They say if you go and put your ear to the Heart of the World for long enough you'll hear the name of your soulmate whispered out in its heartbeat. But Yoongi fell asleep on that thing almost every night and he had never heard a word, not even a breath. Just the resonant knocking beat of the world moving beneath him. It gushed and whooshed with the pulsing of great wings in the sky and the ebbing of the tide.
With the length of his fingers extended in a painful splay across the glass pane that separated Yoongi from the wild rainbow of pulsing light, he waited, and he listened. For most of his childhood he had put his ear to the case. Listened hard. Fallen asleep to the sounds of strange life blood moving. Now, years later, in his twenties he just listened from afar and ran his fingers across the dancing shadows that flowed up from the shallow chasm bellow him. The world's blood ran thick with color and light and rushed with sounds unlike anything else. High and low and unique. Like a soul trying to sing without a voice.
The young man swept a hand through is minty green hair and flopped over on his back, rubber shoes squeaking as he slid farther towards the middle of the gold framed casket. He threw the rag he had been window washing with as far to the side as he could. A sigh pressed through his plush lips, resounded in the dark like some broken promise that had never been given up on.
Dark eyes dragged across the ceiling only ten feet above. Mountain ranges of stalactites rubbed dead and worn smooth from centuries sticky wandering hands made sweeps and hollows in the old cave. Another sigh. An aurora erupted before him, like hundreds of kaleidoscopes twisting at once, leaving no hill or valley of mineral unlit but the ones that blocked his shadow and he watched like he always had. With bitterness and wonder.
“Can't you just tell me already,” he asked, his voice rumbling rather than echoing in the deadness of stale cavern air. As always there was no reply. There was never a reply. The truth of the matter was, he was starting to lose his faith a little bit.
For as long as anyone can remember it's been Yoongi's family that owned that land. They all lived there. His grandmother, his mother and father, older sister, and his two younger brothers. They took care of the heart of the whole entire world.
The green haired man leaned up on his elbow, letting his shoulders sink back and his head lull. He wiggled his feet around in their beaten old shoes and watched the light changing above him. Sometimes in the coolness of the night, when everything had closed down he sat to think about how he was taking care of the heart of his world...well, the family owned a gift shop too...and had charged an entry fee to the temple for more generations than he could count on both hands (and both feet) but still. It was the principle of the thing. To him at least.
It was the heart of his whole world.
And it wouldn't tell him the name of his soulmate despite all of the good he had tried to do. He was kind enough, he cleaned up and did his chores like a good son. Even Hoseok had gotten the name of his soulmate. They hadn't met yet but he had a name. For life blood's sake. Everyone but him, it seemed, had a name for their future.
Speaking of Hoseok, “Yoongi,” the familiar nasal chirp of his middle brother twittered through the rungs of old cave wall, “Are you done yet?”
“Can't you just leave me to suffer in peace?” the elder groaned back.
“Lamenting about the unfairness of life again?”
“Every day,” Yoongi admitted, falling into old banter. “Because life is unfair Hobi. You'll find out someday.”
“I'm pretty sure you haven't gotten a name yet because your soulmate is dead.”
“Nice Hobi,” the eldest snorted, “Really nice.” His head lulled forward and his body followed until he was sitting smoothy, and kicking his shoes off onto the cracking floor.
The cavern at large was unimpressive, perhaps less because it wasn't, and more because he had grown up in it. A natural cave had formed around the Heart and not much had been done to it since. Railing and doors mostly. Oh, and the big glass casket that kept people from touching the actual Heart itself. For a sparse moment Yoongi wondered what it would be like to touch the Heart. He had wondered that often in his childhood.
“You're such a grandpa,” his black haired sibling snarked, snapping the elder's thoughts back to reality, “Star Mother just messed up and sent you down a century or six too early.”
The mint haired man folded his legs under him carefully and cracked his neck against the stress of the day, “Don't let mom hear you say that,” he warned. “She'll chase you out with a broom.”
The younger shook his head and set a dramatic feathering of fingers against his own chest, “I would never.”
