Chapter 1: "I can't remember when it started,"
I can’t remember when it was that I first fell for him.
Maybe it was the first time I saw him dance. His movements were full of passion, untapped potential and the slight air of arrogance that could only belong to someone not yet entirely broken by the world, but still shaped by it.
I remember that day, when Hoseok was agonising over the “No More Dream” routine, and Jimin was concerned about being the only one to show off his abs in the music video.
In the first version of the choreography, we would all lift our shirts up to reveal our stomachs and abs to the camera. But then, about a week before the scheduled shoot, Sungdeuk-hyung revised the choreography, and altered it slightly.
I remember Jimin being so nervous before the first shoot, even though he knew the routine perfectly. We had all noticed how aware of his body Jimin was. We knew how hard he had worked to sculpt his core for the shoot, though still he worried. Jungkook wasn’t much better, quietly bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet, and shaking out his arms. Beside him, I recall Taehyung wouldn’t stop fidgeting, as Hoseok talked over the steps with Namjoon and Jin once more. I’d found a ball on set, and took to dribbling it backwards and forwards while we waited.
We all got pumped up as soon as the behind-the-scenes camera began flitting around, switching between recording us on and off-set. It was rather surreal feeling; knowing that you were being filmed while being filmed, while singing and dancing, then again while talking and joking around.
It was oddly energizing.
The magic of being in front of a camera, I suppose. I didn’t really get it until I saw Jungkook and Hoseok trying to steal the basketball off each other, their grins growing substantially when they realized the camera had caught them.
Sometimes I look back on old MVs, when I can’t find inspiration or simply for the nostalgia. Perhaps I do it because I still have a soft spot for the Park Jimin from out debut stage. He’s grown so much from that young boy he was…
I remember when Jimin was joined by his back-up dancers in an on-stage rehearsal of “Lie”. He was so focused… it was mesmerizing to watch him move so deliberately, and yet so freely. It was like the dance had taken a hold of his very soul, and he was yearning to break away from the cycle of movement, but he was inevitably chained to the choreography that bound him.
It was the perfect accompaniment to both the song… and its singer.
It hurts me that such turmoil’s have made their home behind the walls of Jimin’s happy self. Sometimes when I look into his eyes, I can almost see them feasting on his subconscious, only for him to smile sweetly up at me, his eyes, and those dark thoughts, disappearing behind his rounded cheeks.
Jiminie… I wish that you would confide in me like you did Jungkook and Taehyung.
Wish that I were able to be like that with you, close enough that you would let me see those dark things, and know that I would not judge you, because the same things rage in my own mind.
No… I don’t wish that.
If we were to grow too close, you’d notice it soon enough. That thing I know you don’t want. A soul-bond between us, one that I feel with every breath I take, and every word I speak.
Little Jungkook once broached the topic at dinner, and in turn we each gave him our opinion. I forget the words the others used, but yours… I repeat them to myself almost every day, whenever I need a reminder.
“I think that it’s stupid. I mean… you don’t get to choose who you belong with! Wouldn’t you rather choose the person you want to love and spend the rest of your life with, marry… You could have built your entire life with someone, but then they meet their soulmate, or you find yours, and it’s like suddenly all those years together mean nothing.” You said quietly, pushing your plate away. “Personally, I want no part in a destiny I have no say in.”
The day after I heard you utter those words, was the first time the pain came.
It was half-way through a dance session, and we were about to film a rough take of a dance practice video. I remember feeling a tightness in my chest, much akin to the one we all experienced after an hour on stage.
A low burning that sat at the top of my lungs, behinds my pecks. Employing a technique our choreography-hyung had taught us, I took a deep breath and held it, before slowly pushing out all of the air in my lungs.
The burning subsided, only to be replaced by a tightening that spanned my entire chest and back. It was like the muscles themselves were straining, like something sharp was pulling them taut beneath my skin. I slapped a hand over my heart, and cleared my throat.
“You alright, hyung?” Hoseok asked.
I nodded, and gave a dry laugh. “Yeah, yeah—I think I just got heart-burn.”
He gave a sympathetic pout that said that’s no good and handed me a water bottle. I nodded my thanks, and turned my attention back to where Namjoon and Jungkook had finished setting up the camera.
I eyed Jungkook, holding ice on his ankle between takes. If he could deal with a bruised ankle, then I could deal with a little chest pain.
The strain that my muscles felt during the routine was highly uncomfortable. My arms were heavy, and there was an ache in the bones of my back that ran down to the base of my hips. Once we finished the dance, I couldn’t help but want to just sit down against the mirror.
I had planned on going to join a ‘Behind The Scenes’ skit with Jin and Taehyung, but my legs quaked at the thought of more movement, and I resolved to just shuffling over to the nearest wall.
You were so dedicated that day, Jiminie.
Even after we finished the session, and even Hoseok and Jungkook had decided to call it a day, you continued to memorize the moves and the complex footwork. I remember sitting there, trying to catch my breath, and being unable to concentrate because of the grace and power your dancing evoked.
The way your hips would move with the bass line and then snap back to where they were a moment before, rolling in time with the rhythm, slow and sensual. Your arms went from rods of taut muscle to lithe appendages that wove through the air along with the music.
If I hadn’t been having trouble breathing before, then the sight of sweat beads travelling from your forehead, across your cheekbones, over your lips, and then finally along the defined edge of your jaw, trailing down to the sinful divots of your collarbones.
You noticed me staring, and had returned it when I offered a small smile. The sweet expression on your face that day was so precious, so pure… My heart had clenched at the sight, and the tightening sensation didn’t fade until hours later.
Every day, I remind myself that you want no part in the life we could build together.
I didn’t really believe it until I woke in the middle of the night with a bad cough, and had to run to the bathroom, a twisting pain growing in my chest.
I faintly recall Seokjin waking up and asking if I was okay from across the bedroom, but I don’t remember answering him.
It wasn’t until I opened my eyes once the coughing subsided, that I realized the true magnitude of what was going on.
In the sink before me, laid a clump of yellow plant-matter.
Hesitantly, I picked up one of the petals, and washed away remaining petals, spit and phlegm from the washbasin.
Examining the small petal, I recognized it as a yellow carnation. A neighbor from Daegu used to have them in a flower-box outside her window.
I put the petal in my pocket, and returned to my room. I assured Jin that I was fine, and silently cursed myself for being stupid enough to hope.
Chapter 2: "All that we are, is all that we will ever be"
“What would you do if one of us was your soulmate?”
My heart stopped dead at Hoseok’s words, and took a moment to recover before realizing that he was talking to Taehyung.
“Um… I’m not sure,” Tae replied after a moment. “Would I love them back? Obviously. Would I love whoever it was as more than a brother…Honestly, I’m not sure.”
Jungkook nodded in agreeance, but I saw his smile fall somewhat at Tae’s words.
“I think that it’d depend on which one of you guys, if one of you were to turn out being my soulmate.” Namjoon said around his food. We all waited as he took a drink before continuing. “I mean, I would be honoured to have any one of you guys, don’t get me wrong. But I probably wouldn’t survive being chained for eternity to a certain few of you.”
We all noticed as he glanced at Taehyung and Jungkook, who grinned and feigned mock-offence at their hyung’s words. Soon we were all laughing, and I had hoped that the topic of soulmates had been dropped, when Jin spoke up.
“So, Jiminie… We all know you aren’t much of a fan of soulmates, but what would you do if it were one of your own bandmates that you were destined to be with?” He sipped at his drink and raised an eyebrow at the younger.
Jimin seemed stumped for a moment, looking over each of our faces. I’d like to say his gaze lingered on my person, but it’d be nothing but wishful thinking.
“Uh… I wouldn’t want to have anything other than a platonic bond with whoever it was. Like, I’m don’t think I’m ever gonna see them as anything more than I do now; a brother and bandmate.”
My food turned to ash in my mouth as I tried my best not to react to his words.
“…wouldn’t want anything more than a platonic bond…”
“…don’t think I’m ever gonna see them as anything more…”
Thanks for the heads up, Jiminie. I appreciate it.
I left the table shortly after I finished my third glass of wine, the strong flavour doing nothing to hide the taste of flowers and blood.
I spent the night researching Hanahaki, and what you can do to combat it.
Apparently, there was a trial removal-procedure in China that involved attempting to remove the plant from the patient’s lungs. Some of the patients had reported immediate lack of feeling towards their soulmate, regardless of the nature of their bond.
More disurbing than the patients reporting to be unable to feel anything towards (or against) their intended, were the fatality rates.
The procedure was still only in its third lot of trials on human soul-bonds, and the operation itself involved incredibly dangerous actions like; opening up the patient’s chest cavity, the piercing of the underside of the patient’s lung, pruning the plant, removing any excess foliage, before actually ripping the roots of the plant out of the patient’s body.
The final step is apparently the most dangerous, as the level of love felt towards the un-reciprocative party dictates the strength of the plant’s roots, and the degree of which the disease has progressed dictated how far the roots have dug into the patient’s body.
In the final stages, apparently, the roots can actually reach up and wrap around the heart, preventing it from pumping blood around the body, often leading to death.
The non-operation methods of fighting Hanahaki were somewhat less clear. Some people said that simply falling out of love with the soulmate could cure it, while others mentioned trying to win the heart of their soulmate.
Both seemed out of the question for me.
There was no way that I could fall out of love with Jimin. He had become so woven into my life that loving him seemed like it had become part of my identity. I couldn’t just cut that whole part of myself away. However, what seemed even more impossible was the idea that Jimin could be convinced to fall in love with me.
I read an article about a girl with Hanahaki telling her soulmate about the disease, and how he then worked with her to help her get better, and then they fell in love.
I couldn’t help but imagine telling Jimin, and swiftly decided that that was the last thing I wanted to do to him.
If Jimin knew that I had Hanahaki because of him, then he would do everything in his power to make me feel loved. I know him, and I know that he’d force himself into bonding with me, mating with me… doing all those soul-matey things that he’s always sworn to never partake in, all without a second thought.
Because Jimin is just that selfless.
Meaning… I was back to square one, with no idea how to save myself, and ever less of an idea as to why I should even bother trying.
Chapter 3: "Maybe it's meant to be this way," (EXPLICIT)
Sorry about the long-ass chapter, but a LOT happens
Jin woke me up at 2 a.m. the next morning to get ready for the flight.
Apparently Namjoon had mentioned it last night, but I had been too focused on Jimin to notice. Sighing, I quickly packed my suitcase, checking the weather in Tokyo. Warm, a bit on the sunny side.
The exertion of moving about my room was enough to make me want to crawl back into bed, but the need to clear my itchy throat was more pressing. I heard the commotion out in the main living area, and hoped that it would mask the sound of my coughs, or at least muffle it.
It was a good morning, with only a small handful of petals rather than yesterday’s half a sink full. I’d noticed that the amount varied with my mood, and closeness to Jimin. Whether that closeness was physical or emotional, I’d yet to discover.
After getting dressed in some acceptable travel-wear (clothing that covered a majority of my skin, so as to not blemish it, while also stylised to my ‘individual’ style of grunge-street-wear meets business-casual). Black jeans, white dress shirt, black jacket and boots. The cap and face mask were the key elements to what made it acceptable to wear for travel, as they made me not-so-easily identifiable.
”Out the door in fifteen!” Our manager call from the foyer. “The rest of the crew are already on-site.”
I handed my suitcase to the driver, who was packing the luggage and equipment into either our bus or one of the cars that sat on either side of it. The management team was to be split up between the first car and the bus with the seven of us and a sole cameraman, and behind us, the rest of the make-up and travel crew would be in the second car.
In the living and dining rooms, the others were getting their faces dusted with light day-make-up. The scent of two different shades of BB cream, fine powders, and herbal oils filled our apartment. I saw that Jin was dressed in something similar to myself, though in a far more laid back style.
In the dining room, Namjoon was getting the last of his face sprayed with a translucent setting spray, and upon further inspection, I saw that Hoseok was tucked away near the fridge, trying to drink a protein shake around the brush that was applying a tinted moisturiser to his lips.
Across the room, Jungkook wore a white tee, with dark jeans and black beanie. I made a small, silent bet as to whether or not he had on a pair of brown Timberlines, and quickly lost when I saw that he did. I didn’t bother making a bet with myself over what Taehyung was wearing, knowing that it would be something branded, fashion-forward and needlessly expensive. They each had two stylists on either side, and an apprentice was trying to fix Jungkook’s bedhead around the beanie.
And I thought my time as a trainee was hard.
I was ushered down onto a couch by a make-up noona named Eunmi, and as she and someone she called over began work on me, I took the opportunity to admire Jimin.
Jimin was a mixture of myself and Jungkook when it came to travel-fashion. A plain black shirt tucked into a pair of faded blue jeans that hugged his thighs and accentuated his calves. Sunglasses pushed back onto his head kept his hair out of the way of the stylist (I think her name was Sooyeon? Sayeon?) that was working on his face. Shiny black boots and his trademark ARMY charm necklace completed the look.
Pain made itself known in my chest, but I ignored it, and continued to appreciate the curve of his lips as he smiled and thanked his staff.
“You need to stop making that face, Suga-shi.” Eunmi scolded me, pushing lightly at the corners of my mouth. “Frowning will lead to wrinkles!”
I apologised, and stilled my face for her as she touched up my eyes and cheeks. I felt the occasional tug that alerted me of her assistant fixing my hair with a comb.
By 4.30 a.m. we were out the door and being piled into the bus.
The short flight to Japan was uneventful, as was the drive to our hotel. The staff there were polite, as always, and even offered to have our luggage carried up to our rooms. We checked with our manager, and were advised not to risk it, since the threats against three of the members were still fresh.
After securing our shared rooms (Jin and Jungkook, Namjoon and Taehyung, Jimin and Hoseok, and then I had a room to myself), we were allowed two hours before our schedule started, to get our bearings and settle in. I could hear how easily Tae, Jimin and Jungkook were ‘settling-in’ from down the hall. I guessed that by tonight, the assigned rooms will have gone out the window, and those three will have fallen asleep in god-knows-who’s bed.
In the short time that I spent alone in my room, I realised with a glum gratitude that I didn’t need to worry about a roommate walking in on me coughing up petals.
“Lucky me,” I muttered, the urge to do just that growing like the carnations themselves.
Seeing the swarms of fans outside never failed to cheer me up, and I knew that my fellow members felt the same. I didn’t need to peek around the stage door to know that it was a full house, with people not only sitting in seats, but standing in the aisles as well. I had seen the large number of ARMYs wearing VIP guest-passes for the fan-sign, and that alone told me that the signing alone would take over an hour, before our staff pulled us out.
Hoseok was pumped as always. “Aigoo! I love doing signs in Japan, all the girls are so kawaii!” He giggled. Jungkook peeked a look out at the crowd and frowned at the older dancer.
“Half of them are way younger than me, and I’m pretty sure the other half are older than you, Hobi-hyung.” He smirked at the face Hoseok pulled.
“Younger girls are cute, as long as they’re not too young.” Hoseok smirked, and elbowed me in the ribs. “Suga-hyung agrees with me, don’t ya?”
I didn’t dignify him with a response.
“Aish… You’re so mean to me… What was I saying? Oh yeah!” His eyes lit up as he began to stage-whisper. “Younger girls are cute and all, but older girls have more… uhm… Namjoon-ah, what’s the word?”
“’Experience’? ‘Finesse’?” Namjoon had been listening in to the conversation from across the room, where he was having trouble attaching his mic to his jacket’s lapel. “How about ‘Dignity’?”
We all laughed at that, and again when Hoseok poked his tongue out at our leader. Jin play-scolded them both, and after a pause of complete silence… He cracked and let out a giggle, after which we all lost it a third time.
“Aish…” I wheezed, a fit of coughs resulting from the laughter.
Each cough made my chest tighten, and despite the petals that threatened to rise in my throat, I grabbed the nearest bottle of water and washed them back down.
“Yah! That was my water!” Jungkook snatched the near-empty bottle from my hand.
“Sorry. Just take mine,” I pointed it out on the table.
“Why would I-” Jungkook began before he was interrupted.
Jimin had snuck up on us, and tapped Jungkook on the arm. “Kookie, here’s my water. Take it, and go chill with Taehyungie. He looks lonely.”
Jungkook took a moment, but soon deflated and let Jimin hand him the water bottle. He muttered something along the lines of “…first my underwear…now my bloody water…”
I turned back to Jimin, to find him staring off after the maknae, who was now sitting and chatting animatedly with Tae. I grew uncomfortable pretty damn fast, and pointed out my water to Jimin, just as I had to Jungkook. “I’m sorry you lost your water Jimin, you can take mine.”
“It’s okay Suga-hyung, I already got a spare.” He smiled.
With that, I felt the petals rising once more, and excused myself to the bathroom.
How is it possible to have clogged a toilet with bloody flower petals?!
I tried as hard as I could to unclog the pipe, but to no avail. I was scared to try and flush it away, as surely the bowl would overflow and leak water and petals out into the hallway.
“How the fuck…?” I grunted, deciding to transfer some of the wilted things into the basin. God, the stylist-noonas were gonna kill me, but even so, I pulled up my sleeves and discarded my jacket somewhere out of the way (hopefully).
Reaching in and pulling handfuls of yellow mush from a toilet was the last thing I wanted to be doing, minutes before we were meant to make an appearance in from of nearly three-hundred ARMYs.
With that thought, I heard a bang on the door.
“Min Suga-shi? Are you still in there?” I heard one of the event directors call from the other side. I swore. “Yes, I’ll just be a minute!”
“You’re due on the panel in five, okay?”
I yanked hard on a clump of petals, and the whole bowl of the toilet emptied itself down the drain. I sighed with relief, but it was short-lived.
“Min-Suga-shi? Did you hear me?” She sounded either worried, or impatient. Probably both, at this point. “Three minutes left!”
“Yes, thankyou director-nim!” I moved the rest of the petals into the now functioning toilet and flushed them all away. Checking for any strays, I replaced my jacket, and glanced in the mirror.
Well, the stylist-noona was certainly not going to be happy.
I opened the door, finally, and thanked the director again. She was polite enough not to ask what took so long, and I had to stop myself from thanking her again for that alone.
With just one minute left until showtime, Eunmi didn’t have time to scold me, but I knew she was seething by the way she snatched the somewhat soiled jacket from my grip, and replaced it with a another one of the same make.
”Now go on! Get!” She shooed me out into the small enclave before the stage stairs, where the other members were waiting for me before going on.
“Where were you, hyung?” Namjoon asked in a hushed tone, Hoseok saying something similar under his breath beside me.
“There was an issue in the bathroom.” I said as I looked down, not having to fake my embarrassment. The boys wore face of mixed impatience, confusion and understanding.
“Well, we’re already a tad late, so let’s get out there!” Namjoon put his hand out, and we all piled our own on top. Together we yelled “Bang! Bangtan!” and broke formation.
”Do you prefer younger or older girls, Suga-senpai?” The girl in front of me asked. She’d introduced herself, but I hadn’t been able to hear over the cheering around me.
“I don’t really have a preference…” I gave her a careful non-answer.
“Aw, come on~!” She pouted cutely, in a way that reminded me of Jimin before the pressure to maintain his body image set in. “You have got to pick one! For me~?”
I had an idea, and smirked at her. “Call me ‘Oppa’”
She blinked, obviously not expecting my response. But within a few second her gaze softened, and she leant right forward as a bright red blush appeared. “Yoongi… O-Oppa.”
I grinned at that, a pleasant shiver running down my nape. As a girl, she wasn’t doing much for me, but hearing that word from her mouth, I wouldn’t mind straightening out for a few hours.
It’s shallow and unfair, I know, but I’m dying anyway, so why not?
“Definitely younger girls,” I winked, and her blush darkened. A stage-hand waved her down the line, and I took the short break between fans to compose myself, and sneak a quick glance at Jimin, who was four seats down from me.
I found him sitting very straight, with a dissatisfied frown on his face. He too, was in-between fans at the moment, and I caught his eye. He looked at me once, before narrowing his gaze ever so slightly, and turning toward the ARMY that had moved in front of him.
As I did the same, the dormant ache in my chest resurfaced, but I had a sobering feeling that it wasn’t the Hanahaki that was making my heart ache.
Once we were back at the hotel, I threw my jacket down on the bed, and flopped down beside it. The action knocked the wind out of my chest, and triggered a coughing fit.
I managed to make it into the adjoining bathroom, but was unable to stop the carnation petals from scattering onto the tiles before me as I scrambled to lean over the toilet.
Spluttering, I tried to swallow the blood and saliva that accompanied the foreign appendages, but the simple action proved rather difficult, as the petals seemed determined to lodge themselves in my oesophagus.
