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And all this devotion (I never knew at all)

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“Hey, scoot over,” Hoseok bumps his shoulder lightly against Yoongi’s, knees folding from under him as he shifts on the couch trying to get the perfect spot.

Yoongi rolls his eyes at him but moves, anyway, because Hoseok’s legs are long and he’s been on the receiving end of a knee kick before and it had hurt like a bitch, so he’d rather not have the boy’s knee digging into his side the whole time they watched the damn movie.

Hoseok pulls a blanket over him, leaving none for Yoongi, and throws a grin at his direction. Yoongi is pressed into the far end of the couch and Hoseok is crowding around in the centre, fluffy blanket all around him and popcorn strewn across the couch. Across Yoongi’s couch, Yoongi notes with a little wince.

“Don’t be a fucking slob,” Yoongi says, hand reaching out to grab for the bowl of popcorn. Hoseok only stares at him as even more popcorn flies out of the bowl, landing all around the couch and on the floor. Yoongi groans, finger pressed intently on the side of his head to calm the oncoming headache.

“Share, you little – “ Hoseok grabs for the bowl of popcorn now, arms reaching over to Yoongi and flailing, his legs stretched and kicking under the blanket, kicking so much that he ends up knocking Yoongi off of the side of the couch.

Yoongi lands with a thump on the floor, blanket falling over him and the bowl of popcorn crashing somewhere beside his head. The only thing he hears for a few moments is the soundtrack from the movie rolling in. A few more moments of complete silence and then Hoseok is barking out a laugh, so loud and high pitched, obviously delighted at the sight of Yoongi miserable and on the floor.

“Fuck off,” Yoongi seethes, throwing the blanket back at Hoseok who catches it all too willingly. “Now I have to pick up the popcorn, and that’s a bitch to sweep, Hoseok,”

He doesn’t get a dignified response but he does feel Hoseok’s hands under his armpits, the boy hauling him back up on the couch with a little bit of difficulty, huffing as he finally manages to dump Yoongi back on his side of the couch. Hoseok is still laughing a little bit, teeth biting down on his lip to stop himself from grinning too much, but he’s also pulling Yoongi’s legs onto the couch and properly aligning them on top of his so that now they’re sharing the couch and it’s not just him hogging it. Hoseok then throws the blanket over both of their shoulders, head thrown back once more for another short round of laughter, “There, there.”

Hoseok is capable of turning Yoongi’s whole world to shit but he’s also capable of putting all the fucking pieces back together and that’s just confusing to Yoongi, whose cheeks are slightly burning at just how close they are, at how damn cuddly they’re being right now.

It’s not unknown territory for them to be handsy and just all over each other’s personal space, Hoseok especially, but recently, things have just started to develop and after a lot of thinking around, Yoongi had arrived to a rather surprising conclusion. A conclusion he’s going to keep to himself, his mouth shut tight and his lips zipped.

Hoseok being so close to him and so, so nice like he hadn’t just ruined Yoongi’s carpet with the popcorn droppings isn’t helping, but they’re already fifteen minutes into the movie and the blanket does provide a certain type of warmth that Yoongi just resigns to the whole thing, eyes rolling in feigned exasperation at the idiot of a best friend who’s willingly sacrificing the feeling on both of his legs just for Yoongi to be comfortable throughout the two hour long movie.

“Now shut up because we’ve missed a good part of this movie already,” Hoseok says, tongue sticking out in a teasing, playful little way. Yoongi rolls his eyes again and forces his eyes back onto the television, forces himself not to dwell too much on thoughts about Hoseok’s tongue because, god, that’s not good for him at all.

Yoongi doesn’t even understand much of the movie – it’s boring and it’s in English, and he’s suffered enough from his English literature class early in the morning already. His eyes are heavy and he’s tired – his shift had started just as his last class had ended right that afternoon and now they’re watching a boring English movie with tiny subtitles, so fucking tiny Yoongi has to squint to read them.

It’s ten in the evening and Yoongi and Hoseok are spread out on the couch watching an English movie none of them are actually interested in, if Hoseok constantly tapping on his phone is anything to go by.

“Why are we even watching this?” Yoongi yawns, the back of his hand scrubbing against his eye. “This is so fucking boring and my brain is fried, Hoseok. I can’t rapidly translate English right now and I’m too sleepy to read all the subtitles.”

Hoseok looks up from over his phone, a grin already spreading across his face. “I don’t know, I thought it would be fun. Namjoon recommended it,”

Yoongi groans, “Namjoon watches boring documentary films and all those weird foreign films that don’t make sense to me. They’re so fucking weird only Namjoon would like them,”

“Oh,” Hoseok mutters, eyes dramatically widening at that. “Well, that explains this movie, then,”

He doesn’t even wait until Hoseok can give him the “go” signal to turn the television off because Yoongi is already reaching for the remote, finger pressing on the “off” button with more force than necessary. Static silence fills the air between them until Hoseok shuffles around from under Yoongi, phone now back in his hands and fingers back to tapping against the screen.

“What are you doing?” Yoongi asks, an eyebrow raised. “And why are you smiling down at your phone?”

Hoseok looks like he’s just been caught trying to hide something and failing miserably, because he turns his phone off with a soft click and slides it somewhere under the blanket, out of Yoongi’s sight and reach. “Nothing,” He tries, expression now schooled into one of mild nonchalance.

Yoongi doesn’t have a name for the gnawing feeling in his gut but he can feel it. He narrows his eyes at Hoseok, and normally he’s not one to pry but Hoseok is being unbelievably evasive. Normally, Hoseok wouldn’t even try to hide anything from him.

