Hoseok didn’t know if Yoongi would be there. But he hoped he would.
His alarm woke him with a start, echoing throughout his bedroom, ricocheting off the walls. Hoseok’s eyes flickered open, squinting as he looked at the numbers on the clock. 11:00 pm, they said.
Rolling over on the mattress, Hoseok stretched his arm out across the other side of his double bed, remembering how Yoongi used to be there, warm, comforting, strong, like an anchor against the tide. It made his chest ache, remembering, but he couldn’t help himself, especially today.
Back then, Yoongi would have been nestled against his spine, the soft, even breath tickling Hoseok’s nape, because once upon a time, if Hoseok had to bet on anything in the world, it was that Yoongi would be there, pressed against the curve of his back, arm curled around his waist, drawing him in. But not anymore, Hoseok thought sadly. Not anymore.
Hoseok remembered the first time, when it was him pressed against Yoongi’s back, when he’d practically tumbled out of his bed and into Yoongi’s because he was scared of the thunderstorm, feeling as though he was being chased by the rumble overhead as he scurried across the room, not caring if he woke Yoongi, just needing to feel safe.
“What’s wrong?” Yoongi had asked over his shoulder, as Hoseok climbed under the covers, sliding next to his hyung.
“The storm,” Hoseok whimpered, pressing himself against Yoongi’s back. “I don’t like it, Yoongi-ah.”
“It’s okay,” Yoongi muttered, turning on his back and lifting his arm so Hoseok could snuggle beneath it. He groaned slightly as he moved. Hoseok could tell his shoulder was stiff, likely thanks to the rain.
“Your shoulder,” Hoseok said softly, looking down at Yoongi.
“It’s fine,” Yoongi told him, not hesitating to circle his bicep around the younger’s neck and drawing him in.
Hoseok nuzzled down against Yoongi’s chest, his head fitting to the curve of his hyung’s neck. “You’re not in any pain?” he asked.
“No, Hoseok-ah,” Yoongi whispered quietly, pressing a kiss to the top of Hoseok’s head. “I’m not in any pain.”
And Yoongi held him, raking his fingers through Hoseok’s hair until he fell asleep against his chest. Hoseok woke up in exactly the same place the next morning, his face pressed against the curve of Yoongi’s chest, who still slept soundly, despite his intrusion. The smell of dust after rain was lingering in the air.
Now, Hoseok got out of his bed, the memory still prolonged in his mind, and walked through to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee, cracking open the window that led out onto the fire escape, the familiar sounds of the nightlife of Seoul filling the apartment.
He remembered New Years, when he had first moved out of the dorm and into a small one bed in the city. The hyungs and dongsangs had begged Hoseok to have a house party, with promises to come over with crates of alcohol, bags of snacks and vows to be good, vows that Hoseok knew they had no intention of fulfilling.
Except for Taehyung, who had spent the whole time picking up after everyone, despite Hoseok telling him he would do it tomorrow. Taehyung then went to take care of Jeongguk, who had ended up with his head in the toilet after too much beer, Taehyung moving his intoxicated body into Hoseok’s bed and stroked his back whilst he slept. Jimin, on the other hand, had sweet-talked the couple next door out of making a noise complaint after he’d synced his phone to the speaker and blasted out his party playlist, moving it to slow RnB beats when everyone was starting to pass out.
Jin sat on Hoseok’s beanbag and played on the X-Box until his eyes started to water with tiredness, with Namjoon’s head in his lap, desperate to finish the last chapter of his book before midnight, until they both slid down in their respective positions and quickly fell asleep, Namjoon’s novel open on his face.
That left Hoseok and Yoongi, who left them all to it and slid out of the window to sit on the fire escape, passing the last of Yoongi’s bottle of whisky between them to warm them in the cold night air.
“What do you think this year is gonna be like?” Yoongi asked, taking the whisky bottle, and draining it before putting the empty glass back on the windowsill.
“I don’t know,” Hoseok mused. He and Yoongi sat close to each other, their knees knocking together as they shivered slightly in the breeze. “But whatever happens… I feel hopeful,” Hoseok nodded, gazing out onto the skyline in front.
