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All my days (I'll know your face)

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Hoseok thinks he’s in a dream when his grandmother clutches at his wrist, grip vice like, and her nails digging into the inside of his arm as she drags him down towards her to whisper, “Don’t let me die worried about my favourite grandchild.”

“What?” Hoseok hears him say, and even to his own ears he sounds just as lost as he feels.

And somewhere in the back of the hospital room, his sister chokes on her soda but still manages to gasp out a, “What!”

Hoseok looks over his shoulder, a clear look of distress on his face and his mouth open in a silent scream for help.

Beside him, his father looks to his dying mother, and then to his idiot of a son, and grimaces.

Hoseok’s mother just shakes her head and turns to make sure his sister doesn’t die from soda going down the wrong tube. 

When they’re all ushered out of the room by his grandmother’s nurse, Hoseok is no less confused and his sister no less peeved at being deemed the less favourite grandchild. There’s basically dozens of them but the choice had been so obvious between him and Hoseok, and yet there their grandmother had been, literally in her death bed, declaring that there’s no way she’s resting in peace until she made sure her favourite grandchild was well established in life, and Hoseok doesn’t even know what that means, that is, until his mother pulls him to the side and whispers almost conspiratorially to him:

“It means,” And his father and sister stand around them, waiting for the bomb to drop, because this doesn’t look good - his mother looks dead serious, mouth pressed into a tight line, and her brows furrowed in frustration - and Hoseok doesn’t want to hear it, but his mother isn’t giving him a choice to cover his ears and scream loud enough to drown out her next words. 

“She basically means she’s not going to rest in peace unless you settle down,” 

“But I’m not old,” Hoseok whines, hand wiggling out of his mother’s hold. “Noona is at the age of settling down, not me, why,” He sounds like a child and not like a well mannered (what a joke) twenty-three year old. “I don’t wanna settle down, I’m too young for that,”

His mother rolls her eyes and tugs again on his hand, “Well, figure that out because she’s not dying until she knows you’re set.” 

Hoseok blanches. 

His sister cackles, “Imagine, married at twenty-three,”

“Imagine,” Hoseok’s voice drips sarcasm, his glare cold when it settles down on her, “Growing old and alone, a hag,” 

“That’s a funny, coming from you - “ And their father steps in before Jiwoo can launch at her little brother, arms already trying to snatch at whatever she can of Hoseok, mouth twisting in a scowl. 

A long, suffering groan from their mother prompts the three of their heads to snap up back at her, equal looks of surprise clear on each of their faces. “Stop it, your grandmother is dying in the other room and the both of you are acting like children,” She slips into Korean, her words coming sharp and heavy for all of them.

Hoseok has to strain his ears to understand it while his sister backs away, shoulders sagging. 

You,” His mother points at Hoseok, “Figure it out. Your grandmother is only worried because you give her crap to worry about, Hoseok. So fix it, I don’t care how, just fix it, or else she’s not going to die,” 

What,” His father, voice completely astounded and his mouth in a wide “o”. “What did you say about mom?”

“I said, Hoseok has to fix this problem himself or else she’ll never rest easy,” She smiles at him, placating and soft, and both Hoseok and his sister take five steps back, already cautious of the storm about to erupt between their parents. “And you,” At his sister now, completely distracting their father from the implications of his wife’s words about his own mother. “Help your brother.” 

With their parents leading the way back to the parking lot, furiously whispering to each other, Hoseok and Jiwoo stay further back, not at all amused by the situation, Hoseok especially.

“What does she mean “settle down”?” Hoseok grumbles to himself, darting looks every now and again at his sister. “She doesn’t mean she wants to see me married, does she? Who gets married so young?”

“Eunmi married her husband at twenty-four,” Jiwoo mumbles, avoiding Hoseok’s gaze. Most of her friends are married already and yet here their grandmother is - she’s got a lot of grandchildren she could be worrying about but she singles Hoseok out. “This is because you fuck up too much, Hoseok,”

“Language,” Hoseok rolls his eyes but doesn’t deny that the one reason his grandmother’s worried the most about him is because he’s single-handedly fucked up a monumental amount compared to the rest of the cousins under the Jung household. “And also, I’m completely fucked.” 

Jiwoo shrugs her shoulders and nods her head, humming out a, “Well, you’re used to fucking up all the time, maybe this one you can actually salvage.”

Hoseok doubts it. He’s going to send his grandmother to the grave disappointed and worried about her favourite and best grandson, all because he hasn’t the girlfriend to settle down with. Or boyfriend. And even if he did have either of those, Hoseok’s still pretty damn sure there’s no way he’s marrying them at twenty-three, which leaves him with a dying grandmother who’ll probably tell the angel of death to fuck off, all because she’s still waiting on her favourite grandson.

“Well,” Hoseok’s voice chirps up a little bit, his smile coming out forced, “At least it’s finally established that I’m her favourite.” 

Hoseok’s at the airport when the heavens practically crack open and drops him the answer to his problem. 

JFK is terrible this time of the year but nobody else can take his sister, their parents both busy with the business. Hoseok’s the only one who’s got enough time (he’s got the entire day for the next how many months, being unemployed and all is great) to drop her off at the airport. 

“Well, come back married,” Hoseok jokes, pulling her towards him for a hug. 

She gives his cheek a little pinch when they pull apart, “I’m going to be back in a few weeks, take care of grandma until then, okay?” 

Of course, Hoseok nods, finally pushing her away from him with a little shove that ends up being too hard, Jiwoo stumbling a little bit under the weight of her bag. Before she disappears through to the check in counters, she gives him the middle finger and mouths, You’re fuckin’ screwed, her smile absolutely angelic a second after. 

With his sister out of his life for the most part of a month, Hoseok starts to feel a little bit more miserable. Having Jiwoo around meant that he could be around their grandmother together, watch over her, be nice to her together. Being alone meant being stared down at the other end of the room, asked the same question over and over again. Hoseok’s only experience with old people is his time with his grandmother - and it had been hard enough. He has no idea now how to deal with a dying old person, that’s like two birds and no stone right there. 

He’s busy contemplating just running away, starting off in Texas, or worse, in Korea, when he bumps into someone so hard the force of it almost sends him tumbling back, hand reaching out in front of him to snatch at anything, anyone, and ending up with nothing but air. Hoseok falls on his ass right outside of JFK, and the pavement’s hard because it’s a fucking pavement, it’s cement and stone, and it’s dirty, fuck’s sake. 

Hoseok winces, the pain spreading from his ass to his lower back.

“What the fuck?” Hoseok hisses, head snapping up to look at the perpetuator.

Seeing a middle aged man crouched down with the most sympathetic look on his face has Hoseok instantly regretting his poor choice of words, especially since the poor man is already apologising, at least three dozen sorries out of his mouth in the three seconds that Hoseok just stares at him, feeling like a complete and utter idiot.

“Sorry, I didn’t see you, let me help you up,” He hauls Hoseok back on his feet, looking a tad bit ashamed at knocking a kid half his age completely to the ground - or looking proud, since when has anybody felt ashamed at being able to throttle someone to the ground, age not being a factor at all? Or a factor, that makes more sense, now that Hoseok thinks about it. 

Hoseok dusts off his pants and instantly goes for his phone, which he’d slipped right into the back pocket of his jeans, and - 

And it’s cracked. Hoseok groans at the sight of his cracked screen. Well, there goes trying not to be a total fuck up. 

He waves the man off with a don’t worry about it (Hoseok should sue him, or he should sue JFK, he can get more money doing the latter. That’s a food for thought on the drive home, Hoseok thinks.) turns around, and almost runs headfirst into somebody else. 

“Oh, for fuck’s sake - “ Hoseok really should start articulating his words better, or maybe he should put more effort into saying things other than some expletive curse words, because one day, this terrible mouth of his will get him into trouble and he’ll have more than a cracked phone to worry about (that had happened a few times in college, and let’s just say Hoseok doesn’t like the idea of getting served so bad he has to curl up in bed for the next thirty-six hours just to stop himself from whimpering in pain, because, ow, broken ribs). 

“What the hell?” 

That’s a surprise right there. 

Hoseok straightens up, looking away from his poor, destroyed phone, and then steadies his glare on the next person who’d had the misfortune of bumping into him right after Hoseok had just landed on his ass, in the middle of this goddamn sidewalk for all to see. 

“Holy shit,” Hoseok hears himself say, eyes widening, because he recognises this face. “Are you -“ 

It’s been years, but there’s no mistaking it. The same set of eyes that glimmer as if he’s hiding something, almost like he’s treading a fine line between mischievous and bored (which is a very fine line, because most bored people, Hoseok’s learned, tend to get into the worst situations because of their boredom). But Hoseok can’t deny that these eyes hold something else, too, and it’s complete and utter disdain for everything under the sun, which explains why Min Yoongi is still so fucking pale, ten years or so after the last time Hoseok’s seen him. 

(Well, maybe not ten years, more like a lengthy twelve years. Okay, in reality, maybe the last time Hoseok’s seen Yoongi was maybe two years ago? But it had been in passing, his mother pointing out a boy that looked scarily similar to the Min Yoongi he’d known in his childhood - the Min Yoongi who’d terrorised his otherwise happy, blissful little childhood.)

Hobi?” 

The use of the name has the tips of Hoseok’s ears colouring, his mouth dropping open to say something, but he ends up just sputtering nothing. Real nice, Hoseok, what a beautiful first impression to leave on someone you haven’t seen in literally a decade already. 

“Min Yoongi hyung?” Because of course Yoongi was never served with a mandatory childhood nickname, and had Hoseok called him anything else then that would have been the end of his day, of his life, most likely. 

And save the fact that Yoongi’s first words after decades had been to counter Yoongi’s own dropping of expletives, Hoseok is still surprised and, well, if he’s being honest, thrilled, because it's Yoongi, and as much of a playground bully Yoongi had been, they’d still grown up together. 

Still been the best of friends for, what, eight years? 

A small quirking of his lips is the most that Yoongi gives for a smile, lifting the strap of his bag higher over his shoulder as he looks at Hoseok now, his gaze settling on him. 

“Yeah, it’s been a while, right?” 

It’s so fucking weird finally talking to someone you haven’t seen since you were twelve, or thirteen, and even then they’d both just been sort of apart already, Yoongi two years older than him and two grades higher up. 

But they’re both here now, in JFK, of all places, and it’s weird, but it’s also nice, meeting an old friend. Someone from your past whom you thought you’d never see again. Weird but nice, that’s exactly how Hoseok feels right now. 

He grins at Yoongi, raises his hand in a belated greeting, and says, “Hyung, you’re still paper pale, where were you this whole time? Alaska?”

Yoongi is silent for a couple of moments, eyes just blinking at Hoseok, his mouth in a slack line. After a considerably long moment for a pause, Yoongi throws his head back in laughter, eyes crinkling, and his bag slipping off of his shoulder as he wheezes out, “And you haven’t grown up at all, Hobi, you’re still twelve.” 

Hoseok huffs, wants really, really bad to punch Yoongi in the shoulder, or kick him to the curb for that comment, but instead, he just shrugs his shoulders and says, “And you’re, what, thirty-eight?” 

It’s a dumb attempt at an even dumber jab that Hoseok regrets instantly because Yoongi stops mid-laugh and glares at him, and god, it’s the same glare that had rooted Hoseok to his spot so many years ago. The same glare that had Hoseok surrendering his swing set rights. 

That’s probably another feat only amazing because it’s Yoongi - he’s still scary as hell, and also strangely accurate because Hoseok’s mother had called him twelve this morning, too, when he padded out of the kitchen with a pot of cereal and a huge ass serving spoon in one hand. 

“Sorry, sorry, you don’t look a day over twenty-something,” Hoseok amends, his grin looking more like a grimace under Yoongi’s glare. 

But then Yoongi’s smiling, his features smoothed over, and his face brightening. He reaches across the space between them, fingers catching at Hoseok’s hair, ruffling it messy. 

“Yeah, nice to see you again,” Yoongi smiles, a playfulness evident in his eyes. 

It’s been a while, but Hoseok can still say that Yoongi brings with him something familiar, something nostalgic. 

(Being a childhood friend might have more to do with that than anything, but Hoseok swears it’s not because of that, or, well, it’s only partly because of that. There’s just something else.)

“Are you headed home? I just dropped noona off, she’s headed to California for the week, that’s all the explanation you get because she’s a pain in the ass, and y’know,” Hoseok gestures, a little bit loss for words, sounding like a complete idiot now because all he gets from Yoongi is a funny little look, like Yoongi’s debating calling him an idiot from the get-go (Hoseok knows that if the word doesn’t drop in the next minute, then it’s gonna drop in the next ten, knowing Yoongi). 

“Yeah, okay,” Yoongi doesn’t wait for Hoseok to finish and just shrugs, “I was going to get a cab. My dad’s away for the weekend, but I couldn’t reschedule my flight home anymore,” 

Hoseok smiles at him - weird, weird, weird, how the last time he’d seen Yoongi, the closest thing they could get to a car was just talking about it, playing with toys, and pretend-racing on the couch - and then reaches behind Yoongi to grab for his other bag, thinking that he might as well be of more use now that he’d offered a ride back home. 

(And home for Yoongi is literally just across the street from Hoseok. Great.)

It’s only when they both finally straighten up after dumping all of Yoongi’s luggage in the trunk that Hoseok makes another shocking discovery.

He whips around, facing Yoongi, hands coming up to grip tightly on Yoongi’s shoulders, and he knows that his next words will be his dying words, but he can’t help it, because this is amazing, and Hoseok won’t let this pass, because - 

“Holy shit, hyung, I’m taller than you now.” 

The car ride back home is surprisingly smooth - save for traffic, but there’s always traffic in this part of the city, and they’d been coming from the airport, what kind of idiot expects smooth roads and no traffic coming from an airport? A naive idiot, that’s what. - the conversation between them easy and light.

Yoongi tells him that the reason he’d moved in and out at fourteen was because his parents had gotten divorced - Yoongi hadn’t told him that before, but his mother had known, had explained to him that his Yoongi hyung won’t be around as much anymore, and Hoseok had thought it was just because they were both too far away grade-wise now that caused it. 

“Sorry I didn’t tell you, I didn’t know how to handle it then,” Yoongi apologises, hand retracting from tweaking with the radio stations. “I just disappeared,”

“You literally dropped out of my life, hyung,” Hoseok doesn’t want this to take a turn into the heavy and too personal too soon road, so he steers away from it, because it’s been a decade already, the last he thing he wants to hear from Yoongi is an apology. They’d both been dumb kids, it’s fine, they’ve come out fine. “I get it, don’t worry. At that time, I just thought you didn’t think I was cool, or something,”

Yoongi’s laugh fills the car, and Hoseok notices that it sounds more like Yoongi’s laughing at him than with him. Hoseok would have felt offended but he’s learned years and years ago that being offended so often with Yoongi won’t do him any good, not when Yoongi takes it back with a soft gaze and a sheepish look on his face seconds after - that’s as far as his next apology will go, and that Hoseok will take. 

“So uncool that I’d move out?” Yoongi leans his head against the window, his laughter finally subsiding. Hoseok’s hands loosen around the steering wheel as they finally pull over Yoongi’s side of the street. “That’s actually pretty funny, I should have never told you the real reason,” 

Hoseok rolls his eyes but cracks a smile, anyway, because Yoongi’s ten years older - they’re both ten years older - but nothing else has changed much, except, well, except for everything else in their life. 

He helps Yoongi drag his luggage back into the house, dumping his heavy bag in the living room, and huffing a little bit when they finally finish. Hoseok looks around the house, a sense of familiarity settling around him again. This is a house that’s almost as familiar as his own home. A house that Hoseok had known as good as his. He’s got his handprint on the kitchen wall, right next to Yoongi’s. He’s also got his height measurements on the wall of Yoongi’s room, too, right next to Yoongi’s. Always next to Yoongi.

They’d practically grown up together, the both of them.

“Let’s catch up, hyung,” Hoseok offers, his grin wide, easy. It’s been a while and Hoseok hasn’t got anything better to do, and didn’t Yoongi mention his dad not being home for the weekend, anyway? 

Yoongi kicks at one of his bags, “Yeah, after I unpack. Here, you can leave me your number,” 

“No,” Hoseok groans, remembering his phone. “I fell on my ass literally ten seconds before I met you. I fell on my phone, it’s dead now. What about you just cross the street and ring the doorbell?” 

Now it’s Yoongi’s turn to roll his eyes and groan at Hoseok, “I’m going to sock you one of these days, but okay, I’ll do that.” 

Hoseok leaves only after he’s ruffled Yoongi’s hair in turn - blonde, Yoongi’s blonde now, and for some reason, Hoseok’s surprised by the softness of his hair. He’d expected dead hair, not this. A mental note to ask for the brand of dye Yoongi uses and what conditioner he’s got, and Hoseok’s on his merry way home, a certain bounce in his step, and his shoulders considerably lighter. 

That is, until he steps back into the house and remembers that he’s got a dying grandmother and a dying wish he’s got no way of fulfilling. Not to mention a very upset father because of a very snarky comment from a very snarky mother. Great. Amazing. 

Well, at least Yoongi’s back in town.

“Hoseok,” It’s his mother’s voice pulling him out of a regularly scheduled daytime sit-and-think (more like a yearly sit-and-think. Less siting and more laying sprawled on the couch and buried under three blankets and five hundred pillows). “Hoseok, you have a visitor,”

He swats her hand out of his face, hand effectively catching at the back of her hand. Hoseok gets a harsh tug on a clump of his hair and a long stream of very insulting words directed at her one and only son. She says it all in Korean, which is fine for Hoseok since he’s technically still half-asleep, and his Korean fully awake is insubstantial, anyway.

Her words don’t hurt him at all, but her suddenly ripping the blankets off of him and throwing a pillow to his face does the trick of startling him out of his little daytime nap. 

“It’s Yoongi!” She says it like Yoongi’s her son that’s suddenly just gotten back from the war, like she’s the mother who hasn’t seen him in a decade, who’s missed her son so, so much. 

Hoseok squints his eyes at her but rolls out of bed, hair a complete mess and still in his pyjamas.

(And if Yoongi wonders how a twenty-three year old is still living with his parents, then the only thing Hoseok will tell him, for now, is that his parents are loaded, and Hoseok’s just delaying taking the fucking bar exam for as long as he can. Besides, Hoseok can always throw the question right back at Yoongi - but then again, Yoongi’s halfway into his residency, so maybe things are different between them, in their given situation. Maybe.)

“What time is it?” Hoseok asks, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes with the back of his hand.

Yoongi looks up from him on the couch, a cup of tea held gingerly between his hands. “It’s ten in the morning,”

Hoseok yawns, ineffectively stopping it, “Thought you were coming over last night,”

“I fell asleep,” An excuse that Hoseok will accept without any other question. Lord knows how many appointments Hoseok’s missed just because he’d fallen asleep. 

His mother comes into the living room then, her smile immaculate, and her steps light as she darts from Yoongi to the counter, setting down at least three more plates of food in front of Yoongi and a pitcher of juice that Hoseok knows goes really bad with that tea. 

“Yoongi, it’s been so long,” She smiles at him, gesturing to the food. “How have you been?”

That’s Hoseok’s cue to turn around and head back into his room, because, one, he’s still in his pyjamas, two, his hair’s a mess, and three, he’s got the rest of the afternoon to hear about how Yoongi’s been doing. 

When he gets back down, hair brushed into a state of normal, and fully dressed, it’s to find that Yoongi’s looking a little bit sadder, eyes downcast, and his tea sitting in front of him, cold and untouched.

“What’s up?” Hoseok asks, looking at his mother, who gets up, gives Yoongi a final pat on the shoulder, an sorry to make you worry, Yoongi, and leaves with a final nod at Hoseok, like he’s supposed to put one and two together and get three. Hoseok gets thirteen, instead. 

“You didn’t say your grandmother was sick,” Yoongi pushes himself off of the couch, frowning. “She was always nice,” 

“Oh,” Hoseok figures that opening with my grandma is dying but she won’t die unless she sees me settled is a terrible ice breaker, anyway, so he just shrugs his shoulders and gestures for Yoongi to follow him out the front door and into the car, keys jangling in his hand. “I was going to get there, eventually,” 

“Is she okay?” They’re in the car now, Yoongi fidgeting with the seatbelt and balancing a croissant on a napkin that’s perched on his knee. “I mean, I get it, yeah, but is she going to be? How bad is it?”

“Yeah, I hope so,” Hoseok murmurs under his breath, his heart heavy now, because he might be a problem of a son, but he’s always loved his grandmother. “Good news, she called me her favourite grandchild and said that she basically refuses to die unless she sees me married,”

Probably bad timing to drop that news because Yoongi’s choking on his croissant, the rest of the pastry falling out of his hands and dropping to the floor of Hoseok’s car. Hoseok debates pulling over to check on Yoongi, but thinks against it when Yoongi gets himself together and finally swallows. 

Yoongi’s still coughing after a few minutes, though, but other than that, he’s fine. Sort of. “What did you say?”

Hoseok glances over at him, his smile a little bit amused, his eyes alight with humour, because his grandmother is crazy, and Hoseok’s crazy for taking her request seriously, but she’s also dying, and Hoseok doesn’t want her to go knowing that he’d disappointed her one last time - that he’d be the one last person who’ll ever disappoint her. That’s unbefitting of a favourite grandchild. 

“My mom told me I fucked up so much, is why gran’s so worried, and then I called noona a hag, basically, and mom sounded really bummed when she realised gran’s not dying soon, it looks like,” 

Maybe Hoseok should just stop talking altogether, because he’s giving Yoongi more problems than he is helping him, and if Yoongi still had his croissant, then he would’ve choked, too, but as it is, Yoongi’s just fumbling with a lighter - that slips right out of his hand and clatters somewhere on the floor, probably right next to the poor croissant. 

“Wild,” Yoongi rolls the window down, a cigarette dangling between his fingers. “Tell me about it, yeah? And where are we going? Are you just kidnapping me, or is this how you take people out?”

Hoseok would have shrugged had he not been driving, but since driving prevents him from the wonderful art of shrugging, Hoseok just snorts out a laugh and, very seriously, says, “I don’t tell people where we’re going, I just take them where I wanna go,”

“You’re a brat, y’know that?” Yoongi doesn’t sound particularly serious or even insulting, and he can’t check to see if Yoongi’s grinning at him, or smirking, because he’s going seventy-eight on a sixty highway, but there’s no malice in the way Yoongi had said it, so Hoseok takes it as a joke. 

They might have grown up together but the ten years they’ve spent apart are ten major years of their lives, still. Hoseok can look at Yoongi and see the stupid little boy he’d played with practically every day for eight years, but then he hears Yoongi speak, and it’s almost the same, but not quite. Not to say that Hoseok was expecting Yoongi to retain the same childlike idiocy his eight year old self held before, but Hoseok’s just a little bit floored and a whole lot amused, because this is his childhood friend, and it’s been ten fucking years, but here they are, with Hoseok driving like a maniac with no regard for safety or the speed limit, at all. 

Here they are again, side by side. 

They’re headed back into the city, Hoseok braving traffic on a Saturday morning just this once for Yoongi. During the thirty-three minute car ride, Yoongi tells him about the years he’d spent in Korea with his mother. She’d left right after the divorce, done with both the country and Yoongi’s father.

He tells Hoseok about high school in Korea - rough, but somehow, he’d had managed to fit in. About Columbia, because that’s as far as he can get from his mother and as close as possible he can be to his dad. He’s got a medical degree, has done the first half of his internship at a psych ward, and is now halfway through with his residency in a local hospital. Right in the heart of the city. 

Hoseok asks him if the nurses were nice to him and Yoongi’s well on his way of explaining what the experience had really been like until he gets the implications of Hoseok’s words, his mouth twisting into a scowl. He punches Hoseok lightly on the shoulder and the car swerves.

They both scream when Hoseok narrowly misses a near collision with a mini van.

Okay, Yoongi knocks his knee into the compartment, and Hoseok screams.

“We’re going to die,” Hoseok groans, slowing down for traffic. “And all because you caught on too late on the joke,”

Yoongi’s fingers curl on top of his lap, ready to punch Hoseok again, but he holds himself off in favour of their safety. He settles against the chair, head leaned against the window, and the cigarette he’d taken out earlier broken and somewhere on the floor of Hoseok’s car. 

What else is on the floor of Hoseok’s car is a mystery, one that neither Yoongi nor Hoseok want to investigate or look further into. 

They’re making good time for a Saturday, and they haven’t gotten into any other near-accident, that is, until Yoongi asks, eight minutes away from their supposed destination, if Hoseok’s going to marry his girlfriend. 

Hoseok’s hand jerks, the car swerving violently. 

“What the fuck?” Yoongi blurts out, hand clamping tight on the door handle.

“No, my line, what the fuck, hyung?” Two near accidents and Hoseok’s still got the nerve to take his eyes away from the road to glare at Yoongi. Half-heartedly, because he looks more tired than anything else. More like he just wants to dig his own grave and roll in it. “I’m not dating anyone, and I think that’s problem number one, because then there’s nobody to be getting married to,”

A pause in which Hoseok tries to navigate the stalled lane, hand pressing down hard on the horn when an idiot pedestrian runs right in front of him. 

“Problem number two is there’s no way I’m getting married,” No other explanation, nothing, just that, and Yoongi doesn’t ask for an explanation, either, he just says: 

“You’re aware that if your grandmother dies, then you’re going to be the last person who’s disappointed her, right?”

Hoseok thinks wailing in such a small space will only give both of them a headache and that won’t do, so he just groans and goes crazy on the horn again, because at least the blaring horn will drown out Yoongi’s snickering. 

Hoseok toys with the ring that hangs from a silver chain around his neck. It’s still shiny and smooth, still shining a faint white gold. It’s old, is the thing, and has been hanging from his neck ever since he was four years old. A keepsake from his grandmother, something he treasures, something he’s kept with him at all times, no matter what. A bit strange to have it around him, given that the only other accessory he uses is literally just a watch, but on the rare chances that he takes it off, it feels weird, like something’s missing. The cool pressing of the metal against the dip of his collarbone has become familiar, comforting, even. 

Some days are harder than most, and Hoseok wouldn’t categorise going out after ten-or-so years with a long lost childhood friend as hard, but he’s just bummed, head heavy with a choice he knows he cannot make or act upon, because it’s impossible to send his sweet, wonderful grandmother to her grave happy and contented. God, why didn’t she just point at his sister and call her the favourite grandchild? 

