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 There has never been a time in Min Yoongi’s life where he has liked being man-handled.

He feels like he probably shares that contempt with a number of people. All the people in the world who aren’t fucking stupid, for example. All the people who very much don’t like to feel small in the presence of two pea-brained assholes, who, for all intents and purposes shouldn’t have this much strength over him. 

What he despises even more than being man-handled, however, is being thrown, not dropped, not placed, but thrown like a fucking rag-doll into a tiny stone cell, where his knees graze against the floor through the thin fabric of the rags he’s being forced to wear. 

He hates the cry that he lets out most of all, hates the pitiful nature of it. He is not pitiful. A lot of things, but never that. 

To make up for the moment of weakness, Yoongi gets to his feet, wincing at the effort it puts on his knees. He spins on his heels, ignoring the pain, in time to see the large steel door slam shut, barring him from an exit. 

Rather than admitting defeat—because honestly, fuck that—Yoongi throws himself against it, using every ounce of his not so impressive weight in a futile attempt to bowl the damn thing down. Adrenaline fuels his anger like gasoline to a fire, and Yoongi is beyond furious, swears that if will-power were a tangible source the door would be swinging by it’s hinges by this point. 

God, he misses his abilities, this is such fucking bullshit.

‘Hey!’ his voice is raw, it’s not his first time screaming in his past few weeks of imprisonment, but it’s getting used to the strain. ‘Bastards! Let me out!’ 

His demands fall on deaf ears, not that it stops him, he screams until his voice is as shredded as his bloodied knees, until his fists are dotted with blood having caught on the door’s rusted metal, until his shoulders are screaming in protest from the strain.

And then he keeps going. Because as long as he’s in this hell-hole, these motherfuckers aren’t going to get a moment of rest. 

It’s been weeks since Yoongi was taken. Ripped straight off the streets and shoved into a vehicle in front of hundreds of people. He half-expected it to come to this when he did the deed in the first place, but the way they’d grabbed him, blind-folded him, pinned him to the seat and shoved a gun into the meat of his tummy, hissing at him to stay still and order his ‘attack dogs’ off, he’d been a little thrown off guard to put it nicely. 

The shock of it wore off a while ago, but he made a effort not to show any semblance of it even when he was being stripped of everything, piece by piece. Home, family, friends, abilities— you’d think when they took those he’d have been in the clear but no, he’s still kept under lock and key. He wouldn’t let them see him scared, wouldn’t let them think they’ve won. They’re trying to punish him and brainwash into thinking what he did was wrong, trying to force him to show some semblance of remorse but he won’t. He didn’t hurt anyone. Would never hurt anybody. Why should he be sorry? 

He’s heard them talk about him. How they’re surprised it’s his first time stepping off of the line they’ve so painstakingly drawn out for him because, he’s a feisty one, isn’t he? Careful, he might bite. 

They think he’s dangerous. They think all people like him—mutants, like him— are dangerous. Even after he’s been drugged up to keep his abilities sated, or had no prior history of any violent behaviour, there’s still that fear that’s been installed in their heads, that keeps them in their own little bubble of ignorance. 

Yoongi’s used to being treated like scum, used to feeling small under the gazes of humans who take one look at the black armband he’s forced to wear to indicate his invisible mutation lurking below his skin. He knows what it’s like to be viewed as less than nothing, but he’s never had to endure it to this extreme. 

He just wanted to be heard. 

His screaming and smashing and cussing lasts for hours, past the point of exhaustion into some primal state of pure stubbornness. Anger’s a good fuel, he’s decided, keeps him going so much longer than he has any right to. About half an hour after lights out, he stops. Not because he’s told to, or threatened to, or because he’s exhausted all his efforts. Absolutely not. He figures if he gets a couple hours sleep now, he’ll be more than capable of wreaking absolute havoc later on. 

That plan turns sour when he ends up sleeping in later than he would’ve liked and is subsequently awakened to the sound of a meaty fist beating against the door. 

‘Fuck off!’ Yoongi snaps, a little delirious from having just woken up. He throws the scrap of a blanket off of him and hurls abuse at the door as it swings open, revealing a pair of stocky guards that Yoongi’s grown accustomed to. They want him to be scared of them, want him to shake and cower into a corner whenever they come into the room. Yoongi hates them with a fiery passion that could rival a blazing inferno. He’ll never give them the damn satisfaction. 

The first one has a plate of food, nothing particularly amazing and Yoongi really questions it’s edibility. Yoongi’s eyes flick away from him to the other guard, down to his hand held just at his chest and his eyes blow wide. 

Pressed between his fat fingers is a tiny little pill.

Oh no. Oh hell no. Yoongi shuts up real quick, because an open mouth at this point is plain dangerous.

The guards must take a sick pleasure in this. They must do. When Yoongi won’t open his mouth he’s grabbed by the scruff of his shirt and brought into the middle of his cell, struggling all the way. He falls hard on his knees, eliciting the smallest groan through his teeth, still clenched shut. Pain rockets through every inch of him, renders him slack for an instant with the intensity of it, but he keeps his mouth shut, throws them a glare instead of cussing them out.

They pinch his nose, cutting off his airflow. Yoongi thrashes, glaring them down before reluctantly peeling his lips back to suck in a breath through his teeth. No luck. The fuckers pry them apart and shove the pill inside, down his throat and he gags and splutters but the damned thing won’t come back out. 

When the guards drop him, he scrambles towards the toilet, shoving two fingers down his throat. One of the guards heaves out a disgruntled sigh and starts back towards him, his boots sound like thunderclaps against the floor. 

‘Oh no,’ the guard says, voice like gravel. ‘We’re not doing this today 4381, that’s not happening.’

Yoongi is not a violent person, is repulsed by the thought of it most days, but he probably wouldn’t stop someone right now if they decided to smack one of these assholes in the nose. Might even get a little satisfaction from it.

Hissing through his teeth, Yoongi’s ripped away from the bowl by his hair. Held there for a solid two minutes until it’s too late for him to dispose of the pill anymore. It’s in his system now, crippling him as completely as these fuckers above him. 

Another day feeling the phantom twitch from the lack of his ability, like a limb that’s been severed from the rest of his body. These Normals will never understand it. Bastards as they are. It’s like numbing down one of their senses, everything feels foggy and unclear. He feels so much more vulnerable.

He doesn’t cry out, even when the guard shakes him a little, despite the sting, despite the curdling anger in his chest. He will not cry out. 

The guard lifts him high enough that Yoongi can get his feet under him, scrambles for footing on the cool surface, but it doesn’t stop the white hot stab of pain from his scalp.

‘Behave,’ the guard hisses, hot breath fanning against his skin and Yoongi suppresses a shudder. ‘We won’t tell you again 4381.’

Yoongi’s too disorientated to take off after them when the man finally releases his grip. He does punch the air, feels silly for it, but his anger is as sharp as a dagger and slices through the embarrassment in an instant. 

‘Yoongi!’ he screams, his scalp stings something awful, he absently wonders how many strands of hair that fucker managed to rip out when they grabbed him. ‘My name is Min fucking Yoongi!’ 

‘Jesus,’ a voice snaps. ‘And here was me hoping you’d have exhausted yourself yesterday.’

Yoongi almost leaps out of his fucking skin at the sound. He can’t pinpoint the place of the voice, a deep rumble of a thing, laced with exhaustion and just a bit of amusement. 

‘I’m sorry?’ he asks. The cell feels a lot colder all of a sudden. 

‘You heard me,’ the voice says and Yoongi expects it this time, but he still jumps. ‘Your screaming, dude. It’s grating, alright? You’re driving me batshit fucking insane. As if that wasn’t already a very real prospect as it is.’ 

Yoongi looks around the cell, it’s just the same as it was when he first got here, devoid of anything but a mattress, a sink and a toilet, each pressed into a respective corner. The only change is the plate of food by the door and Yoongi is not stupid enough to inspect the plate. 

‘Who are you?’ he asks instead. He might be a little crazy talking to an invisible voice but he’ll judge himself on that later. ‘Where’s your voice coming from?’

‘I’m prisoner two-eight-seven-two and I’m coming from the cell to your left, if you’re facing the door.’ 

Prisoner 2872. He uses his goddamn number as his name?

Yoongi scans the wall, listens for the rumbling sound of Prisoner 2872’s voice. 

‘I don’t know why you bother with the screaming Min fucking Yoongi,’ Prisoner 2872 says and Yoongi blushes at the use of his name. At the word tucked in between that he’d used so eloquently just moments before. ‘The walls are soundproof, the only person who can hear you is me. And I’m as trapped as you are.’ 

He finds the hole in the wall. It’s at the foot of his bed, if Yoongi sits there, it’s in level with his shoulder. It’s less a hole and more of a crack, a fracture line half the size of Yoongi’s pinky finger and a third as thick. He presses his eye against it, but all he sees is darkness and a pinpoint speck that might as well be his eyes playing tricks on him. 

‘You’re a prisoner,’ he says and it’s not the most intelligent thing he could say, but it gives him a chance to process. 

‘The two thousand eight hundred and seventy-second prisoner to be exact.’ He sounds amused.

‘How long have you been here?’ Yoongi says, thinking of his own number. There’s quite a leap in the digits. 

‘About six months? Maybe? Fucked if I remember. How about you?’

‘Just over two weeks,’ Yoongi says. ‘I was on the second floor being interrogated before they brought me here.’

They’d asked him a lot of questions. Namely if he had any plans to take out any politicians or government organisations. He did not. They did not believe him, and so he is being kept here, indefinitely, or so it seems, in the place all bad mutants go.  

‘Oh, you got the special treatment, did you?’ Yoongi can hear the grin in Prisoner 2872’s voice, doesn’t quite know what to think of it. ‘Well I suppose in being here you’re a special snowflake. Only the vilest of vile mutants get a prime spot in a place like this. What did you do, Min fucking Yoongi?’

Yoongi folds his lips at his tone, a purring lilt that hints at both curiosity and mockery all at once. Whoever Prisoner 2872 is, Yoongi’s pretty sure he doesn’t want anything to do with him. 

‘I staged a protest on the treatment of mutants by humans.’ 

He had organised it. An underground thing, it hadn’t meant to be so big, just a hundred or so people trying to get across that they weren’t so different. But word had spread, and people had been feeling brave or were just pissed at how things were playing out thus far. Thousands had turned up, closed off the streets and everything.

