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Futile Devices

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Jin stared at himself in the studio mirrors with dread. Dance practice had never been his favorite part of training, but they didn’t make him do it very often and he could always laugh it off and tell himself it didn’t matter. If he ever debuted at all, he would debut as an actor. So his painfully obvious lack of dancing talent was just a running joke with the trainees, not a real problem .

But something had changed. They filmed the video with Jo Kwon and afterwards Bang PD had sat in the editing room for days, slowly combing through the footage. Sometimes Namjoon had been summoned in to speak with him. And when he finally came out again, he declared that Jin and Taehyung should be trained as idols, not actors. Suddenly, Jin was in consideration to join the hip-pop group along with the other trainees and that meant he had to learn to dance for real.

Which was how he found himself in the deserted studio on a Sunday night, about to have an emergency dance tutoring session with Hoseok.

“I saw some of the dailies from the MV,” Hoseok said as they warmed up with stretches. “The storyline was a little…”

Jin waited for him to finish his thought, but Hoseok just trailed off and squished his face in confusion. Chuckling, Jin widened his eyes and gestured emphatically. “What do you mean? That video was poetry! The scene with the dove? Yaaaaaah, I could cry just thinking about it!”

“Stop, hyung.”

“And the moment when Yoongi triumphantly tossed aside his crutches and walked again, magically restored by the power of Jo Kwon’s music?”

“Oh my God, hyung,” Hoseok laughed, his toothy grin forming the shape of a heart. “Really. Stop. I don’t want to remember it.”

“Hoseok-ah, Yoongi took off his cast and threw it away . He was healed instantly. How can you not be inspired by such a story?”

The younger man pressed his lips together to suppress his smile and grabbed Jin by the arm, dragging him to the center of the room. “Okay, maybe you’re right. It was very beautiful and deeply inspiring. So we’re going to dance to Jo Kwon’s music now and maybe it will miraculously heal your dancing skills.”

“I don’t think it’s going to happen, Seok-ah.”

“It’s okay, hyung,” Hoseok said, smacking Jin’s back. “We all struggle sometimes. It just means we have to try harder. Even our amazing Jungkookie needs some extra work.”

This was another one of Bang PD’s decisions after the video shoot. Jungkook would be sent to Los Angeles for special dance lessons. The kid was adorably stoked about it. Jin was excited for him, but he had some reservations. Jungkook was still in middle school, he’d never been overseas before, and he barely knew any English phrases…

“I still don’t understand why they’re shipping him off like this.”

“It’s only for a few weeks,” Hoseok put a hand on his shoulder. “They want him to work on feeling the music. The way he dances now looks like he’s doing Taekwondo.”

“What does that mean?”

“You know. Like…” Hoseok made a blank face and danced with sharp, efficient movements, adding in sound effects for every step, “Ba! Ba! Ba-ba-ba!”

As ridiculous as Hoseok’s dancing was, Jin had to admit that it was a pretty good impression of Jungkook. Still, he felt compelled to defend the maknae. “Well he’s a black belt in Taekwondo, so that makes sense. He’s very focused. Besides, if Jungkook’s dancing needs help, then why aren’t they sending me to America too? He’s at least twenty times better at dancing than I am. I should be going with him.”

“You’re really going to miss him, aren’t you?” Hoseok grinned, hugging the older man around his shoulders. “The lessons aren’t because he’s not good. Jungkookie is very special. They want to polish his skills so he can shine even brighter. They’re probably going to make him the center of the group.”

Jin looked at Hoseok with a blank face. “So you’re saying that my dancing is so terrible that they don’t even think I’m worth real lessons? They just stuck me here to be tortured by some trainee for free?”

Still holding onto Jin’s shoulders, Hoseok’s smile wilted into a peaked little frown and the light faded from his eyes. He knew Jin was messing with him, right? Before Jin had a chance to say he was just kidding, Hoseok’s fingers dug into him like talons as he turned Jin to face the mirror.

“Okay, you think you’re ready for fancy American dance lessons, hyung? Show me.”

“Do you mean like… freestyling?” Jin was terrified. He knew it was a mistake to joke with Hoseok about dancing. Hoseok was a jolly, warm-hearted person, and Jin loved him to pieces. But Hoseok was also incredibly passionate about his work, every bit as obsessed and driven as Namjoon and Yoongi.

“You must have seen us do the dance a hundred times already,” Hoseok said as he walked over to the stereo to cue up the music. “You can do it.”

“I really can’t.”

“Just follow me,” Hoseok came back and stood next to him. They made eye contact in the mirror and Hoseok’s eyes were like fire. “FIVE! SIX! SEVEN! EIGHT!”

It was a complete disaster. Of course Jin didn’t know any of the steps, so the first three run throughs were a hopeless mess. Finally Hoseok seemed to take pity on him and slowed down a little to show him the moves one at a time. Then he sped it up again and drilled it faster and faster until Jin didn’t make any more mistakes. But he didn’t stop there. It wasn’t enough to just get the steps right, they had to be smooth and expressive. Hoseok came over and put his hands on Jin’s body, adjusting the angle of his arms, the curve of his spine, the tilt of his head. And then they kept going until finally Jin thought he would collapse.

“Yah! How can you do this to me?” he wailed. “I’m two years older than you!”

Hoseok held up his hands apologetically,  “I’m sorry, hyung. I’m sorry.”

He was backing off. Thank God, it was over. With a sigh, Jin leaned forward and rested his hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath. His breathing echoed through the room and sweat dripped from his hair and off the end of his nose, hitting the floor below with an audible splat.

“But seriously, though, hyung. One more time.”

“What?!”