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Protecting or Protected

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After working so hard in the past few weeks BTS finally got a much appreciated week off; no schedules, no fansigns, no concerts or events, no hardcore-training, or vocal lessons... just a free week that they can use at their pace, relax and do whatever they want!

Not that they hated what they did or didn't feel motivated! God no! They loved their fans and they always want to give their all in their job, but occasionally, they need the breather, a small reprieve from their hellish time-plan to recharge.

The thing is, each one has his own ritual for these rare holidays.

Some (mainly Suga and Namjoon) overlook the normal definition of rest and use the free time they’ve got to write new lyrics and produce new beats, some others (usually Jimin, Taehyung and Jungkook ) seize the opportunity to visit their hometown and stay with their beloved families. And others (Jin and Hoseok) catch up on some really needed sleep and just lay around enjoying being young, healthy and lazy.

Only, this once, they had too little a chance to plan anything, they weren’t informed about the changes in the schedules until the last minute and the time they'd use to actually move to other parts of the country and back would take up most of the vacation anyway... so they decided; unanimously; they'd rather stay in the dorms and relax in the most boring old-school way,

Or so they thought... because the moment they finished their last dance practice, Taehyung was nowhere to be found!

They did panic at first, assuming something bad must have happened and spending an extra two hours looking all over the BigHit building for him, calling his phone over and over again, but soon that concern turned into anger when they received a message from Taehyung on the group chat telling them that he was on his way to Daegu, no reasons or excuses or further explanation, just a dry short message obviously lacking his annoying emojis and polite unnecessary apologies (“not that unnecessary now!” Yoongi had pointed out).

Jimin being the angel he is, tried to calm his hyungs down and thought of many excuses on Tae's behalf like maybe something happened to a member of his family and he was needed urgently, or he was rushed by the transportation time...

The rest of the hyungs were frustrated at first but then shrugged it off as a Taehyung-being-Taehyung thing.

Jungkook, on the other hand, was extremely disappointed and felt really betrayed, his youngest hyung never left him out of anything before and he certainly did not ignore his calls and messages in the past years they’ve known each other.

Little did they know, Taehyung was the one who should feel betrayed and was needing them more than ever before!

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(Time skip)

Namjoon was borderline suicidal from pure boredom! He'd love to brag about being extremely inspired when resting and eating well (the excuse he usually uses to get Jin to cook something for him and/or the maknae line to quiet down their bickering when they make too much noise and it becomes hard for him to concentrate).

But somehow, he was too blank today, six days into their seven-days-vacation and he was extremely annoyed, unsatisfied, frustrated and most importantly uninspired! He tried… really … he did! From listening to different kinds of music, to reading good literature, even asking his bandmates for help! Nothing seemed to work!

So after looking at the same spot in the ceiling for the past couple of hours, he decided to do something… less boring, like going through all the fan-mails, old scribbles and drafts they had stashed somewhere in their long-since-forgotten basement…

He went down the stairs two at a time careful not to fall and once at his destination, he switched the lights on. He noticed the cleanliness of that floor and supposed that the managers probably did it since they were the only ones allowed in there aside from the team members themselves (none of which could have found it in them to clean, naturally!).

He made a mental note to thank them and apologize later, remembering that Oh-YoonSok, Hobeom and the other managers did come quite often the past few days to “stock the fan-gifts crowding [their] offices”.

There is a small gathering space in the middle of the basement with an old couch, a few chairs and a very short round table. At the sides, there are three doors: one leading to a kitchenette, the other to a small bathroom and the third to a room for free use. That, is where he was likely to find the stuff he needed.

Nearing the door, Namjoon felt weird for some reason, there was a strange smell coming from the room… something like copper or burnt meat or both, and if he wasn’t totally out of his mind and hallucinating, he could swear he’d heard a whimper-like noise, … thus,… suddenly overcome by dread he sprinted to the door and turned the knob, but it was closed! And something snapped right there.

Namjoon could tell that the thing he’d smelled is blood and he didn’t even realise when he began to scream calling Jin and Yoongi and anyone and everyone to come right now! He didn’t realise when he began banging on the door with his feet and shoulders trying and failing to make it budge!

Summoned by their leader’s distraught calls for help, all the members were by his side in seconds, showing different states of concern: from Jin being full-on mother-mode to Yoongi fighting off a yawn and threatening to kill someone if it’s a stupid matter.

Hoseok was the first one to get out of his initial shock-induced haze and went to help Namjoon with the door, shortly followed by Jungkook and together, they managed to bust the damn thing open… but the sight they were welcomed with knocked the air out of their lungs, as a chorus of gasps could be heard throughout the dorms!

There he was, their Tae who was supposed to be hundreds of miles away, hanging from the ceiling, hands and feet tied up too tight to hollow his skin around the ropes, his soft ash-grey hair disheveled and knotted with large drying patches of blood, his naked upper body full of purple, black, greenish and yellowish bloodied spots barely leaving any non-damaged skin visible, and are those words etched on his chest?, …

His legs! The pants are ripped in many places seeping more blood, with circles of mark-like burns in his thighs, and his face, Taehyung’s pretty face and fine graceful features now all bruises and cuts, and it’s hanging down, is he even breathing?

Everyone was thrown out of their mesmerised state by Yoongi’s serious fully awake voice:

-“What are you doing standing there uselessly for? Help me get him down! Namjoon call an ambulance and the police and inform BangPD-nim and Sejin hyung, tell them no one is to know any of this! Whoever did this is allowed free access to our dorms and you know what that means!

Jin-hyung bring the first aid kit, Jimin don’t panic yet, I need you to bring me a knife or sharp scissors, we need to remove those ropes, Hobi help me remove the hook that’s holding him up and Jungkook try lifting his weight and be ready to catch him when we free him”

Namjoon respected Yoongi since day one, but he has never felt that much endearment towards any human being the way he had that moment towards that particular hyung and judging by the still panicked but grateful expressions the rest were showing, everyone was thinking the same.

And without further ado, each one was scurrying around to accomplish the mission assigned to them.

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Yoongi was internally freaking out, the sight of Taehyung hurt and bleeding was nauseating, to say the least, but he knew he had to snap out of it, he’ll break and panic at some point, that is for sure! But… he’ll postpone it until AFTER making sure their Tae had the proper care he needs. Everything else will be dealt with later on!

He was thankful for every deity and god he’s ever believed in when his voice didn’t waver, and when he could formulate his instructions clearly and think rationally in a situation like that! He needed to let his feelings and the growing pain in his guts at a bay until he figures out what was going to happen. And that was exactly what he did. With Hoseok’s help, he managed to remove the hook thing from the ceiling, noting that even when unconscious and unmoving Taehyung felt light, too light for his liking. An observation which Jungkook didn’t fail to express vocally when he caught the boy’s falling figure.

Next, they proceeded to lay him on his back, Hoseok had a hard time keeping the bile rising up his throat from making it out of his mouth when he saw the horrific amount of blood painting an ever-growing pool on the floor.

Seeing Taehyung’s face up close made them freak out even more. He was deathly pale, tear tracks drying on his hollowed cheeks, mixing with blood and painting a disgustingly glistening picture of red and purple hues.

What was more alarming though, was the fact he was still unconscious, so just to be on the safe side, Jin (whom Yoongi didn’t even notice coming back to the room) checked the youngster’s pulse, stating out loud that “it’s weak but it’s there” resulting in relieved sighs from the others in the room. He decided to start dressing the wounds on the boy’s front after confirming the things on his chest were indeed words carved with a sharp object “What does it feel like you liars” was written in ugly angry lines.

Just who did this? What happened? Why Tae?

Now that most of the blood was cleaned… … Taehyung didn’t look any better!

Yoongi noticed square marks all over his dongsaeng’s skin and wondering where could they come from? That was what got him to actually REALLY look around the room: bloodied knives, some kinds of needles, whips, and belts turning red and Yoongi didn’t even want to picture how they were used, and then this weird big machine with wires intertwined, square sticky patches at their ends.

Yoongi thought he was thinking out loud when he heard the words speaking his mind in a low groan “Oh my God! He was electrocuted!”. Turned out it was Namjoon returning to the room after making his calls.

Jin spoke again: “his head injury looks bad, Namjoon, where is the freaking ambulance??”  

-“Two minutes hyung, they said they’ll be here in two minutes” the leader answered feeling sorry for the hyung who had to see those injuries up close.

At that point, nothing else could be done aside from cutting the tightly knotted ropes on Taehyung’s limbs and waiting, both Jimin and Jungkook kept trying to wake him up, Hoseok drawing shapes and forms in his scarred shaking hands as if to soothe his pain and Namjoon scanning the room full of bats and sticks and tools probably responsible for the biggest damage to the kid’s body,…

And there it was: Taehyung’s phone lying lifelessly on the floor, blood all over the screen.

The uncharacteristic silence was almost suffocating until the sounds of the sirens were heard and all the scurrying and hurrying were back on again!

Namjoon guided the paramedics to the basement. Yoongi was the only one who had enough composure to answer their questions (which he found totally useless)

-How long has he been unconscious for?

-We don’t know. He was already unconscious when we found him

-Did he respond to you? To the movements maybe?

-No, but Namjoon thinks he heard him before we got in and he started shaking violently moments ago, he was hanged, we got him down, and his injuries looked bad so we kept the movements to a minimum.

-Good thinking, his head injury seems serious, we need to take him to the hospital ASAP! (turning to his colleagues the guy started instructing) call it in and bring down the stretcher! The patient is male, twenty-three years old, possible concussion, the damage to the rest of the body is unclear, the patient is unresponsive.

The paramedics began putting an air mask on Taehyung’s face, checking for his vitals and very slowly moving his head to put a brace on it, after moving him to the stretcher they inserted a catheter in his arm and hurriedly transported him out the dorms and to the ambulance.

Without hesitating, Namjoon asked Yoongi to go with Tae assuring him that the rest of them will be right behind them on Jin’s car.

 

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(Time skip)

As if the long drive to the hospital wasn’t frustrating enough, the members had to sit for hours in the small secluded waiting room (courtesy of Bang PD nim) with absolutely no updates about Taehyung’s state and an unbearable silence forcing them to the darkest parts of their minds.

They were all scattered around the room glaring at the red sign of the operation room where Taehyung was when Jimin broke down in tears… loud sobs abruptly echoed through the room and he was mumbling barely recognizable words.

-“It’s my fault… I should’ve suspected something!! I should have known he wouldn’t just leave before informing us properly… God!!! Even ... Even when he is down or… or having trouble… he… he never fails to call!! I… n-noticed that he didn’t contact us for six days… and I did nothing! … I said nothing! And now Tae is… Tae is… It’s my fault!”

Right after that, another sob was heard! This time it was Jungkook, Yoongi was taken aback! Jungkook never cries in front of his hyungs if he could help it, but now he was literally waling “I was angry at him, I was so pissed…. I … I blamed him… I felt betrayed … but I’m the one who failed him… who betrayed him!”

Yoongi felt his eyes well up with tears and decided to knock some sense into the two-third of the maknae-line before the whole room turns into a crying orchestra. Thankfully, Hoseok beat him to it:

-“Ok, that’s enough you two!! How can you be responsible for something you couldn’t have possibly known huh?”

-“But hyung! He was right there! Under our feet!! In our home!” retorted Jimin with a painful pitch that made their hearts shudder

-“And he was being hit, electrocuted and mutilated when we were just laying around without a care in the world and I was upset with him on top of it”

-“I SAID ENOUGH!!” Hoseok’s face contorted in a grimace, anger clear in his eyes, a sight they very rarely witness but then his features calmed down and he continued in a much lower voice.

-“It’s the easiest thing one can do to evade the pain you know? Blaming oneself! You’re hurting, God, we’re hurting! It’s TaeTae we’re talking about! Our dear brother and friend and bubble of hope and astronomical lights and fairytales! Our “purple” giver! I’m sure he wouldn’t, for a second, blame any of us, he’s that kind of guy, he’ll forgive us without even realizing what we did wrong!

So instead of drowning in your self-loathing and crying your asses off, you’d better get your acts together and BE THERE FOR HIM! Tae needs us now more than ever! You remember how he was after his grandmother passed away right? Well, this is a hell of a lot worse! You need to stay strong and healthy and plaster those idiotic annoyingly cute smiles on your faces, and be ready to cheer Tae up, ok?”

Even though Jungkook rolled his eyes somewhere in the middle of Hoseok’s speech and Jimin made an insulted grunt-like sound at the end of it, the rapper did succeed in alleviating the depressing waves emanating from the youngsters, and by the look of it, everyone else’s mood was a tad better.

Yoongi approached Hoseok at that, resting his hand on his shoulders “Way to go, kid! Now that is a speech worthy of the name of our J-Hope!”

“Oh, please hyung! I was a fraction of a second away from exploding in a fit of wailing myself, but I don’t think that’s what Taehyung needs right now.

But truthfully…, Something is bugging me so much… I still don’t get it,… how? … How could no one know? I mean, we could’ve heard sounds, or seen someone come and go at weird times? How couldn’t there be anything suspicious?”

“That room was meant to be a spare recording studio” answered Namjoon joining in their talk “the walls are still soundproof which explains the lack of noises, as for the suspicious visits, all the people allowed there are people we trust and respect, whoever did this is someone we know”

The two rappers were processing Namjoon’s logic and nodding their heads in agreement when Jin’s voice cut in: “Do you think it’s one of the managers or the security?”

“Not the security” Jungkook who was clearly following the conversation attentively spoke up, “they usually don’t come into the dorms unless to help us with something, so we’d certainly be with them”

“But why would someone we know want to hurt Tae? He is polite towards all the managers and staff and they love him!” exclaimed Jimin

“Yeah… I know!” sighed Namjoon

“Whoever did this is a psychopath, Jiminnie!” Shimmed Yoongi, “You can never recognize those sick bastards even if they live with you. Let’s leave this matter to the police and Bang PD hyung-nim to deal with yeah? As much as I want to just hit this freak until nothing of him is left, Tae’s well being is much more important right now ok? Everyone?”

 As heads were nodding to the deal a doctor came out: “Are you …” he checked some papers before continuing “Kim Taehyung’s family members?”

Namjoon stepped out: “No, but we are his caretakers for now, until his family joins us from Daegu, is Taehyung ok?”

“Well,… he lost a lot of blood, he's suffering from anaemia and malnutrition, which indicates he'd been also starved, he has different wounds, bruises and second degree burns all over his body, a fractured leg, broken ribs, there’s water in his lungs so it is hard for him to breathe, but for now, we operated on the most serious injuries and nothing seems life-threatening.

We are worried about his head injury though, he has a concussion, I just had the CT scans and they show clear signs of brain damage”

“What does that mean? What’ll happen to him?” asked Jin on the verge of hysteria.

“Brain injuries are very unpredictable I’m afraid, we can’t know anything until he wakes up. The best-case scenario he’d have a little headache and a short-term amnesia…”

“And the worst-case scenario?” prodded Yoongi eying the doctor dangerously

The doctor hesitated before exhaling defeatedly and answering: “Brain disability…  he’d be in a reduced awareness state, in some of the worst cases there were executive, hormonal and emotional dysfunctions, patients with severe brain injuries became just a shell of their old selves, but again we can’t know anything until he wakes up!”

The news downed on them like a mountain weight and everyone dreaded what’s to come.

“Can we see him now?” asked Jimin impatiently

“Yes, but, I’d rather you don’t go in all at once, two or three at a time please, the nurse will show you to the room he’s been moved to”

Chapter Text

Seeing him like that, Taehyung looked like he was sleeping peacefully,…well,… if you ignore the tubes, the bandages covering half his scalp and most parts of his body, the cast on his leg and the machines surrounding him, that is!

Jin and Namjoon being the unofficial parents of the group got the first visit, the doctor informing them that Taehyung probably wouldn’t come to for at least a day or two. 

Jin took a chair by the second maknae’s side and Namjoon stood next to him.

After a few minutes of silence interrupted only by the beeping sound of the heart monitor, Jin spoke

-“He looks so innocent and fragile! How can someone hurt this kid? What did he ever do to deserve this?”

-“He did nothing hyung, it’s that monster’s fault. And I’ll do everything in my power to make him regret touching our family”. Namjoon’s eyes were seeping hatred, Jin never saw that expression in all the years he’d known their leader.

- “Do you realise that you have a soft spot for him, Jooni?” Jin said with a smile on his lips and eyes full of endearment looking at the bedridden boy, “You’d get so overprotective of him! At times, he’d be embarrassed, but when I talk to him thinking he’d complain, he just smiles and says that he wouldn’t have you any other way.”

-“Yeah … I love the kid” he smiled, “I mean who doesn’t? With that boxy grin of his, and the positive attitude and the hyperactivity. He is very special, and even at our worst moments, he can make us feel special too, you know?”

-“Yeah, I do… uhh” Jin let out a sigh picturing possible scenarios and his eyes teared up again, “What are we gonna do, Joon? What if … what if the worst happens? Are we gonna lose our Tae?... I can’t even imagine how…”

-“Hey, stop with the dark thoughts hyung, would you?”,  Namjoon placed his hands on his oldest hyung’s shoulders as reassurance, unexplainably filled with confidence, “You heard the doctor, nothing is for sure, for all we know he could wake up with a bad headache, forgetting whatever happened to him and being his normal clingy adorable self! Besides, worse comes to worst, we’re not going to leave him no matter what! Taehyung is strong, and no matter how bad it is, he’ll make it! And we’ll be right there with him every step of the way, ok?”

Just then a soft knock on the door was heard, and a huff of blond hair popped up from the door frame (Jin didn’t actually see it until he lowered his gaze down… like really down!) Jimin whispered: “Can we come in hyungs?

“Yes” answered Jin standing up and leaning to leave a kiss on Taehyung’s forehead, Namjoon taking his hand (the one without the IV tube) and squeezing it lightly asking him to rest and be well soon, before following his hyung and leaving.

Jimin literally sprinted to Taehyung’s side his hands hovering over his face, and hands and chest as if wanting to hug the life out of him but too afraid of hurting him. So when Jungkook gently guided him to the chair he just obediently followed, opting to talk to Taehyung, pretending that he was actively participating in the conversation, telling him how much they missed him and Jungkook actually played along, feeling somewhat hopeful that everything could be fixed and back to normal, just like the semi-fake talk they’re having with his youngest hyung.

 

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(Outside in the waiting room)

Jin chose the spot near Yoongi and sat resting his head on the wall behind him

-“Sooo…. did you feel sorry for the kids, and let them in first, Tsundere Suga?”

Yoongi gave him THE look, the one a normal person would add to a statement, you know…  the “I won’t glorify that with an answer” or “go bother someone else” kind of statement, so Jin chuckled and let it go.

-“By the way, the moment he wakes up, I will write down every instruction the doctor would give and we will have a schedule! (Ignoring the unimpressed gazes thrown at him and the eyes rolling Jin continued, counting with his fingers) Tae is going to have the best food, the best covers, the best hoodies, the best sweaters, heck the best socks even, the best pillows, the best cuddles and the best care we can offer for the duration of his recovering journey. And even after that actually!”

-“I call dibs on the cuddles”, called Hoseok jumping like an excited kid

-“You’re gonna spoil him rotten aren’t you? I swear sometimes the maknae line act more mature than you do!” said Yoongi looking absolutely done with his group members.

-“Well, after witnessing all this? You bet I’m going to spoil him, and cherish him, and hug him, and cook for him, and never ever let him out of my sight! I’d rather have him annoyed and bothered and calling me a mother hen than seeing him hurt ever again!” Retorted Jin, his voice slightly wavering at the end

-“I’ve got to admit I’m with Jin-hyung on this one.” said Namjoon matter-of-factly.

-“Whenever are you not?” whispered Hoseok before getting lightly smacked on the back of his head

-“Hey, did you call Tae’s parents Joon?” asked Jin changing the subject

-“Yes, hyung. They’re …. anxious to put it nicely! I don’t think I’ll be able to explain what happened or apologize properly, even Sihyuk hyung-nim sounded ashamed and full of guilt, saying that if someone he hired and let near us is responsible for Tae’s current ordeal then it’s his fault… but somehow, I feel that we’re responsible too… I mean we all got angry when we received that message and none of us stopped to think that it wasn’t normal!”

-“Supposing we did Namjoon! What would have changed?” Jin started  “None of us would have thought it possible to find him down there, let’s face it, this was obviously planned carefully…”

Two men in uniforms entered the room that exact moment and the hyungs’ line turned their attention to them

-“Are you Kim Taehyung’s friends”

-“yes”

-“I am detective Lee Eun-Hee and this is my colleague Han Ji-Mun, your boss informed us of the incident and we’d like to ask you a few questions please”

The four of them exchanged serious looks and Jin nodded:

-“Sure, whatever we can do detectives”

-“Thank you. So when was the last time you saw Taehyung-ssi before last night?”

-“Last week, Friday evening, we had dance practice together.”

-“Did he have the habit of leaving at a certain time, in a certain way?”

-“No, well… we all leave after showering and changing, it depends on the duration of the practice itself though, last time when we were ready to leave, Taehyung wasn’t there.”

-“Did you look for him or call him?”

-“We did both, we kept looking for hours but we stopped when the message saying he’s heading to Daegu came, here, it’s in the group chat I still have it.” Seokjin showed them his phone

-“Ok,…. then tell me about yesterday, what happened?”

-“Well Namjoon here needed some stuff from the spare room in the basement and that’s when he found the door locked and smelled blood, we broke in and we found Taehyung hanging from the ceiling hurt and unconscious, there were … tools there… horrible things have happened to Tae!” Jin was tearing up at this point

-“Who else has access to your dorms?”

-“Bang PD-nim, Sejin hyung and all the other managers, few members of the staff sometimes get access too and the security team of course.”

-“Who came frequently in the past few days?”

-“Umm, I’m not sure … Sejin hyung came once on the first day, many of the managers came to bring us the fan-mails and gifts too, I think YoonSok hyung, Hobeom hyung as well, maybe Soonhak hyung? I am not sure…” Answered Jin thoughtfully

-“Is there any of those or anyone, in general, you can think of who might have a grudge against you?”

-“We’re idols, we’re occasionally on the receiving end of peoples’ negative feelings, but the people whom we know and trust never thought badly of us, especially Taehyung!” Stated Namjoon

-“Actually…, we think this is related to you more than it is to Taehyung-ssi” The second detective said, a look of sympathy painting his features.

-“What do you mean?” Asked Yoongi in shock

-“We took a look at the doctor’s report, the…uhm… message on his chest,… usually…, perpetrators leave messages for their real target, whom in most cases is not the victim.”

-“You mean they hurt Tae to get to us?!” Hoseok exclaimed slow and unbelieving.

- “We believe that whoever did this to Taehyung-ssi wanted to hurt someone (or ones) who care deeply about him. It is a possibility that it’s you. Do you perhaps perceive a different meaning to the words they left?”

That last bit of information shocked them! Taehyung was in hell because someone hated them? Why? What for?

Jin couldn’t keep his tears at bay especially when he heard Yoongi mutter the words “What does it feel like you liars

“No, we can’t think of anyone who’d do this” he sobbed. “ Please find whoever hurt our Taehyung and make them pay for it!”

Chapter Text

Hoseok was not ready, seeing his dongsaeng in that state back at the dorms will definitely haunt his dreams for years to come, and somehow he dreaded entering the hospital room even more, which is why he let Jimin and Jungkook see him first, he felt that going in and taking in Taehyung’s current appearance would make it all too….real! He was grateful to Yoongi for understanding.

He actually was still hoping it’s all just a nightmare, a bad joke his exhausted mind was making, that maybe he’ll wake up to the giggles of none other than Tae himself and would forget everything just by looking at his innocent grinning face.

Unfortunately, it was not the case and eventually, he found himself stepping into the cold room. The sterilizer’s smell hit his nostrils and the sight his eyes witnessed made him go stone still.

Taehyung had a huge tube in his mouth (probably to help him breathe what with the broken ribs and hurt lungs the doctor spoke of), the back of his head, his forehead, chest, his arms, hands and both his shoulders were heavily bandaged. He had scratches and cuts on his face (Hoseok supposed that if they were also bandaged the young man would look like a mummy from head to toe), his cheekbones prominent, the thin cover over his waist hid what Hoseok hoped was no longer “serious” burns and bruises scattered all over the rest of his body.

His left leg was resting on a pillow with a long cast from under his knee to over his ankle. Hoseok seriously felt miserable just seeing Tae and the thought of how painful it was to get all those injuries made him sick to the bones.

As if feeling the same way Yoongi gritted his teeth and all but plopped on the newly acquired second chair: “I am imagining about a thousand ways to break every bone they have in the most painful way possible, whoever they are!” he groaned

“Any other day, I would say I’m against violence, but this time, I am so gonna take part in that, hyung!” said Hoseok a dark glint in his eyes lingering for a few seconds before being replaced by one of endearment directed at Taehyung while he sat on his other side:

“Hey, Champ! We’re awfully missing you here, turns out Jooni’s right you know? You’re definitely the one who keeps the conversations going, and here I thought I AM the mood maker!!!” He said feigning disappointment.

It hurt not seeing the boy’s laughter at his grimaces and comments but Hoseok kept going, that’s his best way of coping right now and keeping his mind off negative thoughts.

Suddenly, the fine long fingers intertwined with his twitched and Hoseok all but screamed “Tae? TAE! HYUNG HE’S WAKING UP!!”

At that, Yoongi quickly pressed the button next to Taehyung’s bed to summon the doctor and returned his attention to the boy in question seeing how he clenched and unclenched his free hand in the sheets underneath him. His big eyes slowly fluttered revealing hazed eyes and a confused gaze.

Taehyung made a very small groaning noise and a grimace proving that he was in pain then looked around in an agonisingly slow motion. The moment his eyes met Hoseok’s his lips were moving around the tube forming what looked like a very slurred “Hobi-hyung” (although Yoongi wouldn’t swear to it under oath).

And that is when everything spiralled downward!

Just realizing he had an alien object down his throat, Taehyung panicked, he started coughing and choking, tears pouring out of his horrified eyes like a downfall. Hoseok started soothing him in a calm voice “Shhhh… it’s okay Tae… it’s just a tube,… it’s helping your lungs,… here follow me,… draw air from your nose yeah?... That’s right calm down, it’s okay, slowly… yeah… that’s it, you’re doing great!”

It seemed Taehyung realised he can breathe,  but even he was taken by surprise when his whole body started convulsing, his eyes rolling back, his limbs vibrating and thrusting violently. The monitors around them were going crazy, and the doctor and nurses rushed in saying that he’s having a seizure and ushering the two rappers out.

Hoseok looked so pale, his eyes unable to fixate on a single direction, even Yoongi’s panic was obvious, both failing at hiding their fright for the maknaes’ sake.

-“What happened hyung?”

-“ I don’t know Kooki, he woke up… but then he panicked.. and then he … he looked like he’s cramping or something! The doctor said it’s a seizure?!” Hoseok answered uncertainly

-“Hey, calm down Hobi! It must have been due to his head injury” reasoned Namjoon “The doctor will explain later, yeah? Freaking out won’t help anyone”

“Y-yeah, yes, ok” Hoseok took a breath running his fingers through his hair, “I think… I think he recognized me though… he knew who I was, he even tried calling me, right Yoongi hyung?” he asked a mix of hope and sadness painted over his features.

“Yeah, sounded like a ‘Hobi-hyung’ to me too” answered the older rapper clearly making a lot of effort to calm his nerves

Namjoon understood that seeing someone having a seizure in front of you for the first time can be… traumatizing which is why he kept reassuring his hyungs (Jin included by now) that their Tae is going to be okay repeating it over and over like a mantra.

 

-

The doctor came after what seemed like forever: “The drugs are not working, he’ll have trouble sleeping for a while, it might be due to the head injury… and we think he has PTE, short for Post Traumatic Epilepsy. It is not a definitive diagnosis yet, we need to run a few tests, but that’s the most probable one. Taehyung-ssi managed to stay conscious for a while after the seizure. He seems to be aware enough to understand my questions, he also recognized all of you, but it seems his recollection of the… incident… isn’t clear yet. I think we can safely assume that the worst-case scenario is off the table”

Everyone let out a sigh of relief at that, but Hoseok remembered the seizure he just witnessed and all the gossips he heard when he was a kid about his epileptic neighbour and couldn’t help but ask: “But if he really has epilepsy… does that mean he’ll always have those seizures? Will he be able to live normally”

“Of course, Sir. Many people live normally even with PTE. For the time being though, we aren’t able to give him any treatment until his wounds heal a little more, so you must be extra cautious about triggers, make sure he isn’t experiencing high emotions or facing stressful situations in order to avoid the aforementioned seizures, but afterwards, when we get him started on medication he’ll be able to go back to his normal activities and seizures will be reduced to one occurrence every few years. That is if the tests confirm it’s a PTE of course”

Hoseok exhaled audibly, “Taehyung WILL be okay” he thought and this time, it felt more than just a prayer.

Chapter Text

The second time Taehyung woke up was no better than the first one. Actually, Jungkook believed it’s ten times worse.

After the talk with the doctor, they decided they had to eat and rest, the stress caught up with them and they knew they needed the energy to be there for their bandmate. But some of them, namely Jungkook and Jimin, couldn’t get themselves to do anything besides swallowing few bites of whatever snacks Jin practically forced down their throats...

They were too busy fighting their hyungs in order to stay with Taehyung again, luckily, Jimin managed to convince them peacefully, suggesting to take turns. His argument being that Jin and Namjoon needed to meet Tae’s parents with Bang PD, and Hoseok and Suga needed to buy real food and rest a bit because they looked “miserable”.

Taehyung no longer had the horrifyingly huge tube in his mouth when they got in, but rather a mask fogging with every small exhale his bruised lungs released. Jungkook saw that his best friend was opening his eyes again a few hours after the seizure and he was ecstatic: “Tae-Hyung!!” Jimin jumped at that, both boys bending over to be in Taehyung ‘s visual field. The boy stared blearily for a long moment before he seemed to acknowledge his friends’ presence. He started moving weakly trying to lift his body a little, wincing soundlessly. Jungkook was moving on auto-pilot then: pressing the buttons, changing the bed’s position and calling the doctor, his eyes glued to Tae’s face and his hand refusing to leave his the whole time. Jimin tried to get more than the small rusty “Jiminni” and “Kooki” he got out of Tae, but he seemed in too much pain to utter another word, the harsh coughs weren’t helping.

Jimin moved away to pour some water, the moment Taehyung could no longer see him, he began shaking violently “Ji… Jimin??!!” he croaked eyes wide and in absolute terror.

Jungkook was fast to reassure him “he’s right here Tae, he’s just getting you water”

That apparently did not work, because Taehyung’s eyes widened more (which Jungkook didn’t think was possible) as if just realising something and started fighting the bed, the sheets and his own body to get up, his grip on Jungkook’s hand tightening from agony, but he didn’t care enough to stop moving around, as he asked distressed “H-Hobi hyung? Where’s Hobi h-hyung? God! N-no! Hobi hyung!!!”

 By the time the doctor and nurses came in, he was having a full-scale panic attack, tears streaming freely, wheezing, reciting Hoseok’s name, screeching and fretting to free himself from Jungkook’s hold.

Jungkook was trying to stay calm, he really was, especially when he heard J-hope’s voice near the door.

But then the nurses were detaching him from Taehyung and forcing the boy to lay down, the action making him even more freaked out and he was begging “p-please, please, n-no, Hoseok hyung, he … please, I’ll d-do a-anything, I’m s-sorry, please… I’ll ta-take it… j-just… Hobi hyung!! Hobi h-hyung… I’m sorry… so-rry… H-Hobi hyung”, Jungkook snapped and ran to the door all but dragging Hoseok in“Hey, Tae-Hyung, he’s here, he’s right here!”

Taehyung clearly saw Hoseok (who tried his best to put a smile on his confused face) but before he could say anything his body began convulsing yet again.

Everything after the words “He’s having another seizure!” spoken by the doctor was a blur for Jungkook, he didn’t know how he moved to the waiting room, he didn’t know when his other hyungs joined them and he didn’t realise when his tears started falling.

“What the hell was that?” Asked Hoseok who wasn’t in a better state than the maknae

“Hyung! I was grabbing the water and he panicked, I thought he’s maybe scared I left but then with you…. Those things he said…. Oh my god!” Jimin kneeled on the ground not bothering to try and control his tears anymore.

He was… they were sad, angry, scared and hurt. They’ve been through hard times over the years, they knew stress, pressure, hatred, depression, desperation, disappointment…. But nothing could prepare them to face this! Especially when it’s regarding their Taehyung, not that this happening to any other member would affect them any less but it is just too painful!

Namjoon (who was internally thanking god that Tae’s parents didn’t witness that), found the boy’s reaction… disturbing for lack of better words. He wasn’t there through it all but he saw enough to know that Taehyung was definitely not scared of being left alone. If his judgment isn’t wronged and if he interpreted Jimin’s statement right, Tae was scared FOR his members, especially J-Hope for some reason. “Kim Namjoon, it’s time you put your high IQ to some good use! Think first, worry later!” He ordered himself.

-“Jungkook? I need you to help me figure something out”

-“Yes, hyung….”, he answered sniffing

-“Can you tell me exactly when Tae started to panic?”

-“When he couldn’t see Jiminnie-hyung, I guess?”

-“Okay,… what did you do then?”

-“I tried to calm him down, I told him hyung was still there”

-“Then what happened?”

-“Well, he … he got scared suddenly, I mean… like… more scared… and he started yelling and crying while asking for Hobi-hyung”

-“Did he say anything else Kooki? Can you tell his exact words?”

Jungkook’s eyes narrowed in concentration, he willed the tears away and clenched his fists tight trying to relive the scene without panicking

-“Something like I’m sorry many times and I’ll do anything …. Oh and I’ll take it ?!… I .. I’m not sure if he said anything else… what do you think he means, hyung? Why is he apologizing instead of being… I don’t know? Angry, scared? H-hurt?”

-“First, we talked about this… Tae will not be angry especially not at you! Second, this would confirm my guess and Jimin’s if he’s thinking the same… Tae was afraid something would happen to Hoseok and to Jimin, not to himself.”

(Jimin nodded at that through teary eyes)

-“Why would he think that?” the maknae asked incredulously

-“I can’t know… yet. Maybe threats, …, maybe he knows his abductor(s) can reach us”

Hoseok could understand Namjoon’s reasoning but then there was one thing that bugged him: “Why me, Namjoon? I mean, we all were outside, why was he worried about me?”

