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The Stigma in the Wings

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BOY MEETS EVIL

 

Taehyung knew many things.

He knew that he never asked for his Ascension and that he decided to maintain the black color of his wings in a rebellious act, against what had been done against his will. He knew why Seokjin's rank was lower than his and he knew too that his brother was happy with his duty as librarian protecting the sacred books.

“"He's beautiful Taehyungie! The way he speaks and he knows so many things! I can't stop looking at his dimples when he smile!".”

Taehyung knew Seokjin’s Ascension had given him the opportunity to meet Namjoon, Citadel's kind gardener. He knew with precision the amount of days his brother was missing and he knew too that he misses him every day, that he needed him as much like the air he breathed, and that he'd never seen Namjoon so devastated as in those days.

“"How things going with Yoongi hyung?"

"Stays distant, as always"

"He loves you, Chim. More than anything in the world. I know that"

"He should prove it to me, then...".”

Taehyung knew in Earth things were different from the Citadel. Therefore, he knew that Yoongi's deep and infinite love for Jimin had been the cause that the elder wanted to finish everything without even trying first. He knew that for that mistake, his best friend had lost his sight, and his other friend would deal with guilt for the rest of his life. Taehyung knew that he couldn't do anything about it, until they didn't dare to take the first step, but he keeps trying unite them hoping someday they could be happy together. 

“"You shouldn't defend me! Look how you've ended! It´s supposed that you shouldn't be hurt because of me, Tae!"

"It's nothing hyung. This will heal in a blink. Everything’s fine now that you’re ok"

"Thank you"

Taehyung had felt his friend's warm hand over his and he tried that the emotions that had went through him, weren't so obvious in his blushing face".

Taehyung knew that Hoseok had always taken care of his little and badly sick brother. He knew that he exchanged the prays he hunted in the market for Jungkook's medicine, a disgusting and green liquid he’d to drink every day, and for that he woke up at dawn and he didn't go back home until he'd got it. He knew that he‘d do everything to save his brother's life, because he was the only thing he had. He knew that he loved his bow and arrows. He knew that he loved the river, because he always said that submerging himself in its waters gave him peace. And he knew that he was the love of his existence. His soulmate.  

“"Hyung, what do you think about angels?"

"I don't believe in them, Tae. I've never had their help every time I begged for it, so they don't mean anything to me"

"But there must be something..."

"I don't want to talk about it, Taehyung!".”

Taehyung knew Hoseok hated angels as much as Jungkook's medicine time. He didn't blame him, he questioned himself Citadel's actions, thinking about leaving more than once. Fall and never come back, but as a Guardian that would be risky and he had a lot to lose yet. Taehyung knew that Hoseok was too beautiful for his sanity. He knew that his lips formed a triangle shape when he disliked something or made him upset. He knew he put the well-being of others before his own and that he had a huge heart. He knew he made little noises when he was happy or excited, and that his gentle voice was sweet as honey.

“"What?"

"Nothing, it's your smile. When you smile your lips form a heart shape and I think it's beautiful"

"Tae! You can't say those words so freely!"

"But it's the truth!"

"Sometimes people don't want to know it"

"Your blush says otherwise"

"TAE!".”

He knew he'd never seen before a smile as beautiful and radiant as his. He knew that his laugh spread a tickling and contagious sensation under his skin every time he heard it, and that he’d never be able to forget his sparkling and expressive eyes. Taehyung knew that to have appeared before him as a human to be able to protect him had been a mistake and that everything would end when Hoseok knew the truth. He knew as a Guardian he couldn't fall in love, but he couldn't help it. He had Hoseok under his skin, he gave every breath for him, he had him engraved in his being, his heart throbbed to the beat of his laugh, and his stomach flipped each time his bright and joyful eyes looked back at him. He knew too that he never would be happy by his side in this life, and he kept trying to delay as much as possible the moment he’d lose him forever. He also knew there wasn't much he could do for Jungkook's health even if he kept trying to help him.

