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"Hyung," Hoseok starts, drawing out the word with maximum adorableness. "Are you free tonight? Can we do that thing that we do?"

Yoongi is ruffling through some files on his desk, not looking up at Hoseok. "We do a lot of things, you're going to have to be more specific."

"You know, the thing where we have a sleepover and get tipsy and thirst over our friends."

Yoongi pauses in his ruffling. "You’d have to go back home and pick up your stuff."

"Nah," Hoseok says cheerfully, holding up his backpack in which he had packed a change of clothes, his skincare products, and something new for them to try. Did he ask to come over for a few hours while fully intending to overstay his welcome? Yes.

Hoseok doesn't buy alcohol very often. In fact, he'd never bought it on his own before today. He isn't a big fan of drinking unless it's on special occasions- and talking about how hot their friends are is a special occasion. Today, he thought that he would make the special occasion even more special by buying some fancy alcohol.

There's a little shop in the corner of town that he has never been in before, but it has lots of fancy bottles in the window that look like wine, so he went in on his way over to Yoongi's apartment. It's a small and cosy place, but there weren't any other customers at the time so it felt strangely empty.

The vibe in there was very odd. It felt like the air itself had some kind of energy to it, a feeling that he couldn't quite describe with words. The air was fragrant, like Jimin's kitchen with all of his weird herbs, and there were hanging charms and crystals that seemed to move on their own. He hadn't been anywhere like this before. He supposed that this must be what alcohol stores are like.

There were some drinks that he could recognise, but he wanted something special this time so he went into a section of drinks that looked, well, special. They all looked very interesting, coming in colours that he had never seen in alcohol before, or any beverage for that matter. The labels were all in English, so Hoseok had no idea what on earth they said, but alcohol labels say weird things, so he probably wouldn't have known what they said even if they were in Korean.

He picked out the bottle that he was most drawn to and bought it. He didn’t even care if it would taste good or not, because it looked so pretty that he'd gladly consume a gallon of it just for the aesthetic.

The cashier could definitely tell that this was his first time buying alcohol on his own. Did he look too nervous? Is it because of the way he dresses? He isn't sure, but either way he caught them raising their eyebrow at him as he handed over the money.

It was expensive. It must be good stuff.

Yoongi is looking at him now. "Did you plan this?"

"Yep."

A different friend might complain at him for springing a change of plans on them so suddenly, but Yoongi doesn't. He types some stuff on his computer and ruffles around his files some more, and then he turns the computer off. "Shall I get the wine?"

There's an expensive wine that Yoongi never drinks on his own, but he always gets it out when Hoseok is over to complain about how hot their friends are, because it makes them feel like rich housewives. Neither of them are sure why feeling like rich housewives is desirable in this situation, but it is.

Hoseok decides that it’s best to start with something familiar, so they get out the rich housewife wine and put on some smooth jazz and sit on the floor and talk about their friends for a while. It's always a fun bonding experience.

It only takes half a glass before Hoseok feels the words swelling up inside him and threatening to burst out. "Joonie is so fucking huge."

Yoongi nods seriously.

"He's so- he's just so big! We ran into each other in the kitchen in the middle of the night when I was making some toast and he-" he shivers as he recounts the memory, "he put his hands on my waist to move me a bit to the side. Both of them! On my waist! And they were huge, his hands were so huge, oh my god." He puts his hands on his own waist to demonstrate, but it doesn't convey the severity of the situation very well because his hands are nowhere as big as Namjoon's.

"He has very big hands," Yoongi agrees. Yoongi also has very big hands but it isn't the same because the rest of his body isn't as big as Namjoon, which makes him safe as far as Hoseok is concerned. "I don't know how you manage to live with him. I want him to cradle my entire body in his two hands."

Hoseok thinks about Namjoon cradling his entire body in his two hands, and decides that that is something that he also wants.

Now that the thing that he planned to talk about is out of the way, he is silent for a few moments as he drinks some more wine. He still isn't sure if the wine actually tastes good or not, but he's drank it so many times that, at this point, it would be weird to not be drinking it. It's a crucial part of the whole experience.

"Ah," Yoongi says suddenly. "You know who's really been pissing me off recently?"

"Who?"

"Jungkook."

"Jungkookie! Oh my god! He just doesn't stop growing!" Hoseok can feel himself feeling more lightheaded already.

"I remember when he was shorter than me. He used to be fucking shorter than me and now he's all huge with all those rippling muscles and he's still getting bigger? When does it stop?" Yoongi groans in pain. "Last week, he... He picked me up."

Hoseok gasps. "He picked you up?!" He's not sure if he's jealous or if he just wishes that he could have been there to see it.

"He picked me up," Yoongi confirms solemnly. "Like I was nothing. Like he was picking up a book or something. It was the best and worst experience of my life."

Hoseok wants to be picked up like he weighs nothing. "Why did he do that? Will he pick me up, too?"

Yoongi downs his glass effortlessly and pours himself another one. "He was just joking around, there wasn't even a good reason or anything, he just did it. He'll probably pick you up if you ask."

"He's becoming too powerful," Hoseok says dramatically, but he puts too much effort into being dramatic and he accidentally summons a tear. He feels it slide down his cheek. "We need to cancel his gym membership, or else he'll destroy us all."

"We need to cancel all of their damn gym memberships," Yoongi mutters, reaching out to wipe the tear off of Hoseok's cheek because Hoseok forgot to do it himself.

The logical solution to this devastation would be to cancel their friends' gym memberships- or just say to them 'Stop working out right now! Stop it! Stop getting stronger!'- but they both know that neither of them really want that to happen. They're too into it. Not into it in a weird friendship-ruining kind of way, but definitely into it.

For the most part, anyway. Hoseok may kind of have a teeny tiny crush on one of their friends, and it may be the friend that he happens to also live with, but nobody needs to know about that.

Well, Yoongi does, because he's definitely noticed by now that Hoseok brings up Namjoon far more than he brings up any of their other friends. There's a certain look on his face that always comes up when Hoseok talks about Namjoon, a kind of smugness because he knows that there's something more going on than the standard thirst, but other than that he makes no acknowledgement.

Hoseok is thankful for that. He doesn't really want to talk about it. He would thank Yoongi for not bringing it up, but that would require him to bring it up himself and he does not want to do that.

It's complicated. Hoseok is a very affectionate person in the exact opposite way that Namjoon shows affection. Hoseok likes to throw himself onto people and cuddle them and kiss all over their faces and Namjoon likes to give deep, well thought out compliments and have intense conversations about, like, the universe or something. Neither of them are very good at the other's kind of affection.

And that's why Hoseok's crush is fine as it is. He knows that he and Namjoon couldn't work in real life because Namjoon isn’t a touchy person and Hoseok is incapable of talking about feelings for longer than two seconds. They're like two puzzle pieces that just don't fit together, at least not in that way. He doesn't even need to question if his feelings could be requited, because he knows that they aren't and that it's for the best.

So Hoseok could go on for hours about what every single muscle on Namjoon's body means to him personally, and has done on multiple occasions, but he doesn't see the point in dwelling to the feelings side of things.

When they're both sufficiently tipsy- well, Yoongi is tipsy, Hoseok isn't far from wasted- Hoseok remembers that he brought something special. He loudly shushes Yoongi in the middle of what he was saying and hobbles over to his bag like an excited little goblin.

"Look what I’ve got!" He exclaims as he whips the bottle out.

Yoongi stares blearily at it. "What."

"It's some fancy alcohol stuff and I went and bought it myself! I got it from a new place that I've never been before and it was weird but it was also an enriching experience that I will remember in my dying breaths." He stops. "Anyway, we should drink it."

It's pretty clear by the way that Yoongi's eyeing the beverage that he's never seen anything like it before.