“I don’t know Hobi, nothing could tell us if you were the only one he thought of, he could’ve asked about the others once he confirmed your safety. He did ask about Jimin first… Whatever the case, the officers need to know about this, and I’ll ask Hyung-nim to call in some favours and make arrangements to let us all stay the night. If we want to keep Tae calm, he must know that we’re all safe and right where he can see us. But for now, we need to go back to the dorms, Tae’s parents want to see him, I’d rather we leave them alone for a bit and we really need to change from these”

Jungkook looked at his bloodied white shirt for the umpteenth time and couldn’t help the pang in his heart remembering how Tae’s weak arms were moving against his chest, his body heat still lingering over his skin, his tear trail on his neck.

Jungkook hates things he can’t control, things he can’t deal with, things he can’t fix! He felt useless, helpless and weak. One thing for sure, forget the cute innocent maknae, the moment he finds out who did this to his hyung, God be his witness, his wrath will shred them to pieces…

Chapter Text

Jimin didn’t argue his leader’s decision of going back home, this time around, he knew he had to. He also needed to be there. He might not be the smartest amongst the members, (Namjoon and Tae took the lead there) but he did know how to process things and he was actually quite perceptive, unlike what his innocent features might suggest.

So he decided to help the police reduce the suspects’ list, his hyungs are exhausted and they had a bigger burden on their shoulders as they needed to be ready to walk the police and Taehyung’s parents through the details all over again. Whilst he,… well… he had nothing else to do.

He’d go through every minute of the surveillance cameras and he’d make a timetable for the whole past week with every single detail he remembered, He wasn’t a match for Taehyung when it came to crime series and mystery movies but he was forced by the latter to watch enough of those to know the “investigation 101”, plus he knew everyone personally, he’s more likely to notice if anything was out of place.

He might even drag Jungkook into it, it was safer to keep the maknae in his sight considering his coping methods weren’t … “the healthiest”… so to say.

Arriving at the dorms, Jimin thought, for the first time, that it didn’t feel so much like the safe home it used to be. It downed on his soul, the fact that his best friend was right where he was the whole time, there in their sanctuary, hurting, yet he did nothing, he knew nothing.

He remembered the place being awfully quiet and they did all admit at some point that it would have been livelier had Tae been there, yet despite the silence, not a single sound reached them from downstairs.

Taehyung is clever, Jimin knows that. He was sure Tae would use every opportunity to try and escape or ask for help. Assuming that the perpetrator couldn’t have stayed with him the whole week, Tae must’ve had a few chances every time they entered or left the room.

So, either this person is extremely smart and planned everything meticulously to the point of including all the small details, which means he’s way ahead of them… or,  there is a piece missing from this puzzle.

As decided, Jimin persuaded Jungkook to play detective with him, the original tapes have been already proclaimed by the police but God bless technology his smartphone was connected to the dorms’ security system, thus the cameras.

“Why the hell did they all decide to come THIS week?” exclaimed Jungkook frustrated.

They have been watching their managers coming and going daily, sometimes two at a time carrying a scary number of objects fan-related.

“Do you think?… maybe?….huffff… Never mind!” Sighed Jimin

“No, say it hyung!”

“Well, I definitely don’t want to be right on this one, but is it possible that they are all in on it?”

“…” Jungkook looked at him disbelievingly, but when he saw that his hyung was serious he had to ask

“… as in… all the managers we trusted and respected for years decided one day to become heartless monsters and torture Taehyung in our home then leave him to die? No way! Hyung… NO.WAY!. I admit we’re naïve, easily trustful and luckily, didn’t meet many evil people in our life but not to the point where we can’t see that all of them are psychopathic murderers!”

“Yeah,… you’re probably right… wait what do you mean leave him to die? Murderers?”

“Well think about it, unless whoever did this knew the exact moment Namjoon hyung would feel bored and go downstairs, Tae-hyung wasn’t meant to be found until … until it’s too late. And the… m-message, and now that we looked up the videos, no one has come in or out the dorms in the last twelve hours before we found him”

“Oh. My. God, Jungkooki!! Oh my god!... we need to tell the hyungs and the police!”

As if on cue, Namjoon came in: “They already know Jimin, Detective Lee Eun-Hee was just updating us on the phone, they’re taking all the managers who were on those recordings for questioning, they are all facing attempted murder charges”

Jimin hated the situation they’re in more and more every passing minute, their managers were close to them, they loved and cared for them and now….  he wished whoever caused it was crazy and sick enough to reveal his identity…

“Wait! hyung, what if we ask Tae?”

“What?!  No!” protested Jungkook. “he’s in a really bad state. You saw it Jimin hyung! Besides, he doesn’t remember!”

“I think so too Jimin” added Namjoon

“I think he does, he’s confused, but I believe he remembers who did it” insisted Jimin

“And why do you think that?” asked Namjoon curiously.

“You said it yourself hyung, Tae was afraid that something would happen to us because he knows the person who hurt him is close to us, and the way he asked to get to Hobi-hyung that wasn’t just confusion, that was pure terror, even if it turns out he threatened him, he wouldn’t be as scared not knowing who made the threat right? I mean, he might be confused and not really recalling details clearly but… It’s very probable right?” Jimin asked wide eyes and flailing hands.

Jungkook’s posture deflated a little from the previous defensive one, but he was still unsure: “I still think it’ll be bad to make Tae-hyung talk about it”

“Oh, I don’t think it would be bad… I know it will! But is there another way to know who did it without digging into the private life of every BigHit employee who’s ever been here!”

“Ok, Jimin… but at least, let’s talk about it before we do it yeah? We only saw a glimpse of it and none of us can open up about it! Imagine how it feels for Tae!”

Jungkook was about to say something but he was cut by Yoongi’s shouting from the living room “EVERYONE! WE NEED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL RIGHT.NOW!”

All of them were leaping towards Yoongi anxious “Why? What happened?” asked Jimin scared and shaking

“Someone sent something to Tae, … whatever it is, it freaked the hell out of him and he got himself into yet another seizure, the Doctor said that having another one will be very bad for him, we need to go” Answered Yoongi trying to make it as short as possible while struggling to put on his baskets and coat. 

If he’s still trying to hurt him,…. thought Jimin angrily.

They had to know who was behind this before he finishes his initial plan.

Chapter Text

“You think that they care about you? That they’re nice people who love you? How dumb are you? They’re not different from the others! If they were here they’d choose you as a substitute… if,.. no.. when they get tired of you they’ll try to throw you away, or worse ERASE you just like ‘THEY’ did before, so come on! choose one of them, I kill him for you and you’ll be free! No? you know how this goes, don’t you? How much longer can you take? Tae.hyung.aaah” the voice trails off, his words heavy and dark.

Taehyung doesn’t get why this person (if the talking shadowy figure he sees through his haze can be called that) is doing this to him? God! He has never thought a human being could feel so much pain and still lives to feel it over and over again!..... What day is it? What time is it? There are no windows in this room (more like a dungeon what with all the “toys” around them) He’s so confused! How did he get there?

How much he wishes the pain would just stop! The torture, the rules, the deals,…. He can’t take it anymore, but then, there would be a jolt and the agony is blinding, the buzzing sound in his head is deafening and he bites too hard on his lips and he’s tasting the thick crimson liquid.

 It goes on and on and on until whatever force out there has mercy on him and it brings over the much-welcomed darkness.

Beep… beep… beep…

He opened his eyes, but this time he wasn’t hanging from the ceiling, he’s not in that room, this one is white, and it smelled … clean? maybe? He was lying on a bed. He had some plastic transparent thing covering his mouth and nose and he hated it but didn’t have the energy to lift his hand and remove it, he felt exhausted, even his eyelids seemed too heavy, his whole body was aching, was he sleeping or running a marathon? He was also thirsty and scared… wait where was he anyway? Argh! This headache!

He remembered something, he was here before, he saw Jungkook and Jimin and maybe Hoseok? He thought he had heard Jin, Namjoon and Yoongi’s voices next to him too, but he couldn’t tell whether it was a memory or a dream…

Jimin had looked sad and Jungkook … angry? And why were Yoongi and Hoseok so pale? Oh! It might be the epi…epi … what was it again the man in white told him he had? Whatever! … seeing it must have scared his hyungs right? But then why…

“TaeTae! Can you hear me?” asked a familiar voice softly

“M…Mom?”

“Heeey, Love! How are you feeling?” She said smiling

“… A-achy… w-what h-happened?” He replied with a husky voice

“You … had a seizure, remember?”

“Oh!... w-where are…. H-hyungs… a-and Jungkook?”

“We sent them home. They didn’t rest at all so we promised them to take care of you the time it takes them to eat something and lay down for a bit”

“…… W-we?” why did it take him so long to understand his mother?

“Her and I Tae-bear”

Taehyung jumped a little, it took him few minutes to process that it was his father who just talked and he just nodded shyly.

 “Excuse me, Kim Taehyung-ssi?” asked a nurse whom Tae didn’t notice opening the door and stepping in until she spoke

“Yes?” His mother was an angel! He really didn’t want to answer because then he’d have to think and thinking HURT!

“This came from his friend earlier, he said to give it to him”

“Oh! Is it from the kids? Tae those members are really great! They were very polite towards us and they really love you!”

 Now THAT, he understood!  His mom (Angel), was speaking slowly, clearly noticing her son was having a hard time keeping up.

She handed him an envelope and, never before in his life, did he find opening a stupid bit of paper to be such a hard, long, draining task!!! His hands were shaking too much and it was so hard to control them.

But oh did his body move faster than ever when he saw the contents of it!!! Photos of his members, his brothers, hurt, beaten, bloodied …And all hell broke loose! He remembered everything now, he knew why he had been so terrified last time he saw them, he remembered why he had been in so much pain (and he still was), why he tried damn hard to muffle the smallest of noises and not scream or yell, and more importantly he knew his friends were in danger because of him!

He started thrashing, trying to remove the wires and tubes glued to his skin, he called for them, tried forming words that his parents could understand in order for them to help him up and out (which was doing the exact opposite of the desired reaction since his father was wrapping him in a deadly hug). It was his fault, it was his fault… people in white were running towards him holding him harder than his father did and screaming at him to calm down and breathe and stop crying…

They didn’t understand!!! that man is going to kill them because HE couldn’t take it!!! he failed them, he screwed up!

Abruptly, he felt something click in his head and his whole body started shaking like a fish out of the sea, he couldn’t see anything, and the loud unrecognizable sounds he heard weren’t helping, and he couldn’t breathe! He was choking, struggling to take some air in his abused lungs. But the worst thing was the familiar darkness that was coming, which meant he wouldn’t be able to go to his friends! He wouldn’t save them, he was failing them,…again…

***********************************************************************

(Time skip)

He’s too late! Now they are all gone because he was too weak, pathetic, boneless… his loving hyungs and cute maknae were lost forever… but he couldn’t even die with them, he’s alive and breathing and… unable to move… he can’t feel his hands, nor his legs, he’s just there, watching murder after murder of his loved ones, he begged, cried, shouted, kicked, even bit and got nothing but pain and more death every time… his body is practically ruined but it’s his heart that hurts the most, he told him he would take whatever pain he has to give him, he told him he’ll do anything, just to spare his… family.

But this man whom he knew and trusted for years turned out to be the cruellest creature he’s ever seen.

Because the next moments his hyungs are fine! His dongsaeng is running freely, bunny teeth showing, and muscled body unscratched! And he’d tell him that they won’t stay fine and they will die if he doesn’t obey… Why was he doing this to him? What did he ever do wrong? He knows better by now than to underestimate his threat, so he keeps going every time refusing the deal of sacrificing their lives for his and voluntarily making his “punishments”  tenfolds worse.

 Someone just,…. Take him! kill him right then and there, at least then he won’t be in pain, he might even be with his beloved very missed grandmother… death is better…

“Tae… Tae! Please wake up! It’s just a dream… wake up Taehyungie, come on… open your eyes, yes that’s it! You’re okay, everything is going to be okay! We’re here, we’re right here…”

Taehyung opened his eyes to the white room again, the voice he was hearing was Hoseok’s and even though his hyung looked sad, he felt better seeing him beside his bed.

Then was it a dream? A memory? He tried to lift himself up, but his hands were restrained with a cloth.

Flashes came back to him and he was shivering, he was scared, he didn’t want to go back to …

“Shh it’s okay, I’ll remove them yeah? But don’t move too much Tae, so that you won’t hurt yourself okay?”

Yoongi’s voice was as calm and assertive as always, he looked him in the eyes and made him instantly feel relieved.

Free of his cuffs, he could finally look around the room and he saw both his families gathered around him safe and sound.

At that, he just came undone, allowing himself to fall apart…

Chapter Text

They went hurriedly to the hospital, expecting to find Taehyung heavily sedated, still and silent on the bed. They were surprised to see Tae’s parents waiting for them at the back entrance. (Namjoon did everything possible to reduce the risks of fans finding them and making things more complicated. Sejin-hyung also helped by postponing all their schedules to an indefinite date.)

Jin didn’t like the worried expressions they wore on their faces, he sped up to them.

“He’s sleeping now, the seizure drained the last bit of energy left in him, but he won’t be for long” Informed Tae’s father, he looked so sad and the boys could relate to that.

Yoongi literally yelped when he saw Taehyung, which in itself said a lot about the situation at hand.

Tae’s hands were tied up with a cloth to the bed (“so that he doesn’t hurt himself” was the nurse’s excuse) and while his eyes were closed he was crying, moving against his constraints and talking…

You see, Taehyung talking in his sleep was nothing new to the eight people present in the room, this, however, was nothing like his normal sleep-talking. By the sound of it, they were sure their friend was back in the basement, he was begging, stifling pained cries, and what gave the final blow to their hearts were his pleas to be killed.

The hopeful, optimistic, most positive person they’ve ever known wanted to die! Hoseok couldn’t take any more of that, so he started shaking him as gently as he could, talking in the calmest voice he could master until finally, the boy woke up, eyes glassy and gaze unfocused…

Yoongi was moving before thinking when he saw Tae tugging at the cloth around his already abused wrists, he proceeded to remove them, making sure to speak slowly, slipping into his Daegu satoori and keeping eye contact with him in hopes of lessening his confusion and calming him down.

They all saw the exact moment something in Taehyung just broke, he was eying them blankly one moment and the next whatever was holding him together crashed and he was crying like there was no tomorrow, loudly, uncontrollably like a frightened kid, not caring to talk or move or even breathe…

That was more than enough incentive to get the six members to fit themselves in the too-small bed with him, limbs clumsily wrapped up around Tae’s shaking body, whispering sweet nothings to his ears, touching his hair, caressing his hands, hushing his sobs, wiping away his tears, and getting as close to him as they could, to make him feel their body-heat, their heartbeats, soothing and proving that they were all real and alive.

They had seen the pictures and pieces of the puzzle were coming together, their safety was exchanged for Taehyung’s pain somehow, and he kept thinking they were hurt or will be.

“I’m sorry… I’m so-so sorry …. I-I couldn’t! … It h-hurt … I-I tried … I’m so sorry… I w-would never ch-choose any of you to… to take m-my place … n-never!...”

Jungkook was holding back his tears but Jimin couldn’t, they were both glad Jin could actually form words: “Shhh… It’s okay Tae, none of us is going to be hurt, not now not ever! okay? You’ve been so brave, so strong and we love you! You’re free now, it’s over! Namjoon found you. Manager-hyung will be gone for a veeery long time okay Tae? He’ll never get close to any of us…”

Jin wanted so much to ask Tae who did it, he clearly remembered all the details and could probably tell them many things (other than the disgusting deal the monster has offered him), but seeing him this overwhelmed and scared and ashamed of something he wasn’t even guilty of, he opted for using the bits of information he already had to make him feel safe and protected instead.

He did the right thing, considering that just the mention of the manager without even specifying his name made Taehyung flinch.

-

Sobs turned to sniffles, and loud harboured inhales of air turned to soft breaths… They managed to lull Taehyung to sleep (or maybe he cried himself to sleep…, either way, they were glad he was resting)

They repositioned him on the bed, Jungkook, and Jimin laying down with him to keep him warm (and calm in case he’d wake up again).

Tae’s parents took a seat thanking the boys who refused to receive their gratitude, still expressing their guilt about the whole situation.

“I think we should take him home.” begun his father

The hyung line exchanged worried looks then Namjoon asked: “To Daegu?”

“No, no, I guess I caught the habit of calling your dorms home from Tae…" he let out a small chuckle before continuing, 

“My point is, Tae's confused, and I know he needs to be taken care of, but giving him some medicine is as far as the hospital can go in the care area!”

“That and delivering gifts from his abductors AND tying him to the bed!” interrupted Yoongi clearly holding a grudge

“Yes, well they couldn’t really know and they were doing their job but still…  that is why we want to get him out,” said Tae’s mother

 “What we understood is that his epilepsy can’t be treated until his head injury is healed, which along with all his other wounds need standard treatment that anyone can give. I know we’re asking too much but we’re afraid that taking him away from you will further worsen his condition, we can stay with you too if  it’s not a bother or…”

“You’re right!” Said Namjoon cutting her off  “And no it's not much, it’s the least we can do to Taehyung, he’s our family too, eomma-nim. And you can rest assured we’ll take very good care of him, you should go back to Eon Jin and Jeong Gyu (Tae’s siblings), they must be worried, we’ll keep you updated”

“…Ok,… thank you!  You have no idea how glad we are Tae has people like you around him, we’ll talk to the doctor and finish the procedures, you stay with Tae till he wakes up and we’ll take him home then…”

Hoseok felt more guilt seeing how Tae’s parents didn’t blame them for one second, he imagined they’d get their anger and worries out on them, but then again, he guessed Taehyung must have gotten that gentle nature and forgiving selfless traits from them.

-

Poor Taehyung didn’t rest that much though, barely half an hour later he was waking up again, it was too sudden and too fast that a blinding pain shot up all over his body unbalancing him and he was falling head first to the ground. Luckily, his bandmates were all there and they moved in time to catch him.

The doctor came checking on him one last time, giving the boys indications on how to treat his wounds, handle his seizures and administer his medicine. He also provided some equipment for them to take home, informing them that Taehyung might need IV drops and an air mask sometimes and he subtly suggested taking Tae to a therapist, insisting that his emotional state might trigger frequent seizures, “although, the seizure itself isn’t dangerous, accidents can happen!” he reasoned.

Throughout the conversation, Taehyung was blank and unresponsive. It took a horribly long time to gain his attention and even longer to get a reaction out of him. And the members started really worrying after the third time he made a “headcount” asking if they were there one by one.

***********************************************************

(time skip)

They were all exhausted by the time they arrived at the dorms. Taehyung was in so much pain that they needed to give him painkillers just to put some clothes on him. Walking was out of the question what with his broken leg, but he wasn’t even able to hold the crutches let alone support himself on them.  Carrying him was the alternative. Namjoon covered him with his coat in case someone sees them.

Taking him in and out the van was tricky: He went stiff when Jungkook lifted him up and then hang onto him as if his life depended on it and started a chant of “don’t”s, “please”s and “no”s when he was lowered down. They honestly gave up picturing what could have been done to him to make even that simple action scary.

The boys saw Tae’s parents off minutes after arriving to the dorms, the latters kissing their son goodbye and reasserting their trust in the members’ care.

They then moved to Taehyung’s room, being the only one (thankfully) on the ground floor, they removed his furniture both for space and safety, they brought all the things he liked or might like, their favourites too, be it pillows, covers, plushies, pyjamas, socks, slippers, even perfumed candles and little figurines  (Seokjin’s orders were absolute)…

They have finally settled down, Taehyung snuggled comfortably between Jungkook and Hoseok, he calmed down considerably, and thanks to Yoongi’s voice, he was asleep soon after.

Back in the days, Namjoon believed they were bulletproof. But then again, he said it himself “a day may come when we lose…” he felt that day came, and he felt like a helpless loser!

But he realised Bangtan is an entity, one being like a body, when a part of it is hurt, the whole body will be aching and feverish. A bullet hit them, Taehyung was hurt and they were all in pain! That is just how close they were!

He was glad though that Tae wasn’t awake when they all received something on their phones at the same time, the subject was the same message on their friend’s chest, and the content: a video they regretted watching!

Chapter Text

“Who’s turn is it this time? Taehyung-ah? Oooh, the golden maknae’s turn huh? His voice is just amazing, isn’t it? Angelic and crystal clear like water, makes you feel like drowning. Your voice has the same effect, now that I think about it…” There were sounds of hustling and moving objects before the voice resumed ”Remember what we agreed on, Taehyung-ah? If you can’t take it, we’ll see if your Kooki can…”

Someone was lifting Taehyung up like he weighed nothing then he was being laid down on a the table, hands above his head, still tied up and a towel was covering his nose and mouth, and then buckets after buckets of water were being poured on Tae’s face. He was shaking, thrashing, kicking, pushing… after long minutes, he went limp, the towel replaced by something that looked awfully like an air pump, and Tae inhaled loud and raspy and uncontrollably fast and uncoordinated “Still don’t want him here? Where is he now, Taehyung-ah? Why doesn't your little brother show up with all his golden glory and save you? You make him begin after all. Oow! Are you crying? Shh, don’t worry, think of his voice and fake cute smile, while you die again to spare him!”

They were back at it times and times again, Jungkook’s singing voice muffling Tae’s violent intakes and heart-wrenching coughs and the video was paused. They all turned around to look at Jungkook and no one was surprised to see the pained expression and the comically huge tears falling, he rubbed his eyes with little to no success at making the water work stop. “Let’s finish hyungs, play the rest of it.” He said, determined to at least be strong enough to watch it.

The second half of the video, something was different in the room, the lights, they were fluorescent and weird.

“Look at you Taehyung-ah! All bruised and bloodied, I bet your fans would love this concept! I know for sure though, that your so-called  FRIENDS already do… Speaking of friends, you and that shortie are pretty close aren’t you? Oof! Those high pitches of his!! Feels like a knife cutting through your skin”  Everyone in the room hissed, seeing Tae being whipped, sounds of leather on skin, the boy’s body flouncing each time the lash came in contact with his abused back, Jimin’s songs playing in the background. But then he couldn’t take it and he just groaned a little. Suddenly, there was a slap, then a fist to his chest and then, something was being shown to him, sounds were heard and it was so similar to Jimin’s voice, screaming and crying filled the room.

Taehyung was begging, waling, screaming frantically “No, please, no, I’m sorry, please stop it, don’t hurt him, I’ll do anything please! No! Jimin! No!!!” The man took the whip again “Okay, then... You take it with your mouth shut, or he dies! Every sound you make will equal a stab to one of his limbs, understood?” By the time the man decided to stop, Taehyung was a mess, his glossy eyes looked lifeless, his lips turned purple, and his body was twitching. “Cry for Jimin to save you. He’s your best friend, you both have the same age, the same passion, you’re soulmates… he takes care of you supposedly… Where is he now? Taehyung-ah?”

The screen turned black, all sounds and images disappeared and just when they thought the tormenting video was finally over, a voice startled them asking: What does it feel like? LIARS!!!”  followed by Taehyung’s voice begging to be killed on loop.

Jimin wanted to throw up, he felt his heart stop hundreds of times watching that. And now, he looked back at Taehyung’s sleeping form next to them, curled up on himself, looking small and defenceless, the bandages covering the majority of his skinny figure reminding them of how real this was!

Jungkook was sad, guilty, and furious “That’s Oh YoonSok hyung’s voice!” He growled, rage seeping from his every feature.

“Yes!…. First, we must call the police, this is incriminating evidence. Sending it to us means YoonSok isn’t scared of being found out.” Started Namjoon “It’s clear now, that we were his real targets and the fact that he recorded what he did to Tae proves he intended to kill him and let us carry the guilt of it. Tae might still be in danger…”

“I don’t care what he meant to do” Yoongi interrupted “Where the hell is he?”

“Calm down, Yoongi” ordered Jin “He used us to hurt Tae! After what I just saw…. I think he needs more than just bandages and food, and he definitely doesn’t need angry hyungs!”

Everyone nodded at that. Taehyung was left with scars not just on his body but on his mind and soul as well, his confusion, terror, and reactions to their touches and movements started making sense.

Jungkook was internally cursing himself for carrying his hyung earlier, his heart throbbing painfully at the thought of Tae scared of being drowned by him.

Jimin hated his voice as of that moment, he was certain every second of that video will be engraved in his memories forever. He wished he could go back in time and save Tae and avoid living any of this, but he knew it was impossible.

Hoseok was blank for a moment, his mind short-circuited from what they just found out, then questions were shooting up, why is it their manager? He joined them just a few months after Sejin-hyung, he was calm and gentle but most importantly, Tae adored him,… worshipped him even! He was called “super cool manager-hyung” for ages by the boy!

Why would he want to kill him? Why would he want to hurt the rest of them? And why was he using them to torture Tae and test his love for them in the worst possible way? They weren’t biological brothers! No! even if they were, he wasn’t supposed to die for them!

They would do it for each other! Tae’s current state was enough proof of that…. but it’s just how strong their bond was, it wasn’t a written rule, a common belief or an obligation. What they’d do or do not for each other’s sake is nobody’s business!

His thoughts drifted back to the video and he caught a pattern, each one of them represented something in the group, but last week those symbolics became equivalents to a type of torture in Taehyung’s mind.

What does it feel like?  It felt disgusting, excruciating, terrifying, infuriating,… Hoseok could go on for hours and none of the adjectives he’d come up with would be anywhere near positive!

****************************************************************

(Time skip)

The concept of time was starting to escape their understanding, from the moment they finished that video to the moment the two detectives were sitting across from them in the newly-called common room (Tae’s) examining their phones and asking questions, they weren’t really aware of their surroundings. Each one of them was engrossed in his own thoughts, eyes checking on Taehyung regularly.

“Oh YoonSok, Forty-one years old, works for BigHit Entertainment since twenty-ten, married, had one child whom he lost a few years back, suicide, it seems. Oh, wait, it says here, he just lost his wife three months ago...” informed Detective Han

“That might be what triggered his… unstable behaviour” reasoned Detective Lee “Look into his son’s suicide deeper, let’s find out if there is any connection to Taehyung or one of the members, and I want to know the circumstances of his wife’s death. We’ll take one of the phones as evidence and try to track down his location, he’s the only one we couldn’t reach earlier for questioning”

Taehyung stirred and the six members almost immediately jumped to his side, he was shifting uncomfortably, and Jin, having a better understanding of his physical condition, repositioned him so that his injuries weren’t under his weight’s pressure.

Honestly, Detective Lee considered the members as suspects at first, even after seeing their genuine pain and worry back at the hospital, the way they interacted with their bandmate and how they were cooperating with them, he was never one to rule out persons of interest no matter his feelings about them, however, now that the culprit revealed himself, he felt comfortable sharing intel with them and asking for their help.

“Do you know him well? Namjoon-ssi” he asked

“As far as we can know a manager, he’s not as close as Sejin hyung or Hobeom hyung, but he is … was one of our favourites, considerate, gentle, caring and Tae liked him very much…” the leader paused recalling memories “YoonSok hyung was quite protective of Tae now that I remember, we would tease him about being biased and he’d happily agree, saying that Tae treats him in a special way and he’s returning the favour” answered Namjoon, carefully watching the detectives’ reaction.

“I see, something must have caused this change… As I said, we’ll try locating him by tracing his phone through yours, I need you to be contactable, we’ll call you as soon as we get some news. And if he sends something else or tries approaching you in any way, you tell us first hand. I am leaving two officers outside just in case. I wish your friend a fast recovery!”

Watching the two policemen leaving, Jin heaved a sigh feeling heavy-hearted, he realised just how serious the situation at hand was, their friend had been tortured, the man responsible who’s also, close to them might still be after him and they can’t do anything to help…

Well, not on his watch! They were going to be useful, and they will protect Tae from any potential danger. Their second maknae basically gave up his life readily for them, and he’d be damned if he was going to do anything less than the exact same thing!

As they all crawled down under the covers, careful not to wake their friend up, they exchanged looks and sighed. It was a silent conversation that ended with an agreement: They’ll make things better!

Chapter Text

“Hyung! Please! Please! No! It hurts hyung! Why are you doing this? Hyung-nim! Please let me go!”

He couldn’t! Why wouldn’t the boy get it? He was doing all this for his sake. Why couldn’t he see they were using him, they’ll take what they needed and leave him with nothing…. They’ll hurt him and step on his pride and get people to hate him! He’ll be despised, looked down at, and avoided. Then he’ll feel lonely, blame himself and end his life just like his son! Why couldn’t good people see that others are evil… that it never changes with them!

If it was always the same, then who was he to change their fate? If Taehyung wanted to waste his life anyway, then he’d do it for him, he’d kill him!

But not before showing him how useless and fake their friendship was. Even better! He’d show him that he himself wasn’t a true “brother”! There is nothing called friendship or brotherhood and he would make him realise it and then he’d end his life. And he’d make it so painful, that his so-called friends would hurt just watching it and they’ll carry the guilt for the rest of their lives!

He had planned this beforehand, he participated in the making of their schedule, intentionally omitting a few lessons and events here and there. It was a good first step because it made it impossible for the boys to plan anything for their days off. The next step was the stage. He wanted Taehyung to see that the place he called “home”, instead of his parents’ place, was where he’d suffer the most.

Everything went according to the plan, and he successfully drugged Taehyung after dance practice without drawing any attention. Better yet, it delayed the return of the other members to the dorms, and he even sent messages from the boy’s phone to both his members and his family so that none of them gets suspicious…

He also kept sending the other managers every so often to deliver the fan-related objects he collected over the last few months so as to confuse whoever thought of looking into it AND he used a pre-made copy of the access card to get in and out of the dorms at any time always moving through the blind spots of the security cameras.

HOWEVER, the boy in question ruined it all! He made him snap, not only did he decide to kill him, but he also found himself hurting him more than intended.

He liked the kid! He was pure, innocent, cute, hardworking and polite! He had what would make any father very proud! And it was hard! He could feel the pain he was inflicting on Taehyung as if he was the one being tortured. When he knew the boy was too out of it, he would cry wishing there was something else he could do, praying that the boy would just wake up from his idealistic dreams and accept his deal!

He won’t hurt his stupid friends! No matter how much he desired it with every cell of his being, he couldn’t… they were hard to trick, even harder to subdue and he was certain that unlike their naively loyal friend, they would give up everything they’ve ever believed in just to be spared the sufferance.

So he went on and on, using what the boy liked about them to break him, he choked, whipped, water-edged, electrocuted, burned and just frustratingly hit and kicked and broke bones using any and everything he had.

-

He didn’t have much time left, the one-week time limit was close to its end, he used light tricks and came at irregular hours with different time spans allowing the boy to faint only a few minutes a day. He thought that maybe if he was exhausted, confused and starving, he would be able to knock some sense into his dense brain… But no!!! The idiot would beg only for his friends’sake. He’d take it over and over again!

He knew that after the first few couple of hours, the young man couldn’t even tell if his bandmates were still alive, yet he still trusted his words and continued playing his part of the fake deal. He was glad he spent hours editing those videos to make it look like someone was hurting and killing the other members because he definitely wasn’t expecting him to hold that long.

-

He almost gave up, he used all the members to torture him four times that day alone, and he was in the fifth round, starting with the maknae then the leader, then the oldest rapper Suga, and it’s in J-hope’s turn that the boy couldn’t take it anymore.

He was wet, cold, twitching from the electricity still running through him, and he had hit him too badly breaking his leg in the process. And he was burning him, marking him with hot metal. It was impossible to hold back his voice, and had it been the beginning of the week he would have ignored it. But he needed the excuse, his mind knew nothing but rage and revenge, and the boy’s pained voice was his cue.

He took a bat and just threw it around, it landed multiple times on his chest, on his back, his legs. He then took a knife “That’s it Taehyung-ah! I’ll mark a word for each one of them on your skin, they would love to know who failed them! Now your beloved Hobi-hyung is going to die and so are you!”

He was surprised at how calm he was through it all… Taehyng was a mess, begging, pleading, imploring him, to spare them. He even asked him to kill him alone without hurting his “family”, the nerves he had! But he just kept on mutilating him, writing the seven words that haunted him for years, then with one last swing of the bat, Taehyung was out cold, Blood running down his face from the blow to his head.

He didn’t need to check his pulse, the boy was still alive. He just left him there to die slowly and see when would the six other boys find his corpse.

Getting out of the dorms and walking through the vivid streets of Seoul, he lifted his head to the sky “I didn’t just watch this time, darling… I acted! But you see, love? They all end up leaving… just like you and he did… I became a monster again… and without you, I can’t even feel guilty about it”

********************************************************************

 When the police called him, he figured they found Taehyung, but he was surprised when there wasn’t any news on TV for more than twelve hours! Which meant one thing: the boy lives!

Not that he cared… The kid was definitely not fine, it would be even more interesting to watch how his “friends” were going to be “friendly” when he sees them as torture and pain, what would be even more interesting, was to witness how strong his faith is going to be towards the persons responsible for his ordeal.

He made sure he left an “impact” when he visited the hospital and dropped his little gift!

However, he knew that if he wanted to enjoy the show, he had to be there to watch it… he couldn’t get caught now!

Luckily, the only person who knew about his cabin in the woods of the suburbs was his wife, and she was not … available… to tell the police about it, he might or might not have spoken to Taehyung about it, but it was impossible for the boy to recall it, he was… well… “preoccupied” when he had told him!

Therefore, he took his keys, few clothes, and some food and went to the cabin, sending them all one of the videos he edited after leaving the boy, he made sure to cover his tracks while he was at it.

He couldn’t wait to see how their fake emotions were going to deal with real cruel life!

Chapter Text

“Taehyung-ah, rise and shine! hahaha” The laughter was so dark and wicked and disgusting, it made him tense “speaking of shine, this time it’s Hoseok’s turn, what’s that BS he goes with again? Your hope, my hope or something? Well, your fans like to compare him to sunshine, but do you know why? Because, just like the sun, he brings light and hope, warms hearts, and ALSO like the sun… he burns!!”

A cylindrical stick was in his manager’s hand and he was moving towards him, he couldn’t run away, his body was dangling from the ceiling again. YoonSok put the stick on his thigh and he heard the swishing sound of it before feeling the blinding pain.

