He’s only been in Seoul for 20 minutes, hasn’t even left the airport yet, but Hoseok decides immediately that South Korea kicks America in the proverbial ass. From the speedy customs line-up to the insanely well-stocked vending machines, everything just seems… civilized. There are clear signs in multiple languages leading him to Arrivals. People speak respectfully to one another, bowing to their elders as they return from some vacation or another.
“Declaration form?” a well-groomed employee with a polite smile requests in Korean.
Yeah, this place is dope.
Hoseok passes his documents to the customs worker, who receives it in both his hands. He glances through it, peeks at Hoseok’s Passport, and asks, “What’s your reason for visiting?”
“I am auditioning at BOTY,” Hoseok answers, well-aware that his accent is sorely lacking despite over a month of practice with Jimin and Tae… and his parents, who while supportive, speak exclusively in overwhelming Jeolla satoori.
Graciously, the officer doesn’t point it out. Just nods a short bow, hands back the passport, and murmurs, “Welcome to South Korea, Hoseok-ssi.”
“Thank you,” Hoseok answers, grabs his luggage, and passes through to Arrivals. And he waits.
He waits about half-an-hour before his cellphone rings. It’s… a FaceTime call? From an unknown number with a display photo that looks just like-
“Jungkook-ssi?” he asks as soon as he answers, and bunny-faced boy stares wide-eyed through the phone screen.
“Are you Hoseok?” he asks in English, his own accent impressive in the foreign language.
Hoseok nods. “You can speak Korean if you want.”
Shaking his head, Jungkook giggles. “Taehyung wants me practicing to you.”
Ah yes, for their future rendezvous back in America. Well, whatever he can do to help… “In that case, hello Jungkook! Are you outside?”
The younger boy, clearly in his (completely motionless) car, sighs loudly. “I am…” he pauses on the sound, choosing his words carefully. “There is traffic.”
“That’s fine, I don’t mind waiting-”
“Not traffic! I mean…” Another pause. “An accident.”
Hoseok smiles. Poor thing must really be stuck if he’s able to FaceTime while he drives. “Like I said, it’s okay! I don’t have to do anything today except check-in to the hotel.” Sure, he would have preferred some extra time in the city, but he planned to arrive a couple days before the audition to explore. Jungkook was supposed to show him around, teach him the local ropes as it were.
“It is complicated,” Jungkook is telling him, and suddenly, Hoseok hears sirens. Jungkook looks to the side, and Hoseok hears a window rolling down. Another voice, this one speaking in Korean, asks him if he’s on the phone. Then asks if he can walk.
“Jungkook…” Hoseok gets the boy’s attention. “Were… were you the one in the accident?”
“Yes!” Jungkook cries, like it’s the best news he’s ever heard. “I am in an accident!”
“Are you OKAY?!”
Hoseok can hear the door being pried off Jungkook’s car as the boy shrugs, “I think my ankle is broken.”
“OH MY GOD, JUNGKOOK!”
A family with young children looks at him judgmentally, and perhaps Hoseok should try to behave more calmly in the middle of a foreign airport, but his ride is currently being pried out of the front seat of a smashed up vehicle, throwing up an ‘OK’ sign while he apologizes to Hoseok for being late.
“You can take a bus?” the young, sweet idiot asks when a PARAMEDIC asks him to turn his phone off, and Hoseok frantically tries to ask which hospital he’s going to before the FaceTime ends, and he’s on his own.
A few more frantic texts to Taehyung, an hour of anxiety, and a selfie of Jungkook pointing to his own foot-cast later… Hoseok starts looking up bus routes. He could order an Uber or something, but that seems like the cheater’s way out, and he’s supposed to be figuring out the city in case he ends up moving there permanently after the audition.
Finding a bus that leads to the hotel proves to be… challenging, to say the least. For one, he barely knows where the hotel is compared to the airport, not to mention the bus routes in Seoul are WAY more detailed than any in the boonies of California. And he’s exhausted from the 13-hour flight, leaving his mind too blurry to really work out the giant bus map in the middle of the terminal.
He tries, though, squinting at the many coloured lines that lead to every stop in Seoul.
“Honey, just ask him!”
A woman is pushing her husband towards him, her loud Midwestern drawl all too familiar from the long flight over. Her husband, a tall balding man with an apologetic smile, asks him slowly, “Do. You. Speak. English?”
It’s frustrating. It’s always frustrating, but Hoseok plants a smile on his face and nods. The man’s wife claps her hands in celebration and pushes her husband aside. “We’re trying to get to our hotel, it’s in the K-pop district-” Hoseok questions the existence of such a district, but still nods at her politely, “-and this map is…well, it’s Korean! Can you help?”
Not pointing out the fact that there are English translations under every word on the aforementioned map, Hoseok shakes his head. “I’m afraid I’m as confused as you are. This is my first time here.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry! Are you Chinese?”
Before he can lie and effectively escape this woman’s line of question, a new voice cuts in- “Do you guys need help?”
If the bald guy was tall, then this golden-skinned, sweetly dimpled, Adonis-thighed man is an actual giant. Okay, maybe not, but something about his calm demeanor and polite grin towers above every other person at Incheon airport… aside from the much shorter, much paler, but very sharp-eyed guy in a black facemask standing next to him.
“Yes!” the woman jumps to attention, pulling out her phone and gesturing frantically between it and the map, expressing her annoyance with the Korean transit system like it’s her job.
While Adonis patiently offers her advice on how to reach her destination, Hoseok not-so-subtly glances at the intertwined hands of the two hot Koreans in front of him.
They’re an odd couple. Adonis comes off bright and sweet, his dyed-blonde hair peeking out under a knitted cap, and he’s dressed in plaid flannel over a simple white tee, showing off an impressive peck situation. Cat-eyes, on the other hand, is practically hiding under a black ballcap and blacker sweatshirt, both off which seem terrible inappropriate for the early-Summer weather.
