Yoongi's singular goal for that night was to eat so much tteokbokki that it came out of his ears and then get back to the studio. The only reason he'd even left was because Seokjin demanded a family meal; no one says 'no' to Jin's dinners.
Yoongi grumbled as he entered and tossed his bag on the couch, easily accessible for when he'd grab it again. Suran had gone home hours ago, so he could take this time to change into something more comfortable and less...impressive. Producing in leather pants was the literal worst, but Bang PD told him to at least put some effort into his appearance.
Taehyung and Jungkook had already twittered off to play Overwatch, Hoseok called first dibs on the shower, and Jin was doing the dishes in the kitchen. It was just Namjoon, Jimin, and Yoongi left at the table picking over the scraps. Dinner was barely over when it happened.
Namjoon's girlfriend/not girlfriend/fuck buddy had a habit of calling at the most inopportune times, and even when Joon didn't answer, Xuxu still somehow managed to butt her way into the conversation regardless. This time it was the TV that betrayed them. Usually, it was Joon’s phone, or on occasion his laptop. One time it was even a billboard. She had a hacker friend somewhere, they were sure of it. No way an archeologist like her could hack their camera, and yet...
Namjoon's phone rang and he glanced at the screen before ignoring the call. It wasn't like they weren't speaking to each other, it was just that Namjoon had higher priorities than getting laid at the moment. But that could change depending on his mood...or access to the internet. However, Xuxu was persistent and she called again.
"You know she's going to keep calling until you answer." Jin shook his head disdainfully from the sink. He at least had the sense to stay away from girls, or that's what he liked to preach anyway.
"I'll call her later, I'm busy," Namjoon grumbled and shoved a rice cake in his mouth. But no sooner had he dismissed her, did Xuxu force her way in. The large flat screen TV behind them in the living room came to life on its own, and the 'Skype' icon blinked lazily at them before connecting the call. The three turned in surprise to a close up of Xuxu's face as she angrily stared at the living room in front of her, like some sort of goddess staring at her tiny humans...or a child about to crush an ant hill.
It was times like these when Namjoon regrets meeting her, to begin with; regrets crowding her into that museum bathroom months ago and fucking her senseless. Although not necessarily every time since then, he doesn’t regret those--
The first words out of her mouth were,
"We are not dating, Namjoon!" It was shrill over the speakers, blurred a little by faint music in the background, and he could tell she was worked up over something or other. Xuxu was always such a big ball of drama.
"I am well aware of that." He responded dully, not entirely sure there was a mic anywhere that would allow her to hear him, and not really looking forward to whatever lecture he was about to receive.
"If you are well aware, then why are you dumping your shit on me? Do I look like a fucking shrink to you?" Namjoon wanted to slam his face on the table, wanted to just leave the room, but he knew there was no getting rid of her. She'd just find another way to get to him. God forbid Xuxu ever become a saesang, or heaven help them, they'd never get an ounce of rest. With a very typical sigh and ignoring the snort from Yoongi, Namjoon responded with,
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Just because we fuck on occasion does not mean I want to clean up your messes!" She snapped and he gritted his teeth. She was two hours away in Busan. He could just hang up the call, unplug all electricity, go live in a Ger in the middle of a barren field. That would give him at least two hours of rest before she'd find him again.
"What mess?" He growled back, annoyed beyond belief. It was tacky of her to go spouting off the way she did when it was just the two of them, but the others weren't so used to her foul mouth. "What are you even talking about?"
"This mess!" Suddenly Xuxu's face pulled back and they got a better view of the scene behind her. She was on the dock owned by the university, the one she'd taken him to when he kissed her for the first time. Rope lights were strung up overhead, crisscrossed from the bows of the yachts lined on either side of the planks. They cast a warm glow on the dozen or so folding chairs with scattered occupants, the small table holding up the boombox and box wine. Other people Xuxu worked and studied with milled about, sporting red solo cups, lounging or dancing along to the music. But right front and center was a familiar shock of platinum blond hair that had the boys freezing.
E. It was E.
As pants, she was wearing the bottom half of a diving suit folded down over her waist, while on top she wore nothing but a bikini and a body chain that was most definitely not hers. E’s hair was tousled by the slight sea breeze and she took a deep sip from a cup of something. She was moving to the beat, the unsteady sway of her hips giving away just how drunk she could be, and then she was laughing at something off camera and her state was obvious.
"Oh, shit..." Jimin was the first to speak, breathing through the initial surprise.
"What the hell?" Namjoon demanded next, once Xuxu pulled the phone back to her face.
"That's what I want to know!" She countered, the little line between her eyes deepening with each passing minute. "She's been here since this morning. Just showed up out of the blue."
