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dozakh

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Dozakh

(n.) a place of torment one believes they are in when separated from their lover.

 

Yoongi hadn’t many certainties in his life except for one: Hoseok.

Hoseok was his best friend, the person who best understood him, his number one fan, his first love, his constant. He was so important to Yoongi that he couldn’t even put into words what he felt for him. It was too intense, too intimate, at times frightening the feeling he felt for him.

But that was all right, as long as Hoseok remained at his side, as long as the promise they had made that day, when Yoongi made his audition, it would be kept.

And Yoongi knew it would be difficult, but he also knew that it was a promise they had made long ago, to always stay side by side.

Since, in fact, Yoongi had started preparing to become an idol rapper, the boy spent much of his time divided between his studio and the one in his record company, to practice, and practice and practice again. Seeing Hoseok turned out to be harder than expected, and it often happened to Yoongi to ask himself whether it was really worth pursuing that path but Hoseok was always there to reassure him, to remind him that this was his dream, that he was made to sing on a stage.

*

"Are you nervous?" Hoseok asked, putting his hand on Yoongi’s thigh.

"I feel like I can throw up at any moment." Yoongi answered, glancing at the clock on the wall.

5:55 p.m

Five minutes and his music video and his debut mini album would be released.

"It will be fine, Yoon. You've worked hard over the years and your album is just amazing."

"How can you say that if you haven’t even listened to it?" Yoongi asked ironically.

"I've been listening to your music since we were kids and it has always been magnificent. I don’t see why this album shouldn’t be too."

The two boys were silent for a few moments, the only noise in the room were the hands of the clock that moved slowly.

"Do you really believe that this is the way for me?" Yoongi asked suddenly, as if they hadn’t already discussed it so many times.

"I'm very sure or I wouldn’t have suggested you to go and have that audition."

"I will never thank you enough for this, you know?"

"Mhm, I have some ideas to thank me for..." Hoseok whispered, approaching Yoongi's face to kiss him but he was interrupted by the sound of an alarm clock.

"Shit. It's 6 pm, it's out. "

"Well, let's see it!"

*

Hoseok was right because Yoongi's debut went great.

His mini album immediately managed to attract the attention of the public and also of the critics who had acclaimed him, describing him as one of the most original idols of the recent years.

Yoongi seemed to be living a daydream. Being able to let people know his story, share his beats and his lyrics with the world, see people recognize him on the street.

It was absurd, yet it was his life.

The only flaw in all this was not being able to show around with Hoseok. Yoongi wasn’t ashamed of being homosexual, he hadn’t done it when he was a teenager and wouldn’t have started today. But his company had asked not to make it public, at least for now. And Yoongi understood because South Korea wasn’t very open on the subject and he had just made his debut. He needed to consolidate a loyal following to reveal something like that, something that could even ruin his career.

So, reluctantly, the two boys clenched their teeth and were content to see each other in the privacy of their apartments.

It wasn’t always a simple thing, and Yoongi was sure it was even more frustrating for Hoseok, yet he had never said anything, never complained. He had always smiled at him, hugged him, kissed him, made love with him. He had always supported him in his every choice and had repeated him every day how much he loved him.

*

It was two years later that the news spread.

Hoseok for their anniversary had brought him to dinner outside, assuring him of having booked in an isolated place where no one could find them.

He had been right, the place was really empty and they were in a private area of the restaurant, but they hadn’t thought that one of the waiters would take a picture of them - just as they held hands in hand - and then post it on the internet.

The picture had naturally spread like wildfire and Yoongi's love life suddenly became the most important topic of the day.

That evening, Hoseok cried in Yoongi's arms, apologizing a thousand times and more for causing all these problems, for ruining his life, his future. And Yoongi had to hold back the tears at that sight, merely clutching his boyfriend in his arms and repeating him like a mantra that that was okay, that it wasn’t his fault, that they would face everything together and that he loved him.

At first it didn’t seem as bad as they would have expected, and the two young boys thought seriously that everything would be all right and that at least Yoongi's career wasn’t at risk.

Many had been the insults addressed to the two boys, but nothing that had really hurt them. They were used to those types of ignorant comments and now no longer had the effect they once did.

But there were also many positive comments, from open minded people who were on their side. Yoongi was really grateful to these people, they gave him hope that things were finally changing.