She’s so eager to please, jumping at any opportunity to make a good impression to their grandparents that Hoseok’s almost sure she would’ve told their grandmother without a moment’s hesitation that she’s already engaged to her long time boyfriend (that doesn’t exist at the moment, but that’s the beautiful thing about lies, you can build around it and make it work. Until the day that it doesn’t and everything just comes crumbling down, but still, worth a shot.). She would actually lie to her like that, just to please her, and it’s both hilarious and a total load of bullshit that Hoseok can never, will never do, because - 

Because the idea had never hit him until now, at this very moment. 

Yoongi walks beside him, smoking quietly and taking in the sights before him - nothing much of a change, just a couple more corner stores that hadn’t been there the last time he was here. He looks happy, though, and like he’s genuinely enjoying himself. Hoseok talking his ear off had done the exact opposite of what Hoseok had expected (honestly, he’d expected Yoongi to tell him to shut up, but instead, Yoongi had levelled a careful gaze on him and asked him to go on, I wanna hear more.)

Hyung,” Hoseok calls, drawing Yoongi’s attention immediately. He takes a huge gulp, knowing that his next words have to come out right or else everything will go to shit, and Hoseok knows that that’s basically where he’s headed, to Shitsville, but he’s got to try, at least? Be more like his dear, darling Jiwoo noona - exactly what his parents had told him on more than one occasion, several family gatherings ago. “I know this will sound weird and shit,” 

Yoongi looks at him, one eyebrow raised, and the corners of his mouth quirked, curious. He doesn’t say anything, though, but the tilting of his head slightly to the side is enough assurance that he’s listening, that he’s giving Hoseok the chance to talk, to explain. To follow through. 

“And probably a little crazy, but will you -“ The words are caught in his throat, his shoulders suddenly stiffening. He can’t do this, this is crazy, his parents will kill him, and he’s going to lie to his dying grandmother, Hoseok is basically signing a contract that’ll send him straight to hell. He deliberates, takes a step back, and then shakes his head. “I mean, I was thinking about grandma, yeah? And I’ve been giving her a hard time, one time, I think I almost caused a heart attack when she’d found out about that thing from university - I’ll tell you about it later, yeah, but what I’m trying to say is,”

What he’s trying to say gets lodged in his throat when he attempts again, because this won’t work, and Yoongi will probably kick him. In the groin. And then punch him. In the gut. And Hoseok will be the complete laughing stock in Bryant Park, but he’s got to try, at least. At least, at least, at least. 

“What?” Yoongi prods, lifting his cup of coffee to his mouth and taking a very careful sip. 

Hoseok fidgets with the silver chain around his neck, fingers sliding past the ridges of the chain before finally catching on the thin, white gold ring. 

“Marry me,” Not once has Hoseok ever thought of this before in his life. To be proposing fake marriage to a childhood friend he hasn’t seen in ten fucking years with his grandmother’s favourite ring, his dying grandmother’s favourite ring, Hoseok, what are you thinking?

He isn’t thinking, not at all. Not one tiny little bit, even. 

Yoongi stares at him, hold around his coffee slackening. He catches it before it completely falls, and stares, open mouthed, at Hoseok. 

“What?” Yoongi asks, sounding as confused as Hoseok feels. Sounding completely blown away, too, because he doesn’t sound like he’d just processed Hoseok’s words. “Do you hear yourself?” 

Hoseok reaches to the back of his neck and very carefully unclasps the lock to the necklace, letting the ring slip from the chain and down onto his waiting palm. He closes his fingers around the cold metal band, steels himself, and then takes a couple more steps closer to Yoongi.

“Are you out of your fucking mind?” Yoongi’s voice is rising to a rather dangerous level, attracting the attention of people around them. He realises his mistake and lowers it down to a hiss. It doesn’t help the bubbling fear and nervousness that’s settled in the pit of Hoseok’s stomach, though. “This isn’t a little crazy, Hoseok, this is a whole lot of fucking crazy, this is a mess, and are you seriously expecting me to lie to your entire family?” 

“Now that you put it that way,” Hoseok mumbles, hand tightening around the ring. He looks at Yoongi’s face, eyes widening, and his lower lip pushed out into a pout that he knows is already foul play. He reaches for Yoongi’s hand with his free hand, an obvious play at drawing both sympathy and empathy from the older boy. “Hyung, you said it yourself, I’ll be the last person to disappoint her, and that would kill me,” 

He’s going to hell, for sure, and Yoongi knows it. They’re both going to hell for this. 

Why?” Yoongi grits out, glaring at Hoseok’s hand on top of his own. He wants to drop his coffee and run, take the fastest flight out of New York, out of the fucking country, even. Hoseok doesn’t let him, because he knows that look on Yoongi’s face, knows that he’s seconds away from running, but that he’s also seconds away from saying yes. 

That part of Yoongi hasn’t changed at all, Hoseok realises. His eyebrows still furrow when he’s thinking really hard on something and his eyes squinting as he finally draws closer to a conclusion, and usually, all the other times Yoongi had said dead no to him, the corners of his lips had pulled down into a scowl, but this time, Yoongi’s only frowning at him, a very careful look in his eyes, and a stiffness in his shoulders. 

Because,” Hoseok whines, tugging on his hand, letting it sway between them. He’s grinning at Yoongi now, knows that a pout can only go so far. “And I swear, I’ll pay you back for this. I’ll owe you my life,” 

It takes Yoongi approximately forty seconds before he finally relents, his jaw locked, and his nod tight. He glares at Hoseok, though, and rips his hand out of his. “We’re both going to hell for this, and if we’re ever found out then I can just tell them I’ve diagnosed you as clinically insane,” 

Oh, right, make use of that fancy psychiatrist title, great. Now that’s something his parents would be proud of in a match - practically a doctor. A doctor and a lawyer - both in the making, but still, that’s one hell of a match. Hoseok’s mother might shed a tear and his father finally nod approvingly at him. And it’d only taken him twenty three years, amazing

The ring in his hand weighs heavy, the scowl on Yoongi’s face one of complete and utter disdain, it’s almost hilarious. And because they’re already out in the open, and because Yoongi’s the oldest friend Hoseok’s ever had, he plucks the ring up between two of his fingers, and slides down on one knee, offering the ring up to Yoongi. 

“Hyung,” Hoseok starts, the grin on his face wide, his eyes twinkling with amusement, his laughter shaking his shoulders just from the effort of pushing it down. 

“What are you doing?” Yoongi drops his coffee then, the five-dollar shit coffee falling to the ground as his mouth gapes, completely at a loss for words now at the sight of Hoseok down on one knee and actually proposing. In public. With a fucking ring. “Hobi - Hoseok, I swear to god, don’t do this - “ Yoongi’s voice drops to a hiss as he stays rooted on his spot, the look on his face shocked and completely traumatised at the sight before him. 

“Will you pretend to be engaged with me, lie to my entire family, and to my dying grandmother?” Hoseok finishes with a flurry, lifting the ring higher and looking imploringly up at Yoongi, who back steps so fast he stumbles a little bit, but catches himself before he ends up flat on his ass in the middle of the park. 

It registers rather belatedly that there are people around them, some with their phones raised and others with their hands clutched to their hearts. It’s hilarious, the timing, and even more hilarious the attention they’re getting. Yoongi’s reaction isn’t even hilarious anymore because it’s too fucking funny it’s transcended that plane already. 

“Hyung,” Hoseok whines, wiggling the ring in front of him.

Yoongi blanches and shakes his head furiously.

Behind him, Hoseok can hear someone groan out a, “Sorry, man,” 

Hoseok makes a face at Yoongi, “People are recording, we’re going to be on Youtube, and you’re gonna be the asshole everyone will hate for dumping me,” 

The look on Yoongi’s face clearly states that there’s no dumping to do because this isn’t even real and Hoseok’s overstepping his boundaries already, but the people around them are sighing, throwing out their “sorries” and Hoseok is being too fucking pushy that Yoongi just gives up with a groan, the most hopeless look on his face, ever. 

The most hopeless look for now. Hoseok thinks that dragging him over to the family reunion the end of this month will have Yoongi feeling less hopeless. Probably have him feel more like he’ll just want to die, even.

“Why are you doing this?” Yoongi groans, stepping closer towards him. Slim fingers wrap around Hoseok’s own wrists, dragging him up with him. “I’m going to set your car on fire,” 

Hoseok just grins even wider, cheeky and ear to ear, practically, as he reaches for Yoongi’s hand. He slips the ring on his finger, wiggling it around a little bit to get it to fit. When it finally settles on the base of his ring finger, Hoseok takes Yoongi’s hand and turns to the crowd, lifting it high between them and laughing, “He said yes!” 

Maybe if a hole opened up underneath Yoongi and asked if it was alright to swallow him and drag him into the depths of hell, Yoongi would have said yes (Hoseok is wrong because if that happened, the devil wouldn’t have to ask, even, Yoongi would have jumped right in, no questions asked). 

Yoongi squeezes his hand, his hold tight, and the smile on his face more a grimace. “I’m going to kill you,” 

“Now you have to kiss me,” Hoseok chirps.

When Yoongi stands stock still and frozen, Hoseok lets out a long, winding sigh, and leans quickly over towards him to place a very wet, very quick kiss to his cheek. 

The crowd cheers and yell out their congratulations. 

Hoseok and Yoongi stand in the middle of it all, hands held between them, and a ticket to hell in their back pockets. 

(And later, when the crowd dwindles down and they’re both making their way back to the car, Hoseok waves his hand in front of Yoongi, demanding for the ring back.

Yoongi scowls at him, “Tough luck, idiot. It’s stuck on my finger,” 

Hoseok’s complete and utter look of horror is enough to get Yoongi to smirk, adding a little bit of bounce in his step.)

Now, the next obstacle is actually breaking the news to his parents. 

And to Yoongi’s parents, because, apparently, they’re engaged now. Yoongi’s got a fucking ring to prove it and Hoseok’s left with an empty chain that hangs loosely around his neck. Hoseok’s left without a ring that he’s worn for more than a decade, and all because he’d wanted to do a mock grand gesture of the whole thing.

Maybe he should listen to his family more and start taking things more seriously. Yoongi’s glare afterwards had been nothing short of hell, and if it really did exist, then hell had been right there in the depths of Yoongi’z gaze. Hoseok feels cold just thinking about it. 

He’s just about to call Yoongi over his place - actually call him on a telephone and not on his cellphone, that thing’s still broken - when his mother passes him the home phone and says, rather simply, “That Kim Taehyung boy,” 

The first thing out of Taehyung’s mouth when Hoseok says hello? is, “That Kim Taehyung boy? I thought me and your mom were close, hyung. Why does she call me the boy?” 

Hoseok balances the phone between his cheek and shoulder, hand too busy scrolling through social media. “Ever since you brought Jeongguk over, she’s gone crazy over him. Sorry to say, but it looks like Jeongguk’s beat you as my mom’s favourite friend,” 

Taehyung groans and Hoseok hears the distinct sound of a forehead hitting the edge of a table.

“Anyway, what do you want? I’m busy trying to get my life in order,” A soft hum from Hoseok’s end as he finds himself on Yoongi’s profile. There’s barely anything there, just a recent photo of him and his mother taken in Korea a few weeks ago, right before he’d left for the States again. He looks good with blonde hair, Hoseok thinks. Really, really nice. 

“Wanted to congratulate you, hyung,” Taehyung says, an obvious grin in his voice.

Hoseok’s hand stills on the mouse track, a cold shiver suddenly running down his spine. “What do you mean?”

Taehyung rushes into the story - tells him that they’d seen him in the park the other day, down on one knee, and proposing to someone they’ve never seen before, much less actually know. Taehyung ends it with a, “He looked like he was about to strangle you, though, but other than that, he looks nice,” He drops the last word like an actual compliment, and Hoseok groans, because the last thing he wants to think about is how nice  Yoongi looks, how good  looking he is.

“Fuck off, you were there?” Hoseok asks, alarm clear in his voice.

There’s silence for a few seconds until Taehyung bursts out laughing, “I’m just kidding, hyung. Me and Jeongguk saw it on Facebook, a friend posted the video. You’re everywhere, even Namjoon hyung saw it. He called immediately because he couldn’t get through to you,” A pause and the sound of Taehyung chewing. “Your phone still dead?”

Very much so, Hoseok wants to say, but instead, he asks, a little incredulously, “We’re on Facebook?”

“Yeah, with almost one hundred thousand views, but that’s not the point, hyung. You’re engaged,” Taehyung voice rising, getting a little bit more insulted the more he talks. “And you didn’t tell me? Hyung,” 

Hoseok grits his teeth, finally grabbing the phone in one hand, his hold instantly tightening around it as he steels himself with a heavy sigh. “We have to talk, yeah? Meet me at CBTL, come alone. I mean this, Tae, this is really important,”

Taehyung debates it for a little while, humming a tune Hoseok’s never heard before but just assumes is one of those weird ass indie music Taehyung’s taken a liking to lately. “Okay, but I’ll bring Jeongguk,” 

“I just said to come alone,” Hoseok mutters, seconds away from wanting to strangle a very good friend who’s getting on his last nerve. “But fine, whatever. I’ll drag Yoongi along, too,”

“Who’s Yoongi?” Taehyung asks, genuinely curious now.

Hoseok can’t believe it, but he laughs, anyway, and says, “My fiancé.” 

He ends the call before Taehyung can sputter out his what the fucks and how the fucks. Hoseok’s heard enough cursing for a lifetime. The car ride with Yoongi a few days back had been nothing short of painful, who knew someone could curse so well in two languages? Hoseok, Hoseok didn’t know, and so he’d suffered through a thirty minute drive back home with Yoongi threatening him under his breath, glaring at him whenever Hoseok so much as glanced at him. 

Well, that’s what they call pre-wedding jitters, after all. Hoseok snickers at the thought and hopes that Yoongi’s down for meeting his friends, because there’s no way Hoseok’s breaking the news to them alone.

Breaking the news to your best friend is much harder than Hoseok had thought it would be. Maybe just over coffee, a casual dropping of how he’s engaged but not really, just for a little while, for his grandmother, and then Taehyung nodding, giving him a small pat on the shoulder, and telling him that it’s okay, hyung, I understand. 

Nothing of that sort actually happens, because the second Hoseok walks with Yoongi right behind him, Taehyung slams his fists on the table, knocking one cup coffee right off the edge, and then points to the both of them, tone completely accusatory. 

Beside him, Jeongguk looks like he wants to just run away and leave, but can’t because he has to reel in his boyfriend from jumping on his best friend. It’s a good cafe, their favourite, neither of them want to make a mess and be blacklisted for life. 

“Hold on,” Yoongi mumbles, stopping right beside Hoseok. “Who is he?”

Hoseok grimaces at Taehyung and for the mean time completely ignores the younger boy in favour of turning to Yoongi - and it almost shocks him how close they are, how they’re basically nose to nose like this. He swallows, forcing his eyes not to stray from staring at Yoongi, and then says, “My best friend, unfortunately,” 

Yoongi clutches his hand into the space just above his chest, right where the heart is supposed to be, and says, mock-offended, “I’m hurt,”

“Don’t be a drama queen, hyung,” Hoseok grins, bumping their shoulders playfully. He gets a small smile from Yoongi back, and for now the tense little awkward arrangement between them smooths over. 

They’ve only been seeing each other for the better part of a week and Hoseok’s noticed certain things about Yoongi - found that Yoongi still doesn’t eat his very well vegetables, takes his coffee with too much sugar, and realised that while it’s been years already, Yoongi’s still got that almost magical way of being able to ease Hoseok’s nerves. Maybe that’s what’s made Yoongi so magical, ever since. 

And besides, Yoongi might not be the best friend but he’ll always be the childhood friend. 

“Is he high?” Are the first words out of Hoseok’s mouth, completely bypassing the regular greeting.

Jeongguk mops up the rest of the spill, his glare accusatory - and not towards Taehyung, too, but to Hoseok, like it’s Hoseok’s fault that his idiot of a boyfriend had just spilled all the coffee. Steaming hot coffee that’s definitely going to stain those washed out blue jeans. Tough luck. 

“No, but I’m betrayed,” Taehyung finally settles on his chair with a little huff, his gaze heavy as it lands on Yoongi. “Yoongi?” 

“Yeah,” Hoseok interjects, beating Yoongi to it, “Yoongi hyung,”

Yoongi, to his credit, cracks his friendliest smile, and it’s not much, but knowing Yoongi, it’s already big, even just the quirking of the corners of his mouth and the slightly raised eyebrow counts as an actual grin. 

“Yeah, hey,” Yoongi raises his hand weakly in the air, a little bit unsure at Hoseok’s choice of friends - what self respecting young adult would sacrifice perfectly good coffee just to yell and point insulting at his friend?

“Anyway, long story short, we’re engaged,”

There’s no beating around the bush with Hoseok, and the sooner he gets the words out, the sooner it’ll be easier to navigate through it. He’s still got his family to worry about, but at least he’s got his friends covered. 

And because the only thing Taehyung and Jeongguk are doing is just gape open mouthed at him like two of the stupidest fish Hoseok’s ever seen, he grins at them, and reaches beside him to take Yoongi’s hand, fingers clasping around his wrist, before pulling it up to show the white gold band glinting on the base of his left ring finger. 

Yoongi makes to rip his grip out of Hoseok’s which only has Hoseok tightening his hold around it, brandishing the ring - and the hand that it’s attached to - at his friends, who blink disbelievingly at him.

It’s only after five more seconds of gaping and ten seconds of non-stop blinking does Yoongi finally get his hand free of Hoseok’s hold. He rubs at his wrist, “This is the unofficial invitation to the wedding,”

If Hoseok’s not mistaken - and he definitely isn’t - then it sounds like Yoongi’s on board with this whole scheme. He turns to look at him, his grin wide, and his laughter effectively pushed down. 

“No fucking way,” Jeongguk mutters, still staring disbelievingly at the ring. “How did that even happen? Who even is he, this is the first we’ve seen of him,” 

Taehyung rocks back in his seat, looking equal parts betrayed and offended. 

Hoseok opens his mouth to explain, the ruse over, but then suddenly, Taehyung’s clambering out of his seat and barreling towards him, arms coming around him and crushing him tight against him in a hug. “Oh my fucking god, hyung, you’re engaged,” 

The earlier feeling of being abandoned (a complete fucking lie, Hoseok would never abandon him) and complete and utter betrayal (and to think Hoseok had thought Yoongi the drama queen) is completely wiped off of Taehyung’s face and replaced with a look of astonishment, and - and it even looks like he’s five seconds away from crying. Crying

Behind him, Jeongguk just shrugs his shoulders, “He’s a bit sensitive right now, he just watched the Red Wedding episode,” 

“Wait, wait, I have to explain,” Hoseok wiggles out of Taehyung’s grip while beside him, Yoongi stalks off back to the counter, presumably to order more coffee to make up for the ones that they’d indirectly spilled. “Tae, Tae, oh my god, if you’re going to start crying, I’m going to kill you,”

Taehyung pulls away, eyes squinting suspiciously at the sudden change in tone, “What? You’re engaged and I’m proud, hyung, me and Jeongguk thought you were going to die in a freak car crash at twenty seven, or OD,” He says it all with a completely straight face and Hoseok, for the briefest of seconds, feels a twinge of fear, because of course, trust the two of them to take bets on something so morbid.

“I don’t even do drugs,” Is Hoseok’s simple reply, pushing past Taehyung to slide into the opposite chair across Jeongguk. “And I’d never get into a freak car crash, I drive so well,”

Yoongi takes that moment to come back, bearing with him a tray of fresh coffee and at least a small mountain of cookies and brownies. “The other day we almost died two times. He was driving,” 

“Bet’s off,” Jeongguk announces, reaching for a cookie and breaking it in half. “He’s not going to die alone now, but we can always change it to the both of them getting into a freak car crash, and - “

“Stop it,” Hoseok hisses, noting the look of horror on Yoongi’s face. And regret. “Don’t scare Yoongi away,” Hoseok pats the chair beside him, his grin more sheepish now than anything, and probably inviting enough, too, because Yoongi huffs but takes the offered seat, anyway. Which only leaves Taehyung hovering above all of them by the head of the table, eyes darting from Hoseok and then to Yoongi. 

“I said I had something important to tell you,” Hoseok thumbs at the coffee shop’s logo embossed on the front of the cup. “Anyway, hyung, tell them,” 

Bumping Yoongi’s arm with his elbow was probably the wrong thing to do because Yoongi almost spills his coffee on his shirt. His expensive white shirt that Hoseok is pretty sure is worth more than his whole outfit combined. 

Yoongi sets the coffee down, pushes it a little bit farther away from the both of them, and then, under the table, reaches for the side of Hoseok’s waist, fingers finding purchase on the skin to his hip and pinching. 

“Tell them, hyung,” Hoseok isn’t going to give this one up, and if there’s anyone who can break Taehyung’s heart in five minutes then it’s not going to be Hoseok, which leaves Yoongi as the next (and also, only) possible candidate (Jeongguk probably would never, so there’s really nobody else to make do on the promise). 

He reaches for anything of Yoongi from under the table, trying to be as discrete as possible, but the only thing his hand knocks into is Yoongi’s knee, and really, at this point, Hoseok won’t risk any other bodily injury just to get back at Yoongi, so he gives up and turns back to his cookie. 

Probably cruel of him to have Yoongi drop the bomb on his friends, but they’d already agreed to it in the car - had played rock, paper, scissors three times because Yoongi had lost the first two, and, eventually, the third, too. Bad at games, that boy, must be why it was always Hoseok he’d pushed into playing with the other kids while he stayed behind, reading, or by the swing sets. 

“We’re not really engaged,” Yoongi sighs it out, finally rid of the immensely stupid burden that had rested on his shoulders ever since the ride from his house to this godforsaken coffee place. 

“But you have a ring - “ Jeongguk points out, gesturing to the very obvious, very expensive, and very sentimental ring on Yoongi’s finger. “And Hoseok hyung proposed - in fucking public,” 

Hoseok bites viciously into a cookie, “Yeah, I could have died then, but I didn’t,”

A snort from Yoongi and then the sound of somebody choking on a brownie, probably Taehyung. Most definitely Taehyung. 

“I’ll explain,” Hoseok says, dropping the cookie, and gesturing for the two younger boys to draw closer to them, hands resting on either side of their shoulders when they finally lean as close as is possible, given they’re in public and in a completely sober environment. “This is fake.”

It’s whispered low, just for their ears alone, and it’s almost worth it, this dramatic reveal, to see Taehyung and Jeongguk’s faces fall in disappointment one second, insult the next, and complete and fucking confusion after. 

“What the fuck?” Jeongguk leans away, glaring at both him at Yoongi, and staring pointedly at the ring around Yoongi’s finger. “Are you out of your fucking mind? Is this a prank?”

Taehyung’s brows furrows, “You’re not engaged? To Yoongi hyung? But - but, hyung, he’s so pretty,” 

It’s worth it, too, having Taehyung as a best friend, if only to watch as Yoongi sputters on a half-eaten cookie, cheeks suddenly flushed from the sudden compliment.

Hoseok just tightens his hold around his cup of coffee and forces out a laugh, hoping to god that he sounds more confident than he feels, because in order for this stunt to work, he needs the closest friend that his mother actually trusts to back up the whole thing. He’s not stupid, Hoseok knows that this is going to be much, much harder, and actually lying to his parents, deceiving his dying grandmother - Jesus, that’s an equation for trouble right there, but the ring’s already stuck to Yoongi’s finger and he’s got friends who’re looking less likely to tear him apart for that sudden revelation after, so maybe, just maybe, things will work out. A divine kinda intervention.

“I need your help,” For some odd, unfathomable reason, Hoseok thinks that it’s going to work. “Or, we need your help,” 

“Why did I even agree to this?” Yoongi buries his face in his hands, pushing away from the table to do so.

Jeongguk looks like he’s about to do the same thing, but Taehyung throws an arm around his shoulders and pulls him closer to his side, bringing their heads closer together as Taehyung leans down close to whisper, voice so low Hoseok doesn’t hear it from where he’s sat across from them. 

They’re disgusting, the both of them, so fucking close and touchy, and affectionate wherever they go. Hoseok hates it but he sort of wants that, too. Sort of (it’s a lie, he wants to be smothered in that kind of affection).

“Okay, we’ll listen,” It’s Jeongguk who announces it, all business like and utterly serious. “But on one condition,” 

Taehyung’s grin turns almost cheshire, so fucking mischievous Hoseok’s suddenly afraid for whatever they’ve both got planned.

“We get to plan the engagement party.” 

Oh my god,” Yoongi says, voice muffled in his hands. “There’s going to be an engagement party?” 

Hoseok throws an arm around Yoongi’s shoulders, giving it a small squeeze, before he nods to his friends across the table, grinning as he says, “Yes, absofuckinglutely, go wild. But first, I have to tell my mom I’m engaged to a man.” 

Hoseok thinks that it’s much easier to call your mother from a holding cell in the local precinct, explaining to her that you’ve just got caught in possession of drugs and are now facing at least ten years in prison and a hefty bail. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t do drugs, so the chances of getting caught in possession of, say, heroin or meth is highly unlikely, and thus no such phone calls in the foreseeable future will be made to his mother, nor will she be receiving any.

In hindsight, Hoseok thinks that opening up the conversation with that little anecdote is much better than actually just telling her outright that he’s engaged to Min Yoongi, the boy from across the street whom he’d practically grown up with. Maybe Hoseok should start to rethink his introductions because the look on his mom’s face signifies a seizure, mouth wide open, and her face completely pale.

Meanwhile, his father blinks at him, stunned stupid with shock.

Beside Hoseok, Yoongi shifts uncomfortably. 

“You’re married?” His father chokes out, turning to look at Yoongi first, and then at Hoseok, and then back at Yoongi. “And it’s nice to see you again, Yoongi, but you’re married to my son?” 

Yoongi coughs into his hand, “Um, yes, nice to see you again, it’s been a while,” A pause as Yoongi tries hard to avoid direct eye contact, because this is awkward and embarrassing and he’s going to kill Hoseok, probably. “And I’m not married to him,” which isn’t a lie and something Hoseok acknowledges with a very pointed yet

Hoseok snickers, getting a glare from his mother and a pinch to the side from Yoongi.

Talk about the most awkward family meeting ever. If only his sister were here - she would’ve jumped up from her seat and laughed ten seconds before she spilled out ten million apologies to Yoongi for getting suckered into this. 

