I couldn’t sleep. Not when I tried to, anyways. Eventually, I passed out, but I didn’t dream. When I woke up, I didn’t feel rested. It was a perpetual existence of exhaustion and sleeplessness, of times where I’d collapse onto some couch at the office and wake up later not realizing I’d fallen asleep.
I argued and argued and argued until I didn’t have a voice anymore but it was all for nothing. They didn’t listen to me. They wouldn’t delay the funeral, they wouldn’t prevent his cremation. I was still arguing against it past the point when it was too late; he was already ash. I was sure I could bring him back if they just gave me time… but obviously they didn’t have time to give.
His funeral was much the same as Mira’s, much too soon after Mira’s. There were more people, people from all over the world. People who probably considered him more of a friend than he would have considered them. I stayed towards the back of the crowd, jaw clenched to keep me from saying anything I’d regret… fists clenched to hide their shaking. People looked at me and gave their condolences. He had no family. All he had was me…
I felt like a bomb, ready to go off at the slightest touch. Everyone else kept their distance to prevent triggering an explosion. Hands hovered, just short of a pat on the shoulder, a comforting touch to my cheek. They hesitated and thought better of it, seeming to realize the touch might turn dangerous.
The only one who managed to remain unaware of my volatile attitude was Solaris. She split apart from Angel and stormed towards me, carelessly shouting at me as she stomped. The ceremony hadn’t started quite yet and everyone turned towards the racket as she screamed at the top of her tiny brownie lungs.
“You did this!” she screeched. “This is your fault.”
“Back off,” I warned in a growl, giving her a chance.
“Yoonie would still be here if it weren’t for you! It’s your fault you-”
Angel cut her off before I could do anything, covering the gnome’s mouth with her hand and scolding her with a sharp call of her name. I could feel a hand around my elbow as well, cautiously holding me back as Solaris was dragged far, far away from me. I didn’t look to see who it was. The chaos subdued and the ceremony started. I didn’t turn until the owner of the hand spoke.
“Me too,” Galiena said quietly, voice even and calm despite the ire I could feel radiating from her. “I’m angry too.”
“I’m not… I’m not angry,” I lied through gritted teeth.
“Bullshit. You think I haven’t been right where you are before? You’re angry. You’re angry because it’s easier than being sad. Yelling is easier than crying. Clenching fists and lashing out is easier than admitting you’re hurt.”
“If you’re so wise, then why are you angry too?” I huffed.
“Being self-aware doesn’t stop me from being pissed off.”
I didn’t reply, waiting for her explanation. She stayed silent for a moment and I looked her over. Her hair was black now and long enough to flow past her shoulders. Her green eyes stared at the crowd rather than at me. She didn’t look angry, she didn’t sound angry either. Still, I could tell she was being honest. I could feel her fury, like a flame heating the air around her.
“I know it’s bullshit. I want to scream. I want to fight. I want to drag Asp into the street and beat him bloody, make him beg for life before feeding him to vultures,” she muttered, voice still deceptively emotionless. “I’m sure you do too.”
“I was there,” I croaked, looking at the grass beneath our feet. “I was right there, but I couldn’t do anything.”
“No one could have… She- Ah… No. Nevermind.”
“He made me a promise once,” she stated, shaking her head. “I think we both knew he wouldn’t be able to keep it but… I still hoped. I believed him for some reason.”
“What… was the promise?”
“He said that… He promised that he- That I would die before him. I knew it wouldn’t happen. Somehow, I’m still disappointed.”
“I could have brought him back,” I seethed.
“Not necromancy. I would have- I would have brought him backbut they… They wouldn’t listen to me.”
“Jungkook… I’ve been alive for centuries. I’ve attended hundreds- thousands maybe- of funerals. No one gets brought back… Not like that.”
“I would have found a way.”
“If you really think you could, then what’s stopping you?”
“I needed his body.”
“Like I said… What’s stopping you?”
“You’re telling me you think you can figure out resurrection- which no one on record has done before- but suddenly you can’t because there’s no body? If you’re going to do the impossible, you might as well go all the way with it.”
Once the ceremony ended, she left wordlessly. I turned to watch her leave. As she marched away, she ran a hand through her hair, pulling it into a ponytail. As she did so, the color changed back to its regular orange. She had become a fox again. I turned back to the crowd, to the monument, to Yoongi’s portrait. I didn’t feel angry anymore. I felt lifeless, numb. Even Galiena was saying it was impossible…
It didn’t come as a surprise when I was handed the urn and reminded to spread Yoongi’s ashes. Shimè was sobbing, unable to speak. Jimin wasn’t much better but managed to do the speaking for her. My eyes shifted over to Henna. She looked weary. Two losses in less than a month had aged her. I accepted the urn with tingling fingers. I promised that I’d do as required, knowing fully that I intended to do no such thing. I didn’t have the will to follow protocol.
