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[A conversation continues pt.1]

“You said earlier and before that you don’t like crowds.”

Yoongi shrugged and avoided the eyes of his therapist. “So?”

“Do you know why?”

Yoongi couldn’t help but roll his eyes. “No one likes crowds.”

“You’d be surprised,” they continued, sounding a little bit amused, “But we’re not talking in a general manner here. We’re talking about you.”

Yoongi dared to level with his therapist. He looked them straight in the eyes and could pin point the exact moment he regretted doing so. “You sound like you already know the answer,” Yoongi said.

“I don’t know the answer. Only you know the real answer,” the therapist said very diplomatic. “What I do think, however, is that you’re not being truthful to me. Which is not a necessity, but I worry that you might also not be truthful to yourself.”

“Truthful, what for?” Yoongi countered feeling cornered and thus sounding irritated, “What happened, happened, and is part of the past. I tell everyone I hate crowds and that’s how we deal with it. I can’t ask for more and you can’t ask me to be or do more. Being truthful with you or myself is not even part of the conversation!”

A little inaccurate.

 

[The airport]

They had reached the airport and they still missed two body guards on their team. Yoongi didn’t know whether he should scream or pretend to be as cool as Taehyung and Jungkook.

There had been an understanding among their staff and members. When it came down to crowded places the staff would try their best to protect the members, but they could only do so much. So to help the members who felt the most anxious or have had the most accidents, they got given extra protection. Only Yoongi, Taehyung and Jungkook had voiced their concerns and wanted more protection, so they got extra body guards. Jimin got that too, even though he hadn’t asked for it. It was a system that worked well, and was based on rationality – as their manager liked to say.

However this time everyone seemed a little distracted. The manager didn’t address the issue of missing two of their body guards at all. Taehyung and Jungkook didn’t complain about it during their entire ride to the airport. The other members were busying their phones and all Yoongi could think of was how the distant screams became louder as their car got closer to the airport drop off station.

“Okay,” their manager said through the silent car from his seat in the front. Normally they would have spread out over several cars; normally Yoongi could pretend for a while to be part of the crew – what, with the black clothes and all. Not this time. This time they were all in the same car and ignored the manager as he recited the rules that they have heard countless times – things like “do not touch anyone even if they touch you”, “do not push anyone or raise your hands”, “have your phone and other personal things hidden” or “do not look back. Just keep on walking”. “Alright,” he said once they had arrived and the screaming fans were accompanied by loud thuds against the car, “Let’s do this in one go.”

Yoongi got his bag in a firm grip and took deep breaths to prepare himself. He hid his face behind his mask and thought of how all he had to do was follow the staff and members. Just following them and he’d be fine.

“Hey,” Yoongi looked up from the sudden voice near him. It was Seokjin, he placed a firm hand on Yoongi’s arm. “Walk with me, yeah?” They had been roommates after all, and ended up talking about things late at night – before more often than they did now – so they knew small things about each other that the rest didn’t. Sure all of his brothers knew that Yoongi hated crowds, but none of them had witnessed him reliving this fear late at night. Seokjin had.

“Thanks, brother,” Yoongi got out just before the car door got shoved open and a wall of screams and flashlights became part of their world.

-

They got through the crowd with no accidents. They got on their plane back to Korea in one piece. It was all alright, yet for some reason it had set Yoongi off – to a place in his mind that he had wished so desperately to have left behind. The entire flight all he could think off was how he wanted to crawl out of his skin. He couldn’t get bad right now. They had a very busy schedule ahead of them and he couldn’t afford to be off in any way. He couldn’t slip back into that dark whole. He couldn’t, but had nothing to counter it. He had no voice in what tricks his mind wanted to play. He had to endure it like he did with the crowd. He had to hope that the presence of his members would be enough. He had to carry on.

Don’t look back. Just keep on walking.

 

[Yoongi doesn’t want to do anything]

“You should come to dance practise.”

“Just go away.”

