“You messed up today,” comes Yoongi’s voice.
He knows. Hoseok is more than aware he’d fucked up the second half of the first verse, bumping into Jeongguk’s arm and sending Seokjin off centre. He’d seen the disappointed look on their dance teacher’s face. It had been slight. But it had still run him straight through.
Nothing strikes him harder than doing wrong with the one thing that he believes in himself for. And even then, he’s never really too sure. He can never be too sure. Hoseok has too many doubts and too many fears, and tiny mishaps like these only serve to sink into his chest and let the ache linger until he can’t remember how to make it right, anymore.
Hoseok lets himself breathe.
A finger pokes his cheek lightly. “Yo,” says Yoongi, “relax. I was just kidding.”
Yoongi’s never really been one to attempt to cheer him up, before. Hoseok can’t help the way the corners of his lips quirk up, just a little. But he’d still been right, even if he had just been teasing. “I did mess up, hyung,” says Hoseok, glancing over briefly to see Yoongi propped up on his elbow, looking at him with an expression unidentifiable. He’s never been able to decipher Yoongi’s faces. He’s a lot more to figure out, compared to Hoseok, Jung Hoseok who consists of a million smiles and one to go.
The practice room is starting to pick up again, in terms of noise. The kids are getting restless. Hoseok can hear Jimin whispering to Jeongguk. Probably sneaking glimpses over, seeing who he can tackle next as a joke. They’ve been going on for seven hours straight, now, but the troublesome trio never get tired until their limbs give out past midnight.
He envies their exuberance. Their constant energy. Sometimes, Hoseok cannot even remember the last time he’d genuinely felt excited about the stage. The excitement, the anticipation that carries him these days, it is all manufactured and stored for the especially rainy days.
But Hoseok keeps trying. Hoseok keeps searching for the sincerity.
“Then do better, next time,” says Yoongi, and Hoseok can’t help but look over again, this time in surprise when Yoongi adds, voice the tiniest hint softer than before, “you get better every time we go on stage, you know.”
He’s never—he’s never said anything like this before. It makes Hoseok’s chest feel warm. Strange feeling. It might be the weather, or it might be the way Yoongi’s words fill the gap between them. They’re not as close as the others. They’ve lived together, along with Namjoon, for the past couple of years now, but Hoseok’s always figured that Yoongi doesn’t like him, for some reason.
Yoongi hadn’t really warmed up to him in the beginning, when Hoseok had first moved into the dorm with them, along with the other trainees. Yoongi already had friends. Hoseok had been the odd one out, the one constantly smiling, the one who never took sadness at face value.
Hoseok wonders if that had been his downfall.
But this—this is nice. This is new. A smile breaks out onto his face before he can help it, and maybe it’s a trick of the light, but Yoongi is smiling back, and before he can say anything in return, Jimin’s throwing himself at them with a loud war cry, and Jeongguk is laughing in the background, snorting hyena-like giggles, finger pointing towards them.
Yoongi groans and swats at Jimin’s head, telling him to get off, and Hoseok just clutches at his side, kicking Jimin until he rolls off. Irritating little kid. But then again, Hoseok’s the one who keeps grabbing him and putting him in headlocks at random times of the day. It’s probably karmic retribution.
And perhaps—just perhaps, Hoseok ends up replaying Yoongi’s words a few more times in his head, later at night, when they’re all in bed. He sneaks a glance towards Yoongi’s bunk and watches the steady, rhythmic rise and fall of his chest with each breath he takes.
Yoongi always looks more agitated when he’s asleep. As if he’s reliving the entire day in his dreams, but twice over. Tonight, he doesn’t seem so tense, though. Hoseok wonders if he’s really sleeping. Sleep never comes easy to them. Not with so much running through the mind, at odd, tense hours of the night. Sleep never comes easy, despite the need and the want for it. Despite the languor that sinks deep into their limbs and logs them down, bogs them down, drags them down until only resignation can be found.
And of course, those days come, and these days go.
Comebacks, music shows, fansigns. Some mornings, Hoseok has to struggle to stretch that same, familiar grin across his face, for all to see and all to know. Some mornings, the ache in his bones resounds so loudly that all he wants to do is melt into his bed and never have to get up. Some mornings, Hoseok doesn’t know if this is worth all the effort.
He’s wanted to dance since he’s been a child. The stage, and performing—all of that was just additional. A bonus to the dance. But Hoseok has since learnt to love it. The stage, the lights, the cameras, the action. The thousand and one screams of the fans who sing along to almost every word. In a way, it is everything he’s ever wanted, and at the very same time, everything he never knew he wanted.
But sometimes, just sometimes. Sometimes, Hoseok doesn’t know if he can.
Then, hey, Yoongi will say, patting the back of his head. Hoseok will groan wearily, and glances up through fogged-over eyes. Time to get up, Yoongi will say, rubbing at his own face with the back of his hand, the same disgruntled way he’s always done since they’d met, years ago. We’ve got schedules. Hey, Yoongi will say, handing him a mug of coffee, perk up. You’ll be good in a while.
Hey, Yoongi will say, just teasingly, if I can, then you can, yeah?
But then again, there is Yoongi, and who is Hoseok to say he is tired?
Yoongi, Min Yoongi who works himself through the night, never knowing how to pace himself properly. Drawing on lyrics from the back of his mind and the back of his throat until he can no longer find the words needed to say what he has to say. Creating music in the palm of his hands, and with the stroke of a cursor across a screen. Leaving his thoughts bare and seen for all the world, leaving them across the stretch of a four-minute running beat that matches the beat of his heart.
Hoseok smiles for many reasons, but he has only ever seen Yoongi truly smile for the music.
And it is wonderful. Watching him work is fascinating enough. Hoseok has seen Namjoon work on his music before, and the other producers here at the company as well, but Yoongi—he works with an intensity that Hoseok wants to observe for as long as he can. Yoongi works with an intensity that rivals Hoseok’s own in the movement of lines and angles, and this Hoseok appreciates.
In this they complement each other, he guesses. The Yoongi everyone sees at night, and the Hoseok everyone sees in the day. And in turn, vice versa. The verses that Yoongi lays down when he is alone in the recording room, they mimic each quick snap and turn that Hoseok makes when he is alone in a room full of mirrors, in a room with no one but himself.
He wonders, really. He wonders about the enigma that lies cryptic behind all of Yoongi’s gazes, and all of his words. He wonders if Yoongi wonders about these things too. He knows Yoongi wonders about these things. It would be surprising if he didn’t.
They’re all still working themselves out, but Yoongi? Yoongi is the biggest mystery, really.
Hoseok wonders if he will ever be able to figure Yoongi out.
But the moon continues to step silently across the skies, and it is much too late to dwell on these thoughts any longer.
He continues to observe Yoongi with eyes half-shut, until he can’t take it anymore, and sleep claims him for its own.
(And in the morning, when they wake with heavy sighs and yawns that rip themselves from their throats and float away into the warmth of the new air, Hoseok will blink, smile over at Yoongi, and say, good morning.
Yoongi will smile back. And maybe, just maybe, it’s getting closer to the smile he reserves only for his music, his music alone. Hoseok will wonder why. But Hoseok will take all he can for now, before it flits away as quickly as the sleep in their eyes does.