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Past the end of this cold winter, Until the spring comes again (I miss you)

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Past the end of this cold winter,

Until the spring comes again

(I miss you)

(channel ORANGE.)

 

 

“추운 겨울 끝을 지나

다시 봄날이 올 때까지

꽃 피울 때까지

그곳에 좀 더 머물러줘

머물러줘”

“chuun gyeoul kkeuteul jina

dashi bomnari ol ttaekkaji

kkot piul ttaekkaji

geugose jom deo meomulleojwo

meomulleojwo”


 

 

Past the end of this cold winter

Until the spring comes again

Until the flowers bloom again

Stay there a little longer

Stay there

- BTS – Spring Day

 

 

"Hiding in the middle of our room, we watched the cycle of the sun, gazed at the stars, clutched hands and felt at home."

- Sarah A. Chavez

 

 


 

 

I. SUMMER •

i. Summers were hot in the Western district. The sun was shining bright and hard on the shoulders of the few courageous – or maybe reckless – ones who dared to go outside. Kids didn’t care, of course: they had waited the whole year to be able to spend those long summer days playing with their friends.

Their cries of delight and the sounds of their quick steps on the melting ground echoed into the scalding air, and even though he was lying on the cool marbled floor, just imagining them running around mindlessly was tiring him.

“How can they have so much energy?” he mumbled, barely having enough energy himself to speak.

A chuckle came from the kitchen. The sound of ice cubes clinking in glasses drew closer.

His shin was gently kicked into. “You sound like an old man, Yoongi.”

Yoongi opened his eyes and sat up just as the other boy sat down, extending a glass of cold pink lemonade to him. “My body might be young, but my soul is millenaries old, Jinnie hyung.”

“So, what you’re telling me is that you’re a crumbly old man?”

“Respect your elders, young man.”

Seokjin chuckled again. “Well, I’ll have you know that in this timeline, I’m your elder.”

The weather was so hot that the most the electric fan could do was blowing hot air, but they didn’t mind. They were resigned, to be exact. Blown hot air was still better than still, heavy hot air.

To Yoongi, that summer was like that pink lemonade: habitual, sweet, and leaving an acid taste in its wake.

 

ii. It was during the wee hours of the night. Seokjin had stayed over, like most days that summer, spread across Yoongi’s bed. Which would explain why Yoongi had awoke on the floor. He glared at the sleeping form softly snoring on the double bed, and rolled his eyes. Next time, he was sleeping next to the wall.

The house was quiet, but dark was interrupted by a dim light erupting from the kitchen.

Yoongi frowned. Was it usual? He glanced at the clock on the corridor’s wall. He had never really wandered through the house at this time of the night.

Without a noise, he walked down the stairs and headed his socked feet toward the kitchen. Through the door left slightly ajar, he saw his mother poised over the kitchen table. Yoongi was about to enter the room when he noted the slight tremor of his mother’s shoulders. Suddenly a soft sob broke into the silence. She sniffed, and Yoongi saw her fill the glass her hand was tightly gripping, knuckles white, with honey coloured liquid. Even from afar, Yoongi managed to read the label. Cardhu, eighteen years of age. Probably one of his father’s favorite of his collection.

When Yoongi understood what unraveled before his eyes, he took a step back. He climbed up the stairs, quick but still as silent as the first time.

He closed his bedroom door behind him.

“Yoongi?” the slumber-laced voice of Seokjin startled Yoongi. “Is that you?”

The body moved on the bed and Yoongi sat next to him. “Yeah.”

Yoongi felt Seokjin’s gaze lingering on his skin. The older boy rubbed at his eyes, and muttered. “Go back to sleep, Yoonie-yah.”

Yoongi usually hated when people gave him nicknames, no matter how cute and familiar as it was supposed to be. But that night, Yoongi hadn’t minded. And maybe, for once, he had been glad rather than annoyed by Seokjin’s overbearing nightly affection. And maybe, for once, he hadn’t mind the way Seokjin had hugged him while he fell into a dreamless sleep.

 

iii. From the middle on the summer on, Yoongi spent more time away from his swish house at the end of the cul-the-sac, and more into Seokjin’s simpler one.

They still sipped on pink lemonade and cold sweet tea all day long, but Yoongi no longer laughed carefreely to every little joke or pun Seokjin made. Those boisterous laughs had been replaced with soft, quiet ones. What used to be moments of pleased appreciation of the instant now looked like frozen moment of anguish, only interrupted when the silence had dragged on for too long. It didn’t happen often, and if Seokjin had noticed, he hadn’t said much.

Well, he hadn’t until it had been three days straight that Yoongi had refused to go back home.

“Why would I? I’ll come see you tomorrow anyway.”

Seokjin stared at him with an unreadable expression. They were sitting in the garden, their bare feet grazing the freshly mowed lawn. Yoongi was staring at the sunlight gliding on the clear water of the neighbour’s swimming pool. More precisely, he was looking in that general direction, but he seemed lost in his thoughts.

“Yoonie-yah, what’s going on?”

Yoongi scowled at the nickname. He lied down on his back, the grass’ humidity seeping through his t-shirt.

“Don’t call me that.” Then, after a pause: “nothing.”

“Something happened back home?”

“No, of course not. I just want to stay at yours.”

Yoongi felt a heavy gaze on him, but said nothing more. Seokjin knew him enough to drop the subject: if he didn’t want to talk about it, he wouldn’t talk about it.

 

iv. One day, Yoongi came to Seokjin’s. Yoongi almost jumped when Seokjin’s father opened the door.

“Is… Is Seokjin here?”

The father stared, assessing him. Then, without looking away, he called: “Seokjin! The neighbours’ son is here.” With his chin, he pointed at the stairs inside the house. “He’s upstairs.”

Yoongi barely remembers climbing up the stairs, his feet almost flying with how fast he went; he barely remembers the way he had entered the room without knocking on the door. What he remembers, though, is the way Seokjin’s face crumpled, his gladness to see him turning into concern. The way he stood up and asked him what was wrong, just before Yoongi fell apart, wailing, pouring his heart out, sobs loud enough to be heard from downstairs. Later, he would be ashamed of it. But at that moment, nothing, no emotion was stronger than the crestfallen feeling clawing at his heart, keeping him from breathing properly.

Yoongi does not remember for how long it went; he just knows that at the end, he felt numb to everything, and that hours later, he woke up with a fever and a bad headache.

 

v. Time passed. Summer ended. A new year rolled around.

During school days, Yoongi didn’t see Seokjin much. Seokjin was older anyways, he had already finished high school and was working with his father. Yoongi was in his final year.

He couldn’t wait for it to end.

He went through the motions, looking forward to the weekend on each week day. Spending lazy weekends in his room, barely seeing people, barely seeing his own family, only to be lying in his bed, once Sunday night came, thinking so much about his life that he started dissociating. Torschlusspanik. That’s how Germans called it. A sense of anxiety or fear caused by the feeling that time is running out, that life’s opportunities are passing by and diminishing as one ages.