The liquid has a pink and lilac gradient that doesn't mix together no matter how much Hoseok jostles the bottle. There's a kind of fine glitter in it, floating around and catching the light. Hoseok could stare at it forever.

He holds the bottle up to Yoongi, because he knows a little bit of English. "Do you know what this says?"

Yoongi squints at the label for a few seconds. "I'm pretty sure that first word is 'love'. I don't recognise the second word, though."

"Love!" Hoseok exclaims, "Great! It'll taste of love!"

Yoongi blinks at him.

"Okay, fine, it won't taste of love. But it's a nice thought." Hoseok opens the bottle and pours some out into the fancy wine glass that he’s been drinking from. "Ooh! Hyung! Look, hyung!"

The love-something drink is so pretty. It's just so pretty. There's no other way that he can describe it. The colours still aren't mixing, forming a gradient in his glass. It’s like a non-tacky version of those gradients that little kids use in the background of their powerpoint presentations for school.

They take a moment to just stare at it, because it's so pretty and they don't know what to do with themselves around pretty things, if the fact that they're doing this in the first place wasn't obvious.

"I really wanna drink it but also don't at the same time," Yoongi says. "It's like when you bought that cupcake that looked like a puppy. It's too pretty to drink."

Hoseok agrees, but this bottle was far more expensive than anything that he’s bought recently, so he's gonna drink it whether he likes it or not. Hesitantly, not sure what to expect it to taste like, he brings the glass to his lips.

It tastes how it looks. Sweet, so sweet that it should be overwhelming but somehow it feels just right. Rather than having a distinct flavour, it tastes like a feeling. It tastes like a hug, it tastes like holding hands with someone by the Han River, it tastes like soft kisses in the middle of the night.

It's very weird, but Hoseok is already not very sober so he doesn't question it much.

Even after one sip, he feels his head grow fuzzier, like his brain is floating in the clouds while his body is still on the ground. He feels warm, tingles starting somewhere in his chest and travelling through the rest of his body. It's not the normal kind of tipsy that he's used to, but it's a nice feeling, so it doesn't stop him from drinking more.

He makes a noise of satisfaction. "It's good! Try some!"

Yoongi drinks some from the same glass because they are best buds who are not afraid of indirect kissing. As soon as the liquid touches his lips, Hoseok sees his cheeks colour with the slightest blush. Yoongi stares into space for a moment, and then says, "Why does this taste like...?"

"It's love, hyung! It tastes like love!" Hoseok points giddily to the word on the bottle that apparently means love. "I was right!" He's in such a good mood right now that he kind of wants to get up and run around for a while, but he feels too woozy to trust himself to not fall over.

Yoongi looks like he's trying to come up with some kind of argument to say that it tastes like something other than love, but he ends up slumping his shoulders in surrender. "It tastes like love," he admits.

Hoseok doesn’t remember much after this.

-

When Hoseok wakes up, he expects to have a hangover. His body refuses to process alcohol in an acceptable way, which means that he gets drunk really quickly and always has a hangover.

He feels fine, though. In fact, he feels good. His body feels fresh and full of energy, and that tingly, fuzzy feeling from last night hasn't left him. Is he still drunk? Hoseok checks the time on his phone and counts on his fingers how many hours it has been since he drank. Unless that stuff that he drank yesterday is extra strong, he shouldn't still be drunk.

He stands up and does a spin to see if he falls over. He doesn't. He must be sober.

A choked gasp draws his attention to the doorway, where Yoongi is standing clutching his heart like he just had the shock of his life.

Ah, yeah. Usually Hoseok is practically immobile for the first half of the day after.

"Do you need something?" Yoongi asks, still looking pretty shaken up by the fact that Hoseok is standing. Hoseok thinks that it's probably a similar kind of shock to being a parent and finding your small child lurking menacingly in the doorway in the middle of the night when you thought they were asleep. "You don't need to get up, I can bring everything to you. Here." Yoongi throws a bottle of water and some painkillers at him. "Lie back down."

"I'm fine-"

"Is the couch not comfy enough? You can have my bed for the day if you want, I don't mind-"

"Hyung," Hoseok says, considering grabbing Yoongi by the shoulders and shaking him. "I'm not hungover, you don't need to look after me today."

He watches as Yoongi scans his eyes over Hoseok's face as if searching for some sign that he's lying, but he must look as bright and breezy as he feels because Yoongi looks more confused the more that he takes him in. "... How the hell are you not hungover?"

Hoseok shrugs. He's not in the mood to think too deeply about it. He's not in the mood to think too deeply about anything at all.

Yoongi sits down, opening the bottle of water that he had just given Hoseok and taking a swig from it. "You can look after hyung this time, then. My head is killing me."

"I wonder if Joonie's head hurts. I hope it doesn't," Hoseok says. He isn’t sure why he says it or where the thought came from, but it seems like a valid concern.

Yoongi blinks at him. "I'm sure his head is fine."

That's a perfectly logical explanation, but for some reason Hoseok is now stuck thinking about whether or not Namjoon is okay. He hasn't seen him in over twelve hours and he misses him so much. He can't wait to see him again. Should he buy some food on the way home so that he can cook for him? Namjoon isn't the best cook and Hoseok loves to make meals for him. He could make something extra special today.

It occurs to Hoseok, when his eyes refocus and he realises that Yoongi is staring at him, that he has not said anything for an uncomfortably long time. Thinking about Namjoon just got him distracted.

"You've gone really pink," Yoongi comments, taking another gulp of water.

"Ah, you know," Hoseok says breezily, "thinking about the love of my life gets me a bit flustered sometimes." As soon as he realises what he said, he slaps his hand over his mouth so hard that he winces from the pain.

Understandably, Yoongi is staring at him with a mix of confusion and amazement. "Fucking hell, I thought you'd never say it."

"I didn't mean to say it! It's not even true- no, it is, but that's beside the point." Hoseok frowns. "I feel weird, hyung."

Immediately, Yoongi wields the painkillers and half-empty bottle like they are weapons and he's not afraid to use them.

"No, no, not hungover," Hoseok says quickly, slumping down on the couch next to him. "Just... Weird. Like, really tingly? My head feels like it's full of butterflies... And so does my tummy." He puts his hand over his stomach as if he expects to feel something wriggling around in there, as if he'd been impregnated by that scary giant bug in his dream a few nights ago.

Fortunately, basic biology means that he can't be impregnated by scary giant bugs, unless he's a character in a niche porno. But he's sure that he isn't a character in a niche porno because if he were then the scary giant bug would be a sexy scary giant bug, and it was not.

"Maybe," Yoongi says with a smirk that makes Hoseok instinctively cower away. "It's because you're thinking about the, ah, what was it that you said again? Ah, yes, the 'love of your life'."

Hoseok shrieks, grabbing the closest object that he can find and throwing it at him. As the closest object was a cushion, the attack doesn't do much damage. "Yah, stop it! I don't-" He's about to say that he doesn't want to talk about it, because that's what he always says, but he realises right then and there that he does want to talk about it.

Actually, it feels like there would be nothing better to do than to gush about Namjoon's cute handsome face and Namjoon's big strong arms and Namjoon's maturity and Namjoon's kindness and Namjoon's dimples and-

"Okay, okay, I get it," Yoongi says, putting his hands up. Hoseok realises that he was thinking aloud. "Joon's great, I understand, you told me twenty times last night, but I think it's him that you should be saying this to, not me."

Immediately, Hoseok's stomach drops. "Oh, fuck, no," he moans, "no, he can't see me like this, oh my god! I haven't had a shower! I'm all crusty and disgusting!" He looks at his hands as if they would provide him with answers. They do not. "He doesn't even like me like that. He probably thinks that I'm pathetic. He probably secretly hates me." He faces Yoongi in horror. "Why didn't you tell me that he hates me?!"

"Because he doesn't?"