“Alright,” Yoongi says, eyes averting away from him. Well, if he doesn’t want to talk about it then that’s fine, it probably isn’t even that important if Hoseok’s going through all the effort into hiding it. Or it must be because he’s doing exactly just that.

“Well,” It’s like a fish biting down on bait. Hook, line, and sinker. “Someone from my economics class just asked me out on a date,” He sounds a little bit shy, words coming out more clipped sounding than anything.

Shy just isn’t Hoseok’s colour. They’ve been friends for more than ten years already and the boy has never been shy, but to see him fumbling a little bit like this, cheeks tinted a light pink, Yoongi can’t help but cock his head to the side, thinking that this is a welcome change to the usual Hoseok.

And then he remembers that someone had asked Hoseok out and Yoongi’s mind reels back to the present moment, attention ripped away from Hoseok’s endearingly pink cheeks, and just – oh.

“Okay,” Yoongi is surprised that he even has a voice right now, much less words for Hoseok. “What did you say?”

“I said okay,” Hoseok says, smiling a little bit down at his hands, eyes avoiding Yoongi’s gaze.

That’s new, too, Hoseok shying away from him. Yoongi narrows his eyes at him because he doesn’t exactly like this little change. They’ve always been comfortable around one another and sometimes Yoongi finds himself too comfortable, gaze lingering a little too long on Hoseok, and eyes trained on him when he thinks he’s not looking, but it’s all good, really, because Yoongi will never admit it out loud, not when Hoseok is his best friend and he’d be damned if he loses that  just because he suddenly thinks that his best friend’s laugh isn’t annoying at all but actually sort of, kinda cute.

Yoongi relaxes against the arm of the couch, wishing he hadn’t just turned the movie off because now he hasn’t got anything to distract him from Hoseok.

“Have fun,” Yoongi manages to get out, his tone of voice surprisingly nonchalant – feigned and completely practised.

A glance at the clock behind Yoongi has Hoseok throwing the blanket off of him, legs sliding out from under Yoongi’s to clamber off of the couch. “Wow, I had no idea it was this late,” He says, grabbing for his backpack on the floor. “Sorry for the shit movie, I’ll have to get Namjoon back for this one.”

Yoongi waves him away, a small smile tugging on his lips when Hoseok grins down at him. His smile widens even more as Hoseok presses his hand gently onto his head, fingers brushing through his hair. “Anyway, I’ve got to run. See you tomorrow for lunch, yeah? G’night, Yoongi.”

And then Hoseok’s gone, the door slamming shut behind him. It’s not until Yoongi finally succumbs to how tired he is that he rolls off of the couch, hand clasped tightly on the blanket that trails behind him as he walks into his room.

He’s in bed with the blanket pulled up to his chin when the realisation of Hoseok actually going on a real, true to life date hits him.

Oh, is what Yoongi thinks, quickly followed by a small “ouch” somewhere in the back of his mind.

--

More than ten years of friendship hangs between the two of them and Yoongi is too afraid to fuck it up just because he thinks he might be developing a small, itty bitty tiny crush for Jung Hoseok.

He will not fuck it up, he’s adamant and resolute on that.

“I will not fuck it up,” Yoongi repeats out loud, causing Jimin to jump a little bit from beside him.

“What?” Jimin asks, eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “Were you talking to yourself?”

Yoongi just passes him his iced coffee and takes the lighter the younger boy is offering. “No, I wasn’t,” He says, a little pink in the cheeks because he had just said that out loud – he’d forgotten he was with Jimin. Yoongi ignores Jimin’s pestering and instead lights the cigarette he’d been itching to smoke ever since he’d woken up that morning.

“You said not to fuck up on something,” Jimin murmurs, taking a few steps away from him to give him room.

“Do you mind?” Yoongi asks, flicking the cigarette’s ashes on the opposite side, away from Jimin. “Sorry, I didn’t ask beforehand,”

Jimin just shakes his head, “No, it’s fine. The smoke gives me a headache sometimes, is all.”

Yoongi nods at that, takes another long drag of his cigarette, and exhales it, his eyes close as he listens to Jimin talk about class and the terrible spoiled milk he’d had the misfortune of drinking during breakfast.

He smokes quietly to the side, coffee held loosely in one hand, and his thoughts going a hundred miles a minute as he thinks back on Hoseok’s last minute text cancelling lunch because his date had wanted to meet him for lunch instead of dinner. Yoongi really isn’t in any position of power to have told him otherwise so he’d just replied with a simple “okay” and had been done with it.

Coming to the café is one of the things he finds solace in – it’s quiet and there are hardly any people most of the time. It’s just outside the university and is situated right between two other cafes, so that must explain why there always seems to be a lack of foot traffic, given that there are so many choices for a quick coffee fix to choose from.

He’d bumped into Jimin just outside the café and without even a greeting, Jimin had launched into his story, all bothered and angry at the cafeteria’s apparent disregard for his health.

“But aren’t you lactose intolerant?” Yoongi asks, heel digging into the ground as he puts the cigarette out. “Why were you drinking milk in the first place?”

Jimin laughs like that’s just the funniest question Yoongi’s ever asked him and rolls his eyes, “It’s chocolate milk, hyung. I can’t resist that for the very same reason I always have a tub of ice cream in the fridge – because it’s good.”

