It was mid January and Taehyung was freezing. Shivers ran down his spine as he buried his nose deeper in his thin jacket, but it was not helping the slightest. He sighed as he pulled his beany further over his head and wished that he had brought something warmer. Yes, he had thought this through. He knew what he wanted to do, and what the further consequences would be, but the thought that it could be extremely cold on a freaking spring day hadn’t crossed his mind at all and he cursed at himself for being so stupid.
As he let go of that thought, his gaze wandered over the empty platform he was standing on. The lack of people had nothing to do with the weather, or the fact that he was at an abandoned train station. Except those were exactly the reasons. Why else would Taehyung have chosen to go to exactly this place? If he was just like other people, he would have stayed inside, drinking hot chocolate at the kitchen table with his friends, laughing at the idiotic comments from Jimin and the stupid, yet appreciated dad jokes from Seokjin. Heck, he would even listen to some of the boring lectures from Namjoon, which actually could be interesting sometimes, even though nobody would ever admit that out loud.
But he wasn’t like normal people, and neither did he want to laugh.
Taehyung’s eyes left the platform and came to look in front of him, at the wooden train rails that were almost fully covered in snow. He shivered again, but this time it wasn’t from the cold. He closed his eyes. The urge to turn around and run away, to cuddle with one of his Hyungs as they softly stroke his hair and whisper in his ear that everything was going to he all right, grew with each second. But he knew that was just a temporary solution for his problems. He also knew that his hyungs would never do that anymore. Not after everything that had happened.
Taehyung sighed again and his thoughts wandered off to the rails again. He couldn’t do this alone, he knew that. He didn’t know exactly what would happen when he finally would decide to jump. But he had to be brave, and strong. For his hyungs.
It was the only way out for them.
That was why he opened his eyes and looked to his left and right if something was approaching. The last action wasn’t necessary since this was a one way track, and no train would appear at his right side. Taehyung sighed as nothing seemed to near him at his left side as well, and a tear escaped from the corner of his eyes. He took a deep breath, as if it was possible to control his shaking body, and jumped of the platform.
He landed next to the train rails and as soon as his feet hit the ground, a calming feeling washed over him and his lips started to shape into a small smile at the comfort. His body stopped trembling. He turned his face to the sky with closed eyes and sighed. When he opened them again, he saw that his breath had formed little clouds of fog in the air due to the cold, but he couldn’t care less. Not anymore.
However, his little feeling of victory faded as soon as he thought of the next obstacle he had to pass. His gaze turned to the rails next to him and fear took over him again. But he had come so far, he couldn’t turn back now. He wiped his cheeks with the sleeve of his jacket, and with a little hesitation he stepped one foot on the rails. It felt slippery underneath his soles which would cause slight problems, but somehow he managed to keep his balance as he had stepped on the rails with two feet.
As soon as he felt like he wasn’t going to faceplant with the ground, he tried to take a step forward. It didn’t work, and Taehyung gasped as he felt his feet slipping away from under his body. He groaned as his body hit the ground hard.
He had no idea how much time passed as he layed on his back, cursing, while more tears rolling down his cheeks. But when he found that he was overreacting, and thinking to much of it, he dried his tears and got up his feet again. He looked at the spot he layed in earlier. The only evidence of him was the snow angel shaped by his body. Nothing more. Taehyung glanced at his mistake one more time and frowned before he decided to step back on the rails. More careful this time, with his arms horizontal to keep his balance and prevent himself from falling. A cheer left his mouth when he was able to take a few (yet wobbly) steps. He turned his gaze up from his feet and continued walking. A smile spread across his face. He knew that he was able to do this alone.
Meanwhile, in the distance, a lonely figure was approaching the train station. As soon as he spotted Taehyung, his pace quickened as he hurried over to the edge of the platform.
‘Hyung?’ he said softly, as he slowed down. Taehyung was too caught up in his own world, so it was impossible to notice him before when there was so much space between them. But now he knew exactly who was calling him, since he’d recognize that voice anywhere. Besides, there was only one person who would call him hyung. A smile spread across his face as his gaze met Jeongguk’s. He never had any doubts that he wouldn’t follow him.
‘Hyung, what are we doing there?’
A shiver went down Jeongguk spine as he saw Taehyung smiling at him from down the rails.
‘Hyung,’ Jeongguk repeated. He looked at Taehyung in disbelieve, his mouth agape. ‘What are we doing there?’
When Taehyung opened his mouth he spoke with a calming voice. ‘Hi Jeonggukkie.’ When Jeongguk didn’t respond, he continued. ‘It’s okay, I’m fine.’
‘What are you talking about?!’ Jeongguk snapped and his disbelieve turned into worry with a little bit of anger. ‘You are not, get out of there! It’s dangerous!’
‘Jeongguk-ah, it’s not,’ Taehyung said calm. He turned his head to look behind him. ‘There are no trains. This place is abandoned.’