Well, Hoseok probably shouldn’t assume they’re a couple. Male relationships are different in Asia, and Tae ran into many an awkward situation asking a pair of cozy-looking dudes where the nearest gay club could be found on his recent trip. Skinship is an actual thing here, unlike the queer-solidarity closeness Hoseok has with Jimin and Tae. So sure, they could just be friends, but… let the guy hope. After all, the way Kitten (gosh, his eyes are so cute!) is gazing at Adonis is a little too fond to just be brotherly affection, and he’s pretty sure he saw a thumb-swipe going on between their conjoined fingers.
Adonis finishes helping the couple (which consisted of teaching them how to download Uber on the airport WiFi), and turns to Hoseok. “Are you with them?” he asks, but the look on his face makes it pretty clear he’s just being polite.
Before Hoseok can answer, Mrs. Midwest chirps, “Oh no, he’s just here from China!” and drags her husband to the exit. Once they’re out of earshot, Adonis laughs.
Hoseok shrugs, rolling his eyes. He feels a little dizzy. He didn’t sleep a wink on the flight (so help him if planes are terrifying, okay?), and he’s been so worked-up about the audition that he probably hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in… well, that’s a question for another day. So, when Adonis busts out, “Can you speak Korean?” IN KOREAN, Hoseok simply answers:
Adonis simply smiles and switches back to English, “I’m Namjoon. This is Yoongi. He just got in from LAX, but we both live here. Are you American?”
Cute names for a cute couple. Hoseok grins. “I am. I’m Hoseok. From… near Los Angeles, anyway.” He looks at Kitten- woops, Yoongi- and notices a much brighter look in the short man’s eye. “What took you there?”
The silence takes him by surprise, Yoongi glancing to Adonis- NAMJOON, you need to pull it together Seok!- while the taller man translates easily. He calls Yoongi Hyung, and Hoseok wonders if he should, too. Then again, his brain is mush, and Namjoon speaks such lovely Seoul dialect it would be a shame to bust out his Jeolla-do and come off as even less local than he already is.
“Ah, I am… music producer,” Yoongi tells him, and the little lisp that accompanies his drawl is so endearing Hoseok can practically feel his face turn red.
“What kind of music do you make?” he asks, trying to phrase his question a little more simply without coming off as condescending.
“Wow, so cool! I’m a hip-hop dancer! I’m actually here to audition for BOTY.”
Namjoon lets out a shocked laugh. “Seriously? We got live tickets a few months ago, that’s crazy. You must be really good.”
Can his face get redder? Hoseok doesn’t think so. “Well, if I can find my way around, we’ll see.”
“Right!” Namjoon, in a motion so clumsy Hoseok nearly collapses from cute-aggression, slaps his own forehead, striking Yoongi in the shoulder on the way up. Yoongi doesn’t flinch, just lifts his eyes in something akin to an eyeroll. Oh yeah, they’re definitely a couple. “Where are you staying?”
Hoseok tells him, Namjoon offers him surprisingly effective directions, and when they part ways Hoseok hears him chime to his 100-percent-without-a-doubt-boyfriend, “Let’s get you to bed, hyung.”
Hoseok enters the lobby seeking a sign for the hotel restaurant, but before he can find one, the sound of a woman crying catches his attention.
She’s petite, very blonde, and she’s trying to talk to a particularly young-looking concierge. Between sobs, Hoseok makes out a few heavily accented English words: “all night” and “robbed” and “cell phone”.
It’s no surprise the concierge can’t understand her- Hoseok booked one of the cheaper hotel options, so English probably isn’t a mandatory skill for most of the staff. Still, the young man behind the counter tries to calm her down, keeps asking for her room number in broken English. And maybe it’s because he’d met Namjoon yesterday, who so willingly stepped in to help a handful of strangers, but Hoseok steps up.
“I can translate if you speak English,” he tells the girl, who flinches when he approaches. He takes a step back, gives her a little space. “What’s your name?”
“H-Heidi,” the girl stutters.
“Hello Heidi, my name is Hoseok. I’m from America. Where are you from?”
She wipes at her nose, takes a shaky breath. “Amsterdam.”
He wants to ask if she’s travelling alone, but that might come off as frightening, especially if he’d just heard correctly that she was robbed. Instead, he puts on his brightest smile. “I’ve always wanted to visit the Netherlands, everyone from there seems so nice! Are you staying at the hotel?”
Heidi nods. “I was robbed last night. My purse had all of my things inside. And he took my phone.”
Last night? “How did you get back to the hotel?”
Hoseok glances down to the girl’s feet, her toes bright red in a pair of high heels. She’s dressed for a night out, probably went dancing further downtown and got pegged as vulnerable on her way back. “Are you hurt?” he asks, because the world is a shitty place, and if they did anything more than take her purse-
“No. My feet are sore.”
“Go sit down. I’ll explain what happened. What’s your room number?”
She tells him, perches on one of the average lobby couches, and Hoseok spends the next few minutes convincing the concierge to provide her with another. After contacting not one, but two managers, the girl is given a new key. But she still sighs when Hoseok hands it to her.
“What is it?”
“My parents… I am supposed to phone them. And I need to call my bank and…” she breaks down again, and this time, Hoseok opens his arms to let her cling to him. “I’m so sorry,” she whines, pulling back. “You are a very nice man.”
“It’s no problem.” And it really isn’t. He’s got the whole day to himself, and if he can use part of it to make a sweet girl smile, then he’s done pretty well. He gets an idea. “What kind of phone do you use? Apple?”
When she nods, Hoseok asks the (still terribly bewildered) concierge for directions to the nearest Apple store. “Come on, let’s get you a new phone. You can use mine to call your parents on the way.”
Heidi stares at him, shocked, but accepts the offer. After giving her a chance to change into more comfortable shoes, they go to the store, get Heidi a replacement phone (thank god for the Cloud!), and manage to get in touch with her bank too. Heidi pays him back immediately (since he had to pay for the phone upfront), but Hoseok refuses to let her pay him for the brief call she made to Amsterdam. His plan is set up for overseas calls right now anyway, and she clearly felt more comfortable with her folks on the line while venturing Seoul with a stranger.
“Can I at least buy you breakfast?” she asks, and Hoseok laughs.
“I think the hotel is still serving it. You can order me some free food.”