Every fear that Hoseok has ever had about this feels heightened, like all logic has been thrown out the window and he's forced to deal with the truth that he's been pining over Namjoon like a lovesick puppy this entire time. He's so endlessly humiliated. There's no greater pain than this right now. "This is so embarrassing," he whines, head in his hands.

Yoongi has passed concern and is now looking downright afraid, which would be hilarious if Hoseok weren't busy feeling sorry for himself. "Seok-ah... I think that you need to get some rest, you aren't yourself right now. Did you sleep enough?"

"I slept fine," Hoseok sniffles, and he realises that he's crying. He's never been this overwhelmed with emotion about another person before. "He's just gonna reject me and- and-" he hiccups pathetically.

Yoongi has wrapped his arms around Hoseok and is gently rubbing his back, which is a feat that Hoseok will later be impressed by considering how much Yoongi sucks at initiating physical affection. "First of all, he isn't going to reject you. Second of all, if he does then I'll beat his ass."

Hoseok hiccups again. "You couldn't," he says thickly, bringing a sleeve up to wipe snot off of his face. "He's so strong. He could defeat anyone who comes at him." Abruptly, his misery is replaced with awe and now he's back to thinking about how great Namjoon is.

Yoongi has not got the memo that Hoseok is suddenly fine now, so he continues to rub reassuring circles on his back. "He is very strong, but even the strongest of men will eventually collapse if I keep biting their thick, meaty shins," he says. Hoseok can't fault that logic.

"Don't bite his shins," Hoseok whines under his breath, "I wanna be the one to do that."

It seems that Yoongi has noticed the lack of general despair in Hoseok's voice, because he pulls back to look at him and check that he's not crying anymore. "You can do that, but first I really think that you should sleep. Do you want to go home and sleep in your bed?"

Sleeping in his own bed does sound incredibly appealing, but then Hoseok remembers that in order to sleep in his own bed he has to go to his own apartment and Namjoon is in his apartment because he also lives there. A wave of panic hits him again.

"I can't see him," he whispers, clawing at Yoongi's shirt. "I can't see him, I can't let him see me. I'm a mess, I'll embarrass myself. I can't go home. I can't go home because he'll see me. I can't go home ever again. I can't face him, hyung, please let me stay here! If he sees me ever again I'll just die from embarrassment because I'll do something stupid, I just know I will, and then I'll never be able to live it down and it'll be horrible and-"

"Hey," Yoongi squishes Hoseok's cheeks together so that he can't talk anymore. "Why can't you see him anymore? There's never been a problem before."

Hoseok doesn't know. All he knows is that he absolutely cannot let Namjoon see him ever again and he's going to have to just watch him from the distance for the rest of his life because, deep down, he knows that he isn't worth Namjoon's time. "I just can't," he mumbles miserably, cheeks still squished together so his voice comes out all weird. "Can I live with you, instead?"

There's a pause, and Hoseok thinks that Yoongi is considering indulging him, but he apparently decides against it. "Hyung needs his space, Seok-ah, that's why he lives alone in the first place. And if you moved out, Joon would miss you a lot."

Yesterday, Hoseok would have had the common sense to agree that Namjoon would miss him if he were gone, but he no longer has common sense. It's like any logic or intelligent thought has been abandoned in order to accommodate for all of the extra emotions that are in his brain.

They're not extra emotions, now that he thinks about it. It's more that the thoughts that he already had, the fears and desires that he had managed to keep at bay for all this time, have suddenly sprung to the forefront of his mind so boldly and aggressively that there's no way he could possibly comprehend anything else.

He can't be around Namjoon like this. Even if he felt emotionally capable of being around Namjoon- which he doesn't- he doesn't want to make things weird by being unable to hold back his feelings. This is just a weird phase that he's going through, and once it's over he'll be able to go back to normal. In the meantime, he thinks that it would be best to avoid Namjoon, and therefore his apartment, at all costs.

"Can I at least stay again tonight, hyung?" Hoseok pleads.

Yoongi grimaces. "I've got a lot of stuff to be working on today, I kind of pushed it back to hang out with you yesterday so I'm gonna be really busy all night."

"That's fine! I'll be fine! Just do your work and I can just be on my phone all night or something! That's basically what I do every night anyway!"

"No," Yoongi sighs, "I'd really rather you were with someone while you're like this. If you're here on your own then I'll keep worrying about you and I won't get anything done." He gently removes Hoseok's fingers from the hem of his shirt, because apparently Hoseok had not let go this entire time. "I'll have to send you to your other parent."

"My other parent? Who's my other parent?"

"You only have two friends that are older than you, take a guess."

-

Seokjin's apartment is really fancy because he has a suspicious amount of money.

Hoseok usually pretends that he has no idea how Seokjin has far more money than he should have considering the amount that his job pays him, but when he's staying over at Seokjin's place there's only so much he can ignore before he has to face the facts.

They're both on the bed- Seokjin's bed is unreasonably large, so they'll be sharing tonight- and Seokjin is laying on his stomach with his feet in the air, sending messages and the occasional picture of his collarbones to a collection of middle aged men. Every so often, he flicks to another tab with his bank balance on it to admire as it increases.

If he's enjoying himself and making money, then who is Hoseok to judge? Maybe he should consider doing something like this on the side. He doesn't think he would like to flirt with anyone who isn't Namjoon, though. Even if he isn't flirting with Namjoon, either.

"I do actually like some of them," Seokjin says offhandedly when he catches Hoseok looking at his screen for the third time. "Some of them are pretty nice to talk to and... You know." He turns his laptop so that Hoseok can see the picture properly.

"Ah," Hoseok says. He knows this kind of man, he hears his friends talking about them all the time. "A... 'Dilf'?" He wonders if he can consider Namjoon a dilf even though they're the same age.

"A dilf," Seokjin agrees. "The rest are creeps, but they're rich creeps so I keep talking to them."

After curiously watching Seokjin finesse money out of 'dilfs' for a while, Hoseok gets up to do his night routine. He didn't do it last night because he was busy being drunk and talking about muscles, so it's really important that he looks after his face properly tonight.

"Oh, I have a night routine, too," Seokjin says when Hoseok explains what he's going off to do.

Hoseok didn't know that Seokjin was into skincare, too. He thought that he just used moisturiser and sheer force of will to maintain his perfect skin. "Really? I never knew."

Seokjin nods seriously. "Every night, I add a name to my list of people that I don't respect."

It's not the kind of night routine that Hoseok was expecting, but it does make more sense. For a moment, he considers asking if he's on the list, but he knows better than to ask a stupid question like that. Instead, he asks: "When did you add me to it?"

"You're on it a few times," Seokjin says, reaching into his bedside drawer to retrieve a tiny black notebook. "The last time was last week, I think," he says, flicking through the pages until he finds what he's looking from. "Ah, yes, last Wednesday."

Hoseok does vaguely remember seeing Seokjin last Wednesday. "Was that when I-"

"When you said you liked mint chocolate ice cream, yes."

An idea strikes Hoseok. "What about Joonie? He hates mint chocolate, just like you. You have so much in common." An unfamiliar bitter feeling rises up in him. "Wait, oh, wow, do you like him? I mean, I totally understand if you do, since you have so many things in common. Haha, do you like him? I won't tell. Come on, tell me. I know you like him." He's laughing for some reason and he can't stop, even though it feels like he's about to throw up.

Seokjin picks up a pen and writes something in his notebook. "Okay, I now know who I'm writing in for tonight."

"Not Namjoonie, right? Because you like him so you wouldn't write him on your list of people that you don't respect because you like him."

"Namjoon also features heavily in my list."

Hoseok gasps. "Oh my god, what did he do?! Did he talk to other guys and make you jealous- wait, is he talking to other guys?"

Seokjin gives him a piercing stare. "Just so we're clear, you're only staying for one night, yes?"

