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spring.

 

He’s watching Hoseok scoop up a handful of cherry blossoms and it’s endearing in the way only the endeared can really see. Yoongi’s palm is sweaty even against the cold can of Coke he’s holding, because he’s been running himself in circles trying to figure out when he’s going to cave.

His brain has imagined all the different ways he could say it – he thinks about it when he’s lying in bed, when he’s on the bus, when he’s supposed to be making beats. This imaginary scenario of him being out with Hoseok and finally prying his jaw open to tell him, I like you. I mean, I really like you.

Because getting a huge, fat crush on Hoseok was never really a revelation. Anyone could have seen it coming a thousand miles away. It had always existed inside of him, a stone unturned, and when he figured it out he just kind of thought, ah. So this is what I’ve been waiting for.

He figured he would hold out, that it would prove to be a passing sort of thing, but instead it decided to eat him up inside, more and more, until he thought he’d either go crazy or die if he didn’t grow a pair and just tell him. 

Do you want to go to the cherry blossom festival, hyung? Hoseok had asked him the other week, and Yoongi doesn’t like crowds or the bugs by the water, but he agreed without hesitation. He’s pretty sure that if Hoseok asked him to come along on a dumpster dive he’d probably still go.

A group of squealing kids run past, trailing balloons and a tired but happy looking mother behind them. It’s busy on the walkway, everyone gathered to see the sunset cast down over the stream.

“Yoongi-yah, we should get food,” Hoseok says, opening his fingers and letting all the delicate petals he’d just gathered float down to their feet. The pillowtops of the trees are full and bubblegum pink, scattering the light into a kaleidoscope that falls in golden smatters over everything.

“That really just means you want me to buy you dinner,” Yoongi replies, and Hoseok smiles, reaches out to pluck a petal from Yoongi’s bleached hair.

“You’re my hyung, aren’t you? I’ll starve.”

“My wallet doesn’t agree with the whole hyung thing,” he says even as he’s already moving to one of the vendor carts. He buys them both tteokbokki in its bright scarlet sauce, and they meander along the pathway, eating in silence and staring up at the trees. They find a bench that’s mercifully unoccupied by one of the many families or doting couples that are crowding the area, and when they go to sit Yoongi’s knees both crack.

“Old age really sneaks up on you, huh,” Hoseok comments, and quickly jerks away to avoid the elbow that Yoongi throws at his ribs. He laughs, readjusts his beanie, and his ears fold down in the way that Yoongi hates because he thinks it’s painfully cute.

“You’ve been running me around all day, I’m falling apart,” he groans, leaning against the wooden backing of the bench. Hoseok squeezes his shoulder, and Yoongi can feel the warmth of his hand through the layer of his cardigan.

“Leave me everything in your will.”

“You get nothing.”

“At least let me have Holly.”

“Taehyung gets Holly. You get nothing,” Yoongi says, and Hoseok jerks his hand back like he’s been burnt.

“Hyung, that hurts.”

“You’ll be okay,” he replies, and he manages to keep his voice flat even though his lips are curving into a smile. Hoseok heaves a great sigh (really, the dramatics of it all) and stuffs his hands into the pockets of his thin hoodie.

“I won’t hold it against you because you actually came out today,” he says. “I feel like I haven’t gotten to hang out at all since I started the video choreography.”

“I’ve had to listen to the guys whine about you not being able to come to dinner each time we’re together. Finish this project so they’ll shut up,” Yoongi says, and Hoseok laughs a little, shrugging. “Seriously, though. I get it. You’re having a good time, right?”

“Dude, yes. It’s amazing. I mean, a music video? A music video! I know I don’t stop bringing it up but it just freaks me out that my choreo is gonna be real for people to see.”

“A lot of people. I mean, it’s fucking Riza. She’s on all the charts right now.”

“Makes me feel like I have to work ten times harder. It’s what I wanted, though. I felt like I wasn’t really…I dunno, leveling up. Or something.”

“It’ll be good. I know.”

“Thanks, hyung,” Hoseok replies, wiggling down a little farther on the bench. A silence falls over them, peaceful in the way it weighs in the space, and this is one of the many reasons he likes to just exist next to Hoseok. There’s no pressure to talk in circles, no awkwardness in them being quiet and watching the world go by.

The sun is sinking below the horizon, deep red, a backlight for the spirals of petals as they drift off the trees and litter the whole area with a blushing blanket. The conversations around them all mingle together in a cacophony of noise, but Yoongi feels removed from it. Right now, it’s just him and Hoseok and the slightly chilled breeze of the spring evening.

Don’t overthink it, Jin had advised him when Yoongi had been pacing back and forth, worrying aloud about how he was going to try and lay his feelings bare. Seriously, you overthink it and you’ll never spit it out. It’s Hoseok. Even if he doesn’t feel the same way, he won’t judge you. He’s not that guy.

And Yoongi knows he’s not that guy, that Jin had begrudgingly been right, but he’s almost more scared of being let down gently. Because Hoseok cares about his feelings, is always so diplomatic on that kind of shit, but he can imagine it already. The softening of the eyes, the hesitation while he considers how to reply, the way he always takes a little breath before he says something the other person doesn’t want to hear.

He knows he can handle rejection. He’s been rejected plenty, in all aspects, but somehow a rejection from Hoseok might be harder than others to patch up. Still, he can’t keep doing this with himself. He has to believe that however it ends up, their friendship will be just fine.

“Oh, talking about the video. You know Joo-hyuk?”

“I mean, I know about him. He’s in half of your Instagram stories.”

“Fair. Yeah, so, he asked me out the other day. Like, actually asked me out. On a real date,” Hoseok says, and the breath Yoongi had been taking hitches in his throat.

“Yeah?” he manages, and Hoseok fiddles with the edge of his sleeve, lips turning up into that tiny smile that makes his dimples carve out.

“Yeah. We’re going out tomorrow for dinner. I like him, hyung. I think you guys would like him too, he’s funny. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you because, you know, I’m excited. And nervous. But not really, he’s easy to be with.”

Yoongi stares blankly over Hoseok’s shoulder, very aware of the way jealousy curls itself into a spitting snake at the pit of his stomach. It just barely layers the hurt.

The universe, he understands, has a really fucked up sense of humor.

“Good for you, man,” he finds himself saying, sounds like he always does, because Yoongi is nothing if not proficient in shoving the choke of his feelings aside when he needs to. He needs to be the best friend who congratulates even when he kind of wants to cry.

“I haven’t been on a real date in forever,” he laughs. “Was really starting to tell myself that dying alone wouldn’t be so bad.”

Yoongi snorts, because words fail him right now, and when Hoseok stands to throw away their empty food containers in the trash, he allows his face to crumple for the most split of seconds. Eyes squeezing tightly shut, mouth pulled tight into a line that refuses to tremble.

The sun finally disappears from sight, and dusk settles in, soft and blue.

 

 

summer.

 

 

Yoongi is lethargically scrubbing away at the dishes in his sink when the music on his phone fades in place of an incoming call. He curses under his breath, pulling soapy hands from the water and toweling them off quickly so he can answer.

“Hey,” he greets, wiping his forearm across his temple to try and get some of the sweat off.

“Hey,” Hoseok replies, and his voice is weirdly quiet.

“What’s up?”

There’s a long pause, before he asks, “Could I come over?”

“Uh, sure,” Yoongi replies, and Hoseok only gives him a quick see you before hanging up. Yoongi blinks at his screen before pocketing it and going to finish up the dishes with a more renewed vigor. The AC in his tiny apartment had crapped out the day before, and the early August heat is sweltering. He needs to shower before Hoseok arrives, because he knows for a fact that he stinks.

He’s just pulling on a fresh tank top when there’s a knock on the front door. Yoongi pads out of his room and goes to let Hoseok in, hair still wet enough that little droplets of water are running down his neck.

“Sorry for the short notice, hyung,” Hoseok says as he comes in. Yoongi shuts the door and shrugs while Hoseok slips out of his sandals. His tanned skin has a thin sheen of sweat on it, evidence that he’d been stuck on public transport.

“Don’t care. Come on,” he says, and Hoseok follows him to the cramped space of the kitchen, hoisting himself up to sit on the counter while Yoongi grabs him a beer from the refrigerator.

“Sounded like you could use this.”

