Actions

Work Header

1-800-273-8255

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

 +.-.+

"suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem."'

— Phil Donahue 

 

The cold air in Busan, Korea hit Taehyung’s body like a truck, his seemingly heavy winter coat not doing him enough justice. The snow falls lightly as he walks around the corner of the market. The streets are not as busy as usual, and he’s not sure if it’s because it’s eight o’clock at night or if it’s because of the snow, but he likes it. He prefers quiet streets, over busy people with no care in the world.

 

He looks in front of him to see two couples holding hands. The girl, shorter than the guy, was clutching his hand tightly with gloves grasping around her very own.

 

Taehyung wonders to himself, what’s a relationship like nowadays?

 

What is it like having someone who understood you? Loved you for who you are and not what you had to offer? What was it like?

 

He ignores the fact, he knew what it was like. He ignores the fact that he had exactly that, but one sided. So maybe, just maybe, he didn't know what it was like to be loved for who he is or what he had to offer. 

 

Taehyung often finds himself feeling alone. He should not feel alone, but news flash he does. He has people in his life who give him company and all, but god does he feel alone, and it makes him feel so selfish for wanting more.

 

You see, Taehyung's only been in love one time, and one time only. For him, being in love made him incredibly selfish.

 

His first love, Seokjin, happened in his third year of high school. Taehyung didn't mess around with a lot of people before Seokjin, let alone anyone. So everything they did was the first everything for him. For example, Seokjin took his first kiss, virginity, and the title of being his first love. All of which, Taehyung was almost positive he did not deserve the title of "first". It was a relationship he felt happy and completely broken over to get out of.

 

Since Seokjin, which was two years ago, he hasn't found anyone to stick by his side. They've just wanted him as a sex toy, or they can't handle his bipolar emotions that come left and right.

 

Hate him all you want, but don't even get him started on the girls that practically threw themselves at him every time he went out to a party or something.

 

He just couldn't find his better half the way he had found Seokjin. Enough of Seokjin. Taehyung wasn't out here for no reason, he was out to meet his best friend Jimin.

 

Taehyung loves Jimin more than anything. He's been his companion and brother since the end of seventh grade. At one point, Jimin was a quiet outcast with not a lot of friends. Taehyung met him in the school auditorium by accident. He had walked in to clear his head and play the piano when he found the one and only Park Jimin dancing by himself.

 

To say that Taehyung wasn't starstruck was an understatement. When Jimin had finished his piece, Taehyung had quite literally made him piss his pants when he noticed he was watching from behind the piano.

 

Upset at first he had attracted a viewer, Jimin tried to run off but it was no use when he heard Taehyung play the piece he had just danced to. Since then, Taehyung contributed to a lot of the ballads Jimin danced to. He also became his best friend, brother, and other half all in one.

 

The shy and quiet outcast Jimin had once portrayed himself as, vanished when he got into high school. He became more open, joined the dance team, and gained a lot more friends than Taehyung could count. However, Jimin never once tried to replace him or drop him which he was more than grateful for.

 

Though Jimin was there for half of his life, Taehyung still found himself in a situation where he developed an anxiety disorder which caused him to have panic attacks. He was always worrying and panicking due to his parent's toxic relationship. Jimin could tell that Taehyung was depressed, and he was right. That’s about as much Jimin knew when it came to Taehyung’s mental health at the time. He also knew that Taehyung often wanted to push boundaries with fate and disappear through his fingers like sand.

 

Taehyung was a fool sometimes, but who could blame him?

 

Like right now, for instance, he's so lost in his thoughts he almost runs straight into the door of the coffee shop Jimin demanded he meets him at. Utter fool.

 

Hopefully, no one seen that.

 

"Taehyung there's a door there!" Jimin yells through the glass window when he sees him face plant into the door. He hates his life so much sometimes, and he really blames Jimin for catching him in moments like these. He rolls his eyes as walks through the door like a more civil human being, he was going to hear about this all night he was sure of it.

 

Jimin runs to the entrance quickly to check on his friend, "Jesus dude, are you okay?"

 

"If I say yes will you stop teasing me about this?"

 

"I haven't said a word." 

 

"Yet." He grumbles rubbing his head. Jimin laughs patting him on the back.

 

"What am I doing here again? You either haven't told me or I hit my head that hard," asks Taehyung as Jimin bites his lip shyly.

 

"I want to say both," Jimin answers, before taking a pause.

 

"But I have someone I really... want you to meet."

 

Taehyung offers a small smile because he's definitely not a people person. He could have panic attack in the middle of the shop just thinking about meeting somebody new. However, this is his best friend he can't act like that. He can see it in his eyes that this girl is obviously important.

 

How does he know this is a girl he's picked up? Jimin is good at that, and he's much better than Taehyung ever was at picking out his partners.

 

"I know you're going to say this is not my type, but I really want you to like him."

 

"Jimin you know that I'm going to like him especially if he makes you hap-wait-him?" Taehyung asks surprised in mid-sentence. So maybe, just maybe, he didn't know him that well. Since when was Jimin into opposite sex? Taehyung was not judging, don't get him wrong, and he definitely would never label his best friend... but he just wanted to know when Jimin decided he was suddenly into boys and didn't tell Taehyung. 

 

He decides to ignore the hurt in his heart that Jimin didn't tell him, but he pushes it away when he sees Jimin's eyes perk up nervously.

 

"Yes, him...uh, what are your thoughts, Tae?" asks his best friend nervously. Despite pushing away that hurt in his heart, he wants to ask Jimin why he hadn't told him, but he knows that's the last thing Jimin wants to hear, especially because he just came out to him. He decides to be supportive.

 

"I-I'm so happy for you—when can I meet him?" Taehyung asks tightly. Jimin visibly relaxes at that, which makes Taehyung feel a wave of happiness rush through him when he smiles happily.

 

"I'm so happy you're accepting of this, god I was a wreck, but he's out taking a smoke, so soon," Jimin says in relief. This was definitely new for Jimin, Taehyung was proud of him nevertheless because his best friend deserved happiness even if it was in a new type of person, but still... it's his best friend.

 

"Jimin, you're forgetting I'm not straight, did you think I was going to judge you?" Taehyung scoffs, voice soft.

 

Jimin smacks him upside the head, "I was nervous shut up!"

 

"I'm your best friend hyung." Taehyung reminds, playing with his fingers nervously.

 

”I know Tae... but this... was just—“ Jimin shuts his mouth quickly, unsure what to say.

 

Suddenly, a boy about the size of Jimin, if not taller, walks up behind him and wrapping his arms around him from the back. Taehyung watches at Jimin jumps clearly not expecting the gesture. He turns around to the boy, and smiles.

 

The two are awfully cute. It almost makes Taehyung jealous that no one holds him or looks at him the way Jimin's love interest did him. It makes him miss having a relationship.

 

"Tae, meet Min Yoongi," Jimin introduces giggling, as the assumed boyfriend, buries his nose into his neck.

 

"Please, call me Yoongi," He corrects lifting his face out of his neck and sticking his hand out for Taehyung to take. He can smell the lingering scent of cigarette ashes as he pulls his hand back from Yoongi.

 

"Hi, I'm Taehyung, and I guess I should give you the, ‘you hurt him I’ll kill you’ speech?” he threatens lightly, but seriously. He will kill him.

 

“Who said I was going to hurt him?” Yoongi asks charmingly. It’s at that point that he realizes Jimin has found his perfect match. They’re both extremely witty and horribly charming.

 

“That’s good, that’s good...” He trails off looking back at Jimim. “How long have you two—“

 

"A good month." answers Jimin quickly. Taehyung winces at that, why didn't Jimin tell him? Did Jimin have someone else to tell his problems to?

 

”A month? Jimin?” Taehyung asks hurt. Jimin nods, guilt flashing through his eyes.

 

“Wow, uh, okay—I’m so glad you’re happy Jimin..., and uh, Yoongi.”

 

“I’m so happy Tae, Yoongi makes me really happy. I wish I had met him sooner.” Jimin says staring at Yoongi in the eyes, completely and utterly lost in them. Well fuck, Taehyung wished he'd met him sooner too.

 

“Where did you guys even meet?” Taehyung asks instead. He hopes to not sound as bitter as he's feeling.

 

“We met at this particular shop,” Yoongi replies.

 

“He sort of pilled coffee on me and made me drop everything in sight,” Jimin says, rolling his eyes at Yoongi.

 

“So you’re the culprit, huh? I had to wash that stain out by the way.” Taehyung grumbles, earning a laugh from the two.

 

At least, he made someone laugh a little.

 

The thing Taehyung hates about himself the most is the fact that he’s so selfish, replaceable, and so unimportant. The sad part is he knows it’s true. Hell, his best friend clearly didn’t need him.

 

Here he was feeling like total shit because Jimin didn’t come to him about this when he should be happy he just came out to him.

 

But he just can’t. Those nights Jimin ditched him and lied to him... were they all for Yoongi? Taehyung was no longer needed by anyone.

 

“I think my stay has been longer than I anticipated,” says Taehyung sighing as his thoughts continue to consume his brain. Jimin looks at him in confusion.

 

”But you just got here? Don't you want to hang out with us?” he frowns.

 

”And third wh—It’s late, I have work tomorrow anyway,” Taehyung says saving himself as he pulls his best friend into a hug. He looks up to see Yoongi narrowing his eyes at him.

 

He can see right through him.

 

He feels awful. So awful, he starts to tear up.

 

Apparently, the sob he was holding back wasn’t as quiet as he thought as Jimin pulls back when he hears him sniffle back a cry, worry creasing his face.

 

“Are you okay Tae? What’s going on?” Jimin asks, both hands on the side of his bicep.

 

“Yes Jimin, why wouldn’t I be?” No, there are so many reasons but please buy it, please buy it.

 

“You look really upset...” Jimin points out worriedly. “You know you and I can go out and talk. Yoongi can stay in here for a while if you need him to.”

 

Yoongi nods, looking more concerned than he did a few seconds ago.

 

”Jimin, I’m fine seriously,” Taehyung says, suddenly becoming anxious. His heart beats fast as he watches the two.

 

”You sure?” Jimin asks intertwining his and Yoongi’s fingers together.

 

“Positive.” Negative.

 

“Alright, well please give me a call when you’re home okay?” Jimin begs, and being the selfish bastard Taehyung is, he can’t find it in him to give him an answer. He knows for a simple fact he wont.

 

So instead he runs.

 

He hears Jimin shout after him, but his legs keep pushing him to just go, go, go!

 

So selfish.

 

He knows he’s so selfish, that’s the sick part. He knows he’s greedy and needy, he also knows he wants to die.

 

Oh yeah, Taehyung wants to die. You see that phase of anxiety and depression, was still taking a toll on Taehyung.

 

Like he said it started around high school, a year and a half before he met Jin. Taehyung’s mother and father had been married a good twenty-three years at the time and it was safe to say their breaking point had come faster than he had anticipated.

 

His mother abused him verbally, and his father sometimes physically. They beat him black and blue. This is something Taehyung doesn’t like to remember that part of his life, but that doesn’t mean he is able to just forget it.

 

Because of them, he’s scared of being yelled at in arguments/in general and he’s scared of hands in his face. Also, because of the torture he received for a good dick year of his life, he had tried to kill himself twice already.

 

But being friends with Park Jimin doesn’t help that situation. Jimin, like he said, knew him like the back of his hand. He knew Taehyung was feeling this way for a long time, which was why he practically shoved fingers down his throat to make him throw up any pills he had taken, which by the way he had only take three tablets of Tylenol.

 

The second time, Jimin saw him bleeding out in his room. That last attempt was also the last time Taehyung ever laid eyes on his parents again.

 

Today would be the last time he laid eyes on anyone again.

 

He stops running when he reaches his apartment complex. He fumbles with the keys as he walks upstairs quickly, thoughts swimming in his head like a school of fish.

 

After a few tries, he finally gets the door open, and he finds himself stumbling into the lonely apartment he lives in. The apartment he’s lived in for two years. His only company, his cat Mittens and the old lady next door who sometimes brought him cookies.

 

Jimin used to be his company, now he didn’t even have Jimin.

 

His best friend had someone he actually needed, and it was clear to Taehyung that Min Yoongi was now first. The times Taehyung had spent wondering what he had done wrong when Jimin said he couldn’t hang out with him it all made sense.

 

He feels tears in his eyes as he walks outside to the balcony. He was three stories up and his fate lies in the concrete beneath him if he jumps.

 

All he has to do is jump, and he’s free.

 

He’s free of the suffering, the pain, the anxiety, and the constant baggage that was carried on his shoulders like a backpack.

 

And all he has to do is jump.

 

Why was it so easy to die? Yet so hard to live. He didn’t understand that concept, life was given to him why wasn’t it as easy as it is life being taken away from him.

 

Taehyung has balls. He will do anything he can to end his life at any cost he has, but for some odd reason. He’s frozen in his place, and it ’s not because of how cold it is outside it’s because he can’t find it in him to run and jump.

 

What the fuck is holding him back? He has nothing. His family does not associate with him, and he no longer has Park Jimin, his family is God knows where, and he’s not even enrolled in college yet.

 

He gives up. Taehyung knows he’s just that big of a loser.

 

He goes to sit his phone on the table when a notification pops up on his screen. 

 

 

 

한글 타임즈

 “ 1-800-273-8255”; showing us that it just takes thirty seconds to call this number (the national suicide prevention lifeline) when you or someone in emotional distress needs someone to talk to.

 

 

 

Taehyung finds himself laying his back against the pavement. He looks up at the sky and back to his phone and scoffs. The universe is testing him, he knows it. Someone up there is really testing him, because there’s no fucking way.

 

He stares long and hard at the black iPhone now sitting on the brown wooden table in front of him.

 

Thoughts swim through his brain as he bites the tips of his nails nervously.

 

Does he call?

 

Does he contemplate more of his thoughts?

 

Why is he thinking about calling?

 

Or does he kill himself now?

 

Why is he thinking about calling this number?

 

He shakes his head, quickly placing his phone down on the table.

 

He walks up to the silver balcony slowly, anxiety crawling through his fingertips as he gets closer and closer.

 

Step one, he thinks he’s won, he sees the apartment complexes.

 

Step two, he’s looking at the dark sky with clouds hiding the stars.

 

Step three, he’s almost free, he’s at the railing.

 

Step four, he’s looking down at the cars zooming by.

 

Step five, he’s still alive, his hands are now gripping the railing.

 

Step six, his feet are swinging over the rail.

 

Step seven, eleven seconds and he finally stops with one foot dangling off of the rail.

 

 

Taehyung doesn’t move after that. Science says that you can't feel the world turn, but right now he feels the world physically stop as he stares down at the cars moving, not paying attention to him. No one is paying attention to him as his leg dangles off of the balcony. He looks up at the night sky, millions of stars shine, aside from the ones hidden behind the passing clouds. The stars are his witness as the people below just go on with their life, not caring if another light goes out.

 

Taehyung, doesn't just jump.

 

This has never happened to him before.

 

His suicide attempts are so fast, he doesn’t anticipate them the way he is right now. Mentally he knows he doesn’t want to call the number, but physically his body takes him back to the iPhone lying on the brown wooden table. He tries to keep himself bound to the balcony keeping him separated from life and death, but it's useless.

 

There are tears in his eyes as he falls to the floor of the balcony.

 

He didn’t die. Maybe dying was just as hard as living.

 

A sob escapes his throat and he clutches his phone tightly in his hands.

 

Why is it so hard for him to kill himself now? Why is it so fucking hard to just live? Why was he in this position to mentally hate every fiber of his being? He was a good person, he always tried to be.

 

Though lately, it was like he wasn’t that good person people knew in high school. He cared so much about himself he couldn’t even let himself be happy for Jimin. Yet he spent his time wondering why he was repeatedly being ditched.

 

He failed as a best friend.

 

Taehyung tried to be a good kid for his parents despite the odds not being in his favor. He never wanted to make his mother and father disappointed.

 

He failed as a son.

 

For the past few years, he’s walked around pretending he’s okay, but he just tried to jump off his apartment complex.

 

He failed at suicide.

 

Now, he’s going to call this stupid fucking number.

 

Tears blur his vision terribly as he dials the number. First of all, he doesn’t know what the hell to say, second of all, he’s a mess, and third of all what if they don’t even answer?

 

Dumbass, it’s a suicide hotline why wouldn’t they. 

 

1-800-273-8255

 

He flinches when a voice starts talking to him, “You have reached the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, If you are in Emotional Distress or suicidal crisis, or concerned about someone who might be, please wait while we route your call to the nearest hotline.”

 

He officially can’t breathe.

 

Ring, breathe.

 

Ring, hang up!

 

Ring, you can do this.

 

Ring, no you can’t just hang up!

 

”National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, how can I help you tonight?” greets a soft voice on the other end. Taehyung freezes, he really can’t believe he’s doing this. Not to mention, he's having a hard time wrapping his head around the voice on the other end of the phone. It sounds like it cares? 

 

He’s also not breathing by the way. He feels his heartbeat roughly against his chest as he struggles to find his voice. This is a total waste, he can’t do this, he can’t even talk.

 

But the boy on the other end of the line seems to not care how silent he is being, “Are you there?”

 

Taehyung cries. Why is he still here? Why couldn’t the other two times have worked? He could be avoiding the undesirable pain in chest right now if he wasn't here anymore. 

 

"Hey," the voice chides, clearing his throat. "I can hear you, I know you're there just try to calm down a little, yeah?" 

 

The boy has a very soothing voice, so soothing he can actually hear the kindness in his voice, he wants to actually help Taehyung and he doesn’t even know him. It's odd to think strangers can care more than people you know from time to time. 

 

”Deep breaths, I’m here to listen to you we have as much time as you need.” The boy reminds.

 

He finally stops crying a little after about two minutes. The boy on the other line has been waiting so patiently, he feels terrible for taking his time. He needs to hang up, but then he thinks about the time he wasted and other people who need this call. He can't waste it, not like this. 

 

The boy speaks again as if hearing his own thought, “You are so strong for calling, please just don’t hang up. Can you promise me that?”

 

"O-Okay," he whispers, finding his voice again, 

 

“Good," He sighs in relief. "Your voice deserves to be heard tonight, don't silence it okay?"

 

He’s been silenced his whole life though, how does he speak now?

 

"I don't deserve to talk to you, I just.... I want to be silenced," Taehyung croaks, wiping furiously at his eyes as he paces around the balcony. 

 

“Why’s that?” The boy asks.

 

“I can’t do this anymore—fuck—I want to... I want to...” he begins to cry again as he buries his face into the palm of his hands, phone resting against his ear. "Die."

 

”No, no you don’t. Please don’t say that” he half way begs. Taehyung hears shuffling on the end of the line as the boys steady breathing fills the silent room. “Where are you?”

 

“I can't tell-,“

 

”Please tell me so I can help you.” He pushes gently. “Nothing like an address, but are you on a tall building? Bathroom? Balcony?”

 

Damn. “Balcony.”

 

“Can you tell me your name and then listen very carefully to me?”

 

Should he tell him? What if he calls someone? Taehyung wants to tell him though, he almost wants him to know everything about him. He isn't used to someone caring so genuinely about him, he wants to hold onto that for a while.

 

So, he decides to share his name, “Kim Taehyung.”

 

“Taehyung?” He tests. “Remember when I said I need you to listen to me?”

 

”Y-Yes.” He trembles anxiously.

 

“I want you to go inside and sit on your couch. I want you to lock your balcony doors so you’re not tempted to go out... you have to promise me you’re somewhere safe while we talk.” the boy explains. Taehyung complies, walking inside and going into the living room. He shakily locks the back door and sits on the couch.

 

”I'm, I’m inside..”

 

“Good, tell me, what’s got you into this state of mind? Is this the first time?” The boy asks.

 

”That was about to be my third...” Silence. Taehyung’s heart speeds up quickly, he’s fucked, he is ashamed of him. 

 

“I’m so glad it wasn’t.” Oh?

 

”You—You don’t know me? I’m i-insecure, ugly, u-unhappy, you would run the other d-direction.”He states in confusion.

 

He hears a soft chuckle on the other line, “Taehyung, I may not know you but I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to kill themselves. I bet none of which you just said is true. Except, I know you’re very unhappy. You don’t need to die Taehyung like I said I don’t want you to.”

 

“W-Why?” He asks.

 

”Life is beautiful Taehyung, pain, and life are two different things. Life is eternal, pain is temporary.”

 

“I don’t want to experience both anymore...” He whispers brokenly.

 

“I know, it’s unfair. So unfair that people like you have to go through the struggle of feeling alone and feeling so down they want to kill themselves,” he explains. “Tell me, why did you want to kill yourself tonight?”

 

Taehyung, for once in his life, is listening to someone. Really listening to someone give him advice and mentor him. He almost trusts the stranger he has never met before.

 

He answers hesitantly, ”M-My best friend.”

 

“Your best friend,” He repeats. “Can you explain more to me? Did you all have an altercation or?”

 

“I-he doesn’t need me anymore.” He replies. “No one does.”

 

”Hey now, what makes you think that?” The boy asks.

 

“Fuck, he has his boyfriend now. I have no friends anymore and don’t even get me fucking started with my family. I’m not needed anymore!” He yells, tears threatening to spill.

 

“T—“

 

Before he can say anything, Taehyung cries out an interruption, “No one wants me anymore...”

 

The boy is silent again. He isn’t sure if it’s because he doesn’t want to be interrupted or Taehyung has scared him shitless.

 

“Tell me why.”

 

“I-I mean, he’s ditched me for a month now... he didn’t even tell me about his boyfriend... clearly I’m not needed...” He frowns.

 

“That must have hurt, huh? He’s your best friend and you want to know these things. It makes you feel needed and trusted right?”

 

100%.

 

“Y-Yeah... but now it’s like he doesn’t need me.”

 

“I bet he does Taehyung, if he didn’t you all wouldn’t be best friends would you?”

 

“I-I guess so, but w-why did he ditch me for? W-why did he wait so long to come out? I’m not straight either...”

 

”Ah, maybe your best friend was just scared?” the boy offers. “Weren’t you scared to come out to him? If you have already of course.”

 

To be completely honest, Taehyung was scared shitless to tell Jimin he was gay. He was so, so, so scared that he would frown upon him like the rest of his high school did when they found out about a closeted homosexual.

 

”I-I was...”

 

”Maybe he didn’t know how to cope with those feelings y’know? Maybe it was just him needing to figure it out on his own.” He explains. “Did you tell him about tonight?”

 

Fair point.

 

“N-No, he’d be devastated..”

 

“Taehyung, we all handle things differently and we all go through our problems differently. Just like you needed to figure this out, he needed to do the same. But I am so glad you are talking to me instead of doing what you originally planned.” The boy praises, and it almost makes him feel proud of himself. "Also, we don't really know what's on the flip side of death either. It could be peaceful but it could be so much worse. You have to think about this stuff." 

 

”But, you’re out of your mind y’know? You are needed,” the boy echoes.

 

“H-How do you know that? You don’t know me.” Taehyung asks.

 

“If you weren’t needed here you wouldn’t be here.” The boy answers. “You’re right, we have not met or seen each other before, but that doesn’t mean I’m clueless about you. People call every day and night, hearts breaking because they’re so done with life. They’re so done with struggling but what they don’t realize, what you don’t realize, you have a purpose and you continuing on means your time is not done here.”

 

They sit in silence again. Taehyung is left speechless, the only thing he can say is, “Will it get better?”

 

”You can figure that out if you continue to live your life.” He replies. “Your best friend, if he’s your real best friend he would be heartbroken if he found you... dead and he couldn’t stop you.”

 

He’s not wrong. Jimin would resurrect him and kill him all over again. He knows he would live with it the rest of his life but Taehyung can’t explain it, he just wants to die at times like these.

 

”He would get over it.” He says a bit coldly.

 

“No one really gets over death,” the boy corrects. “Especially when it’s your best friend or family member. They’d miss you terribly.”

 

”W-Well they have a hard time of showing it.”

 

“You know people have a hard time showing their feelings in general.” the boy replies. “Sometimes feelings come out in different ways than they’re meant to... but Taehyung you do not need anybody who acts like they do not need you. You’re needed.”

 

”Would he really miss me?” he asks blankly.

 

”I told you, if he’s your best friend, he loves you, and he would be devastated. I know I would. You sound like an amazing person, who’s been thrown obstacle after obstacle.

 

"But I can help you if you continue to listen to me. Can you do that?” The boy asks.

 

“Yes.” He replies softly.

 

“Good,” he can almost hear the boys smile in his voice. “Taehyung, what do you like to do? Draw, paint, sing...?”

 

”I’m a pianist.” He replies, and he’ll actually admit he’s great about it. His grandfather had taught him in fifth grade how to play and since then he’s progressed into a gifted student on the piano.

 

”I love piano, I bet you’re amazing.” The boy says. Taehyung feels his cheeks heat up. “Tonight, I want you to play your heart out. I want you to find songs to play and I want you to just focus on the music. Then I want you to go to bed and get out of the house tomorrow, distract yourself and meet up with that friend of yours. Do not isolate yourself Taehyung.”

 

”I-I... okay.” He complies not wanting to be too difficult.

 

“Promise me if you feel suicidal again tonight, you call this number again and talk to me or someone here.” The boy orders.

 

“I promise,” he answers with sincerity.

 

“Tomorrow, we can talk more about helpful resources and etc... please stay safe tonight. I hate to leave you, but we have a lot of calls tonight.”

 

”More than usual?”

 

”Typical Friday night. People like you all around the world, are struggling with their own demons. I promise you, you won’t struggle with them forever.” The boy says.

 

”Are you stable enough to let me get off of the phone? Or do we need to talk longer? You sound much better than you did earlier.” He says.

 

”I’m okay with that... t-thank you... uh?”

 

”Jeongukk. My name is Jeongukk.” The boy replies. “You’re welcome though, thank you for calling and talking. Stay safe tonight Taehyung I’ll be checking back tomorrow.”

 

Jeongukk. A beautiful name for a beautiful soul, Taehyung thinks.

 

“Goodnight Jeongukk,” says Taehyung softly. The boy lets out a small laugh.

 

“Goodnight Taehyung, stay safe.”

 

He hangs up his phone before the lady can give him any more pointers, and throws it on the leather couch cushion.

 

His heart feels honestly less heavy. He isn’t sure what the qualifications were to work in a place like that, but Jeongukk was damned qualified.

 

Taehyung has been thrown therapists left and right but never has any of those middle-aged old women and men have gotten to him the way that Jeongguk did tonight.

 

Jeongukk didn’t care about the money, he didn’t care where he came from. He cared about saving his life.

 

Somehow, that meant the world to him, it made him want to stay another day. He wanted to hear what the boy has to say to him tomorrow because he gets a chance at tomorrow thanks to Jeongukk.

 

He just prays it’s worth it.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

+.-.+

“Hope is a necessity for normal life and the major weapon against the suicide impulse.”

c.m

 

The cold morning air blows through the streets, allowing the early winter front of fall to freeze just a little bit more as the sun rises from the horizon. The small ray of sunshine peeks through the window of the apartment complex Taehyung lives at. The sun shines, waking him up from his dreams.

 

He lets his eyes flutter slowly, taking the scene around him. It smells like eggs and toast.

 

Wait.

 

It’s then that Taehyung notices two things when he wakes up.

 

One, it was incredibly fucking bright outside and he wasn’t sure if it was from the snow or sun. Two, he was not alone in his apartment.

 

He’s currently sprawled out on the couch in a weird position, his neck craned over the arm of the leather couch, and his legs were tangled over the quilt his grandmother had made for him. Instead of feeling comfortable, he should really be looking behind him to see who’s making eggs because he really wants some now.

 

Silently praying it wasn't a robber who was looking for an early morning snack, he peeks over the arm of the couch to see the one and only Park Jimin flipping food on the oven in Taehyung’s apron.

 

He’s also really confused because when did Jimin get here? How long had he been asleep? Where was Yoongi?

 

Speaking of the two, memories of last night flew through his brain like a tornado picking up each memory and voice he had heard and throwing it at his brain hoping for it to sink in.

 

Then he remembers, Jeongguk.

 

He’s still alive.

 

He’s alive because of, said boy named Jeongguk, a guy he doesn't even know but already felt stupidly attached to. Classic Taehyung. He doesn’t even know the boy and he feels some sort of way.

 

He wasn’t sure if it was because of the attention and confirmation he got last night that someone really cares, or if it was because he was god damned good with words.

 

He slowly sinks back into the couch, hoping Jimin wouldn’t notice awake state, but instead he makes a loud noise instead.

 

Fuck me, he thinks. Stupid spare key.

 

Why did he get one of those again? It’s not like he had visitors other than Jimin.

 

“Tae? Are you awake?” Jimin calls. Taehyung silently sinks down on the couch, making another noise again. If he could pull one of those movie tricks where he disappears and doesn't come back, this would be a great opportunity to use that trick.

 

“I know you’re awake, no need to hide from me,” he adds, sitting down the spatula on the black counter. The tone of voice he has is significantly stern.

 

Taehyung sighs sitting up slowly. He turns his head to meet his best friends big brown eyes staring at him.  He suddenly feels guilty, remembering that he told Jimin that he had work this morning but he was still here on the couch where he had previously fallen asleep.

 

“You didn’t have to lie to me Taehyung if you wanted to leave that bad you could’ve.” Jimin sighs offendedly, making Taehyung flinch and  want to sink into the cushion.

 

“I-I didn’t lie Jimin.” Taehyung whispers, playing with his fingers. He debates silently rather or not he should tell Jimin about last night, it would probably break his heart or fly over his head.

 

He scoffs, “You did. You said you had work... did you just not want to spend time with me and one of the few people who make me happy other than you?”

 

It wasn’t like that, it was so much more. It’s just Jimin does not understand, and Taehyung doesn’t expect him to because he doesn’t know what’s going on with Taehyung. 

 

Taehyung stays quiet. He didn’t expect Jimin to understand what had happened last night, he honestly didn’t know as well. It wasn’t even that he didn’t want to spend time with him, he loves Jimin, and he loves that he’s happy, he truly does.

 

However, what his best friend doesn’t understand is Taehyung’s deepest struggles of feeling replaced, lied to, and selfish.

 

He would never know the meaning of these struggles.

 

”I mean, did you just not like Yoongi?” asks his best friend so quietly, he hardly hears.

 

He looks from his knees and shakes his head, “No Jimin, it’s none of those. I didn’t lie to you I promise.”

 

“Then what—,”

 

”I called in, I wasn’t feeling to great last night so I called in,” Taehyung explains, which technically isn’t actually a lie, except for the fact he called in four days ago and hasn’t gone back since.

 

Jimin’s expression softens as he goes to sit next to Taehyung. He lays his hand on his shoulder and rubs his back.

 

”You scared me y’know? You ran off like that... I was scared you were mad or just... not as into Yoongi—, worst of all—, unhappy for me.” He explains, sighing in relief of his friend not being unhappy.

 

One of the things to know about Jimin, is he worries so much. He worries about every little thing he looks at. Jimin is also the kind of person to worry about puppies being left outside during the day in fear that someone will steal them.

 

”No, no! Absolutely nothing against Yoongi, I was just tired and stressed... kind of why I took off from work and the café... you know I’m happy for you Jiminie.”

 

Jimin’s eyebrows narrow at that, and Taehyung sends a silent prayer he doesn’t catch onto the meaning behind ‘tired’ and ‘stressed’.

 

What is oddly crazy about the human vocabulary, one word can have different meanings. For example, Tired can mean lack of sleep or it can mean tired of life and ready to give up.

 

What’s crazy about humans in general, some won’t take the time to search through the dictionary to find the meaning behind the words people often speak. There seems to be a deeper meaning behind every word one speaks. Question is, who would catch on? Would it be too late?

 

Jimin knew Taehyung like the back of his hand, so well he knew he was tired of something that didn’t involve sleep. That’s how it had always been, that’s all Jimin had ever expected from him when he said he was tired.

 

But if Taehyung there was one thing Taehyung was good at, so good he could call it a superpower, it would be the power of manipulation. A very helpful— per say,— trait, but also a bad one.

 

When Taehyung first turned thirteen he manipulated his way out of the house. He made his parents believe for years that he was in after-school activities just to avoid going home to their constant fighting. It worked for a while because his parents wouldn’t come to any of his “special events” he had made up anyway.

 

Until he turned sixteen and all hell broke loose when they found out. It was not a very good time period in Taehyung’s life but at least he had Jimin to get him through it.

 

Tired? Taehyung... you aren’t going back to that again, are you? Because I swear to god...” Jimin says, tears already beginning to gloss his eyes. Jimin doesn’t even have to explain what “that” is. They both already know the truth. 

 

”Jiminie.. no, I’m okay I promise,” Taehyung whispers, watching his expression go from concerned to a tiny bit relaxed. “I’ve just been stressed that is all.”

 

He winces shaking his head, “Would you tell me if you started thinking about—it again?”

 

”Of course.” I can’t this time though.. No one was going to stop him next time.

 

The only person to ever talk him out of suicide other than Jimin, was now a total stranger named Jeongguk, whom he wasn’t even sure could stop him the next time he tries because he’s going to refuse to call.

 

It’s not that the fact he’s already planning for there to be the next time, it’s the fact he knows there will be a next time.

 

For a good junior of his life, he had been mentally bruised by his health. He had experienced suicidal thought after suicidal thought, it was like a chain reaction each time. He had grown used to the routine that there would never be a time where he didn’t feel suicidal each week or every few days.

 

”I can’t lose you Taehyung.” Too bad I’ve lost myself.

 

“You won’t.” You’ll be okay, you have Yoongi now. Maybe it was fate, Jimin having Yoongi to cherish and love. Now when Taehyung is gone, Jimin has someone. He won’t be alone. 

 

”Good.” Jimin smiles looking around Taehyung’s apartment. He squints his eyes at the magazines lying on the coffee table.

 

“When was the last time you cleaned this shit?” Jimin asks picking up a few magazines.

 

Oh no.

 

”Jiminie, I wouldn’t—,” Taehyung warns, silently praying that he doesn’t find his special magazines.

 

Park’s Guide to a Sexy Body?” He questions opening the magazine. “Do you order this stuff?”

 

His face turns bright red, “It’a for a good reason!”

 

Jimin laughs as he reads more into the magazine, “Taehyung please tell me that reason—, I want one of these now! Is it because of my name being in it?”

 

He officially hates Park Jimin with every fiber in his body, “No you self centered idiot! I-I get free coupons for y’know...”

 

Jimin stops laughing for a second to look at his best friend, “Coupons? For what”

 

He’s not going to tell him, fuck no. He will hear about this for the rest of his life.

 

C’mon you have to tell me.”

 

Taehyung has a loud mouth so it doesn’t quite surprise him that he ends up spilling to Jimin, “20% off bikini wax...”

 

It was at that moment, Jimin loses his shit and falls to the floor in tears. This is why Taehyung stays indoors all of the time, not because his best friend ditches him, but because he prefers his bikini wax over people. There. He said it. 

