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☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

「 Jin’s Worldwide GuestHouse 」

Beautiful guesthouse for 7-8 people only ten minutes away from the subway station. Comfortable, clean, quiet, and safe accommodation in a trendy district. You will meet many other international friends here, and I am always available to help you during your stay~!

○ 2 rooms with 2 bunk beds each
○ 2 fully equipped restrooms
○ Fully equipped kitchen
○ Breakfast included
○ High speed Wi-Fi
○ Heated floor / air-condition
○ Each bed comes with a locker, hangers, lining, and slippers
○ No pets allowed
○ No smoking
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Reviews (32) | 4.89 / 5 ☆☆☆☆☆ | Superhost

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

Seoul is a big city.

Now, Yoongi is from Daegu, which isn’t small by any means, but it’s definitely, definitely not Seoul. Everything is bigger, everything is crowded, everything is new and dizzying and confusing.

Yoongi can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed when he reaches the gigantic train station, overwhelmed when he’s figuring out which way to go to connect with the subway, overwhelmed at the size and complexity of the subway system, and overwhelmed now, as he steps out of the station, with a backpack slung over his shoulder, a suitcase in one hand, and his phone in the other.

It’s clear that this Jin person wasn’t lying when they said their guesthouse is located in a trendy district; the minute Yoongi sets a foot out of the subway escalator, he is surrounded by buildings, cars, people, make-up stores, music, cafés, buses, and above all, noise.

Noise loud enough to be heard despite the fact that he is wearing sound-cancelling headphones.

Since it’s the middle of the summer, it makes sense that there is so many young people going around, walking around in packs, aimlessly, seeking for ways to have fun in the city while they don’t have to study, and Yoongi can’t help but feel jealous of them. They all look like they’re at ease right here, right now, melting under a blazing sun that burns at 35 degrees Celsius and cooks up the humidity in the air to what feels like 60 degrees.

Yoongi feels like dying for more reasons than one.

He’s sweating heavily, and he’s sure that his face is red and blotchy. He wishes he hadn’t worn a black, long-sleeved shirt. He wants nothing but a shower and a giant glass of cold water. But aside from that, he wants to turn back time, force himself to follow his parents’ advice, and convince eighteen-year-old Min Yoongi, his teenage self, that studying audio production is a dead end in Daegu; tell himself that years would go by and there would be no place for him to work at in his hometown that isn’t a fast food chain restaurant or a convenience store; that the degree granted to him after years of study is about as valuable as a ten-hour long shift at McDonald’s.

Yoongi feels like dying, but thankfully, the instructions that the host of the guesthouse sent him via text message about how to reach his place are easy enough to follow, so at least there’s that.

Admittedly, the directions sounded pretty tricky and confusing when Yoongi first read them on the train, and he was sure that he would have to call Seokjin to have him pick him up. However, now that he is here in person and he can see the buildings and streets for himself, it’s not that difficult at all. Just tiring. His suitcase is heavy, the air is so humid and hot that he feels like he’s drowning in a giant bowl of soup, and he can feel a knot of muscles forming on his shoulder, under one of the straps of his backpack.

An immense feeling of relief washes over him when he finally reaches the house. It’s a lovely two-story place with red brick walls and a white balcony on the second floor. There is a short concrete staircase that leads to the front door which has potted plants and flowers hanging from the banister, and there is a sign next to the door with the words ‘Jin’s Worldwide Guesthouse’ written in English in a pretty, stylish way. If Yoongi wasn’t there for job hunting, he’d probably feel as if he was on some sort of vacation.

After climbing the short staircase, Yoongi knocks on the door. He’s nervous for some reason, but he doesn’t have much time to calm himself down because in a matter of seconds the door opens.

“Hello—”, he starts, in Korean, but he cuts himself short when he realizes that the person that opened the door isn’t the Korean man he was expecting to find. Far from that. She is actually a tall, fair-skinned girl with long blonde hair, and big, bright blue eyes who looks around twenty years old. Seokjin didn’t have a picture of himself on his profile –just pictures of his guesthouse—, but it’s obvious the girl who opened the door isn’t him.

“Hi!” the girl says, grinning. Her Korean is accented and Yoongi can tell by her greeting alone, but it’s also better than he could have guessed based on her appearance. “You’re Yoongi, right?” she asks, carefully pronouncing the words.

“I— yeah,” Yoongi answers, nodding, enjoying the subtle freshness and the smell of homemade food that comes in wafts from inside the house. The girl is taller than him by almost an entire head, and she’s strikingly pretty. Yoongi isn’t even into girls, but he’s intimidated by her, her height, and her prettiness. He clears his throat, and he unconsciously takes a hand to the back of his neck to scratch the sweaty skin under his blonde hair, nervously. “Is, uh… Is Kim Seokjin here?”

The girl nods, stepping backwards as if beckoning for Yoongi to come in. “He is upstairs, getting, uh… The dirty clothes?” she says, obviously scrambling for the words, (and doing a great job, if Yoongi might say). “He told us to open the door. I’m sorry, my Korean is not very good, but come in…! I can help a little if you need.”

“Your Korean is great…” Yoongi can’t help but mumble to himself, finally stepping into the house, pulling his suitcase with him, and closing the door behind himself. The moment he’s inside, he has to stop himself from sighing in pleasure at the cool, fresh air that envelopes him, but also from shivering by how quickly the beads of sweat on his forehead and on the nape of his neck cool down. “What’s your name?” He asks, watching the girl go through a rack full of slippers to get a pair for him. She’s nice and hospitable, but Yoongi can’t help but still feel intimidated.

“Veronica,” she says, smiling sweetly as she finally hands a pair of slippers for Yoongi. “From Russia.”

“Oh…!” Yoongi says, lamely, even if he’s genuinely impressed. “That’s very cool.”

The girl, Veronica, chuckles in a way that is completely refreshing and not awkward at all, unlike himself. “Thanks. Please make yourself comfortable, okay? Seokjin will probably be back in a few minutes, and he can show you around better than I can. Do you want food?”

Yoongi shakes his head as he kicks his sneakers off and puts them neatly next to a pair of trekking shoes. The house smells deliciously of freshly made food, but Yoongi doesn’t think he could have a single bite. “Not really. Thank you.”

“Water then?” Veronica insists, looking a little concerned. “It’s very hot outside. You’re sweating a lot.”

Yoongi blushes at that, feeling a little exposed.

“I— okay. I guess I need water. Thank you,” he says, and Veronica smiles at him.

“Come, follow me.”

Veronica insists that he leaves his stuff in the living room, where another girl is watching TV on a large flat screen. Like Veronica, she is also Russian, and judging by how chatty they are with each other while Yoongi takes off his backpack and leaves his stuff on the floor next to the couch, it seems they are friends. (Needless to say, Yoongi didn’t understand a single word spoken by either of them).

It isn’t until Yoongi is halfway down his second glass of cold water, leaning against the counter while Veronica explains (in heavily accented but grammatically perfect Korean) that there is a bedroom for men and another one for women with four beds each, that Seokjin finally appears.

And Yoongi nearly chokes on his water when he sees him.

The man is gorgeous— so gorgeous, that Yoongi would have believed he was using the photo of a K-pop idol or a drama actor as his display picture if he had seen it on the Airbnb website. He is tall (not taller than Veronica, but still taller than him by a good few centimeters), his skin is a lovely shade of creamy iced coffee, and his hair is black and silky. He is wearing a loose, grey, long-sleeved shirt that dips a little too low and gives a tiny peek of his collarbones, and even though it’s oversized, Yoongi can still tell that his shoulders are broad, and so is his chest. He’s the definition of perfect, if you ask Yoongi, even if he’s also sweating from the heat outside and his hair looks a little sticky.

“Min Yoongi-ssi?” Seokjin asks, his voice melodic and nice, because of course he has a perfect voice to go with his perfect appearance. When Yoongi nods, he grins, which makes his entire face light up. “Hi! I’m Kim Seokjin, the owner of this place. Sorry I couldn’t welcome you properly, but I was upstairs, hanging the laundry at the rooftop— thank you for getting the door, by the way,” he says, quickly turning to Veronica to bow his head and smile at her. He speaks fast and maybe a little too excitedly, but Veronica doesn’t seem troubled because she just shrugs and nods, smiling back.

“It’s alright, no problem,” she assures him.

“I’ll take it from here, then,” Seokjin says, thanking her one more time before she exits the kitchen and goes back to the living room. Yoongi hasn’t been able to finish drinking the last half of his glass of water even if he is still a little thirsty, the entire exchange being too much for him to even think about doing anything else. The moment Veronica is gone, Seokjin looks at him again with the same big smile he gave him before.

“So, Min Yoongi from Daegu, right?”

“Yes?” Yoongi says, his voice a little scratchy for some reason.

“It’s great to meet you. You know, you’re the first Korean guest I’ve had in a long, long time— probably around two months, or something? So, I’m very excited to have you here! It’ll be good to have another Korean friend around,” he says, and Yoongi only hums in response, unsure of how to proceed; of what to say. “At the moment we have Veronica and Anna, both from Russia; there’s Miguel and Clara, from Spain; Salma, from Egypt; and Peter, from Australia.”

“Wow,” Yoongi says, eyebrows arching. He is genuinely impressed but can’t help but still feel a little awkward. “It’s really international here.”

“It is, isn’t it?” the host says, smiling in a way that is utterly charming, though still nerve-wracking. He just seems so happy — Yoongi had never stayed at a guesthouse before, so he couldn’t help but wonder if all hosts were always this happy when they met a new guest. It would make sense that they are, if only to offer a welcoming, friendly image. It’s nice, in a way, and Seokjin’s hospitality and perfectly air-conditioned home in the middle of mean and scalding-hot Seoul feels like an oasis of sorts, but it is also overwhelming to Yoongi. He chose to stay at a guesthouse instead of a hotel in order to save money, but he didn’t know people would be all up in his business, from six-feet-tall Russian models to unbelievably handsome hosts.

He can’t bear to look at Seokjin for too long, so he looks away and examines the kitchen. It really seems perfect and fully equipped, with a bunch of cooking utensils here and there; a 300-packet box of Maxim instant coffee on the counter as well as an actual coffee machine; at least five boxes of cereal on top of the fridge (which has dozens of flags and magnets from the most diverse countries and cities, as well as a little whiteboard with doodles and scribbles in a foreign language); and a huge rice cooker. There is a pile of dishes on the drying rack but not a single one in the sink, and there’s a large red pan sitting on the stove with a pot lid covering it. Yoongi could guess by the smell alone that it is not a Korean dish— probably Spanish? Russian? Either way, it smells delicious, and it really helps makes the house feel homely.

“Did you have trouble finding the house?” Seokjin asks, then, but his question gets lost somewhere between Yoongi’s ear and Yoongi’s brain as he looks around the kitchen.

“What, sorry?” Yoongi says, brought back to reality by Seokjin’s voice and turning to look up at him.

Seokjin just chuckles.

“I asked if you had trouble to find the house, but it’s obvious that you didn’t. You’re here, after all, aren’t you?”

“Oh. Yeah, I am,” Yoongi says, feeling awkward and a little out of place. He’s not as suave as Seokjin clearly is, and not even two years working in McDonalds and dealing with hundreds of people on a daily basis could change that. “It wasn’t hard.”

“Did you eat?” Seokjin jumps in, then, as if suddenly remembering to ask. “Are you hungry? I’m sorry I didn’t ask sooner— Our Spanish friends made paella for lunch today— it’s a Spanish dish that is basically yellow rice with a lot of seafood, and it’s ridiculously good! Do you like seafood?”

“I-I do, yeah,” Yoongi answers, but then he shakes his head, his tiredness finally getting to him. He hasn’t eaten anything since he left Daegu, so he should be hungry, but he doesn’t feel like eating anything at all. All he wants, still, even in the safe and fresh haven that is Seokjin’s cozy guesthouse, is nothing but a shower and a long, long nap. “But I’m not hungry right now. Sorry. I’m just… I’m actually very tired. I’m… Is it okay if I take a shower? I’m all sweaty and gross, and I haven’t had the best week, honestly,” he admits, but then as an afterthought he adds, again, “sorry”.

“Oh—” Seokjin says, his lips forming a little ‘o’ as something akin to understanding washes over his face. His cheerful Host Grin drops down a few notches, and the smile he gives Yoongi afterwards is a little gentler and a lot more honest. “Yeah. Don’t worry, just eat when you feel like it, okay? I’ll show you your bed and your locker so you can leave your stuff there, and then I’ll show you how the shower works because it’s a little bit tricky.”