Yoongi can’t help but groan at the boy’s complete lack of self-preservation, “You’re making yourself sick on purpose, Jimin,”

“Hey, hey, hyung,” Jimin is tugging at the sleeve of his jacket, fingers gripping loosely around the soft denim, and his eyes focused on a figure from across the street. “Is that Hoseok hyung? Is he on a date?”

He looks to where Jimin is pointing and squints his eyes to get a better view, and – yeah, it’s Hoseok.

Yoongi isn’t surprised that he’s out here for his date, what surprises him is that his best friend is on a date with another boy. A boy.

Yoongi doesn’t know if the lightness in his head subsequently followed by the tightening of his stomach is relief because, apparently, Hoseok is interested in boys, or because Hoseok is interested in some other boy and obviously enjoying his time on his date.

He looks away before Hoseok can spot the two of them and pulls Jimin by the elbow, dragging him back into the café.

“Is something wrong?” Jimin slides into the chair opposite of Yoongi and regards him with calm, if not a little bit curious, eyes.

Yoongi shakes his head, “No.” he says, but his fingers are already twitching for another cigarette.

--

He doesn’t see Hoseok for five days, and it’s not just Hoseok’s fault, either. Yoongi’s been busy with his part time job and with class work piling up, he just really hadn’t the time to call on Hoseok and ask how the date had gone.

Well, if he thinks about it, he could’ve easily shot him a text but he’s not exactly too eager to hear about how amazing the guy was, so he hadn’t, just kept his phone on silent for the rest of the week.

A knock on his door signals company  - company he wasn’t asking for – and he pulls a thin sweater over his head to hide the obnoxious cartoon print on his shirt.

He finds Hoseok on the other side of the door, an uneasy smile on his face and a paper bag in one hand. “Can I come in?”

There isn’t even a need to ask anymore, at this point, but Hoseok is clearly bothered by something and Yoongi is bothered by not having seen his best friend in what felt like months (it’s just been five days, Yoongi) so he nods his head and steps aside to give way for Hoseok.

Hoseok pulls out a small bottle of Jack from the paper bag and plops on Yoongi’s couch, his sigh heavy.

“Was it the date?” Yoongi asks, sitting down beside Hoseok. He can feel the warmth from Hoseok as the boy slumps against him, head on his shoulder and his eyes closed.

“Yeah, kind of,” Hoseok mumbles, uncapping the bottle and lifting it to his mouth. “A cute face doesn’t’ always mean a cute personality,”

That doesn’t sound right, Yoongi thinks, noting the bitterness in Hoseok’s voice.

It’s so out of place and completely ugly – Hoseok’s not supposed to be bitter or resentful because he’s Jung Hoseok and Min Yoongi is his best friend who’d never let anything bad happen to him. Apparently, a bad date is completely out of Yoongi’s control, no matter how much he wants to protect Hoseok.

Yoongi can barely protect his own heart so what can he do with Hoseok’s?

“Come on,” Yoongi mumbles, snatching the bottle away from Hoseok. He brings it up to his mouth, head tipped back slightly as he gulps down a larger amount of liquor than necessary, given they’d only just started. “Learn to share,”

Hoseok cracks a smile from beside him, the boy’s eyes fluttering lazily. “Do you wanna get drunk and skip our morning classes tomorrow?”

There are some things that really shouldn’t be asked, and drinking away the memories of a terrible string of first dates, and skipping all of their classes the next day is one of them.

Yoongi passes Hoseok the bottle back and Hoseok takes it, this time his smile a little bit warmer now, less nervous and more Hoseok.

Good, Yoongi thinks, relief washing over him at the sight of Hoseok smiling.

It’s just a shame that Yoongi can’t drown his feelings for Hoseok – tiny, small feelings that he will never, ever admit out loud.

--

They both slip back into their normal routine, Hoseok snatching him away for lunch and dropping by late at night with coffee and bread whenever Yoongi’s shift runs a little bit late.

Hoseok doesn’t mention his date at all or that it was a guy and Yoongi doesn’t ask, just nurses the small ball of feelings for one Jung Hoseok inside of him, nestled somewhere in the corner of his heart.

It’s not until two weeks after that Hoseok bounds into his apartment, all smiles and voice excited when he tells Yoongi that someone else has asked him out and he’d said yes, because they’re in college and college students are supposed to be able to enjoy the easy, casual feeling that dating brings about.

Yoongi is pouring himself a cup of coffee when Hoseok tells him the apparently good news.

He almost knocks the mug off of the table at the sight of Hoseok, all nervous smiles and fidgety hands, eyes focused on his phone and not looking at Yoongi at all.

--

Okay, so maybe Min Yoongi isn’t just harbouring a small, tiny crush for his best friend. Maybe it’s more of a fluttering of his heart that doesn’t still completely, not until Hoseok looks at him and gives him a smile, a smile that simply shoots sunshine directly into Yoongi’s veins.

Maybe Yoongi is actually really kind of fucking gone for his best friend. He knows that it’s wrong, knows that it’s dangerous, but he can’t help it, not when Hoseok drops by the cafe he works part time at, smile wide and infectious as he lingers on the counter asking Yoongi about his day, if he wants to eat anything after work, or if he’s okay.

It’s really not helping Yoongi at all when Hoseok is being so fucking nice to him all the time, soft touches to his cheek, his fingers brushing through his hair, and their shoulders always bumping.