Taehyung knew that he wasn't doing things well, or at least what was expected of him, but he wouldn't ask for his wish and wouldn't do the Ascension when he had things to solve first and for which he was willing to Fall, such as finding his brother and save Hoseok's life who began to bleed in his arms.

 

 

BEGIN

 

“"Look how many there are, hyung!" exclaimed Jungkook with his marvelous eyes in the night sky. It wasn't necessary to see his brother to know how amazement and happiness looked in his face, but Hoseok had never seen them in Taehyung's beautiful face and he knew, under the rain of stars that he'd chosen the perfect moment. He discovered that night, that for him, Taehyung was a beautiful shooting star. A giant sphere of light and warm, with his own brightness and an irresistible magnetism, soothing the pains of his soul, accompanying his solitary spirit, understanding him without asking for explanations, accepting him. Hoseok didn't care missing most of the rain of stars, since the sight of happiness in Taehyung's face had been absolutely worth it.”

 

"How did you find him if you weren't here?", asked Jimin.

Before the terror and despair that assailed him when he found Hoseok wounded on the banks of the river in middle of the forest, the first thing Taehyung had thought was taking him to his best friend's house.

"Through the Pond", answered Taehyung with tense voice, and his best friend's colorless eyes wide open. All Guardians had a Pond, a large black and square container filled with water, from where they observed what was happening on Earth, making it easier for them to watch their proteges.

"You Descended?", asked Jimin unable to hide the astonishment and worry in his voice, remembering that the Consulate had forbidden him to do so until he asked for his wish. "Don't even think about lying to me", he said before his friend's silence. "Maybe I'm incapable to see your face, but your heart is still as transparent as it always has, TaeTae", he said tenderly with his soft voice and he felt his chest contract with force before his best friend's kindness. "He saw you?", asked worried and the angel’s distressing silence answered everything he needed to know. 

"I'm worried about Jungkook. Probably he's waiting for him", said Taehyung avoiding the subject and Jimin didn't press anymore.

"Don't worry, I'll send Yoongi hyung to see how he is", said Jimin softly with a reassuring smile on his face.  "There's nothing I can do to save Hobi hyung, but I know someone who can", said worrying about the elder.

"Do you trust him?", asked Taehyung with apprehension and a lump in his throat.

"Yes, he has helped me a lot with the pain of my eyes", Jimin answered.

 

To say that Taehyung was astonished to see his brother open the tall, worn gates of the big house on the hill, would be an euphemism. He felt as if all the air he hadn't realized he was holding back for the last few years suddenly entered his being, allowing him to breathe again, as he watched his brother taking Hoseok in his arms and carrying him to the room to heal him. The contained anguish stirred intensely in his chest and he thought how happy Namjoon hyung would be to know that he was alive, while his eyes filled with tears, a mixture of joy, fear, frustration and sadness. He didn't have time to process anything since he had force his numb body to move at the request of: "Taehyungie help me here!".

 

 

BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS

 

“"Jungkookie will miss you", had said Hoseok with sadness in his voice. They were in the forest on the banks of the river where Hoseok had his legs submerged in the crystal-clear water and played with his hands on it.

"Only Jungkookie, hyung?", Taehyung provoked him, and as an answer the other's hands hovered over his wrists and pulled him into the water with him. Hoseok didn't release him at any time while they were underwater nor when they emerged again, and he pulled him against his chest, holding him by the waist with one hand while with the other he ran his blond and wet hair from his face in a gentle caress.

"Don't take long, please", he asked in a whisper a few inches from his face and Tae watched a fleeting glint that he'd never seen before in his beautiful eyes.

"Say it", he ordered resisting the powerful desire to surround him in an eternal embrace, without anything or anyone being able to separate them, not even destiny.