There is a person sleeping in one of the beds at the men’s room, so Seokjin shows him his bed (a top bunk bed, unfortunately) and his locker in mindful silence. The room is even fresher than the living room and the kitchen, and it smells like deodorant rather than food. It’s not as big as the pictures online made it seem, but it’s not like Yoongi needs much space, anyway. There is a power outlet and a little lamp on the wall right next to his bed, the locker comes with a padlock and a set of keys for him to use, and his bed lining smells like flowery detergent, so it’s all perfect.

“The shower is actually just a showerhead over the sink,” Seokjin starts explaining to him once he’s taken him to one of the restrooms. “You have to be careful when you turn the water on, because—”

“—because the showerhead might be connected to the faucet and I might get a spray of water on the head. I know. My shower back in Daegu is the same,” Yoongi interrupts, not because he wants Seokjin to shut up or he’s annoyed by him, but because he just… Knows it. He knows that, already. He doesn’t need to be explained, and Seokjin could probably save his breath for something else. He appreciates his kindness and his consideration, but really— he’s tired, and he’s not in the mood for talking.

“Ah,” Seokjin says, stopping himself and looking down at the bathroom tiles for a moment. “Right. Sorry. Most people aren’t used to this, so— yeah. It’s just habit, I guess. Explaining, I mean. Sorry. I’ll leave you so you can shower in peace, okay? The shampoo and soap are courtesy, by the way.”

“Okay,” Yoongi says, bundling up the towel and the change of clothes he brought to the restroom with him before. He feels guilty that he shut Seokjin off and was unnecessarily cold to him, even more so after Seokjin apologized just for doing his job, but he’s truly at a loss for words, and he’s never been too good with strangers, anyway. Especially not when they’re improbably good looking and absurdly hospitable. “I, uh… Thank you. Really. Thank you very much.”

Seokjin shrugs, his smile starting to look a little less honest and a bit awkward now.

“It’s alright. Just let me know if you need anything, okay? Don’t be shy.”

Yoongi sighs as Seokjin leaves, closing the door of the bathroom behind himself. “I’ll try,” he replies belatedly, though his voice stays within the four walls of the tiny restroom and gets quickly drowned and washed away by water, steam, and soap.

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day of your life”,

~ Confucius

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

Yoongi loves music.

Yoongi lives for music.

Yoongi thought— no; Yoongi knew that music was the only path for him to follow; the only possible road to happiness.

There is music everywhere, and everything and everybody needs music. There’s a reason product advertisements and political propaganda is always accompanied by a jingle; a reason why people bob their heads and tap their feet to the rhythm of an imaginary beat while they sit in hospital waiting rooms; a reason why people cry tears of emotion when they get to see their favorite musicians live.

Music is a lot like math. It all has to be perfectly calculated, perfectly measured, and perfectly in balance. One simple mistake can make the difference between a perfect harmony and a discordant disaster. It’s not easy, it’s not simple, and it’s definitely not for everyone. It takes patience and it takes some kind of natural gift, but it also takes years of practice, years of hard work, and years of dedication.

But even then, even after all the hard work, nothing and nobody can assure you that you will succeed.

Nobody can assure you that you will make it, that you will manage to turn music into your life, or that people will even want to listen to you.

It’s hard coming to terms with the idea that despite your best efforts, despite the amount of time and commitment that you put into something for years, the value of your passion and your dedication is as much as a minimum wage job in fast food or retail. There’s only so much a person can take before they reach their boiling point, and Yoongi took almost two and a half years to realize that, you know what? Fuck this. It took Yoongi two and a half years of unsuccessful job-seeking in Daegu, of maintaining a minimum wage job he loathed, and of letting almost the entirety of his miserable pay be absorbed by his rent and his electricity and water bills, to realize that he deserved a second try at finding a position in doing what he liked best.

In doing what he knows he is good at even if that means moving out of his hometown.

He quit his job on impulse on a hectic Saturday afternoon, and as soon as he was home, he started checking for accommodations in Seoul for a seven-day period. He checked about three hotels before he realized that something like that was way out of his budget. A few google searches led him to Airbnb, and a little clicking around unknown districts and neighborhoods led him to Jin’s Worldwide Guesthouse.

It was cheap enough to not be considered a luxury, but also expensive enough to not be a pigsty. It had plenty of great reviews, it was close enough to a subway station, and judging by the available information, the host was nice, friendly, and hospitable.

He made a seven-day reservation, and a few moments later, he bought a one-way train ticket to Seoul for Monday, just two days later.

He was going to do it.

He was going to make it.

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

The following day, Yoongi didn’t get to see Seokjin until very, very late in the evening.

He woke up early enough, but aside from the Spanish couple, who were lounging at the living room the moment he surfaced from the male’s bedroom, it seemed that nobody else was home.

In the kitchen, there was a large pot with some leftover soup, and in the fridge he found what appeared to be homemade kimchi. His mouth nearly watered at the sight, and he mentally patted himself on the back for choosing this guesthouse, first as he served himself a plate of food, and then when he tasted it. As he ate (standing in the kitchen but leaning against the counter because there was no way he would be able to eat if he sat down near a couple of people who spoke a foreign language when he had just woken up), he wondered if Seokjin had made the food by himself, or if he bought it somewhere else, like a nearby restaurant.

(He had an inkling that it was him who made it, and the prospect had admiration sparking inside of Yoongi. He himself knew how to cook, but often times, other things got in the way and he couldn’t dedicate as much time as he would like into making himself proper, actual food).

Yoongi spent the day outside, at a random chain café not too far from the crowded, trendy area surrounding the subway station, working on his resume. He was in an unknown city so he might as well be out, but he didn’t feel confident enough to get too far yet. He spent hours working, reading website after website about how to make the perfect resume; how to make your resume visually appealing; how to make your potential employer become obsessed with you by your resume alone; which verbs and adjectives were the most ideal and which ones were in the ‘forbidden list’; so on, so forth.

He had no trouble finding the guesthouse that day, and when he arrived, it was to find Seokjin and some buff, blonde guy with a loud laughter (Peter, the Australian, presumably) cooking together shoulder to shoulder, speaking and joking around in English. The Russian girls were in the living room, chatting animatedly with the Spanish couple and the Egyptian girl, showing each other pictures while speaking at a loud volume, also in English.

It was nice, and everybody looked cozy and comfortable with each other. But Yoongi…

His stomach was filled with unease the moment he saw everybody gathered there.

Like the previous day, he felt uncomfortable and out of place. It was inevitable, really, no matter how much he wanted to share and have a nice time with everybody like they all seemed to be doing. He didn’t feel ready to socialize, yet. Much less with people who didn’t speak the same language as he, which in turn meant he would have to make use of his limited knowledge of English. He would be asked things like ‘what are you doing here?’ and ‘did you come here for holidays?’, and he didn’t know how to say that, no; I’m here because I’m unemployed. I’m here because I dreamed too big and following the path of idealism came back to bite me in the ass.

That’s why, very carefully, and as inconspicuously as he could, he took his shoes off and sneaked into the men’s bedroom.

 

 

It’s only hours later, after he had taken a nap and the other two guys had already gone to sleep, that Yoongi comes out of the room again, as quiet as a mouse. He tries his best not to let his slippers make noise as he steps on the light-colored hardwood floor, and he is extremely careful as he opens and closes the sliding door of the bedroom to let himself out.

The lights of the living room are on, but there is nobody there. The television is also on, but it’s muted, so Yoongi can hear his own feet as he drags himself carefully across the empty living room and towards the kitchen, the sound as soft and subtle as the creaking of wood below them and the humming of the aircon.

The minute he reaches the kitchen, he nearly jumps out of his skin.

Seokjin, the host of the guesthouse, is there, leaning against the counter with his arms crossed over his chest while the coffee machine bustles busily but quietly behind him. He looks tired. He is dressed in a matching set of blue pajamas that looks at least two sizes too big on him; there are slight bags under his eyes, his lower lip is subtly tucked out in a pout, and he looks like he’s deep in thought, staring at a fixed point in front of him as if it held the answers to the universe within it.

Yoongi almost considers running back into the bedroom, but he’s frozen in place for a moment, and Seokjin notices him before he can make his retreat.

“Oh?” the man says to himself, his eyes refocusing with a series of quick blinks before settling on Yoongi. “Oh, Yoongi, right? Hi. I didn’t see you around today.”

“Uh, hi. I… Yeah. I was out,” Yoongi says, truthfully, bringing a hand to scratch the back of his neck, awkward and sheepish. “I didn’t know you’d be here right now. Sorry if I’m bothering you, or something…”

Seokjin clicks his tongue and he immediately pushes himself off the counter, shaking his head.

“Not at all. This place is your home, you can do whatever you want,” he assures him, giving him a tiny, tired smile that turns into a yawn in the middle of it. His mouth opens big, but he covers it with his hand before Yoongi can fear getting sucked into it.

“Sleepy?” Yoongi asks, smiling a little despite himself.

Seokjin shrugs.

“The opposite, actually. I can’t sleep. I have insomnia.”

“Oh, really?” Yoongi inquires, a pang of pity hitting him suddenly. Seokjin nods, shrugging again as if saying ’nothing I can do about it’. “That sucks,” Yoongi adds, not too cleverly, but hey, at least he’s trying.

“It does,” Seokjin agrees, finally turning around to look at the coffee machine as it finishes boiling water. “I usually manage to fall asleep at around four, so... Three hours to go ‘till then.”

“Ouch,” Yoongi comments, still stalling in the entrance of the kitchen because he still wants to eat or drink something, but he also doesn’t want to invade Seokjin’s space. “And at what time do you wake up?”

“Not too early? That’s the good thing about this job— about this lifestyle, more like. I get to wake up at around nine, so… Yeah. I get the amount of sleep I need in order to function properly. But anyway, enough about my unhealthy sleeping patterns—” he stops himself, chuckling and shaking his head subtly while he fetches two cups (not one, but two) from the cupboard above him. His voice sounds more cheerful when he speaks again. “What are you doing up? Do you want something to eat? I didn’t see you during dinner, or before that, for that matter. What’s up?”

Yoongi hums, finally deciding to step into the kitchen with slow, cautious steps.

“That’s, uh, that’s kind of a broad question. Right now, I just got thirsty,” Yoongi admits, reaching for the sink to get himself a glass to fill with water from the purifier. He almost drops it from the surprise when Seokjin turns around on his heels.

“Thirsty, huh,” he says, trying to wink at him, but ending up closing both of his eyes in a (somewhat) cute gesture. “I made enough coffee for two. Do you like coffee? Maybe you could join me, if you’d like. For a while, at least. It’s always better to be restless with somebody else than all alone.”

Yoongi looks up at Seokjin as he holds the round glass to his chest, still scared about dropping it. He does like coffee, and he supposes that Seokjin is right about it being better to stick with somebody when you can’t sleep, but it isn’t such an easy decision to make. He’s still nervous, and he still feels more than a little out of place, but looking up at Seokjin’s face, tired but still handsome despite of his restlessness, he also feels compelled to say yes. He was kind of rude to him yesterday, and he seems interesting and kind enough. Yoongi might be awkward and shy around strangers, but Seokjin has been nothing but good and welcoming to him so far.

“I know where the host keeps the cookies,” Seokjin insists, joking and giving Yoongi a little playful smile and eyebrow wiggle combo. It defeats Yoongi right away— there is nothing he can do against that. Nothing, except laugh and roll his eyes.

“Alright, alright, you convinced me,” Yoongi accepts, smiling back inevitably despite himself. “But just for a while, okay? So, we can both get sleep and not be useless tomorrow.”

“Yeah, of course, don’t worry. Just one cup of coffee,” Seokjin assures him, and Yoongi nods.

“Yes, just one cup of coffee.”

 

 

Yoongi really meant it when he said he only wanted to stay up for a while, and he honestly believed Seokjin when he said that they would only drink one cup of coffee together before going to bed.

But the coffee and the cookies were great, and the conversation was even better, so when their cups first ran out and Seokjin looked sadly down at his mug, Yoongi knew already that he would say ‘yes’ if the other man suggested a second cup.

Which he did.

Yoongi didn’t think twice.