“You're so loud she probably heard you,” another, deeper, less nasal tone of his youngest brother, Jungkook came rumbling through. “You're the loudest person I have ever known.”
“You spend enough time around Namjoon's dad to know that isn't true,” Hoseok countered, sticking out his pink tongue and emphasizing it with a strange wiggle. It was kind of gross.
“Why can't you both just leave me in peace?” Yoongi sighed, falling back against the cold glass as dramatically as he could manage without hurting himself.
“What's his deal?” Kookie asked, probably tucking some of his annoyingly perfect black hair behind his annoying beautiful ears because everything about him was annoyingly gorgeous and perfect.
The eldest could hear the shrug in his middle brother's silence.
“Same thing as always?” Jungkook asked.
“Yup,” the p sound popped out of Hobi's mouth like a slap to the elders face, “Always the same thing.”
A sigh escaped someones mouth, or maybe everyones. Maybe even the Heart. It was entirely possible in that moment that the whole room and all of its patrons had sucked in sharp breaths and spat them back out in overwhelmingly perfect unison, making it impossible to distinguish between the separate parties.
“I don't get what the big deal is,” the youngest of the three offered, “I've never gotten an answer either.”
“Because you're a baby,” Yoongi snorted.
“I'm sorry Grandpa, you must be confused again,” Jungkook was quick to fire back, “This isn't your room. Grandma is upstairs waiting on you.”
The only word that could truly express the feeling of utter grossness in that statement was cringe. Yoongi cringed. And perhaps died a little bit inside. Because ew. It was so gross, in fact, that the mint haired eldest brother actually sat up to face his siblings, “Dude, ew,” he shook his head and crinkled his nose, shortening his shoulders.
“Too far?” Kookie asked sheepishly.
Hoseok stepped in to answer “Too far.”
The youngest offered an apology, rubbing at the back of his neck. He slid forward slipping hands into shallow black sweater pockets. “I really don't get the big deal though. It never answers me either. Maybe it just doesn't like us.”
Bare feet skidded across the chipped dark yellow paint of the threshold. At one point it had said something in the language of old but millions of feet had beaten the words right out so now it was just a nuisance that had to be re-painted at least once a month.
Jungkook bent under the rusted metal railing like all of the tourists did, curved his long, pretty back and pressed his ear to the heart coffin. The blazing aurora that was ever bubbling from it flashed a brilliant hot pink and Yoongi narrowed his pouty eyes, chanced a glance at the ceiling and the realization hit him like a wall of steel. The kaleidoscopes changed directions.
“Mom's going to kill you,” The eldest snorted bitterly, because this was the ten millionth, billionth, trillionth time he had seen this happen. All his life he had been watching it happen.
His youngest brother stilled for just a moment, flushed deep red. Like an apple or a tomato, or a beet...although beets were more pink than red most of the time...anyway. Jungkook, with his stupid perfect hair turned a blotchy unflattering color and stared with puppy dog eyes up at his oldest brother. Not the love struck kind of puppy dog eyes. No, those were the eyes of an animal that just gotten caught doing something it shouldn't have been doing.
“Who was it?” Yoongi teased. “Someone we know?”
The youngest snapped his head away and slid back through the bars.
“No way,” Hobi jumped in, nearly falling as he bounced forward, “No way, it's someone we know?”
“Who is it?” Yoongi asked again.
“None of your business,” JungKook snapped. His sudden defensiveness was the most telling sign of all. Yoongi knew exactly who it was because they had been teasing the poor boy mercilessly for nearly all of his life about it. Kookie must have seen the glitter in his brother's eyes because he put his hands up in defense, “I swear to Goddess Yoongi, don't you dare say it.”
It was futile really. Yoongi was many things, lazy being among those, but stubborn, oh stubborn was his defining feature. Stubborn was his true and most flattering form, Stubborn was what he knew. Stubborn sent the words to his next sentence sailing out his mouth in a sashay of completely unnecessary sass, “It's Namjoon isn't it?” the eldest asked, with the distinct twitch of a smile pulling on his lips despite his deep seated jealousy.
