Hoseok asks first, if Yoongi minds if he brings the new kid from his dance studio to hang out with them, and Yoongi does.
He minds a lot. There’s a long list of things he’d rather do than meet Hoseok’s new friend, for example, listen to Namjoon talk about the likelihood of an afterlife for three days straight or perhaps the entirety of the new Falling in… something album that Jungkook is, for god knows what reason, obsessed with. But, Hoseok’s grinning so fucking wide and he’s tapping Yoongi’s knee excitedly waiting for the answer, and he finds it impossible to do anything but scowl and nod his assent.
It’s not that he thinks there’s going to be anything bad about the guy. He has full, if not a little misguided, trust in Hoseok’s taste. He just hates having to translate.
Everyone in their group slowly comes to understand why Yoongi more or less refuses to spend time with anyone who can’t sign. He doesn’t mind when he has to use a smaller vocabulary to accommodate different levels of understanding, or spell things out instead of using the sign for a word, or when he has to slow the movement of his hands so everyone can follow along with what he’s saying, but he hates when someone else has to watch him sign and then reply for him.
They all come to understand the discomfort he’s never been able to correctly explain the first time they’re all walking down the street together and a tourist stops them to ask for help in rough, shaky Korean and Namjoon switches to speaking English, much to the relief of their new American friend. The rest of them stand awkwardly behind Namjoon while he talks, wondering what they’re saying, catching a word here and there but unable to fully grasp the conversation. After a few minutes, Namjoon realize he doesn’t know what she’s looking for and slides back into Korean to ask the group, and all but Yoongi talk over each other trying to give the best directions and Namjoon shares the information with foreign words.
Yoongi doesn’t mind being mute, not usually. The illness that stole his voice, and nearly his life, ruined his vocal chords when he was three, so he doesn’t have any significant memories of speaking to miss the ability. There are minor annoyances - for example, interpreters. He’s not quite sure what it is about translation that he dislikes so much, but, the hours he’s spent considering it have brought him closer and closer to the conclusion that it’s the only time he feels as if he’s missing something important. When he’s alone, in silence, or sitting on the shitty couch in the basement Namjoon rents, or at the dinner table with his parents, there is nothing to miss. His friends keep an eye on his hands at all times so he doesn’t have to struggle for someone’s attention to speak, and it keeps him from feeling left out when they joke back and forth out loud. His parents rarely talk to him unless he’s too far to get their attention, opting to sign as much as possible as to protect his feelings, which aren’t as fragile as they’ve long believed. But, when Yoongi has to wait for someone to explain the language his skilled hands speak to someone who can’t understand the movements, it gives Yoongi an awful, out of place feeling that he prefers to avoid as much as possible.
So, normally, Hoseok only invites him out in groups when everyone already knows how to sign, or, at the very least, can follow along with most of what Yoongi says. Their core group all came together already knowing how to sign; Hoseok because his sister is deaf, Namjoon because he had a crush on Hoseok’s sister when he was eleven and wanted to tell her, Taehyung because he saw it in a drama once and thought the movements were pretty, Jin because he went through a brief period where he wanted to be a translator and Jungkook because he’d had a friend with mute parents in middle school and he had picked up enough to follow along in the time he spent at their home.
When Hoseok does bring his new friend over, it’s not with the entire group. Jin is working, Namjoon is out with his parents and Jungkook is at school. Yoongi, actually, isn’t aware that it’s the day Hoseok decided they would meet. He’s stretched out on the floor next to his bed while Taehyung naps, soft beats playing through his speakers as he tests out the new sleeping playlist he put together in attempt to cure his occasional bouts of insomnia. It does wonders for Taehyung, nothing for him.
Without warning, Hoseok bursts though his bedroom door with enough energy to toss Taehyung back into consciousness. He reveals the second visitor when he flings himself on the bed to annoy Taehyung, his favorite way to greet his friends, and it takes Yoongi too long to realize that it’s probably the kid that Hoseok had asked them to meet, not just someone who had wandered into his house like a lost puppy. It’s a fair comparison, Yoongi decides.
