"You want a job?"
Yoongi is at home, tucked up in a ball against the arm of his ratty old sofa, and he's cold, more focused on attempting to will his ectothermic body to muster up heat than he has been on the other male in his company for at least an hour, but at Namjoon's sudden enquiry he's brought from his reverie. Eyes breaking off their staring contest with the red toes of his socked feet, he turns his attention on his friend of over two decades - a terrifying duration, if you were to ask him - and raises his eyebrows. "What?"
Namjoon shifts his weight back onto his feet, crossing the small space from the fridge to Yoongi's sofa, two cans of beer now in hand. "Do you want a job?" He says again, and Yoongi is no less confused. He has two jobs already, and Namjoon knows as much. Namjoon knows too fucking much, he's certain of that.
"I have a job." His voice is bored, drawling, but Namjoon takes no notice.
"I know. But I mean, like, a photography gig." He attempts clarification, dropping down on the cushion beside Yoongi's and turning, legs crossed, to face him. "A communications major friend of mine - Seokjin, do you remember him? I was partnered with him for a project last semester-"
"-And you've been obsessed with him ever since." Yoongi finishes for him, smirking slightly when Namjoon jumps to defend himself only to trip over his words and break off, blushing.
"...I have not." He mutters finally, the most coherent sentence he could form, and Yoongi shoots him a look that calls bullshit but says nothing more about it.
"Yeah, I remember him, Joon-ah." He says, unnecessarily, and extends a foot to nudge the younger male with his toes. "What about it?"
Namjoon hesitates then, staring critically at Yoongi for a moment, almost as if he's taken this mentioning-of-his-Seokjin-obsession as some betrayal that cannot be forgiven, a betrayal that means Yoongi no longer deserves whatever job opportunity that he's sitting on, but he must decide to take pity on Yoongi - who, being broke and constantly sleep deprived, manages to conjure up the emotion easily in most - and he shrugs to himself instead, begins to explain.
"He's hosting a formal event next week - some kind of Valentines Day get together, I think? Like one of those singles nights. He says it's a community outreach thing, but I'm pretty sure it's a marketing scam. I mean, it's being held at a bar. Imagine the kind of bill a single person on Valentines Day would wrack up when left to wallow in front of a bunch of alcohol. How can that not be a money making scheme? He can lie all he wants, but I don't fucking buy shit-" Namjoon catches sight of the unimpressed, wholly uninterested expression currently taking residence on Yoongi's face and falters, clearing his throat sheepishly before allowing himself to speak once more. "Right. Anyway, he's looking for a photographer for the evening. Asked me if I knew anyone who'd be interested. Pays well."
"How much?" Yoongi doesn't really know why he's asking. Any money is good money, and he thinks that, freezing in his tiny, dingy apartment way on the outskirts of Seoul, he'd have to be certifiably insane to turn down anything.
"A little over 17,000 won per hour." Namjoon says, and Yoongi's curiosity is piqued.
"How many hours does he want me for?" Yoongi presses, and Namjoon hums thoughtfully.
"I don't know. I'd have to talk to Big Mike about the exact details. He still takes the money, right?" He says it so seriously that when Yoongi extends his leg again, it's to kick him softly. Namjoon snorts and pushes his foot away, seeming entirely too pleased with himself until he notices Yoongi preparing to boot him once more. Then he quickly schools his expression and tries to shift backwards, away from him, only to press into the arm of the sofa. "Four hours, hyung. Jeez. No more feet. You know, Big Mike would probably make me pay extra for-"
Yoongi kicks him again.
Lights spill out from the windows and the open door, painting the rain slicked streets of Seoul with the colours of a neon rainbow, pink bleeding into blue and spreading pools of glowing greens, silvers and yellows. Sound comes with the pervasive hues, the steady buzz of chatter and the low beat of a song without words, and it all gathers together, hangs in the air with an ambiance he can almost feel, yet he stands just beyond the reach of colours that bleed, and he feels outside of everything in that moment, lost, even though he knows what he's here to do.
He has his camera around his neck already and his bag of equipment over his shoulder, resting heavy against his back, but he's trapped in the sounds and the colours that swim before his eyes, invoking memories without his assent. They should be faded with time, at least a little blotched by tears or ruined in some way by grief, but they're as bright as the lights and they feel just as warm. It's too bad Yoongi rests somewhere just outside of them, too.
He feels something close to discomfort prickle somewhere in the back of his mind, and it's a thing that itches, rests uneasy beneath his skin, but it's faint, all but forgotten when a man appears against the backlight of the bar and it's neon lights, broad shoulders and a smiling face that come into clarity as he approaches, and Yoongi is brought back to reality, remembers that Namjoon had told him only a handful of hours before that Seokjin would be 'looking out for him' over the course of the night.
Yoongi couldn't confess to being wildly excited about the babysitting the communications major had seemingly taken upon himself to do, but Namjoon was an infuriating bastard with selective hearing, and Yoongi's attempted bargaining and offers of compromise had been shamelessly ignored. So there Yoongi was, a grown ass man and a professional, thank you very much, being shuffled into the bar like a baby bird by Kim Seokjin, apple of Namjoon's eye and invader of Yoongi's personal space.
"So, Yoongi-yah," Seokjin clapped his shoulder and propelled him further into the sea of people currently occupying something close to 90% of the bar's floor space. "I'm sure Namjoon-ah told you what to do. Pictures of faces, drinks, whatever you think captures the essence of my beautiful brain baby, my Valentines Day Erotic Extravaganza-"
God, Yoongi hoped that wasn't what this event was called. His pictures would never get close to touching his portfolio if they came encumbered with the fucking words 'erotic extravaganza'.
"-Anyway," Seokjin continues. "There are a few people I'd like you to meet, maybe take a few quick snaps of, and then I'll let you do your own thing for a bit. If you want me for anything and I haven't found you first, feel free to ask the bartender for Worldwide Handsome. He'll know what to do."
Something about the crowds pushing close to him makes Yoongi feel stressed, puts him on edge, frays his nerves, and he told himself that he wouldn't get nervous, couldn't afford to. He needed the opportunities and the cash, yet the walls feel like they're starting to close in and he can't help the way it makes his stomach twist, roiling with sudden unease as he follows Seokjin towards the back of the bar.
Somehow, at some point, the rushing and pounding of the music's base had become congruent with the rapid beats of Yoongi's heart. His camera hangs around his neck, the memory card already flooded with pictures, but as he slips through the crowd now, he doesn't even think about lifting his hands to grasp the Canon, has no desire to capture anything that happens around him. It's all a blur, a mass of colours and sounds and lights that throb and pulse and push closer, and it makes his heart jump for his throat.
He's afraid but he doesn't know why, doesn't know what of. All he knows is he needs air, needs to breathe, and by very nature this bar seems to do nothing but suck space and oxygen from it's inhabitants.
He bursts out of the door, unnoticed by Seokjin, and the first thing he realizes is that the rain is falling over Seoul once more, the lights staining the streets dancing as raindrops animate once lifeless puddles of water and oil. The air isn't all that easier to breathe but it's colder, forces his uneven breaths to reveal themselves to the night as he rushes away from the bar. He doesn't know where he's going, doesn't know even if he should keep moving or let his legs give out like they so desperately ache to do, but irrational fear is a beast he has no idea how to tame so he walks, camera stuffed safely in his bag. He walks until the clothes stick to his skin and he's clutching his backpack against his chest. He walks until he isn't sure if the water making tracks down his cheeks come from the sky or if at some point the prickling behind his eyes made way for tears.
He walks until he doesn't, stumbling beneath the clear glass of a bus stop, allowing himself to drop onto the cold metal bench as he pulls out his phone, trembling slightly as he attempts to steady his breaths.
