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The Supernova

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

The red super-giant star approaches the end of its life. There is no more fuel to burn and make it shine. Soon it's massive dense core is bound to collapse under its own weight.

 

November

The day started as any other in the bangtan dorm.

They were late, as per usual. All of them were scrambling around the apartment in various states of undress. Hoseok ran down the hall in his boxers, screaming about his jeans that had disappeared. Jimin was lost in their spareroom-turned-closet as he dived into the racks to look for his favourite tan coloured coat. Seokjin was the only one 100% ready, standing at the door with sunglasses on his head and their manager by his side, yelling at them. Jungkook was in Taehyung's room complaining at the older who was wearing his fluffy woollen coat. Taehyung fired back that it technically belonged to both of them, since a fansite had gifted it to them both because it was expensive-as-fuck Gucci. Namjoon leisurely sauntered into the living room; wearing timberlands, overalls, and a hat in a rather fetching shade of green.

"Y'all are obnoxious as fuck." Yoongi yelled as he watched this all occur from the kitchen, getting a wave of various screams-slash-groans in response.

"Put on some actual pants, Yoongi!" Seokjin called, judging his favourite grey sweatpants.

"These are pants, hater!"

"Yeah!" Was Taehyung from inside the other room, using any opportunity to push his agenda on the other members who all wore skinny jeans every day. "You need at least double your leg size to be comfortable. Comfort is key, hyung!"

"If you get a picture taken of you today I'm going to make it our Twitter profile picture." Seokjin threatened Yoongi, but the other just looked at him. He smirked and shrugged, lifting his hands in the air in a way that made Namjoon burst out in laughter.

"Hit me with your best shot, hyung."

 

It was Saturday evening, and Yoongi was standing on a washing machine. Normal twenty two year olds might be out on the town on a Saturday night, out relieving stress from university or jobs with a drink or two. But, not Yoongi.

Because Yoongi lived in a dorm with six other men that didn't know how to adult.

He was currently in their laundry room, which was a glorified broom closet. It was the most annoying place to have to fix something, because every other member said they couldn't fit in there. They were right because he was already claustrophobic in there, but that didn't stop him from complaining. Plus, it was usually their laundry where things broke because it also happened to be where their electricity was the best, and everyone always stuck power boards in the walls and filled them past the limits with chargers of all shapes and sizes.

Yoongi was currently changing the lightbulb, a completely different issue. The last one had mysteriously disappeared, and they didn't unscrew themselves.

"Who steals a fucking lightbulb?" Yoongi yelled from where his head was hidden by the top of the archway.

"Um." Jimin was standing just in front of the washing machine, therefore in the opening of the little nook. He had his hands holding firmly onto Yoongi's hips, as though to steady him. Yoongi was fine without him but Jimin always worried. He spent enough time with Taehyung to see the other fall off just about everything, so it was probably instinct by now.

"What do you mean 'um'." Yoongi huffed, before his hands froze in their unpacking the new bulb. "Wait, if none of you can get in here, then how come one of you managed to unscrew it?"

"Hemademepromisenottotell." Jimin let out quickly, the words blending together into one.

"What are you, five?" Yoongi rolled his eyes, before narrowing them down at Jimin. Jimin avoided his gaze. "Tell me."

"It was Namjoon-hyung." Jimin revealed almost immediately. "He was trying to lift his sheets into the machine but he overestimated how heavy they would be and swung it up and smashed the lightbulb. I helped him take it out so you wouldn't be mad."

"How the fu- you know what, never mind."

Yoongi focused on screwing in the new bulb, taking him only a minute. He let his hands fall once he was done, looking down from where he was staring at the roof.

As soon as he did he was hit with an intense wave of dizziness. He stumbled slightly, the washing machine complaining as his weight shifted. His vision blurred for a moment, Jimin's concerned features loosing sharpness as his world faded around the corners.

Yoongi looked down at his hands, waiting for his vision to clear as he watched them tremble when he held them up to examine.

These days a flight of stairs easily had him short of breath, and standing up too quickly made him dizzy. Sometimes he felt dangerously close to fainting during dance practice, and he knew Hoseok could tell by his slow movements and weak poses. He thought he was not getting enough sleep or something, but he tried sleeping more. A dizzy spell hadn't happened for ages, so he thought it fixed on its own.

"Woah." Yoongi commented, rubbing his temples.

"What happened, are you okay?" Jimin asked, looking about ready to grab Yoongi and put him safely on the ground.

This had been going on for a while, and yet he said nothing. He never usually did on principle, but this time it was getting worse, not better. But pondering brought more questions than he cared for.

"I'm fine Jimin, don't worry. Just the blood rushing back into my head."

He didn't have time for this.

Taehyung was bored. So, as a byproduct, he was also annoying as hell.

"But, Jungkookie!" He'd been whining for attention for over ten minutes, and Jungkook had had enough.

Jungkook just stood up, forcing Taehyung to move in order to not get his jaw hit by Jungkook's shoulder. The younger just turned to him, squatted and grabbed him tightly around his waist. Taehyung cried out when he felt his feet leave the ground, Jungkook just sighing at the effort as he carried him out of the room. Taehyung's hands immediately went to the arms secured around his waist, hitting and pushing at them.

"What? Jungkook!" He grunted as the younger just carried him like he was a misbehaving puppy. He was the Hyung here, not a little kid that needed to be put in his place. "I'm two years older than you!"

"You were born right at the end of December, you were barely in 1995; so you're actually only sixteen months older." Jungkook stated as he moved into the living room, ignoring Taehyung's attempts at escape. "You're also really annoying."

Jungkook threw him onto the couch without warning, making Taehyung shriek in panic before he felt the soft cushioning catch his fall. Jungkook looked at him, sighed, turned around and left. The door between them slammed shut. Taehyung pouted and crossed his arms. Jungkook never used to do that, but since he became an adult he was in the gym every other day. Taehyung used to be able to tease him until Jungkook gave in and did whatever Taehyung wanted, but now Jungkook could just pick him up and throw him when he had enough.

For the first time in three years, Taehyung wondered if he should join Jungkook at the gym.

Yoongi felt a soft pillow bounce off of his head and to turned around to glare at Hoseok, eyes narrowed and threatening death. The studio was soundproof, he could do it and nobody would know. Except Namjoon. He'd buy his silence with a Limited Edition Ryan plushie. Namjoon was weak as hell when it came to cute things.

“Namjoon!” Hoseok shrieked like a little kid, immediately regretting messing with him in his boredom.

“Nope." Namjoon popped the 'p', as he ignored Hoseok and continued moving his mouse and clicking on files. "I'm not dumb enough to get between you and hyung.”

Yoongi settled back into his chair, his pride mollified.

“Then again, you’re probably pretty safe with Motionless Min,” Namjoon turned around and giggled like the insolent child he was. Yoongi waited until his back was turned before ditching the pillow at him as hard as possible. Namjoon grumbled as it bounced off his head and hit the floor behind his chair, but he didn't try to throw it back. He knew he deserved it.

And that was how they spent their workroom days: talking half assed possibilities of another cypher, talking shit, and throwing shit.

He still managed to fall asleep, curled up into a ball on the couch in the workroom. He was always tired these days, even more so than usual. He was sure the pressure from their upcoming concert was getting to him.

It was worth it, though.

 

December

"Taehyung, do you want to come play with me?” Jungkook poked his head in the door, where Taehyung was laying sprawled on his bed playing his new blue 3DS Jimin had gotten him as an early birthday present. Technically, it wasn't supposed to be an early present, but as soon as Taehyung knew what Jimin got him, he annoyed him until he gave it to him early. Taehyung now had three games, but Jimin had held onto the fourth with a stubbornness unseen. The elder could certainly hold his ground when he wanted to.

Taehyung looked up, and his dark eyes focused on the game Jungkook held.

"Is that Modern Warfare 3?"

"Ya." Jungkook said with his signature smirk he was known for, showing of the sparkling new game with some over the top dorky hand movements which totally ruined the suave thing he was going for.

"Fuck yes, Kook. When did you even buy that? Taehyung sat up, shutting his 3DS and launching himself of the bed in favour of the new game.

"You guys better keep it down. Yoongi's got a headache." Seokjin said as soon as he saw the two clamber out of the room and started pulling out the knotted and tangled cords of the PlayStation, one of the few things in their house that Seokjin refused to even touch when he cleaned.

The two didn't answer, and Seokjin just sighed and turned back around to face the stovetop.

The two weren’t playing long before they were joined by Jimin and Hoseok, who insisted that they wanted to play too. At some point during the game, Jimin ended up laying across Tae’s and Jungkook’s lap, his head resting on Taehyung’s knee, waiting for them to end the mission so he could take a turn.

Apparently, Hoseok decided Taehyung's turn was taking too long so he leaned his chest against the younger's back, breathing on the back of Taehyung’s neck to distract him and make him lose, thus granting him his own turn. Taehyung, like the fucking weirdo he was, was not even phased by the hot breath on his neck, still button mashing like a skilled veteran. Hoseok grinned, and when a zombie jumped up on the screen unexpectedly Hoseok let out a fake scream, and Taehyung threw his hyung off his back.

“Hey, stop it!”

Taehyung swung his non controller-bearing hand toward the elder, and Hoseok let out an offended squawk before lunging across and tackling Taehyung. Jimin screeched in protest as he got squished when Taehyung fell forward onto him. He tried to climb out of the playful yet competitive tumble, before his grip slipped where he held himself up on Taehyung's thigh, sending him sprawling and a foot flinging to hit Jungkook in the face.

The door to Yoongi and Seokjin's room clicked ominously, automatically freezing all the boys as their eyes swung around to watch the demon emerge.

His feet were bare and his clothes were rumpled like he'd just pulled himself out of bed with only the force of his unadulterated rage. His mint hair was stuck up all around around his eyes which glazed with the light of a thousand dying suns.

In quick accession, he hit all four boys over the head.

"Shut the fuck up."

And then he was gone.

The boys heads all swerved to look at Seokjin, who had peeked out into the living room when he heard the boys go silent. Seokjin frowned a little. It was unlike Yoongi, despite his usual steady demeanour. He, secretly, was actually a gigantic squeals-about-puppies-type-of-sweetheart. He was able to be harsh, sure, but the tone of voice they just heard was particularly grating and unfamiliar.

Yet recently, he hadn't been himself. Seokjin didn't want to intrude, after all they were a team but Seokjin was not his mother. Yoongi was a grown man, Seokjin just figured he'd get passed whatever was making him act weird.

But Hoseok's bottom lip started to tremble, ever the sensitive one, and Seokjin's mind was made up.

He turned around the lower the heat on the massive bubbling dish on the stove, putting the steel lid over it carefully not to make too much noise. He took off the oven mitts and hung up the apron. He gave the boys a stern look as he walked past, motioning at Jimin towards the kitchen to get some ice for Jungkook's face.

He carefully went down the small hall, easing up to the door. He twisted the knob, realising Yoongi had forgotten to lock it when he went back in. It was the first time he'd gotten into their room since Yoongi started locking himself up in there. He was getting tired of the couch.

There was lump in Yoongi's bed, which wasn't all that strange. He usually curled up in a tiny ball when he slept, yet this time slow breaths did not arise from the lump. Instead it was laboured, soft wheezing. Seokjin immediately crossed the room, tugging the blankets down to reveal a very feverish Yoongi.

"What the fuck, hyung. Leave me alone." Yoongi said, but the whine in his voice showed the pain he was in.

"You're sick, Yoongi." Seokjin sighed. Because, of course, it made sense. Yoongi turned into a crabby hermit when he was sick.

He out a hand to Yoongi's forehead, which the younger batted away with a unidentifiable grumble. Seokjin pulled Yoongi's hand away with his other, pushing the back of his hand to Yoongi's sweating brow.

"You have a high fever. How long have you been sick? Two weeks, right? You might need a doctor."

"Urgh." Yoongi said, which Seokjin guessed probably meant 'fuck you, you aren't my mom'.

"Come on, get up. I'm not gonna give you store bought stuff. You've been keeping it a secret Yoongi, and look where it's got you."

Yoongi just groaned, pushing his head down into his pillow like it would swallow him and take him away from the pain. Seokjin sighed before he pulled away the sheets from his body, trying to cool the younger's skin before he gave himself heatstroke. Yoongi shivered and voiced complaints, but Seokjin ignored him.

It was for his own good.

"Jungkook!" He called, deciding to call upon the youngest since Namjoon was not present. The boy had a level head and not much scared him, so he hoped he could deal with this better than the others. The boy appeared almost immediately, holding an ice pack to avoid the skin of his cheek bruising too noticeably. A patented method in their house when they did something stupid then needed to appear presentable the day after.

The boy looked over at Yoongi, and a frown came to life on his brow.

"He's been sick all this time." Seokjin sighed, and Jungkook just nodded. "We need to get him the doctor. Please call the company, tell them Yoongi is sick with a high fever and probably has been for about two weeks. They'll take it from there."

Jungkook left in a flurry of limbs, skidding on the wood floor in his socked feet as he scrambled for his phone. Seokjin looked back at Yoongi, shivering and panting on the bed. He sighed.

"What am I going to do with you, Min Yoongi?"

The doctor's visit was incredibly short, and undeniably anticlimactic.

Yoongi was incredibly anxious, sitting in the private GP's waiting room. There was magazines sitting around in holders and there was a tv in the corner, but Yoongi's attention was on his knees. Seokjin sat next to him, thoroughly entertained by the magazine in his hands.

The doctor brought them in without fanfare, not bothering to introduce himself since he was their bands doctor. He was always their first point of call if one of them fell ill or hurt themselves. He was quick and efficient, which the company admired. He also didn't bother with small talk or about their lives as idols, which Yoongi liked.

"He has the flu."

And that was it. A round of antibiotics and sleep was prescribed, and they were on their way. Yoongi had worried for nothing.

It didn't stop.

Yoongi had been sick for four weeks now, and he kept feeling worse. The doctor had said it would clear up within the week, but he felt no different after the round of antibiotics. He felt worse. His bones ached now, and his fever was higher. He waited until the fourth week before he decided to take things into his own hands.

He decided to look up his symptoms.

He was slightly anxious, laying on his bed as the fever threatened to burn up his bones. He wore as little as possible during the nights now, only a singlet and boxer shorts. He was sure Seokjin watched him with concern when he wasn't getting better despite the antibiotics, and wore so little despite the snow right outside their window. Yoongi had caught him more than once staring at his arms and his thighs which were skinner than normal. Yoongi hadn't been eating, he had no appetite, and it was showing.

He had forced himself to climb under his covers despite the burning heat, in order to avoid waking Seokjin with the light of his phone. He wasn't sure what to expect, looking symptoms up online usually just made things seem worse than they actually were. But shit, it wasn't like he could go to his doctor and tell them that he had the flu for a month now and it wasn't going away. That could cause so many problems if it got out. He could imagine the fucking fan café already.

Like most things in his life, he gritted his teeth and got to work. He opened a search bar, typing in his symptoms without pausing to think.

Fever, Persistent fatigue, Losing weight without trying, Easy bruising, Excessive sweating especially at night, b-

He stopped his thumbs momentarily, hovering over the screen covered in fingerprints. He wasn't sure he wanted to write it down, because the other ones were fine. They were things he had before, but...this...wasn't. He was afraid of what it meant, but the deep set ache in his spine and and legs did not lie.

Bone pain

The search bought up thousands of searches, listing a multitude of diseases almost instantly. Yoongi dropped his phone to his chest momentarily, the screen hitting him solidly against his chest.

Liver disease, Anaemia, Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura, which was some sort of disease causing visible skin blemishes from blood cells that couldn't fucking keep it together. It even gave him appendicitis, which he could at least smile at. At least there was one fucking disease he was certain he didn't have, since he didn't even have an appendix. It was a nice solid relief since everything recently had been so deep in the Unknown. He didn't even know his own body anymore, and that was a terrifying thought.

Yoongi went to switch off his phone after scrolling a little bit more, but his eyes caught another illness.

Leukaemia.

Yoongi felt a full body shiver run from his head to toes despite the heat that blazed through him. He didn't even want to think about fucking cancer or anything that terrible. Surely the doctors would have picked it up if it was something so serious when he went for his flu diagnostic. It wouldn't, couldn't, be something like that.

He checked the time, seeing at bleary 1:30AM staring at him from the top of his screen. He just sighed, knowing if he looked any longer he'd overthink everything. And he knew better than anyone that overthinking things could leave you in a very dark place. So he switched off his phone, put it aside and threw the covers off his body. He curled up, closing his eyes; none the wiser to what was wrong with him but assured that everything would be okay.

It had to be.

The MAMA awards saw him feeling a little better. He figured his body had stopped deciding to be an asshole for five minutes to let him actually enjoy this moment. He ignored the strange new blemish that had developed on his hip. It looked like he'd broke the blood vessels just under his skin, which he had no reasonable explanation for.

But, out of sight, out of mind.

The world performers award settled like a validating weight in his hands as he cradled it in his hands on the way back to the hotel, sitting in the very back corner of their quiet van.

The boys had been overjoyed, so thankful to all the fans across the globe. Their energy had been running high, especially for Namjoon who preformed on his own without them. But with the high, came the crash. The boys were slumped in their seats, sleeping, hence the quiet van. Well, not exactly quiet. Namjoon's snoring was fucking breaking the sound barrier.

Yoongi was sure Jimin was awake, but he didn't lean over to check; too caught up in the weight in his hands. The trophy was small, but heavy due to the gold coating. He ran his fingers over the little poles across the bottom, holding up the gold square that had the awards name upon it.

Like he could ever forget it.

 

Yoongi thought he had control. Thought he was going to be just fine. He could deal, just try and make himself forget about the weird shit that was happening to him. Just preform, just do what he always did. Get lost in it, in the feeling so he could ignore the pain spreading through his bones. He could do it, he could control his own fucking body.

...but he should have known by now that he was never the one in control.

It was the Japanese concert when everything fell apart.

"Hyung? Here." Yoongi looked over, catching the bottle Taehyung threw at him. They were in intermission, and Yoongi was thankful because he felt so goddamn woozy. He tried not to let his hands shake as he opened the lid of the bottle.

He stood there for a moment, staring into the water in the bottle and wondering if it would make him feel better or worse. His fever was at an all time high and he felt so damn tired. He wanted nothing more right now than to take a nice cool shower and lay down on his bed.

He wondered when preforming had become a chore to him.

But he just shook his head. He wasn't feeling well, and he was sure by the next time they preformed he'd be able to thrive off the music and the screams of the crowd once more.

He decided to delicately sip at the water instead of gulping it down like usual, just in case. He had to take care of himself, he knew, but concerts were always so exhausting. Even those in the most perfect of health felt half dead after a three hour concert. He could tell by the way everyone else was slumped over various furniture, trying to stay buzzed and awake, that they felt it too. He was reassured without his members having to say anything.

There was sound of leather couch grunting as somebody shifted their weight upon it. Yoongi looked up from his water to see Seokjin twisting his head and leaning back, bracing his arms on the couches arm as he frowned. “Hey, you all right, Yoongi? Honestly.”

“Honestly, hyung? Not a fucking clue."

Seokjin chuckled dryly. “Reassuring.”

“Tell me about it.” Yoongi released in a slow breath, tilting his head and raising his brows.

He then capped the bottle with shaking hands, moving over to sit next to Jungkook's quiet presence for ten minutes before stylists whisked them up again and shoved their bodies into tight pants and leather jackets. Before he knew it, they were on stage again with bright lights blinding them and the fans screams reaching a crescendo at their reappearance.

They had made their way to the stage down the catwalk, right in the middle of the hall and he wasn't sure when they had moved. He was just following muscle memory, his mind blurry and getting worse.

Yoongi tried to feel what his fans were feeling, focusing on them to draw himself away from the pain. He watched a young girl in the front row as he held his position after finishing the third song. His breathing was erratic, his hair mussed and his face sweaty but she was looking at him like he was some sort of God. Everyone around her was screaming in Japanese and broken Korean, and so was she. All of them were reaching their hands out to him.

His breathing refused to slow, his limbs were shaking uncontrollably. He tried to blink away the sudden glare in his eyes, but when he opened them again his eyes couldn't focus. The world was spinning, the world a mix of colours and sounds all bright and screeching. The girls face went from elated to shocked when she moved closer, or maybe when he did.

He wasn't sure when he fell.

Namjoon felt like he was watching it in slow motion.

He was too late to notice that Yoongi's shakiness and slower movements was not just the normal fatigue. Too late to notice as his feet tipped from their position in front of him, all too close to the edge of the platform.

He could only watch as Yoongi plummeted off the stage.

The crowd just in front of them erupted into screaming as Yoongi fell on top of them. Namjoon heard the sick thump of Yoongi's shin hitting the barrier. Now, Namjoon was a wise leader. He was steady in his convictions and thoughtful in his decisions.

But the moment that horrible sound reached his ears was the moment when everything Namjoon had associated himself to be flew out the window.

He jumped down off the stage, ignoring everything but the bright blue of Yoongi's jacket disappearing into the mass of shocked people. He threw his upper body over the barrier, exposed hipbones slamming against the unforgiving cold metal as he reached desperately for the material of Yoongi's jeans.

The fans around him were all screaming in frantic Japanese, some trying to help by holding Yoongi up. He vaguely felt another person next to him, a body guard or another member he wasn't sure. He grabbed Yoongi's knee in a tight grip, stretching his back and abdominal muscles almost impossibly as Yoongi was dragged closer to wrap his arms around the smaller's waist. He barely noticed Yoongi's jacket falling from one limp arm or how his fingers dug roughly into Yoongi's bare skin in his attempt to get Yoongi back.

Because Yoongi's face came into view, and Namjoon knew he'd never forget the sight.

Deep, dark bags under his eyes were revealed by the sweat that removed his makeup. His skin was sickly pale, sweat sticking his mint green hair to his forehead. His head and his limbs were limp and listless, his body weight all too light in Namjoon's arms.

He looked like he was dead.

Namjoon heard a dry sob that he registered was his own, tearing from his throat as he tried to pull his best friend closer. He should have fucking known. He should have said something.

Yoongi wasn't alright.

He pulled Yoongi over the barrier, limp and flopping into his arms. He dropped to his knees, laying Yoongi limply on the floor and digging his fingers desperately into Yoongi's pulse. He sobbed openly when he felt Yoongi's heart beating like a hummingbird under his fingertips.

Namjoon collapsed the side in the small space, face against the metal bars of the stage and the rest of the world started coming back into focus. Security was climbing over him to get to Yoongi, fans being backed off by other security next to him and the members hovering on stage over him, unable to come down. It was all so claustrophobic, so intense.

Namjoon felt hands grabbing at him from above, and he looked up to see Jungkook laying on the stage to get as close as possible. He was saying something, reaching frantically down at him; hands reaching and veins in his forehead bulging.

"-ung! Hyung!"

"Jungkookie." He whispered, looking up at the young man. The youngest smiled at him in relief at his response, gripping Namjoon's jacket tight in his fists.

"He's gonna be okay. He's just hurt his leg, Hyung. He's okay. He's going to hospital." But Namjoon just shook his head, tears in his eyes. There was only one thing that was for certain.

"I failed him."

It was moments like these that Namjoon hated.

"Family only, they say. Who says we aren't his fucking family? He's my fucking Hyung, for god sake. I see him more than anyone else fucking does and they won't let me see him now when he needs us."

"Calm, Namjoon." Seokjin came up behind him to where he held the window ledge in a tight grip.

They were outside Yoongi's hospital room, watching Yoongi's newly arrived parents, talk to their son who was laying in the hospital bed, hooked up to more machines than Namjoon could neither count nor name.

The rest of the band was around them, dressed in street clothes. The concert had been cancelled immediately, the whole band rushed back to Korea. Yoongi was also transferred by helicopter back to Korea, all too reminiscent of the time he got appendicitis. They were in a private hospital that had a VIP section that served actors and, apparently, them.

However, they all looked the way Namjoon felt. Angry, tired and most of all; terrified. The plane ride over would have been the worst fucking experience of his life, just after the experience where he watched Yoongi fall of that stage. It had only been eight hours since the incident, but Namjoon felt like it happened only seconds ago. He could still feel the throb of Yoongi's pulse under his fingers, the adrenaline rushing through his veins.

Jimin was sitting on the floor at Namjoon's feet, head leaning on Taehyung's shoulder as the other boy sat next to him. Jungkook and Hoseok were sitting across the hall on the plastic chairs, Hoseok's eyes were dull and Jungkook was talking to him in a low voice, trying to get his attention.

It wasn't working.

The antiseptic smell was getting to Namjoon, making him more and more anxious. Yoongi looked dazed and confused as his mom grabbed his hand tightly. They were saying something to him, but Namjoon couldn't hear anything.

Namjoon was broken from his spiralling thoughts as a doctor walked up to Yoongi's door. She kept her eyes away from them, not even giving them a glance as she securely shut the door behind her. Namjoon watched the doctor walk in and speak to Yoongi's parents, breathing shallowly as his knuckles turned white on the ledge. Suddenly Yoongi's mother gasped like she'd been shot, hand clutching Yoongi's hand like he was going to disappear. Yoongi's father's mouth pulled into a tight line, sitting down heavily in the chair next to him.

Seokjin let out a desperate sob behind him, and Namjoon felt his nails dig into his shoulders. But he didn't really feel anything else, too fucking numb to register anything. He could only look at the look of defeat on Yoongi's face.

The doctor walked out, face solemn.

"Mr Min's father gave permission for you to be made aware." She said, pulling her clipboard close to her chest and not looking any of them into their eyes.

"Your friend has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia."

"..What?" Hoseok breathed, almost silently, looking around at them. "What does that-"

"Cancer." The doctor confirmed, before Hoseok's sudden loud sob interrupted her, like it had been punched out of him. "I..I'm sorry."

"Fuck." Was all Namjoon could say as his knees gave out, Seokjin dragging himself down with him. Namjoon stared up at the bight sterile lights, long legs spread out limply before him. Next to him, Jimin was crying quietly into Taehyung's shirt. All around him there was so much misery, his friends all looking like their breath had been stolen from them.

"He's..." Namjoon said. "There's treatment. Good treatment. We have plenty money, right? We can get him the best fucking treatment there is."

"Pros of being famous: we can get the best treatment for fucking cancer." Jungkook said with distaste, and Hoseok started sobbing again at the word.

"Just, don't say that word, Jungkook." Seokjin said, shaking his head. "We...we can't let Yoongi see us like this. You know what he's like, us being upset will make him worse."

"We will just fucking turn it off then shall we?" Taehyung growled out, surprising everyone with how bitter and hurt his voice sounded. Taehyung was always the optimist in the group, the one who was the best at channeling out all the horrible feelings.

"Taehyung, don't talk to him like that." Jimin said, hitting Taehyung on the chest. "Seokjin-Hyung doesn't deserve it."

It was silent for a moment. Taehyung didn't apologise and Seokjin didn't forgive him. Neither particularly cared.

"We need...were good at pretending right? We can act." Seokjin said, speaking up again.

"Only for people that don't know us. Yoongi will see how miserable we are immediately and it will only make him feel worse."

"We have to try, Namjoon. We have to be strong for him." Seokjin whispered, looking at each of them.

"He's our Yoongi-Hyung. He will be okay. He's fucking stronger than me and I have biceps larger than his thighs." Jimin said, ever trying to make everyone feel better despite the darkness that festered in his own heart.

"We don't know how he's going to react, but being Yoongi Hyung, I know he's going to ignore it. If he does, try to as well." Namjoon said, nodding.

"How the fuck are-" Jungkook started, but Seokjin interrupted him.

"Don't mention it. Don't bring it up. Talk if Yoongi wants to talk, but otherwise don't. It's his illness, and we might be ripped apart by it but we aren't the one that's really suffering. We need to remember that."

"Okay. We can do this. Before you know it Yoongi's gonna be fit as a fiddle." Namjoon smiled at Seokjin as the others nodded.

He just hoped desperately that their hearts weren't broken by the end of it all.

The news exploded.

Even the normal national news was tainted with the same pictures as all the typical idol websites. The shaky but all too clear picture of Namjoon curled over a limp Yoongi's body, fingers pressed against his pulse. Namjoon couldn't stand to look at it.

They hadn't even announced what was wrong with Yoongi, and their social media was already overrun. Swarmed with questions in English, Japanese and so on. It was overpowering, they couldn't even turn on the TV or open their Twitter without seeing the picture.

They'd been given strict instructions to not say anything. The managers didn't take their phones, for some reason. Namjoon kind of wished they had, because then it would be one less platform to see that hateful image on.

Yoongi was holed up in hospital, his family and doctors discussing treatment. They weren't allowed to be with him. But, Namjoon tried not to think of that too much because he might go insane with not fucking knowing how to help his best friend. Yoongi was on his own, without them, for the first time since they started out. They'd always made decisions together, mulling over pros and cons in the workroom room until the sky lit up with the dawns morning light.

But he knew no matter how much everyone around Yoongi worried, nothing was going to stop Yoongi when he’d made a decision, even more so when he’d set a goal.

Since they’d met, Yoongi had always been as closed off as ever, not realising that he had friends to help make the path easier. He was the type to keep everything to himself for the sake of others. He thought he could deal with everything on his own, keeping every worry and stress to himself until it swirled in his head like a ugly and dark storm.

Namjoon considered Yoongi his closest brother even if Yoongi had not realised it yet, because he’d follow Yoongi through a storm if it meant pulling him back out.

Cancer was no different.

The band spent New Year's Eve spread across the nation, huddled back into the homes they grew up in. Sitting in homes that suddenly seemed so small and pokey now that they had grown, with the wide open stadiums they performed in. They felt a huge disparity between the two sides of their lives; to the extent that a 'normal life' had become a reality they could never again attain.

Yoongi spent it in hospital with his mom clutching his hand and a bruise flaring on his leg, trying to figure out what he'd fucking done to deserve this.

January

Namjoon got a message from an unknown number, telling him to come to the hospital. Namjoon did as he was told, however not without questioning the identity of the sender. He could never be too careful. However, he need not worry.

It was Yoongi's dad.

When he arrived, sunglasses on in the passenger seat of the company car, he wasn't sure what he expected. But, it sure wasn't fans camping out in the hospital gardens, trying to understand what the fuck was happening.

He loved them, but this was really none of their fucking business. It was okay when he was on stage, when he was actually working as RapMonster of BTS. But right now he was just Kim Namjoon, a young twenty one year old man trying to see his best friend who just got the worst news he could have ever received.

He managed to get dropped off and rushed inside the building without too much hassle, but he heard the roar when the fans noticed his arrival just as the doors closed behind him. Pictures of him entering the hospital would be circulating within about two minutes.

Yoongi's dad waited at the reception, sitting in the plastic chairs with his head bowed. Namjoon approached hesitantly, and the man's head shot up. His eyes were bloodshot, dark heavy bags beneath them. Namjoon took off his sunglasses, and was sure he looked just the same.

"He ah...He's going back to the dorm. We can't, his mom... She can't take the paparazzi. She's very fragile, right now. We thought it best you could, since you were familiar with the whole process."

Namjoon just nodded, reaching to help the elder man to his feet politely.

He wasn't necessarily unfamiliar with Yoongi's parents, he'd met them multiple times. But, none of them really saw their own parents anymore, let alone the other members. Namjoon held nothing against them, they weren't bad people, the opposite in fact, because they just wanted what they thought to be the best for their children. Pursuing music was not apart of their plan for Yoongi.

But that was the past. And besides, if their were still any animosity it was sure to be gone now. They all needed to be strong as a family right now, regardless if it was by blood or not.

Namjoon walked down the hall beside Yoongi's dad, feeling very out of place. He got a few looks from other patients, a long one from a young woman that was wheeled past. His height caught attention, if not his actual identity, but it was attention he didn't want right now. He was at least thankful no phones were allowed to be on in this part of the hospital, he didn't want to see his sad and bloodshot eyes on the Internet when he already saw it in the mirror every morning.

Eventually they reached Yoongi's room, Namjoon's eyes focusing on him even through the glass as he approached. He was sitting on the bed facing away from the door, dressed in street clothes and talking to his mom. There was an IV next to him, cord disappearing from Namjoon's sight.

The door clicked as they entered, Yoongi turning to look before his eyes focused on Namjoon.

They stared at each other for a moment. It was the first time to talk to Yoongi since he was diagnosed and it felt so alien, like there was something unfamiliar between them now. It felt like he hadn't seen Yoongi in a long time, like Yoongi had been away and had come back, unrecognisable. Because there was an intravenous line disappearing under his shirt, the cord poking out of the collar of his t-shirt and snaking up to the IV.

But then Yoongi opened his arms, and everything just settled into place. Namjoon gently embraced him at first, but Yoongi was not having his best friend treat him like glass. He squeezed Namjoon tight, and Namjoon bent over awkwardly to bury his head in Yoongi's shoulder.

Yoongi was still his small and sassy Hyung. He wouldn't be brought down by this. Namjoon felt a flood of hope, hope that they would get through this okay. He'd take any hope at this point, no matter how misguided or fragile.

"Your chauffeur has arrived, sir." Namjoon smiled and Yoongi huffed in his arms, his own arms squeezing Namjoon a little tighter.

"Fuck off." Yoongi whispered so his parents wouldn't hear, before letting the younger go.

"Well, let's go." Yoongi said. "I'm done for the day."

As if on command, a nurse appeared. With a small bow, she wiggled her way between Namjoon and Yoongi to check on his cords.

"Schedule already sorted?" Namjoon said, trying to keep the mood light. Yoongi just shrugged, but Namjoon didn't miss his wince as the IV shifted. The nurse turned back to Namjoon.

"Here is the information on his treatment. I am told you are to be his carer, therefore it is your responsibly to ensure he receives his treatment." The nurse said, handing him a booklet from her clipboard. Namjoon took it gingerly, placing it in his messenger bag so he wouldn't have to look at it just yet.

"Please watch closely, I will demonstrate how to disconnect his intravenous line."

Namjoon swallowed, moving closer to watch the demonstration. His eyes flickered to Yoongi, whose expression was closed. The nurse was efficient, showing how to seal the valve to stop air from getting into Yoongi's veins as she disconnected.

"-And finally the tubing needs a saline bath after every use."

Namjoon just stared, trying to process the information. This was his responsibility, but not just a normal responsibly as the leader of his band. This one was serious, serious enough that if he did it wrong he could kill Yoongi by getting air in his blood.

"Namjoon." Yoongi's voice brought him back, only for him to realise he'd been staring at the point where tubing disappeared into Yoongi's chest.

"I...ah." Namjoon swallowed.

"If you are still unsure, there is a step by step guide in your carers booklet." She smiled warmly, before turning back to face him properly. "This is not a normal situation, Kim Namjoon-ssi. Normally a nurse would visit Min Yoongi-ssi but we understand your situation is delicate and this is the best option that is available. Min Yoongi-ssi will have to visit hospital every month to ensure proper treatment is taking place."

Namjoon took another look at Yoongi's whose expression hadn't changed, cleared his throat and nodded.

"Is was recommended Min Yoongi-ssi travel in a wheelchair to avoid strain after weeks in a bed, but he has refused." The nurse smiled at Namjoon. "I'll leave the rest to you and your management. We will see you on the 6th."

She bowed and left.

Namjoon let out a shaky breath as the room fell into a deep silence.

"Let's just go." Yoongi whispered, tucking the tubing under his shirt and standing up. Namjoon had to clutch his hands against his side to avoid the sudden urge to help him to his feet. Yoongi was not helpless now, he hadn't become a different person, and Namjoon had to remember that.

Yoongi's mother stepped forward to embrace her son, and Yoongi returned the embrace.

"We don't have to go back, we can still stay in Seoul."

"No, mom. Go home. I'll be okay." Yoongi said and Namjoon picked up on a former discussion he was not apart of. So Yoongi's parents would be going home to Daegu at Yoongi's request.

"I love you, Yoongi." His mom said, kissing his cheek as she let him go. Yoongi's father gave him a similar embrace, gently patting his back.

"Call me, son. I'll come as soon as you need me."

And then they were both gone, free to leave as normal, anonymous citizens. Namjoon and Yoongi did not get that choice.

"Okay. Okay." Namjoon said, putting all the new information and feelings to the back of his mind to finish processing later. He needed to get them both out of the hospital now, back to the car and back home.

Yoongi was already walking out of the room, so Namjoon followed weakly, carrying the belongings left in a duffle bag on Yoongi's bed. He threw the straps over his back, jogging awkwardly to catch up.

"Give me your jacket." Yoongi said as they walked through the long sterile VIP hallways, soon to enter the normal hospital. Namjoon gingerly took off the duffle again, pulling his large black hoodie off his body. Yoongi took it from him with a small noise of thanks, pulling it over his jeans and t-shirt. The hoodie was massive on him, and suddenly Namjoon understood.

He was hiding himself.

Hiding the tubes that dangled unfamiliarly against his chest, hiding his arms and his neck and his thighs and his face. Hiding everything that was a clear statement of what was happening to his body.

Namjoon was thankful, because he hadn't even thought of it.

Yoongi pulled the hood over his head just as they entered the normal section of the hospital, merging close to Namjoon with his head down as was standard procedure for them. They had to learned over time to merge with the closest familiar body or group and just keep fucking walking. Namjoon powered on, pulling his phone from his pocket as they neared the lesser known side entrance to alert the driver.

"Ready?" Namjoon whispered to Yoongi who hovered at his elbow.

"I wanna go home, Joonie." Yoongi whispered back. Namjoon swallowed, pushing his glasses over his eyes and pulling Yoongi to his side as the doors opened. Yoongi immediately ducked his head.

"Suga!" Was the word on everyone's lips, a swarm gathered with the sole intent to pry into their lives. There was even a fucking reporter in the crowd, so close Namjoon could see the cracks in her lipstick. Namjoon cursed silently at hospital security and his own naivety to think they wouldn't know he and Yoongi would come this way. He also cursed because he had really thought they wouldn't come this close.

He missed 2013 intensely, when he could just visit Yoongi in hospital and nobody fucking knew who he was. But then again, 2013 had been a terrible fucking year for Yoongi, and Namjoon hoped desperately that 2016 would not top it. It was a different year, with a different demon.

But, ironically, it was still Yoongi's own body that was hurting him.

He almost ran to the black van that pulled up, Yoongi pressed tightly to his side. The driver hadn't opened the door, still in the drivers seat ready to gun it as soon as they climbed in. Namjoon shoved open the door, almost throwing Yoongi inside before he slid in beside him. The driver was already at 20kph before Namjoon even wrenched the door shut.

He leant back against the headrest, breathing hard. Yoongi stayed silent next to him, curling up in the spot Namjoon threw him. Namjoon didn't tell him to put on his seatbelt, because he looked like he was one word away from losing it.

Namjoon opened his mouth, then closed it. He remembered the discussion with Seokjin, about not talking about it unless Yoongi initiated the conversation. He also knew asking him how he was feeling was going to guarantee a sarcastic answer.

"Are...are you going to be okay?" He asked instead. Yoongi was the strongest person he knew, but cancer was just on another fucking level.

Yoongi didn't answer for a while, but when he did it was quiet. Staring out the window, shoulders slumped and head heavy.

"...I don't know."

Chapter Text

The core collapses and sends a shock wave out. For a few hours the shock compressed and heats the envelope, thus producing a very bright flash of light from inside of the star

 

It was an understatement to say Yoongi didn't take it well.

 

But, not in the way anyone would expect. Many would think somebody diagnosed with stage three cancer would get depressed, laying in bed for days. Or maybe be filled with such an unexplainable overwhelming anger that left them screaming and crying until their throats grew horse.

 

But not Yoongi. No, Yoongi desperately tried to act like nothing was wrong. The booklets said he was in denial, but even Namjoon knew this wasn't healthy. Everyone else was struggling too, trying to act normal around Yoongi when every time they looked at him they were reminded that his own blood was trying to kill him. Namjoon was setting all the IV things up in his own room, a box full of IV bags hidden under his bed. Jungkook watched him study at night from across the room, blanket pulled up to his chin as he watched his hyung pour himself into the books like it would make this whole nightmare somehow stop. But Yoongi just ignored all of it. Like it didn't exist. Like he was fine.

 

Well, until Namjoon had to plug in the IV for the first time. Then he couldn't ignore it anymore.

 

Yoongi laid back on Hoseok's bed, since every member swore by it being the most comfortable. His shirt was rucked up under his armpits, the soft material brushing his chin as he stared up at the ceiling. He only sighed as Namjoon tried to administer the medication, leaning back against the bed when Namjoon fiddled with the valve, trying to remember how to open it. The IV stand was next to them, the bag of chemicals already hanging on the hook. Yoongi avoided looking at it.

 

Namjoon had studied last night, re-sticky-noted the guide and everything until it was perfect. He knew the entire book by heart now. However, theory and practise were two different things.

 

"Look, can you fucking hurry up? I'm not that delicate."

 

It had been the first time Yoongi had really talked in three days.

 

Namjoon sighed shakily, looking up from the contraption he handled like glass. No wonder Yoongi was fucking pissed, laying with a bared chest while Namjoon fumbled like a child learning to ride a bike.

 

The other members also lingered by the door, shuffling on anxious feet. Namjoon knew Seokjin was watching, could feel his gaze boring into his head. He was not happy about being removed from his role as primary carer, wasn't happy with not being able to help. It was in his very nature, and despite the already heated argument about it in the late hours of last night, Seokjin was not satisfied.

 

"I know, okay. But I have to do this for you."

 

"Whatever." Yoongi ground out, dropping his elbows out from underneath himself and falling back against the bed harshly. Namjoon fumbled, almost dropping the tubing against his chest as Yoongi moved.

 

Namjoon took a deep breath, and focused.

 

 

Yoongi just did what he usually did, but instead also taking the medicine every third day.

 

Well, until the chemo really kicked in.

 

It was like a storm cloud had settled over his entire world, making everything heavier and darker. His limbs felt kilos heavier, even his eyelids struggled to hold their own weight. Everything, even breathing, felt like a major effort. He had no energy to even hold a conversation, leaving the members looking after him with confused furrow to their brows. He didn't know what to do, how to deal with this strange new weight on his shoulders.

 

So he did the only thing he knew.

 

And he holed himself up in his studio. He made good progress, managed to remix the entirety of Dope and be happy with it. He forced himself to focus everything into his music because the only other option was to think about the unfamiliar weight on his chest and the strange poison circling his body. He didn't let his mind stray, even if his body cried for rest.

 

Seokjin had asked him to describe it, one dark night. Yoongi had just given him a heavy look before turning around and staring at his wall, avoiding the sad eyes of his hyung.

 

But it made Yoongi think. It made Yoongi think in a way he'd been avoiding since the doctor uttered those words and his mother clutched his hand so desperately. He realised he couldn't even describe his own pain, but found the best way to describe it was that he felt really fucking sick, like the worst fever was crawling under his skin. He realised it was the chemo working, killing every cell it touched, but Yoongi couldn't help but imagine all the damage it was doing inside him.

 

It scared him.

 

So he didn't think. He just did what he had to do. He didn't wanna talk, didn't wanna know. Worked his ass off, kept his head down.

 

And hoped everything would be okay.

 

 

Yoongi spent his days in the studio. He barely went home, sometimes sleeping on his little couch. The others at home just hovered like flies around him, looking at him like he was a stranger they didn't know how to interact with. They were trying so hard to avoid the subject of this whole fucking issue that they ended up avoiding him.

 

He couldn't deny that it didn't hurt.

 

Nobody talked to him unless it was to ask if he was okay. He was fucking sick of being asked if he was okay.

 

But even in his safe haven, after a few days his creative juices ran dry due to the lack of stimulation, leaving him drawing a blank with a half done song. He didn't know where he was going with it, couldn't even tell if it was good. He ended up staring at the beat laid out in front of him, the screen creating a glaze over his bloodshot eyes.

 

It was three in the morning when a knock sounded at his door. Yoongi blinked at his computer, quickly swivelling his chair to his beatbox as he tried to look like he was making progress so whoever it was would leave him alone.

 

"Hyung."

 

Fuck, it was Jimin. The one that hovered in the company building whenever he was there, and would never truly leave him alone.

 

"I'm busy." Yoongi replied shortly at Jimin's concerned tone. He was fucking sick of them all checking up on him every five minutes and always looking at him with so much concern. He was fine, for fucks sake.

 

"You haven't done anything for the past half an hour."

 

"And how would you know that?" Yoongi fired back, now on edge. Jimin's fluttering around him was starting to piss him off, and he didn't want to deal with him right now when he was already pissed at his lack of progress.

 

"I've been standing here for ten minutes. You didn't even notice me and you haven't moved the entire time, we should go home."

 

Fuck, Yoongi should have noticed. He had nothing to rebut, since Jimin already knew. He sighed, because he knew when he was defeated.

 

"Okay, I'm coming." Yoongi groaned, moving the mouse to save and click out of his programs. He leaned across his desk to turn off the monitor and grab his scarf.

 

He swung the chair around and stood as he was wrapping his scarf around his neck. But as soon as he stood, his knees buckled underneath him. He frantically reached out to grab something to stabilise himself, but his fingers were caught in the knitting of his scarf, and he couldn't pull them out in time.

 

Yoongi closed his eyes and braced himself for the collision, but then there were arms grabbing him  and holding him up. Yoongi's eyes snapped open, feeling Jimin's arm wrapped around his chest and his other hand patting around, gripping his wrist to feel his pulse

 

Yoongi immediately ripped his arm from Jimin's grip, unfortunately causing the force of the manoeuvre to make him stumble again. This granted him both of Jimin's arms holding him under his armpits like a child in an attempt to stabilise him.

 

"Don't touch me!" Yoongi hissed, shoving Jimin away unsuccessfully. Jimin was talking fast, ignoring him as his mind ran at a million miles an hour

 

"Are you okay? Is it the dizziness? Is it getting worse? I can call-"

 

"I'm fine, I just haven't moved in five hours, Jimin!" Yoongi growled, feeling his frustration and anger rear its ugly head. Jimin still fussed over him, and Yoongi had had enough.

 

"LET GO OF ME!" Yoongi screamed, shoving Jimin away forcefully. Jimin let go in shock, making the force from Yoongi's shove send him falling and bouncing off the wall behind him. Jimin stared at him with wide eyes as Yoongi panted, messy green hair in his eyes as his blood ran hotter than ever.

 

"I'm not glass, Jimin! I'm fucking fine!"  Yoongi shrieked, "Not everything has to do with the cancer, okay?! Not everything is fucking life or death! I'm okay! Just leave me alone!"

 

"You were falling, Hyung, what was I-" Jimin started, orange hair fallen into his eyes due to the force of the shove. He didn't try to fix it, just standing there and speaking gently like Yoongi was a wild animal that needed to be tamed. Yoongi interrupted him before he could hear anymore of it.

 

"You should have just let me fall! I'm not going to break from a bump on my knee, Jimin!" Yoongi shrieked, his arms gesticulating widely. Jimin pressed himself back against the wall, moving as far away from furious Yoongi as possible.

 

"How was I supposed to know it wasn't something more serious? I can't tell the difference, and I just-"

 

"You just what, Jimin? Just what? Nothing, just do nothing. Don't touch me. Don't grab me. Don't cradle me like a child." Yoongi hissed, throwing the end of his scarf over his shoulder as he fixed his hair back into place and adjusted his jacket. He straightened and turned to face Jimin, giving him a firm look.

 

"I'm your hyung, Jimin. And it would do you good to remember that."

 

With that Yoongi drifted out of the room silently before slamming the door behind him. Jimin barely flinched at the sound, instead staring at the picture of them hanging on the wall over Yoongi's desk, posing ridiculously with bright smiles on their faces.

 

And he wondered where it all went wrong.

 

 

"I'm scared."

 

Hoseok turned to Taehyung, immediately putting down the expensive t-shirt he was admiring. They were in the middle of shopping for clothes they probably didn't need. Hoseok pulled him out of the house because Yoongi and Seokjin were screaming at each other and the air was suffocating. Jimin and Jungkook had already disappeared from their house as soon as it started, Jungkook almost carrying Jimin out of the house in his haste to get out of there before Jimin started crying. Jimin wasn't taking it well, because for him it was like his world was falling apart.

 

But it might as well have been, for how they were all fracturing under the strain.

 

"Tae, I don't understand." Hoseok said quietly, since Taehyung hadn't given him any context. But he could tell it was something serious, because the younger was just standing there staring emptily at the scarf in his hands.

 

"I'm scared that this is never going to stop." Taehyung whispered, barely an exhale of breath. Hoseok looked up at him sharply, and saw his eyes glazing with tears.

 

"Oh, fuck." Hoseok hissed under his breath, taking the scarf from Taehyung's hand and grabbing up a random top from the neatly folded stack in front of them. He wrapped his arm around Taehyung's waist and dragged him towards the back of store. He quickly flashed the employee the items, using his body to hide Taehyung's condition. The employee barely looked at them, nodding on reflex before turning back to his phone, and for the first time Hoseok was thankful for lazy employees.

 

He pulled Taehyung down the corridor of dressing rooms to the last one, opening the door and easing Taehyung in with him. He let go of the younger to turn and flip the lock on the door, returning to see Taehyung squatting on the floor with his arms wrapped around his knees.

 

Hoseok hung the scarf and shirt over the fancy silver hook on the wall next to the door before moving down to sit next to Taehyung. Taehyung was breathing heavily, trying desperately to keep himself together. Hoseok wrapped his arm around the younger's waist, trying to offer him warmth and comfort. But, just a moment later, Taehyung burst into tears.

 

Taehyung trembled with his sobs, falling out of his squat and into Hoseok. Hoseok gently coaxed the crying young man to his side, bringing his head to his shoulder. Taehyung immediately clutched to him, pressing his forehand against the muscle in Hoseok's shoulder and muffling his sobs against the elders neck.

 

"It will stop, it will stop soon and they'll be back to normal." Hoseok kept whispering assurances. Taehyung tried to bite his lip to stop the sobs, but in his state managed to also nip the skin on Hoseok's neck. Hoseok recoiled in pain, but Taehyung simply unlatched his teeth and didn't notice anything apart from the fact that Hoseok moved away from him. Hoseok immediately moved back, however adjusting Taehyung's head so he could bite into the collar of Hoseok's shirt instead. Hoseok ignored the sting coming from his neck, gently running his hand through Taehyung's hair as the younger bit into the cotton of his shirt. Any other time he'd be pissed off because of the younger's carelessness, but right now Taehyung needed him.

 

"He's going to be okay." Hoseok said with conviction he didn't have, massaging the nape of the younger's neck. He felt Taehyung release his teeth and lean back, looking up at him with distraught tears in his big brown eyes.

 

"But what if he isn't?"

 

Hoseok just brought the younger to his chest, and wished he had something to offer him other than silence.

 

 

The KBS song festival was going well. They danced and sang to the upmost of professionalism, not showing the tension within their own dynamics. Jungkook felt weird touching Yoongi in their Run choreography since he hadn't been near the other in three weeks. But it went great, Hoseok, Jungkook and Jimin danced beautifully for the intro, and the remix was a hit. Yoongi could function well professionally even when he couldn't emotionally.

 

Until they got home and Yoongi started vomiting.

 

He ran up their stairs, taking the steps three at a time. He didn't wait for them, didn't explain anything as he unlocked the door and threw himself inside their apartment. The others followed behind in various states of confusion, watching Yoongi stumble out of his shoes and into the kitchen table in his rush.

