Sometimes when playing the piano, you play a chord and hit the wrong key. The resulting sound is off, holds a discordance that makes you cringe. Sometimes it’s hard to get your hands to play the right notes.
Sometimes you need someone to put your hands where they are supposed to be.
They step out of the company cars and walk slowly into their building and towards the elevator. Even Jimin is too tired to hang off of Taehyung or Jeongguk playfully like usual. When they all crowd in at once, Yoongi leans against the wall and presses the side of his face against the cold metal.
He doesn’t notice Namjoon glancing at him worriedly or Hoseok sending the maknaes off to their rooms as soon as they get inside. Yoongi walks straight through his doorway, dumps his bag on the floor, and lays down on his bed.
They all know what Yoongi’s been through, dealt with, and have even witnessed some of the…flare ups.
Someone’s holding him, he doesn’t know who, and he’s trying in vain to breath but no oxygen is coming. The tiles are cold in contrast to the warmth of the person trying to revive him.
Years ago, he would lock himself in the bathroom before stages and sit, curled up and gasping for breath against the door. That never happens anymore, he’s better - mostly.
Yoongi tries not to let it show, because it only hurts him more to see them worried. He still sometimes wonders if it’s worth it, everything they fought to get where they are, but mostly he feels the pressure. The immense pressure steadily weighing on all their shoulders. The eyes watching and reading into everything they do…it pins Yoongi down. It feels too much like the time when he couldn’t sleep a single night without waking up with a tight throat, gasping for breath.
Namjoon knows, obviously, they’ve been together too long to not. Seokjin is a good hyung, asks what’s wrong quietly if he catches him staring blankly at the wall for too long, and Hoseok…
Yoongi feels a warm body move to stand between him and the back wall. He leans back into it and lets his eyes slide closed, reveling in the faintly familiar harmony between the warmth behind him and the chilled metal against his cheek.
I shouldn’t, he thinks, and then-
why the hell not.
Hoseok watches as Yoongi leans against the elevator wall. He’s got that no-quite-there look in his eyes which means he’s deep in his own head. Hoseok knows how hard it can be to drag yourself out of the dark things that pull at the edges of your mind.
Hoseok knows what it’s like to be numb.
He can always tell when Yoongi is tired, because when Yoongi gets tired he gets scared that he won’t be able to start up again if he stops. He speeds up, frantically trying to wring every lyric and beat out of himself until he crashes. Yoongi always looks like this before that happens. Like he’s gearing up for the marathon ahead of him, not even trying to stop it.
(If you feel like you’re going to crash then accelerate more, you idiot.
I know, hyung, but-)
Hoseok hates seeing him like this. He hates it when Yoongi doesn’t fight it at all, and stays consumed for days. But mostly, Hoseok hates it because that’s not his Yoongi.
But Yoongi’s not mine, what am I thinking…
He just...he likes the Yoongi who cracks a small gummy smile at him over his coffee in the mornings. Who drags him away from extra dance practice to eat out, laughing as they speed walk down the street with their masks pulled up high and their hats pulled down low.
Hoseok cares . He cares so fucking much that he’s able to ignore the melty, sugary warmth in his stomach when he sees Yoongi in golden morning light that filters through the windows of their dorm, looking so soft and so, so perfect . Who’s gaze on him makes his face heat up even when they’re laughing so hard they can barely breathe.
But Hoseok definitely doesn’t want to kiss away that look on Yoongi’s face, so he just steps behind him on the elevator and wonders how he can make everything better.
(The group's been together for years, and part of Hoseok is quietly wondering why he didn’t notice when he fell in love.)
They finally make it back into the dorm, and Yoongi walks straight to his room without a word to any of the others. He lets his bag drop to the ground off his shoulder and kicks off his shoes before falling into bed.
Tomorrow, he thinks, tomorrow, I’ll work so hard and be so productive and prove everyone wrong and, and…
And Yoongi aches for something- he doesn’t know what it is.
Yoongi rolls onto his side and presses the palms of his hands against his closed eyelids. After a moment, he roughly brushes away the wetness welling at the edges of his eyes.
Fuck, this is so stupid why am I being so stupid am I really fucking crying right now? Over nothing?
He grits his teeth, curls up, stuffs his hands between his knees, and wills himself to go to sleep and not wake up for a week.
His mind was racing so fast he forgot to close his door.
Hoseok stands in the hallway, watching through the gap in Yoongi’s doorway as he buries his face in his hands and starts to shake ever so slightly. Hoseok sucks at his bottom lip. He wants nothing more than to walk into that room and pull Yoongi ( my friend) into his arms and ask him if it’s alright and tell him it’s ok if he’s not because Hoseok will always be there for him and fuck, it hurts to see Yoongi like this.