-

It's been over 24 hours, and whatever has come over Hoseok is not going away. He’s gotten used to the intense emotions enough to think logically as long as he doesn't get carried away (sorry, Seokjin) but the feelings themselves aren’t going away. He’s also still unable to prevent himself from bringing up his love for Namjoon at any given opportunity.

He still can't stand the thought of going home. He still can't face Namjoon, not like this, not when his heart feels like it'll beat so hard that it'll explode out of his chest if they're in the same room.

"I still can't believe that you accused him of liking Namjoonie-hyung," Taehyung cackles from his spot on the floor. "He was so pissed. He was yelling through the phone about how you think he has low standards."

"Hey," Hoseok says defiantly, "liking Joonie would not be low standards. It would be the highest of high standards. Maybe Jin-hyung's standards aren't high enough to appreciate him. Joonie is- he's the best person to have a crush on. He's the best person, like in the world."

Taehyung looks over at Jungkook, who is also on the floor, spread out on his belly with his laptop in front of him. "There really is something up with him."

"He'd never say something like that normally," Jungkook agrees, stealing quick glances at Hoseok as if he wouldn't notice that they're talking about him despite making no attempt to keep their voices down. "I remember last week when I tried to get him to talk about his feelings and he sat on me."

Taehyung shuffles closer to Jungkook, looking conspiratorially over at Hoseok. "Do you think that he-"

"Likes him? Definitely." Jungkook finally addresses Hoseok. "Having a crush is making you weird, hyung."

Hoseok flushes with embarrassment. "It's not that, I always liked him." He cringes at the involuntary confession. It's happened too many times by now for it to be a shock, but he’s just as displeased as he was the first time. "My head's just been messed up recently. I keep feeling things too much and saying weird things." He sighs, head down. "Can you tell Seokjinnie-hyung that I'm sorry? I don't know what came over me, I just remembered that they had things in common with each other and then all of a sudden I got all jealous. I felt threatened because I know that he'd be better for Joonie than me."

Taehyung and Jungkook shuffle over to him, having the decency to look sympathetic. "He wouldn't be better for Namjoonie-hyung than you," Jungkook says, eyes all big and sparkly in the way that only his eyes are. "I honestly think that hyung likes you back." Taehyung nods aggressively in agreement.

Hoseok curls up, wrapping his arms around his knees. "But why would he? I'm just some guy. And he's so great. He's so great. He would never like me like that."

"Hyung," Taehyung says seriously. "Are you sure that he has never said anything to you that sounded like he likes you back, but you just dismissed it because you didn't get it? It's like how last year I kept telling you that I was in love with you, but you always thought I was joking so I had to just force myself to move on." Jungkook pats him sympathetically on the shoulder.

Hoseok doesn't quite get that last sentence, but he brushes it off because Taehyung says a lot of things that don't make sense.

He tries to think about things that Namjoon has said to him in the past that could have conveyed romantic feelings, but he can't think of anything. Sure, there were times when Namjoon would go really quiet and say things like "you mean a lot to me" and "you're my favourite person in the world" and "I want to spend the rest of my life with you", but he probably says stuff like that to everyone.

Sighing, Hoseok shakes his head. "I don't think that he's ever done anything like that."

For some reason, neither Taehyung nor Jungkook look convinced.

They sit in silence for a while, until shouting and squelching noises start to come out of the speakers of Jungkook’s laptop. He really needs some headphones.

Hoseok would be concerned if it weren't for the fact that Taehyung and Jungkook have one of those weird Youtube channels aimed at kids where they do random things and are really loud for no reason. He remembers hearing them talk about a slime bath video last week, so that's probably the source of the squelching noises.

He shuffles over next to Jungkook so that he can look at his screen out of mild curiosity. He was right- Jungkook is editing together some clips of himself and Taehyung covered in slime. Hoseok doesn’t like being sticky, but he thinks that if Namjoon wanted to get a slime bath with him then he’d do it without a thought.

The fact that he knows the cause of the squelching noises doesn't change the fact that it's mildly irritating to hear them over and over as Jungkook edits the video. Considering the fact that their audience is primarily just kids, Jungkook is really precise with his editing.

"Video editing is an art form, hyung," he claims when Hoseok points it out. Taehyung nods enthusiastically in agreement.

"This is a video of you and Taehyungie covering yourselves in slime," Hoseok responds. He doesn't think that there's much artistic about that.

Jungkook ignores him and continues editing, now with a pout on his face. He turns up the volume to be petty.

Hoseok distracts himself by thinking about Namjoon. It's a welcome distraction, and he wonders why he wasn't thinking about Namjoon this entire time.

He thinks it's so amazing that they live together. He may be currently too scared to go home due to the extremely high chance of running into him, but he's so glad that they share an apartment. Hoseok feels like he spent his whole life waiting for Namjoon. He never knew it then, but he knows it now. It was fate that brought them together, it has to be.

"Do you guys ever feel like fate is what caused you to move in together?" He asks, not aiming the question at either of them in particular.

"Nah," Taehyung says immediately.

Jungkook shrugs, still not looking away from the screen. "We just moved in together so that we could spend more time working on our channel."

Hoseok sighs in exasperation. "But isn't there something so nice about living together? Doesn't it feel like everything in life has fallen into place?"

They both stare at him.

"The week we moved in together," Jungkook says, "hyung refused to take a shower until I apologised for eating his snacks and bought him more. He stayed in my room every night until I caved and he smelled so fucking bad."

"I didn't have anywhere to go that week," Taehyung says, looking very proud of himself.

Hoseok wants to argue for a second, say something about how gross that is, but then he realises that they just don't understand. They clearly don't have the bond that he and Namjoon have. He feels sorry for them. They don't know true love.

He and Namjoon have true love. He isn't even sure if Namjoon likes him back, but he knows that they have true love. They have love and fate on their side, and they're going to be together forever and ever and ever.

If Hoseok were in a clearer state of mind, he would laugh at himself for thinking this when he's been too scared to even face Namjoon over the past few days. The thought of Namjoon seeing him, perceiving him, is too terrified to even comprehend, but he'll be damned if he's not going to spend the rest of his life with Namjoon by his side.

... He'll work on it.

The good thing about thinking about Namjoon is that he doesn't need to be around Namjoon to do it. Thinking is better, it's less scary, doesn't make his heart beat so hard that it physically hurts or make his palms so drenched in sweat that he has to wipe them every few seconds or make him so jittery that he's physically vibrating.

Nothing had ever made him quite that anxious before a few days ago when something shifted in him, but he doesn't question it much. This is the new normal.

Hoseok's internal monologue- he swears he didn't used to think this much- is interrupted by Jungkook and Taehyung having a conversation about pee. He would have thought that after bringing up the Taehyung not showering thing, they would have moved onto something less gross, but apparently not.

"My pee has been really yellow recently," Jungkook says conversationally as he plays the same clip of someone being hit in the face with slime over and over again. Hoseok doesn't know enough about video editing to know what he's doing with it. "Really yellow, like neon yellow. It looks radioactive. Should I be concerned?"

Taehyung hums noncommitally. "Not sure. That reminds me, though, I was watching porn the other day and the guy peed and I think I liked it. It was gross but it was gross in a kinda hot way, you know?"

Hoseok stares at them in disgust. He and Namjoon never talk to each other like this. These children clearly have no idea what it's like to have such an elegant and intense love for your roommate.

They're both silent for a while, and Hoseok thinks that it's over, but then Jungkook speaks up again. "Do you wanna look at my radioactive pee?"

"I think I do, actually."

Hoseok has two thoughts. Firstly, he wonders if Namjoon would look at his pee, if he offered. His pee is a normal colour, so it wouldn’t be very interesting to look at, so maybe he wouldn’t. The thought makes him feel inexplicably dejected. Maybe he should ask Jungkook what he did to get his pee so yellow so that he could make his own pee interesting to look at so that Namjoon would look at it.

