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"Hoseok, are you coming or not?" Yoongi asked, frustrated, but smiling fondly at his– well, not officially his boyfriend, but his boyfriend all the same. At least in the delusional mental image Yoongi had drawn up for himself.

Technically they were only flatmates and best friends who cuddled a lot and walked around while holding hands. Platonically, of course. It wasn't entirely helpful for Yoongi's giant, unrequited crush on his friend, but who was he to say no?

"I can't find my shoes," said Hoseok, nerves clear in his voice as he pattered through the apartment, allegedly occupied with looking for his shoes, which were supposedly lost, even though the monstrosities that apparently passed for sneakers were clearly on his feet, bright red and neatly tied. Only Hoseok could wear those and still look like he stepped out of a catalogue.

"Maybe because you're already wearing them? I mean, they're firetruck red, I can't see how you would ever lose those." Yoongi suggested, leaning against the wall.

Hoseok shot him a look. "I said shoes? I meant sunglasses."

"Right," Yoongi said as he watched him crouch down to peer underneath the couch, "and you think you'll find those on the floor."

Hoseok ignored him and continued pretending to be extremely focussed on finding his sunglasses, which were clearly perched atop his head. Yoongi sighed quietly, shaking his head a little before he walked over and gently pulled him up from the floor by his wrists.

"Seok," he said, reaching up to pull the sunglasses down onto his slender, pointed nose, "It's just a piercing." Even through the dark sunglasses, Yoongi could see him roll his eyes, but his cheeks still flushed a little.

"I know that, please, surely you don't think I'm scared of a needle? What am I, a six-year-old?" He adjusted his glasses and let his finger slide across his earlobe for a moment, looking pensive. "I want it myself, if I was scared, why would I want to get a piercing?"

Yoongi saw right through his lie and showed him his gummy smile. "Don't worry, I'll hold your hand. You'll be just fine."

"Listen," Hoseok enunciated as he let Yoongi interlace their fingers to pull him through the door and out on the street, "they stab a needle through your ear! I'd be stupid for not being scared, okay?"

"I told you, it doesn't hurt at all. There's nothing to be scared of," Yoongi said as he gently guided Hoseok in the right direction when he tried going the other way to stall for time. Hoseok grumbled, following with dragging feet as Yoongi marched determinedly on towards the bus stop.

"You also said it didn't hurt when you cut your finger the other day but I saw you blink away a tear, so excuse me if I don't believe you."

"I was bleeding, okay. Besides, your earlobe doesn't nearly have as many pain receptors as your finger."

Hoseok halted a little, his eyebrows raised high above his glasses, and Yoongi could just picture his wide eyes behind his dark glasses. "Will it bleed? I don't like blood. What if it bleeds?"

Yoongi chuckled, endeared, and shook his head a little. "I doubt it will. None of mine bled."

Hoseok shot a sceptic look at Yoongi's ears, adorned with a total of five piercings, not believing that you could get stabbed that many times without shedding a single drop of blood. He sighed, and continued walking to the bus stop when Yoongi squeezed his hand.

"I will only get one," he said defiantly, lifting a finger for emphasis.

"Okay, baby," Yoongi teased, feeling his heart leap in his chest as the word rolled off his tongue before he'd thought about it. Shit, he hadn't meant to—

But Hoseok didn't seem to care much. He simply spluttered indignantly, a blush spreading across his cheeks. "I'm not a baby!" He exclaimed.

"You are a little bit."

"You're a bigger baby."

"Sure, whatever you say, baby." Yoongi said it again for good measure, just because he could. Hoseok grumbled something unintelligible, the tips of his ears growing as red as his shoes, and walked faster, pulling a laughing Yoongi along the sidewalk.

The busride was a little silent and Yoongi could see Hoseok's increasing nerves in the way his leg wouldn't stop bouncing, and how he couldn't decide whether he wanted to keep his sunglasses on or not, shoving them on top of his head for the fifteenth time since they'd sat down. His fingers drummed a stuttering rhythm on the plastic next to the red 'stop' button, as if he wanted to press it really badly so he could run away at the next stop.