"I'll miss you, my shooting star", Hoseok whispered with a slight blush on his cheeks. With a satisfied boxy smile, Taehyung gently took the face of his beloved protege and kissed his forehead with all the love that he professed him.”

 

Taehyung had his eyes fixed in Seokjin's Pond. Hoseok was resting and healing in the next room, and he didn't notice he was silently crying, with his still bloody hands clinging to the edge of the square container, until Jin stopped by his side and gently dried his face while kissing his temple.

"He really must be the right one to have you in this state", the older one whispered in his ear while caressing his hair and he tried to suppress the sobs by biting his bottom lip.

"Remember Namjoon-ah?", asked Seokjin when Tae was calmer at his side.

"You Fell for him, didn't you?", Taehyung asked closing his eyes and shaking his head, while all the missing pieces were suddenly embedded. His brother wrapped his shoulders, moving him closer to him, and Taehyung hid his face at the junction of the older man's neck and shoulder, while relaxing in the familiar touch. 

"They should never have wasted their great intellect in the maintenance of the gardens, even if he liked nature, so I allowed him to visit me in the library. He was happy between books, and I enjoyed his company. He'd already expressed his interest in the forbidden section, but I never thought he would dare to break the rules...", Jin said thoughtfully and far away. "He shouldn't be there anyway, so I took the blame for him since I wasn't allowed to enter that section either. The Consulate summoned me, telling me how disappointed they were of me, telling me that they would rip my wings and that I would Fall to Earth. My wish was to be close to my friends again and that nothing would happen to Namjoon in my absence. They watch me through the Pond and though it's strange, it gives me security and tranquility to have something from home with me", he murmured. Taehyung knew that the difference between them was there. While Seokjin had always been at ease in the Citadel, Taehyung had never felt it home. His home would always be where Hoseok was. While Seokjin wished to return, Taehyung couldn't wait to free himself and flee from there. They both wanted to be in different places because of the people they loved. 

"Was it painful?", he asked helplessly.

"A little, but you end up getting used to it", the older answered honestly, bringing him closer to his body when he noticed his sadness.

When they returned to the room to verify that Hoseok was well, Taehyung sighed in relief when he noticed color again on his face, along with a thin layer of sweat.

"It is a good signal. It means that the fever is coming down and he’ll soon wake up", said his brother, smiling kindly.

 

 

LIE

 

When Yoongi said Jungkook had refused to drink his medicine, Taehyung knew that what he'd tried to avoid was finally happening: Jungkook must Ascend as soon as possible.

Taehyung discovered in that moment, that the Consulate had granted him the protection of Hoseok for the sole purpose that he could perform Jungkook's Ascension when the right time came, without thinking that he’d fall in love with the human. Taehyung felt stupid for having believed that the Celestial Citadel would be different to any other organization, and he swore that he’d retrieve all the misfortunes that had happened since he'd received his wings. The price would be very high, but he was willing to pay it, if it would ensure the happiness of all his loved ones.

Hoseok didn't expect that, after manifesting his hatred towards the angels, Taehyung would confess him his true nature, but even so the lie hurt too much for him to be understanding about it when he woke up, and the first thing he saw was him. Little did he know that he would regret it for the rest of his life. 

Taehyung noticed how his friend looked at him with his intense gaze searching for his wings and an intense pain settled in his chest to notice the mixture of anger and disappointment in his eyes as he looked away unable to look him in the eyes.  

"It was the only way I could be close to you, to protect you and for you to not hate me for what I am. I never asked for the wings and I know you wouldn't have given me a chance if you’d known that I had them. And if there's something that I don't regret at all, was to meet you", Taehyung said with his eyes fixed on the young man who wasn't yet looking at him. "I don't think that changes the perspective you have of me and I don't try to do it either, but I owed you the truth. I love you as I never loved anyone, you are my home, having lied to you was one of the most atrocious mistakes I’ve made in my life, I will ensure your well-being for what remains of your life, and you will not have to see me again, ever. I know the damage I have caused you and you have no idea how sorry I am, but I needed to tell you this before leaving", he said, trying not to let his voice break at the thought of what he was about to do.

