The Well is a maximum-security prison for magical beings and magic-users. Only the worst of the worst is sent there: bastards who have done atrocious things or pissed important people, habitual offenders that had fucked up one last time, idiots who have arrest warrants in more than one continent, or messes that no one wants to deal with.
No one knows much about the place, neither where it is, nor why it’s so terrible. But it’s common knowledge that it’s so deep underground that the bottom of it is all flooded by groundwater, and that it’s built like an inverted tower, hence its name. It’s said also that it has no guards, and there are no visits allowed. It’s said that they’re not needed.
When the judge says The Well, Namjoon’s soul deflates. It’s the worst-case scenario come true.
The next thing he knows is that a guard is locking some kind of collar around his neck, and he can feel his magic freezing in his veins. Ever since he was arrested and restricted of his magic, he’s been feeling vulnerable, naked, and it’s never worse than when he’s put that collar, drained of the little buzz of magic he still felt deep down, and taken out of the court roughly to show off to the press that has followed his arrest.
Namjoon’s last blow was spectacular. Also, terrible in its collaterals. Apart from the disaster and the body count, it exposed a rotten side of their society. It has been all over the news for weeks. All the forces of the law put their best efforts to capture him and brag about it when done.
They were making an example of him: mixed filth must not mess with whole citizens, let alone with their reputations. Namjoon has had pure-breed assuming and twisting his since he was a little boy, heaven forbid he damaged theirs.
When Namjoon looks past the flashes of the cameras and the vulture-like faces of the reporters, he can see the people that has gathered to celebrate his sentence. It’s sadly hilarious to see magic-users and humans united to spite him. Quite ironic.
After the photo session, he’s thrown into a white room with no windows and no door. A teleporting chamber. Namjoon didn’t expect less. They do direct deliveries to The Well, no risks taken. The room is empty except for a man snuggled up on the floor sound asleep. Another poor bastard that’s going to share the trip to hell with Namjoon.
He sits on the floor and waits for something to happen.
After a while of nothing, he starts losing his mind. Maybe it’s been only a couple of minutes, but it feels like he’s been sitting there for ages, the panic barely contained in his chest makes it feel like time has stopped. The oppressive, blindingly white walls don’t make it any easier. Namjoon feels out of breath even though he’s sitting motionless. The guy on the floor hasn’t moved at all either, and Namjoon wonders how he can sleep in a situation like this.
He feels like the ticking of a giant clock is reverberating in his head, counting the minutes for… for what? Is there something after this? He wants to get over with it quickly. For all he knows, they will be killed right in this chamber and The Well is nothing but a euphemism for death sentence. He’s afraid of not knowing. The ticking grows faster and then stops.
He deserves it.
He isn’t innocent, not by far. He deserves whatever is coming for him.
He tried to battle with his guilt, but now that he’s at the end of the line, Namjoon thinks there’s no point in lying to himself. He deserves this.
At first, he used to think that he was doing it for a reason, for a good reason. That it was worth it. He liked to say that he was an activist, that he was fighting the system for justice. He liked to think that he could be a hero for his kind, a vigilante that kept the enemies at bay. In the end, he ended up like nothing but a violent criminal, tagged as a terrorist. He wasn’t that far from what people thought him to be just by looking him in the eyes. He was no different than the people that kicked and spat him. Nothing but a bully. His actions were led more often by resentment, hatred and fear than by ideals. Or maybe it was that his ideals were corrupted along the way by the cruel truth of the world: no one cares.
No one cares and it’s worth nothing. He went too far and now he’s going to die in some hole in the ground. Of all the possible endings for his life, he would’ve never imagined this.
The panic tries to escape through a shaky breath, but stays mostly inside constricting his lungs.
Namjoon’s reverie is interrupted by a rectangle opening in one of the walls, through which another guy is thrown in.
“Oy, careful with the suit, it’s Versace!” The guy lands on his butt and stays down. “Rude.”
The rectangle closes, and left is the white wall that seems like it was never opened. Versace guy breaths out and deflates. For a few moments, they just sit in silence.