Hoseok introduces them one by one, and Taehyung chirps back an excited hello. Yoongi offers a little wave, as to not seem uninterested. They earn a bright grin and enthusiastic greeting in return from their guest, Jimin, and Yoongi thinks he can already see why Hoseok likes him so much.
Things go smoothly for exactly twelve minutes. Taehyung and Hoseok are watching him through their peripherals, even as he continues to remain still, and Jimin glances towards him with a vaguely confused look every so often to see what the other two find so interesting, and the new attention is a little uncomfortable for Yoongi but poses no real problem.
And then, Yoongi signs to Hoseok to ask Jimin if he wants anything to drink, suddenly remembering the etiquette of being a host, and Jimin exclaims, “Is he deaf?!”
Conveying tone with your hands is hard, but Hoseok has known Yoongi long enough to tell that when his movements break from their usual, natural fluidity and become sharp and pronounced, he’s mad. Even if Hoseok couldn’t tell just from that, the harsh downturn of his mouth and fury in his eyes would do enough. Hoseok signs back excuses just as rapidly, and Taehyung glances between them nervously. Fights between Hoseok and Yoongi, or, really, Yoongi and anyone, are rare and often explosive. They’ve been signing the longest, and they’re the two who have always had to know, and once hands start flying, the rest of their friends, no matter their skill, can’t follow.
Jimin mumbles out apologies as fast as Hoseok offers bullshit reasons for why he didn’t mention Yoongi’s disability, and Yoongi wouldn’t be so mad if Hoseok hadn’t made it feel like something he had to hide. If he’d known it was supposed to be a secret, he wouldn’t have accepted Hoseok’s requests for the two to meet.
It quickly switches from Hoseok and Yoongi silently fighting to Hoseok trying to placate Jimin and Yoongi trying to get Taehyung to accurately translate his long rant about how it has nothing to do with Jimin, it was a fair assumption, but Hoseok is a ridiculous asshole who doesn’t know how to treat his oldest friend, and he has nothing to apologize for except making the mistake of befriending such a person, but Taehyung keeps paraphrasing and making everything sound far more polite than Yoongi wants.
Things settle, and Jimin’s cheeks are flushed with a mildly adorable blush for the rest of the time he spends with Yoongi.
It’s fine, after that. Mostly. As fine as anything ever is, Yoongi supposes. Jimin hangs around more often than not, and he decides it’s fine, and not in that tone that Namjoon uses when things are “fine” but actually everything is falling apart and nothing is okay. They’re actually just… fine.
It’s not great, or anything, the way Jimin scoots close against Yoongi to watch his hands with a quiet awe everytime Yoongi and Hoseok get into a weird, silent fight that makes everyone but Jimin uncomfortable. He’s doesn’t think it’s cute, the way that Jimin gets huffy when someone doesn’t translate what Yoongi says and he knows it’s because Yoongi said something mean or when someone signs to Yoongi instead of speaking, meaning they’re saying something only Jimin can’t know. Usually, it’s just someone teasing Yoongi about the way he (totally doesn’t) stares at Jimin’s lips sometimes and he appreciates them not making their comments aloud as much as he appreciates anything his asshole friends do.
Yoongi maintains that he is fine with the presence of Jimin and nothing more, that it means nothing to him if the kid is around or not. They’ve been friends for eight months before Yoongi admits that they’re friends, and it’s only after heavy prodding when Hoseok claims that Yoongi “lit up” when Jimin smiled at him one afternoon.
He didn’t, alright? He just happened to smile at the same time that Jimin was smiling at him, but, the kid is okay, so it’s not like he can keep arguing with Hoseok after they’ve all been hanging out for nearly a year.
Yoongi doesn’t admit that he thinks Jimin is cute until Namjoon calls him out on his blush just after Jimin teasingly ruffles his hair and speaks formally to him, knowing that Yoongi can’t easily argue. It doesn’t mean anything, though. Objectively, Jimin is cute. That’s just a fact of life. Yoongi can’t deny a universal truth.