The second thought is that he cannot stay here for another day. He can't thrive in this environment. It's corrupting his precious, clean mind.

-

Hoseok is desperately running out of friends to stay with. After tonight, he doesn't know what he's going to do. He has lots of friends, sure, but he's not nearly close enough with most of them to let them see him senselessly rambling about his roommate like this.

Jimin is nice, Jimin is sweet, he'll be good to stay with. But Jimin also takes no shit, and most of what Hoseok has been saying over the past few days can be classified as 'shit'.

Jimin is also the most well-prepared to deal with Hoseok tonight, as he's been filled in by all of their friends on what on earth has been going on. For this reason, he seems completely unsurprised when Hoseok bursts into tears in the middle of a mouthful of kimchi.

"I miss him so much," Hoseok whimpers, tears trickling down his face. "I haven't seen him in- in forever. I know that it's all my fault but I miss him so, so much."

Jimin gets up from his seat and hugs Hoseok from behind, resting his chin on his shoulders. "It's okay, hyung," he hums comfortingly.

Hoseok keeps crying. "I don't know what to do. I don't know why I can't act normal anymore," he sniffles.

He doesn't know what's wrong with him. He was able to deal with it for a while, for the first few days, but it's gotten to a point where he's terrified that he's never going to go back to normal and he won't be able to see Namjoon ever again. It doesn't help that Jimin's apartment reminds him of the store he bought the weird pink alcohol from, back when he was normal.

He misses Namjoon so bad. He misses poking his fingers into his dimples so badly. Is he ever going to be able to poke his fingers into Namjoon's dimples ever again? He isn't sure. Not being able to do that again sounds to him like a fate worse than death.

"Joon-hyung is the most understanding person we know," Jimin says, placing himself in Hoseok's lap and making direct eye contact. “It’ll be okay. He wants you home, hyung." He opens his mouth as if he's about to say something, but closes it before he does. He's done that a few times since Hoseok came over.

Before he can give it much thought, Hoseok finds himself exploding in a fresh wave of tears. Jimin patiently wipes them away, although Hoseok thinks that his eyes are glittering, too. He knows that his recent behaviour is taking a huge toll on all of his friends; they're all so worried about him. He doesn't deserve to be cared about this much, not when he can barely hold himself together.

"I know," Hoseok whimpers miserably. "I know that he wants me home, but I can't go back. I just can't."

"Hyung," Jimin says seriously. "If you aren't going to go home, then you need to at least tell him what's going on. He's so worried about you."

He knows that too. He and Namjoon have texted back and forth a few times- his heart always beating so hard in his chest that he can hear it in his ears whenever he receives a message- and he's always tried to make things sound like they're all fine while being as vague as possible. 'It's been a weird few days, I'll be back like normal soon, I'm staying with a friend', he says when Namjoon asks what's going on and where he is.

Namjoon will know by now that there's something wrong, and Hoseok knows that the longer he keeps it a secret the more worried Namjoon is going to be. But he can't explain himself- he doesn't know how.

Jimin stills, eyes fluttering closed for a moment. When he opens them, he starts to speak in a way that sounds very level and well-rehearsed. With the amount of times he has looked like he wants to say something but hasn't, it may very well have been mentally rehearsed. "I've been thinking about what our friends have told me about your behaviour and from what I've seen of you so far, I think that you've gotten involved in some kind of magic."

Hoseok screws up his face in confusion. "Huh?"

He knows that Jimin does 'witchy things' sometimes, but he doesn't talk about it very often and Hoseok doesn't really know what it consists of. All he knows is that Jimin has a lot of pretty crystals and his apartment always smells nice because he has herbs hanging up to dry. He doesn't ask questions because it doesn't seem like the kind of thing that Jimin wants to talk about.

The fact that he's bringing it up now, and even suggesting that Hoseok might be involved with it, is confusing. And Hoseok's been in a constant state of confusion over the past few days, so that's really saying something.

Hoseok stares at Jimin's face, looking for a sign that he's joking around, but he doesn't see anything. His face is carefully blank.

"I don't understand," Hoseok says sheepishly.

Jimin's lips curl upwards slightly at the side. "I really haven't told you much about being a witch, have I?"

That stumps Hoseok for a moment, until he puts two and two together and figures that if somebody does 'witchy things' then, yeah, they are probably a witch. "Do you have a magic wand?" He asks, because he can't think of anything more intelligent to say.

Jimin smiles, properly this time, with his little crooked tooth showing. "I don't. Some people do, though. I prefer to work with crystals and herbs. And sigils," he points at one of the intricate circular markings carved onto his kitchen table. Hoseok has noticed them a few times, but never thought to ask about them. He thought that Jimin just had weird looking furniture.

"So," Hoseok says slowly, "what does that have to do with me?"

Jimin's expression turns serious again as he takes his lower lip between his teeth. "It's the only explanation that I can think of. But it still doesn't make much sense because love spells aren't meant to make you act like this. They're meant to add on some extra emotions, they aren't supposed to make you a mess."

"But I don't like him because of a spell, I've always really really liked him. I just never said anything about it, but now I can't not talk about it," Hoseok says defensively.

Jimin hums, sounding somewhat concerned. "If you're telling the truth and not just convincing yourself that you've always felt it, then that could be it. I've never heard of a love spell being put on someone who already had feelings for the person. It might be malfunctioning or something."

There's one glaring problem. "I don't remember anyone putting a spell on me,” Hoseok says. He can't remember anyone pointing a magic wand at him and saying some kind of incantation, which is what he imagines a spell would be.

"It can happen in a few ways. Have you touched a weird object recently? Or been alone with some mysterious people? Or eaten or drank something that came from a questionable source?" Jimin sighs, slumping back into his own chair. "I just don't understand why someone would do that to you. Namjoon-hyung would never put a spell on someone against their will, even if he did know how to use magic. But who else would?"

Hoseok remembers something. "Oh. Oh. I bought some fancy alcohol from a weird shop before I stayed at Yoongi-hyung's. I think that might be it."

Jimin's eyes light up, although Hoseok can't tell what emotion exactly they're lighting up with. "Do you still have the bottle?"

Hoseok gets his back and rummages through it until he finds the empty bottle. It's a good job he didn't throw it away. He hands it to Jimin, who examines it closely.

"It's all in English," Jimin mutters to himself as he squints at the words, before putting the bottle down with resignation. "I don't recognise the potion brand, but even so, it would need something to activate it. They don't usually work on their own." He looks up at Hoseok. "Did hyung drink it, too?"

"Yeah," Hoseok says meekly.

Jimin scrunches up his face in thought. "He seems to be fine, though." He stares into space for a moment, and then laughs to himself. "Maybe you already liked Namjoonie-hyung so much that your existing feelings activated the potion."

Hoseok doesn't know what to say to that. On one hand, he's a little embarrassed, but there's a part of his mind, a really childish part, that's proud of himself for loving Namjoon so much that even magic recognises it.

"Hyung, you really shouldn't buy and drink things that you don't understand," Jimin says, shaking his head.

Hoseok feels like he's in trouble. "I'd never bought alcohol before, I thought that this was just how things were," he says. "I thought that the vibe in the store was just the alcohol vibe."

Jimin looks like he's trying hard not to smile. He's looking at the bottle again. "Okay, you're not going to like this."

"What?"

"We're going to have to take this to Namjoon-hyung. He's the only person we know who's fluent in English. Because I don't recognise the brand, I can't figure out what the antidote is."

