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Flames just create us (burns don't heal like before)

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  “I look at you and see all the ways a soul can bruise, and I wish

I could sink my hands into your flesh and light lanterns along your spine

So you know that there’s nothing but light when I see you.”

- Shinji Moon

--

I.

It starts with a marriage meeting disguised as an arranged date his parents have set him up on. It doesn’t go well not because the woman is ugly, or that her family apparently isn’t worth as much as the Jung Corporation had thought it did, but because Hoseok simply doesn’t want to marry a woman.

He makes civil conversation with her the whole time during dinner, asks her about things that are easily divulged to a near stranger, and in the back of his mind he wonders if a marriage between the two of them is what she wants or what her parents want her to want. He’s been taught manners at a terribly young age so he knows not to bring it up, doesn’t want to cause her any more unnecessary shame and embarrassment that’ll sure to have her flinging her drink at him by the end of the night.

Very kindly, Hoseok tells her that while she is indeed beautiful, he has no interest in her.

The look on her face isn’t crestfallen or sad, it’s absolutely insulted. Her lips pull back and her eyes turn sharp, “What did you just say?” The demure, soft spoken act she had slipped into the whole night is gone, and here is an enraged woman sat across him, a butter knife so easily in her reach.

“I’m sorry. I’ll tell my parents to take care of the matter regarding your family, but I hope you will not be expecting a second meeting,” Hoseok continues, unbelievably calm. He’s been trained since day one to project calmness, push at all the unnecessary feelings and emotion that will hinder and cloud his judgement, his path only towards the highest position one could accomplish in any company.

She looks scandalised and Hoseok notices that her red lipstick is peculiarly similar to the colour of blood.

Contrary to what he had believed, the woman is the farthest thing from shy and the closest thing to angry.

“Why?” She asks, hand dropping back on the table. “Our families want this union,”

Hoseok brings the glass of wine to his lips and takes a longer sip than what’s proper in the situation, and tells her, point blank, “I have never once imagined myself lying on the same bed with a woman,”

It doesn’t come as a surprise when she throws the contents of her glass at him before she storms off, leaving Hoseok in a mess of red wine and a few dozen stares or so.

--

II.

“Why?” His mother repeats, white in the face. He notes how much older she looks like this, angry and restraining herself from wanting to strangle their one and only son. “What is wrong with you?”

They’re in his father’s study and his mother rounds on him, completely taking advantage of the fact that no servants, no prying eyes and unwanted ears are anywhere near them to witness such an embarrassing display so different from the close, tight-knit family image they had always promoted to the public.

“I told her I didn’t want to see her again,” Hoseok says easily, shrugging. All pretences are dropped and he doesn’t even try to put on an act, not in front of his mother. She knows and believes him as problematic so he doesn’t find it in him anymore  to try and change her mind, especially when she’s right in the first place.

“Why would you tell her that?” She hisses, high pitched voice going incredibly shrill. “What the hell were you thinking?”

Hoseok leans against the couch and crosses his legs, taking on a rather nonchalant stance, the complete opposite of how livid his mother has become. “Because,” He starts, letting the word drop. “I’m not interested in women,”

If it were any more possible for his mother to turn any paler then she would’ve already, “What do you mean you aren’t interested in women?” She gestures towards him, the many expensive rings she wore on her fingers glinting as they catch the light, “You are a man, all men are interested in women.”  

Hoseok wants to laugh but knows that it would probably lead to a whole bottle of wine dumped on his head, so he holds back.

“Are you worried that you do not love her? That you will not love her?” She’s pacing the room, heels clicking against the floor. “It does not matter, Hoseok. Great families like ours have to be survived through a powerful marriage; that is how it works. Your father and I, it’s the exact same story,”

He snorts, “Glad to know you two have the best love story there is,”

From the other side of the room, his father lets out a sigh before he completely extinguishes the cigarette he’d been smoking. “What your mother means, Hoseok, is that you’ll learn how to love each other during the marriage,”

That’s fucked up, Hoseok thinks.

He says it out loud after a second, too, and earns a scandalised gasp from his mother and a groan from his father.

Finally, because the walls are starting to close in on him and his vision is starting to get dangerously red, he gets up from the couch and turns to the two of them, “I’m not interested in women so you can’t expect me to marry her,”

“Fine,” His mother hisses out, “We don’t need you to love her, just produce another heir,”

“I’m only twenty three and I don’t want children right now,”

“And you will not be married tomorrow, either. Years from now you will marry and then you will produce a child because of that marriage, do you understand?” His father is completely silent from the other side of the room while his mother lashed at him, all sharp tongue and disgust underlying her words.

“Mom,” The use of the more casual word gets her attention and she stops her pacing to look at him. “I’m gay, I don’t want to fuck a woman.”

His father lights another cigarette in the back of the room and his mother shrieks.

--

III.

A few days have passed and every moment she gets, his mother confronts him, asking if he really knows what gay means.

Hoseok bites down the urge to throw up at her feet and tells her very patiently that he is and that, for the millionth time, he’s not interested in dating, marrying, or producing a child with a woman.

“How would you know that if you’ve never – “ She chokes on her words as she catches the glint in Hoseok’s eyes. “Hoseok,”

And he tells her about that older boy they’d hired to tutor him back when he was in high school, tells her that he’d kissed him right in his study room, tells her that they paid expensive money just for some boy to teach their son how to kiss other boys.

His mother screams at him and throws the nearest thing she has purchase to – an expensive small vase comes flying over his head and crashes against the wall.

A maid immediately walks into the room, eyes wide and hand covering her open mouth.

“Get out!” The maid scampers off as quickly as she’d come into the room at the order and again Hoseok is alone with his mother who’s starting to look like bloody murder.

“Tell me that’s a lie,” Her voice drops dangerously low as she walks over to him, “Tell me, Hoseok, or else I will sue that man for all he’s worth and drag his name into the gutter,”

Hoseok might have been a problem child but he’s never been lashed out like this, and he’s starting to feel slightly afraid. His mother is a force to be reckoned with, a figure in their society that can make men turn away from their wives and women whisper in jealousy behind her.

His mother demands for his answer, says his name like it’s the world’s biggest mistake, and Hoseok looks at her for the first time with fear in his eyes and shaking hands.

He tells her that it isn’t true.

--

IV.

Hoseok has just managed to pull off his most elaborate escape plan ever – and this time it didn’t involve flinging himself out of a running car, well, except that it sort of almost could’ve went on that route if not for Hoseok distracting the driver his mom had given strict orders to get Hoseok straight from the office and then home.

An hour and forty minutes, eight stops, and one subway ride later, Hoseok finds himself in a neighbourhood he’s never been to before.

A street sign to his right tells him that he’s still in Seoul but in a district completely foreign to him. He starts to walk and ignores the uneasiness that settles just behind him when he realises that he’s never been anywhere far from home without one of the family’s assistants or secretaries accompanying him.

“I’m an adult,” Hoseok murmurs to himself, trying to pull at that iron confidence he’s always bragged about.

It’s almost ten when he finally finds a brightly lit street, relief instantly washing over him. A sign for what could only be a bar catches his attention and he immediately makes his way inside, realising too late that he hasn’t changed out of his clothes.

Crisp tailored suit and an expensive watch are apparently two things that don’t belong to a drinking pub that houses mostly college students and adults who look like they don’t quite have their lives together just yet. Well, now that he thinks of it, he might just fit in with the second group.

The pub is a small one and nothing flashy, the complete opposite of the usual lush and expensive bars that he’s frequented with friends. It’s a place his mother would have thrown a fit over if she found out he’d even stepped a foot inside.

But Hoseok will pretend that he isn’t Jung Hoseok, heir of JungCo. Heavy Industries, the country’s leading shipbuilding company (and 3rd largest shipbuilding company in the world, but Hoseok really doesn’t like getting into semantics, it’s all such a pain in the ass.). He will pretend and ignore – forget, even, if only for the night – that he is Jung Hoseok, only son and heir to his family.

What he can’t pretend to ignore is the stares he gets when he walks into the pub, curious glances at the young man with a watch that looks like it could pay off their rent for a year.

Hoseok stands out like a rose in a field of dandelions.

With quick footsteps, he heads over to the bar and finds a boy that looks like he’s no older than twenty behind the counter, a dark look in his eyes the moment Hoseok draws closer.

“Give me your strongest scotch,” Hoseok says, taking a seat on one of the bar stools.

The boy looks at him with an eyebrow raised and a fairly guarded expression on his face. He doesn’t look like a very friendly bartender but Hoseok didn’t come into this pub for friends.

“Just fuck me up,” He says, waving all suspicion away from him. “I can pay,”

At the mention of money, the boy snorts and turns away from him.

The boy comes back a little while later with his drink, the same look in his eyes. Hoseok can read it, knows exactly what he’s trying to say even without the words, You don’t belong here.

Hoseok takes his first shot of scotch and drinks it straight up, tips it into his mouth without a single drop left when he sets it back down.

“Another one,” Hoseok says, pushing the glass forward. The patrons sat on either side of him are glancing at him, talking to each other in hushed tones.

He’s heard worse from his own mother, faceless, nameless people in this crowd will not faze him, not at all.

It’s been five minutes and the bartender hasn’t come back yet and Hoseok’s just about to complain when he sees another boy, a little bit older than the first, slip out of the kitchen door and make his way behind the bar, fixing the buttons on his shirt as he walks.

He’s instantly greeted with a bright smile and eyes that seem to twinkle under the dim lights of the pub.

“Hey, you good with your drink?” He asks Hoseok, voice light and casual.

“The other guy went to refill my drink but he hasn’t come back,” Hoseok provides, willing his eyes to stop with the staring, it’s just weird.

The bartender laughs, “Jeongguk probably forgot to do the final orders before he took his break. I can take over now, though. What will you be having?”

Hoseok thinks that this is what a bartender should be, not all glaring eyes and sullen looks towards him. He instantly warms up to the other boy and smiles when he repeats the order.

“Just fuck you up, huh?” The bartender echoes, a smirk on his face. “Don’t blame me tomorrow morning,”

And Hoseok laughs with a small shake of his head, and he might have only just arrived ten minutes ago but he thinks this bartender might be his favourite one. His choices might not be so varied but it’s something, at least.

Now that he looks at him, Hoseok can’t help but think of how soft and delicate he looks with bright bleached hair that frames his face just right and sharp cheekbones. In contrast to the first bartender, this one seems lighter, in a sense.

Hoseok’s on his fifth glass when the pub starts to slow down. There aren’t much people left and Hoseok still hasn’t gotten his fill. When he pushes for a sixth drink, the bartender hovers in front of him, fingers pushing his glass towards his hand.

“Rough day?” He asks, voice not quite matching the almost ethereal look on his face but Hoseok finds that it doesn’t matter, he’s kinda gorgeous, anyway.

“You’ve no idea,” Hoseok groans, fingers going around the wide glass.

It’s when he’s on his eight drink that he realises that the pub is nearly empty, the first bartender from earlier eating a very late dinner in a cubicle just off to the side.

He contemplates on his drink, thinks that this might not have been such a good idea but quickly remembers that an arranged marriage isn’t a grand idea, either, so he brings the glass to his lips and takes a long sip, the liquor burning as it makes its way down his throat.

The bartender, all bleached hair and soft, soft face, looks over at him and smirks, an all too knowing look on his face when he comes up and says, “You look like you’re lost,”

Hoseok is surprised at the brashness and his straightforwardness but his mind’s starting to go murky already, his head light. “What do you mean?”

The other boy doesn’t look as soft as when Hoseok had first laid eyes on him. His eyes are sharper now, an intense colour of brown that Hoseok finds is rather nice, if he’s being a honest. And startling, too.

“You look a little out of place, is what I was trying to say,” And he’s not smiling anymore, an almost mischievous glint in his eyes as he leans on the counter, face close to Hoseok’s. “You look like a lost lamb,”

When he laughs, it’s nothing like Hoseok thought it would sound like. The bartender had looked so soft, so gentle – fuck, he’d looked delicate – but his laughter sends chills up his arms and Hoseok finds it hard to believe how someone could turn on him so quick.

“What are you doing here, little lamb?” His hand is warm on top of Hoseok’s when he wraps his fingers around the glass of scotch. He looks at Hoseok through his eyelashes and Hoseok finds that the hardest challenge for the night won’t be getting home, it’ll be tearing his gaze away from the beautiful boy on the other side of the counter.

It will be noted as one of his greatest feats when he successfully breaks eye contact with the boy and pulls his hand out from under his.

A strange feeling has settled in his gut. It’s unknown and unlike any he’s ever felt before.

The way the light hits the boy’s hair and bounces off him, it almost makes him look cruel. He stands just behind the counter, fingers still gripping the half-empty glass of scotch, a smirk on his face, and a challenge in his eyes.

And then the blonde darts a tongue out of his mouth, swipes it across his bottom lip in an utterly dangerous way that suddenly makes Hoseok feel even hotter, this time not an after effect of all the alcohol he’d consumed. He realises too late that some appearances are completely misleading because the pretty blonde bartender isn’t a soft, gentle little sheep, no, he’s the fucking wolf.

He ends up knocking the stool over when he gets up too fast, hand already slapping down a stack of cash he thinks is more than enough to cover the cost for the night. Hoseok doesn’t even say goodbye or anything, just stares at the blonde for a long, searing moment, before he turns away, heart hammering against his chest.

Behind him, he hears faint laughter.

Hoseok feels like he’s just become a complete joke.

--

V.

Hoseok wakes up to a room that isn’t his own.