These days, he felt like he spent his time searching for German words describing the various states of his mind.

Yoongi wished for time to pass more swiftly as much as he wished the final year exam not to come. Sometimes, he just wanted to stop existing.

 

vi. Cicadas sang in the summer air. Yoongi’s framed final exam diploma was hung on the living room wall. His mother has been so proud of him when he came back with it: he had had the best grades of his school.

“Can you believe it, sweetheart?” she had exclaimed, her delicate fingers on each of his cheeks. “That’s wonderful! With that score, every school will accept you! You can even choose a school across the country if you want!”

Yoongi knew she had said the last part more for her than for him. He had simply nodded. If she wanted it, he would choose a school at the other side of the country. He would do that for her.

The Lees were having a party to celebrate their son’s successful passing. Of course, they had invited Seokjin, his father and even his mother, who just came back from a business trip.

“Congratulation, Yoongi! We’re proud of you!” The woman exclaimed as soon as they arrived. “Oh my, maybe we’re standing next to a future ambassador, just like his father!”

Yoongi gave her a polite yet slightly contrite smile. “Yeah, maybe.”

His mother probably sensed his uneasiness, as she led the adults towards the living room. “Let’s have a drink. Yoongi, you’re staying with Seokjin, right? You two probably have much to talk about, it’s been so long since you last saw each other.”

Yoongi nodded and guided Seokjin upstairs, toward his room.

An oddly tense silence settled on the room.

After a while, Seokjin settled on Yoongi’s bed, and Yoongi followed suite, as if he were the guest.

“So,” Seokjin muttered, as if afraid to break the silence. “How have you been?”

Yoongi sighed, letting his head fall on Seokjin’s shoulder. “I’ve been missing you, hyung,” was all he said.

“Well, I’m here now.”

 

 

II. AUTUMN •

i. Yoongi opened his eyes to stare at the stained ceiling of his lift. Only his head and knees were out of the scented lukewarm water. Even though the liquid’s temperature had decreased as the hours had gone by, the air was still hot and stuffy, the salty and flowery smells of the rests of several dissolved bath bombs merged together, and he honestly couldn’t tell whether or not he liked it. He just knew that he felt like he was suffocating, but he was too lazy to get out of the bath or open the window.

He closed his eyes, and the pictures of a blurry roof car danced into his mind.

Oh, how much he craved for a cigarette.

Someone knocked on the door. After a minute or two, they knocked again. Yoongi raised his arm from the water. The air, as heated as it was, felt too fresh on his bare, wet skin. He turned on his loudspeaker, turning the sound higher up when the door was knocked on again.

“Yoongi, seriously, I know you heard me,” came a muffled voice.

“I know you know, I just don’t wanna talk,” Yoongi said.

The door opened nonetheless, and a tall young man around Yoongi’s age entered. He shrugged at Yoongi’s glare. “You let the door unlocked. And you’ve been here for the whole afternoon. You’d better get out lest you end up looking like a raisin.”

Yoongi splashed some water at him. “Get lost,” he mumbled, but it lacked heat. He felt dizzy.

“Man, I can’t even see myself in the mirror,” the other said, ignoring the sulking man in the tub. He wiped at the glass. “Anyway, I hope there’s still hot water left, I need to wash my face. Some of us has to work to survive.”

“Don’t be a baby, you can use cold water to wash your face. And you don’t even have to work to survive. Hell, you don’t even have to survive, Jimin.”

“I’m glad Miranda was kind enough to let me borrow her shower while you acted like a broken-hearted woman in a bad RnB music video.” Yoongi rolled his eyes at that, splashed him again. “Also, excuse me if I want to live the regular life of a broke student.”

Yoongi puffed, drawing circles on the water. “Yeah, because most students have a stripper night job. Also, have you ever seen a broke stripper?” Jimin laughed. “Have you told your parents?” Yoongi asked.

Will chuckled again. “No, of course not. I don’t want my old man to have a heart attack! The eldest son of the eldest son of the Park family, doing such a job?” He turned to Yoongi with a comically scandalized expression, hand over his heart. “Shocking! Utterly unbelievable!”

Yoongi had to bite down a laugh.

They stayed silent as Will did his hair and put some makeup on. When he finished, he kneeled next to the tub and fiddled in his pockets. “You know, you shouldn’t do that.” He took a cigarette out of them and lit it. He took a few puffs and handed the cigarette to Yoongi, who thanked Jimin and asked what he was talking about.

“Wallowing in self-despair. You shouldn’t do that,” Jimin said simply as he stood up. He opened the window and left it ajar. “Also, you shouldn’t try to choke yourself with hot steam and perfume. Go eat something Yoongi, and go to sleep.” He didn’t wait for an answer as he exited the bathroom, waving goodbye at him. “See you tomorrow.”

Yoongi stared after him, inhaling the acrid smell of the tobacco that engulfed everything, every pleasant smell that were present in the room moments ago. Halfway through, he stubbed his cigarette on the wet floor and got out of the bath.

 

ii. Yoongi studied music at a college he had been told was quite prestigious. He hadn’t really cared, when he got in: he was given a scholarship, it was on the other side of the country. All was well.

Or so he thought.

Music was a creative art, which apparently meant that being a music major, he had to take dance and art classes as a minor. He still spent most of his time learning about music theory, great compositors and so on, but he also had four hours of art practice on Wednesday (painting and drawing), and two hours of dance practice on Tuesday and Friday. It was something that irked most of his fellow students: after dancing their afternoon away, most of them didn’t have any energy left to properly go celebrating the beginning of the weekend. Yoongi didn’t mind; he mostly spent his evenings at home, slumbering or maybe nursing a beer alone on his couch.

No, what he truly minded was having to work in a field he didn’t care for. Art classes were somewhat okay. But dance? Seriously? He wasn’t a dancer, he didn’t even like dancing. But apparently, knowing how to dance was necessary to create the best music patterns, as music and dance were interwoven, two faces of the same coin.

That was why he was sitting there, on a Friday night, staring at graceful moving bodies reflected in the mirrored-wall of the room. One in particular attracted his gaze. A slender yet muscular one. As supple as it was powerful.

Hoseok.

He was a boy with a childlike charm, short hair the copper shade of dried leaves drifting to the wind, with a dark undercut. Each of his smile dimpled his face and made his warm brown eyes sparkle with mirth.

He had been the first out of the other performance arts majors to talk to Yoongi. He was the one who kept encouraging him, kept saying how much dancing potential he saw in him, as much as Yoongi personally thought that he looked like a wooden puppet whenever he tried to move his body.

