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why aren't you sick

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"i won't fall in love," says an eight year old min yoongi. then a fourteen year old min yoongi. and then a twenty four year old min yoongi. he says it to himself while the boy in front of him continues to speak, with laughter and pink lips and dark hair the ruffles softly when the autumn air blows.

he says it when the younger boy intertwines their hands and when yoongi's cheeks undoubtedly turn a pale pink. he says it to himself when jungkook falls asleep on his chest and he smells of roses and youth. he smells of freshly washed clothes and the ocean near the house yoongi grew up in. he says it to himself when jungkook's eyes sparkle like a million galaxies had been trapped inside them. like he'd fallen from the sky and the stardust from the heavens had wanted to remember him.

he says it to himself when jungkook studies the older's features and sketches him in a perfectly flawed way, and he says it to himself when jungkook smiles as he stares at the graphite littered page. he remembers he used to say it when taehyung would make jungkook laugh instead of him and he'd lay awake at night saying it over and over again, hugging his blankets and whatever was soft and reminded him of jungkook's skin and his hair. and then it had all smelled of little jungkook because he had spent the night there only a few days ago.

but now, today and all days, jungkook is with him and in his home because he doesn't have another and he has his own room but he still sleeps in yoongi's. and yoongi has to say it again when jungkook insists on lacing his hand with yoongi's when they go on a walks together and when yoongi wakes up and jungkook comes behind him and hugs him and nuzzles his head in yoongi's neck and his hair rubs against yoongi's jawline.

yoongi has to still say it when they ride the train together and there’s only metal and a chill and other people that don’t toy with yoongi’s heart with such ignorance in a way that jungkook does.

he says it when jungkook holds him as he cries for no reason other than a secret. he says it when jungkook builds a fire and shakes out a blanket and lets it fall atop yoongi’s shoulders. he says it to himself when jungkook, once again and unsurprisingly, falls asleep on top of his lap, his heart’s beating numbing yoongi’s leg through his torn jeans.

he says it to himself every time the season changes, and jungkook adopts the bare branches and the beauty of the snow, or the complexity of spring – the vibrancy of the day or the gloom of the rainy nights, or the nostalgia and the excitement of the summer, or the autumn leaves that fall like fading lovers. because jungkook is beautiful no matter the weather.

and he says it to himself when jungkook catches a cold in yoongi’s favorite season. he says it as he makes the hot chocolate and, instead, makes the fire and finds the blanket. it fits jungkook’s shoulders better than it fits yoongi’s. jungkook laughs and then coughs, reaching wildly for yoongi’s hands. yoongi says it to himself again then.

he says it to himself when jungkook’s cold doesn’t go away and, instead, a fever adds to it all. he says it as jungkook turns away from him when he sleeps, cough drop wrappers and tissues littering his side of the bedroom.

“i can’t get you sick, hyung.” a red nose and watering eyes.

“i’m always sick. i wouldn’t care.”

“then why aren’t you sick now?”

yoongi doesn’t know, and that’s how he answers. jungkook smiles and turns back around to cough.

and yoongi says it to himself again when he holds jungkook’s body as the younger boy’s head is hung over the toilet, his face a faded green and his hands trembling. jungkook tells him he shouldn’t touch him so much, maybe they should sleep separately. yoongi says no, and he doesn’t get sick. jungkook only gets sicker. even when it’s nearing his vibrant days, he gets sicker. he gets sicker the more the cold flies away from the air, and the more the birds sing and the more the colors paint the earth. he gets sicker.

so yoongi says it again when jungkook has his first doctor’s appointment. he says it because he hates the white walls, hates the fake smiles. he says it when the doctor returns without one.

he says it to himself when jungkook stays behind those white walls for one night, yoongi alone in  their bed. he says it in the morning as he drives on the road, and when he walks into the building.

a month later when jungkook should be that excitement and energy, instead he’s cold, despite the fever that refuses to leave his body no matter the poison they pump into his once pure blood.

and that’s the first night yoongi says it to another soul, jungkook’s hand in his own. jungkook says the same words back, only a hesitation and a smile before. yoongi doesn’t cry. his heart doesn’t spiral. it plummets. and jungkook opens his mouth again, chapped lips stretching.

“i can’t get you sick, hyung.” a red nose and watering eyes.

“i don’t care. i’m always sick.”

“then why aren’t you sick now?”

yoongi doesn’t know, and that’s how he answers. jungkook smiles and his grip on yoongi’s hand falters.