“How’d you know you were in love with Yoongi Hyung?”
Seokjin looks at him curiously, narrowing his eyes a bit from across the table. He sips slowly at his drink, placing it back down on the table. “Why?” He asks, defensive but not in an unkind way, just suspicious. He brightens up a bit then, “Do you need advice? Is this about Namjoon? ”
Hoseok snorts, leaning his head on his hand. He stirs his coffee with his straw, eyes not leaving Seokjin’s. “Namjoon and I are just friends. We’ve been over this, haven’t we?”
The older rolls his eyes, shaking his head with a wave of his hand. “ Friends. Yoongi and I were just friends once.”
“Yes, Hyung, I know. I was there.” He replies with a long, drawn out sigh. “I just wanna know. Like, what was it that made you.. Just say I’m in love with him .”
He looks to think about it for a moment, gaze drifting to the window they’re sat by. He stares out at the weather, snow beginning to pile up on the pavement. He gets the little fond smile on his face- the one that Hoseok knows is saved for Yoongi. He says, “I just looked at him and knew one day.” He answers, looking back to Hoseok, “It’s- That’s cheesy, isn’t it? He’d hit me if he weren’t late right now.” He huffs. “But, yeah. I just kind of knew it. You’ll understand when you get your head out of your ass. Namjoon is right there!”
Hoseok lets out a groan, eyes rolling. “Namjoon is like, completely gone for Jungkook. They’re dancing around each other, but it’s not me. And I am not in love with him. I was just asking!”
Seokjin mutters something like, ‘sure’ and returns to sipping from his coffee for a second. “He’s your type and come to think of it, so is Jungkook. So maybe the three of you can-”
“Oh my god, stop talking-”
“-work something out.”
“You don’t even know my type.”
“Good looking, kind of muscular, really nice, kind of goofy- that sort of thing.”
Hoseok wants to ask him who exactly that sounds like to him, but he knows it wouldn’t amount to anything except Seokjin hinting to Namjoon or Jungkook or the both of them again. If he hasn’t gotten the hint after twelve years of friendship, then he won’t get it now that that describes him and Yoongi. And Hoseok is in no rush to spell it out for him.
So, he just scoffs, “Right.”
The bell above the door to the cafe jingles when it opens again, a rush of cold air blowing in briskly. Hoseok can tell from Seokjin’s smile that Yoongi has just walked in behind him. He doesn’t turn to look, can feel Yoongi’s fingers in his hair, tilting his head up to smack an annoying kiss on his head as a greeting. Hoseok whines, rubbing at his forehead with the sleeve of his sweater as if it didn’t make his heart flutter a bit.
He and Seokjin kiss. It’s sweet and chaste and they immediately lock hands. It’s nice- they look nice together and Hoseok knows they always have.
“You’re late, kept me and Hoseokie waiting. Do you even love us anymore?” Seokjin teases him as soon as he sits down. Yoongi swipes his drink away from him, rolling his eyes and taking a long gulp from it.
“It’s too early for your dramatics.” He says, though his thumb is rubbing over the back of Seokjin’s hand fondly. “Seok, how have we put up with this for twelve years?”
Hoseok can’t answer with anything but a shrug, smiling softly. He’s looking at them together right now and he kind of gets what Seokjin is saying. He just knows and knowing is the worst thing.
“You’re coming to the showcase right?”
Yoongi is looking at him like he’s grown two heads, “Are you kidding? Of course we’ll be there. You won’t even show us what you’ve been working on. We’ll bring a sign for you- one that lights up and shit. Properly embarrass you.” He says.
Hoseok drapes himself over Yoongi, laying his head in his lap. He shakes his head, and looks over at the tv screen, “You can’t embarrass me. I know the both of you two well.” He sighs, “You’ll be next to Joon and Tae though, could probably embarrass them.” He nods.
“You got our seats already?”
“Obviously, front row.”