The night is lit up wanly by the blue glow of his phone as he hesitates. He should call Namjoon, should ask him for a lift home. But as Yoongi sits, cold and alone in the dark, he doesn't want Namjoon. He wants luminescent lights and warmth. He wants all the promises the sun makes, of brightness, of heat. Promises of tomorrow and forever, no matter how far away the sun may be.
His fingers are unsteady as they touch the cool screen of his phone, scrolling past Namjoon's number, moving without delay now. Something in the back of his mind warns that maybe he's making the wrong choice, opening a door that has long since been sealed shut, but the bar has made him drunk on something worse than alcohol, a sense numbing, come-what-may kind of recklessness that makes him so afraid he becomes indifferent to it, fearless, like water that runs so cold it burns.
The phone rings, once, twice, three times, and Yoongi's stomach twists. And then, halfway through the fourth dial tone it cuts off, and a cheerful voice is coming through the speaker.
"Hello?" He sounds happy, a little confused, like he doesn't know who's on the line, and Yoongi falters, unable to stop the hurt that blossoms in his chest. He deleted Yoongi's number?
His voice is small when he responds, so much more helpless than he had wanted to sound, but if at any point in time he had control, it was long past.
There is silence that stretches on for almost too long, until it seems something must break - and the odds are in favour of Yoongi's heart being tribute - and then Hoseok speaks, voice a little less enthusiastic now but still far from unkind. "Yoongi?" He's hesitant, as if he thinks he must somehow be mistaken. "Hyung, is that you? ...Is everything okay?"
"I don't..." Yoongi trails off, voice fading as he realizes he doesn't know what to say. Doesn't know how he feels, what he's doing. "I'm cold, Hobi."
"Where are you?" Hoseok's voice is painted with concern now, and Yoongi wants to tell him he's okay, he's just dumb. Just ran away from a good deal and walked in the rain with no coat and a bag of camera equipment. Wants to tell Hobi anything to change his tone from worry, put it back to the cheerfulness he had before Yoongi opened his fucking mouth, but he's freezing, shivering and alone and he wants Hoseok. He's selfish.
After Hoseok gets the address he tells Yoongi that he's coming to pick him up, and Yoongi really wishes he could blame the lump forming in his throat on being an emotional drunk, but he's sober and has always been more of a giggler, anyway.
It doesn't take long until the darkness surrounding Yoongi is being flooded with headlights, not shutting off even when a car door opens and closes, and Yoongi's heart is beating strangely inside his chest as footsteps rush up to the bus stop he is still huddled up inside.
"Hyung?" Hoseok reaches his side and Yoongi can't see him all that well in the half darkness, but his brows are knitted with worry and his lips are twisted into that pout that always meant he was stressed, distraught over something. Yoongi had enjoyed kissing that pout away, knowing that he was pushing the negative things away, forcing them back, making space for a lightness that made them both smile.
But he can't do that now. He was the cause but could never be the solution, and it hurts even as Hoseok leans down, fingers carding through his wet hair, touching him gently and examining his face with worried eyes, like he's searching Yoongi for some sign of a head injury.
"What happened, Yoongi? What are you doing out here?" He asks, and when his eyes land on Yoongi's backpack he frowns harder. "...Did you have a fight?" He questions, tone careful. "With your boyfriend? A girlfriend?"
Yoongi shakes his head, offers up no other explanation, but that seems to be enough, and then Hoseok is stepping back, picking up the bag with one hand as he reaches out towards Yoongi with the other.
"Come on, hyung." He says gently. "I'll drive you home."
Yoongi is curled up in a ball against the arm of his sofa, wrapped in a blanket, clothes changed now but cold settled deep in his bones, and it's quiet. Hobi sits on the cushion beside him, always moving. His leg bounces, his fingers play with his sleeves, with his finger nails, a frayed rip across the knee of his jeans. The silence isn't uncomfortable, not quite, but it's thick with things unsaid.
Clearing his throat, Yoongi speaks softly, offers up a break in the noiselessness, finally deeming himself steady enough to be trusted to form words now. "Thank you, Hobi." His voice is low, a gentle, careful type of tone, and Hoseok turns to look at him, eyes searching as they meet Yoongi's own. "I miss you."
The confession isn't supposed to escape him but it does, and he can't bring himself to regret it, not even as the silence seeps back in and Hoseok only continues to watch him carefully.
"Yoongi..." He sounds lost, like he doesn't know what he's supposed to say, so Yoongi shifts closer, until their legs press together and they breathe the same air.
"I've missed you for so long." Yoongi says softly. "I don't want to anymore."
"It's not that simple." Hoseok murmurs, fingers dancing gingerly over Yoongi's knee. "It just - it isn't."
Yoongi aches to lean in, to move closer, to finally recapture some of that heat. He wants to feel it beneath his hands, taste it against his lips. He wants to be consumed by it. He wants to let the dams break, at last, and he wants to drown in every single thing he remembers, every single thing he made himself forget.
But he can't.
He leans away, swallows thickly. "I know."
They lapse into silence, heavy, cold , and moments pass slowly through it, lagging, stuttered and sapped of speed like the quiet has taken ahold of time, demanded it freeze. But it's not for them. It has never been for them. Or at least, never for Yoongi. No, time is cruel, and it plays games. Watching to see which will break first, them or the still, it's just a joke. And Yoongi knows it's supposed to be them, supposed to be Hoseok, himself , that crumbles, but it isn't. The silence breaks as Hoseok clears his throat, opens his mouth, but as Yoongi watches his lips move, he wonders if maybe that's the whole point - if when the silence breaks, when it falls to pieces around them, it takes parts of them, too. Maybe when the silence crumbles, it catches them, renders them powerless, buries them beneath something more.
"I'm going to get going." Hoseok says, always moving hands darting now to the ratty sofa cushions, pressing down into it as he pushes up, stands tall and pretty, perfect amongst the ruins of Yoongi's existence.
He nods, tears his eyes from Hobi, clears his throat. "Yeah, okay." His voice doesn't sound like his own, sounds tinny and distant, like he's listening to it from far away, through a string and can telephone - the kind he and Namjoon strung up as children, calling through distorted connections as they pretended to be someone else, anyone else. "Thanks again."
Hoseok pauses on his way to the door, eyes flickering back to Yoongi, and they dart over him, concern he doesn't deserve etched into the younger man's face, and then Hoseok is clapping, bringing his hands together with faked enthusiasm as if further corrupting the auspicious suggestions of silence would somehow correct unidentified mistakes. "Alright." He says, and his voice is full of cheer that doesn't reach his eyes. "Don't be a stranger, hey hyung?"
Yoongi makes promises he doesn't think he can keep.
Yoongi knows that strange behaviour has to be followed up on between close friends. Of course he knows. He's done it many a time himself for Namjoon - like during grade school when his friend once disappeared for a handful of days only to reappear with some fucking 3360 won chains and the worst cover of some English song that Yoongi's ears had ever had the displeasure of suffering the duration of. It had been painful. He wouldn't think it an exaggeration to say that it was, generally speaking, a soul crushing ordeal. But Yoongi had followed up, followed through. Made sure his best friend hadn't truly gone insane, made sure he knew he had support if he needed it (Yoongi's ears certainly had).
And he understands that, though significantly less absurd than Namjoon's Expensive Girl Phase™, fleeing the site of a paid job with no explanation is technically 'strange behaviour', and as a close friend of a sickeningly long time, Namjoon would feel obligated to check up on him once hearing of it. Yoongi had just hoped he'd get a little more time to recuperate first.
