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A Cat Who Writes ([personal profile] acatwhowrites) wrote2017-03-24 03:53 pm

Ignorance is the Reason of Fear

title: Ignorance is the Reason of Fear
players: Min Yoongi/Suga, Jung Hoseok/J Hope
rating: G
word count: 5,270w
summary: Hoseok just wants to go home, but he's lost. Instead, he finds the largest snake nest he's never wanted to see, reigned over by the largest—and loneliest—snake he's never wanted to see.
a/n: Originally written for the BTS ABO/Hybrid Challenge event.

bingo squares: Yoongi/Hoseok/Namjoon - ring-tailed lemur - Beauty and the Beast - Lion Heart (SNSD) - You've never had ice cream?

If this bingo has shown me anything, it's that I am a short-fic writer. Like, short-short. When there's a set word count, I struggle hardcore. orz I am also very much an EXO fic writer. Bangtan, as much as I love them, are too hard. No idea why. This also just had a lot of snakes, and there are only so many ways to writes about snakes until you start using weird similes and Googling verb synonyms.

Fun fact about this: Yoongi almost ate that bird. Snakes unhinge their jaws. I thought that might be too much, though, so he just tosses it into the trees or something.
Read on: AFF || AO3 || LJ





Humans are born with only two innate fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud sounds. Everything else is learned.

True, Hoseok isn't all human, but the fact still stands. Carrying the genetic material of the highly-social ring-tailed lemur, both Hoseok and Namjoon are pretty open to new experiences and people, but Hoseok personally draws the line at snakes.

He hates snakes.

They're long and limbless like worms and stick their tongues out and coil funny... He shudders to even think about them.

So how, he wonders, does he get stuck in the one part of the country that is literally crawling—slithering—with snakes? They hang from the trees, which is why he's walking, but even the little ones in the grass try following him. If he let his tail hang down, he's sure they'd try swallowing it. Just to prevent tempting Fate, he pulls his tail around to his front and holds it in his hands. Playing with it is also something to do with his anxious energy.

It's pretty in the forest, at least. Comfortably cool and green. It'd be prettier without the snakes, but even they have a certain aesthetic charm. Hoseok can appreciate their beauty, although he'd much rather appreciate them from a safe distance, like through a book's 2D illustrations.

He notices as he walks that they're not actually following him. Some slither around him, in a hurry to get to wherever snakes hurry to, but all of the snakes seem to head in the same direction. Maybe they have a massive cave with their massive snake mom.

Lovely.

As disgusting as it'd be, going home to meet the snakes' mother, his gut reasons that it's better to get to somewhere than just meander the forest until he loses all light.

Hoseok pokes some vines with his stick and passes through when they don't hiss or shiver. He pauses with one foot in the air just to let it down very, very slowly.

A castle stands in the middle of an overgrown clearing. It's tall and impressive, sloped roofs green with moss and speckled white from passing birds. The steps are crumbling, and the foundation appears to be sinking a little, but it can't hide the beauty of the architecture.

It's no cave, but it is massive, and the snakes are congregating underneath, slipping through the cracks of the walls, so Hoseok still suspects a massive snake mom. He's got his foot up again, ready to book it back the way he came and hope he missed a path, when he hears music.

Someone's playing a piano.

Snakes lack the appropriate limbs to play piano, unless a group is very coordinated. Someone else must be inside; maybe they can point him in the direction of home.

Carefully treading among the exodus in the grass, Hoseok climbs the crumbling steps and puts his shoulder against the heavy door. It gives way easily; he's afraid he's broken it, but it just swings on oiled hinges and falls closed behind him with a resounding bang!.

Inside, it's just as dilapidated as the exterior. He assumes he's in the foyer, which is open clear to the ceiling. A wide staircase branches in two to curve towards the front door. One of them appears to have fallen in on itself recently. There's not as thick a layer of dust.