Jungkook didn't even have to chance a reply, he just tightened his lips and sighed out, “Well at least now you can't tease me anymore.”
“Yeah, but now you have to walk across the street and tell him.” the minty haired embodiment of snark that had once been Yoongi pointed out.
“And then you have to drag him over here for confirmation,” Hobi added. Unless he already knew. Yoongi had a feeling the pink haired bar wench already knew.
“And then you have to tell mom you did it without her,” the eldest continued.
“And then you have to plan the wedding.”
“Oh no,” JungKook muttered, “Mom. Mom is going to kill me,” his face literally drained of color. If he had gotten any whiter he could have faded into the slick cave wall, “I'm too young to be married. She wont make me get married will she?”
“It's what people around here do,” Yoongi shrugged.
“Namjoon is going to be so excited,” the middle brother said, “He's liked you for forever.”
“But I'm only nineteen,” the youngest explained, “I'm not ready for this.”
“Hobi was eight,” the eldest offered.
“And Jin was six when he and Himchan found out,” Hoseok stated.
“That was by accident,” Yoongi hissed. “They weren't supposed to be in here.”
“Neither was I,” Jungkook snapped, his voice cracking like a prepubescent choir boy, “I wasn't supposed to check again for another four months.”
Of all the ridiculous things poor not-so-little Jungkook looked like he was about to cry, oh kiddo. His big eyes were turning almost as red as his face had been. His cheeks were starting to paint in all weird and blotchy again. In the uneven light the youngest, and tallest, wiped his nose on his long sweater. He was trying so not to look shaken or overwhelmed.
“We were just kidding,” the eldest said, “about the marriage stuff. It's okay,” somehow he'd managed to find the part of himself that cared, perhaps because oh man, he would never want to end up with Namjoon himself and they had given their poor, awkward youngest brother such Outer-world about it all his life that he probably had a complex. Poor kid, “it's between you and Namjoon. No one is going to rat you out to mom.”
Hoseok nodded in agreement and mimed zipping his lips shut.
“I'm...I'm going to go talk to Namjoon,” the youngest said. He shook his head in a way that Yoongi couldn't remember him ever doing before. It was like watching youth slide right off his shoulders. Something like the weight of adulthood and adult choices settled in its place and maybe the older man didn't want a soul mate after all. He watched his sweet youngest brother wander back out looking much more despondent than he had coming in. Hopefully it wouldn't last for long; he would hate to trade his Kookie for something plain and boring.
The grit of the floor scrapped, making a shrill squeak that tried to echo against the dead walls. Two remaining brothers watched their youngest go, held their breathes and dared not move until he was long gone out of range. Hoseok shoved his hands in the back pockets of his jeans and snorted.
“That kind sucks,” the middle brother said, “Well...it doesn't suck because...like, he has someone, and he knows that someone and he cares about that someone....”
“I feel just a little, tiny bit bad about teasing him now,” Yoongi cut in through the ramble.
“Yeah...That,” Hobi agreed. “Thank's for knowing what I meant.”
Yoongi snorted and crumpled back into a pile on the Heart of his world, staring at the kaleidoscopic ceiling. “I never know what you mean.” Mint fringe hung in the way when he tried to shift his eyes, so the older brother didn't bother to look up when he heard shuffling.
It was the loud grinding squeak of old rubber sneakers that tipped him off to Hobi's intentions and then a sarcastic, “Do you think this thing can still hold both of us? It's been like...years since that last time we both laid up here together.”
“If it cracks and breaks and we both fall to our deaths at least only one of us will have to get put on the wall of tragic deaths,” Yoongi snorted.
Hoseok came to rest his right next to the older man's head pointing his feet in the opposite direction so that between the two of them they were taking up the whole casket. They laid ear to ear for a quiet moment before “They would still put you on the wall...for later you know?”
“I know Hobi. It was just a joke.”
“It wasn't funny.”
“Neither is anything that comes out of your mouth but you don't hear me complaining.”
“Good night Yoongi.”
“Good night Hobi.”
