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what a wicked thing to do, to make me dream of you

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Take a deep breath.

Let the darkness swallow you.

The dive might be scary for a first-timer, but it is really something akin to a dive into an ocean of warm water. The velvety walls will surround you and swallow you further, deeper, until you cannot feel anything with your senses. Not your mortal body.

A void.

At this point, you can finally open your eyes. A new world is waiting for you.

 

This time, Yoongi opens his eyes to a cushioned wall.

He is trapped in a solitary confinement room of a prison. Everything around him is cushioned, leaving no place for him to bang himself against, not even a door to call out for help. It must be suffocating for a person to be trapped in a place like this. Yoongi spares a few seconds to feel the sympathy for his client, until he feels the presence of another figure in the room.

“Not you again!” he groans aloud, throwing his hands in a defeated stance.

Now annoyed, he runs around the small space, trying to ignore the other male who is trying to chase after him, while also muting his voice so that he can’t hear his whining.

He tries to feel around the walls, looking for a gap, or something sharp that will give him a wound severe enough to launch him into another dream level. There is really nothing in the room, and he knows that this boy has really outdone himself this time after Yoongi threw himself off a cliff in their latest meeting.

“Look, Min Yoongi-ssi! I’ll stop bothering you if you listen to my request! Please? Ten minutes and you’ll never have to see me again!”

“I have lives to save and you’re intercepting my missions only for ten minutes of my time?” Yoongi almost yells, but he stops on his track now, watching as the blonde haired male stumbles back on his feet. “You can contact me through my email. That’s way easier, dumbass.”

“I have sent like 7 emails for you! You never replied…”

Must be a college email address . Yoongi never accepts jobs from students, after all. They can never afford the price he sets.

“Okay, you have 10 minutes,” he finally says, unamused even as the guy’s face brightens up. He drops himself onto the cushioned floor, sitting with his legs crossed and facing the latter.

After a moment of stuttered introduction and explanation, Yoongi finds out that the guy who has intercepted his dream for three consecutive nights is named Park Jimin. He went into one of the seminars Yoongi attended as a speaker in Yonsei and was amazed about his life stories and explanation about lucid dream.

Sure, it is an amazing thing to be one of the few people who mastered the art of lucid dreaming, but he has never thought that someone can be so obsessed with him.

“So, you’re good enough that you can force me into a dream sharing session, but you still need my help?” Yoongi concludes in the end.

“Uhm, yeah? I have learned some, but there is this one thing I can never do,” he says, fidgeting under Yoongi’s stare. “I can’t get into the mindspace .”

“You know about the mindspace?”

“I’ve only heard about it from the lucid dreamer community. It’s like… the deepest layer of the dreams? And there are some rumors too,” Jimin’s voice quieten down, face contorted in a horrified expression. “People have been trapped down there? Losing their memories and their footings on reality.”

Scoffing, Yoongi shakes his head and leans his head back against the wall. There have been some misconception about the limbo - or what the dreamers like to call mindspace. One thing that Jimin got correctly, mindspace is not something you can fool around with; and it is absolutely not a place for a soft-looking kid like Jimin.

“Listen, if you are going to kidnap me everyday to give you a lesson about the mindspace-”

“No no!” Jimin cuts him, eyes widening in his almost panicked state. “I don’t want to go there.”

“Good for you?” he frowns.

“That’s why you should let me tell the story chronologically! You keep on asking questions!” Jimin grumbles, only to clear his throat and hurried to speak again when he feels Yoongi’s disapproving glare on him. “I have this friend who’s been in a comatose state for two years. You see, I started learning lucid dream to find him, just so I can be like you? But it’s been weeks and I can’t find him, so I came into a conclusion that he is trapped in the deepest place of the dream zone. What the experts call as the mindspace . That’s what I need you for!”

Cool. This stranger wants him to risk his life for another stranger that he doesn’t even associate with.

“Or… have you ever thought of a possibility that he might have, y’know, died inside?”

Jimin’s face darkens at once. A mixture of anguish and anger loom over the shine of his eyes, and Yoongi thinks that the guy might actually punch him, but he just sits there with his dejected look.

“I know this may sound like any other case you’ve ever received, but Jungkook is different. I know he is still there, lonely, and he needs someone to bring him home,” he says in one intake of breath, exhaling shakily, before he has his gaze back on Yoongi. “I have told you my story, so it’s up to you now whether you want to help me or not.”

Sure, Yoongi has said some hurtful things to him, but Jimin usually never took it this hard, and Yoongi feels the guilt start to eat him up from inside. It’s not his obligation to actually do what his kidnapper want, yet as he watches Jimin with his desperate look, he can’t help but think of himself, and the length he would go through if one of his best friends is ever trapped in this kind of situation.

“Okay, kid, I can reconsider after looking into the person,” he finally decides, catching Jimin’s eyes glimmering with a newfound hope as he snaps his gaze up to him. So he quickly lifts a hand to stop him from cutting his words. “But you have to stop doing this and actually let me do my works so I can be free sooner, got it?”

Jimin nods, seemingly too happy to say anything else.

“And you still have to pay the fee. I don’t care how long you need, but I’m not doing any charity work.”

“Got it! I actually prepared the money already, but you can reply my email with the exact fee so I can transfer the down payment?” Jimin is ecstatic by now, jumping a little on his seating. “You’re really nice, Yoongi-ssi.”

“Send me another email once you’re up. For now, please wake up so I can get outta here.”

Smiling sheepishly, Jimin rushes to get back onto his feet. He walks towards a corner of the room and starts patting around the wall until his hand struck something and a button forms on the formerly empty space. Yoongi watches as Jimin wave at him, mouthing a ‘thank you’ at him, before he punches on the button.

The floor beneath them opens up into a blackhole and suddenly a strong rush of wind starts to fill the room, sucking the two into the rush.

That was grim. Yoongi mildly thinks as he is swallowed into the void, allowing himself to be sucked back into nothingness.

 

Back into the hospital room, sitting on a chair he fell asleep on.

The beeping sounds of the heart machine greets him as he. In front of him, a woman is lying on the bed with a sense of serenity drawn all over her face. This is his real client, and once again, he has failed to do his job.

It takes him a moment to register the fact that he is a concrete being now. The world is not blurry around the edge anymore and anything that he does in his awake state will affect him physically. He starts from eyeing the analog clock on the wall, watching as the needle ticks down, because there is no sense of time in the dream world.

It’s only after he made sure that he is pinned into the reality that he allows himself to recall his dream and make a move.

 

The move he made is postponing the job and going home to his flat. He had to cancel the session because of his own pride - after failing three times and explaining to the family that maybe he can do it better from home. It’s a good thing that he can initiate a dream sharing session after making a physical contact with the designated individual. Now, he must find a way to prevent someone else from doing the exact same thing to him, taking a page from his experience with Jimin’s case that has gotten out of hand.

“Fuck my life,” he mumbles as he throws himself on the couch.

The sky outside of the window of his flat is still bright, decorated with darkening orange light that masks the dusk of the day. Looking inside, his roommate is halting his typing on his laptop as soon as he heard Yoongi.

“That lasted like 5 minutes. Did you even find the person?”

“Nope. That was another big fail because the same dude intercepted me again.”

Namjoon raises a brow, looking at him with incredulity before it turns into amusement that sends him into a bout of laughter. So much for being a best friend.

“That’s what you call dedication! Tell me that you got laid, at least,” the taller male jokes between his slowly dying laughter, only to break into another one when Yoongi throws another pillow at him. If only he can actually have sex in a dream, Namjoon will probably join him in his self-managed company.

“Shut up and lend me your laptop.”

Namjoon frowns, blinking at him from across the table, until Yoongi has to move and grabs the device by himself.

He slides down to sit on the carpeted floor, minimizing all the applications Namjoon was working on so he can navigate into a browser. Hesitantly, he types the name down before he can forget it. Jungkook .

Good thing that he still remembers the name, since Jimin only mentioned it once.

After five minutes of browsing the search engine, Yoongi finds several Jungkooks in the nation, but only finds one that actually matters. By the time Namjoon gets too curious and makes his way around the table to join him, Yoongi has had enough information that he needed to get into Jungkook’s dream.

He was a famous athlete - a child prodigy, they called him. His life was pictured as a perfect and golden life, until a thief broke into his family’s house one night and shot his whole family to death. The boy also got a bullet embedded in the head, but he barely survived with the help of the medical equipments attached to his body. He has been in a comatose state for two years, with no sign of waking up anytime soon.

“Oh, I heard about him, before the incident, at least,” Namjoon offers a comment while reading alongside him. “Pretty tragic, if you ask me.”

“No shit,” he rolls his eyes, shoving the laptop back into Namjoon’s lap before he lazily crawls back into the comfort of the couch. He sets himself into his favorite sleeping position with his hands folded over his abdomen, muting the sounds from around him.

Enough thinking about a certain runner with a bunny looking smile, now he has to go back to work.

 

-

 

When Yoongi tells someone that he sleeps to make a living, people usually take it as a joke.

What kind of job requires you to sleep? There is no official title for it. In fact, Yoongi might be the first one who started monetizing his skill.

It started from his fascination with dreams as a kid.

Even when he was fast asleep, his brain still worked on full force, generating a new world and stories for him to experience in his resting state. The dreams were always what he was looking forward to when he put an end to his day. A long, nice sleep that would give his head a chance to explore the storyline and the different outcomes of the other lives he got to live for a night.

His original dream job was to be a writer. Hence the journals he always had next to his pillow, ready to be written the first thing in the morning when he woke up from his slumber.

A dream diary. That’s what he called it when people asked. He always brought the journal everywhere with him, for the times he fell asleep on the bus or during the class. It’s filled with scribbles of dreams. The dream always slipped off his fingers way too soon every time he took too long to write them down, after all.

By the time he finished his third dream diary book, his brain started to give him a chance to control his dream.

It was simple at first. When he closed his eyes, he would picture what kind of dream he wanted to have for the night. Say, for example, he wanted to visit a zoo. Once he fell asleep, he would be in the zoo, exploring the place in a scenario formed by his head in a whim.

Knowing his interest, his brain started to be more active when he was asleep, letting him take full control of his dream. It barely felt like a dream anymore at some point, since he was really living the lives in his own account. Sometime, he even refused to wake up, and his brain let him, until his alarm clock catapult him out of the blissful moment.

He explored all the possibilities he came across.

Meeting people from real life in his dream was tricky. Most of them were just his subsconscious - something like an NPC or non player character in games. Meanwhile, he also met a handful of people who spent their time wandering around the dreams as well. Yoongi suddenly became more talkative in his dreams than in real life, learning more tricks and taking suggestions from fellow lucid dreamers.

Sometimes, the fellow lucid dreamer can be like Park Jimin, the little shit, who yells at him for forgetting his promise.

Yoongi hasn’t intended to lucid dream for the night, so he jolts awake pretty quickly, heart still beating too fast in his chest from waking himself up too abruptly. Cursing the younger male in his head, he hurriedly takes his phone, scrolling through the abundance of emails in his account and finding Jimin’s one that he opened the other day. In the email, Jimin gave him a phone number, and Yoongi will totally teach him a lesson that getting a yelling in real life is scarier than in the dream.

Childish, he knows.

“Park Jimin! I’m so close to calling the cops on you for disturbance of peace. You are lucky that there is no witness to testify inside your dream. Come over and fight me in person, kid!”

Unfazed by the intimidating aura he tries to put into his voice, Jimin gasps softly in the other line, apparently recognizing Yoongi’s voice only at the end of his little challenging session.

“Yoongi-ssi? Are you finally working for me?”

“Nope. I just wanted to tell you once again that-”

“Please, please help us,” Jimin’s voice grows weak and desperate. Yoongi really hates this. “It might be too late if you do it later. They are taking off the life support soon. I overheard them talking about it when I went to visit today… there’s not much time left.”

Now, that’s really sad.

“Hey, kid. Are you okay? Maybe you need someone to talk to.”

“I would be OK if someone actually helps me with this,” he snaps. “I’ve been trying to get into that space for three days, but it’s really hard for me. I can’t deal with the paralysis.”

“The chance of him being there is really small, you know,” Yoongi tries to reason with him, noticing that he is really panicking and any crude action made by the guy such as forcing his way into the limbo might cost him more than he can give.

“If there is at least a 0.1% chance of him being there, I want to take it. I can’t be at peace knowing that he is alone inside that awful place while I can help him.”

Sighing, Yoongi feels his resolve breaks into pieces the moment he hangs up the call. He better gets paid enough for this. Monday is supposed to be his day off, and now he has to do this urgent dive into the mind space, as if it’s all fun and game in there.

‘Wake me up once you’re home,’ he sends the text to Namjoon, praying for his life, before popping a sleeping pill into his mouth.

Now, time to visit the other side.

 

Sleep paralysis is his least favorite thing in the world ever since he starts joining the lucid dream club.

When he opens his eyes, everything is frozen and dull. His body is pressed down heavily against the surface of his bed, and it starts to get suffocating if he moves around to feel his body again. It is what one would describe as a prison of mind.

Good thing that he has learned how to control himself in this situation - take a deep breath and keep his eyes focused on one dot in the ceiling. After that, he should do a countdown from 10.

9, 8, 7, 6….

the world is dissolving around him, melting into disfigured beings

5, 4…

the white noise is getting louder, Yoongi hates this part the most

3, 2…

1.

The bed opens up beneath him, swallowing him into the limbo.

 

“Fuck!” his loud curse booms in the empty space of the parking lot. Just typical of him, to fall into this place every time he enters his own mindspace.

The first time he entered this place, it was an abyss with no corners. There was only white background all around him, no matter how far he walked, until he got tired and willed a chair to appear. That was how he figured out that he could be the God of this place.

He loved his power, loved how everything he pictured in his head materialized into a real thing. He spent an amount of time equal to one month building his own city. All the buildings and public places with no people around. With no human being around him, it was fun playing God. All the hours building cities in facebook games weren’t for nothing.

Even once he had stopped coming into the space, every time he accidentally launched himself into the limbo, he would meet the exact same materialized city. He would want to live here forever if only the problem didn’t arise.

But now is not the time for nostalgia, Yoongi reminds himself, picturing the images he saw all over the internet when he looked up the name.

Jeon Jungkook. An athlete. Bunny teeth and toned thighs.

His name is Jungkook.

He closed his eyes, and felt a quick current of wind carry him through the empty space of the limbo.

 

The next time he opened his eyes, he is sitting on a roller coaster seat. The thought of himself being in a roller coaster is already scary enough, and then he realizes that the cart is at the tallest point of a loop, with him hanging upside down, and Yoongi lost his breath as he starts to zoom through the ride.

His scream echoes in the empty facility.

“Fuck it! I’m quitting. No one can hire me in this kind of job anymore. Fuck Park Jimin, fuck my life,” his legs are shaking by the time he steps out of the cart, and he can only mumble angrily to no one in particular. There seems to be no one around the vicinity, despite the place being a pretty lively one.

It’s an amusement park, lit up by colorful neon lights and sounds of rides. The only thing that is missing is the presence of visitors.

Then, he hears it, the sound of a stifled laughter.

When he snaps his gaze towards the place, he only meets an empty sidewalk. But he can hear the footsteps zooming away from him. There is someone else with him in this place, and Yoongi knows just who it is.

Too bad he can’t make himself run faster inside a dream. He is still a tired man who is not used to have extraneous activity outside his room. He’s already getting tired after chasing the male a few blocks away, passing the running machines of attractions and claw games.

The opportunity only presents itself when the boy he assumes as Jungkook runs out to an open space, apparently going for the huge haunted house at the other side of the park. Yoongi is not having any of this, so he holds out his hand and materializes a metal door right in Jungkook’s path into the worn-down building.