Namjoon, however, doesn't seem to care about Yoongi's recovery process, because it's ass o'clock at night and Yoongi's just finished a painstaking shift at his second job and would like very much to sleep for the next century, but there's incessant knocking at his door, and he knows it can only be Namjoon.
Heaving a world weary sigh, Yoongi yanks open his door and stares blankly at the taller male stood before him. There’s a few beats of silence wherein his expression stays flat and Namjoon waits expectantly - for Yoongi to greet him, invite him in, welcome him in some way, which he does not plan to do.
When Namjoon realizes this, he rolls his eyes and steps past Yoongi into his flat. “Hello to you too, hyung.” He says sarcastically.
Yoongi watches him walk into his place like he owns it, strolling to the kitchen and opening the fridge, and then he huffs loudly and lets the door snap shut. He doesn’t ask what Namjoon wants; he already knows. So he just pads to the sofa and perches on the arm, pretending it’s not wildly uncomfortable as he blinks at the younger male.
Namjoon backs out of the fluorescent light of the fridge with Yoongi’s leftovers in hand, deposits them on the counter and starts to pick at them wordlessly.
Yoongi expects him to talk. He expects him to adjust the glasses propped on his nose, clear his throat, and proceed to interrogate him. He expects patience and understanding, wrapped around an inevitable moment of spontaneous and unasked for therapy, and he expects to be begrudgingly grateful for all of it, though he would sooner die than admit it aloud.
What he doesn’t expect is utter silence. He doesn’t expect to stare mutely at Namjoon, and have him stare mutely back.
Yoongi blinks. Says nothing. The quiet stretches out, impossibly long, unbroken save for the strange scraping sound Yoongi often hears through the wall he shares with his faceless neighbours - the sound he cannot place the source of, and honestly doesn’t think he wants to. Time begins to stretch lazily, too.
Silence. Scraping. Yoongi stares. Namjoon stares. The scraping sound is really fucking weird.
And then - Namjoon shifts, places his palms on the counter, places his weight on his palms. Opens his mouth. “So.”
Namjoon rolls his eyes, heaves a sigh much like Yoongi’s own only minutes before. “Hyung, I’m trying to be supportive.” He says. “I’m here for you. I’m waiting for you to be open with me.”
Yoongi resists the urge to convey his amusement once more through the ever sophisticated snort. “You’re going to be waiting a real long fucking time then.”
Namjoon looks at him for a moment, and Yoongi wonders if staring contests are going to be something they do a lot now. He hopes not.
“Seokjin told me you disappeared last night.” Namjoon says finally.
Yoongi lifts a shoulder, isn’t sure if he’s confirming the fact or merely acknowledging it. Figures it doesn’t matter - Namjoon already knows. “Is he pissed?”
The other shakes his head, giving his glasses opportunity to attempt escape, slipping quickly down the bridge of his nose towards free fall. Namjoon reaches up so hastily to stop them that in pushing them back to their original place, he also manages somehow to smack himself in the face, wincing at the self-inflicted injury.
Yoongi isn’t sure if it’s of pain or embarrassment.
“Fuck.” He mutters, rubbing his nose, and Yoongi sighs, waits for the younger man to tend to his wounded face and ego before he’s once more given attention and answers. “Sorry. No, he wasn’t pissed. Worried, though. Says you vanished.”
Yoongi shrugs again. “I’m batman.”
Namjoon gives him a look all too critical for someone who just punched himself in the face. “Hyung.”
Yoongi pretends he doesn’t know what the younger is trying to get at. “You didn’t want to be Robin, did you?” He asks instead. “I’ve already assigned that role to Tae. It’s nothing personal. I just think he’d look better in the shorts.”
Namjoon looks mildly affronted. “I could pull off the shorts.” He says defensively, and Yoongi rolls his eyes.
“Please only do that if you intend to replace them with some loose fitting, full length trousers.” He responds.
“Hey, if you can be Batman then I can fucking wear shorts.” Namjoon grumbles, folding his arms, and Yoongi narrows his eyes.
“Don’t put my secret life as the caped crusader in the same category as your ugly ass wearing shorts.” He says. “One saves civilians and the other threatens their will to live.”
“Fuck you.” Namjoon rebuts. “Their will to live would only be encouraged by the thought that they might one day find themselves in my shorts.”
Yoongi gives him a look that he thinks accurately conveys his current level of disgust (severely elevated from it’s usual default of Pretty Fucking Disgusted by life and things generally, as a whole).
“God,” he groaned. “That’s it. You’ve ruined human speech. Shut up. Get out of my house. I can’t look at you ever again.”
Namjoon does not appear impressed. “You’re exaggerating.”
“I’m scarred for life by the mental image you provided.” Yoongi shoots back. “Oh my god. That was the worst aural experience of my life.”
Namjoon splutters. “I can’t suggest that people will want to get in my pants but you can say that ? Where is the justice?”
“I never said I would provide justice.” Yoongi says simply, and that seems to irritate the other in a way he probably shouldn’t find as amusing as he does.
“You said you were batman!” Namjoon exclaims, throwing his arms up in exasperation. “He serves vigilante justice. He’s part of the fucking justice league !”
Well. He’s not wrong.
Yoongi falls silent, stares at him for a moment. He has no rebuttal but he hates losing, wonders if looking blankly at the younger man for long enough will somehow convince him he’s wrong and Yoongi is the obvious winner in this situation. It’s not probable, but he does it anyway.
Namjoon humours him for all of two seconds before releasing air through his nose at an obnoxiously loud volume, closing his eyes. He reaches up, pinches the bridge of his nose, and Yoongi continues to stare as the other does what he can only assume is meditate briefly.
Yoongi decides to count the seconds, gets all the way to fifteen before Namjoon opens his eyes.
“Okay.” He says levelly. “Hyung, staring at people like they’re Taehyung after he told you that your code name for paintball was ‘if I had to pick a dude’-”
“It’s still not an acceptable response to hearing things you don’t like.” Namjoon states, and Yoongi narrows his eyes, stares at him silently.
Namjoon does not look impressed.
Namjoon, for his part, doesn’t actually kill him. He just seems to consider it for a few moments more than Yoongi thinks necessary.
“Hyung, do you think we can have an actual conversation now? With words?” The younger asks.
“I was actually planning on having a conversation with interpretive dance.” Yoongi quips, and Namjoon looks at him for a moment, arms still folded.
Yoongi stares back silently for three full seconds before huffing and looking away. “Fine, fuck you.” He grumbles. “We can talk.”
“Thanks.” Namjoon says, sounding just chipper enough for Yoongi to want to smack him a little. “So, last night.”
“What about it?” Yoongi raises his eyebrows, pretends he doesn’t know what’s coming next.
The other sighs softly. “I know what happened, hyung.” He says gently. “Are you okay? Why didn’t you call me?”
He knew he would have to face the events of the night before, knew it from the second he heard the knock at the door, knew it before, knew from the moment Hoseok was gone and he was left in the cold and the dark that he wouldn’t be able to hide from any part of it. Not disappearing, and definitely not calling Hobi.
He and Namjoon might not talk about emotional shit that often, but there were certain things they always followed up on - Namjoon’s unrelenting stress, and Yoongi’s anxiety, the kind that snuck up from nowhere like a monster in the dark, digging sharp claws into his mind and pulling him down into the murkiness with it, forcing him to panic and grab at shadows until he succumbed, sank.
