He slips a cigarette past his lips, quickly lighting it up, and inhales the heat and smoke into his lungs. He expels the bittersweet fumes, eyes trained on the growing crowd of people around one of Hongdae’s popular dance crews. He is a performer himself, and knows one of the dancers from Haramkun on a first name basis, but that’s about all there is to it. As much as everyone is supportive of each other, this is a source of some form of livelihood for each individual, and competition is without a doubt a necessary evil. Though he is a rapper with his own crew, he is interested in watching as many performances as he can, hoping to be inspired so as to better improve his act.
Everyone’s hungry for limelight and desperate enough to cling on to the hope that perhaps this could potentially open doors for them, some way, some how. Haramkun is one of those closest-to-success stories whose gotten some level of fame thanks to tourists and social media. He draws in another bitter suck of smoke, blowing out rings of dusty white with his lips. He figures the art of dance is perhaps easier for tourists to appreciate as compared to his freestyle rap and covers of Korean rap music. Namjoon has been bugging him lately to pick up some English or try and cover songs with some English in them, but he has been stubborn about it simply because he doesn’t subscribe to this idea of appealing to the crowd when he has to compromise his art form.
Just as he was about to flick the used cigarette off his fingers, someone bodily bumps into him, and he belatedly catches a mole on bowed lips profusely apologizing, before disappearing into the crowd, to join the members of Haramkun. Pissed off but curious enough anyway, he cranes his neck to see that guy quickly shed his bag and jacket, and don a snapback, hurriedly hugging some of the members of the crew.
New guy. Interesting.
He notices how a couple of the seasoned members eye the new guy in a less than friendly manner, and he wonders how good a dancer Mr. Pretty Lips is. The leader of the group begins hyping up the crowd, charismatic as always, introducing the group and the members, and he catches the name of the new guy – J-Hope. He scrunches his nose at that, not really liking the positive slant to a stage name. He inwardly chides himself for being hypocritical – anyone with a stage name like his shouldn’t be too fussy about other performers’ monikers.
The music blares from the speakers and he, in spite of himself, huddles forward to get a better view of the dance, taking note how J-Hope was front and center, as the leader sits out on this dance, as he hypes the crowd from the sidelines. He feels his jaw falling slightly as the performance begins to an up-tempo hit which rouses the crowd, eyes locked on the way J-Hope moves.
He is no dancer and will never be but he can appreciate talent and this new guy is really that gifted in knowing how to work his body. He observes how the leader circles his members and seems especially pleased with how J-Hope was flawlessly integrating into the group. Haramkun’s members are generally a lot more polished and versed than most dance acts in Hongdae and as J-Hope takes on a short freestyle solo in the performance, breaking his body up into magnificent pop-and-lock movements, Yoongi finds himself completely entranced by the intensity this new guy brings to the table. In a split-second moment, just as J-Hope was done with his solo and before he turned to walk to the back of the formation, their eyes meet across the crowd, and he feels his resolve crumble as his cheeks grow warm.
The dance ends and he can’t help but nod his head appreciatively as the crowd thunders with applause. The leader howls at the chaos and cheers his members on, his hand reaching out to rub the back of J-Hope’s neck in a brotherly fashion, clearly proud of his newest addition.
He shoves his hands into his hoodie pockets, tip-toeing a little to look on as the next set begins, this time with J-Hope standing in the second row, as the leader assumes the front and center position in the formation. A popular girl group song blasts into the night and the crowd laps it up as the guys play up the sexuality of the raunchy dance moves, and if his eyes never leave J-Hope, it’s only because the masculine demeanour has been abolished quickly enough, and all that’s left is an obnoxious minx, who teases the crowd with copious lip-biting and tempting rounds of body rolls and rambunctious hip swaying. To be fair, the other guys were giving their best efforts as well, but something about them failed to match J-Hope’s tenacity in shape-shifting, as he doesn’t hold back from really becoming a girl group member.
He snaps his mouth shut when he realizes that his jaw has fallen open again and is suddenly overcome with the strange need to capture J-Hope’s dancing on camera. As he discretely fishes out his phone, he realizes the missed calls and texts he’s received from a flustered Namjoon who’s been wondering where he’s been. He realizes the time and curses at himself for losing track of everything, quickly slipping out of the mob of fangirls, throwing a last glance at J-Hope who’s in the middle of dirty-dancing with another member, before rushing off to find Namjoon.
The crowd on a Friday night is always the most appreciative, even more so than those on Saturdays, and he basks in the head-bopping and cheers when he gets lost in his rhymes. Both Namjoon and him have been performing on the streets of Hongdae for about a year now, and he only ever comes back every Friday and Saturday to get a taste of what could be, even if it remains to be a far-fetched dream. He is no fool to think that he’d be snatched up by a talent scout because it’s not just talent the industry seeks for. He can go blonde, don the most expensive clothes, and still won’t look near a million bucks.
He finds nothing wrong with the way he looks but he won’t be surprised if people walk away because he doesn’t have the perfect teeth or jawline.
Sometimes, when Namjoon spits his lines, ridiculous shades on in the depths of the night, he finds himself in great awe, because his friend is really just that phenomenal. Namjoon’s got his own insecurities about his looks and won’t entertain anyone telling him otherwise, and he gets it. He’d want nothing more than to spray paint a big “FUCK YOU” on the walls of these consumerist music companies which produce endless carbon copies of the same damn idol cardboard cutouts. He hates that word - idols - and scoffs whenever he sees these sad fuckers do everything they can to appease and please their fans.