How?” His mother finally finds her voice, hands clutching on the poor throw pillow on her lap. “Yoongi hasn’t even been here in years,” 

“We went to the same college?” A complete lie that his mother immediately catches. “I mean, he went to Columbia, I did Brown, it’s literally just right there,”

Probably not accurate, but given how far away some other universities are, Rhode Island and Manhattan aren’t that too far off. Besides, it’s not close enough for the both of them to see each other all the time, but also not far away enough for the prospect of a long distance relationship throughout their college years to be completely out of the equation - it’s highly plausible. 

“Yoongi went to Columbia?” His mother’s more concerned about Yoongi’s educational attainment rather than her son explaining that he’s engaged and to a boy they haven’t seen since Hoseok had been thirteen.

“Yes, but mom, that’s not the issue here. Can you just acknowledge that we’re engaged, tradition asks for your blessing,” What kind of tradition, Hoseok doesn’t know. He’s winging it as he goes and beside him, Yoongi looks like he’d rather be anywhere else but here, buried under his parents’ heavy gazes and impending questions. 

His father clears his throat, “Hoseok, most children would come out first before they introduce their same-sex fiancé to their parents,”

“Oh, right,” Right, because coming into this conversation with a winding tale about not being addicted to drugs and not needing over fifty grand or more dollars worth for bail was totally the wrong way to handle it. Hoseok looks at his parents, shrugs his shoulders, and says, “I thought you knew,”

A look is exchanged between the both of them, knowing glances that his father successfully manages to push down. His mother, on the other hand, just sighs, “We didn’t know-know, Hoseok, but I think - when you were in high school, with Taehyung? I’m not sure,”

Hoseok feels the heat rise up to his cheeks, suddenly very aware of how close he and Yoongi are right now, and how fucking warm the whole room is, “No, no, no, we never - I mean, no, what the fuck,” 

Taehyung?” He hears Yoongi murmur, more to himself than to Hoseok, obvious bewilderment clouding his tone. 

“No, no, no, no, mom, that was - nothing happened,” And the last part he says to Yoongi, turning away from his parents to look at him, one hand settling over Yoongi’s knee, fingers pressing warmly against the denim. Why he’s explaining it to Yoongi and not his parents is beyond him - Hoseok just wants to clear it up because what his mother had seen - and she’d seen something, alright - had been two high school idiots fucking around, wondering what it would be like to maybe kiss each other, maybe. (It had ended with the both of them knocking their foreheads together and falling off opposites sides of the bed and declaring to never again.). 

“Can we get back to the topic at hand?” Who knew telling your parents you’re engaged would be this hard and this complicated? Hoseok just wants their acknowledgement and their a-okay, just to get things done and over with. “I mean, sorry I sprung this up on you, but, y’know,” Vague gesturing to him, and then to Yoongi, something that his parents get awfully confused at, if the quirked eyebrows are anything to go by. “You know what I mean,”

His father heaves another big sigh, disbelief still colouring his features while his mother sits practically on the edge of the couch, torn between screaming at her son and fainting. 

“When?” Obviously, someone has to ask the important question, and Hoseok turns to his father gratefully for that. 

“Since last week,” Hoseok smiles at them, opting this time to looking happier, relieved. And it’s not exactly a lie, his smile, because he’s drawing up from the feeling of Yoongi agreeing to this fucked up plan, and if Hoseok hadn’t been relieved or happy he’d managed to pull someone into this mess with him then he’d be lying. “Look, I know it means a lot to grandma, and she got me thinking,” 

A gasp from his mother tears his gaze away from his father, looking to her again, head tilted silently in question.

“Is that your grandmother’s ring?” She points at the ring on Yoongi’s finger, white gold, expensive, and looking like it’s just been bought. It still has the shine that it first came with many, many years ago, and Hoseok may not know much about jewellery, but this ring, he knows, is a thing of beauty. “Oh, Hoseok,” 

He sees it then, the moment when understanding and complete acceptance fits itself on her face. Her eyes start to glisten with tears that he knows will start to run when she blinks, and Hoseok feels guilty then, lying to her, because he knows she knows what the ring means, knows that if there’s one thing Hoseok keeps close to his heart, at all times, no matter what, then it’s that ring, and giving it away (in his case, unintentionally. He wants that ring back now, but it’s stuck on Yoongi’s finger, fuck’s sake) means something.

His father takes hold of her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze, as he nods to the both of them. “Okay,”

Beside him, his mother nods, too, dainty hand swiping at the first tear drops that roll down her cheek, “Okay.” 

Yoongi breathes out a heavy sigh of relief and Hoseok grins at the both of them, successfully pushing down the feeling of guilt. This is for the greater good, Hoseok thinks. This is fine, it’s going to be fine, and thank god for Yoongi, really. 

Hoseok doesn’t know who else would be willing to do this for him (definitely not Taehyung and Hoseok will rather jump into hell than beg for Namjoon to play this part with him). 

Maybe reaching for Yoongi’s hand and holding it in the space between them is an unprecedented move, but the general feel of the situation just calls for it, and Yoongi’s wearing his ring, so it’s a perfectly good excuse to hold his hand if only to feel the smoothness of the metal band against his skin. 

Hoseok had taken to toying with the ring ever since he’d first gotten it, clutching onto it whenever he felt like he needed to steady himself, needed the extra help in staying rooted, grounded, and now that Yoongi has it, Hoseok’s only choice is to hold his hand, a guise just to run his fingers over the ring. 

That, and Yoongi has really soft hands, Hoseok’s just noticed. Like, really soft.

(“Hyung, you have really soft hands. Like, really, really soft,” 

Yoongi looks up from fidgeting with the ring, thumb rubbing idly on the band, to glare at Hoseok, “You have nice taste in jewellery.”)

“You’re not mad?” Hoseok looks away from his and Yoongi’s joined hands to look at his parents again, a twisting feeling in his gut. 

“That you sprung this on us?” His father asks, chuckling a little bit. “You’ve dumped much worse surprises, Hoseok,” 

Hoseok shakes his head, hand instinctively tightening around Yoongi’s, because while the whole engagement is a ruse, Hoseok actually coming out wasn’t. It isn’t, and it’s hard, really, actually saying it out loud now when he’d thought, really, that just assuming his parents already know would be good enough, would do for the rest of his life. 

“That it’s with Yoongi hyung,” with a man is what he wants to say, but his mother hears the implications of the words that he doesn’t say, the realisation of it bringing about a fresh wave of tears that she desperately tries to wipe away with a napkin she manages to fish out of a pocket. 

“No, no, why would I be mad?” Her smile’s wonderful and his mother’s beautiful, probably the most beautiful woman in the world. Most definitely. How many people can say that their coming out had garnered crying but for all the right reasons? Not much, Hoseok supposes, which makes him feel just a tad bit teary, too. 

Just a tad.

The sudden constricting feeling in his heart and the tightness in his gut has more to do with finally saying it than feeling Yoongi’s grip on his hand tighten.

The coldness and smoothness of the ring presses down on Hoseok’s palm, and it calms him down, brings him back.

Yoongi not letting go of his hand but instead squeezing it gently has Hoseok breathing evenly again. 

“Okay?” He hears Yoongi whisper beside him, the older boy leaning in close to brush their shoulders together. “You’re good,” 

Hoseok smiles at him, genuine and true, and then, for the first time since their little reunion, Yoongi smiles back, and it’s not just a quirking of his lips, either - that usual little twinge that he pulls up whenever the moment calls for it - but a real smile, an actual one that brightens up his face and lights up his eyes, and - 

It’s nice, Hoseok realises. Okay, more than nice. 

And Yoongi might look nice, yeah, but his smile is absolutely beautiful, the shine in his eyes almost like starlight; most probably because of the twinkling of the stars. Yes, definitely. 

Hoseok thinks he might want to see that smile more often. 

He breathes out his thank you, thumb rubbing absentmindedly on the inside of Yoongi’s wrist, the feeling of the smooth, cold ring, ironically enough, warm on his skin. 

Hoseok’s sister finds out shortly after the conversation with his parents. She calls him on his (new and improved) phone, practically screaming, and Hoseok, with a sigh, passes the phone over to Yoongi, because some people are rude and his sister apparently doesn’t want to talk to him, not when she can talk to the lovely, lovely next door neighbour. 

It’s a short conversation that ends with an even shorter chuckle from Yoongi, who passes the phone back to Hoseok and lounges back on his bed, leaning against the bed frame, with his legs stretched out and propped on top of Hoseok’s.

“Hey,” Yoongi looks at his hand with the ring, raises it high for Hoseok to see, and then blinks at it, “You think I have to cut my own finger off?”

Hoseok chokes back on a laugh, caught so off guard by the question that he almost falls off the other side of the bed. He grabs onto Yoongi’s leg to steady himself and manages to scoff, instead, “I mean, if we have to. That ring’s important,” 

“More important than me having five working fingers?” Yoongi asks, raising an eyebrow. He starts to thumb at the ring again, finger going over the diamond ridges around it. 

It’s beautiful and something Hoseok has been attached to for, what, the most of his life? Yeah, but seeing it on Yoongi’s finger - well, that’s nice, too. Surprising that it fits - fits so well neither of them can pull it off without Yoongi kicking Hoseok in the gut and almost crying (that had been a painful afternoon filled with Yoongi’s apologies and Hoseok groaning into a pillow). 

“Is it actually cutting circulation?” Because that sounds bad and painful, and shouldn’t Yoongi’s finger be red now, or drained of colour? Either way, okay. But, as far as Hoseok can tell - and he can tell a lot from where he’s sat, the both of them so close, and so fucking comfortable on Yoongi’s bed - it looks just fine. “You’ve got bony fingers,” 

Yoongi glares at him, hand clenching into a fist, “Shut up, and no, it’s not cutting circulation. I mean, I don’t think so. It’s just a tight fit,” 

There’s a joke there that Hoseok can pick up on but instead, he just lets it slide, giving Yoongi this round. For now. 

Besides, being in Yoongi’s room has Hoseok feeling a little bit nostalgic. It’s obvious that the only times Yoongi’s ever used the room were during his visits to his father. Obvious because of the little artefacts from his childhood scattered around the room. From the closet by the window, with the door just slightly ajar, Hoseok can make out the carvings of his and Yoongi’s height measurements. Every year, for at least nine years. 

They’ve spent a good amount of time in this room, trashing Yoongi’s walls with paint and markers, Yoongi’s mother giving up after their second year together because it’s impossible to reel them in, impossible to get the both of them to behave. 

(And, she used to say that the only times Hoseok would pay attention was when Yoongi was talking, which was sort of true, Hoseok has to admit.) 

“Yeah, just keep it, for now,” Hoseok mutters, finally turning to look at Yoongi again, catching the surprised look that passes over his face. 

Not that Hoseok had wanted to make it uncomfortable all of a sudden, but it’s not so bad, having it with Yoongi, at least it’s better than losing it forever. “I mean, if you can get it off, then great, but it hurts, yeah? So just keep it, I don’t mind,” 

Not entirely the truth but also not a whole lie. Just part truth, part lie, that Hoseok will keep to himself. 

Yoongi shifts a little bit, legs crossing at the ankles as he pushes himself higher up against his pillows. 

Hoseok thinks he looks pretty damn comfortable like this, feet propped on top of Hoseok’s, and buried in pillows. 

“Hyung, I never really asked,” It’s been a while for the both of them but here they are, back in Yoongi’s childhood bedroom. Here they are, after years of no contact, practically on top of each other again. Some things come so naturally, Hoseok’s surprised. But, pleasantly so. “But is this okay?” 

“Isn’t it too late to ask now?” Yoongi mumbles, lifting his gaze up to meet Hoseok’s, and it’s startling, how piercing his eyes are. How much Hoseok can see into them (and how nice, too, but that, like everything else he’s started to pick up on, he keeps to himself). “But, I guess, yeah, it’s fine, don’t worry, Hobi,” 

Hobi, the use of the name gets Hoseok more than what Yoongi had actually said (which Hoseok should properly acknowledge, but some other time, because he needs to acknowledge something else, now.). 

“Why do you call me that?” Not that he minds, but it’s been so long, and nobody - not even Taehyung - knows of it. Hoseok’s made his mom stop calling him that by his last year in middle school, simply because he was getting too old for it. It was, as he had put it, totally uncool, mom.

What? Your name?” It must have just dawned on Yoongi, too, that he’d slipped, because a faint dusting of red crosses his cheeks, mouth in a tight line as he tries to reel himself back from the blush that’s steadily rising. “I just - that’s all I ever called you before. Do you mind?” 

And there’s a look on Yoongi’s face that’s almost vulnerable, waiting for Hoseok, his hands curling slightly around a pillow, and clutching onto it. He looks self conscious, is what it is. And it’s not a good look on him, Hoseok realises, because Yoongi - he’s always exuded the confidence that Hoseok had noticed in him, ever since.

Quickly, Hoseok shakes his head, allowing for a smile to flitter up to his face, because there’s no need for Yoongi to take it back, or ask if it’s okay. Hoseok’s pulled him into this mess and now Yoongi’s concerned that the use of an old childhood nickname would upset Hoseok? If his mom says it, then yes, but with Yoongi, Hoseok finds that he doesn’t really mind. 

“Nah, it’s fine,” Hoseok laughs, louder than he’d intended. Nervous. “I like it.” 

Telling his parents had been step one. Conquer the mountain first and then attack the hills. 

(His grandmother is Mount Olympus, and Hoseok would rather he feel a little bit victorious after conquering the hills before he’d so much as made an attempt to scale Mount Olympus.). 

His friends are the next step, and this, Hoseok knows, will be no problem at all.

Hoseok doesn’t have to deal with Taehyung and Jeongguk for now (but he’s starting to worry, it’s officially been a week since he’d last spoken to them, and Hoseok’s only realising just how bad his bargaining skills had been. Plan his engagement party. An engagement party. Isn’t it bad enough that they’re lying to his parents, now they have to lie to everyone else? 

Really, Hoseok needs to start thinking things through.). 

Which leaves him with Seokjin and Namjoon, who, even with their busy schedules (a lie, Namjoon had been asleep the whole day and Seokjin, well, who knows what that boy is always up to), manage to find time to see Hoseok. And Hoseok’s new fiancé that they’ve yet to meet and will not be meeting until the aforementioned engagement party, because that’s apparently happening. In all seriousness.

“Wait, tell us one more time,” Seokjin looks at Hoseok from his mug of beer, a dubious look on his face. “You’re engaged? To what? I mean, I’m sorry, to who?” 

Namjoon snickers, knocking back the remaining contents of his beer into his mouth. “The important question is, why?” 

Hoseok should have probably enlisted their help rather than Taehyung’s, because these two, Hoseok knows, are maybe slightly ten percent more sensible than Taehyung and Jeongguk. Only slightly. Like, a smidgen more sensible.

There’s nothing else to do but slide his phone across the table, a photo of him and Yoongi pulled up - a convenient one they’d taken yesterday because, I’m meeting two of my good friends, and they’d want to know. It’s nothing special, just one of the two of them in bed, Yoongi propped up against all his pillows and smiling ruefully at the camera, with Hoseok by his feet, caught mid-laugh. 

“Good catch,” Namjoon applauds, tapping the bottom of his bottle against the edge of the table. “And if that’s what you two look like before sex, then it’s okay, we really don’t need to see the rest,” 

Hoseok would have spat out the terrible beer he’d been drinking if he had any left. Luckily for Namjoon, he’d downed the whole thing the first five minutes.

“Thought you guys should know,” Thought they should know the truth, too, but two people who know is already one person too much. “Before Taehyung sends out the invitations,” 

Seokjin actually laughs at that, clinking his glass with Namjoon’s when they both fall against each other, shoulders shaking, “No, you wouldn’t. Why would you let Taehyung plan the - the wedding? No, the engagement party?”

Because Hoseok needs the help of the one friend his mother sort of trusts (besides Yoongi, and it’s clear as fucking day that his mother is enamoured by him. A son of Columbia and a doctor. Hoseok’s starting to think that his mother may favour Yoongi more than him now) - and that includes his boyfriend, because they both come as a package deal. A set. And Hoseok be damned because he had agreed to it so easily - maybe he should have let Yoongi handle that bargain. 

“Because,” Hoseok has no other viable reason for that, so he waves it away with another round of drinks. “Anyway, that’s it, that’s the story,” 

Namjoon snorts, “Yeah, I saw it on Facebook the other day. Anyway, how come I never saw him?” 

“Because,” Hoseok tries again, this time failing to distract the both of them with the flimsy excuse of just because. “He went to Columbia, a few years older than us - “ This he gestures to him and Namjoon, pointedly looking at Seokjin when he continues, “But younger than Jin hyung, but Jin hyung went somewhere else,”

“He’s a doctor?” Seokjin asks, ignoring Hoseok’s obvious jab. “A psychiatrist? And he didn’t think it was crazy to say yes to you?”

Hoseok remembers something along the lines of clinically and insane

“Don’t shit on psychiatrists,” Namjoon rolls his eyes, “I love my shrink,”

That’s brand new information that both Seokjin and Hoseok are completely unsurprised of (but sort of alarmed for because there’s a very thick line between a psychiatrist and a psychologist). They take it with a grain of salt, just shrugging noncommittally at Namjoon (and Seokjin rolling his eyes beside him, a gesture Namjoon fails to notice). 

“Nah, he’s cool. Mom is over the moon,” Well, for Yoongi. Not so much about the engagement - she’s still processing it, Hoseok can tell. Has even heard her mumbling to herself the other day after dinner while she washed the dishes. “She’ll come around. I don’t know how she feels about Taehyung and Jeongguk planning the party, though,” 

That, Hoseok thinks, he needs to reevaluate. Maybe reconsider and definitely try to re-bargain. Haggle it out of their hands because there’s no way his mother will approve of it, and if Yoongi’s mother knew Taehyung, she definitely won’t agree, either. Lord knows the trouble it’s going to bring. The trouble it’s going to be. 

“But you know what,” It’s Namjoon this time, raising his half-empty bottle of beer. “I don’t know what’s gotten into you, and I’ve certainly never met or heard of this Min Yoongi before, which is shoddy, at best, and my shrink is definitely going to hear of this, but, whatever. Get married, have babies, die,” 

The last one Hoseok actually wants him to reiterate - and the second one, too, but then Namjoon and Seokjin are clinking their glasses together, their laughter rolling out of them, easy and amused, so Hoseok just shakes his head and knocks his glass against theirs, knowing that the battle is only halfway fought. 

Mountain, successfully overcome. Hills, a small victory, but it’s triumph nonetheless.

Now all Hoseok has to do is tell his dying grandmother that he’s engaged. And invite her to the impending engagement party. And hopefully have her not die from the shock. Hopefully, because then it would be a shame since Hoseok has his entire life in hell planned out after this stunt that there’s no way he’s going to go out swinging if she dies before that. 

The next day, Yoongi and Hoseok grab lunch together in a diner a few blocks down their neighbourhood, and it’s definitely not weird the amount of time they’ve been spending together, but - 

But this is nice, the both of them slipping into a routine, of sorts.

Yoongi learns that Hoseok’s dragging him to the hospital first thing tomorrow, as soon as visiting hours start.

And Hoseok learns about the existence of one Park Jimin, who barrels into their lunch with a loud laugh and a smile that’s so goddamn bright that Hoseok has to squint his eyes, suddenly blinded by the contrast of his smile to the dreary grey outside. 

“Hobi?” Jimin starts to say, but is instantly cut off when Yoongi flicks breadcrumbs at him and mumbles out,

“No, it’s Hoseok,” 

Which definitely doesn’t pull at a string somewhere in Hoseok’s stomach - it’s all tangled up in there, somehow. For whatever reason. 

Hoseok catches Yoongi’s eye from across the table, head tilted in a silent question of what’s up? but Yoongi just shrugs, smile sheepish, and Hoseok leans back against his seat, thinking, wondering. 

(And much, much later, when Yoongi calls him Hoseok, he thinks that it’s not right, that it’s off. 

So with a small laugh, Hoseok says, “Hobi,” 

Yoongi blinks at him, a bit taken aback, but repeats his goodbye, and this time he says, “You’re weird.”)

In retrospect, Hoseok shouldn’t have shoved Yoongi into the room and left him for dead.

Okay, so he technically hadn’t left Yoongi for dead. Hoseok had just, well, stepped out, slammed the door, and then ran for coffee.

But he’s back now, though, with two steaming cups of hot coffee that he manages to balance without spilling as he shoulders in through the door.

There are three things he notices immediately:

One, Hoseok’s grandmother is sitting up on the bed. 

Two, Hoseok’s grandmother is laughing.

Three, Yoongi is laughing beside her, head thrown back, and his hand - 

Oh, look, there’s a fourth thing that he notices a little bit too late, too.

Fourth being his grandmother holding Yoongi’s hand and staring down at the ring on his finger when she finally calms down from all the laughing, her eyes glistening with unshed tears. Shining. She looks happy and Hoseok actually feels like a truck’s just run him over.

He doesn’t know what exactly had possessed him to throw Yoongi into a shark tank like that but whatever it was, Hoseok wants to thank it because this, among other things, has turned out rather well.

Sliding up next to Yoongi, Hoseok bumps their knees together, a silent hi that Yoongi returns with a small smile, the remnants of his laughter brightening his face and crinkling the sides of his eyes. He accepts the coffee with a small thank you, holding it gingerly in one hand as he lets Hoseok’s grandmother hold onto the other, a most peculiar expression on her face now that she’s realised Hoseok’s come back. 

“So, on a scale of one to ten,” Hoseok leans towards her, stage whispering as he brings a hand up to cover the side of his mouth, totally unwarranted because Yoongi can probably hear the dropping of a pin in the silence of this room. “How well did I do?” 

There’s really ever one person Hoseok’s afraid of disappointing, one person he’s always felt an attachment to, ever since. One person that he’ll probably go through hell for, just to prove that he’s not what his parents think he is (and his parents love him, they do, but Hoseok doesn’t fail to notice the looks of disdain they sometimes pass on him, or how they sigh at all the choices he’s made, disappointment evident). Hoseok loves his grandmother so much and is so afraid of letting her down in what could be her final moments that he’s orchestrating this whole fucked up game of charades.

And he knows that it’s wrong, knows that this could very well bite him in the ass after, but Hoseok wants to give her this, at least. 

It’s painful hearing that she’s only ever worried about him because of what he’d been through in the past, of all the mistakes he’d made. So this, he thinks, is a nice (albeit totally crazy and demented, probably) way of telling her that he’s fine, that he’s going to be fine. Besides, she’d practically declared that there’s no way she’s resting in peace with Hoseok still, well. Still as he is. 

Maybe this is the road to hell, people always did say that it’s paved with good intentions. 

She grips Yoongi’s hand a little bit tighter, her hold weak, and Hoseok watches, breath caught in his throat, as she nods at Yoongi, smiling at him - and who won’t smile at Yoongi, Hoseok thinks. Who can’t, with Yoongi looking at her with the most tender of looks on his face, mouth in a perpetual gentle smile that Hoseok’s never seen. 

For a second, Hoseok completely forgets. He stares at Yoongi, a bit taken by him, and then lets out a tight breath. 

“Ten over ten,” She reaches for Hoseok’s hand, dragging it over to where Yoongi’s is, and positions it very gingerly on top of Yoongi’s, slipping her own hand out from under. “Where have you been hiding him?”

Yoongi’s hand is warm and Hoseok’s almost afraid to actually look at him now because this is suddenly feeling wrong and totally messed up, but then.

But then Yoongi leans against him, smiles through his blonde fringe, and Hoseok thinks that breathing might be second to just watching, stunned stupid, as Yoongi smiles with the radiance of a thousand and one suns, in a thousand and one galaxies. 

(The second they step out of the hospital room, leaving only after Hoseok’s grandmother had smothered them both with hugs and ushered them off with a little wave of her hand, Yoongi rounds on Hoseok immediately, the look on his face angry. 

“This is a bad idea,” 

Hoseok swallows, “I feel like complete and utter shit,” 

“Hoseok, I swear to god,” Yoongi steps away from him, fingers curled into a tight fist. “This is wrong,” 

“Hyung, I - I know, but - but you saw what she looked like, how happy she was,” A shit excuse to a shit plan, but Hoseok’s pulling at strings now. His fingers catch on the sleeve of Yoongi’s shirt, stilling Yoongi from taking another step away. “Just after the party, yeah? I’m moving away by the end of the year,” 

Yoongi regards him with a careful glance, “Why did I agree to this?” 

“Because you were caught in the moment of not seeing me for ten fucking years, and thought, hey, this might be fun?” Hoseok tries again, this time smiling a little bit. 

It does the trick because Yoongi rolls his eyes, sighs, and then nods at him, “You’re insane,” 

Yoongi starts to walk away from him, steps light and quick as he heads to the parking lot, his shoulders still a little stiff, and Hoseok feels bad, he really does, but this is something he has to do. It’s something he can fix after, but he can’t do it without Yoongi. Probably unfair for Yoongi, but Hoseok had asked, and Hoseok would be lying if he says this doesn’t feel the slightest bit fun. 

So, he catches up to Yoongi, his grin wide, and links their arms together, catching Yoongi completely off guard he almost trips on his own shoes. 

“Says the doctor,” Hoseok hums, dragging Yoongi alongside him.

He hears Yoongi groan and can feel him rolling his eyes, can feel the grimace on his face when Yoongi deadpans, “Exactly.”)

“You sure you’re doing this?” Taehyung’s sat across from him, legs crossed, and a book discarded to his left. “I mean, you can back out now, before it’s too late,”

Hoseok squints his eyes at Taehyung. Two minutes ago the boy had talked his ear off about the possibilities, the endless possibilities that the party could be, and now he’s here, trying to talk reason into Hoseok. 

“Do you like him?” Taehyung leans forward, hands braced on either side of Hoseok’s knees. He preens closer, their faces so damn close Hoseok’s suddenly afraid to move, lest they accidentally kiss. Again. Oh god. “Is this your crazy way of asking a guy out? Straight into marriage?”

“Nobody’s getting married, Tae,” Hoseok mutters, leaning away from Taehyung, and shoving him - rather gently - back against the couch cushions. “And I hardly know him, how is that possible?”

Taehyung shrugs, “You know him, hyung. You’ve known him since you were two, right?” 

Partly true. Hoseok had known Yoongi when he was a child. When the both of them were children. He doesn’t know this Yoongi. 

