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Toxic

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My relationship? It’s like being on a see-saw, only I’m always on the end hitting the ground.

The snow had stopped, leaving the small playground in the middle of the park dusted in white, only lit up by the glow of a flickering street lamp.

Flopping down on an equally snow-dusted bench, Min Yoongi sighed, unbothered by the cold, by the flurries of white that came up around him from the impact of his near-fall onto the surface. He wasn’t in much: sweatpants, sneakers on his bare feet, the ratty, old black hoodie that he swore was still warm, honest… It wasn’t a lot, but he was used to being cold 90% of the time, so perhaps that was why the lack of warmth didn’t really bother him. The silence around him would have been eerie, were it not so late. It was about 2:30 AM, he guessed; he had stopped looking at his phone's clock a while ago. He had just been walking around, tying to clear the mess from his head and his heart. For once, both were in agreement: his situation was toxic , more than any landfill in existence.

Jeon Jungkook, the maknae of his group of friends, had always seemed to be drawn to him. Through their teens and twenties, they were close friends, but it was when Yoongi turned 26 that they first kissed after a drunken night on the town. It really hadn't taken a long time for their relationship to become sexual, and though they agreed to no strings, the longer it went on, the more Yoongi fell in love. It wasn't hard; Jungkook had a smile that could melt his heart, a loving gaze that nearly hypnotized him, and on top of that, the musculature of a man in his prime, making it easy for him to push and pull Yoongi to his heart's content. In all honesty, Yoongi didn't mind that. He was usually so in control and had such a tight grasp on everything going on around him that he felt like he needed someone to force him to let go, to make him relax his grip. And Jungkook was that person.

Yoongi had no qualms about his sexuality; he had told his parents long ago he was bisexual, and that, paired with his musical aspirations, led to his rough youth in Daegu, where he clawed his way out of the town, into Seoul, to a successful music career, and then beyond. He poured his feelings into his lyrics, and it resonated with people. His insecurities, his anger, his passion were all front and center, surrounded by sick beats and rapped so quickly few wondered just how he managed to breathe. Yoongi was still that person, deep down, but now... He was 30.

Jungkook was 27 - and married.

He wasn’t married to Yoongi.

And that should have been toxic enough, a red flag - but it wasn’t.

While Yoongi had come out of the closet and burned it to the ground, Jungkook was still so deep in it that he was in Narnia (if he had been in it at all). His singing career had taken off, gotten all the right attention, including him catching the eye of a certain talented actress. It didn't take long for the rumors to start, the headlines to claim that South Korea's golden voice had found his match. Yoongi still remembered the argument, days after Jungkook turned 25, when Jungkook admitted that he was dating the woman, how Jungkook insisted it was just for appearances and that his true love was for Yoongi. He punctuated the words with kisses. Touches. All the things that made Yoongi's resolve crumble into dust. "Just a little longer." He had whispered the words into Yoongi's ears, and Yoongi believed him.

Like a fool.

It just kept going, for months, then years. Nights where Jungkook would show up at his door, smirking after knocking like he knew Yoongi would let him in, because of course he did. It was a slow-acting poison, the poison of promises, of dreams, of longing that Yoongi had. He was in love. Yoongi had told himself over and over that Jungkook would find his strength, through love, through something . Find the courage to come out and admit what Yoongi had admitted years ago, that he could, and did, love another man.

But he didn't.

The night Yoongi had heard Jungkook had gotten married, he had gotten absolutely shit-faced, so much so that Namjoon, his best friend, had to fireman carry him out of the bar once last call rolled around. Of course, he had the worst hangover of his life the next morning, but even that pain paled in comparison to the pain in his heart. Cliche as fuck, but also absolute truth. Namjoon (having carried Yoongi to his and Jin's place due to Yoongi forgetting the key to his own apartment) had told him what went down, and said Jungkook wasn't fucking worth it. Jin, being the kind, warm soul that he was, made Yoongi a strong pot of coffee, served him breakfast, and gave him some advice: "Suck the poison out of your life." Jin was no fool, and though the words hit home, they just didn’t sink in fully then. Some small part of Yoongi was still crying and hoping Jungkook would love him.

In truth, Namjoon and Jin had the most stable relationship Yoongi had ever witnessed. It wasn't perfect, but it was damn close. Yoongi wanted that stability, that safety, that sense of home .

