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The Two Billion Songs On Love

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Yoongi has developed a system by now.

He wakes up ten minutes before Monday morning classes begin, gets hurried by Jin over 'Yoongi, for goodness sake, can you try waking up in time for once?', manages to grab leftover instant kimbap as an excuse for a nutritious breakfast (in his defence, kimbap has seaweed and that's counted as healthy no matter what stats Jin throws at him),watches Jungkook on the couch lounging about as he eats because somehow his photography grades were at a constant high whether he attended classes or not, or Jimin fixing his hair before he left for dance practice, and is pushed out of the door in a blur of the rest of the frat members' mumbled, half awake 'hellos' and 'You look gorgeous this morning, hyung' as Yoongi flips them off.

No one said the system was easy, just reliable.

Yoongi doesn't depend on a lot of constants in his life, which has less to do with the fact that he's a math major at college and no, this is not a pun, and everything to do with what kind of a guy Yoongi just is.

Yoongi is fantastic at watching 'could-have beens' remain that way and allow 'just maybes' stay just that, which meant that though Yoongi clings to stability, things change around him constantly, and people leave because that's how things are and Yoongi accepts this and life goes on.

But he digresses.

Despite all his complaining (which Yoongi is a grade A defending champion at, though it may be hard to believe), Yoongi is glad at the finality of the routine he had settled into when he enters college and stumbles upon the what they have all settled on calling the Judicial Collaboration Fraternity their first drunk night (which was funny, because no one except Namjoon even studied Law there, but if anybody asked they 'gather knowledge on Law and discuss applicability in society for future generations and development', a line which Namjoon force fed to them the second night of their stay), or JCF for short (which all the members jokingly called Jin is in Charge Forever, or something else along less PG lines).

Yoongi had no idea what convinced him to sign the stupid form for the fraternity house in the first place, which in retrospect, was probably because Taehyung was the only one he knew in college back then since they both came from the same Daegu high school and had been forced to sign the dotted line because Taehyung had heard of the cute guy Jungkook in the frat and 'couldn't do it alone, hyung'. Yoongi hated that sappy face Taehyung used as an excuse for favours, so he had given in.

But things had gone incredibly well, much to Yoongi's surprise.

Namjoon was clumsy, smart, and way too tall for his own damn good, as Yoongi had told him often. But really, Yoongi enjoyed their long 3 AM conversations which could only be drawn out on Yoongi at mind numbing hours of the morning amidst terrible long study sessions, but he would rather die than tell Namjoon that.

Jin was clean, obsessed about his Mario figurine collection and good at cooking. Like really, really fucking good. Like the kind of good that had Yoongi possibly thinking his own mother would be jealous, and that he should probably appreciate Jin for caring about all of them so much.

Jimin was loud, happy, and spent most of his time practicing dance. Yoongi suspected it had more to do with his weight loss regime than anything else ("Jimin, it pains me to say this, but you're fine the way you are," Yoongi tells the younger, and though Jimin beams, the guy is adamant with his slimming green teas and bland tofus that tasted like watered down puke).

Taehyung was weird, annoyingly hilarious when he wanted to be, and well, just generally Taehyung. How else could you describe a guy that woke up at 1:52 in the morning because he had cheese-pancake cravings? You just couldn't. But of all the constants Yoongi lacked, he was glad Taehyung was not the variable.

Jungkook was quiet, orderly, and a massive workaholic with anything except his major, which Yoongi respected a whole lot more than he ever let on. It was a different thing that Jungkook was a giggly mess around Taehyung and vice versa, but Yoongi ignored that factor as much as he could when it came to the youngest guy in the group.

And so the six of them co-existed in Saturday night noraebangs of awful singing (mostly from Yoongi and Namjoon), and late night shots at the bar till they were all more than a little hung over the next day (for which Jin always prepared well for, in the 8 tubs of ice cream and 6 instant unsweetened coffees he bought every Friday), and then proceeded to spend all of Sunday watching movies, gaming loudly and yelling obnoxious profanities, or just generally anything that made boys just scraping unwillingly into adulthood excited over.

It didn't seem to matter that Namjoon couldn't work without blasting music around him and Yoongi couldn't stand disturbance in the middle of Advanced Calculus, or that Jin hated messes that Yoongi was fantastic at creating, or that Taehyung invaded Yoongi's personal space more with every passing day, or even that Jimin liked to talk and Yoongi hated to listen, and that Jungkook didn't get why Yoongi didn't like ketchup with his bingsu. Because somehow, through all the imperfections, they made it work, and it was Jimin who first admitted that he felt incredibly lucky about how things worked out with the six of them, but Yoongi couldn't have put it better himself.

It was a good cycle, albeit a difficult one sometimes, what with the lack of privacy and how annoying the guys got, but for however different all of them were, the six of them clicked like oiled gears; effortless, noiseless, and just well.

So Yoongi is more than a little surprised when a new pair of shoes at the entrance and a grin the intensity of the fricking sun greets Yoongi in the form of Jung Hoseok after the first month of his stay at the frat.

Damn Seokjin and his I'm-everyones-mother-it-doesnt-matter-that-I-didnt-push-you-out-of-me personality and his weakness for smiles like Hoseok's.

 

*

 

Yoongi doesn't understand why the other guys don't think it's a big deal.

"I'm literally rooming with him," Yoongi complains to Jimin as they walk out of the frat house and into the cool November air the next day.

Seoul is cold already, with its soft fog hanging over the buildings like gentle, airy reminders in the passing that winter was on the way, and despite his layered on hoodie and jacket and the thickest scarf he owned wrapped around his neck, the touch of winter winds have Yoongi's cheeks reddening in seconds.

"And?"

"And I don't even know him."

"And?"

"It's too late for him to get in."

"And?"

"And he's way too weird."

Jimin cocks an eyebrow. "Taehyung weird or normal weird?"

"No, it's... a different weird."

"Explain."

"He's just so," Yoongi sighs. Explanations are not Yoongi's thing.

"So happy all the time. It's not normal. He offered me sweet Gwangju bread from his hometown. Just because he moved in. Who does that?"

"So your problem with him extends to how happy he is and how he got you free desserts on his first day? I got Namjoon hyung's used underwear on the floor as welcoming when I moved in, hyung," Jimin says, nose wrinkling, like the memory still petrifies him a little.

"He just - forget it," Yoongi says at last, because he's already at the Math wing anyway and Jimin is getting late, but more than that, because he cannot describe Jung Hoseok.

Jung Hoseok, with his smile that spells distant trouble for Yoongi in the back of his mind, the endlessly engaging talks Hoseok involves Yoongi in about his hometown and his sister, and how unnervingly easily Hoseok has slipped through the cracks of Yoongi's apprehension unlike anything Yoongi had ever experienced before.

That kid is trouble, Yoongi decides as he heads into Combinatronics class that day. He is most definitely planning on eating that sweet Gwangju bread in the back of class anyway, though.

What? Learning was hungry work.

 

*

 

Jung Hoseok is way too into skinship. It's the first thing Yoongi notices about him, almost immediately, in fact, as Hoseok puts down his luggage.

Yoongi lays out the rules for Hoseok about Yoongi's schedules and things Yoongi cannot stand (this includes smelly feet, underwear on Yoongi's bed, and rap battle face offs as Yoongi sleeps, a new addition, thanks to Jungkook and Jimin, who are in fact, both terrible and have no rapping talent whatsoever), and Hoseok nods vigorously in agreement before wrapping his arms around Yoongi right when Yoongi gets to the 'please come out with at least 2 items of clothing and a towel on you after you shower' part of his speech.

Yoongi is not used to this. He freezes, and clearly Hoseok doesn't notice, because he proceeds into a rant of his own.

"Can you believe we're all here? In college? Living our own lives? Eating from wherever? Coming home whenever we want? Washing our own socks?"

"Uh," Yoongi gets out, trying to extricate himself and getting further entangled.

"I can sleep when I want to, and eat cereal in my underwear-"

"Actually, please don't-"

"And we can be best friends, and go on road trips, and tell stories, and never get tired of each other." Hoseok's eyes shine, completely missing the horror in Yoongi's expression.

Relief is not a strong enough word for when Hoseok's grip loosens on Yoongi's hip, but before Yoongi is able to get away, Hoseok nuzzles into Yoongi's neck.

"I'm so glad I'm rooming with a guy like you," he says and Yoongi awkwardly pats Hoseok on the shoulder, without pointing out that Hoseok had no idea what kind of a guy Yoongi was yet, and that if he thought that sappy blind faith thing was going to work on everybody at college, he had another thing coming.

But it was an odd comfort to be trusted without doubt or question for once in Yoongi's life and something in Yoongi's heart gives way, and Yoongi allows himself a smile. A tiny one, the ghost of it gracing Yoongi's lips before Hoseok lets go at last and the smile is gone as fleetingly as it came, and Yoongi is back to his usual disapproving self.

 

 *

 

"Hey."

Yoongi waves his arms in front of Namjoon, because he is way too engrossed in Imagine Dragons' new single blasting from Yoongi's headphones to notice (Yoongi had let Namjoon borrow it because this was the only compromise on their decibel level requirements when they pulled all nighters, provided Namjoon did not damage his headphones because quote unquote "I will set your crotch on fire if you so much as get them scratched, I do not care if they send me to juvi" but the threatening was worth it, because Namjoon was as talented at breaking things as with Law and Business Studies).

"What?" Namjoon pauses the playlist, quirking his pencil at Yoongi.

"Help me out with something," Yoongi says after a tentative moment.

"I hate to break it to you, but I suck at Trig or Calc or whatever it is you Math Majors break your brains over," Namjoon quips.

"I hate to break it to you, but if that's you Law majors' idea of being funny, you should probably quit and sign up at Hire-A-Hobo," Yoongi shoots back, because 2:34 AM with sigmas and complex numbers swimming in his brain does nothing for Yoongi's patience.

"So what is it?"

"It's about Hoseok."

"Yoongi, it's been three weeks, get over it."

"I was never under it. I've been over it since he came. I'm more than over it. I'm flying."

Namjoon rolls his eyes, knowing it's the decaf in Yoongi speaking, and points his pencil at Yoongi to prod him to continue, but the words get stuck in Yoongi's throat before he can let them out.

"What does it mean when someone keeps flowers on your bedside every morning?"