Hoseok takes the bottle from Yoongi with a grateful smile and cracks open the top. He looks tired, the tangerine of his hair having faded a bit, and Yoongi doesn’t say anything. Of the many unspoken understandings in their relationship, they know the other person will talk when he needs to. He takes a long pull of beer before massaging at his bare thigh, mouth pursed.

“Me and Joo-hyuk broke up,” he says, finally, and Yoongi frowns. The two of them had been dating since April, since that week of the blossom festival, and it had seemed to be going well. To be fair, Yoongi didn’t ask Hoseok much how things were between him and his boyfriend. He didn’t resent Joo-hyuk for getting somewhere that he wanted to be, but that didn’t mean Yoongi was keen on hearing Hoseok gush about him.

“Shit. I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s okay? I mean, I’m the one who did it. Broke us up,” Hoseok says, staring down at the amber beer bottle. He picks at the label idly, tearing it and peeling it off slowly. “It’s not like we dated a long time. I guess I just feel weird that I don’t really, uh, feel that bad. I thought I’d be sad but I’m really just relieved.”

“Can’t help how you feel,” Yoongi says, gets his own beer. Solidarity, and all that. “Why relieved?”

“Honestly, I think I just liked that he liked me. That sounds shitty. He’s a really cool person, but I looked at us and kind of thought, what am I doing? He didn’t feel like my boyfriend. He felt like my friend that I fucked. And I don’t wanna do that to someone, waste their time or anything.”

Yoongi nods, takes a swig of the sour beer. Hoseok glances up at him, but Yoongi only steadily holds his gaze. He knows that Hoseok has something else to say. So he waits, tamping down the weird mixture of feelings that are trying to bubble their way up.

“And I started thinking that this happens a lot. I fall so easily. But then it’s never right, or the feeling kinda just…dies. There’s only – I mean, nevermind. Anyway, it’s just got me thinking that maybe I need to be more serious about dating.”

“Seok-ah, it’s important that you can be self-aware, but don’t overdo it. You’re only 26, that’s so young. You have plenty of time to figure this bullshit out.”

“No, I know,” he says, and hunches over. It makes him seem smaller than he actually is. “It’s not like I feel like I’m running out of time. It’s more that I want to find a person I can really invest myself in. I’ve never been in a relationship that lasted more than a year, and it’s – I’m lonely, hyung.”

His voice cracks a little on that last part, and Jung Hoseok doesn’t cry often, but that definitely sounded like a pre-sob warmup. Yoongi immediately puts down his beer and comes over to Hoseok, touches his shoulders first. Their eyes meet for a brief second, but that’s all they need. Hoseok lets his head fall into the crook of Yoongi neck and he holds Hoseok tightly. Hoseok doesn’t cry, but he snuffles like he’s trying to push back the snot and tears.

“Focus on your own shit,” Yoongi advises, “and come out with us more. It’ll help. And you’ll find someone that you can, I dunno, grow old and die with. And you’ll both be buried next to each other. And then you’ll still be kicking it together in the afterlife.”

Hoseok lets out a wet laugh against Yoongi’s neck, and he hates that the heat of it makes him shiver. They pull away, just enough for Hoseok to press at his eyelids and push his hair back with a deep sigh.

“Thanks, hyung. You always know how to save my ass.”

“I’ve honed my skills over the years,” he answers, gives Hoseok a little shake at the shoulder. “It’ll be fine. Your MV project can’t keep you hostage anymore, so come to Jin’s next week. We can drown in his pool together.”

“I’ll be there,” Hoseok says, and that’s that. They pick up their beers and watch a movie together from Yoongi’s couch, Hoseok’s feet in his lap, and it feels normal in a deceiving way. Because Yoongi’s brain is whispering, gently, you have another shot to tell him. Tell him.

And don’t fucking blow it.

 


 

 

True to his word, Hoseok shows up at Jin’s house the next week carrying a case of beer, blue aviators perched atop his (freshly dyed) orange hair, smile out along with the long bare stretch of his legs.

“You made it!” Jin yells at the sight of him, and there’s a chorus of hellos and Hoseok-hyung! that berate the air. Hoseok flops down into one of the wicker chairs around the patio table while Jin jams the beer he brought into the cooler.

“It’s been years,” Jimin bemoans, standing to come wrap his arms around Hoseok’s shoulders and squish his cheek atop his head.

“I saw you two days ago, Jiminie,” Hoseok states, but he rubs Jimin’s forearm good-naturedly.

“The music video is being released next week, right?” Namjoon asks, leaning his chin into his palm. He has a little sunburn over the tip of his nose and the breadth of his shoulder, evidence of having just returned from his trip to Hawaii. Well, his and Jin’s.

Between the royalties from the drama film that Jin had landed in and Namjoon’s book charting top ten, they hadn’t known what to do with themselves. Getting the house together had been the big investment of last year, but now they could actually afford the mortgage with breathing room and vacation time to spare.

“Yep. We gonna have a watching party?” Hoseok asks, opening his palm for Jin to slide a drink into.

“Of course we are,” Jimin answers from above him. “Here, obviously.”

“When did I agree to that?” Jin asks while he lowers himself back into his seat next to Namjoon.

“Just now. We heard you, hyung,” Jungkook interjects, and Taehyung hides a grin behind his large hand.

“You do have the biggest living room,” Yoongi shrugs, and doesn’t look Jin in the eye when he gets shot a look of mock betrayal.

“I see. Hyung makes a little money and suddenly everyone just wants his living room,” Jin mutters gloomily, and Namjoon has to squeeze his nose to keep himself from spitting out the swallow of beer he’d just put in his mouth.

“It’s true. All the nights I spent with your moping drunk ass in college was for a big screen TV,” Hoseok laughs, and it’s good to see him laugh, great even. This past month he’d been so muted, and at least Yoongi knows why now, but seeing the flash of Hoseok’s teeth puts him at ease.

The evening passes in a kind of nostalgic blur – Jin cranks on the grill to make them burgers and vegetable skewers (with Jungkook practically hanging off his shoulder, because he’s been attached to the idea of cooking being added to his long list of talents) and the rest of them throw their bodies into the pool. Yoongi is trying to float on his pool noodle, because this is his day of relaxation, but Namjoon keeps beaming him in the head with the blow-up water volleyball.

It’s a perfect summer day, all in all, rare for the entirety of them to be free at once to have fun like this. Adulthood has gripped them all hard, whether they’re in the deep building of their careers or just getting started. But time suspends itself, just a moment, enough for them to eat dinner together and play cards and drink beer until they’re dizzy with it.

It’s late when the youngest three finally head to sleep, cramping their bodies in the large bed of the guest room, and when Jin and Namjoon go in, they lay blankets and pillows on the pull-out couch. It’s only Yoongi and Hoseok left, worn out and lazed. It’s cooled off, at least, the humid day breaking a little into a tepid night, cicadas and grasshoppers making their loud chirps in the underbrush that composes what little of a backyard there is.

“Hyung,” Hoseok says, draining the last of the beer in the bottle, and Yoongi hums. “Let’s get in the pool.”

“Tired,” Yoongi sighs, lying his head back onto the chair. “And drunk. Ugh, god. Wanna brush my teeth.”

“Come on. It’s summer, that means pool time.”

Hoseok stands and yanks at his hand, manages to drag Yoongi up, though he groans all the way. They’d thrown clothes back on for the evening, old faded shorts and threadbare tanks, and Yoongi blinks when Hoseok starts stripping. He peels off his shorts, revealing the curve of his bare ass, a couple shades lighter than the rest of his slender body.

“Oh my god, Hoseok,” Yoongi laughs, shielding his eyes like he’s just been blinded, but his heart speeds up with a thumping lurch, because oh god, Hoseok is naked. Yoongi is only a mortal man. There’s a threshold to how much he can handle.

“If you’re gonna skinnydip anywhere, it might as well be in Jin-hyung’s pool. He’d approve. Deep down, he’d approve,” Hoseok states, and cannonballs himself into the deep end, leaving Yoongi on the side to slowly pull off his shirt. He hesitates to pull off his shorts, because he’s not wearing underwear and Hoseok is pushing his hair away from his forehead, staring up at him with big, dark eyes.

“Shy now, hyung?” he asks, and that’s all it takes for Yoongi to set his mouth in a stubborn frown and shuck his shorts off, leaving him completely exposed and blushing hotly but fuck it, he’s drunk, and the pool is so blue, and Hoseok shrieks in laughter when Yoongi belly flops into the water.