“What, he’s a completely different person now?”

Childhood memories are a funny thing. They either stick out, clear as day, in the back of your mind, or they just blend with everything else, murky and hazy. Some memories you can bring to the front from sheer will and force, and others brought about by a certain scent, a certain image. A certain event.

Hoseok tries to wade through the haze, tries to grasp at whatever striking memory he’s got of Yoongi, and thinks, because they’d spent their childhood together. That’s more than ten years growing up, side by side. There’s got to be something, and - 

And Hoseok remembers, nothing special, nothing even big, just the both of them sprawled out in Hoseok’s garden, faces mud-streaked, hands and everything else dirty. Grimy little boys wheezing as they lie on cool grass, out of breath from running around too much. Nothing special, nothing big, just the both of them watching the clouds go by and calling out shapes. Nothing special, nothing big, just two boys ending up with the most terrible, most painful sunburns ever two hours later when they finally wake up after a nap under the blistering summer sun. 

(“Okay?” Yoongi had asked, a couple of days ago, his gaze heavy. Concern, yes, but no fear. Just concern and - and a little bit of pride.

“You’re going to be okay,” Yoongi had assured him, so many fucking years ago, when Hoseok had been six and crying from the most painful sunburn ever.)

“He’s okay,” Hoseok swings his legs to the side of the couch and makes to get up, his gut suddenly heavy, his hands trembling, just a little bit. “He hasn’t changed much, I think,” 

Taehyung hums, not saying anything for so long that Hoseok’s starting to think that the conversation’s over, finally, but then Taehyung looks at him with the most serious expression Hsoeok’s ever seen, and says, “Maybe you guys should go out. I don’t mean a date, but, you know. Just go somewhere nice. Because,” And here Taehyung slips, his smile widening when he adds, “People will probably be expecting a better answer than ‘Oh, he’s okay’ when they ask, and they will, because that’s literally the only thing people will talk about at an engagement party.” 

Hoseok thinks he can hear Yoongi groan at the mention of the engagement party - one that’s going to be planned by Taehyung and Jeongguk. Taehyung and Jeongguk, Jesus fucking Christ - and Yoongi might not be in the immediate vicinity but Hoseok knows that had he heard that and had he seen the triumphant look on Taehyung’s face, he would’ve groaned. And then maybe whimpered a little bit. Yoongi doesn’t need to know Taehyung as long as Hoseok to know what he’s capable of. 

“My entire family’s coming,” is the only thing Hoseok says, a line he repeats again, but this time in complete and utter bewilderment because his entire family is coming over to a party Taehyung and Jeongguk are planning. 

Hoseok finds out the hard way that he’s allergic to cats.

But before that, a look into what had drove him to this point, with a cat in his arms and Yoongi by his side as they walk down the winding path of the park, the end of the small trail a wide lake that Hoseok remembers from several summers back in the day. 

Hoseok’s day had started out with him contemplating Taehyung’s words, turning them over again and again until he’s got himself convinced, finally, that there’s really no other way about it. A quick text fixes the problem of hanging out - and this time, without any ulterior motives, just the both of them taking time out of the terrible lie they’ve both weaved together to catch up. Talk. Spend the day together. A second problem quickly arises after Yoongi’s sent in his sure, Hoseok realising that he’s really got nowhere to take the older boy to.

And it’s not so much as a question of whether they should go for a meal or go get drinks, because that they can do anytime. Can do everyday, probably. The problem is that it’s been so fucking long, and while they’ve spent a copious amount of time together ever since Yoongi had first gotten back into town, they’ve never spent it just the two of them. Just talking. With each other and without the storm cloud looming over their heads. 

Hoseok figures that grabbing dinner is too formal a setting and that drinks too casual. He’s overthinking this too much, he knows, but he just wants to get this done. Yoongi’s been nothing but kind to him - aside from the occasional death glare and the scathing words that Hoseok’s an idiot and that they’re both going to hell for eternity - and this is Hoseok’s fault, and fine, so Hoseok’s feeling a tad bit guilty. Just a tad. Most of what he’s feeling is something close to missing someone. But that’s impossible since Yoongi’s here now, practically with him every day, for the most part of the day. 

Nostalgia, Hoseok realises. That’s what it is. 

He looks at the message thread, thumb swiping over his screen, and remembers of a lake their parents had taken them swimming in when Hoseok was seven and Yoongi nine. It’s a bit of a drive away, a little far upstate, but Hoseok’s been there with Taehyung once the past year, so he sort of still remembers the way. Remembers enough not to drive him and Yoongi off a fucking ravine, at least. 

It’s not as formal as a dinner or too casual like drinks, but it’s something that makes Hoseok, well. Feel. Nostalgic. Like he wants to reach into a memory from his mind and just hold onto it for as long as he can before it starts to slip through his fingertips like smoke. 

It doesn’t even matter if Yoongi’s forgotten already - it’s been several, several summers ago. They’ve gone to different places together after, their families either going together or separately but taking the other boy with them, just because Hoseok hadn’t wanted to go without Yoongi, and Yoongi without Hoseok.

And as it turns out, when Hoseok walks into Yoongi’s house and tells him that they’re going a little upstate, at that lake they used to frequent back in the day, Yoongi’s eyes light up with familiarity, his smile turning soft, and the look on his face faraway.

This is the exact same time that Hoseok starts to sneeze, nose runny. It’s only when his gaze slides down from Yoongi’s face and lands on the ball of fur in his hands that he realises that it’s a cat. An actual, sleeping, purring cat nestled in the crook of Yoongi’s arm. 

“Are you - “ Yoongi starts to say, realisation dawning on his face.

But Hoseok sneezes again, and the second time around actually feels like he’s just sneezed out half his brain and a good percentage of air out of his body. 

Which brings the both of them back, walking down the trail, with a sleeping cat in Hoseok’s arms, and a grumbling Yoongi hauling around the bag of essentials they’ve packed for the trip. Literally, the first things they’d seen lying around the kitchen thrown into the bag. That’s all there is. And a mat, too. 

“Why did we bring the cat again?” Hoseok mumbles, sniffling. “I’m going to die, hyung,”

Yoongi glances over at him, smirks, and then rolls his eyes, “Because,” which isn’t a very good answer but Hoseok’s long since passed the point of actually caring because he feels like he might just suffocate right here, right now, with a sleeping cat in his arms. 

They get to the lake just as the sun starts to slowly set over the tree tops, painting the water a warm orange. Yoongi unceremoniously drops the heavy bag onto the ground, hand outstretched to retrieve his sleeping cat. 

Watching Yoongi knead his fingers gently behind the cat’s head is a sight in itself. The soft look that flitters across Yoongi’s face isn’t foreign, but it still takes Hoseok by surprise. 

Yoongi sets the cat down in his little basket, a bell jingling whenever the cat shifted in her sleep. Hoseok’s just glad that it’s finally away from him and outside like this, practically surrounded by trees and by the lake side, Hoseok can feel his nose again. Can breathe. 

So he breathes in, stretches his legs out in front of him, and looks over at Yoongi. 

“Do you remember when you almost drowned?” Yoongi asks, a twinge of a smile pulling at the corners of his mouth. “That was scary,” and a dark shadow passes over his face as he looks away from Hoseok and then back at the lake, the memory settling over them heavily. 

Hoseok remembers, of course he does. Struggling to stay afloat, breaking through the surface of the water, and regretting not listening to his mother for once in his life. 

“I can swim now,” Hoseok smiles now because he can, because there are things in life that you can just leave behind you. Things in life that you can live with and experiences that you can always look back on, if not fondly, then at least with a feeling of thankfulness. It might not always have to be a near drowning experience, but it could be. 

He glances at Yoongi, feels the boy shift beside him, their shoulders brushing, and then is met with Yoongi’s gaze, focused entirely on him, flecks of brown in his eyes standing out vividly now with the setting sun right behind them, an orange glow settling over the both of them. “Hyung, tell me,” 

Yoongi must see the openness in his face because he’s smiling, too, and it’s a no pretences kind of smile, either. It’s the type of smile Yoongi had first smiled when he’d gripped at Hoseok’s hand and told him that he’d be okay. Soft, if not a little bit surprised, and something else. 

“Tell you what?” Yoongi asks, drawing his hand away from scratching behind the small cat’s ear. 

Hoseok lets out a small laugh, “About everything. We haven’t really had time to talk, yeah? And it’s mostly my fault - “ Yoongi admits to that statement with a pointed nod that Hoseok promptly ignores as he continues, “and it’s always been easy talking to you, I think. So, just tell me. Everything,” 

Hoseok doesn’t know what everything means in this context and by the look on Yoongi’s face, neither does Yoongi, but so much has happened in the ten years that they haven’t seen each other. A person can be totally different and born anew after ten years. Looking at Yoongi, though, he thinks that that isn’t the case, not exactly. 

“Easy to talk to?” Yoongi mulls it over, repeating himself one more time, voice soft as he looks back at the lake. 

The cat meows softly from beside him and Hoseok sniffles a little bit, hoping to god he’s not going to have to die in this lakeside. Drowning had been enough, he doesn’t want to add to that traumatic experience by actually dying this time. 

“I think you’re crazy,” Yoongi says after a considerable silence, knees pulled up close to his chest. He wraps his arms around them, and like this he looks like a child, so young, so unattached from the rest of the world. There must be something about finally being able to come home. Something about making the trek down this lake. Something about watching the sun set through its reflection on the surface of the lake. 

Hoseok’s breath catches in his throat, his hands suddenly shaking slightly, feeling weak, because Yoongi looks at him, the most tender of looks in his eyes, and his smile enough to pull at the strings of Hoseok’s heart and twist a knife in his gut. 

“But you have a good heart,” 

It’s hard swallowing past the lump in his throat but Hoseok manages. His fingers unfurl and he pretends not to be too shaken up by just Yoongi’s smile - god, has Hoseok always been this weak to pretty boys who’re usually guarded but have got the most beautiful smile ever? Has he, or is it just with Yoongi, because Hoseok won’t be surprised if it’s the latter, because it’s only ever been with Yoongi that he’s felt a strong attachment to. Something about Yoongi has Hoseok feeling like he’s fine, like he’s going to be okay.

It might be nostalgia.

Or it might be that he just feels at home with Yoongi. 

Hoseok returns the smile with a grin, watching now, completely entranced, as Yoongi raises his left hand up. 

The light from the sun catches on the silver of the ring and bounces off of it, hitting Hoseok square in the face. He squints at it, looks past the blinding orange glow, and sees the beautiful, almost magical glowing of the ring around Yoongi’s finger.

Definitely not nostalgia, especially with Yoongi here with him, now. 

Most probably home.

Hoseok will file that away for later, for now content at just spending the rest of the afternoon by the lake, with a boy he’s known for as long as he can remember (and his dumb cat that Hoseok’s surprisingly allergic to). 

“You think so?” Hoseok asks, his smile still on his face, glowing as warmly as the sun feels on both their skins. It’s bright. 

Yoongi laughs then, loud. It’s completely pleasant to the ears. A brilliant laugh that Hoseok’s proud of because he’d made Yoongi laugh. 

“I know so.” 

(“Hey, so when we’re married, do you want me to legally adopt your cat?” 

Yoongi chokes on his soda and coughs, eyes tearing up a little bit. 

“What?” 

“Yeah, I’ll adopt your cat, raise her like my own. Done deal, hyung.”) 

Hoseok meets Yoongi parents one week before the engagement party and it’s the most awkward thing ever in his life, sitting through a two hour dinner with them, not because he doesn’t like his parents, but because Yoongi’s parents don’t like each other.

It’s funny, though, seeing Yoongi so flustered, cheeks dusted pink from embarrassment whenever his mother shoots his father a glare, or makes a rather pointed remark. It’s adorable, the look on Yoongi’s face. Maybe the equal looks of pure discomfort and disdain from Yoongi’s parents aren’t adorable, but Hoseok doesn’t have to actually live with them (and thank god Yoongi doesn’t, too. Only temporarily.), so he just lets it slide and exchanges banter with Yoongi’s mother who ignores her ex-husband rather pointedly in favour of showering Hoseok with praise.

This must be what Yoongi feels like whenever he comes over and Hoseok’s mother has no words for him but praise. If she could assign a plot of land under Yoongi’s name, Hoseok’s sure she already would have (or maybe Yoongi’s written down in her will already. Hoseok doesn’t doubt that.). 

“You haven’t been to Korea in a while, right?” She asks him, setting down her fork to stare at him from across the table. She looks a lot like Yoongi. Sharp angles and soft cheeks. Eyes that seem to withhold important information, but at the same time can hold the most tender of gazes. “Are your relatives coming? Not much from our side of the family, unfortunately, will be able to make it to the party,”

She’s talking about the engagement party. That Taehyung and Jeongguk are in the middle of planning.

Beside him, Yoongi clenches his jaw, suddenly remembering just who Hoseok had assigned that crucial event to. 

Hoseok smiles at her, a thousand-watt smile that he flashes with good intentions (specifically, to get into Yoongi’s mother’s good side, which he already is. Has always been in. But it never hurts to try harder). “Some of them, yeah. Most of my family’s here, though, but a couple of aunts and uncles are coming, I think,” 

He isn’t even sure because the last he’s heard was his mom practically yelling at her sister back in Korea that they should all just cancel their tickets because Hoseok’s friend - yes, unni, the strange one - is planning the party. Hoseok cringes at the memory of that night. 

“Well,” It’s Yoongi’s father, finally breaking his silence. He ignores his ex-wife and looks over at both Yoongi and Hoseok, a small smile on his face. “I’m guessing nobody wants to hear the “how did you meet” story, huh?”

Yoongi groans at his father’s own quip and Hoseok actually feels it, the steady rising of heat from his neck that creeps up to his cheeks.

He gulps down cold water and nods, a little bit stiff. Sure, sure. Nobody really wants to know that the first thing Hoseok’s asked him after years of not meeting was marriage. A very fake marriage proposal. 

“How did this happen, though?” Yoongi’s mother asks, a soft look on her face. She’s pushed her plate away, done with dinner now. “I haven’t seen Hoseok in years and here you two are, getting married,” 

There’s a look that passes over Yoongi’s face that Hoseok doesn’t even want to analyse, because he knows that it’s no good. That it's guilt settling over him again. That it’s just going to piss Yoongi off even more, have him second guess that and ask just how the fuck they’re going to be able to pull this off (and if they do, then how the hell are they supposed to explain this?). Yoongi’s never exactly asked those exact questions before, which Hoseok is thankful for, but at the same time, every day that he doesn’t is a day that Hoseok spends more worried, because Yoongi will, one day. And Hoseok might have turned those questions over and over again in his head, and it must have been a good month already, but still, he’s got no answer for all the hypothetical questions that have kept him up. 

To Hoseok’s surprise, it’s Yoongi who speaks up (which makes Hoseok feel all the more guilty because Yoongi’s deliberately lying to his parents for him. Jesus Christ, just drag Hoseok to hell already, please.), “You know how people say ‘one thing led to another’?” 

Yoongi’s father scoffs at that while his mother laughs, a tinkling, bright little laugh that Hoseok thinks is probably where Yoongi had gotten his own equally nice laugh.

Hoseok turns his gaze away from Yoongi’s parents to look at Yoongi, chin propped on a hand, and his smile languid. Easy, calm. Almost like it’s a natural reaction to whenever he looks at Yoongi. 

“This is just one of those things,” Yoongi says with an offhanded shrug, completely unabashed. “A prime example.” 

Hoseok can’t quite believe it, but there’s no denying it - Yoongi’s actually smiling at him this time, a bright little smile that actually reaches his eyes. A beautiful curving of his mouth that brightens up his entire face, and when Yoongi closes his fingers around Hoseok’s up on the table, Hoseok doesn’t feel the cold grazing of the white gold ring on his skin because Yoongi’s hand is warm, and had Hoseok been afraid of the fire, he would’ve pulled away, but as it is, the burn feels quite comforting. 

He finds that he doesn’t mind it at all, holding Yoongi’s hand.  

(“Hey, my mom just got into her car and dad’s in the restroom, you can stop holding my hand,” 

“Oh, yeah,”

A strange look on Yoongi’s face.

Hoseok’s hand clammy. 

“Sorry, I forgot,” 

But right before Hoseok drops Yoongi’s hand, he feels just the slightest bit of pressure around it, Yoongi holding on a little bit tighter.)

“Tell me again, in detail now, what you plan on doing for the party,” 

They’re in the hospital lobby, Hoseok sitting with his hands together, and Taehyung sat with his legs crossed, his grin wide, with Jeongguk beside him, an amused, quiet look on his face. 

“It’s gonna be at Hoseok’s place,” Taehyung explains again, gesturing towards Hoseok. “And Jeongguk’s going to play the piano,” He folds his fingers around Jeongguk’s shoulders, giving it a gentle squeeze, and the look the two of them trade is something between pride and comfort, and Hoseok would have coddled them about it but he’s particularly busy right now because Yoongi’s pacing in front of them. In a white lab coat. 

“What else? You mentioned a disco ball and inviting Lady Gaga,” Yoongi glares at Taehyung, arms crossed, and god, does he look nice in that lab coat. “Hobi, Hoseok - are you hearing this?” 

Hoseok’s shaken out of his own busy thoughts when Yoongi snaps his fingers at him, demanding his full and complete attention.

In the back of Hoseok’s mind, he thinks they’re both starting to sound like an actual engaged couple fighting it out with an incompetent wedding planner. Ironic, how life moves. 

 “That’s it, basically,” Taehyung smiles at Yoongi angelically, so innocent that Hoseok feels cold shivers run down his spine. It doesn’t help that Jeongguk looks the farthest thing from telling the truth, a mischievous glint in his eyes. A glimmer of evil. Hoseok’s afraid of that. 

“You mean to tell me that you idiots - “ And this he addresses to both Taehyung and Jeongguk after noticing the insulted look on Hoseok’s face when Yoongi’s gaze had landed on him. “Interrupted me in the middle of work to tell me this? That the party’s going to be normal?” 

Jeongguk coughs, “Nobody said anything about normal,”

“How are we supposed to afford Lady Gaga, anyway? She’s expensive and frankly, your fake sham isn’t worth disgracing her,” Taehyung gets another glare for that, and this time from both Yoongi and Hoseok who scowl at him. 

Hoseok gets on his feet, successfully shaking off thoughts of Yoongi in a lab coat (for the mean time, it’s so difficult to ignore it when Yoongi’s just there, standing with his arms crossed and a rather annoyed and helpless look on his face), and forces out a laugh, “Well, you know, so long as you don’t burn my parents’ place down,”

A paige for a doctor Min rings across the hall, jerking Yoongi’s gaze away from them to look over his shoulder.

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Yoongi says, looking at Hoseok.

“Your patient’s dead?” Taehyung asks, eyes wide.

Yoongi scowls, “No, about the party. I’m going to fucking die,” 

A bit dramatic, but Hoseok can’t tell him otherwise because he feels the exact same.

Looking at Taehyung and Jeongguk now, Hoseok gets a sinking feeling in his gut. 

A bad feeling that’s totally warranted because Kim Taehyung and Jeon Jeongguk are planning his engagement party which is - which is literally three fucking days away. 

Yoongi looks at Hoseok one last time, his smile coming out more a grimace with how things have turned out, and shakes his head, “I’ll see you later, yeah?” 

Hoseok watches Yoongi leave, his wave a little weak, and the look on his face that of a deer caught in the headlights when Taehyung rounds on him the second Yoongi’s gone through the double doors, eyebrows wiggling, and his smirk so fucking annoying Hoseok wants to slap it right off his face.

“What’s up later?” Taehyung closes his hand around Jeongguk’s, allowing the younger boy to drag him up and off his seat. The both of them walk side by side, following just half a step behind Hoseok, and even from behind, Hoseok’s still so keenly aware of the smug little looks on their faces. 

“Nothing,” Hoseok mumbles, finally stepping out of the hospital. “We’re just grabbing dinner,” 

Jeongguk smirks, “Like, a date?” 

A little groan that sounds like it’s halfway into a wail escapes out of Hoseok’s mouth, “Fuck no, it’s just dinner. We’re just catching up,” 

The walk back to the car is short, the air only punctuated and sent erratic when Taehyung muses, “Yeah, it’s been two months and you two are still catching up. Nice new code word right there.” 

Jeongguk snickers, stifling his laughter by burying his face into the side of Taehyung’s head, his kiss sloppy when he smacks one onto his forehead, and Hoseok hates them, he really does because he’s fake engaged while they’re idiots stupidly in love with each other. 

“Maybe you two should pull a Purple Wedding,” Hoseok hisses, slamming the door to his car. He glances over his shoulder to glare at Taehyung now, “Poison the cake. Kill the king. Kill one of us.” 

It’s well worth it, the long, drawn out wail at the realisation that he’s just been spoiled his favourite show. The look of pure and utter betrayal on Taehyung’s face is worth it, even if Hoseok’s ears are still ringing, twenty minutes after. 

Well, at least Yoongi’s a doctor.

Hoseok is woken up to his sister’s loud screeching laughter, her way of greeting him good morning. She’s on top of him, knees braced on either side of him, and whacking him hard in the face with a throw pillow that Hoseok’s suspecting is stuffed with a few rocks instead of feather and down. 

“Facebook official!” Jiwoo screeches, her laughter loud and ringing all around the room.

Hoseok struggles to make sense of what’s happening. One, it’s too early for him to even think about waking up. Two, it’s too fucking bright, she’d pulled on his drapes. And three, she’s on top of him and hurting him really bad with that fucking pillow, and if she doesn’t let off any second now then Hoseok will push her off, no guilt whatsoever. 

“What the fuck?” Hoseok manages to mumble amidst his sleepiness, voice thick and heavy. He rubs one hand over his eyes, stifling a yawn. “What?” 

Jiwoo pauses, pillow raised over her head, and grins down at him. She’s been gone for a month now, some fancy job in the West Coast taking up all her time, but she’s back now, two days before the party. “I can’t believe you managed to hide this from me,” 

Hoseok pushes himself up on his elbows, a frown on his face. “Let’s backtrack, what did you mean ‘Facebook official’?” 

A contemplative pause before she blurts out, “You know, when you list each other as engaged on Facebook. God, where have you been hiding?”

Well, that Hoseok doesn’t mind. He’d set Taehyung up as his grandmother for the past three years already, that’s not such a big deal. That is, until Hoseok realises that it wasn’t him who’d set it up, but Yoongi, and it shouldn’t even be a big deal when people are breaking up left and right, every other second on the fucking social media platform, but Yoongi, he’d done it, and Hoseok can’t quite believe that. Especially not at this hour and without any coffee in his system.

“Anyway, enough of that. Tell me, what the fuck happened?” She drops the sunny disposition (and the pillow, too, which smacks Hoseok right in the face) and slides off of him, the look on her face completely serious and just the slightest bit annoyed. “I know for a fact that you hadn’t seen Yoongi since, so what the hell?” 

Hoseok has to give her that (and also maybe take a few things away from her, the girl knows too much about his life, he sort of hates it). “What are you talking about?” 

Jiwoo huffs, “I mean, I know you’re lying, and I want to know why,”

He worries on his lower lip, fingers curling into a fist around his blanket. This is clearly not how Hoseok had thought his day would start. Not with his sister pummelling him dead with a heavy pillow and demanding the truth out of him.

So with a deep breath, Hoseok does what only self respecting little brother who’s been forced to live under an annoying older sister’s shadow for the most part of his life would do - he pushes her off the bed and flings himself back into his pillows, burying his face in a particularly fluffy one (and it smells like Yoongi, too, which is fucking insane, Hoseok needs to bleach his entire room, god.)

You’re such a brat, Hoseok!” Jiwoo clambers back on the bed, anger clear in her eyes. And in the way she’s hitting him again, this time with her small, tiny little fists and not with the heavy pillow. “Explain right fucking now or else I’m telling mom and dad,”

Hoseok rolls over, glaring up at her, opens his mouth, and then closes his eyes again. “What’s there to explain? I fucked up, grandma’s worried, I tried to fix it,”

She pauses immediately, something that would have been hilarious had it been somewhere else, some other time, but they’re not, and for a second, Hoseok worries if he’d shocked her too much, too suddenly, that now she’s unable to breathe or function, two things that she assures him she’s still capable of when she chokes on air, eyes stinging with tears from the exertion of forcing herself to gulp in oxygen. 

“What?” Jiwoo hisses, one hand finding purchase on the front of his shirt. She tugs on it more violently than Hoseok had expected (and that’s a lot of strength from such a small woman). “What did you do, Hoseok?” 

Hoseok hates how easy it is to talk to his sister, how he’s weak against her judgemental gaze, and how he really can’t stand against her. He gives in with one final huff, his voice small and weak as he explains himself, “I proposed fake marriage to Yoongi hyung and it was fine - it was going really fine the first few weeks. Mom and dad loves him, my best friend’s planning the engagement party, we should have the police ready for that, and hyung’s parents are fine with it, too,” 

He pauses, trying to regain his breath, and then continues again, “Grandma loves him, yeah, and he has grandma’s ring, you know, it was fine,” keyword being was, because now the world’s feeling a little bit smaller, the walls closing in around Hoseok, all because Yoongi had looked really, really good in that lab coat, an image that Hoseok has failed to push out of his mind ever since. 

“Until?” Jiwoo urges him on, pushing gently at his shoulder. “Hoseok, you sound fucking insane and I thought Yoongi would have known better, but maybe he’s just as crazy, and please, tell me something that makes the slightest bit of sense,” 

“So,” Hoseok sits up, pushing against his blanket. “Yoongi’s kind of cute, I just realised,” 

His face is undeniably hot, embarrassment flooding from the top of his head and spreading all over him, reaching right down to his toes. He hates it, hates how Jiwoo’s basically the devil incarnate, the only person who can get so much out of him without even trying (but she’d tried really, really hard, and punched him, even. What the hell?). 

Jiwoo stares up at him, eyes wide, and mouth slightly open. 

“Oh,” She says, one hand settling on Hoseok’s shoulder, her fingernails sharp enough that it pierces through the thin material of his shirt, and digs into his skin. “But, hold on. You gave him grandma’s ring? But that’s yours, and - “

Hoseok looks at her, completely conflicted now, and she must catch the look on his face, how the playfulness they’d both had clearly reflected on their faces is now wiped clean off of his, replaced now with one of worry and concern, not for her, or for Yoongi, but for himself, because Hoseok’s starting to think of Yoongi as someone who’s actually cute; someone with a really nice smile that Hoseok doesn’t mind seeing again and again; someone who can hold his hand real nice, real warm; someone with a pleasant laugh, a beautiful laugh.