They hadn’t thought about the fury of some of Yoongis's fans.

At first, neither of them gave too much weight.

These were malicious comments on social media, edited Hoseok’s photos, nothing too alarming.

With time, things began to take an unexpected turn. Hoseok began to receive offensive messages on the phone, forcing him to change his KakaoTalk ID and then his phone number.

Then he began to find post-it notes hanging on his door with insults.

Then he began to be followed on his way to work.

Finally, death threats.

And Yoongi, every evening, when he was in his big bed, alone, burst into tears.

Because Hoseok didn’t deserve all this, because he felt so damn helplessly, because he would have to protect him and instead he was the cause of all Hoseok’s pain.

Hoseok had noticed his guilt but had never let him think of anything like that. Hoseok was too good, so genuine and Yoongi knew he didn’t deserve it, just as the boy's parents repeated every night on the phone to his son, and yet-

Yet, when Hoseok held him in his arms, when he kissed him with all the love he possessed, when he was inside him and was screaming to love him when he reached his limit, Yoongi couldn’t help but wish to selfishly have Hoseok by his side throughout his life.

*

And then everything fell.

Yoongi was in his office, unaware of everything when it happened.

He was working on a new track when someone knocked on his door.

Hoseok had had an accident, he had been told.

Yoongi’s world collapsed at the exact moment he heard those words.

It couldn’t be true, it was a joke. It had to be like that.

Yet the face of his manager was deadly serious.

 

Yoongi ran.

He ran as fast as he could, the adrenaline rushing through his veins, until he got in front of the hospital.

He catapulted to the reception and asked for Hoseok and then started running again to get to the floor where he was hospitalized.

Crossing the threshold, Yoongi saw his boyfriend's parents look up at him, giving him a contemptuous look. He knew he wasn’t well seen by them.

At first it wasn’t like that, when Yoongi was a kid he often found himself at Hoseok's house playing and having a snack with Hoseok mother's cakes. When he decided to start making music, their relationship had changed. Hoseok's parents had become colder, until they started to ask Hoseok to leave him.

They said his fame would ruin Hoseok's life.

Maybe they were right.

Mrs. Jung stood up from the green plastic chair and joined him.

"It's all your fault," he told him.

"Honey..." her husband murmured.

"M-mine?" Yoongi stammered.

He didn’t understand.

"Yes, yours. Yours and your success. We had warned him to stay away from you but he wouldn’t listen to us."

"I don’t understand."

"One of your crazy fans run over my son!" The woman snapped.

And Yoongi then remained silent. Because she was right. It was all his fault if Hoseok was now in the operating room.

His fault, his fault, his fault.

*

Those hours passed in a cumbersome way for Yoongi.

Sitting in one of the chairs, his head down, his elbows on his knees, he waited.

He saw Hoseok's parents get up to go get a coffee, he saw his phone lit up continually by the arrival of messages he wouldn’t read and calls that he wouldn’t answer, he saw the doctor leave the operating room and warn them of the success of the operation.

And Yoongi should have felt relieved at those words, because Hoseok was alive and he wasn’t in danger but he couldn’t.

He couldn’t because he did nothing but think about the fact that it was all his fault.

It was only the morning after that they allowed the three of them to enter the room where Hoseok was.

He was on that bed in the center of the room, pale as a ghost, his face covered with scratches and patches, a machine attached to his body that monitored the situation. He slept soundly and Yoongi had to hold back the tears. He approached him slowly and placed a hand on Hoseok's, without tightening it. He just covered it with its and caressed it slowly.

He sat next to him and watched him sleep until he sensed a small movement of Hoseok's hand.

He was waking up.

He opened his eyes slowly, which immediately parted because of the light in the room. He still looked sleepy and confused, as if he didn’t know where he was and why he was there.

Then, his sleepy eyes rested on Yoongi, who breathed deeply.

"Hoseok." He whispered.

"Who are you?" Hoseok replied.

*

Yoongi stood up lazily from the bed, crawling his feet and reaching the kitchen.

Even that night had struggled to sleep, the boy now no longer knew how much time had passed since that day, how long it was locked up in the house, unable to go out, to face people, to live his life.