 

"Hyung, what's wrong?" Jungkook called, following closely behind. He grabbed Yoongi by his upper arm when the elder tripped, slamming against the wall in the hallway. He felt Yoongi's muscles all tense up, his body seizing as he bent over.

 

And then he vomited all over himself.

 

"Fucking hell."  Jungkook heard Jimin whisper, as all of them suddenly froze as the apartment grew silent. Yoongi's head was braced against the wall, hands pressed against the white paint as the muscles in his back and stomach rolled in an attempt to remove everything from his system.

 

Jungkook jumped into action, tugging Yoongi away from the wall and attempting to pull him down to the hall to the bathroom. Yoongi suddenly ripped his arm away from Jungkook, the force of the manoeuvre making him fall back against the wall. Yoongi's eyes were filled with humiliation and disgust, and he ripped them away as soon as they made eye contact. But Jungkook already saw. Saw the self hatred brimming in his eyes, the angry tears falling down his cheeks and the vomit on his chin. And in that moment, Jungkook found no recognition of the hyung he knew.

 

Yoongi turned and stormed down the hall, using the wall to steady himself. The bathroom door slammed shut behind him, the lock thrown into place with a sure click.

 

Jungkook had no choice but to watch him go. His feet had anchored themselves in the middle of their hallway, accompanied only by silence and the smell of bile in the air.

 

 

"Don't come in here!"

 

The dorm was filled with the sounds of Yoongi's sobbing, heaving and screaming. It sounded so painful, so heart wrenching. But he wouldn't let them help him. Namjoon used the hardly used key to open the door, taking in the scene before him. Yoongi noticed, and immediately turned away from him to try to hide himself.

 

"Fuck off, Namjoon!" Yoongi screamed, crying out at the pain hit him again. He couldn't taste anything but acid, and his mouth and throat burned in his own personal hell.

 

"Yoongi, you need-"

 

"Don't fucking touch me!"

 

"Hyung, I can-."

 

Yoongi rounded on him, eyes red and chest heaving.

 

"You can what? Hold back my hair? Make the pain go away? Newsflash, you cant do anything, Namjoon." He spat. "You are so fucking useless."

 

Namjoon's jaw dropped, looking like Yoongi had stabbed him in the chest. Yoongi fucking knew he was insecure about that, about being useless to them. He was hurting, in so much pain he lashed out in any way he could. In any way he knew.

 

He wanted to hurt Namjoon, wanted to make him mad. He wanted Namjoon to cross the room, he wanted Namjoon yell at him, grab him, throw him against the wall, hit him across the face. Make him bleed. He wanted Namjoon to hurt him just like Yoongi was hurting them.

 

But Namjoon just walked out and slid the door shut behind him with a soft click.

 

He didn't sleep that night, because when he tried he could only hear the sounds of Yoongi's whimpering.

 

 

Yoongi was gone, hidden, isolated. They all meant the same thing now. Yoongi had left him, refused him. Rejected him. Yoongi's constant rejection had finally turned on Jungkook, and Jungkook was left cold in its wake.

 

He felt alone more than he ever has in his entire life, an aching feeling that wouldn't go away, uncomfortable and unfamiliar settling in the bottom of his stomach. Jungkook was always the maknae, the lovely dongsaeng, even in his own blood family. He was always doted on, always had attention wether it was good or bad.

 

But now he felt so irrevocably alone.

 

Because he knew Yoongi didn't want him. Jungkook had hoped, prayed, Yoongi would come to his senses. Hoped he'd learn to accept them, accept their help and love.

 

But the rejection had suddenly become too much for Jungkook. He couldn't take it anymore. Because with it came the thoughts that everything else was a lie. He thought their relationship had been stronger than anything, believed Yoongi when the older told him he loved him. He thought they trusted each other with everything.

 

But Yoongi hadn't accepted his help when he had needed it the most, so where did that leave them?

 

Jungkook tried to ignore it the best he could, and just allow himself to succumb to sleep. His eyelids felt increasingly heavy all of a sudden, surprising him with how incredibly exhausted he was.

 

He hoped to forget about everything when he woke up.

 

February

 

It had been a month of the same poisonous cycle, and it was at this point Namjoon had to step in as the leader. Everyone was on edge, hovering around Yoongi like he was gonna snap at any moment.  Yoongi wasn't doing anything wrong on a professional level, not necessarily. Actually, he was ahead of schedule.

 

But that was because he never fucking left his workroom. And, that was the problem.

 

"I think you should stop, Yoongi."

 

"That's Yoongi-Hyung to you, Namjoon-ssi." Yoongi coldly, without even looking away from his computer.

 

"You need to take a break." Namjoon tried to drag Yoongi's chair back, but Yoongi dug his fingers into the desk like a lion with its claws in its prey. He was not letting go.

 

"No I don't." He said stubbornly, still reading his screen and answering absentmindedly with his typical phrases.

 

"When was the last time you ate?" Namjoon asked, and Yoongi's hands gripped tighter on the desk. The both knew it had been a long time, since Yoongi had refused just about every meal after he vomited for the first time.

 

"You're acting a lot like my fuckin' mom right now."

 

"Well I'm your leader, and that's basically the same thing now." Namjoon grunted, and Yoongi finally turned away from computer, but there was a stern look in his sharp eyes.

 

"Don't you dare pull the leader card on me right now." Yoongi growled, deep and threatening. Namjoon had forgotten how scary Yoongi could be, how his usually lenient and quiet manner could turn abrasive and dangerous. However, Namjoon swallowed down the anxiety and persevered. Yoongi was usually adverse to even things that were for his own benefit, and somebody had to make sure he didn't pass out or hurt himself.

 

Now more than ever.

 

"I've been too lenient with you." Namjoon sighed, still tugging at Yoongi's chair.

 

"Kim Namjoon. Don't you fucking dare." Yoongi growled lowly as he suddenly pushed himself out of his chair, sending Namjoon to the floor and letting the office chair crash onto its side, no doubt scratching the leather.

 

But Namjoon wasn't really thinking about leather, because Yoongi had finally snapped.

 

"Don't tell me what to fucking do. I'm fucking fine, okay. Stop mothering me." He said the word with such distaste, like it left a sour taste on his tongue. He stood above Namjoon, shoulders broad and feet squared, ready to stick up to him.

 

Namjoon gathered himself back up, stopping himself from cowering under the furious gaze of Min Yoongi to stand in front of him, the fallen seat between them like a barrier.

 

"You're not fine, Yoongz." He said quietly, voice sincere as he tried to look past the front of anger and offence in Yoongi's eyes.

 

But instead he saw the anger rise to new heights, as Yoongi finally snapped.

 

"Don't fucking call me that!" Yoongi screeched, throwing himself over the seat to shove Namjoon's chest. He kept pushing his hands against Namjoon's breast bone, pushing with the strength of his anger as Namjoon stumbled back under its intensity.

 

"Get out! Get out! You can't fucking come in here and tell me how I fucking feel!" He yelled, livid and shoving. Namjoon felt his own anger rear up in response.

 

"Well somebody fucking has to, Yoongi!" He yelled back, no longer letting Yoongi push him, instead holding his ground. "When are you going to realise we are trying to help you?"

 

"Help me?!" Yoongi asked, voice disbelieving as he still continued shoving fruitlessly but with no less aggression. "You are only fucking making me feel worse!"

 

"Okay, that's it." Namjoon growled, before bending his knees to wrap his arms around Yoongi's waist. He lifted Yoongi, the elders hands trapped against his breastbone.

 

"FUCK YOU, KIM NAMJOON." Yoongi screamed as Namjoon picked him up and lugged him out of the room. Yoongi fought wildly, his body under Namjoon's arms wiggling and bucking like a cornered cat. He got an arm free while Namjoon stumbled with him down the hall, lifting it up to hit him over the head.

 

"YOU ARE SO FUCKING DISRESPECTFUL!" Yoongi was screaming, along with multitudes of obscenities that Namjoon ignored. He was doing this for Yoongi, even if Yoongi hated him for it. Yoongi did not take well to being ignored, fisting his hand in Namjoon's hair and yanking it backwards. It fucking hurt, but Namjoon just hissed in pain before walking faster. Yoongi's screams echoed down the halls as they went.

 

Namjoon finally made it to the office, and Seokjin opened the door as he approached. He looked saddened, but relieved. They finally got Yoongi out of that workroom, but at what cost? Yoongi was still livid, but when Seokjin grabbed him he didn't struggle as much. Unlike Namjoon, he still respected his Hyung in this situation. Well, it wasn't like Yoongi gave Namjoon a choice in that matter.

 

Seokjin sent a smile Namjoon's way as he settled Yoongi into one of the seats at the large conference table. Namjoon sent one last look at Yoongi before turning and taking his leave.

 

He hoped Yoongi didn't hate him in the morning.

 

 

Yoongi apparently couldn't hold a grudge against him for very long. Namjoon knew Yoongi could hold certain grudges forever, since he'd seen how Yoongi had been hurt by others.

 

But not Namjoon, it seemed.

 

He came into Namjoon's room at about 1pm the day after, evidently just having woken up with messy hair and crumpled loose clothes, but fierce dark eyes. Namjoon watched carefully, taking his eyes away from his laptop balanced on his chest to focus on the elder.

 

But Yoongi just walked in, kicking him weakly on the leg before climbing over him with little care for where his elbows and knees landed. Namjoon didn't even complain even though he was sure a knee was purposely dug into the muscle of his thigh. Yoongi settled himself in his usual spot in the dark corner of the others bed, however this time he faced the wall instead and only let Namjoon stare at the back of his head.

 

"What?"  Namjoon said after a moment, watching Yoongi even if the other was evidently ignoring him.

 

"Seokjin made me fuckin' get up and you're the only one he won't bother."  Yoongi replied after while, facing away from Namjoon.

 

"Righto."

 

"You're still a disrespectful little shit." Yoongi grunted into sheet, cheek squashed by the mattress.

 

"Okay?"

 

"Shut up, Joonie." Yoongi mumbled, and Namjoon smiled before turning back to his laptop. They didn't say sorry, but they didn't need to. Yoongi started snoring quietly not a moment later.

 

And once again balance was restored in the world.

 

The utter domesticity of life in the Bangtan dorm was something he could never really get used to. When he left his family back in Daegu, he thought he’d lose everything about it. He thought he wouldn't need anyone either. He thought he could do it all on his own. He didn't need friends, didn't need anyone but himself. He couldn't trust anyone.

 

He thought he was better off alone.

 

But, then came Namjoon. And then with him Hoseok and Jungkook. Then Seokjin and Jimin and finally, Taehyung.

 

He still remembered Namjoon's burning passion stronger than even his own. He remembered Hoseok's brightness that eventually burned through the depression festering behind it. He remembered how much pure unadulterated talent lay inside Jungkook's tiny body. He remembered the smell of Seokjin's cooking as he exited the shower, cutting through the smell of sweaty teenage boys. He remembered Taehyung's gangly limbs, and the softness of Jimin's features.

 

He needed them as much as they needed him. They'd survived everything else, hadn't broken under the pressure of the industry or fought to the point that there was nothing left of them. Their team was the one thing Yoongi had now, everything else was temporary. His studio, his songs, his fame, even his life, was temporary. But the six other men in his life would never leave him, just like he would never leave them. They were the most important things in his life, and if he lost them nothing else would matter. He couldn't lose them, he refused. They were a team, and they always would be.

 

Cancer would not break them.

 

Yoongi wouldn't let it.

 

 

The Idol olympics came around.

 

Yoongi didn't participate in any events, but neither did Seokjin. Nobody really thought much of it. The stylists managed to work their magic on him, combing his hair in a way that hid the thinness of the strands and the scalp it revealed. They had to use almost a quarter bottle of their foundation to cover up the blood bruise on the back on his neck, one he hadn't even noticed until they started poking at it. He wondered what else on his body had changed without his notice.

 

The younger ones won the 400 relay, so his spirits were lifted a little. It was nice to see the kids participating and having fun in something that didn't have anything to do with work. They never got the chance to play games anymore, so it brought a smile to Yoongi's face when Jimin yanked Jungkook off the track and into a big group hug. Yoongi patted Jungkook on his butt in a silent congratulations, making the younger smile in glee.

 

They were sweaty and heaving, as per usual, but the smiles on their faces were different. Brighter. The pure energy of a race with nothing else. No focusing on sharpness of movements or facial expression. Just running.

 

It was a pleasant change. A nice chance to take their minds off all the poison; around them in others expectations and inside Yoongi's own blood.

 

 

And, like most things in Yoongi's life: just when things started to feel alright he was reminded that they weren't.

 

Yoongi was never a vain person. He never thought he was beautiful, or even handsome. Not like Seokjin or Taehyung were. He wasn't quite right: not tall enough, not cute enough, not masculine enough.

 

But there was something about your hair falling out around you like a shedding dog that felt degrading.

 

The entertainment industry put so much focus into appearance. Yoongi had never completely understood how the diets and the tight clothes made him a better rapper. But, he knew how to survive. How to survive in an industry that was such a ravenous beast, hungry for more and more.  Trying to suck out any spark of energy that he had.

 

He adapted. He survived.

 

But that left him so insecure. His hair, his eyes, his stomach, his legs. And his fucking jawline. He was so sick of hearing about it. And yet, now, he realised he clutched to that ideal. The ideal of perfection he could achieve on the outside to make up for the mess he was on the inside.

 

And now not only was his body was trying to kill itself, but it was taking that too.

 

He was only in cotton pyjamas shorts, and they did nothing to hide what his body had become. The bald spots dotted around his head like he belonged in a crazy house. His cheeks were hollow beneath his sunken eyes, like someone had taken a chisel to his flesh and accidentally chipped off a bit too much. The shallow pallor of his skin looked almost ghost like beneath the fluorescent lighting of the bathroom, like the saturation of his skin had been all but sucked dry. The circles under his eyes were far too dark in comparison, making his eyes stand out like sad beacons of dying light. 

 

He brought up a hand, delicately tracing his fingers over his collarbones and down to his navel, where his ribs protruded sharply beneath his pale skin. The tube that hung from his chest that he hated so much now seemed shockingly normal and familiar compared to what had happened his his own body without his notice. It shocked him. He'd noticed how his clothes had started to hang looser in places, but he didn't really take the time to look at himself thoroughly.

 

There was a new thinness in his limbs, the fragile wrists and the legs he could wrap his fingers around and his thumb and forefinger could almost touch. The bones that could see, that before he didn't even know he had.

 

There you go, the jawline you always fucking wanted.

 

He started laughing at that, a low amused rumble in his chest that turned loud and obnoxious. There was tears in his eyes, and he didn't know if he was laughing or crying.

 

He saw Jimin in the reflection of the mirror, the boy with one hand on the doorframe, watching him. The boys eyes lingered on the skin none of them had seen since he was diagnosed. He looked confused and sad at the same time, but he didn't ask why Yoongi was laughing like a insane man.

 

"Look at this jawline." Yoongi said, looking at him through the mirror as he traced the protruding bone. "Fucking razor sharp, just like we always wanted."

 

Yoongi giggled, leaning down to brace his elbows against the counter and put his head in his hands, the valve dangling in the air.

 

"Am I finally thin enough?" Yoongi asked, and the giggles had turned into broken sobs without his notice. "Is this their ideal?"

 

He felt warm arms wrap around him, covering up the rib bones and pale skin. They were careful not to touch the valve over his heart though, hanging still in midair.

 

"Cancer, free with weight loss to achieve the perfect weight." Yoongi whispered as Jimin's warmth slowly brought him back. "I should recommend it to some of the other idols."

 

Jimin led him away from the mirror that showed everything, silent as he helped him into bed and pulled the sheets up to cover his insecurities.

 

But Yoongi still felt the younger's tears fall hot and stricken on his bare shoulder. He felt them even after Jimin had fallen asleep and the heat of his fever had evaporated the tears.

 

Because they reminded him how even though he was the one sick...

 

It was hurting them too.

 

 

Jimin was selfish.

 

He cared about his loved ones, and only them. If he had to let one of his members to die, or the rest of the world; he would still chose his members.

 

He was so very selfish, and he was never going to deny that.

 

To him, his friends and family were his entire world. Nine people that defined his entire existence. He knew he was selfish, was utter scum. Because he'd give the whole world up if it meant he could keep his loved ones safe.

 

Everyone thought he was the all loving mochi Jimin. But, it wasn't humanly possible to have that much care and love for everyone and everything. He met a lot of people in his line of work, and really, he was just being realistic. He was not so naive to think he could be the all encompassing higher entity his fans thought him to be. But he did care for his fans, very deeply, in fact. He'd probably die if it meant none of those young men and women had to.

 

But he'd still give them all up in exchange for his members.

 

He'd tried to look after everyone and everything, in the beginning. He tried to care and show everyone love, but he was trampled on. He was introduced to the vicious reality of the world, thrown into the bear pit before he was even seventeen.  Everyone took advantage of his kindness and it was a weakness they exploited thoroughly.

 

Yoongi taught him to stay strong. Taught him to protect himself, from others and from his own poisonous expectations of himself. It didn't fix him, but it helped. He loved his members. Loved them more than his own life, more than the world. They were his best friends and closer than family. He'd do anything for them.

 

And now he was selfish. He knew because he wouldn't even think twice to destroy the world if it meant Yoongi could be healthy and cancer-free.

 

 

"I don't care what anyone says, the middle of the Oreo is the best." Taehyung stated just as Yoongi walked into the room, beanie pulled on sloppy on his head and barefooted. He didn't bother to question how he and Namjoon had even gotten onto the subject of the value of the components of a cookie.

 

Namjoon just shook his head.

 

"Light without darkness, darkness with no light. One cannot exist without the other. I thought it'd taught you better than this."

 

"Yo, Socrates. It's a fucking cookie." Yoongi called and both boys startled. Namjoon furrowed his brows, not liking that he'd been caught off guard.

 

"Since when were you a ninja?" He asked, and Yoongi just grinned lazily, pottering around the kitchen before looking over at them.

 

"Ah, since forever? Keep up, peasant scum."

 

"Did he just-" Taehyung whispered.

 

"Yes. He did." Namjoon whispered back.

 

"I can still hear you." Yoongi reminded, before stopping short and turning to look at them. "Aren't you supposed to be training for that Shinwa thing?"

 

"We're already done, Hyung." Taehyung smiled, giving him a thumbs up.

 

"Then where are the others?"

 

"I dunno. Jimin's still probably practicing taking off his jacket." Taehyung shrugged. "You know how he gets."

 

Yoongi did know how Jimin got sometimes. When he got nervous and anxious and wouldn't stop practising.

 

Yoongi knew all too well.

 

"Sucks that you will mysteriously be injured for the performance, though." Namjoon spoke up, smirking as he kept tapping away at his phone screen. "I'm sure you would have enjoyed it."

 

"Fam, I wasn't going to have any lines anyway. Just dancing in leather."

 

Namjoon shuddered. His extravagant tastes in clothing did not include leather pants.

 

"Oh yeah." Yoongi acted like he'd just been reminded of something. "Keep me updated on how many times you have to position your junk secretly on stage."

 

Then he ducked away, making Taehyung laugh and Namjoon release the most horrendous dying whale noise. He even heard Jungkook's snort echo from his room, and he felt more accomplished than he had in a long time.

 

 

 

Yoongi was sandwiched between Namjoon and Seokjin on the couch. The television volume was turned up to drown out Jungkook's singing along to whatever English song he was studying for his next cover as he showered, even though they weren't really watching anything.

 

Namjoon and Yoongi were discussing the possibilities of a completely new album, Seokjin reading something on his phone and offering suggestions when he thought of something. Jimin was in the kitchen, making some sort of weird protein shake that was likely ridiculously healthy but smelt like absolute shit.

 

A moment of relative normality was broken when Taehyung and Hoseok came scrambling out from their shared room, both giggling like cheeky children. Hoseok launched himself over the side of the couch and tumbled into Yoongi while Taehyung threw himself onto the rug and made himself comfortable at Seokjin's feet. Yoongi attempted to ignore them, but he could feel them both looking at him.

 

"We have a suggestion." Hoseok piped up, and Yoongi responded without looking away from Namjoon.

 

"If it involves me I don't wanna know."

 

"It involves all of us." Taehyung revealed, leaning his head back so his neck was between Seokjin's knees. The elder moved his legs helpfully without prompting, allowing Taehyung to nestle between his legs and use his knees to support his own neck.

 

"Okay, Hyung." Taehyung said, but it wasn't really clear which one he was talking to. "Hoseok-hyung and I thought of something really smart."

 

"Really." Yoongi deadpanned. Seokjin looked over at him and clicked his tongue silently, making Yoongi roll his eyes. Seokjin was too indulgent of the younger ones, letting them run off without really analysing what crazy plan they conjured up.

 

The last time that happened he unknowingly gave Taehyung the go ahead to get smashed in the middle of the night and upload a bunch of random drunken pictures onto their public Twitter. (Yoongi thought it was fucking hilarious, but nobody had to know that). Yoongi guessed that was where Seokjin wasn't really the mom, more like the indulgent older brother he truly was. However, Yoongi was not so easily fooled, but he listened nonetheless.

 

"We think we should release our remixed tracks with a couple new ones as a mini album."

Taehyung blurted excitedly. The mixer in the kitchen cut off abruptly, and the pipes in their kitchen complained as Jungkook turned off the shower.

 

Yoongi blinked.

 

"That's..." Namjoon drew out, eyebrows furrowed.

 

"...Actually a really good idea." Yoongi sounded surprised even to himself.

 

"What's a good idea?" Jimin walked in then, sipping his post-workout drink, hair still wet from his shower.

 

"Using the remixed songs to fatten up our album, make up for lost time." Namjoon nodded. "Alright, somebody get Nochu. It's group discussion time."

 

 

 

Surprisingly, the idea was a great one. It pleased the fans, as well as making up for the time they lost trying to deal with what was happening to Yoongi.

 

Yoongi felt the assurance of a good plan settling into his stomach, healing the anxious tension in his shoulders and stomach that had been developing without his notice.

 

And he felt completely calm for the first time since November.

 

 

"This is the dance for fire."

 

Yoongi just stood with the others, in a mismatched line of baggy old clothes and floppy unstyled hair in various colours. They didn't say anything while they watched the clip the American team prepared. It was just a amateur video, fixed camera with 7 men demonstrating the moves from a long distance onto the flatscreen in their meeting room. Soon it was over, the screen fading to black.

 

"Well...shit." Yoongi sighed, exasperation evident. He fell into a chair at one of the tables, trying to remember everything the man having his part did.

 

He wasn't a good enough dancer for this.

 

"Seongdeuk-nim." Hoseok said immediately, turning to the choreographer. The middle aged man turned to the lead dancer, remote in hand from where he stood next to the flat screen.

 

"I know, okay. It's really intense."

 

"Intense? I would have gone with impossible." Seokjin piped up, looking disgruntled more than usual when faced with a new dance, arms crossed over his chest.

 

"Sorry, Jin-ssi." The choreographer said. "I know you don't like the technical dances-"

 

"Not me." Seokjin interrupted, a little rudely. He gestured with a sharp flick of his hand.  "Yoongi."

 

At this, all the men in the room turned to face him. He looked up at them, suddenly feeling very self conscious. It was a strange feeling, because the men in here had seen him at his worst and yet somehow now he felt even less confident.

 

He pulled at the sleeves of his sweater, unconsciously pulling it over his hands to hide the seemingly permanent thinness of his wrists. He wanted to adjust his beanie tighter over his head, hide the bald spots, but he knew he couldn't. He couldn't be weak, couldn't even afford the illusion of it.

 

But he couldn't make himself speak; so he just shrugged, non-committal, and looked at his hands.

 

"He said he was prepared to do what was usually expected, so we didn't say anything to the team in the US."

 

"This is not what is usually expected, Seongdeuk-nim. This looks like the hardest dance we've ever done!" Jimin interrupted, having moved to hover silently near Yoongi. His hand was on the back of Yoongi's chair, like he wanted to offer some sort of comfort but didn't know how.

 

"We will have to organise something different, something less difficult. Yoongi can't do too much movement or the valve will dislodge."

 

Yoongi visibly flinched at the mention, and he curled into himself a little to hide the slight lump over his heart that could always be seen through his sweater.

 

"We can organise so Yoongi isn't doing much of the dancing, or something like what we did years ago where Taehyung carries-."

 

"Nobody's fucking carrying me." Yoongi said, drawing back into himself. He shoved away the insecurity, squaring his shoulders. He wasn't going to become a liability to them, he refused. He knew he could handle it on his own, he didn't have another choice.

 

"Yoongi, we need-."

 

"I know, okay. But if I don't do the hard shit now I won't be able to do it again." Yoongi rolled his shoulders. "We have already decided to only promote for a week, I'll just have to work a little harder."

 

It went silent a little, a protest still obviously on the tip of Seokjin's tongue.

 

"His body, his rules." Jungkook piped up just as Seokjin opened his mouth. The eldest whipped around to give the youngest a withering look, but the boy just shrugged.

 

"The moment there is any pain, Hyung-" Jimin said.

 

"I know, I know. I'll stop."

 

They all nodded, but they all knew as well as the other that Yoongi never stopped. His own pain was never an excuse worthy enough, hence his appendicitis almost bursting because he refused to abandon their concert overseas.

 

They would just have to watch him a little closer.

 

 

 

It was hard.

 

There was heat thrumming along his skin, clouding him with it. He couldn't focus very well, his body complaining more than usual due to the chemo. The others watched him carefully through their reflections, and it felt like Hoseok's eyes never left him.

 

Every time he dropped into the squat during his part, the valve over his heart stuck against his sweaty skin, only prying loose when he threw himself into the next move. He was sure he was getting a mark from the amount of times it had thumped against his chest.

 

He'd never felt any physical pain like this. It was different from everything else he experienced in his life. It was nothing like the feeling of crushing a bone or having a cold. It was deeper, like it was inside his very core. It consumed his entire body, his blood, his bones, his muscles. Everything

 

And there was nowhere to pinpoint the pain. He couldn't identify where it hurt the most. And that terrified him.

 

It was a strange feeling, knowing that there was cancer cells circulating his body; dangerous and fierce. It was a strange feeling knowing is own body was trying to kill him.

 

Which brought him to the question: what had he done to deserve this?

 

 

 

2am found Hoseok standing in a doorway, watching Yoongi. A normal, occurrence, yes. But today it wasn't the door to Yoongi's workroom, it was the dance studio.

 

Yoongi was alone, covered in sweat as the speakers thrumed with the base of their song. He was dressed in a t-shirt that reached his mid-thigh and his dance leggings, the one he refused to admit he owned, obviously assuming nobody would see him.

 

But Hoseok saw him, and his tiny fucking legs. They were feminine-like before, but now they were almost non-existent. Men weren't made to store much fat on their thighs, but Yoongi had none. Hoseok just stood, dumb until Yoongi turned to him, clicking off the music with a savage twist of his wrist. He just stood there, chest moving up and down as he gave Hoseok a disgruntled look.

 

"You don't need to work so hard, Hyung."

 

Yoongi growled, non verbal, but with the same kick his sharp tongue usually dished out. Hoseok was not deterred.

 

"We get it okay, you don't have to try and keep up."

 

Yoongi already knew what he was going to say, however. He saw the way the younger looked at him while they practised, full of concern and regret. He hated it it, hated seeing him look at him with so much worry. He didn't want to be a liability, but he was becoming one anyway. He thought maybe at 2 in the fucking morning he could dance without seeing that look, but instead the cause of it just rocked up. Hoseok would insist Yoongi tap out during dance practises, to actually fucking listen to his body when it screamed at him to stop.

 

But Yoongi's was all to used to his own head screaming at him, he's a veteran at starving off the temptations. And he had to do this, he couldn't let them down. Not now.

 

"That's the fucking definition of teamwork, Hoseok. We have to work as a team, and I have to keep up to stay apart of this team."

 

Hoseok let out a sad noise, sounding like a kicked puppy to Yoongi's ears. Yoongi didn't want to hear it, he didn't want to let Hoseok convince him otherwise. He knew what he had to do to stay part of his team, to hold his own weight, and he was going to do his absolute best to do what he needed to do.

 

"No, Hyung. We would never kick you out, that's just too horrible to fathom. Please don't say that."

 

Yoongi didn't reply, turning to face the mirror instead of Hoseok. The younger's tucked in lips were still visible in the reflection, a visual representation of his emotions. Yoongi felt a sharp kick in the pit of his stomach, and he looked away from Hoseok's reflection .

 

"Just...let yourself get better Hyung. The chem....medication is hurting you as much as its helping you. Just, relax Hyung. Sleep, eat." He said, and for the first time, he wished their management had a more active role in their body management and schedule. They usually let them do what they wanted these days, just told them the choreography needed to be ready by a certain date.

 

"Just let us look after you, Hyung." He whispered after several moments of silence. At this though, Yoongi spoke up, turning to face him.

 

"Hobi, there's something you have to understand."

 

"Yes?" Hoseok said with a timid tone, because he wasn't sure he wanted to know. Yoongi's lip curled in distaste as his eyes remained sad.

 

"I'd rather die than live like that."

 

Hoseok looked up at Yoongi hesitantly. There was something about the way Yoongi was looking back at him that made him want to feel guilty, the cat shape of his eyes looking sharper and sadder than ever. So he just nodded, once, twice, before Yoongi turned back to the mirror and Hoseok slipped outside the studio, the door clicking shut softly behind him.

 

He slid down the wall to the floor by the door. He fumbled around his pockets, pulling his phone out and sticking in his earphones. He let the phone sit on his lap, pulling his knees up to his chin as he stared down the long hallway, only his side profile touched by the light that came from the fogged glass workroom door.

 

And he listened to the same song on repeat for the next two hours, as the familiar feeling of being alone crawled its way into his mind like a ghost of the past.

 

 

Yoongi said he wouldn't be carried.

 

But Jimin wasn't having that.

 

He was more surprised than angry than when he dropped his water bottle after taking a deep swig, there was Jungkook. One, because it wasn't Hoseok. Two, it was Jungkook. Jungkook never touched him without his permission, even when they had to do shitty fan-service. Seemed the kid had grown some balls he felt needed to kicked, and as Yoongi looked behind and up at the kid with a raised brow, he felt more than happy to comply.

 

After he kicked Jimin's first. Because he fuckin knew he was behind it because Hoseok was in the corner instead, avoiding his gaze. Jimin was incredibly caring, but he never usually initiated any full fledged plans. His routine was careful hovering, or comforting touches to calm nerves and generally appease any situation.

 

Hoseok was the one with all the plans.

 

But here was Jungkook, Jimin's apparent doormat of a maknae, appearing behind him with no warning. Yoongi didn't even have time to yell at him for being a fucking cat that needed a bell before the kid bent down, grabbed his knees and lifted him up. Bridal style.

 

Now, Yoongi had been carried before. He was the lightest member, even before he was ill. Slight and small, he was. He wasn't going to deny it, didn't particularly care (But fuck you if you underestimated him because of it). So he was always the easiest to complete missions with, get it over with. All of them had carried him, now that he thought about it. But, now they were on their own, dressed in casual clothes and there were no cameras. No lights, no makeup, no aegyo.

 

So why the fucking fuck was Jungkook carrying him?

 

He said as much, to which Jungkook didn't respond. His face was firm, like it was when he was working really hard to complete a choreography, professional and serious. Instead, it was Jimin who called out from across the room.

 

"You two need to get over it." He said, voice uncharacteristically firm. Yoongi tried to glare at him, but the kids shoulder was in the way.

 

"Two who?" Yoongi hissed, but then he was answered by Hoseok's squawk. He swivelled his head to watch Seokjin pick Hoseok up, trapping his arms to his waist as he began to walk out of the room, biceps firm around Hoseok's waist and arms.

 

Jungkook started to follow Seokjin, and Yoongi decided he wasn't going to fall into their schemes. Time to pull the good cop, that one usually worked on Jungkook. The kid always became really easy to convince if you buttered him up a bit.

 

"Come on, Golden Maknae. Let of me." He whispered to the boy, but the kid didn't even look at him. He wiggled a bit, poking Jungkook in the face. Jungkook's jaw muscles clenched.

 

"You don't have to let Jimin get away with this. You won't be my favourite if you do this."

 

"I'm not your favourite anyway." Jungkook chose to reply, stepping out of the room to follow Seokjin down the hall. "And I agree with Jimin-hyung. You guys need to sort it out, there's too much tension between you two." The kid even called Jimin 'Hyung', and Yoongi knew he was dead set on this.

 

 Alright, bad cop.

 

"Fucking let go, I'm not a child you can just pick up to get your way." Yoongi shoved at Jungkook's arms and tried to kick him despite the limited space of the hall.

 

"Fine." Jungkook said, and let his arms slip.

 

Yoongi panicked, frown disappearing quickly as his eyes widened as he felt himself start to fall. He grabbed the front of Jungkook's sweaty white shirt that was now grossly see-through and sticky to his skin. Jungkook apparently found his reaction satisfactory, grabbing Yoongi again before he could fall with an obnoxious smirk on his lips.

 

Yoongi just growled before leaning over to bite Jungkook on the top of his shoulder, teeth digging in harsher than any playful one they might have exchanged before.

 

"Woah, what the fuck?" Jungkook said, his voice going high pitched and squeaking on the curse.

 

"Language" Seokjin called from where he was pulling Hoseok into a room that Yoongi knew to be their storeroom. Fuck his life.

 

"Hyung just fucking bit me." Jungkook whined in protest. Yoongi grinned, watching a dark mark develop where his teeth dug in hardest.

 

"You bite us too. The fans even have a video of you biting Namjoon on the shoulder." Seokjin reminded as Yoongi was carried into the storeroom.

 

"Well this one fucking hurt." Jungkook grunted, before dropping Yoongi onto something in the dark room. He couldn't see anything, just outlines afforded from the lights down the hall. "Why did I have to be the one to carry Yoongi-Hyung?"

 

"Because I didn't want to." Seokjin answered simply, and Yoongi tried to stand up to get out of this mess before a hand shoved him back down.

 

"Now, you two need to have the conversation you've been avoiding for a week."

 

"Yes, mom." Yoongi growled, crossing his arms even though they couldn't see them. He heard a door shut, the smallest bit of light they had fade, and an ominous click.

 

"Wait, don't fucking lock us in!" Yoongi called, standing up freely.

 

"We'll come back when you guys get over it." Jungkook called. "So bye bye!"

 

Yoongi heard their footsteps fade away, and he realised that they were being 100% serious. He hissed a few select curses at the Maknae, throwing himself back down into the seat as the valve on his chest dug uncomfortably into his skin. He didn't move from his slouched position, however, still fuming too much to move.

 

"Careful, Hyung." Hoseok's voice finally broke out, not having talked during the entire fiasco.

 

"Why?"

 

"That's my knee." Hoseok answered, and Yoongi finally noticed a sharp warm thing digging into the outside of his thigh.

 

"What the fuck?" Yoongi said. "Can you move it?"

 

"I think they have us on chairs facing each other." Hoseok answered instead. "And I can't move my left leg, it's pressed between you and something else. I think the boxes are all piled around us, like a fortress."

 

Yoongi threw his arms around around himself, hearing the slightly hollow sound of his knuckles on cardboard. He sighed explosively, looking up at the roof like he was asking for godly assistance.

 

"Trust Jimin to come up with something as obnoxious as this."

 

"He has good reason." Hoseok said, voice quiet from across from him. "We haven't talked in a week."

 

"So, it's none of his business." Yoongi said, frustrated and still hot despite the coolness of the room. The heat was still boiling under his skin, and everyone knew he could hold grudges like nobody else. They were making it so difficult for Yoongi to pull his own weight, and it was getting on his nerves.

 

"It is if it effects them."

 

"I can't even breathe without it effecting them somehow, so they can just get over it."

 

"Can you just fucking stop deflecting everything?!" Hoseok suddenly growled, so grating and angry, so uncharacteristic, that Yoongi's breath caught in his throat and he froze where he sat.

 

"You pretend like you're all alone, fighting a storm like a lone wolf. You've always fucking been like this, and it was okay. I thought, hey, he's been through a lot and he knows what he's doing. But, no. You've gotten fucking cancer and you've just added that massive load to the top of your teetering pile of issues that sit so fucking precariously upon your shoulders. Now it's crushing you and you don't even see it." Hoseok spat, and Yoongi flinched at the anger in his tone.

 

"We are all here for you, we have been from the beginning. You have people holding our hands out for you to take, but you continue to unknowingly leave us cold with rejection." Hoseok growled, deep and rumbling in his chest in a way Yoongi never thought he was capable.

 

"You are so selfish, Yoongi."

 

Hoseok leaned forward, hands slamming Yoongi's shoulders into his chair as his legs clamped shut due to the movement. Yoongi found himself pinned to the back of his chair, his legs trapped between Hoseok's.

 

Yoongi's reaction was slow, sluggish. He was reeling, the violence so unexpected. None of them had treated him like this, fuck, they'd been so gentle since Yoongi was diagnosed. Even Jungkook letting him slip only a moment earlier was fake. Jungkook would never have dropped him, too concerned about the fragility of his bones and the poison in his blood.

 

They were all so careful with him. Even Namjoon, the master of clumsiness had been so careful with him. Been consistently hooking up his IV everyday, despite the sass he gave him. Even when he argued with him or dragged him from his workroom, he was so careful. He just lifted him up, didn't hit him back when Yoongi pulled his hair and punched him. He barely even fucking yelled at him when Yoongi was screaming insults at him, just stood there and let Yoongi tear him down.

 

Fuck, he was such a prick.

 

He'd been acting like he was centre of the fucking universe, uncaring of the others in his life. He

just said and did things without thinking about them. Like when he said all those terrible things in front of Jimin, talking about his weight like Jimin didn't understand. The boy knew what it was like to be unhappy with his own body, constantly self-conscious and seeking others opinions to somehow validate himself. Jimin knew fucking better than anyone else in his life, and yet he said those horrible things to his face and treated him like naive child.

 

And when he talked to Hoseok, so insensitive when Hoseok was so frightened of losing Yoongi. Shut down his offer to help him, his constant worrying like he was unworthy of caring about Yoongi.

 

In his attempts to do everything on his own, he'd hurt them too.

 

"Fucking hell." Yoongi whispered, throaty and aching as his head fell forward and his throat suddenly felt too tight.

 

Hoseok let him go, fingers slipping from his shoulders as he felt Yoongi slump over. He instead shuffled forward, manoeuvring himself almost to sit on Yoongi's knees in order to reach over and hug him. Yoongi pressed his head to Hoseok's chest, arms holding onto his shoulders as Hoseok's had his arms wrapped around his ribs, hands rubbing his back.

 

"I'm so sorry, Hobi." Yoongi whispered, willing back the tears. "I'm sorry I hurt you."

 

"It's okay Hyung, you are allowed to a be a little bit of an asshole, considering."

 

"I'm usually a little bit of an asshole. But recently I've been a huge asshole."

 

"True." Hoseok nodded, a small smile in his voice. Yoongi swatted his shoulder in retaliation. Hoseok grabbed Yoongi's hand, giving it a gentle slap.

 

"You also have to stop hitting us. I get it, picking you up to move you around like a kid is a bit much, but try not to hit us so much." Hoseok said, tapping his shoulder. Yoongi huffed, but relented before perking up.

 

"What about Jungkook?" He said, "I needed to kick him in the balls still."

 

"Nah, he's fair game." Hoseok said, a grin in his voice.

 

"Go at it."

 

 

When they were let out of the room, Yoongi did two things.

 

One, hugged Seokjin tightly, uncaring that he had to go up on his toes a little.

 

Two, kicked Jungkook between the legs. Then, when the kid kneeled over, he patted his sweaty head and hugged him too.

 

This continued, walking confidently down the hall without looking back to burst into the dance studio. He repeated the cycle with the rest of the surprised members, expect for the kicking part. Although, he eyed Jimin carefully to let him know he was close to getting the same treatment, lifting up two fingers to point at his eyes, before pointing at the kid himself. At this childish action, Hoseok snorted from across the mostly silent room, and Yoongi turned to him; eyes glittering and a small smirk on his face.  

 

The tension seemed to release in the room, like popping a ballon, it just suddenly disappeared. Namjoon rolled his eyes, and Taehyung just snorted obscenely, shoving his long legs beneath himself to lumber to his feet.

 

Without any words exchanged, they got into the starting position for Fire, falling back into normality seamlessly.

 

However, soon the dancing withered from strict practise into sloppy poses with the maknae line's focus moving from practise to trying to make the others laugh. Just before the beat drop on their seventh run through, Yoongi watched through the mirror as a look came over Taehyung's face, one he knew occurred when Taehyung just went 'fuck it'.

 

He was right, because just as Jimin lifted his arms and extended his leg with the rest of them to the dance break, Taehyung leaped from behind him to jump on his back; long limbs wrapping around and clinging to Jimin like an octopus.

 

Soon they gave up on staying focused, and ended up all laying on the concrete floor, in a mess of limp limbs and sweaty hair.

 

And for the first time since the news, Yoongi smiled genuinely because of the mere fact that he was his friends, just them and nobody else to watch him and to judge him. It was nice as they just laid around and threw insults at each other carelessly without responsibilities crowding their minds.

 

He knew he didn't have to do this on his own.

 

Yoongi felt Jimin throw his muscular legs over his own scrawny ones, “I think we can all agree that Namjoon-hyung dances like he’s got a stick shoved up his ass.”

 

Namjoon’s jaw dropped, “Hey, shut your mouth before I actually shove one up yours.”

 

Jimin just giggled hysterically. Namjoon might be tall and imposing but he was also a soggy noodle when it came to violence, and they all knew it.

 

Jungkook held his hand up as if to quiet the bickering. “We all did good today,” he said reassuringly, like he was trying to be a mom or some shit. But then the little shit grinned, showing his true colours.

 

“But I obviously did the best.”

 

Everyone burst out into laughter and Yoongi leant over to slap him on the chest playfully, “Fucker, you’re so full of yourself. Don't make me kick you in the balls again.”

 

Everyone laughed when Jungkook rolled away from Yoongi's reach hurriedly.

 

It isn’t until half an hour later when they decided to get up and leave the dance studio, heading separate ways for the night. As Yoongi knelt down to tie his shoe, his loose shirt shifted. He didn't notice the way Namjoon, Jimin, and Seokjin glanced at each other as they caught a glimpse of the bones of his spine trying to pierce through his skin.

 

 

 

"Here you go Yoongi. A nice, warm cup of coffee." Hoseok swept into Yoongi"s work studio at ass-crack-am, mug clutched in hand. Yoongi took it from his hands absentmindedly, felling it in his hands before turning from his computer and looking up at him with an eyebrow raised.

 

"It's cold."

 

"A nice cup of coffee." Hoseok smiled. Yoongi leaned forward, taking a small, tentative sip. His face immediately scrunched up.

 

"It's horrible."

 

"A cup of coffee." Hoseok grinned, a insolent curve on his lips that Yoongi narrowed his eyes at.

 

"I'm not even sure this is coffee." Yoongi frowned, looking at the liquid. It was faintly green. "Why are you giving me this health shit?"

 

"A cup." Hoseok grinned devilishly. "Of ginger and kale."

 

Yoongi dropped the cup onto the desk, the offending liquid swishing in it precariously as he tried to remove the liquid from his presence. He fucking hated kale and they all knew it. Even Seokjin had stopped trying to force it down his throat.

 

"You're an asshole." Yoongi deadpanned instead, swivelling around in his chair towards his computer as Hoseok pranced off, calling from the distance.

 

"Love you too!"

 

 

Seokjin's maternal instinct or whatever the fuck you called it, suddenly geared up.

 

He carried snacks around like a mother would, cooked for them all and payed attention that everyone ate enough. He always said Yoongi was his problem child, always forgetting how important food was in favour of work or sleep. Yoongi had a system, work consistently at the very top, sleep occasionally second, sometimes showering third, but that often left food as last on that list.

 

"I'm not scared of Seokjin-Hyung." Yoongi declared one day, as Taehyung sat on the floor of his workroom, munching on a snack Seokjin had thrown at him before he left for the day. Yoongi had a similar one discarded on his desk, which he had no intention to eat.

 

His stomach was more capable these days, but Yoongi had never been a keen eater like Taehyung.

 

"Really? I think of it as a healthy fear." Taehyung commented around his snack that looked vaguely like muesli.

 

"He's not my mom." Yoongi sniffed, dicking around on paint on his computer because his head wasn't participating today, and Taehyung was never a quiet companion. He was always fidgeting in some way, tapping his phone or chewing something. Yoongi wasn't capable of much more than a couple lines of colour at the moment. But he wasn't stressing, that was okay. The other rappers could help him later.

 

"He is your mom, Hyung. He's everyone's mom." Taehyung deadpanned, like Yoongi should have got this by know.

 

"Well, I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a vagina, so how the fu-."

 

"Just because he didn't give birth to you doesn't mean he can't take care of you." Taehyung interrupted. Yoongi side-eyed him, and the boy just shrugged with one shoulder, munching obnoxiously on his snack.

 

"I can take care of myself." Yoongi huffed, annoyed at it being suggested constantly that he was incapable of looking after his own body and health. He let the others dote over him now, but Seokjin's hell bent determination to make Yoongi gain weight was a little much. And in order to keep up that belief, he graciously ignored the once over Taehyung gave his frame hidden under a thick black hoodie.

 

"Yeah, tell that to the scales in our bathroom."

 

Yoongi grinned.

 

"Well jokes on you 'cause Namjoon's fat ass broke that an entire year ago."

 

"And yet it would still be able to tell you don't weigh as much as you should."

 

"Touché." Yoongi nodded, before tilting his head. "But then again, when have I ever?"

 

Taehyung just gave him a long look, one of the ones that he did sometimes that honestly creeped Yoongi out a little. His head was slightly tilted, lips in a relaxed line but his eyes seemed to darken just a little. Yoongi had dubbed it 'Taehyung's Thinking Face', because that was the only way he could explain it. It wasn't accusatory, although it could be. It's wasn't watchful, although it definitely was.

 

Yoongi was a rapper, and he was good with words as a byproduct. But, Taehyung was an enigma he could never find the words to explain. Yoongi also thought he was a observant person, but Taehyung sometimes reminded him that Yoongi didn't really understand him at all. Yoongi wasn't sure what happened in that kids head, but he imagined it was much more critical and precise than he let on. Everyone else in this industry took one look at his boxy grin and carefree personality and immediately brushed him off as just another one of those dime-a-dozen, mass produced idol kids. They always underestimated him, but Yoongi never did.

 

"Eat something." Taehyung finally said after almost as minute of staring, standing up and brushing the crumbs off his legs onto Yoongi's carpet. Yoongi clicked his tongue.

 

"Don't try your luck, kid."

 

"Sure thing, Grandpa." Taehyung smirked, eyes once again bright as he strutted out the door.

 

"I'm not your grandpa!" He yelled, and Taehyung's deep chuckle echoed down the hall. Yoongi furrowed his brows, almost standing up to follow. Instead, he pressed his hand against the tense muscles in his back from sitting so long and not getting any progress. He stopped, hand freezing on his back as he blinked wearily at the screen with a single squiggled black line. He saw his reflection in the screen, of a knitted beanie and furrowed brows as he hunched over.

 

Fuck.

 

He was totally their grandpa.

 

Everything was fine, everything was okay. The dance for Fire was coming along nicely (don't ask him about Save Me, they were avoiding it), even with breaks in between every time they went through the choreo in order to keep Yoongi's heart at a manageable rate. Yoongi was grateful for the breaks, and felt comfortable knowing they were making progress without overdoing it.

 

But then Yoongi tripped over in practise.

 

It was during the part where he and Tae came to the front whilst the others fell back, Yoongi slipping between Namjoon and Jungkook. He had to keep himself in time with Jungkook, if he was too late Jungkook would jump back, legs too wide and closing the space in which Yoongi could be: and Yoongi would fall.

 

And as sweat ran down his forehead, Yoongi did.

 

He tripped over Jungkook's leg, unbalancing and collapsing onto the concrete. Now, they always had falls. Even on stage sometimes they messed up. Hell, Jimin and Taehyung had already managed to crash into each other just the same day. But not on concrete ground, and not with cancer ridden Yoongi.

 

Because Yoongi didn't even catch his own fall. He was too damn tired, too sick; and he just hit the floor with a heavy thump.

 

Jungkook immediately went to his knees beside him, placing a hand on his shoulder and pulling his face and chest away from the floor. Yoongi rolled back limply, eyes rolling back into his head. It confused Namjoon, it was just a simple fall. But then he remembered.

 

The valve.

 

"Oh fuck fuck fuck." Was all Namjoon could manage, stumbling over to Yoongi, heart clogging up his throat. If it broke, if it let air into Yoongi's blood: Yoongi was dead. They all knew it.

 

Jungkook immediately shoved his hand up the elders shirt, feeling around frantically before grabbing the tube of the valve, squeezing it tightly between his fingers and closing the valve manually.

 

Seokjin was there, actually able to look now that Jungkook had thought on his feet and minimised the largest danger until they could figure out what had happened. Seokjin lifted Yoongi's shirt so it wasn't caught around Jungkook's arm, instead pulling it up to his neck to expose the valve. He leaned in close, carefully, as Jimin came around to shove his sweatshirt under Yoongi's head, moving out of the way immediately after.

 

Seokjin pressed around, gently prying at Jungkook's fingers to see if he was covering any damage.

 

"I don't know what the fuck I'm doing," Seokjin admitted, before sighing and leaning back. "But, it's not broken. He's gonna have a hell of a lot of bruising, but it's not broken."

 

"Oh thank god." Hoseok said from behind them, falling to his knees weakly from where he had frozen the moment Yoongi hit the ground. Jungkook took some coaxing from Taehyung to get off Yoongi and gently let go of the valve.

 

Jungkook's eyes were glazed over, so Taehyung took it upon himself to ease Jungkook's white knuckled grip from the valve. He had to physically pull away each finger, easing him away from Yoongi.

 

He let himself be moved, but his eyes stayed glazed and his mouth firmly closed. 

 

"What's wrong with him?" Namjoon whispered as Yoongi's eyes remained closed.

 

"He's hurt, and his brain took a vacation." Seokjin sighed, before elaborating. "In other words, he likely fainted from the pain. He will have a concussion when he comes to, so don't let him sleep." He ordered.

 

"I'm getting the management." And with that he left the room, door closing behind him.

 

 

Yoongi woke up ten minutes later, immediately looked over by their manager, since he had a first aid certificate. The manager just sent them all home for the night, reminding them not to let Yoongi fall sleep.

 

Upon getting inside his room the first thing Yoongi did was stagger over to his bed and throw himself on it, face shoved into his pillow. He didn’t even bother taking off his shoes and rather just laid still as if he was dead. After a moment Seokjin sighed, going over to remove them for him and place them back at the front door where he was supposed to take them off. When he walked back into the room, Yoongi spoke.

 

"I can sleep now, right?" He asked, muffled by the pillow over his face.

 

"I have to keep you up for roughly another hour."

 

"Noooo." Yoongi groaned into his pillow, but it sounded like a whine.

 

"Come on, you need a shower."

 

"I can shower on my own." Yoongi objected when Seokjin tried to lift him up. Seokjin stood back from the younger, folding his arms over his chest as he looked down at him pointedly.

 

"Alright. Stand up for me."

 

Yoongi wobbly got to his feet, immediately gripping at the headboard of his bed. His head fucking ached, and his legs weren't cooperating.

 

"Let go." Seokjin ordered, and Yoongi attempted to glare at him through his thin hair.

 

"Fuck you, Hyung."