He tells Jimin he loves him before he knows he loves Jimin.
It’s almost exactly a year after the first day he met Jimin when Jimin shows up at his house, out of the blue, and Yoongi is wishing he had the voice to say, “As much as I wish I could, you know I can’t talk to you” just as Jimin starts waving his hands with clumsy fingers, telling Yoongi that he’s really glad they became friends and he’s trying to learn and he’s going to get better and soon they can hang out one on one and the words are messy and some of them wrong, but everything close enough for Yoongi to understand.
Yoongi’s hands are numb when they dictate a message and it takes his mind a few minutes to catch up. He’s only realizes he said, ‘I’m in love with you’ when Jimin says, “I don’t know what that means, sorry.”
Impulsively, Yoongi slams the door shut.
Jimin knocks again. Yoongi opens it to sign, in the easiest form he can, that it didn’t mean anything. After a long minute of the most awkward staring contest he’s ever participated in, Yoongi tacks on a thanks.
He closes the door as Jimin asks what for, and doesn’t open it again.
Ten minutes after Yoongi gets a message from Hoseok reading only, “YOU LOVE JIMIN??”, Jimin is back on his front step, breathing heavily, glaring at Yoongi’s blank stare. Yoongi wonders if he ran there.
“Asshole,” Jimin starts, “You told me you love me?”
Yoongi shrugs like it doesn’t matter.
“Why wouldn’t you tell me?”
He shrugs again, and Jimin corrects, “I guess you did tell me, but, you know, in a way I could understand.”
Frusterated, Yoongi signs, unfairly quick, “that’s the whole point, because you can’t understand half of anything I say and it’ll take you years to learn and I’m not fucking worth it and it was just an impulse, me loving you doesn’t mean anything, and you don’t need to know and I don’t need to think about it.”
Quietly, unnecessarily, Jimin points out that he couldn’t follow. Yoongi throws his arms out wildly, Jimin proving the point he doesn’t know Yoongi was making. He seems to understand, and mumbles, “We could work past it,” and Yoongi won’t let himself think about what that implies.
“You don’t want me,” Yoongi signs, “I’m broken.”
Jimin stares at his hands, Yoongi repeating the last phrase over and over, and Jimin’s hands start to half-heartedly mimic his, trying to understand, trying to follow.
Finally, Yoongi scowls and tugs his phone, still receiving a message from Hoseok every twenty seconds, out of his pocket to text Jimin, “You don’t want me.”
Jimin looks up at him curiously, waiting for the message to arrive, and his expression turns to sympathetic confusion once it does.
Softly, he replies out loud, “I do.”
Gulping, Yoongi texts back his biggest fear, “I’m broken. Irreparable.”
And, when Jimin’s phone pings with it’s arrival, he laughs. It makes Yoongi’s stomach drop.
“You’re an idiot,” Jimin says, fond, and Yoongi is in the midst of texting back a complaint when one of Jimin’s hands gently covers his, and the other nudges his chin up until they’re eye to eye, “Nothing’s broken.”
Yoongi doesn’t mind being mute, not usually. Sometimes it’s annoying when his mom is downstairs and he doesn’t want to walk all the way down to ask what’s for dinner. Sometimes he wishes people didn’t give him dirty looks like he was just some mannerless kid when he didn’t say excuse me or thank someone for doing something kind. Sometimes he wishes he could tell Jimin that he thinks he’s beautiful and that he’s a obnoxious, loud, disruptive, perfect presence in Yoongi’s quiet life. Sometimes he wishes he could reply when he calls Jimin late at night, just to hear his voice, and Jimin tells him stories and pays him compliments he’ll never believe he deserves.
Yoongi doesn’t mind being mute, not usually. Sometimes, he doesn’t even need words. Sometimes a quiet touch, a little squeeze of the hand, a bright smile reserved only for Jimin, a quick peck or a long, slow, press of his lips to any part of Jimin’s body he can reach is all he needs to get his point across.