And Namjoon might not now about Hoseok, not yet. But he would. It was impossible to avoid. When he found out, it would tear at Yoongi just like the darkness. Not because the other would be a dick about it; Namjoon didn’t have the capacity for that, not like Yoongi did. But because saying the words aloud, having to look at his actions head on, it would only solidify every hazy thought and feeling that clung to his clothes like the scent of cigarette smoke (fuck, Yoongi missed smoking. Wished in that moment he’d never given it up because nicotine would soothe the storm inside him right then) . Every passing emotion about Hoseok that wasn’t really going anywhere at all, no matter what he told himself, for thoughts of the younger man were infused into Yoongi’s very soul, carved in his mind, weaved so carefully into what made up the essence of his being that he became unravelled without it. He was afraid of what else might come to fruition if those things were allowed to be given validation.
But Namjoon is watching him, gaze careful but caring, somewhere beyond those stupid wire glasses and the bruise now spilling over the bridge of his nose, and Yoongi is weak behind his own flat stare, redirecting his eyes to examine the layers of old paint, ugly, exposed through the harsh gouges that made their mark on the foundations of his home, wasn’t sure if he was forcing himself to speak or simply releasing the dam that held back his own ugly interior.
“I fucked up.” He confesses to the wall. “I freaked out and I - shit, Namjoon, I fucked up.”
“Hyung, I told you Seokjin isn’t mad.” His friend says, starting out strong before faltering, tone softening in a way that makes Yoongi want to snarl at the other to quit babying him (he keeps quiet). “...Unless this isn’t about the bar?”
Silence meets Namjoon cold and empty, seemingly devoid of answers, and yet it’s very nature of nothingness somehow gives him almost everything he needs.
“Did something happen after you left, hyung?” He asks carefully, sensing the - not eggshells, surrounding Yoongi. Eggshells don’t deliver enough damage, don’t give credit to the wreckage that comes from attempting to cross them. No, Yoongi rests in the centre of broken glass, wicked and volatile, bouncing back the light and stealing from him the warmth he craves. “Yoongi hyung?”
Yoongi hesitates, considers living out the rest of his pitiful life in silence. Knows he wouldn’t be in this place now if he’d kept his mouth shut. Opens his mouth anyway.
“I called Hobi.” He says, and when the words paint the space around them, they become less scary, yet simultaneously so much more intimidating, real. “I was selfish.”
Namjoon’s expression becomes something Yoongi is all too familiar with then, patience and understanding, just a bit of pity bleeding in on the edges, brought in by the sympathy, seemingly a package deal with… this. With Yoongi, when it came to his desire to crash full force into every burning thing that offered any pretense of harmless warmth. With Yoongi, when it came to crashing right into Hoseok, and burning up by a fire that turned on him the second the younger stopped tending it.
There are a lot of questions Namjoon could ask. Questions Yoongi would be annoyed by, sure, but he’d understand. Yet he doesn’t ask anything of him. Just keeps offering that gentle stare. “Hyung,” his voice is as soft as his expression, and Yoongi honestly wants to hate it (he doesn’t), “asking for help when you need it - that’s not selfish.”
The voice in the back of Yoongi’s head tells him it is. Asking for help - laying your problems on others even though they can do nothing about it but worry is borderline sociopathic, it says, soft but certain, and it’s convincing, even though he knows it’s not true. He knows maybe because he had some semblance of a normal mental state once, and hints of it remain embedded in his mind, but mostly he knows because Namjoon has been his conscience for so long now that whenever the bitch in his brain spoke up, his clumsy ass caring idiot friend appeared on his shoulder like Jiminy fucking Cricket to talk back the unsteady side of himself.
So maybe he protests out loud now simply because it’s what he does, deny, deny, deny. But he knows it’s because he needs to hear the truth - whatever it is - from someone else. Someone he can trust more than his self-destructive brain.
“Calling Hobi was selfish.” Yoongi isn’t sure if he’s correcting Namjoon or just reiterating the exacts of his fuck up, but he doesn’t think it matters, if the look Namjoon gives him is anything to go by. He keeps talking to try and ward it off (it’s never worked before, but Yoongi deserves some miracles, damn it). “He was happy , Joon. I dragged him down with my shit once before. It was a dick move to do it again.”
Finally something in the younger’s expression shifts, and he heaves a sigh. He looks like he might get a little impatient, and Yoongi is a masochistic bitch, thank you very much. He wants someone to snap, tell him yeah, Yoon, you fucked up. Just so he can hear it out loud, hear it from someone aside from himself. Maybe it’ll finally get him to stop thinking about Hobi, about how much he misses him, how much he wants to fall right back into every burning emotion until it destroys him. Maybe it’ll finally get him to stop thinking about himself, because what he wants isn’t what Hobi needs, and he knows that, wants anyway. Selfish.
“Hyung.” Namjoon’s tone is firm, and Yoongi thinks finally, thinks tell me I fucked up. “What went down between you and Hoseok wasn’t your fault. You guys were young. You had a lot of growing up to do and to do it you had to grow apart. I know you think he missed out on shit because he chose to stay by you instead, but he wasn’t a kid. He knew what he wanted to do. He made his own choices. You aren’t selfish.”
God. Jesus fucking fuck. Even when Namjoon was having a go at him it was to fucking promise Yoongi he didn’t do anything wrong. “Fuck you.” He groans, letting himself fall back onto the sofa cushions behind him. “Just call me a dick, damn it. You’re the worst fucking friend.”
Namjoon huffs out a laugh. “I’m a bad friend because I won’t call you a dick?”
“Yes.” Yoongi says, voice muffled by the arm he now has thrown dramatically over his face, shielding him from all the fucking betrayal. “Obviously.”
“Okay, fine.” Namjoon’s tone is lighter now, kind of like he’s amused. Kind of like he’s making fun of Yoongi a bit. Yoongi should kick his ass for that, but he’s just laid down. Doesn’t want to turtle trying to heave himself up from the too soft cushions. Lets it slide. “You’re a dick, hyung. But you aren’t selfish.”
“Impossible.” He mutters against his sleeve. “Get out of my fucking house.”
Namjoon laughs again, properly this time, and Yoongi hears him scoop up the carton of leftovers, pad his way over the creaky floor until he’s taking up the space left on the sofa that the half of Yoongi sprawling out on it doesn’t occupy.
He doesn’t acknowledge him. Doesn’t think Namjoon’s I’m-not-going-to-say-you-fucking-suck attitude has made him worthy of acknowledgement. So he stays silent, likes to think he looks angry and brooding, ignores the fact that he’s pouting and doesn’t even take up the entirety of the sofa, and Namjoon just turns on his tv, props his feet on Yoongi’s coffee table like he fucking owns it, and eats Yoongi’s food.
It’s cold. Yoongi’s really fucking cold. Sure, he’s wearing a bajillion layers (read:a thin white tee, an equally thin but more for threadbare reasons than by design plaid shirt. A denim jacket. His beat up aviator), but god, it’s fucking freezing. Maybe ripped jeans weren’t the best fashion choice given the fucking ice needles the wind has decided to deploy, but they make him look moderately okay - at least an, eh, if I had nothing better to do on a scale from god it burns my eyes to I would kill ten innocent people to tap that - so really, it’s worth the sacrifice.
Not that Yoongi’s going anywhere to get tapped. Just handing his photos over to Seokjin, and Yoongi doesn’t even require the assistance of his last two functioning brain cells to deduce that he would be one of the ten innocent people Namjoon killed if Yoongi came onto Seokjin before the younger could even admit to himself that he was sickeningly head over heels for the communications major.
And, in the defense of not only Yoongi himself, but Yoongi Jr., he wanted nothing from a person who uses the words ‘erotic extravaganza’ with a straight face. Nothing except his money, of course. Yoongi may have some standards, but he’s broke as fuck.