“I know,” Hoseok tells her, scrunching up his nose. “I know, it’s my ring - and, it’s a long story, I swear I’ll tell you some other time, but - but I don’t know, I like seeing him wear it,” 

Probably the most embarrassing string of words out of his mouth, ever, and Hoseok’s said a lot of embarrassing words that have landed him in not so embarrassing situations but really actually dangerous situations before in his life, so this is saying something.

“Oh, no,” Jiwoo repeats, face falling. “Oh, hell no, Hoseok, you’re fucked. Monumentally,” 

Hoseok leans against her, face buried in her shoulder, and fakes a sniffle, “I’m going to hell and this is the only thing you can say to me?”

“Yes, but it looks like Yoongi’s coming with you,” She pats on his back consolingly, a mock expression of concern on her face. “I’d tell you to call it off, but this is too much fun,” 

Right, because watching her only little brother crash and burn is the most fun she’s going to have (and if it were the other way around, Hoseok would totally agree to that because, yes, that sounds like an interesting thing to watch, but not if he’s the one crashing and burning). 

“You’re the worst, now get off me because I’ve got a brunch to get to,” He promptly shoves her off his bed again, grinning down at her from his perch on his bed. “And you’re not invited. The restaurant’s got a no hags policy,” 

(Actually, it’s not so much as a brunch that he’s going to, or eating at a restaurant, it’s just him and Yoongi meeting up before Yoongi’s shift starts, with Yoongi bringing them both coffee, and Hoseok providing them with a breakfast sandwich. Or bread. It’s a thing, it works, and Hoseok enjoys it, enjoys the little time he gets with Yoongi in the morning, and so what if he uses the excuse that they’ve got a fake engagement party to work on so that he can spend more time with Yoongi? Nobody’s noticed, and Yoongi doesn’t mind, and if Taehyung and Jeongguk could just shut up for one second, then it’s gonna continue like that - 

Nobody noticing and nobody minding. 

This is enough, for now. Hoseok doesn’t want to ruin a good thing, anyway.)

The engagement party ends with a complete and utter riot. 

But before that - 

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Yoongi says, perched on the edge of Hoseok’s bed, fingers expertly looping a tie. 

“Hyung, you’ve said that three times already,” Hoseok gives up on his bow and pads over to where Yoongi’s sat, his dress shirt untucked and his socks bright pink. Yoongi squints at the colourful choice of socks but doesn’t mention it, because there’s twenty minutes until the party starts and they really can’t be spending those twenty minutes arguing over Hoseok’s sock choices. “Help me,” 

Yoongi turns away from the mirror and pushes himself up off the bed, hands already reaching out for Hoseok’s bow tie, fingers soft when they graze past his jaw, down the length of his neck, before settling just below the base of his throat. “You’re hopeless,” 

Hoseok pretends not to be all that bothered by their sudden closeness, or how Yoongi’s hair is nicely styled for the night - just a little bit of fluff, a slight curl to his fringe, and fuck, this is definitely not a crush, Hoseok isn’t harbouring a stupid crush on his cute childhood friend who he’d roped into this mess. 

With the bow tied and straightened in place, Yoongi’s hands move down to tidying Hoseok’s shirt, smoothing down the front (warm, warm, warm, Hoseok pretends not to notice, or get too bothered by it), before he tucks it into his pants. 

“You’re a child,” Yoongi comments, patting Hoseok lightly on the chest. “I’m fake marrying a child,” 

“Don’t say that out loud, oh my god,” Hoseok hisses, hand slapping against Yoongi’s mouth. “We’re in my house, my entire family is here - and yours, too. Don’t let them hear you say you’ll marry a child,”

Yoongi catches the snicker in Hoseok’s voice and rolls his eyes, and - 

And god, Yoongi’s actually licking his hand in an effort to get Hoseok to back away. It works, because Hoseok yelps out in mild disgust, hand flying off of Yoongi’s face and stretching out in front of him, contaminated now. 

“Disgusting, hyung,” Hoseok mumbles, glaring offensively at his hand, and then at Yoongi. “I’m having second thoughts on this marriage,”

Yoongi laughs, a low rumbling chuckle that rocks Hoseok from the inside out, bones shaking, and his fingers itching to grab hold of Yoongi, of anything of him, see if the rest of him is as warm as his laugh is. 

“Hey, quick question,” Yoongi pulls on the cuff of Hoseok’s shirt, eyeing the messy job Hoseok had made of his cufflinks. He makes work on them, and this time, he does it right (a point he punctuates by gently slapping Hoseok’s wrists when he’s done, an obvious show of tadah.) “How is this supposed to go down?”

Hoseok pulls on his blazer, a twisting feeling in the pit of his gut. “What, you mean the party? We just try not to kill each other, and Taehyung, too,”

“No promises,” Yoongi actually smiles, a half-smile, but a smile nonetheless, and that truly is a thing of beauty, Yoongi’s face lighting up, his eyes curving as he smiles. “I was talking about this whole - “ A vague gesturing between the two of them. “this - “ 

They hear three loud rasps against the door, which makes Hoseok jump and Yoongi snap his head towards the sudden intrusion.

Jeongguk peers into the small sliver through the door, his smile completely unapologetic, “Hey, Taehyung wanted me to watch the both of you, just in case somebody runs,” This he directs to Yoongi, who only responds to that query with a rather pointed glare that Hoseok thinks Jeongguk should worry about, because nothing good can ever come out, being in the receiving end of Yoongi’s glare, that. 

“I guess we’ll continue the conversation later?” Yoongi sighs, giving his reflection one final once-over before turning back to Hoseok, a peculiar expression on his face. Nervousness and - and a little bit of excitement, too. There’s a twinkle in his eye that Hoseok recognises but can’t quite place an actual word to, it’s familiar. A look he’s seen on Yoongi’s face so many times when they were children, Hoseok’s still able to recognise it years after, somehow. 

Some things never really quite leave you, Hoseok realises. 

Hoseok follows after Yoongi, his nod stiff. He’s not all too inclined to finish the conversation, or even continue it, because Hoseok doesn’t have an answer. Whatever Yoongi’s question is, Hoseok can’t answer it, because - 

Because he’s not quite sure himself, either, on how to effectively not ruin both their lives when they both drop the bomb that this, this isn’t real. But, that’s a problem for a different day, so Hoseok pushes that thought and worry aside, and matches Yoongi’s steps, shoving Jeongguk out of the way to walk beside Yoongi.

“What gives?” He hears Jeongguk sputter out from behind them.

Yoongi looks over his shoulder, smirks at Jeongguk’s messed up tie, and then gives Hoseok’s shoulder a gentle squeeze. Like he’s totally a-okay on shoving the poor boy around. 

Whatever Jeongguk’s got planned for the night, Hoseok knows that a gentle shove to get him out of the way is the least he can do. There’s no mistaking the mischievous glimmer in Jeongguk’s eye. 

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Yoongi repeats for what seems like the dozenth time already.

Hoseok rounds on him, one hand folding gently over his elbow, because that’s not too intimate and not too impersonal, either. It’s a safe territory, a mutual ground. “Me, too, but whatever. So long as they don’t set the house on fire, yeah?” 

“They’re going to burn down your house,” Yoongi doesn’t step away or pull his hand back, either, and for a brief few seconds, the both of them stand just at the end of the hall, staring at each other, both thinking the exact same thing - 

Holy shit.

The venue is crazy. There’s people Hoseok hasn’t seen in ages, people he’d specifically told Taehyung not to invite, and Jesus, is that his crazy uncle there to the side, already starting on what could possibly be his second bottle?

Hoseok glances to his side, carefully noting how Yoongi’s breathing deeply, steeling himself for the impending doom. 

“Okay,” He hears Yoongi say, voice quiet and low. 

“No, not okay,” Yoongi’s supposed to be the one who wants to pull away and cancel this whole event, not Hoseok, not with their entire family present. But here Hoseok is, looking like he’s two seconds away from climbing out a window and running off into the night. 

Yoongi holds him back with a firm grasp around his wrist, pulling him back beside him. “Hobi,” Soft, quiet. Like he only wants Hoseok to hear. 

Maybe Hoseok should take back Yoongi’s nickname privileges, because having Yoongi call him Hobi is both distracting and - and just, well, it makes Hoseok feel - if he were being completely honest - a little bit queasy, and not because he wants to puke at the idea of someone calling him by his childhood nickname, but because it’s Yoongi. Only Yoongi.

Hoseok should think these kinds of things through. One fine example being Taehyung and Jeongguk planning this whole party. Maybe, just maybe, Hoseok needs to double-think on life choices and certain decisions, especially if the use of a stupid nickname gets him riled up like this, and not in a way that actually bothers him to the point of annoyance. Different, yes, that. 

He feels Yoongi’s hand slide down his wrist to close around his hand, fingers sliding in between the spaces of Hoseok’s. 

Hoseok takes in a sharp breath, looks away from the crowd to stare at Yoongi, who looks straight back at him, mouth curved in a small smile that doesn’t betray the warmth in his hand, or the warmth that Hoseok’s sure is burning inside of him, a flame flickering bright orange, licking at Yoongi’s insides, keeping him warm. Keeping Hoseok warm whenever they’re this close and tethered to each other. 

With their hands held between them, Hoseok starts to feel it again, the soft fluttering of his heart, like a bird slowly stirring awake, wings fluttering slowly. Like a butterfly taking flight for the first time after emerging from its cocoon. It’s got wings now, a totally new being. Hoseok feels something, just the stirring of what could be the beginning, and he knows it’s not a good idea, but Yoongi’s hand is so soft, his smile so warm, that it’s just impossible to slip his hand out of Yoongi’s grip, so instead, Hoseok holds on tighter, takes Yoongi’s advice, and breathes in deep.

When he breathes out, everything is suddenly just that little bit clearer. Nobody’s as intimidating as Yoongi’s father or Hoseok’s grandmother (or, actually, everyone’s intimidating, Hoseok’s going to die and they’re going to be busted, and his grandmother’s going to have a terrible heart attack from this whole failed arrangement), but with Yoongi’s hand pressed into his, the feel of the ring grazing against Hoseok’s skin, Hoseok starts to think that this night is completely possible without any broken bones or fires. 

He runs his thumb over Yoongi’s knuckles, finger hovering over the ring. His grandmother’s ring. Hoseok’s own ring. Yoongi’s been wearing it for a month (and a half) now and while it feels kind of empty, the space just at the base of Hoseok’s throat where the ring used to settle, it feels right, too, having Yoongi wear it. 

The party isn’t that bad, Hoseok thinks. There’s cocktails going around. Appetisers. The guests are making civil conversation with one another. Hoseok’s friends are - 

Oh, Jesus Christ, Hoseok’s friends are compromising Yoongi’s best friend. 

He swoops in just in time, tearing Jimin away from Taehyung and Jeongguk, who look at Hoseok with insult clear on their faces. 

“Stop harassing Park Jimin,” Hoseok hisses, clamping his fingers around Jimin’s arm. “Or else Yoongi will kill you all,”

At the sound of his name, Yoongi turns around, excuses himself from talking to one of Hoseok’s uncles, and walks over to where they all are, standing gathered by the elaborate and totally unnecessary chocolate fountain Taehyung had managed to procure. 

“What are you doing to Jimin?” Yoongi asks, looking at Taehyung and Jeongguk expectantly.

Jimin laughs, light and tinkling, “No, hyung, it’s fine. We were just talking,”

Taehyung sniffles, “Hey, you stole Hoseok hyung from us, so we’re gonna take Jimin,” Taehyung clamps a hand around Jimin’s arm, pulls him back towards them, and sticks his tongue out at both Yoongi and Hoseok, who look at the childish exchange with unblinking eyes and dumbfounded expressions on their faces. 

“I swear to god,” Yoongi groans, running a hand through his hair - wincing halfway when he realises that he’d styled it just so, and groaning again because this is it, Yoongi’s giving up on his hair, on trying to save Jimin from their clutches. “Don’t you two have a party to actually manage?” 

Jeongguk shifts uncomfortably under their gazes, “Yeah, we’ve got something planned,” 

With a final wink to the both of them, Jeongguk turns around, following after a more than excited boyfriend, far too happy at the prospect of a new friend that he’d, for the moment, momentarily forgotten about him.

“Do you know what they’re up to?” Yoongi snatches a wine glass from a passing waiter, tipping half of the contents straight into his mouth. “I have a - “

Hoseok beats him to it and laughs, “A bad feeling, yeah, hyung, I got it the first fifty times,” 

“What should we do?” Yoongi leans down to whisper, breath warm against Hoseok’s ear, and they’re so close like this, barely any space between them. No space at all. 

“You should calm down,” Hoseok murmurs, making the wrong decision of turning his head just slightly up, because now he’s practically in Yoongi’s face, and one little nudge would send him crashing against him. It’s not a good image at all. Definitely not good for his racing heart, either. “I mean it, you need to calm down because my grandmother’s coming,”

That’s news to Yoongi, if his wide eyes and the slip of the glass held gingerly in his fingers are anything to go by. Hoseok catches the glass before it hits the ground, a grimace on his face when Yoongi just stands there, shocked and a little bit out of it. To the world. To the party. To Hoseok. 

Hoseok wraps an arm around Yoongi’s waist, a pretence of drawing him in further. He does it at the right exact moment, too, because suddenly his sister is walking towards them, followed close behind by Hoseok’s parents. And an aunt that he hates, too, but. Whatever. Family, great.

He sees his mother open her mouth but whatever she’s got to say is drowned out by Namjoon’s voice, loud and booming, “What’s up with my favourite newly and dubiously engaged couple?” 

Hoseok grimaces at the greeting and his mother raises her eyebrows.

Yoongi manages to wiggle out of Hoseok’s grip to go greet his parents, and as Hoseok watches him cosy it up with the rest of his family, he can’t help but wonder if this is what it’s like having someone serious in his life. Someone who’ll automatically stand between you and your family. Who’ll distract your mother and father and that terrible bitch of an aunt from the implications of your idiot of a best friend’s words. 

“Will you shut up?” Hoseok drags Namjoon to the side, a little out of breath. 

“More important question is,” Namjoon starts, glancing around the spacious area, “what the fuck is up with your colour scheme?” 

“That was Taehyung and Jeongguk, they had no idea colour schemes were a thing,” Hoseok can’t even look at the draperies or anything else without wanting to rip his eyes out. A dark wine red doesn’t match with an almost neon blue. It just hurts. What kind of colour scheme were they even thinking of when they’d chosen these? The worst colours that could burn right through the retinas, probably? 

“How’s the party?” Namjoon makes a show of swirling the little bit of wine he’s got left around his glass, the smile on his face easy. Just a light tug at the corner of his mouth. Half a smile that means exactly what it looks like it means - it means he’s already halfway into drunk. That, Hoseok thinks, is where he should be exactly, but it’s impossible to catch up when you’ve got a whole family to impress and friends to watch over, because, god forbid they try to ruin this whole thing actively. 

“It’s going,” Hoseok murmurs, looking over Namjoon’s shoulder to catch Yoongi’s eye from across the room. He’s talking to both their parents now, but looks away from them when he notices Hoseok staring. He smiles, small and a little bit like he’s suffering. Hoseok thinks it’s adorable. 

He regrets that line of thinking the second after he’d thought of it. Because, fuck

“This is pretty tame,” Namjoon comments, glancing around the rest of the room.

It is, for a party planned by Taehyung. 

The only thing that really stands out is the huge ass chocolate fountain. And probably the misplaced disco ball, too. Hoseok’s only hoping that his mother hasn’t noticed it yet, because that’s a disco ball hanging from their ceiling. A disco ball. She’s going to kill Taehyung. 

A commotion somewhere by the dining area catches Hoseok’s attention, turning away immediately from Namjoon to find out just what all the sudden ruckus is. Everyone is starting to gather, Yoongi catching up to him the second he manages to slip out of his parents hold, clasping a warm hand on Hoseok’s arm. 

Hoseok doesn’t think he’ll ever be ready for the sight in front of him - Taehyung, shoving one of Hoseok’s uncles out of the way and taking a glass of wine from a passing waiter. He takes a small fork, too, before he hoists himself up on top of one of the islands.

Everyone stares at him, identical looks of shock and bewilderment on their faces.

Hoseok looks at Taehyung and wants to kill him immediately. 

“I would start my speech as best man - “

From the back of the room, Namjoon yells out, “You’re not best man!” 

Yoongi’s grip around Hoseok’s arm tightens. 

“As I was saying, I would start my speech but first, let me welcome a special guest,” Here he looks at Hoseok, eyebrows raised with his mouth pulled into a lopsided grin. 

Maybe Hoseok had spoken too soon - Taehyung commandeering the attention of the entire audience hadn’t been a sight to behold. Hoseok’s ageing and very sick grandmother making her way through the crowd, albeit a little bit slowly, and not being wheeled in on a wheelchair is what surprises him. He’d expected her but not like this - she looks more alive than she’s ever been, ever since her frequent trips to the hospital.

She stands just beside Taehyung, taking his offered hand when he finally slides off the counter. Taehyung looks like a model son, tall, handsome, and considerably well kept. He can sound like a model son, too, and if Hoseok’s mom hadn’t known the boy for half of her own son’s life, then maybe she would’ve coveted having a son like him. 

Taehyung passes a wine glass to Hoseok’s grandmother - Hoseok actually hears his father groan to his side - who takes it with an amused and pleasant laugh. She looks good, though. Colour in her cheeks and her hair all done nice. Hoseok’s a fool for his grandmother - would do anything for her, if he could. Would go as far as necessary. 

“I don’t know about you guys,” Her voice comes out strong and loud, something that none of Hoseok’s family had heard for months now. She looks so - so alive, is the right word for it, and Hoseok’s heart actually aches, thinking that this is all because of him. 

If anyone’s going straight to hell then it’s him. And Yoongi, purely by association. 

“But I’d like to hear about the story,” She raises her glass to the two of them, Hoseok and Yoongi suddenly smack dab in the middle of the room. 

Yoongi’s grip tightens almost vice like around Hoseok’s arm, fingernails digging bluntly through his blazer. It’s starting to sting, but Hoseok tries not to make the grimace too obvious. Of course, being faced with their entire family is nerve wrecking.

Those second thoughts are probably running right about now, Hoseok thinks. 

“The story,” Hoseok’s sister - his sister, that good for nothing little - repeats, voice high pitched. She’s sounding far too drunk and far too amused for Hoseok’s liking. “Let’s hear it.” 

Taehyung clears his throat, “This just in,” He takes the fork to the side of his glass and starts tapping it lightly (Hoseok holds his breath, hoping to whatever answering deity is up there that Taehyung doesn’t end up shattering the glass. The expensive glass. This his mother will definitely freak over.), “Impromptu interview!” 

“It’s not an impromptu interview,” This time, it’s Seokjin, voice a low-pitched whine. “when people are expecting this, Tae,” 

This is starting to get really messy, really fast.

So much for Namjoon’s this is pretty tame. Foreboding, that had been.

“Well, whatever, still an interview,” Taehyung raises his glass to Hoseok and Yoongi, winks at the both of them, before sidestepping out of the way, effectively shining the pseudo-spotlight back on the pseudo-couple. 

Hoseok watches as he latches onto Jeongguk, arm winding around the boy’s waist, and the dangerous glimmer in their eyes identical.

Yoongi doesn’t even glare at them because he knows it’s a lost cause. He does catch Jimin’s eye from the other side of the room, though, and forces out a smile when Jimin gives him a thumbs up, grin wide, and eyes bright with barely suppressed laughter. 

“What do you wanna hear?” Hoseok finally manages to get out, hand finding purchase of Yoongi’s. It’s awkward for the first few seconds, holding hands. That is, until Yoongi slides his fingers through the spaces between Hoseok’s, and suddenly it’s wonderful. Absolutely lovely. Hoseok tries not to let the rush of holding Yoongi’s hand get to his head. It’s bad enough he thinks Yoongi’s cute. 

“How you met,” Jimin chants, this time laughing in earnest now.

“We met on a play date when I was four, and Hoseok two, that’s it,” Yoongi shoots the question down with a brusque answer. He manages to pull a smile, though, when his mother glares pointedly at him.

Namjoon, drunk and probably tending to a sore spot after Taehyung had announced himself the unofficial best man, boos, “That’s boring, we want the other story. Boy meets boy part two,” 

Hoseok looks over his shoulder to tell him to shut the fuck up now, or else, but is beat to it when Seokjin thumps Namjoon’s shoulder, a reprimand. 

To Hoseok’s surprise, it’s Yoongi who answers the question, but not before he gulps down the remaining contents of his glass. He passes the empty glass over to Hoseok, who almost drops it when Yoongi starts the story by saying, “We met at the airport,” 

This is a bad way to start an elaborately (poorly, that is) thought of background story. Hoseok’s grip around Yoongi’s hand tightens, his heart practically stopping right in the middle of fucking functioning when Yoongi follows it through with a short chuckle and, “We haven’t seen each other in years. I was just flying in for my third year in college, and he - where were you coming from again, babe?” 

It’s not obvious under the bright lights but this close to Yoongi, Hoseok’s able to notice the feathered pink spreading across his cheeks. A blush. Hoseok doesn’t trust himself enough to speak, knowing that his words will either come out choked or completely garbled. His stomach is in knots and the floor from under his feet is starting to quake. 

But, Hoseok does manage to squeak out, “I was visiting Jiwoo noona,” 

The funny thing about this is that Yoongi, somehow, someway (and possibly because he’d given strict orders to the waiter) is never without a drink. He’s got another glass of champagne in his free hand, his other one still gripping tightly onto Hoseok’s. He speaks with the ease of somebody who’s had well and enough practice under pressure. He’s a doctor, of course he’s able to handle himself well under pressure. 

Yoongi tells the story without any hitches, Hoseok only standing beside him the whole time, smile pristine and absolutely immaculate, because this is all he can do, with Yoongi taking the lead. 

When Yoongi stumbles on his own words, though, Hoseok flinches. He looks at him, a question in his eyes, and Yoongi looks at him, with hardly much of an answer in his, but their hands are held between them, and the ring around Yoongi’s finger is burning white hot, and Hoseok feels like a herd of buffalos have just stampeded and trampled him when Yoongi shrugs his shoulders, an obvious play of nonchalance, and smiles. He smiles a smile that Hoseok has only seen a handful of times. A smile Yoongi hasn’t smiled the entire evening. It’s a soft smile that Hoseok thinks is capable of getting the flowers to bloom. A smile so tender it halts the shaking of the very ground Hoseok is standing on. It’s a beautiful smile and Hoseok thinks, not for the first time, how wonderful it would be to get Yoongi to smile like that more often. To get him to look less guarded and more open. 

“Some things you just say yes to,” And then Yoongi smiles at him, and it’s like the stars are singing in accompaniment behind him, the corners of his eyes crinkling up as he looks at Hoseok, usually sharp features and gaze softening. Gentle, warm, and - and real. 

Hoseok sucks in a deep breath, feels his lungs inflate, and then waits as it it ghosts over his bones. Waits until he stops shaking from the inside out. Until the only thing that he feels is Yoongi’s hand, pressed warmly against his, and Yoongi’s hip, and his shoulder, all pressed close to him.

The next thing that happens is completely by accident, because Hoseok is hardly thinking at this point. Too little alcohol and hardly anything else inside of him but the feeling of Yoongi burning hotly beside him. He slides his hand out of Yoongi’s hold and winds an arm around his waist, pulling him in closer. Fingers curl around Yoongi’s hip, pressing soft indents into his trousers, and like this, slotted side by side, they fit. 

Like a puzzle, how scary it is. 

From across the room, Taehyung looks at him, a definite change in his expression now. His brows are furrowed and his eyes dark. Hoseok doesn’t see the mischievous little boy who’d hauled an entire chocolate fountain in through his front door. He sees his best friend of eight years. Sees the realisation dawn in Taehyung’s eyes. Sees the corks and screws moving in his mind. Hoseok definitely sees it when Taehyung mouths, holy shit

Taehyung leans against Jeongguk, arms crossed, and an uncertain expression on his face. There’s no denying the look on Hoseok’s own face. Taehyung’s known him long enough that he can tell just what exactly is happening.

And it’s a shift in space. A change in the air. It doesn’t come like the trickling of the water. It comes like a fucking stampede of rhinos. It comes all at once, this realisation, that suddenly this isn’t a complete lie. Not anymore.

Hoseok can feel the tips of Yoongi’s hair tickle at his cheek, can feel Yoongi’s hand settling on the small of his back. 

Taehyung coughs, untangles himself from Jeongguk, and then laughs, trying to alleviate the sudden crisis Hoseok’s landed himself in. “That was nice, really nice, true love right there,” He winces at his own words and Jeongguk shifts uncomfortably.

Of course they would, they’re the only ones who really know.

And Hoseok's sister. He can’t even bring himself to look at Jiwoo, can’t handle the heavy gaze, the knowing look, because she knows. She knows what’s happening, too, even if Hoseok’s not too sure about it yet. 

“Hey, a chocolate fountain,” Taehyung’s voice rises as he gathers most of everyone’s attention away from the wonderful, happy couple. “We should go - get chocolate,” it’s a lame attempt that only a handful of people buy into, but it’s too late. 

Hoseok hears it again - the clicking of silverware against the glass. 

He sees the panic in Taehyung’s face and the look of helplessness in Jeongguk’s. 

(Later, they’ll apologise and say that they hadn’t expected for things to take on this turn, but it’s too late. Hoseok’s buried too deep already.)

“Come on,” Hoseok is going to have to kill Namjoon by the end of the night, because it’s his annoying voice hollering at him and Yoongi. 

Jimin chimes in, though, whistling, and Yoongi looks up at him. 

He doesn’t look resigned, or too chaffed about it. Yoongi looks - he looks up at Hoseok like he’s seeing him for the first time. Like he’s staring straight at the sun, a little bit blinded, but not at all adversed to the warmth. 

Hoseok looks at Yoongi only to realise that he’s been holding his breath the entire time. 

And this shouldn’t be a problem - Hoseok’s kissed numerous people. Countless men. Countless women. He’s kissed someone under the influence of alcohol, someone he can’t even remember the next day. He’s kissed so many people whose names escape him, whose very faces are a blur in the back of his mind, that this shouldn’t be a problem. No sweat at all. 