They eat together, Heidi telling Hoseok about the nicer parts of her travels before the previous night (she’s a dancer too, a classical ballerina, and she’s always wanted to see the Seoul company live). “Maybe we’ll meet again!” she exclaims, and they exchange YouTube accounts, Hoseok always thrilled to discover another good performer.
As they hug goodbye, Hoseok catches a glimpse of a familiar face over her shoulder. No… two familiar faces.
Heidi turns, following his eyeline. “You know them?” she asks, and Hoseok shrugs.
Clapping, Heidi skips over to the two men from yesterday, dragging Hoseok along with her. “You are so lucky to have a friend like him!” she tells them, nearly bursting into tears again.
Today, Namjoon is dressed in another flannel situation, this one bright blue, but with a stylish yellow hat to contrast. Yoongi is still in black, might as well be in the same outfit as yesterday if it weren’t for shorter sleeves and a few silver rings on the brim of his own cap. They both stare at Heidi, bemused by her excitement.
“He has helped me so much! He even bought me a new phone!”
Namjoon looks especially shocked at that, and Hoseok cuts in: “She paid me back like a minute later, I didn’t do anythi-”
“Yes, you did! You are my hero!” And she’s hugging him again, and Hoseok can’t keep from laughing. “Now I must sleep, this has been a very long two days. Thank you again! Take good care of him,” she adds to the other Koreans, and rushes off to her hotel room.
Hoseok lifts his hand, waves awkwardly at Namjoon and Yoongi. “Fancy meeting you here,” he murmurs in English, suddenly hit with a new wave of embarrassment.
Namjoon laughs. “Apparently you’re a good person to know.” He suddenly flinches, and Hoseok looks over to find Yoongi pinching his thick leg. “Oh, sorry, one second…”
It takes a few minutes for Namjoon to fully translate what just happened to Yoongi, who listens to him with a bored expression, but turns to Hoseok with an amazed one. “You gave a phone?”
“No!” Hoseok cries again, and just as he’s about to bust into his best Korean explanation, Namjoon beats him to it.
Except, after explaining that Hoseok paid upfront and Heidi paid him back, Namjoon adds that, “Sunshine is so sweet, can you blame her for falling a little in love?”
“I think I’m in love,” Yoongi drawls back, and Hoseok needs to study Korean satoori more, because that is the hottest accent he’s ever heard. “It seems we’ve found a modern-day prince.”
Was- was I supposed to hear that? Hoseok chokes on his next breath, tries to still his expression. Yoongi smiles at him, a nothing thing, but with the tiniest little sweet teeth he’s ever seen. Should he respond? Should he say thank you? Should he flirt ba-?
“He says that was very nice of you.”
“What?” Hoseok’s caught off-guard again, forgets all of his Korean. Hell, forgets English.
Namjoon smiles, dimpled and perfect. “It’s what Yoongi said. I explained the situation. He understands a little English, but not at that speed.”
“Oh. Yeah, same,” he jokes, and Namjoon chuckles. “And she had a really strong accent. She was really sweet, though.”
“She is very pretty,” Yoongi pipes up from the side. And… yeah, she was, but-
“Not really my type.” Even Namjoon kind of tilts his head at that, and Hoseok suddenly feels awkward standing in front of their breakfast table- why are they here anyway, if they’re not staying at the hotel? Though probably anyone can eat here, just seems a little expensive if you’re not a guest. Anyway, Hoseok keeps stuttering, tries to explain: “I mean, she was lovely, but you know… I’m actually…”
“Yoongi’s my boyfriend!” Namjoon interrupts, far too loud for such a small restaurant. He snaps his mouth shut, jumps again at another pinch from Yoongi, and gestures to the other side of their booth. Hoseok sits obediently. “Sorry, you don’t have to stay and talk to us,” Namjoon mumbles, but Hoseok shakes his head, tries to convey that it’s fine. “I just thought… you know, you’re from LA, so you’re probably a little more relaxed about that sort of thing.”
Hoseok nods. “Very relaxed, super relaxed,” he assures Namjoon, adds a nod to Yoongi too, since the other man seems to understand at least that much. “And very much, um… the same.”
He probably shouldn’t belt out, ‘I’M GAY’ in a room full of Korean strangers, after all.
“That’s good,” Namjoon says. “I mean, not good... but not bad either! Just… ignore me.”
Hoseok shrugs, checks Yoongi’s reaction, notes the lingering pinch in his brow. Okay, he really should rip the band-aid, he’s already talked to the concierge and the Apple Store employee today, his accent can’t be that bad-
“He doesn’t like girls,” Namjoon is already translating, and Yoongi seems to perk up at that.
“Even her? She was really cute, and totally into him-”
“Not everyone likes both, hyung.”
“Ah well, more Sunshine for us.”
“Don’t be crass.”
“I’m just having fun, Joon-ah,” Yoongi chuckles, chin dipping underneath his face mask so his cheeks puff out. “Cute!” Hoseok finds himself chiming, and blushes almost immediately afterward.
Namjoon nods. “He’s not usually this excitable,” he sighs, but there’s a tiny grin at the corner of his mouth. “I guess he’s just happy to meet a- what do you say in America? Kindred spirit?”
“It is nice. So, um… what brings you to the hotel restaurant?” He’s pretty sure he knows the answer, but hey, why assume?
“We eat here all the time. Hyung likes the home fries, they’re his favourite food in America. Sorry, hyung is Yoongi.” Hoseok nods, fakes an “Ah” sound, like it’s his first time hearing of that. “How old are you?”
“I’m 26. Well, 27 here. Born in ’94.”
“Ah, me too! You know Korean age?”
Crap! He’s said too much. “Uhhh… yeah. I read about it before my trip. And, you know, Korean parents. You pick up a few things.” Like the entire language, he doesn’t add.
“But you don’t speak any?”
He could come clean, reveal the truth, but it’s not like they’ll see each other again after this. And maybe he’s got a praise kink, but it is nice to hear such lovely things from two of the hottest guys he’s ever laid eyes on. So… “I mean, I know like hello and thank you and how to order at a nice restaurant, but… nope. I’m a failure to my people.”