There are no footsteps, just a growing shadow on the wall to tell Hoseok he's not alone, and he realises that the piano has stopped.

"Looking for something?"

Hoseok's heart leaps into his throat, knocking him off balance, and he falls right on his butt with his tail straight in the air like an exclamation point. "I-I-I'm so sorry!" He trips over his words and trips over himself as he stands. The stranger is a giant snake with the upper body of a very pale man dressed in a thick, large sweater. He doesn't seem to have any hair at all, not even eyelashes, but as he slithers into the light, Hoseok sees the glow of fine, white lashes and eyebrows.

"For what, trespassing?" His voice is low, carrying a hiss that sets all the little hairs on Hoseok's arms and tail on end.

"Yeah, sure," he rambles, "and interrupting your music and your day and upsetting your snakes—"

"They're not my snakes."

"What?"

"The snakes. They're not mine." He lets a small snake wrap around his fingers to coil like a bracelet around his wrist. "They just live here. My only company."

"That's....That's really lonely, man."

"You get used to it." His lower body writhes and undulates, completely opposite his prone upper body. Watching him move, it's as though his top and bottom are separate beings. Hoseok knows he walks with a literal bounce in his step; stillness is not something he's good at. "So what brings you here? Get lost?"

"Yeah, actually. I was on my way home but went the wrong way or something..." A crash drives him into the air, fur on end. The snake man sighs and rises up on his tail, forgoing the stairs entirely and slithering over the second story railing. Hoseok hears him grumbling at someone, and he thinks he recognises their voice, but it's probably wishful thinking. There's no way his friend would be in this place.

The snake man returns, looking tired. He stops when something kicks his tail and looks over his shoulder. His tail moves with precision and coils around someone, drawing them towards the stairs.

"I can walk on my own." Namjoon squirms in the snake's hold. There's no reason he should be here, but he is.

"I don't believe you. You've yet to prove it." He lowers the lemur to the ground floor and follows his coiling tail, again not bothering with the stairs.

"Namjoon?" Hoseok grabs his friend by the arms and drags him into a crushing hug. "What're you doing here?"

"I was looking for you! You'd said you'd be back, and I got worried when you didn't show, so I went to look. I found this place and thought you'd taken shelter or gotten hurt or something..." He plays with his tail, mumbling something shyly.

"What?"

"He said he broke my staircase," the snake hisses crossly. "So he's paying me back with physical labour."

"He's actually not that bad," Namjoon whispers. "He's grumpy but soft."

"Shut up, you walking disaster."

"Can't you just pay him back?"

"I don't want your money," the snake hisses.

"Okay, well, how long until he works it off?"

"The way he works? That crash you just heard was him breaking a mirror. The third one." Namjoon picks at the fur on his tail. "He'll be dead before he works it all off. He's my prisoner for life."

"Can't we work something out?"

"No."

"Wait! What if— What if I took his place?" He flinches under the snake's gaze. "I'm not nearly as clumsy. I can work faster, and then we'll be completely out of your hair—uh, scales—and you can return to your hermiting with the resident snakes. Like we were never even here."

"You would do that?" The snake looks intrigued but cautious. Hoseok ignores Namjoon's whispered protests and grips his hand. He's well aware of what he's suggesting, but it's a good offer. Namjoon, for as smart and kind as he is, is not graceful. He breaks things with his very presence, and if he's broken a staircase and three mirrors in just a few days, Hoseok doesn't want to imagine the future. His idea, if accepted, will shave off a lot of time and get them both home faster.

"I'm sorry for the trouble he's caused you, and it's my fault in the first place. He was looking for me."

"Hoseok, it's fine. I can—"

"Deal." The snake hisses lowly, and a rhumba of rattlesnakes slinks from between the floorboards. They lay at the snake man's tail quietly, but when he hisses again, their tails start to rattle. "Take him to the village."