Namjoon cracks a smile.

"Hoseok is just like that, hyung. It doesn't mean a thing. He's just a sweet guy, let him live. They don't all come shrivelled up like you," which earns Namjoon a half hearted swipe at his arm which Namjoon has gotten surprisingly good at avoiding. Yoongi make a mental note to change tactics soon.

"But it's just - why would he do that? For me? I've been nothing but a dick to him ever since he got here," Yoongi admits, but this is not entirely true.

Much to Yoongi's chagrin, Jung Hoseok has made his way not-so-silently into Yoongi's routine. It frustrates the hell out of Yoongi why he can only shrug at the bright 'Good Mornings' he gets from the other, or how it doesn't bother Yoongi when Hoseok borrows Yoongi's scarf when the mornings are chilly, or pangs of annoyance fail to take over Yoongi's patience when Hoseok asks Yoongi about his day, or what Yoongi's favourite colour was.

Mostly, it frustrates Yoongi that Jung Hoseok can't stay in his damn lane.

"Maybe he thinks you're the only one he can't seem to get on the good side of from the six of us. You're always shoving him off and ignoring him, so he thinks doing this will make you like him like you like us."

Yoongi is not convinced.

"So, all I have to do is - be nicer?"

Namjoon feigns horror.

"Nice? And you? Imagine that. Satan couldn't make that happen," and Yoongi laughs, giving Namjoon a slight shove.

"Watch how much sarcasm you pick up from me, kid," Yoongi warns.

"Yeah, yeah, don't get your boxers in a twist."

"Say that again, and we'll see whose boxers really will be twisted."

Namjoon gulps, going back to his whatever-the-hell-Law-majors-study.

"One more thing, Joonie," Yoongi says.

The room is cold despite the heater next to Yoongi and the steaming mug of coffee, and the elder shivers.

"What?"

"What does it mean when someone crawls into bed with you at night because he claims he's scared?"

Namjoon has no comments on the subject.

 

*

 

It had been the day after Halloween, and Yoongi was in the mood for anything but social interaction at 12 in the night after a day of long, shitty lectures, crappy classes and the unrealistic deadlines that was starting to give Yoongi sleep deprived hallucinations between the spreadsheets he was meant to be sorting.

It had been 2 minutes and 38 seconds into Yoongi finally sinking into the inviting covers of the mattress when he heard it.

No, it didn't happen.

Psst.

Yoongi squeezed his eyes shut tighter.

Hey.

He's not there.

Hyung!

Yoongi's eyes fly open, and if his bloodshot eyes don't give away his infuriation, his expression certainly should.

"What? What the hell is it? What could possibly have happened? Plague? Rape? Pillage? Murder? Did Jungkook set off the fire alarm again? What the hell is so damn important at this hour?"

4 seconds later, the guilt hits Yoongi.

In the dark, Hoseok looks pitiful. His hair is wet after what Yoongi assumed was a shower, bangs slightly parted over his forehead that Yoongi had the uncontrollable urge to push away, set above terrified and now (thanks to Yoongi) upset eyes that reflected on his trembling lips.

It is Hoseok that has started to make Yoongi think he is going crazy these days, because Yoongi always says what he feels, and to hell with the consequences, but with Hoseok, words died on Yoongi's lips faster than he could ever hope of spitting them out. It was a brand new feeling, looking at Hoseok like this, like Yoongi wanted to protect him.

Which was crazy. Yoongi hates Hoseok.

(Right?)

If only Yoongi weren't so unaccustomed to apologies, Hoseok would have got one by now.

(Sorry, Hoseok.)

"I-uh, what is it Jung?"

(Are you okay?)

"It's nothing." Hoseok sniffs a little, eyes glued to the floor. "Sorry to bother you, hyung."

"Just tell me what's wrong, I'm up already," but Yoongi's voice had dropped several octaves, and it allows a tiny edge of softness in its reaches.

(It's not nothing, idiot, just let me help you.)

Hoseok hesitates.

"I'm scared hyung," he lets out, voice barely above a whisper. In the dark, Yoongi thinks he sees Hoseok tremble ever so slightly.

"Of what?"

"I don't know." The waver in Hoseok's voice stings Yoongi's heart. Just a little. Yoongi sighs.

"Is it the Halloween movie marathon we all had last night?"

Hoseok cracks a small smile.

"Maybe."

Yoongi grins but he has no idea why, and he can't wipe it off his face fast enough. He hopes Hoseok misses it in the dark.

"So what are you going to do about it?"

"Can - hyung, can I sleep with you?"

Yoongi's mind skidded to a halt.

Who the hell did this guy think he was? He had his own damn bed, and he was a grown man, for crying out loud. Besides, Yoongi slept in the same room. How anyone could find it in them to be afraid over a few hours of computer modulated screams and fake blood was beyond Yoongi.

No fricking way.

But Hoseok is shivering in his tank top and shorts and Yoongi can't imagine who wears so little on cold November nights like this and in the dim lighting from the window, Yoongi can't tear his eyes off Hoseok. A stray thought forms and dissipates before Yoongi can control it.

Beautiful.

Silently, he holds up the sheets, and Hoseok climbs in gratefully, gingerly, like he's afraid to break Yoongi. Yoongi doesn't speak, doesn't trust his voice to betray the sacred, new feeling that has started to grow roots in Yoongi's heart. As long as they're quiet, everything will be okay. Hoseok is freezing, and Yoongi finds himself wishing the guy hadn't showered so late in the night.

"Thank you, hyung, I owe you one," Hoseok breathes to Yoongi, his arm draped loosely around the elder as his breathing gets slow and regular and Hoseok is asleep so fast, Yoongi cannot imagine the guy was terrified of his own shadow ten minutes ago.

"Don't you forget it," Yoongi whispers back to no one in particular.

But Hoseok's warm breath on Yoongi's neck, the weight of his arm on Yoongi's waist, the way Hoseok cocoons Yoongi like 2 pieces of perfectly fitting puzzles like this was the most normal thing in the world, like it was something they had been doing for years, stays with Yoongi till the dorm window announces the breaking of dawn outside.

The glint in Hoseok's eyes when Yoongi lets the younger in for the first time stays with Yoongi for much longer.

 

 

December doesn't mean a thing to Yoongi except that now he has to bring the heater out when he crunches numbers at odd hours of the night and should probably reduce the eight mugs of hot chocolate he consumes every half hour as the night wears on.

This is not the case with the rest of them, though. If finding Namjoon crooning terribly to the old record Taehyung brought along from Daegu to Christmas carols and Jimin not cringing for once at the very sight of it and joining in is not enough to give it away, the suspicious looks on Taehyung and Jungkook's faces as they whisk Yoongi away to their frat dorm is.

"Shh," Taehyung hisses, shutting the door as Jungkook suppresses his giggles to a smile that reaches his dancing eyes.

"What the hell -"

Jungkook looks at Taehyung in a nervous glance and immediately, Taehyung's fingers find Jungkook's. Yoongi pretends he doesn't notice.

"So it's the first week of December," Taehyung begins.

"I am aware," Yoongi ventures cautiously.

"And Christmas will be here before you know it," Jungkook continues.

"Is this what this is about? Christmas?" Yoongi says in exasperation, but Taehyung is quick to clap is hand over Yoongi's mouth. Yoongi cocks an eyebrow.

"Not so loud, the others will hear us hyung," Jungkook whines. Yoongi shrugs, partially because he doesn't care, but the factor of Taehyung's hand still clasped around his mouth is a contributing factor.

"But we're kind of, um, short on funds," Taehyung continues.

"Running dry," Jungkook chimes in.

"Broke, if you will," Taehyung adds.

"I get the idea," Yoongi says, smacking away Taehyung's hand. They look at each other hesitantly and then at Yoongi. Yoongi notices that awful puppy face Taehyung is bringing out again. He looks away before he sees it develop in a full fledged face of plea, gives out a long drawn out sigh from the depths of his soul.

"Are you kidding me? Why don't you ask Seokjin for money?"

"Too much nagging, plus he'd probably tell everybody," Jungkook dismisses, gaze still expectant.

"Come with us, hyung. We're going in three days, after Saturday night noraebang, because it's too risky before. You need to get the others stuff anyway, we can go together," Taehyung prods, and as revolting as the idea of being stuck Christmas shopping with the two lovebirds in the frat sounded, the guy wasn't wrong.

"Fine, how much do you guys think you'll nee-" But Taehyung has wrapped his arms around Yoongi's neck in teary gratitude and as much as Yoongi protests, he can't help the grin that spreads over his lips. It doesn't take much for Christmas cheer to be contagious, he decides.

Besides, Yoongi should probably start showing that he doesn't use the guys to lower rent money at college some time about now anyway.

Yoongi really does like them, honestly.

He's not kidding.

Not that he'll ever admit to this.

 

 

"You didn't," Yoongi breathes out, eyes fixed on a grinning Hoseok who is standing at the doorway of their dorm on Friday night as Yoongi's head felt like it might just explode with the deadlines he's had to meet this past week.

But it's the shining car keys with the Mario keychain that dangles from Hoseok's fingers that Yoongi is interested in.

"I did."

"He sleeps with that thing next to him."

"Quite literally, as I found out."

"How did you do that?"

"The question is not how I did that, it's how long before he wakes up, hyung."

"He's up by 6 AM," Yoongi says in a hushed tone.

"Then there's plenty of time," Hoseok says, eyes glimmering.

"2 AM drive, hyung?"

Yoongi doesn't need to be asked twice. He wrestles on everything warm he owns (Jin's car is best enjoyed topless, he decides, and Seoul December snow best enjoyed without being laid up in bed with a cold), and the night swallows them up before he knows it.

Yoongi climbs into the driver's seat, puts the key in the ignition.

"He's going to kill us when he finds out," Yoongi says looking over at Hoseok.

"If he finds out."

Yoongi lets the car engine warm up, removes the top, backs out of the driveway.

"You've got balls, Jung," Yoongi lets out before he revvs the engine.

Driving at 2 AM, Yoongi realizes, is different from anything he has ever experienced. Maybe it's the cold that cuts into his skin like razors that make his eyes water, or maybe the way the wind blows into his hair as they hit the wide, empty freeway, the way the orange street lights slant at sharp angles throwing shadows on everything it doesn't touch or the feeling that no matter how long and how far they drive, they'll never run out of road or youth as long as the sun doesn't catch up with them on tomorrow's burdens.