He is waiting for someone to unveil the greatest conspiracy of the K-pop industry: the only ones who are idols are the consumers.
He raps about this tonight, unleashing his disappointment and rage for the state of music, for the way individuality has no value in a world run by unrealistic expectations of eroticized bodies. He spins webs of limericks, making fun of all the boys and the girls who dream and desire to be dreamt and desired. He drops his mic at the end, punching his fist in the air to applause and loud whoops of approval.
He spots Namjoon shaking his head slightly in the corner but chooses to ignore him. He knows Namjoon is wary of the way he keeps cursing at the very industry that increased their nation’s economic value. He is sick and tired of hamming it up in the hopes that someone would be interested in his talent. He is angry and he needs this platform to say his two cents, knowing fully well that his audience, no matter how supportive, may forget his very fire. As much as he admires Namjoon, he is aware of how idealistic Namjoon can be. He has pointed out a million times how his background and Namjoon’s are different, and if Namjoon wants to continue to gloss over how their socio-economic status differ, he will continue to remind his upper-middle-class friend that life isn’t quite so pretty when your dad’s unemployed and drunk, your mom’s barely able to hold on to two jobs, and your brother refuses to help out at home because he thinks no one’s worth his money.
He is angry and he likes being this way. He respects Namjoon’s philosophical slant in his music but it’s hard to see the kind of beauty Namjoon sees in a forest fire – an aesthetic that determines new beginnings, life and vigour – when all he sees is the billowing smoke that pollutes the air with the ash of once-alive creatures.
He steps aside to let Namjoon take the floor, downing a bottle of water to ease his scratchy throat. He lets Namjoon’s rhymes on love, loss, and hope, wash over him when he spots a familiar face in the crowd. He is momentarily awestruck but shifts his eyes to the floor, feeling his face burn up, because he is a stupid fuck with fragile feelings.
He’d been discretely watching J-Hope dance every Friday and Saturday ever since that first time they bumped into each other, and while he liked to convince himself that he was scouring for inspiration, he could not rationalize the way he gets antsy every Thursday in anticipation to see the guy dance the next day. Jimin, the guy he knows from Haramkun, sometimes stays back after their dance set ends at 9pm to watch Namjoon and him perform, but usually comes alone or with a beanie-head bunny-toothed dancer.
This is the first time he’s seen J-Hope in the crowd and he doesn’t know why but he feels something bloom in his cold chest – perhaps, pride or appreciation – for the way the guy appears to enjoy their set. Strangely encouraged, he takes the floor with Namjoon soon after, with an overwhelming need to impress someone he’s been secretly crushing on for a month now.
Crushing on? Fuck.
He freezes momentarily, a normal reaction to epiphanic revelations, and takes a deep breath before performing a cover of Loco’s “You Don’t Know” with Namjoon. It’s definitely not something he’d rap if it was up to him but Namjoon wanted them to end their set with a feel-good beat, and an easy hook and chorus always draws the crowd to get involved in the performance with them. He didn’t bother changing the lyrics on being hung up on someone – because that’s Namjoon’s thing, not his – but having J-Hope in the crowd tonight made things a little surreal.
It could be because it was a good crowd or that he was feeling brave from the way J-Hope has been vibing to the track but he keeps his eyes on the dancer throughout the last round of chorus:
Tonight I think of you again
Without you knowing, without you knowing
Right now, in this moment, I think of you without fail
Without you knowing, without you knowing
He blames Namjoon for his bad influence. He’s always the hard-edged blade to Namjoon’s I’m a lover not a fighter schtick. He’d be damned if he ever ends up a giant softie like his friend.
He doesn’t shy away when J-Hope catches his look, and holds on to his gaze till the end of the song.
“Hyung! You were on fire tonight. The stuff you said about the music industry? That spoke to me.”
He is surprised by Jimin’s outspoken support for his scathing lyrics.
“Oh? Well, thanks. I didn’t know you were here when I was freestyling.”
Jimin laughs, an easy light-hearted noise.
“We were here since the beginning. Hoseok-hyung said I should catch your freestyling session because it was just that good.”
He frowns at Jimin, unsure who he meant, when he notices Jimin’s hand tugging J-Hope closer to them.
He plasters on a smile to hide his horror that Hoseok has been there all along, that Hoseok had been there all along.
“Oh! Thanks. Hey, Namjoon! Look, people actually like what I have to say about the music industry.”
He scowls at Namjoon’s overly-fake grin as he claps his hands at him.
He turns back to look at Jimin and J-Hope, no, Hoseok, and thanks them again, trying not to let his eyes wander too long on Hoseok’s mouth.
That damn mole. Stop mocking me.
He hears Jimin laugh again, and looks up at bright teeth and crinkled eyes.
“I was just asking if you and Namjoon would like to join us for drinks?”
He peers at their young faces, momentarily unsure.
“Are you guys even legal?”
“Aish, this hyung!”
He tries not to stare at Hoseok’s bewildered face upon hearing his voice.
His very loud voice.
“I’m 20 and Jiminie is 19. Come on, hyung, it’ll be fun. We can have dinner too. You guys must be starving.”