And Namjoon is smiling when he recounts that to Yoongi. Smiling when Yoongi deadpans, “You always did like American men.” Smiling when he clears his throat, clasps his hands, and asks Hoseok, “Can we show you around town a little?”
Hoseok shares more stories from his day, how Namjoon and Yoongi took him to the market and a Joseon village and even made it in time for the guard changing ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace. He discovered that Yoongi actually knows quite a lot of English when he’s not playing coy (as if HOSEOK isn’t the coy one), but doesn’t like his accent when he speaks it. “He’s self-conscious about his lisp,” Namjoon had whispered, earning him his third pinch of the day.
And they never stopped singing his praises, even going to far as Namjoon admitting, “I hope you’re not insulted, hyung, you know I still think you’re the cutest,” and Yoongi answering, “There’s enough of me to go around. You have to admit, there’s something special about him.”
Hoseok doesn’t really know Yoongi, and he was probably just being playful, but… it did come off a little more serious than their other secret exchanges, most of which had to do with Hoseok’s excited smiles and constant demand for more group selfies.
Which is why, the next day, he’s so surprised they haven’t texted him. Yoongi had some work to do at his Seoul studio, and Namjoon said his mother was expecting him for dinner, and technically it’s only been about twelve hours since they parted ways but Hoseok thought when they exchanged numbers it might mean they actually wanted to be friends.
He doesn’t dwell on the disappointment. It’s audition day, and after another hotel breakfast (and another pleasant conversation with Heidi, who doesn’t cry at all this time, thank god), he makes his way to the BOTY Centre.
It’s a new program for young choreographers, a spin-off from a popular Korean television series. If he gets in, he’ll be on TV, which could drive him into some real dance companies. There are a hundred other dancers at the audition, many of whom Hoseok recognizes from their respective YouTube channels. There’s even a TikTok star he’s sure can’t speak a word of Korean, but clout is probably more important than skill for a TV show.
He kills it. Well, of course he can’t assume he killed it, can’t pretend to know what the producers are really looking for… but based on how the choreographer was grinning at him by the end of the afternoon, he’s pretty sure it was some of his best work.
Returning to the hotel, Hoseok showers, dries himself off, and decides to reward himself with some middle-grade room service. Just as he’s about to dial the concierge number, his own cell phone chimes.
Hoseok actually yelps.
It’s weird. Hoseok is thrilled to hear from Namjoon, but why is he still texting if he’s with Yoongi? Don’t they have, like, couple things to do?
He supposes it should have been obvious. Their private conversations made it pretty clear they were into Hoseok, but for some reason he wasn’t expecting their interest to escalate into…
“Hoseok-hyung?” Jimin answers the FaceTime call in record time, and Hoseok clutches his comforting face through the screen like a lifeline.
“I have a date tonight,” he hisses in Korean, because Jimin is his only friend who was actually born there, and he prefers it. “With the boys I told you about.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?”
“I guess, but…” he doesn’t mention how he feels a little used, how he likes being appreciated for his looks but also liked the idea of having friends in the city. Instead, he reveals his most pressing worry: “They’re taking me to the Tower.”
It’s well-known amongst their friend group that Hoseok, while willing to fly and tolerating his fifth-floor apartment, is MORTIFIED of heights. The thought of attempting to consume a MEAL at the top of the second highest building in Seoul is probably the most terrifying thing he could have come up with, but it’s the only way he can see Namjoon and Yoongi again, and getting laid abroad would make a good story and-
“Well, I told you it was a bad idea.”
-and Jimin is a terrible friend. Really, the worst person, even as he talks Hoseok down and helps him choose a cute outfit from his overpacked suitcase. Even as Hoseok blows him a kiss and he returns it with a finger heart.
What a dick.
Namjoon and Yoongi arrive exactly on time (suspiciously so, Hoseok thinks but doesn’t point out), and when they arrive at the base of the Tower Hoseok asks, “Do they serve drinks?”
“Yeah, they have a really great Soju selection,” replies, unfazed.
He survives the elevator ride, but when the server greets them (Yoongi made a reservation, how about that!) and begins leading them to a window seat, Hoseok immediately orders a bottle of lemon-flavoured soju.
“Cute, he sounds so Jeolla,” he hears Yoongi chime at Namjoon, who tells Hoseok,
“He says you ordered well.”
Hoseok nods, internally smacks himself for nearly letting the cat out of the bag, and sits, refusing to look out the window. Might as well attempt a decent conversation.
“You never told me how you two met?”
“That’s a boring story,” Namjoon insists. “Hyung and I went to the same University, but obviously he was a year ahead of me. We didn’t meet until some kid burned down half of my dorm building.”
“Oh my gosh!”
“Everyone was fine, it mostly just destroyed the plumbing. But they moved us all into another boys’ dorm, and I got placed in with Yoongi and our friend Seokjin, who’s a little older.”
Hoseok tries to imagine it: three dudes cramped into a shoddy dorm room. “That sounds uncomfortable.”
“It was okay. I mean, I was eighteen, what did I know? Right, hyung?” Smirking, Yoongi just nods. “Thanks for the support. Anyway, I slept on the floor for the first few months, and then Yoongi demanded I just sleep in his bed, and… I don’t even think we realized we liked each other until one day Jin-hyung told us he was getting his own apartment.”
“How did that change things?”
It takes Namjoon a moment to consider his story. “I think… Seokjin’s a little psychic, sometimes. At least I thought he was, but it turns out I was just making such obvious googly-eyes at Yoongi that he couldn’t bear it any longer. He told me as much when we moved him into the new place, but of course I was a teenage boy brimming with deeply-ingrained homophobia, so it wasn’t that easy.”
“It must have been hard.” Hoseok thinks of his own life in LA. His parents are good people, but they’re still traditional. He’s not sure if they know the full-extent of his sexuality, and even if they do, he’s not sure they’d ever bring it up. “So, you two kept living together?”
Namjoon nods. “Yeah. At first I moved into Jin’s bed, but it was… I guess lonely? Yoongi was right across the room and I missed him so much. Then, halfway through one night, just before end-of-term, he marches to my side of the room and curls up next to me.”
“Aw, like a cat!”