"Go away", Hoseok asked faintly, without looking him in the eyes and Taehyung obeyed in silence.

"I hope you can forgive me one day", he said with deep sadness in his eyes and broken voice before disappearing through the door. Hoseok felt an unpleasant weight settle on his stomach, anticipating something bad, but when he tried to call him, his voice didn't reach his lips and silence took over the room where the sound of his frightened heart was the only thing that could be heard.

Soon he understood the words the angel had told him before he left.

Taehyung disappeared from his life as he'd promised, and then Jungkook Ascended.

 

 

FIRST LOVE

 

""Do you know why you couldn't get these in the market with my medicine?", Jungkook had asked pointing to the blue lollipop he had in his hand, when he appeared one afternoon in front of him in his old room with his new angelic appearance. "Because Tae brought them especially from the Citadel. He also tried to save me as much as you did, hyung", he'd commented softly and a smile full of tenderness on his lips. "My Ascension was inevitable and I'm grateful that it was him who did it. He personally took care that I could visit you as many times as I wanted and that I was the new one in charge of protecting you, as much as you had done with me. He really loves you, hyung. Everything he's done, has done it for you, although you never made his task simple"." 

 

Seokjin watched with confusion his little brother's figure, standing in the middle of the great hall of the Citadel, dressed completely in black, stripped of the splendor of his beautiful wings that he now carried on his back, and felt his heart break into a thousand pieces. 

"I did what I had to do, hyung", Tae answered the mute question in Jin's big and anguished eyes, who swallowed hard and took his little brother's face firmly with both hands as if to make him come to his senses. "This has always been your home, not mine. Your place is next to Namjoonie hyung, you must be with him. He's waiting for you, eager to see you again", he smiled softly and Seokjin felt a cold hand squeeze his heart. "Now you can be together forever, Jungkook will be able to see Hobi hyung as many times as he wants, and Yoongi and Jimin will always be safe, although I couldn't assure their happiness. I've made sure of everything, the Consulate owed me several favors, and this time they'll keep their word, you shouldn't worry".

"What have you done Taehyung?!", Jin exclaimed with broken voice, watching him with bewilderment and despair.

"It’s okay, that's what I deserved for lying to him, for pulling his brother off his side when he was all he had in his life. I did nothing but bring suffering to his existence", Taehyung responded looking away.

"It wasn't your fault! For heaven's sake, he loves you Taehyung! I have seen his heart while I healed his wounds. He's your soulmate! You just have to give him time", Jin insisted desperately, knowing that Taehyung was too stubborn for his own good.

"I don't have time, hyung! For Guardians, Fall isn't the same as for you, I’ll just...", he stopped abruptly noticing the terror on his brother's face.

"What have you done Taehyung?!", Seokjin exclaimed with fear and worry, fearing the worst, and got no response from his brother.

"Maybe in another life hyung... This one is already over for me. Everything has a price and I'm paying for it with pleasure because I made sure that everything is fine, before I go", concluded with a soft smile and Jin couldn't suppress a deep sob, while he felt his little brother was slipping between his hands. "Be happy hyung, and take care of the guys, please", he asked with a serene smile before Falling.

 

Hoseok desperately searched for Taehyung to tell him that he loved him deeply and he'd forgiven him the moment he'd crossed the door, but Taehyung never showed up. Maybe they'd never been destined after all as he has always felt, and hope had created something monstrous in him by believing that yes.

He looked for him in his house, but he didn't find him there. Yoongi only knew about Seokjin's well-being with his new wings and his happiness next to Namjoon in the Citadel. He sensed that Jimin knew, but it was clear that the young man wouldn't betray his sacred bond with Taehyung to inform him of his whereabouts. He knew he was lost when even Jungkook “couldn't tell" him anything.

Hoseok never found Taehyung again.