There are pros and cons to staging a big protest and sometimes the two find it hard to exist together. On the one hand, you’ve got a loud enough voice that people have to listen to what you’re saying. On the other hand, they may not want to, and a big scary group of people that have the potential to hurt you with their extra skill set adds to that fear. 

‘You’re a natural leader, aren’t you?’ one of the guards had hissed in his ears. ‘Are you using some mind trick on them, or are they really this goddamn stupid.’

He hadn’t been. His power didn’t even cover that sort of skill set, all he could do was move things just by thinking about it, but the guards didn’t believe him. 

‘Criminal,’ Prisoner 2972 says. ‘Absolutely criminal. You’re a real badass, aren’t you?’

Yoongi presses his lips shut tight, resisting the urge to snap. The mockery feels like salt being smeared into the wound and if he didn’t have a lot of pent up irritation towards the guy before, then Yoongi’s definitely feeling it now. 

He makes a point of keeping silent for the rest of the day, more than a little annoyed that Prisoner 2872 makes no attempt to press him. The air seems thick with the guy’s amusement and it feels like bait being dangled on the hook right in front of his nose.

But Yoongi won’t bite. It’s the principal here.

It always comes down to the principal. 

 


 

Mornings start with Yoongi being woken up to a banging on his door and the ugly faces of his guards barging in whilst he’s still half asleep. Then there’s a bleary-eyed struggle, his fruitless attempt to steer clear of the pill being force fed to him. Sometimes he gets smacked, he always gets hurt, but he tries like hell to keep his pride in tact above all else. 

Most of the time, Prisoner 2872 will make a comment and most of the time, Yoongi will ignore him. This asshole’s obviously just trying to get his kicks from being a condescending ass and any attempt on Yoongi’s part to rebuke him will do nothing more than give him some gross sense of satisfaction. 

To reiterate, most of the time Yoongi will ignore him. 

Except one afternoon where he doesn’t.

‘It’s easier if you just do what they tell you to do,’ Prisoner 2872 says, out of the blue and Yoongi’s head snaps up, huffing out a sigh. ‘Take the pill, don’t get hit. They’ll make you take it anyway and there’s no escape even with the powers.’

There’s a touch of bitterness behind his words. A mocking sense of self-deprecation. Yoongi wonders if there was ever a time Prisoner 2872 had had a bit of fight in him.

It’s that thought that prompts him into asking, that and a crippling boredom that’s been eating away at him like some death-set bacteria. 

‘So I should just let them do whatever they want?’ he demands. ‘Act compliant to please them?’

‘Hey pleasing them is the reason I’m not in a shitload of pain right now.’ Yoongi feels the bruises across his face thump with acknowledgement. ‘Judge me all you want, I just know a lost cause when I see one.’

Yoongi peers at the hole, glaring. ‘Was that a jab at me?’

‘Nah,’ Prisoner 2872 says. ‘Hole’s not big enough for me to get a good look at you.’

‘Fuck you.’

‘Hole’s not big enough for that either.’ 

Yoongi snaps his mouth shut. Just fucking peachy. Not only is he trapped, but he’s trapped next to a mouthy asshole. 

Perfect.

 


 

In the first two weeks Yoongi was in this hell-hole, he’d been subjected to interrogation after interrogation, man-handled and smacked around. Cussed out and spat at. It had been a waking nightmare and as much as he hates to admit it, a lot of time he’d been scared out of his mind. 

He wouldn’t consider this cell any worse than that, he by no means is keen to have his head smacked in anymore than it has been already. But by God, living in a cell is beyond boring and if these people are planning to drive him insane by those means, then hell, maybe they’re onto something. 

So despite his better judgement, he finds himself… wanting to prompt conversation with Prisoner 2872. It’s not really that big of a deal, like… he hasn’t been in the best of moods considering his imprisonment, so there’s a likelihood that Prisoner 2872 isn’t as insufferable as Yoongi’s made him out to be.

And even if he is, Yoongi is bored and he’s never been much for socialising, but he is missing contact with other people and no matter how much he wishes otherwise, the only people he’s got are the guards and Prisoner 2872, and the latter, by leaps and bounds is better company than the others. 

‘What are you really called anyway?’ Yoongi asks one day, pressing up against the gap in the wall. ‘It’s not fair that you know my name and I don’t know yours.’

‘What does my name matter, Min fucking Yoongi?’ Prisoner 2872 replies and Yoongi grits his teeth at the name, bares through it. ‘No-one calls me it any more.’

I would, Yoongi thinks. He presses his lips together, inches as close as the wall will let him. ‘It’s part of who you are. Why are you so willing to let them take everything from you?’

He hears a dry laugh, Yoongi feels his cheeks heat up. ‘Haven’t they already?’ 

‘Only if we let them,’ Yoongi says. ‘You gotta stop feeling sorry for yourself, man.’

‘I’m not feeling sorry for myself,’ Prisoner 2872 snaps and Yoongi feels his lips twitch into a wry smile. He’s hit a nerve. ‘I’m realistic.’

‘Pessimistic,’ Yoongi corrects. ‘They’ve got us trapped in here, sure. They’ve taken our abilities away from us but they’re not taking who I am away from me.’

‘You think your name captures everything you are?’

His voice is slick with condescension. Yoongi doesn’t let it faze him. Surprised to find that he’s growing used to it. ‘I think it tries. I’m trying. More than I can say for you anyway.’

Prisoner 2872 pauses for a long while, Yoongi readies himself for some tirade of a rant designed to knock him down a peg. Readies himself to either block it out or drown it out with his own spiel of beliefs. 

Instead, he hears a sigh. 

‘My name’s Kim Namjoon.’ 

Kim Namjoon. Yoongi mouths the syllables to himself, lets his tongue get familiar with the shape of them. His lips twitch into a smile and he soon finds that he can’t do much more than that. 

‘Hi Kim Namjoon,’ he says, voice soft and secret like. 

Another pause, though this one isn’t as drawn out. 

‘Hi Min Yoongi.’ 

 


  

‘Yoongi for God’s sake,’ Namjoon’s voice snaps from his cell and Yoongi throws a glare towards the hole, back to the plate in front of him. Mocking him. ‘Just eat something. Your protest here doesn’t mean shit. They don’t care about you enough to keep you alive.’

Two days after Kim Namjoon has properly introduced himself and Yoongi has decided to change tactics in his protest against the guards with a hunger strike. He can’t fight them on the pills thing, though he still tries even with Namjoon’s running commentary off to the side, but this he can do. They can’t force him to eat and he’s stubborn enough that he’ll stare the goddamn plate down until it’s stomach eats itself before he touches a morsel of that food.

‘I won’t do what they want me to do,’ Yoongi says through gritted teeth. Namjoon scoffs.

‘They don’t care what you do in this department,’ Namjoon says. ‘Dead, alive what does it matter? They don’t care.’

‘Then why keep us alive in the first place?’

‘So they can auction us off as slaves later,’ Namjoon says and at first Yoongi thinks he’s joking but then he processes the set to Namjoon’s tone. Grim. Dead serious. 

‘What?’ he says. 

‘You think this is some normal prison or something?’ Namjoon pauses for a moment as if waiting for confirmation. It doesn’t come. ‘It’s totally off the grid. They keep us complacent in little cells away from the general public, who are told we’ve been detained, then they send us away and sell us as soldiers or whatever, to whoever wants us. Probably make a nice tidy profit off us as well.’ 

Like animals. Yoongi’s jaw works with no sound coming out. He’s here to be sold? The revelation has his heart racing, catches him off guard completely. Slave-trading, it’s something he never saw coming but wouldn’t put past the humans, the people in power. And it makes sense. Mutants are things to be feared after all, terrifying because of their advantage over humans. If they could be harnessed, controlled, they’d be the perfect weapon. 

Yoongi folds his lips together and says the first thing that pops into his head. 

‘That’s got to be breaking so many laws.’

Namjoon laughs as if the words delight him. ‘They make the laws, Yoongi. They can do whatever the fuck they want.’ 

When Yoongi was nine years old, he had once come home crying because some human kid had thrown things at him, goading him into sending the objects flying in another direction. Mutants were not allowed to use powers on school-grounds, doing so, even accidentally would result in expulsion. So Yoongi had suffered through it, biting his lip to keep from losing his temper and when he got home he broke down, miserable and frustrated. 

His mother had told him that he must never fight back. To fight back was to encourage them, to give them reason to end his life. As a mutant, they were taught from a young age to obey, to comply, to keep their heads down because not doing so lead to trouble and gave the humans permission to do all the terrible awful things they’d ever wanted to do in the name of ‘self-defence.’ 

When Yoongi was twelve years old, he watched a man—a mutant man— be pushed to the ground by a policeman and held there with a gun pointed to the back of his neck. He hadn’t done anything, and even if he did, Yoongi doubted it warranted the kick the officer issued to him.

This man was an element mutant as indicated by the blue band around his arm, Yoongi didn’t know what specifically and he never did find out, because the man, despite being kicked and abused and cussed at, did not fight back. Didn’t even raise his hands to stop the blows. 

Yoongi had never been fuelled by such blind resentment. His elder brother, also a mutant, a better one, for all intents and purposes, had to put a hand over his mouth and drag him away from the scene, so he didn’t cuss out anyone too important. 

Comply or die, that’s what he’d always been taught. Let the world use you as a punching bag to take out all their fear on, or they’ll snuff you out like a flame and you’ll have no-one to blame but yourself. 

It’s what Namjoon’s telling him now, and Yoongi wants quite desperately to grab the plate of food sitting in front of the door throw it across the damn room. 

‘I can’t just act all compliant knowing that,’ Yoongi says. ‘It goes against all my principals okay? I can’t do that.’

It might kill him. His morals are the only thing keeping him going, stubborn refusal is all he has left. 

‘No one cares about the principal when you’re fucking dead, dude,’ Namjoon tells him. ‘And I don’t give a shit about your martyr routine. If you die, I will be pissed and that’s all there is to say on the matter. So eat and think of some other way to stick it to the man.’ 

Yoongi’s stomach gurgles. It’s an effort to tear his eyes away from the food, to glare at the hole Namjoon is speaking from. 

‘Do you have any ideas?’ Yoongi asks.

Namjoon hums and Yoongi can hear the gears in his head working away, wonders whether he’ll get a snarky response or something substantial.

