Yoongi missed home.
Yoongi missed Daegu. He missed it every second he had spent in Seoul but he didn’t want to come back like this. Not because he had to, not because he needed to. Not because his parents forced him to come back. He was twenty-four years old, had been living on his own for six years until now. Being back in Daegu not of his own will hadn't been his plan but neither had been the circumstances which forced him in this situation.
He leant on his elbow, blowing the smoke of his cigarette out of the opened window, the cold november air made his lips numb already, just like the smoke did to his lungs. His eyes roamed the empty street. Perfect houses with perfect lawns, perfectly trimmed grass and not a single leave was found on any lawn. Disgusting. Yoongi closed his eyes, sighing loudly.
He always hated that neighbourhood, always hated these fake people with their practiced smiles, annoying voices and empty heads.
“Yoongi! Would you please come down?“ With a groan he flipped the cigarette out in the air and slowly made his way down to his parents. He shivered as his bare feet touched the tiles, the fluffy carpet in his room was way more comfortable. He ducked his head and tried to avoid looking at the family pictures on the walls. He never liked them anyway. They looked always so perfect, too perfect. His parents standing behind him, on the older ones his brother too, smiling too bright and being too stiff. Nothing was real on them. Nothing was ever real here and Yoongi didn’t want to be here at all. Especially not when his parents had company over. How did he not notice them coming over even though his window was facing the street and even their house?
He faintly remembered their faces, neighbours from across the street. Somewhere in the depths of his mind did he remember that their oldest son was around his age. But they had two more children, a boy and a girl if he remembered correctly. Still, in front of him was just one kid, the eldest he presumed.
“Do you remember the Kims?“ His mother asked with her bleached white teeth shining through her fake smile. “We invited them to dinner. I hope you get along with their son, I think you went to school with him?“ Get along with him? Were they in elementary school? Yoongi nodded while keeping his eyes on the tall boy that sheepishly came up behind his parents. His lips were trembling with the effort of keeping up a small smile, his eyes seemed to shine despite the dark circles underneath them, he was pretty tan for the weather in Daegu.
“Come on, introduce yourself.“ Mr Kim whispered urgently and shoved his son forward. It was obvious he didn’t want to be here, his shoulders were hunched, eyes unfocused, gaze flicking through the hallway and voice a little unsteady, quiet. “U-hm… My name’s Taehyung... ah, Nice to meet you.“ He bowed slightly and immediatly went back besides his mother, Yoongi almost didn’t notice how the other boy was nervously grabbing the sleeve of his mother and visibly relaxed a little. He scoffed.
When all of them went into the dining room Yoongi caught the disapproving look his own mother shot him after eyeing his choice of clothing. He just rolled his eyes. Maybe if they had told him they expected dinner guest he would have put on some better clothes. (He wouldn’t have.) What was even wrong with his clothing? He quickly glanced down at himself, the loose black sweatpants he had worn since three days, a faded grey shirt that may had a little soda at the bottom, no socks and after a quick check he was sure his hair wasn’t looking good either – well, it didn’t really matter. Not like he could change any of that now and it didn’t bother him nearly as much as it bothered his parents. He didn’t need to make a good impression on anyone and especially not for those fake people. Taehyung seemed like he didn’t even notice what Yoongi was wearing with the way he was trying to avoid looking at anyone in the room.
“I made soup.“ His mother said and searched the gaze of Mrs Kim. A silent exchange of looks was happening between them and no one but Yoongi seemed to notice. The rest just continued doing what they were doing before. It was over as soon as Mrs. Kim nodded shortly and both acted like nothing had happened.
They sat down at the big table and when Taehyung got stuck with sitting only next to Yoongi he looked like he was in physical pain. Not like Yoongi cared about the opinion of some stupid guy who needed to hold onto his mothers hand. He scoffed and settled for stuffing his mouth with the too hot soup. He was fast at tuning out the voices of the others and just concentrated on his plate.
His feet were still cold and more than often did he feel the stare of one of the elders on him but he had other things on his mind. Things like Taehyung. He faintly remembered the kid, he was what? Two years younger? He associated him only with bright smiles, a lot of people always around him and his sudden growth spurt that made the little boy from across the street suddenly towering over Yoongi. He never really talked to him, never really knew him, only by looks.