“Are we really going to The Well?” The guy’s voice has a hint of a tremor, like he’s bottling the same kind of white panic in his chest as Namjoon.
The Well has always been like a ghost story for magical beings. Naughty kids are told they will be sent to The Well if they don’t behave. Much like a ghost story, it sounds like made-up crap to scare children. But it is real, and everyone knows that people that go there never come back. It’s safe to say that they’re all properly psyched.
“Seems like it,” Namjoon mutters, and the guy turns around to look at him.
“Hey, I know you…” Versace guy squints his eyes at him like he’s trying to place him. “You’re the guy that blew up The Pit, right? Um …Monie!” He snaps his fingers. “I’ve heard about you before, you’re a legend. I had no idea you were around my age until I saw your picture in the news.” He says all of that very quickly and there’s a lopsided grin brightening his face. Namjoon thinks smiles are really out of place in this situation. “You went crazy out there, mate. Res-pect.”
He offers his fist for Namjoon to bump it.
He isn’t proud of his actions. He shouldn’t be. He killed hundreds of people in one calculated blow of rage. He caused a lot of damage before that. And for what? He accomplished nothing, it was worth nothing and now he’s going to rightfully rot in a dirty cell in the middle of nowhere… Stop.
Namjoon takes a deep breath and considers to leave the guy hanging.
How hypocritical of him to grow morals now. Deep down Namjoon knows he would do it again. He better owns it. What’s done, it’s done.
He bumps the guy’s fist and part of the panic leaves his chest.
“I’m Hoseok, by the way. I’m a leprechaun.” Versace guy, Hoseok, pushes his golden hair back and smiles brighter. He is quite shiny with his white suit to the nines, gold chains around his neck and sparkly eyes. His whole vibe is bright, not like they’re going to meet death at all.
“I thought all leprechauns were Ir-”
“If you say Irish, I’ll punch you in the face.” Namjoon shuts his mouth instantly. “You’re the last person I thought would be a racist.”
Hoseok shakes his head looking down like he’s disappointed, and for some reason Namjoon feels terrible.
“Shit, sorry…” Namjoon begins to say, but Hoseok looks up and cackles loudly, swaying a hand at him.
“I’m joking, of course all leprechauns are Irish. I’m mixed.” Hoseok’s laugh shrinks to a soft smile. “I’ve been given shit all my life for not looking like your average leprechaun. Being mixed sucks, I guess you can relate.”
Damn right he can relate.
Namjoon surprises himself when a snort escapes him. He’s never been the friendly type. Maybe now that his days are counted and Hoseok has a nice vibe around him, Namjoon is lightening up a bit. It’s an ironies day, apparently.
“Nice to finally meet you, and who’s that?” Hoseok points at the sleeping man. “Is he even alive?”
Right then the sleeping guy moves, and a new rectangle opens in one of the walls.
There are two big men urging them to stand and get out. Quickly, move, move. They lead them through a long, descending hallway. There’s another big guard behind them, who every once in a while, pushes the barely awake guy, who stumbles every two steps and looks like he’s ready to fall asleep again.
They reach an office. Inside, there’s only a desk with a woman sitting with her legs crossed over it. She’s lazily sipping on a cup of coffee and playing with some papers. She makes a gesture to the guards and gets to work on the papers.
While she puts several stamps and signs, the prisoners are told to strip, and the guards search them thoroughly right there in the office. The guards take everything they had with them, including jewelry and shoes.
They stand naked in front of the desk watching their clothes being scanned with an artifact in search of god knows what. Namjoon and the sleepy guy are given back pants and tops, and they dress silently while Hoseok’s suit and shirt are removed of several little metal tools hidden between the seams— “My, my, how did that get there?”. Eventually, he’s allowed to dress back, too.
“Alright, Kim Namjoon, Jung Hoseok, Min Yoongi… I hope you saw the sun before coming here, ‘cause you won’t be seeing it ever again.” With three final forceful stamps and a nasty smile, she looks at them. “Welcome to The Well.”
She was, in fact, wrong. They did see the sun again. Well… sort of.