‘Most people fixate on plans of escaping,’ Namjoon says. His tone is strange, whimsical, almost. Namjoon doesn’t talk about himself much, normally just about things. Yoongi vaguely wonders if he was a teacher or something outside of here. Some thinking profession, maybe. 

Yoongi wrings his hands, eyes darting over to the food once again. His stomach gurgles again. He thinks on what Namjoon said, about being a martyr, about the principal not mattering once death’s got you in it’s gnarled fist. In here, death doesn’t seem like much of a ‘fuck you.’ It seems more like giving up and Yoongi isn’t one for that sort of thing. He doesn’t want to die either. 

The first step off the bed is the hardest. His knee cricks as it comes out from under him, and ice shoots up his leg like an electric current when his foot hits the stone floor. 

‘Alright,’ he says. The word is decisive. Final. He pads over to the food, resists the urge to scarf it down, and brings it back over to the bed. ‘I’ll escape then.’ 

‘Fantastic,’ Namjoon says, in his dryly amused voice. 

Yoongi shoves a bread roll into his mouth. It’s stale, but after no food for so long he can’t find himself caring. 

‘Super,’ he says, around the mouthful.

Namjoon snorts.

 


 

Yoongi stops fighting against the guards so much. He glares at them when they come in, refuses to let them feed him the pill and opts for holding out his hand. The first few times this doesn’t work and they use the more forceful method, a sure-fire way to get the job done. But after awhile, they allow Yoongi to take the pill himself and he does so, reluctantly, drowning out the voice in his head screeching about treachery with the low thrum of Namjoon’s voice, assuring him it’s best to be complacent sometimes. 

‘They probably want you to fight back,’ Namjoon had said, when Yoongi had gritted out his concerns for the whole thing, how much he loathed doing what they wanted. ‘Gives them a reason to hurt you. Just think of it like that. By doing what they say you should do, you’re depraving them of the sick shit they want to do.’ 

It’s a good set of words to hold onto and Yoongi finds himself clinging to them more often than not. And when that fails, he thinks of his plans of making it out of this place. If he’s going to escape, he needs his strength and honestly getting smacked around is not helping matters. 

There are no mirrors in the cell, so Yoongi can’t see the extent of the bruises on his face. They’re tender to touch, have him wincing every time he opens his mouth, or reaches up to brush the skin. If they look anything like the purple atrocities on his arms, he doubts he looks all that amazing. 

Another means of rebellion in Yoongi’s book, is shit-talking the guards, and this one is particularly enjoyable because Namjoon joins in. 

‘I call them Baby-Face and Vulture,’ Namjoon says and Yoongi can see it, has him choking out a surprised laugh. ‘Baby-Face is self-explanatory, he’s super big and built, with one of those faces that looks like it’s been swapped around with an infant’s. Vulture is cause he’s all pink, with that beak-like nose and beady eyes. He stinks too.’

‘Like rotting flesh?’ Yoongi supplies.

‘Like rotting flesh,’ Namjoon says, a smile in his voice. ‘Like a vulture. Hence the name. Maybe he’s one of those guy’s that doesn’t bathe or something.’

Yoongi clicks his tongue against the roof of his mouth. ‘Or it’s a karma thing. You know, you reap what you sow and all that jazz.’

‘Like a curse or something because he’s a shit stain of a person?’ Namjoon scoffs. ‘You believe in that sorta thing?

‘I don’t know,’ Yoongi says, shrugging. His mum did, he thinks. Used to mutter it under her breath when something bad happened to less than good people. ‘I guess so. How about you?’

‘Nah,’ Namjoon says, and it’s completely unsurprising, Yoongi’s gathered at this stage that Namjoon doesn’t believe in much of anything. ‘Most of the stuff doesn’t add up. If your karma thing’s got any substance to it, then why don’t all humans smell like that? Or have some other tell that they’re fucking terrible?’

Yoongi almost flinches at the venom in Namjoon’s tone. He should be used to it by now, it’s not like it’s uncommon to hear mutants talk about humans in that regard, with that level of barely hidden contempt. But Namjoon’s different. The sharp edges of his bitterness is normally dulled under jokes and wry humour. 

‘They’re not all like that,’ Yoongi says.

‘Maybe not to that extent,’ Namjoon allows, though it seems to be reluctant. ‘I just kinda think it’s bullshit. No offence.’

‘It’s cool,’ Yoongi shrugs. ‘Your opinion.’

Namjoon doesn’t stop there though, still troubled. ‘Like you were doing good in what you were doing.’

Yoongi smiles wryly. ‘Thanks.’

‘You’re welcome,’ Namjoon says, just as wryly. ‘But seriously, it was all selfless, standing up for what’s right and stuff. Nothing violent. And yet you’re in here with all us other dastardly criminals.’

Whilst the words possess that same nonchalance and mockery unique to Namjoon, his tone is everything but. Something serious and factual about the words ‘us dastardly criminals.’

‘You’re here too,’ Yoongi says. Reminding him. 

‘Yeah,’ Namjoon says. ‘That’s different though.’ 

Namjoon doesn’t talk much about himself, it’s something Yoongi’s finding more and more noticeable as the seconds tick on. Yoongi’s quickly coming to terms with the fact that he knows very little about Kim Namjoon.

‘I’ve never asked you what you did,’ Yoongi says. ‘About how you ended up in this place.’ 

The moment the last word is past his lips, Yoongi feels it. The tangible shift in the air where Namjoon takes everything and shoves it inside himself, like sweeping up the messy contents of a bedroom floor and thrusting it into a closet. 

‘That’s because I don’t want you to.’ 

Yoongi swallows, starts nodding his head before realising Namjoon can’t fucking see him. Now that he realises how little he knows about Namjoon all he can think of are questions he wants to ask him, about his life, what he does, who he is outside of this place. 

If he ever wanted to escape this place.

What made him so resigned to just wasting his life play out in a cell.

But those are too big questions, and Yoongi’s pretty sure that Namjoon’s got a list of the things he doesn’t want Yoongi asking and those are all on there in some form or another. He’ll ask later, but in the meantime there’s this awkward silence to fill and Yoongi doesn’t want to leave off here, because it makes starting conversation again that much harder. 

‘Have you seen the tattoo on Baby-Face’s arm?’ Yoongi asks, deflates a little when Namjoon huffs out a laugh. 

‘Is that what it is?’ he ask. ‘I always thought it was a misshapen mole.’ 

‘Maybe it is,’ Yoongi says, keeping his tone thoughtful. ‘He should probably get that checked out.’

‘Or not,’ Namjoon says, in a tone that’s probably not meant to sound so dark but  does anyway.

Yoongi laughs and lets it trail off into silence. Figures it would be less awkward to end it here. 

 


 

Later comes in two days when Yoongi’s at a loss for anything to talk about retaining to himself or has simply lost interest in doing so.  He’s pushing crumbs about on his tray, arranging them into pictures because boredom makes him do pretty much anything if it’ll offer some semblance of distraction for a measly minute or so. 

But it can only do so much, and Yoongi’s exhausted all the insults he has in store for the guards and he’s so fucking bored.

Yoongi shoves the tray aside, clearing his throat. He can hear Namjoon’s blanket rustle against the mattress, him groaning. He might have been napping, or trying to. It’s easy not to feel guilty when Yoongi thinks of all the hours worth of sleep he’s lost thanks to Namjoon’s snoring. 

‘Hey,’ Namjoon says, voice groggy and yeah, he’d been trying to sleep. Yoongi sits up straighter.  

‘What’s your thing?’ he asks. It’s not a super intimate question, the only reason Yoongi’s taken so long to bring it up is because the reminder leaves a bad taste in his mouth. The injury of it isn’t quite so bad now, though, he barely feels a twinge of something lacking when he asks it. 

‘My thing?’ Namjoon says. 

‘Power. Like your ability.’ Yoongi twists on the bed, so his back is pressed against the wall. ‘Are you an elemental? I think you’d be an earth elemental or something.’

‘Way off,’ Namjoon says, sounding amused. 

‘Then what?’ 

He hears sounds from Namjoon’s cell again, the blankets rustling against the mattress. Not for the first time does Yoongi imagine what Namjoon must look like. He doesn’t plan on asking, pretty sure Namjoon would lie or something, but it’s something he finds himself thinking when Namjoon talks about anything at length. 

‘I’m a telepath,’ Namjoon says, when he’s finished shifting. His voice sounds closer, Yoongi assumes he’s shifted into the same position he’s in himself. ‘And a mind-reader, I suppose, but they normally go hand in hand.’

Yoongi purses his lips. If he’s being honest, mutants with those abilities always unsettled him a little, solely because he liked keeping a little semblance of privacy, and his mind had always been a sanctum he’d been grateful for. He knows a certain level of his prejudice stems from what some humans have reported on mind-readers, but he also knows that he probably would’ve taken one look at Namjoon’s white arm band and walked in the other direction. 

He’s hit with a bout of self-loathing, irritated at his display of hypocrisy. Namjoon’s a little insufferable at times, with his mocking words and world views that cusp the line of total apathy, but he’s cool, not the sort who’d dig through the contents of someone’s mind for kicks. 

‘Huh,’ Yoongi says and keeps it at that. 

‘Yeah,’ Namjoon says. ‘So what’s your freaky trick, huh?’

‘Mind stuff too. Telekinesis.’

‘Oh,’ Namjoon lets out a low whistle. ‘Scary shit. Us mind people always get the worst rap. Bet when you got interrogated, they asked if you made a bunch of people do stuff right? You were in for protesting? Oh man, they would have been terrified of you.’ 

Yoongi shifts, picking at the skin around his thumbnail. ‘I didn’t want them to be.’ 

‘Pity. You could use it to your advantage. Be the super-villain they always thought you’d be.’

‘God, you’re weird.’

‘Entertaining though, right?’ There’s a smile in Namjoon’s voice. Yoongi wonders if he could see all his teeth when he grins. ‘Speaking of which, what did you do for fun in the outside world? Or were you just full-time activist, no time for fun stuff because there were innocents to protect?’

‘Is everything a joke to you?’ It’s almost a legitimate question. Yoongi’s getting a little annoyed at it, just kinda wants to have a conversation without it having some snarky condescending undertone to it. 

‘Just the funny things,’ Namjoon says. ‘I will be a little disappointed if there isn’t anything though, Yoongi. You strike me as more interesting than that.’ 

Yoongi rolls his eyes. ‘I liked music.’