"Why?" Jimin asked, despite it not really being his place to butt in, but Namjoon didn't care. This really was a mess, Xuxu had been right about that at least.
"That's a great question little Chim Chim," She forced her voice to sound saccharine but it only came off as patronizing, making Namjoon grit his teeth, "why don't we ask her?" Xuxu turned away from the camera and yelled for E, using her full name like they were old friends. Hell, just a month ago the girls couldn't stand each other. Why was E suddenly running off to Busan without telling anyone? Namjoon halted his thoughts and spun to Yoongi, who looked like he was still frozen, tteokbokki still poised between his chopsticks.
"Did you know about this?" Namjoon wanted to make sure he wasn't opening up a can of worms or something. Maybe if Yoongi sent her there, they could shut this whole thing down now.
But Yoongi didn't move. He was completely petrified, anyone could see that, and Namjoon knew that he'd had no idea his girlfriend had up and left...again. E had a terrible habit of running away when things got sticky. It had happened before, and they all knew it was bound to happen again. "Well, fuck..."
"Elizabeth! Elizabeth...E, come say hi." The nurse turned at the sound of her name, but too sharply and they all watched as she stumbled back into the arms of the guy beside her.
"Whoopsie! Sorry!" She chimed in English, obviously too drunk to switch to Korean. But the guy gripped her waist tightly, a little too tightly for anyone's pleasure before releasing her again with a smirk.
"No worries." He grinned and then watched as she stumbled over to where Xuxu was beckoning. She stumbled to her knees right in front of Xuxu and the screen lowered to accommodate. Before anyone could say anything, E gasped as cutely as possible, spilling her clear drink over her hand.
"Oh! Look at the tiny box! My babies!" She cooed and Namjoon heard Xuxu audibly groan.
"Yes, now tell the tiny box why you came all the way out here to see me." Xuxu coached from off-screen. E's eyes were big and round as they gaped at her, and for a second she looked like she knew what was going on before her face pinched into a pout.
"But I already told you Xumie! I don't wanna--"
"First of all, that nickname still makes no sense, that is not how Mandarin works. Secondly, tell the tiny babies what you told me." Xuxu was probably rolling her eyes so hard, the boys could see them all the way from Seoul, but she put an end to whatever tantrum E was about to throw herself into. After a moment more of pouting, E crawled up closer to the screen. The TV was filled with her shoulders to the top of her head, the lights behind her hair making her look like she had a halo.
"Because I'm a coward." She said it with such a straight face that the boys were almost tempted to laugh, but it hit too close to home to be a joke. None of them ever joked about what happened that day.
It was the night of the Grammy’s, the highlight of BTS’ international career, the night E got the call that her services to BigHit were no longer needed. The dressing room had been as cold and quiet as a tomb after watching E jump to her feet and storm out, Tenshin following behind her, and then Yoongi a few moments later. Only two of them came back, and then Yoongi was the only one to regret every single word he’d said.
"Elizabeth," Xuxu chided quietly, "you're not a--"
"And because he hasn't looked at me in weeks." The admission seems to sober her up and she casts her eyes down towards her lap.
"Who?" Xuxu asked, making E scowl.
"You know who."
"What do you mean he hasn't looked at you?" She prodded. E reached up and tucked her hair behind her ear shyly, a slight tremor in her fingers.
"He looks at her. She sings, and he looks at her and she is so, so pretty." Her voice is small and feeble, and before anyone can respond to that particular accusation, the phone is whipped around and Xuxu's angry face is full front.
"What the hell? Min Yoongi, the fuck you--"
In his head, Yoongi was protesting immediately. He’d never done anything with any female artists. They were just coworkers, friends, and he never found any of them worth the commitment. Not to say they weren’t nice and pretty, but he had an aversion to the type of ambition it took to be in this line of work. This wasn’t the first song he’d produced with a feature, but it
the first song where he had a girlfriend and he spent all day with a different girl.
"He doesn't touch her.” E cut Xuxu off. “She just sings to him...and he sings to her. They sing and they are so pretty." The video pans back over to E, and all the contradictions at the tip of Yoongi’s tongue die there. He should say something, really! But he finds himself unable to do a thing, the jolt too much for him to process without a finger of scotch, and forty-eight hours alone with his soundboard.
"Do you mean Suran?" Xuxu asks carefully, clearly grasping what's going on now. E's face is still turned down, but there's a small nod for confirmation. "E," Xuxu's voice is gentle, much more so than any of them had ever heard before, "I know you know how they get when they're producing. Joonie is the same way. They don't see the light of day for weeks. Just because she's with him doesn't mean--"
"I don't belong here." E looked up then, and her eyes are wide and glassy. She could be crying, but the backlighting from the stars only makes her look more angelic.