I tried to dislodge the blockage with a cough, but to no avail. Trying to swallow the mass down proved just as ineffective as it had the first time around.
I banged on my chest, and forced out another hard cough.
As I breathed in to repeat the action once more, a bought of smaller, though somehow rougher coughs overtook me. My frame shook with the force of the contractions in my chest, and I knew tears were streaming down my face.
I saw the tears mix with blood and spit in the porcelain bowl, and once again, the reality of what was happening threatened to gobble me up.
After the coughing finally subsided, I shakily stood and flushed away any evidence. My balance was a little off, and I found myself gripping the sides of the basin as I washed the foul, coppery taste out of my mouth.
I caught my reflection in the mirror, and sighed.
The face was my own, as were the deep-brown irises. I recognised the black hair that was beginning to give way to a slightly browner shade at the roots. However, many things about the face I saw were not familiar to me, and for the briefest of moments, I wondered whether it was myself I was seeing.
The beginnings of purple-ish grey circles under my eyes; bits of chapped skin at the corners of my mouth; my cheeks that looked a little thinner than I remembered; my hair… my hair looked limp and dull. Never had I seen it look so… lifeless, even after having bleached and dyed it countless times for the company.
Surely this wasn’t the face of Min Suga, the idol?
No, I realised as I touched the reflection before me. This was the face of Min Yoongi, the undesired soulmate willing to die in silence so that his beloved might have to freedom to choose as he so desires.
I didn’t bother trying to make it back to the toilet before the second wave of petals hit.
I couldn't believe it when Namjoon stood up at dinner, and made the announcement.
“Attention! Atten—Jungkook, that means you stop talking to Tae,” The youngest giggled around his 'sorry, hyung' and Namjoon's gaze softened. He smiled as well, and raised his glass of sake. We all followed suit, and waited in silence.
He paused for dramatic effect, or maybe to brace himself for our reactions, before he raised his glass a little higher. “IDOL has been officially announced as... the music video with the most views in the first 24 hours... in YouTube history!”
For half a beat, there was no sound at all. We couldn't believe it.
Then, Jimin stood up, fingers playing with the small charms on his necklace. “To ARMY!”
We all raised our glasses, and cheered, the reality settling in. “TO ARMY!!” I didn't even register when Jungkook picked up Jimin and spun him around in a hug, or when Taehyung jumped on the younger's back, also hugging Jimin.
Hoseok was standing there in unusual silence, only to scream out “HOLY SHIT! HYUNG, WE DID IT!!” He was hugged tightly by Jin, who had the beginning of tears in his eyes.
“Namjoon put his hand on my shoulder, and looked down at me. His voice quaked as he spoke “We did it, Suga-hyung... We finally did it!”
I whispered “Yeah... we did...”
He grabbed me up out of my seat, and wrapped his arms around me. If I wasn't still in shock, I might've complained at getting squished by Joon.
I still couldn't believe it.
“WE BROKE THE FUCKING RECORD!!” Jungkook screamed out, Taehyung and Hoseok joining in on the end with variations of “WOO!” and “YAH!”
Namjoon released me, and I suddenly found myself subject to the little hotel staff herding us out of the dinner hall, and into the main lounge area. They'd overheard our commotion (how could they not, I suppose), and had taken it upon themselves to arrange a last-minute celebration party for us, as we were their honoured VIP guests.
I noticed a couple of the younger staff were giggling at Taehyung, calling him by his stage name, and gushing over how much better he looked in person. Somehow, it wasn't all that surprising to me, to find ARMYs among the hotel staff.
I spotted Jin with a hand-camera, talking to Hoseok, who was thanking ARMY for this gift. I ran up, slung an arm around him and we grinned at the camera, and made a show of wiping each other's tears away. I heard Jin make a corny joke about us getting 'Sope' in our eyes (because we were somewhat tearing up). I suddenly screamed out the iconic “AARRRMMMMMYYYYYY!!!” noise I'd made more than once before on camera when something like this happened.
I almost vomited at the sudden onslaught of petals that followed, but luckily the other members just clapped me on the back and put it down to breathing the wrong way for a second.
I downed my whole glass of sake in one mouthful, wincing at the stinging pain of the alcohol as it passed over the little abrasions my disease left inside my throat.
Sighing, I decided that I enjoyed that sting. It was like the punishing hand of a dominant lover, and I felt it as clearly as I would reddening flesh of under my palm.
“Geez, hyung, slow down! Haha!” I heard Jungkook laugh.
“Just coz you can't keep up, Kookie,” I challenged him, the drink making my impulsive responses far more impulsive.
I poured another glass, and welcomed that glorious burn again, this time loving the hurt that gripped my throat. The drink felt like it was wrapping around my neck, like my fingers wrapping around the oesophagus of whoever found themselves beneath me. A tight, little *squeeze*, and I understood why lovers like I'd had in the past yearned for those little hurts I'd give them.
The hurt was addictive, in a sick way.
Still, I washed it away for a moment with what ever was in the shot-glass that Hoseok handed me. It was like the sake but the flavour was stronger, and the taste smoother.
“Aish, what was that?” I asked, handing the empty shot back to Hobi.
He gestured to a staff member for a refill for us both. “It’s called, um… Awamori?”
The staff member nodded that it was the correct pronunciation, and asked if there was anything else that we would like. Hoseok and I looked at each other, and after a glance at the other members, we grinned up at the attendant.
Jungkook had overheard, and came over to lazily drape his arms around mine and Hoseok’s shoulders. “Come on, hyungies! We’re celebrating!”
I laughed at the half-tipsy Kookie, and complied. We asked the staff member for “About four more bottles of that—sake—and another seven of whatever cocktail Taehyung just ordered at the bar over there.”
She smiled brightly at us and, with a bit of a giggle, said that it would be coming right up.
“Wherez… Jim… nie?” My tongue felt kind of numb.
Namjoon answered me. “He’s up at the bar somewhere I think, said he wanted to celebrate on his own or a while.”
I couldn’t see him until Jin pointed out the figure leaning in the corner. I thanked them both, and made my way over. Tae and Jungkook waved as I passed, and I nodded in response.
“What’re you doin… Jim–nie?” I plopped myself onto the stool beside him.
“What does it look like, hyung, I’m drinking.” He glanced at me, before turning back to whatever was in his tall glass. “Apparently, same as you.”
Jimin gave a breathy laugh, and I‘m sure that I saw a hint of a suppressed smile at the corners of his lips. He angled his body towards my own, and bent to speak with me conspiratorially. “So, what was it that you wanted, Yoongi-hyung?”
I wasn’t sure how to answer.
Honestly, all I could think about was how delicious and shiny Jimin’s lips looked, the alcohol he’d consumed staining the plump skin there.
I think Jimin must have noticed my staring, because the next thing I knew, he’d grabbed my arm and had dragged me across to the elevators.
“What’re you d–doing, Jiminie?” The sudden, fast movement made my head turn a little.
Jimin didn’t respond, instead choosing to haul me into the elevator. He silently pressed the close-door button, followed by another that I assumed was our floor.
The doors dinged moments later, and once again, I was dragged down the hall and made to stop in front of a door. Jimin asked for my room key and, upon receiving it, unlocked the suite.
Jimin had taken me to my room?
“What’re―” I was about to question him again, but was interrupted by the sensation of lips pressing roughly against my own.
I couldn’t comprehend it at first, but after a second, my body took over where my brain failed to process what way happening.
“That.” Jimin was breathing heavily, despite the shortness of the kiss.
The euphoric feeling of sharing a kiss with my soul-mate was enough to sober me up instantaneously.
I felt a smile creep onto my face, and stepped around him, flipping us so that Jimin’s back was against the wall. Leaning harder into the kiss, I pushed against Jimin and opened my mouth just enough to graze my teeth gently against the meat of his lip. The action must have stunned him, as his grip on my wrists let up ever so slightly.
I quickly slipped them out of his hold before he could notice, and returned the favour by grasping either side of his hips, digging in my fingertips enough that I knew it would hurt, just a little.
Jimin grunted, and pressed his body a little harder against mine. Our chests flush up against each other, it became not only a battle for space, but also for dominance as the new closeness rekindled the intense need to devour each other’s mouths.
His fingers reached up and gingerly twisted themselves in the locks of hair that sat at the nape of my neck. The little tugs were like kindling to the hot, hormonal mess that I’d so quickly become.
I pulled his hips ever closer, drowning in the euphoric rubbing sensation that our hips created when pressed against each other.
His crotch had become a hardening mass, and I heard the little whimper that accompanied his moan at the contact. I mimicked the sound a moment later.
He broke the kiss and said, voice gloriously breathy “I want you so bad, hyung.”
“Yeah?” I couldn’t help but grin at the happy thought. “How bad to you want you hyung?”
Jimin whimpered once more. “So bad, hyung… Please, I want you so bad…”
I gave him a hard, chaste kiss on the mouth, before kneeling. Jimin’s eyes widened at my forwardness, but he was far from complaining. His fingers that were still in my hair, moved to knot themselves in the crown of my head.
Palming him through his jeans, I almost died from the look of adoration and gratitude that washed over Jimin’s features. That look cleared my head and breathed a numbing sensation into my lungs. The only reminiscently painful deep-breath that followed was such a gift.
No, the true gift was the intoxicating feeling of excitement as Jimin’s jeans slid down with his briefs, revealing his length in its entirety.
I glanced up once more at Jimin, and saw him hiss at the sudden exposure.
“Is this better?” I wrapped my large hands around the appendage, warming it. Jimin nodded, and let out a low, guttural moan.
I began working the shaft and base with one hand, toying the thick head with my other. Jimin was letting out a whispered chorus of grunts and whines, and I loved it. That he was allowing me to do this; be the one to make him produce those noises—I loved it.
Yes, guilt tinged my thoughts as my pessimistic-self recalled that he wouldn’t if he knew the truth of who I was, but I ignored that self, and instead focused on pleasuring Jimin. He would have to forgive me for being selfish, just this once.
I brought myself closer, and licked experimentally at the tip.
Jimin raised an eyebrow, but didn’t question any further, as I took his length in my mouth fully. I stilled as I tried not to gag at the foreign mass that sat heavily at the back of my throat.
I felt a hard tug at my hair, and Jimin bucked his hips. I choked on the sudden motion, and popped off for air. He apologised hurriedly “Oh my―Oh, I’m so sorry hyung, I―”
“Shhh…” I restarted my languid stroking, and pressed the head to my lips, letting my hot breath send visible shivers up and down Jimin’s body. “It’s okay, baby… I liked it.”
Jimin smiled sluttily. “Yeah?”
“Mhmm… I like those sorts of things.” I hummed, letting my gaze become hooded as our eyes connected. “So, this time, don’t apologise.”
Jimin’s eyes widened a fraction, but his fingers dug deeper into my hair, anchoring his grip. I smirked, and provocatively licked a long strip along the underside of his length.
Jimin hissed, and grimaced at my ministrations.
“So impatient…” I muttered, before lowering myself back onto him.
I let Jimin guide my head slightly, but he was going so easy on me. I decided to surprise him, and pushed forward. I hummed as the head passed near my voice box, knowing that the vibrations it made on Jimin’s dick would be heavenly.
In response, Jimin took the hint and used his hold on my hair to impale my mouth. Moving his hips and hands in time with each other, Jimin’s soft flesh coming to meet me with every thrust. I knew tears were blooming in the corners of my eyes.
I was in heaven.
Every time Jimin slammed into the back of my throat, I gagged a little. From experience, I knew that he felt it when I did, just as he felt the little noises I couldn’t help but make around his dick.
“Ah―” I heard Jimin’s breathing grow laboured, and when his thrusts started to become sloppy, I knew he was close.
I took over, and continued to take as much of him into my mouth as I could with each bob. I gripped his hips, to help me press him deeper into my throat, harder and deeper each time.
Jimin was mewling and hissing at the continued stimulation.
God, those sounds…
I dug my fingers into the flesh of Jimin’s hips and pulled them forward to meet me, impaling myself as hard as I could on him, and holding myself there. Jimin reacted, as I knew he would, and with a string of curses that even I was proud of, came deep in my throat.
I held that position until I was sure he’d spent his load, and immediately swallowed the remnants left on my tongue.
Jimin’s fingers were hesitant on my shoulders as he guided me up to a standing position. He kissed me, so gently―so sweetly, on the lips, before collapsing into my chest.
The boy was exhausted. I sighed down at him, and decided that it was worth explaining what happened, if I got to have him spend the night in my bed, just once. After re-zipping his pants, I lifted Jimin up, bridal-style, and laid him down on my side of the bed.
Pulling the blankets over him, I couldn’t help but press my lips to his forehead.
I snuggled in on the other side of the bed, and faintly remembered why I had liked that side better as the lumpy pillow under my head promptly began to piss me off.
However, looking at Jimin asleep beside me, I soon forgot about the pillow. He always looked so… at peace while resting, his features revealing their natural softness. The view was so serene, that surely the wrath I was bound to receive tomorrow was naught but a figment of my imagination.
If only I would be so lucky.
The sunlight that shone in through the open curtains felt like someone was standing there clanging pots and pans together. Christ, my throat was sore. Smiling at the memory, I rolled over, expecting to find a warm body beside me, but met an empty space.
Where was Jimin?
I called out to him, but received no answer.
He wasn’t in my private bathroom when I checked, and when I peeked into his shared room with Hoseok, I found nobody but a lightly snoring rapper half falling out of his bed.
I returned to my room, and was immediately glad for it, as a pain I’d so easily forgotten resurfaced vigorously. I rushed into the bathroom and vomited up around seven handfuls of yellow carnation petals. I choked on one, and had to pull it out using my fingers.
Bile and more petals followed, piling into the toilet that I repeatedly flushed every few gags.
Where was Jiminie…?
Tears ran down my cheeks from exhaustion and pain as a harsh coughing fit over took me. My chest shuddered at the upheaval and I heard myself whimper between coughs.
I felt my bladder give out around the same time a second wave of petals clawed their way out of my already raw and bleeding throat.
I cried at the pain, the embarrassment, at the heartache I felt.
Jimin had left before I woke up… What, so that he wouldn’t have to face me? Wouldn’t have to face what we’d done? Was that why? Did it not matter whether or not we were soulmates, was I was still too repulsive for him to stomach being with?
The carnation plant wound itself tighter around my heart and lungs in confirmation.
I cleaned myself up, and flushed the stray traces of yellow that laid on the tiles beside the toilet. After I showered, I changed my clothes and binned the soiled ones. There wasn’t time to have them washed, and I didn’t really want to wear them again after…
I coughed and spat the petal that the thought brought, into the bin.
Namjoon announced that we were heading back to Seoul after a quick breakfast, and we all piled into the elevator down to the dinner hall.
The staff had somehow managed to clean away the mess of last night’s party. We found Jimin sitting at the breakfast bar already, an empty plate in front of him.
“It’s about time you lot of lazy bums got up.” Jimin spoke, with a forced half-smile on his face. Namjoon and Jin were shocked at his words, but Hoseok and the two Maknae’s laughed at Jimin’s supposed joke. Jimin apologised to the two older boys and explained that he had just had a ‘bad night sleep.’
He had yet to look at me.
We all took turned piling food onto our plates from the breakfast spread, and found spots to sit on the two tables surrounding the one Jimin had claimed beforehand.
Jimin seemed highly engaged in either his food or whatever Tae and Jungkook were talking about animatedly across from him.
I tried to catch his eye, even for a moment would be enough. But he refused to look at me, and the saddest part was, I kind of understood why.
The drive to the airport was much the same, as was the short flight back to Seoul.
Jimin refused to look at me. He avoided speaking to me, and even offered to switch seats with Namjoon so that he could sit farther away from me in the van as we drove from the airport to our apartment complex in inner Seoul.
By the time we were in the door and had filed into our rooms to unpack, I’d taken the hint.
If we don’t talk about it, it didn’t happen.
But it did happen, even if one of us seemingly wants that not to be true, and because it did happen, I make sure Jin doesn’t see my tears when I sneak to the bathroom.
I think I made more trips to the toilet that night then I had in the entire week prior.
Chapter 4: “Your lips are those of a liar,”
I knew the others had noticed the rift between Jimin and I, but it wasn’t until a number of days later that any of them said anything.
Upon returning home, Jin slammed the apartment door shut behind him. He put his bag down on the dining table with way more force than usual, and Jimin and I froze in under the weight of his gaze
“Alright, seriously? Enough!” Namjoon moved to stand by Jin as the eldest member spoke. “What the heck is going on between you two? You’ve both been really off ever since Japan.”
Jimin froze on the way to his room, and for the first time since that night, his gaze met mine. There was so much ice in his gaze. It was as though that cold travelled along the tether of our joined gazes, and I felt it pierce my being like a fractal.
The cold gripped my chest and my breathing shallowed. It wasn’t until Jimin looked at the ground that I could take a more regulated breath.
“There’s nothing going on between us,” Jimin said in a dead tone. Pain shot throw my chest at his words, at the barely disguised emotion beneath them.
Hoseok piped up. “Yeah, like… it’s been almost a week, and I don’t think I’ve seen Jiminie and Yoongi-hyung talk once.”
Probably because we haven’t, I thought sourly.
“Look, it’s as Jimin said,” My words tasted dry as I spoke. “There’s absolutely nothing going on between the two of us… Please don’t worry.”
“But we are worried, hyung.” Jungkook appeared, Taehyung a step behind him in the doorway.
A tune filled the room, effectively cutting the youngest’s words off. Jin pulled the mobile from his pants, and stepped into the next room. I saw Namjoon and Hoseok share a look, but decided not think anything of it.
Jimin glared at Jungkook for a moment before shouldering his way down the hall, and into one of the rooms. After a slight nod from our leader, Taehyung set a determined look on his face and followed after his friend.
I grabbed the duffel bag by my feet, and looked towards Namjoon. “I gotta go to the studio. Probably won’t be back for dinner, so don’t wait up.”
“No, hyung, you can’t keep running off to your studio, just because you don’t want to be at the apartment.” Jungkook’s brows pulled together, and Jimin shot him a look from the back seat.
“I just need to finish the demo tracks for our next comeback.” I sighed, turning to look out the kitchen window.
“But, I thou-” I silenced Namjoon with a withering side-glare, before he could finish his sentence. He knew that I wasn’t working on a comeback yet, though it was certainly on our shared to-do list. He looked at me quizzically, but I just continued to stare out the window.
My reflection in the glass looked almost as bad as I felt.
The pit in my stomach made me want to vomit up the non-existent contents of my stomach, along with the petals that constantly prickled the bottom of my throat, each breath seemingly just moments from another internal assault on my system.
I sighed, and made to walk back into the foyer at the front of the apartment, when Jin spoke.
“So… BangPD-nim called.”
Despite it being on one of the higher floors, the air in Mr Bang’s office was thin and stuffy.
In the chair beside me, Jimin was frighteningly still. If it weren’t for the occasional expansion of his chest, I would have already checked his vitals. In contrast, our esteemed CEO seemed unable to decide how to start the meeting, and instead had taken to fidgeting like a rabbit with hypothermia.
He had offered Jimin and myself something to drink twice, and cleared his throat—only to not say anything—more than double that.
“Uh, PD-nim, sir… May I ask why you—” The nervous atmosphere in the room felt as though it was making the oxygen disappear as it entered my lungs. The room felt smaller than it usually did; no longer did the large windows make the space expand. Instead, as Mr Bang cut me off, I realised that they simply masked how closed off from the rest of the world this room really was; the whole universe was right there, behind the glass…
“Yes, yes, of course!” BangPD-nim started, before clearing his throat—again. “Your members contacted me about the issues currently going on between the two of you. However, I should let you know that I was going to have the two of you meet with me regardless.”
I was sure that we had been careful. Jimin shifted uncomfortably at the older man’s words, only to stare wide-eyed at Mr Bang’s tailored Oxfords.
“I reviewed the edit of the new Run! Episode yesterday, as you well know. I’m afraid to say that the director’s comments were less than what I expected.” He sighed.
“Even before I read his notes, from the footage alone, I recognised that there was great tension between you two. Yes, the editing team hid it well, but if I can spot it, then we both know that ARMY will notice in a heartbeat.”
Despite being thankful that the meeting was not about a sex-scandal, this seemed almost as bad. ARMY never missed anything in the content we released. Hell, they caught and catalogued every glance we made, giving it meaning.
If it looked to BangPD-nim like there was tension between Jimin and me, then within the day, ARMY would have figured out more behind-the-scenes context than I cared to even imagine.
I could tell Mr Bang was waiting for one of us to talk, to say something, but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen any time soon. Jimin was back to being frozen in his place, yet to utter a word.
I sighed, dragging my hand down my face.