“OW!”

Serves him right.

For once after he is launched into this space, Yoongi can finally feel a smile of victory plastered over his lips as he jogs towards the boy. There had better be no more running involved, because he is wheezing by the time he reaches his target, bending down to rest his hands on his knees.

Jungkook is not in a better shape at all. He is holding onto his nose and hissing in pain while patting the door in front of him with his free hand. It’s almost comical, if only it’s not for a drip of blood staining his hand.

“That hits harder than I expected.”

The latter snaps his gaze up at him, still with confusion and annoyance plastered all over his expression. “Who are you? You suddenly appeared and- ouch . What- I’m bleeding!”

Scoffing, Yoongi swats the younger’s hand away from his face before he squats down to be on a face level with him. He cups Jungkook’s jaws, tilting his head back to examine the condition of his nose before making him look down.

It’s an awkward first meeting. Yoongi has expected something more chill, like he can just show up to a damsel in distress trying to find his way out and then he will explain what he has to do and voila! they will be out of the limbo together. But now he has lost the chance, and somehow finds himself holding the boy’s head down so he won’t choke on his own blood.

So classy.

“How did you do that? Are you a magician?” Jungkook asks. His voice coming out a little nasally, since Yoongi told him not to breathe from his nose. “I’ve been here for a long, long time, and I’ve never seen anything like that.”

“Yeah, huh?” Yoongi snorts. “Let’s just say that I’m way more experienced in this field.”

Making another confused noise, Jungkook manages to wriggle his head out of Yoongi’s grip, looking up at the elder with his pair of round, curious eyes. “Are you my reaper? You’re here to take me away?”

Amused, Yoongi’s lips twisted to a side. “Kind of, not really.”

“Liar. You’re just going to leave, just like the others that came around before.”

So there have been other people coming here. The cases that required Yoongi to go this deep into the mindspace can be counted with one hand, and they mostly end in a bad note. Still, he gets his fee paid in full by the relatives. He is not sure if he can demand for the same thing when Jimin sounded that broken.

Perhaps he can actually make a difference with this one.

Pushing himself up back onto his feet, Yoongi holds his hand out towards Jungkook. “My name is Yoongi, and I’m not going to leave without taking you along.”

Jungkook’s lips parted in a awe. He stays there for a moment before accepting Yoongi’s hand and pulling himself up. Now that they are standing, Yoongi can see that the younger is taller than him and… is he even younger? There is no sense of time in the limbo. Jungkook might have spent more than a decade here, if not more.

“Are you saying that you’re going to take me back to my… past life?”

“Technically, it’s still your current life. You’re dreaming right now, Jungkook. Your body is lying down in a vegetative state and Jimin is worried sick about you,” he starts with his method of coaxing his ‘client’. Honestly, this is the part that Yoongi is the worst at. The diving into dreams and finding the individuals is a piece of cake compared to this.

“Jimin…” at least he still recognizes the name. Jungkook looks pained as he mulls over it, before he looks up at Yoongi again, and he is expecting everything to go smoothly this time when the hand that he is holding is suddenly ripped away harshly. The air of guard is palpable around Jungkook’s frame as he backs away. “Look. I’m already aware of what you’re telling me, and now I’m telling you that I absolutely do not want to go back.”

“What-”

“Tell Jimin that-” the voice is dulled into a ripple of water as, and Yoongi knows that Jungkook must have realized that too, because he stops speaking the moment a familiar soft melody of Bach’s Passacaglia starts filling the whole place, accompanied by a loud voice booming from the grey sky.

“Hyung… Yoongi!”

Another look at Jungkook’s dumbfounded face, his body is ripped away abruptly from the deepest layer of dreams, shooting up through the velvety walls as if he is bodily being pulled up from the surface of the water. He is sitting on his bed the next time he opens his eyes. His heart beating way too quickly against his rib cages and his eyes bulging out.

Namjoon is taken aback when he looks at him, still playing the song on his phone. It’s a song that the two of them are accustomed to - having used the song as a kick to wake each other up from their lucid dream. It is the one and only way to wake up other than killing themselves inside the dreams.

“What? Did you see a ghost or something?” he questions, finally turning off the damn song and letting Yoongi piece together the information he just gained from his short encounter with his new client.

“Namjoon, what will you do if your client wants to die in his sleep?”

 

-

 

The second time Yoongi attempts to greet Jungkook in his mindspace, he is greeted with the sight of Jungkook trying to tear down the metal door outside of the haunted house. He has a full machinist outfit on, completed by a pair of safety glasses and a metal cutter ready on his hand. The sound of the fired up machine causing friction on the metal reverberates through the empty amusement park.

“You know that you can just get rid of it with a flick of fingers right?” Yoongi shouts to be heard over the loud machinery sound.

“Fuck!” the male jumps up at his sudden appearance, throwing the working tool away and casting his gaze down at his fingers as if checking if they’re all still intact. “I almost lost a hand because of you!”

Yoongi answers with a lazy shrug of a shoulder. “Pretty sure you can grow it back in a second. Never tried it though,” he says nonchalantly, tapping the metal door with his palm. He gains amusement in watching Jungkook’s eyes sparkle in awe and his jaw drops just as the door disappears under the touch.

“How did you do that?”

“I thought you’ve spent a pretty long time here and you haven’t even explored the possibilities? Damn, you haven’t lived, boy,” he smiles smugly, gaining satisfaction in the pure fascination in the other’s eyes. Yoongi has never seen a pair of eyes that are so transparent, showing everything the owner feels and thinks.

Deciding to show off further, keeps his gaze on Jungkook’s as he wills an ice cream shop to appear next to the haunted house. There is a rumbling of cements and falling rocks, and it seems like Jungkook has gotten the gist of it since he makes a run to stand before the slowly materializing building and voices out more awed sounds.

“Mr. Magician, are you going to teach me how to do your tricks?”

Yoongi snorts at the nickname, ignoring the younger as he steps into the ice cream parlour and behind the counter. This is the same model as the one he has made in his own ‘city’, probably some ice cream parlour from his hometown. One thing he has learned is that he can only make concrete things from what he has seen or studied in his waking life. Maybe he just lacks the imagination.

“There is really no tricks. You imagine what you want, and then it comes true. After all, you are living inside a dream,” Yoongi says, smiling at his own statement. He should adds that in the script for his next seminar. “I can give you a more intensive lesson, though. If you want.”

Jungkook is already tailing him, leaning over the counter with his arms folded on top of it. “I want banana ice cream. Add chocolate frosting around it.”

“I told you, you can just--”

Sighing in exasperation, Yoongi just throws his arms in defeat and turns around to make the ice cream ordered by the male. It’s easier when you can get any ingredients you want. The waffle cone is there when his hand reaches to the shelf and when he turns on the ice cream machine, it answers to Jungkook’s request of the banana ice cream.

“Also, I know that you won’t just teach me for free,” Jungkook says out of the blue when his ice cream is being prepared.

He already drags a stool from a corner of the room, setting it before the counter and hoisting himself on top of it so that his legs are now dangling from the edge. They absently kick the air when he receives his ice cream cone from the elder.

Now, bribery is done. Time to get serious.

“I want you to come home with me,” Yoongi blurts out directly to name his price. He rests his hands on the counter as well, leaning in so he can hold Jungkook’s gaze.

“I thought I have made it clear to you that I don’t want to go back to that place.”

“Okay, fine! At least tell me why you don’t want to?” he offers. “So I have something to talk about when I’m preparing my eulogy for you.”

A somewhat sad smile curls on Jungkook’s lips upon the mention of funeral. He takes his time consuming the top part of his ice cream, not looking like he is contemplating anything. That’s the moment Yoongi knows that Jungkook thinks he has the upper hand here, while in fact Yoongi can just take everything away from his mindspace so he is left with a clean slate. The state of white and nothingness that would drive the bravest soul into madness.

“You see, Yoongi. Last time you already lied to me when you said that you wouldn’t leave without me--”

“That was because my dumb friend woke me up!”

“--so I need to know that I can trust you first.”

That shuts Yoongi up real quick. How could the person in the verge of death is demanding more than the client who has hired him in the first place? Yoongi is so going to charge Jimin extra for this.

“Fine. It’s not like I can go anywhere.”

That brings a smile into Jungkook’s face- a pair of bunny teeth peeking from between his lips and a shine in his eyes.

 

-

 

Gaining Jungkook’s trust is proven to be harder than teaching him how to be a God.

Yoongi has been occupied in the waking world. Invitations for lectures and research papers due dates are banging on his door. He has to set the waiting list of his ‘dream job’ aside, including the whole matter with Jungkook and his amusement park. Not that the boy would actually look for him anyway. As far as he might be concerned, Yoongi is probably just one of the passersby in his little mindspace.

The 30 hours streak of no sleep is starting to get to him. Empty coffee cans piling up around his desk and his fingers start to get tired from typing. At least now he only needs to type an email address of his editor. Eyes almost dropped as he scans his inbox while waiting for the file to upload.

There is another email from Jimin. He is still religiously emailing him at least once everyday. This time he is asking to meet up so they can discuss the whole payment and the progress, and Yoongi, in his sleep deprived and hazy state, replies with a date and time on a whim.

His phone buzzes just as he hits ‘send’ for both of the emails. It’s a text from Hoseok, telling him that he is downstairs and ready for their morning run. It sends Yoongi into another mental breakdown state.

It’s already morning again, and every Tuesday he has a running session with Hoseok because Namjoon claims that he needs to exercise once in a while if he wants to spend the rest of the day sleeping.

“You always look this grumpy when we’re running, but you look like shit today!” Hoseok chirps when he sees him jogging down the staircase down to the street. How someone can look so positive that early in the morning is still a big question mark for Yoongi.

“Shut up. I can only do 30 minutes today,” he says before breaking into a sprint.

It was a mistake because Hoseok easily catches up to him, and eventually passing him. In no time, he already feels like keeling over and just die on one of a bench. He mildly loses his footing on the concreteness of his world, thinking that he can just materialize a cliff and throw himself off the edge just so he can have a dreamless sleep for once.

It sends him into a halt, panting and coughing into his palm for pushing himself too much in his low-fatigued self.

Hoseok is already at the corner of the street and is about to turn when he hears the noises. He quickly makes his way back to Yoongi. Worried eyes and caring arms holding him up from faceplanting into the pavement.

Fuck Kim Namjoon for his exercise idea.

“Please let me just… go home, or die. I beg you,” he wheezes.

“You’re exaggerating,” Hoseok doesn’t seem convinced, but he makes a disgusted face when the poor boy starts retching. “Okay, stop that. We’re going home.”

When Hoseok practically manhandles him back into the comfort of his apartment, he lets himself fall into the bed face first. His face pressed into the pillow and it is so fucking uncomfortable to breathe like this, but he can’t really complain about it since he is already drifting. The whole numbness in his body is passing by quickly, and he is swallowed down into the familiar cacophony of amusement park music and each children rides mixing into one.

Even when he is asleep, it seems like he is undeserving of a little moment of peace.

This is not how Yoongi has planned to produce a progress in the whole dreaming activity with Jungkook. He shouldn’t let the kid have too much fun in this dream world because then he will find more reasons to stay and not go home. And he absolutely shouldn’t have taught Jungkook how to manipulate his dream. Too bad, it is exactly the progress that Yoongi has made ever since he stepped into this amusement park the first time.

It is not the same as the one he remembers from his last visit. Upon a quick inspection, he can see more big rides. Metal rails looping above him and reaching up into the sky until Yoongi has to squint to see the end of it. There are also more stalls; games, candies, attractions. Colors are flashing and music is loudly banging through the speakers installed all over the compound.

Jungkook has really outdone himself.

“Yah, Jeon Jungkook!” he shouts into the empty path.

The music stops abruptly, making his voice echo in the stillness of the park. Without the music, it is easier to feel the eerie air of this place.

After a few minutes of walking around, jumping every so often at the presence of little dogs running around the place, he finally finds a sign of life. There is a cracking sound, followed by falling metal plates on the ground. He runs over to the source of noises just in time to see Jungkook crawling out of a pile of red and golden metals.

A ruined Iron Man suit.

It feels mean to laugh seeing the younger’s face smeared with oil and dejection, but that’s exactly what he does.

“Oh my god. This is not my first time seeing an Iron Man replica inside someone’s dream, but never this bad!”

Jungkook scowls. “I tried, okay. This is your fault for taking too long to come visit again and making me bored.”

It takes a moment for Yoongi to really stop laughing, swallowing his amusement to look respectable again. Shaking his head, he walks over to examine the pile of ruined robot parts, nudging them with his toe.

“Not bad,” he comments, looking up at Jungkook who still has a foul look on his face. “What? It only took me a few days to come back, okay. Some of my friends wait for a week to get a text back from me.”

“I mean, it’s no big deal. We’re not even friends,” Jungkook sighs, turning around on his heels and starting to walk to the other direction. He seems to know that Yoongi will be tailing him, since he speaks again only a moment after. “It just feels a lot longer when there is no telling of time. It’s always nighttime in this place.”

Yoongi looks up at the sky. It is pitch black, with not even stars or moon decorating the expanse of the night sky. He didn’t notice this before. If this is Jungkook’s way to make him feel guilty about leaving, then it is working.

“Do you ever think of leaving this place?”

“If you mean leaving as in waking up, the answer is yes, but I still don’t want to.”

Jungkook is one stubborn kid, Yoongi concludes as he watches the younger’s back walking away from him. He is not granted enough time to observe his back when Jungkook is suddenly turning around again, already smiling again as if the conversation didn’t take place just a moment ago.

“Hyung, let me show you what I’ve made while you’re gone!”

Who is Yoongi to refuse when the boy looks so excited?

 

This dream is getting tiring. Yoongi didn’t know that a dream can be so tiring. Perhaps he should thank Jungkook for that realization.

There is really no telling on how much time has passed ever since he lets Jungkook drag him around the place. The place has turned into an innocent amusement into a total nightmare. Worst of all, he has to live the nightmare alongside with Jungkook’s sadistic laughter - just like how he lost a piece of his soul when he is zooming in the roller coaster ride that consists of three big loops. All while Jungkook is laughing happily next to him with his hands thrown in the air.

“Come on, that’s just one of the many masterpieces!”

Yoongi can’t believe that he escaped Hoseok’s exercise routine just to face the devil’s spawn himself. He’d pick Hoseok any other day.

“I give up! Holy shit. Do you ever get tired?”

“Okay, okay. Don’t die just yet. I don’t want to lose you,” Jungkook says, but still keeping his hold on Yoongi’s hand to drag him to another direction. Yoongi is too tired at this point to feel awkward about the holding hands, or the choice of words.

(He will think of it later on, when he is awake in his bed with his eyes wide open and the feeling of Jungkook’s hand still lingering in his hand like a phantom wound. A reminder that Jungkook is a real and living person.)

The next thing that Jungkook shows him after his proudly presented rides turns out to be a vending machine full of coffee cans and energy drinks.

“Great. So you know that I need a lot of energy to keep up with you.”

Jungkook grins, punching on a button twice. The machine shakes gently before two loud thunks sound from the bottom of of it. He takes the cans of coffee, handing one to the elder before opening his own to take a sip.

“I’m not actually this hyper, you know. I think these coffees help me a lot ever since I invented this machine here. So I have you to thank for it.”

Reluctantly sipping his coffee as well, Yoongi flicks his gaze towards Jungkook, curious. “Do you ever sleep in this place, Jungkook?”

“Nope. Not when I can help it.”

“Why not Starbucks?”