He reaches Seokjin’s building, tries to ignore the way it’s three times the size of his and nicer overall in the ‘a person a week probably doesn’t get shot in the stairwell’ kind of way. He gets buzzed in quickly, feels out of place in the lobby, scurries hastily to the elevator (he definitely doesn’t marvel silently over its existence because sure, he’s had to hike up a never ending series of stairs just to reach his own flat for the past several years but being amazed by not having to do that in a place this fucking nice isn’t a normal thing to do, so. He totally doesn’t).
When he reaches Seokjin’s door he pauses. The last time he saw the guy was shortly before fleeing with no explanation, but he’s not going to think about that. Seokjin isn’t angry. Yoongi - well, Yoongi kind of wants to curl up and die. But that isn’t anything new, doesn’t particularly pertain to this situation, so he pushes it all down, compacting it nicely into a thing that will definitely blow up one day (he pushes that thought down, too), and knocks.
It echoes a little in the current quietness of the corridor, but Yoongi is the only one around, shifting his weight as he examines the contrast of his beat up doc martens against the shiny hardwood floor. He knows Seokjin’s family has money, but the guy is still a university student. He isn’t sure what he’d expected, but it isn’t this.
Maybe Namjoon is a gold digger.
He snorts softly at the thought, tucks it away in his mental file of Ways To Fuck With Joon, and jumps when the door is tugged open with unnecessary vigor.
“Yoongi-yah!” Seokjin’s voice is loud, fuck. Yoongi forgot that. “I’m glad you made it! Come in.”
He steps further back into his flat, gives Yoongi the space to enter, and as he hesitates, the older does nothing but continue to smile, waiting patiently for Yoongi to finally force himself forward.
His movements feel a little stilted as he rushes past Seokjin, hand darting to his pocket to retrieve the thumb drive of photographs, feeling bad but wanting this to be over as soon as possible. “I’ve got the pictures here-”
He’s interrupted by the semi-obnoxious flapping of Seokjin’s hand, waving through the air as if he can physically stunt Yoongi’s words with a single gesture. It turns out, he can.
“No need to jump straight into business, Yoongi-yah.” He says, steering Yoongi deeper into the apartment, an arm around his shoulders now, leading him with all too much ease into the kitchen, just big enough and fancy enough to piss Yoongi off a little.
He doesn’t cook all that much, though he is proud of the meat dishes his hyung taught him how to make, and he’s not particularly the kind to feel bitter about the financial differences between himself and others (though on that note, fuck the bitch called capitalism), but something about the way he has to stand for twenty minutes trying to get the burner to turn the fuck on and stay that way in his flat when Seokjin’s here with an expensive looking glass top stove makes something suspiciously close to envy creep into his veins.
Yoongi redirects his eyes, tries not to look at the big stainless steel fridge occupying a space not far off the size of his own living room, pushes down memories of last winter, when his own fridge bit the dust and he had to store his food in a cardboard box tethered to his window just to keep it from rotting, and wonders when he became so easily triggered by fucking kitchen appliances.
Maybe he needs to scrape together some money to start seeing a therapist. There’s no way elevated blood pressure over fridges is normal.
Yoongi is brought from his increasingly more concerning train of thought when Seokjin suddenly thumps two cups down in front of him.
“Coffee?” He chirps, and Yoongi is uncomfortable, he’s fucking raging internally over goddamn kitchenware, but he’s not insane, so he accepts the offer of caffeine, nodding with a slightly awkward string of thanks.
He watches Seokjin press some buttons on a sleek coffee maker, relaxes minutely when the complex but oh so comforting scent of java blankets the room, yet when the older man starts to talk again, he realizes it was all a trap, a way to lull him into a false sense of security before it’s all shattered ruthlessly.
“So,” Seokjin isn’t looking at him but Yoongi’s certain he can see him anyway, some kind of eyes-on-the-back-of-his-head eomma power or whatever the fuck, and he shifts a little, tries to compose himself. “Some friends of mine - Jimin and Jungkook, they're hosting a party this weekend. It’ll be nothing like my beautiful extravaganza, of course, but it should be fun anyway.”
Yoongi wants to claim he doesn’t know what he’s getting at, but as he watches Seokjin pour the hot, dark liquid into the mugs, he’s all too witting.
“You and Namjoon should come.” He places a cup of coffee in front of Yoongi, observes as he reaches out gingerly to take it, like accepting the invitation is tied to accepting the drink, and now his fingers lace around the mug, he can’t possibly decline. “Consider it a thank you for your service!”
Yoongi thinks the money more than suffices. Wants to say a party is maybe some other people’s cup of tea, but he drinks coffee and parties are a sneak peak at his future in hell. But that’s rude.
He’s just trying to compose a polite way to sum all this up in a rejection instead when he realizes that he can’t say no.
Namjoon, the inconvenient fuck, is his best friend. Namjoon is in love with this other inconvenient fuck, Seokjin. Who invited them both to the party. That he would be attending. And all of this means it’s Yoongi’s fucking job to accept and then wingman the fuck out of that shit until these fucks - well, until they fuck.
One of these days, Yoongi will stop being a saint.
“Um, yeah.” He clears his throat when his voice comes out unsure, realizes he probably shouldn’t sound like he’s agreeing to let Ammut play ping pong with his heart until she realizes that yes, he’s a fucking asshole, and devours his ticker onsite, leaves him to be just as restless in the afterlife as he is in this godforsaken, Namjoon plagued one. “That’d be great. I’ll tell Joon.”
“Excellent!” Seokjin smiles widely, picks up his own cup. “Don’t let me let you leave without giving you the time and location!”
The coffee, it turns out, serves a second purpose alongside leaving him unable to get out of party going - the liquid is hot and fills the sizeable mugs, renders him incapable of handing over the drive and dipping. Pins him to his seat to exchange small talk with Seokjin until he realizes the man isn’t actually a loud ass unable to be normal. Which, he didn’t need to know, thank you. Hating people is much easier. Much more convenient. But, as Yoongi has previously concluded, these fucks are massively inconvenient and equally unbothered.
“Oh my god! You’re going to a party and you weren’t going to invite me?!”
The exclamation breaks through the otherwise serene quiet of the little coffee house, draws a handful of perplexed stares, some raised eyebrows and judgemental looks, and Yoongi feels his cheeks heat, feels like a parent caught with a screaming child in a supermarket - the kind that makes people side eye you, silently telling you to take your brat home.
Which isn’t a completely inaccurate description of the man beside him. Whiny toddler, that is. But, fuck - he didn’t do anything wrong. He doesn’t deserve to be subject to withering stares.
So he glances sharply over at his companion, eyes narrowed as he wills him to lower his goddamn voice. “Tae-”
“No! Oh my god. This is the ultimate betrayal, hyung. I can’t even look at you right now.”
Yoongi falters at that, rolls his eyes with a little huff. “Then why don’t you get up?”
Taehyung, from his place securely wrapped around Yoongi like an octopus, gives the elder a look like in this situation, Yoongi’s the one that’s insane. “Right.” He snorts, seems amused.
He’s just patting Yoongi’s head in an all too condescending manner when Namjoon strolls up to the table, face splitting into a smirk at the sight of Yoongi being downright smothered by the multi-limbed hellbeast clinging to his side.
“Comfy, hyung?” He asks, rests his hip against the benchrest instead of sitting, arms folding loosely over his boxy blue shirt.
When Yoongi offers up his best death glare, the younger’s brows simply disappear under his beanie. He does not look intimidated, as per Yoongi’s intentions, chuckling softly.
“Just shut up and sit down.” Yoongi mutters, would flip him off but his arms are somewhere trapped against Taehyung, and quite frankly he’s afraid to shift his hands and find out where.
“I’m gonna grab a drink first.” Namjoon says easily. “Anyone else want anything?”
“Ooh!” Taehyung’s mouth is close to Yoongi’s ear, fuck. He thinks he might be deaf now. Can’t bring himself to cry about it. “I will! I’ll have a medium frappuccino with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Extra cream, extra chocolate.”