“Not shy,” he gasps when he resurfaces, and Hoseok grins, grabs his shoulders and dunks him back underwater. The water is a cold rush engulfing the heat of his skin, and for a second he lets himself just be swallowed by it, Hoseok’s fingers pressing into him and holding him there. When he bobs back up, he spits a mouthful of chlorine-bright water onto Hoseok’s cheek, and the whine it earns him is well-deserved.

He goes back under, the silent vacuum of water giving him a reprieve. His heartbeat is an echo, and he holds his breath until his lungs force him up.

“You almost done with the mixtape?” Hoseok asks idly, floating by Yoongi on his back. He’s bobbing side to side a little, obviously having a harder time than usual keeping his balance, and this must be funny to him because he giggles in a short burst. Yoongi very firmly refuses to look south.

“Yeah. It’s close,” he answers, sinking down to his chin. The lights on the sides of the pool cast the water an eerie, neon blue. “It feels nice to just work on my own shit. Not like I don’t love producing for other people. But this is, like, my kid.”

“When are you gonna let me listen?”

“When it’s done.”

“Ah, hyung,” Hoseok whines, his voice pitching up in that nasal tone. He flips over without grace, floundering for a second before he can paddle over to where Yoongi is leaning against the concrete siding, at a depth where his feet can touch, because the deep end when he’s this off-kilter seems like a bad idea.

“What?” he asks, and clucks in annoyance when Hoseok clings to him like a leech, long limbs wrapping around his hips and waist without a care, as if they’re not both naked as the day they were born.  Hoseok’s weight nearly tips him over beneath the surface, and he starts laughing, knows he’s flushed down to the chest with booze and embarrassment.

A drunk Hoseok is a touchy Hoseok, and mostly ecstatic except for the weird spacey moods he can slip into during mid-conversation. And right now he’s spurred on by Yoongi’s laughing, all over him and trying to bite at his ear, and Yoongi keeps shoving his face away but neither of them take it seriously.

“I get special privileges,” he continues, nose pressed to Yoongi’s wet temple. “Because I’m your favorite.”

“Who said that?” Yoongi mumbles, hand clasping at Hoseok’s back, holding him close even when he knows he should shove Hoseok off and mean it.

“No one. Everyone. I just know. Why, I’m not your favorite?”

Hoseok draws back a little, and even though Yoongi knows it’s a bad idea, that if he’s going to run it should be right now, he still meets Hoseok’s gaze. His hair is swept back in wet clumps, darkened to almost an ochre, and he’s all sharp angles. The pixie tip of his nose, the delicate swoop of collarbones. Yoongi opens his mouth, shuts it again, lets his eyes fall to the deep curve of Hoseok’s cupid bow.

His heart beats a hard stutter of alarm and excitement, of want, because Hoseok is sliding his hands over Yoongi’s shoulders and lacing them behind his nape, as if they’re slow dancing. There’s only the soft lap of the water against their skin, the blood pounding in his ears, and Yoongi shuts his eyes. He’s overwhelmed.

“You okay, hyung?” Hoseok asks, voice quiet, so close to Yoongi that he can practically feel the brush of breath on his cheek.

“I’m fine,” Yoongi replies, just as hushed, eyes fluttering open, and he’s not sure what happened to the laughter from a minute ago.

“So?” he asks, running his thumb up and down the back of Yoongi’s neck. “Am I your favorite?”

“Does it matter?” He tries to make it sound like a joke, but Hoseok doesn’t laugh. His eyes drag down to Yoongi’s mouth and back up, slow enough that it’s obvious, and something inside of Yoongi twists hard.

“It does to me.”

“Hoseok-ah,” he starts, cuts himself off, and finishes with a shake in his voice that’s unfamiliar, “I’m always looking at you.”

He’s not sure who leans in first, who gaps what’s left of empty space, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not what he’ll remember. Hoseok’s lips meet his, slick and warm, a bit off center. He presses his fingertips to Yoongi’s jaw, tilts his face up, and Yoongi keeps his eyes open just enough to see Hoseok through the blur of his lashes.

When Hoseok kisses him again, dead on and with a little more pressure, Yoongi inhales sharply, aware that he’s clutching Hoseok’s shoulder blades like life rafts. It’s just that, for a moment, and then Hoseok’s tongue is tracing his bottom lip, soft and careful. Yoongi doesn’t open his mouth so much as he sighs, unfolding like he’s been wound tight for years (maybe he has), and Hoseok tastes like beer and chlorine, fits exactly like he should against Yoongi’s mouth.

It’s slow, his hands up in Yoongi’s dark hair, holding his head steady while he plays the kiss exactly how he wants, tongue brushing everywhere. And Yoongi lets him take, and take, presses himself close enough to feel the flat of Hoseok’s chest, the point of his hip. Hoseok pulls back enough to sink his teeth into Yoongi’s bottom lip, tugs and pulls a low moan out of Yoongi’s lungs along with it.

“Fuck, hyung,” he whispers, barely finishes his sentence before Yoongi’s gripping the sides of his face and kissing him again, hard and open. Hoseok makes a small noise at the back of his throat, somewhere between gasp and groan, matching Yoongi’s fervor without a second thought. It’s almost hard to keep up with each other, their tongues sliding together fast, messy, and Hoseok keeps biting his lips when he can catch them, little stings of pain that make him whine. They kiss until Yoongi thinks his lungs might burst, until his lips feel bruised, but it feels fleeting.

Hoseok yanks at Yoongi’s hair, just enough to make him writhe, before his fingers are sliding down his spine and over the swell of his ass.

“Hoseok,” Yoongi breathes hard, because Hoseok digs the blunt of his nails into his flesh hard, squeezing Yoongi’s ass in the wide palms of his hands. “Shit.”

“You’re so hot,” Hoseok mutters, pressing his lips to the underside of Yoongi’s jaw, drags them down the side of his neck. His breath hitches when Hoseok starts to suck around his pulse point, wonders if he can feel how fast his blood is thrumming. “Can I touch you?”

“You’re touching me,” Yoongi manages, and Hoseok snorts out something that might have been a laugh. He rolls his hips, grinding his erection against the side of Yoongi’s belly, and having that hardness pressing against him makes something deep in his abdomen pulse hot.

“Asshole. You know what I mean,” Hoseok replies, and giggles into the kiss that Yoongi presses to his lips. It’s stupidly endearing considering that Yoongi is more turned on than he’s been in a long time.

“Jin will kill me if I cum in his pool,” Yoongi says, not really believing that this is happening, that Hoseok wants this.

“How would he know?”

“He has a sixth sense for disrespect. He’d know.”

Hoseok blinks at Yoongi before he hums, like he’s thinking, but then he’s hauling Yoongi up into his arms and wading through the water. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Hoseok has plenty of trained muscle packed into that lithe body, and he doesn’t even strain to get Yoongi up above the surface, sitting him on the pool ledge. Without the coverage of water, Yoongi’s cock curves embarrassingly towards his belly, the air cold on his wet skin. Hoseok puts his hands on Yoongi’s knees, parts his legs gently, the concrete rough as the back of his thighs slide to open enough that Hoseok can wedge himself between them.

“Now, hyung?” Hoseok asks, tilting his head back to look up at Yoongi, eyes glassy and lidded. He feels like some sense has been knocked into him, and he knows that he shouldn’t let this happen. They’re both drunk, and Hoseok is his best friend. This is a rebound, at best. And it’s going to hurt.

It’s going to hurt.

Yoongi leans down and kisses Hoseok, lets himself drown in it, the way it feels like he always imagined it would. It’s a mistake. And it’s a mistake too when he ushers Hoseok out of the water, lays his back on the patio ground and lets Hoseok grind against him until they’re both cumming, the noises of climax emptied into each other’s mouths.

The next day, a fresh shirt covers up the angry red scrapes on his back that the concrete had left as a reminder. And Hoseok doesn’t say a word.

 

 

autumn.

 

 

“I’m just saying,” Hoseok whines, hands tucked into the pockets of his coat, “that you could have asked me for a million other things. I would have given you a lap dance. I would have squared up to fight Jungkook.”

“Dude, it’s one scary movie. Shut up. You haven’t watched one scary movie with me the entire time we’ve known each other. Besides, you lost. I mean, you lost majorly.”