“I’m sorry, BangPD-nim, but I… I don’t know what you want me to say, or do. I―uh―” I stuttered, unsure of myself in every sense of the word. How could I fix this without revealing something that could destroy everything?
Bile bubbled at the back of my throat and I swallowed hard.
Jimin seemed to make that decision for me.
“There’s nothing going on.” He said the words flatly, his voice lacking its usual lustre as he glared at some place over Mr Bang’s shoulder.
“No!” BangPD-nim and I both froze at his sudden volume. Jimin rarely raised his voice in anger–at least not seriously–and definitely not at Mr Bang.
“Now, wait a minute, Park.” Bang PD-nim’s tone was hard. “I don’t know what has you so riled up, but you’d better get your attitude back in check before the re-shoot tomorrow, or I’ll―”
And with that, Jimin left and our meeting came to a rather ambiguous end.
BangPD-nim let me go without a hassle, speaking to me about taking the first step as the elder and trying to reconcile things with my dongsaeng as soon as possible.
Breakfast was quiet, and I think that I might have drunk half the pot of coffee by myself. I was feeling more tired and lethargic than usual, and it was annoying the shit out of me. The petals had kept me up all night again, either cleaning them up, or coughing up more. In the days since I first brought up that yellow petal, I’d taken to making sure my door was not only closed, but locked. One of the others had tried to check on me a couple of times, but I just called out a quick “I’m fine! Just breathed wrong!”
As far as I could tell, none of them had questioned it.
“What’s wrong with you this morning?”
I looked up as Jin appeared behind me at the breakfast bar. He appeared to be focusing on fixing himself something to eat, but I could feel his eyes on me. I made a point of draining my cup of coffee before answering.
“Nothing.” I said. “I just haven’t been sleeping properly.”
He seemed to be happy with the not-quite untruth, and advised me to have an early night tonight. We both laughed dryly at that, as though it were a joke and not the harsh reality of being an idol.
I looked over to where Jimin was seated on the couch, whooping and cheering as Taehyung and Jungkook versed each other in Mortal Kombat. Jungkook was winning, but Tae was catching up with his score fast. Jimin suddenly rolled off the lounge, and knocked into Jungkook, who had been sitting on the floor, and broke his concentration. Taehyung used this to his advantage, and landed four combos in a row on Jungkook’s character, winning the match.
Jungkook groaned, flopping down onto his back, narrowly missing Jimin, who was beside him giggling uncontrollably. Tae helped the smaller member up, high fiving him as he went. Jungkook grumbled about Jimin liking Tae more than him, and Jimin simply stuck out his tongue, but still clapped the younger on the back, to show he wasn’t serious.
I felt that twinge again in my chest, watching Tae and Jungkook making Jimin smile and laugh like that; that unabashed grin that lit up his whole face, and drew attention to his prettier features.
I put my hand over my heart, as though I could smother the feeling inside. My chest felt heavy, and the added weight made me want to do nothing but lay down and sleep. I took a deep breath, and it caught in my lungs. I felt them constricting inside me.
It hurt, so I took smaller, laboured breaths, but the quick movements caused the constricting feeling to turn to one of burning, like the heat that wore down the rims of tires on a car racing at top speed.
I stood there like that for some time, not noticing that many of the other members had gathered, wondering what was wrong with me.
“Yoongi-hyung?” Namjoon touched my shoulder, and I suddenly realized how tired I was when part of me wanted nothing more than let that hand be all that held me upright. I hummed in response, and looked up at him. “You… uh, alright?”
I nodded, and the movement made my head spin. “I is… jus’ tired.”
“Jungkook-ah, can you help Yoongi to his room, please? I think he’s just really overtired, and could use some sleep.” Jin said, now at my side. When had he gotten there?
I felt a hand on my arm, and saw Jungkook was there as well. I think I muttered something along the lines of “Kookie…” but I’m not sure, although Jungkook did give a breathy laugh at one point as he helped me put one foot in front of the other.
My chest tightened, and I swallowed down the whimper that begged to accompany it. Jungkook helped me into my bed, and despite Jin’s earlier words, I asked the maknae for my laptop.
If I was too sick to attend practices or training, then I might as well produce or write something that was good enough to warrant my absence.
I heard Jungkook leave, and soon the sounds of my bandmembers died out as they each left to partake in a planned group dance practice at the studio. As I wasn’t there to participate, I suspect that they would have run through the routine maybe twice before simply reviewing old choreography.
I sighed at the thought of how many practices I would have to miss in the coming months.
Signing in to my laptop, I opened my ‘UNFINISHED IDEAS’ folder, and ran through the files. Nothing popped out at me as having any immediate potential. I grabbed my notebook from the bedside, and flipped through, re-reading the messily taken notes about everything from what colours mean, to how I felt about things, to observances about certain people.
A passage that I wrote maybe… four weeks ago, caught my eye.
“180726 – If I hide my love for you behind the face I know you would love better than the once underneath, do I truly love you? If I force you to believe and love the lie that I’ve masked myself with, is our love even real, or is it merely something sweet that I have built on a bed of bitterness, hoping that you won’t notice the burning aftertaste my name leaves on your tongue?”
Taking in the words I’d written, I suddenly grew quite sad.
Poor Jiminie… When the hanahaki finally kills me, he’ll mourn a man that never truly existed, or rather… one that he never truly knew.
I let myself wallow in the weight of that knowledge for a moment, before the sudden urgent need to relieve the petals in my throat broke me out of the depressive trance.
I didn’t make it to the toilet, instead leaning into the basin just feet away as around two or three handfuls fell uneasily from my mouth. I spat at the earthen, rust-like taste that they left in my mouth, and went to wash them down the drain when I realized why the metallic taste accompanied that of the petals.
I held some of them in my hands, and stared for what seemed like forever. The vibrant yellow pigment of the carnation petals was splattered and smeared with red.
Chapter 5: "Promise you'll never forget today,"
SPOILER: Jiminie's POV makes an appearance or two!!
This Chapter is dedicated to @ib2459
“Hyung, can I take the afternoon off to spend it with Yoongi-hyung? I want to make it up to him for acting the way I have been.” I wasn’t sure whether I actually wanted Namjoon to agree or not.
Yes, I felt horrible after seeing Yoongi so weak yesterday morning. He slept all day, and only emerged from his room to eat a small dinner, before disappearing again.
Ever since that—incident—at the party in Japan, it was like there was this great untold secret between us; some deeper meaning beneath everything that shocked me to my core.
Looking at him now, I can sense that he knows about this truth that hangs in the air between us, and is choosing to keep me out of it.
Still, I couldn’t help but feel like it was my fault that he was like this…
“If you’re sure, Jimin-ah,” Namjoon’s words snapped me out of my thoughts. “You know I’ll cover for you with BangPD-nim if he asks, but you have to promise to keep a close eye on hyung, okay?”
“What are you gonna do with him?”
This question was easy. “Oh, there’s a small music festival in Hongdae that I thought hyung would enjoy, and then I was going to get him something at Wang Bi Jib.”
Namjoon raised his eyebrows, and hummed in approval. “Well, it sounds like you two are in for a lot of fun today.”
“I hope Yoongi-hyung thinks so.”
Jimin and I wore face-masks, hoods and dark glasses as he dragged me around the districts for almost an hour before we arrived at a festival.
It was small-scale compared to the ones in we had been invited to since moving to the Hannam-dong apartment, but it was mesmerising nonetheless.
The sides of the road were littered with flyers and the air smelt of beef-skewers and Gyeranppang. The sound of small performances from local schools mixed with that of the buskers that played with varying degrees of talent outside little pop-up shops and tents.
There was a young girl demonstrating how to tickle the ivories to a small cohort, and I found my chest swelling at the simple, yet pretty tune she played.
I stopped to listen, and couldn’t help humming along to the melody.
“She’s good.” Jimin said quietly beside me.
I nodded. She was good.
“Would you like to try?” A man approached us. He had speckled skin and warm, chestnut eyes beneath thin brows. Upon glancing back to the girl, I realised how alike they seemed.
I opened my mouth to politely decline, but Jimin spoke first. “He’d love to!”
“What? No, I–”
Jimin squeezed my side, and the sudden contact sent a jolt to my heart, silencing my tongue.
The man led us to a larger keyboard across from the little girl, and started prattling on about beginner-to-intermediate stuff like notes and tunes, but I simply started playing.
The first thing that came to mind was Jungkook’s solo piece from our WINGS album, Begin. I couldn’t help locking gazes with Jimin as I played, softly singing the familiar lyrics under my breath.
“Chameul suga eobseo ulgo inneun neo, daesin ulgo sipeo, hal sun eobjiman…” I whispered. I can’t stand you crying, I want to cry instead, although I can’t.
“You make me begin~” Jiminie sung louder.
I couldn’t help but grin at his hesitant expression.
“You make me begin~” I urged him through my mask. His eyes crinkled sweetly in response, and my chest throbbed.
Despite the gathering crowd, and the growing fear that Jimin’s voice was too recognisable, this moment was perfect.
All that existed in the world was me, Jimin, and the piano.
I let my love and yearning bleed through my fingers like water onto the keys, spurred on by Jimin’s angelic high notes. “Jugeul geot gata hyeongi seulpeumyeon. Hyeongi apeumyeon naega apeun geotboda apa.”
I feel like I’m going to die when hyung is sad. When hyung is in pain, it hurts more than when I’m in pain. The lyrics felt like the confession I so desperately wanted them to be.
I felt the petals rise in my throat, and swallowed down a cough. Pain and fear shot through me. I needed to find a bathroom, or somewhere private to dispose of the blasted carnations before they burst out all over the ground in front of me.
In front of Jimin.
At that thought, I stood up and ran from the piano tent.
Jimin found me in the public bathroom maybe five minutes later.
I had locked the outer door, but it was no match for Jimin’s powerful thighs, and in moments, he was banging on my stall door.
“Hyung! Hyung! What’s wrong? Are you okay? Hyung!” He was panicking, and I felt the distress like a punch in the stomach.
Why can’t he see that all of this is so that he can be happy? Why can’t he just accept it and move on with his life? Why does he have to be so goddamn nice?!
The petals subside long enough for me to sit against the door, blocking him from entering. From ruining everything.
“Go away, Jimin!” My voice sounded horrendous. The strain on my throat and voice box was bound to catch up with me some time, but why did it have to be now, with Jimin standing so close to discovering everything?
Maybe God really does hate me after all.
“No! Hyung, please! Just talk to me—”
“JIMIN!” I was crying. “Please… just—just go…”
Outside the stall there was suddenly silence, before the outer door closed with a soft noise. Yelling at Jimin made my chest scream in pain from the sheer wrongness of it.
I wanted so bad to chase after him and tell him how sorry I was, but… Everything would be easier for Jimin if he hates me.
That is what I told myself as I flushed away every scrap of yellow that I could find.
Yoongi emerged about ten minutes later.
His eyes were down-cast and his face looker a little paler than it was before he entered the bathroom. I wanted so badly to speak, to ask him what was going on.
To ask him why I still smelt that floral fragrance, mixed with sweat and vomit, as if it clung to his clothes. I’d noticed it the second the door had buckled and let me through, and the scent remained now as he stood next to me.
“I―I am so sorry, Jiminie, I—” He was stalling, that fact was written all over his face.
“What’s going on, hyung?” I asked gently.
The question seemed to startle him, and it took Yoongi more than just a moment to compose himself. He closed his eyes, and when they raised to meet my own, I found no trace of that insecurity or fear that had plagued them in the moments before he fled the piano tent.
Now, there was only tiredness and resolve.
“Nothing, Jimin. I just—I just haven’t been sleeping much. At all, really.” His voice was levelled and cool. Lazy, almost. Like explaining himself was nothing but a troublesome chore.
“No, hyung, I know that’s—”
“Seriously, Jimin. Just let it go.” Yoongi-hyung sighed, and lifted his cap to run a hand through his hair. “I told you; I haven’t been sleeping, and it’s screwing with me.”
He was lying, but I knew that pushing would only result in him closing himself off from me.
“I guess that does make sense,” I forced myself to laugh once. “Oh! You dropped your sunglasses while you were running.”
He took them, offering up a small, almost apologetic smile. I hated the little tug that I felt deep in my chest. At some point during puberty, I had managed to choke the life out of that part of my heart; the part that made me think my Japanese tutor looked delicious in skinny jeans.
The same part that Yoongi seemed determined to re-awaken, whether he knew it or not.
“Y’know… I’m really not feeling this anymore. Wanna just go back to the apartment?” I asked, not looking at him.
Chapter 6: “You look happier,”
This chapter is dedicated to @Asarin159
When I finally convinced myself to get out of bed the next morning, part of me immediately knew that Jimin wasn’t home.
The apartment, despite Taehyung’s boisterous roughhousing with Hoseok, was simply too quiet. Through the thin walls I could hear the scolding chides of Seokjin as he made breakfast, and the snide comments that Namjoon made, no doubt standing beside him.
However, the apartment was devoid of the unabashed peals of laughter at the antics of the two loudest members.
The little things that told me when Jimin was not present.
And, surprisingly, neither was Jungkook.
When I stepped out into the dining room, Namjoon handed me a plate of food. Together with Seokjin, we sat around the breakfast bar, deciding to ignore Hoseok and Taehyung’s childishness. I didn’t want to ask, because asking meant acknowledging that I needed help. However, just as I was about to open my mouth to ask that damning question, I was interrupted.
“He isn’t here, hyung.” Namjoon said. He didn’t look up from his bowl. “He’s showing Jungkook some new endurance circuit at the studio.”
“Oh,” was all I could manage, my mouth suddenly very dry.
When I stood up, my chair dragging on the ground from the fast movement, and I didn’t bother pushing it back in on my way to the kitchen.
I put my plate down on the counter with a little more force than necessary, and stalked back to my room. My lungs were burning, and I could taste metal and nectar on the back of my tongue. Once inside, I locked the door and sprinted to the bathroom.
Seokjin would have to forgive me for hijacking his room, but he could always sleep at his new personal apartment, which was but a short elevator ride from our shared villa.
Why hadn’t I thought of buying my own place here?
Because you’re fucking dying, a voice in my brain said as I choked, and spat a large cluster of carnation petals into the sink.
Jungkook returned home nearly three hours later, to pick us up for combined vocal-coaching lesson. As I had skipped the last session, there was no excuse for me missing another one.
Meaning I had to find a way to explain to Hansong-sunbaenim why my vocal chords are having so much trouble performing. I couldn’t exactly tell him that it was because I’d spent the last two weeks vomiting petals at irregular intervals.
I had taken to wearing a face-mask as often as I could. Should any petals escape the confines of my mouth, the mask would catch them, to some degree. Although, I still found myself preferring to cough into a handkerchief rather than the thin mask.
Handkerchiefs were much easier to discreetly throw away after a single use.
Jimin hadn’t come home with Jungkook, but it wasn’t until he was nowhere to be found at the studio that we all started to wonder. Jungkook reassured Tae and Hoseok that Jimin “was perfectly fine where he was.” The way the youngest had said it irked me.
“So… Where is he?” I asked quietly, not missing how Namjoon’s eyes met Jin’s.
“Oh, Jimin-hyung had a date to go to.” Jungkook wiggled his eyebrows. “He’s with a giiirrrlll.”
“Aw, nice! Good for him, right Yoongi-hyung?” Hoseok hung an arm around my shoulder, and we both pretended that I didn’t lean into him. I nodded once in supposed agreeance, and was immediately thankful for Hoseok as he gushed with the sudden need to tell Taehyung all about how this kid in one of his classes had to be sent to the infirmary for falling asleep on his binder and getting his lip-piercing stuck in one of the rings.
Jin said that just thinking about that left a bad taste in his mouth.
And just like that, the topic of Jimin’s sudden love life seemed to disappear as quickly as it had shown up.
I met her outside a café near the BigHit building.
Park Jugyeong was a part-time model. Her long white-blonde hair in a loose braid, her dark clothes and face-mask making it seem to be an even lighter shade. The subtly ethereal-looking makeup told me that she had just finished a morning shoot.
She waved me over.
“Thanks for coming.” I said.
She grinned, and jumped into my open arms. I spun her around, both of us laughing. Together, we walked into the café, and ordered.
“So, what’s this about that grandpa hyung of yours? You must be pretty worried if it couldn’t be discussed over the phone.” Jugyeong said with a smirk once we were settled in the booth.
“Missed you too, Noona.” I deadpanned.
“Aww, come on Minnie~” she teased. “It’s been forever since you had a crush on anyone! My little cousin has grown up so much!”
I shushed her as the waitress brought us our drinks.
“What? Afraid that someone will overhear us?” She slipped her large sunglasses down her nose, looking at me over the top of them. “I hate to break it to you, Minnie, but we’re in a public place. Where people have ears.”
I sighed. “Look, it’s complicated.”
“Game of Thrones is complicated. Shower sex is complicated. This? This isn’t complicated, little cousin.” Jugyeong half grinned at me, like she’d made some reference that I didn’t seem to get. Confused as fuck, I watched in silence as she downed most of the contents on her cup.
“I mean, it’s about that hyung right? The one you have a thing for?”
“I do not—”
“Denial doesn’t suit you, cousin.” At the sight of her raised eyebrow, I decided not to dignify that with a response, instead simply glaring at her from behind my shades.
Jugyeong chuckled, but her voice was serious when she spoke. “Okay, I’m sorry. It’s just… I miss the days when you and I could joke around and talk about stuff like this. Before all of those ideas about what a man should and shouldn’t feel got into your head.”
“I’m sorry Noona…” I couldn’t look at her. “It’s just… I’m scared.”
“I know, Minnie, but…” She sighed. “You can’t run forever.”
“I know… I’m not scared for myself though.” It wasn’t a lie, but I could tell she knew that I wasn’t telling the whole truth. “I mean, there’s something that scares me more than… that.”
“’That’ being the inevitable reality of our family finding out who you are and disowning you as punishment?” Jugyeong smiled, making light of the serious statement.
I giggled nervously and nodded.
“Anyway,” I continued. “You were right. I wanted advice about my hyung.”
She clapped her hands, and squealed, jumping up and down comically in her seat. “Finally! The fun begins!”
“Aish! Stop it!” I yelled, trying not to laugh at the incredulous faces of the other customers around us. She giggled, but stopped anyway.
“So, tell me everything!” Jugyeong said eagerly.
Turns out, Hansong-sunbaenim was sick, and I had never been so glad to have an hour free in my life. The thought made me feel like shit for enjoying my sunbae’s misfortune, but I just couldn’t bring myself to not relish in the fact that this meant I didn’t have to explain why the inside of my throat looked like I made out with blenders for fun.
Namjoon had the idea to use the spare time to go through our ever-growing stacks of fan-mail. I remembered when Jiminie had played postman for a Bangtan Bomb, and my heart swelled at the memory of him back then.
All chubby smiles and forced confidence, Jimin had been almost as shy as Jungkook when we all first met, though the older hid it extremely well.
I guess you could say that I learned a lot from Jiminie in those years.
Hoseok handed out small piles to each of us, and together we sat down and flipped through the envelopes. Most were covered in sparkly stickers and drawings, while others were thicker manila packages. The words ranged from text-book Hangul, to broken English, to scripted Japanese, to seamless Korean, before returning to a sort of colloquial English that many international ARMYs seemed to write in.
The style of writing was similar to that of a conversation between close friends. When writing, around 90% of ARMYs used the proper Korean suffixes, even if the title did not match the tone of their letter, nor the language they were writing in. Even so, the fact that they went out of their way to be polite, by South Korean standards, always touched me.
I opened a pale pink envelope, and was hit by the soft scent of roses as I pulled out the paper inside. The letter itself was a slightly lighter shade of pink. The aroma was without a doubt coming from the paper itself, as though the author had sprayed it with their favourite perfume.
“Ugh, hyung got a scented one.” Jungkook whined, making a little show of holding his nose and fanning the air around him. “Clear the area!”
A moment later, Taehyung had joined in, even though the smell has dissipated enough to be more than manageable in the spacious room.
“Aish, would you two cut it out?” Seokjin hit them both on the head with a folded manila package. Namjoon chuckled at the eldest’s actions, and I didn’t have too glance over to know Hoseok was failing at his attempt to keep his composure. The noises that escaped his mouth sounded far too much like little giggles to be anything but.
“But, Jinnie-hyung—” Jungkook and Taehyung spoke at the same time.
“Don’t you ‘Jinnie-hyung’ me, you two.” At this point Jin, despite his best efforts to look menacing, was also trying not to descend into peals of laughter.
Knowing what would break his composure, I muttered not-so-quietly under my breath. “Doom,”
It took about half a second for both Seokjin and Hoseok to lose their composure and simultaneously burst out into laughter. The sight was contagious, and I soon found myself chortling right beside Namjoon. However, a laugh caught in my chest, and I coughed. Once, twice. By the third round of coughing and spluttering, Namjoon had fetched me a cold bottle of water from the staffroom down the hall.