“Extra diabetes.” Yoongi mutters, gets ignored, because obviously.
“Got it.” Namjoon glances at Yoongi next. “What about you, hyung?”
Yoongi says no but Namjoon keeps staring, keeps looking at Yoongi expectantly, blinking so few times it’s almost alarming, and Yoongi knows he’s not waiting for him to change his mind. He’s waiting for his money.
Somehow, Yoongi has become the world’s poorest, most pathetic excuse for a sugar daddy and his two babies are the most wide eyed, inconvenient, unloveable, touch-them-and-Yoongi-will-personally-have-you-done-away-with brats under the goddamn sun.
Grumbling under his breath, Yoongi shuffles around in Taehyung’s grasp until he can slip a hand into his own pocket, definitely not first mistakenly plunging into Tae’s and getting filth muttered into his ear for it.
He thrusts the cash at Joon with pink ears and a hot face, grateful when the younger walks away without mentioning it. At least Namjoon, though more than happy to take Yoongi’s money, draws the line at robbing him of what remains of his pride.
The same cannot be said of Kim Taehyung. Bane of his existence, and yet somehow, Robin to his Batman. (It’s all in the legs.)
There’s silence, almost peace, between them for all of two seconds before Tae is pouting, dropping his chin onto Yoongi’s shoulder as he resumes his life long passion of ruining Yoongi’s already dangerously pitiful reality.
“I can’t believe you were just going to go without me.” He says sadly, like Yoongi was planning on leaving the country without so much as a note.
“It’s a party, Tae.” Yoongi grouches. “Besides, Joon knew as well. Why are you scolding me?”
“I’m not scolding you - I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed, hyungie.” Taehyung sighs, hugging onto Yoongi tighter. “You should know better.”
“You’re right.” Yoongi mutters lowly, trying slowly to unravel himself from the younger’s grasp. “Should’ve known better than to mention it to you at all. Fuckin’ eight armed limpet. Can’t fucking breathe.”
“Language, hyung.” Namjoon says, reappearing at the table with two cups and a patronizing tone. “Here, Taehyungie. Medium frappuccino. Extra everything.”
Taehyung finally releases Yoongi to grab at his sugar coma in a cup, grinning as he sticks a finger in the white cream towering unnaturally high above the actual drink. “Thanks, Joonie hyung.”
Yoongi pauses his mandatory straightening out of clothes and hair to glance at Taehyung. “What are you thanking him for?” He gripes. “I paid for it.”
Taehyung just leans across, dobs the cream on Yoongi’s nose, smiles innocently when the elder blinks, stares at him silently, indignant. “There we go.” Taehyung says, to himself more than anyone else. “Like a little cream kitten. Wait. Do you think that’s like, a kink people have? Or like, a sex thing? Cream kitten? Don’t you think that sound like some sort of sex thing, Joonie?” He looks over at Namjoon, eyes curious, tone all too innocent for every single syllable that has just exited his mouth, and Yoongi follows his gaze, stares incredulously at the man sitting across from them.
What the fuck.
Namjoon stares back at them both for a moment, and Yoongi, despite being agnostic, prays then that he’s going to tell the kid off for saying Yoongi looks like a ‘cream kitten’, and then continuing on to say that it sounded like ‘some sort of sex thing’.
But of course, he does no such thing. Only hums, takes a slow sip of his tea. “I would imagine so.” He notes. “Either a petplay kind of thing or you know, like, creme pies-”
“Hey!” Yoongi breaks in, gawking at the injustice. “I can’t say ‘fucking’ but you can talk about that?!”
Taehyung has been all too still, all too calm, and right now, he looks about a thousand times more thoughtful than can ever be a good thing. “So... I gave hyung a creme- ”
“No!” Yoongi yelps, hears his voice carry through the room, directing stares once more, and he doesn’t even stop to think about the fact everyone staring at him can see the fucking cream dripping slowly off the end of his nose as he reaches across, slaps his hands over Taehyung’s mouth. “No, Tae.” He repeats, in a steadier, softer tone now. “Don’t make hyung cut off your feet and shove them down your throat until you’re shitting toes.”
Taehyung’s already wide eyes are the size of the moon as he blinks at Yoongi, and Yoongi stares back, still trying to ignore the cream sliding off his nose as he maintains eye contact.
Somewhere to the left of them, Namjoon whistles under his breath, sounds either mildly impressed or entirely mocking. Yoongi isn’t currently sure which. “Shit, hyung.” He murmurs. “The whispering made that so much scarier. And the cream - the cream really tied it all together. Terrifying.”
Right, so. He’s making fun of him, then.
Yoongi’s pride would be hurt, but honestly? In this moment, it doesn’t exist. He’s Min Yoongi, Cream Kitten™ and broke sugar daddy, and there’s nothing he welcomes more than the cold embrace of death.
He releases Taehyung, jabbing a finger in his direction threateningly before running the back of his hand over his face, cringing at the sticky sugar trail it leaves behind but knows better than to utter such words to these fucking perverts, wipes his hands on a napkin instead, silent as he slumps back in his seat.
Taehyung doesn’t seem to share Namjoon’s amusement in this situation, slowly pushing all of the paper towels in Yoongi’s direction instead, not saying a word, and Yoongi brings them closer to himself, glares at the younger over the top of the pile, hopes he feels bad for the irreparable damage he’s caused.
There’s a few beats of silence, and then, “I can’t believe you chose him to be your Robin.”
Yoongi decides in that moment that, though maybe not today, maybe not even tomorrow, but someday, without a doubt, Kim Namjoon will die at his hand.
Before they even enter the party, Yoongi is really fucking uncomfortable. Sure, maybe the leather trousers currently adhering themselves to his skin are partially to blame. Maybe it’s conceivable that the matching leather jacket was a bit much, trapped heat against his body just enough to pass into the territory of personal sauna. Can it be argued that he could have worn comfier shoes? Well, no. He only has the one pair, but the point stands - his clothing choice definitely did not support prime comfort. But he looks even higher on the fuckable scale than the day he went to Seokjin’s, so. At least a, I only realized the next morning how big of a fucking mistake this was. Which is like, almost as high on the system as Yoongi can get.
Suffer-for-the-fuckability clothes aside, Yoongi isn’t all that sure whether the Terror Twins flanking him make him more relaxed, or if they intensify his sense of foreboding infinitesimally.
“Par-tae time!” Taehyung cheers, completing the sacrilegious to human speech pun with a fist pump, and Yoongi wants to turn and run.
They definitely make this worse. There isn’t a chance in hell they don’t whack the foreboding level up until it breaks all measuring systems, along with every shred of sanity Yoongi has somehow managed to cling onto. This is a mistake. Existence is a mistake.
But. He’s here to be a wingman. He’s here to set Namjoon up with Seokjin so he can finally have a legitimate sugar daddy. If Yoongi only has to sustain Taehyung, then who knows - maybe he’ll be able to buy himself a second pair of shoes in some two to five years.
So he knocks on the door, hisses at Taehyung to 1, refrain from dying of alcohol poisoning, and 2, try his best not to bring shame upon them all, and before Taehyung can get out whatever defense campaign he’s opening his mouth to launch, a stranger appears in the entryway, orange haired and smiling so his eyes all but disappear.
“You must be Yoongi-yah!” Orange Boy cooes, and Yoongi resists the urge to throw Joon at him and bolt when his cheek gets patted with the hand not currently clinging to a bottle of soju. “Come on in.”
Yoongi finally shirks him off to reach for Tae, who’s gone stock still, and he rolls his eyes, puts his fingers under his chin, presses his mouth shut. “Subtle.” He says under his breath, and Taehyung pouts, grasps his hand as he pads forward.