 

Seokjin smiled, wrapping his arms around Yoongi and shuffling him out of their room and towards the bathroom.

 

"Let's go get you clean." Seokjin sang, all too bubbly after practise. Hoseok was splayed over the couch when they passed the living room, obviously procrastinating to postpone his turn in the shower. He watched them go and his mouth spread into a delighted smile. Yoongi narrowed his eyes at him as the younger's chest rumbled with silent laughter. Yoongi turned to Seokjin, mouth a pouty line.

 

"You're not washing my hair."

 

Seokjin washed his hair.

 

 

"Are you listening to me?”

 

Taehyung snapped out of his thoughts as Yoongi’s voice shook him out of his daze. He glanced belatedly to the side at the almost bald head of Yoongi's, who was raising an non-existent eyebrow at him in equal amounts annoyance and disbelief. It was the distinctive trademark expression that Yoongi wore when he was considering murder.

 

“Yes,” Taehyung responded curtly because no, that was the last thing he was doing. He was trying to become Namjoon as he pondered the universe instead...or something. He already forgot. Sort of.

 

“Then what was I talking about?” Yoongi tested, looking about ready to check out of life altogether. Trademark look number two, one that Taehyung refused to admit worried him. It was funny when it was healthy, but now it was almost masochistic.

 

“Kumamon,” Taehyung barked confidently, but Yoongi just blinked at him blankly. “Ahhh...Tupac! Cyphers? Hong Kong.”

 

“No, no, no,” Yoongi checked off on his hand, raising a pale finger for each of his attempts. “And definitely no. What the hell, ‘hong kong’? Really?”

 

Taehyung just took in a deep breath to showcase his 10 outta 10 rendition of Yoongi's famous line. Yoongi, with a speed no sick man should posses, slammed his hand over Taehyung's mouth like a cobra striking its prey. Taehyung immediately went on the offensive, licking Yoongi's hand.

 

Yoongi groaned, yanking his hand away from Taehyung's mouth to wipe it on the younger's shirt. When Yoongi looked up at him with teeth bared, Taehyung just gave him a toothy, innocent smile. Yoongi could never berate him, not when he was cute as shit.

 

“Worth a try,” Taehyung shrugged.

 

"Consider it tried and banished from your mind to never be utilised again," Yoongi deadpanned before his back straightened like he remembered something.

 

"You still haven't given an answer to why you decided to blatantly ignore my spiel on Hoseok’s ugly new scarf.”

 

“Sorry, I was just… thinking about something.”

 

“About what?” Yoongi asked, suddenly intrigued.

 

"No...just." Taehyung stopped. He shouldn't, the hyungs would kill him. They all had a discussion and made a educated decision, but he couldn't not think about it. It was a big deal, but he knew he couldn't tell Yoongi, because he'd just make him do it.

 

"You know I love you, right?"

 

Yoongi's usually harsh and stubborn cat-like eyes softened slightly. His red splotched hand reached out to clasp Taehyung's tanned one.

 

"I know."

 

Taehyung smiled cheekily as the deep air suddenly lifted. He tensed, ready to run.

 

"Okay, good." Taehyung said, "because I broke the toaster."

 

"KIM TAEHYUNG!" Taehyung ducked out of the room, leaving Yoongi on the couch shaking his fist like an old man.

 

But the sound of the soft laughter that echoed after Taehyung escaped made everything feel alight.

 

 

Yoongi was rifling through their recycling bin, looking for the instructions to cooking his porridge that he knew was still in there. Yesterday he'd thought he'd remember how to doit, but past Yoongi had inflated expectations for future Yoongi's memory capability. In the middle of his rifling, a glossy piece of card fell out and landed on his foot. It was strange, because everything else in there was old food cartons but this was a expensive material. He bent over picking it up to investigate lazily. 

 

'Dear Kim Taehyung-ssi,

 

Our production company is planning a drama set in the times of King Jinheung, and we would like to offer you a position as a supporting actor in the character Seok Hansung. The filming would-'

 

Yoongi stopped reading, looking at the date the letter was sent. Over two weeks ago.

 

Taehyung was offered a position as an actor in an upcoming drama. His own personal dream, something that could set him up for a bright future.

 

So why was it in the recycling?

 

Taehyung walked into the house, chucking his keys onto their hook labelled "TaeTae". He remembered when Seokjin insisted they each have a hook, so everyone would know who was out of the house at what time. Currently, all the hooks were empty except for TaeTae and Min Genius.

 

He should have noticed the foreshadowing.

 

Taehyung kicked off his shoes in the entry, not bothering to put them in his pigeon hole in the wall with his other favourite shoes, rather leaving them on the floor: laces loose and nowhere near the cleanliness Hoseok demanded. He walked further into the house, not looking where he was going and instead looking at the comments on his newest Twitter upload. He reminded himself yet again to focus on studying English more.

 

Yoongi was sitting at the kitchen counter, the light over the counter casting a light over the documents in his hands.

 

"Why didn't you tell me?"

 

Taehyung stopped in his tracks, eyes darting from the documents in his hands to his closed off expression. Taehyung swallowed, putting down his bag quietly and drifting over. The documents were clearly his invitation, and Taehyung cursed himself for his carelessness. He should have put it in the bin outside.

 

Yoongi stared at him, unblinkingly. Taehyung decided to play dumb, if only to protect his hyung from the truth.

 

"I don't know...I-"

 

"You've always wanted to be an actor." Yoongi cut through the bullshit immediately.

 

Taehyung took a deep breath. Yoongi wasn't nothing if not observant. He wouldn't be sated with any lies, he wanted the truth. The truth Taehyung didn't want to admit.

 

"I know, Hyungie." Taehyung whispered, sitting down on the stool next to him. "But you are sick, so very sick. I wanna spend time with you."

 

"No. Do it, Taehyung." Yoongi immediately said, just like Taehyung knew he would. Yoongi would never let him give this up purely for him. But Taehyung had already made his choice.

 

"I can't possibly-"

 

"Yes, you can. You can, Taehyung. You are so talented and capable."

 

Taehyung closed his eyes, trying to fend off the words that warmed his chest. He couldn't let Yoongi convince him. He couldn't let Yoongi change his mind.

 

"I'm proud of you, Tae."

 

Ah, shit. That really did it. And knowing, hearing the true sincerity of his words made Taehyung's defences crumble. Yoongi wanted this for him just as much as he secretly wanted it for himself. He'd thought it would be for the best if he gave this up, but Yoongi was never going to let him give up anything.

 

"I-If you're sure?" He stuttered, not sure of himself.

 

"I'm sure Taehyung." Yoongi smiled, gentle and oh so warm. Taehyung missed him, his stout guidance and gentle hand. "Look at you, all grown up getting offers for acting positions."

 

Yoongi pretended to wipe away a dramatic tear, and Taehyung finally let himself feel the excitement he felt when he read the first words on that letter. He squealed and jumped out of his seat, leaning forward to hug his hyung tightly.

 

"I love you so much, did you know that?" Taehyung whispered, rubbing his hyungs back. He felt Yoongi's chest rumble slightly.

 

"Buy me another toaster then." Yoongi snarked, making Taehyung bark out a loud laugh.

 

"Okay, but it's gonna be pink." He smirked. "Seokjin-hyung is gonna be thrilled."

 

Yoongi groaned.

 

March

 

Seokjin was happy.

 

Yoongi was gaining weight back, his body doing its best to adjust to the chemo. He could eat now, almost the size portions he had before. However, he never ate much to begin with; but Seokjin just took what he could get.

 

He even made a seaweed soup for Yoongi's birthday, and he ate all of it. Seokjin was washing the dishes, staring at the plate that had been Yoongi's. He'd been doing this since Yoongi was diagnosed, always monitoring. Always checking.

 

And for the first time he didn't look at the plate and feel disappointed.

 

It didn't take much to make him happy, he realised. He'd taken so many things for granted when Yoongi was healthy. All he wanted was Yoongi to be healthy. That was it.

 

And for the first time in a long time, it seemed his wish wasn't so impossible.

 

 

Yoongi had to go to a beauty salon. He wasn't unfamiliar with beauty salons, after getting his hair dyed so many times, but this was for something different.

 

They were putting fake eyelashes on his eyes, and they were fucking tattooing on his eyebrows.

 

The woman put weird tape under his eyes, saying something as she did it that Yoongi didn't even hear. But he wished he did, because then we would have gotten some warning for when she suddenly had tweezers holding a tiny piece of hair in front of his eyeball.

 

Yoongi gripped the plastic bed he laid on, trying to ignore the feeling of somebody pressing something right next to his eyeball repeatedly.

 

"What the hell. I'm so uncomfortable." Yoongi hissed at Hoseok who had come with him today. Yoongi thought it was only because Seokjin thought he was going to try to run away. He was probably right.

 

"Beauty is pain." Hoseok said sagely, smiling like an asshole. Yoongi resisted the urge to slap him, only because he couldn't reach the younger from where he was laying.

 

Hoseok went back to his magazine and Yoongi mentally cursed him.

 

He was currently suffering through the boredom of a '10-15 numbing time' for his eyebrows, as the woman packed away the spare lashes. He just stared at the boring white ceiling through his new lashes as the woman did something to his forehead. There was ruler on his forehead and a white marker and Yoongi didn't know what the fuck was happening. He just wished they'd put something interesting on the ceiling, considering how often they probably had people sitting here, even a picture of a pig would do. Just something, because Hoseok was not helping alleviate his boredom at all.

 

"Okay, we are going to have to decide on shape and colour." The women suddenly broke the silence, making Yoongi flinch slightly.

 

"...What?" Yoongi asked eloquently.

 

"Shape and colour."

 

"Um, dark?"

 

The woman looked at him blankly, like he hadn't answered her question. Yoongi resisted the childish urge to roll his eyes.

 

"He's having grey hair, so a muted brown or dark grey would be lovely, thank you." Hoseok jumped in, a smiles and politeness.

 

The woman took to showing Hoseok different colours, using the back of Yoongi's hand to display the colours. Yoongi just laid there, hand hanging in the air as Hoseok did everything; pointing and discussing. Hoseok picked the colour and shape for him, knowing he gave negative shits into the height of the arch of his bloody eyebrow.

 

Soon the woman got to work, a little ring on her finger that looked like a tiny petri dish filled with grey-brown gunk. She dipped the little sharp thing into it before digging it into the skin of his head.

 

"How you doing?" Hoseok piped up cheerfully a few minutes later.

 

"It feels like somebody is raking their nails down a really bad sunburn. And then doing it again."

 

"Nice."

 

Yoongi flicked him off with both hands when the woman turned, making Hoseok giggle like a kid. Yoongi felt the cringe so strongly he couldn't help but roll his eyes, even when the woman gave them both a confused glance.

 

 

 

"Looking hot, Hyung."

 

"Fuck off, maknae."

 

 

 

Yoongi turned 23. It was a small, minuscule affair. Everybody ate a big meal at their table for dinner and all the staff kept congratulating him. Taehyung indeed bought him a toaster, a pale pink retro one. Yoongi opened the gift wrapped in 80% paper and 20% tape, sighed, and handed it to Seokjin. Everyone laughed at him, but Seokjin was over the moon.

 

But then, once again, life started to blur. They were consumed by preparations for their concert, even doing shoots on Yoongi's birthday late into the night. He was gaining some weight back, but as though consolation for such a feat, he lost the last of his hair. He was as bold as a fucking egg, all pale skin and odd shaped.

 

It hated it.

 

But he was used to looking ways that he hated, ways in which he could no longer recognise himself the mirror. He was used to being uncomfortable in his own skin, in his own head.

 

He would just have to deal. He'd already had his meltdown about his appearance with Jimin, and now he just needed to shove a beanie or a wig on his head and move on.

 

Turned out there was more to it than that.

 

Namjoon had told him to stay back at his workroom once they finished practise, and that was all the information he was given. Yoongi did what he was told, however, meeting Namjoon in his workroom. Yoongi looked around as he waited for Namjoon, admiring the monochrome look Namjoon adored. Yoongi's was more a creative colourful mess, figurines and cables everywhere where as his was kind of calm and serene.

 

Yoongi's attention was shifted by Namjoon walking into the room, tripping a little on the edge of the black and white carpet. Yoongi reminded himself to fix that. Namjoon drifted past him, grabbing his laptop from the desk and sitting down on the couch: all without looking at him.

 

"What's wrong?" Yoongi immediately questioned, watching this all take place from his perch on Namjoon's desk chair. Namjoon was acting weird, hands jittery as he set his laptop on his knees and opened it up. Namjoon was trying to hide something.

 

"I had a talk with Jimin." Namjoon spoke softly, knees together and back straight as he typed on his laptop. "He told me how you felt about the ah...the hair."

 

"Don't worry about it, Joon. I'm over it." Yoongi immediately answered. Namjoon looked up at him finally at this, eyes not at all surprised.

 

"I know, I can tell. But you need to understand how things are going to work now. Like, research."

 

"Okay..." Yoongi said. "And why do I need you?"

 

Namjoon just smiled a little despite the fact that Yoongi's statement was a little blunt.

 

"English, Hyung." He patted the seat next to him. "All the helpful videos are in English."

 

"Oh." Yoongi said, not really expecting that. He'd never really put much thought into it, he thought he'd just shove a beanie on and that would be it. He drifted over, sitting down next to Namjoon. Namjoon shifted the laptop to sit on both their knees, inadvertently forcing Yoongi to stay seated.

 

Namjoon pressed the video on the screen, a older woman sitting at a desk with a manikin head in front of her. She unfroze and started talking, gibberish to Yoongi's ears.

 

"She finished chemo a few months ago, and she wants to show what helped her." Namjoon translated quietly, as both young men were illuminated only by the screen, artificial light darkening the shadows of their noses and brow bone. Namjoon listened for a little more as Yoongi watched the woman hold up a medicinal looking object.

 

"Do you have any pain in your scalp?" Namjoon asked as the woman remained frozen. "Like, fire or just physical pain?"

 

"It's just aches a little." Yoongi answered honestly. Namjoon nodded, unfreezing the woman.

 

"She's recommends peppermint oil, to rub it on your head everyday."

 

And so they continued, Yoongi's confidence in his answers growing. He noticed himself revealing issues he never really paid much attention to.

 

It was nice to full unload and have somebody that could give him answers. These days it felt like he was floating in an abyss and everyone around him was just as helpless as he was.

 

 

They were in Jeju for a photoshoot, soon to fly to Abu Dhubai for Kcon later in the month.

 

Even when ill, they still had a job to do.

 

He was thankful for the professionalism of the stylists and makeup artists during their photoshoot. He still felt ridiculous, but it wasn't an unfamiliar feeling. He was dressed in something you could probably find in a toddlers store, a little dark beret on his head and a flower sown on the collar of his shirt, little dark ribbons dangling down from it.

 

At least none of them asked questions or gave him strange looks when they fixed a grey wig over his bold head or had to use more blush to make him look fairly alive. He didn't question it, expecting some sort of thing like this.

 

Yoongi saw the other boys, and felt a little more comforted, they all looked tastefully ridiculous.

 

"That's a good way to put it." Jimin replied, and Yoongi realised he'd said it out loud.

 

"'Tastefully ridiculous'", Jimin nodded, standing next to him with his hands in his pockets watching Seokjin's shoot. "I like it."

 

"Glad you approve." Yoongi snorted, and Jimin grinned with his teeth.

 

 

Yoongi idly realised as he chewed his dinner, that he was one of the few to wear pants, only Namjoon and Seokjin wearing them also. He wondered if it was just a general style combination or they did it to make them covering up Yoongi's tiny legs less conspicuous. Yoongi was inclined to believe the latter, as the stylists and photographers all seemed to be on the same page.

 

They positioned Yoongi to his body was usually partly or mostly hidden, behind another members limb or hidden by props. They put the thinner members next to him also, as if to make him look like he was blending in.

 

It was a lot of work, work Yoongi wished they didn't have to do for him. He hated people doing unnecessary work for him.

 

"It's not unnecessary." Jungkook said from next to him, who had quietly been munching on his food from the food truck. Yoongi looked at him out the comer of his eye, away from his barely touched food.

 

"You know how the netizens pick at anything they find. We might even get dedicated fans cursing the company because they assume they are dieting you to starvation. We can't afford attention, Hyung."

 

Jungkook shrugged, shoving his last mouthful of rice into his mouth, scraping the plastic plate a little obscenely.

 

"Besides, they all knew what they signed up for. To secrecy, of course. And hey, and we are probably tame compared to what they might have to deal with," the boy shrugged, "I'm imagining them having to cover up scandalous hickeys on actors and dealing with spoilt daughters of businessmen."

 

With that, he got up and left, his little slippers trotting over the grass. Yoongi sighed, turning back to his meal, but his heart felt a little lighter inside his chest.

 

Jungkook always had a unique way of comforting others.

 

 

They didn't have to wait long after their meal to start the night shoot. It was still March, early spring so the nights were just getting shorter. Perfect for them, they got to go home earlier.

 

They had to basically just chill out around a bonfire for the shoot, the couch decorated with fairy lights to soften the light coming off the fire.They weren't so concerned with his positioning now that night had fallen, the darkness already hiding the sickness in his body. Yoongi smiled and posed as told, not feeling very put out.

 

They were just pulling out the sparklers, each of them handed a sparkler by seven different people. The staff all lit the sparklers at the same time before darting out of the shot. Yoongi's sparkler lit up so bright, hurting his eyes momentarily. He recovered enough to get a few photos in, before the cameras stopped and they were left the play with the sparklers.

 

Yoongi took to watching the sparkler, eyes glued to it as the spark ran down the metal. He watched it as it ran, fast and bright even though the end was nearing. When it reached the end, it suddenly sparked, reaching out desperately for anything to let it continue to burn.  But then it just stopped, and the light faded between his fingers without a sound. Only a wisp of smoke was left in its wake, rising up in soft little waves: a fragment of what had been.

 

The managers came over to take the dead sparkler from his fingers a moment later, and Yoongi tried to ignore the strange sense of foreboding settling in his heart.

 

 

 

"Hyung." Jungkook called, looking away from where he was staring outside his airplane window. They were flying over the middle of the ocean in business class on their way to Dubai.

 

Everyone turned to look at Jungkook from their spots scattered along the plane. Yoongi was in the seat next to Jungkook's across the isle while Taehyng was in front and Namjoon behind. Even Taehyung propped himself up in his seat to stick his head over to back of it to address Jungkook. Yoongi pulled out his headphones.

 

Yoongi sighed. And Jungkook looked at each Hyung with a smirk on his face.

 

"We've talked about this, Jungkook. You have to be specific, you have six fucking hyungdeul."

 

"It's funny tho." Jungkook grinned, and everyone sighed. Taehyung rolled his eyes and disappeared back behind his seat.

 

"Say everyone's name with Hyung. It's not that hard." Yoongi pressed. This kept happening all the time because Jungkook was a spiteful little shit.

 

"It's too hard. And tell Jimin off too, he doesn't say your names with Hyung." Jungkook continued, despite Jimin squawking in protest from in front of Yoongi. Jimin's fearful eyes met Yoongi's as he swirled around, and Yoongi just sighed.

 

"Jimin only has 4 Hyungdeul." Yoongi reminded, "and he doesn't just call out 'Hyung' on a plane where nobody as any idea who you're talkin' too."

 

"Well he's short." Jungkook retorted stupidly and Taehyung burst out in giggles from where he was hidden behind his chair. Yoongi watched Jimin's arm come out to hit him, but his arms couldn't reach. This only made Taehyung laugh harder and Jungkook join in. Yoongi looked up at the ceiling and prayed for assistance in dealing with the maknae line.

 

"Just say it Yoongi-Hyung. Yoongi. Hyung." Yoongi interrupted, making sure to enforce his point so Jungkook didn't think he got away with it. Sure, the kid usually didn't need a point to be pressed. But, right now he was just doing it on purpose because he was bored. "It's only two extra characters. Easy."

 

Jungkook made a show of pondering this, before he broke out into a grin that he quickly hid. He turned to Yoongi, head tilted with wide eyes and a fake-ass pout on his lips to complete his innocent façade.

 

"What about Taehyung-hyung?"

 

"What the fuck never mind." Yoongi groaned, turning over in his seat until the 95z giggles were drowned out by the base in Epik High's Fly.

 

 

Dubai was absolutely stunning.

 

Yoongi was honestly taken aback by it. These days he'd become numb to things during schedules, until everything just blended together. But, Dubai was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.

 

And he knew he'd never see it again. None of them would.

 

So he took in every moment, participated in all the games and activities the others did. Rolled in sand, played in the pool, trawled Hoseok around shopping districts. He smiled more brightly than he had in a very long time. And he was happy, so indescribably happy. Not even the camera following him could dampen is mood. He laughed at Taehyung and Hoseok, joked around with the kids and slept better than he had since November.

 

He went back to Korea with an exotic perfume courtesy of Hoseok, a tan, and a smile on his face.

 

 

Yoongi understood why all those movies portrayed hospitals as a foreboding place.

 

It stood, grey and concrete in amongst the chaos of Seoul. It looked like just another part of a overcrowded city, people flowing through the doors and doctors running around like headless chickens. He didn't want to go in there, not with the endorphins from Dubai still running through his veins. He didn't want to go back to reality yet.

 

Namjoon was with him, as always. Yoongi felt guilty for dragging him here, especially since they'd only landed four hours ago. But Namjoon had insisted they needed to go to the doctors, since they'd missed their appointment due to their travels.

 

The specialist doctor greeted them, bringing him into a room as per usual. He examined him whilst Namjoon stood in the corner. He frowned and gnawed on his lip as he prodded at Yoongi's gums and looked at results of his blood test. He decided the chemo dosage was getting upped, which meant more pain and more days laying in bed. Yoongi didn't speak the entire time, just shrugging from his position on the plastic covered bed. It wasn't like he had any fucking control over his body anyway, hadn't really for five years.

 

He'd been killing his body with diets and little sleep for five years, and he idly wondered if this was it getting back at him.

 

When he got home and the others pressured Namjoon to tell them the verdict, Namjoon unwillingly let it spill. And, no matter how much they tried to hide it, shrug it off and pretend it wasn't a big deal; Yoongi still knew. He saw it in the way their eyes dimmed just a little more when they were told.

 

Because this meant he wasn't getting better.

 

Chapter Text

 

After hitting the surface at 50 million km/h, the shock blows the star apart. The core turns into a neutron star, a compact atomic nucleus with the mass of the Sun but 10km in size.

 

"The day I was born, death began its walk." Yoongi's voice suddenly broke through the air. The bald man raised a hand like he was reciting Hamlet. Namjoon had just finished plugging the IV into his chest valve, and now they were just waiting for the bag of piss coloured poison to empty into his veins. He'd already vomited twice today, once all his food and the next nothing but acid that he could still feel burning his throat. It was one of his...okay days. He felt like shit, but not like his world was ending.

 

But then Yoongi huffed, dropping his hand to hang limply against the couch and looking over his shoulder at Namjoon with a sarcastic smirk on his lips.

 

"Except for me it's walking real fuckin' fast."

 

"I'm pretty sure that's not how the quote goes." Namjoon said as he dropped his book to his lap, reclining in his chair and nudging Yoongi with his toe. Yoongi pushed away his foot.

 

"Who cares, I made my own quote. Fuck the police." Namjoon laughed at his English, but Yoongi pretended it was at his hilarity and shitty rendition of the "west side" symbol.

 

"Comin' straight from da underground." Namjoon finished, his accented English as immaculate as ever. Yoongi chuckled, but didn't miss the opportunity to hit the younger with a pillow over the head.

 

Their conversation faded into an comfortable silence, Namjoon returning to his book while Yoongi stared at the wall. A few moments later, Yoongi broke the air that had previously only be filled with the sounds of breathing and page turning.

 

"You know...I think I might have liked to learn English." He said, quietly. Namjoon startled, accidentally ripping a small tear into the page he was holding. However, he didn't seem to pay it too much mind, instead watching Yoongi with sad, inquisitive eyes.

 

"You never showed much interest before." He said, swallowing. Yoongi shrugged.

 

"Yeah, I know. But, just being like," he gestured to himself and the IV, "this makes me think of all the things I might never be able to do."

 

The silence that fell between them was much different from before, instead of comfortable it was now tainted with a tinge of sadness and regret.

 

"You still can." Namjoon spoke, tone firm. The younger didn't like thinking about Yoongi leaving anymore than he himself, did. "I can teach you, if you want."

 

Yoongi held up a hand, shaking it passively.

 

"Nah, don't worry about it. I was just rambling, I honestly don't care that much." Yoongi shook his head, "anyway, it will take too much of your time."

 

"With all due respect, Hyung, shut the fuck up."

 

Yoongi felt a spark of offence rise in him, causing him to straighten. Namjoon, however, just reached forward to grab his wrist with his large hands, all olive toned skin and bitten fingernails.

 

"You want to do something just for yourself, so what? You're allowed to be selfish, Yoongz."

 

The nickname was what really did it, causing Yoongi's shoulders to slump slightly in requisition. Namjoon smiled, flopping Yoongi's limp hand back and forth like a child who got a new toy.

 

"Fine, if you insist."

 

 

"Where have you been?" Seokjin said as the two walked in the door, hours later than usual. Everyone was sitting on the floor, eating dinner. The two sat down to join them.

 

"Namjoon's teaching me English."

 

"Is that code for fucking?” Jungkook asked seriously, raising a brow as he took a massive bite of his bokchoi concoction. Fucking diets.

 

Yoongi gagged, and if: one, he wasn’t sitting on the other side of the table, out of reach, and two, he could somehow win in a physical fight against the human personification of a ribeye steak, he would’ve hit the kid

 

“It’s code for fuck you,” Yoongi grumbled, choosing instead to throw a leaf of bokchoi, hitting Jungkook right in the face. Because first of all, Yoongi wasn't gay, he was probably work-sexual at this point. Second of all, ew.

 

"There's our Yoongi-Hyung" Jungkook said, a genuine smile coming onto his lips at getting Yoongi out of his sad bubble he'd been in since he went to the doctors.

 

"You...You tricked me!" Yoongi pointed an accusatory finger at the youngest. "You asshole of a foetus!"

 

"'Asshole of a foetus'," Hoseok grinned, popping up from Yoongi's left with a piece of grated cucumber stuck to his cheek. Yoongi leaned away from him, trying to retain his personal space bubble. "That's a new one."

 

"Shut your mouth you offspring of Apollo."

 

Taehyung choked on the stick of carrot he just shoved in his mouth, Jimin hitting him on the back as they laughed loudly. Namjoon was smiling like an idiot in the corner.

 

"I'll take that as a complement, my small angry hyung." Yoongi scowled, shoving away his half finished plate as he went to stand up.

 

"Fuck all of you, I'm going to bed."

 

Seokjin intervened, reaching out from his position at the head of the table to grab Yoongi's upper arm (curse his unfairly long limbs), pulling Yoongi back down to sit on the floor.

 

"Nuh-uh. You're not going anywhere Mr Grumpy Pants. We are playing board games tonight and everyone's going to have a great fucking time."

 

Yoongi's prickles retreated as Seokjin released him, settling onto the floor as he grumbled under his breath. But only a moment later, he rounded on Hoseok. He prodded the taller on the chest forcefully, making the younger startle.

 

"I'm gonna fuckin' murder you in Monopoly, watch your disrespectful ass."

 

 

 

"How do you even lose in Monopoly?"

 

Yoongi, being a sore loser, had come into Namjoon's room where he laid on his bed reading with his dorky glasses on and one leg propped up over the other one. Yoongi shoved Namjoon's leg, to which Namjoon just let him, in order to climb over him to wedge himself between the taller and the wall to sulk.

 

Namjoon looked over him with a small smirk, which faltered when he saw the way Yoongi's shirt fell over his body. The thin black t-shirt stuck to him like a second skin as he laid on his side, falling into the gaps between his ribs and settling around the dip of his waist which now sharply ducked in, before abruptly meeting the protruding hipbone. There was none of the soft curve that he had before, none of the fat that cradled his hipbones and filled out his waist. He was so fucking small now. You could probably wrap a fucking bendy ruler around his waist and the ends would still touch.

 

Namjoon wasn't sure how he hadn't noticed.

 

But people always said when you watch change happen, you don't see it. Namjoon remembered his parents old friends coming over one night after going on a trip, telling them how much their dog had grown in the six months that they'd been away. He'd looked at the dog, and couldn't really tell the difference.

 

But how did he not notice such a vast change in his best friend?

 

"It's the capitalist system, Hyung. It's the very foundations of the system, it's designed so there will be the losers and the winners. It develops the class system, the winners become rich and the losers become poor."

 

"I came in here to get away from those obnoxious kids, but it seems I’ve found another one." Yoongi growled, shifting as he attempted to curl up into a ball (Namjoon ignored the bones moving beneath the thin layers of his shirt and skin). Unfortunately, the space left by Namjoon wasn't much and he was forced to throw a leg over Namjoon to get comfy.

 

"I'm not obnoxious, just contemplative. You misjudge others too quickly." Namjoon said, patting the knee which laid against his ribs. Fuck, his legs were so boney too. He always had the smallest legs in their group, but now it was almost skin and bone. He could almost definitely wrap his hand around the flesh above his knee. God.

 

"I ain't here for a lecture on the universe, Joonie."

 

"Not the universe, Hyung. Just the capitalist system and how it-" Namjoon oomphed as Yoongi purposely dug his knee into the younger's chest.

 

"Shhh." Yoongi placed his hand over Namjoon's mouth, and unlike Taehyung he didn't lick it because he wasn't a gross piece of shit. "Sleepy time now."

 

"Your room is like two meters away."

 

"Don't care. I'm not movin'." Yoongi grumbled from where his head was shoved between the mattress and Namjoon, beanie still firmly on his head. "Too comfy."

 

"But Hyung, you are literally laying on-"

 

"No buts. You're in here for the long haul. I hope you've already peed 'cause you ain't now."

 

"Hyyyyung." Namjoon whined.

 

But Yoongi was already asleep. Namjoon sighed, pulling his reading glasses off his face. He chucked them to the side with his book, deciding to sleep also.

 

He let an arm fall to his side, gently resting on Yoongi's shoulder, curling protectively over his fragile exposed collar bone. Namjoon didn't fall asleep as easily as Yoongi, instead watching the rise and fall of the elder’s chest until his eyes drooped and sleep pulled him under its spell.

 

Jungkook would come in later that night, stare at the two elder men sleeping before turning around and shutting the door softly behind him.

 

Looked like he was spending another night in Yoongi's bed.

 

 

 

Namjoon called a meeting, one with just the members that Taehyung liked to call a family meeting.

 

"The PDs are planning to go ahead with the concert."

 

"What? When?" Seokjin asked, ever the fret.

 

"May 7th and 8th." Namjoon answered, hands curled in his lap. Seokjin's back straighten and his voice went low and firm.

 

"No. Absolutely not. Yoongi is in no form to be preparing for a concert that early." He crossed his arms over his chest, looking so professional despite being dressed in his Mario pyjamas.

 

"We already planned the comeback, Seokjin-Hyung. He was going to have to preform anyway." Namjoon said, trying to reason with the overprotective man. No wonder why fans called him their mom.

 

"I won't allow it. It's not happening."

 

"Hey, you two." Hoseok interrupted, rude enough to get them to both shut up and look at him incredulously, "Here's an idea. How about you actually ask Yoongi?"

 

Everyone turned to look at Yoongi, finally acknowledging him from where he sat cross legged with his chin resting in his palm. Seokjin was trying to be helpful, but he ended up just being rude. But, Yoongi didn't say anything. He just stared at him and Namjoon for a long drawn out silence before saying a single word.

 

"Where?"

 

Namjoon smiled, a bit too wide for the tense situation.

 

"Olympic Gymnastic Stadium." He said, and Yoongi's eyes suddenly opened wider than they had ever seen them. The boys around them suddenly jumped in surpise, Jimin kicking the table. This was a big deal for all of them, one of the dreams that they had as trainees that seemed all too far out of reach...but not anymore.

 

"You're gonna have to run that past me again, Namjoon." Yoongi whispered, hands clenched on the table and body tensed.

 

"We are preforming at the Olympic Stadium, Yoongz."

 

Yoongi breathed in a shaky breath, gripping the edge of the table and looking down at his pale hands and paler knuckles. The others stayed silent.

 

"You guys better not be pulling my leg just because I have cancer, I'm fucking serious."

 

"And so am I." Namjoon said softly, truthfully, and Yoongi's head shot up.

 

"What the fuck, Joonie." He whispered, dark eyes bright with so much emotion it was overwhelming. "What the fuck."

 

Hoseok was positively vibrating, and Tae and Jimin were fucking holding hands. Seokjin didn't seem too happy with the idea of having a concert still, but this was the concert. He could fucking deal.

 

"And guess what else." Namjoon said, after a few moments of all of them fanboy-ing like elementary school boys.

 

"What fuckin' else Joon. What else could make this any better?" Yoongi asked, looking more alive than he had been since he was diagnosed.

 

"All our parents are coming."

 

...And that was the first time that Bangtan heard Yoongi squeal.

 

It seemed like an involuntary sound, ripping out of his throat as he scrambled over the table, kicking placemats and slipping on his own socks, and launched himself at Namjoon. Namjoon fumbled as he suddenly had two arms full of excited Yoongi. Yoongi's movement seemed to set them all off, jumping and screaming. Jungkook was lifting Taehyung, almost throttling him in the air and Hoseok was screaming unintelligible happiness in Seokjin's face. Jimin just laid on the floor, too much stimuli for his sensitive emotions to deal with.

 

Namjoon laughed as Yoongi clambered over him, wrapping arms and legs around him like a koala as he buried his face into Namjoon's neck. Yoongi let out another sound, like a hiccup, and Namjoon realised Yoongi was crying.

 

Namjoon rubbed Yoongi's back, letting Yoongi hide his tears. Yoongi wasn't always very comfortable showing weakness in front of others, feeling like he always had something to prove. Namjoon was the only one he voluntarily let see his tears.

 

"You good?" He said, whispering into Yoongi's ear. Yoongi's grip tightened around his ribs, nodding excessively.

 

"Thanks so much, Joonie." Yoongi spoke into his neck. Namjoon smirked, patting his back.

 

"It's not my decision, but I'll take the praise anyway."

 

"Self-righteous bastard." Yoongi whispered, and Namjoon laughed.

 

"But you love me." He said, making Yoongi sit up and mock-gag, wiping his eyes. He was not to be dissuaded, though, speaking up so the rest could hear him.

 

"Y'all love me, don't you?"

 

"Saranghae, Hyung!" Taehyung said, doing the most obnoxious heart over his head and bending his knees in a way he evidently thought was cute.

 

"Fuck me." Yoongi groaned, rolling off Namjoon, trying to get away from of the vomit inducing cheesiness.

 

Hoseok joined in, pretending to shoot Yoongi with love hearts. Jimin rolled over onto his back and kicked his feet in the air, bending his flexible muscles to make a heart with his legs. Even Seokjin blew him a kiss.

 

"What the fuck, I don't love any of you." Yoongi tried to be firm, but he was standing up and backing away.

 

"Naw, Hyungie. We will just have infect you with so much love you have no choice." Taehyung called, and immediately bells of alarm started going off in Yoongi's head. The warning was too late though, because he was grabbed from behind.

 

"Hi." Jungkook said with his arms around Yoongi's ribs and pulling him back towards the others. Despite the abruptness of the movement, he was still so careful. Yoongi didn't like being treated like glass, but it proved how much they cared for him and he couldn't yell at Jungkook for that.

 

"Fuck you, maknae." He said, to keep up the gag. Jungkook just smiled like the asshole he was.

 

"Puppy pile!" Jimin shrieked. And many arms emerged to pull him down, and Yoongi let them pull him into the mess. But, he wasn't going down without using the sharp tongue he was known for.

 

"Namjoon, you're on the bottom because you're the fattest." He smiled, because he deserved it for starting this mess. Namjoon spit-took, before looking like a falling tree as Seokjin took the chance to shove him over.

 

As soon as Namjoon was down, the others jumped. Yoongi didn't bother to move, Jimin would organise him where he wanted him to be. Jimin loved things like this, the closeness and familiarity.

 

Yoongi was settled almost in the middle, a little elevated by Jungkook's softer legs and Namjoon's torso. He'd been given prime position for the first time, and he decided that if their fidgeting wasn't so irritating, he might have been able to sleep like this.

 

"Do you love us?" Taehyung said somewhere at his right. They were all so warm and intertwined, and he could register everything from the cotton of Jimin's sweatpants against his skin to Jungkook's new favourite perfume hanging in the air.

 

It was home. Yoongi smiled at the ceiling, feeling and hearing them all breathe.

 

"Do you even need to ask?"

 

 

 

Taehyung was lying sprawled out on the mattress furthest from him, impersonating a starfish as he laid spread out with his mouth wide open. Jimin was balled up under Taehyung's closest splayed arm, face buried in his own arms so only his mess of hair could be seen. Jungkook was awake where he was curled up next to Seokjin on Jimin's other side, but Yoongi could tell he was drifting. His eyelids were flickering, hinting movement beneath, as little snuffling sounds escaped his wide open mouth. Hoseok's legs were the only part Yoongi could see of him, coming out from behind Jungkook's body and splayed over Seokjin. They moved up and down every time Seokjin breathed. Yoongi looked down to see was he recognised to be Namjoon's left foot, right next to his leg. He looked over the edge, blinking sleepily to see Namjoon's face smushed on the ground.

 

Namjoon's body seemed to have fallen off the mattress save his left foot.

 

Yoongi started chuckling, little sleepy snorts as he watched Namjoon snooze on quite comfortably. Jungkook shot up at the sound, startled, kneeing Jimin in the face. Jimin growled at this, rolling away and managing to push Taehyung over. Taehyung's eyes shot open and he squawked as disappeared off the side of the mattress in a comical flail of limbs and messy hair. He hit the floor with a heavy thump and a muffled curse. Jungkook started laughing, and Taehyung's middle finger made an appearance from behind the mattress. It was silent for a moment as all their laughter faded off, before Namjoon let out a horrendous snore. Everyone started laughing again, a mix of sleepy chortles and full bellied laughter, startling Namjoon enough to make his foot fall off the mattress, swinging down and managing to knee himself in the face. Jungkook leaned down to watch Namjoon's blundering confusion, laughing so hard that he started crying.

 

They were such a fucking mess.

 

...but somehow Yoongi still loved their dumbasses.

 

 

 

They had gone for karaoke, for a bit of relaxation to forget about their intense preparations.

 

...and they were a tinsey-tiny bit drunk.

 

Jungkook was blitzing everyone in karaoke, as per usual, and Jimin had just gotten his fair share; dramatic little trumpets announcing his defeat as he threw himself onto the couch. Taehyung patted his chest from where he sat next to Jimin's head.

 

"I want Jungkook to cremate me after I die." Jimin pouted, making everyone look at him. Taehyung snorted, giving Jimin the question he wanted.

 

"Why?"

 

"So he can roast me one more time."

 

"What the fuck Jimin." Namjoon spit-took his beer, making Jimin shrug and Taehyung laugh.

 

"Well, I want Taehyung to lower me into my grave when I die." Seokjin joined, to Jimin's delight, making Namjoon sigh and ask:

 

"Why?"

 

Seokjin got this uncharacteristic shit-eating grin spreading across his face, which kinda freaked them all out a little.

 

"So, he can let me down one last time."

 

Jungkook snorted loudly at that, making Jimin break out into sharp giggles. He was always a giggly drunk. Taehyung flicked liquid from his soda at Jungkook, because he couldn't do it to Seokjin and he was feeling petty.

 

"I wanna be buried in Daegu."

 

The atmosphere suddenly shifted, dulling like all the brightness and happiness had been sucked out of it. They all looked over at Yoongi, who was curled up on the couch: water at his lips and elbow resting on his crossed legs. The first time they would talk about a life after Yoongi, the first time they acknowledged that they could live in a world where he was not with them.

 

The first time they spoke about Yoongi's death.

 

"Ya know. Small, quiet. Just my close family."

 

"...Us?"

 

Yoongi gave him an affronted look that almost looked like hurt.

 

"You are my family, dickhead."

 

Hoseok's eyes started to water, making him duck his head to wipe away the excess liquid.

 

"You guys, my mom, my dad, my brother. Maybe Aunt Haneul, she was always pretty cool with me following the life I wanted." Yoongi shrugged.

 

"The morning too. You know? The sun rising and birds singing. A cool breeze. Yeah." Yoongi nodded absentmindedly, head in the clouds in a way that was incredibly rare. It was unlike Yoongi to be detached from his current reality.

 

"I wanna be buried in my leather jacket too, none of that suit bullshit."

 

It went quiet for a few minutes after that, nobody daring to speak. The karaoke background music played quietly in the backdrop, the bright 90's techno a stark contrast to the solemn aura in the room.

 

"Yeah?" Namjoon asked. "Is that...is that what you really want?"

 

His voice was small, breathless and Yoongi looked over at him with a wry smile.

 

"Don't look so sad, Joonie." He grinned. He looked at all of their dark expressions with a wistful one of his own.

 

"I ain't dead, so don't plan my funeral just yet."

 

 

They eventually split up for the night, feeling a little claustrophobic after everything that had happened. Seokjin, Hoseok and Yoongi were going home while Namjoon and Jungkook disappeared into the night like smoke. Taehyung, with the much better alcohol tolerance, was taking Jimin to their usual spot so he could sober up with some fresh air.

 

It was a small park, only about a few square meters of dirt and pebbles with a single swing set. It was on a slight hill, a kilometre or two from their apartment, allowing a breeze to sweep through constantly. It was their little escape.

 

Taehyung was walking beside Jimin along the street, arm around his waist to keep him from tripping over. Jimin was incredibly clumsy, for a dancer, and it was increased tenfold when he was drunk.

 

Jimin was strangely silent, but Taehyung didn't mind the quiet. It was nice to just be away for all the others, with nothing but Jimin by his side and the chilly night air brushing through his hair. It didn't take long for them to reach their little spot, walking off the dead street with a single light post, behind a building to be welcomed by the run-down park. The city had probably forgotten about it. Taehyung had never seen anyone else here and the whole place was almost overridden by weeds.

 

But he loved it here.

 

He settled Jimin in his swing, taking his own by the others side. He didn't swing, not really. He just swayed back and forth as he stared up at the clouds and smog in the sky.

 

"Still with me, Minnie?"

 

"Mmh." Jimin moaned, face pressed against his swing's cold chain. Taehyung just nodded to himself. He was probably in the stage of the night where the alcohol stopped feeling so nice and started fighting back.

 

Taehyung started swinging, enjoying the feeling of the wind rushing through his hair and falling into his eyes when he swung forward. He had to lift his feet a little uncomfortably due to his long legs, but he didn't mind.

 

"Taetae?

 

Taehyung stopped swinging his legs, just drifting back and fourth as he kept his eyes on Jimin's slumped form. The wind was more gentle on his hair, letting it flow around his eyes as he drifted.

 

"I ask myself these questions sometimes. Like..."

 

Jimin turned to face Taehyung, eyes distant as he leant back against the chain.

 

"What am I doing here?" He pondered out loud, mouth twisted and eyes distant in a look of profound realisation. "Why am I a singer?"

 

Taehyung jammed his feet into the ground, stopping himself mid-swing and almost falling off as the inertia in his body pulled him forward. He'd usually just sigh and cast off Jimin's babbling and drunken dribble, but this time it struck deep. There was something about Jimin's posture that screamed insecurity.

 

"You are good at what you do, Jimin." Taehyung reminded gently, shuffling his swing closer to put his hand on Jimin's knee.

 

"Yeah, I knew you'd say that. You have to, you're my best friend." Jimin mumbled, curling into himself. Taehyung's hand clenched tighter on Jimin's knee as he started speaking earnestly, trying to make Jimin listen.

 

"You act like I'd ever lie to you. You know I never have lied to you, and I never will. So, I'm telling you the truth now, Jimin. You have a stunning voice and can dance brilliantly, and your stage presence is absolutely breathtaking. You were made for this profession."

 

Jimin tried to shrug his hand off, but Taehyung just moved closer, holding onto Jimin's chain to keep his swing close to Jimin's.

 

"Don't, I just... Don't put me on a pedestal, Tae."

 

"I'm not." Taehyung stated firmly, but gently. "You are incredibly strong and talented, don't tell yourself otherwise."

 

"Then why do I feel so weak...so afraid?"

 

Taehyung swallowed. The tremor in Jimin's voice resonated with the feelings in the darkest parts of his heart, the ones he kept under lock and key. They were dark, terrible feelings that would riddle him with depression if he dwelled on them too long. Recently, they'd just gotten heavier and heavier as Yoongi got sicker and sicker.

 

"We're all afraid, Jimin," he whispered, swallowing as he brought a hand to rub Jimin's back. He tried to put more confidence in his voice. "Our futures are unpredictable. We could lose everything at any given moment, but that's what makes us stronger. Because we know as long as we have each other, we'll be okay."

 

"We won't always, though, we say that now but I know we're not gonna make it. Something is going to break us."

 

Jimin wasn't stupid, not in the slightest. He was just the only one that vocalised the thoughts festering in them all. There was always the fear they wouldn't be strong enough. Now more than ever. 

 

But Taehyung was never one to let himself dwell, and he sure wasn't going to let Jimin either.

 

"That's half the problem, Jiminie. You have to believe we will. You have to believe from the bottom of your heart that we will stay together forever."

 

"I want to, Tae. I really do."

 

"Then all you can do is try." Taehyung encouraged, "all you can do is try, and even if everything goes to shit I'll still be here for you."

 

"You promise you'll never leave me?"

 

"Never ever, Jimbells. 95z for life." Taehyung laughed, ruffling Jimin's hair. Jimin didn't bother to fix his hair, looking over at Tae with messy hair and his eyes overwhelming with affection.

 

"I love you so fucking much, Tae."

 

Taehyung just smiled his biggest smile.

 

"I love you too, bro."

 

 

 

Hoseok curled up in the couch, eyes glued to another one of his melodramas. Darkness surrounded him, the other members heavy breathing the only other sounds. It was past midnight, and Yoongi was still in his studio, where he'd holed up since as they had split up for the night. The light of the television reflected in Hoseok's dark, glazed eyes and cut sharp shadows over the curves of his body and the wrinkles in his shirt.

 

The characters always seemed to come back in dramas. They never died, consistently defined fate and logic. They always survived, and everyone knew it. No fan ever believed their character was dead until it was proved. Because that was the world they lived in.

 

Nobody died and everyone got a happy ending.

 

And not for the first time, Hoseok wished he could live in their world.

 

 

 

Namjoon was currently in Seokjin and Yoongi's room. He was planning to steal Seokjin's phone to research some stuff, mainly about what Yoongi said yesterday.

 

His phone had run out of credit for the month, and they didn't have wifi at home, so what else was a man gonna do?

 

He was digging through Seokjin's bag he'd had today, trying to find the phone he knew was stuck in there. For something with a massive-ass lobster as a case, it was sort of hard to find. Just then, Namjoons finger brushed something that couldn't be mistaken as anything but the silicone of a phone case.

 

"What are you doing here?"

 

Namjoon stood immediately, willing the guilty look he knew he had off his his face. Seokjin's phone was clutched in his left hand, hidden behind his thigh. He started thinking fast, watching the suspicion grow on Seokjin's face.

 

"'Here’ as in your bedroom or ‘here’ as in the great spiritual question of our purpose here on this planet? If you’re asking whether it’s all just a cosmic coincidence or there’s a greater purpose to life, well, that’s a puzzler for the ages. I mean, simple ontological reductionism is clearly a fallacious argument, but-"

 

"I’m going to bed."

 

"Sure thing, Hyung. See you later."

 

Namjoon shut the door behind him, pulling out Seokjin's phone from his pocket; home free.

 

And they said Namjoon couldn't be cunning. Literally almost 100% of what he just said was utter bullshit, but who were they to question it?

 

Namjoon smiled as he strolled away, feeling all too pleased with himself.

 

 

 

Yoongi and Namjoon were working on songs, as per usual. But, unusually, Yoongi made a loud noise out of nowhere. Namjoon took off his noise cancelling headphones, turning to identify the muffled sound he heard.

 

He saw Yoongi's headphones laying discarded on the desk, Yoongi leaning back in his chair and staring at the ceiling.

 

"Just fuck me up."

 

Namjoon blinked.

 

"Um...what?"

 

"Tell me something I don't know. I need to stop thinking."

 

"The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell." Namjoon immediately answered, before he even realised. He'd been on the internet too much lately. He sent a silent apology to Seokjin's data usage, even though he returned the phone ages ago.

 

"Mito...chondria?" Yoongi stuttered, trying to say it how Namjoon pronounced it.

 

"I.." Namjoon couldn't help it, he broke out into giggles.

 

"What's so funny?"

 

"You obviously have never seen that meme."

 

"What the fuck is a 'meme'." Yoongi huffed, stumbling a little over the word pronunciation.

 

"Oh shit, Hyung." Namjoon gasped, looking almost offended and just a little bit heartbroken. "I knew you were sad, but not that sad."

 

"I'm not sad." Yoongi insisted, scrunching up his nose in distaste. Namjoon just side-eyed him.

 

"You are Hachiko times seven." Namjoon deadpanned.

 

"Like was like five years ago, oh my god Joonie." Yoongi pouted making Namjoon laugh. He lifted his had up to threaten to slap the kid, but Namjoon just laughed harder.

 

"The only movie to make the great Min Yoongi cry."

 

"I hate you."

 

Namjoon just burst out into full bellied laughter.

 

"I know."

 

 

Sometimes it wasn't enough. Sometimes Yoongi just had these really bad days, and nothing could make him feel better. Where it felt like everything in his body ached and the world around him was useless to stop it.

 

It was days like that that Yoongi's homesickness came screeching in. Days when he felt like only his mother's touch could heal him.

 

But that was where Taehyung came in.

 

They curled up on Yoongi's bed, heads on the same pillow and phones in hand with the blinds opened to let in the afternoon sun. Rays of sunshine graced the room, dancing off the fading red of Taehyung's hair; lightening it to a warm honey golden colour. He reminded Yoongi of the sunny skies in Daegu, the sun always there to welcome him when he woke; streaming through his curtains. It reminded him of home.

 

Taehyung was the closest thing he had to home.

 

Sometimes they'd just lay there, on their phones talking to each other in the language of their home, muttering satoori and slang that was too fast and low for anyone else to understand.

 

It made him feel a bit closer to the place he would never return to.

 

He could easily jump on a train and be down at Daegu station. But, we couldn't really find it within himself to just go. He had money, he had time. But he wasn't sure he wanted his parents seeing him like this, and that was the ultimatum. If he didn't get better, he wasn't going home.

 

It was sort of terrifying, knowing he'd might never see those buildings or walk that path. Knowing he'd never return home.  But it was okay. He was sticking with his choice, he always stuck to the promises he made. He so desperately wanted to breathe that air, but, he made his choice. If he went back on his own promises he would be no better than the man some people thought he was. He was better than that, he had to be.

 

He wanted to keep happy memories of that place. Of mountain ranges spreading out forever, of sunny skies and bustling markets.

 

He wanted to remember the smiling faces welcoming him rather than concerned ones. He wanted his old room to be filled with dust, his mom just smiling cheekily and telling him he needed to come home more often if he wanted it dust free. He didn't want a pristine environment, didn't want the smell of home to be covered by the one of disinfectant. He wanted to remember eating his moms cooking without feeling the desire to throw it all back up.