Yoongi laid his hand on Hoseok's thigh to stop his bouncing leg and Hoseok snapped his gaze back to him. "If you don't want to, you don't have to. No one's forcing you to get one."

Hoseok sniffed. "I want one. I just- I'm- Ugh..." Hoseok rubbed at his eyes with heels of his palms, frustrated with himself. Yoongi cocked his head and waited for him to talk more.

He dropped his hands in his lap and turned his defeated gaze to his friend. "Maybe I am a bit of a baby," he said, amusement lacing his voice.

Yoongi snorted, nodding his agreement to the statement. Hoseok showed him a cute pout and those shining puppy eyes, and he felt his stomach twist as if he'd entered a drop in a roller coaster. How he wished he could kiss—

"But only a little!" Hoseok added quickly when he saw him bite his lip, probably assuming he was biting back laughter.

"A little baby?" Yoongi cooed, collecting himself quickly and reaching up to pinch his cheek.

"No, a little bit!" He said, and made an attempt at biting the reaching hand, his teeth snapping together.

"Hey!" Yoongi shoved him playfully, watching the self-satisfied smirk settle on Hoseok's lips. He looked at him for a moment, taking in the confident raise of his eyebrows and the way one of his dimples showed up as his smirk grew.

"You know, I think I like you better when you make cute pouty faces at me."

Dammit, Yoongi, you idiot! Stop calling him cute before he suspects things!

Luckily, the automated voice interrupted Hoseok's flustered reply as it called out the name of their stop and Yoongi immediately pulled him out of his seat to divert attention from his words.

"We're here!" He exclaimed, a little too excitedly as he pressed a stop button and pulled a protesting and mildly confused Hoseok towards the exit.

"Isn't it the next stop?" He said quickly, still trying to avoid the whole ordeal.

"Nope!" Yoongi swiped his travel card to check out and pointed at the parlor a little ways down the street as the bus pulled up to the stop. "There it is!"

Hoseok pouted at him – Again. Extremely inconsiderate. Next time he'd surely have to kiss him. – and swiped his card too. He begrudgingly followed when Yoongi, who seemed way more excited about this than Hoseok himself, stepped onto the sidewalk.

The parlor was a little intimidating with it's black facade and the bright red neon letters that read 'Tattoos & Piercings'. Plain and simple, but effective enough. Hoseok could see the store through the window. It had a sleek modern look, but the walls were covered in framed tattoo designs and pictures of ears adorned with constellations of piercings.

"Here? It's– It looks expensive, maybe we—"

Yoongi planted his finger against Hoseok's lips to shut him up, and he went slightly cross-eyed as he looked at it. "You're not gonna get pierced in some dirty suburb shop by someone who hasn't touched soap in the past 48 hours," Yoongi stated, "It's fine, I know the piercer. He said he'd give a discount because you're my friend."

"Really? That's wrong, we shouldn't exploit that, maybe we should–"

Yoongi rolled his eyes. "Come on, baby."

The doorbell tinkled merrily as they entered the shop. "I'm not being a baby! It's just not fair," Hoseok protested weakly, his voice sounding petulant and small.

"You can just pay him in full if that's a problem, but I'm really not having you pierced by a shady dude with a needle that hasn't been disinfected."

Hoseok scoffed. "Okay, dad," he replied with a chuckle. Yoongi snorted and elbowed him lightly in the ribs.

The piercer showed up a moment later. He was carrying a stack of frames that probably held new tattoo designs. "Jungkook-ah!" Yoongi greeted him and Hoseok promptly stepped behind him, as if he could hide there even though he was a good bit taller. Jungkook shot him a bright smile which made his eyes scrunch up cutely. It made him look a little less intimidating than the tattoos on both his arms and the array of piercing in his ears had made him seem at first glance. Yoongi could feel Hoseok relax a little behind him, even if his feet shuffled nervously.

"Hey hyung! I was wondering if you were still coming today."