Their cell, if it can be called a cell, is a big niche in some kind of tower. It has nothing inside, except for a pile of folded futons in a corner and a toilet in the opposite one. The front side has no wall and it’s open to the inside of the tower. If you look down by the border, there’s a twenty meters fall to black water, all that can be seen at the bottom. If you look up, there are more than thirty meters to the ceiling of the cylindric construction, in the middle of it, there’s a circular opening, through which the sun filters in at noon. So, every day for a few minutes, they can see a ray of sun diving into the water.
Namjoon tries to see this as a good thing, but the truth is that this place doesn’t allow many positive thoughts.
Namjoon can clearly understand why no one survives here long. It’s dark and humid, not really cold, but not warm either. The only sound that breaks the dead silence is the water that runs down the curved walls of the tower. The air is static and smells like nothing more than damp. The missing wall and the massive open space makes you feel exposed, vulnerable, and so little. The call to simply jump to the void is so strong that Namjoon understands. Crystal clear.
I will die in here.
The thought has been in the front of his mind for the day and a half they’ve been there already.
Namjoon remembers the panic he felt when he was in the teleporting chamber. Then, it was mist compressed by the four white walls that crushed him from all directions. Now the panic has expanded in the vast space of The Well, filling it like water and drowning Namjoon.
Hoseok doesn’t seem to be doing any better. He’s been sitting with his back on the piece of wall that opened to let them through, and his eyes fixed in the exiguous stream of water that makes a tiny waterfall in one of the borders of the opening of their cell. He hasn’t move since they arrived, not even when some food appeared in the middle of the niche. Namjoon couldn’t find it in him to eat either. The only one who’s moved at all is the other guy, Min Yoongi.
As soon as the wall closed behind them, Yoongi dragged his feet to the pile of futons, took one, and set to sleep. He’s been sleeping since then and Namjoon is so damn envious. Yoongi interrupted his slumber only when food appeared. He woke up right on time, walked wobblily to it, and ate an apple and a piece of bread. He then went to the very edge of the cell and for the first time, he seemed to notice his surroundings, he even looked at Namjoon and Hoseok. However, he didn’t utter a word, he simply drank a little from the stream and went back to sleep.
Now it’s about to be their second noon. Well, Namjoon doesn’t really know, but it’s getting slightly clearer, which means that their daily ray of sun is about to come, and with it, the food that manifests in the center of the cell.
At this point, Namjoon is starving. He doesn’t really see the point in eating, but doesn’t have the guts to starve himself to death either. So, when the food appears, he drags his ass to it and takes a banana from the pile of some other fruits, bread and cold sausages. Right on time, Yoongi approaches too. His sleepy eyes are fixed on the food, but startle a little when they notice Namjoon.
Yoongi just grunts, but he doesn’t look aggressive, just tired.
“I’m Namjoon,” he says awkwardly. Yoongi only looks at him with a blank face. “Your name’s Yoongi, right?”
The man nods slowly.
A minute of silence passes.
And then another one.
“You’re not much of a talker, are you?” Namjoon isn’t much of a talker either, and he doesn’t understand why he’s trying to strike a conversation with this man that’s clearly not interested in one, but now that he’s moving, he’d do anything to distract himself from the call of the void.
“Nope,” Yoongi mutters lowly, but the smallest smile curves his lips before he takes a bite from a piece of bread.
Namjoon thinks his presence is very calming. He wonders what he might’ve done to be here. Although if he is what Namjoon thinks he is, the possibilities are many.
“The other guy… Hoseok? He hasn’t moved at all.” Yoongi drawls his words heavily, as if every syllable took him a big effort.
They both look at their other cellmate. He’s still at the back, eyes lost.
“I’m gonna bring him something.” Namjoon grabs another banana, but before he can make a move Hoseok suddenly shudders and gets on his feet, as if the mention of his name had broken the trance he was in. He starts walking intently to the border. “Woah, hey-!”
Namjoon is too far, but Yoongi is closer and gets on Hoseok’s way just in time. A soft hand on his chests stops the leprechaun dead in his track.
Hoseok doesn’t fight. He actually seems to fully wake up with the subtle touch.