"I don't belong here but I stayed because...because he said he wanted me. He doesn't need me but he said he wanted me. That's why I stayed. But what if...what if he doesn't want me anymore either? What do I do then?" All eyes in the dorm turned to Yoongi, but the only difference from the first time was that the tteokbokki had slipped from his grasp and he was holding nothing, staring at the screen with his mouth hanging open. He was in a complete state of shock, looking a bit like he was having a stroke by how his face was drooping.
"Keep going," Xuxu instructed instead of trying to correct her. She probably knew that no matter what she said, drunk logic was never going to accept facts. "Why are you in Busan?"
"He...he called me a coward for running, and I tried so hard to prove him wrong but...I just couldn't...I had to get away, but I didn't..." Big fat unmistakable tears rolled down her cheeks, and it was the sight of them that jolted Yoongi into action finally. He stood up so fast, the back of his knees knocked his chair clean over, chopsticks still in hand. Where could he go? What could he do? She was so far away from him now. How was he supposed to fix this?
"You ran only as far as you thought you could." Xuxu translated.
"I didn't know what else to do.” It all came out in a rush, “I just don't want him to see..." E slowly shrank into herself, hugging her arms, the frame only able to capture the top of her head. Xuxu carefully scooted the camera back to take in more of her broken form and quietly continued.
"What don't you want him to see?"
"How scared I am." E looked up, straight at the screen, and Yoongi felt like her eyes were boring into his chest. "I don't think I could take it if he didn't want me anymore." There were many days and nights that Yoongi regretted saying those things to her, out on the loading dock in New York City. Such stupid idiotic things. Lies like she was a coward for running away from them, for not fighting for them, for him, for not trusting him enough to even look him in the eyes before leaving. It had been in a fit of rage, of desperation. He wanted so badly for her to stay that he'd shoved her off. It was a specialty of his to self-destruct just when he achieved everything he wanted. Maybe if he’d just let Tenshin handle it like he’d been trying to, there wouldn’t be this stormcloud of a memory looming over their heads, just waiting to rain on any progress they make. But as it was, E was fixated on his biggest mistake, and how would they ever move forward like that?
"That's okay, baby," Suddenly the guy from before, the one E had tripped into sank into the frame, snuggling her between his legs, completely ignoring her tears. "I want you." E's head lulled to the side like she was trying to find who'd spoken. When she managed to look up at him, his smirk akin to a ravenous animal, she quickly started to shake her head.
"Aww darlin', that's racist." He laughed even as she started to push against him. A growl erupted from Yoongi's chest as he pitched forward and slammed both fists on the table,
"Don't you fucking touch her!" A chopstick broke in half, and belatedly, someone registered Seokjin’s angry huff.
"You idiot." Xuxu chided, although no one knew who she was directing it to. Suddenly, she dropped the phone and it clattered to the ground, cutting off their view.
"She's got a boyfriend!" could be heard off camera.
"Not anymore it sounds like," The guy chuckled. There was a scuffle before E nearly yelled,
"You're the wrong color!"
"What the hell?! You're fucking crazy!" The guy barked, and then for a few short seconds the only thing they could hear was the steady beats of the music, the only thing they could see was the black sky, dotted by stars reserved for the people who got to live by the ocean, and Yoongi could do nothing but stare at the screen, wondering what the hell was happening, how it had gotten to this point.
E had said he hadn't looked at her in weeks, but how was that possible? He'd seen her just...just a few days ago? Was that right? He'd skipped the past few Tuesdays at SM, didn't make it to more than one family dinner, hadn't planned a date for them in a while. How was that possible?
Then Xuxu grabbed the phone again. Her face was red with anger and she was carrying E under her arm like a ragdoll.
"You men are fucking savages!" She seethed as she stormed her way further down the dock, away from the party.
"Hsia-ssi," Jin spoke up from the kitchen door, a drying towel between his hands, "you need to put her on the next train back."
"Do not tell me what to do, pretty face--"
"Xuxu." Namjoon cut her off, his voice like steel. He was pissed, but worse yet, he was scared. This was out of his control, and there was nothing he hated more than feeling powerless. "Just get her on the train." He could see Xuxu's jaw clench, but she didn't snap back. Instead, she just said,
"Fine, but she's not gonna make it on her own. You're treating me to
for this, you hear me?"
"I'll buy you the whole damn restaurant, okay? Just get her here." Xuxu let out a huff as confirmation before ending the call, throwing the dorm into an awkward silence. Nobody really wanted to look at Yoongi, but they couldn't help it.
"Is it true, hyung?" Jimin asked quietly. He was good at making his question not sound like accusations but Yoongi still shuddered under the weight of it.