Maybe.

Or maybe it's the way Hoseok stands up in the shotgun seat to stick his head out of the car and scream and laugh like his life depended on it. Or the way Hoseok finds space for a sixth bowl of cheap sweet n' sour ramen take out box at the 24/7 drive thru, or the way he stares with an innocent awe Yoongi lost years ago at the town lit up in Christmas lights or the way he points out almost every alley on the street and names them in his own way (by the time he calls one of them 'Road to Jimin's Ass Heaven' Yoongi has stopped memorizing them).

Yoongi doesn't really know, but he feels the tiniest flutter at the pit of his stomach when he reaches out to Hoseok and they return the car to where it was and switch the engine off, brushing away snowflakes that have caught themselves in Hoseok's eyelashes.

"You've got some too," Hoseok laughs softly, brushing away some from Yoongi's hair and straightening Yoongi's scarf out, holding Yoongi's cheeks between his palms until they lost some of their redness from the cold.

Yoongi doesn't know what he feels then, but he writes off the butterflies to the shitty ramen. Too much of that stuff doesn't do anyone good.

So they both sneak back in quietly.

Keep their shoes by the heater so it melts by morning.

Giggle softly till the euphoria leaves them as they drain hot chocolate mugs.

Hoseok returns the keys carefully.

Yoongi tries to get Hoseok out of his head as he hears Hoseok's soft breathing in the next bed.

 

*

 

Saturday night noraebangs end like they always do, with all of them hopelessly drunk at the bar afterwards except Jin, who is only mildly tipsy because he simultaneously refuses to miss out on the fun but is the designated driver for his car that he will allow no one to touch.

Sunday morning start as they usually do, 11 AM hangovers in the kitchen and ice cream and coffee that are too cold and too hot all at once and just what they need to function as humans by lunch time.

But Sunday afternoon is a different story because Yoongi doesn't break promises.

"Okay, where do you want to go first?" Yoongi sighs out as they stand in the middle of a street that looks like a sufficient amount of time was wasted on making it look like Father Christmas personally came and threw up on it.

It is the wrong question.

They want to go everywhere.

By the time afternoon turned to evening two hours ago, Yoongi has his earplugs in and just follows the two of them (they're hard to miss, tower-like as they are) from one Christmas themed hole-in-the-wall outlet to the next, occasionally picking out something for one of the members himself, handing Taehyung or Jungkook his wallet every now and then.

"We're done," are words Yoongi never thought he would hear, but it comes from Jungkook at last, and as much as Yoongi wants to go home and analyse and nurse the wounds on his funds, something nags him yet.

"Hoseok," he blurts out, and Taehyung gives Yoongi a sly grin.

"I, uh, haven't got anything for him yet, he's the only one left," Yoongi mumbles, eyes averted.

"What do you want to get him?" Jungkook asks helpfully, but Yoongi shrugs.

"I don't know," he says at last, staring wistfully at the billionth glass window he has seen decorated with candy cane houses and ginger bread men.

Another hour of searching ends in Yoongi rejecting everything he lays his eyes on, and Yoongi wonders why the hell he's being so damn picky, those reindeer chocolates two streets ago look just fine and it's not like Hoseok would mind, but they eventually trudge home exhausted under the weight of Christmas shopping, Yoongi still with nothing for Jung Hoseok.

"It's alright hyung," Taehyung says with an arm around Yoongi's shoulder in the darkening twilight, sipping Americanos Yoongi treated them to. "You can come some other time, maybe you'll find something you like."

"What are you getting each other?" Yoongi says, changing the subject.

"It's a secret. You can't tell your boyfriend what you're getting him," Taehyung says, grinning till all his teeth show as he latches onto Jungkook's arm and Yoongi's eyes roll to the back of his brain.

"I wonder what Hoseok hyung is getting his boyfriend," Jungkook says and Yoongi stops walking so abruptly, he almost drops his coffee.

"His what?"

"His boyfriend, hyung. From his hometown, they've been together 3 years, I think."

"Didn't he tell you?" Taehyung asks, incredulous.

"Didn't come up," Yoongi chokes out.

The Americano tastes like dog pee strained through a trash bag suddenly. Yoongi lets it coat his tongue.

 

*

 

Yoongi is sure he's coming down with something.

He has to be. It happens at the most random times, when they're all laughing over something Jimin said yesterday in which Jimin a pouty mess in some corner of the room till Namjoon coaxes him back and a quick glance at Hoseok's thousand watt smile is when the tingling begins. Yoongi doesn't pay it much attention. Probably the can of Coke he downed (he chooses to ignore the fact that he drank that like, 4 days ago).

And not that Jin's cooking has ever gotten him sick before, but when he sits on the couch with the eight tons of kimbap triangles Jin keeps at the back of the fridge for all of them and reaches out for the salt which Hoseok hands to him and their hands brush, Yoongi's stomach lurches. The last time he saw Hoseok smiling at his phone and Yoongi thought of some hunk sitting in Gwangju with that same sappy expression texting Hoseok back, he almost throws up.

And when he huddles around the heater in his dorm room and rubs his hands together in the cold at which point Hoseok interjects and blows warm air to thaw Yoongi's poor numb fingers, Yoongi's eyes widen and his heart hurts somewhere deep in his chest.

This is when Yoongi knows he's probably in trouble.

Yoongi has never been much of a hypochondriac. In fact, Yoongi has barely ever fallen sick before, at least not as far as he remembers which is why it worried him a little, but what with two weeks of sweet holiday freedom approaching the day Christmas hit, Yoongi decides to overlook it.

Less equations, more sleeping.

(Less Hoseok, more breathing.)

Sounds good to Yoongi.

Hoseok jingles Jin's car keys under Yoongi's nose three days before Christmas just as Yoongi is almost face down on his Integrated Mathematical Modelling course.

"Shotgun?"

"You wish," Yoongi grins wide awake, snatching the keys from Hoseok as he reaches around the mess of his room for random pieces of warmer clothing before he remembers he should probably dress warmer for these drives since he was probably sick.

"It's the twelfth time, let me drive for once for god's sake," Hoseok says under his breath as they step out into the night and Yoongi straps into the driver's seat and Yoongi has come to the slow acceptance that this is a Yoongi-Hoseok thing.

The uncharacteristic stealth with which Hoseok nabbed Jin's keys every third night. The loud stereo that croons love songs from the seventies. The christening of new streets every time Yoongi takes a new route. The hoarse laughter from Hoseok as he stands in the front seat as Yoongi sings badly to the radio, smiling like crazy. The surprising ease of conversation flow between two people who couldn't be more different. The orange street lights as the car headboard clock struck three. The ending up at the same alley for the 24/7 drive thru ramen. The exact 6 bowls Hoseok always orders and the exact 4 for Yoongi. The 10 empty bowls that end up in the back seat until they trash it in a bin three streets down their frat dorm.

It's a Yoongi-Hoseok thing.

Yoongi likes the sound of it.

"Shit, I'm broke," Yoongi tells Hoseok as they pull into the freeway, suddenly remembering he'd used the last of what he had on Hoseok's Christmas present (Yoongi had finally just picked the first thing he had half liked, a Christmas jumper in Hoseok's favourite shade of blue).

It's not like it mattered what he got Hoseok.

It's not like they were together or anything.

It's not like Hoseok didn't have a boyfriend.

Yoongi diverts his mind because he'd rather not think about that loser or he'd start feeling oddly sick again.

"I got you covered for the ramen," Hoseok yells to Yoongi, his head sticking out of the top.

But even though they've done all of this before, even though Yoongi almost always looks forward to the nights Hoseok is not too tired for night drives, despite all of it, Yoongi doesn't feel the same.

"Hyung, are you going home for the holidays?" Hoseok asks Yoongi on his second ramen cup, chopsticks flying to and from his mouth as they sit with the top over them for once so that the snow wouldn't pile in.

"Yeah, but only for four days. Deadlines got me fucked over," Yoongi states, still on his first bowl. Yoongi likes to actually taste his food, not inhale it.

"Sucks to stay here for the rest of the two weeks," Hoseok says sympathetically, but Yoongi is indifferent.

"Nah, I got Namjoon with me here too, so I'll be good," Yoongi says and they eat in silence for a while. Yoongi wants to fill the empty spaces with easy conversation as they usually do, but not tonight.

"What about you, Jung?" Yoongi asks, failing to sound casual probably.

"Going home the whole break. I miss Gwangju, you know? And I've sort of wrapped up work on the History project analysis thing I was supposed to hand in after the break so it shouldn't be a problem."

But it's not what Yoongi wants to hear.

"You have a girlfriend back home?" Hoseok snorts in between mouthfuls, gives one swift shake of his head.

"Boyfriend," he manages out, and Yoongi feels sick, pushes away his second ramen cup to Hoseok.

"Tell me about him," Yoongi says oddly demanding, with a voice that shakes and he curses under his breath.

"There's not much to tell. He studies Law like Namjoon hyung, tall, and he dyes his hair a lot, just like you, hyung," Hoseok giggles. But it's not enough.

"Is he smart?" Yoongi prods.

"Yeah, he almost got into Kaist but he wanted to study in Gwangju, lord knows why."

Okay so smarter, taller, he mentally checks. Yoongi didn't know why he was comparing. Everybody does that, right?

By the time he's asked five more questions, Yoongi's had enough of the Gwangju asshole who beats Yoongi in everything except hair dye choices.

"Hoseok-ah," Yoongi breathes at last, eyes diverted to the headboard of the car.

Hoseok's eyes widen slightly, then go back to the ramen.

"Mmm?"

"Do you- uh, do you love him?"

Hoseok puts down his sixth bowl, tips his head back onto the car seat and stares out at the empty street ahead coated in dense white.

"Love? I don't know. We've been dating since the tenth grade, so I don't know if it's love. I think it is, because whenever I was around him, I couldn't stop smiling. When I wasn't, I couldn't get him off my mind. But that's just high school romance, you know? Infatuation, something like that. Love is different. I adore him to bits, and maybe I do love him, but I don't really know. It feels like if I hang on long enough to know how I live without him, I'll know. But being here these past few months, I'm more confused than I was before. I miss him sometimes, so much it hurts, but then it goes and I'm happier here than I've ever been. I'm happy right now," Hoseok says looking at Yoongi, but Yoongi cannot meet his eyes.