But the idea of kissing Yoongi has his insides constricting, the strings tightening and pulling.

“Come on,” Yoongi whispers, his smile breaking for the briefest of seconds. Enough for Hoseok to see the mild panic in the back of his eyes, the furious blush on his face. 

Hoseok went into this with his eyes closed and his head screwed the other way around. Yoongi had asked him, when he’d gotten down on his knee, if he was crazy, if he was thinking. Hoseok hadn’t been thinking then, but now, pulling Yoongi in, curling a hand under his chin, tilting it up, and kissing him, Hoseok is. 

Yoongi responds to the kiss a second late, one arm snaking around Hoseok’s neck, holding him in place. Yoongi kisses him like he’s made out of fire and Hoseok is the water needed to douse him. 

Hoseok kisses Yoongi like he’s a man starving, thirsty for water. All sharp angles turn soft in his hand when he lifts it up to cup gently at Yoongi’s cheek, thumb brushing past the jut of his cheek. Yoongi’s lips taste like strawberries and wine. He tastes like what fireworks would taste like, because that’s exactly what he’s doing to Hoseok - setting a fire inside of him, flames licking at every corner of his insides, burning through his bones. 

When they pull apart, it’s to the sound of the clapping of the audience, a few hollers and whistles, but Hoseok doesn’t hear any of it. His heart beats heavy and loud in his chest, his vision tunnelling, Yoongi the only thing he’s focusing on. Yoongi, with the kissed lips and the pink cheeks, with the pretty, pretty blonde hair, and eyes so open Hoseok doesn’t need to hear the words to understand. 

Yoongi is a bit breathless and furiously trying to push down the blush, trying hard to regain just a semblance of normalcy, but under dozens and dozens of watchful gazes, there’s no luck. 

“Yoongi,” Hoseok says his name quietly, like a secret whispered under the stealth of the night. He drops his hand from Yoongi’s face, settles it on his shoulder, and gives it a gentle squeeze. Yoongi tugs on the back of his head, fingers tangling in a few tufts of hair, before he drops his hand back to Hoseok’s hip. 

It brings no pleasure at all to Hoseok when he realises that Yoongi’s hand is cold. Clammy. 

Some things you just have to say “yes” to, thinks Hoseok, looking at Yoongi now. 

It doesn’t end there, unfortunately.

Taehyung successfully manages to distract most of the guests into taking interest in the useless chocolate fountain while the rest of Hoseok’s friends, Jimin included, disappear to god knows where. The last he’s heard of from any of them was Namjoon drunkenly stumbling around in the back and Seokjin yelping out in surprise when a glass shatters by his foot. 

Hoseok is still reeling from the kiss and Yoongi - Yoongi might have just gone into shock, if his silence means anything. They keep up the charades, though, pleasantly weaving their way around the party, his arm around Yoongi’s shoulders for a few minutes, Yoongi’s hand holding his for the next few minutes, just taking turns, almost like they’re both on autopilot. They’re attached by the hip, but it’s different now. 

There’s a fire inside of Hoseok that thirsts for Yoongi now - a fire in need of fuel to keep it going, to keep the kindle burning. Yoongi is subdued, more so than usual, but still manages to fit a smile up on his face when they’re stopped by Hoseok’s grandmother by the kitchen. 

She offers the both of them a hug, her smile wide, and her bony arms coming around them, squeezing. 

Before she lets go of Yoongi, she fastens a hand around his, admires the ring on his finger, and laughs again. Relief is what it sounds like and Hoseok bites down a grimace. 

“It’s so nice seeing you both together,” She gushes, her smile widening. 

Hoseok hopes that that’s the end of the conversation because he really can’t handle five more minutes of holding onto Yoongi’s hand when all he wants to do is ask him a question. Or demand another kiss, Hoseok would very well like to know how the latter would play out. 

“How did you know Hoseok was the one? This is quite the step, don’t you think? And our Hoseok, he’s a handful,” 

If Jiwoo were anywhere near the room, she would have definitely reiterated that Hoseok is the farthest thing from a handful. He’s a mess. A train wreck, if there was ever a human embodiment of one. 

Yoongi almost chokes on the strawberry he’d been slowly nibbling at while Hoseok chokes on his own tongue. 

He pats Yoongi’s back consolingly, hand rubbing small, comforting circles on the small of his back. The coughing finally dies down and Yoongi balls his hand into a fist, completely forgetting that he’d been holding a strawberry. 

And where he’d sounded confident and unbothered (well, just slightly bothered, then), he sounds just the tad bit nervous now, a quake in his voice that Hoseok instantly picks up on.

“He makes me laugh,” is all Yoongi says, head ducking away from Hoseok’s gaze, and eyes averting from looking at either of them. 

Nervous laughter that betrays Yoongi’s usual self confidence. An even shier smile that somehow does it for Hoseok - a stab right in the gut and an iron fist clenched around his heart. He does it without thinking - of the consequences, because he’s very hyper aware of everything right now, his mind on overdrive - and kisses Yoongi on his temple, his smile barely suppressed when he pulls back.

“You know what, gran, Yoongi’s great. The first time he proposed was when I was seven,” Hoseok catches the scowl on Yoongi’s face and laughs, burying his face in the crook of Yoongi’s neck. Familiar now, Yoongi’s warmth. 

“I told you to eat sand, I never said I was going to marry you,” 

Yoongi laughs, Hoseok laughs, and his grandmother laughs, and in this one single moment, Hoseok thinks that maybe, just maybe, this doesn’t have to end with him being disinherited and kicked out of the family. 

(“I make you laugh?” Hoseok asks, wanting nothing and everything from this one single moment. So much has happened just this evening and Hoseok thinks if he weren’t crazy yet, he would be now. “I’m kind of an idiot, so that must be why,” 

Yoongi looks at him, a strange expression on his face, like he’s trying to figure Hoseok out. Like he’s trying to read past the outside, and Hoseok withers under his gaze, his arm sliding off of Yoongi’s waist and falling back to his side. Yoongi catches his hand, though, and threads their fingers loosely, letting their joined hands swing between them. Funny, how holding Yoongi’s hand just a few weeks ago had seemed embarrassing - now, it’s just comforting. Natural. 

“That, too,” The corners of Yoongi’s mouth pull up into a smirk. “But you’ve got your ways. You make me happy.”)

If the flashing red and blue lights weren’t enough indication that something had gone horribly wrong, then the loud screeching of a siren does the trick.

Hoseok arrives to the front door, panting a little bit from running, with Yoongi close behind him. 

“What the fuck?” Yoongi asks, hand outstretched, holding onto a half-empty glass of wine. He’d spilled it all over the carpet - Hoseok’s mother’s pristine white carpet, fuck fuck fuck. “What’s going on?”

A lot of the guests have already gone home, the only ones left a few important members of the family. Hoseok’s family. Yoongi’s family. Hoseok’s friends. Yoongi’s friends. And - 

“Holy fucking shit, where are they?” Hoseok realises too late that while he’d been busy enthralled at the new wonder of holding Yoongi’s hand, his friends had vanished. Right out disappeared. The last he’s seen of them was right after his grandmother’s arrival. 

He’d caught sight of Jeongguk during his little piece on the piano, Taehyung practically swaying on the spot beside him, with one arm thrown around Jimin, who looked like he’d just went with it. 

Which leaves Namjoon and Seokjin, who Hoseok really likes to think are people who’re more capable of sensible life decisions. 

“Hoseok - “ Seokjin rushes up from the garden, hair a mess, and his pants soaking wet. “They’re arresting Namjoon - he, he fell into the pool, and vomited all over your neighbour’s garden,” 

Yoongi turns away from Seokjin, pacing a few steps behind Hoseok, “Seriously?” 

“You can’t be serious,” Hoseok says, his words coming out slurred. Slowly. Completely struck dumb from this most recent development. 

“Hobi - Hoseok, babe,” He’s too busy gaping at Seokjin like a fucking idiot that he doesn’t even notice the screaming inside of his own house, doesn’t even notice that Yoongi’s tugging on the hem of his blazer, incessant, harsh tugs that finally force Hoseok’s attention away from a very soaked, very drunk Seokjin. “Babe, the chocolate fountain just caught fire,” 

Jiwoo looks half-crazed, usually kept hair a mess now as she stumbles out into the hallway. She spots Hoseok and the rest of the disaster crew by the front door, “Taehyung just set the chocolate fountain on fire,” 

How,” Hoseok doesn't even want to know how it had happened, because suddenly, everything is wrong, and his whole house is going to catch fire, and they’re all going to die. This had to happen the exact night he realises kissing Yoongi isn’t that bad, and that maybe he wants to try it again. 

“He knocked a candle over dancing with Jeongguk, and that other kid - Jimin, he poured half a bottle of vodka to try and put it out. Vodka doesn’t work well with fires, Hoseok,” She sounds hysterical, and with good reason, too, because Hoseok’s mother is the wrong person to piss off. Destroying her house will probably be the last thing Taehyung will ever be doing. 

A short life, but Hoseok can’t be too sorry for him, not when he has to deal with her the day after.

“Liquor and fire actually work really well, because it’s highly flammable - “ Yoongi starts to say but is cut down right in the middle of it when Jiwoo glares pointedly at him. 

“If it’s any consolation, Namjoon’s getting arrested,” Hoseok tries for a laugh and only gets an even dirtier glare from his sister.

Behind him, Seokjin wails, “How is that a consolation?” he worries too much - and with good reason, given the kind of shit they all manage to get themselves into. “We have to go,”

Hoseok looks to his sister, hears the screaming from the living room - Taehyung’s voice rising even higher as he tries to calm everyone down, explaining that it’ll die out eventually - and then at Yoongi, who, for the first time during the entire night, looks a mix between what the hell and resigned. 

Yoongi shrugs, “Yeah, sure, what the hell, let’s bail your friend out of jail. Party’s over, I think,” 

Over isn’t even a word adequate enough to describe the current state of the party. It’s in ruins. Taehyung will be dealing with a riot tomorrow - if he lives through the night - and Hoseok will have to deal with being kicked out and disinherited. Burned right off the family tree.

But then Yoongi’s laughing, loud and completely uninhibited, and it’s exhilarating, hearing Yoongi laugh like the whole world’s just gone to shit but it doesn’t matter. Yoongi twines their fingers together, gives Hoseok’s hand a squeeze, and then, in between breathless rounds of laughter, says, “Let’s go.”

Namjoon handcuffed to a detective’s table at their local precinct is the highlight of the night, if you ask Hoseok. 

“So, he just jumped into the pool?” Yoongi throws a glare at Taehyung and Jimin, who double over themselves in laughter. Great, everyone’s standing outside the precinct, awaiting the final verdict while Seokjin argued it out inside. 

Hoseok’s not too inclined to pay the bail - which Yoongi explains isn’t likely, but still, if it was then Hoseok would be the first to walk away. Trust Namjoon to get himself into the worst predicaments. 

“He tripped into the pool. Your neighbour’s pool,” Jeongguk starts, not completely sure himself. He hadn’t been there when it happened. But from what their combined information, it looks like Namjoon had tripped. Drunk, idiot Kim Namjoon had tripped. Forgotten how to swim and thought himself to drown. Seokjin had tried to fish him out, hence the wet trousers. And then the neighbours called the police because Namjoon had started to wail, like the fucking bastard that he is. Cried in the middle of Hoseok’s neighbour’s swimming pool. So much for being generally liked down their lane. 

And then the police had arrived and Seokjin had ran before they could drag him into the car. Amazing, Hoseok can’t believe this is the kind of friends he has. But, on a second note, Hoseok can’t help but smile, either, because these idiots are the kind of friends he has. 

Yoongi elbows him, raising one eyebrow in question.

Hoseok just leans against him, a little bit drunk and a lot comfortable now. The party’s over, there’s no need for pretences, no need to put up walls and pretend to hold each other’s hand. Now, Hoseok realises, with a little bit of panic, there’s no need to do any of that but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to, because he wants to. Very much. Hold Yoongi’s hand. Lean against him. Allow his warmth to wash over him, gentle and soft, like the wind blowing in the Spring. 

Namjoon and Seokjin emerge after several minutes, Namjoon still damp and Seokjin quietly fuming beside him now that the alcohol’s subsided. When Namjoon catches sight of everyone, he grins at them, raises a hand, and then all but trips on his own feet. 

“This is the best engagement party ever,” Taehyung breathes out, hand clutching tightly at Jeongguk’s arm. “If none of us are arrested at our engagement party, then we’re calling the wedding off,”

It’s oddly satisfying and hilarious watching Jeongguk choke on his own spit, sputtering out his response in single syllables, because he can’t form a longer sentence, not with Taehyung just dropping that kind of bomb on him. 

“Hey, baby, it’s cool, you have a couple more years to work your ass off, I want the wedding to be better than Kim and Kanye’s,” Taehyung says, giving Jeongguk’s face a light pat.

Jeongguk looks to Hoseok, first, eyes wide and mouth gaping open. 

Hoseok just laughs at him, shoulders shaking, and his laughter loud, ringing. He’s so absorbed with it that he doesn’t notice when it happens - when Yoongi winds an arm around his shoulders, fingers grazing very briefly down the side of his neck before he settles it on his shoulder. Hoseok doesn’t notice, not until Yoongi pulls him to his side, and presses his smile into Hoseok’s hair, his laugh a quiet chuckle that falls directly into Hoseok’s ear. 

And it happens, the slow descent of realisation, washing over him, grazing him lightly on the face, and whispering in his ear. It happens when they’re walking back to the car, Yoongi’s arm still around his shoulder, and Hoseok still leaning against him. It happens when everybody else is well on their way home, leaving only the both of them at the precinct parking lot. 

It happens then, the night growing quieter, the stars sighing as the moon hides behind the clouds. It happens, and Hoseok thinks - oh, fuck

“Hoseok,” Yoongi’s voice startles Hoseok out of his little trance. He looks up, almost knocking their foreheads together. “Hey, about earlier,” Yoongi isn’t even allowed to talk about earlier - whatever kind of earlier he’s got in mind - because he still has an arm around Hoseok, and it’s not helping, not at all, when the feel of Yoongi so close to him and so warm is enough to drive Hoseok just a little bit crazy. “When we - when they asked us to kiss,” 

Hoseok breathes out a sigh of relief. He’d thought it would have been the other earlier, thought Yoongi would want to sit down now and discuss things through, get everything sorted out thoroughly. Thank god, though. 

“What about it?” Hoseok hopes the smile he’s faking isn’t too obvious, because that’s exactly what it feels like. “I mean, it didn’t mean anything, yeah?” Hoseok says one thing and means another. 

A look crosses over Yoongi’s face, a peculiar expression mixed in with confusion and - and hurt, Hoseok can see it now. Yoongi pulls his hand back, makes to turn around and walk away, back to his side of the car, but Hoseok reaches for him, hand closing around Yoongi’s wrist, and pulling him back towards him, holding him still. In place. 

“It doesn’t mean anything, unless,” Hoseok knows that this is a dangerous line of thought, knows that nothing good will come out of this, because he’s an idiot and Yoongi isn’t. Yoongi is older than him, more established, he’s got his life sorted out and Hoseok is still living with his parents. Hoseok is still the brat Yoongi had known from ten years ago because what kind of adult would orchestrate this whole game of charades?

Someone who loves their grandmother dearly, but still. Yoongi deserves someone better, not somebody like Hoseok, who’d been gone and away for a good part of his life. Who’d thrown this whole mess at Yoongi’s front door, foregoing the ribbon and wrapping paper. 

“Unless?” Yoongi asks, tiptoeing across the valley of possibility, which lies between hope and no return

“Unless you want it to.” Hoseok finishes, voice sincere. Low, quiet. So quiet that it’s the only thing Hoseok hears, that and the sound of his own heart drumming wildly behind his ribcage. 

Yoongi doesn’t answer him, instead, Yoongi curls his fingers around Hoseok’s bicep, and kisses him, once. Their lips pressing softly together, and Yoongi’s eyes fluttering to a close, lashes so long they almost graze the tops of his cheeks. Yoongi kisses him slow, calm, and quiet. He kisses Hoseok like he’s looking for something, like he’s trying this out - for the first time. Hoseok kisses him back a little bit surprised, hand tightening around Yoongi’s, not wanting to let go, or drop it. 

Hoseok kisses him back because this is what he wants. His head light and his heart beating wildly, and Yoongi hasn’t answered him at all, but Hoseok supposes that getting a kiss instead of an actual answer will do, for now. For tonight.

So what if it doesn’t mean anything to Yoongi, it doesn’t matter. This had been a silly little game from the start, Hoseok had initiated it himself. This is nothing. It doesn’t matter.

(Except it does. It means everything to him.)

Right before Yoongi slips out of the car and walks back up to his own house, he looks at Hoseok, long and hard, and smiles. Ruefully, it looks like. He tucks his hand into his blazer pocket, fidgets with something for a little while, and when he pulls his hand back out, it’s to raise the ring in full view. Hoseok’s ring, gleaming. Even just the sight of it is comforting and familiar. 

“Your ring,” Yoongi says, trying to pass the ring back to Hoseok.

But - 

But Hoseok shakes his head, and smiles, because for some reason, seeing it around Yoongi’s finger had been nice. Had given him the same kind of effect as when he’d worn it around his neck. 

He closes his hand over Yoongi’s, the ring still enclosed in Yoongi’s fist, and with a smile that he hopes doesn’t portray the storm inside of him, says, “Hyung, we just threw the weirdest engagement party ever. You can keep that, for now.” 

For now, Hoseok thinks, but if Yoongi decides to keep it for a little bit longer - for forever, maybe - then Hoseok has a feeling that he probably won’t mind. There are people you can’t say no to, and there are things you’ve owned that fit others so much better. Things you’ve lost that have found their way to someone else. That’s Yoongi, Hoseok thinks. 

Yoongi fashions the ring around his finger again, an unreadable look on his face. 

When he leaves with nothing else but a nod and a small wave of his hand - the ring catches the orange light of the car, flashing, gleaming, for a split second - Hoseok knows that it’s Yoongi. Definitely Yoongi. 

(What he doesn’t know is how long for now is. How long it will be until this strange spell around them is broken, until everything inside of Hoseok rushes out and spills, breaking into a million pieces by his feet. The truth can only be held in for so long, and Hoseok’s never really been great at lying when it comes to Yoongi. Never been great at really keeping himself away from him, either.)

Silence is something you can actually hear, Hoseok realises. He hears it on the drive back home with Yoongi, the silence lying between them heavy and thick. He hears it in the smile that Yoongi fits on his face, seconds before he slips out of the car. He hears it on the way back home, the house entire quiet, and the living room in various states of disarrays. 

Hoseok hears it all around him, the walls breathing, taking a life of its own. He falls asleep and doesn’t dream, not after that. And while Yoongi might have foregone actually answering him, Hoseok still thinks of it as sweet. 

He falls asleep to the sound of silence and the realisation that perhaps, just in the largest off chance, he might be catching feelings.

Which is a complete and fucking lie because at this point, Hoseok’s already well past the point of no return. Yoongi smiles like he’s got the sun on his heals, and he laughs like he’s got the blessing of the entire cosmos. He laughs like he isn’t holding anything back, and when he touches Hoseok, his hands are warm. Always, always warm, burning right through Hoseok’s layers, and Hoseok lets it, because Yoongi is surprisingly warm, inside and out. He likes it.

And when Yoongi had kissed him first, that second time, the only thing Hoseok had thought was how nice it would be to kiss him again, and again, and again. 

But this is what you get when you fake an entire engagement, when you lie to your family. This is what you get after the house has burned down. Ashes, and the skeleton of what once had been.

Hoseok doesn’t think too much about it, though, because it’s not supposed to mean anything. He pulls the blanket up to his chin, closes his eyes, and prays tomorrow be as quiet as tonight. 

(Of course, he’s totally wrong. His mother knocks down his door first thing in the morning and demand he clean the entire mess downstairs, because she’s not paying for that, not anymore. 

In the end, she kind of does, because Hoseok makes for a sloppy maid.) 

It’s Taehyung who nurses his headache and feeds him more than stale coffee the next day. Taehyung who runs his fingers through Hoseok’s hair, grimacing down at him, when all Hoseok can do is groan and sigh every other five minutes. Taehyung, who orders food for the both of them and declares the day one completely free of adult responsibilities. Taehyung’s been in a relationship for as long as Hoseok can remember - to the same guy, too - which makes it rather surprising how easily he’s able to manage Hoseok right now. Not a total mess, but just a moping little brat. 

“How are you so good at this?” Hoseok asks, looking up at Taehyung. He’s got his head propped on a pillow on Taehyung’s lap, and a box of pizza just by his feet. “You called in sick to your job just so you can bum around with me,” 

Taehyung rolls his eyes, “Don’t be stupid. I called in sick to work because it was raining,” a pause, and then Taehyung smiles, again. “But also so I could mope with you,” 

He’s a good friend, Hoseok thinks. The best he has. 

“I know you have something to say, so why don’t you?” Hoseok pulls on the fuzzy blanket that smells like a weed and flowers (the latter probably from all the fucking Fabreeze Taehyung likes to spray into the air too much). “Just get on with it,” 

Taehyung tugs harshly on his hair, scowling. “I didn’t say anything,”

“But you want to,” Hoseok closes his eyes, lets the soft sound of some trashy pop music settle on him. Taehyung’s got shit taste in music but who is Hoseok to talk when just last week he’d overplayed that one Miley Cyrus song so much, Yoongi had literally walked out of the car right in the middle of traffic just so he could escape from it. 

“I wanna say a lot of things, actually, I just don’t know where to start. Give me the go signal,” 

“Start with Yoongi hyung,” Hoseok says, already knowing. Some things need not be said and Taehyung should already know, but if he wants to draw this out, then Hoseok will let him. He’s got a good heart, and it’s in a good place. 

“I think you’re fucked,” Taehyung says it simply and clearly, like he’s just commenting on how hard the rain is pouring. “You totally fucked yourself over with this, probably your worst fuck up, ever, in the history of all your fuck ups, literally, this is the fuckiest fuck up - “

Hoseok pinches Taehyung’s side. It earns him a wince and a painful swat at his hand, but it’s worth it. Hoseok’s heard enough about his constant fuck ups from his own mother, he deserves a little bit of peace and quiet with his friend. Of course, expecting one thing of Taehyung and watching it unfold are two very different things. Hoseok should have known better, but it’s because of Taehyung’s spontaneity that Hoseok’s stuck with him all these years. That, and because Taehyung’s got dirt on him to last him a fucking lifetime. Some things Hoseok cannot risk.

“I get it, so shut up,” Hoseok presses a pillow against his face, thinking that he might as well suffocate here and now, because this alternative looks much better than actually coming clean to his family. Calling Yoongi again, talking to him, wanting to know, because it’s not fair of him to have kissed Hoseok first the second time around, kissed him soft and sweet, and left without another word.

Sometimes, silence weighs as two-ton crate.

A strange, peculiar look passes over Taehyung’s face. He looks contemplative like this, quiet in his own thoughts. 

“What did it feel like, the kiss?” Taehyung frames Hoseok’s face with both of his hands, keeping him still and unable to look away. That’s already rather difficult to do, thinks Hoseok, because he’s practically on top of Taehyung, looking up at him. It’s not such a good view, Taehyung leaning in close to him, and Hoseok would rather look at him from a better, more pleasing angle, but some things you can’t really choose. For instance, your best friend’s odd way of consoling you. 

Hoseok groans, “That’s a question you ask a fifteen year old, not a grown adult,” a bit of a stretch there, but Taehyung doesn’t comment on how Hoseok is legally an adult but nowhere near grown. 

“No, I mean it, answer the question,” Taehyung’s thumbs press into his cheeks, nails making indents on his skin. It’s not hurting so much, it just stings. A little bit. “Answer it,” 

It’s such a shame Hoseok is literally locked down in place, or else he would’ve kneed Taehyung in a place even Jeongguk would be quite sorry for. 

What,” 

“Answer the question,” 

A pause, the moment passing them both by in heavy silence. 

Hoseok rolls his eyes, “It didn’t mean anything,” 

“Say that again,” Taehyung’s voice takes on a lower tone, going quiet and raspy. 

But Hoseok isn’t deterred, not when the best friend he’s known for more than half his life is looking at him with wide, inquisitive eyes. He knows Taehyung’s got a good heart and a soul to match, but Hoseok just doesn’t know where he’s going with this line of question.

If he wants Hoseok to admit that it had meant something, then fat chance. Hoseok might be an adult, but he’s hardly one to own up to his own feelings, especially when the last he’s heard from Yoongi was a barely said good night, so quiet it had been swept up by the wind.

How fucking ironic - or unfair, Hoseok amends - for things to fall to shit, now. Now that they’re almost done. But perhaps - perhaps this little stall is needed, too, because Hoseok doesn’t have any idea as to what to do. He could tell his parents. His sister already knows. Could break the news to his grandmother, too. But with nothing but radio silence and static on Yoongi’s end, Hoseok supposes that a fall out like this is probably better. Just things breaking apart, like one would in a normal relationship.

Except - except this had never been a relationship. Just Hosoek being foolish and inconsiderate. 

“It didn’t mean anything,” Hoseok grits out, the words tasting bitter on his tongue. It’s a lie, he knows, and Taehyung knows, too, if the glimmer in his eye is anything to go by. But Hoseok will be pressed to admit otherwise. There are things you just have to hold on to, tightly. Just grasp it and keep it locked in the encasement of your fist.

The next thing that happens is something Hoseok had never foreseen, much less even thought about. Because - 

Because Taehyung swoops down and kisses him, awkward angle and all. 

Hoseok has barely the time to process what’s happening before Taehyung pulls back, a smug look on his face. 

“What did that make you feel?”

Hoseok bolts upright immediately, throwing Taehyung completely off of him.

“The fuck do you think,” Hoseok’s voice is unnaturally high, his words clipped. Angry is one thing, surprise another. And - and complete and utter dislike is a third. He glares down at Taehyung, anger bubbling inside of him, his vision tinting the slightest red. “What the fuck did you do that for? Jeongguk - “ Hoseok starts to say, but then Taehyung stops him with a short laugh and a shake of his head.

“What did that make you feel?” He asks again, smile so smug Hoseok wants to throw a pillow at his face, just to get rid of it. Or maybe punch him, because you don’t kiss your best friend who’s obviously going through something. You don’t just kiss other people when you’ve already got a boyfriend of five years, Jesus fucking Christ. 