Yoongi scoffs, loud, and Hoseok braces himself for the flick that comes across the table. Namjoon giggles. “The cuddliest cat. He gets in the bed and says, ‘you snore when you’re cold’. So, we slept together for a few nights, and then… you know.”
Ears turning red, Namjoon nods. “As they say. Yeah.”
“That’s not boring at all,” Hoseok assures his new friends. “It’s a bit of a drama cliché, but it’s really sweet.”
“You watch dramas?”
Hoseok gulps. “Sure. Netflix has great subtitles.” He takes a breath. “It’s nice that he took care of you. You obviously take really good care of each other.” Namjoon was picking Yoongi up from the airport when the three of them met, just to keep him company on the bus ride home. Namjoon talked yesterday about how Yoongi always cooks for them (even if Yoongi maintained it was pure contingency for Namjoon’s clumsiness in the kitchen). Namjoon fixed Yoongi’s bangs on the way up the elevator.
“We try to,” Namjoon agrees, taking Yoongi’s hand. Yoongi makes no expression of gratitude, but swipes a sturdy thumb over his partner’s knuckles. Sweet.
“That’s important,” Hoseok continues, because he’s trying his best not to focus on the floor-to-ceiling windows just next to them, the long drop outside. “Most people think relationships are about feelings or something abstract like that. Which isn’t to say that love isn’t a feeling, but it needs to be built on more. You need to find someone you like, sure, but also someone that treats you well. Someone that you choose to take care of, because you appreciate their values. You seem like that kind of couple.”
“Yeah.” Namjoon turns to Yoongi, just looks at him for a second. Yoongi looks back. They smile. “I like to think we are. Thanks for saying it, though.”
“No problem. Anyway, what do I know…” Hoseok trails off. “It’s not like I’m the expert.”
To his surprise, it’s Yoongi who asks, “You don’t have partner?”
He shakes his head. “Nope. I’m what they call eternally single.”
“No way!” Yoongi hisses under his breath, and Namjoon pulses a little- maybe kicks him under the table? “You are so nice,” he says in English. “You take good care to people.”
“I mean, I try to be nice to everyone,” Hoseok admits. “But that doesn’t mean I expect them to date me.”
“For what it’s worth,” Namjoon tells him as the server arrives to take their orders, “You’ve been really lovely to Yoongi and I.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Hoseok retorts without any bite. “You’re the ones who have been good to me.”
Their food arrives, and the world revolves beneath them. Namjoon asks almost a thousand questions about his audition, and Hoseok answers to the best of his ability. He tries to stomach some of the most delicious food he’s ever tasted, but his stomach rumbles from anxiety. He finishes his first soju, orders another, and just before he’s about to ask for a third Yoongi asks, “Are you having fun?”
He snaps his head up, meeting Yoongi’s eye across the small round table. He’s dressed…differently, Hoseok notices, now that the soju’s taken off enough of the edge to let him properly look. Instead of a black tee or sweatshirt, Yoongi’s in a silky button-down that tucks loosely into ripped black jeans. He’s not wearing a hat, and his black hair is parted a little to the side, showcasing his gorgeous eyes, extra pointed with a tiny smudge of eyeliner. He’s even wearing a little silver chain on one ear, grazing his veiny neck each time he moves.
Namjoon’s put in equal effort. Off-setting a skin-tight white t-shirt, he’s added a smooth navy jacket, matching beret, and… holy shit, he’s wearing shorts. He’s wearing actual shorts and it still looks incredible thanks to his unreasonable muscular thighs. Fuck, Hoseok spent the entire elevator ride up staring at those same thighs for comfort, how could he forget?
Yeah, he’s staring, but they’re staring too, and he can’t blame them. He would feel under-dressed in just a white button-down, but he’s tucked it into skin-tight leather-look jeans that are no match for the Summer Seoul heat, his favourite Balenciaga sneakers, and a slender silver bracelet. It’s simple, chic, and blatantly shows off his hard-earned body. And he’s slicked his hair back, which Tae has told him on many occasions makes him look like a movie star.
They all look good, but now, none of them are smiling. In fact, Yoongi looks a little uncomfortable. “Did I say it right?” he asks Namjoon, and Hoseok interrupts the response:
“Sorry! I’m nervous!”
That doesn’t seem to help. “Oh. We didn’t mean to make you nervous. Sorry, we can take you back to the hotel if you-”
“Oh my god, NO!” Hoseok cries, and yeah, he probably should have remembered that half a bottle of soju is more than enough to cancel out his volume control. “It’s not you, you’re both amazing. I mean, you’re both great. It’s that-” he takes a deep breath, clenches his fist, “-I’m really scared of heights.”
Even though he hated Jimin for it before, he is so relieved to hear Namjoon’s obnoxious laughter ringing through the restaurant. He translates for Yoongi, who visibly relaxes too, chuckling lowly with a gentle look.
And Yoongi raises a hand politely, asks their server for the bill, and asks in English, “Will you go to bar?”
Namjoon’s already pocketing his phone and wallet. “The friend I mentioned, Seokjin, co-owns a club in Itaewon,” he explains. “Great music, lots of people dancing. He’s expecting us later, but he can probably still squeeze us into a booth if we go now.”
“Oh.” Wow, they really planned out the whole night. A fancy restaurant, a funky nightclub… there’s no longer any doubt in Hoseok’s mind that this evening will end back in his hotel room. “Yeah, that sounds like fun. Here, let me get the bill.”
He reaches toward the slip of paper their server just delivered, but Yoongi slaps his hand down first, snatching it.
“No, please, I’m the one ruining dinner. Let me pay.”
“Hajimaaaa,” Yoongi warbles, smacking Hoseok’s hand away, and Hoseok doesn’t even pretend to not understand.
“At least let me cover my part. It’s expensive.”
Namjoon laughs again, a little less amused and a little more shy. “Don’t worry, he can afford it,” he tells Hoseok, who furrows his brow. “He told you he’s a producer, didn’t he? He was just in LA.” Maybe it’s because he’s buzzed, but Hoseok still isn’t quite getting it. “Producing a song for Future.”
“But we came here in a Hyundai!” he hisses, trying not to draw attention.