"I...don't know. I've been so caught up..." He slurred, dragging one hand through his tangled mint colored hair.
"When was the last time you called her? Look at your phone." Jimin advised, and when Yoongi didn't move, he took it upon himself. He fished Yoongi's phone out of his pocket and swiped through his security features. They all knew each other's passwords, and it wasn't hard to guess what Yoongi's was anyway: 724148. Searching through his call history, the frown on Jimin's face only deepened.
"You haven't talked to each other on the phone in almost two weeks." The words were like a blow to Yoongi and he sank down to the floor since his chair was already toppled over. Jimin kept searching for some redemption, but what he found in the chat was even worse. "And you haven't been responding to her texts." There was at least one a day from E for the past two weeks, small tokens of affection at first, but eventually, it was strictly medical: Yoongi’s blood sugar at certain times, reminding him to eat and take his meds. She'd tapered off from girlfriend to nurse the longer he didn't respond and Jimin clearly understood why she'd turned to alcohol. It wasn't in E's nature to make a fuss, and she most likely assumed it was her fault anyway, that's just how she worked.
"Yoongi..." Jin pursed his lips together, but the second oldest only dragged his hand through his fringe again.
"I didn't mean to!"
"We know, hyung." Namjoon soothed from his chair. They knew better than to antagonize an emotional Suga, "And E knows that too. She's just drunk and upset."
"Now that I think about it...this is the first time I've ever seen E drink," Jin commented offhandedly, hoping to shift the conversation enough to give Yoongi time to recover.
"That's because E doesn't drink." Jimin gritted his teeth, and the others looked at him with interest. He didn't want to betray something E had told him in confidence but now seemed like an appropriate time to do what was best for her instead of what she wanted. "She's 3 years sober."
"Are you saying she was an alcoholic or something?" Jin squinted, trying to make out if the younger was lying or not. The implications of that hit Yoongi square in the face. E had never said anything like that to him, but what Jin said was true: none of them had ever seen E drink before, not even when the rest of them were drinking.
"Look she didn't want anyone to know, but I think you should understand the significance of this. If E went and got smashed than whatever is happening is serious. Like really fucking serious." Jimin stressed.
"Why didn't she tell me?" Yoongi asked quietly, and the other three looked to him apprehensively.
"She didn't want you to know because she knew you'd give up your drinks for her, and she didn't want to feel guilty about it," Jimin told him quickly, wanting to soften the blow as best he could. "Everyone knows how much you like your whiskey."
"Why did she tell
?" Yoongi asked a bit harsher, but Jimin took it in stride.
"It's not like she just handed it to me, hyung. She's still ashamed of it. The only reason I know is because I guessed."
"So now this is an even bigger mess." Namjoon pressed his fingers into his eye sockets, trying to keep a coming headache at bay.
"No, no, there's no mess." Jin waved away, but Namjoon snapped his eyes up to him.
"What do you mean,
"Nothing happened, Namjoon-ah," Jin chided with obvious disapproval. "Nothing that's connected to her, or to us. All she did was go visit a friend and have some fun. She didn't do anything wrong in the eyes of the public, didn't tell anyone anything she shouldn't have. And she's coming home now with Xuxu. There's no mess for you to clean up, so wipe that frown off your face. And you," He turned to Yoongi who was still sitting on the floor, "You have exactly two hours to finish Suran's song completely. I don't even want to hear you thinking about it after tonight."
"But, hyung--" Jimin tried to speak up but was silenced with one of Jin's signature stares.
"You help him." He ordered. "And when he's done, take him to the train station to pick up E. She's going to need lots of water and electrolytes. Grab some Pocari Sweat on the way, she likes it." And then like he hadn't uttered a freaking battle plan, Jin waltzed back into the kitchen to finish the dishes.
The three left sat in silence for a moment before Namjoon huffed, something close to a laugh but not quite there.
"He's right. I overreacted."
"It’s not your fault, hyung." Jimin offered him a small smile. With a sigh, Namjoon stood and went to his room without a goodbye, leaving Jimin to pick up the pieces of Yoongi off the dining room floor.
Yoongi, Jimin, and Tenshin stood on the platform, twiddling their thumbs and waiting for the train to arrive. It was past midnight, and they were hovering just far enough away from the line to be discreet but trying to remain within eyesight in case the girls needed help. Tenshin was annoyed that E had run off without letting him know, but it wasn’t like it wasn’t the first time.
Yoongi, on the other hand, was in a state of perpetual nervous panic. The train was of course on time, but it felt like it was taking forever. It'd only been two hours since he'd seen his girlfriend over Skype but the realization that he actually hadn't seen her in over a week made him nauseous. How was he supposed to come back from this? How had it even happened in the first place?