Hoseok's never seen snakes move so fast, and he never wanted to. He leaps aside as they seem to charge at him but instead herd Namjoon towards the door. "Wait—" He can't reach his friend unless he steps on the snakes, which he's not keen on doing. He looks up to meet Namjoon's apologetic eyes, and the door swings shut again, shaking dust from the ceiling to fall like snow.

"You didn't even let me say goodbye," he says softly. His eyes are glassy with tears, but he wills them not to fall. Tears won't help him.



After the snakes drive Namjoon from the castle, Hoseok's pretty much left to himself with only one rule: Stay out of the west wing. If he's needed for something—which is rare and most often just dinner—an eager serpentine messenger fetches him. It's a python, brown and black, and doesn't quite grasp that Hoseok is absolutely terrified of it, as it repeatedly tries to curl up on his lap.

For the most part, he sees neither hide nor hair of his host. He does find a discarded skin in a western hall once and just about has a nervous breakdown. Most of the times Hoseok's sought out the snake man, he's not found him. How such a large snake could disappear is beyond him, but it gives the illusion that Hoseok is all by himself.

It's boring, being a prisoner. He'd volunteered to get Namjoon home sooner, but he's ready to die of boredom after a week. The only excitement is the snakes popping out of the walls and floor when he least expects it. His tail is looking even more gray because of it.

The one highlight, he supposes, is the music.

Every day, piano music dances through the empty halls and fills each gloomy room with golden warmth. It's always serious, melancholic notes, but the player displays an enviable mastery. He sneaks to what used to be a ballroom once, and sure enough, the snake man's at the keys, playing with single-minded attentiveness. His expression rests in resignation; Hoseok's not sure if he feels his music or if his music is an expression of his feeling.

The snake man's lips part, a soft hiss. "You don't have to hide."

The floor is a living carpet of green and brown and black, snakes upon snakes entranced by the music.

"No offense, but I kinda do. I'm not much of a snake person."

"Neither was I," he confesses as tiny snakes nip at his fingers. "But they grew on me."

Hoseok wants to make a joke about the obvious tail but holds back. "You didn't like your own kind?"

"I wasn't born a snake." The piano strings slowly stop vibrating, and a heavy silence falls over the room before the snakes begin to writhe and move over one another, hissing and spitting as they disperse. "This," he gestures to himself, "is just part of a curse."

"You were cursed?" Curses aren't common. Some young witches place hexes for fun or petty revenge, but an actual curse takes more skill and a lot more motive. "What for?"

"Pissed off the wrong person at the wrong time, I guess. I don't even really know, but it's been a real pain ever since." He rises up to grab an exposed beam and pulls his tail up after himself, coiling and coiling until he's wrapped up in it and folds his arms despondently. "All I know is there's a time limit."

"Until it breaks?"

"Until it's permanent."

"What do you do to break it?" There's at least one way to break every curse. How long has he lived with it to befriend snakes? It'd take decades for Hoseok, he's sure. Probably more.

The snake man sighs, a long hiss, and rolls onto his back. His tail sits him up like a reclined chair. "It's dumb. I'm used to this by now, anyway."

Hoseok senses the conversation is over. It's rough, not having someone to talk to all the time. He feels the restlessness and silence as an actual itch beneath his skin. He's turned to leave when the snake man grunts.

"What?"

"I said you can play," he drops a hand to point down, "the piano, if you want. There's not much else to do here but sleep." The few secret glimpses Hoseok's had of him, the snake's been sleeping. A favourite spot is in the western wing of the house, where the sun shines through a large hole in the roof; he drapes his lower body like a hammock and swings himself to sleep. It's a popular spot for a lot of other snakes as well; they pile on top of each other like a regular den.

"I don't know how."

The snake turns away. "Your loss."

"Hang on—" Hoseok carefully steps over a slumbering boa. "Since we're kind of living together or whatever, I thought we should get to know one another."

"No."