 

”Fuck,” He gasps out laughing. “Wow Tae—you really need to get laid like now.”

 

Taehyung gawks at him, ”It never works out, remember?” 

 

“It will, one day, I promise,” Jimin smiles, throwing his head back on the couch. “Would you kind hanging out with Yoongi and I, today?”

 

Taehyung debates rather or not he should stay home and drown in his thoughts with his 20% off coupon, or if he should get out of the house and drown in his thoughts without his 20% off coupon.

 

He looks up at Jimin’s eyes, full of hope and pleads that he’ll come with him. He can’t even say no to that.

 

He nods his head in response, watching Jimin bolt up from the couch happily.

 

”TaeTae I love you!” Jimin squeals, giving him a big kiss on the cheek. “They’re so excited to meet you, and, they’re all single too. That wax will pay off!” 

 

”You’re an asshole,” Taehyung grumbles, rubbing his eyes sleepily. “I don’t need a matchmaker!”

 

“When was your last relationship again?” asks Jimin. Taehyung rolls his eyes, here we go.

 

”What are you implying?” Taehyung asks offended, as Jimin laughs while standing up from the couch.

 

”What I’m implying is you need to remember how to use your dick and get laid,” says Jimin stretching his arms out.

 

Fuck you.” he gripes hiding himself under the velvety pillow. 

 

”Can’t, someone else is already doing that!” He says sticking his tongue out and swiftly dodging the pillow Taehyung chucks at him.

 

+.-.+

 

Yoongi’s hangout area is not only really fucking sketchy, but comforting at the same time. Which shouldn’t be possible, but it is  

 

The atmosphere was very welcoming and alive. Though he and Jimin were walking through a not so abandoned train tunnel, he never in his life would he expect to see so many people drawing, playing music, and singing songs in one place. It was practically art and culture through here, something the world lacked nowadays.

 

As they approach Yoongi, a very intimidating Yoongi in his white jacket and black wavy hair sticking to his forehead from sweat, he notices he’s not alone.

 

He’s also rapping in a circle of two other boys, and Taeyhung is left speechless at every word that comes out of his mouth. Park Jimin stops walking to listen to his boyfriend, focus drawn only to him and every line he spits.

 

Yoongi is really good, so good he swears Jimin stops breathing. Jimin dances along to his rap like they’ve rehearsed it a thousand times.

 

Before he can say another line, one of the boys, who has really cute dimples on both sides of his face, shoves him catching him off guard. Yoongi goes to say something until he notices him and Jimin dancing to his song.

 

”Baby!” He yells out, dropping his mic (a/n: no pun intended hehe) as Jimin runs up to give him a hug and a kiss.

 

Gross, thinks Taehyung.

 

He instead looks around the tunnel to see a lot of fit dudes dancing, chatting, painting, and singing. One of them has his shirt off and he’s grinding on another guy, moaning quite loudly on his partner.

 

God, Jimin’s right he needs to get laid like that.

 

In private of course. He’s not an exhibitionist. 

 

“You sounded so good Yoonie,” praises Jimin, placing his arms around Yoongi’s neck, who visibly blushes at that.

 

”Thank you, babe, I didn’t know you were coming this early,” He says, shyly pressing a kiss to his cheek. “I didn’t know you were bringing an audience either, I’d rehearse better.”

 

“I didn’t even know you’re a rapper,” Taehyung speaks star struck. He walks closer to the couple to be apart of their group. “You’re really good.” 

 

Yoongi takes another opportunity to blush, “Thank you, I promise I’m much better when I’ve had more practice before our show.”

 

”That was just a warm-up babe?” Jimin asks, in actual shock. Taehyung thinks this fifth grade puppy love, the type where you offer a girl a piece of candy and you're automatically dating. “I’d hate to see what you plan to do with that song after your warm up.”

 

”You’re buttering me up for some reason,” Yoongi says, narrowing his eyes and tapping his nose. “But, whatever you want can wait, I have a few people I want you to meet Taehyung.”

 

Taehyung takes a quick peek, looking behind Jimin and Yoongi to see the two boys he had seen earlier picking up their equipment off of the pavement.

 

”Joon, Hoseok!” calls Yoongi, wrapping his free arm around Jimin’s waist and pulling him closer. 

 

The two look up and smile when their eyes fixed on the group. One of the boys has a fair shade of orange flat hair and an adorable baby face that if Taehyung was back home, his grandparents would be pinching.

 

The other boy with platinum blonde hair, had a smile plastered on his face. Like had noticed earlier, his dimples lay on both cheeks. Much deeper up close though.

 

"Meet Joon and Hoseok," Yoongi introduces with a big smile. 

 

”Hi,” both greet, one louder than the other.

 

“Kim Taehyung, my beautiful boyfriends best friend.” He introduces extending both of his hand for the two.

 

“Gross, stop.” one of the boys says shaking his head and gagging. (Taehyung likes them already)

 

“I’m Namjoon,” He introduces, ignoring the boy gagging. “I rap with Yoongi, and Hoseok over here does too.”

 

Hoseok sighs, clearing his throat, “I think I can speak for myself.”

 

”I wasn’t sure you kept choking more than usual,” Namjoon says bluntly, and Taehyung’s mouth drops open in shock. Hoseok, on the other hand, is the least affected. Perhaps he's used to it.  

 

”I can introduce myself! Just give me a minute!” Hoseok gripes, turning back to Taehyung. “I’m Jung Hoseok, it’s good to meet you Taehyungie.”

 

”Oh yeah? Well then why am I always translating for you?” he shoots back before Taehyung can say anything. He looks at Jimin for an answer, but all he gets is a shrug.

 

“You’re a dick! I do just fine,” Hoseok groans, clearly offended. He turns his head to Taehyung, smile instantly returning. “Lets try this again, as I said, I’m Jung Hoseok, rapper and dance leader. Also please ignore him Taehyung, he’s only like this to me to I promise.”

 

The two could easily pass as brothers by the way they were acting. Taehyung smiles at an old though he had as a child. He used to want a brother so bad growing up, it's all he had asked his eomma. 

 

“You two are an absolute embarrassment to society,” Yoongi scolds, smacking Hoseok upside the head. Taehyungs feels himself, oddly enough, smile at that.

 

“Whatever,” Hoseok sighs, rolling his eyes. “Taehyungie, welcome to Hideout!”

 

“Hideout?” repeats Taehyung looking around. He fully takes on the decorations of the scene when he glances at the golden lights hanging above them. It doesn't look like much of a hideout if you ask him, but who is he to judge.

 

“Where rappers, musicians, artists, depressed fucks, and anyone who decided to come get stuff off of their mind,” Hoseok explains. Yoongi face palms burying his face into Jimin’s shoulder.

 

Depressed fucks? Well, it’s no wonder Jimin brought him here.

 

“You’re awfully quiet,” Namjoon observes, crossing his arms over his chest. “Is Seok’ scaring you? He has that effect. I can tell him to go away if you want?"

 

”I'm sitting right here?” yells Hoseok, punching him in the arm. Taehyung lets out a small laugh, embarrassed by all of the overwhelming attention. 

 

”N-No... I just, I don’t do good with—uh—people,” He tries to get out. “People that I don’t know...”

 

Hoseok and Namjoon nod understandingly, “Well now you know us, so maybe you’ll come down here more and get used to Namjoon and me?”

 

“Of course.” Taehyung replies. At least while he’s still alive, however long that will last.

 

He hates thinking this way so much. He would do anything to escape his mind and enjoy the moment's life gives him. He can’t even enjoy meeting to genuinely nice people without thinking about death.

 

Pathetic he is, so pathetic.

 

”Yoongi, where is Jeongguk?” asks Hoseok, turning to face Jimin and Min Yoongi. Taehyung feels the color drain out of his face when he hears the name.

 

Jeongguk.

 

Hold on a second, he thinks. Jeongguk? There is no way is that even possible, it had to be someone else right? Jeongguk was a popular name, yeah?

 

“I-I’m sorry, did you just say... Jeongguk?” he asks hesitantly. Namjoon raises his eyebrow in confusion.

 

”Weird name I know, but yeah he did why?” asks Namjoon. Taehyung has to bite his lip from mouthing off, he feels a sudden urge to defend Jeongguk.

 

”Oh, nothing, nothing at all. Just sounds familiar that’s all,” He answers as best as he can with shaking. He looks at Jimin and then to Yoongi, who alarmingly notices his sudden change in demeanor.

 

Fuck, fuck, fuck. That couldn’t be the angel he spoke to on the phone, could it?

 

No, he didn’t have that much luck.

 

Or maybe he did.

 

”Sorry I’m late, I got caught up at work,” that familiar sweet voice called. Taehyung spins around to see the most beautiful human he’s ever seen.

 

That voice could belong to no one other than Jeongguk.

 

Jeongguk was even more stunning in person. His body was extremely fit, good lord. His eyes bright with love and happiness, his hair fluffy and black that went with his pale toned skin. Taehyung has to refrain from drooling as the beautiful boy with the prettiest smile he’s ever seen walks forward to him.

 

“Guk!” Hoseok greets, picking at his hair. “Save any lives today?”  

”Of course and— oh,” he says, as his eyes land curiously on Taehyung. “You guys didn’t tell me I was meeting people today. Who’s this?” 

 

Not who are they, who’s this.

 

Taehyung blushes and shies away. Jeongguk won’t take his eyes off of him, and it’s making him feel so, so, small under his gaze.

 

”Sorry, we just found out ourselves,” explains Namjoon shrugging back at Min Yoongi and Jimin, who were occupied with each other against the wall.

 

”That’s Jimin, Yoongi’s new item,” introduces Hoseok pointing towards him. “That’s—,”

 

“Kim Taehyung,” He whispers bashfully, before Hoseok can finish. He shakes like a leaf when Jeongguk’s eyes widen for a second, but he shakes it off easily. 

 

Normally Taehyung, being the biggest insecure mess in the world, would make up a fake name to hide his identity to hide what had happened last night but as he said before, Jimin ruins any plan that will either kill him or get him into trouble. Even by just being there.

 

”I’m Jeon Jungkook,” he replies stretching his hand out. Taehyung takes his hand in his and he instantly realizes his hands are about the size of Jeongguk’s.

 

”I know.” he blurts, Jeongguk gives him a strange look, fuck, maybe he doesn’t remember?

 

Hoseok looks between the two. Offering a strange look himself, “You two have met before?”

 

He needs to get fucked by a person, not the universe. Whoever is up there right now, really Taehyung. Jeongguk soft eyes are glued to Taehyung, who’s so worried about Jeongguk knowing him.

 

“W-well, I, uh—,“ he stutters, looking at his group of friends, he and his big mouth had no way of getting out of this.

 

”We met last night.” Jeongguk answers for him. Taehyung spins around to face him again, Jeongguk offers him a wink.

 

Scratch that, maybe he does.

 

Jimin raises his eyebrow in interest, now hearing the conversation.

 

”After you ran off?” asks Yoongi, looking between the two curiously. Of course, bring that up.

 

”Y-Yeah, I, uh, dropped my wallet walking and he picked it up behind me,” says Taehyung, who is really trying his hardest to not stutter and play along.

 

Jeongguk nods in agreement, “Glad I met him when I did. He’s quite the talker.”

 

Taehyung fucking groans internally, because one that should be the other way around and two, Jeongguk’s glad he ‘met him’. Even if it was through the phone Taehyung didn’t care.

 

“Taehyung I thought you said you don’t talk much to strangers?” Hoseok asks, looking hurt.  Jeongguk bites his lip quietly, it was up to Taehyung to get himself out of this.

 

”I had to... I mean—, he did give me my wallet back,” defends Taehyung. 

 

”If I give you your wallet back will you talk to me?” Hoseok asks. Taehyung looks at him in confusion, patting his jeans to realize he actually took his wallet.

 

”You did not—,“ Namjoon takes a turn to slap Hoseok upside the head, before digging in his jacket to get his wallet.

 

”Hoseok!” Jeongguk complains snatching the wallet from Namjoon’s hand.

 

”What? I was gonna give it back! I just wanted him to talk to me,” He pouts, and Taehyung decides he really likes Hoseok.

 

Taehyung chortles, “You wanted me to talk to you that bad?”

 

Hoseok shrugs, “I need more people to talk to, Namjoon and Yoongi are boring. You're so adorable, I could eat you up."

 

“Hey!” Jeongguk snaps, throwing his hands in the air. “I exist?”

 

”I’d say your special, but “special” is not the word to define you,” Yoongi butts in, flicking the ash off of his cigarette. Namjoon nods in agreement before putting his arm around Hoseok.

 

”Alright then,” Namjoon replies. “Since you two have already met, you can keep each other company.”

 

Taehyung. Alone? With Jeongguk? The guy who had unwillingly saved his life and knew his darkest secret, would be keeping him company?

 

What if he brought up last night? What if he saw how ugly he looks in person and think he’s a freak?

 

That’s all he is, right? a fucking freak.

 

“W-Where are you guys going?” asks Taehyung, watching the group gather their belongings.

 

”Hoseok and I will be dancing, Yoongi and Namjoon will producing their records. I figure you and Jeongguk would get along good, yeah?” Jimin answers. Taehyung’s heart stings at that.

 

Not only because Jimin asked him to come and now he’s leaving him with a stranger, he’s ditching him for the tenth time this week.

 

“Will you be okay?” asks Jimin, intertwining his hands with Yoongi.

 

”I don't thi—,”

 

”Of course we will be, you guys go have fun,” Jeongguk interrupts, eyes not leaving Taehyung's frame.

 

With that, the boys turn around and leave them with the two by themselves.

 

When they're finally alone, it dawns on Taehyung he has no way out of it. Jeongguk makes him feel like a dog that’s about to get put in a cage for pissing on the floor. He’s scared, terrified even. Jeongguk, a stranger he barely knew, knew such a deep part of him that not even Jimin knew he was still struggling with and that made him feel so small.

 

He’s staring down at the pavement again, eyes not leaving the paint stains that lie under his feet. It’s quiet, the only sound echoing the room is the people around them.

 

“Taehyung,” the voice says. Taehyung shivers when he hears that, it’s so different hearing that in person than on the phone. “Please look at me?”

 

Taehyung can practically feel the insecurity in his voice as if Jeongguk was almost scared that Taehyung would reject him and run away. It makes him think, how someone that beautiful, can have insecurity lacing his voice. It bothers him.

 

"You don't have to be embarrassed."

 

Taehyung looks up slowly, eyes meeting the man who saved his life yesterday. For some odd reason, fate placed them together today. There was one out of a billion chances of him meeting Jeongguk and he did. He's right in front of him. Jeongguk is staring at him with worry, confusion, and happiness, he thinks.

 

He bites his lip shyly, trying to avoid looking down again.

 

Jeongguk takes a step forward, causing Taehyung to take a step backward. Jeongguk stops, eyes full of worry as he reaches his hand out. Taehyung has never felt so much anxiety in his entire life, his throat tightening as Jeongguk reaches out to him, what is he going to do? Hit him? Push him? Tell him he’s out of his mind?

 

But Jeongguk, as gentle as a feather, rests his hand on Taehyung’s shoulder. Taehyung can already see that Jeongguk carries the gentleman nickname with pride.

 

“You lied,” Jeongguk states, eyes mesmerized. Taehyung spares a glance, but quickly looks away from him in fear. Facing someone after offering a piece of your heart and letting them see your vulnerability is a different kind of big deal to Taehyung.

 

”W-What?” he asks in confusion suddenly shaking again as he looks over at Jeongguk’s hand. His grip is not rough and is solely meant as a kind gestor, something Taehyung actually appreciates. 

 

”You’re fucking hot.” he embarrassingly compliments, Jeongguk retracts his hand watching Taehyung a cough violently in a fit of laughter.

 

”You can’t—, you can’t— just say stuff like that.” He croaks looking at Jeongguk, who doesn’t seem to care.

 

Jeongguk smiles at him gently, “Why not? You said you were ugly. You're beautiful.”

 

“Oh my god,” Taehyung laughs. “This, this isn’t real... you’re, you’re... you're actually real?"

 

It’s Jeongguk’s turn to laugh now as he backs away, “Did you think I wasn’t real?"

 

Taehyung shakes his head, “You’re too good to be true. I thought you were a machine or something.”

 

"Well I'm not a machine or something," Jeongguk smiles, and Taehyung can’t help but crack one back. He‘s decided he officially loves Jeongguk’s smile, it’s so beautiful and full of happiness.

 

“Y’know most people who call me, I never see them in person, at least not that I’m aware of.”

 

”Oh?” he whispers. Jeongguk pulls out his phone, unlocking it and pressing his phone to his ear.

 

Taehyung feels his phone vibrate in the back of his pants, and he, to be honest, forgot it was even there.

 

Jeongguk watches him pull out his phone to accept the call.

 

“What’s the point of this?” Taehyung asks, voice echoing through Jeongguk’s ear. He sees Jeongguk’s eyes tear up when he hears Taehyung’s voice. 

 

Before he can ask what’s wrong, Jeongguk holds a hand over his mouth.

 

”Can I... hug you? It's just... It's really you, can I? Please?” asks Jeongguk. Taehyung stands there silently, unsure what to say as he nods hesitantly and before he knows it Jeongguk is pulling him into a bone-crushing hug and suddenly the boy is crying on his shoulder. Taehyung didn't realize how much of an impact his call had on Jeongguk.

 

Taehyung’s eyes widen, arms slowly wrapping their way around him. This definitely wasn’t on his to-do list this morning but it’ll do.

 

He holds Jeongguk as if he’s trying to repay him for talking to him last night, even if he still wishes he wasn’t here, he owes his life to Jeongguk.

 

“Please, don’t,” Jeongguk cries pulling back, arms still around Taehyung. “I just met you and I already want smack the frown off of your face. Don't die.”

 

”Jeongguk—“ he tries but is cut off by the tears coming out of the sweet boy's eyes. The boy sniffs into Taehyung’s shoulder, worked up with emotions. 

 

”I promise I won’t tell anyone,” says Jeongguk seriously, pulling away. "Let me help you from now on.”

 

Taehyung pauses and narrows his eyes in confusion. Jeongguk still wants to help him?

 

Help me?” he ponders debatably. Jeongguk sniffles, letting his hands drop to his side. Taehyung suddenly feels naked at the loss of Jeongguk’s soft hold on him.

 

He nods, “Please. I... I've never had the chance to help someone like this... I know I can.”

 

Eyes full of insecurities again he looks up at Jeongguk again, “You can’t help me..”

 

”I did last night,” Jeongguk points out, and Taehyung can tell by the sound of his voice he’s so devoted to helping him. Taehyung does not understand why Jeongguk is so captivated in his life, when they met over the phone not even tweleve hours ago.

 

What game was life playing with him?

 

He doesn’t understand why though. Taehyung has been to plenty of therapists throughout his teenage years, he had been through so many and yet none of them seemed as devoted to helping him the way that Jeongguk did. Jeongguk wasn’t even asking for money, he was asking for friendship.

 

”What’s so special about me, Jeongguk?” he asks, suddenly playing with his fingers again in a nervous habit.

 

“I want to be somebody you can go to when you need me, and I want to help you better yourself. This, this is all I’ve wanted to do was save a life... Taehyung, I told you I have never gotten the opportunity to meet the people I talk to...” explains Jeongguk seriously.

 

“My job is so scary,” he adds. “I either don’t hear from those people again because I helped them, or I don’t hear from them because they’re dead.”

 

The thought chills Taehyung. Jeongguk must at least talk to hundreds of people each day, yet he never knows who lives he potentially saves or which lives end after their talk.

 

”Well I hate to break it to you, but I don’t need another therapist,” he says a bit too coldly. Jeongguk chuckles, not bothered by the statement at all. He's starting to realize Jeongguk has probably heard this a thousand times.

 

”I should rephrase that... I want to be your friend Taehyung, not your therapist.” he corrects, and he's very serious as he says it . “I just got a little carried away...”

 

The boy is shyly staring at the art on the walls, avoiding eye contact with Taehyung after that comment. 

 

“I’d love a friend,” he gives in, looking back to where Jimin was standing, and back to Jeongguk. “Mine ditches me clearly.”

 

Jeongguk frowns, directing his attention back to the , “That’s who you were talking about, huh?”

 

Taehyung nods shamefully. He wasn’t sure what he was feeling right now.

 

Embarrassment, ashamed, caught? Regardless Jeongguk had his sights set on helping the boy in front of him, and that meant a lot to Taehyung. Normally that stuff would annoy him, but this was different.

 

“He’s in that honeymoon stage of love y’know?” Jeongguk says. “He’ll have his nose out of Yoongi’s ass in a few months don’t worry. In the meantime, I’ll be here for you.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes undoubtedly light up at that, “Really? You’ll be here for me?”

 

”Of course I will, you can’t say I don’t know you now either, again,” Jeongguk says proudly. Taehyung rolls his eyes playfully shoving him.

 

”How do I know, you’re not just saying all of this?” Taehyung asks suddenly serious.

 

Jeongguk smiles, “Taehyung, one thing I can promise you, when you call, I will never hang up on you when you need me. That should answer your question.”

 

For the first time in eight years of his life, Taehyung felt a feeling of something he had longed for.

 

Hope

 

Chapter Text

 

+.-.+

“The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche

 

 

It didn’t take all but three weeks for Taehyung to realize that the beautiful, Jeon Jungkook, was simply one of a kind.

 

Jeongguk’s favorite thing to do (other than answer hundreds of calls each day), was to take walks around the city. He walked literally everywhere with his giant size German Shepherd, Bruno. Jeongguk even let Taehyung try and walk Bruno, let’s just say Taehyung was not as built as Jeongguk was and almost lost him.

 

Also, Jeongguk loves black coffee. He was a coffee freak in general, but black coffee did the trick. He tells Taehyung it‘s never a good day without coffee. He also loves to read every morning when he wakes up, and Taehyung thinks he’s actually perfect except for the fact he makes him watch scary movies and romance films with him. He doesn’t understand how he can watch two completely opposite movies every week.

 

Jeongguk also loves his cuddles. He loves cuddling with everything he can touch including Taehyung even. What baffled him was that he had just started being friends with Jeongguk and he was already so warmed up to him.

 

It made him feel like he was easy to be around, and he liked that.

 

But one thing Taehyung adores about Jeongguk more than anything is his passion to help people. He notices it everywhere Jeongguk drags him. For example, just a few days ago Guk saw two people fighting in front of their kid and broke them up when he noticed the little girl crying. The father looked almost grateful while the mother, on the other hand, looked like she wanted to backhand him in the face. Either way, Jeongguk stopped the crying girl from having a mental breakdown.

 

It didn’t matter stranger or not, Jeongguk had to make sure people in his presence were smiling. In a world so dark it seemed that all the light was in Jeongguk’s eyes.

 

Which is why Taehyung feels incredibly troubled to be in the same room with a rare light like that, afraid he’ll dim it.

 

Let’s be real here, Taehyung is the darkness everyone’s afraid to sleep in and Jeongguk’s the night light that eases the fear.

 

“Taehyung!” calls that particular night light. Taehyung looks from his sweet tea and chuckles when he sees the smile plastered on Jeongguk’s face. It’s four in the afternoon and he looks ridiculous with his black coffee in one hand and Taehyung’s very unhappy cat, Mittens, in the other.

 

“Jeonggukie, Mittens is going to scratch your hand off if you don’t start holding her properly,” says Taehyung laughing as the cat attaches her nails on Jeongguk’s hand, causing him to almost drop Mittens.o think otherwise that no one will ever love him.

 

”Fuck, this is why I’m a dog person—, how do you sleep with that... thing?” Jeongguk asks, putting Mittens on the floor watching her leap off.

 

“She’s the only coping skill I have,” he admits smiling as Mittens snuggles up at his side. Jeongguk nods biting his lip.

 

Since their meeting, Jeongguk has done a fantastic job not pushing Taehyung to talk about his mental health, something he’d been grateful for but he also knows talking to Jeongguk about those things... wouldn’t necessarily be an awful thing, right?

 

Jeongguk was already interested in Taehyung no doubt. Anyone could see it from a mile away, but Taehyung is stubborn and chooses to not see such.

 

“Jeongguk...” says Taehyung, learning over to get a closer view of his face.

 

Jeongguk turns to meet him, head tilting and eyes crinkling at the side.

 

”Yes?” Taehyung smiles, as if he can’t tell what’s going on.

 

”If you want to ask me about anything, you can...” reminds Taehyung. Jeongguk eyes light up becoming much more hopeful.

 

“I—Is it too obvious?” he asks guilty, when Taehyung nods. Taehyung feels his heart hammer against his chest because someone has time, someone wants to listen.

 

“Really? I-I mean, I’m dying to ask—, but I don’t wanna make you... uncomfortable or pressured?” he rambles nervously and usually, Taehyung was the one nervous. However, in this situation the tables have turned.

 

Jeongguk bites his lip to silence himself.

 

”Kookie, I won't—, I won’t feel pressured okay?” Taehyung assures. “Whatever I can answer, I will answer for you.”

 

”I just want you to feel like you can open up to me,” Jeongguk admits. “I know it’s been a few weeks but I don’t know, I want to know all about you.”

 

Taehyung blinks in surprise. Jeongguk wants to know about him, he’s actually interested and it makes him feel special? Even though he’s sure Jeongguk has done this with all of his friends more than likely, Taehyung actually feels like someone wants to know all of his true colors.

 

”Well,” he begins slowly. “What would you like to know Kook?”

 

Jeongguk ruffles his hair and looks at Mittens before looking back at Taehyung, he bites his lip shyly before taking a deep sigh. 

 

“Who do you like more, me or Mittens?” he asks dumbly. Taehyung lets out a laugh in surprise.

 

Idiot.

 

”You absolutely cannot make me chose!" Taehyung exclaims, smile on his face. Taehyung remembers when he adopted Mittens a year ago, she was the perfect therapy cat to keep him happy and sane.

 

”Yes I can,” he announces proudly.

 

Taehyung rolls his eyes, “Fine, chose between Bruno or me.”

Jeongguk gasps in mock offense, nearly falling off of the couch in the process, “You wouldn’t dare.”

 

”Oh but I just did.” Taehyung challenges, sticking his tongue out. Jeongguk pouts at that like a child.

 

”That was cold,” he replies, turning away from Taehyung. Taehyung giggles, he knows that wasn't what was troubling Jeongguk. 

 

“Maybe, but was that really what was troubling you?”

 

”Troubling me? I wouldn’t say troubling... I’d say worrying.” Jeongguk corrects, casually taking a drink of his disgusting black coffee.

 

Worried? Why would Jeongguk be worried about him?

 

”Why are you worried Jeonggukie? I’m okay.” Taehyung says, and he finds himself saying this a lot. There’s such an empty meaning behind ‘I’m okay’, and it never seems to show any truth in Taehyung’s life.

 

Jeongguk stares at him, eyes now full of wonder and worry, “Tae, I can’t get that call out of my head.”

 

Though the two had met because of the call a few weeks ago, they hadn’t really talked about it. They had just spent the last three weeks getting to know each other. Taehyung suddenly had felt distracted from those suicidal thoughts around Jeongguk. It wasn’t because they never talked about it, it was because he felt like someone enjoyed his presence and enjoyed laughing with him instead of at him (sometimes).

 

He just didn’t know when he would take the next chance to kill himself, because regardless if he was distracted, those demons were still there. They crawled and spoke to him daily. But what he could say was Jeongguk made his life full one hundred percent. He felt less alone and like he had a friend who would recognize him not being in his life, a friend who would actually miss him.

 

“What about it?” asks Taehyung after a minute of silence. Jeongguk sits his cup down on the table and sighs.

 

”I don’t think I could handle it if you left that night,” he begins. “I want to know what goes on in your head, what bothers you... I never want you to feel alone. I hate when people feel alone.”

 

Taehyung bites back a smile and questions what did he do to deserve Jeongguk.

 

Nothing you worthless kid. There it was again, that little voice talking to him like it was sitting right next to him. Taehyung often wonders why his brain developed a voice like that. It never went away and honestly, it made him feel like a belonged in a psych ward. 

 

Taehyung didn’t necessarily want to say he heard voices in his head because one, that made him feel crazy, but sadly he heard one particular voice. He wasn’t sure who’s it was but that voice follows him everywhere. It was his constant reminder that he was not okay.

 

Taehyung,” Jeongguk says snapping him out of his thoughts. “It’s okay, you don’t have to answer any questions or talk about it—, I just don’t want to hear you upset like that. I care about you a lot.”

 

“Why?” he asks instead of saying something nicer like a ‘thank you’. He wants to understand so badly. He’s never accepting of people’s care, he thinks it’s too good to be true and maybe that was his problem.

 

“Why?” He repeats, looking at Taehyung with curiosity swimming in his eyes. “You doubt yourself a lot don’t you?”

 

It catches him off guard, but he nods slowly, “H-How can I not?”

 

Jeongguk offers him a serious expression, “Are you comfortable meeting me somewhere?”

 

“Y-Yes just don’t leave me alone...” he replies, thinking of Jimin. Jeongguk grabs his hand gently and stands them both up.

 

”I’ll text you the address, I’ll be there the whole time I promise,” Jeongguk promises as he squeezes his hand in reassurance.

“Where are you going?” Taehyung asks as Jeongguk let’s go of his hand and walks towards the door.

”I just... I have something I want to show you, give me about an hour.” Jeongguk says smiling a bit sadly, before walking out the door.

Taehyung sits on his couch before frowning.

Did he scare Jeongguk off?

Good going you fool.

Taehyung rolls his eyes as Mittens cuddles up against his side, “Do you ever shut up in there?”

Never.

He sighs, realizing he’s basically talking to himself. It’s no wonder Jeongguk ran off leaving him with his thoughts. But before he can proceed to think any more nasty thoughts, his phone buzzes in his back pocket, which, he had almost forgotten it was there.

From Kookie ʕ·ᴥ·ʔ:

SGCC (Saving Grace Care Center) | Freedom Ln 12392

Meet me in an hour. xo J

 

+.-.+

 

At first, Taehyung wasn’t sure what to expect when he meets a tall two-story white building with big windows. His first thought was to expect Jeongguk waiting outside of this building with a therapist or some sort of shit. However, this wasn’t the case.

 

He’s met with a stunning/soft Jeongguk waiting for him outside of the building by himself with a black hoodie and headgear on. What a sight, he thinks. He pushes back his wavy grayish hair out of his face as he walks up to Jeongguk who has a smile plastered on his face.

 

”Hi Tae,” Jeongguk greets warmly, he holds his hand out for Taehyung to take who eyes him suspiciously. He wonders what exactly Jeongguk has in store for him.

 

“Kook, you’re not talking me into therapy with that ridiculous X-Box gear on, are you?” asks Taehyung, who looks at their surroundings. Jeongguk laughs, burying his face in his hands and shaking his head.

 

”One these are not X-Box headphones, two, I want you to see what I do every night.” Jeongguk corrects and oh? Taehyung’s eyes widen at that, a bit surprised and a bit hesitant. Now he feels pretty bad. 

 

“Only if you want to!” Jeongguk rushes to add placing his hands on both sides of Taehyung’s arms. He feels his heart melt at that, knowing that Jeongguk cared if this type of stuff scared him or made him feel uncomfortable. He wanted Taehyung to feel safe.

 

With Jeongguk holding him like this, even though it’s just his hands on his arm, makes him feel so secure and cared for. Who’s he to say no?

 

”I would, yeah,” Taehyung assures a bit shakily, but the look on Jeongguk face is more hesitant now.

 

“Taehyung, I only want you to come with me to see what I do. I don’t want you to come with me to be uncomfortable that’s the last I want,” he says putting his hands in his pocket.

 

Taehyung lips twitch upwards as the boy in front of him continues to ramble about keeping him comfortable and happy. Jeon Jungkook, as he said before was one of a kind and also the sweetest man alive.

 

Taehyung then gains a little bit of confidence, this time reaching out to tug Jeongguk’s hands out of his pocket and place them in the palm of his own hands.

 

“Jeongguk, I want to know you too.” he rephrases from early, the boy's mouth shuts in surprise. "It's not just about me here, you goof." 

 

Jeongguk eyes go widen as he whispers out a small, ‘what’.

 

Taehyung smiles more at that, “I want to know what goes on in your head, who you are, and most importantly how many lives you save a day. I want to know everything about you Jeonggukkie, just as you want to know about me.”

 

He swears he sees the youngers eyes soften up as he lets out the breath he had been holding in.

 

“Y-You—, you want to know me... the way I want to know you?” asks Jeongguk. Taehyung can practically feel the insecurity the boy feels in his bones, he understands that insecurity.

 

“Shh, of course, I do,” he says, shushing him. “Now, come show me what you do superman.”

 

Jeongguk nods tugging him forward, nearly knocking him in the face with the glass door. Taehyung really doesn't understand what it is with his luck with doors, it really sucks. At least Jeongguk is quick to apologize.

 

The atmosphere in the building is intense, but at the same time relaxing. He’s in a room of genuinely caring volunteers, people who don’t have to be here but are anyway. His wander to the receptionist at her desk, she’s dressed causally and smiles softly at him as they write on their patient's forms.

 

“I have to go sign us in, I’ll be back,” Jeongguk says letting go of Taehyung’s hand, when he nods in response.

 

He looks up at the posters on the wall around him.

 

1-800-273-8255;

if you can’t reach us call this number we’re right upstairs if you need us.

 

The other one;

 

It takes five minutes to check on someone. Don’t waste five minutes regretting it.

 

And yeah, that definitely hit home for him.

 

He thinks of when Jimin and he were a lot closer, Jimin never wasted those five minutes to check up on him. Taehyung wonders if that’s why he stopped hanging around him, was he too needy?

 

Before overthinking anymore about his best friend, he hears a small sniffle from across the room. His eyes land on a young boy staring at him with big blue eyes.

 

The boy looks barely over him fourteen and nearly dead. His bones are so skinny and his eyes are so heavy and tired. Does he want to know what’s troubling this boy so much? He looks down to see the boy's right arm wrapped up in bandages and held close to his side, afraid anyone close to him would catch him other than Taehyung. The boy frowns when he looks down at his arm, eyes becoming heavier as he looks away and shrugs as if he expects Taehyung to not know why his arm is wrapped up.

 

But what that boy doesn’t know, is that Taehyung knows exactly why it’s wrapped up. Taehyung was that boy. 

 

And suddenly, he finds himself in his childhood bedroom with his first love.

 

Cuts

03/29/12

 

“That’s so much blood Tae,” Seokjin whispers, he stares down at the boys injured the skin. His eyes are filled with tears as he reaches out to wash the cuts that lay scattered about, deadly close to the purple veins that hide in his skin.

 

He messed up again, and he hates that he’s disappointing his boyfriend, but fuck he had to do this. The urge, the voices, it was all becoming so much as he struggled to breathe for air. 

 

”Tae... I-I, what happened? Has Jimin seen this?” asks Seokjin. Taehyung looks up, bags under eyes heavier than normal.