“I mean, what else are you doing here? The computer isn’t even on and you’ve been lying like that for probably hours. You’re not even on your phone.”

“Leave me alone, Jimin. Go away before I get angry.”

Yoongi could hear Jimin sigh. The company studio didn’t have a lock like Yoongi’s studio and at times like this, when all Yoongi did was nothing, he really wished it had one. He didn’t want to be here. His manager had to almost drag him out of bed and Yoongi had seen the worrying looks his members were shooting his way during their drive to the company when they thought he wasn’t looking. They had seen Yoongi getting in a bad mind space. They had seen him ignoring everything and everyone. They were probably wondering why the hell he chose this moment out of all times. They had rehearsal today before they would do some late night recording at a broadcast station. After that they would head home, wake up late, do the full broadcast and then do all of it over again for other broad cast stations until they didn’t know what was what anymore. Yoongi was not up for it. He couldn’t bring himself to stand up, to eat or to even look anyone in the eye. He hated himself, don’t get him wrong – he was on their side, he hated how he dragged down the group.

“If you want to talk about-” Jimin started.

“I don’t want to talk, Jimin,” Yoongi cut him off before he could get any closer to Yoongi, “I want you to leave.”

“I can’t let that happen. Hoseok asked me to come and get you instead of him, you know.”

Yoongi huffed. Yeah, he knew. When comeback season was on full speed, Hoseok could get a little strict – a little more intense – and when Yoongi got like this Yoongi would either completely shut down or explode like a bomb.

“Please, Yoongi,” Jimin said and Yoongi had to actually look up from his seat to look at an earnest looking Jimin. This is why they send Jimin, to tap into his guilt. That was a sick thought, Yoongi recognised, he knew that Jimin’s emotions were totally real and not here to manipulate him. No one wanted to manipulate Yoongi. Everyone, even him, wanted him to function like a fucking normal human being, yet he was stuck. “Do it for the team,” Jimin pleaded.

Yoongi sighted. He scratched his head and felt how tired he was without having done anything. He stretched his arm out to Jimin. Jimin got the hint and immediately accepted Yoongi’s hand and helped his older brother up. “I’m sorry,” Yoongi said.

Jimin shook his head. “Just forget about it.”

 

[A conversation continues pt.2)]

“You know you’re here because your members care for you.” The therapist had a way of prodding in the right places. Yoongi was never really cooperating, but he didn’t want them to stop prodding either. “Namjoon even wrote an entire essay on what happened between the two of you.”

“Of course he did.”

“He said he’s really sorry and is willing to be part of the session if that would help.”

“He did nothing wrong.”

“That’s up for debate.”

Yoongi didn’t respond to that.

The therapist sighed. “What I wonder is why you didn’t seek my help yourself earlier.”

Yoongi could feel how he got tired of holding up a front for his therapist – he could feel how his throat felt thicker and his eyes started to itch. “I never thought it would get this bad.”

 

[After they burned a stage]

Being on stage was one thing. Being on stage and receiving a lot of love and energy was something else entirely. Their fans’ energy was on a whole other level. It does things to a human being. It makes you feel more powerful than you are. It makes you jump higher when you are actually tired. It makes you smile brighter. It makes you hit that high note. Your skin doesn’t feel real. Nothing seems real as you run on that stage and meet your brothers. It never seems to end and you can yell as hard as you want, and no one will hear you as long as it isn’t through the mic. So you scream and shout. You jump around. You live and feel like a rockstar!

Then you get off stage.

The members still skitter with adrenaline and are rushed by their staff to their backstage rooms before any press from the broadcast station could get a funny snippet. This sudden shift from energy is final. It made some of them crash – Jimin literally buckled through his knees and practically leaned on their staff as they made their way – others would hold up balled fists in an attempt not to yell out their useless energy – Namjoon’s and Jungkook’s knuckles were basically white. Taehyung would go quiet like Yoongi. Yoongi felt blind and deaf, in that he couldn’t make sense of anything happening around him. He knew that Seokjin and Hoseok didn’t get as bad as the rest of them. They were good in channelling from their stage persona to the quiet people they actually were. They walked ahead of Yoongi.

