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Together We Fall

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Chapter 1

  “Alright, that’s a wrap! Good work guys!” Jungkook sighed in relief. After hours of grueling practice their dance session was finally over. He was covered in sweat and ready to change out of the white tee that clung to his skin. Getting ready for a comeback was always hard work. Chugging down some water, he glanced at the clock on the wall. 4:00, the evening was still young!

  “Hyungs,” he said, turning towards the older members, “can we get something to eat? I’m starviiiiing.” He clutched his rumbling stomach at the last part, pulling at his shirt and twisting his face up in the saddest pout he could muster.

  Namjoon laughed from his position sprawled out on the floor and cast his eyes in the maknae’s direction. “Ah Jungkook, you hungry? Maybe you wouldn’t be if you had woken up early enough this morning to eat the delicious breakfast Jin made us,” he teased. The others chuckled as Jungkook stuck his tongue out childishly before joining in with them.

  “Well maybe I wouldn’t have needed to sleep in if Tae-hyungie hadn’t kept me up late last night playing games,” he retorted with a smile still on his face.

  “Don’t drag me into your problems Kookie!” Tae whined, faking a frown and crossing his arms across his chest.

  “Okay, okay, of course we can grab something,” Yoongi cut into the playful banter before it became a headache for him.

  “What do you wanna get Kook?” Hobi asked from across the room as he grabbed his jacket, although he was pretty sure they all already knew the answer.

  “Lamb skewers!” He shouted in excitement. A grin spread across Namjoon’s face, sometimes their maknae was just too cute!

  “Fine, but we’ve all gotta change first, I’m not taking you anywhere smelling like that.” The others nodded and voiced their agreements, Tae grabbing his shirt near the armpit to give it an experimental whiff which earned him a playful smack on the arm from Jimin. As the others took their time gathering their things together, Jungkook grabbed a change of clothes and ran to the bathroom, almost bumping into someone on his way down the hall.

  “Oh, sorry!” he exclaimed as he bypassed them. They just gave him a small smile, eyes following him from underneath their over-sized black hoodie as he rounded the corner. Entering the restroom he went into one of the two stalls and started undressing, first taking off his shirt and throwing it on the floor next to the toilet. He heard the door open as he pulled the clean one over his head. He wondered who came in, knowing that if it was one of the others they would have called out to him. The stall next to him shut and he could hear the person shuffling around before going silent. Out of courtesy, Kook tried to stay quiet too as he carefully pulled off his sweatpants and switched to jeans. It wasn’t easy trying to mind the stall walls as he kicked his legs up, but he eventually finished and swapped out his socks. As he went to pick up his clothes, he noticed he couldn’t find his shirt. He looked behind the toilet, on the sides, even crouching to look under the stall. Not only was he confused that he couldn’t find it, he realized that person was gone too. Strange.

  Figuring it must be one of his hyungs pulling a prank on him, he left the restroom and made his way back to the room, seeing that Yoongi and Namjoon were heading his way to change themselves. The others must have not cared about changing in front of each other in the practice room.

  “Hyungs, did one of you take my shirt?” he asked. Yoongi and Namjoon looked confused.

  “You lost your shirt? In the bathroom?” A little smirk played at the corner of Namjoon’s mouth making Jungkook let out an exasperated breath.

  “Ahhh I knew it! Was it Jin-hyung or Tae-hyung? Or did they put Hobi-hyung up to it since he’s so stealthy?”

  “Jungkook, what are you talking about?” Yoongi’s expression continued to stay genuinely, albeit slightly, baffled.

  “My shirt. It was on the floor in the bathroom but it was gone when I went to pick it up. Someone came in while I was in there and I figured one of you must have done it.” He looked between them, studying their faces. “Did… you not?”

  “No,” Yoongi stated, pushing out his lips in an almost thoughtful pout, “None of us left the room. You took off before we were ready.”

  “I just think it’s kind of, um, interesting you lost your shirt in such a small place Kookie,” Namjoon explained. “It’s true though, all of us stayed in there until now.”

  “Oh,” Jungkook was dumbfounded. Where did it go?

  “I’m sure it’ll show up, go ahead and get your coat, we’ll be ready in a minute.” Jungkook shrugged it off and followed his hyung’s orders, going to the room where the others were done and fooling around, playing a game of chicken in the middle of the room.

  “Join in Kookie we just started!” Jimin chirped out as Jin charged at him. He laughed and ducked out of the way only to be pushed off balance by Hoseok. Jungkook smiled and pulled on his shoes, joining in once his jacket was on as well. They all struggled in their layers, Hobi eventually falling victim to his own offset balance and Jin getting ganged up on by the two maknaes. By the time Yoongi and Namjoon got back Jungkook and Tae were laughing heaps on the ground, the other three smiling and jesting at them as they picked themselves up. Yoongi was unamused, as usual, as he walked around them to get his sweatshirt while Namjoon grinned and called them all out the door.

  They walked to a nearby restaurant in the cool weather, the maknae line (plus Jin) still joking around with each other during the whole walk, chopping at each others necks, kicking at one another, and running all over the sidewalk. Jungkook started cheering once the place they chose came into sight and he ran ahead to get them a table.

  Once they were all out of their coats and seated in the corner of the restaurant for some privacy, they promptly ordered and tried to find ways to entertain themselves while waiting for food. Jungkook suggested rock, paper, scissors to Jimin and they caused commotion as they reached over the table to duke it out, spilling salt and elbowing Yoongi in the cheek on accident. They found it much funnier than the others but quit and settled down after Suga glared at them, rubbing the bruised spot on his face. They instead decided to discuss how practice went, Hoseok practically giving each of them evaluations and suggesting how they could make moves easier on themselves, of course encouraging them to practice.

  “I know it’s new, but the sooner we have it down the sooner rehearsals will get shorter, so ask Sun-ssi or myself if you need any help! Aaand here comes the food!” he beamed as the waiters and waitresses came out with trays. Jungkook practically drooled as his lamb skewers were placed in front of him along with a bowl of fried rice with ginger tea as a beverage. He began eating ravenously, half paying attention to what rest of his members were saying around him.

  “Well we have a day off on Thursday, I think it’s okay to relax instead of practice for just one day,” Jin said as he dug into his steak. Hoseok shot him a side glance, but he continued anyway, “What should we do guys?”

  “Hmmm?” Kook looked up from his plate, vegetables and lamb stuffed in his cheeks.

  “He asked what we should do on Thursday Kookie, it’s our day off remember?” Jimin answered.

  “Ohhh,” Jungkook quickly swallowed, “We should go bungee jumping hyungs, I’ve been wanting to go again since we shot that episode of Run!”

  “I’ll pass,” Hobi muttered, “that first time was my last time.”

  “Same for me,” Tae agreed, “but we could do something else! How about bowling? After sleeping for half the day first.” Jungkook was a little disappointed but flashed a grin and nodded his head, knowing that he’d want to rest anyway. Besides, he loved bowling and he was good at it too!

  “I’d be down for that!” Everyone else chimed in in agreement, except for Yoongi who said he had things to work on in his studio. After some whining from the younger ones, he finally agreed to join them for at least one game. With plans set they continued to enjoy their meal, Namjoon eating chicken too fast and gagging on it, all of them laughing while Hobi handed him water, Tae accidently getting food on Jin’s shirt and the elder jokingly scolding him for being so careless as he just grinned like a brat. Jungkook realized how happy he was right then. Looking at all of them, he knew that this, being with his brothers, was all he needed right now in his life.

  He’s pulled out of his thoughts when his phone vibrateed on the table and he picked it up, but stuffed it in his pocket to avoid bad table manners. He didn’t need to be scolded by Jin too! With his food almost done he slowed down, feeling how full he’s gotten from the delicious meal. There was definitely a food coma coming. He sighed and patted his satisfied stomach as he slouched back in his seat, noticing the others were almost done too.

  While he waited he started drumming a basic beat on the table out of boredom. Namjoon noticed and joined in, beating out various patterns that melted into Jungkook’s until Jimin wordlessly covered both of their hands out of embarrassment, making them chuckle. In playful revenge Jungkook kicked at Jimin’s feet under the table, earning him a stern look and a kick back. Jungkook mischievously grined as he continued pushing at Jimin’s legs and the oldest maknae finally fought back, leading them to a noiseless foot war. They stopped when one of waitresses came back with the check, not wanting to get in trouble but still sizing each other up with their eyes.

  After the bill is settled they get up to leave and put their coats back on, chatting away with each other as they exit the restaurant. Yoongi had called a company vehicle to come for them mere minutes before, so they had to wait for a bit on the street. Jungkook’s phone vibrated again in his pocket, reminding him about the text he had ignored earlier. Curiously, he took out his phone and unlocked it, tapping his message notification. It was from an unknown number. The van pulled up as he read, the others gathering up to get inside as he stood still.

  “Kook,” Tae said as he approached him, “Come on, our ride’s here.” Jungkook didn’t move, “Kookie?” Jungkook stayed frozen in place a look of disbelief plastered on his face.

  “Hyung?..” He shuddered out, slowly turning his phone towards Tae. Taehyung took it and read over the words on the screen.

I can’t wait to see you darling, I’ll be with you soon. Thank you for the shirt, I can still smell you on it. Until later my love XOXO

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

  “Are you guys coming?” J-Hope shouted as he stuck his head outside of the van. Tae and Jungkook were as still as statues on the sidewalk, gaping at the younger’s phone. “Hellooooo? Wake up you two it’s getting cold!” That seems to snap them out of their trance and they quickly walk over to the car, Tae wrapping an arm around Jungkook’s shoulders and glancing up and down the street. Jin noticed, a puzzled look sweeping over his face as the singers climb into the vehicle and buckle in, the older of the two slamming the sliding door shut. They seemed gloomy to him, very unlike how they had been during dinner not ten minutes ago.

  “Hey, are you both alright?” he asked, leaning forward from his place in the back seat.

  “Um,” Tae started, glancing at Jungkook who was staring at the floor, “I… I don’t think so hyung.” That caught everyone else’s attention and they started asking questions.

  “What’s wrong?”

  “Did you eat too much Kookie? Do you not feel well?”

  “I-” Jungkook didn’t know what to say. That message felt surreal. It must have been a joke right? Sick joke or not, he still couldn’t hide it from his hyungs. He took his phone back from Taehyung and unlocked the screen once more, handing it to Hobi on his left. His face scrunched up as he read.

  “What..?” he breathed as he read it again. “Jungkook when did you get this?” His expression was dead serious as he passed the phone on to Jimin in the back, something that didn’t happen often. It sent chills up Jungkook’s spine.

  “During dinner, but I didn’t look at it until we got outside.” A gasp from Jimin made him start to feel nervous, like the more of his hyungs that knew about it made it more real. More worrisome. Jimin didn’t say anything as he gave the phone to Jin, Namjoon looking over the eldest’s shoulder so he could see as well. Jungkook watched as their faces fell and they glanced at each other. This must be worse than he thought, not that he thought it was a good thing to begin with.

  “We’ll talk about it more at the dorm, you should show Yoongi-hyung,” he said, gesturing to the front seat. Namjoon’s voice was low. Jungkook couldn’t help but think of worst-case scenarios now as Tae handed the phone off to Yoongi, who didn’t say anything when he gave it back. He didn’t need to. His steely expression showed how pissed off he was.

  They sat in silence for the next 15 minutes to their apartment, the air almost suffocating the maknae. He wished they talked about it on the ride, maybe it would’ve helped his twisted stomach. Their place finally came into view and the driver stopped, letting the boys out and making sure they got past the front gate before pulling away. Jungkook couldn’t help but notice how the others surrounded him in a sloppy, maybe unconscious, circle as they headed into the building and towards the elevator. He didn’t like this feeling of paranoia, it was just a text for crying out loud! Overly enthusiastic fans sent them these types of messages all the time, granted never to their personal phones… but they could just change his number right? Then it dawned on him, suddenly the reason why his hyungs were so upset clicked.

  They had his shirt.

  Oh crap.

  They had his shirt.

  They were in the bathroom with him. They were in the stall next to his as he was getting undressed. They reached under that stall to steal his clothing and snuck out when they had it. They had literally been inches away from him. He felt like he was going to throw up. This person, a total stranger as far as they knew, accessed their company's building, where all of them were. How did they get in? What were they planning on doing there originally? All of these thoughts raced around in his head as they finally entered their dorm, Jungkook going for the couch on wobbly legs, as did the rest of his group. He put his phone on the coffee table, not particularly fond of it at the moment. They looked between each other with uncomfortable glances, unsure of where to begin.

  “Alright,” Namjoon started from his place behind the coffee table, “Here’s the thing. I’m going to call one of our managers in the morning and we’ll get Kook’s phone number changed. The other problem,” he ran a hand through his hair and sighed, “is that this person has breached security. It’s easily a safety issue, and of course safety is the most important thing when it comes to us and our interactions with fans. I don’t think all of you know, but when Kookie went to get changed in the bathroom his shirt was stolen right from under his nose.”

  “Wait, seriously?” Hobi gaped from next to Yoongi and Taehyung on the couch.

  “I was wondering what that meant,” Jimin chimed in. Namjoon nodded.

  “This person is daring, a risk-taker and that makes them more unpredictable.”

  “Sure, but do you think they’re dangerous?” Jin asked from the floor.

  “I mean, obviously I can’t say for sure but they implied they’d come around again. I think that’s good enough for management to up security, even if it’s only for a little while. Look, I know desperate doesn’t always mean something threatening, but we can’t take chances or treat this as if it’s nothing.”

  “Let’s hope it leads to nothing,” Jimin mumbled from next to Jungkook. The maknae had his eyes fixed on the floor, embarrassed by the whole situation. He was 18 now, couldn’t he handle his problems on his own, or at least be in charge of the steps to resolve it?

  “I can call management hyung, it’s alright. I’d probably be able to explain what happened best anyway,” he said, lifting his head to look at their leader. Namjoon looked slightly surprised, but gave an encouraging nod.

  “Um, sure Kook, if you really want to.” Jungkook cast his eyes downward again, still feeling a burn in his cheeks. Now he felt ashamed for not allowing Namjoon do his tasks as leader. He needed to suck up his pride, this wasn’t any time for him to try to prove himself to anyone. He took a deep breath and met eyes with Namjoon again, giving him a small smile.

  “Well if we’re done here I have a bed that’s calling my name,” Yoongi gasped out as he stretched while standing up. “I have an early day tomorrow so if any of you-” he was cut off by Jungkook’s phone buzzing on the table, the loud rattling startling the members. J-Hope let out a small yelp and clutched onto Suga’s pant leg, almost knocking the rapper back onto the couch. “Don’t you think that’s a bit much?” He halfheartedly scolded as Hobi pulled himself back into his original position.

  “Sorry hyung,” Hobi replied, giving Yoongi an apologetic smile and leaving the older of the two to pull his mouth into a straight I’m-pretending-to-be-annoyed-but-I-can’t-be-mad-at-you line.

  Jungkook ignored them and reached for his phone, fingers shaking a little as he hit the home button. A text message. The name “Unknown” once again graced his screen, causing his stomach to lurch. He unlocked his screen and hit the message, staring at it before a shocked noise erupted from his throat as his eyes grew wide.

  “What did they say Kook?!” Jimin asked in a frantic voice, fear etching all of the features on his face. Jungkook didn’t answer, just set his phone down in the middle of the table. The others gathered around to look at it, Tae picking it up and holding it closer to the center of their huddle.

  It didn’t say anything. On the phone was a picture. It showed Jungkook as he was surrounded by the others as they made a sloppy, maybe unconscious, circle around him as they headed into their building. They all looked between each other and sure enough the clothes they were wearing matched the ones in the image.

  This was taken tonight.

  “Oh my God…” Jin whispered. Yoongi immediately darted to the windows and turned all of their blinds shut, Jimin following him up by stretching out the curtains that ran along the rods at the top of the wall. Hoseok jogged to double check the locks on all of the doors. Tae handed the phone off to Namjoon and pulled Jungkook into a gentle hug, the younger one still not knowing what to do with himself. He flinched when the screen on his phone flashed again, vibration muted in Namjoon’s hand as it revealed that another message had been received.

  “I don’t wanna see it,” he heard himself say quietly. Did he really not though? Was he being a coward? Again, telling himself to suck it up, he hesitantly tapped in his pass-code, not taking the device from Namjoon’s hand. He turned away, looking at the wall instead, when he heard a faint, sharp intake of air, which had him automatically turning back.

  “Shit.” Namjoon looked pale and terrified. Jungkook swallowed a lump in his throat as Tae tilted the phone towards them, the others coming back at their leader’s exclamation.

  It was the same photo from before. But altered. The six older members of BTS had been scribbled out sharply, heads vigorously attacked with virtual lines that pierced their skulls. Jungkook was still in the middle, untouched, with the giant red outline of a heart around his face, a few smaller hearts floating in the space above him. Written out on the bottom of the picture in the same red color were the words “ONLY MINE”.

  Jungkook felt his heart rate pick up, his breathing becoming faster. This was not happening.

  “What the fuck?” Yoongi growled behind him, obviously troubled. They all were. Tae gripped Jungkook’s arm tighter and pressed him closer, feeling even more protective than usual.

  “Why don’t we all sleep out here tonight?” Jin suggested, earning nods from the rest of them, even Yoongi who just minutes before had practically drooled at the thought of his bed.

  “Jimin, let’s go grab some pillows and blankets,” Hoseok said as he grabbed the other’s wrist and walked towards their bedrooms, not able to keep the tremble out of his voice very well. Namjoon looked up at them, eyes hard.

  “I know no one was planning on it, but don’t leave the house for any reason. I’m going to call PD-nim, this can’t wait until morning.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

  Early the next morning Jungkook woke up from the sound of someone walking across the floor. His muscles tensed as he hurriedly sat up, eyes bouncing around the room to find the source of the noise. He relaxed when he saw it was just Hobi coming back from the kitchen, water in hand. He gave a warm smile as he approached, handing Jungkook his glass and going back to get another one for himself. As the others slept around him Jungkook took small sips of water as he waited for his hyung to come back.

  “What are you doing up Kook?” Hoseok whispered when he returned, settling himself back in between Yoongi and Jin.

  “Couldn’t sleep,” he mumbled, not really wanting to tell Hobi that his footsteps had been the cause. Honestly he hadn’t been sleeping well anyway, the smallest sigh from one of the others or a simple tap from a branch on the window easily snapping him awake. Quite a stark difference from his usual ability to sleep through nearly anything.

  “Mmmk.” Hobi mulled his eyes over Jungkook, noticing how exhausted his dongsaeng looked. “You can talk to me about it you know,” he said softly. Jungkook flashed a hesitant glance Hobi’s way. He knew he could talk to him about it. Hoseok was one of the best people Jungkook knew. He knew he wouldn’t judge him, he knew he would just listen and be encouraging and reassuring. He inhaled deeply.

  “I’m just… I’m scared I guess,” he admitted. “It’s just so creepy. I know we’ve had fans who have tried to come to the house and the studio before, but to have them, I dunno, be so invasive? Possessive? It scares me.” He sighed before continuing, “I just don’t want it to get out of hand.” Hoseok hummed in agreement and beckoned for Jungkook to come closer, even though they were all practically on top of one another. Kook put his glass down on the coffee table and silently slipped around Jimin and V, who were clinging together in sleep, and scooted closer to Hoseok, being mindful of Namjoon and Yoongi close to his left. Hobi also moved closer to him and snuggled down, patting his tummy. Kook got the message and maneuvered himself so he could lie down in between all of the tangled bodies, placing his head on Hobi’s lap.

  “I know it’s rough Kookie,” his hyung murmured, gently running his fingers through the youngest’s hair, “it’s not easy to deal with things like this. But you’re going to get through it. You have us here, by your side, the whole way. We’ll do what PD-nim said, not pay them any attention and continue as though nothing happened. Well, with amped up security of course. I will be your personal bodyguard if it makes you feel better!” There was a hint of amusement in his voice and it seemed to calm Jungkook’s nerves. Hoseok could really de-stress any situation.

  “I think I’m good hyung,” he whispered with a chuckle.

  “You sure? Because I’ll kick some ass if I need to! There was a time in fourth grade when-” Jungkook just listened to Hoseok’s voice, quiet and comforting. Combined with the warmth of his hyung’s around him and the soothing sensation of Hoseok’s hands still rummaging through his hair, Jungkook found himself asleep within seconds.

  *^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*

  The next morning he woke up late, everyone else except for Hobi and Yoongi were up and dressed already.

  “Hey Kook, I was just coming to get you guys up!” Tae chirped, approaching them. “Hyungs! Time to get up, we have to be at the studio in an hour!”

  “Uggggggggggh,” Hobi moaned, head lolling to the side while Yoongi cracked open a resentful eye. Jungkook felt a stab of guilt. Hobi never slept in, but he was probably tired from being up so early before. As Yoongi dragged himself up to go to the bathroom, Hobi slid down even farther into the cozy blankets.

  “Sorry for keeping you up hyung,” Jungkook said sincerely. Hoseok opened his eyes and gave Kook a confused smile.

  “You don’t have to apologize Kook, I was already awake remember? If anything I probably woke you up!” Oh yeah. He rolled onto his stomach and stretched with a long grunt before going to get dressed, not before giving Jungkook a playful nudge on the arm. Jungkook followed his lead, going to grab an extra set of clothes and put on a red crewneck sweatshirt with black sweatpants. When he entered the dining room and started putting on his socks on under the table, Jin coming in and setting down a plate with bean sprout rice and a small bowl of cold cucumber soup in front of him.

  “Don’t want you to miss breakfast again,” he said with a wink. Jungkook smiled.

  “Thanks hyung.”

  As the others came in with their breakfast they carried on conversation normally, not mentioning the events of the previous night. It made Jungkook feel at ease. Hoseok was right, nothing was going to happen as long as he had them. When it was time to go they were greeted by a security guard at the bottom of the elevator who escorted them to their van. Luckily it didn’t feel too out of place since they did things like that at the airport. Their guard also joined them on their ride and walked them up to the studio once they got there, another guard letting them in at the door. One of their managers greeted them in the recording studio, briefing them on their schedule for that day, which was not much different from the other days that week, and addressing the problem they were having.

  “I know it’s concerning, but Bang PD-nim and all of us here are going to do whatever is necessary to put an end to it should it continue. Please don’t worry, we’ve dealt with these kinds of issues before, we know what to do.” He gave them all a smile before leaving, the boys thanking him as he left. “Alright guys,” Namjoon said as he stood up and stared passing out sheet music, “We’ve got a new song to work on today for the comeback, choreography is already being worked on for it too.”

  “Aw really?” Jin whined, “We don’t even have the new one down yet!”

  “Well lucky you, it won’t be ready until next week, plenty of time to perfect Fire.” Hoseok threw in with a smirk, taking the paper Namjoon handed to him.

  “I think you guys are going to like this one, it’s not as intense as Fire, but it’s just as memorable. I think ARMY are going to like it too, it’s got a nice melody to it.”

  “Save Me,” Jimin read aloud, looking over the lyrics and vocal distribution. Namjoon ran over the logistics of the song with them and played the demo before they started to get things rolling with the recording. They got everything through the first chorus done before having to switch over to their dance practice.

  They worked on the moves for about an hour before being granted a ten minute break for water and a snack. Jungkook grabbed a protein bar from his bag and waltzed over to a window in the hallway for no particular reason. The sky was partially cloudy, but it was still a nice spring day with the air not being too chilly. There was still snow on the ground from a heavy fall the week prior, but at least grass was starting to peek through the thick blanket. He glanced around the street, watching people bustling on the sidewalks getting back to work after a lunch break or walking their dogs. He saw the traffic and how today’s scrunch up of cars wasn’t too bad. He gazed up at the sky again and watched the clouds move for awhile, thinking of how nice it would be if he could check out and watch them for more than a few minutes.

  His gaze dropped back down to the crowd across the street and he noticed something. There was a person standing at the edge of the sidewalk, an oversized hoodie drowning their body and hiding their face. He squinted his eyes as he watched them, wondering why they weren’t moving when everyone else was so busy around them. Strange. His gaze stayed locked on them, the tension in his body growing more intense as the seconds ticked by. He didn’t look away from the unmoving figure until a hand came down on his shoulder, jolting him out of his trance and causing him to turn away from the window.

  “Geez, didn’t mean to frighten you!” Yoongi said, drawing his hand back, “We’re starting back up soon, I didn’t want you to be late.”

  “Oh, um,” Jungkook contemplated for a second before asking, “hyung does that person look weird?” Yoongi walked up the window and looked out.

  “Which one?”

  “The one in the black hoodie. They’ve been standing there for like 5 minutes, they haven’t moved an inch.” Yoongi looked back at him, brows furrowed.

  “Jungkook, there’s no one there in a black hoodie, any hoodie actually.” Kook glanced out the window himself to see that yeah, the person was gone.

  “They must have left,” he mumbled, the tension in his body still present. That was so, so odd. He decided to shake it off and follow Yoongi back to the rehearsal, hoping it was just a freak coincidence. Nothing happened, it wasn’t relevant, and even if it was the person maybe they would get the hint since they couldn’t get in the building today. If it was them, hopefully they left for good.

  Practice dragged on for another seven hours, the boys of course receiving their small breaks and getting some other things done for the comeback in between those long stretches of dancing. When they were finally released Namjoon and Yoongi went to their studios to work on some production for the album, Hobi helped Jin with some moves he was struggling to nail, and Tae, Jimin, and Jungkook went back to the recording studio to get a head start on some more of their lines in their songs so they could jump right back into recording when they got back.

Oh that’s right! Jungkook mentally cheered, We have a day off tomorrow! They worked well into nighttime, asking staff to order food for dinner and getting some more things done before they all collectively decided to head back to the dorm. In the car they pinned down more of the plans they had in mind for the next day, deciding on where to bowl, how they would divide teams, and what food they would get.

  “Old versus Young!” Tae shouted.

  “Well which team would Namjoon-hyung be on?” Jimin asked.

  “Old of course, being born in the same year as Hobi-hyung makes that a default,” Tae reasoned, earning a yelp of disapproval from their leader. They all laughed and continued to tease each other as they pulled up to their building. The security guard once again lead them to the elevator and saw to it they all got on before heading back to the van. They continued their chatter all the way to their front door before Namjoon got his keys out and stuck one in the lock.

  “Oh wait,” he heard Jin exclaim as he shifted Namjoon aside. “What’s this?” He reached down and pulled what looked to be an envelope out of the wedge of the doorframe. Curiously, Namjoon watched as Jin turned it over to the flat side where the information should be.

  His stomach dropped when he saw what was written.

To: My Sweet Bunny <3

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

  Namjoon quickly grabbed the envelope from Jin's hand and stared at it.

No.

  “What's the hold up?” Yoongi shimmied his way to the front of their crowd. When his eyes landed on the envelope he pushed Namjoon's hand down so Kook couldn't see it, quickly glancing behind him to make sure. When he saw Kook was still goofing around with Tae a stone expression appeared on his face and he produced his own keys to open the door. When they entered the house the younger ones quickly bypassed their hyungs, heading to their rooms to put away their stuff. Hoseok was about to do the same when he was pulled back by Yoongi who had already stepped aside with Namjoon and Jin. Namjoon flashed the letter to all of them, Hobi’s eyes going wide since this was his first time seeing it.

  “Come to our room in five,” Jin said to them before trying to act natural and head to the bathroom. Namjoon shuffled his shoes off, grunting as he plopped his bag down and stuffed the envelope in the back of his jeans. It was pretty thick. What was in there? His stomach clenched as he thought about the confessions that were probably written down and possessive attitude this person had in the texts the night before. They were really persistent. This wasn’t good.

  He picked up his bag again and headed towards Jin and Yoongi’s bedroom, chucking his belongings in his and Tae’s room as he passed it and earning a “hey!” from his disgruntled roommate. He ignored him and joined Yoongi who was already sitting on his bed. They sat in silence until Hobi came in, followed by Jin who closed the door. They all looked between each other before Yoongi sighed.

  “Alright Joon, let’s see it.” Namjoon reached behind him and pulled the white envelope out. He took a deep breath before pulling open the sealed down sides. “This is so messed up,” Hobi muttered as Namjoon worked to unjam the crammed papers from their package. He carefully opened them up. The first page is a printed out photo. Namjoon tilted his head as he tried to figure out what the image was. Then his heart stopped.

  “Oh my God…” He held out the picture for the others to see. On it was someone getting beat up in an alleyway, thrown up against a crimped metal door.

  “Wait,” Jin started, “Is that… Is that me?” He grabbed it and looked closer. “Hold on this doesn’t make any sense. Is this a shot from our I Need You video?”

  “Yeah,” Namjoon croaked, “But… That’s Jungkook’s scene.”

  “That’s clearly my face!” Jin almost shouted.

  “It’s photoshopped,” Yoongi murmured. Namjoon looked at the next one.

  “Shit.” He handed it over too. There was the scene where Taehyung stabs his character’s father. But it wasn’t his father slumping over, clutching his stomach. It was him. Hobi looked up at them with terror painted all over his face.

  “Guys… what is this?” His voice was quiet and so were the others.

  “Let’s see the rest,” Yoongi muttered. So they pulled them out, one by one.

  Jimin, drowning in the bathtub.

  Namjoon, hit by a car instead of Jungkook.

  Yoongi, consumed by flames.

  Hoseok, lying on the sidewalk surrounded by a pool of blood and a small hole in his head.

  “Fuck,” Yoongi breathed, looking at all the pictures spread out on the floor. “These were for Jungkook to see. These fucked up pictures of us-…”

  “Dying,” Hobi whispered, finishing for him.

  “This- this is a direct threat,” Jin pointed out, “We can easily take this to the police.”

  “We’ll just get more security, what else can they do?” Namjoon said. “We’re obviously going to inform BigHit and they’ll take it from there, but honestly guys… this is a huge safety concern. Until it’s resolved we might postpone the comeback.”

  “We can’t do that! ARMY would be crushed!”

  “We don’t really have a choice Hope,” Yoongi sighed, snatching the envelope from off of the floor. “Hold up, there’s another page in here.”

  “Please tell me it’s not of Kookie!” Jin sounded worried out of his mind. Yoongi unfolded the paper and skimmed it over.

  “No,” he stated, “it’s a note. Damn…” His eyes continued down the page and Hoseok grew anxious.

  “Hyung, what does it say!” Yoongi hesitated.

“My beautiful boy,

  How are you today? I hope this letter makes you feel better, I’ve put a lot of thought into it. I put a lot of thought into those pictures too, did you like them?”

  “What?!” Jin choked.

“I tried to make their ends poetic. Did you get that? It’ll be just as poetic when I make it happen in real life too. They’ll never see it coming. They don’t-,” Yoongi had to stop and catch himself. His heart was beating so fast. “They don’t deserve you. Only I deserve you. I can’t wait until we can be together darling. Until you’re only mine. Soon. So, so soon. Just be patient.

  I love you.

  -K”

  They were dead silent. No one knew what to say. What could they say?

  “I-” Namjoon shut his mouth not knowing where to go with his sentence. He thought for another few seconds before cautiously continuing. “I’m contacting Bang PD-nim immediately. This is way more serious than we originally thought.”

  “Should we tell the others?” Hobi asked. Namjoon paused.

  “I don’t know if we should,” Jin interjected before Namjoon could repond. “They might panic and you know how sensitive Jungkook is. He’ll be so upset.”

  “But they might get even more upset if they find out we didn’t tell them hyung,” Yoongi countered, “It’s too much of a risk for them to not know.”

  Namjoon felt torn. He knew that ethically they should tell Jimin, Tae, and Kook. If they were left in the dark they wouldn’t know how dangerous the situation they were in was. On the other hand, the older boys could protect them. Namjoon knew that if they found out Jungkook would blame himself and beat himself up for what was going on, even though all of it was completely out of his control. It was a lose-lose.