 

“No.” he replies in a raspy voice. “I can’t show him this.

 

Seokjin shakes his head as he dabs the cloth on the deepest cut. Taehyung looks down where Seokjin is cleaning, not realizing how deep it had been.

 

“Fuck babe,” he whispers. “Why can’t you just come to me?”

 

Because you’re out cheating on me again.

 

”I don’t know,” he answers instead. Seokjin drops the cloth in the bowl of water laying by Taehyungs bedside.

 

”You can’t keep doing this,” Seokjin states, eyes glassing. “It’s going to get worse.”

 

“I’ll get it under control,” he says weakly, and he knows it’s a lie. Seokjin looks at him, knowing Taehyung is lying too. Taehyung wants to know how he cares so much, but can still manage to break him in half every day.

 

”Your parents don’t control you Tae... don’t... don’t let them...” Seokjin begs, looking around the room for more cleaning supplies. 

 

”You don’t understand Jin,” he replies coldly, Seokjin goes to say something but is cut off. “Don’t try to either. You can try, but you never will understand."

 

Seokjin bites his lip and continues to clean the cuts, “Just promise me you’ll get this under control... I’m tired of cleaning cuts that shouldn’t be here, to begin with.”

 

”I promise Jin.” is all he says, and each word he speaks has no meaning behind it.

 

 

Taehyung rolls the sleeve of his red sweater down, eyes leaving the boys to gaze. He sees those thin dark scars that lay over veins he should have hit but didn’t.

 

There are plenty more of those scars on the other arm, a few on his hips even. All were reminders of his past and broken pieces of his heart, proof he went through it and proof he lived it. Now he's suffering the aftermath of it. The memory.

 

He jumps when a hand touches his hand as he runs his fingers over his scars. He looks up to see a sad Jeongguk who frowns.

 

”I-I uh..." Taehyung stutters, trying to find words. Jeongguk moves his hand to hold Taehyung's wrist gently. 

 

"Don't explain to me, you don't have to okay?” So he doesn't, he doesn't push it any further.

 

They walk to the elevator, Jeongguk’s hand not leaving his. He couldn’t deny that he loved the feeling of his hand in his, it fit perfectly. Jeongguk’s hands were a little bigger than his and a lot paler. The warmth of his hand made him feel like he was wrapped up in blankets on a cold winter night.

 

When the button rings he’s met with a different atmosphere. He’s met in a place with several rooms. He steps onto the second floor slowly looking around at the hallways that lead to destinations.

 

”This is where the magic of saving lives happens.” Jeongguk introduces, tugging him to the left of the green hallway.

 

Taehyung reads each room number as they pass through, curiosity increasing as he sees several people on phones. As if reading his mind, Jeongguk stops him in front of the sixth room.

 

Room B16.” Jeongguk reads and points in the window of the door. “They are the people who answer when you call the Abuse Hotline. We get, sadly... not a lot, but it’s understandable. 

 

”I thought that was just for like CPS or 911?” Taehyung wonders. Jeongguk shakes his head.

 

”Helps with sexual harassment, child abuse, elders too. Our Domestic Violence room is across from there,” he explains pointing to the room on the left of the two. He sees a room of teens in a circle, probably doing group therapy. 

 

Taehyung disregards it, pushing back his own relation, and keeps walking to the next room as Jeongguk continues on.

 

”B18?” he asks reading the sign in red letters. Jeongguk turns his head sideways as he peaks into the room.

 

“Addiction,” he answers. “B20, answers the Christian Counseling calls. They're really kind people in that room, very soulful and passionate about their work.”

 

“B22 is for Eating Disorders, one of our busiest other than the one I work at.” He points out walking farther down the hallway, Jeongguk abruptly stops and takes a deep breath when they reach B30, the room at the very end of the hallway.

 

Walking into this room, remember you are their saving grace. You are their superhero, you are ours.

 

Taehyung looks at Jeongguk who’s currently trying to get the key in the lock. He’s nervous, and he wonders if Jeongguk’s always like this walking into the room not knowing who will call or if he can save the persons life on the other line. Finally, when he gets the door unlocked, he looks to Taehyung as if asking if he's ready.

 

Nodding in response, Jeongguk opens the doors and outstretches his arms.

 

”This is where I spend my evenings and sometimes nights,” Jeongguk begins, guiding him farther into the room. Taehyung's mouth drops open when he sees many cubicles lined up next to each. There are at least fifteen of them.

 

The two continue walking until they get to fifth cubical. Jeongguk’s silver cubical.

 

His office is a lot neater than his apartment, Taehyung thinks, as he walks into the decent space. He sees pictures of who he assumes to be Jeongguk’s family and of Hoseok, Namjoon, and Yoongi. Taehyung rests a hand on the picture, smiling at Jeongguk’s baby face.

 

“Ah, ah!” Jeongguk shrieks, snatching the picture away. “That’s not to be touched, I look atrocious!”

 

Taehyung bites his lip, trying not to smile, “You don’t know the definition of looking atrocious, Kookie.”

 

Jeongguk face turns incredibly red at that as he looks down at the desk. He doesn't say anything for a while, and Taehyung almost feels like he's fucked up until Jeongguk gives him that look. 

 

“You don’t either,” he whispers looking up at the boy. “Especially... when you bite your lip like that..”

 

Heat flushes throughout his face, Oh? That's new?

 

Taehyung stops himself from biting his lip down harder as he lets out a small gasp.

 

“Anyways,” Jeongguk cough, changing the subject and thank god because that would have gotten serious in an even more serious environment. He wasn’t ready for that yet.

 

”Anyways, this is where you... you answered my call?” Taehyung asks, taking a seat in the leather chair on the outside of Jeongguk’s desk.

 

The boy nods taking a seat himself and situating the headgear he had forgotten about.

 

“Correct, I answer calls like yours all of the time... but this is the first time I’ve gotten to meet and really get to know one of my callers,” Jeongguk explains.

 

And this is the first time Taehyung had met anyone like Jeongguk. Never had he met someone who was so full of light, saved lives, and made people feel worth it. He also had never met someone who cared like Jeongguk.

 

He wasn’t trying to say that Jimin never cared for him, because Taehyung knows he cares so much about him, but it didn’t change the fact that Jeongguk offered a bit of hope and care that he didn’t find in Jimin.

 

Call it a crush, but he’d never admit to that.

 

“How many calls do you get per day?” ask Taehyung.

 

Jeongguk chews the inside of his cheek, “Numbers vary but on average 250 - 1,000. I answer 250 of those a day.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes widen. He didn’t realize just how many people struggled with their mental health and situations with their personal lives a day. It made him sad that number was so high, it shouldn't be that high because no one deserved to feel like that. It's a shame though, that Taehyung can't believe his own words.

 

”Do you... have you lost any of them?" Taehyung asks, looking at Jeongguk carefully. Jeongguk's eyes get lost for a second, he stares at the phone in sheer sadness.

 

“About 45% of those callers hang up or give up,” he answers slowly. “I haven’t been able to help a few of them... which is why I take it seriously because life is so valuable, Taehyung.”

 

“We don’t realize how valuable it is until someone dies or we lose ourselves. You can be someone’s biggest inspiration to live, or biggest motivation to die.” Jeongguk explains.

 

”Those calls—, those people you don’t help... it bothers you doesn’t it?” a stunned Taehyung asks scooting closer to the boy.

 

Jeongguk smiles sadly, “It used to bother me a lot when I first started. I felt like I couldn’t motivate them to stay alive but I realized I can’t put the blame on myself, I have a job to do. I at least kept them alive a little longer. I save many more too." 

 

“You kept me alive.” Taehyung points out, and he can’t miss the smile that spreads on Jeongguk’s face. 

 

“I know, it makes me happy that I’m able to have the opportunity to even look at your face right now,” Jeongguk admits, and Taehyung is sure that the boy in front of him. He knows he’s too good to be true.

 

“I’m going to take a couple of calls do you mind waiting about thirty minutes for me? You can sit in here or outside of the cubical whatever you want, I just, I shouldn’t even be in today but I feel like I should be.” Jeongguk asks. Taehyung nods understandingly, he picks up a few of Jeongguk’s book and smiles as he turns his gear on and taps into the cellphone.

 

He decides to sit right outside of the cubical instead of close to Jeongguk. He wasn’t sure if he could handle it. But he soon realizes that maybe he needs to hear it.

 

The phone rings instantly and it gives Taehyung chills. Every ring is one person calling for help, one person holding onto their last piece of hope, and Jeongguk will either convince them to stay or keep them around in time to call an ambulance for help.

 

Jeongguk presses the button and listens carefully, “National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, how can I help you?”

 

And there it is. There’s that sweet voice that Taehyung could never see himself get tired of hearing.

 

“Areum, hey I need you to calm down okay? Love, tell me what’s going on,” he says trying his best to calm down the distressed poor girl. 

 

Taehyung watches as Jeonguuk rests his chin on the palm of his hand.

 

“That can’t be easy,” he whispers, and it’s so sincere and apologetic, it tears Taehyung to pieces. “I want you to do something for me, I want you to stay in your room and keep yourself away from all harmful objects... maybe hug a pillow while we talk?”

 

He nods as the girl talks into his ear, “Good, good, Areum I want you to listen to me...”

 

Taehyung puts down Jeongguk’s book and listens as if Jeongguk is talking to him again.

 

You are important, and you are worth it. There are so many people in this world who feel this way and it breaks my heart...” Jeongguk explains. “But you, you are unique and there’s no one like you and that being said, no one should ever make you feel like you’re not worth it... or you’re not enough because they’ll never be in control of your worth.”

 

”We often listen to those who tell us we’re worthless...I know, I know... but we listen to those people because we want approval from those people ninety nine percent of the time. Your mother has no right to tell you that you're worthless or tell you you’re not good enough. You’re more than enough.”

 

You’re not good enough Tae. Stop trying.

 

He knows that voice. He hears his own mother saying that to him.

 

Taehyung and his mother hit a bump in their relationship due to her failing marriage. A lot of her anger was taken out Taehyung, her verbal punching bag.

 

”How do I know?” he repeats. “Everyone who lives on this Earth is valuable and they’re needed here for a reason. Be someone for you, not for your mother to tell you that you are just not enough. Relying on her to accept you is not what you need to be doing, accept yourself and embrace everything you have to offer. Life is to short for you to hate yourself like this Areum. No one has the right to tell you what you are and what you are not, so please don't let them. They'd kill to see you fall, but they lose when you stand up.”

 

”No need to thank me... you’re very welcome... if you need any more help tonight please call we’re here 24/7,” Jeongguk says. “I’ll have someone call in later to check up on you.”

 

Taehyung feels tears pour out of his eyes. He just watched Jeongguk give the most powerful advice to a girl who was struggling just as he was and still is. He felt every word Jeongguk had said as if directed to him.

 

On a side note, he notices Jeongguk doesn’t hang up first either like he wants to make sure they’re one hundred percent okay.

 

It just makes Taehyung cries silently into his arm, and it’s not tears of sadness, it’s tears of relief.

 

Now, there were three things that Taehyung was absolutely sure of. One, Jeon Jungkook was a strangely perfect man who loves people, black coffee, Bruno, and books. Two, Jeon Jungkook liked to inspire people to live and continue on. And three, Jeon Jungkook makes him feel something he had never felt before.

 

Jeon Jungkook inspires him.

 

He completes him.

Chapter Text

 

 

 +.-.+

“That's the thing about suicide. Try as you might remember how a person lived his life, you always end up thinking about how he ended it.”

— Anderson Cooper

 

 

Do you ever look at someone for a long time and think, damn, they’re so beautiful?

 

It’s not even their looks that are so beautiful, it’s their personality and heart that’s so rare, you can’t help but stare and wish you had those traits. Taehyung passionately believes that Jeongguk is the perfect example of that, rare and envious in his appearance.

 

Taehyung found that looking at Jeongguk was like looking at the one hundred billion stars in the sky and admiring the beauty of that one star, that sticks out more than the others. Jeongguk was a work of art. He was the art that you should see in a museum but instead is right in front of your eyes on a date.

 

Was this a date?

 

Does Taehyung even have the right to call it a date? Taehyung wasn’t sure, but they were at a really nice restaurant talking to each other. To be exact, Taehyung was listening to a very talkative beautiful Jeongguk who had some way with words.

 

He could listen to the boy all day. He could listen about his life, his struggles and everything that went on in his mind.

 

“Taehyung, are you listening?” that angel voice chortles at him. Taehyung nods, a smile plastered on his face.

 

“Of course,” he promises, becoming bashful. He doesn’t want to tell Jeongguk what he’s thinking about in fear of scaring him off.

 

“Are you positive?” He asks again tilting his head and flashing another smile at him.

 

“Positive, continue.” He replies. Jeongguk shakes his head, moving his food out of the way.

 

”I was thinking about something, a lot like you were a few minutes ago while I was talking,” he explains and Taehyung’s face goes red because Jeon Jungkook is just that good at reading people and noticing things. It's in his genes, and he isn’t sure how he feels about that yet. 

 

“What about?” asks Taehyung, taking a bite of his salad.

 

”I feel like you don’t know much about me, and I don’t know too much about you.” He replies and Taehyung’s eyebrows raise in interest.

 

“Oh? Well, I guess that’s true.” Jeongguk shakes his head again. Maybe he sounded too uninterested?

 

“Never mind it’s dumb—,“ he begins and Taehyung, again, can sense that insecurity in his voice. He has really started to notice that Jeongguk isn’t all that confident, he needs reassurance too. 

 

“It’s not dumb Kookie. I told you before, I want to know about you. I want to know everything there is to get to know about you,” he corrects. Jeongguk looks up from the restaurant floor, eyes wide with hope.

 

“You really do?” asks Jeongguk, and Taehyung knows what it’s like wanting to have the closure that the person in front of you really wants to know you.

 

”Of course, I want to know your parents, siblings, favorite movie, occupation, and most importantly your birthday you shit head because you still haven’t told me,” he complains, stomping his foot. Jeongguk let’s out a laugh in response, throwing his head back as cute giggles escape his lips.

 

Taehyung falls in love right there.

 

No, no, no, falling in love is not allowed!

 

“Well, my parents are happily married and live downtown along with my brother, eh, I love A Walk to Remember, occupation? Saving lives? My birthday’s September 1, 1993.”

 

Taehyung scoffs; “You’re so old hyung.”

 

“Shut up!” He pouts. “You look older! You have grey hair!”

 

Taehyung gasps in mock offense, “I hope you don’t treat your Jamie Sullivan this way!”

 

Jeongguk’s smile gets impossibly wider, “You watched the movie too!”

 

”Of course, classic romance, typical bad boy Landon Carter falls in love with a religious outcast he’s instructed not to fall in love. But he does anyway. Their tragic love story.. ends in death, ” He explains proudly remembering his, also, favorite movie.

 

Jeongguk looks at him unimpressed, “You’ve got it all wrong.”

 

”How?” asks Taehyung in confusion. “I think I summed up the entirety of the movie.”

 

Jeongguk stands up straight and extends a hand out for Taehyung to take, “ I think it’s more... typical softy, Landon Carter, falls in love with a broken ‘outcast’ who stands out in every room they’re in. Their 'tragic love story', isn't so tragic at all.

 

Taehyung stares at Jeongguk, mouth gaping, and takes his hand.

 

“How is that not tragic? Jamie dies? Landon is all alone,” Taehyung objects, watching that movie was one of the best decisions he’s made. “He’s left with those shitty friends who bullied the poor girl, but of course when they find out she’s sick they pity her.”

 

Jeongguk shakes his head, rubbing his thumb over Taehyung’s, “You, Kim Taehyung, seem to forget love never dies. Only the body. They’re just little examples of society, but, not everyone is like that.”

 

“You should be a writer,” Taehyung suggests, taking a drink of his wine. “You speak as if you’re from the eighteenth century.”

 

”I’m not ancient, Taehyung.”

 

”Not yet.”

 

”And when I am, you will be just as old,” Jeongguk reminds, earning a tiny pinch on the palm of his hand.

 

“But I’ll still be younger,” he ridicules, sticking his tongue out. He assumes Jeongguk has heard enough when takes Taehyung’s hand and is immediately rushing him to run.

 

He should be use to Jeongguk dragging him to drastic places and lengths, but somehow he still feels a vibrant shock of electricity.

“Where are we going?” asks Taehyung following him out of the restaurant. He’s not even sure if they paid for their food, but clearly, Jeongguk doesn’t give a damn.

 

”A walk.” He replies, by opening the glass door and holding it open for Taehyung. Wow? A door Taehyung can’t get hit by. 

 

”To remember?” he adds playfully.

 

“Bad pun, but truthfully, I’d hope you remember this,” Taehyung says nothing more, he just continues following the boy through crowds of people. Jeongguk’s hand is so warm wrapped around Taehyung’s he never wants to lose that comfort.

 

There are at least dozens of people walking right now, but sticking out the most is Jeon Jungkook. The angel face who’s wings were white as snow, and halo was brighter than the sun.

 

Jeongukk pulls Taehyung to his neighborhood and runs toward his house, first house to the left.

 

Taehyung, at first, is confused. He’d been here plenty of times, as has he been trampled to the floor by his giant size puppy Bruno.

 

Speaking of, the German Shepherd came pouncing towards the two excitedly as they reached the door. Taehyung goes to give him a few pets but is instantly pulled further into the house.

 

”Kookie! Bruno—,”

 

”Can wait!” Jeongguk finishes, pushing them into a room that’s pitch black.

 

He’s almost ninety-nine point nine percent positive he’s now chest to chest with Jeongguk, he’s not sure though. The room has a fan on and Taehyung feels different in this room like he had never been in here before.

 

As if listening to his thoughts, which Jeongguk had proven several times he secretly could, a light is turned on and Taehyung is met with something he wasn’t expecting.

 

A room full of paintings.

 

Taehyung’s mouth drops over as he goes to explore the room, moving away from Jeongguk who looks smugly proud of himself but undoubtedly insecure at the same time.

 

“Wow,” he gasps looking at the first painting. Jeongguk had created a lot of old paints, for example, Shōrin-zu-byōbu, Starry Night, The Birth of Venus, The Last Supper, and his own creative paintings were a different story. He could tell most of them were pictures of the area in Busan, buildings, and then one, in particular, caught his eye.

 

A portrait.

 

”I paint,” he confesses, presenting the scenery. Taehyung looks at him with eyes wild in shock. He had no idea he was so talented, at least painting wise. Was their anything he couldn't do? 

 

“Yeah, Jeongguk.” He states obviously. “You paint so beautifully.”

 

“Thank you, uh, I leave this room locked because—wait—Taehyung!” he hollers when Taehyung grabs a painting from the corner and nearly drops it when he sees what who it’s of.

 

“I-Is that—, that’s me, Jeongguk-ah,“ Jeongguk lets out a laugh of embarrassment, nearly startling Taehyung.

 

“I-I promise I’m not that weird–I just—I, I love—paintings, and you jus—you’re basically a muse to me—, why are you laughing?” he pouts stomping his feet like a child. Taehyung shouts his mouth instantly, lips still twitched upward.

 

Guk,” Taehyung begins staring at his beautiful painted portrait, “I love it.”

 

“You love it?” He repeats, still in shock. “It’s not, like, weird or anything?”

 

“Only if you make it weird.” Taehyung replies cutely, watching Jeongguk crack a grin as the embarrassment quickly goes away.

 

”When exactly were you planning on showing me these?” asks Taehyung curiously looking around in the green colored room. The furniture was all white but littered with a splash of color, and the window had an interesting pattern that none of the others in Jeongguk’s house had. The floor was wooden tiled and there was a silver chandelier hanging just above them.

 

It was like Jeongguk’s safe place other than the Crisis Center.

 

“Uh—truthfully not for a while, but we’ve gotten increasingly close and I felt like I should show you a part of me,” he responds playing with his fingers nervously. Taehyung intertwines them quickly and smiles.

 

”I love them,” he whispers softly, lighting an entire light inside Jeongguk’s.

 

"“Would now be a bad time to ask a favor of you?” asks Jeongguk hesitantly.

 

Taehyung shakes his head, this time nerves crawling through his skin.

 

“You’ve been doing so well, do you think maybe you could try talking to Jimin and get your point across to him? I feel like that’s still holding you back?” he asks softly. “I want you to be happy.”

 

He’s not entirely wrong, but at the same time, he doesn’t entirely know the full truth of Taehyung’s mental health. He doesn’t know the traumas he’s had during his teenage years, and Taehyung doesn’t blame him or resent him for not knowing. He’s the one who’s not man enough to tell him. He wanted to do this for Jeongguk, he wanted to try this out. Maybe it would make him feel better, just maybe.

 

“I will,” he responds squeezing his hands in reassurance.

 

You won’t.

+.-.+

 

 

Fall and Winter are Taehyung's favorite times of the year. Call it poetic, but he admired the beauty of fall and winter. They were so different than the other seasons. For example, summer and spring consist of a change in the atmosphere, same sun, same storms. Fall comes with new found colors and winter  brought cold and snow to coat the ground. It was different and different was so frowned upon by society, it made him sick.

 

Taehyung felt safe in winter, it was okay to be different. He didn't mind that his nose and cheeks were tinted red, or he developed a fever. Winter would always be his favorite season to view the world in beauty, despite being surrounded by the ugliest society.

 

Fortunately for him, his favorite season had definitely hit Busan like a truck. The weather conditions for the past few days were complete and utter shit. Busan has become a literal winter wonderland with the snow on the ground or falling out of the sky.

 

The frigid temperatures had taken Taehyung by surprise when he walked out tonight. That was mainly because he had sought out on a mission for the day while Jeongguk was at work.

 

He was going to talk to Jimin finally. It had been a good month now and he hardly ever heard from his “best friend”. He was going to get to the bottom of this even if it killed him in the process. Though he’d much rather be with Jeongguk, cuddled up on his couch with a jealous mittens clawing at his toes, he had a mission.

 

In a few days, it would be a week until Christmas and he hadn’t even thought of what to get Jeongguk, the boy he had found a little bit of hope in. He wanted to do something in return for him.

 

He's been walking alone for the past few minutes lost in thought. He had so much stored in his mind, yet there was no space to think. Taehyung had found himself thinking a lot when he was around Jeongguk, it seemed his mind was always filled with thoughts about him, thoughts he could never imagine. Someone he just couldn’t get out of his mind.

 

He was scared, to say the least. The last time he had thought so much of a boy, was when he fell in love with Seokjin.

 

And suddenly, he was seventeen again.

 

First Love

03/12/12

 

Taehyung kissed a boy who tasted like lies. Every bone in the boy's body was structured with a lie holding him like legs on a table. Taehyung was in love with a liar who could break him in a heartbeat, but he'd let him

 

He threads his fingers through Seokjin's hair as his head rests on Taehyung's abdomen. The room was quiet other than the sound of their soft breathing filling the atmosphere.

 

He wishes he could keep Seokjin here forever, his body laying against his. He loves him, but he knows Seokjin would rather be with his girl toys than Taehyung. Since January that's all he had been thinking about. Those damned girls.

 

Beautiful girls must he admit, though not his cup of tea, were being played by a boy Taehyung sees everything in. Someone he felt tied to and there was no one to cut the ropes.

 

He understood those girls very well when it came from wanting something from Seokjin and maybe that's why he didn't hate them. He figures some sought for love, others sex, maybe just an acquaintance, But tell him something fiercer than the love with which he gazes upon Seokjin, of something softer than the tenderness with which they hold each other, because nothing could compare to how much of the world he was willing to give to this boy.

 

The thing about that "love" was that their type of love wasn't even 'their's', it was just one-sided. Taehyung knew for a fact Seokjin does not love him. Yet he waits around for the day he does.

 

He'll be alone without Seokjin, and he’s positive Jimin would get tired of him third wheeling his dates too.

 

God, what was it about the girls Seokjin found so attractive? What didn’t he have that they could offer?

 

Sure women do have a lot more to offer a baby, a family, cooking, support, generosity. But the women he picked out made him wonder, what was so bad about Taehyung that he had to lie to him about the girls? Why did he have to lie to them too?

 

”Babe,” a voice whispers. Taehyung looks down at a now wide awake Seokjin staring into his eyes lazily. Had he been out late aga— he sounds like a mom, doesn’t he?

 

Offering a smile that he isn’t quite sure is fake or real, “Yes?”

 

”You’re so beautiful.” he compliments, resting his hands on Taehyung’s cheeks.

 

Undoubtedly, he knows he’s blushing already at Seokjin. Even before he finished that sentence.

 

He wonders if he’s being truthful when he calls Taehyung ‘beautiful’ or ‘strong’. He finds himself begging for some of his words to have meaning behind them.  Like people, words can be stripped of their rights and meanings by others or actions of themselves. The way Taehyung sees it, every action shows a reaction. That is if anyone’s paying attention.

 

“You’re full of shit babe, but thank you.” He replies, and Seokjin smiles looking away and dropping his hands from Taehyung’s face. He watches as he pushes himself up and turns to face Taehyung cris-crossed applesauce.

 

He stretches his hands out for him to take, which he does, as Seokjin looks at him with a serious expression.

 

”Taehyung,” he begins. Shit. Here comes his anxiety crawling on him like ants coming out of an ant hill.

 

Seokjin was going to break up him, and he would be all alone.

 

”I hate how you live,” he says instead. Taehyung blinks in confusion at that, though he wasn’t expecting it, he definitely liked that better than a breakup speech.

 

“I hate how I live too.” What Seokjin doesn’t know, because he wouldn’t look at the meaning behind those words, Taehyung meant he hates being alive.

 

”Seriously Taehyung, you need to get out of this place.” He explains looking away from his eyes.

 

“I know,” he responds quietly tracing circles on Seokjin’s hand.

 

”Love you, babe.” I know you don’t.

 

”I love you too.”

 

The thing about ‘I love you’, it’s practically meaningless without the ‘I’. One word can change the meaning of an entire sentence, and Taehyung knows he didn’t use the ‘I’. He never does for that matter.

 

He doesn’t love him.

 

Taehyung snaps back into reality when a rude woman brushes past him roughly. He’s breathing heavier than he thought as he stumbles to steady himself on the brick wall. He had to get home now before he had a full-fledged episode in front of everyone in Busan.

This hadn’t happened in a while, he hadn’t experienced one like this before and he could definitely feel another coming. Since he had turned eighteen, he started to experience a form of PTSD. His episodes coming when someone touched him His hands explore the particular red bricked wall of the Library as he tries to regain his strength. He still feels the impact of the woman rudely pushing him, and it's at this time he thinks about the last he was up against a wall in pain and thought.

And suddenly his mother was standing right before him.

 

A Mother’s Touch

01/04/12

 

He was so prohibitively late it wasn’t even funny. He had been so caught up with Jimin and his group of friends he had completely lost track of time, which usually he doesn't worry about because his parents don't notice. However lately it's been a completely different story.

 

With that being said, he finds himself running quickly up the driveway and nearly tripping over the steps until he reaches the door. He takes a deep breath, praying to God his father is not here and his car is really gone.

 

He prays it wasn’t his mother driving it to work.

 

He clutched the doorknob and pulls the door open, wincing at the loud creaking noise it makes in the result. He takes another breath and walks into his home, the first thing he smells when he steps into the two-story building was cigarettes.

 

Which meant one thing, his mother was home.

 

Scratch that, his mother and his dog Snoopy who came running happily up to him. He smiles down at the Snoopy, happily coming nose to snout with the dog who seemed more than excited at Taehyung's presence. Then he hears it.

 

He hears those dreaded footsteps.

 

Click, click, click, every step the clicking got louder and his anxiety increased.

 

His mother's heels come to a halt when she's close to him. He gives Snoopy a kiss on the nose before turning forward to meet the woman before him. He hadn't seen her in a week due to the over baring schedule she had at Emergency Room, while his father worked as the CEO of some high tech business downtown.

 

Her eyes are hooded with bags as she stares blankly at her son. He feels so small under her gaze as if he already knows something has disappointed her.

 

"Kim." She says coldly. He wants to roll his eyes at that, she never calls him 'Taehyung', but he chooses wisely and decides against it.

 

"Yes?" His mother's eyes squint at that, and he's almost positive it's because he didn't say it properly.

 

"Yes, who?" She asks.

 

"Mother." He answers quietly as her cold fingers reach out to grab his wrist. He jerks back instantly as she looks at him as if she's daring him to play her game. She knows he won't win that game, even he knows that.

 

"Hiding from me again my boy?" questions Mrs. Taehyung as she folds her arms across her chest. He notices a cut just below her collarbone, and he so desperately wants to know who put it there. She’s always having so many of those.

 

"Never mother," he replies by bowing his head down. She reaches her hand out again to grab his wrist, and that's when she sees her sons cuts. Dry blooded and deeply scattered amongst his arm.

 

"This again?" Oh, the disappointment he hears in her voice almost sounds genuine, but yet so sour. "It'll make you look weak and ugly, don't you know that?"

 

Taehyung feels his body begin to shake under the grip, and this time it's not of anxiety it's of hurt and anger, the anger he can't release because if he does. It'll be like taking a beating from his father and lashing it on his mother.

 

"You have a cut on your chest too." He fires back. The grip on his wrist is instantly dropped. His mother looks at him, raising an eyebrow at him, she covers her cut with her hand and offers him a grim smile.

 

"Oh? So you want to play that game?" She challenges standing closer to him. He hears Snoopy growl viciously behind her, and it instantly snaps something in his mother's eyes. Taehyung reacts before it can even happen when he sees her foot raising to kick the dog.

 

Quickly before her foot can connect, he jumps out in front of his dog and takes the impact himself. His mother jumps back in shock, eyes widening in horror. A horror he's never seen before.

 

"Y-You stupid bastard! You always make me do this!" She yells and relentlessly continues to kick him. He takes it until Snoopy bites her in the foot. She pushes him to the side causing him to hit the door whimpering. Taehyung feels himself crying, cuddled up in a ball. He watches his mother turn to him slowly. She stares at him and kneels down, fingers digging in his cuts. He winces painfully as she let's go and calmly walk out of the house as if nothing had ever happened.

 

He scrambles up against the wall in shock, shock that she had finally put her hands on him. He could take her words, but her hits, never. He looks over at Snoopy who's still whimpering at him sadly. He scoots over and lays his head on the dog's body.

 

He doesn't know how long they stay like this, but it's long enough until the next monster pulls in the driveway.

 

The monster calls his name like an answering machine repeating a voicemail,

 

"Taehyung! Taehyung! Taehyung!"

 

"Taehyung!" he feels his body being shaken when he comes back to reality. He doesn't realize he's now in the same position he was six years ago against the wall, back pressed and knees huddled together. Some people are watching in either curiosity and horror, others don't pay much mind to the boy having a trauma.

 

"Tae! Oh my god!" he feels his body being scooped up into a hug.

 

It's Hoseok. Hoseok was hugging him and he's pretty sure he's crying. He looks up from Hoseok shoulder weakly to see the boy he had sought to talk to, Jimin. His hands are cupped over his mouth as he stares at the two, eyes guilty and sad.

 

"Are you okay?" asks Hoseok, shaking him to direct his attention towards him. Taehyung slowly nods as he gains conscious of his surrounding. He's still against the wall, yes, but there are two particular people he hadn't expected to catch him.

 

"What were you thinking coming out here?" Jimin shrieks, sheer panic looking at his face. Taehyung looks up at him, eyes heavy from his episode.

 

“Give him some space!” Hoseok yells at the people behind them. “Get out of here go home!”

 

The people exchange looks before walking different directions leaving just the three of them in the alley.

 

"W-What... do... you mean?"

 

"I mean, you're clearly not stable enough to be out here by yourself! Dude what the hell!" He exclaims, coming closer. Taehyung almost flinches when Jimin takes a step forward. "You're clearly not stable enough!"

 

"Jiminie-" Hoseok warns as Jimin gets closer towards him angrily. Who's Jimin to know about his mental health? Who's Jimin to say he's not stable? Where has Jimin been for the past month... oh yeah.

 

His hands begin to shake in Hoseok’s hands as Jimin keeps talking. Every word stabbing him in the chest.

 

He wasn’t going to sit there and take it this time.

 

"And you're just gonna sit here in the cold like this! You're not even going to talk to me, it’s been a month—,”

 

”I tried,” he mumbles, anger bubbling in his throat, and Jimin laughs loudly at that.

 

”You didn’t try! You didn’t do shit for me, you abandoned me.”

 

“Jimin!” Hoseok yells louder, but Jimin doesn’t stop until he’s in Taehyung’s face.

 

“Maybe you didn’t do anything for me because you’re too busy fucking Jeongguk up... sexually or should I say mentally.”

 

That’s when Taehyung sees red.

 

He moves away from Hoseok and lunges forward at Jimin, his fist colliding with his nose quickly. Then, they’re on the floor exchanging punches, more Taehyung than Jimin.

 

Hoseok scrambles to his feet as he Taehyung relentlessly continues to punch him, anger flooding through his bones.

 

He tries his best to hold him back but Taehyung can’t stop.

 

“You were the one who ignored me for a month you asshole!” he screams in his face as Hoseok grabs his arms and holds them behind his back like he’s going to be handcuffed then thrown into a cop car.

 

“Taehyung! Jesus christ!" Hoseok tries, but is interrupted when Jimin pushes back at him.

 

“I did not!” He yells backhands trying to dodge his kicks and pushes.

 

”Bullshit!” He curses spitting in his face. “You fucking knew and you then you want to act like my fucking doctor and tell me how my mental health is?”

 

Jimin looks as if he’s seen a ghost, and Taehyung can’t even care right now because all he sees his red.

 

“You chose Yoongi over me!” he yells. Jimin stares at him in confusion, hand over his bleeding nose.

 

”What? No! Tae,—“

 

“I needed you! You don’t abandon your best friend in a time of need!”

 

“T-Tae...” Jimin whimpers scooting away, he had never seen such a side of Taehyung, never. He knew his best friend was good at keeping his anger in, and he knew he didn’t like fighting. He never expected himself to be put the trigger to Taehyung’s angry.

 

”You fucking—, You fucking suck!” he spits out. “You suck at being my best friend, you suck Yoongi’s dick, and you suck Park Jimin! I’d never do this to you!”

 

Jimin scrambles up quickly to stand face to face with his best friend, “Taehyung, god, I didn’t—, I didn’t realize—,”

 

“That’s how important I am to you?” he asks, voice breaking at the end. “I’m that meaningless that you can’t realize I‘m not around?”

 

“No! No! I-I’m so-so—,“

 

”What sorry?” he chuckles moving out of Hoseok’s hold and shaking his head. “Apologies are useless, they’re always too late.”

 

He pushes Jimin out of his way and scoffs turning to around to give him one last look, “Oh and by the way, I bottom. Not that I would expect you to know anything about me anymore.”

 

And with that he’s walking to the nearest bridge, leaving behin Jimin and Hoseok calling after him. 