 

He didn't want to enter a place so coveted in his memories like this, didn't want the cancer to taint something so precious when it seemed to consume everything else that was good and pure. He didn't have of anything like that left, it felt like everything was being taken from him. He felt as though his life was slipping through his fingers.

 

But at least it couldn't pollute his memories. And he clutched to that, clutched to Taehyung.

 

All he had left was hope.

 

 

April

 

Sometimes felt perfectly fine, and sometimes he'd just fall into this slump that went for days. Every day he would wake up, and he'd immediately know what kind of day it was. It was some twisted guessing game they had no choice but to participate in.

 

It was yet another bad day.

 

He'd stay in bed these days, buried under pillows and blankets whilst the blinds remained closed. He'd pull a pillow around his head, immersing his head into the soft cushioning. He focused on that feeling, rather than the pain throbbing throughout his body.

 

And sometimes, when he knew all the members were out practising; he'd turn his head and just sob into his pillow. He'd cry, not for any particular reason, more so just as an outlet. He just needed a moment to feel sorry for himself, to actually release all the despair festering inside him. He usually felt better afterwards, when he'd cried himself dry and cleared his head.

 

And then he could move on.

 

 

 

Yoongi was getting sick of fuckin' hopping.

 

Jungkook, for some godforsaken reason, loved it. He'd never seen Jungkook so happy with a choreography. He'd always been competitive and ready to please, but he'd never been so eager to nail his moves.

 

But still Yoongi was glad for it to be over.

 

There was nothing quite like getting their choreographers nod of approval after they preformed 'Save Me' perfectly. It was like a pressure had been taken off his shoulders. There was nothing like the feeling of pure and utter relief, able to lay on the floor and know he didn't have to get up and do it again.

 

It was hard, dancing so many hours, but it was the type of hard he was used to. Anything familiar; even the pain of over stretching his muscles and being so exhausted he could sleep for three days, was a blessing.

 

His emotions were all over the place now. One minute he was fine, the next he was riddled with a deep depression. Some days were fantastic and he felt so so loved, the next he felt so isolated and scared. He couldn't predict how his days would go, if he was going to faint or if he was going to be just fine.

 

So anything normal and familiar was a blessing, even if it hurt.

 

 

They finally started doing the musical preparations for the concert, the only part of concert preparation that Yoongi truly loved. He loved just being able to sit in a chair with all his brothers by his side, eating snacks and adjusting tiny things.

 

It felt natural, complete. Like they were seeing the fruition of all their hard work. It also got him excited, hearing what their concert was going to sound like. He was so so glad they decided to go with the live band during 2015, and he'd never thought they could go back to their normal tracks just played on a sound system.

 

The live band gave a flair to their music he'd always been looking for in their concerts. Just something a little more, that deepened the range of sounds you heard and feelings that you felt when listening. He absolutely loved it.

 

The band they chose was fantastic also, listening to his suggestions and patient with the kids when they wanted to watch how instruments were played. They fit well into the dynamic of their own band, which made Yoongi feel secure and happy despite them being almost strangers.

 

He was awfully tired, though. So he just relaxed and preformed softly, listening to the sounds instead of speaking. With the pure notes from the band in front of them, and hearing his members voices right next to him, it was easy to concentrate on the sounds. Taehyung's soothing baritone, Jungkook's breathy tenor, Seokjin's strong alto, and Jimin's sharp soprano. The band members all worked well together, singing ad-libs to strengthen the sounds along with the live band throwing in small twists with the electric guitar and drums. 

 

And Yoongi knew this was how it was always meant to be.

 

 

They took breaks often, to review sequences and rest their voices. Jimin and Hoseok messed around as one of their staff followed them around with a camera. Namjoon was taking selcas while Jungkook and Seokjin ate all the shitty healthy snacks. Taehyung had left, going to pee or something. Yoongi just sat in his spinning stool, nibbling on a red bean stick Jungkook handed him. He rested his voice, sitting quietly as he ate. It was peaceful.

 

Until Taehyung burst into the room, his long coat flaring out behind him comically as he kicked open the door.

 

"Look what I found!" He yelled, startling the staff sitting on the couches along the wall. The members didn't even flinch, all too familiar with Taehyung’s spontaneity. Yoongi spun around in his chair to regard the younger properly.

 

He was holding an arm full of brightly garishly coloured snacks. Junk food. They had been dieting for ages so the sight of the carb filled food was almost an alien one.

 

"Taehyung, no." Seokjin groaned. Taehyung just grinned.

 

"Taehyung, yes."

 

Taehyung advanced into the room, dropping to the floor and spreading all his snacks out on the floor. "I found a vending machine." He said as explanation. "I got everyone's favourites."

 

Jimin groaned, backing away from Taehyung like he was diseased.

 

"Don't you dare, Taehyung." He cried, spying his favourite cracker package on the floor. "You know I'm weak as hell for those."

 

"I know, but you only live once, right?" Taehyung smiled, lobbing the package across the room at Jimin. Jimin dodged it with all his prowess as a dancer, but it still landed right next to him, the bright red on the front so very inviting at his feet.

 

"Jimin-ssi!" Jimin's stylist called. "Don't do it."

 

"Do it do it do it doit." Taehyung vehemently encouraged, jumping on his toes and slapping his hands on the floor. Jimin squatted down in a little ball, bringing himself closer to look at the package. He poked it, making Taehyung grin and shout encouragement.

 

Yoongi found a smile had come to his face. Taehyung was strange, sure, but he also knew Jimin. Jimin had lost an alarming amount of muscle mass and weight, looking thinner than he had in years. His muscular thighs had halved in size, and his arms were stick thin. He wanted to lose more weight before their comeback, complaining he wasn't losing it in the right places, and it was obvious Tae was concerned.

 

Tae cared for others in the strangest ways, but he also knew Jimin, and how to wear him down until he gave in.

 

Jimin opened the snack and shoved a cracker in his mouth quickly, making Taehyung roar and cheer. Jimin's stylist face palmed, but said nothing. Jimin had asked her to keep him on track, but she'd probably realised he needed some carbohydrates too.

 

Jimin ended up eating two of the packages, earning the smiles of the other members and a large grin on Taehyung's face that lasted the rest of the day.

 

 

 

Yoongi had these moments of shocking melancholy.

 

He could be doing anything, watching tv, on his computer, laying in his bed, sitting on a chair in the middle of a briefing.

 

Right now, he was laying on his side, arms shoved between his jean clad legs so his wrists settled comfortably between his inner thighs. He found this was an extremely comfortable position when laying on a couch, since his arms fitted nicely between his thighs and stopped the danger of them falling off the couch and causing him to wake up. The members used to tease him for laying this way, but he didn't care.

 

It was comfortable, and it allowed him to think.

 

He didn't know why he was sad, he couldn't explain it. He guessed it was a symptom of having a terminal illness, because knowing he could die was a horrible debilitating feeling. It made him open to all these new feelings a human shouldn't feel, made him realise things he never should have had to.

 

So, it often left him in his state of melancholy. The feeling of pensive sadness surrounded him, making him curl up into himself and stare at nothing.

 

He felt a tap at his shoulder then, and it would have startled him if he had enough energy to care. He looked up as far as his eye socket allowed without moving his head, eyes trailing up thick legs covered by worn sweatpants to large eyes. Jungkook.

 

"How you doin' hyung?" He asked so incredibly softly, tilting his head horizontally to look his hyung in the eyes. Yoongi stared up at him for a moment longer, before his gaze slipped away and he stared blankly forward again. Jungkook made a little soft sound in his throat, understanding and devastated at the same time.

 

Jungkook moved around, lifting Yoongi's legs gently to let them settle on his lap. Yoongi didn't react, still stuck in his head as he let Jungkook manoeuvre him around. Jungkook started prodding at his feet and his legs, before his prods turned into deep tissue rubs. He was trying to release the tension in Yoongi, give him some stimulation to keep him tethered to reality.

 

They stayed like that for a while, before Yoongi felt better enough to move his heavy limbs without it making him scream or cry. He made a sound in his throat, commanding, as he lifted a hand to beckon Jungkook closer.

 

Jungkook obeyed, understanding that Yoongi wanted affection. He gently shifted Yoongi away from the back of the couch, so he could lay down between Yoongi and the couch without crushing him. He laid behind and curled around Yoongi, tucking his hyungs head under his chin and surrounding him in warmth.

 

He felt Yoongi's chest relax as he let out a shaky exhale, his limbs loosen and tension disperse.

 

Jungkook smiled and closed his eyes.

 

 

Jungkook found it was a nice feeling to wake up to Min Yoongi. It wasn't something he had ever done before, obviously. He had woken up before to find Jimin or Taehyung, or even sometimes Hoseok curled up into him, but it was never Yoongi. Yoongi loved his personal space when he slept, despite usually curling up into the tiniest ball. He liked having space around him, just in case he ever wanted to spread out.

 

So waking up with his tiny hyung curled up at his side was a new experience.

 

He watched Yoongi sleep for a little while, noticing how his brow smoothed out when he slept. His lips were relaxed, slightly parted while his eyes were gently closed. His bald head, all splotchy with the cancerous blood bruising underneath, couldn't take away from the gentle tranquility of the moment.

 

Jungkook basked in the sweet simplicity.

 

 

The pictures were uploaded on the 22nd

 

Yoongi had to admit the pictures looked good. The makeup Noona's knew what they were doing, hiding the thinnest of his cheeks and normalising the red blemishes of his skin with foundation, blush, freckles and some fantastic contouring. He had a hat on, a little beret that hid the evidence of a wig. All his photos were in the sun also, letting the sun cover up how unnaturally pale he'd gotten.

 

It was a fantastic disguise.

 

 

 

It was no secret Jimin liked to be watched.

 

On stage, he was almost a different person, emitting waves of sensuality. He schooled his expressions into piercing eyes and sly smirks. Moved his body and pulled at his clothes in ways he knew all eyes would be glued to him. He liked having an effect on people, wether it was making fans scream or have them go completely silent as they watched him perform.

 

And it also wasn't a secret Jimin liked to be cared for.

 

"Gi." Jimin's voice called out in the darkness. Yoongi laid in bed, hidden under layers of blankets and clothes.

 

Yoongi smiled a little, shifting to the side of his bed. He lifted the corner of the blanket with a shaking arm.

 

"Gi."

 

Jimin immediately slid in beside his Hyung, wrapping his arms around his tiny waist and nuzzling his head against the elder’s chest. Jimin didn't know why the fans liked Yoongi thinner, he was so much warmer and softer when he had a little cushioning. Well, this time he couldn't really blame the fans for Yoongi's weight loss.

 

Once again, cancer was always the fucking problem.

 

"Missing Busan?" Yoongi whispered, resting a hand on the top of his head, sweeping his newly dyed fringe off his forehead.

 

"I'm missing you." Jimin revealed, more honestly than he planned. Yoongi tensed a little at the revelation, before unfreezing to card his hand through Jimin's recently dyed hair. It was black for the first time in a long time, something Jimin was undecided about. When the fans saw him Yoongi was sure Jimin would only then approve of it. The poor boy always sought others opinions of him, and functioned through that gratification. At times, it became dangerous to his mental health.

 

"I'm right here." He whispered back, a strange tension on the air making him feel the need to whisper.

 

"...But you won't be, will you?"

 

Yoongi hand stopped moving, and Jimin nuzzled his head more firmly to avoid meeting Yoongi's gaze.

 

"I promise, Minnie. I'll never leave you."  Jimin smiled and wrapped his arms tightly around Yoongi, nuzzling into Yoongi's chest. But they both knew better than to believe that.

 

Because it was never going to be his choice.

 

 

May

 

It was the Seventh of May. And it was fucking crazy. Yoongi had never seen something so ill prepared for.

 

There were fans camping out, already arrived before even they had at five in the morning, and they still had to do sound check and get dressed. Yoongi realised they must be desperate to get a glimpse of them since they hadn't done any public appearances in almost two months. But the moment their black vans pulled into the parking lot in order to drive into the carpark under the stadium, designed for buses full of athletes...it went ballistic. Fans running from where they had been sitting like a stampede, boys and girls screaming and running at their vans. Yoongi, Namjoon and Seokjin were in the second van, therefore the closest and the first to watch fans slam up against their darkly tinted windows, eyes searching because they couldn't see through the glass.

 

It caught Yoongi off guard, because he wasn't wearing his wig. He was dressed in jeans and his long sleeved t-shirt, only a cap over his bald head. Too exposed, and they were far too close. He flinched back from the glass despite the fact that they couldn't see him. They were supposed to go straight into the undercover carpark where they could get out and wander in the complex in their own time.

 

But the vans weren't moving.

 

"What's happening?" Namjoon yelled as fans started pressing up against the glass as more of them pulled in, screaming their love from the top of their lungs.

 

"We, we can't move!" Their manager called from the front, earpiece in his ear. "The first vans been swamped, if they move the fans will get run over."

 

It should be a simple solution. Just get the fans to back off, let them through to get on with preparations. But Yoongi knew some of these fans were saesangs. He'd seen some of the tents set up like research stations, unlike others that were just filled with games to keep the fans occupied while they waited.

 

They were just too desperate, to eager to see them. The vans wouldn't be moving. Everyone knew it.

 

"The bodyguards are going to come out." The manager tells them. "And they'll have to clear the way so you guys can run for it."

 

"'Run for it.'" Seokjin repeated incredulously. "To where??"

 

"The side entry, just over there," the manager pointed to two heavy swing doors, shut and ignored  in all the chaos.

 

"What about Yoongi?" Seokjin asked. "He's-."

 

"I know, okay, we just have to move fast to not give them the chance to get any clear shots." The manager turned to their leader. "We haven't got anything with us, so you guys are going to have to use yourselves to hide him."

 

He stopped for a moment, listening to his earpiece. Yoongi fidgeted, digging his fingernails into the palms of his hands. He hated this.

 

"Namjoon, you're the tallest. Stay behind Yoongi closely, make it natural, but hide the back of his head. Taehyung and Jimin are gonna be distractions, doing the whole fan service thing. It won't get everyone's attention, but it will keep them off you three for a few seconds."

"The rest of you are going to form a circle, and the body guards are going to surround you on the outside."

 

They didn't get much more instructions, Yoongi crawling the vans sliding door to prepare to move. He felt Namjoon come up close behind him, felt the younger's knees on the sides of his hips and hands steadying himself on Yoongi's waist, preparing to hover over Yoongi the moment the door opened. Yoongi refused to look outside the windows.

 

Yoongi stared at the latch of the door, focusing on the smudged fingerprints on the shiny handle. He heard screaming outside the doors, and he realised the other members must already be out. He hesitantly looked past the tinted glass, seeing Taehyung's lanky frame attract attention as he threw himself unhesitatingly into the mix. Fans descended on him like a pack of wolves, the sound of clicking of camera filling the air as arms wrapped around his body. Taehyung was getting well and truly assaulted, and yet he kept a massive welcoming smile on his face. Jimin climbed out then, and Yoongi winced as the screaming increased and as he watched strange hands wrap around his waist and latch on.

 

Yoongi had to make himself stop watching before he started freaking out.

 

"Go go go!" The manager called, and Yoongi realised there density of fans outside their door has lessened as they all crowded around Taehyung and Jimin. By that time though, Namjoon had already leaned around him and undone the latch, heaving the door open.

 

The early morning light pierced his eyes as his feet stumbled out onto the pavement. He barely had time to process anything before Namjoon was shoving him and bodyguards descended on him. He tried to look around, to get his bearings before realising that was terrible idea. A sea of strangers surrounded him, the phones in their hands brandished like weapons.

 

Body guards were all around him, and he felt Namjoon's chin bump against the back of his head as people started shoving. More yelling picked up as they moved achingly slow towards the building. His head snapped to the side when he recognised Jungkook's screaming voice in the horrendous mix of sounds. He caught a glimpse of Jungkook, leaning as far as he could over the crowd to hold tightly onto Taehyung's forearms with a body guard tugging Jungkook by his waist. That's when he realised somebody was holding onto Taehyung, had pulled him away from the body guards. Jungkook was trying to pull him into the safety of their bodyguard circle, but whoever was holding onto him had a firm grip.

 

Jungkook was stronger though, and with one mighty yank Taehyung was released and sent falling against the body guard holding Jungkook. The body guard immediately grabbed Taehyung and pulled him next to Jungkook, back into their secure circle.

 

Yoongi felt like he couldn’t breathe, crushed by everyone around him. The closer they got to the building the tighter it got. Yoongi looked around again, unable to see much apart from the chest of Seokjin next to him and the tall body guards around him. But he noticed some fans yelling at each other, and saw a couple standing next to the body guards, facing the other fans with arms spread out. Some of them were trying to stop the frenzied craze, but Yoongi winced as the desperate fans and saesangs started pushing them.

 

It felt like a lifetime before the heavy stadium doors were pulled open and the body guards all started pilling into the building. Yoongi tripped as the crowd shoved forward again, breathless and unprepared. But Namjoon caught him, but ended up grabbing him too tight as they were shoved with one final push into the building.

 

The doors slammed shut with a heavy thump, and Yoongi felt like he was breathing again for the first time.

 

He looked around at everyone else, seeing Jimin sitting on the floor right next to the door, holding his wrist to his chest. Seokjin was kneeling next to him, trying to look at it.

 

"What did they do to you?" Yoongis voice was rough, startling him.

 

"They...nails." Jimin sighed, turning his arm and showing the bloody rake of nails around his wrist like a macabre bracelet. "When I was trying to get into the circle this girl wouldn't let go, so I ripped my hand away, but her nails were really sharp." 

 

They looked up, down the concrete hall to see their familiar staff running towards them, calling for them. Jimin smiled as his manager descended on him in a flurry to inspect the damage, and Jimin laughed off his concern. Yoongi looked around at the others, realising them to all look a little worse for wear. Hoseok’s hair was a mess, and Taehyung's shirt was ripped at the collar. Yoongi was thankful it was only one of his basic cheap ones. But, it could have been his Gucci top he wanted to wear today.

 

"Well, fuck." Yoongi swore, and Jungkook snorted.

 

"You can say that again."

 

 

 

"Yoongi, it's okay. It's not a big deal. Everything's okay now, it's cool."

 

Yoongi shook his head. He couldn't help but feel like this had been his fault. They had to throw themselves at the fans like that to divert attention, and now Taehyung had a ruined shirt and there was a bandage wrapped around Jimin's wrist.

 

"Somebody grabbed my ass," Taehyung spoke up, breaking the tension. He smirked. "And that was the most action I've gotten, like, ever."

 

"Too much information, thanks Tae." Jungkook shuddered.

 

"Oh, shush you, already know everything about me anyway. This is not new information." Taehyung tutted. "And at least I don't have a scent kink."

 

Jungkook gasped, hand moving to his nose.

 

"My nose is just sensitive, okay!" He pouted. "You know I have rhinitis."

 

"Still doesn't change the fact that you have a scent-"

 

"Okay, okay." Jungkook relented. "You don't have to say that word anymore?"

 

"What, kink?" Taehyung said, before grinning evilly, moving to jump next to Jungkook and yell in his ear, "kink kinky kink-"

 

Yoongi sighed, attention fully taken from the previous screw up.

 

"-kinking kinkity kink-"

 

It was okay.

 

"-so gross get your mouth off-"

 

He could get back into his mindset, into his zone.

 

He remembered people telling him his band was dangerous mix of personalities. That Taehyung's exuberance would piss them off, that his own silence would distance their relationships. That they would never work, and they would destroy themselves.

 

But it was times like these that he knew for sure that they were meant to be.

 

 

 

It was the fucking Olympic Gymnastic Stadium. Yoongi's dream.

 

Yoongi stood, two stories above the ground looking through the windows. The less crazy fans were all lining up, their merchandise clutched in hands and faces bright with excitement. He was dressed also, all ready with his healthy disguise. They all wore the matching epilogue outfits, but they had been allowed to alter it the way they saw fit.

 

Yoongi tugged a trusty beanie on and tied a bandana around his neck, layering his shirts in a style had had always found comforting. It's a shame he couldn't wear his favourite pants, though. They had to buy him new ones, taking them in at the thighs. Yoongi was too fucking thin for his pants, and it was almost a laughable revelation. They had always been told they had gained too much cushioning, not the other way around.

 

"You ready?" Hoseok emerged from behind him, his footsteps so light due to his dance history that Yoongi hadn't heard him.

 

"There's so many of them." Yoongi whispered. They had 24,000 fans over the two nights, and Yoongi had never felt so loved.

 

"There is. And there's millions of others around the world too." Hoseok said, rubbing his ego just a little.

 

"I'm fake, though." Yoongi said after a moment, gesturing vaguely to his hair.

 

"Not fake, Yoongi. You are only looking after yourself with the wig, it doesn't make you fake." Hoseok said, patting his shoulder. "And besides it doesn't matter what you look like, everything you do on that stage will be from your heart."

 

"Okay." Yoongi whispered, breathing deeply as he stared at the fans below.

 

"You're the most stubborn out of all of us, Hyung. You'll stick to your heart even if it kills you."

 

Yoongi laughed a little at that, always one for a little bit of tasteful dark humour. Hoseok knew he was weak for a self-depreciating joke or two, it loosened him up and reminded him he was human.

 

"Alright you morbid idiot, let's go get ourselves fuckin' killed."

 

 

 

Namjoon looked at Yoongi.

 

And somehow, he knew this would be the last concert Yoongi would preform.

 

Yoongi knew it to, but he didn't want to break the spell. He wanted to live in this moment eternally; spotlight cast over him, sweat dripping from his hairline and lips pressing against a microphone.

 

And Namjoon refused to be the person to make him wake up.

 

 

 

After the show ended on the 8th, Namjoon found Yoongi bracing his head on the mirror in their private performers bathroom, five seconds away from a panic attack.

 

“Hyung!” The younger rapper was by his side in less than a second, holding him up by the shoulders and staring at him through the mirror with wide worried eyes.

 

“I’m fine,” Yoongi said, half-laughing, half-sobbing as his palms pressed against the mirror. “I’m fine, I just- there's too many feelings, I’m okay.” Still mildly chortling at the worried, shocked look on Namjoon's face, Yoongi pushed off the mirror and let the younger ease him down to sit on the tile floor.

 

“You sure you’re okay? God, Yoongi,” Namjoon sighed, the worried creases on his forehead smoothing away as he smiled with his dimples. “You asshole, I thought you were going to faint.”

 

The younger produced a bottle of water from the endless pocket of his long jacket they were all given to put over their stage clothes. Yoongi took it, gulping it thirstily. Namjoon took it from the him as soon as he lowered it from his mouth, all too careful to not let his shaking hands drop it. After a few moments of heavy breathing, Yoongi looked up.

 

“I did it,” he said. There were no other words, not yet. Not when his heart was still hammering in his chest, his thoughts still blurring. Namjoon understood, though, because he always understood.

 

“Yeah,” he agreed, “you did it.”

 

 

Namjoon laid next to Yoongi that night, in their post-show-sleepover-slash-puppy pile, listening to how his breaths seemed more painful. He shouldn't have let Yoongi preform. It took too much out of him, too much energy when he barely had enough left to begin with.

 

But Yoongi was never one to slow down, anyone that listened to his lyrics knew that.

 

"If you feel like you’ re going to crash then accelerate more, you idiot"

 

Besides, who was Namjoon to tell Yoongi how to live his life? He'd had more than enough people telling him how to live since he was born.

 

Yoongi lived how he wanted.

 

And he'd...he'd die how he wanted, too.

 

 

 

They couldn't have a comeback without live music show performances, however.

 

Their PD managed to spin some bullshit about only having a week of promotion due to other schedules, and while that was mostly true of the other members including Tae, it was mostly for Yoongi's sake.

 

He just couldn't fuckin preform the way he used to, not much else to it. Too tired, too weak. He was already thin before, but now the muscular mass was almost nonexistent so the power behind his moves deteriorated. He felt like the female idols forced to be so thin they couldn't even run fast because they had no muscle mass.

 

Fuck, he was so small. It felt almost gross.

 

His outfit was the same as the music video, the jeans a little thicker to show off his frame without giving it away. They were tight, also, showing off the curves of his inner thighs. He knew he should feel a little betrayed because even now, when he was like this, they were trying to profit off his body.

 

But he didn't, because he stopped feeling things like betrayal a long time ago. It seemed to bitter an emotion, too vast and uncontrollable. There was nothing to betray, he owned nothing, not even himself. The only thing he owned was his own thoughts, and yet he sometimes wanted them taken too.

 

He was too young to dwell on things like that. He didn't have time to think about the creeps that would lust after his thighs that were "better than SNSD's". He didn't have the time or the emotional strength for things like that anymore.

 

He used to throw himself into the thick of it; hating himself for letting them create his image that way, at the same time as letting them shove him into the fucking pants. He was sick of the contradictions, of not being sure who he hated more: himself or everyone else. Of always thinking 'what if?' What if he stayed in the underground, poor and starving but proud? What if he just threw himself away and let himself become nothing more than the pretty marionette that rapped mushy stories about love they had never felt themselves?

 

He didn't have time for it anymore, didn't have enough energy. He accepted himself: accepted his stubbornness to be independent that he refused to subdue, accepted the tight pants and body rolls that he pulled off to the best of his effort.

 

Because life was too short to dwell on the what if 's.

 

 

 

They had to make late night dashes to the hospital after preforming on stages, having no other available time to get Yoongi's checkup with all their performances and appearances. Namjoon had to force Yoongi sometimes, because the elder just wanted to "get some fucking sleep". Sometimes it's Seokjin that took him, but most often it was him. Jungkook offered once, having gotten his drivers licence, but Seokjin flat out refused. The checkups were a constant reminder that something was wrong with Yoongi, and watching the doctor prod at Yoongi with a look of concern on his face was just a little too much to bear.

 

Namjoon always thought Seokjin would never truly see Jungkook as an adult. He couldn't, they couldn't, not when they raised him since he was barely thirteen. Somewhere, deep down, they felt like they had to protect him for the horror of watching the doctor examine Yoongi with a closed off expression.

 

But, despite the pain they put him through, Namjoon was glad for the almost weekly checkups. They gave him a sense of security, that Yoongi wasn't suffering under his care. That everything was okay as it could be.

 

But sometimes the checkups reminded him of everything he lacked.

 

It was just after their performance on Music Bank, they'd left the stage relatively normal, all filling down the stairs and waving to their fans. Staff swarmed them as they reached ground level, escorting them backstage while handing them water bottles and pressing towels to their skin. They got out of the recording studio without much fanfare, walking down the hall in a cluster of sweaty singers and fluttering staff.

 

But then a shrill scream erupted from behind them.

 

Everyone's heads snapped around to see Yoongi's young stylist, standing in the middle of the hall with Yoongi slumped over in her arms. She was holding his entire weight, his legs uselessly curled under him as she held him up with her arms around his chest. His head was thrown back on her shoulder, his black hat discarded on the ground, and his eyes were scarily blank.

 

Yoongi's manager was closest, immediately moving over to help. The other members stumbled along, trying to help. Yoongi's young stylist was close to tears, shaking even as Yoongi's manager was holding Yoongi's eyelids open and trying to get a response.

 

"He just, he just-" she was trying to explain through all the chaos, "he was slowing down behind everyone else so I just stayed with him, but then his legs just buckled and I...I just grabbed him."

 

Yoongi's manager leant away from Yoongi, turning to the other staff that were standing, unsure of what what happening.

 

"Somebody call an ambulance! He's not responding." He called, and Yoongi's stylist started crying.

 

"I'm sorry I'm sorry I didn't mean to hurt him please don't fire me." She cried, even as Namjoon's manager gently lifted Yoongi from her arms. Namjoon tried not to notice how Yoongi just fell limply over his shoulder.

 

Namjoon realised nobody was comforting the stylist. He took a deep breath, letting the professionals care for Yoongi despite his overwhelming desire to be by his side.

 

"You're not getting fired, Soomin-ssi." He assured gently, but she flinched when she noticed how close he was. Namjoon backed away a little, remembering that she was new. She wasn't used to famous people so close to her, despite already helping Yoongi change earlier in the day. Namjoon gestured that she move to sit by the wall for support, and she obeyed immediately. Namjoon sat next to her, almost a metre between them.

 

"It's okay, he's just been feeling sick recently." Namjoon told her, remembering nobody but their higher up staff knew what was actually wrong with Yoongi.

 

"I...I know he's valuable, I know. I had to sign the disclosure agreement. They told me not to touch him unless I was fixing his clothes. I know I'm not supposed to, but I just didn't want to watch him fall."

 

"You did the right thing, Soomin-ssi." Namjoon reassured, and for the first time she properly looked up at him.

 

"I...Rap Monster-nim." She bowed a little, as though remembering who she was talking to.

 

"Everyone just calls me Namjoon." He smiled, trying not to let his eyes flicker over to where they had Yoongi in the recovery position. "What year were you born in, Soomin-ssi?"

 

"1993." She whispered, hands curled in her lap. She still held the towels she was using to dab away Yoongi's sweat in her hands.

 

"That makes you my Noona." He smiled, even as she looked across at him, eyes wide and mouth open. She immediately closed her mouth, and looked down.

 

"I... I can't." She fluttered, but Namjoon just shook his head.

 

"Just call me Namjoon-ah, if you'd like to, Noona." He chuckled. "Haven't you noticed the other staff call me Namjoon-ah?"

 

"Yes, but I'm....I'm new."

 

"Just because you're new doesn't mean you can't be my Noona." He said, but she didn't reply. "You don't have to be so formal, Noona. I don't know what horror stories you've heard but we are really relaxed here."

 

Soomin's eyes fluttered over to Yoongi, and Namjoon swallowed the sudden lump in his throat.

 

"He's...just been felling unwell, Noona. It's not your fault. Don't worry too much, he'll be fine again soon."

 

"My training didn't really include any of....this."

 

"Well, doesn't happen very often. But, he's not difficult, I promise. He doesn't really care how you touch him, he's used to it. Just keep it PG."

 

"I-I would...I would never." She spluttered, shaking her head

 

Namjoon forced himself to laugh to ease her tension. He didn't want to laugh, he felt too empty to conjure up enough energy to feel any sort of humour. But she was on edge, and he had to pretend everything was fine.

 

"Don't worry, Soomin-noona, just a joke."

 

"Oh...oh okay." She smiled. "Thank you for the advice, Namjoon-ssi."

 

Namjoon rolled his eyes at the formality, but it was progress. He heard the emergency doors open down the hall, turning to see two ambulance staff run in with a stretcher.

 

"Now if you'll excuse me, I've gotta go with Yoongi-hyung." He said gently, standing up. She nodded frantically.

 

"I'll pray for him." She promised, smiling. Namjoon smiled back, trying his best not to make it look like a grimace.

 

Namjoon then looked across the hall, seeing Hoseok hovering over Yoongi, tears running down his cheeks as he desperately tried to get Yoongi to come back to him.

 

...And he realised he was acting so incredibly calm.

 

He felt absolutely nothing, watching Hoseok cry as Seokjin pulled him away from Yoongi to allow the staff to put Yoongi on the stretcher. He felt nothing watching Yoongi's limp body be manhandled by paramedics.

 

It might be shock, but he had a feeling it might just be the opposite. He was to used to feeling these horrible feelings that he didn't register them anymore. He was so used to watching Yoongi get worse and worse that he stopped believing that he would ever truly be okay.

 

Maybe he had expected something like this.

 

Nothing could be just okay anymore. There was always something waiting to happen to Yoongi, to remind them all that he would never truly be okay.

 

And even as he went through the motions to following alongside Yoongi's stretcher and getting into the ambulance next to him. Even as the ambulance rocketed into the night, sirens ringing in his head. Even as he sat next to Yoongi, staring down at his limp body strapped down and empty eyes staring up at nothing.

 

He felt nothing but a deep emptiness opening up in his chest.

 

 

 

It was just exhaustion, apparently. The cancer was making his weak, yaddy yadda. He'd heard it all before, but it didn't change the fact that shit like this just kept happening.

 

Once Yoongi woke up a few hours later, the doctors just sighed and sent him home to rest. There wasn't anything they could do. The cancer was causing this, and there wasn't much more they could do about that.

 

Namjoon was again reminded how much he hated that fucking disease.

 

Yoongi came home that night without much fanfare. He was irritable and uncommunicative but appeared softer somehow. Namjoon wasn't sure if it was the exhaustion or something...something deeper and less tangible.

 

Namjoon decided not to question it.

 

 

 

Some people had noticed an ambulance leaving the recording studio, sirens blasting, and it rose some questions.

 

The company made official statements, and since nobody had really seen any of the commotion behind closed doors, it was easily swept under the rug.

 

Nobody knew what happened that night, and they were content to keep it that way.

 

The thing was about the Korean music industry was that if you were ill, there was a big issue at the start, but as soon as you came back and pretending everything was fine everyone just...forgot. Idols got sick and injured so often due to the physical demands of their job, so everyone had become so desensitised to it.

 

It was almost too easy for things to slip under their notice.

 

 

 

Anyone that knew Jimin well enough, knew that his patience spanned about as long as the Nile river. He had the tolerance of a mother of four children under five, meaning he was perfectly capable of tolerating Taehyung's five-am antics. He could take just about anything in his stride, wether it was Taehyung jumping on his bed in the middle of the night when he levelled up in his game, or cleaning up after Yoongi who disappeared whenever the word "dishes" was mentioned.

 

But, when you reached the end of that tether, you fucking knew about it.

 

Jimin had an explosive, destructive temper. But, he didn't scream or yell or throw things when he had reached his limit. No.

 

Jimin had a quiet, simmering anger. His posture just shifted abruptly and his eyes narrowed into little slits as he whispered in a dark tone. He also swore like a sailor when he was angry.

 

"I'm sick and tired of this bullshit, hyung."

 

Jimin's cutting voice broke into the calmness of a Saturday morning in the Bangtan dorm. Everyone was eating breakfast, munching on cereal, or just hanging around in the kitchen area waiting for the rice Seokjin was cooking. It was a rare lazy start to the day, granted to them after what happened the day before, birds chirping outside and the distant sound of traffic a causal backdrop. But with Jimin's low, aggressive tone everything came to a screeching halt.

 

"Jimin?"

 

"You just collapsed, hyung. You just went completely limp, and if your stylist hadn't of caught you, you could have hit your head and gotten a fucking brain injury."

 

The birds stopped chirping outside. Taehyung swallowed audibly, and Seokjin leaned forward tentatively.

 

"Hey, Jimin, he can't-"

 

"Shut up, Seokjin." Jimin snapped, and everyone physically recoiled. Everything went silent for a moment, nobody daring to speak. Jimin was often so incredibly polite, so it was a shock to the system to see him snap so informally to their eldest. Jimin's breathing was erratic, slowing slightly as he tried to get himself under control.

 

"I get you can’t control it sometimes but you need to fucking tell us, okay?

 

His breath shuddered, and his eyes were filled with a mix of angry and scared tears.

 

"I'm so fucking scared, hyung." He whispered, voice cracking on the last word. "I'm terrified of what happening to you, and haunts me every minute of every single fucking day."

 

"Jimin-....I don't know-"

 

"Tell us Hyung. Tell us if you don't think you can do a performance, even if it's live. I don't care, I'll stop any fucking performance if you need it. Don't push yourself Yoongi-hyung."

 

"I'm not trying to, I just wanna do...things. Everything." Yoongi couldn't find the words explain it. He wasn't trying to push himself, he really wasn't. He just...wanted. He wanted to feel everything. To preform. To laugh. To live.

 

"I know. hyung." Jimin said anyways, because he always understood. "But sometimes you don't really pay attention to yourself."

 

"If your body is telling you no it's okay. Nobody will blame you." Jimin whispered, and Yoongi just nodded. Jimin moved towards Yoongi, and he stood up to embrace him properly.

 

The hug was gentle, unlike most their other hugs. They always threw themselves against each other when they were excited, a violent clash of laughter and warm bodies. But this was soft, cherishing. Jimin hugged him so delicately, so reverently. Like his skin was tissue paper and his bones were brittle glass.

 

That's when Yoongi realised exactly how last night had effected Jimin.

 

Jimin was afraid of his fragility. He'd realised for the first time that Yoongi was so incredibly fragile. That he was so sick that his body no longer function correctly. That he couldn't do things he used to do. Jimin hugged him close to his chest, nose pressed against Yoongi's neck to feel his heartbeat. Last night had terrified Jimin.

 

Because Yoongi was never the fragile one.

 

 

 

Of course the variety show involved them getting carried.

 

Yoongi didn't even fight it. Didn't even care. Jungkook had to carry him, Tae and Jimin under a limbo pole. He had to give the team originality, nobody had made them do that before.

 

He'd already pulled a fast one with the paper kiss bullshit, so he had to let them get some of their footage to lowkey sexualise them somehow, even just a little bit. And Jungkook was just fucking boiling with sex appeal. Perfect chance to show some of it off.

 

God, he was getting worse than Jimin. Had least Jimin had some self-restraint. But this kid had really grown into himself, and he fucking knew it.

 

Jungkook was thankfully efficient about it, not even pretending to struggle a little under Yoongi's weight as he bent forwards, putting Yoongi's body between his legs as held the elders and his own weight. He quickly limbo-ed under the pole, using his thigh muscles to push Yoongi under and up. It was over in less than a minute, gently standing and dropping Yoongi's knees to let him get out of the focus of the camera. Yoongi was happy to just sit and watch Jungkook play a bit more with the weight of Jimin and Taehyung, getting Jimin's elbow stuck on the bar as Taehyung eagerly climbed into Jungkook's arms.

 

And with that, they were done with the show off of Jungkook's physique and strength, leaving the boy a little chuffed and the viewers comfortably sated. The interview finished smoothly, Seokjin ever charming in front of a camera before they lumbered home.

 

Another day in the life of Bangtan, complete.

 

 

 

Somewhere along the way, Yoongi's progress abruptly shifted. It wasn't like just woke up one morning and everything feel to shit. No. It was more of a poison that had been setting in for a while, but only now was he starting to feel it.

 

But the change was no less jarring for him and everyone else.

 

His gums started bleeding, more red splotches flowering on his body like budding blood-red roses. He slept a lot, didn't eat as much; Good days started becoming few and far between. Some days, he wasn't able to even leave the house to produce in the workroom.

 

And that little fact was how the other members knew there was something happening. Like a dark storm cloud approaching, stirring in the distance; angry and destructive.

 

They could only watch as it advanced closer.

 

 

June

 

Yoongi was mad.

 

This year was supposed to be his year. He had all these great fan-fucking-tastic plans for his mixtape and for the band.  He'd fucking prepared and everything, pulling himself out the self-depressive state and working to try and minimise his social phobia.

 

He'd even spent extra time with Hoseok trying to improve his dancing, which even the fans knew was not his thing. Because this year was supposed to his year, the one where he finally learnt to accept himself and his identity as an idol.

 

The doctor said it so easily, like his career didn't revolve around preforming.

 

"Strenuous activity is prohibited."

 

His life fucking revolved around pushing himself to the limit, constantly fighting to improve himself so he'd finally be happy with himself. Strenuous activity was in every performers middle name. He couldn't fucking dance anymore. He never even fucking liked dancing, but losing it felt like such a harsh blow. And he knew he had so much going for him, so much probability swinging into his favour:

 

...But it still seemed like one step towards the end.

 

 

 

He sat on the floor of their shower, head buried in his knees as water steamed down on him.

 

It was the first day of summer that was just really hot. Just scorching sun and unbearably dry air. It was the first day they really needed to crank up the AC to try to remove the heavy stuffiness from the apartment where seven men lived together. But there was a deep-set chill in Yoongi's bones that echoed throughout his whole body. A chill no shower or bath could fix.

 

But, he still fucking tried.

 

Yoongi had been in the shower for possibly over an hour. The water was starting to cool and nobody else had had a shower yet. They had a great water system, and he was stretching it too far. But, he was still so fucking cold. Even under the scorching spray that left his skin red, goosebumps still rose over his naked skin. He was shivering.

 

But he couldn't ask anything more. Yoongi sat in that bathroom, glass and mirrors heated with steam whilst the other members sat around, splayed on the floor sweating because Seokjin had hid the remote and refused to turn on the AC.

 

For him.

 

Yoongi hated letting other people take his hits. He hated watching others fall in his place. But, Seokjin refused him, told him he would not budge. Yoongi didn't have much energy these days, so he couldn't do much more than back away into the bathroom, sit under the scorching spray and try to warm his aching bones.

 

 

 

"You won't be attending Kcon in the USA."

 

Yoongi felt his eyes slip closed, as the other members around him recoiled at the news. They'd been called into a meeting with their PD, dressed in their nice sweaters and dress pants to come to his office.

 

But of course, it wasn't for good news.

 

Everyone was perched around him, sitting on the couch in front of their PD's desk or behind it. Yoongi could feel them all around him, Jimin's thigh pressed against his own, Hoseok elbow pressing against his arm, Jungkook hovering behind him. They were so close, so close that Yoongi could feel them physically recoil at the news.

 

"You've got a fractured rib, tripped over in the dorm." Their PD informed, looking at Yoongi in his eyes. "That's the story."

 

"A...A fractured rib?" Namjoon affirmed, trying to keep his voice calm but it wasn't working.

 

"We've decided it's for the best; its severe enough to stop your travel but it also means you can still be seen around without any cast or physical evidence of the injury." The PD stated, looking a little stern and somber himself.

 

He watched them all for a moment longer, before his face softened.

 

"I'm sorry, boys. We really tried, but we can't risk it."

 

"Thankyou for trying, PD-nim." Namjoon stated politely, standing up from next to Jimin to bow deeply. The other followed.

 

Their manager carted them back to their dorm in their normal black van, but it still felt uncomfortably foreign. The air was tense with a aura unseen from them. It wasn't the bristling anger that sometimes exploded in the middle of the van, nor the horrific tears it sometimes saw.

 

It was something else.

 

Something that felt like the end.

 

 

The next few days were undeniably tense.

 

Everyone was on edge, and even the smallest of issues turned into vicious fights. Jimin and Jungkook were at each other’s throats, fighting about every little thing, like Jungkook leaving the pantry door ajar or Jimin moving the tv remote from its usual place. They sometimes fought, but not like this. It set everyone even more on edge, Namjoon being unusually flighty and Hoseok spent his days staring at walls.

 

The most shocking thing was that the house was quiet. Too quiet.

 

But then one day Yoongi noticed a change. He walked into Jimin and Hoseok's shared room, grabbing something from Hoseok whom was sitting on his bed talking with Jimin quietly. Jungkook was sitting on Jimin's bed, looking incredibly tense and staring firmly at the wall.

 

"What's wrong kid?" He called out, forgetting about what he wanted from Hoseok, but Jungkook didn't even look at him.

 

"Nothing, I'm fine." He replied curtly, making Yoongi narrow his eyes and stand up. He moved over to Jungkook, standing in front of him.

 

"You're not fine." Yoongi stated. "Tell me."

 

"I'm fine, hyung."

 

"No you're not." Yoongi deadpanned, there was obviously something really wrong. He'd known Jungkook for too long not to realise, and the way Hoseok and Jimin were looking over made Yoongi realise they were aware too.

 

"Go away." Jungkook hissed, and Yoongi groaned.

 

"Jeon Jungkook, don't act like a child and just tell me." Yoongi sighed.

 

"I'm not a FUCKING CHILD!"

 

The sound of a heavy thump and a sharp punched-out exhale cut through the air. Hoseok and Jimin were on their feet in an instant, Namjoon and Seokjin appearing at the door.

 

Jungkook had shoved Yoongi up against the wall.

 

"Jungkook!" Hoseok screamed, grabbing Jungkook and trying to pull him away from Yoongi. Jimin joined in, while Namjoon and Seokjin just watched, open mouthed from the door. Jungkook didn't budge.

 

Yoongi just stood, staring into Jungkooks eyes as the other stared back, ignoring the tugs of Jimin and Hoseok.

 

His actions would have been threatening if he hadn't watched Jungkook grow up from a fuckin half a meter-tall prepubescent boy, pimply and unsure of his role in just about everything. Hadn't fucking raised him since he was thirteen with the others.

 

But, he had.

 

So not even his muscles, towering height and broad shoulders could scare Yoongi now. So Yoongi just smiled, eyes staring into Jungkook's with nothing but trust and forgiveness. Jungkook's eyes  suddenly cleared from the red film of anger, shoulders slumping and hands loosening their grip on Yoongi's shoulders. He just...deflated.

 

The kid already knew what he had done. Yoongi recognised that look, the look that made it so easy to raise Jungkook. Once anyone snapped him out of it, he immediately recognised it. There was no in depth conversations and banning him from things. He didn't need a lesson, he already taught himself.

 

But that didn't stop Hoseok and Jimin pouncing on him, ripping him away from Yoongi with their usually smiling faces twisted with anger and disbelief.

 

Yoongi sighed deeply, watching them attempt to defend his honour, ripping into the boy that slumped where he stood. It was almost unbelievable how fast Jungkook could shift from stubborn and self-righteous to meek and soft. His shoulders slumped, head bowed and hands clasped in his lap.

 

His shoulders trembled, and Yoongi decided it was enough. He grunted at the effort from pushing himself off the wall, walking across the room and pushing past Hoseok and Jimin's shocked faces. He went up to the younger, and the boy flinched in preparation for a slap or some sort of worthy violence.

 

But instead Yoongi hugged him.

 

Jungkook tensed, his head still bowed so it pressed against Yoongi's as the elder wrapped his arms around him securely.

 

"It's okay, Kookie." He said quietly, a low rumble of comfort but Jungkook shook his head frantically.

 

"No, it's not. I-I'm so sorry, hyung. I'm just so...I'm so tired and scared and-" he stopped, taking a deep breath, "I wasn't thinking and I hurt you."

 

Yoongi's shoulder throbbed in response.

 

"I can't even feel it." He lied, because the kid didn't need to know Yoongi bruised really easily these days, like peaches in hands that weren't careful enough.

 

"I'm sorry, Hyung. I'm really really sorry."

 

"Sorry doesn't cut it, Jungkook. He's delicate and-." Hoseok butted in from behind, tension thick in the air between them. But Yoongi cut him off.

 

"I've forgiven him, you aren't allowed to be mad."

 

"But-" Jimin's sharp alto cut into Yoongi's speech, stepping forward.

 

"Don't speak back to your Hyung, Jimin. You know better." He said, before leaning back and ruffling Jungkook's hair. Jimin didn't move.

 

"Righto, can we move on? Hug it out or something between you three." Yoongi said as he turned to the rest, Namjoon and Seokjin lingering at the door. Taehyung was nowhere to be seen.

 

"Hyung." Hoseok said, a whine building in his voice. He wasn't happy, none of them were. Yoongi needed to fix it.

 

They were not getting into a fight over him.

 

"Do it."Yoongi said, grabbing Jimin's and Hoseok's sleeves in both hands and yank them closer.

 

"This is awkward." Jimin said, eyes firmly on the ground and not on the others in their tight little triangle with Yoongi in the middle.

 

"I don't care. Hug."

 

"You're in the way." Jungkook reminded, head held a little higher than before.

 

"Who said I didn't want a fucking hug?" Yoongi said, lifting his arm to flick Jungkook on the forehead lightly.

 

"Hyung, We-"

 

"Nope. Don't care. Three." He started counting. He grabbed Hoseok by his collar, dragging him closer and forcing his arms in air.

 

"Two." He said, giving a stern look to Jimin.

 

"One."

 

They hugged on command, brief and light. But Yoongi didn't let them go, forcing them to hold on and breathe in each other’s air.

 

"Hyung, let me go." Jimin huffed, the air puffing up Jungkook's hair and blowing against the younger's nose.

 

"Oi, watch my nose. It's sensitive."

 

"It's also fuckin huge." Hoseok chimed in. Jungkook eyes narrowed, before he suddenly grinned and his eyes lit up. He opened his mouth.

 

"Well, unfortunately I can't say the same for your-"

 

Yoongi got out of there as fast as he could, shoving arms and hips to deck it. Seokjin and Namjoon followed, the tangle of the three boys left behind, spitting banter disguised as insults. Yoongi had got them over their own pride and egos, so they'd be fine. Things like this were not regular occurrences, but the amount of testosterone in a house of seven men was extensive and often volatile. All it took was a spark.

 

Yoongi vowed to do everything in his power to avoid creating that spark again.

 

"Good work, Hyung." Namjoon gave him a thumbs up as they walked into the living area. They stopped short though, when they entered the room to see Taehyung sitting on the couch eating popcorn as he hunched over his phone, headphones over his ears.

 

Taehyung looked up at their approach, noting their dumbfounded faces before nudging an earphone off his ear with his shoulder. He stopped mid-chew of his popcorn, mouth slight parted as he raised his eyebrows.

 

"What'd I miss?"

 

 

But, whilst Jungkook was quick to realise his mistakes; he was not as quick letting go his guilt about them.

 

Yoongi woke to a large figure crawling into his bed, making him startle.

 

"What-" Yoongi asked, before he felt the body press against him and arms wrap around him. Jungkook just laid there, half in the bed, half out as he buried his head into Yoongi's stomach.

 

He pulled himself up onto his elbows to blearily look at the clock next to his bed. It read 3:46am in piercing green. He looked down at the boy face down on his belly, before sighing and lifting up the edge of his large blanket pile.

 

"You chose the strangest times to do this." Yoongi commented, but Jungkook just sighed and wiggled into bed beside him.

 

Yoongi moved over, lifting the blankets and pulling it over them both so only their tuffs of hair would be visible from the outside. It was sort of childish, like a little escape to a world which was only them. But, it was comforting sometimes. Jungkook didn't talk. He just needed to hug him, make sure he was still there and everything was okay.

 

Well, that was how it usually went. This time was a little different.

 

"Why do you still call me kid? I'm turning 19 this year." Jungkook whispered, as though that was an appropriate way to start a conversation.

 

"Jungkook,"  Yoongi shook his head, "you may be eighteen but you're still our little brother."

 

"Little? I'm taller than you." Jungkook reminded, smirking from where he was pressed against Yoongi's chest. Yoongi felt it more than saw it.

 

"I don't care if you grow as tall as a skyscraper, or live as old a hundred." Yoongi pressed, before relaxing and letting a smile come to his face. He tilted his head down and lifted his hands to squish Jungkook's cheeks. "You will always be my little Nochu."

 

Jungkook smiled back, letting Yoongi play with his cheeks absentmindedly. He adjusted his arms around Yoongi, noting their size difference a little too bluntly. Yoongi's head was on the pillow while his was just below it, leaving him at perfect height to closely see the bones of his ribs revealed by the collar of his shirt. But he didn't want to look, didn't want to admit what it all meant. So he nuzzled his face into Yoongi's collarbone instead.

 

"...We don't have that much time left, do we?" He spoke against the skin, feeling the bones underneath shift as Yoongi took a deep, shocked breath.

 

Yoongi couldn't answer. Nobody could, nobody knew. He asked himself every single day, but it was no less jarring to be asked aloud.

 

"I don't want to waste anymore time." Jungkook shook his head, nuzzling closer to the elders warmth. "No pretences. I wanna know how you are feeling, I want to help you. Do what you have to with the others, but don't lie to me." His voice was strained, imploring. He looked up at Yoongi, and there were tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat from holding them back. Yoongi would have given him anything in that moment, anything in the world. Just so he would stop looking at him so tragically.

 

Yoongi realised Jungkook might have always been his greatest weakness.

 

"I love you." Jungkook whispered as his arms tightened around the elder. It was straight forward and brutally honest, not hidden in flowery language. "I love you, hyung."