“Why not Starbucks, he said,” Jungkook snorts, lifting his coffee can to tap it against yoongi’s with a soft thunk noise. “We both know that these cheap coffee holds more caffeine than those coffee flavored milk in Starbucks.”

Once they finished the coffee, Jungkook starts dragging Yoongi to show off his ‘creations’, and Yoongi can’t even bring himself to complain more when Jungkook looks so happy and proud about it.

It’s unfair.

 

Once they have covered the whole amusement park, it’s when Jungkook finally lets him rest. Yoongi chose to sit inside one of the cars in the ferris wheel, letting the machine run slowly to bring them to the highest point, and then down again, round and round, until they lost track of how many times they have gone in a circle.

Jungkook has gone from admiring the blinking lights of the amusement park rides below him into sinking into his seat with his bored look. He is looking at the ceiling of the car now, while Yoongi is eyeing him.

“Are you ready to talk now?”

“I only told you that I trust you because you approved my Avengers themed deathly roller coaster, also because you haven’t poofed out just yet. Usually you’ll be gone by now,” Jungkook is fidgeting with the sleeves of his hoodie while he says that. “Not because I trust trust you.”

“My alarm song is not going to ring anytime soon, so I still have like an eternity to convince you, probably,” Yoongi shrugs a shoulder nonchalantly, making it sound more like a fun challenge than anything else.

There is silence for a moment, and when he turns his attention back from looking at the starless sky back to Jungkook’s face, he is greeted by the boy’s pensive look.

“What?”

“Nothing. It’s just… funny,” he forces out an awkward laughter. “If we had met when I was still alive. We would never be friends, you know? I think it’s a kind of blessing that we’re both trapped with each other, and starting to learn how to handle the other.”

“That’s out of the blue. Did you think of me a lot that you’ve come into such conclusion?” Yoongi jokes, resting his chin on his palm as he peers up at the younger who is not meeting his eyes. If he doesn’t know better, he might think that Jungkook is flustered.

“Not that much. I’m just enjoying our time too much that I’m being selfish, you know? Wanting more. You can go anywhere when you’re awake, so it must be boring staying here with me in the same amusement park each time,” he starts talking faster by the end of his statement, frowning when he can’t find the right words to present what he is feeling. Ferris wheel always does things to make you come up with an emotional speech, and Yoongi is proud of his decision to take the ride despite his fear of height. “And no, you can’t tell me ‘oh Jungkook, just wake up and we can make it happen’ because this is not a privilege I can have in my waking life.”

There are so many questions running inside Yoongi’s head now. He wants to know what Jungkook means by privilege, how it relates to his unwillingness to come back, and just how much time they have spent together for Jungkook has already started using his dreaming terms. He wants to know so many things about Jungkook.

Perhaps it can wait. They have all the time in the world down here. Yoongi will make sure that the latter can feel it, too.

“Jungkook,” Yoongi calls out, snapping the younger out of his little moment of confusion. “Have I told you what you have to do when you want to come back?”

“Uhm, yeah? You have to, quote unquote ‘die willingly’ here.”

“So you know that I can’t make you leave this place without your consent right?” he asks again, now gaining more question marks sent towards him from the look in Jungkook’s eyes alone.

“Yes? What are you on about, hyung?”

Yoongi just smiles and holds out his hand. “You said you trusted me, so please trust me this once too. I’m going to make your dream come true.”

It’s corny. Technically, he is not making any dream come true either since they are still stuck inside this dream for God knows how long.

In the 26 years of his life, Yoongi has made some bad decisions. This one is the one that he most probably regrets in the future when he looks back and sees how stupid he is for this one client that he needs to save, yet end up spoiling.

Then, he will just think about the consequences in the future. That’s his decision when Jungkook finally takes his hands. They both close their eyes while the world changes around them.

 

-

 

Dreaming inside a dream is something common for Yoongi. This kind of dream, however, is a whole new experience in a decade of his career as a professional lucid dreamer.

The mindspace is a place of endless possibilities.

It’s a gamble every time Yoongi asks his companion to close his eyes and take his hand. They are jumping from one mind space into another. In what feels like a blink of eyes, the two of them have experienced several alternate universes made by people who have stopped by inside the limbo and left their definition of perfect world on their wake.

First, there is a circus. Scent of caramel wafting about the air and cheers coming from inside the huge tent. There is no one inside the tent, though. They spent their time admiring the detailed decorations around the place until they feel a presence of another dreamer in this space and are forced to take each other’s hand and make another jump.

It’s a familiar building of the magical world Yoongi has grown up watching. Hogwarts. Jungkook takes a great interest in this one. He even fabricates a pair of school robes for them to play dress up so they can explore the castle. Too bad, without any people around, the place is dulled a lot in comparison to what they have seen in the real Harry Potter movies.

Still, Jungkook is so easily amused that he is smiling while they’re walking down the dark corridor. Pictures are moving around them and staircases creak when they walk down.

“The owner of this dream forgot to make the staircases move, too. This is no fun.”

“We can go to the real Hogwarts castle and then back here to build a better one,” Yoongi accidentally jokes, only to catch Jungkook’s sour look thrown at him.

It makes him take the Jungkook’s hand to move them to another place.

After a trip to the bread house from Hansel and Gretel, a casino, and a museum, Yoongi can feel the world dematerialize around him. It doesn’t seem to affect Jungkook at all, for the male still has the biggest smile on his face as he runs through the corridor of the empty museum. He has voiced his particular liking to arts and Yoongi would have let him explore all he wants if only it’s not for the familiar sound of his kick song that is beginning to shake him out of his deep slumber.

Fucking Bach.

Within the last few seconds Yoongi has left in this world, he chases after Jungkook. His footsteps are echoing through the tall-ceiling corridor, attracting Jungkook’s attention until the younger is stopped dead on his track.

Yoongi lets himself collide against him. His arm looped around the younger’s unexpectedly small waist as he yells.

“Picture a place in your mind! Anything!”

The warmth and weight of Jungkook’s body against him dissipate into the thin air as he is cruelly dropped into his bed. Wide awake. And already missing what he could have inside a dream.

The most painful thing about waking up is the euphoria that is ripped away from him without any mercy. It’s not a slow process, but a bucket of iced water splashed onto his face.

There was time in his teenager days when he first started exploring the possibilities inside a dream and got high on the feeling of being the God inside a dream. He liked the thrill, liked to have everything he would never dare to imagine in real life. It had put him in danger then, making him swallow too much sleeping pills than he could handle.

He made a vow to himself when he woke up in the hospital bed, that this would never happen again for the sake of himself and the people he loved.

This time, he can feel the addiction starting to eat him up again, finding its way under his skin until his fingertips tremble with the urge.

Who is it between he and Jungkook that actually needs to be saved?

 

-

 

Yoongi is not really a person who can open up easily, or ask for a favor for a friend without beating himself up over it a million of times. Even to gather his best friends for a talk like this, he needs to go through an hour thinking session after his daily meditation to see if it really is a good choice. Except that, he really has no other choice.

“That’s it, Yoongi. You are not allowed to sleep ever again,” Hoseok says grimly once Yoongi is finished with his story.

Grumbling, he plays with the straw of his drink. It’s his third chocolate milk for the day, and he is getting sick of it already, and probably would dump the whole thing, if it’s not for his mother who called and  insisted that he should replenish his sugar intake after his 23 hours of sleep.

“It should be OK this time, though, right? You just have to wake the boy up and you’ll be free from the deep sleep task?” Namjoon chimes.

“Thought there are already like 3 more people on his waiting list.”

“Ugh, don’t remind me,” Yoongi groans, remembering the emails that he has yet to reply.

Someone can only have so much dream for a night, and when he is occupied within Jungkook’s mind space, he is not going to really rest when he is asleep. Good thing his body is fooled to think that he has rested enough, at least.

“Have more,” Hoseok piles more pancakes into his plate, topped with a sunny side egg this time. It’s strange how the guy doesn’t even share a flat with them yet he knows his way around the kitchen better than Yoongi and Namjoon combined. “And while you’re at it, think of a way to cancel the job from this Jimin dude.”

Yoongi almost chokes. “No! What the heck.”

Both of his friends give him a surprised look at such a strong reaction, especially when he has been sluggish for the whole time today.

“I mean, I’ve spent many hours working on this and I won’t get paid if I quit midway.”

“How much did they agree to pay you again?” Namjoon takes out his wallet and pretends to take out a few bills from it, only for Yoongi to throw the yellow part of his egg towards him - just because he doesn’t like it and the male asked for it.

“Not much now, but the Jungkook dude is apparently rich, so I’m counting on it,” Yoongi stuffs the rest of his breakfast into his mouth, getting up while grumbling something about meeting the said person while he’s at it.

Hoseok breaks into a series of protest while Yoongi runs away to his room to grab his jacket.

Before he can make his way to leave, he hears a knock on his door, stopping him from gathering his stuff, when Namjoon’s head pops out from the crack he made from opening the door. “Listen. I can help you with one or two of your clients, but I need you to stop before you get too obsessed with,” he stops, gesticulating with the air around him as he tries to find the right word to make his point across. “This whole Jeon Jungkook thing.”

“Thank you,” he simply says, and he means it.

If only Namjoon knows that it might be too late for him not to get obsessed.

The meeting with Jimin he has today is not helping him at all with his decision to go on with the project.

Jimin is a student at Yonsei, so Yoongi offered to meet him at a study cafe he used to visit when he was still studying there. He waits at a seat by a window for five minutes before the blonde haired, chubby-cheeked boy comes over to him and takes the seat across from him. His cheeks are flushed from running and his breath is still evening up.

“Sorry! My class finished late and I had to run all the way here and… woah, I hadn’t realized how big our campus is.”

“No rush, really. I’m sluggish today,” Yoongi says simply, looking out of the window while sipping his coffee. The aesthetic here is no joke. He mentally takes a note of the layout of this cafe so he can put one on his mind space city. Maybe he can take Jungkook there someday just so he would stop drinking his cheap tasted canned coffee.

Why is he even thinking about that kid?

“So… how is the progress? I thought by now you’d have found him but,” Jimin grimaces, realizing that his words might come out wrong, so he quickly shakes his head and stutters out his explain when Yoongi looks at him again. “I mean, it makes me think that there might be a complication?”

Yoongi stares at him for a moment, reaching out to mess with his own hair absently as his nervous tic.

“Just as you said, I found him there. But have you considered a possibility that he might not want to come back?”

It’s a honest truth, but Yoongi still feels a sickening stone growing in his stomach from watching Jimin’s face darken. The boy is a blank piece of paper and everything is pictured on his face.

“There is no way that would happen,” suddenly, the soft-looking boy disappears from the seat, replaced by a Jimin who is filled with icy fire. “Jungkook would never… isn’t it scary there? He doesn’t like to be alone.”

Thinking about what Yoongi had come back to the other day, Jungkook seems to be enjoying his time alone a little too much, but he is not going to tell Jimin that yet. The blonde is deep in thought now, and Yoongi really wants to hightail his way out of this place.

Social contact has never been something he is good at. Awkward social contact is even worse.

“Hyung, what do you know about Jungkookie?”

There’s not much, really. Yoongi just tells him what he remembers from the narration he reads when he looks up the name with Namjoon. He meets Jimin’s disapproving look when he focuses his gaze again.

“It’s partly my fault for not telling detailed information about your client too, so, let me explain,” Jimin clasps his hands together. It’s amazing how his mood can change so quickly and now he is all smiling again as he tells the story about his friend.

Just like what Yoongi has stated earlier, Jeon Jungkook is an athlete who was born into a rich and prestigious athlete family. He has won some olympics when he was a kid, and he was trained to be the nation’s best asset in the 100m men category. His life seems to be a perfect one, and he looks happy, from the picture Yoongi has seen on the internet page where he is crossing the finish line with a bright smile on his face. It was the first and last time Yoongi ever seen Jungkook looks so alive.

“But that’s all only in the surface. Jungkook… hasn’t really lived,” Jimin starts. There he goes, entering the grim part of the story.

Jungkook has been homeschooled for his whole life. Everything he needed was included in the mansion his family lived at - also the mansion where his family was murdered, but we’re getting to that part later. Ever since he was a little boy, he was already trained every day for hours by his father who was a runner too. He never got to play outside of the tall fence of his house vicinity, and the only friend he had was Jimin who visited once in a while to take lessons from Jungkook’s father.

“That’s a sad life. You never took him out, at all?”

“Not like you’d be able to do it if you were in my shoes,” Jimin gives him a sharp look, breaking into a smile as soon as Yoongi is about to reach across the table to smack him. “Anyway, he had an agreement with his father. Mr. Jeon is going to let him enroll in a private university if he won the youth olympic game, and just as we all know, he won.”

But as you can see, I ended up being the only one who went into the uni,” he throws his gaze out of the window, staring at the Yonsei building with a sad glimmer in his eyes.

“He will join you soon. Once I get him to wake up,” Yoongi says, not wanting to see Jimin break into tears right there. “I’m working on it.”

“I just want him to experience a life that he deserves, hyung.”

Yoongi is generally not a positive thinking person. He sees the bad in situations and people first more than the good ones. In this situation, it is just natural for him that he should be prepared for the worst outcome.

It’s all changed when he opens his eyes to a beach, and sees Jungkook running up to him. His bare feet leaving prints on the damp sand and his eyes are shining with excitement to show Yoongi the new place of his choice.

He has to apologize to his friends again later, but there is no way that he is going to drop Jungkook.

 

-

 

“I’m glad you’re spending more time out of the bed now, Yoongs.”

You have no idea. He chooses not to look as his friend as he combs through the rows of books. Sure, it is unusual for him to come visit Namjoon like this at the college he is giving lectures at. What he does not know, however, is that Yoongi is already spending on taking another nap once he gets home from ‘researching’.

In his dream last night, Jungkook showed him the place of his choice - a beach. There was nothing else out there other than the beach - the sand and the sea, with a few palm trees decorating the surrounding area. It was so dull, but Jungkook had a sated smile on his lips while he was lying down and staring at the sky as blue as the water.

“I’ve never been to the beach before, so the view is not as satisfactory,” he had his lips pursed then as the ripples of small wave hit his bare feet, making him wiggle his toes. “I wish I could shape up more fish, and stars. Heard people stargaze a lot at beaches during the summer?”

If Yoongi can’t take Jungkook to the beach, he concludes that he can just take the beach to him.

“What’s the sudden interest in stars?” Namjoon asks again, breaking Yoongi’s focus from memorizing the constellation map spreads before him on the wide table.

“I’ve always been interested in stars. And fish,” he states before more questions can be asked, seeing that the latter is already eyeing the piles of his book choices. There are encyclopedias of stars and the seaworld on the table. “Unlike you. I don’t only read about philosophy.”

“I know you love philosophy, nerd.”

“Okay, just a little,” he trails off, lost in his focused state of tracing along the dots and patterns of the stars.

He didn’t realize that Namjoon has left until later on when he is already satisfied with his research, looking up to an empty seat across him on the table. At least the guy left his library card.

In fact, Yoongi was never really interested in stars, or fish.

He is more interested in seeing the sparks in Jungkook’s eyes when he is turning the sky into the familiar dark night sky the younger is accustomed with, but with a small twist. There was confusion at first, until dots of silver stars are scattered across the dark expanse of the sky, and a stifled gasp sounds from next to him. Biting back his smile, Yoongi falls back to lie down on top of the sand too, ignoring the coarse texture under his skin.

“Hyung, how did you-”

“Sorry that I had to leave just now. I had to get the mapping correctly, though technically you can’t see the whole thing in a single sky in the real world,” he explains, a proud smile forms on his lips seeing how he can still get the constellations correct even when the memory is buried deep in his subconscious. “But we’re dreaming, so…” God, he loves dreams.