“Are you out of your mind - “ Hoseok scrambles off of the couch, eyes narrowing. “You kissed me and that’s all you’re going to ask - “

Taehyung is oddly composed for someone who’d just kissed his best friend (albeit not the first kiss they’ve shared with each other, but the first one had literally been an accident, an event they’ve suppressed in the farthest corners of their mind, never to be brought up or even think of). He shrugs his shoulders and tells him again, “Just answer the goddamn question, Hoseok.” 

Hoseok’s fingers curl into a fist, falling limp on either side of him, because Taehyung might be being fucking difficult and smug just to make a point, but Hoseok thinks that doesn’t actually warrant a punch in the face. Maybe a knee to the groin. Maybe, once Taehyung stands up. 

“If you do that again I’m going to shave your entire head off,” is all Hoseok says, voice small. Muted, because he’s finally getting it, and because there’s no way in hell he’ll give Taehyung this round. “It didn’t mean anything,” 

That smile really should be smacked off Taehyung’s face. Preferably by someone else, because Hoseok doesn’t want to be that near Taehyung again. They’ve kissed twice, and Hoseok would rather they keep it at that number, that Taehyung never, for the good of all things holy, attempt that ever again. 

“Also, you’re a fucking idiot,” Hoseok sighs, shoulders slacking. Resigned. “And don’t say - “

“I told you so,” Taehyung beats him to it, grin wide. Beaming. 

“You didn’t even tell me anything,” Hoseok climbs back onto the couch, shoving Taehyung’s knees away and dragging a slice of pizza out of the box. “Don’t say anything - “

“Not gonna,” Taehyung hums, knocking their shoulders together. 

Taehyung’s always felt familiar. They’ve been through so much already that Taehyung kissing him (that the both of them kissing, for the second time, now) is hardly anything to create tension between them. They’ve both faced shit much worse than this. And it takes a lot of willpower for Hoseok to admit, but perhaps Taehyung is right. However fucked up his methods may be, the boy did help him out. Sort of. 

“Anyway, how did that kiss with Yoongi hyung actually feel like?” 

Hoseok doesn’t dignify it with an actual response, but he does throw the crust at Taehyung’s face, snickering when he hears Taehyung groan about getting tomato sauce on his favourite grey sweatshirt. 

And besides, if Hoseok thinks the kiss with Yoongi had meant something - everything - then Taehyung doesn’t know. He’s smug enough as it is. 

It’s Yoongi who finds him first the next day. 

Hoseok is out in the garden, a book discarded somewhere to his side and his shoes left by the porch. He’s sprawled out on the grass, one hand shielding half his face from the glare of the sun.

Yoongi peers over him, so quiet in his movements and steps that Hoseok almost bites off his own tongue when he opens his eyes to see Yoongi staring down at him. 

Christ,” Hoseok rasps out, propping himself up on his elbows. “Hello to you, too, asshole,”

“Don’t be dramatic,” Hoseok notices that while Yoongi isn’t wearing his usual hospital garb, he smells like it. Like isopropyl alcohol. “Now, scoot over,” 

“There’s literally a whole garden here, I don’t wanna move - “ but Hoseok moves, anyway, and allows Yoongi to share his little mat. Yoongi plops down beside him, legs stretched out, and his smile a little bit self-conscious. Unsure. 

“How are you?” Yoongi asks, and he doesn’t use his doctor voice, either, because Hoseok’s heard him on the phone with a patient the other day. An emergency call, he’d said, right before he’d excused himself from the table. Hoseok had heard a few words here and there, but mostly just the tone of Yoongi’s voice. “Hoseok,” 

“Fine,” It’s not exactly a lie, Hoseok thinks. It’s a half-truth, maybe, but definitely not a lie. He turns to lie back down, one hand raised, trying to block his face from the sun’s harsh light. “I’m okay, now,”

He catches the slightest change in Yoongi’s smile, how Yoongi eases himself on the ground beside him. 

“I’m sorry,” 

“For what?” 

Yoongi doesn’t humour him, not when it’s been a week since they’ve last talked. Not when he’d kissed Hoseok the second time and left him hanging, literally. 

“For not saying anything,” There’s still that smile on his face, odd yet completely at home, like it just belongs there, and it’s not even a wide smile, either. It’s the trace of a smile, the soft curving of his lips, and the slight tug at the corners of his mouth. Hoseok thinks this might be his favourite look on Yoongi, this smile, because there’s no pretences. No holds barred. Just - just Yoongi, falling into himself, and smiling. Smiling at the mess they’ve both created, and at Hoseok. 

Hoseok turns his head to the side to look at Yoongi, and almost catches himself off guard when he realises just how close they are. How Yoongi’s leaning into him, so fucking close Hoseok can count his lashes. Can trace over his cheekbones, if he wants.

But, he doesn’t reach out for him, instead, Hoseok smiles, soft. Tender. And nods his head. 

“What did it mean, Yoongi?” 

There are things in life that you can’t capture on photograph, certain events that are too priceless, there’s simply no time to pull up a camera and click, because Hoseok thinks he doesn’t want to see this in stills. Yoongi’s face brightening up, and his smile breaking through the grey clouds and haze that had settled around him, is something that can never be perfectly captured, not in film, not in a still. So, Hoseok takes it in, and holds his breath, because Yoongi is smiling again, and it’s the softest fucking smile Hoseok’s ever seen on his face.

Yoongi kisses him first, again, lips brushing over Hoseok’s, tentative, careful, until Hoseok breathes out, and it’s all the answer Yoongi needs.

It’s four in the afternoon and the sun’s slowly starting to set, but Yoongi and Hoseok are sprawled outside, in the garden, and Yoongi is kissing Hoseok, arm slung around his waist, and pulling him in, the kiss more a pressing of their lips than anything, because Hoseok’s smiling, and Yoongi’s smiling, and this is it. 

This is when they both start down the same, winding path, and walk down it together. Take the turns together. 

Yoongi pulls back, face flushed, and his eyes alight. He brushes his fingers down Hoseok’s cheek, and it’s a good view, this. Yoongi, on his side, and looking at him. Smelling like the hospital, dew, and the sun. 

“Something, anything.” Yoongi says, voice quiet and soft. As soft as the wind that blows across the garden, caressing Hoseok’s cheek as soft as Yoongi’s fingers feel. Calling his name, and singing him a soft tune. Whispering secrets into his ear, secrets that turn his heart soft, and his bones into gel. “Everything, maybe.”

“We used to do this a lot, before,” Yoongi muses, fingers smoothing through Hoseok’s fringe, and catching on the tips of his hair. 

Hoseok looks up at him, head pillowed on Yoongi’s arm, and snickers, “Yeah? I remember playing house, but never fake engagements,”

Yoongi smothers his laugh in Hoseok’s hair, and it’s warm, his breath against Hoseok’s forehead, his laughter shaking his shoulders. It’s beautiful, actually. “I mean, this, something real, now,” 

This being the both of them, out in the garden, and sprawled on a mat Hoseok had pulled out of his own mother’s hands. 

He blinks blearily up at the sun, more a soothing orange now, and murmurs, “This is real?” 

A pause, Yoongi’s eyes fluttering to a close, and his arm around Hoseok tightening, fingers digging gently through the thin cotton of his shirt. 

“I don’t know how a fake engagement is real, but sure, Hobi, whatever you want,” 

Hoseok thinks that maybe he should really, honest to goodness, revoke Yoongi’s access to that name. Just ban him from calling him that, because it does something to Hoseok’s stomach. It feels like - like needles stabbing into his gut, prickling and sharp. 

But at the same time, he kind of doesn’t really mind, because this is Yoongi, and Yoongi’s the only one who ever calls him that, and it’s fine, to be honest. It’s - it’s special, just the both of them, just that name. From Yoongi, to him. Maybe. Special, maybe. 

Hoseok curls against Yoongi’s side, his smile so fucking wide, and so impossible to push down, he just doesn’t try anymore. Let the man on the moon see. 

(And, Yoongi thinks that it’s just not the Great Wall of China that’s visible from the moon, especially not with Hoseok smiling like this, so fucking bright, wide, beaming. So fucking beautiful, like a work of art, the idiot.) 

With the sun setting over their heads and the nightly cicadas coming out to play, Hoseok and Yoongi have no other choice but to call it a day, but they don't get up until they really have to, when the wind starts to blow too cold, and the night descends upon them, quiet and subtle. 

Hoseok drags Yoongi up, the both of them staggering a little bit when Yoongi lurches forward and almost crashes into Hoseok. 

Yoongi laughs, surprised and honestly just a little bit relieved, is what he sounds like. He sounds in awe, too, still a little bit out of it, still plenty unbelieving. Like he can’t quite believe that this is happening, that through some weird twist of fate (or maybe just a kiss during that party that had meant too much to be nothing), things have worked out. Strange how things fall apart only to be brought back together to paint a better, more beautiful picture.

“Can I kiss you?” Hoseok asks him this time, because he wants the both of them to be sure about this and not just be swept up by the moment. Probably a foolish thing to ask, at their age, but there are things in life you just have to go at hand in hand, together. This is one of them.

“If you want,” Yoongi muses, raising an eyebrow at him, but he reaches for Hoseok’s hand, fingers circling around his wrist, and tugging him closer towards him. 

There’s a smile, and the soft twinkling of a song - a song played by the wind, and the stars, and everything else around them, because this is the song of the night, this is their song, tonight. 

“I want to,” Hoseok says, smiling. Gummy, and definitely not something he can push down, even if it’s breaking through his features, and lighting is whole face up. “I think I’d want to kiss you a lot, actually,”

A short laugh, and Yoongi’s hand soft and warm over his. Comforting and familiar. Hoseok’s ring, around Yoongi’s finger, pressing comforting and familiar on his skin. 

“Okay,”

Comforting and familiar, Yoongi pressed close to him, and their lips brushing, whispers of a kiss that could be more, but is only just starting. 

A quiet secret passed through the trees and the vines, of the inkling of something else, something special. 

This is the start of everything, Hoseok knows.

He’s got a feeling Yoongi knows, too, if his smile halfway into the kiss is anything to go by. 

In hindsight, Hoseok should have known that getting into a fake relationship is much easier than actually getting out of it. While he enjoys Yoongi’s company and finds the development in their little relationship rather pleasant and pleasurable, Hoseok is starting to think that keeping up charades won’t work for very long, or forever, because one way or another, their parents are going to expect a marriage. Or a dramatic fallout, which Hoseok isn’t inclined to do. Yoongi probably won’t be up for that, ever. He’d never really been one for the theatrics. 

Hoseok brings it up one day when they’re both in Yoongi’s car, Hoseok tapping absentmindedly against the window.

Yoongi passes him his cup of coffee and Hoseok takes it, his thanks coming in the form of a chaste kiss that he presses to the edge of Yoongi’s mouth. 

“Hobi,” The smile on Yoongi’s face is definitely something to be alarmed at, because it’s too sweet, to soft, like he’s up to something. Like he’s about to throw Hoseok off a cliff. 

His next words are proof of that. Like a truck running straight into him. Hoseok’s surprised he’d still managed to hold onto his cup of coffee. 

“You got us into this mess, you’re getting us out,” Yoongi gives Hoseok’s leg a light pat, his sweet, obviously fake and so fucking placating smile wiped off his face to be replaced with a little scowl.

“What do I tell them?” Hoseok groans, setting aside his coffee to lean forward in his seat and bury his face in his hands. “That we went about marriage in a different way? Oh, hey, mom, Yoongi hyung and I got it backwards, I proposed first, but we’ve only started dating, like, three days ago,” he gives Yoongi a sideways glance and isn’t at all pleased - not even in a vindictive way, at least - when all Yoongi can give him is another scowl followed by the most deadpan expression ever.

“You got us into this mess,” Yoongi repeats, but his voice is softer now, a little like he’s more sympathetic. But not helpful, still. He reaches for Hoseok from across the driver’s side, and brushes his fingers lightly on the back of Hoseok’s head. “You’re gonna have to get us out of it.”

Hoseok thinks that dropping the truth bomb like he’d dropped the engagement bomb won’t work. Things like that only work once, and Hoseok’s luck isn’t anywhere as special or something he can actually bank on, so that definitely won’t do. His parents know much better than to fall for the same fucking trick, twice.

Which makes it much harder for him to actually think of a way to set this whole thing on fire, because one: Hoseok likes Yoongi, as in, he likes him, and he wants them to work, whatever this is. It certainly won’t work with the both of them buried in all the lies Hoseok had managed to surround themselves in. Hoseok admits that this isn’t his greatest work, sure, but he’s also pretty sure that this isn’t his fuckiest of fuck ups, Kim Taehyung’s just exaggerating. 

“Let’s stage my death,” Hoseok says, halfway into traffic. “Just pretend I’ve died from a freak accident, fake-bury me, and then we run away,”

Yoongi doesn’t even bother him with a response, instead, he pulls over to the side, hits the hazard button, unlocks the doors, and then, rather pointedly, tells Hoseok to get out and just walk home. 

Going to Kim Taehyung for advice is probably the worst thing Hoseok has ever done. Or, second, anyway. Hoseok could have gone to Namjoon, but ever since the last advice the boy had given him, Hoseok’s just been a little bit more, well, cautious. Namjoon’s smart, there’s no lie to that, but Hoseok's got a feeling that he’s a little bit unhinged. Maybe crazy is too polite for him. Too much of a fuck up is what he is, which is saying something because Hoseok fucks up a lot (this fake engagement debacle a primary example). And there’s no getting through to Seokjin, either, not when he lives halfway across the city and too busy with his high rise buildings and six figure job. 

Some people, really. 

(And if the employees in Seokjin’s company ever found out the kind of mess their sterling, white knight of a boss had gotten himself into during a very fake, and very odd engagement party, then they’ll most probably be a riot, at least.)

“So, you mean to tell me,” Taehyung untangles himself from Jeongguk’s hold, giving the younger boy a quick peck on the cheek before completely abandoning him for Hoseok.

Taehyung plops down on the couch, the look on his face unreadable.

Hoseok turns to Jeongguk for help, but Jeongguk only flips through the next page of his book, ignoring him completely. 

“That you want to call off your very fake engagement so you can start a not-so-fake relationship?” Taehyung furrows his brows, and rubs his chin with his thumb, trying (and looking) to look like he’s deep in thought. “You would think people would start with the relationship first than the engagement,”

This, Hoseok thinks, is why Taehyung is his best friend. Sometimes, there’s nobody else who gets him as well as Taehyung does, and it's almost scary, the way they’re both always on the same level. Well, almost always, anyway. 

“That’s exactly what I said,” 

“And, what’d Yoongi hyung say?” 

“He pulled over - in the fucking highway - and told me to get out,” Hoseok shrugs his shoulders, rips through a new bag of chips, and plunges his hand right in. “You’d think he would help,”

Taehyung laughs, “Why don’t you just get married for real?”

If they were in a car and driving seventy five, near eighty, on the highway, then Hoseok would have hit that hazard button hard, pulled over, and demanded for Taehyung to get the fuck out and walk the rest of the way home, but since they’re not, and they’re only on the couch, Hoseok elects to throwing chips at Taehyung’s face.

“Are you out of your mind?”

Taehyung shrugs, completely unapologetic when he says, “Hey, that about solves all your problems. Not exactly lying, but, y’know, this is your mess. I’m just helping,” 

That’s true, but that still doesn’t make Hoseok feel any better, though, and maybe, just maybe, if he has more helpful friends, then perhaps this whole mess would have never happened, because Hoseok would have friends ready to stop him from making one of the most regrettable choices in his life (but then again, didn’t this one regrettable choice lead to Yoongi, and while he admits that he is in a bind right now, Hoseok thinks that it’s not too bad, really, this kind of ending, this development. Hoseok thinks that anything with Yoongi isn’t that bad, not really. Not at all.)

There is no way Hoseok is ever going back to Taehyung for advice, because that very night, with him and Yoongi sprawled on Yoongi’s bed (and that demon of a cat locked outside, because there’s no way Hoseok’s spending the rest of the night sniffling and dying.), Hoseok brings the idea up. Well, he doesn’t so much as bring it up as he does just throw it right into the ring of fire.

Yoongi startles beside him, hand around Hoseok tightening instinctively. From the shock.

“What?” 

Hoseok repeats himself, “Why don’t you wanna get married?” 

Yoongi repeats himself, too, “What?” 

“You don’t wanna marry me?” Hoseok runs his finger over the ring around Yoongi’s, smiling a little bit at the familiarity of it. “You have my ring and everything,”

Yoongi repeats himself a third time (and this time, with his face just a little bit more red, a little bit more flushed), “What?” 

Hoseok tucks his head into the crook of Yoongi’s neck and shoulder, and fashions himself to his side, arm slung around Yoongi’s middle lazily, and leg draped on top of Yoongi’s. Like he’s just clinging onto him.

This is nice, the both of them so close, like this. Nice, how Yoongi runs his hand absently on Hoseok’s back, under his shirt. With his fingers tickling down his spine, and his hand pressing warmly on the small of Hoseok’s back. Nice, how Yoongi’s lips brush soft kisses on Yoongi’s forehead. Nice, how Hoseok has access to Yoongi’s jaw, and the side of his neck, how he can just kiss him, leave a pretty little mark on that spotless, blemish-free skin. How nice, the both of them, together. Like this. 

“You want to spend the rest of your life with me?” Idle fantasy that Yoongi entertains. That he humours Hoseok with. 

It does its trick, though, because Hoseok’s cheeks start to grow unbearably hot, and thank god he’s already got most of his face hidden, because this isn’t a question he’d expected, definitely not from Yoongi. 

“You’re serious?” Hoseok asks, voice small. Quiet.

A pause. Yoongi’s heart picking up speed - Hoseok can feel it, with the both of them pressed together so close. 

“Fuck, Hoseok,” Yoongi murmurs, hand splaying on Hoseok’s back now. “I don’t know. I like you a lot, though. Nothing else can explain why I’ve literally set myself up for hell,” And Hoseok can feel it, fireworks. Like they’re actually bursting inside of him. Between the both of them. Setting them both aflame, but also sparkling, bright and beautiful.

“But you’re right, this should stop,” Yoongi quickly followers, an afterthought. When he starts to pull away from him, Yoongi stops him, arm around Hoseok tightening, keeping the both of them in place, still as close. Barely a breadth of air between them. “Not this - us, no, I like this. I still think you’re crazy, but I mean - the engagement. This needs to stop, because,”

Because what, Hoseok asks, sounding petulant. 

(He wants it to stop as much as Yoongi, but it’s hard, and Hoseok’s just about resigned himself to planning an actual wedding now, because there’s no way he’s getting out of this alive, not if his mom finds out the truth. If his grandmother realises that this has been a rouse all along. 

Hoseok has two choices - start planning the wedding. Or, he can start plans on his funeral arrangement. Get it all going while he’s still alive and able to choose which flowers he wants on top of his coffin, or which quote gets inscribed on his grave. Just logical, reasonable kind of thinking.)

“Because I like you,” Yoongi murmurs, his voice lower, and taking on a much softer tone. It wraps around Hoseok like silk and honey and stays inside of him, seeping into his skin and tucking itself into the corners of his bones. The rooms in his heart. “I like you, Hoseok,” 

“Do you like like me?” 

Definitely the wrong thing to say during the moment, but Hoseok can’t help it. His cheeks are flaming, burning up, and his smile is only sort of managed because he’s biting down on it, teeth gnawing on his lower lip and pushing away the impending grin (a grin that he knows will make him look like an idiot, too wide, too bright. Too fucking happy.)

“I forgot I was talking to a twelve year old,” Yoongi scratches down Hoseok’s back, and nudges Hoseok’s face back up, so that they’re both staring at each other now, eyes locked. And their smiles identical. Yoongi’s face is dusted a soft pink, while Hoseok - well, probably red as a tomato, but. Whatever. Yoongi’s always had a way with him. Around him, through him. Just - just Yoongi’s effect, is what it is. 

“You like a twelve year old,” Hoseok grins now, unable to hold it down. He’d managed to do it for a full four minutes, but that’s four minutes too long. He nudges their noses, and smiles at Yoongi. So wide and so bright, he probably looks like he’s crazy. (Most likely, but just sort of crazy). “But,” and here Hoseok drops his voice, the look in his eye shifting, just that little bit, to turn into something more tender. Something more genuine. 

Hoseok knows, because Yoongi is looking at him the same way, with an answer in his eyes and an endless number of questions on his lips, but it’s fine, the both of them. Like this. They’ll take things one at a time. 

“I like you too, hyung,” Hoseok finally says, a little shyly. A little too quiet that it’s unlike him, but when you’re being completely honest and totally bare to someone, you find that it’s hard to muster that kinda courage without stuttering. “Like like you, hyung.” 

“Clinically insane,” Yoongi says, but Hoseok can hear it, the playful teasing in his tone. Can see it glimmering in his eyes. 

When they kiss, Yoongi sighs right before he leans into the kiss, and Hoseok breathes in. 

Seokjin calls them all over his place for dinner one night. He invites Jimin, too, because Jimin sorta comes with Yoongi as a package, the same way Taehyung and Hoseok do. Or, did, because now Taehyung drags Jeongguk everywhere with him. They’re a cute couple, Hoseok thinks, they’ve lasted longer than he thought they would. Maybe they can salvage this whole situation by just throwing them the wedding. 

Before they climb up the steps to Seokjin’s apartment, Yoongi pulls Hoseok to the side, and Hoseok watches as Yoongi shimmies the ring off of his finger, watches as it slide right down his finger and into his open palm. This is the second time Yoongi’s offered him the ring back, and for the second time, Hoseok thinks that it’s fine if Yoongi keeps it. 

“You wanna know why I always wore that?” Hoseok plucks the ring from Yoongi’s palm, lifts it high up, and then examines it closely, smiling a little bit at it. In pure wonder and awe. “You remember, right? I used to wear this everywhere, everyday,” 

It’s a long story, one that Hoseok probably shouldn’t be telling when they’re both on Seokjin’s doorstep and stalling dinner. But, Hoseok tells it, anyway, because they’ve got time. Him and Yoongi, they’ve got a lot of time. Albeit, not exactly right now, but just in general. 

“It’s got sentimental value, see,” Hoseok begins, one hand gesturing to his side. Yoongi watches him intently the whole time, eyes locked with his as Hoseok explains. Explains how the ring has been passed down from generation to generation. How it had skipped Hoseok’s mother because she was a frigid bitch (alright, his actual words, yes, but he means it in a totally loving way, really). How, when he was nine and sick with the worse fever, his grandmother had come to his bedside, sang him to sleep, and ran her thin, soft fingers down his cheek. Tickling the side of his face, and combing through his hair. How Hoseok had grabbed at her hand in his sleep, delirious. He’d been so sick that night, had been rushed to the hospital just because his fever hadn’t come down for three days already. 

Sentimental value, Hoseok says again, looking at the ring. At the smooth, white gold band. At the small diamonds encrusted in its side, at the engraved scripture on the inside of the ring. He tells the story to Yoongi, who listens to him the whole time, mouth pulled at the corners in the slightest of smiles, and hand wrapped around his, their fingers tangling. 

It had been more of Hoseok’s choice than his grandmother’s, to give the ring to him far too soon. Hoseok had been nine, had burned through a terrible fever, and had only calmed down in his sleep when he’d gripped his grandmother’s hand. Comforting, familiar. 

It’s not the ring, per se, it’s more of the feeling it brings with it. Of having it around his neck, resting right in the middle of his chest, comforting and familiar. It’s Hoseok reaching for it when he’s thinking, pondering, or confused. Fingers clutching tight around the familiar band of gold when he’d been crouched in the corner of his room when he’d heard the news of his grandmother’s deteriorating health. It’s for all the times Hoseok had reached for the ring first, before anybody else.

But now - 

Now he takes Yoongi’s hand and slips the ring on his finger - he slips it on his middle finger, just because (and because Hoseok thinks having it around the ring finger would be, well, overwhelming. Small steps, they’d both decided) - and smiles at him. 

So when the world spins out of control and the very earth that he’s standing on shakes, throwing him off balance, Hoseok won’t reach for the ring that used to dangled around his neck. He’ll reach for Yoongi’s hand. Comforting and familiar, Yoongi’s skin pressed against his own. 

Hoseok realises now that it’s never really been the ring, but rather, the value he’d given it. Hoseok doesn’t know if things will last forever between them, but he does know that when he reaches for Yoongi’s hand this time, it’s because of the feeling. It’s because it’s Yoongi, and forever might be a strong word for the both of them, for now, so Hoseok will settle for always

Yoongi smooths the front of Hoseok’s shirt, and smiles at him. 

“Yeah?” Yoongi asks, folding his fingers on Hoseok’s shoulder. Eyes trained on the thin white gold band around his finger. 

Hoseok nods at him, a little bit shy, but a lot hopeful.

“We’re late for dinner,” Hoseok murmurs, taking another step closer. 

A window opens on Seokjin’s second floor, and Jeongguk pokes his head out to yell at them both to just hurry the fuck up because everyone else is fucking starving, good god. 

Yoongi mutters an insult under his breath and Hoseok just laughs, pulling Yoongi by the collar of his shirt to kiss him, lips brushing tentatively at first until Hoseok swipes his tongue on Yoongi’s bottom lip, and Yoongi opens his mouth, and it’s new territory for the both of them, but god damn, it’s a good kiss. So good, Hoseok ends up pushing Yoongi up against Seokjin’s front door, hands slipping under his coat to run along Yoongi’s side.

Yoongi’s kisses are fire licking a trail down the exposed skin of Hoseok’s neck, his hands around Hoseok tight and holding onto him, one leg sliding between Hoseok’s, and the breathiest of moans slipping out of his mouth when Hoseok sucks a bruising kiss just on the underside of Yoongi’s collarbone, marking it a light shade of blue. A blossoming purple. 

“Do you still wanna go - “ Yoongi manages to breathe out, one hand slipping into Hoseok’s hair, fingers threading. Yoongi chases after the kiss, leaning in closer to him, and dragging Hoseok forward, but Hoseok pulls away, his laughter breathy, and his lips kiss-swollen.

“I’m hungry, hyung,” Hoseok says, voice low. He sounds a little desperate - for Yoongi, for want. Because Hoseok suddenly wants him, his skin burning up at the thought of being with Yoongi, of having him close to him. But, their friends are waiting inside, or are probably sticking their heads out of the window just to see the both of them get it on outside Seokjin’s house (Hoseok’s starting to think that Seokjin might be in a corner, hands gripping either side of his head, and rocking back and forth, the mere idea of Hoseok and Yoongi defiling his doorstep too much. God bless him.). 