“Yoongi!” He exclaimed as he trotted towards him, took his hands. “Come on! Come dance with me! Did you see the new Red Velvet choreo? You have to dance it with me!” He bounced on his feet, tugging at his arms as he stared at him with what he hoped was an unimpressed look.

“Seriously, Hoseok, do you see me dancing to some K-Pop girl band dance?”

“Yes, yes I can, that’s why I’m asking you!” he chuckled.

So Yoongi got up, because for a reason he couldn’t fathom, or more like something that he would never admit, he couldn’t resist to his puppy eyes and pleading voice.

A long-suffering sigh escaped his lips. “Ok, ok. I’m coming,” he mumbled as he hauled him to the front of the class.

The class had been over for fifteen minutes, and now most of the class was gone. If Yoongi had been quick enough to fMin the classroom… But something had told him to stay. Something ecstatic, dimpled and red-haired.

Yoongi ended up following Hoseok’s steps, a little mortified and suddenly really glad that his fellow music majors fled as soon as the class ended. There was a reason why didn’t like dancing; he didn’t know how to dance. And even when he managed to do some of the moves, he was graceless and rigid like a stick.

If Yoongi had to be honest, he felt ridiculous. His movements could be more counted as flailing rather actual dancing, but what he lacked in technique he made up with enthusiasm, as he started singing along the lyrics of the song with the other boy.

Yoongi,” he exclaimed as he shimmied his shoulders. “I don’t which is worse; your dancing or your voice!”

Yoongi did an arm movement that almost had him smacking Hoseok face in the face – and if he asked, he would say that he hadn’t done it on purpose, not at all. “You know you’re just jealous of my moves, darling.”

Hoseok snorted at that. They did a final spin, took the last pause and waited for the music to come to a close. Then, Hoseok burst out laughing. Now that the song was over, Yoongi could feel heat creep up his neck. He sat on the floor again and rearranged his beanie on his head, pushing it enough to hide his brow, his hair hiding his eyebrows, just like he liked.

“Yeah, yeah. Mock me if you want, you jerk.”

Hoseok chuckled one last time, and let himself fall to the floor. As he crossed his legs, she grabbed his water bottle, took a sip from it and passed it to Yoongi. He took it, but didn’t drink. Hoseok sighed and put her head on the young man’s shoulder. His bronze tresses tickled his neck, and his soapy scent wafted to Yoongi’s nose.

A calming scent for Yoongi’s heart.

Not that he would ever admit it.

 

iii. Yoongi still remembered the day they met.

It had been during freshman year. Yoongi had been still reeling over the fact that he would probably never go back to his suburban childhood house. His mother had moved to L-City with him, leaving his father behind.

It had been a warm day, maybe a little cold for a September month. The dorm hall had been mostly empty, most students having already moved into their rooms. As he signed the registering file, something heavy crashed behind him, quickly followed by the echoing sound of a cry.

Yoongi turned toward the sound, just to see a young boy his age messily sprawled on his luggage. Crossing his gaze, an angry flush spread across the other’s features. He tried to stand up, but his hand slipped on the slick plastic of one of his cases. He swore under his breath.

“Sorry, I’m sorry—is it—is it yours?” he asked, when he managed to stand up.

If the phone in his hand was any indication, he had probably fallen down because he hadn’t been paying attention to where he had been going. Yoongi almost felt bad for not helping him, but when he stood up and he realized he was taller than he was, he scowled. Served him right for having such a tall and lithe body. “Yeah, they’re mine.”

“Oh right, I’m—huh, sorry again,” he repeated, wringing his fingers together.

Yoongi knew he could be intimidating. That was probably why the poor man seemed so anxious. Yoongi stared at him. It was a new year: he could not start it by being impolite.

He extended his hand. “Min Yoongi,” he said.

He looked at his hands, and met his gaze. Suddenly, 100 000 kilowatts worth in smile glared at Yoongi. He took his hand and exclaimed “Jung Hoseok! Very nice to meet you!”

 

iv. That shyness had long disappeared, Yoongi thought as Hoseok barged into his dorm room and ransacked his mini-fridge.

Yoongi,” he whined. “How come it’s so empty?”

“It’s not supposed to be filled for you, you free-loading leech. And it’s hyung to you.”

Hoseok stuck his tongue at him. “Right, hyung. I don’t hear you complaining when I cook for you.”

Yoongi rolled his eyes. He wasn’t completely wrong.

“That’s the least you could do, since you’re the one emptying my reserves.”

“Oh, Yoongi, are you sulking?” he teased as he poked his finger into Yoongi’s cheek, who swatted his hand away. Hoseok poked his ribs. When Yoongi scowled at him, the other boy grinned. “Will you stop sulking if I cook some carbonara pasta for you?”

“Possibly.”

Hoseok laughed his loud and unceremonious laugh. The one that made Yoongi laugh too without a fail. The one that made his insides tingle, and his heart warm. The one that felt like home.

“Okay then,” he said, gently tapping his nose.

What might have been seen as clumsiness back then had also disappeared, Yoongi thought as the boy sprang in the kitchen, effortlessly graceful in all his movements, whether it was opening the cupboard or pouring some water in the pan, turning the stove on and leaning on it, smiling at Yoongi from the other side of the room.

Yoongi rolled his eyes. It was probably a dancer thing.

That, or maybe he was already too gone for him, charmed by everything he did.

 

v. “You’ve been seeing him a lot, lately.” Jimin voice echoed loudly in the darkness of their apartment. Yoongi and he were staring at the TV, at the actors running and screaming about some impending doom or another, but if you would have asked them, they probably wouldn’t have been able to tell what was taking place on the screen.

“Who?” Yoongi muttered back.

Jimin threw popcorn at him. “You know who, hyung.”

Yoongi shrugged. “We’re in the same dance class. And he’s cool.”

“You should invite him here sometimes.”

“He has a normal biological rhythm, Jimin. How will he even meet you?”

“Ha, ha, ha, how funny,” Jimin said with a nudge at Yoongi’s ribs. “I’m not always working. Plus, it could become a get-together thingy, that way you could also invite this artsy kid you have art class with—”

“Oh, so that’s why.”

Jimin stuck his the tongue at him. “Oh sue me, he is cute.”

“You’ve only ever saw him from afar.”

“…I might have been lurking on his facebook and instagram. Also he’s Jungkook’s friend, so I’ve met him.”

Yoongi snorted. “Seriously Jimin?” A thought crossed his mind, and he frowned. “Wait, I thought you were on Jungkook?”

“Well yes, but—”

Yoongi narrowed his eyes. “Jimin, don’t play with his heart.”

“I’m not! God, what the hell hyung, I’m not.” Jimin fidgeted, the biting of his bottom lips a sign of how uncomfortable he was. He sighed and carded his fingers through his black hair. “I know this kid is like a little brother to you, do you really think I would admit I was cheating on him to you? I would never do that anyway. Even though it’s not like we’re actually dating. But well.”