“You went to study the stars just to decorate my mindspace?” Jungkook gives him an incredulous look.

It turns out that the beach is really something that Jungkook has formed by himself. The transition from when Yoongi was rudely woken up from their last dream adventure was imperfect that Jungkook ended up in an empty space, back in the white and stillness. He had conjured something from his mind, his deepest desire to go to the beach has fueled the place to be formed, and Yoongi couldn’t be any prouder of him when he saw the design first time he got there again.

“You know that this is all artificial, though, right? They’re always better in real life,” Yoongi says, lifting his arms to point at the direction of a constellation, and then a different one across the sky. “That’s Virgo, your zodiac. And then Pisces for mine.”

He knows that Jungkook is paying attention, but he stays silent until Yoongi drops his hand. That’s when Jungkook finds his hand, just innocently resting on top of each other until his fingers tighten around Yoongi’s hand.

“I think I’m just scared, to go back.”

The confession gathers Yoongi’s attention to him at once. He is staring at the sideview of Jungkook’s face while the younger is still looking up into the stars. The only hint that he is acknowledging Yoongi’s presence is the absent movement of his fingers, sliding between Yoongi’s and intertwining.

“I’ve seen more things in this place that I’ve ever seen in my life. Throughout the 20 years of my life, I’ve just been running and running. I mean, I’m happy? I’m happy because my father is proud of me and that my nation is supporting me, but,” he takes a deep breath which sounds watery during the exhalation. “I can’t even remember the thrill from that life of me anymore.”

Yoongi has seen many things in his career as a dreamer. He has seen lost souls, people who lost themselves inside the dreams and people who cried to come back to their bodies. Yoongi has left people and brought them back. It gives him a sense of being savior, but he has never really considered the point of view of a long term wanderer.

“You have your family, though. They’re desperately waiting for you to wake up. So does Jimin; heck, the reason why I was here in the first place was because he cried for me to help you.”

“Ah, Jimin. Jimin hyung,” Jungkook breaks into a soft laughter. Eyes swimming with the shine of nostalgia and memories. “I’ve always envied him, you know. He was free. He went to other cities and countries and brought me souvenirs. I was mean to him because he had everything I didn’t have, but he was still so nice to me.”

“You’re being nice to me while I have every intention to kill you and kick you back to your real head. You two are just about the same, I think,” Yoongi tries to lift up the mood a little. Deep and emotional talks always make him feel a little awkward, especially when he doesn’t have anything nice to say about it.

Luckily, Jungkook does laugh because of that, his eyes crinkled as he lets go of Yoongi’s hand to brush over the corners of them with his fingers.

“Dumb. You know you can’t really get rid of me. Who knows where will I end up in? Probably in the sleep paralysis state for the rest of my life. At least until they unplug me.”

Yoongi frowns. “How did you know about… that.”

“Where do you think I disappear to when I’m asleep?” he asks. Yoongi just shrugs because despite having experienced many things related to dreams, he has never been in a comatose state. “I woke up in my bed at the hospital, but paralyzed. Everything is still and quiet, and sometimes you get hallucinations, but they are actually just something that happened in the real life, distorted by the dream. I can still hear when they are speaking in the room.”

So Jungkook wakes up feeling dead in his body. Now Yoongi can understand where the fear comes from. Sleep paralysis is the worst.

“Is that why you drank all that coffee?”

He just stares at Yoongi, eyes shining with the remnants of unshed tears. This way, Yoongi can see the reflection of stars in Jungkook’s eyes, combined with the natural shine, that draws him in. Yoongi would be stupid to resist it.

“Do you still want to kill me now?” he asks.

A Stupid question because...

“Not now. I just really want to kiss you right now.”

There is a hint of surprise with how Jungkook’s lips part, but there is no recoiling movement or twist of disgust in his face. His eyelids flutter a tad bit when Yoongi pushes himself up on his elbow and leans in to close the distance between their faces. It’s just the right thing to do.

The first contact is the nudge of Yoongi’s nose against his, nudging innocently and eliciting a small smile on Jungkook’s lips. Then Yoongi tips his head to a side so he can brush his lips along Jungkook’s soft tiers. They tremble slightly under the touch, but Jungkook is the one who leans up and catches Yoongi’s lips in a kiss.

The electricity running through his spine from the kiss has Yoongi gasping softly, diving in for more and more. It can be an hour, or a few seconds, but it never feels enough that Yoongi curses aloud when he hears the song starts playing in his head, echoing far away in his subconscious just enough to remind him of his waking world. No way, it’s too soon.

The last thing he witnesses is the disappointment in Jungkook’s face, and the next time he opens his eyes, it is to a sight of Hoseok shaking him awake.

“You’re on the sleeping pills again, Yoongi. We had an agreement.”

Who even lets the guy into the dorm? Yoongi can only sit there on his bed as Hoseok leaves the room. The bottle of sleeping pills rattling in his hand as he marches out of the room. He was really only there to wake Yoongi up, destroying the moment he has been yearning for, and ripping him away from Jungkook. How cruel can one be without being aware of it? Yoongi is not sure, but it is enough for him to plot 32 murder scenarios in his head just so his friend can stop intercepting important moments in his dream.

 

-

 

“I’m working on it. I really am,” Yoongi is almost losing his patience as he answers Jimin’s questions.

He has been grumpy ever since he woke up from his last dream with Jungkook. There is no way for him to enter he mindspace without his sleeping pills or being so tired out of his mind like the last time. Now, Jimin is even pushing him to do better, when he can’t even do his other job because of this demanding one. Not that he is going to tell Jimin just what is going on between him and Yoongi that he hasn’t given up or made a significant progress until now. He can’t tell the boy that his focus has shifted into something else that’s deeper than just a rescue mission.

“I’m sorry, hyung, but I’m just really restless,” Jimin says, pouting slightly because of the risen tone of Yoongi’s voice. He would probably cry if they were somewhere else other than in the library and Yoongi can yell at him.

“I know, but the kid is just starting to open up to me. I need a little more time.”

“Opening up in what way? Do you really think he would want to go if he trusts you enough?” Jimin says, seeming to be deep in thought for a moment while Yoongi is flipping through his book. “Maybe I should come join you.”

That gains the elder’s attention, making him look at Jimin with a sharp glare.

“Do you know what it is down there? Do you want to lose your mind?”

Jimin shrinks under the look, but not backing down easily. “If Jungkook can do it, then I can too!”

“Jungkook doesn’t have any choice. But you can. Like, you can stay here and maybe help me…” Yoongi trails off as an idea clicked into place in his head. “Wait, maybe you can help me with my other works so I can prioritize this mindspace shit.”

The latter blinks at the turn of event, watching as Yoongi pats around his coat pockets to produce a small agenda which he shoved onto Jimin’s chest. “There are some address and details of the clients in this book. They have transferred the downpayment to me, but you can have the rest. I just need to finish the rest of the gigs and not accepting more.”

“You want me to be like you? Dream sharing with people and reminding them that they have to wake up? And even kill them inside the dream to wake them up?”

“Well, yeah. If you put it that way,” Yoongi shrugs a shoulder. “Can you do it?”

“I mean, if you want me to…”

“Great!” Yoongi closes his book abruptly, shoving it into Jimin’s empty hand before he slips past the space between the guy and a bookshelf. “I’ll text you later for more details, but now I have a place I must visit.”

Receiving the heavy book in his hand has Jimin occupied for a second too long, especially upon inspecting that it is actually a cooking book instead of some research book like what Yoongi suggested he was looking for. But the elder has already gone by the time he turns around to ask.

 

Ten minutes after exiting the library, Yoongi has found his way downtown, through the darker alleys where people rarely visit. It is a questionable area of the town. Rumors of mugging and murders in the area often decorated the news headlines that people are convinced to not have any business here. While in fact, it is just where the people do transactions underground - illegal electronics, drugs, organs; you name it.

The shop that Yoongi is visiting is a small shop decorated in red. There is a tilted banner with ‘Magic shop’ written on it, already blurred out from how old it is.

The owner of the place is a male about his age, looking all mysterious and dark under the red neon light that illuminates the small room of the shop. He lifts his gaze from the paper he is reading when the bell chime with Yoongi walking into the shop.

“I thought you would never take my offer, Min Yoongi, but here you are now.”

“Never found any reason why I’d need it before, but now I do,” Yoongi simply says, taking a seat in front of the shop owner. They are separated by desk that serves as a protection from the latter’s inquiring gaze on him. Also from having the Kim Seokjin himself being too close to him, since even now, he already has his hands folded on the desk as a mean to lean in and inspect Yoongi’s face closer.

Seokjin himself was the one who came to Yoongi and offered his help after the sleeping pills fiasco got leaked into the internet. He knew that Yoongi had to swallow the pills in order to be awake in the other realm, and he offered a safer way to do it. Sedative.

“You are into the mindspace again now, huh?”

“It’s none of your business, Seokjin-ssi,” Yoongi smiles, sliding in an envelope full of cash across the desk in hope to shut the shop owner up. “I need the strongest one you have.”

The money seems to work well in getting Seokjin’s attention, because then the male gets up from his seat and disappear further into the shop. When he is back, he brings a case with him, handing it to Yoongi in exchange of the envelope.

“4 days, tops. You need to have someone in charge to give you a kick at least once every day, though. You’re not a sleeping beauty, after all.”

Yoongi scoffs and takes the box from the table, not sparing any look at the shop owner as he exits the place. Now that he got his own, safer version of sleeping pills, Namjoon and Hoseok have no more reasons to be worried anymore. Right?

 

-

 

The gentle brush of summer breeze on his cheek and the smell of salt water is starting to be familiar, and something to be looking forward to.

The sky is filled with orange streaks of dusk. Jungkook has gotten rid of the constellations that Yoongi drew for him the last time they met. How long has it been already? He didn’t get enough time to grasp the concept of time difference between the mindspace and the waking life. Seeing Jungkook’s face when their eyes met gives him enough indication on just how long time has passed already.

“Why are you even here?” Jungkook just sounds genuinely upset now, rushing to get on his feet the moment he spots Yoongi walking towards him. “Do you know how long has it been? Might as well just not come back at all!”

Okay. Maybe he has taken too long to find his way back.

“Wait, I’m sorry. My friend took my sleeping pills so I-” Yoongi tries to explain, but the sight of Jungkook marching towards him had him a little intimidated that he is walking backwards, only to trip on his own feet and falls onto the sand on his butt.

“You have another life. This is just very little time of your day that you spent with me, but for me, it’s everything. I had too much time trying to figure what was it that you were trying to say,” Jungkook has grown quieter now that he’s reached the other, his gaze dropping as he added. “You can’t just kiss me and left like that.”

“I’m sorry.”

He doesn’t even have any excuse anymore at this point. It is true that Jungkook only has him now, and he had already voiced out how scary it was for him - only for Yoongi to leave him with more things to think about.

Jungkook lets out an exasperated sigh before dropping down as well. He is covering Yoongi’s body with his own, almost making the elder stumble only to catch himself at the last second, with Jungkook’s head rested on his shoulder and his arms around Jungkook’s lean waist.

“I thought you might not want to come back anymore. You can drop me any time.”

“I will never do that. I promised you, didn’t I?” he tries to assure the younger, turning his head to press a kiss on the side of his head. There is a hitched breathing, and Jungkook’s grip tighten around a handful of Yoongi’s shirt. “I’m here to stay for a longer time now. Nobody will bother us.”

“Everyone keeps promising things but I never got any of those,” the bitterness in Jungkook’s tone makes him grimace, dropping his hands around Jungkook’s frame to hold him closer and also preventing him from pulling away. Not that he is showing any hint to pull away from his position anytime soon.

“The kiss, I keep thinking about it too,” Yoongi says, finally getting a reaction as Jungkook lifts his face to peer up at the elder. “It seemed like the best timing, and now I can’t really demand for a redo since you’re still mad at me.”

“I’m not mad.”

“You were going to punch me. I could see that from a mile away.”

Jungkook scoffs at that, acknowledging the accusation. But he doesn’t flinch or turn his head away when Yoongi holds his chin between his thumb and forefinger. He is frozen there, holding his breath in anticipation when Yoongi closes the distance between their lips. Once again it is a more desperate kiss. Lips chasing after the other for more of a taste, for a second longer of the contact. Mostly it’s Jungkook who is trying to accelerate the act, only to melt the moment Yoongi has his hand rested on his waist, taking away his worries about their time being limited.

There is really no rush anymore between them, and by the time Jungkook pulls away from the slow dance of their lips, Yoongi is lying down on the sand. The sea water is seeping into his shirt and wetting his hair.

It’s uncomfortable, but right now it’s just perfect.

“It’s hard to admit, but I missed you,” Jungkook says softly, earning a squeeze around his waist as he is pulled back down.

His answer comes in the shape of ‘missed you too, so much’ whispered against his lips, lingering there like the aftertaste of lollipop and cotton candies sticking on his lips. He would replace the sweets with a subtle taste of sea salt if it means that Jungkook is willing to stay with him.

 

There is a strict rule in lucid dreamer community to never build something based on the memories you cherish the most. Exhibit A: the house you grew up in.

As usual, Yoongi does the thing he is specifically told not to.

If Jungkook is bringing the place from his future - the place that he wants to visit the most if he ever comes back in his waking life, Yoongi is bringing a piece of his past with him. He builds a house by the beach so they can stop hanging out in the open and getting sand in their pockets.

It is a modest house, just like how Yoongi remembers it from the last time he went back to his family house in Daegu. The house is painted white, with a lot of windows and a cozy living room with electric heater buzzing throughout the year - just to replace the sense of warmth you can get from a family. His parents bedroom are kept in the same place, behind a locked door a few doors away from Yoongi’s own room.

“This is so ugly,” is Jungkook’s first comment upon entering the room.

The interior is decorated in black or grey, and there are a few posters of Yoongi’s favorite rappers and football clubs stuck on the walls as a memory from his teenage life. Despite the insult, there is an amusement and a hint of fondness in Jungkook’s face as he makes a quick tour around the room.

He ends up joining Yoongi in bed a little later, burrowed in the comfort of a spring bed and soft blanket over him. What has started as an innocent cuddling session soon turns into a more heated kiss. Since Yoongi can actually have Jungkook beneath him on the bed and not on the ground.

“You’re so…” he loses his words as he stops with his lips pressed against a corner of Jungkook’s. His eyes falling shut as he basks in the comfort he gains and another rush of feelings that make his chest tighten. “Dreamy.”

“Is that why we can only meet inside the dream?”

Yoongi makes a deep growling sound in his throat, ducking his head to hide a pained smile as he presses his face in the crook of Jungkook’s neck. “It doesn’t have to be that way,” he murmurs the words into the soft skin, only for them to fall on deaf ears.

 

When you have all the time in the world, it is more relaxing since you are not rushed to talk about a certain matter, or to find something to do.

Cooking is not Yoongi’s thing, but he finds himself spending more and more time in the kitchen to replicate the dishes he has seen in the cooking book. There has been some trials and errors, laughters as the food turns out to hold a different expectation from the way it looks. But it’s fine because they can always try and try again until they find the version they like.

Jungkook really only cares for the sweets, ignoring the next series of savory food Yoongi makes so that he can gobble down the dessert. He likes to sit on the tall stool by the counter and swings his feet lightly along with the beat hummed by the elder. He takes all the strawberries from the cheesecake and gets away with it, too. How spoiled.

“Next question. Worst ex?”

“What kind of question…” Yoongi groans, resting his elbow on the counter and his chin on top of his palm as he watches Jungkook lick the frosting from his lips. “I don’t even remember anymore. You know your memories get vague inside a dream…” that’s a lie.