Was he really about to jump down? Namjoon is shaken by the realization that yes, he was.
Hoseok would’ve been free by now. Maybe they shouldn’t have intervened.
Hoseok looks at them and laughs nervously.
“God, I’m starving,” he croaks and, like he hadn’t been about to jump to his death, he drops in front of the food, and grabs the banana in Namjoon’s hands.
Namjoon’s mind is a bit overwhelmed, and he feels like his communication skills aren’t good enough to deal with this situation. If Hoseok wants to pretend nothing happened, then nothing happened.
“Oy, sleepy boy, you’re awake! Come, come.” He beckons Yoongi closer, since he’s still standing a couple of steps away. “You give me quite the scare back there, you look exactly like someone I know from…” Hoseok launches himself into a story about a holiday in Monte Carlo and back is the bright guy of the teleporting chamber.
This time they finish all the food. Hoseok fights some words out of Yoongi and so they learn, as Namjoon suspected, that he’s half a sandman. Sandmen don’t have physical bodies and exist only in the Dream Realm, but mixed ones like Yoongi are born with a body they can barely operate. They just aren’t made to be awake. He tells them that when he’s sleeping he can be in his own portion of the Dream Realm where everything is possible. He says that he’s glad that the collar didn’t take that away from him.
When they finish, they stand to drink a bit from the stream, except Hoseok, who seems reluctant to get near the edge.
“Hello?” A melodic male voice comes from somewhere out and above.
Namjoon is surprised, because he assumed there was no one else in the prison but them. Up and down the Well there are rows and rows of niches just like theirs, but all the visible ones seem empty and he hasn’t heard any sound coming from outside. But now there is a voice.
“New guys? I know you’re there. I heard you talking,” the voice sing-songs. It’s a very nice voice.
Namjoon, Hoseok and Yoongi share a look. What’s the worst that can come out of answering the guy? He said it, he already heard them. Namjoon shrugs.
“Hello!” Hoseok’s loud voice echoes from the stone walls of their niche to the rest of the column of The Well. “Where are you?”
“Oh, I think I’m right above you. Did you just arrive?” The guy’s tone makes Namjoon picture him doing his nails or taking a cup of tea. Casual, amused. Not prison like at all.
“We’ve been here for… how much?” Hoseok looks in Namjoon’s direction.
“Uh, almost two days?”
“Yaaaa, but you’ve been dead quiet?!”
“Well, this ain’t no holiday stay, mate.” Hoseok seems a bit flustered.
The guy above them laughs. His laugh reminds Namjoon the sound of wiping a glass. It’s contagious. The situation is suddenly so ridiculous that Namjoon finds himself laughing too. Soon after, Hoseok joins cackling loudly and even Yoongi smiles a little.
They’re talking to the void and the void is answering.
“It’s only you up there?” Namjoon asks when they quiet again.
“Yeah, I’m all alone.” The guy sounds a bit strained, like he’s bothered by the statement.
“What happened to your cellmates? Or you’ve never had any?”
“I’ve had some… but not anymore.” His tone sounds reluctant, like he doesn’t want to talk about this particular topic.
“Well, most of them did the jump the first night or so.”
“And the rest?”
“Um, let’s say coexistence gets hard. I’ve had some really impolite cellmates.”
“Meaning…?” Hoseok prompts him.
“What kind of inquisition is this?” The guy sounds uncomfortable.
“Meaning.” But Hoseok is relentless.
A long sigh is heard.
“I don’t have cellmates anymore.”
I got rid of them, they hear loud and clear.
Namjoon is reminded that they’re in prison and that these men, he included, are, one way or another, criminals. Sugary voices or not.
“Is there anyone else in here besides you?” Namjoon asks when the silence starts getting too awkward. They already left court behind, none of them is in any place to judge the other.
“Uh…” The man clears his throat and recovers part of his peppy tone. “I think there were a couple of cells occupied higher up, but I’m not sure. It’s been weeks since I don’t hear a sound.”
“Woah, weeks? How long have you been here?”