Despite my body screaming against it, I gulped down the entire bottle in one go. The liquid pushed any rising petals back down my throat and into my stomach. A small wave of nausea rolled over me, and once I managed to stand, I swallowed hard.
“You alright, Yoongi-hyung?” Jungkook asked.
Part of me wondered how many times my members had asked me that over the past couple of weeks. Another part of me argued that I didn’t really want to know.
“Yeah, I’m okay, kid.” I coughed into my hand, and pocketed the petals.
“If you say so… Now who wants coffee?” Hoseok changed the subject, the worry on his face being replaced with a cheery smile.
There was a chorus of “Me!” “I do!” and “Fuck, yes!”
That last one earned Namjoon a scolding from Jin. Chuckling softly, as I couldn’t stop myself from laughing but also didn’t want to have another fit, I offered to go with Hoseok to get the coffee.
“Uh… If you’re sure, hyung…”
I could tell he didn’t want me to come with him, still obviously worried about what that coughing fit meant about my health. I made a mental note to announce a doctor’s appointment and return with a pneumonia diagnosis.
“Yes, I’m sure Hobi.” I rolled my eyes dramatically, to ease his nerves.
My dongsaeng beamed. “Okay. So, what does everyone want?”
It worked, apparently, because within five minutes, we were out the door with a list of orders.
“So, let me get this straight…” Jugyeong tried not to smile or giggle. “He blew you, and you left him high and dry for over a week… and you’re worried because he seems distant?”
“It sounds stupid when you put it like that, but you don’t understand.” I sighed, my hands in my head. “He’s taking trips to the bathroom about every hour. We can all hear the vomiting from outside the door. He isn’t sleeping, he told me so himself.”
Jugyeong was silent, as though deep in thought.
“Noona, I’m seriously worried about him. He isn’t eating, he’s getting so thin and pale—. ”
“Has he met his soulmate yet?” She suddenly interrupted.
“I—I mean, I don’t think so. He would’ve told us if he had, wouldn’t he?” I sipped at my third cup of coffee. “I’d hope that he would have told us, at least. I mean, we’re his band members—we’re closer than family. Surely he wouldn’t hide something like that.”
“I wonder, because if he has found his ideal half, and they rejected him…” Jugyeong let her statement trail off, the implication speaking for itself.
“Hanahaki? What are we, in a drama or something?” I laughed once, as my head added things up. “Yoongi-hyung wouldn’t be able to hide something like that from all six of us. Someone would’ve found out and done something to fix it. No—No, it has to be something else.”
“If you’re so sure, Minnie…” Jugyeong sighed, and covered my hand with her own. “I just don’t want you to get hurt.”
I made up my mind. I decided that if Yoongi had indeed found his soulmate, then I would be happy for him and support him. “There’s no point being sad over something that wouldn’t have lasted anyway.”
“I never guessed that little Minnie would be an early finisher.” Jugyeong said with a monotonous voice. “I thought I taught you better than that.”
I spit my drink out and laughed, and it felt like I hadn’t laughed like that in far too long. My sides hurt, and there were tears in my eyes. My cheeks burned from embarrassment and smiling.
“Aish!” I giggled. “You’re too much!”
Someone started having a coughing fit across the café, and I half turned around to see what was going on. That cough sounded really fucking bad.
The man’s friend was helping him out of the shop, but still… that cough unnerved me.
Hoseok was quiet on the elevator ride down to the ground floor. I could tell he was trying to respect my privacy, but the kid looked like he was about to burst.
“What is it, Hobi?”
“What has been going on with you hyung? I mean, first the coughing and then the bathroom trips and you look to pale all the time, and Jin said he saw you getting changed and that you’ve lost so much weight! We’re all really worried hyung!” He was panting. One breath, maybe two later, he started again. “You can’t just say that there’s nothing wrong or that it’s nothing to worry about, because we are all worried sick about you! You’re our bandmate and our hyung! Please, just—tell one of us, at least.”
It was my turn to be quiet.
“Hyung…?” Hoseok said quietly, touching my shoulder.
“I―I can’t tell you, Hoseok.” I sniffed, my throat feeling thick. “This is something I have to deal with on my own…”
“But surely there is something that I, or one of the others can do.”
I thought about Jimin. There was one thing that he could do to help cure me, but it was the one thing that I would never ask of him.
“No… There’s nothing that I could ask any of you to do.”
Between the foyer and the café, Hoseok talked aimlessly about nothing. He was trying to cheer me up, and not for the first time, I wondered what things would have been like if Hoseok had been my soulmate instead of Jimin.
Maybe if I were stronger, I could have replaced my love for Jimin with feelings for Hoseok. But no, I’m weak and cannot bring myself to imagine loving anyone but Jiminie.
Guilt twisted in the pit of my stomach, and throbbed in my chest. Like a coward, I didn’t look at Hoseok until his hand on my arm steered us into the café.
The throbbing in my chest dulled, like a soft blanket had been thrown over the sharp pains. I let Hoseok prattle off our order to the barista, and basked in the soft warmth. It reminded me so much of Jimin that it almost made me call out for him.
Hoseok’s sudden outburst cut through my daze like a knife. I followed his gaze to the far corner of the shop. “He must be here on that date Jungkookie mentioned.”
There, in a booth tucked in beside the counter, was Jimin sitting across from a woman with white-blonde hair. But it wasn’t the odd hair that stood out to me most.
It was the hand that she laid on top of Jimin’s on the table. The action was so sweet and simple, and I couldn’t help but catch the small smile that spread across Jimin’s face.
The soft warmth that had coated my lungs was ripped away as the woman said something and Jimin suddenly burst out laughing.
My entire heart clenched at the sound.
God, how long has it been since I’ve heard that sound?
The sound was one of pure joy and delight, not masked by nervousness or competitiveness. Sure, he laughs with Tae and Jungkook, but never like this…
It’s been years since he laughed so freely.
And it was certainly never for me.
I could feel the petals tickling the sensitive bottom of my throat, the thick tang of blood and bile coating my tongue.
Fuck, I needed to find a fucking bathroom.
“Aish, this is taking forever!” Hoseok whined. “You want to grab a table or… Hyung?—Hyung, what’s wrong?”
“I―I need… go…” I don’t know how I managed to speak. I coughed into my sleeve, and had to swallow the clump of petals to stop Hobi from seeing.
But the coughs weren’t stopping. Wet, croaky spasms that made my shoulders shake. Hoseok was talking to me, but all I knew was that I was suddenly being lead back out of the café.
“Co…ffee…”I mumbled, my thought becoming increasingly incoherent.
“Forget the fucking coffee, Hyung. You’re not okay.” Hoseok’s voice sounded funny, like he was trying not to cry or something.
“Wha…” At that point I was simply making mouth sounds.
It sounded like Hoseok was on the phone with someone. “Who…call?”
“Joon.” Hoseok made sure I understood what he was saying, speaking deliberated and slowly. “I’m taking you back to the house. The guys will meet us there.”
“Why…” I couldn’t grasp the concept properly in my mind, so I just let Hoseok half guide, half carry me to a car that I’m pretty sure hadn’t been there a second ago.
I was about to ask Hoseok why there was a magic car, when another hard wave of coughs hit me. It was a struggle to get me into the car, between my uncooperative body and the crackling pain that shot through my chest at each movement.
God, I was so fucking tired.
Chapter 7: "I hide the truth, because you hate bitter things,"
Namjoon had called me about ten minutes later, asking where I was.
“I’m just leaving the café. I’ll be up to the studio in just a moment, I promise.” I said lightly.
“Please come back to the apartment.” Namjoon’s voice was strained and weak. He cleared his throat, and tried again. “Jiminie, I need you to come back to the apartment as soon as possible.”
“Yeah—yeah, I’m on my way!” I gave Jugyeong an apologetic look, and ran out to the street. I texted one of our drivers, but he was twenty minutes away.
Joon had sounded distraught, like what this was about was something that could not wait that long. I sent back a quick “never mind, thanks anyway” and bit the bullet.
Hailing a cab in Seoul is always an experience, but it’s even more so if you’re an idol. Public transport is greatly discouraged, because there’s no knowing what people will do until they do it. You can always guarantee that someone got a picture just waiting to be taken out of context.
But there wasn’t any time to worry about the security issue, not when our leader sounded like that.
Namjoon got off the phone with Jimin and sighed.
The other members were sitting in the lounge room, talking quietly amongst themselves. However, Joon and I had stayed behind in the bedroom. Hoseok and Taehyung had put Yoongi in his bed, and after they left, I’d performed the sickening task of removing the petals still in his mouth, before propping him on his side.
Namjoon sat down on the end of the bed, and let his head fall into his hands.
“How could I not have known?” He whispered. There was a crack in his voice, breaking it’s baritone in half. The sound made me want to wrap my arms around him and protect him.
But now wasn’t the time for that.
Instead, I put a hand on his shoulder, and rubbed soothing circles through his shirt. He reached up, and caught my hand, pressing it to his forehead.
When he looked up at me through his bangs, I pretended like my heart didn’t stutter.
“What do we do, Jinnie-hyung?” He sobbed.
Our leader did not cry easily—No, he did cry easily. It’s the letting people see him in such a vulnerable state that he found difficult.
Despite his thick exterior, Namjoon truly was so fragile underneath.
Seeing him like that broke my heart, almost as much as Yoongi’s condition did.
Don’t think, just work.
How does one care for a Hanahaki patient? How does one face the fact that their friend is laying there dying?
Don’t think, just work.
I put a cloth on Yoongi’s forehead, and placed more pillows behind his back. There was a small bin beside his bed, and I refused to consider the reason he kept it there. I moved it slightly, so that it was more aligned with his body.
“Why didn’t you say something?” I said to him. “Why didn’t you trust us…”
As if hearing my words, Yoongi stirred in his sleep, and coughed. I saw the yellow petals gather on his tongue. God, give me strength.
Biting my lip, I opened his mouth wider and went through the motions.
Hold the patient’s tongue down, check the air passage for blockages, clear the air passage, remove any other foreign materials from mouth, return patient to resting position.
The crash-course in nursing that Joon and I took online when the seven of us first moved into the trainee dorms together seemed to have finally come in handy.
If only because trying to remember it means I don’t have to think about what I’m doing.
The apartment was far too quiet when I got back.
I could see four figures seated in the lounge room, but it was like they were all frozen in time. Not a movement, not a sound.
Like something had shocked them all so completely that their minds could not handle it.
“Namjoon-hyung?” I asked, my steps slow and cautious. The energy in the room felt like a bomb had just been dropped and I was the last to know. “What’s going on?”
“Come here, Jiminie.” Taehyung say quietly, gesturing to the spot beside him and Jungkook. Rather than sitting, I continued glancing around the room.
Hoseok was sitting with his hands in his head, Namjoon slowly rubbing his back. Jungkook was being cradled in Taehyung’s arms like a child, and I couldn’t help but smile inwardly at the sight.
Kookie was smitten, but Taehyung would never know that unless the younger managed to make the confession himself.
Jin came out from one of the bedrooms, holding a cloth and wash-basin. “His fever finally broke. He should wake up soon, hopeful—Ah, Jimin! You’re finally back.”
He put the basin in the kitchen sink, and came to stand beside one of the couches. He laid a hand on Namjoon’s shoulder, and earned a thankful glance in return.
“What’s going on, Namjoon?” I asked. “You said to come right away, so what’s going on? Who was Jin in there with?”
“Jimin-ah, why don’t you sit down, yeah?” Jin’s voice was quiet and soft. Almost hesitant.
Growing more confused and scared by the second, I complied and sat in the spot Tae had gestured to earlier. “Where’s Yoongi-hyung?”
“As you know, Jimin-ah, Yoongi hasn’t quite been himself lately,” Namjoon began.
“He mentioned the other day that he hasn’t been sleeping and that it’s been screwing with him.”
At my words, Hoseok’s shoulders started to shake a bit. I could hear the little sniffles that his hands failed to muffle. I immediately felt bad.
“It seems that it’s a little more complicated than that, Jiminie.” Jin said gently, coming to kneel on the floor beside Hoseok.
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Hyung, you’re scaring me.”
“Christ, he’s sick Jimin!” Hobi suddenly looked at me. His cheeks were streaked and stained with tears. “He could barely stand at the café, and h-he just passed out and then h-he—”
“Shhh…” Seokjin’s hand joined Namjoon’s on Hobi’s back, rubbing soothingly. He visibly swallowed, and looked directly at Namjoon, despite speaking to me. “His fever broke just after you got here, but he’s been uh… coughing up stuff, in um… in his sleep.”
Namjoon swore under his breath, and Jungkook whimpered, snuggling deeper into Taehyung’s side. I looked at Tae then, and balked at how distant his expression was.
“I don’t—is hyung going to be okay?” I asked, growing frantic.
“I hope so, Jiminie.” Seokjin whispered. “I really hope so.”
I woke up in my bedroom, with a cool cloth on my forehead.
The lights were off, but there was a soft glow of afternoon sun coming in from around the blinds. There was a low throbbing in my head, that travelled from behind my eyes down to the base of my skull. I tried to sit up, and found that my body ached.
How long had I laid in one spot? Scratch that, how the fuck did I get home?
The throbbing in my head was making things fuzzy…
Reading fan mail… talking to Hobi… ordering at the Cafe… seeing Jiminie—
I cried out as the throbbing spiked. The pain moved from my head to my heart, like an icicle being driven down through my spine in to my chest.
The image of Jimin and the girl flashed in my mind, and that shard of pain broke apart, skewering my lungs.
The pain twisted, raging and thrashing around inside my chest. It stole the breath from my lungs, and I choked. Coughing, and gasping, I hunched over.
My muscles screamed at the sudden action, but I didn’t care. My throat filled with petals, and I vaguely registered the bedroom door opening.
On instinct, I turned over and spat into the bin beside my bed. My muscles spasmed, and I forced myself to swallow the remaining petals.
“Hyung—hyung! You’re going to hurt yourself, moving around like that!” I heard Namjoon say gently as he patted my back.
I managed to nudge the bin half under my bed, and wiped at my mouth. I let Namjoon guide my body back into a resting position, and prayed that he hadn’t seen.
I coughed, close-mouthed, and swallowed the thick mixture of phlegm and petals. The fractals of pain in my chest throbbed in time with the movement.
“You need to spit them out hyung, or they’ll get lodged in your throat and clog the airways.” Namjoon said hesitantly.
“I know, okay? I kno—” My words dropped off as I realised what my dongsaeng had said.
I couldn’t tell what emotion I was feeling.
It was like a sudden weight had been lifted off of my shoulders… only for an even heavier, and more dreadful weight to settle in the pit of my stomach.
“Hyung, why didn’t you tell us?” I heard Namjoon say.
I couldn’t breathe—But it wasn’t petals that were the cause.
It was fear.
How? How did he know? Did they all know? Were they going to kick me out of Bangtan? Were they going to make me have the operation? Does Jimin know? Fuck, does Jimin know that he’s my soulmate? Fuck, does Jimin hate me now? Does he never want to see me again? Does he think I’m disgusting—
“I—I—” I couldn’t speak, so instead I simply shook my head as tears started to fall. Large arms wrapped around me, and despite the ache in my muscles, I curled into the embrace. It was comforting, and familiar, and filled me with guilt.
How many times had this situation happened over the years?
Namjoon, comforting me as the weight of all my worries and concerns and insecurities grew too much to bear… Me, crying like a child into the crook of his neck.
“I—I—I can’t—” My voice cracked, and petals filled my throat.
I pushed Namjoon away, and hunched over the side of the bed, shamefully vomiting them onto the floor, missing the half-hidden bin entirely.
Chapter 8: "Things will never be the same"
This Chapter is dedicated to @Arachnen
I'm sorry for the wait, everyone! But between Christmas and some family problems, I just haven't had the motivation to write... But I managed to finish Chapter 8 for you guys!
I could feel their stares on me.
The seven of us were seated around the dining table, Jin having just boiled me a pot of herbal tea for my throat. Sipping at it slowly, I couldn’t help but wish I’d told them sooner.
No… No, that wasn’t true.
Still, the tea soothed some of the harsher abrasions in my throat.
“So… Is anyone going to say something?” I said timidly. I couldn’t help but brace for the worst; the yelling or screaming. Anything but this silence, so filled with pity that I could almost smell it in the air.
It seemed like forever before Namjoon spoke, taking the responsibility no one else wanted. “When were you going to tell us, hyung?”
I saw so sense in lying to them at this point.
“I… wasn’t going—”
Hoseok cut me off, standing up and yelling in a sudden fit of anger. “So, what—you were just gonna let yourself die, and we were all just expected to sit back and pretend not to notice? Is that it hyung?!”
Just by looking at him, I could tell that the betrayal of me not confiding in him, personally, was almost as painful as the idea of me dying alone. “It seemed like a better idea than spending the rest of my days with you all pitying me.”
“We don’t pity you hyung.” Jungkook’s head moved awkwardly from its spot resting against Taehyung’s arm.
My chest ached at the quietly exhausted look on our youngest’s face.
I glance around at the other members. Their faces were all variants of the same set of emotions; betrayal, worry, fear and confusion.
But I didn’t see pity in their eyes.
“Maybe you should.” I mumbled under my breath.
In the uncomfortable silence, I noticed Jin had drifted back to our leader’s side. His hands switched between rubbing circles on the Namjoon’s back, to resting across his shoulders, to lightly holding hands with the younger on the table.
“How long has this been going on, Yoongi?” He asked, voice hesitant.
I knew that the answer would not make matters any better, but told the truth nonetheless. “About a week or two before the Japan trip.”
I heard a little gasp from Jimin, and it took a great deal of strength not to look at him.
Instead, I watched as Seokjin did a commendable job of hiding his rush of emotion. It was the little things that gave him away, though.
At my words, the hand holding Namjoon’s clenched, and his sculpted cheeks paled in colour.
It was little changes like that that made me feel a bit like a piece of shit. I glanced over at Jimin, and he was even easier to read. Eyes wide, his plump lips parted in such a way that it reminded me of our time in Japan. My heart ached at the memory, and I had to look away.
When did I start being so damn ashamed of myself?
Namjoon was the first to bring up what this meant moving forward. “Do you know what you want to do, hyung?” He asked me.
I must have taken too long to answer, because for the first time since I had woken up in my room, Taehyung spoke up. “Do you know who your soulmate is, Yoongi-hyung?”
The nod I gave was hesitant, albeit careful and deliberate.
“Then we just have to track them down and make them love Yoongi-hyung back, right?” Hoseok said, the beginning of a grin spreading across his face.
“It’s not that simple, Hobi…” I muttered.
He must have heard me, because suddenly Hoseok was standing right in front of me. He grabbed one of my hands, and smiled that infectiously happy smile of his. “Yes, it is hyungie! Since you know who they are, we can find them and then we can—”
I couldn’t take it.
I couldn’t fucking take it.
“They don’t want me Hoseok!” I stood up, yanking my hand from his grip.
He retreated a step, and I ignored the incessant drum of my increased heartbeat. “They don’t care! They were so disgusted about the thought of being with me, that they don’t feel the bond at all! They don’t want to feel it!”
What followed was a blur, coupled with the building throb behind my eyes.
My breath caught in my throat. I tried to swallow, but the action only sent spasms down my oesophagus. Petals and phlegm rose up, and filled my mouth. I stumbled past Namjoon and thankfully made it in time to the kitchen sink.
It took maybe minutes before my throat was burning and aching.
I rinsed my mouth under the tap, and let myself give in a little bit to the tiredness that had played on the edge of my mind for weeks.
I felt myself sink down onto the ground, head resting against the cupboards.
With my eyes closed, it was like my body fell asleep… but left my mind behind. Thoughts and worries and anxieties swarmed like a dull white-noise in my head. That throbbing remained, its intensity dulled only slightly.
My limbs felt heavy, and kind of numb. On instinct, I tried to twitch my fingers, to reassure myself that they still worked, because for a second there… I couldn’t exactly feel them.
To my relief, they twitched. Jerkily, but still.
Distantly, I heard the others talking.
“How is that even possible?”
“I don’t know, Jin-hyung. I don’t know…” I heard Namjoon’s response to Jin moments before he appeared in front of me. “Hyung, are you sure that they don’t feel the bond?”
“Yes, I’m pretty fucking sure.” I resisted the urge to get back up and spit in the sink.
Joon sighed, and in my peripheral vision I saw him and a few of the other members have a hushed conversation at the other end of the kitchen.
“Here, hyung. I’ll help you back to the couch.” Jungkook, and motioned for Hoseok to join him in supporting me.