He wants to ask why now to Jimin but figures beer and chicken wouldn’t do them any harm.
He turns to ask Namjoon but knows the answer when he sees Namjoon go all moon-eyed over the lanky brown-haired guy sitting and talking to him. He asks anyway, and rolls his eyes when Namjoon shakes his head, clearly annoyed that his attention was diverted from his…whoever.
He gathers his things and heads to a cheap food joint with the two people he never thought he’d ever have dinner with.
Hoseok is pretty.
His mouth is pretty and his eyes are pretty and his cock…fuck.
If that isn’t the prettiest cock he'd ever seen, then, damn.
Hoseok is so young too. So pretty and young and hopeful like his damn stage name and he is such a good dancer and he laughs like waves rippling in sunlight…shit.
That’s all wrong, isn’t it? When sound and sight are all mixed up like this.
Hoseok is whining so prettily too, his pretty cock leaking and hard, his pretty eyelashes over his pretty cheekbones.
Hoseok is too young for him. Too beautiful for his scarred soul. Too much light for his too much dark.
His lips taste like the colour of violet fields, his skin supple like the sound sand makes under toes…
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
Everything's mixed up. Everything’s not right. Not like this.
He wants Hoseok so badly he is frightened by this overwhelming desire.
Hoseok is so pretty he makes rejection look attractive.
He pulls himself off Hoseok's body with great pain, and tries not to stutter at the sight of the beautifully debauched young man in his bed.
“Hyung, why? Did I do something wrong?”
He shamefully pulls his boxers over his dying erection, and sits at the edge of the bed, head in his hands.
He feels a wary touch on his back, warm and soothing against his spine. He shifts so he can look at Hoseok's wide-eyed concern, reaching out a hand to rub his flushed cheek.
The little mole on his upper lip still mocks at him, so he taps at it with his thumb thoughtfully.
He withdraws his hand from Hoseok’s face and presses his palms on the thin shoulders to get Hoseok to lay back.
He tugs the blanket over Hoseok and tucks loose strands of hair behind Hoseok’s ear.
He is glad that Hoseok isn’t fighting him on this, getting comfortable under the covers as a yawn passes his lips.
“Aren’t you sleeping, hyung?”
He gets up to wash his face in the bathroom, avoiding looking at his reflection in the mirror. When he returns to his room, Hoseok is fast asleep, angelic expression on his face.
He sits in his chair and writes.
Hey, I'm sorry about last night.
Oh, no worries, hyung. I shouldn't have made a move on you without asking if you were okay with it.
I was okay with it. It's just that you were drunk and I felt like I should be more responsible.
I wasn't THAT drunk. I knew what I wanted. It just didn't seem you wanted the same. Which is fine by the way! No hard feelings. Um, not for long anyway, lol.
Well, I'd prefer it if our first time wasn't when we were both drunk and gross...like your horrible sense of humour.
First time? OMG.
Are you making fun of me Jung Hoseok?
I like you better when I didn't know your name. You were a lot more attractive back then.
You mean two days ago?
You are such a child of social media.
Are you making fun of me Jung Hoseok? Again?
Won't be the first time. Unlike our sex life. LOL.
I am surprised I actually understand you.
I'm surprised you're still awake, Gramps.
It's barely 2 am. I don't sleep till 4 am anyway.
You songwriters. We dancers have to actually rest our bodies or we become useless.
Makes sense. You should take care not to overwork your body.
I won't! Well, unless you want me to ;)
I wouldn't do that to you, unless you're fit enough to keep up, Jung Hoseok.
Oh Gramps, you don't know what you missed out on last night.
I'm sure I'll have a good idea in time to come.
I'm sure you will.
Then you better rest up don't you think?
Is this your nice way of asking me to gtfo?
I had to google that and, no. I am serious. You need to rest so you can keep up with me. I don't sleep, remember?
Fine. If you are bullshitting me though, I still like you enough to listen to you.
Oh Gramps, now you're just being creepy. Goodnight, old man.
Goodnight Jung Hoseok.
Hoseok is a ball of energy wrapped in cinnamon sugar and radiates literal sunshine.
Yoongi presses his head into his hands, amazed by how fucking sappy he’s become over the span of the few short weeks he’s gotten to know Hoseok. After their hasty night together, they’ve yet to revisit more intimacy beyond the brief, slow kisses he’d been happy to engage with Hoseok with.
He doesn’t want to push things too far, only because he knows how quickly he tends to get caught up in emotions, his penchant for diving into relationships keeping him at bay when it concerns someone who doesn’t deserve to get his heart broken.
Hoseok is hard-working, passionate, and driven in ways that Yoongi deeply admires and he’s often surprised by how young Hoseok is.
“I sent in a video of my dancing to BigHit.”
Yoongi wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, the oily smear of chicken grease shining under the dim moonlight. They’re seated on a bench, the streets of Hongdae barely bustling as the last street crooner packed up his guitar to leave.
Yoongi feels his stomach churn, and it’s not from the fried chicken.
“You’re considering being a trainee?”
He tries to keep his scowl at bay, especially when Hoseok’s face brightens up with excitement.
“Yeah! Why did you think I’m dancing on the streets? I was hoping to be talent-spotted but seems like competition is rough out here so Jimin and I decided to send in videos of us dancing. The company’s recruiting to form a band. No harm taking my chances when opportunities present themselves, right?”