He has no idea what it is about Seokjin but hanging out with him in the dead of the night, speaking quietly in a house full of foreigners, is fun. It is probably the most fun thing he has done in months, honestly, which is kind of sad if he stops to think about it. The couch is comfortable, and the constant humming of the aircon overhead provides a pleasant background noise for their conversation.

He’s learned plenty about Seokjin, too.

For example, he learned that he is only a year older than him (twenty-seven to his own twenty-six), that he was raised in Gwacheon, and that originally, he wanted to become an actor. In a way, Yoongi realizes that they are pretty similar to each other: while Yoongi had always dreamed about making music, Seokjin had always wanted to act, but both of their careers got interrupted somehow.

“You will laugh at this, and you probably won’t believe me, but I was casted on the street and asked to join an entertainment company,” Seokjin confesses, smiling shyly down at his cup of coffee while his ears burn a furious shade of red. Yoongi’s eyes widen in surprise, but he has no reason not to believe Seokjin— especially not with a face like his. It makes perfect sense; his is really a face that most people would like to see on everything, from beauty lotions to tooth paste, from fried chicken ads to cereal boxes.

“I can believe it, especially nowadays when there are almost as many entertainment companies as there are idols,” Yoongi says, and for some reason his words make Seokjin snicker. “Did you accept?”

Seokjin nods.

“I did, but it was a bad idea. The company was quite small, and it actually doesn’t exist anymore. They promised me a lot, but in the end, things didn’t work out, and all I ended up with was a bunch of friends – all of them ridiculously talented, I may add, and all of whom I love very much. That much is good. The bad part is that we put a lot of time and effort into something that never worked. The sacrifices were too big, and in the end, it turned out it wasn’t worth it. We wouldn’t have been good enough to make it as a group, the six of us, and the chances of success were way too low to risk it. The company had a lot of debt, too, and my parents hated how bad we lived while we were trainees. It messed up with my studies and with my friends’, too, so we decided to just… quit. Together. Call it a day and go back to our normal lives with our tails between our legs. And that was that.”

“Wow. It sounds rough,” Yoongi says, nodding slowly, holding his cup against his lips as he listens to Seokjin attentively and takes in his story. “I’m sorry it had to be like that.”

“Nah, it’s alright. Things happen for a reason, I guess,” the older man says, waving him off dismissively with a tiny smile on his lips.

“But I’m still curious…” Yoongi goes on. “How did you end up here, as the owner of a guesthouse?”

Seokjin hums at that, shrugging and taking a cookie between his fingers, which, Yoongi can’t help but notice, are slightly crooked and bent.

“Uhm… The twists and turns of life, I guess?” He says simply, and then he laughs at Yoongi’s unimpressed face. “Honestly, that bit isn’t very interesting, and I don’t want to bore you.”

“I bet it is interesting,” Yoongi insists, genuinely intrigued. “Come on. I’ll tell you my story if you tell me yours. That’s what we agreed upon.”

The older man rolls his eyes at that, but the gesture doesn’t have any actual annoyance in it.

“No, really. It’s honestly not that interesting. I just… Decided one day that I liked it and that it was what I wanted to do… I went back to studying in university, but nothing fulfilled me anymore— not after the flop that were those almost two and a half years of preparing to debut in a group that never had a chance to begin in the first place. It wasn’t until I went to visit two of my trainee friends in Busan a few years back and stayed at a guesthouse there that I realized, hey. This is fun! I might actually be happy if I did this.”

“And you are?” Yoongi asks, and if the question is a little too deep and a little too personal, Seokjin doesn’t show it. In fact, he just answers casually, unbothered.

“I am! I love this,” the older man says, grinning at him, bright and honest. “I love doing this. The money isn’t bad, and although it really is a full-time job, it’s still something I love to do. I love meeting people from all over the world and learning what it is that brought them here. A cool side-effect is that I can curse in at least seventeen languages.”

Yoongi snorts at that, taken by surprise, and he shakes his head, but Seokjin only laughs. Loudly.

Perhaps a little too loudly for three in the morning. It sounds like a windshield wiper, sort of, and the sound of it is bubbly and contagious.

“Of course you can,” Yoongi says, turning his body on the couch to face Seokjin. “Show me.”

“Alright,” Seokjin accepts the challenge unworriedly, running a hand through his black hair and sitting comfortably on the couch, turning to face Yoongi as well. “Well, I imagine you know ‘fuck’ in English, do you?” Seokjin starts, his cheeks getting almost as plump as apples with the force of his smile.

“I do, yeah,” Yoongi nods. “What else do you know?”

“Well, there’s… ‘Perkele’, in Finnish,” Seokjin continues, trying not to laugh, looking up for the few seconds that it takes him to remember the words. Yoongi nods, feeling laughter bubbling up inside of him at the mere sight of the older man suppressing his windshield-wiper laughter. “There’s ‘mierda’, in Spanish, ‘caralho’ in Portuguese, ‘putain’ in French, ‘kusottare’ in Japanese, ‘tā mā de’ in Mandarin—”

“—oh my god, you really know curses in pretty much every language there is,” Yoongi interrupts, finally giving in to the laughter inside of him. In consequence, Seokjin ends up laughing as well.

“I told you!” he says, pointing his right index finger at him. “And there’s more where those came from! I think I’ve had at least ten people from every continent under my roof. Those are plenty of languages and cultures.”

“Wow… It must be interesting, doing this for a living,” Yoongi says, humming thoughtfully. He doesn’t think he could do it. Or, rather, he had never thought about doing it— not until right now, sitting with Seokjin, the host of the guesthouse he is currently staying at, talking about dreams and about the plot twists of life. A soft, nagging voice in the back of his head tells him that this is one of those plot-twist moments of life, but the humming of the aircon and the sound of Seokjin’s voice drowns it.

“It never gets old, trust me,” Seokjin assures him, downing what’s left of his cup of coffee and leaning forwards to put it on the coffee table. For a few moments, there is nothing but a strange yet pleasant kind of silence in which Seokjin’s words hang in the air, invisible but very much there. They have Yoongi thinking, thinking; the gears of his brain turning quickly, helped by the caffeine he just drank. It isn’t until Seokjin speaks again that he realizes that the silence had stretched for a little too long. “What about you, though, Yoongi-ssi?”

“Me?” Yoongi asks, a little startled, refocusing his attention on the man sitting next to him and truly looking at him, for a while. He takes in his soft looking black hair and the sharp lines and angles of his face; he stares at the slope of his nose, and at the dusty pink that colors his cheeks and the tips of his ears; he glances quickly at his lips, thick as pillows, and at his big eyes, which sparkle brightly in spite of the slight purplish bags beneath them. He scoffs when he catches himself staring for too long, and he fixes his stare on a random object on the room behind Seokjin— on an electric standing fan. Neutral territory.

“Yeah. You. Min Yoongi from Daegu, twenty-six years old. That’s pretty much all I know about you. What more is there?”

“That’s pretty much all there is to know,” Yoongi tries, but Seokjin shakes his head, unimpressed.

“Nuh-uh,” he says. “You’re not just your name, your city, and your age. The first and most basic question around here is— colon, quotation marks: why, Min Yoongi, did you come here?”

Yoongi sighs, knowing that he was bound to answer this question at some point.

“Ugh. It’s lame,” he just says. “Really. It’s super lame. A lame story.”

“Stop it with the self-deprecating stuff. I bet it’s not lame at all. Daegu is nice— you surely didn’t come here for nothing?”

Yoongi hisses and clicks his tongue, cocking his head slightly. “Daegu’s not nice. I mean, it’s not hell, but I wouldn’t say it’s nice.”

“Oh, come on. How bad can it be?” Seokjin inquires, seeming genuinely curious.

“I just…” Yoongi starts, scrambling for the words in his head and sighing when he realizes that it’s just better if he just says it as it is. It’s not that deep. He studied a career in the thing he loves, and it turned out that it was all for nothing. Boo hoo. A total tear-jerker. “I came here to look for a job,” he admits, deciding not to look at Seokjin’s face and keep his eyes trained on the fan, though he could still see the expression of surprise on his face through the corner of his eyes. “I tried to find something for me in Daegu, but I guess the city is too small and there isn’t much opportunity for someone like me, much less in my field.”

“Oh, your field?” Seokjin asks. “What do you do?”

“I’m an audio engineer. A producer, you might say. Or, at least, an aspiring one. I never really made it back home, though. I could never find a job after I graduated college; not one person who’d care to listen to my stuff,” Yoongi says, slumping against the backrest of the couch but resting his head on his bent arm. Seokjin hums, understanding. “There wasn’t much networking to do, and the music industry isn’t exactly thriving there. I should have moved to Seoul as soon as I had the chance, but I didn’t dare— there were many things holding me back, and then I found a part-time job at McDonalds. I told myself it was going to be temporary, but then part-time turned into full-time, and I ended up staying there for over two whole years, and… Yeah. In time I got fed up; I couldn’t stand it anymore. So, in a very impulsive decision, I quit. I booked your guesthouse for a week, and then I came here. To look for a job.”

“Woah… To take back your dream, you mean?” Seokjin asks, suddenly, and his words make Yoongi look away from the fan and at him instead. He seems to blush a little under Yoongi’s scrutiny. “Or some poetic shit like that. You know what I mean. You lost your dream somewhere, but now it’s time to get it back. Get back on track, and whatnot.”

“I…” Yoongi starts, licking his lips thoughtfully and tilting his head as he looks at Seokjin. “Yeah. Taking back my dream. I guess you’re right.”

“You let it rot away for too long,” Seokjin comments, nodding his head. “Daring to bring it back to life and chasing after it must be very hard. It’s really admirable of you. Not many people do that, you know? Trust me in this— I know a lot of people, from every corner of the world, so I know what I’m saying when I say that people tend to settle. You could have settled.”

“I did settle, for a while. I settled for a few years,” Yoongi argues, even if it’s an argument against himself.

Seokjin shrugs at him.

“So what? It’s better to wake up late than to never wake up.”

Yoongi looks up at the older man’s eyes, then, and he lets them linger on them for a moment. Seokjin is looking right back at him, and although Yoongi has never been good with eye-contact, this time he doesn’t feel the urge to pull away.

“I mean, at least you’ve always known what your calling was,” Seokjin says, smiling. “It took me a while to know what was mine, and even now I’m not sure.”

“Oh, but… Didn’t you say you were happy, just now?” Yoongi asks, and Seokjin nods.

He looks tanner under the yellow lights of the living room, and there are little yellow reflections dancing in his pretty black eyes.

“I am. But that doesn’t mean I don’t ask myself every day what would’ve happened if I had stayed in school and hadn’t accepted the invitation of joining that company, or if I had gotten to debut in an idol group instead, because I do, pretty much every day. I’m happy now, but it still sucks that I’ll never know the ‘what ifs’.”

Yoongi hums, understanding.

“You’re right,” he says, nodding, a sigh escaping his lips. “Well. Life is shit, that’s all I know,” he says, leaning the side of his face on his arm and closing his eyes. He hears Seokjin chuckle next to him, and it’s enough to make him smile a little bit. “Life is shit, and then you die. We never know anything, so it’s just— shit. A huge, smelly, confusing pile of shit.”

“Wise words, my friend,” Seokjin laughs, the sound ringing softly in Yoongi’s ear as he stands up, his weight lifting from where it was sitting next to Yoongi’s. “I’m going to get more coffee. Are you up for another round? I don’t think I’m getting any sleepier. You’re fun to talk to. It’s been a long, long time since I last talked like this with anyone.”

Yoongi nods, rubbing his nose against his arm and humming softly, deciding that, fuck it, he’s already here. It’s already over three in the morning. What’s a few less hours of sleep?

“Sure. Another coffee sounds perfect.”

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after”,

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

When Yoongi wakes up the next morning, he isn’t in the male guests’ bedroom, like he should be.

Instead, he’s in the middle of the living room couch, not quite snuggled up but definitely pressed up against a warm and firm yet soft body. He can hear murmuring around him in a language he can’t understand; footsteps; soft little chuckles; the sounds of people moving in the kitchen. But above everything, he can hear the sound of his own heart pumping blood to his body, loud enough behind his ears to make him feel like he’ll go deaf if he listens to it for too long.

He pulls back from the body and he opens his eyes blearily to confirm that, yes, it is Seokjin, and, yes, he’s still deeply asleep.

