Hoseok is kind about it, but Yoongi learns that in kindness, there is also cruelty. For a boy as bright as the sun itself, Yoongi doesn’t expect the ice that surrounds Hoseok’s heart.
“Please leave,” Hoseok says, voice quiet, not meeting Yoongi’s eyes. Yoongi’s luggage is already packed and waiting at the front door. Yoongi spies his familiar blue hoodie draped over the luggage handle – it was a gift from him to Hoseok, and Hoseok has worn the hoodie more times than he could count – and he instantly knows that Hoseok is being serious.
“Why?” he asks, just as quietly.
Hoseok meets his eyes, then, and Yoongi sees nothing but sadness and frustration in them. His lips are pulled into a frown, and he hears a long, heavy sigh before Hoseok speaks.
“Hyung, we’ve been together for 2 years.” Hoseok runs a hand through his hair. “I spent those two years being the only one in love in this relationship…or whatever it was we shared.” He frowns deeper. “It’s ironic because you’re the one who started this relationship, but you never put any effort in it. You missed dates and tried to make it up with gifts. You don’t seem to care about anniversaries – heck, you don’t even remember my birthday.”
“I don’t want to be stuck in this…whatever it is, anymore, hyung,” Hoseok adds. “So, I’m doing you a favour by being the first one to end it.”
“By kicking me out of our apartment?” Yoongi asks coldly.
Hoseok’s expression doesn’t shift. “It’s my apartment. You’re the one who moved in, and now I hold every right in kicking you out.”
Yoongi stares at the boy in front of him.
For the first time in 2 years, he seems like a stranger – his abrupt coldness towards him so different from the boy who greeted him with smiles and laughter. It’s as if the warmth in him vanished, leaving an empty cold husk behind.
Yoongi couldn’t deny Hoseok’s words, either. He hasn’t been putting any effort in their relationship. He loves Hoseok – or at least, he thinks he does. Yoongi closes his eyes briefly. Does he?
“Okay,” he replies. He turns around and walks towards the door. Grabbing the luggage, he puts a hand on the doorknob, pausing for a second to glance back at Hoseok.
“Should I say goodbye, then?”
It is then, Hoseok’s expression shifts ever so slightly. There is a waver in his gaze, and Yoongi sees the way he bites his bottom lip briefly.
“Would it make a difference?” Hoseok asks.
“I suppose not.”
As he pushes the door open, he hears Hoseok speak – the shake in his voice too obvious for him not to notice. Ah, so Hoseok isn’t as cold as he thinks he is.
“Until the end, you don’t put in any effort, hyung.”
Yoongi wonders if out of the two of them, the cold cruel one is him all along.
Hoseok isn’t the first one, but Yoongi wonders if he should be the last one, because in all honesty, he only has one life and he shouldn’t spend it hurting everyone.
But, he desperately wants to experience the thing people call ‘love’ – an emotion his mind and body just refuses to understand. He read about it, and remembers that once upon a time, he had been a boy who understood the concept of love and perhaps felt it, but it’s as if his entire being one day chose to forget it and refuses to remember.
The first one was Taehyung – a bubbly junior he met in high school who loved art and hip hop and always did his obnoxious impersonation of his favourite rappers. Yoongi was intrigued by him, nevertheless, and it wasn’t a secret then that Taehyung was attracted to him, so the two had begun a relationship when the latter entered his sophomore year.
It lasted 4 months, and Yoongi was the one who ended it. He felt nothing. Taehyung, in the end, felt nothing too. It fell apart, but at least, it was mutual. Or so Yoongi would like to think.
The second one was Namjoon, one of his co-workers at the low-paying part-time job he had when he was in first year of college. Namjoon was dorky and clumsy, but he was incredibly intelligent, and he liked to tell Yoongi long but interesting stories during coffee breaks. They began a relationship a few months after knowing each other, which started with Namjoon kissing him in front of the store after they closed up and shyly asked whether it was okay. Yoongi had said ‘yes’ because it felt pleasant enough.
It lasted 6 months, and throughout those 6 months, Namjoon’s kisses remained pleasant, but did not make Yoongi’s heart flutter. There were no sparks on his end, and he knew Namjoon knew. Namjoon was the one who ended it, and while the two remained on friendly terms, there was a barrier between them that Yoongi knew he could not take down. He didn’t blame him.
Hoseok was the third, and the relationship which lasted the longest – a friend of Namjoon’s whom Yoongi met at a bar. With a smile that could put even the sun to shame, Yoongi felt an instant attraction. It wasn’t love – definitely wasn’t love – but it was something. When it was clear that Hoseok returned the feeling, it had Yoongi hoping that Hoseok was the one and maybe, he could finally understand what love was. For the first time in a very long while, Yoongi allowed himself to be optimistic because in all honesty, Hoseok really did make him happy. He made him laugh and was there when he needed him, and Yoongi liked to think he was the same to Hoseok.