A quick glance around the room tells him that he’s fine, he’s safe, this isn’t some stranger’s room, just his best friend’s.

He’s got a headache and an empty stomach as well as a sour, bitter taste in his mouth. Hoseok feels like death if death had a hangover. He makes his way out of the room, dragging the blanket behind him.

“Wow, look at you,” Namjoon whistles from the kitchen, bread in one hand and a knife in the other. He points the knife at Hoseok and chuckles. “You look wrecked,”

He remembers his exact words to the bartender – “Just fuck me up,”, and then he remembers the second bartender’s voice when he’d said, “Don’t blame me tomorrow morning,” and, god, Hoseok still can’t believe he’d thought he was nice, a stretch of the word, but yes, nice.

He’d laughed so nicely, so softly, and looked at him with shining eyes, and even asked if he’d had a rough day.

Isn’t that exactly how monsters lure in their prey, though? But nobody had a smile quite like the blonde’s, nobody had eyes that twinkled just like his, and it’s just – Hoseok just feels betrayed. Not by the alcohol, but by his own judgement.

“I feel dead, please don’t talk,” Hoseok says instead, hand raised in a gesture to shut Namjoon up. “I need coffee, Namjoon. Go get me coffee,”

Namjoon huffs from his place over the counter and almost throws the bread at him but notices the dark circles under Hoseok’s eyes and the faint look on his face, and decides against it.

While he’s making coffee, Namjoon asks, “What were you even doing there? I got the call at around two in the morning. I found you near a fucking alley, Hoseok. It looked pretty sketchy,”

Hoseok slumps on the table, face buried in his hands. “I’m sorry, I had nobody else to call,”

Namjoon informs him that he’s got a fleet of other people to call, people who are probably going crazy right now just wondering where he was or even if he’d been alive, or kidnapped for ransom.

“Did my mom call you?”

He receives a raised eyebrow and a shrug, “Yeah, ‘course she did. Early in the morning, too. Sounded real nice, as well.”

Namjoon laughs and it only amplifies Hoseok’s headache.

“What did you say?”

A cup of coffee is set in front of him and Namjoon slides into the chair opposite him, back to buttering his bread. “I said I hadn’t seen you since the other day. I could’ve sold you for ransom, but I’m actually a good friend – the kind of friend who picks your ass up in some dark alley, hoping you weren’t already dead when I got there,”

Hoseok holds the cup in both of his hands, lets the warmth from the coffee seep into his hands. He looks at Namjoon and gives him a grin, or whatever he could muster given his current situation. “Do you want a gold medal?”

Namjoon flicks butter at him and Hoseok laughs, stomach hurting from the sudden action.

Okay, so maybe he should be avoiding quick and sudden movements today.

“Really, thanks for the save,” He raises the cup of coffee in Namjoon’s direction, waits for the other boy to bump it lightly with his piece of bread, and then takes a sip of it, relishes in the warmth and bitter aftertaste.

Hoseok definitely doesn’t think about the bartender with the bleach blonde hair and cold smirk, he’s sure it’ll only add to his headache.

--

VI.

Namjoon drops him off just a little ways away from the compound because Hoseok doesn’t want to drag him into the trouble of having to answer to his mom given that he’d lied to her just this morning.

Hoseok wishes he was going home to his apartment, the one a little bit farther from his family, practically the only place he could seek for peace and quiet, but his phone’s been blowing up ever since his mother had found out that he’s apparently alive and Hoseok’s been trying to avoid the confrontation – it’s past three in the afternoon already and he can’t avoid it any longer.

His mother sits in the receiving room, hair spilling on her shoulders and face looking bare of makeup. She looks younger when she isn’t trying to put up walls around herself. She looks up from her tea and at the sight of Hoseok, puts it back down on the table.

She gestures for him to take a seat and Hoseok feels his heart race, wonders if this is exactly what they called the calm before the storm.

“Where have you been?” Her voice is oddly quiet, devoid of any emotion. She sounds detached.

“I was at my apartment,” Hoseok lies smoothly though he doesn’t look her directly in the eyes.

“Don’t lie to me, Hoseok. I had somebody check your apartment when your driver called to say you’d run away,” She counters rather calmly.

Her voice starts to send chills down his spine, the look in her eyes calculating and measured, like she’s ready to pounce any time.

Hoseok shrugs, avoid thinking about the pub from last night and the flashing, almost feral smirk from the blonde, and tells his mother, “I went out for a few drinks,”

His mother pushes an empty glass towards him and pulls out a bottle of whiskey from beside her. She pours the contents into her tea cup – what Hoseok had thought was tea was actually liquor – and then slides it down the length of the table to him. “Have some,”

The smell of the alcohol makes him want to vomit, but he takes the bottle, wraps his fingers around it, and pours a little into his glass. “What’s the occasion?”

There is a glint in her eyes that Hoseok will never forget for it had made him feel cold and crippled.

She looks at him and smiles, an empty, cold smile that absolutely scares him, “I managed to remedy the situation with the daughter from the Baek family,”

Hoseok hasn’t recovered from his hangover yet but he supposes that with the way his mother’s practically breathing down his neck and how his life is literally out of his control, it’s not too late to start a lifestyle mainly supplemented by alcohol and cheese.

--

VII.

His mother is all sharp bones, angles, and cold stares in the privacy of their home. Outside, she is a smiling, kind, and beautiful figure in society who shows that she cares about her family, all innocent doe eyes and smiles that seem to smooth over the sharpness of her cheeks and the cruelty in her eyes.

His father is quiet but has taken the reigns for over thirty years now. He is a figure in society that people admire and fear but not in the same way they do with his mother. He’s respectable, true to his work and his ethics, the only problem is that he hasn’t quite grasped the meaning of “family”.

Hoseok is the son, all gangly limbs and problematic since birth. Whenever he smiles too bright, too wide, his mother will tell him to tone it down. Whenever he comes to his father for support, he’ll only be told that he can find a way through it, he is a son of the Jung family, after all. Hoseok hasn’t built a life for himself, no, they did that for him, but it’s not exactly a person they’ve managed to construct, just a shell. Hoseok is inside, slowly biding his time. He has broken out already but has only been shoved back inside.

He is in no way even near the sense an “ideal son” and if he thought his mother had a heart then he would’ve broken it already.

To the public, he is the only son to JungCo. who constantly visits all the new bars and clubs, gets invited to the most lavish parties, and knows all the most important people. He is only a twenty three year old who’s never actually lived much of his life on his own.

Hoseok is by no means quiet or sharp, so unlike his parents. He is self-destructive, though, the complete opposite of his mother’s never ending desire to crush, destroy, and just snatch. But he can still smile at himself in the mirror and even if he does think that happiness might be found in the bottom of the bottle, he’s not exactly wrong.

Hoseok doesn’t know what “family” means, either.

--

VIII.

Some days, Hoseok feels like he doesn’t know himself at all.

Some days, it’s like he’s going through life in a trance.

Some days, he feels like he’s a nobody – and on those days, Hoseok almost, always has the time of his life.

It’s eight in the evening when he stumbles into the same sidewalk he’d found himself in a week ago. He should be at a company dinner their family’s hosting at their house, but he’s not, he’s here, instead, and Hoseok feels more at ease walking in a dark sidewalk than being in a house that’s supposedly his home – it’s not, it’s just a really big compound with more servants than necessary, and parents who like to pretend that they have the golden son.

The pub is quiet, just a few people milling around. He immediately catches the eye of the younger bartender – Jeongguk, the blonde one had mentioned – and quickly makes his way to the bar.

Jeongguk gives him a once over and a raised eyebrow, “Wow, you’re back,”

Hoseok tells him to give him anything, whatever is their strongest, he’ll take it. He’ll have the whole bottle.

Jeongguk comes back with a bottle of vodka, “Is this good enough for you?”

And he’s looking at Hoseok the same way he’d looked at him the week before, like he thinks that Hoseok doesn’t belong. This is a low-run pub, they don’t serve drinks as expensive as somebody’s college tuition. They cater to broke college students and adults who have nothing better to do than drink their life away.

Hoseok wraps his fingers around the bottle and takes a swig of it, lets the alcohol leave a burning trail down his threat. He forces himself not to retch or choke, and finally, with one last gulp, he puts it down. There is a wildfire in his throat and Hoseok welcomes it.

“Well, somebody’s not having a good day,” The voice is teasing, a snicker quickly following his words. The blonde bartender steps beside Jeongguk and gives Hoseok a look that makes the hairs on the back of his hand stand. “Hello, little lamb,”

He drowns out the face and the voice by taking another swig of his drink. So what if he’s drinking it by the bottle – things are just really bad right now so nobody should be judging his lifestyle choices.

It’s hard to ignore someone as gorgeous as him but Hoseok reminds himself that he’s only a wolf in sheep’s clothing, possibly out for blood. It doesn’t make the alcohol sting any less, though.

“So, what are you doing here?” Jeongguk asks him sometime after the large group of girls who’d mainly contributed to the noise finally left. He looks tired and young, but less like he just hated Hoseok’s guts for no reason. “You look like you can get mugged the second you step out of here,”

Hoseok raises a glass to him, takes a long sip from it, and says, a rather easy smile on his face, “I’m running away,”

Jeongguk blinks, fingers almost losing hold on the large glass he was holding.

After that confrontation, Jeongguk doesn’t throw him as many sharp glances anymore. Hoseok even thinks that he might’ve smiled right before he ducked into the supply room.

“What are you running away from?” A glass of orange juice is pushed in front of him, cold fingers resting on top of his as the blonde pried the glass of vodka out of his hold. “Little boys need nutrients, too,”

And, god, Hoseok swears he’s trying really hard to not stare at the blonde but it’s almost impossible when he licks his lips like that and bats his eyelashes, all soft and pretty.

“This is literally the most disgusting combination I’ve ever had,” Hoseok grimaces, almost knocking back the glass of orange juice in his haste to wipe at his mouth. It tastes disgusting after half a bottle of vodka. “You’re a terrible bartender,”

The blonde laughs, “Hey, at least that one’s on the house.”

Hoseok drinks the orange juice, however disgusting it might taste, just to spite the blonde. Jeongguk looks over at him with a disgusted look on his face, eyebrows furrowed. “Why do you hate yourself?”

Ah, good question.

“Because I can’t run away,” He answers truthfully. He’s at a pub in a seedy part of the city and there’s a chance he might end up getting mugged but Hoseok finds that he’s having fun. It’s odd but he welcomes it.

Jeongguk snorts out a laugh and throws him an amused look over his shoulder, “You’re funny. I hope you find your way home safe,” It’s smooth, easy conversation but Hoseok hears the warning under his words – this isn’t a neighbourhood the likes of Hoseok has control on. This is a neighbourhood that preys on people like Hoseok.

He thinks, rather bitterly, that they can just take it.

Beside him, he feels another person slide on the empty bar stool. Leaning forward with elbows propped on the bar and looking at Hoseok is the blonde bartender, “What are you running away from?”

Suddenly, Hoseok’s face is far too close with the blonde’s and it’s unnerving because he’s absolutely beautiful, his lips curving into the perfect smile, knowing so well just how to play around with him. Hoseok can’t even look away, not when he can feel the blonde’s breath ghosting just over his face, eyes lazy yet oh so sharp locked to his own.

“Tell me,” He whispers, lips brushing dangerously on his cheek when he leans in too close.

--

VIX.

It’s impossible to put into words how he’s trying to run away from himself, so instead of running away, Hoseok just stops and allows himself to be lost.

The wall is cold against his back and the night bites harshly into his skin but the boy is against him, all warm hands and flashing smile in the dim alley behind the pub.

“What’s your – “ Hoseok pauses, feels the boy’s hands tugging at the hem of his pants and, god, could it be the alcohol or the beautiful boy threatening to unravel him at the seams that makes him feel so out of it tonight? “ – name?” He finally breathes out, fingers grabbing at the boy’s hips.

A knee is slipped between his legs and he’s being pushed farther against the wall, hands creeping just under his dress shirt to press at his stomach, a playful smile on his face, “Yoongi,”

He thinks of how beautiful the name is, how it matches the pretty little face on the boy but then he feels teeth biting down on his lower lip and all thoughts of pretty and gentle are erased completely from his mind.

Yoongi pulls on his tie, a smirk on his face and a glazed look over his eyes. He gives it a little tug, his other hand coming to settle on his ass, fingers splayed over the tight pants and pushing, kneading, pulling him in closer.

Hoseok allows Yoongi to ruin him, though, allows the older boy to ravage him and yank his tie so hard it leaves a definite red flush on his cheeks after. And he’s breathing hard, head pressed into Yoongi’s shoulder, can’t quite grasp the situation yet or the how of things when Yoongi kisses the length of his neck, tongue hot like fire and the bruises he leaves blossoming like a flower.

“Yoongi,” Hoseok says the name like a prayer and Yoongi pulls away from him completely, hands back to himself, and mouth so red and glistening that Hoseok wonders just why he hasn’t kissed him yet.

Before he can even pull him back – because there is an urgent need now, his blood is hot under his veins and he’s so damned bothered  - Yoongi steps back into his space, hands coming to settle on his hips, and practically a devilish smile on his face before he slinks down onto his knees.

His eyes are shut tight, fingers clutching at Yoongi’s hair, and Hoseok knows that it’s almost impossible to see the stars out in Seoul but for some reason, Yoongi’s managed to bring them out tonight.

--

X.

The sex is great and Yoongi won’t lie, especially not to the beautiful boy sprawled on his bed, blankets barely covering anything.