When he heard the quiet clink of Taehyungs spoon against his plate for the nth time this evening, he turned his head in irritation, planning on giving him his best glare but all his annoyance disappeared when his eyes finally landed on Taehyung. The younger was picking things out of his soup, small leaves, the greenish unidentified vegetables, and placed them on the edge of his plate. Everytime he took the spoon into his mouth he grimaced a bit and it seemed like it took a lot of effort to swallow. It was strange. And while Yoongibwas already at his second plate, the younger hadn't even finished half of his first.
Taehyung was strange overall. He wore a faded green shirt with the captions Beam me up on it over a simple black sweatshirt, the sleeves were pulled up a bit but the skin of his forearm was barely visible due to the tons of bracelets. His brown hair was falling into his eyes and even though it looked like it hadn’t been brushed since a few days he pulled it off nicely. A strange guy. With strange habits.
Yoongi deemed his observation of Taehyung enough and concentrated on the others at the table. His mother was deeply engaged in a conversation with the other two males while Mrs Kim didn’t seem to pay much attention to their conversation. Her gaze was always slipping to her son, a concerend look on her face and every time their eyes met she would sent him an encouraging smile.
The dinner wrapped up without either of the boys saying a word and Yoongi was restlessly waiting to go back into the safety of his room. He was twenty-four for gods sake and he needed the permission of his parents to get up from the table. What the fu- “Why don’t you show Taehyung your room?“ Yoongi scoffed, again, but got up anyway.
“What are we? Ten?“ But he was still thankful for the opportunity to leave the table, even if it meant going with the strange kid. He quickly looked back to check if Taehyung was following him and he witnessed another exchange of glances between the younger and his mother. Something was definitely off about him.
Taehyung stayed quiet and put in the doorway while Yoongi sat down at the window again, reaching for his pack of cigarettes. “Make yourself comfortable.“ He drawled, tucking his feet underneath him and putting the cigarette between his lips. “You want one?“
“I don’t smoke…“ His voice was so quiet but it still seemed to be too loud in the silence of the room.
“Why not? Come here.“
Taehyung was chewing on his bottom lip, timidly making his way over to the window and awkwardly stopped in front of Yoongi. “Sit.“ The older commanded and with a little (a big) hesistance did he finally sit down. There wasn’t much room so their knees were touching. Taehyung was still avoiding eye contact (something Yoongi wasn’t complaining about) and he nervously scratched the side of his neck. Yoongi noticed for the first time how dry and cracked the skin there was, turning even redder under Taehyungs finger nails. Like he sensed his staring the younger abruptly put his hand down but it wasn’t long until he began scratching again, this time through the fabric of his shirts at his arms.
“Here…“ Yoongi slowly said and held out his package, Taehyung wasn’t moving just staring. So Yoongi put the cigarette between the youngers lips, he exhaled the smoke and shortly relished in the after burning. But then he leant forwards, making Taehyung tensed, the glowing tip of his own cigarette lit the youngers. Taehyung pulled back as fast as he could, making Yoongi worry about the cracking sound his neck had made.
He inhaled while closing his eyes and promptly began coughing like a mad man, the glowing cigarette fell from his lips and out of the window while he failed to catch his breath again. Wheezing he tried opening his teary eyes to look at a laughing Yoongi and slowly his own face split into a grin, his mouth formed a box shape and two rows of white teeth were exposed.
“You’ll get used to it.“ Yoongi whispered and blew his smoke right in Taehyungs face. “I don’t think so.“ The younger said, still smiling like an idiot. It was throwing Yoongi totally off. The boxy smile looked so real, so honest and so, so innocent. And after what he saw of the guy downstairs it was just surprising him. Surprising him that much that he found himself smiling along.
“So, why do your parents want you to hang out with the crazy kid?“ Yoongi asked and made the boxy smile vanish. Taehyungs whole face closed off again and he absently pulled his sleeves up and scratched at the wounded skin there. He seemed to have quite a big problem there, in the crooks of his arms were wounds, some better healed than others and he could make out specks of white skin that stood out against his natural tan color.
“Uhm,“ he made fleeting eye contact, a first that night but it was so short, Yoongi thought he might have imagined it. “Because they think that crazy people should stick with crazy people.“
“They think you’re crazy? Well, more importantly: They think I am crazy?“ He asked disbelievingly. “Not like they’re wrong.“ he added matter of factly at the end.