"Oh, come on!" Hoseok stands beneath him and pokes at the hanging tail. The end flicks his hand away, but he pokes at him again. "At least tell me your name. I'm Hoseok." The tail draws tighter, but Hoseok hears him mumble.

"Yoongi... Now go away."

Hoseok smiles. It's a start, anyway.

He seeks Yoongi out more often as the days shorten and summer cools to autumn. He doesn't protest to the company; he doesn't welcome it, either. Yoongi simply continuing doing what he's doing—usually sleeping—and ignores him.

When Hoseok can't find Yoongi, or when he's asleep and being boring, Hoseok explores. He's found a kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, a library, living areas, a second dining room, closets, and broken stairs to nowhere. When he's approached the front doors, the only doors outside, he's stopped by hissing and smooth bodies sliding over his feet. They obviously don't want him to leave, so he turns right around and obeys their warning wheezes.

Regardless of the room, there are snakes. He thinks he's getting used to the sight of them, at least, but the moment one touches him or looks at him, his fur stands on end, and he climbs the wall to get away. One of the worst things of his confinement, aside from the solitude, is he's always on the ground. He prefers the trees.

A trend he catches on to is that while the west area is crawling with more snakes than the rest of the building, they disappear just like the rest when Yoongi plays piano.

When he confirms the trend, he allows his curiosity to get the better of him, and he sneaks up the one good staircase and turns left. The sun's hidden behind the clouds, so he walks through shadow under the holey ceiling.

It's just as sad and broken as the rest of the castle, although pieces manage to suggest a former glorious beauty. Gold paint shines in what light there is, flaking to the marble floor and patterned rugs. Plaster moulding barely hangs on and adds to the dust below.

The rooms mirror the other side, where Hoseok's been living, but there's a big pair of doors at the end of the hall where there aren't any at the eastern side. Just like the front door, they swing open soundlessly but hang open, stuck on something.

Floor-to-ceiling windows would let in some light, if the heavy drapes framing them weren't covering them, hanging from a broken curtain rod. The carpeting is bunched and torn; the door's stuck on a part that's folded over. Whatever furniture is in the room is broken or tossed over. Nothing is where it logically should be, but there is one table still upright. Atop it sits a glass dome, and beneath the dome is a delicate yellow rose that seems to glow with its own light.

Hoseok's never seen a rose like it before. Its petals appear soft as silk, and he can imagine the scent.

Better than imagination is reality.

His tail shakes eagerly, wagging like a dog's, as he approaches the domed rose. Nothing happens when he touches the glass; it's just very cool, which can't be good for a rose. Roses thrive in warmth.

Keeping Namjoon's clumsiness in mind, Hoseok sets the dome aside and is inches from touching the sunshine petals when the little hairs on the back of his neck stand up. A low hiss tickles his ear; he pitches forward with a startled yelp and his grabbed from behind, so the rose is spared.

Yoongi stands behind him, raised on his tail and looking more venomous than Hoseok's ever seen him. He hadn't even noticed the absence of the piano music. All of the snakes are back, surrounding the area around Hoseok's feet with whistles and rattles.

"I didn't touch it," Hoseok placates.

The glow from the rose highlights pointed fangs as Yoongi speaks. "You shouldn't even be here." In a single blink, he's snatched the glass dome from the floor and covered the flower. His tail moves behind him, drawing closer and taut like a spring.

Hoseok doesn't need to be told again that he's made a big mistake.

All at once, the bed of snakes lurches towards him, hoods open and fangs bared. He runs from the room, snakes falling from the ceiling and pushing out from the holes in the walls, chasing him down the hall to the stairs. His feet carry him down the nearest stairs, clearing the broken steps and landing in a stumble that nearly sends his cheek into the floor.

They don't follow him outside, but he still keeps running. Weeks of being inside and walking on pins, trying to avoid venomous serpents catches up with him, pumping his arms and legs and driving him to the trees. He doesn't stop until he's in the leafy canopy.