He knew it, he knew that this wasn’t the right way to deal with the situation, yet he didn’t know what else to do, he didn’t have the strength to do anything else. He looked at his watch and realized that it was too late to have breakfast. This however didn’t stop him from taking the cereal box from the shelf and the milk carton from the fridge. He poured it all into the bowl ready to try to swallow that little food when someone rang at his door.

Yoongi did not expect to see Kim Seokjin in front of his door.

Seokjin had been his classmate, along with Hoseok and still a very dear friend of him. However, he hadn’t seen him for at least a year because of Yoongi’s work. They were still in contact, of course, but Yoongi wouldn’t have expected a visit from him.

"I heard about Hoseok."

Oh.

Now everything was clear.

"I wanted to know how you are, would you like to sit down?"

"I was about to have breakfast," Yoongi said. Seokjin looked at the wristwatch.

"Breakfast? At 1 pm? " He looked at the cereal and the milk on the table, then looked a little better at Yoongi.

"I'll cook something, okay?" Yoongi merely nodded.

"It's all my fault." Yoongi said when he finished eating his ramen. Seokjin looked up from his plate and looked at him.

"No it’s not."

"Yes it was. It was my fan who provoked all this. I should have protected him." Yoongi said.

"You don’t have control over your fans, you couldn’t have foreseen it." Yoongi remained silent.

"He doesn’t remember me." He said with an incredibly sad voice.

"I know. I went to see him two days ago..." Yoongi looked at him.

"He's fine, however good a person who has risked death can be. He is recovering. Go talk to him, he needs to talk to you and see you if you want him to remember. "

"Is that what you did?"

"Yup. Of course he doesn’t remember anything but I told him that we were school friends, that we were friends. He tremendously wants to remember, Yoongi, you can see it in his eyes. "

*

He found the courage to go and see him only four days later, but when he got to the hospital they told him that Hoseok had been discharged.

So he went to his house but even there he found no one to answer him.

And then Yoongi tried at Hoseok parents' house, while his anxiety grew.

He rang the bell and waited for someone to open it. Mrs. Jung appeared but as soon as she saw Yoongi she tried to close the door that Yoongi managed to block in time with one foot.

"Go away, Yoongi."

"Mrs. Jung let me see him." He begged.

"He doesn’t recognize you, it would be useless."

"I'm his boyfriend, you cannot forbid me to see Hoseok!" Yoongi snapped.

"I can when this relationship threatens his security. I'm sorry." The woman told him, and then she shuts the door in his face.

She didn’t seem to be really sorry but she was right. Maybe so  Hoseok would surely have been at peace, maybe so he could really keep him safe. And Yoongi wasn’t interested in anything else. He didn’t care if he could no longer see him.

He only wanted Hoseok's happiness.

And then he let him go.

*

"Are you ready?" Asked his manager.

Yoongi looked at himself for a last time in the mirror and then nodded, following the man and reaching the room where the fan meeting would be held.

Two weeks ago his new album was released after a long pause, which had been carefully analyzed by the public and critics.

Different.

This it had been described.

It was different from his previous works, it was deeper, darker, more melancholy.

Nobody knew what inspired him to write the album and Yoongi didn’t even intend to let the public know. It was something private that only he, his family and Seokjin knew.

The album was about his pain, his anxiety, what he had felt in the last year and a half. Of the awareness of always being profoundly unhappy. It was naturally an album about him. About what he felt because of his absence.

Yoongi had tried to move on after that day but it had been more complex than expected. It was hard when you saw his face everywhere, when your life seemed so empty, when you heard his laughter echo in your head.

And Yoongi almost got out of his mind in the first few months.

He had discovered that the only thing that gave him a little relief, even if only for a few hours, was the alcohol.

He had started drinking, then. Without control, without brakes, without the desire to quit.

And Yoongi knew that if it hadn’t been for Seokjin he would probably have drowned in all that alcohol. He had stayed beside him in all those months, he had comforted him, he had cleaned his vomit from his face, kept him company, listened to him. He had done everything for him.

So Yoongi had committed himself to getting back on track and he understood that there was something else he could do to let off steam.

Music.

Yoongi had thus begun to write melodies and songs, furiously, without pauses, pouring in all his pain, his regrets, what he would have liked to say to Hoseok if only he could.

 

The fansign was going well.

For Yoongi it wasn’t easy to face his fans, not after the break, not after what had happened.

