Tap. Tap. Tap.
In his dream, Namjoon is flying; soaring above the city like a bird.
He knows that it’s a dream because this isn’t one of his Powers, and even asleep his brain won’t allow him to forget that.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
The tapping is intrusive. Ringing and echoing around him; out of place in the wide-open sky he’s speeding through.
He glances around, trying to find the source, but all he sees is an endless expanse of cloudless blue. He looks down at the city next but as he does it disappears, leaving him only a moment to feel the dread settle into his stomach before he's falling, flailing, dropping from the sky.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Namjoon wakes with a gasp, his body spasming against the bed. He grips the sheets in his fists like that would stop the bed from disappearing from under him too as he catches his breath.
Flying again, damn it.
He hates that dream.
He manages to steady his breathing, but his heart pounds away in his chest; the beat echoing in his ears. Memories flood Namjoon’s mind the way they do every time he has this dream, but he couldn’t fly then, and he can’t fly now, so all he does is turn onto his stomach and shove his face into the pillow.
He grips both sides of it and brings them up to his ears, trying to drown out the sound of his own mind from the outside.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.
For a second Namjoon thinks he’s dreaming again, except he’s not flying, and the bed feels very solid under him. The tapping is harder and louder here than it had been in his dream, urgent enough to have Namjoon up on his feet before he can think twice.
Even now, half-asleep in the dead of night, the slightest sound of distress is enough to send Namjoon running headfirst towards potential danger.
He turns on his bedroom lights with a slap of his hand against the switch before racing to the balcony where he’s sure the sound originated. He shoves open the sliding door, both hands braced against the frame as he leans half his body out. The lights behind him illuminate a portion of the balcony; his shadow looming over the area.
“Hello?” he calls, eyes scanning every corner, “Is there anyone out here?”
There’s no reply, only the heavy silence of a city deep in slumber, and yet Namjoon knows that something is wrong. He can sense it in the same way that all Heros can sense disturbances in energy. Jimin compares it to being an Empath amplified to the nth degree, but Namjoon would say it's more like a 6th sense. One that tingles in the back of his head, where his neck meets his skull, and whispers to him that something is out of place.
Cautiously, he steps out onto the balcony. It's large and curved, so high up on one of the city's tallest skyscrapers that it gives Namjoon a panoramic view of everything below him. It’s half of what convinced him to buy the penthouse, to begin with, and also what makes this situation that much more unsettling.
No one should be able to get onto his balcony in the middle of the night. At least, no one Powerless, that is. And no one Powered should know that it’s him living here. He’s always been careful. There isn’t a scrap of evidence to connect RM and Kim Namjoon. There can’t be if he wants to live any semblance of a normal life while being Korea’s Number One Hero.
When Namjoon finds the balcony empty again, he wonders if he just convinced himself of the sounds in his dreams. The flying dream is always vivid, most days feeling all too real, and sometimes he wakes up believing he can. Those are the worst days for him. The days he has to remind himself of who he is and isn’t.
But Namjoon had recognized it as a dream this time; had woken up and heard the sounds again.
Despite the unease churning in his stomach, he makes to turn around and walk back inside. There really is nothing out here, so there’s no sense in standing around and hoping something shows up. If he’s lucky, he’ll be able to get a few more hours of sleep before he’s forced to start his day.
He’s halfway through the door when a shadow moves in his peripheral.
His body reacts before he can even process a full thought, years of battle experience ingrained in every strand of every muscle. He pivots towards the direction of the movement and settles into a high crouch, energy building in the palm of his hands the way it has hundreds of thousands of times before.
It always burns a little, the concentration of power against the skin of his hand, but that’s to be expected, his Celestial Beams can burn through entire buildings after all.
From the shadows at the side of his balcony, a figure rises, or rather, floats. The figure hovers in the air a few inches away from the balcony railing and Namjoon’s shoulders tense. Someone Powered then. He lifts his right arm and aims it at the figure.
“Who are you and what do you want?” he demands.
The figure doesn’t answer but floats closer, the light from Namjoon’s Celestial Beam revealing honey-blond hair and a pale, scarred face that Namjoon would recognize anywhere. The fight leaves his body near-instantly, energy fizzling out.
“Yoongi?” Namjoon whispers into the night, barely a full sound but the other man hears, lifting his head to meet Namjoon’s eyes.