A manager put a guiding hand around Yoongi’s arm as they followed the figures of his members to the dressing room.

When would this end? When would he be able to enjoy this again? Or had all of them pushed themselves a little too far?

They got to the room. Yoongi and Taehyung got dropped on chairs near the couch on which Jimin was silently crying. Jungkook was yelling his frustrations out in a corner and Namjoon was still holding it all in.

“Get the shakes,” Hoseok’s voice got through the fog and Yoongi lamely nodded along as if anyone was looking at him. “Get the shakes and cooling pads,” Hoseok demanded.

Someone started fanning in Yoongi’s face and he gradually closed his eyes. Something cool was pressed against his lips and Yoongi allowed for whoever it was to pour some cool liquid into his system.

Somewhere Yoongi could hear Namjoon break down and letting out a soft wail. It was quickly shushed by one of the female coordinators. Jungkook finally started to quiet down.

“Fuck,” Seokjin cursed from somewhere near Yoongi, probably helping out Jimin, “Why is the crash this bad?”

Yoongi couldn’t help but form a small smile on his face as he pushed the drink out of his face. “I don’t know, maybe because we haven’t performed thirty minutes straight in forever?”

Seokjin didn’t respond to Yoongi’s jab. “Can I also get a shake?” He asked instead, “We did a good, guys,” Seokjin said loudly for everyone to hear. No one responded. “You did great, Jimin. Please stop crying.”

The protein shakes always helped. Yoongi got back to his senses and was able to hold his own drink. He got a good look around and felt like cursing. Worse things have happened in their dressing rooms, but, like now, it wasn’t something that would be talked about beyond these thin walls. He wanted to curse at how this was acceptable. Jimin was a mess and couldn’t stop talking about how he had flopped his performance while Seokjin countered all his false claims. Jungkook had started pacing, but was luckily sipping at his own shake. Hoseok had a leaning Taehyung at his side – Taehyung was hopefully sleeping and not passed out. Yoongi’s eyes finally fell on Namjoon, who was crouched over on a chair, head in his hands. He had a straw between his lips and Yoongi doubted that he was actually drinking his shake, held by a coordinator. Two other coordinators were with him, fanning in his direction and holding a cooling pad. Two managers were also with him. They were rapidly talking to him and only got a languid nod from Namjoon’s end every now and then. It could only mean one thing; something was going on, and they needed Namjoon to respond now.

Namjoon lifted his head and made eye contact with the managers. Yoongi could see the tiredness hinging down his shoulders. He never envied Namjoon for his role as the leader. “Help me up,” Namjoon said, cutting off the talking managers. In the back, Jungkook finally took a seat. With the help of the coordinators and managers, Namjoon became the only standing member. He looked around at his members and pulled out a small smile. “Guys, you did great. The response was awesome, right?” Taehyung grunted in agreement and Hoseok held up a thumb. Yoongi nodded along, knowing that they couldn’t let Namjoon hanging. “Rest well. We’ll go home as soon as possible, yeah?” As he focussed back on the managers, his smile vanished. They got back to talking urgently and Namjoon’s expression went grim. With that Namjoon let the managers usher him out of the dressing room to help whatever problem that needed their leader’s input.

“Someone should go with Namjoon,” Taehyung muttered, still having his eyes closed.

“I’m sorry guys,” Jimin said calmed down, “I overreacted.”

“Don’t apologise,” Jungkook bit back.

“I’ll go,” Yoongi said and got up.

-

 

When Yoongi found Namjoon, Namjoon had already resolved whatever issue there had been – like always. He was sitting on the threshold of an emergency exit from one of the smaller stage halls. It was empty and dark and his hunched figure blocked some of the only light coming through that opening. He looked up when he heard someone stepping into the hall, but relaxed immediately when he saw that it was Yoongi. He got back to staring outside and Yoongi joined him on the threshold. The fresh night air was welcoming, though a little haunting.