He was in pure agony, his lips were bleeding from the excessive biting and a very small whimper escaped them. “No, no, no, Taehyung-ah!!! We don’t want to see your Hobi-hyung on fire now, do we? How does it feel? Wouldn’t you rather he suffers while you live on?... ”

He needed to be strong, to take the pain for his hyung’s sake, but he was beyond his limits. He wished there was a switch somewhere in his brain, some kind of on/off button that would make him just pass out through it all, but there wasn’t, he remembered hearing the man saying that the thing he has been injecting him with would make him unable to “go to sleep”.

The pain he felt was excruciating, he was twisting his body, tugging at his constraints, biting his lips, his clothes (or what’s left of them) and his arms each time the stick of hell touched his skin.

And when inevitably he committed the mistake of making a sound again, everything went downhill, the knife cutting through his chest, the cries of his brothers, the continuous collisions of hands and feet and big hard objects with his ribs, back and head,… and then…

Darkness ate it all up…

-

He was screaming his lungs out, he realised people were there, he felt warm bodies next to him, heard gentle voices whispering in his ears, tender fingers wiping his tears but nothing managed to pierce through the one thought clouding his mind, “Hoseok-hyung was gone because of [him]”.

He was tired, done with all the pain he felt all over his body, the weight getting heavier on his heart, breathing was straining, he was mumbling nonsense, drying his eyes out, and waves of heat were coursing through his body… he just wanted it all to stop!

********************************************************************

Bang Sihyuk would never in his whole life forget the cursed call he received from manager Sejin two days ago! The aforementioned man had personally insisted that he should take a breather and travel with his family somewhere because he “needs” it, or so he said.

Therefore, getting a call from that same person (who practically begged him to turn his phone off) just a few days after his departure meant one thing: BAD NEWS!

And BAD they were! He was drowning in his own guilt over the fact that one of the men he trusted had betrayed him and hurt one of the kids. The boys who made him proud, and turned his dream into a reality, and one boy in particular mind you! Taehyung, the cute innocent 4D personality nerd whom he had a soft spot for (But he would never admit that to anyone)

He knew things weren’t looking good, manager Sejin kept him updated. He actually made it in time to meet the Kims and apologize for his …. Well, he didn’t even know what to call it, irresponsibility? Naivety? Carelessness? ... Whatever it was he felt he did (or didn’t) that led to those circumstances.

But, he didn’t get to see Taehyung. When the police told him the boy might still be in danger though, he decided to act. He really loved the group members as his own sons, he felt like he practically raised them, so keeping up from afar and participating with just a few calls here and there and orders to the managers was out of the question.

However, he did not expect things to be that complicated! He headed to the dorms hoping to find a shaken up Taehyung resting while surrounded by overprotective brothers, but hearing frantic screams the moment he stepped in was not something he could anticipate.

He hastened to join the confused members in Tae’s room, trying their hardest to coax him to breathe and stop crying. After noticing their hyung-nim’s arrival, the boys explained that they woke up to the screaming and the thrashing of Taehyung whom they secured between them barely two hours ago.

Describing his state as “Hysterical” would be an understatement. He was unable to recognize the familiar voices attempting to calm him down, fighting their slightest touches, crying like there was no tomorrow, sadness and guilt and agony were radiating from him as if he just murdered someone.

It took them long frustrating moments to make sense of the mumbo-jumbo Tae was repeating like a prayer between his sobs: “Hobi-hyung! ’msorry’msorry’msorry’msorry…. Hobi-hyung! Pleasepleaseplease!

Before even processing the words, Hoseok was hugging Tae for dear life, whispering reassurances of “I’m here”s and “it’s alright”s.

But for some reason, it was nothing like the times at the hospital… Taehyung was panicking too much, nothing seemed to work, he was barely able to get enough air in his system, shaking so violently the bed was creaking, he even got himself sick, throwing up his stomach fluids into the bowl Jin managed to bring at the right time. If all that wasn’t called an emotional trigger, they didn’t know what was! Which was why they saw it coming, the feared seizure!

BangPD, on the other hand, did not. He just stood frozen on his spot watching as mission “calm Tae down” unfolded: Jungkook brought a cool washcloth to his skin or as much of it as he could reach, which wasn’t an easy mission! Taehyung was making a clutch at Hoseok with his whole body. (Except his broken leg)

Yoongi was talking to him fully into Daegu Satoori hoping its familiarity would ease the youngster’s mind.

Jimin and Namjoon were caressing his hands and stroking his hair gently.

Jin used the chance to bring the emergency medicine the doctor gave him as well as some painkillers then he proceeded to make some herbal tea for everyone.

Eventually, the convulsions came then stopped, Tae’s death grip on Hoseok’s clothes loosened and he went lax. The split second of silence was almost soothing and then came the low pitched sob and Taehyung was crying again, he was actually calmer this time, unmoving, sounds and hiccups barely heard, he was utterly exhausted.

Sihyuk didn’t realise he was tearing up as well until Jin handed him the warm drink with a soft sad smile, he was physically in pain because of what he saw, he felt like his heart was literally being crushed.

Just… how could so much happen in one week, forget about schedules and resting! They were up for a lot of headaches for the foreseeable future. Business was not on his list of priorities.

Right now, understanding exactly what was wrong with Taehyung and fixing it was going to be his one and only plan.

Chapter Text

Decidedly, this was the worst day the Bangtan Boys have ever lived! One would think the act of taking care of an injured person who can barely move was the tiring task, but in fact, the real hardship was psychological.

After his seizure and the long hour he spent silently crying on Hoseok’s chest while the latter was rocking him back and forth, they noticed blood splotches widening through the white tissue covering the majority of Taehyung’s body.

Jin who was gently carding Tae’s sweaty bangs, noticed his rising temperature, he talked to him in a barely audible whisper: “Tae Tae, let’s have a warm bath and change into something comfortable, I’ll make you something to eat and we’ll lay down together … we could watch a movie, maybe? How does that sound?”

Taehyung was staring into nothing scarcely able to keep his eyelids open, Jin thought he maybe didn’t hear him, but a few minutes later, the younger nodded slightly not showing any attempt to leave the place he occupied on Hoseok’s lap.

Jungkook, although wanting to help as much as he could, knew better than to be near Taehyung at the same time as water, which was why he volunteered to take care of the cooking.

Hoseok, on the other hand, believed the last thing he should do was to stay away from him even for a minute, he was, therefore, going to help with the bath.

Namjoon saw (during the short time they interacted with Tae) that his voice made the younger flinch, so he chose to keep his distance, participating by preparing towels and clothes as well as new bandages and antiseptics.

It was the exact opposite in Yoongi’s case, Tae would visibly relax hearing his voice but jerk whenever the rapper got too close, so he decided he’d handle calming the boy down vocally if bathing turned out to be too much for him.

Jimin was already holding Tae’s hands to ground him, helping as much as he could with moving him to the bathroom without separating him from Hoseok, and all-the-while making sure to avoid Tae’s back at all costs.

Sihyuk felt like he was intruding on something intimate, so he decided to give them some privacy and left, promising Namjoon that he’d bring someone he personally knew to help Taehyung overcome whatever it was that distressed him to that extent.

Removing Taehyung’s clothes was a very slow process, the soundless winces here and there were a reminder that he was in so much pain, he was making a great effort just to keep his head upright, his whole weight supported by his hyungs.

The sight of his bare skin with nothing to hide the bruises, the cuts, the burns and the ugly words across his chest yellowing at the corners made the rage resurface again, burning in their hearts like an infernal fire.

However, that feeling was soon replaced by one of helplessness! When they tried putting him in the water, Taehyung was no longer able to breathe, clenching his teeth, squeezing his eyes shut and unconsciously embedding his nails in Hoseok’s shoulders.

Jin was quick to get him out of the bathtub and gesture to the two dancers next to him to place him on the edge.

They worked together to scrub his skin with a sponge, being extra careful not to cause him any unnecessary pain, they shampooed his hair and soaked it, with Yoongi making sure to let him know of their every move beforehand.

Tae was -more or less- compliant through it all, only tightening his grip on Jimin’s hand whenever it hurt or scared him.

They proceeded to sit him on the toilet lid, and Jin took it upon himself to apply the stingy medicine to Tae’s wounds. An act of inhuman strength in his opinion, because he did feel like a monster from beginning to end.

Yoongi too, knew the process would be hard to watch, but he still couldn’t take it, seeing Taehyung muffling his pained sobs in Jimin’s sweater, quivering every time the cotton caressed one of the deep cuts sparsed all over his body… and when Jin got to his thighs, the four of them heard his soul-wrecking cry followed by the whispered pleas and the unceasing tears.

Namjoon was done with the after-bath preparations and about to join Jungkook in the kitchen when they both heard Jimin screaming Taehyung’s name.

They rushed to the bathroom to find Taehyung lying unconscious on top of a crying Jimin while Jin and Hoseok were wrapping the new bandages around his skinny frame. Yoongi was croutching in the corner, embracing his knees, looking absolutely miserable.

“I was treating his wounds…, it got too painful for him to handle…” explained Jin defeatedly “He just fainted, don’t worry…”

“S-sorry …. I … he was holding onto us so tightly and then suddenly he stopped moving all at once… I-I panicked” stuttered Jimin

“It’s okay Jimin-ah, you had the right to” said Namjoon crossing to where they sat on the floor tiles “come on, Jungkook and I will help you carry him to the room, it shouldn’t take long before he comes to, I’m sure he’ll feel better when he’s in comfortable warm clothes” he continued plastering a hopeful smile on his face.

****************************************************************

Once they had Taehyung secured in the bed surrounded by them from all sides, they received another video from YoonSok, they watched with tears filling their eyes and sorrow drowning their hearts as Tae was being marked with hot iron, as he was beaten to consciousness every time he blacked out from the pain of his skin being burnt, as hope was leaving his gaze while Hoseok’s voice was being played right next to his ears.

This time, Hoseok did throw up, he didn’t care how his face looked full of tears and snot, he didn’t care how sore his throat felt or bitter his mouth tasted or how red and puffy his eyes would become.

He cried and cried letting it all out until he could no longer produce any tears, until his shaking limbs could no longer carry his weight and he all but collapsed between Namjoon’s feet resting his back on his leader’s chest and staring at his unconscious dongsaeng with an aching heart.

 “What are we supposed to do hyung?” asked Jungkook to no one in particular.

“what do you mean?” inquired Jimin in a hushed voice

“Tae-hyung is hurting, he’s always confused, he’s scared of us! We only heard his voice when he was crying and/or having a nightmare … He can’t move his non-broken leg and he has a hard time controlling his hands too… and… I-I feel so useless!! There’s nothing I can think of to make him feel better! I wish I could take the pain away, or get through to him, assure him that he’s safe, that we’re safe!! What are we going to do?”

Jin hurried to Jungkook’s side wiping the tears abundantly falling on his face but he couldn’t really find it in him to come up with a response because their maknae said what they all thought deep down…

“We wait!” deadpanned Yoongi slowly

 J-hope looked at him questioningly, the older continued

“You didn’t expect him to wake up like nothing happened and go back to his normal self while remembering… all that… obviously!... Like Kooki said Tae is physically hurting, which makes it more difficult to get over the memory of what happened to him. He was tortured for God’s sake! He has a serious head injury, couple that with epilepsy and insomnia, it’s no wonder he’s confused…

What we can do?… is being close to him at all times, making sure he doesn’t get hurt again and replacing whatever sick thoughts about us YoonSok managed to poison his mind with, with thoughts of the real us, the us who care and love and cherish him… It will take time but I’m sure it’s going to get better. It did with me when you didn’t give up on me, and stood by my side supporting me, remember?

We just need to be patient and strong and have faith in Tae too… the kid proved he’s the strongest amongst everyone I’ve ever known!”

Taehyung woke up a few minutes later, disoriented but too exhausted to panic. Everyone was considerably calmer, they were thinking rationally and accepted the truth after Yoongi’s discourse.

They ate some of the soup Jungkook made while watching a Disney movie. Taehyung couldn’t swallow more than two spoons and didn’t seem too interested in the movie so Hoseok gently asked him if he maybe wanted to sleep.

The boy suddenly stiffened, tightening his hold on Hoseok’s shirt and shaking his head no fervently “I  d-don't want to go back there… p-please, Hobi-hyung l-let me s-stay, j-just a l-l-little longer, p-please!” he mumbled hesitantly.

Something was literally stepping on their ribcages! Why else would their chests ache that much hearing those words? Taehyung thought, them being around him, and him being safe, was some sort of a dream?! Was that how he fought back all the time? Building a safe territory in his mind, one where they were there for him?

“Taehyungie… You’ll never go back there! Trust us! You’re here… with us, at home… and you will still be when you wake up! It’s over, you don’t have to be there anymore!”

Half of them were about to break something or murder someone, the other half were seconds away from bursting into tears… luckily an unexpected phone call stopped them all in time!

Chapter Text

Yoongi had mixed feelings about this call. Turns out it was the “acquaintance” Bang PD spoke of before, the one who was supposed to help Taehyung get better.

He knew a lot about this, mind you, he had been there more times than he was willing to admit, which was what led him to this dilemma.

On one hand, it was simply tormenting to see their second maknae so… unstable, confused… even worse: broken!

He clearly couldn’t tell whether he was awake or dreaming, and sadly, most of the time he thought he was still in their basement under his abuser’s mercy, with his bandmates’ fate on his shoulders. So, it might be the best thing to do: getting him professional help, maybe it would get him to talk more than the few incomprehensible mumbles they got to hear.

On the other hand though, was it really going to help? He had to consider a major element which everyone seemed to skip: Taehyung looked anything but responsive! He could barely recognize his surroundings, he didn’t really show any consent to whatever they did to him (he even rejected their actions most of the time), not to mention his obvious reluctance to take an active part in a conversation.

PLUS, plus, and this -to Yoongi- was very important: Taehyung was physically glued to Hoseok most of the time and as far as he remembered, these “things” professionals do are supposed to be private, one-on-one sessions or whatever. He reaaaally doubted Tae would be fine if separated from them. (Hoseok in particular)

Namjoon, ever the perceptive leader, caught on to the signs of inner conflict Yoongi was having and he could relate, nonetheless, he approached him patting his shoulders: “It’s someone Hyung-nim holds very dear, and a professional, we should at least give it a try… You’ve heard him just now, right? He needs it…”

It was an ungodly hour, they couldn’t tell if it was too late or too early, so Yoongi actually appreciated the doctor’s concern, she could have waited until her official working hours, but instead, she called them immediately asking them for heads-up about Taehyung’s condition, suggesting to inform him about her visit and assuring them she’d help as best she could. She sounded calm and composed, she was willing to come to the dorms to spare her soon-to-be patient the hassle of going all the way to her office.

But to be honest with himself, Yoongi didn’t think he would trust people that easily ever again! She had to prove herself.

******************************************************* 

(Time skip)

They couldn’t get back to sleep, Taehyung would wake up minutes after closing his eyes and it would take forever to calm him down… Yoongi was amazed by how much tears a human body could generate, while Jin was getting more worried by the minute, Tae couldn’t eat anything, wouldn’t drink water no matter who tried to give it to him and he was throwing up often from panicking too much…

So they were not to blame when they all jumped hearing the doorbell announcing the doctor’s arrival!

She looked in her late twenties, probably one or two years older than Seokjin, a petite lady with raven black hair and slightly tanned skin. What Yoongi liked about her was the inexistence of the neutral dead look on her face like the other “therapists” he met. A gentle smile enlightened her features and she looked nor hesitant nor overconfident. Manager Sejin escorted her in introducing her as Choi Min-Seo, Bang PD’s friend and a certified psychologist specialized in trauma therapy.

“I suppose Taehyung-ssi is not ready for a private meeting ?” she asked

“No, he’d get too… stressed if we’re not with him” answered Namjoon

“ No problem then, it might be better with all of you present actually” she stated smiling before continuing “does he react violently to touches or certain words?”

“Y-yeah…” stuttered the leader “He flinches at our touches, some more than others, same with voices, it’s better to be in his field of vision to get him a little less… jumpy. The biggest problem though, is that he doesn’t seem to realise he’s out of there, as I told you on the phone, he believes we are not safe, and we’re being hurt because of something he has done”

“You might need to know he won’t be very responsive, seongsang-nim” added Yoongi “His injuries aren’t helping the situation either”

“That’s to be expected, do not worry though, I haven’t become a specialist just from reading books and passing exams, I have been a patient at some point and I know very well what your friend is going through.”

That was what got Yoongi to relax a bit, it explains why she didn’t look like average therapists,  hopefully, she’d be able to tell what would make his dongsaeng feel anxious!

Taehyung sighed, relaxing when his two hyungs reentered the room, he was worried when they left even with all the reassurances they gave him.

“Hello, Taehyung-ssi” greeted the doctor “my name is Choi Min-Seo, I am a friend of Bang PD-nim, nice to meet you” she spoke slowly and gently, she bowed and held eye-contact with Tae.

He pushed himself up slowly leaning heavily on both Hoseok and Jungkook. He nodded as a response to the doctor’s greeting.

The “talk” afterwards was slow and uneventful! She’d ask simple questions and wait patiently for Tae’s answers which sometimes never came. She talked a bit about things that had nothing to do with their situation, Tae’s room, pictures, clothes, parents and siblings… it gradually got Tae’s mind off things, his hold on Hoseok’s shirt loosened and he started making the effort of paying attention to what the friendly lady in front of him was saying.

It created a cosy atmosphere, a less suffocating mood begun settling in the room until out of nowhere, Min-Seo asked:

“How are you feeling Taehyung-ssi?”

Even the others were taken by surprise, they all just stared at her unmoving

“It is okay to say whatever, Taehyung-ssi, whatever comes to your mind first”

Yoongi thought it was a vain effort, but Tae actually talked:

“I … d-don’t know…” he whispered hesitantly

“That’s not a problem” she reassured “Remember, there is no correct or wrong answer to any of my questions. Everything I ask you to do or say is unconditional, you are not obliged to do anything you don’t feel comfortable with. And most importantly, nothing will happen to anyone no matter your reaction okay?”

Tae nodded and the doctor didn’t press the matter any further, she stirred the conversation back to the simpler topics, even including the rest of the members in it and asking about music, fans and schedules and such… In the end, they all felt a little better, the new face, the small change and the way Taehyung seemed to act a little less on edge felt like a cool pad stroking their scarred minds.

Nearing midday, Taehyung started getting in and out of focus, his words became more slurred and it became hard for him to keep up, Min-Seo took it as her cue:

“Taehyung-ssi,” she said slowly, carefully watching her patient and making sure he followed “I am going to excuse myself for today, It has been great talking to you and you did so good fighting your tiredness to humour me, I tend to be curious sometimes, especially with people Bang PD-nim cares for…” she smiled…

“I will come by again tomorrow and I’d like to request something of you” She paused waiting for Tae’s approving nod

“I would like you to make a list, you can ask one of your friends to write it down for you or you can just make it in your mind. A list of animals’ names… for each one here, choose an animal you think represents them best, and think of why you believe it does. You can include your brother and sister, Manager Sejin, Bang PD-nim and myself, … and…  you absolutely don’t have to do this last one but, I’d like you to think of something for YoonSok-ssi as well”

Taehyung visibly tensed at that, clenching his fingers around the sheets underneath him and he shivered slightly. Jungkook and J-hope were holding his hands in an instant smiling at him comfortingly. 

The doctor didn’t ask for an answer, she said her goodbye to Taehyung and asked the others out for a “quick word in private”.

******************************************************     

Jin, Yoongi, Namjoon and Jimin escorted the doctor to the living room, leaving Hoseok and Jungkook with Tae for the obvious reasons.

“I am relieved to see you know how to treat him gently” she started

“You were right earlier, he is confused. The distant look and unresponsiveness he was showing aren’t caused just by his exhaustion. He’s constantly afraid of waking up to that room where he would be away from you, which is why he’s seeking the physical reassurance of you being there… even though his body unconsciously rejects it. That is one of the symptoms of separation anxiety…

He didn’t talk much so I can’t really tell his state of mind yet… but from what I’ve seen, he demonstrated symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder… the disorientation he’s experiencing will make his recovery a little harder and it might take a while…”

“How can we help Seongsang-nim?” asked Jimin

“I recommend you make a routine, wake up at a fixed time, eat in a fixed time, bathe in a fixed time and sleep in a fixed time… some sense of repetitiveness and normalcy would help Taehyung-ssi greatly. Also, try asking him to do things… even simple movements or words and praise him for it. Occasionally, ask for something that he can’t do and praise him nonetheless, occasionally being the key word here of course… His mind must become accustomed to the fact that nothing he does would result in him or you in pain”

“Should we get him to talk about what happened?” inquired Jin

“No, I think it is still too early to make him confront what happened when he isn’t even sure it’s over… If he willingly talks about it though, let him… be good listeners, and make sure he understands that you are not judging him or blaming him for anything… I’d like you to take notes or record what he says if he ever talks about it, that would help me later on, but be subtle about it… Things you do or say might in a way or another remind him of his abductor, so be careful around him and call me if anything happens”

“We will, thank you Seongsang-nim, we owe you” said Namjoon bowing to the doctor

“No, this is me repaying a favour so you owe me nothing”

With that the doctor left, some of Yoongi’s old fears were crawling back inside his head, but he decided not to succumb to them. They were making the first steps of a long journey ahead of them, they needed to be strong for each other, many things were adding up, the threat was still there awaiting them somewhere and what the future had prepared for them was still unclear…

And YoonSok?? Oh! He was enjoying himself “Typical! When you can’t handle the burden… call a professional. Hah! How much longer till they show you their real colours? Tae.hyung.ah!”

Chapter Text

J-Hope is losing hope! Such an ironic expression” he thought…

After the doctor left, they put her instructions into action. They tried their best to involve Taehyung in normal activities. They moved him to the living room where he could watch Jin and Yoongi cook, they ate together, napped together, watched TV together… But Tae wasn’t really there…

He stared blankly at one spot ahead, he didn’t move until his pain became unbearable, they had sat him on the couch in an upright position so his back was touching the leather for hours, and they only found out it hurt him when he started shifting ever so slowly. They had to ask so many questions and get so little answers to finally understand that the cuts in his back were aching.

He also wasn’t there when they gave him the delicious food Jin had made especially for him, he just stared when Jimin asked him to eat, and stared when he put the sticks in his shaky hand,… even stared when he tried to feed him… and when he finally realised he was supposed to open his mouth, he was throwing up before the third bite managed its way to his lips.

He kept heaving a long time after emptying all his stomach’s contents… Hoseok gave him the sweet candy he always had for when he got an upset stomach and needed something to replace the bitter taste of sickness. He was rubbing soothing circles on his skin, easing his bangs away from his teary eyes and tucking his hair behind his ears gently until his body granted him some peace.

Tae looked weaker, his skin turning paler and his breathing more laboured… they had to get some nutrients into his system and they all felt awful when he tried to shield his hand from the needle of the IV. He was holding his arm up protectively, silent tears falling down his cheeks and teeth biting his wounded lips.

They kept holding his hands and caressing his arms the whole evening to prevent him from scratching his skin drawing blood as he did when they first inserted the catheter.

As far as napping went, it was really just laying down wide awake… Hoseok spent more than fifteen minutes trying to get Tae to lean on him or rest his head on his shoulders at least and when the younger finally yielded, every small touch or little hum intended to lull him to sleep would be fought back with an abrupt jump and a fervent head-shake. Taehyung was still refusing to sleep!

They eventually gave up, opting to get him to talk instead… Jungkook reminded him of the request the therapist had made as subtly as he could:

“TaeTae-hyung… Do you think I resemble a bunny?”

Hoseok thought the answer would never come, but after a while, Tae’s lips quirked up the tiniest bit and he shook his head lightly:

“A l-lion…” he stuttered  “S-strong and confident… h-hates what he can’t control and gives off a m-menacing aura, b-but… deep do-wn he cares for his people, p-protects them and rules f-fairly… though y-you’re more like a c-cub, cute a-and mischievous t-too…”

They all assumed Tae was a bit “out of it”, that he wouldn’t get the doctor’s intentions nor would he comprehend Jungkook’s hinting… well… they all assumed wrong!

At first, Hoseok didn’t get why Min-Seo asked that of him actually, he just thought that maybe it was an indirect way to get him to think about YoonSok and what happened to him, but after hearing what Tae said, it clicked. She wanted Taehyung to reconfirm his perception of them, and he was so glad his dongsaeng wasn’t seeing them the way their manager wanted him to.

However, that was the most Taehyung had said since he first woke up!

Even that morning, with the doctor, his answers were nodding or simple “yes” and “no” at most. He swallowed hard with a grimace, started fumbling with the fabric of his pullover then took a deep breath, his eyes closed and he pressed his body to Hoseok’s side a bit more, he was tired.

Therefore, (although he was very curious as to how Tae sees him), Hoseok didn’t ask about his “spiritual” animal, nor did the others.

Jungkook was clearly getting emotional, “I didn’t do the protecting part though did I?…” he whispered.

Having not heard it, Taehyung tilted his head questioningly, “I’m a grown-up lion hyung!” the maknae pouted “I’m almost twenty-two now…” Jungkook puffed, his cheeks blown and turning pink from embarrassment.

Tae’s pained frown disappeared, his gaze softened and his eyelids lowered making his features look peaceful and gentle, it was obviously his attempt at smiling and even though it didn’t look one bit like his bright boxy grin it made them all warm inside.

Jimin playfully hit the maknae insisting he was a “cute cub” and the bickering began, soft laughs and jokes were exchanged. Moments later found Taehyung asleep…

***********************************************************   

(Time skip)

He suddenly woke up scratching his chest violently and trying to rip the bandages around his neck, he was choking on the air he breathed, coughing and wheezing. Hoseok tried to calm him down, tried holding his hands away from his injured skin, and stilling them, so as to not move the needle in his arm the wrong way, tried getting him to breathe regularly, but it wasn’t working.

Taehyung was fighting his touches, “No” and “please” a chant on his bitten lips… then, as sudden and unexpected as his awakening, he started screaming and yelling, calling for Jin, his voice was so pained and so sad that it made them shed tears unconsciously.

 Jin ran to him “I’m here, I’m right here… I’m okay, look! See? I am right here and I’m fine, open your eyes Tae…, look at me…” The elder was holding Tae’s head caressing his hair, when he finally opened his eyes, they thought it was over, that he’d be relieved and would calm down but instead, his eyes widened, he abruptly freed his hands to cover his face with, and he sobbed “No…no p-please… I’ll do a-anything… please!... I’m-I’m sorry… no… no! Jin-h-yung!… no… please!”

The more they did to calm him down, the more distressed he’d get, despite his injuries, his limbs were flailing. His face contorted in pain and melancholy and his cries were more and more desperate. What was even more concerning, was that he wasn’t inhaling, he was literally turning blue from lack of oxygen when it was already hard for him to breathe without the hysterical weeping!

Ultimately, they found themselves collapsed around an unconscious Taehyung.

Hoseok was watching the tears falling from his closed eyes and hearing his pants clouding over the air mask they had to practically force on him. He felt like he couldn’t breathe himself…

He was despairing even more, when they received yet another video from YoonSok.

-

“It’s Seokjin’s turn again huh? You sure you don’t want to take the deal, Taehyung-ah? You might die, you know? Is he worth it? Your eldest?... Hah… what is it about him that’s even remotely interesting? Well,  I reckon his voice is unique! Ahh … it really feels like it KNOCKS the air out of your lungs when you hear it… it sucks all the oxygen in it to make those notes… but you know better right?”

YoonSok's figure appeared behind Tae’s dangling body and a leather belt was wrapped around his neck strangling him. They watched him suffocating till his eyes roll back, then YoonSok would resuscitate him then do it all over again, intentionally turning Jin’s music’s sound up and creeping to Tae from behind attacking him unannounced.

The video ended with the manager bent over Taehyung’s unmoving body on the floor of their basement giving him CPR.

Just then, a second video was sent and this time, it was of Jin being beaten to death. Hoseok couldn’t help freaking out, he felt it was real. If it wasn’t for his hyung standing right beside him, he would’ve believed it … Poor Tae must have felt a hundred times worse in his state!

Hoseok lost every bit of hope he managed to build thanks to the doctor’s arrival, and suddenly gears were turning erratically in his head

“Namjoon? How the hell did he know Tae was remembering Jin-hyung’s … part? And last night, it was mine… And how did he know we finished watching the first video?... Do you think…? Is it possible that…..?”

“ […] Oh.my.god! We need to call detective Lee right now!”

Chapter Text

The officers were combing the dorms for any hidden devices YoonSok might have installed to have an eye on the boys, technicians were wiring the surveillance cameras to their equipment looking for any traces that might lead them to his location.

Jin totally ignored them, he blocked the noises, the movements, the questions and the fact that he had to at least greet the detectives in favour of taking care of a more substantial issue… yes, manners could wait! Taehyung was more important! His polite dongsaeng whom his smile he missed, who was shaking like a leaf from pure terror, lacking oxygen and refusing to look at them… definitely mattered more than anything at the moment!  

Jin wasn’t inexperienced! If anything, he was the master of comfort, his witnesses are the long nights of cooling feverish bodies, easing cramped stomachs after hours of sickness and heaving, caressing hairs and wiping tears after nightmares, cuddling and humming to depressed souls… He certainly knew a thing or two when it came to calming down anxious little brothers.

And if he was asked, he’d say he had a manual for each of his dongsaengs, he knew them by heart!

The fact that Yoongi becomes grumpy when he’s stressed then he’d feel guilty for being on edge, even worse if he had lashed out at another member, and he’d become scarily hyperactive when bordering a depression phase, after years of living with the tsundere Daegu boy, Jin learnt that a cup of hot chocolate, a homemade traditional meal and forcing him to sleep next to one of his members work magic on him…

He knew that Namjoon takes every single critic to heart and it scratches at his hidden insecurities, the tell-tale is the long minutes he’d spend looking at his reflexion in the mirror blankly and wearing thick layers of dark coloured clothes indoors, he’d have trouble sleeping. Two cups of dark coffee the next morning and a no-dimples-smile would indicate the beginning of a migraine he’d try to hide. Back hugs, lots of compliments and clingy maknae line are fortunately all Jin needs to provide in order to get the leader out of his self-loathing state.

He also knew that J-Hope would dance until his feet can’t support his weight when he’s frustrated, he’d still smile and joke and play around but he’d scratch at his nape unconsciously, worry his lips and fidgets, pent-up energy buzzing even after hours of practice and shootings and interviews, that is usually Jin’s cue to prepare a warm bubble bath, to get everyone to camp in the living room, and watch a romantic (absolutely not horror)  movie together while massaging Hoseok’s scalp until he falls asleep with the certainty he’d forget his frustrations by the end of the day.

No one needed to tell him that the gentle big-hearted cutie called Jimin had a periodic explosion, that he’d take all the pain and stress and fear and negativity that all of them were subjected to and stock them until inevitably he couldn’t take it anymore, first, he would become violent, angry, his actions unpredictable, then he’d turn quiet, sad and would lose his appetite, Jin learnt that he needed to wait the first two phases out before provoking the last one, pushing the young dancer to set all his insecurities free,  leaning on his broad shoulders and wetting one of his shirts with not-so-silent tears, all Jimin would need is a good listener, and God help him if he isn’t always ready to be the best at that!

Jin even managed to decipher the king of introversion: Jungkook! He would feel detached and hollow, at one point, not having the ability to tell the difference between his persona as BTS’s golden maknae and his real self Jeon Jungkook… it would eat at him and he’d fall quiet, plugging in the earphones twenty-four_seven and strangely yields to his younger hyungs’ tormenting clinginess without resistance. Jin wouldn’t usually worry because despite his obstinacy and extreme dislike of the concept of “opening up”, Jungkook never failed to accept his weaknesses and he trusted his hyungs enough to talk to them when his worries would become too much to handle, and Jin always knew the right words to say.

But he would be lying if he says it was as easy with Taehyung. The giant koala didn’t seem to hesitate before taking over his bandmates’ personal space usually, but when it came to his own troubles?… No!

They all came to notice that the naïve spontaneity was a very misleading trait… the second maknae was extremely perceptive and highly aware of everyone’s mood, his physical invasions only occurred when the members needed them or didn’t mind having them….

For a while, Jin thought the boy was too positive and hopeful, that he had no worries, he believed at some point that he was actually a real alien! That was until the day he walked on him crying his eyes out in the bathroom, realising that he hid his insecurities behind those bright boxy grins till they came back to haunt his nights…

Jin had one of the hardest and longest talks of his life after that night, coming with the other members to a conclusive deal with Taehyung as a team and asking him to show his true emotions around them, persuading him that he doesn’t need to read the mood if he is burdened with something… the change wasn’t immediate, but eventually, Jin started to notice small patterns, the drowsiness, the slurred words, the blank distant gaze, the nightmares…

Taehyung wouldn’t come seeking comfort directly, but he progressively learned not to fake positive emotions and act “Fine”…

Thus, they would see it and then would come Jin’s best part, (though he’d hate admitting to liking it) the way to comfort Tae! Group hugs and cuddles and Disney movies and animes marathons and long evenings listening to him whispering in the cutest little voice how much he loved and appreciated them, telling them how he felt when he met each of them and how he felt when he got to debut with them for the millionth time, and they’d all listen attentively as if it was the first time and coo and praise until he forgets all his worries, those nights, Taehyung would not sleep alone, in fact, most of the time, they end up sleeping all in the same room, limbs intertwining until no one can tell which is which…

However, Jin felt he might need to update his manual! For nothing worked with Tae in this…. “situation”… He felt so helpless, unable to fight the guilt, imagining Taehyung reliving the memory of suffocating every time he hears his voice, or even if, by any divine chance, the boy had managed to tune out their voices back then, he’d see those awfully disgusting scenes of him bloodied and mutilated!!

His frustrated mind kept encouraging him to smack the hospital’s doctor’s face and inform him that no! not just extreme cases of brain injuries are left as a shell of their old selves obviously! But then he all but kicked that depressing idea out.

Kim Taehyung, their Kim Taehyung is stronger than what they give him credit for and No! It would take a lot more to get the great “handsome” motherly figure Kim Seokjin to give up! 

“Ok, think rationally Seokjin!” he thought “Tae had –most probably- a flashback of that monkey-head manager choking him… then me getting beaten to death right? But then why would he get terrified after seeing me in front of him intact? Unless … could it be he’s seeing things? He IS in a lot of pain, confused AND he didn’t eat or drink for… more than I’d like to count!! … Hallucination?!”