“No, I’m fine Kookie-ah—”
He looked down at me. “Please, hyung.”
I nodded at the pleading look in his eyes.
Jungkook lifted me up into a standing position, and it wasn’t until Hoseok helped share some of my weight that I realised how heavy my limbs felt.
They laid me down on one of the longer couches, and Hoseok sat down at the opposite end, so that my calves rested across his lap. When I made to move them off, he simply draped his arms over them, and glanced at me knowingly.
I gave him a small smile as thanks.
“We need to tell Bang Sihyuk.” I heard Jin whisper to Namjoon as they walked back into the loungeroom with the rest of the members. Jimin and Tae once again sat themselves on either side of Jungkook, although it seemed like they were the ones in need of comfort, rather than the maknae.
“I’d rather that we didn’t tell him or anyone anything just yet.” I said to Joon.
“We can’t organise discreet treatment without his knowledge, Hyung.”
I muttered something under my breath, and prayed that no one heard it. Forgetting, of course that Hoseok was sitting right next to me when I said it.
“How can you say that you don’t want treatment, hyung? No, Joon-ah—He just said he doesn’t want treatment! How the hell are you meant to get better, Hyung, if you—” Hoseok stopped his rant, and looked down at his lap as the realisation hit him.
I could see on his face the moment it sunk in and his heart broke.
Jin was turned away from us, but I could hear the soft sniffles he was emitting. Taehyung was staring at the wall behind me, only looking away when Jungkook hugged his arm.
I didn’t look at Jimin’s face, knowing that my own would reveal the truth if I did. Instead, I decided on looking at Hoseok, but that was hardly a better option.
Pain and disbelief were plain as day on Hobi’s features. The little crease of his brows and the deep pout on his face reminded me of a character from an anime Taehyung had once shown me.
“If what hyung said is true… I mean, if his soulmate can’t feel the bond, then we only have a few options of how to deal with this.” Namjoon said with a sigh, sitting heavily on the ground near my head.
“What’s the difference if they feel the bond or not?” Jimin asked, making my heart crack open.
Namjoon started prattling on about the differences in the procedural components of the Therapies provided to both bonded and un-bonded soulmates.
There were multiple sighs in the room. “In Korean, please.” Jin said.
Namjoon gave an impatient sigh. “It means that Behavioural Soul-bond Therapy probably won’t work, because they don’t have the established connection.”
Taehyung started to raise his hand, probably to get Namjoon to simplify what he said further, but Jimin stopped him. I watched from the corner of my eye as Jimin leaned across Jungkook’s lap to whisper in Tae’s ear.
Part of me knew that Jimin was just helping Tae by explaining what Joon meant, but another part of me hated how natural their dynamic was. Even with Jungkook sitting in the middle of them, it was like watching a tender moment play out in a drama.
I looked away, and my chest ached.
“I know them, and the Bond Therapy won’t work because they don’t want me.” My throat felt dry around the words, making them sound distorted and harsh. “And being treated like some sort of mental patient or experiment won’t make them want me.”
“I’m sure that isn’t true, Yoongi-hyungie!” Jungkook sat forward.
“Yeah, how could someone not love you?” Hoseok smiled sweetly at me from the other end of the lounge. His hand was softly massaging one of my calves, and the light pressure felt oddly soothing. Again, I asked the universe why Hoseok couldn’t have been my soulmate.
“It’s not that, Hobi.” My throat swelled with emotion and petals, but I forced them back with a hard swallow. “They… Aish, they don’t need someone like me in their life. They’re—too good, and kind, and selfless… too perfect for someone like me, if I’m being honest…”
“Well, that’s bullshit.” Jimin said bluntly.
Chapter 9: "Without the pain, I am nothing" PT. 1
Thank you all so much for all of the love and support! It really means the world to me... Saranghae-yo!
This chapter is dedicated to @blahblah11223 and @FandomTrash
I don’t think that anyone in the room knew how to react to Jimin’s words.
“Jimin-ah?” Taehyung’s eyebrow quirked up, and his eyes darted from backwards and forwards between Jimin and me.
Jimin glanced at Taehyung, and for a moment, it looked as though he wanted to say something. His mouth opened and closed, reminding me of a fish and a snide part of me took joy in that mental image. But the rest of me was still.
There was a torrent of thoughts going through my head. What does he mean? Does he know that I was talking about him? How does he know? Is he mad at me? Does he hate me now? What is going on? They buzzed like static behind my temples.
Jimin recovered, and sighed. “It’s bullshit, that Hyung thinks that his soul-mate wouldn’t want him.”
Hope rose up inside my chest and threatened to drown me. I wanted so badly to just let it surround me. To let myself drown in that wave of wishful thinking.
The words shot through me like arrows, but it was the look in Jimin’s eyes that sealed the deal.
Sadness and pity laid beneath those brown irises that I often dreamed of.
That wave of hope crashed down, as I remembered. He doesn’t want a soul-mate. He’s just worried about his fellow member. He doesn’t want me to die, that doesn’t mean that he wants to be tied to me for the rest of his life.
I coughed into my fist, and swallowed hard. “Sure. Whatever you say Jiminie.”
“Yoongi-hyung,” Namjoon interrupted before Jimin could give a comeback. He was leaning forward, elbows on his knees. The expression on his face was closed-off and contemplative, and was enough to tell me exactly what conversation he wanted to have.
“Should Jungkook, Taehyung and Jimin go to the other room?” Jin piped up, glancing at the maknaes. It was Hoseok that answered him, despite keeping his eyes on me. “No, they deserve to know what’s going on.”
He was definitely salty that I hadn’t confided in him.
I sighed, and gestured for Namjoon to continue.
“Very well… Yoongi-hyung, obviously you have given some thought to how you want to deal with this, am I right?”
I nodded, slightly fearing what he was going to say next.
“And… you are aware of the consequences of this being left untreated, right?” His eyes were slightly wet, but he blinked and the tears were gone. Still, I saw his eyes pleading with me to not make him say the words.
“What’re you talking about, hyungs?” Jungkook asked softly, cowering a little.
This. This was why I never wanted them to find out.
I knew that eventually it would be far too late to try and hide it, but I had hoped that I would have a little more time to pretend everything was all right.
“Jungkookie…” Taehyung said softly, almost soothingly.
There was a thick silence. It was like everyone in the room was about to say something monumental, but no one did. Eventually though, it was Jin that answered Jungkook. “Yoongi-ah doesn’t have a whole lot of options.”
“Options?” I saw fear and despair spark to life in Jungkook’s eyes as he sat forward, and glanced between Jin, Namjoon and myself.
“It means that, if hyung won’t say who his soulmate is, then he can either have the operation and live, or be a stubborn prick and die.” Jimin muttered, certainly a little louder than he had intended.
At first, Jimin only received shocked expressions from the members, and for a second, I was glad that Jimin’s behaviour was distracting them from his words.
“You couldn’t have put it in a more sarcastic way, could you?” Hoseok’s words were marred by the slight sneer that grew on his face. “You make it sound like Yoongi-hyung is a selfish child throwing a tantrum or something.”
“Maybe he is selfish!” Jimin half yelled, standing up, and storming out of the room. The front door slammed, and the sound was enough to make my control slip.
I breathed in, but it caught in my throat, and I choked on it. Coughs spluttered from my mouth, and I could already feel the petals at the top of my throat. I tried to swallow around them, but there was too many and the movement only made my throat clench around the mass. I choked, and instinctively jumped up out of my seat to rush out of the room.
My head swam, and dots appeared in my vision for a moment, before clearing. I must have looked unbalanced, because Jin got up and guided me to the closest bathroom.
I tried my best to make him leave once we got to the room, but he wouldn’t go, and I didn’t have the energy to fight him on it. Instead, I fell to my knees over the toilet, and opened my throat.
The yellow petals spilled out in uneven amounts. From painful clumps of mass, to wet torrents of blood and bile. I coughed again, and choked.
Jin held my back, and patted between my shoulder blades, but I held up a hand to stop him. The vibrations were only making the ache in my chest worse.
My chest felt impossibly tight, and my throat burned from the acidity and the friction. I tried to breathe through my nose, but my lungs were in too much pain to expand.
I think at one point I must have passed out, because the next time I opened my eyes, I was in my bed, and there was a pile of painkillers and a water bottle on my bedside.
“Hyung? Are you awake?” I heard someone murmur from the doorway. I glanced over at the tall figure, and sat up in my bed. Seokjin was heavily asleep across the room and at the intrusion, he stirred slightly and rolled over. I waited for him to stop moving, before answering the figure.
“Come in, Jungkook-ah.”
He carefully shut the door behind him, and moved to sit next to me on the bed. Seeing him sitting atop my covers made me feel too much like a patient, so I pushed the blankets back and crossed my legs, facing him.
Jungkook felt so much more than he let show, and he observed almost as much as Namjoon. He was much like me in that regard; quietly caring about those around him.
It wouldn’t surprise me if he had already guessed at what had been going on with me, but not said anything. Whether out of respect or insecurity, I don’t know.
“Hyung… I―” Jungkook stopped suddenly, and looked down at his hands.
“Go ahead, Kook-ah.” I tapped his shoulder, in a way that I hope seemed reassuring. He glanced up, and smiled sweetly. He took a deep breath, and began again.
“Yoongi-hyung… The reason you don’t want surgery…” He licked his lips. “Is it… because you don’t want to forget?”
I gave a breathy chuckle. Smart kid.
He lifted his head then, and for a second, I thought that he was going to yell at me for confirming. But instead, he hugged me.
“I understand, Hyung.” I heard a sniff. “I understand, because… those feelings are a part of you… and I know that you would never be the same without those parts of you that love him.”
I rubbed his back as Jungkook cried silently into the crook of my neck. “It’s okay, Kook-ah. It’s gonna be okay.”
“How do you know?”
“Hyung just knows, Jungkookie.” I smiled into his hair, and couldn’t help but little laugh. “Your hair smells like Taehyung.”
He bolted back, and the worried look on his face was near comical. “It’s not–I mean–I–We–Ah–It’s not what–Ah–”
“Calm down, Kookie-ah.” I shushed him, trying to suppress another laugh. Jin murmured in his sleep, and kicked a pillow that had found itself beside his leg, but he did not wake up.
Jungkook sighed, and noticeably deflated.
“Please don’t say anything, hyung.” He murmured.
“I won’t. After all, it’s none of my business…” I said. “However, I can’t help but notice that the two of you aren’t exactly soul-mates.”
Jungkook groaned quietly, and held hid face in his hands. “Don’t remind me.”
I chuckled softly, and patted him on the shoulder. “Don’t worry Kook-ah. You and Taehyungie are perfect for each other, even without the bond. Trust me, soul-bonds aren’t always as ideal a pairing as people tell you.”
Jungkook smiled sadly at me. “I’m sorry that your mate doesn’t love you Hyung.”
“Me too, Kookie-ah. Me too.”
Chapter 10: "Without the pain, I am nothing" PT. 2
A very, very big dedication to @Jill!
Thank you so much for your words of encouragement!
JIMIN ’S POV
“…about a week or two before the Japan trip…”
An image of Yoongi on his knees in front of me flashed in my mind, and I gritted my teeth. He had already fallen in love with his soulmate at that point.
Part of me wondered whether Yoongi would have done those things with me if his mate hadn’t rejected him… And another part of me didn’t want to ever find out the answer to that question.
I shook my head, and splashed water up onto my face. I don’t know what made me storm out like that, or where it was exactly that I had planned on going.
Somehow, I wandered back to the agency.
The young secretary bowed at the sight of me, and buzzed open the elevator doors before I could speak. I gave her a grateful smile and thanked her.
It was probably just muscle memory that made me press the button for the studios. My emotions were all over the place, and maybe my body knew that sitting still wasn’t a good idea.
I vaguely remember putting a song on the stereo, and began to dance.
It was one of the older routines, with plenty of powerful steps mixed between the quick footwork. Every couple of bars, the choreography would allow a moment of slightly lower intensity moves, intended to give our bodies a little rest between dance breaks.
I repeated the routine until my lungs began burning, and it was at that point I knew that if I didn’t stop, my voice would end up being affected.
What the hell was Yoongi thinking?
Did he think that it was a good idea to let himself die, all because his soulmate didn’t “feel like” having a relationship with him?
“Fuck!” I cursed, kicking my foot against the mirrored wall.
“What did the wall ever do to you?” A man spoke from the doorway.
Upon seeing his reflection, I turned on my heel and bowed. “PD-nim, I’m sorry that I—”
“Don’t worry about it, Jimin.” He chuckled. “I can tell when something is going on with my boys, you know. I’m not stupid.”
“No—No, I know that—I didn’t mean—”
He walked over to me, and put his hands on my shoulders. “Breath, Jimin-ah. I was only joking. Breathe.” He drew out that last word, his voice tired.
I took a breath, and bowed once more. “I’m sorry, PD-nim.”
“Why don’t you come tell me what’s been bothering you?” He chuckled, and started walking back towards the door, hands in his pockets. “Unless, of course… You and the wall have unfinished business?”
YOONGI ’S POV
When Bang PD-nim called Namjoon, furious that the leader hadn’t told him about my ‘condition,’ we were all shocked. Surely Jimin hadn’t…
But, no. He had.
Bang PD-nim was angry at all of us, but it was Namjoon and myself that bore most the blame. Me, because I “should have known to come straight to him so we could deal with the problem immediately.” But Namjoon was copping the worst of it.
I overheard him trying to reason with Bang PD-nim on my behalf, and I couldn’t help but walk up and put my head against his shoulder. He wrapped an arm around my shoulders, and we stood there like that until he finished on the phone.
“I’m sorry, Yoongi-hyung.” He started. I patted the small of his back, and pulled away from the embrace. He looked torn, like there was something weighing heavily on his mind that he didn’t want to
“It’s okay, Joon-ah. None of this is your fault.”
“It’s not that hyung… I mean, I feel so stupid for not seeing it sooner, but I suppose that you have always been good at keeping certain things out of the open, haven’t you?” He chuckled a little, like it was an inside joke of some kind.
Guilt swarmed my brain, making me a little dizzy. I nodded for the sake of conversation, but tried to subtly grab the closest piece of furniture to steady myself.
“Well… I guess Bang PD-nim wants to keep it that way.” He scratched the back of his head, drawing his hand backwards and forwards across his nape.
Usually a sign of his embarrassment, or that he was feeling uncomfortable. But I knew Namjoon, and I could see that he was clenching his jaw with every breath.
He was nervous about whatever he was trying to say.
Namjoon’s anxiety didn’t come out all that often. He was a lot like Jungkook in that respect—Probably a Virgo thing.
“What is it, Joon-ah?” I asked.
“He, uh… Well, BigHit that is, um…” He sighed, and closed his eyes. “You’re being sent to a clinic in China to get a check-up, and um… potentially have the flowers removed.”
“I can’t believe Jimin would do this!”
Hoseok had been ranting to himself ever since we left the apartment. The others had already left in the company car, but Hoseok and I had stayed to finish packing my suitcase.
“Let it go Hobi.” I said, voice drained. All this moving around was exhausting, and Hoseok’s never-ending energy wasn’t helping in the slightest.
“I’m just glad that Namjoon managed to convince the PR team to let us come with you.” He said as I handed him yet another pile of clothes, which he then stuffed into one of my bags. “How long do you think that you’ll be there?”
“The website Jungkook found said that recovery from preliminary surgery can take anywhere from five days to three weeks.” I said. We each grabbed a bag, and I tried not to notice how Hobi immediately reached for the heavier one. I shot him a small, grateful glance and he smiled as we walked out the door.
After our driver packed my bags into the boot of the car, we were off.
About two minutes into the quiet drive to Seoul National Airport, Hoseok couldn’t handle it anymore. “Did Namjoon say what gave BigHit the right to make this kind of decision for you?”
I looked out the tinted windows, remembering the conversation I had had with the youngest rapper earlier that day. “He said something about the fine print in our contracts dictating the procedure for potential soul-bonds or mates or something. They have already contacted my parents about it.”
Hoseok scoffed, but we arrived before he could continue the conversation.
Our escorts by-passed the security and checked us in as quickly as possible, efficient as ever in their ability to get us from Point A to Point B safely.
I think that my emotions had been running on autopilot, because the second we were strapped into our seats on the plane, it hit me.
I was going to have the removal surgery, whether I liked it or not.
In a mere matter of days… All of the pain and joy and cherished memories with Jimin that have been my inspiration behind so much of my success as a songwriter and producer…
…will have lost all meaning.
Chapter 11: “They can never know how broken we are,”
I'm really sorry for the long wait, everyone! I promise that it was worth it!
This chapter's dedications got out to @yoonminuwus, @blahblah11223, and @Lololola
It was an odd thing, watching someone speaking through a translator, rather than being the one that required a translator.
The Chief Nursing Officer—a tall man named Lee Zifeng—was the most senior authority on staff when we arrived at the Hanahaki Research and Experimental Treatment Facility.
Although Mr. Lee was somewhat capable in the Korean language, some of the terms and phrases he was trying to get across simply wouldn’t translate seamlessly.
The result was an odd sort of back-and-forth between the three men, and it might have been entertaining if it weren’t to do with BigHit potentially having the authority to override my right to refuse the surgery.
Mr. Lee said that BigHit wasn’t allowed to make that call without the written consent of my parents, as they were my District of Attorney. They used the surgery as a last resort, and Mr. Lee was determined to convince Bang PD-nim that it was not the right course of action at the present time.
“I don’t want to have the surgery.” I spoke up, making them all look at me.
The translator whispered what I had said, and Mr. Lee’s eyes grew sympathetic. He moved to sit in the chair beside my gurney, and offered up a small smile. “Give up not yet. Once have soulmate’s name, we make all better, yes?”
I used to cringe at people speaking to me in broken Korean, but years of ARMYs trying their hardest to communicate had given me an odd appreciation for it.
There was a distant scratchiness in my throat that came and went. I glanced at the translator and caught him eye. “Tell him that I don’t want the surgery, and that I won’t give my soulmate’s name.”
Bang PD-nim started pacing at the opposite end of the room, his hands clenching and unclenching.
“I don’t understand, Yoongi. Why won’t you just let us help you?” His voice sounded like a muddled wash of emotion; anger, fear, frustration, worry, exhaustion.
I might have had the energy to feel guilty for causing him so much trouble, if I wasn’t already so exhausted. Since arriving at the clinic, I have undergone done test after test, scan after scan, and examination after examination.
Apparently, my blood oxygen levels were far below where they should be, while my blood pressure was notably heightened, due to the strain and constant constriction of the muscles around my heart. Because the carnations were using my body as their main food source, my body had entered starvation-mode of its own accord.
The flowers were draining my energy stores so quickly, that my immune system was reacting and pumping my bloodstream full of antibodies and nutrients that usually would assist in fighting whatever was wrong. Instead, the Hanahaki seemed to be like a kid in a candy store.
Mr. Lee had prescribed a course of powerful steroids, meant to continue almost indefinitely. There was a combination of pills and injections for us to take with us back to Korea, but Mr. Lee had me on around-the-clock IV drip for the time being.
I could almost feel the Hanahaki squirming around in reaction to the medication, and the sensation was anything but pleasant.
“PD-nim, there is a phone call for you.” Namjoon stepped into the room, holding out a phone.
He had the beginnings of bags under his eyes, and a dull look in his eyes that told me all that I needed to know.
That in the past 36 hours spent at the clinic, none of the members had gotten any sleep.
I caught his eye as the older men filed out of the room, and Namjoon moved to sit on the side of my bed.
“How is everyone doing?” I asked, and my voice cracked pitifully.
“We aren’t the ones on a gurney.” He said with a dry chuckle.
“Don’t get brave, kid.”
And like that, Namjoon and I fell into a familiar pattern; easy banter filled with half-hearted informality, and silences equally as comfortable as they were not.
It was some time before Namjoon gained the courage to ask his real questions.
“Hyung…” He began hesitantly, like I would bolt if he said the wrong words. I nodded for him to continue, and the part of him that was my dongsaeng visibly relaxed. “Why… why won’t you tell them who your soulmate is?”
I sighed. “Joonie… You know why.”
“But isn’t there a better way? I mean, who are you prote―?” He cut himself off, and looked at me. “You’re protecting them, aren’t you?”
“No―back at the apartment, you said that your soulmate didn’t want you, that―that they didn’t even feel the soul-bond.” I could almost see the cogs turning in his head as things fell into place. “You… You don’t want them to know, do you?”
I sighed, and Namjoon knew that he was right.
“If I let them know, then we will be forced to be together.” I blinked and my eyes felt wet. “They… Well, he doesn’t even want a mate to begin with. I can’t take knowing that I will be responsible for ruining his life forever, Namjoon… I just can’t.”