‘Listening to it or making it?’

‘Both.’ 

‘That’s neat. Did you play any instruments then?’

‘Piano.’ Sometimes Yoongi finds himself sitting on the floor of his cell, legs tucked under his bed and his fingers go over make-believe keys and he plays music no-one, not even him really, can hear. He sighs. ‘I miss it.’ 

‘Yeah,’ Namjoon says, and maybe he’s taken some of what Yoongi said on board before, there’s not a trace of mockery in his voice. ‘I get that.’

‘What did you do for fun?’

‘I wrote,’ Namjoon says, after that brief moment of hesitation he always has before disclosing something about himself. ‘And read a lot.’

‘What sorta stuff?’

Another pause. ‘Poetry.’

Yoongi can’t help the shocked laugh that comes out of his mouth. ‘You were a poet?’

‘Who’s being mocking now?’

‘Sorry,’ Yoongi says, a reflex, Namjoon doesn’t actually sound all that pissed. ‘It caught me off-guard.’

‘My friends said the same sorta shit. What did you think I was into? Stand-up comedy?’

‘Nah, you’re not funny enough for that.’

‘I’m wounded,’ Namjoon says, laughing, ‘You don’t joke very often.’

It’s hard to find humour in a place as bleak as this but Yoongi finds himself wanting to try. Another means of rebelling, maybe. He thinks of Namjoon and how he always sounds like he’s smiling, maybe that’s why he does it. The guards wouldn’t want them to find any semblance of happiness within the cell walls, maybe Namjoon poking fun and making light of things is his way of sticking it to them.

It’s just an idea, but even the thought of it has a fondness stirring in Yoongi’s chest. 

 


 

If Namjoon took himself as seriously as he used to, he might consider himself a ‘tortured soul.’ 

Nowadays taking himself seriously is a super fucking awful idea, so he doesn’t think about it so much. 

Over seven months since being imprisoned and it’s been what Namjoon suspects hell would be like if he believed in the place. Boredom is a constant state, and crippling loneliness and questioning your sanity becomes a regular occurrence. Namjoon himself has been subject to laughing fits, staging day long debates with himself, pacing the cell back and forth until it hurt to breathe, anything to fight the boredom off. He doesn’t envy those without a hole in their wall. He doesn’t know how the people come out of this place sane with no semblance of company. 

He’d been doing sit-ups when he heard shouting the day Yoongi had been put into the cell next door. It had come as a shock, having been about a fortnight since someone had occupied the space, and Namjoon had sat bolt upright, keeping quiet, listening, making bets with himself as to how long the newcomer would go before he got exhausted and broke down crying. 

An hour stretched into two, stretched into three, then four before Namjoon was gritting his teeth against the assault, maintaining some wry amusement because good God this one had a voice on him and a colourful vocabulary that put the ones he’d heard to shame. His friends would’ve been impressed, hell, Namjoon knew he was. 

So even though he was pissed at the noise, the grudging respect had bloomed immediately. Namjoon had sat there and marvelled at the spark in this one. Knew the guards would hate him because he was everything they didn’t want him to be. Outspoken, stubborn, brave and non-conforming. 

Of all the people Namjoon’s had in his neighbouring cell, Yoongi’s his favourite. 

To be fair, there’s only been two prior to him. The first guy was okay, bitter and twisted in a way Namjoon couldn’t ever live up to and had probably gotten himself killed by now for acting out, but he was okay. He’d had a strength mutation and had been in there for a while, not as long as Namjoon has been at this point, but back then three months had seemed like a long time. Sometimes the man had cried and that had always been awkward, Namjoon never quite knew what to do in those situations. 

Yoongi hasn’t once cried. The guy before Yoongi cried all the time and begged and it was fucking terrible and Namjoon had thanked every non-existent deity when he was swapped out of that cell. He was upset enough himself without adding another person’s misery on top of it. 

But Yoongi wasn’t scared, he was angry and indignant and got done for staging a protest because he still had some child-like optimism that those things worked that reminded him Jimin and Seokjin back home. 

And as if the comparison to his friends didn’t make him likeable enough, sometimes, Yoongi sang.

Not often, Namjoon notices. But sometimes. 

It’s normally only a line of something, at night, and then he stops and Namjoon presumes that might have something to do with him realising he has a one-man audience in the cell next door.

One day though, when it’s late, super late, Namjoon hears Yoongi sing a whole song.

Yoongi hasn’t got an amazing singing voice. That sounds mean, but Namjoon tries to keep things in perspective. Yoongi hasn’t got an amazing singing voice, but it’s not terrible. It’s nice, sticks to the tune and doesn’t waver despite the varying notes. 

Namjoon listens to the song, the words too because he’s always liked the power of those, thinks that’s the reason he likes Yoongi and doesn’t just cling to him as a means of escapism, like Yoongi more than likely does with him. Yoongi has a voice and knows how to use it, knows how to say things that mean something. The fact that it sounds good whether he’s talking or singing, is just an added bonus. 

When Yoongi’s song draws to a close, Namjoon claps, because that’s the thing to do.

It’s a mistake. The air turns stagnant where once it was thrumming with potential and after the last echo fades out, the cells stay silent. 

Yoongi doesn’t sing for a week after that. 

When he does again, it ends up waking Namjoon up one morning and it’s a nice change in pace from the slamming of doors and grunts and Namjoon’s never felt more grateful for it. 

‘You have a great voice,’ Namjoon says, rather than applause this time. He can hear Yoongi suck in a breath through his nose and Namjoon partly wishes he hadn’t said anything, thinks Yoongi might go quiet again.

‘Thanks,’ he says, guarded. Namjoon folds his lips.

‘Seriously, I could listen to your voice all day.’

‘Don’t make fun of me.’

‘What makes you think I am?’

‘Because you always do. You joke all the time.’

‘Sorry,’ Namjoon winces. ‘I don’t mean for it to be offensive.’ 

Yoongi doesn’t say anything, probably weighing it over, Namjoon sighs. His humour’s a defence mechanism, a means of admitting certain things that he doesn’t really want to admit and being able to deal with it all. Yoongi wouldn’t get that though, would he? He wasn’t evasive. He was direct. 

That’s because he doesn’t have anything to be ashamed of. 

Namjoon stamps the voice in his head down like the dying embers of a campfire. He’s not dealing with that bullshit right now, not when he’s talking to Yoongi. 

‘I really do like your voice,’ Namjoon says. ‘Honestly. I like hearing you sing, you can do it whenever you like.’

‘Did I need your permission?’ 

‘No, that’s not…’ Namjoon huffs out a sigh. ‘You can do whatever. It just gets boring in here and you singing cuts through that—’

‘Relax, Namjoon, I was joking. I’m not asking for a confession.’ 

Namjoon blushes beet red at the words, keeps his lips pressed closed because it keeps him from spluttering. 

‘So funny,’ Namjoon says and his voice doesn’t sound too choked. He’ll be thankful for that much. 

 


 

One morning, Namjoon wakes up to the sound of Yoongi’s door crashing open.

That’s not out of the ordinary, it’s normally how he’s woken. Abruptly yanked from his dreams into the real world of four grim cell walls that are cramped and desolate and soul-sucking. Exhaust you without having to do anything.

Willing his heart rate to drop down to a respectable level, Namjoon sits up and rubs sleep from his eyes, cricking his neck.

Then, he hears a smacking sound like a slab of meat being dropped onto a kitchen bench and a yelp, a hissed wince.  

‘Fuck you,’ Yoongi’s voice snaps and Namjoon jolts at sound of Yoongi’s breath catching. God, he wants to say something, wants to demand what the hell is going on but he bites his tongue. It’s not worth it. He can’t do shit anyway and he doesn’t know what the guards would do if they found out about the hole. Patching it up would be best case scenario, but even that feels like a twist of a knife in Namjoon’s gut. 

He hears Yoongi coughing, wonders if he’s started up trying to throw up his pills again. The door slams shut and Namjoon lies back down on his bed, faking a bleary-eyed expression when the cell door swings open. He’s given his tray, his little pill that he swallows to appease them and they shuffle out without an issue. Namjoon wastes all of two seconds before he presses up against the cell wall.

‘Yoongi?’ he gets a grunt in reply. Namjoon swallows the lump in his throat. ‘What happened?’

‘I don’t know,’ Yoongi mutters. ‘Fuckers were bored, I guess. I didn’t do shit.’ 

‘Bastards,’ Namjoon hisses, anger coiling tight inside his stomach. ‘Are you okay?’

‘Probably just a new bruise or something. Sucks though, the other ones on my arms only just faded.’

‘I just…’ Namjoon forces out a sigh, a part of him wishing he’d slugged Vulture right in his beak nose when he came in here. ‘God. I wanna wring their necks sometimes.’

Namjoon’s too pissed to notice the shift in atmosphere. In hindsight, he’ll recall it and want to hit himself for saying the damn words in the first place, or at least for not incorporating some edge of mockery in the delivery. Yoongi doesn’t say anything for a while, leaves Namjoon to fume in silence before he broaches the silence tentatively. 

‘Namjoon?’ 

‘What?’

Another pause, and this one stretches on long enough that Namjoon almost hurries it along with a sharp word. Yoongi coughs before he gets the chance and Namjoon snaps his lips closed. 

‘Why won’t you tell me what you did that got you thrown in here?’

Dread is like an icy draft in the middle of winter, sneaks into Namjoon’s bones and has him freezing in his seat, unable to shift an inch. It takes some time for him to get his mouth to work, yet alone will the words to come out. He can hear his pulse roar in his ears, drumming loudly in a way that borders on deafening. 

‘Personal reasons,’ he says. 

‘So it was bad?’

‘Depends on the person asking.’

‘I am,’ Yoongi says and his voice is taking on a shakier edge now. Like he’s forcing himself to get the words out. Namjoon sighs. 

‘You’re not a pro-violence person are you?’ He’d figured as much in their talks and the fact Yoongi was imprisoned for organising a peaceful protest and not participating in a full blown riot.

‘I don’t like violence,’ Yoongi says, cementing what Namjoon already knew. 

‘Then yeah,’ Namjoon says. ‘I guess it was bad.’ 

He hears Yoongi wince, tries to convince himself his pained tone is from his new wounds and nothing to do with what Namjoon’s saying. ‘How bad?’

‘You don’t wanna know.’ 

That bad?’ 