Hoseok is clearly unaware of the effect he has on Yoongi and Yoongi is successful in his efforts to try and silence the monster inside of him – the greedy little green eyed monster that claws at his insides, claws under his skin, and demands for Hoseok’s attention, who gets a little bit riled up at the news of Hoseok going on another date with a different guy this time, a monster Yoongi is afraid to confront because it sounds eerily like his own voice.

--

Yoongi doesn’t know how many dates Hoseok has gone on but he does know that they’re all with different guys. He also knows that his recent blind date is a misfortune – for Yoongi it’s a total misfortune – brought about by one Kim Taehyung’s suggestion.

So Hoseok is out on a blind date Taehyung had set him up on and Yoongi is at Namjoon’s apartment, trying really hard not to sulk.

It’s hard not to sulk when the only thing on TV is one of Namjoon’s weird foreign films.

“Are you okay?” Namjoon asks, prodding his shoulder. “You look like you’re about to go into a fit,”

Yoongi hasn’t realised it but he’s been sitting with his fists balled in his sides, his phone discarded somewhere after he’d read Hoseok’s text saying how pretty his blind date was.

“Perfectly okay,” Yoongi smiles at him, utterly fake and completely obvious, and Namjoon just sighs.

“I’m not pointing anything out if you’re not saying anything about the matter,” Namjoon tells him pointedly, arms crossed lightly in front of his chest.

“What do you mean by that?” Yoongi shoots back, tone of voice coming out more snapping than anything.

Namjoon just shrugs, “Nothing you’re not telling me, Yoongi.”

And then the conversation ends there, Yoongi turning away from Namjoon’s heavy gaze to force himself to focus on the stupid French movie he doesn’t – and will never, not in the span of the night, anyway – understand.

--

Yoongi finds himself staring at the ceiling of his bedroom, hand stretched high and fingers closing in on air. It almost feels like his feelings for Hoseok.

He blinks suddenly, surprised at his own thoughts. For months now – or has it been years already? – Yoongi had been struggling over just why Hoseok kind of makes his head spin and gives him that clenching feeling in his gut (sort of like butterflies but how is that even possible, honestly?).

Hoseok had dropped by earlier that afternoon, talking and laughing the way he usually does, and Yoongi had listened the whole time the way he always does, and then Hoseok had left, fingers tugging gently at Yoongi’s hair the way he always does before he says goodbye, and Yoongi had laid around staring at nothing the same way he always does after Hoseok leaves the room.

“I’m fucking pathetic,” Yoongi tells himself, voice coming out sharper, sounding a little bit bitter, too.

--

Hoseok doesn’t tell him he’s been going out on dates with guys and Yoongi doesn’t know if it’s a secret that he’s hiding from him, but he brings it up anyway sometime after dinner, the both of them splayed out on the couch again. Yoongi’s knees are drawn close to his chest, his back pressed against the farthest end of the couch – he’d sat as far away as possible from Hoseok.

“How did you know?” Hoseok asks, eyes narrowing at him. The variety show they’d been watching is put on mute and Hoseok turns to him now, an expression on his face Yoongi can’t quite read.

Yoongi shrugs, “I saw you one time,”

The air between them has gone a little bit colder, Hoseok’s expression completely unreadable, but Yoongi can tell that he’s thinking hard on it, probably running every scenario back in his mind, just trying to pinpoint one significant moment where he’d seen Yoongi somewhere during his dates, but he comes out blank, his eyes unsure.

“Does it matter?” Yoongi asks him this time, voice softer, and hand twitching from beside him, wanting to reach for Hoseok, to give him a reassuring pat – anything. But he doesn’t move from his corner, just sets his gaze on Hoseok who shifts, uncomfortable from under it.

“I don’t know,” Hoseok mutters, avoiding Yoongi’s gaze. “I never told you I was – you know, into guys. And I was gonna, Yoongi, I was just sort of preparing myself,”

Right, as if going out on over a dozen dates in the span of two months was enough preparing.

“Everyone else knows, right? Taehyung would know, he set you up the last time, right?” Yoongi can’t help the hurt that drips from his voice, can’t help the slight feeling of betrayal at the thought of all their friends knowing first before him.

It’s not fair – he’s the one who’d grown up with Hoseok, not Taehyung or any of their other friends. Shouldn’t he be the one Hoseok be completely honest with first?

Apparently, their friendship probably isn’t worth all that much when Hoseok can’t even bring himself to be completely honest with him.

Hoseok catches up on his mood, hears the hurt clear in his voice, sees it reflected in his eyes, and he straightens up, hands reaching for Yoongi, his mouth falling into a small “o”.

“Yoongi,” Hoseok whispers, both his hands pulling on one of Yoongi’s. He gives it a tight squeeze and Yoongi tries not to react too much to his heart just skipping a beat. “I didn’t mean it like that. I just thought – I don’t know, really. You’re my best friend, you’ve been my best friend for years and I guess I was more concerned about what you thought of me than everyone else, yeah? So I was uneasy, tried to find the right time to tell you – I didn’t mean for you to find out like this,”

He’s shaking his head, his voice cracking as he spoke, his words completely washing over Yoongi and pulling him under.

It’s not fair for Hoseok to tip him over the edge and pull him right back up just as he’s seconds away from hitting the ground, but maybe life doesn’t have to be fair to make perfect sense.

“You thought I would – what, Hoseok?” There’s a bite in Yoongi’s voice that causes Hoseok to recoil slightly away from him, but he doesn’t drop Yoongi’s hand. “That I’d be disgusted and tell you not to be my friend anymore? What kind of shallow piece of shit do you think I am?”