  “I’ll ask PD-nim.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

  “That’s clearly my face!” Tae pressed his ear up closer to the door. What was going on, what were they talking about? After Namjoon threw his stuff into their room and quickly went off to Jin and Yoongi’s room, he knew something was up. Namjoon was terrible at holding a poker face and Tae could clearly make out how upset he looked, even in those few seconds.

  “Tae, what are you doing?” Taehyung’s head snapped up and he quickly narrowed his eyes at Jimin, holding up a finger to his lips and mouthing a ‘shhhhh!’ before leaning back into place. Jimin knelt down next to him and listened for a second. All he could hear was incoherent murmurs through the wood. “What are they saying?” he whispered.

  “I don’t know,” Tae answered just as quietly. “They’re acting suspicious.”

  “Do you think it has something to do with the stalker?” Tae grimaced.

  “I don’t know…”

  They leaned closer, practically squishing their faces against the door, but still not successfully hearing very well. There was a good minute of complete silence. Nothing until-

  “What are you guys doing?” Jimin jumped, almost smacking heads with Tae as they aimed their startled gazes up at Jungkook who was staring down at them, chewing on a rice cake with a confused look. “Are the others in there?” Jimin and Tae exchanged hesitant expressions. Taehyung was about to answer when a voice broke through the door.

  “We can’t do that! ARMY would be crushed!” Jungkook didn’t seem to catch all of it, but Jimin and Tae heard it clearly. What the hell was going on?

  “Come on Tae,” Jimin said while standing up, “If they have something to share with us they’ll share it. Maybe they just needed to sort things out first.” Tae’s doubtful eyes looked up at Jimin, but he sighed and straightened himself up too. Their hyungs wouldn’t hide something from them… would they?

  He and Jimin follow Jungkook back to his room. If the others were going to have a private get-together they might as well too. He glanced back at them like he was a little surprised but he didn’t say anything. Instead they sat on his bed as he logged on to his computer and started playing around with some remix softwares he had just downloaded. They stayed that way, not really saying much until the door to Yoongi and Jin’s room opened and Jimin and Tae saw Namjoon stride past the room. Tae got up quickly, even when Jimin tried half-heartedly holding him back by his sleeve, and went toward his room, certain that’s where Namjoon went. He turned into their doorway and sure enough, there was their leader, rummaging through his bag.

  “Hyung, what’s going on?” Namjoon looked at him startled for a second before resuming what he was doing.

  “Well I’m looking for my phone right now if you must know.” Tae drew an annoyed face.

  “That’s not what I mean and you know it.” Namjoon raised guilt ridden eyes at Tae and sighed.

  “Yeah, I know.” There was an ounce of hesitation in his demeanor before he continued. “Why don’t you… get Kook and Chim. I’ll get the others, meeting in the living room.” Tae nodded once and dashed to get the other two, his curiosity eating him alive.

  Namjoon let out another puff of breath and walked back to where his hyungs were still quietly talking amongst themselves and opened the door. They all turned their gazes to him, not expecting him to be back so quickly.

  “That was fast,” Jin commented.

  “I think they made the choice for me,” Namjoon said lowly, “We’re having a meeting in the living room. They know something is up, so we may as well tell them, I think it’s better anyway. They need to be alert, attentive to their surroundings.” Jin looked down but bounced his head slightly in agreement, seeing now that it was the better choice. He couldn’t help but be a bit protective of the younger ones. This was going to suck. They pulled themselves up, Yoongi and Hoseok gathering up the pictures before following the other two down the hallway. The maknaes were already there, faces nervous but eager. Yoongi took whatever pictures he and Hobi had and handed them to Namjoon. They all took a seat on the couch.

  “Okay guys,” Namjoon started, “I’m going to be honest with you. Jin and I found something by the door when we got back and...it’s scary. It’s really, really scary.” He looked between each younger vocal line member before going on. “There was an envelope and it had… um… disturbing things in it. We’re pretty sure it’s from the same person from the other night.” Jungkook’s face paled a bit and Tae grabbed his hand firmly in reassurance.

  “What kinds of things?” Jimin asked, brows knitting together in worry. Namjoon pinched his lips together as he put the papers down on the table and slid them forward. Jungkook was about to pick them up when Jin’s hand came down on top of them, sliding them towards himself.

  “No,” he said plainly. “No Joon. We can tell them about it sure, but they do not need to see these.”

  “Yes they do hyung, please put them back.”

  “No!” Jin practically yelled. “I’m the oldest! These are damn near traumatizing, they don’t need those images burned into their heads!”

  “I’m sorry hyung,” Namjoon said, not sounding the least bit sorry, “but I’m the leader of this group. I make the decisions and this is something each of us needs to be aware of as clearly as possible.”

  “Don’t go there Namjoon.” They fell silent. Jungkook felt so much tension in the air. This kind of thing rarely happened, Jin pulling age and Namjoon pulling rank. This kind of thing only happened, ever, if whatever they were deciding was super serious, and honestly Kook couldn’t think of the last time there was this super serious of a situation. But he needed to know.

  “Hyung,” he spoke up softy, but with confidence. Namjoon and Jin both snapped their heads to him, but only Jin’s eyes made contact with his. “I want to see them. I need to see them.” Jin visibly deflated at their youngest member’s words, his body falling inward. Casting his narrow gaze to the floor, he very slowly lays the photos back down, but doesn’t slide them back to their original position. Jimin precariously picked them up and held them at length so the others could see as well. Tae squinted and leaned closer.

  “What the…” Jungkook drew Jimin’s arms in.

  Then they could see it clearly.

  Jimin gasped and Jungkook’s eyes widened. Tae breathed heavily next to Kook, snatching the picture from his hands.

  “Hyung?” Tae’s fear was written all over his face. “Is that you?”

  Jungkook grabbed the rest of the stack out of Jimin’s hands without protest. His heartbeat began pounding in his ears, air became tighter in his lungs. One after the other he looked, the images flashing before him in a whirlwind as he took them in. Jin, Tae, Jimin, Joon, Yoongi, Hobi. A sob escaped his lips when he put the last one down on the table.

  His hyungs.

Hurt.

  His eyes became blurry as he scanned them over again. He couldn’t even hear what the others were saying, how they were reacting. It was all fuzzy. He couldn’t concentrate. The muffled noises were getting louder, but so was the thumping in his ears. What if this happened? What if this person was completely insane and hurt- or killed- one of them? What if-

  “Jungkook?” A hand landed on his shoulder and he instinctively reached over and grabbed it. He pulled it away but held on, looking Hoseok straight in the face as he knelt in front of him. But all he could see was blood and a bullet hole. He pulled Hobi into a vise like hug, earning a gasp from the dancer.

  “Kookie?” he spoke gently, hugging him back, “It’s okay Kook, it’s going to be okay.”

  “You can’t die!” Jungkook’s voice broke and he shook in Hobi’s arms. “None of you can die, oh my God hyung, you can’t die!” He squeezed his eyes shut and dug his fingers even deeper into Hobi’s shirt. When Hobi tried to pull away Jungkook whimpered and clenched his fists tighter. Hoseok’s heart sank. They hadn’t even told him about the note yet.

  “Kook,” Namjoon called, “We’re all here Kookie, it’s alright. We’re all okay.” He came up behind them and awkwardly patted Jungkook’s cheek which managed to get his eyes open. They were glossy and panicked and Namjoon wondered for a second if he had made the right call. But it could have been so much worse if he didn’t. He couldn’t second guess himself, he was the leader for a reason. He took another deep breath and patted Jungkook’s head. “They aren’t real Kookie, this person is just messing with your head.”

  Kook sucked in a quivering breath and nodded, gradually loosening his grip on Hobi. He was embarrassed, acting like such a baby. They were just pictures after all and everyone was here in front of him completely fine. Why did he freak out like that? It really wasn’t like him, he was normally so casual and relaxed, even when things stressed him out, but this? This was a new level. He bounced his head a few times and focused his vision, getting himself back together and being the reasonable person he typically was.

  “Sorry hyung,” he muttered. Hobi just softly smiled and squished Kook’s face lightly between his palms.

  “Nothing to be sorry for.”

  “There’s more Jungkook,” Yoongi stated from across the room, “Are you alright? We need to know you’re alright before we can tell you.” Kook’s stomach dropped a bit but he nodded. That had to have been the worst part. Yoongi shifted in his seat. His eye contact with Jungkook was fierce, unrelenting and yet… concerned.

  “I’m… I’m ready.”

  “There was,” Yoongi paused, glancing at all of the younger members, “a note.” Jungkook felt Taehyung stiffen next to him and saw Jimin clutch at the hem of his shirt. “We’re giving it to the police. It’s very… threatening.”

  “But what did it say?” Jungkook’s voice sounded so small, even to himself.

  “...”

  “Hyung please.”

  “It just… It was really-”

  “Possessive,” Jin interrupted, “They’re delusional Jungkook. They want to knock us down so they can have you all to themselves. This is a typical sasaeng, not an ARMY.”

  “A real ARMY would never do this,” Tae agreed.

  “The police will take care of it,” Jin continued, “Please try not to worry too much about us Kook. Joon is going to contact BigHit tonight, they will do something and we’ll be fine. You will be too,” he added, wanting to reassure their maknae that all of them would be safe. “This will end soon.”

  “What are we going to do about tomorrow?” Jimin asked. Oh right. They forgot that they planned on going bowling.

  “I don’t see why we should change our plans as long as we have protection,” Hoseok answered, “I don’t think this person would do anything in public, plus they don’t know where we plan on going or probably that we even have off. As far as they know it’s another day of the regular schedule.”

  “I think it would help us get our minds off of things,” Tae added. “We’ve been working too hard, we could really use the down time to have some fun with each other.”

  “It might be risky though, we don’t know what this person is capable of.” Yoongi looked really unsure. Anything could happen.

  “Well it might not even happen if PD-nim says no, so let’s leave it at that.” Namjoon collected the papers on the table and everyone got up to begin their bedtime routine and continue with their night as normally as possible. “Jin-hyung?” Jin turned around to face Namjoon, everyone else passing by them to get to the hallway. Jin still looked as though he was irritated with Namjoon’s decision and he crossed his arms.

  “What?” It wasn’t bitter or sharp. Namjoon stepped closer.

  “Hyung, I’m sorry about what happened earlier,” Namjoon started, “and I know it doesn’t happen a lot, but please trust me to make the right choices. I’m doing my best.”

  “I know,” Jin sighed, “but did you see how he reacted Joon? That’s what I wanted to avoid, that’s what I was afraid of. He’s still young. I think we sometimes forget that, the company included. A normal 18-year-old doesn’t go through this, I sure didn’t, and I’m worried about how he’ll deal with it if it gets even more out of hand.”

  “The company will take care of it before that happens.”

  “Yeah… If they can find them.” Jin turned back towards the hall but stopped to give Namjoon a small smile. “I know you’re doing your best Joon. I’m sorry too.” And with that he went to his room.

  Namjoon watched them all dart between bedrooms and the bathroom, sometimes with a toothbrush in their mouths while still talking with one another, other times pulling off a shirt or pants and chucking them in the laundry. Such a normal scene that was way more comforting now than it was any other night. He pulled out his phone and dialed the number of their manager for the second night in a row.

  He would make sure that scene never went away.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

  “We kicked your butts!” Tae cheered as they got out of the car.

  “Um, Kook kicked our butts, you and Jimin were just as bad as us,” Namjoon corrected, smiling fondly at Tae as he ducked out of the backseat. Jungkook grinned at them, feeling happier than he had all week. Hobi and Tae were right, it was a good idea to go, they needed the stress relief.

  “We did great, not as good as Kookie, but we could’ve held our own,” Tae whined as the rest of them loaded out. “Besides we-... Hey, what’s that?” Tae pointed across the street. Someone was hunched over, arms wrapped around their stomach. They could hear soft cries when they all quieted down. Jin came up behind Tae and put a hand on his shoulder as he squinted at the figure.

  “Wait here,” he said as he looked both ways on the road and jogged over, Tae trailing behind and going with him anyway. Jungkook watched as the two approached the person. He couldn’t see their face, if they were a boy or a girl, anything really. It was strange. Tae crouched down and touched their back, Jin leaning over slightly. Something was… off.

  Without warning the person rigidly turned towards Taehyung and moved their hands away from their midsection. The glint of a knife was barely visible as they plunged it into Tae’s chest, blood erupting from the wound as he cried out and fell back. Jin shrieked and immediately went to grab the person but was held back when two more figures emerged from the dark street, kneeing him in the stomach and slamming him to the ground. The lone shadow continued their attack on Tae, stabbing it in and out of his torso at rapid speed, the singer choking on his blood and becoming still. Jin could do nothing, becoming weaker himself with blow after blow from their assailants.

  “Tae! Jin!” Jungkook was petrified, not believing what he was seeing. He looked over at his leader as he screamed their names and began running across the street. The screech of tires sounded through the night and Namjoon snapped his head to the left only to be plowed into by a car. He rolled over the hood and smashed into the windshield, the driver shifting into reverse to have his body fall onto the pavement. They gunned it in his direction again, running him over at full force before disappearing down the road. He didn’t move.

  Jungkook screamed and dashed to him, not making it before a reverberated BANG cracked in the air and he spun on his heels to see Hoseok lying on the concrete, empty eyes staring at him as a pool of blood formed under his head. He crumbled and crawled over to Hobi, sobbing as he lifted his head into his arms. Tears fell onto his hyung’s lifeless face as he held him, until glint of light caught his eye and he looked up.

  Oh God.

  Their apartment was on fire. He glanced around, noticing that no one was there, just the bodies of his hyungs. Four of his hyungs.

Where were Yoongi and Jimin.

  He lied Hobi back down and swiped at the tears on his face, bolting for the stairwell instead of the elevator. His lungs felt as though they were going to burst. He had to find them. He had to find them.

  The front door gave away easily as he stepped into the front hall. The heat was overwhelming flames licking up the walls and tasting the ceiling. Books were burning, furniture was charred, pictures and their frames destroyed. He ran into the living room screaming their names, choking on the smoke filling up his lungs. Then he noticed.

  Yoongi was sprawled out on the couch, flesh burning, clothes melting into his skin. His silver hair that was fried at the tips framed his sooty, blistered face. Jungkook could do nothing but turn away, heaving and continuing down the hall, his blurry vision making it even harder to see.

  Jimin. He had to find Jimin.

  The hallway was empty and he trudged down it, checking each bedroom as he went, all turning up empty. He came to the bathroom and almost slipped as he entered it, the ground flooded with water. As he caught himself he saw an arm draped over the side of the bathtub.

  Please no.

  He lunged at the tub, sliding to his knees in front of it. There was Jimin. Eyes open. Under the water. Jungkook pulled him out, heaving him onto the floor and squeezing him close. This wasn’t happening. This couldn’t be happening.

  Wake up.

Wake up!

  A scream ripped from Jungkook’s throat as he sprung up in bed, a cold sweat coating his body. He brought a shaking hand up to his forehead and looked around the room. It was fine. There was no fire, everything was where it was supposed to be. The hallway light flooded under the gap between his door and the floor and hurried footsteps reached his room. His door opened a crack before being thrown open all the way and Jin, Namjoon, and Yoongi came in.

  “Kookie? Are you okay?” Jin questioned as he sat on his bed. Jungkook didn’t answer. He looked between all of them. Namjoon wasn’t mangled on the street. Yoongi wasn’t scorched and seared. Jin wasn’t bruised or battered. He let out a something between a gasp and a sob as he flung his arms around Jin.

  “You were all dead!” he cried. “You were all dead and I couldn’t do anything!” Jin returned the hug and Jungkook pressed further into it, listening to his heartbeat, feeling how warm he was. Jin glanced at Yoongi and Namjoon, concern written all over his face. They returned the look, Namjoon sucking in his lower lip as he thought. Yoongi sat down behind Jungkook and ran his hand through his hair, feeling how sweaty it was.

  “Hey, hey, it’s okay, shhhh, we’re here, we’re fine,” he crooned in Kook’s ear as he continued massaging his scalp and Jin ran soothing circles into his back. He wasn’t used to comforting people, it wasn’t his forte, but this kid had really gone through something tonight. Even if it was in his head. “Those kinds of dreams can be scary, I know, but that’s all it was. A dream.”

  “A nightmare,” Jin confirmed.

  “Kook,” Namjoon stepped up, “Why don’t you come sleep in my room tonight? Tae crawled into my bed anyway, you know how he gets. I’ll take his bed and he can snuggle with you instead.” A teary little laugh came from Jungkook as he turned to his leader.

  “Sure hyung,” he said in a small, raspy voice. He coughed to clear his throat and they all released each other, Jungkook grabbing his pillow as they left his room while Namjoon threw an arm around his shoulder. They split ways as they went back to bed. Yoongi and Jin were making their way to the end of the hall when a hushed voice stopped them from an adjacent room.

  “Everything okay?” Hobi was standing in his doorway, Jimin rubbing his eyes and yawning from over his shoulder.

  “Hopefully it is now,” Yoongi answered, “Kook had a nightmare. Must’ve been pretty bad, but he’s alright now.”

  “He’s going to sleep with Tae and Joon in their room,” Jin added. Hobi’s worried look didn’t waver, even after the explanation but he nodded and bid the others goodnight then shut the door.

  They all settled back to bed, Tae didn’t even rouse when Jungkook joined him, just unconsciously cuddled him. Jungkook didn’t mind and sunk into the embrace. He finally felt peaceful as he slipped to sleep in his hyung’s arms.

*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*

  The next morning they all got up to a knock on the door. Namjoon scrambled out of bed and pulled on some sweatpants as he went to answer it, checking on the intercom to see who it was. Their extra security had shown up. The night before their manager explained that they would have two guards at their front door at all times when they were home and that maintenance would be installing extra security cameras.

  All of the boys were introduced to the guards so they knew who exactly to look for and trust. They all also received Jungkook’s new phone number, which they learned had been changed the day before. Luckily that was why no more text messages had been received.

  They got ready for the day, eating breakfast and changing into comfy clothes for their outing. The manager had also said it would be alright to continue with their plans as long as they had the protection. They even reserved a side of the bowling alley for them so they wouldn’t be bothered. Jungkook was a bit hesitant about going because of his dream, but he knew he couldn’t let that get to him. It was just a nightmare. Not real. Not even possible with how everything went down.

  “Are you guys going to be ready soon?” He heard Taehyung yell from the front hall as he put on his shoes.

  “We’re ready!” Jin sang as he, Hobi, and Yoongi came down the hallway.

  “I’m coming,” Namjoon said from the kitchen as he grabbed a bottle of water.

  “One minute!” Jimin called from the bathroom. None of them were even surprised.

  After waiting for another ten minutes they all finally headed out the door and piled into the elevator.

  “Are we still splitting into teams? Old versus young?”

  “Watch it with that ‘old’ stuff Tae,” Jin warned, giving him a non-threatening stink eye. They all laughed and the mood got lighter,events from the night before jumping to the back of their minds. The piled into the van and continued joking around as they made their way to the bowling alley. Jungkook stole a glance out of the window as they pulled away from the complex and his stomach was suddenly in knots. On the opposite sidewalk was a person. They were standing there in a black hoodie that hid their face and practically drowned their body. Their head followed the van as they just stood there, watching it. Jungkook faced forward again, face scrunching up in confusion.

Have I… seen them before? The feeling of deja vu snuck up his spine as he tried to peek out of the back window.

  “Forget something Kook? We can turn around,” Jimin asked. Kook brought himself back forward and shook his head.

  “No, just thought I saw something is all,” he responded, trying to sound nonchalant. Jin’s eyebrows raised but he didn’t say anything as he made eye contact with Hoseok who just shrugged. If he needed something he would tell them. Right?

  The feeling of uneasiness Jungkook had went away as they got closer to their destination. Nobody was coming. Nobody was following them. Nothing was going to ruin this relaxing day off with his hyungs. He smiled to himself. Everything was going to be fine.

  It had to be.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

  “AHHHHH!” Hoseok yelled, doing a dance where he stood before running back to high five the others on his team. “Strike! Second in a row!”

  “Don’t go bragging yet hyung, Kookie is up next,” Jimin huffed as Jungkook picked up his ball.

  “Come on Kook!” Tae cheered. Jungkook cocked his head at them, raising an eyebrow with a sly smile forming on his face. He brought the marble ball up, leveling it up with his mouth and breathing on it before taking a few steps forward, pulling it back, and slinging it down the lane. Hyung and maknae line alike held their breath as it barreled towards the pins.

  “Strike!” Jimin and Tae leapt at Kook, laughing and jumping around.

  “And that’s three in a row,” Kook said, eyeing up his older hyungs with the same expression he wore right before his victory. “Turkey.”

  “You’re a turkey Kook,” Jin shot back, “the game’s not over yet anyway!”

  “It pretty much is, Namjoon-hyung is up next,” Tae teased with his box smile in full formation.

  “Hey!” They all couldn’t help but laugh. Jungkook couldn’t believe how relaxed he was and thought about how right Tae and Hobi had been. They needed this. His stomach turned a little bit when he remembered his dream or the threatening message from the previous night, but he tried to forget about it. BigHit would handle it. Taehyung’s prediction came true and Namjoon only knocked three pins down, causing the “Old” team to lose before the “Young” one even went. They began to gather up their things and change their shoes back all while discussing the three rounds they played.

  “I swear I will practice,” Namjoon began, looking pointedly at each of the three youngest members, “and kick each and every one of your asses. Mark my words.”

  “The only thing you should be practicing right now is our dance routines,” Hoseok cut in. “Really guys, I know it’s our day off so talking about work sucks, but please, please keep at them, they’re really difficult and need to be sculpted to perfection by each of us.”

  “Ugh, you really couldn’t wait until we got back home to scold us?”

  “Sorry hyung, the timing was too perfect to pass up,” Hobi responded, flashing a blinding smile in Yoongi’s direction. Kook just chuckled to himself as he lifted his bag strap over his head to rest on his shoulder. It was moments like this he lived for. Well, this and performing. The rush he got while being on stage was something else, but this was a pretty close second.

  He glanced around the rest of the room, noting how empty it felt since they needed a private party. That tended to be a drawback to the type of life they had chosen to lead, but it was their choice. Things like this didn’t come without the consequences. He supposed he could look at the problem he was having the same way, that it was just something famous people went through. And he might have to go through it a few times, the others too. That thought didn’t put his mind at ease in the slightest though. He didn’t know if he could go through this again, whether or not if he was the target.

Calm down Jungkook, you’re just going to get yourself worked up. Stop thinking about it and enjoy the day off! he lightly scolded himself as they headed towards the main doors of the alley. He was putting his face mask on while walking when his phone buzzed in his pocket. He wasn’t worried this time though, the company had changed his number the same morning after the initial message was sent. He hadn’t gotten a strange text or anything since then, and he partially blamed the letter as being a result of that.

  They all walked out to their van with no trouble, all of them piling in and settling down in their seats. Jungkook stared out the window as everyone else talked about what they were going to do with the rest of the day. He heard them talk about cooking, cleaning up, reading, sleeping, and couldn’t help it when a small smile formed across his lips.

  “You alright Kook?” Namjoon asked from next to him, quietly so the others didn’t overhear.

  Jungkook just smiled a little more confidently. “I’m good hyung.”

  “Just wanted to make sure,” Joon said, grinning back at him. And he knew that too. The others had been so understanding and adaptive to his situation, he was once again amazed by them. They were really the best brothers he could ask for.

  They pulled up to the apartment complex, security stepping out with them and starting to escort them to the elevator.

  “We kicked your butts!” Jungkook spun around to Tae, a terrified look springing onto his face. The phrase was all too fresh in his mind and images of his dream invaded his head. He looked across the street, worried that he would see someone there, but there was no one. The road was empty.

  “Kookie?” He turned back to them to find Jimin giving him a concerned look, the others momentarily stopping to glance at him too. “Is something wrong?”

  Jungkook hesitated before shaking his head, “Nothing, I’m just… nervous I guess.” He bit at the inside of his lip, feeling kind of bad for not being completely honest with Jimin, but also knowing that it was just his paranoia. They knew about his dream, they didn’t need to hear about it again. Jimin took his hand and they made their way upstairs, relief pulsing through Jungkook with every passing moment. The farther they strayed from the path of what happened last night the better.

  The rest of the evening played out normally. Tae and Jungkook played some video games while Jin cooked dinner with Jimin in the kitchen. Hoseok watched the two younger members play, claiming the next round against the winner as Namjoon dug into a book he’d been trying to read all week. Yoongi, of course, was napping in his room, utilizing the time until dinner to the best thing he could think of.

  Kook ended up losing his round of Wii tennis to Tae, so he handed the remote to Hoseok and went to look at his phone instead. He had a bad habit of ignoring and not responding to messages very fast, mostly because he got distracted, but he’d admit that sometimes it was just because he didn’t feel like it. He pulled out his phone to see the message. It was from his brother.

Hyung: I didn’t know you had a day off. Did you enjoy bowling?

  Jungkook’s eyebrows furrowed. How did Junghyun find out they went bowling if he didn’t tell him? Did one of the others? He knew that Namjoon and Jin had his brother’s contact info, but they wouldn’t use it to tell him about a random bowling excursion.

Me: Yeah, I did, how did you know we went bowling tho? Did Jin-hyung tell you?

Hyung: I got a message inviting me to come since we haven’t seen each other in awhile but I had classes

Me: Oh, I see, well maybe next time. I know it was weird to have a day off in the middle of the week XP

Hyung: Your schedule is crazy anyway, but let me know Jungkookie I miss you

Me: Miss you too hyung

  He set his phone down at the smell of dinner and saw Jin carry in a large plate with strips of steak on it followed by Jimin with a large rice bowl.

  “Time for dinner! Yoongi wake up!” Jin called as he and Jimin set everything down. They went to get a few more bowls with sauces in them as the rest of them ran to the table, Hobi bravely going to see if Yoongi actually got up. When all of them were sitting and eating they discussed what the plans were for the next few days.

  “We’ll work recording more tomorrow and finish up the choreography for Fire. Then PD-nim wants have have a meeting so we can go over the schedule for fan events. I think they already have something worked out though, so hopefully that will be short.”

  “Yeah, hopefully, those can be so boring when they’re drawn out,” Tae complained.

  “How much different is one comeback from another? In terms of what we do for ARMY that is,” Jin added, swirling some beef in soy sauce.

  Namjoon shrugged, “Not much different, but you never know.”Jungkook nodded along with what they were saying, mostly paying attention but primarily focusing on the delicious food in front of him.

  As if reading his thoughts Hobi let out a satisfied sigh as he chewed on some of their meal. “Not related, but seriously hyung I love it when we have time for your home cooked meals.”

  “I second that,” Jungkook chimed in, scooping up some more rice with his chopsticks.

  “I helped too!” Jimin pouted crossing his arms.

  “And?”

  “Jeon Jungkook, you are such a brat!” Jungkook let loose a toothy grin as Jimin playfully smacked him on the arm. At least for the moment all of their problems were far from their thoughts.

  As night approached everyone started going to their room to relax. Jungkook sat at his desk, editing some covers he recorded, taking swigs out of the water bottle he kept there as he worked. Getting completely lost in time he finally looked at the time when he felt his body getting heavy.

Hmmm… it’s only 11, he thought to himself. He normally didn’t start to feel tired until 1, sometimes 2. Regardless, he knew it was time to go to bed if could barely lift himself out of his chair. He must have worn himself out more than he thought. Thanking God he already brushed his teeth, he slapped off his light, closed his door, and slumped onto his bed, crawling under the covers. He was lying there for maybe twenty minutes when he realized.

  Something was weird.

  His body was drained, weighted and now he felt as though he couldn’t even move his arms up. His breathing remained steady, even though he was mentally panicking and he attempted to call out for his hyungs. Was he having a stroke or something?

  “H-” the sound died in his throat, only a puff of air escaping his mouth.

What’s going on?! What’s happening to me?!

  By now he couldn’t get any of his body parts to function and he lied hopelessly on his bed, petrified. The idea that this could be another dream entered his mind and he repeatedly opened and closed his eyes to try and wake himself up.

  It didn’t work.

  The sound of a turning handle caught his ear and his gaze shot towards his door. But it wasn’t opening. His heart picked up a little bit when his eyes shifted to the only other possibility.

  His closet.

  Slowly the door pushed itself wide open and Jungkook thought he was going to faint. A figure emerged into the darkness. The person slowly approached his bed, the large black hoodie they were wearing covering their face as they turned towards him.

  “I missed you all day Jungkook-ah,” they whispered, hand ghosting across his arm. “It was rude of you to keep your noona waiting.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

  This wasn’t real.

  It was a nightmare, like the boogeyman had slithered out of his closet and was coming to take his soul.

  But this boogeyman wasn’t going away.

  Jungkook could feel his heavy, limp body disobey his want to scream, to run, to fight. His mind was racing, it was the only thing he had any control over.

Try again you moron, try again!

 “H-” and it stopped there, barely a breath of air. The shadow in front of him put a finger up to their void of a face. This person, this woman, if she called herself noona.

  “Shhhhh,” she whispered, “let’s not spoil this bunny. Just relax.” That made him panic even more. His vision suddenly seemed spotty, even against the darkness of his room and he rolled his eyes back into his head. “No, no baby, stay awake,” she urged as she tapped his face, getting his eyes to settle back. “I really need to talk to you. I’ve been dying to get a chance since I last saw you, you remember?” Of course he didn’t. He had no idea who this person was, he couldn’t even see her face.

  As if reading his mind the hand by his arm reached up and yanked the hoodie back. In the faint moonlight Jungkook could subtly make out a face. What she looked like wasn’t very clear and he searched over all of her features, trying to figure out who she was if they knew each as well as she claimed.

  Wait.

  She was the person he bumped into in the hallway at the studio. She must have been the one who followed him into the bathroom and stole his shirt. His eyes widened with the sudden realization.

  Her small smile grew as she noticed. “So you do remember me!” She almost got too loud and stuck her hand in front of her mouth before she leaned in closer. “I know you can’t say anything, but that’s alright, it’s temporary. I have a lot to tell you.” It was not alright. It was not alright at all, but it wasn’t like Jungkook could do anything about it. He felt so trapped.

  “Wow, I can’t believe you’re right in front of me. That I’m here right now.” Her hand came back up to stroke his face and if he could have Jungkook would have flinched away from the cold touch. “I love you so much. So, so much.”

  Her soft expression shifted unexpectedly when her finger trailed down his jawline, his neck, his chest, and landed on his stomach. “Mmmmm,” she quietly moaned, “so solid. You’re so pretty my bunny.” Her hand slipped even lower and played with the waistband of his sweatpants. Involuntary tears began to leak out the sides of his eyes. They slid around his ears and through his hair in a constant stream. He could hear them hit his pillow. He just wanted to disappear.

  “I’m going to take you away from this you know,” she trailed on. “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” Her expression took on a dark, sour expression. “They don’t treat you right here, those so called ‘hyungs’ of yours. Not like I would. They push and push you, don’t appreciate you for what you already are.” Her face came closer as she bent a knee up on the bed, running both of her hands through his hair before cupping his face. “But no need to worry darling, I’ll get rid of them. All of them. As soon as they’re gone we can truly be together. Unbothered. Unafraid. Forever.”

  Jungkook couldn’t help it when his breathing hitched. He couldn’t take this, he was so scared. She stooped down by his ear, pushing out light air to brush it.

  “Soon. Sooner than you know.” Her face lined up with his and she started to lean down, closing her eyes as her lips got closer to his. Before they came together, the click of a light switch made her freeze. They both looked and saw light flood under Jungkook’s door. “Shit!” she muttered before she got up and looked around. Hurriedly, she grabbed something off of his desk and huddled against the wall.

  The door to Jungkook’s room slowly and silently opened as someone slipped into his room. Jungkook squeezed his eyes closed as the light hit them. He opened them again to see Yoongi approach his bed.

No! Hyung, run! Look behind you! Please! His tears came more sloppily, the pace they were falling at becoming excessive.

  “Jungkook? You’re awake?” Yoongi asked softly, his hand coming up to wipe some tears away from his face as a worried look made its way onto his own. Kook could only stare up at him, trying to tell him with his eyes that something was wrong. “Jungkookie?” No answer. “Jungkook, it’s not funny.” Still no answer. Yoongi started looking more frantic, knowing that with everything going on Jungkook wouldn’t play these kinds of games.