 

Because if time was precious, he didn't want the important things to be left unsaid.

 

 

 

Yoongi knew he hated himself at times, sometimes he was sure he hated himself more than other people did. He'd always had these thoughts in the back of his mind that maybe his existence wasn't worthy enough. Maybe he wasn't worthy enough.

 

But, cancer wasn't even a possibility he'd contemplated in the darkness of night, when everyone was asleep and he had only his thoughts for company.

 

Yoongi had always thought he might die young. Even in the beginning, he lived a dangerous life. He preformed in any place that would take him, no matter how sketchy. Tried to ignore how people just ignored him. Tried to ignore how much he wanted to grab his razor and cease to exist. But then he gained recognition, and that just made it more dangerous. He thought his attitude and free mouth would get him on someone's bad side. He thought he'd be beaten up, left to die from internal bleeding in a dumpster.

 

But then he got into Bighit, and things changed. Not immediately, obviously. Whilst their debut was pretty shitty, it got better as the years passed. It was better. But now he lived a high profile life, and that guaranteed a different kind of danger. Now, he pretty much received death threats of some sort every month by some psychotic fangirls for "taking oppa's screen time". When this started happening, he thought maybe a saesang would come for him while he slept or walked home in the dead of night.

 

But never cancer. Cancer was never the thing that was going to take him. He'd never thought his controversial existence could be taken by something so terribly simple and mundane. It was such a slow, painful way to die.

 

He'd pondered that he'd live fast and die young, in some dramatic explosive way. Some way that made him feel worthy of a life he wasn't sure he deserved.

 

But not this.

 

Never this.

 

 

 

Everyone knew Jimin seemed to have a alarm in his brain that went off when another member was upset. They all had strengths in different areas, but it was Jimin was most sensitive to other people's sadness. In a way, you could guess he was like a dog, since they always seemed to sit with you when the negative emotions started to set in. He could always sense it, no matter where you were. He was known to just turn up without warning and sit by you, with a gentle smile and a warm hug.

 

It was a little eerie at times.

 

But sometimes Jimin was asleep, perfectly oblivious to pain...And Hoseok was an insomniac.

 

Well, he guessed he was. It was completely undiagnosed of course. He couldn't afford the money or time to see a doctor about it when it set in many years ago. He hadn't even noticed it for almost a year, and by then he just thought he'd have to deal with it. And, now with Yoongi ill, it just seemed too insignificant to worry about. And yet...it kept him up.

 

He had only slept three hours in the past two days.

 

Sleep refused to come, but he felt too exhausted to move. It was a vicious cycle, too tired to sleep and yet his own mind kept him up. It had gotten worse recently, much worse. He'd researched, of course, and he knew his insomnia reflected his own pitiful mental health. Honestly, he hadn't minded too much. Just sighed and shrugged, because he didn't mind being fucked in the head if nobody else was around to see it.

 

But then again...he was never alone. He never should have forgotten that.

 

It was easy to, however, when he lay awake staring at the wall; feeling like the only awake person in the world. It was easy to forget when the pure exhaustion thrumming through him didn't allow him to do anything but fear his future and doubt his present.

 

The black hole of his own mind suddenly lessened in intensity as his attention shifted from his own mental depravity, to a warmth at his side.

 

A body, slightly larger than his, slipped under the light green covers to lay against his back. Hoseok didn't move, because couldn't find the energy to care. The kids sometimes did this when they were homesick or just felt cold. Always seeking comfort from Hoseok, who felt entirely incapable of even keeping himself together.

 

But then the strangest thing happened.

 

Fingers started carding through his hair, pressing down on the tense muscles just under his scalp and smoothing around to brush back the hair that swept in front of his eyes, pushing it behind his ears.

 

The callous on his left thumb notified the body as Jungkook. Eighteen year old Jungkook, their youngest.

 

Jungkook didn't say anything, just repeating the motion over Hoseok's head, a calming and steadying pattern. It was shocking how easily the tension in him eased, like he'd been fighting a stubborn brick wall and Jungkook had turned it into butter that he cut through with nothing but a warm knife. It was calming, grounding; and exactly what Hoseok needed.

 

Jungkook seemed to pretend like this wasn't happening, and Hoseok was asleep so he wouldn't remember either. Hoseok was not one to object.

 

He wasn't sure when he fell asleep, but the next day he woke up. Waking up was hard to do if you'd never slept, so the feeling of gently awakening to the world was a foreign one. And so he counted that as a resounding win against himself.

 

But with a new day came new demons, and Hoseok was reminded why he didn't allow himself the sweet release of unconsciousness.

 

Sometimes life was too hard to wake up to.

 

 

 

"You are going to have to tell the fans."

 

Namjoon's breath stuttered, a cold heavy weight sinking to the bottom of his stomach. His PD-nims voice was firm, adopting the tone he took when he had to force Namjoon to do something. Namjoon knew something was wrong the moment his PD called him into his office.

 

He took a deep breath, folding his hands in front of him and kept his head bowed.

 

"With all due respect, I don't see how that's going to help at all. Yoongi-Hyung is already really-"

 

"I understand Namjoon." Bang-PD interrupted, appraising the young man silently across the room for a moment. Then he smiled a little sadly. "But don't you think you owe it to them?"

 

Namjoon went silent.

 

Honestly some days he wished they didn't have such devoted fans. But then immediately after he felt so guilty because they were the embodiment of everything he and the others had worked for. Had bled, sweated and cried for.

 

He guess they deserved to know the truth.

 

He would prefer to tell them on the bands terms rather than when somebody eventually figured out there was a larger reason than a simple fractured rib as to why Yoongi could not longer dance.

 

He just wasn't sure he wanted everyone to know something so private, a weakness to expose to the world. He didn't want that for Yoongi, but he also didn't want it for himself.

 

He would feel too exposed. New information coming out of their companies were always jumped on by news sites and fan pages like ravenous wolves. How could he answer questions on Yoongi's health when he didn't know himself? How could he freely talk about Yoongi's inability to dance when Yoongi watched them all leave for a simple workshop with a strange emptiness in his eyes?

How could he talk about chemotherapy when he couldn't even say the fucking word out loud?

 

He, ultimately, was afraid of the changes this could cause to them and their relationships. Everyone would constantly be asking for updates on his progress, when they knew that Yoongi wasn't making any.

 

And he was worried of what this was going to do to Yoongi. When the hidden facts about his own wellbeing would be spelled out in black and white facts, forcing them to acknowledge their reality.

 

For them to look at the cold and clear facts:

 

...And be forced to admit the chilling possibility that Min Yoongi was dying.

 

 

 

They announced the news on the twenty second of June.

 

It was through the official company Twitter, which lacked in publicity, but even then, it didn't take very long to spread. Min Yoongi, 23, lead rapper: had stage four, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. The outcry was extensive. The tweet itself had over half a million retweets within only a few hours. The comment section was filled with translations, and fans from across the world then screaming in protest.

 

Min Yoongi watched it all, hadn't moved the entire day. He sat in his bed, scrolling and scrolling with his expression completely closed. Because after the tweet came the articles, then the fan videos, then the news. And Yoongi watched it all in slow motion.

 

People were crying, screaming. Their videos were more than thirty minutes long, and Yoongi watched them speak gibberish to his ears, mixed with sobbing that didn't require any translation. They protested, questioned, and ultimately sobbed.

 

...As though any of that could stop the cancer from killing him.

 

They were rioting, angry because they were hurt. There was so much anger, so many protests as to how this had happened under their nose. Because, things like this didn't just happen. Idols had died before, sure. Just the industry was so young so even the oldest stars were only in their forties. Idols died from freak accidents, from sudden and tragic events that took young lives.

 

An idol hadn't died of cancer before.

 

Yoongi was lucky number one.

 

...He wasn't going to achieve anything else.

 

When people asked years down the line, who their favourite was in Bangtan, they'd go "wait, Suga? Who was he?" His life was meaningless. He had been so naive, thinking somebody like him could find happiness. Acceptance.

 

He was so fucking stupid, no better than ignorant child with hopeless dreams. He hasn't grown up at all. He hadn't gotten anywhere, and everything he had cried and bled for was meaningless.

 

He was meaningless.

 

He hadn't noticed he'd wrapped his own hands around his own neck, squeezing his windpipe between his index finger and thumb.

 

Yoongi stopped moving all of a sudden, eyes wide and heart beating erratically. He needed to move his hands. He needed to let go. He couldn't breathe, he needed to let go.

 

And yet he'd forgotten how to.

 

He thought he was fighting against the anger trying to consume him, but instead he found himself trying to fight the desire to die. His instincts were screaming at him to live, but his emotions were telling him to die. His sole reason for living had just been taken from him, the reason why he didn’t take that razor to his wrist all those years ago.

 

He wished that he’d just given in and saved himself the agony.

 

He didn't know how to unclench the muscles in his hands, to move the bones. It felt too herculean a task, too much effort when he wasn’t even sure what he wanted anymore.

 

To give in or to let go. He felt himself tightening his hands instead of loosening them. He had no reason to live anymore, he couldn’t do what he’d set out to do. Just like everyone told him from the beginning. Everyone had told him, told him to live a mediocre life and not struggle too hard. Told him he’d only end up starving and homeless, that he’d betray his parents and disappoint his brother that had so much hope in him. He would be a fucking nobody.

 

…He should have fucking listened.

 

Because now he was just going to be that kid. That sick kid that had a stupid big dream. That sick kid that just died. The sick kid that everyone was going to forget.

 

Yoongi was angry, so so angry, because he was young and that was all he was ever going to be.

 

His vision was going blurry, his breathing nonexistent. He was on his knees, but he wasn’t sure when he collapsed. He couldn’t feel his fingers or his toes anymore, he couldn’t move his hands from his throat even if he tried. He did nothing but lay there and take it.

 

He was on the ground, and he knew because he could feel the soft carpet on his back. It was the carpet Seokjin picked out, to soften the room. Yoongi only knew how to use cushioning to minimise echo in his workroom, not to use for comfort.

 

But he understood now, because it felt so warm. It was nice here, on the carpet. It was soft, and it felt like Namjoon’s ugly green sweater that was so comforting to hug.

 

It was a good way to die, reminded of Seokjin and Namjoon.

 

…But then he thought about the others. He thought about how he’d miss Hoseok’s blinding smile, Jimin’s big hugs.

 

He thought about the other members waking up tomorrow. He thought about them waking up, coming in to check on him. He thought about them finding him lying on the floor, eyes glassy and throat crushed and bruised by his own hands. He thought about them finding his dead body. Thought about the forensic pathologist telling them it was suicide.

 

And then he thought about what it would be like to watch them all cry.

 

… And then suddenly he couldn’t do it. It couldn’t do it. He couldn’t. He couldn’t he couldn’t he couldn’t-

 

He started panicking, instincts kicking back in with the force of a truck to his chest. He cried out, wrenching his hands away from his neck, releasing the pressure from his trachea. He started crying as the oxygen burned his lungs as they eagerly sucked it in.

 

It was painful to breathe, disorientating as his vision cleared. He hadn’t even noticed how dark it had been. He laid there for what felt like eons, trying to remember how to breathe. His hands were shaking, and he had the most explosive, pounding headache.

 

It was so fucking painful to live. It hurt so much, and he wanted so badly to just make it stop. He didn’t want to do this anymore. He couldn’t take it, he was so weak, so tired. He’d reached his limit, sucked himself dry of everything that was convincing him it was worth it. But he couldn’t do that them. He couldn’t leave them like that, so weak and selfish.

 

If he was leaving this world, it wasn’t going to be by his own hands.

 

He buried his face into his hands, thumbs digging into his temples to stop the pain from tearing apart his head. He had to be strong, but he couldn’t anymore. He loved them more than he cared about his life, and it hurt. He didn’t want to love them so much, but he couldn’t help it. He had loved them more than life, and it was the worst thing he’d ever done. He wanted to be selfish. He wanted to die.

 

But he couldn’t.

 

He needed to live for them. To love them with all he had, until there was nothing left.

 

His knees curled into towards his chest, foetal as his heavy tears covered his face. He couldn’t, but he wanted. He wanted more anything for the pain to stop, but not more than he loved them. The contrasting emotions were tearing him apart, making his skull feel like it was fracturing from the strain.

 

He buried his face into his hands, palms digging into his eyes to fend of the pain.

 

And he screamed.

 

 

 

Spring was basically a thing of myth, Jimin decided as he tried to fan himself with his shirt. Spring had decided to pull a fast one on them and just not exist, just launching straight into summer. It shouldn't already be 40° this early in the year, but it was anyway.

 

The small fan sitting on the desk next to him did all it could, which was a whole fucking lot of nothing. It spun side to side, puffing the occasional cool air that was totally insufficient, at the boy sitting in their workroom. He wanted to do a log today, with so many things swirling around in his mind. But, he didn't know how to put those emotions and thoughts into words.

 

Reality was really setting in for Jimin. He'd been starving it off for a while, denying the thoughts that came to mind.

 

But he realised he was losing Yoongi, piece by piece.

 

He saw the bruises on Yoongi's neck this morning as the elder stumbled to the bathroom, walking past Jimin in the hall without noticing he was even there. The bruises were in the shape of hands.

 

Yoongi's hands.

 

Jimin had stood there for what felt like years, blinking blankly at the door Yoongi walked through, only scrambling into shoes and out of the house when he heard the shower turn off. He didn't understand it, didn't understand Yoongi anymore. He wasn't the same hyung Jimin had grown to know, not quite. Yoongi didn't realise it, but they'd already lost part of him.

 

They'd lost his unfaltering hope. His belief in something better.

 

....And now everything started darkening into shades of grey.

 

 

 

Jimin's log went viral, but in a different way that the news did. Because news was news. It was just words.

 

But then there was Jimin sitting in front of a camera, spilling his heart out of his chest as tears slipped down his cheeks. It struck something deep within the public, seeing what they'd been going through behind closed doors. Seeing the effects on the human spirit of watching a friend deteriorate, unable to help. He also mentioned that it just as bad as everyone thought it was. He didn't shy away from telling the truth, hardness behind the tears in his eyes

 

Yoongi might not have long.

 

He asked for forgiveness, respect, and prayer. Forgiveness from keeping this from them; respect for Yoongi, for the paparazzi to leave him alone in this horrific time; and prayer that the chemo would finally work.

 

He begged anyone watching, begged them to pray for him.

 

It was the only hope they had left.

 

 

 

"What is happening, Yoongi?"

 

"So you heard."

 

"Don't give me that tone." Yoongi's elder brother hissed, voice slightly static over the phone. "Yes I fucking heard, over the television. I'm your brother and I found out along with every other stranger."

 

"I'm sorry, Hyung. I couldn't make myself tell you."

 

It went silent, his brother reigning in his anger.

 

"So, you're dying?" His brother asked, like he couldn't believe the words coming out of his own mouth.

 

"Probably."

 

"That's not very fucking assuring, Yoongi."

 

"Well nobody really knows, Hyung. Maybe, maybe not."

 

Silence.

 

"Just...how much does it hurt?"

 

Yoongi was suddenly ripped back to when he fell off his bike, little pale knees scrapes on gravel and eyes filled with fat tears. Trembling lips and tiny sandals. Setting afternoon sun, dry weeds swaying in the breeze, gravel warm under his palms after a day in the sun. When his elder brother would lean down and kiss him on his forehead, wiping away his tears until their mom ran over.

 

Hyung always knew how to make it better.

 

"It..it hurts, Hyung." Yoongi whispered, throat dry and eyes damp. "It hurts a lot."

 

His brother heaved a heavy, shuddering breath.

 

"Okay, Yoon...Okay."

 

"When I get back I will...I'll come find you okay?"

 

"Okay."

 

"See you, Yoon." His brother said, just like all their other goodbyes. Yoongi was just about to hang up, before he paused and stared at the seconds ticking over on his screen. He brought the phone back to his ear.

 

"I..." Yoongi considered it, then remember his decision to live with no regrets. "I love you, hyung."

 

His hyung paused, and then Yoongi heard a smile in his voice.

 

"Love you too, kiddo."

 

He hung up, sighing as he dropped his phone listlessly onto his lap. He leaned back, head resting over the back of his chair as he stared up at the ceiling. It hurt to talk to his brother, the man that supported him when nobody else did. He hated that he didn't tell him immediately, and that he continued to keep things from him.

 

But he knew it was better to part with a promise than with a goodbye.

 

...Because then at least they could pretend that they would see each other again.

 

 

 

Jimin heard sniffling from the dance studio.

 

Being sick now was even worse than it used to be when trying to complete intense schedules. Now, being sick meant Yoongi was more vulnerable. It meant that they could get Yoongi even sicker, which seemed almost impossible. He always seemed to have a fever these days, boiling hot and causing ice packs to melt on his skin.

 

He opened the door, and was greeted with the sight on Taehyung sitting against the mirrors across the room, head tilted back to rest against the mirror with tears running down his cheeks.

 

As soon the other boy saw him he sat up.

 

"No,” Taehyung said quickly as he leant forward abruptly to press the sleeves of his sweater against his eyes to attempt to remove the tears from his face. But, his sleeves were already soaked and would not absorb the tears anymore. Jimin wondered how long he'd sat here and cried.

 

“No, it’s...I’m not crying. I'm not. Crying is for weaklings who are still in school with...with fucking four-point-seven GPA’s and live with their moms."

 

Jimin took a hesitant step forward, kneeling on the floor in front of Taehyung with gentle eyes. He reached out to push Taehyung’s matted bangs from his forehead. Taehyung’s eyes were bloodshot, his nose and cheeks red from furious rubbing with his sleeves, and Jimin felt like somebody had kicked him in the chest, robbing him of breath and all his self-restraint.

 

Taehyung was so exhausted from breaking down, so spent and aching. And, despite all of that, he was pulling himself back together with words alone.

 

They all had ways of coping. Taehyung's coping mechanism was that he shielded himself by pretending his problems didn't exist. Pretending everything was fine and his mind wasn't slowly fracturing under the strain. It worked, he could shut it all out. But, only until they built upon one another, grew and bubbled over like a volcanic eruption. His issues swamped him until he was left on his knees, scrambling for breath as he drowned in his own thoughts. Just like he was right now.

 

It wasn't healthy, but Jimin was in no position to judge. His own coping mechanism was just as bad, if not worse.

 

Taehyung was the type to always try to act like an optimist and boast about the positives of something as stupid and mundane as sweatpants. But, as Jimin watched him wipe at his nose and sniffle softly...the younger was anything but the Taehyung he loved, replaced instead by his inner demons. He was never one to share deep emotions, instead projecting only the light hearted ones to cover it up. So, it was rare to see Taehyung like this, stripped down to the rawest part of his humanity.

 

“Crying is for losers who care too much about the future,” Taehyung whispered through a sob, leaning into the touch and resting his hand over Jimin’s when it came down to cup his cheek. “Crying is for people who aren't successful, because we've got everything haven't we?"

 

Jimin felt his heart break just that tiny bit more.

 

"Maybe, but we are still human, Tae."

 

"But...Yoongi-hyung." And that was all he really had to say. Just thinking about how much their Hyung, their strong and fearless Hyung, was suffering; was more than enough reason for Taehyung to break down like this.

 

"He's the strongest person I know." Taehyung whispered, heartbroken tears trailing down his red cheeks. "If he can be bought to his knees by this fucking disease, what's the hope for anyone else?"

 

Jimin just lent forward, hugging Taehyung's head to his chest and stoking his hair. He looked into his own tired reflection, pain and compromise clear on his face.

 

"I'm not sure anyone could give you an answer for that."

 

 

 

Namjoon was terrified.

 

He was used to being insufficient help to others. He was used to just passing the issue over to Seokjin, who seemed to be able to fix the situations seamlessly.

 

But this wasn't something he could pass over. This wasn't a burden that had a quick fix, or he could just ignore until it lessened.

 

He couldn't even pretend to be able to ignore Yoongi's failing health.

 

Yeah, the doctors said that Yoongi was young. Said that he was young and healthy and he had everything in his favour. They assured them, before plugging another bag of poison into Yoongi's veins. Namjoon knew he was not educated in that field, and he should listen to the experts.

 

But, Namjoon also knew death took who it wanted, young or old. His age only counting at twenty three years didn't not grant him any special considerations. And Namjoon was never a very religious man, but he prayed that Yoongi would live through this.

 

The world at least owed him that.

 

 

July

 

July heralded the beginning of the end. The chemo sessions weren't getting any easier, if anything, Yoongi just seemed to be getting sicker. He constantly a low-grade fever nowadays and his bones had this deep-set ache that never went away.

 

Yoongi's place was usually hugging the toilet, body seizing and muscles spasming as he threw up everything he managed to shove down. Namjoon watched him, trying to help to hold Yoongi's weight when the constant seizing and gagging left him too weak to hold his own weight over the bowl. But that was only if the older let him.

 

Sometimes Yoongi refused to even be touched, just sat there, hunched over as he vomited all over the floor and himself. Only when he was done would he allow anyone to touch him, when he'd spent every last bit of energy and emotion that he had nothing left. Only then would he allow them to drag him up off the floor, gently strip him of his clothes and clean him up. Namjoon had lost count of how many times he'd cleaned Yoongi's vomit off his own pale skin.

 

"It's getting worse." He whispered in realisation as Yoongi's thin frame shuddered. Yoongi looked over his boney shoulder, dark eyes heavy and resigned.

 

Yoongi smiled, a small quirk of cracked lips.

 

"A lot of things do."

 

 

 

"If I had an older brother, I would want him to be like you, Yoongi-Hyung."

 

"Don't be stupid." Yoongi growled and Taehyung tried to not show how his stomach plummeted. But then Yoongi smiled, all gums and teeth and it was the happiest sight to meet Taehyung's eyes. It was filed with so much love, more love that he could even comprehend.

 

"I'm already your brother, in every way but blood." He grinned. "And I'll always be around. No matter what."

 

Yoongi was as earnest as anything, but even the most heartfelt of promises could not be guaranteed.

 

"You promise?" Taehyung said, holding out his pinky like a child who wanted to do anything just to believe. Yoongi lifted his own hand, and linked appendages with him before his hand could shake too much. "You promise you will never leave me?"

 

"Promise."

 

 

Yoongi wondered when he became such a liar.

 

 

 

Yoongi collapsed.

 

...They never really got an answer why.

 

And that really fucking hurt, because Seokjin had done everything in his power to ensure Yoongi would be as healthy as he could be. And to be told none of it even mattered anyway...well they may as well have shot him in the fucking heart.

 

Cancer just seemed to be an excuse for everything that was going wrong.

 

The hospital had become an all too familiar place in the last few weeks, but now it was apart of them. It was in the air they breathed, a heart beating alongside their own.

 

Outside Yoongi's hospital room it was a mess of shoes in different colours and sizes. Like Goldilocks and the three bears, if there were actually six bears and Yoongi was the smallest bear. Seokjin liked to think he was the goldilocks, blonde and beautiful but with a ravenous hunger for other people's porridge.

 

At least that was a better story than their reality.

 

Yoongi was thankfully unconscious when he entered the room, allowing Seokjin a short reprieve. He didn't have to pretend to be strong for him. He could wallow in his guilt without Yoongi insisting it was okay.

 

Because it wasn't okay anymore.

 

The members were all in the room, dotting the space like props for this depressive tale. Jimin was sitting beside Yoongi holding his hand, as always, he refused to leave. Hoseok was sitting on the floor at Jimin's feet, head on the younger's thigh. Taehyung sat in the corner, as per usual. He felt safer when he had a wall covering his back, like it would protect him or something.

 

Seokjin wished their enemy was something that they could be protected from so easily.

 

Namjoon and Jungkook were the worst, in Seokjin's opinion. They were all in fucking hell, but while the others were still here, they weren't. Seokjin could tell their minds weren't currently with the rest of them. Jungkook was stood next to Yoongi's head, almost like a diligent bodyguard if not for the fact that he leant on the wall like it was the only thing holding him up. His eyes were blank, lifeless. If Seokjin hadn't known better, he'd think that Jungkook was the one that was sick. His eyes accompanied by the bags under his eyes made him look sickly. He looked thinner too, and Seokjin felt his heart twinge painfully. He'd failed Jungkook too.

 

But even Jungkook couldn't compare to poor Namjoon. The young man was sitting at the end of Yoongi's bed, on the edge of his plastic chair with his arms folded over the footboard. His chin was on his arms, back bent in a way that screamed defeat. His eyes were staring, watching Yoongi with upmost attention. The only that broke his oppressive stare was the slow, mechanical blink of his eyelids. He hadn't moved otherwise in three hours.

 

Seokjin realised Namjoon didn't look human anymore. None of them did. And, he tried to remember what being human looked like.

 

He looked around at his friends broken eyes and blank expressions. The constant cycle of flashes of hope making them believe desperately that it would finally stop, before the sudden crushing despair came in to remind them that life was so incredibly fragile. It just kept happening again and again, and each time they crashed the fracture just deepened a little more. But now, no. Now they were just fractured pieces, unrecognisable even to themselves.

 

...And he realised none of them were really human anymore.

 

Because the cycle had finally taken its toll. They knew this was it. This was what was left for them and for Yoongi. The fracture was going to continue to get deeper and deeper, cracking more and more until there was nothing but dust. It was going to get worse until they were nothing but wind scattered dust, torn apart by fate and time.

 

They didn't know it yet, but they were right.

 

 

 

Yoongi was brought out of his drug induced rest to the doctor hovering over him, taking a needle away from his IV that supplied much needed vitamins and minerals his body wouldn't take otherwise.

 

The doctor leant back, and Yoongi blinked and looked around. The members all had their eyes on him, apart from Jungkook. The youngest was staring out at nothing.

 

"I have your results, Min Yoongi-ssi." The doctor prompted, making Yoongi focus his attention back on him.

 

"Unfortunately, the chemotherapy still isn't having the desired effect. Min Yoongi-ssi's leukaemia is highly aggressive." The doctor explained professionally.

 

"I'm sorry to inform you that his cancer is now in his bones."

 

It didn't sound like much, but Yoongi knew. The cancer was now inoperable, and it was killing him. Hoseok gasped, cried out in shock and Jungkook suddenly moved, turning on his heel and slamming his fists into the wall with a broken wail. But to Yoongi, it wasn't really that big of a deal. He guessed he'd already known for a while now.

 

This is the way he was going to die.

Chapter Text

 

The hot glowing surface expands quickly making the fireball bright again.

 

 

Jungkook was not a stranger to helplessness.

 

But not in the sense most would expect from somebody in his position. Jungkook was immune to most things others buckled under. He didn't mind the strain of hours of practise. Didn't mind missing sleep to preform, or spending hours on the road. He wasn't a victim of that cycle.

 

No, he felt such overwhelming helplessness because he couldn't help others. He couldn't help his Hyungdeul. They suffered so much, especially now with this horrible cancer that was destroying Yoongi.

 

It was killing him.

 

And now Jungkook knew the most heartbreaking sight in the world was watching Min Yoongi cry. Jungkook just felt this horrible chill settle in his stomach, watching tears run down his cheeks and his eyes fill with pain. It was like going from a warm homey little coffee shop, to stepping outside into frigid winter. How the wind would cut through him, the cold pierce him. How he'd feel stiff, his limbs freezing up as the cold settled into his bones. And if he watched for long enough, how his body would freeze over. How he'd be buried in snow that clung to him, suffocating. He'd die, tears freezing on his cheeks, and a scream trapped and silenced in his lungs.

 

Because it was the most heartbreaking feeling knowing within his very core, that there was nothing he could do for Yoongi. They were just a couple more victims to fate. Just a couple kids with their lives taken from their own hands.

 

But, he hoped desperately that fate was gentle in bringing Yoongi to his end.

 

Jungkook couldn't take any more heartbreak.

 

 

 

"Fuck that, mom. 's my own life."

 

Namjoon knew as soon as he stepped in the door it was a bad time. He almost backed out and closed the door, but Yoongi had spun around in his chair, beckoning the younger over with a flip of an incredibly boney hand.

 

Namjoon edged inside as Yoongi turned to look at the wall while he focused on his conversation. He was using dialect, which usually happened when he was around people from his hometown. Or when he was angry.

 

Namjoon wasn't sure which one it was this time.

 

"Don't pull tha bullshit. I've been making ma own choices since I was fifteen." Yoongi growled, but it was a little weak. Tired. Namjoon pulled out his phone and pretended not to be listening, feeling the tension rising off Yoongi.

 

"I'm twenty three now, mom."

 

"I know I'm young, okay. I'm twenty three and I'm gonna die, is that what ya wanted to hear?"

 

Namjoon flinched just a little, fiddling with phone but not really looking at the glowing screen. Yoongi just said it like it was old news, but for everyone else it was too fresh. Namjoon hadn't let himself think about it, he couldn't. It was a reality too harsh to bear.

 

"I'm fine, Ma. Fuckin' fine."

 

"Fine. Yes. Okay. Love ya too."

 

Yoongi hung up, chucking his phone onto the desk, letting it clatter with whatever else was on the surface.

 

He put his head in his hands

 

A low keening sound left Yoongi.

 

Namjoon realised he was crying. He immediately ran over, kneeling next to Yoongi and wrapping his arms around him. Yoongi didn't object, curling his hands into the fabric of the younger's pull over.

 

Yoongi sobbed, deep and terrible. Namjoon felt his heavy tears soak through his pullover, felt his muffled cries pierce through his chest.

 

"Joonie." Yoongi sobbed, gasping and crying. His nails dug into Namjoon's skin as he struggled to speak. "I....I really-"

 

"I don't wanna fucking die!"

 

Namjoon pulled Yoongi closer to his chest instinctively as he started wailing. He him to his chest as Yoongi broke down. He wanted to protect Yoongi, wanted to help him, but the only thing he could do was hold him. Hold him, and hope he was strong enough to take it all.

 

 

 

"Jackson."

 

"What's wrong Nam? You never usually call me."

 

"I can't talk to anyone else about this. I...just. I can't."

 

"Nam, is this about Yoongi?"

 

"He's dying."

 

"Oh shit, Nam. Fucking hell. I knew he had cancer but I didn't-"

 

"I know he's going to die. I know it, he knows it, everyone knows it. But nobody fucking talks about it. I can't just pretend, Jack. I can't pretend Yoongi is going to be around for my birthday, because I know he won't."

 

"Then don't pretend, tell me whatever you need to."

 

"I'm scared. I'm fucking terrified. It seems so unreal, like a horrific bad dream. He's only twenty three, Jack. Everything was just starting to be great for us, we were finally having the impact we always dreamed of. But the thought of him not being around makes me feel so sick, it's all I can think about."

 

"Oh, Nam."

 

"Just...try to spend time with him. Let him know how much you mean to him. Don't let him go with any regrets. He's still alive, Nam, you haven't lost him yet."

 

 

Jimin had a plan. A plan to get Yoongi out of the house. To do something fun.

 

"You could at least tell we where we are going."

 

"That would defeat the purpose of a surprise, hyung." Jimin reminded, grinning as he marched along the streets, Yoongi trailing behind.

 

"I still need a reason to be out here in the bloody cold." Yoongi sniffed, digging his chin into his massive calf length calf. He was quite the picture, beanie pulled over ears and black mask covering his face so only eyes were visible.

 

"Isn't the thought of a surprise enough?"

 

"Nope." Yoongi grumbled and Jimin rolled his eyes, slinging his arm around Yoongi's shoulders. Yoongi didn't push him off, and they walked down the city sidewalk together, masks and coats protecting their identity from curious glances. People would still recognise them if they looked hard enough, it wasn't like they could hide everything without looking ridiculous.

 

But nobody even glanced twice in their direction, too busy with their own lives.

 

All the better for them, because Jimin wanted to take Yoongi to a secret place. It wasn't that interesting, really. But he thought Yoongi might like the privacy of it.

 

The place was dark, scary and uninviting. If Yoongi didn't trust Jimin so much he'd be decking it outta there. But Jimin was a smart kid, and he always knew how to make Yoongi feel better. Suddenly lights switched on, and the room dazzled. Yoongi looked up, seeing an old disco ball above his head with a light point at it, sending shards of light all over the dusty room. Yoongi could see now that it was an old roller skating rink, like from ones in the seventies. The food under his feet was scratched from use, and the paint on the railing around the small rink was chipped.

 

"Tada!" Jimin called, standing over next to the wall, his voice echoing slightly in the empty space.

 

"Where'd you even find out about this?"

 

"That's a secret!" Jimin sung, tapping his nose.

 

"It was Tae, wasn't it." Yoongi deadpanned and Jimin pouted. Of course it was Taehyung, he had terrible sense of direction and ended up in the weirdest places. For once he'd found himself in a cool place.

 

Yoongi turned to admire the old adverts on the walls around the rink, all weird products that no longer existed, with women with strange pins in their hair advertising it. Yoongi decided post-Korean war that everyone went a little weird in the head if they thought bright butterfly clips for twenty year olds was trendy.

 

"Are we gonna get arrested for this?" Yoongi called out to Jimin, that was rummaging around behind the old reception desk. The cash register was gone, probably stolen, and the ground behind it was littered with strange furniture all in various stages of destruction.

 

"Nah. It's been empty for decades. Beside, Tae and I have been here before and nobody noticed."

 

"If you say so." Yoongi sighed. He honestly didn't care if they did, it would spice things up a little bit. Although, getting arrested for breaking and entering was kinda stupid.

 

"You can only break and enter if somebody owns this place." Jimin reminded, like he was reading his mind. Yoongi opened his mouth to reply, before a sharp sound burst through the air.

 

Yoongi looked up, seeing an old stereo on the wall in the corner. Jimin laughed at the sound.

 

"Sorry, one sec."

 

"What are you even doing behind there?" Yoongi huffed, actually curious.

 

"Music, what else." Jimin deadpanned.

 

"Uhhh well excuse me for not-" loud music drowned out his voice as the stereo finally kicked in, and Yoongi turned to see Jimin smiling smugly from behind the desk. He looked too pleased with himself as he climbed back over the desk and into the rink, standing in front of Yoongi.

 

Yoongi narrowed his eyes at him as he bowed and held out a hand

 

"May I have this dance?" He asked, grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

 

"You realise we could have done this in the studio, right?" Yoongi said, keeping his hands by his sides. Jimin straightened from his bow abruptly, and for a moment Yoongi thought he'd hurt his feelings. Yoongi opened his mouth to apologise for not understanding social cues, but never got the chance.

 

"Shut up and dance, hyung."

 

Jimin grinned and grabbed his hands from his sides, swerving his own hips and a way that looked like it belonged in a salsa dance.

 

Yoongi narrowed his eyes at him, whilst Jimin just stared back amusedly, the edge of his lip quirked. He was challenging Yoongi. Yoongi's brow furrowed, a determined glaze coming over his eyes. He caught Jimin off guard by letting go of one hand, lifting the other and shoving his hip to force him into a twirl.

 

Tonight was supposed to be about fun, after all. He decided it might be nice to figure out what that word actually meant.

 

Jimin blinked in surprise but went along with it, twirling in a circle. However, he didn't do it normally like any other fucking person. No, he just had to show off his phenomenal dancing skills, spinning gracefully on the ball of one of his feet. Jimin smiled at him when he returned to facing Yoongi.

 

"Well, look who's decided to not be a party pooper."

 

"I don't take competition lightly," Yoongi said simply.

 

This continued for a while, each trying to one up the other any chance they could until it got progressively more and more ridiculous. Yoongi soon found himself out of his depth, because he'd forgotten that Jimin had studied contemporary dance, and the boy kept pulling out moves he had never seen and therefore had no hope to replicate.

 

Yoongi decided to fuck it, he was going out with a bang. So, he did his little booty shake that he had started doing back in 2014 with their War of Hormone dance break and now hated doing. He did the stupid arm movements too, swinging them around in a circle to complete the aegyo monstrosity. Jimin just stood in front of him, arms folded. Slowly, his face spread into a full-fledged smirk.

 

Then he simply spread his legs, and seamlessly slid down into a front split.

 

"Rude." Yoongi huffed as he straightened, "but it doesn't matter anyway. I have cancer so I win." He threw his hands upon the air in celebration and, thankfully, Jimin didn't flinch at the joke. Instead he laughed, shaking his head.

 

"That's not how it works Hyung."

 

"Yeah, well-" the sound of a door squeaking alerted them. Both of them whipped their heads around and Jimin curled his legs underneath him, out of the vulnerable position the split left him in.

They saw three small figures standing in the doorway, with long hair and phones in hand.

 

Saesang's.

 

Jimin immediately pulled himself up to his full height. Yoongi just stood there; the happy, carefree feelings from earlier dissipating immediately, sucked up into the dark shadows of the room. The girls moved forward in a little pack, moving into the lights of the room.

 

They were very young, pre-teen at most. Yoongi idly wondered what kind of parents let them stalk men in their twenties this late at night.

 

"Oppa." One of the girls cooed, and a shiver ran up Yoongi's spine. When had he gotten so fucking afraid of fans?

 

Jimin's brain seemed to switch on, and he suddenly moved. He stood in front of Yoongi, which surprised him. Yoongi harshly tugged on the younger's shirt as his muscles unfroze, noticing the younger widen his shoulders and puff out his chest. Yoongi hissed under his breath, because he didn't need to be fucking protected from some little girls.

 

"Beanie." Jimin whispered under his breath when Yoongi wouldn't stop tugging his shirt, wary of the cameras pointing at them.

 

Oh, fuck. He pulled the beanie down over his ears where it had risen due to the minimal amount of friction afforded by his bold head. He also checked his valve, pulling his sweater down over his hands to cover his fingers.

 

He was so fucking self-conscious all of a sudden. It provided a stark contrast to the safety he felt with Jimin, the whiplash making him feel sick to his stomach. Suddenly he didn't mind cowering behind Jimin like a child, as long as it kept him away from those beady eyes and shiny camera lenses.

 

"It's so rare to see you, oppa." One said in a shrill little voice, no doubt talking to Yoongi.

 

"Please leave us alone." Jimin said, voice stern but gentle. They couldn't afford to say their true feelings despite being illegally stalked.

 

"But it's so rare to see you two. That little competition was so cute, oppa!"

 

Yoongi gritted his teeth. They had no right to interfere on his and Jimin's private life. It had nothing to do with them, why could they not fucking see that?

 

"What you are doing is illegal, girls." Jimin reminded, but Yoongi wasn't sure the girls actually cared about that fact. "You can't follow us, it's stalking."

 

One of the girls shook her head vigorously.

 

"Not when I love you! It doesn't count because I love you so much! I'm going to marry you when I'm older."

 

"Oh my god." Yoongi whispered from behind Jimin. These girls were batshit crazy.

 

They had to get out of there.

 

Yoongi didn't think, he just grabbed Jimin's wrist and took off in the direction of the side entrance they used. The door slammed open and they spilled onto the empty alleyway, almost slipping over on the old posters scattered on the ground in various states of decomposition. Jimin decided then to turn his wrist in Yoongi's grip, grabbing hold of Yoongi instead as he started tugging him down the alley towards the main roads.

 

"We gotta lose them!" Jimin yelled, throwing a look over his shoulder. He almost ran into a dented steel garbage can in his haste. 

 

"No shit!" Yoongi cried out.

 

"Really, sarcasm?" Jimin exclaimed shrilly as they launched themselves down the main drag.

 

They ran down two blocks, weaving around startled pedestrians and jumping over brightly coloured signs. The pre-teen girls kept up with them, and Yoongi wondered how much farther they could go before he collapsed.

 

Jimin seemed to have the same fear.

 

"This way!" Jimin grabbed the back of his shirt suddenly and hauled him down another dodgy-looking alleyway. Yoongi swore he almost got whiplash.

 

"How do you even fucking know where you are going?" Yoongi snarled, breathing heavily. His head hurt and his chest ached, but he wasn't stopping.

 

"There's this thing called going for a run!" Jimin snarked, "maybe you should try it sometime."

 

They ran for a little while more, winding along alleys and dodging low-hanging washing hanging from between the cramped buildings. Eventually they found their way back to the main drag, but by that stage they were just walking. Yoongi immediately leant against the brick wall at the entrance to the alleyway, breathing heavily. Jimin fussed over him, making sure he was okay before Yoongi brushed him off. He was fucking sick, yes, but he wasn't about to kneel over and die here in the fucking street.

 

"Catch a taxi." He ordered, making Jimin sigh and rub the back of his neck sheepishly.

 

"I didn't bring any money."

 

"You're serious?" Yoongi asked, eyes wide and begging for it to not be true.

 

Jimin nodded, Yoongi groaned.

 

"How far away are we?" He asked after a moment, looking around at the dark alley they were at the entrance of. They were on a quiet part of the main drag, all the stores either convenience stores or small boutiques. All shut up for the night.

 

"Like, 10 blocks." Jimin announced as he pinched and pulled at the map on his phone. Yoongi tilted his head over to look at it, finding their pulsing blue dot a great distance from the dorm, adorned by a red thumbtack.

 

"Dammit."

 

Yoongi and Jimin pondered in silence for a moment.

 

"Well, down you get." Yoongi pointed to the floor. Jimin looked down at the grungy floor, both disgusted and confused.

 

"What?"

 

"Stand here and bend your knees." Jimin looked at Yoongi strangely, but did as he was told nonetheless. Yoongi shuffled forward, just about falling against Jimin's back. He managed to lift his arms around Jimin's neck, but that was all he could manage.

 

Jimin finally seemed to catch on, sighing as he squatted a little deeper and bunched his thigh muscles in anticipation. He reached behind him, hands winding around the back of Yoongi's legs, catching the back of his knees. He was careful not to just pull Yoongi's knees towards himself, instead bending over further to ensure Yoongi's centre of gravity was over his back. He used his thigh and arm muscles to pull Yoongi up onto his back, ensuring not to hurt his back. Yoongi sighed against Jimin's neck as Jimin shifted his grip on Yoongi's legs. Jimin bounced Yoongi so his legs rested higher and more securely up on his hips. 

 

"You could have just asked." Jimin noted as he finally got comfortable. He started walking home, Yoongi's legs swinging with his every step.

 

"Well next time you wanna do stupid shit invite Jungkook. The kid actually likes running."

 

"Aw but I wanted to take you." Jimin pouted, and Yoongi caved.

 

"Fine but only if I get transported without using my feet."

 

"That significantly narrows down my options, Hyung."

 

"Suck it up." Yoongi rolled his eyes. "You're doing fine now."

 

"I'm not your personal slave."

 

"Shh." Yoongi wove him off. "I'm tired."

 

"Wait, hyung." Jimin stopped, arms tightening subconsciously on his legs. "Tell me you aren't seriously considering falling asleep now."

 

"I don't have to tell you anything." Yoongi answered, yawning. They were almost home anyway, and he knew Jimin would get him home safe. The kid was so nice he'd probably tuck him into bed too. And he was tired, sue him.

 

"No, hyung!" Jimin whined. "That's such a stupid-"

 

"Night, Chim."

 

 

 

A fan had caught a shaky, low quality video of the Jimin and Yoongi Escapade (TM)

 

It was only just of the last few minutes of their goofy battle, just before Yoongi did the little booty shake and Jimin obliterated him with a full-on split.

 

Most of the conversation between them had been edited out, instead showing them chasing Yoongi and Jimin before Jimin reached out an arm and yanked Yoongi down an alley by the jacket, losing them.

 

Normal fans immediately condemned the actions of the girls, and the video was taken down from Twitter due to the sheer amount of people reporting the video.

 

Yoongi was kind of stunned. It was the only emotion he could really feel.

 

At any other time, the girls would have ruined his night. Made him feel exposed, going into hiding for three days to get the feeling of their gazes off his skin. However, these days he found himself easy to forgive and more appreciative of every moment. Yes, he absolutely despised how they had torn the carefree smile from his face and instead made him tingle with fear.

 

But they were eleven year old girls, and Yoongi was fighting fucking leukaemia. They were incredibly pitiful in comparison to the enemy Yoongi already fought every day.

 

One day they would realise what they had done. But, Yoongi probably wouldn't live to see that day, so he didn't dwell on it. They couldn't hurt him anymore, and so Yoongi forgave and forgot.

 

He had his whole life to live in the next few months, and he couldn't waste precious time on such mundane problems.

 

 

Jungkook thought he was subtle.

 

Jungkook was a professional lurker, but Yoongi could always feel his presence. He was always following Yoongi around the apartment almost like a puppy: perched on the armchair when Yoongi laid on the couch, or sitting on the kitchen counter in the rare moments Yoongi decided he was hungry before throwing it back up. Even at the workroom, Jungkook was sitting silently in the corner of his workroom, curled up on a bean bag watching him work. He was always near him, always watching him. Like his own personal shadow.

 

If Yoongi didn't know the kid so well, he'd have thought he was really creepy.

 

But, he did. And he knew Jungkook was worried. Jungkook, like him, was not very good at social interaction. On a level of 1 to 10 on the scale of social interaction, they were both about a -4. Whereas Yoongi had acute social phobia, Jungkook was just painfully shy.

 

Jungkook didn't really know what else to do. He couldn't exactly talk about Yoongi's terminal illness, and even if he wanted to, Yoongi would not. Jungkook and he were sort of two different sides of the same coin, in many ways. Like parallel axis’s.

 

They dealt with similar issues, yet couldn't relate to each other all too well.

 

Jungkook, also, was very sensitive. Not only his nose, but his heart. If Yoongi could only have one word to describe their maknae it was soft. Yes, soft. Jungkook liked mellow fragrances and simple clothes; he liked reliable, sturdy things he could depend on. He collected cosmetics like a magpie collected shiny things, but always preferred the basics. He tried all the perfumes money could buy, both male, female and unisex targeted; and yet he always fell back onto the simple smell of a bar of soap.

 

He pulled off the confidence act quite well, grew into it smoothly. But that was a very small part of him, and he had a whole different self behind the part of him he projected widely on stage. Yoongi, however, would not say it was simply a stage persona. Jungkook was soft and steady, but there was sometimes a flicker of competitiveness in his eyes, or the movements of solid muscle beneath skin.

 

Jungkook was many things, strong and soft, quiet and exuberant.

 

But the thing he did best...was watching.

 

Jungkook was good at watching, essentially. He watched and he learned. He had been like a sponge in the first few months of their meeting, watching with wide eyes from corners of small rooms. He always liked to be aware, to be confident in what he did before he did it. He paid attention to everything and everyone, yet said nothing.

 

Yoongi sometimes wondered how many secrets the kid knew that nobody else did. And it scared him, because sometimes it felt like those wide attentive eyes could pierce through him like arrows and let every secret spill out.

 

Which is why he paid attention when he realised Jungkook had started to lurk.

 

The kid wasn't doing any harm, quite the opposite. He fit into Yoongi's routine like he was blending with the shadows. He never got in Yoongi's way, never touched him or got too close. He was the least abrasive presence to have around him.

 

But, it was still concerning.

 

...Because he wondered if the kid knew how scared he was to die alone.

 

Maybe that was why he lurked, so somebody was always around. Or maybe he lurked because he had nothing better to do. Yoongi didn't know, and Yoongi didn't ask. But he was thankful that every time his thoughts started to get dark, Jungkook would shift or cough and it would bring him back.

 

Jungkook didn't know it.

 

But he was keeping Yoongi sane.

 

 

 

August

 

"The kids think I'm a grump," Yoongi said. "I'm not a grump, right? I'm just... I dunno. Worn down to my bones by the inescapable passage of time?"

 

"Why does that sound like a question?" Seokjin looked at him, before sighing and looking down at his nails. "It would help if you slept more at night and acted less like an owl".

 

"I can't sleep when it's dark. Besides, you know inspiration usually strikes at 11pm, you share a room with me. But the darkness reminds me of my own inevitable mortality."

 

"Hm." Seokjin said, and the joke fell flat. They couldn't really laugh when it was the truth.

 

There was a small pause.

 

"Hyung, seriously."

 

"I guess you can be," Seokjin hazarded, glancing up at him. This was just going to keep happening if he didn't figure out how to shut it down. "But everyone is grumpy sometimes."

 

"I don't wanna be mean. I wanna be a good Hyung while I can."

 

Everything nowadays was a code for something else. 'While I can' now meant 'before I die and there's only memories left of me'.

 

Seokjin swallowed.

 

"I wanna watch a movie." Yoongi suddenly spoke up, making Seokjin sigh.

 

"Alright." Seokjin grunted, unfolding his long legs and wandering over to the case where he kept all his DVD's. The thing was even adorned with cartoon figurines, so Yoongi should have taken it as a warning for what was to come.

 

"Pick" Seokjin said, holding up two cases. Mario and Pororo. Since when was there was Mario movie??

 

"...What the fuck is your deal with Pororo?"

 

"You're not doing a very good job at being nice," Seokjin tutted, shaking two DVD cases. "Pick one."

 

Yoongi flopped over onto the couch, cheek squishing into the armrest. "Hyung..."

 

That got him a flick to his forehead. "Don't even try. Pick something or we're gonna watch Pororo."

 

"Not Pororo. Not again. Anything but Pororo."

 

...They ended up watching Pororo.

 

But it was almost calming. The characters faced the simplest of issues, and they all teamed up in a mix of pastel coloured clothes and cute button noses to work it all out. It was so simplistic, they always found an answer and everything had a good moral. It was so pure, and a short reprieve from the ugly reality he faced.

 

The only way to cope now was to try and forget, to keep his mind away from the horrible questions that came as his life started drawing to an unexpected close. He didn't want to question, to ponder, so he tried to forget.

 

So, he took any breath of fresh air that he could.

 

 

Yoongi was so fucking exhausted.

 

He'd been spending as much time as possible in the workroom, trying to force out every beat and lyrics within himself so he didn't take it to his grave. His computer was filled with files of beats with meaningless names that sounded good and could be useful, but he didn't have to time to put them together or make them into a song. His notebook, all worn leather and crinkled pages was almost filled to the brink of scribbled characters of lyrics that maybe one day could mean something.

 

He didn't have enough time.

 

And yet he found himself weakening to his own body. His once strong and unbreakable motivation started fading as hours past and his body wailed for rest. He couldn't resist it anymore.

 

But he didn't want to go back to the dorm, because that meant he gave up. He didn't want to give up quite yet.

 

Sitting his chair for the past ten hours had made his back ache painfully, almost throbbing as he used to table to lever himself up. He stretched, before stopping abruptly as the pain in his back skyrocketed at the movement.  He reached over into the desk draw, tiredly pulling out his half empty, scrunched tray of paracetamol. He popped out two tablets and swallowed them dry before waddling over to the couch. He eased himself down shakily, laying back and waiting for the paracetamol to kick in.

 

He wasn't sure when he fell asleep.

 

But it seemed like only five minutes later when he woke up and everything felt wrong.

 

 

 

Seokjin was making breakfast when his phone started ringing. He sighed, turning down the heat at the stove to duck into his room and grab his phone that was still on charge next to his bed.

 

He swiped to answer.

 

"Hello?" He answered absently, looking at his hand and thinking maybe he should have also left the spatula in the kitchen.

 

"Hyung."

 

Yoongi's voice was small, quiet. Like if he talked any louder he could fracture. His breathing was airy and frantic, like he was hyperventilating. Seokjin immediately dropped the spatula and ran across the room to his closest.

 

"Yoongi? Are you okay?" He said, pulling on his jeans.

 

"No. Hyung....I-" Yoongi struggled to speak, and Seokjin heard his breathing pick up.

 

"Just tell me what's wrong, I'll come." He said, looking around his room for the first aid box before Yoongi's next words made him stop in his tracks.

 

"I...I can't feel my legs."