“A couple of months, I guess? Winter was about to start when I arrived.”
Spring started just a few days after Namjoon was arrested. He can’t see himself holding up till next week and this guy has endured a whole season already.
“I’m Seokjin, by the way.”
“Nice to meet you?” Hoseok snorts and Namjoon understands. They are making friends in their graves. It’s ridiculous.
Seokjin hums. A minute passes.
“Hey, can I go down to your cell?”
Once again, they share a look. This Seokjin guy practically admitted he had made himself cellmateless. Besides, how?
“Oh, come on!” He whines when the silence extends. “I’m only convicted for theft… ish.” Namjoon swears the guy is pouting right now.
“As a thief, myself, I know there’s a lot of ways to proceed,” Hoseok chimes in.
“Well, yes, but I was more on the lines of fraud.” Judging by his attitude while speaking, Namjoon can picture the guy having long hair and wrapping a lock around his finger. He sounds coy.
“What are you?” Yoongi deep drawl sets a tense silence.
“Oh, hi… There’re more of you. I thought there were only two—” Seokjin sounds awkward.
“No, we’re three. What are you?” Yoongi insists.
It’s actually a very logical question. A very rude one, too. It’s not the most accurate way to judge characters, but someone’s species says a lot about them. Namjoon, being who he is, has always been a strong advocate of not defining people for their race, but considering the situation, it’s a quick way to get a picture. A picture full of prejudices, though.
All species are stereotyped, and most of the times that’s all people see and take in consideration to judge someone. It’s common for magical beings to avoid the disclosure of that piece of information about themselves. Especially if they’re not part of the prestigious side of magic.
“What does it matter, anyway? We have these damn collars on, we’re all the same here, so… Ugh, fuck it.” There are some steps, a sliding sound, and a pair of legs appear from the upper border of their cell.
Somehow the man lands in the very border and, before he can fall, Namjoon catches him.
“It doesn’t really matter.” Seokjin sounds a bit shaken, but recovers quickly, and smiles broadly. “Thanks. Hi!”
For a few moments, as the guy keeps smiling at them, they just look at him. He crashed their cell like it’s no big deal. Namjoon has no idea how to react to that, plus he’s been taken a bit aback by Seokjin’s looks.
He is… well, in short, handsome. His face is pretty, but at the same time very masculine. He doesn’t have long hair as Namjoon had pictured, but soft looking, caramel hair with bangs that could cover his eyes. His shoulders are wide and the see-through fabric of his black shirt shows that he is well toned. He’s almost as tall as Namjoon, and he realizes then that he’s still grabbing Seokjin’s arms. He lets him go and takes a step back.
“Thanks for catching me, darling” Seokjin winks at Namjoon and then notices their dumbfounded faces. “Oh, come on, don’t look at me like that! You sound so nice, and I was so lonely and bored.” He pouts just like Namjoon imagined he would. If he was a conman, he must have been a very good one. There’s something in him that is just charming, he’s attractive beyond his pretty looks. Namjoon can feel himself being seduced to the point he doesn’t really remember why he should be wary of the man.
“Well, welcome, then,” Hoseok says reluctantly and Seokjin flashes them another blinding smile.
And so, they’re four.
Two weeks later Namjoon is coming to terms with how this is his life now.
The other guys make it easier. Seokjin, specially. He acts like they’ve known each other forever, like they are roommates in a shared-room hostel on holiday and not cellmates in prison. He always has a smile on his face and an endearment at the tip of his tongue. He’s the kind of person that brightens up a room just by being there. Namjoon is absolutely charmed.
Sometimes he can even forget he’s going to be in this awful place for the rest of his life, but only sometimes.
The call of the black pool at the bottom of The Well is still strong, but for some reason Namjoon is ignoring it, trying to buy some more time. To distract himself, he focuses his attention on the other guys. Seokjin and Hoseok have many stories to tell and they never shut up. Namjoon finds it hard to drown and give in to the fear when they are so loud and, to be honest, quite funny.