  He immediately started calling out for the others, taking Jungkook’s hand in his own. “Namjoon! Jin-hyung!” He faced the doorway. “Hoseo-!” He was immediately cut off when a figure charged at him and smashed a heavy object into the side of his head. He crumpled to the floor. Jungkook internally screamed, struggling to get his muscles to cooperate, needing so desperately to move. He eyes shot around the room suddenly wondering where the perpetrator went, but the gentle breeze that was entering his room told him she was gone.

  The thumping of cotton socks against laminate wood hit his ears as his gaze turned to fixate on the hallway. Jin came in and flicked his light on, letting out a shocked noise when he saw Yoongi on the floor. Namjoon quickly followed up behind him.

  “Oh God,” he bent down by Yoongi and checked his pulse, noticing the blood in his hairline. “He’s bleeding, call an ambulance!” he said firmly to Jin who beckoned Jimin to go get a phone as he came down the hall. Jin took Namjoon’s spot by Yoongi and Namjoon checked on Jungkook. “Kook, are you okay?” Jungkook could only look at him with pleading eyes as he tried again to speak out.

  “H-” He was getting so frustrated, he couldn’t tell them anything. Namjoon pulled off his blanket and checked him over.

  “Are you hurt? What happened?” He gripped the maknae’s hand, concerned when he didn’t hold back. After not getting a response from the clearly awake Jungkook, he tried something else. “Okay Kook, blink once for yes, twice for no. Are you hurt?”

  Two blinks.

  “Do you know what’s wrong with you?”

  Two blinks.

  Namjoon gulped. “Was it them?” he asked in a hushed voice, “Were they here?”

  One blink. Namjoon tightened his hold on Kookie’s hand.

  “Did they hurt Yoongi-hyung?”

  One blink. Shit.

  “Don’t worry Kook, okay? The paramedics are coming, they’ll help you both, it’ll be alright.” He could feel his palms getting sweaty as he looked down at Jin who was carefully holding Yoongi’s face in his hands, looking him over. Low groans were starting to bubble up from Yoongi and Namjoon prayed that he would suffer nothing more than a headache. Hoseok suddenly appeared in the doorway, Taehyung pushing past him while Jimin placed his hands on the older’s shoulder and peeked into the room.

  “The ambulance is on it’s way Joon, should I get anything for them?” Namjoon noticed how unnerved Hobi looked, how he fiddled with his hands as his gaze hopped from Jungkook to Yoongi and back.

  “I could use a wet washcloth for Suga,” Jin called over his shoulder. Hobi dashed to get it. Tae had gotten behind the rapper and propped up his upper body so he was practically cradling him. He turned to Namjoon.

  “What’s going on hyung? What happened to them!”

  “I don’t know,” Namjoon honestly answered.

  “Why is it so cold in here?” Jimin asked quietly. Jin got up from the floor and checked out the window.

  “Whoever it was got out through here. It looks like they used Jungkook’s fire escape ladder,” he grunted, pulling it back in through the opening and sliding the glass in place before locking it securely.

  Hoseok came back and handed the washcloth to Tae who started dabbing at Yoongi's head. The dancer moved to sit on the edge of Jungkook’s bed, rubbing his lower leg to be somewhat comforting as Kook stared at him silently. “We’re here Kookie just hang on.” He cast a glance in Yoongi’s direction, the slightest relief seeping into him when his hyung’s eyes started fluttering open. Jin knelt back down in front of him to keep an eye on how dazed he was as he came out of it.

  Jimin joined Hoseok on the bed, lying down next to Jungkook and taking his other hand, running his thumb over his knuckles. The faint sound of sirens in the background had Hobi running to the front door to let anyone past their guards and into the house. Namjoon also got up and coaxed the rest of them to do the same to make room for the medics. He stayed with Yoongi and Jungkook.

  When the medics came in they loaded Jungkook onto a stretcher without hesitation, knowing if he was drugged they would need more than what was available and he would have to stay overnight for observation. Once Kook was moved, Hoseok going with him on his ride to the hospital, Yoongi was looked over by two more EMTs. He was finally awake and aware of what was going on. They asked him a few questions and cleaned up his wound but said there didn’t seem to be any warning signs for something more damaging.

  “You’ll probably be sore there for awhile, but nothing has us worried that this is more than something superficial.” One of the medics explained.

  “You won’t even need stitches!” The other chirped.

  “Great,” Yoongi grumbled and they gathered their things. “Since that’s taken care of let’s go see Kook.” Namjoon put a hand on his shoulder as the paramedics left the room.

  “You sure you’re alright hyung?”

  Yoongi scowled, “You heard them, I’m fine. Let’s go.” He got up and stumbled for a second, Jimin helping him the rest of the way to the front door.

  “What’s next,” he heard Jin mutter behind him, “this is insane. If whoever is after Kook is capable of this then…” he stopped himself, not daring to finish the sentence.

  “Let’s just go to the hospital.” Taehyung walked past him to grab his jacket. Namjoon nodded at Jin before they too were heading out the front door.

*^*^*^*

  Hoseok was in the waiting area when they got there. He told them that they didn’t tell him anything yet and just had him wait while tests were run. And so they were all made to sit there with bouncing knees and anxious thoughts.

  “Hyung,” Tae said, breaking the silence and turning to Yoongi, “What were you doing in Kookie’s room? How did you end up there I mean.” Yoongi looked down and rubbed the side of his neck. “I, uh,” he mumbled, “I’ve been checking on Kook. At night. Sometimes. I get, I dunno, I get worried, so I calm myself by going and checking on him when I can’t sleep.”

  “It’s honestly probably the best thing you could've done hyung,” Namjoon’s tone was serious, “If that person was in there with him who knows what could’ve happened.”

  “Of course,” Hobi added, patting Yoongi on the back, “You did good hyung.”

  “Yeah,” Yoongi breathed. Good. They didn’t know how freaky it had been to walk into the dark and find their youngest member unmoving, eyes blinking up at him asking him for help. It was terrifying, the scariest thing that had happened to him in his life. More than when the person lunged at him, more than when he thought he was going to collapse on stage from exhaustion, even more than when he was hit by a car and injured his shoulder. He thought his little brother was dying.

  Yoongi buried his face in his hands, the adrenaline from the situation crashing down and leaving him worn out. It wasn’t until the doctor came in that he, along with the others, straightened up, practically jumping out of their chairs.

  “Well, I see Mr. Jeon brought quite the brigade with him,” the doctor commented, flicking his gaze at each of them before it went back to his clipboard.

  “How is he Doctor-?” Namjoon asked nervously.

  “Kim.” Namjoon wasn’t surprised. “He’s fine, or he will be in a few hours. He was given a mild dose of succinylcholine, a paralytic. It’s quite dangerous to have, it relaxes every muscle in the body, and I do mean every muscle. Basically he’s lucky he was still able to breath. It will take a few hours for him to shake off the effects, and we have him on oxygen supply just in case, but he should be alright by morning.” The air in the room felt lighter as they relaxed.

  “When will we be able to see him sir?” Jin asked.

  “I’ll have a nurse come get you when he’s all settled.” With that he left them. Hobi slumped back down in his seat and let out a long breath, closing his eyes. Namjoon sat next to him, suddenly feeling dizzy from the release of tension he didn’t realize he was holding.

  “This is crazy.” He heard someone say. “How much more of this are we willing to deal with?” It was Yoongi.

  “Unless we catch them I’m afraid there’s not much we can do hyung.” He sighed and massaged his temples. “We just can’t let him out of our sight.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

  It took hours before Jungkook could feel any strength in his limbs. His doctor did not hide any information from him, and while it was relieving to know he would be okay he was horrified by what it implied. Could his lungs have stopped? His heart? It’s a miracle he could move his eyes at all.

  His fingers twitched as the pins and needles sense rushed through them and he could feel his arms getting the same way. A shallow sigh escaped his lips as he glanced over at Hoseok, Yoongi, and Jimin who had stayed the night with him. Regardless of how loudly they had protested it was hospital policy, and even then they stretched it as thin as they were allowed to. Jin, Namjoon, and Taehyung reluctantly agreed to go back to the dorm and come back in the morning to switch places with the other three, but Jungkook knew that all of them would end up staying until he was ready to leave.

  Two security guards had been posted outside of his door with another three pacing the hallway and lobby, discreetly of course. They didn’t want to make it too obvious that someone large profile was there. Their managers insisted that one of them stay in the room with the boys but with the surveillance and nurses going in and out it was agreed that that was unnecessary.

  Kook wished he could fall back asleep, but it would be pointless to try unless he wanted another two hours of haunting thoughts and lucid dreams. Watching the others was a lot more calming, seeing them safe and with him. They were all bunched together on the couch, Jimin curled up with his head on Hoseok’s lap as the dancer slept upright with his head slumped on Yoongi’s shoulder. The oldest in the room was still awake, his hand subconsciously pushing through his hair despite his injury as he stared blankly at nothing in particular.

  Jungkook knew he wouldn’t be able to get Yoongi’s attention in his current state, so he just waited and instead focused on testing out his tingling limbs. His hand was almost movable now, all ten of his fingers starting to allow him more control as the minutes passed.

  His eyes darted to the side when he heard a deep sigh and saw Yoongi shift Hoseok so he could support himself. When Yoongi was finally able to get his dongsaeng stable, he drifted over to the door and poked his head out. Jungkook saw no change in his expression as he shut the door and wandered over the window, pacing a little as he scanned the landscape. The maknae listened, hearing his hyung sigh and mutter incoherent words as he kept watch and glanced at his phone every few minutes. Jungkook couldn’t help but wonder what time it was, the digital clock on the table next to him was out of his eyesight.

  “Hyung,” he breathed. His voice was so light and airy that if there had been any noise in the room it could’ve been easily covered up, but it was so deathly quiet that the word nearly made Yoongi jump across the room. The rapper looked at Hoseok and Jimin to see if they were the ones who spoke, but seeing that they were still sleeping he turned his attention to Jungkook.

  “Kookie?” He tentatively approached the bed and looked over Jungkook’s face. “How do you feel? Can you talk now?”

  “A... little,” he spoke slowly, all of his words slurred and hard to understand with the lack of diction and strength.

  “It’s okay, you don’t have to talk.” Yoongi sat down on the edge of his bed and comfortingly pushed Jungkook’s hair off of his forehead. “We need to be so careful now Kook,” he mumbled. “This won’t happen again. Nothing even remotely close to it alright? We’re going to find this person and they won’t bother you again.”

I don’t want her to bother any of you again either hyung, Jungkook said to himself. It was scary. Crazy scary. That girl, K, he thought, was capable of more than they had given her credit for. She was confident and getting desperate and that would be a lethal combination.

  “You…?”

  “What about me?” Jungkook lowly grunted and his eyes narrowed slightly in frustration. Yoongi pushed out a deep breath.

  “I’m fine. A bump on the head, that’s it.”

  Jungkook closed his eyes for a second as he thought about what had happened the night before. The scene of Yoongi calling for help then getting hurt played over and over on his eyelids and he forced himself to not fall asleep and open his eyes instead.

  “T… Ti-ime?”

  Yoongi checked his phone. “It’s almost eight, the others are coming soon, Joon said eight-thirty.” Jungkook let steady breaths come in and out and tried to waste the next half hour by focusing on getting his muscles to work.

  By the time the rest of their group arrived, Jungkook could move his hand up and down from the wrist and completely flex his fingers. The doctor said that once the effects started to wear off it would happen relatively quickly, but that they should be patient. By the time mid morning rolled around Jungkook’s speech had improved almost back to normal and he could move all of his limbs, albeit weakly.

  The others kept him company and tried to lighten the mood, but one thing Jungkook noticed was that none of them had asked him what happened yet. He was thankful that they weren’t prying but he also knew the curiosity must have been eating at them. He had seen the person who did this, who had been stalking him for the past week, he could identify her.

  But could he really? He was already having trouble remembering her face, it was so dark and even in the hallway it had been a quick glance. He was nervous that he would be no help and they would be back at square one, but at least he knew that because this had happened BigHit would take even more serious precautions so it could be prevented.

  But she was quick.

  She was sly.

  And Jungkook knew this was just the beginning.

  He wanted so badly to believe it could all be fixed with the snap of his fingers, but even those weren’t working properly right now. Believing something like that might not help matters and it would only lull them into a false sense of security if they really thought nothing like this was going to continue. Or worse. “Jungkook?” He glanced over at Namjoon who was giving him a concerned look.

  “Yeah?”

  “Are you okay?”

  He paused. He was not really okay, he was ridden with anxiety and his body still felt heavy and useless, but of course he answered, “Yeah.”

  Namjoon’s mouth curled to the side a bit as if he was contemplating whether or not to believe him. Jungkook just flicked him a small smile and turned his attention back to Tae, who was telling Jin a story about one of his interactions with a fan at their last concert.

  “And so she’s screaming my name ‘KIM TAEHYUUUUNG’ and I look at her friend next to her like ‘is she okay’? And this girl just shrugs and kind of smacks her friend on her arm and points to me, and I could distinctly make out what she said from reading her lips.”

  “So what did she say?” Hobi asked from next to Jin.

  “She said, ‘don’t you see him looking right at us? You’re making yourself seem like a fool, please calm down!’ She was so embarrassed!”

  “Cute!” Hobi gushed, squishing his own cheeks.

  Jin laughed next to him, “A concert is the time you’re supposed to let loose, she shouldn’t have been surprised. People can get waaay crazier.”

  “True,” Tae agreed, “I didn’t think it was that bad, I thought it was sweet. It’s always fun, I can’t wait until our next tour.”

  Thinking about the next tour gave Jungkook mixed emotions. Getting ready for this comeback was tiring enough especially under the current circumstances. He didn’t even want to imagine how everything was going to go with security on the plane and in the hotels, how he wouldn’t feel safe sleeping alone even if they were in another country.

  It was a headache he didn’t want to deal with.

  A little while later one of their managers arrived and discussed the situation with them. “We know it’s been hard on all of you, so it was unanimously decided to push the comeback, well, back.” He held up a hand as they all shifted and started speaking. “Please boys, I know. It’s hard but it’ll give us time to take care of things more cautiously and to the best of our ability. It’s not cancelled, the pace will just be at a light jog as opposed to a run. We’re already behind, this will ease some of the pressure, it’s just a precaution.”

  Jungkook hung his head. Great.

  “In the meantime I’ve been given the all clear from the doctor to have you discharged from the hospital Jungkook,” their manager said, giving him an encouraging smile, “He said you’re recovering remarkably and there’s no reason to keep you here so everyone can head home. I’ll have a nurse bring around a wheelchair, but you can start getting ready.”

  The other members began gathering up their coats and miscellaneous items like chargers, books, and notepads while Jungkook dangled his legs over the side of the bed. He didn’t really have anything except for his phone and coat and luckily the clothes he had on were still his and not a hospital gown.

  Within the next few minutes the wheelchair arrived and Jin, along with Jimin, helped Jungkook into the seat. Hobi volunteered to push him as they did one last sweep of the room to make sure nothing was left behind.

  “Alright let’s go,” Tae huffed. They all exited the room and were lead down the hallway by their four stationed guards. The boys quietly chatted as they entered the giant elevator with the other men, talking about nothing really important but trying to lighten the somewhat tense mood. They weren’t used to this many people surrounding them when they weren’t in an airport.

  The elevator tone dinged and they exited before rounding a corner to the parking garage. It was the best way to avoid the press and keep things contained and quiet. It was empty in the garage, save for the cars, and one of their security guards pulled out a walkie-talkie and called for their van to be brought around. Jin and Namjoon chatted with the men as they stood around waiting, Yoongi keeping an eye out for the car as Jimin and Tae talked to Jungkook. Hoseok was glancing around the garage, looking at the different types of cars.

  Everything was going fine, they could see their van coming up a ramp when they heard a loud POP! They all flinched as some of the concrete behind Hobi splintered off the wall. He looked behind him confused when another POP! sounded off and a yelp escaped his mouth right before more of the wall broke off.

  “Get down!” One of the security guards yelled and Jungkook was yanked to the floor by Taehyung. He couldn’t register what was happening until one more loud, sharp sound echoed through the space and he heard a grunt behind him. His eyes flew open as he frantically scanned his hyungs. Tae pushed his head down and enveloped him to shield his body.

  All of the guards had their guns drawn, the van almost at them now. A different one had his walkie-talkie up to his mouth and was shouting into it. “Shots fired on floor B4 of the garage, we need back up!”

  Shots? Someone was shooting at them?!

  Jungkook’s mind clicked everything together, and suddenly he was struggling to get out from under Tae, “Hoseok!” he croaked, “Hoseok-hyung!” The image of him lying lifeless on the sidewalk infiltrated his thoughts and made his chest constrict. “Hoseok-hyung?!”

  No answer.

“Hobi-hyung?!”

  “He’s alright Jungkook,” came a winded reply from who he thought was Yoongi, “he’s alright.”

  Jungkook tried to take even breaths as the van door was pulled open and the boy’s were picked up off the floor and ushered inside, the steel frame of the vehicle protecting them from any stray bullets. The flashing of police lights was seen making its way up to their floor and the van booked it as soon as two of their security team joined them and closed the door.

  “Are you all okay?” one of them asked, eyes scanning them all over. They were pale and shaken, but relatively unharmed.

  Jungkook turned around in his seat and locked his eyes on Hobi who was staring straight ahead looking faint. Yoongi was next to him gripping his hand with his lips pressed in a tight line.

  “What the hell was that?” One of the guards snapped looking at the other.

  “The exact thing we were supposed to keep an eye out for,” he growled, “an attack.”

  Jungkook sat back in his seat and felt a hand rub up and down his back. He felt nauseous, he felt afraid. Here they were in broad daylight and someone had tried to… He gulped down the lump in his throat at the idea that someone had made their first move.

  That she had made her first move.

  He wanted to curl up and make everything go away, all of the pain and terror he and his hyungs had to live in. This was so surreal, he couldn’t process it all. Someone had just shot at them. Someone had just shot at Hoseok. They tried to do exactly what was in the picture, and that was Jungkook’s worst nightmare.

  “Are you alright hyung?” Jungkook heard Tae softly whisper from the back seat.

  He heard no response, maybe Hoseok had nodded, maybe he shook his head, but Jungkook couldn’t tell from where he had hunched over with his head buried in his hands between his knees.

  “Kookie? Kookie, we’re okay, just take deep breaths for me.” Jungkook could hear the air shuttering between his lips before he even knew it was happening.

  “Hyung-” he gasped, “Hoseok-hyung he- they shhh-” he didn’t want to get it out, this was worse, so much worse than being stuck on his bed. He would rather that happen again and again if it meant that this would stop.

  Jungkook felt the seat next to become light as some shifting went on between the others. A warmness engulfed him as a body draped itself over his. “Kookie,” Hoseok’s voice drifted in his ear and he wanted to sob as tears leaked out of his eyes, “please don’t cry.” He turned to latch onto his hyung in a proper hug and Hobi held back just as strong, tears tracking down his face as well.

  “Please don’t cry.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

  Jungkook held on to Hoseok the entire ride back to the apartment. He was irrationally afraid that if he let go he’d never be able to hold back on. All passengers were eerily quiet as the van twisted down different roads since the driver was instructed to take an unconventional path back to their home to ensure they weren’t being followed.

  When they finally pulled up to the curb of the building, two police cars waiting for them. The boys were instructed to run one at a time sandwiched between two cops with a jacket pulled over their head. If someone did follow them to complex they wouldn’t know which one was Jungkook if their upper body was covered. Jungkook’s heart skipped a beat as they mixed up their order, Tae offering to go first as he pulled Kook’s black jacket over his head.

  “I’ll be alright Kook, we all will be,” he said as he squeezed Jungkook’s hand before jumping out of the car. The others watched him with bated breath before he finally stepped safely inside of the corridor. The police came back with the jacket and one by one each of the members entered the building with no sign of a threat.

  Jungkook let out a heavy sigh of relief as they stepped onto the elevator. He closed his eyes and leaned his head against the back of the elevator, flinching slightly when a hand brushed up against his and held it. A frown formed on his face. He should not be so afraid of a touch. He wasn’t before and he wasn’t going to start. Jungkook gripped the hand back, opening his eyes to Jimin who gave him a sad smile and it only made him feel worse since he knew.

  Jimin knew.

  When they finally reached their floor they swiftly crossed the hall only to find the door open already. Namjoon hesitantly turned to one of the officers who gave him a sheepish look and said, “Oh, sorry Mr. Kim, I forgot to mention that there is a detective here who is working on your case. Your manager is here as well, they’ll explain everything.” Namjoon didn’t mean to be, but he was still hesitant when pushing the door open the rest of the way, popping his head to make sure that, yes, their manager was there along with a few other men.

  “Namjoon!” Their manager’s body sagged in relief as he strode over, gesturing for them to enter, “Come in, come in!” He clapped them on the back as they entered, looking each of them over as if to double check that they were okay. The boys didn’t say more than a greeting before taking seats in the living room where a man in a suit stood before them.

  “Good afternoon boys,” he started as he pulled up a chair, “I’m Detective Lee.” He crossed his legs and folded his hands on his lap where he had a notepad and a pen. “I promise I won’t be long, we already had permission to look through the house to look for things that may have been out of place. I just need to ask some questions so I can get a more, say, clear perspective of the situation.” They nodded, not exactly sure of what to say.

  “Alright then, good,” he flipped over his notepad and scanned it over for a few seconds before looking Jungkook directly in the eyes, which took the maknae aback a bit. “Jeon Jungkook?” Kook nooded. “Do you mind telling me when this all began?”

  Jungkook shifted uncomfortably a bit before softly answering, “Um, technically Tuesday night.”

  “Technically?”

  “I guess I made contact with her earlier that day and didn’t know it.”

  “Her?” Jin looked at him surprised, the others turning their eyes towards him too. He could feel himself shrink under their gazes.

  Lee, however, wanted to stay on track, “So this has been going on only since Tuesday?” A frown formed on his mouth, “It’s only Friday. You’re telling me it’s only been three days? Nothing else before then?”

  “Not that I can think of,” Jungkook admitted. If K had sent him anything or tried to get in touch with him, he hadn’t noticed.

  “That’s very extreme. Most people start out small and build their way up to complete contact, it grows as their confidence does.”

  “Th-she might have tried before, who knows,” Yoongi interjected. “She could have been at any of our fan events or concerts. She could be a strong personality, we don’t know anything about this person, just what they’re willing to do.” Jungkook shuttered at the idea he could have met her at one of their promotions. That he could have signed something, smiled at her, held her hand.

  Lee sighed, his eyebrows raising as he studied their youngest member. “Can you explain what happened last night? What you saw, what she said to you?”

  Jungkook pinched his lips together and nodded slowly. The detective gave him a small smile of encouragement. “I, uh, was working on some things on my computer. When it got late I went to bed and,” he nervously licked his lips, “I-I began to notice I couldn’t move. Then my closet door opened and she came out. Sh-she came up to my bed and started talking to me and telling me she was going to-” he stopped. He didn’t know if he could finish. All of the events in the past day were starting to catch up with him and it was making him physically feel sick.

  Jin took his hand and gently pressed it between both of his. “You can do it Kook,” he softly coaxed, “just breathe and relax.” Jungkook nodded, gripping tightly onto Jin’s hands before turning his attention back to Lee and taking a deep breath.

  “She said she was going to hurt my hyungs… take me away.” His voice was smaller than he wanted it to be. He wondered how he could feel so embarrassed about what she did, how she made him feel so powerless and violated. Without really thinking he asked, “Did you find out how…”

  “How she got that paralytic in his system?” Namjoon finished for him. Jungkook felt a warmth spread through his chest. He loved his hyungs beyond anything.

  “Actually yes,” Lee gazed up with serious eyes at the members, “it was taken orally. They found traces of the drug in your water bottle.”

  “You’re kidding,” Jin breathed out.

  “So you’re saying she got in here while we were out, essentially poisoned his drink and then just waited?” Yoongi demanded, a scowl on his face. “So she knew. She knew we wouldn’t be home, not only that, but when. Our schedule was messed up yesterday, if she knew we were working she probably would’ve been hanging around the studio, not here!”

  “She was around the studio hyung,” Jungkook said gravely, “I knew her face. I bumped into her in the hallway right before I went to change on Tuesday. She’s the one who stole my shirt.”

  “That’s good,” the detective said nodding, “Your manager informed me about some of the exchanges you’ve had with this girl. I just wasn’t aware the events were so… close together.” He flipped a page over in his notebook and drew his pen back up. “The incident in the parking garage, the threatening photos and letter. They’re all connected?”

  “Of course!” Tae burst out, “Of course they’re connected! There was a picture of him,” he pointed his hand directly at Hobi, “getting shot and then we get shot at? And they’re all aiming for him? Look, I don’t know what this girl is doing, but these are clearly not empty threats. She’s going through with her promises and all of our lives are in danger, including Jungkook’s. What the hell are you guys doing to do to fix it?” Tae snapped his mouth shut at the last sentence and leaned back, his face flushing a deep red and his gaze fixating on the floor. “I’m sorry, that was rude of me,” he muttered.

  Detective Lee sighed and closed his notebook. His face held sympathy as he looked them over. “I understand, it’s a lot to deal with. We are doing the best with what we have, but until we find her all we can do is hope that she doesn’t try anything else.” He stood up and gave them a nod. “I think that’s all I’ll need for now. If you have any questions or think of anything that can be helpful don’t hesitate to call me. Your manager has my number.”

  The boys all stood and bowed as he left, murmuring a chorus of “goodbye”s and “thank you”s. They heard him exchange some words with their manager before the sound of a door closing had them all sinking back down to the couch.

  Before they could say anything to each other, their manager came into the room with a sullen face, shaking his head and letting out a harsh breath. “I know these past few days haven’t been easy on you boys,” he started, sitting down where the detective was a few moments ago, “and I’m afraid it’s going to get a little harder.” He looked down.

  “The comeback is being cancelled.”

  Immediately shouts sprang out, protesting and questioning and begging. The only quiet ones were Jungkook and Namjoon. Namjoon got it. He didn’t like it, he was upset, but he got it. Their safety came first, you can’t have a comeback without idols. If something happened to any of them the comeback would fall apart, they had to play their cards right in order to stop things from escalating too badly. They would get through it and have their comeback eventually.

  Jungkook, on the other hand, wasn’t feeling guilt for the first time. He was mad. For him, this was now beyond himself and the other members; this was effecting ARMY. Now they were going to have to wait and worry since word was no doubt going to sneak into the public soon. K was going to damage the strong bond they had with their fans and that was a tipping point for him. It went beyond BTS now.

  “No,” Jungkook said as he stood up. Everyone shut up right away.

  “No?” Their manager said, his expression going almost dark, “Jungkook the comeback is not as important. There's no way you guys can have it under these circumstances."

  “I’m sorry PD-nim, but we can’t let her win like this. It’s going to give her more power. We can practice and transport safely, we just need to be careful.” Jin was about to say something , but Kook cut him off. “Please let me finish hyung. I don’t want anything to happen, of course I don’t but…” he swallowed, “I can’t let her run my life. Our lives. There’s got to be a way around it, please.” The air was tense for a few moments before their manager pinched the bridge of his nose and looked Kook over.

  “Alright,” he breathed, slapping his hands down on his thighs, “I’ll talk to Hitman. None of you leave the complex until I hear back, there’s security at every exit. Please stay safe.” He got up, already pulling his phone out and heading towards the front door.

  Namjoon sighed when they were by themselves in the living room, glancing at the guard posted by the front door and another by their sliding glass door in the kitchen. That didn’t even include the two in the hallway and the elevator. BigHit was really cracking down.

  “What was that Jungkook?” Yoongi suddenly asked. There was a hint of irritation in his voice, which made Kook feel on edge.

  “It’s like I said hyung. She can’t run our lives.”

  “She can if she’s threatening them.”

  “We’ll be okay hyung,” Jimin piped up, “We’ll go to a temporary new studio or something. I think Jungkookie is right, we can’t let them control us.”

  “Her,” Yoongi spat, “this damn girl. Damn saesang.”

  “We’ll be okay,” Jimin whispered again, going in to rub Yoongi’s shoulder.

  “You don’t know that Jimin,” Yoongi hissed, brushing his hand away, “Am I the only sane one here? Were any of you actually in that parking garage? If I hadn’t pulled Hobi down he’d be seriously hurt or fucking worse. And you think we should go back out there? What about the car for Namjoon? The beating for Jin? You need to suck up your pride and think clearly. ARMY will wait.” With that he stormed to his room, leaving his words lingering in the air.

  Jungkook slumped back on the couch, head pointed to the ceiling. “Maybe he’s right… Maybe I’m being prideful and selfish…”

  “You’re thinking about our fans Kookie,” Tae comforted, sitting next to him and slinging an arm across his back. “It’s not prideful or selfish. You’re worried.”

  “You’re both right and wrong,” Hoseok’s voice cut in, “It’s dangerous. It’s really dangerous, but it becomes a matter of principle too.” He patted Kook’s knee. “It’s a hard call to make, we’ll just have to see what the company says and follow orders.”

  “Yeah…” But now Jungkook wondered if he had made the right decision to speak out. He could only hope he did.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11

  The next few days were quiet, comfortingly normal. Well, and normal as they could be with triple the security, a temporary new studio space, and a hotel replacing their dorm. It felt like a strange combination of being on tour and preparing for their comeback, which was only pushed back three weeks.

  The company took Jungkook’s request into serious account and, with the appropriate adjustments, allowed the comeback to continue. The first day was the most stressful, making sure every move they made was as secret and as safe as they could make it. They each packed a few bags of the essentials from the dorm and got all of the equipment they needed from the studio before they disappeared from the world, their lives becoming complete privacy.

  Each of their families had been notified of what was going on, the detail being kept vague with Jungkook and Yoongi’s attacks being the only exception so their parents and siblings didn’t worry about their safety. Hoseok’s parents were not told about the incident in the garage, in fact none of the families were told. They boys did not want to cause chaos in their households and mutually agreed to keep mum about it.

  The days flew by after everything was settled. They recorded, practiced, learned, wrote, produced. If Jungkook didn’t wake up in a bed other than his own everyday he would have thought this was how it was supposed to be. Before he knew it, nearly been a month had passed since they had any contact with K. The comeback was still another month or so off, but he was actually excited for it. They were doing so well despite the circumstances, despite what they went through during their week of hell. He was beyond relieved that nothing was going wrong, even though the fear never truly went away.

  Anytime sometime left the room worry gnawed at him until they came back. If someone was ever in a different location than where he was he would constantly check his phone. At his insistence no one locked any doors, including the bathroom, even when they were at the hotel.

  “I wish there was a window in here because you’re suffocating me,” Tae whined as he relieved himself with his back to Jungkook, who stood at the sink brushing his teeth. Their stay at the hotel was in comfort, a little kitchenette, a large, luxurious bathroom with plenty of storage space, and two kings sized beds in the main living area with a 64 inch plasma screen TV. It was costing the company a pretty penny, but they knew the boys would make up for it (and then some) in due time.

  Jungkook spat out some toothpaste and grinned sheepishly, “Sorry hyung, safety first.”

  “You’re getting worse than Jin.” Tae zipped up his pants and walked past the maknae, giving him a childish shove before bolting into the main part of their room. Tae, Jimin, Jungkook, and Hoseok were all assigned to one room while Yoongi, Namjoon, and Jin shared the other. The thing was, their rooms were right next to each other, so they opened the door in between the two and sort of combined their living spaces. It was how they had been living for the past month anyway. There was plenty of room and they were all fine with two bathrooms and the sleeping buddy they had each chosen.

  Jungkook smiled more lightly to himself, thinking about everything his hyungs had done for him and how they all did it graciously and without hesitation. He appreciated them so much.

  Just then, Jimin swung around the corner. “Come on Kook,” he pouted, “I’ve been dying to take a bath all day. It’s almost 10 already.”