He didn't remember closing his eyes but he did remember dreaming of supple fields filled to bursting with blossoming wildflowers and honeysuckle the color of deep, burning fire. The smell of summer had been endless and infinite and his own heart had been full strange things like flowers and feathers and pearls and sand. A heart made of sand, the thought followed his sleepy brain out of dreamland and into reality as he came slowly awake the same way he did nearly everyday. The soft thumping of the world pulsed through him, the light changed colors and he blinked the last bit of sleep away to find himself utterly alone in the chamber.
A new, strange thought occurred to him as he stretched and sat up. He wondered what it would be like to have a heart filled with the world, with sand and island and water. There was so much in the world it must be hard to find space in a heart for it all. With that thought he rolled his shoulders to the side so he could look down and noticed all of the smudges where his oily skin had collided with the crystal case during the night.
He could almost hear his dear mother's voice in the quiet, “Yoongi really? You're sleeping here again? Clean up this mess before we have patrons,” she would say. In fact the voice in his head sounded so astoundingly real that he twisted to look around and make sure she wasn't actually there.
Thank Goddess in heaven it was just his imagination. JiHyo hated it when he slept on the Heart. “It was cute when you were little,” the ghost of her voice in his head pointed out. He pictured her with hands on her hips, rouged lips pursed. The thick salt and pepper of her graying hair would be frizzled and dry that morning, with the sticky heat already trying to penetrate his air conditioned cave of colors.
“Yoongi you need to change clothes, Yah! Get up you lazy,” the phantom image of his mother chastised, shaking a finger in front of his face. Of course it was completely unnecessary to actually blow her away, since she was definitely imaginary but he had always gotten some sick satisfaction out of watching her evaporate in his minds eye. Little sparkles of mom dust just trailed away and he used his hand to whip through the rest of the imagined image of his mother. It was probably a bad habit, interacting with imaginary things had gotten him in trouble plenty of times before. Including with his mother.
The oldest son slid down off of his surprisingly comfortable glass bed and stepped across the narrow cavern walk way to the rickety wooden door that had his cleaning supplies behind it...and also a change of clothes he noted as he pulled it open. Fresh jeans and a nice purple v-neck t-shirt. Hoseok had undoubtably left them there for him. Old boards collided with the uneven parts of the floor in places as he pulled the dark cherry wood door as far open as it would go. He managed to change his shirt and unbuckle his pants while he was collecting clean rags from the shelf and acquiring his cleaning spray. Maybe he did sleep there too often if he could multi-task that well.
Freshly changed, he slid back through the bars and up the side of the case with practiced ease, fitting rags over his feet and hands. It was slow going for those very few steps to get up there but he had to be careful not to leave fresh foot prints or hand prints in his wake, it would make more work for him.
It only took a few sprays of weird smelling vinegar glass cleaner and a couple of rag swipes to whisk away all evidence of his unauthorized sleepover. He spread his rags out in a familiar array. Made sure they were touching his skin and laid down on his belly, taking care to never touch the freshly clean crystal with anything but cloth.
“Sorry my skin is so greasy,” Yoongi sighed out, staring down at the flashing brilliance of light. “I didn't mean to mess up your pretty cage.”
The aurora flared in reply.
Yoongi snorted, and twisted his wrist to check his old watch “Right, mail day,” he sighed skidding back down gently, “and you have a ton of work to do today too.”
The mint haired twenty two year old cleaned up and closed the closet after shoving yesterday's clothes as far to the back as he could. He smiled and tossed his shoes in with the other clothes before turning to offer a deep, respectful bow to the bane of his existence. “Do well,” he offered, “Make some people happy today.”
It was a no shoes kind of morning.
The heat of mid-summer hit him on his way out the back door. Everything was doused with sweat, even the air. Slick flagstones rose up from the garden walk to meet his feet and he slid across them with a smile on his face. Young lavender was blooming next to carefully groomed roses. The flowers sang him greetings with the help of a flighty breezy as he slinked from one stone to the next, dipping his toes in the thick mud of the early morning every so often.
Even the birds were up and chirping away despite the early hour. It was scarcely four thirty in the morning. The sun had yet to rise but Heechul met him at the gate like he did every week, big floppy white hat covering the pale fluff of hair on top of his head and baggy shirt draped long and low across his narrow shoulders.