At that time, Yoongi had come to hate his fans. What should have brought him happiness and pride had instead taken away the most precious thing in his life and the boy wasn’t sure he could forgive them for it.

Over time, he had come to terms with the fact that there were crazy people everywhere in the world. That not for this he should have hated all the good people who followed him.

He smiled at the girls and the boys who showed up, they asked him how he was, if he had recovered.

They told him they loved him and that they really liked the last album. If only they had known. He was awakened by his thoughts when he was put in front of another album to sign.

"Could you sign on this page?"

Yoongi froze blood in his veins.

It had been a long time, too long since he had heard that voice last time but Yoongi could have recognized it everywhere, even among a thousand others.

Slowly, he looked up and placed him on the figure of Hoseok, who watched him with rosy cheeks from embarrassment and a smile stretched across his face. He had black hair and was more beautiful than ever.

"Ehm, yes.." he mumbled, realizing he had remained motionless for several seconds.

"You know, I'm a new fan of yours. You could say since your last album came out." He chuckled, scratching his head in embarrassment.

"A-ah, yes? So did you like it? " Yoongi asked, trying to stay calm.

"I really loved him. I felt it incredibly close to me. I cannot even explain how, but I seemed to understand perfectly your feelings, your experiences and fears. A-and... I felt close to you, I felt a strange connection and I felt the need to come here and meet you."

Yoongi listened carefully to Hoseok's words as he could distinctly hear his heart booming furiously in his rib cage.

Hoseok had heard all that. He had felt close to him, he had perceived a connection.

And Yoongi knew he didn’t deserve him, he knew that more than a year ago he made a promise, he swore he would protect Hoseok from his life but could that be a coincidence? Could it be a mere coincidence when the person you loved in your life and who forgot you finds himself listening to your music and feels the need to know you?

Yoongi didn’t believe in destiny but for once, for once in his life, he decided to believe in it.

He knew that soon he would regret it, but he didn’t care.

He smiled at Hoseok and signed his album, leaving him also his phone number.

"I'm really happy to hear all this, really. See you next time." He told him, hoping to see him again soon.

*

Hoseok had sent him a message the same evening as the fansign.

He had asked him why all this but Yoongi hadn’t been able to tell him.

Actually, as he had foreseen, he was beginning to repent of the thing. What would he have solved? He certainly couldn’t tell him the truth, he absolutely didn’t want Hoseok to feel guilty in any way. Or worse, he felt obliged to be with Yoongi out of pity.

He immediately called Seokjin and asked him for advice.

"Yoongi, you have to tell him, you cannot lie to him. If you want to continue seeing him you cannot tell lies about your identity or his past. "

"I-I ... I'm so confused hyung. I had promised myself that I wouldn’t be closer to him and now I am in this situation..."

"You know how I think so. You have to get rid of this guilt that you have because it wasn’t your fault, Hoseok was fine with you, fuck, he was the happiest person in the universe. He loved you immensely and never, he would never have blamed you for something like that, you should know that. I believe in you and I believe in yours bond, okay? But you have to explain to Hoseok how things are, you cannot keep it in the dark. It's not right for you or for him."

Yoongi remained silent to reflect on Seokjin's words.

"What if it would happen again?"

"It will not happen, Yoongi. You will not let it happen. The situation is different than before, many toxic people have moved away from you because of the hiatus and now you have more power, you have the chance to protect Hoseok. "

*

Hoseok and Yoongi met a week later.

It was evening and Yoongi had covered his face for not being recognized when they sat down at a park bench.

"Before you start talking, I wanted to say something first," said Hoseok.

"I don’t know what you want to talk to me about, but I feel the need to tell you all about it." Yoongi nodded and beckoned him to start.

"More than a year ago I was the victim of a car accident that almost killed me. As you can see I survived but I lost my memory. I don’t remember anything about those first days when I was awake at the hospital, just a lot of confusion and pain. With time, I began to remember a little something, I'm slowly improving. My parents often show me old photos and sometimes I can recall the memory tied to being, sometimes not. Same for some of my friends’ memories. I've always tried not to make this thing weigh too much, or not to make it weigh on those around me, but the truth is that deep in my heart there has always been a deep disquiet and nostalgia. I cannot explain it well but I always felt like I was missing a piece of the puzzle. I don’t know what caused the accident, when I came back to my apartment I didn’t know who were half of the things inside, there were clothes that were too small for me, objects that I don’t even know how to use. And I always felt like I was missing a part of me, something or someone was missing. And that's where you come."