They’re moving quickly down the sidewalk, boots crunching over the dead leaves that are scattered all over the pavement. Early November is subtle in its gloominess, the bright colors of earlier autumn getting mute as winter encroaches.

The last few months had seen that they all stayed busy, but things were slowing down for the hibernation that the cold often brought. Yoongi felt bone tired, had debuted his mixtape alongside producing two songs for relatively known pop artists. But he loved the crush of creativity, and he certainly loved the money, even if it did make him a little elusive from group gatherings and the outside world in general.

Last week he’d bundled himself up and gone to Jin’s on Halloween for game night, a proposal via Taehyung who’d complained that he hadn’t seen them all in ages (a lie, they’d literally all had dinner together not even a week prior, but no one wanted to disagree). So came Hoseok’s downfall, who bet a personal favor in lieu of money if he lost the round of blackjack. He’d overshot his estimation by a shitton, and Yoongi had let him sweat it out for a solid day before he’d texted, movie night at my place next week.

“If I accidentally punch you in the face, remember that you did this to yourself,” Hoseok says as he holds open the cafe door for Yoongi. It’s warm inside, filled with soft chatter and the smell of coffee.

“If you punch me in the face, I’m punching you back.”

“I said accidentally!”

“So I’d accidentally punch you back.”

Hoseok’s behind him, but Yoongi doesn’t have to look to know he’s pouting; he gets in line, and Hoseok hooks his chin over Yoongi’s shoulder, watching him get some bills from his wallet.

“Are you paying, hyung?”

“Unfortunately.”

“You like it,” Hoseok says, and presses a kiss to the side of Yoongi’s neck before he flits away to look at the pastry case. Yoongi’s cheeks go up in flames, because right. That was a thing now. Or, rather, it had always been kind of a thing, but now Hoseok’s random acts of affection felt completely different.

Because after that night in summer, things had changed. It was obvious that nothing could really stay the same after that. They hadn’t spoken on it for days, and before Yoongi could work up the nerve to tell Hoseok how he really felt, Hoseok had called and addressed it himself.

I don’t want it to be weird, hyung. I liked it. I don’t wanna lie and say I didn’t. It felt good to have something uncomplicated, you know? Ultimate best friends with, uh, benefits.

Uncomplicated, Yoongi had echoed.

Yeah, it was fun. Nothing serious, right? I don’t want you to be weirded out.

I’m not.

And somehow, it had landed him here. Half the time, now, their hangouts ended up with them tangled together on the bed (or the couch, or the kitchen counter, or the bathroom floor). It had started mildly, no more than what they’d done that night by the pool, but each hookup saw Hoseok getting bolder.

Yoongi was a weak man. A weak, weak man who hadn’t stopped Hoseok when he asked to go down on him, when he’d slid his fingers inside him, when he’d bent Yoongi over the kitchen table and fucked him hard. He hadn’t stopped him because he didn’t want to stop, even when each time left him more gutted than the time before.

In a way, it was selfish. It let him have Hoseok as close as he dared, because they were best friends, and now they were best friends who had sex. It was almost everything. Almost. He wasn’t sure if it was getting easier or harder to convince himself that he didn’t want anything more.

“Hyung,” Hoseok says, looking wide-eyed when he reappears back at Yoongi’s side, “there’s only two slices of cream cake left.”

“Okay?”

“So buy them. It’s what I deserve for having to sit through a scary movie.”

Yoongi sometimes literally cannot believe that this is the same guy who choked him during sex, but he buys the goddamn cream cake alongside their drinks, and Hoseok looks smug trotting back to Yoongi’s apartment with the tiny bag swinging from his finger.

The sun is setting by the time they get inside, and Yoongi immediately shucks off his peacoat and shoes so he can b-line it toward the bathroom.

“Do you want me to order food?” Hoseok asks from where he’s flopped on the couch, sipping the hot cider from the cafe, and Yoongi doesn’t look away from the bathroom mirror, busy picking at a tiny pimple on his chin.

“Mm, yeah.”

“Your coffee’s gonna get cold.”

“I’ll be fast. I got all sweaty today under my clothes while I was running errands. Order chicken.”

He shuts the bathroom door and hops into the shower, turns it up to scalding even though he knows he’ll be freezing when he has to get out. He scrubs himself down and, with a little hesitation, cleans himself up; he never knows anymore when a night spent with Hoseok will turn into something besides hanging out, and if he’s hopeful. Well. That’s on him.

He scuttles out of the bathroom in a cloud of steam, towel around his waist and shivering as soon as the cold air hits him. Living in a small space has its upsides, because it only takes him a few steps across the short hallway and to his dresser. He yanks on sweats and a heavy black sweater, too big for him but fleecy and soft on the interior.

“Food’ll be here soon,” Hoseok tells him when Yoongi comes into the living room and sits, picking up the coffee he left. Hoseok’s still wearing his joggers, but he’s changed into one of Yoongi’s hoodies, the one with the wine stain on the cream pocket that he still can’t get out.

“I’m gonna start the movie. It’s kinda long,” he says, and Hoseok pauses, looking up from his phone before he slowly leans to put it down on the coffee table.

Yoongi’s fiddling with the TV input when Hoseok practically crawls into his lap, dragging the blanket from off the back of the couch with him.

“Oh my god,” Yoongi intones, but he lets Hoseok crush his ribs in an embrace that feels more like a wrestling position than cuddling.

“Shut up.”

“Just let me breathe every few minutes.”

Hoseok tucks the blanket over them once Yoongi finally gets everything queued up, and the movie’s barely started before Hoseok is hissing into his ear, “What’s that guy doing? Did he just hit a deer?”

“Shh. You’ll see.”

“What do you mean I’ll see – what the fuck, the deer’s alive? Hyung, is that – no, no, no, I’m not watching this.”

“Yes you are,” Yoongi replies, clutching Hoseok when he tries to stand up. He could have maybe given Hoseok a little warning that they were watching Train to Busan, which had even scared Jungkook, of all people, but it was better to watch his reaction as soon as the title popped up.

“I’ll do anything else,” Hoseok bemoans, and Yoongi smooths a hand over his thigh.

“It’ll be okay,” he says, laughing a little. “Listen, if you’re watching and you really hate it, I’ll turn it off.”

Hoseok doesn’t respond, but he does dejectedly let his head rest on Yoongi’s shoulder, staring at the TV like it’s personally offended him, so Yoongi guesses that’s about as good an answer as he’ll get. They make it through the first 20 minutes with minimal jumping and comments from Hoseok, but he’s not about to tell him that it’s going to go to shit in exactly half a second.

Just when the bloodbath is about to start on the train, a few loud knocks land on Yoongi’s front door, and Hoseok lets out a surprised scream that about busts Yoongi’s ear drum.

“Hoseok, Christ, it’s just the chicken!”

“How the hell was I supposed to know? How am I supposed to eat chicken during this?”

“Dramatic ass,” Yoongi sighs, shoving Hoseok off him so he can go get the food from the bored-looking delivery man. He gives Hoseok a break and pauses the movie so they can eat the chicken in peace, sitting on the cold floor and spreading napkins on the coffee table.

Eventually he drags Hoseok back onto the couch, and he has to give him credit – Hoseok makes it through the movie, even if he’s a mess by the end of it and had nearly choked Yoongi out multiple times. He’s literally sitting in Yoongi’s lap when the credits roll, jamming his palm against his eye to try and not cry. He twists around so that he can face Yoongi, knees on either side of his hips, and Yoongi’s too busy trying not to laugh to even be flustered by the position.

“You’re such a dick,” Hoseok says. “That was only supposed to scare me. You didn’t tell me it was gonna be sad, too.”

“If I’d told you that would have ruined it.”

“I’m betrayed. I feel betrayed.”

“Aw, Hoseokie,” Yoongi clucks, pushing Hoseok’s red bangs away from his forehead. “Too bad.”

Wow.

“You’ll get over it.”

“At least make it up to me,” Hoseok grumbles, and Yoongi just gives him a bemused raise of the brows when he grabs his wrist and pulls it away from his hair. He doesn’t let go, though, places Yoongi’s arm over his shoulder and leaves it to rest there.

“What am I making up for? You’re the one who lost the bet.”

“Yeah, but like I said, you could have asked me for anything else. Just admit that you wanted to see me suffer.”