 

 

The MRI was expensive but Seokjin didn't even think as he signed over four hundred thousand won. He tried to remember the days when he got snotty at Jungkook for buying something on his card for only a couple thousand won.

 

How their lives had changed.

 

Yoongi was lifted by three nurses onto the MRI bed, one holding his neck and shoulder whilst the others his arms and feet. He was told to hold himself as stiff as possible as they lifted him, but the members watched through the glass as his legs just hung limply. The nurse had to hold his ankles together to lift him. Once they lifted him they took the neck brace off him, one putting his hands under Yoongi's neck to adjust it comfortably onto the pillow. Yoongi made himself comfortable while another nurse manually lifted his legs and ankles apart.

 

They quickly left, and the doctor pressed the intercom button.

 

"Min Yoongi-ssi," the doctor called and his voice echoed scratchily into the room. "Just stay as still as possible, okay? You'll hear a loud clanging noise, so don't panic."

 

Yoongi didn't respond.

 

The bed holding Yoongi started moving into the machine with a low whir, shifting his body until everything but his feet disappeared into the machine. The bed stopped abruptly and the low whirring ceased.

 

"We are starting now." The doctor informed. Almost immediately the loud clanging noise started, constant and periodic like a heartbeat.

 

It felt like forever. Watching, waiting, listening. The constant clanging was the only sound in the room as they all breathed shallowly in anticipation and dread. It was suffocating.

 

The doctor took a sharp inhale, making every pair of eyes snap to him. The scan was developing on his large HD screen, like flower petals unraveling in slow motion. Yoongi's skeleton became recognisable, and to their eyes everything looked like it should. But then the doctor zoomed in on the scan, and pointed to the lower part of Yoongi's curved spine, hovering over his lower spinal cord.

 

"See these sections here, the more opaque ones?" He pointed between the vertebrae. Seokjin hesitantly moved closer, looking intently at the place the doctor pointed. It was slightly opaque, looking like it was inside his spine.

 

"That's a tumour." He said gently, like if he said it softly it wouldn't hurt. "He has tumour inside his vertebrae. It's compressing his spinal cord."

 

"What does that mean? What-"

 

"The spinal cord is incredibly fragile, and any pressure can seriously damage it." The doctor informed gently, before sighing. "It's paralysed him."

 

Seokjin felt the air in his lungs punched out of him. Fatigue, yes. Bleeding, yes. Walking? God. He didn't even know cancer could do that.

 

How could it just take everything so easily?

 

"It’s operable, but we have to act quickly if he has any chance of walking again." The doctor reassured, but to Seokjin it was almost nothing but white noise. Hoseok seemed to notice, coming up to him and shaking his shoulder.

 

"Hey, it's okay." He whispered, hand warm on his shoulder. "It's just another one of those things, we've done this before. Another complication. We just get him treatment, okay? The best treatment, remember?"

 

"He's fucking paralysed, Hoseok!" Seokjin suddenly exploded, skyrocketing the tension suddenly like the protective bubble around them popped, like there was nothing left to protect from the tragic reality. He rounded sharply on Hoseok, and everything went silent. He could hear his own heartbeat in his ears, a dove chirping repeatedly outside the window.

 

 Hoseok's hand slipped from his shoulder.

 

"Hyung."

 

"No." Seokjin cut Namjoon off, turning back to the doctor. He breathed deeply, collecting himself before speaking again. "Is he going to walk again?"

 

"Well, with the proper physiotherapy and-"

 

"Tell it to me straight, doctor. I'm not kidding myself. He's cancer ridden, weak and constantly tired. This tumour is possibly the least of his multiple issues. Is he really going to be able to walk again before he dies?" Seokjin listed off, voice strict and firm. He didn't have enough emotional strength left for false hope.

 

The doctor sighed, thinking.

 

"...His cancer is stage four." He chose to reply. It was an answer without it being one.

 

No. He wasn't. Yoongi wasn't going to be able to walk, he didn't have enough time to learn how to again.

 

Seokjin nodded.

 

"Let's just get the tumour out of him."

 

 

Yoongi's mom still had his medical proxy, so the doctors had to call her before preforming the procedure. Taehyung curled into the smallest corner of the room, on the floor, and listened to her scream over the line when they informed her that her son was paralysed.

 

Because she understood what this meant.

 

Yoongi was always independent. He did everything himself, didn't let anyone do something for him that he could do himself.

 

And now he couldn't even fucking walk.

 

 

What was a smile?

 

Hoseok didn't know.

 

Was it an expression of positive emotion? Happiness? Contentment? Excitement? Why did it have polite connotations? Why did people do it? What did it mean?

 

Hoseok didn't know anything.

 

He remembered smiling, properly smiling, as a child. How even the slightest hint of happiness would make his face break into a large crescent shape; exposing teeth and gums as his eyes crinkled.

 

People say you could tell a smile was sincere by the eyes, but what did that mean? A smile is a movement of the mouth, and yet somehow it consumed the entire muscular skeletal system.

 

Hoseok couldn't remember the last time his eyes showed anything. Just dark and blank.

 

Yoongi's illness was breaking them. Taehyung was so quiet, Namjoon was losing his tether, Jimin couldn't stop crying, Jungkook was fading and Seokjin nerves were fraying. Tensions were thick in the air and almost anything could set them after each other’s throats. Yoongi's illness was the rock hurled, and they were the mirror; waiting for the inevitable collision that would destroy everything.

 

And Hoseok could only watch as everything around him started to shatter in slow motion.

 

 

 

Yoongi came home a week later.

 

And nothing really had changed apart from the new wheelchair and scar running down the length of his spine.

 

But soon after Yoongi arrived home, everyone disappeared. Into their own corners and spaces, like they hadn't lived in the living room the past week, sitting hesitantly as they waited for any news. Jungkook hadn't moved from the table, where he was trying to distract himself with an English song he'd been practising. The lyrics in front of him were covered in highlighter and arrows for pronunciation, but they still looked alien. Like no matter what he did, he'd just never get it right. The aura of the room was empty, and Jungkook just had no energy.

 

"Remember when I refused the wheelchair at the beginning?" Jungkook's head snapped over at the sound of his voice. Yoongi didn't really notice his attention, more like he was speaking to the room even though Jungkook was the only one there.

 

"I thought I would never subdue myself to that. I would never make somebody push around my weight, make myself reliant on somebody else just to move."

 

"Now look at me."

 

And Jungkook did. He looked at Yoongi slumped over in a hospital issued wheelchair, knees knobbly and hands boney. As the shadows on his face that hadn't been there before. The independent and viciously passionate man from before was merely a glimmer in his eye, like an old man recalling his golden days.

 

It really went to show just how much had been taken from them.

 

 

 

"You called for me, Yoongi-hyung?" Namjoon called.

 

"I wanna go up to the roof."

 

"You know we don't have an elevator."

 

"I know, that's why I need you."

 

"Jungkook is sitting in the other room and he is approximately three times stronger than me."

 

Yoongi just sighed.

 

"Jungkook is also 18, and not you." Yoongi pointed out and Namjoon just nodded. Best friend stuff. He couldn't deny the flush of warmth that went through him when Yoongi told him he needed him. He felt needed, and loved. He wasn't useless.

 

Namjoon gingerly moved closer. Yoongi reached out from his spot, his arms shaking from holding up their own weight. Namjoon let Yoongi wrap his arms around his neck, leaning over awkwardly. His hands were braced on Yoongi's seat, hands on either side of Yoongi's hips; not touching him as his back curled over awkwardly.

 

"Why do you make everything awkward, Joonie?" Yoongi huffed, tugging him down around his shoulders. "Just pick me up."

 

"I don't-." Namjoon said, unable to finish. He didn't really know why he was so hesitant to pick Yoongi up. Maybe he was afraid of dropping him. Maybe he was afraid of hurting himself.

 

...Maybe he just didn't want to admit that Yoongi was weak.

 

Because he was. He was.

 

And it was a known fact that Namjoon was not the gentlest of people by nature, limbs too long and brain too focused on everything else in his head. Even as a kid he was always thinking about the knowledge he had crammed in his head at all times of the day, aching for his father's approval.

 

But more often than not he was the reason Yoongi was fixing various things around the house like an unpaid handyman, curled up under the sink or standing on teetering piles of chairs. Everyone called Namjoon the God of Destruction, breaking everything he touched. Wether it was something precious or something expendable, it always just seemed to happen. He couldn't help it, no matter how hard he tried. It had caused him so much grief over the years, embarrassment flooding his face and exasperation at himself for being an insufferable idiot.

 

...He was not a stranger to hating himself.

 

But that was not the issue he was currently facing. His self-hatred was a constant in his life, something not too demanding but constantly hovering in the corner of his vision. In the darkness of his heart. It took second place to everything else in his life. He came second, everything else came first. He had to be responsible, be on top of everything thrown at him. He was in charge of more than himself, so somewhere along the way his mental health had fallen through the cracks.

 

But he couldn't even afford to contemplate having any sort of metal issues. He just didn't even try.

 

Because right now he was afraid of breaking Yoongi.

 

"Just get me to the roof, Joonie." Yoongi said quietly, evidently had noticed his mind once again taking him places he didn't want to go.

 

And so Namjoon didn't think, he just did.

 

His arms snaked around Yoongi's frail ribs, finding purchase in the concave of his waist. Yoongi held on tightly as Namjoon move to stand up straight. As soon as he stood properly, he realised it wouldn't work. He sighed, closing his eyes momentarily.

 

Just focus on what's happening around you

 

He let go of Yoongi's waist, letting Yoongi hold on around his neck while his hands moved to lift Yoongi's legs around his waist. Namjoon faltered again, unsure where to put his hands. They fluttered helpless between Yoongi's back and his legs, which hung limply; his cold toes pressing against Namjoon's shin.

 

"Lift my thighs." Yoongi instructed, talking quietly; patient and understanding. Yoongi always seemed to know when his mental state was resurfacing. People may find it cruel that he was making Namjoon carry him when he wasn't even fully capable of himself, but it wasn't. Yoongi was giving him something to focus on. A goal to achieve.

 

Something physical and tangle to work towards, away the ghosts of hatred in his head.

 

He lifted Yoongi's thighs, shifting the elder up his body more to make it easier on his back. Yoongi allowed him to, adjusting his grip around Namjoon's neck.

 

"Come on." Yoongi said, before nudging him with his hands. "Giddy up."

 

Namjoon breath left him explosively, his pensive focus immediately dissolving.

 

"Rude."

 

"Horse-joon." Yoongi replied.

 

"That's the worse name in the history of names." Namjoon told him as he began to move towards the front door.

 

They bantered back and forth as they move across the apartment, not noticing as Jungkook watched them with big eyes from behind the couch.

 

"Ya know, you don't have to be so weird about it, it's not like can feel your hands anyway."

 

"Thanks." Namjoon commented dryly.

 

"You're welcome." Yoongi smiled and Namjoon rolled his eyes.

 

 

 

"It's fucking gross."

 

"The air is filled with smog and the people below are either filled with greed or hope. It's the only reason people come to this city." Yoongi sighed. "So dirty, streets overcrowded and nobody gives a shit about one another..."

 

He looked out, at the brightly abrasive lights that all screamed for attention. The exposed brickwork and pipes in the old buildings, laundry hanging from windows gently flowing in the breeze. He blinked, and the colours blurred in front of his eyes.

 

"But, it's also kinda beautiful, ya know?"

 

He sat, contemplating

 

"I'm going to miss it."

 

 

Namjoon avoided Yoongi for a few days after that, he needed to be alone as he tried to come to terms with Yoongi's passing.

 

He researched, slept, and tried to prepare himself for the inevitable reality.

 

 

 

Seokjin at least tried to keep him, to the barest extent healthy. He tried to make Yoongi take a sip of his juice or eat a few grains of rice.

 

He stopped when he found Yoongi curled over the toilet.

 

Seokjin wanted to cry as he knelt down carefully behind Yoongi's trembling shoulders, his workout bag falling to the floor next to him. He put his spread hands gently on Yoongi's grey sweater, feeling the trembling of Yoongi's frail bones echo through his hands and into his heart.

 

He reached one arm around Yoongi to hold his head away from the mess Seokjin had made him. He put his other arm around Yoongi's front, palm flat against his breastbone to help support his weight. Yoongi heaved, back tensing and fingers digging painfully into the porcelain.

 

Seokjin shut his eyes.

 

Because this was death. This was dying.

 

It wasn't graceful, wasn't purposeful. It wasn't like the movies. It was vomiting as your body rejected all the nutrients you desperately needed. It was the chill in your bones that no number of blankets could fix. It was sobbing into your hyungs neck because everything hurt so fucking bad.

 

Yoongi was suffering.

 

And there was only so much Seokjin could for him now.

 

 

The doctor suggested Yoongi stop taking the chemo.

 

Yoongi just nodded.

 

It wasn't a life changing decision, really. Yoongi had already accepted it, made peace with it. He had fought his entire life. Fought for something better, something more. He fought tooth and nail for everything he had. Fought against the strong current, screaming and gasping for breath but never giving in to the pressure trying to drag him under. He didn't dig his feet into the mud either, he never stopped pushing against everything that tried to stop him; he kept pushing, kept walking.

 

And now it was time to let the stream gently ease him down to a gentler place.

 

 

Yoongi brightened almost immediately as the poison left his system.

 

His skin took a warmer colour, cheeks a little more red. He smiled more, laughed too. His hair started to grow back, the pure black colour he was born with. That got a lot of laughs from the others, since he finally got his purely natural black hair back. None of the others could, because their hair was dyed so much that even the hair forgot what colour it was supposed to be anymore.

 

Jimin constantly played with his hair as it quickly grew back. Whenever Yoongi drifted over to the couch when he started to feel tired, Jimin was always there; insisting Yoongi put his head on the younger's lap instead of the pillow. Yoongi didn't have the energy to refuse, laying side on so his head was pillowed by Jimin's thighs.

 

They were surprising comfortable, and along with the fingers drifting through his hair and over his scalp:

 

Yoongi found sleep came all too easily.

 

 

 

Ever since Yoongi decided the cancer was killing him anyway so why let the chemo do it faster; Seokjin had been lurking.

 

It was different to Jungkook, less lost puppy and more mother hen. Jungkook lurked like he was blending in with the furniture, but Seokjin became the furniture. He let him do what he usually did, but acted like a barrier between him and life. He fed him extra servings if Yoongi would let him, hovered against his back, pressed against him whenever Yoongi moved around or went outside.

 

Yoongi constantly felt the elders fingertips brushing against his back.

 

The paparazzi soaked it up. The fuckers seemed to live at their bloody company building these days. But, at least they didn't know where they lived. Yoongi reminded himself to be thankful for the small blessings.

 

But the most obvious evidence of Seokjin's change was when Yoongi went to sleep at night.  Seokjin who usually just pushed his bed up beside his, lying next to him and not touching him; instead would reach around and hold Yoongi's wrist in a soft grip, fingertips lingering on the pulse in his inner wrist. He'd stay like that for hours, counting the beats of Yoongi's heart until he himself fell asleep and his grip loosened. He had always let go by the time Yoongi woke up, so Yoongi never commented on it.

 

Seokjin just needed a little reassurance Yoongi wasn't going to slip through his fingers like sand.

 

Yoongi let him, didn't fuss when Seokjin had his hands on his shoulders or guided him around like a child. Seokjin was just like that, always had been. Just, Yoongi's decision had evidently shook him, woke him up with the realisation that Yoongi wasn't going to be around for much longer. Really, he just needed to make sure Yoongi knew that he was loved, so he didn't feel like Yoongi died without him doing everything he could.

 

Because in the end, it was Yoongi that had already made the choice to die.

 

But Seokjin still needed to make the choice to let him go.

 

 

The dorm was always quiet nowadays. Everyone tiptoed around the house, talking in hushed tones. The tv was always less that a whisper in the night, barely heard. Grief and pain had made them solemn and silent in every waking hour.

 

So, it was startling to hear somebody cry out in unexplained joy. Even more startling to get to hear it from Yoongi's room.

 

Taehyung sat up from the couch in a cluster of uncoordinated limbs, throwing himself down the hall and into Yoongi's room. Nobody else was home except for Seokjin, but he was showering and had left Taehyung in charge of the silence.

 

But any thought going through his mind was trashed when he saw Yoongi curled up in bed, on his side gripping his feet in tight hands.

 

Taehyung tried to stutter out something, anything, before Yoongi looked up and stole his breath from him. Because Yoongi was smiling. Actually smiling, for the first time since last autumn. And it was so fucking beautiful that Taehyung forgot how to breathe.

 

"Taehyung. Tae. Tae. Tae." Yoongi kept repeating, and Taehyung sat by his side immediately, hands fluttering over when Yoongi gripped his bruised feet.

 

"I can feel my toes." Yoongi was crying, sobbing like he wanted to grab Taehyung at the same time as revelling of the feeling of the heat of his hands against his toes. "I can feel them."

 

"Oh, hyung." Taehyung whispered, holding his hands over Yoongi's to encase his cold toes in more warmth.

 

"I don't know I don't know-" Yoongi cut himself off. "I think my spine his healing."

 

"Are you- Oh my god, hyung. I just-" Taehyung couldn't speak as he started crying, and instead moved his hands from Yoongi feet to encase the elder in a tight hug, hanging over him on the bed.

 

"I know, oh god. Oh my god."

 

Then Yoongi smiled up at him again, and hugged him tighter than he had in a long time. The strength of his limbs felt real, felt normal. His warmth was comforting, and his smile was alive.

 

Taehyung couldn't help the flicker of hope coming to life in his core at the sight.

 

 

 

But people like them were not bound for nice things in this life.

 

Not anymore.

 

 

 

Seokjin woke up in three at the morning to Yoongi screaming.

 

He was thrown into wakefulness, eyes bleary and breathing erratic. He tried to gain his bearings, figure out what was causing such a desperate, painful sound. It didn't take him long to look over to Yoongi to see him arching of the bed, limbs shaking and mouth open in a terrible wail.

 

The others were all the door by the time Seokjin stumbled over to Yoongi's side, eyes wide and too fearful in contrast to their rumpled hair and clothes.

 

"Fucking hell." Hoseok cried out, watching Yoongi shake and seize. Seokjin moved to touch Yoongi, to somehow ease him and figure out what was wrong; but the younger just flinched away and screamed louder.

 

"Doctor, now." He commanded. "Namjoon, keys. Jungkook, carry him."

 

Seokjin wrapped Yoongi up in his blanket, whispering sweet-nothing's as he cried out at the feeling. Thankfully, he didn't take to badly to the pressure of Jungkook lifting him, nor the faint jostling when Jungkook ran down the stairs with him in his arms.

 

They all climbed into the van, Namjoon throwing Seokjin the keys as the younger ones all scrambled in the back. Seokjin didn't even have the time to yell at them to stay home. He didn't have the heart to either, seeing the fear on their faces in his rear-view mirror.

 

Jungkook sat with Yoongi in the passenger seat, bracing Yoongi's head against his shoulder. Yoongi's screams had lessened, but his wailing still echoed through the car as Seokjin sped down the street. Yoongi's bare feet brushed against Seokjin's hand every time he shifted gears. Seokjin didn't want to think about how cold they were. Or think of anything at all.

 

Seokjin threw the van into the hospital carpark, uncaring of the atrocious parking as they all scrambled out of the van; one bare foot after the other meeting the gravel as they pilled out into the street. Seokjin tugged the keys out the car, slamming the door as he rounded the car to help Jungkook get Yoongi out the car. Jungkook brushed him off, instead directly running towards the glass doors labelled in a bright red 'Emergency'.

 

They all stormed through the hospital door; barefooted, in their pyjamas and eyes afraid as Jungkook cradled a crying Yoongi to his chest. The inside was bright but relatively quiet, considering the time of night. Well, until Yoongi's cries echoed through the space and filled it with the sound of his angst.

 

The receptionist nurse took one look at them before standing up and running down the hall, calling for a doctor.

 

Jimin was right next to Yoongi, whispering something to him and brushing his sweaty hair out his face. Yoongi's cheeks were covered in his tears, eyes red from crying.

 

"You're gonna be okay, Hyung." Jimin whispered. "You're gonna be okay."

 

Soon the sound of running footsteps came with the sound of wheels on laminate flooring. A doctor came flying around the corner, two nurses with a gurney following behind.

 

"Name?" The doctor called as he helped Jungkook ease Yoongi carefully down onto the gurney.

 

"Min Yoongi." Seokjin called as they started wheeling the gurney down the hall. Jungkook ran beside the gurney as Yoongi curled up around his arm, refusing to let go. When Jimin tried to follow, a nurse gently grasped his arm and shook her head.

 

"He's been a patient here before, in VIP. He has stage four leukaemia." Seokjin continued. The doctor abruptly pulled Yoongi's gurney to go down a different corridor, moving at a less hurried pace.

 

"Should have said that earlier boy, I thought he was having a seizure." The doctor scolded as he checked a door and pulled Yoongi's gurney into a patient suite.

 

Seokjin ducked his head, hovering at the door.

 

"Well get in here, come on." The doctor continued in a gentler tone, "what is the name of his doctor?"

 

"Doctor Kim."

 

"Boy, we have a hundred doctor Kim's. Which one?" He said as he examined Yoongi, struggling to keep the crying man still enough as he looked at his pupils. Jungkook tried to help.

 

"Seungcheol Kim." Seokjin answered, and the doctor nodded to a nurse. "Go get him."

 

Another nurse appeared as the other left, handing a kidney dish to the doctor. The doctor took it, pulling out a syringe.

 

"What is that?" Jungkook asked as the doctor tried to get a hold of Yoongi's wrist.

 

"No cause for concern. I'm just going to sedate him, he's showing signs of extreme nerve pain."

 

He was quick to inject the substance into the vein just inside Yoongi's elbow. Yoongi's body immediately released tension, grip loosening on Jungkook's wrist as he relaxed back into the sheets.

 

His eyes slipped closed.

 

 

 

"He's developed liver cancer." The oncologist informed. "It's formed a major malignant tumour in his liver. The extreme pain is from the tumour stretching the organ."

 

"Oh." Seokjin responded, because what else was there to say? Bad news was just normal news now, and despite the pain that shot through them whenever they heard it, they'd come to expect it now. They had accepted that they'd run all out of luck, and everything was just getting worse and worse.

 

"I guess that explains it then." Hoseok said. They'd all just become too numb.

 

"So, what do we do now?"

 

"Well, I need to prescribe morphine for the pain."

 

"So he won't feel it." Seokjin confirmed. "What about removing it?"

 

"I could recommend surgery to remove it, but..." He trailed off.

 

They weren't sure if his body could take another surgery. It made sense, really. Yoongi was so weak, fragile like the slightest breeze could knock him over. He wouldn't make it.

 

"I would also strongly recommend Yoongi-ssi stay at the hospital to prevent further complications. We can watch over him and deal with all the problems that may arise from now on."

 

"What problems?" Namjoon questioned, before backtracking. "Why would he need to stay here, he's sick and he needs to be around the people closest to him. We need to support him."

 

"The staff here are well equipped to deal-"

 

"I can be equipped to deal with anything Yoongi-" Seokjin cut in, before he was cut off as the doctor lost his patience.

 

"But are you prepared to watch him die?" The doctor snapped.

 

He took in a deep breath, lowering his head in apology. Namjoon nodded back.

 

"He's your friend, I understand. You want to help in any way you can. It's understandable. But you are not his mother, nor his father. Patient are usually cared for by their families in these times."

 

"Doctor, you are wrong." Hoseok stated, blunt whilst still retaining humility. "You think we will flake and buckle under the pressure. You think we would abandon him. But, we are his family, doctor. We would never abandon one another."

 

"I've been sleeping next to him for five years," Seokjin stated. "And I've cooked dinner for him for longer. I've cleaned up after him and made sure he looked after himself. I want to help him, and I won't let him die in here."

 

"But you aren't his guardian, we need-"

 

"Ask, do what you need to do. His mother will want him safe and loved. She wouldn't want him to rot away in here either."

 

"As you wish."

 

 

 

The oncologist said that there was tumour in his liver, stretching the organ. Malignant, overgrowth of cells. Said it would have been a tiny insignificant dot in the last MRI. Yoongi had been failed by his own body, failed by the health system, failed by the world.

 

Namjoon stared at the dot in the previous scan, and wondered how it could come to this.

 

 

 

Jungkook couldn't remember the last time he had good coffee.

 

The coffee in the hospital was the horrible shit that came out a vending machine, lukewarm cans of carbonated caffeine. Jungkook sat in the empty visitor’s room, sitting in the corner of the one the many tables by himself, staring at the garishly lit vending machine. It's bright, artificial light was the only light in the desolate room due the late hour.

 

He just wanted some nice, warm coffee. He needed just something, anything, to go right for him today. Anything to grasp a semblance of normality after the nightmare they lived in every day in this fucking hospital. Jungkook flicked the open can in front of him, the metal barely echoing as it was still full of its contents. He half expected it to shift across the table, or even spill. It didn't even move apart from a slight vibration that echoed dully.

 

Because even in the VIP section they still had the same shitty coffee. They were fucking paying over a hundred thousand won more every night Yoongi stayed, and yet they couldn't afford some damn proper coffee.

 

But he guessed life was just like that, staring at the coffee can on the table in front of him, compact metal packaging reflecting the bright light from the machine softly. It didn't matter if you were rich or poor, some things just didn't change. Everyone got the same chance by being born into this world, and no matter what you did, everyone was still bound by the same end. It didn't matter about what life you'd lived, or what you'd made of yourself.

 

Everybody died in the end.

 

Jungkook picked up the can and took a swig.

 

 

 

Seokjin felt numb on the way home from the hospital, sitting in the backseat because he felt entirely capable of driving. Taehyung was driving the van, quiet as he took turns and switched the indicators.

 

Seokjin stared out the window, watching droplets of rain descend slowly down the glass, reflecting the early morning light. It was getting cold again. He realised the seasons were passing him by, summer had been barely a blink of an eye. He'd been so caught up in everything that he didn't even notice it was almost autumn again. It was raining, the droplets hitting running down his window as they drove. He rested his temple against the pane, feeling the cold glass against his heated skin.

 

He didn't cry, he couldn't. This pain was something beyond mere tears. Tears were not enough to express the pain he was in, they couldn't fully show the hollow ache settling in his chest. He felt hollowed out, like somebody had taken a scalpel and scraped out all his insides, leaving his chest cavity empty.

 

He couldn't describe it, and he didn't have the energy to. Everything was too much, now. He couldn't take any more of this fucking heartbreak. But he couldn't feel angry about it, he couldn't feel anything. He could only stare out the window, and watch the dark clouds advance in the horizon.

 

...Because he realised that for the first time since this all began, Yoongi's doctor hadn't organised another appointment. They were leaving him to fucking die. But, still Seokjin found himself empty, of anger, of regret. He felt nothing, not even love.

 

He found himself closing his eyes, unable to watch the dark cloud consume everything he ever loved.

 

 

 

They were handed enough morphine to dose Yoongi twice a day, carted home in big boxes filled with plastic bags of sloshing liquid. They didn't care about him become dependant, or addicted. They were just trying to numb him to the pain, so he could at least the rest of his life in peace.

 

Yoongi needed peace, and morphine was the only thing that could bring it to him. But, Jimin did his best to give his mind some peace as well, even if it broke his own heart in the process. So, he laid down next to him, the scent of morphine and hospital in the air, and pretended everything was alright.

 

"I'm thinking of creating a dance for lie."

 

"It sounds like a great idea, Minnie." Yoongi smiled, brittle. "I'll remix it, mix it up a bit to make it more like your dancing style."

 

Jimin smiled and nodded. They both knew Yoongi wasn't going to make it to a board, nor would he ever make another remix. It was just another thing on a long list that Yoongi wasn't going to be able to do.

 

"I recon a trap remix would be cool, you know. Something edgy." Yoongi continued, genuinely pondering the idea. Jimin's smile felt like it was cracking.

 

"Sure thing, Hyung." He said. "You always know best."

 

"Damn right I do."

 

Jimin wondered how long they'd keep up the facade. The both knew every word they spoke was a lie, but they did nothing to stop it. They didn't want to stop pretending, didn't want stop believing that there was something more than this.

 

They didn't want to believe it was already over. Over when they were still so young and with so much more to offer.

 

But, even then, Yoongi always made sure to not leave the important things unsaid.

 

"Jimin, just make some good friends, okay? And where you're with these friends, just say yes to everything. Don't hold back."

 

Jimin just turned to watch him speak, confused. It was abrupt, and it was unlike Yoongi to be so abrupt with his feelings. Especially when it came to Jimin.

 

"Keep away from girls that when you are with them it feels like you are preforming, and stay away from guys that eye you for too long." Yoongi paused to think for a second. "Um, only have a beer every hour and eat good food. Drink lots of water."

 

"What is this, Yoongi-hyung?" Jimin asked, voice trembling a little. Their facade was dangerously close to crumbling like a house of cards. "Why are you-"

 

"This is a just in case package, for, you know..." Yoongi shifted, breathed. "Just in case."

 

It went quiet for a moment, Yoongi picking at the fraying edges of his favourite hoodie.

 

"And I love you and you're amazing...and that's it, so." He shrugged, looking away from Jimin.

 

Jimin tugged his sleeve, making the elder turn back to face him. He looked into his eyes with a small smile and watering eyes. The golden sunset behind him cast the room in an ethereal, transient glow that shined in Yoongi's eyes. Jimin gently held onto Yoongi's sleeve, the universe around them unhindered and fleeting except for this moment.

 

"I love you, too."

 

 

 

Seokjin found himself unable to hide away. Unable to just close his eyes and pretend the despair edging closer and closer to their home wasn't his own

 

And so Seokjin did his absolute best.

 

He'd been to the old city library, had printed out booklets, watched informative videos. He did his best to care for Yoongi. He took notes, bought products, everything.

 

The booklet labelled "how to comfort a dying loved one" had a middle-aged woman on the front cover, gently caressing the face of an elderly man portrayed to be her father. The comparison to their own situation, when he looked away from the picture to see how fucking young Yoongi was, just lying there...it made him sick to the bottom of his stomach.

 

But he still had to read it, because even if Yoongi was far too young for this, he was still suffering the same horrible fate.

 

It told him to make sure the "patient" was comfortable in bed. This included comfortable, warm sheets and eggshell mattress cover. Seokjin had ducked to a nearby homewares store, picking out the most comfortable sheets with a high thread count and outstanding price, a new pillow to support his head and the best eggshell mattress cover they sold.

 

He quickly rushed back home, wary of the paparazzi who were seeking as many pictures of the "hot topic" of the BTS tragedy as they could. Seokjin knew if anyone asked him even one question about Yoongi, he would burst out in horrific tears.

 

And he had to stay strong right now. For himself, and for Yoongi.

 

 

 

Yoongi was cool to the touch nowadays. His feet seemed freezing in comparison to Seokjin's body heat when he helped Yoongi bathe. The booklets all said Seokjin needed to stimulate circulation in Yoongi's feet, to keep them warm and healthy as they could be.

 

So, he did it. Let Yoongi lay on his bed, and gently rubbed his thumbs into the muscles of Yoongi's feet and ankles. Yoongi didn't mind usually, just lifted his head to acknowledge Seokjin's presence before laying back down and staring off into space. Seokjin often wondered if he was rubbing to hard. If the blood bruises on his feet hurt. He wanted to open his mouth to ask if Yoongi was in any pain.

 

But then he remembered Yoongi couldn't feel his touch.

 

And it struck him that no matter what he did, nothing mattered. Yoongi was completely unaffected by Seokjin's efforts, not because he ignored him, but because Seokjin simply couldn't help him anymore.

 

He realised Yoongi was in fucking palliative care. Like he was at the end of his life, but he wasn't even close to thirty. He was barely an adult, and he'd only been given a handful of years to experience the world. There was so much more out there, so many stunning and beautiful things Seokjin ached for Yoongi to see. 

 

But instead, here they were; waiting for him to die.

 

And Seokjin's heart throbbed with more grief than blood.

 

 

 

Sometimes Jimin would just stare at Yoongi.

 

Yoongi would lay there in his bed, sheets and blankets around his feet as his body shuddered with fever in his sleep. He'd watch Yoongi sleep, watched the way he breathed and his eyelids flickered.

 

But none of it could keep the elephant in the room hidden.

 

Because Yoongi was a skeleton. His bones ached under young skin, now exposed to the human eye. His shoulder blades jutted out sharply from his body like a baby bird’s wings, the bones of his ribs so clear that it could be a children's counting game. He knees and ankles were knobby like a giraffe calf walking for the first time.

 

His body was constantly moving in his sleep, like even then his body was restless from the pain.

 

It hurt to see, but Jimin couldn't tear his eyes away. It was a horrible thing really, because even when he wasn't looking, it was all he could think about. All his waking moments, and even in his fitful dreams he saw the outlines of Yoongi's bones.

 

His cancer ridden bones.

 

Because there was no doubt that the cancer was everywhere. His organs were swollen with tumours, his skin ashen and bruised with infection, his bones so fragile Jimin was sure he could break them with his bare hands.

 

And it hurt. It hurt seeing the physical evidence of just how torn apart Yoongi was, how weak his body had become.

 

When Jimin was left alone this nothing but his thoughts, he couldn't help but wonder if the cancer was in Yoongi's brain. Secretly, in the back of his mind...he hoped it was. Because then this suffering would be ending soon. It would be as effective as decapitating him, sudden and only a small moment of realisation before everything was painless.

 

Jimin contemplated Yoongi's end rather objectively, mindlessly. He tried to keep his mind as separate from it all as possible, trying to isolate the hurt. It didn't work. Because every waking moment, every breath was spent thinking of Yoongi. Of thinking about Yoongi leaving him.

 

And it was only a matter of time before he couldn't take it anymore.

 

 

Seokjin realised along the way, that not only did he have to try an minimise the effects of cancer;

 

...He had to try to minimise the effects of dying.

 

Somebody could argue it was all related, but it wasn't. Cancer was the instigator, but death was the destroyer. Cancer was the thing killing him, but the realisation that he was dying was doing so much worse.

 

Because knowing with complete clarity that he was about to lose everything he ever knew, was what really killed Min Yoongi.

 

 

"What do you think comes after?"

 

"What?" Namjoon asked, almost dropping his phone at the sudden sound of Yoongi's question. Yoongi had asked Namjoon to bring him to the studio, for a reason Namjoon didn't know. They didn't do any work; the computers and equipment were all off. Yoongi was sitting in his chair, legs tangling uselessly around the legs of the chair as he sat, staring at up the graffiti drawings he had on his roof of all the dreams they had as kids.

 

There was a silent melancholy in the air, so Namjoon was startled when Yoongi broke it.

 

"I'd like to think there would be a calm, safe place. That there was somebody watching over me."

 

Namjoon let his eyes slip closed for a second, taking in a deep steadying breath. After, meaning death. Yoongi wanted to know what was going to happen to him.

 

"God?" He eventually asked, voice small and fearing reply.

 

"Yeah, God." Yoongi nodded. Namjoon took another breath, his phone's screen fading in his hand as it lacked attention.

 

"I thought you weren't religious."

 

"Me too, but I guess dying puts a lot of things in perspective." Yoongi shrugged. Namjoon dug his nails into his own palms.

 

"There has to be right? We didn't just come from nothing, there has to be a purpose for each and everyone of us?" Namjoon hoped Yoongi was asking rhetorically, because Namjoon couldn't tell him that. Nobody could. "I like to think I was born with a purpose. That making music with you guys and spreading it across the globe was what I was born to do."

 

Namjoon's attention spiked at that.

 

"But that would mean you were also born to die."

 

Yoongi rolled his neck, his head swivelling around as it leant heavily on the chair to face the younger. His head was at an odd angle, tilted back 45° with his hair falling into his damp eyes.

 

"But here's the thing, Namjoon." He smirked, eyes dark. "Weren't we all?"

 

Namjoon's brain shut down to prevent emotional destruction.

 

"It's a bit calming, though, you know? Knowing that I've served the purpose somebody laid out for me. I've achieved everything I needed to."

 

"You are twenty three." Namjoon ground out. Yoongi just shrugged.

 

"I know, but maybe there's nothing left for me here. Maybe I've done everything I needed for the world, made all the impact on others I could have done. I can accept that, if that's what was meant for me."

 

Namjoon's jaw locked, eyes bright with unshed tears. He looked around the room to try and steady himself; looking at the trophies in the corner, the worn carpet under Yoongi's chair, and the well-loved equipment with worn keys and colour-coded cords all organised into their groups.

 

"Well." Namjoon bit his lip to prevent himself from screaming. "I will never be able to forgive him for taking you away from me."

 

"Oh, Namjoon." Yoongi sighed, heart in his throat. Namjoon just shook his head, looking away from Yoongi again as his eyes watered without his consent.

 

"...One day, we'll know for sure." Namjoon whispered, throat thick with unshed tears. Yoongi just smiled and nodded.

 

"I'll wait for you, okay. I don't care if you get a wife and die with her, we are gonna spend eternity just like this." Yoongi gestured around the studio, memorabilia of their time together scattered everywhere. "Our own little piece of heaven."

 

Namjoon grinned then, clicking a button on the keyboard, causing their new track Cypher Pt4 to start bursting through the speakers. He threw his hands up in the air, gesturing to the bass thrumming through the room and through their chests.

 

"Heaven is gonna be lit."

 

 

Seokjin sometimes felt overwhelmed with an unexplainable wave of sadness.

 

He never knew why. He could be doing anything, fluffing Yoongi's pillow, making himself ramen, playing a game on his phone. Anything, and one moment he was fine the next was he bracing himself on the nearest surface as his bod trembled with sobs. But sometimes the sadness setting in was not so sudden. Sometimes he didn't notice it. Just like now.

 

Seokjin didn't even realise he was crying until Yoongi fragile fingers lifted to brush it away.

 

"Please, hyung." He whispered, eye imploring and lips trembling. "Please don't cry for me anymore."

 

Seokjin wanted to curl up on the floor, because Min Yoongi was begging him not to cry with those sad eyes. Min Yoongi did not beg.

 

"I...just-I can't help it, Yoongi." He cried, a sob taking him by surprise as soon as he opened his mouth. And then suddenly, he couldn't control it. He whole body shuddered as his body rejected the wave of emotions.

 

"I can't watch this happen to all of you." Yoongi whispered, watching Seokjin brace his head on the mattress from where he knelt on the floor beside Yoongi's bed. "I can't watch you cry over me."

 

"But you can't make me stop loving you, not ever. Not when I'm about to lose you."

 

Yoongi couldn't say anything to that. He wasn't capable. Seokjin tried not to cry, because now Yoongi just looked even more heartbroken. He was silent, and the muffed sounds of Seokjin's sobs echoed hauntingly.

 

"...It hurts." He whispered with so much pain in his voice, and Seokjin knew it all too well.

 

Seokjin recalled all the sleepless nights, wanting to vomit because his anxiety was skyrocketing as he laid awake in the early hours of the morning, worried sick about Yoongi. Yes, it fucking hurt. It hurt Seokjin every minute of every day, knowing ultimately all he could do was watch, and wait for this all to come to a tragic end.

 

It was a train wreck in slow motion, but he was inside the train; watching destruction advance towards them. And he was holding onto Yoongi's hand, knowing he'd was going to have to let him go when time caught up with them again.

 

"I know."

 

 

 

Jungkook lingered in Yoongi's workroom.

 

It was weird to be in his workroom without the man himself there. It felt too ominous, like his ghost was in everything he touched. There was just so much of Yoongi here, so many hours, so many emotions; so he wasn't surprised that a part of Yoongi's soul had attached to this place.

 

He was quiet and efficient, sliding into the room with cords and the new iPod he bought already in hand. It was just a small thing, seemed rather insignificant now that he thought about it.

 

But he was determined to do this for Yoongi.

 

He sat down at the chair, unfamiliar against his body as it was shaped to Yoongi's. He leant forward, turning on the computer and plugging in the USB cord connected to the iPod. The computer easily clicked into gear, and he logged into his music account.

 

He found the playlist he'd already created on his own phone, and clicked the mouse to download it. The iPod resting next to him vibrated as it recognised the connection and started downloading, shaking the table minutely. He fiddled with the earphones he'd bought in his pocket, the cushioning soft and easy to lay on your side with.

 

...Jungkook was downloading soft music for Yoongi to listen to. Seokjin was not the only one that had done research, but Jungkook decided Yoongi would like something to focus on that wasn't the sound of sloshing water or Seokjin's voice.

 

He'd painstakingly picked out every song in the playlist, soothing but also to Yoongi's tastes. He had classical piano, as well as mellow rap to incorporate Yoongi's tastes for American hip-hop.

 

The playlist of almost 70 songs downloaded fairly quickly, which he expected because Yoongi's computer the best processing power in the building.

 

He was careful to put everything back where he left it, gently pushing the chair in so the leather brushed the table.

 

He shut the door behind himself with a soft, final click.

 

 

It was a beautiful Autumn day. The sun was shining warmly on the streets, fallen leaves scattering with the gentle breeze. Yoongi was having another okay day, which was now the best they could hope for.

 

Yoongi and Namjoon were sitting on Yoongi's bed, basking in each other’s silence. Yoongi had just his second dose of morphine for the day, so his movements were floppy and his breathing was slow. Yoongi didn't get many of the horrible side effects morphine could have, he just got drowsy, which was a small blessing. But, it was never clear how much pain he was in until he'd taken the pills, because it showed just how tense and hesitant to move that he'd been without them.

 

Yoongi usually had nothing to say as the opioid dampened the pain throbbing and burning throughout his entire nervous system, just relaxing in a way he only could if he had enough painkillers in his bloodstream.

 

"Hey Joon, do you remember the rooftop?"

 

Namjoon didn't reply immediately. The rooftop. It was a highly confusing and non-specific question. Which rooftop? Where? There were so many rooftops in this city.

 

But no, Namjoon knew exactly which one.

 

The first rooftop they climbed together, all those years ago. When debut was an elusive mist in front of them, just out of reach.

 

"It's been a awhile, huh." Yoongi continued, seeing recognition on Namjoon's face.

 

"Seven years." Namjoon confirmed. Yes, it was a very long time ago. But the time had passed so quickly, like it had been rushed through and not fully lived. They were so busy with work and schedules and practises and meetings that the time had disappeared from them without their notice.

 

"I can't believe I'm saying this, but I kind of miss it."

 

Yeah. Pre-debut was an in-between, a void, a nothingness. They'd strayed too far from their original paths and the only thing they could do was push until they reached the other side. If they'd let themselves fall they had nothing to go back to.

 

Namjoon knew that if they hadn't made it to debut, Yoongi wouldn't have survived it. Simple as that.  Yoongi at that stage had nothing else; his hometown unsympathetic, his relationship with his parents too tense and icy to be considered supporting, his brother far away in the military. His pride wouldn't have allowed him to come home, his social anxiety would have isolated him from the millions of people in the city, and his depression wouldn't have allowed him to survive. On his own, after losing everything else...Yoongi wouldn't have lived past twenty.

 

But, Namjoon understood the nostalgic quality of it. He understood why Yoongi missed it.

 

Because back then it was just them. Nobody knew about them, nobody cared: just they were still the most basic forms of themselves. Stripped down to their core morals and violent determinations, to be built back up into a better version of themselves. 

 

Now life was so chaotic. Everyone wanted a piece of them, and they worked tirelessly, day in day out, to prove to themselves and everyone else that they were worth of the love they received.

 

They wanted this life so fucking bad, but that didn't mean it didn't take its toll.

 

But now, there had been a shift in their lives. It wasn't just schedules, practises, meetings, performances, travelling and television shows. Now, it was medication, wheelchairs, Intravenous stands, chemicals, vomiting, exhaustion, poison, blood, sickness sickness sickness.

 

It made sense to miss a time when everything was normal and life was mundane.

 

But Namjoon wasn't like Yoongi. He didn't miss pre-debut, not really. He didn't miss life's simplicities, didn't miss the cramped rooms full of teenage boys and the awkwardness of seeing each other naked for the first time as they all tried to have a shower before the hot water ran out. He didn't miss that, but there was something else that he missed.

 

He missed Yoongi's baggy jeans and shaggy black hair. He missed Yoongi cursing him out and not agreeing to anything he said because he was too proud to have a guy younger than him tell him what to do. He missed Yoongi smiling at him so delicately on his twenty first birthday, when Namjoon could finally afford to buy him the high-quality headphones he'd always wanted. He missed watching Yoongi rap into their cheap, low quality microphones in rooms covered with oddly shaped foam, spitting and snarling at the injustices in life with so much passion that Namjoon felt his heart lurch into his throat.

 

...He missed Yoongi.

 

Without thinking, Namjoon lurched forward and grabbed Yoongi, holding him tightly with his arms around his waist and head resting on his shoulder. He felt Yoongi stiffen at the suddenly action, before he body relaxed into Namjoon's grip, and his arms came around Namjoon to hug him tightly.

 

It was rare for Namjoon to show such strong physical affection to him; their friendship wasn't very physical like Jimin and Tae's. It was more a hovering warmth at your side, a shadow alongside your own. They had each other without acknowledging it. Always did.

 

But, he found he didn't mind the affection it at all. They moved seamlessly into the comfortable silence they’d had for years, almost able to read each other’s thoughts as their hearts beat in alignment.

 

“I miss you.” Namjoon whispered. Yoongi buried his face in Namjoon's neck, hands clutching onto the back of his shirt, bunching the fabric in his hands.

 

“I miss me too.”

 

 

Sometimes the morphine wasn't enough.

 

Sometimes Yoongi just laid prone on his bed as tears slipped from unblinking eyes. He'd just lay there, frozen and unmoving. Tears would run in a constant stream down his cheeks, because even breathing hurt. Seokjin knew that the cancer was probably in his lungs by now. Mutating and destroying.

 

But Seokjin didn't give up. He tried everything. Drew him warm baths, gently massaged his head and feet, read him books.

 

But sometimes even that wasn't enough.

 

At those times, Seokjin would sit on the floor next to Yoongi's head; gently pushing his hair off his forehead as he sung him lullabies. Soft, airily little lullabies to sing him to sleep. Yoongi would watch him with rapt attention, stare into his eyes whilst Seokjin sang delicately. He didn't care that they were made for little kids, didn't care about the lyrics. He'd just listen to Seokjin sing gently, his soft notes embracing the younger with gentle arms. He'd feel lighter, his body less weighed down from all the pain and sadness. And tears would trickle from his eyes as he watched, so so exhausted but filled with so much love.

 

Seokjin's little lullabies were saved for those days. Those desperate painful days.

 

...Those that he constantly feared would be his last. 

 

 

 

Yoongi kept going, somehow.

 

Seokjin tried to remember the last time Yoongi had a good day. Every day was a bad day now, and Seokjin had no more misguided hope to keep him going. Some days he'd think, this was it. This day was his last. But... Yoongi still stuck around, clung to life by his fingernails as the rest of his body dangled in the abyss. Seokjin idly wondered if Yoongi was a masochist, because all that life offered him right now was more pain.

 

But Yoongi couldn't quite give up on this life. It was the only one he had.

 

Seokjin took it upon himself to be the one to distract Yoongi from the pain. The booklets recommended music, drawing, books, and warm baths. Many options Yoongi couldn't achieve, but that was okay.

 

Seokjin had a hushed meeting with their manager in the darkness of night, begging for permission to install a bath in their dorm. Yoongi's body ached so bad, weighed down by the both the pain and gravity. He didn't want Yoongi at a public bathhouse, he didn't want to subject Yoongi to relying on Seokjin to hold him like a kid to stop him from floating away.

 

Sejin was taken aback by his plea's, by the deep bow he threw himself into as he begged for even just a small bath, just a small one. Sejin told him he'd ask the PD, because he was the one that paid for the building they lived in. Seokjin spent a day, waiting, hoping for the news. He couldn't bear watching Yoongi cry simply because Seokjin wasn't doing enough for him. He didn't want Yoongi to suffer, not if he could avoid it.

 

Less than twenty four hours later Sejin relayed his permission, a supporting hand on his shoulder and a comforting gaze. The PD had even offered to chip in a few hundred dollars for the renovation.

 

Seokjin wasn't so absorbed to think the money was for him and his quest, it was for Yoongi, and Yoongi alone. Their PD was not a harsh man, but he was professional to the bone. He probably didn't know how to address Yoongi's terminal illness and nearing death. Seokjin was glad he wasn't a harsh man, because if he was he could have kicked Yoongi out and ripped up his contract on his death bed for not being able to preform.

 

But he wasn't. He probably just...didn't know what to do. Seokjin could relate. But, Seokjin didn't need the money, he was prepared to pay for it himself. But it was a kind gesture even if he never visited Yoongi. But Seokjin knew Yoongi didn't mind. The less people to watch him fade, the better.

 

They installed a deep bath, making it difficult to put Yoongi in the bath but deep enough that when he was in there, he could float weightlessly. They're ended up being no room for a shower because of it, but none of the members protested when the workmen informed them so.

 

Everyone would take baths, because they were willing to compromise everything and anything for Yoongi.

 

 

 

Seokjin soon found the warm baths worked the best. It allowed Yoongi to take the gravitational pressure off his heavily aching bones, giving him some relief.

 

Nakedness was something that didn't exist in their household anymore. It hadn't really for the last few years, as they all got used to everything about one another. Seokjin had seen Hoseok walk from the shower to his room naked too many times to be fazed.

 

But now, it was just gone.

 

Seokjin undressed Yoongi in his room and carried him to the room, where somebody else, usually Namjoon had already set up the bath with soft, comforting scents swirling in the air along with ribbons of rising steam. Seokjin usually put Yoongi in the bath himself, but sometimes one of the others was there to make sure his legs didn't hit anything or that the water wasn't too hot. It was a strange moment of vulnerabilty for them all. But it helped Yoongi feel more human, more alive; so they endured.

 

And they continued to endure, because it was all they could do.

 

 

 

Sometimes Jungkook wondered how Yoongi was going to die.

 

Was his heart just going to give out? Was his liver going to fill his body was toxic waste? Was the extreme pain going to break him? Was he going to suffocate? There were too many options. It was just a matter of which one took him first. And it seemed he wasn't the only one that pondered this.

 

"Please."

 

"N-no, Hyung. "Jungkook stuttered, hot tears welling in his eyes from both disbelief and utter despair. "You can't ask somebody to do that for you."

 

"I'm asking you."

 

"Why me? Why would you ask me?"

 

"You're strong, you know what's right. I know you've been watching, you've been waiting and assessing like you always do. You know."

 

"I-I..."Jungkook tried to protest. He couldn't think, there was too many emotions and thoughts clouding his head. He knew he should be making a perfectly logical argument, but his brain was still caught up in the fact that Yoongi wanted Jungkook to kill him. He never thought his promise to Yoongi could turn into something like this.

 

"Seokjin hyung is too gentle to take a life, even if it is for the best." Yoongi sighed. "He couldn't make himself do it, not even if I begged him. I can't force that on him, but I know that you understand."

 

Jungkook wished he didn't. He didn't want to be understanding, he didn't want to know. He wanted to be 15 again.

 

He wondered how they'd come to this.

 

"There's a possibility I'm going to die by asphyxiation." Yoongi explained, a little too calmly for somebody discussing their own death. "The tumour is developing fast in my lungs, and it may end up being the thing that ends up slowly crushing my bronchi. Slow suffocation is what waits for me, Jungkook. It could take hours until I finally die."