Once his heart has returned to its proper place in his ribcage, Hoseok wipes the tears from his cheeks and looks around. Just like before, he's lost. If he's stayed straight like he assumed, he's in the direction he'd come from before finding the old castle. He can go east more and avoid it entirely.

He thinks it'll be better to stay in the trees for a while, just to stay out of any ground predator's way. It'll be safer once the sun sets, as well.

Hoseok's so tired that he climbs automatically, ignoring the way his tail hangs and hits tree limbs, and he doesn't even sing to himself. The silence seems a fitting punishment for being so stupid. There was one rule—not even a rule, just a request from the reclusive host who probably wanted nothing but to keep his personal life private—and he broke it without consideration.

He's a terrible person.

But not all terrible people deserve to die. A shrill screech cuts through the trees, and his body drops on its own. Talons slice through the ends of his hair, barely missing his head and shoulders.

Karma must have it in for him. A giant hawk crashes through the leaves, shooting up to the sky and wheeling around, keen eyes seeking him out.

If he can make it to the ground, he can find someplace to hide. So far up, there's nothing, and he's never been much of a fighter. He's more of a lover or a dancer.

Keeping close to the trunk, he shimmies to the ground, ducking at every rustle in the leaves or snap of a twig.

There are more branches overhead, more coverage, but there really aren't a lot of options to hide him.

Surrounding birdsong stops. Even the breeze dies down, and Hoseok has the distinct feeling that he's being watched. His fur stands on end, and his head swivels left and right, trying to seek out any sounds.

The leaves shatter and fall as the hawk crashes through them like a baseball hit through a window, dropping straight down with its talons extended. Hoseok dives to the side, but it's not enough, and he waits for the tear of claws through his flesh, but hears a shrieking hiss instead. The ground beneath his hands shakes with a great thump as something hits it, and he's afraid to look.

It's Yoongi, though. Mouth wide open and teeth on display, he separates Hoseok from the bird of prey, which hops over the fallen leaves and drags a wing. There's no threat anymore, but they're facing each other and unwilling to back down.

Hoseok wondered what Yoongi was doing, but he sees the way his tail trailed behind him in circles that grew smaller and smaller around the hawk. He looks away when the coils tighten, pinning the bird's wings and trapping it. It cries as the life is squeezed from its body.

It's gone when Hoseok finally peeks from behind his tail. Yoongi's waiting for him, wiping the little bits of blood from scratches Hoseok hadn't realised he'd gotten.

"I wanted to apologise," Yoongi says. He looks in the direction Hoseok was heading. "You're also going the wrong way. I know you don't like snakes, and you have no reason to accept my help, but I can get you home."

"It's fine. We should get you cleaned up, first." Hoseok releases his tail, and it curls up behind him. He approaches carefully, touching Yoongi's arm. "C'mon." It's Hoseok's fault he got hurt; he feels responsible.

Yoongi doesn't say anything else, but he does wait for Hoseok after slithering ahead a ways. Hoseok smiles and bounds after him, the spring returning to his step, and he sings nonsense songs on the way back to the castle.

While running, he didn't pay a whole lot of attention, but Hoseok managed to get rather far. It's dark by the time they return. The door is open, the brown and black python acting as a doorstop.

Snakes come out from the woodworks once again, flocking to Yoongi in apparent concern. Hoseok leaves him at the piano and fetches water and the cleanest towels he can find. Ignoring the shivers as his feet touch occilating bodies, he returns and sets the water on the floor, dropping to a crouch with his tail around his waist. Just in case.

Yoongi doesn't comment as his scratches are cleaned. He walks his fingers over the piano keys, following a minuscule snake not even half the size of his pinkie.

"Thank you."

Yoongi's fingers stop on a lingering C. He taps the snake's nose as it nips at him. "You're welcome."