At least not, in this life...  

 

 

AWAKE/REFLECTION

 

Hundreds of years later… in another life.

 

Taehyung's fascination with art wasn't a novelty. Seokjin would have thought it was temporary if his little brother hadn't insisted on experiencing that artistic inclination every time the inspiration seemed to possess him, and Jimin hadn't commissioned him to make such a significant painting to give Yoongi in their anniversary. 

Namjoon had tried to explain to him that the deep desires to paint, which arose at unexpected times, perhaps were due to a distant past that wanted to return to him, trying to find answers.   

And it was thanks to his brother-in-law that he ended up visiting the art exhibition called "WINGS: Boy Meets Evil", taking advantage of the fact that he'd to pick up Jungkook who worked there, and hoping to find possible answers to the emptiness he'd always felt inside.

It wasn't a novelty either, that Taehyung had always felt out of place and misunderstood since he had any memories. He'd the wonderful company of an amazing brother and very good friends who'd always been there for him, but it had never been enough. Something was missing. He would wake up in the morning and go to bed at night feeling a deep and cold emptiness inside him, that couldn't be filled, feeling that it would take him another life to find that missing piece.

He knew that they're late for Yoongi and Jimin's engagement party, and that his brother would reprimand him for it, but this time it wasn't his fault but Jungkook's, for not being ready in time. But little did he care for the maknae’s unpunctuality when he found pieces and images that were familiar. Images with which he'd always dreamed, that had been part of him even before he learned to speak.

How was it possible that a person he'd never met seemed to share his same memories? It seemed as if they'd had a common past without even knowing each other. But there was something in particular that caught his attention as he waited for his dongsaeng in that elegant marble gallery with Greek reminiscences and a large dome, causing the thin line between past and present to suddenly fade in his mind.

In the middle of the central room, just below the crystalline dome and on a pedestal, was the immense sculpture of a kneeling angel, with its black wings outstretched, as if desperately asking for mercy. At the foot of the piece a small sign read: "To my shooting star. I have already forgiven you and I hope to meet you again".   

Suddenly his mind became a tangle of images and situations he didn't remember having lived, but with emotions so personal and strong that there was no way they didn't belong to him. The sculpture was made in his image and likeness, was too similar to him to be someone else. With everything he'd just remembered, it was impossible that the black-winged angel wasn't him.

The push of a person who passed by him completely destabilized him, and he would have fallen to the marble floor too submerged in his memories, if someone arms hadn't held him firmly, holding him and moving him closer to the warmth of a body that it seemed to perfectly fit to his. In the unconsciousness to hold onto what was saving him from the fall, Tae clung to the young man who surrounded him with his arms as if his life depend on it and a strong electric current ran through him from head to toe as he raised his gaze and watched bewildered. High cheekbones, reddish hair, a curved and upturned nose, eyes so joyful and bright that they seemed to contain the intensity of the sun, and pleasant lips in heart's shape. Tae lost his breath at such comfort and familiarity that his lips automatically moved without him having time to stop his voice, silent for too long.

"Hoseok", he said wide-eyed and noticed how the coherent part of the young man, the same one which had told him that this was impossible, tried to anchor him to logic, but his bright and intense eyes remained fixed on him.

"Tae...", Hoseok whispered observing him as if it was the first time he did it, but with the softness and tenderness with which he'd always done in the past.

With a lump in his throat and not being too aware of the reactions his body was giving to contact with the not so unknown, he reached up and caressed Hoseok's face who automatically closed his eyes and leaned into his hand, enjoying the touch so longed for, drawing him even more against his body.

"TaeTae hyung I'm ready, we can...", Jungkook said at his side, but quickly stopped when he saw the scene before his eyes, Hoseok and Taehyung parted so violently that if it hadn't been for the blush on their cheeks and embarrassment in their faces, Jungkook would have thought they'd electrocuted each other. The maknae, with a mischievous smile on his lips and enjoying the mixture of bewilderment, terror and betrayal in Taehyung's eyes, introduced Hoseok as his brother and responsible artist of the exhibition, and then left there with the excuse of waiting for his friend outside until he was “free". 