  “Mmk.” He finished the last few spots and then rinsed out his mouth. Before he could step out of the bathroom though, Jimin lightly held onto his upper arm and pulled him back a bit. Jungkook looked back at him confused.

  “Hyung?”

  “Are you doing alright?” Jimin asked softly. Jungkook was taken slightly aback. It wasn’t that he didn’t expect his hyungs to care or not know anything was up, but he just didn’t expect it right now when everything was quiet.

  “Uh… Yeah. I think so,” he answered. He was being honest, he thought he was handling it very well, all things considered. Jimin moved his hand up to Jungkook’s shoulder and gave it a light squeeze.

  “Okay, I just… I worry about you sometimes.” Jimin hesitated. “Do… do you still think about her?”

  Jungkook looked at the wall. “Not a lot.” That was a lie. When he wasn’t directly working on their new album she was all that came to mind. What she was doing, if she knew where they were, if she planning her next move. Even though a few weeks had passed it wasn’t like she had been caught. The others seemed to be becoming more relaxed but as long as she was still out there he wouldn’t let his guard down.

  Jimin didn’t look completely convinced but he dropped the subject with a light smile. “Okay, well I’ll try to be quick.”

  “Take your time hyung, just please don’t-”

  “I know, I know, I won’t lock the door.” Jimin’s smile grew wider as he playfully pushed Jungkook the rest of the way out of the room. It made him happy to see their maknae give him a relaxed smile back as he left.

  Jungkook heard the door close behind him as he walked towards the others and plopped down on the bed that he and Jin shared. Casually he pulled out his phone and scrolled through the fancafe forum, looking at conversations ARMY were having about their comeback. It always made him smile and relax to see their fans interact with them and each other, how they bounced ideas between themselves and praised the hard work he and the others put in to their career.

  He slightly bounced as Taehyung joined him, loudly complaining that Jimin was a bed hog and he wished he could share with Jungkook for at least one night.

  “Sorry, can’t hear you, the water is too loud!” Jimin shouted from the bathroom. Jungkook laughed at their banter, looking up as Namjoon entered the room with the food they ordered.

  “Jiminie is taking a bath? Now?”

  “I guess you could argue the same thing about us getting food so late,” Jin chuckled from behind him as he shimmied around him with a container of noodles.

  “But his food will get cold.” Namjoon held up the bag with a mildly annoyed expression.

  “He’ll eat it anyway, and if he doesn’t I will!” Kook offered with a grin.

  “You’re a bottomless pit Kookie,” Tae commented as he took the food Namjoon handed to him.

  “You should talk!” They all laughed as they dug in, chatting aimlessly about the schedule for the next few days.

  Jin sighed as he set down his chopsticks. “I can’t believe the we’re getting ready to shoot the music video soon, I’m nervous Hobi is going to chew me out if I get any steps wrong on set.”

  “You’ll do fine hyung… but I’m nervous too,” Namjoon admitted.

  “Where is Hobi-hyung? And Yoongi-hyung?”

  “They’re just in the other room. I think Hope fell asleep while-”

  The sound of a loud SPLASH interrupted him, accompanied by a distinct thud.

  They all froze.

  “... Was that Jimin?” Namjoon got up, walked over to the bathroom and knocked on the door. “Chim?” he called. After getting no response he knocked again. “Jimin? Everything okay in there?”

  Jungkook walked up behind Namjoon apprehensively. There was still no answer. Anxiety starting to leak through him, he reached out and turned the door knob only to be met with resistance halfway.

  The door was locked.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12

  She had trained her whole life for this. She didn’t know it, but that’s what it came down to.

  Being raised on a military base was not easy, and she often lashed out at her family because of the strict guidelines her parents, particularly her father, set out for her, but in the end she did what was expected of her. With early mornings came the combat exercises, self-defense training, weapon handling. Her parents prepared her for the world. She was going to grow up. Be successful. Have a family. And that was that.

  So she started down her path. She graduated at the top of her high school class. She attended a well respected university, got accepted into medical school. It was around that time that things changed. It was around that time that she saw him for the first time.

  “Who’s that?” she asked her friend.

  “Which one?”

  “The one right there, in the striped sweater.”

  Her friend chuckled, “Him? That’s Jungkook, but he’s the baby Kyung-soon, he’s too young for you! He’s still a minor actually!”

  She frowned but continued watching, not being particularly interested in anyone but the boy in the sweater.

  Jungkook huh?

  She began looking into the group Bangtan Sonyeondan more, following them on Twitter, keeping up with their comebacks and music videos, trying to go to fan meets and concerts, trying to get a glimpse of him when they would leave venues or go to the airport.

  It wasn’t enough.

  She began trying to learn everything she could about him, his birthday, his sign, his blood type, his interests, his ideal type of girl, how she could become that, how she could meet him, touch him, be close to him.

  It all escalated faster than she would ever care to admit, but she wouldn’t necessarily say she liked BTS. She liked, no, loved Jungkook and only Jungkook. She would meet other Jungkook fans at events and immediately shut down, not liking the idea of competition. She tried her best to spread rumors, get girls, and boys, to not be interested in him anymore in any way. It didn’t work and her efforts would typically get extinguished quickly after she’d try to get the flame to flicker.

  She continued her research and her efforts to pull Jungkook closer. At least that’s what she thought. She’d managed to swipe his number after many failed attempts to get it from other people who were just trying to get a quick buck out of her. She held onto it, nervous, or rather, exhilarated at the prospect of finally being able to directly communicate with him. But something stopped her. The thought of him simply blocking her and rejecting her. She wouldn’t be able to handle that. She had to see him first, see what he was like, affirm that he was in fact the prince she desperately wanted.

  So she watched. She watched him as he left his dorm. She watched him as he went into the studio. She watched him when he left.

  Her life slowly began to decompose as she became more and more infatuated with him, the main hit being her schoolwork. She went from being a full-time student to a part-time student as she tried to juggle lectures and labs with her compulsion to keep an eye on him, with her constant, intrusive thoughts about him. Eventually she was down to only one class for the semester, but she kept that to herself. Her father would throw a fit if he knew how she spent her time, but since she was an adult she didn’t think much of it. It was mainly ideal to keep a low profile anyway, that way Jungkook wouldn’t notice her until she wanted him to.

  And that day came.

  She saw a delivery truck pull up to the studio and watched as the very normal looking serviceman took boxes off of the load and approached the door. With wide eyes, she saw how they just let him in because he had packages in his arms. Thinking quickly, she pulled her hoodie over her head and ran to the truck, pulling some boxes off for herself before trying her luck at the door. She didn’t think about getting caught, she only thought about how this could get her into the building to see him.

  With a burst of confidence she walked up to the door like that was where she was supposed to be. She waited a few seconds, biting the inside of her lip as she waited for something to happen. Eventually she heard the buzzing of the lock and she pushed the door open with her hip, giving a quick ‘hello’ to the receptionist before casually walking down one of the hallways. She placed the boxes down and began wandering around, trying to ignite a spark of recognition from somewhere in the building from a Bangtan Bomb or a vlive or something. She turned down another corridor when she heard a shout that made her heart skip a beat.

  She knew that voice. And it was close.

  Suddenly the very man she had been looking for was right in front of her. He slightly bumped into her arm, turning back to say, “Oh, sorry!” before continuing down the hall. She stood there dumbfounded for a few seconds before following him, her heart crashing at a million beats per second.

Jungkook, Jungkook, my baby, my bunny, my Jungkook.

  As she turned a corner she saw him slip into a room and frowned. The bathroom. Great. Huffing, she waited a minute before popping in after him, regardless of the risks. She quickly took in the layout of the bathroom and beelined, calmly of course, to the unoccupied stall. She sat on the toilet for a second just listening. She saw clothes falling to the ground and felt a heat spread across her cheeks. She almost wanted to dare a look, but she couldn’t. Not today.

  She continued to watch various pieces of clothing fall to the floor before she noticed one in particular. A white shirt that partially fell into her stall. Thinking fast she silently snatched it up and held it to her face, burying her nose in it. It smelled like Jungkook. It smelled like heaven.

  Knowing that she was limited on time before being found out, she opened her stall and left, hesitating for a second in front of his. He was right there, behind that door… Her head swam with the thought for only a second before she told herself to be patient. Patience was key.

  She soundlessly slipped into the hallway and made her way back towards the front of the building, the “gift” from Jungkook tucked into the front of her hoodie.

  “Goodb-” she started as she entered the front lobby, but stopped when she noticed the receptionist wasn’t there anymore. Her seat was empty. The desk was open. The computer was accessible.

  Was any of Jungkook’s information on there? The question lingered in the air for only a second before she decided to find out for herself. She jumped into the seat, fingers flying on the keyboard to try and find anything. She pulled out files, documents, profiles, before-

  Bingo.

*^*^*

  Stupid.

  It was so stupid!

  She smacked her head a few more times and ripped at her hair. How could she take that risk? Why didn’t she have a backup plan? Jungkook was right there and she didn’t get anywhere with him!

  A scream of frustration tore from her throat as she kicked the wall. Her anger only flared again when she thought of Yoongi. Fucking Min Yoongi fucking up her plans. He was only giving her more reason to kill him. She should have finished him off right then and there with the microphone but it didn’t follow the plan. She had to kill him just as she originally wanted to.

  The thought made her grunt and slip down to the floor, pounding on it with her hand. But she tried! She tried to stick to the plan! She managed to wait them out of the hospital, she was ready, J-Hope was supposed to go down right then and there, but he exited the building pushing Jungkook in a wheelchair. She couldn’t hit her bunny, she had to be careful so her shots were sloppy.

  Tears of frustration leaked out of her eyes. She needed to try harder. Needed to be less… obvious. They were going to hide now, no doubt about it. They were cowards, and they were dragging Jungkook down with them.

  She wiped her sleeve across her nose and took a deep breath. All of this tension was really getting to her. She had to relax. And as much as she hated it, she had to lay low and collect her bearings.

  There was work to be done.

*^*^*

  The King’s Plaza. That’s where they were.

  It took just about a month just figure everything out and gather all of the information she needed. It was meticulous work, finding out where their new studio was and where they were staying was difficult, but after exchanging information (and cash) she found them. She found him.

  After scouting out the hotel surroundings for a few days, she picked up on their routine. On this particular morning she knew today was the day. She was ready. She entered the hotel wearing an outfit atypical for her: a pencil skirt with a matching blazer. She wore a face mask to conceal her features and entered the housekeeping’s quarters after a greeting from the front desk. They didn’t even notice she didn’t belong.

  Once she was inside she looked through the old laundry rummaged through to find an outfit that would fit her. She smiled as she held it up to herself and changed in the bathroom. She knew it would be easy to find the boys’ rooms, they would be guarded. She just had to wait and time everything correctly.

  She grabbed a few towels and headed towards the elevator, no one bothering her since they assumed she must have been just doing her work. It was almost too easy.

  Well, almost. Once she found the floor that had two security guards posted outside of a door, she saw that room service wasn’t there yet. Either that or they had already come. Her heart started to hammer at the thought that maybe they had already been through here and she would have to wait another day. She couldn’t do that, someone else could easily find her out. She had been lucky up until this point.

  Deciding to wait for awhile and see if she still had a chance, she hid in the hallway where the ice machine was. Whenever someone walked by she pretended to be cleaning the machine, since she had to work up her rouse anyway.

  Luck proved to be on her side when she heard the rolling of a cart and peeked out of her area to see a small cluster of four housekeepers making their way down the hall. They would split up, each taking two. That worked.

  When the small group found itself at the boys’ rooms, the guards let them past. Would they let her in too? She waited a couple of minutes before picking up her towels and confidently walking to the rooms as well.

  “They needed extras,” she explained when they threw a questioning look her way. She did her best to smile with her eyes, since her face mask was still in place. It wasn’t uncommon for any worker to wear them after all. They nodded and let her in and she could have stopped breathing right there from the relief she felt. But at the same time, this wasn’t the real victory.

  She walked into the room quietly and slipped into bathroom, planting the towels on the counter and quickly looking for somewhere to take cover. The bathroom wasn’t that messed up, only the dirty towels being folded on the edge of the bathtub and the garbage filled up. She looked at the towels longingly, wondering if any of them were Jungkook’s before she snapped out of her daze and started looking in the cabinets for a place to wait. There was a long up and down cabinet and she opened it to find a broom, vacuum, garbage bags, and some other very basic household items used to clean up minor messes. Good enough.

  She maneuvered herself into the closet soundlessly and crouched down. She knew the housekeepers had their own supplies and that these were extras, should guests need them, and the boys would never use them. At least, that’s what she was banking on.

  She sat there in the dark, thinking to herself. She had almost anything for a strike. Matches. A switchblade. A few syringes just in case. On top of that, she could’ve used anything in that closet to incapacitate someone. It would have to do, because she did it. She got in that fucking room.

  She heard the housekeepers come in and she tried her best to remain calm and still. She heard them talk between themselves and shuffle around a bit before they walked back out into the main area and shut the room door behind them. She tensed up out of anticipation as to whether or not security would come in looking for her, but after a few minutes nothing happened.

  She couldn’t believe it. She was going to see her Jungkookie again.

  A huge smile spread across her face. Now all she had to do was be patient.

  It was hours later before the boys came back to the hotel. She had nodded off in the closet, the tight space and boredom getting to her, but she snapped awake as soon as she heard someone enter the bathroom humming.

  Her heart stuttered. It was Jungkook.

  She resisted the urge to run out to him and instead held her ground and straightened up from her stiff position. She heard another person enter and unzip their pants. She subconsciously fingered her weapons as a scowl made its way across her face. It only deepened when she heard who it was.

  “I wish there was a window in here because you’re suffocating me.” Taehyung. Spoiled rotten, babied, whiny, undeserving Taehyung.

  She heard Jungkook chuckle. “Sorry hyung, safety first.” Safety? He should be worried about being safe from them.

  “You’re getting worse than Jin.” Her stomach bunched up in anger. She needed to control herself and not act out. He would get his.

  She got lost in her thoughts a bit, zoning out and not paying attention until a new voice caught her ear, saying ““Do… do you still think about her?” Who was that? Did they mean… her? She listened intently for the reply.

  “Not a lot.”

  Her heart sank like a stone. Jungkook didn’t think about her? Ever? She didn’t once come to mind during this month apart? They were doing this! They were driving a wedge between them! Her breathing got a little heavier as she heard the rest of their conversation.

  “Okay, well I’ll try to be quick.”

  “Take your time hyung, just please don’t-”

  “I know, I know, I won’t lock the door.”

  So Jungkook had left and now she was in here with whoever this was. She heard the door close and the person lightly hummed too as they turned the creaking knob for the bath. She decided to sneak a look so she knew what to do, and her eyes lit up when she saw who it was.

  Jimin.

  It couldn’t have been more perfect if she wanted it to be.

  She fully enclosed herself back in the closet and prepared herself, pulling out what she needed. She jumped a little when Jimin suddenly shouted, “Sorry, can’t hear you, the water is too loud!” Ugh. He ruined her concentration.

  She focused a little more on the sounds of the water, knowing she had to time everything right if she wanted the water deep enough. She held on another minute until the water sound got much lower, indicating a higher water level.

  It was now or never.

  She swung the closet door open silently, Jimin still having his back to her as he tested the water’s temperature. She gripped the syringe in her hand a little harder as she made her way across the tile to him, the thumping of adrenaline getting louder in her ears. When she was almost two feet away he suddenly turned around, facing her.

  Time slowed down.

  His eyes grew wide as he looked at her and she sprang forward, pushing him up against the wall between the door and the tub and clamping a hand over his mouth. She wasted no time taking the syringe and sticking it into his neck before he had a second to react and fight back. He still tried to struggle, even when the drug began taking immediate effect on him.

  “Just relax and it’ll be over soon,” she cooed softly as his strength quickly weakened. “You won’t feel a thing. And don’t worry,” she whispered directly into his ear, “I’ll take good care of Jungkookie.”

  He let out a stifled groan before starting to slump to the ground, and she removed her hand so she could bunch him up in her arms. Quickly, she reached over and clicked the lock on the door, not needing someone to walk in. Jimin’s eyes fully closed as she hauled him to the edge of the tub. With a final smirk, she pushed him into the water, watching as the still filling water covered his head as his clothes weighed him down. She gulped, a full on smile creeping across her face as she watched his air bubbles reach the surface of the water. He was completely still, unmoving body trapped beneath the liquid barrier. Suffocating. Dying.

  She was so engrossed in her victory that she almost didn’t hear the voice on the other side of the door. Her smile fell.

  “Chim?... Jimin? Everything okay in there?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 13

  “Hyung!” Jungkook yelled as he pounded on the door, “Jimin-hyung! You said you wouldn't lock the door! Hyung?!” He felt himself be pulled away by his upper arm and turned his head to see Namjoon determinedly backing them both up. He nudged his chin at the door and Jungkook got the idea. He and Namjoon slammed their bodies against the door as hard as they could, trying to force the damn thing open. They did it again. And again. Whining, Jungkook wrestled with the doorknob, still pushing it to turn with his now white knuckles.

  “Taehyung! Grab a pin or something, we need to get this open!” Namjoon shouted while rubbing his shoulder as Tae came dashing around the corner. The singer quickly turned on his heels and started tearing through their bags. “Alright Kook, count of three.” Jungkook scrambled to join him and they stepped back into position and braced their arms.

  “One. Two. Three!” They both went charging at the door, bouncing off of it as Jin came running to them with Yoongi close behind.

  Before either of them could ask anything, Jungkook frantically shouted at them “The door is locked! Jimin-hyung is in there, he’s not answering, oh my God, it’s locked!” He started mercilessly kicking and swinging at the door in a blind panic. Jin quickly busted into the hallway to fetch their security and Yoongi helped Namjoon pull Jungkook away from the door.

  “Tae, get over here!” Yoongi called. Taehyung abandoned his mission to find a lock pick and Yoongi grunted at him to join Namjoon. The two of them got ready to charge the door again as Yoongi held Jungkook out of the way. It was times like these Yoongi wished their maknae wasn’t so strong.

  “One. Two. Three!” Namjoon and Tae rushed at the door, only to stumble and fall into themselves when the door suddenly flew open. Someone dashed around them and out of the bathroom, quickly running into the hallway.

  Jungkook broke out of Yoongi’s hold and hurried into the bathroom, letting out a strangled sob when he saw what was literally out of his nightmare.

  There was Jimin, in the bathtub. His clothed body was completely submerged under the still rising water.

  He wasn’t moving.

  Jungkook fell to his knees in front of the tub and and plunged his arms into the lukewarm water, gripping Jimin’s limp body and bringing him towards air. The waterlogged clothes made him three times heavier and Jungkook struggled to get him over the porcelain edge until Taehyung and Namjoon collected themselves and helped him.

 The three of them laid him out on the floor and Namjoon began CPR as Tae held Jungkook close, his body wracking with every outward cry. He felt so cold, he looked so pale. Jungkook didn’t even know if he was still alive.

  Their security came in not a minute later, ushering the three of them out as they got to work. Jungkook protested, reaching out for Jimin as he was dragged from the room by Namjoon and Tae, who had his own tears sliding down his face. They were met by the rest of their members in the main living area, another security guard standing with them, talking on the phone.

  “Yes sir. No, we aren’t aware of what happened, but an ambulance is on the way... No sir, we didn’t catch them…”

  Jungkook sunk on to one of the beds and sobbed into the comforter. He felt a hand rubbing circles into his back and another one gently running its fingers through his hair but he was numb to it. Someone else was crying too, maybe more than one of them, but he couldn’t bring himself to lift his face. He was heavy, so heavy. In mind and body.

  He closed his eyes.

  “Jungkook?” A hand lightly brushed over his face and pushed his bangs off of his forehead. “Kookie?”

  Jungkook’s eyes fluttered open and he gazed at Jin who had swollen eyes of his own. His stare shifted around the room and he noticed the early morning sky through the windows. Did he fall asleep? Wait.

  “Jimin? Is Jimin okay?” His voice was raspy from his semi-dry throat.

  Jin slightly winced before answering, “I don’t, um… I don’t know yet Kook.” Jungkook deflated a little at that. He started pushing himself into a sitting position and rubbed at his face, uncomfortable by how stiff it felt from dried tears. He noticed how empty the room was and his sad eyes trailed over to the door of their room.

  “Did everyone else go with him?”

  “Yoongi is in the other room, he’s trying to get us updates and tell everything he knows to anyone who asks. He didn’t want to disturb you,” Jin let out a loose sigh, “But I had to wake you up. We need to get to the hospital and give our statements, Detective Lee is already down there talking to the others. I still tried to let you rest as long as you could.” He reached forward and ruffled Jungkook’s hair before getting up to go into the room where Yoongi was.

  A pounding headache was forming at the base of Jungkook’s head and he sunk his fingers into his hairline to try and massage some of the pressure away. He still wanted to cry. He still had a heavy feeling to his body. It was hard to get himself to move. Sighing, he inched himself off of the bed until his feet hit the floor. As he made his way to the shared door between their rooms, he couldn’t help take a few steps past it to glace in the bathroom. The light was off but he could see towels laid out to try and soak up the remaining water on the floor. It was so eerie now, he didn’t know how he could go back in there. Especially if-

  “Jungkook?” His slouching head snapped up at the sound of his name and he turned around to see Yoongi leaning on the doorframe. “You okay?” A look of immediate regret ran across his face as he tried to cooly reword himself. “You, uh, need anything? Feeling alright?”

  “Headache,” was all Jungkook said in return, now fighting the pain that had spread to his temples. Yoongi nodded and went into his bag to pull out some aspirin, a common thing he had to use. He gave a few to Jungkook and passed him a water bottle before going to slip on his jacket and shoes.

  “Jin already tell you about the hospital?” Jungkook hummed a yes. “Alright then, we’re going to get going in a few minutes. I’ve been trying to get some information about how Jimin is from Namjoon but the bastards won’t tell him anything.” Jungkook walked over to join him and started putting on his own coat. “How long was I asleep?”

  Yoongi’s face scrunched up in thought. “An hour? Maybe and hour and a half? Couldn’t have been more than that.”

An hour?! What if something happened during that time?!

  “Hyung-” Jungkook began, but Yoongi cut him off.

  “I know, I know, talk to your eldest hyung about it,” he said, looking a bit sour. His face softened as he shifted his gaze to match Jungkook’s. “But really Jungkook, we were worried. You must have been really… tired.” Jungkook knew Yoongi wouldn’t pry or try to go into detail about how he was feeling, but that didn’t stop him from being huffy. He went quiet as he pulled on his timberlands and glared at Jin when he came gliding into the room to get ready.

  “So Joon just called, said that they still haven’t told them anything.” He pulled on his coat and slid on his shoes. “Let’s go.”

  They were escorted to their car by security and the ride started in silence as they made their way to the hospital. Jungkook stared out the window, still feeling mad about Jin, and yes, Yoongi too, letting him sleep. He was also mad at himself for falling asleep. He tried to shake off his feelings as irrational, since he knew this whole situation was making him overemotional. Being angry was easier than being sad.

  “I saw her you know.” Jin’s soft voice caught Jungkook off guard.

  “Huh?” he gaped back.

  “I saw her,” Jin repeated. “She ran out of the room. When she saw me she ran down the opposite way of the hall. Yoongi,” he flicked his eyes towards the rapper, “tried to catch up, but she already disappeared in the stairwell by the time he reached the door.”

  “I didn’t know if she went up or down,” he grumbled, “and Jin stopped me from trying to figure it out.”

  “Considering she’s trying to kill us, I think it was a safe bet.” Jungkook was astonished. Finally, someone had seen her besides him, and a good look, not just a glance. He suddenly felt his anger towards them melt away, being replaced by some other emotion. Some small type of relief. He still felt angry, but only towards K, and his relief wasn’t much. He still had something much more worrying to think about other than something as petty as not feeling alone anymore.

  They pulled up to the hospital and were guarded until they hit the floor the others would be on. Entering the waiting room and seeing the others made his knees weak. They looked exhausted. Hoseok was staring at the wall, leg bouncing while he was lost in thought. Taehyung sat in the chair next to him, his face buried in his hands. Jungkook would have thought he was sleeping if he didn’t see his fingers clenching and releasing. Namjoon was standing at the floor to wall window, gazing out at the city. His jaw was tight and Jungkook could practically feel the tension in his shoulders.

  Hoseok’s trance like stare broke once he caught their movement and the edges of his lips twitched like he was trying to smile but couldn’t bring himself to do it. “Hey guys,” he greeted. Tae pulled his hands away from his face. Jungkook was shocked to see his eyes were puffy and pink, a frown etched into his face.

  Yoongi noticed too.

  “What happened, what’s wrong?” he asked quickly, causing Jungkook to feel a flash of fear.

  Namjoon turned to face them, expression unfaltering. “He’s alive.” Jungkook would have fallen over if Jin didn’t have his arm around him in a reassuring hold. Jin didn’t seem as happy. There was something else.

  “And?”

  Namjoon hesitated, clearing his throat before continuing. “He, uh, he… he might have brain damage.” Jungkook felt all of the air leave his lungs. He thought someone might have punched him. He wished someone would punch him, it would be less painful.

  “What?” Jin breathed.

  “They said… They said he could be suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome. He’s been having a lot of trouble breathing a-and,” Namjoon took in a shuddering breath, “being deprived of oxygen long enough leads to complications. Organ complications.” He paused and rubbed his hands across his eyebrows, voice cracking when he said, “They told us he was lucky to be alive. He still hasn’t woken up.”

  Unshed tears were clearly visible in their leader’s eyes. Jin detached himself from Jungkook to wrap Namjoon in a hug, the other finally releasing his sadness, letting it fall down his face. Jungkook was stunned, he didn’t know how to feel. Happy Jimin was alive, devastated that he might be permanently injured, scared that he was still at risk.

  Quickly, he found the closest chair and sunk into it. Yoongi sat next to him and patted his back. Hoseok sat in the chair on the other side of him and took his hand, running soothing circles into the back of it. “We’ve just got to believe in him Kookie,” he murmured, “he can do it. He’s strong enough.”

  Jungkook could only nod, he couldn’t cry anymore. Tae hadn’t said anything since they arrived and Jungkook could only imagine what he was feeling. If Jimin was a brother to Jungkook, he was practically a conjoined twin with Taehyung. They shared such a deep bond and had such a love for each other that Jungkook could barely comprehend it, but he admired it nonetheless. It made the guilt that much worse.

  It seemed as though hours had passed before a doctor came to deliver them any sort of news. By that time, Detective Lee had already come around again to collect statements from the remaining three and told them their hotel and it’s staff was being investigated. It made Jungkook sick to think that they would have to go back there, but they had to get their things. Time to move to another location.

  The doctor smiled warmly at them as she approached, clipboard in her hand. “Park Jimin?”

  “Yes?” Namjoon said anxiously, going up to greet her.

  “So he finally woke up and we were able to run proper tests. He is still have breathing complications, so he’s on a ventilator and being kept for observation for the next 24 hours because of his increased chance of infection and internal damage. So far he seems to be having slight memory problems, but that’s common and can fade as he recovers.”

  “Memory problems?” Yoongi asked, frowning.

  “Yes, he did remember his name, birthday, where he lived, basic things like that. But he didn’t remember why he was here. As I said before, it’s pretty common, and take it as a good sign that he can remember the other information. He’s a healthy young man, I expect him to make a smooth recovery if everything goes well.” She smiled.

  “Thank you Doctor,” Namjoon practically wheezed.

  “When can we see him?” Tae asked. Jungkook felt a pang in his chest from hearing him finally speak.

  “The nurse will come in and allow you to see him in pairs. Remember, risk of infection.”

  “Of course, thank you, thank you again Doctor.”

  She waved her hand as she left, “My pleasure.”

  Hoseok sunk to the floor suddenly, Yoongi, Namjoon, and Jin springing forward to pull him back up before he completely hit the ground. “Hope? Are you alright?”

  “Yeah,” he answered with a light chuckle, “I guess the adrenaline rush wore off.”

  As Hoseok was helped to a chair, Jungkook sat down beside Taehyung and put a hand on his knee. Tae’s tired, puffy eyes looked back at him, and he gave the slightest hint of a smile, placing his hand on top of Kook’s. It was the only thing anchoring him to that chair as they waited for the nurse to come in.

Chapter Text

Chapter 14

  It was alarming to Jungkook how nervous he was to see Jimin. He was afraid, so afraid that he would be blue and unresponsive, just as he was the last time he saw him, even though he knew the thought wasn’t realistic. Jimin was okay.

  Well, mostly.

 When the nurse came in to get them she told them his ventilation tube had been removed and replaced with an oxygen mask, a good sign, but his memory was still… hazy- as they put it. He couldn’t remember certain things that were concerning the doctors. Things about Bangtan, things about the members. The doctor also failed to mention that when asked where he lived he answered Busan, which was obviously not correct. Close, but not right.

  That’s where he seemed to be with everything. Within the two hours that they had waited to see him, the medical staff had to help him remember things. How many members were in his group, what was J-Hope’s real name, what positions did he hold in the group, who was their leader. He had trouble with it all.

  Jungkook chewed on the inside of his lip, almost breaking the skin. He stared at the back of Namjoon’s head to try and focus on that, but the thoughts still persisted. Would he remember him? Was this all just temporary or would Jimin really have this impairment for the rest of his life? It wasn’t fair, he didn’t deserve this. None of them did. Namjoon seemed to sense Jungkook’s unease. He slowed down his pace so they walked side by side and gripped his hand reassuringly, giving him a soft smile and nod. Jungkook could only return a small one of his own, but he appreciated it nonetheless.

  They continued following the nurse and rounded a corner, stopping outside of a closed door. “He’s okay Jungkookie,” Namjoon murmured, giving Kook’s hand one last squeeze before letting go so they could get through the doorway. Jungkook couldn’t help it as his stomach plunged hearing the light beeps of the monitors, telling the personell how much oxygen Jimin was getting. He couldn’t help but blink back the emotions that swarmed his body as he saw his hyung lying on the bed with an IV drip and oxygen mask, eyes closed.

  “Chim Chim,” Namjoon softly called out as he pulled up a chair beside the bed and sat down. Jungkook stood slightly awkwardly behind him, not really knowing what to do. The last time they were in a hospital he was the one in the bed. Now he knew how they must have felt, and honestly this was much worse.

  He watched Jimin’s face carefully, taking in the partially fogged mask that was helping him breathe more easily. It made him so sad. That’s the only way he could describe his feelings. Sad.

  Jimin’s eyes started to flutter as he awoke from his light sleep. “Jimin?” Namjoon tried again, gently taking his hand. Jimin slowly turns his head to them, his gaze tired as he looks them over. His expression is soft as he looks at Jungkook, but when he looks at Namjoon his brows furrow slightly. Jungkook holds his breath and he can tell Namjoon is doing the same.

  “... Joon?” Jimin’s tone is hesitant and they can barely hear him from behind the mask.

  Namjoon breaks into a dimpled grin as he have the small hand a light squeeze. “Yeah, it’s me. Kook is here too.”

  “Kook?” Namjoon’s smile fell.

  “Jungkook?” Jimin’s confused look vanished and he directed his eyes back to the maknae and the corner’s of his lips pulled up.

  “Jungkook. Sorry, that… that was dumb, I should have put two and two together.” Jungkook immediately knelt down on the floor where he was standing and spread one of his arms out to caress the top of Jimin’s blanket covered knee.

  “Don’t apologize hyung, please.”

  “Sorry.”

  “Hyung.” Jimin couldn’t help but let out a little chuckle, his habit of apologizing was getting the best of him, when he erupted into a fit of coughs. Namjoon and Jungkook both went on edge, the younger nearly panicking when Jimin started gasping, but it subsided. Jungkook was so thankful for that oxygen mask. He placed his head down on the sheets and almost flinched when he felt fingers running through his hair.