Yoongi nudged his shoulder with his and chuckled. “You’re always hopeful. That’s why you’re J-Hope.”
“J-Hope!” Hoseok echoed his nickname in his teasing voice, giving Yoongi finger guns. They both laughed and then, as their giggles settled, they exhaled, became somewhat nostalgic, only punctured by the sounds of everyone in the streets and bars below them enjoying their evening, ready to see in the New Year. Everything felt nostalgic when something ended, Hoseok thought, even if something else was beginning.
“I don’t know,” he said again, thinking about his previous New Years. They were always with Yoongi, sometimes in a bar, sometimes on the beach, sometimes in Namsan Park, laying down on the grass and drawing constellations into the sky. Those were his favourite, Hoseok realised. “Maybe it’s because I’m here with you,” he said, turning to Yoongi, wondering how the universe had tied them together, but realising he didn’t want to question it. Not even for a second.
“Me?” Yoongi asked, regarding his dongsang.
“Yeah,” Hoseok breathed, eyes casting over Yoongi. “Everything always feels so much better with you,” he said, quietly.
Just then, fireworks exploded overhead, making Hoseok startle and then laugh. He looked up at the sky, watching the patterns shatter into the night, leaving traces of sparks as they fell. He looked back to Yoongi, who had a look on his face that Hoseok had never seen before, and their bodies softened in a shared exhale.
Yoongi gulped. “Happy New Year, Hoseok-ah,” he whispered as he leaned in and pressed his lips to Hoseok’s.
His mouth was tender at first, barely there, light breath until Hoseok’s fingers crept up to cup his jaw. Hoseok inhaled as he kissed Yoongi, smelling the delicate fragrance of his cologne, making him feel light-headed and dizzy under his touch.
“Is this okay?” Yoongi whispered against his lips.
“Yes,” Hoseok replied, slipping his tongue next to Yoongi’s.
Hoseok flushed remembering their first kiss, remembering how originally he’d cursed Jeongguk and Taehyung for sleeping in his bed, and Jimin for taking the couch, but that led to him and Yoongi staying up, talking all night until the sun rose, kissing frequently, snuggled next to each other on the steps of the fire escape, making pot after pot of coffee and eating everything Hoseok had in his cupboards. After everyone had left, they’d curled up on Hoseok’s bed in their clothes and napped throughout the day, occasionally waking up to kiss or order food. Lazy eyes and lazy mouths, Hoseok’s favourite.
Now, walking through to the bathroom, Hoseok brushed his teeth. He thought about when Yoongi had moved in, although in truth, it was more that like one day he’d never left. Hosoek thought about all the times he and Yoongi had maneuvered around each other in the small space, brushing up against each other in various states of undress, or getting ready, toothbrushes sticking out of their mouths, towels around their waists. Yoongi would look at Hoseok through their reflections in the mirror, tracing his hand up Hoseok’s arm, coming to cup his face and pressing a tender kiss to his cheek. Hoseok would rest his head against Yoongi’s, revelling in the domestic bliss.
Then, as he got dressed in the bedroom, Hoseok remembered how this place, over time, had become their haven. Every night, they lay entwined in the bedsheets, entangled in each other’s bodies, lazily brushing their fingertips over each other’s skin, making love when the mood struck and fucking in between, all by the light of the streetlamps that flickered outside, the shadows on the wall melding together, light fragmented over their bodies as they became one until the early hours of the morning.
Hoseok remembered arching into Yoongi’s touch, his skin tingling all over as Yoongi traced his lips over his every curve, every contour, rolling and flexing his hips as he slid in and out of Hoseok, thrusting deeper to press on Hoseok’s g-spot, earning a contented groan in response.
“Remember the fire escape?” Yoongi whispered against Hoseok’s skin.
It had been a long time since then.
“Yes,” Hoseok said through a gasp. “Yes, of course, I remember.”
“Did you imagine back then?” Yoongi asked, bringing his head low to kiss Hoseok’s neck. “That we’d be doing this?”