+

 

It could have gone a lot worse.

 

Y’know, minus the fact he just told Jimin he bottoms.

 

He could have been the one under Jimin, but he also could have literally beaten the breath out of Jimin. Well, two to little to late because life didn’t give them those options. Instead, he’s standing at the railing, hands clutching the bars.

 

Gratefully no one is watching or looking his way. Hot tears are streaming down his face as he looks at the waves crashing against the bridge. He’s in the same place he was a month ago, broken, sad, and upset.

 

He’s almost positive Hoseok, Namjoon, Yoongi, Jimin, and Jeongguk if he hadn’t already heard about his fight with Jimin.

 

He’s so done.

 

He feels so empty and broken as he stares at the waves below, practically calling his name to jump. Taehyung wonders how the ocean look so beautiful, but if you make one wrong move, you drown with it's darkness.

 

Jump! You're so close!

 

Taehyung flinches when he hears that voice in his head. That voice that’s always telling him to do things, that voice that motivates him to negatively bring himself down. He doesn’t know how to silence the voice. Ironically he feels so silenced that it should be so easy to keep the voice quiet.

 

Yet, he can’t.

 

He feels like a failure to himself, a failure to live, and most importantly a failure to Jeongguk, who he had come to the conclusion he’s falling in love with. He knows he's falling in love with a boy who could never love him back. A boy who would never stick around to watch him fail miserably and hurt himself. Jimin was right, he’s not stable. Hell, he isn't even good enough for Jeongguk. He's just a constant fuck up that Jeongguk didn't need to have ruining his life.

 

Jeongguk probably doesn’t even want him.

 

How can he be trusted with someone when he can’t even trust himself?

 

He wishes this was all some fucked up nightmare. He wishes he could wake up and see his parents in a new light where they loved him and raised him, he wishes he could love Jeongguk and himself, he wishes he and Jimin were how they used to be, yet above all of those things he wishes to be dead.

 

There’s a thing about dreams and wishes, they’re only temporary and they never come true.

 

He would never have a life he had dreamt of having when he was younger.

 

He would never have Jeongguk the way he wanted him.

 

He would never be able to love himself.

 

He would never be able to keep a friendship.

 

He would never have his parents.

 

And he would never have the will to live.

 

He was ready to do this, so, he pulls out his phone and calls the hotline one last time. His and Jeongguk’s secret place, that would now remain in his fate.

 

You have reached the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, If you are in Emotional Distress or suicidal crisis, or concerned about someone who might be, please wait while we route your call to the nearest hotline.” the same robotic voice speaks.

 

He’s not sure if he’ll answer but regardless he knows the message will get to him.

 

National Suicide Prevention—Taehyung?” asks an alarmed voice, when he realizes who it is. “Are you okay love?”

 

Taehyung smiles sadly at the sky and shakes his head, even though Jeongguk can't here him. Taehyung is looking at the stars again, the only witnesses other than the people around him who are sneaking glances.

 

"Listen to me, don’t say a word until I’m finished okay?” he asks, softly. He owes Jeongguk this, he owes him some sort of explanation.

 

Okay you’re scaring me, but okay,” He allows, not trusting Taehyung’s voice. 

 

”Jeongguk, I wanted to thank you for all you have done for me the past month now. You’ve been my saving grace, my angel and everything all in one,

 

But you can’t fight my demons for me, and I can’t fight my demons. They’re overtaking me, and I can’t live with it anymore. I can’t go on pretending like that little voice in my head doesn’t go away, I can’t pretend like I can have you the way I want, because I can’t.

  

Wait!” he tries to cut off terrified. “Taehyung, please don’t say shit like this... you, you can have me in every way because I’m yours. I’m always yours—,”

 

Taehyung lets his tears fall as he stares at the waves hitting the bridge.

 

“Jeongukk you deserve better, better than what this world has to offer, and better than what I have to offer." He whispers. "You don't know how much I... I adore you. More than anything.” 

 

"Tae, listen--!" He screams into Taehyung's ear. It's the last thing he says to Jeongguk before throwing the phone into the water.

 

He knows Jeongguk will come find him, he knows that. He knows thousands will watch in horror and not do anything until he himself, is in the water. He knows the world just sits and watches until you die. He knows he’s being selfish, he knows Park Jimin will never forgive himself for how he treated him, he knows that because he knows him.

 

The one thing he knows for sure, he’s in love with Jeongguk.

 

So he sets them both free. The angel escapes from the demons hold. They fly away in opposite directions, maybe to meet in another life.

 

He takes that scary leap of faith that most people would change their minds before doing. That scary leap of faith that most people can't bring themselves to take.

 

He jumps.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

+.-.+

"Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace."

—Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost

 

According to Hallenbeck, you feel these things in order when you die;

 

One, you stop being hungry.

 

Two, you stop being thirsty.

 

Three, you stop being able to speak.

 

Four, you stop being able to see.

 

Five, stop being able to hear.

 

Six, stop being able to feel touch.

 

They say death comes for all of us, a total of 7,000 people die every hour. Which is about 116 deaths per minute.

 

As Bella Swan once said, “I'd never given much thought to how I would die. But dying in the place of someone I love seems like a good way to go.”

 

It did seem like a good way to go, but Taehyung was about ninety-nine point nine percent positive he was not dead... yet?

 

He was standing in a dark lavender room with a window and a perfectly made bed with stars on it. There was a silver cross hanging above the bed as if resembling peace of passing through.

 

He’s standing here awkwardly, and he’s holding his breath, scared to breathe again. He inhales before exhaling slowly to get his breathing back on track. He isn’t sure where he is but there are tiny specks of white feathers floating around the room.

 

What the hell?

 

Taehyung then begins to feel his legs again, so he moves to sit on the bed feeling incredibly awake but frustrated. Had he been kidnapped? Had he drowned?

 

He lets his hand trace over the lavender sheets of the bed softly, the comfort of the bed calling him home to sleep.

 

“Oh, joy, another idiot in my room.” says a cold agitated voice, and Taehyung lets out possibly the loudest scream ever as he falls off of the bed and onto the floor with a thud. He slowly looks up to meet the culprit with the incredibly rude voice, and his mouth drops open.

 

Jeon Jungkook in the flesh is staring at him. He has black wings behind his back that made him look dark and more intimidating than before, he eyes shined a dark brown as he stares intensely at Taehyung was dangerously close to his feet.

 

This Jeongguk had a dark ora, from his wings fluttering roughly, lips pressed in a thin line, to his unimpressed look.

 

”Jeonggukkie...” he whispers trying to stand up to reach him but he falls over again, underestimating his leg strength.

 

Jeongguk looks much more... dominant than he did before. His warmth could be felt a mile away and sunshine was always lit in those eyes, but this time it was different. His eyes were dark and the bags under his eyes were heavily hooded. He wears all black, a solid choker tugs his neck tightly.

 

“Pathetic fool you are Kim Taehyung,” he scoffs, sitting down on the bed. “Come, come.”

 

He pats his lap as Taehyung crawls over to him, resting his head on his lap. He desperately wanted to know what happened to his sweet Jeonggukkie. The boy who was always there when he needed him and the boy he loved so much, but gave him up for Jeongguk to have a better life.

 

 

Jeongguk threads a finger through the boys wavy hair. He feels so cold that he doesn’t realize he’s in a white sweater and tight white pants with bare feet.

 

He didn’t die in that?

 

“Jeonggukkie... w-what’s going on?” he asks slowly, not moving his head from Jeongguk’s lap. The boy continues to thread a finger through his hair tightly before stopping and threading gently.

 

“You’re dying,” he replies, no emotion laced in his voice. Taehyung’s head shoots up, eyes widening, he’s actually dead?

 

Then, how is Jeongguk here?

 

”You look surprised. Thought you wanted to die anyway?” he adds in confusion. There’s a lot of bitter and hate in his voice as he speaks.

 

Did he? Of course, he did, he escaped his demons and he was here, so why did he seem so shocked.

 

“I did,” he replies. Jeongguk raises his eyebrow at him and shakes his head.

 

”The word ‘did’ is past tense, dear.” he corrects, smugly. “You regret it doesn't you?”

 

”No.” he answers more confidently. “I do—“ Jeongguk pushes him off of his lap before kneeling down before him.

 

”You’re going to regret it,” he says darkly, he grips his hands on Taehyung’s surprisingly clean wrist with no scars on him and pulls him to a white door. "You are going to regret what you did on that bridge, I can promise you that."

 

He almost runs into it face first before Jeongguk pulls him back by the collar to stand next to him. He looks at Taehyung in humor and shakes his head.

 

“Oh, you humans.” bitterly he spits. Taehyung’s eyes widen. "You people never know what to do with yourselves, and then when you finally do something, you regret it. How humorous." 

 

”You’re not... what?” he stutters suddenly scared.

 

“Let’s just say... hm, I’m your guide,” he suggests finding the right word, and Taehyung leaves it at that not wanting to piss off the beast Jeongguk was resembling in whatever universe this was.

 

”Why am I here?” he asks. Jeongguk rolls his eyes in annoyance, clutching the black cane Taehyung hadn’t noticed before.

 

”None of you people listen. You. Are. Dying. How hard is that to understand?” he snaps, Taehyung flinches eyes wanting to water at that. This was not his Jeongguk, not at all.

 

”Oh don’t act like a baby,” he starts, tapping his foot against the pavement. “You did this yourself.”

 

 

”But I don’t even know what I did?” he admits playing with his thumbs. Jeongguk laughs sourly.

 

”You jumped that’s what you did,” 

 

It's until then Taehyung realizes that he had nearly forgotten he jumped off of the bridge, and he was on the verge of dying? He tries to put the pieces together but he’s having a hard time.

 

Suddenly, he’s coughing pitifully, water shoots out of his mouth as tries to steady himself. Jeongguk doesn’t even help him, he just stands there and watches. He sees a tint of guilt, but it’s gone within a flash.

 

When Taehyung’s finished he tries to catch his breath, he looks up at Jeongguk who has a blank unreadable expression on his face.

 

”Have you quite finished?” he asks impatiently, checking his silver watch. Taehyung is definitely not used to this type of attitude and tone from Jeongguk.

 

How mad was he?

 

“I—,”

 

”Answer the question.” He snaps and Taehyung swiftly avoids flinching again.

 

“Yes.”

 

Good now get out, I no longer have to guide you,” he replies leaning his two hands on the cane that points to the direction of the door. Taehyungs look at him confused.

 

Rolling his eyes, “Through the door dummy your next guide will be waiting for you.”

 

Taehyung removes his eyes from Jeongguk before opening the golden doorknob. He’s scared, to say the least, unsure what’s on the other side.

 

He hears a loud sigh of annoyance from behind him and suddenly he’s being pushed out of the room and falling straight into another floor.

 

He lands face first and he’s surprised his nose isn’t fucking broken from how hard he fell.

 

Speaking of, he feels nothing though. This leads him to believe that he’s in an alternate universe, maybe his pre-death? This was what he wanted though. He pretends not to feel hurt from the careless Jeongguk from above, he can’t because he deserved that and also...

 

This wasn’t real? Honestly, he didn’t know what ‘this’ even was. As he said before, it looked like a completely different universe he had never once imagined. Everything was white, gold, black, and lavender.

 

For example, the floor he was practically making out with, matched the entire white room, which he thinks is the color of heaven.

 

Maybe he was in heaven?

 

But Jeongguk wasn’t dead... he couldn’t be. He felt tears form in his eyes, how long had he been out?

 

Kid,” a voice says much nicer than what Jeongguk had greeted him with.

 

Taehyung shakily looks up to see an unfamiliar slim figure who is staring at him, eyes littered with concern.

 

“Haneul,” he answers before Taehyung can ask. He offers a hand for Taehyung to grab, which he takes, and stands him up straightly. He’s much taller than Taehyung and his demeanor is about as intimidating as Jeongguk’s.

 

“A-Am I... In heaven o-or something?” he asks shakily feeling water rise out of his lungs. He coughs violently as water escapes his mouth and onto the floor, it dissolves into ashes quickly. He hadn’t noticed that upstairs.

 

Haneul chuckles, shaking his head at the boy. His eyes weren’t as hooded as Jeongguk’s was, but Taehyung could tell whatever he had been through was far more the struggle.

 

“No, but if you keep that up for another hour you might pass on,” he explains. Pass on? What?

 

”Haneul?” he tries, gaining the attention of the boy. “What happened... to me? Why does Jeonggukkie have fucking wings... W-Where am I? I—I just wanna pass on.”

 

Haneul puts an arm around his shoulder before walking him through the room of the white that looked like a greenhouse with extra rooms. White roses were hung around them, and a fountain was running peacefully behind them as they walked further into the room.

 

“You, my friend, are in the middle,” he replies. Taehyung stops walking for a second and looks at Haneul.

 

”The middle?” he repeats. Haneul nods and then his eyes widen.

 

”Did Jeonggukkie not tell you?” he asks slightly agitated looking up.

 

“Uh, he kind of pushed me down here... he seems so cruel...” he whispers and Haneul smiles sadly.

 

“Jeongguk is always like that, in this universe at least.” Oh? So there’s more than one? They didn’t teach that in science.

 

“You’re telling me,” he starts. “That there are more than one... uh, universe?”

 

”Precisely! You’re already catching on!” he cheers clapping his pale hands together. Taehyung notices the golden ring on his finger and wonders where his lover is?

 

“I don’t think I am...why am I here?” he asks cautiously afraid he’ll get pushed into another door.

 

Haneul licks his finger, before placing it in the air, “We don’t have a lot of time, but you’re here because you’re not ready to die.”

 

“What—,”

 

”You are being given a second chance, a second chance to see what your actions have done to those around you in your universe,” he adds.

 

”But... I want to die?” he whispers weakly. This is not what he wanted. Haneul winces shaking his head and coming closer to Taehyung. He expects to be embraced in a hug or something but that’s not the case.

 

“No you don’t,” he says instead.

 

“Who the hell are you to s—,“ Haneul places a hand over his mouth gently.

 

”You don’t want to die and that’s why you’re here.” he finishes.

 

That can’t be true, he had spent nearly half of his life trying to find ways to kill himself and literally none of it has worked. He had suffered beatings, heartbreak, and harm to himself. How did he not want to die?

 

”Your body is up there right now in your universe,” he begins. “You’re clinging to dear life because you found your purpose to live you just don’t want to admit it.”

 

“Okay Mr. Know It All, what is my purpose then?” he challenges, a lot like his mother used to.

 

Haneul rolls his eyes, “Such a mouthy little thing. No wonder Jeongguk’s such a dick.”

 

“Excuse me!” Taehyung gripes, folding his arms across his chest. “What happened to sour puss up there anyway?”

 

Talking about Jeongguk like that, makes Taehyung feel some type of way. Almost guilty, but he decides that this a parallel universe in which Jeongguk is not his Jeongguk in the real world, and he’s just dreaming.

 

But something about the way the angel—human—thing is looking at him, seems realistic.

 

”You, but I really can’t answer that, only you can,” he says. “Which is why I’m here to take you to your universe.”

 

”How do I find the answer then? I don’t even know why I’m still here? I literally committed suicide!” Taehyung reminds, and Haneul cringes at how sincere Taehyung sounds. 

 

“Those don’t always work my dear, but that’s where I come in, only if you take my hand though,” Haneul explains stretching out his hand again. Suddenly a door appears before him, causing him to jump back. The boy looks at Haneul cautiously, not sure if he really should trust the stranger. But he’s in an alternate universe and he’s almost dead? So what the hell it’s worth a shot.

 

He takes Haneul’s hand with a clap, and suddenly gold butterflies are being flown around him. He’s almost tempted to jump back again but the grip Haneul has on him could tear his hand off. The two are flown out of the room and through a gold orb.

 

To say Taehyung felt really freaky flying through a golden portal/orb thing was an understatement, it definitely wasn’t on his bucket list. They land swiftly into a different room, one that looks much more like home.

 

Actually, Haneul lands swiftly and Taehyung falls flat on his face again.

 

“You’re terrible at this.” he points out and Taehyung scoffs, not like he had practice or anything.

 

He stands up and brushes his not so white pants off. He’s found looking at the room before him. It’s a hospital.

 

A very busy one to be exact, there are nurses running right through literally, and wait?

 

He screams loudly as four nurses run to the next patient. Haneul has no reaction to that, he’s just watching his watch.

 

Gaping at him, as another nurse comes walking through him, “W-Why... w-why.... they... walk...through—what?”

 

“I told you-you're in the middle. You’re not alive or dead.” Hanuel explains biting at his nails. Taehyung might come-bust before all of this is over.

 

“You didn’t say that part!”

 

You’d think it’d be clear as day.” he scoffs, biting his cheek. “We have sixty minutes here to find your purpose and then you make your decision.”

 

”I made my decision, I don’t want to be here!” he yells, hands beginning to shake. “I grew balls and fucking jumped how clear can that be!”

 

”You don’t understand life kid, but even if I took your answer right now we’d have to wait for sixty minutes anyway,” he says wiping the spit off of his face and Taehyung is fucking livid. He had gone through quite literally waving to wave to end his life and here this Haneul guy was trying to tell him how to live it! Why are people always trying to tell him how to live his life? First, it was his fucking parents for about sixteen years of his life, next it was Jeongguk and Jimin trying to get him to live, thirdly it was this weird walking, talking, white orb with a fucking halo he didn’t notice before hanging above his head.

 

The one time he makes a choice, he’s knocked to the side once again and someone’s making it for him.

 

It’s frustrating.

 

“So I’m stuck here...with you...for sixty minutes?” he groans. He really fucking hopes this is all a dream and he’s going to die peacefully.

 

“Yes so make the best of it.” he snaps in a dominant tone. “I don’t have to put up with your sour and ungrateful ass attitude all night, but I am because you deserve a second chance. I’m willing to give it to you.”

 

”One I don’t want.” he corrects and suddenly he’s being pulled into the waiting room.

 

Before he can protest he hears a sharp cry, and it silences him. He’s standing in front of a sobbing mess that’s none other than Park Jimin. His nose is wrapped in a bandage, courtesy to Taehyung, (which, with pride, he takes credit for) and he’s crying. Next to him is Namjoon and Hoseok, and on the other side is Yoongi. The underground rapper is holding him tightly, he’s even shedding a few tears as if he cares. 

 

Hoseok is a mess, and Namjoon is the only one keeping it together, but Taehyung can tell he’s barely keeping it together.

 

This,” he begins, pointing at the group of people. “Is because they care about you, while you're over here being ungrateful about it."

 

Taehyung stares at them and remembers Jeongguk’s words from a month ago.

 

Your best friend, if he’s your real best friend he would be heartbroken if he found you... dead and he couldn’t stop you.

 

He still believes he’d get over it, but Jeongguk was right. Jimin was heartbroken, and Taehyung, despite the hate he felt for all the ignoring and ditching Jimin had done to him, hated seeing him cry more than anything.

 

He couldn’t stop shaking in Yoongi’s arms, and Taehyung doesn't realize he's walking towards Jimin until Haneul pulls him back.

 

"Not that he could feel you, but no touching for now, just watch," he warns and Taehyung doesn't push it when Jimin shoots out of his chair to greet a nurse walking towards the emotional group. The nurse's hair is pulled back in a braid and her glasses are hanging dangerously close to the tip of her nose, ready to fall off at any second. She looks like she's been put through hell.

 

“H-How is T-Tae? Is he okay?” Jimin whimpers out, trying to pull himself together. Taeyhyung looks at Haneul speechless, eyes watering himself.

 

Jimin hates him though?

 

The nurse sighs, “He’s not any better than what he was three hours ago. He’s in a trauma type of coma.”

 

“W-What does that mean?” he says, wincing at the statement.

 

”It’s where the brain to swell and/or bleed. When the brain swells as a result of trauma, the fluid pushes up against the skull. The swelling may eventually cause the brain to push down on the brain stem, which is his key to awareness. He definitely knocked his head against something,” she explains, and Taehyung is starting to wonder how hard did he fall? “This could kill him, especially because he nearly drowned, but he’s still here. We just don’t know for how long.”

 

It doesn’t hit him that he has really committed suicide until the nurse says he could die from the drowning. He’s almost succeeded... yet he doesn’t feel great about it all Especially when Jimin buries his head into Yoongi’s shoulder, letting out sniffles as he tries to breathe.

 

Namjoon speaks up this time, “H-He’ll make it right? He has too..”

 

The nurse looks at him sadly, “I can’t be for sure. He’s nearing the lowest score of a coma, a level three but he isn’t there yet. We don’t know how much longer life support will help.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes widen. He really does have sixty minutes left. He understands the number now, he has sixty minutes until he’s sent to the other side or brought back to his body to live.

 

”He can’t die!” Jimin screams nearly lunging out of Yoongi’s arms. Everyone’s crying, even Namjoon this time. Yoongi holds him back tightly, he presses his face in the back of Jimin's neck in attempt to relax him.

 

The nurse leaves them without another word. Jimin looks at Yoongi, eyes completely wet with tears.

 

“Babe...” Yoongi whispers sadly going to wipe his eyes. “You need to relax, okay? They're doing everything they can Minnie.”

 

Jimin scoffs turning away from Yoongi's touch, “I should have been there... I-I shouldn’t... fuck... this is all of my fault Yoongi, all of it.”

 

It’s not, I just can’t live with my demons.

 

“Jiminie, you can’t—,” Yoongi tries, but Jimin is losing it.

 

“Step outside,” Hoseok croaks, damp cheeks and all. “Collect yourself... we need to be strong for Taehyung—,”

 

”No blame game either,” Namjoon interrupts, looking at the couple. “Taehyung needs us right now.”

 

Jimin accepts that, but still remains having his break down, walking towards the exit to step outside. Taehyung would think he’s leaving, but he knows Jimin, knows him all too well.

 

“I can’t watch...” he whispers eyes staring down at the floor and away from his friends.

 

“What are your thoughts?” Haneul asks curiously. It hurts Taehyung to think they couldn't show care like this until he was no longer breathing anymore.

 

“They only care when you die,” he replies after a pregnant pause. He looks back at Jimin with disappoint. The words come out a lot better than he thought, but it’s true. No one cares until you’re dead or they almost lose you. They run out of time to care and it’s their own damn fault. At least that’s what he convinces himself to think.

 

Haneul nods slowly clicking his tongue, “If you say so...”

 

”What makes you think otherwise?” Taehyung asks, becoming curious himself. Haneul grabs his hand again instead of answering.

 

Before he can even ask why gold starts flying around them again. Taehyung manages to not fall on the floor this time, but nearly trips into the wall.

 

He groans turning around to see where Haneul has brought him this time.

 

Oh?

 

This time he isn’t in front of a group of people or surrounded by doctors. He’s in a wide room with big windows, TV, a table, and two beds. There’s a heart monitor next to him that’s beeping loudly in his ear.

 

When he goes to look at the monitor, he gasps.

 

It’s him, and he looks awful. He’s extremely pale and his pink lips are almost purple at the bottom. There's a bruise on the side of his head, and scratches all beneath his neck as he lays there perfectly still, perfectly lifeless.

 

He’s in shock looking at himself. One, because he’s walking around the room in his body, and two he’s not in his physical body? How do you even come to that conclusion? He doesn’t realize he’s not alone in his room until a body starts moving next to him. He nearly yelps when he sees a boy sitting at his bedside.

 

It wasn’t just any boy, it was Jeongguk. The boy who deserved the world and a lot better than what Taehyung could ever give him. Jeongguk couldn’t love Taehyung, it wasn’t possible. A selfish soul he was, one that was willing to hurt so many people around him just to quit hurting himself. Suicide isn’t a selfish thing, but maybe he was.

 

What catches him off guard is a cry that escapes from Jeongguk’s mouth. He’s crying and it can’t be over Taehyung, can it? Jeongguk grabs Taehyung’s cold hand and cries into it. Taehyung can feel his hand on his as he stands beside Jeongguk.

 

“Jeonggukkie...” he whispers as if he can hear him. Haneul takes a seat behind Taehyung to watch the two.

 

“You’re such an idiot Kim Taehyung,” Jeongguk’s sweet voice says filling the room. Taehyung flinches a little at that but continues to listen to him.

 

”You could have come to me,” he says, tears rolling down his cheek. “I would have listened... I-I would have told you-you were beautiful and that I care... b-because y-you are... even like this... you are s-so beautiful."

 

Jeongguk thought he was beautiful?

 

”Oh...how you once said, you wanted... wanted to get to know m-me... I had so much to say to you but you h-hung up!” he states painfully, hand still in his. “Y-You’re so stubborn... b-but there’s so much more to you than that... my talented pianist... none of my art c-could compare to those damn fingers playing those piano keys.”

 

Taehyung disagrees with that, but that doesn’t matter to him right now. He kneels on the other side of the bed to face him, the boy not being able to control the sniffles and sobs escaping him. 

 

“God... I just—, I keep thinking,” he hiccups tracing his thumb in circles near his wrist where his scars lay. “W-What could I have done? L-Life is worth living... but without you... I don’t even know...”

 

Guilt hits Taehyung like a truck, Jeongguk blames himself for this? It wasn’t his fault. It never could be. Jeongguk kept him alive... that meant something right?

 

He wanted so badly to scream, no don’t blame yourself! You can’t die!

 

”Should I have hugged you tighter when you left my house?” he asks himself, clearing his throat. “Should I have told you that I’m glad you’re alive again? M-Maybe I should have said, do you want to go on a date with me? Maybe I should've gone with you to Jimin's?

 

“God I’m so mad at Jimin...” Jeongguk whimpers, shaking his head as if pushing the bad thoughts away. “But... I know it’s  not him to blame.” 

 

“No,” he repeats, pressing a soft kiss to Taehyung’s bruised knuckles. “I should have told you that you mean the world to me, I should have told you I love when you crinkle your eyes, I should have told you I love when you bite your lip... you drive me mad... but I should have told you I love your secret adoration of fashion, I should have told you t-that... you make me feel like I mean something to this world...”

 

Taehyung is crying now as he looks behind Jeongguk to see Haneul staring back at him, eyes sincere. There was so much love in his voice, Taehyung was feeling every bit of it.

 

“H-How does he... I do that?” he asks, almost hopeful. 

 

”Just wait kid,” Haneul says smiling a little, and Taehyung nods turning his attention to Jeongguk.

 

“You... god, you—, you make me feel like saving lives is my purpose but yours is one I’d save over and over. E-Even if you ended up hating me for it... you’re the reason I wake up every morning determined to save a life... you’re proof Kim Taehyung that people are strong... and fuck, love is so needed in this world. You deserve all of the love in the world... fuck no, the universe, yeah you deserve even more than that.”

 

”You deserve to be hugged, held, told you are beautiful... every fucking day... and I-I never meant to fail you... You’re worth everything to me...”

 

Jeongguk takes a deep breath standing up to come nose to nose with Taehyung’s body. He presses a soft kiss to his lips. Taehyung gasps, wanting so badly to be able to rest his hands on his cheeks and kiss back. Even if he didn’t deserve it.

 

But he felt that kiss as if he was back in his own body. He felt the love tingle through his lips.

 

Jeongguk pulls back, eyes flooding out with tears, “I love you Taehyung. I love you more than anything in the world... please come back to me, baby.”

 

I love you.

 

Jeonggukk loves you.

 

Someone is in love with you.

 

Those words repeated in his head over and over. His hand clasps over his mouth in shock, nearly stumbling back. Those three words particular words Jeongguk had said, he felt them in his heart. It was nothing like Seokjin. Jeongguk said “I”. He loves Taehyung and Taehyung is dying right before his eyes.

 

“Oh Jeongguk,” he whispers, kneeling next to him. “Oh my sweet boy...”

 

He looks at the heart monitor, his heart rate is going down minute by minute. Haneul stands up quickly to face Taehyung, as his eyes fixate on how long he has left.

 

”Do you still believe that people only care when you're dead?” asks Haneul, looking at Jeongguk who's starting to cry harder. 

 

“I-I—, no... I don’t,” he answers looking down at Jeongguk.

 

”Do you still believe that Jimin does not care about you? Becuase listen to me, that boy is in the waiting room contemplating suicide right now because he feels guilty. He feels damn guilty. He’s been hiding for a reason Taehyung.”

 

His best friend? His sweet Jiminie wanted to die? Jimin understood? Yet, Taehyung accuses him of not caring when he was going through his own struggles?

 

“I—, this is all of my fault,” he whispers sadly. Haneul shakes his head placing his hands on his shoulders.

 

“It’s not your fault kiddo,” he promises. “It’s those little thoughts in your head. You hear it every day and you listen. You don’t let yourself be cared for because you don’t even know what that means. But you need to stop blaming yourself for everything because not everything revolves around you.”

 

Taehyung doesn’t understand what he did to deserve Haneul in front of him, or how he managed to even guide him through this mess he had caused because he didn’t listen.

 

He was thinking the whole time of the wrong thing. He knows when he wakes up he’ll be faced with the brutal thing called life. He knows his demons will try and eat him alive, but Taehyung knows when he wakes up his purpose will be standing right there.

 

"That boy Taehyung, he loves you so much, and he is willing to die for you,” Haneul explains before pausing. “Question is are you willing to live for him?”

 

Taehyung looks down at Jeongguk. His chocolate brown hair was a mess, his camo pants and black hoodie seemed so baggy but made him look so soft. His knuckles were bruised, which Taehyung made a note to ask what had happened.

 

Was he willing to live for a person who loved him? Loved everything about him? Wanted him?

 

He had said plenty of times before he felt alive around Jeongguk, but never would he had guessed Jeongguk felt alive around him. A huge weight felt lifted off of his heavy heart, he didn’t think he was unloved for the first time in nearly ten years. He felt truly loved by someone and he loved that someone back more than anything.

 

“Taehyung?” Haneul’s voice snaps him back into reality. “Are you willing to live for not him, but yourself?”

 

No, you’re not. You know he’ll leave and you’ll be alone again.

 

“Just ignore that voice Taehyung,” Haneul says. “It’s not real, but he is. Think about who is in that waiting room and think about who is in this room.”

 

He actually listens to that. He knows deep down those demons aren’t here, even though he feels as if they follow him around like a lost puppy. He realizes there are a few people here who are willing to spend time out of their night, cry because they worry about him.

 

But there’s one person who’s right by his side at this very moment.

 

Jeon Jungkook.

 

A boy who saves lives every day, and still has time to fall in love with one of those broken souls clinging for hope.

 

Now, he’s clinging to the hope that Taehyung will wake up and be by his side and that means the world to him.

 

Taehyung lays a hand on Jeongguk’s, he squeezes it. Jeongguk’s eyes shoot open, quickly squeezing back and smiling a little.

 

”Oh baby, please come back, I’m so proud of you... fuck,” he sweetly encourages, but he doesn’t realize that Taehyung heard every bit of that.

 

He remembers what it’s like being left alone. He remembers what it’s like not being able to be loved back by someone, but he doesn’t know what it’s like mutually loving someone. For the first time, he finally wants to wake up and try to get better. He wants to do it for not only himself, but for Jimin, Jeongguk, and everyone out in the waiting room.

 

“I want to be alive.” and that’s an answer he had worked so hard to say.

 

The last thing he sees, dream or not, is glowing white before his eyes and the sound of his heart monitor going flat.

 

Then everything goes black.

 

Chapter Text

 

+.-.+

“A warrior must cultivate the feeling that he has everything needed for the extravagant journey that is his life. What counts for a warrior is being alive. Life in itself is sufficient, self-explanatory and complete. Therefore, one may say without being presumptuous that the experience of experiences is being alive.”

—Carlos Castaneda

 

Jeongguk’s Perspective

 

.”Jeongukk you deserve better, better than what this world has to offer, and better than what I have to offer." He whispers. "You don't know how much I... I adore you. More than anything.” 

 

A call that you never want to get at ten thirty at night is the love of your life is dying. It’s closely as bad as getting a phone call that someone wants to end their life and they’re depending on you to change their mind.

 

Jeongguk had spent a good three years of his life working at the Crisis Center. In those three years he had learned to handle serious calls. But never in his life, had he gotten a call like that and he did nothing but sit through it and track Taehyung’s phone. His boy is stubborn, he knows that. He also knows his boy (yes his boy, always has been) is strong and could very well be dead if he doesn’t act fucking fast. 

 

By “he”, he means the computer, because Jeongguk took a computer class in high school. Top of his class, and extremely distinguished with his work. 

 

He quickly types in the IP address Taehyung’s phone holds, before calling dispatch. He doesn’t he give poor Chanyeol, the paramedic and also one of his close friends on the other end of the phone, a chance to even breathe a word out.

 

“Hell—,”

 

“I sent the address to what bridge...” Jeongguk pauses, holding back tears in his eyes. “Kim Taehyung, male, he’s twenty, jumped off of a bridge about two minutes ago.”

 

“Bridge—, wait isn’t that—,” 

 

”I just sent you the fucking address!” he yells  into the phone, completely worked up over the situation. The thought of Taehyung dying before he could even say he loves him was... inconceivable. A world Jeongguk did not want to live in.

 

“Jeongguk!” he snaps back, not in anger but just ding his job. “Get a grip on yourself! I was getting ready to say, we’re doing all we can right now. I just sent my team down there.”

 

Though he had been the one to send the call through and find Taehyung’s current location, to which now he really wishes he didn’t see because his phone is in the water, and Taehyung very likely is too.

 

”I-I’m sorry.” he apologizes helplessly, he knows he’s a mess right now. “I—he can’t die, he’s not... he can’t—,”

 

”I know Guk, I know, I’ve got to go help them. Check back in a few minutes,” he promises putting him on hold.

 

He sits in a cruel punishment of silence, knowing if Taehyung were here he’d be making him laugh or telling him about his day. It just made his job not trying to focus on the fact Taehyung could die, that much harder.

 

He’s been waiting five minutes and it’s safe to say he’s never felt so fucking worried in his life. That boy always has some effect on him but he can’t find himself complaining.

 

Even at times like this, Taehyung is with him without even being here. It’s just the power of Kim Taehyung, someone who loves more than his heart can love himself. 

 

Time is inevitable, he’d be willing to turn back time and be there, to know what happened. To know if it was his fault.

 

Chanyeol!” he starts to cry into the phone, though knowing it’s helpless to get a response.

 

But in life, you are never left helpless for too long.

 

“We’ve got him, Kook,” a voice says on the other end of the line scaring him.

 

Jeongguk let’s out a wet laugh of relief but it doesn’t last long, “Fuck h-how—,”

 

”He’s... alive, but he is not good Kook, you need to get here now.” Chanyeol warns, sounding breathless. 

 

“I could if I knew where the fuck they’re going!” he exclaims exasperated. The person on the other end of the line groans in frustration, knowing it’s just Jeongguk. Putting his heart before his head. 

 

“PNUH, he’s going to PNUH for immediate care, hurry,” he replies and Jeongguk is taking off running before he can even finish.

 

He storms out of the center ignoring the frightening look off of the patients face. He looks absolutely insane, eyes wide, running to his car as if he’s participating in some police chase.