 

"Oh God." Jungkook hissed. He hated seeing it spelled out in front of him so clearly. He didn't want to watch Yoongi scream soundlessly, completely aware and sane as his lungs finally gave up on him. He didn't want to see the terror in his eyes as instinct overtook him, clawing at his own throat as he tried desperately to breathe.

 

He couldn't watch that happen.

 

"I want you to get some sleeping pills, hide them. And if it comes to that, I need you to lock Seokjin out of the room, okay? I need you to lock him out and then coax me to swallow as many pills as you can."

 

"I can't, Hyung. I can't." Jungkook gasped, hot tears falling down his cheeks as he shook his head violently.

 

"Yes, you can. You are the only one, Kook. Namjoon may have the same understanding as you but he doesn't have the emotional strength to lock Seokjin out and force the pills down my throat. He could never do that to me."

 

"Hyung, I c-"

 

"I'm sorry, Kook. I'm sorry it had to be you. But I need you to do this for me, if it comes to that."

 

"I don't wanna die like that, Kook. I don't wanna spend hours as my bronchi are slowly crushed until I can't breathe."

 

"I...okay, Hyung."

 

Yoongi grabbed him, bringing the younger to his chest. Jungkook buried his head into the elders collarbone.

 

"You have to make sure it kills me, Kook. Hold your fingers on my pulse until you can't feel it anymore. Seokjin and the others might kick and scream and cry but you can't let them in. You can't, Kook. Not until I'm dead, not until my heart stops beating."

 

Jungkook burst out into sobs against his shoulder; his hot, distraught tears running down the elder’s collar bone. Yoongi held him closer than he ever had before.

 

"When they get in they will cry. They will scream and cry and they will hit you. Don't let them hurt you, tell them I wanted it. Don't feel any guilt, Jungkook, it will be painless for me. It will be just like falling asleep."

 

"Oh my god, Hyung." Jungkook sobbed horrendously. "You deserved so much more than this. There's so much you will miss that you should never have had to."

 

"Oh, Kook." Yoongi breathed.

 

"Don't let any of this destroy you. You might have to put me down, you might not. It's okay. I'm going to be okay Jungkook, and you will be too." He brushed the younger's hair back soothingly. "You've still got a whole life ahead of you, you're only eighteen. Live, sing, find a girl. Love her, love her more than you've ever loved anything else. Marry her if you want to, or don't. Live life how you want, Jungkook. Just please, don't let my ghost haunt you."

 

"Hyung, God. I don't want you to die. I don't, I can't, I-." He cut himself off, clutching Yoongi close to his body like he was trying to fuse them together. As though his love could somehow cure him, stop him from slowly disappearing from his life.

 

Yoongi brushed the younger's hair away from his face, pressing his nose into the dark strands. He took a moment, breathing in the smell of Jungkook. He smelt like lemongrass and something so purely Jungkook that he wanted to cry. He scrunched his eyes closed desperately, trying not to cry. How dare anyone take him away from Jungkook.

 

"You'll be okay Kook. You'll be brilliant no matter where you go, you're the Golden Maknae remember?"

 

"I.."Jungkook couldn't say anything, too emotionally drained and bone weary from crying.

 

"But if all else fails, and the world does wrong by you..." Yoongi took a deep breath, clutching Jungkook tightly to his chest as he ducked his head against the younger's hair.

 

"Just know that hyung will always love you."

 

 

Sometimes Hoseok wondered why he still stuck around.

 

Objectively, the reason why he came to Seoul was to preform and make a living as a dancer. That was his sole reason for being in this overpopulated city.

 

But right now, he made no money, and watched bank accounts drain to keep up Yoongi's care.

 

He wondered if he should just leave. How much easier it would be to just pack his bags, and disappear. Cutting off the ties he'd created and starting anew somewhere. Seven years ago, the men he lived with now meant nothing to him, he didn't even know their names.

 

So, seven years ago the obvious choice would have been to let them go. Care about himself, look out for himself. He learnt early on that everyone in this city was vicious, so in order to survive you had to put yourself first.

 

So seven years ago, he created a shell.

 

But seven years ago, he wouldn't have even batted an eyelid when he watched Min Yoongi die. Because that's what people did. People died, and yes, and it was unfair and tragic; but it didn't really matter to him. Min Yoongi didn't matter to him. He was just another kid with a dream that he couldn't achieve. Hoseok had become immune to watching others fail, and therefore would have just sighed and would have been glad it wasn't him.

 

Now the choice was so much harder.

 

Yoongi wasn't just another kid with a naively big dream. He was his hyung; his soft, caring, passionate hyung who loved him so so much. Who looked at him with so much love and sorrow as his body grew weaker with each passing day. But Hoseok still felt the itch to take flight develop in his bones. He didn't want to watch this tragedy unfold. He didn't want to have a front seat to watch it all explode. He didn't want to watch Yoongi die, and he didn't want to have to live in this fucking house if Yoongi wasn't going to be in it.

 

But, this was his fight too. He couldn't leave them all like this. Not after everything they'd been through together.

 

No matter what happened, no matter how much it hurt: he wasn't going to leave them. He was gonna sit by Yoongi's side, and he was gonna hold his hand throughout it all. It didn't matter how much it fucking hurt. Yoongi needed them.

 

Because these were Yoongi's last days, and Hoseok had many years ahead of him to be selfish. Yoongi didn't even get the chance.

 

He stormed into the house he'd been avoiding, to the room that smelt like despair and broken dreams. He dropped by the side of the bed where Yoongi watched him, a confused furrow in his brows and a shadow cast over his sunken face.

 

Hoseok had hurt him, and he wasn't going to shy away from it. He wasn't going to let his fear dictate him anymore.

 

"What...what are you doing?" Yoongi questioned, unsure where they stood. The distance between them was less than a meter, but it felt like a mile. Hoseok stared at him for a moment longer, before biting into his own lip to make the pain spark movement. He reached forward, closing the distance between them. He took Yoongi's hand in his own, folding himself to the side of the bed as his hand shook in Yoongi's.

 

Hoseok clasped his hand tighter, afraid of letting go.

 

"I'm fighting."

 

 

The bottle of pills shook in Jungkook's hands, no matter how tightly he gripped his hands around them.

 

The trembling wouldn't stop. Not even when he hid them under his bed. Not even when he sat on the couch, watching tv. Not even when Yoongi gave him those sorrowful looks from across the room. The trembling never stopped, and Jungkook wondered if he was capable of killing his hyung just be caused he asked him. He wondered if he was capable of murder.

 

He knew he was. He knew that if it came to it, Jungkook would hold Yoongi down, hand over his nose and mouth until he stopped breathing. It didn't matter how much he cried, as he waited for the sedative to slow down Yoongi's heart until it stopped. He'd still do it.

 

...And he wondered if that made him a monster.

 

 

 

"I'm sorry." Yoongi whispered, barely more an exhale.

 

Seokjin just shook his head, swallowing the lump in his throat.

 

"You have nothing to be sorry for."

 

 

 

The company let them have full reign, the staff stepping back with pitiful eyes and saddened smiles whenever they saw Yoongi passing by in his wheelchair.

 

They decided to take advantage of it.

 

They were pinching a company car, the black van that they usually travelled in for fan meets and performances. They didn't tell Yoongi, all of them cooking up the plan whilst he slept. They packed it up late in the morning, when it was midnight in Yoongi-time. Jimin was charged with waking Yoongi up. He gently pulled the sheets off him, brushing his hair out of his face as he smiled and as he told him what they were doing today.

 

"Wanna take a bath?" Jimin asked as Yoongi pondered their plans.

 

"We are going to a beach." Yoongi reminded.

 

"Oh yeah." Jimin smiled, rolling his eyes at himself. It got a smile out of Yoongi, so he didn't mind too much.

 

"What do you wanna wear today?" Jimin asked as he kneeled over the bed to wrap his arms under Yoongi's armpits to lift him up to lean against the adjacent wall. It didn't take much effort, but he pretended it did to make Yoongi feel better.

 

Yoongi hummed under his breath as Jimin settled him against the wall, sitting upright with the wall supporting his back as his were legs curled a little awkwardly in front of him. He didn't care though, it wasn't like he could feel them.

 

"Comfy. I want my black sweatpants and my grey turtleneck." Jimin just nodded, moving over to the closet the grab the two items. He brought them over to Yoongi, placing them next to him. Yoongi could put his own shirts on but he needed help with his pants.

 

"I'm gonna be really cold too." Yoongi said, "can you get me one of the other guys huge sweaters? I wanna layer them, and none of mine or yours will be big enough."

 

"Seokjin-hyung's?" Jimin asked, but Yoongi shook his head.

 

"You know he'd kill me for wearing one of his designer soft cashmere things." Yoongi reminded. "Oh, and not Jungkook's sweaters either. He hates sharing clothes."

 

"Yeah, like his undies." Jimin cackled as he walked out the room. Yoongi sputtered, choking on his saliva.

 

"That was one time!" Yoongi called out after him, but he just giggled as he walked away.

 

 

 

Jimin had helped him dress in his clothes and Taehyung's dark green sweater that zipped all the way up over his chin. It was soft and warm, so he didn't care when Taehyung came into the room and immediately started laughing because he looked like an egg. Taehyung finally sobered up enough to carry him down the few flights of stairs, but his giggles still vibrated against Yoongi's chest.

 

Fuckin' infant.

 

"Go go go!" Jimin cried as he jumped in the car and slammed the door shut behind him.

 

"Calm down mate this isn't grand theft auto." Yoongi sighed, before noticing Seokjin biting his lip to prevent himself from smiling. He looked around at the others, and Jimin was the only one that met his gaze, smiling impishly.

 

"Or is it?" Taehyung whispered ominously.

 

"Wait, did you fucking steal our own van?" Yoongi squeaked, making Taehyung burst out in deep laughter as Seokjin peeled out sharply onto the road.

 

"Define steal." Hoseok grinned devilishly, and Yoongi groaned and rested his head against the window.

 

"Fucking unbelievable."

 

 

 

Yoongi complained, especially when they got out of the car. He stared at the sand from where he was still perched in the car, with a frown on his face, a soft blanket curled around his shoulders and pooling on the ground.

 

"How is my wheelchair supposed to deal with this?"

 

"It's not."

 

Before Yoongi could question this, Namjoon came in from his side and picked him up, bridal style, before marching him quickly down to where Taehyung and Hoseok were spreading a picnic blanket out on the sand. Yoongi didn't bother to squirm or complain, just sighing and curling the blanket up tighter around him as the abnormally warm autumn breeze cut into his thin skin.

 

"No more fucking diets ladies and gentlemen." Seokjin announced. "I have fried chicken."

 

"No way."

 

"Yes way."

 

"Why didn't you tell us earlier."

 

"Well, you'd know if any of you bothered to pack food!" Seokjin huffed from the picnic blanket, standing over the esky's with hands on his hips. "I'm not your mother!"

 

"But, hyunggg. You are our mom, didn't you know? The best mom." Hoseok sucked up from where he was pulling out a bunch of towels. "And Namjoon's the dad."

 

Namjoon rolled his eyes, shifting Yoongi's weight in his arms.

 

"I'm not your dad. Yoongi's the dad."

 

"Fuck no." Yoongi responded immediately. "You have all the responsibility. I'm the grandpa, I get to just sit and complain about shit."

 

“You do that anyway."

 

Yoongi flopped back over his arm in a silent protest, going limp in Namjoon's arms. His head hung upside down and his arms swung around limply, staring at the sunset upside down. Namjoon staggered unexpectedly, now holding all of Yoongi's weight, wondering why he thought he should be the one to carry the miniature asshole.

 

"Move the fuck over so I can put this fucking toddler down. He's too heavy.”

 

"I'm a grandpa, not a toddler." Yoongi said as Namjoon carefully placed Yoongi on the picnic blanket, tucking his blanket under his feet to avoid the wind getting underneath. "You have to be my loyal son; feed me and wipe my ass."

 

Namjoon gagged whilst Jungkook found the whole interaction entirely too entertaining.

 

"Stop prematurely ageing Namjoon, you've already put out his back." Seokjin called from where he was setting out the drinks.

 

"He's fuckin weak." Yoongi snorted, making Namjoon groan.

 

"I just carried you for like a kilometre."

 

"I weigh 46 kilograms, ya pleb."

 

"Pleb?" Jimin choked from behind them, umbrella in his arms, while Namjoon looked affronted.

 

"Did you just call me a member of the lower class?"

 

"I can do more than that."

 

"Okay, we are here to have fun not use prehistoric slang to piss each other off."

 

Jimin just laughed in that way of his, sticking the bottom of the umbrella in the sand over the esky and setting it up efficiently. Although, he had to call Jungkook over to hold the very top nob of it when he was trying to tilt it over the esky's without tipping it, earning an avalanche of short jokes.

 

Jimin responded by flinging sand at Jungkook's face.

 

Taehyung was already tearing his clothes off at the water’s edge, oblivious, revealing the most ridiculous swim shorts to ever exist, in a bright canary yellow. With pineapples on them.

 

Although Namjoon really wasn't one to judge others fashion sense. Hoseok was, though. Even though he had the fashion sense of a raccoon on steroids.

 

"Hey Tae, the 60's called and Austin Powers wants his clothes back."

 

That earned laughter from everyone, even causing Jungkook to snort obscenely which made everyone laugh harder. Taehyung just shrugged and started strutting along the sand like a model, flipping his imaginary long hair. Namjoon shook his head at all of them.

 

“What happened to exploration of inner beauty? To expressing yourself?” Namjoon sighed.

 

“You did,” Seokjin snorted. "Ruined it for the rest of us."

 

"Oh yeah, say that to my face, mom jeans." Seokjin spluttered, pointing an accusatory finger at Namjoon.

 

"These are perfectly expectable trouser to wear for men under the age of-"

 

"Children." Yoongi called lightly from his blankets, curled up. Yoongi was sitting there, head tilted back and eyelids gently closed as he felt the warmth of the sun dance across his face.

 

They immediately shut up.

 

...Except Jungkook was never the most patient one.

 

"Chicken chicken chicken." He started chanting only 10 seconds later. Seokjin sighed and staring pulling out the food.

 

"Do you think about anything other than food?" Hoseok asked, and Jungkook looked at him like he had asked the dumbest question in existence.

 

"Um, I'm not Seokjin-hyung?" Jungkook deadpanned, like it was obvious, ignoring the indignant 'hey!' from Seokjin further away. "I have other interests in things, such as fine art and-."

 

"And by fine art, he means my ass." Jimin called. Jungkook immediately choked on his chicken, giving Jimin the reaction he wanted. Both Jimin and Taehyung immediately burst out in outrageous laughter. Seokjin ignored Namjoon and Yoongi's amused smiles as he shook his head, watching the 95z as they reached across Jungkook to high five each other. Sometimes they made it their life mission to tease Jungkook. But, that was only when Tae and Jungkook weren't already allied against Jimin. Now that was a mess.

 

The elder members were thankful it wasn't a 'tease the midget' day.

 

Soon the younger members started stripping off, apart from Taehyung; who had launched himself into the water the moment he stopped eating, despite Seokjin yelling about him getting a stomach ache.

 

Yoongi admired their healthy forms with a contented smile on his face. They all used to have abs, in the early days, when they preformed that stage where they lifted their tops. They worked and starved and desperately tried to fit in the mould teenage girls wanted.

 

But, this was nicer. Now they didn't have to be perfect to know they would be loved. Yoongi wished he had known that in the beginning, that he didn't have to look a certain way to get noticed. He guessed that was the benefit of accumulating a larger international fanbase. They didn't expect perfection, just effort. It was nice to be adored, even when his tummy was a little softer. All the members were now a little tanner, softer. More human.

 

Yoongi loved them so much it hurt.

 

But, Jungkook was still the fucking male model as always. Yoongi needed to remind Namjoon to put his protein powder on the highest shelf.

 

Jimin and Taehyung played relatively innocently in the water, but it seemed Jungkook had other plans. Yoongi watched, wrapped up in a blanket whilst Namjoon and Seokjin talked to each other obliviously, the boy crouching in the water so it was only up to his neck as he edged closer to Hoseok who stood, hands on his hips, laughing at Taehyung's swimming technique. Yoongi didn't say anything, despite already identifying Jungkook's less than innocent intentions.

 

He just watched, swallowed by the second thick woollen blanket Seokjin had also wrapped him up in so only his head was visible.

 

Suddenly, the boy leapt; water splashing and seaweed launched onto Hoseok's back. The elder shrieked, jumping a foot in the air comically before screaming as he ran away through the water at a slow, but no less frantic pace as Jungkook advanced with more seaweed. They both looked ridiculous, attempting a high-speed chase in waist deep water, making them run in slow motion while Hoseok tried to use his hands to paddle himself away faster, flicking water everywhere unsuccessfully.

 

Yoongi chuckled quietly in his blanket burrito, the sunset bathing his skin and hair in a healthy glow as he watched the 95z join in on the seaweed battle with giggles of delight. Namjoon and Seokjin looked over at him with equally loving looks that he failed to notice.

 

Sunshine glistened of the four in the water, water droplets clinging to their wet hair and healthily tanned skin. The smiles on their faces were bright and perfect, all white teeth and full or mirth. Yoongi watched them, pale cracked skin and sunken cheeks that miraculously failed to swallow up the small, contented smile on his face.

 

The leader and the eldest looked at each other, noticing the pain on both their faces. Namjoon gave Seokjin a small, broken smile, making the older reach over to squeeze his hand. It was attempted to be a comforting gesture, but Seokjin squeezed too tight in an attempt to ground himself.

 

They both knew they didn't have much time, maybe a week or two left. Yoongi was self-destructing, his own cells claiming everything piece by piece. The cancer was spreading through body freely, tumour festering inside his organs that desperately tried to function. He was already finding it hard to breathe.

 

They were going to miss him so fucking much, it was going to hurt. Like the deepest pain imaginable. His loss would be an ache that would never fully go away, like the muscle twinges in a lost limb.

 

Forever reminding them of the part of them that they'd lost.

 

 

 

September

 

Yoongi had never been naive.

 

He knew he was going to die.

 

He didn't want to say goodbye. He didn't want it to be so final. He'd been dying for too long, been fighting for too long. This was at least something he had control over. He just wanted to...move on. Like a farewell to a friend that was catching a train back home. Or to a classmate you knew you'd see next Monday. He didn't want to believe that this was it, that he'd never see them again. That was a reality too hard to bear and he was honestly terrified. But, the thing that scared him the most in the world was not leaving it.

 

He was scared of leaving them behind.

 

 

The day Jungkook turned nineteen was a bittersweet one.

 

It was a beautiful Autumn day outside, falling leaves and the faint scent of orange in the air as the nearby orange trees started to bloom.  It fell on a Thursday, so by the time they'd all woken up everyone in their area had already gone to work, so the streets were quiet enough that you could hear birdsong faintly in the breeze.

 

But it was also one of those really horrific bad days for Yoongi. The ones where he felt like he was made of thin porcelain under pressure, and seconds away from giving in.

 

Days when they wondered if he was really still with them anymore.

 

They all went to Han River, to feel as though they were celebrating and not just surviving another day. They made themselves a little nest, picnic blankets on the grass near the river’s edge covered by layers of blankets and pillows. Yoongi was handled delicately throughout the whole process, carried by Jungkook as the others prepared silently, as his mind fading between painful reality and empty oblivion.

 

Jimin had organised Jungkook's cake, a simple chocolate mud cake with a modest number of candles poised upon it. There was also seaweed soup in a thermos being shared in the little cup they made from the thermos lid. Yoongi had stayed in Jungkook's lap, curled into the smallest ball with only his darkly bruised feet hanging over Jungkook's thighs. Jimin had made sure to pull the warmest planet around his feet, rubbing his hands over them so the friction would create warmth.

 

Jungkook held him close throughout the day, hand resting on the nape of his neck to help him keep his head upright against his chest. Everyone tried to enjoy the day, and tried to ignore to way Yoongi clung to Jungkook like he was his only tether to life.

 

Yoongi didn't eat anything they passed around, and soon the seaweed soup Jungkook had placed in his hands had gone cold. He hadn't eaten in two days, but that was just a given now. Jungkook gently eased the little cup out of his boney grip, placing it on the ground next to him before wrapping Yoongi's hands in his own to warm them up, tugging the softest fluffy blanket around them up tighter.

 

Everyone sang a heartfelt happy birthday to Jungkook, and Jungkook looked at all of them with so much love it felt like he was going to burst. Yoongi just curled up tighter in his arms and mumbled the lyrics, but Jungkook felt the same amount of affection.

 

God, he loved them so much. Every single quirk and trait about them.

 

...He didn't want what they had to end.

 

"Look at you, all grown up." Yoongi breathed, a whisper of choked breath against his breastbone. Everyone agreed after pausing to allow Yoongi to get all the words out, lamenting on how much Jungkook had grown from their tiny little dongsaeng as he blew out his candles.

 

Every word made Jungkook's ears ring and sent tendrils of pain shooting through his bones. Because the contrast between then and now made his heart ache. It made him realise just how much he missed Yoongi, missed the fire behind his eyes and the awkward expressions of affection.

 

Made him realise just how much of Yoongi they'd lost already.

 

Yoongi was looking up at him with the softest smile, as Jungkook watched the wisps of smoke rise from the defused candles. Jungkook's eyes slide from the candles to Yoongi's smile. The gums exposed by his smile were grey and spotted with blood, the smile too big on his brittle face.

 

"Happy birthday, Jungkookie."

 

Jungkook had never felt so much overwhelming love and crushing heartbreak simultaneously.

 

So, he just buried his head against Yoongi's hair, and tried to hold onto him as long as he could.

 

 

 

Jimin realised there was something about running his hands through Taehyung's hair that was incredibly calming.

 

Taehyung was currently asleep on his lap, head and arms curled up close to his body while the rest of his lanky body was splayed across the couch. One of Taehyung's arms was curled up right next to his face, subconsciously keeping his fingers warm by sticking them between Jimin's knees. This was a familiar position for them, they'd even documented in on their public Twitter multiple times.

 

But now they both needed it more than ever.

 

Jimin was carding his hands through Taehyung's soft hair, noticing his natural roots had grown into the soft red quite substantially. Huh. Jimin hadn't even noticed. None of them had done anything to their hair since the promotion period. Jimin couldn't remember the last time he'd seen Taehyung hair so unkempt. They usually never had to worry about their hair, how it was coloured or styled because it was all done for them. Now, that nobody was butting in and checking up on their appearance, it had just slipped under their notice.

 

Jimin hadn't noticed his roots because his hair had been a close shade to his natural hair.

 

He wondered what else he had failed to notice the blur that had been the last few months. He'd been so caught up in everything that was happening, worried about Yoongi and about everyone else that he'd just...not noticed.

 

Their lives had slipped by them in their desperate attempt to keep Yoongi's going.

 

Time was a continuous force of nature, so it was only a matter of time before it caught up with them.

 

He couldn't look at a clock anymore, he was too afraid of what it meant. The glowing numbers on his phone screen were completely meaningless, a forgotten language. Instead, he could only live in moments. Like now, with Taehyung's hair between his fingers and the younger's slow, steady breath on his skin.

 

It was all he could take.

 

 

 

Yoongi lost control of his bladder.

 

Seokjin knew something like this could happen, the pamphlets said so. Yoongi's body was shutting down, his bodily functions failing on him. He couldn't help it.

 

Yoongi didn't talk for a whole day after it happened, letting Seokjin carry him and bathe him, change his sheets and tuck him back into bed. No, he just stared into the distance with glazed over eyes, like he wasn't quite there.

And he wasn't. Because this was just another piece of him that they'd lost. Seokjin realised Yoongi wasn't really alive anymore. He was just in that in between, not alive but not yet dead, just decaying. His heart still beat and his lungs still breathed, but there was nothing else. No inspiration lighting up his eyes. No gummy smiles. He was a shell of himself, a body that lived but had no spark of life. So, was that really living? Was it?

 

Seokjin realised Yoongi hadn't been alive for a very long time.

 

At four in the morning he slipped out of their room, eyes glazed and hands shaking. He drifted into the kitchen, went behind the counter and curled up on the floor in the corner where nobody could see him.

 

And he sobbed quietly into his hands.

 

 

__________

 

Yoongi started fading mentally.

 

Some days he just stared at the wall for hours, like he was asleep with his eyes open; unaware that he was even doing so. He was getting more and more mute, too. He barely responded to questions, answering with the simplest of phrases possible.

 

Sometimes when they talked to him he seemed to just stare at them like their presence was too much cognitive power for him to process. It was like he was aware he was having a conversation with them, but he didn't realise he was. Like he was just watching everything like a fly on the wall, not actually as a person. He knew they were there, but he didn't see them. He didn't acknowledge that they right in front of him, eyes staring imploringly.

 

But one time Namjoon found him with his head tilted towards the window, gazing hungrily at the cloudy sky. Somewhere inside that decrepit and fading body of his, he ached to be free.

 

Namjoon's smiles were broken beyond repair, but Yoongi didn't even notice. He didn't notice anything anymore.

 

He just stared at them, blankly. No matter what they did, if they were talking to him or touching him. Everything was blank now, his eyes, his reactions. It was like all of his personality had been sucked out of him, leaving him an empty shell.

 

It fractured the last little bit of innocence festered in their hearts.

 

And this? This false sense of reality they'd created to keep themselves sheltered from the heartbreak, it was all crumbling down.

 

God was taking Yoongi back, and his heart was the only thing left to go.

 

 

 

"Night, Hyung."

 

Yoongi looked over at hearing his voice, eyes lighting up slightly when he saw Taehyung. It was like the surface of Yoongi's personality had been swiped away to leave him bare and vulnerable.

 

It was too heartbreaking to fathom.

 

Yoongi beckoned him closer with a boney finger, and Taehyung opened the door to come in fully to the room. He came to sit by Yoongi's bedside, kneeling on the floor. He waited as Yoongi reached out a shaking hand, immediately reaching out his own to offer whatever assistance Yoongi wanted. But instead he watched as Yoongi slowly extended a pale and thin pinky. Taehyung only watched with his breath suck in his throat as he curled it tightly around Taehyung's own.

 

But then, the most heartbreaking thing Yoongi did was look up at him. Actually look at him, like he used to. Like he knew Taehyung was there, that he knew this boy with tan skin and messy hair in front of him was somebody that meant something to him, and wasn't just a passing shadow. His heavy head was resting on his pillow, his brittle cheekbones on display as he gave Taehyung a small, contented smile. His eyes lit up with a brightness Taehyung hadn't seen since this all began.

 

Taehyung held his other hand to his mouth to stifle his sob, because this was Yoongi saying goodbye.

 

"Hyung. Hyung...I...god, Hyung. Please." He sobbed through his trembling hands, but thankfully his ears where sharp enough to catch the whisper from Yoongi's lips.

 

"Forever." Yoongi whispered, chapped lips struggling to form the words. Taehyung nodded fiercely, knees on the ground with one tan pinky linked with Yoongi's pale one.

 

"Forever, Hyung. I know. I love you, I love you so so much"

 

And then Yoongi let him go.

 

 

 

Yoongi waited until 2 am to call his mother. It was a bit counterproductive to call at a time she would be asleep, but that was the point.

 

He might not be able to farewell his bandmates, but his mother. She wasn't like them, she was a more fragile part of him, the one that he never acknowledged but kept close to his chest no matter how much distance was between them. She'd been the one to bring him into this world, so she deserved to know when he was leaving it.

 

He waited for the beep, letting him know that the voice recording was starting.

 

"Hi ma." He said, voice quiet and broken. His throat was thick with emotion and exhaustion. It was hard to breathe.

 

"We had our ups and downs, at one point I think I might have hated you. I'm sorry for that, for wasting time clouded by so much anger. You only wanted the best for me, I get that. I'm just glad that part of our lives is over. "

 

"You told me that as a kid I was always driven, I was born with a determined scowl on my face, my tiny noise all pinched." Yoongi reminisced.

 

"I'm running out of time, so I'll guess I'll just-" Yoongi cut himself off. "I'd just like to leave knowing, hoping, praying...that..maybe-."

 

"Maybe I have become a son you can be proud of."

 

Yoongi had to stop speaking, trying to get all his fleeing thoughts in order. This was important to him, he needed to do this for her. He couldn't start fading out now, not yet.

 

He took as deep a breath as he was capable, bones aching in his chest as he began to speak.

 

"I love you, I love you all so much. I'm sorry to leave you like this, so young and so far away. But I've never been like the other boys, have I?"

 

The phone beeped, letting him know the time was almost up. His voice left in in a rush, full of things he felt like he needed to say.

 

"I'd like to have lilies, white ones, at the funeral, to have them in my casket. That way I can rest smelling the scent of your favourite perfume." He smiled a little, wistful.

 

"It always helped me sleep a little easier."

 

And then the call cut out, and that was it. The automated voice kept talking, but Yoongi just let the phone fall. He turned it over, pulling out the sim before gripping it tight and managing to snap it between his weak fingers. His mom might wake up, frantic and desperate.

 

And that wasn't the way Yoongi wanted to go.

 

He let the rush that filled him talking to his mother fade, letting the pain set in. He was tired, so very tired. He ached in more places than he could count, and breathing hurt. He dropped the phone off the side off his bed, letting it tumble and rest face down on the floor. He wasn't going to be using it anymore.

 

He was scared, but he was going to be okay. After all, he always said he'd prefer to live fast and die young. This was just him fulfilling the deal. He'd read Harry Potter too, and he hoped that J.K Rowling had done some research. He hoped he could die faster than falling asleep.

 

It was a good way to go.

 

 

 

Yoongi's life was filled with many defining moments.

 

The day he left for Seoul. The time he was accepted into Bangtan. The breathtaking moment they got their first win.

 

He guessed this was just another.

 

Seokjin laid next to him, same as every other night, his warmth embracing Yoongi through their clothes. He laid his head on Seokjin's chest, idly wondering if Seokjin's body heat, if given the chance, could have scorched the cancer out of his bones.

 

Yoongi shuffled a little closer to his warmth, head thudding and muscles screaming at the effort. He felt so heavy.

 

He thought about waking up in the morning. He thought about the boys running into the room to see him with his head on Seokjin's chest, and thought about how awkward that was going to be to defend his status as cool hyung. He thought how they were going to have a very awkward breakfast with stupid innuendos and even worse puns, served with a side of sizzling meat.

 

He thought about his mom and dad. He thought about his brother. He thought about Jin, Hobi, Joonie, ChimChim, Tae and Nochu. He thought about how much he fucking loved every single one of them, and that he'd go through this all again if it meant they could stay just the way they were. Even with Taehyung's choppy clothes laying around the house, Jimin's lack of understanding personal space, Hoseok's nagging, Namjoon's atrocious snoring, Seokjin's shitty puns and Jungkook's annoying habit of leaving his creams all over the sink.

 

He thought about his family, and how fucking perfect it was despite all the unnecessary bullshit they suffered through. Being together with them, on that stage;

 

...Even forever would have never been long enough.

 

Yoongi liked to think the world had given him shit, but he'd done his best with it. He was content with who he had become, with the life he had made for himself. He thought he could say that he was finally, irrevocably, happy. And for that...he was glad.

 

Because then he didn't think of anything anymore.

Chapter Text

The remains of the former star are spread over light years of space.

They keep floating quickly, sweeping up interstellar gas; leaving a faint beautiful glow behind.

 

 

 

 

Seokjin opened his eyes, and somehow... he knew. It was a feeling that settled deep into his bones the moment the world welcomed him into wakefulness.

 

He knew he was waking up to a world void of Yoongi.

 

Yoongi laid against him, body heavy and limp at his side. Yoongi's knees were pressed against the elders hip, arms curled up weakly against the fabric of his t-shirt.  Yoongi's head was heavy against his chest, fine hair's brushing against Seokjin's ear.

 

...He had breathed his last breath against Seokjin's collarbone.

 

Seokjin didn't want to look, didn't want to see.

 

But when he did, he found it strangely numbing. Yoongi looked peaceful, like he'd just fallen asleep. He had his eyes closed, eyelids still and at rest, never to reopen. There was a slight turn of his lips, very subtle movement.

 

Yoongi had died with a smile on his face.

 

Seokjin sat next to him, lifting Yoongi's hand close to his heart. He pressed the back of the younger's palm to his chest. The limp weight of Yoongi's arm was only held by Seokjin, as the younger man just laid there: still and cold.

 

Seokjin stared across the room where all of Yoongi's possessions were. His shirts sticking out from where his closet door had been closed on them. His watch settled neatly on his bedside table. The slightly ruffled sheets of the bed.

 

He wondered what he'd do with it all now.

 

Seokjin found himself caressing the pale thin skin of Yoongi's inner wrist, smooth and translucent under his fingertips. Feeling the tendons that no longer moved and the veins that no longer pumped blood.

 

He sat, and he waited for oblivion.

 

 

"Morning, hyung."

 

Seokjin didn't look at him, face and expression hidden by his broad shoulder. Namjoon took a step into the room, yawning idly.

 

"I wonder if it is peaceful."

 

Namjoon stopped, hand falling to his side. Seokjin's voice was so...empty. It was soft like usual, but there was an undercurrent of something that sounded all too much like despair. Like loss.

 

"...What?" He asked softly, steps careful on Yoongi and Seokjin's carpet. He found himself in control of his lanky limbs, the sudden spike of fear in his chest leaving his joints stiff and secure.

 

"To pass away in your sleep."

 

Namjoon wished he had been stabbed instead.

 

Anything to take him away from the sight of his best friend's still body. He thought he had been ready for this. He thought he'd prepared enough, researched enough. He thought he could have control over human emotion.

 

And he had never been so fucking wrong.

 

He wasn't sure when his knees hit the floor. He wasn't sure if he sunk slowly or if he slammed to the ground, because he couldn't hear anything and he couldn't feel pain. But he was there, a breath away from Yoongi.

 

His eyes were closed, his thin eyelashes casting a gentle shadow under his eyes. His messy black bed hair was resting over his forehead, against the small indentation of the weight of his head on the pillow case. It softened the sharpness of his cheekbones and the confronting parlour of his skin.

 

He looked so soft.

 

Namjoon gently lifted a hand that was so still, too still. It should be shaking with anxiety and regret, but he felt nothing. He lifted it until a fine loose fibre of Yoongi's hair touched the palm of his hand. He didn't even register the stimuli until the pad of his thumb lightly brushed against the skin of Yoongi's temple.

 

The cold of his skin shot through Namjoon like a lightning bolt. Sending a jolt that he felt throughout his entire body. It was the touch that thoroughly upended his life irrevocably.

 

The one that shattered something deep inside.

 

A low sound escaped him, not quite and groan not quite a sob. But it was filled with so much pain, thick and hard hitting.

 

It was what sprung Seokjin into action.

 

"Joonie." He whispered, not even registering his use of the childish nickname. Namjoon just looked so young and fragile.

 

Namjoon looked up at him. His eyes swimming with something so tragic Seokjin had to look away. It was then that Seokjin remembered that Namjoon was only twenty one.

 

Seokjin was their only hyung now.

 

"Joonie." He said again. "We, ah....We need to let the kids know, okay. Do you want to do it?"

 

Namjoon shook his head, which surprised Seokjin. When under pressure, Namjoon always like to be doing something. To have his hands full with a task, legs moving towards a goal. Seokjin should have realised that this would be so much different. Namjoon just lost his best friend, for fucks sake.

 

Seokjin wanted to stab himself in the eye when Namjoon breath hitched in a sound all too close to a sob.

 

"Would you like to stay...with him?" He was too fucking afraid to say Yoongi's name. Now it was the word that would shatter everything. From now on, whenever his name was whispered it would send them into the depths of grief, to remind them of the friend they lost so soon.

 

Yoongi would never have wanted this.

 

But he was dead, they weren't.

 

Seokjin choked down a desperate sob of his own, gently leaning down to place a soft kiss on Yoongi's knuckles. He closed his eyes, a single tear falling down his cheek as his lips trembled against the too pale skin.

 

He soon sat up, swallowing everything down to deal with later. Pushing all his emotions to the deepest part of himself and locking it away. He didn't, couldn't, look at Namjoon as he gently eased Yoongi's limp hand to rest on the soft mattress next to his body.

 

It felt so final.

 

He gritted his teeth harshly as he climbed to his feet, making them grind together. His skin felt encompassing, too tight over his muscles and bones. His loose t-shirt and boxers felt too loose, too thin. It was a strange feeling, because Seokjin was always comfortable in his own skin...but not anymore. Everything had shifted the moment Yoongi stopped breathing.

 

But he powered on, the way Yoongi wanted. He left Namjoon to hover brokenly over Yoongi's limp body, not turning back as he marched out into the main living area.

 

His resolve faltered slightly when he reached the middle of the main room, his feet coming to an subconscious halt.

 

The rest of the members laid in a pile on the floor, backs only saved by the futons beneath them. They had obviously all started on their separate futons, but somewhere in the night they had unconsciously gravitated towards each other. It wasn't unusual in their house, personal space didn't exist.

 

But for some reason it hit Seokjin like a truck, feeling it in the very depths of his heart.

 

They looked so young, all curled around each other until he could no longer tell whose limbs belonged to who. But it wasn't just that. It was the knowledge that they were so young. Too young to lose somebody like Yoongi.

 

Somebody so passionate, so warm and so kind. The kind of hyung Seokjin could never replicate.

 

Seokjin raised a hand to his mouth, stifling the sudden sob that threatened to escape. As he did so, his eyes caught something in the centre of the pile.

 

Taehyung's eyes were open.

 

They were not blearily with sleep, but wide and inquisitive as a sharp contrast to his messy hair and puffy eyelids. Seokjin waited, heart in his throat, as Taehyung studied him. Many people thought Taehyung was dim in intellect, but in reality, he was all too wise.

 

And he knew.

 

His eyes were suddenly far beyond his years, a depth within his large eyes that Seokjin could never fathom. Taehyung didn't need to ask, he could see it written all over Seokjin's face. And it wasn't like Seokjin needed to answer him anyway, because Namjoon's sobs pierced the air from behind him like a shot in the dark.

 

Hoseok, ever the light sleeper, woke at the sound. Seokjin remained in the middle of the room, bare feet on the wood floor as he watched Hoseok wake. Taehyung immediately held Hoseok's arm as the elder sat up, steadying him. Seokjin's brain came back to him then, seeing Taehyung, the ever so young Taehyung, trying to muster up Seokjin's role. This was his burden to bare, and his alone.

 

Thankfully Hoseok's jostling woke up Jimin and Jungkook, so the was at least something Seokjin didn't have to make himself do. He didn't want to be the one that brought the boys from their peaceful dreams to this harsh reality of heartbreak.

 

They all looked up at him then, Jungkook rubbing his eyes in a way that made him look half his age. Seokjin swallowed and came to sit down in front of them, resting his weight on his knees as his legs curled beneath him.

 

He dreaded this. Dreaded it with every fibre of his being. He wanted to run, run away from the gaping hole Yoongi's death had created. He wanted to escape. He was in so much pain, just as much as they all would be. But he had a job to do, and he couldn't let the grief blind him to what was important.

 

He tried to ignore the way the boys looked at him, like he had all the answers. Like he would save them from the grief that was creeping up on them.

 

"...Yoongi's gone."

 

He let the words out softly, but for what it was worth he might as well have shoved a grenade down their throats. Because there was no doubt, they were all so brutally aware of where Yoongi had gone. There were no feeble questions of where he had gone or if he'd run away.

 

They all knew.

 

Hoseok was the first one to sob, and Seokjin was immediately at his side. Hoseok felt everything so strongly, every emotion hit him head on instead of easing in like sticky and horrible tar.

 

Grief was no different.

 

Seokjin didn't cry, not even when Hoseok's sobs became so brutal and rasping. He didn't cry even when he watched Jimin tear out of the apartment like death was on his heels.

 

(He was right)

 

He didn't cry, not even when the sound of Jungkook's knees hitting the wood floor out the front of Yoongi's room echoed through the halls. He didn't cry when Taehyung went to comfort him but instead sobbed with him.

 

He only held Hoseok, held him to his chest as the younger sobbed into his shirt. He only spoke when Hoseok's sobs changed not from ones filled only with grief, but ones that were short of breath.

 

"Hoseok." He whispered, lifting the younger's head from his chest by holding the sides of his face. His cheeks were red and his mouth was gasping, hands clawed in Seokjin's shirt.

 

"You need to breathe, honey, you're having a panic attack."

 

He stared into Hoseok's eyes, trying to ignore the deep throb inside of him that tried to erupt at the sight of the younger's crying eyes. At the sight of the grief shining so plainly in his eyes as they were watery from tears.

 

Hoseok never hid anything, everything was straightforward and honest. His emotions were never different, and the grief in his eyes was so pure and heartbreaking that Seokjin couldn't stop the lone tear that fell from his own eye.

 

He bit his lip between his teeth, and tried to get both himself and Hoseok stable.

 

"Try to match my breathing." He whispered, trying to keep his voice steady to not show how broken he was inside. He needed to be strong for Hoseok, for them all.

 

"I can't, Hyung." Hoseok heaved, and his own hands were curling around his throat, Seokjin watched them climb and grasp around his tan skin.

 

"Can't or won't?" Seokjin raised his voice slightly. Hoseok just looked at him despite the heaving of his chest and contraction of his throat, eyes hard and yet so soft and vulnerable.

 

"Can't or won't, Hoseok?" He asked again. It was not the ideal time do deal with this separate dilemma, but with this he'd hit two birds with one stone. Hoseok felt others so deeply that he became them.

 

He couldn't become Yoongi.

 

"Both." Hoseok spat, brutal through his sobbing breaths. His voice rang with truth.

 

"You have to, Hoseok. You have to for yourself."

 

"No."

 

"Will you do it for me?" Seokjin clutched Hoseok's hands tightly in his own. Hoseok just shook his head, looking down.

 

"No." Seokjin smiled sadly, tilting his head down to make Hoseok meet his gaze.

 

"...For Yoongi?"

 

Hoseok's breath hitched, and Seokjin knew he'd broken through. Hoseok's breaths slowed, and Seokjin remained quiet as Hoseok regained control. Seokjin gently brushed away Hoseok's tears from his cheeks, only for Hoseok to create knew ones. It was quieter this time, his sobs more subdued. But he still cried like if he didn't, he'd forget how to breathe; how to live in a world in a world in which Yoongi no longer did.

 

Seokjin let him rest his head on his shoulder, shifting forward until his legs were pressed against Hoseok's and the younger's head was cradled safety between his neck and shoulder.

 

"It hurts, hyung." Hoseok whispered after sometime, when the sobs that echoed through the house lessened and the silence grew deafening.

 

Seokjin just carded his hand through the younger's dark locks. A black hole filling up his chest and spilling out through his pores.

 

"I know."

 

 

 

Jimin couldn't remember when he started, or what time it was now. The world could have ended outside the studio doors and he wouldn't have known. Wouldn't have cared.

 

There was no structure in his movements. He wasn't dancing like he usually did, with structure and repetition of practised choreography. Instead he just flung himself into the music, violent twisting and turning, throwing himself against the mirrors. Not matter how many times he fell, he just got back up and launched himself back into the music, so he didn't have to hear anything but the blood pumping and feel nothing but the sweat on his skin. He danced as he tried to feel only the base thumping in his chest, not the throbbing of his broken heart.

 

His bare feet slammed against the white scratched concrete, his breaths echoed off the fogged mirror glass and too clean white walls. The muscles of his thighs bunched and twisted, curling beneath the skin and his loose pyjama pants as he twisted and kicked and tumbled and jumped, throwing himself around the room like it was his last dance.

 

The music no longer blasted off the walls now, the base wasn't thumping in his chest anymore. He didn't notice, he couldn't hear anything past the blood rushing in his own ears. Couldn't see anything past the blurred glaze of tears over his eyes. Everything burned, screamed, and yet he took no notice. His feet were bleeding, bloody footprints on the white concrete after forming blisters and then breaking them. He could no longer feel his thighs, he wasn't even sure if he still had them. He just kept fucking moving.

 

Trying to dance the pain away.

 

He tripped, fell. He wasn't sure when or how. He collapsed, head slamming against the floor as pain shot up his ankle like a bloodcurdling shriek in the quiet night.

 

He blinked, slowly, like a newborn opening his eyes for the first time. His nails scratched at the floor, trying to push himself back up. His legs weren't working, his feet begging. He pushed himself up with his arms, hips still pressed against the floor, eyes unfocused and movements uncoordinated. He was halfway up when he put weight on his ankle, and it felt like he got fucking shot. He collapsed again, shoulder hitting the floor painfully and knees curling underneath him.

 

He didn't try to get up this time, breathing heavily against the floor that sent his carbon dioxide back to him.

 

"Don't work yourself too hard."

 

"No." Jimin whispered, hands coming up to slam against his ears. His nails dug into the soft skin around his earlobes, digging into his skull.  "You're not here anymore."

 

"It's okay, Minnie. Come home."

 

The low, comforting voice kept echoing in his ears despite his desperate attempt not to hear it.

 

"We all love you not matter what."

 

Jimin couldn't take it anymore. He screamed. Screamed like the world was ending. Like someone had reached down his throat, snapped his ribs, and pulled his beating heart from his chest, nails scraping the soft flesh of his inner throat as they ripped his heart out. He screamed, raw and painful, and the sound echoed around the room. The screams were wordless, yet so full of pain and grief that they said too much.

 

Because his friends and family were his entire world.

 

And he'd just lost a massive part it.

 

He vaguely heard himself screaming for hell to swallow him whole. He felt pain rip his chest in half, reducing him to tatters. He could only see Yoongi's face, his laugh, his scowl and his smile surround him and suffocate him. He grasped at the floor, clawed at it until his nail beds bled. As though he could force it to give Yoongi back.

 

But Yoongi didn't come back.

 

He heard himself scream again, felt somebody restrain him as he screamed himself hoarse. His cries of agony echoing outside the windows and down the empty streets.

 

Because Yoongi didn't come back.

 

 

When Hoseok found Jimin, he was screaming.

 

It was such a heartbreaking sound. He felt it resonate within his very instincts, in his heart. Without even knowing the reason, the primal part of Hosoek knew the younger was mourning. He felt Jimin's screaming pierce his bones, tear something deep within him because Hoseok wanted nothing more than to join him.

 

But he had to step up. He was the second oldest now, he had to help Seokjin keep them together.

 

He couldn't help but feel weak, standing in the doorway as Jimin started digging his nails into the concrete floor. His knees shook as he clung to the door frame, trying to force himself closer to the boy that radiated pain and misery.

 

But then Jimin started screaming again, and Hoseok felt his heart lurch for a different reason. Jimin had loved Yoongi more than he could understand, understood him in a way Hoseok could only hope to.

 

Jimin was his little brother, and he was curled up on the floor; bleeding and screaming as his world fell apart.

 

Hoseok was by his side within a second, knees hitting the floor as he pulled Jimin into his arms. Jimin curled up, legs tangled with his as he clung desperately to Hoseok. He buried his face against Hoseok's stomach, fisting his shirt and digging his nails into the soft flesh of his torso. Hoseok flinched, but didn't stop him.

 

Jimin needed something real to hold on to, because it felt like his world was ending.

 

Jimin's screams started increasing in pitch, going airy as his vocal cords chaffed and faltered under the pressure. His voice grew horse, and soon his screaming was just terrified and broken little screeches coming from his throat.

 

Hoseok stared at their pitiful image in the mirror across the room. Jimin was dead weight in his arms, face pressed against his chest with blood splattered almost artfully around them.

 

Hoseok watched his own body like a stranger.

 

...And from that point on he knew nothing would ever be the same.

 

He pulled Jimin onto his back, hugging his thighs close to his hips. The boy hung off him like dead weight, arms limp over his chest as Hoseok carried him out of the studio. He was almost catatonic, blinking and breathing, but at the same time he wasn't quite there.

 

Hoseok didn't blame Jimin, but he was struggling to keep him from falling apart.

 

He wasn't built to deal with this. He was trying to fit in shoes too big for him, and no matter how tightly he tried to tie the laces, it wasn't working. The moment he felt like maybe he could do this, something reminded him just how incompetent he was.

 

He felt useless.

 

All he could fucking do was rap and dance, and even then that was never good enough for them. He constantly gave and gave and got nothing in return. All those tears, all those sleepless nights...for what? He was starting to think maybe he was cursed. Maybe he'd done something terrible in a past life. Maybe he was terrible person.

 

...Maybe he deserved this.

 

Condemnation. Hate. Disgust.

 

All he had was them. He always had them, no matter what. They fought for him, protected him. Jimin had fought relentlessly in that first year, publicly. Tore down the fucking anti-café. The others always had his back, in their own separate ways. That was honestly the one true fact that kept him going. The six of them, constantly by his side. Nobody could take them from him.

 

But where was he? Where was he??

 

Yeah, that was right.

 

Yoongi was fucking dead. The world took Yoongi from him too, like it hadn't taken enough.

 

Hoseok looked down at himself standing on the sidewalk; only dressed in shorts and a singlet, with flip flops pulled onto his feet. Jimin was bare chested, legs covered by lose cotton pants. His feet dripped thick, dark blood that spoke of multiple injuries.

 

He hadn't even fucking noticed.

 

"Your friend okay? I heard screaming." A voice called. Hoseoks head snapped up to see an elderly lady sticking her head up from behind the fence a few meters away. She had a kind smile on her face, and Hoseok stumbled to reply.

 

"Sorry to wake you, ajumma. We've...I'm..." Hoseok really didn't know what to say, how to explain the gut wrenching sound of Jimin's screams.

 

"He's grieving."

 

"Oh, my condolences." Her voice was sincere, but Hoseok couldn't feel it. He couldn't feel anything. "He looks to be in need of some bandages."

 

Hoseok nodded idly at her words, concentrating on hitching up Jimin's legs again to keep his feet off the floor. The bottom of Jimin's sleeping pants were splattered with fresh blood, his feet a mess of blisters and wounds.

 

"I used to be a nurse, back in my day."

 

Hoseok turned to the friendly face of the woman, his attention now fully diverted from the foggy abyss he found himself in when thinking of nothing in particular. He was immediately on guard. Being famous made them all hyper conscious, they wouldn't be the first idol targeted by people for attention. The old woman seemed to pick up on his tension.

 

"I promise I'm not going to hurt you, just you look like you need some help. Besides, I'm pretty sure two handsome young men like yourselves could get away just fine." She smiled, laugh lines wrinkled heavily around her eyes. "Five minutes, promise."

 

Hoseok protested, but the thought of somebody to share his burden with made his chest feel a little less painful. Maybe he could just let her bandage Jimin and they could slip away. Nobody had to know. He could allow himself this small weakness.

 

"Come on boy, the sun's gonna rise soon."

 

The woman's house was nice and homey, reminding him of his mother's back home. It was small and pokey, with low arches between rooms, old furniture filling the space and photographs covering the walls. She even had a small Korean flag in a frame over the little bulky television.

 

The older woman was small, moving around easily but Hoseok felt oversized. Like a giant, he stood in her living room. He felt too large and too clumsy to belong in such a normal, private place. He had spent too long normalising the long periods in 8 seater vans and large stages with faceless crowds that he now felt uncomfortable in a normal home.

 

Jimin seemed to come back to himself a little while Hoseok was distracted with his own thoughts and he slipped out of the elders’ weak hold. Hoseok immediately turned to grab him, to pull him back off his wounded feet but Jimin just stood there; forehead bruised, eyes swollen and body language weary. His eyes were clouded with a pain that was not physical.