“Fine, worst kiss, then.”

“Namjoon. It was so awkward, God. Platonic bro is really not meant to be romantically involved.”

“Really? Jimin and his formerly platonic bro are pretty gay for each other,” says Jungkook with a scowl. “And it’s not like I’m jealous or something, but there was a stray nude that got posted into our group chat and I could have lived without seeing that.”

“Gross.” Yoongi snorts. “How about you, then? Worst ex?”

“No exes. Just some flings during olympics, but those stuff never get serious. Not when you’re trying to step on each other to get to the top.”

“That does sound boring, not really different from uni though. You better get prepared.”

“Am I ever going to?”

It’s a rhetorical question, since Yoongi should have known his stubborn answer at this point. Whatever Yoongi did is not enough to change his mind, and now that he has a company in this safe haven, what is there to see in the real world?

For Yoongi, it might be a short trip to the other side where they can spend the summer holiday in a world belongs solely to both of them. For Jungkook, it’s forever.

Yoongi does not want to think about forever.

What he does think about is the way Jungkook’s lips move as he speaks, or part naturally even when he is not doing anything. Without really thinking, he has already leaned in to press a kiss on Jungkook’s mouth, stopping whatever it is that the younger was about to say.

It’s a chaste kiss that holds a sugary hint from the dessert. They don’t need any explanation anymore about the kisses they are sharing at this point, but Jungkook is still casting his gaze down when Yoongi pulls away.

“When you’re doing this kind of thing, I get so comfortable that it will be dangerous for me,” he says, eyes fluttering subconsciously when he feels a brush of Yoongi’s knuckles along his cheek. “Makes me want to fall asleep in your arms.”

“Then sleep,” Yoongi frowns, seeing the way Jungkook’s eyelashes aren’t dropping from the comfort anymore.

It’s hard to pinpoint the daylight and nighttime here, since they can will the sun to come up and go down whenever they want. It is also unclear if they need to sleep when they are already dreaming, but Yoongi still has to see that later for himself. Meanwhile, Jungkook is obviously low on fatigue.

“I don’t want to.”

“Don’t be stupid. Let’s come to bed,” says Yoongi with an irritated huff.

He is already halfway around the long table top when Jungkook suddenly hops off his stool, eyes now fully opened and any sign of drowsiness disappears from his visage.

“I told you I don’t want to,” he says with an exasperated edge on it, recoiling when Yoongi reaches out to touch him and turning around to march his way out of the house. “I’m going for a run.”

 

When Jungkook actually falls asleep in his arms, he is low on guard. He looks even more harmless than any other day when he looks like he can snap at anyone for getting into his space - not that there is anyone else to do that for him. It happens when Yoongi is being unnecessarily gentle with him again, playing with his hair or his fingers.

Today it happened when Yoongi was playing a few of his favorite tracks for him. One second he is commenting about the song, and then he is suddenly silent, head lolled back against Yoongi’s shoulder as his back comfortably fits against Yoongi’s chest.

Noticing that, the elder turns down the volume of the audio, shifting the boy’s position in his arms so he can curl them around the small waist and pull him in a back hug while he leans comfortably against the backrest of the couch.

There is nowhere else to go where you fall asleep on the deepest layer of a dream.

With the sound of Jungkook’s gentle breathing as the background music, he brings the night sky into their house. Dots of constellations start to form on the ceiling in golden ink, spreading from the living room to the rest of the rooms in the house.

Before he can finish the job, however, he feels a shudder reverberating through the body in his arms.

If Jungkook has been sleeping restlessly, Yoongi didn’t realize it until now. As the hint is unmistakable. It’s only getting worse no matter how much he tries to shush him and run his fingers through the dark locks, or pressing a few kisses on his temple and telling him that everything is going to be okay.

If someone goes back into his own comatose body when he is asleep in the limbo, just how much of a nightmare can his waking life be?

With a loud gasp, Jungkook finally snaps his eyes open. He is struggling against Yoongi’s hold around him, twisting his body out from the comfort and sitting up on the couch between the hyung’s legs. He is sweating a lot, chest rising and falling while his hand pressed against it as if to feel his own heartbeat.

“Hey… nightmare?” asks Yoongi. A stupid question since they both know that dreams don’t come to them anymore. There’s no pain in acting as if this is their real life instead, though.

“Why did you let me sleep?” he accuses, a betrayed look in his face. “I told you I don’t want to sleep.”

“But you looked so tired, so I thought-”

“You thought nothing.”

Silence comes between them like a thick fog after the sharp accusation. Yoongi is now sitting down as well, his face darkens. It must be alarming, because as soon as Jungkook has no more trouble breathing, he is reaching out for Yoongi, resting his hand on the elder’s thigh and mumbling his apology.

“Sorry… it’s been a while. I forgot how scary it was,” he says.

If Yoongi was upset, it’s all melted away in the sigh that he exhales the moment he sees the way Jungkook’s shoulders slump and tears shining on the corner of his eyes. He gathers his lover into his arms, pulling him down so they can lie back down on the couch.

“Are you going to tell me what you saw?” Yoongi asks.

Jungkook shakes his head stubbornly, pressing his face onto Yoongi’s shoulder and exhaling a shaky breath. At least the shiver has gone from his frame, and he starts getting more relaxed with every moment passing. 08

“This is not working. You should tell me so I can help you, Jungkook-ah,” he gently tilts the younger’s head up, a hand rested on his cheek as he tries to read what’s pictured in his eyes. They used to tell him stories, emotions, and everything that Jungkook wants him to know, but now Yoongi can only see fear and anguish swimming inside the dark orbs.

“I’m sorry. It’s fucked up, I know. You’ve been in sleep paralysis too, so you must know how it feels,” he starts. Yoongi only hums to acknowledge. “Your body is pinned down and you are unable to move on your own will for what feels like hours. Before my mind slipped into limbo, that’s where I was for a while.”

“Fuck. You weren’t-”

“I was there. I was paralyzed inside my own body, in a room that was supposed to be my hospital room, except it wasn’t. Everything was grey, and sometimes I hear voices talking to me, trying to get me to hold on and wake up, but I can’t answer. Can’t tell them how much it hurts. The gunshot wound. It hurt so bad.”

Yoongi has never heard about this before, not even from his other clients who have been in the limbo. A few minutes of being in paralysis could have driven driven him crazy sometimes; he can’t imagine what the boy had to go through.

“Your head… does it still hurt sometimes?” he tries to say something, running his fingers through Jungkook’s hair and brushing the fringe off his his face.

There’s confusion in Jungkook’s face as he peers up at him, eyebrows taut  and lips pursed. “My head, hyung? Do you know where I was shot?”

“The article I read said that… wait, it’s not your head?”

Jungkook laughs dryly. “If only. That would be an easy death, huh? But I was awake that night, and I thought I could run from them. I could, but I couldn’t run away from the bullet.”

Yoongi stares at him, imagining the scene unfolds at the mansion.

“It hit my back,” he continues, dropping his head back to rest on Yoongi’s shoulder. “I could hear what the doctors said about it. Can’t understand the medical term, but the bullet hit my spine, and if there’s a miracle where I would wake up, I won’t be able to run anymore.”

This is it, the reason why Jungkook won’t come back with him. If it is enough shake Jungkook up like this, who is he to force Jungkook to come back to his waking life that has become a nightmare for him?

“And then they also talked about how my parents and brother didn’t survive. I couldn’t even cry then, I-”

“Jungkook. It’s fine, you’ve said enough.” Yoongi stops him before he can go into another breakdown like the one he had during his sleep, tightening his arms around the supposedly taller male. Right now, though, he feels so small and frail in his hold that Yoongi would probably give up the world to make him smile again.

“I’m sorry for being weak,” Jungkook says, sniffling softly and rubbing his face into Yoongi’s shirt. “When you disappeared, I used to think of coming back. Thinking that it would worth it in the end… but  would it?”

Yoongi takes a deep breath. His head lolls back to let him stare a the light glistening from the constellations spread over the ceiling.

“I can’t promise you that everything will be alright, but if you give me a chance and let us meet in the waking life, this doesn’t need to stay as a dream anymore,” Yoongi whispers into his hair. “You deserve the best in any life you are living.”

There is a hitch of breath that makes Jungkook’s body shake slightly, which could have passed as a stray sob from his earlier crying. Before Yoongi can think more about it, Jungkook suddenly jumps in his hold. It’s alarming, except for the fact that the tears have all dried, leaving only the shine in his pair of eyes. The sadness is replaced by surprise and realization; as if he just recalled something.

“That reminded me. Why are you not awake yet?” he frowns, grabbing the front of Yoongi’s shirt and shaking him a little. “You’re not dead, right?”

Yoongi scoffs. “Nonsense. I just found a way to sleep a little longer than usually.”

“Why would you want to do that when you have your life? Now you have to stay here…”

“Isn’t it obvious?” he asks quietly, fingers finding their way between Jungkook’s.

Okay, that might be too much.

The contact disappears as soon as it’s made. Jungkook is huffing as he slides off from his spot on the couch, complaining about how his muscles feel stiff after not being moved for so long. The reddening of his ears is not missed by Yoongi’s sharp eyes, and that’s the only reason he is not chasing after the younger as he’s already disappeared out of the door for another run.

 

Holding hands start to become something acceptable for them by the time they find their way out of the confinement of their beach house.

Yoongi took them to the city he built a long time ago. Sure, he was the one who designed everything, but things have gotten so vague throughout the years that he can’t remember his way in his own city anymore. The only thing holding him back from feeling bummed about it is Jungkook’s gleeful laugh as they lost their way between the buildings and unnamed streets.

“This is cool! I remember this place in Seoul but it’s not supposed to look like this,” Jungkook chimes as he peeks into a tent of a street food stall.

It was one of the street market at the park Yoongi likes to visit during winter night. He remembers going with Namjoon to fulfill their cravings for a stress food during an exam week. The philosophy major has not been so kind on them.

(“Philosophy major, seriously?” Jungkook’s eyes were bulging with incredulity when Yoongi told him about his degree. “I expected you to be boring, but not this boring.”)

“I made this based on memories, but as you know, we are not supposed to get everything exactly in the same shape as the reality,” says Yoongi. “Your mind will trick you to believe that this is the reality, and then you will probably go mad from cognitive dissonance.”

“I love it when you talk nerd with me,” Jungkook says with a roll of his eyes, already losing interest on the street as he is zooming towards another direction.

The warmth of their hands locked together is what led Yoongi through the city. He has always hated this creation of his for it remind him of his foolishness - the mistake he has made and learnt from in the past. This time, he is reminded that he is probably in the progress of making the same mistake; a graver one, if possible.

Their hands are only separated by the time they entered a part of the city illuminated by yellow street lamps. Yoongi had built this area based on the moive he’d seen where the setting was portrayed in Venice. It’s dark, but it’s perfect.

It’s perfect, especially when Jungkook is pushing him against the wall next to the buzzing trattoria. There is a sense of thrill doing this in the open, even when both of them know that they are the only souls alive in this city. Still, Yoongi has to push him away when he feels desperate hands start touching him all over, running low to the belt of his pants and trying to pry it open.

“Jungkook-ah,” Yoongi turns his head from the kiss to speak. “We shouldn’t do this. Not here. Not like this.”

“Why? There’s no one else here,” there’s a hint of whine in Jungkook’s voice. He does stop because Yoongi wants him to, eyeing him inquiringly.

“Just… it’s a dream. I can’t do this in a dream,” says Yoongi.

“What a stupid reason.”

There is an edge of annoyance in his voice as he says that. His eyes are still searching Yoongi’s face. By now, he can recognize the look. The wants written all over Yoongi’s face even as he tries to stop him.

“Kook-” Yoongi’s protest is lost in a groan as Jungkook has a thigh slotted in between his legs, pushing up against his heated groin. He’s already hard in his jeans just from their slow making out session. There’s no way he can win this fight.

“Hyung. I know what you’re thinking,” he says, nipping gently on Yoongi’s lower lip. “I’m not one of your projections. This might be a dream, but I am real, and so are you. What difference would it make from doing this in waking life?”

When did Jungkook start getting so good at coaxing him? It’s already hard not to give in without him being so smart about it.

When he doesn’t try to say anything else against the reasoning, Jungkook takes it as an okay for him to finally undo his jeans. Yoongi is too lost in his thoughts, trying to convince himself that this is just a dream - one of his wet dream. It’s a bad move for his part because the next time he’s focused in the reality ( or dream, whatever ) again, Jungkook is on his knees.

“Is this still not real enough for you, hyung?” Jungkook is trying to bite back a grin as he peers up at the elder who is slowly losing his mind, tongue poking out to lick a strip up Yoongi’s length and circling around the head. The contact is wet and perfect, making him twitch with another surge of arousal.

“Fucking brat-”

Biting his own lip, Yoongi takes a hold of his own length, squeezing the base to stop himself from coming too soon just from the sight below him. A bead of precum is forming on his tip as he taps it onto Jungkook’s shiny lower lip.

“If you really want to do this, you have to open up and show hyung how good you can be for him.”

He doesn’t really know what he is doing at this point, but he knows that Jungkook has been waiting for it. His eyelashes flutter and he moans when he takes the shaft into his mouth, feeling it throb on top of his tongue as fingers tighten in his dark locks.

The sounds of their groans and panting breaths are lost in the dark alleys of the forgotten city. This night, however, changes the dynamic between them a little too drastically.

 

Yoongi realizes it a little too late.

Not when he brought Jungkook to his apartment. It was a spontaneous creation. He hadn’t really thought of where they were going - could have been to the mansion he had created for himself in this artificial city. But no. Suddenly they were running through the very familiar street and alley that lead them to the apartment building he shared with Namjoon.

Except that there is no Namjoon, and this is just him bringing a piece of his reality with him into the dream again.

The present, this time.

He should probably think about how fucked up he would be later on, after breaking every single rule he has set for himself. For now, he is rendered unable to think. Not when Jungkook is looking like this. Red-kissed lips parting with each puff of breath he released, cheeks flushed from both the warmth of his rushing blood and the coldness of the street.

“I believe you were telling me that you wanted to return the favor?” Jungkook says. If Yoongi didn’t know better, he’d describe the look in Jungkook’s face to be coy, when he knows the boy is aware of what he is doing.

Especially when he is climbing into the bed alongside him, discarding his shirt and straddling his hips. He is only clad in his briefs, stretched over the hardening lump at the front.

“I’m still not into this whole sex dream though,” Yoongi grunted.

“You’re warming up to it, that’s some- oh ,” Jungkook’s voice is lost in a breathless moan as Yoongi’s hand finds its way up along his thigh. His thumb pressed against the front of his briefs where a damp spot starts to form, teasing the head of his hardening cock with circular motions of his finger that makes Jungkook’s thighs shake. “See? You’re totally into this, hyung.”

“Maybe I’m just into you,” he says simply, taking a small delight from the way Jungkook’s breath hitch, either from his words or the movement of his hand peeling the fabric of his boxers down.

His length is fully hard, already like this ever since he got down on his knees out on that dark street. It’s embarrassing how he is twitching and dripping into Yoongi’s hand as the elder starts pumping his hardness, hips rocking forward for more.

“Faster, faster,” he whines. Thighs tensing where they are bracketing Yoongi’s hips, and fingers impatiently start tugging and unbuttoning Yoongi’s black shirt, leaving it hanging on his sides just so he can rest his hands on Yoongi’s bare skin.

“You sure you wanna come like this? Not that I’m complaining,” Yoongi asks. His head lolled back as he watches the sight before him. Jungkook is such a sight, squirming and choking on a gasp when he twists his hand or rub onto his sensitive head.