He floats over the railing like Namjoon’s whisper of his name is permission and settles himself gently onto the tile. The second his feet touch ground, however, he stumbles, arm coming up to grip his side. It takes a moment for Namjoon to parse what’s going on, eyes scanning the other man, half in suspicion, half in wonder before he realizes he's bleeding profusely.
“Yoongi!” Namjoon gasps, dashing forward to catch the other man before he falls.
There’s blood everywhere. All down Yoongi’s side, drenching his shirt, his pants, painting Namjoon’s palms a terrible red.
“I didn’t know where else to go,” Yoongi rasps before going limp in Namjoon’s arms, his legs giving out on him as he presses his forehead into Namjoon’s neck.
“Fuck” Namjoon curses, bending to get an arm under Yoongi’s legs. He carries the other man into his apartment quickly, caring little for his white sheets as he lays Yoongi down gently.
There’s so much blood Namjoon can’t even tell where Yoongi is injured. He goes into autopilot again, more instinct. This isn't the first time Namjoon has come face to face with a life-threatening injury, and it isn’t likely to be the last.
Yoongi is wearing a black button-up and black jeans, his usual leather jacket missing, probably lost in the fray of whatever happened to him. Namjoon’s hands are steady as he quickly unbuttons Yoongi’s top, shoving it down his shoulders to get a better look at the gash in his side.
Unwanted memories bombard Namjoon at the action. Things he thought he had locked away years ago.
“Namjoonie, Joonie, don’t tease.”
Shaking his head, Namjoon forces himself to focus on the task at hand. The gash is long, running all down Yoongi’s left side from rib to hip, but it's not terribly deep. Namjoon suspects that the pain is immense though, and he’s lost a lot of blood. Bunching up his comforter, he shoves it against the wound, applying pressure.
“Yoongi,” Namjoon says, slapping his hand lightly against the other man’s cheek, “you have to wake up, I need you to hold this while I get supplies.”
He grabs Yoongi’s wrist and brings his hand to the comforter, forcing him to hold it against himself. He groans in pain at the slightest of movement, gripping the comforter in his fist and squeezing his eyes shut.
“Tightly, hyung. I’ll be right back.”
The honorific slips past Namjoon’s lips before he can catch himself. One would think after all the years that have gone by, all the times he’s had to face Yoongi as an enemy, as someone to defeat, he would have outgrown this particular habit. But it’s no use, as long as Namjoon dreams of flying, Yoongi will be his favorite hyung.
He rushes to his bathroom and rummages through the cabinets for his emergency supplies. Yoongi will need stitches, that much Namjoon knows, and while he doesn’t possess any healing abilities, he does have a brain with the capacity for learning anything, including stitching, in a matter of seconds. He just hopes he has forceps and surgical sutures somewhere.
It feels like it takes too long to get everything he needs. Namjoon is typically very level-headed in high-stress situations, but having Yoongi in his home again, on his bed, is disorienting. He feels like he needs to do everything at lightning speed or Yoongi might just disappear before his eyes. Fly away again like he had all those years ago.
“Alright,” Namjoon sighs as he drops the supplies on the bed next to Yoongi, “let me just see how I need to do this.”
He accidentally runs a bloodied hand through his hair, matting it against his head as he grabs his phone and scrolls the internet for an in-depth how-to. He speed reads, stealing glances at Yoongi every few seconds to make sure that the older man is okay. He looks like he’s in a lot of pain. His face pale and contorted; sweat dripping from his temples.
Namjoon wants to ask what happened; wants to know how anyone ever got this close to him. But now isn’t the time for useless questions.
“This is gonna hurt.” Namjoon prefaces while arranging his supplies around him.
Yoongi’s only reply is a grunt as he removes the comforter. With a deep breath, Namjoon focuses himself once more, going through the motions just as he had read them; checking if the bleeding had stopped, cleansing with a saline solution, then moving on to the stitching.
His stitches are crude but effective, successfully sealing the wound one knot at a time, though the pain they cause Yoongi is difficult to watch. He has to bite down on the comforter to muffle his screams; his eyes rolling back in his head by the time Namjoon gets to the fourth stitch. He’s shaking by the eighth and passes out entirely by the tenth.
It takes nineteen stitches in total, the surrounding skin an angry red, pulled taut, and certain to keep Yoongi out of commission for a good while. When it’s done Namjoon takes a moment to breathe, feeling like he’s finally taking himself off of autopilot.
He still has to dress the wound, but he doesn’t rush. He lays bandages along the gash, taping them with adhesive so they stay in place, and then gently lifts Yoongi into a seated position. He wraps gauze across his torso and ties it up over Yoongi’s shoulder to make sure it’s secure.