‘Get back here!’ Jeongguk said with a stern voice. ‘What if you fall? Or catch a cold? There might be no trains but-‘
‘Listen to me, kook-ah!’ Taehyung interrupted and his smile faded, all of a sudden not so certain about his decision anymore. ‘I don’t have another choice, I-‘
‘We do! We can do it a different way hyung.’
‘I can’t and you know that. Please Jeongguk, I need to do this, for our hyungs. I know that they don’t trust me, but I can fix tha-’
‘They certainly won’t if you do it like that,’ Jeonguk said, his voice softer. ‘How could they if you won’t be around?’
Taehyung sighed. ‘I’ve thought this through,’ he said. ‘If I only-‘
‘No hyung,’ Jeongguk said and he folded his arms. ‘I won’t allow it!’
‘You know it’s easier this way.’ Taehyung said. ‘You know it, you’ve seen it and you have thought about this option as well.’
Jeonguk mouth fell open again. He tried his best to hide his feelings from Taehyung, but he had hit the right string. And Taehyung knew that, since his smile came back.
‘Join me,’ he said, almost soundless.
Jeongguk was at a loss of words for a few seconds. ‘You- you know that I can’t,’ he whispered when he had snapped back to reality.
‘Jeongguk...’ Taehyung said, his voice nothing more than a whisper, but Jeongguk stumbled backwards.
Taehyung looked hurt. ‘Jeongguk,’ he tried again.
‘No,’ Jeongguk shook his head. ‘I’m taking you with me.’ He walked towards the edge again.
‘No!’ Taehyung shouted. His voice echoed through the empty place. ‘I-I,’ his voice shook. ‘I’ve come so far. It’s too late.’
As he said that, Jeongguk heard the honk of a nearing train in the distance. He turned his head to the left, but there was nothing to be seen. The train must still be far away. He turned to Taehyung again, who didn’t seem the least affected.
‘It’s save Jeongguk-ah,’ he said.’ I promise.’
Jeongguk swallowed and forced back the tears that had formed in his eyes. ‘It’s scary,’ he said.
Taehyung glanced at him from underneath his eyelashes. ‘Only at the beginning,’ he answered. He stretched his left arm out at Jeongguk. ‘Take my hand.’
Jeongguk hesitated. This wasn’t the way. They both would be far gone. His hyungs...
He closed his eyes, but that didn’t stop his tears from falling down. He couldn’t let them do this. He had to be strong. Jimin-hyung had always told them that leaving wasn’t an option. He wished that he was save in his arms again. He wished that him and Taehyung hadn’t gone into this horrible situation, with the broken contact with the rest of their group, which couldn’t be fixed anymore after every mistake Taehyung and him had made.
It was too real all of a sudden, and too painful to think about.
When Jeongguk opened his eyes again, his cheeks were wet, and Taehyung’s hand was still reaching out for him.
‘Come on Jeonguk-ah...’ he said.
Jeongguk sighed, and his mind was still racing, looking for any other option. But he already knew the answer.
Without any hesitation, he grabbed Taehyung's hand and hopped of the platform. He landed next to Taehyung with a thud. The sound of a train in the distance again, yet again there was no train to be found. He turned at Taehyung with a questionable look in his eyes, his hand still holding the latter's.
‘Do you trust me?’ Taehyung asked.
Was it too late to turn back?
‘Then follow my lead,’ Taehyung continued, and loosened his grip on Jeongguk’s hand. The youngest’s eyes grew in fear, and his hand clanged on the other’s more.
This was a mistake.
‘It’s okay,’ Taehyung said with a soothing voice.
‘Let’s go back hyung,’ Jeongguk whispered. ‘While we can.’
‘I can’t do this.’
‘You have to be strong Jeonggukie.’
A shiver went down his spine. He felt like his stomach was about to drop.
‘It’s not scary,’ Taehyung said. ‘Maybe only in the beginning, but I promise you you’ll get used to it.’
With those words he slowly started to pull his hand back. Jeongguk had no other option than to release it. He took place on the rails next to Taehyung’s, and, yet slow, his mouth curled up until his teeth were fully shown. He looked at Taehyung in tryumph, and the eldest nodded at him and smiled.
‘You are doing amazing, take a few steps,’ Taehyung encouraged him. The younger did as he said.
‘Hyung I think I’m going to f-‘ Taehyung grabbed his arm before he could lose his balance and fall on the ground like he did before.
‘It’s okay, I got you,’ Taehyung said with a calm voice. Jeongguk send him a grateful look.
‘Don’t let go of me,’ he whispered.
Taehyung released his arm to grab his hand. ‘Wouldn’t for the world,’
Jeongguk smiled as he felt that his whole body started to relax. He turned his gaze to his feet again and tried to take more steps. He almost fell off the track again, but he managed to keep his balance while holding Taehyung’s hand, who walked along with him.
‘That’s it, Jeongguk-ah, that’s great,’ Taehyung said, smiling as well. Jeongguk eyes grew wide as he realised that the cold he experienced before wasn’t present anymore.