A pin could drop in the silence that follows and Namjoon just knows Yoongi’s going through the options in his head, the worst case scenario of a violent crime. 

It doesn’t really take a genius to work it out. 

Namjoon doesn’t reply, bites down on the inside of his cheek instead because Yoongi’s pressing tone has his insides curling in on themselves, makes him feel queasy despite having nothing in his stomach to throw up. Yoongi waits for a confirmation, probably waits for Namjoon to tell him that he’s having him on. Namjoon’s almost tempted to do so. This all feels a lot like letting someone down, and it hurts worse when he thought there wasn’t anyone left to disappoint. 

‘Just tell me you didn’t kill anyone,’ Yoongi’s voice is on the cusp of breaking. Namjoon takes some bitter amusement wondering how someone can sound both full of hope and full of dread at the same time.

‘You didn’t kill anyone,’ Yoongi says again, like if he says it enough times it’ll be believable. ‘Right, Namjoon?’

Namjoon’s lips are chapped under his tongue, raw and on the cusp of splitting right open, like fissures out in the dessert grounds. He can hear one of his friends, Hoseok, saying something along the same line.

'Oh god Namjoon. Tell me you didn’t. Please tell me you didn’t do it.'

‘I never killed anyone innocent,’ he phrases gently. But Yoongi’s not having any of that.

‘What does that mean?’ he demands. ‘What counts as innocent?’

‘I never killed anyone fighting the same battle as you,’ Namjoon says, trying to mould his voice to the sound of a book snapping shut, ending the story. ‘No-one you would’ve cared about.’ 

‘But you have killed someone?’ Yoongi presses. Never one to give up. Namjoon used to find the trait endearing but now it feels like an anchor tied to the bottom of his feet, or a siren, pulling him down down down under the waves of Yoongi’s disappointment. 

‘Why do you keep asking questions you don’t want to hear the answers to, huh?’ he snaps. ‘You a goddamn masochist or something? Or a sadist for making me say it?’

It’s an admission as any, leaves a foul taste in his mouth that makes him want to gag. He can practically feel Yoongi’s opinion of him morphing, feels like the air before a storm takes a turn for the worse and it’s way too familiar. 

‘So that’s why you’re in here?’ Yoongi asks, quietly, so quiet that Namjoon can’t pinpoint his tone. 

Namjoon can’t stop shaking. ‘What the hell do you think?’

A pause follows, Namjoon can hear it building up and up and up like a tidal wave, or a crescendo. When Yoongi’s voice sounds through the hole, it’s accusing and full of bitter awe. 

‘You’re everything they think we are.’

Disgusted. He sounds like the voices Namjoon hears in his nightmares that sound dreadfully like his old friends and the effect it has on him is physically painful, like a baseball bat to the gut, a crowbar to the back of his neck. He clenches his fists, has to keep from balling them up and slamming it into the wall to the left of the hole. 

‘Shut up,’ he whispers. 

‘No,’ Yoongi snaps and Namjoon hears him get to his feet, press up close against the wall. ‘It’s people like you that gave the rest of us a bad name, that scared all of them into thinking we were something terrible.’

It stings, no, that’s too gentle. What Yoongi’s words do is pry Namjoon’s guts straight open and dig around in the months worth of guilt and pain and anger that’s been shoved down his throat since he did it. And it hurts like betrayal, because he expected a lot of things from the admission, but blame wasn’t one of them. 

‘Oh,’ Namjoon says voice both light and dark, a scale that can’t settle in one particular place. ‘So you’re taking their side now?

‘I’m not taking sides,’ Yoongi says, voice shaking. ‘Killing people doesn’t solve anything!’

And just like that, Namjoon snaps. 

‘Neither does screaming into the fucking void in the hopes that maybe they’ll sympathise! Or exposing all their corrupt goings on to a bunch of people who don’t want to see or listen because that means they’ll have to call into question their own bullshit. Why is it so goddamn hard for you to understand that they don’t care about us? They’re not capable of doing so! Are you so stupid that you don’t fucking get that?’

His breaths are ragged and he pauses, waits for Yoongi to defend himself, to fight back. 

‘They’re not all like that,’ Yoongi says. ‘A lot of them don’t deserve to die and you sure as hell don’t get a say in who does—’

‘Jesus Christ, Yoongi,’ he hisses. ‘They kill people all the time. They killed my sister, did you just expect me to sit there and plead after they sliced her neck open, right in front of me?’

Namjoon shoves his palms into his eyes, forcing the tears back. His breaths are nothing more than shuddering gasps and he feels like he’s suffocating. The cell is too small, too barren with only him, his memories and Yoongi’s voice reverberating in his mind, slick with all the disgust Namjoon’s built up towards himself for months now. 

He doesn’t want to think back to it, but he does. His sister’s terrified face, his own pleads falling on deaf ears, the red burning into his vision as he watched it happen, he can still feel the sickness rising in his throat, the way he’d screamed until his voice was bloody and how he’d pressed the man down, disabling him by invading his thoughts with every hellish thought he could think of. 

It had been so fucking easy, like snuffing out a flame. Press down on the throat, ignore the nails biting into the flesh, fighting for purchase, look into the bulging blood-shot eyes set in an unnaturally purple face. Don’t think of how scared they look. Don’t even care about it if you do. Get satisfaction from it. 

Keep pushing down. As hard as you can. Do not fucking ease up until that light in their eyes dies and takes them with it. 

Deal with the nightmares of those unseeing eyes forever and ever and sate it by telling yourself you had to. That the only regret is that you didn’t do it sooner and save your sister in the process. Don’t think about her though, how you hadn’t been able to save her. Don’t think about how you’ll never forgive yourself for it. Don’t think about how much you disappointed those around you. How you deserve to be in here for what you’ve done. 

Namjoon rocks back and forth, tries not to see it but it’s impossible not to, nothing to distract yourself with in a tiny cell with nothing comforting to grasp onto. He sees his sister’s face, the one he couldn’t save, the man he’d killed and it’s over-whelming, he bites down on his tongue to keep from screaming. 

Yoongi’s voice comes from the side of him, small and apologetic. ‘I didn’t know.’

‘Of course you didn’t!’ Namjoon snaps. ‘You don’t know shit. You keep proving time and time again that you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.’

‘Namjoon—’

‘Leave me alone.’

And he does.

 


 

‘I’m sorry,’ Yoongi whispers, when all the lights are out and you can’t help but be struck with the realisation of how lonely you are. The words echo off the walls, only serving to advance it, he feels so fucking alone.

‘Namjoon?’ he whispers it again. He doesn’t want to push. He knows he’s done enough. But he has to be sure Namjoon can hear him. These last few hours of silence have been the most painful thing he’s ever been forced to endure since coming here and he can’t take much more of it. ‘I’m sorry for what I said. I don’t know what came over me.’

He really doesn’t. It had come out of nowhere, this sudden burst of resentment that should’ve been aimed at their captors. Not Namjoon, who hadn’t done anything wrong. Or… who had done something wrong, but nothing that involved Yoongi. Nothing that he should’ve jumped to conclusions about even if it was heinous. 

Maybe it was the shock of it. Yoongi’s always been strictly against violence in any form that isn’t self defence. He didn’t spend time with those who got into fights and he sure as hell didn’t think he’d befriend someone who’d—

Jesus Christ.

Namjoon killed someone. 

Maybe Yoongi should be on edge. He’s next door to a murderer, someone who had ended a person’s life intentionally. And that was a big deal, a huge freaking deal. It makes his insides squirm. The sheer thought of it. 

Would you not do it? Yoongi thinks to himself. If your family had been killed? Can you honestly sit there and say that you wouldn’t seek revenge in the spur of the moment?

‘You’re everything they think we are.’

Yoongi shudders. He doesn’t know. He doesn’t. They killed Namjoon’s sister and maybe Namjoon wasn’t fit to carry out an execution of his own, but Yoongi’s never been in that situation and he can’t judge. It’s not his right. 

So he sits there, knees tucked into his chest and presses up against the wall, knocks on it for good measure. 

‘I’m sorry, Namjoon,’ he tries again. 

Silence. Maybe Namjoon’s asleep. Yoongi wills himself to believe it, but it doesn’t work. He inches closer to the hole in the wall, presses his mouth right up against the stone, flinching at the coolness of it on his lips. 

‘Namjoon, please?’ He’s getting desperate now, and it would be embarrassing if he hadn’t been stripped of his dignity some time ago. Maybe in another life he’d want to get as far away from Kim Namjoon as possible but right now that’s not possible and even if it was Yoongi wouldn’t want to. Maybe Yoongi’s selfish, but Namjoon is a lifeline in this hell-hole and Yoongi needs him if he’s going to make it through here. 

‘I’m on your side, okay?’ He is, he is, he is. ‘I promise.’

Another dreaded silence. Yoongi’s stomach is twisting itself in knots and maybe it’s the hour that’s got him all emotional, or the thought of being really left alone in this place with only his thoughts for company, but shit, he wants to cry.

When he hears what he presumes is Namjoon shifting on his bed, his heart leaps and he fidgets, waiting for confirmation he’s been heard, half-expects to be told he doesn’t know anything again or to be cussed out. 

‘Namjoon, I promise,’ he says. ‘They were wrong for what they did to you and I’m sorry. I’m on your side.’

The most minuscule of pauses in which Namjoon shakily exhales. Yoongi’s not aware that he’s stopped breathing until his lungs scream in protest. 

‘Okay,’ Namjoon says, voice hoarse, a barely there whisper. 

It’s an acceptance, and Yoongi feels himself sag in relief. That one word is the only reason he gets any sleep that night. 

 


 

‘Are you real?’ Namjoon asks one day and Yoongi has to chase back a laugh. ‘I feel like I should ask. Even if you won’t give me an honest answer.’

Yoongi grins, trailing his thumbnail into the cracks in the stone walls. He’s feeling good today, the bruises from the other day aren’t giving him any hassle and he feels well-rested, can think about Namjoon’s confession without feeling his insides wilt. 

‘Are your thoughts normally dishonest with you, Namjoon?’

‘All the fucking time. For example, I have this idea in my head that you might actually be attractive.’ 

Yoongi fights back a blush, then berates himself for it. It’s not as if Namjoon can see him anyway. He’s free to blush all he wants for now. 

‘Getting lonely, Namjoon?’ he asks, tone casual if not a tiny bit amused.  