Did I imagine? Hoseok asked himself, through the haze of his lust. Did he imagine kissing Yoongi, having him buried deep inside his ass, railing him against the kitchen counter, making love to him under the light of the stars, laughing with him on the sofa over coffee, crying and kissing through the pain together? Truthfully, he’d imagined it the moment they met.
“Yes, Yoongi-ah. I imagined it,” Hoseok confessed, moaning towards the ceiling.
Yoongi stopped kissing him and came to look at Hoseok, holding himself over his dongsang.
“I’ve never been a particularly happy person, Hoseok-ah,” Yoongi confessed, still driving long, slow thrusts into him. “I’ve always just accepted that it’s how I am. I never share my feelings with anyone or find much happiness in life. But that all changed when I met you. You give me hope,” he said. Hoseok’s hand travelled up to cup Yoongi’s face, the elder pressing a kiss to the ridge of Hoseok’s thumb. “That night, on New Year’s Eve, when we kissed as the sun rose. That’s the happiest I’ve ever felt.”
“Yoongi-ah,” Hoseok’s breathed, his eyes glittering with tears.
“I love you,” Yoongi replied. “I don’t tell you enough. I love you, Hoseok-ah.”
“I love you, Yoongi-ah,” Hoseok said, as his hyung hit his prostate for the final time and before he knew it, he was coming between their bodies, both of them flushed with passion.
Hoseok shivered as he thought of it, as he now threw his clothes on and shrugged on his jacket, walking back through to the kitchen, eyes drawn to the post that had collected on the mat. As he bent low to retrieve it, thumbing through the envelopes, he thought about the moment when Yoongi got that letter.
Yoongi froze, staring down at the letter that had been hanging over their heads ever since they entered their late twenties. The moment Hoseok saw Yoongi’s shoulders tense and jaw set, as he looked down at it, he knew. He just knew.
“Yoongi-ah,” Hoseok said quietly, his voice barely a whisper.
Yoongi didn’t look up from the letter.
“Yoongi-ah, what is it?” Hoseok asked meekly, even though he knew.
Eventually, Yoongi looked up, a single tear falling down his cheek. Hoseok realised suddenly that Yoongi had always been the one to be strong for him, holding him tightly as the thunderstorms passed overhead, settling him with a rub of his back and a kiss to his temple. Yoongi had always been his anchor.
“Hoseok,” Yoongi said, his voice raw, choking out a sob.
Hoseok hurried forward and gathered Yoongi into his arms, pressing him tightly against his body. Yoongi’s head fell to Hoseok’s shoulder as he sobbed, the envelope crumbling between their bodies.
“It’s gonna be okay, Yoongi-ah,” Hoseok said, even though tears were running down his cheeks. “I’m only gonna be a year behind you.”
Yoongi pulled back, roughly cupping Hoseok’s cheek, eyes frantic and searching. “But what if we get split up. What if we lose each other?”
The question filled Hoseok’s heart with devastation. They hadn’t been apart since they met. They had always been together, even before New Years Eve.
“We won’t lose each other,” Hoseok said with a shake of his head. “We won’t lose each other,” he said again, firmer. Hoseok wasn’t sure who he was trying to reassure.
Yoongi pressed his lips together in a tight line, trying to compose himself. Hoseok’s hand snaked around to his nape, pulling their foreheads together.
“I don’t want to live without you, Hoseok-ah,” Yoongi whispered.
“You’ll never live without me,” Hoseok told him, feeling a sob creep out of his mouth. “As long as you love me, I’ll always be with you,” he said, bringing their lips together.
Now, the tears rose in Hoseok’s eyes as his words from back then echoed around his mind. He closed the window to the fire escape and picked up his keys, stepping out of the apartment and locking up. He checked his watch, 11:24 pm, and exhaled. He was ready.
Hoseok walked down the stairs and out onto the streets of Seoul, his footsteps on the pavement matching the beat of his heart as he walked towards Namsan Park, just like they’d promised.
“Promise me,” Hosoek had said, clasping Yoongi’s cheek in the curve of his palm as they lay in bed, legs tangled together in the sheets, chests pressed close. “Promise me that no matter what happens, no matter where you are in the world, you’ll meet me at Namsan Park. By the tower. We can put our lock with the others. Promise me, Yoongi-ah. Promise me you’ll be there.”