But can I know I’m doing this for him? How can I know it’s not just me needing someone to need me or someone to hold or someone …
-because Hoseok is confused and he’s pretty sure the last thing Yoongi wants to deal with is his best friend throwing himself at him while he’s vulnerable. But he can’t just stand there and watch while Yoongi’s in pain. No matter what he tells himself, there’s just no way he’s going to do nothing.
Hoseok drops his bag in the hallway and walks carefully up to Yoongi’s doorway. He’s worked his sheets up over himself by now, and all Hoseok can see is his hair, splayed over his pillow, down to his eyebrow. He taps his knuckles against the doorframe, but it barely makes any sound.
Are you ok.
No. Go away.
“Hyung.” He says as softly as he can, and his voice is low and a little rough from holding his breath in the hall. Yoongi doesn’t respond, but his sheet falls down his face by an inch and the skin around his eyes is red and puffy. Yoongi is a deep sleeper but it takes him a while to actually fall asleep.
Hoseok frowns, his hand still on the doorknob.
Fucking hell, I’m not going to let him just-
He leans to the other side of the doorframe and flicks the lights off.
He steps on the backs of his sneakers to pull them off before walking to the other side of the bed and sliding quietly beneath the sheets. However lifeless Yoongi can pretend to be when he wants to, Hoseok can feel how his back stiffens when he curls closer and wraps an arm over Yoongi’s waist, his hand gently pressing into the soft shirt over Yoongi’s stomach. He shifts closer until he’s pressed against Yoongi, holding him against his chest.
When you can’t keep yourself together, sometimes you need someone to hold you so tight you don’t fall apart.
He presses his face against Yoongi’s neck and all he can smell is the saltiness of tears. As he noses against the soft hair on Yoongi’s nape, he can feel the places where tears tracked down from his face...
He can feel the heat that’s always left in your skin after you cry.
Slowly, very slowly, Hoseok feels Yoongi relax into him, his body softening and molding against him.
Yoongi’s breath hitches and he chokes - a small, relieved noise that seems to break out of his throat. Hoseok can feel new tears drip onto his hand where it’s curled against Yoongi’s chest. His mind goes blank for a moment before he dips his head and whispers against warm skin between Yoongi’s shoulders.
“I’m sorry, hyung.”
Nothing happens for a moment, just Hoseok squeezing his eyes tight to stop them from watering. Then, the sheets rustle ever so slightly when Yoongi reaches up to his own chest and shakily twines his fingers with Hoseok’s. And that’s answer enough.
The soft cotton over Hoseok’s face smells nice. He doesn’t know how to describe it, especially in his current state - awake-but-not-really. It reminds him of hiking up Achasan Mountain during the rainy season, clean and fresh and yet somehow warm. It’s familiar in a comforting sort of way that makes Hoseok want to stay there forever.
It feels like he must have lost and just now regained contact with his senses, because suddenly he can feel the slight brush of hot air on his clavicle, softness against his chin, and the weight of a smaller body curled against his own.
It’s - it’s the smell of Yoongi’s shampoo, and not only that because Yoongi’s head is tucked under Hoseok’s chin and he’s breathing slowly against the sensitive divot in his collarbone and his hands are curled against Hoseok’s chest and (Oh god) when Hoseok tilts his head down his lips brush the tip of Yoongi’s ear and it’s warm and Hoseok wants to kiss it, see what his skin tastes like, see if he tastes the way he smells, god, he wants it so bad and, and….
And Yoongi stirs, shifting in Hoseok’s arms
Jesus I’m holding him, fuck-
- and it feels so right, so right to wake up and have Yoongi asleep against him, like he’s his, that Hoseok almost forgets why he’s there in the first place.
He pulls away a bit so he can look at Yoongi, as if seeing him will tell Hoseok if he’s ok or not, or maybe at least a little better because that’s all Hoseok wants-
Yoongi’s face is soft, his eyes are closed, brow unfurrowed, eyelashes just long enough to touch his cheeks... and there’s a tiny gap between his lips from where his breath touches Hoseok’s skin.
Sunlight is filtering through the cotton, painting Yoongi’s pale skin a melty shade of honey. Hoseok reaches up and touches the side of Yoongi’s face gently. He bites his lip and…
He’s going to kill me when he wakes up-
(Somehow he forgets Yoongi’s relief when Hoseok first touched him)
Yoongi groans softly in his sleep and curls into an even tighter ball against Hoseok, and he realizes that there is no possible way that he can move his arm out from underneath Yoongi without waking him up. Not that he’s complaining, this is probably the nicest Hoseok’s ever felt in his life. He wishes he could have this every day, have Yoongi want him there every day, and then feels like a horrible person because the only reason he’s here in the first place is to make Yoongi feel better. Not continue the process of breaking his own heart.
Because it is. His heart is breaking...
...from the feeling of Yoongi tucked warm against him, so, so close, the feeling of him breathing deeply in his sleep.