‘Taehyung,’ he stammered. ‘The heat, where is it coming from?’
‘I don’t know,’ Taehyung said. ‘I guess we-‘ he was cut of by the sound of the train again, which was now closer than ever, the sound of iron against wood constantly reaching their ears. They both turned their head towards the noise (Jeongguk wondered why he couldn’t see the train yet), and then looked at each other again.
‘Tae,’ Jeongguk said, never feeling more scared then now. ‘What is happening?’
Taehyung’s calm look from before was gone. ‘Keep walking,’ he said. He wasn’t facing Jeongguk anymore. Instead, his gaze was fixed on his own feet as he started to accelerate.
Something was wrong.
Jeongguk did as Taehyung said, their pace quickened until they were running. Jeongguk saw, the few seconds he looked up from his feet, that Taehyung’s gaze now had turned into pure panic.
‘Don’t look back Jeongguk-ah! Watch your feet!’
Taehyung said that a second too late, and Jeongguk’s heart skipped a beat as stumbled, falling from the rails and dragging Taehyung along with him. He collided with the ground, and he grunted. But he hadn’t much time to recover. Taehyung grabbed his hand again, after letting go during the fall and pulled him on his feet.
‘Come on Jeongguk-ah!’
They started running again, next to the track, which they were not able to get back on since they had to hurry. Their hands were still tangled together.
Jeongguk didn’t look behind them, as he was scared to do so, but when he looked up to the sky, a clear, blue spot had appeared in the thick pack of clouds, revealing a few rays of sun. Jeongguk gasped and pointed at it.
‘Tae,’ he panted. ‘The sun!’
This was it.
They did it.
‘I see it, Jeongguk-ah,’ Taehyung yelled back, also panting. ‘We have to-‘
Jeongguk was able to stop themself from running of the train rails, which had ended into a dead end. A big abyss was in front of them, and if Jeongguk hadn’t pulled Taehyung back, they now would have been at the bottom of a huge cliff.
‘Hyung,’ Jeongguk said as he started to panic again. ‘What now?’
Taehyung stared at the abyss in disbelieve. ‘No,’ he whispered. ‘We were... so close.’
Jeongguk swallowed and closed his eyes. He felt Taehyung grabbing his other hand. ‘Jeongguk, I thought we would make it,’ he whispered. Jeongguk opened his eyes. A tear had left the corner of Taehyung’s eyes. ‘I’m so sorry.’
‘I failed you,’ his breath was shaking. ‘I failed all of them.’
Jeongguk shook his head. ‘No!’ He said as he turned to Taehyung. The latter did the same thing, although he didn’t look up to meet his gaze.
‘Tae,’ Jeongguk continued, as Taehyung didn’t answer. ‘You didn’t fail any of us. You did the best you can.’
Finally Taehyung dared to look at him. In his brown, beautiful eyes, guilt started to melt away.
‘It’s okay,’ Jeongguk said. ‘I’m ready.’ He looked at his side again.
‘This was your plan all along wasn’t it?’ Jeongguk asked.
A watery smile appeared on Taehyung’s face. ‘Do you forgive me?’
Jeongguk returned the smile and nodded. ‘I think I might do,’ he chuckled. Meanwhile his tears had also started to fall. He hadn’t even realised.
Taehyung breathed out, as if that answer was a que to release all the tension that had build up in his body.
‘Jeongguk-ah,’ he said. ‘Look at me.’ Jeongguk did as Taehyung told, yet finding it hard to do.
‘Even though I forgive you, I’m still a little pissed at you for lying.’
‘I’m sorry, I knew you wouldn’t come with me if I told you the odds,’ Taehyung pouted. Jeongguk pinched his belly.
‘I’m really sorry.’
‘I already said that I forgive you, you dork,’ Jeongguk said playfully. ‘Besides, it was my choice as well.’
‘You have given up so much to help me.’ Taehyung grabbed his hand again and stroked it. ‘How?’
‘I guess,’ Jeongguk said. ‘That I care more about you than I’ve actually shown before.’ He smiled. Taehyung returned it and pulled him into a hug, murmuring a ‘thank you’ in his ear.
‘You are amazing, Jeonggukie,’ Taehyung said as he released him.
‘I know that already,’ Jeongguk grinned.
Taehyung laughed his rectangular smile before getting serious again. He turned his head to his side one more time before turning it to Jeongguk. Jeongguk mimicked his action.
‘Okay,’ Taehyung said and he took a deep breath. He looked at Jeongguk with a questioning look in his eyes. Jeongguk nodded. He closed his eyes as the past few months replayed in his head like a movie. Everything came back for a second, and he felt his heart speeding up again. Though the feeling melted away as he felt how Taehyung placed a hand on his cheek to calm him down. Jeongguk couldn’t describe how grateful he was for that gesture.
‘On the count of three,’ Taehyung whispered and Jeongguk nodded with a shaky breath.
It’s okay now.
Jeongguk opened his eyes with all the strength left in his body. The brown of Taehyung's irises were the last thing he saw.