His words leave more of a sting on Hoseok than he’d wanted but Yoongi can’t help it, not when Hoseok’s looking at him with his eyes wide and slightly reproachful, afraid that any second now Yoongi would be bursting in anger and complete disgust. Yoongi’s angry but he’s far from disgusted.

“I’m sorry,” Hoseok murmurs, more to their joined hands than anything. “Don’t be mad, Yoongi, please.”

And Yoongi can’t be mad at him, not for long, anyway, especially if he’s looking at him like that, all pleading and completely sorry.

Yoongi presses his other hand on top of Hoseok’s and gives it a small squeeze, sighing a little bit when he does. What Yoongi wants to tell him is that it’s okay if he likes boys and that Yoongi’s the last person to judge him, not when his heart is racing, threatening to break free from his rib cage at just the sight of Hoseok, all furrowed brows and anticipation on his face.

They’re so close all Yoongi has to do to kiss him is lean in a little more and then their lips would be pressing. He wonders what it’s like to kiss Hoseok, wonders if all the boys who’ve kissed him realise just how much of a fucking treasure Hoseok is. And then he stops wondering because the ugly monster inside of him is clawing under his skin, threatening to pull him apart at the mere thought of Hoseok kissing someone else. Jealousy is an ugly, terrible thing, and Yoongi is ashamed to admit that it’s exactly what’s eating him up.

Hoseok isn’t looking at him, though, instead, Hoseok’s eyes are focused on his mouth, his teeth worrying on his bottom lip. His breath catches in his throat but then he quickly backtracks and tells himself that it’s impossible – there’s no way Hoseok would want to kiss him, not in a million years, so Yoongi pulls away first from him, hands sliding out of Hoseok’s hold.

There had been a second that had passed where Yoongi was sure that the look on Hoseok’s eyes was one that said he wanted to kiss him, but then it had vanished when Yoongi had blinked and pulled away. It’s simply not possible. Hoseok can kiss all the other guys he wants and not Yoongi because life isn’t fair and things just don’t work out the way you want them to, even if you’re already so desperately in love with your own best friend.

--

Apparently, it’s not just a teeny, tiny crush.

Namjoon regards him with a heavy gaze, mouth pressed into a thin line. He doesn’t say anything, just taps his foot lightly against the ground and watches as Yoongi lights his third cigarette.

Yoongi had given him a cold, seething glare when Namjoon made to open his mouth to point out that he’s chain-smoking again. There are only three reasons for Yoongi to throw all caution to the wind and smoke through his entire pack of cigarettes: One, he’s terribly stressed. Two, it’s the worst of all terrible bad days. And three, because there’s something gnawing inside of him, insistent and demanding his attention.

It’s never been all three reasons at once – that is, until today. Yoongi is extremely stressed, work had been terrible and so the rest of his day is shit, and the ugly little monster inside of him is howling.

“Namjoon, say something,” Yoongi discards his third cigarette and fishes for another one, turning to Namjoon again. “Say something or else I’m going to go crazy,”

“What do you want me to say?” Namjoon asks, voice casual and light. “If you’re looking for Hoseok, then I don’t know, I think he’s out tonight.”

Yoongi doesn’t need to look for Hoseok because he knows exactly where the boy is – having dinner with that same asshole who apparently had a bad personality but still deserved a second chance. That very same asshole Yoongi had seen from where he stood outside of the café, walking down the street with Hoseok.

“Tell me something you already know without me saying anything yet,” Yoongi blows out a thick stream of smoke, his gaze temporarily clouded and hazy.

Namjoon weighs it in for a while, shifting around from where he stood, before he shrugs again, “I told you, I’m not saying anything unless you tell me first. I don’t like jumping to conclusions,”

Yoongi wants to laugh harshly in his face – also, he’s has had one too many shots at a bar prior to meeting Namjoon – but he doesn’t, just sucks on his cigarette again, holding the smoke for as long as he can until it starts to sting.

“What, that Hoseok going on all these fucking dates piss me off?” His voice is sounding desperate, words slurring a little bit. “Tell me I’m a pathetic piece of shit, that I should be happy for my best friend instead of sick to my stomach,”

Maybe this is a conversation better suited for the likes of Jimin or Seokjin, but there’s something about how Namjoon can deliver the truth like a cold, hard, iron strike to his head that has Yoongi straining his ears to hear Namjoon’s words.

“Why?” Is the only thing Namjoon asks him, lips pursed and his eyes no less heavy as they fall on Yoongi.

It’s so unnerving that Yoongi has to look away for a moment, blowing smoke up instead of ahead.

You tell me,” Yoongi snaps, his cigarette slipping from between his teeth and falling to the ground. He kicks it away, his head spinning now.

“Maybe you should tell Hoseok,” Namjoon’s lighting his first cigarette for the night, smoke exhaled out of his nose instead of his mouth. “Or maybe not, I don’t know, Yoongi. You can’t expect me to just hand you the exact words you want to hear, you have to get to that yourself,”

Sometimes Kim Namjoon is annoying and sometimes he’s annoyingly profound.

“What,” Yoongi is on his fifth cigarette and his throat is starting to burn, his hands shaking at how quickly he’s smoking, and his head is so fucking light he feels like he might just start to float away. “What do you want me to say? That I’m jealous, and that it’s so hard not to choke on my own words when I tell him to have fun?”

Yoongi fumbles with the lighter, fingers trembling too much that he can’t even get the lighter to work properly. He gives up, cursing under his breath, and stuffs the cigarette back into the box. He has half a mind to just take the lit cigarette out of Namjoon’s hands, but he knows that that would only lead to another argument.