  Namjoon broke the silence, speaking very softly. “Do you remember anything yet Jimin? Anything coming back to you?” Jungkook didn’t lift his head but he could feel the pause in the air as he waited for an answer. He turned his face towards them to catch the tail end of Jimin shaking his head. His fingers were still running through Jungkook’s hair, but now the maknae could feel the slight shake they had.

  “Hyung?” he whispered. Jimin had to turn his gaze completely away from them and Jungkook could see the build up of tears in his eyes. Namjoon looked stunned for a second before he slowly got out of his chair and sat down next to Jimin on the bed and pulled him into a hug. Jimin latched onto him and let the tears go.

  “I’m so scared,” he choked out, his words almost indistinguishable behind the mask. “I almost died and I don’t know why or how. I can’t remember anything and I’m so scared I never will.”

  “It’s okay Chim Chim,” Namjoon murmured into his hair.

  “It’s not okay!” he cried out, Jungkook noticed his heart rate picking up a bit and his oxygen level dropping slightly, “I’m useless! They can’t find the person who did this if I can’t help point them out!” He clutched tighter, digging his fingers into Namjoon’s shirt before continuing, “The doctors said I was drugged hyung! That person stuck something into my neck and I can’t even remember it happening! I don’t remember anything about that night, I couldn’t remember Jungkook’s nickname, I don’t even know why you keep calling me Chim Chim!” His breathing was becoming erratic and Jungkook could hear a wheeze creep into his voice as it escalated. He knew Namjoon noticed too when he pushed Jimin out and held him by his shoulders, looking directly into his eyes.

  “Jimin, none of this, absolutely none of this is in your control. You just need to rest and relax so you can heal. You’ll get better, it will come back to you, you just need to be patient okay?” He pulled him back in, cradling his head. “We’ll help you through this and we’ll find her. She won’t hurt you again, I promise.”

  Jimin turned his face into Namjoon’s chest as far as his mask would allow. I didn’t know they were a girl. He wanted to say it but he held it in, already feeling embarrassed. He lifted his mask away to wipe away his tears and hug Namjoon closer. It was like they momentarily forgot Jungkook was in the room as Jimin tried to settle down.

  It hurt so much, he couldn’t stand it anymore.

  Silently, Jungkook slipped away from the bed and out the door, going to get a nurse. “Excuse me?” he said as he approached one who was standing near the desk. She looked at him and her eyes softened from above her face mask. “My friend is having a hard time breathing, his oxygen dropped a little bit?”

  “Oh, I’ll go check on him hon,” a nurse from behind the counter said as she got up.

  “Thank you!” he called after her. He turned to the other nurse who was still staring at him. “Do you know about, uh, drugs?”

  She chuckled, “I’m a nurse darling, of course I know about drugs!”

  His face turned bright pink as he tried to correct himself, “About what happened to my friend I mean… He said he was drugged?” All he could wonder was if K had used the same drugs on Jimin that she did on him. She picked up his chart from the pile on the desk and flicked through it.

  “I don’t think you’ll understand a lot of this hospital talk, but essentially it was a heavy sedative. Fast acting, injected, effective.”

  “Oh,” was all he could say as his stomach shriveled. It was different. Somehow, she had access to a variety of drugs. What was she-

His thought was cut off when a hand landed on his shoulder. He turned around to see Namjoon giving him a careful look.

  “You okay?” he asked, “Jimin and I were surprised when you suddenly weren’t there.”

  “I-” he didn’t really know what to say. He hated seeing Jimin like that, hated that he felt like it was his fault. He needed to get out. “I wanted to get him a nurse.”

  Namjoon studied him carefully but nodded. “Yoongi and Tae are going to head in to see him, they want to go back to the dorm to pick up a few things.”

  A pang of fear hit Jungkook and he started opening his mouth to protest but Namjoon cut him off. “They’ll have someone with them, it'll be fine. There’s no way she could know they’re heading there. It’ll be in and out.”

  “Why?”

  Namjoon sighed, “Tae wants to grab some stuff for Jimin to make him feel better. Mementos, some of his pictures, things like that. He’s hoping it’ll help jog his memory. Yoongi said he would go with him. He won’t say it but I think he’s afraid of anyone being alone.”

I am too.

  He saw Taehyung and Yoongi as they passed them in the hallway. He willed himself to not jump at them, to beg them not to go and instead just told them to stay safe and be careful, and to tell Jimin that he was sorry he left so abruptly. He couldn’t help the tight feeling that twisted in his stomach as he and Namjoon went back out to the lobby. He could hear Hoseok’s before they even got through the doors, his voice loud considering they and their security team (and the hospital staff) were the only ones there tonight.

  “If Tae wants to go back to the dorm, I wanna go back to the studio. Jimin left a few things there I’m sure he’d like to see, they’re just in my studio.” Before Jin could response Hobi saw them coming closer and gestured, “See, there’s Namjoon, Joon,” he addressed their leader, “Jin-hyung doesn’t want me going to the studio but I think Tae had the right idea with getting some things for Jimin. I know there’s some stuff there he’d love to see.”

  “If he can even remember it,” Jin added, making Hoseok frown.

  “You need to have some faith hyung. Please Joon, I know it’s not a comfortable thing to do but I really need to do this for him, I’m going crazy.” Namjoon saw the desperation in his eyes and, after pausing a moment, gave in.

  “Okay, okay, just make sure you’re with someone.”

  “Of course!”

  “Hold on,” Jin interjected, “I’ll go with you then. Yoongi has the right idea, it’s better if you’re with someone besides security and I just-,” he bit his lip, “I can’t let anything happen to you. Any of you for that matter. I’m not happy that Tae is going back to the house or that you want to go back to the studio, but I’d feel better coming with you.”

  Hoseok smiled softly at Jin and nodded. “Alright hyung, but let’s wait for Yoongi-hyung and Tae to get back. I want to see Jimin before we go.”

  “I want to go with you.” They all looked at Jungkook in surprise.

  “Jungkook-” Jin started.

  “Hyung, please, I need some air. I want to go, I miss the studio so much and I just want to feel like things are normal for two minutes, please.” Jin wanted to say no, he wanted to shoot down the request right away and smash it into the floor. He already hated the idea that they would be split three ways but he knew. He knew what Jungkook was feeling.

  “... Fine.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 15

  Yoongi leaned against the glass of the car window as he stared out at the passing buildings. Taehyung sat next to him in silence, not feeling the best after their meeting with Jimin. It was… jarring, to say the least.

“Jiminie?” Tae said softly as they entered the room. The dark-haired boy looked up from at them and smiled. Yoongi could tell right away it was forced from his strained cheeks to his red, puffy eyes.

  “Hi,” he called out to them. Yoongi sat in the chair next to the bed while Tae situated himself on the end of the bed.

  “You feeling alright?” Yoongi asked. Jimin’s smile faltered a bit.

  “I, uh, I’m working on it,” he lightly joked. Yoongi smiled symapthetically.

  “We know Jimin.”

  “Are you guys okay? I’m sorry if I scared you.” Tae’s eyes widened and he immediately began waving his hands around.

  “There’s nothing to apologize for, oh my gosh!” he exclaimed. Yoongi nodded in agreement.

  “S-”

  “Don’t,” Tae held up a finger, looking playfully serious to keep the mood lighter. Jimin let out a small laugh.

  “That’s what Jungkook said too. I need to stop saying sorry.” He sighed and ran a hand though his hair. “How about everyone else? Jin, Tae?” Tae and Yoongi’s faces dropped.

  “What,” Jimin looked panicked, “What’s wrong? Are they okay?”

  “Jimin-” Yoongi took his hand.

  “I’m Tae,” Taehyung whispered. “I’m Tae Jiminie. Do you not… Did you not recognize me?” Anxiety swept over Jimin’s face as he looked between the two of them.

  “I-I, I don’t-” They could see tears pricking up in his eyes and Tae swooped in to fold him in a hug.

  “It’s okay, it’s okay,” he murmured to him, “Please try not to get upset. If we help you you’ll get better in no time.” He pulled away and flashed Jimin a boxy smile, wiping away the wet corners of his eyes. “We already made a plan to go get you some things! Yoongi and I will be back here in no time, we’ll show you a bunch of things that we got from tours, fansigns, traveling, birthdays. I promise you’ll feel better!”

  Jimin tried giving him a weak smile and rubbed at his face, “Just feels terrible to not remember your best friend.”

  Tae beamed, “Jimin, you know that I’m your best friend! See, that right there is something!”

  Yoongi watched fondly as Taehyung pulled Jimin in for another hug, squealing about how happy he was and how he would recover quickly because they had each other. Because he had all of them.

  Now Tae was quiet and Yoongi knew he was thinking about it as well. Taehyung was sensitive, and no matter how much he said it and no matter how much he tried to act as though it didn’t, he was bothered that Jimin didn’t know he was himself. It was scary to see for themselves how much Jimin had really suffered.

  “He’ll get better you know,” he muttered, looking back at the singer. Tae looked at him, finally seeming to snap out of his daze.

  “Hm? Oh, yeah… I know hyung. It was just rough.”

  Yoongi sighed. “I know, but he will get better. I think you have the right idea here Tae, whatever we bring could really help him.” He offered a small smile and got one in return.

  “Thanks hyung.”

  They rounded the corner to their apartment building and Yoongi felt a stab of longing as the car drove closer. It had only been a month, but he didn’t fully comprehend how much he missed their home until he came face to face with it.

  “There it is,” Tae breathed next to him, “Feels like forever.”

  The vehicle pulled up along the sidewalk and parked. Their accompanying security guard climbed out and opened the door, keeping a lookout as they slipped towards the gate and entered the building. The elevator ding sounded before they stepped on, entered their floor number, and ascended towards their dorm.

  “This feels weird, especially with everyone else still at the hospital.”

  “Yeah…” The tone rang out again as they arrived at their floor, “Let’s just find some things and head back fast.” Being away from the others had worry bubbling in Yoongi’s gut and a sense of dread overcame him. He tried to push the thought away as he fished out his key and let them into the foyer. The house was dark and eerily silent. Yoongi flicked on the lights as the three of them shuffled off their shoes. His gaze traveled over their furniture and belongings scattered about the living room, his heart getting heavy. He wished they didn’t have to go, but he knew it was temporary.

  They were going to nail that bitch.

  He and Tae made their way back to their bedrooms as their security guard stayed in the living room to survey the house and keep a general eye on the place. “What should we grab?” Yoongi asked as Taehyung entered his and Namjoon’s shared room.

  “Just anything you think would spark a memory for Jimin. It could be a picture, a figure, a hat, anything really. Oh!” He shot up from where he was hunched over on the floor. “I’m gonna go get something really quick from the kitchen, you can go ahead and start looking hyung!”

  Yoongi moved aside as Tae dashed back down the hallway. He let out a huff before going to the very last room, his and Jin’s. The door swung open and he began searching for items right away, tossing his jacket on Jin’s bed. He rummaged through some old clothes and found a beanie that Jimin had given him for his birthday. He tossed it on his bed and started going through his desk. There had to be something there that was related to Jimin, he wrote Yoongi notes all of the time and drew him silly pictures in the corners. A smile tugged at the corner of his lips when he found one and put it with the hat.

  He was about to walk over to his closet when he heard a yell from the front of the house. His stomach dropped. He could feel his mouth run dry as every scenario under the sun popped into his mind.

  “Tae?” He stopped by his bedroom door and peered out into the hallway. There was nothing. No sound, no movement. “Tae?” he called again, louder this time. He stepped into the hall and slowly began to make his way towards the living room. He stopped outside of Taehyung and Namjoon’s room and looked inside to see if Tae had come back, but it was empty. He grabbed the baseball bat that Joon kept hidden underneath his bed and, with even more caution, resumed his way towards the direction the sound had come from.

  “... Taehyung?” He called out one more time. He snuck a glance into the living room and ran forward, fear overtaking him. Their bodyguard was lying on the floor. Adrenaline pumped through his veins as he felt for the man’s pulse, not dropping his guard as he continued swinging his head around the room until he found a pulse.

  “Thank God,” he muttered. “Taehyung!” He got up from his crouched position, clutching onto the bat for dear life as he entered the dining room and came to the kitchen. The light was off. His heartbeat quickened as he heard light, airy breathing coming from the area straight ahead of him.

  He reached for the light switch. '

  “Tae-”

  The name died in his throat as he took in the scene before him. Taehyung was lying there on the floor, tears streaming down his face as he desperately looked at his hyung. His breathing was rapid and raspy and Yoongi could see blood trickling out of the corner of his mouth.

  He was weakly grabbing at his shirt.

  There was red. Blood everywhere. All over his torso, his hands. It was still coming.

  No.

No, no, no.

  He rushed forward, dropping the bat as he fell to his knees next to Tae and let out a broken cry. He looked over his torso as he pulled off his hoodie, applying pressure with it as Tae kept struggling to breathe, still looking at him with pleading eyes.

  “You’re going to be okay,” he choked out, pushing back Tae’s hair and getting blood on his head in the process. “I’m going to call for help and you’re going to be okay, alright?” He felt around for his phone. “Fuck,” he cursed. It was in his jacket. In his room.

  “Tae?” he grabbed Taehyung’s red coated hand and grasped it tight, “Hey kid, hold on. My phone is in the other room, I’ll be right back okay? Don’t fall asleep, hold on, please.” He pulled his hand up to his face squeezing it to his forehead. “Please.

  Tae could only watch with terror in his eyes as Yoongi got up and raced to his room, abandoning all other thoughts as he focused on his dongsaeng. He flew into his room and practically dumped out the contents of his jacket, shifting through the odds and ends until he spotted his phone half under a sleeve.

  As Yoongi reached for it he was suddenly thrown back, heaved over to where his bed was and knocked off balance. He landed on one knee, his arm slung on the mattress as he snarled at the person who dare got in his way.

  It was her.

  K.

  “Get the fuck out of my way.” His voice seethed with venom as he spoke, but she barely flinched, just stared at him. He launched himself at her and found that she was much stronger than she looked as they struggled.

  “You bitch!” He screamed, grabbing onto her shirt. “You stupid, psychopathic, motherfucking bitch!”

  She glared at him and grabbed his wrists, pulling him around in her grip and up against her. He squirmed, feeling like his arms were going to snap, but he managed to get one free and began trying to take blind swings at her while she held him.

  “You’re making this so hard!” she hissed, and suddenly he had something placed over his mouth and nose, smothering out his air and noises. He yelled at her to stop, but it didn’t make it through the cloth and her hand. The smell was overwhelming and he felt his eyes fill up with tears as his body started to get heavy.

Tae… Taehyung…

  His vision was starting to blot out and he was let go to tumble to the floor. His eyes slid shut. The last thing he heard was a sound he knew all too well.

  The flick of a lighter.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16

  Namjoon scrolled through his phone as he sat exited the hospital. Jin, Hoseok, and Jungkook had left minutes before, but he wasn’t getting an answer from Tae or Yoongi on their phones and it was worrying him. He tried to push down his anxiety by thinking that they just got lost in finding things and put their phones down, or had their phones on silent.

  But something was wrong.

  It was not an uncommon thing for Tae to not answer his phone, he often threw it carelessly around when he wasn’t using it, but Yoongi? Yoongi always, always, had it on him. In his coat, in his pocket, somewhere. Especially since Jungkook’s incident.

  Yet here Namjoon sat, his nerves eating at him. He didn’t know if he could handle it if something else happened and cursed at himself for letting them split up. He should have told them to wait until morning, that Jimin had to get more rest anyway and that they should go in bigger groups. That more of their security team would be available in a couple of hours so they should just wait.

  But they didn’t. And now he was on his way to their complex, ignoring his managers warnings to stay put, and leaving Jimin alone. Well, not completely since he asked two bodyguards to stay in the room as he slept and requested the hospital night staff keep an extra eye on his room as well.

  He bounced his leg as they started the 15 minute trek to the apartment building, apologizing to the last remaining bodyguards for his nervous tick. He literally watched the minutes slug by on his phone, his body increasing in tension.

They’re fine, they’re fine, they’re fine-

  When they turned onto the street Namjoon leaned forward and peered out of the windshield, hoping the view of their home would put his mind at ease. It did the exact opposite.

  He could see the building, dark, except for one unit that was brilliantly lit up.

Oh my God.

  “Step on it!” he practically screamed in the driver’s ear, “Holy fuck, oh my God, hurry!”

  The car accelerated and his security looked out the windows as well, exclaiming obscenities as one pulled out his phone to call what Namjoon assumed to be 911. The closer they got, the more clearly he could see the bright flames licking at the windows of one side of their unit.

  As soon as the car screeched to a halt, across the street from where the car Yoongi and Tae had used was parked, he scrambled from his seat, yanked open the door, and began to run across the road to their building.

  “Namjoon!” he heard someone call out, and he turned to see headlights rapidly heading towards him. He froze like a deer, terror seizing him, but arms wrapped around his waist and yanked him away with mere feet to spare between him and the vehicle. It tore down the street, not sparring a second before it looped around a corner and out of sight. Namjoon panted, his adrenaline spiked as he soaked in the situation.

  He was almost just run down. Tae and Yoongi were here. Their dorm was on fire.

Their dorm was on fire.

  “We’ve got to go in there!” He looked back at their guard over his shoulder, panic etched into every inch of his face. “Taehyung and Yoongi are in there!”

  “I just called in, the fire department just sent a unit out,” his other security guard said as he drew closer to them, “Hoon isn’t answering his pager either.”

  “That’ll take to long!” Namjoon yelled, squirming and breaking away from the one holding him. “We need to get in there now!” He went to finish crossing the street when he was halted by a grip around his forearm.

  “I’m sorry Namjoon-ssi, I can’t let you go in there.”

  “Let. Go.” His voice held an unnatural growl as he pried his arm away. “You can either stay here or come with me, but every second we wait they could be dying.” The guards stood stoically for a moment.

  “Fuck,” the one who was on the phone sighed before jogging forward, dragging Namjoon with him, “I better not get fired for this.”

  His cohort stood watching them as they came up to the gate before grumbling out “shit” and running to join them. They barged in through the front door and abandoned the elevator for the stairs, Namjoon leading them as he took them two, three at a time. The smell of smoke hit him as they got further up, and it only picked up his pace. His legs began to ache in protest as the reached the sixth floor, but he ignored it and finished the hike to their eighth floor. The guards were just behind him as he clumsily searched for his key while jogging to the door. He suck it in the hole and tested the door knob for heat before busting inside, the smoke instantly invading his lungs.

  “Tae! Yoongi!” he called out, coughing and lowering himself a bit, shrugging his jacket off in the too-warm house. Which was his priority, finding the fire or finding them?

  Them. Definitely them. Always them.

  As Namjoon entered the living room he could make out a figure on the floor. His heart skipped a beat as he approached them, leaning to look at his face. It was the security guard that was with Tae and Yoongi.

  “Hey, one of them’s over here!” He gestured to the men who entered the apartment.

  “Fuck, Hoon?” One of them ran over and Namjoon let them take over, going further into the apartment and down the hallway to where the smoke was the strongest. He knew if K was behind this then that’s where Yoongi would be.

  “Hyung! Hyung can you hear me!” he shouted over the sound of fire. His eyes were burning, his chest aching, his ears ringing. He made a run for it and pushed open the door to Yoongi and Jin’s shared room, gasping and then choking at the condition it was in.

  “Someone’s in here!” The words sent shivers down his spine as they reached him and he knew it was Tae. It had to be Tae.

  Focus. One at a time.

  He tried not to freak out as he walked into the boiling room, one arm stretched out to uselessly waft away smoke while the other held the top of his shirt over his mouth and nose. As he squinted he could see a low flames, lapping against the bookshelf, slowly climbing it to join the ones that had already made it to the top of the curtains.

  “Yoongi-hyung!” Namjoon crouched down and tried to blink away his watery vision. “Hyung!” He reached to where the beds ended and swayed on his knees. The smoke was really starting to get to him. He rested his head on the floorboards for a split second before looking up and crawling around, the fire growing more untamable by the second.

  He worked his way around the corner of Yoongi’s bed, quickly scooting back when he saw one side of the bed engulfed in flames. He squinted his eyes and darted forward again, not caring about the heat.

  He saw Yoongi.

  The rapper was crumpled up on the floor, dangerously close to the inferno blazing around him. Namjoon could see his face was ashen, his hair singed, soot building up on his sweaty skin. He needed to get him out of here.

  Acting quickly, he reached out his hand and took hold of the back of Yoongi’s shirt, inching him slowly out of harm’s way. When he was close enough Namjoon wrapped his arms around his waist and began to drag them both back towards the hallway. The blaze was gradually getting worse and worse, and Namjoon strained against the heat, safety a mere few feet away. He coughed and gasped and held Yoongi tight, his hyung being the primary motivation to not stop.

  “Help!” His voice was weak and raspy. “I need help over he-” an eruption of coughs stops him from finishing his sentence, but he can hear, or rather feel, heavy footsteps running towards them. There’s pressure under his shoulders and he’s suddenly in the hallway. There’s a muffled voice from behind him and a set of thickly gloved hands attempt to pry his hands away from Yoongi. The rational part of his brain is telling him it’s got to be the rescue team, but the clouded, hazy, oxygen-deprived part of his brain tells him he better not let go.

  “Come on buddy.” He could hear that fine.

  “Forget it, just take both of them.” The hallway goes by in a blur as he’s pulled backwards, never faltering in his hold on Yoongi. If anything, he grips tighter. Their living room went by and so did their foyer, the bustling of so many more noises going on around them. His head cleared a little bit as they made it into the hallway of their complex, the smoke only slightly visible near the ceiling. His body relaxes and he feels Yoongi being separated from him, but with the rational part of his brain back in control he knew he was being taken care of.

  As he stared at the ceiling he felt himself levitate for a moment before his back hit something soft. A plastic dome was placed on the lower half of his face and his eyes fluttered shut as he relished the sweet, fresh oxygen soaking into his lungs. He knew he was moving, swaying, bumping. Before he knew it the sounds got louder and he was hit by a wave of cold, enough to prompt him to open his eyes. He saw the bright lights of two ambulances flashing, one taking off and the other loading who he could only presume to be Yoongi onto it. He was wheeled up alongside it and could feel the paramedics ready to hoist him inside as well. He flailed his arms out and sat himself up a bit, pulling the oxygen mask down.

  “I’m fine, I don’t need be looked at,” he insisted.

  “Sir, you’re having trouble breathing, please rest,” a paramedic came up to him and gently tried to coax him back down.

  “Take him, please, I’m-” the ringing of his cell phone cut him off and he scooted off the stretcher, much to the dismay of the paramedic. As he checked the caller ID, he whispered, “Take him, I’ll drive back with my team, just please make sure he’s okay.” Before getting an answer he turned away on his wobbly legs and answered the phone with a practical whisper.

  “Jin-hyung?”

  “Hey, Joon!” Jin’s voice cut through his ear and made his already splitting headache intensify. “We were just looking around here and I was wondering if there’s anything you wanted me to grab from your studio.”

  Namjoon let out a shuddering breath as he sat down on the sidewalk, forehead resting against his fist. He was shaking, his adrenaline was far gone and now his only thought was fear. Fear of the unknown, what could have happened to Tae. Fear of if Yoongi was even alive after inhaling all of that smoke. Fear that she was going to come back and try something again, be even more bold, go after the others.

The others.

  “Hyung,” he said, clearing his throat to try and still sound like as much of a leader as he could, “come back to the hospital. Drop everything, load up and come back.”

  “Joon?” Jin’s worried reply came back.

  “Just do it hyung. Now. Get Jungkook and Hoseok and come back to the hospital.”

  “Joon what happened,” he could hear the worry seeping into Jin’s voice. “We’re coming, what happened.” Jin was demanding it as opposed to actually asking. Namjoon opened his mouth to respond when Jin spoke again, “Jungkook let’s go! Hoseok!... Hobi?” He could hear the springs of a doorknob being turned.

  A beat. Namjoon held his breath.

  “Hobi?!”

  Nothing.

Chapter Text

Chapter 17

  The car was silent as Jin, Hoseok, and Jungkook made their way to the company building. Jin was continuously casting the youngest nervous glances. He could see their maknae starting to fall apart and even as he sat there staring at Seoul passing through the window, Jin knew this entire situation was going to leave a horrible scar on him. He was too young to be dealing with this crap. He didn’t deserve to be dealing with it either. None of them did, but especially not Jungkook.

  As they pulled up a ghost of a smile graced Jin’s face. They all really missed this place. They parked in the back of the building, and the three boys clamored out of the SUV as their bodyguards trailed behind them.

  “I’ll be in the dance studio,” Hoseok told them as soon as they stepped in the door, already jogging down the hallway.

  “Okay, but Hobi, maybe we should-,” Hoseok rounded the corner, out of sight. “Stay… together.” Jungkook smiled at him and Jin couldn’t help but give a small smile back.

  “I don’t think we have anything to worry about hyung.”

  “I’d rather not tempt fate,” Jin sighed.

  Jungkook patted his shoulder, “I’m going to grab something from the break room, you need anything from there?”

  “No, but thanks for reminding me, I wanted to give Namjoon a call to see if he wants me to get anything from his studio.” He pulled out his phone and hit his contacts, watching Jungkook walk down the hallway as it rang. No answer. I’ll try back in a minute, maybe he’s with Jimin. Jin didn’t really have anything to get there, he kept all of his personal stuff at home, along with most of the others. Only Hoseok, Yoongi, and Namjoon had big setups at work since they had their private rooms.

  Deciding to wander aimlessly down the corridors was entertaining for all of five minutes and he chose to give calling Namjoon another try before banging his head against the wall from boredom waiting for the others. It’s not like he had anyone to talk to either, their bodyguards had given them space and were waiting by the doors since, yeah, no one knew they were here. It really wasn’t a problem, but then again Jimin taking a bath “wasn’t a problem” either. He gave another exasperated sigh before dialing Namjoon again, perking up when the dial tone stopped midway.

  “Jin-hyung?”

  “Hey, Joon! We’re just looking around here and I was wondering if there’s anything you wanted me to grab from your studio.” There was silence for a moment, all Jin could hear on the other end was harsh breathing. Had he been running or something?

  “Hyung,” Namjoon’s voice sounded unstable, “Come back to the hospital. Drop everything, load up and come back.” He stopped in his tracks.

  “Joon?”

  “Just do it hyung. Now. Get Jungkook and Hoseok and come back to the hospital.” Something was wrong. Something was really, really wrong. He started moving again, almost jogging towards the dance room while talking.

  “Joon what happened,” he ground out. “We’re coming, what happened.” Jin reached the door and grabbed the doorknob, calling over his shoulder quickly before opening it. “Jungkook let’s go!” He turned the knob and pushed. “Hoseok!” He entered. “Hobi!” The room was dark. He felt around for the light switch and flicked it on.

  “Hobi?!” His phone fell from his hand, the impact on the hardwood causing the screen to go black.

  Hoseok was sprawled out on the floor, unmoving. Jin immediately ran forward, forgetting about the call. His mind warped into a frenzy, his instinct to protect taking over. Two fingers went up to Hoseok’s neck and he bent down towards his mouth.

He’s breathing, okay, he’s breathing. Thank God. Jin scanned over the rest of Hoseok’s body, gingerly feeling him for any signs of injury.

  He didn’t even see it coming.

  Pain exploded through his shoulder and he let out a cry as he stopped himself from falling on top of Hoseok. Another blow came, this time to his side, and he slumped over on the floor before turning his head around to see her.

  K.

  “What did you do?” he gasped, clutching at his sore ribs. “What did you… do to him?”

  She smirked. “Don’t worry about it.” Her arms raised and he scrambled away from Hoseok as she swung her weapon at him again, his bruised back and side screaming in protest.

Oh my God, she has a bat! She’s attacking me with a freaking bat! He clumsily got to his feet and stumbled a bit, trying to get to the door. He had to warn Jungkook, but his recovery was too slow.

  “Nah ah ah!” She mocked, catching up to him in two quick strides and aiming a painful hit to the back of his knees, causing him to collapse to the floor. The bat smacked him in the stomach and he felt his body lurch, the need to gag overwhelming. The sensation was made worse when she kicked him in the same spot, then unexpectedly slapped him across the face. He was stunned before the bat came down a few more times on his chest and back, and he was sure something was bruised, if not worse. He heard the bat clatter to the floor and before he knew it she was on top of him, straddling his aching torso while delivering punch upon merciless punch to his face until he tasted the tangy, metallic flavor of his blood in his mouth. He truly thought this was it.

I’m going to die. She’s going to kill me, and I can’t save them. He knew what she would do when he was dead. And it only made the urge to fight stronger. He weakly turned away, trying to buck her off, and shield his body. He was trying to buy time. They could find him and Hoseok and she would have nowhere to run.

  At least that’s what he thought until the door opened.

  “Hyung?!”

  The abuse stopped and he groaned before opening a throbbing eye. Jungkook stood there, eyes wide as he took in what was happening.

  “Stop!” Jungkook started running towards them and Jin wanted to scream at him to stay back, but he didn’t need to. The cold, hard press of a gun against his forehead did that for him.

  “Stay right there baby,” the woman behind him cooed before slowly rising up. The gun left his head, “or I’ll shoot him.” Jin glanced up to see that the woman was still towering over him, but the firearm was redirected at Hoseok’s defenseless form.

  “Please,” Jungkook’s voice was hardly more than a whisper, his gaze shifting between his hyungs, one bruised and battered on the floor, the other in unconscious, maybe hurt. “Please don’t, I’ll do anything.”

  “No-” Jin made an attempt to get up, but was pushed back down and held there by a crushing stomp on his chest, knocking what little air he had left out of him. She raised an eyebrow at Jungkook.

  “Anything?” He swallowed hard and nodded.

Anything.

  She lifted her foot off of Jin, who didn’t dare move, and wandered towards Jungkook, gun still pointed at Hoseok. She was a mere few inches away. He flinched when her fingers brushed against his cheek.

  “What will you do bunny?”

  “I-” he stuttered, his voice shaking a bit even though he was trying to keep himself together. He had to do whatever he could to keep them alive, to stop her from hurting them.

  “I’ll go with you.”

  His voice sounded foreign to himself as he spoke. “Leave them alone and I’ll go with you without trouble.”

  Her eyes widened a bit at that, a small smile forming on her lips. She could have him. Right here, right now, he would be hers. Sure, it ruined her plans, but if he came willingly things would be so much better. So much easier.

  She was flexible.

  “Jungkook no,” Jin breathed from the floor. He had managed to turn himself over onto his stomach and was glaring at Jungkook. “Don’t you dare go with that lunatic.”

  “It’s not up to you!” K snapped at him, scowl on her face. She faced Jungkook again, the harsh look melting into one of pure delight. “Hold on honey.” Her trained hand never wavered from Hoseok as she walked backwards to the far wall and started shuffling through a bag.

  “Kook, please, run!” Jin begged him. “Please!”

  “Hyung I-”

  “Shut. Up.” K growled, landing a kick to Jin’s side with every word. “Here baby.” She grabbed Jungkook’s hands and pressed a thick roll of duct tape against his palms.

  “What?” He looked down at it, baffled. She couldn’t be asking him to do that.

  “Bind them. I don’t need any more problems.” She could.

  “Th-they won’t follow us!” he exclaimed, “Hobi-hyung isn’t even moving and Jin-hyung is hurt! Please, they can’t-”

  “Jungkook,” she interrupted. In the blink of an eye she was crouching next to Hoseok, digging the barrel into his hair. Jungkook shut his mouth. She jutted her chin in Jin’s direction. “Tie him up. Now.”

  A sob escaped his lips as he walked to Jin. He slowly got down and gingerly crossed his hyung’s wrists behind his back, taking the tape and encircling them once. Jin tried to keep his breathing even, his body screaming with every slight move.

  “Five times darling,” she called out, “I want there to be no chance of him getting free.” Jungkook gritted his teeth together as he layered on the tape, the guilt leaving a heavy feeling in his chest and causing his vision to go blurry.

  “I’m so sorry hyung,” he softly cried, sticking his face in Jin’s neck. Jin could feel the warm tears slip down his skin and he could do nothing but bend his head towards Jungkook to try and comfort him.