“Probably…”

He jumped at that almost knocking his head on the nightstand “W-what the … Yoongi!!!”, was he thinking out loud?

Yoongi simply shrugged “I say, it’s very plausible… that would explain why he’s too afraid to open his eyes… those videos and photos were so realistic … hell, even I can’t help picturing that gore!”

“Well then, we’ll let him know we’re safe in another way…” announced Jin determinedly

He went back to Tae’s room making sure to provide as much privacy as he can what with all the uniforms running around their property. He looked at the boy noticing the loose grip he had on Hoseok’s hand, the slight tremors coursing through his slim frame…

His eyes then travelled to the air mask on his face, breath coming in short pants drawing small clouds on the plastic surface, his gaze finally landed on the dislodged catheter above his wrist.

Jin approached the bed calmly, he took Tae’s hands gently removing the unwanted needle and receiving a small hiss in return

“Shh… It’s ok Taehyungie… I’ve got you… I’m right here….”

Tears were streaming from his shut eyes again and Jin needed every bit of self-control in him not to scream his lungs out right then and there!

Instead, he held Tae’s shaky palms guiding them to his face then to his chest despite the weak struggling “I AM here Tae… you can feel it, don’t you?… your Jin-hyung is here, with you, safe and sound… you feel this?… my skin is as smooth and flawless as ever!.... my heartbeat is strong and healthy… this… what you feel and hear right now, is the reality Taehyungie… forget those images… those—scenes.. they’re all lies… trust me!”

They all could see Taehyung physically fighting his eyes to cooperate, slowly, agonisingly slowly opening them and adjusting to the light before focusing on the people hunched over him, he let out a heavy breath sniffling and his shoulders sagged, the relief painting his features contagious to all the occupants of the room…

Jin yelped as Taehyung suddenly wrapped himself around his middle, air mask discarded, hands fisting at the fabric of his oversized pink sweater, voice barely a whisper “Y-you’re h-here… J-Jinnie-hyung” 

“Yes, I am, Tae… We all are!  And together we’re going to be ok… He can’t and he won’t hurt any of us… he’s alone but we’ve got each other!...” said Jin matter-of-factly to himself and the others more than to Taehyung. With the biggest smile plastered on his face, he started gently caressing the youngster’s hair mindful of the bandaged area.

Jungkook knocked on the door and hesitantly peeked “Hyung, they found a lead!”

Chapter Text

Jin was humming some tune unknown to everyone including himself, Tae’s shaking decreased exponentially, his breathing evened out and for Hoseok’s and Yoongi’s great relief, he was no longer crying… He relaxed on his Jin-hyung’s chest content just by hearing the other’s heartbeat.

“Hyung, they found a lead!” said the maknae. Taehyung looked up questioningly, at this point no one knew if he had any idea what was going on, nor did they want to risk seeing his reaction to the “news” about his abductor in case he didn’t.

Jin simply shrugged “The detectives are about to update us on your case” he stated “Do you feel like talking to them Tae?” he asked. Taehyung paused for a moment then nodded stirring slightly to enable Jin to move. The maknae went in without hesitation asking his hyung to hold on to him and easily lifting him whispering “I’ve got you” and “you’re ok” when he tensed.

Detective Lee was watching the whole scene from his spot on the couch of the living room. He spent more years of his life on this job than he’d like to count, he had a long eventful career and he believed he could undoubtedly say that he’d seen everything!

He’d seen it all! He could go through any questioning automatically, even asleep, or so he thought!

Because for some reason, he dreaded the talk he’d have to go through with these “victims”.

If he had to be honest, this case was getting more and more complicated by the minute. He expected it would be the usual “find and arrest” case, which normally wouldn’t cause him any headaches. Abductions for no ransom (outside the gangs’ context) are generally the result of an emotional outburst, it wouldn’t be well planned, and the aftermath would leave the kidnapper in a state of sheer fear and/or guilt, frustration, disorientation… all of which result in mistakes: Meaning, easily traceable perpetrator!

But no, the moment this man sent the videos exposing himself it was already clear, this was no ordinary case!

Now…, the right procedure would be taking Taehyung’s statement the moment he woke up, but both he and detective Han agreed to postpone it, what with how traumatized and unresponsive the young man had looked, not to mention, they doubted his friends would let them anywhere near him.

As he was now about to do it with the fully awake unwell young man, he felt some sort of guilt, something he rarely felt since sick psychopaths were obviously not his fault, but he somehow wished he could at least grant those way-too-humble and polite idols a small sense of safety by having their manager locked up in a cell, away from them.

He cleared his throat shaking the confidence-breaking thoughts away…

 “Hello Taehyung-ssi” He greeted once the boy was seated across from him leaning on Seokjin.

Tae nodded looking dazed and a little out of breath.

“You don’t have to answer anything if you don’t want to” detective Lee started “Can you tell me what you remember of the time you last saw your members before… waking up in the hospital?”

“Umm… We were… in d-dance practice? ... I think… I needed something from –uh no… I n-needed to use the bathroom… h-hyung-nim came in… told me that I d-did good then I felt a prick, something c-cold on my neck and I… I th-think I blacked out…” answered Taehyung albeit a little hesitant and barely above a whisper, detective Han seemed satisfied nonetheless, so detective Lee continued:

“Ok, I understand, … now Taehyung-ssi, can you tell me the first thing you remember after that?”

“I…” Taehyung was shaking everywhere, he took quick breaths in what looked like an attempt to calm himself down, he made brief eye contact with the detectives then glanced to his right at the wall behind Seokjin.

Detective Han noticed how Jungkook moved closer to Taehyung holding his hand in a tight grip then focused on Taehyung.

The right side, he is recalling real memories… good, his mental state seems stable enough to take his words as proof. He thought, then nodded as if to encourage the young man to keep going

“I was in a s-small room w-with weird lights,… a-and there were m-many hard objects and n-knives… h-he showed me a needle and said that i-it would k-keep me from sleeping through the f-fun…,  h-he said that we were h-home, that the o-others were r-right n-next to m-me, I th-think it w-was our b-b… basement?…”

Taehyung’s eyes were teary at this point and his shaking got worse, both detectives knew they can’t push him to say more, not just for his sake but for the other members’ too, seeing how guilt and sorrow were drawn all over their faces.

But Lee-Eun Hee needed one more information

“Taehyung-ssi, did he mention something about his home? If he had a place he likes or maybe his son liked? Did he by any chance tell you about things like these?”

Tae’s eyes widened comically and he stiffened all at once, he slowly moved his head to where Namjoon was “He’d talk about … th-them when it’s N-N-Namjoon-hyung’s … t-turn” he stuttered, Seokjin and Jungkook were stiffening pained noises from how hard Taehyung was clutching their hands.

Namjoon looked devastated, when Tae finally acknowledged his existence, it felt like he’d wish he hadn’t…

Well, either detective Han was oblivious to the sensitivity of the current topic or he chose to ignore it because he still asked

“Do you remember what he said? Do you recall details perhaps?”

Taehyung bowed his head covering the majority of his face, he shook it slightly to both sides “I don’t… I c-can’t… it w-was … too p-pain…”

Hoseok stood up walking behind Tae and massaging his shoulders, he glared at the detectives, effectively sending a clear threat “I won’t think twice before breaking your bones if he starts crying again!”

The detectives, who obviously got the message, were quick to reassure

“It’s ok Taehyung-ssi, you don’t have to remember…”  Han Ji-Mun trailed off

“Actually…” announced detective Lee pointing to the screen of a tablet he held “We were able to trace a signal to his home address, turns out it was registered to his wife which explains why we got nothing searching using his name before”

“We already sent units there, Detective Lee and I shall go with them right now” informed detective Han standing up and walking away.

Yoongi, Namjoon and Jimin stood up and bowed “Keep us updated, please” detective Lee heard one of them say…

*********************************************

(Time skip)

All units were outside the house, it wasn’t extravagant or luxurious but it did look well taken care of.

The building was classic, white wooden walls, red roof tiles, a nice garden with a granite walkway dividing it equally on both sides… nothing to hint the occupant is a messed up in the head man who enjoys torturing others and breaking them, really…

Things went as usual, announcing their identity, signalling when there’s no response, breaking in, searching every room for a living thing then shouting “clear!” for every checked corner…

Detective Lee was not happy with the number of “clear”s he heard…

“The house is empty…, has been for quite a few days apparently!” Han Ji-Mun huffed wiping dust from his fingers

“This feels like a stupid Tom & Jerry chase and it’s getting on my nerves!” muttered Lee Eun-Hee gritting his teeth

“What do you think his plan is, Eun-Hee? We already know he wanted to make the boys feel guilty when they find their second youngest dead… He wanted to break both the boy’s mind and body, he clearly aimed at their bond… but now that the original plan didn’t work, and Kim Taehyung survived, what is he thinking? Is he challenging us? Including us in his twisted game? Or is he just misleading us to keep us out of the way?”

“I think it’s the latter… Oh YoonSok is obsessed with the boys, he has a point to prove to them, and the fact that he’s watching them means he wants to see the outcome, he’s monitoring the situation, sending those videos as reminders, he’s deliberately making it harder for them to stay strong… what did we have on his family by the way? Did you find anything about the son and wife?”

“Oh, yes! The son committed suicide eight years ago after going through a serious depression, I sniffed around and turns out, he was manipulated by some boys in his school, he was bullied for quite some time, before he stopped coming all at once. One of his teachers said she sent him to the dean after reading an essay he wrote, apparently and I quote he had very dark thoughts and felt betrayed by everyone,  he only went to counselling once and never showed up again”

“Found anything about the boys who manipulated him?”

“Nah, no one I’ve met knows details, it seems they weren’t the same age so they interacted outside the school, teachers couldn’t know”

“What about the wife?”

“Hoped you’d ask! Eun-Hee, this… is where it gets freaky! The wife’s name is Kang Soo-Won, thirty-seven years old, died three months ago…. Cause of death: suicide!”

“Bloody hell?!?!”

“Exactly! She left a letter behind saying that she couldn’t take it without her child anymore AND she blames YoonSok for his death, for and I quote again not taking care of him and not ACTING sooner

“Well, what do you know! That is one messed up family!”

“Yeah, what’s weirder though, is that YoonSok’s lifestyle hasn’t changed or more like, not in the way it was supposed to”

“Ji-Mun-ah! If this is one of your psychological analysis sessions, please take into account ignorant people like myself and speak in our language yeah?”

“Okay, okay… as I was saying, YoonSok was supposed to be grieving, lonely and guilty right? That would be obvious normally… a typical behaviour would be not to show up at work for a long period of time or showing up late systematically, dishevelled hair, unshaved beard, non-ironed shirts, sometimes even worse, drunk… a typical sign would also be chaos all over the place, empty beer bottles, piles of dirty clothes, unwashed dishes, fast-food empty packages….”

“Yeah, so … what’s your point?”

“Well, look at this place! It’s perfect! Even his socks are organized by colour for heaven’s sake! And no before you suggest him not living here, there’s food in the fridge, not even close to expiring date and there are signs of a hurried packing… you heard the other managers in BigHit right? Nothing different, he came in time went home in time, the same organized elegant person, remember?”

“Ye-yeah…”

“I’m guessing he’s been fighting some kind of serious mental illness, an evil part inside of his head since his son’s tragedy and his wife’s suicide triggered it, and he saw something in Kim Taehyung and his friends that made him think it was only right to do what he did!”

“That would explain a lot of the nonsense he kept saying in those videos, good work… but, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s still on the run so keep digging”

Detective Lee clapped his hands gaining all the officers’ attention “Let’s get to work people, check every property YoonSok owns. Include his wife’s, son’s and even parents’ names in the search, we are dealing with a dangerous smart man who still has a plan going, double the security for the dorms and BigHitEnt. building and sweep this place for any clue… I need some of you to do a complete background check on Oh YoonSok, I want details, social life, trips, neighbours’ gossip, anything and everything about him, I want to know it first thing in the morning!”

Han Ji-Mun was about to say something when his phone rang signalling a message from Sejin with a link

“Eun-Hee, this nigh isn’t ending well…”

“What now?”

“The boys received another video from YoonSok!”

Chapter Text

They did not teach any of this to Sejin at school and college! No HR professor nor Management expert prepared him to deal with this kind of situation!

To say his current work schedule was hectic was an understatement! And he thought he had it rough with the boys’ comebacks!

Needless to say, manager Sejin was out of options, he had explained the situation to his wife and luckily, not only was she kind-hearted and empathetic, to begin with; but she also loved the Bangtan boys much, she did not mind him spending most of his time with them.

In fact, the moment he told her Taehyung was to be discharged, she literally kicked him out, giving him a written list of things the boys must have in the dorms… She even added a “don’t even think of coming back here unless they ask you to leave” with a not so innocent grin just for the sake of it.

It’s at times like these that he’s reminded of why he loves her so much, he felt lucky for having a caring supportive family… the family which –just so you know-  included BTS’s young members… He was always proud of being their first hyung, he felt like the one who raised them.

No matter how strict he could get, how demanding their work sometimes became, they’d always do as they’re told, they were never ones to whine and nag, nor did they ever disrespect their elders or act unprofessionally!

Yes, he was proud! of every and each one of them… which is why currently, he was feeling useless. Seeing the second youngest hurt on his watch, by someone on his team, was eating at his soul!

Taehyung had always been precious, Sejin loved all the members the same, but each one had a special… meaning, a special place in his mind and heart. Tae grew up to be a beautiful person, having a unique mixture of cuteness and masculinity, which was a significant evolution from the pre-debut Tae. But what remained the same and what was – from Sejin’s point of view- the prettiest thing in Taehyung was his personality!

Tae succeeded effortlessly to wrap people’s hearts around his fine long fingers, be it men, or women, his politeness, innocence, cuteness and how easy-going and gentle-natured he always is could charm the most cold-hearted, insensitive ones amongst them!

Even haters and netizens who only live to criticize and destroy idols’ lives, couldn’t help but love and accept him: his unique voice, his feminine features, his chubby cheeks, his child-like vocabulary, his antics, his king-level fan-service, his clinginess to his members and seemingly exaggerated skinship, even his abs-less baby belly!! They didn’t dare ask for anything but the full package of Kim Taehyung, and with ARMYs’  help, all the ‘flaws’ turned into ‘qualities’!

Speaking of fans, that was high up on Sejin’s “Emergency list”, despite the great effort he had put into announcing BTS’s unavailability without sounding too vague or suspicious, ARMYs had a problematic strong intuition, questions, tweets, and theories were all over the place, and he was honestly dreading the moment someone would spot the members,… especially knowing that Tae needed to visit the hospital soon to start the treatment.

The chances of getting exposed were too high, and the last thing they needed is a media uproar, not the best time, never the best time!… Well, he might need to broadcast that Vlive “run” episode a little sooner than planned, that would keep fans occupied for a while (He was so grateful for having two full episodes pre-recorded!)

Which brought him to THE top priority in his aforementioned list: Taehyung! The young man was having it hard. He was in pain even while still under the influence of pain drugs! The other members were also troubled, calling him individually:

Namjoon had told him that Tae’s mental state was not the best and hearing that coming from the leader probably meant it was bad! Jin told him he was worried because Tae wouldn’t eat and even if he did, he’d throw it all up! Hoseok said that his wounds kept opening up, that it “looks horrible” …

His crumbled thoughts were interrupted when the door to Min-Seo’s office opened revealing her surprised smiling face: “Sejin-ssi! Good to see you again. To what do I owe the honour of your visit?” she exclaimed gesturing for him to come in. “I am sorry for the inconvenience, you were probably going home by now isn’t it?” he asked smiling apologetically. “It is never an inconvenience when it’s for my people, Sejin-ssi” the therapist reassured.

Sejin, in all honesty, didn’t know what to do, to put it simply, he was lost! Luckily, he knew where to go to get help,  that is why he was visiting Choi Min-Seo late in the afternoon. And unsurprisingly, Sejin was once again astonished by women’s strength in these critical situations.

Just like his supportive wife, the therapist could tell how awful he felt without making him explain himself and she said exactly what he needed to hear, she convinced him that Tae might feel the safest around him because he was not included in YoonSok's mind games! Told him that the members needed him and that his support meant much to them.

And she was right! When he finally arrived at the dorms, later that night, he was met by desperate dongsaengs who felt relieved having him around, Jin kept thanking him for all the supplies and the food and Yoongi updated him on the latest events and actually admitted out loud that he was happy they have him around, Jimin and Jungkook hugged him, saying he was probably the only person they trusted and he really teared up!

Namjoon was communicating his gratitude with a calm half-smile and glowing eyes and Hoseok who was apparently “keeping Taehyung company” in his room, delivered his gratitude via Jin and the maknaes who kept going in and out checking on their friend.

HOWEVER, half an hour later,… the poor manager found himself unable to do anything but watch, mouth agape and knees buckling under his weight, a scene that could only be described as “out of a horror movie”

Namjoon has never looked so … crazy! For lack of better adjectives.

Judging by the helpless expressions drawn on Jin’s and Yoongi’s faces, Sejin was not the only one who’s witnessing the leader’s breakdown for the first time…

Jimin was ushering a very angry Jungkook upstairs and Hoseok was hesitating between completely going inside Taehyung’s room from which he was peeking or leaving it and trying to calm his same-year-peer down.

Confused as never before, Sejin tried replaying the previous events.

**********************************************************

 (Flashback)

The phones discarded around the room suddenly rang in unison and Sejin was surprised to see all the kids running and crowding one of the devices, all colour drained from their young faces.

“What’s going on?” he asked, surprise and worry prominent in his tone

“The same subject! It’s from YoonSok!” announced Yoongi “Is Tae asleep? Hobi” he asked

“More like unconscious” whispered the dancer in response, nodding to Sejin as a greeting

“Play it” came Namjoon’s grave voice

Sejin took one last glance at Tae’s room’s door that was left ajar before glancing at the screen:

Don’t be stupid, Taehyung-ah! It is not that hard you know, Just choose one of them, I’ll be merciful, it won’t hurt them, and your suffering will end. If not, then all you’re feeling is nothing but the beginning! Aigoo! You’re one stubborn fella, aren’t you? Well, I guess It can’t be helped!

I left your leader’s introductions for last, do you know why? Because he’s the biggest liar of them all! He allegedly takes care of you, a big brother who looks after you secretly, guess what? He’s not even searching for you,  such a useless leader! Well, I bet he’ll make the greatest lyrics in history when he finds you dead, don’t you think? Unless he dies first, that is!........”

The figure was moving around, back to the screen, covering what they assumed was Taehyung, and sounds of tape-like objects were heard

“You know what? His way with words, that rapping and that tone… Man! Everything around him crumbles the moment he starts spitting his lines like no tomorrow, like a god of lightning, all his emotions hit you like a streak”

The figure moved allowing the sight of Taehyung tied up to a chair to fill the screen, half-naked, with numerous patches glued to his head, his chest and his hands.

YoonSok’s raspy voice came back “Last chance Taehyung-ah, Kim Namjoon or you?”

Taehyung’s head was hanging down, chin touching his collarbone, bangs covering most of his face, he started shaking it fervently from side to side and that was enough answer for the crazy manager as he growled lowly like an enraged animal and pushed some buttons.

Everyone jumped at the heart-wrenching scream coming out from the small device they came legitimately to hate, Taehyung’s whole body was contracting, veins all over his bruised skin prominent, face contorted in agony, limbs fighting the restraints in an attempt to run away from the invisible element running through his every cell. “Damn, Taehyung-ah! Did you forget our agreement or what? What did I tell you about that voice of yours, huh? You make one other sound, and I’ll be sure to bring you your leader’s heart on a plate, you hear me?”

The tied up boy was panting, his ragged breath’s sound higher than Namjoon’s rapping playing on loop, his body was twitching, lean muscles contracting seemingly uncontrollably. YoonSok moved to face him then, and swung his hand, colliding it with Taehyung’s left cheek, strong enough to twist his head completely to the other side.

No one was thankful for the HD quality right then, because the sight of blood running from the cut on Tae’s face, and the tears running from his shut eyes was nothing less than tormenting. “I asked you a question Taehyung-ah… You know better than to ignore me! Am I going to have to kill your leader now?”

Sejin fumed, his hands tightening into fists when he heard Tae’s broken voice “N-no,…. Plea..se, I w-won’t, don’t h-hurt h-him…”

Five more minutes! They had to watch Taehyung tortured into unconsciousness, biting on whatever skin his teeth could reach to muffle his pained cries and jolting like…. Well, … someone who’s being electrocuted! …. for five horribly long minutes, YoonSok decided to leave a few words afterwards to the crying mess that was Taehyung “Where is your leader? Taehyung-ah! Why doesn’t he come and save you? He doesn’t care! None of them does! You die and they have one less problem, that’s your real worth to them!”

Namjoon started shouting like a dying wolf before the video even finished, he smashed the phone between his hands and begun crashing it with his feet, pulling at his hair, and yelling profanities, tears streaming from his angry red eyes like rivers.

Jungkook was stone-still, knuckles white from how tight he was clenching his fists, while a sad Jimin tried to take him out of the room.

Hoseok who became paler than Yoongi somehow, stood at Tae’s room’s entrance making sure all the commotion didn’t wake the younger up.

Jin was crying, watching with a defeated expression while his dongsaeng relieved all the sorrow and pain out, while Yoongi was just staring at the device, gaze dark and expression incomprehensible as if he was in another dimension doing God knows what to God knows who.

(End of flashback)

Sejin, although he’d consider himself a calm peaceful person, was beyond angry, and frankly a bit terrified. “How can Tae get over that hell?” was a question that kept replaying in his mind, but a slightly more urgent matter was calling for his intervention:

He took a deep breath and made long strides towards Namjoon hugging him not so gently and ordering him to calm down. “That is his goal!” he said caressing the younger’s back

“He wants you to feel this way because then, you won’t be able to help Tae get well, do you want that? Namjoon-ah!”

After a while, things calmed down, anger and fright were still hanging in the air around them but the agitation decreased exponentially. Taking matters into his own hands, Sejin did the first thing he thought of, informing the detectives and sending a quick message to the therapist.

[Taehyung will not be the only one needing your help, Min-Seo-ssi… It’s getting hard on all of them!]

Chapter Text

I've Got You, Brother!

Any other day, the sight of detective Lee Eun-Hee, barking at his subordinates, face red and eyes burning with rage, cursing all over the place with no filter while pacing back and forth around the living room, would be hilarious:

“What part of {look everywhere and remove all devices} didn’t you ***** understand? He heard us!! He **** heard what we planned, what we asked!... He knows every****thing we do!!! Now, we can be sure… He.is.one.step.ahead!!!...”

Namjoon tuned out afterwards he didn’t even dare consider the humorous side of the situation. Weird! coming from someone who always theorizes about positivity in everything! Probably because this time he couldn’t see the silver lining, too engrossed in the darkness that became his mind.

He felt numb, something dormant deep inside him was threatening to explode and kill him from within. He felt as if a giant strong hand was squeezing his heart, stopping his blood flow and clouding his eyesight. What had been red raw rage just moments ago, turned to black fogs engulfing his mind…

Guilt!

That was the only emotion left in him and it was consuming his soul. He might look calm and composed staring blankly at the detectives like that, but he was screaming and thrashing in his head, he was drowning and he needed someone to pull him out, to save him, but not anyone, … ironically enough, he needed…… Taehyung!

It was selfish of him, he knew that, but he couldn’t help it. If he had any chance at clearing the obscure cloud looming above his mind, Tae was the only one capable of dragging him out of his miserable state, he was his only cure.

So he decided,… he had to talk to his dongsaeng! He didn’t know what he’d say nor what he needed to hear but he didn’t mind that, he couldn’t think of any other alternative.

He walked towards Tae’s room leaving his two eldest hyungs and their manager to deal with the officers, only to find himself in Yoongi’s room:

What…?... When did….?

“I dragged you away from Tae, he has already enough as it is!! I don’t think a crying leader would do him any good!”

“Y-Yoongi-hyung?! You scared me….. and I wasn’t crying!!”

“Maybe,… but you were about to… Listen, I’m not judging, stop glaring like I’ve grown two heads… he’s scared of us and as much as it hurts to see him like that, it’s not like he can help it, we couldn’t handle watching the torture, imagine living it!… Hobi says Tae kept apologising, saying he didn’t mean it, you know?…about what he said in the questioning earlier… he was and still is smart, he knows us so well… he can feel when we’re not on top of our game”

“Yes, I know (sigh) … I should’ve controlled my grimace I guess, it’s just… I didn’t know … I was like how bad was my turn for him to be so scared? And now that I’ve seen it……I feel like I’m a reminder to him of what he’s been through… more than anyone else…, that was horrible hyung, he was in so much agony, h-he … I feel like a monster,  like I can’t be forgiven, and with how he won’t even look at me, how he tenses hearing my voice, God!”

“He can’t touch me Namjoon!!!” huffed Yoongi, hands tightly on the younger’s shoulders

“Clingy Tae! who’d use every opportunity, every blackmail material he has to hug me to death, literally jumps the moment I so much as poke his hand… I feel it’s only my accent that’s granting me access to his space, both Jimin and Jin must be nowhere near his back if they want to avoid a disaster and Kookie can’t be seen by him if there’s water in the room, even when it’s just a bit in a drinking cup! Hobi can’t even lie beside him because the moment any sort of warmth gets near his thighs, he’ll start crying like he’d killed every creature on earth! So no, you’re not a special case…”

Yoongi breathed deep carding his fingers through his dishevelled hair before continuing

“Besides, you’ve got to admit,  Tae’s doing great!”

“He is ?!”

“Yes, Joon! He’s fighting, he’s still strong!… he’s doing as best he can, despite the pain, the nauseating meds, those seizures and those awful memories…”

Yoongi had a distinguishable glint of pride in his eyes, and Namjoon knew his hyung wasn’t trying to convince anyone… It was the truth! Taehyung, their friend, their brother was still fighting!

Brother!

If Namjoon was to introduce his old self,  he’d say he didn’t believe in things like “true friendship”, “brotherhood” and “faith” or “trust”. He had read too much, seen too much and he came to the conclusion that even the purest bond, like that of a mother and her baby, can be tainted, he discovered that the human nature’s unwritten rule was to earn everything you get, even emotions…

So he did the same, he wouldn’t give unless he received, he didn’t easily trust people, nor befriend them or have faith in them if they didn’t prove they’re worth it….

That is …. Until Taehyung!

He came one day, a cute seventeen years old kid and crashed all the walls he’d built, he showed him that all the positive emotions did not need a counterpart.

So what if there are bad people hyung, it’s how the universe works, there’s always black and white, good and evil, happy and sad… I want to trust and befriend and love you and every one I get to know.

There’s always a chance they won’t return those feelings, or they’ll be evil  but I am not going to close my self up and miss the chance to be happy and make others happy over that tiny risk

Namjoon admitted on more than one occasion, even in their interviews that the first impression he had on Tae was negative, he thought that he was faking it, it wasn’t possible for someone’s personality to be like that, hopeful, trustful, outgoing, positive and most importantly: selfless…… But it was!

Now that he re-thought about it, Tae is worth every single positive thing in the world, because he only knew how to give, unconditionally, respect, loyalty, faith, trust, love, support,… everyone who’d get the chance to meet Kim Taehyung would experience real, pure humane feelings, not faked, nor hiding ulterior motives, nor tainted with doubt and negativity.

After all, Taehyung trusted and loved YoonSok as well!

*********************************************************

Excusing himself from Yoongi’s room, Namjoon strode to where Taehyung was and pushed the door slowly, noticing the dim night-stand light first, then hearing the gentle humming, then seeing Hoseok’s figure hunched over the bed, knees resting on a pillow on the floor and hands playing with Taehyung’s skinny fingers gently.

“Is he still asleep, Hobi?”

“Wah!! You scared me there!... how come you didn’t make any noise?”

“Hey, I’m not that clumsy!! Besides, how come Tae didn’t wake up with all the… ruckus?!”

“Yes, you are that clumsy!!… and I’m not sure”  Hoseok’s expression changed from one of amusement to one of concern.

“He’s not really sleeping though, just resting his eyes I guess, (sigh) he’s been whimpering for a while too, I’m worried!”

Namjoon took a good look at the bedridden boy, he saw the rhythmic twitching of his fingers, noticed his erratic breathing, heard the small wheezing sounds leaving him with every inhale, spotted the sweat drops glistening on his forehead, his wet bangs unsuccessful at covering his furrowed eyebrows despite their length and his eyes squeezed tight… Tae was in pain!

Namjoon was seeing the video all over again, Taehyung’s cries, Taehyung’s pleas, Taehyung’s tears, the images resurged all at once hitting him like a truck at light speed.

Feeling renewed anger and guilt building up inside him, and without thinking, he was holding Taehyung to his chest, the younger’s head falling to rest in the crook of his neck, his hands instinctively grasping the material of his shirt tightly and a gasp caused by (what could only be) fear escaped his wounded lips.

That reaction and the feeling of the younger’s spine bones against his arms made Namjoon feel more miserable, and he was crying:

“I’m sorry, TaeTae! I’m so sorry… I should have been there for you, I should’ve protected you! I am the worst leader ever! I’m so sorry I let you down! I wish I could take all the pain Tae… I wish I could turn back time and get you out of there! I’m sorry Taehyungie… I’m so sorry…”

“N-not your f-fault, h-… h-hyung! Y-you weren’t th-there… you d-didn’t n-know…”

Namjoon froze, those whispered stutters made him feel so overwhelmed, relieved, happy, sad and absolutely horrible at the same time! Count on Tae to make you experience insanity with just a few words!

He held his friend at arm's length gently resting the latter’s head on the palms of his hands and looked at his glassy eyes fondly “I don’t deserve you! What did I do to have such a good dongsaeng huh? And yeah… I wasn’t there… I should’ve! But I wasn’t and I’m so sorry… But I’ve got you now Tae! WE’ve got you… you just rest and get better soon and leave the rest to us yeah?”

Taehyung let out a soft breath relaxing his body in his leader’s embrace and closing his eyes, the steady beating of his heart and the warmth emanating from his clothed chest made him feel calm, safe and protected… he was home!

Hoseok was watching the duo with fond teary eyes, they were living a nightmare, the hardest challenge they ever had to face and hopefully never again, and despite the hardships, despite the heartaches and the lasting scars, they wouldn’t let anything rip them apart.

Namjoon is right Taehyungie… We’ve got you!

Chapter Text

Choi Min-Seo grabbed her things hurriedly writing a small note to her family and sticking it to the fridge.

Manager Sejin was waiting for her outside the house and she’d hate to be late.

Bang Sihyuk kept her up to date with what was going on with the Bangtan boys, so she had a pretty good idea about the actual situation when she received the manager’s message the previous night.

She didn’t feel pressured though, she considered these little complications as new variables that would help her solve a quite difficult equation…

The more YoonSok did and/or revealed, the more she could draw his personality or more like his illness! And according to her experience, knowing the perpetrator helps to better understand and support the victim!

She made a mental note to make a detour to the police station on her way home later, a psychological profile could help them anticipate his next move…

But for now, she had a bunch of worried kids drowning in guilt and helplessness and their traumatized brother to take care of!

As she assumed, Sejin as well was affected by what he saw… the usually calm and composed man seemed to find it impossible to stop his limbs from shaking, his face was pale and he was sweating despite the cold weather…

The other members weren’t any better, Jungkook had obviously some anger management issues, Jimin and Yoongi showed some minor depression symptoms, Jin was exhausted both physically and mentally, Hoseok looked constantly panicking and Namjoon became the embodiment of guilt!

Surprisingly, Taehyung was the calmest! Albeit seeming a bit in pain.

Tip number 1: Always make him sleep next to one of his people.

Noted!

Min-Seo thought for a second then spoke assertively:

“Sejin-ssi, I’d like you to please keep Taehyung-ssi company while I borrow the members for a little bit if you don’t mind.”

The boys looked at her confused, glancing at Taehyung to see his reaction whereas manager Sejin automatically nodded and swiftly shifted the injured boy’s weight to his side away from Namjoon’s embrace.

The doctor ushered the young men into the living room and made herself comfortable on one of the sofas facing them.

“So…” she began “Who’d like to tell me what is wrong first?”

“Didn’t Sejin-hyung tell you what happened?” asked Namjoon

“He did, he also told me what he thought about it… Now, I’d like to hear it from you”

“Aren’t you supposed to concentrate on Tae here?”

Jin and Namjoon whipped their heads to Yoongi’s side at that, shocked and unable to come up with anything to make that question look less rude.

Min-Seo, on the other hand, didn’t seem phased:

“I know most of what Taehyung-ssi is going through, Yoongi-ssi, and I know that he can’t possibly deal with it alone. The way you are right now though,… do you really believe you’re being helpful? He can sense your fears more than you do yourself, and sometimes he’d perceive your actions the wrong way, he’d feel like a burden to you, or the subject of your hatred and anger, does any of you want that?”

Yoongi’s eyes widened and he whispered: “But we’re not angry and we definitely do not hate him!”

“I know,… but Taehyung-ssi doesn’t. You’ve seen just a glimpse of what he’s been through yet it has taken its toll on you. In his case, his brain processes threats differently, just partially because of the chemicals that kept being released into his system abundantly. He has an easily triggered ‘Fight or Flight’ response now, which is why he flinches and jumps at every physical contact.

Then there are the nightmares and flashbacks, due to the amount of pain he’s experiencing, these hallucinations and night terrors which happen frequently leave him exhausted and unable to tell the dreams and realities apart.

Taehyung-ssi has been and is still going through a lot. You need to be there for him and for that you need to be fine and healthy yourself, do you understand what I’m getting at?”

A group sigh was heard and the boys answered defeatedly: “Yes, Seonsangnim”

Tip number 2: If they can’t see how serious it is, don’t sugar-coat it, tell it to their faces.

Noted too!

“Good, who wants to start then? Namjoon-ssi, would you like to tell me something?”

“I … I know it’s stupid to feel guilty over what that man did… but I can’t help it… after seeing that video, I just…(sigh)…  Tae’s hands are still twitching, he told him that my rapping felt like lightning, it’s as if my voice was electrocuting him, and he jumps every time he hears it, I just feel… like a monster! And I keep thinking that maybe… maybe …”

The leader let out another sigh rubbing his forehead and looking down at his feet.

