What’s in a name?
The steady beat of a percussive drum rang a haunted countdown in his ears. He sucked in a ragged breath, clenching his teeth hard enough to shatter his jaw. Two men in black robes strode up the stone podium, scrolls in hand.
Power. Status. Dignity.
The sky was overcast; thunderclaps and mottled clouds rolled in an angry grey mob overhead. How unfortunate, he thought, that this would be his last memory of it. Yesterday it had been a bluebird. Now it was ash.
Family. Identity. Home.
“Hear ye, hear ye,” barked one of the men in black robes. He cleared his throat, raising the scroll in one hand and unrolled it with another. “With the blessing of His Majesty, the King, we have gathered as witnesses to the consequences of actions unpardonable by the law. Thus begins the trial and merciful execution of Park Jimin, for committing the heaviest of crimes against the throne: treason.”
Panic thrashed in Yoongi’s chest. Dry heaving, he watched two guards yanking in the limp form of a man clad in blood-spattered clothes. His legs dragged behind him. His long hair hung loose by the sides of his head, covering his face, and Yoongi was loath to imagine the bruises that marked his face. He dared not.
Because he knew he could not help.
“…and Min Yoongi, for conspiring and assisting the traitor.”
He was powerless, too, sitting in his own torture chair. His ankles were shackled. Blood dribbled down his chin, and there was a ghastly burn mark where the hot iron had been stamped against his chest. The damned drumbeat blared in his ears, mimicking his pulse like an ode to the Reaper. Yoongi struggled and kicked, but the ropes held him back, biting and leaving marks against his pale wrists. He grunted, something unholy burbling from the depths of his chest, and let out a hoarse howl: “Jimin!”
He’d expected the young man to stay unconscious, but at the sound of his voice, Jimin’s head jerked upwards by the smallest of fractions, the glazed-over look in his eyes clearing. Their gazes locked. The ringing in Yoongi’s ears faded. And then with purple, split lips, Jimin shot him a hollow smile.
A whimper escaped Yoongi.
This was never what he wanted.