“Right, because you guys are not.”

This time, Jimin’s sigh was frustrated, and the heel of his hands pressed on his eyes. “Hyung, I really wish we were. But with him, it’s one step forward, two steps backwards. He’s so shy and awkward and he’s so so so—”

Judging by the blush spreading on the younger’s cheeks, Yoongi ended his sentence. “Cute?”

“Yes!” Jimin cried out. “But really infuriating. Damn, for someone who looks so confident on stage, he’s such a nervous little bunny when you get to know the real him. I mean, we were friends before, so I guess he doesn’t act like that when we’re in a “friend moment”, but every time I want to take it further…” Jimin slumped further down on the couch and nibbled on a piece of popcorn. The blue light of the TV reflected on his hair and added to the pouty sorrow of his eyes. “Gosh, hyung, he’s so cute. Whenever I get closer to him, he gets all blushy and stuttery and—I want to eat him alive. Or eat him out. Maybe both.”

“Okay, TMI Jimin,” Yoongi said with a roll of his eyes.

Jimin chuckled. “Sorry hyung.”

“That still doesn’t explain why you’re so interested in Taehyung. I mean, you just told me you want to date Jungkook? But that you would never cheat on him?” He shook his head, his eyes on the screen. “If you really like them, make up your mind. Don’t hurt them both.”

A semblance of silence fell upon the living room. But Yoongi wasn’t stupid. He felt how restless, uneasy it was. After a moment, slowly, Jimin sat up. When Yoongi looked at him, he had an anxious air, and his eyes were staring at the snack bowl in his lap.

“Maybe it’s because… I. Hm. I mean, I don’t want to cheat on them. I like them both.” When Yoongi kept staring at him with a confused expression, Jimin cleared his throat. “Hyung, I mean I want to date them both. At the same time. Because I—because I love them both?” His hesitation made his sentence sound like a question.

Yoongi’s brows shoot to his hairline.

A pregnant pause followed this statement, seconds long enough to be hours, Jimin turning jitterier by each second passing. When Yoongi finally opened his mouth, Jimin stood up, sending the leftover popcorn flying to his feet.

“Yeah! Hum, anyway,” he yelped. “I—hm. Have a good night, hyung.” Without looking back, Jimin rushed to his room and slammed his door, but Yoongi didn’t miss the way red had bloomed across the youngest features.

Dumbfounded, Yoongi stared at the door for a few minutes longer before he got up to clean the sweet sticky popcorn on the carpet.

 

vi. The conversation was still ringing in Yoongi’s ears days later, when he actually had class with Taehyung.

Jimin had been walking on eggshells around him. Yoongi didn’t know how to make the situation better, because he didn’t know what to tell him. He didn’t even know how he felt about this situation. Why would Jimin even want to be with two people at once? Was Jungkook even aware of this? And if not, should Yoongi tell him? Jimin actually seemed genuine in his affection, but he could still hurt him, even accidentally.

He had been thinking about it so hard that when he finally saw Taehyung again, he was brutally reminded that the boy was part of the predicament.

That week, his hair were brown with faded lilac from his previous coloration. When he saw Yoongi, his face lit up and he greeted him with a smile.

“Hi, Taehyung,” Yoongi whispered back. Taehyung smiled again, and settled his brushes and paints next to the canvas he had put on his easel, then started to work on his project quietly.

While Yoongi’s skills were somewhat forcing him to stick with the abstract genre (and not a beautiful style à la Kandinsky, but more like the uncertain drawing of a Kindergartener), Taehyung actually had a certain instinct for art. He was always experimenting, trying new styles, copying other artists in order to learn their techniques and how he could apply them to his own works. His brush was often poised in front of the canvas, as if behind each stroke was a profound and deep reflection, maybe even an introspection to what that stroke would mean not only for the painting itself, but for its creator, and for the world around him. That is how solemn watching Taehyung paint felt like.

Suddenly, Yoongi was mad at Jimin, and to most of the student body who fawned about Taehyung only for his beauty, and who found him funny because of the way he viewed the world, and some of his reactions to it. It made Yoongi sad to know that they were not only seeing the top of the iceberg, but also didn’t know, or most of the time didn’t even care to know what was hidden deeper down.

But Yoongi also knew that Taehyung was Jungkook’s best friend, so it was likely that Jimin had seen a glimpse of this facet of Taehyung and wanted to know more, and Yoongi could understand why. Still… as far as Yoongi knew, Jimin had barely ever talked to Taehyung. Jungkook had said so himself: Jimin always chickened out when the three of them were hanging out together and he often didn’t talk much, letting Jungkook and Taehyung lead the conversation.

“What are you doing here little thing?” came the whisper of Taehyung to his right, taking Yoongi out of his daydreaming. He had put down his brush and took in his hand a lost insect who had apparently been wandering on his canvas. “You wanted to paint too?” He asked with a gentle smile. A small trek of paint flecks showed the path that the little feet of the beetle had taken on the work piece. The girl next to him shivered.

“Can’t you kill it?”

Taehyung’s gaze flickered to her, then back to the being in his hand. He stood up and opened the window to put the insect on its sill. “Go now, you deserve to live.”

The girl looked at him weirdly, but quickly turned back to her own work. Taehyung didn’t seem to mind her words.

“It’s even prettier like this, don’t you think hyung?” Taehyung asked Yoongi, and the older boy only had to agree. Weirdly enough, the little golden flecks added to ochre red and pale yellow of the painting.

“I think I’m going to call it ‘Serendipity’. It’s fitting, don’t you think?”

“It is.” Yoongi paused, letting his eyes roam along the painting a little longer. He narrowed his eyes. “Is it… Is it Klimt inspired?”

Taehyung’s eyes sparkled, a boxy grin bringing light on his features. “Yes! Yes it is! You can see it? He’s one of my favorite artist, you know? I can’t believe you saw the reference! I’m so glad!” Then, with an overjoyed glee, he explained to Yoongi what a great artist Gustav Klimt was, his influences, and most of all, why he was one of Taehyung’s favorite artist. Yoongi listened to everything with a passive interest, mostly because he liked the way Taehyung’s inner self seemed to shine through when he started talking about his passions. This was one of the very few moments when Taehyung will let his guard down.

It occurred to Yoongi that if Jimin liked the immerged part of the iceberg that was Taehyung, he would easily fall in love with its submerged part.

 

vii. “So. What do you think I should do?” Yoongi asked.

Hoseok was still stretching next to him. He shrugged. “Let them meet I guess? What could go wrong?”

“Err, everything? Hoseok, did you not listen to what I told you?”

“I did, I did. But I mean—” he grunted when he caught his feet. “From what you’ve told me, Jimin seems genuine.”