I drove around with no destination. It was an odd feeling, looking at the urn and knowing what it contained. The man I loved, nothing left but grey ashes. Ashes and memories. It was sickening. It was suffocating. It was… too much.
I drove the car home. His car. His home. Everything was his. His apartment, his passcode, his furniture… My palms felt sweaty as I held his urn, clutched it carefully against my stomach so it wouldn’t slip. My fingers trembled as I typed in his passcode. The door creaked open and I shut it quietly behind me. I never before felt like such an intruder in this apartment. I hadn’t been here since Yoongi was killed.
As soon as I passed the threshold, I felt drained, all of my previous determination and rage sapped. My feet dragged across the floor, limbs heavy. My vision blurred as I realized I was alone for the first time since that night. Tears welled up that I could no longer stop. Galiena was right. Without the anger, there was nothing left to hold them back.
I carried myself to the living room limply. I stared at the fireplace, at the ashes there. They looked no different than what was in the urn I was holding. I knelt down on the floor, exhausted. Scatter the ashes. I heard it in his voice.
I couldn’t do it. Not if I wanted any hope of bringing him back. Even if I didn’t have his body, maybe I’d find a way with what I had left. It wasn’t right that he was gone. It wasn’t fair. I didn’t know how, but there had to be a way to bring him back, to fix things. There had to be some kind of spell, despite what everyone was saying. There had to be something. Years of magic and no one was greedy enough to find the cure for death? That seemed more impossible than the hope of bringing Yoongi back, and yet…
No. I’d find a way. I just had to keep telling myself that.
I felt something brush against my leg. Glancing down, I saw Nami peering up at me. I let out a sigh, trying to lightly push her away with the back of my hand, but she wouldn’t budge.
“Go away,” I murmured weakly. My voice crumbled around the words. “I’m not the one you liked anyways.”
She meowed at me, nudging her head against my hand. I groaned, glancing towards the kitchen. I could’ve sworn Taehyung had been coming over to feed her. I stood, leaving the urn by the fireplace and checking her bowls. Both were full, so she clearly wasn’t just bugging me because she was hungry. With a sigh, I shuffled towards the bedroom.
I hesitated at the door. Hisroom. This was never technically my place. Now more than ever, I didn’t belong here. I was only ever here because of him. Without him, where did I belong?
“Go away, Nami,” I grumbled again. She meowed again, rubbing against my legs. I tried to push her away with my foot this time, but she came right back. “What do you want?”
Meow. She was looking right at me.
“You have food so what the fuck do you want from me?” I snapped. “Yoongi’s gone. He’s gone and he’s not coming back and bothering me isn’t going to change that so just fuck off you stupid cat!”
She looked up at me almost knowingly. There was a sorrow there that I refused to believe a dumb feline could even be capable of. Again his voice echoed in my brain, reminding me that animals were often smarter than they seemed. I couldn’t listen. I hated this. I hated it. I couldn’t stand hearing his voice when he was…
I leaned against the door and my legs wobbled as I slid to the floor. I closed my eyes. My throat hurt. I had tried so hard. I had tried so, so hard to act strong, even when there was no reason to. I had told myself not to cry, to be angry instead. I sucked in a breath. Nami had crawled into my lap. She nudged my chest with her little nose, mewling once more.
“He’s dead, Nami,” I cracked. “He’s gone and I don’t know how I can bring him back.”
I sobbed. At some point, I passed out. Right there on the floor, against the door to the bedroom I fell asleep with blurry eyes and wet cheeks. Nami stayed there in my lap, curled up and purring, unbothered when my tears landed on her fur. She was still there when I woke up in the morning, stiff and sore. She perked up when I moved, trying to stretch my legs. I stood unsteadily, rubbing the thick crust from my eyes as I wobbled to the bathroom.
I looked like hell. My face was patchy and swollen and my eyes were red. Dried tears marked my cheeks. I looked like a ghoul. I washed my face, but it didn’t make much of a difference. I stared at my reflection for what felt like hours before turning away with a sigh.
My determination flared up again when I caught sight of the urn sitting by the fireplace. Everyone was telling me there was nothing I could do. Yoongi had told me already that death was permanent. Hoseok too, and Galiena… but Galiena…
“What’s stopping you?”
She would know better than anyone that what I was hoping for was impossible… and yet she didn’t exactly discourage it. Even if all I had was ashes, I had to try. I’d find a spell… or make one. There had to be some way. I’d bring him back, or cause hell if I couldn’t. Galiena would probably help me. We’d bring him back.
I’d bring him back, then I’d find Asp and slaughter him.
It wasn’t anger, it was determination. It wasn’t revenge, it was justice. It wasn’t obsession… it was focus.