Yoongi chuckled. "Yeah, Hoseok was stalling for time because he's nervous."

"I wasn't stalling for time!" Hoseok countered immediately. "I was searching for my things."

"By things you mean courage?" Yoongi said teasingly, "Because you could search for a very long time and come up with nothing."

Hoseok narrowed his eyes at him and turned to Jungkook who was suppressing his laughter by biting his lip. "If you're good with needles, could you do me a favour and sew his mouth shut?"

Jungkook nodded. "Sure thing, it might be an improvement."

"Hey, I thought you were my friend, what is this? High treason?" Yoongi spluttered.

Jungkook shrugged. "He's the one getting pierced, I'm just siding with my client."

"Capitalism at its finest. Loyalty is dead the moment money is mentioned," Yoongi said pointedly, making his friends share a knowing and exasperated look.

Hoseok clapped his hands together before Yoongi could start. "Okay, let's get on to the part where you stab a hole in my earlobe before we have to sit down for a lecture on Marxism."

Jungkook laughed and obviously thought it was a great idea because he immediately guided them into the piercing room. Yoongi briefly mused that he would have to lend him some books to make him see the flaws in the system as he followed him into the room, absentmindedly linking his fingers with Hoseok's when he felt his hand in his.

"You can sit down here while I prepare a couple things." Yoongi was waiting for Hoseok to sit down in the funny looking piercing chair that could fold in several different positions, but he stayed firmly behind Yoongi, his palm growing a little sweaty as he tightened his grip on Yoongi's hand.

A smile tugged at Yoongi's lips and he shot him a reassuring glance, pulling him towards the chair.

"Maybe he could pierce you instead," Hoseok whispered, half jokingly, half scared.

"Yeah, I've always wanted my nipples pierced let's do that instead."

Hoseok snorted and quickly climbed into the seat, his mind suddenly changed. "Absolutely not."

Jungkook walked back towards them, setting down his tray of clean instruments on the table. "What's wrong with nipple piercings?" He asked, his eyes wide and innocent.

Yoongi shot him a long look, thinking Jungkook would break and smile, but he didn't. "Are you telling me you had your nipples pierced?" He deadpanned.

Jungkook ran a guarding hand over his chest, looking very guilty. "No?"

"Are you–" Yoongi broke out in disbelieving laughter. "Really? Your nipples?!"

Jungkook fiddled with the bottle of disinfectant, putting some on a cotton pad and reaching up to clean Hoseok's ear. "Not plural... Just- just one..." He muttered, "I wanted to know how badly it hurt."

Yoongi shook his head. "That's- I-" It was the most Jungkook reason to get pierced he could think of. Frankly, he wasn't sure why he was even surprised. "Why would you hurt yourself like that?"

"Did it hurt a lot?" Hoseok asked voice small as he eyed the uncapped marker in Jungkook's hand.

"The nipple piercing? Yeah, quite a lot actually, but it looks kinda cool. I don't regret it."

Hoseok sniffed and shot Yoongi a solemn look. "If you do want your nipples pierced I'll support you but I'll also do it from afar because I'm pretty sure I'd pass out if I saw a needle going through a nipple."

Yoongi laughed. "Same, really. They're cool I suppose but not for me."

Jungkook snorted. "Zero pain tolerance, huh?" he muttered. He handed Hoseok a mirror and they briefly discussed the placement of his piercing. Jungkook placed a mark a little off-centre, close to the base of his ear. It was special, Yoongi thought, different from the usual piercing in the middle of the earlobe. It suited him.

Hoseok turned towards him. "What do you think?" Yoongi nodded and shot him another reassuring smile.

"It's good. Unique, just like you."

Hoseok giggled, his heart-shaped smile growing wide as he looked into the mirror one more time. "Okay, then. Let's do it!"

"Okay, I'll be right back!" Jungkook said, and moved to the sink to disinfect his hands again and put on some gloves.