Yoongi runs his fingers up his arm, a small, pleased smile playing at his features.

He’s a good lay and while he might be beautiful, Yoongi really isn’t one for constants. So he pulls harshly at the blanket and watches as the boy shivers at the sudden air, curling into himself.

“Wake up and get out of my bed,” Yoongi says, hands clasped around the boy’s wrist. He pulls him out of the bed and stumbles slightly under his weight.

He watches as the boy finally stirs awake, realises that he hasn’t got any piece of clothing on, and turn incredibly red. Yoongi just laughs and steps out of the room, thinking quietly to himself how good of a view he provides.

It’s past ten in the morning when he finally manages to usher the boy out of his apartment. Just before he lets him walk away, Yoongi grabs him by the collar of his shirt, examines the mess he’d made on his neck, and asks him, “So, what’s your name?”

“Hoseok,” He smiles a little bit unsurely at Yoongi. “I’m Hoseok,”

“Are you done running away, Hoseok?” Yoongi asks, both hands braced against the doorframe as he looks at the boy. Hoseok’s hair is all tousled, his neck marked with purple splotches – with bruises, the expensive tailored suit wrinkly. Yoongi can’t help but smile at his own handiwork.

Hoseok looks at him, a strange determination in his eyes that surprises Yoongi, and says, “I don’t think I ever will be,”

He’s a beautiful boy, Yoongi thinks.

Beautiful boys don’t really do well with wolves like Yoongi.

--

XXI.

His neck is a beautiful disaster of the nightmare that was the night before.

The name ‘Yoongi’ resonates in his mind as he stifles a painful little groan when he accidentally bumps into a table. Christ, his hips hurt.

He ran into his mother when he sneakily tried to make his way back into the main house. She’d looked at him, at the scarf wrapped hastily around his neck – it’s spring and definitely not cold enough for such a thick scarf – and gave him a nod before saying they have a lot to talk about later tonight.

When he stares at the mirror, Hoseok sees the rawest, most open version of himself he’d ever seen. He’d come undone, unravelled completely under Yoongi’s fingers.

Well, he thinks, it’s not too bad.

When he hops into the car for a quick lunch with his father at the company, Hoseok is reminded painfully – and rather longingly, too – of how Yoongi hadn’t exactly kissed him last night. The boy had sucked bruises into his skin, on the insides of his wrists, had even bitten harshly on his lip, but he hadn’t kissed him, not quite.

Hoseok is filled with an unsettling feeling in his stomach and the strangest urge to drive to the pub and demand for a kiss.

But today he is playing as Jung Hoseok, only son of the JungCo.’s main family. Today, he isn’t just Hoseok. It’s a real shame, he thinks, because he would really like to know how Yoongi’s lips tastes like. He’s never kissed the devil before.

--

XXII.

“What’s up with your neck?” Seokjin points at it with his chopsticks, head tilted in question.

Well, shit.

Hoseok had forgotten the scarf and now his neck, purple bruises and all, was on display. He brings a hand up to try and cover it up but Namjoon’s already cackling hysterically, hand slapping the table when he realises just what it is.

“Oh, shit, what happened to you?” They’re at a restaurant whose name Hoseok can’t even pronounce and Namjoon is screaming like he owns the place, totally unconcerned about the other patrons. Hoseok wishes he could slide so far under the table that he’d disappear.

“Fuck off,” He mutters, stabbing at a sliced tomato too harshly. “I went out again last night,”

He doesn’t explain it to Namjoon because there’s no getting around all the cackling, so he talks to Seokjin, instead, tells him he’s found this dingy pub just in the outskirts of town – he has to take a bus and the subway but it’s worth it, the pub is really nice, well, sort of – if you don’t get mugged on your way there.

“I bet the bartender’s pretty hot, too,” Namjoon provides, his opinion unsolicited and unnecessary. “That’d be the only reason for why you keep coming back,”

Hoseok rolls his eyes but doesn’t contest it. He’s sort of right.

The memory of Yoongi pressed against his skin still makes his face feel hot and his skin ache for more.

“Those bruises are intense, though,” Seokjin says after a mouthful of chicken. “So, are you going back again later?”

Hoseok groans and accidentally says that he wishes he could, but his mother’s scheduled a family dinner and he can’t get out of that even if he threw himself into a burning building.

Namjoon catches exactly what he’d said and burst into another fit of laughter, a potato flying off his fork when he starts to wave it at Hoseok’s direction.

--

XXIII.

Dinner is at his mother’s restaurant, the one with the French name that’s almost impossible to pronounce with his Korean tongue. Hoseok doesn’t even bother to think about the name, much less say it out loud.

Their table is in one of the private rooms especially made for people like them – and Hoseok hates eating in these rooms, feels like he’s too cut off from everybody else. His mother is already at the table, sitting daintily with fingers laced together, face turning when she sees him coming in.

She puts on the perfect mother act. She sits straighter and waits for Hoseok to come closer to her, tilts her head in his direction so he could have easy access, and smiles sweetly when her son kisses her cheek in greeting. It’s not normal in their society but since his mother had spent years in a finishing school in Europe, it made a little bit of sense. Hoseok just hates the whole charades, this stupid game their family keeps on playing.

His father steps into the room just after him, a stiff look on his face. He offers a small grimace – which all of them takes as a smile – and sits down at the head of the table. Just as he takes a seat, another woman walks into the room, long hair pulled into a simple and neat bun, and fingers clipped on a clutch that looks more expensive than most people’s whole wardrobe.

This is the woman who had thrown wine at his face.

Hoseok makes to get up from his seat but his mother’s fingers are clasped, vice-like, around his wrist. She forces him back down with a single look in her eyes and Hoseok wilts, resigning to his fate for the night.

“Jin Ri, sit down,” His mother tells her, gesturing to the empty seat in front of Hoseok.

She’s all smiles for his parents but when she looks at him, her eyes are cool, her smile frozen in place.

Hoseok can’t believe what’s happening. He looks to his father for support but he meets his eyes and doesn’t say anything at all to remedy the situation.

He doesn’t even bother looking at his mother anymore. She never really did anything for him to start with, so what makes him think she’d put an end to this?

Dinner is a painful affair with forced conversations and niceties. The girl is nice enough to his mother, smoothing over the disaster that was her first meeting with Hoseok. And his mother laughs at all her jokes and tells her about how wonderful she is and apologises in behalf of her son, he gets a little bit silly sometimes.

At that point, Hoseok gets up from his chair, throws his napkin down on the table, and with a final bow, excuses himself from dinner.

One more minute in there and Hoseok would’ve thrown up on the table.

When he leaves, his fingers go up to pull at the scarf around his neck. He rubs his thumb idly on his skin, feels the jut of his own collarbones, and winces slightly when he presses too harshly on a sore bruise. This is his only reminder that he’s alive. This is the only thing that keeps him separate from his family. This is an experience Jung Hoseok has had, not Jung Hoseok of JungCo.

With his mind set, Hoseok slides into his car and speeds his way back at that god forsaken bar with the pretty bartender with claws for fingers and fangs instead of teeth.

--

XIV.

He runs into Yoongi just outside the pub and the blonde looks at him, surprise clear on his face.

It’s early, it’s barely eight and Yoongi’s shift hasn’t even started yet.

Hoseok’s hands are empty and his throat burns.

“Hi,” He says, trying for a more nonchalant tone.

Yoongi looks at him, eyes narrowed and his mouth in a straight line, “Hoseok,”

“Can I hang out with you tonight?” The words are out even before he could think too hard on them. Yoongi draws back in surprise and shakes his head after a few seconds, hand coming up to his mouth to try and hide his laugh.

Hoseok wishes he wouldn’t do that – his laugh is actually really nice.

“Why do you keep wandering over here?” Yoongi gestures to his clothes, all expensive brands, and then to his car parked just a little ways behind him. “We aren’t a shelter for lost children,”

There’s a little bit of a bite to his words that Hoseok doesn’t fail to notice. But Yoongi is the kind of tang that he craves, the zest that could only add flavour to his otherwise bland life. “My parents just set me up on a date after I told them I was gay,”

Yoongi doesn’t say anything for a while, the mischievous smile completely wiped off his face. It’s not until a particularly cold wind blows past them that he finally shrugs, “Yeah, okay, whatever. My shift starts in fifteen. If you want to hangout then you have to buy something,”

Hoseok bites down his grin, tries not to look too happy at the affirmation – they’re practically strangers to each other whose only shared experience was a warm bed and a dark alley, all purple bruises and teeth scraping down skin. It doesn’t stop him from following Yoongi around the rest of the evening like a puppy, though, eyes always trained on his back.

Hoseok orders a chocolate shake with a side of fries and Jeongguk makes a disgusted face that Hoseok’s quite familiar with already. The younger boy sticks his tongue out at Hoseok and grumbles about how some idiot just comes to the pub to order a damned milkshake.

“You’re so weird. If you’re not getting drunk off your ass then you order this?” Jeongguk slides him his drink and Hoseok grins at him. “What’s next? Lemonade?”

He ignores all of Jeongguk’s harmless little jabs and takes a sip of his milkshake. For all his sarcastic remarks, failed snarky comments, and half-hearted glares, Jeongguk is quite adorable, Hoseok realises.

Yoongi, on the other hand, is a different story. He lags behind the counter a lot and often pretends not to hear it when people order too loudly, calling for his attention too harshly. But Hoseok can see the small smile he hides with a duck of his head whenever he successfully ignores a rude customer.

Hoseok doesn’t feel too good when he hears the men beside him grumble under their breath about how incompetent the stupid blonde one is.

When the clock hits twelve, Yoongi finally unties his apron and loosens the collar of his shirt. His shift’s over. Jeongguk had left a couple of hours earlier, some last minute revising needed for university work.

Yoongi had called for “last call” ten minutes ago and had given out the final drinks. There aren’t a lot of people left – there’s just Hoseok and a couple who are about to stand up and leave.

When Yoongi stretches, arms going over his head and shirt riding above his stomach, Hoseok can’t help but stare at the exposed skin. He remembers how smooth it had been, how, if you pressed just under his bellybutton and let your hands trail down right after, Yoongi would curl his fingers into the sheets – anything he has access to – and let out a low little whine that did something to Hoseok.

Absolutely magical, it was.

He’s caught staring and Yoongi locks eyes with him, smirking. “Oh?”

This is a challenge, the game finally initiated by Yoongi.

Hoseok leans against the counter and smiles at him slightly, “Do I get to hang out with you now? No counter and all,”

Yoongi reaches out to push at his hair, fingers threading into his hair before he pulls away, and says, “Do you think it’s okay for you to be playing this game?”

He’s taken aback by the question, can’t help but pause for a moment. Is he? Because this is a game and while Hoseok’s never quite gotten a good grasp of his life, he’s always been good at games.

The only problem is he’s never played with a wolf before.

Hoseok catches at Yoongi’s hand and presses his thumb into the inside of his wrist, marvels at how fucking smooth this guy’s hand is, and tells him that, yeah, he is. Bring it on.

--

XV.

The sun shines harshly against his face and Hoseok turns away just as Namjoon crosses to the other side of the room, curtains pulled.

“Wait, so you mean to tell me your mother invited her to dinner?” Namjoon asks, voice incredulous and quickly rising.

It’s been three days since that dinner and all Hoseok wants to do is forget about it. His mother won’t let him.

It’s been three days since he’d last seen Yoongi. Three days since he’d woken up in his bed, the blonde pulling at the covers again to wake him up. Three days since he’d last felt the warmth of another body against his.

Belatedly, Hoseok realises that they hadn’t exactly kissed three days ago, too.

“Yeah, it was – “ Hoseok pauses, can’t quite find the right word to describe it.

“Fucked up is what it is, Hoseok,” They’ve never really been the type to really bring about family matters. Hoseok doesn’t want to talk about it and Namjoon knows how much it bothers him so they skim on the subject. But this, though – this is too much for Namjoon to just gloss over. “Why do you let her do that to you?”

Hoseok looks at him, a small, sad smile on his face as he shrugs. They both know why.

“I wish I had an older brother,” Hoseok sighs, leaning against the couch. “You don’t know how lucky you are,”

Namjoon plops down beside him, a troubled look on his face.

“Hey, don’t think too much about it, okay? It’s my problem. I’ll find a way out of it,”

“Remember in high school when we tried to run away?” Namjoon recalls, a faraway look in his eyes. “They found us immediately, but I remember asking you, what if we actually succeed, y’know? I asked if you’d ever miss home. Fuck, just thinking about what you’d said still gives me the chills,”

Hoseok remembers exactly what he’d said. He’d only laughed then, a short, hallow laugh, “I’ve never felt at home, Namjoon. There’s nothing to miss.”

They sit in complete silence, the memory replaying in their minds. Hoseok wishes they could run away like that again. Namjoon probably doesn’t – he’s got an easier life compared to his, but Hoseok’s still thankful for him. They might be busier now but they still manage to make time for each other.

“I’ll find a way out of this, you know I always do.” He places a warm, reassuring hand on top of Namjoon’s knee.

If Hoseok’s anything then it’s resilient.

--

XVI.

Some nights, Yoongi will ruin Hoseok.

Hoseok will have his turn on other nights and he relishes in the feeling of Yoongi’s nail scraping down his back or pulling harshly at his hair.

Other nights, they’re both hell bent on seeing who’ll come undone first.

And on all the mornings after, Yoongi kicks him out of his house.

--

XVII. 