‘Only human, Yoongi,’ Namjoon replies. ‘How about you?’

‘Nah, I’m not human. Just a figment of your imagination. Figments don’t get horny.’ 

Namjoon breaks out into a loud laugh and Yoongi grins at the sound, a proud flourish blooming in his chest. He sobers after a couple moments, manages to squander out an amused: ‘How boring.’ 

‘I’m sure you’ll cope,’ Yoongi says, as he shifts on the bed, sinking beneath the scraggly blanket. ‘Try not to be too loud though, okay? I need to get some sleep.’

‘Big day tomorrow?’

This evening when the guards had come in, Yoongi’s eyes had flicked to the keys hanging at Vulture’s hip as they had been doing for a time. Vulture has a bung right knee, walks with a limp in his stride that Yoongi’s been paying special attention to as well. Baby-Face is slow, both physically and mentally where Yoongi is quick in both regards. That will give him an edge. 

Yoongi continues to trail his thumbnail along the cracks of the stonewall, excitement thrumming through his veins like the hum of electricity. He’s going to get out of here, sooner rather than later. 

‘You know it.’ 

 


  

In a way Namjoon had been expecting it.

Yoongi had been dropping hints after all, and he said he would do it and as he proves time and time again Yoongi is stubborn. If he said he would do something, he was going to do it. 

Try it, is what Namjoon means. 

Because what Yoongi wants to do isn’t possible. 

He had woken up earlier than usual for whatever reason. It takes him a moment to process that it’s not the slam of Yoongi’s door that has him stirring, but his voice, frantic and hissed.

‘Namjoon,’ he’s hissing. ‘Namjoon get up. You have to be ready, okay?’

‘Ready?’ Namjoon asks, voice bleary. He’s hardly able to process. ‘For what?’

‘We’re getting out of here,’ he sounds horribly excited, has Namjoon waking up in an instant. Sitting up straight and processing because surely he’s heard wrong. Surely Yoongi isn’t serious. 

(On a deep level he knows Yoongi’s as serious as a heart attack and always has been.)

‘You’re kidding, right?’ Namjoon demands. ‘Dude, you can’t.’

‘We can,’ Yoongi says, ‘and we’re going to.’ 

There’s no time for Namjoon to debate, and Namjoon’s pretty sure Yoongi planned it to be this way, because as soon as that last word is past Yoongi’s lips the tell-tale sound of the hinges creaking plays out and Namjoon’s heart jolts. 

There’s a shout, Vulture’s voice he thinks and he sits up straight, unable to think, unable to move, as he listens. Yoongi is mad. He’s fucking mad if he thinks this has any chance of working. All his insides are wrought with anxiety, twisting themselves into knots and tightening. He feels light-headed. He feels like he might throw up. There's so much noise coming from the other room and he needs to know what the hell is going on.

Namjoon hears a clang and there’s silence. The only sound is the drumming of his pulse, throbbing in his throat. 

He wonders vaguely if Yoongi has killed them.

He wouldn’t. 

He needs to. 

He should. 

There’s a jingle of something. Keys. Yoongi must be getting the keys. Did he take them both out? He must’ve. Jesus, in the conditions they’ve been under they must’ve been caught completely by surprise. 

‘What the fuck,’ Namjoon hisses under his breath, hearing footsteps smacking against the stone floors. ‘What the fuck.’ 

The door to his cell opens, it swings open with a scream of hinges and Namjoon turns and stares wide-eyed at the person in the threshold. Min Yoongi. This is the Min Yoongi he’s been talking to for months now. Thin-framed and petite looking, delicate, pale and just…

Beautiful. 

Through the rush of confusion clouding Namjoon’s brain, that last word is all he can think about. 

Yoongi looks stuck too, eyes wide as they rake over him, but at least his mouth is moving. He’s on his feet, looking terrified out of his mind and Namjoon can’t do much more than stare, petrified. It had been a joke, something stupid to keep him from starving himself. This is just as suicidal. 

‘Get up!’ Yoongi says, pleading and God, he looks so scared. Namjoon gets to his feet. ‘Come on, we have to go, we have to—’

Namjoon sees him before Yoongi does. Seems to form from the shadows of the outside halls and Namjoon doesn’t have time to yell out a warning, or run for the door to wrench him free. He blinks and the man has an arm around Yoongi’s throat and is tugging him back away from the door, whilst Yoongi grapples, spluttering and cussing. 

Namjoon lurches forward, going for the door, but it slams shut. 

‘No!’ he throws his fists against the door. ‘No, fuck, Yoongi!’

He’s screaming, heart tugging up towards his throat along with bile and Yoongi’s screaming outside the cell and his voice is getting quieter as he’s dragged away, down the hall, God knows where and Namjoon’s just stuck, he’s fucking stuck and he keeps thrashing against the door as if it will do something. 

Everything is silent.

Namjoon goes over to the toilet and throws up. 

 


 

Three days in which he hears nothing and he’s sure Yoongi’s dead. That they shot him, or beat him to a bloody pulp, he keeps himself up at night imagining it all. Now there’s two nightmares, two crushing weights of guilt pinning him down. 

What if you’d run, what if you hadn’t hesitated and you’d gotten free. The two of you could’ve over-powered them, that’s probably what he was betting on. You could’ve stopped it.

He’s stopped eating, partly because he doesn’t think he deserves it, partly because whenever he tries to get something down his stomach throws it back up. All he can taste is stomach acid, burning in his mouth and it’s terrible but at least it’s something else to fixate on. 

On the third day in the evening when the guard comes in—Baby-Face, Vulture has been MIA since the incident— he sets the tray down and stands there. There’s a bit of distance between them, he’s noticed the guard’s tend to give him a bit of space most of the time. He has one of the more unsettling abilities he supposes, makes him creepy and suspicious. But the guard lingers there and Namjoon watches him, kinda wants to rip his throat out for all he stands for and what his colleagues might have done to Yoongi, considers it up until the man opens his mouth and some surprisingly sharp words tumble out. 

‘Do you know him?’

Namjoon blinks at him, barely has to feign his confusion. He knows exactly what this man is talking about, but out of shock, he asks, ‘Who?’

‘That prisoner who unlocked your cell,’ Baby-Face clarifies, trying to school his expression into one of frustration. ‘The one who tried to escape. Do you two know each other?’

Namjoon has to dissect the words. Think before he replies because this situation is like waking on a minefield and one stray step could be the death of him. 

What he gathers in a few short seconds is a handful of things. One, Yoongi might still be alive, considering the guard was speaking in the present tense with ‘do you know him?’ Two, there was no mention of the hole, nor does the guard look around as if to search for it. And three, the phrasing suggests that he’s been lead to believe otherwise. And the only person he would’ve heard from would be Yoongi. 

If Yoongi hasn’t said it, worst case scenario will be they think Yoongi’s crazy or, presume Namjoon’s lying and has gotten his abilities back and fucked with Yoongi’s head. Yoongi shouldn’t technically get punished anymore, and Namjoon would take the blame. If Namjoon says he knows him and Yoongi has said he doesn’t, then Yoongi will get hurt, if he’s still alive, without a doubt. 

‘No idea who he is,’ Namjoon says, with a shrug. Keep it simple. That’s the best advice when dealing with simpletons anyway. Keep your voice bleak too. Use any other tone and they’ll think you’re mocking them. Doesn’t help that half the time Namjoon is. 

The guard leaves, seeming sated and Namjoon feels himself sag.

He hopes more than anything, that Yoongi’s okay. 

 


  

Another two days and Namjoon hears the familiar screech of Yoongi’s cell door opening. He sits up straight and throws his hand over his mouth, smothering any sounds he might make. 

Don’t get your hopes up, he tells himself sternly, when he feels excitement bubbling up inside his chest. It might not even be him. 

He hears shuffling, a body being dumped onto the floor. No words and it’s infuriating. Troubling. God he’s just terrified and he doesn’t know what the hell is going on. He hears someone clear their throat. Then Vulture’s voice pierces the quiet, fucker’s back it seems and Namjoon listens in with bated breath. 

‘Anything to say, 4381?’ Silence. Namjoon’s throat hitches. Yoongi. His name is Min fucking Yoongi.  

There’s a smirk in Baby-Face’s voice when he speaks up again. ‘Didn’t think so.’ 

Footsteps and the door slams shut behind them, Namjoon scrabbles up to the hole in the wall, has to stop himself from yelling, but his heart’s in his throat and Yoongi’s alive he’s alive he’s alive. 

‘Yoongi?’ Namjoon asks, his voice a tiny thing, the kind he’d used with his sister when she brought him a fledgling that had fallen from it’s nest. There’s no reply, but the mattress squeaks, Yoongi setting himself down, maybe. ‘Yoongi, it is you right? Jesus, I was scared shitless. Are you okay?’

He’s babbling, barely able to contain himself. The opposite of Yoongi who stays wrapped up in silence. Namjoon can picture him now that he knows what Yoongi looks like, sitting on the very edge of the bed. Looking at the floor, maybe at the hole. He thinks about it and finds himself freezing, the thought of purpling bruises marring Yoongi’s pale skin, of thick rope size welts over his body, and blood-stains, hell cuts still open and weeping bleeding into his rags for clothes. 

‘I’m sorry,’ he says, guilt crashing into him like a freight train. ‘I’m so sorry, Yoongi. I should’ve— I should’ve reacted faster, got to you. I could’ve… I might’ve been able to stop them that way and this wouldn’t have happened.’ His bottom lip trembles, he sucks in a shaky breath through his teeth and releases it. ‘Please tell me that you’re okay.’ 

When he hears crying, Namjoon's heart sinks and he feels tears of his own burning his vision. The crying he’s listening to is a mixture of things, of pain, of sadness. Hosts something utterly broken inside of Yoongi.

Namjoon’s pretty sure he feels a little broken too. 

‘You should’ve run,’ Namjoon whispers against the wall. He’d give anything to knock the damn thing down. Anything in the world. ‘You should’ve left me behind and run.’ 

Namjoon expects to be ignored again, but Yoongi’s voice comes within seconds. 

‘I couldn’t leave you.’

His voice is a rasp of a thing, like a whisper through tree leaves, but there’s some of that fierceness there too but it’s almost lost through the wetness in his voice and shaky tremors. 

‘God,’ Namjoon rakes his fingers through his hair. ‘I’m so fucking sorry, Yoongi.’

‘It’s not your fault.’ 