Hoseok practically leaps out of his skin. "What? No! He's the last person I need to know about this. It'd be so embarrassing, it'd be-" He thinks about how this could be an excuse to see Namjoon again. Maybe Namjoon likes the damsel in distress type. He could step into the apartment and dramatically claim to have a mysterious curse that only Namjoon, smart English speaking Namjoon, can fix. Namjoon will valiantly read the mysterious scripture and then fall in love with Hoseok because, uh, he isn't too sure yet, but they could live happily ever after, maybe. "... Are you sure?"

"He's the best chance we've got," Jimin says. “If I didn't think that it's magic that we're dealing with, then I'd just use an online translator, but I don't trust them enough for something like this. One mistranslation and, well..." He trails off. Hoseok can imagine the consequences. "You need to see him again soon, anyway."

He's right. Hoseok needs to see Namjoon again before he starts catching on that he's avoiding him, if he hasn't already. And he really wants to see Namjoon again. He's just scared. Really scared. But also, somehow, really excited. The prospect of seeing him again makes his stomach fill with more butterflies than he's had since he was a teenager. He's sweating again.

Jimin's looking at him and for some reason he's smiling again. "You're blushing. You're so cute, hyung."

Hoseok lightly slaps him. "Ah, I'm in a vulnerable situation right now. Now is not the time to be calling me cute."

"You are cute, though," Jimin insists. "I know that it's horrible that something like this happened to you, but it's kind of nice to see you have your heart on your sleeve like this. You always hold stuff like this back. You hid it so well that none of us even knew that you liked Namjoon-hyung in the first place, and we're a pretty perceptive bunch of friends-"

"Yoongi-hyung knew," Hoseok interjects, because apparently that's the thing that stuck out to him out of all of what Jimin said.

"Well, he can go fuck himself for not telling me," Jimin says bluntly. "The point is that I think that you should be more honest about your feelings in the future. It's nice."

That isn't what he expected Jimin to say to him at all. He never even considered that feeling so much right now and being all tingly and sweaty and kind of gross could be a good thing. He's spent this whole time being embarrassed about it. It's only now that Jimin brings it up that he realises that it's nice in a way. Being in love is nice. Crushes are nice.

He remembers that he used to like having crushes when he was in school. He loved seeing pretty people and staring at them from afar and daydreaming about them. He loved talking to them and getting to know them and even if everything would fall apart after a few weeks, he'd be glad to do it all again.

At what point did he start building up walls? Nothing particularly bad or traumatizing happened in his love life, so why did he stop wearing his heart on his sleeve?

If someone asked him normally, he'd just say that he grew up, but growing up doesn't mean that you need to stop being soft and vulnerable.

"Remind me about this," Hoseok says, "once this is over. I don't know if I'll remember about it otherwise because my memory has been shit recently, but I think that you're right."

Jimin envelopes Hoseok in another hug. "I know that I'm right." He fishes Hoseok’s phone out of his pocket, and the speed and ease with which he did it should probably be a concern, but there are more important things to think about right now. “If you want," Jimin says, "I can write a message to Joon-hyung for you and you can check if it's okay and then we can send it."

He shows Hoseok the screen about a minute later.

'I'm really sorry that I haven't been open with you over the past few days. It isn't because I don't trust you or don't want to talk to you, it's because I've been too confused and scared to talk about it. I've been going through some extreme emotional difficulties lately and it's made me feel like going back home isn't an option, but I'll come back home tomorrow.'

Hoseok stares blankly at the screen.

"Is that okay? I thought that I shouldn’t mention the magic stuff yet or he’ll be worried. You can change it to make it sound like you and add emojis and stuff."

Everything looks fine to Hoseok, except one thing. "I'm going home tomorrow?" He feels the panic slowly seeping back into his brain.

Jimin looks at him sympathetically. "Spells like this don't usually wear off on their own. We need to see him to find out how to cure it, so staying away from him is just prolonging the inevitable." He's quiet for a second. "He really wants you home, hyung," he reminds him, voice soft.

Hoseok doesn't know. He could keep alternating between staying with all of his friends forever and never solve his problem, but he knows that that isn't fair on his friends. He shrugs, mouth involuntarily forming a pout.

"I'll take you back home and stay with you until you feel comfortable to be alone with him again, okay?" Hoseok nods slightly. "Is the text okay?" Hoseok nods again. Jimin hands him the phone so that he can Hoseok-ify the message and make it sound less like someone else wrote it for him- even though that's exactly what happened.

After changing a few words and adding some emojis, he hovers his finger over the 'send' button. He doesn't want to do it. He really doesn't want to do it. He needs to do it. He doesn't want to do it. He closes his eyes and taps the button.

He stares at his phone screen, jumping when it shows that Namjoon has read the message immediately. He responds within seconds.

'I'll order lots of food for when you come back!'

A stray tear slides down Hoseok's cheek as they both stare at the screen in silence. When he can't handle the focus on him and his issue anymore, he changes the subject. "So. A witch, huh?"

Jimin makes a little choking noise. "Yeah."

Hoseok pokes him lightly in the tummy. "Why didn't you tell me about it?"

He supposes that Jimin did tell him about it, but only kind of. Only in the form of muttered comments when Hoseok asked about his day, like 'ah, I just did some witchy things' or 'I did some, uh, witchy stuff'.

It's unusual for Jimin, someone so loud about what he likes and doesn't like, to be so quiet about a hobby (is it a hobby or a profession? Both? Hoseok isn't sure.) He's done this, bringing it up kind of but not really, for so long that Hoseok is surprised that he never thought of asking about it himself.

Jimin looks a little pink in the face. "I thought... I guess I thought that you would think that it's weird," he says meekly, staring determinedly down at his own perfectly shaped fingernails.

"Weird? You can make people fall in love, that's so cool, Jimin-ah. Kind of scary, but cool!"

"It doesn't create real love, that's impossible, it just gives you the feelings associated with love," Jimin says, but Hoseok can tell by the way that the flush on Jimin's cheeks deepen that his point has been proven.

"Can you turn me into a frog?" Hoseok asks. It's mostly a joke, but not entirely, because he doesn't know anything about magic other than what he's just been told, which is not very much.

Jimin rolls his eyes fondly at him. "If you really wanted me to, I could find a way. Transfiguration magic isn't really my thing, though."

That's close enough to a yes. "Ah!" Hoseok shrieks in mock terror. "My cutie scary Jiminie is going to turn me into a frog! Help!"

They both giggle as Jimin scuffles to put his hands over Hoseok's mouth before the neighbours start to wonder what the fuck is going on.

"It's not really scary," Jimin says after a moment. "Not what I do, anyway. Some people use magic for bad, but there are bad people everywhere." He gestures to the markings- sigils- on the table again. "Most of these are some kind of good luck charm. No frogs, just vibes."

Hoseok looks at the the sigil closest to him, trying and failing to make some kind of sense of it. Now that he looks up closely, he can see that it has clearly been carved by hand. He wonders how long Jimin spent on it, making little precise scratches into the wood that mean things that Hoseok couldn't begin to comprehend.

"Do the others know?" Jimin shakes his head. "I think you should tell them. Nobody will think you're weird, and even if they did then you couldn't possibly be weirder than Taehyungie and Jungkookie." Jimin laughs a little under his breath at that. "I'm serious, Jiminie. If anything, I think that you're cooler than before, and I didn't think that that was possible because you were already a neat little guy."

Jimin makes a noise of objection, presumably because Hoseok just called him little. "I'll think about it."

"I'll tell you what," Hoseok says. "If I promise to get my head out of my ass and start talking about my feelings again, you promise to tell our friends that you're a witch. Deal?"

"... Deal."

"Cool, so is there a magic way that witches make promises or...?"

Jimin smiles widely. "Just this is fine," he says as he links his and Hoseok's pinkies together.

-

Just as he promised, Jimin stays with Hoseok the whole time when he returns to his apartment.

It's embarrassing, so humiliating, to be so afraid of going back to the place where you live, especially when there's no danger of any kind. There's nothing to be afraid of- just the man that you're in love with.