“The only thing that we miss is cold beer,” Namjoon said reminiscently.

Namjoon could get sentimental like this if he wanted to. Yoongi did the same with him, mostly because he felt like he and Namjoon had gone through many hardships together. Having Namjoon making such a comment was only common and felt oddly reassuring. This stage might have been crazy, but they would all be okay.

“You know,” Namjoon said, without having Yoongi responding to him, “I can see you slipping back.”

Yoongi shouldn’t be surprised.

“And it’s okay,” Namjoon said, “but I don’t know if I’ll be able to help you. You know we have impenetrable schedule ahead of us, right? PR has been wanting to have a meeting with us for months now and it’s probably going to happen right after promotions, then they’ll have a shot at chewing my ears off. We cannot fail now, you understand me?”

Yoongi nodded along.

“You didn’t want to go on meds and I respect that, brother,” Namjoon continued. “But I trust you to seek help before it’s too late. Before it effects the team.” Despite him being younger and using honorific speech, it was not the first time that it felt like Namjoon was older than Yoongi.

“I understand,” Yoongi responded.

 

[Unreasonable things Yoongi cries over]

When Yoongi finally got home – when he finally stood in front of the door to his studio his mind went blank. The pads of the number coded lock were staring right back at him. He had forgotten his password.

 

[A conversation continues pt.3]

“You mentioned earlier that something happened in the past that made you dislike crowds.”

“I never said that,” Yoongi said defensively.

“Well you implied that something has happened.” Yoongi shrugged and let his therapist go on. “I hope you have someone you can talk to about this.” Yoongi shook his head involuntary. “No one knows?” was he asked. Once again Yoongi shook his head. “Do your members know?”

“Not really,” Yoongi said lowly, “I think only Seokjin suspects something.”

“Was this before you came to Seoul?” the therapist went on.

Yoongi nodded.

“Do you want to tell me?”

Yoongi shrugged.

They both waited.

Then Yoongi finally opened his mouth. “I worked in the student council in school and I made long hours. Everyone would be gone whilst I’d still be in school.” Yoongi shuddered involuntary. “Everyone would be gone except for some of the staff and me…”

 

[Namjoon will regret this]

Sometimes Yoongi had no real reason to not to able to perform, like now. Something in him had already decided that he was not going on stage. Once his members caught up on this, they had a little freak out session. They had no more minutes left on the clock and needed to go out now to perform.

Yes, Yoongi understood that he needed to go up there, he really did. But he couldn’t.

Seokjin had asked for all of their staff to leave their dressing room under the illusion to “give Yoongi some space”. It worked on their staff, but not the crew of the broadcasting station.

There was a loud knock on their door, followed by it actually opening. Everyone turned to see an overwhelmed looking stage manager looking frantically at all the members in the room. As if his eyes were trying to explain to him why the members weren’t on standby. To him it would seem like the members were simply sitting around in the dressing room and chilling whilst all of them being make-up ready, having a nice chat right before going on stage. But this was how they held intense conversations, how they tried to convince Yoongi to snap out of it. It didn’t really work, but they were trying, Yoongi could appreciate that. “What are you doing?” the manager asked incredulous. “You have to go out now.”

Namjoon adverted his eyes and Yoongi could see him thinking. Probably thinking of how Yoongi was always making it hard for them. “Can we lengthen the broadcast?” Namjoon asked.

The stage manager frowned. “I mean...” It would cost money.

“Ten more minutes is what I’m talking about,” Namjoon elaborated.

The stage manager didn’t look convinced. “Are you going to tell the crowd what’s taking so long then?”

“Don’t worry,” Namjoon said. “We’ll handle the crowd.”

The manager sighted but reluctantly nodded his head. He talked into his walkie talkie making alterations. “I need one of you on that stage in a minute,” the manager said before walking out and silencing the room.

Namjoon didn’t waste time as he quickly addressed the younger ones. “Jimin, I want you to go on that stage and play the waiting game for ten minutes. Taehyung and Jungkook, help him out. Don’t talk about anyone being sick or out of it, just make them laugh, yeah?”