His mouth is slightly agape, and his eyes peacefully closed. There is a slight blush on his cheeks and forehead, most likely from the heat that has already started to accumulate in the room since the sun came out, and there is a single lonely eyelash sticking to the soft skin of his cheek. He’s completely unaware that he, too, is leaning against Yoongi’s body.

Looking around (and away from Seokjin), Yoongi spots none of the empty packets of cookies nor the dirty cups he knows they left on the table the night before. He does see the standing fan he was so entertained with, this time turned on, turning left and right slowly. He sees the television, tuned in on some morning show that is currently talking about the daily weather for Gyeonggi-do, but with the volume muted. He sees, also, a plush pink blanket covering his and Seokjin’s bodies, thrown over them haphazardly.

A wave of embarrassment washes over him, but the moment he hears footsteps walking into the living room, he closes his eyes again and throws his head back against the headrest (and, slightly, against Seokjin’s shoulder) to pretend he’s still asleep.

(To avoid giving explanations).

He sucks in a breath as somebody crosses the living room with fast, quiet steps, and he turns his face so that it’s facing Seokjin’s shoulder and he is hidden from anyone passing by.

(He can’t deny that Seokjin’s oversized pajamas smell good, like a mix of coffee, flowers, and something deep and musky, and if he is enjoying this a little too much, nobody has to know. For all they know, he’s still asleep).

He supposes he’s trapped there until all the guests leave and he can finally run to the men’s bedroom in peace, without fearing confrontation.

All he hopes is that Seokjin doesn’t wake up before that happens.

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

Yoongi managed to escape from the living room without anyone seeing him and without Seokjin becoming aware of their compromising position. After that stressful morning, what followed was a busy day of job hunting with his brand-new resume and his best suit. He was so occupied running around, visiting companies of all kinds and going from one end of Seoul to the other, that he only thought about the incident with Seokjin of the previous night a total of three times: first, when he was waiting for the copies of his resume to finish printing at a random, smelly PC bang; second, when he was waiting on queue to order a sandwich at Subway; third, when he was walking the tiny streets on the way back to the guesthouse and the sky had already turned orange after the sunset.

He was almost there when he decided, spontaneously, to stay out for a little longer. He didn’t want to come back to see everybody making dinner or eating together and interrupt them, just like he didn’t feel completely ready to see Seokjin again after what happened the night before; not yet.

(Falling asleep together on the couch with the host of the guesthouse he was staying at, after knowing him for a grand total of two days? What in the world was that about? What in the world was he thinking?!)

However, he wasn’t very lucky.

When he arrived in the guesthouse (after eating dinner all by himself at a tiny restaurant just a few streets away), the living room and the kitchen were almost deserted. It was probably around nine pm, but there was nobody there. Nobody— except for Seokjin.

“They went to Hongdae for dinner and clubbing,” the older man explains to Yoongi after seeing the confused look that took over his face as he looked around the empty and relatively quiet living room of the guesthouse. Seokjin is sitting in the middle of the couch, dressed in an oversized blue sweater that could only be worn indoors— outside it is burning up, and Yoongi is sweating a lot even if he already took off his jacket, unbuttoned the first few buttons of his dress shirt, and loosened the knot of his tie.

“You didn’t go?” He asks, taking off his dress shoes carefully and putting them on the shoe cabinet before stepping into a pair of house slippers.

Seokjin shakes his head as he points the remote at the television to mute it.

“I can’t leave just like that. You were out, after all. Imagine if you’d come back to find the door locked and nobody home! It wouldn’t be right,” Seokjin says, and just when Yoongi is about to jump in and tell him that it’s not fair that he has to stay home because of him, the host speaks again, chuckling. “And before you say anything— I didn’t really want to go, anyway, so it’s not like I stayed here because of you. Not completely… The truth is I’m kinda tired and I was thinking about going to bed early.”

“Ah, really? That’s, uh, that’s a good idea,” Yoongi says, somewhat reassured by the older man’s words. He steps into the living room, but he just stays there by the feet of the couch, awkwardly, unsure if he should move closer or stay where he is— should he sit down? Should he do something? Should he go away? Are they going to have a conversation, or what?

“We fell asleep at, what, five? Six?” Seokjin comments, laughing to himself and shaking his head in amusement and disbelief. “How did you even manage to wake up early and get out and get work done? I’ve felt like a huge, smelly, and confused pile of shit since I woke up.”

Yoongi blinks, but then he can’t help but laugh at Seokjin’s words; an echo of his own words the previous night. It makes him nervous, though, hearing Seokjin referring to the things that happened the previous night and that morning. He wonders if he will address the fact that they fell asleep with each other and all over each other.

(He hopes he doesn’t. He hopes he never ever brings it up, actually).

“I feel like that too, to be honest,” he says, trying his best to make his sudden nervousness a little less painfully obvious. “It’s really hot outside, and suits aren’t exactly cool. I’m melting.”

“What do you mean they’re not cool, suits are really cool! They make you look the coolest I’ve ever seen you since we met,” Yoongi raises an eyebrow at that and is about to point out that they only met each other two days ago, but when he sees the shit-eating grin on the host’s face he gets his joke. Or, rather, his attempt at a joke. He sighs in mock exasperation while Seokjin chuckles softly.

“Fresh, then?”

“Ah, that works better. Because you do look cool,” the black-haired man tells him, his grin toning down to a smile. “Honestly. You look great. I’d hire you on the spot.”

Yoongi looks down at him, still standing awkwardly by the couch, and he can’t help but curl his fists on his sides to try and get rid of the excess nervousness that every cell in his body seems to be liberating in heaps, like steam in a sauna. He can feel the heat of his body threatening to climb up his cheeks and make him blush, and struggle as he may, he knows he can’t stop it. At the same time, he also can’t stop himself from smiling— Seokjin is really way too charming. He knows just what to say to make Yoongi feel good, and the fact that he’s the most handsome man that Yoongi has ever seen doesn’t make things easy on him. He feels useless and disarmed, but at the same time also intrigued to get to know him even more.

“I, uh… Thanks. I appreciate that. I hope other people think the same.”

Seokjin laughs, nodding. “Me too. I’m not really looking to hire anyone, and even if I was, I doubt any job I could offer you would interest you,” he says, still smiling, and Yoongi just shrugs in response.

“That may be true, but if I ever get too desperate… Honestly, anything would be better than my old job,” he comments, and Seokjin hums, cocking his head to the side and raising an eyebrow at him.

“Even washing dishes and doing laundry all day long?” he asks, and Yoongi nods, almost solemnly.

“Definitely. At least I’d smell like detergent and not overcooked oil,” he jokes, or tries to, and it seems he is successful, because Seokjin laughs. He can’t help but smile to himself. The corners of Seokjin’s eyes crinkle a little when he laughs, and the sound of his laughter is contagious and funny.

“So, anyway,” Seokjin starts, clearing his throat and scooting a little to the side to make more room for Yoongi to sit near the center of the couch. Yoongi hums questioningly in response, pawing idly at the fabric of his jacket, which is folded on one of his arms.

“Do you have plans for tonight?” the older man asks, casual and easy, and when Yoongi shakes his head in negation (because what plan could he have in Seoul when he literally doesn’t know anybody?), he goes on almost carefully. “Okay, so, in that case… Do you wanna tell me how the job hunting went? I could give you some tips or advice, if you like… Oh! Or maybe we could watch a movie instead, since it’s just the two of us. We could have a repeat of last night, but only if this time we really, really promise to go to sleep earlier. I won’t even make us coffee tonight.”

Yoongi stops, his breath hitching a little bit at the sudden offer.

“I, uh…”

The truth is, Yoongi kind of wants to go to bed early because he is tired after sleeping only a handful of hours the night before. He wants to take a shower and clean his body from the sweat and the smell of the naengmyeon he had for dinner. He wants to research more on the different companies that may have an available position for him in anything audio related. And, honestly, all he just wants right now is to rest and take it easy, and he knows that spending more time with Seokjin won’t allow him to relax.

Last night was kind of a lot. He feels like he overshared, but then again, Seokjin also opened up his heart and talked about his own struggles and thoughts. He had an amazing time, and just like Seokjin, he also hasn’t had a similar kind of conversation with anyone in a long, long time, but falling asleep right then and there together was too much, and waking up to the sight of the black-haired man’s peaceful sleeping face was even more than too much.

But, still.

Still, in spite of everything, Yoongi shrugs and puts his jacket down on the couch.

“Alright,” he says, and the bright grin that takes over Seokjin’s face when he agrees is enough for him to know that he made the right decision. “It sounds good. But only if I choose the movie.”

Seokjin laughs at that, but he nods as he hands him the remote.

“I’m fine with that. You’ll find I’m not hard to please at all.”

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

Yoongi’s week in Seoul goes by fast.

His days are spent out and about, getting lost in unfamiliar streets that soon enough start to embed in his brain and create a messy mental map of large avenues, alleys, and subway stations. He tries to visit as many companies as he can, but he can never find success. He manages to land two interviews, but one of them got cancelled last minute, and the other one turned out to be for a position that had nothing to do with Yoongi’s field.

It was hopeless, and he was starting to lose faith.

The only thing that kept him going were the nights at Seokjin’s Worldwide Guesthouse.

Or, rather, the nights with Seokjin.

Eventually he loosened up a little bit to the other guests and he even had dinner with them twice, and while that was fun, nothing could beat the time he spent sitting with Seokjin on the living room couch or in the kitchen, drinking coffee and talking for hours about everything at once and nothing at all. Sometimes they talked about serious things, but other times they just discussed movies and reruns of idol music shows. Sometimes they shared deep things about themselves with each other, but other times they just argued about what brand of beer was the best.

It was comfortable between them, even if the shock Yoongi felt originally upon meeting Seokjin and his handsome face eventually morphed into an unpleasant yet exciting feeling within his stomach.

Yoongi knew himself well enough, and he knew that feeling was a tell-tale sign of a crush. What was worse, was that there were other symptoms, all of them unwelcomed and unpleasant, but exciting: his hands were sweaty and he bit on his fingernails often; he found himself making mental notes about what things would be interesting to talk about with Seokjin at night, when his day in the city was over; he laughed at Seokjin’s terrible jokes, and even if he managed to keep his composure at most of them, they all had him feeling giddy inside, no matter how bad they were.

So, it could’ve been uncomfortable.

Crushes, normally, are uncomfortable. Sleeping in a tiny room with three other men who don’t speak his language is uncomfortable. Being jobless and spending hours under the scalding sun of Seoul looking for someone willing to pay for his time is awful, not just uncomfortable.

But it wasn’t uncomfortable, and on the contrary, Yoongi felt happier and lighter with every day that passed.

Every night, Seokjin and he went to sleep quite late, and this was very strange, but Yoongi never found himself feeling tired the next morning. It was as if staying up late only made him more energized, which was weird, but also good. His humor started heightening throughout the week, even if his job hunt was going terribly, and even if he had developed a dumb crush on the charming and beautiful owner of the guesthouse he was staying at. He didn’t know if that was a good or a bad thing, but he tried not to think about things too much; for once in a long time, he felt happier, and the heavy weight on his shoulders wasn’t pushing him down as badly anymore.

Yoongi asks Seokjin if he can stay for another week on what is supposed to be his last night at the guesthouse. Like usual, it is just the two of them, leaning side by side against the counter in the kitchen while they wait for the coffee machine to finish brewing.

“I haven’t found anything yet,” Yoongi explains, after his narration about his unsuccessful afternoon, and while he shouldn’t be happy about that, a part of him is glad that he won’t have to go yet. A tiny, quiet part in the back of his mind; a large, loud part in the front of his heart and in his guts. “So, I was thinking about staying for another week… There are many companies I have yet to visit and beg to on my knees like the pathetic scumbag I am.”

Seokjin barks out a laugh at that, and he even smacks Yoongi’s arm (because they reached that point already: the point where they’re okay with touching each other. It’s more than a little bit thrilling, to be honest).

“You’re not a pathetic scumbag, just an unlucky one,” he jokes, a playful smile on his lips. “You’re allowed to stay, obviously. Not to be mean, but I kinda figured you wouldn’t be successful this week, so I made sure not to accept reservations for the following week and keep a place for you.”

Yoongi can’t help but chuckle at that, raising an eyebrow and clicking his tongue.

“Wow, that’s…” he starts, but the ring of Seokjin’s laugh interrupts him and makes him smile even wider. “That’s oddly nice of you actually. Thank you, I guess?”