It feels like it’s his fault. Not doing something in that situation was possibly the worst thing he could’ve done and now Yoongi’s lost his spark. And Namjoon desperately wants it back, can feel it tugging at every inch of him. There’s so many goddamn injustices in this world. Maybe this is one he can fix. 

‘I’m gonna beat them,’ he says. ‘For both of us. I’m not gonna let them win over you.’

Yoongi lets out a dismissive sigh, the bed squeaking again as he shifts. ‘Alright, Namjoon.’

Yoongi sounds like a different person. Vacant, like an integral part of him has been carved out and all that’s left is this hollow shell of what was once Min Yoongi. 

‘You don’t have to believe me. But please, just hang on, okay?’

He says it again, then another time, again and again but no matter how many different ways he phrases it, no matter how hard he pleads, he doesn’t get an answer. 

 


 

Namjoon’s smart. 

That’s a word Namjoon’s teacher used to describe him along with a hundred other synonyms. Kim Namjoon shows an above average level of intelligence for someone of his age.

He used to get a lot of pleasure in it. It felt a lot like forcing the human teachers to admit that he had something. Make them grudgingly admit that he had a brain and that it functioned a hell of a lot better than some of the other kids. That was until his power developed, mind reading and telepathy and he was taken out of school on the grounds of cheating and it was such bullshit but who would believe a mutant over an esteemed teacher anyway? No-one that’s who. 

Namjoon still knew he was smart though, didn’t really need the validation from the bastards anyway, it was just a nice bonus. He gets a kick out of outsmarting them. 

Long story short, Namjoon stops taking the pills. 

The thing with months of compliancy is that people get lazy and they just expect you to keep being compliant. Admittedly Namjoon hadn’t planned to stop being compliant, but doing so has worked in his favour. The guards come in, give him the food and the pill, turn just as Namjoon raises it to his mouth to dry-swallow and so he lets it fall. The guards are out the door before it can topple into his lap. 

He does this for three days before his abilities dwindle back. 

It feels strange after so long, an extension of himself just growing and building and he feels bigger, like his touch extends to more now. Roots of a tree drawing nutrients in from the earth. Though here the nutrients are thoughts and in a place like this, it’s over-flowing with them, crippling to the point that Namjoon’s almost glad he didn’t have his abilities. He’s weighed down by the density of human emotions ranging from frustration to self-pity to crippling fear. 

He has to hone in, and it takes a moment for him to remember how to do it. 

Feeling isn’t the right word for what he does, he isn’t touching the minds he comes across because his presence there isn’t tangible. He experiences it though. Lives it. Touch is only one sense. 

When Namjoon strays into Yoongi’s mind, tentative because it’s not his place to make a home out of, he sees the cell roof Yoongi’s staring up at, only notices it’s different because Namjoon’s memorised every slight pebble in his own ceiling. He can taste the remnants of lunch in Yoongi’s mouth and iron, from his split lip that’s opened up from worrying it, Namjoon can feel that. He can smell the waft of body odour, vomit too and he can hear the silence Yoongi’s enveloped himself in, the silence that isn’t really silence because Yoongi’s thoughts are possibly the loudest he’s ever heard. A little pitiful, a lot sad, but still angry, a ball of fury contained in this shell of his broken body.

Relieved, Namjoon pulls back. Detaches himself and cuts himself off from the other forms around him, all the thoughts swirling through the air like thin tendrils aching to whisper to him. People don’t like having their thoughts read, but most thoughts have a mind of their own. Secrets want to be divulged, but Namjoon knows he has no business knowing them. Nor does he really want to. 

It takes four more days of skipping out on the pill, a week in total, before he can push out more. He waits a few more days and only then is he able to get to the extent he wants to, where he can use his abilities to essentially escape the place, push his consciousness out to attach to a mind miles and miles away, a mind he knows damn well after some ten years of friendship.

Slipping into his head feels strange, he’s always been loud to Namjoon’s standards but his mind’s significantly quieter. Clutter free and organised. It could be said that all his friends are host to unique minds though. Seokjin’s as quiet as he is in person, his thought processes running in neat little tangents. He and Jimin can both multi-task with their thoughts, break out and notice a thousand different things going on simultaneously. Taehyung’s are scattered, flicking from subject to subject with an interesting sort of logic quicker than most can blink and Jungkook’s pop up from nowhere and linger for hours until he’s sated.

Namjoon likes the minds of his friend’s but finds this one the more easiest to settle into. He’s inside, sitting at his desk, Namjoon looks through his eyes and peers at the papers littering the table. Looks like bills or something, Namjoon’s not really interested, concentrating more on the smell of the place, so clean. God, he’s forgotten what it felt like to breathe in air that wasn’t tainted.

‘Hoseok?’ Namjoon asks, letting himself be known. 

Namjoon’s met with a series of barely comprehensible cuss words, over-lapping over and over as Hoseok lets the shock dwindle into recognition, the thoughts sobering as realisation sinks in like the sun dipping below the horizon. 

‘Namjoon?’ Hoseok says, out loud, his mind reaching out like his fingers might have done, if Namjoon were really in front of him, fumbling over his face and tracing over the familiar dips and blemishes. His happiness is like a burst of sunlight Namjoon hasn’t known in sometime now. He’s grinning so hard his cheeks hurt. ‘Joonie? Shit. It’s you, isn’t it? It’s really you.’

Hoseok gets to his feet so quick he whacks his knee on the underside of the desk and swears. The pain isn’t much to Namjoon who’s still too caught up in his joy to be actually engaged in conversation. Hoseok’s thoughts are awash with the faces of their friends, him slowly realising they’re not home and deflating a little with no-one to share the news with.

‘Hadn’t given up on me, had you Hobi?’ 

‘I didn't know what to think,’ Hoseok says. ‘I mean I could feel you and everything but I hadn’t heard from you in fucking months. For all I knew they coulda given you a fucking lobotomy.’ He feels Hoseok reach up and pinch the bridge of his nose. His relief is palpable, takes some of the edge of Namjoon’s racing thoughts. ‘God, you’re lucky I’m so relieved right now. I’m so pissed.’

‘Hey look, communication hasn’t exactly been a breeze okay?’ Namjoon says. ‘They had me on pills and shit, I only got the abilities back a couple days ago.’

‘Oh shit dude, you need to tell me about that. And I need to tell you everything that’s happened too! Holy shit I haven’t even asked if you’re okay. Are you? Dude, have they hurt you?’

‘A little,’ Namjoon says, wincing a little when Hoseok’s thoughts blaze into an inferno. ‘It’s not as bad as some.’

‘Not like it’s a competition, Joonie,’ Hoseok grits out. ‘Those motherfuckers…’

‘Hoseok,’ God he could talk to Hoseok all day about this sort of thing, or listen to him go on about something or other, but right now there’s more pressing things to look into. ‘I’m getting out, okay? That’s why I got off the pills. I’m gonna escape and I’m taking someone with me. And you’re gonna help me.’ 

He can hear the plethora of questions racing in Hoseok’s mind, but all he says aloud is: ‘Of course.’ Then, after a pause. ‘But how?’ 

‘You’re a tracker, aren’t you?’ Namjoon says. ‘Track me. Find out where the fuck I am, if you don’t know already.’

He does, Namjoon can see Hoseok’s mind flick to the image of it, a large building set in a sprawling field, out in the middle of nowhere. Namjoon’s underground in this place, he finds out from Hoseok’s thoughts. Two floors under ground level, in a maze like building, that’s probably swarming like a hive with guards. 

‘And then?’ Hoseok asks, breaking his chain of thought. 

‘Get over here,’ Namjoon says. ‘I don’t know, bring the others too. Seokjin-hyung. Definitely bring Seokjin-hyung. I wanna blow a few holes in this place before I bail.’ 

‘To distract them?’ Hoseok asks. 

‘Well, that,’ Namjoon says. In his own body he casts a side look towards the hole in the wall. ‘And the fact they’ve pissed me the fuck off.’ 

‘Do you know how hard it’s going to be to get in there?’ Hoseok says with a hint of a whine in his voice. ‘There’s an unreal level of security, Namjoon.’ 

Namjoon has no doubt, in fact he intends to feel the place out next, work out how many guards there are and how many to avoid. If Hoseok brings Jimin along he should be able to cloak the car in some level of invisibility. 

Maybe it’s wrong to ask this of them, to put themselves in the line of fire, but Namjoon presses a little deeper into Hoseok’s mind for his opinion on the scenario and he doesn’t find any blame or reluctance to help, only Hoseok slowly getting his thoughts back under control sorting things out until they’re reasonable chunk sized pieces.

‘I have the utmost faith in you to work something out, Hoseok,’ Namjoon says. 

Pulling away from Hoseok’s mind when he notices the other reaching for his phone, Namjoon projects his consciousness out through the building, counting up the guards and looking through their eyes at the maze of halls and floors. He seeks out the exits, the places where the most guards are stationed, feels like something of security guard flicking through the cameras of the place. He keeps a look out for those too, makes a mental note to find the guard controlling those and influence him into botch up the cameras and take them all offline. 

God, has he missed his abilities. It just makes making fools of the humans that much easier. 

‘We’re gonna get out of here, Yoongi,’ he says, out of the blue. 

He only gets a grunt in reply. 

 


 

‘I’m not broken,’ Yoongi says, one day, when the thoughts in his head have become far too loud to bare and he thinks that maybe speaking one of them out loud might diminish some of the noise.

His voice is raw from disuse and it feels as if his voice box has forgotten how to create the vibrations. Yoongi’s lying back in his cell as he has been for the past week now, not daring to move except to get his food and use the toilet. Moving, with what he’s sure is a couple broken bones and fuck knows what else is, is a form of torture and so staying was still as possible is the only way for him to seek any form of solace.

Namjoon hasn’t replied, but Yoongi can tell he’s listening, because he’s stopped making his strange little noises, nor is he whispering to himself. He’s either waiting for Yoongi to speak again, or processing the words he needs to form a reply. 

‘I never thought you were broken,’ Namjoon says, stilted and awkward, but warm nevertheless.

Yoongi forces his brain to conjure up the image of Namjoon’s face before Yoongi’d been taken away and beaten until he was coughing up blood. They’d said something about only keeping him alive because they had a buyer, but Yoongi had been too out of it to process, barely conscious as he hid his face in his arms, sucking in breaths even though it hurt to breathe, hurt just to stay alive at that point. 