I took a breath, and said the only thing that could possibly make him understand. “What would you do, if you knew Jin-hyung didn’t want his mate? Would you be able to put him in that position, if it meant you could breathe a little easier?”
As if on que to prove my point, I lurched forward and vomited into the plastic basin that sat beside me on the bed. I fell back into the cushions, exhausted and ashamed of the fact that I was getting sick and ugly-crying in front of my dongsaeng.
Namjoon moved to it beside me on the bed, and cradled me against his chest. “I understand Hyung… I do, I understand.”
What Yoongi said struck a chord with me, deep inside.
“What would you do, if you knew Jin-hyung didn’t want his mate?”
Even though I knew he was simply referencing my feelings for Seokjin, my heart had stopped at his words. Had I been too obvious? Did Jin know? Did Jin want his mate? Did he want it to be me?
I saw Jin standing at the snack dispenser in our private waiting room, and allowed myself to take a moment to just watch him.
I inhaled, and dragged my eyes over the strong line of his shoulders.
Exhale; the soft curve of his waist and thighs.
Inhale; the delicate concentration on his face as he tried to figure out the member’s orders.
I exhaled one last time, and walked up to him.
“Hey, Namjoon-ah. You want anything to eat?” He asked without looking at me.
“Jin-hyung―” At the tone of my voice, he whirled to face me.
“Would you be able to put him in that position, if it meant you could breathe a little easier?”
“Would you―I mean, do you―Aish!” I dragged a hand down my face, and turned to face the wall. “You remember back when Hoseok brought up what we would do if another member turned out to be our soulmate?”
“Mm…” I heard him hum in response.
“Y-you never, um…” I licked my lips, and allowed myself to hope a little. “You never said what you thought about it.”
“Joon-ah…” I said. I couldn’t see his eyes, but his posture was an unfamiliar mix of uneasiness and exhaustion. I forced out a flippant chuckle. “What’s gotten into you, eh? Don’t tell me you’ve got soulmates on the brain because of Yoongi―”
“Please, just give me an answer Seokjinnie-hyung.” He breathed, and his shoulders visibly tensed.
“Yah, how can I answer you if you won’t let me talk?” I hit his side, and leant against the wall beside him. What brought this on?
“To tell you the truth… I’m not sure what I would do.” I began. “I think… I think that, like you said back then, it would depend on who it was… I mean, I love Hoseok to death and all, but…” I dragged the word out, and felt myself relax a little when I saw that Namjoon’s shoulders had softened somewhat.
“And what… about me?” I barely heard him utter.
“What?” I was more shocked at his forwardness than at his words. Namjoon looked at me, eyes lidded with tiredness.
“What if… it was me?” He repeated, louder this time.
He moved to stand in front of me, and placed his hands on the wall either side of me. In my slightly reclined position, he stood half a head taller than me. The new difference allowed me to see him from an angle I hadn’t experienced before.
“What if it was me, hyung?” Namjoon whispered, his breath on my face.
He spoke the words like he knew exactly what my answer was, and his face drifted ever so slightly closer to mine. I could feel his body heat rolling off of him in waves; waves that crashed into me and made my knees weak.
While I wanted so badly to just blurt out whatever I was thinking, I couldn’t let myself be that vulnerable without being sure.
“Do… you want… it to be you?” I asked carefully, looking at him. I was intent on getting some kind of answer from him, no matter what it was. Now that the possibility of him accepting me was out there, I couldn’t take not knowing.
say yes say yes say yes
“No, hyung” he said, and my heart cracked.
Namjoon pulled me forward, and wrapped his arms around my larger frame. He cooed softly in my ear, and I tried not to revel in the feeling of it.
He pressed a chaste kiss to the side of my head, and spoke into my ear.
“I know that it’s me.”
Chapter 12: "You look at me like I'm already dead,"
I AM ALIVE!
Jesus Christ, I am so goddamn sorry for taking so long to update, guys. To be honest, this has been a hectic month, to say the least, and writing was one of the last things on my mind.
This particular chapter is dedicated to @yoonminuwus, @boricuapower, @Yoonmin239, @Rlri55!
"I'm afraid that without the patient's consent or that of his healthcare proxy, we can't perform the operation." I overheard Mr. Lee's translator say to Bang PD-nim.
"Well, what can we do? I mean, we have already pushed back promotions enough as it is. If we delay any further, then the fans will start asking questions."
"With all due respect, Mr. Bang—" the translator broke off to babble something in Chinese.
From the scandalous look he was giving Mr. Lee, it was probably something along the lines of I can't say that to him!
I giggled silently as the translator tugged at the collar of his shirt. He spoke very carefully, when he finally found his voice. "W-with all due respect, Mr. B-Bang, sir... Mr. Lee does not believe that Mr. Min is physically able to perform his promotional duties as usual. Mr. Lee suggests alerting the fan-base of Mr. Min's condition, so that he may rest with as little stress as possible."
I could almost see Bang PD-nim's brain working, whirring like an engine.
We both knew that this was one thing that he couldn't punish me for. I mean, what was he going to do? Make me work more hours? That would only accelerate the disease. Fire me? That would cause more backlash onto BigHit than if they revealed my condition to the public. Stop me from performing or participating in events? With the rate things were progressing...
That was probably going to happen anyway.
Despite knowing that the doctor was right, I couldn't help but feel like Mr. Bang's stress was my fault. I felt like I was causing more trouble than was necessary, like I was becoming a burden on those around me.
This was why I didn't want them to know.
"Doctor-nim, can I speak to Bang PD-nim alone for a second?" I looked to the male nurse's face as it flushed at the title.
He gave a stiff bow before he left, the translator close behind.
"What is it, my boy?" Mr. Bang said. He sat down in the seat beside my bed, the plastic creaking slightly from the sudden weight.
"I won't let my condition get in the way of Bangtan." I faked a soft smile. "I don't want ARMY to worry. I owe them too much to be that selfish."
Mr. Bang sighed. "As your PD-nim, I am happy that you want to push through, but as your friend and advisor, I don't think that I could ask you to do that just because—"
"But you aren't asking, PD-nim. I want to keep performing and doing fansigns and promoting, until I can't anymore."
"Yoongi-ah, are you sure that you're able to handle this? No one will blame you for being too sick to perform." He patted my hand, careful not to bump the IV.
Yes, they will.
"Please, PD-nim." I placed my hand over his. "Once we get back to Korea, and I'm on the higher dose of steroids, I promise that everything will go back to normal."
Jimin hadn't come to visit.
Hoseok and Taehyung had stopped by sporadically, usually bearing whatever oddity they managed while visiting the markets. At one point, they even managed to find a street vendor in Korea Town that sold traditional gyeran-ppang. About half way through a story about Taehyung trying to communicate their order using nothing hand movements and facial expressions, Jin showed up with a container of galbi-jjim and black-bean noodles that he had made for the boys the night before.
Seokjin had this weird glow about him when he spoke, and it took nothing more than some extended eye-contact with Hobi for me to figure out why our hyung was so giggly.
Begrudgingly, I handed him a ₩50,000 note before he walked out the door.
Even Jungkook mustered up the courage to spend an afternoon sitting on the end of my bed, my feet tucked under his thighs as he told me about his day and all of the interesting things he way. He even bought me a new pair of Sennheiser HD800 headphones and one of my hard drives. Sadly, he didn't purchase any amplifiers, but the thought was there.
But Jimin was nowhere to be seen.
Namjoon was sure Jimin would come see me 'soon'; that the younger probably just needed some 'time'. Neither of us mentioned how I had started coughing after he said that.
However, it wasn't until the day before I was scheduled to be released from the clinic's observation ward that Jimin finally showed his face.
"Look who it is!" I teased the second he closed the door.
Jimin chuckled a little and sat on the edge of my bed.
"Is that an Ironman comic?" He asked suddenly, pointing at my nightstand He reached over and gently grabbed the comic, looking it over in his hands. "Let me guess—Kookie?"
"Yup. The kid has come by almost every other day. He was here with Tae earlier."
Jimin glanced up at me, but looked away the second I caught him. I sighed.
"I'm sorry I haven't come to―"
Somehow, the fact that he was apologising pissed me off. That he was apologising for not visiting, instead of not wanting me. I knew that it was petty and illogical of me to resent him for not knowing when I had kept the bond to myself but... It still hurt. "Oh, it's fine. I'm sure you've been busy."
"Right... uh, yeah. I guess I have." He gave an uncomfortable laugh.
It was some time before either one of us spoke again, or just when I decided that I couldn't take the awkward tension anymore, a nurse stepped in, alerting Jimin that visiting hours were almost over.
"You should go." I couldn't look at him; I didn't know what I would do if I looked into those eyes of his, and found them staring back.
"Yeah." I heard him say under his breath, and willed myself not to cry.
I was the one telling him to leave, so why did that word make my heart feel like it was about to break. I could feel the familiar heat rising up in my chest, but with Jimin's closeness I knew that it wouldn't be until he left that the flowers would try and break free.
Jimin stood to leave, but something stopped him. He turned back to me as he spoke, "PD-nim said that you want to continue promotions and for us all to go ahead with the tour."
Jimin scoffed, and snorted out a laugh. "You can't be serious, hyung."
"And why not?" I snapped, hating how I couldn't tell if the thickening feeling in my throat was from the Hanahaki or not. "What—Are you too embarrassed to go on stage with someone like me?"
"Save it, Jimin. I'm tired." I reached for the washbasin that was perched on one bedside, and nestled it in my lap, ready. "Please just go."
"You know that that wasn't what I meant, hyung."
The same nurse as before appeared in the doorway, insisting that Jimin leave.
"We're not done, hyung." Jimin's voice was hard, and it echoed through my room long after he was gone. We're not done, hyung.
I wiped at my cheeks, and spat plant matter into the washbasin.
I knew that I was once again being too hard on him, and that he deserved far better than what I was giving him.
But the longer he left me alone, the sooner we would both be free.
Forgive me, Jimin.
Chapter 13: "You know that I can't show you me, give you me"
I am so sorry for the long wait, everyone!
This month has been a big one for me, between getting engaged, a trip to Melbourne with my new fiance and school going back.
But, never fear! Chapter 13 is here!
**The first half of this chapter is sort of a filler, but once Yoongi's POV starts, the main event of the chapter starts.
This chapter is dedicated to: @yoonminuwus, @Yoonmin239, @boricuapower, and @heckyeahyoonmin
Thank you all SO MUCH for your support of RMTW!!
It had been over a week since we all arrived back in Korea.
Yoongi-hyung had been instructed to spend as much time as possible resting, and regardless of what he was doing, he had to have bi-hourly steroid injections and hourly medications to help stunt the disease’s progression.
He still hated any of us seeing or hearing him when he threw up the flowers―which he was, multiple times a day―and I could tell he was putting on a brave face for our sakes, and ARMY’s.
Promotions had started, and we were doing photo shoots and practising and perfecting more than ever. Yoongi sat in on our practices, miming out the steps at the back of the room while the rest of us danced in formation at the front.
I think that we all decided not to say anything when Sungdeuk-hyung was absent one day, and Yoongi-hyung took his place at the front of the room with the rest of us. With everything that was going on in his life, I’m not sure that any of us had the heart to deny him the chance to practice with us if that’s what he wanted to do, albeit against orders.
I noticed things about Yoongi-hyung that I hadn’t before; he became sweaty more easily, like he was having to push himself further to do things that used to be no problem; he breathed heavier when we danced, similarly to how the rest of us would at the end of a gruelling training session.
The vocal instructor-nim spent an extra hour with him after we had all finished recording yesterday, and although Yoongi-hyung brushed it off as help producing, Hoseok-hyung later told me that he overheard our instructor-nim coaching Yoongi on how to hide the condition of his throat when he sang or rapped.
Ironically, it was later that day that Namjoon was called into a meeting with BangPD-nim. When he returned to the apartment, all hell broke loose.
“Are you out of your fucking mind?!” I half-shouted. I couldn’t believe that Namjoon was allowing this to happen.
“Do you think that this was my idea?” Namjoon’s voice betrayed how angry he really was; his hands clenched and holding his head.
“That’s not the point, hyung.” I stood up and started pacing.
“The point, Jimin―” Namjoon spoke my name like some sort of insult as he looked up at me. “―is that BigHit won’t risk revealing Yoongi-hyung’s condition to ARMY so close to the album release, not when they don’t know how it will reflect on them, and with hyung’s decision to keep doing promotions, we don’t really have a choice.”
“Chim, we’re all upset, okay?” Taehyung put his hands on my shoulders. Jungkook appeared on my other side seconds later, ever the jealous boyfriend. “Yeah,”
“All we can do is support Yoongi until we find his soulmate, and then this will all be over,” Jin said from the kitchen, where he was washing out one of Yoongi-hyung’s plastic basins.
“You mean if we find his soulmate.” I tried to stop myself from muttering the words, but couldn’t. The look on Hoseok-hyung’s face was more than enough to make me regret them.
“What the fuck, Jimin?!”
Taehyung split the tension, or at least tried to. “Yah! Come on, Jiminie! Of course, we’re going to find hyung’s―”
I shouldn’t say anything.
Hyung told me in secret, so he wouldn’t like it if I told the others.
Taehyung threw an arm over Jimin’s shoulders and clapped him on the back. I could tell the shit-eating grin on his face was being forced, and that knowledge turned my stomach.
That, or the fact that Taehyung seemed to fit so perfectly beside Jimin was making me sick.
“Yoongi-hyung told me the reason he won’t do the surgery is because he doesn’t want to forget.”
I’m sorry, hyung.
“What? When?” Jimin-hyung pushed Taehyung off of him, and I decided that the hint of hurt on Taehyung’s face didn’t bother me.
“A few days after we all found out,” I said, keeping my voice cool. “He said that the alternative is worth it if he gets to remember.”
“And that’s why he won’t tell us their name,” Namjoon said, something occurring to him. “He wants to protect them, just like he’s protecting their memory.”
The week that followed was a blur leading up to the first concert of the tour, at Seoul’s Olympic Stadium.
It was obvious to all of us that ARMY knew that something was up, but so far no one had caught on to the truth. The story our PR team had come up with was that I was dealing with a series of migraines that were supposedly being caused by a set of faulty ear-pieces, the brand of which was not being revealed.
We had been contacted by various companies I had purchased things from in the past, and each was given a vague reassurance that it was not their product that was the cause, and that action had already taken against the offending label, and that the matter had already been resolved behind the scenes.
I live-streamed a scripted message about how I was doing, and that the migraines did not affect my ability to produce music, but that because they happen so suddenly, that there is the chance that my ability to perform might be hindered slightly, but that I would do my best to do well for ARMY. I reassured the camera that I was okay, and that everything was already taken care of with the headphone company.
It was a struggle to make it through the script without coughing or vomiting, but I managed by drinking a hopefully not-too suspicious amount of water.
However, the second the live-stream ended I ran as fast as I could to the nearest bathroom. Kneeling in front of the toilet, I opened my mouth and let the petals loose.
Hoseok appeared behind me, his hand warm and soothing on my back. While the others were sleeping in the few hours left before dawn, Hoseok had stayed awake to doubt check the concert’s set list.
I spat, and swallowed in an attempt to stunt the uneven flow of petals and plant matter.
“I’m fine,” I managed to say, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand.
“You’re not though, are you?” Hobi didn’t seem to want me to answer that, so instead I let him lead me back to bed.
I have to be, Hoseok.
“Everything’s is going to be okay; I promise.” I grabbed his hand, and offered up a small, sad smile. We both knew that I couldn’t promise anything at that point, but pretending made that reality seem less hard to deal with.
How I wish that we could have just gone on pretending.
The sheer size of the venues we perform at never ceases to amaze me. In those minutes between song or while the other members are speaking to the audience, I often take a moment or two to just… take it all in.
To take in the fact that all of these people paid their hard-earned money to see up perform; sometimes the crowds numbering at over 50,000 people, with countless others outside hoping to slim inside un-noticed.
Despite its grandeur… I also find it humbling.
All of these people… Each and every one of them took time out of their own lives, to come and watch us perform, so that we might have the chance to do what we love.
It was that feeling that I focused on as our on-staff nurse prepared to administer a heightened dosage of steroids via the IV in my arm.
That was the condition that Bang PD and I agreed on, having decided that it was the only course of action that might allow me to continue performing, while still keeping ARMY in the dark about my Hanahaki.
The nurse counted down from three, and injected the steroids into my IV.
It seemed like no time had passed at all before I felt the medication take effect. Whereas the pills made me nauseous and weak, the injections made my body feel like it was teetering on the edge between an adrenaline high and exhaustion.
With the larger dose, all we could do was pray that it was more on the adrenaline side.
As before every show, our physician gave my arms and shoulders a quick, hard rub. Presumedly having already finished prepping the other members, he spent an extra few minutes working from the back of my neck to the front.; breaking up the knots of tension there
“Try and focus on your breathing while you’re out there, alright Yoongi-ah?” He said, handing me a water bottle to chug. “Keeping your breaths slow and deep should reduce the amount of off-and-on strain on your lungs.”
I nodded, and finished the water. A nameless stage-hand passed me an ear-piece and wordlessly marched me over to where the other members were taking their places on the mobile platform below the centre of the stage.
“You sure that you are alright to do this, Suga-hyung?” Taehyung glanced over at me, his playful demeaner exchanged for the infamous magnetic presence he was so known for on stage.
Jimin glanced at me, no doubt a little worried himself.
I felt a throb in my chest, and suddenly I wasn’t so certain that I could finish the show.
But then, as the set lights flashed overhead, and our introduction track played over the stadium’s PA. ARMY screamed and cheered, and began their chant.
“Kim Namjoon! Kim Seokjin! Min Yoongi! Jung—”
I nodded, the sound of ARMY’s love making my decision for me. “I’m sure.”
Something was wrong. The feeling had haunted me ever since we began the show, but I didn’t let it impact my performance.
There was a stiffness to the members’ movements that told me that I wasn’t the only one on edge, worrying about Yoongi-hyung’s condition. On more than one occasion, Namjoon-hyung slowed his movements, no doubt to make any trouble Yoongi had keeping up seem like part of the routine.
It was maybe four or five songs in, when I saw Yoongi-hyung do down.
Mid choreo, his steps faltered, and he suddenly fell out of formation. Taehyung was closest, and caught onto his arm. Yoongi-hyung patted Tae’s hand and mouthed something resembling “I’m fine, don’t worry, I’m okay.”
He lasted about another 30 seconds after that.
Remembering it, everything seemed to happen in slow motion, but at the time, it was like the world was moving in fast-forward.
All it took was the sight of my hyung leaning a little too far forward for me to run over to him from my position on the other side of the stage.
Yoongi’s knees reached the ground the same time I reached him.
His body slouched, crumpling over. I wrapped an arm around his middle, and signalled for Jungkook to get the medical team that was waiting backstage.
Yoongi-hyung lifted his head, and looked up at me. His brows pulled together in something that looked like confusion, but could have been pain.
“Jim…nie…” He murmured, before his eyes widened.
For a man unable to hold himself upright, there was still a good deal of strength in his arms; enough for him to get them between us and push me away.
Without his arms under him or mine around his middle to support him, Yoongi-hyung’s body fell forward onto the ground.
I was too shocked to move.
Even as the wet, heart-breaking sound of his coughs rang through the otherwise silent stadium, I couldn’t do anything but stare.
Chapter 14: "Our truth, untold"
This chapter is dedicated to our Bangtan Boys, with whom we are celebrating 6 years of love, laughs, and music.
This chapter is ALSO dedicated to: @boricuapower, @Yoonmin239, @MiKaN_KuRo, @yoonminuwus, and @SunbaeScout!
DISCLAIMER: I do not know if the lyrics that are written in this chapter were composed by Yoongi, only that they are from songs that he is credited as having helped write lyrics for.
READERS BEWARE: From this point onwards... let's just say that shit has a very high likelihood of hitting the fan.
I think a part of me knew where I was before I opened my eyes.
The familiar scent of latex and disinfectant stung my nose, and made my head spin.
Another part of me wanted to believe that I was in my bed at the apartment, and that the halogen lamps in the ceiling were just the overhead light.
I blinked, and squinted at the sudden brightness.
“He’s awake!” A voice called out. My ears rang at the sudden volume.
“I’ll go get hyung and PD-nim!” A second voice, louder and more hurried voice rang.
Why is everyone being so loud?
“Shhh…” The barest syllable had my throat throbbing with pain. On instinct, I tried to reach a hand up to hold it, as though it would do anything to help, but something caught my eye.
Why is there another IV in my arm?
“You shouldn’t move too much, hyung.” It was the same too-loud voice as before, but its tone was softer.