“Alright,” Yoongi sighs, an obvious play at being dejected. He smooths out Hoseok’s shirt again, warm fingers trailing down Hoseok’s side before he settles them on either side of Hoseok. “Later, then,” 

Hoseok swipes his fingers through Yoongi’s hair and beams down at him, “Sounds like a plan.” 

(Dinner ends when Hoseok explains to Seokjin and Namjoon that there’s not going to be any wedding, so they should both just cancel buying those expensive brand-name suits of theirs, because it’s going to be a waste of money. 

When Namjoon barks out why, Yoongi just shrugs his shoulders and states, rather calmly, too, that this is all Hoseok’s fault.

Seokjin’s only response to finding out the truth is to push aside his half-empty glass of wine, only to wrap his fingers around the actual bottle. He chugs a good amount of it straight from the bottle, sets it back down, and grabs for his knife. “Well, dinner’s wonderful, isn’t it?”

Jimin sort of gasps dramatically but Yoongi rolls his eyes and throws a small piece of bread at him. He admits, thirty seconds later, that he’d known all along. 

Taehyung and Jeongguk come out with that truth, too, which makes for a rather hilarious evening, with both Seokjin and Namjoon staring unseeingly into their bowl of tomato soup. 

This is step one, done and accomplished.

Now on to step two - actually coming clean to their respective families and surviving the whole ordeal.)

Sometime after dinner, when Seokjin had given up trying to outdrink Namjoon, and Jimin had stopped giggling, and Taehyung and Jeongguk had disappeared to do god knows what, Yoongi reaches for Hoseok’s hand, swipes his thumb gently over his knuckles, before he holds onto it. 

Hoseok watches as Yoongi’s eyes flicker from the ring around his finger, then to their joined hands, before finally rising up to meet Hoseok’s gaze. Hoseok can see a whole universe unfolding behind Yoongi’s eyes, and it’s infinite, that. 

And they might still be roped into this fake engagement business and buried in a fuckton of lies, but this - the warmth they share, and Yoongi’s gaze heavy with meaning, with the simple promise of more and maybe even always, Hoseok starts to feel grateful. 

A fake relationship doesn’t exactly mean fake feelings, does it?

Telling the truth is much harder this time around, especially when you’ve already spent a load of money on a very fake engagement party and set everybody else’s hopes and expectations sky high. So, Hoseok does the only logical thing that he can think of (Yoongi doesn’t approve of it, but then again, Yoongi did say that it was up to him to break them both out of this mess, so maybe what Yoongi thinks about this idea isn’t worth shit, because Yoongi’s off being the good doctor that he is and leaving Hoseok alone, again. Like, whatever, Hoseok can deal with this himself.). He writes a letter. A formal letter that he handwrites. Foregoing typing it up, Hoseok pulls a blank sheet of paper towards him and a pen he knows his mother will approve of. 

Three minutes into staring at the blank page, his sister pokes her head into his room, and saunters right in when she notices the obvious state of distress her poor, only brother is in. 

Jiwoo plops herself down on the edge of Hoseok’s bed, legs crossing as she leans forward, “So, how’s it going?” 

Hoseok is slightly hungover from dinner last night (and Yoongi had spent the rest of the ride home kissing down the side of his face, dragging his teeth down the edge of his jaw, and sucking a bruising kiss to his collarbone. He’d done all of that and left Hoseok hanging right in the driver’s seat, his smile wide as he’d waved from the window. Yoongi is still the biggest son of a bitch Hoseok knows - and had he known of that term when he was eight, Hoseok’s pretty sure he would’ve tacked it at the end of Yoongi’s name then, too.), his sister obviously baiting him really isn’t going to get her anywhere. 

Well, it does, actually. Because a hungover Hoseok is a blunt Hoseok. 

“I’m writing a formal letter to mom,” Hoseok says, raising the pen up to her face.

She blinks at him, a little dazedly, and a lot confused. “Come again?”

“Things have taken a weird turn with me and Yoongi hyung,” Hoseok explains, waving the pen in her face now. Jiwoo scowls at him, catches the pen mid-sway, and rips it out of his hand. “Hey, I need that. But, anyway, now I’m writing a letter to mom saying that the wedding’s off,” 

“That’s - that’s not a bad idea, Hoseok,” Jiwoo murmurs quietly, deep in thought. “I don’t mean writing a letter to mom - she’ll rip your head off. I mean calling the wedding off, that. But then again, you’d already spent a shit load of money on that god forsaken party, why not just get married?” Here, her smile turns mischievous, curling at the corners. Her eyes twinkle dangerously, and Hoseok knows that he’s about as caught in her trap as a mouse is when it stumbles unknowingly across a trap set out just for him. 

“Because, noona,” And the word itself drips with sarcasm. They’ve always had a strange sibling relationship, the both of them. Strange as in, it’s a strange day in hell when they both live through a day without cursing the other down. Strange, like today, with Jiwoo just sitting calmly on his bed and actually offering him advice. Strange, like how Hoseok actually looks up to her. Actually, really admires his older sister. He’ll never admit it out loud, though, she’s a pain in the ass as is already. “Because,” Hoseok’s got at least a dozen arguments against that, but as it is, he’s tired and sleepy, and just about exhausted himself mentally trying to construct the opening sentence to his formal letter (a very stupid idea, but, like, whatever.) 

Jiwoo just shrugs her shoulders and passes him the pen back, “‘Dear mom, I’m sorry but I fucked up again,’ is probably the wrong way to start that letter,” She peers over Hoseok’s shoulder, squinting down at the first few words he’d managed to scribble. “Why don’t you just go at it like a normal adult, Hoseok?” 

Hoseok turns around, looks her dead in the eye, and says, “A letter gives me time to run, if I had an actual conversation with her, she’d kill me on sight. This is merely self preservation,” 

“You could offer Yoongi as sacrifice,” Jiwoo suggests, snickering into the back of her hand. “Mom loves him, she’ll probably go soft on him,”

“I like Yoongi alive,” is all Hoseok says, turning away from her before she catches the colouring of his cheeks, the heat rising.

Jiwoo notices, of course, and she laughs, this time much louder, less like she’s being mean about it and more like she’s genuinely amused. Happy, too. For him. “You like Yoongi?” 

It feels like they’re both children, having this type of relationship. Feels like they’d both shrugged out of the robes of adulthood to slip back into their younger selves, playful and more - well, honest. With each other, with themselves. 

“Yeah, I kind of do,” Hoseok turns the pen in between his fingers, watching it intently, and actively ignoring his sister’s stare, suddenly heavy and too serious. “I wanna do it right, the second time around,” 

Doing it right probably doesn’t mean writing a formal letter, per se, but Hoseok knows his intentions are pure, genuine. Jiwoo knows, too, if her smile suddenly shifting from mischievous and turning into a soft curving of her lips is anything to go by. 

“He still has grandma’s ring?” Jiwoo pauses, one hand around the doorknob.

Hoseok laughs the kind of laugh that leaves him breathless. The kind of laugh that punches you in the gut with realisation, sharp and clear as can be. The kind of laugh that just catches you off guard, because you’d never thought you’d ever laugh like this - laugh this kind of laugh. 

“He can keep it.” Hoseok finally says, smiling. 

Jiwoo’s eyes curve into half-crescents, her laughter a mix between amused and caught off guard, too. She laughs just like Hoseok, albeit a little bit lighter, pitch a few octaves higher. They’re one and the same, after all. She slips out of his room with a final cheer of good luck, don’t get yourself killed and Hoseok turns back to the first few scribbles he’s managed to write down, and thinks that if he’s going to do this, he might as well go all out. His mother’s expected far less of him, anyway (and Hoseok might be the black sheep of the family, but that doesn’t mean he’s allowed to slack.).

In the end, Hoseok’s parents get the letter through the mail. As in, a mailman got off his little mail truck, walked to their mailbox, and slipped the letter inside. Simply put, Hoseok’s idiot of a best friend had taken the letter Hoseok had written jokingly, he wants to emphasise, slapped postage on it, and then dropped it off to be sent in. Hoseok wants to reiterate now that he hasn’t got a friend named Kim Taehyung, because Kim Taehyung is dead to him, and anybody who says otherwise will be dead to Hoseok, too.

Yoongi makes the mistake of bringing up Taehyung when Hoseok hammers on his door, eyes wide, and the words spilling out of his mouth even before Yoongi can so much as lift his eyes to Hoseok’s, or smile at him.

“What’d Taehyung do?” Yoongi asks, pulling Hoseok inside, warm hand wrapping around his arm and tugging him towards him. 

Hoseok welcomes the warmth of Yoongi’s own home - knows that this is temporary, Yoongi staying in their old neighbourhood. But, there’s a certain air of familiarity that this old house brings with it, whenever Hoseok steps inside. It feels - it feels like home, simply put, especially now, with Yoongi smiling at him. He looks tired, hair a little bit messy, and the circles under his eyes dark. Like he hasn’t slept in two days. Hoseok, realising how much of a bad idea it had been to wake Yoongi up (because, now he remembers. Yoongi had stayed up two days to catch up on work. Remembers that today is supposed to be Yoongi’s free pass on life, on the entire day, basically. To just sleep and not be disturbed by the annoying kid who lives across the street from him.). 

“I can talk about Taehyung being completely dead to me later,” Hoseok digs his heel into the soft carpet, stopping Yoongi from pulling him further into the house. “You need sleep, hyung,”

Yoongi’s eyes droop sleepily, his smile lazy. He looks completely calm like this - albeit, a bit dazed and out of it. Hoseok had just roused him rudely from his sleep. 

“Nah,” Yoongi pulls Hoseok towards him, fingers curling under his chin to tilt his head up. Yoongi presses a kiss to the edge of his mouth, his chuckle low and slow when it escapes from his lips - stained a slight orange and - and sweet (for a doctor, Yoongi really isn’t into the healthy way of living.). “Now that you’re here,”

Yoongi makes good work of distracting Hoseok from raging about his so called best friend. Makes good work on pulling Hoseok in, one arm wrapping around him, soft, warm lips pressing feather light kisses on his neck. 

“We can sleep,” Hoseok blurts out, one hand slipping under Yoongi’s shirt to settle on his hip. “As in, just sleep,” 

Hoseok suspects that if Yoongi were more awake, he would’ve rolled his eyes. But like this, half asleep and half being a walking, talking zombie, Yoongi just smiles at him, the invitation clearly well received. He doesn’t drop his hold around Hoseok, but his hand does slide down from Hoseok’s arm to hold onto his hand, warm fingers slipping into the spaces between Hoseok’s. 

Together, they make their way into Yoongi’s old bedroom (“Hyung, you need a bigger place,” Hoseok murmurs, under his breath.

Yoongi looks over his shoulder and mutters something like, “I’m getting to that, so shut up,”). 

Hoseok watches as Yoongi clambers on top of the bed, movement slow, languid, like he’s got the entire day to waste just sleeping. He deserves it, Hoseok thinks. Yoongi slides back under the covers, but not before he pats the empty space beside him. 

“Are you sure?” Hoseok teeters on the edge of possibility, knows that sharing a bed could mean so much more, but. But there’s no turning back, not when Yoongi looks so inviting like this, blonde hair fanning all around him, like a halo of bright light just shining on him, like this. 

With little to no hesitation at all, Hoseok grins, easily sliding under the covers beside Yoongi, who latches onto him the second he’s on the bed, arm slinging across his waist, and his ankle hooking over Hoseok’s.

Together, like this, and so close, Hoseok can’t think of anything else but Yoongi. 

He runs his fingers lightly through Yoongi’s hair, watching as sleep slowly overtakes Yoongi, his eyes fluttering slowly to a close, and the curving of his mouth more a ghost of his previous smile, but, nevertheless, Yoongi looks at home, like this. 

“Stay,” Yoongi murmurs, lips brushing against Hoseok’s ear, his breath tickling down the side of Hoseok’s face. “Okay?”

Hoseok turns in the circle of Yoongi’s arms, fits himself right against Yoongi, the both of them like two puzzle pieces finally coming together. It’s a thrill, having Yoongi this close. It’s a thrill, Hoseok now knows, just having Yoongi. Just being with him. 

“Okay.” Hoseok isn’t sure if Yoongi hears him - judging by his slow, even breathing, Hoseok suspects that he’s slipped into sleep already, gone for the moment - but it doesn’t matter. It’s a simple thing, staying - and Hoseok might have never thought himself the type to settle down, to get married (for real this time, not just some fake engagement heist he’d planned off the top of his head), but with Yoongi, Hoseok thinks that it’s not so bad. 

Taehyung might be dead to him (for now, at least), and Hoseok might have been buzzing with energy up until he’d knocked on Yoongi’s door, but in bed with Yoongi, warm and cosy, at home, Hoseok’s heart starts to slow down, his mind finally easing up. 

Hoseok feels it then, actual realisation, hitting him like - like snowfall on a surprisingly lazy Sunday. It doesn’t come like a freight train, and it’s not waves engulfing him, either, suffocating him with the feeling of more, of always. Rather, it’s just - it’s just a pleasant surprise. The knowledge of what this is, of what he feels for Yoongi - it comes naturally. It feels - it feels comforting. Familiar.

With the sound of Yoongi’s even breathing right under his ear, and the warmth that wraps around them both, Hoseok starts to fall asleep. 

It’s not love, not exactly. Not yet. But it’s almost - almost like love, almost like always, and also - like home. Hoseok realises it now because - because Yoongi feels like home. 

(Yoongi wakes before Hoseok, and only so he could grope Hoseok in search of the annoying, screeching phone. Yoongi picks it up, tells Taehyung to shut up and fix the mess he’d created, and then hangs up (effectively blocking off Taehyung’s whine of sorry and I won’t do it again, hyung. Fat chance, like a second opportunity’s ever gonna present itself for Taehyung to grasp at.)

If Hoseok wasn’t still panicking about it (and Yoongi knows, can tell by the confused little furrow of Hoseok’s eyebrows - that he smooths out with a finger running down gently Hoseok’s cheek, easing the look of unease on his face), then they would both be having a good laugh about it now. 

Looking at Hoseok, Yoongi smiles, just a little bit, and yawns. He slips back into sleep, but not before he burrows himself close to Hoseok’s side, head tucked into the crook between Hoseok’s neck and shoulder. Yoongi doesn’t have to be up until eight tomorrow morning, and if his so-called ex-mother-in-law is still raving by the morning, then they’ll both have to deal with it over lunch. Or brunch, whichever. So for now, Yoongi sleeps. He sleeps with the knowledge that this is over, finally, and also - that this, whatever wonderful, beautiful, and to be frankly honest, fucking weird thing he has with Hoseok, finally has a chance to start. And this time, it’s for real.)

To say that the lunch with Hoseok’s parents was an awkward, terrible affair would be an awkward, terrible understatement. It had been a complete disaster. A disaster from the start, anyway. It had ended civilly enough - she’d given Hoseok her most simpering glare, shifter her gaze to Yoongi, and smiled. 

Hoseok’s honestly never been more insulted than he had been at that moment.

“I can’t believe her,” Hoseok murmurs, looking at the e-mail his mother had just sent him. “Can you believe this? She e-mailed me an itemised bill - from the engagement party,” Hoseok shows his phone to Yoongi, who squints at it, and shrugs his shoulders. “No, no, no, she’s serious,”

“Just pay it off,” Yoongi says it like Hoseok’s earning six figures, like Hoseok’s got a job as good as Yoongi’s. 

“I have a trust fund, hyung. If I take the money out of there, then she’ll probably double it, knowing her,” Hoseok slips the phone back into his pocket and leans against Yoongi, their hands linked between them. It’s a terribly childish thing to do, whining, but Hoseok can’t help it. 

Aside from his mother’s outburst, brunch had been fine, really. 

(“So, you mean to tell me - that this, this - “ She gestures to the both of them, sat side by side. Eyes the glimmering ring around Yoongi’s finger. “Is fake?” 

Hoseok’s fork clatters against the side of his plate as he hurries to try and appease the whole situation, smooth it over, somewhat, because he knows he’s about to get disinherited, so he might as well just explain himself, here and now. 

“No,” It’s Yoongi who says it, voice clear and rising above the small chatter around them, from everybody else. “I mean, the engagement, yeah,” and she must trust Yoongi more, probably likes him more than Hoseok (Hoseok’s not surprised at all, to be honest. His mother likes everybody more than her own son. She acts like she isn’t too fond of Taehyung, but Hoseok knows she is, even if she does call him that weird little boy.) because she’s paying close attention to him, her frown still distinct on her face. At least she’s not threatening to stab Hoseok with a bread knife. 

“That had been Hoseok’s idea,” Hoseok chokes on water, eyes narrowing as he turns around to look at Yoongi, clear accusation and the look of pure and utter betrayal on his face. “Just thought you wanted to know,” 

They both watch as she wraps thin fingers around the stem of her wine glass. Watch as she brings it to her lips. Watch as she drinks the entire contents of it in one swing. 

“Of course,” She sighs, almost like she’d expected it - most definitely like she had, because Hoseok’s her son, and he’s done much, much worst. “Of course it had been.”)

“Your mom’s nice, she took it well enough, I think,” Yoongi muses, tugging Hoseok away from an oncoming woman, all important looking with her pants suit and leather bag. Hoseok stumbles a little bit, shoe catching on a crave in the pavement, but Yoongi catches him, steadies him right back up and winds his arm around Hoseok’s waist, hand splaying on his hip. 

“She’s billing me, hyung,” Hoseok can feel Yoongi laughing from beside him, his shoulders shaking lightly. “She’s terrible,”

“It’s going to be fine,” Yoongi murmurs, practically dragging Hoseok beside him, the both of them trying to keep up with the foot traffic. Either they walked the same pace as everyone else or get trampled on this city sidewalk. “It’s fine, Hobi,” 

Yoongi pats his hip consolingly and presses a kiss to Hoseok’s temple, feather light and soft. Hoseok kind of just wants to pull Yoongi to a shady street alley and kiss him breathless. But instead, he stops walking, abruptly stopping Yoongi, too, who looks at him with a raised eyebrow, a question dying on the tip of his tongue when Hoseok pulls him in for a kiss, hands locking behind Yoongi’s neck, and the tips of his fingers grazing the soft ends of Yoongi’s hair, feeling Yoongi’s skin, slowly burning. 

Like how a spark can start a whole fire. Like how a single droplet of water is needed to make even the most shallow of puddles. Like how the sun sets every time the moon rises. Or how the moon finally, finally goes to bed when the sun comes back out to reclaim its spot. Or how, even if the sun has moons on every planet, he still thinks fondly of the moon the Earth has. 

Everything and anything that’s possible to feel  in this one single moment gushes out of Hoseok as he kisses Yoongi, slow and sweet. Some people whistle at them as they pass by, while a few more suggest they get a room. Most of them just ignore them, which is fine with Hoseok, really, because the only person he’s ever interested in is Yoongi, so it doesn’t matter if his mother’s crazy, if she’s billing him a few thousand dollars for the weirdest, strangest fake engagement party’s ever thrown, because Hoseok has Yoongi, who kisses him back, just as fiercely, hands coming up to frame Hoseok’s face. 

When you’ve got a fire inside of you - fucking fireworks exploding between the two of you - then a puny little sparkler really won’t have much bearing. And Hoseok’s never felt this much for anybody, certainly not so much that it’s capable of staring fires - and putting them out, too, because Yoongi’s got a soft smile, the kind of smile that has Hoseok smiling just a little bit brighter, because he knows that Yoongi means it, every single time. Knows that it’s a smile that reaches his eyes because how could it not, really - life’s hilarious enough as it is, there’s no reason not to laugh at it. 

Yoongi thumbs gently on Hoseok’s cheek, his hold on Hoseok warm. Comforting and familiar. Hoseok can feel the cold ring around Yoongi’s finger as he cups Hoseok’s cheek with his palm. It’s comforting and familiar. Like Yoongi. 

Like almost. 

Like home. 

“It’s fine?” Hoseok asks, smiling halfway into the kiss. He knocks their foreheads together and smiles down at Yoongi. Beams at him, because life isn’t funny. It’s fucking hilarious, and for some strange reason, Hoseok fucking up had led to this - to the both of them, here. Together. 

Hoseok hears Yoongi sigh right before he leans back in to kiss him, and Hoseok’s never tasted happiness - not literally, anyway. Until - until Yoongi kisses him a second time around and smiles halfway into it, and - this Hoseok swears - it tastes exactly like what happy tastes like. 

“We’re more than fine,” Yoongi laughs, a little breathless, and Hoseok holds his breath, forgets that he’s actually supposed to breathe, and it’s amazing, how Yoongi can take his breath away. How the boy who used to boss him around could make him feel this way, now. But - but it’s not surprising, Yoongi’s always had a strange effect with Hoseok. 

Yoongi’s always felt like home, ever since then, so many years back. 

Looking at Yoongi now, hair a little disheveled, and eyes actually shining, twinkling, Hoseok thinks that there’s really nowhere else he’d rather be than here, right now. With Yoongi. On this precept of fine. 

Of more than fine. 

Of almost. 

Of always. 

Of home. 

It’s when they’re lingering at the hospital parking lot that Hoseok brings it up. He halts Yoongi’s steps, tugs on his arm, and with the tone of somebody asking of a loved one who’d passed just recently, he asks, “So, what are we?” 

Yoongi blinks at him. Opens his mouth, tries to form words, and then shuts it when he finds himself at a complete loss. He looks at Hoseok’s hand, grasping at his arm lightly, and at Hoseok’s face - serious if not for the twinkle in his eye that Yoongi recognises as mischief. 

“Are we really having this conversation?” Yoongi sighs out, though Hoseok does note that he doesn’t sound annoyed. The complete opposite, too. The corners of his mouth twitch into a smile, a smile Hoseok knows he’s trying to push down. 

Yoongi plays along, just like how he’d jumped into an ocean of sharks the first time he’d agreed to the proposition. 

“You just broke our fake engagement off,” Hoseok isn’t as good as Yoongi when it comes to holding in his grin. What he’s good at, though, is riling Yoongi up, and it’s fun, Hoseok thinks, to watch Yoongi get a little bit flustered when Hoseok grabs at his hand, dramatic as he can be at one in the afternoon, in a near empty parking lot.

Hoseok breaks character as he laughs, too loud for a hospital parking lot. Too loud for this time in the afternoon, because Hoseok sounds like he’s drunk. That, or he’s finally coming down from a long and drawn out hangover. The whole ordeal almost feels like a joke - hilarious, weird as fuck, but also - fun. 

“Yeah, ‘course I am,” Hoseok grins at Yoongi, deft fingers subtly working the ring off of Yoongi’s finger. “I had to just so I can ask you out on a real date,” 

And Hoseok sees it, the look of realisation flashing in Yoongi’s eyes right before it’s replaced with shock and just the slightest bit of fear when Hoseok gets down on one knee, grin as wide as possible, and eyes squinted a little bit, the glare of the sun shining harshly on his face.

“You can’t be serious,” Yoongi hisses out. “You’re doing it again?”

“Hyung, will you - “ 

Yoongi cuts him off before he can even finish, “Don’t fucking say it,”

But Hoseok doesn’t let it deter him (and Yoongi looking like he’s just about as ready to kiss Hoseok breathless as he is to kill him is hardly a road block), and cuts him off, quickly finishing with a beam and his words ringing loud and clear, “ - go out on a date with me?”

Yoongi groans, tries to get Hoseok to come back up, but fails when all Hoseok does is shrug his shoulders and gesture to the ring he’s got raised in one hand, almost like a peace offering.

“Hobi - Hoseok,” Yoongi brings a hand up to his mouth, and for a second, Hoseok thinks that Yoongi might just cry. Or vomit. But instead, Yoongi bursts out laughing, loud and totally not appropriate for a doctor to sound like when there are ambulances blearing and pulling up just a few dozen feet behind them. 

There might not be a crowd this time (save the poor guy the paramedics are wheeling on the stretcher), and the only music Hoseok’s managed to get for this moment the wailing siren of the ambulance, but Hoseok thinks that he’d rather not have it any other way. Besides, Yoongi’s laughter is music to his ears (he just has to drown out the siren, because now that Hoseok thinks about it, kind of ruins the mood.).

“Hyung, come on, my leg is cramping up,” Hoseok actually prods Yoongi’s waist with the ring, Yoongi too far gone in his own burst of laughter that he forgets about the place. About the hospital and the countless patients coming in for an evaluation. Forgets everything for a second, because time doesn’t stop, not exactly, but because Hoseok, for some inexplicable reason, has made it possible to colour everything in with orange and yellow - bright colours that make up Yoongi’s laughter; it’s warm.

Yoongi pulls Hoseok back up on his feet, takes the ring, and slips it back onto his finger - the middle finger again, that he raises up to Hoseok’s face. The blush on Yoongi’s face is endearing, and it’s a good look on him, flustered. A very good look. 

“Great, glad to finally make it official,” Hoseok laughs with Yoongi this time, their laughter mixing to create a harmony that sounds like - sounds exactly like what home would sound like, when you walk through the front door and into the living room to find the one person you’d spend the rest of your life with. Hoseok doesn’t know if Yoongi is that person, because who knows about the future, really. But what he knows now is that Yoongi, no matter what, no matter when - from ten years past, today, or ten years farther down the road - will always feel like home. 

It’s a feeling that wraps around Hoseok, it’s comforting, it’s familiar. 

“Now that we’re “official”,” Yoongi doesn’t use air quotes but he sure sounds like it when he drops the word, though the smile on his face is anything but snarky. It brightens up his face and lights up his eyes. That’s a good look on Yoongi, too, happy. “What do we do?”

Hoseok leans in close, nudges their noses playfully, and smiles against his cheek when he feels Yoongi’s hand come around his neck. Feels the ring graze across the skin on the back of his neck. 

“We’ve got time, don’t you think?” Hoseok murmurs, smile more relaxed now. Calmer. Because they’ve got time. 

Time, they’ll always have. Like how this, between them, will always feel like home. 

Yoongi buries his face against the side of Hoseok’s neck, presses his smile against his skin, and, very softly, whispers, “I guess we do.” 

Hoseok doesn’t doubt it for a second, not when Yoongi wears the ring Hoseok’s clung to for so long like it’s his own. Not when Yoongi radiates the exact same feeling Hoseok’s ever felt whenever he’d felt the cold ring settle against his skin. 

Comforting and familiar.