The train pulled into the station at a languid pace, the boys moving towards the front to wait. The cars were near empty, only a few tired souls stumbling out to even fewer travelers waiting.
Quite abruptly, one of the cars towards the back slid open and E flew out like a bat out of hell.
"You called him?!" She all but screamed in English, a flustered Xuxu on her heels.
"Of course I--"
Yoongi took a step towards them, heart beating faster than before. He wanted to be as close to E as possible, erase those tear stains he’d seen in HD, but before he could throw himself at her, a small hand grabbed his and pulled him back.
“Jimin--” Yoongi all but growled, but his dongsaeng met his glare evenly.
“Let Xuxu handle this. If E didn’t confront you before, she sure as hell isn’t gonna do it now.” Yoongi wanted to slap him, and really the impulse almost took over him, but Jimin was right. He was right a lot more than he let on most of the time. So Yoongi stayed. Because he trusted Jimin, and because Tenshin clamped a hand on his shoulder in agreement.
Yoongi wasn’t going anywhere.
"Why would you call him? I told you not to worry about it!" E spun on Xuxu, her jacket flying around in her hand like a ribbon. She wasn't wearing that diving suit anymore, just capris and a tank top, and Yoongi ignored the part of him that was a little relieved.
"Because you're jealous, E! There's nothing wrong with it!" Xuxu sounded exasperated, but E wasn't hearing it. She nearly threw her jacket at Xuxu's face before spinning around and storming towards the exit. They didn't notice the boys or anyone else who was staring.
"He did nothing wrong! Absolutely nothing and I was dealing with it!" E barked.
"Yeah, by getting shit faced."
"It doesn't matter!" She snapped and stopped again, resigned to duke it out then and there, "Now I have to go back and explain to him that it was nothing."
nothing." Xuxu gruffed nonchalantly like it hardly affected her.
"Yes, it is--" E tried to say but Xuxu cut her off, already having short fuse, to begin with. So it affected her a little bit, sue her.
"Elizabeth." Xuxu used her full name like it was supposed to jar E from her anger but it didn't.
"No," E snarled, too deep in her own head to listen, "you are not going to bully me into--"
"Shut the FUCK up!" Xuxu screamed and the whole platform froze. Not that there were many, but all eyes were on the two girls.
"Now," Xuxu started only when she felt everyone was looking at her. "I refuse to belittle the progress you've made. You stopped yourself from running and I'm proud of you for that." She gestured sharply for emphasis and overlooked E's flinch.
"But at some point,
, you have to stop running and stand your ground. All this bullshit about wanting and needing, what about what you want? Huh? What about what you need? Why is he the only one that gets taken into consideration?" Xuxu hadn't been there when this all started, and she was still obviously trying to play catch up. That tends to be hard when no one talks about what happened like it was another damned Chinese Great Leap Forward, but E had said enough. There'd been an ultimatum, and the choice she made had been drastic.
"You think you don't belong here, well what about me? I'm a poor kid from China who just so happens to bang a superstar on the weekends, why do I belong here? What about Hasa? She's a fucking mess of a Marine, why does she get to stay? Who the hell drilled it into your brain that you are not good enough just because you're you?" Xuxu was working herself up, she knew, but she really wanted E to come out of this bullshit fog she was intent on drowning herself in.
"But, Yoongi--" E tried but Xuxu grabbed her arms to stop her because this kind of thinking was so unhealthy it wasn't funny.
"Fuck Yoongi, and fuck BTS," She hissed. "You are allowed to exist exactly as you are without anyone else's approval. If you want Yoongi, then go kick his ass for ignoring you. If you want to stay in Seoul, then stay! If you want to prove him wrong, then prove him wrong!"
"But he wasn't wrong."
"Jesus Christ…” Xuxu dropped her hands from E’s shoulders only to cover her face in exhaustion. “Why won't you cut yourself some slack?"
"Because—“ E opened her mouth to speak, but there was a definitive droop to her posture, a curling-in that Xuxu knew personally. E trailed off without giving an answer and Xuxu jumped on it.
“Aren’t you tired of being scared?” They stared at each other for a hard moment before E bowed her head.
“Yes…” She admitted quietly, “yes, I’m tired.”
“So let’s go on the run again,” Xuxu quickly grabbed one of her hands in both of hers, “but this time we run straight at whatever scares us. We don’t turn back, we don't falter. We just go. Let’s get a fucking head start.” This wasn’t about her, she needed to make that clear to herself, but Xuxu had some skin in this game. E was one of her only friends (and she used that term loosely as it was).
“We?” E glanced up a small upturn at the corner of her lips.