Ah, the waiting game; they did this whenever there was a problem backstage. Three or four members would be ready at standby, but they would show up one by one. Joking that the other members were taking too long and guessing alongside the crowd who the next member to appear would be. That way, waiting the total amount of time on all the members getting ready wouldn’t feel as long as it actually was. The crowd would be distracted by every new addition of a member. People got relaxed and got the sense that Bangtan were just people too – people who took too long on the toilet or preparing themselves. It was so much fun. Right?

“Okay,” the three younger ones walked out and Yoongi could briefly hear the stage manager freak out about the fact that they weren’t complete.

“Now,” Namjoon said and turned back to Yoongi, “I need you to tell me if you’re capable of pulling through this one.” Yoongi was sitting down on a chair in the far back. He had to look up at Namjoon and noticed the way Namjoon’s voice got when he was about to be tough.

Hoseok stood by the door, checking on the response from the crowd. Seokjin stood wary next to Namjoon and Yoongi totally understood his oldest brother. The tone Namjoon just pulled was one he didn’t like to use often, and it made both Yoongi and Seokjin anxious when they heard it being used on one of the members. Namjoon could get a little too confronting when the pressure was on and something got in his way. He would reason with you in a way that only made sense in theory and shouldn’t work in practice, but he made it work. And if it didn’t work, he would force the believe of it working upon you. He hadn’t done this on any of them for a while. It hadn’t been necessary and Namjoon always regretted it afterwards. He would distance himself before coming with an honest apology – one that never got accepted because he was doing what no one wanted to do, but really needed to be done. He raised his tone, by lowering his voice.

Right now it was directed at Yoongi and honestly, this wasn’t something new, rather something from the past. Yoongi hadn’t been this reluctant and unprofessional in ages.

“I don’t know,” Yoongi said truthfully.

“That’s okay,” Namjoon said, “Is it a panic attack?”

Yoongi shook his head.

“Okay. Does your stomach hurt?”

“No, that’s all okay,” Yoongi said.

“Good. That’s good,” Namjoon said, “You know what this means?” Yoongi closed his eyes. He knew very well what this meant. He just wasn’t in the right mindset to go on stage. “We can’t clear you out,” Namjoon said, “We need you by our side for this performance. We can’t pull out now, you understand?”

Yoongi nodded. “I do, I just don’t think I can-”

“-don’t think like that,” Namjoon cut him off. “Don’t go there. Just get it through your head that in a couple of minutes you’re going to perform and you’ll be fine, yeah?”

Yoongi shook his head. “I don’t think I can.”

Namjoon put his hands on both his shoulders and asked Yoongi to look him in the eyes. Once Yoongi had opened his eyes he saw the stone cold face of a young man being very determined to get what he wanted – to get everyone to believe he needed this. He could almost see how the weight of responsibility made Namjoon’s shoulders sag and his frown deepen. “You can,” Namjoon urged. “Tell yourself that you can and will.”

Yoongi swallowed. Why couldn’t he just push through it?

“I want to hear you say it,” Namjoon said stern. “You can and you will.”

“I can and I will,” Yoongi said softly.

“Again.”

“I can and I will,” this time slightly louder.

“Believe it, Yoongi,” Namjoon said, “you can and will. Afterwards you’ll be fine and we can talk, yeah? Push through this one and then we can rest. You can and will perform.”

“I can and I will,” Yoongi nodded along. He didn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe it. But this helped putting on a charade.

Namjoon smiled briefly, breaking out of his tough demeanour for a second. “Water?” He asked Seokjin, who handed it immediately. Namjoon took of the cap and placed the bottle against Yoongi’s lips. He tilted the bottle and Yoongi didn’t realize how dry his throat was until he felt water making contact. “Stand with me, Yoongi,” Namjoon demanded after taking back the water. Yoongi obliged and found that he was somewhat dizzy.