‘Don’t you ever just get sick of feeling helpless all the time?’ Yoongi says. ‘Of all these strangers just making these decisions for you, saying it’s in your best interest but it’s just… not. It’s not.’ His voice is trembling. He runs his fingers down his bruised and broken face, feels the tips come away wet with tears. ‘I just wanted to be heard.’

‘And you will be,’ Namjoon says firmly. ‘I swear it. Once we’re out of here, Yoongi, I swear I’ll do whatever it takes to make them listen to you.’ 

‘Thought you were a realist, Namjoon,’ Yoongi jabs, thinks he understands now why Namjoon turned everything into a bitter joke. 

‘A pessimist,’ Namjoon corrects and Yoongi’s mind vaguely flits back to their earlier conversation where Yoongi had said just that. He’d smile if he had it in him. ‘And not anymore. This is going to work okay? Just trust me on it. Five days and I’ll get us out of here. Just five more days.’

Yoongi’s always been told he was an idealist at heart, so when Namjoon says it this time, even though he knows just how dangerous hope can be in a place like this. He believes it. 

 


 

No-one ever said escaping a heavily guarded prison was going to be easy. There’s so many variables to take into account, unexpected guards, Yoongi’s less than fit condition, Hoseok’s and the other’s abilities and capabilities. Namjoon’s always been something of a team player and it helps here, but it’s terrifying, knowing how all the pieces are meant to move in this game, but not knowing what the opposition, or even what his own players might do. 

This isn’t a game, Namjoon, a voice in his head tells him. And he knows it. It’s just a lot easier to deal with when he treats it as such. 

He knows the place now, knows there are precisely twenty-nine guards on their floor, and another twenty-five on the one on top. Thirty-three on the ground level floor but they’ll all be distracted when Seokjin blows the first hole in the side of the building. Probably most of the other guards as well, but they still have to get past them. 

That’s the signal and he tells Yoongi as such, who grunts in affirmation but otherwise keeps quiet.

He doesn’t sleep the night before, no matter how hard he tries to. Tries to sate himself by speaking with Hoseok, but he’s like an exposed nerve and susceptible to even the slightest bit of infection at this point. He finds some solace in Jimin’s mind, ever the optimist, just sits quietly in his head and listens to him sate Jungkook with some soothing words. 

Maybe Namjoon gets an hour’s sleep listening to his voice, but he still feels high strung come morning, when Yoongi’s voice rouses him from his own thoughts.  

‘Today’s the day, huh?’ 

His tone is monotonous, his hope concealed under thick layers of feigned apathy but Namjoon feels it, without even intending to, he feels it  and God he hopes he can deliver.

‘Yeah,’ he says. ‘This is it.’ 

Twenty minutes later and he hears Hoseok calling out for him, Namjoon reaches out and finds Hoseok sitting in a van inside the gate, invisible just like the rest of them are with Jimin cloaking the vehicle. 

‘We’re inside,’ Hoseok says, whispering even though if he really wanted to be quiet he could just think the words. 

‘Okay,’ Namjoon says—thinks—back. He swallows the lump in his throat, uses Hoseok’s eyes to look out at the others all cramped into the vehicle, looking scared but determined and he’s shot with a pang of worry. He’ll never forgive himself if one of them got hurt in an effort to save him and a man who’s noting more than a stranger to the rest of them. 

‘I feel like you’re about to get sentimental, Joon-ah,’ Seokjin says. Through Hoseok’s eyes, Namjoon looks up at him, sees him smiling at Hoseok as if he knows right where he is. ‘Don’t be. We gotta stick together right? There’s no need to get all teary.’

‘Right,’ Jimin pitches in, and Namjoon flicks to his mind, sees the others all nodding their agreement. ‘No-one would be here if they didn’t want to be Namjoon. You’d have done the same for us.’ 

Namjoon sucks in a shuddering breath, lets his fists clench and unclench. He really does feel like he might cry, touched and terrified for them all. Wishes there had been some way he could save Yoongi and himself without getting them all involved, but there was no way. And the guilt weighs heavy on his shoulders. 

‘I’ll make it up to you all,’ Namjoon says. ‘I don’t know how yet, but I will, alright?’

‘Just focus,’ Hoseok says. ‘We can think about all that shit later. Until then, don’t even worry about it.’ 

Namjoon forces all the thoughts from his mind and vacates to Seokjin’s mind, glad to find his head a little clearer than Hoseok’s. He sustains the connection and with some effort concentrates on his place in the cell, listening through the hole for Yoongi. His heart batters against his chest and Seokjin must sense his presence because he starts thinking soothing thoughts, telling him to calm down and Namjoon grabs onto them like a lifeline, holds on for dear life.

‘Namjoon,’ Yoongi says. ‘I don’t think I can get captured again.’

‘You’re not going to,’ Namjoon grits out. ‘We’ve got this. I won’t let it happen.’ 

‘But if I do—’

‘Stop,’ Namjoon snaps. Cutting him off before he can finish because he knows what Yoongi’s going to say and it’ll hurt far too much to hear it. ‘It’ll be okay. We can do this.’

Silence for the next five minutes. Each second feels like a lifetime. 

The door to Yoongi’s cell swings open, grates on every one of Namjoon’s nerves on high alert. Namjoon pushes out to the security guard manning the cameras, takes a moment to get influence before pushes him to fuck around with the dials, throw everything out of place. Namjoon puts him to sleep once all the screens flick to black and sucks in a breath through his teeth. 

‘Get ready,’ he thinks to Seokjin as the door to Yoongi’s cell closes with little trouble. He’s shaking as he counts the men’s steps towards his door that he can’t hear. He waits for the click of the lock with bated breath and slinks over to the door. He hears the creak of the hinges, braces himself as the door swings open, sees the momentary lapse of confusion in Vulture’s eyes before Namjoon’s swinging his fist into his nose, throwing every ounce of energy he can into the hit. 

‘Now,’ he thinks to Seokjin, then cuts himself off. He can hear the rumble distantly upstairs as he watches Vulture fall back, falling against Baby-Face in a shock. 

Namjoon goes after them, out into the hall, sees them seething, pulled back like a tight coil ready to start swinging. He hones in on Vulture’s brain and just digs a little to bring something up and has the man screaming, backing into the wall with his head buried in his hands. 

Next Baby-Face charges him with a roar and Namjoon side-steps so he barges into the cell. Namjoon glances at Vulture, sees the keys glinting at his belt and then the discarded tray that once held his breakfast, lying off to the side. Namjoon grabs the tray, and lumbers into the room bringing it crashing down over Baby-Face’s head, once, twice, three times until he’s down, not moving. Namjoon puts his foot over the man’s fat head and applies a little pressure. 

He thinks of Yoongi and all the thoughts he unintentionally saw of what happened to him after his escape attempt. He thinks of their cruel jeers and the blows and the pain he’d endured and Namjoon pushes down a little more. Then some more.

It wouldn’t be hard. 

Like snuffing out a flame.

‘Don’t,’ Yoongi says, suddenly, as if sensing what he’s doing and Namjoon hesitates. Only because it’s Yoongi. Only because it’s him. ‘Don’t do it, Namjoon, please.’

‘Are you kidding me?’ Namjoon demands. ‘You want to keep this asshole alive?’

‘Don’t kill them. We’re better than that. Than them.’

‘You might be,’ Namjoon hisses. He sticks one arm out and waves it at their current surroundings. ‘Do you forget why I’m in here?’

Through Yoongi’s eyes, Namjoon sees him look up at him through his bangs, at once vulnerable, with his busted lip and off-set nose. ‘Please Namjoon. I don’t want this.’ 

Namjoon flares his nostrils, inhaling deep, even as rage rockets through his veins. He looks down at the man at his feet, the face he wants so badly to stomp in until there’s nothing there. 

‘He doesn’t know better,’ Yoongi says. ‘You do.’ 

‘Fuck,’ Namjoon hisses under his breath, throwing a poisonous look at the man on the floor. ‘Fine.’

He pulls away, dropping the tray and runs out the cell door, into the hall where Vulture’s still on the floor, screaming. Namjoon puts him to sleep and unhooks the keys from the man’s belt with jittery fingers. He senses another few guards coming and puts them to sleep, he can’t feel the toll it’s taking on his body yet, too pumped up on adrenaline. He almost jumps a mile when he feels Hoseok screaming out to him.

‘They’re swarming, Namjoon,’ Hoseok says, shouting, so the others can hear him as well and Namjoon just wishes Hoseok would calm down because he’s going to freak out all the others too. 

‘Is everyone okay?’

‘We’re fine,’ Hoseok says and he must sense the way Namjoon stresses the words because he takes in a huge lungful of breath and lowers his voice into a more even tone. ‘But we need to get out of here, Namjoon, they’ll find us. You need to get out of there, as soon as you can. Or we’re all fucked.’

Hoseok is panicking, and it takes a lot for Namjoon to wrench himself away so he’s not infected with the same sense of foreboding.

‘Namjoon,’ Yoongi demands, ‘what’s going on?’

Namjoon fiddles with the key in the lock, constantly looking over his shoulder for more approaching guards. 

‘It’s not turning out as well as I’d hoped,’ Namjoon says in a rush, looking over his shoulder again. A guard shows up and he puts him to sleep in a blink. ‘There’s guards everywhere, they’re locking the place down, I have people but— look I’ll explain later. We need to go.’

 


 

Exhilaration thrums through Yoongi’s veins over-shadowing the fear that has him wanting to throw his guts up. He gets to his feet, stands shakily, feels his pain melt away as though it were never there to begin with. 

‘Hypnosis,’ Namjoon says, his voice in Yoongi’s head and it would be terrifying in another world, but Yoongi feels safe. ‘I’m helping with the pain. Don’t think about it too much or it might fade off.’ 

‘Are you okay?’ Yoongi thinks back. A familiar sense of wry amusement brushes against him.

The door swings open and Namjoon stands in the entryway, brow drenched with sweat and panting something fierce. 

‘I’m peachy,’ Namjoon says, lips quirked up in a smile as Yoongi steps forward. ‘You wanna get out of here?’

It’s such a casual remark for such a dire situation and Yoongi can hear the screech of alarms overhead but he smiles anyway, heart thumping in his chest like it’s just aching to rip free from his rib cage.

‘Yeah,’ Yoongi says, taking the hand Namjoon’s offered out to him. ‘I do.’