Since spring hasn’t started properly yet and it’s still chilly, Seokjin taught them a trick he learned during his winter in The Well. Using two rocks, the only ones in the niche, he lights a fire that needs nothing to sustain. It doesn’t burn, but it feels warm. They gather around it and talk the whole day, oblivious of their current residence.
So, they learn that Hoseok has been all around the world, heisting the biggest casinos out there and living the life. He tells them he’s been in six different prisons and that he’s broken out of all of them. When they ask him how he did it, he just touches his nose.
“I’m very lucky,” he says, whatever that means.
“Not lucky enough, you ended up here,” Yoongi points out, and Hoseok’s mischievous smile turns into a pout.
“A little hiccup, nothing more.”
“Yeah.” A jaw-cracking yawn escapes the half-sandman, and they all laugh. Yoongi’s deadpan sentences mixed with yawns are always for some reason funny, however sad the comment is.
As for Seokjin, he’s been all around the world, too, but as an arm piece for the filthy rich. He tells them how he grew up very poor, and “being what I am, it’s really hard to find a decent job, so I was told to use my charms and stay quiet, and it worked”. He still refuses to tell them what he is, but he confesses them that he’s been convicted before, too.
“Wait, being a sugar baby…” Hoseok takes a moment to wiggle his eyebrows. “… is a grey area, but still legal. Why are you in prison? Were you a black widow or some shit like that?”
“What? No! I’ve never been married,” Seokjin says outraged.
“Okay, but you don’t deny having killed your sugar… whatevers?”
“I didn’t kill anyone. I’m here because the last guy I was with was bitter as fuck, quite irritable and high-profile. When he found out about… things, he felt… fooled and ordered to get me arrested.” He looks down and his caramel bangs cover his eyes. Namjoon has noticed that Seokjin does that when things get too close for comfort.
“So, you’re saying that you were unfairly arrested, and you are kind of innocent? Guys, this is official. It isn’t a prison until there’s an idiot claiming to be innocent.” Hoseok’s laugh echoes in the niche.
“Hey! I’m not saying I’m innocent,” Seokjin whines and then proceeds with a small voice, “I’m not that guilty either, not The Well guilty at least.” He pouts. Seokjin pouts a lot and every time he does, Namjoon feels the urge to do something to make him smile again. “Anyway, let’s change the topic before I get depressed. Joonie, what did you do to land in here?”
Speaking of depressing.
He looks at the flames and sighs.
The anguish has subsided a lot since he started moving, since Seokjin arrived, but it’s always there, looming over Namjoon; the guilt and the pain of knowing he deserves to rot in here constricts his throat.
“I’m The Well guilty,” he says simply.
“He is a hero,” Hoseok states, and Seokjin looks from him to Namjoon waiting for an explanation.
Part of Namjoon is pleased to hear that, and he hates himself for it.
“I don’t see how blowing a building with a thousand, three hundred and fifty-seven people inside makes me a hero.” At some point in the sentence he had raised his voice and a tense silence strains around them.
“Not all of them died.” Hoseok cringes as if he knew how better that sounded in his head.
“Okay, but why?” Seokjin asks ignoring the tension of the other two. “Why you did it is the defining part, right?”
“Not really,” Yoongi grunts. He has his head in his hands and his eyes closed, Namjoon thought he was asleep, but the half-sandman is awake and as relentless as usual.
“He blew The Pit. You know, that barely legal place where they put magical beings to fight one another and bet on the winner? That, lit like fireworks, a fucking public service,” Hoseok declares. Seokjin’s mouth forms an “o” of understanding. “I heard you freed the ones that were locked before bringing the party, is that true?” The leprechaun looks at him with big eyes.
“Yes.” He says lowly. “Still, it doesn’t-”
“Look. I didn’t get much of what they said in the news, because I was busy running from justice, but what it’s said on the streets is that they had it coming. There’s nothing but admiration for you for having the guts to stand up for all of us and make them pay.” Hoseok’s tone admits no reply and Namjoon doesn’t really want to talk about it anymore, so they end it there.
The nights in The Well are strangely beautiful.
During the day, the light goes from dim to dimmer. When they first arrived, Namjoon thought that at night it would be absolute darkness, but he was wrong.