“How much this week?” Yoongi chanced to ask as he rushed down the old walk way.
“Not too much. Small enough load for me to carry on my own this week,” the fine features of the mail man's face pulled a little as he leaned over the low wooden gate dropping the bag off his shoulder with all the grace of Namjoon on a Monday morning.
Heechul proceeded to lean down on his elbow seductively with a wry smile hooked into his lips and asked the usual question. “Figure out who your soul mate is yet? Am I still in the running?”
“You'll never be in the running if you keep waggling your eyebrows like that,” the younger man snorted. “Don't you already have your soul mate?” He pulled the lid off of a ceramic pot by the gate and yanked out the empty burlap mail sack that had four others balled up inside of it from the prior week.
The Heart got most of the mail but sometimes the family got some too.
“Hangeng wouldn't be opposed.”
“He would hate sharing you,” Yoongi said.
“Have you thought about my offer yet,” Heechul joked, like he always did. The man was 60% sarcasm and 40% sass. “We can still run away together.” In all seriousness, Heechul would never do that to his beloved husband. Just because he was a world wanderer didn't mean he was a relationship wanderer. He just liked to play flirting chicken with all of the boys...and most of the girls, in town to see who ran away first. Yoongi was his favorite target, because Yoongi was stubborn and didn't back down from creepy insincere advances.
The older man righted himself, and threw the heavy mail bag up over the fence. Boards creaked and leaves rustled or maybe it was the paper inside the bag, not leaves. As Yoongi caught it in outstretched arms for the first time in his life the younger man actually considered the words that Heechul had offered him. With the air knocked clear out of his lungs he realized; he could leave. He wasn't stuck here. He didn't have to stay and watch his brothers fall in love or listen to his mother tell him that his time would come.
“See you next week kiddo,” The blond said. A smirk painted his lips rosey and he snatched the bag of empty sacks from the smaller man's soft hands. “I hope you find your someone.”
“Yeah yeah,” Yoongi hesitated.
“I hope that someone is me,” the mail man winked, and clicked his tongue before he turned.
“Safe travels,” The mint haired Heart keeper replied.
Thoughts raced through Yoongi's head. At twenty two years of life he had scarcely left his own block, and never left his own town. He'd seen only seen the world or the wild in pictures and books. He knew the world had a heart but what did it look like? Chills raced up his spine, electricity like he had never known sparked somewhere deep in his soul, pouring through with ideas and visions. His heart was full of sand and feathers and resolve that he had never known. The thought of leaving...it was resonating through his ribcage like the strings of a violin being plucked. “Wait,” He shouted after, “Heechul, wait.”
Heechul, for his part, rolled with shock as he turned back around, “Yeah kid?”
“I want to go with you.”
For his part the blond managed to maintain composure much more sleekly than most would have, “You know I was being sarcastic right?”
“Not to run away and get married part,” Yoongi snorted waving off the ridiculousness of it, “but...I want to leave. I want to be a mail man I think,” Yoongi muddled through a reply that he never in his life thought he would be making. “I'm sick of this place.”
The older man lit up like like the sunrise in the distance, his features sharpened and softened all at once and a lanky haze of a smile crossed his face, “You realize no one ever leaves this town right?” He managed, “People come here to get away from the outside.”
It was true that there were strict standards for people coming to live there. There was an application process and everything. His family was just a legacy. No one but them had ever cared for the Heart of the World. Jin and Namjoon, their family, they were the only immigrants he had ever known on his block.
Yoongi nodded, hugging the rough brown sack to his chest, “Yeah I know,” he affirmed, and he looked back to the big black door, the wrought iron twisted up in spirals around it and he saw the Heart beyond, felt the ever present thump beneath his feet. A heartbeat away from the choice that would change his everything. A heartbeat that pushed him over the edge. “But I think maybe I should.”
It was the lull of his head that gave away his sincerity, he knew that the moment Heechul reappeared at the gate, “Well Star Mother in heaven,” he swore, “You really mean it.”