“Hell yeah, we. Doing everything by yourself is fucking terrifying.” Xuxu scoffed, dropping her hand like a hot sweet potato and turning away to hide the blush she felt creeping up her face, “I got your back, E, so you run.” She turned back and the smirk had been replaced with the most serious expression E could muster, “Run as fast as you can...and drop kick Yoongi in the face, especially for me.”
For the span of a heartbeat, nobody moved. Goosebumps zipped up and down Yoongi's arms, an old wives’ tale meaning this was a turning point in life. That second took an hour, but when E looked up again, her eyes were sure. Before anything could stop her, most of all herself, she took off like a shot out of the train station and up the street. “Holy—wait! Wait, I didn’t mean literally run—! Get a cab!” Xuxu called after her but it was no use.
Yoongi lunged forward the second he saw E move, but only made it a little past before Xuxu grabbed his arm to stop him. She didn't seem surprised at all that they were there, nor that they'd heard everything she said (them and the rest of the platform). It certainly wasn't lost on him that she told E to kick him in the face, although for some reason he expected no less from her. There was a reason Namjoon was enamored with her despite her constant grousing, after all.
"Let her run." She cooed as she looked up the street after the nurse. "Give her a chance to be brave, Suga-ssi."
The cab ride back to the dorms was hell. Tenshin shoved Yoongi and Jimin in the back, squished on either side of a whining Xuxu. It was so odd how she could flip a switch and be annoying as ever again.
Yoongi tuned her out though as he stared at the passing street lights. He knew exactly what he thought and how he felt, a surety that came from years of not knowing. But for some reason, he could not think of what to say to E. It was rare for him to be speechless, and that alone fueled the fire of his anxiety. He wanted to apologize of course, but there was also the strong urge to scold her for thinking she had to confess anything to him. She was not the one at fault, yet it was the biggest downfall of her personality to think so. E took the burden of blame in every situation regarding their relationship, just like Namjoon did with anything involving Bangtan. The both of them were too compassionate for their own good, and it frustrated and endeared Yoongi to no end.
He ditched his friends when they got back and took the first door on the left rather than the second. E's apartment was situated next door to the dorms, an open studio with floor to ceiling windows. She'd shoved her mattress right up against them so that she could watch the sunrises and see the stars, and the sheets were in a constant state of disarray. Yoongi knew the key, mainly because he'd installed it himself and she never bothered to change it: 724148. It was his code for everything, a grounder he surrounded himself with to remind him, and E always respected that.
Flipping the lights on, he slumped over to her kitchen counter and perched on one of her barstools, wracking his brain for what to say while he waited for her to get back.
It took another twenty minutes, but eventually, E limped up the stairs to the dorm. Running had been a bad idea, but the blood was still pumping loud in her ears. She wanted to yell at someone (someone that wasn't Xuxu, because Xuxu was scary and she yelled back). E debated for a moment just throwing open the door to the dorms and jumping into that beehive, but the thought of facing them all at once made her want to throw up. So she took a small detour to her apartment, figuring she'd sit for a moment, change into something less like a drunk college student, and then...then she'd explain? Complain? Beg? Who knows...There had been no plan of action when she took off, just the reassurance that Xuxu would back her up, no matter what. But now that she was in front of the door, she felt entirely less confident.
She veered and jammed in the code to her door, ignoring the shaking in her fingers. She hated that tell, her tick. No matter if it was good or bad, if things got intense, her hands would start to tremble. The only exception was when she was working. That kind of pressure never got to her. It was this horrible personal feely bullshit that always set her off.
The door swung open to an already lit room, and E froze in the doorway. Yoongi looked back at her just as spooked from the bar, and the moment was suspended.
He gulped when she didn't move from the door, even when he could tell she was getting cold from the wind, her adrenaline wearing off quickly.
"E..." He mumbled, and the spell was broken.
"I don't--" She yelled, and then meeped, slapping both her hands over her mouth as if she had absolutely not meant to say that out loud. There was an internal struggle on her face that Yoongi waited out like a shipwreck survivor before she dropped her hands again. "I don’t…I’m mad!”
E very rarely conveyed the things she thought or wanted. She was clinically shy in her approach to most situations, diplomatic when someone asked her opinion. So the fact that she was flat out telling Yoongi she was upset was both an improvement and an intimidating update.
“As you should be.” He swallowed his growing panic, trying hard to push down his rising deprecation. Was she going to leave him for this? Was she going to self destruct like he typically did? Would the both of them together blow a hole the size of the moon into the streets of Seoul, and when someone asked what happened, the rest of the world would say, 'Young Love'?
“I don’t deserve to be ignored, Yoongi...” She started out strong but the words died off towards the end and her eyes dropped from his, looking at his knees, his feet, the lights, the floor, diverting her attention anywhere but him.