“That maybe you could have done something?” asked the therapist receiving a nod from the leader “He was your manager Namjoon-ssi, even if somehow you could tell your dongsaeng was in distress, YoonSok-ssi would be the last one you’d suspect if at all, am I right?”

“Yeah, that’s true, you’re a great leader but you’re no psychic, Joon!” Added Jin.

“What about you, Seokjin-ssi? How are you holding up?”

“Well, not too bad, considering… I just feel kind of useless. I am supposed to be the eldest, the one who’s going to take responsibility and help my members through this… but I found myself … unequipped… I have no clue what I can do to make things better for all of them and I hate this chaos!”

Jimin gasped and all but jumped hugging his hyung tightly “Don’t ever call yourself useless Jinni hyung! I can’t even imagine how we would’ve managed had you not been here!!” he yelled

“True” added Hoseok “And in case you haven’t noticed, you’re the only one who managed to calm Tae down, you even got him to hug you voluntarily! I almost envy you! So stop belittling yourself hyung!”

“Yes, Jin-hyung. You know us better than anyone and you always know what to say to make us feel better. You don’t need any equipment whatsoever, you just need to be your usual caring self” stated the leader showing his dimples to the elder.

Tip number 3: What’s best about group therapy, is that the patients ARE the therapists! Just let them open up!

Also noted!

Well, Min-Seo still needed to forward the attention to the other members: “Jimin-ssi? Did you tell Jin-ssi about your worries then?”

The young dancer didn’t expect the question nor was he ready for all the worried sets of eyes focused on him, he let go of Jin and made to the chair in hesitant steps. “No, I … I guess I’m scared?!” he half asked “I feel like it’s too much to take in all at once, I’m scared of YoonSok hyung’s next move, and I’m scared of Taehyungie’s next nightmare, I’m scared of the next video, I’m scared every time the phone pings and every time Taehyungie’s breath hitches… I’m scared of the future, I don’t want to think about how things are going to be from now on, or about how Tae is going to deal with them…. something like that I guess…”

Everyone just stared at Jimin for a while, sometimes their idol personas make them look younger and less mature than their true selves, and hearing Jimin describing his fears just surprised the rest of them. Jimin was looking at the real problem but from a bigger perspective.

His little rant made them realise how big of a weight this disaster put on all of them, because if they were honest, those weren’t only Jimin’s troubles, he was simply moving their worries up to the surface and Min-Seo could see that clearly.

“That proves two things Jimin-ssi. The first is that you’re just a human like everyone else in this room, humans by nature fear the unknown, the unpredictable thus the future. And the second thing is that you care! You care for Taehyung-ssi’s wellbeing, you care for all your bandmates and you yearn for normalcy and peace of mind, you all do…”

Jimin was tearing up, Namjoon immediately patted his shoulder comfortingly.

“You need to let things go Jimin-ssi” continued the doctor “Think about each moment in its appropriate time, don’t skip steps. These are horrible times you’re facing, and I know it’s hard to deal with the confusing emotions you’re subjected to, but you need to stay positive, even if it looks like the situation is going for the worse, it will eventually end. One day, YoonSok, Taehyung-ssi’s injuries, this roller-coaster of feelings you’re on, all of this… will be just a bad memory, you’ll talk about it sometime forgetting most of the details and unable to imagine how it felt like… so don’t lose hope.

As for Taehyung-ssi, you don’t need to worry, he has you and I am here to help him as well, you have to always believe in him alright?”

The boys nodded, their gazes showing a renewed determination.

“I think TaeTae is stronger than me actually!” said Hoseok cutting their line of thoughts “I sometimes think I’m the one with the separation anxiety, not him. I don’t want to leave his side, I keep thinking someone is going to hurt him the moment I let him out of my sight, and some other times, I’m afraid that he’ll run away from us, that he’ll only see us as torture and pain!”

“I feel that way too” Yoongi surprisingly added “I realised that this isn’t some Saesang case that’d leave him a bit shaken up, then he’d simply get over it, nor is it a small ankle twist that would sting for a week then disappear. When I close my eyes, I see myself back in the basement when we found Taehyung but it never goes the way I know it did. I keep feeling his pulse often and checking if he’s breathing just to make sure that we got there in time, that we didn’t lose him, that he’s actually alive with us. I gave up peaceful sleep the moment I saw him all bloodied and bruised like that”

Tip number 4: When it’s serious, admit it!

“Then you need to talk about it until it goes away, both of you” instructed the therapist “If you’re willing, I’ll come for you separately to talk and you can tell me in details what you’re feeling. I’ll also give you something for anxiety and insomnia. If not, you can talk about it amongst each other although I would still insist on professional help. Hoseok-ssi, as long as Taehyung-ssi doesn’t sense your insecurity, you can stay by his side especially since he needs you, but the moment it becomes obsessive, you need to step back. And Yoongi-ssi, I have a feeling you already know what an exhausted mind can cause to the people around you, don’t you?”

“We’ll do what you say, Seongsang-nim” declared Hoseok to which Yoongi didn’t object.

“You were awfully silent, Jungkook-ssi, how are you feeling?”

“I’m fine”

“…”

“…”

Min-Seo was starting to consider the possibility of Jungkook being the hard type of patients, and she began looking for ways to explain to him that he’s in denial, but she was proven wrong when he all but growled between gritted teeth “But V-hyung isn’t”

“Do you feel sorry for him? Sad?”

“No, I’m angry! I’m angry at that monster who hurt him, he’s the reason all of this is happening, he’s the reason my hyungs are in pain, he’s the reason I’m messed up!! It’s HIS fault”

“Who else Jungkook-ssi?”

“Who else?!!”

“Yes, who else are you angry at? Is it Taehyung-ssi? Do you think he shouldn’t have trusted him? That he should’ve fought back? Or is it your other hyungs because they weren’t there f…”

“NO!! … no, It’s … It’s not any of my hyungs’ fault! …”

“Then…?!”

“It’s me… I am angry at my selfishness and carelessness! I was too busy feeling betrayed and back-stabbed when my hyung was living through hell to protect us!... I .. I’m angry because I wasn’t able to help him. Because I promised to be there for the hyungs who raised me and loved me but I failed… And because none of this would have happened, if I wasn’t too lazy to go with V-hyung after the practice… If I went with him I… I could’ve saved him!!”

Tip number 5: Your mind can be your greatest enemy! Healing begins by believing the right facts.

 “Or you could’ve been abducted with him, then you would’ve been tortured too, OR Taehyung-ssi would’ve gone through a lot worse to spare you the torture, don’t you think?”

The maknae yelped unable to accept that idea even as a theory.

“Yeah, you might have some muscles on you kid, but you’re not Superman! If you wanna be angry, you better keep it exclusively for that son of a *****”

Huffed Yoongi with a smirk at the end.

“Hey, Min Yoongi! Language!!” Exclaimed Jin in a high pitch which made the therapist giggle.

Their “talk” helped them unleash all the emotions they bottled up in the past few days, and realise that they were not alone. With lighter hearts and clearer minds, they started to build hope. Seeing the women in front of them reacting to their very normal and funny exchange, they couldn’t help but smile, her serenity and confidence seemed contagious and they were again, ready to keep fighting together, for Taehyung and for BTS as a whole.

Tip number 6: When the five other tips are there, you’re on the right path!

Chapter Text

“… Then I got to meet you guys. At first, I was a bit hesitant to act naturally, you were just kids and people kept telling me I needed to be strict and authoritative or you would become spoiled brats. But, now that I think about it, I’m glad I ignored them. You’ve become part of my family and when it comes to you, I have nothing to worry about! Well, you know the rest of that story Tae-ah, my children like you more than they ever did me… ”

“Oh! Sejinni-hyung, that was so sweet!!” exclaimed Hobi taking in the scene in front of him fondly.

Taehyung was laying on manager Sejin comfortably, his expression was peaceful, his eyes drooping, he was all huddled up looking so small in comparison with the big built man, his hands holding the taller’s shirt loosely, it was heart-warming yet painful to see at the same time.

Jimin hated the sight of his best friend that fragile and weak.

“I guess I missed an interesting story didn't I, Taehyung-ssi?” asked Min-Seo while moving closer to the bed.

Taehyung was surprised. Obviously, he didn’t even notice that there were people other than him and Sejin in the room. With his hyung-nim’s help, he sat straight stifling pained groans and nodded to the therapist making brief eye contact before swaying, almost falling if not for the manager’s tight hold.

Min-Seo decided to shorten their session as much as possible, Taehyung was clearly in no condition to have a serious conversation.

“I told him about my not-so-extraordinary past, my life before I joined Big-Hit and my little adventures here and there, I don’t mind retelling if you’re interested…” Suggested Sejin with a smile, happy to notice the lighter mood the boys were in.

“Oh I’d love to Sejin-ssi, but maybe another time, because today, I came bearing a gift for Taehyung-ssi” said the dark-haired lady sounding excited.

She took out what seemed like a kid’s tablet from her bag, it didn’t look like the high-tech devices twenty-first century’s people use, its screen was like the older game console’s ones, with no light and no colours but it was definitely personalized.

“My engineer friends like to call this a Note Pod, it’s a modified tablet, it has no access to the internet, no self-luminosity settings but it can have all the tactile options on command. I allowed myself to choose the old-school type of screen to avoid any light exposure problems, so you won’t need to worry about headaches.”

She handed Tae the device and started typing on it:

“See here? There is a keyboard and you have a pen in the back too, whichever you want to use is up to you. You can access the home screen and create files in which you can store your note sheets. You can also have a screen lock if you’d like. How about we try naming a file right now?”

Taehyung nodded, moving his shaky hands to the screen and hesitantly typing like he’s about to press a bomb’s switch, a couple of silent minutes later, the doctor smiled: “But of course! I should’ve expected that, BTS would certainly be your word of choice! Well then, you can write down your members’ spiritual animals here, the ones I asked of you yesterday. I was told you’ve already chosen one for Jungkook-ssi and I hear it was very accurate. Good work!

Now, you can type it here, or,  you can ask him to do it… you can also create another file and scribble your thoughts from time to time, this is going to be like… say… your personal diary. Oh, and if you don’t want to use it that way, it would be alright. You can put a memory card in here and it will become a portable music player!”

For the first time in years, Jimin couldn’t read the expression Tae was showing, it wasn’t his signature blank face, it wasn’t a tired face, it wasn’t him being uninterested nor was it him being uncomfortable and trying not to show it! It was just unrecognizable, a mixture of fear and hesitation with a hint of sadness and something so deep in his eyes, more profound than pain and darker than desperation…

Taehyung looked like his mind was in a totally different place all the while being right there, engrossed in the little machine his palms barely managed to hold.

Jimin decided not to ponder over those thoughts too much, if he’s to get worried, he wouldn’t be able to help his friend, so he shook his head, flashed his famous crescent-eyes-smile and dived into the “conversation” the doctor was having with his dongsaeng: “Ooh! Can I see? That looks so cool!! Your friends must be real geniuses Seongsang-nim! Hey, Taehyungie! I’ve got an idea, how about creating a personalized protection cover for it as well? It would be even cooler! Right?”

Jimin was jumping eagerly, his limbs fretting in all sides “Calm down you hyperactive Chim! You’re making the kid dizzy!” huffed Yoongi rolling his eyes

“Speak for yourself Turtle-hyung! Taehyungie isn’t complaining”

“What did you say you brat?! Come here!!”

Jimin was glad his hyung was playing along, the master of Swag was running after him nagging like a four-years-old kid from one side of the room to another. And he felt like the happiest man on earth when he heard Taehyung’s soft giggles, the sound was music to their ears and everyone started laughing, momentarily blocking all their worries and ignoring the danger lurking somewhere in the dark waiting for an opportunity to attack them.

 *****************************************************************************

(Time skip)

The doctor left the boys after reminding them of the Do’s and Don’t’s concerning Taehyung. She fixed more spaced out dates for the next sessions saying that her assistance would be more useful when Tae is more responsive. She insisted on manager Sejin to stay with the ash-grey-haired boy instead of escorting her out. “Taehyung-ssi should enjoy as many peaceful moments as possible!” She had said.

Jimin couldn’t help the weird tingle he felt in his chest. He wasn’t jealous of his manager per se, he just hoped that Tae would be as calm when in his embrace.

It became clear to all of them that their teammate couldn’t help feeling scared and acting defensive around them.

An awkward silence filled the room, Sejin liked the fact he could provide a sense of safety to the boy in his arms but hated the fact he needed to, to begin with.

Also, he was definitely not oblivious to the restlessness of the other occupants of the room.

“Jimin-ah, how long since you last ate anything?” He asked

“umm… I don’t know… don’t worry though, I’m not hungry” answered the blond-haired boy eyeing Taehyung worriedly, now that it’s mentioned, his friend is in serious need of real food, he doesn’t need to be a doctor to know that malnutrition won’t help his state.

“but… I would eat if Tae joins me” he added hopefully.

If things were “normal”, Tae would have freaked out about his best friend’s lack of appetite, he would’ve acted like he’s starving and eat more than he can digest while making funny faces or mimicking crazy eaters in their weird habits. But this was too far away from normal, Tae didn’t even listen to the two males’ exchange and when he heard his name and the mention of food next to it, he frowned and moved closer to the manager pressing his head harder against the latter’s chest as if to hide.

Just then, Jin entered the room holding two platters with colourful dishes followed by Yoongi and Namjoon, hands full as well, and for the millionth time in the past couple of days, Jimin thought his oldest hyung was a superhero.

Jin decided it was time for lunch, and even though they all knew how hard it was to see Tae having troubles in a task as simple as eating, the handsome vocalist took it upon himself to step on his heart and do what he knows is best for their hurting brother.

Jimin noticed that Tae’s tray was different, he had just a simple bowl of porridge (a pink bowl with strawberries on it: Jin’s favourite)  and one glass of water, while the others had rice, shrimps, salad and fruits alongside the pap.

They left the talking to the manager who kept reassuring Tae that it was okay, that it would help him feel better and that it would lessen his pain, which was successful. After staring at his meal for a long time, Tae nodded and accepted the spoon Jin offered him albeit a little hesitant.

After the fifth sip, however, he began cowering away from incoming food, Jin and Sejin wanted to keep pushing for another couple of spoonfuls but decided against it when he started to literally lose colour. He grimaced, his whole body expressing discomfort, so Jimin did the first thing he could think of, give him water……. And not for the first time,… that was a mistake!

Tae’s breath hitched, he started a chant of  “no” and  “please” on rewind.

“Just a little bit Tae-ah, you need to drink some, come on, don’t worry, I’ll stop the moment you tell me to, I promise!” Tried Sejin, he moved the glass closer to Taehyung’s lips, the boy instinctively held the mug with both hands, swallowed once, twice then pushed it back gasping, his intakes of air were painful to hear, Jungkook wanted to get closer to his hyung but Jimin stopped him, it’s better not to crowd him when he’s this panicked he reasoned.

“Breathe Tae-ah! It’s okay, you’re okay” said Sejin calmly, he kept holding the younger close and used his free hand to caress his head gently.

Taehyung nodded a few times, his breathing slowing down a notch before scrunching his face and pushing the manager away from him suddenly.

None of them could do anything but feel sorry for the poor boy who kept throwing up in the bucket that Jin thankfully left next to the bed, his brows were knitted and his eyes were shut closed, by the time he finished dry-heaving, he looked miserable and absolutely exhausted, J-Hope was met with his weak shivering hands resisting his own when he tried giving him his famous sweet candy and Jimin has never felt so dispirited.

He was wishing, praying for something to happen, he wished he had the power to take the pain away from his best friend, or better yet to heal him like those fantasy stories the latter used to like so much. He prayed to even those headless Gods they saw in Egypt or the Dragon-like ones they visited in Japan to cast some light or whatever it is they can do to relieve his brother from all his worries and fears. And when the more realistic side of his mind took over his thoughts, he wished Tae’s head injury would make him forget everything! He didn’t deserve all that agony and he definitely doesn't deserve the memory of it!

When the therapist asked him, he did deliver some truth about what he felt, but no one could really understand! Jimin and Tae were friends,  brothers, allies, soulmates, more: they were one! And Jimin felt like half of his heart is breaking down, half of his heart is being ripped out of his chest,…. Half of him is dying!

He turned around looking at his members’ faces trying to see in their eyes something he could relate to and that was when he noticed that one pair of tired droopy eyes were missing. Just when he was about to ask for his Suga-hyung, they all heard a loud thud, then crashing and an animalistic scream!

What was going on now?!

“Jimin and Jungkook, stay here with Tae and Sejin-hyung, Joon, Hobi  and I will take care of things”

Chapter Text

He saw nothing, heard nothing, felt nothing,… he was just numb, unmoving, did he black-out? But then, what was that horrible sound he heard? Everything was red, red all over, red all around, he was surrounded by the vivid colour, swallowed by it, drowning in it… It was too bright, yet too dark… Any other time it would be both scary and annoying…  wait … why wasn’t it the case now? Huh!!! Who’s calling for him?… Jin? … Namjoon? Both? Why did they sound so desperate? Wait a minute… He’s forgetting something… something important… it’s about one of his dongsaengs… Tae? Why was his mind bugging him to think about Tae? What should he remember?

WHACK!

OH!! Wah?! … Whoever was the victim of that slap, he was having it hard, poor guy!…

“YOONGI!!! FOR GOD’S SAKE! SNAP OUT OF IT!!! YOONGI!”

          ------                                -------                             ------

 

(Moments before)

Yoongi couldn’t just watch! Taehyung can’t even have some water without freaking out, he needed to relax. Yoongi needed to do something to get him to relax… They say he’s a genius, it was about time that quality showed its usefulness.

Think Min Suga!” he told himself  “What would make Tae feel at ease?.... well, the things he loves might help… let’s see, he loves movies and video games, but those two are out of the question, they might trigger a seizure…. What else… food, … nope, it definitely is no longer on the list …  saxophone..umm… nah… no one besides Tae himself can play it and even if we use a recording, it’s so noisy… his headaches are bad enough as it is …. Wait! that’s it! Music! Nice calming music… piano tune, no high notes, clear sound, low volume… I’m sure I have some of the melodies I recorded saved somewhere

Yoongi was looking for his phone but stopped when he remembered it was his that was taken by the police, such bad luck! Well, he had his computer so… whatever right?

He switched the machine on, the familiar light (a little bit, just a tiiiiiny little bit missed) filling the darkness in the room and spreading its glowy shades on his face, and began skimming through the numerous files scattered in the desk screen while opening few of them, when suddenly, a window jumped to the middle, then the second one, then the third, until six miniature files were displayed.

He could only see two things: the tab’s name and a title, respectively their names and YoonSok’s message. He doubted they were the same ones they’ve already seen because Jungkook and Jimin had a separate file each, but then again, it could be that the original clip was just cut in two…

His hands shook, his heartbeat increased and cold sweat was running down his forehead, his mind was screaming at him to just close the messages and take what he came for (which somehow he’d already forgotten) and just leave…or more like…flee!, the memory of the agreement he made with the other members after the last video they received from YoonSok kept sending red signals to his brain.

The timing of those messages was always the worst, they’re frustrating, unsettling and extremely provocative so Yoongi couldn’t really argue when Jin bluntly expressed his refusal to witness the rapper’s reaction to the video showing his turn when it comes.

How did they know? They didn’t really… but they all had some idea what Tae went through for the sake of each one of them so, assuming YoonSok sends some other versions of what they’ve already seen, it wouldn’t entice the same violent and overly emotional reaction. However, it was not the same in Yoongi’s case, he had a vague idea about his role in Taehyung’s trauma seeing the latter’s injuries but he didn’t dare dive into the guessing waters, that was definitely the only step separating him from insanity.

When he saw that one last window with his name on it though,… with those same ugly words and a link glaring at him with those nasty blue lines! Min Yoongi, “What does it feel like, you liars?”,… his fingers moved on their own accord and just like that, he clicked it:

shh Taehyung-ah, shhh… don’t cry! Your Suga-hyung would hate to see your tears now, wouldn’t he? Or maybe he’d love to? You never know with that guy, he’s the definition of schizophrenia, one moment he’s all calm and caring the next one filth is springing out of his mouth at full speed and he’s literally out of his mind…. I guess that’s what got him famous, acting all cute and innocent off-stage and an absolute sadistic maniac on it! He is like that with you too, isn’t he? You don’t really get along, do you? Choose him Taehyung-ah!! All of this would be over

Taehyung was yet again hanging from the ceiling, he was wet from head to toe, tremors visibly running through him and small whimpers escaping his bruised lips with every breath he took.

Please,h-hyung_nim… e-e-nough!...

Yoongi was expecting the worst, he was subconsciously preparing himself to see another act of violence done to his dongsaeng but to both his and the Taehyung in the video’s surprise, YoonSok calmly approached Tae and gently patted his head silently, then he pulled a remote and pressed a button.

Screams filled the room, it was undoubtedly Yoongi’s voice, yelling, pleading growling like a dying wolf.

Aigoo! Do you hear that? Taehyung-ah!! Didn’t I tell you what happens to your so-called brothers when you misbehave? One last chance kid: The great AGUST D? or you?”

“M-me! Me! Please s-stop hurting him hyung-nim… p-please!!!”

Tsk! You never learn… then have a taste of your Daegu hyung’s tongue technology!!”

That was the only warning Taehyung received before a belt was landing aimlessly all over his body, his face, his back, his chest, his thighs while Yoongi’s rapping was concealing its cracking sound… the hanging boy could do nothing, he stiffened in anticipation of every hit and bit his lips until they bled to stifle his cries. Yoonsok threw the belt aside and took a metallic rod slamming it everywhere, then a bat then when he had enough of the tools he started swinging his fists and feet all over Taehyung as if he was merely a punching bag!!

Between each couple of blows, he would calmly caress the younger’s face, gently brushing his fingers through his hair and holding his shoulders delicately and shush him as if to comfort him and he kept on like that switching between gentleness and violence, acting once as the most compassionate human and once as the cruellest monster. By the end of it, all the manager had to do was wave his hand near Tae for him to burst into hysterical tears screaming and begging “J-just kill m-m- me h-hyung! I d-don’t w-want t-t-to choose… I-I … n-no more! Please!!!........... I c-can’t… Y-yoongi-hyung!”

That was it! The whispered plea of his name on the lips of his terrified dongsaeng kicked him over the edge! He felt veins pop out of his head, he lost all sense of time and space, he was so angry, so hurt, he felt the need, no, the desire, the craving to kill Yoonsok slowly and painfully, he totally lost control of his body when he saw Taehyung’s crying face on the screen one last time.

****************************************************************************

They heard Yoongi’s ear-piercing shouts and started knocking on the door forcefully, Namjoon allowed his Jin-hyung five tries before he broke the wooden obstacle, Hoseok got scared and really anxious, for the scene they came to find was horrific: Yoongi’s precious computer was broken to pieces, his chair was smashed, all his things that used to be on the desk were flown across the room to the opposite wall, Yoongi’s certificates, his framed photos and souvenirs lay shattered on the floor and in the middle of all this chaos stood Yoongi, hands bleeding probably from the glass shards, tearing off his hair, eyes streaming like a waterfall, gaze dark and lost and clouded and waves of anger were radiating off him.

Namjoon was trying to hold him, calling his name repeatedly and asking him to calm down, but the older started swinging his fists at the leader, thrashing to free himself from his hold. Jin took an audible breath, long and deep then took large strides towards his oldest dongsaeng and slapped him hard:

“YOONGI!!! FOR GOD’S SAKE! SNAP OUT OF IT!!! YOONGI!” he shouted shaking the shorter boy back and forth.

“… J-Jin-hyung?!” Yoongi was flattering his eyelids as if he has just awakened from a deep slumber

“You’re back with us hyung?” asked Namjoon while checking his aching jaw for any visible injuries

Yoongi’s eyes widened for a second and Hoseok could see the guilt and sadness flashing in them, then he looked down and nodded.

“What happened Yoongi-hyung?” inquired the dancer hesitantly

“He … there were like … pop-ups and… I saw mine … and …uh!!”

“It’s okay Yoongs” said Seokjin smiling gently “We can’t keep telling Tae that he’s fine and that it’s all over if we don’t believe it ourselves right? Now leave this… mission to us and go check on him and apologize for all the screaming you did, it probably gave him a fright…”

Yoongi looked around at his room and sighed… it looked like a typhoon passed by, he walked out “make sure he knows you’re not hurt alright?”  he heard his hyung say.

He didn’t want to go see him, he wanted to run outside until his legs can’t take it and until the darkness fogging his thoughts disappear.

“You want to clear your head, don’t you?” Hoseok who appeared out of nowhere whispered to him.

“You’re a mind reader now?” he retorted uninterestedly

Surprisingly enough J-hope did not smile “Sometimes I wish I had some kind of addiction, you know? smoking or some other habit, because at least I’d find some way to vent out… or something… it’s stupid, right? Hyung?”

“Yeah… even for you!… but… I understand I guess”

“Huh… even for me, yah! That hurt!!...  Go see him hyung, as cheesy as it may sound, and I’ll certainly deny ever saying this, TaeTae is both our drug and our cure, how he’s worried about us even though he’s the one in pain, even though he can’t fully trust us… I can’t say it won’t hurt like hell cause it will! But, ironically, it’ll make things feel better too…”

Yoongi knew that; he knew that as much as he hated to see Taehyung’s flinches when he’s close and to feel the kid tremble in his arms, he also needed to see his eyes full of relief for his safety, full of forgiveness and to feel him slowly relax in his embrace and try to control his shaky fingers into intertwining with his like they always do, like only they do!

He patted J-hope’s head as a thank you and sprinted to the bathroom to clean his hands and cover the glass cuts, wash his face too, for some reason his cheek stung, then he moved to his brother’s room where, as expected, a worried Taehyung was demanding to see him.

Chapter Text

A few days have passed since they received the last video from Yoonsok, six to be exact.

Jungkook came to hate that number alongside the number seven because they symbolized the period of time his dear hyung spent in… “hell”!!  Six days and seven nights locked in their basement getting abused non-stop by their manager and accepting all the torment for their sake.

He remembered how six days ago, Taehyung panicked because of Yoongi’s screams and was fighting them to go see the rapper. Jungkook stood still watching and having an internal dilemma, he didn’t know whether he wanted to laugh or cry or both!?!

On one hand, Tae could hardly breathe without scrunching his face in pain, yet there he was, standing on his broken leg, eyes barely focusing, swaying like he’s high on something and half hugging his chest with one hand as if his ribs are going to fall out any moment.

The maknae wanted to playfully hit his hyung’s back, calling him a pabo and put him back to bed, maybe even tickle him.

On the other hand, he saw the boy’s expression, Taehyung was genuinely terrified, barely holding back his tears and his gaze was… dead! It looked like that scene in movies: Where a not-so-important and a particularly weak character decides to give up his life readily for the sake of the main characters whom he thinks are more worthy of living than he is…?!!!

That was how his hyung seemed to think right then and that was when the urge to cry became a bit more appealing to the youngest.

When Suga finally blessed them with his presence, Tae all but dropped to the floor, Sejin, Jimin and Jungkook thought it was out of relief that his legs gave out, but Yoongi ran to his side, horror painting his face, obviously seeing something the three of them missed  “Hey! Hey! No, look at me Tae!! Breathe, Tae, breathe!”

Taking a closer look, Jungkook saw how hard it was for Tae to inhale, his hand on his chest, silent tears flowing out of wide panic-stricken eyes, head shaking right and left as if he was denying something and  multiple “I’m sorry”s fighting their way out his lips sounding more like wheezes.

No one understood what was going on until the rest of the hyung-line joined them, Namjoon surmised that Yoongi’s injured (by now bandaged) hands were the reason for their hurt friend’s panic.

The leader was proven right when the young man finally calmed down after a lot of promises from Yoongi that he wasn’t hurt and that Tae had nothing to do with it and that everything was fine…  it wasn’t a lie!!  but it wasn’t completely true either…

Taehyung wasn’t to blame for how much pain and frustration they were all feeling, but it was about him… how can anyone expect them not to feel sick to the bones seeing their purest friend under the mercy of a sadistic monster while believing he had to accept it for THEIR safety?!

Yoongi had told them everything about the pop-ups afterwards and although none of them had enough mental strength to go through it a second time, they found themselves watching them with the police officers, it wasn’t a must (that’s what they were told), but they needed to do at least that to help,… or so they felt anyway.

When they sat with the two detectives on one of the other computers (Yoongi’s did not survive, unfortunately!), they found dozens of videos, in each and every one of them, Taehyung was subjected to plentiful ways of torture and it was painfully obvious how Yoonsok managed to break the boy mentally as well.

It was against their better judgment to keep witnessing that violence upon their beloved brother, but they kept doing it over and over again.  They felt that with each file, they could try to understand how Taehyung feels and thinks better.

Jungkook kind of hated the fact that Tae loved and trusted them so blindly, more than anything, like they held the moon and the stars because when Yoonsok realised that truth, he began degrading him, making him feel “useless”, “unnecessary”, a “burden”, an “extra weight”, a “trouble”… Jungkook kept hearing those awful words spat at his hyung’s face and getting more furious by the second, especially when he saw Tae believing that lie and just wishing for everything to end by his death after guaranteeing the other members’ protection…

Taehyung spent that evening holding onto Suga like his life depended on it even though he’d stiffen and tremble every time the older boy moves, he was scared from the proximity yet he refused to let go… Jungkook did pity Yoongi, and felt even worse after watching the latter’s part with the others.

-

The days afterwards went slow, they could establish that routine the therapist spoke of, Taehyung started to relax a bit more around them, he was still most comfortable with manager Sejin and Bang Sihyuk (both of which practically moved in with them) but he showed some improvement none the less, what made Jungkook really happy was that his hyung was finally drinking water without suffocating!!! They did use capped bottles with straws like those for children, but the important thing was that his hyung will not risk thirst to death!

Manager Sejin visited the dorms daily bringing the food his wife had sent and checking on Taehyung, he’d drop by the therapist’s office and give her the ride to her patient on his way… She had always managed to brighten the mood a little but it would never last long enough… because there were still those instances where they lose hope all together!!

Taehyung’s nightmares make him on edge every other minute, his weight dropped alarmingly what with his inability and/or unwillingness to eat, his panic attacks didn’t help his still recovering wounds one bit and his words became less and less present with every passing day.

They hated those moments when Tae doesn’t move or speak for hours like he wasn’t even there with them, or when he starts rolling on the bed, holding his head, keening in pain and pleading for it to just stop, or when he jolts up in the middle of the night screaming and crying hysterically unable to recognize any of them, or when he has those seizures!

The first two days (after the “Yoongi incident” as they came to call it), Tae didn’t have any, especially with how careful the members were around him, but then, the seizures started happening abruptly, without a trigger, sometimes without a warning, other times, Tae would feel “weird” (as he described to them), uncomfortable and in pain long before it happens… (Jungkook thinks it’s when a seizure occurs after another one on the same day)

What Jungkook hated the most though was what they called the “No touch phase”.

It usually happens when Tae would go too long with no food, water and sleep, or after a seizure… and despite their relentless efforts, these occurrences weren’t rare…

Tae would be exhausted, most of the time, he’d be crying, weaker, more vulnerable and extremely oversensitive to every single thing: voices, touches even the presence of someone would throw him right into a violent panic attack that would eventually force them to drug him for his own safety!

After it happened a few times, Jungkook did actually do something about it! He manhandled his hyung onto his lap, chest to chest and legs dangling from both sides of his waist, then he started rocking him back and forth like he would a scared little baby, it was one of the rare times the maknae talked to Tae uninterrupted:

“This is not a dream hyung!” he had said, “I am here, now, with you! and I’m perfectly fine and so are you! We are your members, your brothers!! We’re here for you and NO ONE is going to hurt ANY of us, you know why? Because he’ll have to go through me first!! I’m not doing those push-ups for nothing, hyung, he’ll have to be on John Cena’s level to get to any of us!!!”.

He kept calming his hyung down … “This is what’s real V-Hyungie! Besides, dreaming of being on my lap would be seriously awkward!!”  Tae actually smiled at that, sighing, he relaxed his body and trusted his dongsaeng to hold up his weight for him, resting his head on the crook of the younger’s neck.

Jungkook felt something new besides anger that day, he felt pride, accomplishment, that’s what each of them was looking for in their own way, they needed to have a role, to participate in whatever it was that had to be done to help Tae recover, to help him come back to them.

The maknae noticed how every time one of them succeeded in calming Taehyung down or figured out what he needed before he expressed it, their eyes would shine and they’d keep smiling long after…

They also felt better after reading the file Taehyung managed to write in the tablet Min-Seo gave him! He obviously couldn’t write in detail but what they found brought tears to their eyes and smiles to their lips.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BTS

[Kooki: Cub, superior, strong, mischievous, kind, protective, makes me feel cared for]

[Jimini: Squirrel, chubby cheeks, cute yet manly personality, small, loving and pure, a smile that brightens my days]

[Jinni-hyung: Orca, handsome, graceful, gentle, friendly, has a beautiful voice, slow but elegant moves, always makes me feel at home]

[Namjooni-hyung: Eagle, strong, great leader, good at seeing how we’re doing, intimidating to bad people, reliable, makes me feel safe]

[Yoongi-hyung: Dolphin, disguised genius, rough exterior but gentle inside, witty, sharp voice, always there when I need him]

[Hobi-hyung: Deer, smooth, has a unique style, gentle, possessive, fit, light aura but deep eyes, makes me see the beauty in everything]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Taehyung had been asleep next to the tablet when they had seen the file and they didn’t even feel guilty when they woke him up, cooing and kissing and hugging and praising… Their hearts felt light, hope blossomed in the depths of their desperate minds and they were determined, they wanted to be just that to Taehyung: home, safety, happiness and beauty, they took it upon themselves to do their best and procure the sense of belonging Tae believed they gave him.

-

Now back to the hateful day six though, Jungkook was looking at the clock, he’d been counting, mind you! According to him, it had been exactly twenty-four hours since finding out that Taehyung’s temperature had dropped to the edge of a life-threatening degree, and seeing his hyung’s condition right now (totally out of their world, pale skin and blue lips that is!!) it must’ve already crossed it!

Yet there they were, waiting for a “clear-to-go” the technical term for “permission” to take their friend to the hospital!!!

Jungkook did understand that it was for their and Taehyung’s safety but they really needed to go before his condition causes some permanent damage, his ice-cold skin despite the heater blasting on maximum was already a bad sign!