Yoongi grins at that, “It’s on our anniversary, so we’ll get dinner and be there. I promise. Good?” He hums, settling back onto the couch.
He nods at that, humming in acknowledgement. It’ll be five years of them being together. Their five years together have been five years of Hoseok trying to understand and manage liking two people, trying to figure out how to unlove two people and recently, accepting that he’s managed to fall in love with two people that don’t love him back. Two people he can’t lose, people he’s known since he was a kid. He cannot lose them. He feels lucky to even still have them as friends.
Friends was enough.
He doses off with his head in Yoongi’s lap and registers it while half asleep that Seokjin gets home and moves Hoseok’s legs across his own lap. He falls just the tiniest bit more in love.
They miss the showcase.
Hoseok doesn’t realize it at first, because he talks with Namjoon and Taehyung outside the auditorium a little bit before he has to start getting ready. They’re calm about it, reassuring him with words of encouragement.
“They’ll be here. You haven’t even started getting ready yet. And they wouldn’t miss this. There’s no way.” Taehyung shakes his head, leaning against the outside of the building.
Namjoon chimes in helpfully with, “Yeah, plus there’s like traffic and everything. They’ll be here, Hobi.”
And then Jimin pokes his head out of the back door to ask Hoseok to come help Jungkook with his eyeliner and Hoseok has to go in. He’s relaxed, reassured that they’re in fact coming. It wasn’t like he hadn’t heard from them that day. He helped both of them pick out their outfits for dinner over facetime.
Yet, Hoseok notices the two very empty seats right beside Namjoon and Taehyung when he ends the showcase, closing it out with an original piece. Composed by him, choreographed by him, for them. And they aren’t there.
It’s like a punch to the stomach, a blow to the head or something. He’s out of breath, standing before the loads of clapping and cheering, yet he still feels fucking stupid. He locks eyes with his friends in the front and there’s sympathy there. He looks away and darts off stage as soon as he can. He manages to not fall apart backstage, but does fall a bit into Jimin, body damp with sweat and his mind so exhausted.
He mumbles, “They didn’t show up.” and Jimin, he’s a bit angry.
A bit angry does not describe Jimin. It’s more than that, but they’re technically due on stage in another minute to take a bow and he cannot lose his cool right now. Hoseok understands that much.
“You need to stop hurting yourself pining after them.” Jimin tells him firmly, pulling Hoseok’s head up to look at him. He pushes his damp hair out of his face, “You hear me? Fuck them. Men ain’t shit. No tears for them.”
Hoseok wants to laugh, loud and bright. But he fears he might start crying if he has a sudden outburst of emotion. So, he just nods with a tiny smile and wraps an arm around him, gathering up Jungkook too.
“We killed it.” He says, because they did, whether Yoongi and Seokjin were there to see it or not.
In the morning, he wakes up to knocking on the front door.
The three of them had come home last night and crashed in the living room, Jungkook and Jimin on the couch and Hoseok in the recliner.
Jimin’s the first to be up, and Hoseok watches him sleepily as he pads over to the door, rubbing at his eyes. He asks who it is and Hoseok closes his eyes to go back to sleep until he makes out Yoongi’s voice on the other side of the door and his eyes shoot open.
It seems like Jimin is all the way awake now too as he unlocks the door and swings it open. Hoseok can practically feel the glare Jimin has on his face even though he can’t see him, but he’s frozen in his seat and unable to stop him from doing anything rash. Hoseok is aware Jimin hasn’t particularly gotten along with Yoongi or Seokjin. He doesn’t much care for them out of protectiveness over Hoseok, but he isn’t outright mean.
“Hyung can’t talk to you right now. You can go.” Jimin announces, the way his chest is puffed out evident in his voice.
“Okay,” Yoongi answers, confusion heavy in his words, “I think he can decide whether or not he wants to talk. He’s right there.”
Hoseok is aware he can be seen from the front door, but makes no move to acknowledge Yoongi. He blinks slowly, trying to convince himself this is still a dream.