“Nah, don’t thank me for that,” the older man says, waving his hand dismissively and turning around when a beeping from the machine signals their coffee is finally ready. “I’m rooting for you. And I’m sure something will appear eventually; it has to! It’s just a matter of giving it time… For now, you can stay here. And, actually, I’ll give you a discount for the next week.”

“A discount?” Yoongi asks, turning around as well, holding onto the edge of the counter with his fingers as he looks up at Seokjin. There is a little smile on his lips as he pours their cups of coffee, and it’s still in place as he nods energetically. “No way. Hyung, really, you don’t have to do that!”

“Yeah, I know I don’t have to, dumbass,” he replies, and when he turns his face to the side to meet Yoongi’s eyes, it’s like time freezes for a moment. Eye contact with Seokjin is as nerve-wracking as it is comforting; his eyes are always so bright and pretty, so wide and sparkly, that Yoongi feels he might be sucked into them if he looks at them for too long, and this time is no different. The older man’s face relaxes when his gaze meets Yoongi’s, and the playfulness in his features seems to evaporate. His smile is still there, but it is gentler, and the way he scans Yoongi’s features —his eyes, his nose, and perhaps also his lips— before looking away almost has Yoongi shaking. “I just want to. Maybe it’s a little selfish of me, but if you’re not here, who am I going to have coffee with and talk to late at night? I don’t want you to leave me just yet...”

It takes a moment for Yoongi to recover from Seokjin’s gaze and words, but soon enough, the older man is finished preparing the cups of coffee and is asking him what he would like to do that night. Yoongi manages to collect himself as they migrate to the living room, cups of coffee in hand, but it isn’t until later, when the credits of the movie they watched are rolling up the black screen of the TV, that Yoongi thanks him, once again.

Seokjin has already fallen asleep on his shoulder, but still Yoongi mutters the words ‘thank you’ in a quiet whisper, his hand carefully placed on the elder’s black hair, tender but unmoving; as scared of pulling away as he is of perpetuating the touch.

After that, it’s he who falls asleep, his head finding a safe, comfortable pillow on the top of Seokjin’s head.

 


“It has to be spicier, hyung,” Yoongi complains, attempting to wrestle against Seokjin, who is trying to keep him away from the steaming pot of broth with one of his arms. Currently, Yoongi has a shaker with red pepper powder in his hand, but Seokjin isn’t letting him put its content where it should go: inside of the pot. “It’s not kimchi jjigae if it’s not spicy enough, and you know it!”

“Shhh, Yoongi, cut it out!” Seokjin says, pushing him backwards with a bit more of force to ensure he won’t be able to get near the soup they’re preparing, but still gently enough not to be rough. The sound of his laughter rings in Yoongi’s ears, and although it’s a nice sound, Yoongi isn’t happy that it’s him he’s laughing at. “This is worldwide-friendly kimchi jjigae. It can’t be that spicy, not all of the guests can stand spicy food!”

Yoongi relents then, stopping his struggle and looking at the older man with a frown (or a pout, rather).

“What happened to when in Rome, do as the Romans do?” he asks, grumbling beneath his breath but stepping closer to the older man again so he can put the shaker on the counter in a sign of defeat. “When in Korea, do as Koreans do, right? You shouldn’t underestimate your guests, hyung. I, for one, love spicy food.”

“You’re so dramatic,” Seokjin says, chuckling before he brings a spoonful of jjigae to his nose and sniffs it. His nose wrinkles a little and his eyes close for a moment when he does that, and Yoongi can’t understand how a fully-grown man half a head taller than him can be so cute. “What I normally do when I make Korean food for my guests is I put the pepper sauce and the powder on the table when we eat, that way nobody has a bad time. Also, kimchi jjigae is already quite spicy as it is; it won’t change that much just because I’m not adding extra pepper. It’s not a huge sacrifice, is it? But anyway— can you try this for me?”

His question takes Yoongi by surprise. He was about to tell him that, alright, maybe he has a point, but he has no chance to, because all of a sudden Seokjin is holding the spoon between them, level with Yoongi’s mouth. There is a smile on his lips and a question on his eyes, and before Yoongi knows, he nods.

Wordlessly, he leans a little closer to the elder and opens his mouth to accept the spoonful of jjigae.

And damn.

Yoongi has never been picky about food. Sometimes he thinks that if eating weren’t a physiological necessity for living creatures, he probably wouldn’t eat at all.

But this soup in particular has him thinking that maybe, if all food tasted as nice, he wouldn’t mind eating for the mere pleasure of it.

“Good?” Seokjin asks, and judging by the confidence in his tone and in his smile, Yoongi knows he knows it’s good. Maybe he hummed in pleasure at the flavor without realizing it and accidentally gave himself away to the older man; it would make sense.

He doesn’t play hard to get; he nods his head eagerly at the older man, who in turn drops the smug façade at once and grins widely in genuine gladness.

“Really?” He asks again, “despite it not being as spicy?”

Yoongi nods again, “really, it’s great. Though now that you mention it, I think I need to taste it one more time to make sure the lack of extra spice isn’t that big of a problem, you know?” He says, in a mock solemn tone.

“Oh, I see. In that case, open wide, sir, please,” Seokjin tells him in a voice that is just as playfully serious as Yoongi’s, as he rushes to collect another spoonful of broth. He plays along with Yoongi right away, which probably shouldn’t be as satisfying as it is, but Yoongi can’t help the rush of warmth that spreads through him, both at the fact that Seokjin is feeding him and at how easily they seem to tune in with one another.

This time, Seokjin blows the broth in the spoon, which he is already holding near Yoongi’s lips, and the sudden closeness has something in Yoongi’s chest sparking. He looks straight at Seokjin, can’t look anywhere else, unable to stop himself from smiling even when Seokjin chances a glance up and meets his stare.

“Okay, say ‘ah’,” the older man says, staying where he is, just a few centimeters away from Yoongi’s face. There is a smile tugging at his lips too, as well as a cute tiny dimple over the corner of his lips. Yoongi doesn’t say ‘ah’, but he does open his mouth.

He is in the middle of receiving the little amount of jjigae that Seokjin is feeding him, his lips still wrapped around the spoon, when two girls walk into the kitchen. Yoongi only realizes their presence when he hears Seokjin greeting them in English. He immediately lets go of the spoon and moves away from the older man to look at the door.

The girls are from somewhere in Europe Yoongi doesn’t exactly remember, and they arrived at the guesthouse soon after the Russian girls left. The Spanish couple and the Egyptian girl also left, but Seokjin told him that other people arrived after them in a matter of hours, all of them from different parts of the world. He also said that it was always like this.

The amount of people that stayed at Seokjin’s guesthouse was almost dizzying, but Seokjin somehow managed to remember the names and nationalities of most of them.

Now, while Yoongi’s English is rudimentary, he can still understand some of the words Seokjin and the girls are exchanging. He can understand the word ‘interrupting’ coming from one of them, and judging by the way Seokjin laughs and tells them (in his own kinda accented but still impressive English) that ‘no, it’s okay’, as he takes a step away from Yoongi and closer to the stove, Yoongi can guess that it seems they got the wrong idea about them. About Seokjin and him.

After the girls leave, Seokjin resumes preparing the broth more quietly than before, and Yoongi doesn’t bother him with the spiciness he feels the dish requires. All he does is make the rice like Seokjin asked him to. He can’t help but steal glances at the older man every now and then, and he can’t help but see that his ears are burning a furious red that contrasts starkly with his silky black hair

Soon enough, almost everybody is having dinner at the living room. Some of the guests are sitting on the couch while the others, along with Yoongi and Seokjin, are sitting cross-legged on the floor around the coffee table (because there is a dining table, but it’s not big enough for eight people). Seokjin is right next to Yoongi as they all eat and talk loudly. Yoongi isn’t being loud because he can’t understand much of what’s going on, but every now and then, Seokjin translates jokes or stories to him. However, Yoongi likes it best when the other guests are talking too loudly to one another and laughing their lungs out, because Seokjin has to lean closer and whisper in his ear to make sure he listens.

At a certain point, one of the girls that walked into the kitchen while they were cooking asks Seokjin a question that has him laughing and shaking his head, denying wildly while flailing his hands in front of him. He looks cute, and his ears turn red again, but now Yoongi is really wishing he had paid more attention at English classes in school because now the girl’s friend is pointing at the two of them with her hand and saying something he has no way of understanding.

“What’s going on now?” Yoongi asks Seokjin, in Korean, his brow furrowed in confusion and annoyance. “Are they talking about me? What are they saying?”

“Ah, no, it’s…” Seokjin starts, visibly conflicted. He trails off when he sees Yoongi raise an unimpressed eyebrow at him, cutting him right off if the sole idea of making shit up crossed his mind. He sighs, then. “It’s nothing. They thought you and I were together. Like. Dating. And I was telling them that we’re not. That’s all,” he finishes, shrugging and smiling a little awkwardly, his cheeks visibly reddened.

“Oh,” Yoongi says, his throat constricting around nothing. He scratches the back of his neck and chuckles to himself. Seokjin laughs as well, which kinda comforts him a little.

“Yeah,” the older man echoes. “Oh.”

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself”,

~ Andy Warhol

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

“Hey, Yoongi?” Seokjin asks him the next night. They’re both sitting on the couch, shoulder to shoulder (arm to arm, and leg to leg), while a music show rerun plays on the tv. The volume is turned low so they can talk without problem, and they both have cups of coffee on their hands.

“Hm?” Yoongi replies, glancing at Seokjin curiously.

“Have you had a chance to look around Seoul yet?” the older man asks, looking down at him with an eyebrow raised in curiosity. “As a tourist, I mean. Not as a person seeking a job.”

Yoongi hums at the question. “I…” he starts, but he trails off. Sure, he’s been to many places, and he’s seen plenty of iconic landmarks he’s only heard about, but the truth is he hasn’t had a chance to really look at things. Above everything, he has been going from tall building to tall building, from company to company, and looking back, most of Yoongi’s recent memories consist of walls. The walls of the subway train, the walls of the guesthouse, the walls of fancy waiting lounges at company buildings, the walls of random cafés and cheap restaurants here and there.

“Not really,” he settles on, honestly. “I mean, I once came on a student trip when I was in middle school, but I don’t remember much… We went to some palaces and museums, and the Namsan Tower, but that’s it.”

Seokjin chuckles at that.

“Ah, I see,” he comments, leaning forwards to place his cup on the table before sitting back again, this time twisting his body around so he can face Yoongi. He props his arm on the backrest of the couch and uses his hand to support his head, his fingers tangling loosely between strands of glossy black hair. He looks impossibly attractive like this, even under the ugly yellowish ambience lights. “Would you like it if I showed you around?”

“Show me around?” Yoongi echoes dumbly, his brain short-circuiting for a moment at the sudden offer.

Seokjin nods energetically.

“Yeah!” he confirms. “Show you around to some places in the city, you know? There’s a lot to see that you have been missing, and as your host, that doesn’t feel right... If everything goes well and you end up staying in Seoul after all, then you’ll have plenty of time to look around all you want, but… I don’t know… I just got the idea that we could go out somewhere instead of staying cooped up in here.”

“I mean, it sounds good. I’d love to, but— wait a minute, you mean right now?” Yoongi asks, and Seokjin nods again, grinning, but Yoongi doesn’t miss the color in the tips of his ears.

“If that’s okay with you, yeah. You know they say Seoul doesn’t sleep... And anyways, it’s not like we are going to get sleepy any time soon. We could put this excess energy to good use and go outside… Only if you want, of course,” the older man insists, but Yoongi doesn’t even know why he’s trying to convince him when it was obvious from the beginning that he was going to say yes. Yes, yes, a million times, yes.

It’s almost midnight, and most of the guests are either out and about or already asleep, but honestly, Yoongi doesn’t care about any of that. He should get up more or less early the next day, but the idea of following Seokjin around Seoul in the middle of the night sounds more attractive than any job prospect, which is undoubtedly dangerous.

Seokjin is dangerous, but in the warmest, softest, coziest ways. He is pouting down at him with his thick lips and his pretty black eyes, and that alone should be classified as a weapon of mass destruction. Yoongi doesn’t stand a chance against him (but he has known this much since the first time he met him).

“Alright, let’s go,” Yoongi says, shrugging casually even if inside his chest and his lungs and his stomach catch fire at the sight of the bright smile that takes over Seokjin’s face. “It sounds fun.”

