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From Now On

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“We’re just a lie away
From proving to ourselves
We’re not afraid. ”
Reprieve, Vallis Alps

3 January 2018 - Seoul Forest Trimage

The upside to falling for your best friend is that when you wake up beside them in bed, there’s no need to explain to them that you are crap in the mornings.

Nor do you need to tell them that you’re useless without coffee.

Nor do you need to let them know how you take your coffee.

Because your best friend already knows.

He also knows that you’re useless without proper sleep, which means that you’re effectively useless 98 percent of the time. During the remaining two percent, you’re mostly kind of an asshole.

Yoongi finger-styles his bangs over his eyebrows, aiming for a carefree, sleep-tousled look, like he’s just rolled out of bed, and not like he’s been in Hoseok’s bathroom for half an hour, semi-freaking out.

Because the downside of falling for your best friend is that if you fuck everything up, you fuck it up forever.

“So for fuck’s sake, Min Yoongi,” he mutters to his reflection, “do NOT fuck this up.”

He rucks his bangs back and exhales. Then with a breathe, he steps through the door.

Yoongi crosses the hall into the softly-lit kitchen. Hoseok sits at a bar stool, one foot up on the seat to expose his lean, well-muscled calf. He’s wearing rimless reading glasses that perch on the end of his nose, making him look like the unassumingly handsome headmaster of an all-girls school. To complete this look, Hoseok is reading something on his tablet while singing along with the the music on the bluetooth. It’s something warm and Latin, cheery but tinged with a kind of forlorn lamenting, and damned if that doesn’t perfectly frame Yoogi’s current state of mind.

Yoongi crosses the toasty kitchen floor. He bypasses the bar (and Hoseok) to shoulder-roll into the buttery-soft leather sofa in the living room. Hoseok has already lit the apricot-fig scented candle on the coffee table; its scent fills the room with its earthy, autumn-y scent.

As Yoongi curls beneath the cashmere throw, Hoseok glances over and asks, “So. How’d you sleep?”

“Terrible,” Yoongi groans. “My bedmate’s such a cover hog.”

“Hm-hm,” Hoseok says. “But he smells fantastic.”

“Sure, if you like the scent of muscles and raw… sweat,” Yoongi says, aware that this is not the clever retort he hoped for. Heat creeps up behind his ears, and he’s dead certain that he’s turned the same shade as the inside of the stargazer lilies arranged on Hoseok’s table.

The gleam of a smile lights on Hoseok’s lips. “I heard zero complaints.”

“Probably because you were communicating with dolphins,” Yoongi shoots back.

Hoseok taps his finger to his lips in mock-consideration. “Yeah, I get pretty loud,” he says. “But it’s my place, so I can be as loud as I want.”

Yeah, about that ... Yoongi thinks. He’s still too groggy to process what he really wants to say. He peels himself from the sofa and lumbers toward the bar. Wordlessly, Hoseok pushes a mug in his direction. Yoongi perches on the opposite stool and sips. He shuts his eyes and whispers an inward prayer, because it is exactly how he likes it.

“Too strong to be dessert, too sweet to be breakfast,” Hoseok says.

Yoongi squints. “You don’t know everything,” he says.

“I know enough,” Hoseok counters. This time when he smiles, it produces a distinctive pull in Yoongi’s gut. He has to drag his attention away before his blush isn’t the only thing to rise in this kitchen.

The song switches from the Spanish love ballad to something lo-fi and atmospheric. Yoongi blows across the surface of his coffee, wimpling ripples over the reflection of his face. He thinks about this place of Hoseok’s, with its plush, homey, lived-in feel. Hoseok’s had it for two years, and though it’s never been a secret, he confided last night that Yoongi’s the first among their members to visit.

And now that he’s here, he can’t help but think… who else has Hoseok brought to this place when it is so clearly set up to entertain overnight guests?  Because this apartment, with its expensive coffee and lavender-scented linen spray, is set up for entertaining.

It doesn’t matter, Yoongi reminds himself. Yoongi kept his feelings for Hoseok closely guarded, so it’s not like they were beholden to each other. Except… it does matter. Because now they are beholden to each other, and it bothers him to think about who else might have shared Hobi’s bed.

Yoongi doesn’t even know how this is supposed to work. Do they tell people now? Do they tell each other? What can they possibly tell? They aren’t a couple of dumb kids in love. Except, they are dumb, and they are kind of in love. Fuck.

His thoughts dart to Seokjin – goddamned Seokjin, with his romance, and his plans. Yoongi recalls the day he discovered him and Taehyung in the broom cupboard of their old studio, and how they’d been at it for months in secret, and—

“Uh oh,” Hoseok says.

Yoongi cuts his eyes at him. “What?”

“You have broody face.”

Yoongi scoffs. “I do not.”

“Lemme guess,” Hoseok taps his fingers to his lips again. So distracting. He says, “You’re thinking, Whatever you do, don’t screw this up. Close?”

Yoongi scoffs. “Not remotely.”

Hoseok leans across the bar. He squeezes his hands over Yoongi’s. The mug’s warmth steams heat against their palms. He says, “My sister will be here in two hours.”

“Oh.” Yoongi straightens. His best friend also knows his complicated family history, and his tendency to flake on anything family related. So Yoongi pulls out his hands and smooths down his hair. “Yeah, Hope. No worries. I’ll clear out, I gotta ton of work to do, so—”

“—No, dork,” Hoseok says, reaching again to clasp his hand. “She wants the place. She’s got a boyfriend.” He rolls his eyes. “Another boyfriend.”

