Hoseok gave them a final wave before disappearing through the door to the cafe. Yoongi sank further into his chair and sighed. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, Namjoon raised a hand.
Gaping, Yoongi muttered, "I didn't even say anything."
Namjoon took another long drink from his coffee. "You were about to start talking about Hoseok again, and I don't want to deal with it tonight."
Yoongi scoffed at the notion, mildly offended because that was exactly what he'd been about to do. "You act like I do that every night."
His friend didn't miss a beat. "You do."
Now Yoongi was slamming his plastic cup on the table. A waitress who'd been passing by paused and regarded them both for all of three seconds before she hurried off. Visibly sleep deprived teenage boys were obviously not what she wanted to deal with tonight, either. Yoongi sat back and tried to ask least look collected. "There's no way I talk about him that much."
Unfortunately Namjoon was actually calm, not faking it like Yoongi. He set down his now empty cup and folded his hands on the table. "Let me give you a run-down of our usual conversations. After practice you, Hoseok and myself come to this cafe and get coffee until Hoseok eventually tires out first and goes home. As soon as his ass is out the door, you start in on everything Hoseok did throughout the course of practice that either annoyed you, surprised you, pissed you off, or, as you like to put it, 'just seemed weird to you.' Two hours later I actually get to go home. See my problem?"
Yoongi's mouth hung open as he groped for words. Okay, sure, he knew he complained about Hoseok a little. Hoseok was new, still adjusting, and Yoongi wasn't so great at the whole patience thing that came with being a good hyung. Plus Yoongi had unshakable standards. Even Namjoon hadn't met them at first, but it'd worked out eventually. It would with Hoseok, too, maybe. Hopefully.
"But you see my point, right?" he replied, a little whinier than intended.
"No, I really don't."
Yoongi sighed and leaned back against his chair. With his hands shoved into the front pocket of his sweatshirt, he couldn't help but notice he was pouting. "He's just... different, you know?" Licking his lips, he groaned and tried to find the right words, but just when he really needed to explain himself, even he was having trouble finding what it was exactly that bothered him so much about their friend. "His smile. It's his smile."
Namjoon raised an eyebrow. "You have a problem with the guys smile." The fact that it wasn't a question proved Namjoon didn't doubt it for a second.
"Rappers don't smile so much," he countered.
"We aren't some alternate species," Namjoon retorted and shook his head. "I smile plenty. You smile even more. Face it: the only problem you have with Hoseok is that he's cute."
Yoongi blinked. "I have no problem punching you in front of everyone here."
In truth, there were only a scattered few people still in the cafe, four if you included the waitress who looked ready to nap behind the counter. Still, Yoongi had every intention of following through on the threat if Namjoon didn't take back his blasphemy.
If the way Namjoon laughed and shook his head were any indication, he didn't find Yoongi nearly so threatening. "Relax. Hoseok is cute, man. It's, like, his personality or something." He shrugged and scratched his cheek. "He likes to lighten the mood. His faces, that weird dance... thing he does when he's excited. It's cute. It has nothing to do with the music, so it shouldn't matter."
The sidelong stare Yoongi was giving his friend made it clear he wasn't so sure.
Giving another shrug, Namjoon yawned. "Don't act like you don't know, and don't act like other rappers don't do the same damn thing. Plenty of people act cute. Hell, you do it, too." As Yoongi's mouth opened, Namjoon silenced him with a glare. "Bullshit. Whenever there are fans waiting outside the building you ham it up same as all of us. It's a part of the business for us, but for Hoseok it's a part of who he is. He's a natural. It'll work well for him- and us- when we debut." A smirk pulled at the corners of Namjoon's mouth. "And he's a lot better at it than you."
Yoongi huffed. "You saying I'm not cute?"
"You are the furthest from cute."
For a few moments, Yoongi was silent, rather stunned.
Namjoon's eyebrows shot up. "What's wrong now?"
A small smile spread across his face. The clock above the counter read quarter after two and both of them rose and gathered their things. "I think I'm actually offended," he joked and punched Namjoon in the shoulder before exiting the cafe first.
Namjoon was right about one thing; whatever Yoongi's problem with Hoseok was, whether it was him being 'cute' or not, it had nothing to do with the music. As time progressed Yoongi grew more and more impressed with Hoseok's talent, a fact which he kept well hidden because another thing Yoongi had problems with was modesty. Not only was Hoseok better at dancing than Namjoon and Yoongi combined, but he proved a perfect third part of their whole in writing new lyrics. Soon they were all staying in that cafe until the wee hours of the morning, and Yoongi got used to Hoseok's smiles.
Hoseok balanced them. He could find humor in anything and keep things from getting tense even as Namjoon and Yoongi were getting ready to go at each other's throats. It was usually Yoongi who flared first, and Hoseok had a knack for find just the right gag to distract him. Yoongi found himself smiling more during practice and going home less frustrated.
All the while he told himself that it had nothing to do with anyone being cute.
At times like these, the practice room floor was Yoongi's version of heaven. The polished wood was smooth and cool against his face. The air conditioning was kept wonderfully chilly. When their practice came to a halt, Yoongi sank and sprawled on the spot. Around him a few others did the same, while a few stumbled off to sit up against the mirror walls. Everyone was silent and someone passed around water bottles. Something cold and wet hit Yoongi's arm and he groped for his bottle with eyes closed.
If they'd believed they were ready for the pressures of promotion after all those years of training, they'd been horribly wrong. Every performance brought on a whole new level of stress, which led to levels of exhaustion Yoongi couldn't even put into words. He hit the bed harder every night; woke up more and more worn out every day.
Yoongi was vaguely aware of someone rolling over to him- by the awkward silence, he assumed Taehyung, the master of imperfect timing. When he cracked an eye open and found Hoseok spread eagle beside him, it was a relief. He sighed and elbowed his friend's side. "You messed up today."
He expected Hoseok to grumble or retort, though maybe that would have been more appropriate with Namjoon or Jimin. Instead Hoseok was silent, staring up at the ceiling. His chest rose in rhythmic, easy breaths. Yoongi felt a pang of guilt and he rolled over onto his side, poking Hoseok's cheek.
"'Yo, relax. I was kidding."
His reward was the tiniest hint of a smile. Hoseok's eyes gave Yoongi a brief glance before returning to the ceiling. "I did mess up, hyung."
The others were starting to get a bit noisier, too. Jimin was already eyeing his two hyungs on the floor with devilish intent. "Then do better next time," he replied, and then added, much more quietly, "You get better every time we go on stage, you know."
For a second, Hoseok stared like he didn't understand, and then a wide, toothy grin broke out onto his face. Ten seconds later Jimin was plowing into them both, crushing Hoseok's side in his landing and reaching for Yoongi's legs.
Even hours later, deep into the night when he was surrounded by darkness and the sounds of the others sleeping, Yoongi remembered that smile, and he realized that maybe he wasn't as used to it as he thought.