“Everyone thinks you’re crazy.“ Taehyung said flatly and Yoongi really didn’t expect such bluntness from the shy boy he met downstairs. He raised an eyebrow in a silent question. What? Why?
“You’ve always been the gossip of the neighbourhood. To be honest, I was glad it was you and not me. But when you left for Seoul I was suddenly the target of these stupid people here. Is it bad that I’m kinda glad you’re back?“ Taehyung smiled sheepishly, another smile that didn’t suit him that well, it wasn’t real. Yoongi should be offended but strangely - he wasn’t. He looked at the boys broken shell, the damaged smile and empty eyes and he suddenly was glad that this little (tall) boy didn’t had to suffer under the judging glances anymore. Because Yoongi knew all too well how crushing those looks could be.
“Don’t worry about it,“ he said, blowing smoke in Taehyungs face again. “And especially don’t worry about them. Don’t let their stupid opinions shatter you, it’s their opinions, they shouldn’t matter to you. Live your life like you want, you just have to think about what you want. If they don’t like it, fuck them. Fuck their opinions. Fuck their fake honesty, their fake pity, their fake asses. Just… Fuck them.“ He shrugged and even if he was feeling a little proud because of the small chuckle he pulled out of Taehyung, he would totally deny it.
“Thanks.“ The boy whispered. Yoongi just shrugged.
The rest of the evening was spent in silence. Neither of them attempted to talk but it wasn’t awkward like in the beginning. It felt more like a comfortable silence. It only grew more lively in Yoongi's old room after his mother let his dog inside. Holly wasn’t too old yet, eight years, but even for the three weeks that he got back, Yoongi noticed that he often pretended to already be a grandpa. He would sleep more than before, the fur around his eyes and nose was turning grey. But when he tapped through the doors he suddenly lit up, just like Taehyung. They hit it off immediatly and suddenly the shy boy was gone, he was practically glowing while playing around with the dog. Cooing everytime the pet did anything ‘cute‘. It was ‘cute‘ looking at them, Holly sometimes seemed like the human while Taehyung was more like an excited puppy. It was funny.
All too soon he left with his parents, waving goodbye to him from the street (Yoongi was observing them from his window – totally not stalker-like). Maybe he was a little stalker-like but he needed something to occupy himself with and Taehyung seemed more fitting than burying himself in self-pity, under thousands of blankets and in complete darkness. He was about to close the blinds when he noticed a light turning on at Taehyung‘s house, at a window facing the street, just like his own. He could make out a shadow moving in the light an suddenly Taehyung was pressing his face against the glass, smiling that boxy smile at him. Yoongi just stared blankly at him. The younger held up a paper, in a messy scrawl Goodnight was written on it. Yoongi gave a small upturn of his lips and flashed the younger a peace sign, he got to watch Taehyung‘s face break out in an even wider grin - if that was even possible. Before he could do anything more that was unlikely for him, he quickly closed his blinds and turned off the light. The phone besides his bed began blinking, he hesistantly reached over.
One new message.
No one ever messaged him or called him. Except for Namjoon, Seokjin and maybe Hoseok nobody even knew his number, nobody even knew that he existed . And the few friends that could contact him, knew better than trying to reach him over his phone, if they even wanted to reach out to him. Namjoon and Seokjin were both in Seoul and when Yoongi got worse he blocked them out, pushed them away. He said some nasty things, did a lot of things he regretted. They just wanted to help him and he was drowning in so much desperation that he knew no other way than to drive everyone away. It was months ago that he saw them the last time, right before he had to go into the psychiatry. Then, when he couldn’t handle it anymore after two months, he let himself being discharged, knowing full well that he wouldn’t be able to survive on his own and being too afraid to crawl back to his friends. His parents took that decision away from him, they practically forced him to move back in. So he did. Beginning an outpatient treatmemt from a therapist in Daegu. That was three weeks ago.
As for Hoseok, he had been friends with him in Highschool. It had been even longer since he saw him the last time. Neither of his old friends had any reasons to contact him at all.
Your mother gave me your number… It was nice tonight. And my mum kind of forces me to contact you right now (not that I don’t want to!). So, uhm are you free tomorrow??
Yoongi scoffed, he seemed to do that a lot tonight, fingers hovering over the keys to answer when his phone blinked again.