When night comes, the water begins to glow. The water at the bottom, and the rivulets that run down the walls shine subtly as if they were reflecting the moonlight. It’s mesmerizing. And terrible, too. Seokjin warned them the first night they spent together in the niche not to touch the water at night. Apparently, the glow hides some magic that makes the water corrosive like acid for whatever reason.
Namjoon wonders who built this place. Magic-users for sure, since the place is engraved with magic, from the glowing water to the independent fire, and the things that appear and disappear from thin air. But beyond that, the person who designed the place was as brilliant as they were cruel. It’s the perfect hell, infuriating in its almost-there quality. Barely illuminated. Almost silent. Neither cold, nor warm. You are barely covered, which makes you feel barely trapped and, on the contrary, too loose, but with nowhere to go anyway. It is barely smelly. There is no strong scent, even though the air is static, because of magic, too, probably.
There is only one thing definite: it’s your choice to stay.
At night, the idea of jumping to the diamond water is almost irresistibly tempting. An artful act, even. Beautiful. Flying down that column of stone sprinkled by little stars sounds way better than just existing in the niche.
They have an unspoken agreement. At night, they don’t talk. Even though only Yoongi is sleeping, they stay quiet. It’s almost like they were all alone. There’s something sacred about the shimmering water, something that doesn’t allow anything but introspection. Before dawn when the water begins to turn black again, they fall sleep. Their souls are far from quiescent, but somehow anesthetized.
By the end of their first week an old lady appeared in one of the niches in front of them. She sat in the border all night, and when they woke up at noon she wasn’t there anymore.
The old lady wasn’t the only newcomer in the two weeks they’ve been in The Well. They appear randomly in the niches, sometimes together, sometimes separate. Some stay quiet, some cry and scream. Some are still there, most of them are gone.
One day a guy appeared in their niche. They tried to approach him, but he seemed out of it, desperate, and a little bit mad. After a few shallow breaths, he ran to the border and jumped without them being able to do anything.
Every time Namjoon hears the splash of water a shiver runs down his back. Judging by their dark expressions, he figures Seokjin and Hoseok are the same. He wonders for how long their spirits will keep up. Yoongi is the only one who doesn’t seem affected by their situation. Namjoon wonders if he’s just as lost as they are, but hides it inside his dreams. Seokjin and Hoseok are really good at pretending like everything’s okay, but Namjoon knows they’re not undaunted. He has heard Hoseok crying at night, and has seen the way Seokjin’s façade falls whenever he looks down the border. Namjoon himself feels like the panic that was drowning him before has condensed in fat clouds that every day grow fatter, and seem readier to shower him.
He fears that moment.
“God, I’d do anything for a warm shower. Ah, after a morning run… Mmm, followed by a freshly made mochaccino.” Seokjin’s interjections are a little too passionate for the early hours.
Namjoon feels himself blush a little. Seokjin is quite effusive, he has that way to carry himself, and Namjoon can’t help being affected, the guy is too attractive in all senses.
In the three weeks they’ve been together already, Namjoon thinks it’s safe to say that Seokjin is basically a dork. However, no matter how silly, he still has this aura of confidence and sexiness. The light behind his eyes, his speech, his gestures are usually very intense. Namjoon is not sure if he does it on purpose, if it’s a constructed pose for what he used to do, or if it’s his nature. His past and his race are still to be disclosed, but he gives a lot of hints. For all Seokjin’s intentional secretiveness, he’s very transparent. And Namjoon pays a lot of attention.
“I would’ve never thought you’d be a running person.” Hoseok yawns stretching in his futon.
“Well, I had to keep this on shape somehow.” Seokjin makes some weird body shake. He’s standing close to the stream of water in the border. With the minimal light that enters the Well behind his back, they can only see his silhouette.
Although their No-Speaking-At-Night-Time rule is well kept, sometimes when morning breaks, they can’t stay silent. It would be too much, too close to a maddening stupor they can’t afford. Or at least, Namjoon thinks they can’t. For some reason, he doesn’t want to give up to the Well so easily anymore. Nor he wants the other guys to do so either.