Taehyung was sitting on a stool to my left, Jin mirroring his position on my right. Hoseok moved from his spot against the wall to come stand by my feet, the forced smile he wore doing nothing to distract from the tear-streaks on his face.
They all wore a similar expression; sadness, relief, concern, guilt… Even Jimin looked solemn, leaning against the wall behind Jin.
My heart shuddered at the sight of my members expressions. I hated myself for making them cry. When will you stop being so fucking selfish?
My chest lurched. Petals and blood spilled from my mouth, and into the pan Taehyung held under my chin. I brought up more and more petals, my throat spluttering as the onslaught of petals forced it open.
It broke me seeing Jimin’s wide eyes, lips parted like he had stopped mid-breath, hands slightly raised at his sides, like he wanted to reach out but something was stopping him.
The next wave of carnations was one of the worst that I had experienced; snot and tears ran down my face, blood and petals and little clumps of fleshy tissue that I didn’t want to think about, all spilling into the basin.
We couldn’t do anything as Yoongi continued to vomit for another five minutes, before the doctor arrived and injected something into his IV to knock him out again.
“As important as it is for him to be present and aware, his body needs rest. We will continue to manually remove any blockages from his airways, but until either he or his soulmate—should they make themselves known—are able to sign the consent forms, we cannot perform the removal.” The doctor said to Bang PD-nim.
Namjoon ushered the rest of us out, and we all crowded into the nearest waiting room, just a few metres away from Yoongi’s door. Looking around at my members’ faces, I could tell that I wasn’t the only one listening out for the sound of vomiting.
The silence in the room was almost palpable. It was heavy, like a thick blanket of anxiety had been thrown over the entire space.
“Well, I guess the hyung is out of the bag now.” Hoseok-hyung suddenly said with a forced grin, his tone denoting a light-hearted sarcasm that only he could make believable at a time like this. Taehyung smacked him in the arm.
“Namjoon-ah, have you contacted Yoongi’s parents?” I asked.
Namjoon nodded, and looked down. “PD-nim has already organised transport for them. They should be here sometime tomorrow.”
“So… they signed the consent papers?” Hoseok asked hesitantly. Bang PD-nim nodded, his expression pained as it was conflicted.
“Yoongi will be prepped for the surgery in three hours.” He swallowed. “Until then, I need you boys to go in and um… each have a chat with him. Y’know, just in case—just in case he, uh—”
“We understand, PD-nim.” Namjoon says, as a sobbing Jungkook curls into Taehyung’s side. “Thank you for buying us time to talk with hyung.”
The first thing I noticed when I stepped into the room, was how emotionally drained Yoongi-hyung looked.
His head was tilted back on the pile of pillows, like he either hadn’t the strength, or the motivation to hold it up himself. His eyes looked tired; like he hadn’t slept properly in weeks.
Maybe he hadn’t.
And you were too busy worrying about your manly image to notice.
“Hey, Yoongi-hyung.” I said gently.
“Jiminie… Hoseokie said that you would come see me.” He chuckled, but the sound was dry and humourless. With the barest movement of his hand, he gestured to the seat beside the bed, and I took the hint to sit.
“I need you to do something for me, Jiminie.” Yoongi-hyung began. “Regardless of how the surgery goes.”
“Of course, hyung! Anything!” If there was a chance that I could make up for turning my back on Yoongi-hyung when he had obviously needed his members by his side, then I had to take it.
“Promise me—” He coughed into his hand, lurching forward. Handing him the plastic basin from the bedside, I rubbed across his shoulders.
The coughing wasn’t wet like it had been before; instead it was dry and raspy. I could feel it vibrating his frame through the thin hospital gown.
Yoongi-hyung took several laboured breaths, swallowing hard after each one, before trying to talk again. “Promise m-me that you’ll be h-happy—”
“Hyung, I can’t promise that—”
“Let me finish, Jimin. I don’t know if I will have the opportunity to ask this of you later.” He sighed, reaching for a nearby bottle of water. “I need you to promise me that no matter what, that you will be happy. I know that you always put the group before yourself—”
“Hyung—” I began.
“You can’t lie to me, Jiminie.”
“What d-do you m-mean, Yoongi-hyung?”
He sighed, and readjusted himself on the bed. “I know that this isn’t what either of us thought fate would have in mind.”
What the fuck does he mean by that?
“If the surgery doesn’t go well, then I need to know that you will be okay.” He said, a small smile on his face. “Live, laugh, and fall in love. Be happy.”
“N-no, hyung. I-I c-can’t! I c-can’t be h-happy w-without you!” Halfway through my sentence, I had started sobbing. “I c-can’t do this-s w-without you!”
Yoongi-hyung sighed, and I saw a few tears escape; their journey down his cheeks interrupted by that same small smile.
“Oh, Jiminie…” He reached out, and placed his palm against the side of my face. “My poor, sweet Jiminie…”
He gazed into my eyes, and for a moment, I thought that he was going to lean forward and kiss me. Instead, Yoongi-hyung looked away with another sigh. When he spoke again, his sleepy tone of voice gave it away that he was talking more to himself than to me. “I know that there isn’t a way to change what we’ve done in the past, but I hope that one day you’ll be able to forgive me.”
Forgive him? If anything, I should be the one asking forgiveness.
“For what, hyung?”
He looked back at me with wide eyes, no doubt having momentarily forgotten that I was there beside him. “Oh, I—Uh—N-Nothing, Jiminie!” He laughed. “These meds are making me say the weirdest things!”
I hummed in response.
There was a knock on the door, followed by Namjoon’s head poking into the room. “Jimin-ah? Mr Lee-nim says that we need to let Yoongi-hyung rest before tomorrow.”
“O-Okay, I’ll be out in a minute.”
After Namjoon-hyung stepped out, I turned back to Yoongi-hyung.
Even though he was visibly dying, he still managed to be beautiful, in a way that only Yoongi could. Even with a sheen of sweat on his forehead and cracked skin around his mouth, he was gorgeous.
I am not gay! I am not gay! I am not gay!
“It’s okay, Jiminie.” Yoongi interrupted my inner debate. “You’re going to be okay, I promise.”
It took me less than a minute to find Jungkook.
He and Taehyung had been in the gift shop, looking at the wide spread of candy that they weren’t allowed to have.
“Kook, I need your help.”
Jungkook turned around. “Hey Jimin. What’s up?”
Brat, where’s the honorific?
“We’re gonna stop hyung’s surgery.”
“Jimin-ah,” I said after a few minutes of watching him dig around hyung’s shelves. “I don’t think that this is going to make anything better.”
Jimin straightened, and turned to look at me.
The glint in his eyes was one that I hadn’t seen in years; a look of sheer determination and force of will, like nothing and no one would stand in his way or slow him down.
“With all due respect, Jimin, either help me or get the fuck out so I can concentrate.” That glint in his eye must have given his a rather large confidence-boost, to talk to me like that.
With that, he went back to his search.
I groaned, and pulled out my phone. “Give me two minutes.”
I texted Taehyung that Jimin was at the apartment, that he should head back and that we would join him and the others back at the hospital once we were done.
“Alright, what are we doing?” I asked upon re-entering the bedroom.
Jungkook was at hyung’s desk, going through stacks of paper he found scattered there. “You check the bedside draws.”
After briefly peeking inside a few, I concluded that the bottom draw was filled with things I did not want to be going through with Jungkook in the room.
Shaking my head to clear the dangerous images forming there, I glanced down at the floor. I was abo to move on to the next draw, when something caught my eye.
Half under the bed, was a petal.
A single, perfectly formed, yellow carnation petal.
Tentatively, I picked up the delicate thing that was killing my hyung. It felt soft and malleable between my fingers, like the slightest pressure would make it crumple and wilt.
I carefully turned the petal over in my hand, and stared.
There, on the underside of the pretty yellow... was a smear the colour of rust.
“Hyung… I think you might want to see this!” Jungkook’s sudden voice pulled my attention away from the petal.
He was holding one of Yoongi-hyung’s notebooks, flipping back and forth between pages. I moved to stand behind him, looking over his shoulder at the words written in hyung’s irregular handwriting.
“140615 – Why can’t we just have one day together? Just one day of you holding my hand would be enough for me. Even if it only happens in one of my reams, can’t we just be together? You can resent me if you like, because it’s selfish of me to hope that you’re the same as me, and that you won’t get over me easily.”
“It’s from ‘Just One Day’.” I realised, realising why the words seemed so familiar.
Jungkook nodded, and flipped to another page at the other end of the book. “Here, its bits from ‘Save Me’.”
I’m trapped inside of myself and I’m dead.
Don’t wanna be lonely,
Just wanna be yours.
Why is it so dark where you’re not here?
It’s dangerous how wrecked I am.
I can’t get a grip on myself.
Because within this pitch black darkness,
You are shining so brightly.
Thank you for letting me be me,
For helping me fly,
For giving me wings.”
“I hadn’t thought of it like that… hyung must have known about his soulmate for a long time. Why did the hanahaki only start a few weeks go?”
“Maybe he still hoped that he had a chance up until recently.” Jungkook said quietly. “Hanahaki is often triggered more by being rejected than by your soulmate’s lack of feelings. Even if they don’t love you, if you still have hope that you have a chance and that they could love you, chances are that you won’t develop hanahaki.”
I hummed in agreement.
“Wait―what the fuck―” Jungkook began, only to break off when I snatched the notebook out of his grasp after catching a brief glimpse. “Hyung, did you know about this?”
I ignored his question, absently shaking my head as I took in Yoongi-hyung’s words from all those years ago.
“150613 – To me, Jimin is like music.
His chubby cheeks and sweet eyes are the intro; enchanting and enticing. They are what draws you to him immediately.
His powerful visuals and melodic vocals are the pre-chorus…
But it’s his heart and soul that truly shine brighter than anything else; those are the chorus, the crescendo; the part that gets stuck in your head for days, weeks on end.
His passion is the beat. It’s a driving force, and always constant.
His dancing is the rhythm; sensually beautiful in the way you can lose yourself if you listen for too long. Watching Jimin dance is like being hypnotised by a forbidden fruit so gorgeous, you don’t even care whether it lures you into hell.
His words are like lyrics; they play constantly on repeat, etching themselves into my brain until all I can do is let them consume me.
In a way, everyone is like music, I suppose. But Jimin’s song is the one I hope that I can continue to listen to in secret for as long as he’ll let me.”
I stared at the scrawled characters on the page, as everything I knew both fell apart…
and fell into place.
Chapter 15: IMPORTANT AUTHOR'S NOTE
I am so sorry that this isn't an update, guys and I know that it's the worst point in the story for this to happen but...
Remember Me This Way got into TheWattys for 2019!!
Which means... I'm going to spend every waking minute I can spare re-writing it and making it the beat RMTW that it can be!
This does mean that I am stuck with a dilemma: Do I finish the story as it is on here... or do I make you wait and then blow you all away with the Super Ultra Evolution of RMTW?
Please give me your opinions in the comments section, I honestly would appreciate any help or support that any of you have to offer!
(And yes, these comments count to next chapter's dedication, should it be decided that I finish this story first! ♥)
Please show your support for RMTW on Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/171372093-remember-me-this-way
Chapter 16: IMPORTANT AUTHOR'S NOTE pt. 2
So... I'm really sorry for the wait, and I know that even this notice is overdure by about 2 weeks.
Anyway, RMTW has been updated on both Wattpad and AO3.
As the earlier chapters progress, I mainly only made cosmetic changed in spelling, grammar and sentence structure. I removed the transgender character and the adjoining flashback scene, because I felt that it conflicted with Jimin's internalised homophobia at that point in the story.
Other than this, the biggest change that I made was to Chapter 14.
This chapter is the turning point in the story, and when I was revisiting my notes on the chapter, I noticed that I had accidentally switched the roles of Jimin and Jungkook. In the original plan for the chapter, Jimin took a much more lead role in the search for clues about Yoongi's soulmate, with JK and Tae as his accomplices. In the version that I published, it was Jungkook that initiated the search in an impulsive fit, with Tae and Jimin going in search of him, rather than in search of answers alongside him, though that is what Jimin inevitably ended up doing anyway.
So, I changed that, and added in the scenes that occur after the Mins arrive (we don't get to meet them, but we are told that they signed the papers that overrules Yoongi's refusal to have the surgery), and the scene where Jimin has to say "goodbye" to Yoogni-which of course, his stubborn ass refuses to accept, leading to him growing a pair if you catch my drift.
I hope that you all enjoy to new additions to the story, and forgive me for taking so long to figure things out and finalise everything.
Chapter 17: "You know the truth, and it tastes like gasoline,"
Thank you all so so so much for waiting, and for supporting RMTW. The past two months have been increasingly difficult for me, both physically and emotionally. Between the end of my high-school career and my relationship hanging by the thread that is my lack of resolve, I haven't been in the right mindset for writing anything worth reading.
This chapter is dedicated to @Yoonmin239, @MiKan_KuRo, @boricuapower, @beesknees04, @yoonminuwus, @blahblah11223, and @arinnaval
“Have you smoked any cigarettes in the last 4 weeks?” The surgeon—Dr Choi Mingyu—read of the clipboard in front of him.
“No.” I answered.
“Any herbal medications in the last 4 weeks?”
“Only whatever Mr Lee-nim gave me.”
“Alright, that’ll be all.” He smiled. “Enjoy your dinner.”
“Uh, Doc…?” He only hummed in response, writing something down.
“I know that they would have told you about my… reservations about the surgery, right?”
Once again, Dr Choi nodded. When he turned to me, his eyes were downcast, his face drawn. “I… um, I have been warned that you might try and convince me not to go through with it.”
I’d guessed as much already. I grabbed my chequebook from the bedside table.
Taking a deep breath, I forced myself to hold his gaze. “I’m not going to ask that, but… I do need you to do me a favour.”
After scribbling out the number, I handed him the check, and his eyes widened.
“W-what do you need?”
I felt the tears on my face, and realised distantly that the reason the room suddenly seemed so much smaller was because my breaths had become short and laboured.
My clothes clung to my skin, suffocating me.
My head throbbed, and some part of my felt the notebook drop from my fingers.
“Hyung, did you know about this?”
I looked at Jungkook, and couldn’t help the strangled laugh that escaped. “Don’t you think that if I had known, I would have done something?!”
“No, Jiminie-hyung, that’s not what I―” Jungkook sighed.
“You don’t think that if I knew that I was the reason that one of my best friends is dying, alone is a hospital bed right now, that I wouldn’t have said something about it?”
My legs felt weak, and before I knew it, Jungkook had an arm around my waist, supporting most of my weight.
“Jiminie―I need you to focus.” He said. “Yoongi-hyung is getting ready to have removal surgery! If you’re his soulmate, then that means you can overrule any decision made by his parents on his behalf. You can stop this before it’s too late!”
Waking up, I didn’t feel as sore and drained as I had expected.
Then again… I hadn’t expected to wake up. I had paid a large amount of money specifically not to.
I tried to turn on my side, away from the bright light overhead, but a weight on my left side held me in place. At my movement, the weight shifted, and I felt a warm hand anchor itself on my chest.
A fleeting glance was all I needed to know that I was either dead or still dreaming.
Jimin’s head was tucked in beside my shoulder, the whole of his body curled around my side. One of his legs had wound itself around one of mine. When I felt the heat of his thigh ghost dangerously close to my crotch, I couldn’t help the high-pitched squeak that escaped.
He stirred, and I took a sharp breath in, expecting the worst.
I could just see it in my head; Jimin would wake up, realise the position that we were in, and give me that embarrassed “no homo bro” smile while he tried to get as much physical distance between us as possible, only then would he make up some excuse to run out, leaving me alone and confused and cold.
My chest hurt at the image, and I willed myself not to cry, because I knew that it would only make this moment end sooner.
“Hyung?” A quiet voice murmured from across the room as the door opened. Taehyung had been carrying a tray of food, which clattered to the floor when he saw me. “Yoongi-hyung! You’re awake!”
At the volume of Tae’s voice, Jimin groaned, and snuggled his face further into my chest. I sent a panicked look at Taehyung, only to find his already gone.
Within seconds, everyone had heard the news that I was awake.
A nurse checked my vitals, working around a half-asleep Jimin. Jin and Namjoon were standing at the foot of my bed, Jungkook sitting cross-legged in from of them. Taehyung was half leaning out of his seat to hold Jungkook’s hand, looking in no way comfortable. Hoseok stood by the door, eyes glued to the floor.
I had to ask. “J-Jin-hyung?”
It felt like everyone in the room flinched at the wrecked sound of my voice. Jin moved around beside Tae, and took my hand. “I’m here, Yoongi-ah.”
“Hyung… I don’t―I-I don’t understand―Am I dead?”
“What? No! No, of course you aren’t dead, Yoongi-ah!” He gave an awkward laugh, but I could tell he was hurting.
“B-but… the surgery―” I was cut off by Taehyung’s chuckle.
“Yoongi-hyung, it’s okay now.” He smiled, and I swear his eyes flicked down to Jimin for a moment. “Your soulmate showed up, so the surgery was called off.”
The world around me slowed down.
Jimin stirred beside me. “Hyung?”
I must have started shaking, because he suddenly shot up. Jimin’s hands found my face, and stroked my cheeks. They were too warm against my skin.
My breathing was too fast, too quick.
I couldn’t get oxygen. My lungs hurt, and my pulse pounded in my ears.
Jimin was still touching my face. Why was he touching me?
“St-op-p…” I managed to say.
“Hyung?” Jimin said, a confused look on his face.
Why wasn’t he stopping?
He can’t stand me!
Why is he touching me?
He shouldn’t have to touch me!
He doesn’t want to touch me!
How did they find out?
Do they hate me?
Why are they here?
Why don’t they hate me?
Don’t they see that this is all my fault?
Why can’t they see that I did this for them?
Why is Jimin still fucking touching me?!
“STOP!” I yelled.
My body jerked and I curled in on myself. I tried to put as much distance between Jimin and myself as the little bed would let me.
“What—What’s going on, hyung?”
I couldn’t look at Jimin, so I lifted my head just enough to answer Jungkook. I forced a small smile onto my face. “Hyung is dreaming, Kookie.”
Why else would Jimin be touching me?
Namjoon gave a low chuckle. “You’re not dreaming, Yoongi-hyung.”
“I am.” I shook my head. “This isn’t real. I’m having a nightmare. It can’t be real.”
“But, Hyung…” Jimin inched closer.
“Get away from me! You’re not real!” I screamed at the thing that looked like him. “Jimin doesn’t want me! Stop pretending like he does!”
“Hyung—Hyung, no, it’s me!”
I held my head in my hand
Jin’s hands flew to his mouth. “Oh, Yoongi…”
Chapter 18: "Heartbeat"
I am so, so, so sorry guys...
The past two-three months have been hellish. I've been sick, preparing for my final HSC exams, and there was a whole shitstorm with my fiance, which lead to us breaking up and him moving out.
But, here we are... The beginning of the end!
This chapter is dedicated to: @Yoonmin239, @MiKaN_KuRo, @Zero_cchi, @arinnaval, and @boricuapower!
Part of me still refused to believe that it wasn’t a dream.
But the sad, hopeful looks that Jimin sent my way every time our eyes met, caused a very real ache in my chest that proved otherwise.
I hated that knowing Jimin was sleeping just metres away made me feel safe. I hated knowing that if I had only been a bit more careful, that Jimin wouldn’t have to sleep on an uncomfortable hospital bed.
I think most of all, I hated how easily he seemed to accept his new role as my soulmate.
He listened when my nurse, Seoyeon, gave him a run-down of my medication and meal schedule. He took notes when she listed off the daily stretches I needed to do. After almost an hour of being talked at, Jimin simply bowed low and thanked her.
At night, when I saw him struggling to sleep because he couldn’t get comfortable, I told him to just go home.
After the third night, I couldn’t stand it, and asked Seoyeon to force Jimin to go home for the night. Regardless of my condition, Jimin still needed to take care of himself.
BTS could replace a rapper, but one of their lead vocalists who also happened to be one of the lead dancers? Jimin was irreplaceable to Bangtan.
Unlike myself, who failed to so much as keep a secret.
Thinking back, there were so many things that I could have done to further prevent anyone from finding out. The first was not letting things drag out the way they did.
I knew why I hadn’t gone the extra mile, and I hated that weak part of myself for hoping.
Hope meant accepting that Jimin would be judged and persecuted for my inability to be good enough. It meant knowing that my soulmate was pretending like he wasn’t miserable, because he felt like he owed it to me.
I was the one that wasn’t good enough, so why should he be the one to take all of the blame? It wasn’t his fault.
Neglecting not only his happiness, but his health because of me…
It was bad enough that he had to deal with the repercussions of being an idol with a soulmate. I refused to have him neglect not only his happiness, but his health out of some sick obligation he felt.