"I guess that's what love must be about, huh? Not knowing. But I'm excited to go back home. I'll see him after ages. Do you know when these lips were last kissed?" Hoseok laughs, and Yoongi only realizes how hard he is clenching his knuckles when his nails draw blood from his palm.

"I guess," Yoongi manages out, but Hoseok is distracted, ready to get moving again, and the subject is dropped.

"That's the first time you've called me that, by the way," Hoseok tells Yoongi as he starts up the engine again.

"Called you what?"

"Hoseok-ah. You should call me that more often," Hoseok says with that smile of his and Yoongi's heart starts hurting again and he looks to the road.

Yoongi doesn't know if it's the cold or his blush he spends the next ten minutes fighting down from his cheeks.

He'll take a bet on the cold though.

 

 

Alcohol and emotions don't mix well. Yoongi is willing to patent this.

Yoongi is willing to sign the damn petition that will make it the law of the fucking land because it is a fact.

Alcohol emotions do not mix well.

But that doesn't stop Yoongi, though.

"You know you shouldn't be drinking this early in the morning," Namjoon tells him.

"It's Christmas," Yoongi points out.

"But cheap beer at 9 AM?"

"Jin said the vodka was for the evening."

"That's not what I meant."

"I know."

Namjoon sighs, and Yoongi doesn't want to really figure out what he's thinking. He doesn't want Namjoon to tell him things he knows. All he wants to do is burn holes into the package that has arrived for Hoseok an hour ago.

From Gwangju.

From a certain boyfriend of his.

It's a picture of their first date at the only amusement park in Gwangju (along with a 2 page love letter) and Yoongi conveniently excludes himself from the much demanded story from the rest of the members of all the details of the day back in high school which Hoseok recounts with fondness (Yoongi claims he has a bad stomach, which isn't a total lie, since he's feeling pretty shitty).

Yoongi can't imagine a day he has felt sicker, the knots in his stomach tighter, and much as he is the first one to admit that Christmas spirit run least in his veins, he wishes the first day of their 2 week holiday started out better.

Hoseok, on the contrary, has been walking on air all morning, which does nothing for Yoongi's mood.

"Why does it look like Father Christmas personally crapped on your jingle bells?" Jimin practically sings into Yoongi's ear as Jimin sits on Jimin's luggage to get it to zip up.

"Just haven't really started packing, that's all," but Yoongi is quick at calling bullshit on his own lies as soon as the words leave his mouth.

Luckily, Park Jimin is not that quick.

"I'll help you, it's not like we've got anything to do till evening anyway," Jimin says, giving his A+ smile that even has Yoongi's reluctant self tugging at the edges of his lips.

It's not like it's a bad day.

Taehyung hangs mistletoe from every corner of the goddamn house to find reasons to kiss Jungkook (to which Jungkook happily obliges, grossly enough).

Jin hums carols under his breath and swats away Jungkook as he cooks the most he has in one day yet, because 'Like hell I'm going to let you ungrateful brats off for two weeks without stuffing yourselves with my Christmas cooking.' No one disagrees.

Jungkook tries to pretend that he cares enough about his grades to get his assignments done just in time as Taehyung lurks in the background packing for Jungkook's trip back to Busan with Jimin and warning him that Jimin was the embodiment of Satan and should stay away from the guy at all costs on the train they were taking together tomorrow.

Namjoon isn't really going anywhere, because 'Law is a subject of the soul that takes unbroken hours of meditative contemplation which translates to fuck my life, I'm spending my holidays trying to pass', and amusedly watches Jin nag about how the kitchen capacity didn't meet his expectations, nodding at all the right intervals to give the impression that he was listening.

Yoongi doesn't really feel like knowing what Hoseok is up to. He just sees his bags all packed up next to his bed and finds himself wanting to unpack it all and throw it back in the closet, finds himself zoning out to Jimin's monologue about all the hot Busan guys he knew ("Of course you do, Jimin." "I do!" "And I said I agree." "Bullshit." Yoongi laughs, because Jimin isn't too slow to call Yoongi out on all his bullshit.) he'd hit up once he got home.

The record plays in the background.

The warm smell of Jin's cooking wafts through the house.

The snow falls outside the darkening window.

The kids dance under the fairy lights Jin hung.

It's a good day, but Yoongi is glad when evening comes so he can get his mind out of the hellhole it has been swimming in.

"Presents!" Taehyung declares, a finger in the air as soon as the last bit of soufflé is scraped off the bottom of the pan and Jin is looking around the dining table in content at the good job done.

"Living room," Hoseok squeals and the kids tumble out and Namjoon says that he will provide the eggnog.

Good, Yoongi sure could use some. The requirement of the egg is questionable, but in the spirit of the holidays, he's willing to give it a go.

"I guess I'll just clean up alone," Jin sighs. "Again."

Yoongi has to admit it's endearing as hell, the seven of them hiding their presents for the rest with unprecedented excitement writ large on their faces, the record still playing the same songs in the background on repeat, Jin writing out the order in which they'll give presents, the comforting buzz that vodka brought to the back of their brains like they were one big fucked up happy family.

It's fucking adorable.

Yoongi cannot stop smiling, and maybe he's already a little tipsy but something about the whole picture just melts his heart.

"Namjoon, you're first," Jin tells him and Namjoon pulls out package after package of terribly done wrapping, chucking it to different ends of the room to all the guys as he goes along.

"How come Taehyung gets liquor chocolate and I get underwear?" Jimin whines as Taehyung tries to suppress his laughter between shots of eggnog, and Jimin's lower lip juts out at the first disappointment of the evening.

"Because we room together, and you need all the help you can get," Namjoon tells him rolling his eyes. But he does pull out an extra pack of Jimin's favourite slimming (and expensive, Namjoon doesn't fail to emphasize) bubble tea, and Jimin sips at it happily as he snuggles up to his sudden new favourite hyung.

By the time it's Yoongi's turn to hand out his presents, Yoongi finds himself sweating despite the cold, and he suddenly wishes he had spent more thought, more anything into what he got the guys for Christmas.

(Three shots are taken at this point and the fairy lights blend into this bokeh pattern that reminds Yoongi of the city lights him and Hoseok drive under.)

But the throwing around the room is done, and there is a general hum of appreciation which makes Yoongi glow.

"Cool, life sized G-Dragon poster," Jungkook grins, kissing Yoongi's cheek and Yoongi makes a great show of wiping it off his cheek, unable to stop the bubbles of laughter that escapes his lips.

"I can't believe you remembered I like mint chocolate instant coffee -"

"With extra banana shots and decaf?" Yoongi finishes for Taehyung, trying his best not to slur. "I can't believe I remembered either." Jin is ecstatic with his new Mario apron, and Namjoon and Jimin with their couple 'I Need New Haters' shirts (they complain over why it's the same though, but Yoongi can't hear them over the cries of his empty wallet), but Yoongi's eyes find only one person in an unfocussed, concentrated haze.

"I love it," Hoseok breathes, pulling out the deep blue sweater from the brown packaging.

"Really?" Yoongi squeaks (it's the vodka, Yoongi swears).

"It's my favourite shade of blue too," he says, looking up at Yoongi, his eyes shining at a suddenly red and blushing Yoongi.

"I uh, it was on Sale and you wear that colour a lot, so," Yoongi finishes awkwardly, scratching the back of his neck.

The rest of the gift giving is done with three more shots down and Yoongi avoiding Hoseok's eyes until it is Hoseok's turn to throw out the presents.

Hoseok throws Yoongi's last and between the cries of mixed despair and joy from the others over what they managed to get, and Yoongi opens his (fantastically wrapped, but what did he really expect) red and gold packaging in silence.

"Something to wear," he squints hard to read out, holding up a scarf almost identical to the one he knows Hoseok has and he wraps it around his neck before he continues.

Something to drink. (His favourite brand of instant hot chocolate mix)

Something to try. (Hihop music by this guy called Kanye West? Yoongi is willing to give it a try)

Something to eat. (Coupons from the 24/7 ramen place they went to, like it wasn't cheap enough)

Something to remember. (A candid of Yoongi driving with the wind in his hair, mouth wide open as he sang to the Beatles, probably)

Yoongi's eyes trail to Hoseok's expectant ones, and in that one moment, he swears the rest of the room dulls in comparison to Jung Hoseok under the fairy lights.

The rest of the fucking world dulls in front of Jung Hoseok in general.

But the moment is broken when Jimin jumps onto Hoseok's back half crying over how he will owe Hoseok his entire video game collection for the Taeyang jersey he dug out for him.

The night passes in singing that gets drunker and drunker, a lot of dancing to no music, laughter over Jimin's self proclaimed 'perfect ass' (which may or may not have led to an ass ranking between the members which may or may not have ended in Jimin being at the very bottom of the list), and Namjoon and Jin getting caught under conveniently placed mistletoe courtesy Taehyung (but honestly, anyone would have done the same) which ends in feeble protests from Jin and a very drunk Namjoon making out with the guy for a full minute as wolf whistles and cries of barely stifled 'get a room' erupt from all corners of the room, about which time an extremely flustered and giggly Jin reminds everyone that it was 2 in the morning, and for goodness sake if they wanted to catch their trains tomorrow, they'd better get their butts to sleep.

Yoongi hears shuffling and general grunts of agreement and maybe Namjoon (or is it Taehyung? Yoongi stopped trying to figure out what was happening six shots of eggless eggnog ago) squeezes his shoulder as they get past him. Yoongi's eyes are trained on the gold wrapping paper on the floor Hoseok packed for Yoongi and how pretty it looks when the light is thrown off it and how much he wants to just tell someone something, to just kiss someone because he can't get him out of his head and damn the consequences-

He doesn't know how long he stares, but the next time Yoongi looks up, the room is empty besides him and Hoseok. Hoseok, with his angelic tiny smile that is plastered on his face as he holds the vodka bottle by the neck and takes tiny sips and giggles.

He fucking giggles. It's the cutest damn thing Yoongi has ever heard.

"Tha-that's cute," Yoongi stutters, wide smile stretching on his lips but he has reached the point of Bad Life Decisions three stations back with no return ticket and no regret.