“Shit. This isn’t good, Namjoon,” Seokjin muttered from beside.

“All three of them are on stage now,” Hoseok reported.

Namjoon didn’t respond and Yoongi knew he was probably also starting to freak out – thinking of how to break the news to the crowd, the stage manager, their director and PR.

“I can do it,” Yoongi said and took the water bottle out of Namjoon’s hand. His actions were watched by doubtful eyes but that was all. He took big gulps of water and steadied himself. “I’ll push through this one and then we can rest, yeah?”

Namjoon nodded. “Yeah,” he agreed, but there was a lie somewhere in between the way Namjoon said his words of encouragement and how Yoongi chose to believe them for this moment.

“Let’s move,” Hoseok said heavily. The four oldest members got in motion and found the freaked out stage manager looking astonished at their presence. The younger ones could be heard on stage alongside a laughing crowd. The stage manager immediately approached Namjoon.

“They’ve been at it for almost 7 minutes,” he informed. “Please go up now, so we can start the broadcast.”

Namjoon nodded and urged the other members to go up before him. “Thank you for understanding,” he said kindly to the manager though he probably didn’t mean any of it. It was necessary to stay polite, given that most rumours emitted from backstage drama at broadcast stations. Yoongi wouldn’t be able to remain as polite as Namjoon. He also doubted whether he’d be as patient if he were to deal with a case like himself.

“Let’s go!”

-

 

They step on stage and got cheers and laughter, probably because of the jokes the younger ones had made.

All went well, as good as it were possible.

 

[Comments about Yoongi he should ignore]

“Suga seemed really out of it, don’t you think?” ++110/--50

“like no energy in his dance, why does he make Bangtan look bad?” ++60/--200

“I hope he’s resting well, he looked really tired :(” ++200/--60

“guys chill. noone forced him up on that stage!! he is a grown adult, he can sit one out if he wants to” ++87/--20

“shut up, Suga looked perfect. I don’t get what people are talking about. Like, yeah, he had always been one of the lesser dancers. so this is nothing new.” ++70/--50

“yoongi is cute. I can’t imagine bts without him”++208/--14

 

[A conversation continues pt.4]

“That is a serious trauma you’re dealing with, Yoongi. I hope you understand that and don’t underestimate how it can still affect you.”

Yoongi was whipping down his tears as he felt like he had just poured his heart out and had someone to actually listen to him. He shrugged like he always did when he was in front of his therapist. Right now crying felt actually great.

“I know,” Yoongi rasped out, “I read up on all of that stuff. I know it wasn’t my fault. I know those adults took advantage of me. I just… I want to move forward.” He coughed out his sour throat and found that he was laughing.

“Yoongi?” his therapist asked uncertain.

Yoongi shook his head. “No, no. I’m just glad I was able to share this with someone.”

They were both smiling.

 

[“A boy who’s terrified of reality” -  Intro: The most beautiful moment in life Pt.1]

The members were all at home with no schedule for three straight days. Seokjin called it a vacation, and the rest didn’t put any effort in correcting him.

Something out of the ordinary was Yoongi spending his time in the living room. No one really spend their time in the supposedly heart of the house like most households – the members preferred staying in their rooms or studio’s, and could be found in the kitchen where they ate or met up with their managers. The living room, was almost always neat, despite it being filled with unpacked luggage from their last trip. It didn’t matter, there was a lot of room now. Back in their old dorms they would have unpacked their luggage out of necessity, for they would have been out of space in the cramped dorms.

Laying down on the main sofa in the lounge area made Yoongi almost feel like the scattered luggage. Unpacked and in a way still fresh from their latest plane ride. He had received a call from his brother yesterday. The Daegu accent had sounded strong and unashamed over the phone and Yoongi had slipped right back into his old skin. He was in a way eternally homesick for the old days. He could be very reminiscent to the point that the present didn’t seem to be as important or able to hold as much gravitas in his heart like his childhood, like his brother, like the Namjoon he met back in 2010.