Yoongi tamps down the disappointment in his voice, trying not to choke on his cola.
“I didn’t know you could sing.”
“I’m okay. Jimin sings really well though! I figured they’d send me to vocal classes anyway so I could improve there. Dancing’s kind of my selling point, so hopefully that sets me apart from the rest of the applicants.”
Yoongi suddenly feels nauseous, not wanting to talk about this anymore. He knew people performing here were partially hoping to get scouted but he’d always felt like the greater purpose of everyone here was to go against the grain, to defy the very manufacturing elements of the K-Pop industry. If Hoseok decides to become a trainee at some entertainment company, Yoongi had no doubt that it’d take away the raw passion Hoseok has.
He steals a glance at Hoseok, heart aching at how young and sincere he looks. Yoongi begins to worry that the industry would forcibly make Hoseok lose his soft cheeks, harden his already lean body, push him to insurmountable limits to look the way the company assumes the target market would swoon over.
He blinks, half-embarrassed that he’d been caught staring. His chest hurts, hungry.
“Hoseok, would you like to come over? I mean, have coffee or—“
“Yeah! I mean, yeah. Of course. Yeah.”
He doesn’t remember moving quite so quickly, Hoseok on his heels, as they make their way to his place.
“Fuck, hyung. I can’t believe you’ve been denying me of this.”
He arches his back against Hoseok’s mouth, dizzy with want. He’d never gotten himself or anyone out of clothes so fast in his life, and riding Hoseok with little preparation is bad news for him tomorrow but he doesn’t give a fuck.
It didn’t help when Hoseok saw his tattoo on his chest, a stupid idea he had when he was barely legal, imprinting his stage name where he didn’t dare to show. He feels Hoseok grip his ass, parting him so he could fuck him harder. He grabs onto the headboard behind Hoseok helplessly, moaning out loud from the intensity of Hoseok’s cock against his prostate and Hoseok’s mouth over his nipples.
He didn’t know Hoseok could fuck like this. It didn’t matter, but, fuck, Hoseok’s good with his body in bed the way he’s good on the dancefloor.
“Hyung, sorry to – ah, fuck – ruin the moment, but don’t you know how to spell?”
He reminds himself to smack Hoseok upside the head once they’re done only because he doesn’t want Hoseok to stop, not right then.
“My tattoo’s not – oh, oh, God – spelt wrongly – fuck – smartass.”
Suddenly, Hoseok’s hands are on his hips, holding him firmly before he’s being overturned and placed on his back, Hoseok hiking his legs up around his waist.
He pulls Hoseok by the neck, kissing him hard, wanting to bruise that petulant mouth, desperate for more contact.
He whines involuntarily when Hoseok pulls away to look at him, the grin on the boyish face making him flush.
“God, if I had known you’re such a whiner in bed, I would’ve asked you out sooner. Hyung, you’re fucking beautiful.”
He pinches Hoseok’s ear, half-annoyed that the guy had the audacity to make him feel weirdly precious.
“I’d be whining more if you fuck me good rather than talk about stupid things, Hoseok.”
That seemed to get Hoseok moving, arms caging around him as he worked his hips deep and slow, purposefully teasing him. Yoongi hooks his ankles around Hoseok’s neck, baring his own neck in blinding pleasure. Yoongi shivers when Hoseok’s lips press against his ear.
“You like my cock inside you, hyung?”
He bites his lip in near-agony. Hoseok’s not just good with his mouth when it’s kissing or sucking bruises, it’s talented in dirty talk too.
Yoongi nods, a mewl escaping his lips.
Hoseok’s hips suddenly snap forward, thrice, battering against his prostate and he sobs, heady from the intensity. Just as quickly as it started, Hoseok stills his hips, laughing lowly in Yoongi’s ear when Yoongi begins rutting helplessly for more contact.
“You like it when I fuck you hard, don’t you, hyung?”
He nods again, eyes tightly shut so he doesn’t cry out loud from desperation.
“Say it, hyung. Let me hear it.”
He steadies his breathing, wetting his mouth.
“I like it.”
“What do you like, hyung?”
He wants to kick Hoseok in the balls if he could but it’s impossible to do that and still be fucked to the high heavens so he swallows his pride, opening his eyes and looking at Hoseok.
“I like it when you fuck me, Hoseok. Fuck me hard. Please.”
The hunger in Hoseok’s eyes makes him feel slightly smug, knowing that two can play at this game. He cards a hand in Hoseok’s hair, rubbing his lips over Hoseok’s.
He chokes back a moan when Hoseok pins him down, hips snapping quick and fast, the dirty wet sounds of sex mingling with their relentless groans.
He lays a hand on Hoseok’s jaw, wanting to look at him, wanting to see him come, and when Hoseok finally does, Yoongi stores the memory aside, before allowing himself to come.
Dating someone like Jung Hoseok is something he probably never imagined he was capable of doing.
Hoseok is the anti-thesis of who he is – bright, cheery, sexy, funny, and can dance at the drop of a hat, or a beat, depending on which dropped first. He, on the contrary, is sullen, dry, sarcastic, and likes minimal movement, or none if possible. He gets why Namjoon hides a smile on his face each time he sees Hoseok try his luck at publicly displaying any form of affection.