Hoseok was fidgeting again. His legs were bouncing and he was chewing on the inside of his cheek as he watched Jungkook. Yoongi silently reached out and locked their hands together gently. Even if he'd mentioned it as a joke earlier, and they held hands all the time, he still felt his heartbeat picking up speed.

Hoseok smiled nervously. "It just takes a minute right?" he whispered as he watched Jungkook pull on the gloves. They snapped to his skin as if he was a surgeon preparing for a major operation, and Hoseok wasn't very comfortable with that mental image.

"We'll be out of here in 5." He squeezed his hand and let his thumb run across his knuckles, feeling his tense grip ease slowly.

Until Jungkook walked back towards them and picked up the needle.

He sat down on his stool. "Are you ready?" He asked, his voice soft, letting him know that he wouldn't judge even if he chickened out now.

Hoseok nodded. "Yeah," he squeaked out as he eyed the needle.

"Just look at me," said Yoongi softly. "It's nothing, just look at me."

He turned his head to the left and looked Yoongi in the eyes. His usually bright, happy eyes were slightly widened in fear, and Yoongi's heart clenched.

Jungkook placed his instruments, and Yoongi could feel the way Hoseok clenched his hand, even if he seemed fairly calm.

"Okay, and... Three, two..." Hoseok screwed his eyes shut when Jungkook pushed the needle through on two and swiftly secured the piercing. His nose scrunched up a little and Yoongi had to resist the growing urge to place a kiss right on the tip.

"One! And you're done!" Jungkook proclaimed happily as he inspected his work.

Hoseok opened one eye, looking surprised, and then the other. "That's- That's it?" He let go of Yoongi's hand and accepted the mirror Jungkook handed him.

"I told you it was nothing," Yoongi said with a chuckle.

"It's not even bleeding, wow," Hoseok tilted his head, intrigued by the way the light caught on the small, but glittering diamond stud. "I love it!"

"That's good to hear," said Jungkook, watching with a smile as Hoseok hopped out of the chair and turned to his friend. "Do you like it?"

Yoongi laughed as Hoseok struck a pose. "Yeah, it looks cute."

And so do you...

They followed Jungkook back to the register to pay, where he explained exactly how he'd have to take care of his pierced ear. He handed him a paper bag with disinfectant and the receipt.

"You're gonna have to pamper your boyfriend, hyung," Jungkook said jokingly to Yoongi.

His cheeks flushed red. "We're-"

"Oh, don't worry, I'll make sure he does," Hoseok answered brightly and interlaced their fingers. They said their goodbyes and he pulled a dumbfounded Yoongi along, back outside towards the bus stop.

"You didn't correct him," Yoongi stated after a long moment in which his mind fiercely protested to form a sentence.

Hoseok smiled shyly and they halted for a moment. "Is that a problem?"

Yoongi blinked, wondering whether he was really saying what he thought he was saying. His mouth felt dry and his heart was beating as if he'd sprinted. "Boyfriends?"

"I mean, if you say yes?"

Yoongi's smile grew from disbelieving to overjoyed, and a giddy laugh escaped him. "That thing I said about courage? I take that back."

Hoseok snorted. "Is that a yes? Because I'll show you courage if that's a yes." He stepped closer, and brushed Yoongi's fringe aside.

His stomach flipped, and he felt his cheeks growing hot. "Yes..." he whispered, his hand curling into the material of Hoseok's jacket. Hoseok gently tilted his head up with a finger under his chin and pressed a soft kiss to Yoongi's lips.

It was always amazing to him how their dynamic shifted by the minute. How Hoseok could go from scared and small to fearless, and kiss him in the middle of the street, unashamedly. He pressed himself closer as their lips locked together again and again. Closer to the boy he loved most, the boy he'd wanted for so long.

The kiss broke, and even if it had been short, Yoongi's head was spinning. After months of pining and staring and platonic hand holding, Hoseok was the one who laced their finger together with different intentions.

He giggled at Yoongi's dazed expression. "Come on, baby," he said brightly, "we'll miss the bus if we don't hurry."

Yoongi let himself be pulled along, too happy to even respond to the jest. He liked the nickname anyways.