"Yoooongi," Hoseok says smiling and Yoongi frowns, shuffling closer till he is almost on Hoseok's lap.

"I t-told you it was cute. The gigg-gle. Do it again," Yoongi demands and he is vaguely aware that he is clutching Hoseok's shirt, a breath away from his lips. Hoseok holds up a finger.

"Only if you say it ag-gain."

"Say what?"

Hoseok places a warm hand on Yoongi's cheek, his eyes finding Yoongi's and Yoongi swears Hoseok eyes darken despite the smile on his face. Yoongi is almost undone. Just one more push.

"H-hoseok-ah."

Yoongi gulps and it feels disbalanced, feels his toe touching the line between the known and the unknown somewhere on some sandy beach, feels the weight of the moment in his breath and the pain and need and hunger at the centre of his chest.

So Yoongi doesn't think. He just jumps.

"Hoseok-ah," he whispers.

Yoongi doesn't wait for the giggle. His lips smash into Hoseok's before Hoseok can make a sound and suddenly Yoongi is not in their living room, not in their frat dorm, not in Seoul, not any place he's ever known before, because Yoongi has never felt so good, so goddamn alive. Hoseok grips at Yoongi's shirt, scrambles to pull him close, wraps his legs around Yoongi's waist and fuck, Yoongi could just die, just fall from the euphoria, from the scraping of nails on his back, the feeling of warm lips on his, the heat radiating off Hoseok.

And Hoseok giggles again.

"Shirt. Off. Now," Yoongi growls and Hoseok moans a little, shifts upright to make it easier for Yoongi. Yoongi hears the fabric rip in his impatience and somewhere along the way Yoongi loses his shirt too, but Yoongi doesn't care, doesn't need to, doesn't want to know or feel or do anything that doesn't involve the latent things beneath his fingertips, doesn't want to know of tomorrow.

All Yoongi wants is Jung Hoseok.

Yoongi doesn't know how long it lasts from there, or how far they go. All he remembers is rolling on the couch next to Hoseok in pants and giggles and sighs.

All he remembers is how Hoseok's hands find his under the fairy lights.

All he remembers is how warm, bright things Yoongi couldn't name came in and out of existence like shining orbs in front of his eyes as Hoseok breathes into Yoongi's neck.

All he remembers is how fast his heart had been beating as Yoongi's eyes slowly flutter close.

All he remembers is that the next morning, Hoseok is gone.

 

 

"Dude, it's 11 AM," Yoongi hears in the distance.

"Wake me up when I care," Yoongi groans, turning to his side before falling off the couch in a tumble.

"Here, and your ungrateful butt can thank me later no matter how bad that tastes since I'm not Seokjin," Namjoon tells him, handing him the steaming mug of what Yoongi assumes is coffee. Yoongi groans again because this might just be the worst hangover he has had to nurse since he got to college, which was saying something.

He drains half of it clutching his head before flinching.

"Like dog pee strained through a trash bag," he declares, lopsided grin on his face and Namjoon grins back.

"I made it about 50 times to get it like that, asshole." Yoongi snorts.

"Higher than your grades."

"Higher than your ass count."

"Fair point."

It is the many perks of knowing Kim Namjoon, this repetitive passive disagreement.

Yoongi drains the rest of the mug before Namjoon speaks again.

"They all left, by the way, ages back. Jimin and Jungkook's train was the latest and that was 8 AM, so they've been gone for a while now. They didn't want to wake you up so-"

"They went when?"

"Ages back, I told you. Seokjin went first, then there's Tae's train to Daegu, then Hoseok's to Gwangju and -"

Fuck.

Jung Hoseok.

Jung Hoseok left.

Jung freaking Hoseok left, he freaking left, he was gone, what the hell even happened last night, oh my god, Hoseok has a fucking boyfriend -

"Dude, you look like hell. What the heck happened?"

"I told you. It's the coffee. Like dog pee strained through a trash bag," Yoongi says, getting up.

Namjoon doesn't ask Yoongi till much later why he wasn't wearing a shirt in the middle of winter.

 

*

 

Twelve days.

Yoongi waits twelve days, but he doesn't really know for what.

Yoongi waits twelve days to let himself think about what actually happened that night. It's not like the quiet house and more or less empty campus libraries allow much else. Yoongi wants to study, wants to reassure him mom on the phone that he doesn't sound depressed, wants to tell her there's no real reason he cancels the four day trip he was going to take home other than the new deadlines that have cropped up.

Yoongi waits twelve days until he gives up on hoping Hoseok will call or text or send him something, anything, a sign to know that he's alive, that he remembers what they did that night, that he won't leave for good.

Yoongi waits twelve days to let the static that dominates his mental space from the second he wakes up every morning to the moment his head hits the pillow every night to clear. To actually remember. To revel. To understand.

Yoongi waits twelve days to tell Namjoon.

"Joonie?"

Yoongi knows that it's 4 AM, knows it's a terrible hour to come crawling to Namjoon with an existential crisis. Yoongi knows this, but he knows it's okay. Namjoon understands.

Deep down, Namjoon really was the smartest of them all.

"Mmm?"

Namjoon's voice croaks from disuse, and for once, he hasn't got loud music in, doesn't seem like he wants to be anywhere but here. He looks up from the sea of papers and textbooks between which he sits in an island like a desolate lone voyager on a quest for god-knows-what, eyes glinting. Economics, maybe. Getting rich someday, definitely.

Yoongi sighs, plonks himself on Namjoon's bed and lays down, closing his eyes. He doesn't open them when he speaks.

"I think," Yoongi takes a sharp intake of breath, pauses for a heartbeat.

"I think I fucked up, Joonie."

Namjoon takes a long moment to reply, so long that Yoongi wonders if Namjoon is even listening.

"You can tell me, if that makes it better."

Yoongi's eyes open and he stares at an undefined spot on the ceiling. Counts to ten. Takes a long breath. Speaks. And suddenly everything spills out before Yoongi can even filter what he's saying.

"I thought I was sick, Namjoonie. I thought that maybe it was the weather or something or maybe 4 bowls of takeout ramen every other night. I just thought - hell, I don't know what I thought, I just thought it would get better, you know?"

Yoongi pauses, waits for Namjoon to speak. But he doesn't and Yoongi goes on.

"But it doesn't seem to matter what the weather is. If I'm hot or if I'm cold. If it's homemade soup or takeout ramen. It doesn't make any fucking difference. It's only him. Only when I think of him, or how he laughs, or the way the skin near his eyes crinkle, or when he says something ridiculous. When he's around and when he's not. When he's next to me and when he's seven cities away. When he loves me and when he doesn't. It fucking hurts. And I'm sick. I'm sick of being sick. My stomach, my mind, my heart, all of it hurts. I don't know," Yoongi sighs. The undefined spot on the wall blurs, and Yoongi feels a single hot tear trail its touch down his cheek. He closes his eyes.

"I don't know how to make it stop, Joonie. Make it go away."

Yoongi doesn't know how much of it Namjoon understands, doesn't know how he expects him to understand anything, a face with no name, a sickness he can't place, a static he cannot make disappear.

Yoongi doesn't know, but he knows it's okay. He knows Namjoon understands.

Deep down, Namjoon really was the smartest of them all.

Silence stretches between them like silent rain in the middle of an empty ocean. Potent but harmless. Persistent but calming.

"What is this shit I'm going through? I can't even think. What the hell do I feel ?"

Yoongi hears Namjoon sigh, then roughly chuckle under his breath before he speaks at last.

"You really don't know?" Namjoon asks and Yoongi keeps silent.

"It's called love, hyung. About two billion songs written on it."

 

 

"They broke up," Taehyung hisses to Yoongi who stands at the door with his mouth agape three seconds after Hoseok bumps past him without so much as sparing him a glance. Yoongi takes a second to find his voice.

"Who did?" Taehyung rolls his eyes.

"Hoseok hyung and his boyfriend, of course. Something about distance and things not working out. Hoseok hyung wouldn't tell us more than that," Taehyung whispers, but at that moment Jungkook steps in with Jimin, and Taehyung squeals at the sight of two weeks of lost time he clearly planned on making up right at the door.

"Gross," Jin says, stepping around the two smothering each other and making a beeline for the kitchen to bemoan the despair of half the things Yoongi has burnt and the other half of which Namjoon has managed to break.

It returns again, like it had before, like it had never stopped. The routine Yoongi was sure would fall out of phase, just like the rest of his life had in one night, and no matter how much Yoongi rooted for constants, he was sure he was the reason why they fell away most of the time.

But it returns in quiet and immediate acceptance, the way things had been. Jin looks as handsome as he had when he had left, makes kimchi that tastes better than anything Yoongi has tried yet. They eat in the middle of the day on the kitchen floor (Namjoon broke a leg of the kitchen table yesterday trying to not scald himself with the hot water for the coffee, which he also ended up doing), chattering and laughing and talking about home like not a day passed since 2 weeks ago.

Everything was going to be okay.

Yoongi's eyes search for Hoseok, who smiles occasionally, contributes at the right places, sticks his tongue out at Jin when he tells him to help with cleaning up. Hoseok, who is the same but completely unrecognizable. Hoseok, who has changed without a trace of proof. Because if you look close enough, there is falter in Hoseok's smile, a quiver in Hoseok's voice, a laughter that has left Hoseok's eyes.

Yoongi notices it all.

Namjoon nudges him back into existence.

"Mouth. Open. Chew. Look human," he tells Yoongi and Yoongi's neck snaps down to hide his blush.

Namjoon is grinning, but he rubs Yoongi's back gently.

"Everything is going to be okay," Namjoon says.

Yoongi certainly hopes so.

 

*

 

Mid February means slightly warmer days and Yoongi wakes up to mornings where the sun wasn't a shiny lie in the sky, where the heat kissed Yoongi's fingertips as he stretches his palms out. Third week into February, Yoongi wakes up to the white, familiar world around him gone, leaving damp streets and tiny sprouts in its wake.

Spring, Yoongi tells himself.

Hoseok barely notices. He glances outside the window with dead eyes that anticipate the emptiness they found last winter.

"Jung Hoseok, wear a scarf, it's still fucking cold," Yoongi tells him gently. Yoongi doesn't know what to call Hoseok, so he sticks with whatever the passport says.

Hoseok looks at him, smiles.

It looks like sunshine died on it a year ago.