He heard the bedridden boy mumble and got closer to hear what he said “I-it h-hurts, *Halmeoni!” (*grandmother in Korean) 

And that was it!

He held Taehyung with the covers surrounding him bridal-style and sprinted to the car announcing to his hyungs that he’d be leaving with or without them, needless to say, the others didn’t even argue!

Arriving at the hospital, they found themselves yet again in the waiting room, hearts beating at an unhealthily fast rate, stress and anxiety eating them and their previous lack of sleep messing with their minds.

************************************************************************************

(time skip)

Doctor Shin Yong-Won was beginning to fear for his health, his job was already hard enough without weird happenings like this one! If you’re wondering what this is about then your answer would be the patient in room 421: Kim Tae-Hyung, the problem was not him being a world-wide known idol, nor him having ties with Bang Sihyuk AKA the main financial support for the hospital like the doctor had feared when they first brought this patient in… no!

The problem was the kid’s condition!

Due to the nature of their work, doctors learn to separate their emotions from their work, most of them admit at the end of their careers that they become emotionless people, indifferent to others’ hardships and apathetic in general even outside the hospital…

Dr. Yong-Won, now entering his last decade on the job could say it was hard for him to feel anything towards others, especially his patients, but this case proved him wrong!

The simple sight of the boy when he first came made the long-since-frozen blood in his veins coil, for the first time in years, he was actually scared while operating on him.

The young man couldn’t have been well built, to begin with, but after starving and being subjected to all kinds of torture, it was almost impossible for his body to take any more, he was so relieved when hearing the beeping of the heart monitor indicating the operation was a success!

But then, he took a closer look at the blood tests and CT scans and felt sick, the amount of pain-inducing toxins and sleeplessness drugs in his vessels was a hair away from OD limits, even with his knowledge in the field, he couldn’t begin to imagine what this patient must’ve felt!! (He still couldn’t believe humans are actually capable of such monstrous acts)

Then there were the surprises unfolding one after the other, Anemia, Insomnia, Post-Traumatic Epilepsy, PTSD which although not a physical condition still complicates things, unstable brain activity and what, due to the rushed discharge of the boy, he couldn’t confirm: nerve overstimulation, those shaky hands were not normal!

He didn’t have patients who were victims of torture before, but his researches were supposed to help him be ready for when he has. Or so he thought! Seeing Kim Taehyung, he believed he wasn’t even close to being ready…

-

Back to the kid, he was once again under his care,  in the hospital after about ten days, which wasn’t surprising in itself, he was expecting his visit to start the treatment and check his progress, the problem was: not only did they bring him way too early, but also, the nurses called it in as an emergency?!

It definitely was urgent! Seeing the symptoms, the bluish lips, the dilated pupils, the pale skin, the weak pulse, the low blood sugar, and hallucination, he was certain the boy was going into “shock”, he quickly gave him stabilizers and asked for imaging, usually he wouldn’t hesitate to give the intuitive diagnosis (in this case, shock due to blood loss), but this patient had too many injuries to restrict his condition to one probable complication only, he wanted to make sure.

He stayed put next to the visuals’ bed, eyes not leaving the machines drawing in numbers what was happening inside his body until proof of his surmise was between his hands. Once again, it went well…. Uhm, ok, nothing was well in this case… but.. you know… considering the circumstances… say… nothing unexpected!

-

(Time Skip)

He might have talked too soon! During both visits of Kim Taehyung, Dr Shin Yong-Won didn’t really go far from his comfort zone, nothing way too abrupt or absurd had happened.

However, having a fever for more than five hours after treating the internal bleeding in his head was driving the doctor insane! If anything, due to shock, his body should be unable to produce enough temperature to secure the good functioning of his organs, let alone an above 39° C fever!!

He had exactly zero ideas what was going on, the nurse (noticing the doctor’s turmoil from the way he was tearing off the few hairs he had), started giving suggestions: flu, exposure to some kind of bacteria, inhalation of a toxic gas…

None of the possibilities the nurse had offered could be the one, but thanks to her, a light bulb lit in the doctor’s mind: Drugs!

But, he was sure all he gave his patient were a very small dose of painkillers and some blood-pressure regulators, none of which could cause pyrexia…. Unless… Holy God!!! If someone injected him with something while in the hospital then it meant… whoever did those horrible things to the boy could get to him then and there, in his room!!!! The boy was in danger!

He hastily called the security then sprinted to room 421 ignoring the questions the boys in the private waiting room shot at him, he could see them in his periphery running behind him but he didn’t care and he almost broke the door when opening it…

Damn! Finding a dying boy and worrying about saving his life would definitely be better than this!!! WHERE THE HELL WAS KIM TAEHYUNG???!!!

Chapter Text

(01:10 am)

 

Taehyung could no longer tell whether it was day or night, whether he was awake or dreaming, alive or dead!

 

He knew he felt burning hot and freezing cold at the same time, his vision was blurry, he knew tears were obstructing his sight but his eyelids were way too heavy for a totally different reason, he felt pain spike in his left jaw, a hot liquid was slipping out of his nose leaving a metallic taste in his tongue, his thighs were hurting, his back felt like he had been stepped on by a giant truck, speaking seemed very hard, moving was impossible, breathing hurt…

 

He knew he should feel scared and worried or maybe relieved or sorry, he should feel something…, ANYthing, but a force was pulling his mind to a dark serene place, he slowly became numb, all voices started mingling together, he tried focusing to see where he was, there was a shadow that looked strangely like Jungkook looming over another shadow and beating the crap out of it, another tall shadow standing next to them, perhaps trying to stop them? He probably should know what it was about, should say or do something about it… but he was too tired…

 

He wanted to go to sleep, a firm hand was holding his own making him feel pleasingly safe, another warm palm was touching his face gently, a breath was ghosting over his cheek, a familiar voice was calling his name repeatedly,…

 

Then a light appeared, it was beautiful and alluring, it made him feel nostalgic , he could swear he smelt his grandmother’s scent, the way she always used to smell like after making him his favourite jelly: strawberries and honey with the faintest floral flavour, the light was so taunting if not for the (by now too tight) grip keeping him from reaching out…

 

Well, he was sleepy anyway, so might as well surrender to the sombre and let his eyes close, the last thing his mind registered is an echoing sound

 

 “TAEHYUNG!”

 

----

 

(9:00 am the day before)

 

The private waiting room they were in had a very… “strategic” location, they could see the doctor in his office from one side of the room, and the hallway leading to where Tae’s room was situated from the other side. So they’ve been more than aware of said doctor’s distress, the nurse’s confusion, the security call, ...

Until the last second, they still hoped it was about another patient because, please!! Tae had had enough and so had they, what could go more wrong than this horrific situation they were already in?

.

.

.

An empty room that’s what!

 

The bed was empty, the machines around it lifeless, cables snatched from their plugs, IV needle thrown hastily on the ground, small spots of blood smeared around it and sheets and covers crumpled forming a small tent at the foot of the bed… Their brain cells were going ballistic:

 

TAEHYUNG WAS TAKEN!!!!

 

Silence…

 

Calm…

 

There really was a silver lining to everything, because this time, two good things presented themselves:

 

One, their precedent knowledge of who did this: …. Yoonsok!

 

Two, the neatly folded black paper that was lying on the side table:

If you want to see Kim Taehyung again, you’d better not call the police. Go back to the dorms, switch off all the phones except one and wait for further instructions. Don’t try anything stupid BANGTAN Boys!” read Namjoon out loud

 

“Finally!” Hissed Yoongi eyes darkening

“Have you gone mad? Hyung!! He’s got Tae!” Jimin yelled, “What’s exciting about that?!”

“He’s not excited Hyung” said Jungkook putting his hands on the shorter dancer’s shoulders “I believe that’s called murderous intent, he probably meant: finally, I can see that ******* son of ****** and smash his face into the next life!” he smirked, mirroring Yoongi’s expression.

 

“Language! Maknae!” said Jin, surprisingly in a whisper-like voice “I don’t think he’s making mistakes now” he added

“Neither do I” Announced the leader calmly “He’s carrying out his plan, We need to be cautious!”

“We already knew that though” declared Hoseok in a confident tone smiling creepily

“Did we now?” inquired the eldest

“Some of us had nothing to do but study every possible move that psychopath could do Jinni-hyung” informed the lead dancer proudly

“…If V-hyung didn’t choose one of us to die in his place while being threatened by fake videos and survived the torture, he’ll step up the game somehow and make a deal that is more… realistic! The next instruction will most probably be us moving to where he is,…” elaborated the maknae

“You’re right, Jungkook-ah, this is sort of his Finale!” exclaimed Yoongi “We need to come up with a plan before that instruction comes. Let’s go to the dorms for now”,  everyone nodded

 

“But… is Tae gonna be alright?” asked Jimin with teary eyes

.

.

.

“I don’t know if it’s any help, but he had a fever, I doubt he’d be conscious… for now at least”

 

“………”

 

Suddenly, six sets of eyes were on the doctor who began regretting his decision to interfere, they patently forgot he was there with them

“What about his insomnia?” asked J-hope

“He lost a lot of blood, he has a dangerously high fever and lots of drugs his system is fighting off, I doubt insomnia can win against his body shutting off completely to try and persevere!”

“Does that mean he’s in a bad state?” asked Namjoon trying and failing to hide his fear

“Yes, he is!” Answered the doctor immediately “ He didn’t recover nearly enough from the initial injuries, then after bleeding internally, going into shock and having more drugs in his blood, his life is in real danger! Not to mention the high risk of infection” the middle-aged man was fretting, anxiety clear in his gaze by then.

 

Yoongi took an audible breath: “Hey, Seongsaeng-nim! I’m not blaming you but… you do realise you hold a part of the responsibility right?” asked the oldest rapper looking deceivingly innocent

“Of course, I’ll do everything in my power to…”

“Oh, no need to go far! Just lend us your phone and that digital watch linked to it”

“I beg your pardon?”

“I noticed your phone a while ago, you can use it even when you’re far from it thanks to that watch-like bracelet on your wrist correct?”

“Yeah…, right…”

“We need it, I promise to give it back once we get our Taehyung out of there” Yoongi promised (more like threatened plus a freaky smile), “for how far can it still get the signal?”

“Sure you can,…umm, up to 40 feet if I remember correctly, … but… wouldn’t it be better to call the police? I know he told you not to but… this is dangerous!”

 

Namjoon knew that Yoongi had a plan, he nodded when his hyung gave him the device and checked it over once the doctor unlocked it, then signalled to everyone to leave and bowed “We will call them, thank you for taking care of our friend Seongsaeng-nim! We will be sure to come back soon” he said before hurriedly joining his teammates.

 

---       

 

(11:15 am)

Sejin could literally feel the wrinkles forming on his face permanently when he looked for the fifth time around the dorms to find no one!

He received a text message from an unknown number telling him to call the police and that made him worried sick, so he went to check on the boys.

The first unpleasant news was that Taehyung was not in the hospital like he was supposed to be!

The second one was… neither were the rest of them!

And now he feels like sweeping the face of the earth to find them before the prophecy of -whatever was the sick feeling twisting in his guts- became real!

Suddenly, the stopwatch Jin uses in the kitchen filled the dorms with a quite annoying noise, Sejin was about to ignore it if not for the colourful note that was sticking on it and practically begging for the manager's attention.

Once he read it, his face darkened, a mix of dread and hope messing with his nerves.

Okay, now he was ageing AND losing his sanity too, Great!

Luckily, he still had enough composure to call the detectives, this time, they needed to put an end to all of this!

---

(1:25 pm)

The instructions had come, they needed to separate and walk each to a different store around the neighbourhood, a black van would be picking them up one by one, naturally, the phone must be left at the dorms.

They did as they were told, once all of them were in the van, the driver who turned out to be a private transporter -made to believe he was taking them to meet a “friend”- gave them a burner phone, the call they received was another order. They had to use ropes that were in a bag inside the van to tie each other’s hands.

The trip took nearly an hour and a half of sick anticipation and suffocating silence, then they found themselves walking to a cabin in the middle of a forest somewhere they couldn’t pinpoint!

The setting wasn’t exactly what they expected, the cabin was huge, luxurious even, they were welcomed into a large living room, a lit fireplace, a cosy sofa, few vintage wooden chairs, a colourful carpet and the soothing smell of herbal tea coming from the kitchen, the marble bar with fruit baskets on it was the only thing separating the two spaces.

The crumbled fluffy covers on the comfy-looking sofa indicated that someone was lying down there not too long ago.

Then a door at the left opened, and out came Yoonsok holding an unconscious Taehyung –draped (only) in the thin hospital robe- with one hand, and a knife dangerously close to the younger’s neck with the other hand.

The click of Jungkook’s teeth was audible, the twitch in Yoongi’s eyes was visible, the darkness in Jimin’s gaze was evident, and so was Hoseok’s restlessness, Namjoon’s caution and Jin’s worry…

And it all seemed to make Yoonsok ecstatic for some sick reason!

He plastered a disgusting smile on his face and without a word gestured to the boys to enter another room.

It wasn’t as pleasant to see as the first one, it was almost empty, probably used to be some kind of storage space, what made chills run through the boys though, were the… equipment on the walls and the ceiling!

Now then, welcome to my humble place, BTS!” said the ex-manager in a low grave voice before instructing:

You see those screw eyes in the wall Namjoon-ah?, why don’t you tie your friends’ hands in there for me, or should I say for Taehyung?”

Namjoon moved slowly, hands in the air in a way that shows he will comply, his jaw tightly shut, it ached just seeing the muscle outline on his cheek throbbing and he did what was asked of him. It was taking everything in him to control his body.

Yoonsok threw Taehyung on the floor, a loud thud echoing around them, he then made the leader join his members on the wall, hands crossed above their heads, ropes tight around their wrists.

This is Taehyung-ah’s least favourite position, he fretted too much, he ended up with scars on his wrists! The fans are so going to make stories out of it… so, how should this one go? {The second maknae killing himself after being abused by team members}? … or … {BTS’s V dead to spare the other members’ lives}?”

The members growled in unison.

“You won’t get away with this, hyung!” Threatened Namjoon shewing the hyung part like it’s the name of the devil himself

Oh you scare me so much with that leader-voice of yours RM-ssi!” slurred Yoonsok, a hint of amusement colouring his words.

He was interrupted by a low groan, all eyes were on the boy curled on the floor, he stirred a bit before jumping up suddenly and then vomiting all over himself and the floor.

Taehyung was still dry-heaving, teary eyes looking glazed over, he didn’t seem to recognize anything or anyone around him.

Without any warning Yoonsok just went over to him and started kicking him, not caring where his feet landed. He held the younger by his hair angling his head towards him “You disgusting brat!! Finally with us?” He growled, ignoring the yelling boys behind him, he manhandled Taehyung into a semi-sitting position tying his hands behind his back and forcing him to face his members.

Tae looked so out of it, his skin pale but a visible flush on his cheeks and his head lolled back, if they didn’t know better, it would’ve looked as if he was resting on his manager’s chest while the other was comforting him……………. IF they didn’t know better!!!

The manager poured water all over the younger’s face then shook him:

Open your eyes Taehyung-ah, Who do you see?

Taehyung whined, more tears escaping his eyes. Yoonsok tugged his hair harshly

Answer me, Taehyung-ah!!

The boy squinted his eyes trying his best to see past the fever-induced haze “N-Namjooni_h-hyun..?!” he half asked after meeting the leader’s eyes (He was just in front of him, it was only natural he’d see him first) his voice was scratchy from disuse

Ooh! Good Choice!

No one knew what the lighter-shaped object was until Yoonsok used it on Taehyung, making him let out a heart-breaking cry and thrashing in a futile attempt to run away from the electricity it created.

Unlike the videos, multiple cries overlayed Taehyung’s pained ones

“LET HIM GO YOU FREAK!!!”

“NO!! LEAVE TAE ALONE!!”

“I SWEAR TO GOD I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!!”

Jungkook was growling to himself “come on, come on, come on,…” while one thought was nagging Yoongi’s mind “Please hurry! PLEASE!!”

----

(05:00 pm)

Detective Lee Eun-hee wasn’t a superstitious person but he kind of believed that the Bangtan boys could have been cursed somehow, what else could explain this situation otherwise!

Han Ji-mun literally broke the case a few hours back, with the help of the therapist who kindly offered her services, they were finally able to draw a complete proper profile

“You won’t believe it, Eun-hee-ah!” Ji-mun had exclaimed

“The boys who bullied Yoonsok’s son, his name is Hyungwon by the way, they were six, five older than the kid and one younger! Just like BTS!! According to the boys’ families, they were all interested in the art industry, their dream was to open their own showroom, they all talked about a very talented new addition to the group, which I’m assuming is Yoonsok’s son, apparently, he was a Jack-of-all-trades giving a huge plus to the group.

A couple of teenagers who claimed to know them at the time said that thanks to Hyungwon, the group struck a great deal with a known artist who promised to sponsor their project.

A few months later the kid hanged himself in his own bedroom, and just two weeks before the boys’ opening show, they were all reported missing. The police closed the case as a group run-away seeing the timing and the lack of substantial info about the circumstances of their disappearance.”

“So, what do you think the relationship is between Yoonsok’s son tragedy and Kim Taehyung’s abduction?”

“Here’s my… our theory! Those boys used Hyungwon to create the art pieces they wanted to debut with, then when he became dispensable, they started bullying him and expelled him from the group he thought he was part of. He couldn’t deal with the feelings of being betrayed, rejected and marginalized, so he ended his own life.

Yoonsok knew the truth, and after his wife’s death which revealed that he was blamed for what happened to his son, he started seeing Kim Taehyung AS Hyungwon, he needed to, I quote, act before the Bangtan boys exploit THEIR second maknae and lead him to the same fate as Hyungwon’s”

“Yes,… that makes sense, but wouldn’t he like … kill them or something? Why hurt the person he’s supposed to protect?”

“That’s the part Dr Choi Min-Seo helped me figure out. Kim Taehyung loved his group members, right? We believe that he wanted to somehow prove to him that they deserve to die, that the bond they have is breakable, … my guess is, he wasn’t planning on killing the kid or hurt him that much even, the change of plan most probably happened when Taehyung didn’t give up on his belief”

“So he kills him?!!”

“Well, taking into account his state of mind and psychopathic tendencies, yeah! I bet he made it logical,… like he’ll make him betray them first and/or kill him since he’d die anyway … or something like that”

“… Poor kid… No no!!! Poor him!! when I finally get him, I’ll make sure his ass is rotting in jail for eternity!”

“Someone’s making it personal” singsonged Ji-Mun waggling his eyebrows

Eun-Hee was about to retort when a call from manager Sejin prevented him.

The call was what led them to the current situation, four service cars, two SWAT vans and an ambulance not too far behind, breaking every road code while rocket-speeding on the highway to get to a cabin two hours away from the base in the middle of the city, and surprise! It was registered to none other than Oh Yoonsok himself, and they knew that seven people were held hostages by the crazy man there!

“It’s his end-game!” Ji-Mun said, “If we don’t get there in time, someone IS going to die!!!”

“The storm couldn’t choose a better time! Step on it officer!!” the detective urged

Be safe until we get to you BTS! 

---

(10:15 pm)

Taehyung had trouble keeping his head up at that point, the room was spinning, he was in a lot of pain and he wanted nothing but to black out for an eternity!

For every one of his brothers he managed to make eye-contact with, he had to suffer their … “introduction” as Yoonsok called it and screams, cries and shouts played a horrifying orchestra every time.

Despite the extreme dizziness he was feeling he could process one information: His brothers were right there with him AND … so was Yoonsok!

He didn’t really understand how it all led to that set of events but he literally couldn’t care less, the simple idea of thinking was beyond painful and too much of a burden.

A rough hand yanking his head got him out of his temporary trance and the too-familiar low-pitched voice cut through his ear-drums:

I’ll give you a one time offer Taehyung-ah! One last chance: You choose only one of the people you Looove to sacrifice himself and all the rest can be spared, fake cry a bit, make an emotional song then move on with their lives…or” Yoonsok grabbed Tae’s face violently to make his point clear “I’ll make them watch while you suffer slowly until your only wish would be to die! Can you take it Taehyung-ah? Can you go through all of it all over again?”

Taehyung could hear his friends asking him to choose one of them, telling him it was okay, that they were going to be alright, which was probably what made even more tears run down his cheeks

“I-I… w-will … p-pick…” he said defeatedly

See Taehyung-ah! I told you … there’s nothing called brotherhood! Not by blood! Not by love! In this monstrous world, it’s every man for himself! So who is it? Tell me, who’s the one you love yet you’re ready to give up on?” Screamed Yoonsok laughing hysterically

“I-it’s y-you Y-Yoons-sok hyung-n-n-nim…” whispered Tae

The room drowned in silence

Seconds…

Minutes…

Hours…

Whichever it was, no one knew, no one tried to keep track because something halted all their expectations, all their thoughts, all their emotions…

Wait! What? What did just happen? What did they just hear?

Somehow the sudden stop made the traffic in their brains very slow!

AAAAAAARRGHH!!!

Yoonsok’s scream brought everyone back to reality, except Taehyung.

He felt the axes change, the floor was coming up to him and he suddenly could only see feet, then he felt heat rise up to his left jaw, and belatedly recognized the collision of a fist with his face, he was bleeding. He tried to get up but hands turned him on his back where his tied-up arms seemed to dig a hole in his spine and a hefty weight sat on him.

What did you **** say? Are you making fun of me? You know better than try fooling around with me BRAT!! To begin with, I am not someone you love!!!”

“ … Y-you’re my m-manager… m-my h-hyung-nim, you h-helped me a-and t-t-took care of m-me (sniff), you w-were there f-for me, rep-p-laced my f-father when I n-needed h-his presence b-by m-my s-s-side (hiccup), I d-do l-love y-you h-hyung-nim!”

Yoonsok’s mouth dropped open, his eyes staring at the boy under him, his lips started drawing the word “father” silently, then he shook his head vigorously

Oh Y-yeah??! Then why are you choosing me? Taehyung-ah!

“B-b-ecause y-you’re h-hurting (hiccup) I d-don’t want to ch-ch-choose b-but you’re… (exhale)… like a c-crow…”

huh?! A what?”

“C-crow!! H-hyung-nim is l-like one, y-you’re l-lonely a-and h-hurting s-s-so (sniff) you t-try stealing p-p-eople’s precious shiny th-th-ings to f-feel b-better, but y-y-ou won’t h-hyung! (hiccup) n-not unless y-you m-m-meet those y-y-you m-m-miss s-so much… that’s w-w-hy I ( inhale) I p-pick y-you, maybe then you can s-see them a-again…”

The clock seemed to fast forward then, all the events started pursuing each other:

Yoonsok grabbing Taehyung hugging the life out of him while crying and calling him “Hyungwon-ah”,

Jungkook screaming a “FINALLY” like a war-cry, removing the ropes from his wrists and rushing to cut the others free,

Yoongi jumping at their manager pushing him away from Tae and helping the latter lay down talking to him gently,

Hoseok tuned out the moment his hands were free, right then he could only see Tae, think of Tae, touch Tae, pray for Tae…

.

.

.

“POLICE! PUT YOUR HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM! NOW!! ALL OF YOU!!!”

----

(11:30 pm)

Sejin begged to go with the detectives, he couldn’t just stay still and do nothing!! Not when the kids trusted him to save them! Not when they were in danger! Not again!

The post-it Jin left was clear, he needed to make a call to the anonymous number he received the first message from, he had to make no noise and follow the signal that phone provided, it would lead the police to where Yoonsok was taking them.

Of course, because life wouldn’t have it if Sejin’s cholesterol levels didn’t reach the rooftop, a storm had to strike and delay them, then as if it wasn’t enough, the signal had to get disturbed by said storm after the first couple of hours, thank the heavens, the detectives needed just the last trace to figure out the boys could only be in Yoonsok’s lone property in that part of the country AKA middle of nowhere!

Was he scared? Heck yes!! He was shaking like a leaf, barely controlling himself not to have a panic attack on the road, the officers’ crazy driving wasn’t helping his guts any, and the thought of finding his boys hurt helped even less!

The closer they got the more sounds he could hear on the phone, it was barely audible, with lots of white noise but he managed to decipher a few words “come on”, “hurry please”, “leave”, “alone”, it made dread creep up under his skin but it was also what made the detectives even more focused and the driving got tenfolds crazier.

When they finally got there they heard loud screaming, the SWAT team busted the door open and they filed through the cabin one by one, they followed the voices to the second room and broke in pointing their guns towards everyone and screaming.

Sejin peeked in, unlike in his nightmares, Yoonsok was not holding a gun to anyone’s face, and no! none of the members was stabbed or shot, actually … Yoonsok was the one on the ground, bloodied and no longer conscious, the police had a hard time removing the two-thirds of the maknae line off of him!

Taehyung was in bad shape, so he couldn’t think of anything but getting all of them out of that place, one glance behind told him that roles were probably reversed, the boys were tied up and one of them was clever (or stupid! In any case he was glad) and sneaked a razor blade with him, the room smelt of blood and vomit, faintly of something burnt too…

“He’s not breathing! W-w-w-what should I do?? He’s not breathing!!”

Chapter Text

The moment that razor blade cut through the ropes, the world turned into a bicolour one for Jungkook: red and black, maybe even before that actually,… but the colour-blindness was momentarily disrupted because hearing Tae’s voice has the effect of bringing rainbows to the maknae’s mind, even when said voice’s owner looked like death! …So he’d start counting from the instant he became free…

Namjoon’s voice on the other hand…, (even though loved in every other situation) was not welcome, it told him he had to –at least- free his friends’ hands before letting go of the leash that had been locking up his rage for weeks, so he obliged with great reluctance and unpreceded urgency.

With the last pair of hands released from their restrictions, Jungkook lost his common sense, he didn’t care how Yoonsok ended up on the floor away from Taehyung and he definitely did not hate it, it gave him the opportunity to do what he had been fantasizing about since …all of THIS begun, and he just started hitting the older man, left and right, with no control over how much force he used, no afterthought of any consequences what so ever!

He could see that the man’s face was looking more like a smashed blueberry pie, he could feel his knuckles dislocate while colliding them with meat and bones, skin broke and it probably would hurt a lot later on …. But he didn’t care!!

None of them did apparently, because soon after the maknae’s adrenaline rush receded a bit, each one of his brothers (minus J-Hope) had a go at the manager, even Yoongi and Seokjin momentarily left Tae’s side to inflict some pain on the already unconscious man, because Taehyung fell limp in their hands and he looked just … so SO fragile! So vulnerable! So broken!

And they just couldn’t forgive Yoonsok, they couldn’t simply sit and watch, they couldn’t NOT feel helpless, frustrated,…

ENRAGED!!!

None of them could even take into consideration Taehyung’s possible reaction.

If he actually was aware of what was going on, … they knew the kid would not be happy,  especially since he already said he (so stupidly if you ask Jungkook) loved the manager, an implication of Tae’s forgiveness if they know their brother well enough… which they do!

Still! They could not,… they did not care!

-

As for Yoongi, he gave the manager exactly two blows to the face… that’s it, JUST two!

But he’d be lying if he says it didn’t feel great enough!

He took all the bottled up extreme emotions he had and compressed them in his fists, then he swung his hands right between the older’s eyes, he’d admit… the second one was for pleasure, call him evil, call him sick, whatever! It felt nice to give the guy some of his own medicine! He’d, later on, say “Take it as one blow for each personality I have! (to Yoonsok: note the sarcasm!)

And he would happily do it again … and again… and again…But he knew his friends were doing an excellent job already.

Besides, he did enough cool stuff for the day: that phone he took from the doctor? he managed to put it right in front of the cabin’s door without alerting Yoonsok, the gadget on his wrist was still working, the call of manager Sejin still active which meant Police were on their way, he could retreat and concentrate on Taehyung for the time being.

-

Hoseok was pretty sure blood is still something he fears, but seeing Yoonsok’s own, gashing from the open wounds they put on him didn’t scare him. In fact, it made him feel good somehow, less angry, less frustrated, less on edge, it felt like blowing off steam watching his bandmates hitting that guy senseless!

He had enough though,… as much as he wanted to join in and make their ex-manager suffer just like their Tae did, he couldn’t leave the boy in question!

Tae was unmoving, temperature way too high, breath way too short, pulse way too weak,… the lead dancer tried his best to get him to stay awake, but to no avail.

Yoongi joined them quickly holding their dongsaeng’s hand, Seokjin too seemed satiated after few kicks and started caressing Tae’s face gently, pity flashing in his eyes when his fingers touched the newly acquired purpling bruise on his cheek.

Namjoon took a bit longer to follow suit, he needed to do more damage to the man who hurt his family, then he needed a little bit more time to calm down and trust himself around his brothers, he was clumsy enough without the extra emotion.

At that point, it was useless to persuade Jimin and Jungkook to let go of Yoonsok, all the hyungs made a mental note: make sure never to get on those two’s wrong side!

The way their cute Chim was screaming and punching the manager was… traumatizing to say the least!

Their maknae though, … not a muscle pig for nothing! Heck! Even the boy’s anger was Golden!

-

Hoseok was going into a trance, as if the world was limited to a narrow intense beam of light directed only on him and Taehyung who’s lying on his lap, every time one of the others joined them, the spotlight got wider and wider to include them in,… it’s cool! They’re family…

Until the police came crashing in and the shadows that were blocking the outside world from entering his mind faded: Not cool! Scary! Stressful!

He focused on breathing, not moving at all, waiting for the commotion to end: Plausible deniability! Acting as though he didn’t feel the strong hands dragging them out of that godforsaken place, nor did he see the detectives detaching Jungkook and Jimin from the bloodied mess that was their ex-manager, nor did he hear the anxious voices asking them questions… Tae! Only Tae!

He was really looking at him, focusing on him, absorbing every detail, his light weight on his lap, his long unmoving limbs, the broken cast tucked under his good leg, the rope marks painfully visible on his wrists, his fine fingers weakly clenched around the material of his sweater, his wet face, his sharp jawline, his lips, his nose, his flushed cheeks, his big eyes, his long eyelashes, his sweaty forehead, his ash-grey bangs then back to his lips again, blueish, cut, with dried blood on the side, parted, small huffs of air…

Wait…

Wait! Something is not right!

Air! Hoseok was feeling it warm against his fingers seconds ago but… 

OH! GOD!!!

“He’s not breathing! W-w-w-what should I do?? HE’S NOT BREATHING!!”

Everyone’s attention was drawn to the lead dancer, not completely processing his words, manager Sejin was the first to react running to the boys’ side

“Put him down Hoseok-ah! Tilt his head back, I’ll do CPR”

“The ambulance is three minutes out!” informed one of the officers

“Stay with me Tae! Come on!”

It was eerily quiet, the boys watching with teary eyes their manager putting pressure on the second maknae’s chest, then kneeling over trying to get some air into his lungs.

Nobody uttered a word, Namjoon was clutching his head almost making himself bold, the possible outcomes he could calculate in his mind made him loathe his superior brain.

Seokjin was biting his lips and rubbing his fingers out of worry, he wasn’t even capable of standing let alone support the others!

Yoongi was crying, feeling a kind of anxiety he never felt before.

Hoseok was ready to face all the things he’d ever been scared of all at once rather than feeling the fear of losing his dongsaeng.

Jimin was praying frustratedly on his knees, bloodied hands clenched together tight enough to cut his blood flow.

And Jungkook! He just stood there, expression totally blank, lips sealed shut, eyes seemingly looking at the scene as if his soul was no longer in his body.

The ambulance came, the medics hurriedly took Tae away from them… “He flat-lined! Prepare the defibrillator!!” they heard one of them say…

 

Even after the ambulance took off and they were all guided to their ride back to the city, no one uttered a word!

********************************************************************

(Time skip)

“Hello Taehyungie,… I-I miss you so much! It’s no fun without you Tae, without my soulmate! The dorms don’t feel like home anymore! I need you! I can’t play pranks on the hyungs without my partner in crime, I can’t pick good clothes without you telling me your thoughts about them, I can’t feel good, normal, happy without you!! I miss you…”

“Hi hyung! ... How are you?... that’s … a stupid question, don’t mind me… I… I needed to tell you something… I can’t play overwatch anymore hyung, it’s so boring when you’re not playing it with me, I’m sorry I never told you how much I appreciated the times we spent together, how much I loved hanging out with you, how much I love you… I … I miss you, hyung!”

“TaeTae! Your Hobi-hyung is lonely! I need cuddles and boxy smiles to feel better, I miss you, I miss your big doe eyes watching me when I’m dancing a new choreo, following my every move with a shiny huge smile like I hold the universe, like I own the world! I miss your excited shouts telling me how great it was, your fist-bump relieving me from all the exhaustion, I miss watching cheesy dramas with you snuggling on the couch and ignoring Jinni-hyung’s nagging about the mess, I am so lonely without you TaeTae! I miss you so much!”

“Uhm… I don’t know if you can hear me Tae but it never hurts to try right? It’s Namjoon-hyung, so … I… ahhh! I have no idea what I came here to say, seriously! It’s always the case with you though, no matter how much I prepare, when it comes down to it, I can’t say what I meant to…, nothing goes as planned! You’re distracting I guess… in a good way! Unpredictable! Unique! Sorry … I’m blabbering… I just … I never knew how attached we’ve become to each other along the way, even things that I used to see as unimportant and never gave it a thought became so dear to me, I miss the things I thought I’d be better off without, I miss the little trivial moments, I miss the sleepy -g’morning hyung-s, the fluffy back-hugs, the without-a-reason soft smiles, I missed being mesmerized for a couple of minutes in front of your room watching you picking clothes amidst a messy mountain while humming and smiling and making faces, I missed your crazy out-of-nowhere questions that make Jimin choke when we’re on the dinner table, your endless bickering that makesYoongi-hyung fake anger and turns him into a hilarious person… I miss you Tae!”

“Hey! Taehyungi! Today I have bad news! They’re telling me we need to start thinking about going back to work… I haven’t told the others yet! It will upset them for sure, that’s how I feel too so,… can’t say I blame them! BTS is not complete without you, I feel like … think about it like this: I’m only a visual when you are too, you know? Like world-wide-handsome Jin can’t make good pictures without the number one most handsome man in the world V! I also can’t sing those high notes if you don’t sing the low ones! True art we are, when we harmonize! Heck, I can’t even make dad-jokes if you’re not there to laugh at them! Or ignore them! Ah! I’m getting old and nagging now, I just wanted to tell you that I miss you my cute dongsaeng, very, very, VERY much!”