“Not really,” Yoongi says, sucking in a little air through his teeth, “You’re cute when you’re scared. Maybe I had motives.”

“There are easier ways to get me in your lap.”

“But not as fun.”

“Fun for who?” Hoseok asks, leaning down. He presses a kiss to the top of Yoongi’s cheekbone, then the corner of his mouth. Yoongi turns his head to try and catch Hoseok’s lips, but Hoseok pulls away, leaving Yoongi hanging with a frown.

“What’s with that pout, hyung?” he continues, squeezing Yoongi’s cheeks. Yoongi tries to slap his hand away, but Hoseok keeps his fingers resolutely on his face. “Don’t be grumpy that you don’t get a kiss after making me sit through that.”

“I’m not pouting,” he says, or tries to say. It’s hard with Hoseok squishing his lips into a pucker, and he slaps Hoseok’s hand sharply enough to get him to let go. It just makes the other man smile, and Yoongi tries to yank him down by the nape of his neck. Hoseok braces both arms on either side of Yoongi’s head, against the back of the couch, and manages to keep his lips away by a couple inches.

“Just say you want a kiss,” Hoseok says, the white of his teeth flashing, and Yoongi’s heart speeds up a little. This feels like the start of a game, but he’s not sure which direction it’s going.

“Hoseok,” he says, because he’s not going to beg, but he’s not going to let it go, either.

“Yeah, hyung?” he asks idly, and starts rolling his hips languidly. Yoongi can feel his cock twitch with the friction, and he hates that they haven’t even kissed, they’re not even doing anything and he’s already getting hard.

“Just kiss me, oh my god.”

“This isn’t enough?”

The blanket that had been covering them falls to the floor, and Hoseok slips a hand beneath Yoongi’s sweater, chilly fingers skirting up over his ribs and to his nipple. He hisses when Hoseok gives it a tiny pinch, driving his hips a little faster, his ass working over Yoongi’s crotch and dragging the soft fabric of his sweats. Hoseok leans down, but he bypasses Yoongi’s mouth to get to his ear, nibbles at the lobe, teeth clinking against the metal of his piercings.

“Oh, shit,” Yoongi breathes as Hoseok works his way down the side of his neck, laying kisses and hard sucks with an edge of pain. It’s not like Yoongi has a workplace to waltz into, so Hoseok can lay hickies on his neck like a teenager without feeling any guilt.

“Can I ask you something?”

Hoseok noses at his jaw, and it takes a second for Yoongi to gather his bearings enough to respond, “Yeah.”

“If I asked you to ride me,” he says, and Yoongi almost chokes on his spit, “would you? Because I literally can’t stop thinking about it.”

“I’ll do it if you kiss me,” Yoongi replies, going for demanding, but his voice comes out too raspy, the tinge of neediness something that he resents but knows Hoseok loves. His brain flits to the idea of climbing on top of Hoseok, of sinking down on him, and he gets even harder, knows that Hoseok can feel how worked up he’s getting.

Hoseok considers him for a second, gaze flickering over Yoongi’s face, and then he’s abruptly standing. He reaches out and grabs Yoongi by the hand, practically yanking him to his feet, and he lets Hoseok drag him to the bedroom. It’s a little messy, some clothes on the floor and notes scattered across his desk, half-written lyrics and beat spreadsheets, but he mentally thanks himself for changing his sheets the day before. Hoseok pushes him down to the mattress, yanking Yoongi’s sweater off as they tumble down.

It’s chilly in his room, goosebumps raising on his skin, but Hoseok peels off his hoodie and immediately covers Yoongi’s body with his. He buries his head in the crook of Yoongi’s neck, leaving kisses that make him squirm. Yoongi buries one large hand into the soft strands of Hoseok’s hair, lets the other smooth down his back, can feel the subtle shift of muscles as Hoseok moves to kiss his shoulder, his chest.

“My mouth is up here,” Yoongi says, and Hoseok laughs against his sternum.

“I’m gonna kiss you,” he says, “but it’s not like I said when.”

Yoongi sputters, and Hoseok laughs harder, then cuts out with a choked gasp that’s almost funny when Yoongi lifts his thigh up to grind it against Hoseok’s crotch. It’s a little unfair, because he knows he jammed it up quick enough for it to deliver a little pain. If he’s learned anything the past few months, though, it’s that Hoseok gives as good as he gets, so a thrill of heat runs through him when Hoseok gives him a narrowed look.

“I’m not gonna get on your cock any faster if you just stare at me,” Yoongi says, and he’s hardly finished his sentence before Hoseok grabs him by the hips and throws him onto his belly with enough force to punch some air out of his lungs. He yanks off Yoongi’s sweats, and he’s completely naked now, but the chill he’d felt is starting to slip away with the quick rush of his arousal.

“You’re not really good at the whole begging act, hyung,” Hoseok says, laying one hand between his shoulder blades and sliding the other beneath Yoongi’s belly. He pushes up, forcing Yoongi to arch his spine, and there’s a little burn of embarrassment at how he knows he must look. Ass up, cheek smashed into the pillow. But he likes the vulnerability, only with Hoseok, because he knows that he’s being treated carefully even when the hands get rough.

“Don’t have to beg,” he replies, and groans when Hoseok pushes himself against Yoongi’s ass, the hard outline of his cock pressing but still clothed. It feels odd with the fabric of his joggers against his bare skin, but just the pressure alone has his hips jerking slightly, trying to get somewhere, anywhere. Hoseok hasn’t touched his cock once, but Yoongi doesn’t want to touch himself, wants to hold out to rack up his own sensitivity.

“Uh huh,” Hoseok dismisses, leaning over Yoongi to stretch an arm out. He fumbles open the bedside drawer and pulls out the bottle of lube that’s kept there, and Yoongi feels his own breath hitch with anticipation at the sound of the top clicking open.

“You say that,” he continues, massaging a circle into the muscle of Yoongi’s back while a cold finger slips between his asscheeks, “but I bet you’d hit that reverse if I wouldn’t let you cum.”

Yoongi starts to reply, but stutters on his own words when Hoseok pushes his finger inside, slow and careful. His body knows what it wants, but sometimes it’s hard to make himself relax into it, never was great at letting himself be stretched. Hoseok knows, and doesn’t hesitate to lean his body weight onto Yoongi’s back, kissing the nape of his neck and breathing in deep.

“Always so tight,” he murmurs, crooking his finger just a bit, just enough. “Feel so good for me, god. I really have been thinking about you on top of me, all the time. You’re so pretty when you get worked up, hyung.”

“Why didn’t – fuck, why didn’t you ask me before?” Yoongi asks between gasps, because Hoseok’s teasing in a second finger, and it burns in a way that makes him want more, more fullness, more heat.

“Got caught up in it every time, I guess,” he answers, and words die between them as he scissors his fingers, pushes them in, twists them with a wet squelch that should be disgusting but only serves to make the pulse in his abdomen worse. Hoseok's not aiming for Yoongi’s prostate, only wants to get him looser, but just having something inside of him makes him tremble hard, impatiently. When Hoseok pushes a third finger inside, Yoongi drives his hips forward, trying to get some friction.

A sharp slap lands on his ass, and he draws in a breath so fast that it catches.

“Just hold on,” Hoseok says, and Yoongi arches, pushing himself back onto Hoseok’s fingers.

“Can – do it again,” he says, and risks a glance over his shoulder only to see Hoseok already staring straight at him. His face is flushed, bottom lip caught under his teeth. He doesn’t look away when he cracks his palm against Yoongi’s ass again, but Yoongi shudders, keeps the eye contact until Hoseok drives his fingers in deeper. It only takes a couple of experimental crooks to hit the right spot, and he has to jam his face into the pillow, muffling the moan that gets drug out of him.

Hoseok moves his hand faster, only hitting his prostate every few thrusts, brings his palm down on Yoongi’s ass once more before squeezing the reddened flesh hard.

Fuck,” Yoongi spits, and Hoseok smooths his hand up to the dimples at the small of his back.

“You good?”

“Yeah, yeah, green, whatever. Now get your fingers out of me.”

“God, when you talk that sweet to me, how can I say no,” Hoseok says, and then lets out a little burst of laughter. He pulls his fingers out and crawls upwards, giving room for Yoongi to shakily raise himself up on hands and knees.