But 2 years passed, and here he was, sitting at a bus stop, on his way back to his aunt’s house. Yoongi should have expected this by now.
“The bus should be here in a few minutes, Auntie,” Yoongi says into the phone balanced on his shoulder. The wintry air bites into his skin, and he wraps his scarf – given to him by Hoseok for his 24 th birthday – around his neck a little tighter. He still smells Hoseok’s perfume on it, and he figures in normal circumstances he should feel some sort of nostalgia from it.
He feels nothing. Nothing, at least, that is out of the ordinary.
“Mom’s still in the hospital? How’s Dad and Hyung, then?” Yoongi stares ahead as he continues to speak. “Okay. Send them my regards. Oh. The bus is here. I’ll see you soon, then.”
He hangs up, waits for the bus to stop in front of him before boarding it. He doesn’t look back once.
His aunt’s house is tiny but comfortable for two, and Yoongi spends his afternoons sitting on the foyer, soaking in the chilly but fresh air. His mind is blank, and he doesn’t really care to fill it with any thoughts.
Aside from a text from his brother the day he arrived at his aunt’s home, Yoongi’s phone had been quiet. Hoseok doesn’t contact him once. Yoongi decides it’s for the best.
“Yoongi, are you out in the cold again?” his aunt – Min Ha Neul - demands, walking out onto the foyer. She’s still in her nurse uniform – she’s one of the nurses in charge of occupational therapy programs at the city’s hospital – with a woollen blanket wrapped around her small shoulders. “Come inside before you get sick, you silly boy.”
Yoongi gets off his seat and walks inside, his aunt stepping aside to let him through. “Sorry,” he murmurs, “I just wanted to take some air.”
His aunt’s gaze softens. “I know you’re feeling restless, but you shouldn’t make yourself sick.” The pair walks into the kitchen, where Yoongi spies a plate of kimbap sitting on the countertop. He smiles wryly. The roll looks messily made as if his aunt had been in a hurry while she was preparing it, but in reality, she’s just not the world’s best cook.
But Yoongi doesn’t care; her food is the closest thing that tastes like home. With his mom constantly in and out of the hospital and his dad and hyung busy with their work, his aunt had been the closest thing Yoongi had as a proper guardian.
The fact that she’s only several years older than him makes her seem like an older sister to him rather than an aunt.
“If you’re looking for something to do,” Ha Neul begins, picking one of the kimbap off the plate, “The hospital is offering a volunteering program next week.”
Yoongi raises an eyebrow. “For what?”
His aunt shrugs. “Well, truthfully, we’re understaffed since last summer, and the HR is having a hard time looking for new hires, so the hospital decided to put up a volunteering program for the occupational therapy department to fill in the gaps. It’s just a cheap way of getting some help, in all honesty.”
Yoongi smirks. “You don’t sound displeased by it, though.”
“Why would I? After spending all-nighters for two weeks, I’ll be grateful for any kind of help.” Ha Neul winks at him. “What do you say? It’s only for a month or two, and it’ll look nice on your resume at least.” She pauses. “What was it that you studied in college?”
“Right.” Ha Neul nods to herself. “You play the piano, too. You might be a helpful addition to the music therapy program we’re currently running, if you’re up for it, at least.” She smiles. “What do you say?”
Yoongi purses his lips, thinking. It’s been nearly a week since he stayed in his aunt’s home, and truthfully, he is starting to feel restless and bored. With college done, and his friends mostly in Seoul, Yoongi doesn’t have much to do.
He grips his phone inside his pocket unconsciously.
It’s not as if Hoseok’s going to contact him anytime soon, anyway.
Yoongi merely picks up one kimbap and places it inside his mouth before chewing. Once the taste hits his tongue, he winces. Ah.
“I’ll say yes if this kimbap doesn’t give me high blood pressure in the next few hours,” he says.
He receives a playful punch on his arm.
Yoongi spent his entire childhood being in and out of hospitals – not for himself, but to visit his mother whose body is weak for as long as Yoongi had known her, which is his whole life. The smell of medicine and the whiteness of the walls are all too familiar to him in a way that his mind could not erase the memories even if he tried.
Hospitals don’t bother him. He just prefers to not be inside one longer than necessary. Though, with this volunteering program, it looks he doesn’t have much of a choice on that matter.
“You’ll be assigned to one of our newer patients,” his aunt explains, “He was transferred here from Busan because of the program the hospital offered and the fact that most of his relatives have relocated here. He’s pretty shy, but he’s a good guy.” She offers him a dimpled smile. “Pretty cute, even.”