He’s not comfortable with showing any signs of intimacy in public but he does secretly enjoy the way Hoseok looks at him, oftentimes losing himself in Hoseok’s eyes to the point he knows Hoseok uses this strategy to steal kisses from him. At one point, he’d even ended up in a quick but heated make-out session in one of the dark alleys in Hongdae, pressing Hoseok against the wall so he could kiss him just that much deeper.
He knows he is losing footing in being rational with his feelings. He couldn’t possibly be in love in so short a time, but he feels the unmistakable stirrings of something whenever Hoseok is on his mind.
The only thing that truly bothers him about Hoseok is his dream in pursuing a career in the K-Pop industry. It goes against everything he believes in, but he understands that Hoseok’s vision of success is just as valid as his, even if it doesn’t align with his principles.
“Hyung! The company told me they’re willing to accept me as a trainee!”
He feels his heart sink, palms suddenly cold. He doesn’t know what to say, and he feels horrible when he sees the light in Hoseok’s face die down.
He bites his lip, feeling like he’s about to lose someone who matters.
“Does this mean that you have to…leave?”
He feels Hoseok touch his arm and he shifts away subconsciously.
“I’m not going anywhere! I have dance practice and vocal lessons and a lot of studying to do but I’ll be here. Trainees have free time too, you know.”
He gnaws his lower lip, knowing what this means. Hoseok may be too naïve to believe that the trainee life would allow him the kind of “free time” he’d have if he was a student and had a part-time job. Yoongi knows that training can take years and he’d heard of horror stories where young men and women sank into severe depression because of the brutal expectations by unreasonable companies. He also knows, simply based on the way the K-Pop industry has been under fire by local and international scrutiny for its ridiculous money-making schemes, some of which breach human rights issues, that life doesn’t get easier after these trainees debut; it only serves to get harder.
He understands the desire for glamour and fame.
He peers into Hoseok’s genuinely open face, and he hurts from the way he knows he’s going to lose to Hoseok’s dreams and wants.
He reaches out and entangles his fingers with Hoseok’s.
“Are you busy tonight? I thought maybe, you could come over if—“
“Yeah! Of course. Please.”
He smiles, letting the warmth of the moment wash over him, wanting to remember this moment so he can hold on to whatever they have before he knows he’d have to let Hoseok go, one day.
He glares at Hoseok, annoyed to be interrupted, mid-blow job.
“Hyung, fuck, slow down. I won’t last if you keep at it. I’m young and have little restraint, remember?”
He nuzzles Hoseok’s leaking cock, smearing thick pre-come across his lips, entranced. He hears Hoseok groan somewhere above, clearly affected.
“God, what are you doing to me? You’re fucking…insatiable, fuck.”
He teases the tip of Hoseok’s cock with his tongue, caressing the slit without much pressure beyond kitten licks. He flutters his eyelids close, and feels Hoseok’s grip in his hair tighten. He loves losing himself to Hoseok like this, especially when his mind is burdened with things he does not want to think about. He wants to be present in the moment, nothing but skin and bones between his and Hoseok’s souls.
He knows he’s stupid in love, and there’s no way out of this until Hoseok inevitably breaks his heart for his dreams, but until then...
Until then, Hoseok is his to keep.
He licks his mouth clean, wanting to feel Hoseok come down his throat, so he kisses a dirty line up Hoseok’s cock, before swallowing around him, going as deep as he can.
He hears Hoseok curse at him, knowing he’s a goner, so he runs a palm up Hoseok’s firm tummy, rubbing what he hopes would feel like soothing circles, wanting Hoseok to surrender and stop being such a fucking brat about everything.
When Hoseok relents, he lets himself go, deepthroating Hoseok the way he wants to, controlling his gag reflex when Hoseok’s cock hits the back of his throat. He nearly chokes when Hoseok comes, but pulls away quickly, so he could properly swallow.
He lets Hoseok pull him up, pushing him down against the pillows so their mouths could meet. He lets himself be kissed, hungrily, and he cards a hand into Hoseok’s hair, caressing his scalp more tenderly than usual.
“Turn over, hyung. I can’t fuck you with my cock, so I’m going to fuck you with my mouth.”
He obeys, half-sighing into the pillow as he arches his ass up, surrendering his body the way he’s already opened his soul to Hoseok.
He wishes they could be like this for always.
As winter approaches, he slowly grows more pessimistic.
Beyond the fact that he hates chilly weather in general, he couldn’t perform on the streets of Hongdae as people are not fond of standing around in the freezing night to listen to what he has to say. He’s more than happy not to be performing in the blistering weather but he does miss the catharsis he derives from his performances.
Hoseok’s begun his trainee life and, just as Yoongi had suspected, was quickly finding the “free time” he thought he’d have to be more of “sleeping time” as all the classes he had to attend were physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. They communicate mostly via text messaging and he only gets to properly see Hoseok twice a week. He is partly amazed that Hoseok is able to keep most of his cheeriness intact but the noticeable strain of being under scrutiny soon reveals cracks in his sense of worth.
“Sorry, hyung. I don’t think I should be eating fried chicken. Trying to lose some weight and my belly fat simply refuses to budge.”