Namjoon shrugs. “Hyung just likes how it drives.”
Hoseok turns his shocked glare to Yoongi, who’s smiling coyly while he pays the bill (on a heavy-looking black card), and takes a second-look at his outfit:
While Hoseok’s designer sneakers are his prized possession, Yoongi wears couture like it’s nothing. The shirt is Saint Laurent. The jeans are Alexander Wang. He’s got a Chanel belt buckle that only pokes out when he moves a certain way. A fucking Rolex on his wrist.
“…Yeah, okay. You’re paying.”
The club is as nice as the restaurant, but way closer to ground-level, so Hoseok decides it’s a million times cooler. He tells Namjoon and Yoongi this at least three times after they’re brought to a VIP booth and given a whole bottle of champagne for free.
He tries to sip slowly at his glass while he interrogates Yoongi on his many celebrity collaborations, finds out that Namjoon makes music too, is quite a popular rapper in the city. “Yoongi raps too, but his stuff is way harder, more underground than radio.”
“I bet it’s amazing, I’d love to hear both of you.”
“Most of it’s on SoundCloud,” Namjoon says, and Hoseok already has the app open on his phone. “I’m RM on there, just the Roman letters.”
And maybe it’s because even a few sips of champagne turn Hoseok into a red-faced idiot, but he actually yelps. “Are you kidding me?”
“I know, I know, but it used to be Rap Monster and that sounded way dumber-”
“I FUCKING LOVE MONO.”
He’s still way too loud, but at least the club is loud too, so it’s not as humiliating. Namjoon claps his hands over his face. Yoongi beams. “You know RM?” the older boy asks, and Hoseok positively FANBOYS.
“I’ve been listening to your stuff for years. Moonchild, Forever Rain, even your old stuff, like- God Rap is so cool, you know!”
“Please stop, I’m going to explode,” Namjoon garbles into his palms, and Yoongi pulls them off his bright red (but still adorable) face. He glances at Yoongi, and suddenly his nervous look becomes a conspiratorial one. Yoongi nods, and Namjoon asks, “Have you heard any of my collaborations? Strange, Respect?”
The ball drops, and Hoseok actually STANDS UP in the middle of their booth. He points an accusatory finger at Yoongi. “You. Are. NOT.”
But Yoongi only nods, laughs, and accepts his fate when Hoseok falls down to his knees and cries to the heavens, “I MET AGUST D!”
“Ah, famous Agust D! Welcome to my business!” A new voice approaches, heavily accented English catching Hoseok’s ear.
Look, Namjoon is hot. Yoongi is gorgeous. But if the guy walking towards them isn’t the most handsome human being that Hoseok has ever laid eyes on, he’ll eat his overpriced sneakers.
Flustered, he crawls back to his seat, sits down like a normal person. Handsome Guy joins them. “Are you Hoseok?” he asks, and Hoseok looks to Namjoon as if for an answer.
Namjoon snorts. “Hoseok, this is Seokjin.”
“Right!” Hoseok realizes. That makes sense, considering they probably wouldn’t just let a stranger into their booth.
(Although, technically Hoseok is stranger. Kind of. And he’s in their booth.)
“You call me Jin,” the club’s co-owner insists. “You are having a good time with my friends?”
His English is good, really good actually, so Hoseok doesn’t feel bad recounting the past couple of days to Jin. Doesn’t even notice himself sipping a little less elegantly at his champagne, or nodding when Jin asks if he wants another glass. The music pulses loud as the four of them chat, Jin sharing a few too many knowing looks with his friends when Hoseok starts bobbing along to it, rolling his shoulders to the beat.
Namjoon and Yoongi stand, and Hoseok snaps back to reality. “Everything okay?” he asks, hopes he hasn’t done something weird, freaked them out.
But Namjoon grins, shakes his head. “Fine, we both just need to use the bathroom. Don’t be weird, hyung,” he orders Jin, who winks. Both Namjoon and Yoongi look chagrined as they meander off.
“Don’t worry, they are having fun!” Jin assures Hoseok, who sighs.
“They’re being so nice to me. I don’t think I’m worth it.”
Jin, for the first time since he showed up, has lost his confident demeanor. Oh, he doesn’t understand, Hoseok realizes, so in a moment of genuine stupidity, translates himself.
“What do you mean you’re not worth it?” Jin scolds him. “They’re clearly smitten with you. They took you to the Tower, for-”
Chills run up Hoseok’s neck as Jin regains his playful bravado. “You speak Korean, don’t you?”
Well, cat’s out of the bag now. “I didn’t lie,” he insists. “But they caught me off guard and I almost never speak it in America, except with my parents and like two of my friends, and they assumed and they kept being really cute and it’s gone too far! I couldn’t just tell them a day into knowing them, ‘hey, by the way I know you’re talking about my butt, and while I worked really hard on it I don’t think the Joseon Village tour guide needs an entire rundown on why Namjoon should start doing SQUATS!’”
Jin is staring at him. Not how Namjoon and Yoongi have stared at him, like he’s a piece of well-cooked meat, but like… like he’s never seen such an impressive train wreck in his life.
He probably hasn’t.
And then he smirks. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell them. But I’d like to know… does it make you uncomfortable? Them saying those things?”
“Are you kidding? They’re like, the cutest guys I’ve ever met. It’s flattering.”
“Flattering?” Jin deadpans. “Look, Hoseok-ah, they like you. And they’ll still like you if you tell them the truth. But you don’t have to. You’re allowed to have fun on your vacation, after all-” Before he can keep speaking, Namjoon and Yoongi are returning from the bathroom.
“Sorry about that. Safer to go in pairs, you know?” Namjoon explains, and Hoseok smiles in agreement. “You were weird, weren’t you?” Namjoon accuses Jin, who slaps him.
“I’m never weird! Now show this kid a good time, you two!” Standing, he turns to Hoseok, winks, demands, “You are dancer! Make them dance!” and leaves the three of them alone.
“He was weird, wasn’t he?” Namjoon asks Hoseok once Jin is out-of-earshot. Yoongi is strangely quiet- not vocally, he’s been pretty quiet the whole time, but… he feels quiet now.