This was his twisted mind speaking, he was aware of it. He knew that there had been moments that he had lived life to the fullest – whatever that may mean. He had cried his eyes out when they received an huge award at a show in Japan. He had laughed until the point it hurt when he had gone on a dinner with the youngest members. He had felt content after finishing working on a song. It was like Namjoon’s lyrics; No darkness, no season can last forever.

What he was feeling now, was not here to stay. On darker days, knowing that was his last resort.

“Brother, are you lost?” Hoseok’s chirpy voice grabbed Yoongi’s attention easily given that there was no real competition. He hadn’t even turned on the television. “What are you doing, lying around here?”

Yoongi sat up and looked up at Hoseok. They were both in their sweatpants and simple shirts and if it weren’t for the designer logo’s, they would have been unassuming trainees again. “Everyone is home.” Yoongi said.

Hoseok nodded.

“Can we eat together?”

-

 

Apparently, Yoongi had no real grasp of time. Everyone had already eaten and it was nearing midnight. But that didn’t stop them. No diets were holding them back, as they snacked and hung out in the living room like normal people and talked about nothing. The television was still turned off – they were waiting for Yoongi to speak.

“Guys,” Yoongi started and as second oldest he got everyone’s attention immediately, “I want to apologise. My behaviour during our promotions had been very unprofessional and had affected our team. I’m sorry for that.”

It was silent after that. No one denied his apology, nor did anyone accept it.

“Could you maybe tell us what happened or if there is something still going on?” Hoseok said quietly from the seat next to him. Yoongi was not seated in the middle and it felt somewhat wrong to have all the attention in the room shifted to the far corner. Looking at Hoseok’s innocent and unassuming eyes, Yoongi was reminded that his brothers could not read minds. If there was something wrong, he had to actually communicate this with them.

“After the airport in the States… I had a setback,” Yoongi shared dancing around the name of a mental illness. “I didn’t think it would get bad, or effect you guys… but when we had that show case and I just couldn’t get up on that stage I…” Namjoon was shifting in his seat. “I never meant for it to get that bad. I hope you understand what I’m saying.”

“I’m sorry, Yoongi,” Namjoon blurted out. “I know I already apologised before, but I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have forced you up on that stage.”

Yoongi shrugged dismissively at that. “Don’t sweat it, Namjoon. We’re just people in an industry that demands more than it should. You did what was expected of you.”

Namjoon shook his head. “It wasn’t right.”

“There are more things than that stage that aren’t right.”

“That shouldn’t make what I did okay.”

“Okay, then it isn’t!” Yoongi fell out and Namjoon recoiled back in his seat. He held Yoongi’s eyes as if he dared his older brother to get angry like he should be. But Yoongi wasn’t angry at anyone but himself. He felt frustrated in this weird period he got stuck in. He wanted to be able to enjoy things again. He wanted to be free. He let it out on Namjoon. “If you want me to be mad at you for that, know that I won’t give you that satisfaction. When I tell you that I’m okay, fucking believe me!”

A little bit hypocrite… a little inaccurate – Yoongi got all fields covered.

Namjoon shook his head. “I can’t.”

Yoongi frowned incredulous. “Excuse-me?”

“I can’t trust you to tell the truth when you don’t tell us when you’re feeling out of it. You didn’t tell us that it all started ever since we got on that airplane. You know how long ago that was? How are we supposed to know that you-”

“-well, you could have fucking asked. I never lied to your face. I never said that I was okay.”

“Well I-”

“-Namjoon, stop it,” Seokjin cut right through and Yoongi could almost hear how Namjoon’s mouth clicked shut, “This is not just another fight you want to win, think before you speak.” Despite Seokjin only addressing Namjoon, Yoongi felt also shut down. This wasn’t what he wanted. He hadn’t ask everyone to come just to see him fight with Namjoon.

Yoongi sunk back in his seat and slightly turned his back to his brothers. “Forget it.”

“No,” Taehyung said stubbornly. Yoongi rolled his eyes. “I mean it,” he held on, “I want to understand and I want to help.”