“I second the shower. And I’d add a fresh change of clothes.” Hoseok tosses around looking for a comfortable position. “This used to be my favorite shirt… Let me tell you, not anymore.”
“I’m lucky I was captured with this shirt. It’s so easy to dry.” Seokjin joins them in the futons. He’s unbuttoning the see-through black piece.
“How did you not freeze to death during winter?” Cold has been receding lately but, even though the temperature of the Well is clearly magically manipulated, during winter it had to be so much colder.
“Oh, I used to have a jacket. Also, I’m sure you’ve realized temperature here is funny. And I’m hot,” Seokjin says simply.
“And not very humble.” Yoongi’s low drawl comes from under the blanket he’s cocooned in.
Seokjin squeaky laugh mingles with the sound of the water.
“I mean my body temperature is very high. Although, well…” He shrugs cupping his face with both his hands making a cute impression of a flower.
“Ugh.” Hoseok rolls his eyes.
Seokjin just winks.
They lay down in silence for a while. At some point during the past three weeks, they had aligned their futons close together. They don’t have to, there’s plenty of space in the niche, but they did it once and then never found a reason not to do it every night. Namjoon doesn’t know if he can call these other men his friends, they are in a very special situation, but he can’t remember being so close to someone besides his father before. Although there’s a lot they don’t talk about and keep to themselves, they share their lives in the Well very sincerely.
“You know what else I miss?”
“Is this a fucking pajama party?” Yoongi grunts. Seokjin completely ignores him.
They all share a groan of agreement.
“Fuck, yes,” Seokjin moans. “Warm food, fried food…”
“Do you have to be so goddamn orgasmic?!” Hoseok sounds scandalized, but he’s ignored, too.
“…Seasoned food, grilled food.”
“Sweets.” Namjoon hears Yoongi’s mumble.
“Homemade food,” Seokjin practically sobs. “Not to brag again, but if we were out, I’d made you all a hot pot and you’d want to marry me.”
Namjoon snorts. He doesn’t know much about homemade food. His mother was never a cook, his dad had been usually too busy to prepare anything, and Namjoon himself was capable of burning water, but he’d gladly try Seokjin’s hand.
“What do you miss, Joonie?” Namjoon can’t see him, because his eyes are fixed on the roof, but he can feel Seokjin looking at him.
“Uh, w-what kind of food…?” His voice sounds rough from disuse, so he clears his throat, which gives him time to collect himself. Having Seokjin attention on him is always an intense experience for Namjoon.
“Not necessarily.” Seokjin shifts. His voice softens and feels much closer. “Anything else.”
“Oh…” He thinks for a second. “The noise, I guess? The rush of the city, the constant movement, music, sounds in general, all of that which gives you a way to escape from being submerged in your own head all the time.”
The quiet has always been his worst enemy. It grants too much space to think, to get lost in the intricated forest that is his mind. And in this damn prison there’s too much of it. Too much time, and space, and silence.
“Mhm…” Namjoon has to turn his head when he hears Seokjin changing his position again. He’s sitting with his legs crossed now, and nudging Hoseok like he was going to tell him a secret, but speaking at a normal volume anyway. “You know, I always knew Joonie was the existential novel type.”
They laugh softly. Seokjin does that a lot, tease him good naturally when his thoughts take a dark turn. Namjoon has no idea how he always knows.
“You know what I miss?” Yoongi emerges from under his blanket and throws them and angry look. “Not sleeping with three chatty old ladies.”
Yoongi’s add serves as the turning off the lights good night. Or, well, good morning. They go to sleep snickering at the sandman’s fit.
Later, in the afternoon, they are watching Hoseok teach hopeless Seokjin a dance that seems to require of you to be boneless to perform. Seokjin fails miserably, and Namjoon wonders why he keeps trying, but his squeaky laugh along with Hoseok cackles, and even Yoongi shaking his shoulders in silent chuckles give him some ideas.
Seokjin catches him staring and blows him a hand-kiss, but before Namjoon can even react, a rectangle opens in the back wall of their cell and three figures stumble in.