 

But right now that doesn’t matter to him. He has to get to Taehyung.

 

 

 

Before

 

His mother used to tell him that staring at people was incredibly rude, especially people he didn’t know. He remembers when he was younger and at the grocery store he would stare at older kids walking by themselves without an adult.

 

He wanted to be like them so badly, and now that he is older, he wants to be a kid again.

 

But right now being a kid didn’t matter, he could not stop staring at his father. He had always been told his father was a very loyal man. He always made His father was not being very loyal right now. He’s watching from upstairs as his father locks lips with a woman, who definitely was not his mother.

 

Though just starting middle school, he was well aware what cheating meant. He was thirteen what the hell? Why wouldn’t he?

 

He’s distracted by his thoughts until the woman points at him. His father looks up at him, eyes scared and angry. Taehyung quickly runs into his room slamming the door.

 

He leans against the white door to listen to the conversation downstairs. He hears a ‘call me when your wife’s not home’ and ‘I’ll shut the boy up’, which he hopes is a misinterpretation. He stumbles back when he hears the door slam and heavy footsteps begin to run up the stairs.

 

He was terrified, but not as terrified and angry as his father looked when he realized his son had found out his darkest affair.

 

He hears a faint knock at his door as he sits on his bed. He doesn’t want to open his door and maybe he’s better off not to. However, Taehyung, being the forgetful kid he is, stupidly forgot to lock the door so his father waltzes right on in, shutting the door behind him.

 

He scoots back a little when his father kneels in front of his bed. He’s never seen his father's eyes look so desperate and wild before.

 

His father folds his hands together, laying them on the bed gently. He doesn’t say anything for a while, he’s just staring at Taehyung.

 

It stays like that until Taehyung breaks eye contact, then his father’s hand wraps around his wrist. His eyes snap quickly to the touch, instantly trying to pull away when he feels the grip tighten.

 

Now he’s scared.

 

”My boy,” his father speaks in a venomous voice. “My good, good boy...”

 

”D-Dad?” he asks in fear. This was not like his father, whom he had not seen much of for the past few weeks.

 

”Y-You’re hurting me...” he adds trying to pull his hand out of the grip, but failing miserably.

 

His father tightens his grip, head shaking, “I think—, I think you’re going to hurt me...”

 

”What? W-Why would I do that?” he whispers, biting his lip to fight back the tears forming in his eyes.

 

Mr. Kim looks at him in confusion, “What you saw down there... you’re going to tell mama aren’t you?”

 

Taehyung looks away, not wanting to tell him the truth. Which was a big mistake?

 

His father’s hand that was wrapped around his wrist, grabs Taehyung by the throat. His thumbs press roughly near his pulse, and he’s fucking terrified.

 

“D-Dad... ow... stop—,” he wails unable to keep his tears back. His father pulls him forward, eyes staring into his.

 

“Answer me,” he demands. “Were you going to tell mama? You don’t want to make me mad son.”

 

He definitely doesn’t, so he shakily nods in response, flinching when his father tightens his hold on him, making it hard for him to breathe.

 

He’s going to die.

 

”That won’t do you any good.” He replies, and Taehyung scrunches his nose in disgust when he gets a whiff of alcohol and cigarettes as his father spits in his face.

 

Since when does he smoke and drink?

 

“Want to know why?” he asks, and Taehyung guiltily mistakes it as a rhetorical question.

 

When he doesn’t answer, his father shakes him roughly.

 

“Answer me boy!” his father’s loud voice yells. “Tell me why!”

 

Taehyung lets out a sob, stumbling over his words, “W-Why... I-I don’t—father—ah—,”

 

”If you tell your mother I will do this with my own bare hands and kill you. Understood you, stupid boy? That’s why!” he demands angrily.

 

“Y-Yes—,” Taehyung cries falling over when his father lets go of him. He’s having a coughing fit when he curls up into a ball, instantly scooting away from the man he didn’t know anymore.

 

His father looks down at him and smirks, “Good boy. Get yourself together dinner will be here soon...”

 

Just like that he’s gone as if it never happened.

 

Once he walks out of his room, Taehyung cries much harder than he’s ever cried. He looks down at his now bruised wrists and sobs.

 

He stays like this an hour at least. He assumes his father has forgotten to feed him or is planning on starving him, but his assumptions are proved wrong when a soft knock at the door pulls him out of his misery.  It’s his mother. His sweet, sweet, mother. The woman who loved him, cooked for him, kissed him goodnight, gave him hugs and cuddles when he needed them.  She’s also the woman who deserved to never be cheated on.

 

 

Taehyung looks up from his pillow, eyes still a bit heavy from crying, to meet his mother's eyes.

 

She smiles warmly at him.

 

”Baby boy, you look like you’ve had a rough day,” she comments walking in to sit next to him.

 

This time Taehyung does not flinch when the soft hand rests on his hand. She presses a soft kiss to his forehead and pats his hand gently.

 

She squints her eyes at the developing bruise wrapping around his wrist.

 

“Where did this come from?” she asks holding his wrist in her hand.

 

Taehyung wants to tell her so bad. He wants nothing more than to tell her. He wants to tell her everything to free her and him from the now dangerous man he called a father waiting somewhere in the house to slip out his next lie.  But now the tables have turned now. His father isn’t the only liar in this house, he has to lie too or he might not be able to protect them both.  So he tells her the best lie he can manage, Jimin accidentally gripped his wrist too hard while they were dancing. She’s skeptical, but she buys it and lays with Taehyung.

 

This is how Taehyung learned that living requires lying.

 

Being surrounded in complete and utter darkness after having a painful reminder like that, is like being kidnapped and thrown into a trap. You’re unable to escape, unable to be heard, unable to know what’s going on.

 

He remembers that day as the last day both of his parents had their sanity. Not even a week later his mother found out, and they both lost it.

 

The rest was too much to bare and even think about. Right now, he was trying to wake up.

 

Waking up from a coma though, was a lot harder than Taehyung had anticipated.

 

For example, his eyes feel completely glued together like arts n’ crafts, and he feels like a wheel on a semi truck is crushing his body. It’s oddly comfortable but extremely frightening.

 

He wasn’t sure what he did to deserve the opportunity he was given an hour ago but he was surprisingly grateful. Which was something he lacked, always looking for things he wanted and not what he had surrounding him.

 

Taehyung knows it’s real for one reason and one reason only;

 

Jeongguk is still holding his hand and crying. Taehyung wants nothing more than to open his eyes and him, tell him he loves him and he’s so thankful he doesn’t hate him.

 

But he still can’t open his eyes.

 

 

Sunshine

 

It’s been two weeks since Jeongguk and Taehyung first met. It was safe to say he definitely was starting to grow attached to him.

 

 

He's also come to the conclusion it's not because Jimin's not there to make him feel less lonely. He feels this way because Jeongguk is literal sunshine coming to save the day from a thunderstorm.

 

The thing Taehyung has found himself to enjoy the most about Jeongguk was his passion for photography, art, and books. That man was always reading or taking pictures, and it was no wonder he was an artist as he claimed. He had so much knowledge that Taehyung was almost positive, he could pass as a human encyclopedia.  It was the not only the first day without snow falling from the sky, but it was the first day he and Jeongguk got to enjoy the last bit of fall air and sunshine together.

 

Right now they're on a park bench, Jeongguk has a book lying closed his hand and the other is thrown around Taehyung. Even though he was sure his arm was relaxing on the bench, he felt oddly secured being around Jeongguk.

 

He found the comfort so easy to come across when it came to him.

 

”So, Taehyung, I got a call today,” announces Jeongguk. Taehyung looks up from his book, “The Great Gatsby”, in interest.

 

”Oh yeah?” 

 

”I have a job offering to be a therapist at a treatment center,” he squeals, smile wary but bright. Taehyung is honestly so happy for him.

 

“Jeonggukkie that’s great!” he praises happily, turning to look at him face to face. He knows how bad Jeongguk wanted this job, he wanted to go further with his love for helping people and Taehyung was all for it.

 

“I don’t know if I want to take it though,” he admits. “I still have to finish my online schooling, and I don’t want to leave the crisis center.”

 

Taehyung bites his lip, unsure of what to say, “Have you ever considered that—, that maybe that won’t be your job forever?”

 

The boy's eyebrows raise in interest, “To be honest, I haven’t. I love what I do so much Taehyung, and I can’t imagine anywhere else I could be... which is why I’m probably not going to accept the offer.”

 

”Jeonggukkie!” he gasps, sunglasses nearly falling off of his head. “You can’t!”

 

”And why not?”

 

“This is a whole other opportunity to help people in need in our own area. You could save lives still!” he explains. “How long before you can begin?”

 

”Eh, six months,” he responds shyly.

 

”That's plenty of time to think about, and you have all of that time to be at the hotline. It’s not a bad idea Jeonggukie, you should take it.”

 

”You’re right, I just—, this is stupid but what if I don’t save people... or what if—,”

 

Gaining a sense of confidence Taehyung presses a finger against Jeongguk’s chapped lips. He laughs when he sees his eyes cross.

 

“You can’t save everybody Guk,” he reasons, because he can’t, he may not even able to save Taehyung. That’s not important though. “But being able to save even just one person should mean the world to you.”

 

”Ah, you’re right,” he admits looking away when his cheeks turn red. “If I can save just one person, that would mean the world to me.”

 

”Why does it mean so much to you?” asks Taehyung curiously. He’s almost scared he’s asked the wrong question when Jeongguk stands up to stretch.

 

”Follow me,” he demands, yanking him off of the bench and pulling him to a standing position.

 

Normally, he would complain about him pulling too hard or ALWAYS dragging him somewhere but the way the crinkles meet Jeongguk’s eyes, and his lips stretch into that smile Taehyung could die in, he doesn't find himself protesting. 

 

He remains being pulled to a playground. He’s earned quite a few weird looks from children playing on the slides. Jeongguk doesn’t seem the least bit concerned as he nearly tramples people to get where he needs to go.  Taehyung continues to be dragged around the park until they reach a hill. The view they have is really pretty, the city is right in front of their face and they have a full view of the sun in the sky and people running around.

 

”You’re always dragging me somewhere,” Taehyung teases breathlessly, sitting down in the grass. Jeongguk happily takes a seat next to him and smiles, throwing his book behind him.

 

”Jeong—!” he exclaims going to retrieve his book but immediately is pushed down until his back hits the grass.

 

He goes to protest but stops when he’s looking straight at Jeongguk’s, eyes full of sunshine and smile wide as the universe.  He feels like a ship at sea when he stares into those big brown eyes, like the current would guide his way home. 

 

”I have three other copies at home,” he promises, smiling.

 

”You’re strange,” Taehyung comments not missing the look of offense Jeongguk gives him. “Who buys copies of the same book? Do you throw all of your books?”

 

”You never know! I’m always prepared,” he murmers turning to look at the sky. The sun is shining bright above them, the sky is littered with a pretty bright blue and there are a few clouds surrounding the source of heat.

 

They sit in silence for a few and Taehyung thinks it’s the loudest they’ve ever been. They’re together comforted in each other’s presence and the heat above even if it’s not the warmest it’s still there.

 

“The sky is beautiful y’know?” Jeongguk says.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Something so beautiful can change in a span of twenty-four hours from different colors to a sky full of stars,” he explains. “The sky is the only beautiful thing left of society.”

 

Taehyung disagrees because there’s a beautiful thing sitting next to him. 

 

“It sucks,” Jeongguk whispers. “That we live in a world so beautiful and full of life, yet we’re pushed to end it and make it miserable.”

 

Taehyung rests his hands over his chest and listens to Jeongguk rant.

 

“I get these calls every day... calls about wanting to end their life, calls about how terrible their parents were to them, calls about bullying even... and I just think why are people forced to struggle. Life is so beautiful, yet we’re put in the ugliest situations.”

 

”People struggle, its a part of life. You’re born, you struggle, then you die. Seems like a waste to me.” Taehyung argues. Jeongguk’s attention averts from the sky to Taehyung. Suddenly he feels small under his gaze again.

 

”Kim Taehyung,” he begins. “I’m going to show you the world one day.”

 

”Yeah?” He asks, completely out of breath.

 

”Yeah, I’m going to take you wherever I can manage and show you just how beautiful life is. I’m going to show you that there’s more to life than just being born, struggling, and dying.”

 

“What more could there be?” he asks.

 

“Living.”

 

Taehyung is almost envious when it comes to Jeongguk. The boy knows and respects so much about the human nature and people enjoying life. He wanted to find the beauty in life.

 

“You’re so philosophical, no wonder you got a job offering like that,” he whispers dreamily.

 

“I just believe we’re given a life to live and learn, not end, that’s all.” he chuckles.

 

He decides then that Jeongguk really is a human encyclopedia, but he’s also living breathing proof that as he said, beauty should not be taken for granted and Taehyung truly believes him.

 

 

He and Jeongguk had come a long way since then.

 

Taehyung knew his beauty deep within shouldn’t have been taken for granted, but it was sorely taken.

 

He finally felt the words Jeongguk had said to him a month ago. He understood now that life was meant to live and struggle, not end. Struggling is meant to teach and build strength.

 

He’s scared to be strong, he can’t deny the worry he feels deep within. He can’t erase his past nor can he fight it, so what does he do?

 

As Jeongguk could say, it’s better to forgive than to forget. Regardless, he thinks to himself that without Jeongguk he would have never found that being strong is possible, now all he had to do was learn how to do it.

 

He would never have found sunshine without Jeongguk.

 

Right now he’s having a very hard time to find that sunshine again.

 

He’s positive it’s because he’s scared out of his fucked up mind. He’s scared when he wakes up he’ll be faced with the cruel reality that he did try to commit suicide, and he did hurt a lot of people. He’s scared that Jeongguk will see he’s alive and then run away.

 

The thing is, he knows he won’t. He knows that every word Jeongguk said to him while he was unconscious, he meant it. He always means what he says. For god’s sake, he saves people from committing suicide every day why would he say things he didn’t mean? Taehyung is just, as Jeongguk said, stubborn and he has a hard time believing positive outlooks of life. Well, now, it was time for a change. He trusts Jeongguk, he loves Jeongguk and Jeongguk loves him and that should be his reason to wake up and try to live.

 

So he does.

 

He slowly squeezes his eyes shut, before letting them flutter open. His vision is blurry at first, but he fixes his eyes on the lamp in front of his bed that rests on a desk. He hears the faint noise of the heart monitor that stands close to his bed. He also hears people walking outside of his room rushing to get to other patients or loved ones. The sun is just starting to rise above the tall buildings in Busan, littering the sky with pink and orange colors.

 

Once his vision is back to normal, he realizes his hand is soaking wet. He looks down to see the perpetrator is none other than the love of his life.

 

He lets out an airy laugh when he squeezes Jeongguk’s hand, startling the life out of him. He gapes at Taehyung in relief, eyes tearing up.

 

He looks so natural and beautiful.

 

His big brown eyes are wet from crying, his lips are a bright pink and not chapped for once, his nose is also red and wet, which he’s pretty sure it’s from snot? Gross!

 

Jeongguk is looking down at Taehyung’s hand, he slowly brings it up to his lips and presses a chaste kiss. Taehyung doesn’t say anything for a while, but then, he decides too.

 

“I... I hope that’s not snot on my hand,” he whispers, trying to find his voice. Jeongguk lets out a surprised laugh, eyes instantly pouring out tears.

 

”Oh my god! Taehyung!” he cries out, throwing his arms around him. He feels himself crying too when he’s in Jeongguk’s embrace. He rests his chin on his shoulder and lets the tears run free, and this time it’s happy tears.

 

He’s so thankful.

 

He didn’t cherish a lot in his life. Hell, he hadn’t cherished anything he thought he didn’t deserve, but this, rather Taehyung deserved that kind of love or not, he cherished Jeongguk. There will never be a day that will go by where he isn’t thankful he met Jeongguk.

 

Suddenly there’s a sharp pain in his head and he flinches, resting his hand on his head. Jeongguk pulls away a little bit before sitting down on the bed to pull Taehyung’s hand away from his head and into his own.

 

”Tae, fuck,” Jeongguk whispers taking his hand gently away from his head. “You hit your head pretty hard on a rock before you...”–winces at the word drowned–“I-it’s gonna hurt a while.”

 

Taehyung sighs, licking his lips and realizing how uncomfortably dry his throat was. Jeongguk was quick to notice this and gently places the cup in Taehyung’s hand.

 

He looks at Jeongguk pitifully for his support because his fingers feel real fucking stiff. Luckily, Jeongguk holds his hand steadily when he presses the cup to his lips to avoid any mess.

 

Placing the cup on the wooden tray, he turns to Taehyung. The bags under his eyes make Taehyung feel awful. 

 

”Do you need anything? I should probably get the nurse... hey...” Jeongguk doesn’t finish when he sees Taehyung sniffle.

 

He tried to leave him, he's so fucking selfish that he tried to leave the boy who actually loves him so much. Nothing hurts more than losing the one you love, and here Taehyung was almost making them both star-crossed lovers. 

 

Jeongguk holds his hand again, eyes pleading, “Tae, love, what’s wrong? Talk to me... please.”

 

Taehyung looks up at him, tears pouring out, “I’m so... sorry Jeonggukkie... I—,”

 

Jeongguk expectedly shushes him, “Don’t apologize for that, please...”

 

It really bothers Taehyung. He has so much to explain right now, and he’s going to. He scoots over a bit before patting the open space next to him. Jeongguk crawls by his side, caught off guard when Taehyung rests his head on his on his chest and holds his hand tighter.

 

He feels Jeongguk’s stare practically burning a hole in his head as he gets comfortable.

 

“Tae, I need to call a nurse he—,” Taehyung stops him, shaking his head.

 

”I want to talk first. No nurses, please.” he insists and Jeongguk complies easily relaxing back against the pillow with Taehyung still on his chest.

 

For a minute, Taehyung takes his time to gather up what he wants to say because there are not enough words in the human vocabulary for him to say what he wants to say to Jeongguk, but looking into those big brown eyes everyday made him realize that he knows any amount of words he says, will satisfy him.

 

”I don’t—,I don’t, uh, blame you,” he starts, not looking Jeongguk in the face. “If you want to leave... I don’t blame you.”

 

Jeongguk buries his head in Taehyung’s (in need of a shower) hair shaking his head, “Never...How could I?”

 

But he did?

 

Taehyung’s heart clenches at that. What did he do to deserve a man like that?

 

“Then... do you hate me?” asks Taehyung instead. His nerves are skyrocketing, and he’s sure his heart rate shows just how stressed out he feels.

 

Jeongguk takes a hesitant pause before answering, “Never. I just... I almost lost you and that, that scares me.”

 

”I know,” he replies understanding. “I scared myself.” 

 

”I thought you were dead, I-I thought you’d die in front of my eyes a while ago,” Jeongguk adds sadly. “Your heart kept giving up, it wouldn’t—,”

 

”Jeonggukkie—,” he tries feeling his eyes water and that boy who’s desperately clinging to him. 

 

”I’m sorry I couldn’t save your life.” and that does something to Taehyung. It sets off a painful squeeze to his heart and he isn’t going to let Jeongguk put the blame on him. He sits up slowly before turning to face Jeongguk.

 

“You,” he begins. “You didn’t do anything wrong. Jeonggukkie listens to me... I know what I did... it wasn’t okay... I was being selfish Jeonggukkie,” he says sadly. “I didn’t—, I didn’t realize the happiness and loved I have surrounding me.”

 

“Gosh... Taehyung you’re so loved you don’t even know,” he promises. He proceeds to lay him back down and wrapping his arms around him. Taehyung doesn't realize how much he liked the idea of Jeongguk holding him until now.

 

”Jeonggukkie,” Taehyung replies gaining confidence in his voice. “You don’t know how much I love you, do you? I remember trying to say it on the phone, but I love you."

 

Jeongguk’s eyes widen, looking down at him, eyes already wet from tears, “W-What?”

 

”I said, you don’t know how much I love you, do you?” repeats Taehyung and Jeongguk can do nothing but stare and slightly shake his head.

 

”You... you love me?” he asks dumbfounded. “W-Why did you... why?”

 

Taehyung sighs wincing a little, “I-I fight with my demons everyday Jeonggukkie. I just thought maybe—, maybe me leaving I’d free myself and you. I hate myself Kookie...”

 

He couldn't free his mother.

 

“Tae... Free me from what?” he asks squeezing him a bit.

 

“I don’t deserve you is what I mean. I don’t deserve the love you give me, the love anyone gave me, and I definitely did not deserve that speech you gave me while I was unconscious.”

 

Jeongguk blushes looking away this time, “You heard that?”

 

It was real, he thinks. Life is a mystery waiting to be solved, and he’s a firm believer of that.

 

”Every word,” He admits patting his hand. “I just couldn’t handle it anymore, and it was so wrong of me. So, so, so wrong of me to do that to you because I know what it’s like leaving someone you love me and being left by someone you love. I wasn’t grateful and I’m so sorry.”

 

Jeongguk looks down at Taehyung, lips twitching in a smile.

 

“You were never going to get away from me anyway,” he promises to poke his nose. Taehyung giggles at the gesture and shakes his head.

 

They sit in silence again for a few seconds before Taehyung sits up again, despite Jeongguk’s protest.

 

”One more thing,” he says turning to face him eye to eye. “You did save my life.”

 

Jeongguk tilts his head to the side, but before he can ask how, Taehyung’s kissing him.

 

He’s kissing him softly and letting the touch linger there. There are no fireworks in the background, or people applauding. It’s just him and Jeongguk.

 

He feels more alive than ever imaginable when Jeongguk was around, and this was a prime example. Kissing him, was like him being brought back to life all over again. He feels the pieces of his broken heart fall back together as he lays his hand on Jeongguk's cheek. The older presses his hand on the back of his neck to deepen it before he pulls away slowly, breath hot against Jeongguk’s. They stare into each other’s eyes as if it’s the first time they’ve met.

 

"I wasn't.. um.. expecting that?” Jeongguk gasps, smile wider than the sun. Taehyung chuckles before looking down at their intertwined hands.

 

“I go through battles with my mind everyday Kookie—,as I said before—,and I’m so sorry for trying to leave you when I was so worried you’d leave me because that was the last thing I ever wanted... I wanted a world where I felt no pain, not a world where I didn’t have you... a world where I couldn’t tell you that I love you.”

 

Jeongguk cuts him off with a kiss again, this time a bit harder. He lets his hands cup Taehyung’s face this time, just as gently. Kissing Jeongguk was easily going to become Taehyung favorite thing.

 

“G-God, I’m usually the sappy one,” he huffs emotionally. Taehyung smiles at him, genuinely this time.

 

“I want to get better Jeonggukkie and I know I can with you by my side,” he promises.

 

The smile on Jeongguk’s face extends at least two inches as he throws his arms around Taehyung again, this time much more gentle. When he pulls away Taehyung realizes he’s crying again, “Guk! Why are—,”

 

”I-I’m so happy,” he interrupts, resting his forehead on Taehyung's. He feels Jeongguk's breathing become heavier. “But please, don’t ever do that again.”

 

“I won’t,” he promises. This time he means it. He knows things won’t be better right off the bat, but he does know that it’s possible with Jeongguk by his side.

 

“I won’t go through that hell, and you won’t either,” Jeongguk replies pressing a kiss to temple. 

Their moment is interrupted by a knock at the door. Taehyung looks up to see a very familiar face walk in. The boy in front of the couple is in blue scrubs and a white lab coat, eyes bright and smile wide.

 

“Ah, Mr. Kim! You’re awake!” he greets checking his charts. He‘s almost certain he knows that voice.

 

Correction, he does know that voice. He comes to the conclusion life really does work in mysterious ways, and nothing really happens coincidentally.

 

Because that’s no one other than—;

 

”Haneul-San,” he says words slipping out of his mouth, and Taehyung doesn’t miss how Jeongguk eyebrows raise in curiosity.

 

The Doctor turns around, smile still plastered on his face, “Yes?”

 

“You two know each other?” Jeongguk asks, looking between the two, a pang if jealous knotting in his chest.

 

Taehyung opens his mouth to say something but instantly closes it instead. He’s going to sound like a psychopath if he says, Oh! I met him in another universe and he had wings and brought me back to life! But luckily, Haneul has an inexplicable gift of saving the day.

 

“As a matter of fact, we do,” Haneul says casually examining the monitor before turning towards the couple. “I met him at the bridge a couple nights ago, poor guy was a struggle to keep alive in that ambulance but he kept fighting.”

 

Taehyung looks at Haneul in shock, mouth wide open because what the fuck. Haneul offers him a wink before picking up his clipboard.

 

Taehyung cannot help but smile, when Jeongguk narrows his eyes at the doctor protectively.

 

“You’ll be here a few more nights to make sure things go smooth, get you on some meds for the pain, and then you’re free to go home,” Haneul explains. “Also, I’m leaving you a list of resources and psychologist numbers for you to consult with”

 

Taehyung wants to roll his eyes at that because he hates therapy.

 

”I’ll be back in a little while with your nurse, use this time to catch up but ring us if you need anything until then,” he says leaving the two in their room. He looks over at Jeongguk who is watching him closely at his every move. Taehyung laughs when he leaves, startling Jeongguk who nearly falls off the bed.

 

”Are you jealous of a doctor?” Taehyung asks once the door shuts. Jeongguk crosses his arms over his chest. 

 

”Maybe,” he says. Taehyung eyes him suspiciously, what a dork.

 

Jeongguk is already complaining before Taehyung can utter a word, “What! No one should wink at you like that! Especially a—,”

 

He kisses him again and Taehyung feels like he’ll be doing this a lot to shut Jeongguk up.

 

“Only you, huh?” he teases and Jeongguk nods kissing back.

 

“Only me,” he repeats, bumping their noses together.

 

Suddenly, he pulls away when he remembers something. Jimin, Yoongi, Namjoon, and Hoseok are out there. More importantly, Jimin was out there.

 

Noticing the change of mood,“What’s wrong?”

 

Jeongguk quickly wants to pull all the way away, but Taehyung shakes his head, curling his hands around to his arm to keep him there.

 

”Jimin... is he?” he trails off looking up at Jeongguk.

 

”He is, and he’s very worried about you. Yoongi, Hoseok, and Namjoon too.” Taehyung sighs, because one, he’s actually really happy Jimin’s still in the waiting room, and two, he’s also really worried about what’s going to happen. It’s better to face it now than never, “I think, I think I want to see them.”

 

”Are you sure?” Jeongguk questions seriously. “There’s absolutely no rush.”

 

“I’m sure Guk,” he promises. Jeongguk’s nods leaving a kiss on his forehead before slowly untangling himself from Taehyung, who quietly whines at the loss.

 

”I’ll go get them, hang tight love.” Undoubtedly, Jeongguk does not miss the blush that crept on Taehyung’s already red cheeks, but that’s not too important right now to debate.

 

He’s spent the past month questioning why Jimin had begun to avoid him, ignore his calls, ditch him without any explanation. Now, he was going to get some answers. He‘s also sure that Yoongi was not happy with seeing his boyfriends nose broken. Nonetheless, Taehyung has a lot to face and fix in his life.

 

Click.

 

He jerks his head towards the door, a bit too fast, and he’s he’s met with a not so good looking Park Jimin standing hesitantly in the door frame, not sure if he should go any farther.

 

He decides that’s a good way to start.

Chapter Text

Revised: May 16, 2018

 

+.-.+

”I can't cut out a piece of cloth and make a lovely dress, but I can mend tears in shirts and sew on buttons.“

Joanna Lumley

 

The atmosphere felt a lot tense with just Taehyung and Jimin in the same room together.

 

And it’s not because Taehyung is staring at the man whose nose he fucking broke and bruised up a bit, it’s because there are so many unspoken words that need to said. The problem is, who will be the first to speak.

 

Jimin looks at him blankly, expression unreadable, he slowly walks through the door frame and into the room before he stops.

 

He has on a forest green baggy sweatshirt covering his tight black jeans that are topped with black converse.

 

Physically, you’d think he was fine with how he was dressed but looking into his eyes you will find a different story.

 

Taehyung is a firm believer that the human eyes tell a story.

 

When looking into the eyes of another, you’re looking into a life only they have witnessed with their own eyes, they hold a story you’ve never been able to read before. All Taehyung wants to do is know his story.

 

May I?” he asks shyly stepping into the room. He points to the chair beside his bed. Taehyung nods hesitantly as he wraps himself under his blankets and props his pillow up so he‘ll still be sitting face to face with him. They don't say anything for a while again until a minute later when Jimin takes a deep breath. Taehyung watches as he turns to face him more, and that’s when he catches a tear slipping down his cheekbone.

 

“A-Are you okay?” he whispers, quickly wiping away his tear.

 

Is he okay? He’s alive, he’s breathing, but he knows he isn’t one hundred percent okay yet. Physically he’s fine, but mentally he has worked.

 

”Physically, yes,” he answers eyes not meeting Jimin’s. Taehyung can hear the shaky breaths escape his lips as he sits crisscrossed on the navy blue chair.

 

“I’m so glad—,” he pauses, knee bouncing anxiously up and down. “so glad you’re alive... Tae...”

 

Taehyung doesn’t say anything, but he finally meets Jimin’s eyes. He’s tired and it’s painfully obvious with the dark red circles under his eyes from crying and lacking sleep. His nose is bandaged but purple bruises are scattered about his face, courtesy to Taehyung.

 

Jimin wipes at his face, showing a few fresh cuts littered on his arms and Taehyung stops breathing when he lays eyes on them. He wants to ask, but he doesn’t. He wants to hear what Jimin has to say.

 

“I owe you an apology, but I don’t owe you an excuse, you deserve better than an excuse.” Jimin voices.

 

Taehyung does deserve better, he knows that. He didn’t deserve to be ignored by someone who’s supposed to be his best friend, no one does especially when they're crying for help.

 

”Where do I start?” he asks rhetorically, but Taehyung decides to give him a hard time.

 

”The beginning, I would hope Jimin,” Taehyung says with too much attitude layered in his voice. Jimin winces a bit.

 

”Right,” he begins rubbing his sweaty palms on his black jeans. “The beginning—, okay, uh, I met Yoongi a while before I introduced him to you as you know.

 

Taehyung still remembers that, and he still remembers not getting a proper explanation as to why he was kept in the dark too long.

 

“Um, around that time, I had found out that my grandpa, he had dementia.”

 

Taehyung frowns at that, Grandpa Park as they used to call him when they were younger, was Jimin’s favorite person. He always baked him and Taehyung cookies, cleaned his bicycle wounds, sometimes he’d dance with Jimin. He starts to feel a pang of guilt for not checking in on Jimin, but then he remembers the majority of the time Jimin was the one who ignored his calls not the other way around.

 

”I... I started separating myself a lot,” he begins. “I started separating myself because I felt lost and scared? Scared that everyone around me would disappear out of thin air. I developed that train of thought and it followed me everywhere. I convinced myself that people would disappear like bubbles.”

 

Taehyung knows that feeling all too well, and it makes him not want to even be mad at Jimin. Though the logic of that, ninety-nine percent of the time we push people away in fear of being alone and hurt, we’re just as alone as before.

 

”So, I got myself into some trouble,” Taehyung immediately can tell that the trouble he got himself into was serious by the change of voice.

 

He would know.

 

“I went into an alley one night, don’t know what I was looking for... maybe some danger? But I met a guy who gave me a chance to end my misery. I started popping pills, smoking cigarettes.” Jimin reveals, scoffing at his stupidity.

 

Taehyung feels his hands shake at the thought of cigarettes he remembers the faint smell of his father’s constant smoking habits in the house. He never smoked outside, it was only inside like he wanted him to smell it. He can’t think about that right now, now it was Jimin’s turn to lay the cards down on the table.

 

But the fact that Jimin pushed himself to do all of that stuff really breaks his heart. He could have died. 

 

”It wouldn’t stop the pain Tae, no matter how many pills I took or how many cigarettes I smoked...” Jimin whispers brokenly. He doesn’t make eye contact with Taehyung, and it’s because he’s so fucking ashamed. “I-I was so broken, a-and lost...”

 

”Why didn’t you come to me then? Why did you have to push me away?” asks Taehyung finally. Jimin looks up quickly like he’s seen a ghost like he had been dreading to answer that question.

 

”I–Tae—, you had gone through that stuff, and I thought you were doing so good maybe I shouldn’t bring it up... and then with grampa...”

 

”Jimin, I lived it, you could have come to talk to me... but then again I don’t blame you,” he responds miserably. He knows he wasn’t the easiest person to talk to, especially these past few months with his depression becoming significantly worse.

 

”Tae—,” he tries to protest, frowning.

 

”I know.” he interrupts instead. “I know you’re gonna say don’t blame yourself, you sound like my old therapist, just continue the story.”

 

Jimin nods, and despite all they have gone through in the past month, Taehyung can tell just how cold he’s been to Jimin while he’s talked to him. The way he flinches, chooses his words correctly, Taehyung intimidates him?

 

When it should not be like that, not in the least bit.

 

“Then, I went into the coffee shop one morning. I had just bought my next dosage of pills...” he explains, letting out a sigh. “I had just bought my pills and that’s where I met Yoongi.”

 

”Yoongi ran into me, literally, and he made me drop my pills, he also got coffee all over me,” he says laughing a little, but it’s a painful laugh.

 

Taehyung often wonders what life would be like if he had chosen a different path. He wonders that for everyone. For example, what if Yoongi and Jimin didn’t meet? Where would Yoongi be? Would Jimin even be here?”

 

“He went to pick them up, to apologize also, and he looked... for a stranger... so disappointed. He asked me about the pills, and I couldn’t lie.”

 

”He ended up telling me I didn’t need those things, and that even if I didn’t know him we could grab a drink and talk. So we did, we talked for hours.” Jimin says, smiling at the memory.

 

Yoongi always bragged to Jeongguk about how proud he was of Jimin, and for the longest time Jeongguk couldn’t figure out what was going on. Taehyung could remember just how frustrated he was over that.

 

“I didn’t tell you about him at first, because I was having to accept it myself,” he explains. “I was finally accepting that Yoongi wasn’t going anywhere and that him being in my life... he wasn’t going to go anywhere.”

 

Taehyung can tell just how much Jimin really likes Yoongi, it’s sickly cute. He’s talking about him the way he talks about Jeongguk, and it makes him wonder, does he love Yoongi yet?

 

“But those hours of talking turned into days, those days turned into weeks, and then came a month. I had become so wrapped up... so infatuated with this boy,” Jimin sighs sadly. “I-I pushed away my best friend.”

 

“Jiminie—,”

 

”Taehyung... I fell in love with Yoongi... I wanted to be by him so much because I was so scared that he’d disappear like Grandpa.” he admits.

 

”Jimin... did he pass away?” whispers Taehyung, afraid to ask. It takes a few seconds, but Jimin nods.