“What’s funny?” Yoongi asks as Hoseok flops down onto his back, and Hoseok shakes his head.

“Nothing. You. I dunno,” he replies, watching closely as Yoongi throws a leg over his hips, long fingers coming to wiggle under the band of Hoseok’s joggers. “Just happy, I guess.”

Yoongi pauses, glancing up at Hoseok, and the haste he feels gets replaced with a rush of endearment. Hoseok is looking at him in a way that’s almost soft, is soft, completely separated from the mood he’d managed to set between them.

“Sappy,” Yoongi whispers, some untold truth inside of him lurching at the sight of Hoseok’s mouth making its faint heart-shaped curve when he smiles. He wants to kiss him. He wants to kiss him so badly that it hurts, and he thinks that Hoseok would throw away whatever little game they’re playing if Yoongi leaned down now. But if he does that, he’s not sure how much of his messy emotions would spill over, and he doesn’t – won’t ruin this, not now.

He looks away, and gently pulls Hoseok’s joggers down, his cock hard enough that it slaps Hoseok’s abdomen. Yoongi wrestles the pants off with the help of Hoseok’s kicking, and he throws them to the ground. He pats his hand around to find the lube, and when he manages to land on it, he hums a little in triumph.

“Good job, detective,” Hoseok says, and Yoongi levels him with a sardonic stare the entire time he’s pouring lube into his palm.

“Thanks,” he replies, gripping the base of Hoseok’s cock with his slick palm, and drags up the length of it. Hoseok lets out a little moan, hips pushing upwards, and he knows that Hoseok has to be crazy sensitive right now, had been hard without any relief. He takes mercy, takes his time lubing up Hoseok’s cock, twisting around the head and squeezing hard on each upstroke. It has him bucking up fast in a matter of a minute, and the sight of Hoseok writhing gets the heat pumping back in Yoongi’s veins.

“Hyung,” Hoseok manages, “ah, condom.”

“I’m clean. I got tested after my last hookup,” he says, and Hoseok’s eyes go comically wide. Yoongi raises his eyebrows, prompts, “Uh, are you…?”

“Clean, yeah. Checked after Joo-hyuk,” he replies. “So – so no condom?”

“Been wondering how it’d feel for you to cum inside me for a while, so no,” Yoongi answers, and he thinks that he’s watching Hoseok’s brain physically malfunction.

“Holy shit, hyung, why aren't you on me?

“Because you take forever,” he answers, as if the foreplay isn’t half of the best part. Still, he braces a hand to Hoseok’s solid chest, uses the other to hold his cock steady while he lines himself up. Yoongi shuts his eyes, willing his body to relax as he rubs himself over the head of Hoseok’s cock, just getting used to the pressure. Hoseok is making soft noises beneath him, little gasps and whines that immediately escalate in volume when Yoongi starts to press down.

No matter how stretched he is before this, the fullness knocks all the air from him, makes him want to fall apart. It burns, and yes, it hurts, but there’s pleasure in the sting, in knowing that his body is letting Hoseok inside. He has to grind his way down slowly, pausing for every little bit that he accepts, because Hoseok isn’t extremely long but thick, god, he’s thick. Yoongi might be biased, but he’s pretty sure that Hoseok has a cock that was made for Yoongi to take.

It’s almost a surprise when he bottoms out, thighs already quivering, both hands on Hoseok’s chest now just to keep himself upright. Beneath him, Hoseok is panting, head thrown back with his eyes closed, and Yoongi reaches to run a finger down his cheek.

“Hoseok-ah? Good?”

“So good,” he breathes back, and his hips twitch the slightest bit, but Yoongi’s so deep on him that even the tiny movement makes him clench. Every nerve he has is on fire, and honestly, looking at Hoseok sweating it out beneath him, strung out just from being inside Yoongi – that’s a wet dream in the flesh.

Slowly, he starts moving his hips in tiny circles, and it feels so good, Hoseok’s cock touching every place inside of him that matters. He can feel Hoseok put his hands on his waist, but Yoongi has his eyes shut, struck a little dumb by how well Hoseok’s cock stretches him. He starts lifting himself and sinking back down, taking every inch slow enough that he can really feel it.

“So pretty, Yoongi,” Hoseok says, voice breathless and awed. “You’re so fucking – feel so good on my cock.”

“’S a perfect cock,” he slurs, starting to fuck down in earnest now. He leans forward a bit more, not scared to let Hoseok take his body weight, and the slightest change of angle lets him hit his own prostate dead-on.

“Oh, fuck, fuck,” Yoongi shudders, and now that he’s found it, he chases after the feeling, starts bouncing in Hoseok’s lap like his life depends on it. Hoseok’s moans are loud, a little cracked at the edges, and they drown out the harsh gasps that escape from Yoongi’s mouth.

“You, ah, fuck yourself harder, Yoongi,” Hoseok gasps. “Wanna see you cum on my cock.”

His words send a full-body tremor washing through Yoongi, and he finally opens his eyes, hadn’t even realized he’d closed them. When he looks down at Hoseok, he almost hits his climax from that alone. His hair is spread on the white pillow in a halo of red, golden skin flushed down to his chest, and his eyes are almost glassy, roaming up and down Yoongi’s body like he doesn’t know what to settle on.

“Hoseok, please,” Yoongi says quickly, “please, just – ”

Hoseok doesn’t let him finish, reaches up and tugs him down into a kiss that has their teeth crashing together, mouths already open. It lacks any kind of finesse, but the relief of Hoseok’s mouth on his is so sweet, exactly what he wanted, exactly what was missing.

Hoseok plants his feet steady on the mattress and starts thrusting his hips upwards, meeting Yoongi each time he slams back down, and the pleasure it drives into his abdomen is almost too intense, has him practically sobbing into the heat of Hoseok’s mouth. His thighs burn from the strain of lift and drop, but with Hoseok somehow matching the erratic pace Yoongi’s set, he knows he's done for, and soon.

“Come on, Yoongi,” Hoseok whispers against his wet lips, and Yoongi nods jerkily, eyebrows furrowed as he chases his release. Hoseok’s grip on his waist slides down to his hips, and he’s forcing him down harder, faster, watching his cock slide inside of Yoongi like a man rapt.

“So close, Seok, – ah, ah, – fuck, don’t stop, don’t,” Yoongi rushes, and Hoseok doesn’t let up for a second, hits his prostate dead center every time. There aren’t sparks of pleasure anymore; there’s just one huge grip of heat, of absolute drowning, so good that he wants it to go on forever but needs it to end so he can find relief.

“I got you,” Hoseok says, freeing a hand to clutch Yoongi’s hair instead, pushes him down into a hard kiss and then just holds him there, keeping him locked against his chest. Yoongi can’t do anything but take it, cries muffled in the hot skin of Hoseok’s neck, and then he’s cumming untouched, so hard that it splatters onto Hoseok’s chest. It literally blacks him out for a second, and he knows he’s making some long, drawn out noise, maybe Hoseok’s name.

He’s so fucked out that he doesn’t notice Hoseok hitting his own release until he feels the erratic grinding of hips and a warmth filling him to the brim. Hoseok rocks deep inside Yoongi, riding through his orgasm, gasping along with the jerking of his hips. When he finally stills, Yoongi’s almost back to his body, but there’s no way in hell he’s moving anytime soon. He stays collapsed on top of Hoseok, their sweaty chests rising and falling like one unit. Aftershocks of pleasure keep washing through him, and he doesn’t realize he’s trembling until Hoseok smooths a hand over his hair and shushes him.

“’S okay, hyung,” Hoseok mutters, nosing against his temple, pressing a kiss to the sweaty locks of dark hair that are stuck there. Then he’s kissing the entire side of his face, his eyebrow, his nose, finally his mouth, and Yoongi sighs, lets Hoseok kiss him slow and wet. It’s a distraction from Hoseok gently easing his cock out of Yoongi’s body, even though he still winces once it’s free, the sensitivity and emptiness a jarring sensation.

“Lemme go get a towel.”

“Don’t wanna move,” Yoongi says, laying his cheek down to Hoseok’s shoulder, but Hoseok starts to wiggle his way from out beneath Yoongi like the true escape artist he is. Yoongi has to roll over onto his back, because his chest is slick with own cum after being pressed to Hoseok, and then he remembers he has to clench his legs because – jesus.