God, that sounded so awkward… It’s Taehyung btw!
He smiled a little. Taehyung really was awkward and clumsy and Yoongi found himself wondering what other things the boy could be. He found himself wishing for the other to come over again. Something that hadn’t happened in such a long time, he was genuinely looking forward for something again. It filled his body with a strange kind of happiness but that was overshadowed by the dread that was slowly settling into his bones.
Come over tomorrow. By eleven or something. Earlier and I might have to kill you.
He immediately shut his device off and hid underneath the blankets, trying to find even a few hours of sleep. He closed his eyes even tighter when the urge to look at his phone grew after he heard the sound of an incoming message.
He wouldn’t get an hour of decent sleep tonight. Nerves already on edge because of tomorrow. It woud be a very long night.
It was around two in the morning when Yoongi finally drifted off into a light slumber, it was only two hours later that he shot up again, wide awake. He woke up screaming, drenched in sweat and feeling like he was going to suffocate, there were arms wrapped around him, holding him close and he faintly smelled his mother‘s perfume. “A-air…“ he heaved out and his father appeared in his slightly blurry vision, he opened his window and Yoongi immediatly felt the cold air coming in.
His mother didn’t let go of him, rocking them both forwards and backwards, trying to soothe him but the only thing Yoongi noticed besides his erratically beating heart was the top window on the other side of the street. Taehyung‘s window. Because shortly after his father stepped aside he could see how the light turned on on the other side. The knowledge that Taehyung was awake right now, almost right in front of him, calmed him down more than the suffocating hugs of his mother ever could. Not that he would say something like that out loud.
It was funny how only seeing the light in a guy‘s room he barely knew for an evening could contribute to making him more relaxed.
Yoongi had not always suffered from insomnia, it had developed in his early teenage life. It was hard. Really hard. He was constantly tired, really like 24/7 but he couldn’t sleep. He would lie in his bed, staring at his ceiling for hours, feeling like he was going to collapse without any sleep but his eyes just wouldn’t close. Sometimes he felt like clawing his eyes out just to slip into the darkness. It didn’t matter how many hours of sleep he got, three, five, eight, twenty? He would just continue feeling tired. Not being able to fall asleep, unable to stay asleep, tormented by nightmares he couldn’t remember and waking up way too early. He was tired of being so tired all the time.
It took a while to convince his mother that it was okay to leave him alone again. His father was easier, he went almost as soon as he petted Yoongi's head once. Finally Yoongi could breathe again, breathe in the air of his empty room. When he started sleeping less and less he had done the only thing a confused (and tired) fourteen year old could think of. Consulting the internet. Back then he read an article that stated that loneliness was the most common cause of insomnia. And even ten years ago he already decided that his insomnia wasn’t caused by loneliness, he felt way more comfortable being left alone when he got overhelmed by his mind, his dreams (nightmares), himself. But maybe he always had the wrong people around, who should know?
He turned on his side and fiddled with his light switch, making his room suddenly too bright. With almost shut eyes he found his secret notebook hidden in his drawer. He opened a new page, sitting before it with a pencil between his lips for a long time. He knew what he wanted to write. Knew that his head was overflowing with feelings, thoughts. He wanted to write down exactly what he felt and when he finally turned off the light again, the page still blank he thought that he couldn’t have described it any better.
His mother woke him up in the morning. With no word she spoke of last night, she never did. In the beginning she tried it often but Yoongi would only stay silent and she wasn’t good at talking about it either. Sometimes Yoongi thought that all his misery, everything that he suffered from inflicted even more pain on his mother than on him. She would never forgive herself, even though Yoongi assured her that she wasn’t a bad mother almost everyday.
Over the past three weeks he developed some kind of routine for himself. Getting up was already a bit easier compared to his first days here but still not without struggeling. Once he left the warmth of his blanket cocoon he would eat whatever his mother had prepared for him. She had started working from home as soon as Yoongi was sure to stay with them, the first week she was constantly following him around. It was really irritating. Especially the bathroom incident.
It wasn’t like she had walked in on him doing something, he had his room for that, even though the key to his door went missing before he arrived. What a coincidence.