 

 

Yoongi has no idea that Seokjin owned a car until he’s getting in it. It’s tiny and practical, impeccable both on the inside and on the outside, and it has a Super Mario perfume diffuser clipped on one of the A/C vents.

“For some reason, I didn’t think you owned a car,” Yoongi comments, looking at Seokjin as he gets the engine going so he can drive them somewhere. Yoongi isn’t very sure where they’re going, but he’s excited. Just being with Seokjin (and even the idea of being with Seokjin) has him excited, and the feeling has only grown with every passing day.

“I don’t use it that much, to be honest,” the older man confesses, throwing him a little smile as he drives them out of the cramped street. “Just to go grocery shopping, or when I need to run errands far away. Also, if a really clueless guest gets lost somewhere and needs to be picked up. It’s a little sad. I like driving.”

“I don’t mind car rides,” Yoongi comments offhandedly, still unable to look away from Seokjin and the way the street lights illuminate his face as they pass by them. If he looked beautiful before, under the ugly lights of the living room, then right now he looks nothing short of a deity with the way the shadows and colorful lights dance over his attractive features. Until then, Seokjin had only really existed to Yoongi within the confines of his pretty, cozy guesthouse, so now he was seeing him until a whole new light. Yoongi hadn’t stopped to think about it, but seeing Seokjin’s silhouette against a quickly changing background of houses and stores and buildings, he can’t help but feel like he’s seeing him for the first time all over again.

Seokjin smiles a little at Yoongi’s words, which encourages the younger man to add. “You could drive me around if that makes you happy. It’d be a nice change to what we normally do.”

“If that makes you happy, then sure, I’d love that,” Seokjin says, glancing at him momentarily. Perhaps it’s what he says, or perhaps it’s how he says it, or maybe it’s none of that and it’s the way Seokjin’s eyes sparkle in the darkness when he looks at him, but something has Yoongi’s throat constricting and his heart skipping a beat.

The first place they visit is a lively night market located in a neighborhood Yoongi had only been to in the middle of the day; one where he only had eyes for tall office buildings rather than what went on at street level.

It is large, colorful, noisy, but most of all it is crowded. The buildings are lined with signs from shops and restaurants, and the streets are infested with tables covered in clothes, food, accessories, and other products. It isn’t Yoongi’s first time at a night market since Daegu also has its own, but this one is a thousand times more hectic and loud, so he can’t help but buzz with energy and excitement. And not only that, but there is also the fact that Seokjin is there with him.

Seokjin, in his tall, kind, funny, and handsome glory. Seokjin, in his oversized sweater that seems a little too thick to wear out on a hot summer night, but that keeps sliding down his broad shoulders and revealing parts of his pretty golden skin. Seokjin, with his loud laughter and his terrible jokes. Seokjin, with his soft hands and his unique fingers, which wrap themselves around Yoongi’s arm in order to guide him around, but also to keep him close to himself in the sea of people.

It’s thrilling.

Yoongi doesn’t remember the last time he went to a night market for the hell of it, but he doubts that he had as much fun as now.

They take some time to look around even if neither of them buys anything, and when they talk, they have to lean closer and strain their voices over the noise of a hundred other voices combined with the sound of music coming from many different directions all at once. People move at a slow pace down the streets lined with makeshift shops, and it would be easy to get lost if Yoongi wasn’t holding onto Seokjin and Seokjin wasn’t holding onto him.

At a certain point, Seokjin’s hand falls from where it was gripping Yoongi’s forearm, but only to grab his hand instead. It’s a quick gesture, probably an impulsive one given the circumstances, but it feels so nice, so right, so obvious for their hands to hold each other’s, that Yoongi lets it be, and in fact, he even takes another step.

They are looking at a bunch of fake Gucci wallets and phone cases on a stand, murmuring in hushed voices into each other’s ears about how nobody in the world could be fooled by them, when Yoongi adjusts his grip of Seokjin’s hand so that he can intertwine their fingers. Perhaps it’s Yoongi’s imagination, but Seokjin beams midsentence when he does that. Needless to say, he lets it be. His fingers lock his hand with a gentle yet strong grip, and his fingertips are soft and warm and a little clammy against Yoongi’s knuckles, but the best part is that he keeps them there even after they’ve moved along to the next stand.

Even when they buy some fish-shaped waffle ice cream cones, and even as they eat them while they keep on walking around the stalls of the market, they keep their hands clasped together.

Neither of them mentions it. Yoongi even does his best to not look at their intertwined fingers and just focus on the sweet warmth that courses through his body and starts in his right hand. But it’s still there: the fact that they are holding hands in the middle of the street and that the two of them are well aware of it is still there, hanging unspoken in the air between them. It’s almost overwhelming. The knowledge that Seokjin’s fingers are holding his own captive has Yoongi’s heart beating loud in his chest and behind his ears, but his apprehension is only overshadowed by the scary thought that he doesn’t ever want to let go.

“Do you want to go to the next destination already or do you want to stay for longer?” Seokjin asks him at a certain point. They’ve probably been walking around the market for an hour, but it’s still as lively and crowded as it was when they first arrived, and the people keep on circulating around them while they stand in the middle of the street, fingers still entwined with each other’s.

“Nah, I’m good,” Yoongi tells him, unconsciously squeezing Seokjin’s hand with his own and moving a little closer to him when a man pushes past him. The night is warm and humid, and Seokjin’s body is even warmer against Yoongi, but the feeling is far from unpleasant. “What’s next?”

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

City lights.

Hundreds of hundreds of city lights of all colors, all of them sparkling like tiny suns on a black and blue background, and below, their colorful reflections stretching along the calm surface of the Han river in long lines that quiver subtly with the movement of the water.

“It’s not as impressive at this hour, though,” Seokjin tells him with a pout as he pulls out the snacks and soju bottles they bought at a 24/7 convenience store and puts them on the concrete floor in front of them.

“Are you kidding me? It’s beautiful!” Yoongi replies, leaning back on his hands as he looks out at the scenery. They are near one of the bridges that cross the river, which is also illuminated prettily, and it’s a little hard to believe he’s right here, right now. Seokjin is sitting right next to him with his legs crossed while he opens one of the bottles and a bag of chips, and it was his idea to bring Yoongi here. It was he who wanted Yoongi to see this, even if it’s around two in the morning. The single thought is enough to fill Yoongi’s heart— how in the world did he get so lucky to meet someone like him? Should he consider himself special or is this normal behavior for a guesthouse host?

“Yeah, but during light shows it’s even better. Those are earlier in the evening. If you’d like to see them, we could come tomorrow around eight or nine. Or, if not tomorrow, then some other day. Whenever you’re free,” Seokjin says, rushing through his words a little bit.

“That’d be nice,” Yoongi says, finally looking away from the scenery so he can look at Seokjin. His face is illuminated by the hundreds of lights on the north side of the river, so Yoongi doesn’t miss the little frown of concentration in his expression as he uncaps one of the bottles. “Do you come here often?”

“I wish,” Seokjin says, his face finally relaxing when he gets rid of the cap and he puts it down on the ground. He gives Yoongi a bright smile as he offers the bottle to him. “I’m almost always in the house. Sometimes I get together with a few friends and we go out, but it’s not nearly as often as I would like, and anyway, we don’t come to places like this, you know,” he says, gesturing at the river with his hand.

Yoongi simply hums and nods in understanding, but his heart clenches for some reason. His fingers play with the layer of condensation gathered over the surface of the bottle. Yoongi has friends too, and they also go out together when they can, but they also don’t go to places like this. Bars, restaurants, noraebangs, each other’s houses— not the side of the river at two in the morning so they can see the city lights. That’s different. Friends don’t really do that kind of thing.

He drinks from the bottle, and afterwards he passes it on to Seokjin even if there is a second bottle he could drink from. Seokjin, Yoongi notices, doesn’t bother to clean it before he takes a swig from it, throwing his head backwards briefly and showing off his prominent adam’s apple.

They pass the bottle back and forth, neither of them saying anything. The only noises are the ones of the movement of the water, the sound of passing cars on the bridge and on the street a good few meters behind them, and the occasional crinkling of the bag of chips, but they stay quiet. Their shoulders are brushing together, whenever they hand the bottle to each other, their fingers touch in a way that is subtle but almost electrifying, and between them, the hands with which they aren’t holding the bottles find each other’s. The rush of adrenaline is similar to the one that shot through Yoongi’s body when they held hands at the market, but the overall feeling is completely different from then.

This time it’s just the two of them in an empty, beautiful place, so it’s not like they can blame it on the need to not lose each other in a crowd of people. The intention is even more evident now.

“Let’s play a game,” Seokjin says, after receiving the bottle from Yoongi. He shakes it a little in front of him, spinning the translucent liquid inside it before looking at Yoongi.

“Okay,” Yoongi replies with interest, raising an eyebrow. His hand is partially covering Seokjin’s, which is turned upwards so that some of their fingers are loosely intertwined. It’s an innocent gesture, but it has Yoongi’s heart beating at a thousand miles per hour. “What game?”

“Something dumb,” the older man replies, smiling. “Never have I ever? I don’t think we’ve played something like this before.”

“Probably not, considering it’s a game made so people ten years younger than us can brag about their sexual feats to their friends,” Yoongi says, laughing softly, but still interested. “Okay. You start.”

Seokjin laughs too, but he nods his head in acceptance. “Alright, I’ll start. If you’ve done the thing, then I have to pass the bottle to you and you drink, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Alright,” Seokjin starts, clearing his throat. “Never have I ever been to Daegu.”

Yoongi clicks his tongue at that in mock offense. Seokjin laughs to himself as he passes the bottle back to Yoongi without taking a sip from it.

“You’re awful. The first night we hang out you said you thought it was nice,” Yoongi complains, taking a sip from the soju. It’s nice and cool, and it burns pleasantly as it slides down his throat.

“It’s called being polite, Yoongi-chi,” Seokjin says, a grin on his face. “Sorry. Maybe I’ll go there someday, and when we do, you can show me around.”

“Sounds fair, though I honestly hope I’m no longer living there when you do go,” Yoongi comments. “Anyway. My turn. Never have I ever…” he starts, looking around at the lights and their reflections on the river as if they could help him get an idea. He almost gasps out loud when he comes up with one. “Oh! Never have I ever ran a guesthouse.”

Seokjin whines at that.

“Are you serious,” he says, rolling his eyes in amusement and taking the bottle from Yoongi so that he can drink.

“You started with the bad questions, it’s not my fault,” the younger man says, defending himself. His cheeks almost hurt from the force of his smile, or perhaps it’s from how much he has smiled in the past few hours, ever since Seokjin suggested they went out. “Step up your question game and I’ll do the same with mine.”

“Alright, alright, I will,” Seokjin says, nodding. “Never have I ever… done a graffiti.”

“That’s better,” Yoongi hums, accepting the bottle when Seokjin offers it to him. “But neither have I.”

“Oh. Disappointing,” the older man comments, a mock serious tone in his voice.

“I know, sorry,” Yoongi says, refraining from drinking. “Well, never have I ever hooked up with a foreigner.”

He doesn’t really know why he said that. It was the first question that popped in his mind, but perhaps he shouldn’t have asked it, because Seokjin’s face contorts in a little frown as he takes the bottle from Yoongi and then takes a swig from it.

“Oh— you have?” Yoongi asks, something deflating inside of him even if it doesn’t make sense at all for him to be disappointed.

“Yeah, I have… It was last winter, and it was just a bad decision while drunk. Nothing serious. I mean, he was a nice guy, but that’s all. We never ever saw each other again, and never will, so. Yeah,” the older man explains, his words fast. Yoongi wasn’t expecting an explanation, really, but it does make him feel a little bit better that it’s not a thing Seokjin does regularly. “We didn’t even keep in touch after he left.”

“Hey, it’s okay. I’m not shaming you for that,” Yoongi says, smiling at the older man in what he hopes is a reassuring gesture. “We all need some… I don’t know. Some love, I guess.”

“Yeah, no, I know. But still. I don’t want to give you the wrong idea of me,” Seokjin returns, shrugging and smiling back at Yoongi.

“I don’t think that’s possible at this point, but okay.”

Seokjin rolls his eyes again. His fingers are warm beneath and between Yoongi’s own, and he even squeezes Yoongi’s hand with them in a gentle way.