"This is too weird and I'm running late, so I'd better go...", Tae said after an uncomfortable moment of silence in which they stared at each other, as if one had the other's answers and vice versa, unsure of looking at him in the eyes for fear of not wanting to go away from his side. Something inside him knew he couldn't resist a second time, although he wasn't sure there had been a first. His words caught Hoseok's attention and he was sure he wouldn't lose him, not this time. He'd already learned and in the worst way in the past, as to let him go a second time.

"It's weird, I'll grant you that, and even though I have no right to ask you to stay, I feel that if I see you going out that door I will not be able to resist it one more time. I don't know how to explain it and you'll think I'm crazy, but...", said Hoseok embarrassed, and the smile trembled nervously on his lips.

"Believe me, you're not", interrupted Taehyung with his deep voice and Hoseok's heart gave a hopeful flip. "I feel it too. And all this...", commented watching amazed the art around him while a wide and boxy smile full of satisfaction was breaking through his face. "All this is for me", he whispered breathlessly and when he returned his gaze to the elder, Hoseok smiled broadly and his eyes shone brightly as he nodded in silence.

"I looked for you for so long...", he said in a broken voice, full of emotion and Taehyung felt his heart contract strongly before the bitter memories of his Fall. "We can make it work this time", he softly assured before the silence of the younger. “I have no idea what I'm saying and how we'll solve this because it is too strange, but it makes sense at the same time...", he laughed and he did it so loudly that the people around them turned to look at him scandalized by having scared them. Tae laughed beside him, remembering what it felt like to be with him and ran his hands over the young man's forearms, knowing that touch would soothe him.

"Tell me you remember too", he said desperately, feeling that he would break into hundreds of pieces right there in front of him. As if he'd read his thoughts, Hoseok approached him and took him gently from the waist, firming him against his body so that he wouldn't fall apart.

"Not everything", he confessed, piercing him with his bright, intense gaze and Tae nodded relieved. "But we can start from scratch. You and me here, now. This time, forever", he whispered so close to his face that Taehyung swore he could observe constellations in his expressive and kind eyes.

"My shooting star", whispered more to himself than anything else and Hoseok gave him one of his most broad, heart shaped and happy smiles.

 

Jungkook kept complaining on the sidewalk while they waited for his brother to close the gallery and come out, and he communicated with his, to ask if it was okay to bring a guest.  

Seokjin was furious, but since he was a good little brother, he kept silent so that the older would discharge all his accumulated frustrations by organizing a perfect engagement event spoiled by his own brother and his friend because they're arriving hours late. Taehyung could hear Namjoon's serene and deep voice in the background, trying to calm him down, but only his monosyllabic answers managed to reassure his brother that went from anger to worry in a matter of seconds.

"Tae, what's wrong? You sound weird, is everything okay? Is Kookie okay?", he asked in his typical overprotective and worried tone and Taehyung couldn't help smiling with tenderness.

"Hyung...", he simply said and maybe it was due to the tone with which he did it, or maybe the past they always shared, or the intense bond they had, knowing each other perfectly, maybe it was something much more magical than that. The truth was that Seokjin didn't need more words to know it.

"Good heavens!", he exclaimed suddenly and Tae heard Namjoon's concern in the background, along with Yoongi and Jimin's in chorus. "You found him?".

"I think it's him, hyung", Taehyung said in a broken voice and his eyes crystalline with the contained tears of happiness. Beside him, Jungkook was oblivious to what was happening and kept complaining.

"Then bring him home, Taehyungie", Jin said softly and the younger hung up, watching as Hoseok approached them, taking care that his scarf didn't hide his broad and radiant smile full of happiness, knowing how much he'd always love it.