It’s become a habit now to seek for Yoongi’s warmth whenever a storm starts in his life. Hoseok’s fingers are gripped tightly on the wheel, his mother’s scathing words still ringing in his ears.

“What do you really know, Hoseok? You have done nothing.

Red tints his vision, his blood just barely below the boiling point. No, he thinks to himself, that’s not true. He’s accomplished a lot of things on his own. He’d managed to graduate university with honours and his mother sure as hell hadn’t shoved a fucking book into his head. And while he’s starting off in the lower ranks in the company, he’s working really fucking hard. His father’s the last person to give his son special treatment, especially if what they want of him is to be competent enough to be ready, one day, to climb higher.

He’s even managed to pay for his apartment on his own, having played around with investments and stocks using the money he’d saved from countless of birthdays. His parents might be stocking his bank account but he’s never really touched it – well, maybe he has, on nights when he feels reckless and wants to lash out he takes it out the only way he can. He splurges, and splurges, and practically buys out the whole place for a single night, the platinum card he swipes the one his parents had provided for him.

His mother breaks another expensive vase whenever it happens and while he’d thought it would’ve at least given him some sort of relief, Hoseok realises that it doesn’t. He mostly just feels empty.

Being in the main house makes him feel empty.

There’s not a single reasonable thought that comes into his mind when he finds himself in the car and driving past streets with dilapidated buildings that have become quite familiar to him already. He doesn’t head directly to the bar, knows that Yoongi’s shift isn’t until the evening, and makes his way to the boy’s apartment.

His heart is thumping hard in his rib cage, head light. His fingers are curled tightly into his palm, digging in too harshly that he starts to feel a little sting.

The door opens just after he knocks and Yoongi stands on the other side, in an oversized shirt and messy hair.

Hoseok catches him off guard. It’s the afternoon and they have never actually seen each other in broad daylight, minus the mornings when they woke up together, game over already.

“Can I come in?” Hoseok asks, uncurling his fingers. He glances down and sees that he’s almost given himself a shallow wound.

Yoongi steps back to give him entrance and Hoseok comes in. Afternoon light filters through the window and Yoongi stands in the middle of his small apartment, beautiful even when he looks like all he’s done the whole day was sleep.

They stand close to each other and Hoseok’s hands reach out for him, fingers gripping at his wrists loosely. They’ve never done this like this. They’ve clashed countless times already, and he’s felt Yoongi from under him, over him – all over him on nights when he feels like the only thing he has control over is his body, the rest of his life in shambles.

Yoongi accepts him all the time, lures him into bed with that all too playful smirk. They dance to the tune that the devil plays in the background and Yoongi looks at him, hair spanned on a pillow, with an almost feral glint in his eyes.

The look in Yoongi’s eyes now is different. They’re wide, unguarded. He’s caught off guard, the two of them at a standstill.

They’ve never even held hands before, or even properly kissed. There’s something so intimate about it that they both just haven’t crossed over. Not yet.

“I need you,” Hoseok whispers, stepping closer towards him. He feels Yoongi shiver when they’re practically pressed together, his one hand wound tightly around Yoongi’s waist.

He needs the warmth, the bruises, he needs nails scratching at his back, and teeth scraping against his collarbones. Playing with a wolf has never been this dangerous, but Hoseok likes to take risks. Likes to be brutally honest and completely raw when he lets himself be. And the wolf is too beautiful to resist for long, anyway.

Yoongi sighs, head tilting back to give Hoseok access.

They play their game on a different level this time. Hoseok kisses down his neck, hands already pulling at Yoongi’s shirt. It’s different because Hoseok allows himself to feel more than the sting that Yoongi’s nails bring when the boy drags it down his back. He allows himself to look past the smooth expanse of skin. He allows himself to really look at Yoongi, splayed out underneath him, cheeks flushed and eyes hooded with desire.

“Hoseok,” Yoongi whispers, voice weak and strained.

The game changes when Hoseok swoops down to press his lips against Yoongi’s. It changes completely when Yoongi opens his mouth to allow him entrance, licks right into his kiss and presses their chests, leg hooking around Hoseok’s waist to draw him in further.

And Hoseok takes, and takes, and he kisses so deep and pushes in so hard that Yoongi comes undone under him. His fingers are light when they hold onto him, his lips hot and the marks on the boy’s neck beautiful.

It’s game over when Hoseok sees that Yoongi is a mess, all soft hair and even softer skin, fingers curling so tightly in the sheets that he might just rip it, and eyes shut tight, and that pretty little mouth of his popped open to stutter Hoseok’s name, again and again.

Hoseok doesn’t see a wolf anymore and Yoongi stops playing the game entirely.

--

XVIII.

He wakes up to the smell of coffee and toast. Hoseok actually wakes up on his own this time and not because Yoongi had harshly stripped him of the blankets or had thrown his clothes in his face.

He’s stayed the night over – it’s not odd, what’s odd is Yoongi not throwing him out the minute he realises that he still hasn’t left.

When he walks out of the room, it’s to find that Yoongi’s sat on the couch, a cup of coffee in his hands and a plate of toast in front of him.

Hoseok notices the circles under his eyes and the purple bruises on his neck, down to his collarbones and his chest – everywhere, Hoseok has left his mark.

A hand feeling around his neck tells him that they’ve more or less gotten identical marks on them. He finds that it’s assuring, somewhat, and smiles a little bit shyly at Yoongi.

They don’t talk for the rest of the morning, but their hands brush when Yoongi passes him his cup of coffee, their shoulders touching as Hoseok sits beside him.

It’s not much, but Hoseok can feel a change already.

--

XIX.

“Do you want to get lunch?” Hoseok asks Yoongi, phone pressed to his ear. He’s in his apartment this time, relishes in how quiet and alone it is – in how it’s completely just his – and waits patiently for Yoongi to reply.

This is territory they haven’t quite crossed yet. Breakfast, lunch, hell, even holding hands and kissing were out of the question, a silent agreement they’d both signed in what felt like ages ago already.

But, Hoseok knows exactly what Yoongi tastes like now, even if Yoongi leaves a bitter taste in his mouth after, his kisses always biting and harsh. Sometimes, Yoongi would bite so hard on his lip that he couldn’t speak; Yoongi’s name the only thing escaping from his mouth for the rest of the night.

“What are you trying to say?” Yoongi’s voice is quiet and deliberate on the other end, and Hoseok hears him shuffling around. Papers, from the sound of it.

It takes a lot of courage to say the exact words that are about to leave his mouth, and he gathers all he has, takes a deep breath before he outright goes and says, “I’m asking you out on a date, you idiot,”

He thinks Yoongi might have just dropped whatever he’s holding but Yoongi is rarely careless, so that must not be the case. After a few heavy heartbeats, Yoongi finally responds, “Okay.”

And Hoseok spends the rest of the morning smiling dumbly to himself, wondering just what kind of mess he’s about to make, but also anticipating seeing Yoongi.

Actually, in these past few weeks, seeing Yoongi has become the highlight of his days.

A little voice in him tells him not to trust a wolf, but another voice reasons with him that Min Yoongi isn’t a wolf – wolves are cruel and cold, Yoongi is just beautiful and soft.

--

XX.

Yoongi knows exactly when the game changed. For the past few weeks, they’ve danced a dangerous duet, and played their little game out exactly the same, until that one afternoon Hoseok had come knocking at his apartment, in broad daylight, looking extremely worn and crushed.

He doesn’t know when he’d started to really look at Hoseok past the smiles and the barking laughs, but he sees him more, now, sees the hurt in his eyes, sees the need to be held, and also the desire to be ruined.

Yoongi gives, and gives, and he gives all that Hoseok wants, because Hoseok is a bright boy whose voice is music to Yoongi’s ears and whose touches leave burn marks all over his skin that don’t quite heal until he presses kisses to them.  

What Yoongi doesn’t know is how he’d let it get this far. Hoseok had been the reckless boy at the bar, so lost and fragile, and Yoongi had preyed on him.

He wonders when the roles had been reversed.

Looking at Hoseok across the table in a restaurant that’s definitely too much for Yoong’s paycheque, he thinks there’s something about this boy that pulls him in. There’s something about this boy that makes him want to stay.

However, Yoongi’s never quite had any constants in his life, and Jung Hoseok knows that – which makes it even more surprising when Yoongi realises that Hoseok’s starting to fight for a spot in his life.

Yoongi thinks it’s dangerous because he might just take Hoseok up on his offer.

Little lambs don’t always survive when they play with the big bad wolf, do they?

--

XXI.

It dawns on him, rather belatedly and so late in his life already, that he hasn’t quite lived, just survived.

He reasons out that it’s alright, maybe sometimes survival has to feel like death before it starts to feel like you could live again.

When he catches Yoongi staring at him, the soft, orange glow of the sunset casting a shadow on his face, Hoseok suddenly starts to feel alive.

“What are you thinking about?” Yoongi asks, an eyebrow raised and that familiar smirk on his face.

“You,” Hoseok says without a hint of hesitation, completely wiping the smirk off Yoongi’s face. “Always thinking about you,”

Yoongi looks away from him, doesn’t meet his eyes, and instead pointedly looks out the window without another word. Hoseok just smiles when he notices that Yoongi’s cheeks are a slight pink, his ears having turned red, as well.

--

XXII.

Kim Taehyung catches him just as he pulls out of the driveway to his apartment, waving frantically to get his attention.

“Hyung,” Taehyung  says, a grin on his face. “I haven’t seen you in a while,”

Hoseok parks the car and gets out, the meeting with his father pushed to the back of his min - his family can wait, he hasn’t seen Taehyung in a while. “Yeah, I’ve been busy,”

He rubs a hand absentmindedly on his neck, a faint reminder of the hickeys that have faded already. His collarbones are a different story, but it’s not as obvious given his choice of clothes for the day.

“The guys at the club say they haven’t seen you in a while, too,” Taehyung continues, an easy tone in his voice.

Hoseok shrugs, “Not as fun as it used to be,”

Taehyung leans closer, a playful look in his eyes that Hoseok suspects is him knowing the exact reason for all the times he’s bailed on their plans. “Namjoon-hyung said a lot of interesting things,”

“When am I ever going to have friends who’ll know how to keep my business out of their conversation?” Hoseok groans, leaning against his car. “So, what are you here for, exactly?”

Don’t get him wrong, Taehyung’s a good kid, an even better friend, too, but due to a lot of complications – mostly because of a beef between their families that, up until today, still hasn’t been resolved – they tended to hang out in loud areas, venues too packed with people that not even the watchful eyes of their families would notice that they’ve been interacting in a way that’s less civil and more on an actual friendship level.

“I was in the area, and I’m hungry, and I haven’t seen you in – what, weeks? So I thought I’d come visit, send my regards to your family,”

At that, they both end up laughing and Hoseok finally gives in to the younger boy, slinging an arm around his shoulders to bring him in for a half-hearted hug. “If my father decides to disown me, then I hope your family’s got room for one more,”

Taehyung punches him lightly in the side and laughs an affirmation, the both of them knowing it’s a lie, but hey – they like playing against their families, it’s kind of a hobby you develop if you grew up like them.

--

XXIII.

For some reason – or for all the reasons, Hoseok doesn’t care at this point. – his mother finds out that he’d cancelled on his father to go get dinner with Taehyung – Kim Taehyung, she expresses, tone absolutely appalled.

“You are not supposed to even be seen with him, much less talk to each other,” His mother says, not getting up from her seat. She pours clear liquid into her tea cup – alcohol, he suspects – and takes a sip from it.

His family is all alcoholics and no sound mind, so it’s no surprise that if there’s anything he inherited from his parents, then it’s their ability to consume large amounts of alcohol.

“And you’re not supposed to be forcing me on all these stupid fucking dates with a woman I’m not even slightly interested in,” Hoseok counters bitterly, anger already rising.

“You think I don’t notice all these,” She pauses to put the cup down, her hands shaking too much. “marks, whatever they are, on you? It’s disgusting, Hoseok.”

Hoseok bites down on his lip and forces himself to look up at the ceiling and not at the woman he can barely recognise as his own mother.

“You may think that I’m doing this strictly for business, but I’m also protecting you. What will everyone think if they find out?” She really is merciless, Hoseok thinks, not a single motherly bone in her body.

Instead of countering her, he just barks out a hollow and short laugh.

“You will not disgrace our family,” His mother finally pushes herself off of the chair and brings herself to her full height, gaze intimidating and mouth turned down in a disapproving smile. “I won’t give you a chance to squander everything we’ve given you,”

He wonders what exactly they’ve given him. Self-resentment and doubt? Is that what she thinks is a sign of her generosity, to award her son with a terrible, dark feeling for himself? Hoseok can barely feel at home in their own house, can’t even look at his mother directly in the eyes.

It’s not supposed to be like this, family isn’t supposed to be like this.

It’s an abstract construct, this whole family business. He can barely make out the images, can barely understand it. What he does know, though, is that he isn’t as lucky as the rest of society thinks he is to be born into such a prominent family.

“You haven’t given me anything,” Hoseok tells her, voice low, and hands balled into tight fists.

She raises the cup to her lips, takes a long, burning sip from it, before looking at him with eyes that hold no warmth at all, “We have given you everything, Hoseok, that’s why I won’t allow you to just throw it out – it’s not yours to throw in the first place.”

Hoseok wishes he could shed skin, slip out of his body, and just dissolve. He wishes to be someone else entirely, but he can barely be Jung Hoseok, how is he even supposed to be somebody else?

With a final wave of her hand, she dismisses Hoseok, but not before she says that he isn’t allowed out for the rest of the night anymore.