Yoongi sighed. “Yeah, I guess…”

Hoseok sat up and stretched his arms. He sent a glance Yoongi’s way, and when he saw his dubitative expression, drew closer to him, draping his arms around Yoongi’s shoulders and his sweet soapy fragrance around Yoongi’s nose. “Shouldn’t you trust him?”

Unconsciously, Yoongi settled a little further in his arms. “You don’t know Taehyung, Hoseok. He’s sensitive. I’m not saying Jimin is not genuine, but…”

“There are chances he will hurt him, that’s what you think.” Yoongi nodded. Hoseok hugged him tighter and when he spoke again, Yoongi could hear a smile lacing his voice. “You’re like a mother, Yoongi. You know all the kids personally and you don’t want them to be hurting, but you also all want them to be happy so you don’t know what to do to help them,” He cooed at him. “Such a mother hen.” Yoongi swat his arm and Hoseok chuckled. “But seriously Yoongi, they’re adults. They are the one who have to do whatever they want to do with the situation. It’s not your business, so I don’t think you should interfere in that. You didn’t say anything to Taehyung, did you?”

“No! Of course not.”

“Good thing, then.” Hoseok picked one of Yoongi’s black strand of hair and pulled it slightly. A small smile tugged at his lips. “Anyways, you better invite me at your little get together, right, hyung?”

A shiver ran down Yoongi’s spine, but in his defense, he did a great job hiding it. He wondered if Hoseok knew the effect he had on Yoongi, but as the smile turned into smirk, he realize that Hoseok indeed knew. That brat, he thought as he “accidentally” swatted his arm.

 

viii. On Saturday, Jimin came back from work at four in the morning, later than usual. He had probably thought that this way, he would have been able to avoid Yoongi who, while he loved sleeping, rarely got to bed early on weekends. Unfortunately for him, Yoongi had saw it coming. He had took a nap in the afternoon, and waited on the couch all night for his roommate.

Jimin looked like a deer caught in the headlight. His eyes were still adorned with glitter and eye shadow, his cheeks slightly blushed, his lips subtly glossy with lipstick.

“Hyung, what are you…” His murmur broke the silence, but he didn’t end his sentence.

“Jimin-ah, can we talk?”

Jimin fidgeted from a feet to another. He tightened his grip on the strap of his bag. If he was honest, Yoongi was tired of the way they were dancing around each other, the easy camaraderie and their usual banter vanished all because of one conversation. He really liked Jimin; Yoongi really hated how the current situation seemed to make them drift apart.

So Yoongi gave him what he hoped was a reassuring smile, and patted the spot on the couch next to him.

Jimin seemed wary still, but sat nonetheless, letting his bag fall off his shoulder and on the ground.

“What do you… What do you want to talk about?” Jimin asked, his fingers between his thighs, his gaze averted.

“You. And Jungkook and Taehyung.”

Jimin flinched. “Hyung, we don’t have to. You can just forget what I—”

“But I don’t want to. I mean, I want to understand Jimin-ah.”

Jimin stayed quiet, and Yoongi let him. After a few minutes, Jimin spoke up: “I talked to Kookie about it.”

“You did?”

“Yeah.” He took a glimpse at Yoongi, but averted his eyes again. “I told him how I felt about Taehyung. And about him.” He took a pause, but Yoongi only nudged him so he continued. “Like I told you, I like them both. I don’t know how, it just… happened. I’m not—I’m not being greedy!” He exclaimed, cringing with how loud he was being in the dim lighting of the room, almost plunged into darkness. He wriggled his hands and his brown eyes stared into Yoongi’s with determination, defiance. “That’s just how it is. I like them both,” he repeated.

Yoongi nodded. If he had to be honest, he didn’t really understand how one could love more than one person, but he knew Jimin, and he knew how genuine he was. Just because he didn’t understand doesn’t mean he couldn’t support him. “Okay,” he said simply. “And what did Jungkookie say?”

Jimin’s eyes widened, but he didn’t comment. A small smile split his lips. He nervously pulled at one of his hair strand, a blush powdering his cheeks. “He said that he had guessed it. He said that I always stare at Taetae for a little too long.”

Yoongi hummed. “But did you tell him? That you liked him too?”

Jimin’s blushed turned darker. “Hyung,” he whined. “Why do you talk like my Mom?”

“Because as your hyung, I have to be your substitute mother sometimes. So? Did you?”

Something crossed his gaze and he bit his lips. “Yes, I did.”

A few moments passed and Yoongi arched an eyebrow. “So… aren’t you going to tell me what he said?”

Jimin smirked, and Yoongi suppressed the urge to roll his eyes. Jimin really liked theatrics. Yoongi sat back and Jimin turned toward him, crossing his legs on the couch. In the dark, his excitement sparkled like the glitter on his eyes. “He said—he finally said that he liked me too, and that he wouldn’t mind dating me.”

“So. How is it going to work? You’re both going to date Taehyung then?”

Jimin shook his head. “No. Jungkookie likes him as a friend and nothing else. But… If Taehyung is okay with it, he said that he wouldn’t mind me dating the both of them.”

The flash of bliss that passed Jimin’s gaze made Yoongi smile; he really looked happy. He leaned forward and ruffled Jimin’s hair. “You’re free next Saturday?”

“Hum… I think so? Why?”

“Hoseok and Taehyung are free, so—”

“Oh, yes, definitely. I’m free, don’t worry!” Jimin exclaimed as he tackled Yoongi into a hug. “Thank you, thank you hyung.”

Yoongi chuckled and hugged him back. “No problem Jiminie.”

 

ix. As the night went on, everyone forgot the chilliness of the night outside, too engulfed in the warmth of easy banter and funny comments made on the ridiculousness of this or that cinematographic trick used by the movie maker.

If movie nights just with Jimin and Yoongi were actual movie nights, movie nights with Taehyung and Hoseok were anything but. Even Jimin who usually kept quiet when it was just the two of them couldn’t help but join in on the complaining and the mockery. But if Yoongi was sure that Taehyung was actually pointing out what he thought was wrong or didn’t make sense in the story that unraveled before their eyes, he was also sure that the only reason why Hoseok commented was to keep his mind occupied on being anything but being utterly freaked out by all the disturbing disappearances and other murdering that went on in the movie.

Hoseok chuckled at something Taehyung said, but Yoongi knew better, because under the pillows, Yoongi’s hand was crushed by Hoseok’s death grip. Yoongi had a hard time keeping his amused half-smile off his face, but really, how cute was that? It felt like a cliché date at the cinema. Which obviously was not, he thought, at the same moment Jimin turn and glanced toward their hidden hands, then at Yoongi, wriggling his eyebrows. Yoongi rolled his eyes and hoped Hoseok hasn’t seen their little exchange. If the way his gaze was affixed to the TV screen in front of him, both mesmerized and terrified, was anything to go by, he didn’t.