“No baby," He was up from the chair and closing the distance between them before he could think, "don’t look down, don’t look away when you’re right. Look me in the eyes and say it again.” He'd never hated himself more than in that instant, not even the moment from the Grammy's. Because E not believing she deserved better was his doing, it had to be. He reached up and cupped her face, trying to catch her eye again as she did as she was told.
“I didn’t deserve that.” She mumbled, stubbornly staring at his collarbone.
“Say it again. Say it until you believe it because it’s true." He smoothed the pad of his thumb over the swell of her cheek and screamed internally. "I was an asshole, I don’t even know how or why, and I’m so fucking sorry."
He couldn't take it anymore, he pulled her into a bone crushing hug, needing to feel her frantic heartbeat under his. Because what if she left him over this? He'd never be able to brush his fingers over her hummingbird rhythm again, never get to nuzzle his face into the crook of her neck and taste sunshine. God, just the thought that he could lose everything was alarming enough for him to squeeze her tighter, just as tight as he was squeezing his eyes to keep the tears at bay.
"You didn’t deserve that. You deserve someone who would never ignore you or fucking forget about you. It’s me—I messed up.”
“Yoongi, I..." Absently, he felt her wind her arms around his waist. "I think we both messed up.” He pulled back, ready to remind her that he was the one at fault here, and was she really trying to take the blame again? But when he looked at her, running his eyes over her familiar features, it gave him the confidence to say what he should have back in New York, back during the skype call, back at the train station:
“If you have to run...then run.” Her gaze widened and glistened in disbelief, but he held her tightly. “I need you to understand something, E. If it’s me...if you have to run from me, then do it.” He gritted his teeth and rested his forehead against hers, not really able to handle that request on a personal level. “But please give me a chance to fix it." He begged, "Just...let me know what I need to do, and I will. I swear I will. I’d give you the whole world if you asked for it. You just have to say so.”
“No, no, I...I made you worry,” She was shaking her head between his fingers, “and Joon is probably mad, and I bet Jin is stress cleaning--” She started in on a rant but he silenced her by pulling her into a kiss.
“Fuck me, and fuck BTS.” Her spine snapped straight and he heard her inhale a sharp breath.
“You were there?”
Yoongi chuckled despite himself. “Don’t tell her I said this or she’ll never let me live it down, but...Xuxu is right. You have to start thinking about yourself more.” E let out a groan and slipped from his forehead to rest her’s on his shoulder.
.” She stressed into the fabric of his hoodie. “And I’m thinking I don’t want to run away from you....but then I go and do it.”
“So the next time you feel like running, come to me, or Jimin, or Tenshin.” He turned his head to kiss at her ear, feeling some of the dread from earlier slip away, “We’ll work on it. We can figure it out together. No more of this suffer in silence shit, E. It never helps. I know from experience…” He grimaced, not wanting to tell her what to do when he was this close from the impending doom, and E let out another groan, only this one was a little more whiney and a little less breakup.
“But I don’t know how to tell you?” She jerked up and nearly headbutted him, “I mean it just...it feels intrusive. You already give me so much, I don’t...I feel selfish asking for more.” She detached, sinking into her usual hesitant self, but he followed. No way was he letting her sink all by herself ever again.
He hooked his finger in a belt loop of her capris, pulling her back to him, “I will never be able to give you half as much as you deserve,” He pressed his nose into her cheek and whispered, “but I promise you I am going to try. I’ll spend my whole life trying. I’ll give you anything, everything.” He wondered for a small moment how his life would have turned out if he was still that broke kid from Daegu, if all he had to offer her was bus fare, would she still stay?
“All I have to do is tell you what I want?” She asked, an arch to her voice.
“All you have to do is tell me.”
“Then I want you.” She said and he knew. Yeah, she would, and that was the most rewarding feeling in the world. Better than awards, better than wins, better than fame...she was worth it all.
“Fuck, you have me." He said, and nothing could stop him from pressing his lips to hers, reveling in the soft caress of her. "You’ve had me since you brought me back to life. My own personal angel. You’re so perfect.” She swallowed down every word, winding her arms around his neck while his hands found her waist.
“That reminds me—” He planted his hands on her hips and pushed back just a little, just enough to get him to look at her, “if at some point I fuck this up, don’t think that you have to leave. Seoul is your home now as much as it is mine. You belong here, E. With or without me.” She pursed her lips together, and he saw the glisten of tears cup her eyes.
to be with you.” She breathed it like it was a secret, a precious confession that he latched onto and buried deep in his heart.