 

"Hyung." He whispered, chapped lips. He wasn't looking at Hoseok, wasn't looking at anything. He stumbled, reaching out for something. Hoseok immediately held onto him, his hands wrapping around Jimin's forearms. Jimin pushed out of his hold to place his hands against Hoseok's waist. The boy patted around the curve of his waist and his ribs, feeling his shape, before pushing off him again.

 

"Not hyung. Want hyung." Hoseok stopped, realising. Jimin wanted Yoongi, of course he wanted Yoongi. Hoseok took a deep, shuddering breath, eyes flickering closed briefly.

 

"I'm sorry Chim. I'm so sorry. But hyung isn't here anymore."

 

He pulled Jimin's head to rest on his shoulder, feeling the boy starting to cry silent tears from his empty eyes. He looked over, seeing that the woman was lingering at the doorway, looking like she was cautious to interrupt. They made her unwelcome in her own home, and got blood on her floor.

 

"My apologies." Hoseok said, bowing his head. He lifted his head a moment later than necessary, his head felling too heavy for the rest of his body.

 

The woman just waved her gnarled hand, waddling into the room. She motioned to put Jimin on the cushions on the floor. Hoseok coaxed Jimin, molding his listless body to rest his head on the cushion and have his feet rested on a towel the woman placed down.

 

Hoseok let the woman work as he hovered by Jimin's head, knees and legs curled beneath him. He whispered nonsense things to Jimin as if to take his mind from what was happening, wiping away his never-ending stream of tears as they started to run into his messy black hair.

 

"You're those idol kids, aren't you?"

 

Hoseok startled like she'd poured ice water on him. But as the shock faded away, he couldn't find it within himself to care anymore. He was too drained of energy, and his emotions were strained beyond their limits. He couldn't find it within himself to care anymore. Hiding his identity seemed such a fickle act now, pointless. It seemed so mundane compared to everything else.

 

"I know that there is a company just a few meters down, and you both have the bodies of dancers." She gestured at them with one hand, while the other used a sterile gauze to dab something on Jimin's feet, it had the sharp smell of medicine, like anti-septic, and Hoseok idly wondered why Jimin hadn't even flinched.

 

"He has the feet of a dancer too, all hard skin and tense muscle." She said in that gentle tone she seemed to have. "I've seen you on the television before too, something like bulletproof?"

 

"BTS." He whispered, not looking at her but instead focusing on the feel of Jimin's hair under his fingers.

 

The woman smiled politely, and continued conversationally.

 

"My grandson loves you guys. His favourites the rapper, I think his name is, ah, something English. Maybe...Sugar?"

 

Hoseok's hand froze in Jimin's hair, and he didn't even notice when his tears trailed down his cheeks, betraying the control he thought he had. He stared unseeing at the wall, as the grief he'd been shoving down suddenly peaking once again. Even the mention of his name could make him breakdown.

 

"His stage name was Suga."

 

The use of past tense didn't not pass by the old woman.

 

"Oh dear, I'm sorry." She said, pausing momentarily as she wrapped Jimin's feet. "I didn't know it was one of you."

 

Hoseok breathed in a harsh, cut off breath, and then suddenly everything was spilling out of him.

 

"He was really sick, ajumma." He whispered, words thick with tears. "Cancer."

 

"Such a horrible disease." She whispered, and Hoseok looked over to hear some empathy, not sympathy, in her own voice. She was finished with Jimin's bandages, sitting there with her hands in her lap as she looked over at one of the photographs of the wall.

 

Hoseok followed her gaze, seeing a younger version of her with a man around the same age. They were smiling at each other, adoration in their eyes as their hands entwined. A wedding photo.

 

"His was liver, malignant, but it spread through him like wildfire." She said, eyes sad. Hoseok suddenly started sobbing, holding Jimin's hand tightly as tears blurred his vision. There was so much fucking grief in the world, so much sadness and loss. Her loss just added to the weight that had settled over his heart the moment Seokjin uttered those words.

 

"Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia." He said through his deep, halted breathing. The woman looked over at him, eyes filled with his grief as well as her own.

 

"I'm sorry." She said, but Hoseok just shook his head, trying to get himself under control.

 

"I'm not the one that died."

 

"It's worse for those left behind."

 

Hoseok felt something terrible fracture inside his heart, letting everything pour out of his chest without his consent.

 

"Then why didn't he say goodbye? He must have known, so why did he leave without letting us say goodbye?" He cried out, sobbing openly.

 

The woman shuffled to hold his limp hand, coaxing him to look over at her. Her eyes suddenly had the wisdom of all her years, of a woman that had seen many years pass and many deaths of those she loved.

 

"Sometimes they don't get the choice."

 

 

 

Seokjin was the one that called their management, in the end. He hated speaking those words, having to say his name. But, he was glad it was not his task to tell Yoongi's mom and dad. He was thankful for the small mercies.

 

"Ah, hello? Min residence?" A voice asked through the intercom.

 

Seokjin closed his eyes briefly, sucking in a shaking breath as he held is forefinger down on the square button. He couldn't break now, not yet.

 

"It's not Min residence, sir." He said, quietly. He shook his head, wordless. "Just. He is...was...the only Min here."

 

"My apologies."

 

"It's okay." Seokjin immediately replied, even though it wasn't. Nothing was okay anymore. "I'll let you up."

 

Seokjin looked through the peephole, ever so careful. He couldn't afford any press barging in and asking questions. That would surely break him.

 

He saw three middle aged men, dressed in suits, a dark wooden coffin on a platform with wheels next to them. Seokjin didn't let himself react at the sight, instead smoothing down his jeans and t-shirt before opening the heavy door.

 

"Hello, sir." They bowed, and Seokjin remembered his manners and bowed back.

 

"It's Seokjin." He told them, stepping out the way to let them enter.

 

"It's nice to meet you, Seokjin-sii." The eldest looking man smiled warmly. Seokjin just stared at him, unable to smile back. The man didn't show any offence, thankfully.

 

"Where do you need us?" The man asked, and Seokjin turned to lead them through the apartment wordlessly. They walked past the living area where Jimin and Hoseok sat, Jimin with his head resting on Hoseok's chest while his fingers fiddled with something wordlessly.

 

Seokjin didn't need to look closer to know it was Yoongi's necklace.

 

"Good afternoon." The three men greeted, and Hoseok twisted his head to look at them. His eyes were bloodshot but also mellow, sad and dark. His dark eyes appraised the men, mouth not moving from its unfamiliar downturned line, before his eyes flittered to Seokjin.

 

Seokjin eyes briefly flickered to Jimin before meeting his eyes, and Hoseok nodded as his shaking hand came to rest on Jimin's shoulder.

 

He was trying his best, and that's all Seokjin could ask.

 

Seokjin started walking again, the wheels of the coffin rolling almost soundlessly along the wood floor until they reached the door of Yoongi and Seokjin's shared room. Seokjin opened the door without halting, powering through into the lifeless room.

 

The curtains were drawn, the room cast in darkness. Seokjin turned on the light before moving so the men could pass. They eased into the room, silent as they set up and only their breathing could be heard. Seokjin just stood in the corner of the room, eyes laying on the soft pink sheet that covered Yoongi's body.

 

"We are going to wash him and dress him, Seokjin-ssi. We were told he had formal clothes here."

 

"Ah, y-yes." Seokjin stuttered, moving over the closet next to him to pull out Yoongi's nicest clothes. His heart stuttered at the sight of the younger's clothes all folded nicely in their little compartments. He stood there for an amount of time he wasn't sure of, hands holding the cupboards handles in a tight grip.

 

A touch to his shoulder made him jump.

 

"Do you need any assistance?" It was one of the other men, the younger one. He was shorter than Seokjin, but his smile was reassuring.

 

"No, it's okay. Just, will his sweater do?" Seokjin tried to think. Neurones fired, but the grief filling his head dulled their spark.

 

"Whatever you believe he would have liked."

 

"I wanna be buried in my leatherjacket."

 

Seokjin gasped, hands tightened on the handles as his memories came rushing in. Damnit, Yoongi. He was too fucking extra, never fitted in with the rest.

 

He even had to have a different funeral attire to everyone else.

 

He released the handles suddenly, opening the compartment where he knew Yoongi hung his prized jacket. He eased out the bulky fabric, slipping off the hanger with stiff fingers, digging into the glossy fabric that was so very loved. He held it carefully as he started pulling out some pressed slacks from another compartment; also taking some black slacks, cotton boxer-briefs and a long grey shirt. He was always fond of those.

 

He shut the cupboard door, desperately ignoring how the clothes inside smelled of Yoongi's cologne, crisp and warm. He moved to turn to face where the other men worked, but the man next to him spoke.

 

"It's okay if it's too hard to be here. You can leave if you wish." The man said, voice warm and comforting. Seokjin swallowed but shook his head, clutching the fabric in his hands.

 

"Would you like to aid us? We are obligated to ask despite you not being a relative." The man said, like he expected Seokjin to refuse. But, Seokjin just nodded wordlessly before his throat opened enough to allow him to speak.

 

"I'll help, if that's okay. I'm...we were...we are a family." Seokjin whispered.

 

The man seemed taken aback by the answer, letting Seokjin turn to join the other two men. They were done washing Yoongi, the sheet gently pushed to the bottom of the bed to expose his small, naked body. They now gently rubbing his cold, pale skin with fluffy cloths, already finished with the bathing process. Seokjin wondered where the time had gone, it felt like only a few seconds ago he'd turned around to grab the clothes. He realised he was losing time, a few minutes here and there passing without his notice. He idly realised his was his body dealing with the grief, cutting him off from reality when it got too much to bear.

 

He wordlessly brushed past the other men, sitting down on the bed. He settled the clothes on his lap, reaching over to gently lift Yoongi's upper body. His was so light in Seokjin's arms, so small and cool to the touch. Almost like he'd been out in the snow for too long.

 

"Seokjin-ssi, we can-"

 

"No." Seokjin said, before his voice softened. "Just, Yoongi would have preferred me do it. He didn't like being treated like glass."

 

The men stepped back, letting Seokjin struggle on his own. He let Yoongi's head fall against his chest while he held his back up. He grabbed the grey t-shirt with one hand, trying to get it over Yoongi's head. He didn't notice his breathing grew ragged and his eyes filled with frustrated tears.

 

A hand came around him, gently and softly lifting Yoongi's head by the back of his neck. Seokjin just froze. Yoongi was limp, neck tilted back and eyes closed. His cheekbones cast harsh shadows over his cheeks, damp hair sticking to his temples.

 

Another hand came around, guiding Seokjin's hand over Yoongi's head.

 

Seokjin realised he couldn't hold this all on his shoulders. The young ones needed him, but he was also only 23. He'd lost Yoongi too.

 

He deserved to grieve.

 

So he took the help, quiet tears running down his cheeks as Yoongi was dressed carefully, delicately.

 

He pulled Yoongi arms through the sleeves of his leather jacket, painstaking and delicate. He smoothed the fabric over the curves and bumps of his body, leaving it open and resting over his chest in a way he knew Yoongi would have liked.

 

He turned to see the rest of the men, the coffins lid raised to reveal the soft, dark silk on the inside. Nothing if not the best for Yoongi. Seokjin realised they were giving him the duty of placing Yoongi inside. He was grateful to not have to correct them and inform them anymore. They were trained in this, when to step in and when to step back.

 

They were stepping back, eyes lowered respectfully as Seokjin gently handled his dear friends fragile body.

 

Seokjin lifted Yoongi's body from the bed, gently cradling his Dongsaeng to his chest as he leant to lower Yoongi into his final resting place. He gently positioned Yoongi's legs and arms, hands resting by his sides. He brushed his hands over Yoongi's hair, fixing it back into place.

 

He straightened a moment, and just stared down at the shell of his friend.

 

Before he really gave it much thought, he leant down and kissed Yoongi on the forehead, like he'd done to them all before as they all heaved and thrived after their first win. He wiped his tears from where they had fallen on the soft, serene face that came with oblivion.

 

"See you the next time around, Yoongi."

 

 

 

The company announced Yoongi's death through their official Twitter, a formal message informing the public of the time and nature of his death. It was brief, almost unfeeling in the manner it addressed a young man's untimely death. A man that had been so incredibly loved. 

 

But underneath the message; someone in the team had put together a little video, just little moments of Yoongi smiling or laughing or rapping. It was a candid piece: him with the others, in the workroom, on the stage, in the studio. Sweat dripping down his skin, fingers caressing piano keys, beanie tugged down over his ears, the rose coloured gums and slightly crooked white teeth revealed by his gummy smile. His time with them flittered past the screen like butterflies: beautiful, but oh so temporary.

 

It was so beautiful, Seokjin had watched it on repeat for three hours. A stunning but short snippet into the life of the man that was Min Yoongi.

 

A rapper. A producer. A son. A brother. A friend.

 

Yoongi was so many things, so many fantastic wonderful things. He was the man that pushed them to be their best. A man that fixed everything they broke. A man that didn't know how to express his feelings in any other way than music.

 

A man that had loved them so very much.

 

He was afraid of losing this part of Yoongi. Afraid of forgetting him. Yoongi would always be his first Dongsaeng, and his memory would be gently cradled in a little corner of Seokjin's heart until he breathed his last breath.

 

He refused to let himself forget.

 

 

Taehyung hadn't talked since the night Yoongi died.

 

He had always been one to bury his own feelings, but he looked like he was trying to collapse into himself. He hadn't spoken in a world where Yoongi hadn't breathed. That thought kept him from speak, like a defensive mechanism.

 

As long as he didn't talk, it wasn't real.

 

It wasn't real.

 

 

 

 

Funerals were fucking awful.

 

Even before they entered the church where Yoongi's coffin lay, misery was so thick in the air it was almost suffocating. But when they stepped inside it was even worse. Yoongi's elder brother stood next to Yoongi's coffin, white armband on his arm with his head held high, silent tears streaming down his cheeks.

 

He noticed the six young men walk in, looking mismatched and broken now that there wasn't a short stature with fierce eyes amongst them.

 

"I'm sorry." Namjoon offered his condolences, as per procedure. When he moved to stand aside to allow the others to do the same, Yoongi's brother's hand reached out and grabbed his elbow.

 

"No, Namjoon. I'm sorry."

 

Namjoon faltered, his walls crumbling down like they were made of glass. Yoongi's brother held onto him tightly, looking at him but not quite, like he was gathering his thoughts.

 

"It hurts, Hyung. He said, whispered it. He said it hurt a lot." Yoongi's brother choked, breaking out in desperate sobs, hand clutching onto Namjoon tightly without his notice. "And...and I told him I'd come see him. I-I told him Hyung would make it better."

 

Namjoon felt like his spirit had been shattered across the universe, the space where it had been empty and forlorn. But he found himself speaking condolences he could no longer understand. Yoongi's brother needed comfort, condolence that his brother hadn't died, waiting for his hyung to hold him as he breathed his last desperate breath.

 

"It's not your fault. Yoongi-hyung knew that you wouldn't be able to, he wouldn't have held it against you."

 

"Yoongi-hyung." Yoongi's brother repeated; but it was not mockingly, not at all. It was choked up, like he'd just realised something. "My little brother was a Hyung."

 

He paused, breathing through his nose.

 

"You know...you knew him much better than I did. I'm still stuck back in 1999 when he was only six. When he was just my little baby brother. He...he was so young and so small."

 

He turned to Yoongi's body laying still and peacefully, cradled by pristine white lilies with his hands together on his lower torso. A single lily nestled in his pale palms. His skin was as white as polished porcelain, his hair as dark as the night sky. His young face stopped forever in time.

 

Namjoon had never thought death could be beautiful in such a tragic, broken way.

 

"He's still so small." Yoongi's brother whispered, reaching out a hand to brush his little brothers cheek so gently and lovingly. His fingers trembled against his little brothers cheek, dotted with blush to make his body seem more alive. "So small."

 

Namjoon wondered if there could be any greater pain than this.

 

"I'm sorry." Namjoon said, because that was all he could really say. What did he know about death? What had he lost before that could compare to the loss of Yoongi? He was a naive child in the face of death, a virgin to the grim reapers ways. He hadn't known how much it hurt, how much it crushed and burned. He hadn't felt anything so destroying in all his years. So, no, he couldn't say anything that didn't make him a hypocrite. Namjoon was too naive to understand.

 

...But there was one thing he knew all too well.

 

And that was that Yoongi was far too young to die.

 

 

 

Yoongi was to be buried on the family plot in Daegu, next to his grandparents. They'd been dead since before Yoongi was born. The dates on the tombstones told him so.

 

...It seemed like one big fucking cruel joke.

 

Because his grave looked too new and too young for such a sad, weathered place.

 

They had his plot all ready for him, his headstone carved and his coffin furnished. His death was one prepared for, which was ironic in that he should have lived for much longer than he did. His parents had set everything up, all prepared and waiting for their youngest son to finally be consumed by the disease they were powerless to stop.

 

Namjoon wondered what that was like. Preparing your son funeral at the fresh age of twenty three.

 

Everyone always said how sad it was to watch a parent bury their child. But as Namjoon watched Yoongi's mom and dad stand at the edge of the grave as Yoongi was gently lowered into the ground, he knew it was worse.

 

He couldn't imagine that pain, knowing this was going to happen and only being able to watch from afar because their son was too afraid to hurt them.

 

Well, he thought, watching Yoongi's mother sob over Yoongi's coffin as it disappeared from view. You did anyway, hyung.

 

His mom was dressed beautifully compared to the weariness in her face. She'd aged so much in the past few months, watching, waiting, for a phone call to tell them their son had passed away. And now here they were, watching Yoongi's beautiful coffin be lowered into his final resting place.

 

It was beautifully terrible, how serene his death seemed to be compared to the disaster he left behind. It just didn't seem fair, didn't seem real that this was happening to them.

 

The age engraved into the stone didn't help to remove the feeling that Yoongi didn't belong here.

 

They all felt like it was a dream, feeling that strange aura that something wasn't quite right. It felt a little too surreal, too sudden. Going to their band member's funeral wasn't exactly something that came with the contract.

 

Namjoon didn't know what to do with himself. His best friend was six feet deep in the fucking ground and he felt just as dead inside. It was like Yoongi had taken a chunk of Namjoon with him to his grave. Like he had scraped out Namjoon's insides so he was nothing but a hollow shell left in his wake.

 

So how did he go back to life when he knew his best friend couldn't?

 

 

 

They came home from the funeral, the train so filled with grief and dark clothes it was suffocating. Taehyung sat on the living room couch, watching the five others settle into their own separate depths of grief with bowed heads and tear stricken cheeks.

 

And he felt nothing but the all consuming guilt.

 

Everyone was so hurt, so pained by Yoongi's passing. The funeral had been so fucking sad, listening to how much Yoongi had meant to everyone and how he'd left them, now with nothing but grief and loss. The warm sunny day was clouded by their tragic mourning, like a black cloud consuming the sky to leave everything grey and dull.

 

And he had known. He had known at that Yoongi was going to die, and he didn't stop it. He didn't tell anyone, just let himself entwine pinkies with Yoongi to selfishly feel his warmth for the last time.

 

Taehyung had let him go. He had went to sleep that night next to the others that trusted him, knowing Yoongi wasn't going to wake up with them.

 

Their pain and heartbreak was his own. Their clouds of grief all swarmed in his own head, filling his head with so much misery he wanted to scream.

 

He looked down at his hands, at the long phalanges and polished nails. He stared, almost unseeing until he noticed his pinky. All curled and fitting in with the other fingers; pretending it wasn't to blame.

 

And suddenly he was so mad. Mad at himself, at his fucking pinky for letting Yoongi slip away. He wanted to rip it off, ditch it and pretend it didn't belong to him. That it wasn't his fault, it wasn't his fault that Yoongi now laid 6 feet under. It wasn't his fault. He started picking at it without his notice, digging his sharp, ridged nails into the smallest finger. But then he remembered.

 

...Their front door was nice and heavy.

 

Taehyung moved without really noticing, eyes dull and unseeing as he ghosted over to the front door. The heavy wood was locked, but he had no problems with the bolt.

 

He opened the door, opened it nice and wide. He fit his little finger in the jam of the door, right where the sharp edge of the door would dig in nicely. He stared at the finger, lifted his lip in a snarl and pushed all the force he could muster from his shoulder down his arm to his hand; slamming the door on his finger with a sickening thump.

 

The sharp pain felt good, but it wasn't enough. He opened it again, and slammed it. And again. And again.

 

"Taehyung!" Jimin's higher pitch shrieked from somewhere behind him, but it felt like the other was on another plane, screaming into the void.

 

He slammed the door again.

 

There was a shorter body that slammed into his, strong and frantic. Jimin was trying to pull him away from the door, arms wrapped around his waist whilst struggling to jam the door with his foot. He felt Jimin's tears against his back, soaking into his clothes, but that only made him more eager for the sound of a crunch. More voices joined the fray, but Taehyung kept desperately slamming the door.

 

In the end, it took four arms wrapping around him to pull him away. He didn't really complain when they pulled him away, just going limp in their arms. He had already lost, already betrayed them and Yoongi. Jimin and Jungkook were dragging him away, arms gentle around his waist and ribs but frantic all the same. He was carried over to the couch he'd sat on only five minutes ago, Jimin sitting him down and placing himself next to him. The other still didn't let him go, one arm still wrapped securely around his back.

 

Good. Taehyung didn't trust himself either.

 

Seokjin was saying something, hands gently holding Taehyung's bruised and bleeding one in his own. It was only when he saw Namjoon skidding from behind Seokjin towards him with their first aid kit, did he act.

 

He ripped his hand from Seokjin's, putting the finger he could no longer feel between his teeth. He bit down as hard as he could, hearing the satisfying crunch he'd been looking for. More wordless screaming ensured, and fingers started digging into his chin and forcibly wrenching his jaw open. Jungkook was kneeling in front of him, Taehyung noticed, forcing his own hands between Taehyung's lips and teeth, digging his fingers into his gums when he wrenched it open far enough. Taehyung stopped biting, letting Jungkook hold his jaw open wide and Namjoon take his finger from between his teeth.

 

He noticed Hoseok's head disappear from behind Seokjin's, and Seokjin was suddenly following him. He was looking down at the floor, crouching. Hoseok had fainted.

 

Taehyung blinked then, the first voluntary movement he made in a while, looking down at Hoseok's limp foot on the ground. His own body went limp, and suddenly attention was on him again. Jungkook's hands slipped from his mouth as a single, lonely tear slipped from his eye.

 

"I let him die."

 

His voice was red raw from disuse and the tears he had cried.

 

And it was like the bubble around Taehyung burst, everyone's voices coming back to him again along with the excruciating pain that radiated in his entire hand. But, the pain was not the reason why he cried.

 

"I knew he was going to die, but I didn't say anything."

 

"Oh no Tae, you couldn't have known. Nobody could have-"

 

"He said goodbye."

 

It went silent. Seokjin sat on his knees, Hoseok's head pillowed in his lap. Jimin's arm was still tight around him, but was now more a hug than a restraint. Jungkook kneeled at his feet, hands braced on his knees. Namjoon stood at the side, Taehyung's battered hand still cradled in his.

 

"He made me a promise he'd never leave me. He wrapped his pinky with mine and told me he'd be around forever."

 

Taehyung breathed a devastated sob.

 

"He lied, and I let him." He sobbed, curling over himself. "It's all my fault."

 

"...Oh Tae. Honey." Seokjin whispered, and there were tears running down his cheeks. Jungkook rubbed comforting circles with his thumbs on Tae's knees, but his eyes were staring off into the distance. It went silent for a moment, everyone dwelling in the news. Realising the reason why Tae just suddenly started violently harming himself.

 

"He didn't lie, Tae." It was Hoseok's voice. The elder had apparently awoken, but had not moved. He sat up, coming into Taehyung's vision. "Haven't you heard how the saying goes? If not in body, but in spirit?"

 

Hoseok smiled then, the sadness in his smile failing to cloud over his sunshine.

 

"He promised to watch over you, Tae. Even after he was gone."

 

Taehyung inhaled deeply, like Hoseok had stabbed him. Because there was suddenly a whole another depth to Yoongi's last words. It wasn't a goodbye. It was a promise. Taehyung sobbed then, laughing. The two mixed together, happy and grieving at the same time.

 

"He always spoke in fucking riddles, the asshole." He spat through his tears and giggles. Around him, the others had small smiles on their faces. Yoongi was always full of surprises, even after he was gone. 

 

"I loved him so fucking much." Taehyung whispered. "He was the best asshole."

 

Namjoon nodded next to him, smile one part happiness and three parts heartbreak.

 

"He really, really was."

 

 

 

It was the ninth of September. Namjoon turned twenty two.

 

Another year older. Another year with Bangtan. Another year closer to the Hyung who could no longer grow old. It was strange to think that in one more year, he'd be the same age as Yoongi.

 

He didn't want to think.

 

He thought that the birthday he had when he was eight, when his dog had run away, had been the worst birthday ever. But, this one really took the fucking cake.

 

Seokjin had made him some seaweed soup, for the first time since Jungkook's bittersweet nineteenth birthday. and that was the only point of the day when there was  no tears. They'd just sat around the table, shoulders slumped as they sipped the too hot soup. Unfeeling.

 

After that, he left the apartment that was still heavy and clouded with grief, wandered aimlessly in the hot streets, cicadas singing a lonely song, only to find himself at at the company building. He let himself inside, not really with a goal or a plan.

 

He ended up outside Yoongi's workroom, the door still cracked open from where Yoongi left it last.

 

It had only been a week since Yoongi died, but it felt like twenty. The workroom was dark and quiet, the only light coming from the door he stood in the frame of, casting his shadow long and dark across the carpet. The light shined off some of the trophies in the case at the corner, like the light of naivety and happiness in their eyes the day the won the trophies. When everything seemed perfect and they thought they were invincible. But they were now shining with a light that had long dulled.

 

He edged into the room, eyes fixated on the trophies they collected over the years. He didn't let his eyes wonder to the other things in the room that were stained with Yoongi's presence, just coming up to the sparkling clean trophy case. Yoongi cared so deeply for them, cleaned the glass every weekend or as soon as he got back from overseas.

 

Namjoon lifted a hand, pressing it to the glass. He wondered who would clean it now.

 

But then his eyes widened, and he ripped his hand away from the glass. The case trembled slightly with the abrupt movement in the still room. He was fucking touching the glass, like a dipshit. He never listened as a kid when his mom told him not to touch, and he still hadn't fucking learnt.

 

He just dirtied the glass Yoongi vowed to keep clean. He'd ruined something Yoongi could now never come back to fix, like he always had.

 

"You're such a fuckin' clutz Joonie."

 

Namjoon stumbled back, wrapping his arms around his waist so he wouldn't fucking touch anything. He almost went to pull out the desk chair, like he always had, but he took his hand off as soon as he touched it; like it burned him.

 

He'd already tainted enough.

 

So he just let his knees buckle, bringing himself down to the floor. He laid sideways, long legs curled up to his chin as his temple rested against the carpet that smelled like deodoriser and...and  Yoongi.

 

It fucking smelt like Yoongi's favourite cologne, like cinnamon and spices, earthy warm and basically the fucking definition of Yoongi. He'd teased Yoongi once about it, telling him it smelt like a basic white girls Starbucks as soon as Autumn hit. Yoongi told him his minty one was worse, because he smelt like a fucking candy cane at Christmas.

 

Yoongi must have spilt it on the floor at some stage, in a hurry when he just wanted to tweak a song a little more before they had to all get in the car and be carted off somewhere. Rushing out into the late afternoon sun, in bare feet with shoes and socks in hand, hobbling along the gravel like an idiot as he yodelled at the others to stop yelling at him to hurry up, but still managed to have his headphones stuck in his ears.

 

The happy memory faded; and the cold, dark workroom welcomed him back into reality. He closed his eyes, trying to block it all out. His fingers entwined the carpet, course, harsh and nothing like Yoongi's fine hair.

 

"Happy Brithday, Joonie"

 

He laid on the carpet, in the dark, with only ghosts for company.

 

"Happy fucking birthday to me."

 

 

Hoseok stood in the mirror, unable to smile He pulled the corners of his mouth up, but it looked wrong. So wrong.

 

Because nothing was truly right anymore.

 

Somehow he had known it was always going to be Yoongi. Yoongi He always knew there was something different about that man, the aura around him. Maybe it was his lack of care for himself, maybe it was the exhaustion his eyes that fought with sweet satisfaction when he finally emerged from his workroom. He lived like music would sustain him where food and sleep could not.

 

But Yoongi was a creature of this world. No creature could survive like that.

 

He had always had this unwelcome suspicion that one day Yoongi was going to get hurt. He lived in a way that allowed a full, but short life. Like a supernova, he burned bright but reached an abrupt end.

 

He'd never imagined it becoming a genuine possibility. He thought Yoongi had been invincible. He'd put him on a pedestal above the rest of the human race. He thought Yoongi had always been better, stronger than anyone else. He thought nothing could get to Yoongi, that he'd overcome every hardship with a determined glint in his eyes and blood burning with unbridled passion. But, Yoongi was as tragically human as the rest of them. And he was gone.

 

So now Hoseok felt inexplicably alone, like he was floating on a raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

 

...and he thought perhaps drowning would be preferable to this.

 

 

 

October

 

Time went slowly, aching and cruel.

 

Every breath they breathed felt painful, because Yoongi wasn't breathing it with them.

 

The boys had always shared everything. Breaths, sweat, blankets. They were used to being on stage, in each others personal space as they all sweated and heaved for breath. Used to touching each other over and over as they repeated the choreography until they bathed in each other's sweat drenched clothing. They were used to having somebody else's foot between their own, or a swinging arm come too close to their faces.

 

They were even used to it at home, with their laundry all mixed until most of them didn't know if the clothes they wore were actually theirs. With cramped halls and bunk beds, they lived and breathed as one entity. Heart beats in sync, breaths aligned. They were one whole.

 

But now a section of their whole was missing. Ripped. Taken.

 

And everything felt wrong.

 

 

Somebody in their staff uploaded their music video and album. It was platinum within the week.

 

Namjoon had, with the others; finally decided on a name. Wings; freedom and everything it could bring. It was a little ironic considering Namjoon was trapped in his grief for a man that had encapsulated freedom in its purest form.

 

The public took it on with boost overwhelming excitement as well as utter despair.

 

Because the last time they heard anything it was the news of Yoongi's death, and now they were seeing him on their screens like he was still there.

 

Namjoon watched countless reactions of people, watching the video and crying when Yoongi's part came on. They'd never heard his part before, so hearing something and seeing something new from a person that had already passed away was jarring.

 

It would be the last music video he would be in. And, it was different from everything else they had done, black and white and serious. No pastel pinks and blues. No butterflies. Temptation, evil, darkness. Showing people that nobody could starve off the darkness, but you had to try not to let it consume you. It was a stunning album, filled with the last efforts of their Hyung.

 

Because even when they did everything, Yoongi still passed away. It reminded them about how shockingly human they were, how weak and powerless.

 

They preached about fighting against darkness and temptation, but here they were wallowing in the black hole created in the wake of Min Yoongi's life ending.

 

Seeing his name on the back of the album made something fierce and dark boil in his chest. This would be the last album Yoongi made, and it didn't deserve to be. His name would remain on everything they did after this, but it would all be posthumously. Yoongi wouldn't have been able to make it.

 

Yoongi deserved to create more.

 

They had thought that up there, on that stage, nothing could touch them. But still Yoongi was taken by the dark abyss, fell from his perch amongst the stars.

 

And they looked at the each other, at Hoseok frame curled up on their couch, Jungkook's shadow in Yoongi's workroom, Jimin's absence, Taehyung's blank stares, Seokjin's hovering and Namjoon's silent tears.

 

...and they wondered which one of them was next.

 

 

 

Time was passing by, inevitable rivulets of unseen time ticking by. Seconds turning to minutes, turning into hours and merging together to form an endless stream Jimin could no longer comprehend.

 

It was Jimin's birthday. He was twenty one now. He didn't feel any different. He couldn't feel anything past the layer of grief settled over his skin and bones.

 

Somehow the others still managed to get him presents, in one way or another. Hoseok kissed him on the head, like he did every year. But this time it felt empty, like Hoseok had no love to share because he was empty himself.

 

And yet again Jimin was reminded that Yoongi has taken parts of them with him, parts they'd never get back. And that made him so desperately melancholy, because Yoongi's death had stolen the shine from Hoseok's smile.

 

It was something he'd never thought it would be possible to lose. He didn't know how much he relied on it to ground himself to reality. So, that heavy realisation left the day sad and dull. And there was no seaweed soup, no cake. They just couldn't. Not when every day that passed felt like betrayal.

 

But then Seokjin bought him something from Yoon- his room. Jimin had to constantly remind himself it was just Seokjin's room now, since it was hard to share a room with somebody that was dead.

 

He edged over to the table, bringing Jimin's attention away from where he was staring unseeing at the books Namjoon had gotten him. Seokjin placed whatever he had in his hand on the table next to him, removing his hand to show a tiny little gift bag made of yellow chiffon with a delicate silk bow. Jimin stared up at Seokjin, question in his eyes as the others all observed the bag from where they were seated around the table.

 

"I found it in his draw...after." He whispered, voice thick with emotion. "It was addressed to you."

 

Jimin noticed his name written in Yoongi's delicate scrawl on the tiny label.

 

"Oh god." He heard somebody gasp, but he couldn't figure out who, because all his attention was on the tiny little bag.

 

He gently reached for it, holding it in the palm of his hand like a baby bird. Whatever was inside was cold to the touch, seeping heat from his skin even through the fabric. He carefully undid the bow with violently shaking hands, like if he wasn't careful enough it would shatter in his palm. He braced himself, swallowed heavily; and looked inside.

 

And immediately he threw a hand up to his mouth to stifle a sob.

 

Nestled inside the fabric was Yoongi's watch. His treasured Rolex. All worn and polished silver with a beautiful handcrafted clock-face, the whole thing showing evidence of the care it received. It was most expensive thing he had ever owned. And he'd given it to Jimin, for a birthday he wouldn't live to see.

 

...But the worst part was that Jimin understood why he had.

 

Yoongi gave it to him, like he knew Jimin would be thrown into an abyss when he left them. Like he knew Jimin would need a constant reminder that he was still alive and breathing. Time was still moving for him, hands still ticking; even when it wasn't for Yoongi.

 

He knew. He always fucking knew.

 

Inside besides the watch. there was a tiny like folded piece of paper, and Jimin fumbled to pick it up. He opened it quickly, trying not to hesitate any longer, eyes dripping tears and hands trembling; only to be met with Yoongi's handwriting.

 

If you're reading this, I never got the chance to give this to you. I'm so sorry I couldn't give it to you myself.

 

I promised you a gift this year, since last year I didn't get you one. I'm sorry that I didn't get you something I know you would have wanted, but I hope this is enough. It's not much, but if this is to be the last time you hear from me; I wanted you to have something as a reminder that life keeps moving. Time is the one thing you'll always have, so don't give it up. Not for anyone, and especially not for me.

 

Happy 21st Birthday, Jiminie.

 

And then at the bottom, in tiny rushed characters:

 

...Hyung misses you too.

 

Jimin cried and cried until there was nothing left but shadows and regrets.

 

 

 

Management decided the boys needed to go home.

 

It was getting colder, and it seemed to amplify the loneliness among them all; so they were going home. Everyone but Yoongi. No, Yoongi's childhood room would forever remain empty, his bed never to be touched. His seat at his families dinner table never to be filled.

 

Jimin was one of the last to leave, the last to prepare and the last to pack. Only Jungkook was still here, hovering in the shadows, and that was because they were catching the train back to Busan together.

 

But even then the apartment was so very cold and dark.

 

Jimin was looking mindlessly through his closet, shoving aside jacket after jacket after t-shirt. He usually always had his outfits all planned out in case of some stray paparazzi on the way home, but now his head was filled with cotton; useless and numb.

 

He stopped his shoving at a familiar sweater. He wasn't sure why, but he took it off the rack and brought it out of the closet, and the sight caused nausea to rise in his stomach and his throat to go dry.

 

It was Yoongi's sweater, thick and soft to the touch. He didn't know why it was in here, perhaps he'd borrowed it a year or two ago in the harrowing Seoul winter. Jimin bought it closer mindlessly, investigating it. But then he stopped, eyes glazing over and hand going limp.

 

It still smelt like him.

 

Jimin tried to gather himself, but he felt his heart splintering in a chain reaction he was incapable of stopping. He was still so fucking weak, he could break apart by the smallest of things. He ignored the tightening of his throat and the throbbing in his chest, placing the sweater back in its place with gentle shaking hands.

 

He didn't open his closet again.

 

 

 

Jungkook hadn't cried.

 

Not even when he saw Yoongi's body, laying there, void of the bright spark that had been his soul. Not even when they watched Yoongi's coffin be lowered into the ground. Not even when he watched Taehyung shatter like glass.

 

He thought about how he'd never see Yoongi's gummy smile. Never brush his shoulder to check if he was ok. Never make eye contract across a room of people that were too loud and too unlike them.

 

The moment he laid eyes on Yoongi's body, just laying there in the early morning sunlight... something broke inside.

 

And he hated himself. He hated himself because he had this split second moment. A moment in which he could feel nothing but relief. He felt pure and utter relief.

 

Because if Yoongi was dead he didn't have to kill him.

 

He felt relief when Yoongi died. Relief. He didn't feel any of the despair or loss that everyone else felt, because his first reaction was relief.

 

He wondered what the fuck was wrong with him.

 

Everything hurt so much. He felt like his entire body was numb. All his grief was inside him, filling him up to his limit with grief and sadness. It was his bones, his blood. The grief had latched onto him with hooked claws, driving into his flesh and never to let go. He couldn't feel anything but the loss of Yoongi. But he couldn't cry. He couldn't let it out. He couldn't let himself. He didn't deserve to mourn the hyung he betrayed.

 

Pull his head in his hands, throat working and fists clenching handfuls of his hair as he tried to get himself under control. But he could feel nothing but that last hug he and Yoongi shared, the last time he felt the warmth of his hyung....and he knew he could never have that again.

 

So everything just....exploded. He sobbed, like his ribcage was being torn open and all his internal organs were left vulnerable millions of birds of prey, stabbing and ripping into his heart and lungs. He ripped strands of hair from his scalp as he doubled over, pressing his forehead to the tiled floor while he screamed at the exhausting and never ending torment he released upon himself.

 

He didn't hear his mom rushing in to check on him, barely felt her warmth as she pulled him off the bathroom floor and into her arms. He finally realised her presence when she threaded her hands through his hair, like she used to do to him when he was a child and couldn't sleep at night.

 

"Mom." He whispered, before his voice broke away in wake of a heavy sob, "Mommy."

 

"I got you, Jungkook. I got you honey."

 

His face screwed up in grief and he buried his head into her chest, his body shaking violently as sobs cut through him. He wailed into her scarf, because not even her comforting scent could dampen the ache that Yoongi's absence left in his chest.

 

It took also an hour for the tears to stop, weeks and weeks of despair all tearing out of his throat like rampaging wilder beasts. He cried until he couldn't cry anymore, until his body simply couldn't muster the effort of tears.

 

"What did you do when grandma died?" He whispered, voice hollow and cracked. His mom hands on his neck trembled slightly in surprise as his broke voice, before she used it to bring him closer to her warmth.

 

"Cried a lot. Screamed a lot." She said, brushing his hair behind his ears as he kept his face pressed against her chest "I wasn't ready for her leave me, I still had so much to learn from her."

 

"It's not...easy." Jungkook whispered, unable to find the words. But his mom understood.

 

"Easy, never. It will never be easy, Jungkook." She smiled sadly, eyes wet with tears as she looked down at her son. "But time heals more wounds than you'd expect"

 

Jungkook just clung to his mom as guilt and grief rolled into one, robbing him of air, of the warmth from his lost friend.

 

And he wished things had been different.

 

November

 

It had been almost three months.

 

They hadn't done much. Only Jungkook religiously checked the charts and stats. Namjoon thought he might have owed it to Yoongi, but he couldn't look at their album topping charts without thinking about how Yoongi wasn't around to celebrate with them.

 

Despite the success...they weren't doing very well, honestly. They were at least able to pretend to function as they used to, a mirage of the people they used to be. Namjoon knew, because as soon as they called it a night and went to their room's...nobody slept. Namjoon heard the low, quiet hiccups from Jimin down the hall, music coming from Hoseok's headphones as he made them as loud as he could get them to drown out everything else. He also saw the still, silent tears on Jungkook's cheeks reflect across the room under the dull light from the lonely moon.

 

Nobody slept until exhaustion claimed them, until they were forced. Because they didn't want to sleep, because then they would have to get up and do it all over again. They'd have to live another day without him. The grief still felt consuming, like a powerful wall they had to keep pushing and fighting against to stop it from collapsing on them. It was an effort every single day just to get up and face a world without Yoongi.

 

But somewhere along the way, without their notice...it started getting a little easier to breathe.

 

 

December

 

"Artist of the Year Award goes to:"

 

"BTS!"

 

Shock. Elation. Bafflement. Confusion. Exhiliration. There was so much to feel and to realise; that Namjoon barely remembered the walk to accept the award. But once the stimuli settled, Namjoon took a deep breath as the award sat heavy and grounding in his sweaty palms.

 

"I'd like to thank Bang-PD-nim for creating us and giving us the push in the right direction. I'd like to thank our managers and our staff for working tirelessly for us. I'd like our ARMY all over the world, wether they've been there from the beginning or only discovered us today."

 

He swallowed. He was overcome with the same old feeling of bitter despair hooking its claws into barely healed wounds.

 

"But there...there's somebody else I'd like to thank that isn't here today."

 

He reached into his pocket hidden under the long suit jacket, pulling out a carefully folded piece of cloth. He held it up, letting it unravel in his hands. At the sight of the object, he heard the collective intake of breath from the audience, followed by a respectful silence.

 

Yoongi's Basketball Jersey.

 

Next to him, he head Jimin step away from the microphone and sob into his hands.

 

Namjoon gently ran a thumb over Yoongi's stage name on the back of the jersey.  The white stripes around the shoulders and neck had faded, the bold white "SUGA" on the back crackling slightly due to the passing of time. But it was Yoongi's. It was his mark, his place as apart of the Bangtan family.

 

His mark on the earth before he was ripped from it.

 

"We've, ah." Namjoon started again, looking up to acknowledge the the whole stadium listening in silence. "We've lost some people along the way."

 

Jungkook had his arms wrapped around Jimin, the elder crying into his hands as Jungkook whispered in his ear.

 

Time had past, and the wound of Yoongi's death was starting to scab and scar. However, for Jimin, it was still fresh and bleeding. He still cried at night, Yoongi's watch clutched in his shaking hands.

 

"Even from the beginning, we watched fellow trainees buckle under the pressure around us. We've lost managers to other professions, stylists to other groups. But, most recently, we lost somebody that won't ever come back."

 

"You knew him as Suga, but to us he was Yoongi. Hyung to most, Dongsaeng to others. He was the strongest, bravest person I knew, but he was also the most passionate and loving."

 

"He worked for this until his very last breath, worked tirelessly despite the disease that crippled him and ended up taking his life. He loved being on the stage, spilling his heart out to anyone that listened. He also loved sitting in his workroom, thinking ahead and creating the wonderful things you all listen to today."

 

"And therefore, I'd like to honour him. Just so where ever he is, he knows that he left his mark on the world: in our hearts, and in the words he speaks in the songs that will now outlive him."

 

"This is for you, Min Yoongi!"

 

Held in the air, the jersey wrapped loosely around the trophy, the SUGA resting just on the platform of the trophy as it shined, sparkling and gold above his name.

 

The applause was deafening

 

 

One year later

 

"I don't know what to call today." Namjoon sighed, tightening his scarf around his neck. "It's not an anniversary. I'm pretty sure those were made to mark happy events, or a day to celebrate. But this is not one of those."

 

"This is the day you left us."

 

He looked up at the sky, at the shining sun and soft blue. He just sat there, really. It was quiet all around him, birds chipping faint in the distance as the wind rustled through the trees. He held the flowers in his hand a little tighter as they trembled in the gust.

 

"September the third." Namjoon reminisced. "It's a cold day, down here. I hope it's warm wherever you are."

 

"I still miss you every single day, did you know that? Somedays I still walk into your studio to ask for your opinion on a beat I made; but you're not there."

 

"It's always empty. Nobody goes in there now, not really. But the cleaning lady always leaves a flower on your desk, did you know that? It's always something different, a new flower every week. It's always gone before I see it wilt. I think she must have really liked you, I'm not sure why."

 

He smiled then, tiny and broken.

 

"It's been a year now, an entire year without you. It doesn't feel right, hasn't really since you...since you died.

 

"It's still hard for me to say, you know? I still can't believe it. I guess I just never truly believed since the day we met that I'd have to do this without you. Remember you didn't like me, at first? We used to fight all the time, so young and so stubborn. I refused to listen to you, thinking I knew better. I remember you told me to get my head outta my ass."

 

He inhaled a stuttering, sharp breath as the memories lodged in his throat.

 

"Fuck, I miss you."

 

He took a moment to compose himself, head bowed as he stared at his lap and tried to will away the wave of emotion.

 

"We're doing well, I guess. We got artist of the year, did anyone tell you that? Since then it's been really quiet around. We still make stuff, but we haven't had a comeback since. I think we will have one, maybe in a month or so. We've got some stuff planned, but management doesn't push us at all. They've all been really nice, sympathetic and all that. I think they miss you too."

 

"It's not the same." He shook his head. "It's like there's this really strange void in everything we do, a feeling that something is missing. Working on a song feels weird, even the producer Hyungdeul look like they are treading lightly to avoid bringing up anything that could remind us of you. But it's hard, considering all your stuff is just sitting there in the computer system. A while ago Pdogg accidentally played one of the songs you were gonna put in your mixtape. Hoseok just burst out crying as soon as he heard your voice."

 

Namjoon recalled how Yoongi's soft voice suddenly broke into the room, like he was whispering in his ear. For a split second, it had like he was standing right there, next to him. Like if Namjoon turned his head he'd see his small hyung, wearing his favourite oversized hoodie and looking up at him with a gentle smile on his face.

 

For a split second it had felt like he was still alive.

 

"I've put the mixtape stuff in a file we don't access now, because it just sorta hurts to see it just sitting there, all your years of work just in a computer; when I know you never got the chance to share it. It just really fuckin hurts to see, hyung. I know how much that meant to you and it breaks my heart knowing we will be the only ones to hear it."

 

 

"Every time we do something we always unearth a little more of you. A month ago we had a movie night in the dorm, and Jimin was looking for this movie he brought back from Busan and then your stupid acrylic stand fell out of his bag."

 

Namjoon bit his lip, recalling the memory. They all just sat there, staring at the tiny Yoongi. Yoongi had been so happy when he saw Jimin actually using it. Jimin had taken it from the floor in gentle hands, bottom lip trembling slightly.

 

"Jimin still cries a lot, hyung. He's got all these little videos of you on his phone: you're doing something stupid, or walking with him on the street, or you're playing piano. These probably a hundred of them, I don't really know. Sometimes he watches them and just cries."

 

"He told me that he does it to remember your voice. I don't really get it, since your voice still plays on tracks everywhere all the time. He just shakes his head like I don't understand, but he doesn't explain. I don't think he can."

 

"But he plays this one almost every day, and it's just you laughing. I don't know why or how but you two were just laughing at something so hard. You're smiling so widely, clutching your stomach. It's from our trainee days, I think. You were so young, probably only just nineteen." Namjoon remembered watching the video over Jimin's shoulder once in the van, how Jimin just played it over and over during the entire trip. "I...I think that's the part of you he misses the most."

 

"I think it's sort of really tragic but he refuses to stop. Maybe one day he will, but not for a very long time. I think he might be watching those videos for longer than you even lived, hyung."

 

Namjoon shut his eyes again. It was still hard to think about their distant future now that Yoongi wasn't here. It made everything more permanent, forcing him to acknowledge that this wasn't temporary. He really was never going to see Yoongi again.

 

"Everyone does things to fill that void, to make them feel a little less empty. Hoseok watches fan-cams online of you dancing, which I don't really get either. Maybe it's something to do with him teaching you, seeing part of himself in your moves. Jungkook listens to you rapping, there's not much else on his playlist anymore. He sits on the floor in your workroom and just listens. I think he likes to listen to every beat and sound that you made in that space, as a way to remember you. I think he likes to pretend you're still here. I heard him talking to you, when I walked past the room once. He tells you everything, all his thoughts and feelings and questions." Namjoon looked up at the sky. "Do you listen?"

 

"Taehyung...he, he's taken some of your things. He has your neck pillow, sleeps with it every night. I think he did it because it used to smell like you, but now he just does it out of habit. Seokjin-hyung still sets out the table for you every night. He gives you a place, a placemat with a spoon and your chopsticks; but doesn't cook any food for you. It's his way of keeping you with us. It's nice to have you at the table even when the seat has been empty for a very long time."

 

"We will never get over you, hyung. Seokjin still sleeps in your room, your bed is still there even though nothing else is. Your scent is almost gone, but the corner right next to the wall smells like you if we try hard enough. I find Taehyung there sometimes, head nuzzled into the corner wall when he's feeling desperate for your memory. You sure spent a lot of time in there."

Namjoon took a moment to breathe. Feel the cool air fill is lungs.

 

"Nothing will ever be the same, but, life goes on."

 

"I'll miss you every day for the rest of my life, hyung. I loved you so fucking much, we all did. It still doesn't feel fair that you had to leave us like that, and I still don't think I forgive God for taking you so early. But, I hope he's taking good care of you. I hope you found peace with him."

 

"I hope you're happy, hyung. I hope you don't spend a single second thinking about us down here. I hope you don't worry about us, or feel bad. It wasn't your choice so don't blame yourself. You just had to go, and that's okay. We don't hate you for leaving us, even if we've said we did. It just...hurt a lot."

 

"But it doesn't hurt quite as much anymore. My heart still lurches every time I find something that reminds me of you, and it might never stop. But I don't cry too much anymore, which I think is a step in the right direction. Thinking about you now brings me happiness, rather than despair. And I'm glad, because I want to remember you well."

 

"Most of all I'm just so grateful I met you. I'm just so thankful I got to spend at least a small portion of my life with you. You were an amazing person, so strong and stubborn and beautiful. Call me gay, but I think you were so fucking beautiful. Inside and out. There's not really another word that I could use to describe you. Everything about you was beautiful, even your anger had its own kind of beauty because the way you welded it to get you where you needed to be."

 

Namjoon sighed.

 

"You were the brightest and most powerful supernova, and the world has felt a little dimmer with you gone."

 

"Everything changing, and we are moving on. I can't promise to be back here, because I don't know where I'll go from here. Life is moving on, and now we are slowly letting it take us with it. I can't promise you much, hyung. I don't know how often I'll be able to visit you, or talk to you."

 

"But I promise I'll always remember you."

 

Namjoon stood and walked away from the gravestone without fanfare. But, just before the grave left his sight, he turned around to acknowledge it one last time. It looked elegant, poised amongst the crumbling graves around it.

 

Namjoon smiled reverently, eyes soaking up the pristine image, before walking away down the cobblestone path from the cemetery and all its bitter memories.

 

....As if anyone could forget a man like Min Yoongi.

 

 

 

 

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Autumn leaves scattered around the grave in Namjoon's wake, but did not touch it. The cool breeze pierced through the lonely cemetery, but it did not grace the marble. The rain started tricking from the sky as the cemetery was left empty once again, but the skittering raindrops did not brush it.

 

The grave was frozen in time.

 

...Just like the ghost standing behind it.