Yoongi stiffens. He glances around, taking in the room as if seeing it for the first time. The lavender spray, the earth-toned decor. Yoongi figured maybe Hope was getting to express a side of himself he couldn’t show at home, but now he thinks, maybe they’re for her?

Then Yoongi recalls the bathroom, the shell-pink bathrobe slung over the hook, the Etude House skincare crowded around the sink. These could be Hoseok’s, but Yoongi knows better.

“Your sister,” he murmurs. “Isn’t she too busy for boyfriends?”

“Uh, aren’t we?” Hoseok counters.

Yoongi scrunches his nose. “Valid point,” he says. “So… she spends a lot of time here?”

“Damned near every weekend,” Hoseok says. “It used to be more of a bachelor pad, a place where I’d, you know…?” Hoseok nods.  “You do know, right?”

Yoongi sits up. He scrubs his palms over his face. He’s not burly by any standard of manhood, but there’s a decent amount of scruff stubbling his chin. “That you bring people home here?” he asks.

“Yeah,” Hoseok says. “I mean, I did. I have, before. Girls, though. Not men.”

“I figured,” Yoongi answers, and Hoseok grimaces. Yoongi rushes to reassure him. “Not to suggest you lack experience, Hope, that is not what I meant.”

“It’s okay, Yoongs,” Hoseok says. “I'm well aware of the value of practice.”

Yoongi’s smile widens so much he can feel it behind his eyes. “Wow,” he says, “So when are Jin-hyung and Tae going to visit his uncle?”

Hoseok drinks from his mug. “Not til Friday.”

“And the Busan boys?”

“They return on Friday.”

Yoongi sniffs. Hoseok slides a hand across the table. After a moment’s hesitation, Yoongi reaches to take it.

“So where will we go?” Hoseok asks.

“Hear me out,” Yoongi says. “I have this vinyl sofa thing in the lab...”

Hoseok beams at him. “No,” he says. “That thing was gross before debut. Also, it’s so busted we’d both break our backs, and I have a delicate dancer’s build…”

They’re both laughing as Yoongi says, “You know, Seokjin and Tae started out in a fucking broom closet. They had a folded-up gym mat. Now that was love.”

“That was insanity,” Hoseok corrects. He nibbles his lip, looking for a moment like he’s misty-eyed with nostalgia. “So much of what they did was completely insane.”

“Now they own a farm in Daegu,” Yoongi muses.

“Yeah,” Hoseok says. “Wow. Insane.”

“So do we go home?” Yoongi asks. He smooths the pads of his fingers against the inside of Hoseok’s cupped palm.

Hoseok says, “I suppose we could.”

Then Yoongi finally asks the question they’ve both been hoping to avoid. “But do we tell them?”

Emotions flicker across Hoseok’s face. The music shifts again, this time to Coldplay, a song that serves to deepen their reminiscence. He says, “How did they manage? Jin-hyung and Tae?”

Yoongi mutters, “I dunno.” Then he adds, “But I kinda get now why Jimin and Kook never officially came out because—”

“—it changes things,” Hoseok finishes.

“Yeah, but does it have to?” Yoongi asks. “Can we just… not… tell them?”

Hoseok says, “Oh, I have an idea.”

“Finally,” Yoongi says.

“We’ll continue on as we are,” Hoseok says. “And if they say anything, we’ll tell them we’ve been this way forever, and how self-involved are they that they’re only noticing now?”

Yoongi nods along until he hits the snag in Hoseok’s logic. “Yeeaah, Jin-hyung knows.”

“What? How?” Hoseok asks.

“I might’ve told him.”

“Ruined it,” Hoseok tsks. “It’s too bad. I liked that plan.”

“Oh, I’m still on board.” They spend a moment grinning dumbly at one another when Yoongi says, “I really liked this alone time with you.”

“Shh, don’t jinx it.”

It’s such a school-kid response, yet it sends a shiver straight through him. Yoongi goes, “So you’re as scared about all this as I am?”

“You know, you’d think so. I am scared of lots of things,” Hoseok says. “But never of you, and never of this.”

The words thunder on repeat in Yoongi’s brain, Do not fuck this up, do not fuck this up. And then there’s this nattering worry that maybe he already has. He gathers it all and strangles it down. “Well then,” Yoongi decides. “I guess we go home.”

Hoseok peers absently into his mug. The music shuffles from Coldplay to Kehlani. He says, “We do still have two hours.”

“Hm, true,” Yoongi agrees.

Hoseok flashes him his sunburst smile. It melts every remaining resistance away. Yoongi yawns, stretching in an effort to cover the sudden spike in his blood pressure. He edges from the barstool, feeling dizzy as Hoseok rounds the bar to take his hand. He’s leading him back across the cozy living room, back down the hall, back to the disheveled bed they’ve shared since New Year’s night.

He closes the door and presses Yoongi against it. Heat radiates from his skin. The places where they connect seem to smolder, and Yoongi drinks it in. The scent of him – sweat and raw muscles, yeah – but there’s a sweetness beneath it, caramel-rich and darkly intoxicating.  

“Well, Hope,” Yoongi says and Hoseok strips him out of his t-shirt, and Yoongi strips him out of his briefs. “I have a confession.”

Hoseok nips along his jaw, daring to dart his tongue into his ear. He says, “I’m listening.”

Yoongi pushes him back onto the bed. He climbs astride his naked thighs and grins down into the face of his best friend. “Yeah,” he says. “I’m afraid it’s all downhill from here.”

Hoseok smacks his ass and they tangle, drowning for a moment in each other and the bedclothes, until Hoseok comes up for air, and Yoongi realizes that they’re laughing. He never guessed it could be like this, not when sex had always been such aggressively serious business for him before. But then again, this might be another upside to falling for your best friend.