Yoongi makes a soft sound in his sleep, stirring, and Hoseok holds still. He imagines how Yoongi will open his eyes, see Hoseok so close… he’ll roll away, mumble a Sorry, Hobah . Yoongi shifts again, and Hoseok feels himself start to panic.
This is it.
This is where an awkwardness will start. A slight discomfort which will grow and grow until their friendship is left in shambles. Hoseok might want more but he doesn’t think he can stand it if he loses what he already is so lucky to have.
He squeezes his eyes shut. Counts each second.
What number comes next again?
The feeling of the word breathed against his skin is clearer than when he hears it. Hoseok speaks, and his words run together.
“Hyung, I’m sorry, I just wanted, I just wanted to help, and - and you were here and I, I thought that maybe if, if you, if I-”
He opens his eyes, looks at Yoongi, whose own are still a little red. Hoseok wants to cry for him, take some of Yoongi’s pain onto himself, because out of all the people in this world…
You deserve it the least. Hoseok thinks, or rather-
“What?” Yoongi says.
“You said - you said I deserve it the least. Deserve what?”
Even while laying down Yoongi is somehow able to tilt his head to the side.
“You.. um… this. You don’t deserve this.” Yoongi scoffs, in that light sort of way that sends his breath tickling across Hoseok’s neck.
“You? That’s a bit…”
“Oh- no, no, that’s not what I meant. I meant the things you carry around - the heavy things, the kind that weigh on your mind until bad things happen.”
“Kobe.” Yoongi says quietly, and tilts his head forward to rest against Hoseok’s chest. Hoseok can feel though, when he smiles a little, “Thanks, Hobah. Thank you.” Hoseok worries at the inside of his cheek. He hasn’t pushed me away yet.
“Hyung, I’m sorry, I-I know I shouldn’t have, have touched you when you were... - but I thought that maybe it would help and-”
“Hobah, I said thank you - don’t apologize.”
“But hyung, can I do anything else? I want to - I want to help.” Hoseok knows he’s rambling, but he can barely keep up with what he himself is saying. He’s usually composed, he helps hold the team together, but right now he can barely speak. He feels Yoongi lift his head again. Hoseok watches as he blinks rapidly a few times, and then averts his gaze.
“You have no idea how much you’ve already done… it’s just.. I don’t want to pull you down with me. I know it’s stupid but-”
“Hyung, just tell me what I can do.”
Yoongi’s mouth is hanging open slightly when he looks back at Hoseok, the tip of his tongue rests at the edge of it, another habit. His brow is slightly furrowed, his eyes warm and dark, the soft slope of his nose… as much as he tries to help it, all Hoseok can think is pretty.
“I can leave, if you want. I’ll-I’ll stay if you want, too.” He looks, sees Yoongi. Sees the way his eyes flick down from Hoseok’s eyes, tries to ignore the heat under his skin, how Yoongi’s gaze on him feels.
“Hoseok-ah, kiss me.”
He tips forward, bringing his hands from Yoongi’s sides to hold the sides of his face. Their lips meet and Hoseok’s world shrinks until all that’s left is the sensations of Yoongi’s chapped lips against his own, how soft his hair is where Hoseok’s cupping his face. He licks at Yoongi’s mouth, and the older makes a soft sound that has Hoseok sliding an arm down to tug at his waist, pulling them closer. Pressing as close as they can, holding each other to the earth like they might fall away from it at any moment.
The world tries to launch them to the stratosphere, but with each lave of tongue over tongue they are grounded.
Yoongi pulls back after a moment, breathing hard, and the hot air between them makes Hoseok’s head spin. He hums when Yoongi licks at his lips again before it turns into a soft groan at the suck of a kiss against his jaw.
“Okay.” Hoseok says breathlessly.
“Okay?” Yoongi mumbles the word against his neck and Hoseok shivers.
“Okay, I’ll kiss you.”
Hoseok feels the shape of Yoongi’s smile against his neck as he chuckles softly. He tilts his head up and rests his chin on top of Yoongi’s dark hair.
“You fit just right here, ya know?” He says, then twitches violently when Yoongi runs his tongue up the column of his throat. “Ah - okay.” Hoseok says indignantly, squirming.“That was unfair and you know it.”
“You don’t care.” Yoongi mumbles again, softer, barely intelligible as he burrows against Hoseok’s neck.
No I don’t.
Yoongi sighs quietly, and his body feels relaxed and pliant nestled against his own.
He listens as Yoongi’s breathing slows, closing his own eyes and concentrating on the rhythm of their hearts beating together. It sounds right.
When you play the piano and get the chord right, there’s a sort of fleeting, warm feeling that spreads through you. It’s fleeting because most people don’t stop to appreciate playing a chord correctly for long. But it’s there.
It’s there, because when you place your fingers on the right keys, the harmony of notes intertwining and supporting each other... sounds a little bit like love.