there’s a voice, rough and low, clear.

Yoongi’s voice.

Hoseok’s eyes widen, mouth falling open.

Kiss me, I don’t care if it hurts,
Hurry and choke me
So I can’t hurt any more.

And even further down, kiss me on the lips,
Our own little secret,
I wanna be addicted to your prison.

The room is left is silence as the song rings out, the player clicking when it ends. Hoseok’s heart is loud in his ears, head hot and chest even more so.

Yoongi is biting his lip when Hoseok turns around, pulling at his sleeves, eyes wide and expectant.

“Hyung, it’s - it’s so beautiful.”

“Just like you,” Yoongi says, cheeks a pale pink. He looks away with a soft laugh and shake of head, as if he didn’t mean to say it out loud.

Hoseok kneels in front of the couch, hand shaking as he reaches for Yoongi’s face, fingers gentle against the overheated skin of his cheeks. He cups his jaw and pulls him closer, brushing their lips together once, twice, three times. Yoongi smiles against him, eyes bright when Hoseok backs off, thumb still caressing Yoongi’s cheek.

“I love you,” Hoseok says, a little stunned by how easily it slips his lips. Yoongi’s smile stretches wider, hand on the back of Hoseok’s neck rubbing gently.

“Me too, Hoseokie. I love you, too.”

Hoseok fell in love years ago, but he falls all over again when Yoongi pulls him closer and tells him he loves him for the second time that day.

He fell years ago, but he wouldn’t mind falling again, and again, and again.

 

(Yoongi holds him close that night, nose pressed against his cheek.

“Hey, Hoseok,” he slurs, poking Hoseok’s side.

“What.”

“The offer still stands.”

“What offer.”

“Move in with me,” Yoongi says with no hesitation, voice suddenly clear. Hoseok’s brain is slow at processing his words, but when it hits, it hits hard. He turns to the side until they’re facing each other, Yoongi’s eyes wide open.

“Hyung, that’s. Big.”

“Yeah,” and Yoongi’s fingers are soft against his hip, naked under the covers.

“You sure you wanna do this?”

“It’s you, Hoseokie,” Yoongi says, voice softer. His fingers run higher and higher, until they reach Hoseok’s jaw. “I’m always sure when it comes to you.”

When Hoseok kisses him and presses him back into the pillows, Yoongi laughs and calls him an idiot.

It’s a start of something new and different, Hoseok thinks.

A beginning of something beautiful.)