He can’t help but supress a laugh, he’s not a teenager, and while he doesn’t have exact control of his life, he still knows how to drive, and for now, that’s all he needs until he gets to Yoongi.

--

XXIV.

The whole night, Yoongi takes control. Hoseok is powerless under his expert fingers, and hot, searing kisses.

Yoongi is harsh and destructive, and Hoseok has a feeling that he wants the world to explode, to combust in flames. It’s beautiful, that fire in Yoongi’s eyes, the way his hands harshly push him down and hold him there, staring down at him with dark eyes that rival the moonless night.

“What do you need, Hoseok?” Yoongi asks, fingers playing with the button of his jeans. He allows a small smile on his face and pulls Hoseok up by the collar of his shirt, yanking too hard but he knows Hoseok doesn’t mind. It’s a sensation, a kind of living that Hoseok only gets from Yoongi.

“You,” Hoseok says, the word heavy with desire. “Always needing you,” And then he winds his fingers through the back of Yoongi’s hair, pulling him down into a kiss, their lips clashing harshly at first before Hoseok opens his mouth to welcome Yoongi in.

Yoongi kisses like he might not be able to kiss him anymore, and all the other nights Hoseok had relished in that, had enjoyed the urgency, the need pushing both of them off the edge all the fucking time, but tonight, tonight Hoseok needs something slower, something that will last until the morning, something that will leave him breathless and panting the only name that matters.

So he takes control of the kiss, fingers loosening in Yoongi’s hair to grant him more ease, and suddenly, they’re kissing much slower this time, still with hot tongues and fire in the back of their throats, but it’s different – it’s feels different, almost too intimate.

Hoseok kisses him soft and sweet, and swallows the supernova that is Min Yoongi, takes in every breathy moan, and doesn’t stop until they’re both flushed and panting, a little bit weak from the intensity.

If Yoongi is an explosive star then Hoseok is the black hole that’ll devour him.

And there might not be anything beautiful about the end of the world, but with Yoongi hovering on top of him, lips glistening and bruised from the kiss, heart beating as loud as a gunshot, Hoseok thinks that the world would be incredibly blessed to be put out of its misery by one of its most beautiful creations.

--

XXV.

Hoseok doesn’t come home for three days. He spends his mornings in the company and the rest of his evenings at the pub where Yoongi works.

The whole night he will spend it with Yoongi pressed into the sheets, daring smile gone when Hoseok kisses him breathless.

His mother might think she has control of her son, but Hoseok thinks that’s impossible when it’s Yoongi who’s pulling at his heartstrings every time he breathes out his name and runs his fingers down the side of his face.

Yoongi is a variable his parents never even saw coming or projected. Yoongi is burning hot against him and Hoseok takes pleasure in knowing that he’s strong enough to play fire with fire and dance with the wolf.

He is a wild card, all pointed elbows and snide little remarks that he quickly soothes over with a small kiss just below his chin.

When he rolls over, Yoongi is still asleep on his side, mouth open slightly and eyes shut tight. Hoseok takes time to appreciate the wonder that’s all smooth skin and hair so soft to the touch.

His thumb presses gently into Yoongi’s cheek, slowly travelling down to the length of his neck where fresh bruises stand starkly against his fair skin. Yoongi’s eyes flutter open when he feels kisses just at the edge of his jaw and he stirs sleepily, hands coming around Hoseok’s face to tilt it upwards, their eyes instantly locking.

Yoongi might be one for destruction, always leaving his marks on Hoseok, pressing bruising kisses down the inside of his thighs, everywhere, really, but when Hoseok looks into his eyes, he doesn’t see flames anymore, doesn’t see the world destroyed, or a wolf stalking the woods. He sees a calm river and for the first time feels a sweet surrender.

This is it, he thinks, this is what solace is supposed to feel like.

He kisses Yoongi, mouth melting against his, and they only break apart when Yoongi pushes him off of him, grumbling something about decency and toothbrushes.

--

XXVI.

He finally comes home after the fourth day to find that nothing has changed. His father isn’t home and his mother still indulges herself in expensive wine.

She spots him just as she leaves the main dining room and stops, fingers wrapped around a tall glass of wine. Her hair is a mess and her makeup is smeared. It’s the first time Hoseok’s seen her in such a state, and for the briefest of moments, he thinks that he might have seen a flicker of hurt in her eyes, but it’s gone when she takes another sip of wine.

“You don’t have to say anything,” His mother says, walking past him. “If you’ve been with that boy, then I don’t want to know. I actually don’t know anything about that,”

Her ability to completely smooth over the truth is astounding and it makes Hoseok feel like absolute shit.

--

XXVII.

Hoseok is the whispered conversations his parents have when they think nobody can hear them. They stop whenever somebody walks into the room.

Hoseok is the shining heir of JungCo., but underneath that armour of gold is a boy not accepted and put down by his own mother, his father barely giving him the time of day.

Hoseok was a boy of four when he realised his mother didn’t hold him in her arms the same way other children’s mothers did. He was seven when he convinced himself that his mother’s way of showing love was through sharp insults and demanding hands, always, always asking him to do things he can never quite accomplish. He was only seven and his hands were too small to catch every drop of rain that always felt like nails against his skin.

Hoseok is twenty three and he finally realises that his mother doesn’t love him, has never loved him, for that matter.

--

XXVIII.

He manages to drag Yoongi into the city with him when he finds out that Yoongi has the whole day off. He brings him to his favourite rooftop garden, their fingers often brushing against each other. He brings them on top of the highest floor of the tallest building with the best sea food ever, and he watches as Yoongi’s eyes shine brighter when he looks at the view of the sunset from so high up.

At the end of the day, Hoseok takes Yoongi to his own apartment, pulls him in by his hands, their fingers laced together.

Hoseok doesn’t have the words for it yet, but his heart beats a little bit faster whenever he holds Yoongi, and rather than wanting to push him down and fuck into him roughly, Hoseok wants to hold him gently and feel his breath against his.

The door clicks to a close and Yoongi looks around at the spacious apartment, far too expensive for a middle-class worker, and practically impossible for a bartender like him.

He pulls Yoongi closer to him, finger on his chin to tilt his head up slightly. They kiss, slow, sweet, and lingering. Hoseok feels a little bit calmer when he notices that Yoongi’s lips are trembling, too.

When they pull apart, he brushes the hair out of Yoongi’s face, tucks a few strands behind his ear, a gesture that feels so fucking intimate, and then smiles at him.

“Do you want to sleep with me tonight?” Hoseok asks, fingers playing with Yoongi’s hair.

He hears the catch of breath, notices the instant flood of colour in the boy’s face, and is pleased when Yoongi doesn’t duck out of his gaze, but instead looks at him straight in the eyes, a smile breaking through his face, the sun a light in the dark tunnels that are Yoongi’s eyes, “Since you treated me so well,” Yoongi starts, hand creeping under Hoseok’s shirt and pressing warm fingers into his stomach, “I don’t see why not,”

Yoongi kisses him first this time, even slower than when Hoseok had kissed him, and if it were any more possible for his heart to beat even faster, then it would’ve completely gone off the record already.

They stumble into bed, a mess of limbs and sheets, and the whole night they trade soft, chaste kisses.

Hoseok and Yoongi fall asleep in each other’s arms. They sleep together in the most intimate way possible – pressed close and fully clothed, with both their hearts beating to a new, more beautiful melody.

--

XXIX.

In the morning, Hoseok wakes up to the smell of coffee and toast. It’s oddly reminiscent and quite touching. He also hears the faint sound of the TV, too.

Yoongi is sat on top of the counter, a shirt that’s definitely Hoseok’s falling on his smaller build. He smiles when Hoseok steps out of the room and Hoseok stops mid-step, breath caught in his throat at the sight of Yoongi nibbling on a piece of toast, the sun cascading down on him, bathing him in a warm orange glow.

Hoseok steps in between his legs, hands settling on either side of his hips.

“Just who are you, Jung Hoseok?” Yoongi whispers when he leans in close to brush his lips on his ear. “You wined and dined me, and all you asked for was for us to sleep together,”

He pulls Yoongi closer but makes sure he doesn’t fall off the edge of the counter, and presses his face into Yoongi’s chest, trying to hide his smile. “There’s something about you, Yoongi,” Hoseok says into his shirt. He feels the stilling of Yoongi’s breathing and worries that he’d said the wrong thing, but then Yoongi’s carding through his hair, fingers smoothing over the tangled locks.

“You’re an idiot,” Yoongi says, but Hoseok is pleased to note that he sounds more fond than irritated or annoyed.

--

XXX.

Yoongi realises that he’s grown quite fond of Hoseok already.

Once, they had played a game.

Once, they had danced to the trill of a dangerous tune.

Now, Hoseok makes him smile and not recoil from innocent touches that seem far more intimate than simply just fucking.

Now, Yoongi melts into the kiss, wondering why they hadn’t kissed like this from the very start.

Yoongi might have been so adamant about constants in his life, but now with Hoseok, the only thing Yoongi is afraid of is losing him, and a glance around his apartment, at the sight of his car, his ability to take him to anywhere, hell, even just by his clothes, Yoongi knows that there’s more that Hoseok’s leaving out.

But he can’t quite think right now, not when Hoseok’s fingers are cupped on the front of his pants, his other hand sliding into his hair, fingers tangling and gently tugging.

Gentle, slow, they’ve moved on from the harsh, biting kisses, but the urgency is still there, the need to be held, to leave a visible mark.

When Hoseok asks if he’d want to go to dinner with his friends, Yoongi can’t say no, especially when the boy has his fingers around his cock, mouth glistening and moist. Yoongi will agree to anything at this point, give Hoseok everything he wants, if he asks for it.

Hoseok smiles at the affirmation – Yoongi had just moaned a breathy “yes”. – and then proceeds to duck his head, cheeks hallowing when he goes down on him again.

Yoongi wonders just how far this will go, just how long until Hoseok will finally realise Yoongi isn’t worth anything as much as he does. But, for the meantime, Yoongi lets his fingers thread in Hoseok’s hair and closes his eyes, thinking of how wild of a ride this has become already, and if Hoseok wants to take it even further, Yoongi won’t even take a second to think, because he’ll go anywhere with Hoseok, wherever that may be.

--

XXXI.

Namjoon instantly takes a liking to Yoongi and embarrasses the whole table when he proclaims, rather loudly, that the two of them really do have a kink for purple, bruising hickeys, and obvious marks.

Seokjin buries his face in his hands and apologises to Yoongi in behalf of their idiot of a friend.

Taehyung, at the mention of Yoongi being a bartender, immediately brings his phone out, incessant in his demand to get Yoongi’s number, “There must be a reason Hoseok hyung’s been going there instead of our usual place,”

Hoseok tells him that Yoongi is the reason, you fucking idiot, and Yoongi laughs, but gives the younger boy his number, anyway.

--

XXXII.

He’s never meant to leave out the part of himself that has everything to do with his family. They’ve never talked about it and Hoseok just likes to assume that Yoongi thinks he’s some high-paid corporate worker, which is almost impossible at his age, but, hey, maybe Yoongi’s the type to always give the benefit of the doubt.

Hoseok’s stopped wearing the expensive suits to go meet Yoongi, it feels stuffy and like it just doesn’t belong on his skin. So, he quickly changes right before he makes the drive to Yoongi’s neighbourhood, all casual and easy, looking just like any other twenty something guy on the street.

Yoongi looks in appreciation at his toned down attire and laughs, a shake of his head, “You really don’t have to,”

Hoseok pushes at a stray strand of hair on Yoongi’s face, fingers lingering on the nape of his neck, “I want to.”

--

XXXIII.

When had he stopped seeking Yoongi for the thrill and for the warmth? When had it changed to Hoseok seeking him because he couldn’t go a day without seeing him anymore?

Hadn’t all the stories told him all he needed to know about playing with wolves? You don’t. You don’t wander alone by yourself and you definitely don’t tempt him. But Min Yoongi isn’t a wolf, he’s soft, gentle, and has a laugh that can make Hoseok’s world spin. He’s absolutely beautiful and if hearts had colour, Hoseok’s pretty sure that Yoongi’s is gold.

It’s game over, Hoseok realises, albeit a little belatedly.

--

XXXIV.

“Hoseok, do you really know me?” Yoongi asks him on one lazy Sunday. They’re both sprawled on the bed, the afternoon light barely filtering through the thick curtains. Yoongi’s perched on top of his chest, and he tilts his head upwards to gauge for his reaction.

He traces a finger down the length of Yoongi’s jaw and smiles, a little bit dazed, “Do I?”

Yoongi hums, “Some days, I feel like I know you,” He hitches himself up higher and off of Hoseok’s chest so they could look each other in the face now, “And others, I feel like I don’t,”

He frowns, a pang of guilt and sadness ringing through him, “What do you want to know?”

Yoongi laces their fingers together and gives his hand a gentle squeeze, quickly followed by a kiss on the back of his palm, “What are you thinking about? Is there perhaps a brain behind that incredibly thick skull of yours?”

Hoseok doesn’t quite like laying on his side, so he pulls Yoongi on top of him and feels an elbow dig into his stomach – Yoongi apologises, but not before he laughs first. One hand settles on Yoongi’s hip while the other comes up to cup his face. Yoongi leans his face into the warmth and nuzzles against his hand.