 

“H-He died in his sleep, not even—, fuck not even a month after I had found out... I was thoroughly convinced people were going to disappear right in front of me, even Yoongi. I tried to leave him.” Jimin explains crying out all of the tears.

 

“But Yoongi... someone I rely so much on, I don’t know why but I relied so much on him maybe because I fancy him, maybe because he’s my boyfriend... but he was there and he wouldn’t let me leave,” he adds. “But when I saw you the other day having an episode... I knew I messed up. I was so angry at myself.”

 

Taehyung scoffs at that, because what the actual fuck?

 

”If you knew you messed up, then why were you such a dick to me the other day while I was having an episode?” Taehyung asks, biting back the much harsher words. “You know how those hurt me.”

 

Jimin winces at the memory. His mouth gaping, “I was so caught up in my own thoughts, I had thought you stopped trying with me not the other way around.”

 

”I’m not a verbal punching bag,” he objects bitterly, and Jimin knows that but he used him as one anyway.

 

“I know...” he whispers pitifully. “I deserved the broken nose.

 

Taehyung shakes his head in frustration. No, he never wanted to stop trying when it came to Jimin. That was his best friend who stopped by and made every suicide attempt fail. From day one. 

 

“You’re an idiot,” he adds coldly. Jimin nods in agreement without no hesitation, at least he knows.

 

”I know,” he replies. “B-But Tae, I thought—, fuck, I thought I was too late... I got the call from Jeongguk.”

 

Taehyung wonders what it was like for Jimin receiving that call. Did he blame himself? Did he run to get to him? Did he sit there? Did he cry? How long did he cry?

 

”It was all of my fault Taehyung,” he whispers letting out a strangled sob. “I-I’m so sorry, fuck, I’m so sorry—,”

 

Suddenly the anger that was once bursting through Taehyung’s veins like a volcano suddenly disappeared. He to familiar with the term “self-blame”, he had always found a way to blame himself for something even if it didn’t completely involve him. There was always a way Taehyung felt obligated to take the blame.

 

He hears Haneul’s voice speak in his head like an answering machine repeating a message.

 

”Do you still believe that Jimin does not care about you? Becuase listen to me, that boy is in the waiting room contemplating suicide right now because he feels guilty. He feels damn guilty. He’s been hiding for a reason Taehyung.”

 

Now he realizes, just like he had carelessly pushed people away despite their hurt and pain, Jimin was doing the same thing. Taehyung finally understands what it’s like to be pushed away, and he doesn’t like it.

 

He also realizes when one is going through a hard time and they’re finally able to confide in you, it should mean the world and it does.

 

Jimin being able to finally come to him despite the vulgar words they had exchanged the other day and the toxicity of their friendship with leading each other on, contemplating suicide, and pushing each other away.

 

Taehyung finally shakes his head holding onto Jimin’s hand making him jump at the contact.

 

“No Jiminie, no. It wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own.”

 

Jimin eyes snap open quickly, eyes swimming with fear and sadness. A month ago Taehyung would have loved to see Jimin upset with himself, but now he realized he didn’t want that. He didn’t want any of this.

 

But life slapped him across the face and handed it to him anyway.

 

“But I—no—,” but Taehyung’s already interrupting him with a soft shh.

 

”Jimin, you can’t blame yourself for my struggles.” Taehyung corrects. “I’m not saying you not being there... didn’t make it any easier but... I’ve been fighting for a long time. I just—, it’s hard to keep going when you think the entire world is against you.”

 

Taehyung usually doesn’t talk about this type of stuff with Jimin, he can’t remember the last time he had sat down and told him in depth about his suicidal thoughts and mental health problems.

 

In the past, it was usually not talked about. When it was talked about, it was quickly locked in a box and the key was lost.

 

Maybe though that was the problem. The problem in this world is that there are pity, sincerity, and prayers but no one does anything. Problems aren’t solved or talked about, they disappear like people every day. Maybe if Taehyung had faced it when he was younger and didn’t try to brush it off he wouldn’t be where he was.

 

But now, he’s finally being forced to face it.

 

Jimin gives his hand a little squeeze, “The whole world isn’t against you, Tae..”

 

”Sometimes, I question that statement.” he scoffs, looking at the ceiling tile above him. “I have an oxygen tube right now.”

 

Jimin gives his neck a poo before grabbing a tissue  on the night stand, “You’re alive, but we all do, but it’s life. Everything is questioned, but nothing is done,” 

 

They sit in silence again, but this time it’s less tense and it’s comfortable. There’s not nearly as much anticipation and anger as there was earlier. The ice had melted and washed away.

 

”Jiminie?” Taehyung whispers. Jimin turns his head to meet his best friends eyes.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“I can’t promise you that you and I will go back to being the way we used to... you hurt me badly,” he begins watching Jimin’s face fall in understatement.

 

“I know, Taehyung.”

 

“But with time, we can work it out, just... just give me time, yeah? Work on you, work on me?”

 

Jimin offers him a small smile, “Thank you. I don’t deserve that but thank you, I’m just one call away okay?”

 

Taehyung knows he isn’t a call away, but he knows Jimin can easily become a call away when he sorts himself together.

 

“So, Tae, if it’s not too early to ask... can I know what’s going on with you and Jeongguk?” Jimin smirks sounding terribly hoarse from crying.

 

Taehyung bites his lip smiling.

 

Only time will heal.

 

 

+

 

 

Visiting hours went by fast for Taehyung. He was met with a very bipolar Yoongi, an emotional but sweet Hoseok, and a generous Namjoon who kept telling him if he needed anything to come talk to him.

 

If there’s anything Taehyung learned, it was that he has honestly really good friends. Their hearts are as big as the universe.

 

Yoongi, however, was a bit bitter-sweet. Maybe his heart was about the size of Pluto when it came to Taehyung.

 

After nearly threatening him that if he punched Jimin in the nose again; he can kiss goodbye his sense of smell, Jeongguk decided it was time for it to just be the two of them. Which Taehyung could happily agree that was the best decision Jeongguk had ever made.

 

He has to admit though, a possessive Jeongguk is a sexy Jeongguk.

 

Though “Possessive Jeongguk” turned to “Questioning Jeongguk” when they all left, demanding to know if things went okay with him and Jimin. He had to reassure him at least three times he was okay.

 

Afterward, he spent the rest of his day napping while Jeongguk had errands to run and a little bit of time to catch up on at the Crisis Center.

 

Now it’s just the two of them, it’s the middle of the evening now and Taehyung is hungry, he’s also craving ramen noodles oddly enough but he guesses that can wait.

 

Jeongguk is setting up Taehyung’s “Get Well Soon!” gifts against the wall of their room, which courtesy to Hoseok and his obsession with tulip’s, Taehyung had about a dozen thing of flowers and a stuffed teddy bear. Jeongguk was happily lining them up neatly, and Taehyung couldn’t help but smile.

 

To think, he tried to leave someone like that.

 

He could never forgive himself for nearly destroying such an amazing boy because of his own struggles, he took someone amazing for granted. He vowed to never do that again.

 

Even if it physically tore him apart and badgered him each day, there’s no way he could leave that boy behind.

 

“Jeonggukkie?” Taehyung calls out, voice cracking painfully loudly. “Can you come sit with me please?”

 

Jeongguk looks up from his work of organizing the hospital room as if it were a hotel and nods quickly. He waits for Taehyung to scoot over in his decently sized bed before taking a seat and wrapping their legs together as they hold each other.

 

Taehyung, call him weird, has never smelt Jeongguk before but now that’s all he smells is Jeongguk. Strawberries and Vanilla, two of his favorite things.

 

Jeongguk presses a soft kiss on the crown of his head before snuggling them into the pillow. To say Taehyung wanted to stay like this forever was an understatement. He could stay like this forever.

 

”What’s up?” asks Jeongguk, narrowing his eyebrows together. “Do you need anything?”

 

He worries so much, he’s positive Jeongguk’s mind flies a million miles per minute when it comes to worrying about loved ones. When it comes to anyone, he’s too intelligent for his own good. 

 

”Just hold me, yeah?” Taehyung replies drawing hearts on Jeongguk’s chest. “Tell me a story.”

 

He feels his chest vibrate against his ear as he chuckles.

 

“A story?” he repeats tapping his nose. “A bedtime story for the baby?”

 

Taehyung smacks him lightly. He is definitely not a baby.

 

He may be Jeongguk’s though.

 

”Shut up and talk to me... I like hearing your voice,” he admits blushing a little. Jeongguk’s hold on him is nearly suffocating him with endearment, but he doesn’t care.

 

”How cute,” he mumbles under his breath. He thinks he says it more to himself than Taehyung. “What kind of story?”

 

”I told you Jeonggukkie a bedtime story! YOu are awful at listening! Aren’t you trained to do that?” he complains. An embarrassed Jeongguk nuzzles his face in Taehyung silver hair.

 

“I meant in requests you baby, quit being mean or I’ll suffocate you with hugs,” he grumbles nibbling at his earlobe. Taehyung does not flinch at the contact, and it feels nice.

 

He wants so badly to know where he and Jeongguk stand romantically. He knows they love each other, but question is, does Jeongguk want to be with him? What if he loves him so much, he lets him go?

 

The thought scares him but laying here with Jeongguk, he doesn’t care. He cherishes this moment.

 

“Fine, but you take forever.” Taehyung pouts.

 

“So bossy, but okay.” Jeongguk scoffs but the time in his voice is nothing but admiration.

 

”A few—,” he begins.

 

“Jeongguk, you didn’t say once upon a time.” he giggles and Jeongguk groans wrapping his arms around Taehyung’s shoulders.

 

“My bad princess,” he apologizes sarcastically and he isn’t sure how he feels about that pet name but nonetheless he relaxes much more into the hold.

 

“Once upon a time, there was was a beautiful princess,” he starts looking outside dramatically. “His eyes could be mistaken for the ocean, swimming with wonder, his hair grayer than a fork—,”

 

”A fork? You went from a metaphor about the ocean to a fork?” he snorts, but he stops talking when Jeongguk smacks him on the arm gently.

 

“His mouth wide as the Grand Canyon, his skin pale as snow, but his beauty shines brighter than any constellation in the sky. The princess was a ball of insecurities—,” he pauses a second massaging Taehyung’s scalp and threading a finger through his hair. “Thought of everything that made him a bad person. He hates himself even... But a prince, a handsome one at that, came riding on a white horse one day—,”

 

”I don’t remember you riding a white horse the day I met you Jeonggukkie,” he recalls.

 

You are so picky! Who said you were the princess!” he shrieks in mock offense, and Taehyung nearly doubles over from laughing. “What if I was the princess.”

 

Taehyung’s heart hurt a little. If Jeongguk was the princess of the story he would be hating himself, and he can’t do that. The boy who was caging him in his arms was practically perfect.

 

“Also, you met me through the phone, you don’t know what I was doing.” he corrects. “Now, quit interrupting! I’m telling a story!”

 

“Yes, sir.” He salutes.

 

“Anywho,” he begins clearing his throat again. “The prince who came riding on the white horse arrived, not anticipating how much the princess would change his life... the princess was too beautiful to cry, too good to feel bad, and most importantly the princess was too needed to be forgotten.”

 

Taehyung can feel the heat crawl on his skin. Jeongguk, the philosophical prince, had a way of words. It had Taehyung practically on his knees begging for mercy.

 

“The prince soon fell in love with the princess, completely infatuated by his beauty and a broken heart. He was determined to fix it... so determined he nearly cussed out an ambulance driver,” he whispers in his ear.

 

Taehyung gapes at him, thoroughly disappointed. Chanyeol was so nice, “Jeongguk! How dare you—,”

 

“Ah, ah.” he interrupts placing a finger on Taehyung’s lips. “Let me finish my bed time story princess.”

 

Jeongguk suddenly smiles a little before he begins to speak. They say yawning is contagious, but a smile like Jeongguk’s was even more contagious.

 

“The prince realized, he’d do anything for his princess. After all, he gave him the best gift he could ever ask for,” he explains.

 

“What’s that?”

 

“Purpose.” A fucking sap Jeon Jungkook is. A living, walking, talking fucking sap. Taehyung is blushing so hard right now he wants to bury himself in a hole of affection.

 

He must know how much he’s blushing because he quickly removes his fingers from Taehyung’s hair and begins playing with his rosy red cheeks. They sit like this for a while, Jeongguk stays clinging onto Taehyung like some stuffed animal. They didn’t realize how late it had gotten until the sun was nearly out of view.

 

Taehyung looks up at Jeongguk who’s starting to doze off, lips parted slightly as his eyelids grow heavy.

 

“Kookie,” he whispers nudging him to wake up. Jeongguk startles awake looking around him and then down at Taehyung, eyes softening.

 

“Yes, Tae?” Taehyung almost doesn’t understand him because of his mid-sentence yawn.

 

“Did the prince and princess get their happy endings?” he asks in curiosity. Jeongguk lets a small laugh escape his lips before nodding against Taehyung’s hair.

 

”Of course they did, they were both able to live to see it.” 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

+.-.+

“Dissociation leaves us disconnected from our memories, our identities, and our emotions. It breaks the trauma into digestible components, so those different aspects of the trauma get stored in different compartments in our brain. What happens as a result is that the information from the trauma becomes disorganized and we are not able to integrate these pieces into a coherent narrative and process trauma fully until, hopefully, we confront the trauma and triggers in a safe place.”
― Shahida Arabi

 

Within a week, Taehyung is discharged from the hospital which had begun to feel like another home to him.

 

He and Jeongguk had made a daily routine in the week and a half he had been there; wake up, eat, talk, sleep, wake up, eat, talk, and repeat. Taehyung felt extremely comfortable with that routine. It distracted him from things like the demons crawling inside of his head, past memories which had been making him uncomfortable for a while, and the fact he was going to have to start therapy as soon as he gets out. He wasn't exactly a fan of therapy as he expressed many, many, times. No one seemed to get that, but he only assumes it's because he's being kept under heavy suicide watch and everything he's saying is being taken extremely serious.

 

He can't really hide it anymore. He's fragile right now, and he hates it. Hates it with a burning passion. 

 

Right now, Taehyung and Jeongguk were driving to Taehyung's first therapy session. It was, to say the least, considering the last time he had been to therapy was when he was seventeen and dating Seokjin.

 

He wonders how he was doing at the moment. It’s been many years obviously, but they had dropped contact fast (reasonably so). Taehyung remembers dumping his cheating ass, the power he felt for a day.

 

Until of course, the sense of loneliness kicked in and there Taehyung stayed. Trapped.

 

It's crazy to him how much time has changed in such a short period, now he was driving to his first therapy session in five years with Jeongguk and for once he felt motivated to go despite hating it as much. The difference between loving Jeongguk and Seokjin? Seokjin motivated him to try when he wasn’t cheating on him, sure, but Jeongguk motivated him to live and let himself be loved because he loved him. To Taehyung, that was extremely important to him considering he felt no self-love for himself and Jeongguk was the first person he had managed to fall in love within those five years since his relationship with Seokjin. Was he scared? Of course. Being in a relationship wasn't fear-free, insecurities crawled left and right, rather he was in a romantic relationship or not.

 

He doesn’t see himself as a lovable person most of the time. He chooses to see a lot of the negativity that revolves around him, rather than the positive. Jeongguk believes Taehyung is a great person, he’s just misguided by a lot of his dark past that’s still catching up to him today.

 

Taehyung wants to believe that. He really does, but he doesn’t know how to. How does he believe something he was trained to think as a lie?

 

What’s also scary about his past, is it all comes out today. He tells his therapist everything and he’s not sure how he feels about that, he just knows it’ll make Jeongguk happy he’s starting off slow. Facing his past wasn’t as slow as it seems though.

 

He guesses he’ll find that out for sure in a few. Right now he’s standing face to face to a brown building. He has to squint his eyes to take a better look at because of the sun shining above.

 

Jeongguk is standing next to him, hands intertwined with his own as he stares down at his phone to check the location, “Here we are!”

 

Not meaning to be too sour, Taehyung rolls his eyes at that. It sounds like they’ve just arrived at a fancy hotel for just the two of them, but no, they’ve just arrived at a very antique building that Taehyung would be spending his weeks at.

 

It could be worse. He could be put in a hospital and have inpatient treatment, not being able to go home and all. He’d take this over leaving Jeongguk any day.

 

”Are you ready?” Jeongguk asks seriously. What choice does he have? He gives Jeongguk a hesitant nod before he’s being gently pulled into the building.

 

He doesn’t think he’ll ever get tired of Jeongguk’s hands in his. With Jeongguk he thinks he has the ability to do anything. However, he’s almost a bit worried that Jeongguk won’t ever ask him to be his boyfriend. He hasn’t because they’ve been busy right?

 

It takes only thirty seconds as they walk through the red wooden doors and Taehyung already wants to leave. He sees a middle-aged receptionist with the look of a bitch sitting on her chair in aggravation. She looks like she hates not only her job but her life. Her eyebrows are drawn on terribly, and her shirt is sagging so slow she’s exposing about half of her upper body.

 

This is why he’s gay.

 

Just behind her, there is a mother and a son (presumably at least), fighting with each other. The mother looks scared out of her mind as her son, who’s a head taller than her, gets in her face angrily. He wonders why nobody is doing anything about it? Do they not care?

 

Jeongguk notices Taehyung’s change of mood and lightly squeezes his hand in reassurance that he’s here.

 

Leaning into his ear, “That’s them babe, not you, don’t worry about anyone else but yourself while you’re in here today.”

 

It should comfort him, it does a little bit, but it’s not enough. He’s fucking scared to start this all over again.

 

Suddenly, his heart breaks a bit when he sees a mom, dad, and son walk into together holding hands. He’s never had that. He’s never been given the chance to heal with his family by his side. It sucks looking at a family, though broken, hold onto each for support. It’s jealousy, he thinks. It’s true jealousy because he wishes his mom and dad showed care like that when they were at least in his life still.

 

He hasn’t really given much thought to the day he left his family but he remembers it like it was yesterday.

 

Before he can think further, Jeongguk is tugging him to the desk.

 

“Name?” the lady asks a bit sourly. Taehyung knows what hating your life looks like and this woman definitely hates her life.

 

“Kim Taehyung,” he answers shakily, before Jeongguk almost answers. The lady raises what’s left of her eyebrow when she looks at his chart that he’s not completely sure how she already has.

 

He guesses it’s from the hospital.

 

The lady nods slowly motioning for them to sit down in the seat by her desk, “Mr. DaHyun Chun will be with you soon.”

 

Nodding and giving the woman a quiet thank you, the two walk over to take a seat. Jeongguk offers him to sit in his lap and Taehyung gapes at him in shock.

 

”Jeonggukkie!” he grits out, face flushing. 

 

“Quit being dense and sit on my lap you fool,” he whispers pulling him down on his thighs. Taehyung relaxes his face in the nape of Jeongguk’s neck and sighs. It’s times like this he wonders what exactly are they?

 

They’re lovers.

 

But they’re unofficial lovers, and maybe it was for the best right? Taehyung is too fucked up in the head right now to be good enough for Jeongguk... right? Sometimes he wishes there was a mute button in his brain. If there was he could silence all of the voices attacking him with harsh words. He could save himself the anxiety.

 

Jeongguk snakes an arm around Taehyung’s waist and lets it rest there gently, they fit together just like a puzzle piece.

 

“Tae,” he nudges noticing Taehyung dozing off. It’s not his fault really, he’s had a very eventful weekend courtesy to his justifiable actions.

 

Hey, no sleeping yet you big baby,” he teases poking his nose.

 

Your big baby,” he blurts out embarrassingly. Jeongguk chuckles and nods against his cheek.

 

“Yeah, my big baby,” he repeats and Taehyung doesn’t know what about that he likes the most, the pet name, or the ownership he felt. Jeongguk called him, his, and that made him feel so wanted.

 

“I’m so proud of you, Taehyung.” Jeongguk praises, rubbing up and down his shoulder. “You should be proud of yourself.”

 

Taehyung isn’t sure about that.

 

”I’m... I’m just going to talk to someone is that a big deal?” he asks shyly.

 

”Of course it is,” Jeongguk assures, shaking his head. “You’re facing your problems, most people don’t have the will to do so. You’re such a kick ass, and I’m proud of you.”

 

Someone is proud of you.

 

Jeongguk is proud of you.

 

“You’re really proud of me?” he repeats, liking how the words roll off of his tongue.

 

“More than you could ever imagine, my little warrior,” he reassures bopping his nose. Taehyung wants to kiss him right there.

 

But, that will have to wait.

 

“Kim Taehyung?” calls a voice, Jeongguk and Taehyung stand up slowly at the call of his name, and for the first time in Taehyung’s life, he’s staring at a therapist and not wanting to run away. He isn't sure if it's because he's grown up, or because there is someone behind him waiting on him for when he comes out. The thing is, that "someone" is proud of him, that someone wants him to live his life and grow, that someone, is enough for him.

 

That someone is Jeon Jungkook.

+

3 WEEKS

 

Life has a weird way of going through time.

 

Every passing second is a second you will never be able to get back. Each day we cling to time, either valuing it or wasting it like leftovers in the refrigerator. Valuing time is precious, and Taehyung had learned that time is limited. He's cherished so much in the past few weeks, he and Jeongguk took things a day a time, his therapy sessions were improving little by little. Also, Taehyung hasn't acted on a suicidal thought in a month which was a big improvement. He likes to think it's because he's getting stronger, but he fears it's just because Jeongguk's around. Either way, he's doing semi-decent.

 

However, the past is not a force to reckon with.

 

He's still battling with the past and long-term effects his parents had on him. Unresolved effects he should say. He told his therapist a little bit about his past but not too much into it. He doesn't know how to form the words.

 

Right now he's positive he needs to find the words because DaHyun is giving him those eyes that say; speak now you've run a long time. Which he agrees, don't get him wrong, but he still thinks he can outrun his past. It's possible, isn't it? He's gotten this far.

 

DaHyun is lighting tapping his fingers on the white couch that's questionably stained. He isn't annoyed with Taehyung, no, he's pushing Taehyung because he's played soft for a month. Taehyung knows it's going to have to come out.

 

Tick, tick, tick.

 

The only sound in the cinnamon-scented room is the clock hanging above Taehyung's head. He's stalling and he knows that. He also knows he can't stall forever, DaHyun will make him stay. He's very determined to nurse Taehyung back to health mentally. But if there's anything Taehyung has learned in the past two and a half months, it's that you cannot rely on someone to cure you mentally. It's all your doing, you fix yourself by letting yourself be fixed. You have the tools, not the person you rely on, they're the back spot to make sure you don't fall or get lost on the journey.

 

Taehyung takes a deep breath, it's now or never.

 

"Are you ready Taehyung?" asks DaHyun softly. Taehyung bites his lip, immediately feeling weak for tearing up already, but he has to be ready.

 

”Do I have a choice?” he ponders aloud. DaHyun clears his throat before taking a drink of water.

 

”Of course you do, but the sooner you get it out, the sooner I can help you cope with it?” he offers. “I want you to get better and facing the source of your problem will help you one hundred percent. Do you trust me?”

 

Taehyung does trust him. He’s been one of the greatest therapists he’s ever been put with.

 

“I do,” he answers truthfully. “I just—, this is new for me?”

 

DaHyun smiles at him, feeling extremely touched Taehyung trusts him finally. Taehyung knew from day one he was one of those stubborn-scared out of your mind cases that required a lot of time.

 

Now here he was. Facing his past.

 

”Understandably so, but when you’re ready, start from the beginning,” DaHyun suggests, folding his hands over his lap. 

 

Here goes nothing.

 

Taehyung thinks for a moment, thinks about where the shit show he’s in starting. He finds himself remembering his father demanding their little ‘encounter’ be kept a secret. Now, here he was, exposing their secret for the first time in years.

 

"I-I uh, that incident with my father..." he begins voice shaking as he recalls the night he was nearly choked into unconsciousness for finding out his father’s darkest secret. "It wasn't the last time he put his hands on me."

 

DaHyun's eyebrows shoot up to his forehead in interest, "I'm listening, take your time okay?"

 

He squeezes his eyes shut when he hears his father's agonizing voice in his head. When was the last time they had a conversation sober? He tries to hold onto the father he once had, the sober Mr. Kim. He wishes Jeongguk was here to hold him right now and tell him it was okay to keep going. Jeongguk makes everything better and Taehyung does not even depend on him too, he just does it by being there. The only reason Jeongguk wasn’t here is because he was at work, and honestly, Taehyung would much rather him be there than here.

 

“The...abuse—,” he pauses, looking around. He feels the words at the top of his tongue, desperately wishing Jeongguk was here.

 

But he’s not and Jeongguk can’t save him from everything no matter how hard he tries.

 

So, he takes a deep breath, “It started progressing a week and a half after I found out... after my mother found out...”

 

Revelation

2008

 

“Are you sure you don’t want to spend the night tonight?” Jimin asks, as he walks Taehyung up his driveway. It’s a particularly sunny day, a nice day to be outside. 

 

He shakes his head, smiling, “No, mama is home tonight. I want to see her.”

 

Jimin squints his eyes at him, “Taehyung you better be careful.”

 

“What do you mean?” he knows Jimin has seen the bruises on his wrist and scratches on his neck. There was no way he could have missed it, but Taehyung chooses to leave it at that until further explanation.

 

“You know what I mean, don’t be dumb,” he replies seriously, leaning his back against the railing of the porch.

 

“Minnie, I’m okay,” he promises patting his back to comfort him. He wasn’t exactly lying, but he wasn’t exactly telling the truth either. To be truthful, he and his father had shared too many warning glances when they passed each other in the house. He was scared shitless now that he knew what his father was capable.

 

“Tae, pinky promise me?” he begs worriedly. Taehyung sticks his pinky out for Jimin to take. Once he does, he gives Jimin a hug before sending him home after promising to call him later.

 

He goes to unlock his door but is surprised that it’s already opened. He speaks in slightly expecting a burglar to put a knife at his throat.

 

He looks through the house to see no one is home, he goes stair by stair checking room to room to make sure. Being much more assured, he goes to sit down on the kitchen chair. He pulls out the stupid math homework that he usually procrastinates to do at the very last minute.

 

Then his life gets a bit interesting after a while of doing math homework.

 

He wasn’t sure how he got in the middle of this, but if there was anything certain, it was that he wanted out of it right now. He’s sitting at the kitchen table in fear, terrified for his mother and father. His grip on his pencil so to tight that he can feel it begin to snap in the palm of his fingers. He’s not even angry, he’s just fucking scared. What he sees right now is going to really fuck him up in the future he knows it already.

 

There is a certain point in life in which a child loses their innocence. Rather it is sexually, physically, or mentally, their innocence is stripped away from them sometimes unfairly. Taehyung thinks this is about as unfair as it gets.

 

His father and mother are going at it like two ax-murderers. His father is dodging her punches and swings as she screams in his face, but just a while she was the one sitting there as he yelled in her face for not being a good enough wife. He blamed her for his affair! Keyword, his!

 

In all honesty, this pisses Taehyung off. His mother is a good person, hell, she loves his father. It is nowhere near her fault that the man in front of her can’t keep his dick in his trousers and out of another woman.

 

He wants so badly to go in there and interfere, but what can he do? He’s thirteen and he’s scared out of his mind, he isn’t even sure if his legs are working properly.  You see, a day can change the mood of a person. Taehyung’s day was going just fine, he came home from school hung out with Jimin, then came home to eat. Next thing he knows, there’s a loud slam of the door and in comes his parents cussing at each other.

 

He wanted to run into his room, maybe run out of the house but he physically couldn’t move. His anxiety was crawling throughout him like ants on an ant hill.  His mother was heartbroken, to say the least, despite the cussing and the angry vulgar words she was letting out, she was crying. She was so upset about this and Taehyung never wants to be cheated on like this, especially if it hurts a person this much.

 

”You don’t love me anymore don’t try that shit!” His mother screams slapping him in the face. Taehyung’s eyes widen as she relentlessly lays her hands on her husband. She finally stops once he’s wincing in pain. She turns towards him, before his hands grabs a hold of her wrist and stands up angrily.

 

”You can’t leave me like this!” he growls, looking at her with a fire in his eyes. A fire Taehyung could tell had been there for a while. “You stupid bitch you’re bound to me!”

 

“You should have thought about that before banging that stupid whore!” she cries slapping him again, this time earning a slap back.

 

Taehyung begins to cry, hands going over his eyes to shield the mess going on in front of his face. He should have never come home, he should have stayed with Jimin.

 

“Was she better than me?” she demands in disgust. Her black hair is wildly flying everywhere as she holds her now stinging cheek. “Did she give you a fucking family? Huh? Answer me you sick bastard!”

 

He doesn’t answer her. He just stares at her blankly, and it infuriates her more. She keeps screaming as if she’s talking to a wall. She knows she’s not going to get a response so why does she continue to scream? Can the neighbors here? Should Taehyung call the police?

 

He can’t. Can he?

 

He gets up quickly from the table to go grab the phone off of the charger to dial 119 but suddenly he is stopped in by a cold hand. He looks up to see his mother gripping his arm tightly. He looks behind her to see his father catching his breath on the floor as he spits out blood to the once white carpet.

 

“Don’t.” his mother grits out taking the phone out of his hand. "You lied to me!"

 

"Mama..." he whispers feeling the wind get knocked out of him. His vision blurs a little bit as he tries to apologize to his mother for not telling her. How could he? Was he scared?

 

“This, this is all of your fault.” she accuses falsely. Normally when your parent says something is your fault, it’s either a life lesson or you getting in trouble for not doing the dishes or something.

 

He’s not used to being accused of having a cheating father. He goes to open his mouth to say something, anything he can think of to make this better, but he’s silenced with a “No.”

 

Before he can act, the phone he once was holding is chucked at the kitchen cabinet. So much for calling 119 or Jimin, huh? He was fucked. "Those bruises were from...from him? Were they not?"

 

Taehyung looks behind her to see the cause of the bruises fading on his wrist. Would telling her to make a difference? She already hated him enough already it seemed for not telling her the truth about his father’s cheating scandal.

 

“Answer me damn it!” she seethes, shaking Taehyung by the shoulder.

 

“Yes,” he yells back letting the tears flow down his cheeks. He squeezes his eyes shut as his mother glues her eyes on her son. Her expression is blank, but inside her heart is bursting into flames.

 

“You fucking bastard,” she yells snapping Taehyung’s eyes open. “As if he wasn’t fucked up enough, you go and put your hands on him!”

 

Oh? There’s something wrong with him? The burn he feels is unlike anything he’s ever felt before in his life.

 

“Babe–,” he tries but he’s coughing instead at loss of breath. His mother shakes her head, and it baffles Taehyung how she hasn’t let out a single drop of tear.

 

“Don’t ‘babe’ me, you’re sick in the head, get out of my way and find a new fucking wife.” she grits out hoarsely, she shoves her so-called husband out of the way with the little strength she has left as she runs out of the house.  Taehyung stands by the counter crying. So much is happening and he can’t grasp his mind around it. His life was slipping through his fingertips like sand on a beach. He doesn’t know if she’s going to come back, or when she’ll come back and it scares him. He isn’t sure which one of them he’s more afraid of right now.

 

He looks up from the kitchen tiles to see the angry eyes of his father staring deeply into his. He’s stood up on wobbly legs and there’s a broken bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon wine in his hand that he hadn’t noticed before.

 

It’s his fault. All of his fault.

 

“You.” he snarls walking over to Taehyung. His instant reaction is to back up, he’s backing up all the way to the kitchen counter not sure how he’s going to get out of this. He’s gotten himself out of a lot of things in the past. For example in school when he almost got in detention, he managed to sweet talk his way out of it. However, he’s not sure how he’s going to get himself out of this one.

 

His father slams his fist into the marbled counter, making a loud impact that fills the room.

 

“We made a deal, did we not?” he asks venomously. Taehyung smells the cigarettes and alcohol instantly as he gets closer and closer in his face.

 

He seriously was drinking at a time like this? It angered Taehyung himself.

 

“Did we make a deal or not!?” he repeats louder and Taehyung sobs out a yes, covering his mouth to avoid his screams.

 

“You didn’t listen to me did you?” he asks rhetorically.

 

“I—, I—,”

 

“Words boy!” he demands.

 

“I just wanted to help eomma!” he sobs and suddenly he’s being tossed onto the floor, hitting his head on the counter. His father, if he can call him that, releases a kick to his abdomen. He coughs wildly clutching his side to avoid further damage.

 

He must sit like this for a while because when he looks up, his father is gone. It’s just him on the floor surrounded by spots of his own blood.

 

It’s all of your fault.

 

All of it.

 

You lied.

 

You deserve this.

 

Taehyung shakes his head and cuddles into himself like he did a week ago, this time no one was coming back to comfort him.

 

 

Taehyung doesn’t realize he’s done telling his story until he hears himself breathing heavy. His leg is bouncing up and down on the couch as he processes the memories that have flooded back to him like a waterfall.

 

He faintly hears DaHyun calling his name as his vision is blurring from the impact of the trauma he had experienced as a teenager.

 

“Taehyung?” he finally hears his voice. He looks up to meet much kinder eyes, much softer eyes who want to help him.

 

“Hey, you with me buddy? Everything is alright, I’m so proud of you for telling me all of that,” he says writing down a few notes on his paper.

 

“Everything doesn’t feel alright.” Taehyung whispers, loud enough for him to hear. 

 

He’s spacing out, mind feeling like it’s somewhere dark. Somewhere horrifying. 

 

“How come?” he asks, and Taehyung tries this thing Jeongguk always taught him. 

 

Focus on the sound of my voice. 

 

“I’m still broken—, I still feel... I feel...” he stutters, leg shaking quicker, he’s trying to grasp onto the voice in front of him.

 

“Feel him around you every day?” he finishes for him. Taehyung nods, that’s exactly how he feels. His father is like his shadow, dark, and follows him everywhere.

 

“I don’t know how to make him go away,” he expresses clenching his fists together. “He follows me around everywhere I go DaHyun, and I don’t know how to tell him to go away...”

 

“Where is he now?”

 

“Jail...” he mutters. “He’s in jail.”

 

He remembers exactly the day he was put in jail as if it was yesterday. Everything was going to shit that day and if he wasn’t mistaken, he could have sworn that he was going to die that day.

 

“Did you call the police?” he poses. Taehyung shakes his head, he didn’t.

 

But Jimin did.

 

“I didn’t respond for a few days,” he begins. “I wasn’t allowed to be on the phone or even go to school... my father had me on strict lockdown because I had been avoiding the house and claiming I had clubs.”

 

“Yeah? What did he do?”

 

Taehyung laughs sadly at the memory, “Locked me in my room. I was starved. If Jimin had not called the police I would have died, which I think was his intention.”

 

“Jimin called the police?”

 

“He did, he found out the abuse in depth... he wasted no time to call him once he seen the bruises progress. DaHyun they found me with many injuries, broken ribs, black eye, skull damage. Low malnourishment. I was losing my hair.” 