  “It’s not your fault JK.” Jin had to control his temper. It wasn’t just his life he was gambling with, it was Hoseok’s too. Pissing K off one too many times could cost them both dearly, and he couldn’t do that to either of his dongsaengs.

  As Jungkook was instructed to wrap his ankles, Jin stole a glance at K, really taking her in, absorbing her facial features so that when they did find her he could nail her to the wall. Her full lips, almond shaped, slightly wide set eyes, and puffy cheeks. She could be cute if she wasn’t deranged.

  “Okay, now him,” she said, gesturing to Hoseok while heading over to Jin and setting him up in the same position the dancer was in moments before. Jungkook nervously stared at her as he cautiously approached his younger hyung. Jin could see his hands shaking as he hesitated, now looking down at Hoseok.

  “Please,” Jin arched his head towards K. “Don’t make him do this.” He was desperate. What she was having him do to them was degrading, an attempt to make Jungkook feel like he participated willingly by deciding to go with her and leaving them here. It was all some sick, twisted scheme.

  “I thought I told you to shut up,” she hissed viciously, the malice practically dripping off her tongue. “Hurry up Kookie, we don’t have time for this.” She proved her point by shoving the gun harder against Jin’s skull, making him wince. Jungkook got the message and knelt down next to Hoseok.

  “I’m sorry Hobi-hyung,” he whispered, tears still sliding down his cheeks, “I’m so, so sorry.” Hoseok’s arms were heavy and limp as he fixed them behind his back and wrapped the thick tape around his wrists just like Jin’s. He quickly did his ankles as well, and once K was satisfied she got up from Jin to go retrieve her bag. Jungkook scooted back to check on Hoseok, running his fingers through his hyung’s hair as he looked him over.

  “I didn’t hurt him.” Her voice startled Jungkook and he looked up to see her hovering over him. “I promise.” He didn’t answer, just stroked Hoseok’s cheek and nuzzled their heads together in a loving gesture before going to say goodbye to Jin.

  “I love you hyung.” Jin felt his throat catch as Jungkook gently hugged him, breathing deeply. When Jungkook got up and slowly made his way to the door with K, he started struggling against his bonds, disregarding all of the pain shooting through his muscles.

  “Jungkook!” he shouted, looking the makane straight in the eyes. “Don’t stop fighting. Give her hell.” Jungkook looked stunned but K was furious.

  “I’ve had enough out of you!”

  “No, don’t!” Jungkook reached out to stop her, but she shook him off and picked the tape up off the floor where Jungkook had dropped it. She ripped a long strip off and sealed Jin’s mouth shut, slapping it on his cheeks and harshly pressing it down.

  “He’s the only reason you’re not dead right now,” she spoke darkly in his ear. “I would be grateful if I were you. You’re other dongsaengs weren’t so lucky.” Jin’s eyes widened. His call with Joon. He had wanted them to leave right away and head back to the hospital.

What did she do?!

  Jin began thrashing on the floor, yelling obscenities at her from behind the tape, none of which anyone could make out.

  “Oh sorry, did that upset you?” A smile grew on her face and she walked over to Hoseok, making Jin only panic further. “Sweet Hoseok,” she sighed, holding his face and bouncing his cheeks between her palms. Jungkook rushed at them, stopping with one venomous look from her.

  “You said you wouldn’t hurt them,” he pleaded.

  “Hmmm, and I won’t baby.” She ripped a second piece of duct tape off the roll and smoothed it over Hoseok’s lips, making Jin’s anger flair again. It was unnecessary. She was being cruel.

  “Alright darling, let’s go.” She casually walked over to Jungkook and motioned for him to stand close. “Hold out your hands. I hate to do this, but I know all bets are off when we walk out of here.” He shuddered and raised his arms out to her.

  “I won’t do anything,” he whispered.

  “Sorry bunny. I can’t take that chance.” She lightly squeezed his hands before taping them together. “I can’t lose you.”

  Jin helplessly watched as she gripped Jungkook’s bicep and guided him out the door, smirking as she pulled it closed behind them. He pressed his forehead against the cold, hard floor, breathing heavily through his nose and squeezing his eyes shut.

  She had Jungkook.

  She won.

Chapter Text

Chapter 18

  Back in the waiting room.

  He was back in the waiting room again.

  His hands were folded over each other, pressed against his nose, with his eyes pinched shut. His body was involuntarily shaking from anxiety, tremors from his shoulders reaching his knees.

  He was alone. And he hated being alone.

“Go! Oh my God, we’re running out of time!”

  “I’m stepping on it kid, you wanna get pulled over and lose even more?” Namjoon slumped over in the backseat trying to regain his composure. He felt sick, he felt soooo sick, but all he could do was pray. It was too much, he couldn’t take this. If they weren’t okay… He didn’t even let the thought finish.

  When the building came into sight he jumped forward again. “Just pull up there!” The driver screeched to a stop in front of the doors and Namjoon scrambled out of the car, not even waiting for his guards to follow before he ran around the building to the back. His heartbeat pounded in his ears as he saw the back door partially open. Quickly, but cautiously, he slipped inside, slowly descending down the halway. Namjoon was on high alert and the sign of anything out of the ordinary was noticed.

  That’s why when he passed by the practice room he stopped. There was a soft thumping noise coming from behind the door.He hesitated for a second, knowing that something very bad could be waiting for him, but he could hear his security team not too far down the hall so he decided the risk, any risk, was worth it. He took a breath and prepared himself for what might be in that room.

  What he saw wasn’t what he expected.

  There was Jin, blinking up at him, tape securing his limbs in place and preventing any sound from leaving his mouth.

  “Hyung!” He was relieved, as strange as that was. Jin shouted at him from behind the gag, and Namjoon swiftly knelt by his side to gently peel it away, still not completely successful as Jin winced. Before he could say anything else Jin turned his head and nodded towards the mirror.

  “Hobi! Joon, go check on Hobi!” Namjoon hadn’t even seen the dancer across the room, trussed up in the same way as the elder, only he wasn’t moving. He was completely still.

  “Oh my God,” he breathed, immediately obeying Jin and going to Hobi’s side. He peeled the tape away from Hoseok’s mouth and gently tapped his face. “Hobi? Hoseok can you hear me?” He moved around to Hoseok’s back and started to wrestle with the tape there, hearing the security guards come onto the room.

  “Fuck…” One of them whispered.

  “Get scissors, and someone call an ambulance!” Namjoon shouted. They bid his requests right away, a few of the guards helping Jin while one assisted Namjoon with Hoseok and the last called for help. Namjoon glanced around the room as he massaged Hoseok’s wrists and fear struck every chord in his body.

  He wasn’t here.

  “Hyung,” he started slowly, leveling his eyes with Jin who had just been helped into a sitting position, “where’s Jungkook?”

  “Joonie?”

  Namjoon looked up, locking his eyes with Hoseok’s pink, watery ones. Within seconds he’s up and running for the other, pulling him into a tight hug and practically lifting him in the air. Hoseok clings back, fresh tears making their way down his and Namjoon’s faces where their cheeks meet. They stayed like that for a few minutes before pulling apart and letting out what could almost be seen as a breathy, sad laugh as they really looked at each other.

  “You’re okay,” Namjoon choked out, still a bit shaky.

  “After some pills for the killer headache, yeah, I guess I’m okay.” They sat down in some chairs and there’s a moment of silence. “I saw Jin before coming out. After I got cleared,” Hoseok began. “He told me… He told me about Jungkook.” His voice got raspier, as though he was hiding the beginning of a breakdown. Namjoon wouldn’t, couldn’t blame him if he did. “God I- there was was nothing- I wasn’t fucking there Joon.” He put his head down, practically between his knees, kneading at his forehead with the palms of his hands. “I mean, I was there, but I wasn’t there. I asked Jin why the hell he would do that, why would he go with her and he wouldn’t tell me exactly why, just said she was threatening us, but I-” His breathing hitched and he stopped.

  “She had a gun on you.” Hoseok looked at Namjoon with wide eyes. “Both of you. Jungkook did what he had to to keep you and Jin alive.” Namjoon’s voice was quiet. He reached out and grabbed on of Hoseok’s hands, his own still trembling a bit.

  “I want him back,” Hoseok cried. “I want things to go back to normal. I want Jimin and Jin to be okay again. I want to see our fans, do interviews, not be so damn scared all the time. I want to go home.” He sniffled, and wiped his nose. “Yoongi and Tae must have liked being back there for a bit. Are they with Jimin?”

  Namjoon froze. He could feel all of his features stretch as his face fell.

  He didn’t know.

  “Hobi,” he began, “we’re going to find Jungkook. He’ll be okay, he’s strong.” A lump in his throat appeared as he prepared for what was next and he took a deep breath. “Hobi… Tae and Yoongi are here but… they’re not with Jimin.”

  Hoseok look at him confused. “Then where are they?” Namjoon pinched his mouth in a line and tried to push past the lump. He was trying to tell him, he really was, but he couldn’t get it out. It would be real if he said it.

  “Joon?” Hoseok’s confused look started to morph into one of worry laced with panic. “Joon, where are they?” Namjoon opened his mouth to answer, his lower lip trembling. Before he could really answer, Hoseok went rigid.

  “No.”

  He shot up from his seat and ran through the swinging doors to the nurse’s station, leaving Namjoon to stumble after him.

  “Hoseok!”

  “Kim Taehyung and Min Yoongi?” He was hoping she would ask him who they were, that she would search in her computer and nothing would turn up. Instead, he’s met with a pair of sympathetic eyes who look from him to the stack of files sitting in front of her. Carefully she typed a few words into her computer and looked up at him sadly.

  “Mr. Min is stable and recovering in room 12, but no visitors are allow-”

  “Recovering from what?” Hoseok was livid, “What the hell is he recovering from?!” The nurse was completely taken aback, startled from the sudden outburst.

  “Hobi-” The second he felt a hand land on his shoulder he spun around and smacked it away.

  “Namjoon what the fuck?! What the fuck happened?! What’s wrong with Yoongi?!”

  “There was a fire.” Namjoon looked like the guilt was eating away at him. “There was a fire in the dorm. Yoongi and Taehyung were in there when it happened.” He gripped Hoseok by his upper arms. “Yoongi inhaled a lot of smoke, he wasn’t moving just-” He shuddered and gazed into Hoseok’s horrified face. “I don’t… I don’t know about Tae.”

  It took Hoseok a moment to respond. “You… You knew he wasn’t moving?” Namjoon nodded. “Joonie, were you in there? Did you go in there?” He stared at his leader until he received another small nod. “You idiot!” Now Hoseok gripped Namjoon by the arms, “You could have died! Oh my God, Joon!”

  “I know what could have happened, but I’m fine. Yoongi might have not made it, I couldn’t do nothing but wait around.” Namjoon was calm, he had to be, he needed to keep himself in check. Whether they were together or not, he was still the leader of BTS.

  He shook Hoseok’s hands off and turned back to the nurse. “Kim Taehyung?” It took her a moment to snap back to herself after watching them, but she quickly refocused and told them what she knew.

  “Kim Taehyung is still in surgery.”

  “Surgery?”

  There was a note of hesitation to her voice. “Mr. Kim was brought in with multiple stab wounds and was transported to the trauma center upon arrival. His condition is critical. I’m so sorry.” She looked up at him, trying her best to be gentle. “Our surgeons are some of the best in Seoul, I know they’re doing everything they can.”

  Namjoon felt all the weight of the world crush him. He steadied himself on the desk, the world swaying for a minute as he tried to process what she said. Suddenly he noticed the labored breathing behind him and turned around expecting to see Hoseok, but he was shocked when Hoseok wasn’t there.

  It was Jimin.

  “Tae,” he gasped, “Tae’s been hurt?” Namjoon could see his chest starting to rise and fall faster, his eyes beginning to lose their focus. And where the hell was Hoseok? He ran forward to envelope Jimin and get him back to his room, but Jimin pushed him away and crouched down on the floor, running his hands through his hair.

  “Jimin, come on, let’s go back to your room, deep breaths okay?” Namjoon bent down next to him and traced his fingers around his back. “He’s going to be alright. I promise.” It was stupid to promise that, but he needed to do whatever he could to get Jimin somewhat better. Namjoon himself was so exhausted, he felt like he was going to crash and burn into the ground, but he also knew the others needed him. If he gave in their faith would be lost. Tae wouldn’t make it. Jungkook would be gone forever. Even if he had to wait until later to fall apart, right now he had to stay put together.

  The nurse watched them with worried eyes, ready to jump in to help at any given moment if he needed her. Jimin slumped against Namjoon, who was almost about to panic that he passed out, but he turned his head into Namjoon’s shoulder and cried silently, only little wheezes escaping him.

  “Hey, hey, it’s alright,” Namjoon soothed, running a hand through his hair and carefully using the one on his back to help him stand while still supporting him. They started slowly walking towards Jimin’s room, Namjoon nodding to the nurse that they were fine before turning his attention back to the younger. “Why were you out of bed?”

  “I heard Hobi-hyung,” Jimin answered quietly, his face still tucked into Namjoon’s neck. “I felt better, really, and I wanted to see him.”

  “It’s okay Jimin, it’s okay.” He lead him to the room and into his bed. “They took away your mask?”

  “Said I my levels were good, had been for a few hours, so yeah.”

  “And your IV?”

  “...”

  “Park Jimin, don’t tell me you pulled out your IV.”

  “No!” Jimin protested, showing Namjoon his arm, “I just unhooked it…”

  “I’ll go get the nurse, just one sec,” and he spun around before Jimin could say another word about it. At least he had managed to somewhat distract him. As he rounded the fast approaching corner, he almost crashed into Hoseok, who was walking much too fast. “Hobi? Where did you go, what the hell dude?” Hoseok just kind of stood there, stoic faced, nothing like Namjoon had ever seen him before.

  “I just want to get some air.” The bite in his tone sent a shiver down Namjoon’s spine and he studied Hoseok’s hardened features, took in his body language. He noticed that Hoseok had his jacket on now and that one of his hands was squeezed shut and he eyed it suspiciously.

  “Are you?”

  Hoseok looked away and flipped the collar of his jacket up.

  “What are you doing?” It wasn’t a question.

  Hoseok huffed out some air and was stubbornly silent before answering.

  “I’m going to find Jungkook.”

What?!

  “Are you kidding me!” Namjoon almost shouted before bringing his tone back down. “You have no idea where he is, and even if you did, how are you gonna get there? And how are you planning on getting him back when she’s armed and dangerous Hoseok? You know she wouldn’t think twice before taking you out!”

  Hoseok’s jaw tightened, “A car matching the description of her’s was spotted, I overheard the police talk about it.”

  “The police?”

  “Yeah, Detective Lee is here again with a few officers. I at least know where she was headed.” He clenched his closed fist tighter. “I… I have the keys to Jungyoon’s car.”

  “You stole the keys to our security guard's car?!”

  “Shhhhhh!” Hoseok gave a harsh glare to Namjoon before continuing. “Look Joon, you can rat me out, but by the time you do I’m going to be gone. You’re not going to change my mind. She won’t take Tae and Jungkook. I won’t let her have any satisfaction.”

  Namjoon sighed, rubbing his neck. “Just…” He didn’t really know what to do, but he certainly wasn’t expecting to hear himself say what he did. “I’m going with you then.”

  Hoseok’s eyes widened. “What?”

  “Then I’m going with you. You say she won’t take Tae and Jungkook, well she’s not taking you either. It’ll be smarter if it’s both of us closing in on her.”

  “Joon, you don’t have to-”

  “Yes I do,” he curtly cut him off, “If your going to be stupid and impulsive you’re not doing it alone.” Hoseok sucked in a long breath, obviously not liking the idea, but he didn’t really have a choice. Namjoon was just as stubborn as he was.

  “Fine. Let’s go.” Namjoon zipped up his jacket, pulling his hood over his head as he followed his fellow rapper to the stairway at the end of hall.

  However, if they would have glanced back they might have noticed the small, dark-haired figure, still in hospital attire, pulling on a hoodie and sneaking out after them.

Chapter Text

Chapter 19

You can’t save them Jungkook.

  Yes I can! I did!

  They’ll always be in danger. She’ll always be after them. After you.

  Shut up! They’re safe, shut up!

  She won’t stop until each of them is dead. Your precious hyungs. Dead.

  No, please-

  There’s no escaping her now Jungkook. Not now. Not ever.

  Stop!

  Wake up.

  Wake up!

  Jungkook’s eyes fluttered open. His breathing was harsh and he could feel a cool sweat lining his forehead as he regained his composure. For a second he didn’t remember where he was until he registered the movement beneath him. His hands were still taped together but above his head, secured to the ceiling handle in the backseat with a length of thin rope and he had a strip of duct tape across his mouth as well. He tried to maintain steady, even breathing as he looked around the back of the SUV. The seats were removed and there were only a few things, namely a duffle bag and two backpacks.

  “I’m sorry love,” a voice called out, startling him from his thoughts before he swerved his head to the front of the car. “I stopped at a gas station. Had to take precautions just in case you woke up.” Jungkook shivered and looked away. He was still with her.

  “Jungkookie,” she almost whined, “my bunny, please don’t be upset with me. I only did it to protect you. Here-” Suddenly the car jolted forward as she hit the brakes, pulling over to the side of the road. He watched with terrified eyes as she locked onto him and made her way into the back of the car, her crawl slow as she approached.

  When she was just inches from his face she lifted her hand and brought it up to his cheek, caressing down and across his jawline. He shifted away from her violating fingers, breaking eye contact. She frowned with a ‘tsk’ and moved closer, grazing the tape on his mouth before pinching a corner and peeling it off. He did his best not to give a reaction, but she smirked anyway.

  “If you try and yell out to anyone I’ll have to put it back on. I hope you realize that.” He still wouldn’t look at her but she stayed their anyway, pausing for a few seconds before petting his hair and letting out a satisfied sound. “I’m so happy to have you here with me Jungkookie. It’s surreal.”

  “Please let me go,” he whispered, slowly turning back to her.

  “Why? You offered to come with me darling.”

  “...” Could she really not see it? Was she really so delusional to think he did this willingly?

  “Whelp, we best continue our road trip!” She sang out as she climbed back behind the steering wheel. “Any music requests? I have all of the covers you’ve ever done downloaded onto my phone, I could bring it up-”

  “No, no,” he interjected, then bit his lip. “I, uh, wanna talk. Get to know you better.”

  “Oh?” Her beaming smile practically reflected in the rearview mirror.

  “Yeah… You already know so much about me I guess… I could know some things about you…”

  “Liiiike?” It almost seemed as though she took this as normal relationship development.

  “... what’s your name?” She was quiet for a moment, and Jungkook could see her internal struggle. “I need to know your name if…” He didn’t really know how to finish that sentence.

  “Kyung-soon.” She turned back to him and smiled at him. “My name is Song Kyung-soon.”

  So that’s what the K stood for. He decided to try pressing a little more, “What’s a-, what’s your job?”

  “Hmmmm,” she hummed thoughtfully, “that’s something you’ll have to try and guess.” Was she really trying to be playful? He suddenly lost his desire to try and get information out of her. At least he had her name.

  Jungkook slumped his head back on the hard plastic of the door as they continued down the road. He tried to keep watch for anything that would stick out as a landmark so he could try and figure out where he was, or tell someone if he got ahold of anyone. He could tell from how dark the windows were on the inside that they were probably even more tinted on the outside, so he knew no one would be able to see him.

  “Is that all you wanted to know about me bunny?” Jungkook glanced up and saw her frowning at the road, seemingly disappointed with her short interview. “I’m just… tired,” he half-lied. Her lips tightened but she didn’t say anything else.

  They drove for what felt like hours and Jungkook could feel himself falling in and out of consciousness, too exhausted to stay awake but too alert to completely relax. Finally he felt the car slow down and he looked out the window to see some shady looking motel. She parked as far away from the other cars as possible then hopped into the backseat.

  “Okay darling, I’m sorry, I’ll only be a minute. Then I’ll come back and get you.” She shuffled around in one of her bag before producing a small, plastic case which she opened to reveal a thin syringe. Jungkook balked at it and cowered away as she came closer. “Come on baby, don’t struggle-”

  “Please don’t, please,” he begged, “I won’t try anything, you said it’ll only take a minute, please!” She paused and scanned him over, thinking.

  “Okay,” she huffed, “Only because you’re so cute.” She reached back into the bag and pulled out the roll of duct tape, ripping off a piece with her teeth. He still pushed away when she came forward and tried to place it, making her huff. “Bunny, it’s this or the needle. Make your choice.” He gaped at her for a few more seconds before she slowly reached out her hands. He willed himself to stay still when he felt the sticky side of the tape hit his lips, hating how close she was, how delicately she was touching him, bopping his nose when she was done.

  Before she moved back into the driver’s seat to get out of the car she lingered in front of him, eyes roaming all over him. “So pretty,” she murmured, almost like she was mesmerized. He tried to make himself smaller, curling inward a bit, but she cupped his face with her hand, stroking up his jawline with her thumb. Before he could think to pull away her lips were on the tape, right over his. He sputtered from the pressure, trying to back away, but he was already as far as he could go. Her fingers wove into his hair and she laughed lightly to herself when she broke off, smiling with a hint of a rosy blush.

  “I’m so excited for when we really kiss love, but for now that will have to do.” She finally hopped back up and out of the car, blowing him a kiss before shutting the door. He pushed out the air he had been holding onto, furrowing his brow as he concentrated on not being sick.

  He had to get out of there, now.

  He looked up at the rope securing his hands to the roof, hoping to see a knot that he could undo. He tried to shift it, but as he pulled his hands rose too. He was confused until he saw that the rope had been layered into the tape on his hands, safely hiding the knot away.

That crazy- he huffed, figuring out a new plan. Twisting himself around so that his back wasn’t against the door anymore, he lifted up his leg and attempted to pull the handle with foot, trying to stick it in the divet to pull. His arms were killing him, starting to tingle from being so numb because of the lack of circulation they were getting.

  After the sixth attempt he groaned, thinking he would never get it, until he heard voices. Wait, no, a singular voice. The deep voice of a man as he went to his car, he must have been talking on the phone or something but he was by himself. Jungkook’s heart leapt into his throat. This was his chance. He couldn’t mess this up.

  “Mmmph!” He screamed, kicking at the door as hard as he could over and over. Please hear me, please! “Mmmmmph!!!” He kept checking out the window, knowing that guy had to hear him, had to know something was amiss. Sure enough, he saw the man glance at the SUV with a curious look, finishing up his phone call before placing his cell phone in his pocket and cautiously approaching the car.

Oh my God, he’s coming, oh my God! Jungkook smashed against the door a few more times, focusing all of his energy in them and looking back at the man. He was just a few feet away now, squinting at the tinted windows and picking up his pace a little bit. Jungkook’s heart was racing, the pounding flooding through his ears. He pulled back his leg to kick again.

  “Can I help you?”

  He froze. Shit.

  “Hi, I’m sorry, I heard some noises coming from that car. Is it yours?”

  A chuckle, “Yes, I’m so sorry, it must be my dog, he can be so destructive when I leave him alone!”

  No. No, no, no, he had to get out of here, but she was back and she wouldn’t just be mad at him, she would hurt this guy because he knew. The worst part was, she knew Jungkook would stop so that didn’t happen. She knew he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself if someone else got hurt because of him.

  “Awful quiet now.”

  “That’s just because he hears me and he know he better shape up!” She chirped. “Kookie, you’d better stop before there are consequences.” She knew.

  “Haha, you’d think he was a regular person with that vocabulary!”

  “Oh he’s really smart but not much of a people’s puppy. I should get back to him before he really gets out of hand.”

  “Yeah, yeah, have a good rest of your day ma'am!”

  And his spark of hope was gone, just like that.

  The door on the opposite side of the car flew open, a dark look cast over Kyung-soon’s face. “That was realllllly stupid baby,” she growled, closing the door behind her as she lurked towards him. He started back at her defiantly even though he was scared half to death.

  “Do you know,” she began, “that if you continue doing these things I will turn this car around and go to the hospital.” He sharpened his gaze, as if to challenge her. Her face grew darker. “I won’t even think twice about it this time, you sitting here like a nice little present wrapped up for me in my car. I’ll yank Jimin out of that hospital bed so quickly he won’t even know what happened until he’s yelling for help with nothing but the rushing water in his ears as his answer when he takes his last breath.” Her eyes glinted. “Or maybe when your dear leader is crossing the street, so lost in thought about how he’s going to find poor, lost Jungkookie that he doesn’t see the car speeding down the road until it’s on to top him, snapping his spine and crushing his skull.”

  Jungkook swallowed the lump in his throat but didn’t back down. Jin’s words still echoing in his head. Don’t stop fighting. Give her hell. He didn’t flinch as she pulled the tape away from his mouth.

  “Fuck you,” he spat. A wicked smile crossed her face.

  “Don’t worry baby, we’ll get to that.” She pulled out a switchblade and sawed through the rope, grabbing the tape connecting his wrists and yanking them forward when they fell. “But before we do you need to behave. I don’t think you want anyone’s death on your conscious, because believe me. I will end a life to keep you in mine.” She sliced the tape and ripped it away, leaning uncomfortably close before uttering, “Now what we’re going to do is civilly walk to our motel room. We’re going to be quiet and respectful of our neighbors and not make any trouble. Right?”

  He continued glaring, but allowed her to lead him out of the car and march to the building. He knew he had to play his cards right. Yes, he would walk into that room. Yes, he wouldn’t make a scene for other people’s sake. But he’d be damned if she thought he would just let her do whatever she wanted. As soon as that door shut he was going to start calculating exactly how he could make his escape.

Chapter Text

Chapter 20

  “And that’s when Namjoon found you?”

  “Yeah,” Jin answered softly, not taking his eyes off of Yoongi’s still figure. He subconsciously ran his thumb over pale knuckles, an IV attached not much further up Yoongi’s veiny hand. He hadn’t left his side since seeing him. The nurses even patched him up in the same room at his insistence, figuring they couldn’t really argue with him. His entire torso, which ached from the bruises beginning to bloom underneath his tan skin, had to be entirely wrapped after they found two of his ribs were cracked. They also had to reset his nose after she broke it, and one of his eyes was pretty swollen. He knew he’d have bruises on his face as well by the next morning. Thank God they gave him some pain killers.

  Jin shifted his gaze to Detective Lee, when he noticed the man had gone silent. He recounted his whole experience with K to the investigator, reliving the worst moment of his life. Well, one of the worst. There was still an empty space in the room where Taehyung’s bed would be once his surgery was done.

If he survives. The thought invaded Jin’s head and he tried to ignore it, but he knows that the doctors said the damage was… extensive. Five times. She had stabbed him five times.

  “I’m sorry this happened to all of you,” the man said, sincerity in every word. “We will find your friend and bring him home.”

  “Thank you.” Jin’s voice was practically a whisper. Lee nodded and got up to leave.

  “Please let me know if you need anything or remember any important details that come up.”

  Jin nodded and turned his attention back to the unconscious boy in front of him. He just watched him breathe, the fogginess on his mask a reminder that yes, he was alive. “Oh Yoongi,” he choked, clutching the limp fingers tighter. He had lost all control. Jungkook was God knows where, Hoseok in another room being assessed, Jimin in yet another room recovering from his ordeal, Namjoon was stuck in the waiting room, and Tae… Tae was still in fucking surgery, not even guaranteed to make it through the night.

  “I have you,” he murmured, “no one is going to get to you while I’m here.” He almost wanted to laugh at himself, knowing anyone could kick his ass to the moon and back in the state he was in.

  God, he missed Jungkook. And he needed to check on Hoseok, he hadn’t seen him since he was being carted into the hospital on a gurnee.

  “I’ll be right back,” he reassured Yoongi, smoothing back his grey bangs before releasing his hand. A small groan snuck out of him as he lifted himself out of the chair and made his way slowly to the door. He carefully made his way to the nurses station and propped his arms up on the counter, attempting to look as charming as he could.

  “Excuse me ma’am, could you please tell me which room Jung Hoseok is in?”

  “Jung Hoseok..?” The woman echoed, before reaching for a sheet on the desk. “Ah yes, Mr. Jung was discharged a little while ago, he should be in the waiting room with Mr. Kim.”

  “Thank you.” He smiled and walked towards the swinging doors, hitting the button to open the locks. When he steps into the lobby he frowns, noticing that it’s vacant. “Miss?” he calls back to the nurse, stepping back in between the doors before they close, “Are you sure they’re out here?”

  “Hmmm, pretty sure. That’s where Mr. Kim was.” She looked thoughtful for a second. “It must have been Mr. Jung who asked about Mr. Min. He was pretty upset, but I thought they both went back after Mr. Kim escorted Mr. Park back to his room.”

  “Jimin came out of his room?” She nodded. His brow furrowed in concern. Maybe they went back to Jimin’s room.

  He started heading to the room when he stopped. “Um, I’m sorry to bother you again, but can I see that picture?” He pointed to where it was, in a decent sized frame on the wall behind the chairs.

  “Oh this?” She asked pointing to it. He nodded and she carefully lifted it off of the wall and handed it to him. “That’s this year’s medical staff,” she supplied, “We change it every year when the new medical students arrive.”

  Jin studied the picture intently, his eyes tracing over one face in particular. He gripped the frame tighter, his heartbeat picking up as he tried to deny what he was seeing.

Oh my God.

  “Ma’am?” He couldn’t hide the slight shake in his voice, “who is this?”

  “Her?” She pointed at the figure. “That’s one of our interns, Song Kyung-soon. She’s in the anesthesiology depart- sir?!” Jin took off in a sprint, ignoring his protesting body as he searched for Detective Lee, an officer, someone.

Come on, where are they?!

  He continued jogging down the hallway, the frame still tight in his grasp when the voice he had been desperate to hear hit his ears. Just as he opened his mouth to call out to him, a nurse rushed by.

  “Detective Lee!” She panted, trying to catch her breath, “Park Jimin isn’t in his room! We can’t find him anywhere!”

  The picture shattered as it hit the floor.

*^*^*

  “Hoseok would you please slow down?” Namjoon gritted out as he gripped his armrests. “It won’t to Kook any good if you get arrested!”

  “It’s a country road,” Hoseok answered back stoically, “I’d see a cop way before he’d see me.”

  “Please, for my sake, ease up a little bit.” The car decelerated a tiny bit and Namjoon decided he would take what he could get. He had never seen Hoseok even remotely close to this. It was completely uncharacteristic of him. Hard frown. Cold eyes. Tight grip. It made Namjoon’s stomach curdle.

  “Hobi, you can talk to me you know. Please, I just-”

  “I know Joon.” Hoseok’s stare didn’t waver. “But there’s nothing to be said. You already know what’s wrong.” Namjoon flinched a little at the tone but decided not to push it. The tension was already crazy high and the last thing either of them needed was a stress induced argument.

  They rode for another half hour in silence when Hoseok spoke. “I’m going to kill her Joon.” He might have missed it if there had been even a fly buzzing around, but there was no mistaking those words and every inch of intention they held in them.

  “Hoseok-”

  “I’m going to kill her,” he repeated, “She’ll never hurt any of us again. I’m going to make sure of it.”

  Namjoon didn’t know what to say. Hoseok was gentle. Hoseok was kind. Hoseok freaked out at the sight of a spider. How could this be the same person? But trauma changes a person. Desperation causes the mind to do unspeakable things. Namjoon only hoped that when it came down to it the Hoseok he knew would come back, because the one before him right now was utterly… terrifying.

  He turned back to the window, looking at the landscape of grassland to try and distract himself. He knew he needed to be prepared for when they found her, when they faced her. What exactly would they do? They needed to have some plan of action or else it would not only endanger their lives, but Jungkook’s. Maybe if they-

Achoo!

  “Bless you,” he said absentmindedly.

  “I didn’t sneeze,” Hoseok responded as he threw Namjoon a questioning look. A beat passed between them before Hoseok hit the brakes and pulled over to the side of the road. He quickly threw the gear in park and scrambled out of the car, throwing open the back door before gasping.

  “Jimin?!”