It had been his third almost sleepless night back home and he was sporting a deathly migraine, the only thing he was looking for in their med cabinet were some painkillers so he could try to sleep without the constant hammering behind his eyelids. But there weren’t any pills, nothing that resembled pills in any way. The cabinet looked strangely abandoned, only a bottle of old cough medicine was standing in the far left corner. His mother's face paled when he asked about the cabinet, a mess of jumbled words left her mouth. He had to wait in the living room for her to return with one pill and a glass of water. He hadn’t said anything, she hadn’t said anything either. And she didn’t need to, it was clear. Crystal clear to be precise. Yoongi knew what it meant, what hiding the medicaments from him meant: The same reason as to why he was almost all the time kept under total surveillance. They thought he would take the pills, all of them. It had hurt, hurt way too much, this distrust coming from his parents. Well, he did try to kill himself but that was almost three and a half months ago and that didn’t mean he would try to end his life all. The. Goddamn. Time.
He hated being treated like that, hated being handled like a fragile doll, like someone who would break because of the tiniest comment. It was ridiculous, ridiculous and sad. Sad because his parents didn’t trust him enough to let him near anything or let him do anything on his own. Especially just because he couldn’t get his hands on any pills didn’t mean he would be unable to end his life. He hadn’t even tried commiting with pills, it had been something else. If having his promise wasn’t enough for Yoongi's parents, so be it. He won’t attempt taking his life again. But just because his suicidal behaviour had stopped didn’t mean his suicidal thoughts had stopped too. He was still thinking about it, sometimes planning it out but thinking didn’t equal doing.
He passed his mother in the kitchen, she sat at the small table and was typing on her laptop, pretending to not watch his every move. He wasn’t feeling very hungry this morning, his stomach felt funny when he thought about Taehyung coming over again. A pretty strange feeling to be honest. He met the kid yesterday (officially, these times they saw each other as teenagers didn’t count) and all Taehyung did was either not talking or talking too much and way too loud. Still, Yoongi had something to look forward to.
He quickly grabbed his cup of coffee and went outside, his sweater doing nothing against the cold biting air, he hurried down the frontsteps and right under his window. On the ground was a small pile of smoked cigarettes. This was one of the only chores he had to do around the house, every two days he had to collect the cigarettes from under his window. If his mother wouldn’t despise the smell of smoke that much, she would do that too. She would go to the toilet for him if she could. Her over protectiveness was ridiculous.
Before he pulled the front door closed again he looked at Taehyung's house and he swore that he saw a shadow moving to hide behind the curtains in the youngers room. He couldn’t wait for 11 a.m to come.
It was strange, Yoongi's whole fascination with Taehyung. While he was waiting in his room he had gone through his old things, the things from highschool. Between plenty of failed and half-assed papers, still blank or crumpled worksheets was his senior yearbook. He flipped through the pages, looking for that one face.
Kim Taehyung. Junior.
Maybe he really was only one year younger but Yoongi remembered a half erased memory of his mother mentioning something about the Kim's genius son who skipped a grade. So, he had been only fifteen then, his hair seemed a little darker standing up in variable directions, brown eyes crinkled around the edges and full of fear but his mouth was still stretched into a smile. It wasn’t the boxy one but a forced rise of his lips. Yoongi noticed the wounded skin at his neck, if he hadn’t seen it already in real life he wouldn’t have caught sight of it right now. Had he some kind of disease? A skin disease? Well, whatever, he could just ask him about it. Yoongi closed the book and threw a glance at his clock. 11:30. He sat up straighter. Taehyung should have been here a half hour ago. Well, he did text him to come over around eleven but this morning he had checked his message and Taehyung said he'd be over at eleven sharp. Quickly Yoongi checked his phone for any new messages from the younger; nothing. With an unsettling feeling he sent a message himself, just one word: Taehyung? After another three minutes he decided to call. He hated calling, calling people meant speaking to them and what if they didn’t pick up? What if he wouldn’t end the call soon enough and had to speak on the mailbox to not leave just a message of scared and heavy breaths on the tape.
Taehyung didn’t pick up. And Yoongi was really confused and a little disappointed. It had been Taehyung's idea to meet the next day and Yoongi was positive he wasn’t that unpleasent while hanging out with someone. So, he did the only thing that seemed reasonable, going over to him and demand an explanatiom from Taehyung. And maybe to make sure nothing had happened that caused the younger to not answer him.