“Idiot,” he says without any real bite. He chuckles, shaking his head as he puts the bottle down on the ground. “Anyway. It’s my turn, isn’t it? Because I’ve been meaning to say this…” he states, looking straight into Yoongi’s eyes. The fear of getting sucked into them is still there, but this time Yoongi doesn’t feel scared at all. Why would he? They’re soft and gentle, kind and honest, wide and so pretty, with the reflections of the city lights dancing on them like tiny colorful stars— there is nowhere else Yoongi would rather be. Seokjin clears his throat, and Yoongi braces himself. “Never have I ever, ever, met anyone as interesting and amazing as you.”

His words punch the air right out of Yoongi’s lungs, and his mouth falls open in surprise while his eyes stay fixed on Seokjin’s own.

His first instinct is to smack Seokjin’s arm; to tell him to shut up and don’t bullshit him, but he can’t bring himself to do it. Not when Seokjin is looking at him like that; not when his voice is sweet and gentle, a soft little whisper spoken as if he was confessing a secret, which makes no sense because there is no one around them in at least a hundred-meter radius.

Instead of making fun of Seokjin, he swallows roughly around the lump in his throat and gathers all his courage.

“Well, in that case… Never have I ever met anyone as selfless and funny and amazing as you, so… I guess that makes us even?” Yoongi says, not without difficulty, but the bright grin on Seokjin’s face is rewarding enough. It’s dark outside in spite of the city lights adorning the horizon and glowing off their faces, so Yoongi doesn’t have to fear Seokjin might see how furiously he’s blushing (the only downside to this is that Yoongi doesn’t get to see Seokjin’s ears either, in the case they have turned red).

“I guess it does. Should we both drink, then?” Seokjin asks, his tone careful even if he’s still smiling wide.

Yoongi gnaws on his lower lip, and he’s sure that the older man’s eyes follow the movement for a split second before they refocus on his own eyes again.

“You have to drive us back home later; I’d prefer it if you didn’t drink anymore, thank you,” Yoongi jokes, but his tone is light and tense.

Seokjin chuckles softly at that.

“Right. Good call,” he says, but his eyes are still fixed on Yoongi’s, and it’s nerve-wracking. The tension is nearly electric, and although it’s hot outside, Yoongi feels tiny goosebumps travelling through his nervous system, starting from the place where his fingers and Seokjin’s are intertwined. They should go back. Yoongi doesn’t even know what time it is, but they should definitely go back. It’s not wise for Seokjin to leave the guesthouse alone for so long, and it’s not wise of him to stay out late when he should continue his job hunt the next day.

But Yoongi can’t bring himself to look away.

The smile on the older man’s face has subdued, and the expression he’s currently wearing is unreadable. His lips are slightly parted, and his brow is a bit furrowed like he’s thinking, and not for the first time, Yoongi wants to kiss him. Yoongi wants to cup his face, to feel his soft skin against his fingertips, and kiss him until there is not a single particle of oxygen left in his body. He doesn’t care if it’s too soon, and if the way Seokjin’s eyes keep alternating between his lips and his eyes, it seems he doesn’t care either.

Slowly, Yoongi brings his free hand up to Seokjin’s face. His heart is threatening to beat right out of his chest and the sound of it is deafening behind his ears, but he tries to pay it no mind. He tries not to focus on the alarms going off in his head and simply go with what with heart and his gut are demanding him to do.

He nearly jumps at the warm feeling of Seokjin’s cheek against his fingers when his hand finally reaches his face, and his touch causes the older man’s eyelids to flutter and his breath to hitch.

Seokjin licks his lips and he moves his own hand from where it was resting on his lap to the back of Yoongi’s head, and that’s it.

Yoongi isn’t sure who does it first; he doesn’t know who is the one who cuts the distance between them first, nor whose lips reach whose first. But it’s not like it matters. All Yoongi knows is that his whole world stops the moment that Seokjin’s lips press against his; that his lips are as soft and plush as they look; that they’re as gentle as they are firm in the way they move against his, like the fingers burying into strands of his blonde hair and caressing his scalp.

There is a hurricane of warmth and lights and butterflies roaring inside Yoongi’s chest, which only doubles up in speed and intensity with every brush and press of lips. Yoongi can’t help but scrunch his eyes shut tightly as he pulls Seokjin closer with the hand he has under his jaw, as if afraid that by opening them he might find that this was nothing but a dream; that he’s actually been asleep in his bunk bed (or worse— in his apartment back in Daegu) all this time.

But his every sense tells him that this is not a dream, as hard to believe as that is. He can hear the faint wet sound of Seokjin’s lips sliding against his, taste the soju and chips on his tongue when their lips part, and feel the cleanly shaven skin of his jaw under his fingers. It’s addictive, as soft and slow as it is, and when Seokjin starts pulling backwards, Yoongi can’t stop himself from chasing blindly after him, smiling when he feels the other man chuckling quietly against his lips. The kiss dissolves into a series of soft pecks that has Yoongi humming, his chest swelling with warmth, and when Seokjin finally pulls back, the look in his face is a billion times prettier than the lights shining all around them.

The older man’s fingers are still loosely tangled in the hair at the back of Yoongi’s head, but his fingers drop to stroke the base of his neck gently.

“So…” Seokjin starts, something playful dancing in his eyes, but before he can say anything, Yoongi shushes him gently and moves closer so he can press his face against his neck. His cheeks and his entire face are burning, his hands are sweating, and he lets go of Seokjin’s jaw so he can hold onto his shoulder instead, his fingers curling up the fabric of the older man’s sweater. It all makes Seokjin laugh, but it’s a soft, gentle sound. His breath gusts warmly against Yoongi’s ear as he twists his body slightly in order to hug Yoongi properly. He loops an arm around Yoongi’s waist and leans his head against his. Yoongi can’t see because his eyes are still shut and his whole face is pressed up against the crook of Seokjin’s neck, but he can feel it when the older man nuzzles his nose against the top of his head.

“I’ve been wanting to do that for a while,” the older man says, regardless, completely undeterred even after Yoongi’s outburst of embarrassment. His voice is low and honest, a soft whisper that flutters against the skin of Yoongi’s ear like a butterfly.

Yoongi hums softly at that.

“Me too,” he admits quietly from his hiding spot.

“I could tell,” Seokjin tells him, an amused lilt to his voice. Yoongi releases his sweater so he can hit him on the shoulder without any real force, which only makes Seokjin chuckle. “I have to admit that I don’t have much experience when it comes to this, so I was afraid that maybe it was too soon, or that you didn’t think about me like that and I had you all wrong.”

“Well, you didn’t. I was afraid of the same thing, and to be honest, I’ve been thinking about kissing you pretty much since the first day I met you,” Yoongi confesses, and he’s only half joking when he says it. He can’t help but smile when he feels the older man laughing against his head. Seokjin’s body is warm against him, his arm strong but gentle as it holds him close, and if it wasn’t for it, Yoongi’s sure he’d melt into a puddle on the concrete. It’s hard to believe that less than two weeks ago they didn’t know each other, because at the moment, and for the last couple of days, Seokjin has been one of the biggest things (if not the single biggest thing) in his mind.

“I’m glad it’s been mutual all along, then,” Seokjin admits in return, pulling backwards slightly. Yoongi dares to look back at him, and he’s glad he does, because Seokjin’s flushed cheeks and ears are evident even in the darkness, and the sight of them makes him feel better about himself and his own red face. “I wasn’t kidding when I said that, by the way...” he says, his hand squeezing lightly around Yoongi’s side through the fabric of his shirt. He smiles nervously, and Yoongi drags his hand from his shoulder to his chest, so that he can stroke it in what he hopes is a comforting, reassuring gesture. “You’re really something else.”

“I insist that’s debatable, but I won’t fight you because I also meant what I said,” Yoongi says, his other hand reaching behind Seokjin’s head. The older man beams as he leans closer to press their lips together again. It’s a brief kiss this time, but it makes Yoongi’s head spin just as much as the previous one.

“Good to know we’re in the same page,” Seokjin hums pleasurably, marking his words with another kiss.

“Yeah,” kiss. “Good to know.”

Kiss, kiss, kiss.

“Do you want to go home now?” Seokjin asks breathlessly as Yoongi pushes him carefully to lay him down on the concrete, and if it wasn’t for the way his hands pull Yoongi closer and closer while his tongue traces the shape of the younger man’s lower lip, then Yoongi would have believed that maybe he wanted to go home.

“Not yet,” Yoongi answers, simply, and if Seokjin had anything else to say, his words die in his throat as soon as Yoongi’s mouth is on his.

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous”,

~ Ingrid Bergman

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Seokjin is the first thing Yoongi sees when he comes out of the bathroom after the shower the following evening.

He didn’t get to see him in the morning because the host was still asleep when he headed out, and when he arrived, one of the guests –a guy from Brazil with an astonishingly good Korean— told Yoongi that he was out at the store.

He took advantage of Seokjin’s absence to jump into the shower in order to wash the sweat and the stress of the day off his body, and if he got a little distracted, closing his eyes and recalling the feeling of Seokjin’s tongue against his while they kissed (by the side of the Han river first, and over the console of Seokjin’s car next), then nobody had to know. The entire day his lips trembled with the memory of the older man’s mouth, but it wasn’t until he was in the shower that he allowed himself to remember in detail; to relive the feeling of Seokjin’s hands shyly tracing up and down his sides, and of his nose nuzzling against his when they got too breathless to keep on kissing.

The truth was that Yoongi didn’t have any expectations of his trip to Seoul other than finding a job, first of all, and a place to live, second of all. He hadn’t even known what to expect from the guesthouse he had booked mindlessly through an unknown website. The only thing he was looking for was a place where he could sleep and keep his stuff while he went about the city, nothing more than that.

Meeting Seokjin, talking to him every night, and developing the tingly kind of feelings that he hadn’t felt for anyone in what felt like ages had all been completely unexpected. Nothing could have prepared him for that, so perhaps that’s one of the reasons his walls fell so embarrassingly fast.

If someone had told him two weeks ago that by his eleventh day in Seoul he would still be jobless, but that he would spend hours kissing the sweet lips and the flawless face of his guesthouse host in a public park of Seoul, he wouldn’t have believed it.

Perhaps he would’ve gotten annoyed at his future self— seriously? What are you doing, Min Yoongi? Why are you sidetracking? Focus on your goal. You’re in Seoul for a reason: to take back your dream, once and for all. Not to mess around.

But the thing is, he can’t find it in himself get annoyed, neither at himself nor at Seokjin.

On the contrary, Yoongi thinks that he should be thankful about meeting Seokjin, because ever since the night they fell asleep all over each other on the couch, something has changed within him, subtly but noticeably. The urgency and frustration that he brought with himself from Daegu in his suitcase and in his pockets have slowly but surely evaporated. There is still a strong ambition and a powerful determination to make things right, but he doesn’t feel hopeless nor desperate anymore. It’s not that it’s easier, because it’s still a struggle, and the world isn’t any kinder than it was two weeks ago, but at least his own world doesn’t seem as hostile and empty anymore; not since he met Seokjin.

When Yoongi steps out of the bathroom, his blonde hair is dripping wet and his cheeks are flushed, though the second bit probably has more to do with his hyperactive memory and imagination rather than his shower.

His cheeks only turn hotter when he finds himself face to face with Seokjin the moment he swings the door open. The older man had his hand up, like he was about to knock, but his eyes widen and he puts it down the second he sees Yoongi.

“Yoongi! Hi, that’s— wow, your timing’s perfect,” Seokjin says, smiling brightly and honestly.

“Hyung, hi,” Yoongi replies, feeling his own lips spreading into a smile upon seeing the look on the older man’s face. He gets the urge to look away and run away, but that urge is severely overwhelmed by the even stronger urge to grab Seokjin’s face and plant a kiss on his lips. Out of self-preservation, he does neither. The only thing he does, is he lets his eyes scan Seokjin’s body quickly, from head to toe. As usual, he looks great— handsome and flawless, in the coziest and most comfortable of ways. He is wearing an oversized beige hoodie that makes him look like the definition of the word huggable, and Yoongi’s heart skips a beat when he realizes that he’s sort of allowed to do that now, after everything that happened the previous night. “Is everything okay…?”

“Yes, yes, everything’s okay,” Seokjin answers, nodding. “Everything is more than okay, actually.”

Yoongi raises a curious eyebrow at that.

“Yeah?” he asks, smiling a little bit at the other man’s excitement.