  Namjoon sprung out of his seatbelt and turned himself around to see between the two seats. Sure enough, there was a small person sandwiched in the corner of his seat and the door, tucked away into the shadows the evening brought.

  Jimin looked owlishly between them before offering up a nervous grin and a lame “hi guys”.

  “Hi? That’s all you can say is ‘hi’?” Hoseok fumed as he pulled Jimin off of the floor, “Fuck Jimin, you still have your IV needle in! What were you thinking? You know the hospital is going to flip right?”

  “I know,” Jimin answered quietly.

  “How did you even get in here?” Namjoon asked, now standing next to Hoseok after getting out of the car and joining him on the roadside gravel.

  “I kinda… snuck in when you guys were looking for the car in the parking garage,” he admitted. “I saw the lights go off and got in before you even saw it.”

  “Geez Chim,” Namjoon sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. Jimin was in no condition to be out here doing this with them. He was still in his hospital clothes for the love of God!

  “I’m sorry.” Jimin hung his head and pouted. “I couldn’t just… Everyone else is trying and I feel so useless. I thought I could be of some help, even if I was the getaway driver or something after you guys grab Jungkook back.”

  “Jimin, you can’t drive!” Hoseok’s face was dark pink, and Namjoon was afraid he was going to lash out at the singer. “I’m sorry hyung.” Jimin sounded impossibly smaller as he practically sunk into his hoodie.They were both caught off guard when Hoseok snatched Jimin in a tight hug, his eyes getting misty and he hung onto him.

  “Jimin, shit, you’re not supposed to be here.” They could hear just how close he was to breaking down, and the guilt ate at Jimin. He didn’t mean to be the cause of more stress for them he just wanted to help them, even just be with them. It was so lonely in that room for hours by himself and… he needed them. He couldn’t even imagine what Jungkook was going through.

  His hands hovered for a moment before closing around Hoseok’s waist and he snuggled his forehead against his hyung’s neck. “I’m sorry,” he repeated.

  Namjoon came up and placed a hand on each of their shoulders. “Okay,” he sighed, “It’s done now. We’re going to make what we can out of this. Jimin,” The younger pulled away from Hoseok to look at his leader, “you’re going to stay in the car alright? When Hobi and I go get Kook, you need to stay out of sight and just wait for us. Keep the doors locked until you see us. Really, it’ll be good for you to be with Jungkook since you’re so good at cuddling and making anyone feel better. He’d really be so happy to see you.”

  A small smile started forming on Jimin’s face. Comfort. He could do that.

  “When we get Kook huh,” Hoseok said as he faced Namjoon and slung an arm around Jimin’s slender shoulders. “So.

  What’s the plan Joon?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 21

  “Ahhhhh…”

  Jungkook flicked his eyes to the full length mirror that gave him a view into the bathroom. He could see Kyung-soon’s sour expression as she dabbed a cotton swab down a long scratch on the back of her arm. He still felt a bit out of it from the round of drugs she had stabbed into his neck as soon as they stepped over the threshold of the motel room, but with his senses coming back to him he looked over his surroundings.

  It was a dingy little room with a small couch, mini fridge, and table with two chairs. No trace of the sun came from behind the thick floral curtain, indicating that night had fallen. Jungkook was on the queen-sized bed, his wrists individually taped to the metal bed frame behind him. He wiggled them a little, trying to see if he was able to push the tape around so he could get it sliding on the thin poles, but so far no luck. He knew he had to give himself a little more time to recover so he focused on keeping himself calm and relaxed.

  The drugs didn’t knock him out, just made him very docile and limp. He was worried about what that would do to his body if she kept it up, so he knew whatever plan he came up with needed to deal with him avoiding being drugged every two hours. She was smart, really smart if she knew how to administer drugs and knew what they did. It also didn’t seem as though she was very physically strong per se, and she looked light but Jungkook also knew that it didn’t matter. If you outwitted your opponent and knew technique you could take down someone three times your size. She was clearly trained.

  But Jungkook was smart too. He knew how she had gotten to this point. She took advantage of each of them, making sure they were alone before going about with her sick plan. She knew she wouldn’t be able to take them on all together, maybe not even two or three of them, but one? Caught off guard? Easy.

  Jungkook fumed at the thought. He knows, he knows, that they should have never left the hospital. They all should have stayed there with Jimin and never given her the opportunity.

  But the hotel wasn’t supposed to be an opportunity either. The hotel was supposed to be safe. Deep down, he knows they were never safe. At least his hyungs were safe now.

  Jungkook’s thoughts were interrupted when Kyung-soon came back into the room, her forearm now wrapped with a bandage. He never really saw it before, but her both of her arms were littered in tiny marks up to where her sleeves cut off. From a distance they could easily be mistaken as birthmarks or freckles, but the underlying bruises some of them had said otherwise. Even her hands looked a bit roughed up, and there was one small mark near the bottom of her cheek too. Jin had really gone at her when he could, but Jungkook was surprised he did that much damage. Nonetheless he didn’t feel bad for her in the slightest.

  “Okay baby, we’ll only be here for the night, maybe tomorrow too if I can’t get things figured out. I’m sure my apartment would be fine, but I’m not all that crazy about the place considering the walls are paper thin. I’m trying to look at rental properties in the meantime and then I’ll see what I can do about my lease later.” She sat down on the bed and smoothed the denim on Jungkook’s jeans, stroking his thigh.

  He scoffed. “Do you really think you can just keep going on with your life and keep me as a prisoner in your house?” His voice was weaker than he wanted it to be, but the defiant glare he sent her way should have gotten the point across.

  “You’re not a prisoner Jungkookie, I promise you that. I won’t have to do this once you understand we were made for each other.”

  “You’re crazy.”

  “You’re only saying that vile word towards me because of Jin.” His look sharpened.

  “You don’t know me or my hyung!” She raised her eyebrows and almost laughed at him, a sly smile pulling on her lips before she tried steering the conversation again.

  “Anyway it’s going to be difficult with school. I still have four years left after my internship then I’ll be done, but it will be difficult until then.” Internship? For school? “How old are you?” He asked her point blank. She laughed a little.

  “Isn’t it considered rude to ask a woman her age?” He didn’t laugh back, so she just gave a wispy sigh and stated, “I’m 26.”

  26. Jungkook was 18. She was well into womanhood while he had only just become considered a legal adult. He felt like he was going to be sick.

  “Age is just a number right?” Another laugh, “But I’ll figure something out for us love.”

  “Stop calling me that!” he snapped. “Stop calling me any of those names you always use! I’m not your love, your darling, your baby, and I’m definitely not your bunny!”

  She sighed before scooting closer, moving her hand to his waist. She didn’t say anything at first, just kept taking him over with her dark, cold eyes. There was something in them he couldn’t detect, couldn’t pin down. “When I’m done with you, you’ll be begging me to call you those names.” A shudder crawled through Jungkook as he realized was it was in her eyes.

  Lust.

  Kyung-soon’s hand traveled under the hem of his shirt and over the flat of his stomach. She practically whined as she fully faced him and stuck her other hand under the fabric to join the first, going all the way up to his chest then scraping back down.

  “Stop it, what are you doing?!” He tried to push against her, but with his hands stuck to the headboard it barely even gave him an inch to try and escape.

  “Shhhhh, Jungkookie,” she murmured as she climbed completely onto the bed and swung a leg over his hips to straddle him. “We have all night, let’s make the most of it yeah?”

  Jungkook’s blood turned to ice as she leaned closer and started nipping at his ear, breathing heavily while still feeling all over his torso. His skin prickled with goosebumps at the unwanted touches and he was terrified with how far she would go. Sure, he had kissed before but in every and all aspects he was still a virgin. The idea of losing that to her fueled his determination to get her off but there was still only so much he could do. His legs could barely lift when he tried to buck her off and it only seemed to spur her on more, her kisses leaving a path on his skin as they trickled down his neck.

  “Please stop.” He didn’t want to sound weak, he wanted to be strong, but he was losing his composure. His hands started feeling numb from the strain he was putting on them. He needed to keep trying to get loose.

  “You’re so beautiful,” she whispered, lining up with his face, “too beautiful.” As soon as her lips touched his he screamed against them and tried turning away. He could finally start to notice his muscles functioning more normally, and he needed to take advantage before she noticed too and punctured him again with whatever sedative she’d been using.

  Jungkook’s wrists ached as he tried to shimmy his hands further down their encasement, his fingers getting closer to flick the edge where the tape had been cut off. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to forget her tongue as it forced its way into his mouth. She moaned as he continued to mutedly yell, but then one of her hands left his shirt and she pulled back.

  “I’m going to make you feel so good baby. Noona’s going to make you feel so good.”

  His eyes widened when he felt pressure on his pants, right where it shouldn’t have been. “Stop! I don’t want-!” He was cut off when she sealed their mouths together again, deeply and passionately as she ground her hand against him through his pants. Jungkook’s eyes began to water now as it dawned on him that this was going to happen unless he stopped her. He tried over and over to snag the lip of the tape, just not quite getting it. Around his seventh try, to his disbelief, it pulled away and he almost cried out when he finally got it between two fingers and yanked up.

  Within seconds he had enough leeway to snap away the rest of the binding, freeing his hand. Before she had time to notice he slugged her square in the face, sending her sprawling off the side of the bed with a yelp. He immediately started working on his other wrist as she scrambled up and headed towards her bags.

  “I didn’t want to do this darling, just know you brought it on yourself,” she loudly spoke as she continued going through her things, cursing when she saw her needle wasn’t prepared. Jungkook focused on getting his other hand out of its restraint, finally succeeding and springing off the bed on wobbly legs.

  Jungkook beelined for the door, but Kyung-soon lept on him, wrapping her legs around his waist and using her hands to cover his face to throw off his balance. His knees buckled and he collapsed to the floor, but he had enough thought to use the momentum to land on his back, effectively knocking the wind out of her. She laid there stunned for a moment as he picked himself up and dashed out the door.

  The parking lot was empty but he went as fast as he could, hoping to use the darkness and cars as cover from her. Still unsteady on his legs, he ducked behind the first row of cars before hearing crunching on the gravel, not to far from him. His heart was pounding so hard he thought he was going to pass out, but all at once the footsteps stopped.

  Jungkook knew he had two options. He could stay there, where he would eventually be found after playing maze games with Kyung-soon or he could make a break for the thin forest of trees that surrounded the area. It wasn’t the best place to go, there was nothing thick about the coverage, he had barely paid it any attention during the daytime, but here in the night it was enough.

  He was so distracted by his thoughts he didn’t notice someone approaching him until their hand was on his shoulder. He screamed and lurched away until he saw it was the man from earlier that day.

  “Woah, sorry! Are you alright man?” He fell apart, trying to blubber out his situation, but it wasn’t coherent. “Buddy, you’ve gotta slow down, I can’t-”

  “You’ve gotta help me!” He cried out, clutching at the man’s shirt. “We’ve gotta get out of here right now!”

  “Okay, okay,” the man began turning around to face the building, “Let’s go back to my-”

  Jungkook saw him stop and jerk. The man released a gutteral sound that the singer wouldn’t have even known was human if he wasn’t looking right at him. The shirt slipped out of his grasp as the man slumped over, revealing Kyung-soon standing there.

  She held a scalpel coated with blood. Her face and clothes also had blood on them.

  “I warned yooou,” she sing-songed as she stepped over the man’s body, a puddle of red starting to surround him. Jungkook’s stomach heaved and his body reacted before his mind could, needing to get away. He dashed for the trees without a moment's hesitation. Behind him was the thumping of feet on grass, so even when he saw the reflection of headlights against the trunks and branches of the forest he couldn’t turn around.

  The stones and sticks were painful against his socked feet, but he trudged on, trying to weave and take the most difficult path, attempting to curl back around to the parking lot. The minutes felt like hours and he eventually heard the sounds go distant. He needed to stop, even for just a second, so he hid behind the biggest bush he could find. His legs were shaking uncontrollably and his breath was ragged. He needed to get a grip.

She killed someone. She killed someone because of you. A strangled sob almost made its way to the surface, but he clamped a hand over his mouth to keep it down. He couldn’t lose it right now or it could get worse. No, it would get worse. Much worse.

  The snap of a twig caught his attention and he spun around on his knees. There was no one, but there was someone. He knew it. He wasn’t safe. He was never safe. He jumped up and ran as fast as his shaky legs could take him, going towards where he thought the parking lot would be. He stumbled and slipped but kept pushing himself up, pitiful noises mixing in with the gaining footfalls.

  An arm reached around his torso and pulled him back, and he couldn’t help the wail that escaped his throat as he fell into the person’s chest. They wrapped their arms around him, shushing him and sinking to the dirty floor. He struggled, and bucked, trying to get away until he really registered the voice.

  “Shhhh, Kook, shhhh, you’re ok, you’re going to be just fine.” He stopped moving, eyes wide, and spun his head around.

  “Hyung?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 22

  The car was just as stiff and silent as before as they drove. Namjoon and Hoseok’s phones were bombarded with calls from their managers and officers on the case, even Jin. “I’m sorry hyung,” Namjoon barely whispered as he rejected the twelfth call in a row from the eldest in their group. He peeked back at Jimin who had passed out in his seat before locking his gaze on Hoseok. He had been driving since early that morning and by now evening was creeping up on them.

  Another yawn from Hoseok made him speak up. “Hobi, why don’t you pull over and rest?” The other just shook his head and kept his tired eyes on the road. “Look, I know Jimin and I can’t be much help, but we can’t crash.”

  “We won’t crash,” Hoseok muttered, a long blink betraying his words.

  “Hobi I’m not asking now, I’m telling you. Pull over and take a twenty minute nap.” Hoseok straightened up and cracked his neck, trying to act like he wasn’t bothered, but his eyelids drooped no more than 30 seconds later, causing the car to start drifting over the line on the left.

  “Hoseok!” Namjoon gripped the door handle with one hand and shook the dancer back to his senses with the other, luckily managing to snap him awake enough to veer back into their lane. “Pull over!” he snapped, not even trying to hide his anger this time. He was surprised when he didn’t get any kick back this time, just a regretful nod as the car began to slow down.

  The car finally stopped and Hoseok slumped over the wheel. “I’m sorry,” he breathed as his eyes slipped shut. Namjoon leaned back in his seat and heaved out a shuddering breath. They were both asleep and he was going to make sure it was more than twenty minutes. He understood Hoseok’s urgency, his desire to keep pushing forward, but were they even still going in the right direction at this point? The idea that they could be going the wrong way brought tears to the edge of his eyes and he quickly swept them away before they fell.

  Namjoon let his head lull back against the headrest. He tried to relax a little bit and convince himself they were going to find Jungkook and everything would be fine. But it wasn’t for certain. It wasn’t definite.

  He rubbed at his eyes with the palms of his hands and tried to just let his mind go blank but it just wouldn’t, it just wouldn’t quit. He had half a mind to drag Hoseok into the passenger's seat and drive regardless of his lack of a license, hell, they already stole a car. But he had no driving experience and would probably be just as likely as tired Hoseok to crash.

  The sound of his phone vibrating once again brought him out of his thoughts and he glanced at his screen. Jin. He cast a glance at Hoseok before sliding his finger across the glass to answer the call with a soft voice.

  “Hello?”

  “NAMJOON!” Namjoon flinched at how loud his hyung yelled his name and pulled the phone away from his ear for a second. “Joon, where the hell are you!? What’s going on!? Are Hobi and Jimin with you!?”

  “Yeah…” he lamely answered and kept silent for a second as he tried to figure out what he should say.

  “Joonie,” the shift in his hyung’s tone immediately grabbed his attention. “Please come back. I couldn’t handle it if something happened to one of you, please come back.”

  “Hyung…” Namjoon once again wrestled with a response. He wanted to come back, but… he couldn’t. Not without Jungkook. “I’m sorry.” It was all he could say. He was, he was so sorry, but he had to keep trying to find Jungkook.

  “Namjoon-” The tears fell this time as he hung up the phone. He kept his location on, that should help them enough. At least Jin knew they were alive, that they were okay. Kind of.

  He felt like he was completely out of his league taking on something of this caliber. A stalker or kidnapper or freaking assassin or whatever the hell she was. They weren’t prepared. He wasn’t prepared. What kind of a take down team did they make up? Jimin was still recovering and should not be here, Hoseok was turning into something primal that Namjoon never even knew existed in him and Namjoon himself? He was crumbling. Falling apart. Failing as a leader.

  He drew his knees up to his chest, folded his arms over his face and just sobbed. Hard, body wracking cries that jolted his chest and hurt his throat. His wheeze came back, just when he thought he’d lost it from that damn fire. He just wanted to cry. And so he did. He cried for Jungkook. He cried for Yoongi, Taehyung, Jimin, Jin, and Hoseok. He cried for himself.

  It felt like hours passed before he calmed down enough to unravel himself. He checked on Jimin, who had curled up into a ball, before moving to Hoseok. The dancer was still passed out over the wheel, seemingly dead to the world and all the grief it held. Namjoon wanted him stay that way for at least a little while longer. His own eyes closed as he thought about drifting off for awhile, but his body wouldn’t let him. And so he sat and watched the clock.

  Almost an hour had gone by before Hoseok shifted and started to slide off the wheel, jolting himself out of his slumber. His dazed eyes drifted to the clock before turned sharply to Namjoon. “Twenty minutes?” he practically spat, “Joon, it’s almost been an hour.”

  “You needed to sleep,” Namjoon retorted matter of factly. “Do you feel better?” Hoseok huffed in response and started up the cold car, looking at Jimin and gently patting his arm before getting back onto the road.

  “Did you get any rest?” He mumbled to Namjoon, who just shrugged instead of vocally answering. His chest was aching a bit since his breakdown, but he didn’t need to tell Hoseok that. “Why didn’t you wake me up?” was Hoseok’s next question.

  “You needed the break Hobi.”

  “What if she moved.”

  “Then she moved.”

  “Namjoon,” Hoseok’s voice was hard. “Do you care about him at all?” Namjoon was taken aback by the question.

  “What?”

  “I said,” Hoseok’s voice lowered even more, “Do you care about him at all.” Namjoon felt his sore throat go dry.

  “Of course I do,” he choked out. He had to try to not get upset. Hoseok was in another mindset completely foreign to both of them, he couldn’t take it personally.

  “Then why are you playing this off like it’s no big deal. Like her changing her location is fine, taking him somewhere else. Like if that’s what happens then it is what it is.” Namjoon could see Hoseok’s knuckles turning white with his grip on the steering wheel.

  “Hobi,” Namjoon chose his words very carefully, “Of course I care about him. I care about you too, and Jimin. If you wouldn’t have had a decent nap we would be good for nothing. I did it for you and Jungkook. You need to be alert so we can find him sensibly.” He saw Hoseok’s grip loosen and hoped he got through to him a bit.

  “I’m sorry.” The words confirmed Namjoon’s thoughts. “I’m just… I’m really stressed Joon. We can’t lose him. I feel like if we don’t find him now we’re never going to.” Hoseok’s voice broke in his last sentence and Namjoon felt the coils in his stomach loosen and retighten. He reached over and gave Hoseok’s forearm a light squeeze.

  “We’re going to find him.”

  “Okay,” Hoseok whispered back.

  The night cascaded across their windshield as they continued in silence yet again, but the tension had dissipated. Hoseok tried to repeat Namjoon’s words to him in his head. Tried to convince himself this wasn’t a dead end. After all, they say that if you tell yourself something enough times it was bound to come true.

  Some buildings passed them by, far and few between. A gas station, a grocery store, a pharmacy. He could see a grubby looking motel in the distance and the thought of having a place to crash sounded so appealing, but he knew they should keep moving. However, the next words out of Namjoon’s mouth had him swerving into the parking lot.

  “Hope, that’s her car!”

  Namjoon would have known it anywhere. It was the same one that almost hit him the night before, right there isolated and illuminated by the motel’s glowing sign. Most of the other cars were coated in the dark, but not the SUV parked in the far corner. It only just got hit by the light.

  Hoseok immediately drove towards the cluster of cars and his heart lurched up into his throat. There was someone running into the trees. But he’d know that someone anywhere.

  “Jungkook.”

  Despite Namjoon’s protests Hoseok leapt out of the car and began running to the area the figure had disappeared into.

Jungkook, Jungkook, Jungkook-

  His little brother’s name played over and over again in his mind as he tried to follow any steps, breaths, some kind of noise.

  “Jungkoooookie,” a voice rang out. Hoseok froze. It was her. He came back to his senses quickly and snuck away from the voice, trying to remain as silent as possible as he sniffed out his maknae. He started to venture around the perimeter of the scattered words, looking for silhouettes or listening for noises. All he did was manage to create his own when he accidently stepped too hard on a twig.

Snap!

  The rustling of leaves on the ground had him propelling forward when a body jumped out from behind a bush and ran parallel with him through the trees. He rushed towards them as they slipped and fell, clumsily picking themselves up before attempting to move again.

  He stretched his arm out and wound it around their waist, pulling them back against his chest. He took in the brown hair, the puffy eyes, the bunny teeth that bit into his lip, the maturing muscles that were fighting him as he held them still.

  Jungkook.

  “Shhhh, Kook, shhhh, you’re ok, you’re going to be just fine,” he cooed into his ear as Jungkook continued to struggle. Once the words seemed to register he stopped abruptly and turned his head around, staring at Hoseok with wide eyes.

  “Hyung?”

  “Hey Kookie,” he whispered as tears sparkled in his eyes. Jungkook flung himself around and latched onto his hyung’s neck, digging his fingers into his shirt and burying his face into his neck.

  “Hyung,” he sniffled, “Hobi-hyung.” Hoseok ran his hands along Jungkook’s back and breathed him in. Safe. As long as he had him he was safe.

  “Jungkoooookie?”

  Maybe not.

  “Jungkook,” he pulled the maknae out of his shoulder to cup his face and look him in the eyes. “We’ve gotta go okay? Namjoon’s here, hyung is here, we’re going to keep her away from you okay? We're going to go home.”

  Jungkook’s face morphed into fear as he listened. “No,” he cried, “she’ll hurt you!”

  “We’re leaving, she can’t hurt us,” he said as he gathered Jungkook in his arms and hauled him to his feet. “She’ll never hurt us again.” He guided them quickly to the parking lot, glancing around for any signs of her as they jogged to the security guard’s car.

  “She killed him,” Hoseok heard Jungkook mutter, “she killed him because of me. She killed him.”

  “Wha-”

  “Hobi!” Hoseok stopped when Namjoon’s voice pierced his ears. He looked in the direction his voice came from and could feel his skin lose its color as he saw Namjoon huddled over something in the parking lot.

  There was red liquid everywhere. Blood.

  “What did she do?” Namjoon’s voice barely audible as he pressed his fingers to the man’s throat. He drew them back with a scarlet stain. “I don’t feel a pulse.” His voice was shaking. “His body’s cold.”

  “Namjoon,” Hoseok tried to snap him out of it. “Let’s get back in the car and call the cops.”

  “What about-” Namjoon looked up and his eyes shot open as far as they could go.

  “Jungkook.”

  He stumbled up from his knees and enveloped Jungkook in a hug so tight he thought he might pop him. The younger held him back just as tightly, simply basking in him. His hyungs.

  “Come on, let’s go,” Hoseok ushered them, “she’s out there.” Namjoon’s face went from relieved to horrified in a split second and the three of them raced to the car, never letting go of each other. Namjoon opened the back door for Jungkook before tumbling into the front passenger’s seat and locking the door behind him as Hoseok slipped behind the wheel. He started the car and was about to pull away when he noticed something.

  A big something.

  “Fuck!” His gaze scanned all over the backseat, almost in disbelief.

  “Where’s Jimin?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 23

  Jimin woke up to an empty car. He blinked his puffy eyes open only to squint them shut again at the blinding motel sign that blasted through his window. The car was off, but the lights were still on and the driver’s side door was open all the way. The passenger’s seat was empty too.

  A flicker of panic overcame him and he scrambled to look directly at the seats, swinging his head form side to side to know for sure. They weren’t there.

  “Hyungs?” he choked out to no one. He pulled himself over to his door and got out of the car, stumbling as the blood rushed back to them after being tightly compressed for hours. Where were they? They wouldn’t leave him alone for no reason right?

  Jimin looked around and went towards the building, thinking that would be the safest, smartest place to go. He knew they said he shouldn’t leave the car, but what if something had happened to them? The ruse was up, he needed to call someone. He started furiously trying to think of Jin’s number as he lightly jogged up and around the building, but couldn’t bring it to mind. He slowed down to a walk, hoping that the headache he was developing from going too fast would subside and he could think clearly. It didn’t help much, so he settled on calling the police. That was a number he knew.

  When he turned the corner of the building, he was met with a brick wall speckled with windows. Oh, wrong way, he thought as he spun around, but he stopped short when he heard a sound. A noise. A voice.

  “-ooookie~”

  Jimin hesitated for a moment before heading off in the direction of that voice. It wasn’t familiar, but if they were saying what he thought they were… There was a small wood surrounding one side of the parking lot, and although there weren’t a lot of trees it was hard to see. Jimin almost fell a few times from the unseen twigs and rocks on his makeshift path as he went closer to where he thought the sound was coming from. Every few seconds he had the urge to call out, but something in his gut told him not to. In fact, something in his gut said that he needed to leave the grove of trees right away but he was just as determined as Hoseok and Namjoon to find Jungkook and he knew that if he followed the voice it would lead him to his little brother.

  “Jungkooooookie~” The voice was close now. Too close.

  Jimin halted. He could hear the crunching of leaves around him, surrounding him, suddenly making him feel so small. The crunching stopped but Jimin still didn’t dare move. The soft wind rustled though his hair and the leaves, leaving a the trail end of a whistle in his ear. A shiver coursed it’s way down his spine and his entire body tingled on edge. He needed to leave.

  His eyes darted back and forth as he took baby steps backwards, his arms wrapped around his middle in a weak attempt to give himself comfort. His footfalls were silent as he went, the trees pulling further and further away until his back hit something solid. His immediate reaction was to swing around, but before he could turn the whole way a strong grip on his arm pushed him back to his original position. A forearm was wrapped around his neck while another hand came to painfully clamp over his mouth when he tried to yell out.

  “Hi Jimin,” a wickedly soft voice dripped in his ear. “Long time no see.”

*^*^*

  “Where’s Jimin?”

  The question cut through Namjoon’s head like a lightning bolt and his fear spiked through the roof. Jimin. They had told him to stay in the car. Oh God.

  Hoseok made a move to get out of the car, but Jungkook grabbed his shoulder. “Hyung,” he gasped, making Namjoon look at him. The maknae’s eyes were huge as he stared out of the windshield, his body going tense. Namjoon snapped his gaze to the front and saw why.

  There she was. Even though Namjoon had never seen her before it had to be her. She was standing in the glare of the headlights, a smirk on her face, her eyes wild. But he didn’t focus on her for long.

  Standing still, pressed up against her, was Jimin. Kyung-soon had her hand firmly placed against his mouth, the other one close to his neck. It only took slight movement from her to reveal the glint of a shiny metal object in that hand touching up against his throat. Namjoon couldn’t make out what it was, but that didn’t stop his heart from beating any faster.

  “Jungkookie~!” They heard her call out, “Bunny! Come on out, we’re going to leave!”

  Jungkook immediately made to move, but Hoseok snatched his wrist before he even had a chance to open the door. Namjoon balked.

  “Hoseok!”

  “Hyung, please! You don’t know what she’ll do!” Jungkook made a feeble attempt to yank his arm free, but stopped when he heard the low, dangerous tone of his hyung’s voice.

  “I’m not losing you again.”

  “But Jimin-”

  “We’re not losing Jimin either.” Jungkook was so confused, so terrified as the clock kept ticking down. He watched Jimin, standing completely still with his eyes screwed shut. He could feel how scared he was. His skin began to itch with nerves and he resisted the urge to twitch, scratch, make everything uncomfortable go away. They couldn’t risk Jimin, they couldn’t, but here was Hoseok stopping him, preventing him from-

  “I’m getting him.” Hoseok and Jungkook snapped their attention to the passenger’s seat where Namjoon was already hoisting himself out the door.

  “Joon!” Hoseok yelled, but Namjoon had already shut the door behind him. He never took his eyes off of Jimin, wanting to be comforting, reassuring. Nothing was going to happen.

She won’t hurt you again, I promise.

  He wouldn’t break that promise.

  Slowly, he raised his arms halfway up and took a deep breath. “Hey,” he gently called out, not wanting to agitate her any more than she already was.

  “I don’t want you,” her face twisted into a scowl as she dug her fingers into Jimin’s cheek a little harder, gaining a wince from him. “Jungkook comes out right now or I slice his throat wide open.” Namjoon saw Jimin’s eyes flutter shut as he let long puffs of air out of his nose to steady his breathing.

  “Okay, okay” Namjoon pushed his hands forward with little frantic waves. He shuffled backwards to the backseat door and opened it, flicking his head towards the two inside. “Come’re Kook.”

  “Namjoon,” Hoseok warned with a low voice, Jungkook’s wrist still tight in his grip.

  “Trust me,” Namjoon softly pleaded. His gaze shifted solely to Hoseok, silently begging him to believe that he knew what he was doing, even if he was uncertain himself. Slowly, shakily, Hoseok loosened his fingers and allowed Jungkook to slip free. The maknae carefully climbed out the door and stood half behind Namjoon, his eyes fixated on Jimin who was as pale as a sheet while he clung to Kyung-soon’s forearms, trying to relieve some of the pressure she was applying to his face and neck.

  “Bunny,” she breathed, looking him up and down with a wild expression, “that was naughty, that was so, so naughty.” Jimin let out a muffled yelp as the metal weapon came flush against his skin. “I should teach you a lesson, I reeeally should baby, I’m so disappointed.”

  Jungkook physically stiffened next to Namjoon who instinctually went to find his hand and lace their fingers together. “Please don’t.” Jungkook’s voice sounded wet and desperate. “Don’t hurt him. You’d break your promise to me, we had a deal right? I came with you.”

  “But you were supposed to stay with me!” She shrieked. Jimin whimpered as she released his face and knitted her fingers through his hair, yanking his head back to further expose his throat. “This was going to be our new start! You and me beginning our lives together!”

  “Kyung-soon-ssi let him go, it’s my fault, not his, not theirs.”

  “Don’t call me that!” Kyung-soon pulled the scalpel a fraction of an inch, creating a thin red line on Jimin’s neck as he cried out in pain. “I’m your noona! Call me noona!”

  “Noona!” Jungkook obeyed, “Noona, Kyung-soon-noona stop! I’m sorry, stop!”

  She was losing it. Namjoon could feel the shake in Jungkook’s fingers, hear the regret and guilt twisted into his voice and he felt a rush of anger accompany the fear in his gut. It’s not your fault Jungkook. It’s anything but your fault.

  “Go to the car. We’re taking him,” she gave Jimin’s hair a firm tug, “with us.” Jungkook shook his head in frantic little jolts, but it was Namjoon who spoke.

  “Leave them alone, please, we won’t-”

  “You should be dead!” She screamed, swinging the weapon in Namjoon’s direction. “You should all be dead! I’ll kill each and every one of you, Jungkook is mine!”

  Namjoon caught movement out of the corner of his eye and within a split second something tackled Kyung-soon to the ground, knocking the scalpel out of her hand and pulling Jimin out of her hold. Namjoon rushed forward and slid down to his knees on the gravel to gather Jimin in his arms and lead him quickly to Jungkook, who was openly crying, clutching Jimin so hard and mumbling incoherent things to him like he would disappear.

  Spinning on his heels Namjoon saw Hoseok pinning Kyung-soon to the ground. Hoseok’s eyes were clouded over, a frown plastered on his face as he grit his teeth, the embodiment of hate. Namjoon had never been scared of one of his friends, and he was never prepared to be either. He was so paralyzed with dread that it took him a second to process the choking sound from beneath his friend.

  Hoseok’s hands were wrapped around Kyung-soon’s neck, squeezing the life out of her as she wiggled and clawed in his grasp.