“Sure do,” Yoongi replied.
“You haven't thought this out at all.”
“Not even a little bit,” the younger confirmed with a ghost of anxiety rising up in his chest. He banished it was a sigh.
The blond was searching him for something, eyes dragging over his outline like a pack of circling birds trying to figure out when to dive. “It's hard work.”
“A lot of people die.”
“At least they won't have to add me to the wall of unfortunate deaths?”
Heechul laughed. He actually laughed. A glorious chitter of obnoxious snorts and giggles rattled out from behind the older man's teeth. Even his lips curled as he rolled through several waves of entertainment, doubling over and twisting as he attempted to contain himself. Hoseok never laughed at that joke so Yoongi had assumed it wasn't funny. Somehow he managed to contain his shock and keep a cool composure, with just the barest hint of smile twitching at the corners of his lips.
“Goddess, I love your sense of humor Yoongi,” Heechul cleared his throat and straightened up.
“Well,” Heechul began, “Today is your lucky day. I am the commissioner for the area and we're always short staffed...” He snorted, “Sorry, that wasn't meant to be a jab at you.”
“I wouldn't have thought it was if you hadn't said anything?”
“Good,” the elder retorted, “So you're serious about this?”
His heart skipped a beat, the ground throbbed beneath his feet and a “Yes” came sliding out without even a second thought, “I am.”
“I was going to head home early today since I don't have anything to deliver farther out,” Heechul muttered more to himself than to anyone else, “Ah well, I can stick around for a couple of hours.”
“Since you haven't thought this through at all,” Heechul spoke up, “And because I like you, I will stick around for a few hours. That's long enough for you to pack up and say your good byes right?”
“Better to rip the band-aid,” Yoongi confirmed.
“Most lingerers change their minds,” the elder nodded. “I have to round up the outgoing stuff to take back to the center. Pack some clothes in an empty mail sack,” the elder offered him an empty mail sack for emphasis, “and anything else you might need. Pens and paper to write home. Keep it minimal. I'll take care of your food and water for the trip there...because I like you. You'll need money,” he was kind of rambling at that point but Yoongi was listening as carefully as he could until the other clicked his tongue again, and reached into the back pocked of his black denim pants, “Here, actually,” he offered out a black envelope, “It has your start up contract and the list of things you should bring on it...just...ignore the start up costs. I'll take care of it. I'll take care of the money.”
“You don't...I don't...” Yoongi tried to find words for, 'I really don't need to leave,' or, 'please I will figure the money out.'
Heechul shushed him, “Just accept it, don't fight it,” he winked waving the dark envelope in the younger man's face. “Don't fight it,” he said again, less teasing and more softly. So Yoongi swallowed his stubborn pride for once and accepted it.
The sharp corner of carefully folded paper struck the younger man right on the tip of the nose and he felt a blush rising to his cheeks, because he really hadn't thought this through. Most men (and women) that took up the post of mail curriers had been planing to do so most of their lives. Either by legacy, or by lottery. Very rarely was it by choice. There were so many things to think about.
“Don't over think,” Heechul warned as the younger man took the letter, “Just pack and breathe and tell your family you love them and you will write them.”
“At least I'm not prone to over thinking things right?” the Heart keeper winked.
The elder laughed again and offered up something sincere in reply, “That wit is going to get you places you know? I've always thought that about you.”
“Thanks?” Yoongi asked.
“Three hours,” Heechul said. And he turned and left.
Three hours...he had three hours to figure his whole future out. He watched Heechul trek back across the long road leading up to their land and thought about the future. He had never thought much about his future. He figured he would do what everyone in his family had always done:
Find a soul mate, and stay.
Have a family, and stay.
Just stay, and never leave.
This new future, was one that he had never chanced a thought about. Sure he had dreamed of adventure, everyone does. But his adventures had been rolling in mud in the garden. Was he even sure he knew what he was doing? Probably not. But his parents would say that that was pretty normal.