“If I thought it’d be easy then I would’ve already told him, don’t you think?” Yoongi presses, this time not sounding as angry anymore. He sounds defeated and completely resigned to his fate. “That’s not how it works,”

He feels a heavy and reassuring hand on his shoulder, Namjoon’s fingers giving it a light squeeze. “Yeah, that’s why I said you should talk to Hoseok. You can take your anger out on me but don’t direct it at me, Yoongi. We both know that’s not the problem here,”

Fine, Yoongi thinks, fucking fine.

He’s angry and his thoughts are hazy, fingers trembling so damn much that he can’t even operate the flimsy lighter anymore, and Yoongi wants to see Hoseok.

“I’m leaving,” Yoongi says, grabbing for his coat and his phone. He idles by the door, looks over his shoulder, and says, “Sorry, and thank you, but I think I need to go home now.”

The walk back to his apartment sobers him up but doesn’t prepare him for what’s waiting just outside his front door – Hoseok, sat crossed leg with a scarf hastily wrapped around his neck. When he sees Yoongi, he looks up from inspecting his arms and hastily pulls on the sleeves down, the smile on his face quick when Yoongi stops to stand in front of him.

His smile is so fucking fake that Yoongi could tell even from the other end of the hallway.

Yoongi offers a hand out to Hoseok who grips tightly on to it to pull himself up.

They stare at each other for a while, Yoongi’s gaze heavy and his heart caught in a tight lock. Hoseok looks at him like he’s trying to hide a secret and is afraid that Yoongi’s about to pull the cover on it, and find out just exactly what he’s trying to push under the rug.

Yoongi calls him out on it because it’s been a long day and he really isn’t in the mood to be stalling the conversation.

“What’s wrong?” Yoongi asks, but not in the same tone that he’d talked to Namjoon. His voice comes out softer now, a little bit weak, too. “What are you not telling me?”

Hoseok glances from his arm and then to Yoongi, his face flushed. “Nothing. How are you?”

Yoongi doesn’t buy it at all. His hand grips tightly around Hoseok’s arm to keep him from looking away or taking a few steps back. When his fingers close tightly around his arm, Hoseok winces.

“Hoseok,” Yoongi says his name like it’s a warning. They’ve been friends for more than half of his life and Hoseok has never been good at hiding secrets. Hoseok’s eyes darting to his arm and then back at Yoongi is the only answer he needs. With his breath held, Yoongi pushes on the sleeve of Hoseok’s sweater, his eyes widening the instant he sees the ugly purple mark splashed across his arm.

“What the fuck,” Yoongi can’t even breathe right now because it looks exactly like what he thinks it looks like. It looks like someone had just punched Hoseok. It looks like someone had wrapped their hands so tightly around his arm that it had caused these marks, fingernails denting his skin. “Hoseok.”

Hoseok pulls his arm away and takes a step back from Yoongi, “I’ll tell you everything you want to know but not out here, Yoongi. Just – open the fucking door and I’ll talk.”

Yoongi debates that for a while, wonders if Hoseok would turn tail and run the moment Yoongi turns his attention away, but there’s an earnest, almost scared look in his eyes that tells Yoongi otherwise. Hoseok will stay to talk – will even stay the night, Yoongi’s pretty sure.

So he turns to the door and slides the key inside, hyperaware of how Hoseok’s standing so close beside him. Hyperaware of the bruises running down his arm.

“Tell me everything,” It’s hard to try and pacify your own anger so Yoongi ends up quietly seething as he sits on the other side of the couch, Hoseok plopping down on his end.

One of the hardest things Yoongi has ever done is this: sitting quietly to his side, fingers clenched tight and his nails digging into the inside of his hand, while he listens to Hoseok recount the events of the evening.

“This was the one I told you before, pretty face, bad personality,” Hoseok isn’t meeting his eyes and Yoongi is tempted to tell him to stop avoiding his gaze, but Yoongi had also promised that he’d listen first before jumping into anything, so that’s exactly what he’s doing. “We went out for dinner, yeah? Well, we were supposed to, but then he said he left his wallet at the dorm so we went back to the dorm and I should’ve known something was off about the whole thing – and, god, Yoongi, don’t give me that look.”

Hoseok gives his cheek a light poke, “Don’t give me that look. Anyway, where was I? Yeah, so when we got to the dorm he suggested we just stay in for the night and I shouldn’t have asked him anything else, should’ve just left but – “ This time, Hoseok stops, breath caught in his throat and his words failing him. His hands are shaking slightly now, his face paler than before.

Yoongi acts before he thinks. He scoots over to Hoseok’s side and wraps an arm around his shoulder, pulling him closer against him. He wants to keep them close like this – this is safe and warm, this is familiar and they’re best friends, and Yoongi will always, always be a shoulder Hoseok can lean on. He holds Hoseok quietly, his promise still hanging in the air that he wouldn’t jump to saying anything. Yoongi waits patiently for him to calm down, hand occasionally rubbing up Hoseok’s shoulder in an effort to get him to relax a little bit and stop the trembling of his hands.

It takes a while but Hoseok manages to pull himself together, his expression one that will haunt Yoongi for nights on end – Hoseok looks absolutely terrified, eyes wide and his lower lip trembling. Yoongi wants to leave now to look for the bastard who’d done this to him and it takes a lot of willpower to steel himself back into his false calmness, deep breaths not enough to settle the shaking of his heart and the boiling of his blood.