Hoseok doesn't want to open the door, but he also didn't want to get out of bed in the morning and he didn't want to leave Jimin's apartment, and he did both of those things. He can open the door.

Jimin's hand is on his back, grounding him and keeping him as stable as he could possibly be right now (which is, admittedly, not very stable.) "It'll be okay, hyung," he says as Hoseok's hand hovers over the keypad. "He'll be so happy to see you again."

And he'll be so happy to see Namjoon again, too. Underneath the panic, there's an intense excitement at the thought of being able to see him, being able to talk to him. He wishes that he could somehow see Namjoon without Namjoon seeing him in return.

The door is open, and Namjoon is there right in front of him. He had been waiting, he must have been.

It's difficult to explain how Hoseok feels as soon as he sees Namjoon again. A switch is flipped in his head and it's like every single emotion has peaked, but at the same time he isn't feeling much at all at all except contentment. He’s been treading water for the past few days, and now he’s submerged.

Namjoon is devastatingly handsome as always, eyes brightening as soon as he takes Hoseok in. He steps forward, smiling wide. "Seok-ah!"

"Joonie," Hoseok breathes.

He vaguely registers that Jimin is also here, and he hears him say something to Namjoon but he has no idea what it is. He doesn't really care about anything except Namjoon and the fact that Namjoon is right here in front of him and he can see him and he can touch him- he can touch him-

He feels a firm bicep beneath his hands before he registers the fact that he has stepped forward and grabbed hold of Namjoon. Namjoon's eyes widen with surprise, clearly expecting Hoseok to be keeping distance between them considering how he has been acting recently.

Jimin is still talking. He’s probably telling Namjoon about what’s wrong with Hoseok, although now that he’s with Namjoon, Hoseok doesn’t think that there’s anything wrong with him at all. He sees that he's rubbing Namjoon's arms, pressing down on every individual muscle between his fingers. His fingertips are tingling.

He thinks that Namjoon is asking Jimin a question, and he thinks that Jimin answers him. He can't hear it. His blood is rushing in his ears, and he can't think enough to make sense of the words that he's hearing.

Namjoon's arms feel so good. They look so good. Hoseok wants to lick them. He wants to lick Namjoon all over. He doesn't lick him because that would involve moving his hands and he likes touching him so much, but licking is definitely on the to-do list for later.

They're walking. Namjoon's hand is resting gently on the small of Hoseok's waist, and he thinks that if that hand ever moves away then he'll scream. He's still clinging onto Namjoon's arm, nuzzling it with his face. They're sitting down. Namjoon is sitting next to him, hand still on his back. His hand is so big. His hand is so big.

He remembers talking a while ago about how big Namjoon's hands are. When was that? Time doesn't make sense anymore. He tries to remember when it was, because this feels important for some reason.

He was drinking, he was drinking and he was talking about Namjoon's hands being big. Why was he drinking? He was drinking because he was with Yoongi and he and Yoongi like to drink together and talk about how big their friends are. He drank some special stuff, too. He bought it from a weird fancy shop and it had English words on it instead of Korean words so he didn't know what it said but he bought it anyway because it looked pretty.

"Do you have the bottle with you?" Namjoon asks.

Hoseok blinks up at him, mouth slack. "Bottle?"

"The one that you drank from when you were with hyung, do you have it?"

Does he have the bottle? He does. Jimin told him to bring it.

Namjoon is gone. Hoseok gasps, arms swinging around to try to find him again, but he's not in front of him anymore. He thinks that he's going to cry. Where is he? Where has he gone?

Hoseok starts crying, and then Namjoon is back. His hands are on him, around his waist just like the time that he was talking about a few nights ago. His hands are so big. His hands are so big.

"You should have shown me the bottle," Namjoon says, and Hoseok doesn't know why he says that or why the bottle is relevant. He would have forgotten which bottle they're talking about if it weren't for the fact that Namjoon is now holding it.

He doesn't care about the damn bottle, and he's annoyed at it because now that Namjoon is holding it means that only one hand is on Hoseok's waist and he was just getting used to two and he's greedy, so greedy for Namjoon's touch and he needs him to touch him again and all over and with both of his hands.

Namjoon is reading the English words. "Seok-ah, you should have shown it to me, you know that I understand English. It says love potion right there on the front." He sounds like he's panicking. Why is he panicking?

Hoseok remembers that Yoongi recognised the word 'love' but he didn't know the second. That makes sense because 'potion' isn't the kind of word that one would usually come across when they're learning the basics of a language. Yoongi doesn't know how to say potion in English but Namjoon does because he's really smart and he's a fluent in a whole other language because he's really smart and he's really smart and his hands are on Hoseok again and it feels really warm and Hoseok feels happy and he doesn't want to move.

"Seok, please, can you hear me?"

He can hear him. He can see him and he can feel him and he can hear him and he could probably taste him if he stuck his tongue out and licked a stripe up his neck. He tastes like sweat, which should be gross but it isn't.

Namjoon lets out a strangled groan. "We have to- we have to reverse it so that you feel normal again."

That sounds like what Hoseok was thinking before, but now that he's here and with Namjoon and can taste the sweat on his neck, it doesn't sound like a very good idea anymore. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with this situation. He feels great. He wants to feel like this forever. He thinks that he has a job which would mess things up a bit but he can quit his job so that he can do this full-time.

"You can't- you basically roofied yourself. You can't stay like this."

Why?

"I miss you."

Hoseok's right here.

"No, you aren't. I don't know why the love potion affected you like this when you just drank it straight up, but it's making you think that you like me and- fuck."

He feels Namjoon pull away and he shrieks, grasping onto an arm for dear life and wrapping his entire body around it. That's not true. He likes him, he knows he likes him. He loves him. He always loved him. The potion didn't make him love him, it just made him be weird about it. It's not made him feel differently, it's only made him feel more. So much more. More but the same.

Namjoon is crying. Why is he crying? No, no, no, why is he crying? Why is he crying when this is so good?

"I don't know what to do."

He doesn't need to do anything, he can just be here with Hoseok. Don't go. Don't leave. Don't leave Hoseok here alone. He's sorry that he left but it's because he was scared but now he's here and he wants to stay with Namjoon forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever.

Namjoon is looking at the bottle. He's looking at the back of it and squinting his eyes and reading all of the small words. He's so smart, he can read English even when the words are really small. Hoseok can't read English. He can read Korean. That's the only language that he can read, because he isn't as smart as Namjoon.

"You're just as smart as I am, you're just smart in a different way."

Hoseok feels his body flush with pleasure at the compliment. He giggles, rubbing his face against Namjoon's arm. Namjoon doesn't seem to be going away anymore, so he moves from just the arm and wraps his arms around Namjoon's whole body. He's so big and thick and his chest is really big and his pecs are big and soft and Hoseok wants to put his face in them so he does. Namjoon is warm. His heart is beating really fast. Hoseok really likes listening to Namjoon's heartbeat, even if it is really fast for some reason.

It feels so good. Touching Namjoon feels so good. He wants to touch him more. His hands trail down his stomach, pressing down over the hard plane of where his abs are. Feels good. He wants to lick again. His hands continue travelling down, fingers finding their way under his waistband-

His back hits the couch. Namjoon threw him off of him. Why? Why did he push him away? What's wrong? Hoseok starts crying again. He doesn't understand. He just wanted to hold him and touch him everywhere because he feels so good.

"Please, don't."

Namjoon sounds so, so sad, and Hoseok doesn't understand. He crawls back over, hesitantly picking up Namjoon's free arm again. That seems to be okay, because he isn't being pushed away anymore. Arm feels good. Feels strong.

"I'm not familiar with some of these words."

Hoseok can't believe that there are words that Namjoon isn't familiar with. He thought that Namjoon knew everything. Maybe they invented some more words after Namjoon learned English and that's why he doesn't know those words. That's the only explanation that makes sense.