“I’m thinking about you,” Hoseok murmurs, low and soft, “Always thinking about you, Yoongi,”

And they’re words Hoseok has said countless times, words Yoongi’s heard a myriad of times, and he’ll say it even more if it means he gets the same reaction – a shy smile that Yoongi tries to prevent with the biting of his lip, and cheeks slowly turning the colour of freshly bloomed pink roses.

--

XXXV.

It’s a bad day, and an even worst night.

Hoseok’s mother has set him up on another date with Jin Ri, this time telling him that if he upsets her, or if he walks out before the cheque comes, then there will be consequences he will be faced, consequences he cannot pay. Her threat is cold and sharp, and Hoseok has no other choice but to agree.

The whole time during dinner, he thinks about the previous night, Yoongi across from him in one of those trendy restaurants that are dimly lit, their shadows dancing on the wall with every flicker of the small candle burning in the middle of the table. He also brings forth another memory, in a small diner, where they’d caused a mess with the ketchup and the mustard, coffee almost spilling on the table.

After dinner, he drops her off outside her apartment, and she smiles at him, pink lipstick so perfect on her small lips, and says, “Around this time, I would’ve let you into my apartment already,”

But she knows better. She’s seen the bruises on his neck, the dazed look he gets whenever he looks up at her after reading a text, and she knows there’s somebody else. But this is a pact their families want and she’s nothing if not the diligent little angel of her family.

“If we got married, Hoseok, I would let you fuck him all you want,” She leans in close to whisper, her perfume strong and voice amused. “We’re only ever going to be official on paper, but I think it would be nicer if you put in more effort,” She kisses his cheek, a quick peck that has him quickly recoiling away from her. It’s wrong – she’s wrong, this whole thing is wrong.

“Thanks for dinner,”

Hoseok watches as she waves at him from her doorstep, an all too knowing glint in her eyes when he drops his hand to curl around the steering wheel tightly.

He speeds the whole way to Yoongi’s apartment. He needs a shower, he needs to tell Yoongi – he just needs to get rid of her smell on him, the feeling of her lips on his skin. He needs to get rid of all the wrong that she’d brought with her and bury himself in all the right that is Yoongi.

He waits for Yoongi outside his apartment until it’s one in the morning and he’s cold, so cold, but he waits. Yoongi arrives just a little bit past one, eyes wide and mouth open in a silent question. Hoseok grabs onto him, fingers digging into his skin.

Yoongi sees the desperation in his eyes, the hurt past that, and understands.

“Yoongi,” His voice breaks on his name and he searches his face for a while until he speaks again, “I’m sorry,”

Yoongi doesn’t ask just what he’s sorry for, some things can go without saying, and instead pushes Hoseok onto the bed, peeling his clothes off, fingers twisting in his hair before he leans down, lips warm against Hoseok’s ear, “It’s okay, I’m here,”

And then just like that, they fall into their earlier pattern. Hoseok wants to hold him gently but Yoongi understands that it’s not what he needs right now, so he sits on top of him, chest glistening with sweat and hair sticking to his forehead, and says, with a small smirk tugging at his lips, “I want you to fuck it all out,”

His thighs grip around Hoseok tighter, his hips coming down to grind against him.

Hoseok digs his thumbs harshly into Yoongi’s skin and thrusts, the both of them throwing their heads back at the intensity of it all, the raw, vulnerable sense of desperation flooding out of Hoseok.

Yoongi allows Hoseok to take it out on him and Hoseok fucks him roughly until Yoongi’s a shuddering mess below him, whining, and moaning, and saying his name, Hoseok, Hoseok, god fucking damn it, Hoseok, again and again like it’s a prayer he’s been taught to recite ever since he was a child, a prayer he now chants like a mantra, leg hooking around Hoseok’s waist to push him in deeper, fingers scraping down his back and teeth scraping on any expanse of skin he has access to.

He watches as Yoongi dissolves in a mess of light sobbing from the whole sensation, from how rough he’s being, and all Hoseok wants is to replace the stain of the night with Yoongi’s sucking kisses, so he tries to erase her face from his mind and replace it with Yoongi’s in this very moment, so needy and giving him exactly what he wants.

Hoseok takes, and takes, and takes, and Yoongi gives, and gives, and gives.

--

XXXVI.

The next morning, Yoongi can’t walk a few dozen steps without wincing, hand coming to rest on his hip.

He glares at Hoseok, blames him for everything, but still settles beside him on the couch.

“I’m sorry for last night,” Hoseok says, a little bit of shame tinting his words. There are hickeys down the length of Yoongi’s neck, some bruises in his inner thighs, and shallow nail indentation on his hips where Hoseok had gripped tighter than necessary. They’re starting to look a little bit blue, and, god Yoongi is such a mess that for once, instead of pleased, Hoseok feels like he’s just ruined him.

Yoongi hooks an arm around his neck and brings him down for a kiss and Hoseok hates how Yoongi winces halfway into the kiss, his lips still bruised from Hoseok biting down too hard last night, but Yoongi doesn’t stop kissing him, licks right into his mouth and clambers on top of him, fingers coming to thread into his hair.

It’s slow, intimate, and a kiss Hoseok finds himself melting in.

“Like I said, it’s okay, I’m here,” Yoongi finally tells him when they pull apart, his cheeks flushed. “And I’ll stay, if you’ll let me,”

Hoseok doesn’t realise he’s crying until his eyes start to sting. Yoongi reaches his hand out to swipe at the tears on his face, a small smile so unlike his teasing, more mischievous smiles. It’s especially for him, Hoseok knows.

“There, there, lil lamb,” Yoongi whispers, looking straight into his eyes.

And Hoseok feels it again when he looks at Yoongi – that feeling of solace that can only come when you’ve found a place you can finally settle in.

--

XXXVII.

Hoseok wakes up beside Yoongi on most days and goes to sleep with him on most nights, too.

He’s never quite felt like this – has never had this type of happiness settle inside of him every time he even so much as catches a glimpse of Yoongi.

This is what love must feel like, Hoseok thinks.

When Yoongi wakes up, all tousled hair and groggy sleepy voice cursing him out for waking up at five in the fucking morning, Hoseok tells him that he’s finally stopped running away.

Yoongi wraps a hand around his waist and hooks his leg around Hoseok’s ankle, yawning softly, “Yeah? Why’s that?”

“Finally found my place,” Hoseok says, pressing a kiss to Yoongi’s forehead, his fingers brushing idly at Yoongi’s hair.

He hears the boy snort out a little laugh, “Or, you’re finally tired of running away,”

“Or, I’ve finally found a reason to stop,” Hoseok pushes, playfully tugging at Yoongi’s hair.

“Fuck, stop it, I’m trying to sleep,” Yoongi grumbles, swatting at his hand. “Save this for after breakfast,”

Hoseok does note, a little pleased, that Yoongi’s fingers are trembling a little bit when they come to lace with his.

--

XXXVIII.

“This has to stop,” His mother tells him the second he walks through the doors. He hasn’t returned to the main house for weeks now, hasn’t even answered any of her calls. “Hoseok, do you hear me?”

He’s only here because it’s his father who’d called upon him, saying that his mother’s a worried mess just thinking about him. Hoseok doesn’t buy it for a second but his phone’s been blowing up with calls and messages from his dear, darling mother, and one more day of this madness will result in Hoseok throwing his phone down the toilet.

So he shows up and instantly regrets it.

“Stop what?” He asks her, taking the empty seat in front of her.

“This,” She gestures to him, “Don’t play around,”

Hoseok rolls his eyes, “What do you mean ‘don’t play around’? I’ve been doing my work properly,”

He watches as she rises from her seat, intimidating in her full height, “I am asking you now to stop playing around with him,”

She doesn’t call him by his name – Hoseok has never even spoken about Yoongi to his family, afraid that they’ll ruin that, too. But isn’t it only a matter of time? – and she spits her words out like venom, “It’s getting harder to try and clean up after you every time,”

“Maybe you should stop trying to control my life,” Now that he says it, Hoseok realises that these past few weeks, he’s barely allowed her into his life – and it had felt great.

“Hoseok, I’m asking you nicely,” Her voice is nowhere near nice and the look she’s giving him is the farthest from kind. “Stop it or I’ll deal with your problem myself,”

At that, Hoseok gets on his feet, the last straw thrown into the bin already. “You can’t call him a fucking problem. He’s not a problem,”

Lately, Hoseok has handled his mother’s insults rather well. What he can’t handle is his mother bringing Yoongi into this mess, his mother calling the only person Hoseok’s finally felt the semblance of home with a problem. It just won’t sit with him.

“Hoseok,” His mother says, voice clipped.

Mother,” Hoseok says, the term so foreign on his tongue. “Do you know what Jin Ri told me the last time we met? She told me that I could fuck men all I want, even after we’re married.”

That pushes his mother over the edge, her loose grasp of a level head and calmness slipping through her fingertips.

“You’re unnatural, Hoseok, and I am your mother, it’s my duty to fix you,” Quietly, Hoseok asks just what kind of parental guidebook she’s been reading if that’s her description of motherhood.

The sting of the word “unnatural” settles in him, though, and he takes a step away from her.

“Put an end to it or else I’ll do it myself,” She says, a little bit of a strain in her voice. It looks like she’s struggling to even hold herself together at this point.

Hoseok throws one last scathing look at her direction and turns around. He doesn’t look back, not even once.

--

XXXIX.

He takes Yoongi out to a party Taehyung’s hosting the next night and Yoongi brings Jeongguk along with him, the boy all too happy to have a reason to call in sick for the rest of the night.

Jeongguk is thrown into the fray the minute they step into the club Taehyung’s rented out.

“I can’t even call the place we work at a bar anymore,” Jeongguk groans, an exasperated look on his face.

Hoseok claps him on the back and laughs, “Hey, your bar’s got something special,”

Jeongguk raises both eyebrows at him, “You two are disgusting,”

Yoongi just shrugs from beside Hoseok, “Go away, Jeongguk. Go look for kids you can bother,”

And with that, Hoseok and Yoongi push past him, joined hands swinging in between them.

The whole night is an affair with alcohol, music, and the flashing lights. Hoseok gets drunk on both the alcohol and Yoongi, who looks so beautiful that Hoseok doesn’t even hesitate to kiss him, then and there, right in the middle of the party.

Namjoon, drunk as he is already, saunters over to their little show and wraps his arms around the both of them, hiccupping right into Hoseok’s ear, “I’m so happy for you guys,”

“What the hell,” Yoongi curses, looking at Namjoon who merely gives him a sheepish grin. “Why are you even allowed to drink?”

Namjoon’s only answer is that why aren’t the two of them drunk off their asses yet, and that’s a valid question, honestly, so Hoseok takes him up on his offer and grabs the nearest bottle of wine from a passing waiter, pulling Yoongi into one of the booths.

The back of his knees hit the booth and Hoseok plops down, dragging Yoongi on top of him who’s all too pliant now, eagerly making himself right at home on his lap.

Yoongi tips his head back and allows Hoseok to pour the contents into his mouth, some of the wine dribbling down his chin. Hoseok licks a hot stripe down Yoongi’s neck, totally unashamed, and certainly not caring if anyone sees them.

He nips at Yoongi’s jaw, smiling as he does so. Yoongi looks down at him, tongue sticking out of his mouth to lick at his lips, and, god, he looks so fucking beautiful Hoseok has to remind himself to breathe.

“Are we having fun over there?” It’s Jeongguk who breaks their little bubble this time, “Maybe it’s time to get a room?” The little shit is snickering into his hand and if Hoseok wasn’t so preoccupied, he would’ve already pushed him away.

“Didn’t I tell you to fuck off, Jeongguk?” Yoongi asks, looking over his shoulder at the boy in question.

Jeongguk raises his hands in surrender, a grin on his face, “Come on, hyung, I was just joking. And, oh, there’s food – “And Jeongguk is gone, scurrying off to chase after the waiter with the tray of appetizers.

“Where were we?” Yoongi asks, attention back at Hoseok. He runs his hands down the front of Hoseok’s chest, smoothing past the creases in his suit. “I never told you this, but I always loved it when you were your expensive little suits,” He hooks his arms around Hoseok’s neck and dips his head down, “So fucking good, especially when I get to tear them off of you, throw them all crumpled on the floor,”

Hoseok groans, discards the bottle of wine somewhere beside him so he could hold onto Yoongi properly now, “Fuck, Yoongi, you’re so – “

Yoongi waits, fingers playing with the hair at the back of Hoseok’s head, a small, contented little smile on his face.

“ – so fucking beautiful, sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe, Christ.” Hoseok finishes, rolling his hips just a little bit to create fiction. Yoongi returns the favour and grinds his hips just that much, pushing at Hoseok’s buttons.

“We should go,” Yoongi says, breath warm and lips ghosting dangerously close to his.

Hoseok wants to take him here and now, but he’s selfish when it comes to Yoongi, wants to keep him all to himself, so he swallows past the tight knot in his throat, and nods, allowing Yoongi to pull him up and out of the building, the rest of their friends left at a party that they know won’t come close to the fun they’re about to have.

The drive to Hoseok’s apartment, a short fifteen minutes, feels like agony, especially when Yoongi’s foregone the importance of a seatbelt in favour of teasing Hoseok, palming the front of his jeans, and pressing. At a stop light just eight minutes away, Yoongi ducks down and leans towards Hoseok, his one hand already working at the buttons of his pants, lips pressing incessant kisses on his throat.