“…, I’m sorry I didn’t come often Taehyung, I kind of … hate it here! … listen I… I screwed up! I… made a big fuss and threatened to quit the group if they don’t shut up about us going back without you! It’s impossible Tae! I can’t write lyrics knowing you won’t have a part! I can’t dance knowing you’re not in the formation with us! I can’t see our fans knowing you’re not there smiling at them and coming up with some new crazy stuff about colours and animals and art! So come on brat! You’ve been gone long enough! It’s been hell for all of us! So come back! Please, For us! for me your Suga-hyung!… wake up!”

********************************************************************

“He’s stable” the only information the doctor has been telling them for two weeks! Sejin was feeling sorry for the boys, they were no longer themselves, they were no longer there, they were no longer happy!

Taehyung was in a coma, after all, that’s not something the young brothers could handle!

They were on top of their game just a few weeks back, the happiest, the most hopeful! Then this shit happened!

The six boys camped in Tae’s hospital room for days refusing to leave his side, stayed even after his own parents left and gave everyone a hard time when people who thought rationally coerced them into going back to the dorms and taking care of themselves, “Act like humans!” he remembered manager Hobeom say.

Ten days later and it still looked like they lived in the hospital from the number of hours they spend there, eventually, the doctor restricted the visits to one person a day for a couple of limited hours, a decision that even Sejin himself hated in the boys’ place!

-

As he expected, or more like feared, the news leaked out, consequently, the fans heard and theories were all over the place … AGAIN!

No one knew the real story though, because once Yoonsok was awake after the near-death experience he had, he promised them that he didn’t spread any videos or photos and (surprisingly enough,) that he wouldn’t press charges against the members for assaulting him. On top of that, he was ready to have a non-public trial for what he did to Taehyung!

It meant he wasn’t the “leak”. The police too guaranteed secrecy since this whole mess began.

Which left only one possibility: some of the medical staff recognized the Bangtan Boys and that’s how the gossips spread.

The most common theory was a car crash, Bang Sihyuk told him he’s considering it as a cover-up story “better for everyone’s sake” as he said.

Sejin was preparing an official statement, lying about the whole deal was usually not something he’d sign up for, but he understood the consequences of telling the truth far too well to disagree.

Recounting the whole story meant posing a possible obstacle to Taehyung’s recovery psychology-wise,

It also meant igniting a media uproar that would drown the hyung-line in responsibilities and restrain the maknae-line from any kind of social activities,

In addition, unfortunately, it would create a weakness that would follow the boys forever: they’ll be known more for the incident than for their achievements… bottom line is, he had to do what he was asked to.

Then came the head-board meeting, Sejin knew something was fishy when the coordinator spent fifteen minutes talking about how sorry they are for what happened to Taehyung and how grateful they felt for the managers who showed professionalism and discretion and helped avert a public bedlam.

And there it was!!

They decided to bring BTS back to business without Taehyung… or at least, get them to work on the next comeback until they “sort things out”, yet another decision he did not like!

He didn’t interfere though, not because he couldn’t, but because he knew the  “businessmen”s word weight exactly nothing compared to BTS’s.

There was a perk to being the most famous band in the world after all: A lion’s part in all the negotiations!

Three days later, he was sipping his coffee, legs crossed, watching as Suga gave the higher-ups a taste of hell, threatening to send all their projects down the sewers without an ounce of hesitation.

He’s got to say: He was amused!

Now, don’t get him wrong, he is BTS’s manager, he did know what was good for them and he did also know what was good for business, but he had something the others didn’t: Faith!

He believed it was too soon to lose hope!

He spent hours deciphering the report the doctor gave him: Physically, Taehyung was far from okay, but also nowhere near critical.

What he came to understand, was that the coma was all… Tae shutting off!, blocking the pain and the fear and the deals and the threats. Totally understandable!

Actually, if he’s being honest, he’d say it surprised him this hadn’t happened sooner!

The important part though, the one he made sure both the members and Tae’s parents understood, was that Tae can wake up if he wants to,… when he wants to, they just needed to reach out for him and have faith…

****************************************

(BTS’s POV)

The least anyone could say about the atmosphere in the dorms was: DEPRESSING!

If not dark, haunted, terrifying … An absolute total mess!!

Jin became like a grieving Uomma, his cooking was tasteless… if he cooked, he stopped nagging the younger ones about cleaning and he stopped having his beauty nap and using all those products that keep [his] beautiful young skin pure!

Yoongi, the wanna-be-rock-in-an-other-life, could no longer sleep! Even when too tired and absolutely drained, he couldn’t get a shut-eye!

Namjoon was holed up in his studio almost twenty-four/seven, the others only ever saw him if he needed the toilet or when they forced him to eat.

Hoseok would be either dancing his feet off or sprawled on the couch daydreaming for hours.

Jimin… was a lost cause! He’d stay in Taehyung’s room the whole day bowling his eyes out and he stopped eating since long.

Then there was Jungkook, down in the basement all the time, earphones glued to his head non-stop and not a single word left his mouth for ages!

Letting out all the anger was one thing…

Getting over the guilt, the fear, the sadness…?

A totally different thing!

Chapter Text

Black

 

Blank

 

Calm

 

Quiet

 

Peaceful

 

Painless

 

He liked it!

 

Was that how death felt like?

He expected …

More?

Like … well… some events maybe? Reunions? A change because it IS a changing point right? He was no longer alive, no longer with his brothers, …

Ah! His brothers, could it be that he became a roaming soul now, between life and death?

Because he heard before that it happened to people with regrets and… he had regrets: not spending more time with his hyungs, not owning a skyscraper with Jimin, not buying an apartment for Jungkook, not travelling again with all of them without cameras, just them! Somewhere cool and fun where they can enjoy each other’s company.

Another regret was not saying goodbye to his family, not writing a song for his siblings, not thanking his father for giving him his smile that the fans liked, not telling them all that he loved them.

Also, he didn’t really prepare to leave, had he known, he would’ve left a will, to apologize to his dear ones and ask them to take care of his puppy, ask them to send his love and gratitude to ARMYs and beg them to bury him next to his grandmother, he wasn’t there before so he wanted to keep her company after dying.

Something else made him doubt that maybe he wasn’t dead: He believed he should’ve become a butterfly! Everyone knew you could convince Taehyung of anything in any given subject except this one! When dead, he’d become a butterfly PERIOD!

So he assumed he was now a roaming spirit, a less scary name for “ghost”, but shouldn’t he like… see and hear things? Move?

He had heard his members, it wasn’t very clear, it felt like hearing them from underwater, but they were there, if ghosts could cry, he’d probably be wailing by now! They said they miss him, they said he mattered, they said they needed him!

Could someone remind him why he wasn’t with them again?

Oh! OH!

He did remember… was staying there better after all?

.

.

.

Black

 

Cold

 

Dark

 

Lonely

 

Empty

 

Scary

 

He hated it!

 

He was hearing their voices again, he wanted to reach out for them, but every time he tried, a huge weight seemed to settle over his whole body, it was painful and terrifying, and other sounds would be heard from outside of the black groundless world he was floating in and it made him even more scared.

“It’s okay, Tae!! We’re here! Open your eyes, it’s okay”

“You can do it Taehyungi! Come on! There’s nothing to be scared of any more”

“It’s going to be all fine TaeTae, you’ll be fine! so come back to us!”

“Wake up kid! We’re all here for you! We’re all waiting for you”

“Yes hyung! Please! We miss you”

“Come on Tae, let us show you! How much we’ve missed you, how much we love you, how much it feels like home when we’re all together! Wake up my brave dongsaeng!”

 

LIGHT!

*****************************************************

It seemed like they stopped feeling all together!

After the announcement the company made, they reacted. Not all in the same way naturally, but they agreed without even talking about it, which somehow made them feel close again, made them realise that… although they weren’t complete without Taehyung, they weren’t complete without each other too!

They sat and talked after three weeks of barely seeing each other in the corridors of the gloomy dorms, they opened up, let out their hidden emotions, related to each other and even sought the help of Choi Min-Seo together.

They literally sent the doctor’s rules flying by visiting the hospital daily, all together! The fans already knew anyway! They’ll be careful, but they won’t care if they follow them there too.

It was also to make a point! They decide! When to go, where to go and what to do! Because there was another thing they talked and agreed about: If they force them to work without Tae, Yoongi would quit, If Yoongi quits, So would the others. Simple equation! Let them do the math!

Overall, things were calm, annoyingly so! Namjoon couldn’t prove it scientifically yet, but he was convinced that kids’ bickering noises are addictive, yes! by “kids”, he’s referring to his dongsaengs!

They all acted as though they didn’t know… the fact that Jimin and Jungkook had a loooooong “discussion” with the detectives about the consequences of their actions, the limits of the law’s protection, the not-so-loved-part of the justice system. That was the reason for their prolonged, exaggerated silence.

Of course, they were ALL lectured, but the maknaes did take it a bit too far.

They could’ve been in a much worse situation had Yoonsok pressed charges against them, or worse! If he died!

Luckily that was all hypothetically, an avoided crisis. But it led to the two youngest feeling more guilt.

Not that they would have had fun if they’d skipped that lesson anyway!

Which brings back Taehyung’s subject, at first, they were extremely hopeful!

While in the coma, Tae cried once, tightened his hand around Hoseok’s few days later and smiled once one week in… they were signs for them, each time they’d surround him and wait to see his eyes or hear his voice…

But then … Nothing!

Tae was just laying there and they were just coming and going, sitting around in the cold small room and watching.

It had been three whole weeks!

“HYUNG HE’S MOVING!!”

Jungkook did not specify any hyung but they didn’t ask, they all sprung to their feet, surrounding the bed too large for their brother’s thin form and started talking loudly.

They felt …. Resurrected! They had hope again, and Tae was squinting his eyes, grimacing, moving, he was trying to wake up, it was clear as the sun, they just needed to help him, they didn’t know what was so difficult about waking up, they couldn’t tell what Tae needed or felt or thought, they just did the first thing that came to their minds, to their hearts: Support, encouragement, prayer, faith……. Love!

And they were met with the watery so missed big eyes, the shining gaze they all recognized as relief, and that smile, that beautiful warm smile that never failed to make them coo.

-

When Sejin came to check on Taehyung in the evening, he was glad he had silent footsteps, he would hate to break such an emotional group hug!

Chapter Text

He was confused…

He had lost all notion of time, his understanding of his surroundings was very minimal, his recollection of previous events very hazy.

Let’s see…

Faces, familiar, crying but happy, his hyungs and maknae, Beautiful! Safe! Good!

Hello hyungs! Hello Kooki!

Hugs, kisses, comfort,… Yes definitely good!

Room, white, a bit cold, smells like a pharmacy, noisy: a hospital! Not a big fan of it but as long as he recognized it, there was no problem…

Time: day, sun, aside from knowing it was an evening, he had no idea what day it was…

How long have I been here, hyungs? What time is it?

Memories: Let’s think…

He was in a room made of wood, a fireplace, a fluffy cover that reminded him of his dog Yeontan, a cold pad on his forehead, tea, … someone was helping him drink it, they were wiping off the sweat from his face and neck, and combing their fingers in his hair gently… then blackness… “Sleep, Hyungwon-ah! It will all be over soon!” … then his friends were there… then pain,… then… then …he chose… chose… someone… for something…then sudden warmth,… no warmth… hands… his grandmother… “Come on Taehyung! Stay with me boy, Come on!”…

Argh! He couldn’t remember well, his head hurt!

Guys? What happened?

“What’s wrong Tae? Does it hurt anywhere? Do you need anything?”

Just a little, Jinni-hyung … I need to remember … what happened?

“It’s okay Taehyungi, just tell us!”

But I am telling you, Jimini… What’s going on? This is scaring me… Am I not really awake? Is this all a dream?

“Calm down Taehyung! There’s nothing to be scared of, okay? Can you talk to me?”

I AM talk… talking? Am I not? Is that why you’re not answering?

Okay, It’s fine, I’m fine… Just… how do we talk again? Sound, air, throat, tongue and lips… technically… okay, let me try again…

Hyung?

Kooki?

“Is it that you can’t talk Tae?”

So it did not work… Yes, Yoongi-hyung… I can’t… but how to tell you this?... Maybe this'll work?

“Oh! You can’t…  Don’t worry hyung! It’s probably because you didn’t use your voice for too long… Uhmm, well, … I will tell you a few things in case you’re confused: You’re in the hospital, and  you’ve been in a coma for three weeks…”

“JUNGKOOK!!”

“What? He couldn’t have known that, could he?”

“Yes, but that’s no way of saying it Pabo!!!”

Wow, three weeks!! I wonder what happened during all this time?…

“As I was saying, hyung, you were asleep, meanwhile fans found out about the circumstances of our suspicious Hiatus, the company said there was an accident so everyone is assuming it’s a car crash… which is what we’re going to stick to obviously…”

Umm… okay?! I guess?!

“By the way Taehyungi…”

Yes Hobi-hyung?

“You’re the definition of a social butterfly! I had the biggest number of calls my phone has ever seen!! Actors, models, agents, managers, CEOs, dancers, other idols, even restaurants’ staff,  you name it!! All calling to ask about you, some of them checking on you even before the news got out!”

“Yeah right?!! Me too Tae Tae, they’re all like [Hello, Jimin-ssi? I’m a friend of Taehyung…]. They have CIA-level investigation skills I’m telling you!! They got ALL our numbers”

“They’re all annoying!”

.

.

.

Ah!  Typical Yoongi-hyung…

“Typical Yoongi-hyung!”

“Yah! You were saying the same when the calls wouldn’t stop, you brats! And Tae! I can tell you were thinking the exact same thing! Don’t give me that look… aish these kids are gonna be the end of me!!”

…It might have not felt as long as three weeks to me, but I missed you anyway hyung!

“D-don’t give me THAT look either… I-I don’t deserve it…”

Smack!

“What rock-heart Yoongi meant to say Tae Tae, is that Gukk here forgot to mention a very important detail: We ALL missed you so so soooo much! Our dear lovely Taehyungi! Now come here, this handsome hyung needs a big hug and then he’ll make you all your favourite meals!”

**********************************************************

(Time skip)

Namjoon blamed his optimism a lot for his current state, how could he assume that everything was magically alright, was beyond his understanding! Yes, optimism was definitely to blame!

To be honest, those three weeks were the worst nightmare he’s ever had… no! scratch that! Those two months were! From the moment he got close to their basement’s door where Tae was held captive until the present day.

But watching Tae just laying there for weeks was the most sickening! He lost count of the number of times he sat in the room talking out loud without receiving any answers, …

The number of times he walked in on Jungkook sharing his earphones with his unmoving hyung and asking whether or not he liked whatever was being played in them,…

The number of times he saw Jimin playing with Tae’s hair and complaining about the length of his bangs and the black roots taking over the ash-grey dye…

He didn’t want to remember all those times Jin brought the meals he made only for his sleeping dongsaeng, carefully preserved in his favourite utensils,  then going back home with them still untouched, yet without fail, Jin would still bring meals the next time and the time after it…

He’d never forget the look J-Hope reserved exclusively for Taehyung, the smile no camera has ever caught, his gentle humming, the way he –so endearingly- would touch the younger’s hair and face, so out of character yet so true to it, so Hoseok-like!

And Yoongi! How he spent hours building walls around himself just to let them all break down the instant he sees the second maknae, throwing all the swag he usually is so proud of and whispering so gently as if the space around them was made of thin glass, sweet nothings, pleas, confessions just whatever it takes so that the sleeping beauty would have mercy on them and wake up!

He would definitely be lying if he said he didn’t feel miserable, like God was punishing them, like Tae was paying him back for his carelessness, his uselessness and his arrogance!

He believed they made history! They reached further than anyone ever had! They worked so hard to show those who bullied them and belittled them that they’re superior, they’re the greatest!

But maybe ambition turned to greed, maybe the sense of accomplishment turned into arrogance, and maybe, maybe, somewhere along the way he took the people who once were his pride for granted!

Because no matter how hard he rocked his head, he couldn’t explain Taehyung’s coma, for he saw his favourite dongsaeng as a fighter! A hero! He might be the cutest little thing most of the time but he had lived with him long enough to know that he’s a strong young man. He never was the type to let go and give up, he was the one who always dreamt of the greatest heights, the one who doesn’t have “impossible” in his dictionary, the one who lifted their spirits when they all felt down, the one who never let anyone change who he is, the one who stayed a constant in their ever-transforming-lives, a pillar with his unique, out-of-the-ordinary, absolutely lovable personality… Their Taehyung!

So, a sleeping unmoving and scarred body didn’t make sense at all in Namjoon’s mind! It wasn’t believable, it wasn’t logical, it couldn’t be real!!

The only interpretation would be a punishment!

In vain did the therapist Min-Seo try to convince him otherwise… that is until he finally saw those doe eyes open, looking at them bewildered… it was as if Taehyung was getting rid of all the guilt, literally lifting its weight off the leader’s shoulders… Namjoon could finally breathe!

It came as a surprise when that grave soulful voice didn’t come out, Yoongi was observing enough to ask the right question, and they saw the hesitant nod confirming that Tae could not talk. But Namjoon paid no attention to it, Jungkook’s explanation was plausible, Taehyung would probably talk soon.

Feeling relaxed now that his dongsaeng’s eyes were open, Namjoon left the hospital to respond to an invitation he received days ago. Jin went to the dorms to cook more meals for the maknaes who stayed in the hospital with Hobi as the “supervising adult”, although seeing how happy and energetic he seemed, Namjoon felt a little worried.

Suga suggested to accompany him, that hyung was smiling from ear to ear, probably walking with him to calm his over-excited nerves.

Yoongi didn’t even ask where they were going, but the leader told him anyway: the detectives had something to show them…

It was really SOMETHING!

Apparently, Yoonsok had cameras even in the cabin, and he left plenty of recordings. What they found in them was … unsettling to put it simply.

There were videos of when Tae was in their basement, however, unlike Namjoon’s expectations, they didn’t show the torture, they showed a crying manager, tending to Taehyung’s injuries and treating him overly gently. In the cabin as well, Yoonsok was taking care of their dongsaeng, treating his head wound, checking his temperature, stroking his hair…

“Talk about creepy!! What on earth is going on? Are those edits too?” asked Yoongi, his previously mentioned smile all but gone!!

“We thought so too! but they weren’t… these are the original footages”

“And? Does that make any difference?” Inquired the leader

“I’m afraid it does Namjoon-ah!”

The two boys turned to see Sejin, dark circles under his eyes, complexion pale and posture exhausted… the man was in a serious need for a few days off, and Namjoon felt really grateful for this hyung, for his support and the sacrifices he had made for their sake.

“I hear Taehyungi is awake… I’m glad!” begun the manager

“Yeah… we are too…” dismissed Namjoon  “What did you mean Sejinni-hyung? Why did we need to see those videos”

After a prolonged silence detective Ji-Mun answered “Soon, Yoonsok-ssi will be prosecuted for the crimes he committed, upon his request the trial will be private. This apparent cooperation doesn't mean he’ll admit to his crimes though!”

“Of course he wouldn’t!” snorted Yoongi “But it’s a losing fight, right? We have all the proof we need! He’s going down for what he did to our dongsaeng!”

 “That’s what I thought too” said Sejin sighing  “But Yoonsok has a lawyer, these videos will definitely be exploited by the latter, the ones showing the torture are edited while the ones showing the ‘good intentions’ are not. This can go many ways… they can play the card of Yoonsok being coerced into doing it by a third party, or claiming insanity and/or severe psychological disorder, they might even turn the accusations towards you… and now that Tae is awake, he might need to be on the stand…”

 “NO WAY!!! This is total BS!!” Screamed Namjoon  “Didn’t he have enough already? The medical reports should suffice! I won’t let them make Tae live that hell again!”

Sejin let out a long heavy breath “I don’t want to either kid! But…”

“But if it comes down to it, It will be Taehyung-ssi’s decision to make!” Announced detective Eun-Hee

“Bang-PD hyung is doing his best, we have the best lawyers on our side, we just need to be ready for any possible outcome…, I suggested telling you because you proved how good you can manage such situations especially with your team, I trust you to act accordingly!” added Sejin looking the leader in the eyes.

 “… we will” whispered Namjoon defeatedly.

He wasn’t going to argue his manager when it’s clearly not up to any of them to decide.

-

The walk back to the hospital was awkward, both men were immersed in their own thoughts until Yoongi broke the silence:

“What do you think about Tae not being able to talk?”

“Uh! That?! … What Jungkook said I guess… it’s probably because he didn’t use his voice since long…”

“Do you think he’ll be able to use it when standing in front of strangers and seeing that psychopath right across from him? I won’t let them do that to him Jooni… we saw how scared he was… we saw how he treated him… the kid can barely look me in the eye, let alone his abductor…”

Namjoon was about to answer when he looked at his hyung and he saw the tears running down his cheeks “… H-hey hyung, we probably won’t come to that!! We’ll make sure that’s the last exile okay? Besides, I kind of have the feeling that Yoonsok would have the decency to repent by leaving Tae out of it!!”

Yoongi glared at his leader “Reaaally?!” he growled

“You saw those clips? Yoonsok is sick, he had such a huge trauma in his life and he somehow linked it to Taehyung, he was torn between hurting him and saving him… Honestly, if this was any other situation, I would’ve felt sorry for him… but it isn’t and … I think the fact that he didn’t leak anything, he didn’t press charges and he asked for discretion is his way of…”

“Repenting?... that’s what you think?”

“Yeah…! It’s not out of trust towards him but rather out of faith in the {Taehyung effect}”

“Aaah… yeah… that theory you have about everyone loving Taehyungi …?! Let’s hope so Jooni…Let’s hope so!”

 “I just got a message from Jin-hyung, we need to hurry back!”

Chapter Text

His jaw ached! He was ecstatic!! He couldn’t help it!

The smile definitely looked idiotic, his face must have been like a meme, even Taehyung was eyeing him funny… “This hyung lost his mind!” he must’ve thought. But Hoseok didn’t care, I mean… let the guy be!… he had his fair share of dark, hideous, deadly and poisonous head-spaces.

So for now, he’s happy…  for now, it’s lights and colours… for now, it’s Tae’s eyes, Tae’s smile, Tae’s hugs, Tae’s hands…

For now, it’s pure bliss!

“I missed you so much Taehyungi! So mu-ch!”

He had a lot more to say, it was clear from how the letters stuck in his throat, how his voice hitched on the last word, how Tae’s name sounded more like a hiccup…

If only Jimin wasn’t bawling his eyes out and jumping unable to stay on his feet while awaiting his turn to hug Tae, if only Jungkook wasn’t looking like someone who saw the love of his life raised from the dead, if only they didn’t have to be extra-careful about touches in order to keep Tae calm…

Hoseok would have probably hugged him back into a coma!

Tae smiled, it was a little arching of lips with hooded eyes, but it was enough for the lead dancer, it conveyed the younger’s understanding clearly, he was really smart after all! He squeezed his hyung’s hand tiredly, looking him in the eyes briefly as if to show gratitude…

Gratitude for what? As if he hasn’t done enough for them already!!!

Hoseok snorted inwardly… this kid is really something! He thought… It didn’t come as a surprise though… there was a reason Tae was loved by literally everyone!

Jungkook’s voice pierced through the happy-mesmerized haze J-hope was in:

“Do you want to stand up hyung?”

He was standing…on his feet… and so was jimin… what was the maknae talking about?

He tuned in to realise that Tae was the one addressed by the youngest.

Taehyung was trying feebly to support his weight on the back of his arms, his breathing became a little louder just from that little failing move, three sets of hands were reaching for him automatically.

Jimin was adjusting the mattress, Jungkook was pulling him towards him gently and Hoseok lifted his back…

The moment air hit his body, he winced, eyes sealed shut and breathing laboured.

Hoseok wasn’t smiling wide anymore!

Taehyung sighed, his head lolled forward, it looked like he was fighting off sleep, like it had been ages since the last time he let his eyes rest!

Hoseok was now worried!

“Taehyungi, I’m going to call the doctor to check on you alright?” asked Hoseok already going for the button

Few minutes later, doctor Shin Yong-Won was there.

“Good to see you Taehyung-ssi! How are you feeling?”

The doctor started scribbling on his note sheet, documenting whatever information he was seeing on the monitors, he then proceeded to check Tae’s body, his eyes, his neck, his back, his torso, his thighs, his legs… Hosek noticed how despite the long-lasting rest, Tae’s wounds were still there, visible, reddish and by the way the younger reacted earlier, probably painful too.

The boy in question wasn’t watching, he still looked spaced out, his gaze unfocused, the doctor kept asking questions not even bothered by the fact Tae wasn’t answering.

“Okay, everything seems good for now. We’ll have to do few tests, you’ll be our guest for a couple of days more Taehyung-ssi!”

Taehyung still didn’t answer, the moment he was laid back on the mattress he closed his eyes.

“Is he okay? What happened? Did he faint?” asked Jimin worriedly

“He’s fine, let him rest, for now, he needs to sleep” answered the doctor

“Really? Sleep, even after three weeks of doing just that?!!”

It sounded so wrong after Jungkook said it, as if he was blaming someone, Hoseok was glad Taehyung didn’t hear it, or if he did, he didn’t get it!

But to be honest, he was wondering the same thing. He looked at the doctor expectantly.

“I would like to talk to you, all of you! Could you call the others, please?”

Hoseok didn’t like the serious tone at all, so he hurriedly called Jin and related the doctor’s request trusting him to inform the other two members.

Half an hour later, they were all fitting themselves in the doctor’s office after leaving manager Hobeom next to a sleeping Taehyung.

-

“So…” began Dr Yong-Won inhaling loudly “I’m sure you’re worried, and all of this is out of your element, therefore, I want to explain everything in details”

“I was only saying he was stable throughout the coma, which was true. If we don’t count the fact he flatlined just before being brought here, we could say it went well. But you must know that “stable” is a medical term, the definition is slightly different from what is commonly known. When in a coma, the whole body goes … off, most of the cases, patients stop breathing and would need ventilators to survive, other organs may stop functioning as well…”

“Are you saying this happened to Taehyung?” asked Jin a little on edge

“No, that’s what I meant by he’s stable, fortunately, none of his organs failed.” Answered the doctor “ However, it doesn’t change the fact he was comatose, where his body doesn’t work properly, nor does his brain. Which is why his wounds didn’t heal as much as one would expect from a three-weeks-long rest. He is still in the first stages of recovery”

“Is that why he’s sleeping again?” interrupted Hoseok still puzzled “Is it because of his injuries?”

“No, … well yes, but amongst other reasons, the main one being the coma. You see, it doesn’t work like in movies, patients don’t just wake up from a coma and go on with their lives! It happens through phases. For these first few weeks, he’d be in and out of consciousness, disoriented most of the time, you might need to answer to one question tens of times, he might have memory gaps, he also will have trouble regaining his basic motor-skills, he will need assistance constantly.”

“Basic motor-skills” mouthed Namjoon as if talking to himself which didn’t go unnoticed by the doctor

“Clenching his hands, holding a spoon, walking, he will have trouble doing simple activities, movements in general, we will need to schedule physiotherapy sessions as soon as he regains full consciousness, not to forget the fracture in his leg, made worse by breaking the brace, that is yet to heal”

The doctor was looking at the young men in front of him, the tension almost materialized in the air surrounding them, their pale faces conveyed their ever-growing stress and he couldn’t really blame them.

He knew that such trauma doesn’t impact just one person, and he knew how desperate they were for good news, for a quick recovery, for everything to go back to the way it was before, through love and care and friendship.

However, as much as he hated to break it to them, his duty was to tell them that the road ahead is long and rocky, them being idols would make it even more difficult.

“What about his voice?” asked Yoongi “Is it normal that he couldn’t talk?”

“Well,… not really” said the middle-aged man thoughtfully “Did he try to talk and was unable to? Or was it that he simply didn’t talk?”

“He was trying to talk!” exclaimed Jungkook “his mouth was moving but just small whimper-like sounds were out and when Yoongi-hyung asked him if he couldn’t speak, Tae-hyung nodded” the maknae added hurriedly.

“Hmm, well usually, patients would either not try to talk at all, or their words would be slurred and incomprehensible. We’ll run few tests, see if his vocal cords were hurt and act accordingly.”

“When can he be discharged?” inquired Hoseok

“I’d rather he stays for few more days” begun the doctor “I am sure you can help him perfectly at home, but I prefer to keep him under surveillance, for now, do the necessary tests and start his epilepsy treatment before discharge. We’ll try our best to hurry the process though, without a favourable environment, his psychological state might become an obstacle to his physical recovery…”

The doctor started explaining the details of Taehyung’s injuries, how they’re treated and how much time it would approximately take for them to heal as well as possible complications.

Jin was writing everything down, Jimin as well, Yoongi stood up to stay by the window getting lost in his thoughts with a gloomy expression, Namjoon was patting Jungkook ‘s shoulders whispering reassurances in his ears while Hoseok was watching everything feeling detached, as if it was happening to someone else, and he was just the spectator looking from afar emptily.

He thought the worst was over, he thought they could go back on track, pull their shit together and own back their stolen happiness.

He thought they’ll have their innocent giggly Taehyungi back, with the sparkly eyes, the boxy smile and the unceasing activity full of energy and youth.

But he could see it all too well, the crease between the doctor’s eyebrows told him everything, and he heard his words all too clearly: the struggles are yet to come! The real hardship was just beginning and it would take a lot more than just hugs and empty buckets and pain pills.

Hoseok was afraid… more than ever before… can they help Tae? Will they ever get through this? Would it ever be the same?

He looked back at his members again, solemn faces and deflated postures, the doctor was definitely right, this IS out of their element and it honestly terrified him.

He suddenly stood up and jolted out of the office, running to where Taehyung was staying, still unconscious.

He stared at his dongsaeng then he slapped himself, once, twice, and a third time making his cheeks sting

What was he thinking? Taehyung was TORTURED for their sake, he was ready to DIE for their sake, he was in pain, he was lonely and hurt and TERRIFIED yet he never stopped fighting for them, he was willing to face all the pain and fear for them!!

And Hoseok was scared of helping him? Scared of picking up his broken pieces?

Not a chance!

Hoseok was a coward and he admits it, snakes, blood, darkness, heights you name it! But not this time!

This time, for Taehyung, he won’t be a coward, he’ll face his fears and he’ll be the gold that will fill the cracks in Tae’s pieces. Just like how a broken bowl is fixed with pure gold to look prettier and become sturdier.

Things might never be the same, but he’ll make sure, that the change will bring a better, stronger and more beautiful version of Bangtan!

Chapter Text

Jungkook was frustrated!

 

They were all waiting in a room, watching through a thick glass window, as their sleepy member was wheeled into the scary, grey, closed space full of machines they can’t even spell the names of.

It’s been hours and hours of consecutive tedious tests, blood withdrawals, imageries, response-measuring exercises, anything and everything that Jungkook did not make any sense of, other than the fact it was, obviously, making his recently awakened hyung exhausted and by the looks of it, quite uncomfortable.

The verdict made it, in the maknae’s humble opinion, even more useless!

All the previously acquired fractures, plus the new ones Taehyung got thanks to YoonSok’s courteous cabin invitation were STILL not healed, some of the severe burns on the elder’s thighs showed “signs of infection” and the cherry on the top was that nothing was wrong with his vocal cords, which according to the doctor meant that Tae had lost his voice due to the psychological trauma… there was nothing to indicate how or when he would get it back!

 

Jungkook was angry!

He had spent more than half the time his hyung was comatose in the basement, looking at where the blood pool was before it got wiped away, watching the shadow of Tae being hanged and tortured, dragged to the table and water-edged, or left alone in pain and crying. He had wondered over and over again: What did Tae feel? What was he thinking when Yoonsok wasn’t there to paralyse his mind with pain and fill his thoughts with lies? Was he thinking about them? Was he praying for them to come and rescue him?

But now that it’s supposed to be over, now that the nightmares were supposed to stop, he was faced with this!!

He didn’t like the line of thoughts his mind was taking him through…

He almost wanted to walk into the room, shake Taehyung violently and scream at him to snap out of it, beg him to turn back to the way he used to be: the bubbly, happy and hyper-active hyung, not the sickly, pale, scarred and broken shadow he was looking at!

 

Jungkook was scared!

The doctor talked too much, and not a single information was any good news.

Were they cursed? He remembered his grand-father saying once, that people who are known and loved by many, who appear to live well, who have others look up to them are the most vulnerable to the jinx of the “evil eye”. when his young self had asked about the meaning, the answer was both simple and complicated:

Some humans are weak my son! They let darkness and hatred consume them, they look down on those less than them, and despise those better off than them! Their negativity is so strong that it can rip others’ happiness apart!

He felt that many things were being ripped apart in his life! He believed that millions of ‘evil eyes’ hit his youngest hyung! He didn’t want this! Couldn’t he have anything go his way anymore? Couldn’t he just put some extra effort to piece things back together?

He’d do literally anything just so he wouldn’t have to see Taehyung like that! Just so he wouldn’t think of the future and find nothing but uncertainty and challenges and a thousand and one problems, none of which can be fixed with punches and/or weight-lifting.

 

Jungkook was sad!

Tae’s hospital room was suffocating. All his hyungs were surrounding the bed, watching their sleeping visual with heavy gazes.

The maknae could sense the unease, the hopelessness, … the disappointment!

Namjoon looked … guilty, as if it was somehow his fault that their friend wasn’t well, or maybe because he thought he should’ve expected the current situation,… knowing the leader, Jungkook wouldn’t put it past him to be burdened by such thoughts.

Jin was… sympathetic?! Probably… His gaze showed pity, and his posture conveyed that he wished he could share Tae’s pain. THAT, Jungkook wishes too…

Yoongi! The rapper’s complexion screamed exhaustion! The maknae wondered when was the last time he saw his Daegu hyung sleep … He did mention his persistent insomnia the last time they talked… Well, maybe his lack of proper rest was the reason his strong façade disappeared, despair replacing it forcefully.

Jungkook hated that vibe coming from that particular hyung.

The one he could relate to the most though, was Jimin! The sadness contained in his hyung’s eyes looked just like he felt! They made eye contact and they were conversing without words

It’s not fair!