“When I said no, he got angry and that’s when he started to force me. I only managed to get out when we fell off the bed – there’s gonna be another bruise on my shoulder tomorrow, wait, no, don’t – “ Hoseok presses closer to him, forcing Yoongi’s hand back on his shoulder. “It’s not this, it’s the other one, and I just – I just need you close to me right now, okay?”

Hoseok could ask for the ocean in a bottle and Yoongi would give it to him if he could, so asking him to stay closer and not pull away is a simple task when all Yoongi ever wants is to be close to him, Hoseok’s pull magnetic.

Yoongi meets Hoseok gaze, the boy’s eyes still wide with fear and relief now that he’s safe (Yoongi likes to believe that the relief stems from being around him but Yoongi’s really not one to hold high hopes.).

“I was fucking terrified, Yoongi,” Hoseok whispers, voice low and barely audible. His breath is warm against the side of Yoongi’s cheek, Hoseok’s face flushed and his hair a mess, now that Yoongi notices it. He pushes on the sleeve of Hoseok’s sweater again, fingers trailing softly over the bruises, the ugly marks of someone putting their ugly hands on Hoseok, and Yoongi gets even angrier because you’re only supposed to touch Hoseok with care, not with violent hands and knuckles digging into flesh.

Not like this, Hoseok isn’t supposed to be like this.

Yoongi has Hoseok in a hug now, the two of them pressed so close on that couch that they could fall off the edge of the earth and they still wouldn’t fall separately – together, together, together, a voice in Yoongi’s head whispers.

“You’re fine now, Hoseok, you’re safe,” Yoongi whispers into his hair, arms gingerly wrapped around his shoulders, a little bit cautious at the mention of there being more than just the bruises on his arm. “It’s okay, I’m here, you’re okay, right?”

Hoseok’s response is a little sniffle, face buried in the crook of Yoongi’s neck and arms locking tightly around his waist. Yoongi can feel the dampness of Hoseok’s cheek, his heart hurting a little bit more at the realisation that he’s crying.

“Yeah, I’m okay now,” Hoseok murmurs, lips barely grazing over Yoongi’s neck, and Yoongi feels absolutely sick at the thought of kissing Hoseok right now – the last thing he needs is for Yoongi to suddenly turn on him and confess, god, no, Yoongi could never do that to Hoseok, not when he’s at his lowest right now, clinging onto Yoongi for support.

So Yoongi does what he’s good at – he keeps the two of them together and tries his hardest to not fall apart as Hoseok picks up all the pieces he’d dropped along the way to Yoongi’s apartment. They spend the rest of the night like that, locked in an embrace that feels oddly more intimate than any kiss or actually sleeping together could.

They fall asleep on the couch, shoulders touching and arms wound around each other, and they wake up with their legs tangled, necks a little bit soar from having slept at such an odd angle (and Hoseok wakes up with more bruises that he tries to hide from Yoongi with a smile and an offer to make them breakfast).

Watching Hoseok busy himself in the kitchen, Yoongi rubs a hand idly at his neck and thinks that it’s been a while since he’s slept that well. When Hoseok looks over his shoulder to ask if there’s milk, instead of giving him an actual answer, Yoongi just smiles at him, soft and tentative.

Hoseok’s responding smile is so beautiful it makes Yoongi’s heart stutter.

--

After that one incident, Yoongi is even more observant over Hoseok, quickly picking up on any shift in the mood between them, and Hoseok assures him that it’s okay – the bruises are mostly gone now and that they’d fade completely in a couple more days.

Hoseok hasn’t gone out with anybody else and a little part of Yoongi is relieved. Hoseok doesn’t need to date a string of men who’re obviously after something else besides his heart and Yoongi would rather not end up fighting with all of them – he definitely would if the need arise, though.

The two of them have taken to grabbing dinner again, this time eating out instead of just closing themselves off in Yoongi’s apartment. Hoseok, to Yoongi’s surprise, pays for the meal (“It’s okay, this is my thanks, Yoongi.”).

Hoseok has paid for two of their dinners already that by the third night, Yoongi grabs for the cheque first before Hoseok can even look up from his plate.

“Shut up, this place isn’t cheap,” Yoongi tells him, eyes rolling.

“We could split,” Hoseok suggests, his smile gummy enough that Yoongi can’t help but return it, grinning at him from across the table.

“No, you paid the first two times, let me do this.” Hoseok sinks back into his chair with a small nod, finally giving in.

Yoongi definitely doesn’t think about their little dinner outings – it’s just another way to spend time with Hoseok and nothing’s changed between them, not really. They both talk like they always have, their laughter still rings across the room, and Yoongi is still Yoongi (albeit more than a little bit in love with Hoseok), and Hoseok is still Hoseok (loud laughter and bright smiles, “happy” written in cursive in the way he looks at Yoongi.).

They’re walking down the street, arms linked together, and Yoongi has to keep reminding himself that it’s friendly, they’re best friends, this is normal, and not out of their ordinary, at all. Even their friends have gotten used to it. Nights spent drinking at Seokjin’s place would leave Yoongi and Hoseok huddled together to the side, heads pulled close and hands all over each other – it’s comforting, Hoseok had once told Jeongguk when the younger boy had asked just why they needed to be so close sometimes.

It’s comforting, Yoongi thinks now, having Hoseok beside him, bright, beautiful Hoseok with eyes that twinkle like the stars, and a laugh that can call all the birds back home.