  “How do you like it? How do you like being afraid, fearing for your life? Huh?” Her eyes bugged out as she wheezed, but he ignored her, being completely immune to pity. “You will never hurt us again. You will never touch him again.”

  “Hobi!” Namjoon ran to him and started prying at his fingers. “You need to let go!” He didn’t budge. “Hoseok, let go of her, you’re going to kill her!”

  “Good,” he seethed, low, uncaring.

  “Hyung,” Namjoon turned to see Jungkook approach with Jimin behind him. Even further behind them Namjoon could see the flashing of red and blue lights, no doubt a result of the noise they had been causing.

  “Hyung you can’t,” Jungkook continued, seeming to have an effect on Hoseok, whose face coiled in at the sound of the youngest’s voice. “You’re not like her.” He came up and carefully took Hoseok by the wrists to lift them off of his stalker. Hoseok looked up at him, allowing his obstructed fists to loosen more and more the longer he stared at Jungkook’s soft features. The tear tracks down his face, the swollen, red eyes from far to much suffering. Jungkook needed him. And he wasn’t ‘him’ anymore if he did this.

  The two stood up, not paying attention to the gasps of air coming from below, and held onto each others sleeves as they stepped away and back towards their awaiting friends. Namjoon was putting pressure on Jimin’s cut with a torn off piece of fabric, securely pressing him into his side with and arm around his shoulder. When Hoseok and Jungkook got closer, Namjoon motioned for Jimin to replace his hold and went to Hoseok, turning him away from Jungkook to look him over. Hoseok wouldn’t meet his eyes.

  “I’m sorry Joon-” and before he could say anything else he was pulled into Namjoon’s warm embrace.

  “Are you..?” Hoseok hesitated a moment before wrapping his arms around his leader’s waist and pushing his cheek into his shoulder.

  “Yeah…” And he was. Even with the question hanging in the air, Namjoon could feel Hoseok coming back to his normal self with every passing second. Just by holding him. Just by feeling him. Just from knowing who he really was.

  “Hyungs.” They broke apart to see Jimin pointing at the lights closing in on the motel, and Namjoon sucked in a quivering breath. It was over. It was really over. And for the first time in a long time they all huddled in circle, smiling, breathing each other in. They were safe, they were saved.

  It was over.

  “No…”

  Namjoon felt the air being sucked out of his body at the sound of that menacing voice. They all faced Kyung-soon, still at a distance, as she swayed on her feet, chin lowered, expression dark. Namjoon put his arm out to shield them, as through she would suddenly lurch at them.

  “The police are coming,” he called out to her.

  She let out what sounded like a gruffy chuckle before taking a step forward. The boys took a step back.

  “Don’t make this hard, please,” Namjoon continued.

  “Oh,” she stopped, a blank look overtaking her face, “I won’t.”

  Namjoon watched in horror as she held up the scalpel, once again in her possession, and brought it to her wrist. He barely had enough time to turn away and grab Jungkook, who began screaming at the sight. He pushed the maknae’s head to his chest as she spoke.

  “I did it all for you bunny. Everything was for you.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 24

  It hurt. Everything hurt.

  It hurt to breathe. It hurt to move. It all just… hurt.

  “Yoon… gi…”

  The noise sounded so far away, muggy. He tried to open his eyes, but they were too heavy. Everything was too heavy. He felt like he was floating yet being weighed down, and it all still hurt. He just wanted everything to go black again, he just wanted to fade back out.

  “Yoon… gi… your… eyes… come on… open… eyes…”

Ugggh, be quiet, he inwardly scowled, my head is killing me. His body involuntarily shivered, and he wondered why it was so cold. But was it cold? He couldn’t really tell. Was he dead? He was pretty sure he wasn’t dead. You don’t think when you’re dead right?

  “Yoongi…”

  The voice was louder now, and he grimaced. The muscles in his face spasmed as if he hadn’t used them in years, as though he had fallen asleep eons ago or had just been resurrected from his previous life but it was his first time using this body.

  “That’s right Yoon… open your…”

  His eyelids twitched and he regretted the sliver of dim light let in, a high pitched whine emitting from deep in his throat that he was certain only a dog would be able to hear, but it was so faint, so wispy that he was surprised he had heard it himself. He felt so broken, so unlike himself. It was then he noticed the warmth radiating from one part of his body. It was comforting, solid, and the only thing grounding him in his lucid state.

  “Try again Yoongs,” the warmth tightened, “you can do it. I want to see you.” He wanted to see them too. He really did.

  Sickeningly slow his eyelids worked again to try and pry themselves up. The world was blurry in his half-lidded field of vision, the room dark but he could tell it was a sterile white. He dipped his lids a back down before attempting to bring them up again, a little further this time. His brain finally managed to piece things together. The warmth was a hand circling his own, holding it gingerly yet with strength, and the owner of it smiled at him with a degree of sadness hidden behind his eyes.

  “Hyung,” he wheezed out, disturbed by how airy and weak his voice was, trapped within the oxygen mask encompassing his mouth and nose. The words scraped against his throat like sandpaper on gravel and he cringed at the wave of pain it caused. Jin’s face dropped when he saw Yoongi try to speak.

  “It’s okay, you’re in the hospital,” Jin offered, trying to fill in some of the blanks that were inevitably in Yoongi’s memory. Of course he was in the hospital, he got that much. “Yoongi how much do you remember?” Jin asked carefully. Yoongi fixed his gaze on the ceiling, brow furrowed. He was in the hospital. He clearly needed help breathing, or at least needed clean air.

  He could recall going back to the apartment, finding things for Jimin. He had gone to his room. He had heard a noise. He had… he had found their bodyguard. He had looked for Tae-

  Tae.

  Taehyung.

  His body found a mind of it’s own as it forced itself up despite the agony that coursed through Yoongi’s body. Jin easily pushed him back down, his protests getting lost in the flurry of coughs and wheezes.

  “T-Tae-” he pushed out, wondering if Jin even heard him.

  “He’s over there Yoongi, he’s right over there.” Yoongi looked over to see the end of a bed sticking out from behind a drawn curtain. “He’s resting, you should be too.” Yoongi shifted his tired eyes back to his hyung and shook his head a fraction of an inch, staring with a gaze he hoped would push Jin to tell him more.

What happened?

  Jin sighed and spoke in a small voice, casting his head down. “They brought you both in around the same time. Tae was ahead by a few minutes, but you weren’t in great shape either.” He met Yoongi’s eyes. “There was a fire. Bitch held up to her promises.” He gave a sad chuckle before his frown deepened. “They had to work quickly on you because your oxygen levels were so low. They were worried the damage would be… extensive. Like, coma extensive. But Namjoon found you, and thank God, because that’s probably the only reason you’re still-” he choked, emotions getting the better of him. But Yoongi took a minute to soak in this information.

  A fire. He was in a fire. Namjoon was there? Namjoon wasn’t there. That was wrong, Namjoon wasn’t there. He scanned the room. Namjoon wasn’t there. Namjoon wasn’t…

  Where was Namjoon?

  His heartbeat picked up on his monitor and Jin panicked, hitting the call button for the nurse. “Yoongi?! Yoongi, calm down, he’s okay, everyone is okay.” He winced at the last phrase, knowing very well the two people with him were not okay.

  A nurse came into the room and rushed to his bedside. “Everything alright Mr. Kim?” she asked, assessing Yoongi’s vitals, seeing his quick breathing. Before Jin answered she leans down and tries to comfort Yoongi, “It’s alright Mr. Min, I’m going to give you something to calm you down okay? It’ll make you feel better.” She injected a liquid into his IV line and waited until his breaths even out and his heart rate slowed back down to normal, his eyes slipping closed again from exhaustion. Jin buried his head in his hands. “Was he awake longer this time?” he heard the nurse ask.

  “...Yeah.”

  She hummed. “That’s good. He’s coming around then, that’s very good.” She offered him a smile. “He’ll be alright Mr. Kim.” He nodded at the floor as she left.

  He’ll be alright.

  They’ll be alright.

*^*^*

  It was hours before he heard anything.

  Detective Lee walked into the hospital room, guestering the eldest member of the crippled band to join him in the hallway. Jin’s body wracked with anxiety at leaving the other two alone, but he had to know about the others.

  “Well Mr. Kim,” the detective began as Jin closed the door, “they’re all here. They’re all safe.”

  Jin’s knees almost gave out and he sucked in a shuddering breath. “Oh thank God, thank God.”

  “You can go see them, they’re out in the lobby, but-” Jin stopped himself from taking off at the final word, “you need to know they’re shaken up. The woman, Song Kyung-soon, she… she’s been hospitalized.” Jin’s eyes widened.

  “What?” he questioned.

  The man hesitated. “She... tried to take her own life. In front of your friends.”

  Jin's jaw dropped. He couldn’t believe it. No way. Not after everything she did, everything she went through to get to Jungkook. It didn’t make sense.

  “Why?” The question was so quiet Jin was surprised Detective Lee could hear him.

  “There’s no clear reason but… she probably knew everything was stacked against her and couldn’t handle it. So she tried to take, um, drastic measures.” He sucked in a long breath. “I’m sorry.”

  Jin grit his teeth and bounced his head slightly. There was reason to feel relief, yet it didn’t come. She was caught after all, at the very least they wouldn’t be looking over their shoulders anymore and yet his stomach swirled with many emotions, none of them being the one he wished for more than anything.

  “I-I'll go see them.” Lee nodded and Jin took off to where the others were. He pushed through the automatic doors, the anticipation creating an immense pressure under his skin.

  “Hyung!”

  He turned to see the four of them scrunched together in the corner of the room. Namjoon was getting up and heading towards him, but Jin wasn’t going to waste a second. He ran to their leader, opening up his arms and engulfing him when they came together. Namjoon was being careful, trying not to hold him too tightly, but Jin didn’t care, the only remembrance of his abuse being a dull ache in his chest.

  “I’m sorry.” Namjoon’s voice was muffled against his shoulder, teary and regretful.

  Jin pulled him back to look him in the eye, holding him firmly by his arms. “I’m not going to say you weren’t wrong Joonie. I was so worried, no, I was scared out of my mind. But you’re all safe, how could I really be mad.” A sad smile pulled at his lips, and he tugged Namjoon in again. He only let go when he heard a shuffle next to them. Jin let go of Namjoon to wrap up Jimin in a similar hug.

  “I messed up hyung,” Jimin cried into his neck, and Jin squeezed him tighter. “I messed up so badly, I was so stupid.”

  “Jimin…” he murmured, planting a kiss on top of his head and placing his cheek in the same place. Jimin cried harder, little sobs wracking through him. “You’re not stupid Chim,” he breathed, “not at all. Though you really should get back to your room hmm? You had quite a night.”

  Jimin released a shaky breath and nodded. Jin gave him one last squeeze before releasing him and wiping away the tears on his cheeks and chin.

  “I’ll take him Jin-hyung.” Jin glanced up to see Hoseok standing there, refusing to meet his gaze.

  “Hobi?”

  “I said I’ll take him hyung.” Hoseok practically snapped and slung his arm around Jimin’s shoulders to lead him back to the awaiting nurses. Jin watched them until they vanished behind the doors, a sense of dread casting over him again.

What was going on?

  He turned back to Namjoon, ready to ask, when the youngest of their group, sitting in a chair, caught his eye and he held his breath.

  Jungkook. Their precious Jungkook. Their baby brother.

  His head was down, face not visible behind his dark bangs, as he stared at the floor. His knuckles were practically white, held together so tauntly to match the rest of his strained body. Jin’s face softened as he approached him and kneeled down, placing a hand on each of his knees.

  “Jungkook?” His voice cracked with the name and he thought he might fall apart. Jungkook turned away for a second before facing him again, lifting his head up slightly so Jin could see the tears dribbling off of his chin. “Kookie,” Jin couldn’t stand seeing him like this and he horribly thought for a moment that he wished that woman would’ve died for what did to them, died for all the pain and suffering she had put them through. But looking into the face of trauma itself he crumbled and held out his arms. Jungkook let out a sob and fell into his hyung’s lap, clinging to him and staining his shirt with a layer of tears and snot.

  “I did what you said hyung,” he cried, “I fought. I fought and she killed somebody hyung. It’s all my fault.”

  Jin felt a stab of guilt penetrate his gut when he heard that. It wasn’t his fault, nothing was. He shouldn’t be feeling this way for trying to get away, trying to save himself. It wasn’t fair, it just wasn’t.

  His arms tightened around Jungkook and he pressed his face into his hair, breathing him in. “It’s not Jungkook.”

  “It is!”

  “It’s not,” he repeated calmly. His fingers traced over Jungkook’s back, creating unconventional lines and shapes to try and soothe him. He pushed his lips to the side of Jungkook’s head and mumbled, “I know you want to blame yourself, but you can’t. You can’t shoulder the responsibility of what she did. It’s easy to do that, to think that way, but that’s not the truth.” Jungkook continued sobbing into his shoulder. He signed, turning his head, “I love you so much Kook.”

  “I-I love you to-oo hyu-hyung,” Jungkook looked up at him with his blotchy face and lifted his hand to gingerly ghost over Jin’s black eye, one of the many bruises adorning his face. “I’m s-sorry…”

  “I’m sorry too,” Jin whispered. I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you.

  Jungkook opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted when a nurse approached them. “Excuse, I’m sorry to bother you boys, but Mr. Min is requesting someone come to his and Mr. Kim’s room.” Jin winced, knowing how fragile Jungkook was at the minute, and he wasn’t even sure if their maknae knew about Yoongi and Taehyung’s conditions.

  “I want to see Yoongi-hyung,” Jungkook pleaded softly, yet his unyielding grip on Jin told another story.

  “We’ll all go together okay?” Namjoon spoke out. Jin had almost forgotten he was there. Jungkook nodded and reluctantly unlatched himself from the eldest. Jin began to stand up but felt a spike of pain run through his torso, causing him to falter a bit. Jungkook and Namjoon both reached out to steady him, waiting to move until the grimace on his face had faded.

  “Do you need a wheelchair hyung?” Jin shook his head. The walk wasn’t that far, if he could make it out he could back it back in. Looks like the now falling adrenaline had a hand in keeping the pain at bay. He just held the two in a firmer grip as they went to join the others.

Chapter Text

Chapter 25

  “Five deep lacerations to the abdomen…”

  “Surgery went well…”

  “Lucky to be alive…”

  Jungkook was startled awake when a hand landed gently on his shoulder. He glanced up to the sad smile of Namjoon who stood behind him as he sat in a chair sandwiched between Yoongi and Taehyung’s beds, the same way he had been for the past four days with periodic breaks.

  “Sorry, I didn’t know you were sleeping.”

  “Only on and off…” He knew some of what the doctors had said, mostly about Tae.

  Namjoon grimaced. “Yeah, it’s been… rough.”

  Jungkook was silent for a few moments before muttering so lowly, Namjoon wasn’t sure if he heard him right. “Are they going to be okay?”

  Namjoon wasn’t someone traditionally affectionate, but in that moment he wanted nothing more than to hold Jungkook and give him that comforting grip they both were looking for. He hesitated a second before opening his arms, hesitating once more before leaning down and hugging Jungkook from behind, wrapping his forearms across his chest and gripping opposite shoulders.

  “They’ll be okay Kook.” Namjoon planted his chin in the crook of Jungkook’s neck and heaved out a breath, trying to usher away the stress it held as well. He didn’t know if initiating physical contact was the best thing to do after what Jungkook had just gone through, but the younger folded against him and leaned into the gesture.

  Truth was, they both knew Yoongi would recover. He was doing better, fading in and out of sleep, consciousness starting to become the one that lasted longer, but he was quiet. At first Namjoon thought it was because of what he went through. He was worried it was wearing down Yoongi mentally, which how wouldn’t it. It was only the next day Namjoon found out the real reason. Yoongi was terrified of speaking because he didn’t want to hear his voice. He didn’t want to face the fact that it might be ruined. Because that would ruin Yoongi.

  Taehyung on the other hand, had yet to wake up. He was stable, stitched up as well as he could be, but the rest was dependent on him. The stab wounds Kyung-soon had inflicted had struck two major organs, his stomach and upper intestine. Even with his surgery successful it was a lot of recover from and put a horrible strain on his body. It was a miracle he made it as far as did.

  As for Kyung-soon herself, she was put on watch and was recovering from her self-inflicted wounds. The doctors weren’t worried, but Namjoon was. Jungkook was going to have to testify against her in court. They all were, since they were all victims in one way or another.

  A dark part of Namjoon’s mind almost wished she didn’t make it. The chances of that happening were slim since the authorities were right there to take her in, but he was tired of the grief she was giving his family. And that was an understatement if there ever was one. But they had to focus on one thing at a time, and she was definitely at the bottom of the priority list. Right now, it was about them.

  Namjoon rocked a little bit, squishing the side of his face to Jungkook’s. “They’ll be okay,” he repeated. An unexpected pressure crept up from behind him, and he realised it was Jimin, who had been cleared just the previous day. The cut on his neck was healing well and his memory was showing signs of improvement. That also meant nightmares. Jimin didn’t do well with the nightmares, but the others did their best to help him through them, especially Hoseok since they shared a room.

  Hoseok himself wasn’t doing so well. He mostly kept to himself, clinging to Jungkook and Jimin when he felt like it. Namjoon knew how he was feeling, but didn’t know how to help. Yoongi and Taehyung’s conditions didn’t only hindered the dancer’s mood and he would often root himself in the corner cushion of the couch in their hospital room during visits, watching from afar. Jin was in the dark, asking Namjoon about it once but getting a lame answer about Hoseok needing space and time to recover too. He scoffed at him, knowing it was more than that, but he knew if he wanted any real answers, he would have to ask Hoseok himself. He just… didn’t know how to approach that. Jin watched as Jimin curled up behind Namjoon, melting into his tall frame as they all worked at comforting each other. His heart warmed up and his throat constricted as he took in the touching scene. His eyes flickered to Hoseok for a split second, observing the distant look on his face as he looked at them, his mouth fixed in his wishbone frown and his knees pulled up to his chest where he let his hands flop over them.

  Jin could tell he was itching to join them but decided to hold himself back. He, on the other hand, didn’t resist giving into their cuddle line, placing himself behind Jimin and holding him comfortingly. He had to remember not to squeeze too tightly, his ribs were still mending and the pain from his bruises were no joke. He was thankful the swelling on his eye had gone down, but he still looked like he had been kicked to hell and back in the schoolyard. The others were always gentle with him, even more than he tended to be himself, but the medication the hospital had prescribed to him helped immensely. On days where he was feeling especially insecure, or was worried they might run into the press or fans he would have some makeup put on. But he knew he’d go through all of it again, or more, if it meant the rest of them were okay.

  He wished that was the case right now as he rested his cheek on the crown of Jimin’s head and glanced at Tae. The warmth he had felt a moment ago was swiftly replaced with a dip of dread. He wanted Taehyung to wake up just as badly as the rest of them did. Seeing him unmoving, void of any signs of life while hooked up to the surrounding machines… it was his definition of devastating. He couldn’t imagine how Namjoon had managed to tell Jungkook about his two hyungs.

  He closed his eyes as he swayed with them, feeling a bit silly because of how they must look when he heard the click of the door. Jin turned his head to see that Hoseok’s spot on the couch was vacant and he was wondering if he should go after him when a harsh cough caught his, and the rest of theirs, attention.

  “Was that Hope?” Yoongi croaked, pushing sleep out of his already scratchy throat.

  “Yeah,” Jin answered dumbly.

  “What’s wrong with him?” That was something Jin didn’t really have an answer for. He was sure Yoongi was frustrated, maybe even hurt. Hoseok was one of his best friends and he hardly came near him even when he was awake.

  Yoongi groaned and shifted up in bed. Carefully, he lowered the rail and swung his legs over the edge. “Hyung, what are you doing?!” Jimin yelped, running over to the other side to lift Yoongi’s legs back up. “You don’t have permission from the doctor yet!”

  “If you guys aren’t going to talk to him, I will.” Jin winced, knowing that Yoongi was trying to rest his voice as much as he could, praying that the roughness went away. He suddenly felt guilty. If this was something even Yoongi, the one who always gave space, thought was important enough to warrant a conversation, Jin should have been all over it yesterday.

  “I’ll talk to him Yoongi, just… just stay there okay?” He quickly left the room then took a deep breath. Guess now was just as good of a time as any. The hallway was empty, and frankly he couldn’t gauge onto where he thought Hoseok would go. He wandered around for a minute before he saw the silhouette of a familiar slender figure against a huge glass window that overlooked the parking lot.

  “Hobi?” Hoseok stiffened but didn’t turn around, just raised his chin slightly. Jin took that as a good enough sign to approach.

  He came up and stood next to him, looking at the sunset. It was beautiful, sharp neon pink, orange, and yellow that blended beautifully together close to the sun, a crisp blue and purple hue surrounding it as the perfect compliment. The sight was picturesque.

  “I love this time of the day,” Jin sighed out. “Seeing all of those vivid colors in the sky.”

  “Yeah…”

  “And the shadows on the ground can be pretty too,” he continued. “The patterns branches can make with the sun coming through them. And then the golden light around it? Perfect.” Jin wasn’t sure where he was going with his speech, but he ran with it anyway. “Everything the sun touches has so much light but it has to create a shadow. The bigger the object, the larger the shadow.”

  Beside him Hoseok snorted, “Thanks for the science lesson hyung.”

  “Well it’s kind of like that with our hearts right?” Hoseok didn’t answer. “The bigger the burden we bear, the larger of a shadow it casts on our hearts.” He turned his head towards his dongsaeng. “What’s causing your shadow Hobi?”

  The silence was deafening. They stood there, Jin looking at Hoseok, Hoseok looking out the window, until Jin caught Hoseok’s jaw going tight. He swallowed thickly then ducked his head, not wanting Jin to see.

  “Oh Hobi.” Jin wrapped his arms around him as he began to sob into his hands. His entire face flushed red and his fingers trembled as he hiccupped through his breakdown. Jin held him closer and pressed his face into Hoseok’s hair, giving him a kiss above his ear, a frequent sign of affection Hoseok himself often gave their younger members. It caused the dancer to unravel and finally cling to Jin, hanging his head on one of the elder’s broad shoulders. He tried sucking in some air to calm down, his breaths finally beginning to even out with the occasional hitch.

  “We’re worried about you,” Jin murmured. “Yoongi and I. He almost chased you out here.” He felt Hoseok go tense. “Relax, I would’ve strapped him to his bed before I let him come out of it.” He peeled Hoseok away from him and wiped away some of his tears with the back of his knuckles. “But we want to know what’s going on with you. Everyone seems to have some kind of a clue, but I’ve got nothing Hobi. I want your golden light back, I don’t want you to stay this way, miserable forever.”

  “I deserve to be,” Hoseok whispered.

  “But why? What happened?”

  “I… I almost killed her.”

  Jin’s eyes blew wide. Hoseok? Their sweet, caring, loving Hoseok?

  “What?” he puffed out.

  “I almost killed her hyung… I tried… I tried to choke her.”

  Stunned into silence, Jin tried to figure out what to say. No wonder Namjoon was letting him work things out on his own, how do you help someone get past these types of demons?

  He must have taken too long to respond because Hoseok suddenly pulled away, Jin frantically reaching out to him again and gaining a hold on his upper arms despite Hoseok’s pitiful struggle.

  “Hobi, shhh, Hobi it’s fine-”

  “It’s not fine!” Hoseok hissed, managing to yank one of his arms free, “I’m a monster! You weren’t there hyung, you didn’t see what I was like! Namjoon had to pull me off of her, and if he didn’t I-” he stopped, sucking in a vicious breath before trying to turn away, but Jin held fast and pulled him back into his embrace.

  “Jung Hoseok,” he started, feeling Hoseok shake, “You are one of the most amazing people I know. Regardless of what happened, you are still that amazing person.” He tightened his grip. “What you did? Hobi I… I can’t blame you. The fact that she’s still around, that she’s still in this building even with all the police, scares me. But she’s not coming back and… I can understand why you wanted to make sure of that.”

  “I’m no better than her-”

  “Stop.” Jin felt his own body go rigid at the implication. “Don’t you dare say that. Don’t you dare think that. It’s not true. The difference between you and her, the reason you will never be the same is that she did it out of malice. Selfishness. Pure evil. You wanted to protect.”

  “But I scared Namjoon,” Hoseok whispered. “I scared Jimin and Jungkook too, I-” he sucked in a jittery breath as slow tears tracked down his face. “What kind of hyung am I?”

  “A great one. The best, as much as I hate to admit it,” Jin felt a tiny surge of victory when he heard a soft, sad laugh. “You did what you were supposed to do. Hobi, you saved them. Never forget that you saved them.”

  A silence draped over them as they stood there and Jin knew Hoseok would have to let go first because he sure as hell wasn’t. A few minutes seemed like forever as Hoseok’s sobbing died down to sniffles, and he finally pulled back to look Jin in the face.

  “Thanks hyung.”

  Jin was about to reply when the squeak of skidding shoes caught both of their attentions. Namjoon stood there, face pink as he leaned over to place a hand on the wall and catch his breath.

  “I’ve been looking everywhere for you guys!” he puffed out, and the all too familiar feeling of fear snuck through Jin’s body before it was dismissed by the next few words.

  “Tae’s waking up!”

***

  Jungkook was drumming his fingers on the rail guard when he saw it. The twitch of fingers on his youngest hyung’s hand.

  At first he didn’t believe his eyes, thought maybe his mind was playing tricks on him, but then it happened again. Just the pointer and middle fingers, a quick flick.

  “Taehyungie?” His voice broke as he leaned closer. Tae looked the same as he did every day, face relaxed with no signs of life besides the slight fog created on his oxygen mask with every light breath.

  “JK?” Namjoon got up from his spot on the couch and walked over to the bed, followed quickly by Jimin who leaned over his shoulder. Yoongi’s head shot over too, but Jungkook’s gaze remained fixed on Taehyung. He couldn’t have imagined it.

  “He moved,” Jungkook breathed, “I swear he moved! Just a bit but…”

  His words were enough to convince the other three, to stay glued in their positions, watching their friend with bated breath.

  Suddenly Jimin gasped, but it wasn’t because of a finger twitch. Taehyung’s right eye cracked open before the left one tried to as well before both fell shut again. “Tae,” Jimin rushed to the other side of the bed, scooting past the chair to sit on the mattress instead and grasp Taehyung’s hand firmly. “Hey, you can wake up. It’s okay if you want to sleep, but try to show us you’re awake if you can hear me alright?”

  A beat passed. Nothing. Jungkook’s heart was starting to sink when Jimin smiled and let out a small laugh, bringing Tae’s hand up to his cheek. “That’s good TaeTae, I’ll take it!” Jungkook could feel Namjoon shift behind him, probably ready to ask what Jimin meant, but he let out a little laugh of relief himself. Jungkook looked back at Taehyung to see his eyebrows raised up into his forehead, not comically tall, but an obvious shift and Jungkook could feel his lips pulling into a smile when Tae’s eyes tried fluttering open again.

  Namjoon clapped Jungkook’s shoulder. “I’m going to go get Jin-hyung and Hobi!” Jungkook nodded without turning around. He just couldn’t pry his eyes away from Tae.

  A shaky breath caught his attention and Yoongi’s body suddenly popped into his vision. “Hyung!” Jimin yelped, jumping up but not getting far with his hand clamped with Taehyung’s.

  “Yoongi-hyung, what are you doing?!” Jungkook squeaked out when he finally registered that he could still talk.

  Yoongi ignored them both and, being careful with the IV lines, sat down on the bed to hesitantly rub up Taehyung’s arm. “Tae?” He whispered out, “Taehyung?” The singer’s eyes cracked open, staying half lidded as he stared at his hyung. “I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry I couldn’t… couldn’t do anything.” Tae looked like he wanted to say something but wasn’t able to. The message was all in his eyes though.

Please don’t blame yourself hyung.

  Taehyung’s weak hand slowly drifted up and Yoongi grabbed it before he put anymore strain on himself. There was a soft pulse of pressure from Tae’s hand and Yoongi let out a faint chuckle. “Guess that’s the only way you can communicate with us right now huh.” His tiny smile faded and a look of determination swept his features. “You’re going to be okay.”

  Not a moment later Jin, Hoseok, and Namjoon all flew into the room. Namjoon looked like he was going to double over and Hoseok’s face looked a little pink and puffy but they all crowded around Tae’s bed to offer their encouragement.

  “Look at you!” Jin beamed, patting his blanket covered leg, “You’ll be back to running around in no time!”

  “But don’t push yourself!” Hoseok added.

  “Yeah, rest for now okay?” Namjoon said with a furrowed brow.

  Jimin groaned, “You’re all overwhelming him!” He turned back to Tae with a beaming smile. “I’m going to take care of you TaeTae, with my help you’ll be back on your feet and out of this place in no time!”

  Jungkook huffed out air as he listened, face settling in a look of mild, playful annoyance as Yoongi interjected. “You’re all going to bother the shit out of him if you don’t back up a little bit.”

  “Says the one who’s closest!” Jin bit back.

  Yoongi scowled “I-’

  “Woah!”

  They all turned at the unexpected voice to see their very friendly regular nurse walk in seeming surprised. “Did I miss something or-” a slight gasp escaped her. “Mister Kim? Oh my gosh, Mister Kim you’re awake!” She smiled before shooing the others away to make room for her. “You’re all going to get him sick if you crowd around him like that! And Mister Min,” she eyed him, “if you leave that bed again I’m going to add another day to your sentence.”

  Yoongi crossed his arms and grumbled about being out soon and Hoseok smiled, sitting at the end of his bed making Yoongi glance at Jin with a trace of admiration. Clearly whatever he had done had already taken effect on Hoseok and everyone, with exception to Taehyung of course, noticed. Namjoon patted Jin on the back with a warm smile to Hobi before sinking down on the couch again where Jimin fidgeted as he fought the urge to jump on Tae’s bed again before the nurse left.

  Jungkook watched them all as affection blossomed in his chest. These were the moments that would help them heal. These were the times he could use to forget about every horrible thing that had happened these past few months. These were the memories he would use to try and replace the others that were tainted.

  And although it was difficult to accept, they needed to know they were okay. That Kyung-soon would go to trial and all of the boys would testify against her, but never have to see her again because they were tape interviewed. That the case would be cut and dry because all of the evidence stacked up against her. That she would confess while at the same time say she did nothing wrong. That she would get life in prison twice over.

  They needed to know that they would take care of themselves. Go to therapy, including physical therapy for Tae as he grew stronger every day during his recovery. That the mental scars hurt just as badly as the physical ones, but with each other they could get through it. That Yoongi would get his voice back but had to keep an inhaler, and that the sight of a flame made him flinch. Jimin wouldn’t be able to take baths anymore and avoided tubs altogether as his memory came back to him. Jin became paranoid and had to look over every lock on the doors and windows twice before he could turn in for the night. Taehyung would get phantom pains in his stomach when he pushed himself too hard and bothered his battle wounds. Hoseok would get moody and want to be alone for days at a time before he emerged once again as his bright self. Joon began to fuss over all of them and become over-protective when he perceived any type of threat, even if there wasn’t one.

  And Jungkook. Jungkook would have nightmares a lot. He would get clingy, needy and desperate to keep his hyungs as close as humanly possible when he randomly needed them. Certain things triggered him to have mild panic attacks, things that his therapist told him were subconsciously going to imprint the events in his mind, like the sound of tape ripping or a simple medical scalpel.

  Or the nickname “bunny”.

  They’d have their comeback. They’d be successful, more successful than they could have dreamed. The fans would multiply, and yes, some would not be as enjoyable to be around as others, but a majority of the time he’d love them. Adore them. Cherish them.

  And none of them ever, ever came close to being like her.

  As time went on they’d suffer less and less. The distance between them and that time would dull the pain, but it wouldn’t go away forever. They’d just learn to cope.

  But right here, right now in this hospital room he didn’t think about that. He didn’t think about the future for once. He’d live in the now, in this happy, relieving moment with his brothers.

  Because he knew they’d be okay.