At the elder feet, Taehyung and Jungkook were on each side of Jimin. As Taehyung’s eyes crinkled at something Jimin said, without looking, Jungkook intertwined their hands together. Jimin’s gaze flickered to their linked hands with a blush and a giddy smile on his lips.

“What about me?” Taehyung pouted in a whisper. Both Jimin and Jungkook snapped their heads at him. Taehyung arched an eyebrow and gave them a knowing smile. “What, you don’t like to share Kookie?”

Jimin blabbered, flustered, while a grin lit up Jungkook’s face. Taehyung linked his hand to Jimin, and they continued to watch the film, without a doubt more focused on the warmth of the other’s hand than the story.

Hoseok smiled at Yoongi with his eyebrow raised, his gaze holding a meaning along the line of “see what I told you?”. Yoongi smiled too, and let his head fall on the younger’s shoulder, closed his eyes to let the sound of his friend’s voices, Hoseok’s heartbeat lull him to sleep.

Outside, the rain had started to fall.

 

x. Sometimes, the flicker of a memory appeared in his mind. A warm summer breeze through a downpour. Too hot to wear anything more than a t-shirt, and obviously too humid to go outside uncovered. But what could you do about it when you were already outside, unassuming, before rain had started to fall?

Seokjin and he had ran to Seokjin’s car for shelter. They had tumbled into it, drenched and out of breath; Yoongi couldn’t tell if it had been more because of their run for the car or their fits of laughter.

As they settled, the celeste water fell down with a vengeance, echoing like thick needle on the hood of the car.

 

xi. Yoongi always cut that train of thought before it when too far. As much as he was used to musing over the past and the what-might-have-beens, he really didn’t want to think about the possible outcomes that momentous day could have led to.

 

 

III. WINTER •

i. Wind was blowing hard through the trees’ foliage, leaves twirling in the air, some of them slapping Yoongi and Hoseok in the face.

“God, I hate this weather,” Hoseok mumbled as he pushed his beanie further down on his head.

Yoongi snorted. “You’re the one who wanted to go practice on a Saturday, when we could have been sleeping our day away.” He stared pointedly at him. Yoongi had been sleeping, dreaming even, when he had been started into wakefulness by enthusiastic knocking at his door.

Hoseok had wanted to practice for a choreography assignment he had been given, and he wanted some “outsider’s point of view”. Yoongi had glared daggers at him, hoping that he would get the message he was trying to convey, but Hoseok had merely shrugged and said: “I’ll buy you a cup of coffee just as you like, latte, with whipped cream and lot of sugar. And a chocolate and raspberry muffin.” Then, Hoseok had given him a pretend sheepish smile that barely hid his cheekiness. “Besides, I know you wouldn’t say no to me. I’m your kryptonite, aren’t I?” He ended that statement with a little wriggling of his eyebrows.

You don’t know how right you are, he had thought, but he had still rolled his eyes heavenward for good measure.

Now they were coming back from the studio, after Yoongi had assured Hoseok that everything was perfect in his choreography. That was when he got the call.

It had been a week or so since he had last heard the voice of his mother. But it seemed a little hoarser, a little more stifled than what he remembered.

“Yes, hello Mom? Are you alright?”

“Oh sweetheart, sweetheart.” She said, no, whimpered. “Yoonie, I’m sorry for saying that, but I think you ought to know—please sit down.”

“Huh…” Yoongi frowned. He glanced at Hoseok who raised his eyebrows at him questioningly, but he just shrugged as an answer, not knowing any more than he did. “Okay mom, I’m sitting,” he said as he did so on a nearby stone bench.

A sob echoed through the phone. “Yoonie… Sorry for being blunt, but Seokjin’s at the hospital. He passed out the other day and—he’s sick, Yoonie. Very sick. I’m sorry.”

 

ii. Yoongi didn’t remember the rest of the conversation, or even when he hung up. He didn’t remember what Hoseok told him, or even how he managed to get home. He was on autopilot, shoving some random articles of clothing in his bag, Hoseok fidgeting nervously behind him.

“Yoongi…” he called.

“I have to go,” Yoongi muttered.

Hoseok eyed his coming and going around the dorm room. “Then I’m coming with you.”

Yoongi halted. “What are you talking about.” The words did not even sound like a question: Yoongi sounded as out of it as he looked.

“I said I’m coming with you. You’re not driving all your way back home alone.” Yoongi blinked at him. He arched an eyebrow and crossed his arms. “That’s what you were going to do, didn’t you?”

Yoongi resumed his putting away his belongings, albeit less franticly. “I don’t need you to come with me.”

“You might not want me to come, but you need it. Yoongi, look,” he pleaded as he grasped his hands. Yoongi looked down to Hoseok’s hands, tanner than his, softer than his. “Whatever is happening, it’s unsettling. I… We’ve known each other for like… Three years? I mean, I don’t know about you, but I consider you a close friend, and I won’t let a close friend drive in such a distressed state back home. Especially to the other side of country. I mean, I know our country isn’t that big, but, you know. And won’t you tell me what happened?”

Yoongi stared at Hoseok again, and looked back at his bag. “Go pack your things, if you wanna come.”

Hoseok nodded and exited the room.

 

iii. The ride back to the suburbs was long and its atmosphere was quite heavy. It was thirty minutes into the ride when Yoongi started talking, when Hoseok asked him about where they were actually going.

“I used to live in the Northern suburbs with my parents.”

“The Northern suburbs?” Hoseok exclaimed. “Aren’t those the old run-down suburbs that got renovated for super posh people?! Aren’t those, like, really expensive?”

Yoongi rolled his eyes, a little embarrassed. “Yeah, those ones—” Then he took a double-take. “Wait how do you know?”

“Oh I’ve got some family over there but—oh my god you’re a bourgeois!”

“No I’m—I’m not a bourgeois.”

“You come from the Northern suburbs, dude!”

“From the last limit of the Northern suburbs. We were probably the less rich people of the district.”

“And probably—”

“Yeah, okay, probably the richest of the nearby Western district—look, that’s not the point, okay?” He said as he tried to muffle a chuckle. He glanced at Hoseok who was smirking playfully at him. Yoongi smiled back. “I… My childhood best friend lived in the next district. We were neighbours. He was like… I don’t know. He was kind of my closest friend. When I was younger, I saw him as some kind of big brother.”

The fields stretched toward the horizon. Purple lavender, bright yellow colza flowers, brown earth. Birds of prey flying high in the sky, possibly hunting for mice and shrews roaming on the ground.

“And then?” Hoseok asked quietly.

Yoongi sighed and tightened his grip on the wheel. “And then, it changed.” Yoongi felt Hoseok’s stare on him, but he didn’t question any further. That was another reason why Yoongi liked Hoseok; he knew when to try to break his walls down, and when not to push too much.

He sighed and folded his legs, circling them with one arm while the other rested on the window. “What happened to him?”