"Okay, hyung."

Yes, no, okay, sorry. It's all Yoongi can get from Hoseok these days. The days get longer and the nights a little bit warmer and Yoongi realizes many things, not the least of which that what Namjoon told him that night was true.

Love, Yoongi repeats in his head, like if he says it enough, he'll believe it.

About two billion songs written on it.

Not too much like the Kanye West crap Yoongi has heard about 85 times over by now. But it helps when it hurts too much. Hearing it makes Yoongi feel like Christmas was yesterday, like if he closes his eyes, him and Hoseok still have a chance.

Hoseok doesn't get Yoongi flowers anymore. Yoongi doesn't find something new next to his bedside table when he wakes up every morning. He doesn't want to notice, but he does.

Hoseok still steals Jin's car keys though. But it's not for Yoongi any longer. He doesn't offer, and Yoongi can't bring himself to ask. Now, Hoseok steals the car keys at 2 AM and drives off alone. Yoongi listens to Kanye West on repeat as he stares at his ceiling or tries to pour over textbooks so that he doesn't suck mid terms.

Maybe Hoseok needs to cool off, Yoongi tells himself. Needs some time before he gets his head straight. He just broke up with a guy he dated for years.

Until he spots the hickeys on Hoseok's neck. Until Hoseok reeks of alcohol every time he stumbles back home at the crack of dawn.

"Jung Hoseok, we need to talk," Yoongi tells him as the keys jingle out of Hoseok's back pocket. Hoseok turns, and his smile is strained, overbearing.

It hurts.

"About what, hyung?"

"About what happened on Christmas." Yoongi ticks a finger between the two of them. "Between us."

Hoseok's smile freezes, then disappears. His eyes are not cold or hateful, but Yoongi sees the shutters go down over his face as he turns away.

"There's nothing to talk about, hyung."

Man, it fucking hurts.

"Fine then, if you don't want to talk about it at least listen to this; don't drink and drive. It's your life and you can do whatever you want to, Jung Hoseok, but you already drive home alone. It's not safe," Yoongi tells him, hoping Hoseok feels the concern in the words he can barely bring himself to say.

(I can't save you.)

Hoseok's smile returns, soulless as ever.

"You're right, hyung. It's my life," he says as he closes the dorm door.

"And I can do whatever I want to."

Yoongi feels his own heart break then. In one fantastic moment, Yoongi feels the walls of what he calls constants and what he considers variables crash around him to dust and he's standing alone and defenceless in the middle of nowhere. It's so dark, Yoongi can't see. He crawls into his bed and cries. He cries oceans and seas into his pillow. He cries till he can't anymore. The tears are too warm, the bed too cold. Kanye West keeps playing in the background. Yoongi falls asleep before Hoseok gets home.

 

*

 

Yoongi wakes up the next morning smiling. His cheeks are trailed with salt, voice cracked, shirt sweaty, but Yoongi doesn't care at all.

He actually hums in the shower.

"I know you don't have classes till noon, but damn," Namjoon says, eyes wide.

"What?"

"I just never thought I'd hear you actually hum unless it was my death wish."

"Probably still wouldn't."

"So what's the 411?" Namjoon asks, leaning against the kitchen counter.

"The 411? Geez, Namjoon, you talk like my grandma. Soon you're going to encourage me to follow my dreams and tell me you think that I'm always pretty," Yoongi says, batting his eyelids and giggling. Namjoon nearly chokes.

"Okay, enough, loudmouth, what is it? Did you talk to him? Is that what this is about? Happily ever after?" Yoongi snorts.

"Not close."

"Then what the hell is it?" Yoongi sighs dramatically.

"I've had an epiphany."

"And that is-"?

"I'm in love with Jung Hoseok." Namjoon smiles, raises an eyebrow.

"That's your epiphany? I could've told you that."

"I didn't say that was it," Yoongi tells him, rolling his eyes.

"There's more," Namjoon states this more than he asks, smile widening. Yoongi gives one clear nod.

"I'm in love with Jung Hoseok. Irrevocably. Completely and totally. Irreplacea-"

"I get the idea."

"So what do normal people do when they like someone?"

Namjoon scratches his neck.

"Woo them? Ask them out?"

"Exactly," Yoongi says, grinning. Namjoon gives out a low whistle.

"You're going to do that?" Yoongi frowns.

"Why the hell not?" Namjoon shrugs.

"I don't know, you're Min Yoongi. You don't give a shit about anyone. You don't care if people like you."

"That was before Hoseok," Yoongi points out.

"You changed, huh?" Namjoon tells Yoongi, ruffling his hair and Yoongi swipes at his hand. Namjoon dodges. Yoongi makes another mental note to change tactics.

"At least I have balls to tell a guy I like him. Look at you and Seokjin."

Namjoon blushes furiously and suddenly the floor seems to fascinates him. Yoongi can only laugh.

"I don't - there's nothing - we haven't-"

"Of course not, Joonie," Yoongi tells him.

"Of course."

 

*

 

Yoongi goes easy on the cheesiness as much as he can at first. It has a little less to with because Yoongi doesn't want to and almost everything to do with the fact that Yoongi doesn't know how to be cheesy to save his life.

"Jung, didn't you say you liked blue?"

Yoongi is standing at the head of Hoseok's bed on Sunday morning in his pajamas and hair a mess but he's far beyond caring. I mean, he shares a room with the guy. That totally put them past the barriers of caring about bed heads ages ago.

Hoseok looks up from his textbooks and nods nonchalantly.

"Here," Yoongi says, half-tossing half-thrusting the orchids at Hoseok. Yoongi's face is so red, he almost gives up on the plan, tries to make up an excuse to escape, decides to say he just saw those in the passing somewhere and no one wanted them.

Yoongi takes a deep breath, then smiles.

"Midnight blue, your favourite."

Hoseok picks them up gingerly, looks up slowly.

"Why?" Yoongi blushes a little more, if that was even possible.

"Because they reminded me of you," Yoongi says before turning on his heel and walking out.

Yoongi's heart is beating so fast, he thinks he might die. He stands behind the door, clutching his chest for a minute, waits for the blood pumping in his ears to slow down. All of Yoongi's bad decision in life come to him at once.

It was worth it, though. It may be the adrenaline talking, but Yoongi swears he saw Jung Hoseok smile.

 

 

*

 

Yoongi does it every day for three weeks on repeat before Hoseok actually starts keeping the flowers. Yoongi doesn't know what Hoseok did with all those damn orchids the first three weeks (Yoongi may or may not have been desperate enough to check the trash, which lacked anything that resembled anything half as nice as flowers), but on the fourth week Yoongi leaves them on Hoseok's bed and goes to class and when he's back, they sit next to Hoseok's clock in a coffee mug.

Yoongi can't wipe his smile off his face for the rest of the day, even when Hoseok is determined to avoid all eye contact.

 

*

 

Yoongi was going to be honest. He has no idea how to compliment. Or flirt. Or get someone to like him in general. And Yoongi knows defeat when it stares at him in the face. Yoongi sucks at it normally, but for once he will admit he needs help from a professional.

Yoongi finds Jimin in his room sleeping with no pants on.

"Dude, please," Yoongi says, shaking Jimin awake.

"What? I pulled an all nighter yesterday trying to study for that terrible foreign language minor in Japanese Tae convinced me to sign up for," Jimin groans, clutching his hair.

"I meant the pants, you know."

"Enjoy the view while you can."

"Anyway," Yoongi says, scoffing. "I need your help."

Jimin clicks his tongue, looks past Yoongi with a dreamy expression.

"Well, well, well," Jimin says, cracking his knuckles. Yoongi's eyes roll so far back into his head, he can see his own brain.

"Jimin, stop."

"Don't you mean Jimin hyung?"

"Not if you have a death wish the size of your ego, punk," Yoongi snarls. Jimin shrugs.

"It was worth a shot. So," Jimin's eyes twinkle in a sickening way as he rubs his hands together.

"What is it that you want to know?"

 

*

 

Yoongi doesn't want to admit it, but being liked has more to it than Yoongi had thought (or hoped, or even fathomed, to be honest).

Yoongi lies in his dorm bed staring at the ceiling with unfocussed energy, low whistle playing on his lips with his ears hooked to a loop of The Lovin' Spoonfuls, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Santana and everything sixties and seventies he had on his system. The music washes through him with deep and fluid intensity like warm honey down his throat.

It is the fingertips of lost love and old melodies that clutch at Yoongi's heart and find his lonely soul. It's a feeling Yoongi is familiar with, of old days of singing and pure love he wants to dive in, of unknown and welcoming waters welcoming Yoongi into a time he didn't exist in that March.

"Taehyung-ie, didn't you say that recorder of yours plays cassettes too?"

Taehyung nods once, easily distracted from the TV screen because he had done nothing but lost for the past 40 minutes on Mario Princess edition against Jungkook and his face screamed the want to escape routes against an over-competitive boyfriend.

"Yeah, I think so. I don't have any cassettes on me though. I think Joonie hyung has some, but he's still out at the library," Taehyung says, jumping up without pausing the game and Jungkook mewls in annoyance, which Taehyung ignores.

"It's okay, I do. Play this for me," Yoongi says, thrusting his 'Best Hits by the Beatles' at Taehyung.

"Don't get the vinyl scratched, I spent a lot on that ancient thing," Yoongi warns Taehyung who is fumbling with what the hell Side A and Side B was and weather it made a damn difference (it bloody well did, Yoongi cautioned). He finally manages to stick it in though, and ten seconds of static precedes the first song. It drags out throughout the house. Yoongi closes his eyes, dreams.

Hey Jude

Don't make it bad.

Take a sad song and make it better.

Yoongi is singing despite his violation of a voice, not caring if Taehyung was probably flinching behind him and his jaw drops in surprise as Taehyung joins in.

Remember to let her into your heart.

Then you can start to make it better.

Taehyung wild, jerky hips have swung into action as he twists and dances around the room, and Yoongi chuckles softly in gentle adoration.

Hey Jude,

Don't be afraid.

You were made to go out and get her.

"I haven't heard that song since I was eight," Yoongi hears behind him and he turns to find a dreamy faced Jin staring at the recorder like he couldn't believe that this music still existed.

Taehyung grabs Jin's wrist at dances exaggeratedly around him and Yoongi joins, till Jin gives in and bursts out into it himself.