“Uh, hurry, Hoseok,” he says, and Hoseok stumbles off the bed, zips to the bathroom and back with a profound competence that Yoongi wasn’t convinced anyone could have post-orgasm.

“Open your legs,” is all he says, and Yoongi’s face burns, but he does it anyway, lets Hoseok press the hot towel up between his cheeks.

“Really? You’re embarrassed by this after all that?” Hoseok laughs, and even though it’s kind, Yoongi still sucker punches his shoulder. “Ow.

“It’s called post nut clarity, dumbass.”

“You’re supposed to be nicer after I make you cum,” Hoseok grumbles, and then he scrubs Yoongi’s chest much less gently.

“Whatever you say,” Yoongi replies, watching him wipe down his own chest, stands and turns away to clean his front, and Yoongi admires his ass idly. It’s not a bubble like Jimin’s, but it’s tiny and pert, matches the rest of him. “You have a nice butt, Seok-ah.”

It startles a laugh out of Hoseok, who looks over his shoulder before heading back to the bathroom, saying, “Thanks. It’s not nearly as efficient as yours, though.”

“Was that a compliment?” he asks loudly so Hoseok can hear him in the bathroom. There’s the sound of running water, a thump that was probably definitely Hoseok running into something, and then he’s leaping back into bed.

“Yes. Efficient and cute, I should have said that the first time,” he insists, crawling right next to Yoongi and snaking his arms around his waist. He kisses the pale round of Yoongi’s shoulder, moves up to his neck, and he’s smiling. Yoongi doesn’t say anything, just reaches at an awkward angle to run his fingers through Hoseok’s still-damp hair. Hoseok fumbles to drag the comforter over top of their bodies, and then they’re quiet, pressed tightly front to back, tangled at the ankles.

Yoongi forces his eyes closed. It’s a perfect moment, as far as perfect moments exist. He needs this for what it is, and it might be a lie, in some way, but it’s also the truth. He feels honest in the circle of Hoseok’s arms, in how he runs his fingers up and down the back of his soft hand. The lights are still on in his living room, filter in through his open door, and it casts the room in a dim glow, reminds him of how often he’s had sex in complete darkness because it felt safer that way.

He hasn’t fucked Hoseok with the lights off once.

Hoseok is so quiet that Yoongi thinks he must have fallen asleep, but then he hears softly at his ear, “Hyung?”

He sounds sleepy and calm, the opposite of his usual cheeriness (and occasional loudness) during the day. Yoongi’s chest clenches, and he swats away the buzz of emotion that tries to choke him. Not now. Not now.

“Yeah?”

“Do you think the pregnant lady from the zombie movie was fine after it ended? Like, do you think she had her kid?”

“Please tell me you weren’t thinking about that during sex.”

“No!” he defends, then pauses. “Maybe once, but it was just passing by, I swear to god.”

“Get out of my bed.”

“I’m sorry!” he exclaims when Yoongi tries to escape for his arms, and he clutches tighter, throwing his whole leg over Yoongi’s hip. “I didn’t mean it, hyung, I’m kidding!”

Yoongi squirms when Hoseok bites at his neck, bemoaning fake apologies through his laughter, and Yoongi is laughing too. That’s what Hoseok does to him. He’s infectious, but Yoongi has never minded, had drawn him like a moth to bright, bright flame.

Over time, it had instilled him with the hope that it would always be that way.

 

 

winter.

 

 

It’s snowing. Again. He can see the little flakes drift by his window, and he blinks slowly, buried under approximately fifteen layers of blankets. It’s already late February, and he prays that this is the last snowfall before the bloom. He’s so tired. Inexplicably, horribly, nonsensically tired.

He knows that his phone has notifications on it, he can hear it buzzing on his desk from time to time. He’s scared to check. He wants one of them to be from Hoseok, but he knows it won’t be. So he stays resolutely in bed, drifting in and out of sleep for most of the day, until it’s nighttime, which is a perfectly acceptable time to sleep.

So he does.

He wakes at some point the next morning when there’s a loud knock on the door, and Yoongi blinks blearily, but he doesn’t make a move to get out of bed. But then the knocking starts again, incessantly, followed up with a muffled, “Yoongi, open the door!”

Jin. Of course it’s Jin. He heaves himself to his feet, pulling a blanket over his shoulders and drags it along with him, a makeshift cloak for shuffling across the cold floor to the door. He hesitates for a second before unlocking the bolt, because he knows what’s coming. It can’t really be about anything else.

When he opens the door, Jin looks blustered and indignant standing in the hallway, cheekbones red with chill and bunched up in his thick peacoat and fluffy scarf.

“I could have died out there,” he says, and Yoongi stands aside.

“Come in, hyung.”

“It took me forever to get a taxi. Most people aren’t crazy enough to go out in this weather, except for me, because you haven’t been answering your phone.”

“I know.”

“Can you at least make me some tea?”

Yoongi nods and shivers his way into the kitchen, puts on the kettle. He feels weirdly disconnected, like he’s not actually in the kitchen, like Jin isn’t really here. But he knows it’s real, because Jin’s presence is a tangible thing. He makes himself known, complaining about the snow and the taxi driver and how Namjoon had nagged at him to not leave the house, all while shucking off his bulky outer layers.

When he hands Jin his tea, Jin sits himself down at the tiny wooden kitchen table, dips the bag a few times before he asks, “Got any honey?”

“Only sugar.”

“Eugh. Well. Just one spoonful.”

So Yoongi gets him his sugar, and Jin stirs more times than necessary, the spoon clinking against ceramic. Yoongi sits across from him at the table, staring out his living room window. The snow is coming down harder, now, and he feels a twinge of guilt that Jin had actually shown up to his house.

“So. Hoseok,” Jin starts, because he doesn’t waste time, and Yoongi draws his attention back to Jin’s face. It’s softer than he expected, even though he sounded firm. “We gonna talk about that?”

“I don’t really want to, no.”

“You don’t actually have to tell me anything. But I think you should.”

“I’m not sure what to say,” Yoongi shrugs. “You heard everything, anyway.”

“I heard bits and pieces. That’s not a story.”

“Not much of a story. I fucked up. I should have told him the truth a long time ago, and I let all this shit just grow in me, and then I got drunk and mad,” he says. “He won’t answer my calls. He’s never not answered my calls.”

“He’s confused, Yoongi. And – I love you, by the way – you handled it badly.”

Yoongi closes his eyes, and blurs of the night pass him by. Jin had been kind enough to open his house up for Hoseok’s birthday, and they had gathered to celebrate for him, plus Hoseok’s friends outside of their personal circle. He attracted people, always kind, so it made sense for him to invite people he knew from university, from dance classes and workshops. It’d been a proper party, lots of drinking and laughing.

And then it hadn’t been. And Yoongi had ruined it, Hoseok’s birthday, at least. He’d had the grace to wait and blow up until everyone was out of the house, except for the house owners. Poor Jin had come when he’d heard the yelling, and then Hoseok had stormed out, and that was that.

“I know I did.”

“I think you need to get yourself out of here and go over to his apartment. You need to lay it all out in a way that makes sense. Sober. Honestly.”

“Hyung, I – ” Yoongi pauses, and brings his hands up to his face, presses the heels of his palms to his sore eyes. He refuses to cry. He’d already done that. “I love him.”

“I know, you dumbass. You’ve loved him for way too long to still be doing this shit.”

“What do I even say?”

“That you’re sorry for bitching at him over something you thought you saw. And you re-explain your feelings in a way that he can actually understand.”

Yoongi’s silent, and Jin sips at his tea, waits for him to speak. It had been a simple formula – Yoongi had been bottling his feelings for months. He’d gotten drunk at Hoseok’s party. Hoseok had invited Joo-hyuk, because he firmly believed in being able to be friends with exes, and Joo-hyuk had kissed Hoseok. Just for a second.

Sober Yoongi would have seen Hoseok laugh awkwardly and pull away, but all Drunk Yoongi had processed was the kiss, the laughter, how Hoseok didn’t seem disgusted. It had lit up whatever was flammable and ugly inside of him, because he’d felt stupid and embarrassed and empty.

Fuck you. And fuck Joo-hyuk. Don’t touch me.

At the table, Jin reaches out, gently touches Yoongi’s hand.

Don’t act like you weren’t just wasting your time on me. You’re an asshole. I don’t wanna hear it.