Yoongi gaze flickered toward him.

“Don’t give me that look, I’m not an idiot. Of course it’s about him, isn’t it? What happened to him?”

The dread and fear he had tried to swallow down came back, clawing at his heart and throat.

“My Mom—my Mom told me that—” He took a sharp intake of breath, uselessly trying to calm himself. “I don’t know Hoseok. Apparently—he passed out, and—he’s in the hospital now.” He choked on a sob he didn’t know he was holding. “God, I don’t—I think his father had a heart attack when we were still young. It’s…” Yoongi’s vision was getting blurry.

“Yoonie—” Yoongi sobbed again. That was how Seokjin used to call him and—when was the last time he saw him? When was the last time he had talked to him, or even heard his voice? What was his last words to him—what if he had said something terrible and—

“Yoonie, stop the car, right now.”

Yoongi did so. Hoseok unbuckled his seatbelt, then his, and hugged him tight. That was when the tears finally streamed fully, and the sobs shook his body into hiccups. Hoseok rubbed his back soothingly as he whispered sweet nothings into his ears.

 

iv. When they arrived, Yoongi woke up to the slight pushing of Hoseok on his shoulder.

“We’re here,” he said as he turned off the GPS.

Yoongi rubbed at his eyes. They were parked in front of the main building of Northwest hospital. Everything came back to Yoongi. He bit his lips.

“I can’t—I can’t go.”

Hoseok stared at him with wide eyes. “What do you mean, you can’t?” he said in a surprised, yet not reproachful tone. “Yoonie, we drove all the way here—you have to see him, you have to. How long was it since you last saw him, huh? And now—now might be—” He interrupted himself, his lips thinning as he realized the tactlessness of his budding sentence. He stroked Yoongi’s sweater-clad arm. “Yoonie, you have to go see him. If you were waiting for a sign… I mean, now might be the right time. If you don’t go now, you might regret it.”

 

v. Yoongi couldn’t remember the walk to the hall desk, what he said to the nurse there, how he got her to tell him the number of Seokjin’s room even though he is not part of his family. He couldn’t for the life of him remember anything prior to opening the door of the patient’s room and sitting on a chair next to the bed.

 

vi. The sounds of static echoed through the room, along with the rhythmic beeps of the various monitors surrounding Seokjin. Yoongi’s head hung above the still body, eyes wet and burning.

“Jinnie hyung…”

Yoongi’s muttering was the only sign of life in the room.

Seokjin’s eyes stared at the ceiling, unfocused. He breathed, in and out, and yet, he looked more like a corpse than anything else. His lashes fluttered, and it seemed like he finally came back into the realm of the living.

“Yoongi…?” His voice was low and hoarse, for he didn’t use it much these days.

Yoongi blinked some tears away and gently took the other man’s hand in his own. “Hyung, I’m here.”

Seokjin took a shaky breath and closed his eyes. “You shouldn’t… be here,” he said as he gripped Yoongi’s hand tightly – as tightly as he could in his state.

“How can you say that, hyung?”

A cough fit made the whole of his frail body tremble, and Yoongi almost reached for the emergency button when Seokjin stopped him, gripping his hand even tighter. When he caught Yoongi’s gaze, he shook his head.

Yoongi sat back down.

Silence has fell again on the room. The pained sighs overwhelmed the regular noise of the devices, engulfed Yoongi with sorrow and depthless sadness. He couldn’t take it anymore. Yoongi stared at the nightly void that the room window had to offer, its darkness smothered by the dull light of the suburbs. Seokjin’s hand lost his grip as he lost himself to sleep, breathing one last whisper:

“You shouldn’t have come here, Yoongi.”

 

vii. After that, Yoongi regularly came back to Northwest hospital, daily, if he could. Hoseok always went with him, and always took the wheel on the way back, because Yoongi was always too distressed to drive.

 

viii. One day, as he made his way to Seokjin’s room, he almost bumped into a nurse. As he bowed with an apology on his lips, the nurse waved his hands in dismissal.

“It’s okay,” he said with a deeply dimpled smile that made his eyes sparkle. “Seokjin is waiting for you.”

It is only when he entered his friend’s room that Yoongi realized how familiarly the nurse had talked about Seokjin. No “Mr. Kim”, just “Seokjin”. But the thought went out of Yoongi’s mind once his gaze made Seokjin’s.

 

ix. “Yoongi, why do you keep coming back?” Seokjin asked, and that was the same question Hoseok had asked him earlier that week, to which he had merely held back a snapping remark and shrugged.

Seokjin barely looked better. Sure, he seemed a little less out of it, but his apparent fatigue hadn’t disappeared. He looked paler than in Yoongi’s memories.

Yoongi ignored the question. “Does your father come see you?”

Seokjin frowned, his gaze going unfocused for a short moment. “He comes. Of course he comes, Yoonie,” he murmured, a small reassuring smile on his lips. It was ripped away by a rattling cough fit, making him sit up. Yoongi rubbed at his back with one hand while the other handed him a plastic cup of water. Whenever Seokjin made any brisk movement, Yoongi was afraid that he would rip off the IV cords and the other tubes connected to his body and hurt himself.

Settling down, Seokjin laid back down on his bed.

“Sorry about that,” he said. Yoongi patted his hand. He couldn’t look at him in this eye, or else, he knew he would cry. Yet, a soft chuckle made him turn his head. “You turned soft,” Seokjin said.

“Why do you say that?”

Seokjin shook his head. “It feels like it. You’ve changed, I can feel that too. It was good for you, going to L-City.”

“I don’t know…” Yoongi whispered. He nibbled at his nails. “I—I guess I never told you, but. I’m sorry I stopped… I’m sorry we lost touch. I didn’t mean to. I don’t want you to feel like I was ignoring you or anything.”

Seokjin threaded his fingers with Yoongi’s. Blood rushed into Yoongi’s ears and for a moment, it was all he could hear. He fought the urge to tear his hand away from Seokjin’s grip. Seokjin didn’t seem to notice his predicament.

“You speak a lot. It’s been a while since I last heard you say so much.”

His blush crept further up his neck.

“I can speak.”

Seokjin laughed, and stopped when it started hurting too much. “Of course you can, doesn’t mean you do, though.”

Yoongi gritted his teeth in embarrassment, but remained quiet. They stayed so for a few minutes, the regular beeping of the machine the only witness of time passing.

“Yoongi, I’ve been wondering…”

Yoongi looked back to the man in the bed, with his hair so black against his sickly pale skin, hollow cheeks, washed-up brown eyes staring back.

“What happened that day? You know? The last day of our last summer together?”

Yoongi took back his hand.

“What do you mean, what happened?”

Seokjin was staring at the spot where their hands had been intertwined instants ago, then to Yoongi’s face, eyes narrowing slightly.

“You cried, that day. You never told me why.”