“Hyung,” he whines. “Sh. You’re embarrassing me.”
Orange Boy, however, is now sizing up Namjoon as he ambles into the apartment, stopping just short enough of crowded that Yoongi doesn’t feel too claustrophobic.
“So, are you Namjoonie?” He asks, and Namjoon looks surprised.
“I’m Jimin! I know Seokjin.” Orange Boy explains. “He’s told me all about you.”
“O-oh? Uh-” Namjoon scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. “Good things? I mean, I hope?”
“Definitely.” Orange Boy, Jimin, all but purrs and Namjoon looks completely lost and a little like he might combust, but before he can, Jimin is swivelling around, back to face Yoongi, though his eyes are on Taehyung this time. “So, I know Namjoonie here. And Yoongi-chi. Who are you?”
“This is Taehyung.” Yoongi says, releasing Tae’s hand to push him forward slightly. Looks like he’s wing manning for two tonight. “He’s single. Show him where the drinks are?”
Taehyung splutters until Yoongi raises a finger to his own lips in a silent command to shut up, winking as he pads past Jimin.
“It’d be my pleasure.” Jimin’s voice is all low and purring again, but with the way he stares at Taehyung now there’s no room for interpretation, and Yoongi honestly deserves an award.
“Where’s Seokjin?” Yoongi asks, having to raise his voice a little because shit, Jimin moves fast, already clinging to Taehyung and near dragging him into the crowd.
“He’s with the DJ!” Jimin calls over his shoulder. “Apparently he needed to have words.”
Yoongi doesn’t get to find out where the so-called DJ is because Orange Boy and one out of two Terror Twins have now disappeared in the mass of chatting, drinking, dancing bodies, so he just turns to lead the second half of the horrors in the general direction he believes the music to be coming from.
It takes a minor mishap involving a drunk person’s beverage and the side of Yoongi’s jacket, but he finally finds his way to the makeshift DJ station, what turns out to be a phone, a bluetooth speaker, and a bowl of chips.
Sure enough Seokjin is stood there, broad shouldered form partially blocking whoever he spoke to from sight, but Yoongi only had one thing in mind: setting up his hopeless friend with this rich college boy so that he could stop hearing the lovesick whining and maybe even buy himself a pair of shoes.
“Seokjin-ssi?” Yoongi would be a little more nervous, a little more meek, but he’s not Min Yoongi, broke anxious photographer tonight - he’s a wingman with a slightly self-serving mission.
Seokjin turns quickly, grinning when he sees them stood there. “Yah, Yoongi-yah - I told you to call me hyung!” He ‘scolds’, pausing only when he sees Joon. “Namjoon-ah. Welcome to the party!”
Yoongi’s about to start round two of his match making when whoever Seokjin had been talking to steps around him, echoing, “‘Yoongi’?”
And, well - Yoongi is a relatively good person in the grand scheme of things. He’s a bit of a dick, yes. He can be selfish for sure. Goes MIA frequently. Sometimes he takes a wrapped candy from those bulk bins without paying for it. But he sustains the world’s worst sugar babies. He plays wingman for them. He went to this fucking party for them.
So if you ask him, over all, he doesn’t deserve the absolute fucking the universe likes to give him. Like bumping into his ex at a party only nights after calling him during a breakdown and then proceeding to tell him that Yoongi missed him, didn’t want to anymore.
Yoongi has gone kind of still and kind of quiet, thinks maybe if he doesn’t move Hoseok won’t see him, but Seokjin doesn’t pick up on his tactic, to be fair probably doesn’t even know that Yoongi has humiliated himself in front of this (fucking gorgeous, fuck ) DJ.
So he just looks between them, raises his eyebrows. “You know Yoongi-yah?” He asks, and Hoseok clears his throat, looks maybe a little hesitant himself.
“Yeah. Yoongi and I go way back.” He says, and he makes it sound so easy, but god Yoongi’s chest hurts.
He wonders faintly if it’s a heart attack. He doesn’t know. Never had one before. But whatever this pain is behind his ribs, he’s fairly certain it will kill him. He considers turning to ask Namjoon, figures he would know, but now probably isn’t the time.
“Really?” Seokjin still hasn’t picked up on the shit I’m dying vibes that Yoongi’s emitting right now, continuing to watch them in a relaxed and laid back manner, like they’re chatting about the weather, not tap dancing on the line of What Makes Yoongi Freak The Fuck Out. “How’d you two meet?”
Hoseok smiles a little then, faint, playing softly on the corners of his lips as he looks at Yoongi, and Yoongi swears he’s currently experiencing cardiac arrest. There’s no way this slow, painful vice tightening around his heart isn’t physical, isn’t a literal life threatening emergency.
“School.” Hoseok explains, voice soft like his smile. “I was a dance major. Met him on my first day at uni. I’d never left Gwangju before, and Seoul terrified me. I didn’t know anyone, but he just - he made me feel at home.”
Seokjin is opening his mouth then, probably about to tell him how nice that is, how cute it sounds, but Yoongi can’t - shit, he can’t do anything. Can’t keep standing there, can’t keep holding Hoseok’s eyes and pretending his chest isn’t about to burst. Can’t keep standing like a man on trial who knows he’s guilty when the jury thinks he’s innocent, a poor victim to a cruel circumstance. He just - he can’t.
Before he knows what he’s doing, Yoongi’s turning, brushing past Namjoon, who’s been as still as him thus far, watching, waiting, and he bolts. He runs, because whether it’s from a photography gig or a shitty party or a good deal so much better than he’d ever deserved even a glimpse of, Yoongi has to get away. Has to run from everything because he’s selfish and a coward and at least this way it’s only him that gets hurt.
He’s outside before he knows it, but because they took a cab here he has no lift, puts a block between himself and the building before calling a car, gets in the backseat, blurts out an address without thinking.
He doesn’t know how long he sits alone on the bench, watching the city lights of Seoul and wishing in the cold night air that his clothes were still moonlighting as a sauna, skin risen in goose bumps as time passes by.
When his reverie is broken, it takes him by surprise, makes him jump as the man now dropping down beside him chuckles softly.
“We should probably stop meeting like this.” Hoseok murmurs. “One of these days you’re gonna freeze to death.”
Yoongi could ask a lot of questions in that moment, could say a lot of things, some that hurt him just to think about, but he decides instead for surrender, soft, sweet. Easy. “What are you doing here?”
“Taehyung told me you’d probably be here.” He shrugs like it’s not a big deal. “Namjoon refused to acknowledge I existed after you ran off. Didn’t look like he hates me, which is a bonus, but you know - he’s Namjoon. Awkward. Wants to do best by you.”
Yoongi shrugs, doesn’t know what there is to say to that, really. Or maybe it’s just him. Maybe he’s a little awkward, too.
After a few beats of silence, Hobi talks again, eyes on the passing cars. “So, uh… you and Taehyung, huh?”
Yoongi pauses. Finally glances over at Hoseok, and that gets the other’s attention because his gaze leaves the road, settling on Yoongi’s face instead, his own expression turning confused as Yoongi stares.
Hoseok clears his throat, shifts a little, fingers darting to readjust the toggles on hoodie. “I mean, I know it’s none of my business. And, you know, I guess you guys were always pretty close. It’s not all that surprising, I just - does he make you happy?”
“No.” Yoongi says bluntly. “He’s a little shit. What the fuck are you talking about?”
Hoseok looks befuddled, which - it’s not a word that Yoongi would normally use, but in that moment, it fits. “I - you guys are like, together, right? I mean, he was with some guy who seemed pretty cozy with him, but you’ve always been pretty open, so I figured - and like, he was - he said he gave you - well, you know-”
“No.” Yoongi responds flatly. “Honest to god, I have no fucking idea.”