Hoseok grabs for his hand and begs him, please, they’re going to fucking crash and all because Yoongi’s too damn horny to wait until they get to the damned apartment – but he doesn’t have the strength to resist, not when Yoongi’s looking at him with eyes that are blown wide with need, his skin hot to the touch. So Hoseok does the only thing he can do – he pulls over in an empty street and drags Yoongi to the backseat of the car, pushing the stupid blonde down into the seat while Hoseok works to pop all the buttons, cursing at Yoongi’s extremely tight pants – any other day he would’ve admired how great he looks, but not tonight.

He goes down on Yoongi in the back of his car, swallows all his moans and sucks bruises on the inside of his thighs, fingers wrapping around his length. Yoongi’s fingers are twisted in Hoseok’s hair, groaning when Hoseok takes him in deep and sucks, cheeks hallowed and tongue absolutely magical.

Yoongi moans out his name when he comes and Hoseok swallows that, too, and, god, he wants to take him right here but the apartment is barely eight minutes away, maybe five if he speeds even more.

“Don’t move,” Hoseok tells him as he climbs back into the driver seat, leaving Yoongi in the back, sedated for the time being.

When they finally get to the apartment, the next hurdle is the elevator ride. Yoongi’s energy has gone up, fingers desperately pulling on Hoseok’s tie, tugging his collar loose. Hoseok is hit with the desire to press that emergency button, trap them in the elevator, but he’s got great self-restraint, well, at least he likes to think so, so he doesn’t, instead he suffers the whole damn ride as Yoongi kisses him hotly, pulling at his hair, and, “God, I really want you right now,”

“Alright, alright, just – we’re here,” And if Yoongi had been incessant, Hoseok’s just as desperate now, the door finally closing behind them.

He grabs Yoongi, holds him steady with his hands on his hips, and the blonde looks up at him, face flushed and still needing more, more, more.

Hoseok gives him just that because it’s not fair if all he does is take – he gives Yoongi exactly what he wants, fucks him slow and sweet, completely agonising, but Yoongi writhes from under him, and moans his name all the time that it’s impossible to deny the angel what he wants.

“Hoseok,” Yoongi cries out, toes curling as he comes a second time. 

He follows right after Yoongi, holding him tight as he comes so hard that he sees stars in the back of his eyelids.

“God,” Hoseok says, rolling over to Yoongi’s side, chest heaving and practically breathless now.

Yoongi turns to his side, arm already reaching out to drag Hoseok closer, pressing them skin to skin. “Can you kiss me now?” It’s something Yoongi’s never asked for before because Hoseok always gives, and gives, and gives more kisses than he can count, so it must be because of the alcohol, or just the thrill of it all – or it could be double the satisfaction, in Yoongi’s case – that’s got him begging for a kiss.

Who could deny him of that one simple pleasure? Hoseok can’t, and he thinks that there are a lot of things he would do for Yoongi if Yoongi just asked. So, so, much.

But for now the only thing he’s asking is to be kissed, so Hoseok kisses him deeply, holding his head steady and relishing in the feeling of their bodies pressed hotly against each other.

Hoseok kisses Yoongi like it’s his mission in life and Yoongi kisses him back, all tender and gentle.

Once, all Hoseok had known was the supernova kisses.

Now, Hoseok knows of lazy Sunday morning types of kisses, knows the good morning – your breath kinda stinks so don’t kiss me too long kind of kiss. He knows how to kiss him now and mean it.

Hoseok thinks he might be in love.

When they pull apart and Yoongi plops back down on the pillow, all spent and ready to sleep, Hoseok knows that he really is in love.

“Hey,” He pokes at Yoongi’s cheek, wills the boy to open his eyes. This is an important moment, Hoseok’s practically taking a leap of faith. “Yoongi,”

Yoongi opens his eyes just a crack, brows furrowed. “You did good, Hoseok, now let me sleep,”

But Hoseok doesn’t want praise for his technique – though it does stroke his ego, so thanks. “I need to tell you something,”

“Can’t this wait in the morning?” Yoongi mutters, pulling the covers higher and leaving none for Hoseok.

“No, I have to tell you now, so come on,” He starts to pull on the covers, tries to get under it, too, but Yoongi doesn’t budge, just hogs the whole damn blanket to himself. Finally, after a forceful tug that almost sends Hoseok off the bed, Yoongi opens his eyes.

“Hoseok, do you realise that you just fucked the sense out of me? I need to sleep, I’m tired, and I told you, you did fine, I’m fine, I like the hickeys, for fuck’s sake,” Yoongi rambles, bringing a lot of things that cause colour to rise to Hoseok’s cheeks, because, shit, Yoongi, you really don’t have to say all of that out loud.

“It’s important and I want you to look me in the eyes,” Hoseok whines, making another attempt to grab for the blankets. Yoongi holds tight onto them but he does as Hoseok had asked for, and looks at him.

“If you’re gonna thank me for the sex then I think you have our whole relationship wrong,” Yoongi says, all curled smile and an utterly pleased look in his eyes, but Hoseok cuts him off half-way, shutting Yoongi up with a finger pressed against his lips.

“Shut up, god, Yoongi, you’re making it so hard for me to tell you I love you,”

Hoseok pauses, realising what he’d just said, and Yoongi stills, practically stops breathing, too.

“Breathe, please,” Hoseok says, pushing at Yoongi’s shoulder

Yoongi blinks a couple of times at him, blanket hitched almost up to his face now when Hoseok realises that he’s doing it to hide his blush.

Yoongi,” Hoseok whines, tries not to smile too wide. “Say something,”

“Fine,” He hears him say, voice muffled from under the blanket. “Good night, I love you, too, can I sleep now?”

It’s absolutely adorable how flustered he is – this is the most that Hoseok’s seen and he can’t help but laugh. Who would’ve thought, really?

At last, Hoseok successfully tugs a little bit of the blanket over to his side and he slides under it, hand coming around Yoongi’s waist, fingers tracing circles down the small of his back. “Okay, you can sleep now,”

Yoongi shifts from beside him and moves closer until he finds the perfect spot, head tucked under Hoseok’s chin and arm slung across Hoseok’s stomach.

This is perfect, Hoseok thinks, the world isn’t about to explode and Yoongi loves him back.

--

XL.

Yoongi comes to the conclusion that Hoseok is no little lamb, not exactly. Jung Hoseok is a tornado that’s come to spiral a mess into Yoongi’s life, leaving debris and wreckage in his wake. But Yoongi’s long since loved the rain and Hoseok always makes his way back to him to help clean out the mess.

Before Hoseok, Yoongi had been fine with his job, had hated most customers and often spat in their drink, but he was fine. There were occasional hook ups from cute strangers that showed interest in him at the pub and he’d be done.

The first night with Hoseok had been something, a complete change from the usual, and if you asked Yoongi if he’d ever imagined himself in this situation, months later and sharing a bed with that once-stranger from at the pub who’d looked so lost, he’d scoff and say that he’d never share a bed with anyone.

But Jung Hoseok isn’t exactly “anyone” in this case. He’s the bright boy with the big hands and wide smiles who’s managed to break through all of Yoongi’s walls.

Jung Hoseok is the little lamb to his wolf who’d somehow managed to turn the whole game into his favour, and Yoongi finds that he doesn’t mind.

Jung Hoseok is the black hole to his supernova, the one person he’d probably – definitely – sit at the edge of a cliff with when the world finally erupts in flames.

Yoongi had always believed that he’s all he’ll ever have to save himself, he’d never expected for Hoseok to pull him out of the burning building that housed his soul, finally granting him sweet relief, housing him in the circle of his arms, and holding him in all the right moments without Yoongi even having to ask.

What Yoongi doesn’t know about Hoseok is that, apparently, he’s Jung Hoseok, the sole heir to JungCo., one of Korea’s largest and most powerful conglomerates. Yoongi finds out because it’s on the TV.

Hoseok gets out of the shower just in the middle of the broadcast, and Yoongi watches as the colour drains from his face.

There’s a photo of the both of them at the corner of the screen, a blurry one from last night, where Yoongi’s sitting on Hoseok’s lap.

The photo doesn’t quite show Yoongi’s face, but anyone in that club would know, would remember.

The reporter is talking about a rapid decline in the JungCo.’s stocks, the scandal apparently shaking the very foundation of the corporation.

Hoseok hasn’t moved from his spot and Yoongi notices that his hands are shaking.

How is it possible, Yoongi wonders, for them to have had such a beautiful night only for the morning to start with a total catastrophe?

“Hoseok?” Yoongi calls, already making his way towards the boy.

The look on Hoseok’s face is a look that will probably haunt Yoongi’s worst nightmares for a very long time. His face is ashen and Yoongi can see just how close to falling apart he is.

He grips tightly at Hoseok’s hands, threads their fingers together and forces the boy to look at him. “Hoseok, say something,”

Yoongi doesn’t need him to say that yes, he is indeed the very same Jung Hoseok the bastard anchor had been talking about. No, Yoongi just needs him to say something – anything.

“Fuck,” Hoseok finally says, still completely in shock. “Fuck.” He repeats, taking a step closer to Yoongi.

He pulls Hoseok all the way in and wraps his arms around him, holds the trembling boy steady as every phone in the apartment starts to ring.

--

XLI.

If it were up to Hoseok, he wouldn’t have left his apartment at all. He would’ve just locked himself up in Yoongi’s, because Yoongi’s place might be small but it feels like home. But as it is, Hoseok’s practically dragged out the door by people his mother has sent, people who don’t even give him a chance to talk.

He’d managed to tell Yoongi not to wait for him and just leave for work, his last glimpse of the boy in the middle of the kitchen looking utterly helpless and pissed the fuck off.

Hoseok kind of feels even more loved just by the fact that Yoongi’s angry for him – god, he’s too far gone for the boy that he’s still burning from last night’s events, doesn’t find the drive all the way to the compound as intimidating as it should be, given the current circumstances.

Ducking right after he’d stepped through the door is the most logical choice – and the right thing to do, too – because his mother is on him, voice high pitched. He hears a glass breaking somewhere to his right – his mother had dropped her drink – quickly followed by something else, much heavier, crashing to the floor.

He winces, wills himself to straighten up and maybe disappear, but his mother leaves him no choice.

She grabs his face with her hand, fingers digging harshly into his skin. She is faint of all colour and Hoseok sees her recoil slightly when she notices the markings littered down his neck.

“You little brat,” She hisses into his face.

Hoseok sees his father slipping through the door, a cigar in his hand, and a serious look in his heavy, deep set eyes.

“Didn’t I tell you – I told you, Hoseok, I told you to put an end to it, but what do you do?” She drops her hold on him and Hoseok stumbles back at the force and bumps against a bookshelf, two books from the top shelf falling on his head.

“You go out and create a scandal for yourself. It’s not enough that we have you as our only son –“ At this, Hoseok sees his father walk closer, a reproaching hand placed on top of his wife’s shoulder. She brushes it off, “Our only son is gay,” The word drips of disgust and acid, and Hoseok feels like the floor from under him might shatter, a black hole ready to swallow him at any moment.

“I can’t fucking believe this – have you seen the state the company is in after what you’ve done?” Now, she turns to her husband as if for backup.

His father sighs, blows out a stream of smoke, and then looks at Hoseok.

“Is it bad?” Hoseok says, voice small. He ignores his mother’s frustrated hissing and turns to his father, instead.

“A few of the major shareholders aren’t feeling too confident about the company anymore given that it’s only successor is gay,” Unlike his mother, the word doesn’t sound as insulting coming from his father’s mouth.

His father extinguishes the cigar and then places two large hands on top of his mother’s shoulders, guiding her down on the couch.

“I don’t see what’s wrong,” Hoseok sounds extremely petulant but he just can’t see what the fucking problem is. So what if he’s gay – is that really cause for major partners to back out? Their company’s top tier, it won’t crash down just because of him, will it? Besides, haven’t they faced even more of a shit storm before?

To his surprise, his father shrugs, “I don’t have a problem with it. Ultimately, it’s your choice if you want to someday take the role of CEO as your own. Some of our, ah, bigger partners just feel like this is a good time to throw their names into the hat, that.”

But their company’s always been exclusive when it came to succession – always from the family, sons and daughters trained from the get go in the workings of the corporate and industrial world. That’s always how they’ve operated, and Hoseok says it out loud only to get another shrug from his father.

“I think succession will be difficult when you refuse to marry,” His father tells him simply.

Behind him, his mother pours herself another drink, her hand shaking so hard that the wine spills all over her dress. Hoseok is just afraid she’ll throw that glass at him, too.

“But I have cousins,”

At the mention of cousins, his mother slams the glass onto the table. “No. It’s the main family who takes the lead in this company,”

“Dad said I could choose,” Hoseok says, a desperate tone in his voice. His father had never told him he could choose – maybe because he hadn’t wanted to, but now there’s no other choice, it’s either Hoseok square up or make way for one of his cousins to take the reins.

“There is no choice to make, Hoseok. You’re supposed to be the chairman of this company – nobody else.” His mother tells him, voice clipped but she sounds less like she’d want to bite his head off now so Hoseok thinks that his father had pacified the situation, if only for the moment.

“Let me think,” He mumbles, a heavy weight settling on his shoulders. “This is literally so fucked up – why does it even matter, seriously? And they took photos – what the fuck,”

His mother is pouring her second glass of wine now and she takes a long sip of it before she tells him, “Your friends are too rich, Hoseok, they didn’t even consider the offer I made them just to stop the story,”

Hoseok thinks that whoever sold that image just to make headlines is no friend of his – and if he ever finds out then he swears there will be hell to pay - he is his mother’s son, after all.