Yoongi nods, shoving his hand into his jacket, a fist already forming. He knows this will happen at some point but he didn’t think Hoseok needed to lose any weight, even if he looked at Hoseok through the industry’s perception of beauty. Hoseok’s all lines and sharp angles and Yoongi never figured that what Hoseok terms as “belly fat” is a problem at all.
They settle on convenience store kimbaps and hot brown rice tea, hiding from the cold as they sit cross-legged on Yoongi’s bed. He isn’t sure at which point did silence become awkward between them, and he attributes it to how he has a lot to say which he had never said before. He wishes he could say just how opposed he is to all that Hoseok wants to achieve in his pursuit for happiness. He aches to beg Hoseok to leave this dangerous life because he can see no good come out of it. He yearns to share with Hoseok his deep-seated fears of losing Hoseok when the industry finally swallows him whole.
“I can hear you thinking, you know.”
He startles out of his train of thought, not wanting to correct Hoseok.
“Sorry. I just…haven’t seen you in a while.”
Hoseok’s smile is strained.
“You don’t approve of this, do you?”
He can’t lie, so he simply looks away, not wanting to express how he is more scared than he is angry.
“I might as well let you know now that I’m one of the shortlisted people for a seven-people band. They want me to rap.”
He darts his eyes at Hoseok, confusion bubbling over.
“Rap? But, I thought you said you’d be singing.”
Hoseok shrugs, looking genuinely exhausted.
“My voice isn’t good or distinctive enough to be a singer. They want me for my dance abilities but they can’t justify keeping me for my singing. Plus, the other singers in the band are phenomenal. There are two other rappers in the group who are helping me with rapping, but I couldn’t help but think of you, hyung. There’s no better rapper that I can think of to help me improve.”
He is struck cold by what Hoseok seems to be asking of him, and doesn’t know how to respond beyond staring blankly at Hoseok’s nervousness.
“Hyung, you’re scaring me. Say something, please. You don’t have to help but—”
He finds himself nodding, a sigh building in his chest. He’ll hate himself later, but this goes above and beyond what he believes in; this is about Hoseok, and this is for Hoseok.
“Okay. I’ll help you.”
The relief and sincere brightening of Hoseok’s face made his decision all the more worth it.
Hoseok leans in for a kiss, which he reciprocates with fervour, quickly tugging Hoseok down on the pillows with him, wrapping his arms around Hoseok tight, never enough words to tell him how badly he misses him, so he takes every chance he gets to show Hoseok just how much.
In spite of his disapproval of Hoseok joining the K-pop industry with the kind of fervour and intensity only someone driven like Hoseok can, Yoongi is genuinely impressed by Hoseok’s ability to improve so much within such a short span of time. He’d made it a point to remind Hoseok that while he can provide some tips, Hoseok needs to develop his own style instead of relying on other people’s influences.
It’s only been two weeks since Hoseok asked him for help, but the change has been astounding. Seeing and hearing Hoseok perform for him makes his heart swell with pride, and he finds himself genuinely enjoying Hoseok’s style. He tries his best to be objective, only because he wants Hoseok to have the best possible learning journey with him, but he can’t help but be protective of Hoseok at times, especially when Hoseok is down and out, sharing some of the negative comments he’d received from his fellow rappers and company. Hoseok doesn’t stay beaten down for long though, and Yoongi is once again amazed by the kind of maturity Hoseok had attained within the past six months he’d been part of the company.
Sure, Hoseok still watches what he eats, and is more tired than he used to be, but the light behind those eyes remained burning bright, his hunger to succeed palpable and, frankly, attractive.
Yoongi is startled to realize that he’d fallen more in love than he thought he was, cupping Hoseok’s cheek in his palm one night, breath caught in his throat like a trapped butterfly with its wings unable to beat with enough strength to free itself from a snare.
He’d never felt more helpless, shaking his head with a soft smile when Hoseok asked him why he was staring.
“I just can’t believe how much your rapping’s improved. How much you’ve grown. You even look…different. And I don’t mean your body or face, just the air around you, you know? It’s a distinct shift from before.”
The blush on Hoseok’s face is new; something he doesn’t see very often. Hoseok’s arms tighten around him and he presses a line of kisses along that jawline he loves so much.
“Hyung, I couldn’t have done this without you. You don’t know just how much your help really means to me.”
He feels the edges of emotions prickling him, and he worries he may burst into tears at the prospect of loving and being loved so deep that he knows that he’d have to one day lose Hoseok once his career sets off.
He lets Hoseok take over, surrendering his mind and body, clutching on to a happiness he wishes he didn’t have to lose.
“Oh my GOD, hyung! Thank you thank you thank you!”
He tries to be nonchalant but he is secretly pleased by Hoseok’s reaction.
“It’s your first live show! Why in the world would I miss it?”
The hug he receives spoke louder than any words he knows Hoseok could offer. While he had been more supportive of Hoseok than before, he still had strong opinions about the industry in itself, and there were heated arguments he and Hoseok were involved in over some of the corporate greed these companies harboured. He knows that his decision to attend Hoseok’s show is an act of compromise on his philosophy, which also surprised him because it once again affirmed just how deeply he’d fallen for Hoseok.
He'd seen Hoseok struggle in his climb, straddling between trying to improve his rap and practicing his dance and making time to be with him as much as he can. The inevitable is sinking in greater with each passing day and he knows that he is fighting a losing battle. Yet, love is as irrational as it is pleasurable, and Hoseok gives him more peace and joy than he’d had over the past years that he finds himself making exceptions for Hoseok, if only to keep him by his side, just a little bit longer until…
Well, until Hoseok leaves for good.