Yoongi stretched out his hand and brushed Hoseok’s hair from his eyes. “I promise, Hoseok-ah,” he said softly.
“On New Year’s Eve, midnight – you won’t forget?”
“I’ll be there at quarter to.”
The clock ticked behind them, an incessant reminder of what was to come. Yoongi’s bag was packed by the door, ready and waiting for his alarm to go off. His letter asking for his conscription was placed on top.
Hoseok’s eyes flitted over to the clock again, as Yoongi’s hand came up to cup his cheek and recentre is focus back on him. “Hey,” he cooed gently, pressing his lips to Hoseok’s. “We have time,” he whispered.
“It’s not enough,” Hoseok replied.
“It never is, Hoseok-ah,” Yoongi sighed.
No, he didn’t know if Yoongi would be there, as he headed into Namsam Park. But he hoped he would.
Hoseok walked up to the tower and checked his watch. 11:44pm. Now, it was time to wait.
He exhaled a deep sigh, watching the autumn leaves curl in the wind around him. He looked up at the stars, remembering the constellations, feeling the breeze sift through his hair, remembering how it used to be Yoongi’s fingers. He closed his eyes, praying that Yoongi would remember, remember like Hoseok did, remember how it used to be between them.
For a moment, Hoseok panicked. What if Yoongi had moved on since then? What if he no longer felt what Hoseok did for him? What if he was doomed to spend his New Years Eve alone for the first time in years without his first love, his first and only if the universe would let him.
Hoseok’s eyes fell to the path, and there he saw Yoongi, slowly striding towards him.
Hoseok softened, the emotion rising in his throat as Yoongi approached him, that slight smile on his face that Hoseok had once kissed into a grin, in the light of the moon that shone in through the bedroom window.
“You’re here,” Hoseok said, his voice raw, brow crinkled.
Yoongi gave a little shrug. “I promised you, didn’t I?” he smirked.
Hoseok shook his head, wondering if Yoongi was a mirage in front of him, wondering if he was just a trick of the light, waiting for the light to fragment across his face and shatter. “I didn’t even know if you were in Seoul,” Hoseok said after a beat.
“I was away for a long time, but I’m back now,” Yoongi replied.
“Where? Where have you been?” asked Hoseok.
Yoongi only smiled. “There’s time for that story, Hoseok-ah,” he breathed.
Hoseok bit his lip, remembering how the clock ticked in the silence. “We have time?” he half-asked.
“We have time,” nodded Yoongi.
Hoseok exhaled a whimper and ran into Yoongi’s arms, the elder sweeping him off his feet and swinging him around, his smile stretching up his face, wide enough that Hoseok could see even in the moonlight.
“I brought the lock, Hoseok-ah,” Yoongi said, setting Hoseok down onto the ground again. “I brought a sharpie. We could write our initials on it,” he added, nodding to where the cluster of locks were chained against the railing, a public promise to your loved one.
But Hoseok could only cry. “I can’t believe you’re here,” he sobbed into Yoongi’s ear, nuzzling down into his neck.
“I’ve always been with you,” Yoongi replied, inching back to look into Hoseok’s eyes. “Remember? You’ll never live without me. As long as you love me, I’ll always be with you,” he echoed, making Hoseok sob harder. “You gave me hope, you always have.”
Hoseok couldn’t help but smile as he remembered, because everything, he realised, felt nostalgic when something ended, even if something else was beginning. And as he thought so, the fireworks exploded overhead. It was midnight.
Hoseok and Yoongi both looked up, admiring the way the fireworks shattered, sending what looked like shooting stars through the night’s sky, lighting up the skyline of Seoul. Hoseok’s eyes followed their trail as they landed past the buildings, wondering if one would reach his apartment, reach the fire escape, reach them as they entwined themselves together, as they should be.
His gaze fell to Yoongi, who looked at him so adoringly, eyes big and round, just as Hoseok remembered.
“Happy New Year, Hoseok-ah,” Yoongi whispered, inching forward to press their lips together.
“Happy New Year, Yoongi-ah,” he replied, the faint taste of whisky on their tongues, feeling home at last.