"Me?" Yoongi stammered.

"Yes you. I didn’t know you, yet as soon as I listened to one of your songs it seemed to me that I had already heard your voice, more than a new discovery it seemed a bittersweet memory. Something I was and I'm inevitably fond of but I cannot remember. And then I listened to the words in your songs, the pain, the anger, the resignation and I don’t really know how it’s possible but I heard you, I distinctly heard everything you wanted to convey because most of the emotions are those that I found myself feeling. And so I decided to meet you, because I wanted to understand, I wanted to understand what you had to do with my life, if you got there."

"And?" Interrupted Yoongi.

"And I'm sure I knew you. I'm sure you were an important person for me, I could put a hand on the fire. Because as soon as I had you in front of me, my heart began to beat wildly and I wanted to cry, I wanted to cry so much because I felt suddenly sad and relieved and exalted at the same time. So I ask you now, do you have anything to do with me? "

Yoongi took a deep breath, getting strength. At that point he would have to tell him everything, he owed it to him after he'd opened up like that with him.

"Yes." He admitted then closing his eyes to not see the boy's reaction and to find the courage to go on.

"W-we... we met when we were kids. We were friends and we did the schools together and then in high school we realized we were in love with... uh... one another."

"Oh."

"We've always been together since then and you pushed me to audition to become an idol. And it's my fault if you've had the car accident."

"W-what? Your fault? "Hoseok asked.

"After our relationship became public some of my fans started to threaten you and one of them caused the car accident . I haven’t been able to protect you, I'm sorry. "

Hoseok got up from the bench and Yoongi looked at him with his eyes full of tears. It was obvious that Hoseok no longer wished to have anything to do with the man who had caused all his ills, he didn’t blame him. But Hoseok amazed him because he knelt in front of him and put a hand on his cheek.

"For all this time have you continued to blame yourself for the incident? Is that why you decided to leave me?" The boy asked gently.

Yoongi nodded as a tear ran down his cheek.

"I'm sorry." He sobbed.

"It wasn’t your fault, okay? You have done everything possible to keep me safe." Yoongi denied with his head unable to accept the kindness of the one who had, even if only involuntarily, hurt.

Hoseok surrounded his face with his hands and made sure that their foreheads were in contact with each other. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply.

"I feel it." He whispered then.

"W-what?" Yoongi asked hoarsely.

"The love I feel for you. I cannot remember that yet but I distinctly feel it." He then took Yoongi's hand and brought it to his chest, where there was his heart.

"Do you hear it beat? It's for you that it beats so hard. Please, Yoon, don’t leave me, help me remember, stay by my side."

"Y-yoon?"

"O-oh sorry, I came out spontaneous I didn’t-"

"You always called me that." Yoongi whispered as he watched Hoseok's face lighted by the moon. Hoseok smiled and then left him a chaste kiss on the forehead.

"You see? We can do it, I know it."

"I don’t want to make you suffer again." The older admitted.

"I could never suffer standing next to you. I've never felt more right than before. You are right. You completely swept away all the emptiness I felt in my chest."

Yoongi gently caressed the boy's cheek. “I wish I could kiss you." He whispered impulsively. Hoseok chuckled.

"You can do it, if you want." Yoongi approached slowly, giving Hoseok plenty of time to stop him. When there were only three centimeters between their faces, Yoongi stopped.

"Are you sure?" Hoseok didn’t answer but closed the distance between them. Their lips touched delicately, almost brushing until Hoseok opened his mouth and licked Yoongi's lips, leaving the control to Hoseok to move as he pleased, opening his mouth and letting Hoseok enter.

The kiss became wetter but continued to be slow, it continued to be gentle, while Hoseok's hand gently stroked Yoongi's moist cheek and Yoongi wrapped Hoseok's neck with his arms. When they both felt breathless, they parted and looked at each other, their faces radiant smiles.

"I remember your taste, Yoon. I perfectly remember your sweet taste. "

"I want to help you remember. I want to help you remember us " Yoongi told him.

"Baby steps?" Hoseok asked him, then stood up and offered his hand to Yoongi.

"Baby steps." The boy agreed, grabbing his hand and starting to walk beside him in that park.