“It was the rain on my face.”

Seokjin snorted and swatted as his knee, weekly, but with intent. “I’m ill, Yoonie, not an idiot. And I don’t have Alzheimer either, I know what I saw. You were sobbing.”

“Shut up,” Yoongi mumbled, his face hidden in his hands.

 

x. Yoongi didn’t sleep well that night. He tossed and turned, jarring thoughts marring his mind.

Should he tell Seokjin? Hoseok was right. Maybe….

He hated to think about it, but… It might have been his last chance to come clean to Seokjin.

 

xi. “Can I come see him?” Hoseok asked the next time they go.

He was beautiful. The sunrays made a golden crown of his hair. His brow was crinkled in hesitance that he had maybe overstep Yoongi’s boundaries.

He had not, but He was part of Yoongi’s present, and Yoongi didn’t want it to collide with his past. First, he needed closure.

That was when Yoongi made a decision.

“No, I’d rather… Not now.”

Hoseok nodded, and even though he was hiding it, Yoongi perceived his disappointment. Yoongi took one of Hoseok’s soft hands, squeezed it, and gave him a small smile.

“It’s not against you; I promise you’ll meet him. I… I actually want you to,” he said, realizing at the same time that he had meant those words.

Hoseok gave him an indulgent grin. “Thank you, Yoongi.”

 

xii. When Yoongi arrived in front of the Seokjin’s door, he heard his voice and someone else’s mingling together as a carefree, chuckling chat went on. Yoongi opened the door, and there was the nurse from the last time. He glanced at Yoongi, and his radiant smiled turned more professional, less heartfelt.

“Hello, Mr Min,” the nurse said.

“Oh, hi Yoongi!” Seokjin exclaimed. “Let me introduce you to Namjoon. He’s been taking good care of your hyung ever since I got admitted to the hospital.”

Yoongi stared at the tall, lanky-looking man in front of him. He had a rather tan complexion, and his dimpled smile really added to his awkward charm. Then he saw how Seokjin was looking at him, and he smiled knowingly. It reminded him of himself, years ago.

Yoongi extended his hand to nurse. “Nice to meet you, Namjoon.”

 

xiii. Ever since that time, Namjoon was often there when Yoongi arrived to see Seokjin. Yet, he was not always talking to him; sometimes, he just stayed by his side until Yoongi arrived, because he was too exhausted to do anything else but stare at the ceiling.

And these were the times were Yoongi saw the gaze Seokjin had that day reflected into Namjoon’s. He saw the lingering gaze, the lingering touch that they were throwing at each other when they thought Yoongi couldn’t see.

Yoongi’s heart constricted at that sight.

And it came as a surprise to him, when he realized it wasn’t jealousy he felt, but a true sadness, a true sorrow he felt in behalf of Seokjin and Namjoon. Weren’t they afraid of the fall? But their closeness and their shared affection made him realized: they were. They really were. They knew the clock was ticking, and that is exactly why they were taking the risk.

Something that Hoseok had told him on the first year they met echoed in his head: “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.

As yoongi made his way out of the building, looking at Hoseok waving at him from inside the car, Yoongi decided that the next time—the next time, he would tell Seokjin everything.

 

xiv. The next time Yoongi visited, Seokjin was sitting on the bed and looking at something through the window. Not staring, but looking: that was something new. It made Yoongi smile.

“Hey, Seokjin.”

Seokjin turned his head and beamed at him. “Yoonie! You’re back.”

“Of course,” Yoongi said as he sat back at his usual spot.

They made some small talk. Seokjin’s eyes shone with mirth; he knew that Yoongi hated small talk, so much that if he ever had to resort to it, it only meant that he was stalling for the inevitable. And with the way Yoongi was fidgeting, he knew that Seokjin had a feeling about what he was about to say.

“You have something to tell me, don’t you?” he asked after a silence that lasted a few seconds too long.

Yoongi stayed quiet, but nodded.

“About the last day of our last summer together?”

Yoongi bit his cheek, but nodded again.

“I’m all ears, then.”

Silence stretched for a few seconds, turning into a few minutes. Then, Yoongi tightened his fists and took a deep breath.

“Four summers ago, I fell in love with you.”

 

 

IV. SPRING •

i. Yoongi only let go of Hoseok’s hand to tighten Hoseok’s scarf around his neck. “You’re gonna catch a cold,” he mumbled.

Hoseok chuckled. “You act like a heartless tough guy, but you’re such a softie.”

He rolled his eyes. “Yeah, it’s mostly because if you get sick, I’m the one who will have to take care of you, and god knows how insufferable you are when you’re sick. I mean, you’re already annoying enough when you’re well, but—“

“Shut up or you’ll sleep on the couch tonight.”

Yoongi snorted and took Hoseok’s hand back. Hoseok glanced at him and squeezed his hand.

“You’re sure it’s okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”

“But last time you were there—”

“It was his funeral, I know Seok-ah. I…” He paused, unsure of what to say.

Three months since Seokjin died. Four since Yoongi told him the truth about his feelings for him. He had managed not to cry that day. Well, not too much. As always, Seokjin had been understanding, rubbing his back and arms, telling him it was alright, that he had kind of figured that out before Yoongi had told him. Seokjin had thanked him, then, for being honest, for coming clean to him, when Yoongi could have just waited for death to come and take Seokjin without him ever having to say anything.

Deep down, Yoongi knew he would have told him anyway, even if it had been on his dying breath, he would have told him. He was sure of it now.

He looked at Hoseok. His beautiful Hoseok, his copper hair and his dimpled smiles and his sunshine-like aura. When Seokjin had seen Hoseok for the first time, he had looked between them, and with a smile, had dubbed them as “rainbow children”. Hoseok had laughed, and Yoongi hadn’t quite understood, but now he did: because Hoseok was the sun to his rain.

Yoongi rolled his eyes heavenward, hoping that Seokjin was seeing him. You’ve always been such a sap, he thought.

Hoseok tugged at his sleeve to bring him back to reality. Yoongi glanced at him, took a deep breath.

“I’m fine, he said.”

 

ii. On their way back from the cemetery, after paying their respects and adorning the marble tomb with a fresh and colourful bouquet, Yoongi caught a glimpse of vibrant green on the immaculate whiteness of the late March snow.

As they drank hot chocolate to shake off the last shreds of coldness clinging to their bodies, Yoongi remembered the name of that flower.

A snow piercer.

 

iii. Snow melted on the ground, spring bloomed into the trees. Yoongi and Hoseok stayed together, having found their solace, their haven, in each other.

Gemütlichkeit: a situation that induces a cheerful mood, peace of mind, with connotation of belonging and social acceptance, coziness and unhurry.

Yoongi wanted to invent his own word too: Vergangenheitseelenfriede. Or the peace of mind that comes from the acceptance of one’s past.

All was well.