Our first soulmate-therapy session arrived faster than expected.
Dr Kang was a round, middle-aged man with soft eyes and hunched shoulders. Once we were inside his office, he gestured for me to take a seat on the couch across from him.
“Isn’t Yoongi-hyung joining us?” I asked, confused.
“Shortly. But first, I wanted to see how you were doing.” He said.
I didn’t really know how to answer. “I―I’m not sure…”
“Okay, well… How have things been since you moved into the Soulmate ward?”
“Things have been…” I swallowed. “Different.”
“You mean, between you and Yoongi-nim?” [AN: -nim is a highly respectful honorific that is mainly used with superiors; however, it is also used when speaking to/about customers, patients, guests, clients etc.]
I nodded. “I mean, I wasn’t stupid enough to expect things to just go back to the way they were before, but I never thought that… Hyung would be like this.”
“What do you mean, Jimin-nim?”
“He…” I tilted my head back with a sigh, already feeling tears building up behind my eyes. “Yoongi-hyung has never been someone that was outwardly affectionate to the people around him.”
Dr. Kang produced a small box of tissues, and sat them on the desk between us. I thanked him, and he nodded for me to continue.
“When we all first met, even Namjoon-hyung and Hoseok-hyung, who had already known him for ages, swore that hyung hated them. But over time, we realised that Yoongi-hyung just has different ways of showing that he cares. He won’t go out of his way to cheer you up if you have a bad day, but he’ll stay with you all night if you’re scared.”
“He sounds like someone very dear to you.”
I couldn’t breathe.
I could feel the stares of Jimin and the therapist beating down on me as Seoyeon wheeled me into the office. Instead of helping me into the chair beside Jimin, she moved it to the other side of the room, and parked my wheelchair in its place.
“Thank you, Seoyeon-noona.” I smiled up at her.
Even as she bowed and left the room, I could feel them watching me.
“Thank you for coming, Yoongi-nim. My name is Dr Kang.” He nodded his head and offered me a small smile.
I simply bowed once in response. It’s not like I had a choice in the matter.
“How are you feeling today? Jimin tells me that you haven’t been finishing your meals.” I noticed the notepad in front of him, and shivered at the expanse of notes already written there.
“I haven’t been hungry.”
Jimin’s eyebrows skyrocketed. “Hyung, I heard your stomach growling for hours last night.”
“If you went home like I told you to, then you wouldn’t have to hear it.” I narrowed my eyes at him, and he shrunk back into his seat. However, the sudden change in his demeanour was short-lived. Within seconds, Jimin had straightened his back, and met my gaze.
“I see now, what you meant, Jimin-nim.” Dr Kang murmured. I saw his eyes flicker to Jimin, before returning to me, no doubt to gauge my reaction.
To be honest, the thought of Jimin revealing to other people my shortcomings as a soulmate, stung quite a bit. But I suppose the alternative would be suffering in silence.
I sighed, and pasted a little smile on my face, ignoring the tightening sensation in my chest. “I hope that Jimin-ah got some things off his chest that he no doubt wanted to, but felt he couldn’t.”
My response must have surprised Dr Kang, because his hand stopped writing. His mouth half-opened as if to speak, but whatever words were on the tip of his tongue stayed there.
“Hyung, what are you―” Jimin began.
I clenched my eyes shut, and interrupted him. “I know that you don’t want this Jimin-ah, but you don’t have to keep doing this. I’m okay with not having a bond, but having to watch you… Don’t pretend like you’re happy when you’re not. Especially not for my sake.”
The silence that followed dragged on for a small eternity, the only sound being the irregular drum of my heartbeat, the pain in my head throbbing along in time with it.
“Is that what you really think, hyung?” I heard Jimin murmur, his voice low and careful.
I opened my eyes, and turned my head to face him. The movement was too fast, and my vision swam for a moment, before centring on him.
Please don’t hate me too much for what I’m about to say.
“Why do you think I never told any of you that I was sick?” My voice sounded hollow, even to my own ears. “I knew that once you found out, you’d guilt-trip yourself into being with me, regardless of the fact that you have never felt the bond, let alone wanted one in the first place. No matter how you felt about me, I’m not going to let you ruin your life just because I can’t handle a little rejection.”
I watched at my words ricocheted through him, chipping away bit by bit at his façade. Tears lined the edges of his eyes, threatening to fall any moment. As though in response to his tars, the ache in my head converged, the rhythmic throbbing replaced by a constant pressure behind my eyes.
“Yoongi-nim, I think what’s happening here, isn’t that Jimin doesn’t accept the bond—” Dr Kang said, his words deliberate, despite the wary tone to his voice.
The small tightness in my chest swelled, constricting in and around my ribcage. The pain spread, and suddenly my shoulders felt too tight, too heavy.
“—It’s that you won’t let him.”
My heartrate quickened, but it did nothing to help the pressure that was steadily building in too many places to count. The air was too thin, too heavy—my lungs were burning. Distantly, I realised that something was very wrong, around the same time that my hands became numb.
Chapter 19: "So far away,"
Two chapters in the same week?
Don't thank me, thank my overpowering need to procrastinate studying for the exam I have tomorrow.
This chapter is dedicated to: @arinnval, @MiKan_KuRo, @Yoonmin239, @boricuapower and @sicdy
“What happened, Jimin?” Hoseok paced in front of him. “What the fuck happened in there?”
“Hyung, maybe you should―” I began.
But Hoseok wasn’t done. “No, our hyung is in there right now, and Jimin won’t tell us why!”
Jimin had followed behind the gaggle of doctors surrounding Yoongi hyung, but they’d forced him to stay outside. Once he sat down, he cried harder than I think I’ve ever seen him cry. But eventually his tears ran dry, and he just sat there.
Jimin mumbled something, beginning coming out of his near-comatose state. His head lulled to the side; eyes unfocused. “My... fault…”
I saw Hoseok’s eyes widen, and if it wasn’t for my reflexes, Jimin would have a very black eye.
“That’s enough, Hobi-hyung.” I whispered, holding him in the circle of my arms. “How about you go and get us something to eat from the cafeteria? I know that Raon-noona would appreciate the company.”
Hoseok sobers somewhat at the mention of the nurse who had comforted him when Yoongi had been first admitted. I knew that meeting her didn’t meant that Hoseok was over Yoongi, but it was a start. I just hoped that he forgave Jimin one day.
Once Hoseok had disappeared down the hallway, I turned back to Jimin. He hadn’t moved an inch when Hoseok advanced on him, and I had to wonder if he’d even noticed.
I sighed. “What have you done, hyung?”
[2 hours later: 3 hours into surgery]
“How is he doing?” I took a break from biting my nails to ask Bang PD-nim.
“They took him in there hours ago. Your guess is as good as mine at this point.” He sighed, sitting down in the chair beside me. He held out a cup of what I assumed was coffee from the staff common room. “Stop biting your nails, or they’ll start to look ugly.”
“I don’t give a shit if my nails are ugly!” I jumped up, not particularly caring that it was him that I was yelling at. “My best friend is in there having emergency fucking surgery, and you’re worried about how my hands will look after this?”
Bang PD-nim stood up, and slowly stepped towards me. “Namjoon, I—”
“Namjoon-hyung is just scared, PD-nim.” Jin appeared at my side. “Please excuse his outburst.”
Some sort of agreement seemed to form as they glanced at each other, and finally Bang PD-nim nodded, and left.
“I’m sorry, hyung.” I sniffed, tears already in my eyes.
“Shhh…” He wrapped his arms around my shoulders, cradling me against his chest. “I’m here… It’s okay, hyung’s here…”
“It’s not okay though… Yoongi-hyung is still in there.”
“I know, sweetie… I know…” With that, he let me cry into the crook of his neck.
“How is he?” I asked, handing him a bottle of flavoured milk. Jungkook lifts an eyebrow at the flavour, and I shrug. “It’s all they had in the fridge.”
“He’s the same as before.” We both looked over to Jimin. His form was rigid, and it looked as though he wanted to curl in on himself, but had forgotten how to move. “I got a text from Sejin-nim. He says that they’re bringing Mr and Mrs Min over from the hotel now.”
“What do you think will happen to Bangtan, if…” A pair of big, doe eyes met mine. “W-what if… h-hyung doesn’t…”
I reached forward and pulled him into me. “Yoongi-hyung is strong. He’s going to be okay.”
Over Jungkook’s shoulder, I could see Jimin.
Whatever is going on with Yoongi-hyung, it’s affecting Jimin too.
[2 hours later: 5 hours into surgery]
Jimin suddenly lurched forward, clutching his chest. His lips were parted in a silent cry of pain as he falls forward out of his chair before any of us can catch him.
Jin is the first one to reach him, letting the younger use his legs as a pillow. Jimin’s breathing was laboured, and he kept clawing at his chest.
He coughed, and half rolled himself away from Jin’s touch.
Seconds later, a nurse opened the doors to the operating theatre, and rushes over. She starts talking in a hushed voice, but I wasn’t exactly listening.
Through the half-open door way, I could see them pressing defibrillators to Yoongi’s chest. His body arched off the table, and almost simultaneously, Jimin gasped for air.
“H-Hyung…” I began, my hand reacting out before I could stop it. The nurse tending to Jimin looked over, and scrambled to close the doors.
“What’s going on?” I asked. “W-why are they…”
“It’s probably best that you wait for Dr Yan to come out.” She kept looking at the floor, where Jimin was curled on his side.
I knew something was wrong the second that my heart jerked.
I had never felt anything like it. It was almost as though a hand was reaching through my ribcage, trying to claw its way to my heart.
My pulse was thundering in my ears, deafening.
I knew that there were people speaking around me, but their words weren’t important.
Yoongi needs me.
The thought slammed into me, and the realisation that came with it cut through the pain in my chest like a knife. I have to go to him.
Yoongi’s in pain.
Yoongi needs me.
“―am so sorry… …everything that we could… …complications with the surgery―” The man’s words seemed to slow everything down.
Fear spread through me like a disease, and suddenly I was on my feet. Half stumbling, half running, I pushed past the people that were between me and the theatre door. Once I reached it, I banged and kicked until it gave, and I inside.
The room was lit up by large halogens in the middle of the room, spotlighting Yoongi’s body on the table. A marked nurse was stitching up his chest, and when she saw me, her eyes widened. She said something, and pointed at me.
Three large Doctors grabbed at my arms, bending them back, steering me away towards the door. Away from Yoongi.
“No!” I screamed with all my might. “I’m his soulmate! I need to help him! Please! No!”
A pretty nurse with red hair appeared in my field of vision, and somehow, when she appeared, the hands grabbing me disappeared.
I ran forward, stopping only a few paces from the table where Yoongi was.
Something inside my chest cracked, and I crumpled. Laying my head on the part of his chest that didn’t have stitches, I let myself feel everything.
All of the things that I’d tried so hard to keep locked away inside, burst out like a geyser.
The petty anger at seeing him flirt with that ARMY girl.
The guilt of ignoring Yoongi after we spent that night together in Japan. The betrayal and guilt of knowing that he was hiding something, and that I had no right to be upset that he didn’t tell me.
The jealously at how easily he and Hoseok got along. The feeling of everything aligning when I found out that I was his soulmate.
The warmth that coursed through me when I woke up in his hospital bed, feeling like everything. The icy self-loathing that had threatened to drown me when Yoongi shied away from my touch.
I wailed, and begged. “Please, hyung… Don’t leave me… I’m sorry, I’m so fucking sorry… I didn’t want to face that part of me… I was ashamed, hyung… I’m so sorry… Please come back… Please… I’m sorry… Don’t leave me…”
“Jimin-ah?” I heard what sounded like Bang PD-nim behind me, and a hand landed on my shoulder. “He’s gone, son.”
“No!” I shook the hand off of me and stood up.
I pressed my hands down on his chest, pumping. One, two, three, four.
I leaned over him, and connected our mouths. Pushing away the realisation of just how dry and cold his lips felt on my own, I breathed as much air as I could into his lungs.
I repeated the process countless time, until my arms ached and my lungs burned. All the while, tears continued to fall, staining my cheeks. I sobbed as I worked.
“Jimin…” Jin said, somewhere off to my side.
“Please, hyung…” I wailed. “He’s n-not waking up, hyung! W-why isn’t h-he waking u-up?”
“I’m so sorry, Jiminie…” I could hear in his voice that Jin was also crying.
“Hyung, please… I w-want Yoongi h-hyung b-back… Please, hyung… I w-want m-my s-soulmate…”
I bent down, and laid my head over Yoongi’s heart, no longer caring about avoiding the stitches. I lightly banged my fist on his shoulder. “I can’t keep my promise hyung… I-I can’t… I can’t be h-happy without y-you… I l-love you… I’m s-so sorry…”
Jin pulled me back, and this time, I let him guide me away from the table.
We had taken maybe three steps, when there came a sound that shocked everyone in the room to the core. Beep… Beep…
No matter how long I live, I will never forget that sound.
It was Yoongi’s heart monitor.
Chapter 20: "Awake"
Thank you all so much for supporting this work, and for being understanding when it has taken me way too long to update. It honestly means the world to me, to know that people out there are actively reaching something that I've written.
We're getting very close to the end of Remember Me This Way. There are only a couple of chapters left!
This chapter is dedicated to: @Yoonmin239, @arinnaval, @MiKan_KuRo, @boricuapower, @sicdy, @lilmeow0309, and @lonelypianist
The sun beat down on me, and I couldn’t help but bask in its warmth.
I opened my eyes and for a moment, golden rays danced in my vision, blinding me. It wasn’t until my eyes adjusted, that I had a chance to take in my surroundings.
I was standing in a field of flowers.
The cloying, sickly-sweet scent of hundreds of daffodils, tulips, orchids, carnations, roses and so many countless other flowers itched at my nose.
Kneeling, I reached out and delicately brushed the petals of a camelia with my fingers. It was so impossibly soft to the touch, almost like it wasn’t there at all.
Intrigued, I moved to pick the flower, but a distant sound stopped me in my tracks.
A gentle melody, carried to me by some phantom breeze. Forgetting all about the strange camelia, I followed the sound.
It wasn’t until I began running in whatever direction the music seemed to be coming from that I realised just how vast the field of wild flowers was. Thousands of them, as far as the eye could see, like a multicoloured blanket on the world.
“Why are you running?” A voice asked from behind me. “You’re only going to tread on more flowers, if you keep running.”
I turned, and was faced by a dark-haired little boy. He couldn’t have been any older than 10.
I looked down at my feet, and found a heavily distressed patch of chrysanthemums. “They’re just flowers.”
“Are you really so blind?” The boy looked at me, and I couldn’t help but shiver at the judgement in his eyes. “Or have you simply gotten so used to lying, Yoongi?”
“How do you know my name? Who are you?”
The boy chuckled, and it sounded eerily like the music that had led me here.
“It’s it obviously,” The boy stopped giggling, and levelled his gaze with mine, despite our height difference. “I’m you.”
“What? But I―” I looked down at myself, and suddenly I was 10 years old again. I gripped at the ill-fitting uniform, and the overwhelming urge to cry washed over me.
“When are you going to grow up, Yoongi?” The boy―the other me―asked. “I thought we stopped running years ago.”
The dreams came and went.
Sometimes, I was running, being chased by fans and paparazzi through dying garden beds. Or my grandmother was there, lecturing me―something about not letting good daffodils go to waste.
In others, I was next to Jimin lying in bed on a Sunday morning, with nothing to do and nowhere to be. Those weren’t the ones that felt the most real though.
Being unable to move as my members turned their backs and walked away from me.
Those ones went on forever.
I think that I drifted in and out of consciousness for quite some time before I finally came to.
Soft streaks of light filtered through the blinds, illuminating the room in a gentle glow. I glanced aimlessly around the room, trying to process where I was.
My body felt heavy, and the simple act of turning my head had the muscles in my neck and shoulders burning. Moving as little of my head as I could, I let my gaze settle on the figure to my right.
Jimin was sitting on a fold-out chair, with his head resting against my thigh, and his fingers loosely interlocked with mine.
In the soft half-light, his features seemed to resonate a sense of serenity and peace, that I’d never seen before.
However, the lighting of the room wasn’t enough to hide the puffy bags under his eyes, or the slight hollows below his cheekbones.
What have I done to you, Jiminie?
I sighed, but the movement was cut short. I carefully tilted my head, and took in the mass of bandages and gauze that surrounded most of my chest.
A cold sense of dread settled in the pit of my stomach, and the monitor on my other side started beeping erratically. The surgery… They wouldn’t have…
I looked at Jimin―at his hand, holding mine in his sleep.
The beeping increased, and Jimin stirred, nuzzling his head against my thigh. At any other time, the action would have caused me delight, and maybe a bit of arousal.
But that terrible fear of what those bandages meant was still gripping my heart, doing nothing to slow the continued beeping of the heart monitor.
A nurse pushed through the door, and stopped dead in her tracks when she saw that I was awake. A look that I couldn’t place flashed across her face, before she quickly bowed, and ran back out the door. Probably to find whatever doctor arranged the room change.
It the few minutes it took for her to return with someone, I had convinced myself that this was the post-removal recovery ward, and that I was never going to be able to write music again.
“Hello, Min Yoongi-nim. My name is Dr Goo Hajong.” The man stepped further into the room, coming to stand at the foot of the bed. He glanced at the heart monitor, before re-centring his gaze on me. “How are you feeling?”
I swallowed. “Wha… Happ’n…”
“Hear, dear. Have some water.”
The nurse stepped around Dr Goo, and appeared at my side with a small plastic cup. She guided my head towards it, and then back towards the pillow after I’d had my fill.
“Thank…you…” I murmured.
She smiled, simply giving a short bow in response.
“What do you remember last, Yoongi-nim?” The doctor asked, redirecting my attention back to him. He spared a glance at Jimin’s head, still curled against my thigh.
“Dr… Kang…?” I swallowed again, trying to think. “Me… and Jiminie…”
“You had a joint appointment with Dr Kang?” Dr Goo provided.
I gave the barest of a nod, my neck jerking painfully against the action.
Dr Goo must have noticed my sharp intake of breath. “Dayoung-ah, could you please administer another dose of morphine?”
The nurse―Dayoung―nodded, and slipped out of the room. Dr Goo waited until she had returned, and attached the drip to my IV before he spoke again.
“During your appointment with Dr Kang, you experienced a heightened reaction to added emotional stress, notably due to your Hanahaki’s advanced stage. As far as we can tell, the Hanahaki managed to break through into your heart cavity, which shocked your cardiovascular system into a state of immediate cardiac arrest.”
Dayoung must have seen the blank look on my face. She smiled gently, and rested a hand on my shoulder. “Something made you upset, and because you’re already so sick, it made your heart stop working.”
My heart… stopped?
“But… why… surg… ry…?” I managed to get out, taking several breaths between syllables.
“You see, because of your… condition, it was likely that the Hanahaki had wrapped itself around your heart―which in part was true―and so, the only course of action was emergency removal—”
I felt my eyes widen, and a whimper escaped my throat.
I didn’t even notice the pain that accompanied the strangled sound. I looked from Dr Goo, to Dayoung. “R-re… move…?”
Her eyes softened, probably due to the blatant fear in my own.
“It wasn’t a complete removal, dear.” She patted my shoulder, before sharing a meaningful look with Dr Goo. “Though, it wasn’t exactly as planned…”
Dr Goo cleared his throat, and spoke. “There were… complications during your surgery.”
The heart monitor meant that everyone in the room could hear how that news affected me. In all honestly, the off-and-on anxiety of the conversation was giving me an ache, deep in my chest.
“You, uh… Due to the, um…” Dr Goo suddenly became visibly uncomfortable.
Dayoung scoffed under her breath. “You see, dear… If it wasn’t for this young man here, you would not have made it.”
“To be completely frank, you were legally dead for about twenty minutes.”
“I-I… But then… Jim-nie…” So many things weren’t making sense. My brain hurts.
“Your soulmate uh… ran into the operating theatre,” Dr Goo said, smiling gently at Jimin’s sleeping form beside me. “He pushed his way through to you, and begged and begged you to come back to him. He sat there for ages, apologising and crying his eyes out. About half-way through, he started performing CPR.”
Despite the near-tearing sensation in my neck and shoulder, I turned to look at Jiminie.
“He was the one that managed to bring you back.” I heard Dayoung say.
Tears welled in my eyes, and a series of broken sobs filled the room.
All of the pain that I didn’t want to feel of think about, the fear and hurt and worry and relief, washed over me like a tidal wave.
Jimin saved me…
Jimin wanted me back…
I hunched forward, and curled myself around him as much as my painfully stiff body would allow. I knew that my wails and shudders would wake him up, but I didn’t care.
I just needed to hold him.