“No, I think he’s busy. You know, he had a really important showcase last night, Yoongi-ssi. He should be getting some rest after it.” Jimin all but snaps.
There’s a second of silence where it’s just Yoongi realizing what he’d forgotten the night before, eyes widening and he rushes to say something, but Jimin’s alread shutting the door and locking it, returning to his spot on the couch and curling up there.
He sighs with his eyes already closed, “You need to get over them.” He mutters.
Hoseok can only nod. He says, “I know.” But he doesn’t think he can. He curls up tighter than before and wills himself back to sleep.
Their apology comes in the form of a phone call and about a million texts on Seokjin’s part. They say they’ll make it up to him, take him out for dinner, see him soon. And they do keep their word on that.
The restaurant they’re at is nice, it’s homey and kind of quiet. The two of them look happy- happier than normal and they’ve got rings on which they assured Hoseok that they weren’t engagement rings but promise rings. And Hoseok smiles, pretends it doesn’t hurt and congratulates them anyway. He was never a good liar, giggling when he even tried, but years of practice and when it comes to Seokjin and Yoongi, he’s sure nothing they can throw at him will make him unable to smile, laugh and look like he’s just happy for his best friends.
Their dinner is nice. The three of them bicker and joke while they eat and even pull up some video taken from his performance. And everything’s fine until the end of dinner, standing in the parking lot. They’d walked Hoseok to his car, nervous looks covering their faces. Hoseok leans back against the door of the car, tilting his head to the side while he watches them. There’s a small smile gracing his lips.
“What?” He asks, “I told you it’s fine you missed the show. It’s not that big a deal. You’ll come to the senior showcase next year and we’ll be even.” He shrugs which just makes them look more crestfallen and he doesn’t really know what to say.
“We’re moving, Seok.”
Hoseok’s eyebrows furrow tightly together in confusion. They’ve moved in together before, so why would this be any different?
“Okay? What? Is it like an hour away? I can drive too, Hyung. It’s not a big deal. You’ll show me the apartment before you move in right?”
They fall quiet again and it only fuels his confusion. He opens his mouth to say something again when Seokjin answers, “Out of country. We’re going to travel a little.” He explains, and then it’s dead silent in the parking lot.
Hoseok’s face has fallen, only managing a small ‘oh’. He asks, “When?”
“Like a few weeks after we graduate.”
“So in basically a month.” He blinks.
Hoseok gives them the biggest smile he can manage. Because that’s romantic, and sweet and they’ve talked about seeing the world together as kids. “That’s great. It’ll be really cool. I’m happy for you two. You deserve it, Hyungs. Just send me a postcard, huh?” He tries to joke, unlocking the car while he’s at it. “I’m gonna go. I promised Jungkook we’d watch movies tonight. I’ll see you.”
He doesn’t give them time to protest anymore, or say anything else to him. He gets in the car and drives home without second thought.
He’s been successfully avoiding them now for a few weeks, mentioning what happened nonchalantly to his roommates over dinner which makes Jimin unsurprisingly annoyed, and Jungkook worried. He doesn’t mention it, knowing Hoseok will deny having any opinions toward them leaving.
Hoseok doesn’t want to get into it, and he pleading words in his eyes tell them both that, enough to get them to not press for more information. Dodging their calls and texts, invites to come over and talk about things was hard, but he managed to get away with it.
He’s just trying to sneak a charger to one of his senior friends during graduation practice when he’s cornered by both Yoongi and Seokjin. It’s not really a surprise or anything, of course they’re at graduation practice. But, Hoseok thought he’d go unnoticed with the amount of graduating students around. But, Yoongi comes at him full force in his cap and gown with the shout of, “Jung Hoseok!” and Hoseok does have to admit it’s a bit scary as he’s never really heard Yoongi yell at him before.
They’re outside, away from the crowd, so Hoseok really can’t hide anywhere. He’s just stuck, turning around to face the both of them.
