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When It All Comes Down

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The problem with Hoseok, Yoongi decides, is that he can’t hold his liquor.

He thinks this when he spots Seok clambering up onto a coffee table across the crowded, smoky living room of whoever’s party this is. Yoongi is leaning against the wall, red Solo cup in one hand, sort of keeping time against his thigh to the heavy bass that fills the house and the neighborhood and probably the night sky as well, for all he knows. He is scanning across the crowd of heads in the sunken living room, just sort of watching the middle distance and chilling out, when from the corner of his eye he spots a familiar (ugly) neon green jacket and his eyes just sort in.

Yoongi is past the point where it surprises him.

Hoseok has always caught his eye. It is what it is. Yoongi can live with it.

Yoongi watches curiously, his own drink forgotten in his hand as Hoseok's head and shoulders appear above the sea of people. Someone else’s Solo cup is thrust in his direction and Seok snatches it, downs it, flings it at his feet. He shouts something into the crowd below but Yoongi can’t hear it over the thump of bass, the roar of shouted conversations. He doesn’t have to hear it. More than a dozen cups are suddenly lifted toward Hoseok and he grins that stupid grin he gets when he’s edging past tipsy into something more dangerous.

Yoongi pushes himself off the wall he’s leaned against and begins pushing into the crowd before him. The music changes; it’s faster now, a pulsing EDM that has the crowd vibrating, everyone suddenly tense as they wait for the beat to drop. They all have their backs to Yoongi, watching something ahead of them. If Yoongi was a betting man he’d make bank: it’s Hoseok. It’s always Hoseok. If there’s a beat involved, it’s Seok. If there’s an impromptu dance off in the alley behind that Chinese takeaway they frequent because it’s close and cheap, it’s Seok. If some freshman in one of his dance electives just can’t quite get the choreography down and needs a little extra help, well, that’s Seok, too.

You don’t have a pulse, Yoongi had told him once, curled up into Hoseok's side while they binge watched Iron Chef, high as kites in a hurricane. You’ve got a bass drop. The way you move, Seok, it’s —

But Yoongi hadn’t finished that sentence (thank god, some things were just too embarrassing to utter aloud) because Hoseok's head had slipped slowly along the back of the couch and then he was asleep on Yoongi’s shoulder, Iron Chef murmuring in the background.

Yoongi finally makes it through to the front of the crowd. He’s lost his own cup somewhere but as it contained lukewarm cheap beer he wasn’t about to cry over it. He watches, dumbstruck, as Hoseok, on the coffee table, manages to grip a Solo cup in his teeth to shrug out of his windbreaker and still manages to drink what’s in the cup without spilling a drop. The crowd eggs him on with shouts and catcalls, moving like a tide to the song as it builds and Yoongi knows what’s coming, he’s been to too many of these parties since beginning college, too many of these parties with Hoseok. Too many nights ending with him pouring Seok into a cab or an Uber after the alcohol stops being fun and he’s a sobbing, angry mess in Yoongi’s arms for the entire ride. Less often now, sure, anyone would grow up a little after a cataclysmic sophomore year and academic probation and the very real possibility of losing your scholarship, but Yoongi sees the drunken defiance on his best friend’s face as his body contorts to the deafening beat and resigns himself to repeating the whole mess one more time because it’s Seok, it’s his best friend, and what’s he supposed to do?

The problem with Hoseok, Yoongi tells himself again, is he can’t hold his liquor.

He tells himself this at one a.m., waiting for a cab in temperatures that have his teeth chattering as the sticky bitter over-warmth of the party leeches away. Seok is giggle-groaning into his shoulder and Yoongi knows that eventually the giggling will stop but the groaning will remain as Seok’s body tries to reject the copious amounts of god-knows-what currently dancing the tango in his gut. Yoongi prays for a cab because he can’t carry the other all the way back to his place, and definitely can’t get him all the way back to Hoseok's own apartment, which is six blocks further from where they are now. Clouds of Yoongi’s breath mingle with Seok’s in the air in front of them and through it Yoongi sees the white cab light and breathes another plume into the frigid November night. It looks like relief, that cloud of crystallized breath. It looks like hope.

He tells himself this at two a.m., dragging a half conscious Hoseok into his bathroom while the younger thrashes and swears in his grip. They make it, barely. Hoseok folds himself over the toilet like a puppet whose strings have been cut and Yoongi slides down the wall and just breathes while Seok's body rejects what alcohol hasn’t already made it into his veins and cries and swears and cries some more. Yoongi cries with him, a little, because he’s so tired and he thought they were past this and his shoulders hurt from supporting Seok’s weight up five flights of stairs while the other flailed and punched and called him every name in the book. Mostly Yoongi cries because Hoseok is crying and isn’t that what you do for your friends? Isn’t it, when it all comes down to it?

He tells himself this at three a.m., after the crisis is mostly past and he lays in his bed on top of the covers and his jeans are still on, Hell, his boots are still on, but Hoseok is sleeping beside him under a sheet and Hoseok's breathing is slow and even and his hair is still damp from the shower Yoongi pushed him into once the vomiting stopped. He smells like Yoongi’s shower gel and Yoongi’s dryer sheets because his clothes were covered in booze and beer sweat and Yoongi didn’t have the heart to make him dress in them again after just getting clean so he just threw some sweats and a tee at him and told him to wear the fucking clothes, god dammit, Seok, when the younger tried to argue.

He tells himself this at four a.m., when Hoseok rolls toward him and Yoongi can see how his lashes whisper across the apples of his cheeks like tiny fans. He can see how Seok curls in on himself, keeping himself protected even in sleep, even though no one is here but Yoongi and Yoongi wouldn’t have hurt Seok for all the money in the world. As if he heard the thought, Hoseok slides closer until his head is nestled in the hollow of Yoongi’s collarbone and his arm slips around Yoongi’s ribs and it’s nothing, it’s fine, it’s all happened before, Hoseok cuddles when he sleeps, it’s nothing new. Yoongi pets Seok's hair, dry now, silky under his palm, and tries to ignore the way his heart breaks all over again when Seok  murmurs, love you, hyung, against the the skin of his throat.

The problem with Hoseok is that he can’t hold his liquor, Yoongi tells himself, and tries to sleep.