He squeezes Hoseok hand, relishing in the bright smile that greets him, having all the faith in the world in Hoseok.
Predictably, Hoseok was amazing onstage.
Yoongi found himself transfixed, reminiscent of that night in Hongdae when he first saw Hoseok dance, but the difference is that a small hoard of young girls were there cheering the band, and he was amazed by how these fans already knew the names of the members and even brought along presents for them.
Something heavy settles in the pit of his stomach, fear beginning to curdle in his lungs, making it harder to breathe, and he forces on a smile when Hoseok catches his eye, but he knows he’s been caught when Hoseok’s expression becomes worried for a split-second.
He shoves his hand into his pocket, and looks away.
He wonders why, and how, life would be so cruel to allow him to feel such depths of love, if only to tear it away from him like this.
“Hyung? Talk to me, please.”
He gnaws his thumb, words pressed so hard against his vocal chords, he couldn’t breathe, let alone speak.
The live performance had gone so well, with the fans entirely smitten and pleased, and while he’d stayed behind as long as he could, there was no way he could hug Hoseok and press whispered congratulations to his ear the way he wanted to. He left once he noticed how the band was swarmed by their fanbase, not wanting to stress Hoseok by being in the vicinity.
Hoseok had been texting and calling him relentlessly and he’d only picked up after the 6th missed call, not really having the words to say anything, but not wanting to induce further paranoia in Hoseok.
He hears Hoseok sniff and he realizes that he’d made Hoseok cry.
“Seok-seok, don’t…don’t cry, please. I’m fine, I promise. Your performance was so good, baby. I’m so proud of you.”
“Then why are you breaking up with me?”
He is once again startled by how well Hoseok could read him and his insecurities.
“I never said anything about a break-up.”
“You didn’t have to, hyung. You’ve been so patient with me all this time and I’ve been so scared that you’d walk away every time I see how sad I make you. I’m sorry I’ve been a shitty boyfriend.”
“Hoseok, we’re not breaking up, okay? I don’t want to lose you. I just think you’re headed towards an incredible journey, and I don’t want you to tear yourself apart by trying to make time for me.”
He hears the ache in Hoseok’s voice and he feels tears well behind his eyes.
“It sounds like a break-up to me, hyung. This sounds like goodbye.”
He takes a deep breath.
“Not a break-up, okay? Just…just a break. You’ve got a busy schedule ahead, and before you argue with me about this, I’ve seen your calendar. Your off-days are few and far between, and I know you have so little time to yourself as it is.”
“I don’t want to be by myself, hyung. I’d much rather be with you.”
He smiles in spite of how much his heart hurts, already bracing itself for a storm.
“I’m here, always. Anytime you need me, I’m there. But you need to rest as much as you can, Hoseok. I can’t have you falling apart right when your career’s just getting started.”
He rubs a hand over his face, overwhelmed by how much he wishes Hoseok’s by his side right at that very moment.
Hoseok’s voice is grim, but determined.
“I’m not going to fall apart, hyung.”
“We are not going on a break, yeah? Hyung, I have to sleep so I’ll go now. I love you. I love you so fucking much. I’ll see you Thursday like we planned, okay?”
He finds himself curling his toes at the prospect of seeing Hoseok again, even if it’s days away.
“I love you too. Goodnight.”
He smacks Hoseok’s arm lightly, nuzzling against Hoseok’s bare chest and inhaling the scent of warmth and vanilla. He wants to ask the same of Hoseok but is too fucked out to even keep his eyes open. He misses Hoseok in ways he doesn’t even understand and it’s affecting his entire being, down to how his freestyle rap lacks the kind of anger and fire like it used have. Lately, he’s been looking out into the crowd, subconsciously hoping to see a bright smile and those loving eyes on him, only to feel disappointed by the lack.
Namjoon’s been extra careful with him, even being compassionate towards him, knowing how hard it has been for him to be away from Hoseok. While he had pushed Namjoon away emotionally initially, he’d given in soon after, actually finding the support necessary.
It’s not just harder to meet up with Hoseok, but now they have to be careful with how they behave around each other. Hoseok having a mask on doesn’t help anymore, as some fans are still able to guess who the man behind the mask is. Yoongi finds himself more and more distant from Hoseok due to their time apart, half-wishing that Hoseok would agree to a break in case it gets more and more exhausting for him to keep up with giving their relationship a fighting chance.
He misses everything about Hoseok, and sex isn’t even the top of the list. Not having to hear Hoseok laugh, or see Hoseok smile the way he used to be able to, really shatters him inside.
He peeks a sleepy eye up at Hoseok, aching heart warming up at the sight of a soft smile on Hoseok’s face, before he runs a thumb over those lips he loves so much.
Yoongi sleeps in a flitting heartbeat, more at ease than he’d been over the past month, stubborn heart still holding on to the human ability to hope, even under the most impossible circumstances.
When it happens, he is caught by surprise, but he tries to keep his heart together, as much as it threatens to fall apart.
Hoseok cancels on their date, and while Yoongi knows that Hoseok’s utterly apologetic about it, he can’t help but berate himself for wanting more, for expecting better of Hoseok. He is tired, so he can’t imagine just how emotionally and physically exhausted Hoseok must be, what with the launch of the band’s new music video a week ago.