His father walks to the middle of the room, sighing. “I’ll deal with things back in the company. There’s a shareholders meeting by the end of the week, Hoseok, I need you to be there,”

He can’t stop looking at his hands, hands that have held so tightly onto Yoongi, hands that apparently aren’t strong enough to stop this mess, and nods. “Okay,”

“In the meantime, you stay away from that boy,” His mother tells him pointedly.

“What more damage can I even cause?” Hoseok can’t keep his voice down, not when the sting of his mother’s words still hurt, burns right through him.

She gets up, carefully steps over the broken glass, and looks over her shoulder, “I’d rather we not find out anymore.”

--

XLII.

Hoseok doesn’t see Yoongi for the rest of the week. He can’t even make the drive to his own house because his mother demands he be under the same roof where she can keep an eye on him. His car has been taken from him and his mother gives him a driver – to and from the company, that’s it.

His only saving grace is Namjoon, who drops by unannounced the morning of the shareholders meeting.

“Did you bring Yoongi?” Hoseok asks him, face buried in his pillow.

Namjoon plops down on the bed, pushes Hoseok to the other side so he could climb in beside him, and laughs, “Nah, I can’t fit him into my pocket,”

Hoseok thinks that Yoongi could probably fit into a large luggage bag, but it’s too suspicious to be dragging a bag like that when obviously he’s not supposed to be going anywhere.

“My mother is the devil,” He says instead, scooting over to give Namjoon more space.

“Yeah, I heard. Mom thinks she’s being too hard on you,”

“How old am I, Namjoon?” Hoseok peeks under the pillow to look at his friend. “Am I twelve?”

Namjoon only laughs, “Maybe it’s an only son kind of thing? Mothers not acknowledging that you’re actually an adult now, all that?”

“She took my car and she’s got one of her secretaries watching over me all the damn time I’m out of this house,”

“Ouch, but yeah, I heard. Have you talked to Yoongi?”

He finally pushes the pillow off of his face and bolts up on the bed, “Yeah, but not much. I think he’s worried but I can’t really tell because he keeps cursing at my mother,”

“Yeah, I would, too. Also, I think you need to talk to Taehyung, he feels partially responsible. Kid’s been feeling really down after the news broke,” Namjoon tells him, sitting up on the bed, too.

“It’s not his fault,” Hoseok groans, the whole situation unbelievable already.

“You know, this whole thing could be hysterical if you weren’t so miserable. All this just because you had your tongue in another boy’s mouth?” Namjoon is crass and unbearable, and Hoseok throws a heavy pillow to his head.

“You’re fucking useless, Namjoon. But I appreciate you taking the trip to visit me. In the event that I die tonight, please tell Yoongi I love him and that he should cremate me, put my ashes into a jar, and just keep me on top of his kitchen counter forever.” Hoseok sniffs, a tad bit too dramatic, but he hasn’t seen Yoongi in nearly a week and he’s going crazy – he wants to touch him, wants to feel him against him, wants to hear him not through the fucking phone anymore, and he wants to see him smile, too.

Hoseok just wants to feel like the world isn’t quaking and the only way for it to stop is for Yoongi to smile.

--

XLIII.

The shareholders meeting is laughable, if Hoseok’s being honest.

His father keeps the peace, puts everyone in their place when their words get too harsh towards Hoseok, attacking his only son in a way that he just won’t allow.

Hoseok, oddly, feels like his father actually cares about him and not just trying to keep his company afloat and in his possession.

He spots his cousin down the table and she grins at him, giving him the thumbs up. Another cousin, much older than him, eyes him a little bit too seriously, a glint in his eye that Hoseok can’t quite make out.

Finally, when all eyes are on him – again – and he’s given the chance to talk, Hoseok gets up, bows, and begins his apology with a chuckle that he couldn’t keep down. He hears his father groan beside him and if his mother was present then she would’ve fainted already.

“Hello, good evening. I apologise for my recent scandal,” Because, honestly, this isn’t his first scandal (though this is the first that’s actually garnered an actual meeting, so he supposes it’s that bad.)

Hoseok apologises, tells them that he will work harder for the company and, unfortunately for all his uncles and cousins who’re eyeing the position of chairman, he’s not going to give it up.

“That’s not up to you to decide,” His cousin, the one with the heavy gaze, speaks up from down the table.

Hoseok just shrugs, “It’s not up for you to decide either, hyung. And as is with the tradition of this company, the direct heirs of the main family are considered to be the only successors for the position,”

“The company’s stocks have dropped almost by six percent because of you,” His cousin continues, hands balled into fist on top of the table.

“Since you’re such a good employee, you’ll find a way to help the company bounce back, won’t you, hyung?”

His father, hearing enough of their childish banter, slams a thick file onto the table. “Alright, Hoseok, if you’re finished.”

Hoseok drops back down to his seat but not before he smirks at his cousin who’s red in the ears and looking like he might just throw Hoseok through the glass windows.

--

XLIV.

He ditches the driver waiting by the lobby and instead heads to the nearest bus stop. Taking public transportation takes longer but he doesn’t have his car and there’s definitely no way he’s going home just to wrestle the keys out of his mother’s hands, so he takes the bus and the subway, walks down the all too familiar streets, that are still dimly lit and actually kind of creepy, now that he thinks about it.

There are a few people loitering outside of the pub and Hoseok pushes past them to get inside.

The pub is full with university students prancing around and laughing too loudly. Hoseok can barely see the counter from where he stood.

As he draws nearer, he sees a bartender, all showy and grinning, when he mixes the drinks. It’s definitely not Jeongguk because Jeongguk isn’t that friendly with the pub’s patrons.

He tries to search for Yoongi but the only other bartender for the night is another boy with dark hair who’s grumbling to himself to the side, glaring at a particularly rowdy table.

And then he looks up and Hoseok realises that it’s Yoongi and his heart starts to race like it always does whenever he sees him.

Yoongi almost drops the empty glasses of beer he’s holding at the sight of him. Hoseok sees him mouth his name and before he even knows it, Yoongi’s ducked from under the counter and is hurrying towards him, pushing Jeongguk away when the boy appears with a tray of empty plates.

Hoseok grabs hold of Yoongi and pulls him towards him, their lips instantly crushing together the moment they’re close enough.

People from all around them are whistling, openly pointing at them, and Yoongi presses hotly against his mouth, hands gripped tightly on either side of Hoseok’s hips.

The rest of the world could blow up at that moment and Hoseok will be fine, he’s finally with Yoongi, after all.

They kiss, and kiss, and kiss, and kiss some more that when they finally pull apart, Hoseok’s lips are sore, his face flushed.

He grazes a hand down Yoongi’s cheek and smiles at him, the heavy weight on his shoulders finally lifting when Yoongi smiles back at him.

The earth stops shaking and Hoseok is at home again.

The first words out of Hoseok’s mouth aren’t “I miss you” or even “Hi”. He takes in Yoongi – a little bit sweaty and breathless, lips moist and pulled at the corners in a smile, his eyes alight with relief and fucking happiness.

“Your hair is black,” Hoseok says.

Yoongi laughs loudly at that, can’t believe that it’s the first thing Hoseok’s saying to him after finally seeing each other after a week, and gives his hip a light pinch, “Excellent deduction, as usual.”

“Why?” Hoseok can tell him he looks good but that’ll have to wait. He can also tell him that he’s missed him so fucking much but Yoongi already knows, so he settles on the more pressing matter. “I mean, you’re still hot with black hair – like, wow, I think I need a moment to even take it all in, but just – why?”

Yoongi foregoes the question to press against Hoseok, a finger running down the length of Hoseok’s neck before he grabs at Hoseok’s tie, “You think I’m hot like this?” And then he smiles, less of his usual teasing smiles whenever he tries to rile Hoseok up and more of his softer ones – the kind of smile that’s absolutely beautiful, if you asked Hoseok.

“You’re beautiful, Yoongi,” Hoseok tells him, hands settling around his waist. He dips his head down to kiss him, slow and chaste, “And I’ve fucking missed you,”

And then Yoongi laughs and it’s a lovely laugh that Hoseok doesn’t mind hearing for the rest of his life, maybe.

--

XLV.

Hoseok kisses every inch of skin he has access to, teeth grazing down the inside of Yoongi’s leg dangerously, so sensuous that even with Hoseok barely touching him, Yoongi ends up in a trembling, shaking mess.

They make love, slow and sweet, and it’s beautiful.

--

XLVI.

In the morning, Yoongi asks Hoseok if this is okay – if they’re okay.

“You have the whole world at your beck and call, Hoseok. I don’t want to be a burden,” Yoongi murmurs on his spot, perched on top of Hoseok’s chest.

Hoseok welcomes the weight but can’t help but wince when Yoongi accidentally digs an elbow into his stomach.

He also thinks that the world can go fuck itself because all he wants is Yoongi.

“You said you’d stay,” Hoseok reminds him, his eyes still heavy from sleep.

Yoongi hums, nodding his head. “Only if you’ll let me,”

“I don’t want you going anywhere,” He cards through Yoongi’s hair with his fingers, revelling in how dark it is now.

“Good, because I wasn’t thinking of leaving.”

--

XLVII.

Hoseok promises Yoongi that if there’s anything he’ll do right in his life then it’s that he’ll love him like it’s the only thing he’ll ever do correctly.

Yoongi responds by pulling him down for a kiss that ends up with the both of them laughing, their teeth having clashed a little bit too painfully when they couldn’t help but smile too much.

--

XLVIII.

He gets a text from Jin Ri that simply says: “Your mom tried to set us up again but what would I look like after what you just did? Anyway, don’t worry too much about me – I won’t even be thinking about you anymore.”

When he tells his mom about the message, she just collapses onto her chair.

“I don’t understand,” She says right into her plate of salad.

Hoseok wonders if she’ll ever understand him, too.

--

XLVIX.

Yoongi doesn’t move in with him because he lives too far and it’s an impossible commute, given that he’s practically late for everything he does. So Hoseok accepts that. Yoongi shows up in his apartment without fail every night after Hoseok had given him his passcode, saying that while he can’t make the trip to his job, he can spend the night and most of the morning at Hoseok’s. The pub doesn’t open until six, anyway.

“Why don’t you just move in with me already?” Hoseok asks him. “You’re literally making the trip to work every day,”

“Hey, I leave so I can go back to my place, get dressed, and then head to work. It’s different,”

Hoseok doesn’t understand.

“Why don’t you just bring all your stuff here?”

“Then I’d be late for work all the time,”

Hoseok still doesn’t understand his line of reasoning.

“If you’re not ready to move in with me, then you could just say so –“

At that, Yoongi huffs, pushes him back down on the bed, and climbs on top of him, knees braced on either side of Hoseok. “No, we’re practically living together, as it is. It’s just – I can’t imagine leaving at four in the afternoon to get to my six p.m job,”

Hoseok honestly doesn’t understand anything he’s saying. 

“What’s the difference?”

Yoongi pushes Hoseok’s hair out of his face, and says, “I was just joking, you idiot. I didn’t want to seem too easy.”

He lets out a groan, “Can’t you ever give me a break?”

“Wolves don’t always play nicely,” Yoongi whispers, and even in the darkness of their room, Hoseok can make out Yoongi’s eyes that shine like lighthouses guiding him home.

--

L.

Yoongi thinks he could start a fire with the way he feels for Hoseok.

Hoseok, who wakes up in the morning with messy hair.

Hoseok, who laughs too loudly and smiles too much.

Hoseok, who sometimes crumple into a heap whenever he remembers the sting of his mother’s words.

Hoseok, who doesn’t deserve any of it – not the backlash, not the complete and utter disgust from the woman who should always be on his side, no matter what.

Hoseok, who holds Yoongi like he’s the answer, the promise, like he’s everything and more.

Hoseok, who makes him feel like everything, really.

“Hey, idiot, we’re in public and you’re staring too much, don’t be creepy,” Yoongi finally tells him with a half-hearted glare and a smile that he’s trying  - but failing - to push down.

“Impossible,” Hoseok says, chuckling. “By impossible, I mean it’s impossible not to stare at you.”

Yoongi hopes nobody beside them heard what he’d said. He can’t turn away from Hoseok because the boy’s got a grip on his arm, tugging him closer towards him.

“So, do you want to meet my parents?” Hoseok asks, a stupid grin on his face and a mischievous look in his eyes.

“No, I’d rather watch the world burn.” Yoongi tells him without missing a beat.

“Yeah, me too,”

-- 

Yoongi wishes he could bottle some of Hoseok’s laughter.

Hoseok wishes he could catch all of Yoongi’s rays of sunshine and tuck them into his pocket, maybe save them for a rainy day.

They both wish for another day like today – where all they’ve done is lazed around, kissing each other absently while they watched the world go by outside.

Yoongi had thought himself destructive, a wolf preying on a lost lamb, while Hoseok believed he was a tornado, a hurricane always leaving a mess behind him.

There was never a constant in Yoongi’s life – that is, until Hoseok had asked him to stay.

And Hoseok had run, and run, and run away until he’d ran straight into Yoongi, and decided that this is it, this is what he’s been searching for, a place he can finally call home.

Now, they’re both just two boys in love who’ve found their way into each other’s arms, who’ve learnt that sometimes, when you play with fire, you end up warm instead of getting burnt.

--

“What are you thinking about?” Yoongi asks him, voice tired and sleepy. He presses closer to Hoseok, one arm slung lazily across Hoseok’s stomach, his fingers playing with the drawstring of his boxers.

“You,” Hoseok thumbs gently on his cheek, his smile soft and warm when he says, “Always thinking about you, Yoongi.”