Hoseok smiles until he dips the towel into the bowl just to find a dozing water snake. He clutches his chest, moaning, and tries to signal for the snake to leave by poking it with the corner of the towel. It lifts its head lazily, forked tongue flapping as though blowing a raspberry.

"C'mon," he begs. "I'm trying to help your den mother. Scootch, unless you want to become a sponge" Amazingly, his threat works, and the snake slips out, leaving a wet trail. He's more surprised when he looks at Yoongi again to see him smiling. Another little snake has joined the first, and they wind over and under his fingers like rings. "What?"

"They like you."

Hoseok's tail droops. He pulls it more securely over his lap. "Just what I always wanted." I really don't like snakes, he mutters. None of the scratches are deep, so they shouldn't scar. The bowl of water is tinged pink and dirty when he finishes. "I am sorry," he apologises, "about before. I shouldn't have been in there. I just— I was too curious. Tell me not do something or not to go somewhere, and I'll probably end up doing it or going there sooner or later. It drives Namjoon crazy."

Yoongi picks at the parted skin of a scratch on his arm. His sweater is ruined, but he can't bring himself to care. "That flower is part of my curse. If you touch it..." He shrugs. "I actually don't know if it'd do anything, but that's my deadline. Once it's lost all of its petals... that's it for me. I'm like this for the rest of my life."

"You know," Hoseok drawls, "you remind me of ice cream."

"Ice cream?"

"Yeah. You've never had ice cream?" He dumps the water outside through a broken window. Yoongi's smile has fallen back to its usual mask of indifference.

"I have, but I fail to see the resemblance between myself and a frozen dairy product."

"You're rather cold but also really sweet. Plus, you're kind of the colour of vanilla ice cream."

Yoongi turns away and heads to the stairs. "I should've let that hawk eat you."

"It's a compliment!" Hoseok looks at the other snakes for support. "Right?" The friendly python nods, and Hoseok's fur stands on end.



He doesn't end up leaving, like he'd hastily planned. His first attempt didn't bode well, but he also learned that Yoongi isn't as mean or distant as he seems on purpose. He just doesn't know how to deal with someone like Hoseok, who talks loud and laughs loud and dances loud throughout the dusty castle.

Slowly, Hoseok thinks he makes progress.

Yoongi acknowledges him more, and more than the calls to eat, he looks for Hoseok for company. Even the snakes change a little, keeping their distance unless Hoseok musters up the courage to call to one of them, usually the python.

One day, he even allows Yoongi to place the python over his shoulders. It hangs from Hoseok's hands, but he feels the push and pull of its muscles over the back of his neck. "Okay. That's enough. That's enough. That's enough." Yoongi laughs at him and wears the python like a scarf.

"He's not going to hurt you. He likes you too much." The python nudges his cheek in a sort of kiss, tickling him with its tongue.

"I get that," Hoseok says, rubbing his arms to soothe the goosebumps. "They're just so stringy. Like a live noodle. Noodles should not move like that. I like my noodles limp and immobile."

Yoongi glides to a broken sofa and drapes himself over it. "My favourite thing to do is imitate limp noodles."

Hoseok laughs; he doesn't doubt it. Even when they're together, Yoongi usually lies across something and is perpetually moments from sleep.

"Are you ever going to tell me how to break your curse?"

"Wasn't planning on it." Yoongi yawns widely. "Why?"

"Well, we're friends, right?" He flinches as a little snake slithers around his fingertips. "Maybe we could figure a way to do it together."

"Do you really think that? We're friends?" There's colour to Yoongi's face that Hoseok's never seen before.

"Yes! I like you, and you at least tolerate me, so." Hoseok shrugs cheerfully. It takes someone special to get him to tolerate snakes, after all. Even Namjoon didn't help any, probably perpetuating the fear; he used to chase Hoseok with little garden snakes when they were kids.

He expects some kind of grunted reply. A sarcastic rejection or denial, because it's just how Yoongi is when it comes to feelings. Instead, Yoongi glows.

He literally glows.