When he doesn’t say anything, Seokjin does, “You’re avoiding us.”
“I’m not.” The youngest answers, a bit too quickly. He swallows hard, crossing his arms across his chest defensively.
“You are.” Yoongi counters, just as quick. “You won’t even talk to us.”
“I told you, I’m sudying a lot.”
“You couldn’t have stuck around in there to say hi or something?”
Yoongi looks like he might yell at him, but at this point, Hoseok is genuinely starting to not care what he says. It’s twelve years of unsaid things, pent up emotions just stacked on top of each other. Years of friendship and they’re leaving anyway, so what does it even matter to Hoseok.
“I don’t get this. You cannot still be upset about the showcase-” Yoongi starts, mirroring Hoseok’s arms crossed.
“It’s not about that.”
“Then what? Us leaving?” He raises his voice slightly, “Hoseok, we’re graduating! We’re moving on. We have a life-”
“Without me, right?”
It goes quiet at that, Yoongi taking a deep breath and Seokjin standing beside him, but looking downright uncomfrotable and Hoseok doesn’t blame him. He’s not one for confrontation, prefers to keep it in like Hoseok. Yoongi, on the other hand, likes being straightforward and getting problems addressed.
“That’s not what I said.”
“But it’s true. It’s a life separate from me. Always Yoongi and Seokjin, oh and Hoseok too. Yoongi and Seokjin and their plus one. An add on or something. So yeah, it makes sense.”
Seokjin chooses then to say quietly, “You aren’t an add on, Seok. We’ve been friends-”
“For twelve fucking years, I know. And yet neither of you get the fact that I’m in love with you.” He always thought, if he confessed to them, it would be grander than this. It would be like he had some epiphany where he realized they really did love him back all these years, that he had been just as oblivious as them. It’s not like that though. This is reality.
Reality is his best friends in the whole world staring at him with wide eyes and confused gazes. Reality is them not understanding or knowing if they could share those feelings, and they’re kind enough to tell him that. It’s them telling him they need to talk more about this later and him telling them he needs to not see them for a while.
The rest of their school year goes like this.
He doesn’t see Seokjin or Yoongi, even with the few voicemails and texts they leave him letting him know they can talk whenever he wants, whenever he’s ready. Hoseok doesn’t want to though and strangely enough, he hasn’t cried since he told them. He feels like maybe he’s all cried out.
He goes to their graduation and feels immensly proud, but doesn’t stick around to find them afterwards. He avoids them even more in the coming days to their departure. He does answer Seokjin’s call the night before they’re set to leave though.
It’s all small talk, like their fucking strangers and Hoseok despises it, but he doesn’t say that. He’s nice enough to keep talking to him, and he tells him, “I don’t want to talk about it now. I don’t know if or when I’ll be ready to. I just need space and to get over both of you.”
Seokjin is quiet after that, and Hoseok knows he has a lot to say, questions and things he wants Hoseok to know, but he’s grateful he holds them back. “Okay. Okay, that’s fine.” He breathes out slowly, “Will you be at the airport tomorrow?”
“I think it’s better if I don’t.”
“Goodnight, Hyung. Have a safe flight tomorrow.”
And then he hangs up.
The coming day isn’t nice to him. Jungkook goes along with Namjoon and Taehyung and some others to see them off at the airport. Jimin and Hoseok stay home, wrapped in blankets with some drama on. He’s curled into Jimin tightly when Jungkook gets back in the house.
He looks like he’s been crying a bit, handing over an envelope to Hoseok. “They’re gone. Wanted me to give you that.” He says.
Hoseok sits up, turning the envelope over in his hands to look it over. On the back neatly written is, ‘To: Hoseokie From: Your Hyungs’. He stares at it blankly, but doesn’t open it.
Hoseok cries for the first time since he confessed to them, sobbing into Jimin’s shoulder. His hand grips the letter tightly, and ironically, it feels just the smallest bit like letting go.