They bump into Namjoon and Seokjin just outside the café Yoongi works at, and Namjoon looks at their closeness, eyes darting from him to Hoseok, and smirks, “Finally,”

Immediately, Yoongi’s cheeks heat up and he glares at Namjoon, who raises both his hands up in a show of surrender.

Seokjin laughs a little bit, “Are you guys on a date?”

Beside him, Hoseok coughs and when Yoongi looks at him, he sees that his face is flushed as well, ears pink.

Hoseok plays it off with a laugh that sounds more nervous than anything, and Yoongi glares at their two friends.

If this was a date then he would know – Hoseok would ask him, or he’d ask Hoseok –

And this really is a fucking date. They’ve had dinner at a rather posh restaurant and spent the rest of the night just walking around, talking and laughing, arms linked and their steps falling perfectly in sync with each other.

This is a date, Yoongi thinks, because Hoseok is never the type to be lost for words.

This is a date, Yoongi repeats (a little bit giddy now), when he feels Hoseok’s hand slide from his elbow then down to his wrist, fingers hovering over his.

This is a fucking date – they’ve gone out on three dates now – Yoongi doesn’t even think anymore because Hoseok is clearly trying to hold his hand and Yoongi would rather journey through the depths of hell than pass out on an opportunity to hold Hoseok’s hand.

He laces their fingers together and it’s not a perfect fit, because Hoseok’s hand is wider than his, his fingers longer, but it feels absolutely perfect for Yoongi.

The smirk on Namjoon’s face is replaced with a grin as he snickers at the two of them, “Finally,” He repeats, elbowing Seokjin who quickly gets the message and nods.

“Well, we should be going, too,” Seokjin says, smiling at them. “Let’s go out for drinks on Saturday, it’s been a while,”

Hoseok gives his hand a little squeeze and Yoongi nods goodbye at their friends.

“This is a date,” Hoseok says, his voice coming out a little bit breathless.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Yoongi asks, tugging on his hand.

Hoseok just smiles sheepishly at him, “I didn’t know how to ask, so I thought,”

“That if we went out enough then I’d get the memo eventually,” And Yoongi can’t help but laugh as he looks up at Hoseok, his smile utterly beautiful now, and his face so close that Yoongi could kiss him if he just tilts his head up ever so slightly.

It’s Hoseok who bridges the gap between them, one hand resting comfortably on Yoongi’s hip as his lips pressed against Yoongi’s for a quick kiss that leaves Yoongi with a racing heart and a light head.

Yoongi doesn’t give Hoseok much of a chance to say anything else because he’s pulling on the collar of his shirt and tugging him back down into a kiss, the kiss this time lasting much longer, tongues exploring uncharted territory, and teeth nibbling on lower lips.

They kiss, and kiss, and Yoongi doesn’t let go of Hoseok’s hand at all, not even when they finally stumble into bed, a little bit breathless, and their faces flushed.

Yoongi falls asleep with Hoseok playing with his hair, lips pressed lightly to the base of his throat, and their hands held between them.

--

Yoongi doesn’t tell Hoseok he’s been desperately in love with him for what feels like years now and Hoseok doesn’t tell Yoongi that the only reason he’d gone out on all those dates was so he could try to flush Yoongi out of his system.

They don’t admit to the almost crippling type of fear that held the two of them apart, because they know – they’ve felt it as strongly as they felt for each other and they’ve waited with bated breaths for this one exact moment.

Hoseok doesn’t tell Yoongi that when he’d kissed all those boys, the only one he saw in his mind’s eye was Yoongi, and Yoongi doesn’t tell Hoseok he loves him after that third date, either, just because.

The first time Yoongi voices it out is when Hoseok surprises him at work with a bagged lunch and a kiss pressed to every inch of his face.

“Stop smothering me,” Yoongi doesn’t pull away, though, if anything, he leans even closer to Hoseok who grabs his face with both of his hands and kisses the tip of his nose, both of his cheeks, and then the corner of his mouth, laughing a little bit when Yoongi rolls his eyes at the nauseatingly sweet gesture (no, he doesn’t mind it at all, Hoseok could kiss him every minute and Yoongi would be the happiest man alive).

“I get it, yeah, thanks, I love you,” Yoongi finally says, laughing a little bit when Hoseok kisses his forehead.

He realises what he’d just said because Hoseok is staring at him with wide eyes and a grin spreading across his face. “No, don’t take it back – I heard you,” He thumbs at Yoongi’s cheek, this time less playful and more tender. “Thanks,”

Yoongi shoots him a glare and almost bites down on a finger that strays too close to his mouth.

Hoseok kisses him again, his fingers cupping either side of his cheeks gently, and their lips sliding together in a way that Yoongi could only describe as perfect. When they pull apart, Hoseok reaches up to card his fingers through his hair, the smile on his face radiant and blinding when he says, “I love you, too.”

Yoongi doesn’t even try to hide the grin on his face anymore or the way his cheeks have suddenly turned pink, instead, he just knocks their foreheads gently together, and says, hands patting Hoseok’s chest lightly, “Great, thanks, now leave because I have a job to do.”

He gets a light pinch to his cheek at that but Hoseok finally pulls away, his grin just as wide and his eyes crinkling in the way it does when he smiles.

Yoongi can look at Hoseok forever and his heart would be happy.

Slipping back under the counter and making his way back to the register, he watches as Hoseok plops himself down on a table by the window, winking at Yoongi when he catches him staring.

Yoongi thinks that falling in love with your best friend isn't so bad - he's got a feeling Hoseok thinks so, too.