“There is nothing to help.”

“Then tell us how you feel.” That was Jungkook. Yoongi looked up at this and found their youngest leaning forward on the couch, as if he could find his answers better this way.

“I feel like shit,” Yoongi said very slowly with a low voice. “I feel like shit and that’s okay. It will pass.”

There. It was almost unfair how a few short sentences could depict something that could feel like the end of the world.

“Oh,” Jungkook said.

“Yeah,” Yoongi drawled out. “I’m sorry.”

Almost immediately did they counter Yoongi’s statement in unison. “Don’t be.” “Why would you apologise?” “Don’t say that.” “We’re the ones who should say sorry.” “Please don’t think like that.”

“Yoongi, we’re not just saying this,” Seokjin said upon seeing Yoongi’s expression. Yoongi couldn’t hide that he was slightly surprised. He could see that not all of his members fully understood what he was going through, but their intention was loud and clear. Their execution was something else. “Like Taehyung said, we want to understand and help.”

 Yoongi shook his head.

“Yes, we do,” Hoseok insisted.

“How?” Yoongi asked clueless. “Seriously, how do you think that’s going to take form? I don’t know what to do. I just thought that it was due and appropriate for me to apologise-”

“- you don’t need to apologise,” Taehyung interrupted.

“-whatever. But that doesn’t mean I know what to do – what to ask.”

“And nor do we,” Namjoon spoke carefully, “But you can ask your therapist.”

Jimin nodded in agreement. “We can all go together if it would help.”

Yoongi chuckled out of embarrassment and uneasiness. Growing up with no real friends had made him sceptical of the idea of having one – let alone six. What had he done to deserve them? “You’re ridiculous,” he muttered.

Hoseok leaned against Yoongi. “Come one, Yoongi,” he said, “what do you think? Will you talk with someone?”

Yoongi sighted. “I will… and just so you know, I was already planning on seeing my therapist.”

“That’s even better,” Seokjin said content, “is there anything else you want to tell us?”

There was actually. Yoongi scratched is head and squinted his eyes. “I eh… I think I should share the password for my studio.”

Yoongi could feel Hoseok silently laughing underneath him. “You think?” Jungkook said jokingly.

“In case there is a fire, or something,” Yoongi said defensively but with a smile in his voice. “In case… in case I don’t want to be alone.” Without saying more, Yoongi could sense how there was an understanding between him and his brothers. It was the same anxiety that arose when Jimin would lock himself up in the bathroom when forcing himself on an extreme diet. Someone had to be able to get to him. Yoongi was ready to have them to get to him when he was feeling like shit.

“I’m really glad you said that,” Namjoon said. “And I also want to say something, coming back to what you said earlier-”

“-Namjoon, stop. I didn’t mean any of that.”

“You weren’t wrong, though,” Namjoon continued, “You said that you never said anything because we hadn’t asked… that is something unforgivable.” Seokjin and Jungkook were nodding along and Yoongi didn’t know how he felt seeing his brothers taking his words very serious. “I was reckless in how I didn’t put much thought in how you feel and if anything bad had happened, I would have no one to blame but myself.”

“Namjoon,” Yoongi said not knowing what to do. “Come on, do be like that.”

Namjoon shook his head. “I think I speak for all of us when I tell you sorry for not being more considerate.” They all made agreeing sounds and motions. “I promise I’ll do better.”

“Me too!” Taehyung jumped in.

“Same goes for me,” Hoseok said.

“You can count on us,” Jimin said. “Exactly,” Jungkook added on.

“I stand with them,” Seokjin said earnestly, “do you believe us, Yoongi?”

Here was a boy who was terrified of reality, because it brought him numbness and tasteless days in which he wished to disappear. Here was a boy who was terrified of reality because his childhood got ruined during middle school – that same boy who had struggled so hard to prove to everyone that he had a right to make his own music. Here was a boy who was terrified of reality because it could get as beautiful as it was right now.

“I do.”