“Can come like this… wanna come-”

“Or you can come up and fuck my mouth.”

The invitation makes Jungkook’s movement falter. He peers up at Yoongi with his eyes round and glassy from the heat.

“For real?” asks Jungkook, frowning when Yoongi take his hand off his aching length. “That would be so hot.”

That’s how they ended up in this position. With Jungkook gripping onto the headboard as his hips stutter to not move so quickly and choke Yoongi with his shaft. The vein in his neck is visible and there is a sheen sweat on his skin as he tips his head back in ecstasy. Yoongi likes to think that it is him and his tongue gliding along the throbbing cock that is reducing Jungkook into this state.

When Jungkook comes, it’s with Yoongi’s name spilling past his lips in a carnal moan.

He is shaking as Yoongi keeps a tight hold around his thighs, milking his orgasm and swallowing around him. The rush of pleasure doesn’t stop even once he’s calmed down, now tugging on Yoongi’s hair since he won’t stop swirling his tongue around his now oversensitive cock.

“You’re doing it in purpose,” he chides as he’s finally set free. Wobbly legs leading him to move aside and drops himself on the bed next to the elder.

“What can I do? I haven’t got enough of that,” Yoongi says truthfully,  swiping his tongue over his swollen lips.

Jungkook watches it with his doe eyes before his gaze shifts down to Yoongi’s lap, noticing the tent over the fabric of his jeans. “I can go again, actually. Just give me a minute.”

“Nasty,” Yoongi comments, pushing himself up to check his bedside table. If he has made everything exactly the same, there should be… bingo. The lube is resting innocently in the drawer along with his dream diaries and other papers with unreadable writings.

When he looks up again, Jungkook is eyeing the bottle as well, before their eyes locked and a grin forms on his lips as he crawls his way towards his side of the bed.

“We can be nasty together, I guess.”

 

-

 

Other than the exact same copy of the room, the rest of the apartment is also the same as the real thing.

It puts him in a little daze when he walks out of his room, feeling as if he just woke up from a long sleep. He would have believed it, if only he hadn’t looked back into his room and saw Jungkook stretched over his comforter, spent and fucked out.

Even the placement of the utensils are the same as when he left the apartment. He remembers his way around. Picking up a cup, turning on the coffee machine, waiting, and then watching the dark liquid poured into his cup. It’s a simple morning routine that he has gotten accustomed to, and never imagined to do in a dream. Except that it doesn’t feel so much like a dream anymore.

Especially not when he looks out of the window and sees a few people walking on the street. They are all his subconscious. The people he has seen before, but never really left an impression to be etched in his waking memory. They start filling the street, and he knows that there will be more of them if he doesn’t get a grip of himself quickly.

But then Jungkook comes into the kitchen, and his plan flies out of the window.

“The place reeks of coffee. Gross.”

“You like coffee.”

“I don’t like the smell, though.”

“Have you been drinking canned coffee because you hated the smell? That’s atrocious,” Yoongi scoffs, moving away from the tall window so he can grab his cup from the counter.

There’s a shift and movement from behind him before the coldness of the morning is replaced by the warmth of Jungkook’s body. The younger’s arms wrapped around his waist from behind and cheek is pressed against his shoulder. Jungkook is still sluggish, as if he just woke up from a nap. They didn’t even sleep.

“Mm… I want one too,” Jungkook mumbles, turning his head to press a kiss on Yoongi’s nape. “Make it rock-salt caramel.”

“So demanding.”

“You love me. You’ll do it anyway.”

It’s an innocent statement, probably has no thought behind it when Jungkook spews it. Still, Yoongi’s heart does a mini backflip at the word - the unspoken title of the feeling he tries (and failed) to describe.

It’s true that he ends up doing what Jungkook demanded from him anyway, as he fetches a capsule of the flavored coffee and inputs it into the machine. He feels Jungkook’s lips curve into a smile where they are still pressed onto his skin.

“You were thinking so loudly just now. What’s the matter?” Jungkook asks softly.

“What are you talking about?”

The question is not unexpected, but Yoongi still sighs as he rakes his mind for a way to explain it. His brows taut as he watches the light brown liquid starts filling the coffee. Not even the sickeningly sweet aroma of the coffee can calm his nerves down.

“Your face is so honest, it gives away everything you’re feeling right now. Stop trying to get away from it,” Jungkook clicks his tongue in annoyance. He’s probably rolling his eyes too, and Yoongi can’t help but to be intrigued as he turns around in his hold just so he can see the latter’s face.

“Really? What am I feeling right now?”

Jungkook takes his time eyeing his face, and Yoongi is smiling softly as he watches the pair of round eyes scanning him curiously. It’s fondness. That’s what Yoongi is trying to tell the younger - and he knows that Jungkook realizes it in the end, because there’s a layer of shyness in his gaze even as his nose twitch and he fakes punches Yoongi on his tummy.

“Stop trying to distract me, I swear-” he hisses, folding his arms over his bare chest. “I’m waiting.”

That’s when Yoongi realizes that Jungkook didn’t really bother to dress himself up. He just threw on the sweatpants on his way out from the room, and now the fabric is hanging low on his hips. Yoongi shrugs in defeat before his hands reach out to rest on Jungkook’s hips, thumbs absently drawing circles over the exposed skin above his waistband.

“I’m just… too into this. Thought about not wanting to come back, and now my mind is trying to fool me, making me think that I’ve already woke up,” he says, tilting his head to a side as he tries to make sense of his own words. “I almost forgot that I have a reality to come back to.”

“Wouldn’t it be okay to forget for once, though?” asks Jungkook. “I mean, when the time comes, your stupid song will wake you up anyway.”

Ah. The kick song. He probably shouldn’t tell Jungkook that there will be nothing like that anymore.

“There’s still time, right?” Jungkook’s the one who’s worrying now, leaning in and nudging Yoongi’s jaw with his nose when he doesn’t get an answer.

Yoongi cups his nape, pulling him in to kiss him on the mouth.

“There’s always time for you.”

Is there, though? Yoongi is only thinking about it again when he has Jungkook bent over the counter. The coffee cups left forgotten and cold on the table while the room is filled with their panting and muffled groans.

The slide is easier. Wet. Yoongi doesn’t have to stretch him out since Jungkook’s still dripping from his come when Yoongi came inside him earlier. He just has to hike one of Jungkook’s leg up to the counter, spreading him out further, and relishing in the shudder running through the pliant body as he rubs the head of his erection along Jungkook’s opening.

It twitches under the tease, clenching around nothing under the innecessant friction. His breath catches in his throat when the head catches on the rim.

“Look at you, Jungkookie. We just fucked and you’re ready to go again,” Yoongi taunts, reaching between them to rub on Jungkook’s rim with his fingers. A keen is muffled beneath him as he spreads it out with the two digits, but not entering. “Want to be pumped full of cum?”

“Yes… yes! Only hyung’s, though. Want your cock again,” he says breathlessly. It must be because of the fact that Yoongi can’t see his face that he can be that bold.

That’s what he wants to hear, though, so Yoongi wastes no time to sink his aching cock deep into the tight heat. It swallows around him tightly, clenching and unclenching along with Jungkook’s staccato breathing.

Despite their claim to have all the time in the world, they are rushing to their releases.

The fast pace set by Yoongi’s hips snapping against his ass had Jungkook cursing under his breath, biting onto his fist to muffle his screams. It feels better like this. The way he’s opening up so perfectly with Yoongi’s hand keeping his leg up, and another hand trailing up his torso to play with his sensitive nipple.

When Yoongi comes, he almost blacks out for a second, teeth sinking into Jungkook’s shoulder as the younger has his head lolled back onto his shoulder. Only now he realizes that Jungkook has come, spurting white all over the counter, and shuddering from oversensity because Yoongi wouldn’t stop aiming for his prostate and playing with his now-swollen buds.

“You’re the worst,” Jungkook mumbles when Yoongi finally pulls out to clean him up, cursing him when he sneaks another pinch on his bud.

“Thought you enjoyed that.”

Yoongi grunts as he pulls Jungkook’s pants back up to cover his ass, turning him around just to pull him into his arms and lazily nuzzles into his neck.

“I did. You’re still the worst, though. Making me cry like that,” Jungkook huffs. True to his words, there are remnants of tears in his eyes when Yoongi looks up to see clearly. Both of them break into laughter when Yoongi tries to kiss the droplets away.

“Hey,” Yoongi starts, looking into Jungkook’s eyes once the laughter has died down.

“Hm?”

“Nevermind.”

If they still have all the time in the world, then this can wait for later.

 

-

 

The next time he knows that the fucked up again is also the first time he confesses his feelings.

With people around on the streets, it’s less unnerving for them to actually walk around the streets now. For once, Yoongi doesn’t hate this city he made. He is living his life in a place that he designed for himself, and he is happy, even though Jungkook is the only real thing in this place that he is clinging into.

Not to spend most of their day making out in the confinement of Yoongi’s bedroom, Jungkook had dragged him out this morning. It’s a trip to explore this part of the city - the new part of the city Yoongi has created in a whim. The neighborhood is exactly the same as the one he passes when he goes to the campus during his university days.

He doesn’t know if he should be thankful or horrified that Jungkook is making everything look normal.

From getting excited over buying a bread or inching away from the microwave in the convenience store. He makes it feel like they are actually in his neighborhood and not a copy of it fabricated by his dreaming head. For a moment, too, Yoongi lets the fake sense of safety wrap around his head, and for once, he lets himself free.

This is his reality.

“Hey, wanna buy something else?” asks Yoongi, whispering into Jungkook’s ear as the cashier is checking out their groceries.

“Like what? Condoms?”

“Gross. Stop that,” Yoongi groans.

Jungkook breaks into a small laughter, pulling his hoodie on to cover his head before he takes both of the grocery bags into his arms. Yoongi follows him out of the store.

He found out that the younger has a liking to wear oversized hoodie too, so when he went to raid Yoongi’s wardrobe earlier, he was fascinated with the many choices presented for him.

“I want those bubble things.”

Yoongi blinks at the request, raising a brow to show his confusion when he finally follows where Jungkook is looking at. There is a small street vendor where people buy trinkets. One of them present a row of colorful bottles, while the owner is blowing soap bubbles into the air.

“Bubble things, huh? Are you five?” Yoongi teases him.

“No… It’s not like I wanted it that much!”

It causes a scowl to appear in Jungkook’s face as he turns around to walk away first. Yoongi tugs him by the back of his hoodie to drag him towards the vendor and buys him one bottle of the bubbles anyway.

He, in fact, wanted it that much. Because the moment they dropped their groceries in the living room, he is already dragging Yoongi upstairs to the rooftop.

Yoongi is still out of breath by the time they reached the open space, so he is slumped on the floor while Jungkook whips out the loop handle of his giant bubble. A wide grin plastered on his face as he brings the loop up and let the wind blow a series of giant bubbles out of the loop. He just keeps on reminding Yoongi of the word dreamy .

“Told you, you’re like five,” he says as he finally finds the will to get up and walk towards Jungkook.

“Well, I’ll be a happy five years old if it means I can play like this,” he hums, filling the loop with another layer of soap. He is just about to let the wind form the bubbles again when Yoongi grabs the loop.

His hand is sticky from the soap, but it doesn’t matter because he can use the loop as a mean to pull Jungkook towards him. Confused, Jungkook just stares at him when Yoongi leans in and brush his nose along the apple of Jungkook’s cheek.

“I love you.”

A pleasant ache starts filling his chest once he gets the words out.

That’s it. That’s what he has been dying to say every time he sees Jungkook. Just Jungkook being himself, or being so beautiful that he feels literal pain in his chest. Every time he touches the boy and thinks of the limited time they have. Every time he thinks about leaving.

“I thought that’s already obvious enough. Didn’t want to push you into being sappy with me, but,” Jungkook exhales a deep breath, biting back a smile as he throws the loop away so he can throw his arm around Yoongi’s frame instead. “I don’t mind more.”

“We’re already too sappy for our own good,” Yoongi mumbles, not wanting to end the soft exchange as Jungkook starts pressing tiny kisses on a corner of his lips.

It’s only when Jungkook states the inevitable that everything crashes down on them like iced water. It’s innocent. Just like every other time Jungkook would say simple things with hidden meanings. This time, it’s whispered into Yoongi’s lips.

“Are you willing to stay with me, then?”

It wakes him up. Not literally. But he has already woken up from the little dreamy stance he was trapped in. It reminds him that this is not his reality, and that he is not here to stay.

Jungkook looks at him wide-eyed when he jerks away abruptly. One second, it’s all so perfect, and then the world is closing in on them again. Reminding the fact that it is impossible to be together, because they are just dreaming. It seems that explanation is not needed anymore, since something soon clicks in Jungkook’s head, and realization crashes into his expression.

The surprise, despair, and disappointment. The heartbreak.

“Oh-”

“Jungkook…” Yoongi starts. “You know I can’t stay here forever. You know I’ll need you to come back with me. If you want to be together with me, you have to-”

“Stop,” Jungkook cuts him abruptly, wriggling himself off his hold.

“Baby…”

“Don’t do this, Yoongi hyung. What about my choice? Do you want me to throw myself off the building so we can be together when I wake up?” Fuming, he turns around on his feet to face Yoongi. Now he is closer to the edge of the rooftop, holding onto the railing. “That’s just what you wanted since the beginning, right? I’m sorry that it’s so hard for you to woo me, I’m sorry that you’re still not getting what you wanted now.”

It is baffling how the mood can turn sour with just a few simple words. The unspeakable. It fills Yoongi’s chest with a bitter kind of pain. Now that he is getting cornered, he can feel the anger starts to boil inside him as well. He doesn’t want to say things he will regret later. He really doesn’t. But…

“Why are you putting words into my mouth? Do you even have any idea on what I have to give up if I want to stay here with you, and even now when we’re spending our time here? This is not real and we both know it,” he spits, not fist clenched as he tries not to reach out when he sees the pain in the younger’s eyes. “Time is running out, Jungkook. When they unplug you, there will be nothing real here. You will be a projection of my memory and I’ll be a pathetic lucid dreamer who is loving a projection of what I could have.”

The silence that comes after the explosion is enough to give Yoongi some time to calm down. He is not one to really show his anger when he feels it, that’s why the taste of his words is so bitter on his tongue. Even more that he sees Jungkook in pain because of it, unable to find his words.

“I’m sorry that it’s so hard to be with me, then,” Jungkook finally says, a hand coming up to roughly brush over his eyes.

“God, please don’t cry,” Yoongi softens up, alarmed by the shine of tears in his eyes, but he only shakes his head stubbornly, pushing Yoongi’s hand that’s reaching out for him.

“I guess you regretted taking this job? You made me fall in love with me just so I can come back, knowing that I’ll have no recollection about it when I wake up. Wouldn’t it be easy to get rid of me?”

“What are you even on about?”

Jungkook scoffs.

“Do you want to know what I heard when I fell asleep and went back into my useless body last time? Jimin was saying about how he hired someone to bring me back. He begged them to not unplug my life support. That person is you, right? You’re paid to bring me back?”

It’s really impossible to talk some senses into this boy’s head, after all.

“Sure, it was me. So what? Jimin didn’t ask me to fall in love with you?” he is starting to sound defensive now. “And I certainly didn’t plan it either. It would be easier if I hadn’t.”

“Well then don’t fall in love with me!” Jungkook yells, throwing his hands into the air before he turns around to march towards the door of the rooftop.

“It’s easy to say that now. What happened to not leaving you alone here? I shouldn’t have played your games since the beginning.”