Jungkook could have given him that - but he didn't. He had given that to someone else. And yet he still wanted to have sex with Yoongi, contacting him two days after returning from his honeymoon.

Yoongi had asked Jungkook why he wanted to continue sleeping together, the last time Jungkook weaseled his way into his apartment, four days ago. Jungkook's answer: "We need each other." Yoongi knew it was a lie, knew it with every fiber of his being. Toxic, toxic , toxic . He had been poisoned, but all poisons had an antidote.

Yoongi’s came in the form of an epiphany: Jungkook didn’t love him. After that realization, the sex that night, for the first time, wasn't thrilling. Wasn't enjoyable. Yoongi was miserable, but he faked his moans and cries, if only to get Jungkook out as quickly as possible. And once Jungkook left, once he thought Yoongi was asleep, Yoongi sat up, and once he heard Jungkook lock the door behind him... he cried. More than cry, he bawled, curling his knees to his chest while ignoring the pain lancing his backside. The truth, while so hard to accept, had finally sunk into Yoongi’s brain. However, that sickening moment also led him to another truth, that he had had enough of not being enough.

Yoongi was being used, plain and simple. He had been used for years. Maybe Jungkook hadn't intended that at first, was just trying to sort out his sexuality, but then society, his family, his career... something got to him. The maknae had always been greedy, always wanted everything. But spoiled children had to grow up eventually. They had to learn they couldn't always get everything they wanted.

Yoongi sniffled as fresh tears stung his eyes, but he wiped them away before they could fall. He wanted to be happy. He deserved to be happy. It was simple, so simple, and yet he had failed to see it until recently. He had bumped into an old friend, Kim Taehyung, a couple of nights ago while at an event, and had exchanged numbers with him after a long evening of talking and catching up. It hadn't even ended at the event, the pair actually going to a 24-hour diner to talk more over coffee. Yoongi had felt himself smile, something he never did while with Jungkook these days. He even laughed a tiny bit. He had needed that night, after all the talk, and Jin's words had finally sunk in fully. Now, and only now, did Yoongi feel the courage, the hope, that let him do what he needed to do.

He pulled out his phone, squinting a little at the harsh blue light that stung his retinas. He opened his text messages, the first being from (who else?) Jungkook, half an hour ago:

See you tonight. ;)

Yoongi pressed his lips together in a firm line, thumb hovering over the three tiny dots on the upper edge of the screen. Thoughts fluttered in his tired, emotionally exhausted brain.

Toxic.

Jungkook is toxic.

Suck the fucking poison out of your life, Min Yoongi.

Finally, he pressed down, then tapped ' Delete Conversation '. In a blip, it was gone. Words of lies and temptation and empty promise becoming nothing but ether (or, at least, mangled data in the cloud). Feeling emboldened, he opened his contacts, scrolling till he found Jungkook's number, scrolling down the details. He tapped the ' Block Number ' option.

The warning came up: Blocking this number will also delete the contact. Confirm?

Yoongi inhaled deeply, and then tapped ‘ Confirm ’.

Number blocked. Contact deleted.

Yoongi blinked some as he tapped ' OK ', lowering the phone as he looked up at the sky. "I'm getting off this see-saw without you..." He murmured the words to the song that put him on the map as a few slow-falling snowflakes began to float down from the sky, landing on his dark hair and eyelashes. He felt... free. Not totally; he knew there would be a call from a different number in a couple of days, a demand to know why the younger man was being ghosted. He was still staying with Jin and Namjoon, who happily let him crash while his new locks were being installed - locks Jungkook didn't have a key to. The pair being nearby would give Yoongi the courage to say the only thing he wanted to say to Jungkook, when the younger man finally tracked him down in person: goodbye .

Standing and putting his phone back into his pocket, Yoongi began to head back, his boots crunching in the snow. He thought about what he'd do tomorrow; probably hole himself up in his studio and pour out any remaining toxicity onto a page or two (or ten) of lyrics. But maybe he'd send a text to Taehyung.

Nothing fancy, or full of promise.

Nothing flirty, or too friendly.

Just a simple ' hello .'

Yoongi liked the sound of that, and he smiled as he kept walking, ready to get scolded by Jin as he walked in at 3 AM with rosy cheeks and not a scarf in sight.

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AUTHOR'S NOTE:

Wrote this for a contest that ended up getting cancelled, so I figured I'd share it here. It's refreshing, to not be writing porn (or allusions to porn) for a change.