"It looks like in order to be cured, you have to-"

Hoseok doesn't want to be cured. Everything's fine the way it is. He feels good. Has anyone considered that maybe there's nothing wrong with him in the first place and maybe this potion actually made everything right?

"There's two ways to cure it and it depends on whether or not you already had feelings for the person in the first place or if the feelings are purely because of the potion."

Hoseok has always liked Namjoon, always always always.

"Are you sure?"

Yes yes yes yes yes yes.

"I can't- I can't tell if you're just saying that. I don't know if I can believe you or not. You need to tell me the truth."

Hoseok can't believe that Namjoon would ever think for a second that he hasn't liked him this entire time. He liked him when he asked if they wanted to move in together and he liked him when they spent the first night together and he liked him when they first went food shopping together and he liked him when he started going to the gym and got bulkier but he liked him when he was skinny too and he liked him when he told him that the way he made toast was cute and he liked him when

and

and

They're kissing. Namjoon's lips are on his and they're both crying for some reason but Hoseok can't remember why and everything is so so warm and soft and Namjoon's big hands are on his waist just the way that he likes and he wraps his arms around Namjoon's big torso and it's soft and warm and wet and they're crying and they're kissing. Feels good. It feels so good.

"Hoseok?" Namjoon says tentatively when they part, faces only a few inches apart. Hoseok can see all of the flecks of different shades of brown in his tear-filled eyes.

Hoseok inhales for what feels like the first time in days. He exhales. He looks around, feeling like he’s only now seeing the interior of the living room even though he’s already spent an unknown length of time here. He can see properly and, even more importantly, he can think properly.

Memories of the past few days gradually fill his mind like sand in an hourglass. He looks back to Namjoon, who is watching him with fear and apprehension.

And then he screams.

-

When he was under the influence of the potion, before he knew that he was under the influence of a potion, Hoseok thought that if he ever came home then he would have to hide in his room and wait until he feels normal again. Ironically, his initial plan of hiding in his room is exactly what he ends up doing. Namjoon gives him some space for the rest of the night, which he is incredibly thankful for.

He can't believe that he did all of that. He can't believe that he said all kinds of things to his friends, things that he would never dream of saying if he had his head on right, not to mention what happened with Namjoon as soon as he got home.

It feels like after they kissed- Hoseok winces every time he thinks about it- his head had broken the surface of the ocean after having been submerged in it for so long that he had almost forgotten how to breathe. It was like post-nut clarity, but so much bigger and more terrifying.

He needs to talk to Namjoon. He's needed to talk to Namjoon for a very long time.

After hours of hiding in his room and texting extensive apologies to all of his friends, he emerges to make some toast. As he chops up the banana to put on it, he hears some movement behind him.

It's Namjoon. They stare at each other. "I'm sorry," they both say at the same time.

Hoseok squints at him with confusion. He's not sure if Namjoon just apologised or if he’s so tired that he somehow heard his own voice twice. "Why are you sorry?" He asks.

Namjoon looks down at the floor. "I kissed you when you weren't in the right headspace to properly consent to it. The instructions said that the spell could be broken if I kissed you, I would never have done something like that otherwise."

Hoseok laughs. He just has to laugh. It's all so ridiculous. "I terrorised our friends for days, avoided you with no explanation and then was all over you as soon as I came back, and you're apologising for kissing me to break a spell?"

"Consent is important," Namjoon says sulkily. "I would have rather kissed you while you were mentally present."

"I know that consent is important, yes, but you had to- wait, what?"

They stare at each other again. Namjoon looks like this conversation is causing him physical pain, which makes sense because Hoseok also kind of feels in pain right now. "I said that I would rather kiss you while you're mentally present. Sorry if I'm reading this wrong, but I don't see how I could be reading things wrong considering everything that has happened today. I'd like to kiss you."

A warmth fills Hoseok's body, but it's an adequate amount of warmth. It's a warmth that makes sense. He nods dumbly for a moment before he can get his words to work and come out properly. "I'd like that, too." He looks down at his half-chopped banana. "Should I have my toast first?"

"You should probably have your toast first."

They stand next to each other, shoulders touching- well, Hoseok's shoulder touching the top of Namjoon's arm, since they aren't the same height- as Hoseok assembles his Nutella banana toast. It's a little awkward standing there in silence while he eats it, but it's the kind of awkwardness that they're both used to. It's the kind of awkwardness that has always been between them and probably always will.

"Jimin told me to tell you," Namjoon says tentatively, "that he thinks that you should let yourself express how you're feeling. He said that," he coughs awkwardly, "we would have, um, 'sorted our shit out years ago' if you had."

Hoseok freezes with his mouth full. Fuck, he remembers the conversation now. He had asked Jimin to remind him, but he's a lot less willing to think about it deeply now that things have gone back to normal.

It would be so easy for him to put all of his walls back up. But Jimin doesn't want him to, and he can tell by the look on Namjoon's face that, even though he'd never tell Hoseok what to do, he doesn't want him to, either.

"Okay," Hoseok says when he swallows, just as Namjoon looks like he's about to apologise for bringing it up. "In that case, I like you a lot." Just saying the words makes him cringe, even though he knows that Namjoon is already aware that he likes him. After yesterday, he's probably too aware. "And I have for a long time. I know that I told you that yesterday but I'm going to say it again anyway, because I know I'm going to have to get used to... Saying things."

Namjoon does that smile that he does where his eyes turn into crescents and his dimples stand out and Hoseok thinks that he'd open up as much as he wants just to get Namjoon to look at him like that again.

When he finishes his toast, he stands there with his hands at his sides like a Sim waiting for the player to give an instruction. He realises that there's not much else to do now except what he and Namjoon have agreed to do a few minutes prior.

He looks up at Namjoon. "Are we still- do you still want to-"

"Always," Namjoon grins, seemingly having gained some confidence over the time that it took for Hoseok to construct and consume a Nutella banana toast. He steps in front of Hoseok, backing him up against the countertop. "Now, I believe you said that you like when I put my hands around your waist." He places both hands at Hoseok's waist, squeezing gently. "Because my hands are so, so big."

He's laughing. He's making Hoseok's brain combust and he's laughing.

Hoseok's breaths are coming out rapidly, too fast to be able to supply enough oxygen to his brain, and he's feeling a little lightheaded. (But the normal kind of lightheaded, not the artificial kind caused by a love potion.) "I guess that you could say that," he chokes.

Objectively, he knows that their size difference isn't actually that drastic, but he feels like Namjoon is towering over him, completely surrounding him. Namjoon is a good and gentle person, but if he wanted to restrain Hoseok and prevent him from escaping, he absolutely could do that. It's one of the things that Hoseok likes so much about him, he thinks- he's so powerful, both physically and mentally, but he would never use that power on others.

Perhaps he would if somebody asked nicely, though.

Hoseok looks up at him, lips slightly parted. "Come down here," he says.

And Namjoon does. He stoops his neck down slightly to brush his lips gently against Hoseok's, so lightly that it barely feels like a kiss. He pauses, their faces almost completely touching, hot breath washing over Hoseok's lips.

Then he dives back in, pressing down harder this time, pushing Hoseok hard into the counter. He feels the edge of it digging into his back but he could not for the life of him give a damn about that right now.

Their lips part against each other, breathing each other in so hungrily as if this is the last moment that they'll ever have together, as if this is the one chance they have to convey to each other exactly how they feel, even though they have the rest of their lives for that.

'I love you, and I'm so sorry that this is how you found out,' Hoseok tells him as he swipes his tongue across Namjoon's lush lower lip.

'It's okay, and I love you too,' Namjoon responds as his mouth falls open and lets Hoseok slide his tongue inside, suckling on it gently before joining it with his own tongue.