“And I want to be with you.” He kissed her quickly, ready to be done with this discussion, “So let’s make sure I don’t—“
“Fuck it up...yeah.”
“Yoongi.” She moaned his name and his knees nearly buckled at the sound.
“Anything you want, angel.” He slurred as he kissed his way up her cheekbone.
She didn’t have to tell him twice. He captured her lips again, a little rougher this time, a little more desperate and took a step back towards the big bay windows, pulling her along until his calf hit her mattress.
“I’ll touch you everywhere, make you feel so good.” He licked into her mouth. Her back hit the mattress and him on top of her, one hand balancing his weight and the other sliding up under her tank top. E was ticklish, and he nipped at her lips as she giggled from his feather light touches. His fingers trailed up until he felt something cold against her skin and his brain short-circuited: the body chain he’d seen in the video. Yoongi pulled back just enough to lift her shirt and reveal the gold links that draped over her pale stomach. E only watched, eyes hooded and pupils blown, as he leaned down and proceeded to kiss over the chain, every link, every curve. Her back arched in response as his lips grazed over her ribs, and her fingers tangled in his hair, tugging his mouth back up to hers.
So impatient, she was always so impatient, but he wanted this to last. He wanted to show her how much she deserved, wanted to have her blissed out and content in his arms. Wanted her to expect his love rather than pray for it. So he continued his roaming, ghosting touches over her skin until she was squirming and gasping. She grabbed at his hoodie and tugged and he shed it in an instant, along with her shirt and the bikini top. He left the chain, though, practically drooling at the sight of it sliding against her skin.
She was so warm when he pressed his chest to hers, and he could feel that heartbeat he craved against his own. Craving more, he trailed away from her mouth and down her neck, kissing and sucking the taste of her, of sunshine in his mouth until he was drunk on it and she was whimpering in anticipation.
“Yoongi~” She mewled, and he felt one of her hands frantically grasp at the button of his jeans. He was already half-hard and the friction from his jeans made him groan into her collarbone. Not yet though. He pushed her hand away and undid her capris instead, sliding them down her hips with the other part of her bathing suit. He had to satisfy her completely first. This was not the first time he’d seen her naked, it wasn’t even the first time they’d had sex, made love, but for some reason, the sight of her golden skin under him now set his veins on fire.
He kissed his way down until he could feel the jut of her hip bone under her tongue, and then went further still, scooting back to pull her legs over his shoulders. His fingertips trailed down the outside of her thighs and over her knees as they clenched his head, jolting the moment he made contact. It was slow at first, all teasing licks and stripes up and down her sex until she was a groaning mess. Her fingers wound their way into his hair, her nails scratching over his scalp in the process. It was slow because he wanted it to last, even though he was hard and she was eager. By the time he undid his own jeans and slipped out of them, she’d thrown her head back and arched her spine, blonde hair spread out over the sheets like gold. It was slow, even when he climbed up and drowned her in kisses, ones that she deserved a hundred times over. And his pace was slow too, but that was out of his own selfish desire to hear her pant his name each and every time. He’d never get tired of hearing it fall from her lips like a prayer.
He surprised even himself with his self-controlled maddeningly slow love, but eventually, he couldn’t handle how she dragged her nails down his back in incentive. She wanted him to go faster, wanted him to take her apart, and he did tell her he’d give her whatever she wanted.
“Yoongi?” E mumbled against his skin as they lay tangled together in her sheets. She was already half asleep, and he’d texted Namjoon to say he was staying over tonight. There was nothing left to stop him from watching her drift off to sleep, and he hummed in response while playing with the short gold threads of her hair. “I love you.”
It was stupid how his face broke out into a grin with those three small words. She said them in English and then again in Korean, like her sleepy mind wanted to stress in every language that she knew.
“I love you too.” She sighed and kissed the top of her head.
“Even when I ran, I still loved you.” She added, tightening her hold on him, and if there had been any doubt left, it disappeared like smoke.
“I think I’ll love you forever.” She said last, and he let those words sink in real deep, memorizing how they sounded, wanting to wrap himself up in them. She was already asleep by the time he realized he should tell her--
“I know I will.”
“Why’d you say that dude was the wrong color?” Jimin asked almost a week later, sitting on the counter in E’s lab at BigHit.
“I said what?” She gave him a weird look, but he could tell she knew what he was talking about.
“You said the guy who hit on you in Busan was the wrong color.” She suspiciously gave him her back and he smirked, knowing he’d caught her.
“His hair,” She mumbled and Jimin urged her to continue. “His hair was blonde. Yoongi’s is green.”
“Oh my god!” Jimin cackled, nearly falling off the cabinet.
“Shut up!” E cried and threw a wad of gauze at him. There was no way he was ever going to let her live that down.