 

“Taehyung that’s—,”

 

”Fucking awful,” he finishes, blinking back tears. “But, when he was arrested on two counts of domestic abuse, he was sentenced to five years to life. They say he will die in there.” 

 

“That’s good though, isn’t it?” Taehyung hasn’t told anyone how he really feels about his father before. Not even Jimin knew how he felt about him.

 

“I don’t know,” he answers honestly.

 

”You don’t know?”

 

“I don’t know,” he repeats. “It’s as simple as that, he didn’t love me. He didn’t do anything but hurt me and it makes me so fucking jealous seeing people with decent fathers—, but mine... hates me... mine doesn’t even want me. Yet he’s everything I wanted to look up to...”

 

Taehyung feels his eyes water up at that. Though his father was a complete and utter ticking time bomb that was going to explode at any second, he still longed for that relationship to have. Not being wanted by your parents was the worst feeling in the entire world. They created you, they gave you life, they gave you a family. Yet the one thing they don’t give is their love and the ones who are lucky enough to feel that love, don't even know how lucky they are.

 

How could they not want him?

 

“Let me ask you something,” DaHyun speaks, looking up at Taehyung. “Do you blame yourself?”

 

”Do I blame myself?” he repeats and he feels he bites his lip down to avoid the tiny cries threatening to escape his mouth. “Of course I do, every day of my life.”

 

”Why?” he furrows his eyebrows. Taehyung thinks it's pity or confusion he's feeling right now. He can't be too sure because he isn't the one being the psychologist here.

 

”I could have told her sooner,” he whispers feeling his eye twitch at the regret. “I could have told someone... I could—, I could have maybe... saved us both... I-I, fuck... I could’ve saved our relationship at least, yet I couldn’t even do that.”

 

“It’s not your fault,” DaHyun promises, catching him off guard. Taehyung’s eyes widen, how is not? DaHyun is the first person to ever tell him that none of this is his fault. Of all the therapists he's been to, no one has defended him the way DaHyun has.

 

Noticing his shock, “You didn’t cheat on your mom, your dad cheated on her. You did not tell her because your father threatened your life if you spoke even a word to her about it. You did what you had to do Tae, he is the one who ruined everything Taehyung, not you. He let emotions take over and started acting like someone who does not deserve the title as your father. He never will.”

 

”W-Why do I still want him so bad then?” he asks shakily, and DaHyun doesn't look at him like he's crazy at all. He looks at him with sympathy and distraught as if he understands a little of what Taehyung means.

 

“You love him, and you spent your whole life as a teenager negatively attached to him, it’s only common,” he explains sticking the end of his pen in between his teeth. “But Taehyung, in order for you to get rid of that negative attachment, you need to let him go.”

 

Let him go?

 

”I’m scared to,” he admits. “Then I really won’t have a part of him to hold onto...”

 

He’s terrified to let go of the man he had wanted nothing more than love from. He wonders why it was so hard for his father to show any love or care like any man who has a child should. Isn't that the point of a family? To love one another, to protect one another, keep one another together? He comes from a broken family as he likes to call it.

 

He knows deep down that he will never get that love returned the way he wants to. He knows deep down what his father did to him was terrible, he knows every beating he took, and every word his mother said to him was not right. But what he doesn't know, this all isn't his fault. He doesn't want to accept the fact it isn't his fault because that's all he's been told his whole life. How does he stop telling himself that?

 

”You can’t hold onto someone like that Taehyung.” He knows he’s right. He knows he shouldn’t be holding to someone who doesn’t want anything to do with him but use him as a punching bag.

 

"You love him, don't you? You don't hate him at all for what he did to you, you hate him for what he did to your mother. I bet." DaHyun suggests after a moment of silence in the room.

 

"How can I hate him for what he did to me?" he shrugs. "He was once my everything, he was once the man I wanted to be."

 

"But now?" he urges.

 

"Now I don't even know who I want to be anymore." He sighs, letting his leg slowly come to a stop once his foot hits the carpet. DaHyun hasn't taken his eyes off of him since he told the story, he's starting to worry he's going to get kicked out or screamed at for semi-offending someone who caused him so much traumatic stress in his life.

 

"He's gone and now you're left with no one to look up to?"

 

"I guess... I don't know to be completely honest. He's a terrible man, and I don't look up to him for that." he responds. "But what I do look up to him for, was the love he had for my mother. I had never seen someone treat their significant other with so much love and adoration... I remember wanting to treat my future husband just like him. Until.. Until he broke my mother's heart."

 

"He broke your heart too," he reminds. Taehyung scoffs, thanks for the reminder buddy.

 

"You're very empathizing towards others." He notes sitting the pen on the table before folding his arms across his chest. "You put others before you a lot... Jeongguk says you do at least. I can't say he's wrong."

 

"Yeah?" he shrugs. He does put others before him, it's not a big deal at all. If it meant helping someone be happy before him, Taehyung was all for it. Fuck himself, he wasn't as important as the ones who smiled a broken smile. Ironically, ninety-nine percent of the time he was the one with the broken smile, who just wanted to fix everyone but himself.

 

"Yes." He answers. "I want you to tell me good times you've had with your father. I've heard enough negativity from him, I want to hear what your relationship was like before the affair, is that okay?

 

Taehyung lips twitch upwards as he lets out a tiny scoff. He had nearly blocked all of their good memories out of his brain when he saw him and the woman downstairs kissing. He chose to forget everything. You don't understand the power of a memory until it comes back to you.

 

 

Memories

 

"Papa! He squeals as he's being tossed up into the sky.

 

Backtrack for a second. He's not really being thrown into the sky, but he is being thrown in the air with his father catching him each time he falls. His large hands catch him like a basketball being thrown on the home court. Taehyung loves times like this, he loves feeling like he's flying in the sky. His imagination takes him places a kid would dream to experience.

 

Taehyung giggles as his father. puts him down on the ground and pinches his nose softly.

 

“Why did you stop?” he whines stomping his foot. His father laughs and shakes his head pinching his own nose.

 

”You stink kiddo! I think you need a shower.” he teases.

 

“I do not!” he complains.

 

“Hmm, how about we get you a hot shower? I know you love those...” he bribes. “I’ll even let you play with your rubber ducky.”

 

Taehyung squeals happy at that and bounces up and down.

 

”The first one to the shower gets the rubber ducky deal?” he challenges. Taehyung puts on a serious face, putting his hands on his hips and squints his eyebrows.

 

”Deal.” he accepts before bolting off into the house.

 

”You didn’t even give me a chance to run!” he hollers after him as Taehyung runs through the kitchen to take a cookie from his mother.

 

”Boys!” she laughs as her cookies go missing one by one. “Save room for supper! No running in the house either—, you could slip!”

 

She almost doesn’t finish her sentence when her husband runs by planting a kiss on her cheek and making her blush instantly.

 

”Honey! You are not helping!” she scolds, but she’s not even angry. Her voice is nothing but fondness towards her two boys.

 

Taehyung liked being their boy. He wouldn’t trade that life for the world. Even though he did slip and fall on his way to the shower, he still got not only the hot shower but the two greatest parents in the world.

 

He loved the weekends for two reasons and two reasons only. Reason one; his mother makes cookies and other desserts. Reason two; he got to play with his dad who was usually at work. He isn’t sure what he does, he just knows it’s a big word and a big title to carry around.

 

Later that night, they have dinner together. They eat, they laugh, they smile. It’s perfect.

 

Taehyung was taught perfect does not exist and that you can’t standard yourself to be perfect because perfect simply doesn’t exist. Taehyung likes to think otherwise. If there’s anything perfect in this world, it’s definitely his family. He’s so grateful they offer him a place to grow up, unconditional love and food, hugs and kisses. He wouldn’t trade that for money or anything.

 

He especially wouldn’t trade perfect moments like these for anything.

 

They're sitting together in Taehyung’s Iron Man themed room. His mother downstairs taking her own shower, and his father to the right of him by his lamp.

 

His father is reading him a bedtime story, something about sheep, he’s not really sure. He isn’t paying attention because he’s worried.

 

Something was brought to his attention while he was helping his mother clean dishes. Now, it’s really bothering him.

 

Before he can even process how to bring it up, the story is over and his father is asking how he liked it. He doesn’t expect his boy to look so upset but he looks completely torn.

 

“Tae are you okay bud?” his father asks worriedly placing his hands on his arms.

 

Taehyung shrugs, “Mommy said something to me.”

 

His eyebrows shoot up in interest, “Oh? What did she say?”

 

“You have to work more hours.” he sniffles, making grabby hands at him. 

 

Taehyung’s father sits up a bit straighter and strokes his son's hair in comfort. He’s on the verge of tears. He doesn’t want his daddy to leave him. This is their time together.

 

”She’s right bub, I do,” he says and Taehyung buries his face into his father’s bicep. His lips wobble sadly.

 

”You won’t be able to tuck me in at night,” he whispers sadly. His father tenses at that and sits him up straighter.

 

”Hey! No, who said that?” he demands. “I will always be here to tuck you in.”

 

”And read me bedtime stories?” he asks eyes hopeful. His father smiles brightly, white teeth flashing.

 

“Always bub,” he whispers kissing his nose and pinching his cheek.

 

”Pinky promise?” he questions insecurely. His father sticks his pinky out much like Jimin does when he’s promising him something.

 

Taehyung takes it and kisses their intertwined pinkies and giggles when his father crosses his eyes at him.

 

“Pinky promise... you know what?”

 

“What?”

 

“I’ll be here every night to watch you grow, hear about your day, talk to you, laugh with you. I’ll never leave you alone bub, you can always count on me to tell you goodnight and kiss you on the cheek,” he adds and Taehyung gives him the biggest hug he can manage before tucking himself under his sheets.

 

His father kisses him goodnight before walking away from the bed.

 

“I love you, papa,” he calls softly.

 

“I love you too Tae,” he responds and it’s the most sincere thing Taehyung has ever heard.

 

May I ask you another question?” DaHyun asks when Taehyung finishes his story. He focuses his attention back on this therapist before motioning him to continue.

 

“Is that why you’re so insecure about the word ‘I love you’?” he asks carefully.

 

Taehyung hadn’t thought of it that way at all. He had figured it was mainly because of the contribution of Seokjin cheating on him all of the time, not because his father broke his pinky promise and stopped saying ‘I love you’ back. It was the worst pain in the world to him when someone didn’t say that word back, especially when it was meaningful.

 

“Yeah, I think it is,” he answers playing with his thumbs.

 

“Did he keep his promise?” DaHyun wonders and Taehyung thinks he should know the answer to that by now. He’s known him a little over a month.

 

“No, he kept it for a while sure, but the more he worked the less I heard from him... he disappeared but came back all at once. He came back a changed man,” he recalls. He wishes his father had never changed, he loved their relationship and bond they shared.

 

He wanted to change that so bad, he could cry.

 

Suddenly an alarm on DaHyun’s phone goes off before he can respond to Taehyung.

 

“That’s all the time we have for today, thank you for sharing all of that with me,” DaHyun says standing up to stretch. Taehyung wants to cry so bad right now, he wants to go to the bathroom and ball his eyes out.

 

His past was right in front of his face it felt like. He was facing all of it at once.

 

“Hey, Tae,” DaHyun says signing his paper. “You are so strong for doing this. Are you getting better one step at a time okay? That man doesn’t deserve the big heart you hold. Whoever you got that warm heart of yours from, don’t let anyone change it to ice. You’re much better than that.”

 

“Thank you DaHyun,” he mumbles a bit quiet. He’s in a very bad mood now. He feels so small and lost now that he’s remembering all of that stuff and bringing it to the surface.

 

“See you next week okay? Remember our plan. Write when you feel a memory coming to you.” he reminds. Taehyung leaves before giving him a proper response. He just wants to go home and bury himself under his covers after he finishes crying in the bathroom.

 

He walks into the hallway quickly looking for the nearest bathroom he can find, once he has his eyes set on the brown door at the end of the hall, he runs quickly to get to it before anyone else can. His plan fails when he’s colliding face first into someone’s chest.

 

Call him weird, but he knows this place too well.

 

It’s Jeongguk.

 

Also, Fuck, he’s crying in front of Jeongguk now. Jeongguk laughs a little when he sees him colliding with him, it’s until he feels those tiny little sobs rack against his body, his laughter dies down.

 

“Hey Tae, how was—, Tae?” he asks worriedly standing him up straight. He sees tears pour out of his beautiful eyes and it breaks his heart. He had only ever heard him cry the day he had called the suicide hotline.

 

Hearing him cry was extremely different than seeing his boy cry.

 

“Baby are you okay?” he tries, even though he knows he isn’t. Taehyung lifts his hand up tiredly and places it gently on Jeongguk’s mouth, so gently, he could barely feel it there.

 

“Just hold me Kookie,” he demands softly burying his face into Jeongguk’s neck. He knows Jeongguk can feel the wetness of his tears smear on his collarbone. “Please.”

 

Without wasting a second, Jeongguk is holding him. He’s letting his strong arms cage Taehyung in tightly, but not tight enough to hurt him. He’s whispering sweet nothings to the boy who’s falling apart in his arms.

 

“It was all of my fault,” he cries, sniffling into Jeongguk’s shoulder. His hand instantly goes to Taehyung’s hair. 

 

“What—,”

 

”He started abusing us... I didn’t tell my mother sooner he was cheating Jeonggukkie,” he croaks, shaking his head trying to bury the past with an imaginary shovel. “H-He, I, I should have told her b-before it got worse, but I didn’t, I kept it inside—,”

 

“Tae, hey, baby,” Jeongguk tries, quickly pulling him into the restrooms. 

 

Taehyung rambles on, continually blaming himself for situations he had no control over, sticking up for his father or mother, wanting to do over the past.

 

So what does Jeongguk do?

 

He silences him with a kiss, a soft kiss that lingers for more than just a few seconds. He doesn’t stop until he gets his point across,

 

I’m not leaving you, let me comfort you.” 

 

”Jeongguk—,” Taehyung whispers, feeling the elders hot breath against his own. His own eyes are wildly searching for Jeongguk’s, which is ironic giving he’s right in front of him.

 

”Listen to me,” he begs, cupping Taehyung’s cheeks. So Taehyung complies, trying to calm himself down.

 

This, is not your fault Taehyung,” Jeongguk replies sternly, tilting Taehyung’s chin up. “He should burn in hell for that, I’m so glad you survived that—, what I would do without you is unimaginable—,”

 

”I had three broken ribs, black eyes, low malnourishment, broken ankle, and scars all over me,” he admits, letting the pieces come together. 

 

Jeongguk looks at him, eyes watering, “Tae—,”

 

”If Jimin... If Jimin hadn’t called the police, I would have died...” he finishes, letting himself breathe. “Dying scared me back then... why did I try—, I tried to leave you—,”

 

”Tae,” Jeongguk snaps, it’s not an angry tone, but gentle like he wants his attention. “You are a survivor, you’ve got to be the strongest person I know.”

 

”Why don’t I feel like it?” he sniffs, wiping his nose with his jacket. Jeongguk shakes his head, giving him a small smile. 

 

“Because, every warrior has their doubts and insecurities,” Jeongguk replies. “They’re strong because of that.”

 

Taehyung lets out a watery laugh, “You god damn human encyclopedia.”

 

Jeongguk pulls him into a hug, arms going around his waist immediately, “I don’t care what I am, as long as I’m yours.” 

 

“I’m so glad you’re alive Tae,” he whispers to him, and Taehyung thinks he’s glad to.

 

Chapter Text

+.-.+

"The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. That's what I hope to give you forever."

— The Notebook

 

DECEMBER 30, 2017

 

The first thing he realizes when he wakes up is simple.

 

Jeongguk is hogging the entire fucking bed.

 

How can he be mad though? When is his not-so-little boyfriend giving him space? He was used to it by now.

 

His legs are tangled all up on him and he's nearly suffocating Taehyung with the hold he has around his waist. It's captivating how peaceful he looks and how incredibly weird Taehyung looks just staring at him like he's a piece of meat.

 

How can you blame him? His nostrils are flaring as he breaths in and out of his nose, letting out tiny little snores.

 

Taehyung feels like he’s flying on rainbows.

 

It's not weird, no need to get acrimonious with him! He's in love, and he's also twenty-one years old day.

 

On this day twenty-one years ago, a boy named Kim Taehyung was brought into the world by two, stable, parents, at the time they fed him with love and kisses. It's really funny how his life no longer amounts to that statement.

 

He finds himself silently panicking as the reality of his birthday hits him. While Jeongguk lays on him, he realizes more things. One, he's officially legal. Two, he's officially fucked if Jeongguk forgets his birthday, he honestly might cry. When he was younger he was given pretentious birthday parties that consisted of Iron Man, Marvel, and a lot of fake friends he no longer remembers the names of. Each year was a new face, all except Jimin of course.

 

Now, instead of having Iron Man themed parties with superman costumes, he had his own Iron Man laying in his bed. Mittens too if you want to count her, but she’s nothing but a traitor.

 

It’s very clear she now loves Jeongguk more than Taehyung.

 

Stupid feline.

 

Taehyung squints his eyes at his alarm clock and groans. It’s eight-thirty in the morning and he’s having a mini anxiety attack about his birthday. Which to be honest, didn’t feel all too important to him. He’s just another year up in life, no big deal right?

 

He tries to not have a sour attitude, giving he’s actually lived to see twenty-one. Surprise there! He remembers many of his old psychiatrists had told him if he kept up with the suicidal tendencies, he wouldn’t live to see twenty one. 

 

Now here he is. 

 

After staring at the ceiling for a while, he slowly detangles himself from Jeongguk’s hold, careful not to wake him in the process, and puts his black jacket over his white shirt and sweatpants.

 

It’s always so damn cold in this apartment. He knows it’s not because he doesn’t pay electricity bills, it’s because his air conditioning and heating fucks up all of the time in the morning. Taehyung is not trying to spend money for a crappy electrician to come over, for his heating and cooling to just break all over again.

 

He drags his feet into the kitchen and yawns tiredly. He has to blink twice when he sees his kitchen because it’s definitely not how he left it last night.

 

There are green balloons tied to the counter drawers curtsey to his favorite color, a cake that’s decorated in white with “Happy Birthday My Baby!” in green. He sees a bouquet of white and red roses next to a visibility soft grey blanket. He honestly wants to cry. He wants to cry so bad, that the tears are already forming.

 

His hand shakily goes over his mouth as he tries to wrap his mind around all of this. 

 

He’s going to kill Jeongguk, and maybe if he’s lucky resurrect him then shower him with kisses. 

 

“Happy Birthday, my silly anxiety wormed boyfriend.” says a smug voice. Taehyung jumps unintentionally away from the voice. He turns to see a bright smile that’s wider than the universe.

 

He knows it’s a cocky, but Jeongguk is staring at him proudly, and it feels fucking great. 

 

Taehyung lets out a whine, definitely not stomping his feet like a child, “Hyung!”

 

That’s a first, oops

 

“What?” Jeongguk asks innocently, brushing off of the nickname. “Did you think I couldn’t feel you shaking in the bed?”

 

“Well—, I—, no?” Taehyung admits pouting. “Can you not notice something for once?”

 

”Don’t think I can,” Jeongguk answers, a lot more truthfully than expected. Sadly enough, Taehyung didn’t realize he was that anxious.

 

You see, as a teenager, Taehyung developed a habit of shaking his foot or bouncing his leg when he was nervous or felt anxious. In a way, it helped him shake off the anxiety, but it was really just a go-to habit. It happened a lot when the two spent the night with each other.

 

“You thought I was going to forget your birthday, didn’t you?” he smirks folding his arms across his chest. “Like it wasn’t important?”

 

“Uh, w-well...” before he can finish Jeongguk is taking off the lid to the cake and situating the candles before lighting them. Sometimes he underestimates how Jeongguk is always one step ahead of him in everything.

 

Once the candles are lit, Jeongguk is pulling Taehyung by his wrists and dragging him by the cake. He presses a soft kiss to Taehyung’s lips as he giggles a little bit at Jeongguk. He looks so proud of his work at throwing a mini surprise party for him.

 

“News flash, it’s the most important day of the year,” he finally finishes for him. “You have zero confidence in me.”

 

“Not true!” he protests, 

 

Shaking his head diligently he begins to count down, “Oh shut up and listen... three, two, one.” 

 

Then, Jeongguk is singing. He’s singing to Taehyung in a soft head voice that’s driving him crazy. It’s so beautiful and so effortless he could melt into a puddle of goo. He looks so happy singing to him and he’d do anything for that smile to stay on his beautiful face.

 

Once Jeongguk has finished twirling around and singing happy birthday to him, he goes quiet for a moment.

 

“Blow out the candles!” he shrieks, jumping up and down in excitement and Taehyung just melted at that happiness this boy shares with him.

 

He loves that Taehyung exists and he loves it so much, he’s willing to do all of this for his birthday. That makes Taehyung want to exist in every life he’s given. (Hey he’s a believer in reincarnation, don’t judge)

 

Taehyung leans over the counter and blows out all twenty-one candles Jeongguk has set up for him. He wishes for happiness with Jeongguk. Something he wants to cherish forever.

 

He wants to make him feel like he matters to the world. The day at the hospital, Taehyung realizes that he and Jeongguk are in the same boat. They both want to matter to the world. When really, they only matter to each other and that’s ten times better than what the world has to offer.

 

“You’re all grown up Taehyung.” he fake cries, wiping away his tears. “You’re not a baby anymore.”

 

“I can finally drink with you.” he brags happily, because fuck yeah he can do that now.

 

“Okay, you’re still a baby, so no.” he corrects, his demeanor changing. Taehyung swats at him.

 

“Jeonggukkie!” he complains. “Who else are you going to drink with?”

 

“Hoseok was my old drinking buddy, imagine that,” he chuckles. “But, I guess I can allow a few sips for you... maybe.”

 

“Thanks, dad,” he replies sticking his finger in the cake and smearing on Jeongguk’s nose.

 

“Excuse you!” he exclaims as the cold icing hits his nose. He looks at Taehyung devilishly and smears the icing on his face.

 

That’s when their first food fight starts.

 

Once Taehyung gets the cake icing out of his eyes he’s hauling Jeongguk face first into his very own cake.

 

“Taehyung!” he groans sitting up. He quickly chucks a piece of the cake at his lover. “I bought that for you!”

 

Oh, apples and oranges.

 

“Who says we can’t eat it still?” he asks barely dodging the piece. The boys break out into a food fight in Taehyung’s very own kitchen

 

They throw icing, cake, and other foods find their way into the madness. Mittens was covered in icing herself, and you can bet she wasn’t happy about it.Finally, Jeongguk surrenders and the boys look down at themselves. They’re covered in crumbs, icings, and chunks of food, yet they’ve never looked more alive and happy in their life.

 

Taehyunng likes to call it the power of laughter.

 

Or in other words, the power of Jeongguk.

+

 

 

It takes nearly two hours for the boys to clean not only themselves but Taehyung’s kitchen. Once their done Jeongguk is dragging him out of the apartment in a heartbeat, barely giving him time to catch his breath from all of the cleanings.

 

He’s extravagantly lazy and out of shape. Even though he wasn’t always like that, depression really hits you like a truck sometimes. Taehyung remembers all of the stuff he enjoyed before he was diagnosed with depression. Piano, reading, photography, basketball even. Piano, he still does but not nearly enough anymore. That was always his happiness but the sadder you get, the more sad songs you learn to play, the more sad songs you learn to play the sadder you get and suddenly piano didn’t make him happy anymore.

 

He would like to blame his parents for that one too, but in reality, he let himself break this far. He should have fixed himself years earlier, but asking for help? Not easy at all.

 

It’s funny how you can ask for help with a math question or something, but when it comes to mental and emotional struggle, the words don’t seem to form.

 

How many people ask what 2 + 2 is, but in reality, they want to ask for help? The world will never know because ninety-nine point nine percent of the time the world silences those voices.

 

Nonetheless, the two walk down the street hand in hand, ignoring the several judgmental looks coming from people around them. Taehyung loves these moments he experiences with Jeongguk, he feels no care in the world.

 

They’re on their way to Taehyung’s favorite restaurant down the street to celebrate his birthday. This will be the first time since Taehyung’s suicide attempt he’s really gotten to hang out with Jimin and Yoongi, whom he’s made partial amends with. Also, Hoseok, Namjoon, and he have become quite close in the past week or so, so he’s excited to see them.

 

Usually, his birthday is just a drag to the new year, but this year it felt different. He felt somewhat happy to be alive and celebrate his birth with people around him. People who cared.

 

Once they arrive at the restaurant, Jeongguk is pulling him in quickly. He’s more excited about Taehyung’s birthday than Taehyung himself. Who isn’t too thrilled himself. He’s just twenty-one, no big deal right?

 

He’s proven wrong the minute his eyes land on Hoseok.

 

“Taehyungie!” He practically screams bouncing over to him, nearly knocking over a waitress carrying a tray of food. Ignoring the dirty looks, Hoseok continues to run. 

 

“Hoseok!” He shouts back throwing his arms around him. “So good to see you finally.”

 

Patting him on the back, Hoseok smiles into his neck. Having him in his life was a good thing for him, he was a ray of positivity and sunshine.

 

“I know, Jeonggguk always keeps you hidden,” he frowns, side eyeing his boyfriend. “Rightfully so, but still.”

 

Though he didn’t compare to his own philosophical positive ray of sunshine/life enthusiast, Jeongguk, Hoseok was still a great companion to have around.

 

“He has a tendency of doing that,” Taehyung snorts, ignoring the scowl Jeongguk gives him. “See, if I don’t listen he gives me that look.”

 

”He gives me that look when I hit on you—,”

 

“You, what?”

 

Before he can explain his platonic flirting to a very protective Jeongguk, Namjoon is stepping in front of him and throwing an arm around Taehyung, “Happy Birthday kiddo.”

 

“Thanks, Joonie,” he says patting his cheek.

 

“I was trying to explain myself!” Hoseok complains, shoving at the older. 

 

“When are you not, again?” he asks rolling his eyes playfully. Jeongguk stifles a laugh, giving Hoseok a side hug to show he was just joking... kind of.

 

“Where’s my hello?”

 

“You seen me the other day, shut up.” Hoseok grumbles, before turning to Taehyung. “He’s such a grouch. Please don’t act like this when you get that old,” 

 

Namjoon swats at the younger, earning a swat back from Hoseok. Taehyung thinks he’s surrounded by actual children. 

 

“Guys no fighting around my birthday boy.” Jeongguk scolds like a parent. His eyes squint a bit when he hears the bell of the door ring. It’s Jimin and Yoongi.

 

Taehyung spins around to see his once best friend and Yoongi walking hand in hand. Jimin smiles shyly at Taehyung, face plastered with insecurities. It’s been a while since the two had spoken. Actually, to be exact, it had been since Taehyung was in the hospital. He had plenty of time to think.  Jeongguk looks at him in concern, remembering all he had been put through since the day he met Taehyung. He knows he doesn’t want Taehyung to cry on his birthday.

 

It’s then he decides he’s been upset at him long enough. If forgiving meant getting better and letting go, he was ready to do it. He needed to do it. 

 

One step at a time.

 

Taehyung excuses himself from Namjoon and Hoseok before walking to the couple. Jeongguk goes to follow behind him, but Namjoon stops him. This is all Taehyung right now. Jimin’s eyes widen a bit when he sees Taehyung greeting him first.

 

“Taehyung, hi... hap—,” Jimin is interrupted quickly by Taehyung who wraps his arms around his shoulders unexpectedly. Jimin immediately melts into the hug and sniffles a bit when Taehyung squeezes him.

 

“What are you doing?” he whispers into his ear, hugging back. Taehyung shakes his head on Jimin’s shoulder. 

 

“I just... I forgive you.” He pulls away and smiles stepping away from Jimin whose smile stretches across his face. That’s all he has to do.

 

Next, he’s moving to Yoongi. The Yoongi he wants to blame for him and Jimin’s fallout, the Yoongi who stupidly threatened him on suicide watch, the Yoongi who also makes Jimin incredibly happy and still shows a bit of compassion for Taehyung’s strength.

 

He’s now hugging him.

 

“Thank you for coming also, Yoongi.” he greets with a hug. Though it’s a bit awkward, which he isn’t sure if it’s because Yoongi wasn’t expecting it, it’s still something. Taehyung has learned, sometimes holding onto toxic things, requires a bit of forgiving to get it out of your life.

 

“I’m sorry,” Yoongi apologizes, giving him a small smile. “I was stupid and being defensive of Jimin, when I knew it wasn’t right. I was in that position before.”

 

Taehyung stares at him, offering him his own smile. Because sometimes, forgiving a friend is a good place to start.

 

“I know Yoongi-hyung,” he replies, sighing. “It was wrong, a little stupid, but I’m glad Jiminie has you.”

 

Before Yoongi can say anything, Taehyung’s throwing his hands in the air. 

 

“Alright,” he announces once he’s done hugging everyone. He doesn’t miss Jeongguk’s proud smile as he turns to his group of friends. “Who’s ready to celebrate me!”

 

They all let out their laughter before saying hell yes and taking a seat at their table.

 

The restaurant is exceptionally fancy. There are beautiful gold chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Beneath the chandeliers, there are white-clothed tables and brown chairs that much that wooden pavement. Taehyung notices several paintings hanging around the room. He thinks of Jeongguk and his artistic ability, all of the paintings he drew of Taehyung. None in this entire building compared to Jeongguk.

 

He forgets how much he missed his friends and actually felt like they were there to talk to until this afternoon. He enjoyed their company so much and hearing their stories. He learned so much about Hoseok, Namjoon, Yoongi, and even Jimin all over again.

 

He realizes just how much he like hearing these stories.

 

After they finish their food, Jeongguk taps his drink like he’s about to give a toast. He gains the attention of the chattering table and a few people around him.

 

But the attention he gains the most is no one other than Taehyung’s who is really confused.

 

Moral of the story, Jeongguk is full of a lot of fucking surprises, especially on his birthday.

 

“Attention everyone,” Jeongguk announces loudly, ignoring Taehyung who tugs his shirt to ask him what’s going on. Jimin raises his brow at Taehyung, who realizes that the other boys are just as clueless as he is. 

 

Except Yoongi, who’s smirking at him. 

 

“I’d like to make what you call a toast... but what I call a speech,” he adds as people pay full attention to him. The waiters stop what they’re doing to watch.

 

“It was around this time a month and a half ago, I was in a tough spot. I spent my days numbing this empty feeling in my heart...” Taehyung holds his hand tightly, heart clenching. Jeongguk shakes his head, grinning at him a little. “I was sitting in a cubical by myself... answering many calls for help. I took every bit of lonesome I felt and used it to make people feel whole.”

 

Oh my god.

 

He can’t be talking about you.

 

You fucking dumbass who else would he be talking about?

 

“It was until I got a particular call around the time I was about to clock out,” he begins. “When I answered it, I didn’t expect to meet someone very dear to my heart. In fact, I wasn’t expecting to meet him at all. I work at a suicide hotline, I answer calls like his every day. I listen to people like you and me beg for someone to listen, but what I don’t expect out of those calls... is to find someone to love, and love me back. But, love always finds you.”

 

“Taehyung, the day I met you at Yoongi’s underground hideout... I knew I wanted to save your life, and if I couldn’t do that... I knew I wanted to make it a little better.” he pauses looking down at Taehyung with those big brown eyes that spread warmth into his heart. “Turns out, for those who don’t know Kim Taehyung, he manages to turn the tables every single time.”

 

Before Taehyung can wonder any further, Jeongguk continues to talk, “Tae, you saved my life, a life that felt lonely and completely empty without you.”

 

Normally he would feel like a baby when holding back any tears that threaten to spill out of his eyes, but for once, he finds himself letting them go because for once, they aren’t sad. 

 

It’s all because of a philosophical, sappy, ray of fucking sunshine.

 

“I’ve watched you grow in the past month I’ve known you, I’ve watched you learn how to live, I’ve watched you recover in the best way possible. I don’t say this enough–or at least I don’t feel like I do– but I’m so proud of you baby. I knew you’d get far in life, and you’re doing it one step at a time. I know for a fact I want to watch you grow more, and I intend on doing that as long as you have me.”

 

“I don’t know if there’s anyone up in the sky that decides this life, or if the universes chooses who you fall in love with, but I know for a fact I was destined to fall in love with you.” he finishes before kneeling down in front of Taehyung earring gasps all around him. Taehyung’s eyes widen in shock, he’s crying a ridiculous amount of tears. 

 

Jeongguk holds his shaky finger up quickly, “No, this is not a marriage proposal... but this... this is me asking a very important question... hopefully, one day, it’ll lead to a marriage proposal..”

 

The lungs are nearly knocked out of Taehyung’s breath as he stares at Jeongguk who is quick to wipe his tears away.

 

“I wanted to thank you,” he starts again pulling out a box from his coat pocket. “I wanted to thank you for waking up every morning and making my black coffee, for listening to my theories and thoughts on life, for hugging me, for kissing me, for loving me, but above all... I thank you for living. This world, my world, would be an empty place without you Kim Taehyung and I hope you’re finally beginning to realize that.”

 

Taehyung nods letting out a shaky laugh from crying. He does realize it now, he realizes he was meant to stay here with Jeongguk, and if not with Jeongguk, himself. He softly rests his hands on Jeongguk’s that’s resting on his cheek.

 

“Good,” he whispers smiling. “Now, I hope this isn’t a rush or a wrong time to ask... but Taehyung, Taehyungie, my Tae Tae, my muffin, will you do me the honor of being my boyfriend and giving me the chance of falling in love with you every day until we turn gray and old?”

 

The one thing Taehyung can’t seem to do around Jeongguk is catch his breath. It’s always being knocked out of him like a punch in the face. The thing is, he’d take a billion of those punches for Jeongguk.

 

All of those nasty thoughts and demons that once told him he’d never find mutual love or anyone who would not break his heart, he could laugh in their face. He could laugh in the face of his father who once told him he would end up in a grave before he found someone to love a piece of shit like him.

 

He not only could laugh at them, but he could live right before their eyes while they waste away to a place of no remorse.

 

“Yes Jeongguk,” he answers, a smile stretching across his face. Jeongguk nearly collapses onto him and it’s the first time Taehyung has realized how nervous he’s been all day. “Yes I’ll be your boyfriend.”

 

The room they’re in explodes with claps and cheers for them. They’re officially boyfriends. Jeongguk slides the beautiful diamond ring, that he will have to scold him for later, on his finger.

 

“Happy Birthday,” Jeongguk whispers for Taehyung to hear only. He brushes Taehyung’s hair back as he watches his face break into another smile.

 

“You sap,” he replies resting his forehead against his forehead. “You give me a purpose to live, yet you take my breath away...”

 

”What?” Jeongguk asks both in concern and in insecurity noticing Taehyung’s pause.

 

“I never said thank you.” He answers, feeling a bit bad. Jeongguk has done so much for him, but he’s never been able to truly thank him.

 

”For what?” He asks blinking.