Yoongi doesn’t respond to that, other than a deadpan stare. Ha Neul laughs lightly and pushes him inside a ward, where Yoongi spies rows and rows of empty beds lined up against the walls. The pair keeps walking until they reach the last empty bed. Ha Neul makes a confused sound, before she reaches out for the clipboard placed on the bedside table. Her brows furrow as she flips through the pages.
“Ah. Right. It’s his counselling session.” She turns to Yoongi. “He’ll be here in 10 to 15 minutes, so do you mind waiting for a bit? There’s a sofa over there if you want to sit.” Her expression turns apologetic. “Sorry, Yoongi-ah. I forgot he had other schedules today.”
Yoongi shrugs. “It’s fine. I’ll just play with my phone while I wait.”
“Alright, then.” His aunt pats his arm. “Sit tight and make yourself at home. There’s a vending machine outside if you’re thirsty.”
She gives him one last smile before walking away to attend her duties. Yoongi takes a seat on the sofa and leans against it. The material is soft and comfortable, and Yoongi could feel the tension in his body melting away. This is nice. He could get used to this.
He fishes out his phone and checks his messages.
One from Namjoon, which is surprising because Namjoon isn’t the messaging type of person. He likes his calls – when they were still dating, Yoongi thinks that was the time where he received the most calls in his entire life.
Heard you moved to Daegu?
Yoongi smiles inwardly. Of course, Namjoon would know.
Where are you staying?
My aunt’s place. How did you know anyway?
There is a long pause before Yoongi finally receives a reply.
Hoseok told me.
Ah. Of course.
…He also told me you guys broke up.
You know how I am.
Yoongi doesn’t see the next reply because he hears someone approaching. He looks up and sees his aunt walking towards him, her arm looped around the arm of a boy. The boy is blindfolded – or rather, the bandages wrapped around his head covering his eyes make him seemed like he is – and is taking careful steps towards Yoongi.
“Alright. You can stop here,” he hears his aunt murmur. She turns to him, smiling softly. “Yoongi-ah. This is the patient you’ll be assisting for the next few weeks.” She pats the boy’s shoulder. “You can introduce yourself.”
The boy turns to look at him – or rather, face him, at least – and bows slightly. “Hello,” he says, his voice soft. “Nice to meet you. I’m Park Jimin. I’ll be in your care.”
Yoongi learns that the boy was recently involved in a car accident which injured both his legs and his eyes. While his legs had a good chance of healing, his eye injuries greatly affected his vision and when Jimin finally woke up from his surgery, he found himself unable to see.
Jimin was told, as gently as possible, that the damage might be temporary, and the doctors are working hard to find a way for him to regain his vision again.
Jimin, bless him, remains optimistic.
Yoongi is not. But he doesn’t tell Jimin this.
“Your job is basically to attend his needs in between sessions, like help him eat, walk, and all that other stuff,” Ha Neul explains to him. “You may even assist in his physical therapy sessions, too.” She eyes Jimin’s legs meaningfully, and Yoongi immediately catches on. “I hope you two get along!” she beams. She waves at the two of them before leaving the room.
“Nurse Min is your aunt?” Jimin asks. He is lying on the bed, fiddling with the edges of the blanket. Yoongi couldn’t see his eyes due to the bandages, but he guesses that Jimin is looking straight at him. The boy is offering him a polite smile.
“Yeah,” Yoongi answers. “I’m Min Yoongi, by the way. Uh… Nice to meet you.”
“Are you older than me?”
“So I know whether how I should address you,” Jimin adds hurriedly, sounding sheepish. “I’m 24 this year. Born in 1995.”
“Oh. Uh.” Yoongi scratches the back of his head. “I’m 26. Born in 1993.”
“Yoongi-hyung, then.” Jimin grins, his cheeks flushed prettily. Yoongi couldn’t help but to stare. “Once again, I’ll be in your care, hyung.”
“You don’t need to be so formal.” Yoongi moves to sit on the chair beside him. Jimin’s head moves towards his direction, even tilting up slightly as if to look at him. “I’ll try my best to help you, Jimin-ah. Though, honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Jimin giggles. “I’ll guide you every step of the way.” A pause. “Heh, that sounds ironic given my predicament.”
Yoongi couldn’t help but to smirk. The kid has a sense of humour, as dry as it may seem.
“We’ll guide each other, Jimin-ah,” Yoongi says. He gives Jimin a gentle look, though he realizes Jimin can’t see it.
As if knowing the kind of gaze Yoongi is giving him, Jimin smiles prettily in return.