“Yeah, I was waiting for you,” he says, nodding, but Yoongi can tell he gets sidetracked. He can feel his eyes on him, but unlike Yoongi, who simply took a brief but effective glance over the elder’s body, Seokjin takes his time, starting from Yoongi’s feet. When their eyes meet again, the older man cracks a shy smile, his eyes falling to the floor sheepishly for a split second, causing pretty crinkles to appear by his eyes. “You, uh, you look very prett— I mean, good. You look very good.”

“I— thank you? I literally just showered, though, and my hair’s all wet,” Yoongi says as he brings a hand to fumble with a wet strand of hair, feeling a lot like an even more awkward version of himself. He feels like he’s fifteen-year-old Yoongi all over again, dealing with his crush on the captain of his high school’s basketball team. It’s funny, because fifteen-year-old Yoongi never got to share more than a few conversations with the captain of the basketball team, but last night, twenty-six-year-old Yoongi got to second base with Seokjin, and yet here he is, struggling because of a little compliment. “You look very good, too.”

“Thank you,” Seokjin beams, and for a moment, Yoongi allows himself to get lost in the older man’s eyes and his silly smile. But not for too long, because he soon remembers that he looked like he wanted to tell him something until he got distracted by, well, by him.

(It’s good to know he’s not the only one struggling).

“So, uh, what’s up?” Yoongi asks, suddenly hyper aware of the wet towel he threw over his shoulder before leaving the bathroom, which is soaking through his shirt and causing it to stick to his skin. (Why Seokjin thought he looked pretty —or, rather ‘very good’— is a mystery to him).

“Oh, right—! I wanted to tell you something,” the older man says, throwing a little glance over his shoulder. The Brazilian guy is sitting in the living room, watching TV and eating a bowl of instant ramyeon, but Seokjin doesn’t seem to mind him. He turns to look back at Yoongi with the same excited face he was wearing moments ago. “Okay, so… I was talking to my friend Namjoon today. I’ve told you about him before. We were trainees together; he’s from Ilsan, and he works at KBS World Radio. Remember him?”

Yoongi nods. To be honest, the nights they spent together have all blended into a seamless, very long night, and Yoongi wouldn’t be able to tell one night from the other anymore (except for the first and the last ones), but he remembers hearing about Namjoon plenty of times, and even seeing pictures of him, including some from when Seokjin and he were trainees. Tall, with very deep dimples, a strange haircut and sunglasses combination, and a kind smile.

“Yeah, I remember him.”

“Well,” Seokjin goes on, his cheeks plump and pretty with the force of his smile. “He was complaining earlier today because a woman in his office quit a few days ago, and he’s had to take over a whole lot of extra work but he isn’t getting paid any better. He’s tired and frustrated, and all that.”

Yoongi frowns at that, because, well, that really sounds unfair. However, and at the same time, his stomach flips inside of him because he can already guess where this is all going; what Seokjin is trying to tell him. He doesn’t want to let his hopes build up, but still— Seokjin’s enthusiasm is contagious. He’s freaking grinning while he narrates his friend’s unfortunate story, which can only (maybe, hopefully) mean good news for him.

“That sucks,” he comments, going for neutrality

“I know, right!” Seokjin agrees far too cheerfully. “It’s terrible! That’s why I asked him if they were looking to hire someone to cover that lady’s position; if there was an open position for someone in his office—“

“—hyung, wait, what are you—“ Yoongi tries, his heartbeat rate picking up with every word that comes out of Seokjin’s mouth.

“—and he said that it was the company’s idea, yeah; that they need someone to cover the woman’s position permanently,” Seokjin continued, blatantly ignoring Yoongi’s attempted interruption. His smile softens, and he even reaches with his hand so that he can grab Yoongi by the forearm in a gentle, almost delicate way. He doesn’t keep it there, though; he lets his fingers roam freely over Yoongi’s warm skin, blunt fingernails tracing tiny messy patterns on his flesh, as if he’s on the verge of taking Yoongi’s hand in his, but not daring to do so.

“I talked to him about you and your situation,” Seokjin says, his voice gentler this time. “I told him I knew someone who was looking for a job who had a lot of knowledge on, well. Music, sound equipment, production, mixing— stuff like that. Your area.”

“Shit, oh my god,” Yoongi feels himself say. “And— w-what did he say?”

“He said that the woman’s job didn’t exactly revolve around technical stuff,” Seokjin answers, “it’s more of a… behind-the-scenes kind of job, you know? More administrative… but I still insisted, and I insisted, and I insisted, and I can be really fucking insistent when I want to be.”

Yoongi can’t help but chuckle at that, his hand seeking Seokjin’s and tugging on it playfully before he lets their fingers tangle loosely.

“I feel sad for your friend Namjoon, all of a sudden,” Yoongi says, and Seokjin rolls his eyes as he takes his hand in his more intently, his pretty fingers fitting perfectly between Yoongi’s own.

“Don’t. He’s got the patience and the will of an angel,” Seokjin tells him. It’s kind of silly to be holding hands with him in the middle of the common area of his guesthouse while Yoongi has a wet towel hanging over one of his shoulders and the scent of instant ramyeon lingers in the air, but Seokjin’s hand is soft and warm in his, and his smile is sweet and pretty, so Yoongi couldn’t pull away even if he wanted to. “He promised me —and this is the important part— that he would try his best to arrange an interview with you and the Human Resources area of the company.”

There it is.

The proof that Kim Seokjin, his host, is in reality a guardian angel. A hot guardian angel; one with a lame sense of humor, an impressive array of sweaters and hoodies, and the most kissable lips Yoongi has ever tasted.

“Fucking hell, hyung— really?” Yoongi asks, unable to keep himself from cursing, while his instincts and his body scream for him to move closer to Seokjin and hug him. “You— you didn’t have to go and do that! I mean— oh my god, this is… this is so ridiculously sweet, and nice, and amazing of you...! It’s KBS— that’s fucking huge…!”

Seokjin laughs softly before he pulls Yoongi closer. For a split second, Yoongi worries that perhaps he can read his mind and that he saw how much he was dying to have his arms around himself.

“I know it’s huge, and I know I didn’t have to; haven’t I told you that before?” Seokjin says as his arms loop around Yoongi’s back. He speaks against the side of Yoongi’s head, his breath gusting against his bleached hair, which is already dry thanks to the heat in the room. Yoongi closes his eyes for a moment, his own hands finding a place around Seokjin’s hips. He holds him almost shyly, but he presses his face to his neck like he did the night before, after they kissed for the first time, and he breathes him in. “But I wanted to. I really, really wanted to do it— to help you somehow, in any way I can. Networking can be a bitch, especially when you come from a different city and you don’t know anyone. It’s not like I did much, anyway— I just talked to my friend and maybe got you an interview. It’s not that big.”

“Maybe not, but it could be, hyung, are you kidding me?” Yoongi says, voice muffled by the older man’s neck. He can feel the vibrations of Seokjin’s chuckle against his face. “Fuck, you’re really unbelievable...”

“Hey… you’ve done so much for me too; just consider this as my way of giving back.”

“Giving back? You’re crazy. I haven’t done anything other than be here.”

No, Yoongi, you’ve really done so, so much for me,” Seokjin insists, his hand lifting to Yoongi’s hair, his fingers tangling between strands of fluffy but dry hair. “Perhaps you haven’t realized how much of an impact you’ve had in me. Actually, all this is probably just me being a selfish son of a bitch because I don’t want you to go. I want you to succeed, of course, because you deserve it, but I also really, really don’t want you to go. I know we only met two weeks ago, but shit— perhaps it’s too soon to say I like you because there is so much about you I don’t know yet, but the thing is, I’m dying to know those bits because what I already really like what I already know. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m always surrounded by people, and that my house is always full of people from all sides of the world, but for the first time in a long time I don’t feel lonely anymore, and it’s because of you. So, there.”

Yoongi lets out a soft and breathless chuckle at Seokjin’s words— not because he thinks they’re funny, but because he’s nervous. They punch the air right out of his lungs. They have his grip around his waist strengthening for a moment before he slides his hand to Seokjin’s back so he can hold him more tightly. They have his heart swelling almost painfully in his chest and beating loud and fast.

“That’s cheesy as fuck, hyung,” Yoongi says, nervous but touched and enamored, and thankfully, Seokjin doesn’t take it the wrong way. Perhaps he can perceive what lies beneath those anti-climatic words.

“Ugh, I know it is, but it’s true, and there’s no other way to say it, I’m sorry,” he tells him, a hint of amusement in his voice. Suddenly, Yoongi feels a brief press of lips against the side of his head, which has his heart skipping several beats. After that, Seokjin pulls back, his expression more or less sobered up (if you ignore his blushing cheeks and the furious red shade of the tips of his ears).

“But Yoongi, keep in mind that this is nothing at all yet. Just a possibility,” he goes on, and Yoongi almost has trouble paying attention to him due to the intoxicating closeness. Seokjin’s arms are wrapped tightly around his shoulders, hands pressed against his back, while Yoongi’s own arms are looped around Seokjin’s midsection, just above his ribs. If he cares to think about it, Yoongi will realize that their legs are also pressed together and that their house slippers are bumping against each other’s, but luckily, he doesn’t. He doesn’t think about that. Not for a second. Seokjin continues, “we don’t even know what Joonie will tell me. Perhaps the HR team will ignore him, or perhaps the job is really out of your area and you’ll have to keep looking. We don’t know that. We don’t know anything! But… yeah. It’s a broadcast station, and a big one at that. I’m sure that… or I hope that it could be a starting point, at least.”

“A starting point,” Yoongi echoes, nodding slowly, his hands tracing up Seokjin’s back, following the sharp curve of his shoulder blades through his soft hoodie. “That’s more than enough. It’s a lot more than I’ve had since I got here. Really. It’s… fuck. I can’t thank you enough.”

Seokjin clicks his tongue, and when Yoongi looks up to meet his eyes, he notices that he’s even closer than he was before, but that he has no idea when that happened.

“Don’t thank me,” the black haired man insists, his voice lowering in volume. “I told you. I’m only doing this because I’m selfish.”

Yoongi rolls his eyes at that, but he smiles as he pulls Seokjin closer instinctively.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever lets you sleep at night…” Yoongi says, eyelids fluttering shut when Seokjin finally presses their foreheads together and the tips of their noses rub against each other’s.

They stay like that for a moment, eyes closed, breaths mingling together, and hearts pressed together through their shirts and through their chests. It isn’t until Seokjin’s hand is cupping the side of his face that Yoongi leans in, cutting the short distance between them and kissing Seokjin’s pretty smiling lips.

It doesn’t last long because the awareness that they aren’t alone kicks in soon enough, but it still has Yoongi’s body tingling all over, craving for more.

“Do you wanna come upstairs to help me get the clean laundry from the roof?” Seokjin asks, gesturing vaguely with his head towards the entrance of the guesthouse, where the staircase to the second floor (where, Yoongi has learned, Seokjin lives) is located. There is a smirk on his face, and he gnaws in his lower lip in a way that is definitely, definitely flirty.

Yoongi has never nodded so fast in his life.

“Sure,” he says, his hands smoothing Seokjin’s hoodie as he drags his palms down the middle of his back. “I’d love to help.”

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

「 Jin’s Worldwide GuestHouse 」| 4.89 / 5.0 ☆☆☆☆☆ from 35 Reviews

Accuracy: 4.8 ☆☆☆☆☆
Communication: 5.0 ☆☆☆☆☆
Cleanliness: 5.0 ☆☆☆☆☆
Location: 4.9 ☆☆☆☆☆
Check-in: 4.7 ☆☆☆☆☆
Value: 4.9 ☆☆☆☆☆

 

32. Veronica (July 2018): Seokjin was very friendly and provided us with tourist brochures and useful maps. Very clean and organized, and very convenient location! The house was beautiful and we would love to go back!! :)

33. Miguel (July 2018): staying at Jin’s place was the best!! He let us cook Spanish food, and he cooked Korean food for us one day too. The rooms are a little smaller than I expected and we had a little trouble finding the house at first, but Jin went out to get us when we got lost. You won’t regret staying here!!

34. Maria (August 2018): Jin was the nicest host ever! He and his boyfriend cooked for us and it was delicious!! The next time I go to Seoul, I’ll definitely stay with him again!!

35. Yoongi (August 2018): would it be too much to say that staying here changed my life forever? ㅋㅋㅋ it was perfect. everything about it. really. thank you ♡

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