THE MINUTE YOU LET HER UNDER YOUR SKIN,

THEN YOU BEGIN TO MAKE IT BETTER.

Yoongi and Jin are bellowing the lyrics now (in full knowledge of the fact that they sound half drunk), and somewhere by the end, Jimin, Jungkook and Hoseok make it into the dancing frenzy too, eyes closed up, fists clenched in pretentious raw emotion as they yell along, falling over themselves and pirouetting around the room and Yoongi suddenly wishes Namjoon were here.

They go through Hard Days' Night, All My Lovin', and Ticket to Ride when Taehyung flips over to Side B before Namjoon makes an appearance and is pulled in by a blushing Jin just as Yesterday comes on.

"Find a partner, quick," Jimin squeals.

"There's seven of us," Jin points out but Yoongi shrugs, stepping out voluntarily.

"Just this once," Yoongi promises, settling on the couch, smile stretched across his lips. Namjoon shoots him a sympathetic look before he wraps his arms around Jin's neck, Jin's grip firm on Namjoon's waist as the song flows out of the system.

Jungkook finds Taehyung and Jimin finds Hoseok as Paul McCartney starts the song.

Yesterday,

All my troubles seemed so far away,

Now it looks as though they're here to stay,

Oh I believe in yesterday, suddenly.

Yoongi's eyes naturally gravitate to Hoseok, who has Jimin's head resting on his shoulder already, but their eyes meet as Hoseok turns. Yoongi doesn't look away, can't bring himself to. Hoseok doesn't either. They hold it for very long before Hoseok whispers something to Jimin. Jimin smiles, nods once and flops next to Yoongi on the couch.

"You've been requested," he says, nudging Yoongi, eyes sparkling. Yoongi's stomach lurches.

"You know-?"

"How you feel about Hoseok? Hyung, I don't walk with blinders on," Jimin says, touching Yoongi's shoulder. "Besides," he says with a smirk, "I don't think Jung Hoseok has had eyes for anyone else since November last year."

Yoongi gets up with a burning face and lets is arms rest on either side of Hoseok's shoulders without meeting his eyes and Hoseok's hands gingerly find Yoongi's waist before they rock softly to the song. Adrenaline pumps through every inch of where Hoseok touches Yoongi, and vaguely Yoongi notes that Hoseok is actually a very good dancer.

Yesterday,

Love was such an easy game to play,

Now I need somewhere to hide away,

Oh I believe in yesterday.

"Can I - can I lean on you, hyung?" Hoseok whispers, and Yoongi eyes widen before he fixes his expression. What was it they were doing? Yoongi doesn't know where they stand, what Hoseok feels, but what Yoongi cannot name, he doesn't bother with. After all, here they were after months, and Hoseok was the one asking to be let in for the first time since that night 5 months ago. So Yoongi nods and smiles. Hoseok's head drops to Yoongi's shoulder and the weight of trust feels calming, the brush of Hoseok's hair on his neck exhilarating.

Why she had to go, I don't know,

She wouldn't say.

I said something wrong, now I long,

For yesterday.

"I'm so sorry, Hoseok," Yoongi whispers into his ear. And he is. He's sorry for being terrible at verbalizing his feelings. Sorry for being out of his lane that night. Sorry if he ever made Hoseok cry. Sorry he was the mess that had stumbled into Hoseok's life.

Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play,

Now I need some place to hide away,

Oh I believe in yesterday.

Yoongi sees Namjoon and Jin's content silhouettes from the corner of his eye, watches Taehyung peck Jungkook's lips.

"A little more time, hyung. I need to find myself for a little longer." Hoseok pulls back too soon, and Yoongi feels his heart drop to his feet as the cassette ends with a flourish leaving behind the mild buzz of static.

Slowly, Hoseok disengages from Yoongi's arms and Yoongi feels the lack of him against his own body in oceans of separation, but Hoseok flashes him a quick smile before he turns away.

And for the first time in months, Yoongi feels it. That smile he had been missing, had been holding his breath for without even realizing it. The smile that bore no shadows behind its reaches. The smile only Jung Hoseok could form.

Yoongi guesses he'll never know if that smile was really just that breathtaking, or if he just fell for the fact that the person he was in love with was happy.

Love, Yoongi finds himself thinking again, about two billion songs written on it.

In that moment, standing among the seven of them in their living room as they still croon to the 60s, Yoongi wants to listen to all two billion of them.

 

*

 

"Oh my fucking god, I think I'm going to have a concussion if I have to get through another page of Japanese verb conjugation," Jimin groans, flopping on the floor and the other six sigh and roll eyes in frustration at the minor (or at least that's what it seems to them) trials and tribulations of Park Jimin.

"Park Jimin, I swear, if you yell one more time," Jin calls from his room, voice turning frantic and Yoongi pictures Jin bent over his study table clutching his hair, a vision of anything but put together for once in his life trying to absorb the Fine Arts textbooks like a sponge and failing miserably.

"You don't even take fucking Law," Namjoon mourns. "If I spent the next six years trying to cover this shit, I'd still fail with a ticket home up my ass," Namjoon swears savagely, probably wondering why he didn't employ himself in a more useful major like Home Science or something he could actually use in the future.

April end calls in semester end exams like bad sushi at your old uncle's house; nobody wanted it but come the end of the evening, it sits at the bottom of your plate, and no matter how much you push it around your plate, you've got to eat it before you go home (Yoongi thinks this fucked up metaphor summarises life in general. Except the causalities may or may not be worse than an upset stomach for the next week).

The frat dorm is already uncomfortably warm with summer upon them and the tension is so palpable, Yoongi needs to only walk ten steps in any direction of the house to feel it in waves from the first person he comes across. Even Jungkook is pouring over some guide book or the other (or more like sleeping on them, unused to pulling all nighters as he is, poor kid), and Taehyung reads his textbooks upside down when his eyes start dropping in the early hours of the morning.

As for Yoongi, screwed is not a strong enough word to describe his situation with each of the five subjects he has opted for. He doesn't know about Hoseok, whose studying style seems to be the kind of 6 hour stretch unwavering concentration before he even blinks, which Yoongi wishes he was capable of, and truthfully he feels sorry for the guy, because no matter how fast Hoseok got through the material, there was a fresh supply of six to nine other books that sat by his bedside he was yet to crack open. Not that Yoongi wasn't in the same place himself.

Three hours and twenty seven minutes from exam hall, Yoongi decides that not sleeping for more than occasional twenty minutes naps in two days wasn't the best idea, considering that he had been staring at the same page for about half an hour.

"Nap for ten minutes," Yoongi instructs himself, flopping back on his bed and pushing off the books to the floor. He hears Hoseok flip another page on his bunk, and Yoongi's stinging eyes close slowly with a wish to die peacefully in their wake.

Yoongi feels a gentle shift on his bed and his eyes snap open to find Hoseok crawling up to him.

"What are you -"

"I'm going to try something," Hoseok says in firm response and before Yoongi can so much as collect the slow cogs of his groggy mind to spin, Hoseok's thighs are on either side of Yoongi's waist.

Yoongi is suddenly wide awake.

"Hoseok, I-"

"Tell me when to stop," Hoseok instructs, face hovering over Yoongi's. Yoongi's breathing is already erratic, and he is aware that this may be some messed up hallucination, maybe the 38 hot chocolates he has gone through the past 4 days, but be can't bring himself to complain, or even speak.

Hoseok's eyebrows are furrowed in mild concentration, as if confused over the anatomy of Yoongi's face. Slowly, he lowers his head to Yoongi's jaw line, lips suspended over them for a fraction of a second and Yoongi feels his hot breath on his neck, goose bumps erupting from every inch of his skin, before Hoseok's lips meet his skin and Yoongi wonders why the hell he'd ever consider telling Hoseok to stop.

"Shit," Yoongi gasps, and if he was going down his crazy hallucinated fantasy, he'd make the most out of it, god damnit. Yoongi scrambles for Hoseok's face and smashes his lips on his, and he can feel Hoseok smile against him, can hear Hoseok's hands find his headboard to get support, can find his own hands in Hoseok's hair as his reality spins out of existence in a mad dance of lips and tongue and a taste of Hoseok Yoongi won't be forgetting for the rest of his days.

And Yoongi wants more, so much more, he wants so much of Hoseok that he's scared of what he's willing to do to have it.

"Switch," Yoongi growls, wrapping his legs around Hoseok's waist, flipping him onto the bed as Yoongi climbs on top, grin of victory plastered on his face. Hoseok's eyes are hooded with raw need that Yoongi is only too glad to provide. Yoongi can barely fathom this is what he had been missing since Christmas last year, cannot believe how he survived the months in between without this.

"Why are your clothes always so fucking extra?" Hoseok giggles as he pulls away from Yoongi's lips, hands on the hem of Yoongi's shirt and Yoongi thinks he sets a record for tossing his shirt away in the least amount of time so that there is barely a second lost in the time Hoseok's skin and his lips are apart.

Hoseok's moans get louder as Yoongi brings tongue into the Hoseok body worship equation, and Yoongi's eyes roll to the back of his head at the very sound. But as much as it turns him on, Yoongi isn't an idiot.

"Hoseok, be quieter for fuck's sake, the other guys are up studying."

"Not like we don't hear Jungkook and Tae every second night," Hoseok snaps back, but he settles into silent groans of affirmation after that.

Hoseok's hands find Yoongi's shoulders and he pulls him down before getting on top again, straddling him, fingers hooked on his pants, eyes that search for permission in Yoongi's eyes.

Yes, Yoongi's brain screams.

Fuck yes, every inch of his body screams.

"Hoseok wait," Yoongi hears his voice call and he wants to kill himself right then and did he just say that, or had lack of sleep finally made him lose it?

Hoseok's finger teases at the edge and Yoongi whimpers, propping himself on his elbows.

"No, wait, we -" Yoongi's skin is red and pink and burning.

"We can't. We don't know what we are, Jung. And it didn't work out well last time. Let's just - let's talk this through, Hoseok."

Hoseok looks wild, but his face cracks into the most perfect smile Yoongi has ever seen as he swings off Yoongi and snuggles up next to him.

"Good," Hoseok says, sigh of content against Yoongi's skin with closing eyes.

"Good?" Yoongi's sleep deprived mind is racked for reason with no answer.