Hoseok shakes his head. “No, he’s nice. You’re all so nice.”
“You won’t say that after we start dancing.”
Yoongi still has that dubious eye trained on Hoseok, like he knows exactly what really happened, even though he doesn’t, can’t, and… Hoseok needs to bring this night back to life, show his hosts just how much fun he can be, even if he is a pathological liar. He stands again. “RM, Agust D… time to learn some moves!
Namjoon was right about the music, which pulsates louder and louder through the night, spurring casual dancing easily into something deeper, more sensual. And the drinks just… keep showing up, bottles of soju jammed into their hands by sneaky-faced servers. Hoseok’s drunk in no time, and soon it seems like Yoongi is too, at least if his own disintegrating dance skills are any indication. Or his many loud exclamations of, “Watch him, Namjoon-ah!” and “He said he could dance, but WOAH!” or “This is driving me crazy.”
Namjoon, the tree that he is, collects the two of them into an Uber at some point, gets them into the hotel, pries Hoseok’s key card out of his skinny jeans.
Guess it’s time to have some fun.
Hoseok props his phone on the hotel room dresser as soon as the door closes, starts up a playlist he’s affectionately dubbed ‘Boy Meets Evil. The beats are slower, smoother than the ones in the club, and when Hoseok dances again it starts in his hips. He reaches to undo his top buttons, but evidently he already started that at the club, shirt already undone to his navel.
Namjoon is staring, so he sways over to him. Grasps at his navy jacket and begins sliding it down his arms. Namjoon lets him, completely frozen, and god, he’s so flustered. His red-tipped ears are so cute Hoseok wants to bite them off.
But he’s got another man to take care of. Dancing over to Yoongi, he brushes his fingers over the collar of that expensive Saint Laurent blouse. Yoongi blushes, which is so endearing. Hoseok wishes with all his heart this wasn’t the last time he’ll witness those sweet, plush cheeks. He lets his hand climb a little higher, fingers brushing one.
Yoongi steps back. “Time to sleep,” he says.
Hoseok laughs. “Yes. Time to sleep,” he agrees, and takes a step forward.
But… Yoongi takes another step back. “No,” he says. “Sleep.” He says it in English, pressing his palms together and resting them against his cheek, like he’s not sure Hoseok understands him.
He understands. Fuck. Fuck. He got it all wrong.
He was so sure what this was… Namjoon and Yoongi met a hot guy at the airport. Met him again by chance. They’ve… well, probably they’ve never been with anyone else, if they were each others’ gay awakening.
Hoseok was an opportunity to try something new. To try someone new.
Except… apparently he’s not.
“I’m sorry. I thought-”
“Come on, let’s get you to bed,” Namjoon cooes, and it’s so domestic, so similar to how he said it to Yoongi at the airport, Hoseok feels himself tear up.
Namjoon leads him to the hotel bed. Helps him lay down. Brushes back his bangs. Yoongi whispers, “Goodnight,” and then again in Korean.
At some point, everything goes black.
The night morning comes with a headache that Hoseok will remember for the rest of his life.
He’s still dressed in his clothes from yesterday, but his shirt is wide open now, and at some point he must have unbuckled his belt for comfort. When did he take his shoes off? He can’t remember.
He does, however, remember the absolutely spectacle he made of himself when Namjoon and Yoongi dropped him off at the hotel. Fuck, how could he screw it up that bad? They were so nice to him, so kind to a random American tourist, because that’s just how they are. They’re nice people. Not swingers, or whatever other weird fantasy Hoseok came up with in his head.
And now they’re gone. Hoseok’s alone, and his phone is ringing. Oh well, might as well let Jimin laugh at him again-
Um. That isn’t Jimin’s screenname. That’s not even his phone, it’s an Android?
Yoongi had an Android phone.
Guess he wants it back. Hoseok picks up, prepares himself for more awkwardness, and finds it isn’t Yoongi on the other end of the line, but…
“Yah, Yoongichi, you over-tipped the server again! I’ve been trying to get rid of that asshole for over a month now and-”
There’s a deep breath while Jin calms himself down. “Oh. Sorry about that. Put Yoongi on the phone, would you please?”
“Uhhh...” Hoseok groans, his brain still a little too asleep to fully articulate, but at least he’s had a little chance to practice his Korean this trip. “Yoongi… isn’t here? He must have left it by accident. I can probably get it to you in like an hour-”
“What do you mean he isn’t there? He didn’t spend the night with you?
“No. They just brought me back here.”
“But… they didn’t stay?”
Jin sighs on the other end of the line. “Those chicken-shits, I’m going to-!”
“No! No, it’s nothing like that. They just… weren’t interested. And that’s okay, I didn’t deserve their interest anyway. They’re just really good people.”
“They are good people. The best people.”
“Well, they went on a date with a garbage man.”
“Yah, Hoseok-ah! Have you not been paying attention? Yoongi went on an entire rant last night about how you literally bought an iPhone for a stranger!”
“I technically didn’t buy anything, she-”
“And Namjoon waxed poetic for like, five minutes about how much effort you put into taking a good photo for a group of Canadian tourists.”
“Everybody likes Canadians-”
“They like you, Hoseok-ah. I know they do.”
“Well, they turned me down. So… that’s that.”
Another sigh. “That doesn’t sound right, you’re obviously missing something. Listen to hyung-” he doesn’t know when Jin built his way up to hyung status, but Hoseok listens nonetheless, “-I’m psychic about these things.”
“Yeah. So I’ve heard.”
Speaking of hearing things, the sink is running in the en suite. But… that can’t be? Hoseok’s alone, it’s a private room, he-
He stumbles out of the bed, still a little wobbly from the night before, and tip-toes toward the bathroom. The door’s been left ajar, and when Hoseok braves himself to push it open, he finds Yoongi slung over the toilet, Namjoon pulling the hair off his face while he vomits into it.
“Hoseok-ah? Are you still there?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I just found them.”
“What do you mean you found them?”
“They’re in the bathroom. Yoongi’s sick.”
Hoseok has to pull the phone away from his ear while Jin cackles. “What did I say, it was all just a big misunderstanding. Now you go fix it, capische?”