So he let out a monstrous sigh that turned into a yawn. The heat of the day was hours off but he already felt like he was drinking air. Yoongi thought to complain or curse but he figured he'd better get used to it if he was going to be going on some grand adventures anyway. It wasn't likely that he would have the comfort of an air condition, climate controlled cave again anytime soon. What in Goddess' good name was he doing?
His mother was going to kill him; that was the last thought he had before he turned and walked up the way to the house.
His mother did not kill him. Probably because his father was the one who caught sight of him through the door. Jongkook wasn't a tall man, but he was a large man, a solid wall of muscle. Intimidating in his own right. “How much today Yoongi?” his father's sweet voice echoed through the house.
It was the same question every mail day, and just like always his dad came around the corner from the kitchen into the entryway. He leaned against the shoe bins. Smiling, chocolate hair ruffled, powder blue apron tied around his waist. He was bright like the harvest moon on the deepest winter night. Eyes pushed into tiny crescents. The eldest son had always been glad that he inherited his father's smile.
“Just one today,” Yoongi hesitated, dropping the bag on the floor.
Impulsively he reached to untie his shoes only to remember he wasn't wearing any so he walked back to the rug right in front of the door and wiped his feet. With Heechul's envelope still pinched between his thumb and index finger he spun back around.
The smile was gone. Melted awkwardly into the floor with father's strong jawline. The mint haired man thought for sure that his father was going to call for Jihyo but instead a sort of hardness ghosted across his strong, masculine features. Something about it reminded him of Jungkook the night before. The gravity of his own adult choice tried to settle on his shoulders but Yoongi shook it loose and brushed it off.
“Don't be mad?” He asked quietly, begged a little maybe, “I've only got a couple of hours, please don't spend them mad at me.”
To his eternal dismay it was the sickly sweet voice of his crazy mom that floated in behind the fuming tiger that had taken his father's place. “A couple of hours for what Suga?” her slender hand trailed up JongKook's broad shoulder and pushed as if exerting force would somehow release the sudden tension in the room.
Instead of answering he held up his envelope. “Ah,” she smiled. Not exactly the response he had been expecting, “Finally took Heechul up on his offer did you?” Her arms wound around her tense husband.
“You haven't signed yet have you?” his father seethed.
“Yah Jongkook, don't be rude,” his mother hissed. Yoongi wouldn't have known that she smacked him except that his dad's hair fluffed up in the back after her arm disappeared...well that and he flinched...but who wouldn't. “He's not a baby anymore.”
“What did I do this time?” Jungkook whined from upstairs somewhere. The floors were thin...very thin.
“Jongkook not Jungkook,” Yoongi and his mother offered in unison to the disembodied voice of his youngest brother.
Of course it was at that moment that Hoseok decided to wander in too “What's going on?”
“I'm going on an adventure?” Yoongi asked, watching Mom's face for confirmation, still holding his envelope up.
His older sister, the only one family member who shared his green haired trait, didn't say anything at all. Hani just shrugged and kept walking with half a piece of meat hanging out of her mouth. It was very her....
His family, they had never been much for flashy shows of affection or anything like that...well except Hobi but that kid was kind of the black sheep. The really hyper, kind of endearing black sheep....that clung to him for three and a half whole hours. Hani had refused to help pack but she read the contract out loud in really terrible executed accents that didn't even resembled the countries they were supposed to come from. Yoongi was pretty sure he had it memorized by the time they all headed for the door. The mail bag was half full. Mostly with clothes, because he needed something for every type of weather. Jungkook had even given him a winter coat.
“Its too small for me,” the youngest had shrugged, stuffing it into the bag along with a stuffed bear, “So you don't forget me.”
“I'm not going to forget anyone,” Yoongi snorted. “I'll write as often as I can.”
“Yoongi did you leave your shoes in the broom closet?” Hoseok whispered as the younger reached for his own, taking the bag off of the eldest shoulder.
“Oh....” the older almost cursed but caught himself. “I mean...yeah.”
His mother gave him a side glance of disapproval but said nothing as he bolted out the door.