"If you let that happen, I would have gi-" Hoseok, yawns, the arms of slumber wrapping around Hoseok.

"Given up on you, Min Yoongi."

Yoongi closes his eyes and gives in to the feeling of Hoseok lying next to him, tries to calm down his racing pulse and the heat that had taken over every inch of his body. It is at this point Yoongi remembers he has an exam in less than three hours and with his mental state, he didn't know how he could show up without what had just happened written all over his face. Either that or sleep.

Yoongi thinks that was enough tests for a day, in his opinion.

This is not his professor's view as he drags his feet to the exam, of course.

 

*

 

Yoongi doesn't know how he manages to pass all his subjects, but he does. And except Jimin with a slip up in just one of his minors ("You won't catch me taking advanced Japanese next semester," he growls savagely), they all manage to pull through the first hellhole of exams without too many scratches other than the two weeks they were holed up at home with pages of information they would never need swimming behind their lids as they closed their eyes.

So of course, they all do the only logical thing anyone would do with their Saturday night.

"Okay, my turn," Namjoon announces, snatching the mike from an overly passionate Jimin crooning to Jungkook and Taehyung fully playing the role of the jealous boyfriend.

"Tell me someone remembered to bring the earplugs this time," Yoongi pleads and Namjoon rolls his eyes.

But it's all an act really. It's the palpable tension and excitement in the air that gives it away. They all know it. Well, everyone except a certain Kim Seokjin.

Yoongi doesn't realize that he's been holding his breath till he breathes out a long sigh.

"Jin hyung," Namjoon starts off, his eyes looking everywhere except into Jin's. Jimin's lets out a high pitched squeal that Yoongi smothers with a death glare.

Jin, on the other hand, couldn't look more clueless.

Poor Jin.

Namjoon stutters a little, and he looks like he's sweating already. Yoongi sighs again, clears his throat. Of course, Yoongi had come prepared for foreseen glitches.

"Jin hyung, he's fucking in love with you, and no matter how bad he's going to violate your eardrums right now, just accept it and go out with him for goodness sake, we've all been waiting since September last year."

Whistles erupt in the air and Yoongi is pretty sure he's never seen Jin look more embarrassed or Namjoon more grateful as his cracking voice fills the room. The lights are low and they illuminate a determined Namjoon clutching the mike and singing like his life depended on it. Taehyung's hand finds Jungkook's. Jimin is offering his shoulder for Jin to hide his face in, occasionally patting Jin's shoulders. Hoseok's fingers find Yoongi's. Yoongi holds onto him with loving intensity.

Fill my heart with song

You are all I long for

All I worship and adore

In other words, please be true

In other words, I love you

God, Yoongi loves this fucked up family he's in.

Yoongi glances at Hoseok who is now captivated by a flustered Namjoon tackled into a bear hug by Seokjin ("Well shit, Namjoon, I thought you'd never ask."). Hoseok looks like everything Yoongi has missed his whole life.

God, Yoongi loves Jung Hoseok.

 

*

 

Yoongi is so tired, he thinks his muscles might just explode with the exhaustion, like if he didn't get sleep right away, he might just drop dead that very second and never get to live to the day he would be thirty eight and see Namjoon walk Jin down some damn isle, because he took that long to pop the question considering his overly awkward personality.

Or something like that.

So when Yoongi hits the bed, he's sure he hears angels sing.

"Shotgun?" Yoongi hears from above him.

Every cell in Yoongi's body screams no, to just groan and tell Hoseok not today, that tomorrow he would promise they could go out all night in their bloody underwear and he wouldn't question it.

"You wish," Yoongi tells him, bloodshot eyes flying open, snatching the keys from a grinning Hoseok who trails behind him.

When Yoongi thinks about it, he's never been very good at saying no. Especially when it comes to Jung Hoseok. Especially a Jung Hoseok who hasn't offered this in three months and 22 days. Yoongi knows, because he's been waiting.

The freeway is empty again, and 3:24 AM flashes on the dashboard, but Yoongi has never been more alive. And it's a Yoongi - Hoseok thing all over again, and how Yoongi's missed all of it, the yellow lights, the way the streets couldn't be wider and more free, how Hoseok couldn't be screaming shitty 60s lyrics from the drop down top any louder.

Or how Yoongi probably couldn't stop his heart from beating so hard, it felt like if he listened hard enough, he could hear it.

The 24/7 guy at the ramen pick up doesn't question as to why they hadn't shown up for months. Yoongi squints and it's the same guy, but all he does is take the money from Yoongi, hands him the change, passes him the 10 bowls, closes the window. Yoongi wonders if he bothers to think about it at all, but Yoongi is probably the one over thinking it. Yoongi is the one who can't believe they're here, talking over ramen like a day hadn't gone by since the last time they did this. And how he would rather run himself over than lose what he had right now.

So when Yoongi steps on the gas and lets Hoseok spread out his arms above him, he can't stop shivering. At the thought of confessing to Hoseok. How he couldn't hold it in for another second. At how Hoseok might run away again. Yoongi can hardly breathe at the thought of that.

You can do this some other day, Yoongi tells himself. Someday when you're ready. When he might be in love you back, for fuck's sake.

Adults will tell you to give up today's happiness for tomorrow's happiness. But the truth is that you will never be happy tomorrow if you are not happy today.

He thinks of it that very instant, almost in calm succession and it's true. He's speeding down the freeway on their way back, and here he is with the boy he is in love with. Right here, under the city lights.

"JUNG HOSEOK!"

Hoseok looks down, eyes streaming because of the wind, laughter in his eyes.

"JUNG HOSEOK, I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU. I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU AND I'M NOT DRUNK AND IT WON'T CHANGE, AND I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU. AND I'M SURE THERE'S A BETTER WAY TO SAY IT BUT I JUST REALLY FUCKING LOVE YOU. AND THAT'S ALL I KNOW HOW TO DO AND I REALLY SUCK AT CONFESSING BUT YOU'RE THE ONLY THING THAT'S BEEN ON MY MIND AND I'M SORRY."

Yoongi realizes how sore his throat is from the yelling only when he stops, when he cracks and eye open to Hoseok who has been silent for a good twenty seconds.

"What the fuck, Min Yoongi," Hoseok calls down, ruffling his hair. "That took you way too long."

Hoseok bends down under the hood, grabs Yoongi's collar and Yoongi slams the breaks. And right in the middle of the road, Hoseok kisses Yoongi like he's never been kissed before. It's the kind of kiss that comes only once in a lifetime, that has everything you've ever felt, every good thing you've ever done, everything that's meant anything to you and lived for till now all in that one moment where time and the world stands still and all that exists is you and him and that one kiss. If Yoongi tries to remember exactly what happened between the time their lips met and when they broke apart, all he recalls is how quickly the tears came after Hoseok lets go.

But it's okay. Because as long as it's them, right here, driving way too fast, loving way too strong, falling way too young, as long as it's exactly like this, Yoongi would do it all over again. Right here, under the city lights.

 

 

"Can I ask you something?" Yoongi says, tentatively that May afternoon with Hoseok's head in his lap.

"Mmm," Hoseok hums eyes fluttering under the summer heat even when they're inside.

"What did you do with all those orchids I gave you for three weeks?"

Hoseok's eyes open slowly with a belated smile that fills his expression with leisurely ease.

"I really love blue orchids," he purrs, but Yoongi isn't satisfied.

Hoseok sighs, gets off Yoongi's lap. He returns with his entire collection of Art History books for that semester.

"O-kay, but Hoseok, I'm serious."

Hoseok rolls his eyes and cracks one of them open. Yoongi's jaw drops.

"Every single one is in here somewhere or the other," he says, stroking the pressed petals with tender care. Yoongi feels himself choking up a little but stop himself. If only he didn't have his badass reputation to upkeep.

"You're weird, you know that?"

"Yeah, but you still fell for me though."

Yoongi lays back, closes his eyes. The warm afternoon presses upon him.

"Why fall in love when you can fall asleep?"

Hoseok smacks his arm and Yoongi can only laugh.

 

*

 

Yoongi has developed a system by now.

He wakes up ten minutes before Monday morning classes begin when he can't pretend that turning off the alarm and snuggling into Hoseok's shoulder will stop time, manages to grab leftover instant kimbap as an excuse for a nutritious breakfast (in his defence, kimbap has seaweed and that's counted as healthy no matter what stats Jin throws at him),watches Jungkook on the couch lounging about as he pours over the latest issue of Men's Health, or Jimin fixing his hair before he left for dance practice, and is pushed out of the door in a blur of the rest of the frat members' mumbled, half awake 'hellos' and 'You look gorgeous this morning, hyung' as Yoongi flips them off.

But Yoongi can't live without it really.

Namjoon is clumsy, smart, and way too tall for his own damn good, as Yoongi had told him often. But really, he's the only one Yoongi can go to when the walls close around him way too fast and only Kim Namjoon can help him, and now he doesn't mind too much telling Joonie he needs him around occasionally.

Jin is clean, obsessed about his Mario figurine collection and good at cooking. Like really, really fucking good. Like the kind of good that got better ever since he started dating Namjoon so they could have more reasons to spend time together, and Yoongi is glad for it.

Jimin is loud, happy, and spends most of his time practicing dance. Yoongi suspects that it has a little to do with the new guy Jimin has been crushing on in his Japanese class, which is why he continued the major despite his terrible grades, and every week, he clings to Yoongi for advice and assurance before he enters class as Yoongi pats his hair and tells Jimin how perfect he was already.

Taehyung is weird, annoyingly hilarious when he wanted to be, and well, just generally Taehyung. How else could you describe a guy that spent his entire life savings on the ugliest sweater in the middle of July for Yoongi to pay him back for the time he borrowed money from him on Christmas last year? You just couldn't. But Yoongi wears it all the time, if only to let Taehyung know he loves it really.

Jungkook is quiet, orderly, and a massive workaholic and for the most part, Yoongi's go-to guy when it came to pulling pranks on everyone else in the dorm, no matter how late in the night it was, or how ridiculous the plan.

And Hoseok? Hoseok is the guy that made Yoongi sick to his stomach, heart racing, palms sweating, mind blanking. But Yoongi doesn't need to name the feeling anymore. To be honest, Yoongi ran out of excuses ages ago.

After all, there were two billion songs to put it in words for him.