 

"For saving my life, for loving me, and you never, not once, hung up the phone,” he explains kissing his nose. He hears a loud sob erupt across from him and Jeongguk.

 

“You two are so fucking cute,” a voice wails. Taehyung looks over to see Hoseok crying on Namjoon’s shoulder.

 

“It’s disgusting...” Yoongi scoffs, smiling as Jimin punches his arm. “Disgustingly cute.”

 

“Yoongi, you knew!” Jimin scolds. “I seen you getting teary eyed."

 

“His speech will never compare to mine for you Minnie.” Yoongi teases, and Jimin’s cheeks turn a bright shade of pink 

 

“I’m so happy for you two.” Namjoon congratulates, taking a drink. “Now enough kissing, I just ate.”

 

“I hate you all.” Jeongguk laughs, sitting back in his chair, hand not letting go of Taehyung’s.

 

Jimin pats him on the shoulder giving him a wink, “I’m proud of you Tae, you’ve come so far since I first met you. Please continue to do good and I’m always here if you need me.”

 

Taehyung nods resting his head on Jimin’s hand. Despite all the two have gone through he’s proud of how far he’s gotten, Jimin and him both.

 

Looking around him, Taehyung realizes he’s nowhere where he was years ago. He’s no longer as fragile, no longer scared of a simple touch, he finally has everything he needs. A life, friends who care, and a boyfriend who has supported him through a beginning stage of recovery.

 

He’s happy.

 

He finally wants to be alive.

 

Chapter Text

 

+.-.+

“and though the road's long and seeing light in the darkest things, and when you stare at your reflection finally knowing who it is, I know that you'll thank God you did.”

— Alessia Cara

[Five Months Later]

 

"Your improvement has been outstanding," DaHyun comments looking through Taehyung's file. "I think you're set to see me once every two weeks, instead of every few days."

 

It’s true that they say time does fly by. Time is precious and every second that goes by, you’re one step closer to not being able to live this life anymore. Which is scary. If you’d asked Taehyung five months ago, he would have been counting down the unknown days he had left until he could leave this world. Now, he was counting the days he lived, cherishing each day like it was his last.

 

It was a huge improvement for him to say the least. He had gone from waking up every morning and immediately hiding under his in shame, to waking up every morning to someone who loves him. Someone who wants to see him do good in his life. Hell,

 

Speaking of the someone—Jeongguk—they had officially been dating nearly five months. To say things were going perfectly would an understatement. Though there were still problems that revolve around Taehyung’s mental health, he didn’t care, they couldn’t be anymore stronger. He also dyed his hair dark like Jeongguk's, courtesy to his boyfriend wanting him to try new things.

 

Taehyung has grown to not only love Jeongguk but himself little by little each day.

 

He admires his gift as a pianist, something he let his mind sidetrack him from. He admires his personality, something that drew people in and brought laughter in the room. He also admires the gift of being able to make someone as happy as he makes Jeongguk. His boy is always smiling, and he likes to think it’s because of him.

 

Over the course of those five months, Taehyung has learned that not all men will hit you, cuss at you, or scare you for that matter. He also learns, sometimes you don't get two parents to care about you.

 

Sometimes though, Taehyung flinches when Jeongguk touches him. It's a natural reaction for him. It's not because he's hurt him anyway it's because he still traumatically experiences the vivid illusions of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his parents. Jeongguk hates it, but he works with Taehyung anyway to help him not be so afraid of a touch.

 

Taehyung can't thank him enough for that honestly. Scratch that, there's nothing in the world Taehyung can do to repay Jeongguk for the endless support he's donated to him and making sure he stays happy. Taehyung would be dead right now, and he would have left behind a life worth living.

 

However, Taehyung needs something. He's just not sure what he needs exactly.

 

Sure he's alive, he's happy, and he's with Jeongguk. But he's still having a hard time with those demons that crawl in his head like ants on an ant hill. He's tired of flinching under those touches.

 

Currently, he's sitting in his and Jeongguk's lounge chair (yes they moved in together). He holds an iced cold sweet tea in the palm of his hands, fingers lightly typing the outside of the glass.

 

He's thinking. For the past half hour he's been thinking, more than usual, of his mother who, if he's thinking right, is still in Daegu locked up. He's been thinking about her a lot lately, and he's not sure why. The woman was about as bad as his father, she didn't deserve any more of his thoughts. However, he cannot deny how he misses his mother. He knows he shouldn't but he does. He misses her tender touches she once stroked him with at the touch of her fingers, he misses the cookies she used to bake him every week, the hugs and goodnight kisses. He misses all of it more than anything in the world.

 

Another part of him wants to even confront the man who had broken him to pieces and gave him a wrong perception of men throughout the years.

 

He wonders what she's done with her life for the past five years since he had left home. Is she holding up in prison? Has she tried to get better? How long is her sentence now?

 

"Baby," a voice says capturing him out of his thoughts. He glances up to see his boyfriend staring down at him in concern. Damn how long had he been there?

 

"What's up?" asks Taehyung as takes a drink of his tea before sitting his glass down on the table beside Jeongguk's chair. He scoots over to let his boyfriend squeeze next to him, which he complies. He must have woken up from his nap, his black hair was a fluffy mess, and his long white t-shirt that covered his sweats was wrinkled. Taehyung giggles when Jeongguk nuzzles his head into his neck whining tiredly.

 

"You weren't there when I woke up," he mumbles tiredly. Taehyung pats his head softly. He and Jeongguk had both taken a nap earlier in the day, to which he only stayed until his boyfriend was sound asleep. He had a lot on his mind, and not enough time to sleep.

 

"Sorry babe," he whispers pressing a kiss to his head. Jeongguk stays still for a second before shifting on his lap to meet him eye to eye.

 

"What's on your mind love?" He asks pressing a quick peck to his lips. Jeongguk was so soft and cute sitting with his fists in between his now crossed legs despite their semi-crowded space, he still found a way to be close to Taehyung. "You're doing that thing again."

 

Taehyung groans, wishing he wasn’t so obvious, "What thing?"

 

Jeongguk shrugs yawning, "That thing where your eyebrows scrunch together, it's really cute but it worries me because you only do it when you're thinking hard."

 

Taehyung blushes. He forgets he can always rely on Jeongguk to read him like the back of his hand, they just connected with each other that well and hell, he'd never thought he could even connect with someone at a level that was both intimate and careful.

 

"It's nothing," he brushes off. His breath hitches when Jeongguk lays his hand on his thigh and squeezes it reassuringly.

 

"It's not nothing, don't lie to me,” Jeongguk pushes softly. He knows Taehyung well enough to know when he’s hiding something, and this was one of those times.

 

Taehyung sighs turning his head away from Jeongguk. He was being stupid, and he’s almost certain he’s going to sound stupid.

 

“I—, okay, Kookie... I don’t know what to do.” he breathes out, still not looking him in the eye.

 

Jeongguk tilts his head to the side like Bruno does when he wants a treat, “Elaborate.”

 

“Don’t judge me for this please...” he begs. He doesn’t hear anything but their breathing for a few seconds, he thinks he’s said something wrong. It’s until he feels those cold fingers under his chin directing him back to his gaze. There’s so much love in those eyes he gets lost in, so much.

 

“Taehyung,” Jeongguk begins, resting his forehead on Taehyung’s. “Don’t you know me at all? You know I’m not going to judge you in any way possible. I love you, and I want to hear what you have to say.”

 

Taehyung finds himself thinking half of the time he doesn’t deserve Jeongguk. Like, what did he do to get so lucky?

 

This time he’s tucking his face in the nape of Jeongguk’s pale neck. He calms himself down a bit when he feels those gentle hands stroking up and down his bicep.

 

“I miss my mother,” he whispers ashamedly, he whispers it so quiet Jeongguk nearly misses it but he doesn’t.

 

Then it’s quiet again. Insecurity is crawling up and down his body as he’s just told Jeongguk another part of him.

 

Telling him the abuse he had been through as a kid wasn’t easy, and it definitely never will be easy to get through but he listened and he wasn’t quite what so ever. So why was he so quiet now?

 

Was Taehyung being stupid?

 

When Jeongguk is quiet again, Taehyung shifts out of his seat and frowns.

 

“I’m sorry, I just—, I sound stupid. I’m going back to bed,” he says standing up from his seat.

 

He feels a grip find its way on his wrist, freezing him in his tracks. Jeongguk pulls him down to his lap and wraps his arms around his middle and breathes in his scent of cinnamon and vanilla.

 

Taehyung lets out another sigh as he feels those lips press to the side of his neck. His fingers tingle with a cold feeling as he relaxes in the touch.

 

“I wasn’t done yet,” Jeongguk frowns, letting his fingers run down his back. “Impatient thing, you.”

 

Taehyung rolls his eyes, “You had plenty to say the first time I said something like this.”

 

“That’s different!” he defends. “It just caught me off guard babe, I didn’t expect you to... feel that way? She doesn’t deserve that from you.”

 

“I know she doesn’t, see I’m being stupid—,” he mumbles about to stand up but Jeongguk manhandles him back into his arms.

 

Stop.” He demands softly. There’s no threat or undertone in that word, it’s so soft Taehyung could melt. So he submits. “Quit trying to leave me.”

 

“I’d never,” he promises back and Jeongguk smiles against the back of his neck.

 

“I love hearing that.” he smiles. “But seriously, quit trying to leave my cuddles and let me finish talking.”

 

Taehyung quiets down and turns around to sit on Jeongguk’s lap. He sits where they’re facing each other. Jeongguk pulls him closer where they’re touching chest to chest. He brushes their noses together.

 

“What I was going to say before you rudely left me,” he starts again, ignoring Taehyung’s eye roll. “It’s not uncommon for you to miss your mom. Most of the calls I get a day, their emotional attachment to a loved one is unbreakable good or bad.”

 

Taehyung shrugs looking at the floor, “I feel dumb Gukkie.”

 

“Why?” he asks rubbing his hands up and down Taehyung’s hips, leaning farther back in his chair.

 

"I should not miss her at all," he replies rubbing at his eyelids.

 

"You shouldn't," he agrees, letting that protective side come out. "But that doesn't make you dumb for missing her though."

 

Taehyung's eyebrows shoot to his forehead in curiosity, "How?"

 

"She’s your mother,” he reminds cupping his face in his hands. Should Taehyung even consider them his parents? No mother or father should break him the way his parents did.

 

"You loved the good times you had with her, you love her in general, and that is alright," he adds looking into his eyes seriously.

 

Taehyung is not sure how Jeongguk does it, but he has a way of making him feel less stupid and idiotic. He spent a vast majority of those days hating himself, but Jeongguk can't seem to find a single bone in his body to hate Taehyung the way he hated himself.

 

"Would I sound stupid if I said I wanted to see her?” he asks shyly. Jeongguk blinks at him blankly and shakes his head.

 

“Stupid? No, crazy and understandable... but I support your decision nonetheless.” he reasons.

 

“Gukkie how am I crazy for that? I just want to get stuff off of my chest...”

 

“Baby, do you see how much you’ve been put through?” Jeongguk questions tightening his arms around him. “She didn’t exactly—, help.”

 

Taehyung knows he’s right. He knows it’s okay to misses a family that broke him to pieces, but he doesn’t think he’s insane to want to see them and get things off of his chest.

 

“Maybe it’ll help me seeing them both,” he says. He doesn’t know why he wants to suddenly confront his father, but he does. Maybe DaHyun was right, maybe it will help him to face his past.

 

“Wait, both?”

 

“Yes, both.” He snaps, feeling oddly defensive. “Is that a problem?”

 

Jeongguk shuts his mouth instantly. Taehyung hadn’t snapped at him like that before, he could clearly see how defensive he was over his mother.

 

Taehyung almost thinks he’s messed up snapping at Jeongguk like that. He knows he’s just trying to help and keep him safe, but Taehyung needs closure. Some sort of closure, and maybe this was a step closer.

 

His boyfriend stares at him for a little bit before bringing his hand up to thread to Taehyung’s hair again. Neither one of them speaks as they stare at each other.

 

“Your mother and father, yeah?” he clarifies. Taehyung nods.

 

“I think... you’re out of your mind, but that’s what I love about you.” He whispers. “I love that you care so much about people, I love that you want to get better... I understand you still love them both despite everything. Wanna’ know something?”

 

Taehyung nods laying his head on Jeongguk’s shoulder. He hears Bruno shuffling on the couch across from them, trying to get comfortable.

 

“When my mother left the family, I was devastated. I felt so alone, and abandoned, ” he explains. Taehyung frowns hearing this, Jeongguk rarely talked about his family.

 

“It was until I finally grew a pair and called her when I realized she didn’t want to be apart of my life I had the closure that I didn’t need people who didn’t need me.”

 

He wishes it was that easy for him to realize, but somehow it doesn’t seem that way. He feels so broken without her, and maybe even seeing her would mend his broken heart.

 

“Jeonggukkie, could you maybe... help me?” Jeongguk presses a kiss to the back of his head, which Taehyung took as a ‘yes’.

 

“Of course you name it.”

 

“Take me back to Daegu. I want to see them both.”

 

 

+

 

 

So of course, Jeongguk does take him to Daegum, despite his quiet protests of triggering anything in Taehyung’s health.

 

But here they are.

 

Daegu South Korea, home to 2.5 million people. Also home to Kim Taehyung. This was where he grew up. Where he learned to ride a bike, met his best friend, where he cried his first tears, where he took beatings, where he learned to speak some English, and this is where all of his problems had started.

 

He developed his first panic attacks here, a first fight, and a view of horrible traumatic experiences that he was working to forget.

 

Taehyung and Jeongguk had taken a train first thing the following morning of their discussion. Jeongguk was more than happy to make his wish come true. Though Taehyung was almost positive this was a long shot, he still wanted to go and see his parents.

 

The people who had very well destroy him.

 

Jeongguk is not excited to meet Taehyung’s father, his mother he could handle, but father no. However, it’s for Taehyung’s benefit and that meant more to him than any hatred.

 

They walk hand in hand when they reach their destination. Daegu wasn’t exactly how he left it five years ago, it was much more populated and much nicer it seemed with the new buildings and decorations.

 

He guiltily missed his home.

 

When he turned seventeen, he fled to Busan with Jimin’s parents to escape the progressively awful abuse he had received in his ‘home’. It was the biggest decision he ever had to make. After all, he was just a kid who was nearing his adult years. He remembers his father was sent in a few weeks prior when Jimin witnessed the abuse he had taken first hand.

 

When Taehyung gave his statement and they were able to try his father, he was given the “okay” to leave Daegu and head for Busan. It was until a year after he left, his mother was arrested for not only witnessing all of it but taking part in the abuse. Both his mother and father were in the same prison still, as he had found out last night, and to say he was nervous was an understatement.

 

There aren’t many people on the train this morning and Taehyung can proudly consider them lucky. He wasn’t trying to waste any time today.

 

The couple walks hand in hand through the streets of Daegu. It’s busy for the most part and that means Jeongguk was going to be excitedly greeting people as usual.

 

Jeongguk could stand out in a largely populated city like this with no problem what so ever. His big heart and compassion for helping others was a gift he intended to spread.

 

He seemed so content and happy everywhere he went and Taehyung was envious of that. He always will be.

 

Taehyung remembers exactly where the jail is. Hell, he couldn’t forget the statement he had given. And now, here he was. He’s grown up and he’s planning a visit to his parents who didn’t even deserve to see him.

 

The only light is the sun glistening in the sky. He turns to Jeongguk and frowns. Part of him was saying let’s go home and do this another day. The other part of him was saying do it, don’t look back.

 

“Taehyung.” Jeongguk pleads, pushing his sunglasses to rest on his head. “Just take a deep breath we have all day and I’m not going anywhere.”

 

We have all day.

 

You’re okay.

 

You’re okay.

 

They can’t hurt you.

 

Jeongguk’s here.

 

“They’re not going to hurt you, baby,” he reassures. Taehyung nods taking a deep breath like Jeongguk had asked him to do. "I'm here this time. I’m strong right?”

 

He’s here this time... did he just really—

 

 

“You’re going to pull the macho muscle act?” Taehyung chuckles, shaking his head.

 

“Yes I am,” Jeongguk snickers. “It’s cute and you love it!”

 

Half-heartedly ignoring that comment. He realizes what he’s doing. He’s really going to do this. He was really going to see his parents for the first time in years. He wonders what they both look like? Do they still hate him? Are they rotting away in prison?

 

Taehyung opens the door to the jail and takes a deep breath, squeezing Jeongguk’s hand. The atmosphere is cold and there’s only one guard at the desk working as a receptionist. It’s kind quiet in the main lobby. There’s no noises or people, just Taehyung, Jeongguk, and the security guard sitting at the front desk.

 

The guard looks up from his paperwork and offers a toothy grin, “Can I help you?”

 

Taehyung looks to Jeongguk unsure what to say, he feels as if his voice has been ripped out of his throat and he can longer speak. He wants to blame it on a cold, but it’s just anxiety.

 

Luckily for Taehyung, Jeongguk studies him like a history book, so he knows he’s nervous and takes the lead.

 

“Good morning, we’re here to see Mr. and Mrs. Kim,” he replies walking up to the desk. The security guard raises an eyebrow at him.

 

He looks just as shocked and confused as Jeongguk did when he realized he wanted to see them.

 

Now he’s starting to regret this.

 

“Oh, well... that’s a first?” he notes looking through the computer. “Name?”

 

Jeongguk turns to Taehyung this time, motioning him to come up and talk.

 

“K-Kim Taehyung,” he cringes in a shaky breath. “My name is Kim Taehyung.”

 

The officer looks up from his computer and stares at the boy.

 

“You’re their son?” He confirms. Taehyung nods and the officer lets out a heavy sigh.

 

He almost thinks the officer recognizes him from the trial, but he’s almost positive he’s a new guard.

 

“Um, okay, here’s how I’m going to do this,” he explains looking through his parent's file. “I’m going to let you see your mom first, yeah?”

 

Taehyung bites his lip hard at that, “Then my.... uh—,”

 

“Yes, then you can see Mr. Kim.” he finishes noticing his struggle to which Taehyung desperately wants to know why.

 

Jeongguk traces a heart on Taehyung’s palm and kisses it gently.

 

This will be easier with Jeongguk won’t it?

 

The security guard gets up from his seat and asks them to follow. He goes to the first door and unlocks it, embarrassingly messing up the first time. It’s no longer quiet when they step through the second door. There are rows of red barred jail cells as they walk through the first half.

 

Screams and yells erupt everywhere. Taehyung wants to feel bad for those yelling for mercy and help, but he can’t when they paid the price to get be put behind those bars.

 

Jeongguk squeezes his hand tightly when he sees an angry man punching the wall, causing loud disruptions to his cellmate. He hadn’t seen this before ever, and he prays to God the people he’s talked to on the phone don’t end up in a place like this.

 

They go through the final door and they’re in a much quieter room. There are a few people in here, much more stable than the rest.

 

The officer pulls out two chairs for them to sit in, “Give me one second and she’ll be right out.

 

Taehyung nods watching the guard walk away.

 

“Are you okay?” Jeongguk asks looking around the prison. There are a lot of inmates hanging around, some are talking with each other, others are staring off into space.

 

Taehyung isn’t sure right now.

 

“Ask me that when she leaves.”

 

Suddenly there’s a click of the door that snaps Taehyung out of his thoughts. He sees a police officer holding a very thin woman with a confused expression on her face. Her arms expose burn marks and cuts, her hair is matter and tied in a bun. Her orange jumpsuit neatly ironed.

 

Taehyung stands up quickly when she finally lays eyes on him.

 

He ignores the faint flick of the lighter that sounds in his head when they lock eyes and gasps. She’s here.

 

She looks at him with tears in her eyes and in shock, as if she can’t believe he’s in front of her. It’s been five years, and their reunion was in a prison. The officer pulls her a seat out and leaves them be. She plays with her handcuffs anxiously and looks up at Taehyung.

 

“T-Tae?” she whispers in disbelief. Taehyung already feels tears forming in his eyes as he takes in his mother’s appearance. Nothing about her look now compares to how she looked back then. Her wounds are now clean, her eyes still heavily hooded, but she looks a little better.

 

“H-Hi...” he says back shyly. All his mother can do is gape at him.

 

“Y-You’re here?”

 

“I’m here.”

 

He doesn’t stutter and he feels kinda good about this visit, in hopes his visit with his father will go somewhat confident.

 

He’s here to get answers.

 

“I’m so happy...” she replies in shock, tears pouring down her cheeks. “I’ve missed you...Who—, Who... Is he? He’s cute.”

 

Taehyung almost wants to say, mine, but he refrains from doing so.

 

“Jeon Jungkook.” Jeongguk introduces himself. “Taehyung’s uh—,”

 

“Boyfriend.” he finishes for him, slightly thankful Jeongguk wanted him to be sure about outing himself to his mother.

 

His mother's eyes widen in surprise, “Boyfriend?”

 

“Yeah, he’s my boyfriend.” Taehyung finishes awkwardly. His mother smiles happily at him.

 

“I’m so proud honey!”

 

“Thanks.” However, something doesn’t settle for that response. He hasn’t seen this woman in five years, this woman was on the brink of insanity because she didn’t leave her stupid fucking husband.

 

She hurt him, and she let his father hurt him.

 

Yet, she wants to act proud of him?

 

“So—,”

 

“Are you joking with me?” he asks suddenly. His mother looks up from her lap quickly flinching at his sharp tone.

 

“Joking—,”

 

“No. Are you joking eomma? You haven’t seen me in five years, in fact, the last time you saw me you kicked me in the god damned stomach for being home five minutes late and now you want to act proud of me? Act like you care about me?” he questions as quietly as he can manage.

 

“I do care—,”

 

“Bullshit.” he exasperates throwing his hands in the air.

 

“Hon—,” The look on his mothers face is dumbfounded and unreadable.

 

“No this isn’t how this works, I’m here because I want to know why in the hell you thought it was okay to hurt me that way and leave us with him?”

 

“Taehyung—,”

 

“Answer me!” he yells slamming his fist down. He captures the attention of the remaining officers who look at him cautiously. The rest of the inmates pay no mind to him.

 

Jeongguk wraps a hand around Taehyung’s arm and squeezes him assuringly. He hadn’t meant to explode this fast, but he was absolutely livid.

 

“I don’t know!” she exclaims covering her ears.

 

Taehyung shakes his head disappointed, “You didn’t do anything and that was your first mistake. A mother is supposed to care for their child, a mother is supposed to raise their child! A mother is supposed to kiss their child goodnight, a mother is supposed to protect their child, and most importantly a mother is supposed to love her child! Why weren’t you like that huh? You did just fine in the beginning.”

 

He watches as the color drains from her face. His mother has no answer for him. She looks at him guiltily. She doesn’t know what to say, or what to do and for the first time in Taehyung’s life, he realizes he doesn’t want to call her his mother. She doesn’t deserve that.

 

Taehyung stands up from his seat and shakes his head, “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

 

“Tae–,”

 

“I thought I needed answers from you. I thought you could help me understand why you thought it was okay to nearly kill your only son by staying with that bastard. You’re about as bad as him.” he spits angrily.

 

For a while, it’s silent. It’s only the sound of his mother’s raspy breathing and Taehyung’s heavy breathing filling their table.

 

“I know,” she mutters so quietly that he barely misses it.

 

“What?”

 

“Taehyung... I can’t tell you how much I regret it.”

 

Taehyung listens to her for once, he’s curious to see what she has to say that could make this any better.

 

“I loved your father with all of my heart, I let him manipulate me physically and... and emotionally... but you... you’re my boy... you should’ve come first.”

 

“Was.”

 

“Are.” she corrects shaking her head. “You’re my boy, you always have been, and I treated you terribly. I gave you a terrible life when I should have been saving your life. Just know, I’m paying the consequences for doing what I did for you. I deserve every bit of it.”

 

Taehyung stays quiet, he’s not sure what to say. He can forgive her but he can’t forget all she’s put him through in his life.

 

“I do love you, I realize... I realize what I’ve done,” she admits. “And I’m sorry.”

 

“I can forgive you, but I can’t forget you failed as a mom and you will never have that title ever again,” he explains, watching her furiously wipe her eyes.

 

“I know.” she croaks sniffing. “Tae, get out of here okay? You don’t need to be here. You need to get live your life, the life I didn’t protect or make any better.”

 

“What about you?” he asks. He hates to admit but he wants to get to know his mother again, maybe try and start over without him in their lives.

 

But that would take time, a time she didn’t deserve but a time that could be made.

 

She gapes at him sadly, “I see that big heart of yours never went away... but seriously, I don’t deserve any contact with you Taehyung, if you want to you can always call up here but please, work on yourself, don’t let that bastard in there ruin your life the way he’s tried to all those years.”

 

Taehyung nods standing up from his seat. He watches as she turns to Jeongguk and lets her tears flow more freely.

 

“Please, take care of him.”

 

“I always do,” Jeongguk says coldly, not showing her any kindness.

 

Taehyung tugs on Jeongguk’s sleeve before motioning for them to leave. His mother looks up at the two sadly.

 

“Goodbye,” he calls softly.

 

“Goodbye Taehyung.”

 

With that, he hears her start to freely as he walks away from the table with Jeongguk following close behind.

 

His heart beats rapidly against his chest. He feels like his whole skin is on fire, he feels like he can talk a storm up from how free he feels. When the two catch up to each other Taehyung nearly explodes.

 

“Babe,” Taehyung gasps crashing into Jeongguk. “I feel like I’m on fire.”

 

Jeongguk laughs sliding his arm around Taehyung’s waist, “Taehyungie I’m so proud of you. That was amazing, but I’m sorry she had to be that way.”

 

“Are you kidding me, I’m glad she was... It’s all off of my chest and I feel like I can fly right now. I feel—, I feel... almost free, Kookie.” he explains pressing a kiss to his cheek. “Thank you.”

 

Jeongguk lays a hand on his cheek and presses a soft peck to his forehead. That feeling of being free wouldn’t last long, he still had his father to face.

 

“Are you ready to see Mr. Kim now?” the officer asks playing with the keys on his finger.

 

Jeongguk takes one look at Taehyung and he can instantly tell he’s not ready. He shakes his head.

 

“One minute please.”

 

The officer nods going over to talk to the inmates.

 

“I’m actually fucking scared Guk,” Taehyung whispers when the officer is out of sight.

 

“I know,” he replies, threading a finger through Taehyung’s dark hair. When Taehyung is having a bad night, he can count on Jeongguk to do this sweet gesture. He always does it anyway because he knows it’s his favorite.

 

“I—, I—,”

 

“Tae,” Jeongguk whispers resting both hands on the side of his cheeks. “I’m right here. He is in handcuffs, it’s all you and he will not lay a finger on you, baby. I promise.”

 

Taehyung nods in his hands and wraps his own around Jeongguk’s wrist. He gathers himself up for much longer than a minute before he gives the okay to the officer. He’s ready to face the man who destroyed every bit of happiness from him as a teenager. He wanted to see if he was suffering in this hell hole, and he wanted to be happy that he was the one walking out of jail free, not his father.

 

He was ready to face his past.

 

The officer walks them into a room that seemed like an interrogation room than anything. They were letting him have full access to the monster he was related to.

 

Taehyung takes a seat in the black chair and takes a deep breath. He was ready for this. He had fought to get here, he had struggled to live with himself for years. He suffered from his inner demons that were planted like a garden deep within his heart by a man who didn’t deserve any love from him. He had gone from a broken boy who cried at the click of a door or flinched at a hand touching his shoulder, to a boy who was facing the biggest cause of his self-hatred. The person who he almost ended his life over.

 

Taehyung takes a deep breath at the sound of the door opening. Jeongguk stands behind him, hands massaging his shoulders.

 

Taehyung looks up to see a much different face than he had once seen years ago. His father had scars littered about his face, across, numbers, and a skull tattoo all on his body. There was no confidence shining in his eyes like there once was, no dominance to prove. He was a bitch in submission. He was handcuffed and restricted from touching anyone and hurting others. Taehyung almost wants to smirk.

 

He folds his arms across his chest and stares at the man.

 

“Who’s this?” Mr. Kim scoffs.

 

“Your son.” Interest washes over his eyes as he stares him down. Taehyung could feel how bothered he was that someone he had tried to break so bad, was sitting in front of him free.

 

“Thought he would have killed himself by now.” he chuckles. He feels Jeongguk’s grip on his shoulders tighten at the comment.

 

Taehyung doesn’t even flinch or feel pain within his words.

 

“I’m still alive,” he chuckles. “Sorry to disappoint.”

 

Mr. Kim nods with a toothy dark grin plastered on his face, “No need to apologize. Isn’t that what your eomma used to say? Something about you being a disappointment...”

 

Taehyung chuckles, “Sure, but I think you’re the one in a jail cell.”

 

Mr. Kim raises a brow at that.

 

“Hm, look at you.” he mocks puffing out his arms. “I’m impressed, that’s the most you've been able to talk back to me.”

 

“Things change.”

 

“More like I’m just in handcuffs.”

 

Taehyung feels Jeongguk’s hands release his shoulders. He can see how worked up he’s getting over Taehyung, and he can’t help but gush over that.

 

He has so much adoration for that boy.

 

“You’re a homo now?” he asks yawning tiredly. “I really did fuck you up.”

 

“I wouldn’t go there, buddy.” Jeongguk threatens. Taehyung thinks it’s a bit...comforting to see Jeongguk like this, he’s so defensive and protective. It’s just not in his nature to be harmful, he’s about as harmless as a stuffed animal.

 

“Wouldn’t I?” he challenges back. The officers kick Mr. Kim’s seat in warning as Taehyung turns away from a furious Jeongguk to look at his father.

 

“Would you care to know why I’m here?” he asks taking a deep breath.

 

“Enlighten me, I haven’t had a visitor in years.”

 

Taehyung knows that’s a lie, those that were family could be allowed to see him and technically Taehyung was the only one who could and even wanted to.

 

“I came to see how you’re wasting away in this place,” he replies. “I also came to tell you, you didn’t break me.”

 

“What’s that supposed to mean?” he snaps becoming worked up at the immediate sentence.

 

“You didn’t kill me. You may have beaten me, you may have broken my heart to pieces, and you may have fucked up my mental health but I’m still alive and I’m living.”

 

“So?” he laughs fiddling with his fingers.

 

“So, I’m doing more than you.” he shrugs, and his father’s expression turns to confusion.

 

“If you’re still the pathetic man I know you are,” he says standing up and leaning over the table. “I know this will bug you, you’re their bitch in this prison and I’m free, I’m alive, I’m happy and you can’t lay one finger on me or change that.”

 

“You want to bet—,” he says trying to stand up but is immediately pulled down by the handcuffs and extra security.

 

“I don’t have to bet,” Taehyung snaps. “Seems like you’ve lost a lot of those.”

 

He points at the many scars that have undoubtedly contributed from the prisoners in Daegu.

 

“Y-You know nothing! You’re still my son though!” he shoots back weakly trying to get out of his handcuffs. “I still have guardianship over you! I own you!”

 

Taehyung shakes his head and stands up from his seat.

 

“Have fun rotting away in here under someone else’s control while I take back my life that you wrongfully stole.”

 

His father sees red as he struggles against the chains, “Taehyung! Get back here!”

 

“You don’t own me anymore, dad. You never did,” he whispers holding Jeongguk’s hand and walking out of the room.

 

The only thing he hears is his father’s screams as he walks into a new chapter of his life, flipping the next page.

 

+

February 18, 2019

 

 

Life changed for Taehyung that day.

 

He and Jeongguk went home the following night after meeting with the rest of Taehyung’s family who didn’t do harm to him. He no longer feared the man who had wrongfully stolen the light that was given to him when he first came to this Earth. His father had no right to take the good heart he was gifted with as a kid.

 

He and his mother established a somewhat civil relationship, but it would never go back to how it once was when he was younger.

 

Taehyung has found himself because he found someone to guide him through the hard times. He let himself get through them.

 

He’s not exactly sure where he would be without the motivation of Jeongguk. Would he had successfully killed himself that night? Would he still feel so broken from the world? Would he and Jimin not be friends anymore? Would he have gotten the chance to face his demons and get help?

 

Jeongguk had saved his life, simple as that. He had taken a broken situation and guided him to make a new beginning.

 

Now it was his turn to return the favor.

 

“Tae!” a loud squeal comes from behind his cubical. Taehyung looks up from his lunch to see his very happy boyfriend and best friend waving at him excitedly.

 

Idiots.

 

“My babies, ” he greets sitting down his sandwich and turning to see the most precious people in his life. “Jeongguk, Jimin, I didn’t know you got off this early?”

 

“I don’t.” Jimin shrugs, turning towards Jeongguk.

 

“It was a special occasion.” he winks. “It’s Hoseok’s birthday dinner later y’know?”

 

Taehyung’s eyes widen, he was a terrible friend, “Shit I forgot. Why didn’t you tell me?”

 

Poor Hoseok. He had gotten so close to the boy and he already had forgotten an important night in his life.

 

Apparently, he wasn’t the only one though.

 

“Not my fault! But, I forgot to buy a gift so I thought we’d wait for you since you get off soon.” Jeongguk explains giggling and sitting down in the chair.

 

“Friend of the Year goes to Namjoon and Yoongi.” Jimin scoffs; shaking his head. “I thought your boyfriend knew everything?”

 

”He has lost the encyclopedic touch,” Taehyung teases, and Jeongguk cringes terribly at that. 

 

“You suck for that,” Jeongguk promises, shaking his head. “I haven’t lost my touch at all.”

 

Taehyung knows he’s right, but he can’t blame him for forgetting about the birthday himself. Truth be told, they were the busiest of the six. Jimin taught ballet and art in the downtown theatre, Jeongguk took the job as a psychologist going on to win prestigious awards for his work and kind heart towards helping people.

 

And then there’s Taehyung.

 

“Speaking of how’s the new job?” Jeongguk asks, looking around and pouting at their pictures on the wall. “I see my cubical is still my cubical.” 

 

Taehyung smiles brightly, “Thanks to you, It’s going great.”

 

“Save any lives today?” Jimin asks, curiously. 

 

Before Taehyung can answer the loud shrill of a phone ringing interrupts him.

 

“Guess we can always add to the total,” he answers spinning around in his chair to answer the silver telephone.

 

“I’ll leave you to it then, duty calls.” Jeongguk salutes, taking a drink of his latte.

 

Taehyung chuckles. A warm sense of happiness fills his heart as he answers the phone and waits for it to connect.

 

Once upon a time, he was the guy on the other end of the phone asking for a voice to listen. Once upon a time, he didn’t believe in a life. It was so hard for him to get it together and now, here he was. Impacting others to live and want to be alive.

 

The road is hard and dark, but there is always light in the darkest days. You just have to keep pushing, and pushing regardless the tears you may shed, or the people you may lose. Being alive is the greatest gift of all. Taehyung never took that for granted now.

 

Once the line connected he smiles, “National Suicide Prevention Lifeline this is Taehyung, how can I help you this evening?”

 

Fin