Namjoon hates to lay Yoongi back on bloodied sheets, but he doesn’t want to jostle his body any more than he already has. He leans over him to pull a pillow under his head and when he does, he can’t help but hesitate to pull away. With his face this close to Yoongi’s he can see how the years have changed him, see all the new wrinkles, the scar across his eye that Namjoon himself had given him in their very first battle as enemies.
It shouldn’t be this way. Namjoon hates that they’re here, that this is where their individual paths have led them.
Yoongi should be in Namjoon’s bed, but not drenched in blood inches from death. No, he should be tucked into Namjoon’s arms. He should be waking up to Namjoon’s gentle kisses, to the sunlight that would stream through the window of their shared apartment onto his pale, unscarred face, to Namjoon’s whispers of ‘I love you baby but you have to wake up now’.
Namjoon hates that they’re here, but they are, and nothing will change that.
After he’s tucked the pillow under Yoongi’s head, Namjoon goes to wash his hands. With blood still matted in his hair and on his chest, he should shower, but he doesn’t want to leave Yoongi alone.
He almost pulls a chair up right beside the bed but thinks better of it, dragging it back near the balcony door instead.
He tries desperately to stay awake after the adrenaline subsides, but it’s nearly dawn and the next thing he knows he’s dreaming again. He knows it’s a dream because he’s had this one thousands of times too, has played out this scene in his head, over and over, even when he’s awake.
“You don’t have to do this,” Namjoon says, sounding desperate even to his own ears, seconds from begging.
“I do, Joon.” Yoongi gruffs.
He has his hands shoved into his pockets, a determined furrow to his brow. The park they’re standing in is freezing. There’s an ice cold wind whipping at their skin every few minutes and it’s making Namjoon shiver, but Yoongi is as unflappable as ever.
“I can’t keep doing this,” he continues, looking away from Namjoon, “I’m tired of being a pawn for a government that doesn’t care about me, about us, and I’m tried of saving ungrateful Powerless that would fucking stone us to death if they knew our real identities.”
This isn’t the first time Namjoon has heard Yoongi express such views, but it might be the first time he’s taken them seriously. He never imagined that they would end up here. That Yoongi would even consider what he’s considering.
“They’re innocents, hyung, the world is a scary place for them when we have the powers we do and they don’t. Not all of them are bad.” Namjoon tries to convince, but it's a weak argument. The higher he rises in the Hero rankings the more careful he has to be. Yoongi knows that too. That’s probably why he’s giving Namjoon such a pitiful look.
“I want to be free, Joon. I want us to be free. I want to change the way we’re treated. The only way I’m going to do that is by going directly against them.”
“I’ve already made up my mind, Joon.”
“Hyung, please, just listen to me. What if we- we could go somewhere else, we don’t have to be Heros anymore we can- we can just be normal people! We can just be–”
“Enough, Namjoon!” Yoongi commands, stopping Namjoon mid-sentence. Yoongi has never raised his voice at him like this before.
“We can just do what, Namjoon! Hide away our gifts to blend in? Pretend that we’re something we aren’t? And what? This corrupt fucking government will never find us? We’ll live happily ever after? Don’t be so fucking naïve.” Yoongi all but spits, disgust in his gaze.
And it’s all Namjoon can do to stop the tears that threaten to fall. There’s a lump in his throat too big for him to speak and an ache in his heart so strong it might split him in two.
“What about us then?” Namjoon manages to croak out after a heavy pause, voice wobbling.
He wraps his arms around his middle to stop himself from shaking, though he’s not so sure that it’s from the cold anymore.
“You know I wouldn’t drag you into this,” Yoongi mumbles, unable to meet Namjoon’s eyes, but Namjoon can see the pain on his face plain as day.
“I thought- I thought you loved me, hyung. I thought it was us, forever.” Namjoon whispers, tears finally cresting, flowing down his cheeks.
“I do love you,” Yoongi whispers back, meeting Namjoon’s eyes one last time before turning his back, “that’s why it has to be this way.”
He doesn’t hesitate even a moment longer before walking away; the gravel crunching under his boots as he goes. And at that moment, the world feels like it crumbles around Namjoon.
His feet move on their own accord when he chases after Yoongi. Voice cracking when he calls his name. But Yoongi doesn’t look back, and when Namjoon gets close Yoongi lifts off the ground, floating up into the sky above them.
“No! Please!” Namjoon cries, jumping into the air after him, but Namjoon can’t fly.