At this point, Yoongi is only shouting back so his voice can be heard from the distance. It sounds harsher than he has intended to. Like it is really a full-blown fight when it doesn’t need to be one. The line has been crossed and there is no way back.

Jungkook only turns around once he is at the door, wrenching the door knob open, and giving Yoongi a last look before he slams the door closed.

“Leave, hyung. We don’t have to play my games anymore.”

 

-

 

When Yoongi comes down from the rooftop a few hours later, he finds Jungkook on the couch. He has his legs folded and pulled up against his chest, face hidden on his knees, until Yoongi walks towards him and runs his fingers through his dark locks.

"I'm sorry."

Jungkook takes a deep breath, not lifting his face at once, but brushing his arm roughly over his eyes. Probably as a mean to hide any hint of him crying earlier. If there is any indication of it, Yoongi doesn't say anything.

"It's not your fault. I understand what you were saying, but I'm too selfish. I'm sorry that you have to do this for me," Jungkook takes Yoongi's hand from his head so he can tug the elder down to sit down on the couch next to him. "I thought you left."

His voice drops into a whisper as he says that, breath caught in his throat as Yoongi wraps his arm around his shoulder and pull him closer. Jungkook hides his face in the crook of his neck and lets his tears damp the skin.

"I will never leave you just like that."

"But you will... right?" asks Jungkook, as usual, he is always asking the unspeakable question that hangs between them.

"I should," he admits, tightening his hold a tad around his lover while his fingers are still soothingly running into his hair. "But you know I will always come back. No matter how much time you need to trust me. I will take you home."

"But I'm home. I’ve never felt like I belong anywhere in the 20 years of my life, and then I got here, thinking I was dead, and I finally found my place.” There’s a muffled sound of a sniffle before Jungkook is lifting his face from Yoongi’s neck, looking up at the elder. “And then you came.”

Yoongi doesn’t find the will in himself to answer, deciding to just let the latter talk as he kisses the remnants of tears away from his face. Then to his nose, and his temple, and he feels the shiver raking down Jungkook’s body as he presses another kiss to the other’s pair of lips.

“Where have you been all this time? Why do you have to find me here and not when I was still alive?”

“You’re still alive,” Yoongi says sternly. “I think you’re the one who found me when you need me the most. Isn’t that how this whole thing works? Usually I would just give up when my client doesn’t want to be saved, but I decided that I wanted you in my life.”

“Even if I end up not coming with you until the end?” asks Jungkook.

As much as it pains him to answer, Yoongi nods, running his hand down the length of Jungkook’s hand to lace their fingers together. “Even if you don’t want it.”

“Thank you,” Jungkook shuts his eyes as he takes a deep breath. “I needed that. I’m sorry.”

“Stop apologizing, stupid.”

Jungkook snorts, giving his hyung an incredulous look before he pulls himself off his seating on the couch, only to throw his leg over Yoongi’s lap so he can seat himself on top. It takes Yoongi’s breath away when he leans in to nudge Yoongi’s nose with his own, eyes still shut, and forehead rested on top of his. The intimacy is stifling the air. Making him yearn for more.

More. Jungkook always gives him more and more. More of these feelings he shouldn’t really develop, and then more of the stones in his chest from the thought of not having Jungkook in his life once he wakes up.

“Touch me, hyung.”

Yoongi’s hands are instantly everywhere they can touch, running down Jungkook’s sides and slipping under the shirt to touch the warmth of his bare skin. Fingers tracing the path of his body.

“I need to wake up soon, before I start forgetting again,” Yoongi mumbles as he tilts his head back, letting the younger have his way down to mark his neck and jawline. “I might really lose myself then.”

“As much as I love it when you lost yourself with me, I don’t want a dead hyung,” he jokes, biting down on Yoongi’s neck gently before he blows on it. “After this, though. After this, you can take your time while I’m waiting for you again.”

“You’re welcome to come with me if you don’t want to wait.”

Snorting, Jungkook only sinks his teeth further onto Yoongi’s skin before a growl reverberates from Yoongi’s throat from the pain and he finds himself on the carpeted floor.

 

Perhaps it’s easier to lose himself this way. When he has Jungkook spreads below him, bare and willing, with his legs spread on either sides of him and Yoongi’s fingers disappearing into his tight heat.

The sound of Jungkook’s hitched breath and muffled moans always feed the needs in his chest - the prideful swell of turning his lover into this state.

It might be too much, though, since Jungkook is already driven to the edge two times. Beads of precome drooling down his cock curving up against his toned abdomen. Hard and throbbing with the need to release.

“Hyung… wanna come. Stop being a dick.”

Yoongi laughs at the anger held behind the plea, despite the fact that it comes out in a pathetic whine. The clawing on his bare chest only has him shoving his fingers in a harsh slam into Jungkook’s prostate, making his back arch off the carpeted floor, while his toes curl with the first sign of his orgasm starting to build up again.

The bang on the door makes both of them jump.

Alarmed, Yoongi lifts his head from where he had it buried in the crook of Jungkook’s neck. There should be no one else in the limbo. No one other than them, and probably his projections.

“Yoongi! Open the door!”

“Who?” Jungkook asks, still breathless and needy, but just as worried.

“It’s Namjoon. Of course he’s gonna be a dick even as a projection,” Yoongi says with an exasperated sigh.

If his mind starts making a projection of his closest friends, he should be more scared now; for losing himself deeper into the dream. But for now, he decided to pay it no mind, not when he is busy kissing Jeon Jungkook.

Though seeing that Jungkook still has his attention to the door and the muffled banging from behind it, an idea starts to form in Yoongi’s head. He pulls his fingers out, earning a yelp from the younger. A soft groan replaced it when Yoongi’s cock slides deep into the dripping heat. The lube makes the slide slick, and it’s easy for him to slide in deep. Yoongi’s cock hitting his prostate head on that he is reduced into a mess not long after that. He’s been waiting for this.

“Hyung… there. Please don’t stop!” Jungkook wheezes out his pleas, legs coming up to wrap higher around his waist to keep him from pulling away or teasing him further.

The prolonged period of teasing and driving the younger into orgasm, only to let him climb down of it again has served to make Jungkook needier. But that’s not all. Yoongi can’t see how his eyes are unfocused and sometimes glancing up to the door that’s still being thumped from outside. The fact that there is someone else just a door away from them is only making Jungkook more excited instead of being scared of getting caught.

“You like that, huh?” Yoongi hums, burying his fingers into Jungkook’s hair before tugging it backwards to pull his head back as well, baring his neck to him. “You want to let Namjoon know what we’re doing, baby? Want him to hear your beautiful noises?”

“No… no…”

“You’re saying that but you’re trying to ride me now. So needy.”

Jungkook looks down at their connected hips, noticing that he’s doing all the work to push his ass down against Yoongi’s hips to swallow his length. His eyes fall shut as he tries to mask his embarrassment, fists clenched above his head where Yoongi had told him to keep them still earlier.

“Yoongi! Open the fucking door, for fucks sake!”

“You’re dripping now. Getting off from his voice? Pathetic,” Yoongi grunts, reaching down to slap Jungkook’s dick that’s flopping against his stomach from his movement.

Jungkook screams at that, shaking his head quickly and slowing down his movement. His eyes cracking open to look at the elder.

“Only hyung’s.”

“Good boy,” smiling, Yoongi presses a rather sweet peck on his cheek, shifting his hips for a better position before he resumes his pace on fucking his lover into the ground.

It’s clear that Jungkook is trying to hold back his voice with every thrust that hits his spot, shaking at the strain and the way he is resisting himself from screaming out. It’s always been just the two of them, no matter where they are doing this. Now that there’s someone else outside the door - ignoring the fact that he is only a projection; it seems to set off something inside him. It doesn’t get by unnoticed.

“You like that? Like it when someone else can hear how good you’re being for me?” Yoongi presses his lips against the latter’s earlobe to whisper lowly into his ear, noting the sniffle and the hitch in his breath. “You can be louder, baby. Maybe then he will break down the door. Would you like him to see us like this?”

It’s easy to push Jungkook into his orgasm like this. His nerves are already high strung, and it only takes him a few more seconds before he comes with a choked moan. He whimpers when Yoongi keeps going, clawing into the air until he feels the length twitch before spilling deep inside him.

He’s still panting as Yoongi presses a few kisses down his jaw and chest, nuzzling his neck sweetly as he comes down from his high.

“You liked that, huh?”

“Shut up,” Jungkook grumbles, bringing his hand down to hit Yoongi on his shoulder. “You should probably get the door, though. Maybe your projections start getting jealous because I keep fucking you.”

Yoongi snorts. “There’s nothing like that.”

Despite what he said, he does remove himself from Jungkook, pressing a last kiss on his lips before he gets up and pulls up his pants. Namjoon is still persistent in banging the door, it’s a wonder that he hasn’t broken it down just yet. This has never happened with his other projections in other layers of dreams.

Now that Yoongi can think with a clear head, it does seem fishy.

“The fuck do you want?”

“Fucking finally!”

They speak at the same time once Yoongi wrenches the door open. He is facing Namjoon who he is assuming as a projection. But then Namjoon is starring past his shoulder at Jungkook, before returning his gaze to Yoongi.
“I knew you would be in here… fuck, Yoongi, you promised that this wouldn’t happen,” Namjoon sighs. “Sorry that I had to do this.”

There’s no time for Yoongi to proceed everything.

The next thing he sees is a barrel of gun pointed in front of his face, and then there’s a searing pain spreads over his head as he mentally curses Namjoon. It doesn’t last for long, because he is dropping onto the floor with a last look of Jungkook’s surprised face.

And then he lets the darkness swallows him up.

 

-

 

When he wakes up again, everything is swimming around him.

He still remembers the pain from the gunshot as he shoots up into a sitting position, patting all over his body and his forehead. “Fuck. What the fuck was that?” he hisses, looking around the place only to realize that there are transparent pipes and needles attached to him - IV drops.

He’s in a hospital.

“Yoongi! Thanks God you’re awake,” Hoseok rushes over to his side, reaching over his bed to press the button to call the nurse. “You’ve been asleep for days! Namjoon said he was going to pick you up, but I didn’t know that it would be this way!”

“I… was asleep?” Yoongi looks up at him, confounded and disoriented for a moment before the pieces of memories start filling his head again. It’s the crucial moment to hold onto them before they slipped off.

That’s the thing about dreams. You lived it, you wake up in the morning, and then it’s all slipping off your grasp if you don’t hold onto it. Just like when you take a handful of sand from the beach and watch as it all drips off from between your fingers.

Yoongi is clutching his head as he struggles not to forget everything. Not one piece of memory he shared with Jungkook while he was dreaming. Not Jungkook.

“I need to go back. God. He needs me. I can’t be here!”

“Yoongi, please stay calm!”

He is pulling on his hair at this point while Hoseok is trying to pry his hands off. It’s only when the doctor and nurses come piling into the room that they finally found a way to calm him down. As the doctor is examining his vitals, Yoongi is staring off into the blank space, not listening to any of the question asked to him.

“We found you at your hotel room… all sedated, without any food or liquid intake, what were you thinking then?” Hoseok starts talking to him again once it’s just the two of them in the room. “You didn’t wake up even when we took off the sedative. I thought… I thought you-”

“I’m sorry,” Yoongi says in a whisper. “I didn’t think about the consequences when I took that route. I even forgot that I need to eat and drink too. Shouldn’t have been that stupid.”

“That’s right,” Hoseok says sternly, giving him a glare, but finally softening as he pats Yoongi’s thigh. “Just don’t ever do that again.”

Yoongi drops his hand to rest it on top of Hoseok’s as he looks up at his friend’s eyes. “I promise. No more lucid dreaming.”

 

-

 

Namjoon does not come to visit him even once.

It must be awkward, how he has to be the one who come into the limbo and kill him personally to bring him back. Another thing to be awkward about is the fact that he had seen Jungkook, and probably heard the full length of the sexual activity they were engaged in.

After one night of staying at the hospital and taking a dreamless sleep, Yoongi already feels all recovered. He is still waiting for Namjoon to finally come over so he can apologize, but the one who turns up at his hospital room turns out to be someone he hadn’t expected to see.

“You had to go this far, huh?” Jimin says after taking a good look at his state, hesitantly sitting down on the seat Hoseok was sitting on until an hour before.

“It’s just a slip. Me being dumb.”

“No… I demanded too much, hyung. I should’ve listened to you when you said that Jungkook doesn’t want to be saved,” Jimin says softly, nibbling onto his lower lip as he plays with the hem of his shirt. “Once Jungkook has his mind set on something, it’s really hard to change it. But I didn’t think you’d be so invested. Just because of my request.”

You have no clue. Yoongi thinks bitterly as he stares at the blond.

“It’s fine. Sorry that I couldn’t completed the task, though. I tried.”

“I know! It’s already enough for me. For us,” Jimin lifts his face and smiles at him.

That’s when Yoongi notices the red rim around Jimin’s eyes. It’s like he has been crying and rubbing his eyes angrily.

“Did something happen?” he asks.

Jimin stays quiet for a bit, probably thinking about it since Yoongi can see tears start to gather in his eyes again, glistening under the dim lighting of the room.

“Firstly, I want you to know that it’s not your fault,” Jimin starts, returning Yoongi’s eyes that are started to be filled with alarm. “But I’ve been crying ever since they set the date. The date they will take off Jungkook’s life support.”

There’s a moment of total silence as the world crashes down on him. Yoongi is staring at the latter impassively, while he tries not to shake at the information. He is going to lose Jungkook and he can’t do anything about it.

“Why?” asks him. The only question he can spew no matter how dumb it sounds.

“His condition suddenly got worse, and his family thought that it’s better to put a peace to him,” Jimin explains quietly, chuckling as he brushes his fingers over a stray tear that escaped his eyes. “I hope it can really put him to peace, though.”

Would it?

Yoongi has promised Jungkook that he would never leave him without taking along. He also promised again that he would never leave him. Would Jungkook be in peace after proving his point that all everyone does is lying to him?

“Jimin,” Yoongi calls out, breaking the tense moment between them as he reaches out to tug the sleeve of Jimin’s sweater. When the pair of teary eyes are looking at him, he makes up his mind. “Take me to him.”

 

-

 

Sneaking out of his own hospital room is an easy feet. Sneaking into Jungkook’s room, however, is harder because of all the medical procedures he seems to be having. He really doesn’t want to see Jimin’s pained face as the nurse tells him that this might be the last time they will allow a visitor.

Then the rest of the world is muted as Yoongi steps into the room.

Jungkook is lying down on the bed as if he is in a deep sleep. Aside from the IV drips attached to his wrist, there is no telling that he has been like this for two years. He might just wake up if Yoongi calls his name.

“Jungkook.”

There is no response. What is he even expecting?

Jungkook’s hand is warm when Yoongi reaches out to touch it. His fingers easily find their way in between them, interlocking their hands in a warm hold. They have held hands in several different occasions, but it’s never felt this cold - never this soulless. If he can come back into their world again for even a few minutes, he just wants to hold Jungkook’s hand.

Taking a seat next to the bed, he drops his head so that his forehead is rested on top of their intertwined hands.

“Is it too much to hope that you’re here right now, listening to me?” he starts, lifting his gaze to look at Jungkook’s face. His lips. God. His lips were always so pink, or kiss-swollen, and now they are drained of colors and parched. “I’m sorry that I had to leave like that last time. And I probably can’t come back anytime soon. It might be too late by the time I can be there again. You won’t be there anymore, you’ll just be…”

He exhales a shaky breath, thinking of the possibility that the Jungkook that he finds next time will not be this version of him. If he says it then it will be real when it happens.

When he meets a projection of Jungkook instead of the real him.