He rings Namjoon up, finding himself a drinking buddy to accompany him on his need to let his feelings explode, knowing that if there’s anyone who can watch out for him, it’d be one Kim Namjoon.
Well, Hoseok used to be one of the two he could rely on, but…
He shuts his mind up, grabbing his wallet and handphone, slamming the door unnecessarily hard on his way out.
“Hoseok, we need to talk.”
“No. We’re not breaking up. No.”
“Hoseok, I am not talking about a break-up, but we clearly need a break. You’re exhausted and I can’t bear watching you like this.”
“Hyung, how many times do I have to say this? I’m fucking fine. Don’t make this about me. Are you done with me?”
“Wait, what? Are you serious, or just fucking with me?”
“You seem to want this more than me, that’s all I’m saying.”
“Because you’re running around trying to work hard for your career and maintain a relationship! Look, you can ignore reality as much as you want but the truth is—”
“You deserve better, right? Someone who understands you and can be there for you and who shares the same beliefs as you, right?”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“You know who I’m talking about.”
“Namjoon? He’s a good friend and I can’t believe you just fucking accused me of something so fucking heinous. How dare you even—”
“Where are you?”
“Are you in your dorm?”
“Where the fuck else would I be at this hour?”
“I’m coming over.”
“To see if Namjoon’s here, fucking me?”
“I’m coming over.”
They don’t do this, not like this.
They argue some times, but they never fight, and not like this.
Yoongi groans, shoving Hoseok in his chest, palms clammy from the humidity of the room and the heat under his skin, the side of his face pressed against his pillow as Hoseok fucks into him, teeth harsh on his shoulder. He’s never seen Hoseok so livid that they’d ever have angry sex, yet the man who raps his door that night looked like he’s been possessed by the devil, from the way he grabs hold of him to kiss inasmuch as to hurt.
He pulls Hoseok’s head up for a brutal kiss, sucking on Hoseok’s lower lip a little too hard, and not giving a shit that there’ll be a bruise for everyone to see. He wonders, in the recesses of his mind, if this is what desperation does to the best of us, if fear is capable of inciting ugliness in beautiful people like Hoseok.
He never thinks himself worthy but Hoseok is his idea of the perfect human.
Now, he sees how Hoseok is only just perfectly human.
He cries out loud from his approaching orgasm, Hoseok’s cock inside him and the hand wrapped around his dick making his head spin.
He holds on to Hoseok for dear life, not wanting to let go, a muffled shout escaping past his lips when he comes, hard.
He knows he’s not the only one crying before he slides into restless slumber.
“No, it’s not. I’m…fuck, I’m sorry. I’m a mess. I’m a fucking mess.”
“You’re just human, Seok-seok.”
“I used to be a better person. Before…everything.”
“You need to cut yourself some slack. You’ve been working so hard.”
“It’s okay, Hoseok.”
“No. I don’t think I can... I’m just. I’m sorry.”
“…okay. It’s okay. I promise. It’s okay.”
It’s not okay.
It’s just, not.
He slips a cigarette past his lips, quickly lighting it up, and inhales the heat and smoke into his lungs. He chews on his lower lip, amused by how the street performers seem to get younger and younger with each year. He can’t deny just how it makes him feel proud to see more and more talent permeate Hongdae’s streets, new blood pumping through the veins of the crowd. He kills the burning end of his cigarette before tossing it into a bin, hurrying over to his spot where Namjoon awaits.
Yoongi waves at his half-annoyed best friend, before throwing a grin at Namjoon’s boyfriend, Jin, who sarcastically blows him a kiss.
As he prepares to rouse the crowd, he hears the familiar refrain from a new popular hit that hits too close to home, so he forces himself to shut the song out, not wanting to be reminded of a love lost, too soon. A hand on his shoulder tells him that Namjoon’s caught on with his struggle, so he shakes his head, clearing his mind, before speaking into the mic, introducing himself and Namjoon to the few people who had already gathered to listen.
Music helps him heal from the hurt by ironically instilling the anger and fire that he once lost in his heart, his mouth spitting words that demanded answers from an unsympathetic, cruel world. He runs his lyrics the way he’s been practicing the last couple of days, critical and harsh, uninterested in pandering to a crowd who hasn’t yet been jaded by the things that he’s disgusted by.
As he builds up the fire inside, rhymes and rhythms harmoniously colliding, he spots a heartbreakingly familiar face in the crowd, the cap and face mask doing nothing to hide the man he knows so well. He can’t help but make eye contact, recognizing those eyes anywhere, amazed at his capability to continue his rap in spite of his surprise. At the end of his verse, the crowd cheers, and Hoseok removes his mask briefly, smiling that bright grin he adores so much, before applauding him.
He feels his heart clench from a reminder of their break-up months ago, but he smiles in return, unable to hide the joy he gets from seeing Hoseok, even if for a few moments.
He sees Hoseok put the mask back on, slipping away quietly, and he watches Hoseok leave, wounds still fresh from bleeding, bleed just a little bit more.
As Hoseok disappears from his view, he takes a deep breath, letting Namjoon’s rap verses wash over him, knowing deep down that in spite of how everything ended, he still loves, and is still loved.