Namjoon can’t fly, so he falls.
Falls to the ground where the gravel cuts into his palms and knees assuring that he bleeds outwardly the way his heart bleeds in his chest.
For the second time that night, Namjoon wakes with a gasp, his right hand coming up to clutch at his chest. He glances around like a mad man, sighing in relief when his eyes land on the figure in his bed.
It’s nearly dawn. The day’s first rays of light illuminating his bedroom in shades of pale yellow and pink. They cast a soft glow over Yoongi’s skin, and Namjoon can’t help but think they would make him look like a prince if it weren’t for the scars and dried blood.
But there’s no sense in looking at a scene and seeing only what you want to see. The scars and blood would be there, even if Namjoon ignored them. Yoongi would still be a villain, a criminal, the man who broke his heart, even if Namjoon chose to only see the love of his life.
“You had a nightmare,” Yoongi states, his sleep-heavy voice startling Namjoon and forcing him to sit up.
“I did,” he replies cautiously, keeping a close eye on where Yoongi lays for any sudden movements. He’s not sure what to expect now that Yoongi isn’t delirious with pain.
The question catches Namjoon off guard. How could he have known?
The older man groans in pain as he forces himself to sit up, leaning back against the pillow before meeting Namjoon’s eyes. By that time, Namjoon already has an arm lifted in threat.
“You were calling my name in your sleep,” Yoongi answers Namjoon’s unspoken question, cold eyes revealing little about how he feels.
Namjoon’s arm tenses, energy building in his palm for a moment before he gets a hold of himself, curling his hand into a fist before dropping it back onto the armrest. He averts his eyes to the wall in front of him, unsure of how to respond.
“What did you dream of?” Yoongi presses and Namjoon can’t for the life of him understand why.
“Why are you doing this?”
“What did you dream of, Namjoon?” Yoongi demands.
“You. Leaving me.” Namjoon spits, watching for a reaction in Yoongi’s eyes. He’s angry. Angry at this stupid situation, angry at Yoongi showing up at his door, and he wants to see Yoongi hurt the way he’s hurt every single day for the past five years.
Yoongi frowns, turning his gaze to the ceiling as he leans his head back. For a moment they’re both silent. Namjoon is seconds away from getting up to shower just to avoid being in the same room as Yoongi when the older man speaks.
“I dream about you too,” he mumbles, meeting Namjoon’s eyes once more, “I dream about you all the time.”
And there’s sadness in his gaze, pain, the same pain Namjoon has so often seen in his own reflection.
“Why are you saying all this?” He demands as he stands up, turning to face the balcony so he doesn’t have to look at Yoongi anymore, “you’re only hurting me more.”
“I know I am,” Yoongi says through gritted teeth, and Namjoon can hear the bed creaking as he stands behind him.
“Then why?” Namjoon questions, blinking away a sudden onslaught of tears.
“Because,” Yoongi begins, his voice coming from just over Namjoon’s shoulder, far closer than expected, “because if you dream of me too, then maybe there's still a chance.”
He doesn’t elaborate, but he doesn’t have to. Namjoon’s mind is already racing in a million different directions. That single drop of hope more painful than any nightmare.
Overwhelmed, Namjoon slides his balcony door open, stepping out into the brisk morning air to try to get a hold of himself. Slow footsteps follow behind him as he goes to lean his weight on the railing, gripping the cold metal tightly between his palms.
It only takes another breath for Yoongi to join him. They stand side by side, staring out at the city below where Powerless people have begun walking the streets, starting their days.
“Don’t say things you don’t mean.” Namjoon wants to demand but his voice comes out weak, pained. Out of his peripheral, he can see Yoongi squeeze his eyes shut, can see the way his chest heaves as he sighs.
“Give me one more month, Joon,” Yoongi whispers, the nickname sending a pang through Namjoon’s heart, “one more month to finish what I started, and then, if you’ll still have me, if you still want me... I’ll come home to you.”
Namjoon couldn’t stop the tears from falling now if he tried. The swell of hope in his chest is too big to be contained. He watches as his tears hit the railing like raindrops and prays he’s not dreaming.
“Come back to me, hyung,” he croaks over the lump in his throat, “always come back to me.”
The only response Yoongi gives him is the slide of his right hand along the railing, the wrap of his pinky over Namjoon’s for the briefest of moments, and then he’s lifting, hovering, flying up and away.
And Namjoon still can’t fly, but maybe this time he doesn’t need to.