“Remember when you asked if it would be worth it to come back? And I told you that it didn’t need to stay as a dream anymore? I will show you. You don’t need to be in there to be happy,” he speaks lowly, lips pressed against Jungkook’s knuckles. The hand is warm in his hold. It is not going to be that way for much longer, and even though his words might not be relayed to Jungkook at all, he needs to let it out if this is going to be the last time he sees the boy.

“Even if you chose not to come back. It’s also fine. The world has been so harsh to you, and if this is your big ‘fuck you’ to them, then let it be one.”

He chuckles at his own words, shaking his head slowly before nuzzling into Jungkook’s palm. His last I love you is whispered against the warm skin, muted and left only for him to hear.

When he releases Jungkook’s hand and turns around to go, he caught Jimin still standing by the door, eyes wide and filled with tears as his hands are clasped over his mouth.

“You’re in love with him,” he gasps out, marching angrily towards the elder when Yoongi just laughs dryly. “That’s why you keep on coming back. Even though it’s hard. Even though you knew it was hopeless, you... Why would you just let him go like this, then?”

“Jimin.” He frowns at the call of his name, eyes now focusing on Yoongi, no longer brimming with tears since he has already wiped across them with the sleeves of his sweaters. “You know what he has to face if he wakes up, right?”

“Yes, b-but…”

“Isn’t it because I love him that I let him go?”

Jimin shakes with another sob as Yoongi bumps his shoulder while walking past him to get to the door. If he had stopped, he would have heard Jimin apologizing too, but that’s not what Yoongi needs right now.

 

When he steps out of the hospital building, clad in his hospital pajamas and Jimin’s varsity jacket, Yoongi is blocked by a car.

It’s Namjoon. He can recognize the vehicle from a mile away, so he easily slides into the passenger seat and buckles himself up. His face stays impassive as he sits there under Namjoon’s scrutinizing gaze, until he finally breaks into a sigh and looks at him.

“Fine. I’m sorry.”

Namjoon’s lips quirk up into an amused smile. He turns his head and coughs to hide it, masking it as his move to look at the road again since he started driving them out of the hospital.

“If I had known that a long sleep will make you this soft, I’d let you sleep all you want,” he says. “Not a week long of sleep, though. That was too much.”

Yoongi looks off to the window, opting to watch the road and letting his mind free of any thoughts so he won’t recall what happened inside the hospital room earlier - or worse, remembering what he did when he worried his friends’ asses off by sleeping for a week. He tries to ignore the sensation of emptiness in his chest. The feeling that is egging him because of an unresolved business. An anticlimax.

“Namjoon,” he finally speaks after a long moment of driving in silence. They are entering the premises of the hospital room he ran out from. Hoseok is going to give him nagging for this, so he better get it out of his chest while he still can.

“Hm?”

“I want to stop,” says Yoongi. “Dreaming.”

“You can’t just stop dreaming like that, technically.”

Yoongi slowly turns his head to look at his friend, giving him a bored look. “Fine, let me rephrase. I will stop lucid dreaming, and I’m probably going to need your help finding a new job that’s not boring.”

Namjoon hums, nodding slowly as if to acknowledge his words. “But?”

“But?”

“You’re not done.”

Sometimes he hates the fact that they have been living together for way too long for Namjoon to know that he is trying to do something. He looks down on his bitten nails, trying to reform his words so it will sound acceptable to the other. Technically, he doesn’t even need Namjoon’s permission, yet he is so nervous.

Namjoon only speaks again once he has parked the car in the basement. He is sighing as he sinks back into his seat and looks at Yoongi.

“You wanted to go and see Jungkook for the last time, is that true?”

Of course he knows.

“They are going to give up on him. This will really be the last time I’m going to see him. If he’s still there at all,” Yoongi exhales a deep breath that he has been holding in his nervous state, tipping his head back against the headrest and covering his eyes with an arm. “I don’t even know what I’m expecting, but I just need a kind of… closure?”

There’s a moment of silence that follows his words. Yoongi’s ears are filled with the sound of his own heartbeats. Then a rattling of pills inside a bottle shakes him out of his small daze.

His sleeping pills. The one Hoseok took from him.

“You have 10 minutes.”

 

-

 

When Yoongi opens his eyes again, a familiar smell of salt water and summer breeze hits his face with a force.

There’s no texture of sand under his feet, however, only the creaking woods of the pier as he walks towards the edge. Towards the boy sitting at the end of the pier. His legs dangling off the wood.

“I thought you had already left for good,” Jungkook says when Yoongi sits down next to him.

He is not even looking at Yoongi. His eyes stay focused on the giant orange orb of the sun that is slowly going down into the body of water. It’s a sunset. What a nice timing.

“I saw you today,” Yoongi starts. “In waking life. I almost wanted a refund.”

That’s when Jungkook finally gives a real response, turning his gaze to give Yoongi a glare and slaps his thigh, eliciting a chuckle from the elder instead.

“I’m kidding. You looked just as dreamy, so at least I found out that it’s not only inside a dream.”

“Now you’re just being cheesy. I want a refund.”

Yoongi snorts, laying his hand down on top of Jungkook’s that stayed on his thigh. This time, Jungkook is not pulling it away as he laces their fingers together, basking in the warmth from the contact. It’s the same feeling. Even though the Jungkook in the waking life was asleep, and he probably does not know Yoongi.

“This is the last time, isn’t it?” Jungkook speaks again, gathering Yoongi’s attention from looking at their interlocked hands and up, only to see that Jungkook has been staring at him all the while.

“I guess.”

“There’s a door. All the friends that I have made have their own doors before. They never came back once they walked past the door,” Jungkook points at the direction behind them. It’s only now Yoongi realizes that the house he built here last time has completely gone from the beach, leaving only a single door standing there.

“Where do you think it leads?”

“Death? I’m not sure.”

Yoongi saw the door once, when he dived into the limbo for the first time to talk to a little girl. She already stayed inside the mindspace for too long that she grew up to his age, already forgetting everything about her life when she was awake. She had chosen to walk into the door instead of going with him. When he woke up, the girl was gone.

Thinking about it happening to Jungkook makes Yoongi’s stomach churn. An unpleasant bile rising to his throat. He had prepared himself for this when he left the hospital room, but now it’s harder that the reality is presented right before him.

“Do you want to go?” Yoongi asks, after making sure that his voice will stay composed.

“I’ve been waiting for it, actually. When I saw other people came and disappeared into their doors, I kept asking when it will be my turn,” Jungkook confesses, turning his head to hide his face against Yoongi’s shoulder as he drops his head there. “What took you so long to find me?”

“I’m sorry,” he tilts his head to rest against Jungkook’s. “Was it lonely here?”

“It was. I wanted to disappear too. But why did you have to come when it’s finally here?”

“Maybe it comes only once you’ve found your happiness? You deserve to be happy and the universe must have known it - giving you a last chance to be happy before it let you go.”

Then it finally clicks in Jungkook’s head. His head snapped up quickly that it almost hits Yoongi’s head with a loud thud. Once again, it’s almost comical how Jungkook is looking up at him with his round eyes wide open, confused.

“You’re not trying to stop me.”

“I’m not trying to stop you.” Yoongi confirms.

“Why? Why are you here, then?”

Yoongi lets go of his hand in favor of taking Jungkook’s chin in his hand, keeping him still as he leans in to brush their lips gently in a chaste kiss. It’s a soft, fleeting kiss, yet it’s filled with more intimacy than Yoongi could ever ask from the younger ever again.

“Tell you that I love you once again,” he whispers softly, his words caressing Jungkook’s cheek as he noses along his jaw. “Tell you goodbye.”

“It’s good bye either way, right? Wherever I end up in?”

Yoongi hums in affirmation. He doesn’t voice his feelings about how it will never be a goodbye for him. How Jungkook will stay in his memories and dreams. How unfair it is, that Yoongi will be the one who has to remember.

“I don’t want to go… I don’t want you to go...”

It’s a weak whisper. The fact that Jungkook is now shaking is not really helping Yoongi to make sense of what he wants to say. Jungkook is crying when he looks up at Yoongi again, and god, he doesn’t want to see the eyes spilling tears for him for the last time. He wants to remember how Jungkook’s eyes spark and smile when he talks about something he loves. How they look at Yoongi.

“Baby, hey,” Yoongi says softly, cradling Jungkook’s face in his hands. “You trust me, right?”

Jungkook’s eyes are still shining with the remnants of tears that are not shed, and not being caught by Yoongi’s fingers. He opens his mouth to talk, only to have his words muted as the familiar melody of passacaglia starts filling the whole place.

So this is it.

With just the split second of the chance he gets, Yoongi pulls Jungkook into his arms and buries his face in the dark locks of his hair.

The warmth of Jungkook’s body and the scent of the beach is replaced by the chill of air conditioner of Namjoon’s car. That’s it. The closure that he needed. He had stayed strong throughout it all and managed to not fall on his knees and beg Jungkook to not leave. He had held himself for so long

and break.

The moment he feels the alien sensation of wetness running down his cheek, his body is raked with a sob. It’s pathetic, to break down like this with Namjoon next to him. But this is the last chance he will get to remember Jungkook’s voice. The way Jungkook feels against him. The little movements Jungkook does that he loves so much.

“I love you too . I’m sorry. ” that’s what Jungkook was saying when the kick came to him.

It’s the first time Jungkook said that to him, and it has to be the last time.

Someday, Yoongi thinks, someday everything about Jungkook will turn into a memory from a dream. A far away dream. Maybe then it will stop hurting so much. For now, he will take everything Jungkook has to give him, including the pain and the reason to cry.

 

-

 

Instead of Passacaglia, Yoongi wakes up to Twice’s new song blasting across his room.

His head is throbbing with a headache coming up, but it’s not up to him to stay in bed or not, since he is not working on his self-arranged schedule anymore. Dragging himself to shower every morning has been a routine that he got himself used to. Ever since he became an assistant lecturer for a professor he was acquaintanced with, he has to deliver lectures and speak in seminars when he is not busy doing his papers for his master degree.

It is a handful. At least it takes his mind off from the fact that he is not dreaming anymore.

What is a dream expert when he is not dreaming? Sometimes it’s funny to watch the students looking at him with their eyes full of wonder and astonishment whenever he delivers his seminars about dream and waking life. They ask him a lot of questions, but Yoongi can’t even solve his own dreaming problem.

“Hey, slept well?” Namjoon asks when he steps out of the room.

It’s unfair that the male has built his career faster than Yoongi did, and now he’s free to decide his own schedule while people are the one making offers to fill his timetables. Everyone wants Kim Namjoon’s one of two hour of the day in their classrooms.

Yoongi only grunts as the answer. He switches on the coffee machine without really thinking anymore, zoning out as he watches the dark liquid drips into his mug.

“Heard you have an early seminar in SNU today? The drive is pretty long, so you might want to take off now.”

“Don’t remind me,” he can finally form a coherent reply after a sip of the coffee calms his nerves. Now he just has to finish the whole mug before he can drive. “The only reason I’m taking it is because I don’t want to see the brats at my class. They’re too noisy on the mouth and not in their heads.”

“Unlike your head, huh?” Namjoon snorts.

“Actually, it’s been quiet lately,” he says softly, dumping his mug into the sink and making his way to leave the apartment without bothering to turn around to see Namjoon’s knowing look.

The drive is going smoothly, and by the time he reached the prestigious university, he is in a better mood. He already remembers his way around here for the few times he visited the library a few months prior. Thanks God for that, since he only has 5 minutes before his scheduled seminar starts.

There is a banner with ‘ Philosophy of a Dream ’ written in big letters when he entered the auditorium. He is soon ushered towards the podium, and just like that, his boring routine has to start again.

Speaking comes easy to him once he tuned out the sound of the students’ whispering, scribbling, and typing. It’s just him and some faceless individuals. Nothing too far from when he used to invade people’s dreams and meet their subconscious. For all he knew, he could be dreaming now.

Even when he is answering the questions, his brain seems to work in an autopilot mode. Sure, these people are smart; deep thinkers. They ask some tricky questions, though nothing too challenging that shakes Yoongi out of his little daze.

What gains his attention is a hand shot up meekly from one of the rows near the back of the class. It’s just some guy wearing a round rimmed glasses asking a question, no big deal. It’s not-

“My name is Jungkook,” Yoongi’s heart skips a beat when the boy starts to speak. Who is the universe playing with? He can’t get this jumpy every time the name is mentioned. “...and I’m wondering if there is a way that our dreams and memories can blend and make us think that something in a dream actually happened?”

He is just staring at the boy now, not even processing the question until the eyes behind the pair of glasses shifted to look down onto the notes on his own table. The boy is fidgeting under Yoongi’s gaze, probably wondering if he had asked a wrong question.

“The activity in your brain is about the same when you’re awake and in your REM state of sleep, or even more active. What makes you think that what happens in your dream is not actually happening then?”

Yoongi watches as the student’s lips part in an awed state, though his brows are still taut in confusion. The rest of his answers come in a blur. Something about Deja Vu and some researchers’ answers, but he doesn’t even pay any attention to what he is saying anymore.

The vast auditorium is closing down on him, making him feel claustrophobic. His breathing caught in his throat when he finally falls onto his seat the moment the moderator announced the end of the Q&A session and the seminar altogether.

“I know, thank you, Ms. Lee. I will stop by at your office before I left, I just need to catch breather now,” he says to the person who had invited him to speak in the first place, muting her words about leaving some aspirin and averting his gaze from the worried glance she threw him as she left the auditorium first.

Now he is sitting at the podium with his head tilted back. The world slowly coming back in a concrete form around him. He really needs this, really need to feel like he belongs in this world again and not in the flashes of memories he has from the dream he lived in a while back. The long dream that became his reality for  while.

“Mr. Min?”

The vertigo is closing down in his head now that he wants to snap at whoever dares to call him right now. His eye sockets are hurting so badly now that he had to press his thumb and index fingers down onto his closed eyelids.

“Mr. Min? I have a few more questions, if you don’t mind.”

When he opened his eyes, he was ready to shout at the owner of the intruding voice. What he does, however, is staring at the boy with his eyes wide. His fingers gripping on his seat, nailing him down into his seat. This is reality. The boy might not be.

Because he is the owner of the pair of starry eyes that Yoongi has missed in his dreamless sleep. His lips are not the pale picture he remembers from the hospital bed, now they are filled with color, and parted in surprise.

“You are… crying,” Jungkook says.

Yoongi’s hand shoots up to feel his face. True to his words, there is the hint of wetness on his cheeks, and despite the fact that he is laughing now, he can feel another drop of tear squeezed past his eyes and joining the stain on his cheek before he brushes them away.

“Well, fuck. I have a massive headache.”

“It’s not a good time, then,” Jungkook sighs, nibbling on his lower lip now as he contemplates whether he can just push it or just call it a day. But he is still staying, even though he is already making a move to leave. Shifting his weight onto his good leg with the help of his crutches.

So Yoongi calls out to him. “It’s a good time, just, buy me coffee?”

The boy tilts his head to a side, confused at first, but nonetheless seems happy at the arrangement. His eyes are smiling before his lips do. “I got you. There’s this good vending machine in the third floor… just kidding. We can go to the starbucks down the street?”

“We both know that these cheap coffee holds more caffeine than those coffee flavored milk in Starbucks.”

Yoongi smiles sadly at the voice speaking in his head. Maybe now that Jungkook is here, very much alive and awake, he can stop letting the voice haunt him for once.

“Vending machine is fine. What did you say your name was again?” Yoongi asks, holding out his hand for a handshake.

“It’s Jungkook. Nice to meet you!”

The contact of their hands in the handshake is enough confirmation for Yoongi that this is real. This is real and Jungkook is here to stay.