“He forgot his shoes...” faded into the background as he found it in himself, strangely, to run. He blew through the garden and down the hill, let his feet slid in the mud slick. He was on a time limit after all. As he yanked the broom closet open and riffled through things until he got to the back the colors around him shifted. The lights were bouncing of the walls, and darting around like fireworks in the sky.
Something struck him in that moment. When he was going through the completely mundane task of tying his shoes. Something like fear, or anxiety, or maybe a tiny pang of regret. He was leaving everything he knew behind. His whole world. His whole world had been in a one mile radius. All his life he had lived here, and hardly left. Never once, had be been beyond the walls. Certainly he had never been to another town or a mail hub. The only forests he knew were well kept gardens that never grew out wild.
He'd only ridden a horse once, when he was very little. He was going to have to ride a horse everyday...or at least, it was advised to have or ride a horse, unless you planned on going to the places where horses couldn't. He shuttered at the thought but then his heart stilled.
Peace washed over him. The Heart of the world cast vivid hues of cool blue and purple across the wall and Yoongi felt compelled to explain himself. “I'm going on an adventure,” he sighed, scooting across the floor. “I'll probably be gone for awhile.” He was about to say something along the lines of how weird it would be not to talk to the Heart while he was gone...but then he realized for like the six or seventh time that it was the heart of his world. The whole world. He could literally talk to it anywhere he went. Literally.
So instead of goodbye or, a promise to return he offered “I'll see you around,” The eldest son had never been so glad to be alone in his entire life because he bent under the rail and put his ear to the glass and breathed out one last time. Perhaps if he had heard something things would have turned out differently but instead he just heard the loud thump of heartbeat like always. Comforting, but not what he wanted, not what he was looking for.
He thought to beg. “If you tell me I'll stay,” but it wasn't true. His heart was already in the wild. Wondering what great things he could do in the wider world. So with one last sigh he left the Heart of the World behind him, shut the door to the chamber and walked out into the garden.
They didn't have some big send off or anything. They just helped him pack, and reminded him of things he probably would have forgotten and fed him...and then argued with Heechul about start up costs.
It came down to a hissed out “You people are keeping this whole town afloat right now, this is the least I can do. Put a good word in for me when I retire so I can move here” from the blond mailman.
Heechul was never going to retire. The guy had a bummed leg and horse older than the sun but he was still going. He could legitimately stop going on routes and live a comfortable life at home with Hangeng, he had more than enough money, but he chose to keep going on routes.
“Are you ready to go kid?” Heechul asked, reaching over the gate to tap Yoongi's narrow wrist. “Got everything?”
“Don't I need to sign this first?” Yoongi asked, pulling the ominous envelope from his father's hand.
The mail man shrugged, “You can sign it whenever you want. No one checks,” he winked and JongKook not Yoongi as the smaller man began to open the envelope again. The paper felt rough in his hands. Was filled with unkept promises...and had probably been in Heechul's back pocked for years. It didn't want to unfold.
Heechul, with his wry smile produced a black ball point pen and a very thin wooden plank from the bag perpetually strapped across his chest. Change was glinting in his eyes. Change and perhaps a good amount of victory. Like he had wanted this all along despite his joking manner. “You read it right?” the blond thought to ask only after Yoongi had begun to put his pen to the final line on the final page.
“Six times,” Hani provided. “He could probably quote it to you.”
“Don't worry” Heechul said, “I'll take care of him.”
“We know,” Jihyo smiled weakly.
Yoongi rolled his eyes. For the first time in nearly two months the mint haired man crossed to the other side of the gate. Hobi reached over and crushed him into a hug, ruining his cool exit, sobbing into his shoulder. Everyone else followed suit. Even dad. Dad mumbled out something along the lines of “make us proud” mom smacked him...it was very them.
So then, the twenty two year old left his family behind him and walked down the drive. The ground was dusty and he could feel rocks beneath his shoes. He made a note to use the money his mother had given him to buy a pair of walking boots, and he breathed in.
Every breath was like a new beginning; a death and a life. The whole of everything started over in just the breadth between two scarcely parted lips. Everything was different and the adventure hadn't even started yet. Well World, it's your turn, where do I start? Was the last thing he thought before he crossed from his family property into town.