When Jin grasps his hand, Yoongi lets out a dry sob, covers his eyes with the hand that's unanchored. If Jin lets him go, he might melt right through the floorboards and disappear.

I don’t want to see your face.

“Yoongi,” Jin says gently, and Yoongi sniffs hard, roughly wipes away the tear that escapes. “You’re going to get dressed. I’m going to ride with you over to his apartment. And you’re going to talk to him. You hurt him, you did, but I think you hurt yourself more.”

“I just want him to know I didn’t mean that shit.”

“Then get up.”

He wobbles to his feet, and Jin waits patiently while he showers and drags on layers of heavy clothes, ties up his boots, slips on a coat and beanie. When they walk out into the snow, there’s a cab waiting for them, the bright headlights cutting through the drift. It’s morning, but it looks late, grey and dark. The cab’s interior is warm and smells like pine freshener, and Jin gives the driver the address. Hoseok doesn’t live far, but the drive is slow and cautious. The closer they get, the harder his heart starts to beat, and he’s sweating.

“I dunno if I can do this,” he says, the first thing he’s said the entire ride.

“You can.”

“Jin,” Yoongi says, and it sounds desperate, so unlike himself. The cab stop outside of Hoseok’s tall apartment building. “What if he doesn’t love me back?”

“Then at least you can stop doing this to yourself,” Jin answers. “Go.”

Yoongi gets out of the cab and watches it disappear down the street, shivering on the sidewalk. He knows the passcode to the main door, so he lets himself in, and walks the four flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator. He’s had plenty of time to rehearse apologies in his head, but his brain feel blank with anxiety, each floor increasing his urge to turn and run.

Hoseok deserves more than that. He deserves more than what Yoongi threw on him.

When he stops outside of Hoseok’s door, he has to breathe in a few deep breaths, and he thinks, it’s this or bust.

Because yeah, he’d been a chickenshit for keeping his feelings to himself for so long, but it had never hurt Hoseok. The only person it’d ever hurt was himself. Now, though, he’s got an apology to offer.

Yoongi knocks on the door, and waits. There’s no sound in the apartment, no padding of feet. He knocks again. Nothing. When he raises his knuckles a third time, they hover over the wood, because maybe Hoseok’s not home? He doesn’t even have his phone on him.

Then the door’s swinging open, and there’s Hoseok, his black hair in a disarray and face carefully neutral. They’re silent, Yoongi gaping and Hoseok leaning against the doorframe.

“Hey, hyung,” Hoseok greets.

“Hey,” Yoongi replies, voice creaking. “Can I come in?”

Hoseok doesn’t respond, and for a second, Yoongi thinks he might shut the door in his face. But then he stands aside, and Yoongi wanders in, hands shoved deep in his coat pockets. There’s music playing from the tall speakers in the corner of Hoseok’s living room, soft lo-fi, and he smells something garlicky, maybe soup. He’s always liked Hoseok’s place, how homey it feels. Right now, he doesn’t think he belongs there.

“You want coffee?” Hoseok asks, brushing past him, and Yoongi clears his throat.

“I’m okay.”

“Okay.”

He watches Hoseok go to the kitchen, stir whatever’s steaming on the oven top, and Yoongi takes his time unlacing his boots. He’s trying valiantly to muster up the bluntness he so often manages in any other situation, but it’s hard.

“Bad out there?” Hoseok asks, though it’s obvious he doesn’t care, and the heavy tension is too much. It’s stifling. Hoseok has never talked to him so stiffly, and it hurts more than any of the other shit Yoongi had brought upon himself.

“Hoseok-ah,” he says, slipping out of his boots, stands there in his dumb striped socks with his face flushed, “I’m sorry.”

Hoseok turns around, spoon in hand, and they stare at each other from across the room.

“I’m really sorry for how I treated you at your party,” Yoongi barrels on, and something in his chest is cracking open, spilling out, flooding the room and him and Hoseok. It might drown them both. “I shouldn’t have talked to you the way I talked to you. I was jealous, and mad, and it was stupid. I don’t – I didn’t mean anything I said. I thought that everything between us was okay, and that I could pretend to be fine if you decided to move on, if you met someone, but seeing Joo-hyuk kiss you made it obvious that I can’t. I’m an idiot, and I love you, and you’re my best friend. Okay? You’re my best friend.”

Yoongi runs his fingers over his own eyes, aware that they’re getting wet, and then he just covers them all together.

“I’m so fucking sorry. For not telling you sooner. For letting all this shit happen between us and not telling you that for me – for me it was never casual. I love you, I mean, I’m in love with you, and I’m sorry that I am. I just let it go on and on and I didn’t even, I thought it was enough – ”

“Why are you sorry?” Hoseok asks, interrupting the flow of Yoongi’s rambling, and Yoongi uncovers his eyes to see that Hoseok has left the kitchen, is close to him now. He sees how dark the circles beneath Hoseok’s eyes are, like he hasn’t been sleeping. He looks tired and hesitant, not as blank.

“Because I was an asshole.”

“No. I mean why are you sorry for loving me?”

That takes him aback, and he opens his mouth, closes it. Hoseok’s eyes are searching his, but Yoongi doesn’t know what he’s looking for.

“I’m not,” he manages, and his voice sounds wet. “I mean, I’m sorry for never telling you. But loving you is basically the one thing I don’t regret, at this point.”

“So you’d take it back? Everything since summer? All of that?”

“No. I just wish I’d done it differently.”

Hoseok is silent, and then, suddenly, he laughs. It's so out of place in the atmosphere of the room, wobbly yet sincere, and he rubs a hand over his face.

“Yoongi, I’ve seriously loved you since I met you. I thought you knew and didn’t want anything to come out of it. I tried to go for casual because I thought it’s what you wanted.”

“I – what?” he asks, blankly, and the floor shifts beneath his feet. Something in his brain actually fizzles, he’s certain of it, and he shakes his head. He tries to say something eloquent, but all he can hear is loved you, loved you. “No, you’re – no.”

“What? You can love me but I can’t love you? That’s kind of stupid, hyung,” Hoseok says, and he’s not laughing anymore, but he has this watery smile on that seems vulnerable, like it could crack at any second. “I accept your apology for the party. But don’t say you’re sorry for the rest of it. I’m not sorry. I don’t think I took most of my relationships seriously because really, they weren’t you. Which is kind of fucked up, because I wanted to move on, but I could never get myself to do it.”

Yoongi stares at him, wide eyed and trembling, and then he does exactly what he promised himself he definitely wouldn’t do. He starts crying, heaving out a sob that carries so much weight that it threatens to bowl him over.

“Oh my god, hyung,” Hoseok laughs, and then he’s hugging him, holding Yoongi tightly, like he can keep him in one whole piece. “Stop that. You’re supposed to be happy.”

“What the fuck,” Yoongi manages, dragging in a breath, lets out something between a sob and laugh against the warm crook of Hoseok’s neck. “Hoseok, what the fuck.”

“Are we stupid?”

Yoongi’s laughing in earnest now, still crying, and he feels a little crazy but so relieved that he’s lightheaded, not sure he really believes it. Hoseok turns his face and kisses Yoongi’s wet cheek, pushes a hand through his hair and kisses him again, right on his trembling mouth. It doesn’t last, because Yoongi’s trying to breathe and Hoseok’s still laughing, but his eyes are suspiciously wet.

“You – I love you. Holy shit.”

“I love you too, dumb hyung.”

“Stop,” Yoongi says, “I know. I’m dumb.”

“But that means I’m dumb too. So we really were made for each other, huh?”

Yoongi clutches Hoseok hard, clinging to the fleece of his sweatshirt, and they just stand there in the warm living room, holding onto each other. It feels familiar. And new. But it’s Hoseok, like it’s always been, so that makes it right. For the first time in months, Yoongi feels something inside of him lift up, up, light and ungrounded, because here’s his chance.

He takes it, and Hoseok lets him.

 

spring -

 

 

did you know I was gonna confess to you here?" Yoongi asks, and Hoseok looks away from the trees full of cherry blossoms, dark eyes lighting on Yoongi's face. His mouth splits into a smile, more of a home than any place Yoongi has ever been.

"Seriously?"

"Yeah. On this same bench. This same stupid ass bench."

"Well, I guess it worked. I mean, eventually."

Yoongi returns his smile, doesn't answer, only reaches to take his hand.