Why is this happening?

Why is it Tae?

How are we going to get through this?

Are we going to get through this?

What are we supposed to do?

What can we do?

It’s not fair!

 

Jungkook was confused!

If anything, he thought THE Jung Hoseok would be the most frightened amongst them!

The lead dancer hated desperate moments, hated injuries, feared anything and everything that could hurt them or make them sad or scared or angry or uncertain in any way. This was all of the above all together!

But one look at his red-haired hyung sent shivers down his spine! His sunshine hyung had a gaze of steel, he was looking at Taehyung with such burning energy! It was determination, one Jungkook never saw there before, not even when it was about dance, Hoseok’s passion!

That was new, intriguing and strangely enough… it made him feel envious!

Hoseok’s eyes held promises, strength, support! They held hope!

 

Jungkook was desperate!

Desperate for the feeling etched in J-hope’s orbs, desperate enough that he decided to ask for it directly:

“Hobi-hyung?!”

“Yes, Kooki?”

“How are you like this?”

“Like what?”

“Like… this? You’re not scared? You’re not sad… you’re not … frustrated!!”

“…”

Hoseok looked at the maknae then at the other members who were giving him the same look. His eyebrows twitched the way they do when recognition of something hits him. He knew all of them shared the same feelings, hence, what all of them needed was the same answer!

“I am all of those! I’m terrified! I’m anxious! But it doesn’t mean I’ll succumb to those feelings and drown myself in insecurities.

Tae did so much for us! Tae fought and is still fighting… I owe him at least this! I want to be his pillar, his constant support, I want to prove Yoonsok wrong and be there for Tae no matter what!

It won’t be easy, it won’t be magical, fast and happy, and it might not be the same… but I’ll love Taehyungi all the same! Won’t you?”

 

Jungkook was overwhelmed!

He was so proud of Hoseok, so disappointed in himself, so happy for finally feeling a spark in his chest, so relieved by the sight of the determined teary eyes of his other hyungs, so embarrassed for crying, so warm thanks to the comforting group hug they were having!

 

Jungkook was again hopeful!

***************************************************************************

(At the Police station)

Detective Lee felt sick, the Kim Taehyung case haunted them for weeks, and Oh Yoon-Sok was that once-in-a-career-criminal they should teach about in schools!

Following protocol, he revisited the cabin in hopes of finding some valid incriminating evidence. He noticed that during both visits, police dogs were extremely noisy and over-excited.

At first, he thought the long trip was putting them on edge, but the second time around, he had suspicions he wished were wrong.

He had ordered his men to let the search dogs free, and to his surprise, they all fled to one spot in the cabin’s backyard barking non-stop.

Once back at the station, he answered detective Han’s questioning gaze with one statement: “We found those six missing boys, call the families

Chapter Text

The news they received were sickening.

Jin knew Yoonsok was a dangerous psychopath, but it still shocked him to learn he was a murderer.

It meant they really could have lost Taehyung! They really could have found him dead in their basement, they could have died themselves in that cabin, or worse… too many things could have gone wrong!

They made it out alive and so did Tae… it was a blessing in disguise!

Jin looked at his bedridden dongsaeng heaving a sigh of relief, his hands unconsciously moved to pat Tae’s head gently and he was met with the boy’s sleepy eyes looking straight through his.

The younger tilted his head just so and blinked, his eyes questioning … it was the cutest thing and Jin couldn’t help but chuckle in response.

“Nothing is wrong Taehyungi, I’m just happy to see my cute dongsaeng awake and right next to me.”

A hesitant hand reached for the eldest’s arm and squeezed weakly

Jin got lost in the younger’s dark orbs until Yoongi’s tired voice interrupted his meditation: “I brought you pudding TaeTae, they gave me the chocolate-flavoured one but I insisted to get you the strawberries”

Tae couldn’t get paler if he tried, he shook his head hesitantly,… yeah, the doctor did say it was going to take a while until the younger could eat normally again, Namjoon even said that there are many cases of patients developing anorexia after a coma.

Jin didn’t like their odds against complications and stepbacks in Tae’s recovery journey. But Hoseok’s determination inspired him: he was the eldest, he wasn’t supposed to lose hope in the first place and he definitely didn’t need to be reminded twice that his little brother needed him! All his brothers needed him, so for them and for his own sake, he was not intending to lose his fighting spirit any time soon!

Taehyung on the other hand,… well, he didn’t look like he had any kind of spirit. The boy was alarmingly out of it, conscious enough to recognize them and understand their words but not awake enough to move or try to communicate, actually, he wasn’t even able to sit straight for long, his whole posture lax and oozing exhaustion. Every few seconds he let out a small hiss or wince inaudibly, his body tensing for a moment before relaxing once more.

The doctor checked in every two hours, each time pumping Tae’s  IV with multiple drugs, by the end of the evening, the idol was high and unresponsive, dozing off regularly.

After interrogating the doctor, Jin learned that Tae was in a lot more pain now that his body is reawakening and his senses are fully coming back, the winces, the cold sweat, the noodle-like limbs were enough proof of the younger’s misery. And although Jin hated the idea of drugging his dongsaeng to sleep, he couldn’t argue.

The younger ones were the most affected, Jimin refusing to let his soulmate’s hand out of his smaller ones and Jungkook lying by his youngest hyung’s feet eyebrows knitted as if he’s sharing the other’s pain.

Thankfully, their efforts paid off each time Tae woke up scared and sick, they successfully avoided many panic attacks in the span of a few days.

*******************************************

(Time skip)

It was day ten after Taehyung’s awakening.

They had to do a press conference, minus Tae of course!!

Jin’s fuse was getting shorter by the second, just what kind of questions were those? “Where was he hit?”, “Did he hurt major organs?”, “Was he drunk?”, “Was he the one driving?”, “How come no witnesses recognized Taehyung?”

Like seriously?!!! Why the fudge do they care?

Besides, Manager Sejin did an absolutely tedious job! There was an actual accident with no witnesses in the highway leading to the suburbs the day Taehyung was found, so the story was made to perfection:

Manager Oh Yoon-Sok was driving Tae to the dorms, he lost control of the vehicle because of the slippery asphalt after the heavy rain, they crashed and Tae’s side took the most damage, he ended up with a head injury, a broken leg and multiple scattered bruises!

What else did they need to know? Are they that slow on the uptake or were they paid just to piss him off!!

They all looked like they were sitting on burning coal, waiting for the stupid thing to be over so that they can rush back to Taehyung’s side! But the press was not like ARMYs, they could never understand! They never care!

“Seokjin-ssi, how do you think this accident of recklessness will impact your careers as a band? And who is taking responsibility for it?”

Jin’s eyes twitched “Accidents happen, especially on a rainy day, on a slippery highway, at night! I am glad our Taehyungi is alive and most importantly, no one else was hurt. And despite our reassurances, our manager is feeling guilty and is resigning from his post, I don’t think adding to his guilt is of any help… as for our work, I am sure our ARMYs understand what we’re going through, they already showed us a lot of support on social media and we hope they’ll still have Taehyung’s back until he recovers completely!”

There, one stone, two birds! Let's hope monkey-head doesn’t change his opinion about this story!

“Does this mean you will have the next comeback without him?”

“It is still too early to decide that since our comeback isn’t due yet” answered Namjoon curtly

“Why can’t Taehyung-ssi do an interview or release something on social media for fans?”

Well, that was straightforward!!

“Taehyungi is still hospitalized, and although he’s doing better, he is still in bandages and gets tired quickly. He simply didn’t want to worry his fans that’s all” came Hoseok’s smart reply

After a few more relatively normal questions, Manager Hobeom was finally announcing that they won’t be taking any more questions… Freedom!!

-

(The car ride)

“Shall we tweet something in Taehyung’s name?” asked Namjoon

“Why?” wondered Hoseok

“Well, people are going to get suspicious after a while, the more we keep them waiting, the more they’ll ask for… if Tae takes too long to re-appear to the world they’ll bombard him with interviews and V­-lives requests… and we can’t know if by then, Tae would have regained his voice or not, that is if he recovers enough until then, so I was thinking …”

“Little snippets here and there to shut their mouths?” Interjected Yoongi

“I’m sure he was going for something more politely expressed hyung!” said Jimin giggling with Jungkook doing the same

“We’ll discuss this with Sejin-hyung and TaeTae later on, for now, we need to focus! We’ll probably find the lawyer already there” announced Jin

“What lawyer?” asked Jungkook intrigued

“YoonSok’s trial is in a week, his murder charges might be dropped for lack of conclusive evidence, so we need to make sure the charges related to Taehyung stick”

“What? Lack of evidence?!! They found their bodies!!”

“With no DNA, no witnesses, none of the kids’ relatives identifying YoonSok as a person of interest, and no clear time of death! YoonSok’s lawyer presented papers placing their time of death before the time YoonSok made the Cabin’s purchase and said man is blatantly denying the crime of course!”

“That bastard!! Is he intending to do something like that with Taehyung’s case?”

“We don’t know, which is why we need to be ready for any possibility!”

-     

“Taehyungi! Hey.. if you don’t want to, no one is going to force you, you hear me?”

Are lawyers naturally stupid or stupidly insensitive?!! Thought Jin Why would he tell him about the witness stand so soon!! No he’s got to be stupid, clearly Taehyung CAN’T talk!!! How can he be on a stand talking to a jury??!!!

Taehyung didn’t know about the trial as a whole, nor about the found bodies, God knows how his traumatized brain is going to include these in his gory nightmares!!

What got Jin more on edge though is Taehyung’s look, he couldn’t read him, he couldn’t decipher his gaze despite becoming quite good at it the past few days.

What are you trying to say? What are those eyes conveying? What are you thinking about? How are you feeling? How can I express it for you?

All were questions bugging the elder’s mind while watching Tae’s every move

Oh!!

OH!

He was violently sick before anyone could react, spilling bile all over his hospital robe and bed, and his face was turning green the more he retches.

Yeah… Jin should have seen that one coming, what happened to those boys was what YoonSok made Tae believe will happen to his members.

-

Jin came to acknowledge the existence of two types of days since the “accident”, good days and down days, and judging by the pitiful look Taehyung shot his heart with, today as well as the next one are definitely down ones.

“I don’t think he did it hyung!” shouted Jungkook

What on earth was the maknae thinking?!!

“YoonSok… h-hyung-nim said he didn’t do it and his lawyer proved that they were already there when he bought the cabin, so I’m sure he didn’t do it!”

Now Jin could read Taehyung clearly, he was pleading, eyes holding a mix of hope, relief and sadness…

So that’s what Kooki was aiming for! Thought Jin

“Taehyung still has faith in YoonSok, Guk did the right thing, giving Tae the possibility to forgive him is better than crashing all his remaining hope” whispered Namjoon   

“Yeah, let’s just wish the bastard doesn’t crush it single-handedly the day of the trial” scoffed Yoongi in return

“Jin-hyung, I think we should bring new clothes and more food from the dorms, Tae might have it rough these next few days, how does it sound to camp here again?” suggested Hoseok

“You didn’t need to even ask Hoba!!”

Chapter Text

“Here’s how it goes” begun Dr.Yong-Won  “We give him a treatment, we test it for a week, see if he shows symptoms of allergies, extreme cases of nausea, unconsciousness, aches of any kind… if it works we keep the treatment, we give him a schedule and some precaution measures he needs to follow, if it doesn’t, we change to another treatment and do the testing phase all over again”

“Are you saying you’re trying these pills ON Taehyung?” asked an angry-looking Yoongi

“Well yes, No! I mean… As I told you before the treatment depends on the person, of course we wouldn’t use a drug that isn’t already tested and safe to administer, but it doesn’t mean it would necessarily work on Taehyung-ssi” explained the doctor hastily

“So we start once he’s discharged?” inquired Jin slightly relieved

“I have already given him his first dosage, I asked the nurse to write down the details for you, so make sure he doesn’t miss taking his pills, don’t give more than the prescribed amount even if he throws up and don’t skip it even if he’s nauseous or didn’t eat. I wanted him to stay a bit longer, to keep up with his case closely, but since he’s insisting on leaving,… Just, try to tell me everything. I will call you daily”

“Ok thank you, Seongsan-nim” Said Namjoon while bowing, the rest following him without hesitance.

Tae’s doctor was helpful and empathetic, Yoongi was grateful to him, he earned his blessing, especially when he refused to get paid for his ruined phone. (It was a strong storm the day in the cursed cabin, okay? Don’t blame him!)

-

Once out of the doctor’s office, the boys started the walk down the corridor towards Tae’s hospital room.

“We’re finally taking Taehyungi home…”

“What are you saying Yoongi-hyung? It has been what? Two weeks since Tae woke up?”

“And five weeks since we brought him here Hobi, if we’re counting from the first time that’d be two whole months” 

“Let’s just hope this is the last time TaeTae-hyung has to come here, I really hate it, I bet he does too”

“We’ll do everything in our power to avoid that Kooki, don’t worry”

Namjoon confided in Yoongi that he didn’t want to discuss the very low probability of Seokjin’s promise being fulfilled in front of the others:  “There’s the physical therapy, the treatment change appointment if the current one doesn’t work, the regular check-ups for Tae’s numerous injuries or -God forbids- if he gets another unexpected health incident like the internal bleeding of last time… I don’t have the heart to tell them that we’ll spend more time here than in the dorms hyung!”

Huh! And here Yoongi thought Namjoon was atheist!! Now he’s praying more than priests! The funny thing is… he doesn’t even know to whom!

Probably because it doesn’t make sense in his high-IQ-brain! The humanity universal religion the younger believed in before didn’t have plot holes! There weren’t mysterious ways, good or bad, there was logic everywhere, you reap what you sow, if you work hard, you succeed, simple cause-effect equations!!

But Tae’s ordeal doesn’t fit in any equation! If it was indeed a cause to effect correlation, Taehyung should have been the happiest, healthiest and luckiest person on the face of the planet! Not a … victim.

It’s a word so heavy in Yoongi’s mouth, especially next to the fellow Daegu boy’s name.

He hated that term, because the narrow-minded people he had the displeasure of associating with throughout his life, made it a term full of shame, of vulnerability, of long-lasting scars and of broken pieces never to be put together… And those weren’t things he could even imagine Taehyung being!

The younger wasn’t a superior human, obviously. His dongsaeng definitely had his own (totally normal) insecurities, his own fears, he had his share of loss and grief before and he did change over the years.

Yoongi didn’t want to admit it before, but he did know that Tae’s bubbly personality was less bubbly, his “carefree-ness” was more controlled, his smiles weren’t all heart-felt. Of course, maturing had a role in it, but, losing his grand-parents to illness and his two friends to suicide, being the target of a lot of hate and criticism and above all being thrown into a whole new level of responsibilities he could’ve never anticipated as a simple junior farmer were the major reasons behind those changes.

However, it just shows that Taehyung can deal with it! Taehyung made it through, and he still can… so he won’t call him a victim, he refuses to say it!

 

-

 

The trip back home was different this time, it was particularly slow between the hospital’s door and the car, the main reason being the gazillion of people crowding the entrance and creating a light brighter than the sun’s with their flashing devices.

Thankfully, the doctor made the wise decision of drugging Taehyung to prevent any reaction from the overwhelming experience.

Yoongi was proud of himself for bringing his black hat and his black mask that managed to cover Tae’s face from unwanted eyes (and lenses), there was nothing to cover that leg brace though, well,  it doesn’t matter much…

They were in the car, a huge black SUV with three rows of chairs, Jin sat next to the driver’s seat occupied by none other than manager Sejin, Hoseok and Jimin were on either side of Taehyung in the three-seats-middle-row, Yoongi and Namjoon were restraining a fidgety maknae in the back seat, having the mission of preventing him from jumping over to Tae’s side.

“There’s barely enough space for his leg Kook, we’ll be home soon so just wait a little, please!” said Jimin exasperated

“Actually,… we’ll change places on our next stop Gukk, promise” said Jin sheepishly

“What are you talking about? The dorms are literally twenty minutes away!!” exclaimed Yoongi

“Yeah about that,… we’re not going to the dorms, we’re heading to Daegu right away, Hobeom-hyung will be bringing our suitcases in another car” announced Namjoon

“WHAT??!!” yelled everyone

“Please be quiet, Taehyung is asleep” said Sejin “The trial is coming soon, and the hospital stay has been rough, so we thought it would be good for everyone to spend a few days in the Kims’ farm, in a less stressful environment. It would be good for Taehyung recovery-wise, and good for you to change the pace and rest for a while”

“And by ‘we’ you mean…” commented Yoongi

“Hyungsik-ssi, myself, the Kims and Namjoon” answered Sejin

“By association, me of course” added Jin

Of course! Snorted Yoongi inwardly.

This trip wasn’t planned, and usually he hates these surprises but this might be welcomed for once!

He wished he could take his members to his hometown under other circumstances, but it had to be this way.

Nevertheless, a small smile crept up to his lips, he was going to be in Tae’s beloved farm, he’ll bring all his brothers his favourite Daegu dishes, he might ask his mom to cook for them even!

He started planning activities to do with Tae, they did bring the wheel-chair so, they might go out quite often.

Oh! He’ll give Jin that American apple-pie recipe he brought from the states last time, should he make it with strawberries instead? Tae loves strawberries…

His thoughts were interrupted with coughs, and they were all on high alert…

“Hey, Taehyungi, is it too cold? Want us to stop the AC?” asked their resident mother figure

A small head shake was all they received as an answer.

Taehyung lifted his head from Jimin’s shoulders looking around him for a while only to rest in on Hoseok’s and close his eyes again.

Good, the medicine should keep him asleep throughout the trip.

Yoongi prefers an uneventful one thank you very much! And back to the planning he was!

Chapter Text

They arrived in Daegu long hours later, having stopped twice during the journey, Jungkook and Yoongi were the ones seated besides Taehyung by then, thus the ones carrying him off the car where Jimin was awaiting with the wheel-chair.

The young visual was still dozing off, all the stirs and movements unsuccessful at waking him up.

Jimin began pushing his friend’s chair looking around in awe. Their ride stopped at the entrance of the Kims’ land, apart from the wooden plate indicating the landmark, everything looked made by mother nature itself!

The first thing that hit him was the strong smell of earth, filling his lungs with the clean early-morning-air, he noticed the faint scent of apples, grapefruits and medicinal herbs.

The dancer then felt the sun rays caressing his skin, and glanced towards his friends to see them all shining with that beautiful light, it must be what gave his soulmate his pretty golden skin colour, he certainly hoped to get a bit of a tan too, he’d later on annoy the younger about it and maybe earn an exclusive boxy smile.

Those… he missed a lot! Taehyung hadn’t shown any for a long time now, either too sleepy or too in pain or worse… too scared!

How much he hated that look his beloved friend gives whenever he jolts from his naps, looking around desperately, eyes searching wild and watery until they settle on the subject of his nightmare and he all but drops down again crying from relief and hurt and frustration,… Jimin can do nothing but watch him fighting his sobs and clenching his hands as if angry at himself for picturing God knows what scenes with his members in it.

They fail miserably at avoiding the seizures whenever that happened… and he’d rather not remember those so…

Yeah,… maybe this gentle nature will help them, Jimin really, badly, desperately wants Tae to feel better, happier, calmer,… safer.

-

The walk to the Kims’ house wasn’t an easy one because of the unmaintained road but a pleasing one nonetheless.

The fresh air and the beautiful scenery lifted their spirit up greatly.

Once in front of the large wooden house, they found Tae’s parents welcoming them and helping them with moving their son inside the house.

The décor was minimalistic but gorgeous at the same time, Jimin felt like he was in those novels about mountain kingdoms where everything was made of trees and crystals and the ceilings were enlightened by fireflies and fairies.

It’s all bright and beautiful yet simple and light just like Tae, so much like Tae! Jimin felt even closer to Taehyung by going inside his childhood home, his sanctuary, the place he used to miss a lot when they first debuted.

Tae’s mother was talking with Jin, they were probably discussing his medicine dosages and schedule, Jimin didn’t stay around long enough to confirm, he had to put Tae to bed, the latter being still asleep and probably uncomfortable.

“Here, let me help you, Jimin” offered Namjoon

“uhh… no offence Hyung, but I really can’t trust you near the wheel-chair, but thank you anyway” Jimin replied smirking lightly

“Fair enough!” admitted the leader sheepishly “Shall I call Yoongi-hyung to give you a hand”

“Already on it” announced Yoongi scaring both men out of their skin “Oh don’t be such drama queens, I was close to you guys the whole way here!” he teased rolling his eyes at the duo.

True to his words he was in front of Tae instantly hooking his arms under the younger’s lax ones and lifting him off the chair, Jimin then helped positioning him on the bed gently.

Their visual looked a bit pale, … which was understandable. Tae had a disturbing couple of weeks, fevers and seizures were frequent visitors while he was in the hospital. And now that his blood is saturated with drugs, Jimin alongside everyone was expecting a tiring evening. His friend was never good with medicine.

Yoongi interrupted his line of thoughts with a loud –probably exaggerated- huff: “Something tells me Min-Seo seongsang-nim is behind this whole trip-to-unwind plan”

“I got that vibe too” commented Jimin chuckling “Both our leader and Jin-hyung are bad at keeping secrets, the question is why to keep something like seongsang-nim’s involvement a secret?”

Yoongi put his hand around Jimin’s shoulders leading him out the room “I actually have a hypothesis, care to know?”

Jimin leaned into his hyung’s touch, relaxing his muscles “very much”

“I think she wanted it to be more normal and spontaneous, there’s a difference between being asked to go on a trip by your therapist and deciding to have a vacation by yourself, it tastes different, speaking from experience”

“OH! I get it, that’s considerate of her! You think she’d call us?”

“Probably, I personally got used to her ritual with Tae, he always looked relaxed after listening to her”

“Yeah, I wonder how she does it, though  I am really grateful”

Jimin did indeed appreciate having the therapist by their side, Choi Min-Seo visited the hospital every single day, she’d kick them out (as politely as possible) and spend hours having a one-sided conversation with their second-maknae.

Tae ends up stress-free all evenings without a fail.

“I’m grateful to a lot of people in our life hyung!” the dancer said exhaling heavily. “Me too, Jimin-ah! Me too”

They both hid lots of messages behind their words, they were thankful for each other, for Bang-PD, for managers Sejin and Hobeom, for the therapist, for the hospital’s doctor and nurses, for the detectives, for all the BigHit staff who stood by them and most importantly for Taehyung!

The moments of distress always made them realize how important each of them is to the group, how much they needed each other and how much they mattered in each others’ lives!

They were blessed, even after everything that’s happened, they were lucky to have what most people don’t and they would be forever grateful.

-

It was a FEAST to put it mildly! Tae’s mom went all out filling the two large wooden tables with multiple dishes of all kind from one end to the other!

Jimin could see Seokjin’s touch here and there, the side dishes and the table preparations were awfully familiar and a little out of place.

But Tae’s mother looked happy and he knew Jin probably enjoyed helping her so … who was he to deny them that?!

 “Are we going to wake hyung up?” asked the Kim’s youngest boy

“I’ll bring him food later Jeong-Gyu-ah, I’d rather he sleeps some more” assured his mother

“But we didn’t even get to see him!! I was hoping we could at least eat together” added Eon-Jin the Kim’s only daughter

Jimin exchanged looks with the other members before turning to Tae’s parents, he hoped he was wrong but if that situation was what it looked like, then that means the younger Kims have no idea… how Tae is!

That wouldn’t be good!

“We talked about this kids!” exclaimed Mister Kim cutting Jimins train of thoughts “We are taking things easy as to not overwhelm him”

Oh! They knew enough it seems!

The meal afterwards went smoothly, no, even better actually! The Kims were telling them how Tae talked about them all the time.

Apparently, Jin put all professional chefs to shame, Yoongi is Daegu’s secret treasure, Namjoon could become the best president their country ever had, Hoseok is the definition of real beauty and raw talent, Jimin is the soulmate everybody wishes to have and the embodiment of contemporary dance, and finally Jungkook is what superheroes would look like in real life.

“He’s always blabbering about you non-stop, to be honest, I feel very nervous sitting with you right now cause you’re the legends my hyung worships” said Jeong-Gyu

Jimin was not going to lie, he had “manly tears” as Jungkook liked to call them. The fact that Taehyung who lived with them for years, who saw their bad morning hair, saw their most miserable moments, saw them in their times of weakness, their moments of anger and their generally “bitchy” moods… still considered them this extraordinary perfect… family.

He felt his face burn a little and he beamed with pride, a look around the table showed him his members weren’t dealing any better.

************************************************************************

They were resting in the cozy living room when they heard it, a thud.

While the Kims were just surprised the Bangtan boys were panicking, what Jimin felt was in hindsight even more dramatic, is that he was terrified, his face turned bleach-pale and he didn’t even notice he was running to the room that Tae occupied.

To his surprise, Jin made it there before him! And it was exactly what their guts told them, the sound was made by Taehyung body-slamming the floor

Oh god! Tae! Is that…?! Yep that’s vomit alright! Okay deep breath Jimin… Oh dear he’s tearing up!! Nonono!

“Come on buddy, let’s get you out of these yeah?” Jimin suggested already lifting his friend off the floor, he’s never getting used to how light the boy became!

The moment they got him to stand a bit straighter he bent over, retching violently, those drugs were forcing their way out of his system… probably.

At that point they were used to the process (not that they liked it), Jin did a fast work on the younger visual, a few moments later, Tae was clean, shaven, wearing new pyjamas and a bit more awake.

He looked around blankly for a while until he realised where he was and his whole face broke into an awed puppy look.

“Yes, exactly what you’re thinking TaeTae, shall we go to the living room, your siblings can’t wait to see you!” said Jin speaking softly

If the way he nodded his head too fast for comfort and how he reached for Jin in the universal “grab me” gesture was anything to go by, Taehyung looked really excited!

And so were Jeong-Gyu and Eon-Jin, albeit a little awkward when hugging their older brother, their smiles were too bright, Jimin felt the urge to coo at the trio.

-

Throughout the rest of the night, Taehyung had the occasional dizzy spells but his father made him smile more than once and that, for Jimin, made up for it.

It was really the wedding’s wolf, the sunny laughter, the rainy painful moments but when being an optimist as both his leader and Tae taught him to be, Jimin could enjoy the beautiful rainbow!

Chapter Text

 Namjoon could see the excitement in Yoongi’s eyes, and it made him all kinds of giddy inside.

Honestly, he was feeling a bit down lately: Tae’s condition both physically and mentally, the press conference, Yoonsok’s case progress… it was too tiring, he didn’t do much yet still felt exhausted, just thinking drained him of all his energy.

But then Bang PD visited at the hospital “suggesting” this trip, it was obviously the therapist’s idea (Bang PD  doesn’t use terms like “therapeutic”, “refreshing” or “nice getaway” usually, but he didn’t need to point that out), it was a welcomed idea nonetheless.

However, it brought a few problems to light, the first and main one being their safety, the videos Yoonsok made showed them being abused by some masked unrecognizable men, and though certainly edited, it wasn’t a far fetched possibility in real life, especially considering the murder charges hanging around the aforementioned manager.

The detectives assured them Yoonsok’s social circle was nonexistent, but just to be sure, Sejin, Hobeom and two of their most trusted security personnel were accompanying them for the duration of the trip.

Said men were now in a motel near the farm (they insisted on refusing the Kims’ invitation to stay in the house with them as to make it feel more familial to Tae and the members, which Namjoon was extremely grateful for).

The second issue was the Kims, Namjoon didn’t keep up with their updates, something he regretted around the dining table with the siblings’ questions. It wasn’t as important as Taehyung himself surely, but it was still necessary that the younger ones know details about their hyung’s condition, they could unintentionally overwhelm him and he wouldn’t be the only one hurting because of it.

They seemed young and innocent just like Taehyung, and Namjoon wouldn’t be surprised they’re as sensitive as he is.

Luckily, Tae’s parents knew better.

Which brought the problem of Taehyung himself, he was still in bad shape, very recently on new drugs (he read about it and they were way too strong with way too many possible side effects) plus his overall exhaustion. They really couldn’t do much of anything before he becomes too out of it to function properly.

Namjoon overworked mind took another hit when Tae fell on the floor, Jimin and Jin took care of him perfectly, but he still felt weak in the legs after the instinctive fright, he was definitely too old or rather too young for this much heart activity!

He felt better looking around his Dongsaeng’s room, you could feel Tae everywhere in there. Although he lived mostly in Seoul, the visual took the time to make his room look like home, the drawings, the abstract art, the fantastical colours’ mix on the walls, the comfy cushions thrown around in calculated hazard, the closet corner organized like a brand’s boutique and the pets’ corner looking like mini playgrounds with all the toys and the different colourful leashes.

His scientist side picked up in curiosity when he noticed how docile the three puppies looked, probably sensing that their owner needed the space, now that he thought about it, they haven’t barked once since the members arrived!

Now to the Daegu adventure as Yoongi called it. After the quite fun evening, another extravagant dinner (with Taehyung on the same table this time around) and calling it a night early, they woke up refreshed and ready to roll, probably why he didn’t question Yoongi’s plans enough!

The managers joined them for breakfast, Taehyung didn’t eat much but looked better, he kept pulling at Jin’s sleeves until the elder deciphered his gestures and took him to his room where he sat comfortably on the wooden floor and started feeding his puppies and playing with them, even his kitty joined, appearing out of nowhere and scaring both Jin and Namjoon out of their skin.

Tae was more affected by their reaction than by the cat itself, but it soon turned to soft breathy giggles and the leader was happy to count it as a win, jumpy heart be damned.

Soon after, Yoongi came to “collect” them, he wanted to execute most of his plan before Tae got tired.

And that’s when Namjoon felt like a character in the Smurfs cartoon! The whole bunch of overgrown kids trotting behind the shorter male in the Daegu wonderworld.

********************************************************************************

First, they were going to the Apsan park, one of the rapper’s favourite sites, it had a very beautiful view, they could see most of the city from Gayasan to Nakdonggang from the west and to Palgonsgsan from north-east. It was thankfully a clear warm day, so they also used that chance and didn’t use the cable car on the way back but rather chose to walk by the Anilsa temple and enjoy the fresh air and the mesmerising colours.

Taehyung was balancing his non-injured leg, seemingly enjoying the feel of warm sun rays on his skin, he was looking around, a smile glued to his face and it made all of them content and happy.

By the time they got back to the cars, it was already noon and apparently, they were eating at Yoongi’s.

Namjoon felt nervous, and so did the others, Yoongi’s father’s reputation preceded him… besides, being in the rapper’s home for the first time felt… intimate… hopefully, it wouldn’t be too much on Taehyung.

At the thought of the younger, Namjoon turned to him, he was scribbling something on the note pod in his hands (the leader almost forgot about it) and then showed it to Yoongi.

Jungkook giggled at the sight of the second oldest light up and smile so wildly, and Hoseok cooed softly when he shouted “Of course you’ll meet Holly, she’ll love you Taehyungi! I’m so excited for you all to see her in her real home!”

Yeah! No matter how far they go, no matter how rich they get, no matter how many buildings they own, they all have their real homes, and nothing would change that.

Once again, Taehyung was the one to break the tension, to see the side the others couldn’t see, and to grasp the better facet of the situation!

This trip was a great idea indeed! Tae and Yoongi were not the only ones benefiting from it.

Once at the house, Yoongi’s mom welcomed them with open arms, she had some of Yoongi’s most recognizable features and they were happy to see the gummy smile on her. Mister Min hugged them one by one, a little longer with his son, but Namjoon refused to admit he teared up.

Holly jumping and barking excitedly failed to distract them from the savoury smell of meat making their bellies embarrass them with all kinds of noises.

In brief, the lunch was as Jungkook expressed “dope”, and Yoongi’s brother made it even funnier! Don’t get them wrong, they love and respect each other but no one throws away the opportunity of great blackmail materials: old photos of baby Yoongles, stories of younger age mischief and teenagehood action PLEASE! Besides, Taehyung was having the time of his life watching the pictures and pointing excitedly at the cutest ones so, yeah absolutely enjoyable!

But if Namjoon has to choose a favourite part, it would be the Tae-related interactions. It was really a mystery! Tae made friends with all the Mins … and he couldn’t even speak to them!! One smile was all it took for Min-ahjumma to coo at Tae and start doting on him like the caring mother she was, and he probably won Mister Min over the moment he bowed from the wheel-chair when they first entered, Yoongi’s brother already liked all of them probably via Yoongi himself, but the “Handsome-Daegu-boy” nickname was exclusive to Tae !

That research on the “Taehyung effect” was now an official item in Namjoon’s to-do-list.

After lots of promises to come back and whole batches of cookies (mostly for Tae and Kooki), they left the Mins’ residence a little bit before sunset, Yoongi was rushing them along to some secret surprise spot in Dalseo-gu (or so Namjoon heard when the rapper guided their designated driver anyway).

They arrived at a huge park called the Daegu Arboretum and that’s when Yoongi finally revealed his purpose:

“So, we all love beautiful sceneries and sunsets, especially our more artistic maknaes and I thought this is the best place to watch the prettiest sunset together, there is this great spot that looks like a fairy tale garden, lots of different flower and many water features. I used to come here to write in peace, sharing this place with you is important to me and I’m glad I got the chance to…”

Yoongi looked each of them in the eyes and they saw how sincere he was. Even when talking about Daegu in interviews, the rapper didn’t usually say much about the city, so having this favourite spot a well-kept secret goes to show how much it meant to him.

And it was really worth their while, a quiet spot, with a fantastical pond, well maintained sculptured trees, stony pathways in the water and mini-falls creating all these musical sounds, and the cherry on the top was the sunset, its reflexion on the water created magical lights with purple and orange hues all around them and it really felt like a fairy tale.

Jungkook took his camera out (which was present the whole day) and captured the scene, then caught his brothers’ expressions of bewilderment and happiness in the frame.

“Oh! Hyung what’s wrong? Why are you crying?” the maknae exclaimed suddenly.

Namjoon turned around to see Taehyung looking at the sky with tears falling freely on his cheeks and his nose turning pink, but the younger showed no sign of distress, he just shook his head and smiled.

Seeing the scared look in Yoongi’s face, the leader stepped next to Tae and held his hand, leaning a bit on the wheelchair before saying “It’s beautiful isn’t it, Taehyungi?” The visual nodded then moved a bit to see Yoongi, he was moving his lips but no words came out.

They could all understand though…

Thank You”