“Okay.” Hobi shifts, looks uncomfortable. “Well, he used the word ‘creme’ a lot.”
It all becomes very clear to Yoongi then, though he wishes he was still confused. God, he missed those times of ignorant bliss. He heaves a world weary sigh and drops his head into his hands. “Whipped cream.” He mumbles, and Hoseok hesitates.
“What did you say?” He asks, and to his credit, he sounds genuinely confused.
Yoongi lifts his head, feels the weight of the world on his shoulders. “It was whipped cream. From one of his sugary fucking death drinks. Why? What the fuck did he say? How painful does his death need to be?”
“I…” Hobi’s mouth is twisted into a confused little pout. “What? I don’t - I don’t understand. Are you two not together? Or are you, and the cream thing was just - not how it sounded?”
“We’re not together.” Yoongi grumbles. “I told you, he’s a little shit. He doesn’t fucking think about how things sound.”
“...Oh.” There’s something in Hoseok’s tone then, and Yoongi glances at him again, quickly, can’t look at him for too long.
“Were you jealous?” He asks, and he’s not sure if his tone is teasing or if it’s gone serious, too much so. Doesn’t know how he should adjust it, figures he maybe should have just kept quiet when Hoseok doesn’t answer.
Silence seeps back in, cold like the air Yoongi drowns in, never seeming able to draw in enough to satiate his lungs as he returns his attention to the street, pretends his heart isn’t doing dangerous things inside his chest.
They don’t talk for a long time, but Hobi doesn’t go anywhere. His fingers fidget like he needs to move but he can’t quite will his legs to do so, maybe just doesn’t want to, and so his hands become restless in place, fraught with nervous energy that can’t otherwise be expressed.
And then, finally, he sighs. A soft breath released into the quiet that shouldn’t even make it tremble but it breaks apart, and Yoongi can’t look over, can’t see what damage it does as Hoseok starts to talk.
“Things are complicated.” He says softly. “I think - it’s because we are. The situation never was. We were young and kind of dumb and we had to grow up. And when you left university, it felt like you were leaving me, you know? It’s stupid. I know that’s not how it was. You didn’t want to drop out. You worked hard, but life’s a bitch, right? Money ran out, and nothing else mattered. I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me.”
Yoongi shakes his head, unable to tear his eyes from the cold street lights and their empty promises, their luminescence. Can’t look at the light beside him, woven into every inch of Hoseok’s being, promised in every soft curve of his face, because the warmth that radiates from that is real, and it burns.
“It’s not your fault. You were distant because I got bitter and the further away you were the more of a dick I became about it. And I just - I was holding you back, Hobi. You were moving forward and I couldn’t, so you - you stayed behind with me and that wasn’t fair.” It’s hard to face the things he’s gotten so good at running from and the words taste sour on his tongue, but he can’t let Hoseok take the fall for him, not when Hoseok has only ever tried to catch him. “I didn’t want you to miss out on life because of me.”
Hoseok nods softly, smiles slightly in Yoongi’s peripheral, but he doesn’t know why. Can’t begin to comprehend it. “See? The situation isn’t complicated. Never has been. We were in love and we wanted what was best for the other person. But we were too young and stupid and complicated to understand what that was, I think. We gave each other space when we should have offered support. Silence when we should’ve talked. We were complicated, Yoongi, but nothing else was. We were just… in love.”
Yoongi gives his own twisted half smile then, and it’s bitter, makes him wonder if maybe Hoseok’s was, too. If he was smiling because it was better than crying, better to be amused and accepting than to grieve past mistakes. Mistakes still being made.
“What if I still am?” He asks, and the sourness on his tongue spills into his tone. “Does that make shit complicated?”
The words are a little bitten out, a little bit of a challenge, because how can Hobi just sit there and reflect on where they went wrong, on where everything became fucked up, where Yoongi’s life got fucked, and just feel nothing? Just calm. Just - indifference?
But Hoseok - Hoseok ignores whatever it is ugly that dampens the air, lifts his shoulders in a soft shrug. “It doesn’t have to be.”
“How?” Yoongi stands up then, can’t pinpoint when he decided he was getting to his feet but there he is, turned to stare at Hobi with some mean mix of anger and desperation that he’s aware of, hates, but can do nothing to stop. “How can 'I still love you so much it fucking hurts' ever be simple? You can walk away, but that doesn’t mean shit. I still have to deal.”
Hobi stands up too, isn’t much taller than Yoongi but there’s a difference, makes him feel small in more ways than one when the younger continues to look patient, collected and calm in the face of Yoongi’s outburst. “What if I kept thinking about you, too? What if every day that went by I thought about calling you until one night you called me? What if I miss you too, Yoongi? And - so what if that’s a little complicated. We always have been, right? I think we could figure it out. We could deal. Together.”
Yoongi has always crashed full force into every little thing that offers a pretense of warm, but right now he falters. Finally slows down, thinks maybe he’s stopped.
“It’s been years.” He says, and his voice is quieter now, slower. “And - I know things have changed for you, but I’m still right where I was. That - that didn’t end well the first time. I can’t take it a second time, Hoseok. Okay? I love you, but I’m still who I was, and we can’t go through it again.”
Hobi is quiet then, and although Yoongi has stopped moving, Hoseok - he steps forward. The toes of his shiny, triple s balenciagas press against Yoongi’s scuffed up doc martens, and Yoongi stares, only tears his eyes away when gentle fingers brush over the line of his jaw, directs his chin up, asks in a soft, silent whisper for Yoongi to meet Hoseok’s gaze, tender like his touch.
“You’re the same person.” Hoseok murmurs softly. “But you’re not in that same place. Yoongi, you’ve moved forward so far. You’ve grown so much. You want to know how I know?”
Yoongi can feel the heat held in Hoseok’s eyes, can feel it lick at his skin, slowly inching its way across his existence. He can feel it absorbing him but this time there’s no crash, and it doesn’t feel like burning. It feels like sinking into familiar arms, like coming home. It feels like safety, absolution, relief to the senses. It’s not temporary escape from the cold anymore. It’s heat in his own bones.
He feels himself nod softly, feels the pads of Hobi’s fingers against his skin, the way memory paints them there to stay.
“Because you’re here.” Hoseok’s voice is still so soft, so warm, honey toned words of home, and it makes Yoongi’s chest ache, his heart flutter. There’s more to what he says than the sentence he utters and Yoongi knows, hears it though it’s unspoken, understands. And his mind is a liar. He’s always needed someone else to tell him what he knows because he can’t trust his own brain, but in that moment he thinks maybe he can, on this. Thinks maybe he is somewhere else, because he’s warm here, and he’s not stepped down on a gas pedal, aiming for a crash site. “I’m so glad you’re here, hyung.”
Yoongi lets a hand drift up, sinks his fingers slowly into the soft locks like it’s muscle memory, and when he pulls softly, gentle, urging Hoseok closer but afraid to truly tell him, afraid to move fast when going slow seems to hold so much more promise, a chance to see life through more than a blur, through more than clouds of smoke as the wreckage burns away. A chance to watch the colours turn to gold before everything is painted black. And he wants it.
Wants so badly.
Hoseok leans the rest of the way and their lips meet, and it’s the same in the best kind of way, familiarity and ease, just enough to make it simple, just enough to make his chest ache with it, but there’s something different in it all, too, and Yoongi wants to learn it, needs to.
Hobi’s hand cups his jaw, thumb dancing over his cheekbone as they drown in the city lights, and everything else might be complicated but this, this is simple. It’s coming home.