Hoseok falls on his butt, thankfully missing any scatterings snakes, and throws his arms over his face. Brilliant yellow light engulfs Yoongi's entire body, head to tail, closing into a ball of white light that's broken by threads of gold.

Blinking the spots from his eyes, Hoseok asks Yoongi if he's alright. Afterimages flash each time he blinks, but they're not enough to hide the lack of Yoongi where Yoongi had been lying. The long serpentine tail is gone, and two very real legs like Hoseok's own are in its place.

"I'm not hallucinating, right?" he asks. "That really just happened?"

"Yes." Yoongi holds his legs out in front of him, poking at his thighs and knees to be sure they're real. A dark, furred tail hangs off the cushion beside him, matching a pair of triangular ears nestled in his blacker-than-midnight hair. He smiles so wide pink gums show, and it's the sweetest thing Hoseok's ever seen.

"Aww, you're a kitty!" Hoseok coos, reaching for his reformed friend.

Still smiling, Yoongi holds up a hand and shows off long nails. "I have my claws back."

Hoseok withdraws his arms meekly. He notices, then, that the sofa Yoongi's on is whole again. The floorboards are straight and flat, no longer buckling and offering holes for snakes to climb through. The walls and ceiling show the same transformation; everything is complete and clean and snake-less, as though it's just been built.

Yoongi leaves, and Hoseok follows. They marvel at the changes. Hoseok has only ever seen it falling apart and crawling; Yoongi touches the banister of the stairs and gilded frames of paintings with a reverent familiarity. "This is how it should be," he comments softly. "And it couldn't have happened without you, Hoseok. Thank you."

"What did I do?" He can't think of anything special. They just followed their usual routine.

"You were a friend. I guess I really needed one."

The lemur blushes at the blunt honesty and squirms. Yoongi brushes past him, flicking his tail with his own. He follows him down the once-broken stairs to the ballroom, showcasing breathtaking painted ceilings and chandeliers dripping with crystals. People are standing at attention, another cat, a rabbit, a wolf, and a fox. They approach Yoongi with warm hugs and a few tears.

Yoongi doesn't say anything to anyone, wiping his eyes with the sleeve of his sweater. He passes between them and sits at the piano, gleaming in the lights. He hits some sparkling ivory keys experimentally, sits on the plush bench, and plays a tune Hoseok doesn't recognise. It's probably nothing but an impromptu expression of elation at having feet again to use the pedals.

Hoseok's arms are grabbed by the fox and cat, and he matches their smiles, because he feels as though he knows them. They push him to sit beside Yoongi, but he doesn't play. He folds his hands on his lap and lets his mind drift on the music.

"You probably want to get home," Yoongi muses. He plays softer, watching the keys. Hoseok thinks he's much more handsome with dark brows and lashes. "You only stayed to pay off your friend's debt."

"I haven't done anything."

"I think I just said whatever to get him to stay, although I really wasn't pleased about him breaking my home."

"Sorry."

Yoongi grins. "It's okay. It somehow worked out that I met you, right?"

Hoseok's blushing again, and his tail waves behind him. "So what now, then? I go home. Will I see you again?" He doesn't like the offhanded shrug. "You could come with me."

"What?" Yoongi's fingers slip, hitting the wrong key.

"You said you were lonely, anyway." He gently takes Yoongi's hand. It's warm and a little calloused. "Come back home with me."

The wolf speaks up. Hoseok forgot they had a small audience. "Do it, Highness."

"You deserve to be happy," the cat adds. His eyes curve with a smile. "We'll always keep this place for you, whenever you return.

Yoongi's ears fall to either side, imitating wings, and he strokes Hoseok's knuckles with his thumb. "I guess, for a while, at least. Until I get annoyed with you."

"I'll do my best to restrain myself then, so you'll stick around." Hoseok kisses his cheek, and the others cheer and hoot behind them until Yoongi hisses over his shoulder.