“I will. Thanks, uh, hyung.”
Jin makes a kissy noise as he hangs up, and Hoseok places the phone on the bathroom counter, making his presence known to the others. Yoongi stops barfing after a minute or so, spits the excess into the toilet bowl. Namjoon kisses the back of his head before turning to Hoseok. “Was that Jin?”
“He called Yoongi’s phone,” Hoseok replies, brain still programmed in Korean from his last conversation. “You’re still here?”
“Sorry!” Namjoon starts frantically in English, pulling Yoongi back into his lap on the bathroom floor. “We were going to leave, but hyung had a stomach-ache, and then we heard you waking up and...” He shares a look with the green-faced Yoongi. “You were talking to Jin?”
“I tried to tell you,” Hoseok deadpans, stepping toward the toilet. “Now move over, I’m gonna hurl.”
When Hoseok emerges from the bathroom, Namjoon and Yoongi are sitting on the hotel bed. Oh… they still need the cell phone. Makes sense.
He grabs it from the bathroom counter, holds it out to them.
“Here. You can go now.”
Yoongi looks exhausted, but there’s something else in his gaze as he leans heavy against Namjoon’s side. Something… sad. “You want us to go?”
“It was nice of you to hang around last night, but I’m really fine. You don’t have to take care of me.”
Namjoon sighs. “It’s our fault you were like that. We had no idea-”
“It’s not your fault. I know my limits. I overdid it, and I’m sorry. I made you uncomfortable. And I lied to you. There’s really no reason for you to stay.”
“You lied to us?”
For such smart-seeming guy, Namjoon is being really stupid right now. Hoseok furrows his brow. “Obviously,” he deadpans, pointing to his own lips, speaking a language he claimed not to know.
“Oh. That.” Namjoon nods. “So… you probably heard…?”
“Yes. And it was… flattering. I didn’t want you to stop. But I got the wrong idea, and I’m so embarrassed, and I’m sorry.”
“No, we’re sorry!” Hoseok doesn’t know if Yoongi’s voice is wrecked from throwing up or if this is how he always sounds in the morning, but either way it’s really doing something for him. Calm down, Hoseok, it’s too late for those sort of thoughts. Yoongi groans, “I was so inappropriate.”
“It’s fine. Like I said, I liked it.”
“You really liked it?” Namjoon asks. “Why?”
Hoseok scoffs, then gags, then composes himself enough to answer, “Are you kidding!? Just look at the two of you, you’re gorgeous! And you’ve been so nice to me, and you’re so sweet with each other, and… like I said, I’m Captain Single, I wanted a piece of it. And maybe I let myself get a little too into the fantasy and maybe I like you more than a person should like anyone, let alone two people after three days, but… yeah. I really, really liked it. And then I humiliated myself. So whatever, it happened, now I’m letting you go. Thanks for showing me around Seoul. Have a wonderful life together.”
It’s not until Yoongi stands that Hoseok realizes he’s been pacing back and forth, and he lets the wobbly-footed man step over to him.
“Why do you keeping saying you embarrassed yourself?”
Hoseok stares at him like he just grew an extra head. “I thought you liked me. You kept saying all these things about me and then last night... you turned me down.”
Yoongi is quiet. For like, a long time. He just stares back, then looks to Namjoon, then shrugs. “I don’t know how to put it.”
Rolling his eyes, Hoseok reminds him, “I understand you. We’ve determined this.”
Namjoon stands. “He’s bad at this in every language,” he explains, and ignores Yoongi’s, “Yah, rascal!”
“Hoseok-ah,” Namjoon starts, and Hoseok likes the familiar tag, probably likes it too much. And then Namjoon drops, “We like you.”
“Well, I didn’t think you took me out because you hate me-”
“-No,” Namjoon cuts him off. “We… like you.” He takes in a long breath, turns to Yoongi, waits for an affirmative nod. “Of course we wanted you last night. How could we not, when you look like this? Dance like… like you were dancing at the club. But you were also drunk last night, so that was off the table.”
Hoseok internally smacks himself. Of course they weren’t about to take advantage of him like that, they’re not monsters. “Well… I respect that, obviously. Oh god, you were drunk too and I totally came onto you!”
“You really didn’t,” Yoongi assures him. “In fact, you stopped as soon as you realized I told you to.”
“I still shouldn’t have done it in the first place.”
“I think we can agree that…” Namjoon considers his words carefully, and it’s endearing to see how much care he puts into them in Korean too. “…we shouldn’t have done anything without talking first. But I don’t think you understand, Hoseok-ah, when I say we like you. I mean… we really like you.” Hoseok doesn’t know how to answer that, and Namjoon proceeds, “Hyung and I went to the hotel on the off-chance we might see you again, and honestly it was just because we thought you were attractive. I know that sounds childish, but we really do eat there sometimes, and… I don’t know, it was a dumb idea. But then we saw you being so good to that girl, and you were so genuine and talented and cool and good and... everything changed overnight. It’s why we hid in the bathroom together… we suddenly realized we liked you a lot more than we thought, that we wanted… more. And we’ve never felt that way about anyone, least of all as a couple. It caught us both off-guard. Yoongi-hyung even had a bit of a panic attack over it, hence,” he waves his hand, indicating the hungover… expulsions… of the morning.
“But last night-”
“YOU WERE DRUNK!” Yoongi exclaims, and it’s so nice to hear him actually TALK. “We weren’t going to fuck you while you’re drunk, couldn’t make proper decisions.”
“You could have kissed me.”
“Kissing’s the best part,” Yoongi pouts, and Hoseok’s heart swells aggressively, because THAT’S the cutest thing he’s ever seen. “I wouldn’t kiss you if I wasn’t sure you wanted me to.”
“I’m sober now.”
It’s been a long morning. It was a long night before that, a long couple of days, and a long flight. But when Yoongi kisses him, Hoseok thinks he’d like the moment to last forever. Even longer when Namjoon kisses him too, when he watches them kiss each other.
They spend Hoseok’s last day in Seoul together, and when everyone feels less hungover, they spend his last night together too.
And Hoseok goes back to Los Angeles. Until he gets the call from BOTY.
Until he comes back.